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All posts for the month December, 2013

He was a GREAT-Uncle

Published December 31, 2013 by Malia

Brain: You need to put on socks.

Me: Why?

Brain: Because you don’t want your feet to be cold and your toes to get frostbit.

Me:  Is it really that important?

Brain: Yes.  You have to wear shoes to work, and you need socks if you’re going to wear shoes.

Me: Oh.

Brain: Also, don’t forget your lunch.

Well, I remembered the socks and forgot my lunch.  1 out of 2 ain’t bad considering how today went.

My Uncle Mike passed away kind of suddenly this morning, shortly before I went to work.  We’re all still kind of in shock here, hence me actually questioning the wearing of socks.

Uncle Mike was a pretty amazing guy.  He was incredibly smart, and really seemed to love life.  He was my great-uncle, but he was almost like another grandpa to me.  He was very kind to me, and even as I got older he still showed that he cared about me.

When I was little I would get to see him once a year.  We would come home to Nebraska for two weeks during the summer, and he and Aunt Donna would usually kid-sit me one of the nights we were home.  I loved them and their home.  Uncle Mike had a vintage Pong machine that he would hook up for me so I could play.  It was my first encounter with a videogame console, and I was a bit hooked.

At the end of those visits, he would usually slip me a twenty, which-to a kid with no money-was a pretty big deal.

When I was in high school, we were visiting him one night, and he was talking about this foreign exchange student they had hosted years earlier, and how he had told the kid that if they ever got married, he would be at the wedding.  He then turned to me and promised me that when I got married he would be there.  It was funny, because I didn’t even think about it until today while I was at work.  It was so hard when Grampa died because I knew he would never get to attend my wedding (should that magical day ever happen), and now both Grampa and Uncle Mike won’t be there.

When I was in school training to be a vet tech, I was taking Pharmacology.  Uncle Mike was a pharmacist, and he ended up working for the State of Nebraska.  (I’m not sure what he did exactly, but I know that if you were a pharmacist who was not behaving properly, my uncle was the last person you wanted to see walk into your pharmacy).  Pharmo wasn’t an easy class for me, and most of the time I felt that if I had to memorize one more drug that had a name ending in “-myicin/micin” I was going to scream.  When I got through the class, and passed.  Uncle Mike told my Gramma (his sister) to tell me that not only was he proud of me, but also to remember that if something wasn’t hard, it wasn’t worth doing.  This is probably some of the most meaningful advice an adult has ever given me.

So, as 2013 closes, I say good-bye to my uncle, and wish you all a happy and safe New Year’s.

Why Eighteen?

Published December 31, 2013 by Malia

When I was little (5 or 6) I announced to my parents that we needed to move to Alaska and live in a house with eighteen bathrooms.  I was apparently obsessed, because I remember mentioning it to my mom more than once over the next year or two.  Her general response involved something along the lines of, “Are you going to clean all eighteen bathrooms?”

Eventually, I realized that my request wasn’t going to be fulfilled, and I pretty much blocked out all memory of it from my brain.  And it stayed blocked until two weeks ago.  I was driving home from work one night, and suddenly I found myself wondering, “Why eighteen?”  Seriously, it’s the most random number.  I didn’t have any siblings, so it wasn’t about everyone having their own bathroom.  Honestly, I’m starting to wonder if I just randomly grabbed a number out of mid-air in an attempt to impress my parents with what a good idea I had.  I’m also not sure why I was so insistent it had to bathrooms.  Why not jungle gyms or swimming pools?

I was a strange child.  (Yeah, probably should’ve opened with that.)

The Secret Ingredient Is…

Published December 29, 2013 by Malia

Have you seen those silly little Funko Pop! figurines?

Big eyes, giant head, crazy amount of detail for a little figurine.  They really are ridiculous.  The only thing more ridiculous?  My recently discovered love of them.  It could be argued that there’s no point in owning one, and I’ll be glad to listen to your argument if you don’t mind my staring at my Legolas figure while you do.

 

trampt.com

He’s much more adorable in real life.

The point is, if I was married and had a kid or two, I couldn’t “waste” money on these adorable pieces of plastic.  I couldn’t be siting here trying to figure out how best to arrange them on my empty shelf in my bedroom.

There are so many things I am free to do because I’m single.  I can watch an episode of my favorite tv show for the eighth time and not have to worry about getting asked, “Haven’t you seen this before?  Why can’t we watch something less British?”  I can add to my movie collection whenever I want.

