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Happy Birthday Briscoe-dog!

This is a couple of days late, but since Briscoe doesn’t have a cell phone* or know how to use the internet**, I’m hoping she doesn’t notice.  Also, this can be a throw back Thursday, or Briscoe’s Greatest Hits.

HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY TO THE FLUFFIEST, HAPPIEST, GREATEST, MOST BIG-HEADED DOG IN THE WORLD!  Thanks for being my best friend and favorite creature.

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*She doesn’t have a cell phone because she is broke because she doesn’t have a job.

**She doesn’t know how to use the internet because she doesn’t have thumbs and she sucks at typing.

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These Twenty Dash years are speeding along rapidly, although I have to admit that I was happy to see 2013 exit the stage.  My ankle surgery in October and the government shutdown were rather disruptive forces, and then in mid November I developed what was inconclusively walking pneumonia or a vicious viral infection.  Either way, by the Friday after Thanksgiving I was in the bed.  Two and a half weeks of antibiotics, a steroid pack, and five sick days later, and it was almost Christmas.  Seriously, I didn’t drink alcohol or coffee for almost three weeks, in December, to give y’all an idea of how ill I truly was. Obviously, ankle surgery and a terrible hacking cold with a racking cough that last a month is not the worst thing that could happen, but it did make me appreciate all the things I take for granted.  Like walking, and breathing.  It made me a little more compassionate towards the subjective complaints of the claimants.  Additionally, in the instance of my ankle and my respiratory difficulties, I was required to see more than one doctor and be my own health advocate to fight for additional treatment options and testing.  Not because my doctors aren’t competent, but because many of them are overworked and jaded and under appreciated, and lacked the time or effort to waste on an otherwise seemingly healthy young person with no real health risk factors.    I’m not going to get into all the nuances involved in health care, suffice it to say, being sick or injured sucks, and if you don’t like the answers you are receiving, keep asking your questions, find additional opinions.

When I woke up from being sick and realized that it was almost Christmas, I had to play catch up on the festivities.  My friends and I threw an oyster roast/skeet shoot, which we’ve decided will be known as the First Annual Christmas Clays.

Here are my friends shooting skeet.

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They were some of the best oysters I’ve ever had the pleasure of destroying.

We had a blue grass band, oysters, skeet, venison chili,ham, Frog Island Punch, koozies, and a lot of fun with all of the frogs.  The party was held at my friend Zan’s family’s property, and Zan and his father are sculptors, and the property is littered with artwork.

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Shannon and me playing in the froggy scrap yard.

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Me and my favorite frog.

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This is Jack, and Briscoe was a really great sport.

Christmas brought the arrival of a new family member at my parents house –

Christmas Day with besties from home.

Christmas Day with besties from home.

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Polar Bear Plunge with some of the greatest friends ever!

Christmas was great, and I got to see a lot of old friends.  New Year’s Eve was Alicia and Bryan’s beautiful wedding.  And New Year’s Day, we all jumped in the ocean to celebrate 2014, and then we ate hoppin’ johns and collards, with mac and cheese, and the best wings in america, washed down with a game changer at Home Team.

Overall, the last two weeks of December more than made up for feeling like I was on restriction from the beginning of October until the middle of December.  And 2013 will always be the year that I really found a home in Charleston, with amazing friendships, a job I love, and an unrivaled picturesque natural setting.

As a side note, I do have to admit that I’m currently freezing to death at my house, whilst wearing an obscene amount of clothing and my uggs, wrapped in a blanket, with my arm warmers.  My power still works, but my house was not designed for the cold, and it’s all my little heater can do to keep up.  This is the coldest weather I’ve experienced since I moved to Charleston in Fall 2010.  The upside is that it’s suppose to be in the 70s this weekend. I’ve started running again, and yesterday I ran two miles, which is the furthest I’ve run since I stopped running in December 2012.  I’m looking forward to my first yoga class since September tonight, and can’t wait to be in the suffocating heat, after this freezing day.

Speaking of freezing, this weather has brought to my attention that I only have the bare minimum of cold weather gear.  I’m going skiing in February, and I think I need some new gear.  You know, like gloves with fingers.  None of my gloves have fingers.  Suggestions?

