Rude Awakenings

My allergic malaria continues to run its course, and this week I am in the annoyingly sporadic coughing fit phase. You know what I'm talking about: that phase where you think the cough is gone, so you start cutting back on the cough syrup, only to discover that the cough was merely playing opossum, lying in wait. And then, in the middle of the night (say 2:00 a.m.) you are jolted from your peaceful slumber by a seal-like barking cough coming from your very own mouth.
Just when you thought you were on the mend...
you wake up to discover your sinus infection has transformed you into a wild sea mammal.

You are so startled, in fact, that your arms go flailing about as you bolt upright gasping between coughs. And you accidentally knock over the large tumbler of water that your Winged Monkey was nice enough to put on the bedside table for you. And said tumbler happens to land on its side. On top of your alarm clock. Whose speaker quickly fills with ice water. Which shorts out the clock. Which causes enough commotion to wake up the aforementioned Winged Monkey.

You know that phase?

Needless to say, I will apparently be taking my cough medicine again tonight...and investing in bedside sippy cups.

And the best part of the story? The morning after:

Winged Monkey: So, what exactly happened last night?

Daisy: I was coughing and I knocked over the water glass and it spilled onto the alarm clock. The whole clock is dead.

Winged Monkey: Oh, sorry about that. And I'm sorry for the names I called you when you woke me up.

Daisy: You didn't call me any names.

Winged Monkey: Oh, good, so those stayed in my head then.

So sympathetic. Really.


Posted at 7:32 PM
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Surprise! (Not so much.)

This weekend I attended a surprise wedding. Meaning of course that all of the guests were simply invited to a bar-b-q and shootenanny--like a hootenanny, but with guns, because a) we live in Texas and b) the groom's family has built a gun range on their ranch property because we c) live in Texas. And after everyone had fired a sufficient number of ridiculously large weapons, and all had had their fill of burgers and brauts, our hosts decided to tie the knot before dessert.

It was a beautiful evening, and they are a wonderful couple, so I hate to be the one to spoil their fun, but none of us were really surprised. This might have something to do with the fact that the invitation made mysterious reference to a "special surprise" at 7:00 no fewer than 3 times, and there are only so many possibilities for a couple in their thirties who just recently had a baby together.

Tip: If you really want to surprise people... don't give them any hints.

This got me thinking about surprise weddings in general, and how they would be much more fun if members of the actual wedding party were surprised. Like the bride or the groom. Or both. Now that might be worth seeing: "Hey guys, glad you could make it tonight. By the way...SURPRISE! You're getting married tonight!" Not a shotgun wedding as much as a jello-shot wedding.

And what about a new take on wedding crashers? What if instead of crashing other people's weddings, a couple decided to get married at someone else's party? A birthday party would probably be ideal for something like that because there would already be cake. And presents.

These are the places my brain goes when cough syrup comes into play...

Fortunately, I just downloaded a cheesy historical romance to my new Kindle (b-day gift from the WM...It holds 3500 books!), so I should have plenty of distraction for my malarial sinusitis-impaired brain. Although, there's bound to be a wedding at some point in any cheesy historical romance worth its salt, so I may be back to this same line of thought in a few hours.


Posted at 7:23 PM
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This is what my life has become...

(Skipping the myriad of excuses for why I haven't blogged in almost 3 months...)

Tonight I find myself sitting on my couch, in my sweats, trying desperately to breathe through my nose, coughing my head off, watching the new Charlie's Angels for the first time. Make that the last time.

Seriously? Do they have to ruin everything? Leave the Angels alone, for cryin' out loud. Do we have no creative people in Hollywood anymore? What, you couldn't think of a fresh take on vampires? No more 90210/Gossip Girl/One Tree Hill/ Dawson's Creek type ideas? How about another CSI/Law & Order spin-off?

Help a sick girl out, people. Come up with some good tv to distract me from the misery of what my doc says is yet another upper respiratory infection, but what I am almost certain is some form of urban malaria. All of these overly-tanned, overly-sculpted, overly-quaffed people superimposed on overly-synthesized music only makes me want to drug myself into a cough syrup coma. (And I seriously think I may have already taken too much because I looked up at the screen and one of the Angels had a dreadlock wig on as a disguise. Freaked. Me. Out.)

