Katniss has Help…

Katniss playing

This post is an excuse to tell you some random stories and wish everyone Happy Easter, Passover, Pagan spring thing or whatever.  I hope you enjoy scampering naked through a field of wildflowers, eating too much chocolate or going to your church.

Katniss has Help…

As most of you know, we have a feral cat who visits twice a day for dinner.  We named her Katniss and have a collection of little plates just for her.  Rabies is quite common in Texas so I am very careful to separate Katniss’s plates from Toffee’s (our indoors cat from Egypt).  I am also lazy and end up with a pile of dirty dishes after a few days.  Then I will put them in a bucket of soapy, bleachy water to soak and then will clean them.  A week ago, I forgot to finish my task and left the bucket outside overnight.  I sleep with industrial ear plugs because Teddy really snores like a bear.  He commented in the morning that he wondered what the raccoons had been doing in the night (how could he hear anything over the snoring?)  He said that it sounded like they were breaking something and were chittering noisily.  Later on, I remembered my bucket and went out to do the dishes but someone had beaten me to it.  I looked at the bucket quizzically because the saucers were all placed tidily alongside.  I burst out laughing when I realized that the raccoons had ‘washed’ the dishes for me.  They are very smart little critters who love playing with water.  They will dip toys in the water as well as their food.  Our neighbor found them swimming in her pool one night, chittering happily.  I wondered if I should get them a toy kitchen.

The Help

The back-handed insult

St Mary’s Catholic Church
Brenham

I will be volunteering on Easter Sunday, as usual, and my doctor refers to it as my church service.  I love that idea and the next time a rude customer asks me if I have nothing better to do on a Sunday, I will say I am at my church doing something more useful than singing hymns.   Last week a pleasant older lady asked me where I was born (Scottish accent).  I told her the long story short – Californian Irish Mexican hybrid.  She looked at me carefully and then said, “You are a beautiful woman” “You don’t look a bit Mexican”.   I really didn’t know how to respond to that ‘compliment quickly followed by insult’.

The real compliment

Bluebonnets by the side of the highway

On my recent trip to the Texas countryside, I was driving along the major route between Houston and Austin.  The speed limit is 75 miles per hour but in Texas we read that as 85 or more; it is some kind of state dyslexia…  I noticed a group of cars had stopped on the side of the road and then saw the reason – BLUEBONNETS!!  To my own astonishment, I slowed down and did exactly the same.  Every Texan gets excited about our wildflower season but bluebonnets are an indigenous little blue Lupine that sets our hearts aflame.  Here is a link to a previous funny post about Bluebonnets.  After acting like an idiot on the road, I noticed a field of them next to my hotel which was near a super Walmart and, even better, A THRIFT STORE!  Kerry was in heaven, both with bluebonnets and cheap clothes.  It was a treasure trove with rich ranchers’ cast offs.  One top still had the ticket on it – $50 for $5.  At the desk, the young girl tentatively asked me if I was over 55 (30% senior discount) and I brought out my driving license (yes, they really gave me one).  She said that I didn’t look 55.  As I related this story to my colleagues later they expressed surprise at my real age and willingness to admit it in this age obsessed society.  Again I burst out laughing – I just told them I shopped at thrift stores so why hide my age.  Dang it, I would do pretty much anything for a 30% discount…

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Huehuecoyotl is mischief making…

Courtesy of Pixabay

Huehuecoyotl is one of the many Pre Colombian Gods of Mexico.  The translation is very old coyote.  He is an auspicious God and is generally beneficent but can be a prankster.  I have decided that he will now be my spirit guide when I go to Mexico next week.  He has already started mischief making…

After my amazing list of resolutions, (I have done more than one #2 every day – yippee), I have a short gap before my first work contract and have decided to go to Merida in the Yucatan next week.  It’s a solo visit – I don’t think Teddy is ready for one of my Spanish speaking, taking the local bus and arguing with taxi driver trips.  My last trip to Merida was a disaster but despite that I longed to return in more clement weather.

