30 September 2008

Nancy 1, Insomnia 0

YAY! Steeton!
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
With a little help from a LONG day in the car and my friend tylenol...seven hours of sleep! I know, not really front page news...but for those two or three people still reading the Lettuce...I'm excited!

29 September 2008

In case my last post wasn't clear...

I'm still awake...something about finding no less than TEN flies in one's house and needing them to be DEAD made me a little more awake than I should have been come bed time...

See if you can tell which one is the real thing...

No fair cheating by looking at the opening thumbnails...

Seriously, how scary is it that Tina Fey not only LOOKS just like Sarah Palin, but can sound just like her? Or that Sarah Palin actually said that she watched Tina Fey "with the volume turned down and it was hilarious!"

Or...that she really said what Tina said about a "maritime border between Alaska and Russia..." Also known as one tenet of her foreign policy experience.

A heartbeat away, y'all.

28 September 2008

Sunday Funny

Now, normally I don't care for "pet speak." I see it all over my greyhound message boards, from people trying to imitate how their dogs (and cats) would type if they could. Grammatical errors abound, spelling is horrible...and often you have to attempt to read the "message" out loud in order to get a clue as to the meaning (sometimes even THAT doesn't work). To me, it's degrading to our animals that I believe to be very intelligent. If they could speak English I don't think it would look like that. It annoys me to the point that I don't read posts at all from the people that "speak" that way for their dogs...too much work.

However...this is just plain funny, considering that I just watched the interview in question (well, a part of it anyway) this week. Seriously...you can't make this stuff up.For more animals with English issues (but sound political statements nonetheless), click on the link in this post's title or on YES WE CAN HAS in my blog roll. Funny, funny stuff.

25 September 2008

What Dreams had better NOT Come...

Hey, baby...
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
For the past couple of nights I've had either bad or jarring dreams, the kind where you wake up suddenly and either don't know where you are or are not sure that whateveritwas was a dream. Last night was the worst to date.

I dreamed that my adoption group came to repossess, so to speak, Hunky. The reason given was that I'd signed a contract that basically promised I would put his well being first and do nothing that might cause him harm, and they felt that my taking him to the UK was dangerous for him. So, feeling justified and strangely enough with a lawyer in tow, they showed up at my door and dragged my heart-dog out my front door, leaving me sobbing on the floor in the stairwell.

The dream went on in snippets, with me trying to figure out where they were keeping him and eventually begging to see him. I was told no, that he would adjust better to life without me if I never saw him again. I woke up, interestingly enough not in the tears I had streaming down my face in my dream, but resolved to get on my email and let the adoption group know that I was coming to get my Hunky.

Weird, huh? I'll tell you this, though, I have NEVER been so glad to be awakened by my old man standing up and turning around on his dog bed. Never.

21 September 2008

Bye Bye, Beach

Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
We had SUCH a good time. I really needed this weekend. I think I can return to work tomorrow, attitude much improved and jet lag definitely all gone. Ta very much and love love love to Leah and Janet for a fantastic time...and much love to "my" boys, Nee Nee and Bern. How long till Sandy Paws??

19 September 2008

Beachbound Hounds

Well, we made it.

We set out yesterday at 11:30ish with the intention of picking up my friend Janet at the Myrtle Beach Airport at about 4pm. Along the way we slept, fussed, slept and slept...well, H and J did, Mommy was driving.

Somewhere past Florence I found a gas station that was selling unleaded for under $4 per gallon...and it had a sign on each of of the pumps stating that customers needed to limit their transactions to 10 gallons per fill-up because of the severe gas shortage affecting the Southeastern US.


After putting 10.01 gallons in my car, we headed on toward Myrtle Beach. Jimmy Buffett on the MP3, dogs blissfully sleeping in the back...and the traffic screeched to a halt. Dead halt. Stopped. Car in PARK.

Turns out there was an accident up ahead...so I rang up Leah and she headed over to get Janet at the airport. Finally, after a 20 minute wait, we headed on down to the beach.

So far I haven't even made it to check in with BBH staff, only into the hotel. Jeany isn't happy about the non carpeted floors in the room, but she's managing.

Best part so far? I have my Daisy Mae Mae Psycho Puppy Girl back with me.

17 September 2008


Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
Remember my previous Steam posts, from when I was living in Alabama?
I am a professional.

I am fluent in both languages. I'm not sure that you're even fluent in English.

I don't need to be told how to do my job. I had to have been pretty clear about what I was doing for my college to grant me a bachelor's degree and my professional organization to grant me national certification.

