Close to the Immaculate Conception Church is a Pioneer Park with original and replica buildings from the origins of San Diego. As I wandered through the park, I wondered about my ancestors. Was I walking in their footsteps?
This is a quote from Old Town San Diego guide
“Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego”.
I bet it really was cosmopolitan back in the day!
I was fascinated by the huge scale. It made me think of bushels and pecks – such descriptive measurements. When we moved back to the States, I was delighted to find imperial measurements instead of Metric weights. Sometimes you are just to old to adapt to kilos… Then I discovered that American imperial measurements are different to the old British ones. The gallons are different – WTH???
Senora de los Meurtos
I visited just before Halloween and Dia de los Meurtos and loved the vivid color in these displays in the restaurant district. You can tell that it is autumn in San Diego with that fantastic clear light. It was about 80 degrees with NO humidity – yay! I fearlessly ate lunch outside without misting systems and didn’t get bitten by mosquitoes. When you live in a sub tropical swamp, those weather conditions are heaven. As I write this, it is heavenly weather in Houston but there is always some bloody mosquitoes…
Ah, it was a perfect day visiting ancestor’s graves at an appropriate time to honor them and then being able to imagine how they lived.
Random photo of Teddy standing dressed as Ace Halloween 2009
Another random photo of me dressed as a naughty school girl. It backfired because everyone thought I was someone’s daughter!
The strange thing about blogging is that you feel a responsibility to followers and friends. I have been absent without leave for a few weeks and can’t help but feel guilty about it. Like most of us, life has intervened into my usual routine and I have been a little frazzled. Lots of new contract work has kept me busy but my mind has been blank despite all the opportunities for people watching. I wondered if my health was deteriorating but my psychiatrist seems happy with me – I had some wonky blood results (that’s a clinical term…) which raised anxiety levels. My cholesterol levels shot up but my inflammatory markers that indicate plaque, risk of stroke or heart attack were good. My extended Irish family has a huge file on our family risk of heart problems in the main hospital in Dublin, so I have always been proactive about eating well and exercising. But I can’t think of anything nicer than a baked potato smothered in butter…
Then I had a skin biopsy. My dermatologist just went straight to the point – “I am taking a biopsy to check for basal skin cancer”. Yes, it also appears in the Irish family – dang those genetics. Why couldn’t they just leave me money in their will?? I didn’t truly enjoy my short vacation in San Diego which is why I haven’t blogged, although looking back there were some lovely moments including finding ancestors graves. The news has just been so awful that I have started watching Fixer Upper instead of CNN. We finally got around to ordering a new door after Hurricane Harvey only to have the wrong one delivered… Teddy wondered if I made a fuss but there was no point; many of our residents have lost everything.
One of my friends housed their neighbors whose house was flooded. The children just moved back last week and my friend was sad – what a beautiful person she is. All of my contract work dried up immediately after the hurricane because no-one was able to or wanted to hold conferences in Houston. One of my employees had a wee party for their staff in the garden of the office. It was so much fun and I won the raffle for 4 tickets to Kemah which is our equivalent of Coney Island. Well, I have no kids and don’t know anyone who has apart from my angel friend. Apparently her neighbor was overwhelmed that a complete stranger would give them a gift. No one could have felt happier than me, paying it forward feels good.
Two of the events that I have worked for recently have incorporated the conference contributing or volunteering to the Houston Food Bank. Thank you! One day when I was working at the airport, I helped a volunteer by translating for a passenger who only spoke Spanish (then three more turned up). After that, I was still standing there when two men came up and said very loudly and incomprehensibly, “Haw Missus, how do ye get out of this airport?” The volunteer looked perplexed. Was it Serbo-Croat or Icelandic? I recognized the accent from Glasgow in Scotland where I grew up. Laughingly, I said, “Come over here boys!” Their faces lit up when they heard my (much posher, think Maggie Smith) Glasgow accent. One of them had his arms wide open and said, “Gie us a cuddle” which I did and the other one hugged from the other side, kissing my ear. I sent them on their way and laughed at the look of horror on the elegant volunteer’s face. They were either oilmen or mariners who had travelled from some far flung place, Kazakhstan perhaps? A few refreshments had been imbibed but there was nothing sexual about the cuddle. It was one of kinship and comfort in a strange place. Gosh, I felt homesick for the first time in years that day. Despite all the turmoil recently, Texas mostly feels like home.
