30 November 2005

Overheard in a Meeting

(Paraphrased, of course, to protect confidentiality...)

"...X is a bully, you see, and Y is paranoid...so that's like the worst possible combination."
"...he was all bright and cheerful one moment...then told me to watch my back."
"...Z will be talking away to someone no one else can see until you ask if Z is hearing voices and the response is no, none..."

Never a dull moment where I work. Never.

The Jinx is in the Homestretch

I'm hoping that my jinx-y tendencies only apply to college and major league ball clubs (any time I turn on a Braves or Bulldogs game to watch they lose), because I think I'm close enough to step over the threshold into my new life as far as my house is concerned.

You know, it's sentences like that one up there that keep me from being a published working author.

Anyway, as I type the Molly Maid cleaning service is at my house. The gas is on, the electricity is on, the water is on...it's all sort of falling into place. (Pardon me as I quickly knock on the closest piece of faux-wood.) I could have kissed the operator I got at the gas company yesterday when she said "It was turned on at 9:45am, Ms. Lassiter." Now, I will be off tomorrow starting at noon through Friday at 5pm, and will get the front bedrooms painted and that's all she wrote. My new home will be ready for me to move in...now if I can just find the package that Vonage sent with my router so I will have phone service I'll be golden...once Charter knows to transfer my service up there, that is...

The virtual key is in the lock...soon I'll be locking the door behind me for real.

29 November 2005

My Beautiful Goddaughter


Kaya at Build a Bear
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.
I saw her in my photostream as I was updating a post and just had to make sure that everyone has seen my wonderful goddaughter, Kaya. She was adopted by two of my closest friends and is a constant reminder to me to keep the curiosity and wonder in my life if I want to stay young. Isn't she beautiful? Her mom sent me this photo from Build a Bear I think, and I just had to share it. ILY ILY KR!

28 November 2005

On Birthdays, Thank-Yous, Temporary Color-Blindness and a little more Rent

So I'm now 34 years old, as of yesterday. In a lot of ways, I haven't felt any different since I was 24 years old...I think my brain might even still be about 14 years old...but according to time and my mother, who was there, I am 34 years old. I'm a year older than my brother-in-law Dave (until next August when he catches up again) and a year younger than my best friend Amy (until next November when she jumps to two years older than I am). I have caught up with liz and shared my day (in thoughts, anyway) with her beautiful daughter Mary Catherine, who turned three yesterday.

I spent a wonderful evening with my family last night in Georgia...we laughed until I'm sure the folks at O'Charley's were ready to throw us out the door! I also learned a valuable lesson: do not, under any circumstances, leave the table while you are out dining for your birthday. If you do, when you return, half of the restaurant staff will surround you, sing to you, clap loudly, and then present you with a birthday cake as your family looks on in wild amusement. Allegedly when they set this up with our waiter, my mother said to him, "She (me) is going to DIE." Then my father chimes in: "Actually WE might die." Ah, how well they know me. At least the cake was good.

Thank you to all that wished me a happy birthday. It was very surreal yesterday, as it's the first birthday in more than seven years that hasn't started with my husband kissing me on the forehead and wishing me a happy birthday. In fact, he forgot all about it until I reminded him that I was going to Georgia and he needed to plan to be there with the dogs for their dinner. Amazing. This time last year he could remember, now he doesn't. I guess our lives are detangling...or detangled already, at least from his perspective.

My dear friend Pat called me all the way from Philly to sing Happy Birthday to me. I got emails from two online friends vying to be the first one to wish me a happy birthday after midnight (Scott, you won...but Shan was close behind at 1am...thanks to both of you.). My most beloved Thug not only called and left me a birthday message, she blogged about my birthday!

And it goes on and on...thank you from the bottom of my heart. Just when I think that I'm alone, you guys remind me that I'm not.

