living in chicago

I Might Be Certifiable (OMG)

See that title? ^^ You might agree if you read this entry. I’m just sayin’.

I am 100% back to being a night owl. I stay up until 4 or 5am, I roll out of bed at about 11:30am, and then I fall asleep on the couch about 3pm, and again at about 8pm. Then I’m up all night. Party! Woo!

The good thing about it is that I don’t have anywhere to go during the day mostly, and if I DO have something to do, I am functional enough to get it taken care of. For example, Tuesday, I got up and cleaned like I was crazy! I took down and put away all the Christmas stuff, cleaned the kitchen, living room, my side of the bedroom, the litter boxes, and Aidan’s room, and finished it off with that nice, hot bath. I even used my Cinders bath bomb–and that was a limited edition one. I hardly EVER use my LE bath bombs because well, they’re LE. I can’t get them again.

The good thing is that after you do a super cleaning like that, you get a grace period where there’s nothing to do until things get messed up again. There are always dishes to do, though, and GOD knows that trash can is the bane of my existence. Good Lord that thing stinks to high heaven every other freaking day and it’s driving me up a wall. Has to drive Adam crazy too, having to take the trash out all the time. I try not to put things in it that will seriously perish in a matter of hours (like old meat or leftovers) but something must have escaped my notice (i.e. Adam put it in there) and it turned this evening, because I have a SUPER sensitive sniffer and bad smells just get stuck and nothing I do can make them go away or mask them. They just seem to linger and linger while my Nag Champa burns away in vain. *sigh*

Saturday aka today is … wait for it… GROCERY SHOPPING DAY. To prepare, I did something I have not done in a long time. I CLIPPED COUPONS. Because see, lately, I’ve been getting these recipes off of, and a lot of them use the Crescent rolls. Adam says the rolls are expensive, so I decided to go online and see if they had coupons. AND THEY DO! So I’m going to stock up on them and do a happy dance because there are so many neat things I can make with them. For New Year’s Eve, I made these ham and cheddar crescents, and cheese ‘n pepperoni crescents. I made the cheese ‘n pepperoni ones again a few nights ago. They’re easy and tasty and leftovers can go in the fridge and be reheated in 30 seconds in the microwave. I want to make a bunch and have them ready to go as snacks. I mean, they are the PERFECT snack or appetizer, and for night owl me, who doesn’t want to eat a huge meal at 3:30am, one of those things is just right.

Anyway, I clipped lots of other coupons too, not just Pillsbury ones. Funny thing is that I don’t eat a whole lot these days. Only when I am working in an office do I eat a lot more than I should, and I do eat normally when I am out and about. Here at home, it’s easier to get caught up in whatever I’m doing (usually reading or puttering around on the computer) and not eat until my stomach threatens to kick my butt from here to New York if I don’t fill it with something other than water or lemonade. I get THIRSTY, but not so much hungry. I’m not a good “family” shopper. I lived alone for a while, then Chris did most of the shopping, then I lived alone again, then Adam did/does most of the shopping. He knows how to go and buy things like meat and other items to successfully put together meals, and he does it without too much thought. Me? I have to pore over sales papers and make lists and more lists and clip coupons and study recipes and do it all over again. And I STILL tend to go for the more easy and quick stuff, hence my new obsession with those rolls and everything that can be done with them.

I also ordered a 6-unit case of Apples and Cinnamon Cream of Wheat. See, for years, one could go to a grocery store and buy entire boxes of all sorts of flavors of Cream of Wheat. There was Apples and Cinnamon, Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Strawberries and Cream, and Maple Brown Sugar. And of course, the different varieties of Original. My mother said that when I was little I loved Maple Brown Sugar, but as I got older, I started to love Apples and Cinnamon the best. And I ate it for years and years and years and years and years. My favorite breakfast was Cream of Wheat and bacon. Apples and Cinnamon, but I also like the way my grandmother, Madia, made the Original for me. Then, my favorite flavor started disappearing off the shelves. Well, not really disappearing. It started hiding in the Variety Pack boxes, as did the Strawberries and Cream. So, I switched to Brown Sugar Cinnamon and added applesauce to it. Got the same flavor with no lumpy apples, and then THAT one disappeared into the Variety Pack as well. By this time, I was learning a couple of things:

1. Anything I liked, I mean really liked, was suddenly going to likely be off the shelves in a matter of months if not weeks.
2. If something disappears into a variety pack, be prepared kiss it good-bye before long.