Booking the flight was easy.  I used air miles and there were a few seats left.  The flight is just over 2 hours so there are many commuters back and forth between Texas and Mexico.  One of the problems with my last trip was that I was staying in a beautiful old building with all the problems that come with that.  This time I decided to choose a generic chain hotel so that at least there is another room to go to…

Huehuecoyotl had arranged for British Airways to send me an email reminding me that I had to use my Avios points.  Ah ha, thought Kerry, I can book a hotel in Merida and save money.  I chose the Wyndham but when I received the final confirmation, I realized that they had not used my points and cash but just cash.  Wily Coyote!  The only option was to phone British Airways.  They have a free number in the States but you are speaking to someone in England.   A very nice lady with a well enunciated English dialect answered the phone promptly – wow! It was such a relief to speak to someone who immediately understood my accent.  I have no idea what the problem is in the USA – I speak clearly and you have all watched Braveheart/Outlander, haven’t you???

As soon as I explained what had happened, she indicated that it would be complicated to sort out so I would be on the phone for a while.  One hour…but at least it was free.  Long story shorter, the first booking had to be cancelled and then she attempted to do it again.  Coyote was having fun because there were two Merida Wyndhams on the BA website, one in lower case and one in upper case.  I assured my new friend that there was only one Wyndham hotel even though they had different addresses!

Right in the middle of all this, my gardeners arrived.  I apologized and said I would have to carry the phone outside while I spoke to them. “Hola! Como Esta”, “Bien, y Usted?”  Then there was some bad Spanish when I tried to explain that I needed a brick stand for the Casa de Gatta (Katniss).  The nice lady said, “Do you live in Mexico?”  Well, if you ask a Trump voter, they might say yes, but really we live in the bilingual metropolis of Houston.  I used eastern Europeans in England as an example.  New immigrants always do the jobs that no one else wants to do.

Back to the strange website; neither the UPPER CASE nor lower case Wyndham would take my money or booking.  Likely they had no rooms left – welcome to Mexico!  Finally I decided that I would just completely cancel all bookings with British Airways and ponder what to do next.  The nice lady was very apologetic and had even reduced the price before I was banished from that hotel.  We bid each other goodbye and I wondered if she was going to tell someone about her strange conversation.  What was even funnier, in the middle of all of this, Toffee had a poo (great resolution) in her litter box and started caterwauling for me to clean it stat!  She was so loud that I had to apologize for that noise whilst escaping to the other side of the house with computer and phone to get away from the noise of the gardeners.

So, I sat thinking about a possibly ill-fated trip but was so amused by the whole situation that I decided to just do a Booking.com.  They allow you to cancel close to the trip time and you don’t pay until after you arrive.  They were problematic the last time (my hotel was not available and didn’t find out until the night before).  Maybe Huehuecoyotl would help out?  I chose the first one that had a great review and it is a 17th century mansion – uh oh.  The hotel immediately confirmed my booking in Spanish – excellente and it is so beautiful that I could just photograph that building.

I am going next week and Teddy is looking after the gattas.  Wish me luck and hope that my puppy God wants to play nice.

Say NO to aspirational New Year’s Resolutions!

I am really old and wise – aspirational resolutions are silly.  They give us false expectations or make us feel pompous until we inevitably fail.  Here is a list of practical ones –

 

  • Try to poo every day. That means you are eating fiber and you might even lose weight.  It also keeps toilet tissue manufacturers in business.

 

  • Smile at everyone. The worst that can happen is that someone thinks you are crazy or hearing voices.  The best is that you find a new friend or make someone’s day.

 

  • Use your common sense. Millennials – google common sense and try to incorporate it into your life.  It’s like skateboarding but more fun.

 

  • Choose an appropriate seat at Starbucks. One person needs a small table.  If you choose otherwise, 40 miles north of Houston, a strange Scottish lady will come up to you and ask you to move from the table with 6 seats that she needs for her friends.

