Starting All Over

Something wonky happened with my other Word Press installation.  The files are all there, but I can’t get into my dashboard to add new posts, update, or even see what the heck is wrong.  So bear with me as I try to redo my site. It’s kind of a PITA, but I’d been meaning to move everything to the index page for a while. So, here goes!

ETA: All posts have been imported from Live Journal, including some that probably didn’t need to come over here! I THINK I might be back in business. :)

One Month In (Reflection)

I’ve been 35 for one month. Most people tell me that I don’t look 35 at all. :) That makes me happy. I’m glad I still look pretty young, although definitely not as youthful as I used to look. And I’m noticing other things.

I’ve filled out surveys for companies for years. Now I’m clicking the next bracket of age tick boxes. The 35-40 bracket. When I hear about health risks for certain things, the “Women 35 and older–” thing kind of freaks me out because that’s ME now. If Adam and I decide to have a baby, I’m going to have to get loads of extra tests because I’m in the “at risk” part of my life. I remember watching TV and everyone was so grown up. Now, I’m older than almost everyone I see in commercials, on shows. People born in 1990 will be 20 this year!

One month into age 35, and I am a homemaker. An avid reader (I’m up to 16 new books for 2010 so far). I haven’t published a novel (yet). I have a seven year old son who is awesome. I live in Chicago (did NOT see that coming five years ago). I was once stick thin with a belly button ring. I’m definitely not stick thin anymore, but people still tell me I’m “tiny.” The belly button ring is long gone, and now I wonder if the way I dress isn’t too youthful. I like my jeans and hoodies and Airwalks, that’s for sure. I’m growing my hair out and will eventually chop off all the relaxed stuff and be completely natural. It’s challenging because well, I have no clue really of how to take care of my hair in its natural state. It’s been relaxed or straightened since I was a little girl. But I have not had a relaxer put in since May of 2009. But when I see women with before and after pictures, they all look way more amazing with natural hair. I hope that’s the case with me!

As I grow older, I notice that I am more sensitive to loud noises. I am becoming more of a homebody, preferring to hang around the apt with a stack of books, a glass of juice, and some comfy pillows than go out. Although, if someone mentions a trip to Target, I’m there. (I once told Adam that if he asks me if I want to go to Target and I say “no” to take my temperature. Seriously.) I am way more sensitive to smells. Certain scents I used to love, I can no longer stand. And bad smells drive me up a wall in a way that is not normal. I can smell things that most people don’t even notice, and bad smells stick with me for hours after the source is gone. I still like hanging out with my friends. I’m becoming a bit more frugal… by CHOICE this time, which is nice, although I do splurge on books too often. I’m debt free, I still love spaghetti, and bacon, and Cream of Wheat. I still get cold all the time. I’m still a night owl!

I don’t think too much about my mortality. I try not to, because death is so final. It’s not like I’m exactly “living it up” these days either, but I’m enjoying being restful for now. There were too many years when life was anything but.

I don’t have a five-year plan in place, because I’ve learned that a LOT can happen to blow even the best laid plans out of the water. I do have dreams, though. I’d like to move to a nicer, bigger place. I don’t know where yet. It could be somewhere else in Chicago. It could be a Chicago suburb. It could be back to Columbus. I’d like to have a book published by 2015, but I’m not going to stress myself over making that goal. I’d like to get a tattoo. I want to see Aidan a LOT more. I’d like to be working from home, as I do now, but more regularly and lucratively. I’d like to be comfortable financially. I don’t need to be super rich (although I wouldn’t turn it down!). I just want to be happy and healthy and secure and comfortable. Those are my main dreams. I’d like to travel too. Ireland!

Right now, I am content. I mean, the apartment has some issues, but it’s warm and keeps me sheltered. I don’t get to see Aidan as often as I’d like, but I get to see him a lot more than I used to when I first moved here. I like proofreading. I live in a cool city even though the taxes are ridiculous and some of the costs here are unnecessarily high and inconvenient. I have friends and I’m making new ones all the time. I love my husband like crazy. How could I not? He’s so CUTE!

Life’s OK at 35. I have a feeling it’s just gonna get more fabulous.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

I Might Be Certifiable (OMG)

See that title? ^^ You might agree if you read this entry. I’m just sayin’.

