Postcards from the edge…

The Boy completes basic training soon. i’ve had several calls, and even a couple of letters, and he’s doing very well – most importantly, he loves the challenge of the training, and is comfortable with his decision to enter the military.

During his training, i was diligently writing a couple of letters each week.  He said mail call was usually a pretty relaxed part of the day, and the Drill Sergeants were starting to have more fun messing with the recruits.  Postcards were read aloud, with much drama and commentary.

With a week of farting around on an island, Studley and i had a perfect opportunity to entertain the troops.  Selecting two classic postcards from the resort gift shop, we set about crafting some silliness.

Card #1:

Dear Boy,

Having a good time, but the trip had a very rough start!  Studley went off with a flight attendant!  i was heart-broken, but the boat captain, Carlos, has been so comforting!  He’s about your age, but real mature!  He might end up being your next Daddy!  Hope to bring him to your graduation in March!



Surf's up!Card #2:

Dear Boy,

Was having a good time but then your Mom left me.  I went to ask this flight attendant her recommendation on where to eat, and next thing you know, your mom is leaving with a local kid, AND MY WALLET!  I’m waiting on a money order so I can get home.  Hope all is well with you.


ready to retireWhen he called yesterday to sort logistics for his graduation, i asked if he’d gotten the post cards.

The Boy:  Oh, yeah!  That was pretty funny!

daisyfae:  Did the Drill Sergeant read them out loud?

The Boy:  He read the one from Studley to himself first.  Read it a couple of times, and then handed it to me.  Said “Seems PFC Fae has some messed up family issues at home!”  He must have figured it was a joke when he saw the one from you – and he read that one out loud!  It was pretty funny!

daisyfae: Mission accomplished!

Message in a Bottle

On Sunday, Studley and i drove The Boy to Capital City, where he was to spend the night prior to shipping out for Army training on Monday. He had to be checked in by 3:00pm, but didn’t need to be back until much later, so we took him out for dinner.  Resourceful as ever, i found an upscale establishment featuring acres of football on flat screen TVs, and scantily-clad lovelies delivering beer.

The Boy demonstrated great restraint – ordering a grilled chicken salad and coke, while Studley and i worked our way through the autumn beer menu, bashed a variety of deep fried appetizers and shared a hamburger the size of a watermelon. At Basic Training, The Boy will certainly have to demonstrate discipline in the face of temptation. We figured it would be good for his training. It was the least we could do.

We discussed the timing of Christmas break, and speculated as to whether i’d be able to send him a small gift box. With only a few weeks into his training, i wasn’t even sure i’d have a mailing address for him by then.

Studley: Used to be that all recruits were forced to write a ‘safe and sound’ letter upon arrival. [in his best Drill Instructor voice] “YOU MAGGOTS GET OUT A PEN! YOU WILL TELL YOUR FAMILY YOU HAVE ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND. MAKE IT SHORT AND SWEET! THIS IS NOT SUMMER CAMP! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” That was right before you disappeared off the face of the earth…

The Boy: They might still do something like that. Another way to let us know they own our asses…

daisyfae: But you also might have a chance to write sometime when it’s not forced! i want to know whether your communications are voluntary or directed! We should figure out a code word to add… something that lets me know if you were forced to write it!

The Boy: A word I would never use. “Refreshing?” “Delightful?” Yeah, they’re words I wouldn’t use, but if the DI reads the letter, I’m liable to get beat up…

We went back to inhaling food and drinking beer, while The Boy picked at his salad. It still seemed important to develop a code. It finally hit me…

From the time he could write his name, The Boy made it a point to sign every birthday or Mother’s Day card with both his first and last names, as if i need to know which Boy Fae is offering his kind regards on my days of recognition.

daisyfae: i’ve got it! If you are forced to write a letter, just sign your first name – “Boy”! It will look completely normal to anyone screening the letter, and i’ll immediately know that you were directed to write! If you have some downtime, and they give you the opportunity to scratch out a few lines, sign as you normally would, “Boy Fae”. It’s perfect!


My daily alarm startled me at 0600 Tuesday. i grabbed my phone from the bedside table to silence the beast, and was surprised to find a text from The Boy, time stamped just past midnight.

