25 December 2009

My (Virtual) Christmas Card

One more trip around the sun completed and I am now officially thirty, flirty and fabulous.

A year in review:

New Years Weekend 2009 last year found me in Vegas learning how to play Blackjack. This year the plan is to apply that knowledge and make some money. :-) We'll see how that goes...
[Lenny and I in Las Vegas, January 2009]

Valentines' Day was spent celebrating the love of my sister Rosie and her new husband Adam. Wedding weekend in Nor Cal!
[Mr. & Mrs. Malicay]

My dear friend Aimee and I spent a long weekend adventuring in New York City. We had a blast in this city that never sleeps and visited the Apple Store at 2:00 am... just because we could.

We were very sad to leave...

This was a summer of family fun. Pool days... Breakfast brunch at the parents'... Game nights... Our family knows how to have fun!
[This is us visiting with Grandma at her new home.]

September was crazy!!!
Labor Day weekend I took my traditional trip to visit Robin in Seattle and we had a blast. This picture is on Lopez Island.

While I was in Seattle my new nephew Jayden refused to wait for me to get home. He decided it was time to check this world out. He's pretty flippin' adorable! Our family is always excited for new babies.

There is no rest for the weary. We ended a full September with Petra and Pierce's wedding. It was a beautiful day filled with love.
[Mr. & Mrs. Kavanagh]
[It was nice to have the whole damn fam together!]

I was blessed to spend Thanksgiving in Costa Rica this year! Feel free to check some of the archive blogs for more pictures and stories. I had so much fun and it only fed my serious addiction to travel.
[Me, my ticas, and a rainbow after riding horses near the Arenal volcano and ziplining in the canopy!]

[My new monkey friend.]

We celebrated my dear friend Jayma's birthday up in LA. Here we are kickin' it on Rodeo Drive... 'cause that's how we roll.
[Lauren, Jayma, Me & Erika.]

I spent my birthday at Disneyland with my parents, nephew, sister and brother-in-law. It was the best gift! Disneyland at Christmas is the most magical of all places.

General Highlights:
I was published! I am featured in The World According to Twitter by David Pogue. Check me out on pages 199 and 245!

I am so glad to be where I am... This is a sunset picture I took on my way home from work. Southern California is the place to be. I love being near my family and friends. I am very thankful for this past year filled with love and laughter. Thank you all!

16 December 2009

Take the Time

This literally takes ten seconds and it's a great thing to do with kids during the holiday chaos. No one asks for your email address and you don't have to watch a commercial. It's soooooo simple. You choose one of the adorable cards drawn by kiddos, add your name and message and then Xerox prints it out and delivers it to a soldier. It's soooooo easy. www.LetsSayThanks.com

I obviously had to choose the adorable one from San Diego. :-) Dolphins and sunshine... it doesn't get any better than that.

04 December 2009

Pictures: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Check out my pictures of Pao and my road trip to Tamarindo. We loved the beach! It was such a sweet time with my dear, dear friend.

03 December 2009

Pictures: Arenal, Costa Rica

Check out my pictures of Arenal. I had a great time with Sofi, Pao and Yendri! We went zip lining in the canopy, horseback riding around Arenal AND then relaxed in the hot springs at Baldi!

01 December 2009

30 November 2009

Everyone's Favorite Tica

Tonight is my last night in Costa Rica (for this trip) and I'm getting
a little emotional. I have no idea what draws me to this place... I
mean I could write you a list (and I probably will in an upcoming
blog) but like being in love with a person, being in love with this
place can't be explained, it just is. With people there is a chemistry
that can't be manufactured and normally exists from the very
beginning. There are people that look like a match on paper but, in
person, "it" is just not there. Then there are people that you love
before you really even know them. You see them and you just know that
they'll be a part of your heart forever. Paola is one of those people.
I met her on a bus on our way to a camp here in Costa Rica seven years
ago and I knew that I would know her and love her for the rest of my
life. This trip with her has been such a blessing! Thank you Pao for
carting me around Costa Rica and for sharing so much with me. I love
your attitude, your heart and your laughter. I love you my dear tica.
I will miss you (and your precious family and friends) and look
forward to our next adventure. Somos gemelas de corazon y de alma. :-)

28 November 2009

Pictures: San Jose, Costa Rica

To see my San Jose Album Click Here!
There is more to come. :-)
But not today, becuase I'm off to the mountains and the beach.

25 November 2009

Lessons Learned Today in Tortuguero

- Walking through a construction site in the dark could lead to cement
covered shoes.

