Monday, December 30, 2013

and the wind catches your feet and sets you flying

I'm back in San Francisco, in my own bed, after a day of triumphs and tribulations (as per usual). I awoke in Iowa earlier than I wanted to but later than I should have, and I did most of my packing and took a shower before brunch was ready. My father made bacon, eggs from his chickens, and fried potatoes (I typed 'friend' by accident and almost left it), and we discussed life and mortality and all sorts of other fun and interesting topics. Then I finished packing, did some photo stuff with my mother, decided to repack, and left approximately fifteen minutes later than planned. Oops.

But we got to Des Moines in plenty of time to have an early supper at Johnny's (I plan my flights around mealtimes there), so I had prime rib to fortify me for the voyage ahead. I needed to be fortified mainly for the walk from the truck to the terminal, as it turns out, since it was ten degrees, I'd already packed my winter coat in my suitcase, and I was slightly damp from having [censored] hose me down with Febreeze in the parking lot. But I survived and have not yet caught pneumonia, so that's good. I checked in, verified that my suitcase was under weight (at forty-eight pounds, I should have put two more things into it, but c'est la vie), and then bid a fond farewell to my parents and [censored]. No one kissed me on the nose Ox-Cart-Man-style, so I guess they weren't sending me off to be worked to death and/or slaughtered, so that's a good thing.

But I may work myself to death anyway. On the plane, I read a book on self-publishing that I've toyed with reading for awhile, and while I didn't learn all that much, it got me fired up for the next phase of my career. I also wrote out my goals and dreams and focus areas for 2014, which I need to revisit and refine over the next couple of days. And I read a long chapter from an interesting book on the War of 1812 (the thesis is that the War of 1812 was a civil war between the US and Canada more than anything else, which I find intriguing), so this may go down in history as the dorkiest plane ride I've ever taken.

When I got to SF, the plane was almost thirty minutes early, which excited me, until I got to baggage claim and found that the carousel they were routing four planes through was broken, so it took forty minutes to get my bag. I was filled with foreboding when I picked it up since the ziptie I'd used to close it was gone, and I was worried that the fine folks at the TSA had confiscated my hatchet. This would have been a fitting close to the day, since I'd gotten word from Terry that she found the box for a package that got delivered to me after I left here, but the box was open and the two dresses inside were stolen. Stupid cities and their stupid thieves. This would never happen in Iowa! Okay, it could totally happen in Iowa. But probably not.

sssanyway, the TSA didn't take my hatchet, but my quart jar of sweet pickles was rewrapped in its protective bubble wrap and covered in TSA inspection tape, so I wonder what they thought the pickles were. But otherwise everything seemed to be intact, so that's a good thing; we'll find out more tomorrow. And now I really must sleep if I'm going to get up and get ready for all the festivities I have in store for myself while also writing a million words - goodnight!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

got two reasons why i cry away each lonely night

Tonight is my last night in ye olde Iowa for awhile (insert sadface). So I spent the day being lazy and taking care of small tasks to avoid packing. I slept for ten and a half hours, spent a couple of hours lounging in my robe and talking to my family and snacking on leftover ham (breakfast of champions) and finishing a book on screenwriting that I'd started a couple of days ago. Then I showered, took care of some stuff around the house, went with [censored] on a v. brief visit to my grandmother, came home, messed around on the internet, and then ate supper with the fam. We also played one and a half games of hearts; it might have been two, but there was an interruption during the first game (it involved a kitten almost getting eaten and there's now a bloody pawprint on the cat food bowl, but I'll say no more), and we were all too tired to finish the second round.

So I suppose I should go to bed so that I can get up, eat breakfast, pack, and prepare to go to the city of corn, where I will catch my flight back to California. It's a shame that it isn't cheaper to go back and forth (or that I don't have a wormhole connecting my closet in San Francisco with my closet in Iowa), since I think my ideal life would involve days spent in peaceful rural Iowa and nights spent in chic San Francisco wine bars. C'est la vie. Hopefully I'll survive reentry with minimal trauma, and I'll have a few days to recover since I have Monday-Wednesday off and plan to work from home Thursday and Friday. Goodnight!

Friday, December 27, 2013

like a twister i was born to walk alone

Today was lovely, although my time in Iowa is all too quickly coming to a close. So I slept in a bit, ate some lunch, ignored the workout I should have done, took a shower, gathered a whole bunch of stuff that I needed to mail/ship/take care of, and ran some errands in town. Then I came home, procrastinated, ate supper with the family, and played hearts. I very nearly won, which would have been a dagger to [censored]'s heart since I won Rail Baron at Thanksgiving, but I made a critical error (I should have let my mother run the table near the end, since it would have ensured my victory) and so my father won instead. Sadness.

