The Pelicans are back!

Every year our street waits with eager anticipation for our visit from the white pelicans. We live in the middle of a forest so pelicans aren’t a regular sight. There is a well stocked containment pond at the end of our street which provides the pod of pelicans with some R&R on their long journey from The Gulf of Mexico to as far as Canada. They are American white Pelicans but as you can see from the image, they have dark feathers underneath.

This is the best shot I could get up close and you can see their lovely yellow beaks. They are astonishingly white and look like fluffy cotton balls on the lake. A regular white egret was keeping it’s distance from the much larger birds. They fill up their beaks with water and fish and then filter out the water. The pod gather closely to herd the little fishies.


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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…

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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!)

 

Sam Houston Dellinger — Stories of My Family

As most of you know, I am obsessed with finding new family members. For the most part, they are long since deceased but within the last few weeks a new, and very much alive, cousin has come into my life. Sarah’s great grandmother was my paternal grandfather’s sister (Nelle and Raymond Dellinger) so we are Dellinger 2nd cousins, one generation between us. We have been excitedly sharing information and photographs to help build a picture of our most interesting family. Sarah had never seen a photo of Raymond, or I of Nelle, so that was very exciting. If you look at Sarah’s gravatar image you will see a resemblance in our smiles. To my astonishment, Sarah thought that I look like a Dellinger. As an only child with little connection to my paternal side, this is all manna from Heaven. Curiously, we both have WordPress Blogs and write similarly. Now we are pondering whether the writing gene comes from the Dellinger side…and why do we have so much Swedish DNA???
Please enjoy this beautifully researched genealogy post below on Sam Houston Dellinger (my great-grandfather) and have a look at Sarah’s blogs – Stories of my Family and A blog dedicated to my love for books

The Dellinger side of the family is full of of fantastic stories. Samuel Houston Dellinger and his wife, Lillie (née Dillingham) were quite the characters and it is not surprising that their independent, pioneer spirit rubbed off on their children (though it manifested quite differently in some of them).

via Sam Houston Dellinger — Stories of My Family

Texas Trains

Look at that! A Texas sky and an old railroad with no barriers. Us Texans are brave…

I recently had the good fortune to travel to Brenham in the Texas hill country for work.  It is a small country town, German in origin, north west of Houston.  The last time I traveled for work was in the UK, to grim industrial towns in England.  This trip was much better with perfect spring weather in Texas (hot summer weather in UK).

I used to be terribly frightened of railroad crossings but since moving here, I have had to get used to them.  Most of them around me have no barriers so the train uses the horn for miles – a sound I love.  Sometimes on a quiet night I can hear them at night about 4 miles in the distance.  Now I just stop briefly at the railroad and check there are no trains (not everyone stops…)  The crossing above was right in the middle of the old section of town.

Santa Fe Depot

These train company names immediately bring nostalgic memories of old American movies and I dream of jumping on a wagon to travel across country.

Abandoned train line

Or at least I think it is abandoned – it is sometimes hard to tell out in the countryside.  As I child I would have constantly been on these train lines imagining the destinations.

Yellow train

This is just one part of a very long train that had dozens of wagons.  They sometimes are so long that it takes 20 minutes for one to pass.

Wildflowers beside the Walmart

As I was leaving the Super Walmart I noticed this field of bluebonnets, followed by red wildflowers and finally yellow.  The sky was very overcast and it gave a surreal feel to the field.  I attempted a photo watercolor below.

Watercolor created by using Photoscape

There’s one vegetarian in Texas…

It is not very easy to be vegetarian in our traditional part of Texas.  Not only do we rear cattle but the original settlers were mostly German.  I laughed out loud when I saw this Stop sign a few hundred yards from my house.  Graffiti usually annoys me but this was clever and funny!  Although more flexi than veggie, I rarely cook meat and many of the local restaurants balk at me asking for the steak flatbread, for example, with no steak.  My weakness is real ham….  Every Saturday I have a ham and cheese Arepa at our local brunch place – they smoke their own ham.

