A Dire Wolf moved in…

Image by Veirgacht

On a typical hot, steamy night in our swamp, I woke up to find that Teddy had transmogrified into Shrek, snoring as only an ogre can.  My industrial strength ear plugs had fallen out so I sleepily tread the well-worn path to the front bedroom at the other side of our hovel.  I fell asleep almost immediately only to wake in the wee hours needing to use the bathroom.  The toilet tissue was running low so I blithely reached into the cabinet under the sink to get a new roll.  Then I saw her, screamed and gently shut the door.  She looked at me with the same horror.  Yes, her eyes were that big.  It was my first tree roach of the season.  Let’s call her Teresita.

For those of you who don’t live in the south of Texas, we have something much scarier than our alligators, water moccasins and recluse spiders.  My fear was such that it may as well have been a Dire Wolf, most recently of Game of Thrones, but actually an extinct giant wolf.  Tree roaches are really large roaches that FLY!  If you do a Google search for Tree Roaches Texas you will find endless hilarious stories of newcomers who firstly can’t believe the size of the critters (mine was about 2 inches long) and then their horror when the beast flew towards them.  Their true name is the American Cockroach and they are not quite as filthy as German Cockroaches, the regular smaller ones that you see up north. Ours wear MAGA hats. In Florida they call tree roaches Palmetto bugs as a way to fancy them up.

I went back to bed with trepidation because the last time I found a tree roach it was under my pillow (shudder) in that front bedroom.  The wisest action was not to look and I fell into a troubled sleep.  The next morning, I started removing everything from the bathroom cabinet.  There was mouse sized Tree Roach poop everywhere!  Just as I removed the 12th toilet roll (it is hurricane season and we are fully stocked), the monster jumped out at me.  I screamed again but was mad as hell that it had pooped all over everything so I attempted to crush her.  She scuttled back into a hole behind the cabinet or should I say Cockroach Condo.  Dang it!

Related image

This is not my hand!

Eventually I emptied everything and washed the plastic bottles in bleach, the rest went in the trash.  The inside of the cabinet was cleaned with neat bleach and then I found the deadly bug killer to spray in the hole.  Usually I use a completely ineffective ‘green’ bug spray that a Tree Roach would use for salad dressing.  I like to live in harmony with all God’s creatures but the roaches have to stay outside.  Then I called the bug man – who is afraid of Tree Roaches.  Now that’s exposure therapy.  His favorite Macho tale is when he first encountered Tree Roaches on a military base.  He was in a storage shed and he saw three Tree Roaches blocking the doorway.  ‘No problem’, he thought, ‘I can just stomp on them’.  Not if they fly in your face – then you run out screaming like a girl.

I considered calling the bug man earlier when we had a millipede invasion all over the larger Houston area.  Every day I rescued or swept up dozens of millipedes.  They are harmless and don’t scare me so I just ignored them.  Maybe all the rainy weather has created a glut of them.  When they die, they curl up in a little ball and it looked like a fossil extinction zone in every corner of the house.  The spiders tried their best to help me out and every web was filled with millipedes.  When you live in Texas you need to love your spiders because they catch the other stuff!  The Dire Wolf under the sink provoked a spring cleaning like none other.  Then I discovered another dead tree roach in a kitchen cabinet so all the pots had to be washed.

Working my way around the kitchen cabinets, I finally found sugar ants had got into the sugar.  Really??  Don’t you think I had been through enough?  My O.C.D. was boiling into a crazy ferment.  Sugar ants are harmless too but it was three species too many.  The hovel house is now very, very clean and there are no bugs.  It was a rather expensive visit from the Dire Wolf (and friends) by the time I paid the bug man and restocked the toilet rolls, tissue, cotton wool and sugar.  One of my neighbors had a blue tongued Skink living in her garage – they look like truncated snakes with very wide bodies.  She was horrified that its poop had cockroach carapaces in it.  Please come and live with me, blue tongued Skink – free food and friendly humans.

