Holiday Malaria and Other Traffic Horrors

I remember being told, during a Saturday stint in comedy defensive driving, that it was physically impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. I have no idea if this fact is true or not, but I can attest to the fact that it is impossible for Daisy to sneeze her eyes open, even when she is trying to navigate Week-of-Christmas Traffic at the mall.

Have you seen these people drive? The ones who are all cracked out on gingersnap samples and Chick-fil-A lemonade.

O.k., fine, I may have been guilty of partaking, quite liberally, of the lemonade, but I have an excuse: I needed the vitamin C to fight off my most recent case of Holiday Malaria. We are talking a landfill of Kleenex and a truckload of Sudafed. My sinuses feel like an overinflated balloon animal. All puffy and tied up in knots.

It was in this weakened state that I headed out Monday for 6 long hours of Christmas shopping.

Now, I admit to occasionally practicing the fine art of procrastination, but I honestly was down to my last 4 presents when I headed out Monday morning. The whole trip should have taken 2 hours, 3 tops. Then my cell phone began to ring, and I found myself in the very familiar situation of becoming my family's designated shopper.

First there was the request from Mom: could I go to Target to look for the ballerina princess piggy bank for her to give Favorite Youngest Niece. Sure. No problem. I will make a second trip to Target to look for said swine.

Then there was call number one from Big Sis: could I look for slouchy sweater slippers for her stepdaughter...who wears a ladies size 10! Not a common size, but common enough to be sold out in the color she two Targets.

Then there was call number two from Big Sis: could I stop in Marshall's to by undershirts for Brother-in-Law. Undershirts are just a hair's breadth away from underwear, but knowing she lives an hour from the closest mall, I figured I'd help a Big Sis out, so off I go to Marshall's, where I have to stand in line behind 4 teenage girls who had decided to by frames for everyone on their Christmas list. And then had decided to change their minds about the frames repeatedly while waiting in the checkout line.

Needless to say, after 6 hours, I was pooped, so I headed home, switched to Actifed, and fell asleep on the couch.

Today? Today I finished buying all but one present, and I even managed to make a grocery store run to buy what I needed to try to make sweet potatoes on Christmas day.

Tomorrow I will sleep late. I will not answer the phone. I will not get out of my pajamas. I will not push a basket, swipe my credit card, or request a gift receipt from anyone.

I am on vacation.

Posted at 8:51 PM
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2 Days and Counting

Two more days and I am officially on vacation! Woohoo! Now the real question is: will I be able to finish my Christmas shopping in the next 2 days so that my vacation can be shopping-free? Answer: Not a chance in hell.

If my siblings would just stop reproducing, my Christmas list might be manageable, but as things stand, I've got a ways to go before Santa Daisy's sleigh is ready for deliveries. There are books to buy (because when you have an aunt who used to be an English teacher, you can pretty much bet she's gonna give you a book for every holiday), and gift cards to stuff them with (because when you are a teenager, books are very rarely on your Christmas list, but gift cards to places like Abercrombie and iTunes are pretty much a must), and gift bags to stuff with tissue paper (because when you are a one-year-old, the tissue paper is just as much fun as the gift it hides).

But, my favorite Christmas purchase so far?
That mischievous grin can only mean that this little guy
is none other than the Christmas ornament incarnation
of my beloved Winged Monkey.

That's right. It's a Winged Monkey Christmas ornament I found on, made by SWStitchery.

And I got the last one.

And it arrived today. All prettily wrapped.

And it's waiting to be opened by the Winged Monkey himself, who (unless he reads this before he comes over tonight) has no idea I bought it for our tree.

I know. I know. Sappy. But adorable nonetheless. No?

Posted at 7:53 PM
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The Latest Buzz

After 30 straight days of blogging, this Daisy was in need of a little break. Not much has been happening lately anyway.

The piping from Upstairs continues, as does the obnoxious pounding they make going up and down their stairs. This weekend, the musical stylings from above included some singing, as well. I swear, if they had 8 more kids they'd be putting together an act like the Van Trapps.

The Winged Monkey, it turns out is as much of a controlled pyromaniac as myself. We've had a fire in the fireplace at least half a dozen times over the past week, and we would have more, but firewood if flippin' expensive. I'm thinking I may have to filch a few logs from the stack at good ol' Mom & Dad's house when next I visit.

We've been able to have the fires because it has finally gotten cold down here in Big D. There was even a bit of snow one morning, as I walked to work, but the ground was still way to warm for anything to stick, so it was more like fluffy rain in the end.

The biggest event of the past week? I went to hear Buzz Aldrin speak last night at SMU.

I kind of have a thing for all things space, so this was a big event for me. I can still remember standing in my pajamas, watching the first shuttle launch (and several after that one) on the 9 inch color TV, complete with requisite rabbit ear antenna, in the back of my parents' bedroom. I was hooked. It didn't help that my dad was a huge Star Trek fan (though, thankfully, not the conventioning type), or that my family has referred to me as a martian (mainly because I don't like ice cream or chocolate) for as long as I can remember.

So, you can see why I'd be interested in going to see a man who'd actually walked on the moon, and who is seriously planning to send people to my supposed home planet.

And Buzz...likes to talk. More than Daisy.

The format was supposed to have been question and answer, but by the time Buzz was done with his "few words" of intro., the audience already knew about his education, his career, his 4 marriages, his multiple addictions, his depression, and his frustration with current space policy in the U.S. That all left time for a whole 3 questions, the first of which was about how his space journeys affected his belief in and perception of God. His answer?

"I'm not sure if the journey there and back really changed me all that much in that respect...If anything, my belief in a Supreme Being was most influenced by the many rehab. programs I've participated in over the years." (Paraphrased a bit, but fairly close to verbatim, if memory serves.)

Lol! I'm not sure that's the answer the young lady was looking for. She didn't seem the type to want to try addiction and rehab to get closer to her God. But what an endorsement for those 12 Step Programs. ;)

Posted at 7:12 AM
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Living Below the Pied Piper

Tomorrow, NaBloPoMo starts a month of kindness. But that's tomorrow.


Today, I once again turn my eyes upward in search of blog inspiration. And lo, the clouds part, and from above comes the sound of ...a flute?

The identity of the wind instrument in question is still up for debate. My first guess was a flute, but WM thinks it sounds too plasticky. His money is on the recorder.

Whatever it is, it is not pretty.

I heard the first screech when I sat down to dinner on the couch, and initially I thought one of the new dogs next door was howling.

Or dying.

10 solid minutes of piping, and, I swear, she never managed to hit a single note. And then? Then the duet started. Upstairs Parent on piano, Upstairs Daughter on the pipe, playing some unrecognizable tune. And amidst the (thankfully) short cacophony, WM leans over a whispers:
"Why does everyone think all Chinese kids are musical prodigies? Do you know why there are so many Chinese musical prodigies? Because there are 2 billion people in China. They are bound to have a few geniuses."
I almost spit out my bite of chicken sandwich.

WM is always good for caddy. :)

Posted at 9:21 PM
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Christmas Time is Here

This afternoon I hauled out the Christmas tree and started the messy process of getting in the spirit of the season.

Fortunately, I happen to be dating a Winged Monkey who, as it turns out, enjoys putting ornaments on Christmas trees. This fact is rather serendipitous, as I happen to be a Wicked Witch who has this quirky little tradition of getting a Christmas ornament from just about every city I visit every time I travel. After more than 20 countries, and lord knows how many cities along the way, and the return trips in recent years, my tree is pretty full...of memories.

I've got everything from a drunken golfer from Edinburgh to a scooter taxi made out of a beer can from Bangkok. A Murano glass gondolier from Venice and a painted egg shell from Prague. The pandas from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and a re-purposed key chain from Stonehenge, where they didn't sell Christmas ornaments at the time I visited.

