Tuesday, June 30, 2009

were you born to resist or be abused?

This is a four-minute post so that I can write a post for the romance blog as well. I was extremely productive today on both professional fronts. I made it to work at 7:15am and slogged straight through to 5pm. However, I did have two glasses of champagne at noon to celebrate/mourn Pete's departure from our team, so the hours between noon and two p.m. may not have been the most useful hours ever. Anyway, I got tons of stuff done, and then relocated to Philz Coffee in downtown Palo Alto to work on romance novel stuff. Since Philz is next to the dry cleaner I used to use when I lived in that neighborhood, I decided to start going back to him -- and so I dropped off several dresses, made the dude feel good by telling him that I live in the city but had missed him, and so got a special 10% discount. Then, I sat on the lovely patio, drank my overpriced coffee, and reworked the blurbs that I wrote for the next two books.

I'm really happy with how they turned out, and I think I might be tantalizingly close to finalizing the new titles for the series. I sent everything over to my agent when I got home, ate some frozen enchiladas, and worked on the day job for the last hour. Now, though, I'm desperate for some sleep -- and I'm hoping to maintain my current relatively good mood despite the utterly stressful disaster that I expect the next few weeks to be. Goodnight!

Monday, June 29, 2009

wait for it to crash and burn

I have the worst headache -- I'm probably dehydrated, but I will stubbornly pretend that it's just a headache. I made it to work at 7:30am this morning, only to find that my 8am was canceled - but as this allowed me to get some stuff done, I was surprisingly happy that I had been duped into coming in early. I slogged through the day, but it was actually quite nice. I spent a few minutes catching up with Sarah (one of my oldest coworker-friends, in town from Singapore), then had an extended lunch with John. I slogged for a few more hours, and then cut out early to have dinner with my fellow managers. Pete, whom I adore, is leaving the team tomorrow, and so we had one final dinner with him before he abandons us. It was quite nice, and then I got to chat with him some more on the drive back up to the city, but the upshot of it all is that despite the awesome day I had, I'm still tired and in need of my cozy bed.

Okay, this is the most depressing post in recent memory, even though things are actually going quite well. Sleep will make everything better - check back tomorrow for better tidings!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

spin the record baby

My head hurts and I'm cranky -- it must be a Sunday night. I was quite productive today, despite my best attempts to sabotage myself, but it still wasn't enough to make me feel totally satisfied with the weekend. I wrote the blurbs for my next two books (you can see them at my new website - www.sararamsey.com - under the "books" dropdown menu) and sent them off to my agent. Even though they were less than a page each, they took all freaking day. It's really hard to write blurbs for books you haven't written yet, making them appealing enough that someone would sell the book but vague enough that the book will likely turn out to be something vaguely resembling the blurb. So, we'll see what the agent thinks; hopefully she'll like them, but my brain's so mushy right now that it's hard to tell whether they're any good.

I also kept brainstorming titles for my books, a task that is driving me mad. At some point I was trying to come up with as many words as possible that start with "s", but decided that this might not be the best approach when I came up with "Shear Me At Sunrise". While Malcolm is Scottish and there are plenty of jokes about sheep out there, I assure you that Amelia is a woman with no known hair-management issues, and so this title doesn't work. But, I sent her a list of possible titles too -- here's hoping she likes them!

Finally, I updated my romance blog (also now hosted at sararamsey.com). I bought a dayplanner and came up with ideas for posts for nearly every day in July -- whether I can stick to such a punishing schedule remains to be seen, but I am hopeful.

The one thing I didn't get to was anything related to my day job. This pretty much screws me for the week, but I shall survive. But even though it's still relatively early, I'm going to go to bed, and I will attempt to get up early tomorrow so that I can do some work before my 8am meeting. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

in which hermitage is doubted but ultimately embraced

I wasn't quite as productive as I would have liked to have been today. I started off pretty strong, but it all sort of faded away in the afternoon. I spent the morning in the Union Square/Yerba Buena Gardens area -- first, I returned the original formal dress to Nordstrom, and then I spent a couple of hours at Samovar eating quiche and drinking masala chai. I made a terrible mistake and had a second masala chai -- while it was the right thing to do from the standpoint of wanting to spend a bit more time in the absolute loveliness of the patio overlooking the gardens, I always seem to conveniently forget that two chais makes me feel really, really ill. So, with my stomach hurting, I walked back up the street to Borders, where I browsed romance novel titles for a bit before catching a bus home.

Despite being loaded with more caffeine than a trucker pulling an illegal double shift, I still managed to nap for almost two hours when I got home. Then, I futzed around on the internet for awhile, before spending the rest of the afternoon/evening working on my romance novel website. Katrina succeeded in getting me to go out for dinner after multiple attempts at trying to hang out with me; we went to the Moroccan place down the street, where I had my usual extremely moist and messy chicken schwarma sandwich while we caught up on life. Then, I came home, worked on the website some more, and then spent too much time reading textsfromlastnight (which my brother loves, so perhaps he'll be happy to hear that).

