New age – new hair!

Kerry wearing her favorite Max Studio dress from some years ago with a rust crochet topper and matching BOC shoes

It is my 57th 37th birthday today and I have a new hair color to celebrate. It was also our 35th wedding anniversary yesterday so last week I decided to try a new hair color at home and have my hair cut. Every manufacturer of hair color is different so even if you choose the same color and number #, it might tint your hair an unusual shade. It did…

In the photograph above you can see more of the color underneath – it came out dark blonde, almost brown. There was no panic because at least it wasn’t green but I thought, “why don’t I try frosting/highlighting the brown?” Off I sped to CVS and spent less than $20 on a L’Oreal frosting kit in Iced Champagne. They very cleverly color the frosting blue so that when you apply it you can see the highlights more easily. I started out with the little brush and quickly moved on to just using my gloved fingers with two mirrors to see the back of my head.

To my astonishment, it turned out really nicely and even my hairdresser complimented me. She cut it to accentuate the highlights. I will probably color it all over with a lighter blonde when it next needs done but might try this technique on occasion.  Teddy took these photographs at the weekend and we had great plans to go out to dinner on the 19th but we are both sick!  Both of us have headaches and nausea so spent our anniversary watching the latest Game of Thrones in pajamas with very bland food.  Ah well, on the bright side I will have kept off the weight that I have struggled to lose and my bras will still fit!

Viking Finger, DNA and a ‘meh’ compliment

Now, this is my kind of Viking! Grrrrr…

I hope the title of this post intrigues you to read to the end.  The story is all over the place but linked by DNA.  Teddy, my husband, and I have always been competitive about our various ailments/oddities.  That is why we are soul-mates…  Recently, Ted had been complaining about a little growth on his pinkie finger.  Long story short, the Italian American surgeon operated and came out to tell me what the prognosis was after the surgery.  Unexpectedly, he told me it was a benign tumor and he had never seen anything like it.  It seemed to be wrapped around the tendon.  Then he told me that he had his DNA test and discovered (to his obvious Braveheart excitement) that he had a significant percentage of Scottish DNA.  This was a red letter day for him – an unusual surgery on his Scottish compatriot.  I had to gently let him know that the Scottish wife was really an Irish Hispanic mix.  Hilariously, to me, he could not have looked more Italian but perhaps in his heart he was wearing blue Woad and tartan.

The growth went to pathology and a week later Teddy met with the Italian/Scots surgeon who excitedly told him that it was Dupruyen’s Contracture, a thickening of tendons in the hand that most commonly occurs in men around age 60 from Northern Europe.  In Teddy’s case the thickening was on the upside of the finger when it is usually the other way around.  When he came home we Googled it to find out that it is sometimes called Viking Finger.  Can you imagine the fun I had with vulgar comments about my Viking’s Finger and where he could put it??  I have to admit that this month he has beat my giant cyst, Pumpkin, and the atrophied hoo-ha.

This led on to thinking what our DNA tests have done to us.  Despite being 60% Irish, I cling defensively to my Conquistador heritage with a dash of Native American.  I am deeply unhappy that Teddy has 4% more Iberian DNA than me.  He is unhappy that he has no Native American ancestry despite having no American relatives.  On many an occasion, a flirtatious Hispanic man has been so disappointed that my maiden name was Ortega. “But you look Scandinavian or Irish!” Our family was convinced that we were secretly Jewish but my DNA indicates otherwise…

So, I am at the airport this weekend and yet another Arabic man flirts with me (or is the other way around)?  I would have guessed that he was a little older than me.  First, he tells me I am beautiful.  That elicited a smile and thank you.  Then he asked me what age I was.  I was surprised at the query but answered honestly that I will be 57 in a month.  He looked me over and said, “I would have taken you for 51, maybe 52.” WTF!!!!  Surely he could have told a little white lie and suggested 45?  I will take any compliment but that was a bit ‘meh’.  Then he asked me where I was from and I told him the usual spiel. You could see the disappointment on his face when I told him I had North African and Middle Eastern ancestry. “But you look Scandinavian”.  I sighed and agreed that I had 1% Scandinavian ancestry.  Now he was happy that he had flirted with one of ABBA’s kin.

I am beginning to come to terms that I am as Irish as a Mullingar heifer no matter how varied my DNA is. I sound Celtic, I look Irish and in America that is way more fascinating than all that Conquistador stuff.  Isn’t it funny how life changes?  At one time being Irish in America was as welcome as a Mexican immigrant.  Well, I have both Irish and Mexican immigrant ancestors so to all the haters out there; I am raising one Viking Finger!

Happy Grandfather’s Day!

Grandpa Teddy


When my husband, Teddy, sent me an email from Oklahoma with a photo of a handwritten note, I thought, ‘here we go, he has been pretending to be Sean Connery again’. The lovely server had asked him about his rings. He has a large silver and turquoise ring and a Celtic gold one. No doubt he had a few refreshments by then but showed her my photograph, explained that I was part native and that we were married for 35 years.

The silver ring was just a lucky gift when we were browsing a shop selling Native American goods in Rice Village, Houston. Some very rich guy had ordered a custom made silver and turquoise for his larger than average fingers. After trying it one, he decided he wanted something even more ostentatious. The original ring was being sold cheap until another werewolf popped in. Teddy’s has big hands but also large knuckles from arthritis that started in his 30’s. (Rather suspiciously he is growing werewolf hair on his shoulders…)

The gold ring was his 40th birthday present from me. By that stage he had two wedding rings because of the increasing knuckle size. I took those plus some of his granny’s rings to a goldsmith and chose a Celtic interwoven pattern from a book of sketches. He loved it! As time went by the knuckles became more inflamed and it didn’t fit again. About two years ago we took a chance with a local jeweler who increased it by expanding the pattern with more gold. It was fantastic!

