I went to the Grand Canyon and it wasn’t…

Silhouetted crow on the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon

…that grand.  To be fair, the canyon was a really Grand natural spectacle, it was the arduous trip to get there that took the gleam off the visit.  Air travel has never been more popular, especially to tourist destinations.  The flight to Vegas was completely full and my heart sank as I walked towards my aisle seat.  Two rather large people completely filled the THREE seats.  They managed to squish up a bit and I had a little sliver of seat.  My airline should have dealt with the situation but I didn’t complain knowing it was pointless.

Finally we arrived at Las Vegas and even the airport seemed a little shabbier than it did a decade ago, on my last visit.  Still, I laughed at the slot machines right beside the gates.  My ‘I work at an airport’ aura followed me west and I helped a party of French people communicate with their Serbian Uber driver.  My Uber arrived and I drove off, shouting “Au revoir!” while thinking, ‘good luck finding someone else who speaks French…and enjoy our Freedom Fries!’

My hotel lived up to all its recommendations, just off the Strip but incredibly quiet.  Each room was a little suite and I could have happily lived there.  Perhaps some of the very elderly residents did? I felt like the young groovy chick that I am.  After I unpacked, I went off to see the sights of Vegas before my long trip to the canyon the following day.  Waiting at the crosswalk, I got talking to an older man (my age) who had his even older mother in a wheelchair.  I wasn’t sure she was alive…mummified?  Was his name Bates?  I kept bumping into them at the Mall across the street and she didn’t seem to move.  Welcome to Vegas!

As I was trying, with thousands of other people, to negotiate the Strip’s overhead walkways, I noticed that there were many homeless people; some drunk and some mentally ill.  One poor guy got in the large elevators with 15 or so other tourists.  He was shouting at nothing, terrifying the other occupants. My ‘I worked in mental health’ aura was about to appear when the doors opened and he stumbled out.  It is really hard to enjoy visiting a place when you can see the underside right in front of you.

What mortified me even more were the British tourists behaving crassly.  I really tried to manage my Trans-Atlantic twang so I could travel incognito.  There was a really loud English couple, from up north like Jon Stark, in Victoria’s Secret who were trying to find something classy for her mother (presumably my age or less).  They eventually found a sexy little something in leopard silk polyester.  I struggled to contain my mirth…  Later I came across some Scots men in a hotel bar and every second word was a loud cuss word.  Sigh.

I took some shots close to my hotel as night was falling.  It was as though the night added some dark glamour to the previously tawdry street.

Do you see the truck at the bottom?  Sin City Indeed.

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Who needs “Bird Box”…

…you could just join me while I blithely pack up Christmas ornaments. “WTF Golly Gosh!”, I said as I noticed this harmless leaf footed bug who had died while stuck to the duct tape. He belongs to the stink bug family so DON’T SQUISH HIM, if you see a live one.

Didn’t he mummify perfectly? Such a handsome fellow when he doesn’t take one by surprise…

Then I started climbing up into the attic and noticed yet another mummy, above, that must have been under the Xmas boxes. Nearly fell off the darn ladder! Why is he decapitated? Is this an omen for 2019? This is a wonderful resident of Texas known as the tree roach. Most folks who move to Texas from other places are delightfully surprised that the giant roach they are trying to stamp on, FLIES into the trees! The biggest one I saw was 4 inches long and SLEEPING UNDER MY PILLOW. Even the bug man shuddered. Teddy and I both screamed.

So, although I am not phobic about these bugs, I was feeling a little skittish and had used too many cuss words at the very start of 2019. I sat down for a recuperative mug of tea and a snack. When I stood up I felt something fall onto my slipper. I glanced down and said “Geez Louise”…

I had to re-stage the photograph because I cussed again and threw my slipper off with the black THING. It was a Welch’s fruit pastille/candy. Heavens to Betsy, I do hope this is how 2019 is going to continue because it really made me laugh and pee a little.

