Triple dog dared…

Yeah? So what?  i’m easy…. A few dares, double dog dares and “oh no you wouldn’t’s” thrown in the comment section on this post was all it took.   Oh, and being able to just barely squeeze myself into a fabulous black and green satin corset, picked up in California over a year ago. When it was three* sizes too small…

As always, this is dedicated to my corseted muse, the fabulous and entirely edible nursemyra.  If the stars align properly, she and i are going to bask in the Mediterranean sun together for a couple weeks next summer… always a good plan to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?


* Now?  It’s only about a half size too small.  Although it’s been a slow and unpleasant slog, aggravated by a skiing accident and the ensuing knee surgery, i’ve managed to drop just over 30 lbs since January.  Not quite done yet, i’ve set a goal to drop the final 20 lbs before Thanksgiving. 


Hadn’t seen him in over 30 years.  But through an odd series of stumbles, our respective “bubbles” crossed again.  When he suggested visiting for a weekend, it seemed like a nice, nebulous invitation – not particularly actionable. 

Until he mentioned the music festival occurring over the holiday weekend.  And until i priced the airfare, which was dirt cheap.  So less than two weeks ago, i bought tickets.  Showed up at a strange airport on Thursday night.

Needless to say, the kids were a bit concerned… “But Mom, what if he’s a serial killer?”  Ahhh… whatever.  i’m tough.  It would take a pretty badass serial killer to go head-to-head with my decreasing estrogen.  Bring it, muthafuckah…

Naturally, i sent them a text upon arrival “Made it safely.  He’s really cool.  Great chainsaw and power tool collection next to the chest freezer in his sub-basement”.  On the phone with them today?  Mentioned that he’s given me some great lotion to put on my skin – said it’d be better than him having to take a hose to me…

This is why i enjoy flying solo.  Being impulsive, following my ‘gut’, indulging whims – without really having to consult anyone else.  Who?  Me?  Adrenaline junkie? 

Oh, and i suspect my lovely brown skin, tanned so nicely while on vacation in Mexico last week, is going to make a “girl suit” that shall be the envy of the other psychopaths….

Travel trends

There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu.  You can hike in via the Inca Trail – a four day journey over rugged Andean terrain, adored by trekkers worldwide as a mystical “must do” journey.  Or, if you’re a bit doughy in the middle, you can take the train from Ollantaytambo to Agua Caliente, and then hop a bus up the narrow switchbacks that bring you to the entry to the lost city.

i took the train*.

Since the 1990’s, when controversial President Alberto Fujimori used effective, yet strong-armed, tactics to stabilize the economy, build infrastructure and eradicate gang violence and terrorism within Peru, tourism has become a significant part of the Peruvian economy.  About a decade later, there are still growing pains** evident as the country adapts to a new paradigm – and welcomes the world into their happy place in the Andes.

Our guide, Luis, is a recent graduate of a university tourism program in Cuzco — and he’s delightful!  Slamming the Catholic church, Spanish imperialists and his own failed government, we are definitely getting a ‘citizens-eye view’ of modern Peruvian culture.  After six hours hiking through Machu Picchu yesterday, we boarded the train back to Ollantaytampo.  And Luis, prone to bad jokes***, told us that we were in for quite a treat!  An on board fashion show.  My seatmate and i shrugged this off, and settled in to decompress from the hike…

After the on-board services crew passed through our coach with drinks**** and snacks, we were surprised when a man in an elaborate Incan costume skittered down the aisle, holding a puppet, and twirling a leather strap over his head.  This continued, and tribal music played over the coach speakers.  The character – doing some sort of ritualistic dance – would alternately choke and stroke the llama puppet.  Never really got what the theme of the dance was, but it was impressive that he could do it in the aisle of a relatively narrow train coach.

Following polite, but confused, applause from the captive audience, he then slunk along the aisle, holding out a purse for tips.  A few coins, a few photo ops, and he disappeared. 

aren't they adorable?From the speakers began the unmistakable strains of “Dancing Queen” – and we were told that our on-board services crew would be modeling native Peruvian clothing items, which would be for sale after the fashion show.  i shit you not…. the two gorgeous coach stewards (Jorge and Maria) proceeded to mince down the aisle, wearing scarves, sweaters, shawls and other alpaca products.  A sweater worn by Jorge even had a neon green “30%” off tag on the back! 

Invariably the items on the cart were a overpriced, but sales occurred.  The “character” – who kept his mask on for most of the fashion show – had stayed in the front of the coach and assisted Maria and Jorge with their “costume changes”.  He was also responsible for folding the clothing items, and preparing the sales cart during the show.  Given the youth and exuberance of our “cast”, it seemed a bit like a group of high school kids putting on a show to raise money***** for their youth group!

i just can’t wait until the airlines get ahold of this concept… yet another means to stave off bankruptcy!


