Thursday, January 31, 2013

this place that has me now

I have nothing of particular interest to report today - everything of interest was social, not work-related, which I suppose is a good thing? I took a later shuttle this morning, since I felt it was important to get eight hours of sleep rather than six. But, there were no consequences for my sloth, since a) most people get in later on my team and b) my boss is out of the office, so even my inner Puritan didn't care that I got in at ten. I was productive all day, though, meeting with people on my team to find out what they do, setting up meetings with more people, etc., etc. I also had lunch with Cody, whom I managed for a hot minute years and years ago, and that was lovely - not only was it good to see him, but I had an awesome spicy Thai chicken and coconut soup that made up for all the subpar meals I've had this week. Ridiculous, I know.

I eventually left and came back to the evil city, where I sat around for a bit before walking down to the Marina proper, where I had dinner and drinks with Jenni. We hung out for almost three hours, which was great, since I haven't seen her alone in a couple of months. She was in good form, and the food and drinks were great; I had two excellent glasses of red (a Spanish blend and a cab) and a glass of dessert wine, plus a burger (sans bun) and some of the burrata mozzarella (sans bread), so I was in a v. happy place on the way home.

And now, I should sleep; I have a bunch of meetings tomorrow, which I'm going to take from home to avoid Friday evening rush hour, so that's v. exciting. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

dynamite with a laser beam

So, as you know, I stayed in San Jose last night. This meant that getting ready was slightly less streamlined since I had to do it out of an overnight bag rather than my well-stocked cabinet of potions and beauty aids, but I think I pulled it together. And the lack of streamlined efficiency was made up for by the fact that the commute (especially since Heather drove me back via the carpool lane) was less than half an hour. Magical. So, I was in time for my nine a.m. meeting (barbaric), and then I slogged pretty hardcore all day. Or maybe it just felt hardcore because I barely ate anything; I didn't get a chance to grab breakfast other than a gluten-free snack bar, which was half the size of a normal snack bar since zee man is apparently trying to cut our calories (the days of gallon-size m&m dispensers are long, long gone). And when I went to the nearest cafe to grab lunch, their only entree option had gluten in it, so I had to have a v. subpar salad that made me feel sad and vaguely ill. Yes, first world problems - but I do not like not getting enough meat, and this all upset me.

So, when I was done slogging for the day, I went to Starbucks and successfully wrote for an hour (surprising, right?). Then, I met up with Joann and Jane for a friendship renewal dinner (sans Tolu) at my favorite Mexican restaurant near work. And I continue to have an odd relationship with the wait staff there, in particular with one of the waiters, who rather inappropriately rubs my back when asking if I want a margarita. But, he comped our drinks and brought guacamole on the house...which makes me wonder if this is the equivalent of whoring myself out. I don't know. All I know is the margaritas are awesome and I don't think he's ever going to roofie me, so I'll keep going. Yay.

Anyway, Joann and Jane were in good form, and we had a lot to catch up on, so that was super fun. Then, I drove my car home since I didn't want to have to drive it back tomorrow, and I meant to write...but I'm a bit too tired for it. So I cleaned up several scenes, made some notes of tiny things I need to fix, and took care of some promo stuff. And now, I must go to bed immediately so that I can catch the shuttle tomorrow - goodnight!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

reasons unknown

I'm sleepy and must go to bed promptly, but today was good. I worked from home until ~11:30, since my landlord was coming over to check out the leak situation from my shower to the dining room. Miraculously, it didn't cause any visible damage, since it was somehow leaking through the window frame in the window directly below the shower, and the wall or paint wasn't damp or anything. Bizarre. Anyway, the landlord was v. much relieved, since he had visions of tearing out the plumbing, and instead just had to run to the hardware store for some corrective grout or caulk or whatever. Yay.

Thus relieved of my renter's duties, I left him to his devices and drove to work, taking with me all the stuff that I had packed up and taken home on my last day at work two+ years ago. I haven't opened those boxes since I left, so it will be interesting to see what stuff I decided to keep. When I got to campus, I grabbed lunch at a mexican-themed cafe (sans gluten), then went to my building and trained/slogged/trained until ~5:30. Then, Heather (aka dear respected madam) picked me up, and we had a v. lovely, v. delicious dinner in San Jose. As it turns out, there was a hockey game in SJ tonight as well, so the first half of our dinner was packed with Sharks fans - but they cleared out as we were finishing our entrees (steak, yum), and so we had the place nearly to ourselves while she had creme brulee and I had coffee. Awesome.

And now I'm about to go to sleep in her guest room; this plan worked out v. well, particularly since I can't use my shower at home tomorrow anyway. We came back to her place after dinner, talked to Salim, and watched the season premiere of 'Project Runway', which I may keep watching if they don't make me sad and bored again like they did tonight. And now, I must sleep so that I can make it into the office early tomorrow (or at least earlier than today) - goodnight!

Monday, January 28, 2013

i know more of the stars and sea than i do of what's in your head

Hello, friends. I am still gainfully employed. I suppose the shock of this will wear off at some point soon, but it's still just a trifle bizarre that this is the case. However, today was lovely; I woke up at six and promptly reset my alarm to sleep for another hour and a half, since I'm freaked out about the possibility of getting the flu and wasn't feeling all that great last night. I woke up for round two at 7:30, and got up in time to get ready and out the door for a shuttle that got me to work at 9:50am. Yes, this is the benefit of working in tech - I wasn't even the last one to arrive, so if my job was the Amazing Race, I would live to go another round.

I worked on the shuttle on the way in, and then slogged an appropriate amount the rest of the day, going through a training on privacy policy that seemed v. familiar to what I'd learned on the last time around, plus going through trainings on the projects I'm working on and meeting with my manager for some quality time. I caught the shuttle back to the city at 5:45, but it didn't get in until 7:20 because there was an accident on the freeway, which was rather unfortunate. I think I either need to go in early and leave early, or go in late and leave late, but going in late and leaving at the right time is the worst possible move.

