I Never…

CajunVegan tagged me to tell you seven weird things about me, but I’ve done this meme so many times, that I’m taking a leaf from her, and offering seven things I’ve never done. Get cozy in one of those comfy home theater chairs and dig into the popcorn. Here we go:

  1. I’ve never gone swimming with sharks… but it’s something I really want to do. There’s a company based in San Diego that does five day cruises to Isla Guadalupe, just across the border in Mexico, with cage diving for photography purposes. It costs several thousand dollars, but the beer is free, and the white sharks are plentiful.
  2. I’ve never ridden a roller coaster that goes upside down… and I never will. I like the old wooden coasters a lot, and the modern corkscrews are great fun, but I don’t do loops. When I was nine my mother dated a guy who designed coasters, and he explained the construction of the loop and it terrified me.
  3. I’ve never lived on a boat… and I don’t really want to, for long, but there’s a B&B in Oakland and San Francisco that lets you overnight on a docked sailboat. And when we were considering a move to Portland several years ago, there was a docked houseboat that I quite liked.
  4. I’ve never made a perfect hamburger… It’s a knack I just don’t have. Gourmet food I can cook. Diner food, I can’t. This is especially ironic since my cousins owned a diner in New Jersey.
  5. I’ve never been to Italy… and it’s still on my list. I have family in Naples and Caserta I’ve never met. Somehow, I feel a stronger connection with France, even though I’ve not got a lick of French blood.
  6. I’ve never been swimming in fresh water… Swimming pools don’t count as fresh water. Swimming pools contain pool water which is chemically unlike anything found in nature. Lakes and rivers do. I’ve never been in one higher than my knees. I learned to swim in the ocean, however. I’m all about the salt water.
  7. I’ve never learned to ski… even though I lived in Colorado for seven years, in the mountains, not far from Loveland and Vail. I have, however, watched the Porsche rallies on the Georgetown reservoir, ice skated on same reservoir using a snow shovel as a sail, ice skated in an outdoor rink in Vail, and actually walked to school when there were more than two feet of snow on the ground, only to be greeted by a handwritten note, “No school. Buses can’t get through.” (This is why I refuse to ever live in a place with serious winter again. Ever.)

According to CajunVegan, I’m supposed to tag people. I don’t like tagging people. If this meme speaks to you, do it. If not, write something else.

Creature Feature

We don’t often see geckos in January, but the little creatures must know instinctively what I have to go to Weather.com to find out: that it was cool, but not cold, and rainy all day, and as such it’s a lovely night for traipsing across the brick walls of my house in search of…whatever it is small reptiles and amphibians go in search of.

Thankfully, Miss Cleo didn’t see the gecko on the wall when I took her outside for “last call,” just a few moments ago, or she’d still be out there barking at it. Miss Cleo thinks geckos are a personal affront to her, encroaching upon her territory as they do. Miss Cleo is wrong, but you can’t always reason with a cocker/poodle/chi/staffy/thing. She saw a rodent climbing the fence and raced after it, but came back almost immediately, probably because it’s late and we’re all tired from weird sleep patterns.

I’m writing insurance content all this week, and it has me both bored silly and having odd connections. For example, a piece on term life insurance and death benefits made me remember the last few chapters of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

I think I will try to sleep now.

I Should Be Sleeping…

…but after doing so nearly all weekend I’m not tired.

I had a lovely quiet evening in which I read A Lick of Frost, by Laurell K. Hamilton. Finished it about 20 minutes ago, in tears. Will be posting the review on Bibliotica today or Tuesday.

Meanwhile, y’all should go there anyway, and read the interview with Julia Holden.

Bed of Roses?

If only it were as easy to redecorate a real home as it is to do so in The Sims, I would be able to feed my constant redecorating urges so much more simply. And cheaply.

One of my urges involves my bedroom. Fuzzy and I bought a bookshelf headboard several years ago, and even though I’m sick of it, he refuses to budge. My fantasy bed is a sleigh bed. Failing that, one of those adjustable beds that make using bed for things other than sleeping (I’ve been known to work from bed for a week at a time, most recently when we had a cold spell and Zorro was sick, and I just didn’t want to leave the warmth of flannel sheets and flannel pajamas.) so much more comfortable would be great.