Thank God for cable channels. At least there I can escape to Jamaica with Anthony Bourdain or chase gators with the Swamp People. Forget the Angels in a speed boat; I'll take Troy on the Bayou any day of the week. Maybe the "tree shakers" and "tree breakers" will manage to clear my sinuses.




God I love the History Channel!


Posted at 7:23 PM
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But Dolly is waiting!

You would think in a household of two IT professionals you would have very little downtime when a computer starts acting up.

You would think, but you would be wrong.

Because when you work with technology all day long, the last thing you want to do is to have to work on it when you get home. Home is supposed to be where you play with new gadgets and enjoy the wonderful randomness of the internet without worrying about being interrupted by your boss.

So, after a couple of months of living with a slow machine, the Winged Monkey and I tried to fix my aging laptop, Pavarotti. We scanned, we defragged, we root-kitted...and we finally gave up. In a hail Mary attempt to extend poor Pavarotti's life, we finally decided for a complete makeover.

We ditched Windows.

Pavarotti is now a Linux machine, Ubuntu to be specific, and I have to say that the transition has been a bit bumpy. Especially where Dolly Parton is concerned.

You see, last week, a couple of the Mimes and myself went to see opening night of Dolly Parton's Better Day Tour. Why, you ask, did we go to a Dolly Parton concert? Because it's Dolly. And growing up with a mother from east Texas, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrel made up a significant portion of the soundtrack of my childhood.

You can only imagine how excited I was at the thought of sharing the post-concert euphoria with the world in general (or at least the 6 people who still check this thing). You can also only imagine my frustration when I got home and my machine was being backed up and not available. Or the next two days when it was being rebuilt. Or the next 3 days when I was looking or the Linux equivalent of Paint so I could edit some images to put in the post. Or the 2 days after that when the Winged Monkey was trying to get iTunes to run so I could sync my phone and my iPod.

While the iPod issue is still unresolved (my most recent lame excuse for not running in the mornings), I did finally manage to find the program necessary to bring you this image, courtesy of Mime 4's facebook, which perfectly sums up our entire Dolly Parton Better Day Tour experience:


I have decided that Dolly, in all of her rhinestoned-dulcimer glory, is indeed a heavenly being.
*Inhuman physical characteristics? Big boobs. Check. Gravity-defying hair. Check.

*Abnormal aging process? Dolly is aging backwards. She looks ten years younger than she did twenty years ago. It's uncanny.

*Ability to morph appearance? Um, Dolly has a brand new face. And yet she's still Dolly. That's not human.

*Supernatural powers? Dolly's rendition of Sparrow left the audience frozen with their mouths gaping open. That woman's voice is a bit like Piper's power to freeze on Charmed. Time. Stands. Still.

*Unusual results when photographed? Giant, blinding halo in every image we took of Dolly. Just like every photo of a fairy/ghost/angel I ever saw when Unsolved Mysteries was in its heyday.

*Power to unite diverse peoples? Dolly flirted with all the boys from ages 5 to 85 (regardless of sexual orientation), made the rednecks feel at home with her Tennessee Mountain Home stories, befriended all the ladies with Sparrow and her jokes about her hair, reached out out to the stoners with her rendition of Stairway to Heaven (I kid you not), brought in the Christian right with a couple of gospel numbers, and befriended the African-American contingency by laughing at her lack of dancing skills while plugging the new film she co-stars in with her mammographic identical twin cousin Queen Latifah. ALL IN 2 HOURS!
Conclusion: Dolly Parton is, in reality, a heavenly being come to earth to either offer us hope for the future or to herald the end of days. Or possibly to warn us of an impending zombie apocalypse.

Whatever the case, I am happy that I was there to hear her message last week, and that I have a Dolly Parton mudflap concert t-shirt to prove it.


If the end is near, I'm going out in style, and, if the Winged Monkey can ever get my iTunes working so I can sync my iPod, to a soundtrack that includes Jolene and My Tennessee Mountain Home.






Posted at 12:31 AM
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Roller Derby Karaoke

Last weekend the Winged Monkey scored free tickets to Assassination City Roller Derby.

Yep. You read that right: Roller. Derby.

Only my boyfriend would be friends with someone who referees amateur female flat-track roller derby. So, this is how I found myself spending last Saturday night in Fair Park Coliseum (a venue reserved for livestock shows the majority of the year) watching a myriad of overly-tattooed women skating in circles around a duct-tape-delineated track. Watching with five men in their 40's.

