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…)

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…)

Ice Cream at Work (Pictures)

One of the perks of working where I am is that there is a cooler stocked with ice cream. When I stopped by yesterday, it was pretty well cleaned out. But I stopped by today after lunch and HOLY ICE CREAM!!

Ice Cream Cooler Ice Cream Cooler

Did I mention that this ice cream is free?

But you know, even if that cooler wasn’t there, I really like it there. :) I’ve worked two days and immediately felt at home. The projects I worked on–I really enjoyed them. I am eager to be really up to speed so that I can take on more work.

Today, when I got home, Adam had a cup of tea waiting for me. :)

Yay.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

Working Girl

Tomorrow, I start freelance proofreading for Ogilvy, an ad agency. It was just one of those things–walking in for the interview, I felt like I belonged there. The commute is easy, the place is neat, they supply ICE CREAM, there are game tables and updated software and computers, and I can wear jeans and listen to headphones while I work.

But best of all, I get to do what I love!

I have never been so excited about starting a new position before.

YAY!!!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

Finally, A Weekend! (Pictures, Long)

This will be my first full weekend in over a month. I’m so glad I like the work and the people I work with, because otherwise, working six days a week would be awful. As it is, I feel weird not going in tomorrow. If I hadn’t already turned in my time sheet for the week, I probably would reconsider and pop in for a few hours! I care that much about the work and I like the job that much. But I am tired and was encouraged by team members to take a break because I really shouldn’t work six days a week for ten weeks in a row. Plus, I got sick twice the past couple of weeks, and even though the colds were fairly minor, last Saturday, I was miserable! I came home, took medicine, fell into bed and stayed there until Sunday evening! Still, I remember last year this time, I was starting that horrific three-month sore throat. I am SO GLAD I’m not dealing with that this year!

I started to get melancholy this week, because my assignment is slated to end on November 26th. I’ve never been SAD about leaving a job before, but with this one, I really will grieve! I love the work, the culture, the commute, everything, even the six day weeks and sometimes ten hour work days. Today, some people dressed up for the holiday, and people were passing out candy, and the company bought pizza and salad and beverages for all of us to enjoy for lunch.

I leave work at the end of the day with a spring in my step, because I just spent all day working my butt off and loving every minute of it. And the thought of going back to combing the job boards, sending out a billion resumes to get maybe one or two bites, then going on interviews and doing hours of interview homework frankly depresses me. It seriously makes me want to cry.

I believe that if you put the energy out there, then something can happen with it. So this is what I’m going to put out there. I want to work full time at Schawk. I want to be a permanent employee. Everyday I go in and hope that they see something in me that makes them say “You know, this girl is good. Her attitude is awesome, and we can really tell that she cares about and likes the work. We’re going to offer her a position here because we know she’ll bring value to our team and our company.”

We’ll see what happens. I know the economy, and the reality though, and I’m going to try not to cry too much that day. In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy the time I do have there for sure. It’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life. And I mean that 100%.

Today is Halloween, and I didn’t dress up. I did wear a tee-shirt to commemorate the occasion, though.

Me on Halloween

I got a lot of compliments on my headband. :)

Adam did dress up, though. Here he is with Hector before their crazy night of Weird Chicago tours.

Halloween 2008

Helena has been a very good girl and hasn’t peed on the bed in a long time. I’m proud of her. She’s gotten used to me being gone, and I give her a little extra attention in the mornings before I leave for work which she seems to like. Some of my best evenings are when she and Crookshanks curl up beside me while I play on Flickr or something.

Honestly, though, I’m only missing one thing from my life and that’s Aidan’s hugs and kisses. It’s so hard not hearing his little voice every day and having him clinging to me and touching my cheek. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and wonder how he’s doing. The other day I was talking to him, and he said “Mommy, I was looking at the picture of you and me and Daddy and I started cwying.” I asked him why, and he said because he missed me. That’s a big void, and even though I don’t regret moving to Chicago and being with Adam, I miss my son terribly and I want need to see him soon.

Other than that, I’m really happy. And I’ve been happy for a long time now. I like working. I like coming home to Adam at the end of the day. Some nights he makes the most delicious dinners. Wednesday night, I told him I wanted something light, and he made tomato basil soup with chicken. It was perfect and amazing. Tonight, he made beef and noodles. The beef had been simmering all day in the Crock-Pot. And one day last week, he made the most delicious homemade beef stew. I have to watch so I won’t gain a ton of weight–my pants are all fitting snugly! It’s time for me to really put the Wii Fit to use.

Yes, that was a major splurge I made a couple of weeks ago! I went to Best Buy in search of a new external hard drive because my original one is almost full. Well, I found a 1T hard drive for a good price, and ventured over to the video game section. I was shaking me head at the Wii Fit towel. I mean, really? $8 for a towel because it says Wii Fit on it? And I was thinking “well, that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to a Wii Fit….” then I walked out of that aisle and over to a center pallet that was stacked with Wiis and Wii Fits! I debated for about 30 seconds on getting it, then decided to go for it, and I am so glad. Working out with that thing is SO fun. I love the step aerobics and the yoga. Before I know it, I’ve clocked 35 minutes of exercise and for something like me who does NOT care for exercise, that is a big deal. Wii Fit = PURE WIN.

