books

General Life Update

You know what makes me sad? How QUICKLY weekends fly by. At least I got the full two days this time around, though. Last weekend, I worked on Saturday from 10am-5pm. It’s hard enough to work on a Saturday, but to do it for seven hours made it even harder. I’m really glad I get overtime, and it was kind of nice to be in the proofreader’s area by myself. I could sing all I wanted without worrying about anyone hearing me and subsequently running from the building with bleeding ears. Friday, I worked from 9am-930pm. My brain was officially fried by the time I got home that night.

I won the book Slice of Cherry (and other cool stuff) from Dia Reeves. And I held off on reading it forever, partially because I knew it would be out there and I wanted to be in the right frame of mind to read it. Partially because I knew I’d enjoy it and sometimes I like to make myself really wait until I dive into something I know I’ll like. Cause the anticipation can be as much fun as the actual activity, right?

I started reading it today, and I’m almost done. Folks, this is not a small book. It’s 500 pages. And I have 52 pages left. I will finish it tonight. I am enjoying it highly. HIGHLY. Dia is an ace author, and I love her snarkiness. She is seriously talented. And kinda twisted. In a good way. Add her to my list of authors who inspire me muchly.

I am so eager for spring, especially the part of spring where the rain and grey and 50F days stop and the sun shines and the trees are blossoming and flowers are everywhere. I am so eager for that. In Chicago, I’m typically wearing my pea coat all through April and most of May. The weather usually doesn’t get warm enough for short sleeves (at least for me–I run cold) until early or mid June.

The temperature when I left work Thursday morning was -5F. Right now? It’s 43F. Hard to believe that what I thought was so cold just a couple months ago seems like a HEATWAVE now. The sun’s been out, and the snow’s been melting like crazy. The Bobcats have been everywhere cleaning up the slushy stuff from the streets. Maybe I’ll be able to actually cross the bridge without walking in the street tomorrow morning!

For some reason, ever since I updated WordPress, some of my Flickr pictures are not showing up on my posts. I don’t know if this is a Flickr thing or a WP thing, but I do know that it is annoying me. (update: Someone else posted the same thing on the Flickr Help forums. It’s a Flickr thing.)

In other random news, I’ve been relaxer-free for almost two years now. That’s the longest I’ve gone without a relaxer since I was 12 years old. I’ve straightened my hair a couple times since then (blow out and flat iron), mostly to see the length, but also to make it so I can smash it under a hat in this cold weather. Funnily enough, I’ll see a picture of me with the straight, long hair and feel prettier, although there are times I’ll look at a picture with my curls and think HOLY CRAP, MY HAIR IS COOL! I guess I’m still not done transitioning.

Still adjusting to life as a (often more than) full-time office worker again. I miss midday yoga so badly. A couple weeks ago, I tried a restorative candlelight class and absolutely loved it. I haven’t been back though because it’s Sunday nights from 7:30-9pm. Usually around that time, I’m bathing and reading and winding down for the night. Seems like a good time to do the yoga right? Except it would be better if I didn’t have to go out to do it. We’ll see how it is in the summer, though. I think it’ll be much easier for me to deal with the late evening classes. My body misses yoga. Very much. I feel like I need to take a vigorous class just to get my chakras all back in balance. Then a restorative class to recover!

One thing I need for sure (in addition to yoga) is a massage. I have vouchers for THREE of them. I think I will schedule one for this week. 6:30p.m. Wednesday. The place is a hop, skip, and jump away from my office. I can leave work and go straight to an hour of bliss.

And then Thursday, I am taking 1/2 day off work because Aidan’s flying in! :D Did I mention that he texts now? Today, he got ahold of his dad’s phone and we texted back and forth. It was so cute. Can you imagine any of us texting at age 8? Technology is crazy. Aidan’s never known a world without cell phones. Or iPods. Or CDs. Or computers, DVD Players, cable TV.

Gah, I cannot wait to see him!!!

I’m seriously considering buying a new DSLR. I am looking at the Canon Rebel XS. I don’t need any of the super, duper fancy $2000 ones. It’s just that my current one was acting buggy when we were at Disney, and there are some dust particles in it that I have to Photoshop out of every picture that has blue sky in the background. I don’t want to go out on me when I am taking pictures of something important. Also, the difference between my Canon pix and the point and shoot pix are off the charts. I would miss not having a DSLR. I’ve had my XT for nearly four years now. It’s gone with me on many, many trips. It has served me well.

