Thursday, April 30, 2009

a mole digging in a hole, digging up my soul now going down excavation

This is a four-minute post. Today was really not such a bad day, despite my general apathy for meetings and my specific antipathy for people. Nothing too terribly annoying happened during the day, and I had an excellent lunch (steak, black bean soup, and broccoli), which fueled me for an afternoon of meetings. Pete had previously accused me of falling asleep in our 1:1s, which is not true, but I stayed awake for sure today with a cup of coffee and the decision to have our 1:1 outdoors. Then again, I wore my sunglasses, so he wouldn't know if I fell asleep anyway :)

Following work, I met up with Terry at Cafe Borrone, where I had a delicious jarlsberg cheese sandwich with avocado and sprouts (how v. Californian of me) and caught up with her on all the various goings-on in our lives. I also ran into Shedletsky and Joanna there and made plans for brunch this weekend, which is v. necessary since I haven't seen them in at least four months. Then, I made the trek back to the evil city, and now it's time for bed -- the weekend can't come fast enough!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

this bed is on fire with passionate love

My bed isn't on fire, but I am -- on fire with ideas for my gargoyle young adult series. Amusingly enough, it no longer features gargoyles, but 'gargoyle' is the code name in my mind. While I worked on the romance novel tonight after work, I spent the drive back to the evil city thinking about the gargoyle book -- and as soon as I walked in the door here, I went straight for my gargoyle notebook and wrote the first two pages. I have no idea where it will go, but I feel very in tune with the character, I know exactly the voice that I want to write in, and I have some cool ideas for what will happen over the course of the series even if there are still many, many open questions to answer before I can really get on with it.

Of course, Malcolm and Amelia's story, and Ferguson and Madeleine's story, and finding an agent, and getting my romance novel published all come first. But I may work on the gargoyle thing on the side; it could take me years to figure out all of the pieces to this, since I'm envisioning a five-book series, and so it would be helpful to brainstorm and research for it when I'm taking breaks from the romance side of things.

While I do love words (as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of words I've written on this blog -- 1325 lifetime posts, at an average of 330 words/post, is 437,250 words, not counting the India blog, which is enough for five full-length books), I think I want to be a writer for the sheer thrill of discovering what happens to my characters. I had a moment of realization about a character in the gargoyle series on the way home tonight, and I was flooded with a rush of heat so intense that I would imagine most people have to invest in heavy drugs to get there. It's like everything was totally clear for a perfect moment, and if I could stay in that moment, the entire story would unfold on a platter before me. The moment disappeared, of course, but I would do anything to get it back, including pounding my head against the desk on all the other days when the universe stays stubbornly closed against me and nothing makes sense.

So that was the writing. The rest of the day was fine too, albeit annoying, since I had to pay for the stupid rental car. I grabbed coffee at the new Phil'z location that replaced Creme de Cafe in Palo Alto Midtown -- Creme de Cafe is the coffee place I used to hang out at while doing laundry at the laundromat next door when I lived in Palo Alto next year, and Phil'z is the ultimate overpriced coffee place that started in SF and is now expanding in the Bay Area. The coffee was good and they've substantially upscaled the decor (or at least cleaned it, which is still a step up) -- but $3.25 is pretty expensive for a sixteen-ounce cup of coffee, even if it is freshly ground and brewed by the cup, and even if they do add the cream and sugar for you. I'll probably go back, of course, if only because their Tesora blend fueled some amazing gargoyle brainstorming action, but it's not going to be my go-to place on the Peninsula.

Okay, I should go to bed; I must work tomorrow, which means I need to sleep if I'm going to rouse myself from dreams of gargoyles (or rather, non-gargoyles) in time for my nine a.m. meeting. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

day's dawning, skin's crawling

This is a four-minute post. Today was not particularly good, so per my usual trends, that means that tomorrow will be either fantastic or really bad. I'm hoping for fantastic, but I'm not holding my breath (although perhaps I should, in an effort to avoid getting swine flu).

I meant to get up at six and write, but I ended up hitting snooze until seven. I got allergy shots today, and one of them burned like the woman had injected acid into my arm, so apparently they're going to have to start filling my shots with saline solution to diffuse the allergens, thus making the volume of the injections much bigger. I had a bunch of meetings, then went to the gym (the only bright spot of the day, which is saying a lot given that I don't like the gym -- actually, lunch with Pete and Heather was the bright spot, but allow me to continue being melodramatic). After work, I bought groceries, drove back to the evil city, picked up my mail -- and found a notice from Alamo saying that I owe $xxx (where xxx is much closer to xxxx than xx) for damaging the car I rented in Hawaii. Worse, they claimed that they had already notified me of this (false) and that if I don't respond in the next fourteen days, they will pursue 'legal avenues' to secure payment. If I find out that my credit was damaged due to this, I will be seriously perturbed; I've never missed a payment on anything, have never had a speeding ticket (knock on wood), and got my last parking ticket six years ago, so this just seems ridiculous. Hopefully it will all get cleared up, but we shall see.

This is now more than four minutes, but c'est la vie. I was too annoyed about the car to write tonight, so I need to go to bed immediately in the hope that I will wake up tomorrow morning to write. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 27, 2009

if you leave tonight, keep running -- you need never look back again

Today was a v. long, v. productive day. I woke up a little before six a.m. and successfully registered for editor and agent appointments at the RWA National Convention -- with the award that I'm up for, I was in the first group of people to sign up for appointments, which is a far cry from last year. This year, I got my first choice for both editor and agent; last year, I didn't get any at all, because I was in the last group of eligibility and happened to be on a plane back from my European adventure when signups opened.

