29 April 2009

Thank goodness it's almost May

April has been The Month of the Bean for the past nine years. Her birthday was 5 April and her Gotcha Day would have been today. Every time I think that I'm okay with this, that it's a part of life, that I was so lucky to have her at all and blessed to have so long with her...it just slaps me in the face that she's not here anymore.

Anyone who is reading this and just thought to yourself, "but it's just a dog," can sod off and stop reading right now. If you thought that, you don't know me, and you most definitely don't understand, and I'm choosing now not to have that kind of thinking in my life anymore.

Those of you still here...thank you. I miss her. I loved her so much, and in the end, it doesn't help and it didn't make any difference how much I loved her. I still lost her, and I guess that I need to just be okay with how much that hurts and not try to pretend it never happened.

It did happen. I did watch them take her out of the room, just like Profile, and never saw her again. She wasn't just another dog, she was my Jeany Bean, my beautiful beautiful girl, and I just couldn't do enough to keep her with me.

"I thought I would be ready for this, but how could anyone be ready for something like this?" -Brothers&Sisters

24 April 2009

Pounds and Pounds of Glass


For Anne
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
I've found my favorite thing to do. Clean the kitchen. In the three weeks I've been here, I've reorganized the fridge at least four times. Basically it becomes a need every time we shop, feed the dogs, or Simon gets anywhere near it.

I've never really been organized, so this is new for me. We had to get a new dish drainer because the old one was plastic and can get moldy. I bought a brush for washing dishes because I can't abide sponges. Harbingers for germs, they are! Mom is going to send me a Swiffer mop and I can't wait because I've been cleaning the floor with antibacterial wipes, while on hands and knees.

Mops/buckets occupy the same rung of the GACK ladder as sponges. Gross Gross Gross.

I would like to report that my cleanliness has extended to the rest of the house, but so far only to vacuuming and that's probably only because I thought someone was coming to see the house on Wednesday...someone who never showed up.

Now if only I could magically create more space in the kitchen. We have so many glasses and cups and so on and so forth and not enough room for all of it. Thank goodness I only brought four mugs with me!

In other news, might be going out with Simon's friends tonight. Not sure that I really want to because we'll be out all weekend and I hate leaving the dogs here alone, but I guess it won't be too bad.

21 April 2009

Small Victories


Haworth
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
(This post is for Katy...bigger and bigger glimmers. Absolutely.)

When I start missing home and wondering why I've moved here, all I have to do is look around. The picture here is what I saw as I started back down the Main Street in Haworth. Please take a minute to follow the link and look at it full size so you can see the gorgeous countryside beyond the buildings.

Yorkshire. That's why I'm here. It is absolutely beautiful here. No smog. No giant concrete skyscrapers (well, not really). Just moors and dales and small farms and sheep and beauty everywhere. This is my first time in the UK in springtime and I love it.

20 April 2009

Tired


Hanging on to Mommy's Arm
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Hey y'all. I'm absolutely recovered from the tumble down the stairs, due in no small part to all the walking I did this weekend! Saturday Simon and I ran errands all over Keighley and Leeds, including a brisk walk from Leeds train station to Leeds Kirkgate Market to Costco and then back to the train station. I lost the will to live 3/4 of the way to Costco, and then nearly wept at how much it looked like the store in Greenville.

Sunday we took the dogs down to Church Green in Keighley for the first Farmer's Market in quite some time. Keighley's Town Council (KTC) is working hard to revitalize the area and this once a month market is just one of the events on offer. We got some delicious cheeses, apples from an organic farm, local honey and homemade lemon curd, homemade cibatta bread, and some duck leg quarters for the dogs. Simon also got some plants from a local farmer including lavender and oregano and others.

After that we met up with Simon's parents and had a lovely lunch at Haworth Old Hall (roast beef, roasted veg and potatoes, and yorkshire pudding with a lemon tart/real cream for dessert) and then "strolled" up the High Street in Haworth.

In a slightly related note, I've decided that the word Haworth is actually Yorkshire for "REALLY STEEP HILL" and Lincoln is Lincolnshire for "HAWORTH IS EASY."

I'm still tired, but it was a fantastic weekend. I think the funk is lifting and I might just enjoy living here. I have my GPS in my new phone ready to try and walk to the grocery store this afternoon. Wish me luck!

17 April 2009

Well, finally...

Those that know me well know that I'm about as clumsy as they come. I can't walk past an object or through a doorway without hitting something or giving myself a new bruise. My family knows about my penchant for falling on stairs...up, down, doesn't matter.

Well, this morning it happened here, finally. I was coming down the stairs and my feet just came out from under me. Seriously, I don't know how I fell, not that I don't remember or anything that dramatic, it just didn't make any sense that one minute I was on my feet and the next I was on the floor at the foot of the stairs.

Only minor injuries sustained, thankfully. I have a nice rug burn on my left forearm and a slight one on the palm of my right hand. Mind you, I went straight from the floor to the sofa and haven't gotten up yet, so there may still be more to report when I do.

PS-Happy Friday!

15 April 2009

Tax Day and other things

It's tax day in the US today. Mom, Dad, did you get my taxes to Mr. Taylor? Hope so...and I hope I don't owe anything...maybe I'll actually get a refund this time!

Today's plan is to clean house. I know I said that on Monday, but I haven't really done much since then. I did clean the den yesterday, sort of...it's weird because I feel like I'm cleaning someone else's house and I don't know where things should be put away. It's also weird how I felt totally at home here when I used to just be visiting, but I don't feel that way now. Keighley used to hold a certain charm in my eyes before...and now that I'm here without a regularly scheduled departure that charm has faded a bit. I used to think it cool how Simon could go out in his back garden and see his neighbors in the row of houses across the alley/street/whatever it is...now I feel like I'm being watched when I'm in the kitchen. That sort of thing. I'm sure it will get better.

