pointy headed thoughts

Dogs certainly think, but it can’t possibly be in the same way as humans. My dog is the one creature i can count on to be glad to see me – doesn’t matter whether i’ve been gone two weeks or five minutes, he is overjoyed when i appear in front of him… even if i’m smelly and covered in gnat corpses after a bike ride. 

i can look at him a long time, and he will hold my gaze.  When i’m in the bathroom in the morning, getting ready for work.  Even through the mirror…  Eye contact.  Connection.  Genuine companionship.

What is going through that pointy dog head?  Trying not to project human thought, i munched this over as i gave Mr. Pickles a treat this afternoon…

Mmmmm…. drool….  sit? whatever…. Mmmmm…. cheese bone….. damn it…. sit….. wait for it….. Mmmmmm….  cheese bone…

Aw, c’mon, woman!  Cheese bone.  Sit…  damn it.  [drool] Wait.  Sit.  Mmmmm….

Mine!  Cheese bone!  Mmmm….

Mostly?  He sleeps.  Barks when there is a noise, or if he receives a random signal from The Dog Planet.  Follows me from room to room, settling on the couch if i’m in the living room, on the cool tiled floor if i’m in the kitchen, or hopping onto the foot of my bed when it’s time to turn in. 

What’s he thinking?  i’ll never figure it out.  The only thing i need to know is that the mutt is mine.  i am his.  We are a pack of two. 

The Tale of Taylor – Imaginary Stagehand

Perhaps the only thing i miss about my involvement with the local community theater is the people.  Being more specific, probably just a couple of them… One of them is my friend, DK.  When our troupe initiated the “Edge” series of shows a few years ago, she decided that for each of these more adult-themed productions we should create an imaginary stagehand for the program.

Thus was born Taylor Montgomery.  Our mission?  Maintain complete gender confusion for each bio in every program.  Here’s the life of Taylor to date…

Bat Boy

Taylor Montgomery (Stage Crew)

This is Taylor’s first experience with our theater, but this talented member of the “Dark Side” crew is hardly a rookie when it comes to adventurous theater!  After graduating from high school, Taylor went to the Mime Academy in Las Vegas and joined the cast of “Cirque du Soleil” before being sidelined by a nearly crippling sinus cavity injury. While driving across country following rehab, Taylor’s 78 Pinto abruptly gave up the ghost on the outskirts of town.  With only 3 miles worth of free towing, Taylor decided to take up residence here, accepting a job as a body double for local television productions.  Through a lucky twist of fate, Taylor stumbled upon Bat Boy, and is delighted to have had an opportunity to support this production. Taylor wishes to thank Jordan for the undying love and support, making it all possible. 

The Full Monty

Taylor Montgomery (Stage Crew)

Taylor returns backstage to Edge Productions, after literally saving the day during Bat Boy, The Musical, with a daring diving catch of not one, but TWO dangling cast members during the opening “rappelling” scene.  Taylor brings a diverse set of skills to the crew having won accolades for creating and performing in the unique Dog/Mime Act, known as “Bobo And…”.   If it hadn’t been for an unlucky uvula injury, Taylor could have continued as San Francisco’s premiere Fisherman’s Wharf street performer.  But one sword swallower’s bad luck certainly brought good fortune to us, where we are thrilled to have Taylor on the “Dark Side”.  Taylor sends special thanks to Chris – “who is my soul mate, personal muse and quite the culinary contortionist”.

The Rocky Horror Show

Taylor Montgomery (Stage Crew)

Taylor is no novice at saving the day backstage. After a daring diving catch during the opening scene of Bat Boy, Taylor is wondering what catastrophe will be averted in a show filled with transsexuals in stilettos and lingerie. We are pleased that Taylor was able to return after spending the summer serving as an adventure guide on the Colorado River and having a brief audition for America’s Got Talent (who knew playing doctor wasn’t considered a talent?). Safely home again, Taylor thanks Casey – “my love, my passion, my inspiration” – for always being there.


Taylor Montgomery (Stage Crew)

Taylor is proud to be working on this fourth Edge Production.  Attracted to the excitement of shows at the Edge, Taylor nonetheless plans to keep the backstage area safe from any firearms-related mishaps. This time. Taylor also patiently awaits the award of a US Patent for perfecting bacon-flavored dental floss.  At the close of this season, Taylor has a brief vacation planned to Ballard, Washington with aspirations of setting a world record for slacking before returning to assist with Trailer Park this fall.  “My love to Casey  – my heart, soul and future home health care provider.”

