23 December 2006

Better go on and do it now...

...because I've become the queen of procrastination. I haven't gotten a THING done really that I was supposed to get done today because I got very wrapped up in cleaning the house. My friend Mary is coming down tomorrow (or tonight, not sure at this point) to babysit the Zoo while I go to see my family for Christmas.

So, Merry Christmas to my faithful, what, five or six readers? I'll be off tomorrow to Atlanta to see my sister and brother in law, go to church with one of them, and then head north either that night or the next morning to see my parents for Christmas. Before then, I have to finish cleaning house, do a bit more shopping (yeah, I'm one of THOSE people), wrap pressies, pack the car (which includes performing the transformer routine where it goes from hauling vehicle to one that actually has passenger seats in the back, dog hair and all), and be ready to head out after I've kissed their noggins for the umpteenth time tomorrow.

I really hate being away from them on Christmas, but since I'm the only one in my family that is a dog person really, save my brother in law, there just isn't a way for me to take them with me. I'm trying not to think about this being possibly Profile's and Franny's last Christmas with me, about the fact that last year at Christmas my Zoe-Boh was still with me or that I was still living close to my friends in Greenville, or that if fate were a little more kind I'd be looking forward to New Year's Eve in London. Instead, I am drinking the fab PG Tips that Amy sent me, tossing toys for my maniac old man Prof in the den and watching Newcastle Utd football on TV...when I should be out the door to shop.

Merry Christmas, y'all!!

19 December 2006

I'm TOTALLY stealing from Liz on this post.

She had a great idea, to put the first bits of the first and last posts from each month over the past year, so I'm gonna steal it. I don't think it's creeping if I admit it. Flattery and all...much love to you, Liz. Much love.

January 2006

First: ...So that ebeth will have something to read...just kidding.
Last: I think I got tagged by Amy...

February 2006

First: I think it's going to be a Bad Ear Day all around.
Last: Those with more widely read blogs probably wouldn't blink an eye at this, but lookee what I found on the internet today...

March 2006

First: The pups and I are taking off on our first real vacation together tomorrow morning.
Last: I still haven't managed to recover the pearls of wisdom that apparently washed down the drain with the food and the soap and the bubbles while washing dishes yesterday.

April 2006

First: I think I may be coming down with something, so my post today is going to be random stuff slung together...that's about the best my brain can do at the moment.
Last: My season with the Georgia Renaissance Festival has now come to a close.

May 2006

First: When toys attack...I'm glad Hunky loves me...
Last: Hope everyone had a safe Memorial Day...

June 2006

First: Amy and I started out today for Mountain Hounds, a weekend greyhound gathering for greyhounds and their humans, at 7am.
Last: ...and then there was the YELLING...Holy moly. I was raised in a very quiet household.

July 2006

First: Do I regret not putting her on a raw diet sooner? Yes. (Lizzard's birthday)
Last: In 19 days I will leave my precious hounds with my friends, then kiss my kitties on their furry noggins and beg them not to make craft projects out of my carpet and drapes.

August 2006

First: Shamelessly stolen from the sig line of a friend's email...
Last: Missed me? Probably not...I've been out of the country in the UK since 20 August, and have only just gotten home tonight.

September 2006

First: Hunky: Whine Whine Whine...pause and tilt head in cute manner...whine whine whine.
Last: Hunk: (lying on the floor in the guest room, making a moaning noise)

October 2006

First: I'm back online, finally! Here's the Reader's Digest version of the past two weeks of my life...
Last: Yesterday morning I was in Huntersville, NC for the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

November 2006

First: I'm still here, though I admit I'm finding few things to write about for Brave Lettuce these days.
Last: he looked the same tonight when I got home from work, tired from a long day of problems psychosis target languages and long training sessions

December 2006

First: Every Friday night my "Montgomery Family" gets together to watch Battlestar Galactica. I'll let the uber nerdiness of that statement sink in for a moment...done? Good.

14 December 2006

A Christmas Meme from Gracious Light

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Choc, specifically the hazelnut kind from Tar--jay. Yum.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Yes. :)

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White for both, but colored is quite festive.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nah, too much pressure. I'm more about the sneak attack.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Um, this weekend, hopefully?

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Either my mom's homemade Andes Candies or my Aunt Mary's fudge.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
All of it, from Thanksgiving till New Year's.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Some kid in I think fourth grade told me, so on the ride home from school I asked Mom point blank and she didn't lie. She said that Santa was a creation of the good feelings that we have toward each other all year that manifest at Christmas and that he reminded us of the gift God gave us in Jesus. All that wisdom, so eloquently stated, and all I could manage to think was how fast I was gonna tell my sister so that I wasn't the only one whose Christmas was ruined. Mom knew me well enough to remind me to let my sister ask for herself and not tell her just yet...

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, I'm generally at home with the dogs alone so it's kinda anti climactic.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
White lights and colored lights and ornaments...each of which has a significance and a story. Just ask my ex husband. He heard every one of them for 7 Christmases.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it if it's real snow and not the icy wanna be we get in the south.

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes and did I mention there is an ICE RINK at the MALL here? Wooooooooo!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My puppy called Lady.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Being able to show the people I love how important they are to me since I'm one of those that can't remember to do it all year long.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
I have to pick one?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My sister putting the baby Jesus from the nativity on top of the barn.

17. What tops your tree?
An angel.

18.Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Carol of the Bells or Silent Night by Manheim Steamroller.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yum.

13 December 2006

Why did I never listen to Coldplay till now?

Here and on my Myspace blog (yeah, I have a myspace, so? You wanna fight abowt it?) I've listed the lyrics to two of my favorite songs by this incredible band that I've only just discovered, sadly...

"Til Kingdom Come"

Steal my heart and hold my tongue.
I feel my time, my time has come.
Let me in, unlock the door.
I've never felt this way before.

The wheels just keep on turning,
The drummer begins to drum,
I don't know which way I'm going,
I don't know which way I've come.

Hold my head inside your hands,
I need someone who understands.
I need someone, someone who hears,
For you, I've waited all these years.

For you, I'd wait 'til kingdom come.
Until my day, my day is done.
And say you'll come, and set me free,
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.

In your tears and in your blood,
In your fire and in your flood,
I hear you laugh, I heard you sing,
"I wouldn't change a single thing."

The wheels just keep on turning,
The drummers begin to drum,
I don't know which way I'm going,
I don't know what I've become.

For you, I'd wait 'til kingdom come,
Until my days, my days are done.
Say you'll come and set me free,
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me.

10 December 2006

Wise Beyond his Years

i dont know if this will help at all but maybe instead of thinking of the cancer as a totaly bad thing think of it as his special little message to you to tell you that he is getting close to learning how to love and wanted to let you know so that you would be ready when ever his time does come and so you can prepare your self.
-R. Cales, 14 years old, commenting on my guilt that I've let Profile down...he had said earlier in that message that each creature on the earth is here to learn how to love and then is called "back home." Animals catch on faster than humans, and therefore their lives aren't as long.

...it's like nothing bad could ever happen to you there...

pretending to be audey hepburn NYC 1997

It's beginning to look a lot like a BLINDING Christmas

Lois Lane Eat Your Heart Out
Yesterday I fulfilled a dream I've had since I was a child. I got glasses. Growing up I was the ONLY one in my family that didn't have glasses and I felt rather left out. My parents and sister think I'm INSANE. I see it as the same as being the only redhead in the family, or the only deaf member of a hearing family (as many of my friends are), you just want to be the same as your biologicals, right?

Anyway, I had apparently lost my mind because I went to the Lens Crafters AT THE MALL yesterday around 11am, thinking I'd be in and out in not more than two hours. No Rx Ms Lassiter? Ahhhh you need to see the eye doctor. No problem. I'm a walk-in, so 45 minutes later I'm reading letters projected into a mirror and testing my depth perception. Then I go into another room for the dreaded glaucoma test...the puff of air in the eye. Somehow they had to do my left eye three times and my right only once. Go figure. No glaucoma there.

Next the dreaded question that I'd heard from the lobby..."Now, are you okay with us numbing and then dilating your eyes?" Huh? No idea, never had it done before. She explained what it would involve and how they'd be dilated for about 2 hours afterward (try FOUR, in actuality) but by the time I got my glasses I should be okay to drive home. I agreed to it and ended up back in the lobby waiting my turn with the doctor.

I suppose because they were numb I couldn't feel the pupils actually stretching to the edges of my eyelashes because I was just reading the BBC on my blackberry when suddenly the lights got BRIGHT in the room and the text got fuzzy. BAM! I'm a big baby about most things, ask anyone that knows me, but crimney that was scary. I mean, I've gotten used to things being fuzzy a bit, but that was bizarre...from a news story on post office closings in the UK to a grey mass in my hand with slightly blue edges.

