Color Coordination

I don’t know what other people do on Sunday evenings, but we spend ours at PetsMart and the grocery store, where we spent more than ever on groceries, although, admittedly, some of them were things we don’t buy often, like hand soap for the kitchen sink, and bottles of lotion and bubble bath. Also, I was trying to stock the fridge so we could curl up on Wednesday night with movies, and not leave again til Monday, unless we choose to (we might go see August Rush, and we’ll probably drive through Prairie Lights.)

We came home, and I immediately put a load of underwear into the washer, which got me thinking. I like pretty underwear. I’m not so much into fine lingerie, though I have some pieces that are nicer than others, but while much of my collection is cotton, it’s pretty cotton.

It’s also color coordinating cotton. Yes, now you know – all of my underwear matches my outfits. Oh, I have old stuff with the elastic all scrungy that I wear during certain times of the month, but generally speaking, I wear bright colors that go with whatever else I’m wearing. Partly, this is a holdover from my grandmother, who always admonished us to make the bed “in case the house is robbed” and wear clean underwear “in case you’re in an accident.” Because, you know, thieves only attack messy houses, and EMTs leave you stranded if your underwear isn’t fresh.

My favorite red and black and grey striped bra recently died, and I’ve yet to replace it, so I’ve added that to my list of things I need. I also need two pairs of tights (red and black) to go with a jumper I bought. And bathing caps. And and and…

And I think the dryer just beeped, so I need to go rescue the underwear.

Weather Alerts saddened me yesterday by taking hoped-for rain out of the immediate forecast (as if they control the weather instead of merely reporting it), and made me laugh this morning by posting an alert, because a cold front is moving in and on Thursday the temperature will “struggle to reach the low fifties” and we might have wind chills into the 20s.

I realize that our lows are highs for other people, but it’s almost December, so cold weather is beyond due, and the only negative aspect of it is that wind makes my eyes tear, and Zorro doesn’t like going for walkies when it’s below 50. We need some serious indoor fitness equipment around here to make up for that. I’m actually already researching treadmills and ellipticals because I like the idea of being able to catch up on the latest episode of ER while getting in a brisk walk, and not having to wear a jacket. I don’t like coats.

It’s 5:30 and we still haven’t made it to a grocery store. And we need dog food. And I’m irritated with Fuzzy for not being able to lecture one of his employees LATER instead of now.


I love flowers. One of my favorite adventures with my mother, when we lived in San Jose, was to go downtown to the warehouse of one of her friends who sold wholesale flowers, and just look at all the different combinations of green leaves and brightly-colored petals. I wanted to take home all of them.

I come by this love honestly. My earliest memories include my mother making sure there were flowers on the table, and my grandfather coming home with stalks of gladiolas stuck in a champagne cooler or plain metal watering can full of water, to keep them fresh.

He sent my grandmother roses for every birthday and anniversary.

She, too, loved flowers, and grew brilliant houseplants that were petted and cooed and fussed over. My grandmother was the living proof that talking to your plants really does help them. Her favorites were African violets, and she always called them her babies. It was sweet.

Fuzzy didn’t grow up with flowers as a big thing in his family, but he’s learning to appreciate them, and he’s also learned to make me smile by coming home with something pretty and festive whenever I send him to grocery shop without me. He’s also learned my rule for flower purchases: if you don’t know what someone likes, get something seasonal, or a little bit whimsical.

That’s Not What They Mean by ‘Conditioning Lotion’

My parents very generously gifted us with tickets to visit them in Mexico for Christmas. We’d been scrimping and saving but wouldn’t have been able to make reservations til the last second, and while that would have allowed us to fly from DFW to San Jose del Cabo (SJD) in relative ease, even so, SJD is a good 90-minute drive from their town, La Paz, which is on the gulf side of the Baja peninsula. It’s also the capital of Baja California Sur.

