This just in…

During a routine holiday photography session, we were fortunate enough to capture the precise moment when Mr. Pickles actually received a signal from the Dog Planet… Seen here wearing his fruitalicious manly green velvet Christmas collar and antlers, we believe he was being told “REGROW A PAIR! Don’t put up with this shit!”

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So. Not. In. The. Mood.

It’s the 10th of December.  i have some circular greenery stuck on my front door.  With a mangled, red ribbon – smooshed from overuse and bad storage habits.  Neighbors have tastefully decorated their lamp posts and entryways with wooden santas, pine shrapnel and understated light displays*.

i don’t shop.  i buy goofy shit for my kids, generally do something for my Mom**.  The random silly gift for friends, and perhaps a gift basket*** or two for the admin ladies at the office.  All of which can be taken care of via internet…which i did in about 20 minutes from work today on my lunch break.  it’s not hard.  Thoughtless impulse purchases take only minutes….

Tomorrow is the fucking office christmas party.  For the past few years, some of my geek-musician friends and i pull together some tunes, bring in a sound system and perform a few songs.  After the keg is half gone, we swap that out for karaoke to assure ample opportunity for public humiliation amongst our colleagues. 

Here i sit.  Just not feeling it.  Baked up some cinnamon-cranberry scones to bring to the office event.  Put up the christmas tree.  My house smells wonderful.  There’s a naked pine tree in my empty living room.  A content, but generally confused, dog at my feet.  My shopping – such as it is – is done.  No worries, no stress, no pressure…

Maybe i need to do something with the playlist i put on when i got home tonight?  Natalie Merchant and Rufus Wainwright do not make for cheeriness and holiday warmth.  And i should probably drop Joni Mitchell’s River from my setlist for tomorrow.  it’s the only christmas song i do… tends to make people wanna cut themselves, though… not good for a party.

So i’m switching over to some Bob Marley and UB40.  Then throwing a little Jon Stewart on the tv-tube and hitting the exercise equipment.  i think i’m just missing my kids… The Boy turns 20 in a few days, and is at school, taking his last final exam of the semester.  He’ll be around this weekend.  The Girl (aka “Danger Monkey”)?  Returns from her semester in Beirut on Monday…

it ain’t the stuff.  it’s the people.   it’s always about the people…

"And then the guy says, he says... 'MAAAAAAAARGRET! That wasn't a bratwurst!'"

* unlike my former neighbors, who were of the mind that unless your display pulled megawatts, and caused rolling blackouts, it wasn’t bright enough!

** Last years gift was such a big hit, i think i’m gonna give her a bathrobe this year….

*** Generally, gift cards, “smellies”, wine or booze and chocolates.  If the admin gal is suitably wired?  There have been potions, lotions and things that go “bzzzzz….”…  Ho, ho, ho!

The importance of goals

Set a goal.  Reach it.  Feel that powerful sense of pride that comes with earned accomplishment.

You know, that’s where modern “self-esteem” doctrine led our children astray.  They were told “feel good about yourself – just because you’re you!”  No effort required.  You’re special – just like everyone else.  So when they ran into a rough spot, there would be tears, frustration and cries of outrage.

Bullshit.  You’re not special just for showing up.  You have to do something.  Work toward something challenging – something that Joe and Jane Average would not, or could not, achieve.

With deliberation and planning suitable for an Everest attempt, a small group has embarked upon such a quest.  We have committed to a task that is daunting, yet if we are successful, the reward will be immeasurable… and we will have EARNED a degree of specialness that may even lead to some local notoriety.

Our local watering hole issued a challenge in early November.  If you are brave enough, rugged enough and have the hepatic fortitude to drink your way through their menu of 55 beer varieties, earning stamps in your Pub Passport for each success, then you will have earned the right to $4 pints at any of their establishments FOR LIFE.  Do you hear that, people?  It is FOR LIFE!  What could be more noble, than pursuing something FOR LIFE!  Life is good… 

Oh, but wait!  Just like the secrets of the Ginsu Knives, there’s more!  If you can visit eight of their locations – the most remote being in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, – securing stamps from those establishments, you can earn NOT ONLY $3.50 pints FOR LIFE, but a nifty pub logo jacket.

Seeing as the pack of drunken fools team members were all band and theater dorks back in our teen years, we’ve never been cool.  Always on the outside looking in.  But now?  Those jackets are our tickets to Coolsville!  Right up there with the Pink Ladies and Iron Horsemen….

Sort of like “Bingo for Alcoholics”, we have imbibed our way through about 1/5 of the beers.  We even shipped one Commando up north, into the forbidden Northern No-Buy Zone, where she bravely carried our Pub Passports, and forced family members to impersonate us*… Battling sickness, small children and holiday travel to bring us closer to our goal.   A few road trips this winter, followed by a celebratory trip to the Ft. Lauderdale area** in the Spring! 