Saw the doctor. No big deal there. Get this...I don't have enough astigmatism for him to write a Rx for glasses to correct it. "Not yet," he said. What did I need? Are you ready? I wasn't...

Bifocals.

So after that stunning news I was sent out to pick out frames. Remember my bright and blurry vision? Yeah, who knows what some of those glasses really looked like on me! I know that there was one pair I ADORED but it was burgundy with a hint of green...I never wear those colors and I didn't want my glasses to clash with my clothes.

Yep, I just said that. Y'all that know me well take a second to recover.

Got frames, paid exorbitant amount of money, headed out to kill an hour in the mall. Holy smack is the mall bright and twinkly and painful when your eyes can't close to block out light. UGH. I made my way to the food court, had some lunch, and then wandered back to find an ICE RINK in the middle of the mall! ICE SKATING! I love ice skating! I fought with myself for a few minutes not to spend the $6 to take a turn on the ice...picture that why don'tcha? Me spinning around on a slick surface...a slick WHITE AND REFLECTS LIGHT surface surrounded by children that are whizzing past and knocking each other down? Thankfully for my knees and bum I decided NOT to try skating while under the influence of dilation drops.

Got the glasses, headed out for more shopping. Thankfully the dreary weather we had last week cleared up yesterday and it was SUNNY outside. I made it to Target and then went home. Didn't make it in time to get to talk to my friend from Yorkshire on the phone, so I finally fell asleep on my chair in the den watching television.

What an exciting life I lead...but hey, I've got GLASSES!!!

05 December 2006

Mobile Blogging For Dummies

So I'm here at the Alabama DMV, waiting to get my new driver's license. I'm number 46 (and 47, truth be told, I pulled the thing too hard and got two numbers) and they are on 31. I really thought that I'd be beating the crowd by coming on a Tuesday morning, but it seems that everyone else had the same idea. But in a bit and after almost $30 I will be legal to drive in Alabama.

The big news really is that I am blogging from my blackberry. I know that Liz at least will be applauding me for finally moving into the 21st century...

Ding! 32!

02 December 2006

Convening the Urban Family

Every Friday night my "Montgomery Family" gets together to watch Battlestar Galactica.

I'll let the uber nerdiness of that statement sink in for a moment...done? Good.

Last night was no different. I got a call at about 6pm from Bryan that they would be over at about 7:30 and that they were bringing dinner. I was on the phone with my friend from Yorkshire at the time, and only clicked over to the cell phone a moment to answer the call, then back to Yorkshire. Three times my call waiting beeped in, but since I was on the phone to another country I didn't answer it. The first time it was my friend Kimmy (whom I still have to call back) and the second time I thought it was my friend Leah...as often happens if one of my Sistahs calls me and doesn't get me she calls the other Sistah to see if she's heard from me, so I assumed that the number I saw in the caller ID was Leah. Only...Leah's area code is 336 and the number, it seems, in the caller ID was 334. But I was working so hard on my Yorkshire at the moment I mistook the 4 for a 6.

The person calling, in fact, was Ben, Urban Family Member. There was a plan hatched that I totally ruined, you see. Ben was calling to tell me that he'd locked his keys in his car and needed me to come get him where he was stranded. Then, when I of course dashed out the door to his rescue, Bryan and Christy would come over to my house (they have my spare key) bringing birthday cake, chili, hot wings, and ice cream along with balloons, gifts, and a birthday tablecloth/napkins/plates set and have me a nice wee surprise party when I returned with Ben. However, since I didn't call Ben back, they all showed up at my house just before Battlestar came on, bearing gifts and food and balloons and looking a bit cranky.


Insert me as Class A Heel! Even Franny thought I didn't deserve any cake...


We had a marvelous time, though, and it really turned out to be one of the best birthday parties I've had in a long time. They really did too much, and I love them dearly for just thinking of me.
I admit that I was a bit down this past week, the news of Profile's cancer coinciding with spending my 35th birthday alone rather set me in a dark mood. But we laughed until we cried last night, Ben and Bryan sword-fought throughout my house, the food was good and a grand time was had by all.

I think the boys had a little too much of a good time, as they were crashed out on the sofa till about 5am...


When I feel alone in Montgomery all I have to do is think of the three of them and I smile. I'm not alone. Urban Family to the Rescue!
L-R Me, Ben, Bryan, and Christy

28 November 2006

Profile

he looked the same tonight
when I got home from work, tired
from a long day of problems
psychosis
target languages and long training sessions

he looked the same as this morning
when I left him in his crate
settling in for a day of napping
a day of not caring
making a nest of comforters to comfort his tired body

he looked the same when I got home
after getting the news
after knowing that the knot on his head
the bulge just behind his left ear may kill him
he looked the same

don't know what I expected
thought about him all day long
thought about not having him around
thought about not having done enough
not having loved him enough
not having worked hard enough
not having enough money to save him

he looked the same to me
he looked up to me
I let him down

promised to keep him safe and warm
promised to keep him fed and dry
promised to protect him, but the enemy came anyway
the silent enemy
the enemy that will take my boy from me
the enemy that will take my heart from me
piece by piece until it's gone

I'd just gotten it back.

he looks the same to me still
curled on my bed
wound into my heart

he looks the same to me

-N, 28 November 2006

27 November 2006

The incredible lightness of being...35


Early Chopsticks
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

Happy birthday to me, hey?

My birthday started with a whining dog scratching on the throw rug in the bedroom for me to get up. I then had a birthday feast of 3lbs of raw turkey...but decided to give that to the dogs and just have a cup of tea instead. Am currently stalling getting ready for work by blogging.

I thought 35 would be awful but in truth it's no different than yesterday when I was 34.

In the past 35 years I have:

Visited New York City, Los Angeles, Denver (the airport), Chicago, Boston, Charlotte, Washington DC, Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta (duh), London, Calais (the ferry terminal), and Edinburgh.

Walked to the Greenwich Observatory.

Gotten lost in a foreign country and found my way home.

Been adopted by five magnificent greyhounds.

Had my heart broken a zillion times.

Been married, separated, and soon will be divorced.

Fallen in love a zillion times.

Met some of the most incredible people and am lucky to call them friends.

Been loved, annoyed, and cared for by three wonderful feline roommates.

Found strength I didn't know was there in the face of lymphangectasia (BoBo), lumbrosacral stenosis (Lizzard), and possibly cancer (Profile) in my greyhounds.

Been diagnosed with BPPV and spent several weeks walking on a trampoline.

Moved from Georgia to Tennessee to Georgia to West Virginia to Georgia to South Carolina to Alabama. I'm hoping the next move will put me back in Georgia since I seem to have skipped it this last time.


wistful
All that...and that's certainly not all...and I'm only just getting started.

21 November 2006

Whilst I Should be Sleeping

I am instead still awake...but I made a miraculous and heart wrenching discovery tonight. As I was surfing about on the internet to wind down from my near 12 hour day at work, I came across a website for a pub in West Yorkshire called The Grouse Inn. The photo of the inn on the page jumped out at me and slapped me across the face in a You've Been There Before kind of way...could that be the same pub where my family ate lunch 11 years ago and watched some Morris Dancers perform out in the parking lot after? Did I just happen to come across the same place on the internet?
I decided to find out and hurriedly took all the wee vid-cam tapes to the den to try them in the VCR. I was sure that one of them would be our trip to England in 1995 (since I couldn't lay my hands on my copy of the VHS copy right at that very moment). The first one I put in wasn't of England at all, but a recording of my presentation about greyhounds for the retired crowd at Daddy's church in Marietta, GA. Before I could really even take a deep breath, my Lizzard strolled across my TV screen.

Of course, being the strong and independent woman I am, my reaction was absolutely normal and expected. I sucked in my breath because at that moment I think everything just kinda stopped. When things/the world/my universe started back up again, I was sobbing and smiling. I had almost forgotten her stilted gait due to LS/DM, arthritis, and poor vision. Nearly gone from my memory was the way she would stretch out into a playbow before plopping down into the sphinx position.

And there she was, in second-gen VHS choppy and slightly blurry technicolor...and I haven't seen anything that beautiful in a long time.

Miss you MommaDawg. Every Day.

20 November 2006

Happy Monday


Daisy
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

This picture, taken probably two years ago now, is one of my favourites of Daiz. She looks like such a happy puppy. I need some of that happy for today. How do you get going on bleary Monday mornings?

17 November 2006

No real excuse...

I'm just a bad friend. This month two people very important to me had birthdays, and I missed both of them. Amy's birthday was November 4th and Liz's was YESTERDAY. I even made a comment to someone about yesterday being the 16th, and I couldn't quite put two and two together and come up with anything but dead air. To both of you, I am sorry.