The collection is eclectic, as are the stories that go with each piece. Like how I found the paper mailman-on-a-bicycle in a stationary store on the square in Copenhagen where I watched the World Cup match between Denmark and Brazil on a jumbo tron while surrounded by 5,000 drunken vikings. Or how I carried the ship-in-a-bottle ornament in my coat pocket all over Brussels while we were looking for the Mannequin Pis, and then for 5 countries after that because I was afraid it would get broken in my 60 lb. backpack. Or how the French really have a poor selection of Christmas ornaments, so my two trips to Paris are commemorated by a Santa on the Eiffel Tower (à la King Kong) and a glass ball painted with Van Gogh's Starry Night, which is neither a portrait of Paris nor is it housed in Paris, so I'm a little stumped as to the logic of it, but it was the only non-Eiffel Tower ornament I could find.

Needless to say, I get a bit nostalgic when I put up my Christmas tree, and anyone around gets the verbal version of a vacation slide show.

But it could be worse. I could be tearing up over a toilet paper tube Santa with a cotton ball beard or a string of tin foil jingle bells. That's when I will have crossed the line from quirky to my mother, who every year cries for hours as she hangs all of our childhood ornaments on her 9 foot, rotating, musical Christmas tree.

Wait'll the Winged Monkey gets a load of that monstrosity. Makes me look like an amateur.

*Thank you to the other bloggers who stole pics from Charlie Brown Christmas to which I could link.

Posted at 9:04 PM
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SyFy Channel and other misspellings

This afternoon, the Winged Monkey and myself stumbled upon what has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. At first, I thought it was some Animal Planet virtual death match show. But no. This was an actual film. Supposedly made for the purpose of entertaining its audience.

And it was entertaining.

To begin with, it starred Deborah (formerly Debbie) Gibson. And she didn't sing. Or act, for that matter, because it was pretty painful to watch the once fresh-faced teen pop sensation try to pull off her role as a renegade marine biologist. (Which makes me giggle just typing that phrase.) Deborah watches helplessly as a glacier breaks apart releasing back into the ocean a prehistoric mega shark and giant octopus who had supposedly been frozen mid-fight ten million years ago.

Please remember that this is fiction, people. Therefore, the idea that the two creatures would have died after having been frozen for ten million years must be cast aside in favor of the theory that they would simply wake up really hungry and really pissed off.

This explains why the octopus immediately takes out an off-shore oil rig and the shark takes down...wait for airplane. That's right. Apparently prehistoric mega sharks were able to jump 20,000 ft. out of the water, folks. No one is safe, I tell you. No one.

Something, of course, has to be done, so in steps the military, led by none other than Lorenzo Lamas. (Insert Falcon Crest flashback of your choice here.)

Even Lorenzo and his trademark ponytail are unable to stop the two monsters, who seem impervious to modern weaponry. The scientists, must therefore come up with a solution, or else, Lorenzo will go nuclear, wiping out ocean life as we know it.

Enter Capt. Sulu.

O.k., fine. It wasn't the actual Capt. Sulu. I have no idea who he really is, but he quite obviously adhered to the Star Trek method, favoring melodrama over, well, talent. After spending a stressful day pouring colored water from one beaker to another, side by side with Ms. Gibson, the two find themselves in love and in bed together where, in the afterglow of their harried copulation, they realize that pheromones are the key to catching the two deadly creatures.

I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't seen this cinematic classic yet, but don't worry. Ms. Gibson and her man will live to make a sequel. Of that, I am relatively certain.

In the meantime, I will try to reclaim the 40 IQ points I lost in those 2 hours. Maybe then I'll be able to figure out why the SciFi Channel is suddenly the SyFy Channel. Perhaps that's why they have to play such mind-numbingly crappy movies. Maybe they're hoping to lull their audience into such a stupor they won't notice that the new network name is dumber than the lineup.

Posted at 8:11 PM
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Raindrops keep fallin' on my head

11:00 p.m. last night, I was sleeping peacefully on my couch, listening subconsciously to an episode of Law & Order, when I heard the dripping. Again.

The next half hour was spent placing bowls and buckets at strategic points in my kitchen to catch the downpour coming from the Upstairs kitchen. Again.

Another half hour was spent moving all of my dishes from the flooded cabinet into the dishwasher. Again.

This morning I got a call from my Crazy Landlady's husband, who said he was sending over a plumber. Again.

And then I spent two hours disinfecting my entire kitchen. Again.

The plumber says the problem with the Upstairs drain is really fixed this time. Again.

And now? Now Upstairs is running their dishwasher and I am holding my breath.


Posted at 9:03 PM
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Men of Few Words

So, just after Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon, Youngest Nephew made an announcement to the whole family. Since he is only about 8 months old, he broadcast his news via a pre-printed onesie that read:
(On the Front)
May 20th
Save the Date

(On the back)
Future Big Brother
Needless to say, everyone was surprised, and everyone cheered, and the grandmothers cried a little, and there was a lot of hugging. And then? Then my dad turned and looked at my sister-in-law and said:
"Don't you people have a TV?"
Dad may be a man of few words, but the ones he utters are pretty much guaranteed to be priceless.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May all of your families be as fortunate as mine. :)

Posted at 8:38 PM

One Hit Wonders

Tonight, my regular Wednesday night crew won third place in our weekly trivia game at a local bar. We've been going to trivia night there fairly regularly for the past 5 or 6 months, but this was the first time we've ever placed. Sad, since we probably only won this week because we tripled our team size by bringing lots of extra friends (who, unfortunately, will probably never be able to come out with us again since they only made it this week because of the holiday).

Even with the reinforcements, the music round still kicked our ass. In fact, I think we did worse on that round tonight than we had done on any other week. And the saddest part? The entire round was 90's music. And all of us were teenagers in the 90s. We should know our 90s music.

In our defense, many of the songs they picked were one hit wonders, so while we were able to name the title, we had a hard time with the artist's name. And so, I leave you with question number 5, for your listening pleasure (and definitely not your viewing pleasure, since the shirt is completely early 90s hideous):

(And a special shout out to Austin City Limits. It doesn't get much better than that.)

Posted at 4:19 PM

Early to Bed...

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am off for the next three days. Then I have the weekend. That is 5 entire days without work. I'm not quite sure I know what to do with that much time off.

A good chunk of it (I hope) will be spent sleeping, an activity I plan to partake off in the next 30 minutes or so, to be honest. Lately, however, I've been having a hard time sleeping well--tossing and turning quite a bit. This morning's outburst from Upstairs Mother at 5:30 a.m. didn't help much. I'm not sure what she was screaming about (understandable, since she woke me up out of a dead sleep), but I did make out the words "responsibility" and "that's it" before she came charging down the back stairs to let the dog out for the morning. She screamed at him a couple of times to hurry up and then clomped back up to stomp around some more.

This was a very unpleasant way to wake up. It may even have been worse than the alarm clock, since I had never mistakenly set 5:30 a.m. as an appropriate time for such loud noises and Upstairs Mother apparently doesn't have a snooze function.

I also think I need a new pillow, as mine has lost all ability to support my weary noggin'. I actually looked at pillows today when I made a stop into Macy's. Imagine my shock when the pillow I picked ended up being $60...on sale. It was part of their Hotel Collection, and my overwhelming thought was: Does it come with maid service for that price?

Needless to say, I did not buy the $60 pillow. I figure it will be 6000% ff in a week or so, the way Macy's does things. Until then, I'll just keep wadding up what's left of my current one and make the best of it.

In fact, right now, even that flat crumpled mess sounds preferable to this couch, so I think it's time to turn in.

Posted at 11:14 PM
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Cliff Diving with the Undead

I just got home from seeing New Moon, and I have to say that, believe it or not, it was just as cheesy as the first one.

Edward still sparkles with too much body glitter, Jacob still can't act, the background music is still melodramatic, and the camera work still makes me dizzy.

Now, I am not anti-Twilight. I read all 4 books, and I enjoyed them, if not for the writing, at least for the story. But the general consensus this evening was that the books don't really lend themselves to film. At least, not a word-for-word adaptation. Because the words themselves were rather trite, and, unfortunately, so was the movie.

What was entertaining, however, was the 50-year-old man who sat in front of me. He had come to the movie with his wife, and his chuckle every time the teenage girls squealed at the shirtless werewolves-in-training was one of the best parts of the evening.

And you've got to appreciate any husband who would sit through a Twilight movie with his wife.

That is a devoted man.