It should be clear to long-time readers that, while I see tons of people at work and often have dinner/social plans a few nights a week, I am not nearly as social as I once was. In fact, dinner with Katrina is likely the only social activity I will engage in this weekend. I sometimes have moments of doubt about this -- if I spend the next few years focused with single-minded intensity on becoming a successful writer, will I regret the damage to my relationships when I'm older? But, I also feel convinced that I will regret things even more if I don't pursue my passions, and all the friends in the world wouldn't make me feel good about failing to live up to my potential. So, my decision to become a hermit stands. I may change my mind later -- but I've got so much to do over the next couple of months that I don't have much choice. And that means I should go to bed so that I can get cracking tomorrow!

Friday, June 26, 2009

don't go around breaking young girls' hearts

I had an excellent day, particularly since I didn't take my responsibilities too seriously. I slogged hard and fast for seven hours, then skipped out in the mid-afternoon to do some shopping. As I mentioned previously, I decided to restart my quest for the dress -- I thought that I had a dress for the award ceremony at the romance conference, but I reevaluated after taking a picture of it and realizing that bright lights completely change the look of the dress.

After less than an hour at Nordstrom, I met with success -- I now have a new dress (strapless, tea-length, A-line, royal blue) and two pairs of shoes (neither of which go with the dress -- one pair of silver flats, one pair of brown Cole Haan sandals that were almost half off). The shoe salesman said that I was his easiest customer all day -- I tend to be very decisive when buying shoes, and I usually know that I want them before asking the clerk to get the shoe for me, since I've usually tried it on on the floor thanks to the magic of sharing my foot size with the common display shoe size. By that time, it was only 4:30, and so I was able to make it back into the city without hitting completely awful traffic until the last three miles or so.

I spent some quality time on the phone with my parents, and then made myself some delicious veggie fajitas. I was going to be productive and write blurbs for my next two books tonight, but instead I wasted time playing on the internet. No more wasting time this weekend, though -- I need to come up with more title ideas for my agent, write the blurbs, and then make some serious progress on Madeleine and Ferguson's story, all while keeping the rest of my life in functioning order and doing some random stuff for the day job. No rest for the wicked, though -- and I leave for the romance conference in three weeks!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

and watch the stars fall from the sky

I should have gone to be by now, even though it's only 9:42 and I'm too young for this bullshit. But, I was looking at dresses online; even though I've had the dress I intended to wear to the Golden Heart ceremony for a month, I think I'm going to take it back and find a different one. I still haven't shortened the straps (beaded = difficult), but I realized when I took the photo of it for the blog a few weeks ago that flashes render the blue overlay transparent so that all you really see is the white stain underskirt. That means the dress will look its worst when I'm getting my picture taken -- and while I harbor hope but not illusions about my chances, I don't want to look totally awful when I inevitably get Terry to take my picture at the awards ceremony. So, it's going back, and the pressure's on this weekend to find a new dress!

I had a decent day at work, made even better when I skipped out slightly early to catch a 5pm showing of "The Hangover" with Joy, Chris, Natasha, Kevin, and Ashley. It was *absolutely hysterical*. I loved it because it was just so offbeat and insane; in fact, I laughed so hard that by the time I left the theatre, I felt like I was hungover myself. That made teh drive back to the city less than pleasant -- but the movie is definitely worth seeing.

That's all for tonight -- tomorrow's another brutal slog, followed by the Search for the Dress pt. 2, so I should really get some sleep. I'm still not 100% health-wise; while I'm not as congested as I was, I still sound sick, and I'm starting to develop a cough. Hopefully I'll get enough sleep this weekend that I'll erase some of my symptoms. But, like any octogenarian, I'll keep you apprised of my latest health issues, so you can rest assured that you'll know when I recover just as soon as I do. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

i can't stop playing with you baby

I need to go to bed immediately, but I got sucked into romance novel stuff, which is unfortunate for my ability to function tomorrow. Work was good today; while I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, I had some nice meetings and was reminded yet again how much I like my team. I also got my first free schwag in several months; schwag used to flow like water through the halls of my employer, but it's been cut back in an effort to demonstrate fiscal prudence (bah!). The schwag today was an insulated lunch bag -- nice in theory, but we all get free lunch every day. This of course led to the conspiracy theory that the bags were a precursor to losing free lunch so that we would have something to bring sandwiches in, but given the utter mutiny that would ensue if that happened, I feel fairly confident that the lunchbags are merely a gift and not a harbinger of doom.

After work, I went to a cafe for half an hour to brainstorm titles for my book, and then met up with Chris and Natasha for dinner in downtown Mountain View. We had a fabulous time talking about books, weddings, movies, etc., and I may see "The Hangover" with them tomorrow night if I can get myself out of work on time. But to do that, I need to get there on time, and to do that, I need to sleep. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

will you bite the hand that feeds

I'm still sick. In fact, I stayed home today. But, I didn't rest up like a good little patient; while I did stay in bed until almost nine, I worked virtually the entire rest of the day until now. I'm so behind at work that a sick day was almost like a golden opportunity to catch up, even if my head is pounding and I'm still congested. I had to call into two hours' worth of meetings, I handled a mini-fire-drill over IM, I spent some time with a map and a pencil creating a new seating chart for my team, I spent several hours working on stuff for the sales conference I'm planning in August, and I got my inbox down from 600 to 133. I'm still not caught up, but I'm in a much better place than I was, and I find that I'm in a better mood because of it even if I likely did no favors for my cold.

