Nyquil Natterings

Have been unwell, congested, sore throated, and sometimes nauseous, since three AM Monday morning. (I woke when Fuzzy came to bed, and fled to the bathroom to puke, then spent part of the next several hours lying on the cool tile of the bathroom – it felt so good against my feverish skin.)

Today, wrote some stuff for work, slept a lot, tried to breathe. Slept more, finished a book, went blog cruising and found a great post from John Baker about Sylvia Plath and cooking. (I also turn to The Joy of Cooking for recipe help at times.)

Am now watching The Day After Tomorrow on DVD while sipping the cold-buster smoothie that Fuzzy brought me from Jamba Juice.


The only word for how I feel right now is “exhausted.”

Saturday was spent at home, and while it was mostly reading and puttering, I spent the morning trying not to sneeze, and have, in fact, been hopped up on antihistamines most of the weekend. I was fine by the time we got to the Arena Saturday night, where I made the seating chart, and seated people and worked door, and Fuzzy kindly ran the bar. It was a good show, and it was nice to WATCH for a change.

This morning, we tried valiantly to sleep but between one and six AM the dogs were up every half hour, and we ended up sleeping through the alarms and missing church. Fuzzy finally woke around 10:30, showered, dressed and went to look at video cards, then came back to get me, at 12:30. By this time I’d also showered and dressed, and we headed off for Starbucks (aka “breakfast”) and then to the Arena for a rare Sunday show (a father/son service group had bought out the theatre), in which only five of us (plus sound) played. It was a little weird, as no one had done a “remote” that wasn’t really “remote” so it was more improvised than we even expected it to be, but it was fun, if tiring. I’m glad I got to do it.

We all went to lunch, after, and then most of us returned to the arena for a pre-workshop workshop (it was the easiest way to kill 45 minutes), and then segued into workshop which wasn’t my best work but was helpful nevertheless. I find that I’m learning as much by watching as by doing.

We went out after THAT for dessert and nibbles, but since the potato at lunch was all I’d eaten, and I’m always uber-hungry at that time of the month, which it became during workshop, I had a cheeseburger.

We stopped for juice and stuff on the way home, and finally got back to the house about ten.

I’m tired now, exhausted mentally and physical, but in a satisfying way. I think I might even turn out the light now.

Stretching at the Improv Soiree

Just got back from post-show dinner, and am still wired from playing at ComedySportz tonight. While it was not our greatest show – not even MY best show – it was a milestone for me in a couple of ways. Tonight, I was on the Blue team.

We opened with Doo-Rap, in which I was required to rhyme the word “Fenced” three times. I used “incensed” and “recompensed” and had “expensed” in my mind, but took a dive because I couldn’t figure out how to use it without grossly departing from the rhythm. The game was fast, but the audience was into it.

Blue’s first game was Blind Line, and it started out oddly, and kept going with everything a little off-kilter. I got the sense that B was trying to get it back on track, as was E. We were playing three-on-three with a DJ who floated between the teams. J seemed like he wasn’t listening. The guys endowed me with being their supervisor, so I did a brief interjection, then left the field – it was crowded – but then they kept talking about me, so when the opportunity arose, I SWIPEd the scene, something I’ve never been brave enough to do, thus fast forwarding to a later time and different location.

Red played Changing Emotions and Styles. My friend D2 was also stretching herself tonight, getting really involved, and not hanging on the sides at ALL.

Blue played Foreign Movie, in which two people speak in gibberish and emote, and the other two translate. Gibberish is usually my weakest skill. Tonight, it was NOT. We made technical mistakes that we now know not to make again (sometimes it takes actually playing a game to feel it, and understand it), but I actually got a compliment on my gibberish from BigE. I consider this a personal achievement. We used the DJ (designated jokester) instead of an audience volunteer, as the audience was a typical Friday-sized one. It’s more like an improv soiree on Fridays.

Red played Forward/Reverse. With four players it was a little confusing.

Blue played Five Things, which I still need to add energy to. My gibberish wasn’t Foreign Movie good for this, but it was markedly improved, and I didn’t feel skill-less about the mime this time. (Actually I had lovely stuff for “hula skirt” to replace “swimsuit,” “snake” to replace “jump rope,” and did okay with “cave” to replace “soccer goal” but could have done better with it.) Sadly, none of us managed to convey “egg” to E, although we discovered later that this was because J had indicated the object was NOT AN EGG.

