100 Bottles of Wine in a Rack

There are certain items that you buy for a home almost immediately: beds, tables, chairs, and couches, for example. Wine Racks generally come a bit later, after you’ve settled into a style and know what you want. I don’t need a special wine vault with temperature control, for example, because we just don’t go through that much wine. Oh, every so often I’ll go to a local import store and stock up on some favorites (I’m partial to shiraz and beaujolais), but really, we don’t need anything huge.

Surfing websites recently, I came across The Vine Store, an e-tailer that specializes in wine racks. What I liked about them is that they sport a Better Business Bureau badge on their front page, and they also promise a 100% guarantee of satisfaction. They clearly explain their shipping methods as well.

I wasn’t expecting to find out that not only do they sell small table-type wine racks for home use (I really like this one) they also offer wine coolers (the furniture, not the drink) and even cooling units in case you do need a vault.

I can’t justify actually buying a wine rack just now, but I know that when I’m ready, I’ll be heading to TheVineStore.com

Barking in the Rain

It was nearly five pm before I sat down to lunch this afternoon, and though the sky had been hazy all day, the clouds were thickening. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed outside my window as I sipped coffee and nibbled on tabouleh with tomatoes and cucumbers, but no rain fell.

Unable to focus on work because the dogs were circling my feet demanding attention and treats, I gave up, and escorted them to the kitchen. I let them out into the back yard, finished my coffee, and then prepared their dinner. Calling them in at this time of day is always easy. “Dinner!” I yell, and two small furry animals come running giddly toward me.

While they ate, I slipped outside to check the mail. No bills. A dvd from Blockbuster. It’s all good. But they were waiting for me when I came back in, and demanding a walk. It still wasn’t raining, so I said, “Okay – walkies!”

Rain began to fall as soon as we reached the corner, but we kept going. Why? Because it was one of those summer rainfalls that can be so refreshing. The air was cool and alive, they were anxious to move. We took the long loop, up around the park, over two blocks, down the long block home. We arrived home damp and happy, all of us.

But in the middle of the walk, there was a brief downpour. I stopped under one of our neighborhood trees, and barely got wet, but the dogs took it as a personal attack, and for three minutes I smiled goofily while they stood barking in the rain.

Thursday 13: 0707.26

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss
13 Things that begin with M

  1. Magic: Whether it’s fantastic magic as found in great (and not so great) literature, aspects of faith, or a perception of technology, magic is all around us. It’s in knowing who’s on the phone before you pick it up (and without a special ring-tone) and it’s in the beauty of the ocean. It’s in every technological marvel we use that our grandparents merely dreamed of, and it’s in the spark of inspiration that led to the development of each marvel. Of course, no entry on magic would be complete without quoting Arthur C. Clarke:

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

  2. Marmalade: Bitter, dark, and slightly erotic, or sweet, light, and full of sunshine, marmalade is my favorite fruit spread. My grandfather got me hooked on it when I was young, but I maintained the affair. It’s great on a croissant and lovely on a toasted English muffin, and goes perfectly with strong black teas (splashed with milk). Marmalade is also very musical, and falls off the tongue rather prettily. Many people may be thinking of the song “Lady Marmalade” about now, but the lyrics that entranced me as a child are courtesy of the Beatles:

    Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
    With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
    Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
    A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
    –From “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

