The past week, I keep hearing news about taxes. Apparently the deficit has gotten so bad members of Congress are talking about tightening the belt, so to speak, and they seem to think that eliminating tax cuts is the way to go. So, I guess it's a good thing I'm taking advantage of some of this years' tax credits while they still exist.

To that end, I just had a tankless hot water heater installed yesterday. Of course, I don't have any hot water yet, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Why am I excited about a non-functioning hot water heater, you may ask? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that in preparation for its installation I had to have my old gas meter upgraded, and during that process was informed that I had a gas leak somewhere.

This, of course, was the day before Thanksgiving, so getting it fixed was put on hold until after the holiday weekend. Meanwhile, the gas company cut me off, so I've had no heat and no hot water for the last week and a half while I've argued with home warranty representatives.

It's like camping...involuntarily...and without the pretty scenery.

I am, however, grateful that the leak was caught before my house blew up...with me in it. Funny how once the gas was shut off the weird smell in the master bathroom suddenly vanished. Guess I now know what gas mixed with soap scum smells like. Good to know.

And the house? Well, knock on wood, but I've replaced just about all the major parts, so I'm hoping that 2011 will be a little bit cheaper on the home front. My credit card company, however, would be quite content if the home repair spree continued at its current pace. I have a feeling I'm paying for some nice Christmas gifts for a few executives' wives.

Dear Madams:

Keep your diamonds; I'll take a hot shower for Christmas, please.

Sincerely,
Daisy


Posted at 11:47 AM
Tags:

Falling Back

It's 11:00 a.m. And it should be 12:00 p.m. I think. Or is this the real 11:00 a.m. and the other 11:00 a.m. was just an impostor for the past several months? You would think with an extra hour of sleep I would be able to figure this stuff out, but I didn't really get an extra hour of sleep. Because my body thought it was time to get up. So instead? I got an extra hour of chores.

So far today I have finished two loads of laundry, washed a load of dishes, run two miles, made scramble eggs for breakfast, and mowed both the front and back yards. And it's not even noon yet...on Sunday.

Normally I would be pretty pumped that I had gotten so much done already, but I know what's coming. By 8:00 p.m., my body will mistake for 9:00 p.m., I will be half comatose on the couch. And by what is now 9:00 pm. I will be completely unconscious. Asleep by 9? Pathetic.

Of course, that means I'll wake up early tomorrow, and there may be some good that can come of that. I have, in the past 3 weeks, been attempting to re-establish some habits I'd managed to drift away from over the past several months.

First of all, I've been running. 2 miles a day, 3 days a week, 3 weeks in a row. Today was the start of week 4, so I'm feeling pretty proud about that. I figure 4 more weeks and I'll be back up to 2.5 miles, 4 days a week. Where I was a year ago. And maybe all my corduroy pants will fit again.

And, I've been reading...every day. I forget sometimes how much I need that, but when I get back in the habit I sleep better, and my dreams are flippin' fantastic, and I just feel more...me.

And then there are the Mimes: my group of girlfriends that I used to hang out with all the time. All of us have gotten a little insulated over the past several months, what with jobs and pets and spouses and houses. So, we established a monthly meal on the first Tuesday of every month. This week was our first outing, and it was fabulous. One margarita, several bowls of chips and salsa and a couple of hours of wonderful conversation with three women who know me.

So I'm feeling a little more grounded these days. And now that the Winged Monkey got the internet connection fixed, I have a feeling I'll be back in the blogoshpere more regularly again.

Which is good, since I'm gonna need something to do when my body wakes me up at what is now 5:00 a.m.


Posted at 11:06 AM
Tags:

Voices

I ran this morning for the first time in about 6 weeks -- the end of my last botched attempt to re-establish a morning routine that does not involve hitting the snooze button 7 times before actually considering getting out of my bed.

When I started running regularly a little over two years ago, it didn't take me long to realize early morning was the best time for me: the Texas heat hasn't had time to reach it's full boil before 7:00 a.m., so even in the summer months it's pretty bearable if you can get out the door before the sun comes up. And there is something soothing about sidewalks in the dark, faintly glowing in the halo of the street lamps.

And it's quiet. Living in the middle of the city doesn't afford much of this underrated commodity, so you appreciate when you can find an hour or so free from the noise of traffic and planes and light rails and buses. My new neighborhood has a creek that runs through the middle of it, and at 6:00 a.m., you can actually hear the water rushing under the sidewalk as you run across the overpass. There's something inherently good about the sound of a burbling stream, no matter how small and urbanized it has become.

So this morning was a good run, even with the kinks my body needed to work out after so many weeks of a sedentary lifestyle. It was relaxing, even meditative. Until the end.

As I stepped through my back door into my quiet kitchen, shrugging away the disappointment of the slow time the handsome-voiced Nike+ man had just whispered in my ear, I was greeted by a falsely enthusiastic "Congratulations!" from none other than Mr. Lance Armstrong.