My book to buy list is a mile long. And I was toying with the idea of buying a The North Face coat. Maybe next winter, though. I have also had it in the back of my mind to get Amazon Prime again, but I can’t bring myself to spend the money just yet. I haven’t shopped much at all since Disney World, to be honest. Groceries is where the bulk of my expenditure has been going, and even that’s notout of control. Oh yea, I did need a new tire right before that big blizzard hit. But as far as leisure spending? Not so much lately. I feel awfully disciplined. And also goal-minded. That camera isn’t going to buy itself, you know?

I should get to bed. As usual, those last precious hours every Sunday night speed by. Time for a long work week ahead–but I possibly have a massage to look forward to Wednesday evening, and I DEFINITELY have Aidan to look forward to this weekend. Not to mention temperatures that are not sucktastically cold!

So, with that said… good night all! :)

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Adjusting (Pictures)

Aidan

Aidan’s finally here!!!

Thank goodness. It seemed to take forever for June 8 to get here! Even he said, when he got off the plane “I can finally see you!” I really hate living so far away from him. I know it’s not even that far, but that doesn’t make it suck any less. :(

I am trying to figure out how to readjust my schedule to keep fitting yoga and writing in, plus taking care of him, and getting enough rest. Not to mention staying on top of eating reasonably well. It’s been a challenge this week because Adam’s brother and sister-in-law are visiting, and we’ve been spending time with them. I kinda put all that life stuff on hold because how often do I get to see Eli & Melissa, you know? So I’ve been eating not as well as normal, and I haven’t been to yoga since last Thursday. Let’s not even talk about writing, shall we?

I need to just QUIT those games on Facebook. Or at least limit myself to a few. It’s out of hand again, how much time I spend playing. I know it’s an avoidance technique. If I’m playing, I don’t have to think about the “sagging middle” in my WIP. And maybe, just maybe a breakthrough will happen while I am virtually farming!

Right, even I don’t believe that anymore.

Anyway, even though I haven’t been doing yoga and writing, I have been doing other cool things. Tuesday, I got Aidan from the airport, and I learned that if someone is mean to a member of my family, the claws come out! No one was mean to Aidan, but someone was to Adam and I reacted in a way that I never expected. It was weird and a little bit unsettling. But nice to know that I won’t take any crap from people when it comes to members of my family.

Wednesday, Eli & Melissa arrived and we had dinner with them. Thursday, we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. I’d never been to an art museum ever. Well, the National Vietnam Vets Museum may count, but that’s such a specialized part of art that I can only think of it as the NVVM. AIC was completely different and amazing and overwhelming. You know how you see prints of paintings? Most of them never did much for me. We have a bunch of them in the apartment and to me, they’re just pretty or neat pictures hanging around. But seeing a painting in real life is so much better! There was some Van Gogh and a lot of Monet, but the one that blew me away was Saint Francis by Peter Paul Rubens. The way he painted it… the flesh tones looked so real and lifelike and vibrant, like Saint Francis was going to just walk off the panel and come stand next to me. In addition to that, the Thorne Miniature Rooms were incredible, as was all the South Asian art, which I didn’t feel I got to spend nearly enough time looking at. We even checked out the Matisse exhibit, and got to see some pretty famous paintings, like American Gothic. I can’t wait to go back to the Art Institute of Chicago. There is so much I am eager to explore there. The cool thing is that we can take out museum passes from the library (that are good for a week!), and the museum is open free Thursday nights. I get the feeling I’ll be there a lot.

Lion

Aidan LOVED the museum. As he’s very artistic, Adam and I thought he’d get a lot out of it–well, as much as a seven-year-old can get, I suppose. He loved seeing the Van Gogh, and he was totally fascinated by the Picture of Dorian Gray, but he really enjoyed giggling at all the naked baby Jesus paintings and sculptures. He did love the Thorne Miniature Rooms, though.

After that fun, we ate some lunch and then headed over to Millennium Park. Aidan enjoyed playing at Cloud Gate, as usual:

Aidan and Cloud Gate

On Monday, before Aidan got here, I hung out with Shannon, a former co-worker, and her family. They took me to the top of Sears Willis Tower, and I went out on the glass ledge. Oh yes. Check me out:

Me on the Glass Ledge

High In The Sky

In between all this, I am reading a book called THE BLUE GIRL by Charles de Lint, and I adore the main character. She’s just such a cool girl. This is the first Charles de Lint book I’ve ever read, but apparently, he’s written a lot set in the particular world of this book. I love when authors do that. When they have a world they work in for all of their books. Cause when you read the new ones, you see old characters and friends. Sarah Dessen does it, and so does Deb Caletti, and even Adam does. I tend to write in the same worlds too, or I try to, anyway.

