Viking Finger, DNA and a ‘meh’ compliment

Now, this is my kind of Viking! Grrrrr…

I hope the title of this post intrigues you to read to the end.  The story is all over the place but linked by DNA.  Teddy, my husband, and I have always been competitive about our various ailments/oddities.  That is why we are soul-mates…  Recently, Ted had been complaining about a little growth on his pinkie finger.  Long story short, the Italian American surgeon operated and came out to tell me what the prognosis was after the surgery.  Unexpectedly, he told me it was a benign tumor and he had never seen anything like it.  It seemed to be wrapped around the tendon.  Then he told me that he had his DNA test and discovered (to his obvious Braveheart excitement) that he had a significant percentage of Scottish DNA.  This was a red letter day for him – an unusual surgery on his Scottish compatriot.  I had to gently let him know that the Scottish wife was really an Irish Hispanic mix.  Hilariously, to me, he could not have looked more Italian but perhaps in his heart he was wearing blue Woad and tartan.

The growth went to pathology and a week later Teddy met with the Italian/Scots surgeon who excitedly told him that it was Dupruyen’s Contracture, a thickening of tendons in the hand that most commonly occurs in men around age 60 from Northern Europe.  In Teddy’s case the thickening was on the upside of the finger when it is usually the other way around.  When he came home we Googled it to find out that it is sometimes called Viking Finger.  Can you imagine the fun I had with vulgar comments about my Viking’s Finger and where he could put it??  I have to admit that this month he has beat my giant cyst, Pumpkin, and the atrophied hoo-ha.

This led on to thinking what our DNA tests have done to us.  Despite being 60% Irish, I cling defensively to my Conquistador heritage with a dash of Native American.  I am deeply unhappy that Teddy has 4% more Iberian DNA than me.  He is unhappy that he has no Native American ancestry despite having no American relatives.  On many an occasion, a flirtatious Hispanic man has been so disappointed that my maiden name was Ortega. “But you look Scandinavian or Irish!” Our family was convinced that we were secretly Jewish but my DNA indicates otherwise…

So, I am at the airport this weekend and yet another Arabic man flirts with me (or is the other way around)?  I would have guessed that he was a little older than me.  First, he tells me I am beautiful.  That elicited a smile and thank you.  Then he asked me what age I was.  I was surprised at the query but answered honestly that I will be 57 in a month.  He looked me over and said, “I would have taken you for 51, maybe 52.” WTF!!!!  Surely he could have told a little white lie and suggested 45?  I will take any compliment but that was a bit ‘meh’.  Then he asked me where I was from and I told him the usual spiel. You could see the disappointment on his face when I told him I had North African and Middle Eastern ancestry. “But you look Scandinavian”.  I sighed and agreed that I had 1% Scandinavian ancestry.  Now he was happy that he had flirted with one of ABBA’s kin.

I am beginning to come to terms that I am as Irish as a Mullingar heifer no matter how varied my DNA is. I sound Celtic, I look Irish and in America that is way more fascinating than all that Conquistador stuff.  Isn’t it funny how life changes?  At one time being Irish in America was as welcome as a Mexican immigrant.  Well, I have both Irish and Mexican immigrant ancestors so to all the haters out there; I am raising one Viking Finger!

Happy Grandfather’s Day!

Grandpa Teddy


When my husband, Teddy, sent me an email from Oklahoma with a photo of a handwritten note, I thought, ‘here we go, he has been pretending to be Sean Connery again’. The lovely server had asked him about his rings. He has a large silver and turquoise ring and a Celtic gold one. No doubt he had a few refreshments by then but showed her my photograph, explained that I was part native and that we were married for 35 years.

