Tuesday, May 31, 2016

the room where it happens

I was far more diligent today than I was yesterday, which was good preparation for the next few days of brutal slogging. But I also got nine hours of sleep and drank no alcohol, which was probably better preparation than anything else I could have done. The bed in my cute little airbnb is super comfortable, and the shower pressure is great, and there's a chair that seems comfortable but will probably destroy my back, so that's all nearly perfect...and good for the writing apocalypse that is descending upon me.

But that's too dramatic - let me start over. I woke up around nine, lazed about in bed, and then unpacked and took stock of my clothing choices and organized my writing materials. I also made some coffee and considered what I wanted to get done today, and took more time than you would think to get my manuscript onto my ipad (I needed to break it into pdf chunks that I could import into annotation software so that I could draw edits on them). And then I showered and generally tried to make myself look and feel human.

Once all of that was accomplished, I ventured out and had a late breakfast at Yolk, which is v. nearby and v. v. tasty - the folded eggs (a lazy man's omelette) with carnitas and avocado and salsa were excellent, and it was served with tater tots, which made for a delicious and not-so-nutritious start to the day (it would have been more nutritious if I'd finished the kale salad it came with, but kale salad is for chumps). Then I wandered down Provincetown's main drag and found a coffee shop, where I got a tea and sat on the patio for a couple of hours and read through the first third of the book (my least favorite third, as it turns out, which made me mildly depressed at the time).

Then I came back to the studio, with a stop to get a sandwich and some other grocery-type provisions (the sandwich, which I ate later, was super tasty). I also took a nap, which was v. necessary. Then, after a bit of procrastination, I worked in my room for about five hours, and got through the entire manuscript. Verdict: I have a lot of work to do, but it may be a decent enough book someday (where someday has to be in approximately two weeks), so we'll see.

And then I took care of a bunch of other business stuff on my to-do list that I've been neglecting, so that was all good. And now it's nearly one a.m. and I need to sleep so I can slog tomorrow (but also hopefully take a break and do at least one fun thing - we shall see). Goodnight!

Monday, May 30, 2016

overcome by bourbon and ordinary talk

I'm in Provincetown, which somehow feels like a lifetime away from this weekend's extraordinarily lovely activities...and yet this is shaping up to be lovely in its own unique way. I woke up this morning in Boston, where I was feeling #inittowinit, so I got out of bed, made myself some coffee, and hung out with my journal and my caffeine while I waited for Ritu and Bill to wake up. We had a lovely, lazy, leisurely morning/afternoon - we hung out and did v. little in the morning, and then we had a late lunch at a restaurant near them. My lunch was extremely tasty - red flannel hash, which is a regular hash but with the addition of beets (delicious even with turkey instead of corned beef). The hash + the poached eggs + the coffee went a long way toward restoring me to the land of the living, even if the service was a bit weird.

But all good things must end, which was true of my weekend with Bill and Ritu - I had such a great time with them, and I was v. v. sad to part ways and go on to my next adventure. But I will see them more this summer since I'm participating in their wedding shenanigans, so our farewells were easier since I have more dates with them already lined up. We spent my last hour together watching the end of Zoolander 2, which was totally ridiculous, and then they dropped me off at the ferry and my next adventure commenced.

I took the ferry from Boston to Provincetown, which is an hour and a half of pure gorgeousness (with some moisture - I chose to sit on top so the breeze would keep me from vomiting, but I was a little cold and a little wet by the time I arrived). Then I took a cab to my airbnb and checked in - it's a super cute little studio with some comfy chairs, a great bed, and a kitchen table that will serve as a perfect desk, so I'm pretty pleased with it. The owner was quite friendly and gave good introductions/recommendations, so I think my time will be productive.

After I settled in, I talked to my parents, since I hadn't talked to them yesterday. Then, I followed my plan of not working tonight and instead went out for dinner - but I didn't journal as much as I intended because I went deep into 'talk to strangers' mode, which was delightful. The restaurant I picked seemed ideal for this, since it was called 'Strangers and Saints', and the bartender made me an utterly delightful bourbon cocktail to go with my perfect steak (the steak had a chimichurri with a lot of garlic, and some roasted potatoes on the side, which was everything I needed). I did a bit of journalling initially, but then ended up having a v. long conversation with the guy sitting next to me, who it turns out is the partner of an exec I knew of at ye olde day job (never interacted with directly, but had some indirect dealings with while I was working for the big boss).

This conversation was delightful, and I got a lot of recommendations for what to see while in Provincetown, plus an invitation to check out his koi pond, so we'll see about that. After he left, I was packing up my stuff and ended up in conversation with the woman sitting next to me - she was lovely and really fun, but her partner seemed to think that I wouldn't write romance novels if I were in a fulfilling relationship, so I tried to disabuse her of that notion (probably without success). But at least she also said I was too pretty to be alone, so I guess she wasn't trying to force a pity party on me. Then they left, and the bartender commended me on my ability to make friends and introduced himself as well - so I would say that I will have no trouble striking up conversation in Provincetown if I should get tired of sitting in my own head and writing nonstop.

Anyway, Provincetown seems to be exactly what I'm looking for at the moment - and if it's not, I'm only here six days and I need to write for almost all of it, so c'est la vie. But I'm pretty pleased with the setup so far. And now I'm going to go to bed so that I can get back to work tomorrow - goodnight!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

if you ain't gonna do me right, i might just do you in

Boston's climate today was a frozen hellscape - it was thirty degrees cooler than it was yesterday. At first, we were super psyched about this since we almost died from the sun yesterday...but we were cold all afternoon/evening, and the fact that we weren't sweating constantly means we didn't get dehydrated, which means we had to use the gross portable toilets more than once (although to be fair, they were significantly cleaner than could have been expected at this stage in the game).

However, cooling off was welcome, if only because it might not be too hot in the apartment to sleep tonight. I spent this morning lazing about in bed since I needed to recover from several nights of no sleep - I'm not all the way there yet, but this morning went a long way toward restoring me. After I woke up, Ritu and I sat on the couch and watched "Lemonade" (Beyonce's recent music video/movie) - we'd already tried to watch it twice while doing wedding invitation stuff, but we decided to watch it this morning so we could focus on the production. It was pretty off the wall crazy, and I loved all of it.

But eventually we had to go see live music instead of video music. But first we had brunch tapas at Barcelona, which is in their neighborhood - I've never had brunch tapas before, but these were so fucking delicious. Ritu and I split the spicy shrimp and grits (good news: I was able to eat two shrimp without throwing up, and I had oysters the other night, so I'm hopefully that I'll get over my seafood aversion at some point), and we also split the crispy pork belly with this really fresh, delightfully tart tomatillo salsa, which was probably my favorite thing. I also had the short rib hash with an egg on top, which gave the pork belly a run for its money - the short ribs were perfectly cooked and falling apart, and the egg on top of the potatoes/peppers was a nice touch. I finished off with some patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy mayo/aioli), which were not strictly necessary, but were v. welcome.