But they wanted to be able to plan, and they wanted us to fly into La Paz, and so instead of a nonstop flight from DFW, we’re leaving at the crack of dawn on 12/19, flying to LAX, and then from LAX to La Paz (LAP) all on Delta-coded partner flights. It doubles the flight time, but at least it’s not requiring us to do the ‘tour of Mexico’ version of the trip, which makes you stop in Hermosillo and Guadalajara.

I mention this because, Christmas or not, whenever we (or anyone) visits them, they ask for things they can’t get in La Paz. My step-father asked for lotion. “Lotion?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. “Lotion.”

I lost the email with the name of it, and called my mother last night, asking her to just go read the bottle. I was expecting it to be one of those uber-fancy skinceuticals that (I’ll admit) I have in cute bottles and jars in my own bathroom. But no. It turns out that what he’s been using as skin lotion is BioSilk hair conditioner.

The translation of hair conditioner into French or Spanish on the bottle is “conditioning lotion.”

But, I assured my mother, “tell him it’s okay. I use Aveda’s rosemary mint conditioner to shave my legs. It’s better than any shave cream.”

And so, as well as Christmas shopping, I need to track down BioSilk conditioner so my step-father can pat it on his face.

Signs of the Times?

I made a phone payment on one of our accounts the other day because I’d lost the statement so didn’t have an address to set it up for online banking, and was surprised because I needed my actual checkbook to complete the transaction.

Please understand. I know my entire checking account number by heart. I know the routing number too. I write one paper check a month, and that’s to pay my lawn guy. I’m so used to companies not needing check numbers, or being able to make up check numbers, when doing electronic funds transfers of this sort, that I literally was struck dumb for a few seconds when I was asked to provide one.

I realized after the call just how spoiled I am. While I like to have cash on hand for emergencies, with the exception of sticking a dollar in the tip jar at Starbucks every so often, I almost never need it. Even our pizza, which I ordered online this afternoon because it was cold and gray, we were both in the middle of work, and we had nothing but peanut butter in the house because we haven’t been to a grocery store in forever (too busy), was paid for electronically, though they did ask to see the credit card (debit card) I used for the transaction, when they delivered it.

So, here’s the question of the day:
Do you still write paper checks on a regular basis? If so, is it a choice, or a necessity?

Dark Moon, Snow Moon

The full moon of November, in various types of lore, is known as the Snow Moon and the Dark Moon. We are not yet at the full moon, but just now, leaning out the back door as the dogs patrolled the perimeter of the yard, I saw my breath hanging in the chilly night air, and I looked up and saw the brittle crescent of the moon balancing on the tree tops, and just for a second, I could taste the snow and the darkness.

It is not likely to snow here in Texas any time soon, of course, and yet, high above the trees, the crystalline cold exists, passing us by en route to a place where it will sit and rest, causing people to swap cotton t-shirts for flannel lounging pants, and making cozy firelit evenings a regular occurrence.

Almost, it is cold enough here for a fire, and indeed I can smell pine smoke in the neighborhood, but the weekend will bring temperatures approaching the eighties once more – probably for the last time this year.

I don’t mind the days that creep up on 80, linger there for a moment, and then slide back down to cooler temperatures, but I’m ready for something a little bit cooler, a little bit darker, a little bit more on the winter side of autumn than the summer side.

I won’t get the snow. But I’m ready for the Snow Moon.
We won’t get bitter black nights. But we are ready for the Dark Moon.

“Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness than the daffodils” — Cyril Connolly


I’ve been thinking a lot about espresso machines lately. I used to have a DeLonghi machine, but it was a pain to use, and when I owned it I felt like I had to use it, instead of hitting cafes. I like going to cafes, you see. I like the mix of people, the funky music, the sound of the steaming milk as it makes froth and foam, the cheery clatter of cups and saucers.

However, I also like really strong coffee with pretty foam on top when I write, and without an espresso machine I can’t make one. We have a wet bar in the kitchen, and I’ve often fantasized about having a restaurant-quality machine hard-wired and hard-plumbed into that space.