However, I had to leave when I did, since I had a 7:30pm dinner date with Terry, Lauren (aka Subz), and Annie, one of Terry's v. awesome coworkers who is unfortunately moving to Sydney. I say unfortunately because I think I could be fabulous friends with her, which, as you know, is very rare, since I hate most people on sight. I kid, I kid (mostly). Still, she seems to be a wonderful person, and I wish she weren't leaving. But if she must leave, I'm glad that we had dinner tonight - the four of us split two of the best bottles of wine I've had at a restaurant in quite some time, and we had many and varied tapas (although not so varied as the waiter might have liked, since we didn't have either of the specials, one of which was frogs' legs and the other of which was octopus). So, dinner was lovely, and the company was even lovelier. And now I must go to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow, sans half a bottle of wine - goodnight!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

my eyes don't recognize you no more

Apparently this job thing expects me to go into work again this coming week, even though I just spent, like, four days doing it. What is up with that?!

So I spent today working on zee romance novel since I have to go into the office all week. And I basically worked from 11am until now, with a break to call my parents, talked to [censored], and eat some leftover chili for supper. Oh, and I went to Starbucks and to the corner store, so I wasn't a total hermit (ha). But, thanks to my endeavors, I finished answering all the research questions that were still open in Nick and Ellie's book. These questions covered everything from how much a painting might cost (Joshua Reynolds, a premier portrait artist, was charging eighty guineas for a full-size portrait in 1780, which is before my story's time, but probably a good approximation for what Ellie might get for a masterpiece), to whether words like 'lucre', 'marathon', and 'snake oil' were used then (yes, no, and no), to what Nick might have worn (note: if a tailcoat is blue, it always has gold buttons; otherwise, it mostly has buttons covered in the same fabric as the coat).

This research is fun, but mildly exhausting, and since I was hunched over my desk I now feel like I was hit in the back by a truck. Or maybe I'm getting the flu. So, I just took a preemptive NyQuil and am going to go straight to bed - goodnight!

divine intervention

I'm super sleepy, and I'm a bit paranoid that I'm going to catch the flu that has been going on, particularly since I seemed to get sick whenever I left the house for extended periods of time over the past two years. My immune system is not accustomed to the bugs of this many people swirling around me, but hopefully I shall survive.

Anyway, today was a good introduction to this concept y'all call a 'weekend'. It didn't start out great; a few minutes after I woke up, as I was considering going back to bed, I got a notification that my twitter account's password and email had been changed. Since I hadn't been on twitter in a week, this meant someone was in the process of hacking me. Luckily, I got it stopped before anything untoward happened, but I was too awake to go back to bed after that. So I messed around, showered, did some laundry, and grabbed breakfast down the street, since I have no food in the house. Then I came home and worked for a couple of hours before going downtown to my salon...

...which should have been v. easy to get to, but it turns out there was a pro-life rally downtown, and all of Market Street was closed for several blocks. This was horribly annoying, since I'm north of Market and my salon is south of Market - and there was no way to get there. I got deflected off of Market and had to head back north, but luckily I knew of a nearby garage, where I parked and then hustled my way through the protest to the salon. Being ten minutes late was hardly the relaxing start I had intended to have, but my stylist and my brow lady made up for it, since I heart them both. I got a haircut and a v. fab blowout (the only downside of which is that the way she did the part of my hair revealed new strands of white that I hadn't noticed before), and then I got my brows waxed, and I had fun and entertaining conversations with both of them.

Thus restored to my feminine best (well, really, it's kind of a mixed bag, since my hair looked awesome but the skin around my eyebrows was angry), I retrieved my car, went to the grocery store, came home, and spent a couple of hours on a silly marketing task (setting up a v. small contest to solicit thoughts on my new vs old covers - you can see it on my sararamsey homepage if you're so inclined). Then I made chili, which Terry and I ate while watching figure skating - Scotty Hamilton is still in prime form, but there was no Dick Button in sight/earshot, which made me sad. We are all born to die.

And on that cheerful note, I should sleep so that I can keep slogging through my historical research minutiae tomorrow so that I can finish Nick and Ellie - goodnight!

Friday, January 25, 2013

weary eyes and dry throat

My first week of work is over. It was 20% shorter than a normal work week due to the holiday, but since I'm unaccustomed to having to think about holidays and things like that, it's still a little strange. I caught myself thinking something along the lines of 'you mean I have to do this again next week?' when I got home tonight, but it wasn't out of dissatisfaction or anything - it was just that I miss my desk, and being home when it's daylight, and all the other many and splendored perks of working for myself.

That said, I'm feeling good about the change and excited about my new job, so that's a plus. Now if I can just get Nick and Ellie to my agent and all the reviewers, I would be a happy camper. I got into the office a little before eight today (shocking), met with my manager, spent the day ramping up on stuff + seeing dear respected madam, and got home around six. Then, Terry and I had roommate dinner; we went to a sushi place a couple of blocks away that I've been meaning to try for ages, and I really liked it, so I see some v. dangerous takeout ordering in my future (since it would be trivially easy to call in an order from the shuttle and pick it up on my way home...).

And now, I should sleep; I accidentally took a nap at 9:30 instead of working on Nick and Ellie, and then I messed around on the internet until now. But tomorrow I must be productive, and so now I must bid you goodnight!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

and you're still probably working at a nine to five pace

Day 3 was not quite as productive at Day 2, but perhaps I just feel that way because the shuttle ride home made me fairly carsick, which meant I got home and just needed to sit for a bit rather than getting into gear on Nick and Ellie as I had planned. And once I hit the wall, it stayed hit; there was no getting work done after that.

However, the day was great up until then. I got up at six for the third day in a row, which is ridiculous - I'm going to try for number four tomorrow. That shuttle ride didn't make me sick, and I even spent most of it answering emails - clearly the takeaway is that I should aim for shuttle times with low traffic, not to save me time but because stop and go traffic will make me deathly ill. Once at work, I spent most of the day breezing through trainings I've gone through before, but it's good to get a refresher and look out for stuff that has changed since I left. I ended the day at a meeting where new hires are made to stand up and wave to everyone else, and I ran into at least four people there who didn't know I had come back - clearly the email I sent out didn't have a broad enough distribution, since I was happy to see them all and yet had somehow left them off my goodbye email years ago.

