Sunday, May 31, 2015

i've been looking for a lover, thought i'd find her in a bottle

I'm still sick, which is getting old; while I don't feel like total death, I'm tired of sniffling and sneezing. I'm sure if I were at the Four Seasons, this would not be allowed to happen, but since I've returned home, where I must cook for myself and run errands like a peasant, I guess illness comes with the territory.

Today was another not-so-stellar moment on the productivity scale, but I think I'm set up for success for the week ahead, so I don't mind so much. I mostly wasted the morning, mostly because I wasn't feeling well, but I rallied (and showered), and I wandered around for awhile, bought a couple of markers, and then grabbed a coffee at Another Cafe (part of the free tour Katrina gave me yesterday - thanks Katrina!) and sat there for an hour or so and plotted and schemed about what I plan to accomplish this month.

Writing in a notebook always helps to center me, so I came home in a lovely mood and talked to my parents for quite awhile. They're pretty much consumed with gardening, lawn care, the round barn, and rumors about Fred Hoiberg's defection from Iowa State to the Bulls, but all of those things are far more interesting than talking about my cold or my (slow, painful) writing, so it was good to catch up with them. After I got off the phone, I ate the last of my thai leftovers, did the dishes, messed around on the internet, wrote in my journal some more, etc., etc.

And now, I must sleep; I've set my teamaker to go off at 6:30 tomorrow so that I can get up and write before training with Alyssa, and I'm determined to hold myself to it. Goodnight!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

i'm down on my knees, i want to take you there

Hello. I wish that my blog could be as interesting every day as it was when I was in Bora Bora or Easter Island, or when I was stuck in Tahiti and whining about it like I'd been stranded in a slum instead of a tropical paradise (although to be fair, sharing a sink is really pretty low-class...but I digress). But since I have returned to San Francisco and become even more of a hermit than usual, you're going to have to make do.

Today, however, was more interesting than it could have been, since I a) talked to people and b) left the house. I know, I'm a paragon of social virtue. I woke up around seven and read in bed for awhile; I continue to read "Sickness, Suffering, and the Sword", but it's pretty slow going (I think I've only gotten through 100 pages so far, and it feels like I've been reading for hours). It turns out this book is only mildly interesting, and so far consists more of how regiments and battalions were formed and led, rather than any of the sickness/suffering/swords I was promised, but I have high hopes that I'll get to some gore at some point.

But I took a break from my studies to make breakfast and have a long video chat with Terry (remember her? she used to be my roommate). We hadn't really caught up since she left for NYC, since I was in varying states of chaos the last two months, and so catching up over video was better than nothing. My key takeaway was that there are cockroaches in New York and the place is an abomination, but she shared other things that were far more positive, so ymmv.

After talking to Terry, I went back to my book, but I was very happily lured away by Katrina, who texted me to say that she was at Contraband with Cathy and Trang and that I should come and join them. She perhaps didn't expect me to show up since I'm normally a hermit on weekends, but since I'm adjusting to not having outside-the-house commitments (and therefore, no enforced social commitments for forty hours a week), I said I would be there immediately, and I showed up before she could get away. But she was v. gracious about it, as were Cathy and Trang; I'd met Trang once before at a party Chandlord had dragged me to, which I stayed at for fifteen minutes before realizing I'd rather be anywhere else, but Trang seemed to forgive the fact that I was a stone cold bitch that night.

sssanyway, we spent a lovely interlude outside, debating whether Katrina is in fact a contributing member of society or whether her entire academic (and therefore professional) life is a sham. I'd go for sham, but I think I'll keep her around. We were briefly interrupted by some v. strange guy who offered to let me hold his helmet and keys while he used my phone to call his wife, whom he'd somehow gotten separated from (theory: drugs can be confusing). Since my phone was on the table, it was hard to say it didn't exist, so I let him use it, much to the shock and discomfort of all of us. It was fine at first, but then I texted the wife to say where he was, and he seemed to want to hang around until she called back, which wasn't happening. Luckily, he left (although, weirdly, he didn't stay in the vicinity - he rode away on his motorcycle), and so when his wife (whom we name Sheila) eventually called back, sounding equally confused (read: drugged), we had no information for her.

Happily, this was all v. entertaining, my phone wasn't stolen, and I have not yet fallen victim to any catfishing scams, so it could have gone worse. After we left Contraband, Katrina gave me and Trang a master class in how to shop at Trader Joe's, which was just as helpful and utterly ridiculous as you might have guessed. I forgot there's one so close to me (it replaced the rather depressing Cala Foods several years ago, but that was after I moved out of the neighborhood), and it was fun to wander the aisles even though I didn't take Katrina's suggestions immediately. Then we wandered back toward my place, and she showed me a couple of cafes I want to write at, plus a liquor store that sells a great selection of mini bottles, so pretty much all my human needs can be met by her tour. Five stars!

After we parted ways, I came home, ate some leftover Thai food, took a nap (I'm still sick, so indulging any desire to sleep), read a bit, suddenly realized I needed to apply for health insurance immediately, and then applied for health insurance. That took any remaining productivity out of me, so I turned off the lights and watched 'Captain America'. And now, sadly, I must sleep again if I have any hope of kicking this cold - goodnight!

when you call my name it's like a little prayer

It looks like I'm going to bed late, but since I fell asleep on the couch at 9:45 and only woke up to wash my face and drink some water (and blog) before bed, you would be very sadly mistaken. Or perhaps I'm the one who is sad, since I fell asleep before ten p.m. on a Friday night. But since I'm trying to stave off this cold by being as slothlike as possible, I'm giving myself a pass.

That pretty much describes the whole day. I woke up not feeling very well, so I lazed about in bed before showering, making some eggs for breakfast, and eventually going to Philz to write. But even though the coffee was helpful and v. necessary, the locals (read: crackheads) were more distracting than usual, and they conspired with my headache and sore throat to make writing too difficult to pursue. So I came home and spent the afternoon doing some more stuff with my closet, putting away the last of my travel stuff, answering email, attempting to nap, etc.

Eventually I left the house to go to my salon and get a facial, but I perhaps should have stayed in; some crazy woman, in an attempt to switch lanes, backed up to give herself room and bumped my bumper pretty hard. This is no different than what I've seen other people do while parking, but it was crazy aggressive to do it in moving traffic when I was in the car honking at her. There's a small by well-defined scrape on my bumper, and I got her license plate and description (since we were stuck in traffic it's not like she could make a clean getaway), but I now need to decide whether my desire for justice outweighs my desire to not care.

sssanyway, I was two minutes late to my appointment since I spent those two minutes writing down the license plate number and taking pictures of my bumper, but the rest of my afternoon/evening was lovely. I bought orange juice and flowers after, then came home, drank the orange juice, ordered takeout thai food (my go-to when I'm sick), and was generally slothful. And now I'm going to bed so that I can (hopefully) write tomorrow - I've done about as much procrastinating around the house as I can do, and if I'm feeling better I'm going to write tomorrow even though I was tentatively thinking I should try to take weekends somewhat off. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

as you walk on by will you call my name

Today was not the most exemplary day ever, but I'm worried that I might finally be succumbing to the cold that Joann developed at the end of our trip, so I'm cutting myself some slack. I spent the morning contemplating Rafe and Octavia while eating breakfast at Caffe Union (because I missed Tony, and because I hadn't bought groceries yet), and then rectifying the grocery situation so that I can feed myself for the next few days. Then I came home and spent the afternoon finishing the unpacking from my trip, messing around on the internet, and taking a break from all that productivity (ha) to get the gel polish removed from my nails.

By this evening I wasn't feeling well, though, so I made some chili for supper and called it a night. Rather than reading the book I had intended to read ('Sickness, Suffering, and the Sword', about British army tactics in 1808-1815 - a real page-turner), I watched 'Pitch Perfect' while folding and organizing clothes. The clothing organizing isn't done, but watching a movie while doing it made it way more fun even if I was way slower than I could have been otherwise.

