a look back at 2016.

Was 2016 a good year for you?

The world had a rough 2016. A lot of sadness, loss, and pain. I grieve with the rest of us over the hard things that have happened, and hope for healing and love. Sadly, I have a lot of fear for what’s to come, but since this post is about looking back, I won’t go into it here.

For me personally, I cannot complain. I worked a lot, but I never worried about money. I was able to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences (although I’d like to, and plan to, make some of them happen a lot more!), and I got to travel to New York City, Disney World, and Scotland, make new friends, and improve my writing.

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
– flew first class
– attended a red (black) carpet event
– attended a movie premiere
– attended a celebrity-studded after party
– attended the New York City Teen Author Festival
– traveled out of the United States
– visited a castle (other than Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, although I did visit Cinderella Castle this year as well)
– slept in a mansion
– went on a writing retreat
– got hypnotized
– attended a con party
– spoke on a con panel
– attended chambanacon
– got a mammogram
– ROLL PODS!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Well, I don’t know her that well yet, but the new wife of my cousin gave birth to the most adorable baby boy.

Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thank God.

What countries did you visit?
– Ireland (for a layover, 2x)
– Scotland

What date(s) from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 14: I got to talk to Theo James I got to talk to Theo James I got to talk to Theo James!!!!
Ronni asks Theo a question (AOL Build)

March 14: I met Jordan Rodrigues!!! I loved him on Dance Academy and on The Fosters, and he was sooo amazingly nice and great to talk to. He’s a really cool guy and I wish him the very best.
Me and Jordan Rodrigues

March 14: I attended a movie premiere and all sorts of cool stuff came with that experience
The Divergent Series: Allegiant World Premiere, Red Carpet, and After Party

May 13: I finally made it out of the United States
Off to the UK on Aer Lingus

August 15: Got to fly first class for the first time and loved it, of course
#firstclassflight

October 8: The day I met the lovely Jennifer Niven and we discovered we were friend soulmates forever. My world shines brighter because she’s in it.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finally making it to another country! And I did it all by myself, only had one panic attack and got lost once, but I survived and loved it. So excited to do it again someday soon.

What was your biggest failure?
Keeping the apartment clean. EPIC FAIL on that one.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
– got a couple of colds, but they didn’t last very long
– depression and anxiety got a bit out of control, so I started therapy and being much better about taking my meds
– fibroids grew a lot, necessitating the need to schedule a surgery (for early 2017)
– anemia (due to the fibroids)

Where did most of your money go?
travel, clothes, purses, toys, books, and gifts

What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?
Sorry – Beyonce
Formation – Beyonce
The Greatest – Sia
Revolution – Diplo
Gasoline – Halsey

What do you wish you’d done more of?
– ***writing***
– yoga
– moving my body in general
– learning
– traveling
– journaling
– connecting with my friends

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Spending time on social media. It’s a great way to network and make friends, but it also takes away from my writing and productivity. I need to find a better balance.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
– Halsey
– Låpsley

What did you want and get?
– to talk to Theo James :)
– a trip to New York City
– a trip to Disney World
– a trip to Scotland
– a new Prada purse
– a Kate Spade bag (I got 2 actually)
– LuLaRoe leggings
– a new computer
– new writer friends, near and far

ChiYA December 2016
(I love the striped sweater OK?)

What did you want and not get?
– MORE AIDAN TIME (there is never enough)
– to talk MORE to Theo James
– to see the Statue of Liberty, the Cloisters, and the High Line in NYC
– a major book deal
– a visit to Morton Arboretum

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 42. (Seriously, how am I 42?) I spent the day working, then I went out to dinner at Sakura with Adam and Aidan.
If the rest of 42 (oh god how am I 42) is like today, I'm gonna have a great year!! #yay #happy 😊🌈⭐

What kept you sane?
– writing
– therapy
– friends

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Theo James

What political issue stirred you the most?
– Black Lives Matter
– the election
– the Dakota Access Pipeline

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Change comes slowly and painfully, and resistance is real and strong, especially when some people think they’ll benefit more from the status quo no matter how much it’s actually hurting everyone.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
– Yoga clothes: leggings, tanks. The brighter the better.
– Skinny jeans and boots.
– Denim jackets, yes please.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Signing with an amazing literary agent

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? the same
iii. richer or poorer? richer

In 2017, I’m looking forward to:
– being recovered from my surgery
– the Writing Cross-Culturally Workshop
– domestic travel (mostly to visit friends)
– international travel
– another Disney trip
– writing a new book
– more yoga, and getting back to barre
– new music and books
– seeing Aladdin on stage
– seeing The Nutcracker for Christmas
Beauty and the Beast in theatres
Everything, Everything in theatres

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

my hopes for the next 4 years….