After that, I caught the shuttle home, but since it was six p.m., traffic was miserable. I mostly bummed around until nine, but Terry got home and we chatted about work stuff (easy since we both work at the same place). And now, I should sleep - getting up at six a.m. is either going to get old real quick, or I'm going to figure out a way to be productive enough from 7pm to 10pm to make it all worth it. I think it might be the latter, and I have some ideas for ways to get writing done a couple of nights a week - but that's a story for another time, and probably something I don't need to be focused on during my first week. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

hungry like the wolf

Day two was great, and much better than day one, if only because I spent almost all of it either getting to know my new team or plowing through my v. long orientation to-do list. I also took the shuttle, which was amazing. Granted, I got nothing done because I decided to try just sitting both ways to avoid getting carsick (success). But I think I'm at the point where I'll accept that the shuttle may take an extra ten or fifteen minutes due to walking + extra stops, in exchange for the fact that I showed up at work relaxed and not full of adrenaline from hating on other drivers for an hour. I'm going to try reading or doing email tomorrow and see where that gets me; hopefully for the sake of camaraderie it doesn't get me puking all over the person next to me.

Anyway, I cut out of work, came home, grabbed a burger at Roam since I have no groceries in the house, and then was theoretically going to write - but of course that didn't happen. Instead, I played with the new Nexus 7" tablet that someone on my team handed me today - this is how they wow you into giving up your soul. And I've gotta say, the tablet is pretty incredible - especially for the price, I don't know why anyone would buy the iPad over the Nexus 7" at this point, unless they truly need a much bigger tablet device.

Yes, I've drunk the koolaid. But I'd already drunk the koolaid, so this is more of a refresher than a new thing. And now, I'm going to go to sleep at this absurdly early hour so that I can catch an early-ish shuttle in the morning - this is all v. strange and surreal, but I want to see if this get-up-at-six thing can work for me. Blergh. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

don't you worry, don't you worry child

Um. So, I have news. And the news is that I started back at my former place of employment today. I didn't share any of this because a) from what I've read (in a book), it's ill advised to share information about pending job offers, interviews, etc. on such a public forum (to all four of you who read this), and b) if I didn't get the offer, I didn't want to feel all weird and embarrassed about it (although I would have been seriously miffed).

sssanyway, so what happened was that someone I used to work with contacted me in December about a role with the books team related to self-publishing, which is obviously right up my alley (or 'in my wheelhouse', as the business people like to say these days). So I interviewed for it approximately a day and a half after I finished the previous draft of my book (ill-advised, since I hadn't slept) and four days before I went home for the holidays. I got the offer while I was escorting my writer friend around SF, accepted it, and started today. This has all been mind-bendingly fast, and I'm super, super excited about the job - an enthusiasm that probably isn't coming across because I sort of stopped sleeping in an attempt to finish all the things I wanted to finish before returning to the man. So I spent most of today pounding caffeine and trying not to fall asleep during videos I've already seen.

But today was great; I made it into work and into orientation in a reasonably on-time fashion (read half an hour late, but that was entirely due to an accident on 101, and all I missed was everyone else standing in line to finish paperwork), got set up with my laptop, etc., and sat through an orientation on a company that I had spent more time at than most of the people giving the orientation. Heh. Then my manager picked me up and showed me my desk, and I'm v. excited to actually meet the team tomorrow and get started with something other than learning what the health insurance provider options are, etc.

Post work, I drove back to the evil city (which feels more evil with every mile I spend commuting) and had dinner with Lauren (aka Subz), which was a lovely way to catch up and decompress after my first day of work. And now, at the ridiculously early hour of 10:30pm, I need to go to bed; I'm going to try taking the shuttle tomorrow, which means I need to get out of the house at a specific time, which means sleep is imperative.

Upon rereading of this post (I do occasionally skim for typos because I care about you guys!), I realize that I don't sound very enthusiastic. That's not the intended takeaway - but I'm not sure there *is* an intended takeaway. Today was just v. strange and surreal, because I was back in a place where I spent almost all of my adult life, and it felt like I had never left, and yet the last two years have been such a dramatically different experience that I think it will be an adjustment period for me to get used to business, working with people, wearing pants, etc. The truth is that I'm super, super psyched for the job itself, but the lifestyle changes around it are going to feel a bit surreal. But that's to be expected, and really, I'm kind of looking forward to wearing pants again. So yay to that. Goodnight!

Monday, January 21, 2013

everybody's working for the weekend

My Internet is being stupid, which means I had to start typing this on my iPad, which means I'm going to quickly lose interest and throw it across the room. Today was good, though - I accomplished a lot even if I didn't finish my book, and I'm feeling good about the week ahead (I think). I spent the day tweaking my new cover, typing up those eighteen pages I wrote on Saturday, buying a dress (I swear I can stop anytime), and getting a manicure with Terry so my nails look all spiffy (and properly varnished rather than just covered in fountain pen ink).

Post writing/pampering, I went over to John and Jess's, where John made a delightful almost-paleo feast and we caught up on everything that has happened to all of us in the past month. I also pitched them on [censored]'s idea for [censored], but they asked the same question most people do ("why Iowa?"), which makes me think I need to work on my pitch. That is a problem for another time, however; right now I'm going to take the v unusual step of going to bed at a regular-person hour (boo). Goodnight!

now cinderella don't you go to sleep

I meant to go to bed two hours ago, but I got swept up in a graphic design task and am suddenly realizing that it's 1:30am and that I didn't type up the eighteen pages of material that I had meant to type tonight. Oops. Today was v. productive, though, even if I didn't get much writing done - instead, I concentrated on getting my life in order, which mostly seemed to involve cleaning out my closet, doing laundry, and generally organizing my room. I also talked to zee parents, sent some romance related emails, etc.

Terry had been away this weekend, but she got back just as I was considering going to find something to eat, so we grabbed burgers at Roam together. It was the busiest I've ever seen Roam, since we went right when the second football game finished, and everyone in my neighborhood was drunk or something and desperately craving meat. Sigh. But Terry gamed the system by calling in an order rather than waiting in line, and we took a walk while we waited for the food to be ready, so that all worked out. Then we came home, ate, and caught up before she started watching tv and I started obsessing over font choices.

The font choices in question are for the cover redesign for Nick and Ellie; I love the artwork the artist came up with, particularly because it fits what's currently hot in the genre, but she's not the best with fonts and I am super, super picky about that kind of stuff. She offered to give me $50 off the cover price if I just did the fonts myself rather than going back and forth with her, which I readily agreed to - and then I spent hours scouring sites for appropriate fonts, so the $50 probably would have been cheap by comparison. I think I'm getting close to something I'm happy with, but I need to take a break from it, solicit some feedback, and then fix it when I have fresh eyes.