I dyed my hair on Saturday. Ever make a mistake that is just huge, and you don't realize you have done it until it's just too late? Yeah, that was my hair color experience. Perhaps if I'm brave I'll take pictures of my noggin for y'all to see. I got the wrong color to start with...after I'd dyed it, washed it, dried it, and gawked at the orange head staring back at me from the mirror, I fished the box out of the trash. Wrong Color. Too Much Red. Hardly Any Brown. I guess it could be worse, it's not the purple color I had once when I left it on too long, and it's not the ORANGE color it was when I was in college (remember that one, liz?)...but it is so obviously dyed now...can you say mid-life crisis?

Finally, a little more Rent...I can't get the songs out of my head! To make matters more vivid, I read a stunning post in Dave's blog about how he spent his thanksgiving feeding the homeless at his church. He writes:
Coming away from this, I am not thankful for all the things I "have" and how fortunate I am that I don't live like that. I'm thankful that my eyes have been opened to how people very near to where I am typing live in developing-world conditions. I am thankful that I am in a position to do something about it.

Katy and I had a similar discussion coming out of the theatre after seeing Rent. I don't know the first thing about what it is like to live in their shoes...to live "that kind" of life...and while I am thankful, as Dave mentions, for all I have I feel at the same time guilty that I have so much and those in my community, my town, my world, aren't as fortunate.

I guess that's why I feel that Rent is such an important show...and why now, at this time of the year when I have a tendency to focus on what I don't have in my life, it is so important to look at what I do have, and rejoice.
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss...no other road, no other way, no day but today...

26 November 2005

No Day But Today...

Several years ago I went to New York with my then-roommate and we saw a positively life changing show at the Nederlander Theatre called Rent. I had been listening to the music before we saw the show because it was all my roommate played, but the time I spent in that theatre was positively mystical. I don't think that I breathed from the moment the curtain went up until we were standing up to leave.

I had a similar experience last night, seeing the movie version of Rent (linky in the title above). The songs still move me to tears and I spent most of the movie positively engulfed in goosebumps. If you haven't seen it, go see it. I'm sure that it doesn't make as much of an impact if you haven't seen the stage musical but man...the cast that I saw in New York, for the most part, has returned in the movie...and as many times as I have listened to my CD (of the same cast) in a small way I felt like I was watching friends on the screen...like I knew them. Crazy, I know, but that show is just so very important to me.

I had the opportunity to interpret Rent when it came to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta...that was a challenge, but just another way Jonathan Larson's incredible work got under my skin and into my soul. It's just such an important piece of work.

I can't control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only goal is just
To be
There's only now
There's only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today...

24 November 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

A reposting of a Thanksgiving post to a message board...What I am thankful for:

I'm thankful for Henry, Foxfire, Striper, Marky, Luna, Xena-Angel, Alex-Angel, Abee-Angel, Buddy, Onyx, Bucky-Loo-Loo, Nellie, Tyson, and all the other fosters that may have only spent one night under my roof but have left permanent footprints in my heart.

I'm thankful for BoBo-Angel, Lizzard-Angel, Profee and Jeany, the fosters that never left.

I'm thankful for Hunky, the first greyhound that captured my heart, and thankful that he can now run around with healthy feet.

I'm thankful that I still have my Old Man Kitty Zooey around with me to swat at my pants when he's ready to be held...and that his Little Old Spinster sister Franny still howls when I've slept past breakfast time...and that Mills, the baby cat at 7 is still burrowing into my hair at night to wake me up with a purr that sounds like a freight train...

I'm thankful for my biological family who is supporting me unconditionally through this process and still loving me when I throw tantrums.

I'm thankful for my Deaf family who love me even though I'm hearing and I sign things wrong, and who have taught me the value of sitting still and just listening.

I'm thankful for my Rennie family...those seven weeks of hell and laughter were just what I needed to keep me going this fall. Ya la ya la! Ai-awa ai-awa..ya la ya ha bi bi!

I'm thankful for the friends that have known me forever and the ones that haven't...all of you keep me going.

I'm thankful that I'm almost 34 and I am relatively healthy and relatively intelligent and that I have a new life ahead of me full of promise. Happy Thanksgiving.

