I’m sitting here in my writing studio with a cold grey sky beyond my window, and thinking about what would make this day feel less chilly and gloomy. Well, laughter, obviously.

Rather than tell jokes on my blog though, I’m going to invite all of you who live in or near the DFW Metroplex to come to ComedySportz during the month of February. I play every Friday evening this month, and I’m also in the special Valentine’s Day show.

Regular admission is $15 at the door / $12 with advanced reservations. It’s clean, family friendly, and much much fun. Also, we have the best prices on snack food in the entire entertainment entry. None of those seven thousand dollar melted Hershey bars here – everything we serve is only $1.00/item (well, except for the Red Bull).

Now about that Valentine’s Day show – here’s what it says on the CSz-DFW website:

Wednesday, February 14th at 8:30PM

ComedySportz DFW Annual Valentine’s Day Battle of the Sexes!

It’s the time of year when love is in the air…a time to spend with your loved one sharing strawberries and champagne…holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes…and then trying to slap each other silly because it’s once again time for the Annual ComedySportz Battle of the Sexes!. Every year at this time, it’s the men against the women to see who can take the bragging rights for being funnier. Last year, the men broke a two year losing streak by soundly beating the woman’s team! This year, we think the women are out for revenge, but when asked if anything was wrong, the women’s team said, “nothing”. Uh oh. We all know what that means.

ComedySportz will be playing at the ComedySportz Arena in Dallas on Wednesday, February 14th at 8:30pm. The theatre is located in the West End MarketPlace Building at 603 Munger Avenue, Dallas, TX 75202. The cost for this show is just $35. No coupons, discounts, or passes can be accepted for this special show. The price will include the show, and a pass to come back to see a future show. This year, the event will be catered by Jim Lee Events, one of the top event caterers in the Metroplex. They will offer a hors’dourves buffet that will include an amazing fruit and cheese selection, and some outstanding finger foods. This amazing buffet WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE! There will be a cash bar at this event, so you can share strawberries and Champagne with your special someone, while watching the battle on the field. Wow, it doesn’t get any more romantic than that!

“Many people have said that women cannot be funny”, the Captain of the women’s team was recently quoted as saying. “Well, we’ve proved them wrong before, and we’ll do it again this year”. Further, she added this to the men’s team, “Bring it!”. To which the men responded, “Oh, it’s been broughten”. Gosh, cheerleader speak is so cool.

The men’s team has not been resting on their laurels. Primarily for two reasons. One, they want to win again this year, and two….they don’t know what laurels actually are. But, they do intend to win no matter what. And the women intend to win also. It’s shaping up to be the comedy battle of the year. Who knew comedy could be so much fun! This show is always sold out, so make your reservations early.

ComedySportz does fast paced, hilarious comedy that’s totally clean. Nothing ever said or done will offend anyone. All ages are welcome. A perfect place for a Valentine’s Date night!

Hope to see you there.

Anti Ants

Drink: Starbucks Nonfat mocha
Scent: BPAL Mad Hatter
Workshop:Warm-ups:Woosh!Bong, Zip-Zap-Zop. Worked on: What Are You Doing?, Musical Improv, Musical Endings.

As we tend to do on Sundays, especially when we were up late puttering on our computers to the wee hours the night before, Fuzzy and I slept blissfully, decadently late today, with periods of reading and dozing between ten in the morning and one this afternoon, when the call of the shower was too strong to ignore any longer. There’s a limit to how long anyone should have to suffer with a “not so fresh” feeling, after all.

I wrote a little, played some Zuma (it’s very Zen), drank some tea, ate a bagel, and chatted with my mother. I have no idea what Fuzzy did but it probably involved killing virtual people or wearing virtual armor. And people think I have a violent streak.

Stopped at Starbucks for caffeine in a cup. Went to workshop, where I did not get warm until ten minutes before we left. Learned a lot. Had fun. The West End was packed, so after we gave up on the three open restaurants we are ALL willing to patronize, called Fuzzy, as group was heading out of the area. He wasn’t inclined to go where they’d suggested, so we went to Tio’s for Mexican sandwiches. The limeade was amazing, but I’m sad because I didn’t realize they had horchata until after I had my limeade, and I love horchata. I’m tickled though, to find out that not only are they putting in a Borders Bookstore at I-20 and Matlock, but also a branch of Tio’s. There’s already a brew-pub there that I keep wanting to try, but somehow we never do.

We had a lovely quiet dinner, and then stopped for a few essential groceries, on the way home. We then spent about ninety minutes de-anting the pantry. Their source of food, it turns out, was a zip-lock bag of Tootsie Rolls and Smarties that has been sitting in the top of the pantry since Halloween, 2004. It was completely seething with the little pests. Anyway, the contents of the pantry are now strewn across the counters in the kitchen, since we sprayed Raid inside, and don’t really want to contaminate the food. It’ll all go back in tomorrow, after things dissipate a bit.