Of course, we also had two cocktails each, because that's apparently how we roll. Then we went to the festival for day three - and unlike yesterday, once we got there we stayed there. As I mentioned, we were all cold (although we were at least dressed more appropriately than a lot of people there) - but it was a really fun afternoon/evening. We saw Vince Staples first - he was a rapper whose intrasong commentary was totally hilarious (railing against drug use and 'youth culture', encouraging kids to go to college - did I mention he's 22?). Then, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires performed - he has an amazing soul/blues voice, and dresses like he has been famous forever (or dresses like Vidya, maybe), but I looked him up and he's in his mid-sixties but just released his first album a few years ago (before that, he was homeless, and at some point a chef, and then a James Brown impersonation act).

After that came the Front Bottoms, which we mostly skipped in favor of finding someplace out of the wind where we could drink some wine. Elle King was after that, and she may have been my favorite performance of the night - she sings 'Exs and Ohs', which I've loved for awhile, as well as a lot of other great, raspy-voiced songs of note. Oddly, she's also the daughter of Rob Schneider, and you can kind of see it on her face if you know it (but would never ever guess otherwise).

After Elle King, we grabbed some food from the food stands, and then we watched Janelle Monae, Haim, and Disclosure, with random breaks at certain points for more wine. All three of them were great - I particularly liked how female-centric today was and how strong the female vocalists were. So the festival ended on a high note, and I would definitely consider coming back - it was nice to do a city festival that was still not that crowded and still easy to get a lyft to/from (we only waited four minutes after the concert ended for a lyft, which would never happen in SF).

Then we came home, ordered pizza (because we're now all wired to require a midnight supper), and watched half of Zoolander 2 because I recommended it and Ritu and Bill are gullible. And now I need to sleep - I have stuff I want to do with Ritu and Bill tomorrow (mostly eat food, drink, and do some wedding stuff), and then I'm catching a ferry to my next destination tomorrow afternoon, where I shall write like a madwoman all week. Goodnight!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

i get a little bit genghis khan, don't want you to get it on

Boston's climate today was a scorched hellscape, but the music scene was angelic...so perhaps the net net is that I wound up in some sort of weird purgatory? Read the following paragraphs and be the judge....

I didn't sleep all that well last night - between the jetlag, the alcohol, the excitement of seeing Ritu, the relatively warm room, and the fact that I usually don't sleep that well on my first night in a new place, my slumber was super fitful. So theoretically I got seven and a half hours based on when I went to bed and when I got up, but it felt like five. This was v. unwelcome coming on top of Thursday night's redeye (barely slept) and Wednesday night's sleep/writing break (another five or six hour night). But I got up and hung out with Ritu while drinking coffee and doing nothing, and that was great.

Eventually, we all showered and tidied up and had brunch/lunch at Ribelle, which was delish - I had an omelette with cheese that was a standout winner of its class, and the coffee also went a long way toward restoring me. At that point I was still trying to be healthy(ish) - I had turned down morning champagne with Ritu, which had taken her completely by surprise. Of course, that ended as soon as we got to the concert venue. It was at least ninety degrees today, which made for a v. intensely warm experience, and so when we got there we pretty much immediately sought out cold wine in a can and a bit of shade on the back terrace.

But we listened to some of the afternoon sets and really liked them - in particular, I liked Battles, the Vaccines, and also Børns, who sings 'Electric Love', which is a delightful song. We alternated between hanging out in the main area and seeking shade in some of the back channels, and it was all great (albeit super sweaty).

But by 4:30ish, we needed a break, so we left the venue and had a v. long, leisurely early dinner at Rigoletto, which was a couple of blocks from the stages at City Hall. They had a gluten free pasta with a really excellent bolognese sauce, and we had two bottles of wine, because that seemed sooooo necessary. And then, after we'd cooled off and eaten and liquored up, we went back to the festival....

...but by that point, I was so sleepy that I was practically falling asleep standing up. We watched Miike Snow, who was great, and then we mostly hung out away from the crowds during Odesza (whose music I really like, but it's all electronica, which I wasn't really in the mood for). We also watched some of the Warriors game, since there was a lounge area with TVs (lol). And then, after even more alcohol, we infiltrated the stage area and watched Robyn (who was great, but it's hard to top the amazingness that was Sia's performance last night).

When the concert was over, we adjourned to Eastern Standard, where we all had another full meal at 11pm + cocktails that were delightful. At this point Ritu went off the rails and was talking nonsense (I think due to exhaustion, not alcohol), and it was all ridiculous (but the food and ambience were great!). The ridiculousness continued on the way home, when it suddenly became scarily clear that I am the only person sober enough to make decisions (and since Ritu, as of fifteen minutes ago, thought Bill was possessed by the devil and Bill was making no efforts to convince her otherwise...but then, I make terrible decisions on far less information than this, so I suppose they're good for each other).

And now, after getting them safely into bed (and considering hiring a pagan goddess to confine them there, although that would be a real blow to the romantic ideal of falling in love easily or staying together no matter what)...it's time for me to sleep and hopefully survive tomorrow. Goodnight!

ricochet, you take your aim

[note: this didn't post last night when I wrote it, since I was falling asleep and probably failed to hit publish (falling-asleepedness proven by the last couple of lines, which make no sense). but I'm alive, which, ironically, is one of the songs Sia sang last night. And now I'm going back to sleep - yay!]

It's entirely too late to blog - it's 3:15am in Boston, which is well beyond my bedtime, especially since I took a redeye here and so only got a couple of hours of sleep last night. But today was, quite frankly, awesome despite the exhaustion. I got to Boston at 7:45am, but sat for a few minutes so paramedics could get someone off the plane (she looked fine to me, which is obviously a valid medical opinion). Then, I was supposed to go directly to Ritu's - but I had to get a crucial email to my editor, and I knew that as soon as I saw Ritu, I would want to go on vacation. So I grabbed coffee in the airport and sat for forty-five minutes and got through what I needed to get to so that I could take the weekend off without regrets.

Then, I took an uber to Ritu and Bill, who greeted me in style - we had hard boiled eggs and smoothies made with the same blender I recently bought, which was delightful. Then, Ritu and I ran wedding-related errands - mostly at the post office, where the guy with tattoo sleeves and an awesome Boston accent helped us price and assemble the stamps necessary to send out invitations with abnormal sizes. Then, we adjourned to Zaftig's, a deli where Bill joined us for lunch. I tried the corned beef hash, as I've been doing at new breakfast places - the hash itself was great, but the eggs were so-so and the potatoes were supremely uninteresting.

After that, we came home and pretended to watch 'Lemonade' while stamping envelopes and dealing with address labels. Eventually the wedding "fun" (note the quotes) ended, and we were temporarily bailed out to have dinner. We went to some extremely delicious oyster place, where I verified that I can still eat oysters after my food poisoning disaster (although I ordered steak for my entree, since I didn't want to tempt fate).

I must wrap this up, since I'm falling asleep - after dinner, we went to Boston Calling, which is the music festival I'm out here for. It was all delightful - we had more wine while watching Sufjan Stephens, and then we totally rocked out to Sia (who somehow got Kristen Wiig to be part of one of her show). Sia was a pretty amazing high to come down off of, but we adjourned to a northside cocktail place (which is home),

So now I'm exhausted and have to get up whenever my ghosts give up - goodnight!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

warmed by the drift

I'm blogging from my phone at SFO, in line for my flight to Boston. However, the gate agent for Cleveland is really making a hard sell on going to Cleveland (or he's extremely high, which is always possible in SF).

