This is a funny little tale about my compulsion with scissors and clippers. For reference – Lourdes Water is Holy or Blessed Water from the shrine of Lourdes, France that Roman Catholics visit. Enjoy!
We Americans assume that the rest of the world knows our current social gossip and every other stupid thing that we do. As an aside, did you know that a thing is an old English/Frisian word which means a gathering? The title of this post refers to an actress with less dramatic skills than me who has made a fortune making Hallmark movies. How to explain Hallmark movies? Shmaltzy movies where there is always a happy ending and they use the same actors again and again. It so confusing when you think, “wasn’t she in Alaska last week with creepily handsome veterinarian?” Now she is in a Cajun Christmas where they all eat turducken. It’s not just Icelanders who eat gross food…
Lori Loughlin was recently jailed for a ludicrously short period of time for committing fraud to get her underachieving kids into a good college. LOTS of money was involved and there were other famous perps such as Felicity Huffman who shamefully decided to admit her guilt and take the punishment. Is it just me or did anyone else admire Martha Stewart’s chutzpah when she just admitted her guilt to insider trading and went straight to prison? When released, she walked out, head held high, with a handknitted poncho. Who knew she would be Snoop Dogg’s Bubala? If you are wondering about the Yiddish words, one of my DNA sites revealed, at Christmas, that I am now 1% Ashkenazi Jew. I am embracing all parts of my heritage and I really love Yiddish words – they have that onomatopoeic quality to them.
Why am I pretending to be Lori Loughlin? Having looked through the provisional list of who gets vaccinated in Texas: I am right at the bottom in Group D. That means I will probably have to stay in personal lockdown until April or May. Batshit crazy does not count for anything nor do dodgy cysts in lungs. Teddy might be included in one group of essential workers because he works in Energy.
Just like Lori Loughlin I am also going to prison, figuratively, for the next four months or so, and will I do any of the life affirming challenges I set myself? No and **** No. I really tried in 2020. I wrote funny blogs, I was positive, friendly, checked on elderly family and friends. At first, I lost weight and exercised. One of my neighbors said, ‘there was not a pick on me’ – a chicken reference. I could not bring myself to mix socially so gave ALL of my attention to Teddy. Sometimes I played BOO, other times I walked towards him like a penguin and tried every conceivable way to make him laugh in a difficult time.
Meanwhile I was not processing that I had lost all my contract work with no hope of any more for some years (and how that would affect my self-esteem). I had no inclination to work with the public although I bow down to those that did. My OCD made it impossible for me to be rational about the pandemic. Still wiping down all the packages with disinfectant wipes, even the squirrels’ food. After the summer my mental health faltered in increments, not helped by forgetting to eat but not forgetting to drink…
What I really want to know is, will you still write to me? Physical visits are out but I need some contact with the world. I might create some more Vlogs since Sit Down Comedy was well received. It was exhilarating putting on some makeup and washing my hair – Woo Hoo! I met one of my neighbors in the street and she seemed concerned that I would continue (post vaccination) to be social or even host parties. I said yes but I don’t think it was the truth. Just like everyone else, I have changed profoundly during 2020. I hope I am not less kind but perhaps a little less compliant. Do I really need more societal contact or do I need to live a solitary life better?
I hate to be the one that says it but I really think life will get worse before it gets better and we will be wearing masks for much longer than we think (if we care about other’s safety). Those vaccinated soon will not be fully immune until the second injection and if you don’t get it, will that invite Corona virus mutations? If you are able to, just go to prison with me, and maybe next Christmas will be worth celebrating. If not wear a mask, long after vaccination.
Sending off to Amazon for an orange jumpsuit – only method acting for me, darlings!
Wish for a HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2021 and keep your expectations low without giving up hope.
Meet Fluffles, a new temporary resident in Katniss’ old house. It makes my heart sing to see something furry enjoying it. Fluffles aka Fluffless (she keeps losing bits of her tail in skirmishes) is looking out pensively asking Nut-Mom to turn off the rain. Nut-Mom has the power to provide banquets of pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds and apple cores but not weather.
