Coming Out of the Dark/General Update (Pictures)

I’ve had a rough few weeks of it. I don’t know if it was the weather, my medicine or what, but I’ve just really been feeling OFF. Definitely not very motivated. Tired and weak, constant headaches (three-day migraines are the suck… big time), depression, and general unhappiness. Not to mention the more than $500 in traffic/parking tickets that I had to pay last week. Not good.

(Did you know that in Chicago, not only can you be ticketed repeatedly for the same offense in the same place on the same day, but you can be ticketed every HOUR for the same offense in the same place on the same day? And they can impound your car even if you never received said tickets because the wind blew them off or something like that? Also, I know someone whose car got broken into. Window smashed. And he got a ticket for it. This city….I don’t even.)

Today, I had a doctor’s appointment. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the weather was sunny and in the upper 50s! Nice weather always helps me feel better, so after my appointment, I went and spent some time downtown, looking around in my favorite stores and letting myself be seriously tempted by things that I want but talk myself out of. I mean, I really don’t need a new Juicy warm up suit now, no matter how comfy and how deeply discounted they are at Nordstrom Rack.

This past weekend was an author-filled one for me. I got to meet Barry Lyga (we even gave him a ride to his hotel!) and Carrie Ryan, and Adam got to be treated like a rock star by middle schoolers. I do enjoy being around authors, and books, and things of that sort. It’s inspirational. I also managed to score an ARC of Linger so YAY. I have a lot of books to read, which is never a bad thing. I’m in the middle of my 50th new book of the year.

The bedroom is a hot, falling down mess. I still haven’t unpacked from our trip to Atlanta (which we came back from weeks ago), and plus, I am not good with hanging up/putting away clothing. I just drop it wherever I am standing, or drape it wherever it’ll fit. Part of the reason is that I can’t get to my closet because all of Adam’s clothes are in the way. And my closet light no longer works–something else the landlord won’t bother to fix. There are BOOKS everywhere on my side of the room. And the sad thing is there is a bookcase in the room–I need to utilize that thing. I can barely move for all the books (and shoes) everywhere.

I met up with an Internet friend a few weekends ago. We’d known each other since 2000, from the Roxydoll boards. It was fun to hang out. And pictures do not do her justice.

Sarah & Me
Sarah and Me

As you can probably tell, I got new glasses. Transitions. Pretty cool.

Aidan got his first “stylist” haircut (after getting homemade ones for years):

Aidan's First Stylist Haircut

He’s also obsessed with Star Wars these days. He’s going to be so thrilled when he sees the huge AT-AT and Rancor that Adam shipped from Atlanta for him to play with. I’m thrilled that I now own Adam’s old stuffed clown named Boji. Boji is sooooo cute. He just has this smile; it’s impossible to stay sad when looking at that sweet face. Boji and Pandernoodle are best friends now. :)

I’ve been worried that I am starting to look my age. My body is changing, and my face is changing, and I even spied a grey hair several weeks ago. I don’t want to look anywhere near my age. I like looking young, because then I can get away with wearing jeans and hoodies or mini-skirts and tights. I don’t want to have to dress all conservatively and MATURE when I really want to wear plaid skirts and goth blouses or Mickey Mouse hoodies or tee-shirts from Old Navy or whatever. Anyway, this weekend, someone told me I looked 16. SIXTEEN folks. That made my weekend. I’m also still getting 24ish, which I suppose is acceptable. I don’t want to look my actual age for at least 20 years.

Girl scout cookies are here! I have two boxes of Thin Mints, a box of Tag-a-longs and some of those Lemon Cremes or whatever. That’s a happy thing. I gotta get those Thin Mints in the freezer. Frozen is the best way to eat them.

I’m cutting back, WAY back, on my pop consumption. There can be nothing good in the amount of pop I was drinking. I’m going back to juice, and then water. I really should cut back on my sugar as well… BUT IT TASTES SO GOOD. Still, I wasn’t happy with the numbers on the scale today. Something needs to be done.

I took out 20 books from the library (3 of them are for Adam). Reading is fun.

Aidan will be here in 8 days. Only 4 more days until Spring. And 160 days until Mockingjay is out! New Elizabeth Scott book is out NOW, and so is The Princess & The Frog on DVD/Blu-ray. And New Moon on Friday! Lots to keep me entertained.

I need to go home. I need to see my friends and family, and I need to be in a city I’m not scared to drive in, and in a state that doesn’t put sales tax on its groceries. I don’t know when that’ll be, though. Seems like something comes up to keep me from booking those tickets, but I have to soon, or I think I shall lose my mind.

Life really is good, even when I’m feeling down in the dumps. But I’m climbing out. Slowly, but surely.