Today was a long, miserable slog - I got five hours of sleep, then worked without any real break until 1:30. I guess I took a shower in there, so that was exciting? I sent something to my editor then, but I need to send her some follow up notes tomorrow morning....we'll see. I think this book might actually be good? But we'll see in five weeks, which is when it comes out (lolololol sob yay).

I had to stop at 1:30 so I could get my hair cut, which was great. Then I had a lot of packing to do, and home stuff to take care of, so I did that until 8:30, when I dashed to the airport. I had enough time to have a glass of wine and a burger while working for another hour, so that was good. And now I'm looking forward to sleeping, and then taking the next three days completely off and enjoy Ritu and Bill and lots of music and wine and fun.

And now I should board the plane, and hope I don't sit next to the guy I saw walking down Guerrero today, who was very elderly and very naked except for a sock on his penis and a gym bag that may or may not have contained clothes. Thanks for the lovely farewell image, SF! Boston awaits...goodnight!

all that glitters

I am still not through with what I want to get through before sending the next version to my editor...but I'm close. But I'm also falling asleep over my keyboard and I have a high tendency toward typing nonsense when I'm in this state, so rather than wreck the entire book by adding/deleting things in my slumber, I'm going to sleep for a few hours and do some early morning work before sending it off.

Today was good, though - extremely hermity, but with a break at the end. I worked from home all day, and home is turning into a total wreck since I never folded the laundry I did yesterday and have been piling packages and things I need for Boston on my table and tv stand...but that's a problem for tomorrow as well. And I at least had a v. tasty smoothie for breakfast (orange, frozen pineapple chunks, spinach, a little cayenne, and some almond milk), and some additional tastiness from Sprig for lunch, so I wasn't dying even though I needed to work all day.

But I took a break tonight to have dinner with Jenni - we went to a Thai place in Japantown that I had never heard of before, but it was really tasty and pretty close to my house (and in a slightly more delightful area than my usual Lers Ros on Larkin). And we had a great time catching up on work and life - she seems to be doing well, which made me happy.

Then I came home and slept for an hour because I thought that would revive me, but no go. I did another hour of work after that, but it was like pulling teeth, so I'm going to sleep now and start fresh tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

the slow hum

I'm about to collapse from exhaustion (all mental/emotional, as it always is at this stage in the writing), so you're getting v. little from me tonight. I didn't write as many words/revise as many scenes as I had hoped today, but I had some startling insights/flashes of inspiration regarding the ending, and now I need to spend tomorrow going back through the whole thing and figuring out what's working and what's not and what I can fix in time to send it to my editor tomorrow night (which will likely be the wee, wee hours of Thursday morning).

So, needless to say, I was a hermit today. And I spent way too long digging into Wikipedia - once I start looking into a minor detail around whether characters could go to Italy in 1813 (they likely couldn't - most of Italy was theoretically free but actually under the control of Napoleon, and Napoleon and Britain were obvi at war), I only emerge from Wikipedia hours later, when I'm thirsty/hungry/unable to see straight.

But I did shower, put on something cute, put on red lipstick to complete the illusion of grown-up competence, and walk over to Fillmore, where I had a v. late lunch at Grove and drank a glass of subpar rosé while working for a couple of hours (seeing other people in the wild is always stimulating). Then I came home, did some laundry, talked to Terry about my upcoming NYC trip, and generally messed around on wikipedia before getting back into the story.

So that's all I've got for you. Never fear, the next couple of weeks are going to get way more interesting - I leave Thursday night on a redeye bound for Boston, where I shall spend the weekend with Ritu and Bill, and if you've read my blog at all this winter, you know how wonderful/terrible Ritu is for my liver and my fun-factor. So that will be a good break, but I need to earn it by going to bed now and writing like mad tomorrow -- goodnight!

Monday, May 23, 2016

party alarm

No party tonight, unless you like your parties to involve staring at a laptop until your eyes bleed. I didn't get to work very early this morning because I stayed up until two a.m., which was ill-advised - so I'm trying to go to bed now even though I'm still cranking on the story because I don't want to waste tomorrow morning like I wasted this morning...

But I was at Philz by 10:30 or so, and I worked for a couple of hours before having some Vietnamese curry at Mangosteen. Then I came home and wasted a couple of hours, since I needed a nap and some downtime to recover from last night's restless slumber. Then I got a couple of things from the grocery store, picked up some pants that I had gotten hemmed, and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening alternating between writing, messing around in my planner, and reading websites about planning/paper/ink because I'm an extreme dork and sometimes need to geek out about paper (and have no one to do it with in person, sigh).

But the progress I made today was great...if only I had been cranking like this six months ago. But that's not a fruitful line of thought to pursue - I am just glad that it's cranking now. And now, after canceling tomorrow's lunch (with Sriram) the way I canceled today's lunch (with Gyre), I'm going to go to bed and repeat most of this process tomorrow -- goodnight!

you watch me bleed until i can't breathe

Writing is progressing rapidly now, and I even took a break this afternoon for fun stuff...but all breaks must cease for the next couple of days, since I still have far too much stuff to get done before I turn it in to my editor on Wednesday (and then leave for Boston on Thursday). I woke up this morning and was mostly productive most of the day (at least until 1pm-ish). I'm still adding new scenes and taking out others, which means the words come in fits and starts sometimes, but at least they were happening.

But I can't articulate my process at this point, other than to say that writing is a bizarre and sometimes uncomfortable way to make a living. So I'll move on to other, easier things to explain - like drinking rosé on the back patio at Arlequin, which I'm pretty good at and is also something an amateur/novice could easily pick up without much skill or practice.

Of course, I talked to my parents this afternoon before pursuing my fun activity (and they were delightful, and also told me a nice story about a man named Bubba, so that was enjoyable). Then I walked down to Arlequin, which was hopping - luckily, Katrina and I were able to score a table and a bottle of rosé and three glasses, and we settled in to chat. Eventually, Justin joined us; he's better friends with Chandlord and Katrina than with me, but I always enjoy hanging out with him.

So the three of us sat around and discussed a variety of ridiculous and perhaps inappropriate topics, particularly in relation to weddings (Katrina has now been to like forty-two, which seems like approximately twenty too many) [actually, then I got curious and counted how many weddings I've been to, and it's fifteen friend weddings, ~8 family/family friend weddings, and seven weddings that I had to miss for a variety of reasons - but I was in four of the friend weddings and a couple of the family weddings and am about to be in Ritu's wedding, and I feel like those should count as extra].

Anyway, after Arlequin we went to Biergarten, where I very much enjoyed a bratwurst and some curried potatoes while drinking another glass of wine and talking about more ridiculous stuff. Eventually, we parted ways, and Justin and I walked back in this direction together (although he continued on past my place). I procrastinated when I got home, and then I took a long nap - sleeping from 9:30 to 10:30pm is dangerous and could have just turned into sleeping all night, but I rallied and worked for three hours, and that stuff was all good.