I’m now curled up with my laptop and both dogs, watching Friday’s tivo’d episode of Monk.

tlhIngan Hol Dajatlh’a’

Drink: Francis Ford Coppola Merlot
Scent: BPAL Intrigue
Warm-ups: Woosh!Bong, Blind Woosh!Bong, FuzzyDuck, Big Buddha
Games: Do-Rap, Blind Line (blue), Slide Show (red), Changing Emotions/Styles (red), Moving Bodies (blue), Five Things (blue), Dance Party (red), Story, 185

I spent the day writing about Buicks, then wandered downstairs to make grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, managing to make one perfect sandwich which I graciously gave to Fuzzy, and then, burn two, though between them I managed to salvage almost a whole sandwich. Strangely, this simple meal was exactly what I needed. Fuzzy ate quickly, but I lingered, reading a newly arrived book, I’ve Been Around, by Tanya Aebi, about her experiences with charter cruises and other boating adventures. She’s this really cool woman who, when she was 17, sailed around the world in a 22-food sailboat. Alone.

At four, I went to nap before getting ready for ComedySportz. It’s that time of the month when I want to spend a lot of time curled up in bed with a heating pad and intravenous chocolate, but playing with my friends was almost as comforting. I say almost because two people were seriously injured backstage, and the night was off-kilter. Still it was a good show, if not a great show, and I know I shocked and surprised my troupemates by using real Klingon when it was called for in one of the games. Yes, I AM a Trekkie, thank you.

At five thirty, I got up and got dressed, but really wanted to go back to sleep. A chocolate chai from Starbucks helped a little. Laughter helped more. We warmed up, cooed over injured friends, played a game that wasn’t the best but was still enjoyable. Afterward, we went to dinner, and now I’m home with dogs and laptop, working on a creative project.

And craving chocolate.

Got any?

So, I’m an Ant Murderer

I hate ants.
I especially hate them when they are found in my pantry, or shower.

Today they were in the pantry.

I murdered them ruthlessly.

We are now out of Raid.

I shall enlist Fuzzy’s assistance in removing EVERYTHING from the pantry, cleaning it out, chucking stuff that is not ant-proof, and re-organizing everything.

But not today.

Today I will simply revel in being MissMeliss the Ant Murderer.

They SO deserved it.

Don’t Brake for Pandas

or Why Afternoon Naps are Evil

I’ve been tired, cranky and head-achy all day, and after the third call from my mother who was both kvetching about how she’s on dial up after five days of having the local geeks try to install TelMex’s brand of high speed internet access which is about a third the price of what she’s been paying, I simply couldn’t take it any more. I went into the bedroom, turned out all the lights, and curled up with a dog on either side of me. I felt that falling into sleep sensation almost instantly.

And then I dreamed:

I was in a car with Fuzzy, my mother, and Ira. We’d been at someone else’s house for a party, and now we were driving back home. As we drove the wind grew stronger and stronger until finally we noticed odd things flying through the air – real estate lawn signs with feature sheet boxes still attached, barbecue grills, sandwich boards from different businesses – stuff like that. Fuzzy was driving, and was dodging everything, but I could hear each item impact another car. Then we swerved into the trees, and back out, and there were two small animals in the middle of the road, crying piteously.

“Look!” shouted my mother. “Pandas!” And we all saw pandas. We didn’t even question the presence of pandas in California. Or Texas. I think it was Texas. But it might have been California. So we stopped, and rescued the pandas, wrapping them in beach towels – because there are always beach towels, and anyway, I know the rule from the Guide. Not “Don’t Panic,” though that’s a good general rule. The other one. “Always know where your towel is.”

But I digress.

So we rescued the pandas with beach towels, and then I looked at them and said, “Don’t they bite. And for that matter, don’t they come from China?”

Fuzzy said it didn’t matter, as long as we hadn’t hit them.

My step-father said, “Oh, they’re not really pandas, they’re fat raccoons. Too many Nutter Butters.”

“Don’t they carry rabies?” I asked.

“But they’re cute,” observed my mother.

As if offended by being called cute, one of them lashed out at me – apparently I was the most easily reached – with claw and tooth. My arm flared with pain. “Get rid of them!” I shouted.

My stepfather immediately hoisted them through the open window, using the beach towels as a sling. “Gone,” he said. “They landed on their tails – they’ll be fine.”

“They tore my shirt,” I complained. “And I’m bleeding.”

At that point, my hand and arm started swelling, the way rabies-infected bites and scratches do in a dream. Swelling and swelling, and hurting, and lots of blood. “Fuzzy,” I said. “Next exit. Hospital.”