 

  • On the same topic, get a more appropriate office.

 

  • Try to remember which airline your relative flew on and which city they left from in Latin America/South East Asia/Africa. It helps the frazzled volunteers.

 

  • Rescue an animal or check on an elderly neighbor. Try not to cry when the cat hisses at you or the neighbor says, “I’m fine” and shuts the door in your face.  Remember I write with experience.

 

  • Try to read global news from reputable sources – even real news is biased. It might make you realize your life is blessed.  Think about Puerto Rico.

 

  • Whilst perusing the World Wide Web, try to avoid following those topics that we know rot our brain. ‘Caitlyn and Kris Jenner get married again’, for example.  Nooooooo!

 

  • Say ‘Hell No!’ to political correctness. Here is an example – Our President is an ass wipe and not the nice Preparation H ones.

 

  • Read your horoscope. It’s all unicorn and rainbows. You will meet the man of your dreams in 2018, write that book and win the lottery. Promise.

 

  • Be good or you will go to hell. This is gospel from a lapsed Catholic…

 

Was Toffee on the naughty list?

Sorry it’s blurry – it’s an action shot…

Toffee is our elderly Egyptian street cat who hardly ever spoke until the other two alphas died.  Now she won’t shut up.  I have no idea where she gets it from (says the girl whose Nana exclaimed most nights, “The child has not stopped talking all day”).  I am a little annoyed with Toffee because Dad was in Europe for almost three weeks and she stopped saying thank you (a deep strange noise).  As soon as he returned, so did the thank yous…

We always get her a Christmas present, usually her favorite knitted toys filled with catnip.  As the Youtube video below shows, some one wasn’t entirely happy with her present.  I don’t know what’s funnier – her talking or me and what Dad is breaking in the background.  The video is also blurry (mom takes medication) but it is the sound that matters.

Given her human age is about 70 (15 next year), she got tuna for breakfast anyway, as did Miss Katniss.  Katniss is our feral outside cat who is about 3 years old.  She refuses to be trapped but is coming around for food 2 or 3 times a day.  Her fur is glossy and she is a little rounded but I don’t think she is pregnant.  Sometimes she runs towards me and then hisses when she remembers I am not her mom.

Katniss and her shadow

Doesn’t she look incredibly healthy?  She talks nonstop as well – no idea why…😸  Below is a shot of Dad in his enticing nightwear feeding her on Christmas morning.  She is pretending to be Greta Garbo because she sees me photographing her through the window.

Katniss hiding from Mommy Paparazzi

Christmas letters are sooooo boring…even mine

This is the real Christmas letter I sent to friends and family this year.  They know less about our lives than you do…

How about some astonishing facts to brighten things up?

• Teddy and I are still married after 35½ years. Whaaaaaat?

• We both have jobs! Admittedly, I earn peanuts and only work occasionally. A variety of foolish events companies contract my labor; team building, meeting VIPs and other nonsense. Andy pretends he is a genius and does something with rocks.

• Despite our many diagnoses, neuroses and medications, we are reasonably healthy.

• We have one Egyptian cat still living. Toffee is almost 15 years old, amazingly healthy and very kindly tucks us into bed each night. She jumps on the bed, gives us both a cuddle and then goes to her own bed. Katniss is our feral outside cat, born under our deck a few years ago. She refuses to be tamed and hisses at me when it snows (see below).

• Teddy talks to our visiting Armadillos, at night, and they answer back. This is one of the many new Texan skills he has developed, along with eating too much and dressing like a gay cowboy.

• I still can’t get the hang of political correctness.

• It really snowed in Houston this year.

• It really rained in Houston this year, 51.88 inches to be precise.

• Teddy and I rarely vacation together anymore. That might explain the 35½ years of marriage.

• I discovered I have a long line of Mexican ancestors, including some Maya DNA. For some reason I look like a Swede. Andy is Scottish.

• We didn’t vote for Trump because I’m Mexican nor did most of Houston (which is also Mexican).

