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.

March, Interrupted

First stop in Philly…
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne

It’s been a month today since I headed east to North Carolina for Sandy Paws and a short visit with my friends and family. In the four weeks that followed that day, I ate at Chick Fil A (admittedly the thing I miss most about living in the US not including people) about twenty seven times. I traveled from Greensboro, NC to Jekyll Island, GA, to Jacksonville, FL to Greensboro again to Athens, GA to Cleveland, GA and finally to Atlanta, GA. I saw my parents for two and a half days. I saw my sister and the most perfect niece on the planet for two and a half hours.

I flew back to the UK and threw myself back into work at the Bookshop as well as into looking online for work in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Western North Carolina. I stayed up to watch Comic Relief on Red Nose Day. I ate at Nando’s (the thing I will miss most about living in the UK other than home delivery of groceries and people). I started the countdown for the next in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. I started a new blog to showcase the photos I’ve been taking in various and sundry retail establishments around the UK since I’ve been here.

And I’m looking forward to April…to hopefully finding a job in the US, to hopefully selling our house here so we can move as soon as Simon gets his visa sorted, and to starting Script Frenzy, the screenplay version of NaNoWriMo from last November.

Fingers are crossed and big things are coming. I just need some patience…and a Chik Fil A sandwich wouldn’t hurt.

Time Flies…am I having fun?

Lighthouse Ladies
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne

Two weeks ago today I was right there in that photo. I was visiting the St. Augustine Lighthouse with my best friend, Leah (in the pink) and our Canadian “sistahs,” Janet (next to me) and Vicky. I had sore ribs from laughing until I cried repeatedly. I had wobbly knees because Janet and I walked to the tippy top of the lighthouse (200+ steps!) on a quest to see a ghost. I was happy and relaxed.

Now? Not so much. Happy to be back with Simon, definitely. Happy to have my OWN greyhound to cuddle rather than borrowing one of the ones in the picture, absolutely. Happy to have my Little Man Mills burrowing in my hair and purring like a freight train, well, yeah, mostly. But happy to be back here in the UK? Notsomuch. Happy to be back in limbo, with no job prospects, no house-sale prospects, and a job that I’m definitely not suited for at all? Nope.

Funny how things can change SO much in the course of two short weeks. Funny how I can go from being so sure of what I’m doing and when to being completely on my ear with one mention of an unrelentingly tight state government budget. Funny how I am back to not knowing where I really belong, as well as not knowing where I really WANT to belong. Parts of the UK look really good when the job I’d counted on in the US fizzles. Parts of the US look really good when I have to pretend that I’m good at retail sales. It’s a mess, really.

To my Sistahs, love you to bits. Wish we were still there. I could do with a good FB LAN party and some bad sangria…because that’s how you treat a princess. For now, though, back to house tidy avoidance…before even more time has flown.

First Week Done and Dusted

So I’m sitting in a hotel room in Jacksonville, Florida, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been this tired. Sandy Paws 2011 is over, and we have moved on to the Follow That Hound After Party portion of the holiday. Tomorrow morning some of our folks are headed to the track to tour the kennel, and I will be here, playing dog-nanny to six greyhounds.

Six greyhounds that aren’t my own, mind you. Six greyhounds that aren’t my Daisy, more importantly. I think if we were to end up in the UK for another year, I would skip this annual event because it’s just too hard to be here without her.

Anyway, moving on…Leah and I were discussing Sandy Paws 2011, and I think that part of why I’m so tired is that every year Sandy Paws barrels along at a frantic pace for me. It’s the same basic formula as other greyhound events, really. You have a schedule of seminars and other activities focused on living with retired racing/AKC greyhounds. You have social events. You have vendors. You have auctions and raffles. But somehow, Sandy Paws always seems to zip past with me hanging on for dear life. When you’ve come 4,000 miles for an event, zipping is not a good thing.

The photo above is pretty representative of my vacation so far. There’s a wind whipping all around me in that picture, and I feel like there’s a metaphorical wind whipping up as well. People are tired. Tempers are short. I love seeing my friends and getting to spend a week with my best friend is just awesome. But the stress? The drama? Yeah, y’all can just keep that part.

Unpacking Adjectives, Digestives, and Dog Toys…

The time since 28th February is a bit of a blur for me. Let me try to catch you up to speed so you can see why I’m not sure where I’ve been for the past two weeks…
28 February
Work half day at the hospital. Go home, sling dogs and belongings into car. Head north for Austell. Drop dogs off at sister’s, head to Atlanta to pick up Simon. Pick up Simon, go back to sister’s house, out to dinner, then resume restorative coma…that hasn’t been restorative since I left London in August.

1 March
Load belongings and dogs and Simon in car and head for Jekyll. Swim down I-16 to meet Kimmy and Leah in Savannah. Continue swimming south through torrential rain to Jekyll Island. Check in for Sandy Paws and move into the Sistah’s Villa. Again seek out coma.

