It’s the little things…

Can you see me?

This year has been one where we have had to be introspective and appreciate the little things.  It’s a small silver lining given the tragedy of Covid-19 but perhaps it will give us new coping skills for the future.  Teddy and I used to go out to lunch at least once a week.  We knew all the wait staff and enjoyed the banter along with the food.  It was my only reason to get dressed up as I wore a uniform, of sorts, at work.  Like most of us I have cleared out the closets but the pretty dresses flutter sadly in the closet.  Recently I bought two new nightdresses because that’s what I wear most.  On the plus side, I found nightdresses with pockets – wow!

Teddy was pushed to his limit last week when Hurricane Laura blew through.  It missed the large centers of population but it tore down large parts of our electricity grid to our east.  The next day the power went out unexpectedly for about 8 hours.  That seems perfectly reasonable to me but it was 100 degrees outside and 84 degrees in the house.  Teddy had to stop work and paced the house like a tiger.  He tested the generator (it works), he hunted for batteries and torches (which are all in the hurricane box which Kerry packs each year) and generally drove me crazy.  After many hours, I shouted at him, gave him a beer and told him to sit his ass down.  To his horror I said, “Look at the flowers” which is a line from Walking Dead before one of the characters was dispatched.  I reassured him that it was a Freudian slip…  Then nature sent us a little precious moment to calm him down.  Two little squirrel siblings who had been running crazy along the fences and trees, suddenly stopped and started grooming each other.  They snuggled and licked each other and our hearts melted.

I’m coming down for the snacks. Muchas Gracias, Senora!!

Like everyone else, our vacation plans have disappeared.  We had planned something special for my 60th birthday/38th anniversary in July but instead I made Teddy his favorite meal.  He loves potato gratin – so simple but I rarely make it.  For dessert I made him something he had been hankering over for 30+ years.  Many years ago I made a very decadent Pashka (Russian Easter cake) for a dinner party that we were hosting.  I searched the internet for a slightly lighter version of my original recipe and then altered it a little.  The main ingredients are butter, sugar, toasted almonds, crystallized ginger and vanilla.  Teddy was so excited!!!  I think it might have been the nicest anniversary meal we have ever had.  Our expectations were low and I was not stressed.

Potato Gratin

Pashka

Then there are the lizards.  As you know, we have been without pets for over a year now.  We rarely sat out in our back yard because Toffee was sadly sitting inside but now we can happily sit in our rockers looking at nature.  We noticed that spotted Anoles would come running when we came out.  Perhaps it was coincidence but now we have them named. Lorenzo has a regrown tail and Leo likes to sit on the prow of the deck.  When we call them, they run out from under the deck and start displaying in front of us.  Sometimes it is little handstands or head nods but if we are lucky they show us their red dewlap.  They let us go within an inch of them to admire their chameleon coloring.  We have one sweet little green Anole, Gerry, who is a native Texan.  The spotted Anoles are invasive from Cuba and they are feisty.  I Googled “snacks for lizards’ and they like live crickets and meal worms. They will have to eat what’s in the backyard…

velvet ant

Covid-19 has made me less obsessive about the usual bugs and germs.  Teddy dispatched a giant tree roach in the house and I didn’t bat an eyelid or get out the bleach.  We are in semi-drought here so insects are coming in, looking for water.  In the middle of the night, I went sleepily to the bathroom.  Through drowsy eyes, I saw what looked like a scorpion walking in while I was trapped on the toilet.  It was big, brown and not a cockroach.  Ruthlessly, I took a magazine and squashed it.  Later, I discovered that it was a mole cricket and I have been grieving ever since.  It was a harmless wee thing and I wish I had taken it out to the garden.

Mole Cricket with a curious pup, courtesy of Pixabay

Another day the lizards were agitated and when we investigated, they were chasing a velvet ant away from their babies – beautiful creature but with a deadly sting.  Red throated hummingbirds have visited the Mexican Fire Bush en route back to Latin America.  Finally, there are the babies. We have two nests of red tailed hawks behind our house. The baby hawks screech, “Mom, I need a mouse!”, then the Blue Jays start squawking and lastly the squirrels bark.  What a racket!

Just before this capture of a blue jay, he had been screeching that the water was dirty… Just as well they are beautiful.

I think this is a mixed marriage…like Teddy and I.