- If you wake up at 4:30am to take the Tortuguero National Park boat
tour, you could be rewarded with INCREDIBLE views of cayman, spider/
howler/white face monkeys, Blue Morpho butterflies, sloths, iguanas,
and turtles.

- If you are in Costa Rica and you think you may feel something
crawling on your back, don't assume that it's sweat or chills from
your sunburn. Assume that it's something crawling on your back, smack
it, and get it the heck off of you!

- Always be prepared for dinner guests... (crab story to come)

- Sometimes you have to wake up the kitchen staff during the off
season... Really they don't mind.

- Don't consider a granola bar lunch and then start dinner with a
beer... Unless that's the kind of night you're looking for.

Costa Rica - Tortuguero - Getting There

So, um... Yeah... I'm in heaven and I'm not leaving!

Tuesday morning I caught a bus in San Jose to Cariari. The ride was
gorgeous. We drove through the mountains and saw waterfalls just off
the side of the road. The views were breathtaking! I made a friend
(surprised?) who helped me figure out where to get off and, more
importantly, when not to. (I learned that the buses take rest stops
along the way... This gringa was packing up her bags just to sit and
wait for the driver to pee.) I'm learning that Ticos have a funny
sense of time. A forty-five minute bus ride seems to be two hours for
some and twenty minutes for others. I have decided that I will just be
ready at all times to get on or off a bus. I also learned that there
is always time for a cafecito or a cigarette break.

My new friend's stop was before mine, so he handed me off for someone
else to babysit. 'She is going to Cariari. Make sure she doesn't get
lost.' My newest friend was all too eager to help the blue-eyed
gringa. 'Are you traveling alone? Are you from England? Do you like
Costa Rica so far?' I had a talker on my hands... Luckily I can chat
with the best of them. :-)

Once I got to Cariari (safely) I needed to catch a bus to Pavona, but
the first stop was the bathroom where I became extremely proud of
myself for always traveling with a pack of tissues. Once I realized
there wasn't toilet paper I giggled and started hunting in my bag.
There had been a sign outside listing the cost to use the bathroom as
100 colones (~$0.20). My neighbor to the right did not find it as
amusing as I did. 'Without shame! I will pay you nothing if you don't
provide toilet paper!' she yelled. I took her lead and we both left
without paying... Me grinning and her frowning.
(Side note: She had tissues in her purse too. I didn't leave her
without resources.)

At Cariari I had to catch another bus to Pavona. This proved to be an
even greater adventure than the bathroom. There was no bus, but there
was a pushy lady who swore that there was a bus coming. A few of the
other gringos decided to walk to a nearby bus station that they new
about... I decided to trust the lady in the red polo shirt... She
looked official enough. ;-) I waited my five minutes and the most
rickety bus I have ever seen pulled up. I paid the bus driver my money
and we headed for gas and our first stop. Guess where our first stop
was... The other bus station! We all ended up on the same bus after
all... Only I got to sit with my new friend Jose and I didn't have to
hoof it over to the VERY busy station in the humidity.

This ride was bumpy and loud and hot and sweaty and... awesome! We
picked up school children and people coming to and from work. The bus
driver (Jose) was like a local hero. Everyone knew his name and was
glad to see him. We drove through farmland and fields. The cows had
humpbacks and the fence posts were growing into trees.

A 'gang' of locals started congregating in the front of the bus and
goofing around. They were laughing and threatening to push each other
out the door. I could hear them talking in the front and they were
laughing about trying to scare the gringo in the back. A few of them
were very obviously eyeing him and it took all of my self control not
to flip around in my seat and look behind me to see if anyone was
scared. It was a weird moment for me. I was very obviously not a
local, but I also very obviously understood Spanish and laughed at all
the right times.i was kind of stuck between two worlds. No one was
hurt and I'm pretty sure that my fellow gringo wasn't even frightened,
but they put forth a good effort and I appreciated the show.

Once in Pavona, which is basically a large restaurant and a boat dock,
we got on our boats to head to Tortuguero. I was the ONLY gringo on my
boat. The other boat was filled to the brim with people, almost all
tourists and I was on a mostly empty boat with locals. I took a
picture. It was hysterical. The ride into Tortuguero was magnificent.
I loved being on the water. I felt like I was in The Rescuers and
being toted around by Evenrude. I made another friend named Carlos,
who is a tour guide. He told me all about the area and his recent trip
to Nicaragua. I told him a little about myself and taught him some

I am learning that I'm pretty good at traveling by myself. In fact, I
like it. I am especially thankful for it on this trip, because it
causes me to use my Spanish and I need the practice.