Spectacular Sun

– that I have the bravery to speak up if/when I see injustice, and if/when it happens to me
– that I don’t become complacent
– that I stay vigilant, awake, and strong
– that I survive
– that my friends survive
– that right and good prevail

gearing up.

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Today is the autumnal equinox. Sometimes, a change of seasons is a big deal to me. Other times, not so much. This one though? It feels different. I can’t put my finger on why. It just does. Things feel unsettled, in limbo, suspended. Like I’m on the precipice of something. But I have no idea what.

I’m not sure if I like it. It’s anxious-making and scary-making and exciting all at once.

And it’s confusing. I don’t know if these feelings are real, or if they’re the result of meds, caffeine, delusion, or all of the above. There’s certainly nothing currently pending in my life to warrant this feeling of edge. :(

{gear up.}

Starting today, I have a new contract with one of my favorite clients. The scope of the work is immense, which means long, long days for the next month. In addition, it’ll be AEP time at Humana, which means nonstop editing all day every day. Plus, Aidan is visiting for a long Columbus Day weekend, my friend Sun is coming for a visit, and there is the YA Lit Conference. I feel like I’m forgetting something(s).

Fall’s going to be busy. I was up from 3–5am, worrying about how I’m going to juggle all the stuff coming at me the next few weeks. It’s hard for me to say ‘no’ to a paying client, so I’m kinda hoping no one else asks me until October has passed!

{create.}

Writing/revising is definitely on the back burner. Novel is off hopefully being read and garnering feedback. I will brainstorm and stuff, but nothing serious right now. It’s a lot of work with little payoff at the moment, and let’s be real, I gotta do the paying work first. Because I like having a place to live and I like buying things. I will likely go on a Twitter break so I can spend time focusing instead of mindlessly scrolling.

Writing is the one thing that makes me so super happy, yet also so very devastated. Wait, scratch that. Writing is great. Revising is better. The publication journey is what hurts. So very much.

{deliver.}

In August, I posted my lists of fall To Dos and Goals.

Here is my progress so far:

To Dos
– get car jumped
– get emissions test
– register for Anderson’s YA Lit Conference
– massive laundry
– various medical things
– trip report blog post
– process photos

Goals
– write a short story
– read at least 6 new books (to make my goal of 15 for the year) – note: I’ve read 5, so only 1 more to go!
– start writing a new novel
– go to yoga at least 10 times – note: I’ve been doing weekly private yoga therapy sessions at Room to Breathe with sweet Serena. They’ve been going great. I may not get up to 10, but I’m doing *something* at least.
– pay off 2 credit cards
– visit the arboretum (I missed it last year)

{now.}

October is busy for Adam too. It’s his ghost/historian month, so he has tours and speaking engagements and God knows what else. He also began driving Lyft, and he LOVES it. It really is the perfect job for him.

The apartment is kind of a mess. I’m about ready to buy 4839584950 crates and fill them with all the things and put all those crates of all the things into the garage. I’m overwhelmed by clutter. I still haven’t completely unpacked from Disney World OR my cousin’s wedding. Helena had a trip to the vet because she refuses to pee in the litter box. And naturally all her blood work came out clean…but she is still pooping right next to the litter box and picking random places to pee—and that will be her spot for several weeks until she picks something new. Basically, she’s just a bad cat and that’s our cross to bear for now.

I’ve been watching House Hunters on Netflix. I finished the latest collection last night. Some of the people are infuriating with the silly things they get fixated on, which are most likely “quirks” assigned by the producers to create drama. But I enjoyed seeing some of the couples. The diversity is great. And I like that they show a variety of incomes. I’ll likely never be able to own property in Chicago, and I’m OK with that, because I’m not trying to live here forever anyway. The show does make me dream about owning a big house again someday. I miss the house in Pataskala a lot. Just a place to fit all my stuff, and room to put in more stuff. I’m a homebody, I like to have everything I need and want at home.