2 March
Attend various and sundry Sandy Paws events and pick up Daisy from Anne and Cathie. Decide Daisy is the most perfect greyhound girly ever to be born. Host dinner for Follow That Hound folks in the Sistah’s Villa. Sort out Daisy’s first night with me and proceed to not sleep until around 3-4am, thanks to Daisy pacing and intermittently trying to open the door by biting the door knob.

3 March
Am awakened at 7amish by dogs wanting out. Am allowed to sleep a bit longer by the most wonderful man on the earth who takes the dogs out. Jeany and Daisy have a minor arguement resulting in a boo boo on Jeany’s face. Resume attending Sandy Paws events and showing off the new baby, as well as getting to know Simon.

4 March
Pack up the villa and head for Jacksonville. Are not permitted into room until 3pm, make it to Cathie’s for dinner around 5pm. Watch Daisy and Hunky run in the puppy pens and feel heart swell three times its size.

5 March
Do absolutely nothing all day but hang out with Simon and the pups, then head to the track at Orange Park in the evening for the FTH party. Totally enjoy evening. Become sad at the prospect of my vacation being almost over.

6 March
Drive the most boring road EVER, I-10, back to Alabama. Deposit dogs and go grocery shopping. Begin to mope that Simon is going back home on Wednesday.

7 March
Call Delta and extend Simon’s stay till Saturday. Rejoice, give thanks, and sing. Take Simon to meet parents. Coma at the end of the day.

Thursday and Friday
I had to work, and Saturday my heart broke sending him back home on the plane. Now…I have to work again?? Ugh. Pictures to follow I’m sure.

An Overnight Trip, told by HunkamunchafromOz

Yes Mommy?
Hey y’all, Hunky here. Mommy and I went to Greensboro last night to see Auntie Leah and Auntie Kimmie.

Tortilla Philosophy with Kimmie Sue
Mommy says that Auntie Kimmie was philosophizing with the tortilla chips. I don’t know what that word means. All I know is that she wouldn’t share.

Cheeky Leah
Auntie Leah wouldn’t either, but after I smelled what was in the cup that made her grin like this I was fine with her not sharing.

The Neighboring Horse Farm
Today we went to a place where there were lots of greyhounds that Mommy called GFNC which I don’t think spells a real word but it’s hard to tell because she spells things around us all the time…anyway, these were the neighbors…HORSES!!!

Neighbor Horses
I love horses, they smell interesting and I really want to try racing one someday. These don’t look like they’d be much of a threat, all they wanna do is eat grass! (Lucky horses, Mommy won’t let me eat that much grass…)

Ears on Patrol
Mommy and Russ put me and Deniro in jail while they went to look at the Kennel. I didn’t mind so much, it was shady and there was still lots to look at nearby.

Yeah, Llama, whatever...zzzzzz
Then she came by to tell me they were going to see a llama. I wore myself out trying to figure out what that was so I had to take a nap.

We’re back home now and I had a really tiring day, so I’m going to go take another nap. Dog’s life and all that…

Shaking and Unpacking Part Three

Monday, 6 March
The photo is from Monday night at the track. After a wonderful day spent at the track kennel first and the farm second, we hit Orange Park for an FTH party! We had two races that were designated “picture races” that night in our honor so we trooped down in shifts to have our pictures taken with the winner. In the shot above, the winner is the one on the boxes but the dog in the number 6 blankie in front is Greys Big Chance, one of the dogs running for Cathie and Bill’s kennel. He came in second and man oh man was he something to watch run.

My Daisy ran her first official schooling race Monday night and got 5th, not too shabby. I was a nervous wreck, especially after seeing Leah’s boy Bernard go end over end and hit the wall in the first turn during the race right before Daisy’s. That was a testament to the strength and determination of the breed though… Bernard hopped up and started following the pack but then turned around and made it back to the finish at the same time they did…just ran the wrong way. A link to the replays of the races is here, go to the Vault and pick March 6th, then click on 5scl for Bernard’s cartwheel and 6scl for Daisy’s race.

By the time Monday was over, I was exhausted and in some ways ready to come home, but in others incredibly sad. I think Mama Cathie put it best when she said she told her boss she had made some new sisters over the weekend. My house was so quiet when I got home, void of the sound of their laughter and squeals and especially the snorts. Daisy is again hundreds of miles away, and I miss her now more than I ever did before. She will be running her second schooling race tonight and you can bet I will be glued to my computer monitor.

Thanks guys, for the best vacation I’ve had in my life so far. I have not laughed that hard, cried that hard (at the memorial service), played that hard, or fallen in love with new friends that hard in a long time. I’m raising my coffee cup (full of Tim Horton’s coffee, of course) to my new old friends. Until next year…if not sooner!!