as 2017 winds down.

autumn in norway

It’s been AGES, right? I say this so much. Then I secretly vow to be better at blogging…and then I fall off again. To be fair, I’ve been fairly busy, and I have so much to tell you!

Since my last post, well, if you followed me on instagram or twitter, you know that I was abroad for most of September. I got to travel with Jennifer, who is one of my very best friends and also my soul sister, and it was amazing. It’s been a month since I’ve been back and I still can’t form words. Not only did I get to eat great food, see beautiful sights, and meet amazing people, but I got to spend a month with Jennifer! Having long distance best friends is hard, so we pretty much crammed all of our girl time into those three and a half weeks.

Here are a few photo collages from the trip:

💕💕💕💕🐝🌼👯
(I stole this one from Jennifer)

Oh #copenhagen #denmark, I love you so so so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Well hello there Denmark! I certainly did not expect to love you so much!! ❤️ #Denmark #copenhagen #europe #travel

A wonderful day in #norway ☀️😍

I got back to Chicago and was immediately thrust back into full-time and freelance work. I worked some when I was abroad, but it was different, working in a hotel room in Italy or Denmark rather than my apartment in Chicago. There, I’d open the window and listen to the languages and the different sounds and it was so awesome. Here, Fi is still making stinky messes every 40 minutes or so. I don’t have much room to spread out like I want. They’re tearing down a building across the street and for a week straight, my entire building would shake while they were doing their work. Charlotte has grown a lot, and she is a very naughty kitten! I’m covered in scratches and bites. She’s not the little rag doll she was the first day she came home. She’s feisty and vocal and strong-minded. I’ve had to start using the squirt bottle on her. I hate doing it, but she’ll just keep being naughty otherwise. Sometimes it’s exhausting. But then she tires out and collapses on me, and holds on to me so tight, and all my exasperation with her evaporates.

Also during October, Aidan went to homecoming (I KNOW), I got a massage, I got all my watches fixed, I cleaned out a lot of clothes and things to donate, and I cleaned out the bathroom and threw out four bags of old shampoo and body washes and things. I did a panel at Windy City RWA with my fellow ChiYA bloggers. I kept up (mostly) with my Personal Power University class (don’t ask me about the homework I still have to turn in!). And Aidan popped in for a long weekend. It was cool spending time with my awesome kid. Adam’s parents also popped in for a bit, and that was cool.

The Fam

I also spent weeks trying to catch up and I think I’m *finally* there. It felt like my To-Do lists were growing even though I was steadily doing things. I haven’t been back to yoga, or barre (haha in years for this one), I barely got any new writing done. I interviewed for a job but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me. That was a weird position to be in. So much is going on all the time…and the Day Job is busy. So it does seem like the list of things to do is never ending. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I came home after my massage Saturday and slept for hours and hours. Got up, maybe had a snack, and then slept all night.

But now, it’s two minutes to midnight at the time of this typing. That means November is not only looming, but it’s HERE, and it will definitely be here when this post goes live. Every weekend through the end of the year is booked except one and I just hope I can sleep in at least two of them. Soon there will be Thanksgiving and Christmas and expectations and family and oh God. I can’t even think about it now.

Instead, I’m going to bed. Till next time!

Just me

breather.

Airport selfie while wearing my fave hat and #colourpop ultra matte lip

You guys. YOU GUYS. I survived! I’m up for air. I made it.

This latest contract had me working many hours, reading hundreds of pages a day. And this was in addition to the DayJob™, sneaking in writing revisions, events, visits from family and friends, meet-ups, appointments, and errands.

I am POOPED.

I’m exhausted and sick; coming down with my first cold in maybe a year or so?

But also proud. Because I did that, they are very happy with my work, and my relationship with is client is awesome. I survived the madness and I am so excited. (I am also hopped up on cough medicine with codeine in it at the moment so if this entry seems a bit goofy, that’s why.)