I am 100% back to being a night owl. I stay up until 4 or 5am, I roll out of bed at about 11:30am, and then I fall asleep on the couch about 3pm, and again at about 8pm. Then I’m up all night. Party! Woo!

The good thing about it is that I don’t have anywhere to go during the day mostly, and if I DO have something to do, I am functional enough to get it taken care of. For example, Tuesday, I got up and cleaned like I was crazy! I took down and put away all the Christmas stuff, cleaned the kitchen, living room, my side of the bedroom, the litter boxes, and Aidan’s room, and finished it off with that nice, hot bath. I even used my Cinders bath bomb–and that was a limited edition one. I hardly EVER use my LE bath bombs because well, they’re LE. I can’t get them again.

The good thing is that after you do a super cleaning like that, you get a grace period where there’s nothing to do until things get messed up again. There are always dishes to do, though, and GOD knows that trash can is the bane of my existence. Good Lord that thing stinks to high heaven every other freaking day and it’s driving me up a wall. Has to drive Adam crazy too, having to take the trash out all the time. I try not to put things in it that will seriously perish in a matter of hours (like old meat or leftovers) but something must have escaped my notice (i.e. Adam put it in there) and it turned this evening, because I have a SUPER sensitive sniffer and bad smells just get stuck and nothing I do can make them go away or mask them. They just seem to linger and linger while my Nag Champa burns away in vain. *sigh*

Saturday aka today is … wait for it… GROCERY SHOPPING DAY. To prepare, I did something I have not done in a long time. I CLIPPED COUPONS. Because see, lately, I’ve been getting these recipes off of Pillsbury.com, and a lot of them use the Crescent rolls. Adam says the rolls are expensive, so I decided to go online and see if they had coupons. AND THEY DO! So I’m going to stock up on them and do a happy dance because there are so many neat things I can make with them. For New Year’s Eve, I made these ham and cheddar crescents, and cheese ‘n pepperoni crescents. I made the cheese ‘n pepperoni ones again a few nights ago. They’re easy and tasty and leftovers can go in the fridge and be reheated in 30 seconds in the microwave. I want to make a bunch and have them ready to go as snacks. I mean, they are the PERFECT snack or appetizer, and for night owl me, who doesn’t want to eat a huge meal at 3:30am, one of those things is just right.

Anyway, I clipped lots of other coupons too, not just Pillsbury ones. Funny thing is that I don’t eat a whole lot these days. Only when I am working in an office do I eat a lot more than I should, and I do eat normally when I am out and about. Here at home, it’s easier to get caught up in whatever I’m doing (usually reading or puttering around on the computer) and not eat until my stomach threatens to kick my butt from here to New York if I don’t fill it with something other than water or lemonade. I get THIRSTY, but not so much hungry. I’m not a good “family” shopper. I lived alone for a while, then Chris did most of the shopping, then I lived alone again, then Adam did/does most of the shopping. He knows how to go and buy things like meat and other items to successfully put together meals, and he does it without too much thought. Me? I have to pore over sales papers and make lists and more lists and clip coupons and study recipes and do it all over again. And I STILL tend to go for the more easy and quick stuff, hence my new obsession with those rolls and everything that can be done with them.

I also ordered a 6-unit case of Apples and Cinnamon Cream of Wheat. See, for years, one could go to a grocery store and buy entire boxes of all sorts of flavors of Cream of Wheat. There was Apples and Cinnamon, Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Strawberries and Cream, and Maple Brown Sugar. And of course, the different varieties of Original. My mother said that when I was little I loved Maple Brown Sugar, but as I got older, I started to love Apples and Cinnamon the best. And I ate it for years and years and years and years and years. My favorite breakfast was Cream of Wheat and bacon. Apples and Cinnamon, but I also like the way my grandmother, Madia, made the Original for me. Then, my favorite flavor started disappearing off the shelves. Well, not really disappearing. It started hiding in the Variety Pack boxes, as did the Strawberries and Cream. So, I switched to Brown Sugar Cinnamon and added applesauce to it. Got the same flavor with no lumpy apples, and then THAT one disappeared into the Variety Pack as well. By this time, I was learning a couple of things:

1. Anything I liked, I mean really liked, was suddenly going to likely be off the shelves in a matter of months if not weeks.
2. If something disappears into a variety pack, be prepared kiss it good-bye before long.