Amy and I have known each other (technically) since the 7th grade when we met at Camp Glisson in Dahlonega, GA. We met at the same camp again as seniors in high school, then again as roommates in college our freshman year. We soon discovered, as many close friends do, that we were not only not well suited as roommates...we might actually be ANTI-suited to be roommates. Luckily we moved out of each other's hair (though hers was quite a bit taller than mine back in 1989/90) and remained friends. Amy is the kind of friend that drives to your house in another state in the middle of the night because you've just broken up with your boyfriend and call her, wailing into the phone that your life is over. I have lived just down the road from her for the eight years I lived in South Carolina, and it's a bit odd to know now that she is two states away.

She's still closer than Liz, who is about three thousand miles away in London. Liz and I met at Young Harris College and while we never roomed together, we were still fast friends. There are lots of stories that I could tell here that I won't to protect the innocent and the guilty. One month before her birthday, Liz gave me the gift of introducing me to a new friend and has really been a support to me in my moving out on my own, pursuing divorce, etc. I didn't quite move as far away from my ex as she did, but a lot of our situations were similar and she has been a voice of reason for me lately.

So...the dogs ate my calendar? Nope. Ummmm...we had an F2 tornado in Montgomery on Wednesday that scored a direct hit two miles from my house? Don't think so.

My pennance? I got bitten by a spider or something this morning that made my right hand swell up and I'm typing this whole thing with my left hand. Nah, not really enough.

I love you two. Much hugs and belated birthday wishes. Feel free to forget my birthday on the 27th...Miss you bunches.

N

12 November 2006

Where's Waldo? errr...Nancy...

I'm still here, though I admit I'm finding few things to write about for Brave Lettuce these days. I guess I'm finally seeing the benefits to keeping some bits of my life personal, and learning that not everyone wants to know each time I break a fingernail or how often my Profile takes to spinning like a top in the living room.

I would like to say that in the two months I've lived here I've settled into life in Montgomery, but that isn't true. The longer I'm here, the more I long for a life that is settled and permanent...the kind of life that I thought I'd be living when I thought about my future back in the day, when I was in my 20s. I guess no one's life turns out like they plan it, and everyone has static now and then.

But lest you think that I'm sinking back down off that proverbial plateau again, there are some quite positive things happening in my life. I have a meeting (via telephone) on Friday of this week with Scott and a lawyer, so finally we can get this divorce thing on the docket and moving toward resolution. I don't quite know what to think about it really. I'm not sad, as in I'd like to remain married to Scott, I'm sort of in disbelief I suppose. I'm having some of the same feelings as before when we first decided on divorce...this sort of thing doesn't happen to me and I'm going to be a divorced woman and all that. But really...it's almost more unreal because it doesn't seem necessary. Scott and I have lived apart far longer than the mere year we've physically lived apart, so in a way it feels as though we're already over and done with everything. I don't know...I suppose we'll see what happens on Friday.

The other good thing is that I've gained a very wonderful friend. Although I haven't yet met him in person, he comes very highly recommended by a dear friend of mine and from his emails and our phone calls she was spot on in her description. The only snag is that he lives around 3,000 miles away from me in the UK...but that hardly matters these days, does it? The world is a much smaller place than it used to be, and all I really care about is how I am currently sporting a silly grin and can't seem to speak about him without my face lighting up like a Christmas tree (or so I'm told). He's a charming, wonderful, amazing man, and he thinks that I'm special as well. We'll see...I'm a guarded hopeful at this point.

Off to continue cleaning the house and finishing laundry. "Mah Sistahs" are coming to visit this coming Friday and I can't wait. The world is a smaller place, to be sure, but sometimes even the gap between me and them in NC or me and my family in GA seems insurmountable. I am trying to learn some patience and acceptance. Trying. We'll see how that works out...

30 October 2006

Chai Tea Latte but no Scotch Eggs this time

Yesterday morning I was in Huntersville, NC for the Carolina Renaissance Festival. I realized at cast call that I'd forgotten my wallet in the car, so I sent my hounds on down with the group and ran back to the car. Later, temp pass and money in hand, I headed down to our tent with the plan to grab a chai tea latte on the way.

Instead, I just walked and remembered.

I passed the DaVinci flying machines and remembered how we used to stop there in the afternoons the first season we did with CRF because it was cooler there. We didn't have a tent of our own, so we did a lot of walking. I remembered the first time Hunky and Profee saw the flying machines, and how they would just stop and stare. Now they pass it without a second glance.

Heading out to exercise the hounds


Turning the corner at the flying machines brought me to the site of our first tent, now a shop. That tent was in front of a storm drain that was perpetually clogged, and literally a river ran through our tent. The ceiling sagged, and it was so small that we could only have two people in the tent at a time. Sometimes I can still smell the mud and mildew on my navy velveteen gown, since it was new that season, our second with CRF.

I remembered taking Lizzard that season, and how she ran off from the tent one day when I'd dropped her leash and headed for the food...blind eyes wide and nose in full tilt sniff.

Lady Anna and Liz'beth


I then strolled through the food area, void of its throng of patrons but still filled with the smells of bread bowls, turkey legs, and other tempting food. How many hounds had I yanked up from the ground as they tried to snatch a turkey tendon that a patron had dropped? How many times had I laughed at one of the food vendors who always called out to us to feed those skinny dogs?

I saw people pulling tarps off the front of their stores and readying their shops for the day. The rocking horse was being tested. The pickle barrel was being unlocked.

Continuing on, I came to the crossroads where the Woods Walk starts. Nothing but merchants and blessed blessed shade...mixed with dirt that permeates your soul when you spend much time there. Our third season was spent at one end of this row, right next to the joust.

My "McDonald Gown" made its debut at CRF this year, and I quickly learned that while the leine sleeves looked cool that big they just weren't functional for holding a leash or going to the privy.

For the most part, it was just me, Joanne, and Candy for that season and we had the best time! I don't think I've laughed that hard or cried that hard when a season ended before or since. That was the season of the greyhound faeries, and boy were they CROSS faeries!

Lady Rhianna and Faeries


I admit to lingering a bit at that tent site, lamenting the fact that our wonderful home now has a building on it that houses wax hands. But seasons change and from there we moved up to the front of the festival. I am reminded of that season every time I head in for cast call, because our tent was right next to the gate where we enter in the mornings. The sky chairs on one side and cinnamon almonds right in front of us...that season was heaven on the senses. Well, not the sense of hearing because we were RIGHT in front of the cannon...

That was the first season we were joined by Pinky, the italian greyhound, and truly lived up to our "Hounds" name by also being joined by an irish wolfhound called Morgan. That tent was about the same size, and we loved being so close to the royals and the front of the festival. I thought of that as I headed to my car.

Last year they put us as far from the front gate as we'd ever been, up by the belly dancers at the Dutch Door stage. We started the season thinking it would be horrible but ended the season with new friends and some new vocabulary...yalayahabeebee!

Our busy tent


All those memories rushed over me as I walked down to the tent yesterday morning. Chai tea latte, pumpkin milkshakes, stick weaving, Hunky pulling my skirt off at the joust, cinnamon almonds, the best beef jerky ever, chowder in bread bowls, "hang onta sumthin" when unlacing a corset, bees trapped in bodices, Merry Elizabeth and her trained rocks, "Here kitty kitty kitty..." It was almost too much, but as I was about to drown in nostalgia I turned the corner and saw what has become the next generation of the Hounds of East Fairhaven. I am the only original member left, and even I'm only there two times a year. I saw them and was jealous...but then was proud. My HoEF is in very good hands, and paws...and soon it will be time for the Georgia Renaissance Festival, won't it?

Huzzah!

26 October 2006

Just a warning, this is gross...

You know there are some smells that are so unique that you can almost see them in the air? Yeah, that's what hit me when I got home today.

My poor Profile...he had "the explosive D" all over his crate and apparently had tried to rearrange his bedding afterward because it was all over his nose, his legs, his tail, his belly, the TOP OF HIS HEAD...and Hunky's Blunde Bear from IKEA was in the back of Prof's crate, toes covered in poo. Profile scraped the top of his nose, I guess, on the sides of the crate (it's a wire crate), so there was blood and poo everywhere. The dog bed went in the dumpster and the blankie and Blunde into the washing machine, and Prof and I got in the shower.

He now smells like wet dog + lavendar shampoo (I haven't been out to get any baby shampoo like I usually use for them yet) and he spent the evening under a towel and blanket on a dog bed (with a snood on that he pulled down over his eyes), shivering every now and then but peacefully and thankfully asleep.