So I am here in Tortuguero and I love it. The journey here was long
and exciting and well worth it!

Amy is awesome!

I miss my sister so much in Costa Rica that I just wanted to write a little post about how awesome she is :P

Costa Rica - San Jose Museums

Monday I spent the day in San Jose with Pao's mom. She had never been
to most of the places we visited; so we had a great time being
tourists together! The Plaza Cultura was very interesting. (I took
tons of pictures that will have to be uploaded later.) I loved seeing
where the indigenous people live now and where they came from. We saw
gold from all different regions and examples of houses, jars, and
weaponry. All of the museums were in walking distance from each other
and very reasonable. Pao's mom was upset because I had to pay more as
a tourist, but it only seemed fair to me. Costa Ricans pay the taxes
that build the museums, I don't mind paying more to support what I
have the priviledge to enjoy.

We had lunch at the Mercado Central with Johnn (my Tico brother). It
was delicious! Arroz con pollo is probably my favorite dish in the
world and this was the best that I've had. We sat in the middle of the
hustle and bustle and stuffed ourselves silly. I may have mentioned
this before, but I freakin' love my family here. I feel like they
really are the Tico version of my family at home. I can't wait for the
day that both families meet!

After lunch we walked around a park and saw some government buildings
(court house, etc.) and the National Museum (which is closed on
Mondays). Then we went to a museum of contemporary art. I loved it!
They had an exhibit about renewable resources and reusing things we
already own in new ways. My favorite idea was making purses out of old
jackets... Oh no, I take that back. My favorite was a display of lamps
made out of car parts. They were gorgeous! ...Oh crap; I lied. My
(actual) favorite was the exhibit of photography. There were
collections of photos from different Spanish speaking countries
separated between two floors. The bottom floor had pictures of people
from the lower classes of the countries. There were immigrants on the
Northbound trains in Mexico, children with no shoes in Peru, people
living on the streets in Brazil, etc. On the top floor were photos of
people living in excess; opulent weddings in Spain, Carnival in
Brazil, etc. It was very thoughtful and well done. Sometimes exhibits
spend too much time telling you what to think; this one left you with
the images and your own thoughts. It triggered some great
conversations between Mama and me. I am especially excited to upload a
few photos from that exhibit.

We went by the hospital that Pao did her internship at, which is the
same one her grandmother used to work at as a nurse! We walked around
San Jose some more and had a coffee date at Spoons (a great little
chain of snack/coffee shops). Then we thought we were going to tour
Teatro Nacional, but the information they gave Pao was wrong. So
instead we had a second coffee date, this time with Pao. :-) We
visited the national cathedral and their central park and it was time
to get home and let our feet rest.

For those of you traveling to Costa Rica, don't skip San Jose. It may
not be clean and fancy, but it's a great taste of the culture. The
majority of Ticos live here, so it's worth the time to get know a
little about life here.

22 November 2009

Costa Rica - Day 1 & 2

My adventure has begun! Friday night I rode up on the train to LAX and
hung out trying to stay awake for my 12:30 am flight. I started my
melatonin regimine an hour before the flight (one pill every half hour
to build up the exhaustion). Once I was on the flight with my
earplugs, neck pillow, and AWESOME eye cover (picture to come) in
place there was no chance I wasn't going to sleep my way to San Jose.
I slept sooo well. I don't think I've ever slept so soundly on a
plane. Red-eye shmed-eye... I was perky and ready for what Saturday
had in store for me.

I had a 'technical' stop in San Salvador, El Salvador. Flying in over
the birthplace of my sisters was very emotional for me. I even
surprised myself. The landscape was lush and green. There was a sweet
handicrafts shop next to my gate and I had a hard time controlling
myself. After I was already missing my sisters and all mushy about how
thankful I am for my wonderful family, I was hit with another
emotional smack. The Step By Step music video by the New Kids on the
Block was on the TV by the gate! What are the odds?!?! My family was
consumed by NKOTB for a significant portion of my childhood... So my
heart was filled with memories of lunch boxes, concerts and bed
sheets. :-) El Salvador has officially moved even further up my "I
Must Go There" list.

Saturday I spent catching up with Pao (my best friend) and her family.
We had lunch and went shopping for Christmas decorations. I adore
them! I can't even begin to explain the sweet connection I have with
my Tico family. They just love me... And I love them.