23 November 2005

A Quick Book Review: Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z.

This book was loaned to me by my beloved thug, Kalyne (who I still say is much too young for parts of this book!!) and I finished it today. While I am not gifted in writing poetry and can barely string two lines together coherently in prose, this book was intriguing to me as a wanna-be literary type. I found myself struggling to remember some of the references to famous poets and rejoicing over the prominent place of my absolute favorite literary mind, Emily Dickinson, in the pages of this novel.

The story goes that Annabelle becomes the assistant and then apprentice (a great deal of weight is given in the book to the difference between those two words) to an acclaimed poet and professor at her university. The reader follows Annabelle's awakening to herself as she sees the "other side" of the literary scene in NYC.

I liked the book a great deal, and found that in the last few chapters I was unable to put it down. I will say that it has inspired me to take the running dialogue always present in my head ("scraping my fingernails across the metallic back of the blackberry pager" or "delicately removing the wrapper from the piece of gum, her fingers traced the word wrigley on the piece of green paper" and that sort of babble) and get back into the habit of writing every day...even if it is just on the blog.

"Well, he left a message..."

Man...I have never been so glad to see a day end as I was last night.

It started innocently enough...the folks from the gas company were supposed to come out to turn on the gas, and were going to call me thirty minutes before they arrived so that I could meet them. That was a problem until I called them and found out that the call is just to make sure the house is open. No worries...Scott went by on his way to work and unlocked the house. Nothing in there to get stolen. Problem solved, right?

Wrong. I never heard from the gas company. I had my cell phone with me at all times yesterday (save a few times when I was interpreting in group or on the unit, but there was someone close by to answer it both times). PollyAnna here thought, "Well, maybe since I spoke with them Monday and let them know the house would be open, they just didn't call." I went along my merry way, but it was about that time that the doubt and worry started to creep in...

Yesterday at work was stressful. It wears me out to have ONE patient in the hospital, let alone two that are on opposite ends of the building. I was very glad to see 4pm roll around so that I could leave. I'd gotten a shipment of books mailed out and the oil changed and food bought for the dogs on Monday, so I was good to just go home (and feed the cats and feed the dogs and clean the cat box and do a load of dishes and and and...).

Scott gets home around 8pm. As he is heading to bed around 9:30, I ask him, feeling silly because I know he'll say yes, if he remembered to go by and lock up the house.

The expletive that came out of his mouth next let me know he had forgotten.

So for an hour I debated getting in the car and going to Greenville. The house had been open all day, what was a few more hours? Scott said he'd go by on his way to work today and lock it up. This little voice in the back of my head kept saying that I would not sleep if my house was just standing open, so at 10:30 I got in the car and drove the 40 minutes up to my house...

Which was locked.

The deadbolt was locked, but the doorknob was unlocked. Now, keep in mind dear readers, it's now 11:15pm and I am standing in my flannel pants, sweatshirt, and bedroom slippers on the front porch of my house and I just drove up there for nothing. Oh, but what is it that the old commercial for knives used to say? "But wait, there's more..."

While I'm there I decide to turn on the heat so that when the guy came to finish the painting and carpet and all that it would be warm in the house for him. I walk in and turn on the switch in the den.

Yeah, you saw this one coming, huh?

No power. I tried the guest room and office switches. Nada. Tried the kitchen. Nada zero zip. By this point, I'm in tears and very angry. I locked the house up, got in the car and came back home.

Scott, of course, is sleeping soundly, all snug in his bed. "The house was locked," I announce loudly, not caring if I woke him up.

"Then someone must have locked it," he says, then resumes snoring.

After I'd pulled out all my hair...just kidding. Resigned to the fact that I could do nothing more that night, I finally fell asleep around 2:30.

This morning I decided to just check on the gas company because I had a bad feeling that Scott had unlocked the doorknob and not the deadbolt. After being on hold for fifteen minutes, a very dour sounding woman answered and informed me that according to their records, the service person called my cell phone at 5:00pm.

