confession: i like autumn.

Morton Arboretum 2013

I know, I know. I’m always going on about summer and spring. And my dislike of winter is no secret—but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about how much I like autumn. At least the part before it starts feeling like winter!

I’m not one of those people obsessed with pumpkin anything, and that includes PSLs (sorry Kat). I don’t like pumpkin flavor at all, nor do I care for the scent much. But I think they’re pretty and I could look at them all day!


My autumn flavor of choice is apple! Apple pie, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple crisp. Baked apples. Mmmm warm apples with cinnamon.

I like the leaves changing colors on the trees. Especially the bright reds, oranges, and golds. If we’re lucky enough to get that combined with one of autumn’s giant blue skies? Perfection.

Morton Arboretum 2013

Autumn in The Morton Arboretum

I like the smell of the furnace when it kicks on at the start of the cool season. I like wearing the thin sweaters, and scarves, and boots, and my jean jacket. I like anticipating the trifecta of holidays, and my birthday and Aidan’s birthday.

Blackmore’s Night is autumn-sounding music for me, and I’ve been listening to them over and over and over.

I’m actually looking forward to hunkering down, wrapping myself in a billion blankets, and wearing my favorite Mickey Mouse beanie. I know I hunker down a lot anyway, but now it feels OK to do so.

Autumn is the season of death, but in some ways, right now, I’m feeling renewed. I’m going to try to hold on to that.

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i confess part 4 {disney world edition}


i confess… the first time i went to disney world, in 2001, i was scared i wouldn’t like it. i’d been wanting to go for so long, i was worried i’d be let down after having built it up in my mind for so many years. but nope, i fell right in love with it!

I Finally Met Mickey!
my first time ever meeting mickey mouse!
august 2001

i confess… i both love and hate the wealth of information out there about how to enhance the park experience. i love it because of all the neat stuff i now know, but i hate it because everyone and their mommas know it too. and somehow that makes it less special because everyone wants to be special. #disneyhipster

i confess… the chocolate covered pineapple i had on my last trip continues to haunt me because it was JUST THAT GOOD.

i confess… i wasn’t sure about all the changes happening at disney and i almost skipped out on going this year because of it. magicbands, fastpass+, all the preplanning one has to do now. but you know what? i went on the trip with all that and still had a wonderful time.

i confess… disney amazes me with how it brings magic to kids of all ages. there are people in forums who say that they never get “magical” moments when they are not with kids, but i find that not to be the case with me. i’ve been given free stuff, gotten hugs from strangers, even been selected to be in a parade, just to name a few of the cool things i’ve had happen to me.

Jammin' Jungle Parade

i confess… i like mickey’s not so scary halloween party just a tiny bit better than mickey’s very merry christmas party.

Us with Witch Minnie

i confess… meeting a princess still gets me all starry-eyed.

Meeting Naveen & Tiana
especially if it’s princess tiana

i confess… every time i go without aidan, i feel guilty. so that’s why i always immediately book a trip with him to happen within the year.

i confess… taking my mommy to disney was one of the best things i’ve ever done. she loved the trip so much and i loved making her so happy. i don’t think i’d ever seen her smile and laugh as much as she did on that trip.

look at her smile! and this was even before she’d ridden soarin’!

i confess… i have been to disney world 10 times and i still can’t wait to go back!



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.

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.

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? :)


i confess part 3 {the music edition}

Concert! :)

i confess… sometimes i listen to disney world music just to get myself whipped all up in a frenzy. i’ve been to disney world twice this year and this music always makes me want to go right back.

i confess… i also dance to disney parade music. yes, i bought the actual CDs and i put them on and dance to them. i am so cool.


i confess… i listen to yanni and i like it. in fact, i also like kenny g. what?

i confess… my father used to play the blues all the time when he’d drive us around. i’d pretend i hated it but i secretly liked some of it. except for the guy who used to snort. he was disgusting. i think it was bobby blue bland who did that. gross.

i confess… i stole my father’s george michael tape, his karyn white tape, and his david sanborn tape. my sister stole his bobby blue bland and bb king tapes. she embraced the blues a lot earlier than i did. i fought it for a long time.

don’t nobody get outta here without sangin’ the blues–adventures in babysitting

i confess… that adam and i have been listening to a lot of country music lately. we like to count how many of them aren’t about the following things: beer, small towns, creeks/rivers, and/or cheating. we could totally make a drinking game out of this.