If you are not one of the 45 million people who downloaded “Bird Box” from Netflix – it is a scary movie with an excellent cast. Perhaps I should ask guests to wear a blindfold when they visit my house?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Fall into Navy

Loft flowered blouse, Walmart junior jeans,  Silk flower ankle boots from Ross?

Do you notice that lovely glow on my face?  That is desperate sweating because it was still in the 90’s but I wanted to do another Fall Fashion post.  It is about 9 am in the morning and you can see the humidity on the deck.  Welcome to the swampy south!

Isn’t it great when you have friends who are the same size as you?  The blouse above was a gift swap from a friend.  The jeans were bought last year and, as always, I have to shop in the juniors section to get a good fit.  The pink dangling earrings cost about $2 in Waco and I love them!

Very fine knitted navy sweater from Nordstrom’s Rack, Linen pants from some years ago, Iridescent Navy kitten heels from Steinmart

This time the freebie was from another friend whose mother passed.  Like me, her mom loved clip on earrings so I inherited some.  I love these ones with a ‘ruby’ center.  Everyone keeps asking me why I don’t pierce my ears.  My ears are perfect and my Nana told me only ladies of ill repute had pierced ears.  Some things stick with you…😁  Despite that I am wearing a see-through sweater showing off my lovely 34 DDD bra (yes really).  Thank you to whichever ancestor gifted me them.

Bell sleeved blouse from Loft, ancient boot cut jeans from Marks and Spencers, those favorite Green Boc sandals

This is another gift of a blouse from the first friend.  It was a trip to the outlet mall that went wrong…to my benefit!  The pretty green earrings were also from Waco.  On a road trip I found this amazing place like a souk, and I have yet to find earrings that are as comfortable.  I bought eight pairs…

One of the reasons for the skin glow is a recent facial.   My skin had started to break out in acne cysts.  Her conclusion was that I was just filthy.  I don’t know how many times she applied a mask and took off layers of humidity and skin.  My mother gifted me beautiful skin but I forget that I have to be a little more careful in the tropics to avoid breakouts.

Why don’t you try gifting or swapping clothes with friends who are a similar size?  I had one tunic dress that I wore until I was fed up, gave it to a friend who wore it until she was fed up and now I have it back again.

 

Quirky Kerry Ramblings

Alabama squirrel aka Kerry

I went to my psychiatrist for a regular appointment last week.  First, he asked what was wrong with me when I thought I felt more like myself (quiet and introspective), then I misheard him suggesting that it might be the Phage.  My head immediately went to Star Trek Voyager where the Phage was a recurring story line of an alien disease.  Their skin starts to rot and I immediately thought about my red scarred zit on my forehead.  Reality returned and I asked him to explain (do you understand why I see a psychiatrist now?)  He was referring to the seasons changing at the autumnal equinox.  That might explain why I kept waking up at odd hours and felt out of sorts.  There are all sorts of clinical evidence theorizing that we do react emotionally to full moons and changing seasons.  Seasonal Affective disorder is very common in Northern Europe.

Can you tell that my mind is hopping about like a squirrel on caffeine?  I keep trying to focus on tasks but failing miserably – my head is full of pumpkin puree.  So here are my current ramblings about my life:  –

Why are my fashion posts the most popular? I love doing them and really appreciate the interest but I am 58 and really past my sell-by-date.  My elegant modeling mum always wore tasteful neutrals with a splash of vivid red or blue.  Quite naturally I wanted to look the complete opposite.  Punk was emerging and I was determined to look like Blondie, dyeing my dark hair blonde and dressing very provocatively.  Then I had a ‘wholesome’ period and then I got fat.  It wasn’t until my mum had died and I was in my 40’s before I found my own style.  Before that I hated having my photograph taken – how times change!

