Month: July 2013

still so much to do.


Holy cow, I have so much to get done. Now, I’m taking a break so I can make a to-do list and maybe wrap my head around all the stuff that’s going on. I also need to get my Life Planner in here so I can write everything down in it!

Here’s the stuff that’s been going on and I will someday maybe write blog entries about:

01. Cut my hours at Rainbow down to 15 a week, working from home. It was just too much for me otherwise.
02. Working at VSA a couple days a week for a project.
03. Went to the zoo with Aidan and Adam.
04. Went to Six Flags Great America with Aidan, Adam, and some friends I’ve known online for years.
05. Went to the ER with severe kidney-stone like pain which turned out to be something else completely (although they have not ruled out the possibility that a kidney stone may have occurred right before I got there).
06. Been dealing with a sick cat; Helena’s not been using the litter box very well for months and we took her to the vet, where she was diagnosed with a major UTI. Had to take her again yesterday for follow up because she doesn’t seem to be better. :(
07. Finally joined up with Young Living as an independent distributor. Which means OILS OILS OILS OILS OILS! Any of you interested in ordering therapeutic-grade essential oils, contact me!
08. Worked with Adam to redo our bookshelves after a shelf of books collapsed on me.
09. Got head shots done.

Here’s what needs to happen this week:

01. At least one day at VSA, probably more.
02. Moksha August newsletter.
03. Moksha fall teacher training newsletter.
04. Moksha Sukhava Bodhe newsletter.
05. Prep for Musecon, b/c I am teaching a yoga class there.
06. Loyola program sheets.
07. Eat the rainier cherries.

Here is what needs to happen in the (near) future:

01. Laundry
03. Blog posts about the rest of my June Disney trip.
04. Upload Six Flags pix to flickr and facebook.
05. Re-establish yoga practice.
06. Genius bar to figure out why my iPhone’s battery is draining like a mofo.
07. Completely unpack from my June Disney trip.

I’d like to do these things before Aidan leaves for Ohio but will probably run out of time before I can:

01. Go to the beach.
02. Go to Morton Arboretum.

Here is what I’d LIKE to happen sometime this year:

01. Make and order a photo book of my June Disney trip.
02. Start saving money again.
03. Visit at least one friend in another part of the country.
04. Start acting classes.
05. Have ONE day where I don’t find rogue cat turds somewhere in the apartment.

And finally, here is how I’d like to relax sometime in the next six months:

01. Have a Harry Potter movie marathon.
02. Have a Twilight movie marathon.
03. Go to King Spa and soak in the hot tubs.
04. In fact, have a spa day in general, where I get a massage, pedicure, facial, and have to wear a robe and there are rose petals and glasses of pink champagne waiting for me.

So yeah, that’s what’s been up over here. Hopefully I’ll have time to write a more in depth entry soon. Till next time….

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extra, extra.


Recently, I had the opportunity to be an extra in a major motion picture. I signed a non-disclosure agreement, so I can’t divulge the title or any other details of the movie here, but it will be in theaters sometime in 2014 and I’m definitely going to be there on opening night to see if I can catch a glimpse of myself!

The casting company did general casting calls. I responded a couple of times with no results–but then I changed my headshot and tried one last time. This time took, and I was asked about availability. Once I got that information to them, I was booked for a costume fitting.

The day of my fitting, I was a nervous wreck, and I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe because I felt that they could see me in person and go “YUCK!” and send me home. I always knew that could be a possibility. But that didn’t happen. In fact, the costume person told me how cute I was and how good I looked in the costume. The hair and makeup guy asked me to wear my hair the same way when I got to set.

I had a lot of fun at the fitting, but I still wasn’t convinced I was actually going to be booked to shoot. But now, I was definitely registered with the casting company and could possibly do work for them in the future if this didn’t work out.

A couple of hours later, I got the email that I was booked to work the next weekend! I told them that I’d definitely be there, and I waited eagerly for my call info. I was so excited. My heart was pounding every day, and it was hard for me to focus on day-to-day activities.