This has happened with SO MANY of my favorite foods. A LONG LONG time ago, Doritos once made Sour Cream and Onion Flavor. My cousins and I ate that stuff like we were crazy. Then suddenly, they were no more. Other flavors came and went, but nothing was like those our Cream and Onion Doritos. But we got over it, my cousins and I. And we moved on. To Nacho Cheese. And we’ve been happy with Nacho Cheese ever since. Actually, I am speaking for myself here. They probably are not as particular as I am about Dorito flavor. Anway, the nacho cheese had BETTER NEVER go away or there will be one pissed off little Ronica here in Chicago.

Rice Krispies made Double Chocolately Chunk Treats for years. Then they disappeared into a variety pack. Now you can’t even find them in those, or if you can, it’s very few and far between. I’ve found a few little stores around Chicago in office buildings that will sell an individual one, and I usually make the mistake of buying the whole display and then the jerks raise their prices because they know they have a fanatic on their hands, but as far as getting a multi-pack box from Target or something like that? Nope. I even wrote and asked them about it. And finding the individual bars is like finding a needle in a haystack. Then, out of nowhere came these Rice Krispies Stix. They were like the treats you could break them apart like a Kit-Kat bar. I liked those even better than the treats, but those were gone within WEEKS of being debuted. Those didn’t even make it into a variety pack. They were just … GONE.

When I was in 6th grade, Quaker made Granola Dipps. I loved them. Naturally, they disappeared. Then they came back for a while, then disappeared into the black hole that is Walmart. I spotted them at Strack and Vantil last year, and then they disappeared. Adam found them at Dominick’s, I found them at Jewel, and I think they might be at a Target here and there these days. Every time they go on sale, Adam and I buy about 15 boxes to stock up. They are hard to find and probably going to go away again. They are also very expensive when they are not on sale. That’s the other reason we stock up. Not only do I tend to like foods that disappear, I tend to like foods that are expensive.

In high school, Carnation made these really yummy breakfast bars. You could get them next to the Instant Breakfast drinks. They were so good. I loved them. I’d started eating them during my senior year of high school, and the song Freak Me by Silk was popular. I had the single and the single had a certain mix on it. To this day, if I hear that mix of that song, I crave those stupid breakfast bars. Carnation changed the formula on them and make them gross, then discontinued them. A few years ago, Skippy made these yummy peanut butter bars covered in chocolate. One was peanut butter and marshmallow. Yum. It was a crazy flavor that was soon addictive. Yeah, that was gone within three months.

These things are not discontinued but you can’t get them in Chicago: Cherry pies at McDonald’s (they are SO superior to the apple ones) and BBQ Fritos. What the green hell? No BBQ Fritos? Oh sure, they have Chili Cheese ones (blech) and those honey BBQ Twists (not the same) but no plain old BBQ Fritos? *shaking my head* Messed up. And Twinings JUST discontinued the Tastes of Summer tea, which I LOVE. I have only ONE pack left. I’d been blowing through them, not realizing how precious and limited my supply was. Are my tastes THAT obscure that everything I fall for must disappear?

ANYWAY, back on topic. Now, if I go to to the grocery store, the only Cream of Wheat I can get all in one flavor is Maple Brown Sugar, my original favorite flavored. And Original, of course, when it doesn’t cost $89794888947. EXCEPT– has cases of Apples and Cinnamon Cream of Wheat for $25! Guess who ordered herself one right after the Christmas? (It had been on my wish list but no one picked that gift to send me from it. Not that I am complaining. It’s probably one of those things that makes people go “She can’t seriously want Cream of Wheat for a present” like they say “There is no way she really wants a thesaurus for Christmas”–oh but I would LOVE a thesaurus for Christmas, or the Chicago Manual of Style….)

******NEWS FLASH*******


***Dies Dead***

Speaking of shipping, Adam and I tried out Amazon Prime for our holiday shopping and freaking loved it. LOVED IT. My trial membership expired on the 7th. See, it offers free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase. Two-day shipping, you guys. And no scrounging around the site trying to find something eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping to push that total to $25 when you are at $23.47 (and you KNOW that happens more often than not.) You can order something for $9 and still get it in two days, and still get it free. And getting the package with the PREMIUM sticker on it was pretty cool, I do say so myself. We were certainly spoiled. But to keep it will cost $79.99. When Amazon Prime was a free trial, that free shipping was a great deal. It doesn’t seem so great after you pay $80 up front for it. But Adam said we probably spend that much trying to make the Super Saver Shipping eligibility by buying stuff we don’t need to get to $25 (because come on, I know that I’ve never managed to spend under $30 when I was going for SSS anyway–how about you? It’s not really possible. The total is usually just under $25 or a bunch of dollars OVER $25, right?). Maybe I’m just trying to talk myself into signing up for the stupid thing. I dunno, I will have to seriously think about it. I’m glad I tried it, though. It really helped make Christmas easier for us.