This should probably go on zee romance blog (which I did manage to write in tonight), but I shall put it here instead. I was thinking about it today, and reminding myself again how incredibly fortunate I am to have made so much progress with the book over the last year. It was about a year ago at this time that I started getting serious with the book; while I started my leave of absence in February, it really took me until April to decompress enough that I could write regularly. And in the space of a year, I've finished the book, started another, learned a ton about the publishing industry, and found myself unexpectedly up for a major award. Whether the momentum will continue remains to be seen, but this is extremely fast compared to the glacial pace of most publishing endeavors, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

But, the day job isn't helping matters right now. After signing up for appointments, I got ready for work and made it into the office by eight, where I worked until five. I made a quick stop at the gym, came home, ate some delicious frozen enchiladas, and then answered work email from eight p.m. until now. Luckily, the email inbox went from 110 to 16, thanks in part to some overzealous archiving, and so I can spend tomorrow's brief periods between meetings focused on crossing off items on my increasingly-long to-do list. Still, I hope to write tomorrow morning, so I need to go to bed asap if I'm going to rouse myself in time to make it to a cafe before work. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

i don't care for sugar, honey, if i can't have you

Today was extremely laid-back. Terry and I had brunch at Olea, which is surprisingly nice for somewhere within a few blocks of my apartment (or perhaps I don't give my random neighborhood enough credit). We split the challah custard toast and the flat omelette with chicken and pesto -- Olea has, hands down, the best French toast I've ever had in my entire life, and it was in fine form again today. So, brunch was lovely, and then I saw Terry off to the Caltrain station so that she could return to the security and comfort of the glorious south bay.

After brunch, I had my requisite Sunday afternoon call with my parents, who seemed to be in fine form despite the fact that my father spent the weekend painting (or rather, priming, which means he still has to paint) the garage. After that, I intended to write, but instead I didn't do much of anything. I spent a couple of hours reading some of Ann Radcliffe's THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO, one of the quintessential Gothic romances written in the late 1700s. It was in the name of research, but it was also entertaining, if only to see that back in the day you could get away with -- and were, in fact, encouraged to -- pour out page after page of scenery descriptions and use omniscient narrators rather than the more limited narrators of today's works. I gave it up for awhile when it became clear that I was on page 150 and the plot was only just starting to kick into gear; the book is supposedly about Emily's sufferings at the hands of her aunt's husband in a remote castle, and the aunt was just introduced and isn't even married yet, so it's rather slow going.

My exertions in reading UDOLPHO were remedied by a long nap in the late afternoon. Just as I was debating what to spend the evening working on, Katrina called, and we ended up having dinner at Cafe Zitouna, the Moroccan place that we went to with Walter, Julia, and Adit a few weeks ago. My chicken schwarma sandwich was quite nice, as was my Moroccan mint tea, and catching up with Katrina was lovely (even if I usually only spend time with three people in any given week, she's one of them, and I had seen her on Friday, so there wasn't a ton to catch up on -- but it was nice nonetheless). Then, I came home and continued to procrastinate by watching an episode of Craig while painting my nails. Craig was hilarious, as usual, and now my nails are a nice sparkly pink that will carry me through the week.

It's time for bed; I have to get up super early to sign up for editor/agent appointments at the RWA conference, since signups start tomorrow morning at 8am CDT, and then I have to go to work afterward. Bleh. Goodnight!

tonto, jump on it

Today was a totally action-packed day! I spent the morning cleaning my bathroom and kitchen, vacuuming, changing my sheets and duvet cover, and taking care of other things around the house. I spent my afternoon working in a cafe with Adit (who was entertaining as always) and attempting to create a website that is worth showing to the public. I spent the evening at The Hidden Vine (a winebar a few blocks from my place) with Chris, and then went over to a going-away party for Alaska Matt and Kia, from which I just returned. Now, Terry is spending the night with me, and we will likely have brunch tomorrow morning before I get back to the grind.

So, it was all quite lovely! I feel like a real twenty-seven-year-old for one day and one day only before I go back to hermit land. And hermit moment starts now -- goodnight!

Friday, April 24, 2009

money in the bank

You get very little content tonight -- while I had an excellent day, I'm suddenly dead tired, as evidenced by the fact that I fell asleep at my desk a few minutes ago. Work was fine, enlivened by a meeting with Joy and lunch with Mahin, and I left around 4:30 to carpool with Katrina. Katrina and I rendezvoused with Adit (some people call him "the cat"), and we 'worked' at a cafe for a couple of hours. Or rather, they worked, and I played with some ridiculous flash animation rather than working on rebuilding my romance website. I came home around eight p.m., started working on the site again, and am now going to bed. But the weekend promises to be fun, and hopefully I'll get a lot of writing done as well.

That's all for tonight -- goodnight!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

you're under the gun so you take it on the run

I absolutely can't think anymore. I was at the office by seven a.m., and I've basically been "on" ever since then, with a short break around 8pm to talk to my parents, Katrina, and eat some takeout sushi while watching Craig Ferguson interview Simon Cowell. That break was vital; I was trying to switch from active-editing mode to proofreading mode, and I needed a little bit of downtime between those two activities. Luckily, the Craig episode I watched was awesome; the intro was him and two other dudes lipsyncing a rap song with puppet backup vocalists, and his conversation with Simon Cowell was totally hysterical.

So why did I work so long and so hard? The first five hours was for the day job; I lead a meeting, had a 1:1 with my director, and took care of a whole bunch of other stuff. Then, I met up with Adit, and we worked in a cafe for five hours. I was quite productive there -- and I had to be, because I'm under the gun with zee romance novel. I found out yesterday afternoon that one of the final-round judges for the contest I'm in wants to see the whole manuscript (excellent sign), and as a courtesy, they give me 48 hours to submit a new version if I've made any changes since the original entry deadline last December.