Posted at 9:58 PM
Sitting on the couch with Winged Monkey, dueling computers, The Patriot on the TV. A few minutes ago, Mel rode across the screen carrying a tattered American flag. Now? Now he's melting down the last of his sons' toy soldiers to make the bullet with which he will kill his nemesis.

WM and I have enjoyed another lazy Sunday afternoon, and after having watched several episodes of Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU that Truman had recorded earlier in the week, we decided to take a break from all the serial killers so we could watch with incredulity as the British and Continental armies line up to fire at each other. And we both have the same question.

What genius thought up this tactic? I mean, seriously, people. There is honor and then there is stupidity, and if you ask me, the whole "let's march out into an open field...line up 30 yards apart...and fire at each other?" Well, I don't see much honor in mass suicide.

So, I guess I respect Mel's decision to go all guerrilla and hide out in the swamps and use trickery to win his battles. And how could he lose, what with all the American flags waving in slow motion all around him and his men? After all, what Australian actor worth his salt wouldn't rally his fictional troops at the site of the good ol' Star & Stripes? And he's got to win the war so he can make it home to his new wife...who happens to be his sister-in-law.

The more I watch this drivel, the more I understand the popularity of reality television. With writing this bad in Hollywood still producing a blockbuster, I'm not sure the absence of writing would really be noticed.

Thank goodness for my Kindle. 60 seconds to something smart and funny... completely without the melodramatic soundtrack.

Posted at 9:06 PM
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Tappin' Out

I'm having to blog from the Winged Monkey's iPhone tonight...because we're out watching UFC. Now, I'm not your typical UFC fan, but there are several things about fight night that I find rather entertaining:

First of all, WM's friend D is a wonderful host. He usually has a Cosmo or an Us Weekly mixed in with his Playboys, and he always burns a candle in the bathroom, so his bachelor pad is pretty chick friendly. And one of my favorite pizza places is in walking distance, so dinner is always yummy.

And the fights themselves?

Let's start with the nicknames: The New York Bad Ass...who just got his bad ass kicked. Little Nog, as opposed to his brother, Big Nog. And Christmas. Named after the character in Dumb & Dumber. There's a role model for you. Even the commentators had to say something about that one:
"Christmas" is original. We don't need another "Pitbull" in MMA, after all.
Then there's the announcer who, according to D, models his announcing style after William Shatner. His overdramatic movements keep throwing off the cameramen. He looks a little like a chubby Frankie Avalon, so I keep waiting for him to work in the phrase "Beach Blanket BIN-GO!" in his announcer style. Apparently he is the little brother of a more famous voice; I think the one that coined "Let's get ready to RUM-BLE!" Talk about living in a shadow.

And the outfits.

Tonight's fighters all seem to be sponsored by Venum, which despite the spelling, still makes me giggle when it's written across their crotch. That, coupled with the giant eyes across their ass, makes watching them bouncing around the ring pretty entertaining. And all of them have their own clothing line, or items featured in someone else's clothing line, so they walk through the crowd on their way in in one t-shirt and then they put on a different one when they are getting ready to talk to the host after the fight.

All of the shirts look pretty much alike: kinda of like a cotton version of a Harley Davidson. And they all have one word slogans, like Affliction or Punishment in tattoo style letters across their chest in shiny foil ink. Personally, I think the foil ink is a bit over the top, but I would never say that in front of the fighters. They are after all professional ass kickers.

But they do have hearts. They keep dedicating their fights to people. One guy dedicated his win to his grandmother who died of cancer a couple of weeks ago. That one I thought was touching. Not so much the guy who tried to dedicate the fight he lost. If I were the dedicatee, I think I'd be a bit embarrassed by that one. I imagine a lot of heckling going on on the other side right now.

The best part, though, has to be the fact that I am watching with two martial artists, which is kind of like watching a cooking show in Ramsey's living room. The conversation is 90% martial arts jargon (which, eerily enough, I am actually beginning to understand a bit), and every move is broken down and analyzed. Then the guys are yelling out move suggestions, as if the fighters can hear them through the TV. And finally, my favorite part, the guys will occasionally get up and act out what the fighters should have done. Two grown men. Wrestling in the living room.

Further evidence to support my theory that men stop maturing at 17.

I repeat my assertion from an earlier post: Cuteness makes up for a lot in this world.

Posted at 10:48 PM
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Laundry Room Etiquette

Dear Upstairs Neighbors-

Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to hire a maid to come out once a week to make a lot of noise vacuuming your 1400 square feet for 2 solid hours (usually when I come home for lunch) and to make a mess behind the fence by trying to pile all of your juice bottles into one recycling bin instead of using one of the other three that are on the ground beside it...empty. I'm not even sure how you are able to afford her services, since, like me, you are renting from Crazy Landlady because you can't afford to buy a house. But I guess I understand the need, since Upstairs mom works 3 days a week at a pre-school, and, therefore, obviously needs someone because her other 2 days a week, home by herself while your daughter is at school, couldn't possibly be enough time for her to vacuum and take out the trash herself.

I do not, however, understand your paying your maid to start the laundry while she is here, but then to leave 2 loads unfinished: 1 in the dryer, waiting to be folded, and the other sitting in the washer, still wet, growing mildew.

But mine is not to question why.


Your maid has done this every Friday for at least the 18 months I have lived here, so I do question the fact that you all seem to forget about these clothes every week, leaving them in the laundry room for up to 2 days, and preventing the other two tenants on the property from being able to wash, well, ANYTHING.

You three may be able to live without clean towels up there, and your daughter may not need her pink jeans for the next couple of days, but I need clean towels and socks and my favorite Saturday jammies.

Maybe you could ask your maid to leave your laundry basket (which is obviously not being used while all the clothes are in a holding pattern in the washer and dryer) in the laundry room. That way, I could move them out of my way so I can get my laundry done. I promise to put them back into the washer and dryer, and since you won't be going into the laundry room for a couple of days anyway, you really won't even notice.

Just a thought.

Posted at 6:32 PM
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I Give Up

I do not understand men.

Which is funny, since I rather like them.  One in particular. And I spend a lot of time with that one. And, more often than not, I quite enjoy all that time spent together.

And then?

And then I realize that I still don't understand them.

And apparently they don't quite get us either.

Which makes one wonder how the hell the race has survived this long if the two key components have such a difficult time communicating.

All I can figure's a good thing we find one another so darn cute.

Cuteness makes up for a lot in this world.

Posted at 10:05 PM
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Drinkin' the Kool-Aid

Half of today was spent in a meeting concerning school improvement, the main question being "How can we make the work we give our students more engaging?"

I'm all about the engaging work, but the last time this group met, one of the members later pointed out to me that lot of the buzz words being thrown around sounded very cult-like. So, today, I had to stop myself from giggling several times when I heard phrases like:

"motivational framework"


"It's all about the marketing"

or my personal favorite:

"recruitment and induction"

Reminded me of when my friend LW discovered Meeting Bingo (aka Bullshit Bingo) a few years back. She would show up at faculty meetings with cards printed out with educational terms in each square. I never won, but it sure made those meetings fly by.

Google it people. You won't be sorry.

Posted at 9:32 PM

Random Tuesday Work Stuff

1) Breakfast in the school cafeteria is one of my favorite parts of my job. For $1 I can get eggs and two slices of bacon. And this is good, old-fashioned, thick sliced, slightly chewy bacon. A couple of years ago, the head of food services tried to replace the eggs with an "egg-like product." It was supposed to be lower in fat and cholesterol. It was also much lower on the yummy scale. breakfast sales went down, and then? Then the principal, who is also a fan of the cafeteria breakfast, complained. Real eggs returned and there has been no discussion of "egg-like product" since.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the bacon is replaced by sausage patties that, while good, are no match for the greasy bacon. For this reason, my usual Tuesday/Thursday breakfasts are usually supplemented with a "morning glory" muffin: carrot/raisin/walnut + about 20 grams of fat.

Today was a muffin day.

2) After picking up breakfast, I usually head upstairs to my office where I inhale my food while reading the overnight emails and the usual morning "HELP!" messages, 90% of which are often the result of something being unplugged. Power cables, people. Check them.