It wasn’t even about seeing or meeting movie stars. It was about seeing the ins and outs of a major motion picture filming. Seeing the sets, the details, how things fit together. The night before I was to go on set, I googled a day in the life of an extra, just to get an idea of what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of sitting and waiting, so I was ready for that.

I was pleasantly surprised that my call time wasn’t as early as I’d expected, but I was so nervous and excited that I was there way before my time anyway! So I waited and chatted with some folks until it was time for me to check in.

This was the first of lots of waiting, lots of standing in line, lots of exercising a tremendous amount of patience.

I got into costume, went to hair and makeup, and managed to scarf down a danish and some water. Then I joined the groups heading over to set. They gave us covers to wear over our costumes to keep some of the “magic” alive. We dumped them as soon as we got inside.

I was shaking when I got to set, but I *think* I played it cool. Everyone had a great attitude and seemed friendly and excited. I was having a great time watching the set up. They are so particular. Everything has to be just so. Every little detail matters. I had no idea how much. I thought it was fascinating and amazing… and I kept thinking to myself, “Everyone who works in the movie industry must be pitta. These are my kind of people.” Just very particular. I really was intrigued by how exacting everything was.

When the principle actors arrived, my heart did a little flutter. Because holy cow: this was real. This was really real. But it still seemed SURREAL during rehearsal. (Maybe from lack of good sleep, adrenaline, and crappy contacts.) It started to seriously hit me once they started rolling the cameras.

But I still have this way of kind of separating myself from what’s going on. Being present is hard for me in the best of times. I was very present there, but it still didn’t seem REAL. It seemed like we were playing pretend–and in a way, I guess we were; we were acting, after all–but I had to keep reminding myself THIS IS A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, RONNI. DO NOT MESS THIS UP. THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME, AND IF YOU WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN, DO NOT FUCK UP. JUST DON’T.”

We were on set for many hours that morning. Here was my exercise in patience, watching them film take after take. Watching the director (who is amazing) give such specific direction, and watching the actors take the direction and yet, keep infusing their own flavor into the roles.

We broke for lunch, which they provided for us. Nothing too exciting, but adequate none-the-less. Definitely no complaints. Then I waited in holding (the place where extras go when there is nothing for them to do) a while because they didn’t need me on set just set. I relaxed and checked my email, and I read a bit and got to know some of my fellow extras. Then we headed back over for more filming.

I spent a LOT of time on set that day and not a lot of time in holding. It was actually really nice, seeing so much of the action, having the lead actor smile at me (twice!) and just being part of this amazing experience. By now, my contacts were killing me, and I’d been sweating so I was worried I was getting stinky, and I was getting tired, but I hung in there.

When I got home that night, I shoveled in some dinner and then collapsed. I don’t remember much about that evening, except Aidan asking if I wanted to play Wii Sports and me being like “wot.”

Same Scene, Different Day

The next day was more of the same, but I was clued in. I didn’t show up quite so early–just about 15 minutes before call time. Some people had been disenchanted by the waiting, the long, long day (12+ hours), the repetition, the “herding”, etc., so they just didn’t show up. Too bad for production, but OK for me because that meant shorter and faster lines! I flew through wardrobe, hair, and makeup, and was on set a 45 minutes after I checked in.

Set wasn’t nearly as comfortable this day. In fact, it was HOT. And I don’t get hot, yo! But I knew that was part of the package. Sitting for long periods of time in not-so-great conditions. Some people got cranky. I remembered my shitali pranayama and that helped a lot. I also kept reminding myself what an amazing thing I was experiencing, and that kept me strong when I wanted to close my eyes and sleep. I also kept telling myself that I was a professional, and professionals did NOT sleep on the job!

The morning filming took FOREVER. Lots of time on set, lots of time in one holding or another as things were finalized and tweaked and perfected. I took the time to relax, eat some snacks, and continue to get to know my fellow extras.