Still a little bit bummed that the holiday season is over. But there is a lot to look forward to in 2010 and I know that I’ll back into the swing of things mentally before long. Especially when I find this site with loads of beautiful clothes that I can ill afford to be buying these days. Some day, my friends. Some day I will have that pin stripe skirt and and those alderlass trousers. And there is this pair of shoes… oh God, these shoes! *calming breath* Oh yes, my friends. Some day.

In the meantime, I will try to sleep. And during the day, I will take a break from reading the Series of Unfortunate Events (I am currently in the middle of Book The Fifth) and venture out to the grocery store and possibly Target (we need printer paper and Iams cat food). If I am lucky and feeling up to it and if I can convince Adam, maybe a trip to Barnes & Noble as well. I have a $25 gift card that’s burning a hole in my wallet. :)

Going to try to sleep now. G’night… er, morning. :O

P.S. Just so you know, if Pillsbury stops making their Crescent Rolls, I will take it personally.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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A Day In Naperville (Large Number of Pictures)

So, as many of you who have followed me for years know, I am a HUGE fan of Sarah Dessen. HUGE. I love her work, and I love her blogs and yeah, she’s just awesome.

I GOT TO MEET HER TODAY!1!!11onewonuno!!!

Two of My Favorite Authors

Yup, that’s me in between Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Dessen (who is mid blink, bless her heart).


What was so cool was that when they came in, Laurie spotted me in the audience and grinned and waved and said “Hi Ronni!” I about died from glee then. I mean, HELLO, it’s Laurie Halse Anderson, who is teh awsum! as it is. And I would have come out to see her by herself, but with Sarah? Um yeah. CLEAR THE CALENDAR, right? THEN when it was my turn, SARAH RECOGNIZED ME FROM MY COMMENTING ON HER LIVE JOURNAL. OH man. OH MAN OH MAN. *dies* SARAH DESSEN KNEW WHO I WAS, you guys!!! MAJORfangirlSQUEE! :D

I had a great time talking with both of them. Laurie hugged me, blew me kisses, complimented me on my wedding photos, and encouraged me to keep writing. She’s definitely getting a shoutout whenever I get published. She’s so inspirational and supportive and amazing. I lubs her. :)

I snagged this from Laurie’s Twitter. Can you see me and Aidan in the audience?

So yeah, I’m riding on that high pretty much.

Spending all afternoon in Naperville was a lot of fun. It was a beautiful day, and they were doing IndieBound. All the indie shops (and some non-indie shops!) were having sidewalk sales. I got a pair of Keen Newports, and I found out that I can wear a child’s size five, thus saving me lots of money on future shoe purchases. Aidan and I ate lunch at Noodles & Co, where he ate a HUGE bowl of mac & cheese, which he loved. Oh, at first he turned his nose up at it b/c he saw “white” cheese in the bowl and the cheese wasn’t all melted and mixed in. I got really firm with him because his pickiness is frustrating at the best of times. I KNOW he loves mac & cheese, and for him to say “I don’t wike cheddar” when I know DANG well he eats cheddar in his mac & cheese all the time was almost too much. I mixed up the mac & cheese for him, he took one bite, and then gobbled the rest down pretty much.

A Day In Naperville
Om nom nom!!!

While we waited for the long hours until the authors arrived to tick by, Aidan and I busied ourselves in Anderson’s Bookshop. There is PLENTY to do to spend time in that store, honestly. Like this:

Aidan Reading
Who knew SpongeBob Squarepants had his own magazine?

Here are some other pix from today:

O Hai!

A Day In Naperville A Day In Naperville
A Day In Naperville A Day In Naperville
Tyrone Says Hi! A Day In Naperville


We ate Wendy’s for dinner because although I KNOW there are McDonald’s restaurants in Naperville, I couldn’t find any on the roads I was on. Thank goodness Aidan was agreeable to that suggestion. I got teased by some customers behind me because I ordered myself a Kid’s Meal. :o

Those are the highlights of a pretty great day. I was worried that I wouldn’t feel OK all day because I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I was playing Sims3 last night and mistakenly called Aidan over to watch as one of the Sims was getting carted off by the Grim Reaper. It scared the pants off of him (I thought he might laugh at it) because of the scary music and the guy turned into a ghost… he was up all night freaking out, and he climbed into bed with me at about 6am. Poor little guy. Sometimes that stuff makes him laugh but sometimes it scares the poop out of him. Last night was a poop eliminating (figuratively, of course) session. I just didn’t THINK. *hits self on head*

Oh well. Live and learn. It all worked out in the end. Aidan only bumbled up slightly a couple times, and both times were easily remedied by getting his blood sugar back up. He was a really good boy. :)

Now I have to figure out how to get him to bed soon. I have a headache and he’s going strong for some reason. : Well, he knows that once The Wiz ends, he’s to go to bed. And they just made it to Oz. Woohoo.

