Thursday 13: 0703.22

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss

13 Songs Almost Always Stuck in My Head

  1. “Let Me Entertain You” – Robbie Williams – Heard it for the first time at a skating show, and it’s stuck in my brain ever since. It’s snarky and energizing. I like those features in a song.
  2. “Downtown” – Petula Clark – It’s retro enough to be funky, but it’s flirty and fun as well. Also, it sits perfectly in my range.
  3. “How Strong Do you Think I Am?” – Alexz Johnson – I like the imagery of the lyrics in this tune from the show Instant Star: “Am I a rock, or a rose, or a fist, or the breath at the end of a kiss?”
  4. “Stars and the Moon” – Jason Robert Brown – It’s no secret that JRB is my favorite composer of the modern era. This was my introduction to his music. I like that he tells stories in his tunes.
  5. “Lovers Concerto” – The Toys – This song is silly and fun, and always makes me smile. Plus, it’s based on Bach’s Minuet in G.
  6. “You’re So Vain” – Carly Simon – I learned this in the front seat of my Mom’s old Duster when I was too small to understand the lyrics, other than the line. “I had some dreams – they were clouds in my coffee.” That lyric still sticks out for me.
  7. “Joy to the World” – Three Dog Night – I think I first encountered this on the show ZOOM when I was a kid. It’s kicky and fun, and totally carefree.
  8. “Video Killed the Radio Star” – The Buggles – Another silly song. We use this in the show-opening mix at CSz, and I now associate it with the official start of an evening there – even though it comes on about half an hour before door.
  9. “Perfect Fingers” – Tami Greer – From the soundtrack of the movie Better than Chocolate. It’s folksy and bluesy, and completely seductive, but sweet, too.
  10. “Defying Gravity” – from the musical Wicked – It just speaks to me.
  11. “Unwritten” – Natasha Bedingfield – Anyone who’s ever stared at a blank page – literal or figurative – should understand why this song resonates with me.
  12. “A Little Bit in Love” – from the musical Wonderful Town – That Bernstein, he knew from music. This song is just so lyrical and happy – it makes me wish for a twirly skirt and a sunny day.
  13. “Bitch” – Meredith Brooks – Three days out of the month this is my anthem. The rest of the time, it’s…one of many.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Zippy Tuesday

Tuesday zipped by. I swear five minutes ago it was only seven at night, and now it’s eleven and I’m sitting in bed writing this.

My day was actually pretty mellow. Slept til eight-ish, surfed the net in bed til nine, made coffee, wrote some stuff for work. Had more coffee. Answered email. Answered phone calls. Wrote more for work. Had IM conversation with SEO guru. Re-read info he sent. Uploaded articles to staging server. Chatted with Ms. Eclectic via Skype, and later, with my mother, via telephone. Made three-bean chili for dinner. There’s enough for lunch tomorrow. Fed dogs. Cuddled dogs. Ate dinner. Folded laundry.

Condensed like that it seems like I don’t do much, but really, a lot of those brief lines represent hours of work, hundreds of words committed to the screen, if not to the page.

My dogs were as quiet today as the weather was intense. Not a lot of rain, but a dramatic lightning storm just as afternoon morphed into evening, and all day incessant wind. I had my office windows open wide, and I sat and typed at my pink laptop and felt like Jo March in her garrett because my office is on the second floor, and with the desk angled across the room I feel like I’m perched in the trees.

After work hours, while the chili was bubbling on the stove, I sat on the deck and watched the grackles gathering to roost. Sometimes they seem like a flight of firelizards, with their swoops and dives high overhead. Other times, as they each perch on a separate branch, surrounding the neighborhood, they seem quite Hitchcock-ian.

I know that it is spring because the wind blows but has no bite beneath its bluster, and because the geckos are coming out at night. One of the older geckos, a coppery-orange one, got into some kind of scuffle and sacrificed his tail. I know it will grow back, but he looks so distorted without the extra couple of inches – and I feel sorry for him I wonder if geckos feel pain only in the moment, or the entire time they’re regrowing.

I had more to say but my thoughts are muzzy and I’m ready for sleep.
And so I shall.

White Cotton Bliss

There is no more perfect garment than a plain white cotton t-shirt, except a plain white cotton t-shirt that has been liberated from a beloved male. It doesn’t matter if the man in question is a husband, lover, or boyfriend, or even a father, grandfather, or older brother. What matters is that the shirt has been worn and washed many times, so the cotton is broken in, and softer than the faintest spring breeze.

