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!

12 February 2009

Six Words Describing Me, Marvelous Melissa

I recently read an article on NPR's website that inspired a little writing exercise.

My life summarized in six little words:

"Big family. Big heart. Big mouth."

"Exotic adventurer pausing in sunny suburbia."

"Thirty, flirty and thriving... sort of."

"Good book + hot tea = happy me."

"Passionate lady seeking modern Mr. Knightly."

"Passionate fickle lady seeking Mr. Darcy."

"Hottie seeking roll in the hay."

I think that this one is the current winner: "Delicious Pam hoping for Tender Jim."

Please feel free to comment with any suggestions or one of your own. It's a fun little exercise!

11 February 2009

10 February 2009

Life of Pi & National Pi Day Unite!

So I have officially started a book club. The original plan was for it to be a Jane Austen Book Club... but the opportunity to celebrate National Pi Day by discussing the book Life of Pi AND eating PI(e) was just too much to pass up. So if any of my dear readers are interested in joining the group, please feel free to contact me. All book lovers are welcome.

09 February 2009

The Office

I have been loving watching The Office instantly on Netflix. Season Two is my favorite. I loved the British version too. I cried at the end... I am totally the Pam at my office... but I haven't found my Jim yet. Perhaps we'll hire someone new soon who likes to put other people's staplers in Jello. I can only hope.

07 February 2009

Jane Austen Quote of the Day

Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.

- Jane Austen, Emma

06 February 2009

Why My Mommy is Awesome!

My mom leading our Adult Brownie Field trip to the casino!!!

A poem in honor of my mother on this the anniversary of her birth:


M - My Musical Momma
My parents are much hipper than I am when it comes to music. My mother owns all of the Grammy Nominees CDs. She loves concerts and is practically a groupie. She always tries to pull the "old lady" card to get better seats. Her and my dad plan their vacations around concerts... how cute is that?

A - Abundant in Fun
My mom is FUN! She loves games, parades, marching bands, Christmas morning, Hannah Montana and Disneyland... in fact, TODAY, on her birthday, she is gallivanting at Disneyland. I think my parents went there on their honeymoon as well. My mom is fun! Just try and hang out with her and not have a good time... it's not possible.

U - Understanding and Kind
Mom is the queen of empathizers. She is always there with a listening ear. I am amazed when I watch her as a friend, sister, daughter and sister-in-law. Many of her friends have been in her life forever... and a few of them, I'm not sure why she keeps around, but she does... and she loves them. She is a better woman than I!

R - Roadtrippin' Adventurer
I don't know too many other Moms who are willing to drive twelve hours straight and sleep in a car on the side of the road. My mom is game for anything at just about anytime. She is probably the most adventurous of us all... we don't give her enough credit for all of the times she jumps up and says "Let's go!" She is not only super fun, but she is pretty hardcore. Her and my aunts stayed up all night in line for the Price is Right. Troopers. I come from a long line of troopers.

E - Every one's Favorite
I can't even count all of the times I've heard a variation of this sentence: "I love your mom!" She is the favorite child, in-law, aunt, mom, friend, etc. of many people. I may be biased, but I think she's the best!

E - Engaged in the World
As a kid, I watched my mom try and influence my neighborhood and community with her in the Parks and Recreation Committee, PTA, city council, and brownie troop meetings. She taught us to be involved and engaged if we want to see things happen, we have to work for the change, not wait for it.

N - Napping Queen
While she may be trooper who can stay up all hours of the night and then trek around Disneyland the next day... she eventually hits her wall and could easily sleep for days. I have to admit that this is one of the many gifts she has passed along to me. Yeah for Momma, my napping queen!

05 February 2009

Happy 92nd Birthday, Constitution of Mexico!

The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1917 is the present constitution of Mexico. It was drafted in Santiago de Querétaro by a Constitutional Convention during the Mexican Revolution. It was approved by the Constitutional Congress on February 5, 1917, with Venustiano Carranza serving as the first president under its terms.

I know what you, dear reader, are thinking "Melissa!!! Why are you filling your blog with BORING historical facts!?!?!?"

I'm so glad you asked... BECAUSE this constitution was ground-breaking and it is interesting. Just read a few of the things that changed for Mexico...

- Education became available and free for all!

- ALL of the resources (land, soil & water) in Mexico now officially belonged to the people of Mexico.

- And my favorite:
"Article 123 protects the workers. It states that the working day may not exceed eight hours, instead of the twelve or fifteen hours in force beforehand, and that there must be an obligatory day of rest every week. It prohibits women and children from engaging in activities that are not suitable for their gender or age. It also recognizes that workers have the right to form trade unions (associations to protect their interests), and to strike (stop working to pressure their employers when labor conflicts arise)."

I know that many of my friends have lovingly labeled me the Little Socialist... but this kind of stuff truly excites me. I am aware that things aren't perfect in Mexico... most of the time it's not even close to perfect. BUT I think that the most progressive constitution of its time deserves a shoutout on it's birthday. Don't you?

Check out Wikipedia's entry on the Constitution of Mexico.

This one is for kids BUT is the clearest.

04 February 2009

My current obsession...

... is a show about a red-headed serial killer!!!

