Source: Hospitality and Humor in Cairo
Click on the link to see my guest post on Mohamad Al Karbi’s blog. I was moved to tears by his post about his Syrian father’s death recently – Home is where the heart is
As many of you know from a previous post Vajazzling, I have had medical treatment for a condition called vaginal atrophy. I suppose you could think of it as female sexual dysfunction – painful sex being one symptom. As you enter into menopause your skin, everywhere, ages, including down there… One of the ways to treat this is with estrogen cream applied to the area but it gives me an upset tummy. A couple of years ago I underwent privately paid laser treatment named rather ludicrously Mona Lisa Touch. It did help but was unable to treat the outer tissues which are just as fragile. I must be one of very few people that asked their boss if they could wear a skirt because pants are too uncomfortable.
It was obvious to me that I needed a second treatment and started researching. I discovered a gynecologist in my area offering a new treatment called THERMIva (if you click on the red link it takes you to a randomly chosen website offering the service). Instead of a laser this treatment uses radio frequency to heat and rejuvenate the tissues in much the same way as Ultherapy works on your face. I was assured that there was no downtime and clients had gone straight home to have sex with their husbands. It was a little uncomfortable for me but I was full of hope.
Essentially it is like having sex with a medical device and my body reacted the same way that it always does. The nest of bacteria that lives down there immediately reacted and I knew within hours that I had a urinary tract infection. I have low dose antibiotics to use immediately after sex and I took a double dose. I managed to kill it but was still in discomfort because a yeast infection had decided to join the party. Two Diflucan tablets later and it finally subsided somewhat.
Teddy and Bunny’s love life has been in decline recently for endless reasons. The funniest was when my husband asked me to look at his bottom. Since I had already given him a yeast infection that’s what I assumed it was. Brief segue to Teddy trying to explain to the pharmacist that the cream for vaginal use ONLY was for him – how I laughed! Back to his bottom – I knew immediately that it was ringworm which the doctor confirmed. Yes, I too wondered WTF? He probably got it when he was doing yard work. There are certainly enough critters visiting for that to be a possibility. Bunny wouldn’t let Teddy come anywhere near him since ringworm is contagious – great vacation in Puerto Vallarta!
Anyway, back to this Valentine’s weekend. Enough alcohol had been imbibed for Bunny to be brave enough to test out her newly refurbished hoo-ha. I felt a bit like a virgin but still had a fun time. My body reacted like it normally does so I rushed to get the antibiotics but I think I might have skipped an infection. Yay! I have an appointment with my doctor this week to check things out. When I was 19, I never thought life would be this complicated. The doctor asked me if I would consider helping to write a research paper about how THERMIva can help woman who can neither have laser or hormone treatment after cancer treatment. She quite rightly pointed out that this is a hidden problem that few woman talk about and that the THERMIva can help with bladder dysfunction also.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY and its TMI Tuesday!
Toffee is our last inside cat. We brought her from Egypt in 2004 with her two companions. They both died this year. At first she struggled to adapt but now she enjoys having all the attention she missed out on, as she was always the baby cat. Her fur was always coarse but we have added a probiotic to her food and it is glossy and thick. She has a desert coat with an undercoat and hobbit feet for hot sand.
This is a video of her opening her Christmas present yesterday with silly Mummy talking in the background. She is surprisingly vocal in her thanks! Here is the YouTube link –
Chatty Toffee opening her present
Katniss is our outside cat – as feral as a raccoon and born in the wild. After our second cat died she turned up looking for food although I have seen her for about 3 years. She knew my broken heart would let her in. Recently I gave her a catnip toy and she played forever. So yesterday she got a catnip toy dog inside tissue paper and this is the YouTube link to it –
I wish I had a photograph to illustrate this little tale. My childhood soft toys lived with me until I was about 40 years old (then they went to
the dump toy heaven). I was particularly fond of Bunny who was given to me by my aunt Gretta. It must have been very expensive, plush white fur bunny with pink silk lined ears and the topper was that she was wearing blue striped dungarees! Bunny even held a little plastic bouquet of carrots. The stuffing seemed to be like fine sawdust and over the years it went down to her feet. Every so often I would give her a really good shake to distribute her stuffing properly.
I married young and the toys came to bed with us. My husband (aka Teddy) bought me endless new soft toys and his first gift to me was a human sized stuffed Panda as a late 21st birthday present. Then we got cats, so the poor old toys had to sit in Nana’s rocking chair. During the ’80s we lived in an old bank in the North of Scotland and the proportions weren’t quite right for a regular house. The upstairs hallway was as big as a bedroom with a huge window. I loved to see Bunny, Teddy (the toy) and all the others basking in the sunshine as I went up the stairs.