Fluffles runs up as soon as I open the back door and very politely asks for a snack. Her sometimes friends are Polar, who has bright white spots on his ears, Floppy with one ear down and Big Foot. Little gray squirrels have white markings on the back of their ears so that a predator from above thinks they are bigger than they are – bio mimicry. When it is quiet, I can sometimes hear one of them ‘chappin’ or knocking on the door.
Corn-dad provides the corn cobs which I can’t stake in the ground. I know we are not alone in our lunacy because I have been searching for squirrel furniture on the web and there is plenty of it. They usually just get an occasional treat but cold weather has arrived with a vengeance. It is hard to stay warm when it is below freezing when you were just born a few months ago. They are the glossiest squirrels for miles around with white fat tummies. The video below will explain the title.
Sincere thanks to Janey Godley for keeping me amused in this crazy time!
There has been a curious mystery at our pond for the last few weeks. There were three little ducklings swimming alone in the middle of the water. The Whistling ducks have gone to Latin America – would they leave their ducklings behind? It would be strange as they are the helicopter parents of the duck/goose world.
JUVENILE WHISTLING DUCKS
Then I noticed we had a lovely dove gray Muscovy duck that I assumed was a daughter in law to the extended family. Was she a flighty young mum, ignoring her ducklings?
UNUSUAL DOVE GRAY MUSCOVY DUCK – AKA DAUGHTER IN LAW
When I walked with Teddy to the pond on Sunday we spotted new visitors. We have a pair of Egyptian Geese which are an invasive species.
I watched their relationship with our adored Muscovy Ducks but all seemed well. To be honest our Muscovy ducks are bruisers, more than ready for the pot, as they would be in Mexico. They look like those Mexican wrestlers with a mask on so I didn’t think the Egyptian Geese would bother them. I recognized the geese but couldn’t remember what they were. Now I realize I have seen them on thousands of Egyptian papyrus and ancient carvings.
Much like the Whistling ducks they are neither ducks nor geese but a sub category most similar to Sheldrakes. Today we had an important duck/goose update when we met one of the neighbors who has named all the Muscovy ducks and who lives at the pond. Apparently the Egyptian Geese were indeed terrorists and had frightened the Muscovies on two occasions. What!! She chased them and they seem to have left the area. If I see them again I will call the Ranger. How dare they frighten our residents!!! As for the abandoned ducklings, they are just deadbeat parents…
A few years ago we had another invasive species at the pond, Nutria – mama and baby are pictured above. They are a relative of the Capybara and were brought to Louisiana for the fur trade. They breed like rabbits although they look like little beavers and can decimate the vegetation that is needed for the local species. My friend saw the Forest Warden preparing to trap them and asked him, “What are you going to do with them?” Bless her heart! It was like asking the store Santa if Santa is real. The warden very kindly told her that they were being ‘relocated’ to another area.
For some more fake news see RARE TWO HEADED DUCK below
THAT’S ALL FOLKS!!!
It looks like such a peaceful scene, doesn’t it? Teddy and I have used our deck more often, since the pandemic, than we have in 16 years. The trees in the reserve have grown so much that we get nice shade cover in the afternoon. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a ‘farmyard’ smell but we live many miles from farms in our forested idyll. At first I wondered if someone had put down some stinky mulch or fertilizer but it is entirely the wrong time of year and it has been 100 degrees out there.
We had a few breezy days and Teddy agreed with me that he could smell a faint odor on the air but perhaps it was the communal garbage bins at the apartments beyond the reserve? After another couple of days, I asked him if I should do a ‘Karen’ and complain to the apartment manager. Teddy, very wisely, suggested that we just leave it since it was almost 100 degrees and maybe the bins needed emptied. (We have never smelled their garbage bins in the last 16 years).
The next day, I started looking under the deck but could see nothing but dead leaves but there was still this strange odor that now Teddy (probably post Covid-19) could not smell at all. Then he started saying things like, “You know what you are like when you get obsessed about stuff…” To be fair, I agreed with him but we had paid hundreds of dollars two years ago to remove a huge dead skunk which had been ripped to pieces by another predator from under the same bloody deck. This new odor was delicate by comparison.