“It’s me letting you know that I arrived safe and sound – Boy”

text message in a bottle

image found here

Ace Hole

“Pull back! Harder! More! MORE! That’s it! Tighten your stomach. Keep your eye on him! LEFT! Keep pulling back, but push the stick to your left knee!”

Upside down, banking left in the middle of a vertical loop – a barrel roll attack or an Immelmann. i had no fucking clue. Head back, looking up through the canopy as my eyes watered, i was trying like hell to keep track of the other plane – which was doing the same sort of maneuver. Pulling over 4 g’s.

It wasn’t the fear of death that was chewing on me. It was the fear of failure. The instructor pilots fly these “missions” three times a day, or more. Thousands of hours experience. They’re not going to let an ego-driven derp, with more money than common sense, do something stupid and wreck one of their sexy Marchetti SF-260’s.

When i realized we were going to be ‘scored’ on our dogfighting skills? That’s when i got a bit puckered. Why? Because i don’t know how to fly a damn plane!

“He got you! But you hung in there! Level out a bit, catch your breath. OK. I’ve got the plane.” i looked back and caught a glimpse of theatrical smoke coming out of the tail of my plane.

Not exactly what i was expecting when i drunkenly raised a paddle at a charity auction last February. What was i expecting? Not upside down, three-dimensional combat, with my hand on the damn stick! Not a fur ball over Lake Erie!

The day started with our “Mission Briefing”. i met my “opponent”, Dennis, as he arrived with his father-in-law. JR, our instructor pilot, asked us both what brought us to the briefing room on that particular day.

Dennis: My wife bought me this as a gift!

daisyfae: Jack Daniels.

JR: Yeah. We get a lot of referrals from Mr. Daniels…

JR briefed us on basics of safety, including how to use a parachute. Fundamental Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM), specifically basic fighter maneuvers. We were instructed how to maintain 500’ clearance, and how to hold our opponent in the gun sight before firing. The flight plan included formation flying on the way to the operation zone and tactics – trading altitude for airspeed, avoiding overshoot. After two practice dogfights, we would be engaging in four freestyle fur balls.


JR used two toy planes on sticks to show us how to execute the maneuvers. They were cute. At first, i tried really hard to track and internalize what he was saying about “angle of attack”, and the proper method to perform a Low Yo-Yo. After about 10 minutes, i started to think about whether the sanitary undergarment i had put on under my flight suit would be sufficient to contain what i’d eaten for breakfast that morning…

what was i thinking

When i bought the Air Combat package, Studley (the world’s most amazing wingman) briefly considered buying one as well, so we could play together. After further thought, he realized i might need a driver… and that as a licensed pilot, he had a lot more to lose by a shitty performance… He also figured it would be fun to watch.

Off we go

It was out to the planes.  i’d already put on my true safety gear before getting into my flight suit.  For what it’s worth, these things are quite comfortable!  Good to know, i guess…

D Ring

Additional safety gear included a parachute and life vest.  “That’s your ‘D-ring’.  No!  Don’t pull it right now!  Only if I say ‘Bail, bail, bail!'”

  grease 'er up

With a little bit of WD-40 and a crowbar, my instructor pilot, Smudge, corked my lardass into the itty bitty cockpit.  Left seat. Yeah. Totally didn’t expect that either…

It was a stunningly gorgeous day – and we launched in formation out to the ‘battle zone’, 16 miles north of Cleveland over Lake Erie. Once we cleared the pattern for takeoff, Smudge informed me that it was my turn to fly the plane.

“Just follow Dennis. Stay to the right and down.”

Simple enough, in theory. i couldn’t do it. Tiny movements of the stick led to gigantic movements of the plane. i had expected the stick to sort of be ‘neutral’. Nope. For all 16 miles i was bouncing around, trying to stay stable. It occurred to me that if i couldn’t manage this simple task, doing anything more complicated was going to be impossible.

We did some basic tracking and targeting. Then the High/Low Yo-Yo maneuvers. These were fun. Diving speeds you up, so you work the angles in all three dimensions. Swoop back up, and drop right down on his tail.

Maybe i could do this?