P.S. I just realized it’s my 2 year anniversary of moving to Chicago.

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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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One Month In (Reflection)

I’ve been 35 for one month. Most people tell me that I don’t look 35 at all. :) That makes me happy. I’m glad I still look pretty young, although definitely not as youthful as I used to look. And I’m noticing other things.

I’ve filled out surveys for companies for years. Now I’m clicking the next bracket of age tick boxes. The 35-40 bracket. When I hear about health risks for certain things, the “Women 35 and older–” thing kind of freaks me out because that’s ME now. If Adam and I decide to have a baby, I’m going to have to get loads of extra tests because I’m in the “at risk” part of my life. I remember watching TV and everyone was so grown up. Now, I’m older than almost everyone I see in commercials, on shows. People born in 1990 will be 20 this year!

One month into age 35, and I am a homemaker. An avid reader (I’m up to 16 new books for 2010 so far). I haven’t published a novel (yet). I have a seven year old son who is awesome. I live in Chicago (did NOT see that coming five years ago). I was once stick thin with a belly button ring. I’m definitely not stick thin anymore, but people still tell me I’m “tiny.” The belly button ring is long gone, and now I wonder if the way I dress isn’t too youthful. I like my jeans and hoodies and Airwalks, that’s for sure. I’m growing my hair out and will eventually chop off all the relaxed stuff and be completely natural. It’s challenging because well, I have no clue really of how to take care of my hair in its natural state. It’s been relaxed or straightened since I was a little girl. But I have not had a relaxer put in since May of 2009. But when I see women with before and after pictures, they all look way more amazing with natural hair. I hope that’s the case with me!

As I grow older, I notice that I am more sensitive to loud noises. I am becoming more of a homebody, preferring to hang around the apt with a stack of books, a glass of juice, and some comfy pillows than go out. Although, if someone mentions a trip to Target, I’m there. (I once told Adam that if he asks me if I want to go to Target and I say “no” to take my temperature. Seriously.) I am way more sensitive to smells. Certain scents I used to love, I can no longer stand. And bad smells drive me up a wall in a way that is not normal. I can smell things that most people don’t even notice, and bad smells stick with me for hours after the source is gone. I still like hanging out with my friends. I’m becoming a bit more frugal… by CHOICE this time, which is nice, although I do splurge on books too often. I’m debt free, I still love spaghetti, and bacon, and Cream of Wheat. I still get cold all the time. I’m still a night owl!

I don’t think too much about my mortality. I try not to, because death is so final. It’s not like I’m exactly “living it up” these days either, but I’m enjoying being restful for now. There were too many years when life was anything but.

I don’t have a five-year plan in place, because I’ve learned that a LOT can happen to blow even the best laid plans out of the water. I do have dreams, though. I’d like to move to a nicer, bigger place. I don’t know where yet. It could be somewhere else in Chicago. It could be a Chicago suburb. It could be back to Columbus. I’d like to have a book published by 2015, but I’m not going to stress myself over making that goal. I’d like to get a tattoo. I want to see Aidan a LOT more. I’d like to be working from home, as I do now, but more regularly and lucratively. I’d like to be comfortable financially. I don’t need to be super rich (although I wouldn’t turn it down!). I just want to be happy and healthy and secure and comfortable. Those are my main dreams. I’d like to travel too. Ireland!

Right now, I am content. I mean, the apartment has some issues, but it’s warm and keeps me sheltered. I don’t get to see Aidan as often as I’d like, but I get to see him a lot more than I used to when I first moved here. I like proofreading. I live in a cool city even though the taxes are ridiculous and some of the costs here are unnecessarily high and inconvenient. I have friends and I’m making new ones all the time. I love my husband like crazy. How could I not? He’s so CUTE!

Life’s OK at 35. I have a feeling it’s just gonna get more fabulous.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Well, Fartknock (Blah Blah Whatever and a Picture)

Here I am, my night owl tendencies taking over again. I should be sleeping, but I can’t seem to ever crawl into bed before 4am unless something crazy happens like I get only 3 hours of sleep the day before. Downright inconvenient, that.

Because I was supposed to do some things Monday/today like WRITE (for God’s sake WRITE), play Playstation 2, play some Wii Fit Plus, and start reading WHIP IT. But I’ll probably sleep until 1pm. And then A NEW MAKE IT OR BREAK IT COMES ON ABC FAMILY oh yeah baby!

Spent Sunday in Naperville again. I do like it out there. It’s seems familiar. Like Columbus, with the strip malls and restaurants like Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago has great places to eat, but sometimes, I just want a $15 steak, not a $398379852948798 luxury steak from Morton’s. Not that I’ve ever HAD anything from Morton’s. Ever. But just sayin’.