So he took the next exit, and we ended up in a charming movie-perfect downtown, with many pedestrians, and we stopped at an intersection and asked for the hospital, just as white lines of pus started to race across my other arm (under the skin). But no one answered our plea for directions, in English, Spanish, or French.

Finally some woman with many braids, and lime green bullet-proof polyester clothing, came and said, “Hospital’s just around the corner on Zoolaloo Drive. Zoom now. Zoom to Zoolaloo.”

We pulled into the emergency room section and people rushed out, and I said I’d been bitten and they were about to inject me with a needle, when the claw marks on my hand started to bleed again, and my hand was so wet, and I woke up…


Now, normally I’d tell you that Zorro had been lying on my arm and licking it, or some such, but no. I woke, and he and Cleo were sitting exactly where they had been, just staring at me. The way dogs do.

No real pandas or raccoons were harmed in the making of this dream.

I don’t understand…

…people who say they won’t go to parties or events outside Dallas or outside Fort Worth, as if there’s some forcefield running down the middle of the metroplex with special cootie contaminators just waiting to attack people from the Other city. I haven’t understood it since I’ve been here, and I don’t think I ever will. It just seems so limiting. These are two very different cities. Each is distinct. Each has special things to offer. Personally, I like elements of each, and one of the reasons we live between them is that this way we didn’t have to choose.

I don’t remember this kind of divisiveness in California. I’m sure it happened. I know there are jokes that there’s a battle between L.A. and San Francisco that only the folks in SFO seem to know about, but there’s a difference of about six hours between SFO and L.A., whereas Dallas and Fort Worth, whether the residents of either care to admit it or not, are part of one overlapping urban sprawl.

For much of my life, I lived in San Jose, which is roughly an hour away from San Francisco. Like both Dallas and Fort Worth, it is a city in its own right. It has theatre, music, restaurants, movies, it’s own neighborhoods and suburbs, and it is also part of the massive urban and suburban sprawl that is Silicon Valley. But I’ve never encountered any of my friends complaining that they won’t go to a party or event because it’s in San Francisco (or, for that matter, Oakland, Berkeley, Sunnyvale, or Palo Alto (well, perhaps parts of Oakland)).

This isn’t a judgment thing. And it has nothing to do with special circumstances. I understand that there are people who CANNOT go much further than their own neighborhoods for various reasons. But for those who can, to refuse? I don’t get it. I honestly don’t get it.

Someone please explain it to me?


It was sunny yesterday, but it was the sort of sunny day that has no heat, just brittle, chilled sunlight. A wintry day, such as wintry days are in this part of the world. Dry. Cold. Over-bright.

Despite the fact that my body chemistry decided I was not allowed to feel comfortably warm until bedtime, it was a happy and productive day as well. I got the answers to some of the important work questions I’d wanted, still waiting for others. Made headway with one of the seven work projects I’m trying to do simultaneously.

And then there was the mail. I love mail. I especially love snailmail. And I love when my mailbox holds surprises. The expected mail was the arrival of my first official order from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, of a 5ml bottle of one of their limited edition Yule scents, The Winter of our Discontent, as well as six imps: Asphodel, Dragon’s Heart, Intrigue, Lightning, Midnight, and Miskatonic University. I’d heard that BPAL generally gives an extra imp with orders, but I received three freebies: Aureus, Juliet and Loviatar. There was also a lovely postcard advertising the Lab and one of their popular scents – Snake Oil.

So far, of the imps, Intrigue is my favorite. It’s a blend of black palm, cocoa, fig and something woody that smells like cedar, and it’s not sweet, except in gentle subtle wafts, but sort of dark and unpredictable. The fig didn’t even really come out until drydown, and then it was there, harmonizing with the other notes. Delightful.

The unexpected mail was the invitation to a friend’s wedding in March. There are weddings you are invited to and you’re glad you live miles away so you can plead travel expense and not go. There are weddings you are invited to that you make a perfunctory appearance at, for form’s sake, and then there are weddings you truly wish to attend. This is one of those. Their invitation was pretty, but also funky – colors were purple, charcoal, silver, and white – and they set up a webpage with important information. I can tell just from this, and from various conversations, that this is going to be a delightful, warm, happy occasion, and I’m thrilled to be invited. Also, it’s an excuse for shopping. Shopping is never bad. Never.

So yesterday was a figgy day, in the best sense. Purple. Juicy. Surprising.

Today, I’ve got stew stewing in the crockpot, and I’m playing Time Girl for poor Fuzzy who has been up literally all night, trying to solve a crisis in his company’s Tokyo office. In the meantime, though, I’m going to snatch another two hours sleep. Because I can. Because the bed is warm. Because the dogs are sending out enticing alpha waves. Because I’m a little groggy and would rather rest now and then work solidly til seven or eight. And…just because.

Break’s Over. What’s Next?

