Lettuce Hard Reboot

Watchers
The watchers, Bryn and Willow.

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Yeah, so…um…hi.
It’s been a year plus since I’ve updated the Lettuce, and that is embarrassing and mortifying and actually…freeing.  I have no precedent set, really, anymore. I can talk about whatever I like.
So…yeah…hi.
I think a bit of catch-up is in order, though that seems to be all I do around here.  I’d make promises to be more timely, to push out more content, but let’s be honest, shall we? Haven’t heard a peep about “When will you post again?” “What’s going on at the Lettuce?” “Are you still alive?” but that’s all right.  
So, let’s see… last post was last March and I believe that I was ranting about something related to snow, leave time, work, or Sandy Paws, not sure which.  I skipped Sandy Paws last year, and was glad of it…so glad that I went again this year and was reminded why I had stopped going. Surely I can find something more interesting to talk about.

Rebooting. Watch this space. Loading, please wait…

Flashback Post: The Aftermath of Snowmaggedon 2015

Rock on with your bad icicle selves…

First, please read this: In which I rant…

Now, as you know, there was another Winter Weather Event here in the Carolinas a few weeks ago.  Our meteorologists went crazy predicting 10 inches of snow and ice and all sorts of mayhem.  Didn’t happen exactly like that but apparently there was enough chaos of the frozen variety that my University closed for a day and a half.

And once again, thanks to those who can afford time at work without pay, some of it was not “forgiven” by the governor’s office.  Seriously, if you’re going to order us to leave then go on and pay us for the time that we are not permitted to be at work.  It just makes sense…

I’m so out of the loop I’m a straight line…or a t-plane.

Tá mé na hÉireann.

So what started out as nostalgic blog reading led me to this post: SP14 Wrap Up which further led me to thinking about why I didn’t go to Sandy Paws this year…and why I’m kind of glad.

But first, in case you’ve forgotten who I am because it’s been so long since I’ve posted, I’m still at Clemson, I’m 37 days from summer break from Clemson, I still live in Greenville with Hubs and Daisy and Bryn.  I’m still me.

I’m still not as good of a dog parent as I could be.  Life still gets in the way of keeping toenails perfectly trimmed and practicing our obedience lessons.  I’m still not earning any part of my living, really, through writing.  But I carry on and I dream of a day when “going to work” means “going to my home office and writing for 8 hours.”

But back to what led me to open this post and write…I was looking at the experience I had last year at Sandy Paws…the people that were nasty to me and Anne about not having greyhounds at the end of our leashes, the people that laughed when Bryn nearly pulled me off my feet, and all the other experiences we had that made me feel like an outsider.

Well, I have to share that instead of going back to that pit of thinly veiled anti-racing sentiment and Greyhounds Only Breed Snobbery for the chance to see a handful of people that I truly adore, this year Bryn and I walked in the Greenville SC. St. Patrick’s Day parade and she didn’t pull me down!  No harness, no prong collar (because I’m still just not going to do that to a sensitive breed like a Wolfhound if I can help it), just a martingale and a leash.  I could not have been more proud of her and I’m still telling anyone that will listen about it.

As far as work goes, I am encountering new challenges like t-planes, compilers, ethnography and research rigor and I think I’m muddling through it all right.  I have an amazing staff of women that caption and interpret for Clemson.  Does it make sense to say I love what I do but I don’t love my job?  Anyway.  Off to do more things that “aren’t really important” in the name of keeping up my skills and certification until I get to go home and see that fuzzy face up there.

A post (about me) that I didn’t think I’d be writing quite so soon…

I’m cheating by putting up a picture of my perfect Daisy MeiMei.

Just to get all your guesses out of the way, I’m not pregnant nor getting divorced nor moving back to the UK (nor anywhere else for that matter).  THE DOGS ARE BOTH FINE. I’m not changing jobs and I haven’t gotten published.  What I am about to tell you is a big deal, and the fact that I’m doing it via The Lettuce should indicate my level of cowardice at the thought of disappointing some of my good friends, but I suppose it is what it is.