It goes without saying that cell phones with cameras are not out allowed on set. EVER. So, I didn’t bring my phone with me at all the first day; the second day I brought it but kept it in my pocket so I could use it when I was in holding. There was something very liberating about not having my phone with me and not being allowed to take it out. I was forced to BE PRESENT and actually TALK TO PEOPLE. To actually EXPERIENCE what was happening! I was embracing that, let me tell you. I think we all stare at our screens too much. We’re missing LIFE. Even when I had my phone while we were in holding, I limited my time with it out because I really wanted to live in the moment.

That day of filming was an even longer day, so wrap felt especially satisfying. It was my last night, and I felt excited and proud and energized (even though I was exhausted). I felt my soul stirring. I was immediately missing everything about it when I was heading back into my normal life as Ronni once again. I was missing all the neat people I’d met. I was missing the set and the actors and the cameras and the lights and the directions and the “do it agains” and the “cuts” and the “resets” and the chance to have those do-overs to get it just right.

About a million years ago, I harbored dreams of being an actor. Of moving to Hollywood and starring in movies or on a TV show. I was even a theater major in college. (Not gonna lie, sometimes I still have those dreams.) But I let people, and myself, talk me out of it. It’s too hard. It’s not realistic. I need to do something real. I don’t have the look for a leading actor. I have the look of NO actor! I mean, HAVE I SEEN MY NOSE?

Adam would tell you that I spend most of my life acting. “I almost never talk to the real Ronni,” he always says. I have a hard time grasping reality. But I don’t know if I’m cut out for Hollywood or even Chicagowood.

But I do know this. The days were long. I could tell the principle actors got special perks that the extras did not (like being allowed to use their phones and have food on set). At times, the conditions were not so comfortable. Sometimes I got frustrated and annoyed. I was tired and half out of my mind at some points. But. I loved it. I felt my soul stirring with every single new thing I learned. I couldn’t get enough of watching them set up the shots, the lighting, the cameras. I liked the manic hope that I might get selected to go above and beyond. I was just so thrilled to BE THERE in the presence of people who did this for a living–with people who are known all over the world, with people who were literally pros at what that did–that it never occurred to me to complain. Well, not too much anyway. :)

So…I’ll keep doing background work to get my fix in the entertainment industry, and if something more happens from that, GREAT. I’d love to be a featured extra, or have a bigger role, even if it’s not a speaking role. Stand-in would be cool, too! You really never know what might happen. Either way, I’ll be OK. I’m very grateful I had this experience and I’m very, very eager to work on future projects! And if something more is meant to come from this, well, bring it universe! :)


a magical day.

Giving 'Tude

No matter what, I always like to start my trips to Disney World off in the Magic Kingdom. I mean, it’s the Magic Kingdom! That’s where Cinderella Castle is and that’s where the magic really begins. With all the music and beautiful “lands” and the yummy scents. Magic Kingdom is the most crowded and congested park, but it’s also the one everyone thinks of when they think of Disney World.

So of COURSE we had to go there on our first day. We got there just when it opened and when we walked through those gates, all was right with the world.

Falandos and I have the sort of relationship where we tease each other relentlessly. So when he asked “Can I just say something?” while we were walking down Main Street, I was expecting him to say something smart. But instead, he grabbed me and hugged me and kissed my cheek and said “Thank you.” That made me feel like a million dollars.

We took loads of pictures!

Magic Kingdom






After all that, we headed back to the new Fantasyland to ride the new Little Mermaid ride. Everyone liked it. Then we made our way over to Storybook Circus, where Aidan and I rode Dumbo while Mommy and Falandos hung out in the souvenir gift shop. Oh, we also made a stop to meet Minnie and Daisy!

Meeting Daisy Duck


We met my friend Dara for lunch, and then headed to the Hall of Presidents. After that, we got stuck under an awning to wait out some major rain!


It could have been a bummer, but it wasn’t. We just waited it out and hung out and chatted. We dodged the rain a lot as we made our way back over to Tomorrowland for Carousel of Progress, the People Mover, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which has been updated to include Monsters University stuff!

We ended up missing the parade, but with the weather so bad, I wonder if it even showed. We were watching part of the Dreams Come True show but it got rained out. Eeek.


