Thursday 13: 0711.01

Thirteen Things about MISS MELISS
Things that Begin with X

  1. Xanadu – mythical land, fabulous movie from my childhood. Olivia Newton John, Gene Kelly, and roller disco. What’s not to love?

  2. Xanth – fictional, pun-filled world created by Piers Anthony. It was fresh at first, then got cloying. I haven’t been keeping up with the series.
  3. Xanthometer – an instrument for measuring the color of seawater. Because “blue” and “blue-green” aren’t scientific enough.
  4. Xanthophyll – the substance that causes autumn leaves to turn yellow. Seasonal and everything. I like the part that makes them crunchy better, though
  5. .

  6. Xebec – a small three-masted pirate ship. And we all know I love all things ship-y and tar-y.
  7. Xenosaurus – a kind of Mexican lizard. I like lizards. They’re cool. Not so much with the snakes, which I prefer to admire from a distance.
  8. Xeranthemum – silvery purple flowers found in the southern part of Europe. Again, we all know I like purple flowers.
  9. Xerox – I know it’s a brand name, but we use it to mean “copy” so often…also, it’s fun to say.
  10. Xilinous – has to do with cotton, my favorite fabric. Give me soft cotton over linen or silk any day.
  11. Xiuhtechutli – Aztec god of fire and light, personification of light within darkness, warmth in cold, and life after death. Is there a vampire story here? Also, an amazing Black Phoenix perfume that has copal, plumeria, orange and smoke in it.
  12. Xylocopa – carpenter bees. I’m not a bee person (my name notwithstanding), but I have an appreciation for these guys.
  13. Xylomancy – divination by examining wood found in one’s path. I don’t really believe in divination, but it’s fun to pretend.
  14. Xylophone – one of my former CSz troupemates was a percussionist. He managed to make the xylophone sexy, playing it with four mallets at once.

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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!

10 Bags of Candy

…gave us enough to fill the big black Halloween bowl three times. I gave it all away, except for the four Kit-Kats, one package Peanut-Butter M&Ms. Well, I also set aside a single Snickers bar for me and a peanut butter cup for Fuzzy, but still five pieces of candy is about the amount of leftovers I was hoping to have.

I turned out the lights a little after 8:30, because I was out of candy. Apparently, most everyone on our block was also out of candy, or just decided 8:30 was a fair time to quit. It seems reasonable to me. We didn’t have any stray teenagers this year, only those who were accompanying their little brothers or sisters, and all the kids were polite, though one crew in costume as witches offered the statement, “Jesus loves you,” as well as “Happy Halloween.” I found that kind of creepy, honestly. Right up there with the woman at McDonald’s drive-through telling us to “have a blessed day.”

There were no Harry Potter characters this year – I think because the series has ended, and the movies are now directed at people too old to dress as little Harry or Hermione for Halloween. My favorites of the night were Minnie Mouse (aged 3.5) who curtsied and said, “Trick-or-Treat, please,” and the chef who showed up in dinosaur themed chef pants, and a chef’s hat with a dinosaur pin, carrying a stock pot to gather his candy. “I love that you’re carrying a pot,” I told him, as I dropped three pieces into it, each landing with a satisfying CLINK against the copper bottom. (We’re a corner house, so usually get kids early in their rounds).

Later, near the end of the night, a group of young boys came by, all dressed as pirates and muskeeers, peeked through my foyer and saw the ceramic ghosts all lit on my side table, and Beetlejuice on the tv and said to his friends, “Wow, she has a cool house. She gives good candy AND has a cool house. I like this house.” Then, to me, after thanking me for the chocolate, “Are you an artist?”

“Actually,” I said. “I’m a writer.”

“Wow. You must be pretty creative then,” he said. “Cuz you have a cool house, and it looks like you’re an artist.”

I suddenly have a new appreciation of ten-year-old boys.

My favorite moment of the night, however, was when a single father wheeled his developmentally disabled, chair-bound princess up my walk. Her siblings had gone on ahead of her, and were several houses away, and her bag was nearly empty, but she had curlicues of ribbon in her hair, rouge on her cheeks, a lovely dress that hid the braces on her legs almost completely, and the biggest sparkling brown eyes I’ve ever seen. She looked to be about seven.