Now, as you know, I've been in editing mode recently -- and so while I'm totally excited about the request, I wish it was coming a week later. C'est la vie, though, and I didn't want to blow it; so, I took the rest of the day off and spent it plowing through the planned revisions. There were only two things I didn't get to, and in retrospect I don't know that they're all that necessary; I do want to include more of Amelia's writing life in the book, but I think it can probably be snippets here and there rather than a fully new scene. But, it's not going to make it into the version I'm sending to the editor; I actually emailed it back to the contest coordinator ten minutes ago, because I'm as done as I'm going to get and can't spend any more time on it tomorrow.

So, fingers crossed that this will turn into good news! But right now I'm too tired to dream of my castles in the sky; it's time for bed!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

walking on walking on broken glass

Today was good, but v. hectic; I had meetings, had some free time, had my quarterly review with Dave, and spent some time on the phone with my parents. And I find that's all I can really say about today -- I'm stressed about a lot of stuff, particularly my book, and there's nothing I can do about it. Even worse, I have a 7am meeting, so I should really go to bed if I'm going to make it into the office in time to participate. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

wait for something better

I had a generally excellent day, despite my ornery mood. I got allergy shots this morning, which was definitely the low point, since my shots swelled up and itched due to the fact that tree and grass season is in full bloom (ha). But, I also had a decent series of meetings, an entertaining lunch with Gyre in which I tried and failed to convert him to my worldview, and just enough time this morning to do some writing and stay caught up on emails. Whether I can get up early tomorrow remains to be seen, since it's already 11:23pm and my apartment is currently too hot to sleep in, but we shall see if my dreams of being a writer are enough to lure me out of bed tomorrow.

After work, I had dinner with Dave, my boss who is visiting from Ann Arbor for the week. It was v. nice, and we caught up and discussed life over pasta and wine in downtown Mountain View. Then, I left the tame Castro Street of the south bay for the much less tame Castro Street of San Francisco. Actually, I didn't go to the Castro, but I did go to Adit's, which is relatively close to the Castro even if it's technically the Duboce Triangle neighborhood. We had plans to go for ice cream, and we made the fifteen-minute walk to the ice cream place -- only to find that the line was half an hour long. So, we stood in line and chit-chatted as per usual, then got some delicious ice cream and walked home. At Adit's urging, I tried and purchased the salted caramel ice cream -- it was v. delicious. But, the heat in the city is out of control. I actually really like v. warm evenings, since it's an appealing part of summer in the Midwest, and one of the things I usually dislike about San Francisco is that it gets cold at night no matter how nice it was during the day. But the past two days have been an exception. Unfortunately, none of these building are equipped to handle ninety degree weather, so there's v. little airconditioning, which makes for a miserable time until the temperatures cool down.

That's all from me for now; I must write tomorrow, but whether I do it before or after work remains to be seen. The problem is that I also want to fit in some gym time, and doing work + writing + gym in the same day, particularly when my boss is in town and I have meetings from 9am to 6pm, is rather difficult. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

it was the heat of the moment

Today was blisteringly hot -- when I left dinner at 7pm, it was still over eighty degrees, which is practically unheard of. It makes my Midwestern soul happy, but unfortunately I had to spend the day inside :( However, I was wearing the cute grey dress, pink cardigan, and strappy silver heels that I wore for my photo shoot, so I felt summery despite being stuck in meetings.

While I did not successfully get myself out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:30am, I did get down to the south bay in time to write for an hour before work. I'm going to try to keep doing this, as it made me feel better about the whole rest of the day. There were some annoyances at work, as per usual, but I had lunch with Alaska Matt, spent some time with Gyre and Joy, and made an illicit afternoon run to Starbucks with Terry, so it wasn't all bad. And, since my boss is in town, we went out for margaritas and pie (sans pie), which was v. nice. I got home around eight p.m. and watched an episode of Craig Ferguson to unwind -- he was hosting Madeleine Albright, which was a good interview, and I enjoyed his discussion of the possibility that Texas might secede from the Union. I also painted my fingernails with the turquoise "Skinny Jeans" lacquer that I bought at Sephora last weekend. Tip of the day: shell out for slightly more expensive nail polish remover. I bought a bottle of OPI nail polish remover for <$6 (cheap enough, but more expensive than the <$3 bottles at Target) -- and the polish came off *immediately*, without having to use multiple cotton pads. I'm quite happy about that; knowing that I won't have to fight to remove the polish may encourage me to paint my nails more in the future.

Okay, I need to write in zee romance blog, so it's time to sign off. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

walking on the sidewalk hotter than a matchhead

Today was unbelievably hot. San Francisco is supposed to be cold and windy, but the temperature today was over eighty-five degrees. We're under a heat advisory for tomorrow, with temperatures reaching the nineties -- v. unusual for April, and rather unwelcome given that, due to SF's supposed lack of extreme temperatures, my apartment has no air conditioning. At least there are windows on two sides so that I can get a nice cross-breeze, but today was ridiculous.

I spent the morning doing a bit of stuff for work, then did some Sunday morning primping before Alaska Matt and Kia came to pick me up for brunch. We went to Park Chow over on the west side of the city near Golden Gate Park; I'm 95% sure that it's related to Chow, where Adit, Priyanka, Katrina and I had dinner several months ago. They had an outdoor seating area on the enclosed roof, which was quite lovely despite the oppressive heat. I got all caught up on Matthew and Kia's lives, and am v. sad that they're leaving again -- they've been back from Tokyo since last week, and they're moving to Dublin in less than two weeks. Sad! It's also making my wandering gene flare up, and I'm trying to smother the whispers encouraging me to move abroad again...