I'm fairly familiar with mental illness and working in this setting. The past 9 years of working in this setting have seen to that.

I know what I was hired to do, and I know what you were hired to do. Let's not confuse the two, shall we?

Until you know what it is like to be a necessary evil...until you know what it is like to be a walking after-thought...until you have been spoken about in front of your face as though you are an appliance or a chair in the room...

(Here's where my more sensitive readers might want to scroll down, by the way.)

Until you can understand sign and English and work between the two, get the hell out of my face, my business, and my way and let me do my job.


Well, this one's going to be a bit more cryptic because I don't really know who reads me up here in SC...but I still need to let it out or I'll explode.

When you make a computer mistake that affects your employees, it should not be the responsibility of the employees to make it right. I understand that it makes more work for you to correct the mistake, but I'm still not seeing how it's anyone's issue but yours to see it fixed.

When someone is hired for a job, it is assumed that the person has the required knowledge and skills to perform the job. If you weren't hired for that job then you probably don't need to try and tell the person in the job how to DO the job. I'm sure that he or she can handle it.

Creating a working environment where you have happy and willing employees almost always leads to productivity. A work environment where employees feel like they are either being watched every step of the way or they have to beg and scrape for the materials needed to do their jobs will not lead to productivity or a boost in morale. I try to remember that when I'm supervising my interpreters.

I did a 9-1 stint today alone...lots of clients back to back to see a doc, but also discussion in between with deaf staff members. My hands are worn out, my brain is totally mush...yet I still have to finish out my day (till 4:30 rather than 5, though, since I left home at 8 to get to the gig on time). And we're in a hiring freeze so it has to be justified that we need another interpreter in this area. I'll tell you what, put on my hands and feel the pain in my joints right now, or try to string a coherent sentence together with my foggy brain for the past two hours and you'll get your justification.

It's funny, an interpreter I know who used to work where I do now warned me when I took the job all those years ago that "this job will be the end of you...they will work you to death there," but I scoffed. And have been for the past almost 10 years.

Ten years. Lordy.

Once September is over I will only have two months left at my job. Sobering thought...and honestly I'm not sure if it's because I will miss it or sobering because there are still two months left. Time will tell.

16 September 2008


Zyrtec? Check.

Proper dinner? Kinda check, if you count curry noodles as a proper dinner. Do the onions in the sauce count as veg?

In bed on time? Another Kinda Check. I fell asleep on the sofa around 9:30, woke up at 11:30 and got in my bed so kinda.

Woke up at normal time? Nope. I was up at 4am with Jeany wanting to go out, and then dozed off and on (more off than on really) from 4:30 to 7:30 when I finally gave up and got out of bed.

Still, 4:30 is better than 3. I'm moving in the right direction at least.

Nancy 1, Jet Lag 3.

15 September 2008

What do you get when you add...

enroute to MAN
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
Jet lag, no zyrtec for a week, and a cat that would clearly rather stay at the vet's than be held by his long suffering Mommy whose allergy ridden head has just come back to Georgia in full bloom and humidity?

Me. Sick as a dog yesterday and aching for allergy/cold meds. Two benadryl later and I couldn't think straight, let alone keep my eyes open. I was asleep on the couch when the guy from Papa John's brought my comfort food...err...pizza. I ate some and then went promptly back to sleep. That was at seven thirty EST, otherwise known as midnight BST (British Summer Time). My body thought it was bedtime and when the meds agreed we all took a nice long nap...till 3am when I was wide awake and mostly productive!

So...now I've been up for fourteen hours and I'm sleepy and barely able to string a sentence together. Seriously. What I've typed so far has taken me much longer than it should have, considering the quality. Here's hoping I will be back to normal soon...changing my work hours to the middle of the night MIGHT raise a few eyebrows.

14 September 2008

Vacation, Day Fourteen: Almost Back to the Grind

I'm leaving from Cleveland in about half an hour to head to Anderson and collect my Meee-uhls from the vet. I'm really looking forward to snuggling my wee orange man. It's amazing how the heart forgets the constant ME-OOOOWING and the running across the face at midnight and the litter box cleanings when one hasn't had a cat close by for over two weeks. After that, I'll head over to get Hunky and Jeany. Daisy's going to ride down to Beach Bound Hounds this weekend with Auntie Leah, so I'll be getting her then.