Last night it was off to the local tavern and guess what was on the
TV... Go ahead try. Yep. NKOTB Step By Step. Twice in one day in two
different countries!!! Oh yeah and don't worry the waiter fell in love
with me... Obviously.

This morning church was lovely and it was nice to catch up with more
old friends. Isn't it wonderful when even the passing of years doesn't
mean a thing? The rest of the day was spent eating, sleeping, and
planning the remainder of the week. Tomorrow is San Jose museum day
with Mama. Tuesday I'm off to Tortuguero on the East Coast for a few
days. Yeah for more adventures!

06 November 2009


Since Rihanna and Chris Brown are all over the airwaves today. I thought I would share some disturbing information I heard recently.

An American Bar Association survey found that one out of four American women are raped or physically assaulted by a current or former partner at some point in their lifetime.

The average number of times that a woman in an abusive relationship is injured before they leave is nine... NINE!

Each person reading this knows someone who has been injured... abused... raped... by someone who was supposed to love them... supposed to protect them. You may not realize that someone you love has been hurt, but the numbers say that you most definitely DO know someone. A friend is suffering in silence. A neighbor is working to recover from the unthinkable. They need your love and support.

We can't change the broken things in this world, until we start talking about them. So talk about it tonight over dinner. Talk about it tomorrow over coffee. We should be speaking up. My sisters, my friends, my neighbors, and my coworkers will not be protected if I am silent. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

May we break the cycle. May we raise sons who respect the women in their lives. May our daughters rise up and declare that they are worthy of more; They are worthy of the best. Speak out. Raise your voice.

More than that may we look around and see the pain in the eyes that the smiles try to hide.... may we love those around us in such a way that they realize they were created for much more. Raise your voice, but more importantly increase your hearing. Listen in love and act in kindness.

My Hero Speaks

On Twitter I follow the funniest man alive... perhaps of all time. Tim Siedell is known in the twitterverse as @badbanana and I love him. I think you should love him too. Here is an interview with my hero. Please read and enjoy. Then get a twitter account and follow him. OR just bookmark his twitter page and check him out every morning. You are guaranteed at the very least one belly laugh. If you don't enjoy him... actually I don't want to talk about the consequences of that option. I would prefer to assume that you will all live long and happy lives without ever having to say hello to my lil' friend.

04 November 2009

Happy Birthday Besties!!!

I love me some Muppets and these ones taught me everything I know... literally. Thank you to my best friends in all of the world. Happy Birthday to you.

30 October 2009

40,000 Soldiers or 40,000 Schools?

A topic to ponder over the weekend:

Nicholas D. Kristof the author of Half the Sky and a New York Times columnist wrote a very interesting article about Afghanistan. He proposes that we should be starting schools instead of sending more troops to the region. I appreciated his thoughtful points. What do you think? Where are our resources best invested?

29 October 2009

My Current Crush

After Game 1 of the World Series, I have myself a crush. Phillies' starting pitcher Cliff Lee is the new object of my affection.

I loved the catch behind the back!

How adorable are they?!? I have crush on his entire family. I double dog dare you not to smile while looking at this picture. (Yep that was a DOUBLE dog dare.)

I knew you couldn't do it. Don't feel bad; Nobody stands a chance against this level of cute.

28 October 2009

Full of Wonder... Wonderful

As an North San Diego County local (born and raised!) sometimes I take the luxury of living by the beach for granted. Recently, after running some errands, I parked by the ocean to eat my dinner (In N Out BABY!). As I sat watching the waves and listening to the birds, a family in an SUV pulled up and piled out. They laughed as they threw sand at each other and flew kites. Mom pulled out a picnic dinner. The kids started tossing around a football. The father was snapping pictures without a pause; wanting to capture each and every memory of their Day at the Beach. I am pretty sure that they weren't locals. It seemed to me that this was a rare and special day... an out of the ordinary adventure.

Their excitement reminded me that my daily experiences are truly extraordinary. I can see the ocean from my office! (I may have to be on my tip toes but I can see it; and people of normal height don't have to stretch at all.) My mornings and nights are filled with salty breezes and palm trees. People dream their whole lives of seeing the ocean one day and I was raise in it and around it. I took a second look at what was before me... The sand was literally sparkling like miniscule stars reminding me that magic is still around; that life is still exciting. The pelicans swooped and fish jumped. Waves rolled in and I was carried away with them as they returned with the same mysterious force that sent them to shore. My head may know that the wind, the moon, and earthquakes make waves, but today my heart saw only magic. I wanted to believe that the sand before me wasn't broken rocks or shells but that it was in fact stars dropped from the heavens to decorate my seashore. This was a day that wonder won. Tomorrow who knows?