03 February 2009

I Recommend

I watched The Visitor this week. (I love Netflix! It delivers whatever I ask for right to my front door.) I tend to get excited about movies... but I really loved this film. I will probably own it. I don't buy a lot of movies, so this is a big deal and means I would be willing to watch it over and over again.

The simple intro to Thomas McCarthy's film is: A widowed college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple, who turn out to be illegal immigrants, living in his apartment.

My summary is: A sad and empty widowed college professor finds joy and life in his new relationships with his illegal roommates.

The movie is thoughtful and sweet. Richard Jenkins hits every note just right as he finds his emotions again... and learns to live and breathe. Haaz Sleiman is exuberant as Tarek, the young drummer. Danai Jekesai Gurira is breathtakingly beautiful as his girlfriend and manages to appear wise and controlled even in times of devastation. I adored Hiam Abbass who plays Tarek's mother. Some of you will recognize her from Munich. This film is so simple and character driven that it is reminiscent of a play. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching it and was even more thankful for the pondering that it inspired in me.

Basically the moral of my story is; I loved it and I think you should see it!

02 February 2009

25 facts about me

I was tagged on Facebook to write 25 things about me... So I am sharing them here as well. (Truth be told, I don't think anyone reads this who isn't Jayma or June or Erika and they could all read it on Facebook... but just in case.)

okay here goes.....

1. I still harbor a desire from childhood to marry Kermit the Frog... He's probably the reason I'm still single. I compare everyone to him... and it's hard to find a green man these days.

2. Because of #1 I still harbor some animosity for Miss Piggy... that Jezebel!

3. I am not by nature a morning person, but I long to be someone who starts her day with the sun... just can't seem to get out from underneath the warm blankets.

4. I'm one of only two people under the age of 80 who've had pleurisy... and one of one I know of who had it under the age of 15.

5. My torso is much longer in proportion to my legs... in fact when sitting, I can almost fool you into thinking that I'm normal height.

6. My favorite TV shows at the moment are Dexter (about a serial killer) and Sesame Street (well I HOPE you know what it's about)... I'm a complicated woman.

7. I detest mayonnaise... like it really freaks me out.

8. BUT I'm willing to eat just about anything. I'm thinking I should start a female version of Bizarre Foods on the travel channel. All those crazy eating shows are about men eating brains... I could eat brains and make millions. I would even eat mayo and brains if it was necessary.

9. Speaking of eating weird things, I ate dog soup while I was living in South Korea. I liked it... didn't LOVE it. (Don't send me hate mail... I eat cows all the time and I think they are some of the most beautiful animals around.)

10. I once saw someone heating sausages in the back window of their car in the Nordstrom's parking lot while they shopped... please feel free to see my Mobile Uploads album for proof. (Although if we're honest, I probably would have eaten those too.)

11. I am the oldest of five daughters and we were all in high school at the same time. (You do the math.)

12. Two of, the afore mentioned, sisters are getting married this year!

13. I am addicted to NPR/PBS. My favorite part of the week is listening to my podcast of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. I love it!!! Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.

14. My favorite part of the day is driving away from work and seeing the ocean smiling at me as the sun sets. I am not a swimmer, a surfer, or really a beach-goer, but I LOVE living by the beach. Whenever I get home from being away, I adore the smell of the ocean and the feeling of saltwater on my skin and in my lungs.

15. I love babies! I come by the addiction naturally, my father is a fellow addict and my mother isn't too far behind us. My paternal grandmother was probably the worst addict of us all. I love the way they smell. I love the way they laugh and cry. I love watching as their little personalities develop. Babies are freaking awesome!

16. My dream job would be to be a travel journalist/writer. Although the more I think about it, I think I'd be a great TV personality... think Anthony Bourdainne only adorable and perky and funny... but not too much of any of those things. Maybe I could be his sidekick... I'm looking into this.

17. I am 5' 2" with eyes of blue... there is a song about me.

18. Oh wait!!! There IS actually a song about me. My dear Paige wrote me a song... I love my song. THANKS PAIGE!!!

19. I'm getting really good at being a bridesmaid... 27 Dresses was about me. I'm looking into suing for part of the royalties. ;-) I love weddings and I especially love celebrating the marriages of the people that I care about.

20. My wedding will probably not be too crazy. After all of my wedding experiences... and as I get older (ALMOST 30!) I start to think that the beach in Mexico sounds like a great wedding spot... with tacos and margaritas after. I may not even wear white.

21. I love to read and have been known to turn off my phone hide on the couch and read for days at a time... I can do the same thing with TV, but I like it more when it's with a book. I LOVE books that get me so excited I have to stay up until four AM to finish reading. So awesome... I love books!

22. My full name is Melissa Gail Gaare. I was named after a plant, Melissa Olympiadus and sort of after Crystal Gayle... I think my parents were kidding about the middle name, but who knows.

23. I love to travel and learn new things. I'm always ready for the next adventure... and I'm always daydreaming about the next BIG adventure.

24. I love people. I probably love you if you're reading this. I think it's never a mistake to have known and loved someone. I learn the most when I choose to go forward, even if I eventually have to say goodbye.

25. I had no idea how long this would take and may end up being late to my breakfast date.... if only I really WERE a morning person all of this could be avoided.