But it was all still v. fun, even if my knowledge of song lyrics leaves something to be desired. And now I'm desperate for sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

you don't remember, but i do

I was going to go to bed an hour ago, but I got distracted making a spreadsheet of my 2014 travel plans, which reveals that if I pursue all of the plans I currently have, I will be gone from home ninety days and will need thirty-five vacation days to accomplish all of this. Ha. This doesn't seem like a successful recipe for writing three books next year, although I suppose it doesn't count the long weekends and other corporate holidays, during which times I could theoretically do mini writing retreats to accomplish stuff. But between the day job (22 days), the romance conference circuit (28 days), my family life, and a vague dream of going to Paris again, I'll be getting in quite a bit of jetsetting this year (unless I hang it all and go live in a cabin somewhere).

But despite that dawning horror, today was good; I slept until almost noon, then spent the afternoon reading a book and helping to set up my mom's new tablet and the Chromecast that [censored] and I gave to our parents. So that was all v. good. We had leftover zucchini lasagna for dinner, and then I experienced some fine CBS programming ("The Millers", which was really funny) before coming downstairs and chatting with [censored] about [censored]. Then I read for another couple of hours, which a v. short break to almost fall asleep, followed by a burst of insight about what will happen in Thorington's story. I'm hopeful that I can plot this thing before I go back to work, but we shall see.

And now, I really should go to sleep so that I can get ten or so hours of sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

feliz navidad

Merry Christmas! I just realized that I stayed up way too late tonight...as per usual, I was exhausted at eight and almost went to bed before getting a second wind. Oops. But today was lovely, even if my introverted hermity side didn't get enough alone time. I woke up at 7:30 and the four of us had a delightful time opening presents. My list of gifts continue to be absurd, and I think I'm prepared to survive an apocalypse and then document it after, if you consider the hatchet, fountain pen ink, and wine decanter (among other things) that I got from various members of my family. I also got a fake rat, so that's something.

And then the rest of the day was spent socializing rather than getting to play with my ink; Mark/Kathy/Drewbaby came out after we had finished breakfast (which was yummy), and we hung out for a bit until my sister showed up. After her kids arrived, we opened presents, then ate supper, and then thought about playing Cards Against Humanity, but the timing didn't work out since they still had presents to open at home. So they left, I got out my laptop with the intention of doing a few tings, and I did those few tings (plus a million more) while listening to the Cyclones game on the radio (needless to say, the Cyclones weren't on CBS). But then I continued to work, which was good for my to-do list and very bad when I realized that I spent three hours working on Christmas. Luckily it was on stuff for my writing life, but still - that's pretty sad. I need to check myself before I wreck myself. Or not. Whatever.

Now that I'm turning incoherent, I should sleep. I hope all of you had lovely holidays, full of great times with your families/friends, great presents, and limited quantities of food poisoning. Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

reindeer games

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Today was utterly lovely, perhaps verging on perfection. I woke up and failed to do the workout I theoretically should have done, but I did make gluten-free chocolate chip chewies (is that the opposite of a workout?) while talking to Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathy, and Drewbaby, who had arrived from the big city to hang out for the day. Then I showered, dolled myself up in a dress that was perhaps too formal for the occasion (but since I wear dresses almost every day, this was par for the course for me), and ate lunch with the fam. We spent a couple of hours in the afternoon playing Cards Against Humanity, which is an absolutely awful game that is perfect for horrible people like us.

We all took a break then so that the guests could check into their hotel and retrieve Gram, and we all reconvened with Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian (the scandalous husband) arrived from Des Moines. We talked and nibbled on meats and cheeses, and it was all fun and games until Gram forgot about [censored]'s existence, and then, when Drew and I reminded her of him, she exclaimed, 'oh, right, he's my favorite'. Heh. Then we ate supper (zucchini lasagna ftw) and opened presents, which wasn't really opening presents so much as it was toying with the 'kids' in the room. Aunt Becky made a game of Clue with people and weapons replaced with known things in the family (weapons like CBS Programming and Dexter Cows, for example), and Drew, Michael and I had to play it to find out where our presents were. It turned out that the answer was a box of Lucky Charms in the kitchen, but it was quite entertaining since it turned out Michael and I had never really played Clue and had no idea how to do it, and we all lost. Oops.