It’s pleasant being single.  There’s quite a bit of freedom and minimal amount of compromising that needs to take place.  I can work a job I love, one with bizarre hours and not worry about how it’s going to affect (or is it effect?  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get this grammatical rule down) my relationship with my significant other.

Even though I have all this going for me, there are still times where my heart yearns to be with someone else.  Not for there to be grand romantic gestures (although, they certainly would be appreciated), but for someone to be partners with in order to fight through the battle known as life.

Y’know, I’ve read multiple books on the subject of being single, and had chats with fellow singletons and even with some marrieds regarding being single.  I’ve heard all “logical” reasons for being single.  I’ve been given most of the pat answers offered in the following video:

And, you know what?  Tonight, I was at home,  reading a fluffly little book, and suddenly I was overwhelmed to the point of tears with feelings of loneliness.  There wasn’t any logical explanation for it, but I’ll tell you this.  As I was sobbing, I was reminded of this scene from Kung Fu Panda

There is no secret ingredient.  There is no one magical mystical answer to this whole singleness thing.  Just because Person A needed to learn to be content being single doesn’t mean that’s why Person B is single.  Maybe Person B is single because they need to learn to be more willing to make good compromises.  Maybe Person C is single because they’ll never finish their education if they get distracted with a romance.  Every person is different, and we all have different life lessons to learn.  The best thing we can do is stick it out, cry if necessary, do things for others, and not lock our hearts away (no matter how much we may get hurt).

And, if all else fails, you can join me in creating a silly collection of vinyl figurines.

A Book List for Mila Pt. 3

Published December 27, 2013 by Malia

I’ve missed a few weeks, but I’m back with my book suggestions!  This week, I’m focusing on four fantastic books by one of my very favorite authors.

Strong Poison

It’s quite clear that the mystery novelist, Harriet Vane, is guilty of murdering her ex.  However, when the jury disagrees on a verdict, and she gets a 30 day reprieve.  That 30 days is just enough for Lord Peter Wimsey to set about trying to prove her innocence (and to fall in love).

Have His Carcase

Okay, mild spoiler, this one comes about two years after the events of Strong Poison and does feature Harriet Vane and Lord Peter.  Harriet finds a body on the beach, and Lord Peter shows up to help investigate the murder which proves to be a bit tricky considering that the body disappears.

Gaudy Night

True story, I read

my mom’s copy of this novel so many times I wore it out and had to buy a new one (which I’ve done a decent amount of wear to, as well).  I think she’s relieved I finally got this on my Kindle.  This is definitely my favorite of the four.

When Harriet returns to her alma mater to attend a reunion, she ends up getting mixed up in a poison pen mystery.  It’s a different kind of mystery novel, because it’s more about the choices people make and how they affect other human beings.  Also, there isn’t (but there is) a murder to be found in the book.

Busman’s Honeymoon

I can’t say much without giving away important spoilers.  Here’s what  I will say, this is a classic whodunit.  An unpleasant man is killed, and almost everyone seems to have a motive.

There are two additional novels that were based on writing Sayers did, but never completed.   I’ve not read either novel, so I can’t speak to how well they fit with the first four novels.

The Post-Holiday Calm

Published December 27, 2013 by Malia

Time for a random stream of things that have been going on…

Well, another Christmas has come and gone.  This was a better Christmas than the last couple.  Last year was the first Christmas after Grampa dying.  I was in a bad place due to a really crappy year, and the whole day just felt off.  I ended up sleeping for most of the day.  Also, this year I was finally financially stable enough that I was able to get presents for everyone.  As someone who enjoys gift giving, this made me quite happy.

I saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug two weeks ago.  I’m still not 100% certain what I think of it.  It was beautifully done.  The dragon was amazing.  However, there were so many changes, the book nerd in me is still having trouble resigning myself to the movie.  I’m anxious to see the extended edition so that I may make a better final judgement.

I saw Catching Fire three weeks ago, and it was absolutely amazing!  Heartbreaking, but amazing.  There was only one change that they made that I was genuinely irked by, but it was pretty insignificant when I considered how accurate everything else was.

I came home tonight to find two police vehicles in our parking lot.  Not police cars, these were SUV type automobiles.  Apparently, there’s been a spree of robberies in town, and they tracked the burglars to one of the condo buildings in the grouping where we live.  I guess the burglars stole something that had GPS in it, and they were stupid enough to turn it on.  Hence the police finding where they were hiding out at.  I guess it was quite exciting about half an hour before  I got home from work.  Mom said the police helicopter and about fifteen police SUV-things were here.   Sad, but also relieved I missed it.

