Changing Templates…again…

So I typed out a fabulously pithy post this morning about changing templates here at the Lettuce and in my own life, and, as is the way with marvelous prose that I’ve created, the Universe ate it. I think it might have belched afterward and asked for a mint.

The gist was that I’ve been thinking a lot about changing the template, if you will, of my life and starting with something new that looks and feels different, and this morning I was totally on board with that idea. By tonight, though, after loads of fighting with Flickr and Blogger and my own Old Lady Brain, I’m thinking maybe familiar is best. Give me a few days, I will have changed templates a dozen times.

The picture over there was taken at Tiffany’s in NYC on my Spring Break trip in 1997. I was still single, still in love with Audrey Hepburn and acting and the theatre. I had been to the UK for six weeks two years prior and it had changed my life. I didn’t have any greyhounds or an English husband or an ex-husband or any of that. I was just me, that version of me…that template.

Is there a limit on how many times you can change a template out? Hope not.

For Leah and Cathie, I present my Blog Face

Question of the Day
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne

(AKA “Nancy’s got on her I Am So Blogging About This! face…)

So y’all know what I do for a living, right? What you may not know is that there is a certain amount of OTT confidentiality involved in what I do…to the point that some interpreters will not tell their spouses where they will be working during the day, etc. I’m not quite to that point, but you’ll excuse me if I am a bit vague in this post. But it just HAD to be blogged…

So I was working at Somewhere today with Someone Who Is Deaf and some other Someones Who Are Hearing, right? One of the Someones Who Are Hearing (I’m gonna get SO tired of typing that before this is done) reached over suddenly and picked a small insect off the shirt of Someone Who Is Deaf, making the excuse that it might bite that Someone Who Is Deaf.

In the chaos that followed, the cutest little green-backed beetle-bug ended up crawling on my knee. Now, if you’re an interpreting student, I want you to promise me that you will never do what I did next. If you’re from RID, I want you to stop reading now. Seriously.

Anyway, Beetle-Bug on my knee…right. After making sure that Someone Who Is Deaf was okay with it, I put my fingers close to Mr. BB to see if he would crawl up onto it with a view to flinging him to the far side of the room, away from Someone Who Is Hearing who was rapidly turning into Someone Who Would Soon Be Hyperventilating at the sight of Mr. BB. As bugs tend to be, this one was just contrary enough to NOT want to climb up onto my finger. The Someone Who Was Hearing on the other side of me offered, “Would you like me to get it?”

What does that mean to you? To me, it meant do the same thing I was trying to do but successfully, using the yellow legal pad that Someone had in his/her hand. I think you can probably see where this story is going now, can’t you?

Other Someone Who Is Hearing smacked the living daylights (not to mention the stuffing) out of my knee and poor Mr. Beetle-Bug. I still have the residue on my trousers to prove it. Before I caught myself, I said (and signed) “Well, that’s not at all what I thought you were going to do!”

I mean seriously!! Who smushes a cute little Beetle-Bug? Poor thing never had a chance…and now I have Beetle Bug on my good work trousers.

On Coming Home…Again

Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne

I’ve been thinking (since before I even left the UK) about what I wanted to say here at the Lettuce about my latest adventure: re-patting. For two years the handful of you that read the Lettuce have been subjected to my homesickness, my struggles, my challenges and my sorrows as well as my triumphs and successes living as an expat in the UK. You’ve sent me messages of encouragement and sometimes of envy, and for those little moments when I felt not quite so far away, I’m grateful.

I was hoping that the moment would arrive, inspiration would strike, and I could write an outstanding final chapter to the expat part of my life that would be worthy of all of you that shared it with me. Well, if you know me, you know my tendency to Griswald everything in my life. Really, the moose out front should have told you.

So what we’re left with is this: I don’t know how I feel about being here, now. So I’ll start this dialogue by sharing with you the events of the past two days…amazing to think that just 72 hours ago I was in Keighley, and now I’m here.

Thursday morning came far too early. I don’t think I really slept Wednesday night because I wanted to remember every single thing about sleeping in that room, next to my incredible husband, with my precious princess Daisy on her bed by the window and my little hearthrob Mills curled up and purring in my hair. The alarm sounded at 4am and I was up and heading towards a new start in an old country.

Everything about Thursday morning was unremarkable, and that was just as I needed it to be. Even the taxi driver who turned up 20 minutes late got us to the train station in time for the 0601 train. We made it to Leeds, and then to Manchester Airport. We had coffee and then I left Simon to head to my plane.

Yeah, so it wasn’t quite that easy. There were lots of tears and begging to stay and bargaining to move to Canada together between the alarm and the full body scan. Anyway…

The plane was full to the gills, and I was lucky enough to sit in front of a small boy who is destined to be a striker for a Premiership team one day. Two Angelina movies, a Dawn Treader and something else I couldn’t be asked to watch, the end of a Percy Jackson and the beginning of a Harper Connelly, and I was on the ground in Atlanta. No lines at security, my bags arrived safe and sound, and I was whisked off to my sister’s house for the evening.