Image result for free image blue tongued skink

Blue Tongued Skink

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I wish I had a dragon

Image by Josch13, Pixabay 

No, this is not Game of Thrones ode although Dany’s wrathful flyby of Kings Landing inspired the title and thoughts.  I have just returned from a sad transatlantic trip to Scotland for a family funeral.  It was not unexpected but somehow it is always a shock in the literal sense.  On the return trip, suffering a terrible flight with a revered south-east Asian airline, I drowned my sorrows with some unpalatable wine and wrote words on my magazine cover that conveyed how I had felt during the trip.

WRATH, GRIEF, SADNESS, REGRET, RELIEF, LONGING, THANKFULNESS, GRATITUDE, LONELINESS, RESENTMENT, AMUSEMENT, LOVE, CONNECTION, ALIENATION, BOREDOM, AFFECTION, ADMIRATION, JOY, FAMILIARITY, DISCONNECTION, HUMILITY, REFLECTION, EVOLUTION, ACCEPTANCE, IRRITATION

LOVE, LOVE AND MORE LOVE

I see my psychiatrist tomorrow and I think I will just hand him this list of words.  What will he make of it?  Such contradictions, so many emotions and counseling needed.  Funerals are such complex occasions.  Sometimes they are a celebration of a life lived well; sometimes the family gathering causes angst or the opposite.  This is not the time for me to write a memorial – my feelings are too raw.  For every kind comment there is an insensitive remark.  It has been years since my last visit to the old country and so much has changed.  I can no longer mention my country of birth, USA, with pride.  Do friends and strangers really think that the course of modern politics has been in any way influenced by me?  This is the plaque outside Glasgow’s City Halls were I graduated.  My economics lecturer was the local Communist political candidate.

The political climate is no better in the UK or Europe.  BREXIT; right wing Hungarian rule; Scottish Independence; modern day slavery in Italian fields that gives us our cheap tomatoes – to name a few. I see racism and bigotry on both sides of the pond.  As I left Glasgow airport and was waiting in the check-in line, I noticed a young woman sobbing from one end of departures to the other.  It wasn’t busy so I couldn’t figure out why someone wasn’t helping her.  Eventually she ended up close to me and I asked her what was wrong.  She was sick, had taken Nyquil the night before consequently sleeping late.  She arrived 45 minutes before her Canadian charter flight departure but no-one would help her.  I urged her to go back to the closest desks and ask someone to radio the charter representative.

Eventually I checked in and went to find her.  We were sent from pillar to post and I eventually demanded that we see a manager.  The flight had gone but at least the airline representative might be able to find the cheapest alternative to get her home.  She couldn’t call them on her Canadian phone.  I left her in chastened hands with the manager in route and the airline had been radioed.  Who knew all my Texan airport experience would have come in handy?

At my connecting airport in England, I tripped and scraped my knees despite being sober…then.  The only person who ran to my aid was one of the much maligned Eastern Europeans.  A Bulgarian cleaner who spoke very little English also helped.  On the glamorous flight back to Texas with flight attendants that resembled pretty butterflies, I had to complain about vomit blocking a sink and more dried vomit on the floor of a different toilet.  The response was a poor excuse and certainly not an abject apology which I expected.  It concerned me that they wore no aprons to serve food and inefficiently cleaned toilets throughout a 9 hour flight…and then the toilet tissue ran out.  Can you imagine my upcoming complaint form?

My words are my dragon and I wish I could burn my way through the hateful climate with live in.  I wish I could erase my memories of a sad abusive childhood.  I wish I could forgive.  I wish my self-loathing would cease.  I wish I felt more joy or even contentedness.  I wish I had a dragon.

 

Cersei in Black (and white)

Thank you Liben!