Don't worry I snapped a shot myself.

26 October 2009

Daydream Believer

Today's daydream is brought to you by Theraflu and the sinus congestion that isn't allowing me to focus on the real business at hand.

Instead of taking care of the tasks on my mounting To Do List (T-20 days until official Moving Day and T-25 days until I am Costa Rica vacation bound!) I have been solving a potential future problem. I am sure many of you have found yourself wondering, "What to do? What to do with all of my extra money?" At some point in every one's life we find Scrooge McDuck-style piles of money and have no blueprint of how to spend it. I refuse to come to that point without a well-laid plan! So I have devoted many hours developing (read daydreaming) the following solutions to a very serious future issue.

If I were to run into an abandoned pile of thirty government issued Franklins, I would not panic and run to deposit them into the nearest bank. Oh no, my friend. I would not be left without a clear course of action. That money would serve a noble purpose. It would provide me with my dream computer. The Apple Store would be destination number one. Destination number two would be anywhere and everywhere. I would travel and write all about how much I love my computer. I would sleep with it and drive with it in the passenger seat all buckled in, safe and sound. I know some of you might think I'm a little (or a lot) crazy. Think what you may, but I will be the one prepared in case of sudden cash flow. Where will you be when the money comes? What will you do? Think fast!

I hear your question before you even ask, Dear Reader. I know your concerns. "Melissa, what will you do if more money comes? You could not possibly have a clear path laid out for an influx of thirty thousand dollars." Now this was a harder task. I admit that many of the options were tempting. After much thought and consideration the difficult decision has been made. If I find a bag of gold on my windshield tomorrow, I will be driving straight to the local Honda dealership. Once I have my fancy computer, I'm going to need to travel and find inspiration for my writing. I will need something practical that can take me from coast to coast and maybe even across a few borders. Now I know that this is not a standard issue Honda Element pictured. I will have to get my customized camper shell from someone else, but the Honda dealership is my first stop in the plan. After we're all decked out and ready to go, I will have to camp across the country, perhaps the continent. There is room for two... so if there are any volunteers please let me know. I like to be prepared, so notify me BEFORE I find my bags and piles of money that you are up for sharing in the adventure.

Now I would like to encourage each of you to set aside some time today to plan out what you will do when the money comes. Don't let yourself be caught off guard. Money lurks around every corner. Be prepared people!

05 October 2009

Goodbye My Dear Friend

I know that Diet Coke is bad for me.
I have known it for a long time.
But most of that time I have still loved it and chosen to drink it; and to drink it often. Last week I did a little detoxing experiment. I went the whole week without drinking a single Diet Coke (Friday I made a small exception to drink Diet Coke and Bacardi, but in my defense it was mostly Bacardi). This afternoon, at lunch, I decided to break my fast with a delicious ice cold Diet Coke. The first sip tasted weird... like it had when I was in high school and "hated anything diet." I kept drinking and it tasted a little better. After about a quarter of the can my head started to feel tight at the base of my skull... like the onset of a migraine! WHAT?!!? I was so excited to drink Diet Coke again and it turns out that I don't really like the taste and it causes my brain to swell. So D.C. and I are breaking up. I think I really mean it this time. It's over. Goodbye.

02 October 2009

Deep Thoughts with Meli La Gringa

I’ve learned a lot in the past week and thought I would share:

1.) Pandora's Paula Abdul station always results in a good work day.
I'm just saying that Pandora connects a lot of AWESOMENESS to Paula. Some examples that made me dance in my office chair: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper), Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar), Call Me (Blondie), Like a Prayer (Madonna), Every Little Step (Bobby Brown), Billie Jean (You Know Who… and if you don’t know who then I’m re-evaluating our friendship as of now), and Cold Hearted (by Ms. Abdul herself). I have a great job, but I need the tunes (or NPR’s Fresh Air podcasts) to keep me going throughout the day with a smile. I’m pretty sure that this one station choice has brought me more joy than any other and I have some other GREAT stations (Vampire Weekend, Motown, Jack Johnson, etc.) but my heart connects to the early 90s and a little late 80s. I can’t help it, it’s just who I am.

2.) Even smart people can do stupid things.
Wednesday morning I was getting ready to leave for work and couldn't find my keys anywhere. After a good eight minutes of hunting (purse, couch, bed, fridge, freezer, etc) I realized with dread that I may have lost my keys. I opened the door to see if I had dropped them outside… nope. As I turned around to go inside I saw my keys dangling from the deadbolt on the front door… where they had been ALL night long. The best part of this story is that I had been in and out of the house at least two times since unlocking the door.

