Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

You know how people always talk about living life without regrets?

I find that a somewhat impossible task. Here are things I may always regret:

  • Not going to nationals for Academic Decathlon in 2002. We were so close – if only I had done a little better…
  • Thinking freshman year would be easy and I could just take it easy like in high school. Those grades are stuck. They’re on my transcript despite redoing several of them.
  • Selling my first car.
  • Missing out on the great duplex deal we almost got with Ben & Krista. I’m still irritated that the lady’s husband gave away the contract, within an hour of the lady telling us we’d almost definitely get it…communication is important! Again, we were so close!!
  • Losing (somewhere) my favorite shirt and favorite skirt. I bought them both right before the Romgi and I got married, and they both disappeared by our first anniversary. Even after we moved to this apartment I kept hoping they’d turn up somewhere.
  • Unintentionally murdering the lizards.
  • Deciding not to go to Korea to teach English. It’s probably for the best, because if we had gone, I’d be flying back to the US at 7 or 8 months pregnant, which may not even be kosher…but I feel like that was my chance to do something awesomely adventurous, and I turned it down. Also the money was really tempting.
  • Losing the fish platter!
  • Eating all of the Slim Jims…I need some more…

What are your regrets?

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Fee. Lings.

When the Romgi and I got back from California last Christmas, we found our two lizards both dead because of a thermostat malfunction. It heated the apartment continuously for about 48 hours. The Romgi was devastated and asked me if I could take care cleaning up and getting rid of the bodies. I felt remarkably detached – a little bit sad that we had no pets, but overall alright.

Over the next few months I became moderately depressed, and after a lot of thought I realized that it started because of the lizards dying. The Romgi thoughtfully got me a new pet rat for Valentine’s Day (and even a friend for the rat), which helped me feel like life was meaningful again. Silly of me, isn’t it, to be so swayed by small animals (both reptilian and rodent)? Anyway, I was able to deal with the lizards’ death and move on.

Since I’ve been pregnant, though, I keep agonizing over the lizards. Some nights I can’t sleep because I feel so guilty. I knew the thermostat was faulty before we left on vacation – why didn’t I ever have the landlord replace it? I thought maybe the Romgi’s instructions about heating the apartment were not clear enough – why didn’t I have him call Ben back and clarify? I was completely aware that the thermostat had been turned on a couple days before we got home – why didn’t I ask Ben if it had been turned off?

I feel like there were so many ways to prevent our pets from being slowly baked to death, and it was my carelessness that caused the tragedy. I desperately miss Mu. I blame myself for his suffering, which must have been intense.

Whether it’s related or not, I’ve also been having nightmares that are increasingly bloody, violent, and gruesome. My best psychoanalysis of the situation is that I’m worried about not being a good mother for my baby when I couldn’t take care of Mu, and my dreams reflect the growing anxiety about something terrible happening to the Romgi, me, or the baby.

But most of all, I really wish Mu were still around…I’m sorry, Mu…


Longest Week Ever

Is it just me, or does this week seem to just keep on going? Yesterday, I could have sworn that it was Friday. When I finally realized that it was not Friday, but it was Tuesday, it just about broke me. And today? My shift just started 1 minute ago, and I’m already ready to go home.


The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

As I mentioned before, I’ve added so many books to my list of books to someday read that I can’t remember where I heard about them or really even what I thought they might be about. It must have been the title of The Book Thief, though, because once my copy was available at the library, I disappointedly saw that it was something about Nazi Germany. Immediately I assumed it would be mainly about grownups either following Hitler or being subversive and it would be a lot of non-fiction learning tossed in with the story (which would also be boring).

Isn’t it nice to be wrong? Now I’m not sure why I ever assumed those things, or even figured a book about Nazi Germany could be uninteresting. The Book Thief is about a little girl named Liesel who is sent to live with foster parents when she’s nine. The story is narrated by Death.

I guess I usually stay away from darker subjects, or ones that I know will be somewhat depressing. But this book was amazing – despite the heartache involved, it was great to really get to know one family and what each of them went through and thought about living in a time and place where they were expected to follow the Nazi Party.