The kicker? I can't do my usual Big D rice meal because my stove still isn't working. I think the guy that said he'd call me back on Monday forgot...since it's now THURSDAY. So I think that tonight we just won't have anything (he didn't seem too hungry) and tomorrow morning we'll have some ground chicken and veggies (the food I mail order) and none of the NB kibble.

The only thing different between today and yesterday is that he had Missing Link on his food this morning...and it apparently can cause some tummy upset if not gradually introduced. I made my dog sick and miserable!! I feel like such a heel. Bless him, he didn't snarl or anything the whole time he was in the shower though he DID try to make a break for it a few times.

Geez-O-MINEY is the renn fest gonna be fun this weekend...

25 October 2006

As the Psych Unit Turns...and Churns...and Hummmmmms

(Preface: I have tinnitus in both ears and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in my left ear. )

Today the hospital admins decided to test the emergency power system and the generator by turning off the power for not more than two hours, switching to emergency power/turning on the generator, and walking throughout the building noting where lights/electrical appliances were not working. Sounds easy, right?

The deaf staff probably thought the hearing staff were psychotic! The generator is right outside our wing of the hospital, and I could feel the sound in my eardrums. I had to move about in the hall until I found a spot where the generator's hum-on-CRACK didn't bother me as much. Even one of the deaf patients asked me what that noise was!

It sounded like sitting over the engine on a puddle jumper. Not really loud, just...there. Don't know how to explain it. I did get a little of my own back though, when our psychologist who is deaf sat down at the nurse's station desk and put her elbows on the desk, then jumped back because the rumbling vibration therein startled her.

The noise somehow set off my vertigo. I don't know how exactly, or if it is a true physical reaction or a psychological one. The last time I had an episode was on the channel ferry to and from France back in August (and for a few days afterward!), and the generator sounded like the engine in the boat...hence psychological, something like state dependent memory. (ex: Last time I heard that same sound I was dizzy.) Or it might have been a true physical reaction because the generator is so close to our end of the building I could feel the sound waves. I could also feel pressure changes in my ears, and that can cause an episode as well.

Either way, it was miserable and followed by a test of the fire alarms in the building. Although it seems that someone thought they should crank up the volume on the alarm for the deaf unit...I was told it was actually that loud throughout the building. We don't have the PA system so that we can hear it on the deaf unit (I know, seems common sense but there are some of us down there that can hear) so while most of us thought it was probably a test, we rounded up patients to head outside to be safe...only to meet one of our nurses at the door who let us know she'd heard the overhead announcement that it was a test of the system and not a drill.

Ugh...this morning I'm only having residual vertigo symptoms, but I haven't gotten in the shower yet. If I tilt my head back to wash my hair and suddenly step on the tilt a whirl, I'm calling in sick.

23 October 2006

Do I LOOK like a scottie dog to you?


Hunky's Maryville College Sweater
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

Is Hunky not the most handsome thing ever? (Scottie dogs are the mascot of my alma mater, Maryville College in Tennessee.)

The unpacking continues...the wondering why on earth I still have half of this stuff continues...the adjustment to life on the surface of the sun definitely continues...and I continue, continue to be amazed by the people I encounter at work, continue to wonder what made me move so far away from everyone I love, continue to be impressed at the strength and bravery I didn't know I had...continue to be thankful that I have these incredible creatures in my life that love me even when I dress them like orange and garnet bumble bees.

PS-Much love to Angela at A&B Originals for the sweaters...they are just perfect. Go SCOTS!

16 October 2006

Ah, Monday...

I'm back from my surprise (or not so) trip to the Carolina Renaissance Festival to check in on the Hounds of East Fairhaven performing group...and to get my first of two rennie fixes for this fall since I am too far away to do all seven weekends this year. The dogs and I piled into the Hounda Friday night and headed north. Thank goodness for free nights and weekends, because I burned up my cell phone battery on the six hours it took me to get there. We pulled out of my driveway here in Montgomery around 7pm EST, and arrived in NC at Debbie's house somewhere between 1 and 2am EST. The hounds slept the whole way as Leah, my mom, and Mike kept me company via the tiny headset that was attached to my cell phone.

Saturday morning was ROUGH. I was awake at 6am to get all three hounds fed and myself clean and ready to go to be at the festival grounds at 8am. Luckily Debbie lives close by... After a doughnut (yeah yeah) and a shower, I was good to go.

I had instant confirmation that I now live on the surface of the sun when I got to the festival grounds...it was COLD!!! A hot chai latte later, I was raring to go when I was attacked by my Thug. The look on her face when she turned around in cast call and saw me made the six hour drive worth it. Lurve you, sweetie. I also was the happy recipient of a "Tom Smiter" hug, and this time he didn't go to the lengths he did at the Georgia Renaissance Festival to avoid me. I mean honestly, a broken ankle? A girl can take a hint, hey?

Our tent is just lovely this year. In fact, everything was lovely! I'm so proud of the group I could burst. I had mixed feelings about this season...afraid that something would go wrong, guilty that I'd up and bailed on them, sad at the longing to be making the short drive to Huntersville at 5:30 every Saturday and Sunday...but I feel better now. The director of the festival, who has not said much to me over the five years I've been involved with CRF, said to me how much he loved having the hounds there, and I nearly cried with joy. Seriously. That's all I ever wanted...for the hounds to be a legitimate and necessary part of the CRF family, and I think we've gotten that now.

"Mah Sistah" Leah came up Saturday and that was wonderful. I miss her and I miss the other Sistah Kimmy so very much now that I'm two states away from them! The dogs all did well and a good time was had by all, I think.

Here are some images from my weekend...more forthcoming when I head back that way for the weekend before Halloween!!

Francesca gives a paw

Pretty Girl

A study in devotion

Our Grown Up Thug, Kalyne

Sirusly, Mom.  Cold. Out. Here.

12 October 2006

I think the score is tied.

Must be the end of an inning...three up and three down...or is that a sergeant?

Okay, maybe I'm the only one that saw Good Morning, Vietnam?

Anyway...Moving to Montgomery has been a series of ups and downs, as are all moves I'm sure...but I wish that we could have several ups in a row before another down hits! Lately I have come to understand that if something goes right for me here it means without fail something is going to go wrong. Some examples, for those of you that might have insomnia or just be horribly bored at the moment...

I got here on time to get my keys the day I moved in and got my water turned on literally at the eleventh hour counterbalanced with my air conditioner not working and the cable techs not being able to get my internet turned on.

I got the air conditioner fixed and had cold air counterbalanced with the realty company not telling me that I had a gas water heater resulting in almost a week of cold showers.

I got the gas company to come out so I could have hot showers counterbalanced with the cable company's inability to just get the right person on the phone to turn on my internet (literally, that's what the VERY apologetic tech told me when he got the thing up and running!!) for TWO WEEKS.

And now, now that I have cable and internet and hot water and cold AC and even a TiVo...my stove, which apparently is hard-wired into the wall rather than connects using a plug/outlet, was NOT connected when it was delivered. There is no plug. There is no outlet. There are some very complex directions concering BARE WIRES and lots of tools. Um...no thanks.

Thank goodness for my microwave.

I'm taking a very special trip this weekend, and I hope that will cheer me up. Pictures WILL be forthcoming for sure. So far I'm quite lonely most of the time and am afraid that I'm a bit of a downer when I'm with the few people I know.

Maybe I just need a Strongbow...or a trip back to London...or a break. Or need it to be November so that my Sistahs will be coming to visit me...or March for Sandy Paws...or just a break. We'll see how I feel after this weekend.

08 October 2006

What Dreams May Come...Again...and be TiVo'd

This week I moved further into the 21st century and got a TiVo. What I ever did before that I don't know...this is the easiest and fastest way to see what I want to see on television I've ever known. Of course, I'm sure I said the same thing about my first VCR...

My power apparently blinked off yesterday morning, a fact that doesn't really mean that much because it's a Saturday, but it did allow me to sleep in because the alarm didn't go off. While my fuzzy alarm clocks did whimper and nudge at various times, they didn't rouse me from sleep until almost 10am...something that NEVER happens in this house anymore.

I chose not to set my clock until just this morning. Well, let's be honest, I just didn't set it because my ADHD-wannabe mind was wrapped up in a zillion other things instead. Again, this morning, I slept until 9am, but this morning I had some disturbing dreams. I think my brain was trying to warn me that I needed to get up.

The first one took place in an airport I think. I might have being going to or returning from the UK. Either way, a young man that I've kind of been crushing on (can you tell I have friends that are teenagers?) was in the dream and suddenly he was with another woman. All I remember of that dream was walking along behind them and seeing them start holding hands. In retrospect, I realize that the woman looks a lot like his ex-wife...but in the dream I remember thinking she'd come out of nowhere and feeling kind of "Oh well" about the whole thing.