And now I need to sleep and hope my brain resets in time to write more words tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

strike a pose

Today was a long, lovely day, and I'm ready for bed (even though I should stay up all night and write...but maybe I'll do that tomorrow night). I got up fairly early and spent the morning chained to my laptop, which was quite productive once I got started. The writing process continues to intrigue and mystify me, but at least it's working now, so hopefully I'll produce a book worth publishing in the next month (doable, but I've got a lot of slogging to do before the end).

Anyway, a smoothie and a couple of coffees kept me going until noon, when I ate a sandwich and then showered/put on a dress/made up my face so that I could pursue my afternoon/evening activities. I had made this plan a month ago, back when I thought I was turning my book in to my editor last week instead of this coming week, and so while I was a little loath to socialize this afternoon from a timing perspective, I was super eager for the plan itself. I met Joann (of spinster honeymoon fame) and the original Jen Lui at the de Young, where we had tickets for the Oscar de la Renta exhibit. I hadn't been to the de Young since Jen got married there, and when they told me to meet them in the garden where she had gotten married, I had a brief moment of disorientation because I had been quite tipsy when I had arrived to her wedding (due to ill-advised champagne consumption while watching a football game) and so wasn't sure if I remembered where the garden was. But I found them, and we talked for a little bit before going in to the exhibit.

I thought it was all quite lovely - de la Renta's collections had many more wearable (or theoretically wearable) pieces than I've seen at some of the other fashion exhibits I've been to (namely Alexander McQueen, which was perhaps more stunning but also mostly crazytown). Of course, I might not have worn the pants that had fur hanging off the cuffs in a way that almost looked like a string of small rodents (or maybe that's exactly what I would wear, provided I became a postapocalyptic warlord, which is kind of my backup career choice). But I really enjoyed the exhibit, and I'm glad we caught it.

Then, we wandered around several other areas of the museum, including a great photography exhibit and a bunch of interesting stuff from Oceania (New Guinea, etc.), which made me think a little bit about the ethics of collecting stuff. All in all, it was a nice way to spend an afternoon, and since I recently bought a membership, I really should go there (and the Legion of Honor) more often, if only to people watch and scribble in my notebook in a more beautiful setting.

After we were done, we adjourned to Laurel Village (a neighborhood I never go to) for dinner at Spruce. We started with a drink at the bar, and I downed my tequila and strawberry cocktail in record time because it was quite refreshing. Then we had an amazing dinner - we split a kale caesar salad and some foie gras, and both were excellent. I had a pork loin for my entree, and I thought it was excellent - the pork was perfect, and it was served with a sweet potato puree and some random assortment of vegetables, all of which worked quite well together. We also split a deconstructed s'more and some chocolate mousse, and it was all quite delicious.

The verdict was that we would all go back if the opportunity presented itself. As it turns out, Spruce is owned by the same restaurant group that used to had Des Amis, and so I hugged one of the waiters who used to be at Des Amis (and whom I ran into too late in the meal, since we might have gotten comped some wine if Spruce had known about or acknowledged my former VIP status). Unfortunately, it's too far away from my house (and also too stuffy/expensive) to become my Des Amis replacement, but it was an excellent Saturday night outing - and gave us plenty of time to gossip and catch up and discuss a wide variety of topics.

We were done by eight, and Jen and Joann dropped me off on their way out of the city, which was perfect. Then, I did a little bit of work, but mostly fell down a wikipedia black hole - and now I think it would be better to sleep and start fresh tomorrow. Wish me luck with that - goodnight!

Friday, May 20, 2016

funky cold medina

I can't do justice to today because I am falling asleep on my couch (at 10:20pm! I am such an animal!). Also, most of it won't interest most of you. But I woke up at an okay hour and spent the morning eating a smoothie, drinking some coffee, considering the story, and failing to write very much. But I pulled myself out of my stupor and got some good writing done (especially after I ate avocado toast and scrambled eggs, which was delish), so yay.

Then I took a brief nap, showered, and wrote off and on throughout the afternoon, with a break to drop off some pants to get hemmed and pick up a couple of things at Whole Foods. By six p.m, though, I had to stop and scurry out the door - I had dinner with Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan tonight, and so I walked over to their house. This was a good outing, since I needed some fresh air, and the walk to their place is about thirty-five minutes with some hills in between.

I got there just as they were finishing feeding Finley - I hadn't seen him since November, and he has grown an astonishing amount since then and looks like a real person. He's now crawling and pulling himself up, and he has apparently gotten good enough at pulling himself up that he now stands in his crib and chews on the railing (I am hoping that he's going to stage an Alcatraz-style escape by chewing through the bars and leaving behind a baby-shaped pile of blankets, but Lauren and Nathan seem to think this is not an eminent risk).

So I hung out while they gave him a bath, and I made faces at him, and it was all generally quite lovely. After he was down, Lauren and I caught up while Nathan picked up take-out, and then the three of us at some tasty Brazilian food and talked about life and tech and work and startups and writing for a couple of hours, which was exactly what I needed (well, what I need is to finish this book, but Lauren is a pretty big draw).

Eventually I left them to their own devices and came home, and now I'm going to go to bed and get up early so I can write before tomorrow's social plans - goodnight!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

never marry a nonduke twin

Today was gorgeous, albeit not entirely according to plan. I woke up early enough to write for a couple of solid hours before my social activities - not enough writing, but better than nothing, so I'll take it.

Then I drove to the dirty east bay to have lunch with Heather (aka dear respected madam). She and I have been seeing the same eyebrow waxing/facial aesthetician for quite awhile, and that woman recently left the salon to start her own private studio. The unfortunate thing is that this studio is in Walnut Creek, which is far far out - it took me forty minutes to get there with no traffic, and it took Heather an hour from San Jose. But we wanted to be supportive for our aesthetician friend, and it was a good excuse to see each other...

...so we met for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in Walnut Creek, where we caught up for a couple of hours over the gorgefest that is Cheesecake Factory. The thai chicken lettuce wraps that we split were actually really good, and probably could have been my whole meal; the burger I ordered was also good, but it was particularly good because they had a gluten free bun and had griddle toasted it, which was a rare treat since most gluten free buns are terrible.

But I was mostly there for the conversation, which was great, as per usual. Then we went to the aesthetician's, and the three of us all talked during the brow waxing (an unexpected side benefit of booking back to back). I really love the brow lady, and I want to be supportive...but the drive is kind of killer, especially on they way back (see below). But Walnut Creek is like the Palo Alto of the east bay in terms of shops/restaurants, so it's not a terrible place to spend a day (but also not very interesting).

But I digress. After Heather and I parted ways, I drove to Berkeley to see John and Jess and Ian. John's parents were also there, and so I spent a couple of hours catching up with all of them. I was going to leave around five, but by then traffic back over the bridge was bad...and it suddenly looked like it was going to take two hours and would be faster to go up through the north bay and over the Golden Gate Bridge, which is really really out of the way, obvi.

So I imposed on their hospitality and hung out and ate dinner with them - John made mapo tofu with some ground chicken, and Jess made some cabbage and sausages and also some bok choy, and Jess's dad had left some chicken curry that was amazingly tasty. I 'helped' to reheat some rice, which turned into a disaster that may result in them needing a new rice cooker, but it was entertaining to watch the aftermath (and it wasn't my rice cooker), so it was #worthit.