Sadly, fresh eyes aren't going to happen unless I go to sleep - and given how much I want to accomplish tomorrow (read: everything I've ever wanted to do in my life), I should get some rest. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

out here the good girls die

Blergh - I really wanted to go out tonight. Like, genuinely. Which, if you've read this blog for any length of time, has been rare over the past few months, since I've been under increasing (and, I realize, entirely self-induced and unrealistic) pressure to finish Nick and Ellie's book. But, per the self-induced, unrealistic pressure issue, I couldn't bring myself to do it. So I skipped out on three different, unrelated plans for the evening (the contenders being drinks with the Adit/Folkman/Jav crew, a 'Mustache Harbor' concert with the Katrina/Chandlord crew, and an Edwardian ball with the romance writer crew) and stayed in and wrote instead.

At least this time when I forsook my friends, I actually felt proud about what I accomplished - I wrote eighteen pages, thus finishing the new scenes that I needed to write. BOOM.

Of course, there's still work to be done, and I need to tweak the last four chapters to fix continuity issues with the scenes I added, which will probably necessitate writing another new page or three. But the bulk of the new stuff is done. And that means I can spend the next two days editing, fixing, and doing the research to fix tiny issues in places where I hadn't bothered to look up what kind of trousers the dudes would be wearing during that year or whether he would have shown up on horseback or in a curricle or carriage, etc., etc. I also need to rename some characters (I can't have two people named Marcus and Dorcas fall in love with each other, and really, Dorcas is a terrible name). And I need to proofread and format. So, getting it all done by Monday night is unlikely, but I'm on track to finish this week, I think, regardless of everything else going on.

The rest of my day was mostly focused on productivity. I went to one of my favorite cafes around 10:30 and worked there for a few hours, with a break to have some impromptu family time with Adit (some people call him the cat) and Priyanka. They were in good form, and I pitched them on [censored]'s idea for [censored] - who knows, if the cost of living keeps rising out here and people start realizing the joys of open space, it may happen. Then, I came home, took care of some stuff around the house, took a nap, and wrote until now. And now that I've blogged AND written eighteen pages, I'm out of words and must sleep immediately - goodnight!

Friday, January 18, 2013

how do i get you alone?

I'm back in the city of sin, contemplating going to sleep early so that I can get up early and start fresh on the day without considering how utterly useless tonight was. The wall I hit yesterday continued to be a wall today, but rather than just taking a break and watching a movie or something, I very foolishly pretended that I could overcome that wall by staring at my laptop some more. Ha.

But I got out of Carmel at a relatively decent hour, stopped in Palo Alto to check my mail and grab some lunch, and then got home around two-ish, successfully beating rush hour. I unloaded my car, ran the dishwasher, took care of myriad household tasks, answered some emails, etc., and decided to order in some Thai food so that I could eat and then get down to writing. But after I ate said Thai food, I accidentally took a nap, then had a bit of a panic attack over everything I have to get done this weekend, then tried on a bunch of clothes to figure out whether I need to add anything to my wardrobe (personal answer: of course I do; real answer: no).

I think I'm about to come out of my lethargy, though; I made a list of things to do tomorrow, which usually helps, and if I go to bed now, perhaps I can wake up in the morning in time to accomplish some of them before the inevitable hatred of the book sets in. Goodnight!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

as my broken heart lies bleeding, you say true love, it's suicide

It's my last night in Carmel, and as much as I've loved being down here, I'd say it's time to go back to my regularly scheduled life - I think I've hit the wall on trying to be productive, and I might as well hit the wall in a place where I can also do laundry and take care of other tasks instead of someplace where I can go shopping. Although the shopping was particularly good today; I found the shoe store that I think Aunt B and I went to when we came to Carmel approximately eleven years ago, where she bought me my all-time favorite pair of Merrell sandals that have long since worn out. So I bought some super cute work flats and a pair of tennis shoes; that sounds like a necessity, right?

sssanyway, today was moderately productive, but as I said, I think I've hit a wall. I wrote a scene, but I still have two to go on my quest to add brand-new scenes, and since this is my least favorite part of writing (yes, writing is my least favorite part of writing - shut up), it's been slow going. I did that + editing several existing chapters at the public library, where people were talking to themselves, which was oddly entertaining to me. Then I had a late lunch, hit up that shoe store and another clothing place down the street from it, came back to the hotel, and packed up most of my stuff so I can get out of here early tomorrow. I also typed up what I'd written earlier, and messed around online, and made a fire in the fireplace (which I've loved having).

Yes, I'm boring. But now, I think I shall sleep early so that I can get up early and get on the road at some reasonable hour so I can thread the needle between the end of morning rush hour and what will be an early start of evening-before-a-three-day-weekend rush hour. Goodnight!

it's the little things that kill

Man, Nick and Ellie are killing me. They're actually going well...but they're way more intense than my first two books, and I'm back to writing fresh scenes (to replace a few scenes I extensively rewrote/cut), which is always the hardest part. Seriously, writing something new is probably the hardest thing about writing, even if it's theoretically what writing is all about. Ugh.

Anyway, I made good progress today, even though I spent the morning dealing with business stuff and the evening procrastinating on nytimes.com (I need to cancel that thing). The business stuff was mostly fun, and included looking at cover images; my agent and I are going to redesign my covers, and so I was working with the cover designer to choose the right stock photo to capture Nick and Ellie's intensity. Then I had lunch at some cafe down the street, then worked in the Carmel library for a bit, until a woman who was talking to herself and an elderly man who kept getting phone calls with his 'Call Me Maybe' ringtone conspired to drive me crazy. So I left the library and came back to my hotel to write...but they're apparently replacing the roof on the building across the courtyard from my window, and I couldn't concentrate with all the hammering.