This has happened with SO MANY of my favorite foods. A LONG LONG time ago, Doritos once made Sour Cream and Onion Flavor. My cousins and I ate that stuff like we were crazy. Then suddenly, they were no more. Other flavors came and went, but nothing was like those our Cream and Onion Doritos. But we got over it, my cousins and I. And we moved on. To Nacho Cheese. And we’ve been happy with Nacho Cheese ever since. Actually, I am speaking for myself here. They probably are not as particular as I am about Dorito flavor. Anway, the nacho cheese had BETTER NEVER go away or there will be one pissed off little Ronica here in Chicago.

Rice Krispies made Double Chocolately Chunk Treats for years. Then they disappeared into a variety pack. Now you can’t even find them in those, or if you can, it’s very few and far between. I’ve found a few little stores around Chicago in office buildings that will sell an individual one, and I usually make the mistake of buying the whole display and then the jerks raise their prices because they know they have a fanatic on their hands, but as far as getting a multi-pack box from Target or something like that? Nope. I even wrote and asked them about it. And finding the individual bars is like finding a needle in a haystack. Then, out of nowhere came these Rice Krispies Stix. They were like the treats you could break them apart like a Kit-Kat bar. I liked those even better than the treats, but those were gone within WEEKS of being debuted. Those didn’t even make it into a variety pack. They were just … GONE.

When I was in 6th grade, Quaker made Granola Dipps. I loved them. Naturally, they disappeared. Then they came back for a while, then disappeared into the black hole that is Walmart. I spotted them at Strack and Vantil last year, and then they disappeared. Adam found them at Dominick’s, I found them at Jewel, and I think they might be at a Target here and there these days. Every time they go on sale, Adam and I buy about 15 boxes to stock up. They are hard to find and probably going to go away again. They are also very expensive when they are not on sale. That’s the other reason we stock up. Not only do I tend to like foods that disappear, I tend to like foods that are expensive.

In high school, Carnation made these really yummy breakfast bars. You could get them next to the Instant Breakfast drinks. They were so good. I loved them. I’d started eating them during my senior year of high school, and the song Freak Me by Silk was popular. I had the single and the single had a certain mix on it. To this day, if I hear that mix of that song, I crave those stupid breakfast bars. Carnation changed the formula on them and make them gross, then discontinued them. A few years ago, Skippy made these yummy peanut butter bars covered in chocolate. One was peanut butter and marshmallow. Yum. It was a crazy flavor that was soon addictive. Yeah, that was gone within three months.

These things are not discontinued but you can’t get them in Chicago: Cherry pies at McDonald’s (they are SO superior to the apple ones) and BBQ Fritos. What the green hell? No BBQ Fritos? Oh sure, they have Chili Cheese ones (blech) and those honey BBQ Twists (not the same) but no plain old BBQ Fritos? *shaking my head* Messed up. And Twinings JUST discontinued the Tastes of Summer tea, which I LOVE. I have only ONE pack left. I’d been blowing through them, not realizing how precious and limited my supply was. Are my tastes THAT obscure that everything I fall for must disappear?

ANYWAY, back on topic. Now, if I go to to the grocery store, the only Cream of Wheat I can get all in one flavor is Maple Brown Sugar, my original favorite flavored. And Original, of course, when it doesn’t cost $89794888947. EXCEPT–Amazon.com has cases of Apples and Cinnamon Cream of Wheat for $25! Guess who ordered herself one right after the Christmas? (It had been on my wish list but no one picked that gift to send me from it. Not that I am complaining. It’s probably one of those things that makes people go “She can’t seriously want Cream of Wheat for a present” like they say “There is no way she really wants a thesaurus for Christmas”–oh but I would LOVE a thesaurus for Christmas, or the Chicago Manual of Style….)

******NEWS FLASH*******

I JUST FREAKING FOUND A CASE OF THE DOUBLE CHOCOLATELY CHUNK RICE KRISPIE TREATS ON AMAZON.COM. HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP I HAVE HIT THE MOTHERLODE. $8 FOR SHIPPING BUT IT JUST MIGHT BE WORTH IT.