The second one took place at Sandy Paws, a greyhound gathering I attend in the spring. I knew the people I was staying with and had all my animals there, even my cat Mills. Someone had some greyhound puppies there, and Mills was playing with the puppies.

Suddenly these people came in, saying something about the puppies making noise, and gathered them all up into a duffel bag. It had mesh on the sides and I could see Mills in there with them, meowing, but the puppies barking and whining drowned out the meows. They took the back out the door and I hopped up to follow them. Once outside they took off at breakneck speed, dragging the bag on the ground! I chased them to some woods and caught up to them as they dumped the pups out, saying that here they wouldn't bother people with their noise. I scooped up Mills and then confronted one of the men. He made a comment to his friend about me being AR (anti-racing) and I got in his face to tell him he was wrong. He blew me off and walked away.

Bizarr-O. Both dreams had a common theme though...I was left alone, feeling like "I knew that was going to happen," and not being able to change anything to make myself happy. I think I need to get up on time tomorrow, and leave the drama to TiVo.

03 October 2006

Damage Control for US Republicans

Some tidbits from an article on the BBC website today...click on the title above for the full article.
The sexually-charged and politically explosive scandal over a former Republican congressman's explicit e-mails to teenage boys has thrown party leaders and the White House into full-blown damage limitation mode.
It was only this July that the disgraced politician was pictured in the White House rose garden, shaking hands with President Bush at the signing of a bill protecting children from sexual predators.
As Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist, says: "These are issues that people understand.
"They may not understand National Intelligence Estimates, they may not understand whether Bill Clinton did this, or George Bush did that [in the battle against al-Qaeda], but they understand when someone is sending perverted e-mails to young people."

01 October 2006

Getting My 'Net On

I'm back online, finally! Here's the Reader's Digest version of the past two weeks of my life...

Wednesday, 13 September

Receive word that I've been approved to rent a house in Montgomery. Simultaneously rejoice and panic over the fact that I pick up the keys and move in on 15 September. Wean myself off the computer and begin stuffing what's left to be packed into boxes. Unknowingly check the internet at home for the last time until 30 September. Have a visit from Tressy that leaves me bawling uncontrollably over the loss of friends that I just realized comes along with a 2-state move.

Thursday, 14 September

Continue packing. Have help from Katy in the form of lunch and more tape for boxes. Have help from Mom and Daddy in the form of a whirlwind that blows through my tiny house and deposits everything in sight into a box. Pick up the moving truck after driving circles in the parking lot at the rental place trying to find the rental place. Who knew that a truck rental would be housed in an insurance company? One stop shopping there, to be sure...

Start packing the truck with help from Kurt, Scott, and Mom and Daddy until they have to leave to take my stove and their lawnmower back to Georgia. Continue to load truck until 11:30 when, with much gratitude, I release my indentured servants and go to pick up Susan at the Amtrak station. Arrive back at the house and continue to work until we both decide it's time for bed.

Friday, 15 September

Get up bright and early, feed the dogs, and go grab breakfast at Publix for me and Sooz. Begin again with the packing. Realize to our horror that the beds won't fit in the truck. Unload, reload, rinse and repeat. Call rental company and advise that I won't make 2pm pick up time for keys, reschedule for 4pm. Finally take off toward Montgomery, leaving Susan at the house with the truck to wait for parental reinforcements at 11am EST.

Fly down the highway like my rear bumper is on fire. Make it to rental company early, get keys, introduce dogs to office staff, sufficiently enlarge greyhoundy-egos and head for the house. Schedule water to be turned on today.

Arrive at house and spend a few minutes just looking around and getting teary. Find house to be huge, spacious, clean (mostly) and mine. Animals spend a bit of time inspecting the house and then join me in a short nap on the floor. Get up around 6pm CST and head out to find a grocery store for dinner for all of us.

Head down Eastern Blvd after fueling up. Make the mistake of looking too far down the road and miss the fact that the beautiful little black Mazda in front of me has stopped. Turn Element into Urban Assault Vehicle a la Stripes and collide with said Mazda. Spend an hour on the overpass where Eastern Blvd crosses I-85 waiting on the police and frantically worrying about my animals at the house. Am taken to Cracker Barrel by my "Montgomery Family" to eat something but find myself unable to do so. Am taken to Walmart to purchase food and supplies and returned to my new house.

Susan, Mom, and Daddy arrive very late. Mom and Daddy are escorted to their hotel by Bryan and Christy as Susan, Ben, and I take a break on the "loveseat" which is really a window seat. Begin unloading truck upon their return, finish at approximately 3am CST. Dispatch Susan to hotel and go to bed.

Saturday, 16 September

Wake up early because house temperature is mimicking the surface of the sun. A/C continues to refuse to cool the house. Am picked up around 11am by Mom and Daddy and head out to collect Susan. Have lunch and return to house, Susan wisely stays outside and reads to avoid further allergy attack.

Cable guys arrive around 1pm as Mom, Daddy, and Susan head to Georgia. By 3pm they still have not gotten the internet working, and explain that the person that assigns IP addresses is not in the office on Saturday. A/C guy arrives and by midnight house is cooler.

Sunday, 17 September

Continue unpacking. House is now livable, temperature wise. Call and make follow up appointment for Wednesday with cable company. Make online appointment for gas to be turned on so I can take hot showers. Dinner with Montgomery family at Carrabas followed by panic over first day at work.

Monday, 18 September

First day at work. Still taking cold showers. Gas company confirms hook up appointment on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 19 September

Gas company doesn't show up. Still taking cold showers. Mood rapidly going south.

Wednesday, 20 September

Gas company shows, hot shower incoming. Cable company doesn't show up. Call to find out what happened, am told that my appointment was rescheduled for Thursday. No explanation as to why.

Thursday, 21 September

Cable guy comes out to look at the problem with my internet. Decides that it is a line problem from the pole to the house. Informs me that line tech will come out on Friday and that I do not have to be here for that to happen. Assures me that I should have internet service by the time I get home Friday evening.

Have minor meltdown over the continued lack of internet service and the fact that I can't get my dishwasher to work. Cry, yell, and finally decide to go to sleep. Wish that I'd never left Greenville.

Friday, 22 September

Finish first week of new job in high spirits. Am enjoying new co-workers and setting. Arrive home, whistling a happy tune, to find that I still have no internet access. Am pressed for time, having agreed to help Montgomery family move to their respective new homes tonight through Sunday. Call the cable company and talk to yet another tech who, after being a little too snide about the superiority of Apple computers to PC's, decides that I have a signal problem and need another tech to come out. Order is put in for a tech to come out the following day from 3-5. Help Montogomery family move. Hilarity ensues. Round out the evening with dinner at the Waffle House at 1:30am.

Saturday, 23 September

Unpack a bit and generally be lazy. Wait for cable tech to come out. At 5pm call to find out what happened when no one shows up. Am told that this office doesn't have anyone that can cover service calls on Saturdays. Am told that there is an outage in my area that started the night before while I was talking to the Macintosh Man. Am told that he would not have known about the outage that was occuring as he was helping me with my still non-existant internet service. Am told to call back at 10pm EST to see if outage has been resolved because that is probably why I don't have service. Return to help with more moving and cleaning with Montgomery family. Round out the evening with dinner at the same Waffle House, this time at 2am.

Sunday, 24 September

Call cable company to set up appointment. Set appointment for Tuesday afternoon. Am informed by Montgomery family that dinner will be postponed until Monday night. Continue to help pack/move/clean.

Monday, 25 September

Begin second week at new job. After work, join Montgomery family for dinner. Make plans to see "An Inconvenient Truth" on Wednesday evening. Adjourn home.

Tuesday, 26 September

Arrive home after work and wait for cable company. At 7pm, make call to find out why no one showed up. Am told that appointment was rescheduled for Wednesday. Again, no explanation. Begin showing signs of a bad attitude a la last Thursday.

Wednesday, 27 September

Am contacted by cable company at 2:45 to confirm 3-5 appointment. Explain for the millionth time that I don't get off work until 4:30. Am told that cable company is not allowed to call me when they are on their way to my house (nevermind that they have done that every time prior) but that an exception will be made. Am assured that tech will call when on the way to my house. Continue to work.

Leave work at 4:30 and call cable company to find out why I didn't get a call. Am told that tech had already been to my house, found no one home, and left. Nearly have an accident due to the sudden rush of blood to my head. Nearly chew out cable employee on phone. Reschedule appointment for Saturday morning at 8am and arrive home. Find note on door that tech arrived at 3:25 but found no one home. Rinse/repeat bad attitude, this time accompanied by mass throwing of things.