I am no longer pescetarian (eating no meat save fish).  I have reintroduced meat into my diet for several reasons, and I wanted to share those as well as what has happened since this change occurred. Part of the reason I haven’t said much about this has been I was not sure that it could be done…but I seem none the worse for wear, so I thought that it was time to come clean.  I was never what I refer to as an ethical vegetarian/pescetarian.  What I mean by that is that I did not stop eating all meat save fish because of my beliefs about animal rights.  While I do believe that there are huge changes needed in the humane way animals are treated, that did not make the decision for me and did not keep me on this path for almost three years.

I stopped eating meat save fish in June of 2011 because it made me feel bad when I ate it.  That is the long and short of it.  I had been telling myself in posts such as this one that I was not going to eat meat anymore out of some reverence for nature…and I think that was partially true, but something else was going on.  I talked to a friend of mine, Joanne, who had been vegetarian in the past but had gone back to eating meat.  I asked her why she made that decision and she said it was very simple:  “My body wanted meat.”

My body made a similar decision about two months ago, so I started upping the amount of meat substitutes that I ate in an attempt to ward off that feeling.  After all, this was the right thing I was doing, wasn’t it? The noble and earth conscious thing?  Maybe.  But that didn’t help how I felt.  I tried to expand my horizons as far as vegetarian cooking went.  I added more fish to our diet.  But still it was there, the feeling that something wasn’t right.

A month ago I made a decision after talking about it with Hubs that I would try eating meat and see what happened.  If it made me sick at worst or left me no better off than I was at best, we would investigate what else could be going on with me.  So I tried it…and nothing happened…nothing bad anyway.  Unlike “real” vegetarians which I think now I will never be, if I’m honest, I had been consuming muscle protein the whole time because I continued to eat fish.  So my body had no trouble with the meat I tried.

Now what am I?  What label do I apply to myself and my diet?  The real truth is that I am me, no more, no less.  There are groups…clubs almost, that you belong to when you’re trying to live a more vegetarian life. I never fit in any of them.  Maybe if I had been more sensible about how I ate 20 years ago when I tried this the first time I might still be eating a meat free diet.  But maybe not.  Maybe I’m learning that I am selfish, and what I like to eat and what seems to make me feel the best is my primary concern…instead of the state of the world and animals and farming and all that. I don’t feel like a bad person for making my choice…but one has to wonder why I haven’t said much about it up until now if there is nothing to feel guilty about in my decision.

I believe that the reason for my silence has been simple:  I have some very good friends that have been very helpful to me as I navigated my own pescetarian path, and one of my greatest character flaws is that worry far too much about disappointing others while dishing out almost pathological neglect on myself.  I don’t want them to be disappointed in me when they read this…though I’m sure they know me well enough to have been just waiting for this day to come.  I will never be a “real” vegetarian.  But I’m doing what I feel is best for me, and that’s all I can do.

Sandy Paws Wrap Up or "I told you I’d blog that!"

Screaming at the beach is gnome-much fun!
Photo Courtesy of K. Lazenby

In its own unique way, Sandy Paws time has come and gone again.  We spend weeks on Facebook and in text messages and emails planning and laughing and looking forward to seeing each other.  We despair that we only see each other once a year.  We arrive, and from that moment on there is hugging and laughing and screaming and cheering and spending money and all the exciting things we’ve looked forward to for the past 364 days.

And it is gone, it is over, in the blink of tearful eyes.  Even though this year my time at Sandy Paws was infinitely more challenging due to the addition of one big furry puppy who only has manners when she pleases, it was still gone and over too fast, and we were heading back up I-95 to our lives and jobs.  How does that happen?  Why can’t the enjoyment last as long as the anticipation?  I find myself now back in those 364 days, waiting for Sandy Paws 2015 when I can see my FTH family again…hopefully with a much better behaved Bryn next year.