Not possible...it didn't ring, it was in the same room with me all night. I tell her so and she responds with "Well, he left a message. Did you check your voice mail?"

I took a deep breath and told her that I was holding the phone at the time and there was no missed call nor was there voice mail.

"Well, he left a message," she says again.

Finally we rescheduled the visit for Monday. Now, understand that both my patients will still be here Monday, rendering me unable to physically meet them at the house. I will have to trust that the door gets unlocked and that they will actually call this time or I will have no heat for the cleaning service coming on Wednesday.

And what about the power, you may be wondering? This would be the point at which I am an idiot. I called the power company, and the incredibly sweet and a bit too chipper woman that answered checked on my account to find that sure enough, the power had been turned on. I explained that I'd tried the switches and nothing happened, and she said very gently, "what happened when you tried the breakers?"

Breakers?

Apparently there are indoor and outdoor breakers that were in the OFF position, hence the lack of light in my den. I thanked her for being so patient with a dumb-arse like myself and she laughed and told me that a lot of people call with the same question.

Somehow that didn't make me feel any smarter...

It also occurred to me yesterday that I have paid for two weeks worth of rent on a house I don't live in, and on Thursday of next week I'll pay for even more time not living in the house (because it will have to be painted before I can completely move in).

What doesn't kill ya, right?

22 November 2005

Holy Moly, it WAS a Virus!

...and it was sent, may I remind you again, to my PAGER.

From Snopes.com...seems Mr. Allison was once the ever faithful M. John Stellford! Here are more details from a press release by the FBI dated 22 February 2005:

FBI ALERTS PUBLIC TO RECENT E-MAIL SCHEME

E-mails purporting to come from FBI are phony

Washington, D.C. - The FBI today warned the public to avoid falling victim to an on-going mass e-mail scheme wherein computer users receive unsolicited e-mails purportedly sent by the FBI. These scam e-mails tell the recipients that their Internet use has been monitored by the FBI’s Internet Fraud Complaint Center and that they have accessed illegal web sites. The e-mails then direct recipients to open an attachment and answer questions. The attachments contain a computer virus.

These e-mails did not come from the FBI. Recipients of this or similar solicitations should know that the FBI does not engage in the practice of sending unsolicited e-mails to the public in this manner.

Opening e-mail attachments from an unknown sender is a risky and dangerous endeavor as such attachments frequently contain viruses that can infect the recipient’s computer. The FBI strongly encourages computer users not to open such attachments.

The FBI takes this matter seriously and is investigating. Users receiving e-mails of this nature are encouraged to report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center via http://www.ic3.gov.


I love Snopes.com.

A Funny from my Blackberry

I get spam from time to time on my Blackberry. No biggie, I just delete it. It really amuses me when it has attachments...it's a pager address, nimrod, what exactly are you wanting to infect??

Anyway, to compliment the mood I've been in for the past few days, I have gotten so far FIVE emails, all allegedly from different branches of our government (FBI, CIA, etc) with the following message:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal websites.

Important:
Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
Steve Allison

***Federal Bureau of Investigation-FBI***


Okay...if I had gotten this in my regular email, it might have given me pause for a second because of the email addy sending it ending with fbi.gov. But the fact that I got it five times...that each time it's signed by the ever faithful Mr. Allison who apparently works for both the FBI and the CIA...and that there is a zip file attached that has been sent to a TEXT PAGER address...the whole thing just makes me laugh.

Nice try, whoever you are. I think I'll go see what snopes has to say on the subject...

More on the House

The heat will be on after today, as the gas company is coming out to turn on the gas. Scott went by and unlocked the house for them this morning on his way to work. He and I went up Sunday to look at the kitchen to see what he could do to help me have a dishwasher in the house...and so far the news isn't good. The cabinets are small, because they are probably original to the house, so they aren't even big enough (there's not really room anyway b/c of the size of the kitchen) to hold a standard dishwasher. I managed to find an 18 inch dishwasher at Lowe's that has to be ordered...but it's $400+ so I don't know if my landlord will be willing to foot the bill for that. Ah, to be a Rockefeller...