Anyway, it’s already almost 2am. I don’t have to be up very early tomorrow (but someone little with curly hair might wake me up early. If not him, then the neighbor’s hot water heater [which bangs every time he takes a shower and happens to be located right above our bed–another thing the landlord won’t fix] will). We’re hitting Navy Pier, which should be fun on a Saturday in June. :O All I know is this: I AM GETTING A CHURRO. Oh yes.

So, with that, I am off. ‘Til next time!

I love summer!

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Feeling Kinda Zen…. (Pictures, Long)

Woo Hoo!
O hai! I’m on my way to Schaumburg! Look how excited I am!!!

With the exception of a headache, I feel pretty good today. I went to a new yoga class today, Mindful Vinyasa, and it was really amazing. It’s getting to the point where my body craves yoga practice, and if I skip one for any reason, I feel all knotted. AND, apparently, I have bad dreams! Last night/this morning, I dreamed that I went to class and went to unroll my mat and it was all ripped apart! Eeek?!

Fortunately, the are 57 classes that I can always make up if I have to miss. :)

I’ve been practicing yoga in this classroom/studio setting for more than a month now, and already, I’m stronger in some ways. Weak in others, but that’s the beauty of yoga. We’re all different. Everyone has their own practice, and it’s OK not to be perfect all the time. Such a refreshing view to have (and a hard one to learn in this competitive society). So, I plan to continue practicing and learning and growing. Plus, I meet the most incredible people there. Even if we only touch lives for a brief moment, it’s a gorgeous moment.

I went to the library today. Got out a bunch of awesome ones, but before I read those, I’m going to finish Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti. I had the pleasure of meeting her Wednesday evening at Anderson’s Bookshop in Downer’s Grove. (I just have to say, that if I ever move from the Chicago area, I will miss Anderson’s a great deal.)

Anyway, getting to Downer’s Grove SUCKED. I swear, it’s rush hour ALL the time in Chicago. Still, once we got there, I got to spend hours in a bookstore and eat yummy pizza in a cool-looking pizza place, so that was cool. And meeting Susane was such a treat! She’s hilarious and so much fun! I love how candid she is. Here are some pix from that night:

Susane Colasanti and Me
Me and Susane. Isn’t she so pretty?? Pictures don’t do this woman justice, just sayin’.

Susane loves her some cupcakes, so when someone brought her some, she was totally thrilled:

Susane Colasanti

AND then Susane shared them with us!!!

Cupcakes!
They were red velvet and totally yummy!

This week was busy. Not that I can remember WHY, but it was. Yesterday, we headed out to Schaumburg so Adam could do an Author Event. It was interesting. The Schaumburg Township District Library, though? OMG. Amazing and awesome. Five star. I didn’t know libraries had a rating system but apparently they do (and Columbus Metropolitan is a five-star library too, but I’m not surprised by that at ALL). This library. People. It’s crazy. Bright and welcoming. Board games and computers and books and books and books. NEW books! And the best part is that they let Chicago library card holders borrow books as visitors. :) It’s like Heaven on Earth for me. I wish it was next door to me. I took out books last week when we were there for a different Author Event type deal that Adam was filling in for, and returned them yesterday. Today, we went to one of the Chicago branch libraries, which is five million times more pleasant than going downtown to Harold Washington, where I rarely feel welcome at all.

So… how awesome was Betty White on SNL last weekend? I hadn’t watched SNL in years, but I made an exception for this. She was hilarious! I was also very excited to see the return of some of my favorite SNL Ladies, Molly Shannon and Maya Rudolph especially.

Flowers are blooming like crazy all over the neighborhood:

Flower In the Neighborhood Flower In the Neighborhood
Flower In the Neighborhood Flower In the Neighborhood

And this is on the ground on the way to the yoga studio. I don’t know.

Um...

Hmm, what else?

· Adam and I have been trying to eat better, thanks to watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. This result of this is that there are snow peas in the house almost all the time. And BEAN SPROUTS! And clementines! I try to eat something raw every day, even if it’s just a little bit. Less processed, more real please!

· In 25 days, Aidan will be here for the summer! Woohoo!

· Still enjoying the new Doctor, even though some of the episodes are a great big cup of wtf.

· I am sooo behind on emails, game requests, etc. I’ll get to them. Eventually.

