Teddy and I went out to lunch in our township’s downtown. This is the view from the bridge above the canal. Fall comes gently in the south, if we are lucky. When there is a hurricane, all the leaves are blown away.
Yesterday I visited our pond across the road and it was bitterly cold. This beautiful heron was hunting in the marsh.
Every so often there is an odd tree or bush that is vividly colored and gives a real autumnal pop!
The sun was shining on the water but they avoided the cold water. They always wag their tails like dogs when they see me. I am just as happy to see them. If only I had a tail…
I love the not very scarecrow and the upside down witches legs at the next store
I am in a strange mood for the start of my favorite season. Fall has taken some of the heat out of the air and I woke up cold today. Can you believe it was 73 F (23 C) in the house?? Every so often, I have notions about moving to somewhere quieter with better air quality but those places are always cold in the winter so, ‘No Bueno’.
Before the pandemic, I was delighted at myself for fixing the leaking U-Bend pipe under the sink, with step-by-step instructions from the local hardware store. Then it leaked again, mid pandemic, and my husband fixed it. This week it flooded again and the plumber had to be called. Over the last two decades I have cultivated a cache of trusted contractors in Texas. We came from a small village in Scotland where you could rely on word of mouth for good service.
I know the plumber’s wife very well and we chat away like old friends, both trapped in the house by work or anxiety. “Hello, Mary”, said I, “Could you send that nice young man that came before?” As soon as the phrase was uttered, I burst out laughing, as did Mary, at how horribly ancient I sounded. We shared memories about how embarrassing it was when our respective mothers talked to complete strangers. You never think your mother’s words and accent are going to fly out of your mouth like Parseltongue. Then you look in the bathroom mirror and she is staring at you…like Moaning Myrtle.
Mary told me that James would be delighted to be requested, especially from a VIP customer, such as myself. James came early but phoned to see if that was okay (isn’t that perfect?) and arrived with his wee pal, Carlos. Both were married and about 30 years old but seemed so young to me. About a decade ago, I might have tried to emulate Mrs. Robinson for a good price (for the plumbing) but can only pull that off with old codgers now (the electrician, for example).
They went straight to the sink and James said, “This is my last day.” NO!!! Then I turned into Auntie Kerry as he told me that he had to take 2 months off work because his mother, in Washington State, just had a serious stroke and was awaiting a brain operation. He was really agitated about it, understandably, but particularly because he might lose the best job he had ever had. We chatted some more about making difficult decisions but I assured him that he was making a good decision. Life is so short; he would probably regret not going and the plumbing company would keep the job open as long as they could. If not, there is always a need for contractors.
As they were fixing the sink and then the cistern, I whispered to Teddy about the situation and asked him to find a nice geological rock for James as he collects them. As they were leaving, and undercharging us, Teddy presented James with an ancient rock from Ireland and one from Scotland. Carlos was just standing, being supportive to his colleague and I felt sorry for him. So…I asked him if he would like a Popsicle? Now I had gone from Auntie to Granny Kerry. They both left, looking happier with popsicles and rocks. How does this happen and when did I turn from sexy cougar to nice Nana? Thank goodness I still have my gardener who calls me Babe! Even Martha Stewart does thirst trap Instagrams.
On the squirrel front, ‘Half’ has been behaving badly. He was chasing everyone off the deck so he could eat all the peanuts. I opened the back door and shouted, “Half! I am going to smack your bottom, if you don’t stop that.” Distant neighbors will be calling social services about the Scandinavian neighbor who assaults her children The drought has returned and I am watering the garden again. Yesterday I went into the back yard in my disgusting nightie (stains, no shape). As I was hosing, a GIANT grasshopper landed on my head. I had a tiny mental break, lost control of the hose which soaked me and my newly cleaned windows. The grasshopper was terrified too.