3) The football team is currently making its way through playoffs...again. Part of their winning strategy apparently revolves around all the team members getting mohawks. For this reason, I really have quit noticing odd haircuts on the young men in the building. Until today. Today I found myself walking behind a young man who obviously was not a member of the football team, as he was foregoing the sporty mohawk for what has to be the best example of a mullet found outside Alabama since 1984. We're talking textbook. And the absolute best part? He had on a football jersey style shirt , but instead of a name across his back shoulders, it said "MULLET MILITIA."


4) This afternoon, I had to stay late for Child Abuse/Sexual Harassment compliance training. What did I learn?

*If I suspect a student is being abused, it is my responsibility to report it.

*If a co-worker is harassing me, it is my responsibility to tell him/her to stop.

*Most of my work friends and I are lucky we have found one another, and, apparently, we must be careful who we let hang out with us, as we violate most of the sexual harassment rules that were discussed today. Except the ogling. I don't really think I hang out with any oglers, and I'm pretty sure I've never ogled anyone myself.

Nope. We are ogle free.

Posted at 8:00 PM
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Dear Steve Jobs--

I have yet to join the ranks of iPhone users, not because I don't want one, but because I currently have an amazingly cheap cell phone plan that I share with Good Old Dad on one of the many networks not currently hosting iPhones. In fact, my cell bill is literally half what it would be were I to have an iPhone. And I currently have unlimited...everything.

Switching to AT&T's ridiculously priced iPhone data plans isn't really a viable options for a lowly teacher-type like myself who'd someday like to be able to afford a house of her own. Which is why I've been anxiously following the rumor mills about when Apple's exclusive agreement with AT&T might end. And that rumor mill keeps saying that day may be soon. Like possibly in the next 6-7 months soon.

So, I am waiting...patiently. But tonight? Tonight I learned that they have a Target app. It actually helps you shop by giving you the weekly ad, gift ideas, and even item location within your store.

WM was nice enough to download the free app. for me, but, since he avoids Target like the plague, it's not likely that I will soon be able to test out the item locator in the actual store. Not that I need it, since I pretty much have my Target memorized, and meandering around the store is part of the whole Target shopping experience anyway, but still...I'd like to have the option.

I would have thought that someone who started his company in a garage would understand being on a budget. Think back to those days, Mr. Jobs, as you look to the future of your famed device. Because I want that Target app, Mr. Jobs. I need that Target app. And right now? Your little deal with AT&T is the main thing standing in my way.

Posted at 11:07 PM
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Hello, Fall

One of the most confusing parts of living in Texas is the lack of clear seasons. You have hot, wet, or cold, and any of them can come at any time, though the cold is usually reserved for December through February, and even then, it is broken up with hot.

It's not unusual for New Year's day to be in the 70s, and I can't remember the last time we had snow on Christmas.

That's why this weekend shouldn't have made me blink, but I was still a little surprised when it reached almost 80 degrees today. And I was somewhat amused when I was perusing my weekly Target ad online, looking at artificial Christmas trees and inflatable yard ornaments while my neighbors were playing with their dogs outside...wearing shorts. Surreal.

And now? Now it is raining. Has been off and on for a couple of hours, and according to the forecast, this marks the beginning of a cold front. Tomorrow? Tomorrow is supposed to be 20 degrees cooler.

Of course, due to the inclement weather, I have put off doing laundry. Because who wants to slog through the rain to the laundry room in the backyard? So I'm not sure what I'll be wearing to work tomorrow.

Yet another reason for one of my lifelong goals: To find a job which would allow me to wear my pajamas all day long. Because how can you be in a bad mood in your pajamas? And if it was cool enough? I could break out the flannel. And who isn't productive in blue polka dot flannel pajamas, I ask you? Who?

Posted at 8:14 PM
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I do (again)

This afternoon, the WM was gracious enough to get all gussied up in his jacket and tie and escort me to a wedding.

The bride? Mime 3's mom.

The groom? A nice gentleman she had met on

The venue? A Unitarian church just two blocks room my house.

The wedding planner? My oldest friend, Beebs.

Most memorable part of the ceremony? When the minister told them they were husband and wife, and he couple went to kiss, the minister started clapping with his hands above his head, and WM leaned over and whispered "Touchdown!" in my ear.

Best outfit? Mime 3's bridesmaid's dress. Adorable.

Most memorable hair? Tie between Mime 3's younger cousin with her black hair with giant hot pink streak running through it and Bride's best friends fire engine red, waist length naturally curly hair. (I swear there was more hair than woman on that lady.)

Worst outfit? Again, a tie. WM liked the gold, wedding-cake-tiered mini dress (complete with "after market" double D boobs) on one lady; I found the oversized grey rhinestone-studded sweater (think Flashdance) with matching leggings and black patent stilettos to be the most interesting.

Line heard most often? "This is the last time, right?" (Because this was, after all, the Bride's third wedding, and even Mime couldn't disagree when two different guests said that to her in a 10 minute span.)

But even with the overly obvious jokes about "third time's a charm," I had to admit that the Bride? Well, she's a brave soul. In her 50s, two previous marriages and who knows how many other break ups under her belt, and yet...she still believes in love and in making a commitment. That's more than a lot of us who have lived through a lot less are able to do.

Here's to hoping that they find with each other a partnership that lives up to such high expectations. Salut!

Posted at 10:23 PM

Not to whine...

...but could they please make the Victoria's Secret commercials shorter or something? Or maybe they could just play them less often? I'm not one to have a lot of body image issues, but I also get tired of watching the nearly naked women prancing around in their new push-up bra that adds "up to 2 cup sizes."

Here's a shocker: most super models don't need to add 2 cup sizes. That's one of the reasons they are supermodels. Especially the ones that got the Victoria Secret gig.

And what happen to the Dove "real beauty" ads? It was nice to see normal pretty women for a change, as opposed to the airbrushed types. (Which, btw, can now be achieved at home with the airbrush makeup I saw in the latest Sephora email.)

Because I don't know about the rest of the women out there, but I don't spend a whole lot of time draping myself across satin chairs or high-heeling it in a bra and panties through the ballroom of someone's mansion.

I sleep in cotton pjs...on flannel a home minus a ballroom...with cracked linoleum in the kitchen.

Linoleum can be sexy.

Posted at 7:15 PM
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Another one bites the dust...

Poor Joss Whedon. His latest FOX network show, Dollhouse, has apparently been canceled. When will he learn to find a new network?
Granted, I'm biased. I am a complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer freak and I love Firefly, too. And Dollhouse? I thought the first season was great. Even WM enjoyed watching it with me. Not as certain about the second season, but knowing how Whedon plans huge story arcs well in advance, I was willing to trust him. Besides, most of the other shows on TV were beginning to all run together into one big courtroom/emergency room/doctor/lawyer/police officer drama.

Oddly enough, on my quote of the day iGoogle widget, Joss & Co. were one of the featured quotes:

Sometimes people are layered like that. There's something totally different underneath than what's on the surface. But sometimes, there's a third, even deeper level, and that one is the same as the top surface one. Like with pie.
Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, 2008

See why I like this man? Who doesn't like pie quotes?

At least there's still Glee...for now. (Fingers crossed.)

Posted at 6:47 PM
Tonight was trivia night again, and our team managed to add two new members to the mix. Our standings, however, remained pretty much...abysmal.

While I knew Doc Severinsen and Doc Hollywood, no one at our table knew Dr. Tim Whatley from Seinfeld. We knew what color the 2 ball is in pool, but none of us had a clue how many stitches were on a regulation baseball.

Moral of the evening?

The bulk of my knowledge is so useless it's not even good for trivia night.


And I'm beginning to get a little testy about the fact that these tables of 19 and 20-year-old college kids are skunking us every week. They apparently know every useless fact out there.

I thought they were all supposed to be on drugs. Or at least so drunk they can barely stand up, much less identify which President was the first to attend a Major League baseball game in Canada.

Maybe there is hope for this world yet. Maybe, just maybe, the fact that these kids know that the average American uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day will encourage them to recycle to save the toilet-paper-making trees.


Posted at 10:17 PM
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I want to be smart, like Jasper Fforde

Being the bookish Daisy that I am, I get email alerts from most major book chains. Of note this week? Half Price Books mailed out coupons for their big sale this--50% off a single item on Sunday, etc., and they announced they were opening at 7:00am the day after Thanksgiving. I could handle that early in the bookstore much more easily than I can handle that early in a toy store (and don't think I haven't done the latter...more than once. I am a Wonderful Aunt, after all).