One evening we put out the night camera to see if there was an obvious culprit with a smelly nest? They were just the usual subjects – squirrels, possums, wood rats and two gorgeously marked little skunks (alive and well). On a forensic note, we had spotted some very pretty little iridescent flies around the deck, glowing purple and green. We never have flies in our yard…only endless mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Disease in our forest this year. At this stage, I should note that I am an aficionado of every Forensic program, real and fiction. Decomp and adipose are terms that I am very familiar with.
With that thought in my head, I finally snapped and said to Teddy, “We need to call pest control out”. He looked at me as though I hadn’t been taking my medication. We compromised on him unscrewing some of the deck planks so that I could root around like Bones. The drill had no battery power as it hadn’t been used for a while. In desperation, I put a blanket on the ground and got my rake under the deck and started pulling stuff out. When a cloud of these pretty iridescent flies flew out at me, I knew I had found the evidence. Finally I brought out a little gray furry thing and even more of the dratted flies. I stood up and ran off squealing but then put my big girl pants on and returned with gloves, bags and disinfectant.
It was a poor little squirrel, who had left this mortal coil and decided our deck would be a lovely resting place. I shouted to Teddy that I had found the victim but he chose to carry on working since he didn’t want to confront his wife who said, “SEE, SEE, I told you it was a critter!” The decomposition flies were now yukky, not pretty, and I had to shake the corpse to get the damned things off. Another friend had just told me this lovely story of rescuing a dying baby bird from their pool, putting it in a leaf lined box and then burying it in their garden with a cairn for remembrance. Our squirrel went in the wheelie bin.
After all that, in almost 100 degree weather, I went all OCD (that’s a clinical term). Hose, disinfectant, bleach and then I did the same for me. All my clothes went in the washer immediately. It struck me as ironic that there is a virus out there that is so much more dangerous than any dead squirrel. The garden is serene again, smelling verdant and I am so glad I didn’t speak to the apartment manager…
…during this toilet tissue crisis. It seems we are globally asinine regarding hoarding toilet tissue, from the comments of my followers on my last post. Teddy reminded me that we were young, back in the 60’s, it was not uncommon for people to have outside toilets (cludgies in Scottish dialect) which would have a piece of string with carefully cut out newspaper squares hanging off it. He was horrified at the idea of black ink over his bottom. Think of all the ways we could passive aggressively make a statement. The National Enquirer seems like a natural start but then you could try out The Epoch Times or go in the opposite direction with the Socialist Worker Newspaper. There is something for everyone whether you are right or left wing. My favorite would be The Super Soaraway Sun – a terrible rag in the UK that always had a topless wench on Page 3. Dirty old men on buses in Glasgow would leer at you while looking at said page.
At this point in my dissertation on ways to cope, I need to segue into a brief story from an old workplace in Scotland. It was a small oil service company that Teddy and I both worked at. They had employed a young gal, as a cleaner, whose assets were ample. She had the dubious pleasure of being the youngest girl to star on the aforementioned Page 3. There was a company noticeboard and she put up a notice to this effect.
EXOTIC DANCING – £10
That’s what happens when you don’t finish school…and I am not making this up.
Back to the important discussion about toilet paper – on my first visit to Cairo INTERNATIONAL airport, the cleaning lady handed me two sheets of paper. That was your limit unless you ate nuts from the airport bar like my stupid husband did. Then you need to shout for a full roll and a hose down while you are at it. I spoke to my aunt Maureen in Ireland today and she told me that they used a Dock leaf to wipe your bum when they lived at the farm in Sligo. Not sure how useful that would be in the middle of Dublin but just giving my readers options. As I walked around the containment pond with Teddy today, I looked for Dock leaf equivalents but I am pretty sure that I would pick poison ivy or its equivalent in Texas. That would be a whole other hospital experience.