Longhorn steer

The Germans have been joined by a very diverse group of immigrants including many from Latin America thus the Arepa – maize based flatbread.  We live in a very tight series of cul-de-sacs with traffic circles.  To stop trucks and school buses churning up the corner, our HOA has put cobbles and more large boulders to deter them.  Do you think the vegetarian created this zen stacked rock cairn?

The Dystopian State of Texas – 2038

My favorite reading genre is science fiction.  This is just a tale of the future inspired by current events.  It is written in the first person.

Map key

Red line – fortified wall between Texas and Mexico

Green line – almost impenetrable forest between Texas and The Louisiana Wasteland

Gray dotted line – new El Paso territory

It has been 15 years since Imperator Trump became leader of the New American Federation.  No longer the 50 United States but some 30 disparate states, many with new boundaries and names.  In 2018 we were unaware that medical and DNA facilities were collating data about our ethnicity.  Under the guise of scientific advancement, the government had colluded with the data gatherers to make America as white as possible.  Anyone with 85% white or Caucasian genes was reclassified as Pure Citizens.  All others were no longer citizens but subjects; in a caste system.  On rare occasions, subjects could pass as citizens but dare not procreate for fear of recessive genetics.  The caste system is not truly based on darkness of color but your worth to this new society.

A Nigerian doctor might be part of Caste #1 but a Guatemalan farmer could be Caste #4.  Many people of color fled after rezoning to Free States such as those in the Pacific West (formerly known as California, Oregon and Washington) or to other continents.  Curiously, white Neo-Nazis from Northern Europe and Argentina flocked to immigrate to New America and they were welcomed by Imperator Trump.  No one dare call him any other name but they can’t control our thoughts.  I am now an old woman stuck in a country I despise, the country of my birth and ancestors.  Despite my mixed blood, I have 85% Caucasian genes and look as fair as any Aryan.  My hair is snow white, my faded dark blue eyes are cloudy and my skin as fair as milk.  I am treated with veneration to my disgust; for safety I smile at all the compliments and kindness.  Even monsters have some capacity for good, don’t they?

Those subjects who were unable to escape New America now live in ghettos.  Some are better than others; just old suburban areas but clearly differentiated.  No one from Caste #1 can marry, live or have a relationship with someone in Caste #4, for example.  Two doctors of different color in Caste #1 can marry even if one is of Chinese ethnicity and the other Mexican.  To the white citizens, they are all less than pure.  The 85%, as we are known, live in fully armed and gated communities.  A very few are similar to the Mar-a-Lago estates of the old days.  Fort Trump is an example with multi-million dollar homes, gilded from top to bottom.  Imperator style is ornate and gaudy; like one of Imperator Trump’s many casinos.

When the states separated, I hoped that democracy would prevail in Texas but “Make America White” struck a chord in a Republican State.  El Paso had always been blue and was able to create a new territory which is governed and protected by Mexico.  New Mexico, mostly Hispanic, is a Protectorate of Mexico.  Oklahoma and Arkansas merged into what they once were – Indian Territories. In this strange new world, Native Americans have retained power and sovereignty but are not Citizens.  Louisiana is a wasteland; devastated by flooding, hurricanes and poverty.  It has become a disease ridden swamp that only Cajuns and other indigenous people can survive in.

Houston too did not survive the vagaries of the increasingly turbulent weather systems.  The coastline has retreated further north and Galveston has reverted back to a sliver of sandbar.  New Houston has taken the place of Austin as State Capitol.  It is a grim city with no rainbows or sunshine.  It is full of dangerous ghettos as is South City formerly known as San Antonio.  All Spanish words are banned, so Amarillo was renamed Yellow City, a literal translation.  Many times over the years I wished I had kept my Spanish maiden name but a white name kept me safe.  I whisper it under my breath to remind myself of who I am.