Great American Trailer Park Musical

Taylor Montgomery (Stage Crew)

After an exhausting 18 hour drive from Florida, Taylor squealed the tires of that award-winning 1976 TransCamero into the theater parking lot, popped open a cold one and announced “Edge Productions, here I come”. After a summer strumming a honky tonk guitar and performing “The Interpretive Dance of the Dying Butterfly” on the beaches of Florida, Taylor is back stage taking care of the Edge cast and crew. Talented Taylor declines onstage opportunities after that unfortunate crane accident during Bat Boy (we promised to not mention it). Trained in culinary mechanics, Taylor was also a finalist in the “Extreme Sushi Automotive” event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (entering the Sashimi Screamer). Taylor sends love to Dakota – “With you, I see dead people”.


Taylor Montgomery (Stage Crew)

It isn’t an Edge Production unless Taylor is backstage, saving the cast and crew from self-destruction and too many num-nums in the green room.  For the past six months, Taylor has led a double life, working undercover as a bug detective at the Natural History Museum.  After solving “The Case of the Gray Damsel Bug in Distress”, Taylor was selected for Montessori Pilot Training, which starts in October.  Taylor sends deaf, dumb and blind love to Payton – “You are the keeper of my heart, owner of my soul, and beneficiary of my life insurance policy”.

Spank Tank

When i checked into the hotel Tuesday around noon, there were two professors in the lobby, having a spirited debate about the U.S. policy on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. 

These are Physics professors, mind you.  Not experts in public policy.  “Electrons and Photons” physicists.  Not even nuclear physicists, or particle physicists…

On the one hand?  Nice that they give a shit.  On the other hand?  They might have well been USING the other hand to spank the Little Professor for all the good they were doing…

There is only a slight twinge of guilt for taking yesterday afternoon to go walk the beach, watch surfers playing in sloppy waves and get sunburnt.  In theory?  i was working… thinking deep thoughts about how little it all matters.

Road Rash

It’s Tuesday night, and therefore, i’m somewhere other than my own bed, listening to the snores of the best dog on the planet…

– As the mini-human on the airplane fussed, whined and delivered random brain-piercing squeals as a result of signals from the Evil Baby Planet, it occurred to me that baby-cries are biologically orchestrated to keep us from sleeping.  Fuck evolution.  Fuck Darwin.  Fuck babies.

– There is nothing better for a broken human than a long, brisk walk in the sand, with the waves crashing at your feet.  It’s probably better, however, to hike up the ol’ yoga pants first.  The charm of crashing surf is lost when one is dragging about ten pounds of sand-laden polyester through frothy salt water.  Fuck polyester.  Fuck sand.

– Phycisists have no practical comprehension of “Time/Space”.  As in “giving a presentation within the prescribed time limits” and “staying out of my personal space”.  Fuck Physicists.  And the Bozons they rode in on…

– Making friends with the 22 year old barkeep is a good idea, as you sneak away from the geekfest to have dinner at the beachside bar.  He has a degree from a local university in Business/Marketing.  He’s going to work here for the summer, then think about starting to consider which jobs he might want to apply for… Fuck the economy.  Fuck the limitless possibilities of a 22 year-old tending bar at a beachside resort.  Fuck the 7 years, 15 days* standing between me and retirement, and my next career, which will be tending bar at a beachside resort. 

– Just as i finished explaining to the adorable barkeep that his hotel would be infested with an international nerdfest this week, a gentleman strolled up from the beach.  Wearing a shirt that said “I [heart] Nanophotonics”.  Point – daisyfae.  He poured me a complimentary double… (sigh)

* Ok.  7 years, 14 days.  i probably won’t do much on my last day…

And you wait…

You take the highway this morning, hoping that the 65 mph air will blow the tears on your face dry before you get to the office.  You can’t do anything but wait for the call.  Will it be from The Self-Destructive One, the hospital or law enforcement this time?  No way to know.  So you drive…
Another night of sleep interrupted, as you learn of the latest incident.  Nothing to do but wait.  Helplessness.  You go over everything you could have done differently.  Should you have been tougher on the first infraction?  Could you have worked a little harder at the marriage?  Or are you simply unfit as a mother?  
What do you do when one of your children has The Rage?  Where did it come from?  Will it be there forever or will it mellow?  Will he survive long enough for you to find out? 
Not long ago, you read in “Freakonomics” that peer influence is far greater than parental influence as we develop as humans.  Should you have intervened when he stopped playing softball and took up skateboarding? Was it the peer influence that launched this, or is it simply how he’s wired?  And where did all that fucking anger come from?  He was such a laid back kid…
You’ve taken away everything from him that you can take away.  Cash.  Access to your home.  Everything but love.  And you will never do that. 
So you drive.  Let the wind blow against your face and dry it, hoping your swollen eyes can stay hidden behind the sunglasses when you get to the office.  And you wait for the call…

Water Foul

Friday afternoon happy hour, celebrating the imminent departure of my good friend, the Ninjaneer, for his new job with our offices in the Florida panhandle. 

