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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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No Idea For a Title (Pictures)

Holy cow. Fewer than 20 days until Thanksgiving! That means fewer than 20 days until dressing and gravy and mac&cheese and homemade cranberry sauce and all sorts of delicious noms.

The past few days have been super chilly. Temps in the 30s when I walk out in the morning, not making it out of the 40s for the high. I hate it. Me and the cold? Not good friends. That’s probably why I have so many coats and hats and gloves and scarves. Now that my hair is really curly and sticky-outtie, I am not sure how to keep my head warm during the winter. Hats don’t really fit over my hair, and earmuffs and head wraps won’t be enough for long. I suppose I’ll just have to smash my hair down, and fluff it back up when I take my hat off. I’m all about comfort over style. I don’t play when it comes to keeping warm.

I’ve started seriously thinking about Christmas shopping, but haven’t actually DONE any yet. I already know one thing I am getting Adam, one thing I’m getting my mom, and a few things I’m getting Aidan. I’ll probably get to work on that stuff soon. I enjoy going out to the stores to shop, but I got another Amazon Prime membership, so I imagine I’ll be ordering quite a bit as well.

I’ll probably put the tree up… early December or so. I enjoy decorating for Christmas–it’s about the only time I’m any good at it, but I don’t like to do it too early. A lot of stores around are already doing so. Macy’s windows are done. I plan to look at them Monday during my lunch. I’ll post pictures, probably on my Flickr. :)

Work is still really crazy. I clocked 47.75 hours this week. That’s nothing compared to some people. But I did NOT have to go in last Sunday, thank goodness. They keep reassuring me that Schawk is not like this all year! Just a few weeks left of fourth quarter, but I’ll be sad because one of the temps will most likely be leaving (I hope they keep extending her contract if not hiring her altogether) because she makes work a *lot* of fun.

I dream of the Sears ads. I often find myself waking up and seeing a page, wondering how to make it better. That’s madness. I wonder if that will ever go away. I certainly hope it does.

I can tell Helena misses me. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with her these days. When I was home all the time, I’d lie on the couch and she’d lie on my feet or legs and purr and purr and purr. If I was sitting up, she’d butt up against me (like she’s doing now!) and just sleep. I’m gone all day, and when I get home, I hop on the computer, work, gobble down some dinner, take my bath/shower, prepare for work and go to bed. Yesterday morning, I took my time getting in (cause um, hello, it was Saturday), and she was sitting on the couch in her spot. I just pet her and cuddled her and she purred like crazy. She didn’t even try to bite me when I rubbed her tummy.

I love my little Helena.

Friday evening, I took a Fall Detox Vinyasa class. It certainly was not what I was expecting. There was amazing music which I loved, and oil. Lots of oil. Asanas. Some hard stuff. Some easy stuff. Some stuff I love like pigeon and double pigeon. I’m definitely getting stronger when it comes to plank and chattaranga, but those first down dogs are always so hard for me for some reason. When class was over, I felt happily yoga drunk, chatting with people, eating fruit, and drinking dandelion tea. There’s another detox right after Thanksgiving. I wonder if I’ll be ready for that. Especially for those hard moves…it’s for intermediate to advanced students, so maybe I’ll hold off until next year. I’m still pretty new to yoga.

I could be telling myself this because I know parts of it is hard and I have trouble keeping up. And I might be too scared/lazy to take the challenge.

But here was the funny thing. Friday evening was the first time I’d been to a yoga class since Amber’s class not last week, but the week before. It’s amazing how quickly the fast pace of downtown was in my blood. I keep mentally yelling at people to HURRY UP and GET OUT OF MY WAY and wondering why they were all moving.so.darn.slowly. But then I realized that *I* was the one not centering. My mind was in a million directions, and my body was following suit. I was impatient and irritable and fidgety. But then class started and I felt better once the Sun Salutes started.

It’s so hard to do make yoga a priority these days, when work/chores/responsibilities is taking up what feels like every free moment. But I HAVE to do it, for my sake.

I must make yoga a priority.

