Random Fried Bullet Points (Pictures)

Aidan Gives Me A Kiss!

· Aidan’s in town. He flew in Friday night (YAY) and has to go back this evening (BOO). Never seems to be enough time with him. Even if we’re not interacting, just having him in the house is nice. He doesn’t have his two front teeth anymore. My little boy is officially a snaggletooth! :D

· Aidan’s in love with Star Wars. Darth Vadar’s his favorite. :O

· Claudia Gray (who is super duper awesomesauce with cherries on top) has gotten Adam and me (and indirectly, Aidan) hooked on Doctor Who. I’d never seen it and felt that I couldn’t be a proper geek without having done so. We have a TiVo and Netflix and Dr. Who is on Instant Q. We watch many episodes a day. Adam wants to turn our closet into a TARDIS. And he wants the coat that the 10th Doctor wears, but it’s $300. I told him to get it anyway. You really can’t be too cheap when buying coats for a Chicago winter. But he’s being smart and frugal.

· When I read to Aidan before bed, I read each page in a different voice, determined by Aidan. Tonight, I read him HIPPOS GO BESERK, and I used the voices of Laura and the dad from The Fuccons, Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Doctor Who, and Rose.

· I am reading POP PRINCESS by Rachel Cohn again. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it, but it blows me away every single time I do read it. Wonder’s voice is like no other. I feel the same way about Audrey’s voice in AUDREY, WAIT! by Robin Benway.

· Cover and title released for the latest Hunger Games Book!!! YOU SHOULD ORDER IT FOR ME! I mean, you should order it now!

Can’t believe there are still 190 days until it’s out!

· I went to the library last week and checked out 18 books. I’ve already read several of them.

· This Saturday, I am going to Anderson Bookshop’s 8th Annual Children’s Literature Breakfast. I’m really excited. Last year, I got to meet Meg Cabot, Sharon Draper, and Peter Yarrow. This year, I am ashamed to say I don’t really know the speakers, but there will be plenty of local authors there to chat with. And bacon to eat. And librarians to schmooze.

· I’ve been half-heartedly entertaining the thought of going back to school. I don’t know if I could get a Master’s–my college GPA wasn’t the greatest. It just seems so much hassle and there’s the money issue and the homework. But the learning and the advanced/extra degrees seem so appealing. I just don’t see how it can happen, though.

· Because I’m still really not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When I worked in advertising, I LOVED the work. Absolutely LOVED the work. I’m still running across ads that I’ve worked on and feeling a bittersweet pang of accomplishment and also missing it. But the pressure. The atmosphere. It’s just too much. When I did my Schawk stint again, the long days in the office about drove me mad, but again, I loved the work. And I especially enjoy my Loyola work, because I get to do what I love, but from home. They send me the work and some instructions and a due date, I do the work and send it back. Easy-peasy and also very inspiring because I’m reading MARKETING brochures for heaven’s sake so OF COURSE I want to go back to school. Their writers are very good! So, I love proofreading/copy editing and I’d love to be able to stick with that somehow. I’m also passionate about books and reading, so it would make sense for me to do something with reading/books/literacy/reading recovery, right? I am not sure if teaching would be the answer, but working on materials to encourage literacy–like the stuff I did at Zaner-Bloser–would be amazing. I also love children’s books and teen novels. I feel like my calling is to be some sort of proofreader/editor for a book publisher where I am working on novels, but those jobs are in New York and hard to come by. *sigh*

· I wish I had more unique talents or skills. Writers, proofreaders, secretaries…people with skills like me? We’re a dime a dozen.

· How much do I love the show Modern Family? I mean, hello. The amount of talent on that show blows me away. I watch Make It Or Break It, and I enjoy it, but I can tell most of the people are acting. I am aware that I am watching a TV show. But Modern Family? It flows so well. I feel like I’m looking in the window of someone’s house and seeing the families interact in real time, but not in a “reality TV” sort of way.

· How lucky am I that I am able to connect with former Mousketeers on Facebook or through their blogs? I mean, seriously. I know I’ve gushed about them before, but they really were a huge part of my high school years and to be able to exchange messages with them is simply awesome.

