summer 2017.

As the second half of August descends upon us, I can only sit here in a bit of disbelief. Seems like it was JUST June, and Aidan had just arrived, and we were ready for a fun, busy summer. The problem with fun, busy summers is that they speed by.

We kicked off the season with a trip to the Once Upon a Time Convention here in Chicago. Aidan is not into the show, so he hung out in the hotel room and played video games. I attended a billion panels and Q&As, autograph sessions, concerts, and photo ops, and even got to chat with some of the actors in the bar. Michael Coleman is a sweetheart to the max. In fact, most of the actors were amazingly gracious and open and friendly. A few of them seemed exhausted. I sprung for the GOLD package, which wasn’t cheap, but was worth it. I got 9 autographs, had an assigned seat in the auditorium, got free admission to the concert and karaoke, and got to attend special panels. I also sprung for a few photo ops. Those were cool, but I managed to look stupid in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. *sigh* Anyway. Very amazing experience but also EXHAUSTING. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again, but we’ll see. I’m glad I did it.

Once Upon a Time Photos

At the end of June, the ALA conference came to Chicago. Rena and I hit up the exhibition hall and got to meet/see a lot of great authors, load up on free ARCs, and network. It was tiring but worth it! And right after ALA finished, Aidan and I went to see Aladdin, which SUCH A GOOD SHOW!! We went to Stage Door and got to take pictures with most of the main actors.

Here are some of the ALA pictures:

ALA Annual 2017

July, Aidan and I headed off to the beautiful and peaceful mountains in Salt Lake City, UT. A writing retreat for me, and just relaxing for Aidan. We were there with Rena, Traci, Nia, and Anna and it was a really great week. I hammered out a lot of my revisions, got to be in a nature, and got to zip line!! It was a great trip, I did not want to come back to the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

Utah 2017

The next day, Aidan’s best friend Benito came to town to spend the week with him, and that was great. Benito’s pretty cool, and we did things like go to Navy Pier, go on a Shoreline architecture tour, and eat dinner at Sakura. Then Rena and I trekked out to Naperville to write and to attend the Angie Thomas/Becky Abertalli event!

Summer 2017 Collage

We had a week of regular life. I turned in my revisions to my agent on July 30, and spent the rest of the day packing for Disney World! We stayed in the Polynesian, my HOLY GRAIL resort, and had a wonderful time!

MK_MSBRCART_20170731_404057053973

One last week of summer, and then Aidan headed back to Ohio on August 12. He started high school on the 14th and seems to be doing well so far. I spent Sunday at the Four Seasons getting pampered, then spent the rest of the day shopping on Michigan Ave. It was a perfect Ronni Day.

In the midst of all this was working, dealing with a sick Fi, raising a rambunctious Charlotte, writing, and freelance. Trying and failing not to overdo things—I’m still technically recovering from surgery and I did feel the sting somedays. I really need to chill out.

Now, I am gearing up for a very busy fall. Travel, freelance, work, writing. September is going to be amazing, October is going to be busy, and then it’ll be time to plan for the holidays. 2017 is flying by and it’s bittersweet. But life’s good, and I’m so excited about what’s to come!

More soon….

currently.

[ Current Clothes ] “Mickey Mouse” tee-shirt, galaxy leggings
[ Current Mood ] a bit overwhelmed & worried
[ Current Music ] Spotify radio based on my “currently obsessed” playlist
[ Current Taste ] candy
[ Current Make-up ] none
[ Current Hair ] messy
[ Current Annoyance ] nothing
[ Current Smell ] random house smells, candy
[ Current thing I Ought To be Doing] REVISING 😬
[ Current Desktop Picture ] pretty, shiny, and pink
[ Current Favorite Band ] Ruelle, Halsey
[ Current Book You’re Reading ] a bunch of different ones at the same time
[ Current DVD In Player ] Moana
[ Current Color Of Toenails ] light blue
[ Current Refreshment ] water
[ Current Worry ] getting everything squared away before I leave for Disney World on Monday

that time we randomly got a new kitty.

