The Chicken Murder…

Feral chickens in Ybor

Feral chickens in Ybor

It’s Friday, the global market is falling apart so let’s have a laugh and get down to basics. As soon as Teddy got his job offer, I raced to the internet to book a short trip before he started work. It had to be somewhere hot, not raining and preferably with wildlife – so Tampa it was. In the next week I will give you a step-by-step tour but I just want to share this story.

We went to the old town of Ybor in the center of Tampa to look at the architecture and museum. I noticed all the chickens on porches of houses and businesses. It reminded me of Key West where you are not permitted to harm them. After we spoke to the museum ranger, she confirmed that it was much the same in Ybor. When the Cuban immigrants moved here they brought the practice of cock-fighting, so they banned any mistreatment of the chickens. Now they are feral, like pigeons, but much prettier.

The ranger went on to tell us that she was leading a party of museum guests (including children) when they heard a blood-curdling scream from outside. They all ran out to see a red tailed hawk blissfully eating his lunch (a young chicken) in the tree with blood dripping down into the courtyard. The city folks were traumatized but I almost fell on the floor laughing. It would have been a perfect opportunity to show that chicken nuggets don’t come that way and that the cute little baby hawks need to be fed, too.

On a more serious note, I am quite knowledgeable about animal husbandry both from living on a farm, having grandparents who were farmers and working in animal sanctuaries. I rarely eat meat and always try to eat happy meat. In Scotland, our butcher used to accompany all his animals to the slaughterhouse and then brought them back. On the chalkboard would be listed which animal you were eating today. This is why you should give thanks for every animal that has died to feed you. It was much the same in Egypt. One day you are living on the farm, next day you go for a little trip, someone chooses you and snap you are in chicken heaven. That is a much better life than most first world chickens.

Since I took such delight in the chicken murder, the ranger took us aside and told us about her sister in New York who is a teacher. They had a biology project where they children cared for a caterpillar that pupated and finally emerged as a beautiful butterfly. The children were so excited to gather in the playground to release the butterflies. As soon as they did, a flock of blue jays came and ate every single butterfly! Can you believe that they got counselors in? What the heck is wrong with parents today – you should tell your children where there dinner comes from and then there might be more vegetarians around. Again, it was a perfect opportunity to show pictures of fluffy little baby blue jays that also needed fed…

Teddy and I did wonder if the blue jays gathered at the school every year for the lovely buffet lunch that was provided by the kind children. 😉 HAPPY FRIDAY!!! Stop worrying about your stocks and shares, you could have been born a chicken – LOL!

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“Oh yes, she’s back…”

Happy Hibiscus

Happy Hibiscus

I have missed everybody and it’s great to be back. I’m not very good at following advice that I would give someone else but this time I did the sensible thing and took a break from everything. Work, blogging, socializing – if I had a cave I would have gone to stay in it.

My slow recovery and continued pain from the eye surgery was contributing to my low mood but fortunately my regular eye doctor has provided huge relief by inserting little collagen stoppers into my leaky tear ducts so that some liquid stays in the eyes. He said I had striations from the dryness which was causing pain up to the scale of 10. When I started researching my eye problem, I reduced a variety of factors that were contributing to my chronic dry eye. I cut back on my essential medication to a manageable level, stopped taking the painkillers and anti-histamines. Then I cleaned my diet – more Omega 3s, less caffeine, less alcohol and more vegetables. I walked every day for 3 or 4 miles and was vigilant with eye drops and cleansing.

It all helped but the honest truth is that I think most of it was a mechanical problem – the tear ducts were just not working properly. This is common, particularly in menopausal women but the less said about that the better… I am not having hot flashes – it just gets suddenly hot in the sub-tropics. 🙂 With more liquid in my eyes the vision is my post cataract eye is much better and I have super spidey vision with tiny writing. It’s a nice plus in a protracted recovery.

Last weekend I knew I was feeling better because I suddenly wanted to go on a solo trip with our air miles. We have been very thrifty (our water bill has increased from $10 to $10.10!) and it was a relatively inexpensive trip with a free flight and a fantastic Hotwire deal on a historic hotel in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. This week I will be telling you all about it. Sometimes you just need a literal break away.

This red link “Kerry chatting” will take you to a little video of me chatting in my dulcet Celtic tones – I just want to say thank you, literally, for all the support you gave me. It meant so much.

Eye, Eye, Captain

kerry cyborg3

Would you sleep with this woman?

You know that question was rhetorical. Who doesn’t want to sleep with a cyborg in bright pink PJs? For those of you who are new to my blog, I had three bad things happen recently. My husband was laid off from the oil industry, my beloved mother in law died and I unexpectedly needed eye surgery to treat a subcapsular cataract that had formed in my left eye. Everything had to happen quickly to take advantage of our existing health insurance and last week I had eye surgery on Wednesday.

We turned up at the clinic and things proceeded quite quickly…until they couldn’t find a vein. After two attempts, the charming southern anesthetist was called and inserted the IV. This meant that my pre medication, commonly known as a medical margarita, was late in being delivered. The schedule was a bit off and suddenly I was being raced into the operating theater. Before that, I had been asked on numerous occasions which eye it was, confirmed my identity and was reassured that no-one was going to take out a kidney. From previous procedures I knew I wasn’t as Margarita ‘happy’ as I usually am and was a little concerned.

I was taken first to the laser which was going to chop up the cataract and the remains are vacuumed out. Despite the numbing drops and the pre-med I was completely aware of what was happening and could even feel a slight burning at the end of the laser procedure. Utterly terrified I kept completely still and followed all instructions. Then I went across the room to another bed where the new lens was implanted into my eye (until death, I hope). I kept hoping the happy juice would kick in but no….I was utterly aware of everything. It was like torture but with no pain. I felt the various procedures, one by one and although it was fast it felt like an eternity.

At the end, the operating staff said I was a perfect patient. I can only hope I react the same way at my next torture session when China finally invades the US or whatever other scenario the crazy people envisage. The next day I saw my eye surgeon for a follow up and even he looked horrified that I had been quite so awake. They need you to be in a twilight zone so that you can follow instructions precisely but feel relaxed. This was not like Lasik – then I was so happy I thought I could fly.

The very nice silver lining is that my sight has been restored and I am writing this WITH NO READERS! My baby blues still look adorable and I am recovering very quickly. Drove to the surgeon the following day; been out for my long walk with sunglasses and a hat. I have myriad eye drops to take for weeks to come to prevent infection, inflammation and general mayhem. This is America – it cost a fortune but it was done almost immediately and by an excellent surgeon who I could choose. We paid extra to have the laser seal the wound with no stitches which usually means a quicker recovery with less complications and discomfort.

They had to dilate my eye hugely for the surgery and I looked like a Betazoid on Star Trek with one enormous black eye. This photograph was taken the next day and even the surgeon was surprised that it was so dilated. When I was young and frisky, guys used to ask me if my eyes were black but I was just so excited that my pupils dilated hugely. Perhaps they still do…. 🙂

kerry betazoid

Can you see the mark of Kwok above my eye? It was so weird having one black eye.

Finally – many thanks to all my followers who have been so solicitous about my surgery and other health problems. It has been much needed salve in my current wounds and has helped keep me afloat in a very difficult time in my life. It is hard to imagine the kindness of strangers and those who have become good friends. It is a testament to the goodness of people and I very much appreciate every single comment and ‘like’.

PS My surgeon’s name was Kwok and he marked my eye to make sure they did the left one.