Have you all been watching the magnificent costumes in Game of Thrones? Everyone is wearing black with winter having arrived. It is as hot as Hades in the subtropics so my title only refers to my Cersei hair color… Once again my hair has turned a magical new color that did not reflect the box but I quite like it. I have some lighter highlights in it and it gives my face some color. Liben is my friend who gifted me some wonderful new outfits that she no longer wears. The off white skirt pictured above still had the ticket on it and fits really well. I even have a bum for a change! My friend Cris gifted me the wonderful necklace, bracelet, earrings and ring set.

I think Cersei would love this jewelry – I certainly do.

Every time I wear this set, I have fond thoughts of both Cris and her mother, who owned the clip-on earrings and ring. The sheer black top is a Christmas gift from Cris, too – she gave me a gift card from a local boutique. How lucky I am to have such generous friends.

Black and White Old Navy dress in the sale worn with a light white jacket from Chico’s outlet. Funky studded sandals from JC Penney many seasons ago.

I don’t usually shop at Chico’s but their crazy sizing is wonderful. I am a size 0 in their vanity sizing… Unlike most places, we southern Texas folks put on summer weight because it is too dang hot to go outside and we can’t exercise. I have some pounds to lose so I finally bought an ‘undergarment'(keep reading to the end and don’t get excited).


This is a better shot of the little black and white dress – it cost just over $10 so I bought a spotted navy one and a pink/navy striped one.

Walgreen’s best!

I was browsing through Walgreen’s for toiletries when I spotted these summer dresses for $15. Teddy loves it so it has joined my collection. I am wearing a dragonfly necklace that I bought in Rice Village, a nice little shopping district in Houston close to Rice University.

Dragonfly necklace

Do you think they will send me some free ones now?

Finally you can see the delightful undergarment. Of course, I am not a large – I just need some breathing room in this humidity… I can’t stand Spandex and still have nightmares about my Nana’s flesh colored girdle that I had to help her get in (surely some Jesuits designed it)? This new ‘smoother’ is quite comfortable and holds things in right up to the rib cage. If I just did some exercise, like Helen Mirren, I would have a flat tummy and no wobbly bits. At least it gives Teddy something to grab onto!

Cersei or just ginger?

cersei2

I dye my own hair both to save money and because it usually turns out a better color than a salon would achieve. Today I used a slightly different mix and as it was processing, my hair started going vivid auburn. Sometimes it does look a really odd color when processing, such as purple or gray, so I wasn’t too worried. Then I rinsed it off. Teddy was in the bathroom and I said, “See, it turned out blonde after all”. His response was, “Cersei blonde, perhaps?” For those of you who watch Game of Thrones you will now know that it turned out strawberry blonde, titian or maybe just ginger. I have dyed it green before and grayish lilac (not the modern Kelly Osbourne style), so ginger is okay. My hair is so coarse that it soaks up all the UV light from the sun and will be a different color next week anyway.

The fact that I dyed my hair at all is a sign that I am feeling better. I had let it go quite white which made me look even more wan and tired than I did before. My last post was about my many miserable birthdays. Quite unexpectedly, this one turned out to be the worst ever. I can’t talk about it because I might consult a lawyer at a later date. Suffice to say, that it didn’t help my current mood. I was convinced that my various symptoms were caused by the menopause and went downtown to the OB-GYN who had done the Vajazzling. Beforehand, I sent her a mini-thesis of symptoms. It was clear that she didn’t really think it was the menopause but prescribed a type of hormone replacement therapy. I have a doctor friend who had suggested this particular combo, so although I wasn’t sure I took the prescription. When I had the script filled, I was horrified that the generic cost $90 per month – this is a drug that has been used for 38 years. I could have said no but thought that a month’s treatment might kick start something. Desperation makes fools of all of us.

That morning I took one tablet with breakfast. I have an element of ADD in my illness, so of course I didn’t look at the contraindications… Later on I did and realized I had just wasted $90. I have a very delicate digestive system from having had undiagnosed Giardia for 5 years (a little gift from the people of Egypt) but the doctor had given me a low dose because of that. The one that horrified me was that I could not be in the sun without sunscreen or being covered up. I need unfiltered sunshine to give me a decent dose of Vitamin D. The next contraindication was that it might cause depression – seriously??? WTF! The next contraindication was acne for which I am being treated by my dermatologist (menopausal acne, of course). I was so angry at myself for not listening to my gut instinct and going to my regular GP who would have ordered some blood work.