Falandos and I got Dole Whips. Yum. Not sure what we were thinking, having them so close to dinner, but who can resist them right? I had one for breakfast once….

We ate dinner at The Crystal Palace. My mom loves her hot sauce and managed to get a tiny bottle.


We had fun meeting our friends from the 100 Acre Wood!




After Crystal Palace, we headed over to First Aid and the bathroom. I’d taken a yucky fall and needed a Band-Aid. By the time we got done, it was raining AGAIN. Aidan really wanted to ride Pirates, so we braved the rain drops and went for it. My mom and Falandos were wary of Pirates–for some reason, they were under the impression that it was outside and they were sick of being wet. When I explained to them how the “waterfall” worked, they were still a bit wary but went for it. (Falandos was actually terrified, but don’t tell him I told you that.)

My mom LOVED Pirates of the Caribbean!

Then we made our way to It’s a Small World, and watched Wishes, from behind the castle. Then we made our way to the front of the park–we were all getting tired and we were pretty tired of the damp.


But as we were leaving, a Cast Member stopped us and talked us into staying for the Main Street Electrical Parade. Which Falandos really, really loved.

the one picture i really liked!

Attractions Experienced:
The new Little Mermaid ride (I can’t remember the name for the life of me!)
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Mickey’s Philharmagic
Carousel of Progress
Pirates of the Caribbean
it’s a small world

We didn’t ride a whole lot, but we still had a lot of fun. And for your viewing pleasure…here’s a short (44s) video of some of our morning at the Magic Kingdom!

And with that, I bid you good-bye for now. More soon! :D


epic disney world!!

Disney Collage! :)

Welcome to part one of the trip report for our epic Disney World vacation. I took my mom, who had never been, Aidan, who had been three times, and we met my cousin Falandos at the airport in Orlando. He also had never been.

I was a little bit nervous because I knew I’d have to do things differently than I was used to with Adam or Aidan and Adam. For one thing, my mom needed a scooter and I’d never toured the parks with a scooter before. She’s also a slow eater, so I knew we’d be betting a lot of downtime so she wouldn’t feel rushed during mealtimes. I really wanted to make sure she was comfortable and enjoying herself and not getting bored or cranky, but the funny thing is she was doing the same for me! She and Falandos both kept saying, throughout the trip, this this was my vacation too and I was entitled to enjoy myself as well. That was nice. :)


Our journey to Orlando began with a massive flight delay. The cause of the delay? THE PILOT HAD TO TAKE A NAP. I am not kidding. There were some scheduling snafus, and the pilot had a mandated rest period. I was unhappy, but my mom told me to calm down and that everything would be OK. So, we had lunch and hung out in the airport, playing Tetris Blitz on our tablets and reading. Let me tell you, it was cruel to see the flight that was scheduled an hour after our original departure take off on time. *sigh* It was also cold in the airport. And on the airplane. And in Chicago in general. I was so anxious to get to Orlando and bake in some heat and humidity!

We finally got to Orlando and rode into town in a Town Car. I went with the car service and it was great. The grocery stop was awesome–we picked up bottled water, pineapple juice, snacks, a poncho for Aidan, and I got some Mickey Mouse pajamas. I know, how sad that I was buying souvenirs BEFORE WE EVEN GOT ON DISNEY PROPERTY.

Our driver was awesome, slowing down so we could take pictures of the Disney World sign! :)

The Sign of Awesome

We stayed at Pop Century, and check in was easy and pleasant. Soon, we were on our way to Downtown Disney, stopping to take pictures along the way!


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We did some shopping at Downtown Disney–of course, Aidan had to hit the LEGO store.


First really big Magical Moment of the trip–Aidan had $60 to spend, and of course, he wanted to spend it on LEGO sets. So he got two. And then he asked about the Jor-El exclusive minifig or something, I don’t know. But he needed to spend $75 to get it. But the guy at the LEGO store gave one to Aidan anyway! It was so cool. Aidan was THRILLED and I was so happy for him. And that’s reason number 4985748953 I love going to Disney World. You just never know what sort of surprises you’ll end up with.