But it was pretty hysterical, so that was good. And then we played some more Cards Against Humanity with those of us who were still awake before everyone left. So all in all it was a great Christmas Eve, even if the traditional lasagna is now gluten-free and everyone is older and we no longer go to church because a) we're heathens and b) that church shut down anyway. Goodbye, youth! And now, I must sleep so that we can do it all again tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, December 23, 2013

i fell into a burning ring of fire

I really wanted to go to bed three hours ago, but as usually happens with me, I got a magical second wind that kept me working even when my eyeballs felt rather Saharan and my back curled up like a burning piece of paper. No, that second wind is not meth - ask my dentist for proof that I'm not a methhead. But wherever that second wind came from, it enabled me to take care of some minutiae for my romance writer career, write a much-belated journal entry, and generally get myself organized.

And really, that's what my day was - an attempt to get organized in the face of overwhelming task lists and self-inflicted pressures. I woke up earlier than I wanted to, which was still later than I should have, and took care of some tings before going upstairs and scrounging for the breakfast I had missed. Then I spent the afternoon taking care of more tings, including wrapping all the presents I needed to wrap, going with my father to Chariton to check out walkers for my grandmother (never thought I'd be a walker model, but since I'm only two inches taller than her, it turned out that it was good that I went along since I could test drive them), doing some more wrapping, watching some fine CBS programming, etc.

My break is going far too quickly, and I'm really not looking forward to going back, if only because next year is shaping up to be a crazier repeat of this year - I'm already signed up for as many or more trips than I took this year, and I want to write three books instead of writing one and releasing two, and I will probably have more work to do at the day job, and I want to see my friends at some point (and in this one instance, 'friends' means the people I knew from college/work, not the fine fellows at my favorite French bistro). Oh, and I want to keep working out and get more focused on my health. Soooo...that's all totally doable, right? But only if I get the year off on the right foot by getting in some deep, deep relaxation this week, so maybe I should put the laptop down and go on a tech moratorium. Ha. Something close to that wouldn't be a bad idea, though. Goodnight!

safe and sound

Remind me to never offer to give away a bonus epilogue unless I've written the fucking epilogue first. I knew that I was asking for trouble when I decided to say that anyone who bought a copy of Prudence and Alex in the first month and sent me the receipt would get access to a secret bonus epilogue, but I did it anyway under the belief that it would help to boost those crucial early sales that would help me to show up on bestselling lists. And I do think it worked, so I don't entirely regret it. But I do regret writing fourteen pages in the last three or four days when I wanted to be relaxing and when I am thoroughly and completely ready to move on to Thorington instead of revisiting Prudence and Alex's happily ever after.

Happily, though, it's done, after a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth today (silently and internally, since I didn't want to scare my family, who aren't accustomed to seeing my process up close). And I even sent the emails to all the people who sent me receipts, which took quite a bit of time even with the benefit of a canned response. So now I can sleep the sleep of the just, hopefully not wake up until ten (this is code to my family to not wake me up for breakfast; I can eat cold bacon just as happily), and then spend tomorrow relaxing/wrapping/baking/reading/catching up on email (one of these things doesn't belong here). Goodnight!

Friday, December 20, 2013

we stand up in the palace like it's the last of the great pioneer town bars

Today was lovely, although far more productive on the day job front than on the writing job front - but since I was working from home for the day job today, I suppose that was appropriate. I woke up to my alarm, which was meant to roust me out of bed in time for lunch with my mother's garden club (in my defense, lunch was at 11, which meant waking up at nine, which is seven in California, so this wasn't exactly late) - but it turned out lunch was canceled due to copious amounts of ice on the roads. So I ate breakfast with my parents instead, which was lovely (cholesterol with a side of politics!).

But breakfast had to end, as all things must, and so I showered, took a videoconference meeting, and then slogged until dinner at seven p.m. All told, I got through quite a few things on my to-do list, or at least enough to feel like my vacation can begin in earnest. Then we ate supper (roast beef), watched some fine CBS programming, and then I watched the news while my parents slept. The weather is looking brutal for the weekend, with a prediction of eight inches of snow on top of the ice we got, so we shall see whether I can ever leave the house again. But [censored] made it home from [censored] just ahead of the ice that followed him all the way up here, so that's good. And now I must sleep so that I can do some writing and socializing tomorrow - goodnight!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

no sugar tonight

I made it to Iowa entirely uneventfully today, despite some grim forecasts of ice hitting Des Moines around the time I landed. And thanks to the first class upgrades I got, I was able to knock out four pages of the short story I need to finish tomorrow. I should have kept working tonight, but after a steak dinner with my parents and a long drive home, and after I procrastinated and unpacked, it's suddenly time for bed. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

don't wake me up

Happy birthday to two of the most important people in my life...my mother (aka Jeanie Baby to my high school friends) and Chandlord (aka Vidya to law enforcement/the piano player at Martuni's). I celebrated by working from home, which meant I slogged a lot with a brief break to grab breakfast/lunch at the cafe down the street. I stopped working at five so that I could pack before dinner, which was a successful move. Then Terry and I went to my favorite French place, where one of the waiters clearly theorized that I have terrified Terry into submission, since she ordered the exact same things I did, until the point when I drank all the rest of the wine and appeared to have cut her off. Ha.