· *Sigh* I was sleeping but I was awakened by certain noises coming from above. And a wicked case of heartburn. So here I am, 4am, awake. *Double sigh.*

· My appetite for chicken has been REALLY weird lately. I don’t want any kind of teriyaki chicken, or citrusy chicken, or Asian style chicken. Fried chicken (like legs and wings) sound disgusting to me. But chicken nuggets seem OK. Or chicken parmesan (but not grilled, has to be breaded). It’s driving Adam crazy because he always wants to make chicken and my stomach immediately says NO WAY.

· Crunchy tempura shrimp sushi rolls = YUMMMMMMM!!!!!! And saki, too. Mmmm sushi. I decided to try some different stuff this time around. I didn’t care for the octopus and red snapper, though. Next time I’ll try eel. Maybe. :O


· The word “underpants” is funny.

· And finally, a question: Do you ever find yourself recalling some unpleasant event from the past… something that hurt you but you thought you were over… you recall this event and you get all upset again? I hate that. Sometimes I have some really mean thoughts and I don’t like it. :( I don’t want to put negativity in the world anymore. I like being happy.

And that’s all for now. ‘Til next time!

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Hibernation (Rambling, Long, Pictures, Survey)

The holidays are winding down. Aidan will be going back to Ohio soon. :( And all that’s left is the cold winter months. Is it any wonder that I feel less inclined to go anywhere or do anything except curl up with a blanket, an electric heater, and a large stack of books and read and sleep? Ack.

Today is Aidan’s birthday. My little boy is seven. Last night he told me he wouldn’t stop cuddling with me until he turned ten. So I guess I have three years to soak up all the cuddles and cheek holds. Right now, that little guy who was just a tiny newborn is now sitting beside me playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii and loving it. He’s a night owl just like I am, and he is a funny eater like me. We both latch on to something we like and we can eat it over and over and over and over without getting tired of it. He’d prefer to wear pajamas and hang out all day than run all over the place. He reads like a maniac. He loves Disney. And spaghetti. He’s such an amazing, incredible child.

We had a wonderful Christmas! We spent the week leading up to it trekking to the UPS store to pick up many packages, and we got our ham from Honey Bear Hams. It was amazing and delicious! Holy cow it was good! I got two pounds, and I am freezing one pound while we plow through the rest. It’s expensive but SO WORTH IT. Guess what I’ll be getting for Easter! Yum. When we got to the store, the bear was out waving, and the place was so festive and bustling. The owner gave Aidan a free stuffed Honey Bear! They had samples out and snacks. It was a fun trip. Christmas Eve, I made chocolate-cherry truffle cake, sugar cookie cutouts, and chocolate chip cookies.

Christmas Cookies! Chocolate-Cherry Truffle Cake

I also made part of the Christmas dinner so Christmas day would be more about relaxing than rushing. AND IT WAS! We didn’t have to go anywhere! Adam was the first one up, then I got up about 830 or so. We had to get Aidan up at 930 because we were too excited! Aidan was so excited and happy with his presents!

Aidan on Christmas Morning
Still a bit sleepy, though.

We had a good Christmas. I got Planet Earth on Blu-ray Disc™ (oh yeah!), The Boondock Saints, and Sleeping Beauty as well. Wii Fit Plus, gift card to Barnes & Noble, shirts and sweaters, more Wii games, pots and pans, The Sims 3 World Adventures, Kit’s Desk (American Girl), The Game of Things, tea from Lupicia, the new Enya CD, a Proofreading Exercise book, so much stuff that I’m not even remembering! But the best was that my little boy was here with me!

The food was yummy and seems like making Christmas dinner was way less stressful than making Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe because I did some of it the night before. Hmmm.