I got washed and went to Trader Joe for groceries. It’s a hip and groovy store and all the checkout staff are interesting… My Dude was about 45 years old and looked like he had started a degree at a liberal arts college in California. In my imagination, weed and surfing took over his life and now he works at a store. He was so friendly, Bro, and we started talking. I had bought some cans of wine (it’s a trailer home next) that were pre-mixed with sparkling water for Teddy’s restrictive diet. The label said that the beverage was for those with an active lifestyle? I started laughing and told him that I fully intended to sit motionless on my sofa and watch Netflix with said cans of wine. He laughed and suggested I drink the harder stuff at the weekend. In response, I told him that I only drink Jagermeister at the weekend (I was joking) but he looked at the old lady with new respect. For the Brits, Jagermeister is the equivalent of Buckfast. Gives you a hell of a hangover.
There was a big social event in the street – the second I have attended in a month! I was so pleased with myself for going to both, behaving like a normal person and not drinking much. But a toll has been taken – my mental health took a dip from all the social anxiety. They were all people that I know and like but these last two years of introspection have made it difficult fight against my overwhelming desire to stay at home all the time. I know it is important to keep challenging myself so although I didn’t feel like it, I kept a promise to visit one of our local antique towns today, with Teddy, and regretted it almost immediately. Still, I followed through, and that’s important to improve my health. Now we are meeting friends for lunch on Thursday. Go, Kerry, Go!
Who doesn’t love a Corpse Bride at the Wedding Store?
Close to the Immaculate Conception Church is a Pioneer Park with original and replica buildings from the origins of San Diego. As I wandered through the park, I wondered about my ancestors. Was I walking in their footsteps?
This is a quote from Old Town San Diego guide
“Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego”.
I bet it really was cosmopolitan back in the day!
I was fascinated by the huge scale. It made me think of bushels and pecks – such descriptive measurements. When we moved back to the States, I was delighted to find imperial measurements instead of Metric weights. Sometimes you are just to old to adapt to kilos… Then I discovered that American imperial measurements are different to the old British ones. The gallons are different – WTH???
Senora de los Meurtos
I visited just before Halloween and Dia de los Meurtos and loved the vivid color in these displays in the restaurant district. You can tell that it is autumn in San Diego with that fantastic clear light. It was about 80 degrees with NO humidity – yay! I fearlessly ate lunch outside without misting systems and didn’t get bitten by mosquitoes. When you live in a sub tropical swamp, those weather conditions are heaven. As I write this, it is heavenly weather in Houston but there is always some bloody mosquitoes…
Ah, it was a perfect day visiting ancestor’s graves at an appropriate time to honor them and then being able to imagine how they lived.
Here in the subtropics, fall comes late. After enviously looking at other autumnal posts with amazing red and yellow trees, I searched my garden for some sign of winter coming. It is subtle but the leaves are started to drop and the fungi have arrived. I loved the pretty edge of the larger fungus above and noticed that the critters were digging a trench.
There can be such delicacy in fungi and I loved this pretty little one, above with a frilly edge. By contrast there was a stoater (Scottish for very big) in the front garden.
There is something kind of scary about some fungi and this one, below, was a little creepy. It looked like straw but the critters had been playing with it, so someone enjoyed it. Right now, one of our garden animals has dug a really big tunnel under the deck and I suspect it is the armadillos. They are getting their new deck ready for cooler nights…it is like living in a commune. 🍄
Strange Fungi…with some colored leaves!!!
I saved the best one for last – a little bouquet of pretty flowers.
Winter is coming… The evil Canadians sent it last night and the temperature dropped by almost 50 degrees. Those beautiful orange leaves, from the last post, are all on the ground.
Despite that, some of the hibiscus are still blooming and the bottle brush and giving us a splash of red.
My friend at Evil Squirrel’s Nest urged us to feed the outside critters with the cold front and this is a cute little Texas Fox Squirrel eating her snacks. I love the way they look slightly different from state to state. Ours aren’t very furry but their tales are really long.
I’m coming down for the snacks. Muchas Gracias, Senora!!
