A spoonful of sugar…

teddy-doctor
….makes the medicine go down. I had great intentions of blogging more frequently but suddenly my health deteriorated last week and I had to go to ER. I have had a variety of nagging symptoms with no real diagnosis until a blood test showed my thyroid was a little under-active. I started taking some medication for this but suddenly, on Wednesday, was very dizzy, nauseous and my heart was beating out of my chest like a cartoon.

I checked to see if these were serious side effects and it said ‘go to ER, immediately’. Since it was evening, I had no other option. All I could think about was, ‘how much is this going to cost?’ I was also short of breath, so the staff at reception asked me if I had a family history of heart disease. I, rather unwillingly, shared that both my parents had heart attacks in their 50s. They were both smokers and alcoholics… The next thing I hear is “56 year old woman, EKG”. Most of us think we are 21 in our heads but hearing that is somehow shocking, especially since history seemed to be repeating itself.

To cut the melodrama short, my heart and lungs are fine. The ER doctor thought that I might have gone from hypo to hyper thyroid with the new medication but had to send off the blood samples for further investigation. They put me on a saline IV drip and gave me some Potassium to drink, as my levels were low. The nurse warned me that it tasted awful and mixed it with Gatorade. Gah! It tasted even worse than the stuff you have before a colonoscopy. With every sentence I sound like an old person. 😱

Other recent blood tests taken my GP showed that my B12 levels were low also. It is still a mystery as to the exact why but the word parasite has been brought up again. I was really trying to avoid my gastroenterologist but having had a parasite in the past, I will really need to do the dirty (to coin a phrase). Teddy took me to ER and sat with me through each boring hour. The doctor had pressed my tummy and I had gas. Teddy said, “Just let it out” and at that exact moment a trolley squeaked next door. He said, “How did you do that?” I was short of breath and struggle not to faint from laughing.

Later he discovered that if he said “Boo!” to me, my heart monitor would skip…oh, he is such a laugh. It did strike me that I was so glad that I have a husband to be with me. How hard it must be to be sick and alone. I have no family for many thousands of miles, with no parents or siblings. My friends have been very concerned and that touches my soul. I am very grateful to have health care through my husband’s job and will await the bill with trepidation. How lucky you are in other countries where you can go to ER without worrying.

Most of the worst symptoms are gone and I am resting at home, dreaming of walking on a beach in the sunshine. Back to blogging soon.

A perfect white palette

White Ginger Blossom

White Ginger Blossom

This is the last in my series of Mercer Arboretum. Although all the flowers are white, they are not really the same. Some have a greenish tinge, others pink. When I shopped for my wedding dress over 30 years ago, I realized that there were many shades of white that somebody with a yellow undertone can’t wear. In the end I wore ivory and it was so much more flattering.

Three white trumpets

Three white trumpets

White Hibiscus

White Hibiscus

This exquisite hibiscus is the epitome of beauty in color (or the absence of it). It’s delicate pink stamen peeps out provocatively. The little yellow centred white flowers below, look like they are laughing.

yellow centers

sunny centered white flowers

Wouldn’t this border would be lovely for a bride and groom to stand next to?

Virginal White Border

Virginal White Border

Are there any brides out there who are virgins when they marry? It was quite common in my Irish Catholic community, 30 years ago but my ivory dress was apropos…not quite pure! Isn’t it odd that the majority of us, these days, think there is no great advantage in being a virgin before marriage and those that extol it seem a bit weird. Each to their own, but I think I would at least like a look and a free trial. 💓 LOL!

White Lilies

White Lilies

On a similar note, people of my age usually hate the smell of cut lilies because we had our dead relatives lying in state (the bedroom) with lilies to overcome the faint scent of decomposition. Fortunately, we lived in Scotland and most old people die in the winter so they are more likely to freeze than decompose… 👻 I have a healthy disrespect for the basics of life – we live, we die and hopefully, in between, have some sex.

The Silver Tongued Irishman and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Irish vistaI really need to finish my Tampa blogs but I thought I would amuse you with this tale. The Irishman in question, let’s call him Patrick, worked for my husband about 15 or more years ago. We met for the first time at a company function. Teddy was sitting at one side of me and introduced me to Patrick, who was quite the flirt. We exchanged funny stories about Ireland and I think he was quite enchanted by an Irish/Hispanic lady. I choked on my vodka and coke when he said, seductively and in Teddy’s earshot, “I shouldn’t sit so close to you because I am so fertile”. I fell off my seat laughing at his daring and because he didn’t know that I couldn’t have children because of infertility. Teddy looked a little shocked but started laughing too.