Anyway, the rest of break has been relaxing. Reading a lot (for my birthday I scored $75 in bookstore giftcards!), hanging with Aidan, cat sitting, all that good stuff. The other day, we lost Helena! I’d thought she’d gone in Aidan’s room to sleep, but nope. Crookshanks was pacing and wailing like his cat world was ending. That’s when I realized she was missing. Snowball was out and about, which should have been my first clue that something was off. She’d been mostly hanging out in my room under the bed. We figured that Helena was hiding (there are a lot of hiding places here) from Snowball and that she’d come out when she was ready. Then I heard a big catfight from above and instantly knew that Helena had somehow gotten upstairs with Stinky and Stinky was unhappy about it. I found her hiding behind a counter and lured her out by banging a spoon on a can, picking her up and bringing her back downstairs where she ran back inside her true home. Silly kitty.

Little Helena

I don’t know when I’ll get time/inspiration to journal again, so I’m gonna do my 2009 Wrap Up stuff here:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy! :) (Pictures)

Aidan’s here! YAY!!! That was a bit of drama. The airport was crowded in theSouthwest line, but we’d gotten there early so whatevs. Plus Aidan’s flight was delayed so double whatevs. They had a separate line for the UAs, and I learned that on a regular day, about 10 UAs come through. During the Christmas season, about 200 UAs go through! Aidan was the only one on his flight, though. The ticket agent let us both go to meet him (which they sometimes do if you ask nicely–but the rules are that only ONE parent can meet the unaccompanied minor which annoys me because the first thing Aidan does after he hugs me is ask for Adam on the times they don’t let him wait with me). Because of his flight delay, we had to move from gate to gate trying to figure out where he was coming in. I was freaking out. But we got him and all was well. And as always, someone came up to me and complimented me on how well-behaved and polite Aidan was on the plane. I have a good little boy. :)

Aidan's Here!

After getting lost on the way from the airport, and then a Target run, we finally made our way home. Aidan was super excited so he didn’t go to bed ’til late, then he was up early the next day…. MY BIRTHDAY!

I slept until about 10:30ish or so, then came into the living room in a haze. Adam and Aidan were both staring at computers, but they saw me and gave me big big smiles and hugs. Then Aidan made this for me:

Birthday Cake
Toy Melissa & Doug birthday party set

And Adam got me this:

Birthday Present from Adam
Martin backpack guitar. It’s small and light and I can learn to play guitar for real this time! It also smells amazing.

We went to Naperville, where we hung out at Anderson’s Bookshop (I really do love that place) and we met my friend Theresa and her family and we ate dinner at Five Guys.

Prune Faced!
Aidan at Five Guys

Then we had dessert at Cold Stone Creamery. After the two families parted ways, Adam, Aidan, and I drove around and looked at some lights on houses, then we headed home and watched Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. It was a WONDERFUL birthday! I’m 35 now, and I have a feeling life’s about to get even more awesome!! :)

I had a little bit of eBay drama as well. I looked on Adam’s wishlist and saw it on eBay… the price was too good to be true. The seller had 100% feedback, though, so I wasn’t worried. I ordered it and paid right away. Then, after not hearing from the seller at ALL, I went to her profile. Her feedback had plummeted to 76%! I looked a few days later, it was down to 50%. Now I was getting concerned, but I knew that eBay had that buyer protection thing going on. So, after seven days and after contacting the seller, I opened a case. Still no info from the seller, her feedback was in the TOILET. I went today, and her feedback was -2. I have NEVER heard of that before! But there it was. And she was no longer a registered user. I ended up getting refund from eBay though, so YAY for buyer protection. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting that gift for Adam, but I think that what I got in place of it will make him happy.

So, it’s way after midnight, so that means THREE days until Christmas!!! :) YAY!! Here is my all-new to do list.

01. Go to grocery store to get wax paper, powdered sugar, shredded cheese, gravy, green beans, and a triple berry torte. Oh yes.
02. Read A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens.
03. Bake cookies with Aidan!!
04. ……

Wait, what? That can’t be it. It really can’t. Oh well. I’ll take it. Because yup, cards are all sent, presents wrapped (except for a few that might or might not be coming still), shopping’s done, menu’s planned, place is pretty clean (just needs to be straightened up). This is good. :)

In about ten hours, my friend Deborah is bringing a kitty cat for us to watch for a few days. The cat’s name is Snowball, but she’s a black cat! I’ve met her before, but she is shy. I’m sure that Helena and Crookshanks will be happy to have her, but she might not be so happy to have THEM. I hope it goes well. And I hope she doesn’t destroy the tree!