This is not the sort of t-shirt you wear to dinner. It has no fancy stitching, no pocket, no designer icon or label. It is not blended with polyester so that it never wrinkles. It may be less white than it was when it came out of the package. It has likely been warn beneath a button-down shirt, or tucked into belted khaki’s during lawn work. It has absorbed sweat and cologne, distinctly masculine scents, and then it has been soaked in hot sudsy water – maybe even bleached – and, ideally, line dried so that it smells of sunshine, though a clothes dryer result is acceptable if you live somewhere humid.

On rare occasions, a v-neck is allowed. Sleeves are a must. Fraying and holes? Completely revolting.

I developed my love of stolen cotton t-shirts as a small child of five, visiting my grandparents in New Jersey. Unwilling to unpack suitcases on my first day of being in their house, my grandmother would raid my grandfather’s underwear drawer for one of his oldest, softest t-shirts, and that would be my nightgown not just that night, but for the better part of the summer. At that age, I didn’t do my own packing, so the shirts were invariably returned at the end of the summer, but as I grew older, I would take them home with me. I often wonder if my grandfather realized his shirts were being depleted, or if my grandmother replaced those that I pilfered.

Today, working from home, I am five years old again, and though the sky outside is grey, and the wind is blustery, my heart is sun-warmed, because I am freshly showered and wearing an old white cotton t-shirt, and a pair of ratty cotton sweatpants. My grandmother would accuse me of being stolen from the gypsies, if she saw me dressed this way – bare feet, damp hair – but I’m treasuring the soft cotton against my skin, and the faint tang of grass and cologne that seems to waft from the fibers of my imagination, if not the shirt itself.

The stolen t-shirt: white cotton bliss.

Sunday Scribblings: Inspiration

Inspiration. Do you wait for it? Do you court it? Do you flirt with it a little? Does it come in flashes or in trickles or in spurts? Does it never come? Are you inspired to begin something here? Do you love the word? Hate it? Can you write without it? Is it a small one-eyed creature who lives on your shoulder and whispers in your ear at strange times? Or has inspiration struck just reading the word and you now have something delicious to write for our reading pleasure?

I am inspired by water. Give me a rainy day, a steaming shower, a tub of bubbles, and I will give you back a poem, a multi-page letter, a short story, or a poignant essay. I may be a fire sign, but I’m a fire-sign who embraces the salt water in her blood, and revels in the feel of the sand between her toes. The first sound I remember is the foghorn at Sandy Hook, the first taste that of the sea-spray on my childish lips, and the scent I’m most drawn to is the sweaty ozone-tinged odor of post-beach sun-bronzed skin.

I am inspired by air. The same soft breeze that lifts my bangs or cools the back of my neck also breathes life into characters and stories. The sound of prairie wind is mournful, and speaks to me of loss and fear. The chattering of birds brings forth happy burbling phrases. The tortured twisting of trees introduces darker themes: vampires, moonlight, mystery, intrigue.

I am inspired by fire. A flickering candle leads to thoughts of those departed, and heartfelt words of memory and love. A glittering star gives me hope. A dancing flame burns red and orange: passion, vibrancy, humor, exhilaration. An hour in the sun makes my mind burn with new ideas.

I am inspired by earth. The scent of soil is the scent of life, and offers nourishment for creativity. Flowers and trees are the characters and settings, manmade features are the structure of worlds built only in my head. Roads become paths to imaginary places as well as real ones, and journeys are more than metaphors and less than just trips.

I am inspired by music – I think in songs – and laughter. I groove on the energy in others, and try to give back, though often the gifts are lost in translation. I find inspiration in the mundane – doing dishes is cheap psychotherapy, and washing away crumbs often washes away writer’s block as well. I find inspiration in nature: the shark is elegant, the dog is loyal, the bee persistent, the butterfly magical.

I find inspiration in your words, your thoughts. A blog entry from a person half a world away will first spark a “Me too,” which will then ignite into a whole post, an essay, a story…a dream.

Inspiration is breathing.
I breathe.
And I am inspired.

Fours – A Survey in Quadruplicate

[WarriorPoet(2)] at OpenDiary tagged me for this.

