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.

30 July 2006

What will I do come October?

Nancy-Profile Georgia RennFest
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

(Thanks Ben for the photo of me and my handsome boy Profile from the Georgia Renn Fest.)

More Stuff than I Could Shake a Stick At...

I had a remarkable experience today. I'm in Austell again, with my sister and her husband, and today my sister took me to the IKEA store.


I have never seen so much stuff before in my life!!! And the prices!!! I walked away with a bear for Hunky ("Bear Bear" or "Teddy" got eaten by the Profile Monster and met an early death, I think, at the Anderson House), a shark for Profile, and a duvet and duvet cover for Mommy! That's right, the girl that didn't even use a flat sheet just one year ago today bought a duvet and blue FLORAL duvet cover today...and I LOVE IT. I also love the fact that if something happens to the blue I can go back to IKEA and get another cover and have A WHOLE NEW COMFORTER on my bed.

You probably already knew this, but you can get cheap sofas there and even cheaper sofa slip covers that are made to fit their sofas, and have a different sofa in your den on a WHIM! Unbelievable. I walked around every bit the mouth-breather for most of the time we were in the store because I was just amazed. Or, as the guy on Dave and Susan's satellite radio Broadway Show Tunes show says, Ah-mah-zed. I was most definitely ah-mah-zed.

Did I mention that as we were leaving I picked up two kinds of sandwich cookies, my favorite Anna's ginger snaps and some chocolates? Yeah, what diet? Good LORD they are tasty...as Rachael Ray said about the Flying Biscuit, they were "almost too good to eat in public." And the cinammon rolls? My WORD.

I'm already looking ahead to thinking that I want a futon and an overstuffed chair in my den wherever I live in Montgomery. Bet I could look one up on IKEA...I know most of you already knew how awesome it is...in fact I think that I saw Liz's kitchen on display there! But I've finally caught up...and I am still ah-mah-zed.

19 July 2006

The 11th thing out of the Top 10

...things that suck about insomnia...

Being wide awake and realizing that you've run out of your nightime/sleep meds...

I do have a new vacuum cleaner, however, so maybe some light housework is in order. I'm not giving up yet though, it's not even midnight. The night is still young.

17 July 2006

I don't know what to say...

I've become an avid reader of My Beloved Monster & Me, which you will find linked here, in the title, and in my blogroll. I'm fascinated by mommy and daddy blogs and this one in particular as the author is quite talented and his family quite unique. But this post of mine has nothing to do with them, rather with a link I followed from his blog today.

There are apparently a few topics that are quite the hotbuttons among parents, and one of them is whether or not to spank one's children to discipline them. I admit fully that I have NO idea what it is like to be a mom, to live with children every day, etc etc etc but I can tell you with unwavering certainty that I will NEVER hit my children. Citizen Rob blogged about spanking (he is strongly against it and I applaud his candor and determination) and included a link to a horrifying site called Spanking with Love that I'm not even going to link here because I hope that no one who is a caregiver for a child would find it and think that ANY of it is okay. It is condoning abuse, pure and simple. It gives grown adults the idea that striking a child is okay, and I'm sorry, in my world it is not ever okay.

For example:
Prevention is the best method - that is bring children up from an early age to accept spankings as an integral part of life in a loving home.
This is a device used with great success by my husband to persuade his nephew to accept spankings from his mother: he told him that in order to earn the right to spank his own children when he had grown up he had to accept spankings now. My husband thinks this is such a brilliant idea that he wondered how he could patent it!
"Never slap a child in the face when nature has provided a better place." Only the child's bottom is well-padded enough to endure a spanking without injury.
The first spank is important
As an exception to the "building up" rule, the first spank should not be a weak one. It is too psychologically important. Start with a good first swat to get your child's full attention, then decrease.

Are you freaking kidding me? I am physically sick...please, if you read my blog and you spank your kid/kids, just don't comment. If this kind of fear inducing discipline is what works for you in your house, then that's your business, but you aren't going to change my mind that this is ever an acceptable thing to do.

Making Things My Own...

They say that once you have used a word or phrase in original thought it has "become your own" meaning that you understand it and it has become part of your personal language/vocabulary. There are two things that have crept into my mental dictionary and they have both come out in my interpreting recently...and one of them I can blame on my Canadian friends...

1. If you like Carlos Mencia and you've ever seen his show on Comedy Central, you know about Dee-Dee-Deeeeee. This phrase refers to someone who is kinda...dumb...? There are several levels to it, and different ways for it to be used. I used that during interpreting recently, as there is a sign that means just all out stupid, which looks like this: take your hand and bend it at the wrist, then repeatedly bang that hand into the center of your chest. I was interpreting and the jist of what the deaf person said was "They must think I'm some kind of idiot to think they can put that past me, but I'm not." She used the above described sign and *I* said "They must think I'm Dee Dee Deeeeee to try to put that past me, but I'm not." The hearing person looked at me and just grinned. I wanted to die.