Bear in mind, I was in my ’20s so my hormones were raging with really bad PMT AND a mental illness… The first batch of cats was young and very, very naughty. They chased each other up and down those stairs like fairy elephants and also loved to bask in the sunshine. One day they had just pushed me to my limit – fighting and playing noisily all day, throwing up on the stairs, a stray poop on the carpet and general mayhem.
It must have been close to dinner time and I went upstairs only to see the upstairs hallway in disarray. Worst of all, poor Bunny had been taken off the rocking chair and somehow those bad cats had taken off her dungarees. Teddy (the husband) came home to find me sobbing inconsolably holding my poor naked Bunny in my arms. Through choking sobs, I said, “They took Bunny’s dungarees off”. He looked perplexed and said, “Who did it?” “Those bad cats!” was my snot filled response. I could see so many emotions passing over his face. “WTF?” “Oh Lord, she has her period!” “The cats??” He was struggling so hard not to laugh while kneeling down comforting me.
We both ended up laughing, of course. Bunny had her stuffing redistributed and the dungarees put back on. Order was restored to the upstairs hallway and the cats were forgiven…eventually.
I have been traveling immediately after the recent election so have been blissfully unaware of the fall out. I do feel fear because loose talk is dangerous in this volatile world. Diplomacy is so underrated and yet probably saves hundreds of thousands of lives. Sometimes on this day, I remember an ancestor who fought in wars. My great great grandfather was a Civil War medic on the Confederate side – I can only imagine how awful his job was. My father in law spent the whole war in a prisoner of war camp in eastern Germany.
This week we need to focus on the future and being optimistic. We were living in Cairo when the second Gulf War broke out. I had a lovely neighbor, an elderly Egyptian man who walked to the mosque in his pajamas every day. He always greeted me warmly in Arabic which I returned with a smile. A couple of days after the war broke out with dire warnings about weapons of mass destruction (‘loose talk’?) and Koranic music came blasting out of the old man’s house, directly across from ours. I was outraged that this nice old man could be mean to the westerners in the street – especially ME!
After a day of tears and indignation, I realized that the old man had died and this was normal for an Egyptian wake/funeral. Gosh, I felt bad and stupid, in my deplorable
basket villa…🏡 I lit some candles in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week and one of them was for him and all the fallen. My father in law was a Pacifist despite his experience and never hated the German people. He probably even forgave his captors as he was a religious man.
Let’s hope and pray that our military are used for defense and not for an unnecessary war. Having said that, I wish that NATO would help Syria and Iraq. Those poor people did not deserve this. I received great kindness and respect in the Muslim world, from North Africa to the Middle East and the Far East. If I can live in a third world country in the middle of an unnecessary war, then I am sure that we can all move forward in the spirit of forgiveness and peace.☮🗽☪
I had such a sad day yesterday. Our beautiful Zhenny’s heart stopped during a routine dental procedure and she is now buried in the garden with Mrs. Stripe who died earlier in the year. She was geriatric and had some cognitive difficulties but it was an unexpected death. Teddy and I are distraught despite knowing that she didn’t have much longer. She was so funny, loving and crazy, RIP our special girl. This is my original post about her.
I know – she is utterly beautiful. Her eyes are exquisite and she looks like a cat on a pyramid. That’s the problem… I first encountered her at the cat shelter where my husband and I volunteered in Cairo, Egypt. Her owner was moving from an American military base in Cairo to another in Korea and couldn’t take her fur baby. I can only imagine how her owner felt but Zhenny was distraught. She wouldn’t eat anything, despite our endless treats and pleading. The veterinarian put an IV drip in but she thought she was being tortured. We already had Mrs. Stripe and her daughter, Toffee, our garden cats, so we certainly didn’t want another one. We thought that Stripe would attack her anyway as she is so territorial. Then one day it was obvious that Zhenny was dying and I just put her in a crate, took her home so that she could die somewhere nice.