* This time.  Although the climbing around within Machu Picchu was pretty challenging, and my ass was kicked after 6 hours of moderately strenuous hiking, i’d like to put the Inca Trail on my “would like to do” list.  If i had such a list.  i’d have to train for it, however, as my doughy ass – carrying a pack – would be collapsed in a quivering puddle after one day on the trail….

** A key infrastructure upgrade that seems to be on the back burner relates to plumbing and sewer management.  In Peru, if you can find a toilet with paper (not a problem in cities, and tourist areas), you are expected to put the used paper in a nearby trash can as the pipes have a pesky tendency to clog with just the slightest perturbation.  i’m pretty rugged, but am finding this practice a bit unnerving…

*** He likes to tell us that he’s lost, or our hotel burned down, or they’ve lost our luggage or reservations.  As i said, he’s an absolute delight!  Unfortunately a bit too big to put into my luggage….

**** Me likes me some Inca Cola!  Atomic yellow in color, the locals swill this stuff like water.  Tastes like Lemon Cream Soda to me…

***** Except this was all being done by the National Rail Service, Perurail.  Which – according to our cynical guide, Luis – has a monopoly on rail service, is non-responsive to the people, and could care less about improving services to enhance tourism.

“Math is hard” – said Barbie

The Boy was in a minor car accident last Sunday.  An oncoming truck came towards him (left of center), and he swerved right to avoid being hit, went off the road and scraped up the side of the car on a sign post. He wasn’t hurt, kept going to meet up with his sister, and gave me a ring late Sunday night with details.

After returning home on Monday, i took a look at the damage.  Right front quarter panel, passenger door, and right rear quarter panel were badly crunched, and the front head light would need replacing.  Given that he’s a 19 year old boy (highest insurance bracket), and i’ve already got a very high insurance deductible for my fleet of four shitmobiles, i figured i’d just pay to get it repaired – and not file an insurance claim.

The next day, The Boy took the car into a local body shop*, and got a repair estimate of $2100.  That’s even using recycled parts!  OK.  Decided to file the claim, paying only the $500 deductible.  When i told the insurance rep that i’d already gotten an estimate, she informed me that the shop we’d chosen wasn’t on the “pre-approved” list.  We could either take the car to an “approved” shop for an estimate, or have one of their adjusters come out to write the estimate for the damage.  They’d then cut a check for that amount, minus the $500 deductible, and i would be free to get the work done wherever i wanted to…

Adjuster came out Friday while i was at work.  The Boy called me late in the afternoon with an update.  He was headed out, saw the paperwork stuck to his car, and opened it up to see what the estimate was.  A check for $2300 fell out.  Looking over the estimate, this is what the insurance adjuster would be paying AFTER my deductible.

So, we’ll get the car fixed this week at the body shop that gave us the $2100 estimate.  i pocket $200 – which will likely just offset the increase in my insurance rates as a result of filing the claim.  This stuff is a big ol’ mystery to me… The Boy offered to turn this into more cash, by wrecking some of my other cars, i’m pretty sure that’s a bad plan. 

Beats me, man…


* He’d had work done on his prior car, aka “Shamu”.  The place was good, but about one step up from a chop shop.  Easy on the wallet.  i do believe, however, that duct tape was involved…


Getting paint put on my fingernails today at Big Gay Chuck’s Big Gay Hair Salon* with my adorable and feisty tattooed biker-chick nail tech – who works in Chuck’s upscale salon:

client: My hair is doing strange things.  It seems fine and straight on top, but much thicker on the bottom… Are there any styling products that can help?

upscale salon stylist:  Oh, yes, i’ve heard of this – it’s pretty much hormonal.  I’ve found a great product – Straight-Sexy-Smoother – that does wonders for this situation.  You just put a couple pumps on, work it in, then blow it dry.  It doesn’t weigh down the flat parts, but it gently un-curls the ends…

[interminable twenty minute discussion about the types of styling products that are available goes here – including a discourse on a particular miraculous product that changed a womans life…actually taming the frizz without (can you believe it?) taking away the body…]

daisyfae [in her head]: Products?  Hello?  You need some fucking scissors.  It’s called “FRIZZ” or “SPLIT FUCKING ENDS”.  You cut it off, leave it on the floor and move on… or beat it into submission with a flat iron that operates at solar temperatures… 

i must have been passed out drunk in the courtyard during this part of Chick School.  Yet i have a basket full of “hair care products” in my bathroom.  Many of them about 5-10 years old.  The basket holds the door open. 

At 45 years old, i finally understand that there is no amount of money spent on styling products that will make me look like a fucking supermodel.  And the same is true with make up.  It’s Cover Girl or Revlon.  The chemistry is the same – no matter what you fucking pay for it!

i’m just glad my hair grew back**.  Never thought i’d have long hair again… i’ll take a little frizz, thank you very much!