Meet Montgomery family at movies at 7:30. Round out the evening with dinner at the same Waffle House, this time at 10pm.

Thursday-Friday, 28-29 September

Work. Watch lots of television. Finally find Target after looking for two weeks. Generally get nothing done due to bad attitude.

Saturday, 30 September

Get considerable amount of unpacking done while cable tech is here. Finally am told that I'm online at 11:30am, two weeks after initial appointment. Stop all that I am doing and become reacquainted with my old addiction, the internet, until about 6:30pm.

Join Christy and Bryan for dog walking and good conversation at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival park at 6:30. Return home around 8:30 and resume internet addiction. Fall into bed at 2am.

So there you have it. I finally feel like I'm moved in now that I'm again connected to the rest of the world through my computer. And now that I've spend a good hour composing this post, I'm going to detach from my desk chair and do a bit more work on my den...maybe...

12 September 2006

Conversations in my house, part 401

Hunk: (lying on the floor in the guest room, making a moaning noise)
Me: What is it baby?
Hunk: (moaning noise gets louder)
Me: Are you okay?
Hunk: (moan, moan, moan)
Me: Are you hungry?
Hunk: (moaning ceases)
Me: Lemme finish my blog first, handsome boy.
Hunk: (loud sigh followed by faint moaning)

Circular Logic, a la My Name is Earl.

11 September 2006

AGAIN PLANE-CRASH, HAPPEN WHERE? HERE?

I was on my way to the psych hospital for work when the first plane hit. I had switched from my normal NPR to a local station here in Greenville, SC, and I clearly remember the first report followed by the DJ saying that it had to be either a joke or a small plane, as others have said. I switched to NPR to see if it was real, but was pulling into the parking lot and was running late (as usual).

The patient at the hospital at the time was a minor, a boy who was chronologically 13 and mentally about 5. I headed in to do the community meeting on the unit. I opened the door and all the kids and staff were huddled around the TV in the day room. I remember thinking "Crap, late again and this time I'm going to have to interpret a video!" I remember the looks on their faces. I remember how kids that would shy away from even catching a staff person's eye under normal circumstances were sitting there, clinging to other kids, to staff members, to each other. And I remember my client waving me over and asking me why the TV keeps showing the same movie over and over again...

I remember when the second plane hit because we were watching the TV. Immediately looks were exchanged among the staff and you could see the question hanging in the air..."Do we turn this off?" Thankfully they didn't, and when the kids asked questions the staff members were open and honest with them. They even came to enlist my help to ask my client if he understood what was going on. He had some questions that one would expect from a very young child: "Why did the plane hit the building?" "Why did the pilot not pay attention and fly right?" But the one that I can still see in my mind's eye when I think of 9-11 was the one that no one expected from him: "Where will they crash next? Here?"

I was still living with the ex then, and I don't think our TV was turned off for the next few weeks. It was always on either what I call the Shouting Channel (FoxNews) or the Green Channel (CNN). I didn't switch away from NPR to any other station on the radio for a long, long time.

08 September 2006

I was never so glad to wake up...

Being unemployed for two weeks has some perks...one of which is being able to take a nap when I want. Like today, the first day since Sunday that I haven't had a freelance gig and I decided to take a "short nap."

If you know me, you know that rarely works out for me...I usually fall deeply asleep and feel like the underside of a mudflap in the rain when I wake up.

Today was no exception. I fell very deeply asleep and actually dreamed, and MAN ALIVE was I glad to wake up when my pager went off! I dreamed that I woke up in some kind of weird school. I was my real age I think, not a teenager, but I was in this school in England (everyone but me had an accent). I remember knowing that the reason I was there was punative and that I couldn't leave. Soon other girls showed up and didn't seem to notice that there was a 34 year old woman with them...so maybe I looked like a kid?

Anyway, I remember what the inside of my room looked like...stone walls, very dark, candles on the walls for light. The bathroom or "loo" as the other girls called it was down the hall. There was an inch of water on the floor in various places in the hall and the bathroom and I didn't seem to have any shoes, only socks. Once done in the loo I returned to my room to find that the others had gone, and somehow I knew I was supposed to be in church.

Next thing I know I'm with the group outside being reprimanded for being late. I tried to tell the woman in charge that I wasn't supposed to be there and that I didn't know why I was late or how I got to where I was but she ignored me and shooed me into a pew in the church separate from the other girls. If you've ever been to the prison in the castle in Lincoln, England, the pew was like that...each seat had a door that separated you from the person next to you and made it so the only thing you could see was straight ahead at the minister.

At this point I also noticed I had a doll with me...my Madame Alexander "Little Huggums" doll that I got when I was like a month old and is currently at my parents' house for fear my animals will destroy it. I also was wrapped up in a comforter, presumably b/c I had on a skirt that I felt was too short and I was embarrassed. The seat in church had a computer terminal and I was just about to log into the internet to send out an SOS when church ended and the woman came to fetch me.

We went outside and she sat me down to talk to me about my behavior, and when I said I needed to get out of there she said "No one leaves here," and grinned. She told me I would have to throw my doll away because I was too old for dolls, and so I asked if I could send it to my family, thinking secretly that I would put a note in her clothes begging them to help me. She told me that I had to throw it away and I remember clinging to it and starting to cry because I'd had it for all my 34 years.

I was still arguing my case and feeling quite afraid when my pager went off.

I need to lay off the chicken sandwiches for lunch I guess...

This one time...at Canterbury...

Canterbury, 24 August

Conversations in my house, part 400

Hunky: Whine Whine Whine...pause and tilt head in cute manner...whine whine whine.

Me: Hunky, what is it? Do you need to go out?

Hunky: Stop whining as you ponder the word out, head appropriately tilted, then decide that is not what you need...whine whine whine whine.

Me: What do you need, baby? Do you need some water?

Hunky: Rinse/Repeat on the pondering and head tilting, then whine whine whine...move closer to the crate in the office, stare pointedly at Profile who is sleeping in it, and whine whine whine.

Me: Do you want me to make Profee move so you can get in the box? (in my house box=crate/kennel)

Hunky: Stops Whining Immediately. Wag Tail Furiously.

Me: Ugh, the things I do.


I still like them a whole lot better than I do most people...

29 August 2006

My Big Smoke Vacation

Missed me? Probably not...I've been out of the country in the UK since 20 August, and have only just gotten home tonight. Let me give a brief account of the trip which will be followed in the next few days by more than you EVER wanted to hear, I'm sure. The trip was life changing...and I'm so glad I went.


Sunday, 20 August/ Monday, 21 August


Flew from Atlanta to London, landing at London-Gatwick at almost noon due to delays. Quickly found the British Airways desk to ask about a later flight to Edinburgh since I quite obviously would not make the 1:15 leaving from London Heathrow. Was given a "Compassion Fare" for the low low price of $160 USD and took the bus from LGR to LHW to fly to Scotland. Made LHW in plenty of time because my flight wasn't even given a gate until literally 10 minutes before boarding.

Arrived in Scotland quite tired and feeling icky around 6pm. Was collected at the airport by Ben (friend of the brother in law) after nearly becoming homicidal over the bus maps and lack of sleep. Popped by the B&B for a quick shower and then dashed out again to join a ghost tour of Edinburgh. Finished the tour, had a lovely fish and chips dinner and returned to the B&B to sleep like the dead.

Somewhere on Monday spoke to sister and was told that the other half of the money I'd brought to the UK was not in my suitcase as I'd thought. Had thought myself quite clever for putting half my money in my wallet and MEANING TO put the other half in the suitcase to go with my sister and her husband to the house so that I wasn't walking around with 300 GBP in my pocket to get stolen. At least it was safe...back in Georgia at their house...

Tuesday, 22 August

Hopped a bus to Rosslyn to see Rosslyn Chapel (any DaVinci Code fans?). Toured Rosslyn and waited for Ben to decide on what to purchase from the gift shop. Hopped a bus back to Edinburgh, retrieved luggage from the B&B and hopped yet another bus to the airport to catch our flight to London. We literally ran through the airport and were the last two heineys in the seats before the plane took off.

Landed in London. Before we'd left Rosslyn I'd spoken to my sister and learned we had tickets to see Les Mis for BIL's birthday. Figured out the train tickets from LHR to Paddington station, then got hopelessly lost. Learned that the Tube map looks rather like crayola spaghetti when one is as tired as I was. Rung my friend Liz who lives in London for help navigating to our guest house, but looked at the time and realized we hadn't left enough time to drop of luggage before the show started. Met my sister and BIL at the Tube stop, then headed for the Queen's Theatre.

Arrived back at the guest house around midnight. Promptly fell into restorative coma on the sofa.