Necropolis

It looks like such a peaceful scene, doesn’t it? Teddy and I have used our deck more often, since the pandemic, than we have in 16 years.  The trees in the reserve have grown so much that we get nice shade cover in the afternoon.  A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a ‘farmyard’ smell but we live many miles from farms in our forested idyll.  At first I wondered if someone had put down some stinky mulch or fertilizer but it is entirely the wrong time of year and it has been 100 degrees out there.

We had a few breezy days and Teddy agreed with me that he could smell a faint odor on the air but perhaps it was the communal garbage bins at the apartments beyond the reserve?  After another couple of days, I asked him if I should do a ‘Karen’ and complain to the apartment manager.  Teddy, very wisely, suggested that we just leave it since it was almost 100 degrees and maybe the bins needed emptied.  (We have never smelled their garbage bins in the last 16 years).

The next day, I started looking under the deck but could see nothing but dead leaves but there was still this strange odor that now Teddy (probably post Covid-19) could not smell at all.  Then he started saying things like, “You know what you are like when you get obsessed about stuff…”  To be fair, I agreed with him but we had paid hundreds of dollars two years ago to remove a huge dead skunk which had been ripped to pieces by another predator from under the same bloody deck.  This new odor was delicate by comparison.

One evening we put out the night camera to see if there was an obvious culprit with a smelly nest?  They were just the usual subjects – squirrels, possums, wood rats and two gorgeously marked little skunks (alive and well).  On a forensic note, we had spotted some very pretty little iridescent flies around the deck, glowing purple and green.  We never have flies in our yard…only endless mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Disease in our forest this year.  At this stage, I should note that I am an aficionado of every Forensic program, real and fiction.  Decomp and adipose are terms that I am very familiar with.

With that thought in my head, I finally snapped and said to Teddy, “We need to call pest control out”.  He looked at me as though I hadn’t been taking my medication.  We compromised on him unscrewing some of the deck planks so that I could root around like Bones.  The drill had no battery power as it hadn’t been used for a while.  In desperation, I put a blanket on the ground and got my rake under the deck and started pulling stuff out.  When a cloud of these pretty iridescent flies flew out at me, I knew I had found the evidence.  Finally I brought out a little gray furry thing and even more of the dratted flies.  I stood up and ran off squealing but then put my big girl pants on and returned with gloves, bags and disinfectant.

It was a poor little squirrel, who had left this mortal coil and decided our deck would be a lovely resting place.  I shouted to Teddy that I had found the victim but he chose to carry on working since he didn’t want to confront his wife who said, “SEE, SEE, I told you it was a critter!”  The decomposition flies were now yukky, not pretty, and I had to shake the corpse to get the damned things off.  Another friend had just told me this lovely story of rescuing a dying baby bird from their pool, putting it in a leaf lined box and then burying it in their garden with a cairn for remembrance.  Our squirrel went in the wheelie bin.

After all that, in almost 100 degree weather, I went all OCD (that’s a clinical term).  Hose, disinfectant, bleach and then I did the same for me.  All my clothes went in the washer immediately.  It struck me as ironic that there is a virus out there that is so much more dangerous than any dead squirrel.  The garden is serene again, smelling verdant and I am so glad I didn’t speak to the apartment manager…

The Grinch won’t leave!

What is it about the holidays?  My mental health is better than it has been in months but still the festive season pushes all my buttons.  I think I used to enjoy Christmas but at some point it just became stressful.  It was better when there was very little money in our lives.  Presents were much needed and usually a delight – despite a white and brown polyester dressing gown that I had to wear for years…  In later years my late crazy mother got her knickers in a twist about the varieties of Christmas puddings and drove her daughter nuts trying to find the PERFECT one.  Remember when there was only one or you made your own?

As my mental health was improving during fall, I got very busy creating postcards from Teddy’s beautiful images.  Then I started on my handmade soaps and enjoyed the process.  I wrapped them prettily and gifted them to everyone.  It backfired somewhat as I made some friends feel that they had to reciprocate.  The true joy is in giving with no expectations.

Then Teddy got some unanticipated leave from his new job and we went to Fredericksburg for Christmas, possibly the most famous German town in central Texas Hill Country.  It was really beautifully decorated and the weather was fantastic – photos to follow.  Despite enjoying my environment, historic buildings and endless wineries, I couldn’t stop being irritated.