My favorite Patrick story (apart from the one above) is about the town he came from in County Galway. To set the scene, it had become a tourist and artist haven because it’s natural beauty. Many artists, from all around Europe and America, had moved there. Despite the fact that Ireland is a Catholic country, various missionaries had been trying to wedge a niche in the congregation. I doubt that many of them were successful as even the Catholic Church is treated with both reverence and skepticism in Ireland. But still they tried…

On this occasion, Jehovah’s Witnesses had gone to one little cottage in the town. An older woman opened the door to two smart young men. Their opening gambit was, “Do you know Jesus?” To their astonishment, the lady said (remember this is an Irish accent), “Surely, yes. If you just go to the top of the hill his cottage is on the right”. Unbeknown to the shocked missionaries, a Spanish artist had moved into the town and was called, wait for it, JESUS! The local population had no idea that it is pronounced ‘Hayzuus’ in Espanol. Ah, I love that story. 😇

As most of you know, Teddy is a rather accomplished geologist. This means that he has to believe in evolution … even here in Texas. We have fossils and minerals all over the bloody house and if you let him, he will tell which eon they come from, blah, blah, blah. We lived for years in a very remote agricultural area in the North East of Scotland. Almost everyone was some type of Protestant, some of them weird sects. They even have dry fishing boats from the major ports to accommodate some of the restrictive religions. One cold night, the door bell rung and there were two Jehovah’s Witnesses. We were astonished to see them so far out – they may as well have been in darkest Africa. Teddy invited them in and started teaching them about evolution which directly opposed the teachings of their church. By the time he had the fossils out, you could see that the younger man was becoming convinced of Darwinism. The older one took control and they left rather hastily. As soon as they did we howled with laughter and still wait patiently in Texas for some poor soul to come by the house of Satan. 😈 ☘

Nikita and the flamingo

NIKITA

NIKITA

This is the adorable ‘poodle’ Nikita that friends of ours had brought from Azerbaijan to Egypt (via Kuwait). She was not 100% poodle but near enough that it made no difference. Our friends arrived in Egypt shortly after the second Gulf War broke out and had been evacuated from Kuwait. They needed to travel shortly after arriving and asked if we would look after Nikita in our villa.

I was delighted, Teddy not so much. At this stage we just had Mrs. Stripe, who was still very feral and living in the garden, so not our pet as such. Before we arrived in Egypt I had lost my mum and the two remaining elderly Scottish cats. I didn’t really lose them – they died… We had decided “NO MORE PETS!” Despite that, I really missed having little fur babies to cuddle.

So as indulgent aunt and uncle to Nikita, we spoiled her rotten. She came with her toys and food but we could tell that she, too, was traumatized by the recent move. Firstly, I insisted that she sleep in the bed with us, under the covers, because she might be frightened with new people in a new house. She was SO excited, Teddy not so much…

I noticed that she didn’t really play that much with her toys which included a pink stuffed flamingo. We decided that she might like a silly game. Our villa had an open staircase in the living area with a balcony. Teddy would steal flamingo and run up the stairs and dangle flamingo through the bars. Then he squealed in a high ‘flamingo’ voice, “Nikita, help me, help me!” I was at the bottom urging her to save flamingo from bad Teddy. She LOVED that game and would collapse in doggy giggles while rescuing flamingo. I would then praise her for her rescue skills.

Every day, when Uncle Teddy came home she would run to him with the flamingo in her mouth and the game would start all over. We had one small incident with jealous Mrs. Stripe who tried to scratch Nikita on the face – my leg got it instead. Finally mom and dad came back and I think Nikita was sad to leave us. The next week at work, Nikita’s Daddy said to Teddy, “You have ruined my dog. Why does she keep bringing me the flamingo and looking sad?” He probably wondered why Nikita wanted to sleep under the covers, too.

Ah, happy days and such a lovely memory especially since Nikita and her Daddy have both gone to heaven. Do you think they are playing the flamingo game in Heaven? Click on this link to read about my book, Letters from Cairo

Teddy and Nikita at the crime scene

Teddy and Nikita at the crime scene

Topless Teaser…

A topless slutty Mrs. Stripe - you can even see her nipples!

A topless slutty Mrs. Stripe – you can even see her nipples!

This post is a little lead in or teaser into my theme next week – sexuality. Can you tell that I can’t get frisky until after my cataract operation? Teddy has been chasing me all around the house but he missed his opportunity…

Many years ago we both worked for a small oil service company in the north of Scotland. Sometimes small companies are so much fun to work for and give you endless humorous stories. When we moved to this city, I had to change jobs/careers again and finally got the opportunity to work as a fossil picker. Basically, you look at core samples (from oil wells) under a microscope and pull out micro-fossils for the real genius’s to look at. It’s a perfect job for someone with OCD to do. I was being trained at the same time as a very eager young man. He was bragging about how much he had impressed them at interview and just at that moment my husband walk past the window and waved. In response I said, “I slept with that guy to get the job”. The rest of the laboratory collapsed laughing and the young man was shocked. Well, it was the truth. Nepotism!