You kids try to stay warm out there, and if winter ever gets to be too much, come on down to Charleston some weekend, the cold weather never lasts for more than a couple of days.  I promise to take you to Home Team and to an oyster roast.  My new year’s resolutions are obviously to blog more, and to get back into fighting shape.  I’m going to get back on the mat, back on the tennis court, and take some things out on the pavement.

Cheers to 2014 being the best year yet!  Happy New Year!

The Big Bridge

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Getting back to real life has been more difficult that I anticipated.  It’s been six weeks and one day since my surgery, and I’ve been back at work for more than three weeks.  I may have hit the ground a little aggressively, but there were some things I could not help. I could not help that I HAD to go see Libby run in the New York Marathon the first week in November.  It’s not my fault that it got cancelled last year. Libby had to train twice, and the least I could do was rebook my trip.  Plus, I really wanted to go, and I needed to see Betsy and Andrew and meet sweet baby Cash.  I can’t help it that being in New York necessitates a lot of walking.  Going to New York left me in the Boot for an extra week, but I was able to get around surprisingly well, and I don’t think the extra boot walking caused any lasting damage.

I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of music this month, which I was not expecting.  The first weekend I was back in Charleston, someone gave me a ticket to the Robert Earl Keen show at the Charleston Music Hall, at the last minute, so I had to go to that.  Then Michael Franti was at the Music Farm and I went with my sweet friend Anita.  Finally, The Avett Brothers played at the Coliseum last week, and those tickets were purchased this summer.  All three shows were fantastic.  I’ve seen REK and The Avett Brothers at the Georgia Theater, and it’s hard to compare any show to a Theater show, but the Charleston Music Hall is a really cool venue if you ever get a chance to see it, and the Avett Brothers are a completely different band than they were in the Georgia Theater days.  When I first saw the Avett Brothers in 2007, it was three guys, and the entire show was high energy Bluegrass Ska music.  Now there are seven or eight band members, and it’s a much more professional production.  It’s nice to watch a band grow up.  The show last week was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.  It was well paced, with lots of old music, and lots of new music, and we stood up the entire time.  The only thing I did not understand was the couple with the baby in the Bjorn in front of us.  Or the other couple with the two boys, aged maybe four and six.  The two boys were clearly miserable, with the four year old plugging his ears the whole time.  How is that fun for anyone involved?  And they stayed almost the entire show.  It’s not normal for kids to stay out til 11 on a school night, right?

Speaking of music, I’ve been enjoying the new Katy Perry album.  Hate all you want, she’s fun.  Also, I love Eminem.  I tolerate Rihanna when she is playing with Eminem.  I love that this new song is about seeming crazy.  I realized the other day that a casual observer would think I spend all day talking to myself.  But the reality is that not I’m talking to myself, I’m talking to the inanimate objects around me.  Example, I’m pulling sheets out of the dryer, and they are not dry,  “Dude!  You aren’t dry at all!  Look at this, you’ve gotten all wadded and tangled up, you are never going to dry that way.  Get back in there.”

The weather has been crazy, yesterday it was 83 degrees, 90% humidity.  This morning it was 50 degrees, 60% humidity, with winds 20 mph.  The former is a lot hotter than you’d think, and the latter is a lot colder than you’d expect.  I’ve completed all of the levels of candy crush, and now we wait for an update.  In television news, you should be watching The Blacklist.  That is the only new television show I can definitely vouch for as amazing.  If you watch Homeland and Scandal, you should be reading this weekly blog series The Heroine Watch.  It definitely enhances what otherwise has been a season of extremely depressing and upsetting story lines.

I can’t wait until I can run and go to yoga and play tennis again, I’m hoping to be able to start doing more in the next couple of week.  I’ve been walking a mile in the morning and a mile at night, and standing up at my desk during the day, and I’ve been able to do that with occasional pain.  The range of motion in my ankle is limited in all directions, but I believe that it is getting a little better every day.  I still have some numbness in my big toe and on the outside of my heel, but the scar is healing well.

Until then, Briscoe and her pink gorilla are making sure my yoga mat feels loved.

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Briscoe is trying to make me feel better about not being able to work out. My yoga mat and tennis equipment have been crying to Briscoe during the day about feeling neglected and abandoned, so she thought we should pull them out and make them feel loved. Just making it onto your mat and breathing deeply counts, right? Oh, and what I really want is a mini trampoline, so, if anyone has a mini trampoline laying around, I’d be happy to take it off your hands. I NEED it. For rehab.