  3. Melissa: The truth is, for most of my life I hated my name, thinking it to be frumpy and boring. Also, people kept wanting to shorten it to “Missy.” I am not the “Missy” type. When I read Stoker’s Dracula I noticed that one of the brides was named Melysse, and I’ve adopted that spelling for online use, and because I like the physical shape of the word. I’ll refrain from defining my name – y’all can look it up if you want – but I will repeat that my mother found it among the ingredients on a shampoo bottle, and I’ll suggest that the next time you unwrap a lemon-mint Ricola, you note the ingredients and think of me. For that matter, if you happen to hear the Allman Brothers’ tune “Sweet Melissa” you can think of me then, too.
  4. Memories: I can’t always remember where I left my cell phone, and I’ve lost books inside my house more than once, but I have vivid memories of many conversations, of places I’ve been only once, and I’ve people I haven’t seen in decades. I remember scenes from novels I haven’t read since childhood, and the scent of the grass in my grandparents’ back yard after a summer rain (lemongrass and onions). Memories are virtual time travel.
  5. Midnight: My favorite time of night has always been around midnight. As a teenager, I would wait til my parents were asleep, pad downstairs barefoot, and sit at the kitchen table with a pot of tea, navel oranges, and a thick book, reading through the middle of the night. Even now, I take the dogs out for their “last call” at midnight, and I stand and let the night soak into my skin.
  6. Milne, A. A.: Best known for creating Winnie-the-Pooh (who rocked before he was Disneyfied), Milne also wrote other short stories. One of my favorites involves a girl making mental bargains with raindrops: if one got to the bottom of the window pane before the other her parents would come home, or the rain would stop. It features my favorite single line ever: “But it went on raining.” In that line, you can hear her quiet sigh. Also, that line totally validates my love of using a sentence fragment as a sort of punctuation. I also really like Milne’s verse. I pointed out The King’s Breakfast to a friend earlier this evening, but one of my favorites is “The End,” and it was included in the book, Now We Are Six, which I received for my sixth birthday:

    When I was One,
    I had just begun.

    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.

    When I was Three,
    I was hardly me.

    When I was Four,
    I was not much more.

    When I was Five,
    I was just alive.

    But now I am six,
    I’m as clever as clever

    So I think I’ll be six now
    Forever and ever.

  7. Mist: I like rain, but cool mist is my favorite form of precipitation, when it actually IS precipitation. I like it equally when it’s masquerading as sea-spray or waterfall-spray. Mist is more capricious than fog, but still holds an element of strangeness. It suits me.
  8. Mnemonic Devices: I like word games, and to me, mnemonics are just fancy word games. Whether you’re trying to remember scientific classifications (Kings Play Chess On Funny Green Squares), cranial nerves (On Old Olympus’s Towering Tops, A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops). the names of the planets, in Spanish (Me Voy Tia, Mama Joven Siempre, Usted Nunca Paga) or English (My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas), or the notes on a musical staff (Every Good Boy Does Fine / Good Boys Do Fine Always / FACE / All Cars Eat Gas), there’s a mnemonic device for it.
  9. Mugs: The perfect mug has a handle large enough to slip three fingers through, and curves outward at it’s middle, so that when you curl your hand around it, your palm is warmed. I am a mug person, not a cup person. I drink coffee, cocoa, and tea from ceramic mugs. This means that I don’t nuke water (water “boiled” in the microwave is just gross – it tastes flat), and I have over crowded cabinets. My favorite mugs ever are Maiolica ceramics from Italy, and look like this. I was once gifted with four of them, but they all broke in various moves.
  10. Muse: I may joke that my muse is fickle, but the reality is that sometimes I ignore her. But the word “muse” isn’t on my list to honor an aspect of my imagination (because really, that’s what she is) it’s here because I like the word as a noun and a verb. I muse, I share my musings. It’s a useful word. It’s more coherent than ramble but less specific than an essay or a formal opinion. Musings are loosely connected random associations. At least for me. I was going to quote Shakespeare here, but a more appropriate selection is from Sir Philip Sidney.

    Thus, with child to speak, and helpless in my throes, biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: Fool! said my muse to me, look in thy heart, and write.

  11. Music: I don’t just like music, I live music, I think in music. I dance around the living room and sing to an audience of two dogs every lunch hour, then bring my lunch up to the computer, because if I don’t let the music out, I can’t focus. I don’t have a particular favorite style, either. I mean, I favor melodies, but sometimes rap or funk or hip-hop are really enticing. I like the freedom of jazz and the precision of classical music. I like opera, in small doses, and am learning to appreciate country in moderation. I’m a geek about show tunes. I love folk. I wish I could play guitar.
  12. Mystery: Both the genre and the word that describes it appeal to me. In fiction, I tend to prefer cozy mysteries over true crime, but sometimes the gravel voiced hard-boiled detective is the only one that will do. When I’m feeling analytical, I reach for Sherlock Holmes (I’ve read all the short stories he is featured in) and my favorite detective ever is Margaret Maron’s Sigrid Harald. But I also like mystery when it refers to mood. “She has an air of mystery about her,” is a phrase I’d love to have as a descriptor, and I like the notion of being a spy or a journalist living under cover, though the reality would probably drive me crazy. I like the notion of unanswered questions, and the smidgen of spookiness that “mystery” entails.
  13. Mythology: All those Greeks and Romans were like friends to me even before Hercules and Xena made it to television, and a part of me still loves the old stories. If I could go back to school and design my own course of study, it would combine mythology, folklore, literature and music, and all courses would take place in cafe-like settings. I’ve read, and heard people say, that comic book heroes are our modern mythological figures. I’m not sure I agree, but I like the notion.