Drink: Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Scent: BPAL Baghdad

Slept til nine, then ten, then eleven. Wrote about BMW’s. Clarified some stuff about other projects. Approached some people I think would be good additions to the team. Showered, towel dried hair, dressed. Finished Mistral’s Kiss, by Laurell K. Hamilton. Put my hair in a pony-tail high atop my head, and let it swing. Played at ComedySportz. Went to Friday’s for dinner with troupemates.


Drink: Friday’s Cafe Toledo
Scent: Aveda Personal Blends Fire

Slept til ten, got up, did the dishes, played with the dogs, watched the rain. Read for a while. Ate a peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich, and made chicory coffee from Cafe Du Monde, which I drank laced with brown sugar and heavy cream. Went back to bed for a while. Had odd dreams. Got dressed, wore new jewelry from Aunt P (received for Christmas), and favorite denim jacket. Felt stylish and kind of retro. Also wore bebop hat. Sage green is so the new black. Helped at CSz. Good show. Dinner at Friday’s with troupemates. Bed at five AM.

Drink: HoffBrau Munchen HeffeWeizen
Scent: BPAL Tezcatlipoca
Warm-Ups: FuzzyDuck, Woosh!Bong, and a focus drill
Worked on: Scene building, high percentage choices
New Game: Dubbing

Went to bed around 4:30 AM, but Fuzzy was feeling amorous, and it had been a while since any horizontal entertainment, as I’d been so sick. Went to bed (for the second time) a bit after 5:30. Woke at eleven – Fuzzy went to take car for oil change and light repair. Read a while. Sat in the sun and chatted with my mother on the phone. Went back to bed. Fuzzy woke me around two to ask me a question, but I went right back to sleep. Woke again around three-thirty, got ready for workshop, stopped at Starbucks, choosing caffeine over food. Had marvellous time at workshop even if I felt slightly off, still. Went to HoffBrau for dinner with troupe. Arrived home at 10:15. Watched 1st season ep of Grey’s Anatomy and am currently watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, both courtesy of TiVo.

This whole weekend, from the time I arrived at the CSz arena on Friday, to the time I got home tonight, has had that whole “back to school” sort of feeling. During Friday’s show, and, to a lesser degree during today’s workshop, I felt like I was still in vacation mode, and slightly disconnected. The notes I received were very specific and very helpful – I like that. Seeing the troupe again was like returning home after a time away. I’m feeling so energized and excited about all the different creative things going on in my life right now, and I really think 2007 is going to be an amazing year.

So why the title? Both phrases are lines from The West Wing, and both have been circling in my head all weekend. My mental break, illness induced or not, is officially over. I’m geared up to make the future into the image that suits me. And my question, loaded with inspiration and the promise of hard work, and great rewards, is “What’s next?”


I left the warm cocoon of soft cotton sheets and small furry animals to answer nature’s call just after 4:30 AM, and managed to read another chapter in the book I’m currently enjoying, the most recent offering from Lauren Willig.

As I was padding softly back to bed, I heard the quiet jingling of dog tags, and asked Miss Cleo if she needed to go out. She did, and so I retrieved my turquoise HAPPY tank top and ancient white sweats from the floor, and slid my feet into my white chenille bath slippers, and we shuffled across the living room which was bathed in dim whitish light filtering in from the windows. Zorro trotted slowly after us, as if making sure that we were coming back inside. He was a bit bleary-eyed, and moved slowly, as if his joints were in need of lubrication. He’s ten, so arthritis isn’t outside the realm of possibilities.

Saw a dusting of white on the patio before I clicked on the outside light, and opened the sliding door. After looking out, I determined it was more than a dusting of snow, and closer akin to a frosting. Miss Cleo happily scampered across the deck, leaving a classic line of paw prints. She came back before Zorro had even arrived at the door. He stuck his nose out, and immediately turned around, giving me a long suffering sigh as if to say, “I got out of bed for this?”

“Are you sure?” I asked him in my quiet morning voice. He was, and indicated this by plodding Eeyore-like, back through the living room.

We all returned to bed, where I informed my sleeping husband, “It’s snowing.” He grunted in response. As I skinned out of the sweats and tank, and slid into bed next to him I felt the heat he was radiating, and released a soft, “Mmmm. You’re warm.” Blissfully asleep, he declined to answer.

Miss Cleo nosed under the covers, and Zorro curled against me, and I closed my eyes, but my mind was racing, so I pulled the laptop into bed with me and checked email. The result left me with a soft smile, for I’d received a Click-and-Ship notification from BPAL that my first official order was going out.

And so I am turning the light out again, and I will lay in my soft bed, and rest another couple of hours, insulated by the softly falling snow outside my window.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…







We (my city, not the metroplex) didn’t see much actual ice, so chances are we won’t see much – if any – snow, but I hope, I hope, I hope.