I'm working through a lot of guilt over Jeany's death. The first and most obvious point is that I am still wondering if I'd never moved here would she still be alive? If Simon had moved to the US, would we still have three greyhounds?

The second point is that she could stand up before we took that taxi ride to the vet...so I'm pretty sure that the way that idiot zoomed around corners, throwing my baby girl around in the back like a sack of potatoes, is how her back leg got dislocated. I'm not sure if that's guilt or anger; probably both, to be honest. If we had known about the animal ambulance or if we'd waited until someone with a car could have taken us, she would most likely still be alive, albeit with only three legs. I'm not sure I will EVER get over that one.

First and second run together for me...I knew that Simon didn't have a car and doesn't drive. I knew that there wasn't a vet anywhere near where we would be living. I probably could have surmised that most of the taxi drivers here are of a certain religious group that doesn't permit contact with dogs, therefore they wouldn't be as careful with a dog if they would even pick one up at all. (The ambulance driver told me he'd seen a taxi driver pick up someone with a hurt dog and put the dog in the TRUNK.) I knew that Simon's stairs were steep. I knew all these things, and yet in my typical selfish way I went ahead with moving over here because I needed to be with my husband. I'm just not sure I can forgive myself that Jeany had to pay for my selfishness the way she did.

Some things have gone right, though...we are getting great deals on the dogs' food at Leeds Market. Mills is the happiest I've seen him in ages. I have a roof over my head, heat, clean water, working plumbing...I should be thankful for those things and stop being such a snob about the state of Simon's house (no dishwasher, no dryer, etc). Maybe that's what I'll work on today...if I can ever get off the sofa.

13 April 2009

Playing Catch Up, but not on Channel Four

Well, I'm here now, in the UK. It's really amazing to me to think that I've only been here 5 days. In a lot of ways it feels like I've been here for ages. I got here on 8 April after a lovely flight over the Atlantic. Thanks much to Dave and Susan for the upgrade to World Traveller Plus on BA! I had a bigger seat which was also a bulkhead seat, and because there weren't many people in that class I didn't have anyone next to me. I think I slept the best I have on a trans-atlantic flight in a long time (without medication).

London Heathrow's new Terminal 5 is amazing...if you like posh shopping malls. I never found the Krispy Kreme, sadly, because I was spending all my time looking for my gate to pop up on the monitor and reading...and sitting. My laptop weighs a ton, and I was honestly tired of having it in the backpack on my back.

The flight to Manchester was loud but mercifully short. The only challenge left at that point was to collect all my luggage. When I left Atlanta I had four other adults to help bring my four checked bags and two carry-ons to the desk to check. In Manchester I was on my own until I got outside of the security area where I was to meet Simon and Louise.

Thank heavens for those carts that you can stack a million bags on top of and they still will not tip over.

Honestly everything from Wednesday afternoon until Friday was a bit of a blur. We got back to Simon's house and I checked on Jeany to see if she needed to see a vet. It turned out that she did, so we made an appointment and took her in to Aireworth Vets. The short story is that she'd suffered some pretty serious damage when she fell down the stairs, but in typical greyhound fashion had remained stoic throughout. We lost her Friday afternoon when it was found that her injuries couldn't be repaired and it was more kind to let her go.

Saturday and Sunday were supposed to be Settle In and Unpack days, but in truth I think that the jet lag and the grief over losing Jeany finally hit me and I did more sleeping than anything. I took a harried trip to the emergency vet with Hunky Saturday night because he had a little blood in his urine. Turned out that he has a UTI, very treatable. Last night we went out to Haworth with some friends of Simon's, which was a nice distraction from all that's been going on since I got here.

So, it's Monday, and the objective is to get the bedroom tidied and my things put in some sort of order...or maybe I'll just go back to bed.

12 April 2009

"Jeany Bean"
Bud's Lady Jean

5 April 1997-10 April 2009



Jeany came to me nine years ago, afraid and spooky and unwilling to come out of her crate. She loved her first Daddy Scott, and as animals are able to do so much better than humans, she was devoted to him. When we left him she grieved, but she happily took on her new role as den mother. She was a definite presence anywhere she went, and she fell so head over heels in love with her new Daddy Simon that she hardly knew I was there any more.

Jeany had lots of crushes...her first was BoBo and then Profile. I think it lessens the pain for me to think of the three of them together again...her tiny little prissy head in between her two giant brothers. After her brothers she was quite smitten with a boy in her obedience class called JD...she failed because she paid more attention to him than anything else. I think her favorite in recent time though was Unka Ray. When I can bear to look at them, I will post some of the pictures I took right before we moved of J on the couch, front paws wrapped around Ray's head. Bless him, he could have gotten up but I think he liked her too.

Jeany was first and foremost a diva princess who could get her Daddy Simon to spoon feed her WATER and her Auntie Janet to pull chicken skin off raw chicken for her, then hold the whole yucky mess for HRH to decide which bit she wanted first. But most of all, she was my precious babygirl, my Jeany Bean, and Simon's Jeany Beany Meany Queenie. She was Auntie Leah's Little One, Daisy's babysitter, and Hunky's soulmate. He seems to know...he let me hold his head in my lap for a long time.

Thank you all for all your prayers and good thoughts and love. We love you back, to pieces.

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...