I’m told you can even use them with clunky bookshelf headboards.

Yay, Books

I’ve been complaining for days (well, a day and a half) that I have nothing to read. That’s never precisely true. There is always something in the house I haven’t read, but there was nothing that sat up and begged “READ ME!” So we ventured forth this evening even though we were both crabby, for a brief trip to the grocery store for soda for Fuzzy, to dinner (Genghis Grill in Highlands of Arlington) and then to Barnes and Nobel (this despite the fact that Borders is in the same parking lot as Genghis Grill).

I wasn’t certain what I wanted, but I moved through the magazine section without more than one or two longing looks at magazines advertising Wilmington real estate, and other coastal living type scenarios, and into the actual book section (coffee was on the list of must-haves, but would wait til we were about to go.)

I ended up with six books, all of which will eventually be reviewed at Bibliotica, including the latest offering from Laurell K. Hamilton, A Lick of Frost.

Armed with faerie porn, a nonfat cinnamon dolce latte and a single sugar cookie with cheery red sprinkles, I am now curled up on the bed, and you won’t hear me complain that I have nothing to read for at least a week.

No, really.

Laundry Day

The problem with having all the laundry done is that I really don’t have space for everything. Take my underwear drawer for example. While I’m not a fan of lacy lingerie, I do like pretty underwear. It’s cotton, but it’s in fabulous colors, even the bras. When it’s all clean, however, the drawer is full to the brim.

Right now, even though not all the the laundry is clean (I’m still doing laundry) about the only thing my underwear drawer doesn’t hold is bustiers, not because they won’t fit, but because I haven’t had one in years.

How, you may wonder, can one have pink hair, and not own a bustier?
It’s a good question.

I shall have to work on an answer.

Alternatively, a shopping trip could work.

Fuzzy keeps reminding me that I said I had to get rid of one thing in order to add one thing. The problem with that is that I got rid of hanging things and added folding things, last time.

Well, it was a good thought.

Sleep, Disorderd

My sleep cycles have been skewed all week as Fuzzy’s schedule and funky, dark, weather pushed our waking time later and later, and lingering cold/sinus issues have me taking either cold meds or benadryl to be able to breathe. (Breathing is good.)

Yesterday (Friday, not Saturday) I slept til ten, wrote for four hours for work, napped, piddled with webstuff, napped, ordered dinner, napped, watched a movie, drank a lot of chai, and ultimately got three hours of sleep on Saturday morning, finally giving up around 7:30 after several attempts to rest. At ten, I went to get the refill of Zorro-dog’s heart pills (blood pressure pills), stopped at Starbucks for a cinnamon dolce latte (venti, nonfat, lite whip) and an apple fritter (so unhealthy, so delicious, and good for my soul) , and the caffeine finally put me to sleep (yes, I know, but when you live a highly caffeinated life sometimes MORE is what is needed.)

Fuzzy joined me in bed – he’s not feeling well, and has been up late with net issues from work all week – and we slept fitfully through the day. Well, I did. I went to bed (caffeinated and taking a melatonin, and wearing the sleep mask mom gave me for Christmas) at 11:40. Woke up at 2:30, looked at the clock, looked at my pillow, moved a dog to a more comfortable (for me) spot on the bed, and went back to sleep. Woke again at six, and made Fuzzy go feed the dogs (Zorro’s abscess inflated again, and he wasn’t into food, but going hungry won’t kill him – really – and he’d had pizza crust late Friday night). Did some light housework – I was sick and then hugely busy, and still sick, during the first chunk of January, so while the Xmas tree has been unlit and the dining room it’s in largely unused for weeks, we never put it away. Last night, I finally got around to putting the ornaments in their new purple tub (will need a second one if we buy even ONE ornament next year) and did a whole bunch of laundry, and changed the sheets on the bed, taking off the flannel and putting the nautical cotton pinstripes back on.