Dear Nike+ programmers,

I know that Lance is a cycling phenom, but his voice conjures images of his scrawny-assed, pointy-headed, yellow-jerseyed body which just do not appeal to me as I am trying to catch my breath after I've trudged through my inaugural 2 miles this morning. Further, Lance was congratulating me on my "longest run yet," which is funny since I ran the exact same route I ran for over a month this summer. Perhaps the streets are longer before sunrise, but more likely that means my sensor either needs recalibration or needs to be replaced, since your engineers designed it in such a way that I have to spend $20 to replace it every year instead of $3 to replace the battery, thus placing undo strain on our environment as well as my meager income.

These are not the calming thoughts I wanted to take with me into my morning shower, Nike Peeps. Couldn't you just have Lance send me an email or something to encourage me when I really need it, after my beloved endorphins have worn off? I'm just sayin'.

Sincerely,
Nike + user: daisiesforyou

P.S. Is Tiger Woods still in the "Encouragement Line-up" as well? Because while it was always kind of funny to me that he was the voice for my "fastest time yet," because golfers are known for their speed and all, I think it would be even more amusing now that we all know he couldn't even outrun his golf club-wielding wife, who chased down his Escalade...on foot.

Again, just a thought.


Posted at 6:37 AM
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World Wide Waste?

Once again, the folks at TED have tickled my brain. Two days before I present a session on instructional technology at our administrator's yearly "retreat," Ethan Zuckerman adds an interesting new angle to a point I've been trying to make for some time: Even though most of our students have internet access, that doesn't mean they know what to do with it.

Zuckerman explains that while the world may have a global infrastructure, that doesn't necessarily mean we have a global mindset. Precisely why today's student needs teachers who challenge them to do more online than just update their "status."

(Try not to let his Benjamin Franklin-esque appearance distract you too much. Ben was pretty brilliant, after all.)




Posted at 8:02 PM
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106? Well...almost

We didn't quite make it up to 106* today as predicted here in Big D. We only hit 103.

Even the bugs were on fire. See?

Sunburned dragonfly in my backyard. Picture by me. :)

And now? At 9:38 PM? It's a mere 93*. That's pretty much a cold front.

So, it should be no surprise to anyone that Daisy didn't quite make it out in her stifling garage to put together the second set of patio furniture like she had planned. There's always tomorrow.

But there are some bonuses to so much sun. Plenty of power for my new solar powered patio umbrellas to soak up. So tonight, after raking up the leftover trimmings from Winged Monkey's Sunday-afternoon-chainsaw-hedge-trimming escapade, Daisy sat herself down, cranked her umbrella up, flipped the light switch on, and...viola!

Inaugural lighting of the solar powered umbrella.
Photo by WM, showing off with his iPhone 4.


Twinkly evening lights! Powered by solar powered rechargeable batteries! Environmentally responsible AND super cute? Double bonus points!!


Posted at 9:34 PM
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Some Assembly Required

Summers in Texas have a couple of requirements:

1) You must, at some point, grill some cut of beef.
2) You must, at some point, catch fireflies.
3) You must have a comfortable place to sit outside from which to watch said fireflies while said beef is cooking.

Now, since purchasing the new house, the Winged Monkey and I have seen plenty of fireflies outside along the treeline that runs down one side of the backyard. And a couple of weeks ago, we grilled some pretty spectacular beef kabobs (Daisy highly recommends Central Market's butcher case) with WM's friend D, who was nice enough to donate his gas grill to our new backyard since his apartment building no longer allows them on the balconies.

But we had yet to have a suitable perch from which to supervise these summertime activities...until today.

While WM was trimming (and at times chainsawing) the ginormous bushes and untamed trees behind the house, Daisy was assembling the plethora of patio furniture she has acquired over the past two weeks from the summer clearance sales all over town. And I do mean all over town.

No one has ever accused Daisy of being particularly decisive. Actually, that's not quite right. Daisy is extremely decisive, but it takes a while for her to actually make a final decision. That's one of the reasons Daisy would suck on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Regis would "Is that your final answer?" me, and I would be all, "Um, actually, no. I take it back. I've decided to go with D instead of C."

And Daisy would do that on pretty much every question.

The good news is, once Daisy has settled on the final answer, she sticks with it. That's how she ended up driving the same car for 11 years, until the transmission was, quite literally, falling out the bottom of it.

Knowing this about herself, it was no surprise to Daisy that she had to return all the patio furniture she originally purchased, before she had even taken it out of the box. In fact, that's the main reason she didn't rush home to assemble it as soon as the credit card receipt was signed. Instead, she let the boxes sit in the garage for a week while she made up her mind, or in the case of the first set, decided to take them back.