We rolled into the dogfights. i lost the first one – totally surprised at the intensity of that whole ‘upside down’ thing. For the second round, i decided to put my mind on hold and listen to Smudge, who was telling me exactly what to do. “Pull back”, “Hard left”, “Nose down”, “Track”, “SHOOT!”

i got him. Smoke from the ass end of his plane. “Shack!”


Two more rounds. i won the next fight. Dennis wore me down after an extended battle for the fourth. By the time he finally hit me? i was relieved. Having done at least three vertical loops in a row? i was wrung out.  Time to head back. 

“It’s your plane. Just keep your nose down a little bit, and aim to the right of downtown. Can you see the airport? Make an easy turn so we’re flying parallel to the runway.”

Without realizing it, i was now flying the plane – steady and level – and getting us back to the airport. How the hell did THAT happen?


We landed, taxied back to the apron. Shaking hands with Dennis, we went inside for the ‘mission debriefing’ – which, in my case, included removing my completely un-soiled undergarment!. Watching the cockpit videos was a little bit surreal. “i just did that? Whoa…”

Studley drove home, as i was still a bit rattled even an hour after getting out of the cockpit. We had a chance to do a bit of a post-game analysis in the car.

What i spent on that “charitable donation” would have gone a long way toward becoming a pilot. It would have at least paid for my “Pinch Hitter” course – how to land a plane in an emergency.

The flight was fun, and definitely exciting. But it wasn’t on my bucket list. That’s because i don’t actually have a bucket list. i put this in the category of “contrived thrills” – where all risk is managed, and you pay money for an adrenaline rush, and a chance to say “I did that! Woo Hoo!”.

It required no skill. There really wasn’t much risk. When you get down to it? Not much different from bungee jumping, or doing a tandem parachute jump. i have done neither of those activities, nor do i wish to…

Excitement? Of course. Growth as a human being? Not so much…

As we worked through this in the car, Studley asked if i’d do it again.

daisyfae: Probably not. i mean, it was pretty amazing. But…. It was a stunt. What about you? You were getting pretty jazzed during the mission briefing!

Studley: I might think about it….

daisyfae: i would probably do it with you… but i think i want to learn to fly first.

Crickets and Tumbleweeds

Lots going on here at Chez Daisyfae, but the compelling urge to write has left the premises…

Being a blogger, however, i must uphold the “Blogger Oath”, and not let the complete lack of having something worthwhile to say stop me from posting!

Some scores, highlights, and coming attractions…


For lack of meaningful pursuits, i ended up in the midst of a “Jello Shot Bake Off”.  Two friends and i talked enough shit about the quality of our alco-culinary skills that it seemed reason enough to have a party.  Although my entries to the contest were out-classed by my compatriots, i crafted a Rainbow Jello Shot Cake.  Took almost an entire bottle of vodka, and 5 1/2 hours, but it scored the coveted “Holy Shit!” award…i don't cook... i distill...

It wasn’t just the jello shot smack talkin’.  Spent a good bit of energy (and money) over the winter renovating my downstairs theater room.  It turned out to be a nice space – suitable for play.  Not just because of the wall mirrors in the fitness area…

work it on out

Over the course of the long holiday weekend, i managed to work in a long bike ride, a cardio-horseback riding lesson, and a ride on the motorcycle.  Somewhere along the way, i wrenched my lower back, and am momentarily hobbled.  Part of my self-prescribed physical therapy involves being flat on the floor, legs in the air, working the core muscles to un-wrench the knots.  My dog does not understand physical therapy.  He wants to play.  He is a turd.

The song of my people...

Remember that time i got drunk at a charity auction?  Oh, yeah.  That time last February to be more specific (Smart asses… All of you…).  In a few short weeks, i’m going to suit up and sit in the right seat of this thing.  And foul my undershorts at very high speeds…


photo from the combat usa website.  holy shit.  what was i thinking?

The first half of the year has gone pretty well, but i’ve missed traveling.  Due to circumstance, most of my holiday time is going to take place over the next three months.  In addition to shopping for booze, turns out i’m also a fiend for shopping for hotels and airfare!  Getting pretty jazzed about what lies ahead…

Might be running into some blog mates soon, too.  Oh, and fishies.  The SCUBA habit demands attention. Suspect i’ll be even more scarce out here over the next few months!

Onward!  Adventure awaits!

