04 December 2012

For my friend Carla, with all my love...


“Where are they?”  Daisy asked, her question directed at thin air.  “And why can’t I see you?  I saw Profile before.”
“Because we’re all together now,” Jeany said.  “Things are different now.  Things are changing.  But we’re all still watching Mommy and now watching Daddy Simon.  You’re the one that has to take care of Mommy now, like Profile taught you.  She is going to be lost without us.”  
“I’m lost!” Daisy sniffled.  “I can’t do this by myself.”
“Yes you can,” Jeany said, her voice fading a bit.  “I’ve got to go, Pup, but we will all be watching and listening.  If you need us, just go outside and look up at the stars.  That’s where we’ll be, dancing around and playing.”
-from An American Greyhound in Yorkshire

I won't say goodbye, because it isn't. I'll just say see you later, because I will, Stardancer.

Carla with FTH Sassy Thang, Sandy Paws 2009

19 November 2012

Nanowrimo Update...


So far, so good-but-behind.  Not gonna let this get on top of me like last August, though...

As I may have mentioned already, I'm doing another EQ fan fic this time around and actually, I am seeing results that I hadn't expected.  Characters that I have lived with and loved and fueled and written about for almost ten years now are trusting me enough to show me their back-stories and I'm finding it hard to stay in the here and now because I want to spend all my time in Norrath around the campfire burning in my imagination and listen to everything they have to tell me.  Who knew that two of them met while imprisoned in Lower Guk, or that two others were actually childhood friends?

Anyway, it's proving to be one of the most enjoyable Nanos I've done so far, and for that I am so grateful.  It takes my mind off flooding basements and inoperative toilets and back pain due to corset contortions in a privy at festival two days ago...well, the typing probably isn't helping the back pain but with stories like I'm being asked to tell by my characters I can endure.

See everyone the other side of 50K words!

14 November 2012

Xie-xie, Mei Mei.

My Mei Mei and Me at Gretna Green, May 2011
Today I want to talk about my dogs.  Well, one of my dogs.  I know, that's a real departure for me.  Well, hang on to your hats.  Today I want to tell you about my angel, my Daisy, my Mei Mei.

The idea came to me while reading a wonderful article from the SF Gate about how greyhounds heal hearts.  Click here to have a read, it's a good one.  I will wait.  You might need a tissue.

I got into the office today meaning to write about that, and found my entry for Daisy to win Beach Bound Hounds Queen this year (she didn't win, but to me she is more than a silly title anyway):


I pre-adopted Daisy when she was about a month or two old, via the Follow That Hound! Program (now sadly closed).  I watched her race (badly) and then when she retired, she came home to me.  Daisy has always been a light in my sometimes dark world, but I’m nominating her today because she made the difference between me giving up and trudging on during the two years we lived in England. Don’t get me wrong, I love England and the reason I moved there, my husband Simon.  I moved there with Daisy and my two other precious GC dogs, Hunky and Jeany.  They arrived a few days before I did and sadly Jeany took a bad fall down the stairs in the house.  She waited until I got there with her little sister Daisy right by her side, literally.  Daisy stuck by Jeany and gave her comfort through what must have been excruciating pain, which was amazing because Daisy was a little afraid of Jeany.  To be fair, we were all a little afraid of her, bless her sweet Diva Princess heart! Sadly, Jeany did not make it through surgery on her shoulder.  Hunky was devastated.  Jeany was his world.  Once again, my Daisy came through and even though she had never been close to either of them, she was Hunky’s shadow, generally making sure of him, to paraphrase Piglet from Winnie the Pooh.  Hunky gave up and went to be with Jeany about a month after we lost her, and Daisy found herself with a new charge:  Mommy. Losing them so close together was awful.  Going through that while 4,000 miles away from everything and everyone I knew was soul destroying, honestly.  I didn’t want to do anything after that, but Daisy knew better.  She would crawl up on the sofa with me and snuggle up for hours.  She got in the bed with me in the mornings after Simon left for work and did everything she could think of to make me smile and laugh (hard work, that).  She helped me remember what was good and happy and furry and loving in life.  Daisy helped me get out into the world again, and was instrumental in making me more social because people always wanted to meet her and pet her (red fawns are apparently more rare in the UK than here, and especially so when they are as tall as Daisy is).  She rode buses and trains like an absolute trooper, and I never had to start a single day while I was there without her bouncing on the bed and licking me from hairline to chin.  We all say that our greyhounds saved us and not the other way around, but I truly believe it to be true for me and Daisy.  She saved me even when I didn’t want saving, and for that (and the fact that she has traveled outside of the US!) I want to nominate her for BBH Queen 2012.