But the second set was a keeper, so a week after purchase, Daisy spent a couple of hours this evening assembling a table, four dining chairs, a fire pit, and two Adirondack chairs.
The result of this evening's labors.

One set down...one to go. Yep. You heard me. WM and I want to do some outdoor entertaining as soon as the evening temperatures drop below 98*, so we got 2 table and chair sets (they were half price, after all). So, this evening we relaxed outside, and ate our Thai delivery leftovers from last night, and bounced a bit in our new bouncy wrought iron chairs while we watched the branches he had cut burn in the fire pit I had bought. It was a great way to spend an evening together.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow morning Daisy'll spend another couple of hours assembling the second set and staging the rest of the patio. And why in the morning, you may be asking? Because the solar cell on the top of the umbrellas need 8 hours of direct sunlight to make the LED lights under the umbrellas light up.

How cool is that?!?!

You know there will be pictures tomorrow night.


Posted at 9:52 PM
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Finally, someone gets it!

It's a running joke that my love of bread is really just because it's such a perfect vehicle for butter. I refuse to use SmartBalance because it's basically water, and I only buy Parkay for use in one specific cinnamon roll recipe that requires it. (Mmmmmm...cinnamon.)

In my fridge, butter is king, and I put it on just about everything because, much like it's fatty cousin bacon, butter makes everything better.


I don't know about their science, but I agree with the slogan!


Posted at 9:19 PM
Tags:

Patterns

Feb. 6, 2010: Put bid in on house.
April 15, 2010: FINALLY close on house.
May 14, 2010: Purchase refrigerator from Sears.
May 31, 2010: Purchase washer and dryer from Lowe's.
June 5th, 2010: FINALLY move in to new house.
June 6, 2010: Scheduled date for fridge delivery.
June 13, 2010: Day Sears actually FINALLY delivers my fridge.
June 14, 2010: Last day of lease with Crazy Landlady (and last day of access to Crazy Landlady's laundry room).
June 25, 2010: Scheduled date for washer/dryer delivery.
July 12, 2010: NEW Scheduled date for washer/dryer delivery.

Now, I'm not sure which of the gods above I have angered or what delivery wagon I cut off in a previous life, but I get the distinct feeling I am being punished. I mean, have any of you ever lived out of an ice chest for a week? In Texas? In the summer? When ice is a nutritional requirement in order to avoid heat stroke?!

Granted, I am fully aware there are people out there living out of cardboard boxes, and there are starving children all over the world. But this is America. And I am gainfully employed. With stellar credit. So, call me crazy, but I kind of assume that when I purchase a household appliance, I should be able to actually have it in my home for my own shallow and materialistic pleasure.

And for the record, Sears sucks.
Period.
Daisy will NEVER shop there again, as she has never experienced such poor customer service in all her shopping years.

At least Lowe's has been kind enough to keep me posted on the status of my back ordered items, calling me on a fairly regular basis to tell me that it will be yet another week before they arrive, instead of waiting until an hour into the scheduled delivery window to call to tell me they don't even have the item in stock, so there's no possible way that it is on the truck they called twice to remind you to meet at your house between 2 and 4 on the day of your Papa's 90th birthday party. (See what I mean about Sears sucking?)

So, yesterday, a depressed Daisy went to a furniture store to peruse possible solutions for her new living room and bedroom. Now, I didn't buy anything...yet. But I'm thinking that if I plan to have it in my home by, say, Christmas, I better order it in the next week to make sure there is plenty of time for delivery.

In the meantime, I will be gathering my dirty laundry together to take with me to my parents' for the Fourth. Who would have thought that 12 years after graduation, I would be in much the same place in my life I was in college: in debt, with crappy furniture, relying on Mom's Washateria to keep me in clean undies.


Posted at 10:00 AM
Tags:
As a matter of fact, one did!


As of April 15th, Daisy officially became a HO (Home Owner).

My parents are so proud.

And me? Well, I'm exhausted. And overwhelmed. And, according to the Winged Monkey, a little obsessed with contractor bids and refrigerator sales. Because the house I bought was built in 1954. Which makes it, well, old. And in need of a little TLC. And a lot of updates. Which means a lot of updates here.

So, now that the shock has worn off, expect much ado around here about electrical panels and furnace relocations and front door replacement.

Just not this evening. Because I'm tired and my laptop battery is low.

So tomorrow: Hardwood Floor Reveal and The Demolition Men.



Posted at 10:16 PM
Tags:

Lacka-daisy-cal

The last few weeks, it's been difficult for Daisy to get very excited about much of anything. I attribute this to two factors:

1) Malaria.