· I’ve been going through and editing the categories/tags on my old entries. Unfortunately, I thought (wrongly) that the updated entries would simply update on LJ. Oh no, the cross-poster cross posted the entries AGAIN. So I have doubles of a lot of my LJ entries from before 2010. It’s a PITA to go and individually delete thousands of LJ entries, so they are just going to be some doubles in the archives.

· Adam and I can’t take Aidan to Disney World this year, so of course I’m getting all kinds of emails from Disney Destinations with all these fantastic deals! They’re driving me crazy. If only I could get a huge, crazy windfall….

· Excited about … well never mind. Adam interrupted me to tell me something and I forgot. :O

That’s all for now. About to watch some Molly Shannon and chill out. ‘Til next time! :)

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Authors & Books, Oh My! (Pictures)

Today, Adam and I went to the International Reading Association convention. He to do a book signing event, me to tag along and look at the exhibits. Exhibits are FUN. Lots of information, pretty displays, and free stuff. (My shoulders are quite unhappy with me thanks to the load I was hauling around today.) I knew there would be author events sprinkled about, but I had NO idea the authors would be people like:

Adam, Jerry Spinelli, and Me
Jerry Spinelli

Me and Ann M. Martin
Ann M. Martin

Shannon Hale and Me
Shannon Hale

… and even fun online friends like:

Kate Messner and Me
Kate Messner!!!!

I had no idea that publishers put out ARCs and ARCs and ARCs. Seriously, I kept walking by a few choice booths because they’d not only put out loads of ARCs, but they’d ROTATE them, so there were different ones almost every time I walked by; I came home with about 40 new books to read. And if that’s not enough, Little Brown had sheets where you could check off the ARCs you want and they’ll mail them to you. I am most excited about my SISTERS RED and THE GUARDIAN AND THE GATE ARCs. I also enjoyed seeing books by people I know on display or advertised with big posters.

Meeting Jerry Spinelli was such a treat. He has the kindest eyes and he was so soft-spoken and sweet. Meeting Ann M. Martin was a blast. When I first realized that there was something set up, and I saw the line, I thought to myself “not even close.” The line was SUPER long! But I wandered by about 45 minutes later. The line had calmed down, but I noticed that the people in line had on yellow wristbands. I thought that meant you had to pre-purchase or somehow have signed up for the event in advance, but there was a lady there handing out wristbands! So I got in line, freaking out with excitement now. THEN I found out that I didn’t have to buy the book–they were giving them away free (a hardbound AND and ARC), and that I was allowed to get my picture with her. Plus they were passing out free cookies. Ann was very sweet and gracious. It was fun talking to her. She probably thought I was crazy, cause I was fangirling all over the place. She signed my book “BSC 4-ever!”

After that, they had a photo booth set up where people could get their pictures taken, then Scholastic would give a printout so it looked like we were on the cover of KRISTY’S GREAT IDEA. I will not be posting that, as I think I look quite creepy in the picture! :)

Rumor has it that Holly Black and Scott Westerfeld were wandering around the convention as well, but I didn’t see them. And I am kind of bummed that I missed running into Julie Halpern, because I absolutely loved her book GET WELL SOON and would have liked to tell her so. I did get to meet Jane Yolen, so that was all right. Still, it’s all good, BECAUSE I FREAKING MET ANN M. MARTIN AND JERRY SPINELLI WHAT!

Now I am very tired. Time to sleep. Yoga tomorrow. Night!

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Random Fried Bullet Points (Pictures)

Aidan Gives Me A Kiss!

· Aidan’s in town. He flew in Friday night (YAY) and has to go back this evening (BOO). Never seems to be enough time with him. Even if we’re not interacting, just having him in the house is nice. He doesn’t have his two front teeth anymore. My little boy is officially a snaggletooth! :D

· Aidan’s in love with Star Wars. Darth Vadar’s his favorite. :O

· Claudia Gray (who is super duper awesomesauce with cherries on top) has gotten Adam and me (and indirectly, Aidan) hooked on Doctor Who. I’d never seen it and felt that I couldn’t be a proper geek without having done so. We have a TiVo and Netflix and Dr. Who is on Instant Q. We watch many episodes a day. Adam wants to turn our closet into a TARDIS. And he wants the coat that the 10th Doctor wears, but it’s $300. I told him to get it anyway. You really can’t be too cheap when buying coats for a Chicago winter. But he’s being smart and frugal.