It started off as a normal Wednesday. I was tired and cranky because of having to wake up early. I had meetings at work, and work was busy busy busy. And freelance work came in. I was so glad when the workday was over. Adam suggested we hit the Noodles & Co. for dinner. That came from the fact that we needed to get the kitties a new bed—their oldest one was falling apart and really gross. So we picked the Noodles & Co. by Petco.

Dinner was yummy—I went for the spaghetti & meatballs instead of the mac & cheese + crusted parmesan chicken I usually go for. We had our food, and then headed to Petco, where I picked up a new bag of food, and then we headed (in the wrong direction) to find the dog beds. (Cat beds are just too small for our fine fellas.)

We ended up passing a set of four cages that housed three kittens. Adam and I fell hard for one named Tweetie and Tweetie seemed to like us too. He was two months old, seemed calm, and seemed taken with us.

But there were a few concerns:
1. We had just lost Helena, and honestly, going through a pet loss SUCKS and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it again
2. Did we *need* another kitten, with Fi being so sick and fragile?
3. We were no longer outnumbered by cats; the household was fairly stable despite Fi’s health issues (which we are working on managing with diet and probiotics, puppy pads, and lots of cleaning and patience)
4. Tweetie is FIV+
5. Kittens and elders? Would that work? (Crookshanks just turned 16. Fi will be 18 in a few months)
6. The adoption center was closed

So we decided to talk about it. Go home and sleep on it. (But by this point, Adam had already named him so…). Thursday morning, as I logged in to work, he said, “We don’t need another cat,” and I said, “I know.” And he said, “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get another cat.”

I could barely concentrate on work as we waited for lunchtime to arrive. And once it did, we hopped in the car and drove back to Petco. Adam had the carrier out and everything. He was ready to bring home that little guy.

When we got to Petco, they directed us across the street to PAWS, as they were the ones officially handling adoptions.

We’d adopted through PAWS before (that’s where we got Helena in 2008), so we kind of knew the drill with them. PAWS is a no-kill shelter, and the cats are not in cages—they are together in rooms that are filled with toys, things for them to climb on, and friends.

We filled out the application, and then got led to the back…where they informed us that they did not allow people who already had cats to bring home one that is FIV+. The worker had to have seen the disappointment on our faces. It was really sad because we’d already gotten attached to the little guy. But then she said that eight new kittens had arrived that morning, two months old, would we like to take a look?

So we went into the little kitten room to see what would happen.

Some of the kittens were terrified and growling and hissing. One was in a basket with a blanket covering her, and she sang a constant chorus of distress. Some of them would not stop fighting, and a few just lay low, but recoiled if I reached my hand out.

But then, as I was watching and waiting and chatting, a tiny grey tabby kitten played beside me and kept bumping my leg while she was playing. Then she sniffed my fingers and went back to playing. Suddenly, she was climbing into my lap. She hissed at any other kitty who tried to get near me. And then she fell asleep as I stroked her little back.

Adam was becoming partial to a little black and white kitty named Kit, but this little grey one, whom they called Zig Zag, didn’t even have a collar, stole my heart as she napped on me. Adam asked if he could hold her, and so I passed her over. She settled right on him and dozed again.

But now even more roadblocks were coming up. There was talk about us needing to have Aidan with us before we could take her home. There was talk about us needing to have a copy of our lease. But we explained that Aidan is away at school, and that we already have cats. So those were easily taken care of.

They asked if we’d like to move forward with her, and with a tiny nod from Adam, I said YES.

And Adam immediately started thinking of names for her. He was considering Halsey, which would have been cool but didn’t seem to really fit her.

When we left the room for our adoption counseling, she looked around like “but but but where are you going?” And once the counseling was over, we went out to pay. She cost $125, came with all her up-to-date shots, is fixed, and is in great health. They also gave us a bag of Merrick kitten food which she loves.

When I went to pick her up, she was in another person’s lap, which says to me she is affectionate and cuddly. And she IS. On the way home, I sat by her in the back seat, and she showed us she is also very talkative! And when we got her home, she was not having any “safe room” nonsense. She was all over, establishing her place here. She tired out quickly. She’d had a big day! From foster, to shelter, to forever home in the span of hours!

