The Owl and The Pussycat…

Well, it’s not really a pussycat but Pepe Le Pew  thought that he was a black and white cat.  So the correct title of this post is The Owl and the Skunks.  I don’t know how many of you have been lucky enough to see a Great Horned Owl but they are massive.  They stand as tall as a toddler and have a wingspan of up to 5 feet.

For months we have been hearing a very distinctive ‘Whoo Whoo’ and I was so excited when I realized it was a Great Horned Owl.  The sound is very deep and you can tell that the creature has large lungs.  I started researching this wonderful bird and discovered that one of his favorite snacks is SKUNKS!!!  He has really large eyes and ears but very little sense of smell.  I adore my little skunks that live in the reserve and play under my deck, so I was sad to find out that they had a predator that was immune to their scent.  Then I thought about baby Great Horned Owls – I guess it’s just the circle of life…sobbing.

On the plus side we have a brand new deck for skunks, armadillos, possums, raccoons, wood rats, snakes and feral cats to hide under.  One night Teddy and I went to bed, really early as always, only to sleep fitfully through a night of deafening WHOO WHOO!  Mr. Horned Eagle was sitting on our fence or the trees in the reserve which is just a few feet from the bedroom.  Underneath that noise was the frantic sound of little skunks chattering nervously underneath the deck.

Aren’t they adorable little twins??

It reminded me of the Pixar short movie about the toys, Tin Toy, that were all hiding under the bed, terrified of the giant baby.  If I hadn’t been so sleepy I would have gone out to tell him to keep the bloody noise down.  Well… this is a happy ever after story.   The skunks survived and the Great Horned Owl has decided to move on to a deck free habitat.  Teddy snapped a shot of one in Florida and couldn’t believe how big it was as it flew over him.  This is a link to the Great Horned Owl Wikipedia page.  One description of its call is “You still up, me too”.  This article noted that some people regarded it as solemn and terrifying.  Really?  It’s just a giant owl!

On a final note, only stupid people have skunks as pets, with their scent organ removed (the only exception would be a rescue).  Skunks belong in the wild where they are the gardener’s friend.  They busily till the soil while eating bugs and larvae.

 

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Sext Fail

Fresh plums!


Here is the backstory – I like to eat snacks in bed. On this occasion I was enjoying a juicy plum. The next morning I got up and sleepily went for my bath. Like most of us, I concentrate on the potentially odorous body parts and give a cat’s lick to the rest. I glanced at myself in the mirror as I was drying myself with the bath towel only to notice I had a bar code for a plum on one of my plums!

Laughingly, I realized that I had bathed insufficiently much like Toffee, our elderly cat, who has a medieval annual bath… It was so funny that I thought I would share this with my husband. We married long before the internet was accessible to Plebeians and although we wrote long love letters that flew across the world, we missed out on the delights of sexting. Ah ha, the opportunity to sext had presented itself. Eventually Teddy noticed his text and responded ROTFLOL. Really? Surely those plums were worth a “can’t wait to get home, baby” or a photo of his body parts that don’t include a shingles rash. My first sext was a fail.😔

It struck me that I was so lucky to have been young and stupid BEFORE sexting selfies. Now I am just old and don’t care. I would have been sexting left and right, especially after a night of ‘refreshments’. Back in the day I had an amazing figure and was more than happy to show it off, especially bra-less.

When I first moved to our conservative part of Texas I was amazed that the letter page in our local paper was full of our neighbors’ outrage about a large Victoria’s Secret poster on our turn off the interstate. Wait for it…..she was wearing a BRA! According to the letter writers, this was a likely cause of accidents and moral degeneration. Then I discovered that nipples were vulgar and wondered where I had moved to. Amish country? Thirteen years have passed and now I flinch when I see a hint of nipple. We adapt to our surroundings. When we lived in Egypt decolletage caused both expats and locals to gasp in horror. Well now my reputation is completely ruined. Next stop, Sodom or Gomorrah.

Teddy’s ouch!

SHINGLES!!!!