After brunch, I had my usual Sunday call with my parents, which was nice. Then, I went to Starbucks for an iced drink, since I have no ice in my apartment and needed a break from Cherry Coke Zero. I also did a couple of loads of laundry, then spent the rest of the night working on zee romance novel. It's still going well, and I need to carve out time to keep making progress on it this week -- which may mean trying to get up early so that I can edit/write before work, since my boss is in town this week and so I have a lot of evening commitments. We'll see whether my desire to be a successful novelist outweighs my early-morning sloth...

irrevocably in love

I was quite productive for most of today; while I did sleep in and then mess around the apartment for awhile, I made it to Leland Tea Company by noon, and proceeded to work the rest of the afternoon. I stayed there for almost four hours, drinking eight or nine cups of tea, which gave me a major case of caffeine jitters when I got home (no doubt worsened by the Cherry Coke Zero I popped open as soon as I walked in the door). Or maybe I'm allergic to lavender -- the first tea I had was some blend with a whole ton of lavender in it, which was somehow both good and awful at the same time. Lavender in your nose = good; lavender on your tongue = not so good.

I finally vacated Leland Tea when I realized I was all tea'd out, but I managed to keep working when I got home until around six p.m. For my efforts, I'm done with the wedding and wedding breakfast scenes (although they could still use a final polish), and I went through the next couple of chapters making some minor stylistic changes as well. I'm pretty pleased with where I am, and intend to keep plugging away tomorrow.

But, at six p.m., Terry called; she was supposed to come up here tonight to watch "Twilight", but she said that Chris and Natasha were interested if I wanted to come down there instead. So, I did. The movie was quite entertaining -- while I totally see why the dude who plays Edward Cullen is so hot, most of the acting was fairly awful, and I basically hate the storyline (excluding the awesome chase/fight sequence). Scratch that, I don't hate the storyline -- I just think that Bella is totally vapid and useless. But Edward is quite hot, and if all he wants in a girl is that her blood smells totally awesome, then I guess they're made for each other.

Terry left after the movie was over, and I stuck around to watch an episode of "Holy $@%*!" that Chris had tivo'd purely because of the name. It apparently involves majorly ridiculous/painful/amazing things -- the four things featured in that episode were 1) a guy who built a ramp to jump over the Great Wall with a skateboard, 2) a guy almost drowning in a series of sixty-foot waves that crashed into him while he was surfing, 3) the top five most awful bull-riding accidents (two of which actually involved the same guy), and 4) a 70-yard touchdown pass. Weird mix, and weird that we watched it, but entertaining nonetheless. Then I drove home, and now I must be off to bed -- I have a lot of writing that I want to get done tomorrow, but I also have brunch plans and some other stuff I must take care of, so sleep is an immediate priority. Goodnight!

Friday, April 17, 2009

you're so vain, you probably think this song is about you

I successfully wrote approximately thirteen pages today, which was quite satisfying despite the general procrastination I engaged in through most of the afternoon. I dropped off my car at the Toyota dealer for its 30,000 mile checkup (commuting is putting way more miles on my RAV4 than I ever put on my beloved Sunfire), then walked down to Samovar for a couple of masala chais. I wrote in my notebook for awhile, which I find is a good technique for getting me back into the story -- I would much rather stare at a blank page than a blank screen, particularly since the blank page can't be turned into the dangerously addictive internet with a click of a mouse.

But you can read about my writing productivity on zee romance blog. Instead, this blog post is devoted to my trip to Sephora. Tammy made a request that I share more detail about my cosmetics purchases, and while it's a bit strange for me to share with you just how much I'm stimulating the economy, I shall oblige.

Sephora quite cunningly sent me a 15% off coupon, good for my entire purchase, and of course I could not pass up the opportunity to score some of my beauty supply staples at a discount. The staples are:

* Ojon Dry Rub-out Cleanser - a great dry shampoo that Katie introduced me to. It gets me through the days when I wake up so late that I can't wash my hair.

* Dior DiorShow Mascara - Sephora calls this a "cult favorite", and it's easy to see why -- it makes my lashes long and lush (although not as long and lush as my brother's) with only one coat.

* MakeUpForEver foundation (aka Face and Body Liquid Makeup) in Ivory 20 - this foundation is possibly the best match for my skin type and desired look that I've ever found, recommended to me last fall by one of the Sephora people. It's not too full-coverage, and keeps my face looking "dewy" while minimizing pores. I was almost out of my first bottle (shows how long it lasts, since I bought it in September, although I've been using some tinted moisturizer instead over the last few weeks), so this was v. necessary (or as necessary as you can consider makeup).

* Two eyeshadow brushes

* Tarte's Apple-a-Day lipgloss - this is one of my favorite lipglosses; I love the look, feel, taste, smell, and the application wand.

So that covers the staples, all of which I would have bought over the next couple of months anyway. But then, I couldn't walk out without trying something new:

* Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Hula Hula - this is a combo of a pink and a gold, which are the eyeshadow colors I've been preferencing recently. However, my first pink/gold combo was a cream eyeshadow that a) Sephora doesn't carry in the SF store anymore and b) always clumped in the creases of my eyelids by the end of the day, even if I loved how it looked initially. My second pink/gold combo was a Laura Mercier shimmer set I bought a few weeks ago, and I love that look too -- but slowly realized that I might be having problems with my contacts because the shadow is flaking into my eyes. I've never had problems with Nars eyeshadows, so I'm trying this one out and hoping for the best.

* Shiseido lipstick in SL15 - I already have SL14, which is a perfect pink; SL15 is more of a berry color. I love Shiseido lipsticks; they're like a lipstick/lipgloss combo, with a wash of color and the perfect amount of shine in a formula that moisturizes and doesn't feel sticky.

