Riddle Me This

It’s all Dauna‘s fault. She mentioned this game/thing called Weffriddles in her blog, and I managed to avoid it for several days…browsed the first page than got distracted. But then tonight I lingered. And played.

And the chili sort of became “smoked chili.”

And I’m now on level 32.

And yeah, it’s all Dauna’s fault.
And YOU should join the insanity.

Tonight, on the MissMeliss Show…

It’s been the perfect rainy day. Soft light, Christmas music, and even though I got off to a slow start, some Breathe Easy tea and the lighting of the arched dining room window have improved my physical and mental well-being.

Right now, there is three-bean chili simmering on the stove, and there are two dogs snoozing in my office. The sky is dark, both from cloud-cover and just from the fact that it’s night, and the neighborhood is lit up like faerie-land. My plan for the evening is to write the last few Christmas cards – those that are meant for folks whose addresses I didn’t have – and finish folding metric assloads of laundry, which I meant to fold last night, and somehow didn’t. Probably beause we ended up doing the Holiday Grocery Shopping Extravaganza.

I’ve been woefully behind with my Questions of the Day – I wasn’t, until this weekend, and then I was, which is why I posted the last six questions all at once. This month, which seemed endless three weeks ago, suddenly seems to be racing by. My parents will be here in less than 48 hours, and the house isn’t yet Mom-ready. (No one else would find fault, mind you, just Mom. It’s how mothers are.)

Anyway, today’s question:
Question 13:
You’ve been chosen to host a sensational Christmas/Holiday celebration on TV. What three guests (living or deceased) would you have on the show to make it the best special EVER?

My guest list:

  • The Fantabulous Klae, media mogul, and all around creative guy. I’d have him lead the audience in improv games, and then chat about whatever project was foremost in his mind.
  • Alexandra Stoddard, interior designer, writer, and fellow stationery-holic. Her books are amazing, and she exudes graciousness.
  • Margaret Maron. Her Deborah Knott books are delightful, and her Sigrid Harald series is just plain cool. This woman of mystery (novels) is one of my favorite to read, and I’d love to question her about her process, and just get to know the woman behind these amazing characters.
  • My musical guest(s) would be The King’s Singers, a vocal group I’ve loved since they visited our high school and did a brown bag conference/performance/thing.


With the return of damp grey weather, I find myself more into the Christmas spirit, as if the relentless warmth and sunshine we’ve been having had somehow diminished the Christmas magic. It’s silly, really. I’ve had perfectly good Christmases involving white sand and sunny weather, and certainly California wasn’t always cold and grey in late December, but I was spoiled by my first Christmas in Texas, when I was presented with a dusting of snow, and now, nothing quite measures up.

The muted colors of the cloudy day outside serve their purpose however. Colors contrast more, and the moisture in the air makes lights seem to twinkle just a bit more. It’s as if some produce-department worker misted the neighborhood, as one does vegetables to make them glisten with crisp, fresh health.

On days like this, I turn the outside lights on before dusk, and let them shimmer happily in the fog. Every glance out the window brings a smile to my face, and the Christmas cd’s I play in the house sound sincere again.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk, despite choir and comedy, and today, the funk has lifted. Let the lights shine, the music play, and peace and joy come to us all!

Dec-QOTD #13-18

I’ve become overwhelmingly busy over the last two days, and expect this only to increase. Therefore, I offer the remaining six questions, the first of which should have been posted today. Feel free to pick and choose from them, spread them out, or answer them all at once. And thank you to everyone who participated.

Question 13:
You’ve been chosen to host a sensational Christmas/Holiday celebration on TV. What three guests (living or deceased) would you have on the show to make it the best special EVER?

Question 14:
Suppose you have a 50-gallon aquarium in your home. How will you creatively decorate it for the fish this holiday season?

Question 15:
Other than “jolly,” in your opinion, what word(s) would best complete the following phrase, ” ‘Tis the season to be…” ?

Question 16:
What is your favorite Christmas / holiday sound?

Question 17:
When you think of the holiday season in New York City, what particular scene or image do you picture first?

Question 18:
What do you typically do the day after Christmas?

Write Me a Letter

Question #12:
What aspect of preparing for Christmas do you like the most?

I come from a family of letter writers. As far back as I can remember, fat envelopes from my grandfather, painstakingly printed so that my pre-cursive self could read them, would arrive in the mail, or nearly illegible cards from my grandmother, these addressed inside to “Hi Darling!” or “Hi Doll!” because she was never certain which daughter or granddaughter she was addressing.

And at Christmas there were cards, many cards. Some were from Germany, from my Aunt and Uncle, stationed there with the Air Force, others from California, which was a far away place at the time. Many were from friends and family in New Jersey, or new friends and neighbors in Colorado. Some were random, some were filled with pictures. Some had long type-written letters, and some had no signatures at all. As a child I made the decision that if an envelope either mentioned my name, or was addressed to my mother “and family” I was allowed to open it.

With each card came the ritual of taping them to the back of the front door. First, there would be the early arrival, from the one friend who actually knew how to organize. It would sit at the top of the door looking lonely, and a little forlorn. Then, slowly at first, but speeding up as the month progressed, more would show up, and the door would fill.

And of course, each day the house would have more and more Christmas – the mantel, the lights on the window, the small candles here and there as we followed the family tradition learned from my grandmother, of bringing Christmas through the house.

It was the cards then, and it is Christmas cards now, that really are the essence of preparation though. These days I write as many as I receive, and both the sending and the reading are parts of my Christmas preparation. It’s as if the act of putting pen to paper transports me from the mundane to the magical, as much as it does when fiction is involved.