For nearly three weeks now I've been fighting what I have now dubbed Allergic Bronchial Malaria. Rather than being transmitted by the traditional mosquito bite, this pestilence is a result of Spring doing it's springy thing. Predominate symptoms include an alternating stuffy head and faucet-like nose, and an annoying hacking seal-like barking cough that peaks at 2:00 a.m. or while the patient is trying to carry on professional phone conversations.
Three weeks, one trip to the doctor, one follow-up phone call, two rounds of antibiotics, half a gallon of prescription cough syrup, and a truck load of Claritin D later...I finally feel like I may not cough my lung out of socket. Yes, I know your lungs aren't actually in sockets, but I think the image conveys the peril of the recent coughing fits. And, while my lungs may have stayed in place, the muscles in my back and neck did not. All of the coughing has done a number on me that only several sessions with a licensed massage therapist will correct. (Feel free to email credit card information to the link in the sidebar if you'd like to donate to that cause.)

Cough Syrup: The fifth major food group for those suffering from
Allergic Bronchial Malaria.



2) Buying a house is a bitch.

You read it right. I have never had to deal with so many people who just don't have their shit together in my life. And you would think with so much money involved, people would be dotting i's and crossing t's. But no. Instead, I am trying to buy a house from folks represented by Gomer Pyle.

If you are shopping for a house in Texas, avoid this realtor.

You know it's bad when your realtor offers to pay the final inspection as a thank you for your patience. Granted, it's pennies when compared to my final bill (spread out in equal payments over a 30 year period), but still, when your realtor keeps having to apologize for their realtor, and when she actually says to you "This is going to be a chapter in my book if this deal actually goes through," you know it's not just you who is frustrated. With so many stops and starts to the whole process, it's been difficult to get really excited.

But yesterday? Yesterday many things happened.

I was up at 6:15 to start cleaning my entire place because Crazy Landlady was showing it to 2 different potential renters. 5 hours of packing boxes, washing dishes, doing laundry, scrubbing tubs, vacuuming carpets, straightening up closets and mopping floors. My place wasn't all that messy, but I needed it to be immaculate so the potentials might be willing to overlook Crazy Landlady's, well, craziness, and might want to move in before my official lease is up so I can save on a month of double housing costs.

And after my lunch with the Winged Monkey? (Where I downed 5 Black-Eyed Pea rolls, partly because they are yummy and partly because I was stressed and running was out of the question because of the coughing a lung out of socket bit I mentioned above.)

Rolls (a.k.a basket of Prozac)

After lunch the title company sent me the survey for the property. The roofers were scheduled to begin work on the roof (the last requested repair) on Monday morning. I signed the papers for my home owner's insurance. And the bank emailed to tell me that my mortgage application made it through underwriting and that I am "clear to close" in 12 days.

12 days to home ownership. That's enough to make even the droopiest of daisies stand up and take notice. And panic...

* All images found via Google Images. Clicking on them will take you to the sites from which I "borrowed" them.


Posted at 7:44 AM
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I dream of HVAC contractors

A bi-product of my recent quest for mortgage ownership has been a disturbing change in programming on my nightly dream channel. Whereas I used to take vacations or run over annoying co-workers and ex-boyfriends with my car, most nights now have me remodeling bathrooms and kitchens and negotiating with air conditioning repairmen. It's like a bad reality TV show that didn't make the HGTV cut every night in my little noggin'.

Last night was the air conditioner..again. This time it was prompted by my late afternoon chat with Larry, one of the technicians scheduled to do the furnace and duct work repairs on my intended house. I had to speak with Larry to find out exactly what his repairs would entail to make sure everything on the HVAC list of requested repairs is covered. Of course, it wasn't. So, in real life, I sent my realtor an email requesting she inform the Seller's agent of the items that were neglected. In my dream? I met the current owner at the house with the repairmen and argued in the driveway for 15 minutes before throwing a termination letter in her face and driving away. And then waking up in a coughing fit.

Anyone else sense my underlying frustrations with this whole process?

Don't get me wrong: it's a great house in a great neighborhood with loads of potential and just a few issues. A few rather large and somewhat expensive issues. Like the fact it needs a whole new roof. And a new furnace. And that half the ductwork is, well, non-existent and, therefore, must be replaced.

And now? Now I find out that the air conditioner has no coolant, so it may have a leak, or it may be completely shot, and we had no way of knowing since it was too cold to test it when we started this whole process last month, but now that we do I have to tell the seller that it has to be working, and that she has to pay for the repairs.

And she is supposed to sign the contract and its repair amendment today. Hopefully. Otherwise, we are back to the option extension game, which we have already played. 3 times. And that was before we terminated on Monday and refiled the whole contract again on Tuesday.

Can you say frustration?

And what really gets me riled up is the fact that:
A) I'm offering their asking price. (Who does that?)
and
B) Their insurance is paying for the bulk of the repairs, so even though it looks like a lot of money on paper, they aren't really paying for much of any of it.
and
C) Who in their right mind wouldn't have thought to themselves: "Hey, my furnace is 24 years old and rusted solid. I bet that might need to be replaced before someone will buy the place?"