It’s just a fantasy, of course, because we don’t have that kind of cash, and if we did, we’d be replacing carpets, putting in a hot tub, and rebuilding the front entry, but it’s fun to dream about such things. I try to justify it by reminding Fuzzy that he likes frothy hot chocolate, and that espresso machines of that caliber are also great for steaming scrambled eggs – nothing is fluffier, actually, then eggs done by steam injection.

Fuzzy brings me back from my fantasies with questions like, “So you wouldn’t have to go to Starbucks, then, right?”

Silly man.

(If you came here looking for my Thursday Thirteen post, it’s below. )

Thursday 13: 0711.15

Thirteen Things about MISS MELISS
Things that Begin with Z

  1. Zabaglione: An Italian dessert. A custard of eggs, mascarpone cheese, sugar and liquor, traditionally served with figs.
  2. Zebra: I was crazy about horses as a kid, and this extended to zebras. They look so magical, especially in video clips from watering holes.
  3. Zenobia: A Queen of Palmyra, she ruled after her husband’s death, was captured by the army of Aurelius, whom she so impressed that he freed her. Eventually she became a philosopher. I used her name for my very first MUSH character, ever.
  4. Zenzizenzizenzic: The eighth power of a number, and just totally fun to say, though less so to type. (A corruption of the Italian censo de censo.) No longer actually used as a word, excepts in lists like this one.
  5. Zephyr: A light refreshing wind, or gentle breeze. I love wind, and I love that different types of wind have names.
  6. Zest: Not the soap, though I remember bars of it in my grandparents’ bathroom when I was a kid. (I liked Ivory better, back then, because of the floating.) I like zest in it’s culinary sense – the outer rind of citrus before you reach the pith – it’s where the color and oils live – and for it’s use as a synonym for “enthusiasm” and “vigor.”
  7. Zingers: Witty, stinging remarks, or frightening Hostess snack cakes, either will do. In the latter, I’m partial to the pink ones (I think they’re supposed to be raspberry?) with coconut.
  8. Zinnias: One of my favorite kinds of flowers, they’re so colorful and vibrant.
  9. Zither: I have a thing for unconventional musical instruments. The zither is one of them – you play it sort of the same way you play a dulcimer (the kind you pluck/strum, not the kind you hammer.)
  10. Ziti: While the word specifically refers to the noodles, which are like overgrown macaroni, or really big penne, to me it also means the dish “baked ziti” which has long been a family favorite. I should make some. Maybe for Thanksgiving.
  11. Zippers: I had a pair of zipper earrings, I’ve had zippered shoes, and I love that my current every-day purse (a messenger bag from an import store) zippers beneath the flap. Zippers are just incredibly useful things.
  12. Zoetrope: Wiktionary says, “An optical toy, in which figures made to revolve on the inside of a cylinder, and viewed through slits in its circumference, appear like a single figure passing through a series of natural motions as if animated or mechanically moved.” You know the spinning gray structure on the old Mr. Rogers show? Technically it was a sort of zoetrope.
  13. Zoo: When zoos are well done, you don’t feel like the animals are imprisoned as much as honestly protected and cared for. The Fort Worth Zoo is my current favorite, because you can get really close to the animals, and never feel like you’re looking through a fence.

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Doin’ the Geek-Girl Shuffle

While I’ve never been a particular fan of iTunes, I have to admit that I’m very fond of the little pink ipod shuffle I won from Blingo earlier this year, and not just because it matches my MacBook, either.

I like it for a lot of reasons: the novelty of storing music in a glorified binder clip, the shiny happy color, the fact that it weighs nothing and is perfect for bringing along on dog walks, the list goes on.

The thing is, though, that I tend not to use it very often, because most of my music is on my Zen or in Napster. Dear Napster, please allow an mp3 format for bought tunes. Dear iPod, please work with Napster.

Neither will happen, I know, but a girl can dream.