Surf’s up!  Duuuudes!  Dream big. 

Oh. Yes. We. Can.

Ft. Lauderdale, here we come!

Ft. Lauderdale, here we come!***

* Our local servers assured us that despite the “Photo ID” on the passports, the franchise really didn’t give a rip who carried in the documentation.  Our Fearless Teammate went in, and faced some difficult interrogation by none other than THE MANAGER of the northern facility.  But she’s a champ…

** My sister lives in the area.  We’re going to descend upon her like a pack of drunken sailors for a weekend to celebrate our glorious achievement.  We’ll clean up afterward…

*** i’m not Annette.  i’m the bad girl.  whoever she was….


Today was that magical wondrous day where i had my annual performance review.  i have a good boss – provides tough, well-crafted challenges, honest feedback, and doesn’t wait until “annual review” time to provide guidance.  Here’s the Condensed Version:

boss:  Your year was excellent.

daisyfae: LOL – seriously, i sucked.  out loud.  and frequently from home.

boss:  You did a great job.  We love you.

daisyfae:  FFS – i phoned it in.  i wasn’t even trying.  i’ve lost the fire…

boss:  You rock.  Here’s a little more money.

daisyfae: [shaking head guiltily]  ok.

Granted, there was more to it than that – some key areas for improvement*.  And i’ve maxed out – unless i change jobs, or take on some ridiculous or herculean amazonian task, i’m flat-lined.  Which is a good thing.  The goal in my world is to hit “Max Pay” as young as you can.  i’m good. 

There’s a bit of guilt, though… A few weeks ago, as i was stumbling into the office about 45 minutes after my official “start” time, i saw a woman in the parking lot who is a well-documented slacker**.  i remember thinking to myself “Damn.  Hope i’m never that big of a parasite.”  Invariably, as i was leaving early that afternoon to run errands?  There she was headed to her car…

i’m just having a “blue period”.  My motivation will return.  i’ll get my geek-a-rific groove back on.  But in the mean time?  Here’s a current favorite tune*** from The Slackers.

Drool on the keyboard has killed my laptop.  Again...

Drool on the keyboard has killed my laptop. Again...

* “Stop tormenting the intellectually challenged and the emotionally unstable”  wasn’t first on the list, but it definitely came up during the discussions.

** i work from home.  she doesn’t.  i’m “on call” 24/7/365 – and will respond to urgent calls from wherever i am, and whatever i’m doing (except *that*).  doubt she does – um, responds, or does *that*.  oh, and i am a helluva lot funnier and dress better.  Fur-lined rubber mukluks with a skirt/suit is NOT a good look for the office.

*** video sucks.  tough to find this one…

Seven Random Things

Recovering from a rather gnarly hangover entertaining weekend… and am still doing the “post-game analysis” on everything that happened…  Was tagged by the delightful heartbreaktown with a “Seven Random Things” meme.  Although i generally don’t do them, i’m so excited for her as she joyfully counts down the three remaining days until her fortieth birthday, i’m in!  Be sure to pop over there and wish her a happy birthday!

Consider it ‘self-tagging’ – play along if ya wanna…

1.  i have “monkey toes”.  Very long, strong toes – capable of picking up objects from the floor.  Can even retrieve a quarter from medium pile carpet.  Have won money from people who are stupid enough to bet against me…

2.  Given the choice between an exceptional creme brulee, tiramisu or a decadent gourmet dessert and a package of ShockTarts?  i’ll take the ShockTarts every time.  Arrested taste bud development has left me with a powerful addiction to kiddie candy.

Sour enough to pucker your head

Sour enough to pucker your head

3.  As an 11 year old girl, my family took a vacation to the Huntsville, AL “Space Center”, and we were able to tour the Space Shuttle (a full-scale mock up in the facility).  i complained vehemently to our guide that the Space Shuttle only had urinals for men.  It had never occurred to me that women couldn’t be astronauts, even though (in 1973) it had never happened.  One of the primary reasons i pursued engineering as a career field was the Apollo Space program… Mom and Dad woke us up on July 20th, 1969, to watch Neil Armstrong allegedly walk on the moon.  i was 7 years old.  It changed my life.

4.  i sleep with the TV on.  This goes back to 7th grade, when my brother gave me a teeny-tiny black and white set he’d built from scrap parts…

5.  As a junior in high school (in 1979), i was recruited by West Point (US Military Academy).  Women were just being allowed into the military service academies – hard to believe it was only 30 years ago – and they were desperate to find women who could hack the academics and physical rigor.  When the recruiter came to my school to meet me, he took one look at me (large and lumpy – a complete hippie-chick) and kept the “recruitment visit” to about 5 minutes.  Probably wouldn’t have worked out well, anyway… i was a bit of a socialist then.