The wine made me sleepy, but I rallied enough to go to Martuni's for an hour and celebrate Chandlord's birthday in style. She seemed to have had a good time, and her birthday song was particularly well-sung since Jessica did it in a highly operatic way that stunned the crowd. And then I came home, and now I must sleep so that I can catch my plane on time tomorrow. Goodnight!

i love the way you lie

I'm falling asleep sitting up in bed, which means I need to go to bed immediately. Today was pretty good, though; I slept until eight, got ready, had meetings from home, went to the gym and got guidance from Alyssa on workouts to do while I'm at home, went to the post office, and then slogged all afternoon. I skipped out to have a v. long overdue friendship renewal dinner with Tolu, Joann and Jane, which was lovely; we went to Fiesta, where we ate far too many chips. Then I came home, with a detour to hang out for an hour and a half with John and Jess.

And now that I'm falling sleep as I'm typing, I should really go to bed -- goodnigth

Monday, December 16, 2013

someone like you

I'm suddenly unable to keep my eyes open, so that's probably a sign I should go to bed. Today was a pretty long and brutal slog, with a lot of unwelcome emotions (what are these, feelings? oh.), but I somehow survived it. I also had lunch with Alaska Matt, which was v. welcome. But then I worked until six, worked on the shuttle all the way home, and then worked for almost three hours at my favorite French place. I've never worked on day job stuff there before, and I broke down and begged them for the wireless password even though I usually stay away from wireless networks like the devils they are when I'm trying to write. I need internet for what I was going, though (a rage-fueled monkeyish data task), so I had to accept it. Luckily Todd kept the wine flowing, and luckily I'm doing this data for myself more than anyone, so if it turns out that I stopped being able to type, I can rectify it at some point.

But now I desperately need to go to bed - goodnight!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

your heart felt good, it was dripping pitch and made of wood

Today was both wonderful and rather melancholy, so you'll have to forgive me if I sound a little all over the place tonight. I got nine and a half hours of sleep, which was crucial to setting myself up for success (or at least not failure) during the week ahead. Then I cleaned, made breakfast (bacon and eggs), and cleaned some more so that I could turn my desk around to meet the feng shui advice I've been reading up on. Not because I think that turning my desk will make me millions of dollars, but because I've never been particularly productive at my desk, and the research I've been doing would indicate that I'm not productive here because a) I can't see my door and so am subconsciously on edge as a result and B) I'm facing the wall, which is limiting. So now it's facing the door at a slight angle, and I like it so far, even if I spent far more time than I should have straightening everything up.

But after I did that, I went down the street to have my final hurrah at Nettie's; they're closing next week, but since I'll be out of town I shall never see them again. Boo. It was really kind of sad, since I love going there and will never have their fish tacos again :( I also said goodbye to Chase, my favorite bartender there; he showed me how to make my favorite cocktail (they call it a 'high tea', which is basically tea-infused vodka and lemon juice), and at the end we exchanged contact info so that we have the opportunity to make this a farewell for now rather than a farewell forever.

I left feeling rather sad, but I rallied to do a bit of Christmas shopping and run some errands. Then I talked to my parents before meeting up with Kathia for a v. unplanned, v. impromptu writing date - I need to write the epilogue that I promised to send my fans since it's due this weekend, and she's knee-deep in her next book, so a writing date was great for both of us. Then I came home and talked to [censored] about [censored] for over an hour; as per usual, we did more [censored] than making any actual decisions, and I laughed my [censored] off over the thought of [censored], but it was good to catch up with him.

And now, I must sleep, since six a.m. is going to come way too soon - goodnight!

if you close your eyes does it almost feel like nothing changed at all

I'm exhausted, but it was all worth it. I got up later than I should have but earlier than I wanted to to go to the dirty east bay for my romance writer holiday party. Last night's gin made this more difficult than it should have been, but I regret nothing. The party turned out to be super fun, and it reminded me of how much value and joy I get out of attending those meetings - I reconnected with a bunch of people whom I haven't seen in forever, and I had a lot of great conversations over lunch. Also, one of the speakers was a member of the chapter who writes romances and is also an Episcopal priest, and her talk about her career was more like a sermon and may have been one of the most inspiring things I've heard in awhile.