Spending a weekday left to my own devices, particularly when I was too sick to go out and procure nourishment, proved to me how spoiled I am when it comes to the perks I get at my current place of employment. I mean, clearly I don't starve to death on weekends -- but I missed baked potato day at my favorite work cafe, and I had a granola bar for breakfast, a frozen pizza for lunch, and veggie enchiladas for dinner. I was going to have cheese and fruit for dinner, but after talking to my dad while he grilled hamburgers and told me about all the other wonderful things he's been grilling lately, I decided I needed something just a bit more substantial (even if veggie fajitas are a far cry from rotisserie chicken). Talking to my parents was fairly depressing tonight, but it did help to put my own annoyances into perspective even if my father's apocalyptic vision of the future is something I dearly hope he's wrong about.

That's all for now -- I should really get to sleep so that I can continue the slog tomorrow and hopefully feel better at the same time. Goodnight!

Monday, June 22, 2009

i've got a disease

I'm sick. That's really all there is to say; being sick makes me cranky (particularly in summer, when it feels like no one should be sick!), and I'm beyond cranky right now. I made it in to work and survived all the stuff that I absolutely had to get done, but I left a little before four, came home, napped, and read a book on social marketing. Napping was a mistake because I haven't felt like going to bed until now; but, unless I feel at least a little better than I do right now, I'm likely not going in tomorrow anyway.

So, I'm going to load up on some of the Tylenol Cold Head Congestion Severe (nighttime) that I picked up at Walgreens today and hope for the best. But regardless of whether I make it into the office tomorrow or not, I have a ton to get done, and that just makes me more cranky :(

Sorry for the bad mood! I'll be in a happier place once I can breathe out of my nose again. Until that happens, hopefully you'll tolerate my surliness. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

what goes around comes back around

I'm sick, and it makes me whiny. I would skip work tomorrow to nurse my illness, since I'm a firm proponent of taking sick days and not infecting others, but I have a meeting with the head honchos of my department and I must attend because I'm working towards a pressing deadline. So, perhaps I'll leave work after that, depending on how I'm feeling. I really hope this is swine flu, because if I'm just laid up with a common cold on the summer solstice, I'm going to be pissed.

My goal today was to finish the final final draft of my novel and send it to my agent. My other goal was to leave my apartment; I didn't go out at all yesterday, other than to do laundry and take out my trash, and since none of that required stepping outside, I felt that perhaps I was missing out on the weekend's gorgeous weather. So, I spent a couple of hours at a cafe with Tom (aka Tom Foolery); he contacted me yesterday wanting to talk about some writing stuff, and I realized that I hadn't seen him in a couple of months, which is shameful given that he and Julie live within walking distance of me. It was nice to see him, and it reminded me how much I like having friends even if I'm dangerously close to losing all of them right now due to my extreme focus on my writing. But, despite the reminder, I still turned down Katrina's request to hang out later in the day; I was bound and determined to finish the draft today, and I knew that if I hung out any longer, I would fail. And then that single failure would cascade into a series of self-made disasters that would ultimately lead to me dying, alone and lonely, in a grey cubicle as a seventy-year-old middle manager who once dreamed of being a novelist.

Okay, that was melodramatic even for me. But, after buying groceries and talking to my parents (Happy Father's Day to you fathers out there, particularly my own father!), I successfully buckled down, finishing the draft and sending it to my agent at 9:51pm. I didn't do all the work that I should have done for my day job, but tomorrow morning looks light, so hopefully I'll survive. But to survive, I really need to go to bed now; starting this week, I'm back to writing my second book, and I couldn't be more thrilled, but that will only happen if I get a bit more caught up tomorrow. Goodnight!

little did i know

I'm exhausted and falling asleep with my computer on my lap; I should have gone to bed ages ago, but a) I was being productive and b) my nose is plugged up, which makes falling asleep less appealing than it might otherwise sound.

I was supposed to have Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan over for dinner tonight. And, for most of the morning and early afternoon, I proceeded as planned -- I did three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen ad the bathroom, and finished unpacking from my trip to ye olde Iowa last week. However, by 2pm it was becoming clear that not only was I not getting better, but the least amount of exertion caused me to break out into a sweat. Feeling that this was likely not a good sign (particularly since what I intended to make required clean bare hands; I do wash my hands, but there's more risk of passing whatever this is off to someone else if I make them food. I would have to be called Swine Flu Sara if I were to become patient zero in an even fiercer global pandemic.

So anyway, I cancelled on Lauren, much to our mutual regret. I then spent the rest of the day reading, napping and working on edits of the first romance novel so that I can get them off to my agent. I think I'm done, barring any further desired changes I may discover when I give it a final proofread tomorrow. I will spend tomorrow proofreading, coming up with blurbs for the next two books, perhaps coming up with a new title, and also putting together slides for a director-level update I have to give on Monday. Aren't y'all envious of my stunning social life? Hopefully this cold or whatever it is will go away so that I might be more inclined to see people -- but I'm not holding my breath (mostly because I can't take a breath, ha). Goodnight!

