I’m so glad she was born. SO glad.

At first, she looked like this…

I’ve recounted the story of how FTH Oopsie Daisy/Daisy/Daisy Duke/Daisy Mae/Mae/Mei Mei/Princess came into our lives.  You have undoubtedly heard me brag about how she was named by the community of greyhound freaks over at GreyTalk, how she lived on her Mama Caffie’s kitchen floor until she was old enough to go outside in the puppy runs, and how my entire family on my mother’s side once gathered around the computer to watch her come in spectacularly, amazingly, and fabulously dead last in one of her attempts to break maiden at JAX.

(For those not versed in Racing Vocab, that means she has to win a maiden race to get to run with the big dogs.  She didn’t do that at JAX but did at Sanford Orlando, where she got up to Grade A.  I’m sure you’ve heard THAT story before as well, so I’ll move on.)

Then, this happened…

What you haven’t heard from me lately is that Daisy is nine years old this week (there is a running debate about the Leelo Babies Birthdate so I celebrate 12-14 August to cover all my bases…and because I love her too much for only one day).  Nine.Years.Old.  It has been almost a decade since I watched via text on GreyTalk that she had been born, almost a decade of knowing about her and waiting for her and loving her.

I know, everyone moons over their dogs like they are the only ones that have that sort of relationship.  I know that I am not the only one that loves my dog.  But y’all, my Mei Mei is special.

She came home to me and Simon at the tender age of 2.75, in March of 2007.  Me and Simon weren’t even a Me and Simon at that point, not officially, but he was Daisy’s Dah-dee from the start.  She never had trouble understanding him like the other dogs did, and would look up at him with the most adoring expression as he talked to her, as though trying to understand every syllable that came out of his mouth.  She still does that.  With him.  With me if I prattle on too long she licks me to shut me up.

She came into a family of old dogs.  Hunky was 10 when Daisy came home, going on 11, and Jeany would turn 10 the next month.  They were still reeling from the loss of Profile, who was the clear pack leader, and were none too thrilled to have this young and bouncy dog around.  So she adapted to them, not the other way around.  She would defer to them in all things, and became a comfort to both of them as they got older.  She also took their Mommy’s focus for awhile, so that they could sit around and love each other and not be bothered by my constant fussing and attention seeking.

After Jeany fell down the stairs in Keighley, Simon kept finding Daisy curled up next to her.  She could have been out exploring her new home, terrorizing the cat, or doing a host of other doggie things, but instead she decided to make sure Jeany was comforted.  I think Jeany actually liked it.  After we lost Jeany, Daisy was forever snuggling up to Hunky, even when he wet his bed, and I’m not sure if it was to comfort him over the loss of Jeany or herownself.  Daisy falls hard in love, and when she loves you, you know it.  She loved her big brother and sister with a fierceness that I wish more people could possess.

And now, all she has to do is this and I’m a goner. 

Now she’s back in that position again, after two years in the UK of being the only dog, getting all the attention, and generally living like the Princess she is.  With Clowny’s injury and subsequent paralysis, Daisy has to navigate a world where her people are either ignoring her or telling her to be careful, don’t stand on Clowny, let him finish eating before you dive into his bowl, etc.  She could turn into a spoiled brat, acting out because she isn’t getting the attention she’s used to, taking her frustration out on Clowny who is, to be fair, the easiest of targets right now.

But she doesn’t.  My precious baby girl, my Daisy Mei Mei backs up when we ask, she waits to be allowed to clean up the food Clowny leaves behind, she snuggles on the bed with him at night until he grouses at her to move.  She takes her toys elsewhere and plays on her own, tossing George, her stuffed monkey, up in the air over and over until someone notices.  She follows me down the hall when I just need to go cry about Clowny a little without letting him see me do it and licks my tears off my face.

Today (and the two days prior) are more than a celebration of her birthday.  Today is a reminder that through some twist of fate, I was given the gift of Daisy.  Love you to absolute bits, my babygirl, to the moon and back.   I don’t know what your Daddy and I would have done this summer without you.  Thanks is not enough, not by a longshot.

“You’re my back bone.
You’re my cornerstone.
You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving.
You’re my head start.
You’re my rugged heart.
You’re the pulse that I’ve always needed.
Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.
Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.
Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating.
Like a drum my heart never stops beating…
For you, for you.”

(from Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips)

See ya later, autumn…roll on January.

Gradient by Nancy Dunne
Gradient, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

Well, that’s one down, five to go in the 2011-2012 Anti-Holiday season. Thanksgiving 2011 is in the history books now.

Oh, sorry Lettuce readers, I guess you didn’t get the memo because I’ve been trying to be a bit more positive around here…I suppose the end result is that I haven’t been posting much at all and that’s why you may not have known about the Anti Holiday Proclamation of 2011.

Let me recap: There will be no holidays recognized until I’m in the same country with my husband. I’m not out to tell anyone how to behave in their own homes, mind. If you want to celebrate then I hope you have all the blessings and happiness the season can bestow. But as for me and my house, we will pass, thanks.

I’ve been told on loads of occasions and by scores of people that I need to get over it. Simon will be here soon enough. We can celebrate everything that we’ve missed once Simon has moved. Um, no thanks. I’d rather just skip it and try again next year.

