Falling In (Pictures)

Who else can’t believe that the official start of autumn is in four days? Not me. I mean, it came so fast. Summer just flew by this year. It seemed like Aidan just got here, and then we were at Disney World. Now I am gearing up for the cooler weather and for 4th quarter at Schawk again. YAY Schawk. The only job I was ever sad to leave. I’m blessed to get to go back.

American Girl came out with eleventy-million new dolls earlier this month, and I want two of them. AND I still want Julie. Thank goodness the holiday season is coming up. I am torn. Do I ask for gift cards/certificates to bookstores or American Girl?

Speaking of books, the last Leven Thumps book comes out on the 29th! I first fell in love with this series back in 2007. I picked it up, not knowing at all what to expect. And was hooked. Obert Skye is a master at descriptions, and I often laugh out loud at the stuff in those books. I’ve been re-reading the others in preparation for LEVEN THUMPS AND THE RUINS OF ALDER.

In the meantime, I have five library books to tide me over until a.) I start up again at Schawk, and b.) Leven Thumps is in my happy little hands. They are:

PLAY ME by Laura Ruby
FAIREST by Gail Carson Levine

My goal is to read 100 new books in 2009. I’m just past 80 now. Here’s the list. Think I can do it?

Autumn is always hard for me. I like autumn. It means that beautiful blue sky and pretty leaves on the trees (although there isn’t much of that in Chicago, unfortunately), and nice temperatures. It means harvest and yummy veggies and apples. It means heartier foods like beef and noodles, or roasted chicken, or chili. It means cuddling in a Snuggie® and reading a good book. But it also means that winter is next and you know how much I HATE winter. OK, I actually like winter for four days. Once Christmas is over, winter should go away too. And I say that because I think Christmas decorations look prettier with snow on them.

I haven’t been up to much lately. Just reading a lot. Eating loads of tacos. Seriously. When Adam and I can’t think of anything for dinner, tacos win. They’re so easy and cheap and good. He prefers soft shells, but I like hard shells. Today I went shopping and came home with two sweaters, one shirt, one hoodie, a picture frame, a sleep mask, and loads of stuff for my hair. Did I mention I’m going natural? I know I tried it a couple of years ago, but this time I’ve gone four and a half months without putting new chemicals in my hair. My hair is looking crazy now, but I want more length before I do *the big chop* in a few months.

O hai!

And on that note, I’m outta here. I should have been in bed four hours ago. Oops.

‘Til next time!

P.S. I am listening to the Angels & Demons soundtrack because I LOVE Hans Zimmer… but dude. It’s kinda scary, and I haven’t even read the book or seen the movie! Still phenomenal, though.

P.S.S. My Photobooth’s flash is stupidly bright. Anyone have any tips on how to fix that?

P.S.S.S Google is my friend!

(Just hold down the SHIFT key, and the flash won’t go off!)

OK bye for real. Maybe.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Chicago Libraries

When I moved to Chicago from Columbus, I knew that I’d be essentially downgrading my library experiences. In Columbus, if you put a book on hold, you go to the shelf, get the book and you can check yourself out using their self-check out. Very simple and quick. In Columbus, new books are in the library usually on release day, or within a couple of weeks. You can have a bunch of books on hold, and while you wait for them, it doesn’t count toward actual media you have checked out. You can renew books online. There is a max for overdue fines. I think it’s about $5.

In Chicago, there is no self-check out. You have to wait in a long line to check your books out with a person and then your bags are searched on the way out, even though you go through one of those alarm thingies as well. They just recently made it so you grab your own reserve books, but you used to have to wait in a line for those as well. They don’t get new books in for at least six months, unless it’s something that is SUPER popular. Your list of hold requests (not actual filled holds) counts toward your 30 item limit. So, say you have two Sarah Dessen books waiting to come in. That means you can only take out 28 items. They only recently allowed online renewals. And overdue fines can go into hundreds of dollars, from what I understand. (The most I’ve ever had to pay was 20¢.)

Today was the ULTIMATE in WTFbaggery. I went up to the 7th floor at the main library downtown to check out some YA novels. Because that’s what I like reading most. YA novels. That section is now World Languages. When I asked where the teen books were, I was told they are in this space called YouMedia. YouMedia is this new “trendy” teen space where teens can hang out and be teens, I suppose. It’s locked down. Basically, if you are not a teen, you cannot take out teen books at this particular library. In addition, it’s only open certain hours. I was at the library at 11 this morning. YouMedia doesn’t open until 1pm. Some days it’s open until 9pm, some days it’s only open until 5pm. Really? Four hours?

I am in shock that they’d lock down an entire genre of books like that! Are they going to restrict teens from checking out books from the adult section? I don’t think so. I can understand a place for teens to hang, but to lock the books in there is just beyond any measure of reason I can think of. They really did not think this through, but given how that library typically runs, I’m not surprised.

ETA: I just went to the YouMedia website. It says that adults are allowed in ONLY to check out books. That’s a relief… except the whole NOT BEING OPEN THE WHOLE TIME THE REST OF THE LIBRARY IS OPEN issue.