Houston is in the sub-tropics, I live a little further north just on the edge of an ecological division between coastal and piney forest. Whatever the case, fall comes late to these parts. Sometimes we don’t get one at all if a hurricane runs through. It was similar in the north of Scotland. One day it was summer and then the tail end of a tropical hurricane would blow all the leaves off the trees and BAM – it was winter.
Most of my local photographs are taken next to our containment pond. For those unfamiliar with the term, the pond is there to soak up our many floods. It also dries up to barely nothing in a drought. Usually noisy Teddy is with me but I was quietly stalking and suddenly saw this precious pair.
Baby nutria with mama after a swim
Nutria is an invasive water living mammal not unlike a beaver or coypu. They were introduced to the south for the fur trade so, as usual, we humans are to blame. The baby was gently bleating to Mama about the strange lady with the camera. I haven’t seen them for a while because the Rangers remove them. For the short time that they are here, I will enjoy their little furry faces.
Mama nutria swimming
As I was walking about I could hear the drying leaves rustling and the ever present noise of the frogs that live at the pond. Then I spotted this poor cold turtle – he stayed right on his little island because it was too cold in the water. It’s all relative, temperature wise, as the temperature was mid 60s and sunny. ☀
I was afraid of nominations for blogs before but I am enjoying this fun. Nick, my friend from fiftywordsdaily has nominated me as a Sunshine blogger. I can’t remember how I found his blog but I loved his concept of short, funny, insightful posts. He makes me laugh out loud.
Here are his questions (thank you for making them easier than yours, Nick, and less esoteric). I have a hangover… 1. What is your favourite food?
Easy – avocados. I eat at least half a day with salt and pepper. None of this fancy guacamole nonsense… 🙂 Although I will eat anything with avocados in it. Well, not ice-cream, that’s just weird. 2. What is your favorite time of day?
BED-TIME! My mum said that when I was a baby, she had to wake me up to feed me, and I slept around the clock. Nothing has changed. My husband is driven crazy by my desire to go to bed at 7 pm but has compromised at 8 pm with a couple of hours watching TV. We have turned it into a ritual – we take a glass of wine, water, a savory snack and whatever cat is available and sit enjoying Game of Thrones. Sometimes this works to his advantage… Especially if I have had a couple of glasses of wine. 3. What makes you angry?
I would like to say something worthy like the situation in Syria (and it does) but really it’s other motorists. All my feisty Hispanic, Irish, Middle Eastern and North African DNA boils into a short-tempered, horn-tooting, gesticulating crazy lady. “CAN’T YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YIELD AND MERGE – TAKE YOUR TEST AGAIN, IDIOT”. Most of this is mouthed through my window and since they are texting anyway they don’t notice. 4. What is your favourite book? (you can have three if one is too restrictive) Pookie the Flying Rabbit. I guess it should be Grapes of Wrath or the like but this was a Christmas present from my mum many years ago and I loved it. 5. If you had to be an animal, what animal would you be?
Come on – it has to be a Cougar! Apart from the obvious sexual connotation, I really love big cats. Did you know that Cougars are the only big cats that purr and they are so beautiful? Purrrrrr. 6. What is your favorite season?
Autumn or fall. I have always loved it, wherever in the world I visited or lived, but I particularly love it down in the south of the States. It’s still hot, usually in the 80s, the trees still change color but not as spectacularly as the north. I can start wearing my beloved boots and tights but it’s not really cold. Best of all, it means hurricane season is coming to an end and Thanksgiving is around the corner. 7. Why do you write? (this is optional because I would hate to answer it)
I write because I always have and it gives me great pleasure. I express myself best in the written word although, if you met me in person, you would think I spoke well also (if a tad forthright…). Writing allows me to stop, think and elucidate. 8. Have you already broken a New Year’s Resolution? If not, why not?
Ha,ha,ha. It is lunchtime and I am in bed, not yet bathed… Mrs. Stripe is sitting suspiciously close to my armpit so I think I have already broken No. 1. 9. What is your favorite (short) joke?