So why didn’t I escape to Mexico or Pacific West?  By the time I realized that Texas would succumb, I was a widow and too frail.  I live in the Big Thicket in the same house that I always did.  The forest has encroached and the roads are barely passable.  The ocean is much closer than it used to be and you can smell the ozone on the breeze.  Since I was stuck inside the New Federation and inconspicuous, I have secretly volunteered for the Underground Railroad.  We are close to the Louisiana border and despite the danger many people are willing to brave their lives just for a chance at freedom.  Small boats are guided through swamps by the Cajun Navy until they reach open water.  If they are lucky a refugee rescue boat will attempt to take them to safety.

I laugh bitterly because all we used to worry about was a wall.

 

Katniss has Help…

Katniss playing

This post is an excuse to tell you some random stories and wish everyone Happy Easter, Passover, Pagan spring thing or whatever.  I hope you enjoy scampering naked through a field of wildflowers, eating too much chocolate or going to your church.

Katniss has Help…

As most of you know, we have a feral cat who visits twice a day for dinner.  We named her Katniss and have a collection of little plates just for her.  Rabies is quite common in Texas so I am very careful to separate Katniss’s plates from Toffee’s (our indoors cat from Egypt).  I am also lazy and end up with a pile of dirty dishes after a few days.  Then I will put them in a bucket of soapy, bleachy water to soak and then will clean them.  A week ago, I forgot to finish my task and left the bucket outside overnight.  I sleep with industrial ear plugs because Teddy really snores like a bear.  He commented in the morning that he wondered what the raccoons had been doing in the night (how could he hear anything over the snoring?)  He said that it sounded like they were breaking something and were chittering noisily.  Later on, I remembered my bucket and went out to do the dishes but someone had beaten me to it.  I looked at the bucket quizzically because the saucers were all placed tidily alongside.  I burst out laughing when I realized that the raccoons had ‘washed’ the dishes for me.  They are very smart little critters who love playing with water.  They will dip toys in the water as well as their food.  Our neighbor found them swimming in her pool one night, chittering happily.  I wondered if I should get them a toy kitchen.

The Help

The back-handed insult

St Mary’s Catholic Church
Brenham

I will be volunteering on Easter Sunday, as usual, and my doctor refers to it as my church service.  I love that idea and the next time a rude customer asks me if I have nothing better to do on a Sunday, I will say I am at my church doing something more useful than singing hymns.   Last week a pleasant older lady asked me where I was born (Scottish accent).  I told her the long story short – Californian Irish Mexican hybrid.  She looked at me carefully and then said, “You are a beautiful woman” “You don’t look a bit Mexican”.   I really didn’t know how to respond to that ‘compliment quickly followed by insult’.

The real compliment

Bluebonnets by the side of the highway

On my recent trip to the Texas countryside, I was driving along the major route between Houston and Austin.  The speed limit is 75 miles per hour but in Texas we read that as 85 or more; it is some kind of state dyslexia…  I noticed a group of cars had stopped on the side of the road and then saw the reason – BLUEBONNETS!!  To my own astonishment, I slowed down and did exactly the same.  Every Texan gets excited about our wildflower season but bluebonnets are an indigenous little blue Lupine that sets our hearts aflame.  Here is a link to a previous funny post about Bluebonnets.  After acting like an idiot on the road, I noticed a field of them next to my hotel which was near a super Walmart and, even better, A THRIFT STORE!  Kerry was in heaven, both with bluebonnets and cheap clothes.  It was a treasure trove with rich ranchers’ cast offs.  One top still had the ticket on it – $50 for $5.  At the desk, the young girl tentatively asked me if I was over 55 (30% senior discount) and I brought out my driving license (yes, they really gave me one).  She said that I didn’t look 55.  As I related this story to my colleagues later they expressed surprise at my real age and willingness to admit it in this age obsessed society.  Again I burst out laughing – I just told them I shopped at thrift stores so why hide my age.  Dang it, I would do pretty much anything for a 30% discount…