The silver ring was just a lucky gift when we were browsing a shop selling Native American goods in Rice Village, Houston. Some very rich guy had ordered a custom made silver and turquoise for his larger than average fingers. After trying it one, he decided he wanted something even more ostentatious. The original ring was being sold cheap until another werewolf popped in. Teddy’s has big hands but also large knuckles from arthritis that started in his 30’s. (Rather suspiciously he is growing werewolf hair on his shoulders…)

The gold ring was his 40th birthday present from me. By that stage he had two wedding rings because of the increasing knuckle size. I took those plus some of his granny’s rings to a goldsmith and chose a Celtic interwoven pattern from a book of sketches. He loved it! As time went by the knuckles became more inflamed and it didn’t fit again. About two years ago we took a chance with a local jeweler who increased it by expanding the pattern with more gold. It was fantastic!

We were not fortunate enough to spawn although we always wondered about creating some crazy mutant werewolf…🐺 He is still in Oklahoma for Father’s Day but there was a card in his suitcase signed by Toffee, our cat, Katniss and her new kitten (that’s another story), the armadillos, the possums, the skunks, the raccoons and cicadas. Teddy has been a fabulous Daddy to all our pussycats and clearly he would have made a lovely grandfather…

Love Nana Bunny

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

Dang those graduates!!!

I know; I know – Kerry is turning into a grumpy old lady even with the addition of estrogen… Yesterday, I flipped. We live in an affluent area but it’s fairly divided from rented apartments to multi-million dollar homes just ½ mile from each other. We live in a hidden cul-de-sac at the bottom of a road coming from a rich gated community. Despite it being a 35 mile per hour limit, entitled car owners flash down making it difficult for us to see if the road is clear. What’s worse is that there are many pedestrians and children.

Yesterday, I turned right out of my subdivision only to see a brand new Maserati in my rear mirror having to really put the brakes on behind me and we were approaching a 4 way stop. Something snapped in my brain… I slowed dramatically (he was still inches behind me), then I wiggled the car and put the flashers on. Once I had gotten through the 4 way stop, I wound down my window so I could give the driver a verbal row. He or she went off like a bat out of hell – to get away from the very scary lady with a crazy cat lady sticker on the rear bumper. I just knew it was a graduate with their new car. Yes, that is how rich our neighbors are.

Why on earth do parents buy their graduates (school not college) a high powered car that just begs to be driven badly by a teenage brain that is not fully developed? I learned to drive when I was 45 in the US and my husband very sensibly bought me an old Buick that the last elderly owner had scraped along the side of the garage. First thing I did was knock the mirror off – that was fixed with duct tape. New drivers will always make mistakes and old Buicks were incredibly big (hardly fitted in the garage).

One of my colleagues told me that she was paying the new truck payment for her 30 year old son (who was still living at home).

• Why is he living at home?
• Why doesn’t he have an old Buick or Ford truck (like the Mexican gardeners have)?

I would suggest public transport but it is very limited in this oil town. Parents aren’t doing their kids any favors by spoiling them. By age 24, my husband was married with a job, a mortgage and a very old Audi only earning £4000 pa. We had no debt. I thought my husband was spoiled and insisted we pay back money that his parents would give us to help us out. We got it all in the end and looked after them as they aged.

Then there is the Mall… It is a no-go area until they go back to school or college in August. They are going to be parking their Maserati/Audi/Mini’s badly despite massive parking spaces. The girls will be gathering in flocks of screeching teenagers taking over the whole of Sephora (a beauty shop) or Starbucks! What is it with the coffee shops – where do they get the money for lattes?? They should be doing work in the summer – all the jobs that we hated. I worked in the kitchens of an old Victorian hospital where the cockroaches were bigger than gerbils. One of the massive predators scuttled out of the sink I was washing dishes in and I dropped about 20 plates…

That feels much better. Thank you for listening to my old lady rant. Eventually I will adjust to a hormone filled steamy summer and might even be nice to them at the airport…when they leave their phones in the restroom, lose their Miss Kitty backpack and forget to bring their passport. 😀😁

By the way, Happy Graduation!

