New Year, New You? Nope.

So how many of you (admittedly, 5-6) Lettuce Readers have already given up on the New Year’s Resolutions that you made a few weeks ago? Yeah, me too. The difference is that my resolutions were actually achievable this time – set out your clothes for work the night before, make sure that the coffee pot is ready to go before you come stumbling in for some liquid courage at 6:55am (wow, that might have been a little more disclosure than I meant to have this early in a blog post), make time to write every day and the time in between lunch and class doesn’t count.
I’m writing this having just polished off two lovely vegetarian sliders with Palmetto Cheese on top, and I’ve come to work in a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans if that tells you anything.
Before the end of 2018, I started listening to a podcast by my sister-of-choice, Elizabeth Dunne. It’s called #FLAW3D and it is brilliant, insightful, and funny, just like she is in person. I swear. But as with everything that occurred after 12 April of 2018, I was going through the motions with her podcasts and other content under the #FLAW3D brand. In fact – I will admit this if you swear not to tell her I said so – I am embarrassed to say that while listening to her podcasts on the bus on the way to work, I fell asleep. Every time. That has more to do with my level of exhaustion and nothing to do with her content, I swear. My life for most of last year could be represented by the photo above – a long hard slog down a cobbled road devoid of all color.
I also listened to them out of order, because I had started doing that with another podcast I am addicted to listening to called And That’s Why We Drink, a Paranormal and True Crime Podcast. The personal information that MUST BE LISTENED TO IN THE ORDER IT WAS RELEASED SO THAT YOU CAN CREEP ON THE LIVES OF THE PODCASTERS is not the point of the podcast there. But with Elizabeth’s podcast, it is.
I mean not the creeping part. I would never. I’m having too much trouble remembering to call her Elizabeth rather than ‘liz, as I have known her since uni, so there’s no way I’ve got an ulterior motive here. Plus, she is the mother of my eldest niece, so I am versed in the real Elizabeth.
And y’all, if you will just listen to #FLAW3D you will hear the real Elizabeth. She is unabashedly open about everything that she chooses to share – and what she doesn’t.
Anyway! So I listened to the first episode of #FLAW3D today – the topic was becoming a digital nomad and working with your spouse – and it was terribly relevant to me not because Hubs is going to quit his job and we are going to open up THE NEXT BEST BIG THING anytime soon. It was terribly relevant because it was just the dose of, “You want to do that? Well, why not?” that I needed. Yesterday was a hard day in the universe of my day job – so bad, in fact, that I couldn’t even bring myself to escape to Orana like I normally do when the waters get rocky. I did manage to finish a chapter in the next Clobberpaws, but that was it. One chapter.
Did I mention that I started said chapter LAST NOVEMBER? Yeah. Not my best day as a writer.
But this morning’s listen left me with feelings. All the feelings. Why not give up my cushy 37.5 hr/week job where I know what I’m doing and how to do it…if others would just stay out of my lane and let me do it. Why not just keep writing as a hobby and sort-of side gig…even though seeing that three of my books sold all in one day makes me so happy that I literally cried for a few minutes. Why not do what I love, rather than working at a place that I don’t love as much as I used to do so that I can afford to do what I love? Things to ponder.
The best bit was probably when her guests, Erin Booth and Tannia Suarez (co-founders of efftheoffice.com) talked to Elizabeth about how for couples that both work jobs outside the home, they have only a few precious hours in the evening to spend time together. Then on weekends they are planning to spend time together but are either too exhausted or want to pursue things that make their individual souls happy – cue the entrance of guilt and resentment.
Hubs and I do that very thing. We get home late. We struggle over what to eat for our tea. We struggle over when to eat or to actually eat at all. We collapse on the sofas and watch an hour or two of television and then go to bed. That is not a life well lived.
So while I’m still processing episode one and moving on to episode two, let me again recommend that you go to FLAW3D.com and check out the podcast and Elizabeth. You won’t be sorry. Now if you will excuse me, I need to completely rethink my entire life. New Year, New Me? Nope. Just New Me – a work in forever ongoing progress.

Quickie…Cross your fingers, please?

Proud Racer: An American Greyhound
in Yorkshire, by Nancy E. Dunne

Just wanted to give you guys a little heads up that Daisy’s second book, An American Greyhound in Yorkshire, has been entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest for 2013.  I don’t expect that it will go anywhere but…you never know.  Three cheers for Daisy Mei Mei, international dog of mystery…and for her mommy for finally sprouting a pair and going for a contest.  Fingers and paws crossed!

One more…a sort of a flashback post…

Daisy's Eyes by Nancy Dunne
Daisy’s Eyes, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

See that look there?  That one is how my Daisy says, “Seriously?” as in “Mommy, seriously, take the camera out of my face and give me the whateveritis that you’re holding over my head to make me look at you, already.”

That is how I felt when I posted this back in August of 2011:

Okay, for the last time… 

I was still fairly newly repatriated and I was still fairly raw about the entire experience, mostly due to the fact that the three most important souls in my universe (Hubs, Daisy, and Mills) were four thousand miles away from me.