I saw The Princess & The Frog. It was magnificent. I was freely crying at the end, but tried to hide it, of course. It was the magic of seeing a 2D Disney film on the big screen again, but also… the story was so much fun. And how hot is Prince Naveen? I thought the movie was very nicely done. I don’t know if Aidan could handle certain scenes and I KNOW my mom couldn’t, but I loved it and look forward to getting the Blu-ray whenever it comes out. Lots of fun Disney Easter eggs to look for.

Every time I go to Anderson’s Bookshop, I am filled with this amazing inspiration to write. By the time I get home, I just want to play Cafe World or something. I wonder if I take my laptop to a bookstore if I’ll feel more inclined to write, or if I’ll just close the computer and start reading books off the shelf. I guess I’ll just have to find out someday.

Right now, my excuses are:

1. I have a headache (but I’m writing this so what a lame excuse, eh?)
2. The smell from the trash can is driving me CRAZY. Trash needs to be taken out ASAP… except it’s 9F outside.

I am so lame. I should go to bed. I’m feeling a bit down because Christmas is coming down all over the place. All the pretty decorations are coming down in the stores. My tree is still up, but I can tell Adam is ready for it to go away until December of this year. I’m not looking forward to taking down all the decorations because then I’ll have to face the fact that we’re back in ORDINARY TIME. Because December is SO big for me (my birthday, Aidan’s birthday, Christmas, New Years–basically the last two weeks are a non-stop party for me and Aidan), the letdown is even worse.

Snow looks beautiful when it’s on ever green boughs and adorned with red bows and white lights. And I’m not going to lie, I like it when it’s the kind when you can see the individual snowflakes. They’re so pretty! (And Aidan was amazed when I pointed one out to him the other day.) But in grey January, it all looks stark and lonely. And when I think of months of these bitter cold temps with no epic holiday to look forward to, I get down. I know that I’ll recover. I deal with this post-holiday letdown every year. Other things to look forward to always come up. Book releases, visits from Aidan, the change in seasons. Maybe another trip to Disney World this summer. I’ll be OK. But for now, I just have to muscle through.

‘Til next time….

P.S. Check out my little Booknerd in Training:

Booknerd in Training

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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i am neurotic: (and so are you)

This post is based on the book of the same title by Lionna King, and the website Basically, just about everyone has something about them that may be weird or unconventional. This site and book helps us show that we’re not so alone. :)

Here are my neurosis.

1. I am funny about numbers. I like things to end on 0s or 5s. For example, if I am in the middle of a project but need to break, I will want to stop the project at 3:55 rather than 3:54 or 3:56. When I am playing FarmVille, I won’t end unless my XP points end with a 5 or 0. (This is how I know FV screws with my points when I log in again.) I like dates that end with 5, 10, 15, 20. Fortunately, my birthday is the 20th, Christmas is the 25th, and Aidan’s birthday is 30th. When I am at a restaurant where I need to tip, I try to make the tip and actual cost add up to something that ends in a 5 or a 0. I even try to post all my blog entries at a time that ends with a 0 or a 5. It doesn’t always work. 0s and 5s are nice, round numbers. And neat. 2010 is AWESOME because it’s a DOUBLE neat number.
2. Speaking of numbers, I hate the number 11. Unless it’s 11:11, when I can make a wish. Imagine how I will feel next year, when it’s 11/11/11 at 11:11? ACK. Either I’ll be making a HUGE wish or freaking out.
3. After all of this, my favorite number is 19. I love the way the 9 looks, all round and cute. I didn’t mind 2009 because of the cute 9 at the end of the year. So, I guess I like 9 as well, but I like it better when it’s part of 19. Makes no sense, I know, but there you go.
4. Months have colors for me. January is grey. February is red. March is green. April is blue. December is hunter green. November is brown.
5. When I eat candy with different colored wrappers (this is especially evident around the holidays), I feel unbalanced until I eat a piece wrapped in each color. For example, Reese’s Cups have green, gold, and red wrapped pieces. I have to each one of each. And if I eat an extra green, I have to eat an extra red and an extra gold.
6. I don’t like to get out of the car in the middle of a song. Nor do I like to stop my iPod for any reason in the middle of a song. It’s just not right. I feel like I’ve been left hanging.
7. If I am up for a job I really want, I don’t want ANYONE to know about it. That way, if I don’t get it, I don’t have to feel embarrassed.

What are your neurosis?

Edited to add: Someone on Facebook pointed out that this list ends with a 7 instead of a 5, which goes against my neurosis. Believe me, it’s bothering me, almost to the point I want to delete the last two……

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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