And now, on that boring note (if you want to fund another trip for me so that I can write more interesting posts, feel free to donate), I'm going to bed and hoping that my throat isn't sore when I wake up in the morning. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

i'm gonna show you what's really crazy

Day one of self-employment went pretty much according to plan. I perhaps could have gotten out of bed slightly earlier, since I woke up around 6:15 and then dozed some more until eight, but given that I was traveling for the past two weeks, I cut myself some slack. But I pulled myself out of bed in time to go to Philz and write for an hour - I didn't do much new word production, but I reread what I have so far and was v. pleasantly surprised to discover that I don't hate it. So, I have high hopes that I can get back into true productivity over the next few days.

After that, I trained with Alyssa (and the drive there reminded me why I'm so glad I don't have to commute anymore). She tortured me only a little bit, and it felt good to do some swings and deadlifts after several weeks of sloth. Then we had lunch at Joanie's so that we could catch up more properly than we're able to in the gym - I've been thinking a lot (as I've said) about setting myself up for success with the self-employment thing, and I think using Alyssa + some other regular gym sessions as part of the structure I'm trying to build for my days makes a lot of sense.

When we were done, I sped back to the evil city, where I spent too much time at my favorite art supply store looking for exactly the right new journal/blank book for something I want to make. Then I came home, did laundry, stared at the internet, messed around with some financial stuff, and eventually realized I needed to shower immediately so I could get ready for dinner. Dinner was duly accomplished at Dosa on Fillmore, which is now less than 15mins away [editor's note: I used a 'less than' sign in the original post, which Blogger interpreted as an HTML tag, which resulted in losing the rest of this paragraph as it was turned to gibberish. I think I said something about being less than fifteen minutes away from the delights of Fillmore Street and the Kabuki movie theatre, as well as all the cuteness of Japantown, which I'm looking forward to going to far more frequently; I also revealed that I was having dinner with Lauren (aka Subz). But the rest of this paragraph is lost to the sands of time and Blogger].

It was, as usual, awesome to see her; she seems to be in good form (perhaps even glowing), and she asked enough questions about my resignation + spinster honeymoon that I talked for almost an hour straight. Oops. But she handled my monologue with good grace, and we're going to try to get together sometime next week, so c'est la vie.

Now, though, I must go to sleep immediately before I start typing nonsense - goodnight!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

boom boom pow

My grand adventures in the southern hemisphere have come to a close, and while I'm sad to not be on vacation anymore, I'm very happy to be home. Our trip back was entirely uneventful, but also entirely too long - nine hours on the plane to the US (although in business class, so it wasn't the worst thing ever), two hours to get through immigration in Houston, four hours to fly to LAX, an hour to turn the plane around there (we were on the same plane from IAH->LAX as we were for LAX->SFO, which meant we didn't have to walk around looking for gates - but we did have to sit there waiting for a plane that we had just been aboard), an hour to fly to SFO, and another half hour to get our baggage made for a very, very long day.

But Joann and I successfully parted ways, and I found a v. speedy taxi driver who had me home by one p.m. I was going to do all sorts of industrious things (mostly laundry, unpacking, and buying groceries), but I was so tired that I mostly stared off into space. Winning, I know. I also accomplished a shower, which was a huge feat. And I talked to my parents since I'd missed our usual Sunday call; it's weird to talk to them on a Tuesday, but it's even weirder not to call them on the weekend, so at least we got to talk at some point this week.

I'm falling asleep as I type this, so suffice it to say that I went over to Adit and Priyanka's for dinner. Priyanka ordered Thai food, which we enjoyed in an extremely lowkey manner, and it was nice to catch up between my trip and theirs (even if we 'caught up' over bits of the second Hobbit movie, gossip about the Duggars, etc.)

But if I don't go to bed right now, I won't be setting myself up for success tomorrow - I want to write in the morning, then go see Alyssa, and then get my house in order (or at least into the washing machines. Goodnight!

Monday, May 25, 2015

no scrubs

My spinster honeymoon is coming to a close...I'm at the Santiago airport, waiting for a flight to Houston, followed by a flight to LAX, followed by a flight to SFO. Today was extremely low key; Joann is most definitely sick, and so we basically lazed about for as long as we could keep the room this morning. We left the hotel around 12:30 and wandered around the neighborhoods near our hotel; this might have all gone differently if any of the museums were open, but they're all closed on Mondays, and so there were very few things we could do without exerting ourselves.

But we climbed the hill up to Castillo Hidalgo, an old fort overlooking Santiago, and we walked around there for awhile. Then we went to Starbucks to hang out and rest. After that, we wandered through a market focused on artisanal goods; there were a lot of leather goods that I coveted, but I refrained. We had a late lunch at Cafe del Opera, which was next to a fancier restaurant by the same people. We didn't quite know what we were ordering, but I had some slices of roast beef that were delightful, and Joann and I shared a carrot omelette thing that was tasty (although not tasty enough to finish).

After our late lunch, we wandered around some more before finally realizing we'd seen every street within the neighborhood our hotel is in. So we went back to the hotel, used their wifi with shameless abandon, changed into travel clothes, and left for the airport around seven. Our driver was quite nervous that we were going to be late, and also quite covered in cologne, but we made it to the airport early and didn't pass out from his manliness, so it's all good.

And now I'm going to eat something, hang out with Joann in the vip lounge (we're business class to Houston, so hopefully you won't have to listen to me bitch about non-fanciness tomorrow, but I make no guarantees), and then get on the plane. Next stop is the U.S. and my new life as a self-employed person....buenos noches!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

step out the front door like a ghost

Today should probably count as the last real day of the trip, even though we don't get back to California until Tuesday...but tomorrow's grand plan consists of doing very little until it's time to go to the airport, since Joann appears to be getting sick and I really don't want to catch whatever she has. However, since today mostly involved drinking a lot of wine, I had a fine time on my last full day of vacation...and my liver, if nothing else, is ready to get back to the grind and start writing in earnest as soon as I'm back in San Francisco.

The morning started earlier than I'd have liked, since we had to get up and eat before our tour picked us up at 9am. But the breakfast at the hotel was good enough (especially after I figured out how to get pan sin glutino, which they turned into a ham and cheese sandwich for me), and I managed to put on the warmest outfit I could muster (sundress over leggings I'd already worn, plus flats that I would normally never wear with this dress, plus cardigan, plus light jacket). This wasn't nearly warm enough, since we could see our breath at the first winery, but as the day turned warmer, I was able to shed the sweater/jacket and enjoy the sunshine. Also, this is only the second time I've worn this dress; the first time was to my going-away party at work, so the drinks consumed per hour in this dress is probably an appalling average.

sssanyway, on that sobering (haha) note, let's move on. The tour took us to Casablanca Valley, which has been producing wine for around thirty years. It's just slightly too cold to be seen as an obvious place to grow wine, but they've figured out how to generally protect the vines and fruit from frost, and the results are pretty tasty. They grow a mix of red and white varietals, which was a bit surprising since I typically only see reds from Chile, but most of what we tasted was really good.

The first stop was the first vineyard in the valley; they're doing some interesting things with production, including using giant amphora (clay/concrete vats) that are egg-shaped in a way that encourages the fermenting wine to (very very slowly) stir itself, which obviates the need to siphon from the bottom of the vat and pour back over the top. I bought a bottle of their wine, and I also bought a scarf (see: packing, lack of).

Winery number two was smaller; they are owned by some Americans who moved down there, and 97% of their production is exported, so their style tends to be more Californian in nature because they want us to like it. And like it we did...their syrah was really quite excellent, and I liked their pinot noir even though I'm not typically a pinot fan. We also got to taste some juice that had only been fermenting since harvest a few weeks ago, which was interesting. By this point it was warming up, so we enjoyed our wine on the patio while looking out over their vineyard, which was lined with Chilean palm trees and graced with breezes from the Pacific a few miles away.