So I left Carmel and drove a few miles to Monterey so that I could work at a Starbucks. The place smelled strongly of body odor in some areas, but the earl grey was tasty and I wrote several pages of a new scene in longhand, which helped me to get back on track. Then I grabbed supper at Chipotle (yum), came back, procrastinated, made a fire in the fireplace, typed up what I'd written before, and then finished that scene and edited the next two or three for continuity. I'm now getting close to the end; I need to write 2.5 more new scenes, I think, and I hope to do them tomorrow. Since I leave Carmel Friday, I'm hoping to be done with all the new stuff by then so I can spend the weekend proofreading, line editing, and formatting. Yay fun times, right? But now, I should sleep so I can hit it hard tomorrow - goodnight!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

so take it off and bite your tongue

I don't have any words left and I'm falling asleep over the page, so I'm going to sleep immediately - but suffice it to say that Carmel continues to amaze and delight. Tomorrow, though, I won't have a glass of wine with lunch, since it threw me off my game this afternoon. But Nick and Ellie are progressing, and perhaps the end is in sight...we shall see. Goodnight!

i've been waiting for this moment for all my life...hold on

I'm going to have to throw in the towel...but the writing retreat has been going v. well so far, and I think it was worth it to invest a few days (and some dollar bills) in going away to finish this book. Today was partially about getting settled, of course; I had breakfast, and then I got a massage, since I hadn't had one in at least three months and my neck and back are a perpetual warzone. So much of a warzone, in fact, that the masseuse was horrified just looking at my shoulders before I'd even taken my robe off. So, if the Cathedral of Notre Dame is looking for a new bellringer, let me know and I shall apply!

The massage was good, albeit not perfect; I had thought about scheduling another one for later in the week, but I think I'll wait and get one from my trusted Palo Alto massage lady instead. Post-massage, I put on some real clothes and walked down the street to have a leisurely lunch while working on Nick and Ellie. And I had a great breakthrough there on how to fix one of the scenes I was struggling with, which made the writing this afternoon easier. Then I stopped in at a fancy pen store (one of my weaknesses) and bought a mouthwatering new fountain pen; it was on sale, which made it absurdly cheap compared to other pens of its ilk and absurdly expensive to the boxes of 24 ballpoints one can get at Staples.

Once I got back to the hotel, though, my room was clean and I was ready to be productive. And I was v. productive; I rewrote several scenes and finally think I've figured out the end of the book, so yay to that. I took a break around seven to go to Safeway and buy a frozen enchilada and some snacky snacks, and I ate that in my room while ignoring the temptation of the free wine happy hour in the hotel office and the complimentary decanter of sherry in my room. I also lit a fire in the fireplace, which I kept going for several hours - it's freezing in California, as you may have heard, and so the fire was both v. helpful as an addition to my overwhelmed room heater and also v. welcome in terms of ambience.

Now, though, I should sleep; I need to get up and at it tomorrow. I have no plans other than writing, and I want to get through the rest of the major scene additions so that I can move on to smaller emotional/character/setting arcs later in the week. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

locked out of heaven

I have retreated to an undisclosed location (aka Carmel), and I'm on a mission to fully finish Nick and Ellie's book by the weekend. Crazy, yes. Impossible, no. Or at least I don't think it's impossible; the whole reason I left the city and checked into a hotel was because I tend to reach a better level of creative focus and flow when I go somewhere else and ignore everything except the book. This is particularly important at the end of the book, when I'm trying to weave together all the little bits and threads that were dropped at various points - it's not something that I find easy to do in an hour a day.

Anyway, today was mostly about getting here - I woke up, showered, and started packing. I took a break to grab breakfast, then finished packing and promptly left for Carmel. I made it down here around 4:15 and checked into my hotel, which is *fantastic* - I'm already dreaming of my next retreat here. My room has a fireplace, some v. comfy leather chairs, a little table/desk, and a kitchen with enough supplies that I can make my own tea and food should I desire (which I probably won't, since I'm lazy). I talked to the parents, unloaded my car, and then walked a few blocks to find dinner. I ended up at PortaBella, which was expensive (but then, Carmel is expensive) but hugely delicious; I had paella, which I love, and since I had half of it left over, I have the chance to experience it again tomorrow. I also had a v. generous glass of wine and some creme brulee, which made me v. happy on the walk back to my hotel. Carmel was almost creepily quiet when I walked back, particularly since it was only 7:30pm; I suppose this is not the busiest tourist night of the week in any circumstances, let alone two weeks after Christmas break.

Once I got here, I took care of some tings, then worked until now - I had to transcribe notes/typo fixes from the editing software on my ipad into the master file on my desktop, and that took a couple of hours. But I'm done with that task, which means I can start working on the manuscript on my laptop tomorrow, which should do wonders for my productivity. And so now I suppose I should go to bed so that I can get up early and start writing - goodnight!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

welcome (back) to the rock

Today was v. long but v. fun, and now I'm totally done with hanging out with people and am going to run away to an undisclosed location tomorrow afternoon so that I can completely finish Nick and Ellie. But first, my day...I woke up at 7:30 (ugh) and went over to the east bay for my monthly romance writer meeting. It was great, as per usual; the group was a little smaller than usual, probably because everyone is still trying to stick to their new year's resolution of writing on weekends, but I saw some people I really wanted to catch up with, and my friend Darynda gave a great program. Then we stuck around for lunch (also good) before several of us headed into the evil city to go to Alcatraz.

Timing-wise, it all worked out great; it took almost an hour to get into the city due to traffic, but we parked in the garage that [censored] and I found on Wednesday (and it was only $9 on Saturday! as opposed to the $17 it was on Wednesday, and the $35 the open-air, easy to find lot across the street was charging). Then, we killed twenty minutes drinking coffee before lining up to get on the boat to Alcatraz. As it turned out, I'm so glad I did this tour as well; the night tour was so cool, since the prison is even creepier at night, it's less crowded, and they give you more information. A guide took us up the hill, stopping at a couple of locations to tell us various anecdotes. Then, we did the audio tour, which I may have memorized now that I've done it four times (with Irish Matt and my parents a few years ago, and [censored] and Darynda/the romance crew this week). But we were able to pause it and see the hospital, which I've never seen before - apparently they don't have the staff to keep it open during the day, and they only opened it for a half hour tonight, but it was really cool to see it. There were a bunch of ghost hunters on our tour as well, but I kind of doubt they found anything - there really weren't that many deaths on Alcatraz, despite its reputation...