The carpet is down in the master bedroom...the hole in the window has been replaced...the carpet in the guest room has been tacked back down and is anxiously awaiting a good cleaning. Now that I have power in the house (allegedly) and will have heat after today, I'm hoping that the cleaning service can get in there asap and then I can paint and move in. It's rather frustrating to feel like I've made progress and then remember that I have to wait...

Scott wanted to move some of my stuff up there now, but I just can't until it's been cleaned or I know I'll be sick with allergies. Soon, though, when Jeany decides at 2am that she needs to go out I will just cross the room and open the sliding glass door for her to go out...when I decide to make dinner I will make whatever I want...and hopefully will have a dishwasher to clean up with afterward.

It's only 9:30...

It's only 9:30, and already I have a headache.

It's only 9:30, and the heart flutters caused by stress have ceased, at least for now. I'm sure that they are directly related to increased interaction with people that annoy me, but I keep putting myself in those situations.

It's only 9:30, and I'm already wishing it was 4.

It's only 9:30, and I apparently spoke too soon about the flutters.

19 November 2005

Movin' on up...

Two and a half more things toward my move are done. The power will be turned on Monday and I have a new VOIP phone number all ready to go once I get the internet/cable service connected up there. Natural gas will be turned on after the electricity is on (and after they extract a hefty deposit from me like the electric company did and water company will, I am sure), then the water. Then the cleaning service will come and make the house allergen free (thank you Mom and Daddy!), a few walls that need it will be painted, and I can move in, finally!!

Now, somewhere in all that I still need to pack...

17 November 2005

Hiya Mommy!


Hiya Mommy!
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.
Debbie took this picture of me and I just had to share it. Up until the middle of CRF this year I thought that when I moved I'd be leaving my precious Jeany Bean with Scott and only taking the boys. That thought would drive me to just sit on the sofa, look at her, and cry...a lot.

Well...somewhere along the way, Scott decided that she would be better off staying with the boys. We went out to eat, he told me that, and when I got home and looked at her...yep, you guessed it, I cried again. Man, do I do that a LOT!

Anyway...I love that little girl so much. From the first days with us when she would barely come out of her crate except to proudly bring me a shoe she'd half-eaten to now, when she hops up in the bed with me and wiggles until I'm clinging to the edge and she has my pillow...

One hundred thousand thank you's to Debbie for this shot...I think it captures how captivated I am by Miss Bean...and I just had to share.

16 November 2005

Welcome Home Part Two

Click on the linky above in the title if you'd like to see a slideshow of shots of my new house. It occurs to me that some of you got my frantically happy email full of pictures the day Amy and I went to see it, and some of you did not. For those that did not...enjoy.

Please take special notice of the bowling alley in the living room.

More pictures to come in that flickr set, so keep an eye out (if you're interested at all...)

Still Breathing

Okay, this is not going to be so bad. While I did not actually get the keys yesterday because the carpet guy was still there, I did get to talk to my landlord about some improvements to the house. Kitchen: possible remodel/definite addition of dishwasher, courtesy of Mr. Lassiter's woodworking expertise. Guest room: definite paint job (Glidden, some color other than WHITE)/possible removal of carpet and covering of plywood patch in floor by a rug. Addition of small shelves into the former window in my office.

I have notified the cable company of my impending move. I have requested service from the power company (which requires a $150 deposit...ouch) and once that is done I can get in touch with the gas company so I'll have heat.

I took Hunky with me yesterday and he walked through the house with his ears at full attention. Cutie pie...he seemed to approve of the backyard and actually laid down on the carpet in the guest room while I was talking with the landlord. Other half of my soul, that dog is...

As usual, I have built this moving thing up to be so incredibly much more awfully worse than it actually will be. I can Griswald anything, and usually with very stressful results. (Don't get the Griswald reference? Go rent National Lampoon's Vacation right now. This instant. Go. Shoo.)

Now to pack...the absolute worst part.

