My Little Irish Wanderer…and the Aftermath

Well, so it has been a hot minute since I last updated this – or wrote anything if I’m honest, but work and life have not given me a second to breathe, let alone open the laptop.

That little face there is my Ciaragh (Our Cailín Ádh), and she has had a marvelous adventure this week that nearly ended me. She and I were working at the Georgia Renaissance Festival this past Saturday and I completely forgot that there was a cannon shot from the bow of the pirate ship until it went off with us standing right there. She started to vibrate and I tightened up a bit on her leash to make sure she didn’t bolt. My wonderful niece was there with my sister and she tried to comfort Ciaragh, but as soon as she moved away and I slacked up the slightest bit on the leash, C saw her chance and bolted. Now, for the initial escape, I was still holding onto the leash, so I spun around and was dragged behind her (through the gravel) until she could dash through the exit. Sadly I did not make the graceful turn through the S-bend of an exit that she did and instead bounced off the large wooden fence that marks the boundary between onstage and offstage.

Two of my group’s volunteers and a GARF cast member pursued her as a third volunteer and my sister and niece stayed with me. At first, all I could do was make a primal growly sound because gravel+skin=OW but I was (and am) all right. It took a minute to walk up to my car, but that was where I fully expected folks to be waiting with C.

They were not.

She managed to evade capture for three more full days, and I drove back to the site every one of those days to keep looking for her. Finally, on Tuesday night around midnight, I got a phone call from someone in the area – Ciaragh was on his front porch and could I come get her, please?

Once I got my heart started again, I made some calls and arranged for some folks to go get her and keep her overnight until I could get back on Wednesday. I still don’t know how I did not get a speeding ticket on my way to Atlanta that morning, and yesterday (Thursday) we got her into the vet for a checkup – she is fit as a fiddle. An Irish fiddle.

Aftermath: I have helped out with many lost greyhounds in my two decades of having pets in my life as an adult. I have always just gone where I am needed and done what needs to be done, but I have not until now been on this side of the equation. Sure, my greyhounds occasionally got out, but I never had to spend a night without them back home safely – I sent thoughts and prayers to those that did, joined the search, rejoiced in the eventual recovery, but never really got it, until now.

I have ideas percolating (as does hubs) about non-profits that not only look for lost pets but care for the owners of those pets. I had so much love and support that it was overwhelming, especially since I was convinced that Ciaragh’s loss was my fault, but when it came to trying to pay for gas to keep searching, tracking teams to bring in, other pet recovery specialists who need money for materials and time – it is an expensive prospect to find your pet if they go missing, and mine was only gone for three days! So, I will let that idea keep rolling around. There has to be something that can be created that will harness the talents of EVERYONE that wanted to help rather than narrowing down the field of helpers to only those affordable options. What if we had not had a breed club behind us to help? I already have some ideas that were born from the search for Ciaragh.

So, enough of me. My girl is back, and she has effectively helped me write the last chapter of her Clobberpaws book, and I’m going to go snuggle her on the couch before I get back to writing. Make sure your pets are chipped and tagged, y’all…and loved.

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that.
Go raibh míle maith agat to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide) for this great shot from last Sunday afternoon. While hopping from shade spot to shade spot, Bryn and Anne and Bo and I ran into one of our dear friends from the GARF cast, Andy (aka Irish or Jordan Hale) as he was waiting to be able to spend a bit of time with his lady-love (who also works at GARF). Andy is just one of many cast members who have made us feel at home and part of the family at GARF this year (and in years past), and we can’t thank him (and them) enough.
It’s funny, it’s like we are almost too Irish here and Bryn is trying to make a break for it. My sweet girl…she didn’t have the best weekend this time around, adding stealing a sandwich off a table and trying to abscond with a turkey leg to her list of accomplishments this season. I hope that my renewed enthusiasm for this faire will bleed over to her, but I know that I am causing some of her frustration when I expect her to do bad things before she does them. She is still roaring at the horses during the joust and wagging her tail when her favourite princess says her name, so I think she is still my Rennie Hound. Dia linn, for the rest of the run, I say. Dia linn.

Lights at the Ends of Various Tunnels

Me and my girl at GARF,
photo courtesy of the Southern Travel Guide

Yeah, the last post was pretty grim, and if I’m honest, the work situation (that I still can’t talk about) hasn’t gotten any better, but there have been bright spots and that’s what we are going to focus on in THIS post.

One of them is featured in the photo: The Georgia Renaissance Festival. Now, this is not a new thing, not by a longshot, but apparently, the fourteenth year is the charm, hoopskirt issue notwithstanding. I have made friends at GARF in the past, cast members and vendors and directors and the like, but this year just feels different. I feel at home in “Newcastle” in a way I have yet to feel at home in “Fairhaven” after fifteen years in what we refer to as the Northern Kingdom.

What has changed? Me? Having Bryn? I don’t know. But this past weekend, I was able to play, really play, with both the cast and with my partner in crime, Lucy to my Ethel, and the only other member of HOEF that does more than one or two weekends at GARF, Anne. Perhaps it is the beautiful friendship that has formed between her Bo and my Bryn. Perhaps it is Anne’s extrovert that brings my introvert along, often kicking and screaming, to get to know the cast.

