eclipsed.

Eclipse2017

I did not plan on going to see the eclipse. I’d made a shoebox projector and had planned to go out during my work day, but joining the festivities at the planetarium? So not my usual jam.

But I had a migraine headache Sunday night that was intensifying, so I emailed work and told them I’d be out of the office. I also had an appointment Monday morning, another one Monday afternoon, and all the rushing around would have stressed me out! I still had an early morning (appointment #1 was at 9am), so it wasn’t like I was slacking.

My appointment was done lightning fast, and Adam said “Let’s check out the scene at Adler.” I was surprised, but happy. The main character in my novel is an aspiring astrophysicist, and it honestly did not feel right to be missing the eclipse because of her. But this surprise meant that I was totally unprepared. I hadn’t put on sunscreen. I didn’t have my nice camera. I was in a dress! But I didn’t mind. Not one bit.

Lots of walking and slow going, but we got glasses, a box of donuts, and found a beautiful spot by the harbor. My migraine was playing VERY nicely for once and keeping itself at bay, so I was able to enjoy the eclipse in all its wonder, even with the cloud cover battling peak!

IT WAS AMAZING!

It was hard to get pictures when the eclipse was starting—the sun kept looking round even though I could see that it was not. It looked like someone took a bite out, then it kept getting smaller and smaller. It got darker out; it was like twilight. And the temperature dropped. I was able to get more dramatic pictures (through my safe glasses, of course) as the moon started unblocking the sun, like this one:

IMG_9633

I am really glad things worked out the way they did. And my migraine waited until I got home to start poking at me again, so it really worked out well.

This really is such an epic summer. :)

this week.

Seven years ago today I moved to this city which I both love and hate. #Chicago

This past Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, marked my seven year anniversary of living in Chicago. Adam, my friend Andy, and I packed trucks and my car, and the three of us, plus little Lucy, took the six hour trek to the Windy City. I was excited and looking forward to a new life with Adam. I didn’t anticipate the depression and anxiety that would overcome me once I settled in. It was quite the adjustment and I still often feel out of sorts. But there are some things that are so cool about living here:

1. Being able to do the majority of my working from home.
2. Finding a yoga community that I love.
3. All the authors I get to meet.
4. All the cool people I’ve met.
5. Being able to work on TV and movie sets.

It was an OK week. There was freelance work, meetings, yoga, A Different World on Netflix, Insurgent 3D (#hotmess), and movie theater food! See, I don’t go to the movies often, so if I am hungry when I go, I like to splurge on concessions. I had a hot dog, nachos, and Reese’s Pieces, which I am still working on actually. Makes it more special. I missed the Insurgent swag, but after seeing the movie, I’m kind of OK with that. It was OK, but I enjoyed in like how I enjoyed Twilight. Meaning I laughed for two hours at stuff that wasn’t meant to be funny, etc. etc. Good times. Daniel Dae Kim + Theo James on a big ass screen in 3D though was almost too much for me to handle. I’m pretty much over that silly crush I had on Theo, but I’ll never stop thinking he’s gorgeous, even with his stupid beard.

Waiting for #Insurgent3D. Rocking these Real3D glasses like a boss. ???? ????????

A photo posted by Ronni (@lilrongal) on


this was me waiting on the movie.

I’ve already surpassed my goal of seeing three movies in a theater this year! I saw Mockingjay Part 1 in January, The Duff in February, and Cinderella and Insurgent this month. I may go see Home at some point (a movie with a cute black girl with naturally curly hair as the lead? yes please!), and then there’s nothing that interests me really until November, when Mockingjay Part 2 comes out. I’m just not into the Avengers stuff like everyone else is. I love the movie scores, though, so there is that. I used to be into the Batman movies, but now that they’re rebooting AGAIN, man, I’m just tired!

I’m already halfway through my 2015 Reading Challenge goal, so I probably need to make it higher. Right now I am reading BURNING KINGDOMS by Lauren DeStefano, who has a really great Twitter feed.

I totally was expecting Saturday to be exhausting and overwhelming and it totally wasn’t. Maybe because I got an OK night’s sleep, and I drank a Blue Edition Red Bull. But I had to get up at 7:15am, which is just cruel for a Saturday (unless I’m at Disney World) to head to The Dailey Method for kid room duty.

I am supposed to report to duty at 8am to give moms time to arrive, and I like to use that time to you know, suck down the Red Bull and eat a Luna Bar. This morning when I arrived, the cutest baby was already there, sitting in a bouncy chair and drinking a bottle. I was a bit taken back and surprised someone just plopped the baby there. And he was happy as can be, kicking his little feet and sucking down the formula. Turns out he was the son of one of the teachers there, and turns out that he was probably my favorite of the day.