Road trip for the ages...

photo found here.  i’ll have my own to post in a few months!

Another fine mess…

With one exception, i despise shopping.  Hate it.  Not shoes.  Not food.  Not baubles, bangles, and beads.  Put me in a shopping mall for more than the briefest interval, and i hyperventilate and run for the fire exits.

The exception?  Liquor.

Like a kid in a candy store, i will jump excitedly when i spy the new offerings in the vodka aisle, or bargains on single malt scotch!  Despite limiting my alcohol consumption to only weekends, i still find tremendous joy in the hunt for treasures…

Preparing for a big ass throw down festive soiree at my place this weekend, i needed to stock both of my bars.  Studley and i dropped into a favorite local haunt on our lunch hour today to retrieve a tasty limited edition strawberry vodka.

With four bottles of vodka, and two bottles of liqueur on the counter, the clerk started to ring up the purchase.

Clerk:  Will that be all?

Studley:  That’ll get her through til dinner.  How late are you open?

daisyfae [to clerk]:  Yep!  Making some gourmet jello shots for a party!  This will do nicely!  [sticks tongue out at Studley].

Clerk:  That’ll be $120.

i started counting fresh bills from my wallet…

Studley:  Hey, those look a lot better than the last batch you printed!

daisyfae:  You’re just a big damn help today, aren’t you?  Remind me again why i brought you along?

Clerk:  Would you like a box?

daisyfae:  Nah.  We’re just gonna drink it in your parking lot…

By then?  The clerk was giggling at us.  He grinned as he handed me my change.

Clerk:  The way you two are carrying on?  I’d say you’re either co-workers or brother and sister!

daisyfae:  Well, damn! i guess that makes that thing we did last night a crime, don’t it?

Studley [to Clerk]:  Momma says I’m the best kisser!

silly drunks

image found here

Give ’em the old razzle-dazzle

About three and a half years ago i fled left* my home organization for a new job.  There was angst involved, but i tried hard not to burn any bridges.

As i left the new shop to return to a cool new job at the original mothership last week, it seemed the bridges were still intact.  In fact, in an act of apparent organizational desperation, i was asked to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the annual corporate awards banquet.

i’m sure you know the standard “Awards Luncheon” scenario.  Rubber Chicken and Peas served lukewarm to tables of “conscripts”.  Boring lunch presentation – either by an retiree/historian, or some other droning dinosaur.  A dozen award categories, making sure that no possible job function is left out.

Figuring that the MC gig would be a nice chance to announce the return of the prodigal technologist – i agreed.  Moments later?  Stricken with the horrible realization that i had NOTHING appropriate to wear.

i’ve gained 20 pounds in the past year, and none of my dark business suits fit**.  Having begun the ritual weight-loss effort, there was no way i was going to go buy a new “fat suit” for the occasion.

While going over details with Studley, he jokingly said “Hey, you could borrow my tux!”  He immediately saw the little puffs of steam coming out of my ears as i munched it over.

Studley:  “We can stop by my place on the way back to work and you can try it on!”

daisyfae:  Oh, hell yes!  i can open with “Wilkommen” from Cabaret!  Nothing like some camp to liven things up!

The tux fit.  The plan was hatched.

Practiced it all, including many hours spent farting around with a magician’s cane.  Scaring friends in bars.  It had to be perfect – literally only one shot at getting it right!  Got the Audio/Visual squad involved – and they helped me lay in backing tracks for the song.

i was prepared – but no one else knew what i was planning.  Not even remotely nervous – until i saw our CEO walk in… The guy known for tearing off heads, ripping new assholes, and generally being a humorless curmudgeon.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea?

Too late.  All in.  Go big or go home.  Yada yada yada….


Slight case of nerves in front of about 250 people – but the cane worked perfectly, and got a chorus of “Oooohs and Ahhhhs”.  As i got to the word “Welcome” i was looking right at Mr. CEO – and he had thrown his head back…. with laughter!  He was clapping!


The rest went well, our guest speaker was actually funny – and i managed to keep my job.

every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed...

Got a short-notice ping from friends as i left work, inviting me to a Friday night VIP “Ribbon Cutting” event at a restored mansion, now being used to host weddings and special events.

