Technically, we live in the sub-tropics in the Piney Wood ecosystem, Texas. I think I prefer Almost Tropical and to illustrate – we go from Hot as Hades to Freeze your Ass off. Yesterday a cold front came in and unusually we have some autumnal foliage. Most years a hurricane or storm system blows off the leaves before they can change color.
This is my walking path just at the end of my ‘hood’. It is so lovely at this time of year with less sunscreen/warm sweaters needed. You can always tell the recent snowbirds. They wear shorts all year round and look at my layered sweaters with disbelief. Having to communicate or at least wave to everyone on the walking path also causes them some consternation. Bless their hearts…
Usually this display of copper and gold would warm my heart but the Grinch has stolen it. My depression has been getting better but the time change has messed with my brain. For the last few months the driving in our town had improved after an obvious police/trooper/constable presence. Even my ice cold heart was warmed by seeing jackasses in trucks/Mercedes getting tickets or at least a scolding. On Wednesday I had to return to my trusty physiotherapist because my right arm is sore and numb. In route back home, I encountered a weaver in a truck. Three lanes of traffic, going about 50 mph, and yet he felt he could get three cars ahead by weaving in and out of traffic dangerously. He swerved right in front of me and something broke in my brain. To preface this, honking your horn is almost unheard of down here. I put my hand on the horn and left it there. All the lanes seemed to back away from me and I was left in a solitary bubble of road rage. The next day the police were back and schadenfreude overtook me as I watched car after car getting booked.
Now I am less sore and grumpy, the Grinch has retreated and I am enjoying the autumnal leaves once more. I even went to the mall to get my Nordstom’s coffee and enjoyed the repartee with the Israeli soap sellers. Sometimes it drives me crazy and I feel like I have never left the souk. Can someone tell me how to say, “Stop bothering me” in Hebrew? Nothing too rude…their employers probably make them use persistent sale tactics.
Northerners laugh at us when we complain about almost freezing temperatures but we are acclimated to a long summer of hot and steamy. It is usually in the high 90’s but the humidity shoots up the heat index. When the first cold front arrived the temperature shot down by about 50 degrees. Today it is bloody freezing and the heating isn’t working – eek! I phoned our contractor in a panic and they are coming out in an hour even though it is Saturday. My neurological issues and low blood pressure makes me feel really unwell when I am cold. The gas fire is on and the space heater, too.
The other week I spotted something strange and big in the garden. I racked my brain until I realized it was an old Great Horned Owl nest which had collapsed – it was about 3 feet across. They usually steal someone’s else’s but it was huge and very nicely lined with a plastic grocery bag and pine needles. Everyone is recycling these days. 🦉
I am struggling to write and read just now. Many apologies to all my wonderful followers and those I follow for being absent. I have talked about my chronic anxiety and depression many times so no need for any further explanation. Between sad bouts, I experience moments of great happiness, for which I am thankful or life would not be worth living. These are some of my recent moments.
Close up of mountain laurel blossom
My lovely neighbor with green fingers gifted me this tree a couple of years ago because it wouldn’t thrive in her garden. I was very anxious because my fingers are not green (blackish) and then this year we had flood, excessive heat and finally a terrible cold snap. Some of my tropical plants died but the lovely Laurel has new growth and exquisite lavender flowers. They have an intense fragrance which my neighbor could smell as she approached my house. I now just buy plants and ask my gardener to place them in the right spot – it is working, so far…
The Dead Grasshopper
This poor little green person probably did not survive the hard frost and fell out of our house planks. He was perfectly preserved and so green. Normally these noisy critters frighten me because of how they jump but I do like their songs. It was fun to really examine his little body and hold it. There truly is beauty in death. After I took his photograph, I left it on the rock. When I went outside later, some lucky bird had eaten a freeze dried snack. I wonder if she thought, “they are usually juicier than that?”
The Tulle Filled Nest
Romantic front door
This is a photograph of my front door decorated for Valentine’s Day. My Mountain Laurel neighbor loves to decorate her presents with ribbons and tulle – almost too nice to open. I keep them to use myself and had created a bow with pink and white tulle sitting atop the beads. We had a windy day and suddenly the bow was gone. A squirrel or bird probably has a pink tulle lined crib and I just smile at the thought. Maybe they also had the freeze dried snack…
The Syrian limo driver
During my recent contract work, I was paired with a Syrian-American limo driver. He was courteous, respectful, articulate and charming. You probably expect me to say something about executive orders and how nice Middle Eastern people are but the truth is he was Cougar Eye Candy. I am purring softly as I write this. He was tall, slim and handsome with dark hair, white skin and the most exquisite grey/green/blue eyes with long black eyelashes. I flirted outrageously in Arabic and English, wondering what I would have done with him were I 30 years younger…
The Spanish Translation
In a previous post, I talked about the coffee barista from Jerusalem who is Muslim. He works at my local Argentinean/Venezuelan Café. Those two sentences somehow encapsulate the interesting diversity of Houston. This week I went in for my usual cappuccino and he was serving on his own. The lady in front of me could only speak Spanish and although coffee guy looks Hispanic, he can’t speak it. I offered to translate and I think I got three beef empanadas correct. The lady looked Latino/Indio and was utterly confused by the blonde Texan lady translating to the ‘Spanish’ guy. It’s a wonderful world.
More happy moments to come…
The Lion House
This is the original house of Brigham Young and his many wives. I went on a short tour of the inside of the house which was remarkably small but quite beautifully appointed. Not all of the decoration was the original, which is to be expected. I was fascinated by the red chandeliers and eventually had to ask if they were original. They weren’t and I laughingly mentioned that a red light, where I come from, usually indicated a house of ill repute. In Salt Lake City, the red light indicated that the household had extra food for the early pioneers who struggled to grow enough food. Although Brigham Young was a polygamist, there was pressure from the United States for polygamy to be outlawed as it threatened the status of the Latter Day Saint’s as a legal church and the practice was officially ended in 1890. Researching Polygamy was quite fascinating…
Brigham Young Cottage Garden
You probably have seen a variety of documentaries and reality shows about current day polygamists. Despite the law against it, many groups of families carried on the practice. Some of it is weird but harmless but a few of the larger family groups behave more like cults or cartels. It is very much frowned upon by current LDS members. Polygamy is a reasonable practice in times of stress. It regularly occurred in historical times were men were often killed in battle and the survivor’s would marry their brother’s wife, for example, to protect them and to increase the population. It is legal in Egypt to have 4 wives but they must be treated equally. As a result, it is very rare. Who the heck would want more than one spouse? 😚 😍 😒 😟
Red and Blue flowerbed
Everywhere I went in the Temple Complex, I was mistaken for a Mormon woman. That was probably because I was dressed more respectfully than some red neck Mormons who were visiting. There was very subtle missionary work but it was water off a duck’s back (I lived in Egypt…). As you can see from the photographs, the flowers beds were just so vibrant. It was a very hot, sunny day and I was surprised that the flowers looked so good – they wilt in Houston. I guess the blossoms enjoy the respite of a cooler evening with some dew?
Bee in blossom
A penultimate post to come, with more flowers.