I spent four hours in the kid room today and it was truly enjoyable. All the kids were good and they listened well, and even though there were diapers, so many poopy diapers, and they made huge messes, it was still fun. And Cole, my buddy who’d been plopped earlier that day, was just the perfect baby size. Squishy but solid, adorable little face. It was too much! I didn’t want his mommy to take him home!

After that, I came home, had lunch, then headed over to Meksha for a workshop with Seane Corn. It was the third time I got to do a workshop with her and it was incredible. Seane is the real deal. She’s so frank and so out there with everything. And I love it. She’s a great speaker, and the practice today was perfect. Just the right amount of challenge and restoration.

The amazing #seanecorn and dorky me. #mokshayogachicago #flowandglow @mokshayogachicago
me and seane corn. i look like i am trying to eat her.

Seane Corn and Me
when i first met her five years ago

I ran into some friends there who I hadn’t seen in a while, some in years. That was soooo nice! I am kind of a loner, but getting love and light from people is so so so good.

So happy to see this cutie!!! @cassyoga ???????????? #flowandglow @mokshayogachicago #mokshayogachicago
me and cassandra. i met her at my VERY FIRST yoga class at moksha nearly five years ago!

I’m easing back into my yoga practice and it feels really good. It’s also brings up a lot of crap again, and that whole feeling of not knowing where I fit keeps coming back. All the worlds I am in are so different. They overlap in some ways but not at all in some others. I go to Moksha and everyone is eating healthy, raw, organic this or that. I go on set and people have no problems scarfing down the Cheetos. I go days where I feel guilty as hell for eating meat, and other days where I’m like “Screw it, I want a corn dog and I’m going to have one and enjoy it dammit.” And frankly, I LIKE steak and I like corn dogs, and I like bacon. I hate feeling guilty about the things I eat. Talk about being privileged, being able to have those sorts of feelings about food, right? I can’t remember a time that eating was something I could do without a lot of issues coming along with it. It gets confusing and scary and it’s often easier to avoid eating altogether until I can’t stand it and have to get something in my stomach.

Plus, eating healthy is HARD when Doritos and Reese’s Pieces taste SO GOOD. But I need more veggies in my life so I must work on getting more. Especially spinach. Green beans. Mmm spinach and green beans. I seriously go weeks without eating vegetables. That’s NOT GOOD at all.

And ugh, I already have new split ends. I might need to accept the fact that super long hair won’t ever be a reality for me unless I buy it and have it installed. :(

Maybe eating more spinach will help my hair grow. The biotin is working magic on my nails, which don’t even need it, but my hair. Please grow and stop splitting and breaking hair! Argh.

I got up at 7:15am. It is now 4:30am and I haven’t been to sleep yet. Either that Red Bull is potent as hell, or I’m just…still wired from the yoga workshop.

I should wrap this up now. I’m just babbling. OK then. Till next time….

love/hate.

Chicago Skyline from Lake Michigan
It’s no secret to everyone who knows me that I have a love/hate relationship with Chicago. And that even with this tumultuous relationship, I have no desire to move back to Columbus, Ohio. Even though there are parts of my life there that I miss, it’s not worth it for me to move back and feel so depressed again.

I moved to Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008, and let me tell you, it was hard going for a while there. I’d just left Aidan in OH with his dad, my cat Lucy passed away, I couldn’t find a decent job, it was cold and grey, and I had some major sticker shock in regards to the cost of groceries. Things didn’t start to look up until that summer. Adam found me a great doctor who I still use to this day, I got medicated again, I got to temp in an office that was a far cry from the nightmare I worked for in my first job here, I (re)discovered chocolate covered ice cream bars, and Aidan was with me. We also got Helena, and oh right, Adam and I got married.

Things got better for me after that first few months, and I’m pretty adjusted now. I still have mixed feelings about living here, though.

THE BAD
There are some pretty damn awful things about living in Chicago. Things like:

– how people start shooting everyone once the summer temperatures hit. really? why do you need to go around shooting and killing folks? and dude, it’s been winter for like, eight months. why are you mad that it’s finally warm?
– people (myself included) are SCARY when they drive here. every time i get behind the wheel (and let’s be honest, i try to avoid that as much as possible), i freak out a little bit. people are super aggressive and quick to honk and throw middle fingers. so am i, i’m ashamed to say. (it’s why i don’t have things on my car that say namaste or something, cause i don’t feel it when i’m behind the wheel!)
– there is never a defined rush hour. bad traffic is almost always a constant. and it’s terrible. when it takes 90 minutes to go 30 miles, you know something’s not right.
– on that same note–the traffic lights. they’re just wrong. there are so many of them, and none of them are timed in a way that makes sense. for example, you will be sitting at a red light and you’ll see the green one on the next block. your light finally turns green… just in time for the light on the next block to turn red just as you get to it. imagine dealing with that for miles and miles. yeah, i understand why the dudebros in the big black suvs get aggressive.
– i hate driving here because it turns me into a raving bitch.
– because people do things here that i don’t see anywhere else. the sheer amount of double parking on the streets still blows my mind. people don’t think twice about blocking traffic to get a sandwich. “my flashers are on, so it’s ok!” they must think. the sense of entitlement some drivers have here is amazing.
– the sales tax. why the hell is it nearly 10%?
– also, why are groceries taxed?
– gas prices in the city are nearly $1 more than in any other part of the state/country.
– the cold lasts so long here. while everyone else in the country is posting pictures of their kids in their spring clothes and things in april and early may, i’m still in gloves and a heavy coat. it doesn’t warm up here until mid-to-late june. we get about eight weeks of really warm temps on average and only two of them are unbearable (for me anyway).
– it’s an intense city. people are in a hurry to go ACCOMPLISH THINGS. or i feel like i can’t walk down the street without someone wanting something from me. it gets to be wearing. i spend a lot of time hiding in my room because just a few days out in that craziness makes me feel violated.
– the library and education system here is not good and they’re getting budget cuts all the time.
– it’s just plain inconvenient to own a car, and that’s done purposefully, with high registration costs, random extra costs like city stickers, expensive and challenging parking, and the awful aforementioned traffic systems.
– people don’t clean up after their dogs in the winter. it’s so gross once the snow finally melts in june and there’s dog poo all over the sidewalks.
– people are loud. and there are a lot of them. i need space.

THE GOOD
But there are some wonderful things about living in Chicago.

– morton arboretum. lots and lots of trees!
– LOTS of amazing authors come here for book events. (remember when i met judy blume?)
– so many opportunities for creative industry folks like me. i get to primarily work from home doing what i love. that’s quite a blessing.
– anderson’s bookshop.
– molly’s cupcakes.
– the cta (but i say that being a person who doesn’t rely on it every single day like some commuters)
– lots to do–it’s your own fault if you’re bored.
– shopping. i can hop on a bus and be at a tiffany & co. in 20 minutes. lots of really great stores that are not common to find.
– cloud gate.
– the skyline really is impressive.
– christmas in chicago is a wonderful thing. everything’s so beautifully decorated. there is the german christmas market downtown, the macy’s store windows, and the big tree in daley plaza.
– they film a lot of movies and tv shows here.
– i can sometimes get background acting roles for movies.
– i can wear my hair natural and not feel like i’m being “subversive” or “making a statement.” because god forbid i wear my hair the way it grows out of my head.
– the community at moksha yoga (which is the one thing i’d really miss if i moved).
– i have an amazing doctor. she really, truly cares about her patients, and she feels like a friend.
– good sushi is right around the corner.
– i mean, i can walk to a delicious sushi place in about three minutes.
– even though they poop everywhere, the dogs are typically pretty friendly and they cheer me up a lot by coming up to me for pets and rubs.
– people as a whole are dicks, but individually, they’re really cool. a lot of folks who live here are super friendly. except when they’re driving. then they’re assholes. so am i.
– it’s cool to say “i live in Chicago” when people ask where i’m visiting from.
– i’ve gotten to do some really cool things, things that would have never happened if i haven’t lived here: becoming friends with sarah dessen, meeting weird al, being an extra in divergent and seeing kate winslet in person, meeting ll cool j, getting to go backstage at certain shows, hanging out with ricky luna, all the master yoga teachers i’ve studied with, getting certified to be a yoga teacher, the huge fireworks in my neighborhood every july 4….

Now, Adam is absolutely in LOVE with Chicago, so I don’t see us leaving here any time soon. But sometimes I do fleetingly think of moving somewhere new. Sometimes, I just feel like I’m ready for a new adventure. Except I’m not sure where I want that adventure to be! I do know this: I want somewhere warmer (or at least somewhere with a normal winter), less expensive, less crowded, less intense, and more green. It’s so weird, one never knows where they will end up, right? Ten years ago, I would have NEVER pictured this life…even though I had started planting the seeds to grow this life. So who knows what new awesome things are in store for me? :)

The Cutest Decorated House I Ever Did See!

I like to drive around and look at Christmas displays all over the city. I really enjoy going through neighborhoods where the people really take pride in their displays. The other night, Adam and I drove out to Rosemont and made our way into a gated community who really did it up!

A Christmas Display in Rosemont

A Christmas Display in Rosemont A Christmas Display in Rosemont

A Christmas Display in Rosemont

This was my favorite of the night, and is my favorite of ALL TIME, house out of the whole neighborhood:

A Christmas Display in Rosemont

Pictures don’t do it justice! It’s so cute and clever! :)

I love this season!

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