...sssanyway, the hospital was cool, and perhaps the coolest thing was seeing the lights of San Francisco across the water. We got back to the city around 7:30 and grabbed dinner near the wharf, then sped out of there like mad to try to beat 49ers traffic across the bridge. I had to drop them all off in the east bay, which was rather unfortunate since I was only ten minutes from home when I left the pier, but luckily traffic wasn't bad either way. And then I came home, watched a bit of tv with Terry, and contemplated life. And now, I really must sleep; I need to get some rest so I don't get sick after being frozen on the water tonight, and I need to get up in the morning and pack my clothes/research books/red pens/etc so that I can venture off to my undisclosed location. Goodnight!

Friday, January 11, 2013

pretend he doesn't know that he's the reason why

SO TIRED OMG. Today was great, but I'm out of words and out of energy, and I need to get up early and do it all again. The day started off v. lowkey; I woke up early enough to make breakfast, clean up after it, do a load of laundry, run the dishwasher, change my sheets, etc., etc., and felt v. industrious as a result...

...but then social time started. I had to pick up my writer friend Darynda at the Oakland airport, since she's giving a talk to our romance chapter tomorrow and I'd offered to show her around the city if she came out. So I picked her up, brought her into SF, and spent the next five hours driving/walking around. We had lunch at the Ferry Building (tacos, yum), then went over the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then drove all over the place (crookedest street, Danielle Steel's house, Japantown, Tenderloin, downtown, etc) and took a brief walk around Chinatown/Union Square. Then, we took the incredibly slow trip back over the bridge to the east bay, where she checked into her hotel before we met up with a couple of other romance chapter people for dinner.

And dinner was lovely; I had prime rib, which went a long way toward restoring my energy. And really, the whole day was awesome - I love Darynda, and I love hanging out in the city, so it was great. But since I've spent the past couple of days just driving people around and trying to think of interesting things to show them, I think my tour guide skills are about tapped out. We'll see whether I survive tomorrow. I have the romance meeting in the morning, and then I'm taking Darynda to Alcatraz...doesn't that sound like something I've already done this week? I'm looking forward to it - but I think it was smart to book a writing retreat in an undisclosed location next week so that I can refocus, recover, and finish these damn revisions. Goodnight!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

all the leaves are brown

Today was excellent, albeit exhausting - I had to wake up at 6:30, which is an abomination that I should perhaps try to become accustomed to if I am to ever succeed in the adult world. Luckily, I keep choosing industries (tech and writing) that have late start times; if I have kids, I may have to hire a nanny just to watch the kids from five to ten a.m. Ha. sssanyway, I had to pick up [censored] and [censored]'s boss at eight a.m.; they're in town for a conference about [censored], so I arranged for them to meet some tech entrepreneur types. That meant that I had to drive them to those tings, since they didn't have a car and might find the driving a bit rough after the wilds of Stillwater.

So we went to Mountain View and met with some people from [censored], my old place of employment. Then we went over to [censored], the enemy of my old place of employment, and had a quick lunch with Adit (some people call him the cat), who showed us around and talked about his experience getting acquired by [censored]. I'd never been to their campus before and it was, I must admit, v. lovely - and the food was on par with my old place of employment, if nothing else.

After Adit, I drove [censored] and the boss man around Palo Alto and Mountain View to show them sights of interest. Then, we met up with Garry, an old friend from my freshman dorm who now does some tech investing, and chatted a bit about startups and incubators. Then I sped back to the evil city to try to beat traffic, kicked out the boss man (who was lovely, but had other dinner plans), and brought [censored] back to my place, where we [censored] on our laptops for awhile. Eventually we had dinner at Nettie's Crab Shack, which I adore - partially for their fish, but more for their wine list and for their soft-serve swirl ice cream, which seems to be nearly impossible to find in San Francisco. After dinner, I dropped [censored] off at [censored]; depending on his schedule, I may not see him again on this trip, so we said our adieus just in case.

And then, I came home and enjoyed the blessed quiet of not having to talk; while I had an awesome time today, I'm preparing to play the tour guide for another two days for a writer friend who's coming into town, and I'm exhausted just thinking about it. So, in rebellion, I booked a few nights in an undisclosed location next week; I'm going to go on a mini writing retreat next week and completely finish Nick and Ellie, since the agent lady read my latest draft and thinks we should move forward with publishing it without waiting for another round of review from my editor. YAY. So I'm going to finish them next week if it kills me and start the process of soliciting reviews, setting up guest blogs, and all the rest. Fun times, eh? Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

and it feels like home

Today was an utterly lovely day in the city of sin. [censored] flew in at nine a.m., which means I had to get up at 7:15, which was utterly barbaric - but since [censored] hadn't slept all night, I suppose I can't really complain. We had breakfast at Peter's Cafe in Millbrae, which was totally delicious. I pointed out the Hong Kong Flower Lounge to him, but it was both too early and too cruel to play shrimp or feet, so we abstained.

After breakfast, we drove into the city, and on a whim I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge so that he could see it without either of us freezing our asses off by getting out and walking on it. Also, see our trip to [censored], where we both discovered our fear of [censored], and you'll understand why the idea of walking on the bridge didn't appeal. So we got out at a viewpoint on the north side and observed it from a safe distance before going back into the city. We ended up at Fisherman's Wharf, where we killed forty-five minutes or so by watching some street performers and checking out the sea lions before our Alcatraz tour.

Alcatraz was lovely, even though I've already been there twice; less lovely is that I'm going again on Saturday, but c'est la vie. The weather was gloomy and cold, but then, the prison is gloomy and cold, so it didn't really matter. Also, the tour guide at the entrance was utterly ridiculous, telling us to look for something in the building behind us that 'looks like a Taco Bell' (it's a mission-style ruin) and telling everyone that they needed to be in 'tiptop shape' to make it up the hill, which is not at all true. But [censored] seemed to [censored], which made me happy, and we had plenty of time to explore before catching the ferry back. Luckily, neither of us [censored] over the side of the boat, unlike my grandfather all the way to Japan in WWII - the [censored] genes are apparently strong in us.