Now I could spend the rest of the week sharing the inappropriate comments that will spout from the beer-laden minds of men watching women on roller skates, but none of those are really all that original or surprising to any woman who has had any contact with any male over the age of 12.

What was surprising was the following:

After watching my companions spend the first hour of the evening drooling over the fishnet-clad members of the Bombshell Brigade manning the souvenir booth and the concession stand, we moved inside the arena and found some seats just in time to watch the introductions of the first two teams. Introductions set to music, of course. I can't remember what the first team skated in to, and I'm sure that may be a disappointment to those looking for details. But how could I be expected to remember anything after the second team skated in to Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart...and one of the guys I'm with...reaches in his wallet...and proudly pulls out...a crib sheet style printout of the lyrics?

Yep. Smart, good looking single guy. Mid-40's. Good job. Bonnie Tyler lyrics in his wallet.

There followed a good 10 seconds of silence among the group. Because what is the proper response when a man shows you his Bonnie Tyler?

Because, according to D, some days you really need a little Bonnie Tyler.

Apparently the proper response is an all-purpose "What the f%*#, Dude?" followed by uncontrollable laughter.

It seems that about 4 years ago, our friend D had been at a happy hour, and Bonnie Tyler's classic Total Eclipse of the Heart had been playing, and no one knew all of the lyrics. D, boy scout to the extreme, went home that night and printed them out and put them in his wallet so as to be prepared...in case he ever needed them again. Because there is nothing worse than being caught without your Bonnie Tyler.

Of course, being Daisy and all, and having watched way too many episodes of Law and Order Criminal Intent, I had to point out that it was a good thing we all knew about the lyrics now. Because what if something happened to him one night in the roller derby parking lot? And the police had to explain to his mother: "We found these Bonnie Tyler lyrics in his wallet, ma'am." The unknown meaning might have haunted his family and friends for the rest of their lives.


Posted at 8:15 AM
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I've Got Nothin'

O.K., maybe I don't have nothing. I did, after all, drive through a hail storm in Colorado on the way to a cat-themed winery, spend a Saturday night watching women's flat track roller derby in a livestock arena, waste a day of my vacation riding courthouse escalators for jury duty, and I am currently dog sitting a Labrador who snores. All within the last 2 weeks!

So I should be writing about me and my occasionally entertaining existence. And I will, if for no other reason than to get the Winged Monkey off my case for not writing. But not right this minute.

Right now? Right now I want to share a link to this little tidbit on chickens and towels from The Bloggess because it made me laugh out loud.

And it made me want to go buy rusty metal poultry art.


Posted at 9:57 AM
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I'm on vacation..sort of.

My summer vacation officially began on Friday the 27th, but I somehow managed to find myself back on campus every day last week...until yesterday. Yesterday, I finally had my inaugural summer vacation nap: After mowing the front and back yards, and taking the requisite post-yard work shower, I promptly sat my ass on the couch and too a 3 hour siesta.

It was glorious. And the best part? No calls from work to wake me up. Huzzah!

Now begins the gear up to start in on the summer to-do list:

Yardwork.

Must be done before 10:00 a.m. because I live in Texas and it is already pushing 100 degrees around here. And can I just say that yardwork is one of the aspects of homeownership that should really receive more attention before one buys a home. Perhaps there should be a tryout period during which you are responsible for someone else's yard before you are allowed to have your own. Because you really have no idea how much work it is going to be until you up the your armpits in leaf raking and flower bed weeding and hedge trimming. And don't get me started on the sprinkler system. Just when you think you've got it all fixed and all programmed, you discover you have a leak somewhere under your front yard. That's gonna be a mess.


Housework.

I live with a Winged Monkey. Neither of us is what you might call a neat freak, but the two of us combined equals endless dirty dishes. And laundry. And floors. And bathrooms. Needless to say, I've begun the Great Summer Cleanup of 2011, so you can now sit on all the furniture in the living room, and you can see the top of the coffee table and the bottom of the kitchen sink (well, one side, anyway). I've set Monday as the start date of the Junk Room Clean Out Phase, which I hope to have completed by Friday. Cross your fingers, people. It's a jungle in there.


Work work.

Next week I also get to start the migration to the school's new website...by myself. Lots of copying and pasting and page management and template building and crap. Guaranteed to make me grumpy.


Travel.

