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...

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...