So, I am trying to be patient. I am trying to be flexible. And I am trying not to get too emotionally attached to this place...just in case the people really flake out once and for all.

But I chose this house. And anyone who has every been shopping with me knows I do not make purchasing decisions on a whim. (Ask Favorite Aunt about trying to take 8-year-old Daisy back to school jeans shopping.)

Cross your fingers people. Today is the last day the Seller has to sign the contract (this time). Daisy needs all the good house buying karma you can spare.


Posted at 8:03 AM
Tags: ,

You call this a vacation?

I'm not sure that having to go to work to meet projection installers is really how I intended to spend the first day of my Spring Break.  Nor do I think I was looking forward to coughing my head off because the Winged Monkey was thoughtful enough to give me his malaria (or sinus infection) he's been sick with the past 4 days.  And I'm pretty certain my vacation plans did not include dealing with an incompetent real estate agent (not my own, thank God) until 8 o'clock at night, only to be disappointed with the outcome.


All in all, I'd say day one of my vacation pretty much sucked all the way around.


And to add insult to injury, I wrote a great post in my sleep last night, when my brain decided it needed a break from bathroom and kitchen remodeling dreams, and I woke up (in a coughing fit) unable to remember the good parts.  I'm hoping this is just bad-day-hangover and will dissipate with some breakfast and a few glasses of ice water.  Because today?


Today I offer a bid on the house on which I just terminated a contract.  More precisely, I offer the exact same bid that I had offered a month ago, and I hope that the seller is gracious enough to accept the same bid they accepted a month ago.  And maybe this time, their agent will get all of their ducks in a row and have everyone he needs available to sign the necessary paperwork so we can get this deal done.  Because I want to buy their house, and I'm pretty sure they want to sell me their house, and I need a little happy in this vacation to make up for the false start.


Posted at 8:06 AM
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Let's take a look under her hood...

So, this whole house buying thing? Not fun. As in really giving me a migraine and an ulcer not fun. I mean, first you look at house after house and , trust me, many of them are completely unlivable. Crown molding does not improve air quality ruined by the mold infestation, people. And Stainless steel appliances do not hide the fact that your house is next door to Sanford and Son wannabes...complete with rusted out cars on blocks and patio furniture minus its necessary legs.

Then, you find one that you like and the real fun begins.

Make an offer. Offer countered. Counter back. Offer accepted. Hire inspector. Learn house needs new...everything.

O.k., maybe not everything. The foundation is good, but the roof is shot. The windows are good, but the furnace is a health hazard. The walls and floors are great, but the duct work is...non-existent? As in, someone crushed the duct work under the house at some point, and instead of fixing it they just disassembled it all. Um...yeah, not gonna work for me. And the electrical. Well, that's just an impromptu fourth of July fireworks show waiting to happen.

And now I feel guilty because I was the one to bring all these problems to this poor family's attention. And I'm the one asking them to pay to have it all fixed.

And I'm afraid they are going to say no and I'm going to have to start all over.

And I'm not sure which would be worse: spending another 2 months looking for a house in my price range or spending another year or two as a tenant of Crazy Landlady. Hmmmm. That's gonna be a close one.




Posted at 10:19 PM
Tags: ,

I'm a HO! (Almost.)

The past three weeks, the Daisy has been looking to put down some roots. My friend LG mentioned the extension of the First Time Home Buyers tax credit, and after running some numbers--and after listening to my upstairs neighbors screaming at each other while simultaneously clumping across the floor at 3 a.m. one night--I decided that this was the time. So, I'm buying a house.

Shirt from CafePress.com, in case anyone needs housewarming gift ideas.

Fortunately for me, I happen to have several family members in the banking industry, so Brother-in-Law was able to put me in contact with the Fabulous Mortgage Guy, who was then able to put me in contact with the Real Estate Goddess who has, in the past two and a half weeks, worked around my trip to Austin for a conference, Winged Monkey's training schedule, and my persnickety taste, to show me every house in my price range in the areas I'm interested in. We are talking marathon showings on Sundays, and a gazillion emailed data sheets.

And I found one.

It's sturdy and strong ad cozy and warm...and "vanilla". That's the word Real Estate Goddess used and she hit the nail on the head. Apparently the sellers took the advice of every episode of Sell This House, and they made everything as neutral as possible. So, in my dreams the past week, I've been ripping out carpets, refinishing floors, painting walls, and arranging furniture in my soon-to-be home. HGTV ain't got nothing on my little imagination!

The problem? I haven't even been through the inspection process yet. That's this week, and you better believe, that I expect everyone I know to be crossing their fingers that I'm not told that the entire house is riddled with termites, or that the foundation is made up of weathered toothpicks, or that the electrical system is just waiting for the chance to burn my little house to the ground.