  • There were too many tourists yet we were two of them…
  • The other cars were driving like crazy Grinches – especially through Austin, the most traffic-congested city in Texas.
  • Our luxurious room wasn’t quite clean enough (it really wasn’t).
  • I was bored and tired.
  • The road from Medina to Kerrville was ridiculous – hairpin bends and really steep gradients. I guess I missed the point about visiting the hill country.
  • Teddy sleeps like an owl and I am like a bear. Maybe I should hibernate through winter??
  • Other guests. That’s a standalone but they were talking outside in broad daylight, beeping their cars locked and worse still, talking in their room at 7 pm.  They ate all the breakfast.

I know what you are thinking – poor Teddy.  It’s true that he put up with a Grinch wife but we still had wonderful meals and laughed all the time.  I am hoping that made up for the time, after driving for hours in silence, I turned on the CD to keep myself focused AND THEN he started talking.  I told him to Shut the F*** Up and gave him the finger.  Thirty seven years and counting – I love you Teddy!!!!

 

SEASONAL SOLILOQUY

This is the real Christmas letter that I send to our friends and family – enjoy!

SEASONAL SOLILOQUY

The title is deceptive – it was just to lure you in.  The truth is that not much has changed from last year.  Here are the best bits

  • Andy turned 60 years old in April. He is just as grumpy and annoying as I thought he would be.
  • I am horribly hormonal and bark orders at my poor senior spouse. Zits and wrinkles. Piss and vinegar.
  • We went to Mobile, Alabama, to celebrate the above senior’s birthday and it was wonderful despite back seat driving.
  • We are both working – enough said.
  • Andy traveled to California, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Kerry went to Mexico, Nevada and Arizona.  I ticked the Grand Canyon off my list and it was the trip from hell.
  • WE GOT A NEW REFRIGERATOR IN BLACK STAINLESS STEEL. So much anticipation and excitement only to find it just keeps food cold.
  • There were no hurricanes in Houston. There was a tropical storm on one of my VERY LONG work trips across the south of Texas.
  • MILLENNIALS! That references the previous point.  There are no Starbucks in rural Texas; deal with it.
  • Andy is about to exhibit some of his wonderful photographs on stretched canvas.
  • Kerry still writes nonsense on her blog and this year the fairy stories were popular but her fashion blogs even more so. Que?
  • We both had new DNA tests to clear up some anomalies. Andy has found some biological relatives in – wait for it – PETERHEAD!!  I am still Mexican and Irish.  I like Tequila and potatoes.
  • Kerry reduced Andy’s blood sugar levels – YAY! Some of this involved barking orders about food choices but now he is no longer pre-diabetic.
  • We watched a lot of Netflix.

Here we are in Brenham just after Thanksgiving this November.  One of the benefits of living in Texas is that it is warm in the winter time.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

From Kerry and Andy xxx

Toffee says Howdy!

READ THE NEXT PAGE FOR THE LESS HORMONAL VERSION…

page 2

Kerry’s hormones have balanced somewhat and I have stopped barking orders at Andy… ❤  We had a lovely evening showcasing Andy’s photos that we would like to exhibit in 2019.  Andy has been successful at selling some photos through Getty Images over the last few years, so this is a fun new adventure.

Andy is standing next to his piece de resistance, a 12 image composite of Arches, a natural rock formation, in Utah.  It is taken without a tripod – the composites are both horizontal and vertical.  Doesn’t he look slim and handsome for a 60 year old senior; all that hormonal barking has paid off? 🐕

One of the images is Kerry’s; the crow in silhouette at the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  This was on the aforementioned trip from hell to Grand Canyon.  At least I got a good photograph out of it and potentially funny blogs in the future.  I have taken a break from the blog but hope to get back to it soon.

WISHING ALL MY FRIENDS AND READERS HOPE, HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN 2019

This is just for Leah – our forests look exactly the same.  This was taken at Lake Bedias in Texas just after Thanksgiving.  The sign at the start of the forest tells us to watch out for snakes, alligators, bobcats, coyotes (but no lions, tigers or bears…oh my!)

 

My Wedding Dress

30th Wedding Anniversary

I married in 1982, one year after Princess Diana.  Many of the dresses of that period look dated but my lucky bargain dress stayed stylish and beautiful.  This photo (set) was a gift to Teddy on our 30th wedding anniversary – 6 years ago.  My wedding dress had not been cleaned in all those years and had traveled across continents.  It was in a plastic bag in our attic in Texas and after I lost weight, I decided to try it on.  It looked amazing so I took it my local dry cleaner who made it like new for less than $10.  It is ivory satin with tulle and Belgian cotton lace on the bottom.  I was struggling to find a wedding dress in Scotland because my skin is really more sallow than it looks.  All the bright white dresses washed me out.  Finally, my mum and I went to Fraser’s department store in Glasgow and found this dusty ballgown (not a wedding dress) reduced from 100 to 15 GBP.  Even then that was a steal.