Until next time….

P.S. Only 35 Days Til Disney!!!!!!

E.T.A. Click! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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What a Week! (Pictures, Long)

Lots have gone on since I’ve last updated. I’ll try to make it simple for simplicity’s sake. This post is long! :)

· Riley has a friend! I went online looking at AG dolls just to see what was out there, and to decide which one I would eventually purchase. Well, last Sunday, I was Googling QVC and American Girl and came up with a random lucky link. Ruthie, one of the dolls I was considering, was being sold with her accessories, a book, a hair brush, and an extra pair of pajamas for $76. Whoa? The doll and paperback book is $95 when purchased through regular channels. All that extra stuff with the doll? You’re looking at about $160 right there. Factoring in shipping and tax, she came to $86. I couldn’t pass her up. (I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to stumble upon this link–it is not searchable at

She arrived yesterday (4 days before she was scheduled to!) and she and Riley took to each other right away!

Ruthie & Riley

· This morning, my friend Kari, who I’ve known online for years now, flew into Chicago to visit with some old college chums. This morning, we all met up for brunch at Le Peep. I had the Belgian Waffle Combo like I always do when I go. :)

Of course, Kari and I took some pix!

Brunch with Kari!

Brunch with Kari!

· Earlier this week, Joey and Rory were at my work singing for us and chatting with us. Joey’s voice is so amazing and unbelievably beautiful. She makes it sound easy and effortless. They’re both very nice and I wish them the best tomorrow at the ACM Awards!! :)

· Today, I got to see RENT!!! They’re in Chicago until April 12, and Adam and I popped into a matinee. We were in the orchestra seats, row W, which was pretty good. Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal were amazing as Mark and Roger, and Justin Johnson was absolutely STUNNING as Angel. Lexi Lawson was amazing as Mimi. Actually, they all did a wonderful job and this production was OFF THE HOOK. I was smiling and clapping while tears were streaming down my cheeks.

Afterward, Adam and I met up with one of the stage hands and we waited in line while a few of the cast members came out. I got my picture with John Watson, who plays Mr. Jefferson and other roles, and Adam Haplin, who plays Gordon other little roles.

RENT in ChicagoRENT in Chicago

After all of THAT excitement, I got to pretend I was Mimi when the theatre was almost empty:

Ouuttt Tonighttt!

What a rush, let me tell you! I’m no Lexi Lawson or Rosario Dawson or Daphne Rubin-Vega, but it was fun anyway.

· I booked another Disney trip!!! Disney is offering Free Dining starting in August, and it took me about 20 minutes to decide to think about SERIOUSLY taking Aidan. He’s at the perfect age and I really want to do this for him. I got a quote from Mouse Fan Travel instead of going directly through the Disney site this time. Why have I never done this before? My agent, Suzy, is awesome. This place allowed me to hold a spot for three days while I waited to hear back about getting the time off work. Then once I put down the deposit, she told me the day my ADR window will open, and said she’ll make them for me! If a special deal comes up, this agency will apply the savings proactively. No fees, so hidden little leprechauns to catch me by unpleasant surprise. So, Aidan, Adam and I are going in August for a few days. We’re staying at Pop Century. I like the theming at the place. So cool. It won’t be a terribly long trip, and it’ll be crowded and hot, but the food will be free and we’ll make the best of it. We’ll be at DISNEY WORLD! :D

Naturally I am very excited. Aidan doesn’t know yet. I’d been debating on how and when to tell him. Some people tell me to wait until just a few weeks or days before. Others tell me not to tell him until we get there–but Aidan is way too bright to fall for that one. Someone else asked me why not tell him when he’s here in a few days? That way he can help me plan! We’ll do some sort of countdown, some activities, and just get ourselves totally worked up. So, I think I’ll tell him when he is here… but I’m not sure how yet. He’s really into guessing games lately, so I think I’m going to go that route. Should be awesome.

OK, I think that’s all from this week. My first week of April has been crazy! But crazy in an amazing, I am very grateful and extremely blessed way. ♥ I am truly happy, and so excited for Thursday evening!!!!

Until next time!

Now playing: Perry Farrell – Going All the Way (Into the Twilight)
via FoxyTunes

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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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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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…)

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