I wake up every morning about 4 or 5am to use the bathroom—then I climb back into bed and proceed to toss and turn for at least an hour with a racing heart and mind. Anything and everything creeping in, pushing out sleep, and making me worry. Monday, my therapist said something about me taking time to process thoughts instead of watching them float away (like they tell us to do in yoga all the time), but I think my problem is that I process them too much and too long, and that’s why I’m up in the middle of the night like, “Sleep, dammit, you can’t do anything about [various dilemmas and such] now so just go to sleep already.”

I am so tired.

I just got an email with the subject: Feel Better in Your Body With Probiotics
And it made me realize how very rare it is for me to feel good in my body. Ongoing medical issues not withstanding (and which I’m waiting for test results for), a lot of times, I just feel wrong. Like I want to rip my skin off. I know I’ve posted about this before. It keeps happening. It’s physical, emotional, and psychological. I want to climb into bed and hide under the covers and burrow. And it doesn’t help that there was cilantro in my lunch today and now I have that taste stuck in my mouth.

Anyway, wrapping this up because it’s over 1000 words of nothing. Maybe soon I’ll get up the Disney pictures.

Till next time…..

Morton Arboretum Autumn 2012

finding joy.

Let’s face it. It’s been a rough weekend and start of the week. What with the earthquake and avalanche on Everest, the uprisings in Baltimore…so much life lost. There is a lot to make my heart heavy.

And yet, life goes on all over the world. That means good things along with the bad things. Is it okay for me to find joy when times are so troubled?

Blossoms!!! #spring #Chicago #tree ????????

Here are the things making me happy right now:

Meeting author friends who are positive and amazing.

Tuesday, I got to see Susane Colasanti again. The last time I saw her was in 2010. She’s one of my favorite authors because she is so positive. She dreams big, chases those dreams, and achieves them. She’s beautiful on the inside as well as outside, and her brightness is contagious. I am so LUCKY to know her.

So grateful I got to see @susanecolasanti, author of @citylovetrilogy. The last time I saw her was five years ago. She's such an inspiration to me. ???????? I know so many amazing people. My cup runneth over. #author #booksigning #inspirat

This was us in 2010:

Susane Colasanti and Me

mantrabands

I got another @mantraband today! ???? #mantraband #jewelry #believe #love

I wear these bracelets called mantrabands. They’re so pretty and such an easy reminder to keep certain words, thoughts, and feelings going through my head. My friend Reshma put the idea in my head a few weeks ago when she was in town for the weekend. (I miss her so much.) She wears them. I saw them a few days later at The Dailey Method and grabbed one, fell in love and ordered another one online that night!

My Mickey Mouse beanie

I really like this hat. #disneyside #mickeymouse #selfie #latergram

Boy do I love this beanie. I picked it up from Hot Topic one day on a whim and have been attached to it every since.

It’s Spring!

Blossoms!!! #spring #Chicago #tree ????????

Trees are blooming all over Chicago! I need to go out and take pictures. They’re so pretty and my favorite tree down the street is pink and bright and beautiful so I HAVE to get photos of that. Soon, the lilacs will be out.

Temps are holding steady in the mid to upper 50s during the day, and that feels a lot nicer when it’s sunny out than when it’s rainy out. We haven’t had a crazy amount of rain, though, and I’m OK with that. I’ll be excited when the temps are in the lower to mid 70s and holding, but that won’t be for a while. But hey, I will take this over freezing, snow, and ice.

Finding joy in the little things every day helps when the big bad things threaten to overwhelm me. There is so much in our world that’s broken and sometimes I just wish I had the resources, time, and energy to fix it all. But I can’t, and I have to be okay with that. I just have to do what I can and hope it’s good enough.

drifting.

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Daylight Savings Time started on March 8, and I feel like I’ve been knocked off orbit and have been kind of floundering ever since. Didn’t really help that the weather did a drastic about face (not that I’m complaining but it did add to the general sense of WTF) and my cycle was on its way. Plus, it was a year ago I went to Los Angeles for the Divergent screening, so sure I was going to meet my favorite actor, and that didn’t even happen. And I know someone who will probably get to meet him tonight and it’s driving me crazy. What do you call that feeling when you’re happy and excited for your friend while also being insanely and arm-bitingly jealous? That’s me right now.