She slept a lot her first afternoon here, curled up in my arms for the most part. If I needed to go to the bathroom or something, she was right behind me. She hissed and growled at the other cats (and she still does). Fi takes it in stride. He’s always been chill like this, and couldn’t care less as long as he still gets his share of the loving and food. Crookshanks is a more sensitive soul, and his feelings were hurt. He gives her space when she needs it, but he really wants to be her friend!

By the evening, I’d picked out a name for her. Because with all the cats I’d had, I’d never gotten a chance to name one. I ended up picking Charlotte, which suits her more than I even anticipated. And she answered to it right away.

This sweet girl was the most random impulse I’ve ever given in to, but she’s already enriched our lives in a million ways. She’s brave and curious and astonishingly smart. Her little mew is the cutest thing I’ve heard in ages. Her purr is powerful and strong, and she is so very affectionate. We are very excited and happy and grateful to have Charlotte as part of our family.

the trouble with being a night owl.

I’m a night owl. I’ve talked about this a billion times on this blog.

I love being a night owl. I love the middle of the night. It’s quiet. I feel no pressure to be on. I feel more creative and comfortable. Safe, maybe. I do my best writing in the middle of the night.

However.

I’ve begun working my day job again, in addition to another Berlitz contract, AND another short job coming later this week.

I’m also starting to move from brainstorming books to actually attempting to write them.

It’s tough reconciling this.

The freelance work is a little easier. They give me the work, a deadline, and leave me to it. I can do it when I feel like it, when I feel most alert, and when I can bust it out (as long as I focus!).

The day job? That’s a bit harder to manage. There are expectations of me being available from 9–5 (with an hour break for lunch), which means I need to be awake and alert. I also need to be awake because I’m copy editing things that get reviewed by lawyers and represent a huge company. Mistakes would be awful. It’s been unusually busy the last few weeks, so my brain is fried at the end of the day. I work from home, but that presents its own set of challenges. I have a sick kitty who wants attention all the time.1 I have to clean up after him every day. Sometimes I just hate being on high alert when I want to be napping.2 And I’m still technically recovering from surgery, so by the end of the day Wednesdays I am tapped out completely. My surgery site feels prickly, my back aches, and I’m exhausted mentally and physically. Friday, I signed off work at 5pm, ate dinner, read a bit, fell asleep at 630pm and woke up at 330am. Stayed up for 90 minutes before crashing again at 5am, and woke up for the day at 1030am. I broke my 27 day Duolingo streak (I’m learning Spanish! 32% fluent!) and didn’t even have the energy to mind too much. I was just that tired.

But sometimes, even when I’m struggling to keep my eyes open during the day, I wake up around 10pm. I want to write and watch Netflix and read and listen to music. This does not work when I have to be up in the morning!

I try to combat the fatigue by opening the curtains and letting the natural light shine on me while I work (and the cats sometimes enjoy a nice sunbeam bath as well). I drink V8 Energy, which is green tea, not coffee, and has a full serving of fruits and vegetables. I try to eat breakfast—yogurt and a Zone bar. Sometimes I’ll have tea. It could be the V8 kicking in and keeping me up, so I take melatonin at night. That knocks me out within 25 minutes, but the problem is that I rarely feel completely awake in the mornings. So, we begin again.

I would rather sleep in the day and stay up all night. (Except when I am at Disney World.)

Being a night owl is at odds with our society. Granted, there are more 24 hour options available, and there is the internet. But if I want to hold down a job, I have to be “normal” and well, it’s been decades and I’ve never truly adjusted to “normal.” So, the trouble with being a night owl is right now. It’s after 2am. I have to be up at 845am, work my 9–5 job and then do a few hours of freelance after. Plus eat and give Fi attention and take my vitamins and my meds. And try to squeeze in some writing. And connecting with my writer friends.

It’s a lovely, lush busy life, but it’s also exhausting. But what can I do?

Being a night owl is tricky. But I’ll manage it. Because honestly, my life is pretty cool right now. I really don’t want to trade it for a normal sleeping rhythm.

(Sorry for the random post. Just felt like chatting, I guess.)

Till next time!

  1. I don’t mind it too much. He curls up right next to me or lays behind me, and I kiss his head over and over. I love my little Fi so much.
  2. This is not to say I am ungrateful for the job. It’s a pretty sweet gig I have, and I am lucky to have it.