Now, on to the part of the weekend that made me put my “I’m Gonna Blog That” face on:

I will admit that in the past I have been one of those greyhound owners that I’m about to talk about…and I will extend my heartfelt apologies to anyone that owns a little dog or a big dog or any other kind of non-greyhound or non-sighthound dog that has come to a greyhound event and gotten the Hairy Eyeball from me.  I found out on this trip just how unpleasant even the most well-meaning people can be when they identify your dog as Other or NotAGreyhound and make a point of either looking at you like you’ve got four heads or telling you how to manage your dog in the sea of apparently ravenous high prey drive greyhounds ahead.  I mean really…I think if we did a survey of the dogs that attended Sandy Paws this year you would find that a great many of them live…are you ready? WITH OTHER BREEDS or even…gasp…CATS AND OTHER SPECIES.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have known, loved, and lived with some real Cat-Zappers.  I saw a foster dog catch my cat in his front paws in mid-air.  I know the possibilities.  But for crying out loud…the reception that Anne and I got when we entered the conference center with Millie (Boston terrier who lives with a greyhound and a bloodhound and was NOT on a flexi-lead, thankyouverymuch) and Bryn (wild-eyed Irish Wolfhound puppy of a mere 9 months who is still not sure about everyone and everything she meets) was less than welcoming.  Granted, not all of the almost 200 people that attended know me personally and/or know that I have a greyhound as well as the Big Hairy Beastie that came with me to Sandy Paws, but it’s a good guess that I do IF I AM THERE.

Here are just a few things to chew on if you happened to be in the vicinity of the traveling circus that is me, Anne, and our Nons at the Jekyll Island conference center over the Sandy Paws weekend.

1. The fact that Bryn pulls me around is not funny, really.  It happens when you have a puppy brain in a 97lb body attached to an owner with the upper body strength of a Keebler Elf (to borrow from Sheldon Cooper).  It is a little embarrassing, to be honest, because I’ve never owned a dog like her before and am still learning the best way for both of us to be able to walk calmly and pleasantly.

2. My wolfhound is not going to eat your (fill in name of other breed here) as long as I am still attached to her and/or am conscious.  There is no need to glare at me or pull your greyhound around on the other side of you to protect your precious greyhound from Bryn.  In fact, you may be called out on your Death Glare if we happen to see you do it.

3. I understand that not everyone likes big dogs.  But for heaven’s sake, y’all…this is a sighthound gathering and the hound in question is not an Italian Greyhound!  I’m assuming that most of the people there have at least a passing familiarity with sighthounds that are at least 50lbs and some much more than that (not always because they are big boys, either, but that’s another blog for another day).

4. If I tell you that Bryn needs some space then she needs some space.  It doesn’t matter how many whatevers you have raised/bred/raced/whatever in your day, I know my dog better than you do.  End of.  I appreciate all the offers for help over the weekend from everyone (including my friend Brian who asked me to let Bryn come running at him…which I did) and the compliments were fab for her and me.  It’s hard to believe she has only been in my life for just under 5 months…feels like 5 years some days.

5. A Boston Terrier on a stationary leash that is being held by her owner is probably owned by someone savvy about the prey drives of greyhounds and other sighthounds and will NOT be putting her dog or anyone else’s in a dangerous position, at least not consciously.  A person who brings a small breed into a sighthound event on a flexi lead is a different matter, but that, again, is a blog for another day.

Overall we had so much fun…Bryn slept most of the way home when she wasn’t trying to chew on her Auntsie’s ears or get in the front with Millie.  My FTH family is more precious to me than I can express and even now, as I sit here typing, the thought of THEM…the thought of US…it brings tears to my eyes at how important we all are to each other.

Metrognomes of the world, unite.  Onward and upward…to Mountain Hounds if not before!  (You can see pictures of Bryn at SP14 on her blog, Our Daily Bryn, beginning with the entry for 26 March.)