She was so skinny that we bought her a little cat nest with a hood so that she could feel safe and comfortable in her final days. To my surprise, when I introduced Stripe and Toffee to her, I could see them saying, ‘Poor little soul’ and thus she was accepted. The fight for her life went on for about a week with me forcing baby food into her mouth. In desperation I bought some minced beef and cooked it for her. For the first time, she seemed to have an appetite and started eating properly. By that time we were all bonded or used to each other’s scents and it was too late… That was 12 years ago and she was 18 months old. She is still alive but I have saved her life on another occasion when the veterinarian hospital could not look after her. We believe she may have sent someone to ER…
Stripe and Toffee are likely half Mau but completely feral. Zhenny looks like a tabby oriental but may as well be from Planet Zed. Even the vet said that she is just loco. I have looked after many cats but this one is an enigma. Only I can lift her, and only in special circumstances. Her Dad may only kiss her but not stroke her. He is also the only one who is allowed to play with her in a precise OCD way. Mum is just for cuddles and care-giving. The other two cats were utterly silent for years, as feral cats can be, but Zhenny is astonishingly vocal. I will be on the phone with my aunt in Ireland, Zhenny will be three rooms away and she can hear her screaming. After all these years we can tell the difference between her distress and laughter. The vet suggested that we give her Xanax – I looked at him and said, “How precisely should I do that, with a blow-dart, perhaps?”
She can be hysterically funny or drive us to tears. If she is upset she creeps along the floor, sobbing. Have you ever heard a cat sob? All treats have to be thrown like live prey and yet she is not a hunter. We discovered much later that she had kittens before we took her in but still hadn’t been neutered. Shortly after I saved her life in Cairo, she went into heat. Our villa was three houses from the baker’s shop at the end of the street and I could hear her howling inside our house. No wonder our neighbors had some issues with us… One time she was halfway up the stairs, with her head peeping through the balustrade and started ‘in heat howling’. Even she looked astonished at the guttural sound that came out of her mouth and we burst out laughing.
She should not have lived this long but Mummy is just so good at saving her life. Sigh. Our vet looks at me in horror when I say very firmly DO NOT RESUSCITATE! She is so difficult to handle that we know that she would not be able to cope with a chronic illness or disability so it would be a kindness. She has the early stages of kidney dysfunction but I suspect she has at least another year in her. Oh we will miss these beautiful green blue eyes and her funny vocalizations.
This is Teddy and I celebrating his new job which he started this week. It has been a long six months, with illness, bereavement and stress. Thank you to all my followers for your support, especially during some dark days. As many of you know, Teddy set up Gattageo LLC during his unemployment whilst applying for endless jobs. I always knew that he would have to look for a staff job, for health care amongst other reasons but supported him as much as I was able. In the end, it was a former employer, who knew Teddy’s worth, who approached him to join a small geological consultancy as a senior sedimentologist. There is a conflict of interest with Gattageo LLC so it has been temporarily put aside but none of the work will be wasted as he will use it in his new role or in the future.
When we received the contract, I immediately booked a little trip to Tampa in the few days he had left before starting (more of that later). It was a lovely feeling to both escape the biblically wet weather in Houston and just breathe a sigh of relief. The night before he started his new job, I laid out his outfit and he packed his pencils. He was anxious but excited and I felt like a mom whose child was starting kindergarten! We are onto day 3 and so far, so good. He is straight into work and loving that. My meet and greet job is on a hiatus during the hot summer, although I was head-hunted by a cruise line. I think I just need some time to heal and relax.
The first day on my own was delicious but strange. I slept until noon and then returned some shoes. I went crazy and spent that $20 on two tops in Old Navy (modeling blog later). The house is already cleaner that it has been in months and our water bill will increase again… I am still in thrift mode, however, and I doubt it will ever go especially as we are approaching retirement. It has been excellent practice for the strangeness of retirement when you are both stuck together in the house. Now we know that Teddy needs to volunteer or work part-time and Bunny needs the house to herself for days at a time.
I have learned that my chronic mental illness has the capacity to get dramatically worse in times of stress and I need to seek help ASAP (which I did). The medications are already reduced and I feel as normal as I ever do – i.e. a permanent state of slight anxiety with low levels of depression. This is well managed with sleep, medication and plenty of time alone. It struck me that although everyone assumes I am a social butterfly, I really spend two thirds of my time alone or sleeping. If I have a busy day volunteering (4 hours), I might have to go to bed the following day to unwind.
We learned a lot about our marriage and love. The hard work of 34 years of marriage was not wasted. We tried so hard to boost each other up and say we loved each other. It taught us some new skills that we will need for the future. I thought we were already frugal but we could be self-indulgent at times, especially with meals out and luxury items. It is so important to have access to health-care and we did but it was very expensive. If you don’t have good health then life has little pleasure. We will continue to be kind to people on the way up as we have truly appreciated the support that we have received, from strangers to good friends and neighbors. Thank you!