As soon as the photographs were taken, I took the dress to my local thrift store so that some other lucky bride could enjoy it.  I felt somewhat guilty for having ignored it for the previous 30 years… Below is the dress on the original day, 19 July 1982.

Teddy and Bunny, with our Mums at our side in 1982

So this is the original color of my hair and also Teddy’s glorious blonde hair.  My hair is naturally curly and covered in confetti.  My mum had sewn up the low cut neckline for modesty but the stitches burst open as soon as I stepped (elegantly) out of the taxi.  At least Teddy and his grand-dad looked really happy at the view!  I was 21 but looked like a teenager – nervous about marrying a virtual stranger and living in a new country.

The anniversary photographer had a make-up artist so I posed for a variety of shots.  Teddy proudly displays them in his office and delights in visitors saying “Is that your wife??”  Yes, she is. ❤

I am sleeping with a senior citizen…

Celebrating Teddy’s 60th birthday at a rooftop hotel in Mobile, Alabama

…and he snores too. Teddy and I rarely travel together because of our elderly cat but made a special effort to go to a new place for his 60th birthday.  When we married he was 24 years old and I can’t figure out how all this time has passed.  Teddy went ahead of me and I arrived at Mobile Regional Airport on his birthday.  He picked me up in a rental car and we went straight across the fabulous Mobile Bay causeway .  Sometimes water that close to a roadway scares me but this was just sublime.  We started looking for brown historical sites signs and starting learning the fascinating history of Mobile.

View from the original settlement of Blakely near Mobile. The city of Mobile is in the far distance.

This whole city, named Blakely, was abandoned after an epidemic of yellow fever in the 1800s and everyone moved to the new settlement of Mobile on the other side of the vast bay.  Five rivers create a delta into the bay.  From our busy metropolis, this was absolute bliss – very few people and polite drivers.  We went to lunch at an Oyster place with a great view across the delta.  After two glasses of wine I decided ‘we’ would drive to just over the border of Alabama into Florida.  It was wonderful.  Teddy and Bunny decided that there was no reason to change the habits of a lifetime and had a spat about which direction we should be going in…  There was no cell phone service deep in the country and the GPS stopped working.  By the time we had dinner in the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, all was bliss in Teddy and Bunny land. 🐻 🐰

Many more posts of a place less traveled and some funny stories.

My True Valentine

I am sorry for the blurry quality of the photograph but I was laughing so much…  Despite my amorous adventure in Mexico, Courtship by an Angel…, there is only one true soul-mate for me.  Teddy!!!!  We both forgot about Valentine’s Day this year and he is currently on vacation in California.  Yes, it really is a new brush for Teddy wrapped in pink chiffon.  Many years ago Teddy made a terrible mistake and bought me a peg-bag (for hanging up washing) and a kitchen clock for Christmas.  I have always wanted to get my revenge and this week I did.  We really did need a new brush and Teddy mostly uses it to carefully clean up our utility room every morning at 5 am.  He scoops out the litter boxes, feeds Toffee and gives her medicine.  Now that is a true Valentine.

When he saw it propped in the garage, he burst out laughing, as did I, and I think that is our recipe for success.  He is romantic and silly and still looks damn good naked.  I was very shallow when I met him and fell for his six-pack and blonde hair.  After 35 years together we have had the most romantic vacations such as falling into a bed of roses in Istanbul, getting very frisky in a mirrored room in the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs but we have also helped give enemas and removed zits from awkward places.  Teddy most amuses me when he wanders around the bedroom with just a t-shirt on with his appendages sticking out the bottom.  His bottom looks amazing for his age and I like to squeeze it.

As I told Angel, my husband is really very romantic, much more so than me.  We love snuggling and spooning.  Some sexual intimacy has faded but our erotic intimacy has not.  Life changes with each decade.  We play a little game each night called hand sex where we pretend our hands are having sex.  Recently he initiated this in a restaurant and I was mortified.  No one could possibly know what we were doing but it has become our secret pleasure.

We go out for brunch every Saturday and he holds hands across the table, looking into my eyes, sometimes whispering that I am beautiful or my eyes are so blue.  We still occasionally dance in the kitchen or he has a quick feel of my boobs or bottom which results in a playful slap.  Mostly I say, “Don’t touch what you can’t afford” and go running through the house to escape his clutches.   What touches me the most is when I remind him of my mother; I had a complicated history with an alcoholic mentally ill parent.  Teddy could see through all of that to the vulnerable, naïve, beautiful soul that was hers.