But it ended, as all things must, and I came home and took a nap from three to four before attempting to get ready for my remaining parties. First up was Lauren and Nathan's holiday party, which was perfectly wonderful; it was great to see them, and also nice to connect with some new people (and more nice to reconnect with people I hadn't seen in awhile, and by that I mean Katrina). I had intended to leave their party at seven to drive down to the glorious south bay to see Chris and Connie, but as it turns out, I got lured into staying in the city, and so I hung out with Lauren (aka Subz), Nathan, Terry, and their friend Allison (? I'm so terrible with names) for another few hours, which included ordering takeout Indian food. Subz and I may have spent too much time reminiscing about India for everyone else's tastes, but they were good sports about it.

And now that I'm home, I must go to bed; I intend to not set an alarm for tomorrow, which is totally shocking, so wish me luck with that. Goodnight!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

you know you make me want to shout

Today was an absurd mix of highs and lows, but it ended on a positive note, so that's all that really matters. I crawled out of bed and made it onto the 7:45 shuttle, which I thought was a minor miracle. When I got off the shuttle, I ran into a coworker who was also having breakfast in a cafe where we didn't recently see a rat (aka all the other cafes on campus except for the one in our building), so we ate together before walking to our building. Once there, I slogged incessantly, except for a cessation to go to the dentist (who pronounced my teeth perfect).

I left early, however, to beat traffic, which also allowed me to get my bangs trimmed (sorely needed, since I could no longer see through my hair). But I got some pretty tragic news about a coworker when I checked my phone at the salon, so that was a serious downer. I managed to do some Christmas shopping after that, but my heart wasn't really into it, so I went home and had dinner with Terry. That was also a mild downer, since the restaurant (Nettie's) is closing next week and I'm really going to miss it (as evidenced by the fact that I went there last night and again tonight, then made a date with the bartender to go in on Sunday so that he can teach me how to make my favorite cocktail). But I had two cocktails, some oysters, and my beloved fish tacos, plus a good conversation with Terry, so that all helped.

And then I came home, laid in bed for precisely nine minutes, and then put on a dress and fixed my makeup before calling a cab and schlepping all the way out to Legion of Honor for Chandlord's holiday party. It was super fun and exactly what I needed (even if getting back out of bed for it took a gargantuan effort); it was good to see her, as per usual, and there was open bar (with much better alcohol than was at the open bar at my party last weekend), some tasty desserts, and a lot of great dancing. The dancing (or maybe the three gin and tonics and the glass of champagne) helped me to burn off some of my stress, and the company (or maybe the three gin and tonics and the glass of champagne) really cheered me up. So now I can go to bed feeling satisfied, albeit sweaty, and hopefully rejuvenate myself so that I can enjoy all three of the parties I am going to tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

through the epic unconsciousness

Today was way more fun than one should be allowed to have while working for the man. I got up early, sped down to Palo Alto (not speedily enough, since there was a lot of traffic), and trained with Alyssa. I was unfortunately fifteen minutes late due to aforementioned traffic, but we still got through a lot, and she continues to push her nefarious kettlebell agenda, going so far as to film me while I did the swings so that I could see my own form. Great.

After working out, I went to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for the day's later festivities, and then I worked for a couple of hours. My team had lunch scheduled at an Indian place on campus, and I initially intended to skip it, but I got pressured into going (which I'm glad about, since it was a lot of fun and I got to talk to some people that I didn't hang out with at dinner last night). Then I worked for a couple more hours before making homemade eggnog for my team + some of the other teams we work with. It felt like a little cooking demonstration, since I brought all my stuff with me (mixer, bowls, measuring cups, spatulas, etc.) and had great ingredients (eggs, cream, milk, whisky, rum). It turned out great, albeit perhaps too boozy for four p.m. (I don't think so, but maybe others care about their careers more than I do - j/k).

The party kind of got sidelined in a hysterical way, though, when someone noticed a rat in the cafe next to the microkitchen where we were hanging out. We were separated from it by a glass door, and at first no one believed the guy who spotted it, but then we saw it run out into the open space, then return to its hiding place under the salad bar when we all started screaming. Yay health code violations! Yay for rats hanging out under the salad bar when I get breakfast and lunch 6-10x per week!

So on that note, everything ended very hilariously, and I spent a couple more hours at my desk before catching a late shuttle home. And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

you turned out to be the best thing i never had

I had a lovely day, but it was too full of people and I must go to bed immediately since tomorrow promises to be more of the same. I woke up early and met Kathia at seven (okay, 7:15) for a writing date before going to work. This was a good thing overall, but it's too bad that it's not sustainable or practical in the long run since a) I like to sleep and b) I have too many days with morning meetings. Still, I got some good brainstorming in, so that was great. Feeling accomplished, I got on the shuttle (woe) and went to work, but the ride was smooth enough that I was able to get some work done on the way.