I need to get to bed. I have a kitty to welcome tomorrow. ‘TIl next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Holiday Rambling (Pictures)

Seriously, how is it that I’m at home all day doing stuff, but the days STILL don’t seem long enough to do everything I want need to do? In addition, days go so much quicker when you’re doing stuff at home rather than being in an office. I try not to sleep in too late–I have my alarm set for 10:30am, the absolute latest I am allowed to sleep. I usually get up before then and turn the alarm off.

Maybe it’s because it’s the holiday season, it just seems like there is so much to do. Well, at least I’ve put the tree up. Funny story, that. I’ve had a tree since 2006. I got it from the free table at Zaner-Bloser. It was probably an old tree then. Crooked and threadbare, but those of you who were around then, know how much I was struggling financially. My priorities were not about getting a super amazing Christmas tree, so I made my free one work.

My Tree
The free tree in 2006. Totally crooked.

You can really see how bare it is here:

Aidan and the Tree
The free tree… and Aidan. This picture is from 2007. I can’t believe how different Aidan looks compared to then!

I put the tree up last week and just let it sit there bare. I was unhappy with it, but I figured that I’d work with it once the decorations were on it. I put the decorations on it and I was WAY MORE unhappy with it. I HATED it suddenly. I couldn’t get it to fake being straight anymore, you could see right through the thing, and then… and then… it started pitching forward. I would try to sit it up, but it began pitching forward more and more. Adam said it was fine, but I knew, in my gut, that it wasn’t. But I went back to playing Cafe World anyway. And then it happened.


Fortunately, I only lost three ornaments, and none of them were ones I were particularly attached to, but I am a little bit sad about the Harry Potter one. My Disneyland 2009 one and the golden banana ornaments were OK, and that’s all that mattered. Adam and I went out that night and I got a new tree from Target. Pre-lit, six feet, good times. Here she is:

O Christmas Tree

A tree that’s straight and full! I love it! :) So do the cats. They keep lying under it. I wonder what they’ll do when/if I put presents under it?

I also got one of those Holiday Sugar Cookie kits. It’s by Krusteaz, and it has cookie mix (enough for 5 and a half dozen… I’ll be making the half batch TYVM), cookie cutters, sprinkles, icing mix, and food coloring. Not bad for $7.50, I say. I had a hard time finding a kit. Lots to make gingerbread houses, but not to make cookies. My mom had gotten one years ago; I guess they were more abundant then. I thought I was going to have to resort to those Pillsbury cookies with the designs already in the cookie! The box is SUPER heavy! I’m going to make them with Aidan when he gets here. YAY!

The holiday stuff is coming along. Christmas shopping is just about done, the annual newsletter is done and sent (it’s a PDF so if you’re interested, comment with your email address and if I know you, I’ll send you a copy), my Rebecca doll is in her Hanukkah dress, and the lights are in the window. Here is what else I need to do within the next week:

01. Task I’d rather not discuss online.
02. Make doctor appointment.
03. Go to doctor (this ties in with #2).
04. Order “baby” honey ham (unfortunately, not Honey Baked–the store is too far away–but there is a Honey Bear Ham place right around the corner that has super Yelp reviews, so I’m going to go with them!).
05. Clean Aidan’s room. (It’s mostly done, but I need to do a bit of rearranging and such. His room turns into a storage room when he’s gone, and I like to make it look like a bedroom when he’s here.)
06. Plan Christmas menu.
07. Plan Hanukkah menu? (Will ask Adam if he wants something special.)
08. Address and mail out holiday/Christmas cards.
09. Finish Christmas shopping.
10. Wrap presents (before December 19)
11. Mail packages (before December 15)

Saturday, we took a trip to Naperville. YAY Naperville! We did some shopping and ate dinner and went to MEIJER which is always a treat for me because I freaking love that store. Adam looked and looked and looked for a decent pair of boots. I didn’t realize guys had it so hard when it came to buying winter boots, because women’s stores are exploding with the things. He found a pair at Meijer. MEIJER. See why I love that store? They have everything!