While I'm decidedly NOT happy to be away from Simon and interestingly not so comfortable here in the US, I'm desperate to see my critters. Simon and I talked about it while I was visiting last week...I'm not all of me without them. Am I addicted? Sure. Is it a mental illness? Possibly. Do I care if people don't understand or make fun of how well I treat my animals? Definitely not. They have saved my life more often than I care to count, and I'm a better person for having had them in my life.

Now to get the car loaded (UGH) and then hit the road for South Carolina. I drove Mom and Daddy up from where they collected me at the MARTA station last night, so at least I'm set on which side of the road I should use to drive home. Home to my dirty house. Home to my chair and my TV and hopefully a working refrigerator. Home to a house, really, because my home is four thousand miles away.

13 September 2008

Vacation Days Twelve and Thirteen: Hello Steeton and Goodbye at Manchester Airport

On Friday Simon and I went to see an absolutely tiny house in Steeton. Uh, no thanks. If Simon doesn't fit in the house I know he and three greyhounds and children won't.

We also had lunch at a fantastic fish and chip restaurant with Simon's parents. Yummy.

On Saturday...well, I once again learned how much I can take before I completely lose it, including some huge tears dripping onto my lap on the plane. Ta love, ta very much. 12 weeks.

11 September 2008

Surfing on the Train...

Vacation Day Eleven: Sheffield

We went to see the dogs run at Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield today and tried to get to a shop that sold Sheffield United Football Club stuff for Dave's birthday. We found one by accident last time but couldn't remember where it was this time. The worst part of the day, I think, was not the weirdly hot/cold/hot/cold weather or the lack of a seat for either of us on the train from Leeds to Sheffield (we surfed in the part of the carriage where the toilet was, blissfully it was not in service)...but was the fact that we tried to get to the SUFC football grounds to visit the shop for a birthday present and arrived LITERALLY two minutes after the shop closed. All we got was photos of the football grounds, which are currently uploading to my Flickr as I type.

Simon and I did get to visit Meadowhall for the first time, making that two firsts we've had on this holiday. The other was deciding to eat at Nando's in Leeds after returning/exchanging things at Primark yesterday. Holy YUMMY CHICKEN batman...that was one of the best meals I've had in ages. I could have had just the hummus and pita with the Peri Peri sauce drizzled over it and been a happy clam.

After that in Leeds we decided not to try to go up on the moor at Haworth, mainly because it was getting dark. I can lose track of time in Primark and we didn't even make it to the Market before it closed yesterday.

Tomorrow's plan is to hit Keighley Market and possibly the one in Bingley, then go look at a house in Steeton tomorrow night...though I would prefer to live in either Wakefield or Leeds. We'll get to see Simon's parents tomorrow as well...and then make a final Sainsbury's run for me before packing up to head to Manchester Airport at SIX AM on Saturday. Give me strength...

10 September 2008

Vacation Day Ten: PRIMARK RULES

We took a shopping trip to Leeds yesterday with the intent of hitting Leeds Market but got stuck in Primark...holy moly...sweaters for £10, shirts for £2.50...and not junk, either! I got a great blue overcoat for £17 and some stuff that I unfortunately have to take back due to my inability to try on anything in the store...but I'm blaming it on the difference in sizing here. Yeah.

We also hit the Leeds City Art Gallery and saw two paintings by JW Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott(Looking at Lancelot) and Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (which was on loan from Oldham).

Today we're back to Leeds to exchange those clothes for some that fit and then go...? We had planned a trip to York but I want to go somewhere I haven't been so we may go up on Ilkley Moor since it isn't raining, or to Harrogate to see Fountains Abbey. I wanted to visit Edinburgh again on this trip and Simon had joked about taking the Eurostar to Paris, but you have to book things that far away WAY in advance and we didn't. Might try for a trip to Liverpool today but that's still a good long train ride. Tune in tomorrow to see where we ended up!!

09 September 2008

Vacation Day Nine: Hello from the Piece Hall in Halifax!

"You went to Halifax on your holiday?"

Simon had a dentist appointment yesterday afternoon, so we dragged our lazy selves to the train station and headed to Halifax. As we started out for the office from the station, he said to me that he had always thought Halifax looked a bit derelict...which of course made me think of Zoolander but that has been a real theme to this holiday and again, I digress... The area around the train station is a bit dodgy looking but the High Street is quite nice. After his appointment we headed up to the Halifax Borough Market and the Piece Hall for some shopping. You can see more photos (and some from Skipton that were still lingering in my camera) on Flickr.