The good news? This whole process should provide lots of fodder for my recently neglected little blog, so cross you fingers all goes well this week because the Daisy would like nothing more to be able to officially consider herself a HO. Home Owner, that is, not the skanky kind. ;)




Posted at 8:46 AM
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Terms of Endearment

Early this morning, the Winged Monkey and I are munching on some leftovers after an evening out with his friend D. WM is polishing off my Mi Cocina doggy bag and I'm making another small dent in a rather large pizza I ordered Friday night.

WM leans over and gives me a little kiss, even though I've got a mouthful of extra-cheesy-pie.
WM: (Hugging me) I love you more than pizza.
Daisy: (Giggling) I hope you don't expect me to say the same thing...because you know how much I love pizza. Me saying that would be like you saying you loved me more than beer.
WM: (Pause)I do love you more than beer. (Looks at me and grins.) At least one of us is ready for that kind of commitment. (Turns back to his plate.)
LOL!



Posted at 7:35 AM
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Burn, Baby, Burn

In an effort to get back in the workout habit, my friend JF and I decided we would take advantage of one of the perks of working in a building with 3 gyms and every make and model of treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. After school, we changed into exercise gear and went up to the mezzanine-- an open area above one of the practice gyms where said equipment is set up-- for our first afternoon workout. Imagine our surprise when we realized the cheerleading squad was using the mezzanine for their competition practice.

Panting while pedaling is bad enough, but panting while pedaling in front of 20 tall skinny teenage girls...girls with about 2 ounces of fat on their collective bodies...is, well, an ego blow to say the least. It also didn't help that while I was huffing and puffing, they were flip-flopping across the entire mezzanine floor.

Of course, I think I have figured out the where they get all that energy. First, it's their music. I've decided that much of the motion we would attribute to them is really just their super-lightweight bodies falling victim to the loud bass in their music. Everything in the entire gym was vibrating, and without any fat to help anchor them to the floor, it's inevitable they'd just be bouncing around everywhere.

And then there's all that hair. Now, unlike some schools, our squad is not full of the stereotypical blond girls. No, sirree. Don't get me wrong. We have our share of blonds, but we also have at least 50% brunettes. Regardless of hair color, though, they all have long hair. Long hair that they wear up in long ponytails. Ponytails that they whip around when they do their handsprings. Ponytails + handsprings = momentum. Momentum turns one handspring into multiple flip-flops and a full back layout with a full twist.

So all I have to do is grow my hair out about another foot (or save up and get extensions) and buy a suped up sound system and I'll be set. Because those tiny bodies? They are the result of resistance training really. Those girls aren't really moving around that much. They're really just trying to stay still. Imagine all the calories they must burn fighting the forces of physics acting on them.

Poor little things. It's sad really. I bet inside those little long-haired heads of theirs, they really wish they could be more like the rest of us: sturdy, stable, and capable of lying still for hours on end.


Posted at 7:35 PM
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Hello, Old Friend

I must admit that since the weather has been colder, I have pretty much abandoned my morning run. When it's 14 degrees outside, something in my little body overrides all sense of athleticism (which, as anyone who knows me can attest, is rather limited to begin with) and forces me to snuggle deeper under my micro-fleece sheets (yeah, you read that right: micro-fleece sheets!) and hit the snooze button a couple more times. Consequently, my wee body is getting less wee every day, and I haven't seen those early morning hours from any vantage outside my bed in several weeks.

This morning? I woke up at 3:28...on my own...and I have been unable to get back to sleep. So here I am getting re-acquainted with my old friend 4 a.m. He hasn't seemed to change much, to tell you the truth. Except for the fact that he's freakin' 16 degrees!

Now, I recognize that there are parts of my proud country that are hitting -25 or some ridiculousness like that. But I don't live there. My people were apparently made for warmer climates, so we get our extreme weather at, well, the other extreme. I can handle the heat (as long as there is shade and sunscreen). At least with 100+ degree summers you don't have to worry about pipes bursting or frostbite on your walk to work or treacherous driving conditions. You drink lots of water, you siesta in the middle of the afternoon, you run your ceiling fans.

To be frank, I'm actually a little miffed that I'm having to deal with both ends of the thermometer spectrum. I mean, those folks in Iowa may be shoveling snow every other day right now in the sub-zero afternoons, but how many 100+ days are they going to have to sweat out this summer?

Which is why, in a stroke of 4 a.m. brilliance, I have decided that I must now devise a plan to move somewhere with more consistent temperatures...like Hawaii or Bora Bora. That, or I must find a way to earn a living from the comfort of a non-drafty, climate-controlled home in a neighborhood that offers more than 4 varieties of delivery food.

Or, there is always the lottery, which has been my Plan A for quite some time now, and which I would happily spend $5 on if buying the tickets didn't require opening my front door to the 16 degree world outside.

Plan B it is then: stay under woobie, on couch, with mini-heater on and book in hand for entire day. Completely do-able.