Friday, June 19, 2009

you've gotta be stronger than the story

Despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm getting sick and I have more stuff on my to-do list than I can possibly do this weekend, today was a great day. I made it to work for my eight a.m. meeting, and survived a string of meetings straight until 3:30pm. This included a nice lunch with Mahin, an entertaining conversation with Natasha (after which I felt that we both needed to just hug it out, even though she had just worked out and was sweaty), and some other delightful one-on-one activities.

Following all that, John convinced me to go to TGIF for the first time in ages (it's my company's weekly Friday afternoon gathering). But, we didn't make it in the door; unbeknownst to me, there was a fancy wine-tasting even on the main patio, in which multiple delicious, v. expensive wines were served free of charge by vineyards who were hoping to lure us into making purchases. I think I tasted five wines, all of which were quite delicious, and I also met my friend Jason's aunt, who owns one of the wineries featured at the tasting. John and I sat in the sun for an hour, and it was all very surreally lovely.

I decided to go to Cafe Borrone for a sandwich, and I intended to work on zee romance novel, but instead I read a romance novel on my Kindle. I finished it when I got home, and I quite liked it; it was a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, which is my absolute favorite story, and so I'm glad that I took a break to read it even if I feel guilty for taking the break. Work will come soon enough tomorrow, though, and hopefully I'll feel better for it. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

if you're bored then you're boring

The only thing I want to write in tonight's post is "bleh", but I suppose I need a bit more than that to justify posting. I had a v. long day, and I still haven't answered any emails from my vacation, which is unfortunate since I get another ~60 every day added to the top of the pile. Today was comprised of more fire drills, and I didn't have any time to work on zee romance novel -- really, something needs to change. But, I'm hopeful that with some v. dedicated hermitage this weekend, I can finish the edits that I promised to my agent, and perhaps next week at work will be better.

That's really all I've got; I'm quite boring, even though I'm really not bored at all. Let's all hope that I have more interesting things to say this weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

close your eyes, clear your heart...cut the cord

This is a four-minute post. Today was an action-packed day, starting with a disastrous eight a.m. meeting and continuing to be ridiculous throughout the day. But, I had a long lunch with John and Katrina, which was v. nice; I'm detoxing from Iowa, and so had a goat cheese sandwich and some watermelon while they ate a ton of delicious-looking Korean food. Then, I managed to get out of the office by six so that I could meet up with Vidius Chandicus (aka the Chandlord) for dinner. She's back in town for the apparently foreseeable future, and we had ramen in glorious downtown Mountain View while catching up on life. Somehow we both got so full that we needed to take a walk afterwards, and my suggestion of pearl milk tea was initially met with enthusiasm, but it slowly became clear as we drank it that we were both too uncomfortably full of ramen to really enjoy the tea or each other. So, we parted ways and I drove back to the evil city.

I'm turning into an oldie olderson, as evidenced by the fact that I snorted when Katrina asked if I would come to a party on Friday, and also as evidenced by the fact that it's 9:15pm and I'm going to go to bed right after this. But, I don't have a lot of choice; tomorrow promises to be just as ridiculous, and I haven't even started going through the 300+ emails I've gotten since vacation. Ugh. But there's enough time to stress about all that tomorrow; my four minutes are up, and it's time to sleep!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the sun also rises

For some inexplicable reason, I'm in a really good mood, and I'm not going to question it for fear that a dose of reality will ruin it. Given that I spent almost eleven hours at the office today and didn't get through nearly enough stuff on my plate, I should be miserable. But, I had some great meetings, had a fun lunch with Gyre, and managed to take myself to Cafe Borrone (home of the yuppies and the delicious overpriced gouda/turkey/caramelized onion/focaccia sandwich) and write for an hour and a half. Since I want to finish my last set of edits on my first book this weekend, writing tonight was vital.

So I'm proud of myself for being productive, but I unfortunately sacrificed my errands to work on my writing; this means I have no food in my fridge and no clean clothes. I did stop at a 7-11 to buy fresh milk for my morning tea, and if I can subsist on canned soup, popcorn, and frosted flakes for dinner this week, I might make it to the weekend without having to go to the grocery store. I also need to make sure I stay as productive as possible at the office this week so that I can continue to write in the evenings so that I might just possibly free up some time to hang out with friends this weekend. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but for now I'm going to go to bed!

Monday, June 15, 2009

can you feel the love tonight?

I certainly can't -- I got home about half an hour ago, and I have a seven a.m. meeting tomorrow :( It's not a nice way to come back from vacation, particularly since I have multiple pressing deadlines tomorrow and didn't do any work while I was home. So, I'm going to go to bed now in an effort to get up super early tomorrow and get some stuff done.