Have I mentioned how much I adore my niece Joy, how much of a superstar she is? Even when she’s slapping me in the nose with my own sunglasses, the urge to tuck her under my arm and make a run for it is strong. What a special, incredible, unique soul she is. Anyway, moving on…

Friday we visited the town home that my sister and her family will hopefully be moving into soon and then headed north to where I am now, with my parents. All of this seemed no different than any other time I’ve come home on holiday, and I was feeling quite proud of myself for manning up and getting on with things as far as moving back home goes.

You know what I did, don’t you? I “Days of Our Lives Jinxed” myself. On Days, when a character makes a proclamation of all clear, such as “nothing will ever tear us apart again,” the third member of their love triangle will immediately arrive in town. I felt like I had a handle on the re-patting, and the universe decided to tell me otherwise.

It was so simple: go to Walmart on the way into town, pick up some face wipes and a toothbrush. I’d been to that Walmart before and even knew where everything was. Easy peasy.


I can’t really describe what it was like to stand in front of a section of that store, staring at the shelves full of sixty-eleven different kinds of mouthwash, staring intently in the hope that the one you recognise will magically appear on the shelf. I gave up and moved on to the face wipes. Were there really that many brands two years ago when I left? Were any of them the same as the Boots own that I’ve been using for what seemed like forever? I finally grabbed a green packet of face wipes, LITERALLY because it was green and my Boots ones are green, and tried to find the sugar section so I could get my Splenda.

I’d like to say that I was just a little turned around, but at that point I was totally lost. I stood in the middle of the Walmart and fought back big tears. I found the Splenda. I gave it and the wipes and a grapefruit for the next day’s breakfast to my mom, and fled the store to find my mobile, call Simon, and just feel a little normal again.

I’ve recovered from that shock to the system, but I’m sure there are more to come. My America doesn’t exist any more. The me that lived here for the first 37 years of her life has gone into hiding. The me that is here now wants this to be home, but it isn’t. Wasn’t that the whole point of moving back?

I just hope that those of you that know me in person and not just through the tinterweb (that was for you, Liz) will forgive me wincing when a car zips past on the left, or my looking for loos and lifts, and you’ll love the new me as much as the one that left. Thanks again for your support to now…I couldn’t have made it back home…again…without you.

And speaking of my thumb…

My fun fact for the day from Wikipedia:

Hitchhiker’s thumb

The thumb when extended (as in a “thumbs-up“) can extend backwards toward the nail and outwards, a recessive congenital condition known as “hitchhiker’s thumb”, whereas for other people it will extend straight out with little backward bending. Having either condition appears to have no effect on the thumb’s function. While most people have either “hitchhiker’s thumb” on both thumbs or neither, in some people, the condition only presents itself on one thumb.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I have this condition. In both thumbs. Think I’m going for another cup of tea now.


Count me in among the throngs of Americans that watched/listened to our 44th President being sworn in this morning. I was driving to an interpreting gig at 11:40am and listening to NPR’s coverage on the car radio…and I didn’t get past the opening remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein without having tears streaming down my face.

Why? Well, for one thing, I’m a Democrat. I have been a Democrat since I was old enough to know there were two main political parties in the United States. My parents are Democrats, though far more moderate/almost conservative than I in their political and social views. My sister and her husband are Democrats. I work in a social service field, often with the very people that make up the Grass Roots. The election of a Democratic president in concert with a Democratic congress to me signals a new era for my country and it makes me hopeful…something I haven’t been very often over the last eight years.

Another reason is that this is the last time I will watch an inauguration of an American president while living in America for the time being. I will still remain American after I move to the UK with my husband, but there is something electric in the air here today. To be an American in America on a day when someone who wasn’t even considered a human being when he was born just because of the color of his skin rise to become president of our country is overwhelming and amazing and I’m filled with pride in my country…something else I haven’t felt in recent years.

I got to the job site early and sat in the parking lot, still listening to the proceedings on NPR. I got to hear VP Biden take his oath, then got out of the car to see my deaf client waiting on me. I explained that I was sorry to be late for the appointment, but that I wanted to hear the swearing in at least before we went inside. The deaf client agreed with me and asked me to interpret what was going on via the radio. The feeling was that we weren’t going to go in until “OBAMA PRESIDENT, FINISH! WE CAN, Y-E-S!” (translated to spoken English: we weren’t going in until Obama is president, YES WE CAN!) I interpreted the oath as I heard it via NPR and my client and I high-fived…and I cried a little again.

Yes we did…and now, yes we can. YES WE CAN.