Post-Alcatraz, we sat for twenty minutes to recover our stomachs, then came back to my apartment, where [censored] [censored] while I caught up with Terry. Then, [censored] and I had supper at Roam, the burger place around the block from my apartment; [censored] asked if it was famous, since he recognized the name, but I pointed out that I blog about it often enough that it's probably famous solely amongst readers of this blog. Ha. After supper, I dropped him off at [censored], and now I should really sleep - I have to pick him up tomorrow at eight so that we can [censored], and since I have to look a little more put together tomorrow than I did today, sleep is essential. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

we gonna party like it's 3012 tonight

I must go to sleep immediately, for reasons that are [censored] - but today was a lovely day spent preparing for life and contemplating the secret novella I may or may not write in the next few weeks. I spent the morning answering emails, and then I got a v. long, v. relaxing manicure/pedicure to up my presentability quotient. After the mani/pedi, I came hom, ate leftover thai food, worked on the novella for a couple of hours, and meticulously hand swept the pine needles that were littering the downstairs. Not exactly the kind of task that makes things easy on my OCD side, but the living room looks much better, so that's good.

After that, I got dressed in something other than workout pants and went to the Castro to have dinner with Tammy, who is in town, and her boyfriend Daniel, who is always in town. They were in fine form, and we spent some quality time discussing new year's resolutions (verdict: don't make new year's resolutions) and other fun stuff. Then I came home, talked to Terry (who had feedback about Nick and Ellie, since she just finished reading the draft I had sent her - yay), and am going to go to bed, where I plan to sleep the sleep of the just. Goodnight!

step one you say we need to talk

I need to go to bed immediately...so I will just say that I cleared out all my email in all my inboxes (miracle), took care of some other things on my to-do list, ran some errands, and spent several hours hanging out with Vidius Chandicus, my favorite Roman, and a couple of other guests (first Julie, then Katie). We also had dinner at a thai place in the Tenderloin, which was a spicy taste sensation. Then I came home, where Terry and I dragged our Christmas tree out of the house, leaving a whole ton of pine needles to remind us of the folly that is the holiday season.

And really, that's all that happened. Oh, and we watched the most amazing South Park ever. On that note, I really need to sleep - I have grand plans to start editing Nick and Ellie tomorrow, so sleep would be nice. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

but i've gotta keep an eye out for selena

Today was v. focused on friendship and family time; after nearly three weeks in Iowa and many weeks of enforced hermitville before that, I was ready for a bit of a break. It didn't help that my head was killing me, thanks to some ill-advised/accidental gluten consumption - but friends seemed to make it better tonight.

The day started with book club; we read MR. PENUMBRA'S 24-HOUR BOOKSTORE, which I already shared my thoughts on during my New Year's Eve post since I read that book rather than doing anything social/interesting to ring in 2013. We didn't spent a lot of time discussing the book, though; instead, we spent a lot of time enjoying the food and the mulled wine provided by Katrina, who outdid herself as the hostess, and catching up on each others' most recent activities. After book club, Terry and I came home, and I spent a couple of hours lying in bed nursing my headache, alternating between talking to my parents and reading a book.

And I intended to keep reading all night, too...but at 5:55pm, I got a text from Adit asking if I wanted to go to the 6:30 show of ZERO DARK THIRTY. I initially said no, but since he said they weren't going out after in a way that would make it possible for me to meet up with them, I said yes instead. So, I put on pants and went to the Kabuki, where I saw a sign saying it was sold out. Luckily, some other friend of his went and bought tickets for us...but unluckily, we were in the very front row, which is a little uncomfortable for waterboarding and explosions. Not as uncomfortable as *being* waterboarded, of course, although I did feel a bit awkward eating popcorn during torture (excuse me, enhanced interrogation), so I didn't snack as much as I usually do during movies. Chandlord was there as well, but this wasn't really the kind of movie you chatted through, so we didn't really catch up. However, I'd say that I liked the movie - it was very well-acted and well-shot, although the ending was spoiled if you've seen any news reports about Bin Laden in the past two years.

After the movie, we parted ways with the people who bought or tickets, and Adit, Priyanka, Vidya and I had some low-key family time at Fat Angel, a gastropub (I'm so fancy) near the theatre. And we proceeded to catch up on life over wine and cheese, which was v. necessary. Now, though, I'm home and dreaming of seeing more movies - I may go to another one tomorrow, since I want to see almost everything that is out right now and I'm running out of time. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

how can we make love if we can't make amends?

Today was lovely, albeit wet...San Francisco is certainly warmer than Iowa was, but it has also been much greyer the past couple of days, which is a shame. Or maybe just today - I guess I don't remember much about yesterday's weather in the city, and it was sunny in the south bay. Whatever - I'm sure I'll start keeping track of the days better once I fall back into some semblance of a routine. sssanyway, it was very grey today, which contributed to my delinquency. I slept until 9:30, then made myself some bacon and some scrambled eggs with cream and herbes de provence, which were delish. After cleaning up my breakfast mess, I made gluten-free chocolate chip scones, and then showered, messed around on the internet, and contemplated Nick and Ellie.

Around three, though, the real fun began - Heather (aka dear respected madam) came over for teatime, which was the rationale for baking scones. Terry joined us for teatime, so I made a big batch of tea and we sat around the table eating scones and talking about [censored]'s recommendation that I colonize [censored], which met with a surprising degree of enthusiasm (although I think they were seeing dollar signs in hopes that TLC or Lifetime would make a reality tv show about the endeavor). Then, Terry went out for a drink with someone, and Heather and I drank some more tea and talked about Nick and Ellie. We continued that discussion, with some interruptions, over supper at Regent Thai, and it was all very lovely.

The good news is that Heather loved it; the bad news (if it can be called bad news) is that we came up with a better idea for how to resolve that f*@%ing killer subplot, which will necessitate some rewriting of the ending. Not a tragic amount of rewriting, but between that and the couple of other scenes I want to add/tweak, I need to get cracking. I don't want to start tomorrow, though, since I'm kind of waiting to hear back from my agent about all her feedback and any other business considerations before I start...so I'm kind of twiddling my thumbs on it and just jotting down notes rather than doing a wholesale rewrite. Hopefully that feedback comes in soon, though, since I want to turn it into my editor by the end of next week...fingers crossed.

After dinner, I dropped Heather off at her car, came home, and talked to Terry for awhile before getting back into my Nick and Ellie zone. Now, though, I should sleep - goodnight!

Friday, January 04, 2013

every time i see you oh i try to hide away - but when we meet it seems i can't let go

Happy Friday! Not that Fridays mean much in my current state; they really only mean that other people may want to hang out at some point, but otherwise, my days all blur together in the most incomprehensible way. It doesn't help that there was a holiday (for everyone else) earlier this week and I just got back to California last night, but today really didn't feel like Friday - and since it didn't feel like Friday, I shall give myself a pass for the fact that I was in my pajamas by 7:30 and am about to go to bed. Yay.