Since i was already dressed for it…. Went headed off to VIP Wedding-land for some free beer and appetizers!

closest i'll ever get to a wedding dress

And THIS is the closest i’ll ever get to a wedding dress!


* Wrote “AMF” on the sign out board.  Stands for “Adios, Motherfuckers!”

** Why can’t they make them with “power stretch” panels – like maternity clothes?!?!?

Operation “WhiteBird”

The plan was hatched last month.  My sister, T, and her partner, TK, finished renovations on their beautiful home in Florida.  They wanted to find a way for Mom to visit, but Mom would not fly alone.

TK is a frequent flier, and needed to rack up a few more segments to maintain her “AssKiss Preferred” traveler status.  She offered to fly up in the morning, pick up Mom, and fly back with her the same day, giving Mom a week in sunny south florida.

My job?  Picking up Mom and delivering her to the airport.  Knowing that i would need a ‘gate access pass’ to get her through security in a wheelchair, i enlisted Studley to help with transport.

Yesterday was the big day!  We had agreed to stay in touch by text, doing group messaging to keep all members of the team on track.  By 7:00 am, T had gotten the ball rolling… With T, her partner TK, and her sister KK in the loop, we made it happen!  Game on!

Follow along and see if you can figure out what was happening.  This went on for about 16 hours!


T:  Plan in execution.  TK is Giraffe, KK is Zebra, T is Lion, Mom is
WhiteBird.  Daisyfae is?

T:  Giraffe is at gate.

TK: Giraffe is on plane and ready to take off toward Motherland.

daisyfae: daisyfae is Moose.  Moose is scratching her ass, playing “Angry Birds” and having coffee.

T:  Lion snagged pumpkin pie ice cream for breakfast.

KK:  Zebra just finished morning gallop.  What time is Giraffe’s return flight?

daisyfae:  Giraffe and WhiteBird return 9:40pm.  Moose and Squirrel
(Studley) will update on launch from Motherland.

T:  10-4

TK:  Giraffe has landed in Motherland.  Beautiful day!

T:  Giraffe went to watering hole. Sign says “Dry til 1:00pm”.  Shitty

TK:  When will Moose arrive with WhiteBird?

daisyfae: Moose and Squirrel inbound to pick up WhiteBird.  Will send
smoke signal on next leg of safari.*

TK:  Roger.  Out.

daisyfae:  Moose and Squirrel have WhiteBird in hand.  Repeat.
WhiteBird inbound! Smoke signal on arrival at aviary to arrange Giraffe

daisyfae: At curb.  Squirrel out for recon.

TK:  Giraffe is with Moose, Squirrel and WhiteBird!  Headed to feed.

daisyfae:  Found oasis near aviary.  Negotiating terms of hostage
transport over wings and beer.

TK:  Cleared Checkpoint Charley with WhiteBird and Moose.  Waiting at

T:  Lion guarding tropical bird nest.

daisyfae:  Moose taking WhiteBird to litter box after Giraffe returns
from provisioning at aviary snack shop.  Squirrel waits in parking lot,
protecting “Angry Birds” from green pigs.

T:  yee-HAW!

daisyfae:  Moose and Squirrel northbound.  Giraffe and WhiteBird
preparing to board magic carpet to Lion.*

TK:  WhiteBird and Giraffe on magic carpet waiting for the rest of the
animals to settle.  Moose and Squirrel did a great job handing over the


T:  Stand by, Zebra.  WhiteBird is about to fly.

TK:  Magic carpet engines ON!  WhiteBird and Giraffe are buckled in
and headed to tropical nest.

T:  Left gate early.  ETA now 9:30pm

KK:  Flight tracker ETA 9:10.  Tailwind.

daisyfae:  Moose and Squirrel back at Northern Command Post.

T:  Zebra with Lion at tropical nest.  Awaiting arrival signal.

TK:  Carpet ride is over.  En route to meet Zebra and Lion after
collecting gear.

KK:  Zebra in motion.

T:  Giraffe – report location

TK:  Still at gate.

T:  Zebra and Lion waiting safely in Ant Hill.  Ready to deploy.

TK:  Have goods.  To curb for retrieval.

KK:  Zebra is moving.

daisyfae:  Moose has vodka tonic.