I’m trying to think of what else I’ve been up to besides working, resting, reading, and playing Wii Fit, and I can’t come up with a whole lot. I did finally get to read the latest Leven Thumps novel. I devoured the thing in a day and a half and was very sad when it was over. I have to wait probably at least a year for the next one!

Another writer friend of mine finally got a book contract, and I’m very happy for her. Out of that little group, I’m the only one who still hasn’t been published, and right now, I’m OK with that. I’m not even sure I want to pursue a writing career so much anymore. I’m getting so much joy out of the agency proofreading work, I wonder if I shouldn’t focus on that career path? We’ll see where my heart takes me. I still have the soul of a writer, and I’m always thinking of characters and making up people and scenarios in my head, so maybe it’ll come back one day. At this point, I’m at peace with where I am now, career-wise. Who knows what will happen?

A few days ago. Rosa asked me to post 7 things about myself that most people don’t know. This is going to be a challenge, as I am pretty open on my blog. But let’s see.

1. I have a terrible singing voice. I mean, it’s awful. But that doesn’t stop me from singing along with the stereo when I am home alone.

2. About twelve years ago, the house I lived in for most of my growing years was foreclosed on. I didn’t get a lot of stuff out of it, and some of that stuff includes rare 12-in. album singles with remixes of songs like Killing Me Softly by Al B. Sure and Lucky Charm by The Boys. I really, really wish I had a way to get digital copies of those songs–but the 12-in. singles were rare enough when I bought them. I’m sure it’s impossible to get them now.

3. Even though I do not like winter or the cold, I love cold-weather accessories. I have tons of scarves and hats and gloves and mittens. I like to change them up depending on my mood, and I just love the new cute ones that come out every year. Monday, when I was at Aeropostale to get a few sweaters for the upcoming winter, I started considering a new winter coat. Adam, with an exasperated look, told me that I have QUITE enough coats, thank you very much. OK, he didn’t say all that, but he did point out that I have four winter coats and I probably really don’t need a new one. But we’ll see how my coats hold up against Chicago winters. I might need to take a trip to Eddie Bauer soon. Macy’s has beautiful wool pea coats, but I really don’t want to spend $500 on a coat that may or may not keep me warm when the single digit temperatures hit.

4. I wish I had a best girlfriend. But then I wonder if I really want the time and commitment that comes with having a best girlfriend. Jen and I are pretty close–we’ve known each other since the early 1990s–but I don’t have that *best friend* who is local and who I see all the time, who I can yap on the phone with for hours and then turn around and email/IM her as soon as I hang up. It’s been so long that I’m not even sure I KNOW how to have a best friend anymore, not like I did when I was in grade school. I remember Charla and I used to get on the phone and yak yak yak for hours (13 of them once). Now, it just seems strange to call someone other than my mommy just to talk, even though when someone does catch me at a good time, it’s always great to hear from that person, and I enjoy catching up and chatting. I think every girl needs a best friend, but I guess I’m scared and not so sure how to go about it.

5. I’m generally not a phone person. I will email you long, long letters, I’ll write you letters, I’ll text you, but I’m not huge on the phone. Again, I like when people call me, but it’s hard for me to take the initiative to make the call to anyone unless I really feel driven to action. I even had a hard time calling Adam, the man I was dating, then engaged to, because I always worried about bugging him. But if someone calls me, I’m terrible about letting him or her off the phone, and we can talk for hours and hours easily. Ask anyone about my marathon phone calls with my mom. Last time it was five hours.

6. I enjoy good, long, late night conversations. I love talking to friends about anything and everything in the middle of the night, when the inhibitions are down just a bit, and we’re comfortable sharing everything.

7. I really really want to take Aidan to Disney World within the next year. Just a mommy-son trip. I know it’s probably crazy and ambitious to do a single-parent trip of that magnitude, but we both LOVE Disney World and I think the time together would be amazing. I just wish something would happen to make that a possibility very soon, before he outgrows Disney World… and hanging out with his parents. For the record, I also want to take a huge trip to Disney World with Adam, Aidan, Chris, Matt, my mom, and Adam’s mom.

Because traveling for Thanksgiving will be a logistical nightmare for me this year, Adam and I are staying in town and having Thanksgiving here. We’re going to make a turkey and stuffing, and I’ll make a bit of dressing (hopefully not as dry as I made it for Christmas–eep). I’m also making my famous macaroni & cheese and we’re having gobs and gobs and gobs of mashed potatoes. Probably some corn and/or green beans too. And a Jell-O cake for dessert! Local friends who have no other plans are DEFINITELY welcome to join us. Just RSVP to me or Adam and let us know so we can have enough food to go around.

Tomorrow is November, which means I need to start thinking about Christmas. Once Halloween is over, I feel OK thinking about it, making plans, etc. So far, I plan to fly to Columbus on Christmas to surprise my little Aidan. How much fun will that be? :) That’s all I have so far. Has anyone else started thinking about the December holidays?

I think I got everything out that’s been building up in me the past few days and/or weeks. If you read all this, thank you. ♥ I leave you with a picture of my street in Chicago. I took it as I was walking home from work one evening.

Down the Block

‘Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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