We’ve been passing around some sort of nasty bug at work.  I know, I know, it’s a shocker that disease would be present at a medical reference lab…  I’ve spent 3 weeks with horrible headaches and stomachaches.  It’s been loads of fun.  Also, it’s been making me an absolute “delight” to be around.  I’m afraid it’s sealing my status as nasty witch with a capital B at work.  Which is really too bad, cause I’m a pretty nice person.  Or at least, I used to be.

So, I really want one of the single serving Keurig machines.  There’s only one small problem: it’d be a bit of a waste of money.  I don’t drink coffee and I rarely drink tea or cocoa.  I think I’m just generally fascinated by them, and that has led to this ridiculous desire to own one.

Sherlock is returning!  If you’ve never watched it, go to Netflix now and fix this part of your life.  (There’s only six episodes currently, it’s less than a day of binge watching.)  One of my friends spent yesterday watching it for the first time, and she proceeded to say, “I could listen to Benedict Cumberbatch read the phone book.”  I happen to agree with this.  He and Alan Rickman could get together and read the sides of cereal boxes and the backs of shampoo bottles and it would be the most fantastic thing ever.

A Book List For Mila, Pt. 2

Published December 7, 2013 by Malia

This week I present a random jumble of books I thought of during the week!

The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This is the best $3 I have ever spent on a book.  It’s a book of fictional correspondence between an author and various residents of Guernsey.  It tells the story of the German occupation during WWII, and as charming as the novel is, it certainly does nothing to romanticize the history.

Jane Eyre

 

If I had to pick an all time, #1 favorite novel, this would be it.  This was the first “real” novel I ever read, and it has amazed me how every time I read it, it’s completely fresh.  Even though I know what’s going to happen.  So, what’s it about?  It’s a memoir of an orphan.  She talks about growing up in a relatively loveless environment, but the story really picks up when she goes off and becomes a governess at mysterious Thornfield Hall, employed by the even more mysterious Mr. Rochester.  This is a love story, morality story, and mystery novel all rolled into one.

Rebecca

This is the 20th century update of Jane Eyre.  Extremely creepy, with a decent amount of suspense.  The book starts at the end of the story, and you take a journey in order to learn what leads to the narrator stating, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”  Every time I read it, I find myself changing my mind as to whether or not it’s a ghost story.  Also, you must read it because Mrs. Danvers is one of the most overlooked villains (at least in my opinion) of all time.  She’s conniving, manipulative, and pretty much a psycho.

Death Comes As The End

This is my all time favorite Christie novel.  I don’t think it’s very well known, but it’s definitely worth a read.  It takes place in ancient Egypt, and all within one family.  Family members start dying off horribly, and the whodunit presents a cast of suspects that even includes a ghost (and you totally accept it because it actually makes logical sense).

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I would list this as my #2 favorite novel of all time (it’s a tie with Lord of the Rings, which I know is a trilogy, but Tolkien meant it to be one novel, and that’s how I’ve always viewed it).  British aristocrat has a band of followers (other British aristocrats) that help smuggle French aristocrats out of France.  Leader of band is married to French actress who may or may not still be faithful to the French revolution.  There’s romance!  There’s intrigue!  There’s pepper!  See, now you’re intrigued.  You’re thinking, “Why did she mention pepper?  Is it important?”  And it’s going to drive you crazy until you read it and find out for yourself.

The Phantom of the Opera

Long before the musical or movies, there was the novel.  For non-musical fans, the novel involves a lot less singing.  However, it presents a wonderful view of the Paris opera, while also serving up a pretty fantastically creepy plot.

The One With The Werewolf

Published December 4, 2013 by Malia

(What follows is a real conversation I let myself get sucked into today.  The topic was all the books person A was assigned to read in high school and didn’t.  I tried very hard to keep my mouth shut, but I only have so much restraint.)

Person A: Then there was that one about a werewolf.

Person B: Beowulf?

Person A: Yeah, that one.

Me: There are no werewolves in Beowulf.  (I swear I was being quiet.  I honestly thought no one would hear me.)

Person A: Yeah, well, there’s wolves in it.

Fortunately, I had a legitimate reason to leave at that moment, so I was saved from saying anything else I might regret. I know that not everyone is book obsessed like I am, and I know that I should have just kept my mouth shut.  It would have been the polite thing to do.  Then again, I suppose blogging about the encounter isn’t terribly polite either.

Oh well, at least I know what happens in Beowulf.