After Naperville, we went to The Book Cellar to see a bunch of Debs talk about writing and being authors and stuff like that. Such a good time. You know me, the author fangirl, right? :) Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Cynthea Liu, Lara Zielin, Darcy Vance, and Kristina Springer were there. It was fun to finally meet these people who’s LJs/Facebooks/Tweets I’d been reading for months and years. And most of them recognized ME. We also had dinner with Tara O’Shea (who incidentally knows Seanan McGuire) and Amy Vincent. That was loads and loads of fun.

Being around authors always makes me think hard about writing. When it comes down to it, I choke. A LOT. I remember what it was like when I was writing ONLY YOURS. I got so much joy out of writing that book. I mean, it was just… every moment I wasn’t writing–I was ACHING to be writing. I didn’t choke back then, I just wrote. I’m trying to figure out how to get back there. In the meantime, I do the force myself to write at least 100 words if I do open the manuscript. 100 words is not a lot, and usually I end up doing ten times that once I get going. I love books, I love reading. I love that world. I want to be a part of it in someway. I know that’s where I belong. Even if I end up a copy editor for YA novels (OH PLEASE GOD THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME), I would still be in that world.

Is it weird to be nearly 35 and still finding oneself?

I can’t believe it’s already after 1am. *sigh* Remember what I said about the days going too fast? Apparently the nights do as well. ‘Til next time.

P.S. I miss Lucy. :( A lot.

P.S.S. Does anyone remember this song?
Snowflakes falling all over town, slipping, sliding, everybody rushin’ ‘round. There’s an icy chill in the air, telling us that winter’s really here. Oh! I’m so glad that winter is here. Grab your sled and let out a happy cheer because it’s snowing, blowing, all through the day. Winter winds will surely blow all your cares away.

It popped into my head when Adam and I were driving around Naperville. I learned it in fourth grade for the Christmas program. Back then, they still called it a Christmas program. Oh, the olden days. Anyway, a quick Google search showed me that many people seemed to have learned that song when they were in fourth grade. I can still hear Mr. Zarlino teaching it to us during choir practice….

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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It’s Just Life & It’s Good! (Pictures, Long)

Oh, hi y’all. As you know, I haven’t updated in a while, so I apologize in advance for the longevity of this post. I’ve been around, as those of you who are on my Facebook know, but typically it’s been a busy few months, what with four quarter at Schawk (can’t believe another one has passed), family visiting, friends visiting, and just… life, really.

Which is great, by the way. So much to be thankful for these days. :)

Earlier this month, Aidan came to visit for several days. It was awesome! He’s so mature and smart. And he’s turning out to be quite the bookworm. Hmm, wonder where he could have possibly gotten that? Seriously, one day, he read five books. Impressive! Anyway, when he was here, I took a day off from work to spend time with him. He loved that. I took him downtown to look at the Macy’s store windows, and he got to see Santa Claus!

Macy's State Street Windows

Aidan and Santa

Poor thing was totally tongue tied when Santa hugged him, but it was such a sweet scene. I had to keep blinking back tears. Santa was an absolute sweetheart to Aidan. :) Aidan also wrote and sent a letter to Santa that day, and he was beside himself when we peeked into the news studio (a couple of them have their windows uncovered and passersby can watch live broadcasts) and someone inside waved at him. The most random thing happened to me that day, too. We were looking at the windows and interacting or whatever, and a stranger came up to me, told me I was a good mom, and gave me a hug! :)

Later that week, Adam’s family came to town to visit. They loved spending time with Aidan and he loved spending time with them:

Family Pix

Aidan went home that Sunday, and I was sad to see him go. He is always excited to fly alone, so the good-byes aren’t terrible (for him).