i confess… even though i tell myself i’m not going to, every time i go to half-price books, i end up checking out the 50¢ cd section. because honestly, if i pick up a CD for 50¢, and it has ONE good song on it, that’s still an entire CD that’s cheaper than anything i can get on itunes! and last night was a gold mine. they had mariah carey and britney spears and the beastie boys and the twin peaks soundtrack and some maxi singles that i never even knew existed. i was so excited to get mariah’s first album on CD. because of course i had it when it was new and popular… but it was ON TAPE. now i can listen to it in my iPod or on my computer. yay.

i confess… yes, i still like to buy CDs. i just got n*sync’s greatest hits from best buy the other day for $5. i know everything’s going digital and CDs are being phased out. the poor CD section at best buy is only an aisle and a half now, and there are a lot of “bargain” CDs. but i still like to open the case and flip through the liner notes and put the disc into my computer’s disc drive and import the songs into my iTunes, and then onto my iPod. and new CDs smell almost as good as new books or binders with PVC in them. i know, it’s weird.

Half Price Books CD Haul. :)

i confess… even though i still buy CDs, i do love music downloads. i have a monthly subscription to emusic, i regularly buy music from iTunes, and i am always checking out whatever free downloads are offered, usually from new artists. (amazon, itunes, and all have loads of free downloads that are totally legit and some of it is really great stuff.) i used to get all of them before i discovered the nifty “preview” button. i love how convenient downloads are. it’s like when i used to be able to buy a single instead of an entire CD, in case the CD sucked (and back then, they were way more than 50¢ let me tell ya–some of them are STILL nearly $20. what?)

i confess… one of my favorite things about a new year is wondering what new music i’m going to hear and discover. and what old favorites i’m going to rediscover from my vaults. like this mariah carey CD. i’d forgotten how much i used to love “vanishing” and “it’s all in your mind.”

i confess… i adore this gif of the president listening to music. it makes me smile. i wonder what he’s jamming to? i find myself bobbing my head and smiling just like he does when something i like comes on.


i confess… shazam and google. a heavenly combination when you hear a song you like but have no idea what it is? shazam will listen and tag it for you. or you can type lyrics into google and more than likely a youtube video will come up. genius.

i confess… i used to segregate music pretty good in my life. when i was little, i listened strictly to kids’ records until i fell in love with michael jackson. then it was mostly him (with a little bit of prince, and lionel richie thrown in). let’s be honest. i mostly listened to r&b when i was younger and would not, could not stray from that. when i got to intermediate school (like middle school but only grades 7 and 8), i listened to keith sweat, guy, dana dane, mc lyte, pebbles, babyface, etc. i would not listen to white people sing (unless it was george michael apparently). i just refused. i even watched the video for “please don’t go girl” and predicted that “those white boys wouldn’t go anywhere.”


I FELL IN LOVE WITH NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK. i mean, obsessed head over heels wallpaper the walls buy all the things TAKE ALL MY MONEY AND MY MOTHER’S MONEY TOO PLEASE in love with them.

there are pictures. of me. covered in nkotb gear. buttons. sweatshirt. watch. earrings. i was a hot mess.

16 year old me
with my favorite music people
on the wall behind me
{notice pandernoodle?}

and because i had to watch or listen to the “white” stations to hear them, i started listening to other music by other artists. i remember hearing the guitars in an amy grant song and feeling like i was betraying myself or something. AMY GRANT you guys. also, music was starting to really cross over. white kids were listening to envogue and bobby brown and mc hammer. it was starting to be ok to listen to music outside of the color lines. oprah even did a special on it. i still have it on tape. eventually, i started to get over the musical segregation rules i’d put upon myself (or maybe society thrust them upon me?), but things really changed for me when i got to college and saw black kids listening to stone temple pilots and n.i.n., and sincerely enjoying it with no shame. and that’s when i finally embraced my own musical leanings full heartedly.


i confess… i will listen to anything once. my music collection is insane. look in my iPod and you’ll find kirtan, move scores, musicals, r&b, pop, country, metal, pagan, jesus music, folk, alternative, adult contemporary, hip-hop, dance, electronica, trance, house, celtic, traditional chinese, meditation, new age, chants. there’s something for every mood, and i’m always open to new stuff.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.23.16 PM
my top 25 played

Music is powerful. For me, it’s more about the beat, melodies, the vocals, and the way it makes me feel rather than the lyrics. But I like music, and I am so glad I live in a world where there is so much to listen to, and so much to discover.