Ninjaneer:  I’ve already found a few nice places right on the ocean!

daisyfae:  Yep, with the tar-balls washing up, suspect beachfront is a steal at the moment.

Ninjaneer:  I’m not worried.  In fact, I have already volunteered to help with clean up!  I’ll be right there on the front lines, with my bottle of Dawn dish washing liquid, ready to scrub the oil from the bodies of the college girls who frolic on the beaches there.

daisyfae:  Bad news, hotstuff.  i’ve got a far better chance of getting my hands on the college co-eds than you do!

Ninjaneer:  No way!  Let’s ask a college girl! [motions to cute college aged waitress]  Sierra?  You’re a college girl, right?  If you were covered in oil from the leaky well in the Gulf, who would you rather have wash the oil from your body – me or her?

Sierra: [Immediately points at daisyfae] Sorry…

delicious image found here

They go round and round…

My first reaction was mild irritation.  Why couldn’t i have cleared the oncoming school bus before the red flashing lights came on, forcing me to stop?  Since i was returning to the office following a mid-afternoon appointment, i decided I wasn’t really in a hurry, and went back to sorting the ‘to-do’ list in my head.
An older man stood patiently at the end of the driveway, waiting for the bus to dispatch a child.  Slightly rounded of spine, he was maybe in his mid- to late-sixties.  i looked again to see if it was a “special needs” bus for disabled students – wondering just how long i’d be sitting there if the wheelchair ramp had to deploy.  Relieved as the emerging child bounded down the bus steps.  He was a gangly thing, somewhere around 10 years old.
My irritation was soon replaced  by amusement.
As soon as the boy hopped from the last step, the old man turned and sprinted toward the front door – a foot race!  The kid went full out, cutting Grandpa no slack.  But Grandpa showed game, using his height advantage and stretching to full stride.  They were neck-and-neck, as the bus pulled away from the curb, blocking my view of the finish line.  i rolled onwards. 
For the remainder of the drive, my ‘to-do’ list was nowhere to be found – replaced by a flood of memories. 
The way it felt to step off the bus on a sunny spring day and race down a driveway that seemed to be miles long.  Watching my son and his friends execute games with complex rules only they understood in little-boy war games.  Putzing around the house, seeing my daughter spend hours at her “art table”, humming tunes to herself as she made magic with glitter, glue and odd piles of colored paper.  In the backyard, my Dad patiently teaching me how to throw a football in a perfect spiral.  The endless feel of a summer afternoon, floating on a raft in Lake Erie while my son tried out his new swim gear – perfecting the art of blowing snorkel-water on his old lady.  Squeals from the family room at midnight, as my daughter and her friends giggled their way through a sleep-over party.
Memories of my childhood.  Memories of their childhood.  Swirled together – the same way i still mush up my cake and ice cream at birthday parties.
Simply from a glimpse into the daily ritual of a man and his grandson…  i was uncharacteristically cheerful all afternoon.

Fly away, baby bird!

Technically, he’s not my son.  About ten years ago, however, The Boy Genius worked for me.  Brilliant young man, with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Prestigious University.  Although he was in his early 30’s, he looked like he had just turned fourteen. 

At the time, my group was beginning the long, slow nosedive into scientific oblivion – but this kid was the “great white* hope” for technological resurrection.  When he confided in me that he saw nothing but frustration ahead within our hallowed labs, i became nervous, but certainly couldn’t argue with the logic of The Boy Genius.  He was annoyingly never wrong.

He was also pure as the driven snow, despite a penchant for twisted and dark humor.  He was a “good” boy.  In fact, part of my retention strategy was to try to find him a local honey to keep him in town**.  He didn’t care for fast cars and loose women, and went to church every Sunday.  Needless to say, none of my theater friends were going to meet his tough standards…

Despite – or perhaps because of – my feeble attempts at retention, he left our team and went to work for my close friend, Titan of Industry, ToI.  When ToI called me for the official “checking his references” call, i ended the conversation with “Oh, and by the way – if you don’t take care of him?  i keel you…”. 

To say i had maternal feelings toward the kid was perhaps an understatement.