Winery number three was enough wine to put most of us over the edge; of the six of us, only Joann was truly pacing herself, and I may have been the only other person who didn't finish everything. The other attendees were an engaged couple from the Bay Area (you can't escape Bay Area people, it seems), a Brit who was in South America on business (the powder business, which apparently involves heavy equipment and not cocaine), and a young consultant from Texas (saying he's a consultant tells you everything you need to know about him), and we were all quite into the wines - and the wines were quite into us, since the pours were generous.

But the third winery included lunch with wine pairings, and even though I don't usually eat lunch at three p.m., this was well worth the wait. We sat on their patio as well, and it was all warm and lovely. They gave us a nice ceviche with a sauvignon blanc, followed by fish (I think? whatever the second course was, it wasn't all that memorable), a v tasty beef, and cheesecake for dessert (although I got fruit in deference to my sin glutino ways). Then we toured their vineyard while drinking more wine. I ended up buying a bottle of their carmenere, and I'm excited to see if I can get two bottles home in my suitcase. If one of them breaks, it will merely complete the destruction of my clothes wrought by a week of being wet/rotting, so whatever.

Most of us slept most of the way back to Santiago, but all in all it was a v. successful day. When we got back, we weren't hungry yet, so Joann and I hung out/rested in the hotel before seeking out a Chilean restaurant so we could try one of the famous local dishes - pastel de choclo, which is sort of a Chilean shepherds pie with corn mash instead of mashed potatoes. It came in a cast iron ramekin, and the corn mash was mixed with shredded beef - pretty tasty, albeit not crunchy enough for my post-wine desires. We also split some risotto (again, not crunchy), and it was hopefully enough to fortify us so that Joann fights off whatever she's coming down with and I don't get it from her.

Then we returned to the hotel, and I have messed around on the internet until now. And now, after a lovely couple of weeks away from real life, I must prepare to return to California and to the new life that awaits me - it's a little surreal that I walked away from my job and straight into my spinster honeymoon, which means that I'm going to have to institute some new routines when I get back to replace the things I'm used to doing. But I'm looking forward to all of it, and I'm excited (and scared) to get started on Rafe and Octavia's book in earnest. Goodnight!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

he can't keep his wild eyes on the road

There's a part of me that could keep traveling down the road forever and never look back - but it's currently outweighed by the part of me that would like to stop taking overnight flights, switching timezones, and realizing (again) how badly I packed for this trip. It's perhaps laughable how badly I misjudged - usually I'm pretty well prepared, but since I was working/celebrating/drinking until the bitter end before my trip, I didn't even start thinking of what to bring until the morning of my departure. So while I was well-prepared for Bora Bora, I put basically no thought into Easter Island or Santiago - and the result is that it's going to get down to 37 degrees tonight, and my best options for our wine tour tomorrow are sundresses. Ooof.

But this is all eminently survivable, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow capping off a glorious trip before leaving (likely hungover) for the States on Monday night. Last night and today were somewhat painful, but we made the best of them. After I blogged last night, we finished getting ready, sat around, and sat around some more wondering when the owner of our hotel would decide to take us to the airport. He had been mildly late picking us up, but we had confirmed with the whole family that morning (or so we'd thought) that they were taking us back that night. But when he showed up around the time we guessed he would show up, he looked extremely surprised to see us - and then totally panicked, let us throw money at him to settle the bill (which was not the correct amount, but whatever - it's getting sorted), and then shoved us into his truck. When we got to the airport, he let out a huge sigh, said, 'the plane is still here....mi corazon was...', and then thumped his chest to simulate a heart attack while laughing. I think he thought the flight was an hour earlier than it was, but it all worked out totally fine.

What wasn't fine was that we were somehow in the last row of the entire plane, which was a real fall from grace compared to our business class experience. But we didn't have anyone between us, and we both slept most of the flight, so it could have been worse. When we got to Santiago, everything went flawlessly - our bags showed up, our taxi was waiting for us, and the hotel greeted us with bottled water and the v. welcome news that we could check in even though it was only nine a.m. We're in a tremendously hipsterish hotel in a very cute area of Santiago, and it feels like I'm back in SF (even if I still haven't found great coffee, but I'm going to try tomorrow). We spent the first couple of hours sleeping, since I knew I needed a nap if I had any hope of exploring.

But we actually rallied for the rest of the day, which was mildly impressive. We started with lunch at Nolita, which was an excellent Italian place; we each had a salad to start, followed by gnocchi for Joann and seafood risotto for me, and the risotto, at least, was pretty much perfect. The other perfect thing was learning how to order una copa de vino, since I can't drink a bottle - and the copa de vino at lunch was a delicious carmenere, v. generously poured, which made my excitement for tomorrow's wine tour only grow.

After lunch, we walked off the meal by wandering around the streets and markets of the Bellas Artes district, which is near where we're staying. We didn't find anything to buy (although I had an eye out for a coat, for reasons enumerated above), partially because many things were closed since this is a holiday weekend (more on that below). But we ended up going to the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, which was a pleasant surprise - after they charged me a student entrance fee for no obvious reason, we explored a variety of artifacts from the pre-Colombian Central and South American cultures. They had some excellent stuff, all of which made me wish I knew more about those cultures (even if I'm glad that I don't currently live in a culture where it's so common to carry around the heads of your enemies that you need a specific type of rope for it (although if I did live in that culture, I have a list of heads I'd start collecting asap (but I digress))). I was most impressed by their textiles room - they have some truly ancient stuff, and it's a wonder any of it has survived, but the weaving and dying are extremely impressive and possibly better than anything I've seen surviving from European cultures. Or perhaps I was just ashamed of my own ignorance, since I had no idea the textile arts were so well-developed in Central/South America so many centuries before Europe.

sssanyway, I'm a dork when it comes to textiles, but you've stuck with me this far, so let's move on. After the museum, we walked back to the hotel, where we engaged in some research/debate over what to do for dinner. We were both tired, and we'd walked a lot, but I didn't really feel like eating a hot dog for dinner (even though that's a thing here), so we ended up going to Tambo, which was very close to where we had lunch. We asked the hotel concierge to call ahead in case we needed a reservation, but when we got there, we were the only ones in the restaurant. This is likely for two reasons:

- people here don't eat dinner until 8pm - midnight, and we chose to eat at 7:30 (late for us in comparison to most of the trip, but depressingly early compared to everyone else in this country).

- as mentioned above, this is a holiday weekend in Chile. While sitting in the restaurant, I looked up what holiday it was, and it turns out that 21 May is 'la dia de las glorias navales', which commemorates a specific battle in the war between Chile and Peru in 1879; Chile lost the battle, but it was considered a turning point, and Chile went on to win the war. As it turns out, Tambo is a Peruvian restaurant...and so while the chicken dish I had was v. tasty and Joann enjoyed her seafood stew, it's *possible* that a Peruvian restaurant might not be the hottest ticket in town tonight.

So after that (and after a copa de vino for me and an ice cream for Joann), we came back to the hotel, and I've been hanging out and indulging my inner internet-addicted hipster in the lobby since then. But now I really need to get ready for bed; I want to be well-rested for the wine tour tomorrow. These time changes have wrought havoc on my body - Bora Bora was three hours behind California, and Santiago is three hours ahead, so I've basically been just jetlagged enough to be confused this entire time. Or maybe it's the copa de vino talking. Either way, it's been a fun trip, and I intend to enjoy every last bit of tomorrow before we have to get ready to go home on Monday. Goodnight!

Friday, May 22, 2015

she's been dying and i've been drinking

Everything I own, myself included, is damp. I don't mean that in the way 'damp' is used in romance novels - I mean that it's been raining off and on ever since we got to Easter Island, and before that I was either sweating or in the ocean, and so every bit of functional clothing I brought with me (jacket, sweatshirt, multiple pairs of leggings/pants, socks, sneakers, whatever) is either minorly or majorly wet. I'm hopeful that Santiago will dry me out, but it remains to be seen whether I ever get comfortable in the Southern Hemisphere or whether I'm destined to slowly rot.