Long train ride back got us to Leeds in time for rush hour. Man alive can they pack them in on the train! I heard the conductor telling a guy that he just didn't have room for one more on this train and I remember thinking that there was a bit of space in the overhead bin...

Home via Sainsbury's and polenta with a bolognaise sauce for our tea...today we are off to my favorite market on the EARTH, Leeds Kirkgate, because (as Simon says) it's supposed to be peeing it down rain today and who wants to sight see in that?

07 September 2008

Vacation Days Seven and Eight: Nostell Priory and Junction 32

Remember how I said I thought my family was the only one on earth that went to outlet malls and other malls while on vacation? Today Simon and his sister Sarah and her boyfriend Gareth did just that. Sarah and Gareth live at Nostell Priory (Gareth works there) which is a gorgeous National Trust site. We headed up there yesterday after a soaking wet morning in Skipton getting me some Wensleydale Cheese to take home from the market. The four of us visited a lovely pub that was in walking distance of the Priory, then went back for a fantastic dinner of chili con carne and all the trimmings. Much love to the two of them for that dinner...I think we all inhaled it without speaking, it was so good.

This morning we got up and set off to visit Simon's other sister, Louise, and her husband Rob and their daughter Phillipa. We had a great time just doing nothing but visiting. After awhile the sun came out and Lou headed off to take Phillipa on an outing to take advantage of the lovely weather so the four of us headed to Junction 32, something like an outlet mall in the states. I almost bought some COM-FEE clogs but seriously, how often can one wear periwinkle blue suede shoes? I did make off with a gorgeous orange handbag for only £12. Can't beat that for leather...at least it smells like leather.

Now we're back in Keighley...Simon's napping and I'm about to start downloading three days worth of pictures off my camera to add to flickr. My holiday is going just as I needed...slow with lots of time for doing NOTHING.

06 September 2008

I couldn't have said it better...

...so I'm not going to try. (And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I have trouble with the English setup on the keyboard, I swear.) Your Vacation Update will come after we've actually left the house and done something.

But in the meantime, please go here or follow the link in the title. Heather Armstrong says it better than I ever could.

05 September 2008

Vacation, Day Six: Surfing through Keighley on my knee...

I could NOT get going today to save my life. I think that I slept until well after noon and we didn't make it out of the house until after 3pm local time. And that, dear readers, is when my surfing began...and ended, really.

It was raining buckets and I was convinced that I was NOT going to take a single step out the door without the umbrella opened over my head. I remember stepping out onto my right foot and raising the umbrella to look for the button on the handle that should be easy to find but I have to look every time, and then feeling my right foot sliding out from under me. Next thing I know I'm almost doing a split, bad cheerleader style, in the small entryway to Simon's house while clinging to the umbrella with my right hand and Simon with my left. I hit the pavement pretty hard with my left knee and bent my left foot completely backwards.

We came back in to sort me out, but I felt okay. You see, in this country they don't sell a lovely little medicine called Midol. When you ask for that, the kindly pharmacist at Boots gives you Paracetamol with Codeine. Seriously! Over the counter! No Rx required.

I made Simon look that up earlier to see what paracetamol is and agreed to take it after finding out it's derived from the same compound as the active ingredient in Tylenol.

I had taken the recommended dose of the paracetamol and didn't really CARE about the pain in my knee or ankle. In fact, I only started limping a little bit after we got to downtown Keighley. Gooooood stuff. I'm sure I'll have a goose egg on that knee but that's what long trousers are made to cover.

We're back in now and I'm off to go make myself a sandwich and nurse my knee...when the meds wear off, that is, and I start caring again...

04 September 2008

Vacation, Day Five: Shipley and Keighley

Today got started a bit later, I think, than Simon would have liked. Nasty little thing called JET LAG got in the way and I was in a coma until about 10am local time. My body was absolutely convinced that it was 5am and not even close to time to get up.

We went to Shipley and I got to see the lobby of the building where he works, and then meet his co-workers that came down to say hello. We then had a fantastic buffet lunch at Aagrah in Shipley...that was possibly some of the best curry I've ever had, good service, and rather posh environs. A definite must-visit if you ever find yourself in Shipley.

After that we decided just to head back to Keighley, mainly because of the weather. Rainy off and on...more on than off, really. We went to Keighley Market and just did some light shopping, and now I'm catching up all four of my Lettuce readers while Simon takes a nap. I've also loaded some photos up on Flickr, so do check that out and keep going back, I'll be updating it every time I get back in from an outing. I'm using a different camera this time, one borrowed from my parents. It's a Cannon PowerShot A530 and other than the slightly worrying LONG TIME between pressing the shutter button and the SNAP that means it took the picture, I am loving it. I'm especially loving it's video function because unlike my Fuji S3000, it has SOUND. How posh am I?