Wednesday, 23 August

Up and out the door quite early to catch the train to Salisbury was the plan. In reality, we arrived at Salisbury around 11am, and all had dinner plans that night. Saw Stonehenge and had a lovely lunch in the rain before riding the bus back to the train and the train back to London. Split up for dinner, with me going to me an old college friend for a lovely evening of girl talk and some WONDERFUL cider.

Three pints of cider down and my "family" has still not called to let us know how they will collect me when done with their dinner. Am quite fuzzy headed and not particularly caring, until both Liz and I realize that there is such a thing as a last train to Dovetail (the guest house where I was staying in Lewisham) and we needed to get my fuzzy self on it.

Got myself from Canary Wharf (dinner) to London Bridge station and once again became hopelessly lost. Panicked for a few minutes about being lost in a foreign country. Found a very nice gentleman that worked for that Tube station who pointed me in the direction of the train (the sign that read National Rail This Way was literally right behind my head.)

Caught the very last train to Lewisham, walked the ten minutes from the train to the house, and again resumed restorative coma position on sofa.

Thursday, 24 August

Actually got up on time and by 9am were all on the train for Canterbury. Toured Canterbury Cathedral, was properly and reverently awed and amazed. Paused at 1pm with the rest of the country (according to signs we saw all over Britain) to pray for peace in the Middle East...quite moving, and for me to say that is quite amazing in and of itself.

Left Canterbury after popping into a small shop for a beef and veg pasty and cup of tea. BIL suggested catching the train to Dover and then going on to Brighton. Somewhere just before Dover, BIL suggested that we actually have dinner in Calais rather than in Dover. Where is Calias, you might ask?

FRANCE.

Took the ferry across the channel to Calais. Reactivated my two-years dormant vertigo problem, but the good conversation and comfy chair I had on the way back seemed to keep it at bay. Ate dinner actually in the ferry terminal because we didn't really have time to go anywhere and still make the last ferry back to England. Giggled a lot at my BIL's attempts at French and our new stamps in our passports.

Made it back to Dover and took the shuttle to the train station for the long ride back to London, then to Lewisham. Wobbled down the streets to Dovetail house. Rinse Repeat Coma.

Friday, 25 August

Did not get up on time. Took the train to the tube to Greenwich. Saw the Queen's Residence (?), the chapel and the Painted Hall. Saw the Cutty Sark but decided not to tour it...you can pretty much see all of it for free from outside. Went to the observatory...holy stairmaster, Batman, that thing is perched on the top of a hill. Lost a few pounds and an inch of tread off my shoes on the way up. Left Greenwich to go to British Library for an exhibit my sister wanted to see.

Saw lots of interesting old manuscripts there including something written by Elizabeth I, some handwritten early Beatles lyrics, and several copies of the Magna Carta. Decided to go to Temple Church (again, DaVinci Code?) because Ben wanted to see it. Argued about the proximity of the church to the Library. Unbeknownst to party, Brother in Law knew it was faaaaaaar away but decided to let us walk it because Ben thought it was close.

Two hours later arrived at Temple Church to find it closed for renovations. Had minor meltdown and all four of us melted into the concrete for a few moments. Had planned to hit Tate Britian so I could see a painting by my favourite painter, Waterhouse, that was on display but didn't have time after failed journey to Temple Church. Instead headed for Hyde Park to try to find fountains from the fight scene in Bridget Jones.

Walked for several million miles through Hyde Park. Found the fountains. Brother in Law and Ben too stubborn and tired to fake fight scene for my sister to take pictures. Strolled on through Hyde Park until Ben collapsed to sleep under a tree while Brother in Law, Susan, and I discussed dinner plans. Decided to head downtown and look for something. Found trendy Italian place. Ate until we almost passed out. Hit internet cafe across the street and then headed to Dovetail house.

Coma.

Saturday, 26 August

London again. Got a late start. Toured Southwark Cathedral, then headed to the Tower area for me to get a gift for a friend and for Ben to see All Hallows Church which contained an archway built in the 600's AD. Toured the church and met up with the Verger who was called Terry...and chatted with him for over an hour. Learned the origins of things such as Brits calling the toilet the "loo" and what it means to "knock someone up round morning" and "keep your pecker up" (it's the same as keep your chin up, apparently). He was fascinating, though a bit lonely it seems for as long as he talked to us.

Left All Hallows and headed for Covent Garden I think for lunch. Might have done that on Friday. Coma no longer restorative, therefore mind muddled. Had lunch and then split up for me and Brother in Law to go to the Tate Britain and Susan and Ben to go tour St. Paul's Cathedral. Saw my painting, recovered from the puddle of goo I became when I did, and moved on to Big Ben/Parliament where we were to meet Ben and Susan. Hopped the Tube and a bus out to Wimbeldon Stadium to catch the greyhound races. Nearly cried over missing my babes when I got to meet Champy and Daisy, two retired hounds that were part of a meet and greet at the track. Caught the bus and then train back and again tried for the coma.

Sunday, 27 August

Attended service at St. Paul's Cathedral. Am not Anglican/Episcopalian so it was interesting and different. Left St. Paul's bound for Hampsted Heath, a natural area that was home to many authors including C.S. Lewis. Hiked a bit and then took a lovely nap in the grass at the crest of a hill.

Returned to the house via another train station to pick up my rail pass for the airport for Monday morning. Brother in Law talked a guard into letting us into the currently closed King's Cross Station to get a picture of me at Platform 9 3/4 (Harry Potter anyone?). Tidied up the house and got to bed rather early.

Monday, 28 August

Finished cleaning the house and headed to the train that would take us to the airport. Arrived at Gatwick, got Ben headed toward the buses that would take him to Wales (he's still there till Thursday) and found our gate. Susan and I had breakfast in a pub in the airport, then we caught our NINE HOUR FLIGHT back to the states.

Cheers and Thanks to my beautiful sister Susan and her wonderful husband Dave for making it possible for me to go with them on this trip and showing me such a fantastic time in the Big Smoke, London. Have passport, will travel, when can we go back?

13 August 2006

An Awesome Birthday Present from Daisy

She won her race yesterday on her birthday! I think that moves her up to grade B!!!
TENTH RACE Grade C 5-16 Mile Track F Time 31.26
Fth Oopsie Daisy 64½ 1 2 2 2 11 31.26 19.00 Caught A Fader,Insd
Jnb Miss Lucky 57 5 3 4 3 21 31.32 1.50 Rushed Up Outside
Se's Sweet Abby 61 6 1 11 12 31½ 31.36 .60 Set Pace,Just Showed
Kiowa Kim Katie 61½ 8 4 6 6 44½ 31.58 6.40 Bumped 1st,Str Gain
Hkf Kendra 60 3 6 5 5 55 31.61 45.00 Evenly After Break
Sauterne 72½ 4 5 3 4 65½ 31.66 27.80 Shutoff Far Turn
Saved Message 63½ 7 8 8 8 76½ 31.71 4.30 Back Early,Wide
Wr Branch 57½ 2 7 7 7 87½ 31.80 3.10 No Factor,Midtrack

Jessica Michaud Ken’s Red F, August 2004, Cm Stormy—Lady Leelo
1 Fth Oopsie Daisy 40.00 5.00 5.20 Twin Trifecta 1-5-6 $167.80
5 Jnb Miss Lucky 17.60 6.80
6 Se’s Sweet Abby 11.80

12 August 2006

Two Years...

Daisy on her Birthday
oopsiedaisy
daisymuzzle2
Mornin' Daisy!
She tried really hard anyway...


Happy Birthday, beautiful girl. I love you, and am so very proud of you. Keep on tearing it up...you have the heart and spirit of a winner.

10 August 2006

Love, Greyhound Style


I love my furry family.

(Clicking on the title above will let you download and see the latest "ZooFilms" production, simply titled "love.")

09 August 2006

Checklist for Procrastination

1. Sew the patch on Kim's shirt.
2. Mail the shirt with the patch and the shirt from Mountain Hounds to Kim.
3. Mail a copy of Blind Faith to Suzie.
4. Pick up leg quarters at Publix for the dogs.
5. Pick up toys off the guest room floor left by the dogs.
6. Pack for my mad overnight crazy trip to Montgomery tomorrow.
7. Pack for my awesome wonderful trip to the UK coming up in a week and a half.

Holy Smack, a week and a half.

8. Pack my house up to move to Montgomery.
9. Take lots of naps.
10. Return the Frontline plus for dogs up to 22lbs to the vet in exchange for the 50-100lbs variety...or for 11 more tubes because one of those might cover one of my dogs' legs.
11. Pick up the third interceptor tablet from the vet that they didn't put in the bag yesterday.
12. Take Franny and Hunky to the vet on Saturday after the mad overnight crazy trip to Montgomery is over.
13. Pray really hard that Franny will come back home with me from the vet on Saturday.
14. Breathe, and then take more naps.