But despite the rain, today was gorgeous. I got up in the predawn hours (which sounds more dramatic than 8am, but also true since sunrise is so late here) and spent some quality time with my journal and the internet while eating a quick breakfast and drinking bad coffee (Easter Island's specialty, all of which seems to be either instant coffee or, if you're fancy, convenience store cappuccino masquerading as a coffee shop delicacy). Marcus picked us up at 9:30, and we spent the day exploring some lesser-known (but no less fascinating) sites around the island. This included a set of moai who are facing the ocean, which are the only known statues that faced out to sea instead of in toward the villages. The light there, in early morning mist, was pretty magical.

Then we went to a cave, with a detour so that Marcus could shake some ripe guava from a tree so that I could eat one. The legend is that if you eat a guava you'll return to Easter Island, which I would be happy to do; Joann didn't eat one on the basis of not liking guava, but I think by that point she was already tired of being damp, so hopefully she protected herself from future damp adventures. Then we proceeded on to the caves, and as we were reaching the entrance the rain started in earnest - so we had to make a run for it across an ancient lava field, full of broken rocks and scraggly weeds and the occasional pile of animal dung (another Easter Island specialty).

But after dashing across the lava field, we darted down into what turned out to be a massive cave with multiple chambers and entrances. The cave was technically a lava tube, made when molten lava hollowed out the ground and then disappeared, and it felt very different than the water-carved caves I've seen in the US and Europe. Also, these caves had been lived in in the past, so there were piles of stones that Marcus claimed were beds, but if I had had to live in a cave several months a year, I probably would have tried to come up with something better than that to sleep on, Stone Age technology or no.

So we walked through the caves, and when we emerged on the other side the rain was gone. But we ended up taking a long lunch break to avoid more rain, during which I drank more bad coffee and Joann and I caught Marcus up on ISIS. Then we saw another couple of sites before going to the main attraction of the afternoon - Orongo, the village that played host to the Birdman competition every year from the 1720s to the 1860s. The Birdman cult came into effect as the people abandoned statue-making and royal prerogative started 'democratically' nominating a new leader every year - but their method of choosing a new leader was to gather every year at Orongo, wait for a specific type of bird to nest on a nearby island within view of Orongo, and then send an athlete from each tribe sprinting down the outer wall of a volcano, diving into the ocean, swimming to the other island, and searching for an egg from the birds. The first egg finder shouted back to Orongo, and the chieftain of his tribe became the Birdman (and the leader of the island) for the year.

This all ended after Peruvian slavers kidnapped almost everyone in the 1860s, then 'graciously' returned some of them with the gift of smallpox, which killed all but 111 of the Rapa Nui people. But before that, Orongo was pretty amazing. I asked Marcus if they were going to do any reenactments of the Birdman challenge for the 150th anniversary of the last challenge (next year), but he said a lot of them died during the attempt, so a reenactment probably wouldn't get many signups. Also, in case you're wondering, the winning athlete didn't become the Birdman, but he got a wife for his efforts - a woman who'd been kept in the 'virgin cave' for three months to keep her away from the sun so she'd be as fair as possible. Nowadays you just need an office job to achieve the same result, I guess.

sssanyway, Orongo was pretty awesome, and I particularly liked the view of the volcano caldera (click my instagram above to see it). After that, we said our sad farewells to Marcus, and then we walked around town for a bit so that Joann could buy souvenirs and I could eat ice cream. We came back to our hotel after that, foregoing dinner in the interest of napping/showering/not getting any wetter, which was a good call since it has rained most of the evening. And now, after lazing about most of the night, we're getting ready to go to the airport - our flight to Santiago is at 1am, which is going to make tomorrow interesting (but, as I've said repeatedly, hopefully less damp). And now that our Easter Island adventures have come to an end, it's time for me to put away the ipad and prepare for flight - more from South America tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

we never go out of style

Today was pretty much perfect, in an entirely different way from the perfection of Bora Bora. Bora Bora is a manufactured paradise, made perfect for tourists (and honeymooners especially) - granted, they have the gift of awesome weather and an amazing setting around a sinking volcano, but the perfection comes from the setting and the service, not the saccharine cultural overlay that seems to have only minimal basis in history.

Easter Island, by contrast, is perfectly remote and very nearly totally desolate, thanks to the deforestation the inhabitants caused while using trees to move their crazy statue heads from the quarry to opposite sides of the island. Only seven thousand people live on the island, and it's nearly 2000km from the nearest inhabited land (Pitcairn Island, which isn't exactly a bustling metropolis) and well over 2000km from mainland Chile. So they're really isolated, and you can feel it in how empty the tourist locations are; only 70,000 tourists make it here per year, and we're hitting the low season, which means that the hotels aren't anywhere close to full and the tour guides have plenty of availability.

This, it turns out, worked entirely to our advantage today. After sleeping for almost ten hours last night (and still having to set an alarm to get out of bed - dawn isn't until 8:30 here, which is crazy), we met up with our guide for today's tour. It turns out that he was possibly the best thing of the entire trip - his name is Marcus, and he's a Swede who came here on a backpacking trip, came back, fell in love with a local woman, and stayed put. He's now learned Rapa Nui, which was super helpful in negotiating the local politics (more on that in a moment). He gave me and Joann a private tour of some of the best spots on the island - the most famous statue locations (the ahu, or ceremonial platforms where the moai (statues) were placed), the quarry where they were carved (and where hundreds still sit in varying forms of completion), and the beach where legend has it that the first king landed.

All of this was completely, desolately gorgeous. It rained a bit off and on all day, which added to the atmosphere. There was also a bit of local drama to add some spice; a self-appointed group of local revolutionaries has 'overthrown' the park ranger service and is now controlling access to everything, a state of affairs that the Chilean government seems to be tolerating during the low season. This is sort of good for us, since it meant we didn't have to buy the sixty dollar park pass, but it seems to be untenable in the long term. But Marcus knows them all (and everyone else on the island), and since their beef is with the Chilean government and recent Chilean immigrants rather than with the lone Swede on the island, we were totally fine.

So we spent the day touring, along with a lunch break at the beach, where I had a pork dish that completely shocked the cook - apparently tourists only order the empanadas, but since I can't eat wheat, I ordered meat. When I ordered, she made some joke about me being a Rapa Nui warrior; then she came out again later to say (in Spanish) that she was sorry it was taking so long, but she was cooking it really thoroughly so my tourist stomach could handle it. Hahahaha. But it turned out to be the most amazingly, simply delicious thing I've had in awhile, so if I get trichinosis from it, so be it.

Marcus ended the day by singing to us on the beach, and we enjoyed it so much that we booked him again for tomorrow. And then we came back to the hotel, rested a bit (or, in my case, went crazy because the internet wasn't working), went out and grabbed an early dinner (ceviche and half a bottle of wine for me, chicken stir fry and local beer for Joann), and then speed-walked back to the hotel as dusk was turning to darkness and the feral dogs started baying and snapping at each other.

And now I must sleep; we have another tour tomorrow, and then we're going to freshen up and have dinner before going to the airport for yet another short red-eye flight (in economy this time - but I have a lot of Chilean wine to look forward to at the end of it). Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

i got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt

We finally made it to Easter Island, so you can stop listening to me bitch about Tahiti like it's the worst place in the world (for the record: I wouldn't go back there). Last night went as well as it could have possibly gone - when we went to check in for our flight, we discovered that we were both in business class, which is possibly the only thing that stopped us from getting truly stabby. So we didn't have to suffer through the ridiculously long lines, and we were able to get a bit of sleep in some surprisingly nice beds with surprisingly nice amenities. Granted, it wasn't enough sleep to make today easy - I think we got three hours or so, which meant that when we finally got to the hotel (at seven am), we promptly crawled into bed and slept until noon.

So the rest of the day was a bit miserable, but a bit wonderful...we walked into town and saw some moai (the giant stone heads that Easter Island is famous for) along the way, which were pretty awesome. We grabbed a late lunch at a promising-looking restaurant that actually lived up to the promise; I had the first great steak of the trip, and it was enough to reenergize me for some more walking/sightseeing. Then we went to the museum and read about the moai and Rapa Nui's civilization. Not much is known about Rapa Nui's past (before the Europeans, before it became Easter Island), mostly because almost all of the citizens died/were killed/were enslaved in a very short time frame in the 1800s, which is deadly for the passing on of an entirely oral history. But the stone heads that remain, on an island that is farther away from other inhabited points than any other inhabited place on earth, are pretty haunting.