After that, I enjoyed one of John's cappuccinos while talking to his mom and dad about meditation, which was super interesting. Then, I went on a walk with John/Jess/Ian/Samosa, and we examined the neighborhood trees. Ian is six weeks old, and so he is way bigger than he was when I saw him ten days into his existence - and while they claim that he has the loudest screams ever, I didn't hear them while I was there. But they all seem to be doing quite well, and while I stayed far longer than any of us intended, it was a great chance to catch up.

But by 7:30ish I really needed to go home, and traffic looked slightly better, so I braved the bridge. And then I should have written, but I fell asleep on the couch instead - so I'm going to go to bed and get up fresh tomorrow so I can write all the words. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

i'll run to the moon and walk on the sea, i'll start a new world for you and me

Today went much better than yesterday, but due to some social activities I wasn't able to maximize my newly productive situation. However, I'll totally take what I got. I woke up at 6:30 (shocking), meditated, made a smoothie (I'm sounding like some insufferable yuppie at this point, but whatev), and then did a bit of admin work. Then I wasted some time while drinking my smoothie. But I pulled myself together, showered, and sat down at my kitchen table (after dusting everything, which is as much of a procrastination sign as the fact that I cleaned my bathroom yesterday and cleaned my kitchen shelves a couple of days ago), and I wrote for a couple of really solid, focused hours, which felt great.

Unfortunately, I had to abandon productivity because I'd made plans to meet Anne and Barbara for a writing date. This one was less productive than usual; we always spend some time talking, but Barbara was just back from BEA (an industry conference), and she and Anne had just had lunch with one of my favorite romance novelists of my youth (Catherine Coulter, whom Katie and I totally adored and worshipped back in the day), so they told me about that. Even better, Catherine was giving away some books, and Anne snagged three research books for me (one on smuggling and two on clothes) - which made my heart stop, because I now have research books previously owned by my idol. Of course I had to text Katie tonight about all of this, because she's the only person who can understand the depth of my joy...and now I need to write a smuggling book (which was, theoretically, a possible plot for the next book in this series, but I can't think of that right now).

So we talked way longer than usual. But I did manage to get another thirty minutes of solid writing in, which was great. Then traffic was looking bleak, so I went to Burlingame and grabbed a salad for dinner, and then I went to the Philz there to get some beans so I can make coffee at home, since I don't have time to go there the next couple of days. When I got home, I texted Katie (as mentioned above), and then I should have written, but I didn't quite pull myself together.

But tomorrow is another day, and I hope the morning and evening are as productive as today's morning was...but I have fun plans in the middle of the day, so I need to get to sleep so I can do stuff early tomorrow. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

guess i better wash my mouth out with soap

Today was not a good day in the writing cave, for reasons that remain illusive to me - but now that I'm finally finally getting into the story, I'm also falling asleep over my laptop because it's time for bed. Maybe the writing didn't go that well because I just wanted to be outside - so I did take a break in the afternoon and hang out in Lafayette Park, which was nice (and looking at Danielle Steel's mansion is good for some inspiration, or at least a bit of greed). But for the most part, it was a hermity, fairly unproductive day, which was unfortunate because it was also my quietest day this week and theoretically the one where I could have gotten the most done.

But that's how it goes - and I'm going to go to bed, write today off, and start fresh early tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, May 16, 2016

all the voices in my mind calling out across the line

I'm out of words...today was productive, but not productive enough, and it's time to kick it to the next level. But I'm hoping that, now that I'm back into a somewhat productive writing rhythm for the first time in like eighteen months, I can keep it going after I finish this book - the key will be to not wait too long before starting the next one. Not that I intend to be like Anthony Trollope, who wrote every morning before his job at the post office, and said that if he finished a book in the middle of his morning writing session, he took out a new sheet of paper and started another book - that sounds like utter madness. Also, Trollope didn't have to do all the publishing/promo work. But regardless, it's feeling good to be back in the groove - I just need to get more done in the next week so that I'm happy with what I turn in to my editor.

So today was pretty inward-focused. I got up slightly later than intended, showered, ate some eggs, and went downtown to try out another coworking space. The verdict on this one is that I liked the walk and the surrounding area, but the space itself wasn't all that lovely - of the three I've tried, the mid-market location is the most beautiful/welcoming internally, but it's also in the worst neighborhood and I would probably never want to walk there again. But this one allows for daily passes, so I'll probably go there a couple of times in the next couple of weeks and see how I like it.

I worked for a couple of hours (somewhat interrupted by a long, entertaining group text with [censored] and our cousin Drewbaby), and then I grabbed lunch from Specialty's (which I was able to order ahead, so that was efficient). I also had a random Tom sighting while crossing Market, since his office is near there - there would be some advantages from being more conveniently located for lunch activities. Then I worked for another couple of hours before grabbing a bus to the Marina, where I saw my aesthetician and exchanged desultory gossip with her.

Then I came home, sat on the couch, and called [censored] to wish him a happy [censored] and catch up on life. He is in the process of [censored], and closes on [censored], so we discussed that + a variety of other life activities. After we hung up, I ate dinner, and then I went to the grocery store to stock up on foodstuffs - but they were out of lemons and cucumbers, which puts a real damper on my plans to make lemon chicken skewers + greek salad, so I'll have to try somewhere else tomorrow. Then I came home and meant to write for an hour, but instead I went down a wikipedia hole and only just emerged.

But this is getting incredibly boring, and you deserve better, so I'll leave you in peace and go to bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

you're out of touch, i'm out of time

Today was a lazy, sort-of-wasted day - as I predicted last night, I went back to reading after I blogged, but I didn't predict that I would read until 4:30am. That was an extreme oops, and it wrecked me for today - since I went to bed as the sun was about to come up, I dozed more than I slept for the next few hours. I finally got out of bed at noon...but I have no regrets. The trilogy is great (although I can't let myself finish the last book until I'm done with my own draft, since I clearly have no impulse control when I'm reading it and I can't afford to lose another day like today). And I wasn't planning on going anywhere today anyway, since my inner octogenarian loathes the crowds and messes associated with Bay to Breakers.

Still, getting up at noon was a bit much even for me. Once I was up, I made an iced coffee, and then I made a v. tasty grilled cheese sandwich before settling in with my laptop. I didn't get much writing done - there was some other stuff I needed to take care of (although I didn't get to anything I really should have gotten to). And I spent more time than I should have researching and ordering a smoothie blender, because clearly that was a v. necessary task.

Eventually, I put the screens away and called my parents, and we talked for ~1hr45min, so I'm going to go ahead and blame them for the fact that I didn't write much this afternoon (even though that leaves the 4hrs before I called them and the 5hrs after I called them unaccounted for...). Then, I debated going to the grocery store, but I decided to put it off for another day. Instead, I ate leftover pasta, and then I cleaned out my fridge - there were some things that were getting gross in there. But it's clear I was procrastinating by being 'productive' elsewhere - I also cleaned out the freezer, and I took out the compost/recycling/trash, and then I took everything out of my pantry shelves (this makes them sound fancier than they are) and scrubbed the shelves and checked expiration dates of canned goods and generally reorganized. I'd been meaning to do this for awhile, but was it necessary to do it today? No. But it looks better, and I have a better sense of what I have and what I might need to restock, so it's all good.