15 November 2005

Breathe in....Breathe out...part five-hundred

Here I go to get the keys to my new home. Here I go to take the first step toward freedom and my new life. Here I go...so why am I still sitting here?

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Go.

Knowing is Half the Battle

I know why I am so anxious about this move, but I had the reason spelled out for me in a book I am reading. I am currently just done with the fifth book in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, Soul of the Fire, and yesterday while finishing it up I found a good explanation of why I am so anxious.

In the book there is an evil Emperor who has enslaved thousands of people. Some of them are members of an order called Sisters of the Light. One of the sisters, the former leader, finds a way to rescue her sisters and sneaks in to save them. She tells them her plan, they agree, and the captives leave for a bit on an errand before the escape. They return with guards and take their former leader captive.

Why? Because to one who is a slave to something, the fear of the unknown beyond his or her captor is so paralyzing that he or she can not make the move to escape captivity. My life here in this house with a man I was not meant to be with is not good. In fact, the state of the house itself is inflaming my allergies to the point that I sometimes have trouble breathing. He has taken care of all the money/bills/etc. for seven years now, and we are in debt to our eyeballs (and currently in negative numbers in our bank account). And yet the prospect of moving out...of taking care of my own money...of having my own house...is so terrifying to me that I am on the brink constantly of just calling the whole thing off.

This has been my life, right, wrong, or indifferent for so long now that I can't imagine the change. I can't wrap my head around it. House shopping was fun, this is real and frightening. Even now I am stalling and blogging while I should be getting ready to go meet my new landlord and get the keys.

However...I have something that Emperor Jagang's slaves didn't have. I have a network of friends and family that will not leave me in my self imposed captivity. Scary or no, they will shove me out the door of this house and into my new life with the knowledge that if there is a cliff past the door jam they will catch me.

No more stalling. Off to jump the cliff.

14 November 2005

On Closing Doors and Opening Windows

Yesterday was the last day of this season for the Carolina Renaissance Festival. I can't post on that yet. I'm incredibly sad...so much more than I have been in years past. I think it's because our group got so close in the seven weeks we were there...anyway, that will be another post for another time.

Today I panic.

Tomorrow I get the keys for my new house. I don't know when I'm moving, I don't even know when exactly I'm getting the keys. However...it's coming, and I need to wrap my Change-Fearing mind around that and get past it. I have to pack and clean and all the stuff that goes along with moving. Blech.

Saturday night I tried to set my house on fire, apparently. As I was going to bed, I took off my necklace and tossed it onto my makeup bag as I have done a zillion times in the past...only this time it got hooked on the plug for my hairdryer. Apparently there was enough current there (even though the hairdryer was off...that plug is known for buzzing and sparking a bit) to cause a reaction with the chain of the necklace. All I knew at the time was that I saw sparks and the lights went out in the bathroom. I thought a bulb had blown/exploded, so I reported it to Scott and went to bed. The next morning we realized the breaker had been tripped, so he removed the lightbulb from the socket and then turned the breaker back on. Hmmm, thinks Nan, my necklace is hanging from the hairdryer plug. As I reach up to pull it off, more sparks and a pop.

Turns out my necklace had MELTED to the plug. In the daylight we could see that there was soot on the wall just above the plug. Oops. Scott got very angry at me for that, even though I protested that it was an accident, that I'd thrown my necklace over there just like that a million times before, and that maybe it was actually a fault of the outlet (remember the buzzing and sparking I mentioned before?). I told him that I felt it was not fair of him to be angry at me for something that was so clearly an accident.

He felt that accident or no it was irresponsible of me to toss the necklace and it could have burned the house down.

Close door, open window...gimme those keys.

08 November 2005

Welcome Home


 Posted by Picasa

This is it...my new home. My home that's all mine, that I don't share with anyone but my animals. My home that I will get the keys for on the 15th and move into sometime after that (when it's cleaned up a bit and ready).

This is such a huge step and I'm scared witless, but it is a good thing and the right thing to be doing. Now I can get on with my life. My life, lived the way I want to live it.

More details as the moving commences...

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...