That’s not my funny story, though. After we had both moved on to other jobs we kept in touch with the base manager who passed on this tale. They had employed a very pretty young girl, about 18, with ample assets, shall we say? She looked good but wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box so was employed as a cleaner. The majority of staff in the various units was male and their jaws dropped open when they saw their new cleaner. She was already notorious in this provincial city because her mother had signed a waiver when she was 16 to allow her to model topless in one of our seedier newspapers. You think the ones in the US are bad but the Super, Soaraway, Sun was the worst daily tabloid. Men would just drool over someone’s breasts on the bus or train while giving you the eye.

So, to supplement her job as a cleaner she did evening jobs on the side. On one unforgettable occasion she had put up a handwritten poster on the company noticeboard to advertise her services. There were plenty of potential lads who were organizing grooms nights or stag nights as we call them in the UK.

EXOTIC DANCING – £10 a night
TOPPLES – £20 extra

I told you that she wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box but I bet she got plenty of work!

Epically Awesome – that’s me!

epically awesome award

I have been nominated for an Epically Awesome Award. If it was in Scotland it would be the Pure, Dead, Brilliant Award. Anyway, lets get on with it before my head gets any bigger… 🙂

1. You are awesome; tell us why.
Surely it’s obvious – just look at my blog! I rarely feel awesome but I do appreciate that my writing affects people. In real life, I try very hard to be a good person with a peculiar mix of tactlessness and compassion. I think it works.

2. You are my friend; tell us about other friends.
I have so many friends and am lucky to have them. I have friends from childhood, college, work, neighbors and groups. It is so important to keep in touch with people if you want to maintain friendships (and Facebook doesn’t do it for me). Blogging has opened up a whole new world of friends who I share my deepest secrets with although it is a public forum. It’s a conundrum.

3. Be creative, but it’s ok if you are having trouble with this one/ There are no direct questions to answer; let yourself run wild!
minion ibis
Nature in its simplicity and grandeur warms my heart and makes me glad to be alive. My photographs of critters fill me with joy because I was lucky enough to share some private time with them and then share their beauty with the world. Gracias little Ibis.

4. Now notify your nominees and thank the blogger who nominated you.
Thank you to Callum at Student in Snowdonia for nominating me. Callum has a beautiful blog with very nostalgic photographs of North Wales. My husband and I spent our first two married years there and we weren’t much older than Callum.

My nominees are

Southern Georgia Bunny because her mom and my mum must have been spiritual sisters – awesomely weird and hilarious.

Hot Mess Memoirs because she made me laugh out loud at her story of an 80 year old pervert.

Samara’s Muses because, like me, she talks to weird people at airports and writes with poignancy.

On the Road Cooking because Pan cooks the most amazing food on a tiny wee oven in a truck!

Carmen from Escapades because she is taking midterms and yet still has an esthetically fabulous blog.

The Peterhead Situation

Andy Norway 001

Many years ago my husband and I were shopping in our nearest large town, Peterhead. We lived in a rural agricultural area – the nearest large city was Aberdeen, 30 miles away. Some of my husband’s family is from Peterhead which is the largest fishing port in Europe. We must have been bored because there were few shops or decent restaurants. It was in the middle of the day, we were walking along the main shopping street when my husband grabbed my arm with a panicked look. “What is it,” I asked with concern. “I really need to go to the bathroom”. “Okay, we can go get some lunch and use their bathroom”. “No, I need to go to the bathroom right now and it’s a poo!” I quickly located the public restrooms (that should never be used by humans) and pointed him in the right direction. My laughter had remained inside, but as I watched him waddle off trying to keep his sphincter under control, I just collapsed laughing. When he came out I asked if he had a tummy problem but it was apparently just a gigantic poo that had to come out instantly. Using those bathrooms must have been just as scary as the problem. He just needs to mention The Peterhead Situation for me to fall apart laughing but also look concerned.

There is now spit all over my lap top as I am laughing so hard with these romantic memories. Around about the same time, we had a small inheritance and bought ourselves a Superking bed. They were very uncommon in Scotland and we paid almost as much for the bedding. My worse half had been out at a business meal and I think I was already in bed, almost asleep when he came home. In the middle of the night, he shook me and said, “I have had an accident in the bed, we need to change it!” Still sleepy, I asked precisely what happened and he had pooed his pants after eating bad mussels. I really didn’t want to get up so just suggested that he take his pants off and move to my side of the bed – it’s 6ft wide, after all. Then he really got upset, disgusted at himself and at his slothful, sleepy wife. He made so much fuss that I changed the bed with very bad grace, all the while berating him for eating something as stupid as reheated mussels. Nag, nag and harrumph!

He has mostly learned to eat sensible food except the time he ate nuts at the airport bar in Cairo. Really?? Apart from hepatitis, there are so many illnesses you can get from shared nuts in a third world country. He threw up for 5 hours on the plane – he is such an ass. We have been married so long (33 years) that he now looks at me before he makes his choice at the restaurant. The wait staff look amazed that my shake of the head can change his mind – but they have never cleaned mussel poo out of a Superking bedding!!! He is going to love me for this post… 🙂

PS This is what he looked like at the time of the incidents which is why I didn’t divorce him for lack of sphincter control…