* Sephora by OPI nail polish in Skinny Jeans - another blue nail polish, but this one is brighter. I like the blue currently on my nails, but it's dark, and I'm looking for something a bit more summery.

I am now going on a Sephora moratorium until the end of May. I've no doubt that I will splurge again before Aunt Becky's wedding, since I like buying makeup for special occasions even though my already-stocked warchest could easily take care of any makeup need short of an attempt to disguise myself as a Hispanic janitor a la Zoolander. But, now that I'm stocked up on essentials, there is absolutely nothing I need, and so Sephora is just going to have to hope it can get through the next month of the recession without me.

Okay, after my shockingly vulgar recap of my shockingly vulgar lifestyle, it's time for bed! Please share any makeup tips/favorites you have, so that I can test my ability to resist temptation by reading your comments and *not* rushing back to Sephora to try them myself.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

so different from this hell i'm living

My eye started twitching at work today, which is a v. v. bad sign. It's not that I'm relapsing, precisely -- my work-life balance is still loads better than it was eighteen months ago, and I'm not stressed by the amount of stuff on my plate. Rather, I'm just too personally and emotionally invested in what I do. This means that, when I get excited or annoyed about something, it's hard to maintain my psychic distance, and so I end up thinking about work far more than I should.

But, I had an afternoon almost entirely devoted to one-on-one meetings with some of my favorite people, and so I left in a decent mood. I came home and painted my fingernails blue (blue!) while watching a couple of episodes of Craig Ferguson, who was hilarious as usual. I also got completely caught up on work email, which sets me up well for the weekend. Best of all, I'm taking tomorrow off and I intend to spend the entire day writing. My goal for the weekend is to completely rewrite the wedding and wedding breakfast scenes of my first book, as well as enter a whole host of minor edits and changes to the final draft. Once the wedding scenes are to my liking, the rest of it is pretty clear sailing; there are a couple of chapters towards the end that I'm not totally thrilled with, but I think they can be tweaks rather than complete rewrites. We shall see, we shall see -- but right now, it's bedtime!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

then i was young and unafraid

So you need to watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY. It's a woman named Susan Boyle performing on "Britain's Got Talent," and it's awesome. I would watch "Britain's Got Talent" if it were showing in the US; while the video I linked to above is enough to bring tears to my eyes, I also loved the Stavros Flatly and Flawless dance performances linked to from the video.

That's really all the content you get tonight. I actually made it to my seven a.m. meeting, but barely, and I was rocking my glasses and a Stanford sweatshirt all day. I left a little before six p.m. and spent a couple of hours hanging out in downtown Palo Alto with Terry, which was nice, but now I need to buckle down tomorrow and get through my work work so that I can spend the weekend writing. Doesn't that sound like fun? But if Susan Boyle could get up in front of millions of people and sing her heart out, I can keep pushing forward on a dream of my own. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

seems you found a better fish

This is a four minute (or less) post, since I just got home ten minutes ago and I need to be on the road again in less than eight hours to make it back down to the peninsula for a seven a.m. meeting. Luckily, the reason I got home so late had nothing to do with work -- I had dinner with Tolu, Lizzie, and Jane. We all met way back in the day when we started working, and while Lizzie and Jane have escaped, we still get together to renew our friendship occasionally. Tonight we renewed at Coconuts in Palo Alto -- it's a Jamaican place, and I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up. My jerk salmon was delicious, as were the mashed potatoes that came with it; the jerk chicken, oxtail, fried plantain, and sweet potato fries that I tried off others' plates were also v. tasty. Best of all, the place's menu lists "big tings", "small tings", "kids tings", etc., which makes me laugh since "tings" is one of Adit's favorite words. I shall have to go back soon!

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, but I'm tired, tense, and annoyed. I did manage to write for 45 minutes between work and dinner, so I'm happy about that, but I was just cranky today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, but that will depend on a) whether my seven a.m. meeting is actually worthwhile, since seven a.m.'s rarely feel like they were worth the pain, and b) whether the cafe restores the Diet Coke machine to fully working order. I shall see about both of these things much sooner than I would like to, and my four minutes are up, so it's time for bed!

Monday, April 13, 2009

spaceman says everybody look down -- it's all in your mind

This is a four-minute post. Today was quite the productive day; while I did not get up as early as I had intended, I still made it into the office by nine, where I miraculously had a few free hours spread out over the course of the day (and by "a few" I mean 2.5 hours between 9am and 5pm -- pretty good, right?). That time was enough to help me plow through all the stuff that I had to get done today, and so I didn't have anything that needed to get done tonight (other than the peer reviews that were due a week and a half ago, but I'm ignoring those until later this week).

So, when all of my meetings were done and my responsibilities squared away, I vacated the premises and relocated to Coupa Cafe in downtown Palo Alto to work on my book. On my way there, someone cut me off -- and I realized it was Terry (she didn't really cut me off, but she was clearly in a hurry). I texted her and she met up with me later, but since she has a vested interest in making sure I finish my rewrites so that I can get back to Ferguson and Madeleine, she did a good job of not distracting me, and it was all quite lovely.