And no, for those who have hinted both subtly and otherwise, it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ll be 40 years old in a day and half. Nothing at all. It has everything to do with the thing I love the most being four thousand miles away.

So that’s what’s up at the Lettuce…basically a whole lot of purposeful nothing, until our birthdays, Christmas, New Year and our 3rd wedding anniversary are over. If that’s difficult for you to accept, and you feel the need to try to convince me otherwise, can I please invite you to focus on your own holiday season? I promise, I’ll be just fine here when you get back in January. Just. Fine.

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Girl

Pretty Daisy
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne

Seven years ago today, I was huddled around a computer with loads of other people “watching” as a litter of greyhound puppies were being born. It was suggested that, since the litter was an “oops” one (not a planned breeding) the first girl be named Oopsie Daisy.

Those seven years have been amazing. I have watched that tiny puppy grow into an amazingly beautiful dog, with a personality that you can’t help adoring. She is my angel, my PPG (psycho puppy girl), my sweet Mei-Mei (precious little girl in Firefly-Chinese).

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl. I’ll see you on Tuesday! (insert me dancing like a mad fool here) And happy birthday to the other Leelo Babies: Hallie Jalapeno, Sophie Angel Sox, Casey, Dodger, Windy Bear and Bonnie Boo. I for one am overjoyed and thankful that all of you were born…but especially my Mei-Mei.

(Special tip of the hat to Adam whom I’m sure is watching from up there and swearing that their birthday isn’t until the 14th…Cheers, Adam!)

Convening the Urban Family

Every Friday night my “Montgomery Family” gets together to watch Battlestar Galactica.

I’ll let the uber nerdiness of that statement sink in for a moment…done? Good.

Last night was no different. I got a call at about 6pm from Bryan that they would be over at about 7:30 and that they were bringing dinner. I was on the phone with my friend from Yorkshire at the time, and only clicked over to the cell phone a moment to answer the call, then back to Yorkshire. Three times my call waiting beeped in, but since I was on the phone to another country I didn’t answer it. The first time it was my friend Kimmy (whom I still have to call back) and the second time I thought it was my friend Leah…as often happens if one of my Sistahs calls me and doesn’t get me she calls the other Sistah to see if she’s heard from me, so I assumed that the number I saw in the caller ID was Leah. Only…Leah’s area code is 336 and the number, it seems, in the caller ID was 334. But I was working so hard on my Yorkshire at the moment I mistook the 4 for a 6.

The person calling, in fact, was Ben, Urban Family Member. There was a plan hatched that I totally ruined, you see. Ben was calling to tell me that he’d locked his keys in his car and needed me to come get him where he was stranded. Then, when I of course dashed out the door to his rescue, Bryan and Christy would come over to my house (they have my spare key) bringing birthday cake, chili, hot wings, and ice cream along with balloons, gifts, and a birthday tablecloth/napkins/plates set and have me a nice wee surprise party when I returned with Ben. However, since I didn’t call Ben back, they all showed up at my house just before Battlestar came on, bearing gifts and food and balloons and looking a bit cranky.

Insert me as Class A Heel! Even Franny thought I didn’t deserve any cake…

We had a marvelous time, though, and it really turned out to be one of the best birthday parties I’ve had in a long time. They really did too much, and I love them dearly for just thinking of me.

I admit that I was a bit down this past week, the news of Profile’s cancer coinciding with spending my 35th birthday alone rather set me in a dark mood. But we laughed until we cried last night, Ben and Bryan sword-fought throughout my house, the food was good and a grand time was had by all.

I think the boys had a little too much of a good time, as they were crashed out on the sofa till about 5am…

When I feel alone in Montgomery all I have to do is think of the three of them and I smile. I’m not alone. Urban Family to the Rescue!

L-R Me, Ben, Bryan, and Christy

The incredible lightness of being…35

Early Chopsticks
Originally uploaded by NanLassiter.

Happy birthday to me, hey?

My birthday started with a whining dog scratching on the throw rug in the bedroom for me to get up. I then had a birthday feast of 3lbs of raw turkey…but decided to give that to the dogs and just have a cup of tea instead. Am currently stalling getting ready for work by blogging.

I thought 35 would be awful but in truth it’s no different than yesterday when I was 34.

In the past 35 years I have:

Visited New York City, Los Angeles, Denver (the airport), Chicago, Boston, Charlotte, Washington DC, Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta (duh), London, Calais (the ferry terminal), and Edinburgh.

Walked to the Greenwich Observatory.

Gotten lost in a foreign country and found my way home.

Been adopted by five magnificent greyhounds.

Had my heart broken a zillion times.

Been married, separated, and soon will be divorced.

Fallen in love a zillion times.

Met some of the most incredible people and am lucky to call them friends.

Been loved, annoyed, and cared for by three wonderful feline roommates.

Found strength I didn’t know was there in the face of lymphangectasia (BoBo), lumbrosacral stenosis (Lizzard), and possibly cancer (Profile) in my greyhounds.

Been diagnosed with BPPV and spent several weeks walking on a trampoline.

Moved from Georgia to Tennessee to Georgia to West Virginia to Georgia to South Carolina to Alabama. I’m hoping the next move will put me back in Georgia since I seem to have skipped it this last time.

All that…and that’s certainly not all…and I’m only just getting started.