Every time we go to a street fair or block party-type event, I always linger outside the tattoo booths. Oh, the tattoos are only temporary, but for someone like me, who wants body art but has commitment issues, temporary is the way to go. I look at the books of stencils, and the colors of the ink, and somehow it never registers that sitting in those booths isn’t just a hobby, but a business.

And then I learned about the Temporary Airbrush Tattoo Store, or (TAT) Store for short, just after reading the blog of a woman who does face painting, and I have to admit I thought it was cool that this place sells temporary tattoo designs, as well as airbrushes, ink, and everything else one might need to sit in a booth at a fair, and make some money.

I poked around the site, and was impressed by the information. First of all, there are way more stencils out there than you might think. Second, they have a forum for people who use their products. They also have a directory of artists so you can find someone to do airbrushing at your next event, should you need to.

I still can’t commit to a design, but the next time I watch one of those people doing airbrush tattoos, I’ll definitely ask them where they buy their supplies, and if they don’t know about it already, I’ll point them in the direction of the (TAT) Store.

Drama in Dallas

Ms. Eclectic texted me about an hour ago telling me to turn on the news. I did, and ever since we’ve been following this story about an industrial plant in downtown Dallas exploding. Literally.

Thankfully, Fuzzy, whose office is very near there, and whose route takes him through the intersection of I-30 & I-35 which is currently closed, was late, and decided to take his conference call from home today.

But now? Now he’s saying he plans to drive into the office.

I informed Ms. E. of this, and her response was a rather Shatneresque “Good. God.”

My reply? “Wasn’t there something about God protecting fools and little children? The operative word here being ‘fools’.”

More pragmatically, my mother simply advised me to make sure his life insurance was current.

‘Twas Grillig

Apologies to Lewis Carroll for stealing, and then changing, the first two words of “Jabberwocky,” but I couldn’t help it. I’m excited, you see, because Fuzzy and I just bought a George Foreman grill.

I like to broil or grill meat, more than anything, but we didn’t bring our big gas grill with us when we moved here almost three years ago, and we’ve never managed to replace it. Partly, this is because we keep meaning to redesign the deck in our back yard, and I have fantasies about building a brick grill out there and attaching it to the gas line (we have an outdoor gas spigot – is spigot the right word)?

But it’s the height of summer, and I hate using the stove to broil meat, and I’m trying to eat healthier so I dragged Fuzzy to Target the other night, and I bought the George Foreman thing for a whopping $29.99. (I also bought a $10 pink digital watch since both my Fossil watches are too sparkly for every day, and one has a dead battery, but that isn’t really important right now.)

We tried it the night we bought it – I grilled salmon fillets – and I was most pleased.

Tonight, I’m making hamburgers, which, typically, I don’t do well when attempting using the frying pan. Grilling is easier.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (NO SPOILERS)

Received the book via Amazon at 2:30 this afternoon, but only got about 300 pages in before we had to get ready to go to ComedySportz, where we started with only ten reserves, and ended up with a full house. I wasn’t playing tonight, but had made arrangements to shadow the Sound person, because I want to learn sound.

Afterwards a bunch of us went to dinner.

And then we came home and I had to give the dogs attention, and dinner, and Miss Cleo who tries to eat fingers when we attempt to clip her nails had ripped her dew claw apart digging up carpet, and we were just talking about dosing her with benadryl and clipping it, when she chewed it off.

So I just finished it about fifteen minutes ago, and I’m still digesting it, of course, and in a day or so there will be an actual review at Bibliotica but for now, I’m only going to repeat what I told my husband, which was that there were a few things I’d have preferred to be different, but overall it was immensely satisfying.