You can read about my rewrites on the romance blog, if you're so inclined -- but in short, tonight's writing session went well. I need to hit it again tomorrow, but am not sure where I'll fit it in; I have to be in Los Gatos for a dental appointment at 9am (unfortunate, since Los Gatos is south of Mountain View, adding to my already-long commute), and then I have dinner plans tomorrow night. But, I shall figure it all out...and now my four minutes are up, so it's bedtime!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

in the maze of her imagination

So I was supposed to be productive on the book today, and I completely failed. I woke up this morning at a reasonable hour, took a shower, and went grocery shopping -- the lack of food in my fridge was becoming critical. Then, Felicia came over; my hermitage has been such that even though she's been back in the area for months, I had not seen her until today. We went to my favorite place in my neighborhood (Leland Tea Company) so that I could expose her to the fabulousness that is my inexplicable neighborhood. This tea place is both next to and across the street from two porn DVD rental shops, but once you're inside, you wouldn't guess it (unless you looked out the window at the people passing by). We had tea sandwiches, scones, tea, and a lot of good conversation before we settled in to work on our laptops for awhile. It was all quite lovely, although I didn't work on the book; instead, I finally wrote the self-assessment for this quarter's review period at work, which was due a week and a half ago.

After Felicia left, I spent a couple of hours sorting through the tangle of my finances. I've gotten rabid about tracking all of my expenses, but not rabid enough to do it every day, and since I was in San Diego last weekend, it's been two or three weeks since I've reconciled everything. It was important to take care of it now, since I've had some writing-related expenses in recent weeks -- or so I told myself. Really, it was just a great procrastinatory method, since I could tell myself it was vital and therefore not feel guilty about not writing.

My parents called around four, and I talked to them for a little over an hour. Then, I was getting ready to write (I swear!) when I got a call from someone at work and had to spend a couple of hours putting out a fire. That kept me occupied until almost 9pm, and at that point, my interest in writing totally fizzled out.

So, no more procrastinating! I must work on the book this week, and am going to take Friday off to make it happen even more effectively. But today, sadly, was a wash. If that continues, please a) tell me to get cracking and b) stop inviting me to things until I shape up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

suppose we never fell in love

After some procrastination this morning, and despite an involuntary nap this afternoon, I successfully reread my entire manuscript for AN INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE today. You can read my full verdict on the romance blog; in general, I'm very pleased with what I have, but there are also some things, particularly in the first third of the book, that I really want to change. So, I intend to devote as much time as possible to that over the next 2-4 weeks; nothing that I want to change is altogether major, but it does involve tweaking/cutting/rewriting a handful of scenes, and these are all changes that I want to finish before I start submitting to agents again.

After I finished reading the book, I was too lazy to start rewriting immediately, and so I played around on the internet for an hour before progressing to my evening plans. Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan had me over for dinner tonight, and I had a lovely time catching up with the two of them over a delicious spinach quiche, some white wine, and the added entertainment of Myla (Lauren's hyper, but not nearly as hyper as she was years ago, dog). I hadn't seen Lauren since before I went to Hawaii, and so much has changed on the job front for both of us, as well as on the book for me and on business school applications for her. So, catching up was all very nice, and was well worth the time that I took out of my hermitage to hang out with them.

Now, it's time for bed; I believe Felicia's coming over tomorrow morning, and then I intend to write for the rest of the day. Finally, happy birthday Aunt Becky! And happy Easter to all of you non-heathens out there...

Friday, April 10, 2009

way down yonder on the chattahoochee

Today was excellent, although I hit my traditional Friday afternoon slump and had difficulty rousing myself from it to the point that I could enjoy the evening like a normal twenty-seven-year-old. Work itself was pleasant enough, capped off by having cake in a conference room for Natasha's birthday. Because of the people she works with, the ten people in the room were a weird mix of the top directors of the department, me, Terry, Joy, a couple of others, and her boyfriend Chris (who is also my friend from my time in Hyderabad). It was entertaining, of course, but nowhere near as entertaining as the evening festivities.

Terry and I left around six to have dinner at Fiesta del Mar; it became clear that my energy was dropping precipitously, so we also stopped at a Starbucks and got me some caffeine. Then, we progressed to Natasha's chosen venue for her birthday party -- the Saddle Rack in Fremont. It's a country-western bar that offers line dancing lessons if you get there early enough (which we did, although I did not participate in the lesson), and the band they had tonight was pretty good. I mostly hung out and watched the dancing while drinking a Smirnoff Ice (I haven't had one of those in ages), but I did dance for a bit towards the end. The people watching was *excellent*, though; the number of fully bedazzled belts alone was enough to keep me entertained for much of the evening.

Now, though, I really must go to bed -- I intend to make substantial progress on the book this weekend, so sleep is a necessity. Goodnight!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

one two princes who adore you

You're getting an early post tonight; in the interest of getting to bed early enough that I don't feel like death tomorrow, I'm posting now, eating dinner, doing some email for work, posting on zee romance blog, and then going to sleep.

Today wasn't half bad, despite my exhaustion; while I had an 8am meeting, I did have three full hours that weren't booked (amazing), and Lisa and I used our regularly scheduled 1:1 to play with the SpinArt toy that someone gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. So in terms of days at work, today was a pretty good one. I'm ignoring the fact that I feel behind and focusing on the positives.

Tomorrow may be awesome or terrible; I have to work all day, and then I'm going to some country western theme bar in Fremont for Natasha's thirtieth birthday party. If I never blog again, I fell off the mechanical bull and hit my head so hard that I was rendered incapable of blogging. I will try to ensure that that doesn't happen.

I leave you with a photo that Tammy took of me in San Diego -- I suppose that I deserved to have her put the pirate hat on me in the gift shop, since I forced her to spend two hours at the Maritime Museum. Goodnight!

 
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

you ring just like a xylophone

Today was excellent despite my meetings. None of the meetings were bad and I actually had a couple of hours free, which was totally awesome. So there's nothing much to report on the work front, other than to lament my usual feeling of being behind. But after work, Heather, Tracy, Lisa and I went out for margaritas and pie -- our monthly-ish get-together at a local Mexican restaurant to drink margaritas, overeat, and gossip/catch-up outside of work. It was fantastic, and exactly what I needed; while I see them all the time (and in fact had had a meeting with them at 3pm today), seeing people outside of work is just a little bit different.