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The Lazy Days of Summer

I don’t know about you, but for me, the summer is SPEEDING by. Why is it that winter drags and drags but summertime is gone in a blink? It makes me sad. I really do NOT want snow and ice and frigid cold. I am so OVER WINTER it’s not funny. Oh well, I still have at least four months to worry about that stuff.

I’ve been catching up with Kate Brian’s PRIVATE series. I’d started reading them when they first came yout ears ago (Columbus libraries are AWESOME about getting things in quickly) but lost interest in all the murdering and such. But I picked it back up recently from the Chicago library and I am hooked again. I just want poor Reed to catch a break. I finished Revelation today and now I’m reading Paradise Lost. I also have some Disney books to check out. The library had THREE 2009 guides available. That never happens.

Speaking of Disney, I am thrilled because they added another Spectromagic parade. I thought I’d have to miss it this year, but nope. They added on on August 16th and 11pm. During Extra Magic Hours. That means the park will be less crowded, the weather will be cooler and the parade MORE AWESOME. In addition, the crowd level predictions on are 5s and 6s. SO much better than the 7s and 8s I was anticipating. Now our biggest worry is the heat. But plenty of water should take care of that. You should see the spreadsheet I made!

Aidan’s getting really excited about Disney World. I’m tying it into the drama that we’ve been dealing with. I told him for every day that he’s good, and that he goes to bed and stays in bed (except to potty), he gets a Disney Dollar. That’s a potential $31 to spend on whatever he wants at Disney World. He already lost last night’s (we told him that we were using that dollar to pay for the laundry he peed on again), but so far so good tonight. Plus he tried zucchini, so that’s a bonus $1. So now he’s up to having earned $2. I also told him he can earn bonus bucks by doing special things that are extra good. There is a lot of stuff he wants, and I told him it’s up to him to earn the money to get it.

Tonight, I read him a chapter from Ramona the Brave. The chapter is called Alone in the Dark and it describes Ramona being scared to sleep in her own room. I saw so many of Aidan’s patterns in it, and he recognized himself in the narrative as well. I think that I will read Beverly Cleary books for child-rearing advice. It’s like she gets inside the kid’s heads in a way that I just… can’t.

That’s all for now.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Where To Begin? (Long, Multimedia)

To state the obvious, it’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged. More than a month; the longest I’ve ever gone, I believe. It’s a complicated paradigm. I have too much to say, and yet, I don’t have anything to say at all.

I have been active on some forums, and on Facebook and Plurk and somewhat on Twitter, so I haven’t been completely off the Internet or anything like that.

Aidan is in town for the summer. He arrived on June 20th. He’s very happy to be in Chicago. I’ve been trying to get outside with him every day. I mean, HELLO, it’s summer! And it’s warm, finally! Sometimes I take him downtown, sometimes we simply walk around the block. Or we hit the CVS. Nothing too exciting, but it’s a nice way to get out of the house every day. We also have a nice courtyard in the back, and we’ve been out there drawing with sidewalk chalk and playing with a bubble machine.

Aidan on Michigan Avenue

Aidan Playing Bubbles

Hmm. Well, it wouldn’t be an update post if I didn’t mention dolls. I’ve gotten two more since my last post. Here is my complete collection (minus the mini Addy, who was inside):

The Girls
back: Marisol, Jess, Kit, Bizzy
front: Molly, Rebecca, Riley, Ruthie

Of course I want more, but unless I find a “YOU’D BE A STARK RAVING IDIOTIC BANANA TO PASS THIS UP” deal on eBay, I won’t be getting any for a while. I’m trying to hold out for gift giving occasions like my birthday or Christmas–but the sucky thing about that is that they’re five days apart. I don’t get gifts in the middle of the year like people whose birthdays are in summer or whatever. That’s hard! But it’s FUN at the time.

Last weekend, Adam, Aidan and I headed to Des Moines, IA for the Selzer Family Reunion. I had fun. Iowa is nice. It reminds me of Columbus without the Buckeye mania. I liked it. So much that I think I wouldn’t mind living there. Except for the fact that I would NOT be proofreading there–I’d be someone’s secretary and working for a bank or an insurance company. I don’t know how I feel about that. But the slower pace, the non-cutthroat culture, and the cost of living is so much easier to swallow. I dunno. Who knows what the future will bring?

Anyway, it was nice seeing family and spending time in a park (even though it was hotter than all blazes). Aidan tried his hand at the monkey bars:

Monkey Bars

It didn’t go well.

"This Is Not Happy"

“That is not happy,” he said when he saw his face in the picture.

It’s been a joy and a challenge having Aidan here. He’s pretty clumsy, so nothing’s really safe around him. He’s a maddeningly picky eater, so dinner time is always a challenge unless it’s chicken fries and mac & cheese. He still wets the bed at night if I don’t get up in time to take him. If I need to concentrate and work, he doesn’t get that. He wants to share everything, so it’s constantly MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY. Sometimes, it’s tiring.