i confess part 2


i confess… sometimes i look through old photos and miss some parts of the life i used to have. not the entire life. because life now is pretty darn sweet and there were things going on back then that i do NOT ever want to live through again. here is what i do miss: having the big house, hanging out with certain friends from 2004–2005 (most who no longer speak to me, some due to genuinely falling out of touch, others i suspect purposefully), being a short drive from so many state parks, no sales tax on groceries, and a 6% sales tax overall (so cheap!), marone’s italian villa, el vaquero, le chatelaine, eating bob evans any time i wanted, being able to drive without feeling like i was in a race for my life in the midst of big black suvs driven by backwards-baseball-cap-wearing dudebros or tiny ladies with ponytails (although in ohio, it was all about pick up trucks so i don’t know if that was much better), seeing stars at night, how tiny i was (i was about 105lbs. and i thought i had a fat stomach. pssh. would love to go back to that and stay there).

i confess… that although i miss things about living in columbus, i don’t want to move back there. and there are things i love about chicago. things like moksha yoga, molly’s cupcakes, block 37, butterfly sushi, shopping….

i confess… sometimes i wish my hair was straight. like this:

New Hair!
my last really good relaxer…
back in freaking 2005

but… then i look at my hair on a good day and go “no way, dude. i wouldn’t trade what i have for the world.” it’s just a weird phase i go through from time to time. i am never relaxing my hair again, and i haven’t straightened it since 2011. i don’t even know how long it really is.

look at my hair here!
why would i want to mess with that????
god bless coconut oil.

i confess… i lie awake some nights fretting over dumb ass things i did many years ago. i’m sure the people involved have forgotten all about some of that stuff..or maybe not—it would explain why some of them aren’t speaking to me—but i bet they don’t stay up for hours tossing and turning over that stuff like i still do. i wish i could just cut out those parts of my memories and throw them away forever.

i confess… sometimes i lie awake for hours spinning elaborate daydreams about “my dream life”. my dream life involves way more disney world trips, a warmer climate, a big house, trees, a dog, cats who actually use their litter boxes 100% of the time, a private yoga instructor who comes to my house every day, two walk in closets just for me, a jacuzzi, lots of money… yeah.

i confess… i miss big, huge, christmas celebrations. adam’s just not into christmas like i am, so until i’m around aidan and my mom, i feel very lonely during the holiday season. he just doesn’t understand why i go gung ho with decorations and wrapping gifts and holiday music and the specials. omg the specials. especially how the grinch stole christmas.

I Love Christmas!
hmm, 1983. that means i was nine here.
holy shit. this picture is nearly 30 years old.
but see how happy i am?
cause mommy made christmas special.
she still does. :)

now… celebrating thanksmas (yes, we sometimes combine christmas and thanksgiving, what!) with adam’s family is amazing and reminds me of when i was a little girl. they really go out of their way to make it a special double holiday! big meal, yummy desserts, lots of presents, lots of pictures, a big tree… thanksmas is amazing and reminds me a lot of my mom making christmas super special for my sister and me.

Family Pictures
family pic from thanksmas 2011

i’ve already started christmas shopping in my brain and by way of making/updating amazon wishlists. :)

i confess… sometimes, i think i want to do *real* acting, but i’m terrified. and i think i’m too ugly to be onscreen. and my voice is weird. and my body isn’t a ten. and did i mention i’m terrified? i learned about the auditioning process at a workshop i attended a few weeks ago. that made me even more scared. but i don’t think i have to worry about it because i don’t think i’ll ever get an audition…. oh right, and i am pretty sure i’ve lost all the acting skills i used to have when i was in high school and college. which means taking acting classes. which i doubt i’ll commit to over the winter. jeez. i suck.

i confess… i miss being kinda fearless. i used to write unabashedly. i used to go for it with acting and drama and stuff. now? i’m more likely to talk myself out of everything and hide in my room behind a thick book.

i confess… most of the time, i like it when i have the place to myself while adam’s working a double tour. there are some people who don’t like to be separated from their partners ever ever ever. that’s not me. i think i just like the quiet time to do whatever i want without judgement (real or imagined) or feeling like i’m inconveniencing someone.

i confess… aidan is growing up so fast. he’s already nearly eleven. i remember when i was that age, girls in my class were getting serious boobs. i’m sure he has questions about things. as my friend ryan says, he probably knows a lot more than i think. i know i’m going to have to sit him down and talk to him about really serious stuff, and i’m so nervous. i want to teach him so much. i want him to rise above this rape culture we live in and be a gentleman. respectful. but still cool. right? so how do i even go about that? i am so not ready for those hormones to kick in on him. i am already missing my little boy.

ok, this was sort of long. thank you, those of you who stuck with it and read all of this. i feel a bit lighter now, at any rate.

till next time….

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