Fuzzy took a benadryl because he’s having an allergy rash, and I’ve been trying to get him to take one for DAYS. “I’m not sneezing.” “But it’s an antihistamine, and a rash is an histaminic reaction.” “But there are no other symptoms.” “There don’t have to be.”

He doesn’t generally take allergy meds. This one knocked him out, but I was still using the bed to fold laundry. Around eleven thirty, I made him come downstairs. We had cocoa and peanut butter sandwiches in bed, and watched 2/3 of a cheesy sci-fi channel movie about tornadoes and gypsies, before conking out at 1.

Then his phone rang at 3:39, and I’ve been up for almost an hour now (used restroom, let dogs out to do same, drank cranberry juice, fetched new bottle of water, wrote this entry.)

My sniffles are back with a vengeance, and I’ve already had a melatonin tonight (which should have kept me out, but at least let me fall asleep quickly) and another (half dose) of benadryl is apparently in order.

While my job does not require that I work “normal” hours, we live in a nine-to-five town, and Fuzzy does have to do most of his work during “regular” time, so I hope I can shift back to a reasonable schedule this week. I missed weight lifting on Friday (Fuzzy worked from home and I didn’t want to blast music) and yesterday (asleep) so will try to do it later today, and then do Tues-Thurs -Sat this week.

And now…back to sleep (as am already in bed).

Crossover, Creativity and Clay

I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with this blog lately. I don’t feel connected to it. I have other projects that are interesting me far more than MissMeliss.com, and yet, I’m afraid to let go of a blog that has served me well since 2002. Conversations with good friends have me thinking that a new chalkboard is better than an erased chalkboard, and I’ve wanted a site that will lend itself more to my professional writing ambitions.

To that end, my good friend Clay accepted a pittance of a gift in exchange for taking an email of links and sources of inspiration, and turning them into the most beautiful template ever – he’s created something warm, welcoming, and sophisticated, with the rich reds and cafe colors that I love, and even wove in my own words. There’s no real content yet, just the stuff that comes with Joomla (an open-source content management system), but feel free to peek at the layout at MelissaBartell.com. I’ll be announcing it here when the site officially goes live, and doing my best to live up to the wonderful art that was used.

More Clay-inspired goodness comes in the form of software called Crossover, which allows Intel-based Macs to run Windows software without requiring a dual boot. I spent $60, and within fifteen minutes had Office XP up and running on my pink MacBook, which makes me happy, because while NeoOffice and the like are great, I find that I’m enough of a girl that I require Word’s pretty interface, and it’s really easier to have the same software on all machines. Or as near to it as possible.

As to Creativity….I’m burning with ideas but they’re not web-publishable, which is another reason I wanted a separate site, so I can just offer updates about what I’m working on, without publishing actual content. Mermaids, Chick-lit, Cafe Vignettes, and a Family Drama are among the projects in mind.

Wish me luck?


I miss the Sunday paper.

I read the paper online, these days, and we don’t have the newspaper delivered any more, and I miss it. I miss it enough that I’m considering signing up for the weekend edition of the New York Times, because I love the book review and theatre sections, despite the fact that we leave nowhere near New York.

Granted, the Sunday Times wouldn’t come with Kohls coupons, or, in fact, any local information, but I love the way the paper feels so much, I don’t think I’d care. I mean, I’d still have the crossword puzzle, right?

Crossword puzzles were meant to be done with pen or pencil on a table in a cafe, or in the living room by a fire, not on the computer. I know there are sites that allow digital crosswords, but the fun in them comes from not being plugged in. From having to rely on your own brain, and using them as a means of engaging strangers in conversation. “Excuse me,” you say to someone who has an interesting hat – a black bowler, perhaps, that reminds you of your Uncle Phil, who really wasn’t a blood relative, but he dated your Aunt Margie for so long he may as well have been. “Can you give me a five-letter word that means ‘comprehensible’?”

And either not-Uncle Phil will shakes his head apologetically, and go along with his own plans, or he’ll smile and suggect, “Lucid.”

And you’ll sip your coffee until it’s gone, even though there are biscotti crumbs in the bottom, and when you get home, you won’t care that your hands smell of newsprint.