***Dies Dead***

Speaking of shipping, Adam and I tried out Amazon Prime for our holiday shopping and freaking loved it. LOVED IT. My trial membership expired on the 7th. See, it offers free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase. Two-day shipping, you guys. And no scrounging around the site trying to find something eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping to push that total to $25 when you are at $23.47 (and you KNOW that happens more often than not.) You can order something for $9 and still get it in two days, and still get it free. And getting the package with the PREMIUM sticker on it was pretty cool, I do say so myself. We were certainly spoiled. But to keep it will cost $79.99. When Amazon Prime was a free trial, that free shipping was a great deal. It doesn’t seem so great after you pay $80 up front for it. But Adam said we probably spend that much trying to make the Super Saver Shipping eligibility by buying stuff we don’t need to get to $25 (because come on, I know that I’ve never managed to spend under $30 when I was going for SSS anyway–how about you? It’s not really possible. The total is usually just under $25 or a bunch of dollars OVER $25, right?). Maybe I’m just trying to talk myself into signing up for the stupid thing. I dunno, I will have to seriously think about it. I’m glad I tried it, though. It really helped make Christmas easier for us.

Still a little bit bummed that the holiday season is over. But there is a lot to look forward to in 2010 and I know that I’ll back into the swing of things mentally before long. Especially when I find this site with loads of beautiful clothes that I can ill afford to be buying these days. Some day, my friends. Some day I will have that pin stripe skirt and and those alderlass trousers. And there is this pair of shoes… oh God, these shoes! *calming breath* Oh yes, my friends. Some day.

In the meantime, I will try to sleep. And during the day, I will take a break from reading the Series of Unfortunate Events (I am currently in the middle of Book The Fifth) and venture out to the grocery store and possibly Target (we need printer paper and Iams cat food). If I am lucky and feeling up to it and if I can convince Adam, maybe a trip to Barnes & Noble as well. I have a $25 gift card that’s burning a hole in my wallet. :)

Going to try to sleep now. G’night… er, morning. :O

P.S. Just so you know, if Pillsbury stops making their Crescent Rolls, I will take it personally.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

Banana Butt Jones (Picture)

Don’t even ask about the title. I’m going on about 5.5 hours of sleep here, and I’m barely sleepy now. Insomnia anyone?

I didn’t get to bed/sleep until about 730 or 8am. Then I slept until about noonish, and I took a 20 minute nap at about 9pm, which I think was a mistake. Not good. I’m going to go to bed anyway and try to read myself to sleep, but if I am not asleep by 230 or 3, I will give up and head back out into the living room.

I have a list of things I need to do this week.

1. Take down Christmas stuff. *sniffle* It’s getting to the point where I am getting tired of it, so it’s time to go to ordinary time for real. Blah. I’ll probably do that tomorrow/today.
2. Hunt down the mildewy smell and GET RID OF IT. Seriously, I cleaned out the fridge, Adam took out the trash twice, and I located the source of the bad potatoes. All of that is gone. I cleaned out the litter boxes. Nothing should be smelling bad. But something is still driving me crazy in here. Same scent as last night, and I think it’s the standing water that collects in the drain where the hot water heater is. Should the landlord have fixed this when we reported it a year ago? Why yes. Is it against city code for standing water to collect in a residence? Oh yes. Do you think the landlord gives a flying ice cream? If so, you’d be wrong. So, every week or so (more often now for some reason), Adam has to open the closet and pour water down this drain to get out the old stinky water that blows through the vents when the heater is on. He just did it Sunday, but he’s going to have to do it again sooner than later because the scent of standing water is nasty. This is only one of the things that have been reported and never fixed, and only one of the things that’s against code. TMG Management can suck it.
3. Clean the living room. Once I put away the Christmas stuff, I have to make it look like normal again.
4. Take a bath. I haven’t had a nice, long hot bath in weeks. It’s been showers and showers and showers. And the last bath before that sucked because the drain wasn’t properly secured so most of the water ran out, and by the time I realized it, there was no more hot water. It was a quick lukewarm bath and you know how much those suck. So I’m ready for a nice, hot steaming bath. And some tea. So that will be my reward for taking down the Christmas stuff. :)
5. Revamp my FarmVille farm. That’ll probably happen this weekend.