We were not fortunate enough to spawn although we always wondered about creating some crazy mutant werewolf…🐺 He is still in Oklahoma for Father’s Day but there was a card in his suitcase signed by Toffee, our cat, Katniss and her new kitten (that’s another story), the armadillos, the possums, the skunks, the raccoons and cicadas. Teddy has been a fabulous Daddy to all our pussycats and clearly he would have made a lovely grandfather…

Love Nana Bunny

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

Teddy’s looking younger!

Teddy and Bunny

Teddy and I took an olde worlde selfie last week with the timer on a camera. My girlfriends in Scotland had met up last weekend and had sent photos of them enjoying themselves. There were a few ‘refreshments’ imbibed… With my recent ill health I had been reluctant to take selfies. My body dysmorphia has been worse of late and when I look in the mirror I see the older version of Charlize Theron in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.

Teddy is also unable to see what an attractive man he is – who does not look like he has just turned 59 years old (I will be 57 in a few months). We met when I was 21 and I was astonished that he had not dated half of Glasgow. Even his aunt thought he was gay! Had I not predated him, I doubt we would be married for 35 years. I thought he was cool and uninterested but he thought he had met the girl of his dreams. We were engaged within 3 months and married after 11 months leading to family theories of pregnancy. I have still to whelp…🐕🐶🐕

He is definitely looking younger of late however and I have a theory about that. From our mid 50s we have been having a wonderful time, both relaxed at work and travelling the world together. Then the oil slump came and life changed dramatically. We both have new jobs that can be stressful with horrible commutes. We are working in more challenging environments using different skillsets, with new colleagues. As difficult as that has been, the silver lining is that we both look a little younger than our real ages. We try to make life at home as stress free as possible and rarely socialize with other people. Time is too precious to spend with anyone else but each other.

The icing on the cake is that Teddy won an award at the Offshore Technology Conference (Oil) for his part in writing a paper whilst working at the company that laid him off. Isn’t life ironic? More fool them. I get stressed when I am working events but funny moments make it all worthwhile. When waiting for some guests the other day, I was sitting with a lovely young colleague chatting. A Ukrainian limo driver was really staring at me and eventually he said, “I know you”. I responded that he probably knew me from the airport. No, he insisted that I looked really like someone from the old country. He moved the other side but kept staring at ‘those eyes’. I burst out laughing and said, “Would you like a photograph?” Later that day a Lebanese silver fox told me that he and his wife were like sister and brother. Uh oh – time to stop flirting!!

The night the photograph was taken we went out for an ‘early bird supper’ and I was concerned that last year’s dress from Ross was too short. You can see how it rides up in the photograph. We popped into Walgreens on the way back and both of the beauty assistants told me how lovely I looked. It was the perfect end to a lovely evening out with my honey.

Happy Birthday Teddy!

He had a six pack…

My lovely husband is 59 39 today…  The handsome blondish guy above is a photo of him in Norway when he was really younger than 39.  What a looker!  He deserves to be spoiled on his birthday for so many reasons but #1 is that he loved his nutty mother in law.  We came as a package, as I was her long distance caretaker.  Her mental illness made her behave very strangely at times.  She would beg us to visit but then be overwhelmed by day 2 or 3.  To illustrate this she would take all the sofa cushions off, leaving us to sit on the hard base.  It drove my aunt and me to distraction but Teddy just put them back on the sofa and pretended nothing had happened.  When she was well, she was absolutely hilarious, full of fun and laughing at both ends.  I have inherited that charming and yet unique trait, along with her looks, her mental illness and a good sense of humor (just as well, really…)

I love Teddy for the following reasons –

  • He loves me (Bunny) despite the mental illness, dodgy hoo-ha and lack of estrogen
  • He makes me laugh; really laugh. We were a great double act at the bank last weekend.  Teddy has a stronger Scottish accent than me and the teller was having some difficulty with the glass and his lack of enunciation so I kept translating.  I told the bank teller that I was a translator for the mentally disabled.  She fell about laughing.
  • He goes to work to provide for me (mostly healthcare but I like to eat sometimes) and he always has. At least I am a skinflint…
  • He smells amazing. Teddy has a penchant for expensive scent and our current favorite is Luna Rossa.  His natural body smell is lovely too and the late Mrs. Stripe used to suck his used underwear (like a Tom Jones fan).  I don’t go quite that far but I do like a whiff of male sweat.
  • There is always some lady with a crush on him but he seems to prefer blonde with a touch of crazy.
  • He loves cats (perhaps that should have been #1). Our feral cat, Katniss, has decided that she will wait for ‘Dad’ to come home to feed her.  Ungrateful little slut!
  • He cries when he watches soppy movies like Despicable Me and insists that we buy the first soft toy that we handled in case it feels neglected (WTF?). He bought my mum teddies from all over the world including the cutest little Harrods teddy with an Aran sweater.  I still have the damn things in the attic because she made me swear never to get rid of them.  In case you are reading this, Mum, they are all happy together with enough room to breathe…
  • When he is drunk, he writes me beautiful little love notes that I keep in my lingerie drawer. The term ‘lingerie’ is pushing it.
  • He loves me despite my unsexy, holey knickers…
  • He thinks I have a great figure but his eyesight isn’t so good.

A tip for older single ladies – date the silver foxes.  They will see you through an elderly, rose tinted mist.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEDDY!

Teddy and Bunny in Fredericksburg a few years ago

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.

Good news, at last.

Teddy and Bunny Old Tampa Bay

Teddy and Bunny
Old Tampa Bay

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!