Once I arrived at work, I had a combo of meetings and work time all day - more meetings than work, but as that's my job, I suppose it's okay. But I skipped out with everyone else at five to go to our team Christmas dinner at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto. It was quite tasty, although Des Amis has spoiled me for all other steaks; between last night's mediocre steak and tonight's okay-but-not-perfect steak, I either need to have a Des Amis steak tomorrow to get rid of the memories, or have something entirely the opposite of steak instead. But the team dinner was awesomely fun and I laughed a lot, which was great. And I gave four people a ride home, and the person sitting in the middle of the back seat was the first person to ever insist on figuring out how the middle seatbelt in the back works...so thanks to a youtube video (which has 12,000 views, which shows how difficult/incomprehensible this system is), we managed to set it up properly.

And now that everyone is home safe and I'm all packed up for working out + working + making eggnog for my team tomorrow, I think it's time for bed - goodnight!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

it's eating through you

Today was longer than it should have been...I had meetings all morning, then drove down to train with Alyssa (who continues to find new and entertaining ways to torture me), then had meetings most of the afternoon (with a break to do some excel monkey stuff). But I left the office at six to have dinner with Heather (aka dear respected madam), which turned into over two hours of catching up on life + brainstorming my next series. So that got me super excited, but unfortunately I have to write Thorington before I can write the rest of it, and also I have to go to the day job rather than curling up under a blanket and daydreaming. Sigh.

But I took the shuttle home (boo) so that I could nap on it (yay) and also so that I can get together with Kathia for a writing date tomorrow at seven a.m. before going to the office (boo). Wish me luck with that. Goodnight!

Monday, December 09, 2013

now is your time and you know where you stand

I really need to go to bed, but today was mostly great from a health standpoint even if it wasn't great from a productivity standpoint. Actually, scratch that; I spent almost three and a half hours commuting, so that totally sucked. But while I was at the office, I spent a couple of quality hours cleaning off my desk - I realized that I hate working in that space and I needed to do something about it, so I attempted to fix it by cleaning everything and getting rid of stuff. Yes, I'm still in purge mode. I feel pretty good about the new layout, so that's good, even if my team probably now thinks I'm secretly planning to quit.

After that, I had lunch with Chandlord and Heather (aka dear respected madam), which was awesome. Then I had some meetings, which was less awesome. Then I drove home, which was terrible. But when I got here, I adjourned to someplace down the street (ten points if you can guess where I went), where I had yet another steak and did some seriously good brainstorming for Thorington's book. It's shaping up better than it was a week ago, so hopefully I can start writing someday soon. But I got slightly tipsier than I had planned since the waiter poured me an extra glass of wine for the road (free of charge, and also I was walking, so it wasn't really an endangering move), which means I was slightly less productive than I had planned when I got home. But I made some more progress organizing my room, and I'm hoping that I can be totally done this weekend, barring disasters or laziness.

And now I really must go to bed if I want to get eight hours tonight - goodnight!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

save me, i'm lost

Today was lovely, if you like being a hermit. I slept until 9:30, which was desperately needed. Then I read about feng shui in bed for an hour and got myself fired up about cleaning out all of the crap I've accumulated over the last fourteen years of living in California. But before I could do that, I needed sustenance, so I took a shower and made bacon and eggs and v. strong coffee. And then I spent the rest of the day sorting, organizing, cleaning, etc. I've still got a ways to go, but things are already looking better, and I'm excited to get through the rest of my closet and reorganize my bookshelves even more.

Of course, I had to take a break to talk to my parents, which was v. welcome. And at some point I had to throw in the towel so that I could eat something...which meant a well-deserved trip to Des Amis. I was going to go and brainstorm Thorington, but Terry was hungry as well, so she went too and we brainstormed him verbally instead of in my hermity notebook. Also, in continued proof that I go there too often, one of the sommelier/manager guys said that the next time I go to my family reunion in Texas, I should coordinate with him since his parents live near there and we can do wine tasting and whisky tasting and gun shooting. Sounds like a fine plan!

But now, alas, I must sleep; I just realized that I'm going to get less than eight hours no matter how I slice it, and that's tragic. Goodnight!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

maybe if i leave tonight i won't come back

I'm way tireder than I had intended to be tonight, as evidenced by the fact that I said 'tireder'. Last night was enough fun that it was totally worth it, but even though I thought I had behaved myself reasonably well, I woke up this morning feeling like death. That could be partially because I only got five and a half hours of sleep - in retrospect I should have canceled my writing date and slept in, but I'm eager to get cracking on Thorington's story, so I held to my commitment.