So, I’m planning on attending a couple of workshops in January, the kirtan on November 20th, and some weekend practices. My friend Cassandra, whom I met at Moksha, is now a certified teacher at P.S. Yoga and she personally invited me to take her Monday night class. So I’ll have to make sure I do that sooner than later. I love her teaching. She has such great energy, too. I watched her grow over the summer when she was teaching her karma classes; I attended one of her workshops. She said that she had a lot to teach me, and I’m eager to see how much more she’s grown, and what she wants to show me. :)

As a gift to myself for getting a job, I ordered an Ellowyne Wilde doll. I’d been looking at her for months, and I got a free shipping code from an email, plus the one I wanted is and end of edition doll (meaning she’s about to be sold out and retired), so she was marked down! Here is my newest girl!

My Ellowyne Wilde Doll
My Ellowyne Wilde Doll My Ellowyne Wilde Doll

I am in love with her. Absolutely smitten with this doll. Her clothes–the fabric is really good quality, and she comes with jewelry. But my favorite is her beautiful red curls and green eyes. I don’t plan on buying any more. She’s special, and I don’t want to overwhelm myself. (Says the girl with 12 American Girl dolls, all but four of the Monster High dolls, many Doctor Who and other assorted action figures, Barbie dolls, and more.)

So, I know she comes with the name Ellowyne, but I feel like I should give her a name that I choose. I haven’t decided on one yet, though. I know it’ll come to me. Or maybe it won’t and she’ll stay Ellowyne. We’ll see what happens.

At any rate, I’m tired. I’m going to head to bed with my ARC of Afterlife by Claudia Gray (ooo, aren’t you jealous?) and hope it doesn’t scare me awake! (I was reading it while taking a short break in the cafeteria Saturday, and the ice machine did its thang where it drops ice and makes lots of noise–yeah, startled me. I was all on edge b/c of this book!)

Anyway. *rubs eyes* Good night! I plan to sleep in big time. We’ll see if the cats/neighbors/weather will let me!

P.S. Oooh YAY extra hour! :D

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Just A Little Bit Busy… (Pictures)

It’s fourth quarter again. Looking at the trends from the past few years on my Web site, it’s obvious that fourth quarter is not the time to be expecting many updates from me! And this year, I am busier than ever.

In addition to Schawk! (where I am working part time this year–three to four long days a week), I am doing freelance work for Critical Mass (an ad agency in Chicago), Shakespeare Squared (an educational publishing company in Chicagoland), and I will be starting a project for Rainbow Educational Concepts (an educational publishing company based in Chicago and Arkansas) in a few weeks. (I have to admit, I am most excited about my opportunity with Rainbow. I saw a sample of what I’ll be working on and yeah… SQUEE!) In addition to that, I am still doing occasional work for Loyola. I am swamped, and even though I am tired, I am grateful.

Most days, I work from home, right here on my couch. Usually, a certain sweet orange kitty cuddles at my feet:

Cuddly Kitty

But the days I go to Schawk, I have a marvelous view, even if it is noisy, sitting by a window.

Room With A View

Since the last time I updated, I went to Ohio to visit friends and family at the beginning of September. First I visited Cleveland, where I saw my mom and my friend Andy. I got to eat at Hartville Kitchen (nom), and I visited the “A Christmas Story” house. I also managed to snag an entire tub of old pictures for scanning. That’s a project I’ll be working on this December, although I got a bunch of them done already.

Then we visited Columbus. It was so nice being in Columbus again. I was sad that I’d forgotten my way around, though. Thank goodness for my GPS. I bought one of those since last updating–a refurbished TomTom that helped us get around with no problems. I got to visit my friend Heather when I was there, and meeting her new little baby was fun. Adam dropped in at the school where Ms. Yingling works and was treated like a rock star!

Adam and Ms. Yingling

Since I’ve last updated, I attended the Urban Pig Roast, which was a block party on my street. Lots of free food and booze, but I didn’t have any of that. I did have lots of pink lemonade, though. And pork. Mmm pork. I went to two yoga workshops (one with master teacher Seane Corn), met Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games trilogy), visited the new Disney Store that opened in the Block 37 Shops downtown, ate turkish food at Pars Cove (om nom lentil soup yum yum mmmm), acquired two new Monster High dolls, read many new books, lost count of the number of Molly’s Cupcakes I scarfed down, and though I did this before my last update, I forgot to mention that I rode in a boat on Lake Michigan in August.