I made it home safely and intended to go to bed at nine because I'm an octogenarian trapped in the body of a twentysomething. But instead, I got sucked into the online world. As mentioned before, I'm setting up an alter ego for my romance novel, and so I've spent some time over the past couple of days setting up a Facebook profile and adding friends (which broke my heart -- my own brother turned down my friend request). I also announced to my online Golden Heart group that I'm changing my name, and I spent way too much time dealing with some major interface challenges with Yahoo Groups (I know I'm biased, but this was ridiculous). But most ridiculously of all, I started a Twitter account for my alter ego. You can follow me @ramseyromance; I'm still evaluating what types of info I want to share on twitter, Facebook, and my romance blog, and I think my writer personality will emerge over time, but the sooner I get started, the less daunting it will be later.

But, blogging about two completely different things on two completely different blogs is a bit difficult, and now my brain is fried. I'll try to keep going with the double blogs, but I leave you with this pic that Can Sar said me (which he prefaced by asking what it meant about both of us that he saw it and thought that I needed to see it):

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

sometimes when i play that old six-string, i think about you wondering what went wrong

I was busy at work today; my first meeting started at 7:30am, which was rather unpleasant, but things weren't all bad. Through some judicious pruning of my calendar, I managed to get almost three hours free, which helped (although by no means solved) my current to-do list's problems. I still had to do some work when I got home tonight, and expect that I'll have several more longish days this week, but I'm hopeful that I can spend the weekend focused on the book.

After work, I met up with Terry at a cafe in Palo Alto, where we discussed a multitude of things over a glass of wine for her and a portobello mushroom wrap for me. Hint: if you ever make a wrap, don't slice it into five pieces -- while the presentation was v. pretty, the whole point of a wrap is to contain the ingredients, and slicing the wrap into 1" slices defeated the purpose. Anyway, Terry and I had a lovely time, and then I came home, bought some milk for my tea (since my stomachache today was either a) stress or b) rotten milk from this morning), and did a couple of loads of laundry.

But the biggest accomplishment of today was that I'm trying to make concerted progress towards fully setting up my alter ego. I'm starting to blog again on the Sara Ramsey blog, and I also set up a Facebook profile for Sara Ramsey today. Ironically, the half hour I spent setting up my alter-ego Facebook profile is longer than I've spent on my personal profile in over a month, but I suppose I'll have to engage in the social aspects of Facebook if I want Sara Ramsey to have friends and eventually sell books. We'll see how that goes -- there's limited time in the day, and it's going to be difficult to blog here and at sararamsey.blogspot.com, as well as update my Facebook profile, comment on people's stuff, start commenting on other blogs, and possibly maintain a Twitter account. Sigh. The book needs to be the main focus -- but I can't neglect the personality-building now, since it will become important as I sell the book.

That's all for now; I should really go to bed. Goodnight!

Monday, April 06, 2009

you've gotta be stronger than the story

There is still much that I should do tonight, but in the interest of maximizing my functionality tomorrow, I'm going to bed instead. It's a rare day that I'm double-booked for meetings before 9am, but tomorrow is one of those days -- I have a 7:30-8:30am meeting that I'm going to have to leave early so that I can go to an 8-9:30am meeting. Bleh.

But, today wasn't too bad, despite my endless stream of meetings. The best thing that happened was that I got my finished photos from the photographer! I've posted them at the end of this post, and I've already turned one into my Sara Wampler profile and one into my Sara Ramsey profile. I still need to fill out the form for the Golden Heart press release, but with photos in my possession, I'm one step closer to being done with that process.

On a more ridiculous note, I spent a couple of minutes tonight practicing my Sara Ramsey signature. Not that I have any fans at all, but my friend Joy had requested a signed photo, and I decided to sign it with my pseudonym. But, it's hard to sign a name that isn't your own and give it any sort of flair at all! So, I signed a piece of paper with my Sharpie about forty times until I felt like I had something worthy of Joy. I'm doing something a bit funky with the "R" in Ramsey (starting it as an upstroke from the bottom, rather than starting at the top, moving down, and then looping back up to the top of the R), but it seems to work with my casual "S" (since I'm not physically gifted enough to be able to have two completely different "Sara" signatures).

Okay, that was too much insight into my silliness for one night. If you have a preference between the two photos below, let me know!




















Sunday, April 05, 2009

straight to the valley of the great divide

I have returned from San Diego, exhausted but exhilarated by the weekend. Tammy and I had a fabulous day -- dim sum (where the waitress giggled at me repeatedly for being so excited when she said "har gar", which is known in English as shrimp dumplings), followed by an afternoon at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, followed by dinner at a Chinese restaurant before I had to catch my flight.

All in all, I had a lovely time with Tammy; for whatever reason, we're able to fall pretty easily into all of our old habits with each other, which means that it's not awkward to spend a weekend together after several months apart. And, I'm even more proud of us because we didn't have the Olympics to bring us together (although we did spend some time at dinner reliving the highlights of the last four Olympics we've watched together, and starting to think about logistics for Vancouver 2010).

I would highlight more of our adventures, but I'm exhausted and I have to go to work tomorrow (boo). Perhaps you'll get pictures someday, but for now, goodnight!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

smack my bitch up

I had a fabulous day in San Diego! Whether any of my companions had a fabulous day is up for debate -- I forced Tammy, Walter and Julia to go to the Maritime Museum with me, which none of them seemed particularly excited about (more on that in a minute). But I had fun with my friends, the weather was perfect, and the day was a nice blend of hanging out and seeing stuff (albeit stuff that tends to be more popular with the octogenarian set, as is usually the case with my vacations).