Even better, Barnes & Nobe sent out a notice that I can now order the latest from Jasper Fforde. Fforde is one of those writers that makes me love writing, makes me think writing a novel would be fun, and makes me feel completely inadequate as a quasi-intellectual.

I love him for all of these reasons.

If you haven't had the privilege of reading The Eyre Affair, and if you happen to be a lover of British classics, then you really don't know what you are missing. The whole premise is that people and fictional characters can move between the real world and the fictional world, and the British government has an entire division of literary detection to help investigate crimes resulting from the bending of the line between the two. The book is smart. funny, and, above all, original.--a rarity in most new fiction as far as I'm concerned.

The sequels are just as good, and now? Now Fforde has taken up a new idea...a colortocracy. His newest novel, Shades of Grey, looks to be the usual Fforde absurd satire that I so envy and that I, of course, can't resist pre-ordering.

So, yeah, I'm a successful product of marketing. But if it means 400 pages of witty fun? I don't mind so much being a statistic.

Posted at 8:05 PM
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Tricycles and Buffalo

So, D came over for dinner tonight with the Winged Monkey and I. I fixed an great pot roast courtesy of a recipe posted by Uncle Bill. We ate. A lot. And then? Then I fell asleep. Because that's what Daisy does when she has eaten a lo and had a glass of wine.

But before and after my nap we watch recordings of Derren Brown, a British mentalist. So far I have seen him find a hidden necklace in Venice, predict the word associations of a waitress and a psychiatrist, foresee the bright shoes of the female accountant who guessed the correct number of jelly beans in a jar.

Maybe it's my sleepy state. Maybe it's the wine. Maybe it's the pot roast hangover that's already begun. Whatever it is, I'm rather impressed. Especially since Mr. Brown is very up front about the fact that he is not psychic, but rather that he is reading all sorts of subconscious clues his audience are giving out or that he is planting suggestions when he speaks to them.

Wonder what it would be like to date him? No more excuses about not being able to read your mind. And you would always get what you wanted for your birthday.

And he has that cute British accent.


Posted at 11:06 PM
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Weathervanes and other fashion choices

This evening,the Winged Monkey and I went to see Law Abiding Citizen with WM's friend, D. D knows about my crush on Gerard Butler, so he had no problems with my drooling over Gerard's ass shot or giggling like a school girl over the ab shot that followed. (Oh, those abs.)

Other than the token skin shots, the movie itself was rather unremarkable. A bit gory in parts, a bit slow in others, occasionally surprising, annoyingly aphoristic. The crowd in the theater was far more entertaining.

First there was the transvestite-wanna-be I saw as we were walking into the theater. His bleach blond pixie haircut actually came strutting out of the women's restroom carrying a black patent leather tote bag. The problem was he is still very obviously male, so at first I thought maybe he had just robbed someone.

Then there was a little old man in a baby blue sport coat outside the men's restroom. He'd was a victim of the bowing over process that begins around age 65, and by the looks of him, he'd lost that fight years ago. He looked like he was permanently bowing his head to say grace, the bald spot in the center of his head reflecting the overhead lights straight into the eyes of innocent passersby.

Finally, there was Ugg Girl and her Calf Boot Friend. These two young ladies could not have been more than 16, and yet, they were doing their best to resemble two 28-year-old Canadian street walkers. I especially liked the fur-lined boots paired with the denim Daisy Duke shorts and white t-shirt. Because, lord knows the boots are gonna keep your ass warm.

I don't think I will ever understand that kind of fashion choice. Call me crazy, but I like to pick a season and stick with it throughout the entire ensemble. And aren't Uggs over yet? I though we were done with that already? I wanted to tell her: "You're not skiing. You're not surfing. You're not an Eskimo. What's up with the furry footwear?"

Instead, I laughed as D ogled their derrieres. And I wasn't the least bit offended. Anyone dressed like that is begging to be looked at, almost as certainly as they are asking to catch a cold. ;)

Posted at 8:38 PM
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A little happy to start the day

In my role as Wonderful Aunt I kind of started a Halloween tradition with my nieces and nephews. Every year (with the exception of 3 when we couldn't manage to coordinate it) for the past 15 years, we have decorated pumpkins. I say "decorate" because we don't carve. I refuse to be responsible for one of the munchkins losing a finger, and there's a very good chance that I would cut off one of my own, so early on we decided painting and gluing were the way to go.

We have had cowboy pumpkins, cheerleader pumpkins, vampire pumpkins, clown pumpkins, fisherman pumpkins, construction worker name it, we have pumpkinized it.

This year?


Youngest Nephew as Pooh with his friend Tigger-pumpkin.

I love being an aunt. :)

Posted at 8:11 AM
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World Edict #1

When I finally become Supreme Daisy of the Universe, my first order of business will be to outlaw alarm clocks.

Now, I know many people out there are shaking their heads and thinking of the current violence in the Middle East, famine in Africa, the plight of homeless children, and the myriad of diseases that for which the world desperately needs cures. But I am telling you, alarm clocks have got to be the first order of business if any good is ever to come out of this world.

You see, all of those other issues? They require thought. And empathy. And creativity. And the general desire to do good. None of these is possible when one is jolted awake mid-dream by the cursed alarm clock contraption.

The human mind and the human body require sleep. Millions of years of evolution have tweaked the circadian rhythm to insure optimum performance. And yet? Modern man has decided to chuck it all in favor of some backlit LED display with a snooze button that most definitely results in the loss of that all important gray matter housed in our little skulls.

And I don't think it makes a difference if you are forcefully pulled from your pleasant slumber by an obnoxious beep, or Steve Inskeep's Morning Edition croon, or the oinking of digital pigs a la Laurali Gilmore. Anything that usurps your body's own control over when it decides it is time to start the day must be deemed evil, and these devices must be annihilated.

Trust me on this. Blow up the alarm clocks, and world peace won't be far behind.

*Image stolen from, and I have no idea where they got it from.

Posted at 7:16 AM
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You know I love you when...

1. I let you eat the leftover pizza when it is a variety I actually like.
2. You are allowed possession of Truman's remote control.
3. I happily share my favorite chenille woobie with you.
4. You regularly get to drive Twiggy.
5. There is beer in my fridge.
6. I find your snoring cute.
7. I am willing to watch multiple episodes of Locked Up Abroad.
8. I enjoy kissing you even after you've just eaten herring.
9. I buy granola (for you, of course).
10. I let you wear a pair of my fuzzy booties to keep your big ol' feet warm, and I don't email a picture of you in them to all of your friends.

Posted at 9:59 PM
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Reveille and Other Morning Tragedies

I had planned to wake up early and write a blog about Reveielle. More specifically, I was going to write about how Upstairs Dad has decided it's cute to wake up Upstairs Daughter every morning this week by playing Reveille on their new piano.

I don't find it cute. I find Reveille on the piano at 6:30 a.m. to should I say this? Oh yeah. OBNOXIOUS. Especially when you can't even play it right. It's supposed to be fast. Peppy, even. It's supposed to get you moving. It is not supposed to sound like someone shot the horn out on a car.

Anyway, I shall spare you my Reveille rant because I couldn't hear the song this morning. It was drowned out, quite literally, by the sound of running water. In the kitchen. Where said water was running out of the ceiling and on to my floor. Again. :(

And Crazy Landlady? Well, she has abdicated all responsibility which means I had to talk to Squirrelly-Eyed Landlord Guy about the 5 gallons of water pouring out of the overhead light fixture and the dish cabinets.

This is the third time in 18 months that this has happened, and Landlord is just getting the gist of the issues with the plumbing here. He thinks we should hire someone to come out and take a good look at the pipes in the house. You think? I've had three kitchen floods and 3 calls to roto-router in the past 18 months.

In the meantime, I've mopped the kitchen twice, had a couple of drinks at dinner, and am sporting my favorite red fuzzy booties. Here's to hoping the booties stay dry!

Posted at 8:40 PM
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Work in Progress

This weekend I had the brilliant (read that with a sarcastic tone) idea to look for a new template for the blog.