I probably shouldn't have; halfway there I realized I'd forgotten my headphones, which is a rookie move, and my fountain pen was out of ink. I don't think that even qualifies as a #firstworldproblem, but it's certainly an unusual one. However, I got some good brainstorming in, and I think I'm getting marginally closer to understanding at least enough about Thorington and the as-yet-unnamed heroine to start plotting the book.

But after writing, I was in desperate need of sustenance, so I went out for a steak-filled brunch with Kathia. Then I came home, attempted to rally for a party I was supposed to go to, and instead slept for two hours because I'm a flaky octogenarian instead of a hip thirty-something who honors her commitments. Stupid. I think the real issue, though, is that I'm still coming off the book-release adrenaline + the stress of my thanksgiving travels + the general annoyances I've had at the day job recently, and when I'm in an overly stressed mode, my first instinct is to hunker down, clear my head, and fix all my problems. If I were more balanced I would have gone out just to get out of my own head, and perhaps I'll do that this week - but this weekend, I'm feeling the desperate need to sleep, clean, and brainstorm before I go crazy.

So anyway, I slept for a couple of hours, and then spent the rest of the day cleaning out my closet, obsessing over my sales rankings, and making chili for me and Terry. I'm nowhere near done with my closet, but I cleared out all my drawers and went through half the hanging stuff, which leaves my shoes and the boxes on the top shelf as the main task for tomorrow. But now, I'm going to read a bit and then go to bed - goodnight!

groove is in the heart

I deeply regret not blogging last night, mostly because it means that I must blog tonight or I may be faced with a mutiny of all hands (or at least a mutiny of my mother, which is far scarier). But today was lovely. Since I will be accused of burying the lede if I don't share my good news straight away, I'll share my good news now: thanks to some pricing experimentation + a well-timed ad with an ebook daily deal newsletter, my first book (Heiress) suddenly became the #1 Regency romance on Amazon, B&N and Apple at the same time. Shocking! It's in the top fifty overall on Amazon, top twenty on B&N, and top sixty on Apple. This spike won't last forever - maybe a couple of days, and then it will taper dramatically - but hopefully it will lead to more name recognition and better sales of the other books in the series.

Needless to say, that was pretty much all I cared about this afternoon, which made me pretty useless, so it's good that I worked from home today. I snuck offline early to get a much-needed pedicure (yes, it's a need, not a want), and then I came home, dolled myself up, and sped out the door to meet up with Kathia for drinks and dinner before my corporate holiday party. I had planned to take Terry, but she bailed for another engagement, and luckily Kathia was up to the last-minute challenge. So we had two glasses of champagne at Nectar to continue celebrating her book launch and my advertising success, and then we had a delicious dinner next door, where we gorged ourselves on peppers and animal flesh and met a v. entertaining couple (the husband claimed that he ripped seven bodices today when he found out that we write romance).

After dinner, I would have happily continued to drink wine anywhere else, but we were good sports and grabbed a taxi to go downtown to the party. As it turns out, I'm super glad we went; the music was pretty good, the drinks were strong (and the bartender was way entertaining about the fact that Kathia had to drink Old Crow whisky if she didn't want to pay to upgrade), the dancing was fun (even if Kathia pulled me out onto the floor early, when the only other person dancing was the VP of the whole group), and I saw most of my fellow teammates who were in attendance, so it was all quite winning. And we adjourned around 11:30 so that we could catch a cab before the rush, and then went to Brazen Head, where we split some escargots and had awesome bailey's cappuccinos. Her husband joined us there and we hung out quite happily for an hour or so before I decided that I had to come home and go to bed.

And now I really must sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

break the walls

I just realized that I'm going to fail in my goal of getting eight hours of sleep tonight - so much for being mindful. But today was lovely; I got eight hours of sleep last night, and I worked from home, so I didn't have to sit in traffic and hate myself for hours on end. Instead, I had several v. productive meetings, took a break to have lunch (leftover steak and two freshly-cooked eggs over easy, which were divine), made some coffee, and then had more meetings all afternoon. Then I dolled myself up, met up with a writing friend whom I had met on that writing retreat I did earlier this year (she was one of the strangers who I thought might kill me, but she missed that opportunity, and she missed it again tonight). We had dinner at Nettie's, and then she quite oddly used my hair dryer and hairspray in Nettie's bathroom (she had circled for parking for fifteen minutes without success, and so wasn't able to come up to my place and redo her hair, so I took it with me and we went to dinner without parking on my street).

When we were both suitably arrayed, we went to the launch party for Kathia's latest book (she's Kate Perry, for those of you who read contemporary romance). The launch party was super cute - Kathia had all sorts of alcohol (as you might have imagined), and all sorts of guests, and I met some really cool people and reconnected with some other author friends. Terry also came shortly after I arrived, and we got some good photo booth pics with Kathia in memory of our Paris trip (je t'aime). So that was all perfect, even if I came home and wasted an hour on the laptop to wind down before going to bed later than I had intended.