Here is a small photo montage of the past six weeks:

Chicago Skyline from Lake Michigan Montrose Harbour
The A Christmas Story House
Jeni's Ice Cream Aidan and His Plane Cherry Ice Cream Soda
Out with Friends at Pars Cove The Disney Store at Block 37
I Got To Meet Suzanne Collins! Seane Corn and Me

Meeting Suzanne Collins was quick, but she was very sweet in the very short time we had together. Learning from Seane Corn was amazing and I really hope to get the opportunity to attend one of her workshops again.

I had a great summer and can’t believe it’s already over and that we’re pretty much into fall now. Time is flying. Only 73 days until Christmas. I’ve barely begun thinking about Christmas shopping, let alone decorating and things. And travel. Blah. I’m worn out just thinking about it.

Fourth quarter is when I let a lot of things kind of slide by the wayside. I’ve cut down my Facebook games to only two that I play regularly now, and even those get neglected when I am buried in work as I am now. I haven’t cleaned in ages. Writing is definitely on hold. My brain is fried by the time I am done proofreading or copyediting for the day. When I the work of the day is done, I want to eat fried foods and watch mindless TV. Yoga doesn’t happen as often as it used to, either, although I did go Saturday and yesterday. Mia, one of my favorite teachers, even commented on how much stronger I am. (I don’t feel much stronger, but I did rock that long chattaranga pose, so maybe I am.) I plan to get myself back on track once fourth quarter is over. But for now, I’m just makin’ that money.

Oh well. I’d like to update more, but I’m tired. And thirsty. Two long work days ahead, but I’m very much looking forward to Saturday because Aidan will be here!! I hope to take him to the new Disney Store. He has $15 that I forgot to give him when I saw him last, so maybe he can pick out something cool there.

OK then, good night!

ETA: I forgot to post one of the best pictures of summer:

A Real Modern Family!
Aidan’s very own Modern Family

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Mayday! MAYDAY! (Picture)

Holy banana, it’s May! The first part of April went so slowly, until Aidan got here. Then it sped by. Now, it’s already MAY. Which means only one week until Aidan’s here for Mother’s Day weekend! He lost his first tooth last week, and another is loose.

Chicago weather doesn’t seem to know which direction it wants to go. Some days, it’s nice, in the low 70s, but then it goes to the 40s or 50s and hovers around there. One day last week, there was a 30 degree temperature drop within an hour’s time. Insane!

Work hasn’t been too crazy, but things are supposed to ramp up like mad next week. I did end up working last Sunday and will have to work this coming Sunday as well. This past week, I just have not really been feeling myself. Burned out and tired is how I’ve been feeling. Kind of listless and blah. But tomorrow, I will go and get my hair done and even a manicure (the salon said they had a special because I booked over the phone–$15 manicures!), and hopefully feel relaxed and pampered enough to go into another… well, it’ll be at least a six-day work week. (I really need a 90 minute full body massage, but I don’t know when I’ll have time for such things, with my unpredictable work schedule.)

Aidan flies in on Friday morning to spend Mother’s Day weekend with me. That’s a YAY. I’m excited to see him. :) The BOO is that he’ll probably be spending a lot of next weekend with me at my office. We had a really crazy pitch in March, and the one coming up this week is supposed to be about three times the size. So… that means I’m going to be exhausted for a couple weeks there. Should have nice paychecks, though.

Which is always a good thing, right?

So, I haven’t posted for a few weeks. In those few weeks, I got a new messenger bag. It’s pretty big, but it’s pink and grey and it’s not canvas which is good because it’s definitely rainy season around here. I got two more American Girl dolls (and I promise, this is it for new dolls for a while!) and some clothes for them. This brings my total to five, which is a nice round number. I doubt I get any more. That’s not to say that same for little adorable doll outfits and clothes. ;) I also got Riley’s ears pierced, and the piercing came with a box of 6 pairs of earrings for her to wear. Adam thought I’d want to get all the other dolls’ ears pierced too, but I don’t think so.

Some people buy old dolls that need a lot of help and customize them. I think that would be a lot of fun. I’d make a Hannah Montana one. Haha. Anyway, here are ALL my girls:

My American Girls
Riley, Marisol, Molly, Kit, Ruthie
(None of them are in their original outfits, or what is known in the AG community as their “Meet” outfits.)