If you look up the meaning of Mei Mei you'll find a variety of answers.  I call her that because, via being a Browncoat myself and learning all my Chinese phrases that I know from the Firefly 'verse, I heard Simon Tam call River that during one episode...and looked it up.  I choose to call her that because one translation I saw was beautiful little girl.  The title, "Xie-xie, Mei Mei," in the 'verse would translate to Thank you, Mei Mei.  Dong-ma?

Daisy came to me at a very turbulent time in my life.  My ex-husband and I had pre-adopted her when she was about a month old, and from that time until she was two I watched every one of her 5 attempts at breaking maiden at JAX and then watched for the results of her races at Sanford-Orlando.  Babygirl got up to grade A there!  In the late autumn/early winter of 2006 I got "the email" from Cathie Lambert, Daisy's "Mama Caffie," saying that my girl was ready to come home.

Profile was sick.  The tumor on top of his skull was getting bigger and was impairing his vision and his ability to eat.  I took him to the vet at Thanksgiving and found out that it was cancer.  Hunky and Jeany weren't young by any means, and my old cat Franny was getting older and more frail with every passing day.  Oh, and I was in the middle of a divorce which thankfully was amicable, and had moved to Montgomery, Alabama which might as well have been the other side of the world from all my greyhound support.  When Cathie emailed me I freaked out and said it wasn't the right time.  But she knew better.  And she was right.

I picked up my Mei Mei in February of 2007 after losing Profile in January.  My heart wasn't ready.  But she knew better.  Daisy came dancing into my life and always seems to know when I need a spin around her own personal dance floor, because I'm missing Profile or Hunky or Jeany or Franny or even Mills, her nemesis.  She crawls up onto the sofa with me, inching ever closer until she is touching me and then she just stays there.  Hours after hour after hour she stays there.  That's what I was talking about in the entry for BBH Queen.

Now don't get me wrong, Daisy is 110% her Dah-dee's girl.  My Mister is, without a doubt, the center of Daisy's universe.  But she has a job to do, and that job is to make sure Mommy is okay, and she does it without fail nor complaint.  She is my angel, my Mei Mei.  Clown brings his own talents to our little family, but it is Daisy that keeps me off the ledge.  Ta very much, Mei.  Mommy loves you to absolute bits.

08 November 2012

My Post-Election 2012 Stump Speech

(Disclaimer: This should not shock anyone that really knows me well.)

I'm here today to post as a very happy American.  I've made no secret of the fact that I voted, again, for President Obama and that I'm pleased and relieved and all that sort of thing that he was re-elected on Tuesday.  

Let's do a little factual posting first.  Mr. Obama was elected not only by a landslide in the Electoral College vote, but by a reasonable margin in the popular vote as well.  I'm pointing this out in order to remind those that think that it was some sort of vote counting conspiracy or nefarious business within the Electoral College that won him re-election, that it wasn't.  It was simply that more people cast their vote for him than for his opponent.  Pure and simple.  Your candidate may not have been elected, but mine was elected fairly and according to the election process in our country.

Now then, here's the part that may get me unfriended on Facebook, unfollowed on Twitter and possibly even disparagingly commented about here at the Lettuce.  Friends (and those that unfriend/unfollow), I can take it.  Do what you have to do, that's what I'm doing here, and by hiding posts/people in my Facebook feed until after all of this rancor dies away a bit.