So The Boy Genius left home for greener pastures.  It was comforting for me to know that he would be coached by a brilliant corporate master, ToI.  It was also comforting to know that i’d be running into him at technical meetings and conferences – a chance to keep tabs on him.

“Tabs”… Well something like that. Turns out, ToI and i are Co-Chairmen of the Board of “Dawg Boyz, Inc.”, the rowdy band of “drinkin’ and whorin'” reprobates that create mayhem and foment debauchery at nearly every conference we attend.  Invariably, there was an opportunity for the two of us to take The Boy Genius out to an adult entertainment establishment, about a year after his departure from my group… 

ToI and i passed ourselves off as his parents in Cheetah’s (Atlanta, GA).  We managed to convince several of the dancers that the fresh-faced lad was our son, and that Mom and Dad were taking him out to his first strip club to celebrate his 21st birthday.  Oh, yeah.  He got done that night.  He got done and then some.

i let loose a slight sniffle, and a bittersweet shake of my head, when the photo below came across my desktop in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  The Boy Genius is getting married next month.  Saturday night, my friend ToI led the charge of the Bachelor Party.  That’s my baby, surrounded by five topless performers… climbing the fucking stripper pole.

They grow up so fast…

* and when i say “white”, i mean that in the “bleached like a fishbelly in the sun” sense of the word…

** Although i never made it official, i betrothed my daughter to him.  This sort of creeped him out, given that she was about 16 years old at the time… She wasn’t particularly enthused about the idea either.

Mother’s Day – Part Deux

Preparing to head off to The Park to take Ma out for a belated Mother’s Day dinner… Couldn’t take her out last weekend, since i spent both days in a motorcycle rider’s course – getting myself legally certified to ride a two-wheeled death machine. 

Nice way to spend Mother’s Day, i think…

Speaking with my children after passing the course, we somehow got to the subject of death and The Boy (again) enquired about my post-death plans.

The Boy:  Are you planning to be buried when you die?

daisyfae:  My preference is to be cremated.  Hate to take up space.  But if the two of you decide you want a “place” where you can go to remember me, it’s up to you.  i certainly won’t give a shit at that point…

The Boy:  I just think it would be cool to go to your grave on Mother’s Day, pour out half of a forty, and say “Missin’ you, Moms”.

daisyfae:  Why does it have to be my grave?  Wouldn’t it be just as much fun to do it every year to a dead stranger?

It has a name

i’ve always been a ‘dog person’, but finally succumbed to the allure of an adorable cat with an irresistible name.  Last fall, the orange cat, Huey Newtonarrived, and has been a pleasant addition to the household – although we are still waiting for the “cat-dog hijinks”. 
When cohabitating with critters, as hard as you try, there will always be some degree of “pet smell” – sort of like having a houseful of sk8rboyz.   Both types of funk can be managed to some degree with regular vacuuming and the magic of Febreze.
Last Friday night, as i began to drift off to sleep, i picked up the faint whiff of ammonia – and immediately blamed the cat.  The next morning, the olfactory forensics began in earnest – sniffing under the bed, in the corners.  Couldn’t exactly geo-locate the offending smell, and oddly enough, it seemed to be popping up randomly throughout my house.  In the kitchen, by my chair in the living room, back under the bed…
Enlisting the help of family and friends, i went full out by Sunday.  Forcing them to sniff this corner, or that pillow.  There was no doubt in my mind that something was amiss – but i was the only one who could smell it.   Packing up for a three-day road trip Sunday night, i vowed to shampoo all carpets and fumigate the place when i returned from the road.
It wasn’t until i was settling into my seat on the plane Monday morning that i realized the smell o’ catpiss had managed to follow me on board.  Sniffing my sweater?  i had just laundered it.  Didn’t keep me from sleeping, but when i continued to smell it in the rental car, i was forced to ask my travel buddy if he could smell it, too.
Nope.  Just me…
Finally got a break from the meeting late that afternoon, and hit the interwebz to see if i was completely losing my marbles.  Turns out?  It has a name:  Phantosmia.  After a brief tour down “i’ve got a brain tumor” alley, i decided that it was probably due to a recent battle with allergies, or possibly a migraine aura*.
The flashes of olfactory hallucinations became less frequent, and are now almost completely gone.  The brain is an amazing thing, isn’t it?  Damn good thing i didn’t shoot the cat…

* i used to get migraines, but some bashing with hard drugs cleared it up and re-wired my neurons.  The day i was really over-whelmed with the ammonia smell, i felt as though a migraine was lurking behind my eye.  Turned out the lights, drank some bourbon, went to bed early, and apparently staved it off…