Posted at 4:15 AM
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A Proud Son

So I'm watching the end of the National Championship game, and my alma mater just lost.Now maybe I'm a sore loser, but I can't help but notice that when they are interviewing one of the winning players, they are asking him what he'd like to say to his father who was watching the game...from prison.

Now, I know you don't punish the son for the sins of the father, but if my dad was in prison, I think I'd be trying to keep that on the down low. Instead, the commentator concludes the interview with the statement "A proud son...to his proud father."

I'd probably still be laughing, if it weren't for the fact that now I am distracted by the footage of all the almost grown men who are crying as they pass a gaudy crystal Easter egg around the circle, taking turns kissing it.

And men say women are overly emotional?


Posted at 11:09 PM
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2010: Try again!

Last year I boldly declared 2009 a Drama Free year. And shortly thereafter I sent a text message that pretty much shot any chance of that to hell. Because that message started a relationship, or rather, changed a relationship, and most change in this world, especially the kind that is significant, involves at least a little bit of drama.

So DF '09 was doomed pretty much right out of the gate. So much so, in fact, that the catch phrase became a sort of ironic joke between myself and a couple of my friends.

But I like the idea.

After spending Christmas with my family, I was reminded once again of my genetic pre-disposition to drama. Watching my mother and grandmother handle the holidays was a bit unsettling for my sister and I. We started out laughing at how our mother is becoming more like her mother...and then the next logical conclusion hit us and we both kind of cringed. Don't get me wrong. We love our mom. We're just not in a hurry to become her. Since my mother's penchant for drama is one of her trademarks, this is one of the areas I think worthy of another attempt for self-improvement on my part.

With that in mind, and with this week's drama of unending technical problems at work still playing out around me, I will once again throw down the gauntlet to the powers that be: I will attempt to keep 2010 Drama Free!

I know the odds are slim, but a girl's gotta try. Because first it's the drama, and then it's the knit pant suits.

So come on, 2010. Let's see how long it takes you to turn a peaceful Daisy into raving lunatic.


Posted at 10:39 PM
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Raindrops on roses...

I have decided that the bread from Macaroni Grill has to be one of my new favorite things. There is something irresistible about the warm salty rosemary goodness...especially when they bring out an extra loaf for you to take home. :) That is what I call a good waitress!




Posted at 9:13 PM
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The first day back after a vacation is always a pain in the ass and today was no exception. Morning came too soon, the alarm was louder than I remember, and a leisurely breakfast? Well, that was a distant memory. Cold leftover gingerbread cake eaten while walking down the block to work was a far cry from my pancakes and eggs from Sunday brunch.

Of course, nothing wanted to work correctly in my building, so most of my day was spent fielding phone calls from people who couldn't get logged in to one program or another. There were also the requisite "emergencies", which turned out to be tripped power switches on surge strips. And let's not forget the token call vendors during which I explain that when we paid for installation, we actually expected all the wires to be run to connect the equipment to the actual computer.

But the frosting on my cupcake of a day? Well, let's see. If I had to pick one moment? Oh yeah. I've got it. The crowning glory of my Monday:

I dropped my cell phone in a toilet.
Dramatic representation of dangerous, phone grabbing toilet.
(Found through Google imaages, located on a number of blogs,
so I'm not sure who to credit.)
That's right. I dropped my cell phone in a toilet. Not my personal home toilet, mind you, which I happened to clean this past wekend. No, of course not. That would have been bad enough, but I had to do one better. I had to drop my phone in a public toilet.

And then I had to get it out.

Now, I am not freaked out by germs, but seriously? Who wouldn't be grossed out by the idea that this thing you put on your face was once on the bottom of someone else's bowl?

Of course, it was completely drenched, so I figured a little disinfectant spray wasn't going to kill it (or me for that matter, as I sprayed my hands...then washed them...in hot water...with LOTS of soap). And I'm sure the Clorox wipes didn't damage it any further either when I used them on it before setting it in front of my mini space heater in my office to help it dry out.

And now? Now my phone is buried in a bowl of rice for the next day or so to see if that will suck out the rest of the water (and hopefully the germs with it).

And have you people seen how expensive cell phones are? At least, when you aren't scheduled for an upgrade, so you aren't entitled to any of the rebates, or when you really don't want to sign a new 2-year agreement? They are freakin' expensive! We are talking hundreds of dollars. And I'm not even looking at an iPhone because I can't afford the monthly plan rates with AT&T, so that's out of the question anyway; those are actually cheap compared to some of the Blackberries and Droid phones out there.

We are all crossing our fingers that my phone dries out and does not contract any type of communicable contamination that it might give to me...if I am able to use it again.

Mondays suck.