Half-time found me sweaty and tired, but jazzed.

Red played Dinner at Joe’s. I was the affirmative answer sound effect provider. I’ve never uttered more consecutive ding-ding-ding’s in my entire life. I felt like a Ferry or a Tugboat or whatever.

We all played Story. I was eliminated in round three.

We ended with 185, in which I jumped out at the time the whistle was blown – twice – and not asked to make anything up. At least I tried.

Notes were constructive and specific.
The audience loved the show.
I am going to bed now.

Pretend they’re Edamame

I like lima beans.
I always have. Yes, they’re really more a neutral flavor than anything else, and yes, they can be a little waxy sometimes, but, there’s something really comforting about them. Also, they come in a pretty, tranquil, spring green color that reminds me of warm sunlight and soft soil.

Having given up bread for Lent, which, by the way, is proving much more difficult than last year’s 40 days of no cheese, and it’s only been two days so far, I’ve been trying to find lunch options other than sandwiches. Unfortunately I didn’t plan well for the first week of Lent, and the grocery list included bread, tuna, and peanut butter when I sent Fuzzy to the store on Monday.

On Wednesday, craving something other than tuna or scrambled eggs, and more substantial than a cup of yogurt, I found a bag of brown rice in the cabinet, and a package of frozen lima beans in the freezer. We have a rice cooker with a steamer tray, so, after washing the rice, it went into the usual part of the cooker, and the beans went into the steamer. Lids were placed on top with care, the “cook” button was pressed, and I trotted off to take a shower. There’s nothing like a hot shower when you’re hungry. Okay, hot soup would be better, but showers are good too. Mine wasn’t hot, however, as my stylist has me trained to only wash my hair in tepid water (it makes color last longer).

I re-entered the kitchen barefoot and with damp hair, and smiled because the cooker had done its thing, and now I had brown rice and lima beans. I served some of each into a pretty stoneware bowl, splashed on some MSG-free soy sauce, grabbed a bottle of water and a fork, and sat down to eat.

Warm, comforting, just the flavor I’d been craving.

I even had leftovers for Thursday’s lunch.

As I nibbled, I re-visited a conversation held over dinner in California a couple weeks ago. One of my dinner-companions was less than thrilled at the inclusion of lima beans among the vegetables on her plate. (I was happy with their inclusion, but that’s not the point.) “Well,” I suggested. “It’s a Polynesian restaurant. Do you like Japanese food? Pretend they’re edamame.”

When we go shopping this weekend, I’ll have to get more lima beans.
I also need more rice.
And maybe some tofu.

Thursday Thirteen: 0702.22

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss

13 of my favorite Flowers

  1. Classic Daisies: While they may seem ordinary, there’s something inherently cheerful about them.
  2. Irises: Tall, striking, and yet rather simple. I realize they’re technically blue, but I interpret them as purple. Either way, I find there’s nothing quite so elegant as a tall rectangular vase of irises.
  3. Carnations: Natural carnations have this amazing clove scent, and actually do come in a few interesting colors. The dyed ones are fun in a different way. For Christmas 2006, I had red and white carnations in a 2:1 ratio in vases throughout the house.
  4. Stargazer Lilies: Can you tell I favor tropicals and exotics? Stargazers are riveting. And their fragrance isn’t heavy enough to be cloying.
  5. Calla Lilies: I’m not sure if it’s the work of Mapplethorpe or other influences, but Calla Lilies always make me smile. Again, elegant, they remind me of crisp white linen, with a punch of yellow for emphasis.
  6. Tulips: I’m forcing some right now because I forgot to refrigerate them. Tulips are just sexy, and not because of the old organ joke, either.
  7. Daffodils: Cheery. Yellow. Stalky. Daffodils mean springtime to me, and remind me of a favorite title rep who always used to gift us with them for Daffodil Days.
  8. Orchids: These sensitive exotics first came into my life through a certain fictional detective, Nero Wolfe. Since then, I’ve tried a few times to keep them alive, but I’m not that skilled.
  9. Gerbera Daisies: Bolder and brighter than their more pedestrian cousins, these happy flowers always make me smile.
  10. Morning Glories: These are somewhat of a family favorite – my grandmother got us all hooked on them. I’ve yet to plant them here in Texas, though I have seeds waiting to be set into the earth. I need to figure out where to put the lattice, first – probably outside my bathroom window, since it gets first light.
  11. Petunias: Probably the easiest flower to grow, and great for landscaping, because you can pack them close together and they thrive. They come in more colors than most people realize.
  12. African Violets: were another of my grandmother’s favorites, she would cheerfully talk to hers and pet the undersides of their leaves with extreme gentleness as she misted them each morning. Their tiny blossoms are really just precious.
  13. Sunflowers: Bold, vibrant, and wild, these are my very favorite flower, and Fuzzy laughs at me when I tell him so. He thinks flowers should be flashier, I guess. What I love about sunflowers, though, is that they’re resilient, and they’re everywhere – along highways from SoDak down to Texas, along the edges of fields in California, and even in sand dunes in parts of New Jersey.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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Happy Birthday, Mom.