2. The Canadian one...just today the deaf person said said, "Yes, we're really showing him our best today, right?" I voiced almost exactly that: "Yes, we're really showing him our best today, HEY?" I don't think the hearing person noticed.

*by the way, when I say that a deaf person "said" something, I'm giving you the meaning of what was signed...it occured to me that it might look a little weird that I'm not voicing exactly what I just said the deaf person said...GAH welcome to the weirdness of my job. Dee dee deeeeeee, hey?

16 July 2006

Happy Birthday, HunkamunchafromOz

The Handsome Birthday Boy
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

Today is my Hunky's 10th birthday. When he adopted me he was almost four years old. I can't believe it's been six years already, it seems like just yesterday I was lying on the floor next to his dog bed watching him sleep, thinking he was the most odd-yet-majestic looking creature I'd ever seen.

Happy birthday my little love. Here's to 10 more.

14 July 2006

Four More Days...

In four days, the latest in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind comes out, Phantom. I'm SO excited. You may remember me blogging awhile back about how the book just before it, Chainfire, left me hanging in midair after jumping off a cliff!

I just finished a book recently that I wanted to recommend as well. American Gods by Neil Gaiman was one of the most fascinating, frustrating, interesting, irritating, and mesmerizing books I've read in a long time. I was a fan of Gaiman back in the day when he was doing the Sandman comics, so when I saw his name on the cover I knew it would be a good book. What I wasn't prepared for was how reading the book changed my perspective on things...but that is what happens when a book is good, hey?

The premise of the book is that the gods that have come to America in the hearts and minds of immigrants have found the "New World" to be a "bad place for gods." The gods of the old worlds are being replaced by the technology gods, and a showdown is brewing. There are so many ways you can categorize the story...an armaggedon tale, a parable, a retelling of holy texts...or just a very well written novel that reminds us to pay attention to and be respectful of that from whence we have come...to keep the old ways close to our hearts and minds while embracing the new. It also spoke to me about the true natures of love and forgiveness, but that's another blog entry for another time. I'll summarize by agreeing with a reviewer from Amazon.com who said that this book is a search for the American Identity: "Our culture has been created whole cloth out of the character and beliefs of all those people."

I'm currently working on The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams and hope to have it done by the time Phantom is released...because once I know there is another Goodkind book out it's going to be hard to keep me away from the bookstore...

13 July 2006

Sweet Home Alabama

Interview was Tuesday. I felt good about it. I think they liked me. Watch this space for more info, including round two of Trying To Find Housing For Me And My Zoo.

Zen and the Art of Forgetfulness

I had a phenomenal blog post start unfolding in my head as I dashed out to get my lunch. On the way back to my office, songs I was listening to were weaving their way in and out of the words that were lining up in my mind like children in a school hallway. Titles flashed across my windshield and my only concern was to decide which was the most clever.

I got back to the office, ate my lunch, and the post is gone. I'm hoping that a trace of at least a title will be still on the windshield when I leave the office this afternoon, but I'm not holding my breath. If remembering that I was listening to "Ghost" by the Indigo Girls when inspiration struck isn't enough to bring back my cunning wordsmithery I think the post is just gone.

I had a great "mini-break" this past weekend/week, and am quite tired today, so my forgetfulness at least has a chemical basis. Friday I headed to Austell to spend the weekend with my sister and her husband and their friend Ben. We are getting down to the wire on our UK vacation, so the plan was to roll up our collective sleeves and get some final plans taken care of...and we did. Saturday we went bike riding on the "Silver Comet Trail" which was much fun if not unfortunately short lived.

We selected our bikes (Susan and Dave already have their own bikes as they are the more serious riders...I was lucky not to catch a toe in the chain and flip myself over the handlebars!) and headed out. Just before that I'd gotten a frantic IM from my petsitter and good friend Tressy that Hunky was choking and she wanted to know if she should take him to the E-vet. I even called her on my cell while texting with her on my blackberry so I could listen to Hunky's breathing...and because he was breathing I told her not to take him in but to just keep an eye on him. I'll spare you the gross details but Hunky had indeed gotten something from his dinner stuck in his throat and Tressy helped him...get past it. I'd forgotten to warn her that sometimes due to his medication his throat becomes dry and it is hard for him to swallow. No Zen or Chemical Basis there, just another example of me thinking that everyone knows what's in my head and forgetting to verbalize that fact to her.

You haven't lived until you've tried to ride a bike, change the tune on your MP3 player, and send an IM through a handheld all at the same time. I felt like I must have looked like Nataraja representations of Shiva, the Hindu God of death and change, most popularly pictured with multiple arms on each side! More forgetfulness reared its head when I tried to take my helment off to turn it in and couldn't figure out why it seemed attached to my head...till I remembered that I had taken out my headphones and left them to dangle...and tangle, it seemed.