Today, I got to help a bit on the set of At Last, Okemah. I had a small part in the movie, but I had to drop out because of work being so crazy and unpredictable. Today was my first visit to one of the filming locations. I worked the clapboard. That means I had to hold it up in front of the camera and say “Scene 14, Shot 35, Series” or things of that sort. It was cool, but it made me nervous! I was told I did a good job, though. :)

I’m sitting here listening to music on my computer and singing along with some of the songs. Every time I start singing, Crookshanks, who is curled up against me, looks up at me and starts purring. :) I guess he doesn’t think my voice is all that terrible.

I’ve read two books recently. SUCKS TO BE ME by Kimberly Pauley, and PURE by Terra Elan McVoy. Getting ready to start on SLEEPAWAY GIRLS by Jen Calonita, which I got for free from a tweet from Book Divas! YAY for free books, right? I also picked up some books at Borders last weekend. There were a bunch of $3.99 ones all over the place. I grabbed a couple that sounded interesting: THE TEN BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE and THE SLEEPING BEAUTY PROPOSAL. They’re *gasp* adult books! :) But back into familiar territory, I need to get hold of Elizabeth Scott’s newest one because I love her writing.

Today, I got out of work early, and Adam picked me up. On our way back to the apartment, the car ran over a BAD pothole/railroad track. This nasty knocking sound came. We pulled over and couldn’t see anything. Fortunately, our car fixer-upper was really close, so we drove there and walked home. After an hour, Adam walked over. The tracks or something had knocked some stuff out of alignment and flattened the tires and bent some rims–it was not pretty. The guy told Adam a fix up like that would normally be $500, but since we live in the neighborhood, it was only $40. :D Now, I’m pretty sure it really wasn’t a $500 fix up, but it’s cool that it was only $40. And apparently, if we whine enough to the city, they’ll reimburse us for the costs. Not sure if Adam will pursue that, though.

Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be 62? and sunny, so my outing should be really nice. It’s also likely to be the last day I get to enjoy any warm spring weather for a while! But there are pros to working some of those late nights:

– They buy dinner.
– I don’t have to take the bus home; the company springs for a cab.
– I can wear my slippers and track suits or running pants.
– The money!!!!!!

And that, my friends, is about all. My brain is now fried. Good night.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Work It!

It’s very nice to be called into the boss’s office and told that you’re doing a great job and they want to keep you around. :)

My trial period at Ogilvy was supposed to end tomorrow, and I was to learn the fate of my freelance status. On Tuesday, I was kind of a wreck because well, I need this job, you know? And even though I’d been getting kudos, I still sometimes self-doubt because as a new person, I wasn’t working up to my own standards. Of course, I am new, so I’m not going to be an expert right away on things, but still. I’m hard on myself that way. Anyway, I came in Wednesday morning to find a note from Gail (the lead proofreader and the person who is training me), and she told me I was doing fine. That made me smile. Later that day, the recruiter who initially found me called and asked if I’d be interested in staying on. “Absolutely,” I said. She then began to relay to me all the complimentary things that Gail and Sean (my boss) had said about me. Then, last evening, Sean pulled Gail and me into his office where they told me lots of nice things about my work and said they were happy to have me there!

I’m happy to *be* there. It’s such a great company. Last night, I worked kinda late, and they ordered dinner from this awesome Greek place. I got grilled chicken spanaka and IT WAS OUTSTANDING! I’d never had it before, and I certainly couldn’t finish it all (there was a ton!), but my Adam was able to polish off the rest for me when I brought him the leftovers.

I am learning so much and I love everything I’m learning. There is so much to absorb, so many different products and styles to learn. I’ve proofed presentations, coupons, displays, banners. I was the girl who wondered “who gets to proofread these things?” Now, I’m the girl doing it! I’m excited to come into work every morning.

The days can be long, but the 10am start time is perfect for me. There is the ice cream, the game tables (which I haven’t even played yet), the breakfast foods on Mondays. I love wearing jeans to work every day, listening to my music while I proofread all sorts of projects. I like the dark Studio, no bright glaring lights. Just desk lights and the glowing of computer monitors. Speaking of monitors, I love my HUGE monitor, and the Mac that is updated with new software. I like sharing iTunes libraries. I know that there are going to be some insanely busy times coming up (next week, for instance), and people have been known to sleep there overnight. But I am getting good money to do what I love, and I get to work in an atmosphere that makes me feel trusted and comfortable and pushes me to do better every single day.

I feel very lucky and grateful.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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