Today was excellent, though, even if I didn't sleep as late or as soundly as I had hoped. Not that I could sleep that late - I had an eleven a.m. lunch date at my former place of employment, which means I had to shower and dry my hair and figure out what to wear from the bleak remnants of my closet (okay, that's a total exaggeration - I have enough clothing to clothe an army of midget hipsters). Lunch was good, albeit gluten-y, and it was nice to catch up. I then left, went to Palo Alto to check my mailbox, talked to my mother (you would think she would be sick of me by now, but she's either genuinely interested in my life or is good at faking it), and drove back to the city of sin without encountering any traffic (Christmas miracle!).

I didn't stay home for long, though; I had a longstanding late-afternoon appointment to get my bangs trimmed, and I also got my eyebrows tinted and waxed (thus staving off the moment where I turn into my grandfather for another three weeks) and a v. necessary facial. Okay, the facial wasn't necessary in the strictest sense of the word (or even a looser sense of the word), but my skin was v. dry and red and sad from the frigid wasteland that I've just returned from, and my facial/waxer lady is pretty much the most amazing aesthetician I have ever met in my life. And she laughed at me recounting the tale of 'My Life As A Turkey' without burning my face off or stabbing my cornea with an extraction tool in retaliation, so we clearly get along swimmingly.

Feeling like a lady again (albeit a lady with post-extraction redness and general un-made-up shine), I grabbed some groceries and takeout sushi from the Whole Foods across the street from the salon, then came home, ate said sushi, and thoroughly cleaned the kitchen in an attempt to reassert control over my life. I also did three loads of laundry over the course of the day, fully unpacked my suitcase, and spent some time writing some notes about a possible Madeleine/Ferguson novella that may or may not happen in the next two weeks. Aggressive, I know. But if I'm going to be aggressive and get tings done, I need some sleep first -- goodnight!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

your kiss is on my list

I have returned to California. It is cold here, but not nearly as cold as the frigid sixteen-degree air I walked through between the parking garage and the Des Moines airport sans coat, which truly woke me up. Not that I hadn't been awake before; I woke up at 7:30 so that I could shower, finish packing, and straighten my room before leaving for the city of corn. I drove up with my mom in ye olde Sunfire, since my dad needed to drop his truck off for a checkup - the difference between her Sunfire and his three-quarter-ton diesel truck is truly astounding. We picked him up at the dealer, and we had time for lunch at Johnny's (of course) before they dropped me off at the airport. My bag weighed in at exactly 49lbs, which made me proud of my packing skillz, and I got upgraded to first class on the first leg, which made me feel v. fancy.

Anyway, I said goodbye to my parents, which was sad since the holidays are now well and truly over and I need to get back to the grind. Also, I have no trips planned until April, which is shocking since I haven't spent more than three weeks at home in a row since last April (with the except of 4.5wks in October/early November - such a luxury). When you say it like that, it's a wonder I've written anything at all.

The trip was good, though, with v. few babies and plenty of time to nap, read a 50-page story someone had sent me to critique, and start reading a book (which I'm not sure whether I love or loathe). I landed in SF around 5:30, my lovely roommate picked me up, and we went to Celia's for Mexican because I wanted margaritas and I didn't want to go to the other Mexican restaurant in San Bruno b/c they had a v. loud singer there last time - only to walk into Celia's and find a full-on mariachi band playing next to the booth they seated us at. Grr. But supper was tasty and it was great to catch up with Terry, as per usual. And now, after having watched some tv and read some books, I should really sleep - I have a million things to do tomorrow to feel settled again, and I can't wait to tackle them. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

better jump down a manhole, light yourself a candle

I should go to bed, I suppose; I'm leaving for California tomorrow, which means I have to get up and dressed so that we can go to the airport (with, fingers crossed, a tasty lunch beforehand). Obviously, this means that today was my last full day in Iowa, which meant it was filled with all the things I put off until the very last minute. First, though, I had to say goodbye to my grandmother. My mother had picked her up to take her to her hair appointment, and she brought Gram back to our house so that [censored] and I could see her. So, we hung out for a bit here, answered all of her questions (high in quantity, low in variety), and then I took her into town, with a stop at the grocery store before I took her back to her assisted living place. That was, of course, all vaguely depressing, since town is vaguely depressing and dementia is even moreso, but I'm glad I got to see her again before I left.

After that fun excursion, I came home, packed my suitcase, and then packed up two boxes of stuff to mail to myself, since it was cheaper to mail them than to check an extra bag. Then I took those to the post office, came home, and spent some quality time cleaning out my mother's car (which used to be my car, for those of you who have fond (or not so fond) memories of the Pontiac Sunfire). It may not surprise you to know that my mom's car is utterly devoid of any trash/clutter/anything else out of order, since she's where I got my OCD need for order from - but it's quite dusty, which is an utterly unavoidable consequence of living/driving on gravel roads. Now it's not dusty, which is great since we're taking it to the airport tomorrow and I would rather not show up to security looking like I just crawled out of my own grave.

During my cleaning marathon, I said a fond farewell to [censored], but it's a brief farewell since [censored] is [censored]. My mother made a delicious supper for me and my dad, and then I hung out upstairs with them even though all my instincts screamed to retire to my room (and, more to the point, away from a creepy episode of 'Criminal Minds', which is the only CBS show I truly hate). But now they're in bed, I'm mostly packed up, and it's time for bed - goodnight!

you better you better you bet

I should have gone to bed two hours ago; I need to get up tomorrow so that I can see my grandmother and pack up all my stuff, which will probably necessitate a trip to the post office to ship a few of my presents to myself. But today was good, albeit v. lazy - I ate a sandwich, took care of some tings, contemplated writing Christmas cards, and instead watched all of the Rose Bowl (yay!). Then, I alternated between fine CBS programming and reading 'Wheat Belly', which my mom had recommended. I'm not sure I'm completely sold, since the guy's tone kind of annoyed me and I thought he replaced data with anecdote/hyperbole. But, that said, I feel way way better not eating wheat already, so I think he's probably on to something even if he has tone problems.

And now that I've given you an entirely boring update to kick off my 2013 posts, I think it's time for bed!