We started with child’s pose.

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As you can see, Briscoe is a ball hog.

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We volleyed for a little while.

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Briscoe’s favorite pose is shavasana.

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And we all say, Namaste, bitches.

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Before I moved to Charleston, I assumed the tourist season was the summertime.  We all know what happens when you assume.  Tourist season last all year, but the peak is in April and October.  Hotels are booked six months in advance in blocks for weddings, and whereas in the summer time people are strewn about the various beaches, in April and October, everyone is on the peninsula.  The peninsula is not a large place. Peninsula is a hard word to spell.   apparently Conde Nast readers voted Charleston the #1 city in America, and the #1 city in the world for 2012.  Y’all should come visit.

 

 

I had my first tennis match of the season thursday night.  I got killed.  But I played well, and my opponent was just much better than me.  At least the sky was pretty.

 

 

In other news, Briscoe finds working from home to be extremely taxing, but she is really striving to be helpful.  I think.

 

 

 

 

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For the most part, I believe America to be the greatest place in the world. We definitely have our own problems, and there definitely parts of America that hold no interest for me as place of permanent dwelling, but as a whole, America is pretty great. More specifically, the South East is pretty awesome. I love the weather, the food, the people, the flowers, and the way we talk around here. But today, I wish I lived somewhere else. I wish I lived in India today. Or, tonight, although I guess it is already night in India by now. I would really like to see the lunar eclipse tonight. I should have planned my vacations better. Apparently there is a chance I’ll get to see full lunar eclipse in America in April 2014, fingers crossed.

Have I told you how Briscoe hates skateboarders? It might be one of the funnier things I’ve seen in a while. I think it is the noise that scares her. The dog needs a haircut like whoa. She’s going to get her hair did tomorrow, and I expect to have a little lamb by tomorrow night instead of the bear that is currently sleeping in my kitchen.  For some reason she has developed this ridiculous habit of spilling her food all over the floor.  It is like she picks up her bowl with her teeth and dumps it out, although I’m not sure that is actually possible.  But once the food it on the ground, she won’t eat it.  For a while, when I would come home to her spilled food, I would pick all the pieces up and put them back in the bowl.  Then I realized, wait, she’s a dog, if she wants to spill her food on the floor, she should eat the food off the flood.  So, I stopped cleaning it up, other than to turn the bowl back upright.  Sure enough, after leaving the food on the ground until late into the night, the dog finally decided she would eat it off the floor.  So, she’s started cleaning up the mess herself, but she’s still spilling the food. 

Something about summertime makes me want to lose myself in a story, preferably a long drawn out saga. Happily, HBO has provided that for me with The Game of Thrones, and even more happily, I am able to read the novels instead of waiting to see what happens in HBO time (which is painfully slow in my opinion). I enjoy the story, the show (and the novels for that matter) are quite gruesome and violent. I find reading about violent and gruesome things is easier than watching them play out on my unnecessarily large television. But I’m totally engrossed in the novels, each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, and the author has mastered the ability to speak in each character’s voice in a way that is seemless but also adds a depth to the writing and storyline that is not immediately apparent. I would not recommend the books or the television series to everyone, there is a base element to it that not all will find endearing, crass talk of sexual encounters and horrible things happen to almost all of the characters. But even the villainous characters have redeeming qualities (well, some of them do) and the heros have flaws, and there is nothing I love more than a good story with round characters.

I spent the last two weeks of May in Washington, D.C., training for work. Let me tell you, two weeks is a LONG TIME to be in a hotel. I learned a lot, got to spend time with some old friends (sadly, the Bizzy was out of town the entire time I was there), and enjoyed some fabulous food and beautiful sights, but I was very happy to come home to my apartment and my dog. I did meet some super cool new friends though. My mom and my aunt Jan came to visit me in Charleston this past weekend, and boy did we have a good time. I wish I could tell you we did lots of productive things, but really more than anything, we simply enjoyed Charleston and each other. We wandered, we enjoyed drinks on the rooftop under the shade with a breeze, we ate phenomenal food, (as a side note, a merinague will always add to a dessert), we peered through hedges, gates and walls into the fabulous gardens and side yards of people we didn’t know but wish we did, we sweated, we watched little children play in fountains, and Kate and Jan rearranged the furniture in my apartment. We did not shop at all, other than a short trip to the grocery, and we spent most of our time outside. It was great.