Get ready for some fun blogs and sorry for my absence.
Mouse eating grin
When I first moved back to the States, I couldn’t figure out what Renaissance Festivals were all about. Twelve years later, I got it – you wear something as funny, provocative or revealing as you can in the general theme of the weekend. This weekend at our local Renfest, it was All Hallow’s Eve so I decided to go as a black cat(ish). Teddy said that I was getting plenty of attention from children and young men. I guess they both wanted a cuddle, of sorts…
Teddy made a minimum effort with his outfit, as usual. He looks pensive but he is really just overwhelmed by the amount of cleavage and ass on view. This is one of his shots.
It is a disability friendly venue and I just loved Death – both the concept and the effort
These ladies made it feel medieval…
I really liked the big black bunny rabbit…
I loved this giant fairy (on stilts)
I thought I misheard when someone called out, ‘watch out for the llama!” but no…
It was as hot as hell, so I have no idea how this knight in shining armor coped.
There was an arial Hawk show and I love this shot of a King Vulture getting ready to fly. All the birds were disabled or unable to be released into the wild.
I live in a forest and if you have ever seen the movie, “Over the Hedge” you will understand who our vandals are. Every season, I decorate the porch and this year I went with an orange and green theme. Topping my pine cone basket were some fake gourds that I have kept for 12 years…
After all these years, I know exactly who the perpetrators are – RACCOONS! There is plenty of food available, trees are hanging with fruits and berries so this was just playtime. Those little hands get into everything. I started laughing when I saw the devastation and when I was at the grocery store I bought a small real pumpkin, so their tummies won’t be full of polystyrene. The checkout girl gave it to me free, as it was out of a bag, and I told her my banditos will be grateful (or skunks or possums)
At home, I carefully cut a wedge and put it back together so it would be easier to eat. Yeah, I know I am loco…
Now the porch decor is intact again and I was feeling delighted with my art and largess towards the critters. Then I went into the back yard. As you know, two of our old pussycats died this year and we buried them in the garden. On a darkly funny note, something has been trying to dig into Zhenny’s grave, perhaps they are tomb robbers? She was an Egyptian princess, after all. My wonderful gardener came around, put down fresh mulch and dug in some plants. Since it looked so perfect, I added a couple of Dia de Los Muertes candles to their graves.
Not only did they desecrate the graves by knocking over the candles but carried another fake gourd around to the back and destroyed it on the deck. We heard nothing. I guess we are so used to the nighttime chirrups and squeaks that we don’t hear it anymore. Ah, the joys of living with wildlife. 😀🌲
What can I say? We love staying at home with the lights on to encourage the trick or treaters. Most of our street is full of empty nesters or older folks so we adore our little ones. We decided to invite some of our friends around while we waited for visitors, and they came!!! Four little princesses, mutants and whatever else they were. I am sure they were a little scared by the old people in their cat PJs and hippy t-shirts but we had great fun as did our guests.
I have gone to bed with my cat make-up on because I have had a few refreshments. Sure will get a shock in the morning when I look in the mirror!
This is the Halloween story I promised following the Cougar and the Cherokee blog – https://chattykerry.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/the-cougar-and-the-cherokee/ I had gone into our local hardware store to speak to the master gardener about a strange webbing all over our Live Oak. Both my husband and I thought that it was a very industrious spider but then the web was literally all over an oak tree that is as tall as our house. I was chatting with a friend who queried whether it could be something harmful like a silk worm.
To my astonishment, the master gardener brought up some photos on her computer of the perpetrators and their web – it was bark lice. They are amazing little friends of nature. Live Oaks attract lichen because of their open bark and this can kill the tree. The bark lice eat lichen so they come as a landscaping team – probably speaking Spanish – cover their web all over the tree, eat the lichen, roll the web back into a ball and take it with them to the next tree. Isn’t that fantastic?