But he’s so affectionate. He will often come over just to put his hand on my cheek. His laugh is the most awesome sound ever and he laughs a LOT. It’s easy to make him laugh, too. He’s very gentle. His world is still sunshine and lollipops. I can tell that by the stories he makes up. He draws–my God–his art is unbelievable. And he draws all the time. He’s really good at the Wii (he did Wii Fit for about an hour today!), and he’s super smart–got all 100s and is at the top of his class. After Adam leaves in the morning, he’ll come out and climb into bed with me to keep me company, hand on my cheek, of course.

On July 13, Adam and I went one day to DucKon 18, a sci-fi con that takes place in a Chicago suburb. I had a lot of fun. I got to hear great music (Vixy & Tony, SJ Tucker–who blew me AWAY with her song Firebird’s Child) and got to meet cool people. I bought a new worry stone in the dealer’s room. I also got to see Tesla Coils. They played music. Here they are playing The Imperial March:

And here is SJ, backed by Vixy, singing Firebird’s Child. It was this performance that almost caused me to fall out of my chair, and this performance that inspired me to run to the dealer’s room and buy her CD as soon as the concert ended before they all sold out. And thank goodness I did, because they DID all sell out!

(I want to go to more cons NOW.)

Today, happiness came in the mail for me. An arc of CATCHING FIRE. Yes, the sequel to THE HUNGER GAMES, (which I have read way more times than I could ever count). I have CATCHING FIRE right next to me. I am deliberately prolonging reading it to build the anticipation, but you’d better believe that once I’m done with this entry, I’m going to make myself a turkey sandwich and dive in. Oh yeah. *salivates*

Only 30 days until my and Adam’s one year anniversary. ♥

Only 50 more days until Disney World!

And a whole summer ahead of me. :)

To finish up, I want to say that I’m very much in shock and saddened by Michael Jackson’s passing. Wow, that was really hard to type. I am still in a state of STRONG disbelief over it. He was my first crush. I was seven years old, watching Billie Jean, and staring at the TV slack-jawed. It was love at first sight. And now… I just can’t believe he’s gone. I don’t know what will make me believe he’s gone. My friend Jen called me that night, to see if I was OK. I mean, I once got *really* upset because a bunch of people took my Michael Jackson doll and hid it or were abusing it or something. So yeah, this is hitting me hard when I let myself think about it, which really isn’t often, to be honest. I’m scared if I think too much about it, I’ll get too upset, and with Aidan around, I don’t want to do that.

‘Til next time.

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A Potluck Entry (Pictures)

Saturday, I got the pleasure of meeting Meg Cabot, NYT Bestselling author of The Princess Diaries and 4935843954987 other books. It was lucky for me that during the author table chat, my table didn’t have an author so I ventured over to Meg’s table. I was shaking because I was so nervous! She was absolutely sweet and gracious and adorable, and she told me that I was gorgeous! Here we are!

Seventh Annual Children's Literature Breakfast
Meg and me! ♥

The breakfast was a lot of fun. The last time I went to one was in 2007. One of the best things was running into Laura Ruby (didn’t get a pic with her, unfortunately, although she is awesome!!) and Cynthea Liu!!!! Cynthea is just as energetic and adorable as she comes across on her Web site and on her Live Journal. ♥

Seventh Annual Children's Literature Breakfast
Cynthea & me!!!!

My guess is that we’ll be heading to this breakfast every year from now on. :) And 2009 makes the fourth year in a row that I got the chance to meet a NYT best-selling author!

(I’m thinking that black was THE color for the breakfast. Adam wore black, too.)

I’ve been working some crazy hours. Last Tuesday, I popped in at 10am and ended up working until 2:30 the next morning. They bought me dinner and paid for me to take a cab home. I didn’t go in until 2pm the next day, I stayed until about 5:30pm, and I got paid for the whole day. Today I went in at 9am and stayed until 7pm. Tomorrow, I am going in at noon and I plan to be there until about 4 o’clock Thursday morning. But then I get Thursday off with pay. It’s going to be crazy, but I’m taking some comfortable clothes! On a “normal” day (’cause face it, there are no normal days at Ogilvy), I’d work from 10-6 or something like that. I love those hours.

Books! I’ve acquired many books. I bought Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (OMG amazing book!!), an autographed copy of The Giver by Lois Lowry, an autographed copy of Forever Princess by Meg Cabot, and a copy of Copper Sun by Sharon Draper, which she autographed for me on Saturday. (She has the best autograph ever, by the way). Mandy sent me the ARC of Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen. I’ve been in BOOK HEAVEN.

I also did my yearly “What’s In My Bag” photo. I’m late this year–I usually do it in January. Anyway, here’s what was in my bag last night:

What's In My Bag - February 23, 2009

That’s about all for now. I’m pretty tired, so I’m going to play a few games of Word Twist on Facebook and then go read. I get to really sleep in tomorrow, but the night will be rough. I’m a trooper, though, so I’m mentally ready for it. ‘Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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