… and the Luckiest Absent-Minded Moron Award goes to….
Drum roll please)


“I’d like to thank Diet Coke for killing the brain cells necessary to remember simple things like that when you lock the door at night and leave the key in the exterior lock you are not, in fact, locking anyone out of the house… I would also like to thank my kind neighbors for not using the key I left ready and available for them. I couldn’t have done any of this without all of your contributions. (Hand covering mouth, tears welling up) Thank you all.”

3.) Boys fart often; girls need to allow that venting. Women talk often; men need to allow that venting.
I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this today. I was talking to Esther about if women are neurotic… actually about if WE, in specific, are neurotic. I came up with "No, we’re not, we just think a lot"… about things we can’t change, but how we would change them if we could… about what he meant when he said that… and what she was thinking when she did that… and well okay so maybe we’re all a little neurotic, BUT verbalizing those thoughts is part of how we process life. Men fart. Women process life in another way. It’s okay. It’s just how it works.

4.) Yes, I know that I owe pictures and updates on other things like weddings, trips to NYC and Seattle, but right now this is what you get. You’re welcome.

23 July 2009

A Freakin' Minefield

"What you want frightens you to death, that is why you fail to comprehend yourself."
- Lost in Austen

This one sent me spinning when I heard it...

My irrational response to Jane Austen follows:
(...and yes I do talk to deceased authors in my head.)
Oh really Jane, you can cut this crap out right now! Quit getting into my head and KNOWING what I'm thinking. It's upsetting and rude. How dare you understand ME!?!

My more rational response:

It seems to resonate and yet I can't comprehend it fully. (Which of course, Jane said I wouldn't! Vile creature you are Jane. Vile.) But is it true? Do I know what I want? Am I frightened to death? Do I comprehend myself? Do I fail to comprehend myself?!?! Does ANYONE comprehend themselves?

I don't know.

To be honest, I started pondering this blog months ago. I had hoped I would be able to wrestle with the questions the quote provoked and compose an elegant response, or perhaps even two. Well plans change... and to be honest I failed. I am almost thirty years old and I might not know what I want. In the movie, in which I first heard this line, the heroine knows what she desires, she wants to marry Mr. Darcy, but she also knows that she can't have him, because he is destined for another, Miss Elizabeth Bennett. In the end, (plot spoiler alert!) she gets the man and lives happily ever after. Well real life isn't like that... or that's what I hear from people who seem to know things. In the "real" life that I live, the struggle that makes up the beginning of a Jane Austen plot is the majority of my life. The miscommunication and misjudgements seem to be what I experience, without any of the enlightening moments to clarify the misguided motivations of genuine love. Each of us imagines that we are the Elizabeth Bennett or the Emma of our life's plot, but what if I'm the Charlotte or Miss Bates. What if I am not the heroine of the love story?

"Reading Jane Austen is a freakin' minefield!"
- Jocelyn, The Jane Austen Book Club

to be continued...

25 May 2009

Thank You!

All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899

So this Memorial Day got me to thinking...

I want to say THANK YOU, to those who have served, do serve and will serve.

07 May 2009


I once confessed here on this very blog, to my reading public, that I was a procrastinating perfectionist addicted to M&Ms... well time for an update... or really a confession, I am still putting off plenty of tasks (because I want to wait until I can give them my "best" effort) and this morning I had Diet Coke and M&Ms for breakfast.

I can, and will, produce a list of genuine reasons (read: excuses) why I made my culinary decision today:
1) I just got back from vacation and haven't had a chance to stop by the grocery store to purchase delicious and healthy oatmeal.
2) I forgot to grab my yogurt from the fridge... and who wants to eat granola without yogurt?!
3) The M&Ms are from New York and I was using them as a reminder of my grand adventures this past weekend.
4) I'm allergic to everything BUT M&Ms and Diet Coke...

Okay so maybe this last one is a lie, but sometimes the only thing I want in life is some genuine colored sugar wrapped nicely around some dark chocolate goodness and a can of liquid fake sugar pumped up with massive amounts of caffeine... Is that so wrong?

I think not!

But I, like Amy Winehouse, have some issues. Sure my addictions include aspartame, caffeine, NPR, loud jewelry and fuchsia leggings and she is a fan of the more lightweight stuff like cocaine, bulimia and cutting.