• None of our relatives died this year…we think. We might find otherwise in Christmas cards, yet to arrive.

• Mail comes by stagecoach in our area. Why else does it take 3 weeks to arrive from Europe?

• This is the longest time we have stayed in one place during our marriage – I guess its home.

• Teddy will be 60 next year. I’m not sure I can stay married to a pensioner even one that makes me laugh at both ends.

• I am almost through the ‘change’ which might not be apparent from this letter.

 

Random Christmas Cheer

Fishy Christmas Tale

Teddy is coming home from Frankfurt today and I woke up to a frantic email to say that he had caught his plane with 5 minutes to spare; de-icing and other crazy northern stuff. This morning I did my usual hausfrau duties – fresh clean bed, washed the floor and went for food. When Teddy is out of town I eat like a squirrel; a few nuts and berries when I notice my tummy growling. We are fortunate enough to live a few minutes’ drive from all our grocery stores and most importantly, PETCO! Katniss has been eating twice a day and now runs to me. Then she stops and thinks, “Hang on, that’s not my mom – I am a proud feral cat”.

On my third trip out, I slowed down when I noticed a Volvo with no tire, collapsed on the road in front of me. I stopped behind it and put my flashers on. The young man (in his 40’s) looked shell-shocked, so I asked what had happened. He had just had an oil change and the mechanics hadn’t tightened the nuts on the wheels. “That place is crap!” I responded. He wasn’t sure what to do as he was partially blocking a junction. I told him to put his flashers on and I would drive to the auto shop to give them hell. As I drove in, they were just casually doing (crap) work. I suggested they get their asses in gear before the police came. This particular auto shop blatantly lied to me the only time I visited them, telling me I needed new brake pads. My sixth sense was alarmed and I checked with a decent place before letting them do it.

I returned to the broken down Volvo and he was still a bit panicky. It hadn’t occurred to me to wonder where the tire was but just then a Samaritan in a mega truck turned up having rescued the tire further down the main route. He was Shrek like – huge with a bald head. I have no idea how he lifted that tire, as if it was a soft toy. Then the auto shop idiots turned up. I wished the stranded Volvo owner a Merry Christmas and left to the sounds of police sirens. Since the hurricane, people have bought mega trucks in droves and it drives me CRAZY. Teddy has a whole list of acronyms for them: A.I.A.T; D.I.A.T; F.I.A.T. The acronyms spell out Ass in a Truck, Dick in a Truck and so on. I suspect they were bought to replace flooded vehicles and these new owners don’t know how to drive them properly. But Shrek was a hero – S.I.A.T!

Then I went to the supermarket, full of adrenaline because I have always wanted to shout at that auto shop. I hope he sues them if there was damage to his car. Then I saw the weirdest thing in the fish aisle. A lady was filling her cart with packets of salted cod. I knew she was not from Texas and suspected she was from Latin America. Curiosity overcame Kerry and I asked her where she was from. Mexico City was the answer and we chatted about our shared ancestry and the salted cod. She was making a dish called Bacalao – click on the word to find a recipe.

I would no more eat salted cod than roasted cockroaches but it brought back a nostalgic memory of Teddy’s mum. Nessie was from a farmer’s family and Teddy’s Dad came from a fisher family. Usually never the twain shall meet or certainly marry but Dad was a handsome POW that caught the eye of my pretty mother in law. Once they were seriously courting, Nessie was invited to the Duncan family home in Peterhead, Scotland for a special dinner. She was used to eating what we consider normal food – meat and two vegetables. Nessie wasn’t really keen on seafood or fish so when she was offered a choice of Sea Pie or Hairy Tatties, she somewhat tentatively accepted Hairy Tatties assuming that Sea Pie was full of seafood. Little did she know that Sea Pie was actually a gorgeous steak pie that the fishermen took out on the boats. Hairy Tatties was much worse… The fibers of salted cod were the hairy bits in the tatties (mashed potatoes). How she ate it was beyond me; a true heroine.