After that was done, I messed around online for a bit, and then I did some budgeting stuff (I adhere to budgets about as well as I adhere to schedules, but I figured I might as well try again with Mint and see if it works better for me this time). And now, I'm going to indulge my tired eyes and go to bed - goodnight!

put apprehension on the back burner, let it sit, don't even get it lit

This was as hermity of a day as I've had in awhile, but I'm happy with where the writing took me (eventually), so I guess it's okay that I basically spent the last sixteen hours on my couch. I got up with all sorts of excitement and energy for the writing day ahead, but I got sidetracked online and squandered some of that momentum - I need a better plan for avoiding the internet, which may require a nuclear holocaust to remove the internet from existence (although that would make it a little more difficult for me to sell ebooks, so maybe that's not the best solution).

But despite that slow start, I got some solid writing in over the course of the late morning/afternoon, with a break to take a nap and meditate (I'm still liking the Headspace app, if you're curious, although you might guess that I do not do the best job at simply observing my thoughts and letting them go - but that's why I'm practicing). I also took a shower (huge accomplishment!) and sat on my terrace with champagne and a book for twenty minutes, but Karl the Fog drove me back indoors.

Then I spent the evening working, with a break to order dinner from Sprig, which may become my new go-to - they showed up in less than fifteen minutes, with a dinner that was the perfect size and also amazingly tasty (vietnamese beef with mixed greens, vermicelli noodles, carrots, daikon, and crunchy rice), and also with nutrients and ingredients and allergens clearly defined. And it was <$15 (actually, it was only $5 because I had a first-time discount). So that was super delicious, super convenient, and way easier than going to the grocery store and cooking would have been (and probably more nutritious, since I would have skipped the carrots and daikon and just eaten a bunch of meat or something). And it fueled me pretty well, so I ate that, drank another glass of champagne, and wrote until 9:30 or so.

Then, I told myself I would take a break for an hour, so I picked up Mistborn again - and of course that turned into reading until 1am. Oops. I'm kind of tempted to pick it up again after I post this, since I think I'm getting close to the end of the second book in the trilogy, but I should probably go to bed. But maybe the story will kidnap me, we'll see. I emerged from my book haze at one to seek hydration and put on pajamas, and then I had a startling realization about my own book, which I wrote down as fast as possible so I wouldn't lose it, which should make edits go a lot better than they have been. So if reading for four hours instead of working got me that realization, it was very well worth it.

And now I need to go to bed (even though we all know I'm going to stay up and read until three) - goodnight!

Friday, May 13, 2016

if i quit calling you my lover, and move on

Today was a great mix of productivity and friend time, although it trailed off into sloth. I tried out another coworking space today, which means I got up and ate breakfast and was out the door by 9:30 so that I could walk down to the office and meet the person who runs it. The walk there was much better than the walk to the one I went to on Wednesday - slightly longer, and through Union Square (so more tourists), but I never felt like I was going to get robbed/stabbed/urinated upon, so that was super cool.

What's fun about this potential space is that Julie's startup is based there - she was the one who told me about it, after I tweeted about the first one. So after I toured the space (easy peasy, since there's one big room) and had a delightful conversation with the owner, I sat myself up at a desk near hers and wrote for a couple of hours. She and I ended up having lunch at a Thai place nearby (which was sort of a Thai Panda Express, albeit set up temporarily every day - it's a lot of food for pretty cheap), and it was great to catch up with her. I had seen her briefly at Vidya's dance recital last month, but we were way overdue for an actual conversation - and lunch + working near her for the day was a good way to do it.

Then we went back to the office and I wrote for another hour. I'm on the fence about the coworking idea - I actually have really enjoyed both days that I tried it, and felt like I got a lot done even though I only stayed for 4ish hours at both of them. The question is a) whether I would actually want to go everyday, which would be necessary to b) make it worth the cost...I travel so much and have so many things coming up this summer that I'm potentially only in town 10-14 business days a month, and so I would have to go almost every day that I'm in town to make it feel justifiable.

So, we'll see. I'm going to try another space next week, and then maybe go back to that one a couple of times through the end of the month (the one I'm trying on Monday is pay-as-you-go, so I don't have to commit).

After I left, I went to Chandlord's to have a drink with her. I had meant to grab a bottle of wine on the way but failed, and so we drank tequila and pomegranate juice while hanging out in her new living room (which used to be her bedroom, but she did a nice job reorganizing). So we talked for a couple of hours, which is always good for the soul. Then, I came home and got very little done tonight, although I did make pasta carbonara (not ideal from a carb standpoint, but ideal from a tastiness standpoint + the fact that I had all the ingredients on hand). But I've done some more brainstorming for what I want to write tomorrow, and I have a lot of time to write this weekend, so it's all good.

And now I am falling asleep because I'm so exciting - goodnight!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

come back baby, rock and roll never forgets

A year ago right now, I was on a plane bound for Bora Bora and my spinster honeymoon with Joann. That means that a year ago yesterday, I left my job. It's hard to believe it's been a year - and hard to believe that year was so hard, in a lot of ways, even though there were also wonderful and serendipitous and beautiful moments within the chaos.

Maybe I had to hit the anniversary to really feel like I'm cranking and moving forward - the writing has been going a lot better lately, and today was great despite not having a full day to devote to the words. But I was getting there before the anniversary - it was the first six months after leaving that were hard, and just as I was coming out of that, my personal drama ramped up, which was a totally shitty way to end 2015 (although losing weight because I was too angry to eat over the holidays was an interesting approach to holiday dieting! not recommended, but interesting!).

But then Hawaii + all the great things that have happened with my writing since then + trips to SLO/Guerneville/Sonoma/Iowa (with an inadvertent stop in Denver)/Milwaukee helped me to reset, and I'm in a much better place than I was. And that probably means I can't get a job again unless I'm confident that I want to stop writing full-time and never do it again - every time I leave a full-time job is a massive adjustment, and now that I'm over the mountain range and into the promised land, I can't self-sabotage that journey by getting a job and starting the clock from scratch.

[note: remind me to delete this post if I ever apply for a job]

So, if you were one of the people who helped me to get through all of that, thank you. It's been good to get my social life back since leaving work, and I'm pretty fortunate to have such a strong group of friends (even if those friends are reproducing like crazy and so can't go to Grubstake at three a.m. quite so often). And if you weren't one of the people who helped me get through all of that -- well, either I didn't expect you to, or I've already cut you. Cheers!

sssanyway. I've got the anniversary on my mind because I had drinks with several people I used to work with tonight; Viviana, Yune, Shannon, Jen, and I met up at Steins, which I hadn't been to since someone else's going away party over a year ago. I had mostly been avoiding hanging out with coworkers for the past few months because I felt like I needed more of a clean break than I had given myself, but it was really good to see them - they of course filled me in on all sorts of drama and gossip. And while I really do sometimes miss working with a team, and feeling like I'm working towards something with other people, it was a good reminder that there are also great things about my current life that I don't want to give up - like my freedom to travel and set my own schedule, and the fact that I don't have to deal with annoying people very often, and the fact that (other than the occasional personal drama) I'm a lot less angry than when I was working, since I have fewer things to stew over when I'm not dealing with interpersonal workplace drama.