The day started with brunch at Hash House; the place serves absolutely gigantic portions, such that Walter's "flapjack" was three quarters of an inch thick and the size of a dinner platter. We far outstayed our welcome given that a) the place was packed and b) we were talking loudly about a variety of inappropriate things, as usual, but a fun time was had by all.

But, brunch only lasted until 1pm, and then we needed to find something else to do. I made a push to see the Maritime Museum, which got a nod of acceptance only because the sole other suggestion on the table was the model train museum. So, we drove down to the harbor and spent a couple of hours looking around four ships that they have there -- the Star of India, which is the oldest ship still in operation (built in 1863 and they still sail it); the Surprise, which was used in the filming of Russell Crowe's "Master and Commander"; a Soviet submarine that was active during the Korean War era; and the Berkeley, which is a steam ferry. I had a fabulous time; I fully intend to write some pirate romances in the future, so I feel like I need to take all possible opportunities to conduct a bit of research. But while the ships were more useful for my future, the Soviet submarine was probably cooler -- if "cooler" is the right word to describe the discomfort caused by walking around in a metal tube that still held the lingering odor of seventy unwashed sailors and their borscht-based diet.

After the Maritime Museum, Walter and Julia had had enough of my antics, so we dropped them off and headed back to La Jolla. Tammy and I sat on a bench and people watched in La Jolla Cove, spending an inordinate amount of time speculating about our fellow beachgoers (including one woman who was wearing an incongruous combination of a t-shirt modestly covering her top, and a thong bikini bottom which she chose not to cover up even when she left the beach and walked away down the public sidewalk). Then, we had dinner and caffeine at the same cafe (the Living Room) that we stopped at last night before returning to downtown San Diego.

Tammy had tickets for a performance of one of Mendelssohn's violin concertos, and so she invited me to come along. It was fabulous; while the lead violinist seemed overwhelmingly arrogant (perhaps with good reason, or perhaps because he never learned better -- he got his Ph.D. in mathematics and music at age eighteen), I had a total crush on the conductor, who had fabulous hair and conducted v. expressively from memory. They also played two other pieces, and all in all it was great. I especially enjoyed the first flautist, who made me wish that I had stuck with the flute (even though I would never reach this level in a million years), as well as the percussion section. I'm sure that the visual impressions of the performers are not what I'm supposed to be taking away from the performance, but c'est la vie.

Now I need to go -- Tammy and I are going to attempt to watch "Quantum of Solace", although I think there's a reasonable chance that I will fall asleep. Goodnight!

the coldest blood runs through my veins

I have safely arrived in San Diego, and I spent the night catching up with Tammy. This post is just to let you know I'm alive...with half a bottle of wine in my system, and staying up two hours past my bedtime, I am in no state to blog. So, goodnight!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

got your chin held high and you feel just fine 'cause you do what you're told

Today was a long day, but I'm surprisingly less behind than I thought I was. It helps that I was at the office from 8am to 9pm; as always, the end of the quarter is busy for several reasons, the beginning of the quarter is busy for a completely different set of reasons, and of course the end of one quarter and the start of another are only a day apart. Compound the usual transition business with the ongoing effects of the layoffs last week, and I'm quite a busy camper.

So, I had many meetings today, but they were generally not annoying. I also got allergy shots, which hurt but weren't too itchy. I spent some quality time with Joy this afternoon (friend Joy -- I also had lunch with a completely different Joy). By 5:30, I was done with meetings, and I finally got to all the tasks at hand. When I wrapped up at nine p.m., I had nearly cleared out my inbox, and had also made a mammoth excel document utilizing my favorite excel tools (pivot tables, vlookup, and conditional formatting).

Thanks to my productivity, I can leave for San Diego tomorrow afternoon with a mostly clean conscience. I managed to pack tonight too, so I don't have to worry about packing tomorrow, although we'll see when I get to San Diego whether I was able to actually put together any outfits that work.

Finally, I haven't lost focus on my romance novel -- I'm really eager to get back to the first one, revise it a bit based on the feedback I've received from agents, and then move back to Ferguson and Madeleine. But, the past two weeks at work have been intense, and I'm predicting that I will struggle this summer to maintain all the walls I erected to protect my precious work/life balance. With the changes to my team after last week's "organizational changes" (to use manager-speak), I simply have to take on additional stuff. Now it's just a matter of figuring out how to get even more efficient so that I can take it all on and still have time for my beloved characters.

But all of that is a problem for another day. It's time for bed -- I'll try to blog from San Diego!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

let me know is your heart still beating

This is a four-minute post. I actually had a reasonably good day at work, despite having meetings straight from 9am until after 5:30pm and not getting home until almost eight. The reason I had a good day at work is solely because I really like my coworkers; the fact that I can't actually do any *work* at work and that the work is increasing despite the finite amount of time in the day is upsetting, but the people make it worth it.

After work, I drove home and talked briefly with my parents in a rare Wednesday-night conversation. It was good to catch up, particularly since I may not have my usual Sunday call with them due to my upcoming trip to San Diego. I also picked up my Singulair prescription at the pharmacy, which is vital since I've been out for several days, and my lung function is declining as a result. Or maybe my lung function is decreasing because my body is looking for an excuse to take a sick day -- but my iron will is going to win out in the end. Or I will end up in an iron lung, which would be an ironic turn of events.

Now, though, it's bedtime -- I worked from 8:30pm until now, and I'm still ridiculously behind, but since I have to be in the south bay at eight a.m. tomorrow, I'm throwing in the towel. But finally -- happy birthday Ritu Rani! Goodnight!