That Monday, I scarfed down a cheeseburger from Portillo’s and saw the burger again a few hours later. :( I woke up Tuesday morning feeling sort of OK, so I headed out to work, only to end up exhausted and weak from the commute. I ended up leaving a few hours early. I wasn’t feeling good at all. Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling sort of OK, so I decided to brave it again even though my brain/body was telling me not to. I was 100% worn out when I got to work. I must have looked like hell. My manager eventually came and suggested that I go home. I left work at one, and was in bed by two. Thursday morning, I woke up very hungry, ate a big breakfast, and was back to normal by Thursday afternoon.

The next weekend, I got to hang out with Ricky Luna. For those of you who have known me for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been a fan of this former Mouseketeer for several years now. We had an awesome time together. He, his manager and family, and Adam and I just hung out, doing the touristy thing. Navy Pier (mmm churros), Pizzeria Due, parade, and then we came back here and hung out for hours. It was one of the best days ever.

Ricky & Me

Ricky just recently dropped an album that is super amazing. If you love electronica, you’ll love his music. The album’s called Electro Bomba, and I seriously cannot stop moving when I listen to it. I can’t even describe it, except to call it Electro Bomba, but it has a lot of what I like in good dance music. You can download a free 45-minute mix here, and you can buy the album here on iTunes. If you want to only get selected tracks, I recommend My Fitted Hat (Raw Mix) and Eyes Wide Shut and Smile (Sonrisa). Arms In The Air is also pretty damn awesome, as is the title track. Seriously, trying to choose a favorite on this album is like trying to pick a favorite child. I can’t do it. I don’t say that about a lot of music. So, download the free mix. What have you got to lose?

After all that excitement, last Monday, Adam took me to the American Girl store, where he had me pick out my birthday present. Yes, it was about a month too early, but he knew I’d want to pick her out myself, and neither of us wanted to deal with the store as the Christmas holiday draws closer. And when your husband is Adam Selzer and he asks you if you want to go to American Girl Place, you say yes!

Anyway, I came home with …….

Me & Julie

Julie is the 1974 doll, which is special to me because that’s the year I was born. So it was cool to get a doll for my birthday who represents my birth year. And she’s so pretty. Why did I wait so long to get her? I’m in LOVE with that doll! :) I think she is going to be the one doll I actually keep in her time period. She’ll be my 70s girl.

Last Wednesday was my last day at Schawk 2009. I made it through this fourth quarter with no printed errors (Go Ronni!). It’s kind of weird knowing I don’t have to go to work tomorrow–all I have scheduled is a 2:30 massage at the Cortiva Institute. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be a homemaker, something I’ve never been! I mean, I stayed home with Aidan when he was a newborn, but this will be different. For one thing, I’m not sure where my next job will come from, or when. But Adam’s working full time now, so it’s going to be my job to keep the house, which he’s been doing all this time. I’m excited about it.

I figured that I need to make a schedule, though. Else I’ll end up playing FarmVille, Cafe World, and The Sims all day. So, here are things I MUST do every day:

1. exercise for at least 45 minutes (conveniently, the Electro Bomba free mix is 45 minutes)
2. write for at least an hour
3. some sort of special project (with Christmas coming up, this will be easy)

I’m actually going to write stuff down in my planner and hold myself accountable. It’s important.

Thanksgiving was awesome. Jeff and Deborah came over and we ate GOOD food. Four different kinds of dressing/stuffing, cheddar mashed potatoes, corn, pumpkin peanut butter soup, macaroni & cheese, and of course, a nice, juicy turkey. We played Super Mario Bros. for Wii (awesome game), and hung out and had a good time. Friday, I stayed in. Had to avoid those crowds, but Adam and I went out on Saturday. Dropped off laundry, and I just about finished Aidan’s Christmas. I’d like to get him something EPIC though. We’ll see. I haven’t begun to shop for most people. Will wait until December 1st. Same to put up my tree and decorations.

I’m looking forward to having December off from work. Just me recovering, and getting things done around the house. It’s going to be nice. And it’s my favorite season! It’s going to be more awesome because Aidan will be here in Chicago! YAY!!!

With that, I’m off. The ZzzzZZzzzZs are catching up with me. Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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