Houston, Part Two and Three

Hobby Airport, Houston

So, yeah, Thursday was pretty bad. I stayed in a hotel that might have actually been in the middle of the highway, judging from the volume of the traffic noise. Miraculously, I did not end up smelling like hot dogs (seriously, what building material makes a new building smell like that?) but I didn’t get much sleep.

I got up early and got myself breakfast, and then got myself over to the Marriot just in time for the first workshop of the day. I have to admit that I was not expecting much, but there were more people signing than speaking and that workshop was amazing. I got into my room at the Marriot which was CRAZY POSH and a little bit extreme, but no hot dogs or NASCAR so I was happy. If I had been able to have that room starting on Thursday night, I think that I might have had a better attitude.

Friday’s workshops were great. Friday night’s entertainment was great, and I’m so glad that I didn’t talk myself into skipping it and having an early night. Saturday morning I had planned to skip the 8am workshop and just chill until time to go to the airport, but I soldiered on and had the chance to experience a great workshop on self-care for interpreters. Such good information!

I was positively floating by the time I got to Hobby (plenty of time to catch my flight) and the flight from Houston to Atlanta went off without a hitch. I found an Atlanta Bread in the concourse and had a (vegetarian) sandwich that I recognized AND a place to charge my phone whilst I ate. I rang Simon. I rang Mom. Everything was turning up Nancy. And that’s when I did it, that’s when I spoke aloud to the universe that EVERYTHING HAD WORKED ITSELF OUT and the rest of my trip would be FINE. And the universe responded, “Hold my beer.”

I was at my gate about 7pm; boarding was supposed to start at 7:20pm. My boarding number was A5, so the chances I’d get a good seat were high. At 7:30, they told us that the flight crew wasn’t on the ground from New Orleans yet, so we wouldn’t be boarding until after 8:20 when they arrived with a view to takeoff being pushed back to 8:40. The woman in the Breast Cancer Survivor shirt across from me put in her headphones and started singing. The owner of one of the most adorable Westies I have ever seen put him back in his carrier and left – I assume the little fella needed the loo? I played games on my phone.

8:30 comes and the flight crew isn’t there yet. A large crowd has gathered in the pre-boarding area and none of them are using wheelchairs, were elderly, or had a stroller with them. At 8:45 the flight crew arrived and only one of them decided not to look sheepish as they cut through the crowd and headed down the jetway to the plane. 8:50 and we are boarding. 9:05 and we are away. I’m not sure a Southwest flight has moved that quickly, ever, but I can tell you that the entire plane let out whoops and wolf-whistles and a loud round of applause when the plane touched down in Greenville at almost 10pm.

So all in all, I guess my problems weren’t Houston’s fault, but I’m not in a hurry to go back…roll on RID Region II in…oh man. Gulfport MS in July. Yee-haw.

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…

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.)

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!

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.