“Happy Halloween,” I said to her, helping her with the bag (her father was holding the chair steady), “you look beautiful.” I stuck four pieces of candy in there, figuring Dad would tire out pretty quickly. We chatted for a few minutes – she liked my pumpkin lights – and I offered her father a bottle of water (the high tomorrow is projected to be 68 but today it hit 80, and pushing a chair up and down the long hilly walks we all have is hard work). Other kids were crowding her, and he looked upset, but I caught the eye of another parent, and told him, “No, take your time. They’ll wait.”

And they did.
And as they were leaving, one of the little girls in the next group said, “That girl in the wheelchair has really pretty hair.”

So, no parties, no pizza, and my pumpkins are classic jack-o-lanterns this year, but even so…it’s been a great Halloween.

Happy Halloween

The weather is warmer than the crisp day I was hoping for, with a projected high of 78 for my part of Texas, but right now the morning sun is still soft and gentle, and the breeze is soothing, and just strong enough to make music as it wafts through the wind chimes outside my kitchen door.

I have mint tea steeping on the stove, which will hopefully chase this persistent headache away, and two pumpkins awaiting their doom in the dining room. I might go back to bed for an hour. I might not. I might grab a cotton throw and take it and my tea out to the deck, and listen to the chimes and watch the ripples in the pool, as the wind ruffles my hair.

I have enough candy for two big treat bowls. Less than last year, but we still have butterfingers in the freezer from last year. This years offerings are: Kit-Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers, and Peanut Butter M-n-M’s. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a “serving” of any of these but the peanut butter cups is two or three fun-size bars / paks, and roughly 7 grams of fat per serving. So, I guess I can indulge in ONE piece of chocolate tonight after all.

Or maybe two.

We won’t talk about the fat content in the peanut butter cups. Actual peanut butter has less.

In other news, last Friday I received a Halloween treat from Hootin’ Anni herself, and so, as suggested, I’m passing it on to five other bloggers. They are:

  1. Jill of A Conglomeration of Morphemes
  2. Ms. Kat of My Single Mom Life
  3. The Atomic Bombshell, who can be found here
  4. JHS of Colloquium
  5. Green Tuna of Tuna News

Vampire Treat

And now, my tea is ready.
Happy hauntings.


The problem with the creative personality is that if I don’t keep fairly regular hours, I get migraines. I also get them if I eat foods with MSG in them, don’t drink enough water, but it’s the funky sleep patterns that are the worst.

I went to bed at 11:30 PM on Thursday, was up before seven on Friday, and then stayed up til about 5:00 AM Saturday morning, after a day of writing, cleaning, and re-arranging the closet, with the help of the miniseries The 10th Kingdom, for company. (As an aside, if you haven’t seen this miniseries, which is from 2000 – do. It’s frothy fluffy fairy-tale with a twist, and Scott Cohen is wonderfully funny and sexy as Wolf. Well, sexy in a neurotic east coast guy with a tail sort of way. )

Anyway, Fuzzy finally got home around 10 on Saturday night, and I woke Sunday with a horrible headache that was making me see white and feel dizzy and crabby, so I slept through much of Sunday, finally dragging Fuzzy out around six for groceries (pumpkins and Halloween candy) and Jamba juice, and then I got home and called my mother to say hello.

“I’m thinking of having laser treatment for the fine lines around my lips,” she announced.

“Not Botox?” I asked. “It’s cheaper. Actually,” I added. “I need Botox for migraines. I saw it on a website, somewhere.”

We then talked about how migraines were more like cramps than wrinkles, but then I corrected, “Well, more like a charlie-horse than a normal cramp, so maybe it would work.”

The rest of our conversation was much gentler, and my head was starting to hurt, so I hung up, and then came to my cool, dark bedroom, where I read a bit, and watched a little bit of tv, and finally fell asleep around one, waking up with a slight cold, and a headache that, if not pounding, is still kind of pulsing.

I hate headaches.

Silver Linings

I meant to post this earlier, but, now’s as good a time as any. Despite the sadness of my cousin dying a few weeks ago, there is a bright spot, which is that I got to reconnect with another cousin, Cathy.