And now I really must sleep if I have any hope of getting up and training with Alyssa before work tomorrow - goodnight!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

check your clothing at the door

No blog tonight; after a day full of staring at screens, I'm desperate to go to bed. It wasn't all bad, since I trained with Alyssa and had dinner with Terry at Fiesta...but the rest of it was exceedingly dull even by my standards. So I shall spare you the mundanities and bid you goodnight!

Monday, December 02, 2013

you ain't seen nothing like me yet

I was really really really really really not excited to go back to work today, which I suppose I should not blog about, but clearly I am too unenthused to care about career-limiting moves. Ha. It wasn't really that bad, and I'm supremely thankful that I have a flexible situation; I had an 8:30 meeting, but I took it from the comfort of my dining room table, so I avoided traffic and didn't drive down until 10:30. Then I slogged for several hours, most of which I spent talking people off ledges (my second favorite pastime! my favorite pastime is talking people onto ledges, which is quite synergistic). Then I came home, talked to Terry for a bit, talked to my sister for a bit, and then went to my favorite overpriced French bistro, where I met a new server (Haley) and drank a new wine (a beaujolais, which is usually hit or miss for me since they're often too light, but I was in the mood for something different).

And the good news is that I started writing my next book (DUKE OF THORNS). Granted, I haven't *really* started writing yet - I'm still brainstorming. And the brainstorming is a bitch since it's a whole new series, so I also have to think about who the other characters are and what they want, which I haven't had to do in ages since the Muses have been going on for so long. So this is half exciting, half absurdly scary. But I shall persevere; Thorington is an obnoxious hottie, and I want him to get his comeupance and a love story for the ages at the same time.

Now I really must sleep; I have grand plans to get up absurdly early and beat traffic so that I can work before work, and that will only happen if I sleep right now. Goodnight!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

the winds of change are blowing wild and free

No time to blog - I must sadly get up and go to work tomorrow with all the other poor schmucks, so I need to sleep now. But today was a good first day back in the city of sin. I slept in, showered, had brunch with Terry and her family, spent some time sorting through my massive piles of books, and then had an impromptu Blood of Lincoln tea with John, Jess, and Chandlord. It was great to see them, and I have high hopes that I can be v social the next couple of weeks to store up memories for January, when I must become a hermit again so that I can write Thorington's story. Sigh.

After tea, I bought groceries, called my parents, continued sorting my books, and are supper with Terry's family (they ordered from Delarosa, which was tasty). I'm bound and determined to cut down on my belongings, which is some sort of anti-nesting instinct in between books, but I'm indulging it since cutting down in belongings wouldn't be a bad thing. I have strong hoarder genetics, so throwing away some things is occasionally an important step to keep my hoarding from metastasizing. But I have other, mire pressing things to do tomorrow, so tonight I must sleep!

there is no one to dry your tears

I have arrived back in the city of sin, after an entirely uneventful trip that I felt I deserved after the chaos of my outbound legs. Today was a great sendoff; I woke up with my alarm, ate some tasty breakfast foodstuffs (bacon, fresh side, and two eggs from my dad's chickens), and was relieved to know that the newborn miniature calf survived the night despite the yipping of coyotes outside my bedroom window (although if the fact that my dad has named him 'Sirloin' is any indication, he might not live to a ripe old age). Then I packed my remaining stuff and loaded up with the family for the trip to Des Moines.

Once we arrived in the city, we stopped at the hospital to see my grandmother, who continues to be somewhat confounding in that she isn't responding perfectly to treatment. But she seemed to be in okay spirits, and hopefully she'll get out sometime this week. Then we all adjourned to Aunt Becky's house for lunch/belated Thanksgiving; she made chicken tortilla soup with the appropriate garnishes, along with some veggies and some meats and cheeses, and it was all v. lovely. Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian were there, obvi, as were Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathy, and Drewbaby, and the nine of us spent several hours catching up while periodically being entertaining by Aunt B's cats. But I had to break up the party to go to the airport, where I discovered that I could have broken up the party half an hour later since the line for security had exactly one person ahead of me. Ha.

But my trip was uneventful, and exactly long enough to read an entire book (HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, which is an alternate history retelling of the Napoleonic Wars reimagined as though all the combatant nations had dragons in addition to navies). Now, though, I desperately need to sleep; tomorrow I hope to get back into some semblance of routine, or at least do some laundry and start thinking of Thorington's story. He needs a heroine before I can go much further, so maybe I should get on that. Goodnight!