Category Archives: Life

I hate my name.

For as long as I can remember, I have disliked my given name, “Loni.” The combination of sounds (an “ah” followed by an “ee”) has always sounded surly and masculine to me. Partly because I dislike it and partly because I have negative associations with my mother using it, I inwardly cringe when someone uses it to get my attention or in conversation. This is actually counter to one of the most widely accepted techniques for influencing someone. From 10 Psychology Tricks You Can Use to Influence People:

Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, believed that using someone’s name was incredibly important. He said that a person’s name is the sweetest sound in any language for that person. A name is the core part of our identity, and so hearing it validates our existence, which makes us much more inclined to feel positively about the person who validated us.

I would contend that this isn’t the case for people who have grown up disliking the sound of their own name. I usually ask close friends not to use my name unless it absolutely can’t be avoided.

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Colin and Chad with Mater

Hawaii / Disneyland 2012

Kilauea Volcano

Next to leisurely tours of wine-country, cruising is probably my second favorite form of vacationing. On the days at sea, everything is planned out for you: activities, food, and sleep (primarily defined by those periods when neither food nor activities are available). And with a toddler, the benefits of reliable, on-board childcare during dinnertime can’t be beat.

This year, Chad talked me into a 15-day cruise from San Diego to Hawaii, our longest voyage so far. We spent four days at sea followed by five days visiting Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Kona, and Kauai. Another five days at sea with a brief stop in Ensenada, Mexico (no doubt required to offer Duty Free shopping) saw us returning to San Diego. Even though we only spent a total of five days in Hawaii, I think it was a great way to spend a first visit. We got to experience several different islands and will have a better idea of where we’d like to concentrate our time the next time we visit.

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Loni and Jennifer

Meeting Jennifer, my penpal of 16 years

X-Men 33
Cover of X-Men 33

Back in August of 1994, I can remember standing in front of a carousel of comic books in our neighborhood grocery store, debating whether or not to purchase X-Men 33. I had long since lost my heart to Rogue of the X-Men due to the awesomeness of the 1990s X-Men the Animated Series, even going so far as to pause our VCR at certain frames so I could sketch them. Nonetheless, I was daunted by the prospect of purchasing my first comic because I knew my collector’s spirit would be committing to a lifelong monetary investment (which likely made XTAS one of Marvel’s more lucrative investments). I actually left the store that day empty-handed but for the next seven days was haunted by the idea that all copies of the issue would be bought. As you might have guessed, I did return to purchase the issue, breathing a huge sigh of relief to find several copies still available.

If you’re one of the young women lucky enough to be a teenager in today’s world where “geek” doesn’t necessarily equate to “social pariah,” you might be surprised by the fact that my love of comic books didn’t exactly make me Ms. Popularity. Eager to find another girl I could “geek out” with and not feel like an aberration of nature, I decided to write to Jennifer, the author of one of the letters published at the end of X-Men 33. (This was before the Internet exposed the dangers of information sharing, and comic book companies still published the full addresses of their fans; I imagine that this resulted in many young women receiving unsolicited letters from incarcerated persons which is why this is no longer standard practice.)

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