Unfortunately Ben had to leave early on Sunday because he didn't have enough insulin with him. My worry over Ben's trip back home brought to the forefront something else I'd forgotten...how much a deaf friend's husband's diabetic coma almost two years ago had shaken me to the core, and how I'd put that fear and anger and sadness aside because I interpreted a great deal at the hospital for them. Before I could get ahold of my naughty naughty subconcious, I had memories of leaving the hospital when I was done with my shift of interpreting, finally able to cry and ball up my fists and yell at God how unfair it was that my friend was having to go through this...I had memories of floods of tears related to fear for her husband and the fear associated with knowing I was probably going to be there to watch him die.

He didn't die, and came out of the coma, but the whole experience was enough to terrify me and I'd forgotten how much until I started wondering if Ben had made it home all right. Forced forgetfulness is not always the way to go, even in my profession.

I still can't remember the idea I had in the car.

11 July 2006

Poetry in Motion...

(All thanks, love, and props to Leah for this great shot of Daisy on the job...she's in the white blanket, #3, second from the right.)

Go Daisy Go!!

Here she is before the race, picture of concentration and focus. Too bad it wasn't on the race...she came in 7th.

FTH Oopsie Daisy

All four feet off the ground in this one...fly babygirl fly. We'll get 'em next time.

She tried really hard anyway...

06 July 2006

Outstanding Article in the Guardian

Click on the title above to read an outstanding article by Timothy Garton Ash. The subject is related to the first anniversary of the terrorist bombings in London which is tomorrow, but he has a brilliant insight into what he calls American Conservatism. It's an interesting peek into what the rest of the world is thinking about those of us on this side of the "pond."

05 July 2006

I've got a lighter and I know how to use it...

I want to set fire to my head, and with the amount of chemicals I've applied to my hair in the short time since I've been out of the shower, I think it would make for a mighty fine blaze.

I have naturally unruly hair (some parts are curly and some parts are wavy and ne'er the twain shall meet nor lie flat) and have tried for some 34-odd years to find a hairstyle that is both easy to care for and doesn't make me look like someone landed a beach ball atop my shoulders. Short short short hair always looks fun until I try to style it. Somehow the run-a-comb-through-it and go that the stylist did never works for me and I end up looking quite mushroomy.

I love long hair...if for no other reason, it slims the face. It is also easy to pull back in a ponytail or bun if you're having a bad hair day. However...once you reach oh, I don't know, 34 and you've been pulling your hair back in a ponytail every day almost for many many many years you start to notice wee broken hairs around your forehead. Broken, unruly, slightly grey and corkscrewy hairs that will not respond to any sort of coercion save yanking the buggars out.

I got a fantastic haircut last summer...in San Antonio. I don't live in San Antonio, I don't even live anywhere near Texas, so going back to that fabulous woman who cut my hair exactly the way I'd wanted for YEARS is out of the question.

I have not had my hair cut since then. July of 2005. The unruly has become the stuff of nightmares. And I have only made it worse.

Garnier Sleek and Shine is the only thing I've found that will hold the frizz in check. The Only Thing. I'd forgotten how badly my hair wants to frizz...neeeeeds to frizz...until I stepped outdoors in South Carolina in July. Hello, my name is Nancy, and I am a poodle. Even the Garnier stuff isn't a sufficient barrier to Southern Humidity. I think it was manufactured in the north.

So we're trying some gel today, Herbal Essence so it smells good anyway. I don't hold out hope because one thing I know gel does is dry your hair. Dry+frizz=Bride of Frankenstein without the stripes.

Maybe I'll just wear a hat.

04 July 2006

I couldn't have said it better myself...

(a snippet from) The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Check out the commentary following this grand document, presented in its entirety, over at Simply Left Behind. Amen. Couldn't have said it better myself.

01 July 2006

Forget Regret

Do I regret not putting her on a raw diet sooner? Yes. Do I regret not swimming the deepest oceans for supplements for her joints, or not spending my entire paycheck on an ortho bed with a heater to make it easier for her to get up and down? Absolutely. Do I regret not having as much strength of character as she did, and not being able to be there for her at the end? More than I can say.

Did I regret those things when she was still with me, still nipping me on the back of my head and barking to let me know it was 4:30? No way. I cherished, loved, remembered, agonized over, and memorized every second I had with Lizzard. Today she would have been 16 years old. She died a year and eight days ago. And I miss her still, every day...

Happy Birthday, Momma Dawg. I miss you.

Music Monday: Getting in a proper frame of mind...

All I can say about this video is that this is one of the best scenes from one of my favorite movies, and it positively drips with high sc...