See? You can see AND hear what it's like to be on a train in the UK...

Okay, so there are better things to video in the UK...that one was an accident, because I'd forgotten that I had just video'ed Simon while waiting at the train station.

Off to edit photos!!

03 September 2008

Vacation, Days Three and Four: Cleveland to Manchester in under 24 Hours

Day three started with me riding over to visit my aunts before leaving Cleveland to head for the airport. We had a good visit with one but the other wasn't home, unfortunately. Dad and I hit Ingles quickly on the way home and I packed like a MAD WOMAN before heading out with Mom and Dad to drive to the MARTA station at North Springs.

MARTA...because it's SMARTA. Brilliant ad campaign, no? Anyway...

The ride to Hartsfield was pleasant enough...I am probably the only person over the age of 13 who sometimes imagines that she's on TV when out somewhere, but today I was imagining myself like someone on Sex and the City or Lipstick Jungle, zipping into "the city" with Michael Buble's Save the Last Dance for Me blaring in my ear. I was glamorous. I was together. I was jetting off to a foreign country, all I needed was a white scarf to flutter along behind me and some huge sunglasses.

I was not so glamorous trying to make it through the turnstiles at the airport with all my luggage. Audrey Hepburn faded as I huffed and puffed toward the baggage check-in, dressed in clothes more appropriate for the fall temperatures of the UK than the sub-sarahan Atlanta climate. Checked in, breezed through security, and got to the gate...all under control, until I had one of my typical panic attacks and thought I was at the wrong gate.

See, my gate was E4. My seat was 34E. The flight leaving out of E4 after mine was also to Manchester, but operated by AirFrance. I was on Delta. I looked up at the gate, saw AirFrance, checked my boarding pass, saw 34E and started a mad dash down the concourse toward gate 34...until I happened to look again and notice that 34E was my SEAT assignment. Skid to a stop, calmly walk back to the gate and ignore all the gawking and giggling Brits that would be sharing my flight.

All in all the flight was much better than it has been in the past, despite the fact that I was in the BACK of the plane and it was crowded. My secret? Tylenol PM + VERY CARBY DINNER IN FLIGHT + a neck pillow. I think I got 5 hours sleep out of an 8.5 hour flight!

Day Three started when the little girl across the aisle RIPPED OPEN HER WINDOW SHADE and suddenly the cabin was filled with SUNLIGHT. Breakfast? Check. Land safely? Check. Manage to find the train station? Well, check, even though I had to call Simon to find out which way to go out of the Arrivals gate to find the sign with the CLEARLY MARKED ICON THAT LOOKED LIKE A TRAIN. (Vaguely reminiscent of trying to find the GIANT Northern Rail sign that was right behind my head in London...but I digress...again...)

Best part of Day Three? Pulling into Leeds Station and seeing Simon standing there with that look on his face. Any of you that have come home to your significant other know that look...the one that bursts into a jubilant smile once you are spotted in the crowd.

Now off to convince my body that it's really 11:15 and not 6:15...

02 September 2008

Vacation, Day Two: Holy Shopping, Batman!

After a very leisurely morning of doing basically nothing, Mom and Dad and I headed to an outlet mall in Dawsonville, Georgia...along with HALF OF THE POPULATION OF THE STATE. Seriously. There were times when you had to wait a moment for the line to pass you before you could move down an aisle in a store.

We had a good time, as we always do when we go out shopping. My family is probably not alone in our love of shopping, but I doubt that there are many that go shopping while on vacation like we do. I can remember being a child and being on the family summer vacation and going to a mall or other shopping center as an outing! And boy, can we ever shop...my father can work his way through a store in minutes flat, and come back with several things that just look stunning on my mother. The man has a talent.

As a result of the outing yesterday, the lower half of me rather feels like I ran a marathon. However, it's up and at 'em this morning...suitcases to be repacked, relatives to be visited here in Cleveland, and then I'm off to the airport for the over night flight to Manchester. Wish me luck that the middle seat I've been given (on my "overbooked" flight) isn't between two large people who want to talk to me all the way there...

Music Monday: Still Unwritten

This has been a weird couple of days, culminating in Music Monday almost being forgotten. Last Thursday I went to my appointment with "...