I finished watching Dance Academy and why did no one tell me that when you binge watch a show and that show ends that you feel out of sorts and a bit lost? I’ve also decided to put my novel away for a least a month, let it *marinate* so to speak, so I can revise it with fresh eyes. Believe me, it needs some revising. But I’m not quite sure WHAT to revise, hence the *marination situation*. God, I want that book contract so bad I can taste it. I want my name on that NYT list so bad it hurts. I’m just glad I’m finally DOING something about it, although this *marinating* thing involves waiting and I talked about how I feel about that in my last entry.

My sleep pattern is all weird, and my dreams have been technicolor vivid and some of them have been disturbing. So many people from my past knocking on my sub-conscious and I don’t know why.

I just read this article on Mind, Body, Green about soul loss. I feel 13/20 of these things. I know I’m going through some stuff, but it doesn’t seem much to warrant sounding a huge alarm about. But who knows.

The change in weather has been a good thing, though. It’s like, I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. We had a lovely weekend, and although it’s getting cold again, it’s not freezing and the sun is out. Snow is just about gone. My car started right up. I just need to get her tire fixed so I can drive to my late yoga classes again. All the restorative classes end after it gets dark. I wish I was more intelligent when it comes to car stuff.

I started barre classes and yoga again, and I even made my way to Joffrey Academy for a ballet class (which my hamstrings and calves are having angry words with me about at this very moment). I stopped by the salon around the corner and got a deep conditioner, a blow out, and a trim. Only losing 1.5 inches considering I hadn’t had a trim since 2009 isn’t too bad, right? Now my hair feels like silk and looks like this:

Hair. #treatyoself #blowout #naturalhair #spring #selfie
i can’t stop touching it

I don’t know about you, but I hate getting my hair trimmed. I sit there in the chair internally screaming “PUT THE SCISSORS AWAY. PUT THEM DOWN GET RID OF THEM OMG NO NO NO STOP!” Even though I’m the one who gave permission for the trim. Even though I know it’ll be better for my hair in the long run. It still sucks because any length I get is so hard won, and I so desperately want to have long hair. People say “it’s only hair” but those are usually the people whose hair grows a foot every six months. My hair? It grows slowly, slowly, slowly, and has a tendency to break right off once it gets to a certain length. There are people whose hair can grow to their butts. Several times. I have NEVER had hair come CLOSE. And anytime it gets cut, I always worry that it’s just not going to come back. Now my nails? They grow like gangbusters. I don’t get it.


hair goals, except in my own color
mine is not that thick, so it won’t happen
but i’d like the length

I tried some new nail thing at the end of January and it damaged the hell out of them. I didn’t realize it was some form of acrylic nail. They led me to believe it was a gel polish. I don’t need acrylic or fake nails. I have great nails. But now they’re half healthy and half damaged and fragile; there is a clear line on my nails where that crap was. In this instance, I’m glad my nails grow fast. They should be back to normal by summer.

Anyway.

I think I’m stressing because I don’t feel *settled*. I’m not sure if that’s the right word. March 17 marks my 7-year anniversary of living in Chicago, and all I could think the past few months was how much I want to leave Chicago and go live somewhere new. But now that the temperatures are warming up, I think that feeling will fade away for a while, at least until January 2016!

Plus the thought of packing everything and moving is extremely overwhelming and makes me want to hide under a blanket and sleep for a really long time.

But it’s not just where I live. It’s everything. I had no idea that for some of us, being an adult meant that WE’D STILL HAVE NO IDEA. Or maybe it’s just me? Almost everyone else I know seems to have it together, or at least fakes it enough. I still don’t feel like a grown-up inside. I don’t think I *want* to feel like one inside.

Frankly, this turning 40 stuff is really messing with my mind. I’ve had nearly three months to get used to it and I AM SO TOTALLY NOT GETTING USED TO IT. I check around my eyes for lines constantly. I keep finding grey hairs. I’m physically changing in ways that I don’t even know. I used to say I’d grow old gracefully but um, I don’t know about that now. Youth is worshipped in this country, and although I can pass, inside I feel kind of like a fake. So there’s that. Feeling like an imposter grown up and also an imposter young person.

Blah. It’s the same song, right? People really don’t change, do they? I swear I’ve been dealing with these same issues for ages. Like, this entry, from year and a month ago to the day. Same lamenting. Same reflection. Same same same. Where does someone like me even fit?

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