It is always difficult seeing specialists and other doctors when you have an underlying mental illness because neither of us can be certain whether it is the chicken or the egg. I think she thought that it was all my depression and I think she could be right. I see my psychiatrist in a few weeks and in the meantime I have stopped caffeine, alcohol and have cleaned up my already good eating habits. After the one HRT tablet my tummy erupted, so that wouldn’t have worked anyway. On a funnier note, another potential side effect was facial hair. I already have issue with middle-aged chin hairs – mine are all white so you can’t even see the buggers. When I mentioned this to Teddy he said (and I knew he was going to say it), “Well, you could always join the circus”. I wanted to slap him but instead I fell on the floor laughing at his bearded lady joke. You’ve got to laugh… 😹

Versatile Blogger Award – Kerry’s on fire!

versatile bloggers award

My lovely fellow blogger, The Grey Eye has nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Woo-hoo! Two awards in two days – how awesome am I? We have a snarky expression in Scotland to describe someone (like me) who has been bragging or boasting. ‘If she was chocolate, she would eat herself’. Just call me Miss Hershey!

The rules:
Show the award on your blog. Thank the person who nominated you.
The Grey Eye said this about me
Kerry for her amazing mental strength, despite her illness she is so strong that will make you think about yourself from a new angle
I am both humbled and touched by such a lovely comment and the graciousness of the whole blog.

Share 7 facts about yourself. Nominate 15 blogs. Link your nominees’ blogs, and let them know.
Facts about me :

1. I once modelled for Icelandic Airlines. Way back in the Ice Age (1962) I was on my first air trip from San Francisco, the place of my birth, to Scotland. We stopped at Reykjavik, Iceland to refuel and the local staff were enchanted with this exotic baby girl whose surname was Ortega. They would have been either disappointed or delighted that I am very distantly related to Princess Diana’s family. We share a medieval uncle.

Kerry's first passport

Kerry’s first passport

2. I am amazingly good in a crisis (despite a diagnosis of anxiety). Just shove any old thing at me; someone having a panic attack on an aircraft, perhaps a devastating hurricane or the 2nd Gulf War breaking out (Egypt 2003). I will just smile and keep calm. Later, when the shouting is over, I will have a small psychiatric break…

3. Despite a phobia of moths, I have no fear of traveling almost anywhere alone. Flew off to Central America and South East Asia without a care in the world and came to no harm. This is the silver lining to fatalism. I am reasonable sensible in dangerous parts but still think I will die of heart disease like almost everyone else. It would be excessively cool, however, to become undead in a zombie apocalypse!

4. I love hot, steamy weather which is handy because I live in south east Texas. In cold climates, I become ill really quickly and can’t warm up without a bath. Along with Native American genetics, I believe I have some very ancient lizard DNA. I bask in sunlight and shut down in the cold.

5. Food is inconsequential to me. I either eat too much or too little. I enjoy savory and sweet morsels but would be happy to live forever on avocados and wine. I do like food porn though and salivate at other blogger’s recipes. I am the only person I know who gets nauseous when grocery shopping and have to leave midway.

6. Despite a love of writing, I now find it very difficult to concentrate on reading. My attention span is short so I have to really struggle to read a book for book club. Blogs are perfect for me. When I do read I love geeky stuff – sci-fi and fantasy. Game of Thrones (shudder of delight)…

7. Cats, critters, wildlife. Love it all (even the moths) and am so lucky that our house backs onto a reserve full of interesting critters- possums, skunks, raccoons, snakes, wood rats, birds, feral cats and goodness knows what else. HEAVEN… but noisy in the summer when everyone is mating and chirruping! I knew the raccoons visited last night because our newly painted cream deck was covered in little muddy paw prints and the water bowl was empty. Guess what my honey do hunk will be doing when he gets back from Waco?