I wasn't ready to leave Iowa, but I made it to the airport anyway; I spent the morning packing, had a quick midwestern lunch (barbecue pork sandwich, potato salad, and chips with my favorite french onion dip), and then went to the airport with my parents and brother. We made it right on schedule, only to find that my flight was delayed by twenty-five minutes. So, I waved goodbye to the family, sat and waited for my flight, and then spent much of the flight reading the latest NEW YORKER on my Kindle (I downloaded it because they had a long article about Nora Roberts). I was worried about making my connection in Dallas, but due to some lucky gate locations, I had just enough time to grab a latte before boarding my flight.

Then, sadly, we had to deplane because there was a pressurization issue. We sat in the terminal for another half hour, which was long enough for me to eat McDonald's chicken strips (I haven't had McDonald's for ages, but I love chicken tenders). Then, we reboarded, and I spent the flight to San Francisco working on zee romance novel.

This week promises to be rather hellish, so hopefully I shall survive it. But, there's no time to dwell on it now -- it's time for bed!

[Editor's note: my brother called me out on an inaccuracy in my previous post. The men who may or may not have ogled me while I jumped up and down on a trailer yesterday were not playing poker in the trading post -- they were playing poker in the "game parlor", which is in a small building next to the trading post. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

even old new york was once new amsterdam

I find myself strangely bereft of words tonight. I think it's just been a v. long few days -- we successfully saw Aunt Becky and the scandalous husband off this afternoon, and they leave for Italy tomorrow. But there was much to do before then; first, we had breakfast at the restaurant in the back of the American Legion hall, and luckily the owner/cook saw me walk in and knew that I hadn't eaten, since I was the last one to arrive and she might not have fed me otherwise. Then, we finished getting more stuff out of the barn; I got out of a lot of that because my brother needed help taking the freezer/trailer of ice back to the ice man. It's unclear to me exactly how much of a show I gave to the men who were sitting in the trading post playing poker -- the reason I went with Michael was because he needed someone to stand on the back of the trailer to tip it up so that he could unhitch it, and I wasn't heavy enough to do it. So, I balanced on the edge of it and started jumping up and down until the trailer came unhitched, and I'm just going to have to hope that none of the guys saw my ridiculous display.

After all of that, we ate leftovers, Uncle Mark and his family left, and Aunt Becky opened gifts before loading up and taking off around three p.m. It was clear that no one in my family had any energy to do anything else; I took a nap, my parents did some stuff around the house, and my brother fell asleep. My mom had intended to make me another real homemade meal tonight, but no one had the energy, so we ate more leftovers and hung out until every started falling asleep. We're all such party animals.

Even though it's early for me to go to bed, that's what I'm going to do -- I need to get up tomorrow morning and pack, since we leave for the airport around noon. I'll be in San Francisco this time tomorrow, and then it's back to some truly brutal slogging for the next couple of months :( Goodnight!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

take my hand, we'll make it out of this mess

Well, Aunt Becky is successfully hitched to Uncle Brian. The wedding was v. lovely, and the reception afterwards was quite a party. The bride looked gorgeous, the groom looked happy, and a good time was had by all.

I would love to explain this all in a lot more detail, but I'm far too tired and I need to go to bed immediately if I'm going to make it into town for breakfast tomorrow morning before continuing the cleanup at the barn. Suffice it to say that the barn did not fall down, the food was excellent, and I wore the teal dress (dress #2) before switching into more country-appropriate clothes after dinner was over. Since the wedding was a mile from our house, it was quite easy to go back and forth, particularly since I refrained from getting very far into the Templeton Rye (a whisky-type drink that was incredibly smooth; after my Three Wisemen shot that Adit bought me on a fateful night a few years ago, I can't drink whisky, but this was quite good). And I saw all sorts of relations, many friends and acquaintances from the area, and met several of Aunt Becky's friends who have been forced to listen to stories about me over the years. So, that was all very fun, and I'm happy for Aunt Becky and our new uncle.

But, tomorrow promises to be more work as we get everything out of the barn and hauled back to our house. Hopefully I'll get to spend a bit of time with my family (and by that I mean the people who live in this house) tomorrow afternoon, since I leave for San Francisco on Monday :( It's too bad, but c'est la vie; I'll just have to make sure I get back here once before Christmas, since six months between visits is too long.

Okay, that's all -- wish the person next to you a happy Aunt Bridezilla day! And now, it's time for bed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

romeo save me, i've been feeling so alone

Today was a brutal slog in honor of Aunt Bridezilla Day -- Aunt Becky's wedding is tomorrow afternoon, but as I've mentioned, my parents were conned into hosting the rehearsal dinner tonight. When this was discussed last year, there would be twelve people in attendance (reasonable, given that there are only four people in the wedding party), but there were twenty-eight guests tonight. I ended up running into town twice (once for ice and sugar, once for hamburger buns and more strawberries), picking up the flowers for the tables (and almost causing a disaster by taking the corners too tight, as usual, and knocking the flowers over in the backseat), slicing fourteen pounds of strawberries, a whole bunch of peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and helping to cart stuff upstairs from the basement kitchen. I also made shrimp cocktail sauce and buttered two (ultimately superfluous) loaves of garlic bread.