Flirting in El Paso

Looking out my hotel window at dawn towards Mexico

Looking out my hotel window at dawn towards Mexico

This title is more innocuous than it sounds. I flirt with everything – cats that I meet, old ladies, young men. It must be part of my personality or I have inherited my Dad’s charisma. When I worked in community mental health, I developed a knack of getting people to trust me quickly by gently focusing on them and asking pertinent questions. You can probably imagine that if you are a guy and met me at a bar then you would think your luck was in…and it certainly would be, having the pleasure of my company (so humble, too).

Amazing bank with a bell tower, right under my window

Amazing bank with a bell tower, right under my window

I met a fellow blogger, Lisa on one evening and that was a delightful experience – see this post Kerry in the City. On two consecutive nights, I chatted to a charming Silver Fox at the bar who was in El Paso on business (the other Hispanic Silver Fox (Senor Fox de Plata) was just interested in sex….) Gringo Silver Fox told me all about his wife but clearly enjoyed the ‘flirting’ enhanced with a Scottish accent. We left at the same time and took the elevator upstairs. As we got to his floor, I bid him goodnight and he awkwardly hugged me and then ran away! Is my sexuality so potent that he was afraid I would drag him back to my lair?? He took me by surprise and I had a small concern about meeting him on the third night in case I had to gently turn him down. Actually, I am really tactless so it wouldn’t be gentle 😆

Roof top bar Hotel Indigo

Roof top bar
Hotel Indigo

On the third night, I was chatting to a fascinating guy. He was the lighting guy for Penn and Teller (Non-Americans might like to click on the red link), who were starring in the local theater. I learned a secret…Teller does actually talk, all the time! As we were laughing and talking, Silver Fox came up and said hello to me. I greeted him with a warm smile but as soon as he realized I was chatting to a much younger guy, he made an excuse to make a call and disappeared completely. Awwww – it was like being at high school💋. Lighting guy then had to leave so I just chatted to the bar staff until a very attractive woman came up and sat next to me.

She made a comment about the awkwardness of sitting at a bar – I am never awkward since my blessed tongue won’t stop even when I want it to! By the next drink we were sharing cosmetic secrets, love lives – it was a ‘bromance’ for girls!!! (Some how ‘sismance’ doesn’t do it) She was very well preserved, a couple of years older than me and dressed beautifully. Then we started telling each other how amazing we looked (for our ages). Somehow it was even more fun flirting with a heterosexual woman because you knew she wasn’t just saying it just to get your knickers off! We have since emailed.

I teetered off to bed, relieved but a little sad that I didn’t have to turn down the nice Silver Fox. I wonder if any of the bar staff said, “She could talk the hind legs off a donkey” or whatever the Spanish equivalent is.

PS. I found two Spanish phrases that might apply to me –

• En boca cerrada no entran moscas
Flies don’t enter a closed mouth
Meaning – Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut

• Mucho hablar y poco decir juntos suelen ir
Talking lots and saying little usually go together
Meaning -Someone who talks too much, but actually doesn’t really say anything

Bunny and the dungarees

bunny-dungarees

I wish I had a photograph to illustrate this little tale. My childhood soft toys lived with me until I was about 40 years old (then they went to the dump toy heaven). I was particularly fond of Bunny who was given to me by my aunt Gretta. It must have been very expensive, plush white fur bunny with pink silk lined ears and the topper was that she was wearing blue striped dungarees! Bunny even held a little plastic bouquet of carrots. The stuffing seemed to be like fine sawdust and over the years it went down to her feet. Every so often I would give her a really good shake to distribute her stuffing properly.

I married young and the toys came to bed with us. My husband (aka Teddy) bought me endless new soft toys and his first gift to me was a human sized stuffed Panda as a late 21st birthday present. Then we got cats, so the poor old toys had to sit in Nana’s rocking chair. During the ’80s we lived in an old bank in the North of Scotland and the proportions weren’t quite right for a regular house. The upstairs hallway was as big as a bedroom with a huge window. I loved to see Bunny, Teddy (the toy) and all the others basking in the sunshine as I went up the stairs.