So that was all good. And like I said, it was great to see them, even if the drive home was terrible (it took an hour at 8:45pm because there was an accident just before the city), and the drive down was also terrible. But the drive down was broken up because I met up for a writing date with Anne in San Carlos. We tried a Starbucks we'd never been to before (we could do that every day for a couple of months, probably), and it was quiet and conducive to writing, so that was great. Of course, we talked for like an hour, but that was good. And I got enough done between that session + all the writing I did from home this morning that it wasn't a total wash. I also had an idea for the narrative structure for SPINSTER HONEYMOON (the book, not last year's trip) that I need to play around with, but it was exciting enough that I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it. I think I'll take some time to mess around with it soon, either while I'm waiting for feedback from my editor on my current project or right after this next book comes out - it's something I think I'm meant to write, and I don't want to wait too long to start.

And now, I think it's time for bed - today was fun, but I am hitting real crunch time with the deadline and it's time to get serious. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

shoulda known your love was a game

I'm falling asleep on my couch, and I really should just go to bed before I end up taking a 'nap' and then crawling into bed with a sore neck at one a.m. But today was quite productive, all in all. I had an 8:30 a.m. tour at a coworking facility in the mid-market area, so I kind of had to hustle to get myself together and go down there. It turns out the walk felt super dicey, which I should have realized - the vast majority of the walk was exactly the same walk I take to Philz a couple of times a week, but then I tacked on four more blocks of Golden Gate Ave, and the 'golden' is appropriate because of all the urine, and the 'gate' is appropriate because that part of the Tenderloin is like a hellmouth gateway. I emerged on the other side of Market Street with all of my organs still intact, my skin unperforated, and my bag full of belongings, but if I use this coworking location, I will have to rethink my walking approach.

sssanyway. The tour was brief, partially because it was 8:30am and I hadn't had coffee yet, and partially because the woman seemed way too unable to sell things. But the building kind of sold itself. She invited me to hang out there after, so I worked from there for a few hours, and it was really nice. It was great to have some buzz going on around me (like a coffeeshop), but the coffee and tea were free and I didn't have to worry about losing my seat (or my life) when I went to the bathroom.

Then I grabbed lunch down the street, and then I went to Peet's on Van Ness, where I worked for another couple of hours. Then I came home and spent a couple of hours doing general life stuff before going to meet Claudia at Nopalito. I hadn't been there in ages, but it was as delicious as I remember (the puled pork quesadilla with a corn tortilla and chicharrones is something I could eat all the time. And Claudia was in good form as well - we extended our conversation with ice cream from Bi-Rite, so it was a great end to my day.

But I'm still falling asleep on the couch, and I want to get a lot done tomorrow, so bedtime is crucial. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

what's that jacket, margiela?

Still haven't hit my ten p.m. bedtime this week, but I'm getting closer, and I'm going to bed as soon as I post this. Today was gorgeous, though, and well worth recounting. I spent the morning getting stuff done at home (mainly making and consuming coffee and eggs, along with a few other things). Then, I drove to Mill Valley to rendezvous with my friend Grace. She also writes historicals, and she's one of my favorite author friends although I don't see her very often (her schedule is hectic and she has a kid; my schedule is hectic because I'm half-nomad).

We had agreed to a writing day, but it turns out that she's taking a break from writing (her latest book came out a couple of weeks ago), which meant that I was going to write and she was going to read a book. This went about as well as you can imagine. Actually, I was quite productive in the morning - we sat at a table inside this gorgeous grocery store, drinking smoothies to keep ourselves going (and later getting coffee, which was quite good). And I got some solid words in and finished the scene I really needed to finish today, so I'm happy with that.

But Grace and I hadn't really caught up since Hawaii, and we didn't see each other enough there, either, so we had a lot to discuss. We ended up playing hooky from the writing for the afternoon and going to Gloria Ferrer, where we sat on the terrace for three hours and caught up over bubbles and cheese and charcuterie. I had a glass of the anniversary rosé, which was pretty close to perfect, and I converted Grace to the blanc de noirs that is my favorite (although she is a self-proclaimed lightweight, and it's good she's self-proclaimed, because if she wasn't aware of it, everyone would have made it known to her by now). And we talked about tons of wonderful and not-so-wonderful stuff related to writing, genres, business trends, etc. I also got mildly sunburned, but you gotta pay the cost to be the boss.

Then we eventually went back to Mill Valley and worked for another hour. And then I parted ways with her, came home (traffic was great in this direction), and ordered a pizza because I'm out of groceries and didn't feel like rectifying the situation. And now, after a gorgeous day of writing and sunlight and sparkling wine and friendship, it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Monday, May 09, 2016

find me where the wild things are

I meant to be in bed an hour ago, but wine and writing and laundry derailed me. Today was pretty good, all things considered - the morning was not productive enough (mostly because I spent it researching potential coworking spaces that could make me more productive, which was an insidious type of procrastination because it almost felt like work). But I made some iced coffee, meditated, and salvaged the rest of the day, so it's all good.

Of course, I couldn't salvage the day without picking up my packages downstairs, which included a gorgeous new fountain pen and a bottle of my favorite ink (a somewhat-impulse buy from last week, although I'd had my eye on a new pen for awhile). So of course I had to ink it up and test it out, and it exceeded all my expectations (and now I want to write with it again immediately, even though bed is more important). Yes, I'm a dork, but you knew that...and fountain pens are vital for my process because I'm a serious artist, so whatever.

After that, I walked down to the Marina and had lunch at my favorite cafe, where I talked to Tony for quite awhile. There was virtually no one in there by the time I got there, so he sat at my table and we discussed a broad variety of topics (and I told him about my horrific experience visiting the Little House in the Big Woods as a child, which he found quite entertaining). This was all good for my spirits, even if it wasn't good for my productivity (or my theoretically low-carb choices, since I had to get huevos rancheros because I'm still feeling leery about eating salmon and other fish-type situations after last week's food poisoning adventure, and so I couldn't get the salmon/poached eggs that I usually get when craving something healthier).

Eventually, I parted ways with Tony and went to Equinox, where I sat in the lobby and wrote for two hours. Then I was tempted to go home, but I forced myself to do the workout I had planned, which went well (although my calluses were almost gone and I'm having to rebuild them with the kettlebells, but that's not the end of the world).

Then I was still going to go home, but I needed to finish the scene I was working on, and I knew I wouldn't want to write if I got here. So I showered and dried my hair, but I hadn't brought my makeup bag, so I went to Sephora (conveniently on the same block) and 'tested' some tinted moisturizer and mascara. And then I went to Belga, which used to be Des Amis, and pretended that it was Des Amis and that it was totally cool for me to pull out my laptop and write over a glass of wine and some steak.