My mum could barely get through this juvenile joke before laughing her head off. A family of polar bears are sitting on an iceberg. Daddy bear says, “I have a tale to tell.” Mummy bear responds, “I, too, have a tale to tell”. Baby bear whines, “My tail is told (cold)” 10. If you didn’t live in your current country of abode, where would you most like to live?
At the moment, Baha, Mexico. I often consider living in places we visit but I liked everything about the little mission town, especially since it was filled with Ortegas (my maiden name). Do you think we should still call it a maiden name? I really wasn’t a maiden… 11. Which languages can you speak?
Perfect English which is sometimes disputed in Texas because of my pristine Scottish accent that enunciates everything exceptionally well! Mi Espanol es malo, un peu de Francais and a smattering of Arabic. I used to be able to give taxi drivers complicated instructions in Arabic and go grocery shopping but from misuse it has been reduced to friendly greetings. Someone once asked me why I didn’t join the CIA?? Unless bananas (mooz) is the code word for Semtex, I wouldn’t have a clue. The name’s Kerry not Carrie. 🙂
Please feel free to ignore this invitation but join the fun if you would like to!
My questions are
1. Are you a sunny person?
2. What is your favorite smell?
3. What makes you laugh out loud?
4. Are you a good driver?
5. Spender or saver?
6. New Year’s resolution?
7. How do you have fun?
8. Favorite movie of all time?
9. Most embarrassing moment?
10. What is your porn name (name of first pet followed the name of the first street you lived in).
Unbelievably, my porn name is Snowy Bush. You can’t make this stuff up…
When on our Thanksgiving walk yesterday I spotted this ‘burning bush’. I remember biblical references to it and assumed they were allegorical. I found this Wikipedia reference that was illuminating – get it??? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_bush
In real life the bush was within the bullrushes alongside the containment pond but it’s autumnal coloring stood out amongst the pale stalks. I almost expected to find a basket with Moses in it…:)
What struck me most was how amazing nature is. Enjoy this post Thanksgiving photograph.
It is the birthing of a new season and the dying of the old. Both exist together as they do with every species. This tree fern has a whiskered texture as the leaves prepare to feed the ground below. Summer is in decay, humidity and heat dissipating likewise the cicada chirps. Autumn is sprinkling it’s magical orange fairy dust as the nights close in.
The Sweet Gum leaves are not ready to surrender to old age and the invasive Tallow bewitches us with it’s exquisite oriental leaves in every season.
Yet, the seasonal food is naturally colored for autumn and contrasts so prettily with the ancient rock and lichen.
I was having a good time, recovered from my transatlantic flight and ready for a short Texas road trip (to the Swedish capital of Texas) with my Teddy. Then…I had a fender bender in a car park. Not serious, no-one was injured and we were both calm. Nevertheless, my mental health took a huge step backwards. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 45 and it doesn’t take much to make me very anxious. The road trip was in two days and I realized I just couldn’t do it. I also knew that my husband would be very disappointed. Yet more anxiety! After a little brainstorming I realized that I would enjoy a short plane ride to somewhere yet unvisited just for the weekend. We had enough air miles and hotel points for it all to be free – Yaaay. I usually plan trips with military precision but couldn’t this time. It was obvious that Little Rock was a very small capital city and the hotel, in the center, had a free shuttle to the airport and downtown. This is turning into a great FREE trip! It was a teeny weeny airport but lovely – Bill and Hilary Clinton airport.
Arkansas was everything I expected and a little bit more. It is significantly further north than our swamp and autumn had started giving the landscape a lovely golden glow. It was such a treat to stay in a very small city where you could walk everywhere on sidewalks – are you listening, Rick Perry??? We struck it lucky as there was a big free music festival on alongside the river Arkansas with lots of funky vendors. There were even some DEMOCRATS….they are an endangered species where we live. The landscape was so lovely alongside the river and it was really hot. We got burned because of a deceptively cool breeze off the river. Well…the Scotsman went red and Hiawatha went golden almost immediately. It was a perfect and unexpected trip so click on the link to see lots of lovely photographs and read the rest of our adventures. POSTCARD FROM LITTLE ROCK