Man...

08 August 2006

Song for the Day

Faith, by Shawn Mullins
(off the album 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor)
Pain, come no more
Don't you come knockin' on my door
Love, dry your tears
You have lived a life way beyond your years

And faith, when you're gone
All my demons and my devils
they do me wrong
And faith, let your light shine through
Let a ray of hope surround me
Just don't think I can make it without you

Hey faith, don't let me down
Let me know when I come back
she'll be around
'Cause I've been burned, a time or two
If she left me Lord, I don't know what I'd do

And faith, when you're gone
All my demons and my devils
they do me oh so wrong
And faith, let your light shine through
You let a ray of hope surround me
Just don't think I can make it without you

In the morning you know
I wake up with the dawn
Everyday, there's a way
You know I got to carry on
To know the way
and take the road of right and wrong
And keep faith in my heart
Just keep faith in your heart

Pain, come no more
Don't you come knockin' on my door
Love, please be strong
Cause I need the peace of mind
to carry on
And faith, when you're gone
All my devils, all my demons
You know, the do me wrong
And faith, you let your light shine true
You let a ray of hope surround me
You came back home and found me
Searching for the love I never knew


To learn more about Shawn Mullins, click on the title.

04 August 2006

Observations at Work Today

I have learned that an Arby's Beef and Cheddar is a dangerous thing to eat. It can put you into a coma before you realize you're even drowsy. Then, the phone will ring and you will jump out of your chair, wide awake and trying to answer the mouse because it is close to your pager...which is obviously not what needed to be answered because SOMETHING is still RINGING.

I have learned that Hershey's "Kissables" look just enough like board game pieces to be slightly disturbing. I don't know whether to eat them or pass go and collect $200.

I have learned what it must be like for those that depend on glasses for more than just reading the computer screen. When the screeching phone pulled me out of my Arbys-Coma, I realized for a frightening moment that I couldn't make my eyes focus, hence the trying to answer the mouse rather than my pager...I fell asleep with my reading glasses on like the little old lady I am.

Passive Aggressive Workplace Vengeance...Almost

Allegedly (pending successful progress with the Alabama Licensing Board for Interpreters and Transliterators) I will be leaving the SC DMH at the end of this month. As is the unfortunate (in my perspective, anyway) custom in Deaf Services, there is a "farewell" party thrown for people that leave us at the monthly statewide meeting called Deafnet (unless the person really doesn't want one or leaves on bad terms).

Why do I say unfortunate? Because I HATE HATE HATE events that call attention to me like that. Ask anyone that was unlucky enough to be near me when I was planning my wedding...they got a lot of "I don't knows" and "whatever you wants" as answers to their questions because I was so incredibly uncomfortable at the THOUGHT of all these people coming to one place just for me (well, and Scott too but you see my point) that I couldn't think. I blocked out most of the wedding but I remember clearly wanting to fly away at the end of the reception but still being concerned that everyone there was still having a good time, that everything would get cleaned up and put away, etc etc etc. I was so worn out from the stress of that experience that for the first several hours of my honeymoon I did nothing but cry.

Man, if that wasn't a clear indicator I don't know what is...but I digress...

Sooo if I can reign in my ADD brain a bit...The dreaded Farewell Party For Nancy has been planned for the August DeafNet meeting. Our administrative assistant, Shannon, asked me at the beginning of the week if I was scheduled to work the Friday before I leave for Britain. You might as well have asked me what the square root of an imaginary number is. "Ummm I don't know, did I request to be off?" was my answer. No response from her.

Yesterday at lunch with our psychiatrist Jill, my supervisor Tressy, Shannon, and our new children's counselor Dana, I was asked the same question. I again referred them to my leave slip. Tressy then told me that I was working that day and that I was to make sure I came to DeafNet. The point was still bouncing off my pointed little head. See, I don't go to DeafNet usually...it is more a staffing for the clinical personnel and quite honestly there is a LOT of clinical information that I don't want to know for fear that it might skew my interpretation.

But suddenly one of those thoughts that was skipping around my head like it was a maypole found purchase. "Oh no, you guys aren't thinking of something for me because I'm leaving?" Knowing smiles and nods all around. Tressy reminded me that my supervisor had told me to attend. I was trapped.

Let me stress again how much I hate anything that puts me at the center of attention like that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like having the floor just as much as anyone else does, but then I'm happy to give it to someone else. I'm totally not cool with thinking that someone has gone out of his or her way for me, it's just how I'm wired.

About 4pm I was sure that I had gotten my revenge. They said at lunch that my punishment for leaving was that I have to attend this DeafNet thing. Fine.

Holly (regional coordinator for the Columbia area, tends to plan DeafNet because she's central): Where would you like to eat for DeafNet on the 18th? What's your favorite kind of food?

Me (twisting my moustache evilly): My favorite? Sushi. Ha HA, thought I, no one likes sushi but me!!! I will have my revenge because THEY will have to decide where to eat rather than making me subject others to what I want for lunch!! Take THAT!

(and NO, I don't really have an evil moustache...)

(I don't have a friendly nor benign moustache either, thank you.)

Holly: GREAT! There is a wonderful sushi place in Columbia!! They even have cooked food for the non sushi eaters!

Me (after scraping my last shred of comfort off the underside of the cosmic sneaker): Great. Sounds like a plan.

What did I learn from this? Four things:
*Don't tell anyone you're leaving till you turn in your notice.
*Not everyone hates sushi.
*Farewell parties are as much for closure for those left behind as they are send offs for those leaving.
*I work with some of the best folks in the world.

A Most Convenient Truth

Shamelessly stolen from the sig line of a friend's email...
Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
- C.S. Lewis
I thought of this today as I caught myself again doing something I've blogged about before...compartmentalizing. Today was different though, I was actually verbalizing, opening up another virtual drawer in the file cabinet of my psyche and ordering the ugliness in...only to slam the drawer shut behind it.

I left work this afternoon and the reality of the next few months of my life slapped me about the head and shoulders as I drove out of the parking lot. When my eyes teared and driving became a slight hazard, I started the compartmentalizing that is so a part of me now...but today I paid attention.

Step one: find a peppy song on the CD that you're listening to currently. Since I had my RENT soundtrack in the player, I found "Living in America" which is one of my favorites.
Step two: Start the self talk audiotape in my head to distract me from the pain.(this is the point at which I caught myself verbalizing...) "It's not so bad. You don't really know that many people here. You need to get out of South Carolina. They are just co-workers. You'll make new friends. You'll have a new life. It will be better there...etc etc etc etc."
Step three: convince yourself that whatever it is that hurts doesn't. Repeat as necessary until the offensive thing/person/event/memory/etc that is the source of the trauma is as insignificant in your mind as next week's grocery list.

I was actually riding along saying out loud "It doesn't hurt." Literally. But it does. Just like every other bad experience in my life that I've tried to compartmentalize to avoid a backdraft of emotion, it hurts. I do have friends here. I have a routine. I have a life here.

LORDY I just did it again. Teared up and then forced myself to pay attention to my typing ("dang, I need a new keyboard, this one is loud") so that I wouldn't cry...wouldn't hurt. I think I've been doing this all my life. I did it when we moved every four years when I was a child. I did this when my last grandparent died right around the time of my 13th birthday. I did this when I had to leave the people that had become important to me at Young Harris or Maryville or Camp Glisson or even Commerce High School. I did this when my childhood dog Buffy died and again when my Lizzard died last summer.

The concern now is what happens when this process fails? Will the dam break and drown me in left over crap that I really should have dealt with years ago? Or, more likely...will it have changed, "in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless," into nothing but dust?

I think maybe it's time to open the file cabinet and see.
"That drip of hurt...that pint of shame...goes away, just play the game..." -J. Larson, RENT

31 July 2006

Counting Down...

In 19 days I will leave my precious hounds with my friends, then kiss my kitties on their furry noggins and beg them not to make craft projects out of my carpet and drapes.

In 19 days I leave Greenville to go to Austell, GA, to my sister and BIL's house.

In 21 days I will board a plane for London (overnight flight).

In 22 days I will land in London and board another plane for Edinburgh.

In 23 days I will fly back to London from Edinburgh and spend the next 6 days there.

In one month I will be spending my last day working for the SC Department of Mental Health.

In one month and two weeks, I will be starting my first day with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

In the 30 seconds required to post this, I've realized that if I make it to September 18th alive, it will be a bloody miracle.

#metoo

#nofilter #goodhairday Yep, that hashtag in the title means what you think it means. But that's not what I want to talk about today....