· When I read to Aidan before bed, I read each page in a different voice, determined by Aidan. Tonight, I read him HIPPOS GO BESERK, and I used the voices of Laura and the dad from The Fuccons, Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Doctor Who, and Rose.

· I am reading POP PRINCESS by Rachel Cohn again. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it, but it blows me away every single time I do read it. Wonder’s voice is like no other. I feel the same way about Audrey’s voice in AUDREY, WAIT! by Robin Benway.

· Cover and title released for the latest Hunger Games Book!!! YOU SHOULD ORDER IT FOR ME! I mean, you should order it now!


Can’t believe there are still 190 days until it’s out!

· I went to the library last week and checked out 18 books. I’ve already read several of them.

· This Saturday, I am going to Anderson Bookshop’s 8th Annual Children’s Literature Breakfast. I’m really excited. Last year, I got to meet Meg Cabot, Sharon Draper, and Peter Yarrow. This year, I am ashamed to say I don’t really know the speakers, but there will be plenty of local authors there to chat with. And bacon to eat. And librarians to schmooze.

· I’ve been half-heartedly entertaining the thought of going back to school. I don’t know if I could get a Master’s–my college GPA wasn’t the greatest. It just seems so much hassle and there’s the money issue and the homework. But the learning and the advanced/extra degrees seem so appealing. I just don’t see how it can happen, though.

· Because I’m still really not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When I worked in advertising, I LOVED the work. Absolutely LOVED the work. I’m still running across ads that I’ve worked on and feeling a bittersweet pang of accomplishment and also missing it. But the pressure. The atmosphere. It’s just too much. When I did my Schawk stint again, the long days in the office about drove me mad, but again, I loved the work. And I especially enjoy my Loyola work, because I get to do what I love, but from home. They send me the work and some instructions and a due date, I do the work and send it back. Easy-peasy and also very inspiring because I’m reading MARKETING brochures for heaven’s sake so OF COURSE I want to go back to school. Their writers are very good! So, I love proofreading/copy editing and I’d love to be able to stick with that somehow. I’m also passionate about books and reading, so it would make sense for me to do something with reading/books/literacy/reading recovery, right? I am not sure if teaching would be the answer, but working on materials to encourage literacy–like the stuff I did at Zaner-Bloser–would be amazing. I also love children’s books and teen novels. I feel like my calling is to be some sort of proofreader/editor for a book publisher where I am working on novels, but those jobs are in New York and hard to come by. *sigh*

· I wish I had more unique talents or skills. Writers, proofreaders, secretaries…people with skills like me? We’re a dime a dozen.

· How much do I love the show Modern Family? I mean, hello. The amount of talent on that show blows me away. I watch Make It Or Break It, and I enjoy it, but I can tell most of the people are acting. I am aware that I am watching a TV show. But Modern Family? It flows so well. I feel like I’m looking in the window of someone’s house and seeing the families interact in real time, but not in a “reality TV” sort of way.

· How lucky am I that I am able to connect with former Mousketeers on Facebook or through their blogs? I mean, seriously. I know I’ve gushed about them before, but they really were a huge part of my high school years and to be able to exchange messages with them is simply awesome.

· *Sigh* I was sleeping but I was awakened by certain noises coming from above. And a wicked case of heartburn. So here I am, 4am, awake. *Double sigh.*

· My appetite for chicken has been REALLY weird lately. I don’t want any kind of teriyaki chicken, or citrusy chicken, or Asian style chicken. Fried chicken (like legs and wings) sound disgusting to me. But chicken nuggets seem OK. Or chicken parmesan (but not grilled, has to be breaded). It’s driving Adam crazy because he always wants to make chicken and my stomach immediately says NO WAY.

· Crunchy tempura shrimp sushi rolls = YUMMMMMMM!!!!!! And saki, too. Mmmm sushi. I decided to try some different stuff this time around. I didn’t care for the octopus and red snapper, though. Next time I’ll try eel. Maybe. :O

· I FOUND OUT THE GAS STATION RIGHT DOWN THE STREET HAS THE DOUBLE CHOCOLATEY CRUNCH RICE KRISPIE TREATS!!! I can walk and get some anytime I want, folks! WOO-HOO!!!

· The word “underpants” is funny.

· And finally, a question: Do you ever find yourself recalling some unpleasant event from the past… something that hurt you but you thought you were over… you recall this event and you get all upset again? I hate that. Sometimes I have some really mean thoughts and I don’t like it. :( I don’t want to put negativity in the world anymore. I like being happy.

And that’s all for now. ‘Til next time!

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