I nominate :

Mr Wayne
Bold Blind Beauty
poemhobby
Fife Photos and Art
Life As Lisa Knows It
Mon Petit Blog D’écriture
discovermarche
101viaggi
Love Exploring Scotland
organic is beautiful
impeccable hopes
FORGOTTEN MEADOWS
xifoidvexillum
Rachel Being Chatty
Robyn Christi

The series finale…

narrow sea

The Narrow Sea….(or maybe Vancouver)

I am afraid my Game of Thrones week has come a sudden and bloody end. That was literary exaggeration – it was just sudden although my fingertips feel bloodied. I have another deadline for a paid job and blogging life has to stop for a few days. Today I feel like Davos Seaworth, the Knight of Onions, who works so hard and loyally for his boss Stannis Baratheon. Stannis is deeply flawed and has made some dubious choices in his work and love life but also seems wearied by life.

I have two jobs, one paid and another unpaid. The unpaid one requires all my life experience and professionalism. It’s usually a pleasure to go there but this week it was one problem after another and the only thing that helped me was that I was wearing cobweb lacy stockings with my short uniform skirt. That added to my Scottish accent enabled me to put some humor into a mechanical problem (that was really irritating the customers) and blame it on the elves and leprechauns at Halloween. This is making me sound like one of Littlefinger’s ladies of the night…

My paid writing job is much more enjoyable but it is a steep learning curve and a very short deadline. I have spent the last day and night cajoling, persuading and working hard. I have six interviews with entrepreneurs in the next two days all mangled around the much needed one with the psychiatrist. All my plans of psychiatric flirting have disappeared in a haze of ‘what questions will I ask?’, ‘what is an appropriate outfit?’ (not the cobweb stockings methinks) and ‘do I have another UTI, really???’ So, at least you know my flirting will come to naught…

Ah, it will all be worth it in the end and winter is coming…

My soft side is Sansa

KerrybyCris 002

Although I have embraced many different Game of Thrones characters this week, my inside core is probably most like Sansa. Poor Sansa; she was slow to learn how to be strong and manipulate people. She is so naïve and gullible. I am an easy target for bullies and criticism despite an outer layer of confidence. Every time I think I have it figured out, someone will spot the weakness in my outer character and bait me. Sometimes it’s colleagues, employers or acquaintances.

My mother could be very critical, as was Sansa’s (mine died in less gory circumstances…) and she was determined that I would be a perfect little princess with immaculate clothes and hair. My mum and, ironically, one of my therapists reckoned that my best chance in this world was marrying a man of substance. Even my professor at college suggested that I take a typing course after completing a business management diploma. He reckoned I look too young for anyone to consider employing me as a junior executive and he was right. Thank goodness, I met and married an ‘ologist by age 21! Sometimes I think I would have had an easier life in another century but I like inside plumbing…

Sansa is a stoic character – as am I. I tolerate unacceptable conditions with little fuss for years before I finally snap. At a school reunion some years ago, I confronted a bully and she was astonished. She had no memory of doing anything unpleasant – the other one became a policewoman. On one stupid occasion at college, two boys that I thought were friends, offered to take me home in their car. I was too tipsy to realize there was a problem until one of them got in the back with me. I tried charm, humor but they both wanted to have sex with me against my will. There were childproof locks on the rear doors and I couldn’t get out. I snapped, thank goodness, and started beating one of them on the head with my umbrella until the one in the front let me out.

Like most victims of this kind of assault, I thought that I had deserved it because I was flirting and accepted their offer. I bet you thought this was going to be another funny blog? I am convinced that Sansa is going to be a very different character in the next series and I am just glad this princess married a man of substance who has looked after her.

This lovely photo is courtesy of Cris Woods who took it when I was going through an auburn stage… Which Game of Thrones character are you most like?