Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I like hanging out with people who are smarter and more talented than I am. They are always way more interesting. They read interesting things. They've traveled to interesting places. They have interesting hobbies. I often find that I leave social experiences with smart people with a list of things to read, places to visit or things to try entered into my iPhone.

I consider myself lucky. I'm by far the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to IQ scores amongst the people I hang out with. I'm just glad they find me interesting enough to keep around so I can benefit from their brains. I've always hoped that by being around a subject genius, some of it will rub off on me. Learning by osmosis can't be a bad thing, right?

So you can imagine the excitement I had when I received an invitation from Jen and Denise to come up to Newnan for an all girls weekend. Jen is the greyhound Yoda in my book and Denise is a full blown horse whisperer. So needless to say when it comes to being around a couple of experts on two of my favorite subjects, I really couldn't have been in better company. We were never strained for conversation - between greyhounds, horses and whether Robert Redford was hot or not, you can really cover plenty of hours of chatter between three women. We always had something to laugh at or discuss. And there was plenty to celebrate!

In attendance for the weekend were six bitches: Seka and Roxy; Katie and Reagan; Peanut and Limo (the greyhound wannabe). Despite the crummy weather (thanks, tropical storm Fay), the dogs all frolicked in the pasture at Summerwind Farm, enjoying the opportunity to get extra wet and dirty.





Even Lester, the stud, even shared in the dreary play, kicking up his heels and showing us what he was made of.

This was a weekend of celebration and the weather wasn't going to put a damper on our spirits, even if it did sideline our pool plans. Peanut's adoption papers were officially signed by Denise and Matt on Sunday. This was a long road for both Peanut and Denise, but this tough girl seems to be a perfect fit for as much time as Denise spends at the farm. Celebrations require cake in my book, so I decided to make peanut butter carrot cake cupcakes to mark this important occasion. I guess you can see that Martha Stewart isn't one of my closest friends, as her genius hasn't rubbed off on me as of yet, but I'm always willing to give it the old college try. And besides, the dogs don't usually complain about my cooking.

Even with the distractions of consuming junk food and watching cheesy horse movies, my girls and I took away the following tidbits of knowledge from the weekend:
  • My girls really don't know their names. Just because they look at me when I say it in the house, it doesn't mean they know what to do when I use it. We must work on our recalls so they can enjoy off lead time like Katie and Reagan at the next 9 bitch weekend.
  • Roxy isn't really a pack dog. All the other dogs stayed together as they explored the 12 fenced in acres. Roxy had her own plan as to what was fun. I guess if the hyena came, she would be lunch. We need to work on her confidence.
  • I want to work my dogs more. My girls are smart, they just don't have the opportunity to use their brains as much as I would like for them to.
  • I'm going to let Clyde (that's my horse) play at liberty more. Lester looked so happy running and bucking and playing in the rain. This is totally on the docket for this week. Although, Clyde is a really low-key horse, so if he bucked at all, I'd be totally shocked.
  • Despite my best attempts, I'm horribly inconsistent with what I let my girls get away with at home and this also filters into their manners in other people's homes. So to prevent Seka's nose from exploring party goers' awesome fruity drinks when they aren't looking, we've got to make sure she doesn't do this at home.
  • Roxy has some relaxing to do. But I love her spunk even more.
  • Seka really is the fun police. But loves to have fun on her own terms and if we ever lose that green ball, she might go into DTs.
I spend a lot of time with my pups every day - all day long, most days. But it took a weekend with two super smart chicks and their super smart pups to bring a lot of this to the surface. So beyond all the laughs, fun, extra calories and Elizabeth Taylor's horrible jumping skills in National Velvet, I learned so much from these awesome ladies in just a short amount of time and I can't wait to do it again soon. Osmosis, it's a good thing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Graveyard Shift

My paternal grandparents owned a huge farm (100 or so acres) in the mountains of North Carolina. My father and his five brothers and sisters all had a hand in helping to tend the crops grown and animals raised. While visiting during the summer I always loved being a part of farm life and hearing my dad's stories about growing up there. But I was always most excited to sneak off and visit a quiet place set back on the edge of my Paw Paw Pipe's land - our family graveyard.

Plots of hand-dug graves dating back to the turn of the century, all marked with modest, hand-carved headstones, worn smooth from years of ice, wind and rain, sit in silent little rows at the rise of the valley. The cemetery is maybe a half acre of land, fenced in so the cattle won't trample it flat. From it's lowest point you are surrounded by a humbling view of the Blue Ridge mountains. It's where my great grandparents, grandparents, two aunts who died as children (which always fascinated me growing up) and my father are buried.

My cousins (most of whom are pictured to the right) and I went up there a lot just to play or hang out. One time when I was six or seven we went up to the graveyard, stayed too long and it got dark. We weren't scared, but our lengthy absence absolutely scared our parents, who must have thought a bear had eaten all of us. My father, my uncle Jack and some other "men folk" came looking the Williams gaggle of kids on the back side of the property and eventually found us playing in the graveyard. Everyone got to ride back to the house in the pickup truck - except me. My father decided to walk me back home, in the dark, with a switch (all you southern kids know what that is) in one hand and a flashlight for himself in the other, all the while enduring my cries as I crawled under and over the barbed wire fences that were way more fun to manipulate just three hours prior. To this day, I'm not really sure which one of us got the worst punishment that night.