Amy Winehouse has issues... and she also has a song called "Rehab" (YouTube video here)

"They tried to make me go to rehab. I said "No. No. No."

24 April 2009

Top One Reason That I Am An Idiot

Yesterday after bowling I was all excited to read my book and finish it or at least come close by the time I went to bed last night... I went to grab my book after changing into sweatpants... "Where did I leave my book?" Madly search the car. Nope. Madly search my room and purse. Nope. Search the car again. Nope. Call the bowling alley, because I had taken it out to show a coworker at the bowling extravaganza. Nope. Check my purse and room and car again. Nope. Decide I have officially lost my book club book...

Call Barnes and Noble to see if I can stop by and buy another copy. (I have reading to finish... I take this shiznit seriously!) Nope. Call Borders. Another nope.

Grump at myself for being so irresponsible and settle into the couch with a new book and alternately read a few pages of the replacement book and watch crap TV shows.

Fast forward to this morning... I walk into the bathroom and the FIRST THING I see is... drum roll please.... MY F****** CONTACT BOOK. Apparently I walked into the bathroom after bowling with book in hand, set it on top of a stack of towels and then proceeded to completely forget where I left it. Mind you I had been in and out of the bathroom at least three times since the infamous book-losing trip...

Lesson learned: NEVER drink, read, and bowl on the same day. It's just too much goodness for one human brain to process... something is bound to get lost in the shuffle... or in the water closet.

16 April 2009

America is a hypocrite?!??!

USA is hypocritical. See: Treatment of China vs. Treatment of Cuba. A very interesting blog... so true!

01 April 2009

Looking good today...

I helped a coworker out with a project today and received this as a Thank You. I love my life!

Speaking of coworkers... look out for tomorrow's blog.

30 March 2009


I fell in love via Twitter...

It's true. His name is Jack Gray. He works at CNN... and well he has just the right amount of sarcasm to really speak to this girl's heart.

Here is his blog about the Love Shack that he's buying for us.

Apparently he's loaded and moving to my coast. So I think everything is going to work out just fine! I'll be visiting him in NYC in a few short weeks. We plan on making out the entire time, so please don't bother us. Thanks!

24 March 2009

Charity: Water (on CNN)

Check out this video about an exhibit in Chelsea Market in NYC. I'll be visiting it in FIVE weeks!!!

OH I have an idea!!! What if we collected money for me to take to the fountain!??!?! OMG. That would be great. Let's collect change for clean water in Africa and around the world!!! Gather up your quarters people and I'll deliver them to the fountain.


So this weekend I was complaining because I only had three or four pairs of shoes to rotate through when looking to get dressed each morning for work...

Then I was googling recycling images to post in our break room and I ran into this. It hit me like a ton of bricks... HOLY CRAP! I am unsatisfied with having too few options for fancy work shoes?!?! This person has one pair of shoes and they were made with plastic bottles... the same bottles that I watch being thrown into trash cans day in and day out. My Starbucks venti water cup would make great shoes... for those with longer, slender feet a Smart Water bottle could work nicely.

So instead of shopping for new shoes this week, which was the plan, I decided to do something a little different. I bought a pair of Tom's Shoes (I get a pair and another is given to a child in need) and I gave money to Charity: Water, which is bringing clean water to people in developing countries.

Surprisingly, my Google search resulted in a much needed reminder that I live a blessed life. To whom much is given, much is required. So let this be your reminder that if you are reading this on a computer (powered by electricity)... and if you've eaten in the last 24 hours... and if you own a pair of shoes that wasn't made from old plastic bottles, well then YOU, my friend, are rich! Praise the Lord for what you have and do something with your resources today that will bless someone else.

04 March 2009

Sing It Out Loud

This makes me sing along, tap my foot, and sway a little on my swivel chair at work.

03 March 2009

Why My Job is Better Than Your Job...

This is what we discuss at Staff Meetings

AND I received a High Five Award today for my "relentless efforts in driving our recycling program." This was after I was out sick for most of last week...

oh yeah AND I got a raise!!!

01 March 2009


My sister got married on Valentine's Day. It was a lovely wedding and her and her husband are happy to be settling into married life. (So far they tell me it's a lot like life was before.) The weekend was certainly full! I ended up coming home pretty exhausted. Here are some pics.
(Thanks to Petra who took them.)

27 February 2009

20 February 2009

Going to the Chapel?!?!

"Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet."
Mae West (1892 - 1980)

An interesting conversation today with a friend led me to finish a blog that I started months ago. She was discussing her marriage and the difficulties she faces in her current situation. Her husband, the father of her two children, doesn't support her, or the children, financially nor, most sadly, emotionally. She works long and hard hours at a very physical job. Her daughter is being tested for autism and in the course of the testing was asked if her parents hit her. She responded with, "Yes, my mother does." It was a lie, and thankfully the doctor knew it was. Later, my friend found out that her husband had directed her daughter to say it. I'm sorry... WHAT?!??! How does one stay with a man who supports none of your needs and encourages your children to lie about you...

The craziest part of this whole story (and the reason I'm writing this) is that this dear woman wants to set me up with a husband so that I will be happy. She doesn't think anyone can be happy and single. In her opinion, and in the opinions of many others, singleness and happiness are mutually exclusive. Why would a woman who is devastated in her unhappy/unhealthy/disastrous marriage think that I "needed" to find someone. Why do we think that being paired up is necessary to survival?

Now this is not a rant... It is more of an observation. In my travels I have been places where singleness is a handicap. In rural India, I was a 25 year old single woman traveling in a group of single women. Everyone I met was nervous for my future... they were worried that if I did not get married soon, that I would be destined for a life of poverty. In South Korea, I was getting near the "past due" date of a single woman and was asked by quite a few older people if I wanted help in finding a husband. They were worried because I didn't have a "wife job"... I wasn't a teacher/nurse/secretary (funny thing is, I do now have a "wife job"). Around every street corner was another wedding chapel screaming at the Korean youth that they needed to get around to getting married.

Please don't misunderstand, I think marriage is fantastic. I do desire to be married one day, BUT I don't think that it will make me happy. I am happy. I love my life. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my free hours to do with whatever I want. I like being a little selfish and not having to answer to anyone about what I do with my time, money, or energy.

The majority of my friends are married, and happily so, but the thing I love about them is that they were happy in singlehood just as much as in couplehood. I may tease and joke about needing to find a man, but really I am so thankful to live in a time and a culture where singleness is an option. To be able to provide for myself financially is something that the majority of women over the span of history have not had the opportunity to do. I am allowed to work. I am allowed to read any book that I want to. I am allowed to drive. I was allowed to go to school. I am so thankful that being a single woman is no longer a handicap. Being single allows me to babysit your children without a second thought, it allows me to be available for spontaneous adventures, and it allows me to spend a little more liberally on my nieces and nephews. I like being single and I will like being married... why? Because I like being me.

"I pay very little regard...to what any young person says on the subject of marriage. If they profess a disinclination for it, I only set it down that they have not yet seen the right person."
Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), Mansfield Park

18 February 2009

Melissa Remembers Korea Day

I have officially declared today, Wednesday February 18, 2009, to be Melissa Remembers Korea Day.

In honor of this auspicious occasion, I had a Bowl of Noodles for lunch.

Sometimes a girl has to get creative at work. A stapler is no longer just for attaching notes to one's forehead anymore...

Sadly I forgot my chopsticks and had to eat my noodles with a fork... oh well, I guess not every Melissa Remembers Korea Day can go off without a hitch. ;-)

AND the best part of Melissa Remembers Korea Day is...

Instant Hazelnut Coffee Packets... It's a well known fact that instant coffee (and sugar) stored in tubes is much more delicious than any other kind. Once you cut the top off and pour the contents in, you can stir the instant goodness with the tube. It's pretty awesome!

And now, to continue the celebration, I will be eating dried seaweed as a mid afternoon snack... Today is the best Melissa Remembers Korea Day ever!

3 Things

Three Names I go by
1. Meli
2. Missy
3. Plus

Three Jobs I have had in my life
1. Secretary
2. Barista
3. Nanny

Three Places I have lived
1. Encinitas, CA
2. Asan-Si, South Korea
3. Oceanside, CA

Three TV Shows that I watch
1. Dexter
2. The Wire
3. Amazing Race

Three places I have been
1. Bangalore, India
2. Jeju-Do, South Korea
3. Florence, Italy

Three People who email me regularly
1. Jayma
2. Erika
3. President Obama (not kidding)

Three favorite foods
1. asparagus, roasted red potatoes & grilled salmon
2. Naked Cafe's blackberry-banana pancakes
3. spinach/onion/bell pepper/feta egg white scrambler

Things I am looking forward to
1. New York with Aimee in May!
2. Dexter with "the fam" tonight
3. Book Club: Pi(E) = Awesome!

14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Today Rosie & Adam are getting married. Congrats to the Malicay family!!!

I love love!