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…

Just another night out…

As if my recent “Awards Banquet” evening didn’t have enough twists and turns, there was an “after banquet” event that stayed in my head…

Although we were ridiculously over-dressed, a friend an i decided to keep drinking hang out after the awards banquet.  Considering options, we agreed on a local watering hole – known for being friendly, rowdy, and on a Thursday night, full of twenty-something party dawgs.  Undeterred, we arrived – me in a cocktail dress, and him looking edible in a tux.

Other than a little flirty chatter about my outfit with the doorman, i’m pretty sure no one batted an eye when we arrived.  Snagged a gin and tonic and a table, while my “date”* was chatted up by a young lovely at the bar who insisted on buying him a beer.  Sheesh.  i had to buy my own…

Taking in the “scene”, i noted packs of youngish “ruffian” boys – perhaps drinking after a Thursday night softball game.  College-aged girls – decked out in party gear, sporting muffin-tops and wearing too much make up – arriving to feast on the sweaty ruffians.  The juke box played everything from country ballads to hip hop to classic rock.  A typical night at a suburban pub.

Completely out of place – at the end of the bar – sat a middle-aged man.  Wavy gray pompadour, glued into shape and polished to a soft glow.  Suspenders.  Dress slacks – a bit on the short side – with light colored socks and loafers.  Thick glasses.  Drinking what appeared to be ice water from a red plastic tumbler.  On the bar in front of him was a “day planner” or notebook.  At nearly 10 pm on a Thursday night, he just didn’t seem to fit…

With Pretty Boy being chatted up by a starry-eyed brunette at the bar, my character study was disrupted by new arrivals.  Two young women arrived.  One wearing a shiny metallic blue bicycle helmet.  She was sort of plain, but cute and animated in her conversation with the doorman.  With much flapping and gesticulating, while her silent friend watched eagerly, the doorman finally waved her inside…  As she walked by, i noticed she was carrying a unicycle**.  The bar is on a four lane commercial highway.  Riding a unicycle to get there?  At night?

As she met up with some of the ruffians, a few of them playfully pounded her on the helmet, and after a couple minutes, she returned to the door, thanked the doorman and was on her way.  With Adonis the Wonder Date now being virtually dry-humped by his gal pal, i walked to the door to inquire about the incident.

daisyfae:  Did a helmeted girl with a unicycle just walk through here?

doorman:  Yep.  Here most Thursdays…

daisyfae:  Thanks.  Just wanted to make sure someone hadn’t slipped hallucinogens into my gin and tonic.

doorman:  One of the Rugby Girls. 

daisyfae:  And most certainly a virgin.  i’m sure her mother is proud…

Returning to the table, Pretty Boy was back – having missed the entire incident.  He questioned my sanity, and we went on to talk about “Old Joe” at the bar, speculating on his “Story”… Addled?  Molester?  Clueless?  Lost?  Dropping back into office-related gossip, and comparing dating horror stories, we eventually lost interest in Old Joe.

When the karaoke started a few minutes later, the first song was a Sinatra number.  None other than Old Joe, singing his heart out!  Not a horrible voice, but a little shaky…  Turns out it wasn’t a calendar he had on the bar in front of him, but a CD case – he’d brought his own karaoke CDs.  Sign of a karaoke whore professional. When he finished, the Rugby Ruffians cheered him on, then went back to their ass-grabbing and beer-swilling.

The whole thing just made me smile… There’s a natural rhythm to humanity sometimes.  People drop in and out, catching up with the step of the moment.  New dancers featured for a solo, then dropping back into the chorus.  But when the harmonies come together, too?  Magic…


* Very, very pretty friend.  He looks about 30 years old, and leaves a trail of drooling girlies everywhere he goes.  Marginally oblivious to it, which makes it very fun to watch!