I did a little Googling and, low and behold, I discovered thousands of free templates . A click click here, a click click there, and tada: the new and improved Daisies Don't Have Thorns.

Of course, I am leaving out the part during which I stayed up until 4:30 Sunday morning working out some of the resulting issues. And the part during which I spent Monday afternoon tweaking the sidebar. And the part during which I spent the better part of 2 days trying to figure out how to get the timestamp to display the way I wanted it. And the tags. And the menu bar across the top. And the little RSS feed button at the top of the page (which wasn't "little" enough originally).

And I'm still not done.

Has me thinking:

When I was in the 1st grade, my teacher called my mother to request a conference about my performance in class. The teacher tried to tell my mother that she was concerned about the amount of time it was taking me to complete my worksheets and handwriting assignments. Turns our I was having issues with mistakes. As in I didn't want anyone to think I made them. So, of course, I couldn't stand erasure marks on my papers. So I didn't erase. Ever. If I made a mistake? I had to start over. Completely. No matter how close to being finished I was.

A bit obsessive? Maybe.

I remember my teacher pulling me aside and telling me that it was o.k. if I had to erase because just about everything we were doing in class was practice, and practice is the time when you are supposed to mess up. It seemed so simple when she put it like that. Made perfect sense.

May we never forget that most of our life is practice, that mistakes are part of the learning process, and that ignoring or, even worse, hiding our mistakes only makes us forget just how far we have come.

Posted at 9:27 PM
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My family are not tattoo people. As far as I know, neither my parents nor any of my siblings has ever given in to the call of the inking needle.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against body art. Most of my close friends have sat in the chair and come away marked with everything from a compass rose to Rosie the Riveter.

Still, when the Winged Monkey was looking through this gallery, I had to wonder if tattooing might not need to be outlawed. At the very least, people should have to take a breathalyzer and a drug test before they are allowed to have Jimmy Carter emblazoned on their ass.

Or Judge Judy.

Or...Michael Moore?

There should be laws.

*All pictures from Metromix Chicago.

Posted at 10:25 PM
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Old Habits Die Hard

Time was when I spent the majority of my nights snuggled up with my laundry. Never very romantic, but I was a very single Daisy and being the petite flower that am, I really had very little use for the entire queen size bed. And being disinclined to folding my laundry after I washed it, I saw no reason why the giant pile of clothes shouldn't find repose on the empty side of the bed.

This was also the same period when I was perfectly capable of functioning just fine on 3-4 hours of sleep. Mime 3 and myself would venture out to concerts or movie previews three nights a week, usually making a stop for pancakes or late night Mexican food on the way home. I'd tumble into bed around 2 in the morning, only to be up by 6:00 to be teaching by 7:20, and I never felt I skipped a beat.

Apparently, in the last 10 years, I have gotten old.

This fact was pointed out to me yesterday afternoon during my first visit to the rock climbing gym in a month. The first run up a route, and I screwed up my back reaching for a hold.

I hurt my back.

The quintessential old guy joke was playing out on me, and all I could do was lie down on the mat a pry for the cramping muscle to relax so I could possibly stand back up again.

My back ached most of last night, contributing to my staying up until almost 5:00 a.m. Unlike my post-concert mornings of yore, however, I have had a sleep-deprived headache most of the day, and I'm going to be struggling to stay awake through dinner this evening.

And the laundry? Well, the Winged Monkey takes up a lot of space when he stays over, so the laundry has been relegated to the dresser. not in the dresser, mind you, but rather a giant pile on top of the dresser. Apparently laziness is something one doesn't outgrow, a fact that I find somewhat fortuitous, since otherwise I wouldn't be able to find my socks since I can't really bend over at the moment.


Posted at 6:32 PM

They bought a piano.

Yep. You read that right. They. Bought. A. Piano. The "they" being my upstairs neighbors. They bought a piano and moved it upstairs yesterday afternoon.

Fortunately, I missed the whole moving-a-piano-up-the-staircase-and-around-the-turn-on-the-landing process. The Winged Monkey? Not so lucky. He was at my place, getting my computer ready for a Windows 7 upgrade (I'm sure there will be more on that in the coming days) when the moving in began. And when it finally ended an hour later. He had been relieved when the initial playing had stopped:
WM (whispering): Whoever is up there stumbled through a couple of songs, but they didn't finish any of them, and the songs really didn't flow into one another very well, so it wasn't like a medley.

And they weren't very good.

And you couldn't drown them out, no matter how high you turned up the tv.
Fortunately, the concert ended after a half hour or so. Only to be followed by the professional carpet cleaners. (Believe you me, my upstairs neighbors are carpet cleaning fools.)

I made it home about 15 minutes before my neighbors returned...with their 10-year-old daughter...who hadn't known about the piano...until she stomped upstairs to find her dad playing (here's one of the best parts) Jingle Bells.
WM (still whispering): Have we had Thanksgiving yet?
Daisy: I have got to move.
What followed was about 20 minutes of random playing, mostly Jingle Bells (well, part of Jingle Bells), a few runs up and down the keys, a half dozen scales. And then? Quiet.
Daisy's head: Maybe it won't be so bad.

Then this morning? 8:30 a.m.? The plunking begins.

I think it's supposed to be the beginning of "Ode to Joy."

I am not smiling.

Posted at 8:43 AM
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There will come soft rains...

...and hard rains...and drizzly rains...and cold rains...and any other type of rain you can imagine. For days. And days. And nights. And days.

I'm all about the rainy Sundays when I can stay on the couch with the Winged Monkey, watching tv and eating Thai take out, but I'm not all about rainy Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday evenings, etc., etc., etc. The past two weeks? Rain and wind. And more rain. And more wind. And just when you think it's done? And just when you step outside to catch a glimpse of the long-lost sun? More rain.

I keep thinking of the old Ray Bradbury short story "All Summer in a Day" where the sun only comes out for a couple of hours every 7 years.

I can't wait 7 years.

This is why I don't think I could ever live in Washington. Or Oregon. Or anywhere else where it rains 250 days out of the year. My house is damp, my backyard is flooded, my knees are aching, and my allergies have gone ballistic. I need sun. Not necessarily heat, but definitely sun.

How does that chic in Twilight stand it?

Posted at 7:45 PM

Howdy, Folks!

(Official State Fair of Texas image linked from

During Fair time, my dad likes to call my sister and I and leave
voicemails in the guise of Big Tex.
Explains a lot about my upbringing, no?

Last night marked my last visit to this year's State Fair of Texas, which, for those of you who don't watch Oprah may not know, happens to be the largest state fair in the nation. And this year? It was definitely smaller.

No Budweiser Clydesdale horses.
Fewer giant pigs.
Fewer bunnies.
Fewer vendor booths.
Smaller crowds (except on the day Oprah broadcast live from the main stage).

Obvious signs of economic downturn.

Thankfully, some things remained blissfully the same.

The audience plant still fell in the pond during the Birds of the World Show (sorry for the spoiler).

The fried food selection was still sickeningly large (but the deep fried butter wasn't half bad).
(Have no idea who to credit because the photo was all over Google images.)
Deep Fried Butter--Tasted kind of like a super buttery biscuit.

And the cinnamon rolls? Do you even have to ask? They are still...hands favorite cinnamon treat on the planet. (And those familiar with my love of most things cinnamon know that that is saying quite a lot.)

So, the run down?
4 trips to the fair in an 8 day period. During which I ingested: a giant turkey leg, an order of deep fried pork chips, Golden Chick chicken tenders, 3 slices of pizza, an order of fried pork ribs (with fries), half an order of Jack's Fries, a barbecue sandwich, an order of deep fried butter, 3 glasses of lemonade, 5 bottles of water, a sprite, a frozen Lemon Chill...and 6 cinnamon rolls. Of course, 2 of the cinnamon rolls were taken home for breakfast the day after a visit, but they were purchased with fair coupons, so they count as fair food. (According to fair rules.)