After the museum, we came back to the hotel to use the internet, and we very nearly succumbed to the allure of eating granola bars and staying in because we're both so wiped out from the trip. But if I had to sit around for yet another day doing nothing, after the day we spent in Bora Bora using the spa before our flight, and then the day we spent in Tahiti staring at nothing because we had nothing to do in Tahiti, I was pretty sure I was going to lose my mind. So I dragged Joann back into town, where we found a dance festival in progress, so we watched that for a bit. And then we had a delightful dinner while discussing linguistics, family trees, etc.

Getting back to the hotel was a bit interesting; this was the reason why we'd hesitated to go out, since the walk back in the dark would be super sketchy (there is enough horseshit between the hotel and town to bury a man in, without even having time to be worried about the feral dogs or the rock-strewn mud paths or the complete lack of streetlights). But we managed to find a taxi; granted, he wore a hood like he was some sort of grim reaper, but he got us back to the hotel without drama.

And now, I'm desperate to sleep - we're doing a tour tomorrow (which was supposed to be today, but they were kind enough to rebook us), and I'm excited to see more moai at the end of the world. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

love the one you're with

Tahiti sucks. But that's probably because we should have been in Easter island ages ago, and I'm tired and cranky, and this hotel isn't nearly as nice as the Four Seasons, and whine whine whine. But we're about to go to the airport for attempt #2 at getting out of here....if I blog from Tahiti again, expect some serious rage (or petulant resignation). Adios!

the most amazing things can come from some terrible nights

Sooooo...I'm not in Easter Island. Nor am I at the Four Seasons Bora Bora, which feels like a distant memory of perfection. Instead, I am in some strange netherworld of gloom and dismay known as Tahiti, thanks to LAN canceling our flight. But they didn't just cancel our flight....they had no announcement or signage at the Tahiti airport, and so we didn't find out until we had already sat there for three hours of our six-hour layover waiting for the checkin desk to open.

So, to recap: after being whisked by boat from the Four Seasons to the Bora Bora airport, we were dumped straight into tropical hell. The flight to Tahiti was uneventful, and we got our bags easily, and we found seats near the only open restaurant in the airport, so it seemed like things were okay (if not nearly as fancy as we were accustomed to). But after three hours we were well and truly exhausted...and then they canceled our flight, could only give us a room where we have to share a bed (but they tittered about how we're friends and it's so cute that we're traveling together, which was better than the spa at Bora Bora that tried to give us a couples massage today...but I digress), and then stuffed us in a van with the stinkiest Frenchman I've possibly ever encountered.

And now we're at the Pearl Resort, which is nice enough (and right on the ocean)...but it's so far from the Four Seasons that my mind can't comprehend how far we've fallen. Joann and I have to SHARE A SINK, which is barbaric.

Now, I must sleep, and contemplate how we're going to kill all of tomorrow, since our new flight doesn't leave until seven pm. Sadly, this costs us a day on Easter Island, but we'llcross that bridge after we cross the ocean. And on that incredibly stupid note, it's time for bed - may you not hear from me again until Easter Island. Au revoir!

Monday, May 18, 2015

service announcement

We're leaving Bora Bora in a couple of hours, and I won't have service until we get to our hotel in Easter Island many hours from now...and even then, service may be spotty (and entirely dependent on whether I want to go to the reception to use it, and whether it works...you know I'll go to reception because I'm a crazed addict, but I can't control the internet speeds when I get there).

So, I'll try my best, but I hope you can survive slightly more sporadic posting between now and Chile. Au revoir!

i could fill your cup...you know my river won't evaporate

It's my last night in Bora Bora. We may have achieved peak island today; by 'peak island' I mean that time has slowed, nearly to a stop, as all the experiences begin to blend into each other and all the drinks and meals and sunsets begin to feel the same. This is not a bad thing, obvi - it's possible that this has been the most relaxing trip I've been on in years, if not ever (although Cancun and Hawaii with Katie would give this a run for its money, and Sri Lanka will always live fondly in my heart).

But that relaxation probably stems more from within than from my surroundings...timing this break to happen the day after I left my job was perhaps the most genius thing I've done in awhile (beyond the fact that I have to pay for it without having a steady paycheck anymore). I feel completely, utterly at peace right now, as though this is a little bit of a breath before the next battle after having finally won the last one. I'm starting to write down what I need to do and how I need to focus to keep this sense of  calm/peace/grace when I'm writing full time...the hardest issue I faced the last time I did this was maintaining my sanity and forgiving myself when I felt like I should write all the time and didn't (and blamed it on procrastinating...even though it's not possible or useful to write all the time). I don't want to repeat those issues, and I think setting up some sort of rough schedule would help - a schedule that includes things like trips to museums, music/art stuff, movies, friends, etc., etc.

So I spent some time thinking about that early this morning, as the sun came up over the lagoon and I enjoyed the feeling of having nowhere in particular to be. We ate breakfast around eight, and then spent most of the morning/early afternoon lazing about on the deck. I got some sun, but not too much; I took a nap, but not too long; and I called my parents, which was unfortunately too brief and somewhat difficult technologically because of the bad wifi situation here, but at least I got to talk to them before leaving here.

Eventually, Joann and I left the bungalow and did a bit of kayaking - nothing extreme, but it was nice to get out and exert myself for a little bit. Then I took my time showering and putting myself together - I am kind of tired of being covered in sunscreen residue, and so it was nice to do some proper grooming after several days of stickiness. After that, I wrote at the bar for awhile while drinking a pina colada (journal stuff, not Rafe/Octavia - they're going to have to wait for SF, I think), and then Joann joined me and we had sushi (again) for dinner.

And now, I've packed most of my stuff, and I've downloaded some new books for this leg of the trip, and I think I'm ready for the Easter Island portion of this adventure. It's possible that I won't be able to blog as regularly for the next few days, since it sounds like the internet is going to be intermittent at best, but I will make every effort to get online and keep you informed (I know, you're so lucky). Goodnight!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

so when you're near me, darling can't you hear me, sos

Today was yet another magical day in paradise, to the point that it's almost getting embarrassing to talk about how great everything is...but I'll make the sacrifice for you. I got up slightly later than usual (seven instead of six) and hung out on the balcony for an hour or so before having breakfast. Then, in an attempt to bake without frying, I laid out on the balcony for several hours...based on my skin's happiness level, I'd say I succeeded, but it was so warm and sunny that I had some fear that my sunscreen regimen might fail me.

But by two-ish, Joann and I were both ready to do something more active, so we snorkeled for an hour or so. The resort lagoon isn't quite as amazing as the stuff we saw yesterday, but it's also comfortably free of sharks, so we swam around and investigated the various coral worlds under the surface. I kind of want to try scuba diving now, although that's probably still beyond my comfort level...but maybe my funemployed self will do more swimming so that scuba becomes a real possibility.

After snorkeling, we sat on the beach and shared a snack before going back to our bungalow and showering off the salty sea so that we could have drinks and dinner at sunset. The sun sets so fast here...it's relatively equatorial, and so the sun set in the snap of a finger shortly before six pm. But we were at the sunset bar in time to see it, and we enjoyed some sushi and drinks after while discussing our favorite cosmetics, which is my idea of an awesome night.

Then we came back to our room, spent some quality time admiring the gorgeous stars of the Southern Hemisphere (and I saw the Milky Way for the first time in a long time), and then watched "Mamma Mia!" while polishing off the rest of the bottle of champagne we'd opened this afternoon. I may have sang along more than was strictly recommended, and I may have proclaimed too many favorite parts of the movie, but I think Joann forgave me.