So far, this month (and part of September as well—because that’s when all this stuff started), I:

01. Attended a #ChiYA meet-up. It’s a group of Chicago authors of YA, and we’re going to do all sorts of cool things. *sings* Just you wait….
02. Finished this massive contract—maybe thousands of pages. Sent the invoice yesterday, so now I wait. And then save/pay off credit card/Christmas shop/buy something special for me.
03. Started *two* new contracts! One with a new company called Envision—they seem really nice. I’m excited about the work I’ll be doing for them. And another project for Berlitz. This one’s scope is WAY less intense.
04. Had many important doctor’s appointments (including my very first mammogram!).
05. Been keeping up with my medicine and my therapy, including the homework assignments she assigns. I really like my therapist.
06. Attended Anderson’s YA Literature Conference and YA Fan Frenzy. Got to hang with lovely author friends and make new author friends, and came away feeling loved and inspired and exhausted.
07. Stayed on the fancy floor in the hotel during the conference. They brought us cookies every night. I could get used to this—it’s part of the reason I work so hard.
08. Got the CUTEST Kate Spade Minnie Mouse bag.
09. Voted.
10. Got to see Rena *twice*. She’s my bestie, I should be seeing her more often. We’re both so swamped with work. Thank God for Google Hangouts. We talk almost every day on there.
11. Hosted my friend Sun, who I’ve known online forEVER. It was so fun hanging with her, relaxing with her, and having her in my home. She brought a nice energy.
12. Spent time with Aidan, who was here from 10/12–10/17. Never enough time, but it was fun. We ate junk food, watched raunchy stand up comedy, and laughed a lot.
13. Shopped, donated, supported people I care about, and some strangers I barely know.
14. Attended the Sia concert. Loved her show very much. Lots of dancing and artsy stuff. Very enjoyable!
15. Started Christmas shopping! 😮🎄

Now I’m back to revisions. Goal is to have them done Halloween! I want to start a new project for #NaNoWriMo, so I have to have my current one in a very good place before then. I’m very excited for the possibilities for both. :) I want to be really bold with this new project. Unapologetic, but still sweet. So eager to get started. We’ll see if I still feel the same once I’ve started, though.

But this weekend, aside from some tinkering with the novel, I SLEEP ALL THE SLEEPS. READ ALL THE BOOKS. And maybe call my mommy if my throat settles down.

Next week, I have to fix my car, get it tested, and then register it for another year. Just bought one of those portable battery chargers–hope that gets her running again. I’d love to have the freedom to drive so I can get a massage from Jan and also Christmas shop!

So, up next for the next 4–6 weeks:

01. Whatever deliverables for the two new contracts.
02. Plan Christmas shopping.
03. Get car squared away.
04. More doctor’s appointments.
05. #NaNoWriMo
06. Schedule and partake in a spa day.
07. Keep taking meds properly and going to therapy.
08. Prep for Thanksgiving! OMG.
09. More Christmas shopping.
10. Read read read. So behind on reading, my TBR pile is obscene.

I’m sure there is more, but I’m ready to relax now.

RELAX.

Wow. It feels very strange not having a big deadline looming over me. My next freelance deliverable isn’t due until EOD Monday, and it’s not a huge thing. Which means an entire weekend free. I’d forgotten what that felt like.

But I’m sure it’ll come back to me. Easily. 😂

Just Me. Feeling Kinda Pretty. :)

epic adventure: epcot

Epcot

Hi! I know it’s been a while. It takes a lot to put one of these posts together, and I’ve been super busy with work. But today my brain is scattered in 23849 different directions, so I thought, why not catch up. Or try to, anyway?

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Aidan and I went to Epcot twice while on our trip. The first day, it was the two of us, and we had a good time. There was adventuring and characters and rides! There was one part that sucked, though. We were in line to meet Donald Duck when my phone started going crazy, showing me all these fraudulent charges using my Capital One. Then we were next and Donald had to go eat a taco (It was the Mexico Donald Duck.) I’d been trying to get a Donald all trip and argh. The card stuff eventually got sorted, so it all worked out. And that evening? We ate at Garden Grill and had an amazing time. Seriously, that restaurant blows me away EVERY SINGLE TIME I go, and this was my 11th time there.