BUNNY LOVES TEDDY to Pluto and back!

 

Sext Fail

Fresh plums!


Here is the backstory – I like to eat snacks in bed. On this occasion I was enjoying a juicy plum. The next morning I got up and sleepily went for my bath. Like most of us, I concentrate on the potentially odorous body parts and give a cat’s lick to the rest. I glanced at myself in the mirror as I was drying myself with the bath towel only to notice I had a bar code for a plum on one of my plums!

Laughingly, I realized that I had bathed insufficiently much like Toffee, our elderly cat, who has a medieval annual bath… It was so funny that I thought I would share this with my husband. We married long before the internet was accessible to Plebeians and although we wrote long love letters that flew across the world, we missed out on the delights of sexting. Ah ha, the opportunity to sext had presented itself. Eventually Teddy noticed his text and responded ROTFLOL. Really? Surely those plums were worth a “can’t wait to get home, baby” or a photo of his body parts that don’t include a shingles rash. My first sext was a fail.😔

It struck me that I was so lucky to have been young and stupid BEFORE sexting selfies. Now I am just old and don’t care. I would have been sexting left and right, especially after a night of ‘refreshments’. Back in the day I had an amazing figure and was more than happy to show it off, especially bra-less.

When I first moved to our conservative part of Texas I was amazed that the letter page in our local paper was full of our neighbors’ outrage about a large Victoria’s Secret poster on our turn off the interstate. Wait for it…..she was wearing a BRA! According to the letter writers, this was a likely cause of accidents and moral degeneration. Then I discovered that nipples were vulgar and wondered where I had moved to. Amish country? Thirteen years have passed and now I flinch when I see a hint of nipple. We adapt to our surroundings. When we lived in Egypt decolletage caused both expats and locals to gasp in horror. Well now my reputation is completely ruined. Next stop, Sodom or Gomorrah.

Teddy’s ouch!

SHINGLES!!!!

During Hurricane Harvey, my husband, Teddy, was stuck in Utah because the flights were cancelled into Houston. We had talked the day before he was due to leave and he was running out of Gabapentin because like most of us, we only pack a couple of days extra medication. I suggested he call our health care provider and see if they could send a prescription because it is dangerous to not taper off this medication, which was prescribed for his migraines. Like everyone else, we had no idea that Harvey was going to be such a catastrophic weather event and initially I suggested he taper his drugs by one third.

Then he complained about a rash from bug-bites. Not so; it was undiagnosed shingles! He noticed it the day of the eclipse where he was outside in very hot temperatures taking photographs. Somewhat ironically, Gabapentin can be used to help with the nerve pain of shingles so he probably didn’t feel the nerve pain initially. After the hurricane hit, Teddy was still stuck in Utah. When he called me, I asked him if he could talk me through using the WII Fit which I haven’t used in years. Like most married couples, technical issues can create a divorce inducing argument. Teddy raised his voice at me (during a flipping hurricane!) and I immediately shouted back. It is his fault for provoking a Hispanic/Irish wife…

During our ‘conversation’, I realized that Teddy was very upset and I backed down, concerned for his health. Eventually he traveled from Utah to Denver to Austin and intended to drive home from there. The weather conditions were still too bad for him to reach our home with most roads blocked. By this time he had to go to Urgent Care for more blood pressure medication and then the rash. Curiously, the Medic diagnosed it as bug bites and prescribed an antibiotic cream.

Finally, he made it all the way home and suddenly his strange mood made sense. We were both a little tearful when he returned because no matter what I said, it was really scary not knowing what would happen next with the weather. When he showed me the rash I recognized it as shingles. Our own doctor prescribed anti-viral medication for him which helped reduce the spread of the rash which was also hurting at the front of his chest. Shingles is infectious and you can spread the chickenpox virus. I caught chickenpox when I was about 30 and I thought I was dying – it is much more serious in adults. He is now well on the road to recovery from this second bout of shingles and he will get the vaccine when he is better. (I have stopped quarantining him…and removed the red cross from the door).

On a much lighter note, we went to Nordstroms’ Rack a few weeks ago for Shrek size shoes for Teddy. He insisted on buying these Psycho Bunny boxers – what do you think he is trying to say to his Bunny??? They are extra cute, though.🐰

PSYCHO BUNNY PANTS