While driving home at 2 a.m., with a load of cement in the back of a borrowed Land Rover somehow reminded me of the cemetery. Maybe it was all the expressionless statues staring back at me in the review mirror? Maybe it was the late hour? In any case, Amy and I enjoyed an evening of fellowship and fundraising planning at Patti's house a couple of weeks ago while picking up several greyhound statues for those SEGA members who live in South Georgia.

These statues are a part of a fundraiser we do annually. They are a huge hit among our members, but can be a huge back ache to get delivered since Fed Ex does not ship giant blocks of cement. Part of the purchase price goes toward the rental of a U-Haul and gas to drive to the cement yard. This year our haul weighed more than 4,000 lbs! Despite some sore volunteer backs and some creative packing of vehicles as people picked up their new concrete tributes to their fur babies, SEGA made awesome money.

So, I purchased one statue for our home. I'm not sure what I will do with it yet. Maybe it will sit next to our pool? Maybe it will guard our front door? Or maybe I will leave a special request that one just like it be created for my place in our family graveyard in North Carolina. Certainly I can't be without a greyhound by my side for all eternity.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Meme Virgin

I read a lot of blogs. My Bloglines account is bursting at the seams with the number of subscriptions I have to various and sundry blogs - none of which include important or serious topics such as politics or business. From greyhounds to knitting and quilting, my blog addition provides two essentials for me: a sense of community and inspiration.

One interesting phenomenon that happens on every blog that I read, no matter the topic, is the meme. I had no idea what a meme was at first and until 10 minutes ago, with a little help from my friends at Wikipedia, I had no idea where the word came from. Here's what they say:

"A meme (pronounced /miːm/) is any learned feeling, thought or behavior. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and (controversially) moods. Memes propagate themselves and can move through the cultural sociosphere in a manner similar to the contagious behavior of a virus."

I've never been tagged for a meme. Most memes are about the author, not about their subjects and most of us greyhound bloggers, prefer to write about our dogs - not ourselves. But Denise tagged me for my first meme entitled, Six Unknown Things About You and unknowingly took my meme virginity.

Six Unknown Things About Me
  1. I've Been to 49 of the 50 States: when I was 5 years old, my family drove from Georgia to Oregon, and back, on a six-week adventure where I got to see most of this country. Other family trips during my childhood allowed me to see most of the rest. Thanks to my husband and a couple of girl friends in New England I was able to check the rest off in the last few years. Kev and I are planning a cruise to Alaska in the next two years to make my list complete.
  2. I Skinny Dip Regularly: well, it's in my own pool, but I find myself wanting to take a dip and really don't feel like going inside to find a suit. So, I just grab a towel, strip down and jump in. There's no doubt in my mind that my 60 year old, grumpy neighbor has caught an eye full, but if he has, he hasn't changed the way he treats me. So much for my womanly ways.
  3. I Know More about Sports than Most Men: according to Kev, I scare most men with my knowledge of sports (football, basketball, and baseball). But I'm not one to play dumb in a social situation, so when I'm in a business meeting with a bunch of know-it-all men, I have to temper what I say - mention just enough to let the guys at the table know that I can easily keep up with them, but not so much that I make them feel dumb - which they all are. Oh, but let's be clear - I have no coordination, and I have never played a sport in my entire life. I guess you'd classify me as an athletic supporter.
  4. I Love Reality TV: the trashier the better. Big Brother. America's Next Top Model. Survivor. Intervention. Locked Up Abroad. Deadliest Catch. Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? You name it, I watch it and I LOVE IT.
  5. I Wanted to Be Crystal Gayle when I was Young: and really, who didn't? I grew my hair as long as I could until I was in the 6th grade. I really loved this picture of her that was on the inside of my favorite Crystal Gayle tape, of which I wore out singing, Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue at the top of my lungs much to the dismay of my parents and sister.
So now for the viral part of the meme: tagging other bloggers to keep it alive. So I choose to tag Patti, Zan, Amy, and Christie (who was Roxy's foster mom). Share your secrets with the world! Don't let the meme die!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In All Our Glory

Almost a year ago, Seka and I were asked to be a part of a progressive greyhound project that I simply couldn't say no to. In fact, I didn't even think twice. I didn't ask permission from my husband, my mother or my employer. I didn't consult the world asking everyone's opinions about what they thought about me taking my clothes off for what I considered a good cause. It may be the first time ever that I made a radical decision like this without worrying about what everyone else had to say or what they might think. Pretty much everyone who knows me and knows that I did this, is shocked at first. Then most of them tell me how they wish they had the guts to do something like this.

So this weekend, 1000 people across the world (we sold plenty in Australia - thanks to Katy - and in the UK) are turning their calendars to the month of August, and seeing Seka and myself in all our glory. I'm so proud of what we Greymates accomplished and the money we raised (close to $20K) for SEGA. It is a picture that I will cherish forever of me and my heart dog. It is an experience I will always remember. But more importantly, it was a decision that was really life changing for me in many ways.

PS: Maddie was adopted yesterday by a really great family in Woodstock, GA. She now has a Chocolate Lab sister named Truffles.