We shopped some more, taking a look at stores at Downtown Disney I’d usually pass over. I also took pictures of the snacks because that’s the kind of gal I am.

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We ate dinner in the food court at the hotel. Pop Century’s food court has these delicious “pizza bread” things. It’s like French bread pizza but yummier. I got a meal with two of those, a Caesar salad, and a Vitamin Water. Aidan got the kid’s meal version, which just had one piece of pizza bread, but he put red pepper flakes on his and tried to pawn it off on me. Blech. Still yummy, though. Mommy and Falandos got stuff from the “healthy options” line.

By the time we made it back to the hotel room, we were pretty tired (although excited)! Falandos and I went to pick up the scooter, and then we loitered in the Great Hall, looking at the decorations.

There’s nothing like that very first day of vacation, when you have your whole trip ahead of you. So many possibilities and things to look forward to.

We tried to turn in early, but well, we were at Disney World and excited! Still, we did the best we could to get a good night’s rest for … Magic Kingdom! Which was a great day in itself… but that’s a post for another day.

Till next time….


so much.

Happy July 4th, you crazy cats! It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but I hope to have time to post more often soon. Aidan is currently playing with a whoopee cushion. You can imagine how that’s going.

Since I last wrote, I’ve been sick (we think norovirus), I’ve been working a lot (I’m talking 12-14 hour days), meeting a lot of authors, and trying to maintain my sanity in the midst of all the craziness. My cat, Helena, has decided to hell with the litter box and has pooped in the following places: the bathroom (behind and in front of the toilet), a bag of potatoes, the rug in the living room, the kitchen floor, Adam’s hat, and Aidan’s clothes. I told Adam to get her to the vet ASAP while I am out of the house tomorrow because she could be seriously sick even though otherwise she’s acting totally normal. I think he wants ME to take her but I won’t have time for weeks and she may need help now. I don’t want to wait too long. We lost Lucy because I waited too long.

Honestly, this all started when Adam put in the cat door, which none of the cats seem keen on using without a massive amount of prompting. Our cats are divas.

Anyway, I’ve gotten to do some cool stuff even though I’ve been so busy. Like these:

Me and Judy Blume!!!!
I met Judy Blume!

Us And Weird Al :)
And Weird Al
(I totally asked him what he used on his curls.
He said whatever’s in the hotel bathroom.)

I got to meet TONS of authors at the American Library Association (ALA 2013) conference, including….

Lois Lowry and Me
Lois Lowry!!!

Along with Elizabeth Scott (!!!), Marie Lu, Ally Carter, Mike Mullin, and tons more. I saw Veronica Roth from a distance (Aidan: You wanted to go down here just to LOOK at her?), and I saw Tanya Lee Stone but didn’t want to interrupt her while she was chatting. I also chatted with Mari Mancusi a bit, and I got to see and hug Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen. Guys, if anyone had told me that I’d be friends with Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson, or get a hug from Elizabeth Scott, I’d have never believed it.

Being there, around all those authors and books and book lovers was so inspiring. :)

I’ve been bitten badly by the travel bug and I want to go ALL THE PLACES. I am more than halfway considering a solo trip to Disney World in September. I have until the end of July to decide to get the deal that’s being offered, but I’m like 65% there. I do worry I won’t have as much fun when I’m alone, but on the other hand, I want to experience the freedom of going alone at least once in my life. I also want to visit friends everywhere. All of that will probably have to wait until the fall or later, though. We’ll see.

Summer has been very cool here, to my disappointment. It makes me worry that winter will be hellishly cold. You all know how I hate the cold. I think I’m going to try to go to 2-3 warm places to get away. But on July 2, we had a high of 65F. What kinda crap is that? Today’s high is supposed to be 80F, which is way more reasonable, but I still need to sit in the sun to feel any bit of warmth. *sigh*

That’s all for now. Funny, when I write it out, it doesn’t SEEM like I’ve been all that busy, but believe me, I have. Happy to have today to do nothing!

Till next time….

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