You may not realize it, but there are people out there in the world that have opinions that differ from yours.  There are people out there that worship a different Diety/Higher Power than you do.  There are people who eat meat, people who hate greyhound racing, and even people who believe with a strong conviction that if you think differently than they do you are, to quote my Facebook feed, morally inferior and/or corrupt.  The truth is, though, that there is NOTHING wrong with those people, they are just different.

I just wanted to post here to let everyone that reads the Lettuce (yeah, I know it's like five of you, but still) know where I stand so that you can make an informed decision about how you and I proceed from this point rather than jumping to the conclusion that because I support President Obama that means I am made of Satan.  Because, to be fair, I'm really not.

I am a Democrat.  I am a Liberal Democrat.  I am in support of equal work and equal pay regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, and anything else that might differentiate one person from another.  I am firmly in support of the notion that we are here on this earth (not this country, mind you, but the whole earth) to take care of each other and support each other.  I believe that support includes helping others any time that you can.  I believe that support includes sharing what you have with those that don't.  I believe that if you work hard and live a good and fair life, you will not only succeed but have the means to help others succeed.

I think that health care is a basic right just like food and shelter.  While I am not so sure I agree that you should be taxed if you choose to go without health insurance, I'm very sure that sometimes the end justifies the means and that everyone should be able to go to their doctor when they need to go, and not just when they can afford to go.  I believe in Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security.

Need to take a break to hit unfriend?  Because this is only going to get more personal and probably make some people more disgusted with me as a human being (again, another FB quote).

I believe that my religious beliefs are none of anyone's business but my own.  I believe that whether or not I go to church is no one's business but my own.  I do not believe that Go Make Of All Disciples means Get Every Pew In The Church Filled.  I believe that everyone is on the path to their own understanding of the Divine.  I believe that the Divine is one entity that has many faces.  I believe that it is not my place to judge because I don't want anyone judging me.  I believe that in my religious tradition there are mandates such as "Do Unto Others" and "As you have done to the least of these, you have done to me" that are not just suggestions.  

Still there?

I believe that people are born gay/straight/lesbian/bi/whatever, and that is between them and the people with whom they share their lives.  Further, if someone finds another human being that they want to spend their life loving and supporting and being with, then they should have just as much legal right to do that as anyone else does.

I believe that this body my brain is sitting in right now is MINE, and that no one has the right to tell me what I can or can't do with any working part of it.  Further, I believe that every other woman in the world has the same right to make decisions about her own body as I do.  Those decisions include the use of contraception and the ability to make decisions about pregnancy, especially in cases of incest, rape, and other trauma.

I believe that exclusion is a smoke screen for nefarious purpose, and that inclusion is the only way to be a true member of our global community.  And while we're on the topic of the world community, I wanted to just point out that there is a HUGE difference between the "Israel" of Jewish tradition, mentioned in the Bible and other scripture and the Israel that exists as a country today.  One is a body of people, beloved of their God.  The other is a country that is just as guilty of terrorism as any of its neighbors in the middle east.  I believe that the US should seriously re-think its devotion to Israel.

I don't think the US is the best nation on the planet.  We have all kinds of problems.  People are starving.  People are homeless.  Animals are abused.  Schools don't have the money to educate students, let alone produce future leaders.  I think that if the US would stop trying to prove its imaginary superiority and would focus on its own people at home for a change, we might be healthier and happier.

I don't think Republicans are evil.  I think that they are people with a differing opinion than mine.  I don't think the Tea Party should have chosen that name because I believe that in doing so they are denigrating the original act of rebellion that took place in Boston.  Their issue isn't lack of representation, it's changing your mind after you elect representation and then crying that no one represents you.

I believe that President Obama was born a citizen of the United States just like I was.  I also believe that a great lot of the outcry against him is a smoke screen...I think it all boils down to the fact that our country was not ready for an African -American president. 