Posted at 10:14 PM
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Attempted homicide a la golf cart

I made the mistake of returning a call from my sister today:

Big Sis: Mom almost killed dad today.
Daisy: What? Again? What did she do this time?
Big Sis: Dad backed the golf cart off the sidewalk and into the culvert in front of my house tonight.
Daisy: Is he o.k.?
Big Sis: Well, he got out and had mom give it gas while he pushed it from behind.
Daisy: What? Did he hurt himself?
Big Sis: Brother-in-law had to go outside and help him, and when they finally got some traction, the thing took off...dragging dad behind it...across my front yard...straight toward my dining room door...
Brother-in-law (yelling from the background): ...and almost into a tree...
Big Sis: ...and almost into a tree.
Daisy: (laughing) Is dad o.k.?
Big Sis: We were yelling at mom to take her foot off the gas, and dad was just lying there in my front yard.
Daisy: And?
Big Sis: And they went home.
Daisy: Is dad o.k.?
Big Sis: I guess. They went home.

Call to Parents' house:

Daisy: Mom, did you try to kill dad tonight?
Mom: He backed off the sidewalk. What are you up to?
Daisy: Just watchin' TV. But I heard you dragged Dad across the yard and almost drove into Big Sis' house.
Mom: My tennis shoe got stuck on the gas pedal.
Daisy: (laughing) Can I talk to dad?
Dad: Hello?
Daisy: Dad, are you o.k.? I heard mom tried to kill you again tonight.
Dad: That's true. She dragged me miles across your sister's yard and almost drove us into the dining room.
Daisy: (laughing) Are you o.k.?
Dad: Well, I survived, but I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow.

Does anyone else have these conversations, or is it just me?




Posted at 8:35 PM
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During my morning perusal of all things CNN, my eye was caught by this headline:

Irish atheists use Bjork, Mark Twain to challenge blasphemy law

Interest peeked, I read the article (which had surprisingly few grammatical errors for CNN.com, believe it or not. New Year's resolution?) which is all about a new blasphemy law passed in Ireland this past summer that went into effect yesterday.


While I understand the intent of the law is probably to try to foster some sort of respect for world religions (and to avoid a Mohammad-misstep a la Denmark a year or two back), I am, once again, dumbfounded as to just how any modern government can ignore pretty much all historical evidence that demonstrates that these types of laws are pretty much a waste of paper. You can't tell people they can't say something. Well, o.k., you can tell them they can't say something, otherwise I'd be hypocritical, but you can't legislate it. Not unless you are Hitler, or Stalin, or some other megalomaniacal guy, and even then you have to have a ridiculously large secret police to help you listen in on everyone's conversations, and have you tried to understand the Irish when they get talking? Especially after a couple of pints? No. Freakin'. Way. Not
happening.


So, I agree with this atheist group's point:

Blasphemy laws are unjust: They silence people in order to protect ideas. In a civilized society, people have a right to to express and to hear ideas about religion even if other people find those ideas to be outrageous.

But I still had to giggle when I read that their tactics included publishing blasphemous quotations that "...include the words of Jesus, Mohammed, Mark Twain, Salman Rushdie and Bjork."

Bjork? Seriously?

I get you want to focus on artists, since art of the law says defendants can site " literary, artistic, political, scientific or academic value in what they said or published," but Bjork? Of all the artists in the history of the world you could have used to make your point? You choose Bjork?


Would you want this woman on the stand defending you?

We're not talking The Jedi Council people. We're talking a real trial.


Note to self: If ever arrested for blasphemy in Ireland, do not call Atheist Ireland to for help. There is not telling who they may hire to mount your defense. I hear Leonard Nimoy may be available between guest spots on Fringe:




Posted at 8:18 AM
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I survived Christmas(es) 2009!

One. One Christmas celebration! Two. Two Christmas celebrations! Three. Three Christmas celebrations! Four. Four Christmas celebrations!



Grand total? I believe I can safely claim SIX official Christmas gatherings at which gifts were exchanged.

Three of these events were required family gatherings, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Winged Monkey handled not one, but two of my family gatherings. Back to back, no less.

Between assembling a Cozy Coupe for Youngest Niece...

(One should be wary of toys whose assembly instructions suggest protective eyewear.)

and fixing a clogged coffee maker for my mom...
(Winged Monkey had to fix The Parents' new coffee maker...3 times.
Not a recommended model.)

I believe the Winged Monkey earned his Monkey Mug...


(WM loves his Evolution of the Flying Monkey mug from CafePress.com.)

as well as my affection.

My favorite gift? Hands down, it would have to be my new Snoopy Snow Cone Machine that Oldest & Dearest Friend gave me yesterday at our belated Christmas lunch. Took us both back to the days of freezing Kool-Aid ice cubes to make icy treats while we sunbathed on her trampoline.

Those were the days.

And so, I start the new year with a blast from my past:


May all of our new years be as joy filled as those 30 seconds. ;)

Happy 2010!


Posted at 7:24 PM
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Daisy's Tweets

My Momma Taught Me To Share

Tag, you're it!