So, I helped a panicky man, found a new friend from Mexico and retold my favorite story about my beloved mother in law. Finally, I have some real Christmas Cheer! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Feliz Navidad!

Anything but books tag

Sweet Potato and Bison casserole with brown rice

Thank you to Lisa from Life of an El Paso Woman  for nominating me for this blog challenge.  Lisa’s blog is a fun mix of music, romance and topical subjects.  I have a soft spot for Lisa because she is the only blogger friend I have met so far.  I have been struggling to write anything so this challenge is a good distraction

Q1 What is your favorite cartoon

Minions and/or Despicable Me!  What’s not to love?  Phrases that I incorporate into regular life such as “It’s so fluffy I could die!”  Everything about the film appeals to me from the forgotten orphans with retro names to their loving Despicable (but not really) Dad and their new mom.  I particularly liked the bad Minions, “Bah,” and the evil Spanish chicken, ‘el pollo diablo’

As for old ‘toons’, my favorite was always Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote.  Why do you think I live in Texas?  When I see a roadrunner, I always look up for a giant anvil falling out of the sky.

Q2 What is your favorite song right now

Camila Cabello – Havana ft. Young Thug.  I love the slow sexy Cuban vibe and her beautiful voice.  Just imagine moving your hips to this slow salsa beat on the hot sands of somewhere, anywhere, in Latin America.

Q3 What could you do for hours that isn’t reading

Binge watching some new cable series that everyone has been raving about.  There is a new British series called Liar that I sat and watched for 6 hours straight – hooked!  Then I had nightmares all night.

Q4 What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised about

I make handmade soaps with unusual shapes and scents.  One of my favorites is vanilla cupcake in a cupcake mold.  Many years ago I started a business but after making endless soapy party favors for two baby showers, my sinuses and allergies waved a white flag of surrender.  I am still allergic to the very expensive perfume oils but now just make them for grateful friends.

Q5 What is your favorite thing to learn about

Languages and real news.  I am NOT a Trump supporter but I would like to hear more balanced news stories about global events and not just bloody politics.  Working at an airport, I collect small phrases in different languages – for example, “Eet smakelijk” which means enjoy your meal in Dutch.  My bad Spanish comes in very handy at times, especially with a Scottish accent.🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Q6 What is something unusual that you know how to do

Impersonations.  One of my favorites is Donald Duck.  Teddy says that the words are incomprehensible (my Donald Duck is a slow learner) but most others laugh.  In a toy shop in Grand Junction, Colorado, I had a Donald Duck competition with a Dad.  The poor child looked frightened…LOL!  The next impersonation is R rated and certainly not politically correct.  Sometimes, when I want to get Teddy in the mood, I impersonate a South East Asian sex worker. “Come on Big Boy.  You pay money, I do trick! Maybe ping pong ball?”  Occasionally it actually works but mostly it makes him laugh.  Let’s just say I am fun in bed…

Q7 Name something you have made in the last year

Soaps!  I also made a bison and sweet potato casserole, photographed above, in an attempt to get Teddy to eat well.  My cooking skills are good but my desire is lacking.

Q8 What is your most recent personal project

Does the intro page of my memoir count?  I keep starting stuff but can barely even manage to write on my blog which I love.  Anxiety and boredom, a strange combination, has been my bug-a-boo this year.

Q9 Tell us something that’s your favorite (food?), that is oddly specific

I assumed from Lisa’s blog that this question referred to food.  I like a sandwich of Dave’s Killer Organic Bread, buttered with salted chips or crisps inside it.  Other favorites are a bowl of cooked peas with butter.  My food choices reflect my Irish heritage – anything with butter on it.

And now I tag

Lana at Travelling Vegan Christian

Mohamad at Mohamad El Karbi

Evil at Evil Squirrel’s Nest

Lyn at Lynz Real Cooking

Please feel free to ignore this tag challenge 😁