I have always been proud to be an American citizen and I still am.  My time living abroad gave me a new perspective on what that means and what it should mean, and that's what I'm working to emulate.  The world is not laughing at all of us, Mr. Trump.  If the world is laughing, it's at cartoonish buffoons who declare the end is nigh/gather your guns/prepare for the apocalypse because of the election of one man to power.

Huh, that just gave me a thought.  It reminded me of all the people that were threatened by another man who came to the table talking about love, inclusion, supporting each other, and sharing what we have with each other.  Interesting that some of the loudest voices claim allegiance to that man yet clearly have no understanding of his message.

Yeah, so that's what it's like inside my head these days.  Take this information and do with it as you will.

30 October 2012

Battening down virtual hatches...

Hurricane Sandy, Satellite Image courtesy the Telegraph
Say what you will about those of us who spend a lot of time on Facebook, but today it has been a godsend.  I have so many friends that I consider family stretched all up the eastern seaboard and Facebook has helped me check in on almost all of them to make sure that they have made it through the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy as it made landfall last night.

One of those families, a Follow That Hound family member, had to be rescued from their house by kayak...and their greyhounds, long hailed as superheroes, walked through the chest deep water until they could get to higher ground.  I will be continuing my good thoughts, vibes, and Facebook watching until I know each and every one of them is safe and dry and out of harm's way.

29 October 2012

Just one more: Flashback Post - 22 Sept 2010

All this thinking about cats and Mills had me running through my archives and looking at things labeled thusly...and I found this marvelous ad that I'd forgotten about.  100 greyhounds in IKEA...what an idea.  :)

Happy Inside

Flashback Post...Miss you, Little Man.

I was at an event at the Greenville Humane Society last week and wandered into the PK room (The Mister works there and apparently that is jargon for the Puppy and Kitten room) and locked eyes with a beautiful little black/grey tabby boy who reached out from his cage just like Mills had done in the Spartanburg shelter so many years ago.  I purposefully rubbed his head and then my eye just so I'd remember why I can't have any more cats.  But that has gotten me thinking about my Little Man...and tomorrow will be a year to the day since he left me and Simon for the Bridge.  I'm still thinking about Alfonso, the green eyed devil in the PK room...but no one could replace my Mills.

Night Night, Little Man.

Miss you, Mee-uhls.  To.Absolute.Bits.

Corsets and moving vans and nephews and Nano...oh myyyy...

Random acts of Silly doth abound in Fairhaven...
(You should absolutely read that Oh My in the way that George Takei says it.  In fact, every time anyone says Oh My it should be using his voice.  Every. Time.)

So it's been awhile and I've promised time and again to blog about the honeymoon, the European extravaganza that was the months of May and June for me and The Mister.  This isn't going to be that post either, so if you've been waiting for that, you might as well keep surfing.

It's currently the end of October which means the Carolina Renaissance Festival has been in full swing for four weekends now, leaving only three to go before we sadly pack up the Dog Barn for another year and start madly plotting our garb for our trip to the "Southern Kingdom" of Newcastle in Georgia in the spring of next year.  But wait, that's not all that's going on...I'm still working on getting my soon to be former roommates decked out in garb of their own (a court gown to be done by this coming Saturday as well as a doublet!  I must be MAD.), moving into a new house, and starting a NaNoWriMo on Thursday.  Mad indeed!

We thought that it would be easy to do when we started this sewing project back in August (nevermind that I was doing a Camp NaNo then as well).  We planned to do the parts of the gowns at the same time and finish them both before Opening Weekend so that we didn't have to worry.  Ah, the best laid plans...

My gown is mostly done, as you can see in the photo above.  There are some bits that need finishing and WHO KNEW that thing would be as HEAVY as it is, but there you are.  Beauty is pain.  I had a little girl curtsy to me yesterday because she thought I was royalty ("your dress looks like the queen's!") so I guess it's all worth it.  Out of the mouths of babes...if ONLY my garb looked like Bettina's work!