Bear in mind, I was in my ’20s so my hormones were raging with really bad PMT AND a mental illness… The first batch of cats was young and very, very naughty. They chased each other up and down those stairs like fairy elephants and also loved to bask in the sunshine. One day they had just pushed me to my limit – fighting and playing noisily all day, throwing up on the stairs, a stray poop on the carpet and general mayhem.

It must have been close to dinner time and I went upstairs only to see the upstairs hallway in disarray. Worst of all, poor Bunny had been taken off the rocking chair and somehow those bad cats had taken off her dungarees. Teddy (the husband) came home to find me sobbing inconsolably holding my poor naked Bunny in my arms. Through choking sobs, I said, “They took Bunny’s dungarees off”. He looked perplexed and said, “Who did it?” “Those bad cats!” was my snot filled response. I could see so many emotions passing over his face. “WTF?” “Oh Lord, she has her period!” “The cats??” He was struggling so hard not to laugh while kneeling down comforting me.

We both ended up laughing, of course. Bunny had her stuffing redistributed and the dungarees put back on. Order was restored to the upstairs hallway and the cats were forgiven…eventually.

A precious moment

istanbul abu dhabi 259

I was going to complete my week’s blogging with some more flower photographs but I had a precious moment today that I thought I would share with you. Those of you who regularly follow my blog know that I have been unwell of late and seem to be having a protracted recovery. This week I have turned a corner and regularly walk to the local cafe for a delicious cappuccino. It was previously a bakery and the owners retired. We were all excited that a new Argentinean bakery and coffee shop was opening.

It has been an instant success both with regular gringos and many different Latino people who live here. We have a local wealthy population of Latinos who have immigrated from countries that are unstable, such as Venezuela, and also from Mexico. I really enjoy hearing all the dialects chatting about how delicious the pastries are. They have a funny chalkboard outside that implores us to eat pastries because skinny people are easier to kidnap. The nice young man, who I assumed was Latino, asked me if I would like a pastry. I said, “I would but I am not going to…” The man next to me said, “Didn’t you see the sign outside saying skinny people are easier to kidnap?” We all laughed and I told them that I lived too close to the cafe to regularly eat pastries.

The young man asked me where I was from (Scottish accent) and I, in turn, asked him. To my surprise he said Jerusalem. “Arabie or Hebrew?”, I asked. His face lit up with delight when he realized I spoke a little Arabic. I wished him a good afternoon in Arabic and he beamed. Eventually (good coffee is slow) my coffee was ready and I thanked him in Arabic. He said, “It is so lovely to speak Arabic!” We forget that immigrants can feel lonely in their new country and, let’s face it, Arabic speakers are not particularly popular right now. I was always very grateful to Egyptian taxi drivers speaking a little English to match my little Arabic. Pay it forward, folks and have a good weekend!

Radio Static

radio

When I was growing up we didn’t have a TV – WHAT???? We had a huge radio that was the size of an old fashioned TV. In the UK, the hip radio stations were pirate radio that operated offshore on ships and they would change their frequency. That combined with your parent’s choice of music (blah MOR), you had to fiddle about with the dials to find a station with music worth listening to and often you would just get radio static. Occasionally, I was lucky enough to tune into Radio Luxembourg, which played all the latest hits.

Right now my followers might get blog static – sometimes I will be writing every day, then not for a while. Some days I will look at your blog but if I don’t, please excuse me. I will just be resting and waiting for the menopause to be over! My latest symptom is mini hot flashes – 30 seconds and they are over. It is utterly fascinating especially since I normally have lizard DNA – always cold out of the sun.

No mood swings, thank goodness, nor night sweats. How can you tell when it is almost 100 degrees and humid for the whole summer? 😌 Anyway, thank you for tuning in…more to follow.