Why do I have so many gay boyfriends? Why are they all better looking than any straight boyfriend in the past??  I come from a conservatively religious background and it wasn’t okay to be gay.  Despite that, one of my aunts was undoubtedly gay but stayed in the closet to her family.  She kept introducing me to her girlfriends and I still didn’t get it…  I really don’t judge people for their sexuality and perhaps that is obvious.  I cherish the close relationship with a gay man without the complication of desire and can flirt outrageously without consequence.  At college, I made an assumption that a man with some feminine attributes was gay, made him my best friend and ultimately broke his heart.

I have been head hunted by three new companies in the last two weeks. This is at a time in my life when I would like to ‘chill’ and keep my anxiety levels down.  I am delighted, of course, but surprised (especially by one VP who recommended me – I didn’t think he liked me).  My first diploma was in business with a focus on travel and tourism.  Most of my career was spent working for non-profit organizations but now I work for DMCs – Destination Management Companies.  Who would have thought that my quirky personality would work in my favor?  It is an over-used word but I am a nice person and that goes a long way when you work with clients.

My sole piece of art is on the dark web – just jesting. 😈 I can’t post a link because it is a private site…  My friend Rob has a beautiful body that he likes to post naked.  One of his followers did a beautiful charcoal sketch from his nude photo and this so impressed me that I processed it photographically as an ink sketch.  Rob then asked me to process a different nude photograph which he sent me by email.  In case you are wondering, I did tell Teddy and showed him my artwork.  He rolled his eyes…  The odd thing is that there is nothing sexual about our friendship – Rob is young, handsome and straight.  Beyond that he is a really lovely guy whose personality and writing clicks with mine.  I make lots of cougar jokes but even I have a limit – he has to be at least 45 years old. 😁

My current best writing is fairy stories. I have invented a Texas School of Fairies, situated in Austin but no pun intended…  My mum had many beautiful qualities but the one I remember most is that she would make up a new story for me every night.  It always included a little girl called Kerry and animals and fairies and elves – you get the picture.  It was a special moment because she worked long hours and Nana did most of the caretaking.  I don’t have children but I would savor reading stories to them at night.  As an only child, my head was always in story books and I read the library dry.

My longing to travel has left me, along with the desire to write travelogues. I can’t quite figure out why.  I have retreated from friendships and groups, rarely socializing.  For a while I was depressed but now I feel reasonably settled.  My personality is still the same but even my psychiatrist noticed a difference in my behavior.  In some ways I have gone back to my childhood; solitary but content.  If I get anxious, I can still talk too much but it is lessening.  I share more with Katniss and Toffee than anyone else!  No doubt this is another phase in my life but momentarily I am enjoying the quiet.

Rambling over, until the next fashion post…

 

Blakeley, Alabama

The lumberjack fairy

This is a lumberjack fairy in a fantastic tree root of a live oak in Blakeley, Alabama.  Perhaps this fairy retreat provoked my recent addiction to fairy stories?  Blakeley is located to the east of Mobile, Alabama and back in the day it had the best deep water access for the many ships coming to Alabama.  It is now a historic state park and a ghost town.  Both Mobile and Blakeley are in swampy delta areas – five rivers connect at the estuary.  Yellow Fever was common in this area in the 1800s and when it first decimated the population at Blakeley, the remaining residents decided to move to Mobile or other areas.  Unfortunately, there was yellow fever there too and there is a very sad cemetery in Mobile with tiny little graves.  The survivors made it through and we have eradicated yellow fever in America although it is common in other tropical areas.  It is a virus spread by mosquitoes.  Next time you worry about a snake or a cougar, just think how many deaths the mosquito is responsible for.

No fairies but now you know a full grown lumberjack fairy can fit inside it

Where there is death there is life

Elder live oak

What a magnificent old gentleman, his branches graying with Spanish Moss.  Live Oaks live for hundreds of years which worries me because we have one in our front garden that has grown from a 3 ft sapling to 50 ft in 14 years.  Despite that, I love her and stroke her bark when I pass her.  It gives me such pleasure to see the acorns in the leaf litter feeding all the critters.  Click here for a fascinating story about her – One Sleep until Halloween

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…