Four Jobs I’ve Had: (aside from the one I currently hold)

1. Barista, but not at a $tarbucks.
2. Bookseller
3. Mortgage Loan Processor
4. Doggy Day-care Provider

Four Movies I Can Watch Over & Over:

1. Galaxy Quest
2. Finding Neverland
3. Jaws (but only the first one)
4. White Christmas (but only in December)

Four Places I’ve Lived:

1. Atlantic Highlands, NJ
2. Georgetown, CO
3. San Francisco, CA
4. Sioux Falls, SD

Four T.V. Shows I Love: (not necessarily still on the air)

1. Project Runway
2. Gilmore Girls
3. The West Wing
4. Heroes

Four Highly Regarded Television Shows I’ve Never Watched A Single Minute Of:

1. Deadwood
2. Rome
3. Grey’s Anatomy
4. Numb3rs

Four Places I’ve Vacationed:

1. Cape May, NJ
2. Pt. Reyes, CA
3. St. Thibery, France
4. Victoria, BC, Canada

Four Of My Favorite Dishes:

1. Unagi donburi
2. Aglia e olia
3. Cassoulet
4. Pad Thai

Four Sites I Visit Daily:

2. The ComedySportz players forum

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now:

1. Santa Cruz, CA
2. Nice, France
3. Mystic, CT
4. Portland, OR

Four People I’m Tagging To Do This Next:

I’m not tagging anyone, actually, because I hate tagging people (though I’ve no aversion to being tagged) but I invite anyone and everyone to play along.

Friday’s Feast – 0703.16

Name two things that made you smile this week.
– I won a shiny pink iPod shuffle.
– Fuzzy didn’t grumble (much) about having to move furniture the other night.

Fill in the blank: Don’t you hate it when ________?

– The toilet paper is hung in a direction contrary to the one which you prefer? It’s such a little thing, but it drives me nuts. Fuzzy actually claimed that the reason he never puts new rolls ON the roller is that he thinks I’ll yell at him if it’s the wrong direction. (After 12 years of marriage, he should KNOW the right direction. Also, he should know how I like the towels folded by now.)

When you can’t go to sleep, what is your personal remedy to help yourself drift into Lullabyland?

– Sex helps, sometimes, but then other times it just wires me. Most nights, I get up and write, or read. James Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness writing style is great for sending me into the sleepies. And if all else fails, Sleepytime tea works wonders.

Main Course
What is something about which you’ve always wondered but have not yet found a good answer?

– Well, I’m kind of curious about why organic milk has a longer expiration date than chemically enhanced milk, or, for that matter, how Horizon can make milk that does just fine at room temp (until opened). I used to wonder about how they make teflon stick to pans but Cecil cleared that up for me.

What is your favorite pasta dish?
– Pasta e fagioli, made the way my grandmother did, and not the way Olive Garden butchers the recipe. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Really. All cheesy and garlicky and soupy and…I’m suddenly wondering if I have the ingredients.