Red Foodprints

Question #11:
During the holiday season, what specific aspect of being a young child do you miss the most?

When I was very young, I would wake on Christmas morning to find a trail of red construction paper footprints leading from my bedroom door to wherever my stocking was waiting. Usually, it would be so stuffed with tiny packages, that it would have fallen from its hook and sometimes this made me sad. Mostly, though, I looked forward to discovering what good things would come from those tiny boxes.

That anticipation hasn’t completely disappeared, but it’s waned a lot as I’ve grown older, and the unwavering belief in Santa and Magic has transformed to fleeting moments of complete suspension of disbelief, and the limited ability to turn off the jaded part of my brain.

I miss the innocence of childhood. I miss looking forward to those paper footprints. I miss the bubble of delight that would form in my chest when I saw packages labeled “To Melissa, from Santa” in red or green glitter. I miss the security of knowing my mother would always be my fiercest protector, and I miss the dreams of seeing a reindeer-powered sleigh cross the night sky.

When I was six, I believed it when the folks at channel 9 said they were tracking a UFO coming from the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Thirty years later, I watch the news and wish for such stories.


Welcome to the December Question of the Day. Please post your answer in your own journal or blog, and comment here.

Question #11:
During the holiday season, what specific aspect of being a young child do you miss the most?


This doesn’t feel like it should be a Holidailies post, because there’s no seasonal content, but that’s not really a requirement. So it is.

Sometimes, you just have to give up on productivity and spend the day in bed, which is what I did today. It wasn’t so much that I was up late, as I was asleep by 12:30. It wasn’t that I was up early – I got up to use the bathroom a bit before 8:30, then went back to sleep while Fuzzy went through his morning routine. While we can share a bathroom, and often do, the advantage of me working from home is that I can sleep til 9:30 and still get up and do my morning routine, because my new employers are in California. Time differences are your friends.

But I was groggy all day. Kept thinking I should just give up and nap, and didn’t. My tivo was on TBN, which is scary, but the ultra-Christian Harry Connick Jr. wannabe was adorable and talented even if he did turn traditional Christmas music into scary praise music, so I let it play for a while. I wonder if half an hour of TBN earns me any indulgences. If not, it totally should.

From there, I had breakfast, which was an oh-so-nutritious bowl of Grape Nuts Flakes, with organic milk. I like organic milk, but it confuses me that it has an ex date that is generally two weeks beyond the normal time on chemically enhanced milk. Today, however, I was more interested in the fact that the folks at Horizon have decorated their milk cartons for the holidays. It was adorable. Or at least it was adorable for the first minute and then the coffee kicked in and it was just there.

I wrote some cards for soldiers, and wrote some stuff for work, and cuddled the dogs, and generally felt kind of hazed over and drowsy all day. At 1:00 I had lunch with Commander Data and his brother Lore and the rest of the folks from the USS ENterprise. Thank you, SpikeTV, for running eps of TNG every afternoon. TNG is comforting television. So is the West Wing, but in a different way.

At 2:00 I went back to bed, planning to nap til 4 or 4:30, then take a shower and get ready for ComedySportz, except that when I checked the forum, there was a warning that the show might be called. Which it was, as I found when I woke up a couple hours later. On one level, I’m disappointed – we need the audiences, and I wanted to play, because I’ve had a paradigm shift since our last workshop. But I was also relieved, because I just wasn’t feeling connected to myself. Anyway, I play tomorrow night. And next Friday. IF YOU LIVE IN DFW, COME TO COMEDY SPORTZ ON DEC. 22.

Fuzzy was home early (for him) tonight – by 9 – he brought home food for the dogs, and for us. Bad processed food, but I was in no condition to cook. I started the process of decorating the tree, but am still feeling sleepy, and now that I’ve posted, bed seems like an amazingly good idea, as I have a full day tomorrow.

Fuzzy said, sometimes it’s good to just spend a day vegetating.
Sometimes, he’s allowed to be right.

Catching Up…

I’m not really in the mood to do essay length questions today, and so I offer a two-fer instead:

Question #9:
If you were going to write an editorial column for your city’s newspaper covering any Christmas (or other winter holiday) topic of your choice, what would you write about?

Personally, I think the ultimate Christmas editorial has already been written. I refer, of course, to Frank P. Church’s editorial which appeared in the New York Sun on September 21, 1897, in response to an eight-year-old girl’s letter. We know it by it’s signature phrase, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” (And, by the way, Ed Asner does a reading of this that is just amazing.)

I’ve just reread it (and you can, too) over at Newseum.org (direct link: Yes, Virginia), and I think it not only withstands the test of time, but is not just readable, but relevant to today’s world. After reading it, I always want to clap my hands together, and answer Peter Pan’s plea, crying to the world, “I do believe in faeries!” Because, deep down, a part of me still does.

So if I were to write an editorial, not that I could top Mr. Church, it would have to be all about the death of hope, and the loss of childhood innocence, and how we MUST reclaim those elements of childhood as adults to prevent ourselves from being bitter, sad, lonely people.

Question #10:
If you had to receive the same gift year after year, what would it be and why?

Actually, I do receive the same gift year after year. I always get a small wheel of brie in my stocking. Oh, it’s chilled up to the point of stocking placement, of course (and brie is served runny, anyway), but ever since I was about seven, and was introduced to said cheese, it’s been showing up on Christmas morning. I’m generous though. I share it. Well, usually.

Seriously though, and assuming that money doesn’t count, I think if I had to pick one non-food tangible item, it would be something like a bottle of Clinique’s HAPPY – something I love, but never buy for myself, and would last about a year.