Anyway, so mine is almost done and will have to be re-done before next year.  The sleeves are the heaviest part and will have to be grommetted in so that I can removed them before performing mundane tasks such as going to the privy or picking up poop or...amazingly enough...putting on my cloak!  It was like I was holding two persian cats under there.  Not good.

We've almost completed our move into the new house.  As I type, The Mister is wrestling with putting up blinds and unwrapping/setting up IKEA bookshelves.  It never ceases to amaze me the size difference in our furniture in our American house as opposed to our English one.  Where are my "huge" leather sofas?

Over the weekend my brother in law Andrew and his...partner?  Girlfriend?  I'm not sure the appropriate term, but they had a little boy, the first grandson/nephew for the Dunnes.  I'm hoping to see photos soon, and I need to get on the ball and email my niece, the new kid's big sister, to check in on her.  Being a big sister is not always as glamorous as it looks, and I want her to know that Auntie Nancy has been there/done that and would love to listen if she needs to discuss the finer points of siblings.

Finally...Nano starts on Thursday and I think it's going to be EQ fanfic for me again.  My hope is that all of this writing I grind out in November (as well as the past Nanos that have been on the same theme) can one day be edited to remove anything that the EQ head honchos may think is actually their property and made into a fantasy novel that can be published and read by people other than me and my sometimes muse, Mike (who brought one of the main characters to virtual life in game for years).

Yeah, so...that's what's going on here.  Not much, really, in the grand scheme of starvation and war and Hurricane Sandy, I suppose.  But enough.  You hear me universe?  I've got enough for now.

Oh myyyy indeed.

11 October 2012

Can Dungeons & Dragons Make You A Confident & Successful Person? | Idea ...

This goes along with my previous blog post on "How Gaming Levels My RL."  I only wish I had discovered the PBS Idea Channel sooner...and that I hadn't given up on D&D in 7th grade when some guys that I knew rolled me a character, dropped her into a hole, and sealed it off before she could get out.

Anyway!  Go!  Watch!  No roll necessary.

13 September 2012

Yeah, yeah, I'll get that catch up done soon, promise.

Iseabel Poytnshoot by Nancy Dunne
Iseabel Poytnshoot, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
I'm working on it! I just have to get three sets of garb done, get to a closing on the house that we are hopefully buying, start the Carolina Renn Fest, and get through a trip to Myrtle Beach for Beach Bound Hounds...and that's just in my free time. Relax. Maybe I can sneak in a spot of blogging this afternoon...

The picture today is from the Tower of London, and the gamer girl in me says it's my interpretation of all my toons with crossbows.  The real Nancy says it's a metaphor for what happens if you cross me lately.  Get it? Cross bow?  Cross me?

I think I still need a nap.

31 August 2012

Halle-Fracking-LUJA!!


There were nefarious plot monkeys at work, there was swearing and I am most certainly void of some hair and sanity.  Furthermore, I am not at liberty to really discuss all that led to this victory.  Let's just celebrate the fact that I crossed the finish line.  I will be much more prepared in November.  End of.

30 August 2012

One more...FLASHBACK Seven Years Ago...



Particularly appropriate I think, because I'm in a place right now where I'm wanting to throw things.  The picture above is just because I think it's awesome...and missing those two boys makes me want to throw things, now that you mention it!

"I hate this!" from 1 September 2005

Light reading till I'm done catching up: FLASHBACK POST!

Since we're coming up on the first of September, let's see where I was this time last year... "Things I Learned This Holiday" from 1 September 2011

Lions and...yeah, you know the rest

Tower of London by Nancy Dunne
Tower of London, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.
I don't have much to say today, and clearly haven't all summer, if you go by my blog here! I'm formulating a "catch-up" post about what has happened since returning from Europe, Simon moving to the US, and our seemingly never ending search for a house in Greenville. In the meantime, please enjoy these lions made of wire and mesh that grace the front of the Tower of London.

Hey, at least it isn't a bunny with a pancake on its head...

29 May 2012

Because I don't have the patience to add it to the sidebar...

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...