I think it’s time to scrap the story I have been working on. I am stuck and have been stuck on the same part for two years now. If you’re stuck after two years, it’s time to shelve and move on. The fact that I dread trying to write this book is a sign that it’s not the one I should be working on. I may use what I have for parts, or rework it, but for now, it’s done. There is no point in working on a book for free when I’m getting no joy out of it and when nothing of it is coming. The characters are still there, they just need to be used differently. HOW, I don’t know. But whatever.

This has been kind of a whiny post, so here is something yummy. My kitty, Helena, has gotten really cuddly lately. It started shortly after we switched the cats’ food from Meow Mix to Iams. Both cats are super soft now, and Little Lena’s been so much more affectionate. She hops up and sleeps on my feet just about every chance she gets. When she’s in our room at night, she doesn’t really jump on our feet anymore. She lies there and sleeps. Adam and I have taken to picking her up and putting her on my lap, because she rarely gets up on her own. Not sure if she’s waiting for an invite or what. She’s not exactly a lap cat yet, not unless I have a blanket on my lap, but once she’s on my lap, she’ll move down and lay her head on my ankle. Such a long cry from the little wild thing she was when we first brought her home!

Here’s a picture of me from New Year’s Eve:

Dressed Up for New Year's!

My mom got me the dress for Christmas. I need to get in shape and I don’t really care.

Blah ditty blah blah blah.

I feel like Eeyore.

That’s all for now.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

Well, Fartknock (Blah Blah Whatever and a Picture)

Here I am, my night owl tendencies taking over again. I should be sleeping, but I can’t seem to ever crawl into bed before 4am unless something crazy happens like I get only 3 hours of sleep the day before. Downright inconvenient, that.

Because I was supposed to do some things Monday/today like WRITE (for God’s sake WRITE), play Playstation 2, play some Wii Fit Plus, and start reading WHIP IT. But I’ll probably sleep until 1pm. And then A NEW MAKE IT OR BREAK IT COMES ON ABC FAMILY oh yeah baby!

Spent Sunday in Naperville again. I do like it out there. It’s seems familiar. Like Columbus, with the strip malls and restaurants like Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago has great places to eat, but sometimes, I just want a $15 steak, not a $398379852948798 luxury steak from Morton’s. Not that I’ve ever HAD anything from Morton’s. Ever. But just sayin’.

I saw The Princess & The Frog. It was magnificent. I was freely crying at the end, but tried to hide it, of course. It was the magic of seeing a 2D Disney film on the big screen again, but also… the story was so much fun. And how hot is Prince Naveen? I thought the movie was very nicely done. I don’t know if Aidan could handle certain scenes and I KNOW my mom couldn’t, but I loved it and look forward to getting the Blu-ray whenever it comes out. Lots of fun Disney Easter eggs to look for.

Every time I go to Anderson’s Bookshop, I am filled with this amazing inspiration to write. By the time I get home, I just want to play Cafe World or something. I wonder if I take my laptop to a bookstore if I’ll feel more inclined to write, or if I’ll just close the computer and start reading books off the shelf. I guess I’ll just have to find out someday.

Right now, my excuses are:

1. I have a headache (but I’m writing this so what a lame excuse, eh?)
2. The smell from the trash can is driving me CRAZY. Trash needs to be taken out ASAP… except it’s 9F outside.

I am so lame. I should go to bed. I’m feeling a bit down because Christmas is coming down all over the place. All the pretty decorations are coming down in the stores. My tree is still up, but I can tell Adam is ready for it to go away until December of this year. I’m not looking forward to taking down all the decorations because then I’ll have to face the fact that we’re back in ORDINARY TIME. Because December is SO big for me (my birthday, Aidan’s birthday, Christmas, New Years–basically the last two weeks are a non-stop party for me and Aidan), the letdown is even worse.

Snow looks beautiful when it’s on ever green boughs and adorned with red bows and white lights. And I’m not going to lie, I like it when it’s the kind when you can see the individual snowflakes. They’re so pretty! (And Aidan was amazed when I pointed one out to him the other day.) But in grey January, it all looks stark and lonely. And when I think of months of these bitter cold temps with no epic holiday to look forward to, I get down. I know that I’ll recover. I deal with this post-holiday letdown every year. Other things to look forward to always come up. Book releases, visits from Aidan, the change in seasons. Maybe another trip to Disney World this summer. I’ll be OK. But for now, I just have to muscle through.

‘Til next time….

P.S. Check out my little Booknerd in Training:

Booknerd in Training

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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