The writing is beautiful, although very different from anything I’ve read before. I had a nice long cry for the last few chapters, and when I had finished the book, I decided it will go on my list of favorites. Absolutely.

So I’m going to recommend it to anyone, everyone.


Another Tragedy

Here are some cool things that happened:

– I met a cool guy.
– We got married. (Please insert a big time lapse between those two.)
– People thought we were both cool, so they gave us cool presents.
– My husband’s aunt Louise gave us an incredibly amazing pewter fish platter (see below).
– We moved across town. (Another time lapse between those two.)

The fish platter:

You see how completely awesome that is, right? And that it’s a great gift and something you would always want to keep? Yeah, me too.

Some less cool things that happened:

– I managed to leave an entire cupboard full of mixing bowls, bakingware, and the fish platter at the old apartment.
– It took us almost 4 months to finally get ahold of the new tenants.
– By which time they had donated the fish platter.
– I found out that the beautiful platter is excessively out of our price range and we cannot, at the moment, afford a replacement.

Today I will attempt (although with little hope) to do a cool thing by finding our old fish platter at the Provo DI.

To give you some perspective of the level of tragedy here, I feel about as guilty for losing the platter as I do for indirectly murdering our lizards (see December. That still haunts me, by the way).


The Grand Tour

by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

I once had a dream of co-authoring a book, taking turns moving the plot forward. It never really worked out, but Wrede and Stevermer actually managed to write two such books. They were clever about it: each author was a main character, and in the first book, they wrote letters to each other (therefore each character had a distinct voice); in this, each kept a journal of sorts. It’s been quite a while since I read Sorcery & Cecelia, but I remember it being enjoyable — one of many enjoyable books in a short time period — and I was excited to try The Grand Tour on for size.

The story really captured my attention. Unfortunately, the characters did not, and I think that ought to have been the book’s strong point. I will say, however, that I appreciate the authors’ avoidance of overly girly-girls. Both main characters are strong-willed, determined, and convincingly feminine enough to still be likable. There was just the one small problem in that I didn’t really care whether I liked them or not. They were kind of just there so I could hear the story.

If you read, and liked, Sorcery & Cecelia, do try The Grand Tour. Just remember that it is a sequel (of sorts), and may not meet the expectations you have of Wrede and Stevermer.


Fly by Night

by Frances Hardinge

As I sat down to write this post, I thought, “You know, the title really doesn’t make any sense. It has nothing to do with the book at all.” Oh my, I am losing it. I somehow failed to make the connection between the main character’s name, Mosca (in honor of the day she was born on – sacred to Goodman Palpitattle, He Who Keeps Flies out of Jams and Butter Churns), and the double meaning of the word fly. Sheesh.

The plot was extremely unique. In whatever world this takes place in (one thing I can hardly ever be bothered to pay attention to), there was originally a monarchy; several deaths lead to an argument over succession; a parliament was established, but the real force behind the realm – and the glue that held it together – was the guilds. Each has its own responsibilities and jurisdictions. Eventually it is decided that a parliamentary committee will decide on the best monarch to rule; meanwhile, the residents of the realm are free to support their favored monarch, as well as the Beloved (basically a Saint) that suits them best. There is a Beloved for each day and each night of the year, so babies are named for the Beloved on whose day or night they are born.

Mosca is a young girl who was taught to read by her father before he passed away in a remote village, where he moved when he was exiled (although we don’t learn why until later) many years before. She escapes the village and moves on to bigger, better, and more troublesome things.

The big question: did I see the plot twists coming? Heavens no, but I was really trying this time. I picked up on what clues I could, yet was completely blindsided by the sudden turn of events. The author did a great job balancing foreshadowing and real surprises. It was a quick, easy read, and as I said, the plot was fantastic. I actually grabbed the book at the library because it was thick and had a cool cover…luckily I was not disappointed this time.

Hooray for good children’s books!