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Thursday Thirteen: 0703.15

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss
13 Shows I Love to Watch

  1. Degrassi: I started watching the original when I still was a teenager and it aired on our local PBS station, and I’ve come back to its current incarnation, which can be found, here in the States, on The N. While it does tend to wrap up issues within the half hour, it’s also full of talented kids playing interesting characters.
  2. The Dresden Files: I called this show “cozy paranormal” in comments on a favorite author’s LiveJournal, just a few hours ago. Based on a fabulous series of mystery/fantasy novels by Jim Butcher, and starring Paul Blackthorne and Terrance Mann, this is becoming my new favorite show. Quirky, funny, and nicely dark, the adventures of Harry Dresden, wizard, are never boring, and while it isn’t true to the letter of the books, it’s true to their spirit.
  3. ER: I know, I know. But I’ve been watching it for so long it seems a shame to stop now.
  4. Eureka: Another of SciFi’s shows. This quirky dramedy kept me watching all last summer, and I’ve read it’ll be back with a new season this year. Sort of like Northern Exposure with geeks and gadgetry.
  5. Gilmore Girls: I started watching it quite by accident, and instantly fell in love, I think because so many of Rory and Lorelai’s conversations remind me of me and my own mother.
  6. Heroes: Fuzzy and I had one show in the new line-up last fall, that we were both intrigued by, and this was it. Almost an entire season later, we’re even more into it than we originally were. I love that seemingly “stock” characters are given depth and dimension, that the teenaged character is played by an actual teenager, and that Greg Grunberg is in it.
  7. House: I caught an episode of this from 2005 one night when I thought Monk was going to be on. Hugh Laurie’s credible American accent, and his snarky style, quickly hooked me. Now? I’m watching new eps at the beginning of the week and prior-season reruns later in the week, and I cannot get enough of this show.
  8. Inside the Actors Studio: Caught more in reruns these days than original airings, it’s still one of my favorite shows on tv. A recent episode featuring Chris Rock changed my perspective on him, and the Mike Myers episode is one of my all-time favorites.
  9. Instant Star: Another Canadian kids show found on The N, this show about a teenaged girl becoming a rock star is just fun. Also, the music is surprisingly good.
  10. Lost: Even though forward plot momentum is not a strong point of this series, I’m still eager for each new episode. Tonight’s seemed a little too much like filler, but it was enjoyable filler. However, it must be said: More Sayid, please.
  11. Monk: Tony Shalhoub as the obsessive-compulsive San Francisco detective came into my life one day when we still lived in California, and I wasn’t feeling well. I spent a lovely afternoon on the couch watching a Monk marathon, and haven’t stopped watching since.
  12. Smallville: Despite the “no flights, no tights” policy the show has maintained since day one, I really enjoy this version of the Superman legend. Tom Welling is lovely to look at, and Michael Rosenbaum made Lex Luthor one of my favorite characters on television. I like that they’re blending the original comic book tales with original stories, and I get a kick out of the references to the various shows, movies, and body of work, that they drop into each episode.
  13. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: I may never forgive NBC if this doesn’t return – especially since they pulled it in favor of the suckful “The Black Donnellys.” While Stuido 60 is no West Wing, it had the potential to become a solid, steady, entertaining show. Also, the box is just not as compelling without Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue being spoken on a regular basis (preferably by Bradley Whitford).

Also of note: Both Stargates, and Project Runway, are shows I rarely miss when they’re on, but I’m a little miffed at the former, and the latter is between seasons.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Pink Reflections

Multimedia message

Originally uploaded by Ms.Snarky.

So, I now own a MacBook, which I needed for work, so I could run some froufrou software that doesn’t have a Windows equivalent. With the exception of the lack of a right-click function (yes, I know you can hold a key and it does the same thing, however it’s NOT THE SAME) I quite like the mac, especially now that it’s been wrapped in a translucent pink techshell. All that white was hurting my eyes.

My VAIO has better video, mind you, but this is nice. Fast. And cute. And hey, with the plastic cover it matches my phone, and that’s a good thing.

This picture was taken with said pink phone, and it’s a reflection of my desktop monitor and the window, in the pink case. As photos go, it’s technically bad, yet somehow I like it.

Wrecks, Weddings, and Weekend Wrap-ups.

It took five hours to drive the 253 miles from our house in Grand Prairie to the Hotel Indigo in Houston, largely because of several car wrecks we saw on the way. I don’t know if Texas drivers are worse than other areas or if it’s just that everyone has to take the same route from point A to point B, but it was frustrating. For the record, coming home last night took just over three hours, including a pit stop at McDonald’s in Fairfield for elimination and fries.

The hotel, however was lovely, and I’d totally go back. Actually, I’ve seen apartments in Greenwich Village that are smaller and not as well appointed.

The wedding was – well, I hesitate to review a wedding – suffice to say it was seriously cool – the ceremony was funny, warm, genuine, irreverent, and heartfelt, the food was delicious, the flowers were gorgeous, and the bride was radiant. Not sure if you’re reading this, but I hope you and your new husband continue as you began, with laughter, love, and light hearts.

On the way home we stopped in Spring, which is an historic town north of Houston on I45. We browsed shops full of kitschy souvenirs, and then I fell into a hat store, which turned out to be owned by the woman who runs Stall 18 at Scarborough Faire. I bought two hats from her last year (one for my mother), and yesterday I added to my collection with a 1920’s-ish straw hat, adorned with silk flowers in mauve and antique rose. I love it.

Went to workshop and met all the new players – yay, we’re not the newest group any more! Developed a migraine half way through – my own fault, as I hadn’t eaten all day – so didn’t participate in the Five Things practice, but watched it intently. Did better than usual with What Are You Doing, offering “Shielding my thoughts from aliens” as a response to the suggestion “tin foil.”

Came home, had a cheeseburger and a cherry coke and some Excedrin migraine tablets, and curled up with laptops and dogs. And now?