Cathy is actually more like my older sister than any mere cousin. She was my best friend, babysitter, playmate. She inspired me, let me babble, answered all my questions, taught me how to use a Super8 camera, and gave me my first bra. We used to sing together, we used to catch lightning bugs together, and I haven’t seen her since my grandmother’s funeral in 2001.

I miss her.

Her kids were all toddlers the last time I saw *them*, and she was still in college. Now, the youngest is fourteen, and Cathy’s a real estate agent, and as many in that industry are right now, struggling a little.

But she’s fierce.
And I know she’ll survive.

I’ve made a personal resolution to call her once a week.

Just to keep in touch.

* * *

In other news, Aunt Peg is improving.

Friday’s Feast: 0710.26

Name a great website you would recommend to others.
Other than this one? I heartily recommend you check out my book blog, Bibliotica if you’re any kind of reader, and if you like to write and want more prompts and projects to help stretch your writing muscles, visit CafeWriting.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how often do you dream at night?
10. I dream every night, but I don’t always remember what the dreams were. Last night, though, I dreamed I was shopping for wedding bands with Beetlejuice and Data (geek, much?), and they were fighting over which one of them I would pick – magic vs. technology – until I reminded them that I HAD a husband, thanks. Even if he is still away. Le sigh.

Did you have a pet as a child? If so, what kind and what was its name?
I had a mostly white poodle-mix with a faint brown spot in the middle of her back. Her name was Taffy, and we kept her in a lamb cut, not a poodle cut. Note to self: next dogs will have curly, non-shedding poodle hair.

Main Course
If you had the chance to star in a commercial, what would you choose to advertise?
I’d do a PSA about the spaying and neutering animals, or getting them from rescues and pounds rather than breeders or pet stores.

What is your favorite kind of hard candy?
I live for peppermint stars, because they’re sweet and refreshing, but I also have a special fondness for butterscotch buttons, and those little round tins of fruit drops – usually lemon or raspberry, but sometimes coffee – remind me of my grandfather.

Writing Companions

I’ve mentioned before that when I’m writing, I like to have movies going on in the background. DVD’s of television shows work well, too, because one disc is good for three or four hours and there are no commercials.

Over the past few weeks, my “writing companions,” have included the second season of Forever Knight which not only featured an entire episode that kept calling back conversations about Scottsdale real estate, as well as some great commentary from Nigel Bennett and Geraint Wyn Davies, the entire 10th Kingdom miniseries which featured Scott Cohen (Max Medina in season one of Gilmore Girls as the Wolf, with dirty tail-stroking subtext, and, in honor of the season, another viewing of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, as well as my old standby The West Wing in which I’m half-way through season six, and finally own season seven, but refuse to watch it til I’ve finished six.

With the exception of Beetlejuice all of these choices are very conversation-heavy, which I like. It’s the cadence of human conversation that keeps me in the groove. Music or dance or too much action, and I get distracted.


I feel like the cobwebs I’ve removed from around the house with my trusty vacuum cleaner this week have somehow taken up residence in my mind, because even though it’s not quite eleven, I feel tired and groggy, as if my thoughts are as shrouded in spider silk and dust as the legs of the bar stools were before I went on my mad cleaning adventure.

The house is all sparkling clean, but I’m feeling muted and muzzy and I think I might actually turn out the light a bit earlier than usual, not even read before going to sleep, just curl up with the dogs.

It’s chilly in my room, but I like that. The heat is technically on, but the temperature is turned down pretty low because I don’t like to wake up hot, and I have flannel sheets on the bed, and the dogs are sweetly curled up on Fuzzy’s pillow.

I miss Fuzzy.

And the cobwebs are like gauze stretching from wakefulness into sleep.