And now I shall sleep so that I may bake again tomorrow - goodnight! And happy [censored] to [censored]!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

you love these little signs of life

My swimming lessons paid off today when Joann and I went on a half-day snorkeling excursion. I had my doubts about this initially, since I've never snorkeled before, but it ended up being a totally awesome time. Our first stop was focused on sharks and sting rays, and the guide kept encouraging is to touch the sting rays he caught for us to pet (although when a stranger keeps yelling "touch it! touch it!", my mind goes strange, uncomfortable places).

The second stop was my favorite; we spent some time at a 'coral garden', where we saw tons of really cool fish. The water was so amazingly clear, and the fish do not care at all that we're hanging out. That was put to the test at the third site, where we saw much bigger sharks - I was not really into that stop, mostly because we were on the ocean instead of the lagoon and so the water was a lot choppier. But I got an underwater photo of a shark, which you can see in my Instagram if you're so inclined.

The boat trip also included a sail around the whole island, which was awesome because it confirmed that we have no need to or interest in going to the only town on the island. Then we came back to the hotel, ate a late lunch on the beach, and laid out to continue the tanning process (miraculously, I haven't burned myself year but that could change tomorrow...). We had wanted to see the sunset at the sunset bar, but a storm rolled in and obstructed the view, so we just had a drink there and reminisced about the day and all the strange people we encountered.

And now, having successfully made it to nine pm, I going to get ready for bed - goodnight!

Friday, May 15, 2015

just the sky the moon and us

Even in the rain, Bora Bora is lovely. It was overcast most of the day, but it was still great for relaxing, and I'm feeling quite at peace with the world at the moment. I woke up at six am (so weird) and sat on the deck with my journal and my phone and some bad coffee, watching the water and catching up on things back home and contemplating life. When Joann woke up, we sat on the deck some more, and then took full advantage of the complimentary breakfast buffet by stuffing our faces like crazy people.

After that was over, we mostly laid around, sat around, read, talked, and drank wine. At some point we decided to test out our snorkels; we're  doing a half day snorkeling thing tomorrow and we wanted to make sure our swimming lessons had adequately prepared us for the experience of having fish in our face. Even though it was raining and we were in the tamest part of the hotel lagoon, it was pretty freaking awesome - the fish were gorgeous, and I was v v pleased to discover that I could keep my face in the water the whole time without panicking at all. So I think tomorrow will be awesome (unless I'm eaten by a shark, in which case I hope my family is at least able to bury my arm Stonewall Jackson style even if the rest of me ends up in a watery (or stomachy) grave).

Then we cleaned ourselves up and ate dinner at the sunset bar (sans sunset), where the sushi was surprisingly good and surprisingly filling. And then, in an effort to stay awake, I finished the book I started this morning (Wallbanger, which I thought was only meh despite the rave reviews I'd heard). Now, alas, I must sleep so I can get up in time for another epic breakfast before snorkeling - goodnight!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

we are a law unto ourselves

Bora Bora is perhaps the most perfect place I have been to in my entire life. You know how you see photos of hotels on websites and know that the place won't actually look like that when you get there? There was no such false advertising from the Four Seasone. Everything is perfect, from the pickup at the airport (via catamaran - the airport is only accessible by water, and the greeters very modestly pointed out that the Four Seasons had the best boat), to the check in (each couple on the catamaran - and it was only couples except for me and Joann - were greeted by their own person who drove them straight to their bungalow via golf cart, so I haven't seen reception yet), to the weather (perfect, perfect, perfect).

So today was pretty awesome despite the fact that the flight here was decidedly not awesome (old plane, uncomfortable economy seats, followed by a clusterfuck of a transfer in Tahiti for the flight to Bora Bora). We were at the hotel by 9:30, so we showered, ate breakfast, and spent the rest of the day indulging in sun (on our perfect private deck) and water (in the crystal clear lagoon, accessible from our private ladder). We had a drink at the pool bar in the afternoon, followed by more sun, followed by an intense attempt to stay awake by talking/reading despite the fact that we're three hours behind California and so I wanted to go to bed at 6:30.

But now that we've eaten room service and its reached the slightly more respectable hour of nine pm, I'm going to sleep - goodnight! (and ps, you can see a couple of pics by clicking the Instagram link above - I'm blogging from my phone, so no photos will be uploaded here (and typos may be worse than usual)).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

lonely and dreaming of the west coast

I'm sitting on the plane from LA to Tahiti, so this must be brief....but suffice it to say that the spinster honeymoon is off to a great start. So is my unemployment - today was pretty much perfect for the first six hours, until I suddenly realized I was at serious risk of not having packed anything for the trip.

I woke up at 5:20 like I was still employed, but then I went back to sleep because mornings are stupid. But I woke up again at 6:45, messed around on my phone like a lazy wench, and eventually went to Philz to get an wary morning coffee and write my packing list while people watching. It was totally lovely, and I'm excited for that to become part of my routine. Then I came home and had to shower rather than running errands because a bird shat on my head for the first time ever (a fear I've always had in the city).

After that trauma, I needed some therapy, so I went to the mall and bought stuff for my trip and ate lunch. And then I realized I was running out of time, so I frantically packed (which means I overpacked, which means I have a ridiculous amount of stuff with me). But I made it to the airport in time to have dinner with Joann before boarding our flight to LAX (possibly the worst airport ever).

And now we're waiting to take off, and I'm super excited about fun in the sun (even if I'm not excited about this overnight flight). Goodnight!

Monday, May 11, 2015

i'm gonna love you like a black widow baby

The day job is over. Today was a v. bittersweet day; I thought I was an old pro at resigning, but I felt more emotional today than I expected to. Perhaps it was because I didn't sleep all that well last night; perhaps it was because I like a lot of my coworkers and will be sad to not work with them anymore; perhaps it's because my life has been completely full of change over the last couple of months as I upended everything and pushed to create the life I want out of the detritus of the past, and the latent stress of all that change is catching up to me despite the fact that I want all of it v. eagerly.

Whatever it was, I had a good day, but I felt slightly closer to tears than I expected to feel (but still far enough away to maintain my stoic demeanor). I got up early, got to campus a little before seven, and worked at the coffee place for the last time until almost nine. This was all day job stuff, since I wanted to get through a few last-minute items (success), but sitting there probably just compounded the bittersweetness, since I liked the coffee routine even if that's absurdly early for my normal night owl state.

Dave showed up at some point, so we grabbed a final breakfast (something chilequile-ish?)...and it was a sign of the end times that we ate it at the cafe rather than rushing to our desks for the 9am meeting that neither of us are required to go to anymore. Then I went to my building, had a last meeting with my boss (who asked me to set up a monthly lunch with him...clearly he has not lost hope that he can lure me back someday), did a bit more work, and packed up my desk.

Maybe the packing caused the emotions - I was going through stuff that I had the last time I worked there, some of which was now many years old, and I ended up tossing a lot of it. I remember that I took three boxes with me to work when I started two years ago, and today I only brought home one box, which would include some of the things I got in the past two years. Most of what I tossed is work-specific paraphernalia that I have no use for anywhere else (lava lamp, Mrs. Potato Head, etc.), and by giving or throwing it away, I think there was some sort of subconscious acknowledgement that this is really the end now, rather than my first resignation, which I always suspected on some level was more of a temporary hiatus.

But life is (hopefully) long, and there are many things I may do before the end, and maybe going back to work is one of them. But I'm going to do my damnedest over the next couple of years to make the writing thing work instead.

sssanyway, after packing, I grabbed a final lunch with Dave, Tomas, and Eugene. Tomas was mildly emotional, but Eugene asked if they could put me in a kayak and shoot arrows at me like a Viking funeral, which sounds great except I would be very much alive and also a sitting duck in a nonmoving kayak in a parking lot, so I declined his generous offer. And then I took care of a few more things, did my exit interview, returned my devices, said goodbye to whoever was around, turned in my badge, and left before it all became too much.