And then I just read almost the same words in one of the livejournals on my f-list.

I’ll admit my eyes are wet, and have been since a chapter near the end, and much of what happened was predictable, but…still…it was satisfying.

And with that, I am going to bed, and if we wake up before Monday, we’ll go see Hairspray.

Strike the POSE

In IM chatter with the lovely and wise Sky just a bit ago, the subject of confidence came up. I said I needed more of it, she asked “what is confidence?”

We talked around the subject for a bit, throwing out elements. I suggested “faith,” which she accepted, and “attitude,” which she thought implied arrogance rather than confidence.

We agreed that confidence is grounded by something. She used the word “solid” and then the word “surety.”

“Surety.” Yes. I like this word. I said so.

She thew out words like “positivity” and “optimism” and there was a CLICK inside my head. You know the kind. The incandescent lightbulb of an IDEA beginning to form.

“Pose,” I said.

“Poise,” she countered.

“No. POSE.” And I explained:

Positivity. Optimism. Surety. Energy.


So. Strike the POSE.

Thursday Thirteen – 0707.19

Thirteen Things about MissMeliss
13 Things that begin with L

  1. Lama / Llama: Whether it’s the venerated holy one, or the beast of burden, I like lamas and llamas. The one speaks to my soul, the other to the part of me that likes to pet animals. And because a T13 isn’t complete without a quotation, here, have some Ogden Nash.

    The one-l lama,
    He’s a priest.
    The two-l llama,
    He’s a beast.
    And I will bet
    A silk pajama
    There isn’t any
    Three-l lllama.

  2. Lamplight: Nothing is cozier than the soft glow of a soft pink bulb on a rainy day. Sometimes, especially in winter, I turn off the big lights and use lamps just for the mood. Kerosene lanterns are nice, as well.
  3. Lemons and Limes: I like oranges and tangerines, of course, but it’s the tarter citrus fruits that really spark my interest. I’m a great fan of lemons and/or limes in water, cranberry juice, tea, or just in pretty bowls – food as art. And in the summer, nothing beats a chilled lemon- or limeade.
  4. L’Engle, Madeleine: Her book A Wrinkle in Time was my first doorway into fantasy and science fiction, and it was by lamplight during a lightning storm that I curled up on a quilt in a good friend’s guest room with a bowl of carob chips and cool water, reading while my mother socialized. I was all of eight. Later, I began reading her general fiction and non-fiction. Her Crosswicks Journals are fascinating, and Certain Women is one of my favorite books to re-read.
  5. Levers: More than useful devices, levers remind me of my grandfather teaching me physics in a way my four-year-old self would grasp.
  6. Licorice: I like both kinds – red and black – but licorice also reminds of my grandmother’s “beach soap.” Tiny round cakes of black licorice-scented soap she’d stash in her beach tote in case the public restrooms were out of soap. Which they often were.
  7. Lightning: I love storms as much for the lightning as for the rain and wind. Nature’s fireworks are so primal and exhilerating.
  8. Lipstick: Black sunglasses and fuck-me-dead red lipstick were a favorite look when I was in college. Now? I favor coppery colors, though there’s this one tube of sparkly raspberry sorbet that I just love.
  9. Little Women: One of my favorite books ever, along with its three sequels. Jo March remains my hero.
  10. Lists: I like listing things, in the survey sense (as if my participation in this meme wasn’t a clue), but I don’t generally make “to do” lists.
  11. Lizards: I detest bugs, but I love lizards, especially the cute little geckos and anoles that populate my back yard and eat the mosquitoes and the fire ant eggs. I’ve always wanted a pet iguana, but dogs are better for interaction.
  12. Love: Whether it keeps us together, eases our minds, or is simply all we need, love is a pretty cool thing. Like ‘hate’ we tend to over-use it, but somehow such casual use doesn’t diminish it when it’s used in a meaningful way.
  13. Lyrics: I like music just fine, and while I appreciate classical pieces and instrumental fare, for me, it’s as much about the lyrics as the actual tune. Part poetry, part prose, often cheesy, somehow lyrics convey what spoken words simply cannot.