Whatever it is, I am profoundly sad on days that I have to miss attending GARF, even though it means a 5 am start every Saturday and a late afternoon arrival back home, dirty and sweaty and hot every Sunday between the middle of April and the first weekend in June. I long to be in the lanes, even though that means pulling turkey tendons out of Bryn’s mouth and replacing steak sandwiches that she snatches in the blink of an eye. I dream of the joust, and of watching with pride as Bryn thumps her tail when her favorite princess rides by, upside down in her saddle, even though I’m fighting the reflection of the sun off the light colored sand which is swirling about in my eyes and nose.

I’m hoping that this feeling of Rennie family will continue into the fall when I am again with my HOEF family in the dog barn on the eastern side of Fairhaven, and that we can project the kind of skilled performance that we are learning at GARF into our wonderfully laid back home at the Enchanted Chalice in Greenville, SC. Vikings ahoy!

I did say tunnels in the title, didn’t I? While GARF is the light at the end of one tunnel, the fact that I only have four days left until my summer break is certainly another. But that tunnel is not quite as bright because I will have several months of empty coffee meetings to look forward to without Daisy. While it hasn’t been easy without her, it has been easier because I’ve had work to distract me. Without my daily commute to Clemson, I am going to have to face what our reality looks like now; no queen on the end of my bed, huffing because I’ve rearranged my legs and accidentally knocked her about. No beautiful blonde/red fawn fur glimmering in the green grass of the back yard as she sunbathes. No teeth chattering in my ear.

But you see that muppet in the picture with me? She is a light of her own, and she and Willow are there to distract me when they can and snuggle with me when they can’t. Their light comes to find me in my tunnel and shines into the darkness to remind me to keep moving forward.

Finally, there is light at the end of the Superginormous Manuscript tunnel…book one in the three book series that it has become is almost ready to go to Amazon, and that is both exciting and horrifying. I took the first Camp Nanowrimo to edit the second book, and am not working on editing/fleshing out the third in between expense reports and mad garb sewing/laundering. So all in all, my life has far more light than dark. I just need to be able to remember that and hang on to it…and keep moving.

Back to the Grind…


Got my commuter face on…
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen

But it’s going to be a slow week and a short week, so maybe it won’t be too awful. I swear, last week lasted about a month, and having a short weekend due to spending yesterday at the Georgia Renaissance Festival didn’t help. The older I get, the more I need to spend lots and lots of time doing lots and lots of nothing to make up for the lots and lots I do.

Yesterday at GARF was lovely. The people down there are so nice to us and we love going to visit, even if it does get hotter than the surface of a dying star quickly in Georgia in the spring. I was amused yesterday to think of how many of the folks that work there (and at the Carolina festival) I can recognize by sight but have NO idea what their names are…sometimes not even their character names.

I’ve had my scotch egg fix now, though, and should be good until CRF in October. I did get a little misty on the ride home yesterday (in between blasts of cold air from the A/C in an attempt to stay awake) thinking that I had just finished my last performance with GARF.

There are going to be a lot of those this year…my last time going to CRF, my last Beach Bound Hounds…and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in sadness and slide off my plateau that I’ve mentioned in other posts. But this morning I was doing a flickr surf and found some photos of an interpreting colleague of mine and his family…and that helped because I was looking at him and his wife and kids and thinking, “Now I can have that too…Simon and I can have kids and trips to the zoo and nursery school programs and field days and and and…” and somehow that made the melancholy lift a bit.

Off to get the house cleaned up…someone is coming to appraise it for the upcoming sale (yay for rental house living…you just never know…) and if I don’t get it tidy then the poor man won’t be able to reach the walls, let alone measure for square footage!

On Renn Fests, Sofas, and the Dining Room Floor

My season with the Georgia Renaissance Festival has now come to a close. I went yesterday with all three greyhounds, but luckily we had an abundance of handlers so I spent a lot of the day dogless! I say luckily…but I admit to being a bit giddy every time I spotted one of my dogs approaching with his/her handler to be returned to me.

I actually saw a Lost Boys show yesterday…from the back, admittedly, with Profile in tow, but it was a great show. The Boys never cease to amaze me with the amount of dedication they put into each performance, and how much they obviously love what they do.

Hunk has been on his favorite sofa almost non-stop since we got home. I love Susan and Dave’s red sofa, and actually fell asleep on it for a bit last night. Despite the fact that it occasionally seems as though it wants to swallow me (lots of pillows), it’s definitely mine and Hunky’s favorite place to be while visiting Unka Dave and Aunt Susan.

Jeany’s favorite place to be this weekend seems to be their dining room…especially when she really needs to go out. Dave and Susan’s friend Ben was visiting this weekend as well, and he was unfortunately awakened when Jeany decided to break the rules and use the dining room as her own personal facilities. Could I have been a more proud Momma? If I ever bring Daiz down here after she retires I’m probably going to be so nervous I’ll keep her leashed to me the entire time we’re visiting.

I’m really going to miss coming down here. I don’t get to spend near enough time with my family, and when I do, it’s usually Mom and Daddy just because they are closer. It’s also hard to get together with Susan and Dave because of their work schedules…weekends are work time for them. I am really lucky to have a sister and brother-in-law that will not only put up with me bringing my dogs into their pet-free home weekend after weekend but also will let the other members of my renn fest group come along and bring THEIR dogs! Thanks, Unka Dave and Aunt Sooz. You rule.