I’m reminded of that post because now, a year and change later, Simon is here and I’ve been back from my expat adventure almost two years…and I still have moments where I’m not sure where I am or, even better, where I belong.  I still have moments where I struggle to make myself understood and have the urge to go all Tanzanian Chimp (see?  There is a Big Bang Theory reference for EVERYTHING) on someone that giggles if I say wheelie bin instead of trash can.

We have a new captionist on staff here who loves all things British and I have to say I’m probably rambling on and on to her more than I should, bless her, but she gets it and that’s cool.  Andrea, if you’re reading this, ta very much. I still say lift sometimes, I still say mobile, and I still ring people up if I absolutely have to do so, and I don’t imagine that will change much.

But last night there was a new experience to add to my list of “only other US/UK expats will get this” weirdness:  Last night we saw the Black Watch and Band of the Scots Guards at the BiLo Center and as any good British programme does, it included Jerusalem, the hymn that is the unofficial national anthem of England.

Y’all, I got teary listening to it.  I almost let out a choked sob.  The feeling of belonging but not belonging, of home and homesickness all happening at the same time was just overwhelming.  Hubs got a bit of a giggle out of it, not of my distress but of how surprised I was at said distress, I think.  These were “my people” due to my Scottish ancestry, but they were also “my people” because they were British and I feel like I was getting close to that, for a time anyway.

I said on Facebook: “Well, it happened. I teared up at ‘Jerusalem.'”  The only people who have liked the comment are expats or have them in their lives.

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

I would like to say when, but for the time being I will say if…IF we make it back to live in the UK, they will have to burn me out to make me leave a second time.  It is my second home…and I can’t wait to go back for a visit, at least.

What a long strange…year…it’s about to be.

Starry, Starry Blackberry Wallpaper

I’m not going to do my standard “Year in Review” post today.  I’m also not going to list resolutions for the new year that I will certainly break.  What I am going to do is tell you my plans for the year, so that this time 2014 I can look at this post again and see how close I got to getting it all right.

A short disclaimer:  This optimism is destined not to last, so enjoy it while it is here.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my regular emo ray of sunshine self very, very soon.

This year is going to be very lucky for me and mine.  We have a house.  We will have a fence and a deck soon.  Our basement floor will return to normal.  We will get all our boxes from the overseas move unpacked before summer.  We will have guests from the UK and the US and Canada and wherever else we have friends to come stay with us. I will be having a Eurovision finals party at my house in May. Daisy and Clown will maintain, healthy and happy, as they are today.

Our family will grow.  We’ve gotten downright scientific about this whole process, and while we will definitely increase the canine population of the house with a larger and fuzzier newcomer, I am confident that we will also add to our family of humans.

I will get something published.  In the past, I have resolved to “make part of my living with my writing” and I’ve done that. Daisy’s book and my others are still available on Lulu.com. This year, however, is when that takes a step up.  This is the year that all my nano-noveling and other pecking at my keyboard will be shared with the world, as well as the year that I truly start to believe that I have a story to tell that people want to read.

I will be doing more things in the name of self-care.  There will be yoga and meditation to quiet my mind as well as a dedicated effort to start running again while my knees will still allow me to do so.

There will be travel.  Watch this space, as I will be filling all five or six of you in on my travels in a more timely manner than I have in the past.  Along those lines, and in combination with the above publishing work, there will be a photo book in the works of our honeymoon trip.  We are fairly decent photogs, me and my Mister, and I want to share the incredible experience we had with others.

I am going to be a better listener and friend, and will spend more time doing and less time talking about doing.  Of course, this blog doesn’t count…

Finally, I’m going to look back on this post on 1 Jan 2014 and smile at all I’ve accomplished this year.  Happy New Year, Lettuce Readers.  Live long and prosper, and all that jazz.

Yeah, yeah, I’ll get that catch up done soon, promise.

Iseabel Poytnshoot by Nancy Dunne
Iseabel Poytnshoot, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

I’m working on it! I just have to get three sets of garb done, get to a closing on the house that we are hopefully buying, start the Carolina Renn Fest, and get through a trip to Myrtle Beach for Beach Bound Hounds…and that’s just in my free time. Relax. Maybe I can sneak in a spot of blogging this afternoon…

The picture today is from the Tower of London, and the gamer girl in me says it’s my interpretation of all my toons with crossbows.  The real Nancy says it’s a metaphor for what happens if you cross me lately.  Get it? Cross bow?  Cross me?

I think I still need a nap.

Lions and…yeah, you know the rest

Tower of London by Nancy Dunne
Tower of London, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

I don’t have much to say today, and clearly haven’t all summer, if you go by my blog here! I’m formulating a “catch-up” post about what has happened since returning from Europe, Simon moving to the US, and our seemingly never ending search for a house in Greenville. In the meantime, please enjoy these lions made of wire and mesh that grace the front of the Tower of London.

Hey, at least it isn’t a bunny with a pancake on its head…