During Hurricane Harvey, my husband, Teddy, was stuck in Utah because the flights were cancelled into Houston. We had talked the day before he was due to leave and he was running out of Gabapentin because like most of us, we only pack a couple of days extra medication. I suggested he call our health care provider and see if they could send a prescription because it is dangerous to not taper off this medication, which was prescribed for his migraines. Like everyone else, we had no idea that Harvey was going to be such a catastrophic weather event and initially I suggested he taper his drugs by one third.

Then he complained about a rash from bug-bites. Not so; it was undiagnosed shingles! He noticed it the day of the eclipse where he was outside in very hot temperatures taking photographs. Somewhat ironically, Gabapentin can be used to help with the nerve pain of shingles so he probably didn’t feel the nerve pain initially. After the hurricane hit, Teddy was still stuck in Utah. When he called me, I asked him if he could talk me through using the WII Fit which I haven’t used in years. Like most married couples, technical issues can create a divorce inducing argument. Teddy raised his voice at me (during a flipping hurricane!) and I immediately shouted back. It is his fault for provoking a Hispanic/Irish wife…

During our ‘conversation’, I realized that Teddy was very upset and I backed down, concerned for his health. Eventually he traveled from Utah to Denver to Austin and intended to drive home from there. The weather conditions were still too bad for him to reach our home with most roads blocked. By this time he had to go to Urgent Care for more blood pressure medication and then the rash. Curiously, the Medic diagnosed it as bug bites and prescribed an antibiotic cream.

Finally, he made it all the way home and suddenly his strange mood made sense. We were both a little tearful when he returned because no matter what I said, it was really scary not knowing what would happen next with the weather. When he showed me the rash I recognized it as shingles. Our own doctor prescribed anti-viral medication for him which helped reduce the spread of the rash which was also hurting at the front of his chest. Shingles is infectious and you can spread the chickenpox virus. I caught chickenpox when I was about 30 and I thought I was dying – it is much more serious in adults. He is now well on the road to recovery from this second bout of shingles and he will get the vaccine when he is better. (I have stopped quarantining him…and removed the red cross from the door).

On a much lighter note, we went to Nordstroms’ Rack a few weeks ago for Shrek size shoes for Teddy. He insisted on buying these Psycho Bunny boxers – what do you think he is trying to say to his Bunny??? They are extra cute, though.🐰

PSYCHO BUNNY PANTS

Welcome home, Teddy!

New flannel sheets!

My husband used to travel much more frequently than he does now but he recently went to Austin for a conference.  By happenstance, the new flannel sheets had arrived; they not only look lovely but feel amazing.  Why flannel sheets in the subtropics, you ask?  Teddy was a Princess Prince in another life and I discovered decades ago that he could really feel a pea under 20 mattresses.  The bed has to be soft and comfortable, yet perfectly made.  My mum knew how to look after him with perfectly ironed sheets and underwear…

SO FLUFFY I COULD DIE!!!

In the back of my disturbed head, I have a secret fear that he will leave home and live in a hotel if I don’t provide a clean, freshly made bed on his return.  Teddy hates hotels so the fear is not based on truth but more of my own distaste of returning to an imperfect bed after staying in hotels (which I love).

Wine and soap

On the dresser you can see a bottle of Pinot Noir and some handmade soap that were my gift for his birthday.  Shortly after I moved to the USA, I started a new anti-depressant that made me ‘high’ and I was finally able to make soaps (a long held desire).  I am so good at it that friends asked me to sell them.  There were a couple of orders for baby shower favors which made me gasp with horror.  Not only did they know the sex of the baby but they had chosen a name!  In the UK we only gave gifts after the birth just in case the baby did not survive.  How do you know if she is going to be Apple or Peaches or Trixiebelle until you see her adorable little face? Eventually I had to come off the euphoric medication and realized I am allergic to the soap fragrances (even the best quality).  Now I just make them on special occasions and never use them myself as I have a prescription Sulphur wash.

So what is the point of this blog?  I love my husband so I make him comfortable and that is one of the secrets to a long marriage.  I make him soaps even though I get a headache and I can’t drink red wine but buy him his favorite.  That said, Teddy is currently in the wilds of Utah, Idaho or Montana – I don’t monitor his movements.  When he comes back, he will have another fresh bed but he is going on a diet because his shirts are tight…  Guess who is going to eat all the meat and booze that he can in Brokeback country???

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!