Oh! So I want y’all to check out my cousin Heather’s blog – she has MS, and has an amazingly honest and refreshing perspective, including my favorite – Wheelchair Etiquette.

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Trashed

I’ve decided that my comment in the previous post about Bella’s garbage party resulting in a condition commonly described as “sick as a dog” was not the best I could do.  Please see above.  Kate reports Bella has recovered from her self-induced misery.

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Yesterday, I noticed tha Briscoe’s eye lashes were matted. But her eye didn’t look red, and it didn’t seem to be bothering her, so I decided it was probably just dust or allergies.

This morning her eye was much more matted, and upon closer inspection, swollen. So I called the vet to make sure they were open and to expect the fluffy puff shortly.

When I picked up her leash, Briscoe looked at me like a kid on Christmas morning and bolted for the door. She was so pumped. Once we got in the car she stuck her head out the window and soaked up the crisp autumn air. When we pulled up to the vet’s office, she started crying.

I took her inside, and stood at the counter. The girl behind the desk looked at me and said, ‘Just a minute,’ and looked behind me at a woman standing behind me.

The woman said, ‘I’m here to get Lucky.’

For some reason at 9 am this morning, the fact that this adult woman stated that she was at the vet to get Lucky struck me as absolutely hysterical. I almost lost it.

Then the girl handed her a box. Lucky was her deceased dog, who had been cremated and she was here to pick up his ashes. I was immediately not amused anymore.

Then I looked on the desk, and there was an identical box, but where the other said Lucky, this one said Justice. My mind heard, ‘I’m here for Justice!’

My heart heard that there is no Justice and nothing Lucky about the fact that our dogs won’t live as long as we do.

When they took Briscoe back and I had to leave she tried to leave with me and didn’t understand why I was abandoning her at such a scary place.

I’m trying to make it up to her. She doesn’t seem much worse for the wear.

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The road to hell

I had great intentions of having lots of interesting and funny things to say tonight, but then I got really distracted by this blog – Strange Maps.   I love maps.  That, coupled with the fact that my laptop is on his last leg and the keyboard only works when tilted a little forward, has sort of zapped my creative energy. 

Briscoe is asleep next to me, dreaming of something, because her legs twitch every few moments, like she is running in her sleep.  She and I went on a walk today and she has been very full of herself ever since. 

Sometimes, when I’m browsing facebook, and I notice that someone has something really uncool on their profile, like a guy who lists the notebook as one of his favorite movies or lists hootie and the blowfish as one of his favorite bands (you know, those guilty pleasure books, movies, bands that most people secretly like but pretend like they don’t) I immediately wonder – Is this person really cool and confident in themselves and really doesn’t give a damn that they still listen to the first Hanson album and loves the indigo girls? Or, is this person just dweebie enough to have no idea?  Does this make me a judgmental bitch?  Really, I know people in both categories.  Either is a distinct possibility. 

Oh, I was going to post about Serena Williams and Kanye.  But I’m too tired now and I can pretty much sum it up with three letters.  Boo.  Wait, here is a longer word – Unacceptable.  Childish, immature, and sort of scary.  I feel bad for Venus, she seems much less of a diva and much cooler of a person.  I can’t believe that Serena said that she didn’t understand why the line judge felt threatened.  Really?  Serena is what, like 6’3?  She’s a really large, imposing figure.  But you know who isn’t?  Kanye.  Taylor Swift towered over him.  Do you think that is why he took the mic away from her?  Because she’s 5’11 and had on heels and he’s 5’7? 

Honestly, I’m just always disappointed when super stars misbehave and try to intimidate those around them.  I don’t like it when you pick on the little line judge or the 17 year old county music singer when you are the most imposing female tennis player ever and one of the biggest icons in the music industry.  It seems, tacky.  But I do like the way Beyonce handled it.  She is classy.  

On a happier, lighter note, fall is here.  The mornings have become consistently cool and the fall smells are here.  The warm afternoon intensifies the tea olives and the late jasmine, gardenias and hydragas.  The damp humid, cooler mornings smell of oak bark, fallen leaves and wet grass.  I’ve been drinking a lot of starbucks.  Coffee is so much more enjoyable when it doesn’t make you sweat. 

Sweet dreams children, Briscoe has now rolled over on her back and is snoring with all four feet in the air.  I think I will join her.  It is much easier to count sheep when you have a live one laying at your feet.