Thursday 13: 0710.25

Thirteen Things about MISS MELISS
Things that Begin with W

  1. Walks – especially with my dogs. They sniff everything, and track things they’ll never even see, let alone catch, and I get to experience the various seasonal changes in our neighborhood.
  2. Water – whether it’s my shower, my lovely tub with the window, my pool, or rain, I think best when I’m in or around water. The sound of the surf is my touchstone, and it’s in my head and my heart even when I’m far from the actual ocean.
  3. Weaving – I’m not sure if I like The Lady of Shallot because she weaves, or if I like weaving because of the poem, but the whole notion of weaving appeals to me. I’ve been following this blog about a New Hampshire farm just to read about their sheep and the wool they get from them.
  4. Web – I’m not a fan of spiders, but I think that orb webs are among the loveliest sites Nature has produced. As well, I’m a fan of that other sort of web, the one preceded by “world wide.”
  5. Weeds – as kids we all think dandelions are pretty until we’re conditioned to think of them as weeds, lawn disruptors, the enemy. The thing is, I like weeds. Some of them are just as pretty as “real” flowers.
  6. Wells, Rebecca – she seriously needs to write another book, because Little Altars Everywhere was short stories, and not satisfying, and Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood just wasn’t enough. And I know there was also YaYas in Bloom, but, still. More please.
  7. Whales – John Denver sang, “Have you gazed out on the ocean, seen the breaching of a whale? Have you watched the dolphins frolic in the foam.” D. H. Lawrence wrote:

    They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains

    the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.

    All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge

    on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.

    The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers

    there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of

    the sea!

    And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages

    on the depths of the seven seas,

    and through the salt they reel with drunk delight

    and in the tropics tremble they with love

    and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods.

    Then the great bull lies up against his bride

    in the blue deep bed of the sea,

    as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life:

    and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood

    the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and

    comes to rest

    in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale’s

    fathomless body.

    And over the bridge of the whale’s strong phallus, linking the

    wonder of whales

    the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and


    keep passing, archangels of bliss

    from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim

    that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the


    great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies.

    And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale-

    tender young

    and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of

    the beginning and the end.

    And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring

    when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood

    and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat

    encircling their huddled monsters of love.

    And all this happens in the sea, in the salt

    where God is also love, but without words:

    and Aphrodite is the wife of whales

    most happy, happy she!

    and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin

    she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea

    she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males

    and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.
    –Whales Weep Not


    Beyond that, there need be no explanation – they’re amazing wonderful animals.

  8. Whispers – sometimes a whisper is better heard than the loudest scream. Whispers are intimate, soft, private. They imply things that are secret and special.
  9. Why – I’m told that I used to ask this incessantly. Of course, I was five at the time. Now though, I still like to know WHY before I do anything.
  10. Windows – I like looking in as much as looking out – each has its own perspective and its own beauty.
  11. Wit – in humor, I prefer irony, sarcasm, and other examples of dry wit, over slapstick and sophomoric jokes. Always have. Always will.
  12. Writing – I don’t just sling words because it pays the bill. I do it because on some level, I have to. I am made of ink and paper and words and music. And coffee, but that’s a different letter.
  13. Wonder – as a noun, it’s almost synonymous with magic and as a verb it is musing, questioning, exploration. I like it in both aspects.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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!


Cleaning the upstairs bathroom today, the one we really don’t use that much because the master suite is downstairs, I found a bunch of Clinique make-up in the medicine cabinet. I don’t wear Clinique any more, having switched to Aveda, but I opened the jar of base anyway, and caught a whiff of a familiar scent, and suddenly:

I was five years old and dressed as Pocahontas and my mother was dabbing base on my pale skin to make me look darker.

I was seven, and watching her do her morning make-up, staring into one of those pink plastic makeup mirrors that was normal on one side and flipped (pivoted really) to a magnifying mirror on the other.

I was ten, and had that mirror in my room, and I would stare into it and try to decide if I liked my eyes or not.

I was eleven, and calling my grandparents to tell them I had “become a woman.”

I was fifteen, and had dyed my hair for the first time, and the dye spattered the mirror when I rinsed it out.

I was twenty-one, sharing a mirror with my mother, as we got dressed for my grandfather’s funeral.

I was twenty-four, and doing make-up for my own wedding.

I was five and fifteen and twenty-five and thirty, and all ages in between and yet to come, and I was struck with a sense of home.

And I called my mother, and told her I loved her.