Mom & Friend

My mother isn’t the type to be angry about her age being revealed, because at 57 she really doesn’t look much over 40. I used to complain that I still look twelve, but as I get older, I’m finding it to be less a problem, and more a feature of our genetics that most of the women in my family don’t really look their age.

She was born, as she’ll tell you if you ask, in Valley Forge, PA, on what was then Washington’s Birthday. As a small child, and a Catholic school student as well, she and her younger sister, born on the day of the Immaculate Conception, both got their birthdays off from school. Of course, it took them several years to realize it wasn’t all about them. Actually, I think my mother has yet to truly realize this.

I complain about her a lot. She runs my life, even from Baja Sur, she re-arranges my house to suit her, and uses a different mug for every cup of coffee, many of which travel upstairs, never to be seen again. I sometimes think we’ll find a treasure trove of old coffee mugs under the guest room bed if we ever leave this house. She has lost the art of conversation, since leaving the States, making strings of declarations without pausing for breath, or to allow a response. More frightening, is that she seems to have also lost the art, the joy, in being alone. I don’t mean permanently, I mean, she’ll say, “I want quiet time,” and then five minutes later she’ll be talking, as if the quiet she used to revel in has suddenly become oppressive. Watching this, I wonder if older people become slightly batty as a sort of self defense against being inside their own heads. Not that my mother strikes me as being ‘older,’ in any sense other than ‘older than me.’

The thing about mothers and daughters is that even when we hate each other, we still have a bond. There have been times when I’ve wanted to completely purge my mother from my life. I’m sure there have been similar moments on her part. Ultimately, though, the umbilical cord, the metaphysical one, is still connecting us, even though it’s often stretched thin to the point of breaking. The other thing about mothers and daughters is that even when they hate each other, they love each other unconditionally, or at least, that’s how it is in my family.

For the most crucial parts of my life, our family, the nuclear version of same, was just Mom and me. In a slightly grittier, more politically active version of Gilmore Girls, the two of us faced the world as a united front. It’s like soldiers and their buddies, only cleaner, and with less bloodshed. Some of the lessons from my mother still resonate with me. Some I have yet to learn. Most have helped to form and inform the person I am today, and I mean that in a good way that goes beyond, “Always wear clean underwear.”

Random things my mother taught me include always having odd numbers of design elements, like flowers or candle sticks, because even numbers look weird, and that when decorating for holidays, you should carry the decorations throughout the house. She taught me how to write the ultimate sales pitch for MS read-a-thons, and that you don’t have to marry the first person you sleep with. She gave me my love of reading, my joy in music (despite her complete and utter inability to carry a tune), and my adventurous spirit with regard to foods, places, and culture. She weaned me on coffee, served me my first bloody mary, and taught me how to make the perfect meatball, but she also gave me the ability to write sincere thank-you notes, and to enjoy giving gifts as much as receiving them. She’s tolerated every experiment with various religions, and equally various hair colors, not even shrieking (much) when I came home one year with gothic black hair and fuck-me-dead red lipstick. She learned to make hats for me, and made sure I had tap lessons, cello lessons, voice lessons, and entry fees for writing competition, even if sometimes that meant she didn’t have money for lunch.

The present I WANT to give my mother today is a real, face-to-face coffee date, where we’re not constricted by schedules or other plans, followed by a walk on the beach.

The present I’m actually sending is a gift certificate for Amazon.com, so she can buy a frou-frou magazine and have it sent down to Mexico once a month.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Basic Black, Classic Blue

Last night, surfing the feeds that Google Reader had pulled for me, I came across the Improv Resource Center, which was a new site for me. Bored, I surfed the message boards there, and became engrossed in a thread about what various improvisers like to wear on stage.