So, needless to say, I'm exhausted. I also am reminded that I don't particularly like people, and so I needed to take a break and a nap around 5pm so that I could regain my equilibrium enough to keep going. But, once I recovered from my surliness and changed clothes, I was in a much better mood. And, dinner was fabulous -- I'm still on my no-vegetables kick, but I did have strawberries (granted, they were on top of shortcake, and covered in the traditional Wampler family half and half instead of whipped cream) and I've been mainlining Vitamin Water to keep my nutrients up. We had steak, baked potatoes, garlic bread, shortcake, and plenty of wine; while I likely won't know many of the people at the wedding tomorrow, I'm happy to hear that there will be enough alcohol to promote a major boozefest.

Okay, I'm totally exhausted and falling asleep while writing this. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

it's a love story, baby just say yes

I just had a fabulous idea for a revised scene in my book -- my agent asked me to reread and tweak where I thought necessary, but I haven't devoted the time to it that I would have liked this week, and so I'm not going to meet my self-imposed deadline (obviously, since the self-imposed deadline was today). Unfortunately, I don't have time to write this fabulous idea -- I helped with wedding stuff most of the day, and I will completely busy with it all day tomorrow so that we can all avoid the wrath of Aunt Bridezilla. But, if I get lucky, I will dream the scene tonight and be able to sneak away for an hour or two sometime between the rehearsal dinner and the wedding to put it all on paper.

Today I picked up 800 handmade mints from the candy store in the next county north (a thirty-minute drive, made slightly longer because I was stuck behind a van going the speed limit), got pop (you may know it as 'soda') and dip, helped my aunt unload some stuff, went with her to the photographer, grocery store, and motel (which she's been telling her friends is a Marriott, which is so far from the truth that it's almost cruel), and then dried several dozen wineglasses. There were little amusements throughout the day, such as the big poster for an upcoming goat auction that I saw at the candy store, and I stocked up on vitamin water to continue getting me through the vegetable-less days (unless you count the bell peppers on the pizza I had last night, the last fruit/vegetable I had was canned peaches on Monday).

We ended the day in town, with supper at the restaurant in the back of the American Legion Hall -- as I've mentioned before, it's the place where the owner/cook and her daughter/waitress sit at the bar, and all the patrons and workers sit and talk to each other like one big communal dining room. I also saw the posterboard on the wall announcing their new "whole hog" sandwich, consisting of pork loin, ham, bacon, and sausage -- it's like death on a bun!

My cheeseburger and cheese balls were delicious, and the conversation (mostly about the wedding, with some discussion of raccoon hunting) was entertaining. My grandma and her cousins saw our truck parked outside and so came in to say hi -- that's just the way things work in a small town. With my misanthropic tendencies, it's no wonder that I kind of like the anonymity of the city -- but there is something nice about being somewhere where everyone knows you, even if there are days when you wish you didn't know any of them.

Okay, that's all for tonight; I stayed up and tolerated Letterman so that I could get to Craig's opening set, and I was handsomely rewarded for my perseverance. They did another musical number; while I didn't recognize the song, I was amused to see the kid in the leather shorts and bondage halter lip-sync a falsetto song while Craig and the puppets performed backup. Now, it's time for bed -- there's a ton to do tomorrow, since my parents are hosting the rehearsal dinner, and somehow a wedding with only four people in the wedding party has a rehearsal dinner for 27 people. Strange. But, it's Aunt Bridezilla's affair, not mine, and so I'll stop whining and go to bed!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

in scotland, gravel is considered a condiment

This is something like a four-minute post. All things considered, 11:30am was an early start to the day, since I went to bed last night after four a.m. And, by comparison, going to be tonight at one a.m. is another great accomplishment.

Being at home is sort of like Christmas every time, even if there are no presents in my immediate future. I tend to leave random things here (toiletries, articles of clothing, shoes, books, etc.) in the mistaken belief that a) I will remember what's here and not bring more identical items home, and b) I come home often enough to need this stuff here. But, it's always fun to see what's here; while I made a list last time of the toiletries that were here, I didn't document the clothes. And my current pajamas (a pair of pink candy-striped capri pants and a grey tshirt given to me by my employer back in the hey-day of free swag) are items that I thought I had given to Goodwill long ago. The best, though, is that I brought home seven pairs of shoes (and bought a pair of flipflops at Target to play minigolf in, since I was wearing my moccasins and my dad had already wrapped and duct-taped plastic around my bag so that it could ride home in the back of his truck without getting wet). Why did I bring seven pairs of shoes? I left the house today for the first time since Saturday, and so I have absolutely no need for this many sandals.

Anyway, I spent the day running errands, working on the romance website, and taking care of some other stuff. Then, my mom and I went to a meeting of our secret society; given that it is focused on women's education and the community, it's not exactly scandalous, but I like to pretend otherwise. So that was all very nice -- and now I desperately need to sleep, since the preparations for Aunt Bridezilla's wedding will get more intense tomorrow. Goodnight!
(oh and ps, the title is something that Craig said tonight. love him!)

but it doesn't mean that i'm serious

I'm so stupid -- I should have been in bed about four hours ago, but I keep looking at the clock on my laptop and forgetting that it's two hours behind. That means that instead of going to bed at 2am (the time listed on my laptop), I'm going to bed at 4am, likely around the time that my parents are waking up.