All hands on deck, baybeee!

All hands on deck!

6.  Childhood nickname:  Pippi.  Mom still tosses it out there sometimes…

7.  i am more comfortable in front of an audience than i should be….  Whether it’s on stage with guitar, performing with the local thespian troupe, or giving presentations to geek audiences as part of my job, i find it calming and comfortable.  Get this sort of zen-like trance thing going on before making my “entrance”.  For most normal humans, i believe this is considered a nightmare.  Guess i’m an exhibitionist….

Canine Retentive

i spend a lot of time looking at my dog’s ass.

Now that i’m living in Oldsville a condo, Mr. P must be walked at least twice a day, with a few mercy pit-stops off the porch.   We both adapted fairly quickly to the new routine.  At first he walked along a bit skittishly, sniffing and zig-zagging all over the place as he acclimated to the new smells.  Within a few weeks, he was striding along confidently – lord of his domain, with spring in his step and his tail held high.

Which is why i spend a lot of time looking at his ass.

And for the life of me, i am mystified by one particular aspect of his behavior.  How does he choose that special location upon which to drop his dog logs?  This is not a casual process.  He will sniff each individual blade of grass, retracing his steps to see if he missed something the first time, eventually either moving on to a different patch of grass, or finally pulling in the back legs into that classic scrunch that says “This is the chosen place”.

Further mystifying me?  He executes the challenging “Walking Poo” maneuver.  Rather than stand still in the international “dog crapping” stance (inverted triangle position), he steps forward as he unloads.  Sometimes covering 10 feet in a single dump, he walks in a counter-clockwise arc as he lays dog cable.*  His unique signature may someday come to my rescue, however.

Some of the local dog owners are not doing a very good job as Poopie Police.  Yes, they rudely leave the droppings where they lie – which is in violation of the homeowners association rules.  And the non-dog owners are cranky.  Violators are on notice that if caught, they’ll be fined.

Since Mr. P is the largest dog in the development, we are quite recognizable**.  Wanting to be a good neighbor, i’m diligent about picking up Mr. Pickles solid waste – and it’s not the highlight of my day to put the ol’ blue baggie on my hand and squish up warm dog turds that are large enough to be visible from LANDSAT.  But i do it.

On these walks, as i’m staring at my dogs ass and wondering what goes through his head*** when choosing the perfect dumping ground, i have contemplated being brought to the Homeowners Association “court” for Dog Poo Violations.  In my fantasy?  i am representing myself at the trial****, explaining that Exhibit A could NOT POSSIBLY have been unloaded by Mr. Pickles.  Exhibit B is a video of my dog taking a crap – and walking in a perfect nautilus arc as he paints the grassy canvas brown… 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, i rest my case!  “If the poo doesn’t fit, you must acquit”


* Could you do this?  Walk while you’re “dropping off the kids at the pool?”  Pretty impressive, if you think about it…

** Since it got cold, i wear a bright purple ski parka, an icelandic wool cap covered in Puffins- with ear flaps, and black and white polka dot boots.  It’s always about fashion over function with me…

*** “Not here, nope, nope, nope, not this one, nope, nope, nope, maybe this? nope, nope nope….”

**** Wearing a stunning suit.  With boots.  Yes, tall, scary boots….

How to reacquire patience*…

… when dealing with stupid people.

Watch this**.  Repeat as necessary.  It’s 4 minutes and 25 seconds. 

Especially that part about “Everyone you know someday will die”…  It can help reset your registers when staring down the barrel of an assload of stupid, selfish and inexplicable behavior.

But also for those of you grieving.  For those missing someone who’s not around.  For those of you who have batted around the idea of tracking down an old friend***.  For those losing patience with an elderly relative…

We’re all circling the drain.  No point being cranky…


* thanks, kono for the reminder…  and a special thanks to dolce and The Brave Little Toaster for providing the gentle bitch-slaps to get me over my holiday annoyance.   The Flaming Lips  “Do You Realize” has been one of my favorite redemptive, feel-good songs for the past year or so… discovered it on one of The Girl’s playlists on an old cassette tape, and it’s saved the day on more than one occasion.

** Not a great video, necessarily, but a beautiful song.  Mildly annoying that Wayne Coyne doesn’t seem to be actually playing anything other than a “C” chord in the video… but ummm…. that’s like a small thing.  “Mouse nuts” scale in the grand scheme.  i shouldn’t let it bother me, right?  i mean, he’s gonna die.  So am i… what difference does it make if the video annoys me? 

*** No.  “Drunk dialing” an ex doesn’t count.  That’s NEVER ok.