What can I say? There is no moderation in Fair World. You are constantly surrounded by food...and pictures of food...and the smell of food...and people cooking food...and folks giving away samples of food...and fair-goers lining up for food at booths covered in descriptions of food. Food is everywhere, and it is waiting to be eaten and enjoyed by you as you walk down the midway being tempted on one side by the barkers wanting you to pay a dollar to see the world's smallest horse (Tiny Tim) or carnies on the other wanting you to pay two dollars to try to catapult a rubber chicken into a revolving kitchen pot.

Needless to say, I gained about 5 pounds this past week, but that's pretty much par for the Fair course. Besides, I plan on running most of it off during this weekend's Race for the Cure. And Fair pounds are not allowed to count, since they only come once a year. They are like birthday cake or Christmas cookie calories. Besides, you can't count food that is purchased with State Fair coupons! You already burned hundreds of calories standing in line at the damn kiosks to swap your money for the official currency of the State Fair of Texas.

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly those coupons seem to disappear out of your pocket. Magic really. One minute you have $100 cash. You stand in line for a bit and suddenly you have no cash, but you have 10 sheets of blue coupons. You stand in line a little longer and before you know it you have no coupons...but you are holding an nearly empty cup of lemonade and are searching for a napkin to mop the remnants of fried butter off your chin. And the whole time you've got this stupid, almost childlike grin on your face.

See what I mean? Magic.

Or perhaps an altered mental state brought on by the onslaught of country music being piped all over the fair grounds.

It's a toss up.

Posted at 7:13 PM
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Never in my life did I think a pair of D cups would inhibit my work.

A) My boobs are nowhere near that size.
B) I work in public education, so I could never afford a boob job.
C) A new set was not among the birthday presents I received earlier this week.
D) I'm pretty much against implants in non-reconstructive circumstances.
E) I work in computers. In schools. Really, the only computer-big boob correlation I can think of is the pornographic kind, and I'm fairly certain most of those women aren't visiting high schools.

Well, except one mom.
And she wasn't in a porn so much as she's been charged with prostitution.
Charged, but not convicted.
And she says she's running a massage business.
So, yeah, how'd you like to be that mom's kid this week when she showed up on campus to volunteer? (And, yes, "volunteer to do what?" jokes abound.)

Anyway, they weren't her implants that were in my way Thursday. These implants belonged to a man. A plastic surgeon, actually, who was a guest speaker at school and who thought the kids would enjoy feeling some fake boobs. Well, duh!

So, yeah, I actually got to utter the sentence, "Excuse me sir, would you mind holding your implants for a moment while I hook up your computer?"

There are some days that my job is fairly entertaining.

Posted at 9:12 AM
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If I ever find myself on the receiving end of a marriage proposal, it had better not be during the pre-joust knighting ceremonies at Medieval Times.

I don't want to sound snotty or elitist or superior, but Medieval Times? We are talking about a venue that forces you to eat with your hands while wearing an adjustable paper crown, for crying out loud. Not exactly the first scene that comes to mind when I picture someone professing his undying devotion to me.

And yet, tonight I witnessed this very thing. Which brings to mind two questions: 1) Did the girl accept? and 2) What was Daisy doing at Medieval Times?

I ended up at Medieval Times as part of their Educator Appreciation Night, where they invite teachers to come to the dinner show for free, and give you goodies (like a mouse pad and a behind-the-scenes DVD and a pen), and try to convince you to bring your students to one of their "educational shows".

Several members of our English department had receive invitations, and I was lucky enough to be invited as the guest of one of my former departmental colleagues, who I shall refer to as Gatbsy because a) he teaches American literature, and b) he is from Michigan, which is close enough to Minnesota for me, and c) he spends every summer on one of the Great Lakes and comes back to school blond and tan.

Gatsby and myself were joined by two other ladies from the department and the husband of one of them. Several other teachers were supposed to have joined the group but as is often the case with teacher's, they bailed on Friday night plans because the week just wore them out.

So, the five of us, sitting in the black and white knight's section, spent slurping soup out of our bowls and watching melodrama on horseback. Aside from the garlic bread, to which I am always partial, the best part of the evening was listening to one of my female companions screaming "Champions!" at the top of her lungs as she waved her hands excitedly in the air after our knight had defeated one of his less chess-board-ish-ly clad competitors. I bet she wouldn't object to being proposed to at Medieval Times.

As for the actual proposee, she did accept, and so is now officially a Medieval Bride-to-Be. I assume that she and her future hubby will follow in the footsteps of another happy couple announced that evening an will spend their 5th anniversary at The Castle, as the Medieval groupees like to call it. Of course, I'm sure the whole thing seemed romantic after downing one of the 40 oz. margaritas they were selling outside the dining hall.

Note to self: there is a reason they sell such large drinks at events like Medieval Times.

Posted at 10:40 PM
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Channel Flipping at 3 a.m.

One of the many side effects of school starting is the disruption of my normal sleep schedule. During the summer months, I feel like a cross between a teenager and an elderly woman: staying up until 2 a.m., taking naps in the middle of the afternoon. The start of school means the end of naps, which turns my 2 a.m. bedtime into something closer to 7 p.m.

Of course, I use the term "bedtime" loosely, as I typically fall asleep on my couch for a couple of hours, wake up, and shuffle down the hall to collapse in bed for the rest of the night.

The problem? Falling asleep early tends to make me wake up earlier than 3 a.m. early, apparently.

I was hoping a little TV would lull me back into oblivion for a couple more hours, but that plan has been nixed. Why? Possibly because 3 a.m. TV is a frightening experience that could lead to nothing but nightmares.

Without a Trace on TNT: because being a single woman awake in a house alone at 3 a.m. isn't sad enough, now I have to be afraid that I could be abducted by the pizza delivery guy, or worse, the Winged Monkey who I may have failed to notice is really a sociopathic drug dealer.

Or an infomercial for Slim in 6 two channels over: because being surrounded by anorexic 17-year-old girls and the tradition of post-30 ballooning bottoms on my mother's side of the family isn't enough to make a girl body conscious; now I have to watch complete strangers, many of which are currently as thin as I am, talk about their weight loss struggles.

Then there's Hardball Weekend on one of the news channels, which sounds like porn but is really politics--not that there's much difference between the two, since it's a bunch of unattractive people yelling and groaning, and it's all for show, and no one ever really does anything, though someone's sex life is frequently the topic of conversation.

One more channel and you hit Suze Orman, who let's face it, is just altogether frightening. The contrast between her overly tan skin and her shockingly white teeth is rather unsettling. And what's with the pointing? She keeps pointing at you the whole time. And the cadence of her speech? I can't quite place it, but it comes close to Jack Nicholson's monologue in A Few Good Men, so I always feel like she's barking "You can't handle your finances!"

And we wonder why Americans, with their average 2.4 TVs per household, suffer from growing rates of depression and anxiety. Duh! Look at the shit we are watching! And that's at 3 a.m. In the middle of the afternoon? Well, you have soap operas (pick one) where no one every really knows who their daddy is, or you have Law & Order SVU where a woman gets raped, murdered, and, more often than not, chopped into little pieces every hour on the hour.

And the children's stations? Lilo & Stitch. Aliens, people. Aliens. And I don't care how cute he is, or how much he looks like a cuddly blue koala bear. Have you seen the teeth on that thing? My advanced education has taught me that most creatures with teeth like that like to eat meat and that little Lilo is a plump little thing with golden brown skin...kinda like a rotisserie chicken. Perfect for an alien snack if you ask me.

It's disturbing, people. Disturbing and dark in a way that only a breakfast of leftover pizza and vanilla wafers, enjoyed while listening to the testimony of actual Bowflex users, can cure.

Posted at 4:06 AM
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Can't remember if I've ever written about it before, but there is a house in my neighborhood that is the local cat morning hangout. If I run early enough, my path is repeatedly crossed by local felines as they meander over for their morning communal.

I always assumed that the house belonged to a Cat Lady, and I secretly noted its existence as a cautionary tale of what I hope to avoid in my life. In addition to my severe cat allergy, I also refuse to get sucked into that particular stereotype.

Several months ago, I caught my first glimpse of Cat Lady, only to learn that she was actually a he: a barrel chested waddler of a man who was wearing a blue velour-ish sweat suit the first time I caught a glimpse.