But, I accomplished a lot today; I made substantial progress on the final tweaks of my romance novel, and I worked from 9pm until 4am on the design and implementation of what I hope will be a new site/blog combo for my romance alter ego. And, I took some time out to hang out with the family and eat another fabulous midwestern meal (bratwurst and homemade mac and cheese) -- although I'm suddenly starving again, likely because dinner was nine hours ago and I shouldn't have stayed up.

That's all you're getting out of me tonight -- goodnight/good morning!

Monday, June 08, 2009

earth below us drifting falling floating weightless

Today was another lazy day -- I didn't get out of bed until almost eleven, and then spent the early afternoon playing around on the internet and blocking out my schedule for the next few months. I did a couple of hours of bona fide work for my day job (ugh), and then looked at business cards for awhile without making any decisions. I followed all that effort up with dinner (my dad grilled some ribs, my mom made scalloped potatoes, and we had peaches in heavy syrup -- my first fruit/vegetable since Thursday!). Finally, I spent the evening trying to brainstorm new titles for my romance novel; my agent (still love being able to say that) suggested that I might want to come up with some alternate titles, but since "Love in the Time of Syphilis" is likely a no-go, I'm struggling to some up with something else.

Finally, I downloaded this software called RescueTime -- it tracks everything you do on your computer so that you can run reports on where you're spending your time and set goals for improving your productivity. I really need to get cracking on Madeleine and Ferguson's book, and the best/only way to do this is to devote the appropriate amount of time every week; while RescueTime won't force to devote that time, it will at least help me to feel more guilty about not doing it. Better yet, hopefully it will start to give me a firm understanding about how fast I can write, so that if I ever hit it big with a multi-book contract, I can know how quickly I can fulfill it and whether my deadlines will kill me.

That's all for now -- I must get up earlyish tomorrow and work on the book, so it's time for bed! But I think I'll watch Craig Ferguson's "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" video from last night's post one more time before I sleep...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

take me back to constantinople

I had a great day today; the only fly in my ointment was that I had still not recovered from the lack of sleep the night before, and so I inadvertently took two naps. One was from 11:45-12:40, when I should have been taking a shower; the second, even more embarrassingly, was while I was sitting on the couch with my nieces and nephew. This is yet more proof that not only do I not have any problem whatsoever falling asleep when I'm full of caffeine, but I can actually fall asleep in the most non-conducive situations.

My sister and her kids came over for lunch, which was delicious (hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, and chocolate cake for Allie's upcoming thirteenth birthday). We spent the afternoon hanging out, and I seem to recall promising Zane that I would blog something about him, but I think I made the promise as I was falling asleep, and now I can no longer remember what that thing was. I'm a horrible aunt. Perhaps I'll be a better great-aunt; Sammi's baby is three weeks old, and I got to hold her for awhile (although she slept through virtually the entire afternoon). I will say that, while the kid is cute, I'm very glad that I don't have a child of my own -- someday I will get the urge and it will be bad, but right now I like not having any responsibilities.

After they left, I accomplished nothing, then ate dinner (my dad made some rotisserie chickens on his super-duper new grill, and my mom made potatoes that looked like they had been boiled in butter). I saw a raccoon on the back porch, but it was raining and so my dad gave the coon a reprieve. Then, Michael and I watched some videos on YouTube; the best video, hands down, was the opener of a Craig Ferguson episode that I missed earlier this week. It's another one where he lipsyncs and dances to a song, and you really must watch it:



Goodnight!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

before he speak his suit bespoke

I made it to Iowa, but just barely. My flight out of San Francisco was delayed by over seventy-five minutes, and so rather than having a nearly two-hour-long layover in which to find breakfast, wash my face, and do my makeup, I didn't get off the first plane until the second one was already boarding, and I had to run to the other gate. This was not pleasant in moccasins, nor was I thrilled about my decision to bring both of my laptops home with me as I was lugging them across terminals, but I made it to the flight and was the last one to board. Even better, my luggage made it too, so all is well!

After my family picked me up, we had a quick breakfast, went to Target to pick up some essentials, and then played a round of minigolf. I don't know why I get excited about that game, since I almost always lose, but it was fun nonetheless. The conditions were not ideal -- the kid who was running the place had to use the leafblower on every single hole, and there were times when new flurries of leaves or an errant tree branch would get in your way and obscure your path. My mother won (congrats to her, I suppose), and then we came back to beautiful southern Iowa.

The rest of the day was uneventful; I took a nap, watched the Belmont, and then spent some time watching my parents' newest pair of kittens. I also got a tour of the continued improvements since I left (mostly landscaping and outdoors work, plus a great new downstairs kitchen), and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my manuscript on the porch over the next few days.

That's all you get -- I'm falling asleep in my papasan, which is not a good sign. Goodnight!