So tonight was mildly euphoric, mildly sad, and mostly an exercise in trying to keep myself occupied so I wouldn't be too sad (or too euphoric, I suppose). I took care of some things for my trip, bought tickets for a family reunion, etc., etc. And then I met up with Vidya (aka Chandlord), her former resident Steve, and his fiancée Danielle at Burma Love for a v. late (for me) dinner. I only vaguely know Steve (although I've heard a lot about him), and I've never met Danielle, but it was a really fun excursion - they're getting married in a month, and I'm going on a spinster honeymoon, so it's almost like we're the same people!! (kidding)

And now that I've caught up a bit with Chandlord, and succeeded in not dwelling over all the changes in my life (there will be ample time for that over rum in Bora Bora), I really need to sleep; I haven't started packing, and my flight's tomorrow night, so I should probably get on that. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

in a tidal wave of mystery you'll still be standing next to me

I spent my last Sunday as an employed person reminding myself why I must soon become an unemployed person...doing dayjob-related tasks most of the day so that I can prepare to cut the cord tomorrow. I still have stuff on my to-do list, and perhaps I should have done more work today rather than taking a nap / getting a mani/pedi / talking to the family / hanging with the family time. But the end is going to come whether anyone else wants it to come or not - my boss certainly doesn't want it, and I don't think my team does either, but I'm ready to go.

And that's all there is to say about that, really; I feel completely at peace with my decision to leave, and I'm excited for everything that's to come. Of course, at the moment I'm particularly excited about imminent beach time, but the chance to focus on making my writing career into something amazing is super exciting.

Enough about me, though...let's talk more about me. The rest of my day was good; I talked to [censored] briefly, and I also talked more extensively to my parents. I felt vaguely sad/guilty that I wasn't there for my mother on Mother's Day, and that I haven't been home since Christmas. But I'm going to see them in Texas in a month (family reunion!!), so that's going to be fun even if Texas is even more likely to melt my California-weakened flesh off my bones than Iowa is.

Then I did a bit more work, and then I abandoned all pretense of productivity to have family dinner at Adit and Priyanka's. It was particularly family-ish tonight since Priyanka's parents are in town, and her mom made dinner for us - tasty rice, chickpeas, cauliflower/potato (more generically vegetables, aka subz/sabzi - the origin of Lauren's nickname), etc., with some v. excellent tamarind and cilantro chutneys. She also made chai after dinner, and it was some of the best chai I've ever had, which made me sad that I couldn't drink more since I desperately need to sleep tonight.

So it was good to catch up with some of the family (plus some randoms); Adit and Priyanka were there, obvi, as was Katrina, and Omar is in town from Canada, so we reminisced about his visit to Iowa and asked each other highly personal/inappropriate questions that I'm sure Priyanka's parents appreciated. We also listened to some deep house, discussed the SF housing market + Scandinavian design + the royal baby, and were generally ridiculous, so it was par for the course.

And now I must sleep so I can get up super early tomorrow and finish the last bit of stuff that I want to clean up before turning in my laptop/badge/steady paycheck - goodnight!

Saturday, May 09, 2015

let's not be alone tonight

I was v. productive today, even if very little of it had to do with all the day-job stuff I feel like I should probably do before I say sayonara on Monday. I was also no longer feeling hungover (although I did need a nap at noon), so that was v. refreshing. The day started off early with a trip to Union Street to see my aesthetician, who managed to be quite entertaining while tearing hair out of my flesh, so that was good. Then I had brunch while chatting with the usual suspects at my favorite cafe, dropped off a dress to get altered before my trip (fingers crossed it can be done, but it seems mildly unlikely), came home, and took care of house stuff the rest of the day (except for my glorious nap in the middle of it).

So I cleaned everything I felt like cleaning today... and then Claudia came over, and we had pizza and split a bottle of wine and generally talked about everything and nothing. I could continue to wax eloquently about our friends, but I'm on the verge of falling asleep while typing this, and that's always a dangerous place...so you'll have to make do with this. Goodnight!

Friday, May 08, 2015

i'll tell you all about it when i see you again

I had a rather epic hangover today, which is what I deserved after allowing my coworkers to get me as drunk as they'd always dreamed of getting me after two years of mostly not drinking around them (Frankfurt doesn't count, since that was a limited subset of coworkers, none of whom reported to me). Their nefarious plans included six shots of tequila and a couple of ciders, but since those shots were more like doubles, it's no wonder that things got messy...

But my going-away party yesterday was super fun, and I felt v. v. loved. Today, I still felt loved, but I felt like I was loved while being run over by a truck. However, I still made it onto a 6:25am shuttle, got to campus at 7:15, and proceeded to do some work like a good (soon-to-be-done) corporate drone. This felt v. industrious of me, since I beat everyone to work despite the fact that I was the most hungover of them all.

Still, I felt slightly too dizzy to be maximally productive. But I enjoyed my coffee, and then grabbed chilequiles and scrambled eggs for breakfast, which may have saved my life. Dave filled in some of the gaps from last night's debauchery for me while I ate, which was kind (or maybe not kind) of him, since it was reported that I bit Eugene (not really that surprising, but maybe a little surprising). sssanyway, I then spent the rest of the morning working before grabbing lunch (a strange combo of tiny fried fish that I didn't eat, french fries, and korean soft tofu soup), grabbing froyo, grabbing coffee, and driving back to the city before traffic and my hangover conspired to ruin my day.

When I got here, I got a haircut and a brow wax as part of my rigorous schedule to prepare myself for Bora Bora. Then I sat on my couch, which was amazeballs. And then I put on a dress and some killer heels and met Kathia for dinner at Seven Hills. She and I had to see each other tonight because we won't see each other again until the end of June, and so we caught up over pasta (gluten free for me) at her favorite Italian place near her house. We're both looking forward to hanging out more regularly as soon as we're both back in town and I'm no longer doing the day job...all of those things can't come soon enough.

But now I really need to sleep and hope that the hangover is gone by tomorrow - I have many tings to do and relatively few hours in which to do them. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

my heart is my armor

Sorry for misleading you yesterday...I got entirely too inebriated today at my going-away party, but you don't get to hear any of it because I just slept on my couch for the last three hours and need to go to bed immediately so I can sleep for another six more. But suffice it to say that my team made sure that I a) felt very well sent off, and b) made sure that I can't come back for fear of a lawsuit. This included some Sara Ramsey mad libs, a bunch of trivia questions, and entirely too many tequila shots (I know, sounds like a typical Thursday, but this one was epic).

So now I'm going to bed...more tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

one more spoon of cough syrup

Too tired to blog - I've got three days left in the office, too much work, and too many fun things planned, so I need to go to bed immediately. But today was good, even if I trained with Alyssa at seven and was busy most of the day. I did manage to have lunch with Alaska Matt, coffee with Dave, and friendship renewal dinner with Joann/Tolu/Jen/Jane, so it's not like I was antisocial...I was just vaguely overwhelmed with work and life.

And now, I must sleep - team event tomorrow means a high likelihood that you'll get a mildly (or majorly) drunken blog post tomorrow night, so at least you have that to look forward to. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

she's the tear in my heart

Four days left at zee day job. Today was a total mixed bag of emotion; I had to run to catch my shuttle this morning, and when I got to work I only had half a glorious hour at the coffee shop before starting meetings at eight a.m. (to chat with the guy on my team who is in Paris for the quarter and so has missed all the ridiculousness of my departure). And then I had meetings most of the day - I delivered four performance reviews, had a lunch meeting, had some more meetings, and had a quick break to grab coffee with Jen and Tomas. It was almost, but not quite, enough to keep me totally awake...

...but then I skipped out of work at four to have drinks with the team. This was kind of a jhoke on my face, because we're having a team event on Thursday where I could say goodbye to everyone, but my boss felt like we should do drinks for the cross-functional team (read: people not invited to our team event) as well. So we had drinks...and only one person from the xfn books team showed up. The xfn team from the other team I've been managing outnumbers the books guy two to one, despite the xfn team being like 90% smaller than the books team, and despite me having known them only three months. Lol.