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We got the HOOKUP for dessert, thanks to Sam, the amazing manager. Check this out:

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Can you even believe? I still can’t.

We watched the fireworks with my friend Joey and he dropped us off at the hotel after which was so nice of him.

The 2nd day we went, it was our last day in a Disney park for our trip. So those days are always bittersweet. Aidan wanted a hat, but not any hat. THIS HAT:

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I’d just gotten the official word that Humana wanted to hire me as a contractor, so I was happy to buy it for him from the China pavilion.

We did the Character Connection, which is always different every time we go!

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Eventually, Aidan and I met up with Joey and his daughters (Bella and Victoria) that afternoon and ate pizza at Via Napoli. That pizza tasted FREAKING DELICIOUS. We rode Test Track and Mission: Space with them as well. Aidan wanted to ride Orange: More Intense and so did Bella. Joey didn’t want Bella to ride it at first; I just think he didn’t want her to go alone. When I told him that I was letting Aidan go, he let her go too. I love that I can let Aidan do that. I was never going to tell him “no.”

Victoria and I played the games in the Mission Control part while we waited, and when that ended, I got her some astronaut ice cream, which she’d never even heard of, let alone tried!

At some point during the day, this bird somehow got ahold of a mayo packet. There was a cast member standing under the tree trying to get him to drop it but this bird was like LOL.

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That night, I had to pick up my rental car. Aidan and I were crashing out at Joey’s for a couple of nights before heading up the Florida coast. Joey made us dinner and let me do laundry, and we got to talk to Ricky Luna on video chat, and watch Wishes (the Magic Kingdom fireworks) from Joey’s window. Then we had to go to bed. It was LEGOland the next day!

epic adventure: hollywood studios

Hollywood Studios

Aidan and I spent one day at Hollywood Studios, and it was a great day. We skipped Toy Story Midway Mania and Tower of Terror (which gets a resounding HELL NO from Aidan), but I got to do Rock’N Rollercoaster (yay single rider!). We shopped and watched the Muppet show they have there, and met characters and ate and rode Star Tours a LOT. We also rode The Great Movie Ride, which has a super long line all the time now for some reason. Thank goodness we had Fastpasses. The ride has been redone a bit, maybe that was the draw. Anyway,

We met Baymax and Phineas & Ferb and Goofy! Doesn’t he look dapper?

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We hung out and acted silly.

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And we drew a picture of Mr. Frederickson from Up! Aidan’s looks professional. Mine is HUGE.

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Hollywood Studios may as well been called Frozen Studios. It was All Frozen, All The Time. I don’t mind Frozen. Aidan is not a fan of it. At All.

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There was a Frozen clavicle, where they stopped and sang Let It Go and skated around, wearing winter clothing in 90+ degree temperatures. There was also “snow.” It was so strange. We did the Frozen Sing-Along which was fantastic. The comedy bits were on point (there was even an Arrested Development joke!), and the singing was great. Let It Go again. Then there was the Frozen Dance Party, where there were remixed versions of Let It Go to dance to. I left all my stuff with Aidan and joined the dancers on the dance floor. It was super fun. Then, there were the Frozen Fireworks. Which were OMG beautiful.

After Frozen-time, we watched Fantasmic! which is always gorgeous. It was Aidan’s first time seeing it and he enjoyed it!

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Hollywood Studios is usually a fun, easy park for me and Aidan. We don’t have rides we really need to hustle for if you go on the right day (and we did! the lines for Star Tours were never more than 10 minutes the whole day), and 50s Prime Time Cafe, where we had dinner, is always yummy and a good time. So many changes are coming to the park soon. I wonder what it’ll be like then?

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