I’ve seen troupes with matching t-shirts, and troupes who just wore whatever. At ComedySportz, obviously, there is no choice, but for late shows, those who participate wear black t-shirts and jeans.

Aside from giving a sense of uniformity while still offering some style options – there are many types of jeans and varieties of black t-shirts – I think it’s a classic casual look. Black t-shirts and blue denim have become my default mode of dress, actually, when I’m home working, because I’m “dressed” enough to be in a mental “workspace” but it’s not at all corporate. With the right earrings, or lipstick color, a woman in a black t-shirt can be edgy, saucy, flirty, sexy, or just fun. And men in black t-shirts tend to look hot no matter how pasty their winter skin tone.

Basic black, classic blue.
What could be better?

Aureus, Always Aureus

I’m beginning to think someone somewhere really wants me to fall in love with BPAL‘s scent called “Aureus.”

I say this because not only was it among a mystery pack I ordered from the forum, but it was a frimp (that’s free imp, or free sample) in my first BPAL order, as well as in my 3rd, which just arrived today. And this isn’t bad, exactly, except that it’s a bit to light and happy for me, and I keep giving away the imps I have of it, only to receive another.

The actual order was a bottle of Intrigue, and imps of Dee, Eclipse, Jolly Roger, Queen, Queen Mab, and Thaleia. Frimps (in addition to the afore-mentioned Aureus) are La Bella Donna Della Mia Mente, and Thalia.

The excitement of a new box of BPAL, btw, has boosted what started out as a great weekend. First, despite being in a blue funk, I fought through it and we had a great show last night. Then, last night over spinach and mushroom omelettes at IHOP, the waitress complimented my hair, and this morning, not only did I get to have a relaxing facial but I had my free eyebrow waxing, and Jennifer did an amazing job, though I’ll miss Monica.

Following that, I hung out at Barnes and Noble in Cedar Hill, nibbling on a cheese and tomato panini and sipping an iced latte – yay for the return of sun and mild weather. I also bought books, which will eventually appear over on the bookblog, including two which were signed by their respective authors, who were in the store celebrating Black History Month. Both were warm gregarious people, and invited me to email them with my thoughts, after I’d read their work. In a perfect display of balance, one author is male, the other female, one book is non-fiction, the other a novel. And then there was the OTHER $84 I spent on books.

There was a side-trip to Bath and Body Works, where I bought four bottles of antibacterial hand soap for $10 (total, not each), and, there was also the aquisition of pink lip gloss (‘grapefruit’) from Aveda while I was there.

Back at B&N, I also bought the latest offering from the Gipsy Kings, one of my favorite musical groups ever, because they always sound so soulful and lusty in that loving life and sexy but not particularly sexual way.

I’m off to shower now, and then will go help out at CSz.

Yay sunshine, yay weekend, yay music, yay perfume, yay improv, yay me!

Off with her head!

It shouldn’t be surprising that this toy was featured by Dave Barry last year. After all, he’s always been one to know about the edgy, the subversive, the just plain disturbing. (And I swear I’m not making that up.)

It also shouldn’t be surprising that I first heard of this toy, not from Mr. Barry’s column, but from my friend The Fabulous Klae, who is just as much in the know as any Miami humorist, and also makes amazing cappuccino. (He does Improv, is on the hot-button of the Funny, and makes espresso drinks. *Swoon*)

What is surprising is that I, who have never really been a doll person, since purging my house of Barbie dolls at the age of ten, and who really doesn’t need any more small cluttery items that might be tempting to chew-happy dogs, am intrigued by this doll. I think it could be an excellent stress reducer, for one thing. Or even a bizarre kind of weapon. (“But Mooooom, she shot a HEAD at me.”)

You can order the very fine Marie Antoinette Action Figure here.

Pants are Just a Phase

Improv Everywhere has long been on my radar as a group I’d love to be a part of some day, because rather than formal shows, they do happenings.

What’s a happening? Wel, about a month ago, the folks at NYC based group had their 2007 No Pants Subway Ride, in which their various agents boarded the subway, removed their pants, and rode the train to a specific stop, before turning around, and riding back to their point of origin.

Past versions of this event have included pants sellers, who collected the cast off garments then “sold” them to other participants. (According to the website, this was discontinued because some people didn’t get their pants back.)