Teddy and I ventured out to the supermarket yesterday. I wore my plastic hair color gloves that are free in every packet – why would you bother to wear gloves when you are putting the dye all over your head? There was an elderly man wearing a fetching black pair that looked like something the Forensic Team might wear. There were no toilet rolls, wet wipes or paper towels. I had a light bulb moment and picked up ONE packet of white serviettes/paper napkins which would work for bum or kitchen counter. Someone looked at me and had the same thought. I bet there are no napkins today… I started to wonder what my Nana did because we didn’t have paper towels back in the day. We must have used dishcloths for everything. Old habits die hard so I keep all the old t-shirts/bleached towels and reuse them for dirty jobs. If you are really stuck you could cut up an old towel into small pieces to wipe personal areas. Then you could bleach them in a diaper bucket. Now you all know why bidets are the most marvelous invention – no toilet paper needed! I loved mine in Egypt – great for nosy cats, dirty feet and bottoms. If I ever remodel the bathroom, I am going to try to get one installed.
I hope this carefully thought out article has helped during this pandemic. Keep laughing and keep safe. This too will pass but you will never run out of toilet tissue ever again.
I watered the garden yesterday and this is the pollen that washed off the drive. It is everywhere and each year the residents in our little forest cough profusely. The yellow pollen is from the Pine trees but Oak pollen is around at the same time to add to our misery. Tree pollen is larger than other types and tends to get stuck up your nose (on your clothes, hair, car…)
Once the news of Covid 19 reached us my OCD habits kicked in and I stocked up on reasonable amounts of disinfectant and cleaning products. Over the last month or so, I have been really depressed and anxious. I stopped all my work and volunteering which was unnecessary as for the foreseeable future, I will have no work as it relies on people traveling. I laugh wryly. Then I increased my anti-depressant and feel much better. But I am stuck in the house with Teddy… He had flu a couple of weeks ago or at least we think it was. I disinfected every part of the house and really wanted to spray him in a light bleach solution but I know that is unreasonable (but I really wanted to).
This morning I went to Kroger at 8 am and the locusts had descended. I considered asking one woman why she needed to fill her WHOLE trolley with toilet tissue but thought better of it despite a devilish thought about how big her butt was. Three hurricanes gives you plenty of experience of mentally unstable residents in supermarkets. During Hurricane Ike we had fully armed officers in supermarkets to keep control – where are you when we need toilet tissue??
So, during this low period I have been hunkered down in the house, square eyed from watching too much TV, unable to write blogs and now I want to PLAY!!! Talk about timing. I am ready to go back to work, go for lunch or go on vacation. After the stressful supermarket expedition, I looked in the mirror and saw my gray roots. My hairdresser cut my hair really short in case I couldn’t see her for a while. Think GI Jane, except older.
Sally Beauty won’t be busy, I thought. It was wonderfully quiet until a lady (with the same gray root situation as me) needed to look at Clairol hair colors. We were being terribly polite and trying to keep our distance. Then I felt a yellow pollen tickle and coughed – loudly. Both of us looked at each other in horror and I shouted, “ALLERGIES!” and we burst out laughing. Then we started talking about realities of catching COVID 19 and agreed that we could catch it anywhere. Even in a beauty shop, because nobody wants to be in isolation with your gray roots showing. 👩🦳
The jury’s out but so far 2020 has been less than good. Catastrophic world news has saddened me but I hope February is better for us all.
On a much lighter note, Teddy noted that our water bill was higher than normal during September and October before the sprinkler system was turned off. He worried the problem to death until I said I would use a hose in 2020. He completely ignored that we live in a bubble of oil and gas, I work at an airport so should have Flygskam/flight shame and we drive two large but old Coupés with little or no public transport available. What’s a little water – Lord knows enough rain has fallen in Houston?? I jest, of course, and am scrupulous in using water efficiently. Last month we used $24 of water so keep downwind of us…
Then our dishwasher (15½ years old) starting making death rattles – our appliance guy said he couldn’t repair any of our old stuff anymore. Our microwave is rusty, also. Once I started researching models and prices, I realized it would be cost efficient to replace almost everything (and pay for them to be recycled to avoid new appliance shame/Ny apparat skam). Thank goodness the laundry is fine and the oven looks brand new because I don’t use it. When I was young, we had to get a new gas fire for the living room. There were no savings because my mum was a mentally ill alcoholic on disability. She bought it on HP and worried about every payment. That is why I have scrimped and saved our whole lives.