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I have been dog sitting for my parents for the past week.  Bo and Bella are kind of ridiculous dogs, but I love them and they have been trying to be cooperative, but mother nature has been making this very difficult. 

I went to sleep early on Monday night, and Briscoe was upstairs with me.  Bo and Bella were downstairs in the kitchen.  All the sudden I hear a CRASH!  It sounded like the baby gate we use to keep the dogs in the kitchen had fallen down.  This happens on occassion and isn’t a big deal, since the dogs are deathy afraid of the gate and won’t climb over it.  The concerning part, was that there continued to be crashing and noise from downstairs.  Not in the kitchen.  When meant, something other than the two dogs I’d left downstairs was presently enjoying the classic decor of the living room. 

I called Travers, he said he’d be right there.  I called Matt, cause he was in the cottage, and he came over to help.  Briscoe was freaking out.  She ran into the living room and I watched in horror as she chased a squirrel up the plaster wall and onto the window scounce. 

Can you see his arm and leg?

Can you see his arm and leg?

Matt got close to the window, and the damn thing fell, bounced on his back on the table, leapt onto the piano, almost knocked over every breakable object in the house before hiding behind the china cabinet.  Smart animal.  Too heavy to move, too fragile to try. 

The dogs were so traumatized.  I had to physically carry Bella into the house and drag her into the kitchen.  She knew the squirrel was still there.  She knew.  Well, two days later, after chewing through a couple of electrical and cable cords, setting the alarm off and otherwise terrorizing the dogs, I came downstairs yesterday morning to find a dead squirrel on the rug in the living room.  Sweet.  Dead things.  Well, we all know I can’t pick up the squirrel or go near it, since the last time I tried to pick up a dead squirrel he wasn’t dead and bit me. 

The dogs had had enough of me forcing them to hang out inside with a squirrel, and flat refused to come inside yesterday morning, so I left them outside.  I put water under the house and made sure they couldn’t get out anywhere.  And I found the biggest spider I’ve ever seen.  bananaspiderI freaked out, got in touch with Josh (Josh is a professor and has his phd in forestry bugs – I saw his dissertation, the man knows his bugs), and anxiously awaited his instructions.  Josh said she won’t hurt me, that it’s what they call a banana spider, they are quite common and spin really pretty webs which they use to catch beetles (read – roaches) and mosquitoes.  He further recommended that I grab a few beetles and throw them in her nest, because she will attack them and spin them into a cocoon before she eats them and that it is “neat” to watch (his words, not mine).  Sweet.  It really made me miss him.  I told Josh I appreciated his expert opinion but that I would not be throwing any beetles anywhere.  I am really pumped that she eats mosquitoes and roaches, so I’ve decided to keep her as a pet.  I’ve named her Hermione and she has been watching the dogs for me while I’ve been at work.  She is the size of my fist and I swear I can lean on her web without it breaking.  It’s like fishing line. 

My life is so national geographic.   

Other happening of note, we had a successful last minute cook out last night, with lots of tomatoes, cheese, beer, hamburgers, chicken, and french fries.  It was a victory of effortless entertaining, low stress, high enjoyment, everyone left happy and full.   Thanks to Kate and Trav for going out of town. 

I have woken up the past few mornings to a chill in the air, which has made my coffee taste better and my over all personal happiness level improve.  My imagination immediately transports me to a morning where I am getting ready to get into a car to drive to Athens for a football game, instead of driving to the office.  Of course in that scenario I would be drinking a cold beer instead of hot coffee. 

But you know what today is don’t you?  GAME DAY!  I want everyone to be watching football tonight.  I hope that everyone has been watching the HBO series Hard Knocks, which is a reality show about the Cincinnati Bengal’s training camp.  I get really sad when anyone gets cut, it’s so depressing for the players to be woken up at 5 am and sent home.  But I really really really love Chad Ocho Cinco.  Love.  Child Please.  I could say it all day long.  Child.  Please.  child.  PLEASE.  child…please.  CHILD please. 

And I know I’m never suppose to say such a thing, but I’m going to say this once and only once.  This is for Ike and Peter and Matt and Claire and Darius (I love your music Darius).  Ahem.  Um.  Give me a second.  Deep Breathes.  DEEP.  Okay.  Here goes.  go cocks!

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