Here is a link to more information about them. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-41_barklice2_Cerastipscus_sp.htm
I looked very hard for Ernesto, Adelpho or Pedro but I couldn’t see the little stripy critters under the webbing. I hoped it would last until Halloween and I could cover the tree in fake spiders but their job is done and our tiny landscapers have moved onto another tree. Nature is full of joy and mystery.
This is one of my favorite costumes for Halloween. It is ridiculously sexy and silly but I loved wearing it with my great friend who was some kind of Mexican taquita? Sometimes we were very imaginative and one year went as Portia and Ellen when they got married (no-one got it…) I was very naughty and showed it to a policeman who had a crush on me at work. He was speechless and blushed – gosh it was hilarious!.
This wonderful post provoked this random anecdote –
Woo-hoo! This has been an epic publishing month for me. About a year ago I noticed that a local magazine was looking for writers and applied. They responded and asked what sort of subjects I would like to write about. Then nothing… As soon as I returned from Glasgow in August I received an email from the Editor asking if I could write an article about Halloween with a short deadline. I suggested starting with a history of Halloween and then listing all the local festivals. I have rarely worked so hard – phoning everyone from church secretaries to Resort Managers to get the precise details of events. Yesterday the magazine arrived and it looks fabulous – laid out in a way that just delighted me. They even used my photograph from last years Renaissance Festival. There has been some problems associated with Halloween here, not helped by stupid movies. Some more conservative churches don’t like the witchcraft angle or the sexy costumes (I love the sexy costumes)… Latin Americans have felt that the commercialism of Halloween has taken away the spirituality of their Festival, Day of the Dead. I tried my best to address this in a light but informative way.
This is the first part of the article and a link to the online version of the magazine which unfortunately does not have the wonderful layout of the printed version.
Scary and not-so-scary fun is on its way to The Woodlands to celebrate autumn and Halloween. Did you know that Halloween has its roots deep in the old country? Samhain was likely a pre-Christian festival, celebrated in the Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. The date was around the time of the autumnal equinox, and it marked the passing of the lighter nights into the dark of winter. Celts have always been superstitious and believed that otherworldly creatures, such as fairies and spirits, were visible on Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve. The spirits could also see us, which is why we dress up in costumes to disguise ourselves.
Over the years, the dates of Celtic festivities have changed, usually to mesh with the Roman calendar. It is a similar story with the Mexican and Latin American festival Dia de Los Muertes — Day of the Dead. Originally the festival, which may have its roots in Aztec history, took place in the summer and was a commemoration of the souls that had passed on. After the Spanish invasion, the date was moved to coincide with All Saints Day.
So let’s take a moment to honor our ancestors and then enjoy the many events in and around The Woodlands. We have perfect fall weather, still warm with less humidity. Go out there and have fun! Check websites for admission fees, more details and weather updates.
Click on the link to see the full article.
Look at that cheeky Viking face! This delightful barbarian was part of the daily procession at Texas Renaissance Festival 2014. We go every year, sometimes twice, and have a wonderful time. It is always held during Fall time at Todd Mission, a remote rural location, about 50 miles north west of Houston. The weather can be very hot as it was on this day or sharply cold as the Canadian fronts inch forward. The festival goers were mostly white some years ago but as our area has expanded and grown so has the diversity of the attendees. Everyone was delighted about a young family who were all dressed up for Day of the Dead which is the Mexican festival held at the same time as Halloween. This weekend was the Halloween theme so I got out my cat ears and my other half wore his satyr horns. Although it is in the middle of nowhere the facilities are disability friendly and I love to see people racing around in their motorized wheelchairs, especially when they get dressed up. Most people wear some costume, even if it is only a faux fur tail. One year I had prosthetic elf ears applied by one of the merchants – I loved them! I wanted to wear them to ‘school’ the next day… This post is all about the photographs so click on the red link and enjoy! TEXAS RENFEST, click here