T:  We have WhiteBird.  Repeat: WhiteBird reunited with Lion!

daisyfae:  Mission Accomplished!

* While i was driving, Studley served as communication officer.  Messages marked with an “*” are all his…

Double Surprise Package

i’ve been gone for more of the month of December than i’ve been home. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s left me a bit more disorganized than usual.  Re-entry is a balance of art and science, and i needed to hit it hard to stay on track.

i’m pretty efficient when it comes to travel – including take offs and landings. Arriving home around 10pm Monday night, i was able to dump the contents of two suitcases, play with the critters, and do preliminary triage on a large stack of mail waiting for me on the table — and get myself to bed by 11pm.  Re-entry should be a fast, surgical strike to allow the rapid return to normal schedules and routines!

Amongst the shrapnel awaiting me?  Three “Missed Delivery” tags from FedEx.  Whatever was being delivered required a signature.  Hmmm… Hadn’t ordered anything lately, so i was pretty curious about what could be in the package.  If it requires a signature?  That usually means wine!

Did my darling sister in Florida send me an unexpected Christmas gift?

Back at work on Tuesday, i hit the gym with Studley.  In the spirit of making the re-entry process quick and efficient, i suggested that we could grab lunch at a sushi place south of town afterwards – and swing by the FedEx distribution center to find out the contents of the mystery package.

FedEx Woman #1: Hi! What can I do for you today?

daisyfae: i’m here to pick up a package – hoping my dear sister in Florida shipped her little sis some alcohol for Christmas!

FedEx Woman #1: Well, that’s a good sister!

daisyfae: Yes! At the moment, we love her very much!

As the clerk went back to extract the box from the warehouse, the second clerk asked Studley if she could help him.

Studley: No, I’m just here as her Package Sherpa – to do the heavy lifting!

FedEx Woman #2: Well, where’s your umbrella? Didn’t you notice it’s raining out there?

daisyfae: Ha! She’s right! All the other Sherpas bring umbrellas. Sherpa FAIL!

As we were horsing around with FedEx Woman #2, FedEx Woman #1 returns with the box.

FedEx Woman #1: This isn’t really all that heavy. Pretty sure there’s no wine in there…

daisyfae [checking label]: Well damn. i wonder what the hell she sent?

As i checked the return address, it was from some designer label store in Oregon. Didn’t recognize it. And then noticed something else.

daisyfae: Oh, shit! This isn’t even for me! It’s addressed to the people who used to live in my condo! Crap!

FedEx Woman #1: Well I guess we’re not loving our sister so much anymore!

image found here

Let’s Make A Deal

Anxious for respite from work-related headaches, i waited outside my office building for my friend, Studley, to pick me up for lunch.  As i watched him pull into the circular driveway in his sporty Mustang convertible, i noted the vintage red Porsche pull up behind him.  i also noted that driving the vintage red Porsche was my former, and deeply beloved, Division Chief.

Smiling at Studley, i waved him off.  Pointing to the bright red hunk of automotive deliciousness i said “See ya!  i’m trading up!”

DivChief:  You may want to reconsider that – I bet he’s got air conditioning.

It was 110 degrees outside, with nearly matching humidity.  i may be fickle, but i ain’t stoopid….

Trends in weight loss

Tuesday night is “Pub Night” with a collection of my theater-connected friends.  Last night, the usual suspects were collected around a plank table in a sort of new place. Known for a fine beer collection and all-day breakfasts.

Studley:  Did you see that gal?  Amazing! 

daisyfae:  What?  Huh?

Recreational Blasphemy (RB):  The one that just grabbed a beer?  Wearing shorts?

Studley:  Yeah!  Prosthetic leg, and rockin’ the ‘short shorts’!  How cool is that?

daisyfae:  Wow – sorry i missed that…

Studley:  Just like her style, and that she puts it right out there!  One nice, slim thigh, and the mechanical leg that gets her walking.

daisyfae:  You know, this could be the start of a new wave of extreme weight loss measures… Wanna lose about 40 pounds in a hurry?  Chop the legs, and replace them with lean, mean titanium prosthetics!

RB:  I have the name for those, when they go commercial:  “Slimbs”

pic found in many places… but this was my first stop.