Friday, June 05, 2009

take this and take six, haters

I need to leave my apartment in the next 5-10 minutes so that I can go to the airport and get on my flight to my ancestral homeland. I'm unfortunately way behind at work, and so I intend to spend the time after I get through security answering emails as furiously as possible until boarding; it won't get me through everything that I need to have done before I get back to work, but it will be a major start.

I almost had a disaster today -- when I got home from work, I discovered that the power was out in the building because a transformer blew up in my neighborhood. Luckily the building has a generator, or else I would have had to climb 17-20 floors (unclear exactly how many floors are between my garage and my apartment), but the elevator still worked. Someone in the elevator told me that the projection was that power would be out until tomorrow, which dismayed me -- it's clear how addicted to technology I am, since I promptly wondered how I could possibly travel without charging my two laptops, my two phones, my iPod, and my Kindle. But, the power came on half an hour later, so I was able to pack, shower, charge things, and do a myriad of other civilized activities.

That's all you get -- I'll be in Iowa in the morning, and my family is picking me up and taking me to breakfast in the glorious city of Des Moines. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

a city wall and a trampoline

I'm too tired to blog tonight; I meant to go to bed an hour ago, and I also meant to answer email tonight, but I failed in both of those goals. Instead, I went to Philz Coffee in Palo Alto and read my Kindle for an hour, came home, finished the story I was reading, and played on the internet. It was all v. worthwhile in the sense that I'm exhausted from work and could use the break; but, given that I get on a plane in twenty-six hours and have tons and tons of stuff to do before then, perhaps it wasn't the smartest plan.

But, regardless of the wisdom of my actions, I will be in Iowa oh-so-soon! I can't wait! And that's all you're getting out of me today -- it's time for bed.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

but that was when i ruled the world

I really made a mistake by buying a Kindle. I should have known better. Within twelve hours of having it out of the box, I had already purchased four books. I need to check myself before I wreck myself!

But, I will say that the thing is totally awesome. On the way home from the office tonight, I read part of a short story, and I proceeded to finish the story and read another one before firmly setting the Kindle aside so that I could take care of a few things before bedtime. It's just as easy as reading a real live book, and the ability to carry a whole library in my purse is like a magical gift that I only dreamed of as a child. If this encourages me to read more, I'm all in favor of it, even if I can't figure out exactly where I will squeeze more reading time out of my already ridiculous schedule.

Today was fine; the first half was rather unhappy, mostly because I had to be at work at seven a.m., but after I did some venting to my boss, I felt strangely better. So the rest of the day was much improved over yesterday, and the end of the day was lovely -- we were working out of San Francisco today, and my boss, my co-lead, and I went out for dinner with our director, which was v. nice. And then I got on the bus and lost myself in my Kindle, and you know the rest.

Tomorrow promises to continue the brutality, with a lot of meetings between 7:30am and 5:30pm, and then hopefully I'll be able to do some packing tomorrow night. In forty-eight hours, I'll be getting ready to go to the airport for my flight back to Iowa! And you can bet your last dollar that my Kindle will be with me every step of the way. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibis

This needs to be a four minute post. While I'm in a much better mood now thanks to a fabulous dinner, I had a pretty awful day at work; by the time I left, I was exhausted and inexplicably close to crying (of course, I didn't cry, because my heart is too cold to permit liquid tears, but if I had a real heart, it would have happened). Actually, nothing happened any different than any other day, but I'm just exhausted and feeling pulled in too many different directions.

But, I picked up the black maxidress that I had dropped off to get shortened to my substandard height, talked to my parents, and then had dinner with Tolu, Lizzie, Jane, and Jen (the special guest of the night, since she was back in town for a few days after finishing her first year at Duke's MBA program). We all started within a few weeks of each other waaaaay back in the day, and Tolu and I are the only ones of that crew left in the California office of our current employer. It was exactly what I needed, even if the other critical piece that I need is sleep and now I'm not going to get enough of it.

That's all for now -- oh, and I got my Kindle tonight! I've already downloaded a book; this is clearly a dangerous, dangerous purchase, and I love it already :) But no more; I have a seven a.m. meeting tomorrow, so sleep is necessary. Goodnight!

Monday, June 01, 2009

protect me from what i want

The only thing of interest to report is that I keep daydreaming of being in India. I don't really want to move back there; while I loved it tremendously and would really like to take another trip there, I think what's fueling these dreams is my usual wanderlust. I haven't moved, switched jobs, or done anything new (other than the book and the agent hunt, of course) in almost a year -- and now that I've successfully found an agent, my inner self is suddenly clamoring to be uprooted. I'm moving in with Adit in July, so hopefully that will help, and I'm just going to have to focus on channeling those energies into writing Madeleine and Ferguson's story.

The rest of my day was uneventful; I had a string of good meetings, a realization that I'm completely screwed on the huge event I'm planning this summer, and dinner with my boss. Even though it's only a little after nine p.m., I'm going to go to bed as soon as I finish this -- I have 7 or 7:30am meetings every day for the rest of the week, with dinner plans Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so sleep is going to be at a premium this week. Goodnight!