* Not the actual name, but it should be…

** Odd reaction to medication (not chemo) about 6 years ago left me with very little hair.  During that era, i acquired quite the collection of “snap on” hair – which i used to frighten the housekeeping staff of hotels when i’d clip it on mirrors in the bathroom…

Two conversations with my father…

On the drive back from The Park last Friday, i was tired.  I’d been up late the night before at an awkward dinner event, then up before dawn in order to pick up Mom in time to make an 8:45 am appointment with the cardiologist.  Events of the morning were exhausting, but i was still facing an afternoon in the office after an hour-long drive.

After leaving Mom’s house, i had a powerful urge to visit my father’s grave – but i had an afternoon meeting, and couldn’t take the time.  Instead, i just had a chat with him in the car.  Something i’ve done before…  Typically the conversations start with “I’m trying… ” or “I’m really sorry…”.

Last Friday it was “Holy Fucking Shit!”*

A little background is in order.  While Dad was dying, we had time to talk.  No, not the actual “moment of death”**, but the four months leading up to his death.  There were several lengthy hospitalizations, and i spent many hours in his room, reading the paper while he slept, providing basic care, talking to doctors and nurses, or chatting when he was in the mood to talk.

During one of these conversations, we discussed his concerns about the inhabitants of The Park after he died.  When i was about 30 years old, prior to a trip to Europe, my parents made me executor of their estate.  I’m the youngest of four, but it had become clear that i was the only one with sufficient stability (not to mention CRZY MATH SKILZ) to handle the task.  During this particular conversation, Dad was pointing out that it was going to fall to me to look after the family when he was gone.

daisyfae:  But i’m the youngest!  It was in my contract that i’m supposed to skip through life responsibility-free!  i’m the carefree hippie…. the baby!

Dad:  Sorry.  You’re “Number One Son”.  You’re it…

daisyfae:  [sigh] Ok.  i promise i’ll look out for them…

And i have.  Well, at least i’ve tried.  Dad died in 2001.  The past 7 years have contained multiple moments of “you can’t be serious?” sprinkled with way too much “i could not possibly make this shit up”.  i haven’t even scratched the surface yet in my posts…

i have followed Kipling’s advice – “If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you” – to the best of my ability…

There is, however, a perfect storm brewing, and it’s testing the limits of my patience.  And my ability to keep the promise i made my Father.  As i spiral into menopause, no prospect of hormonal supplements because of that pesky breast cancer nugget last year, i have the potential to become highly nonlinear.  As the family faces “end of life” issues with Mom***, they have the potential to become highly nonlinear, not to mention, increasingly stupid.  Not a scenario for peace and harmony, that’s for sure….

Conjuring my Dad in the car that afternoon, i simply asked for a bit of clarification…

daisyfae:  Let’s take a look at that promise, shall we?  i said i’d “look out” for them.  Could that be interpreted as “Look out!  Here they come!”?

Dad:  [….]


* It was Good Friday and all…

** Generally recognized as poor taste to talk about “stuff” when doctors are disconnecting life support, religious officials are attempting to officiate and the like.

*** Reference: The Lion King, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Mecchi & Roberts, 1994.

The Clampett’s Take Granny To The Hospital

You’ve seen the episode.  Granny needs a routine medical procedure, but the Clampett’s don’t trust them smarty-pants doctors and them new-fangled doctorin’ machines.  With a show of force that could have changed the outcome at Normandy, the Clampett clan descends upon a poor, unsuspecting hospital staff, unleashing their homespun brand of hillbilly hijinks, and much hilarity ensues.



 “Hilarity” is one word for it.  My word for it is “shoot – me – the – fuck – now – i – cannot – POSSIBLY – be – related – to – these – sociopathic – mutant – hillbilly – fucktards”.  For the purists out there, yes – i can count.  i tried the thesaurus.  There was no single word that captured the complete sentiment.

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“Bitter The Apple”

Mom picked that title – “Bitter The Apple”.  From my earliest recollection, she always said that if she wrote the book of her life, that’s what she’d call it.

Even as a young child, i found it depressing.  I couldn’t figure out why her life was so awful?  We lived in a working-class suburb – owned our own house.  There was a gigantic farm field behind it, suitable for endless games of “capture the flag”.  And woods – where we used stolen construction supplies to build amazing tree forts.  The neighborhood was full of kids – we were never lonely and there were adventures to be had!

The family was quirky, mealtimes were loud, six of us were crammed into a smallish house, but we were all healthy and shared lots of laughs.  Dad had a good job – we didn’t see him much during the week, but he was always around on the weekends, working on projects, leading discussions on philosophy, music and life, or teaching us to throw a variety of balls at each other.  We went camping every summer – where bathing was entirely optional for a week!

Why was Mom so bitter?

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