T minus 2 weeks and counting to Road Trip 2011. WM and I are headed to Colorado for 2 weeks. This will be the first trip the two of us have taken together that didn't involve family holidays or funerals. This will also be the longest trip we've taken together. Looking forward to cooler temps, mountain views, and plenty of snuggle time. My favorite part: the whole second week is unscripted, meaning we have no idea where we are going. I love the fact that he can be fly-by-the-set-of-your-winged-monkey-pants kinda traveler. :-)


Not exactly 3 months of lying on a beach being fed grapes by Gerard Butler and fanned by Brad Pitt, but it'll do. That is, until I win that lottery...




Posted at 10:35 AM
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Maybes

I got an email yesterday from NaBloPoMo announcing that the theme for May is "Maybe".

Pun intended? I suspect so.

But, at least it prompted me to take a look at my defunct blog, which had apparently imploded while I was away barely dealing with realities that still feel too enormous to condense into words. As it is, I have sat here, staring at a blinking cursor trying to decide how best to write that two months ago I lost a friend. How do you type that without it sounding cheap or hollow? Which would actually be appropriate in some way, as that's how much of my life feels at the moment.

My friend died and my life is just the same.

Work is work, and family is family, and rain is rain. And I am me.

I don't understand how that is possible. How someone who had been a part of your entire life can be gone and the alarm clock stills goes off every morning as if nothing at all has changed. Because everything has changed. Just the tiniest bit by the whole-of-reality's standards, but enough that sometimes I can feel the difference, and it is sad and overwhelming and reassuring, all at the same time.

And maybe that will fade, the feeling of different-ness that catches me off guard whenever he crosses my mind. And maybe it won't.

That's the thing about maybes: they can be fickle; they can be cruel.

Especially when you're not sure which maybe you'd prefer.


Posted at 10:07 PM
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Six inches...and then some

This was the scene last week 2 days into The Great Freeze of '11.

Notice the 6 inches of snow on the table top.

Now, while this looks like pretty much every 8-year-old's dream snow day, what you can't see is the inch thick layer of ice underneath the snow from the two previous day's thundersleet storms. Not that any of that was a problem for Daisy. My head cold and I just stayed inside in one of my many pairs of flannel pajamas; Twiggy stayed parked in the driveway, under his blanket of snow; and all was right with the world.

Everything except the lack of hot water in what my mother has taken to referring to as The Little House on the Prairie. You see, dear reader, apparently 4 degree temperatures can freeze pipes that are not properly insulated, as were the two pipes going to and from my hot water heater. The brand new hot water heater I had installed less than 2 months ago. (Notice the snow "gopher mound" that streaks across the backyard in the picture above? That would be where they replaced the entire gas line in my backyard. A reminder of the all-too-recent 12 day stint with no heat or hot water henceforth known as The Urban Camping Experience of 2010.)

4 days of hair dryers and heat guns and space heaters later, and we finally had functioning pipes. And now? Now a much smarter Daisy is running the dishwasher and dripping the faucets as the temperature drops yet again. Yesterday? 54 degrees. This morning? 16. And still dropping.

Schizophrenic Texas weather.

Fortunately, it is also sleeting again, so I am embarking on the 5th snow day in a little over a week. This time I'll be smart enough to run the hot water from time to time so it doesn't freeze up. This time I do not have a cold. This time I have leftover pizza in my fridge, a decent internet connection, and a trashy romance to read.

I could get used to this.


Posted at 6:41 AM
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Some things you never outgrow

You never outgrow the excitement of a snow day.

Granted, as a grown up, I have the nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that we'll have to make it up in a month or two. But for the moment, the childlike squeal of delight at the prospect of spending a ridiculously cold Tuesday morning in my pajamas, watching Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting instead of trudging off to work, is drowning out the more rational side of my nature. I mean, really, how could you listen to negative thoughts when you have this image in front of you:


One of the less unfortunate things I definitely inherited from my mother is a healthy appreciation for Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

And whatever happened to men wearing hats?


Warms me up just lookin' at him. You can keep your hyperbolated (hyperbolized?) weather watches and traffic reports, the trademark of all Texas television networks who will spend the rest of this wintry day toggling between road cams and cub reporters standing on the side of a treacherous overpass in the middle of a thundersleet* storm; I plan on watching Paul Newman's icy baby blues playing poker on a train.





*Never heard of thundersleet? Me neither...until this morning
.



Posted at 9:51 AM
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Daisy's Tweets

My Momma Taught Me To Share

Tag, you're it!