This morning? He came out in a baseball cap. And a yellow button-down shirt. And a towel. Yep. Cat Man waddled outside in his towel to get the morning paper and put out breakfast for his four-legged neighborhood friends (one of which was lounging on top of Cat Man's old Cadillac giving himself an early bath).

I has to turn away when Cat Man bent over to pick up the paper, for fear that that towel might break free and I might get my second glance of an elderly gentleman's ass in little more than a week. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I don't feel like I'm spoiling anything when I tell you that the hospital scene in The Hangover has scarred me for life. No man will ever get to make cellulite jokes in my presence again now that I know just how other-worldly their asses have the potential to become. Close your eyes ladies. Close. Your. Eyes.

Posted at 8:21 AM
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Friday Night Lights Out

Last night I went to dinner with the Mighty Mime Mafia. Over pasta and sangiovese, myself and Mime 4 were comparing our level of first-week-of-school exhaustion. 4 remembered how our first year teaching one of our mentors had warned us that we would finish each day of the first week by crawling into bed at 6:30pm and passing out. 12 years later, it still surprises me how tired I am this first week.

It's a lot like running. I haven't run in two weeks--mainly because the back-to-school rush makes it uber-difficult for me to pull my butt out of bed early enough in the mornings--and I am dreading my planned run tomorrow because I've lost my momentum, so it's almost like the first run all over again. School is like that. The first week is building up momentum to push you through the rest of the year (or at least until Labor Day weekend in another week).

So I guess I shouldn't feel all that old for having fallen asleep last night at the oh-so-late hour of 8:30 p.m. Nor should I feel old for actually being happy to be sitting on my couch on a Friday night, looking forward to falling asleep while reading.

Posted at 8:14 PM


The NaBloPoMo topic for this month is tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. By 8 a.m. 1900+ students and 200 faculty and staff members will all converge on the building, and right about that time, my phone will start to ring.

This past week has been all about preparing for the first day back, and as evidenced by my lack of posting, it pretty much took over my life. I worked late every day this week, answered emails up until 10:00 p.m. some nights, and I even spent 4 hours yesterday and 2 hours this afternoon up at work, trying to finish preparing computers and projection systems for the first day back.

Tomorrow I will be carried along on a wave of adrenaline and panic. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be multiple rooms where sound won't be working for some odd reason, and at least one teacher will somehow mysteriously rewire her document camera so that she can't see her computer displayed on her monitor. And then there will be the teacher who calls me in a panic, and the problem will turn out to be a power plug pulled out of its socket. Those calls are hard to finish without embarrassing someone: They always want to know what was wrong, and when I tell them, they inevitably turn bright red.

Tomorrow I will run myself ragged, I will probably get 10 minutes for lunch, and I will stumble home late for dinner and will fall asleep on the couch before the take-out arrives.

Tomorrow I will know what to expect the rest of the year. The tone will be set, the whiners will be identified, and the heroes will be revealed.

But it's not tomorrow yet. Today, I have a few more hours of "vacation" during which I plan to park my scrawny butt on my recently vacuumed couch, in my recently cleaned living room, to read my not-so-recently downloaded novel on my beloved Kindle, Kipling.

For the moment, the phone is quiet and life is good.

Posted at 5:05 PM
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CSI: The Suburbs

This morning I am lying peacefully in bed, minding my own business, dreaming my little Daisy dreams when I am jolted awake by some woman yelling outside.

Now, I live in a nice neighborhood. Scratch that. I live in a very nice neighborhood. So, we don't have much screaming outside at 4:00 a.m., especially not since the folks who used to live next door to me got divorced and moved away. We also don't get many 4:00 a.m. visits from four police patrol cars like he ones that were camped out in front of my house for an hour and a half (one of which is still there). Makes a girl curious as to what exactly happened on her street at 4:00 a.m. Which explains why this morning I got to play the role of Gladys on Bewitched, peeking out the window for over an hour, watching the police officers as they shined their Maglites up and down the block finally converging on a suspicious car parked in front of my new neighbors' house. (Suspicious, of course, because 5 police officers were all shining flashlights into all the windows while they made notes.)

Now another car has arrived, and the driver (a man wearing an official looking monogrammed golf shirt) has joined the sole remaining officer in shining his much smaller flashlight into the windows of the aforementioned suspicious vehicle.

After all of the NCIS and Law & Order marathons I've been watching with Winged Monkey lately, I have this overwhelming urge to go outside and start "canvasing the neighborhood" for any "leads" on the "perp". Of course, I would probably be more effective if I actually knew what the hell had happened to prompt so much attention from the local five-o. The bad news is, I don't really know my neighbors all that well, so I'm probably going to have to wait until Monday when I can ask the officer assigned to our campus at work to find out the details for me.

In the meantime, I now understand why Gladys was always spying from her kitchen window. The whole nosy neighbor routine makes a girl hungry. Unfortunately, I ate all the leftovers in the fridge for dinner last night, so there's not much available in the way of breakfast. :(

I wonder if they would stop me for questioning if I left my house to make a run to Taco Cabana?

Posted at 5:42 AM
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Sid Caesar Lives

Last night was trivia night again, and our usual group welcomed redheadedali to the ranks. (You can read her wonderful post recently featured on The Enchanted Inkpot here.) Consequently, we kicked some Name That Tune Round ass, since in addition to being generally brilliant, redheadedali is pretty much a walking music encyclopedia.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only round out of 8 in which we fared at all well.

Out of a possible 80 points, we scored a measly 35 1/2. Pathetic. We didn't even manage half of the answers in the Nerd Round. Do you have any idea how demoralizing that is to a table of self-proclaimed uber-nerds?

Even Winged Monkey was shocked at our poor showing, especially when I revealed that I had been unable to remember the name of Crockett's pet alligator in Miami Vice in the Television Round. (WM was apparently a big Miami Vice fan during his teen years and has been making Miami Vice references sporadically ever since the new Psych commercial featuring the Miami Vice theme song started airing.)

The night was not a complete loss, however. I learned that Sid Caesar, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Yogi Berra are all still alive and well; I learned that Lou Gehrig was the first athlete featured on a Wheaties box (our guess, Bruce Jenner, was second); and I learned that people drive on the left side of the road in Malta. Much knowledge was added to my store of useless facts.

At least I can feel secure in the knowledge that I remembered Rose's hometown of St. Olaf on The Golden Girls. Because really, when it comes right down to it, Rose makes just about everyone smile. While Zsa Zsa? Well, she's hit or miss in the smile department.

Posted at 7:37 PM
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Winding Down

Every day the summer winds down a little faster. Last week I spent three days up at work, teaching classes and ordering new computers. The building was still relatively empty of teachers, but the custodial and maintenance crews were out in full force, painting and cleaning carpets. The football and volleyball players have already taken up residence in the gym and stadiums. And the city road crew is scurrying to finish repairs on the main street that runs alongside the high school before the full faculty returns next Monday.

This morning I automatically woke up at 6:00 and was only able to stall my morning run for 30 minutes before my brain wouldn't allow me anymore time in bed. It's almost as if over the years my body has amended my natural circadian rhythm to self-adjust for fall. This time next week I'll be up an hour earlier, and my nose will be firmly planted against the proverbial grindstone.

Part of me is ready to get back to work. A girl can only watch so many episodes of Law and Order and Burn Notice, after all. But another part of me is in no hurry to once again deal with the mechanical minutia of my job. Sometimes, I miss the actual classroom. Not the papers, or the grade grubbing, or the overly-involved parents who haven't yet realized that little Timmy is now old enough to be charged with a felony and therefore needs to be responsible for turning in his homework. I don't miss any of that nonsense, not for half a second. But I do miss the discussions, and the discovery, and the sense of family and purpose I used to have with my students.

I got an email from a former student last week. I had him in class 6 years ago, and last Tuesday, out of the blue, he sends me an email to say thank you for always being in a good mood in his class and for being a good teacher to him and his friends. I have no idea what event in his life made him think of me and my class, or what was so powerful as to make him take the time to sit down, find my new school, and email me, but his note made me think of all the students I've impacted, for better or worse, and how privileged I have been to play some small role in all those lives.

I can think of only a handful of professions that have that kind of perk. Makes me feel lucky that I found my way into this one.

Posted at 7:30 AM

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