My girlfriend in Scotland had a similar situation with a dangerous gas fire in her bedroom when we were school girls. She only discovered it was really leaking carbon monoxide when two of us left her room and fell over. I guess it could have been much worse?? We shared the experience of neglectful alcoholic parents but can still laugh about some of it. On that note, I have stopped drinking alcohol (until I start again). I would really like to stop completely but I know myself. Teddy and I shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio a few days ago and I still feel like I was hit by a bus – or I have a virus!!!!
I had a huge contract job with a manifest that was inches deep – and thousands of clients came from all over the world. By the third day, I could see that I had feet but could no longer feel them. Ever loving Teddy kindly drove me to work on the third day. I can tell that my mood is ‘interesting’ as my hair has been PINK, rose gold and now boring dark blonde, all in one month.
Finally, I was completely shocked by a ‘#MeToo situation’ that had passed me by. When I worked in Scotland, Alex Salmond, the first Minister of Scotland lived in the next village. I had met him on several occasions, some connected to my work with local communities. He seemed utterly charming although I didn’t agree with his politics. Last week, I noticed in the news that his trial for sexual assault against a variety of women is starting in March. It is not often that you know the celebrity predators (allegedly) but I am shocked – he didn’t seem the type. My American friend asked me if he had predated me but luckily I was fat with dark hair then, so flew underneath most men’s radar.
Life is absurd, isn’t it? One minute you narrowly dodge death by leaky gas fire, the next you avoid a predator’s attention by eating too much crap. Got to keep laughing…😁
What is it about the holidays? My mental health is better than it has been in months but still the festive season pushes all my buttons. I think I used to enjoy Christmas but at some point it just became stressful. It was better when there was very little money in our lives. Presents were much needed and usually a delight – despite a white and brown polyester dressing gown that I had to wear for years… In later years my late crazy mother got her knickers in a twist about the varieties of Christmas puddings and drove her daughter nuts trying to find the PERFECT one. Remember when there was only one or you made your own?
As my mental health was improving during fall, I got very busy creating postcards from Teddy’s beautiful images. Then I started on my handmade soaps and enjoyed the process. I wrapped them prettily and gifted them to everyone. It backfired somewhat as I made some friends feel that they had to reciprocate. The true joy is in giving with no expectations.
Then Teddy got some unanticipated leave from his new job and we went to Fredericksburg for Christmas, possibly the most famous German town in central Texas Hill Country. It was really beautifully decorated and the weather was fantastic – photos to follow. Despite enjoying my environment, historic buildings and endless wineries, I couldn’t stop being irritated.
- There were too many tourists yet we were two of them…
- The other cars were driving like crazy Grinches – especially through Austin, the most traffic-congested city in Texas.
- Our luxurious room wasn’t quite clean enough (it really wasn’t).
- I was bored and tired.
- The road from Medina to Kerrville was ridiculous – hairpin bends and really steep gradients. I guess I missed the point about visiting the hill country.
- Teddy sleeps like an owl and I am like a bear. Maybe I should hibernate through winter??
- Other guests. That’s a standalone but they were talking outside in broad daylight, beeping their cars locked and worse still, talking in their room at 7 pm. They ate all the breakfast.
I know what you are thinking – poor Teddy. It’s true that he put up with a Grinch wife but we still had wonderful meals and laughed all the time. I am hoping that made up for the time, after driving for hours in silence, I turned on the CD to keep myself focused AND THEN he started talking. I told him to Shut the F*** Up and gave him the finger. Thirty seven years and counting – I love you Teddy!!!!
Miss Franklin, Texas 2019
What a beauty this little girl is – those brown eyes and eyelashes!
PLEASE give me a snack, Teddy???
Ilford – only the oldies will get that moniker. I will give you a clue – what color is she??
This is my best side…
I only have one curly horn but still I am handsome…
A glorious little redhead – Cersei, perhaps?