But that was exactly what I expected. The upshot was that I got to see three xfn people I like, a bunch of my own team (who I adore), and two upstanding members of my past life - Alaska Matt and Regina, both of whom were in India with me when I was still in my youth. And it was nice to drink cider in the sun, so I'll take it.

And before I go to bed, I have to say I got two of the best presents ever today. Tomas, Eugene, and Dave gave me a framed 8x10" photo of themselves, and my description of it can't do it justice, but suffice it to say that it was brilliant and will probably have to be hung on my wall. And Viviana and Yune gave me a champagne flute engraved with 'World's Okayest Ex-Manager', which I totally wasn't expecting and will totally use to drink champagne out of all the time.

So, feeling very loved and very tired, I must sleep so I can survive it all again tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, May 04, 2015

sometimes you gotta bleed to know that you're alive and have a soul

Today was a long day, and tomorrow is going to be another one...but I think I'm going to survive the last week of work without too much drama (famous last words). Also, today could have been worse; 2.5 hours of meetings were canceled, which made for a much better situation than I was expecting. I got up super early, got to campus by 7:15, and worked for an hour and a half before grabbing breakfast and going to my building. Since my nine a.m. was canceled, I had half an hour to do more stuff before commencing meetings. Then I took a break to see Alyssa; she had me deadlift today, which means I'll probably be sore tomorrow, but it was better than being at the office.

When I got back to the office, I showered, then grabbed a salad with Dave. I thought I had a meeting at one, so I left him at the cafe with Manuela/Shannon while I went back to our building - but when I got there, the meeting had been canceled. So I rendezvoused with them again and grabbed coffee, which was delightful (and the only thing that kept me awake this afternoon). Then I had another meeting, and then I went to the onsite store to look for post-its for my parents (failure; I think they stopped making them years ago). After that, it was meetings straight until six p.m., but I drank a cider in one of the most ridiculous ones (seriously, it was like watching a train wreck), so I survived.

And then I came home, where I promptly worked for another two hours. And now I must sleep immediately; I want to catch the 6:25 shuttle so that I don't have to drive home tomorrow night, since there are plans for drinks or something, but that means I can't mess around and be late in the morning as I often am. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

closing time

No time to blog tonight...I meant to go to bed an hour ago, but I instead wrote and sent my goodbye email for work. There were many many other things I should have done for work this afternoon, but I mostly focused on myself - it was a productive, albeit hermity, day, which was a good thing.

It started with brunch at my favorite place on Union Street, since I decided I wanted to eat huevos while talking to Tony. Then I got the gel taken off my fingernails, with a sad regular manicure to replace it (necessary to give the nails a break, but now that I've gone gel it's hard to go back, because I'm a total princess...a princess who is eminently without a paycheck and should probably stop getting gel as a result). And then I spent the afternoon unpacking the last of my boxes and organizing my stuff. The result is that I'm completely unpacked, although I have a stack of picture frames that I need to hang - but since I will likely take a lot of photos on my upcoming trip that I'll want to swap into the mix, I'm going to hold off until I'm home again.

By late afternoon, I was all done, and so I called my parents and caught up on the happenings in their lives. Then I ate some tuna salad (sorry, Katie) and spent the evening working on day job stuff.

And now, I shall sleep - there are only six days left at the office (really, more like five), and I have a lot of stuff to get done before walking through the doors a final time. Goodnight!

earned it

I achieved a good mix of socializing and productivity today, even if I wasn't feeling the idea of getting out of bed this morning. But I eventually dragged myself out of bed, made some coffee, and did a couple of hours of stuff before going downtown to meet up with Heather (aka dear respected madam). I hadn't seen her in almost three months, which is appalling; between the trip to India/Tokyo, the move, the trip to Tahoe, and the resignation from work, it's been a brutal few months, and any socializing that required dinners in the south bay or driving anywhere but within the city pretty much fell apart.

But even though it had been too long, we picked up right where we left off, and we spent almost four hours catching up. We had brunch/lunch at Town's End, where I was miraculously able to park right outside despite the Giants game at AT&T park. Then we went to the mall, where I returned a whole bunch of stuff to Nordstrom, and where we promptly bought shoes to celebrate my successful returning of other shoes. All in all, it was a v. successful catch-up and a v. successful Nordstrom excursion, and I'm glad we were able to spend some serious quality time together before I go out of the country.

The other fortuitous thing was that I mentioned that I wanted to rearrange some of my furniture, and Heather texted Salim and got him to come over to my place and take care of it for me. That meant I had to furiously rearrange everything before he got there and move hundreds of pounds of books/alcohol/glassware, but it took him five minutes to move the stuff, and the effort on my end was v. well worth it. Now I can actually use my dining table, and I feel like I can unpack the last couple of boxes of decorative stuff since it's more clear to me where I can put it.

So I chatted with Salim for a little bit, and then I spent a couple of hours putting everything back onto shelves. Eventually, though, I was done being productive, so Chandlord came over and we split most of a bottle of wine while I ate scrambled eggs and tortillas (dinner of champions!). After we'd properly caught up, she successfully dragged me to Lucky 13 (a dive bar near where I lived with Adit)...but I didn't know anyone there but her (and the person whose going-away party it was, vaguely), so I didn't last very long.

And now I want to sleep as much as possible - tomorrow's going to come too early, and I have to do several hours of work for the day job, but I also want to mess around the apartment and make it perfect (dream the impossible dream), and also possibly see some friends. We shall see, we shall see. Goodnight!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

i got sinning on my mind, sipping on red wine

Today was awesome, as most days that end in hangovers at ten p.m. are. Of course, it started far too early; I got up at 5:30 and was out the door by 6:15 to catch a shuttle. The ride was blissfully fast, since there was no traffic that early on a Friday morning, and it dropped me off right outside the coffee shop on campus. It was, in fact, so fast and smooth that I was able to work most of the way in, which is odd for me - or maybe it was the adrenaline of knowing I needed almost every minute of the morning to finish my slides that kept me from getting motion sickness.

Anyway, I worked at the coffee shop from 7ish to 9ish, grabbed breakfast on the way to my building, and continued to monkey around with my slides until 10:30. Then I delivered the presentation, and while there were no standing ovations (which would have been super awkward from twelve people crammed into an eight-person room), it was all pretty well-received, and my boss seemed to get a bit emotional at the end. This is likely because he has to take on all my work when I leave and not because I'm awesome, but we'll pretend it's the latter.

After that, though, I had no intention of doing any more work, so I didn't. Instead, Dave, Tomas, Eugene, and I all fled (somewhat secretly, but not secretly enough, probably) the office for a long afternoon lunch/drinking activity to celebrate/mourn my departure. We went to Joya in Palo Alto, which I hadn't been to in awhile, and it was perfectly blissful. It takes virtually no alcohol to get that group to discuss wildly inappropriate things, but by the time we had a pitcher of sangria and then proceeded on to beer/wine (for the dudes) and mojitos (for me), things all got totally ridiculous. We then proceeded on to the Patio, where we had more beer/cider, and where I was coerced into taking an entirely unnecessary tequila shot.

At this point, I already feel well-fêted for my departure after spending four hours drinking with some of my favorite people while gossiping, discussing foot fetishes, and playing the fun parlor game of 'we'll read your own sex scenes to you and you have to guess which book they came from' (all of which is the tip of the inappropriate iceberg for the afternoon's festivities). But I think there's more fun to come next week, so hopefully this was a good warm-up for my liver.

Anyway, by 5:30 we were all done and Eugene and Tomas had to get home to their kids (what are those??), so Dave gave me a ride back to the city. This took quite a bit of time since traffic was horrible, and we had to stop at Starbucks to get caffeine, and we also had to stop at Costco...but eventually I made it to my home, where I fielded a couple of texts from Priyanka about possible dinner plans. As I was waiting to see what materialized, I instead passed out on my bed and slept until nine p.m. I awoke mildly hungover, ate some soup, abandoned the soup in favor of water, and generally messed around on the internet and stared off into space until now.

And now, after a perfectly lovely day, I shall sleep the sleep of the just (or the crazy) so that I can get some working and socializing done tomorrow - goodnight!