** No.  Not THE unicycle.  Although the girl was nearly a ringer for the cute kid that bought mine…

Meeting Survival 101

We all have professional quirks. Mine?  i become deeply irritated with people who fall asleep in meetings.  It’s rude and unprofessional…

…and sometimes damn near impossible to avoid, especially after a long night of drinking and silliness with colleagues day of travel.  Such was the case today.  I found myself pulling every trick from my arsenal to keep my head from nodding like a dunking bird.  Much to my surprise, by the end of the day, i’d actually stumbled onto something useful…

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What a long strange trip it’s been…

While Dad was in the hospital, there were many opportunities to sit and talk – and more importantly, listen.  Towards the end some of his medications caused hallucinations.  We were never sure if we were getting history or electric dreams!

One night at dusk, i was in his room reading the newspaper while he dozed.  He quietly awakened and said “Did you know that G was a transvestite?”

I put down the paper.

G was the second husband of my oldest sister, S.  He was a tall, painfully thin, bearded stoner.  Probably 6’2″, with a 24″ waist – 130 lbs (soaking wet while wearing SCUBA gear).  Nice enough guy, but not a man i could easily picture in a dress.  Not a man i would want to picture in a dress.

“No, i hadn’t heard that… really?”

Dad got a goofy grin on his face, and nodded his head vigorously.  We both got the giggles, to the point where tears were streaming down our faces.  He seemed to tire, and was soon asleep again. 

Racking this up to another hallucination, i went back to the newspaper and didn’t give it a second thought.

Within days, all hell broke loose for him medically.  He was admitted to the intensive care unit, semi-comatose.   That night, after going over the medical information with my siblings, i remembered the moment. 

Looking at S, i asked “Did you tell Dad that G was a transvestite?”


“Well he got the biggest damn laugh out of that when he told me the other night… giggled and snorted like a school girl…”

And then she and i both got a ridiculous case of the “stress giggles”, which is more than a little bit awkward in the waiting room of a hospital intensive care unit.


* A week after S married G, she woke up and found him in bed next to her wearing a silk nightgown and panties…. both items belonging to his mother.  Months later, S asked Mom what she should do.  Mom informed S that ‘all marriages have problems, and you just need to make it work’.  S stayed with her second husband for 15 years, and never told another soul about it.  I’ll probably have more stories about G later… he was pretty special.

Cleared for departure (?)

The Girl is beautiful, brilliant and fearless, with a penchant for world travel.  Majoring in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, she was compelled to take a solo trip to Morocco last summer for some language and cultural immersion. Although i’m generally supportive of this, i did have some ‘mother worries’ since she was going alone. 

About a week into her trip, i get the e-mail:

“hi, mom!”

it started off simply enough…  after some general travel logistics information, there was this:

“i met the most amazing man on the train from Casablanca to Marrakesh…”

No matter how hard i tried to read the rest of her message, my brain kept taking me elsewhere.  

A humid, Moroccan courtroom, where i’m being silenced by smirking magistrates when offering pleas for the release of my grandchild…

The scene where my daughter and i run through the crowded marketplace, clutching a crying baby as we try to elude machete-wielding thugs.

Or, worst of all… a CNN news studio, where i’m being interviewed by Nancy Grace, sharing gut-wrenching tales of injustice at the hands of cold-hearted bullies.

After her safe return, and quite an adventure, i told her of my concerns.  Her response:  “Hold out for Anderson Cooper…”

sleep deprivation and ghosts

As my alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am, i received a text message from The Girl.  She was finishing a paper, and was asking me for a back-up wake up call at 9:00 am.  After staying up all night to write the damn thing, she clearly didn’t want to accidently sleep through the class.

Work has been somewhat frantic, so as i walked down a long hallway, late for my 9:00 meeting, i gave her a ring.  She answered, and we chatted briefly.  I like to make sure she’s really awake…

As i’m doing this, i see my ex-husband turn the corner at the end of the hallway and start heading my way (he consults for my organization, and we still see each other in the office complex from time to time).

I said “hey, there’s Dad”.

Groggy, but clearly confused, voice from my phone “…yours?”

[giggling] “No, daughter… yours.  Mine died about 7 years ago.”