This turned out to be a good call - I got another ten pages or so, and I felt happy there despite the fact that it's all different (and the chairs in the bar area are stools rather than benches/chairs, which isn't quite as comfy). And either I just have a face that makes bartenders/waiters want to comp me stuff, or the Ghost of Des Amis whispered in my waiter's ear, because he declared that he was buying my second glass of rosé and comped it even though I'd never met him before, had only been to Belga once before, and I assume the Des Amis VIP list did not transfer to the new owners (and even if it did, I hadn't given them my name). Lolol. I will gratefully accept whatever luck it is that gets me free drinks, and ignore the possibility that I'm burning my luck on drinks instead of books.

Eventually, though, my eyes were about to fall out, so I got a lyft home. And then I did laundry because the situation was getting dire and they're turning the water off in the building tomorrow night, and I have plans Wednesday and Thursday nights. And now, after all of that, I need to sleep rather desperately - I also have fun daytime plans tomorrow (writing date in the north bay, yay), so sleep is imperative. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

i'll love you long after you're gone

So much for my vow to be in bed by 10pm every night this week....but tonight I must make an exception. This morning was a little rough because I somehow didn't go to bed until 2am last night, which was a huge mistake. But I eventually got out of bed around nine, and then I had quite a lovely morning beyond that - I made some iced coffee, meditated, and organized my plans and schedules for the week, so all of that felt delightful.

Then I showered and ate a sandwich and walked down to the Mission so I could get my bangs trimmed. I left a little later than I should have, thus sweating (glowing) enough to ruin my post-shower cleanliness because I had to speedwalk most of the way there. But I was successful in my speedwalking, and was also quite serendipitous - I happened to run into Adit (which wouldn't have happened if I'd been twenty seconds earlier or later), so we chatted for a couple of minutes. He and Vihaan were out shopping, which Vihaan seemed suuuuuuper psyched about (he was cute and entirely unconcerned with his surroundings). Of course, we both had to keep moving, so we didn't really catch up, but hopefully we shall see each other later this week or something. I had harassed him and Priyanka about hanging out this weekend, forgetting during the initial phase of harassment that a) yesterday was Priyanka's birthday (which I acknowledged via text message but not here - happy birthday Priyanka!) and b) today was their first mother's day as parents. Lolol. C'est la vie, as I like to say - and there's always next weekend.

Then I got my bangs trimmed, which was a quick errand. And then I holed up at Ritual and wrote for a couple of hours over their hipsterish iced coffee. That went well, and I didn't really want to stop, but I had to come home eventually. So I lyft'ed back, and then I called my parents - it was my usual Sunday call, but it was also mother's day, so I wished my mom well for that. After talking to them, I successfully eked out another forty-five minutes of writing, which was again going well enough that I didn't want to quit....

...but I had to quit in favor of this evening's somewhat impromptu dinner plans in the south bay with a surprise blast from the past. Well, surprise for you, not surprise for me. The blast in question was Walter (aka the Talbotross) - remember him? He and his wife moved up here a couple of months ago, and they are three-ish weeks away from having a baby, and he had contacted me about getting together before and I sucked at planning because I've been looking at my deadline and refusing to make substantive plans (and then doing last-minute things instead because I will usually realize every couple of days that I need to see people or go insane).

But he messaged me last night, and I realized it was now or never in terms of reconnecting before the baby arrives, so we hatched a plan. They live in Cupertino, so we split the difference and met in Belmont (which I'm becoming somewhat familiar with since Shedletsky and Bride of Shedletsky live there, and also Anne and Barbara are around there). It was great to see them - I hadn't met Carson before, and it's possible that I scared her off by talking too much about people whom Walter and I know. But I also hadn't seen Walter in close to two years, so we had a lot to catch up on. Hopefully this is not going to kick off another two year cycle of not seeing each other - but once this book is done and they're past the earliest stage of babydom, we'll have more time to get together.

After catching up, and after I regaled them with information about Zoolander 2, we parted ways, and I came home and realized that I wasn't going to be in bed by 10pm because it was 10:03pm when I walked in the door. But now that I'm all cleaned up and organized and ready for the week, it's time for bed - I need to slog brutally this week, so please punch me if it looks like I'm not doing that. Goodnight!

i'll be the preacher you be the confession

Today did not go as planned...which is not to say that it was bad, but I got very little done and have a lot to do, so that's kind of unfortunate. I got up this morning and took care of stuff around the house for awhile, and then I drove down to Palo Alto to have lunch with Ana. She's a romance writer whom I met on Twitter quite awhile ago, and we met more formally in New Orleans a couple of years ago, where I had really enjoyed her company. She and her husband moved to California shortly thereafter, and I'd intended to get together with her...but somehow two years passed before that happened. Oops.

However, we had reconnected a few weeks ago and set up today's lunch then, since I was traveling and then she was traveling and I'll soon be traveling again. We met up at Terun, which is an Italian place that I've been to a couple of times, and the food was great - I had a v. tasty risotto, and her eggplant parmigiana looked tasty. It was also really good to see her and talk writing shop with someone new; I have excellent people to talk writing shop with already, but it's always good to get new ideas.

But lunch took longer than I expected it to - I ended up taking her on a bit of a driving tour of Stanford/Palo Alto since she hadn't seen any of it before, and then we sat in my car and brainstormed her story for awhile, and long story short, the lunch that started at 11:30 ended at 4pm. Oops. This was fun, but totally derailed my plans for the afternoon.

My plan had been to go to Stanford and write, and so I went to Stanford...but first I stopped at the CoHo and had a salad and procrastinated, and then I went to the bookstore and bought some pens, and then I grabbed a tea from Starbucks, and then I eventually went to the library. And I stayed there for three hours, but I admittedly got very little done - I probably should have just read a book, or come home, but I kept thinking I would get in the mood and never quite did.

But c'est la vie - sometimes those nights happen. Then I drove home, messed around on the internet some more (I was tired when I got here, but the second tea I got before coming home probably gave me a second wind), and now must sleep so that I can approach the page tomorrow with a clear head - goodnight!

Friday, May 06, 2016

the restless heart, the promised land

I can come pretty close to guaranteeing that this post will not entertain you in any way...my day was supremely boring to outsiders, and perhaps even boring to me, although it was that necessary kind of boring that eventually produces a book. I spent the morning writing in bed, the midday eating/procrastinating, and the afternoon writing at the Grove on Fillmore - I tend to forget that that place exists, but it was the right choice for what I needed this afternoon, which was a salad and some wine and some ambient noise and the feeling that I wasn't a total hermit.

So that was all productive and good. Then I came home and totally wasted the last 3+ hours, which is too bad - I should have read a book or watched tv or something, but I kept thinking I'd write some more (clearly didn't happen). But I did spend some quality time researching train options to get from Boston to NYC in June and ended up purchasing my ticket, which was on my to-do list for today, so it wasn't a total wash.

Like I said, today was supremely uninteresting. So now I'm going to sleep and pursue a similarly uninteresting day tomorrow (although I have lunch plans, so I may be able to tell you that I saw an actual person other than the staff at a coffeeshop - exciting). Goodnight!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

so fresh and so clean

I am sorry to report that tonight did not go totally off the rails, and so I have no serendipitous adventures to share with you. However, I consumed enough rosé to make me feel like bedtime is the right call...but first, I shall finish this (lucky you).

I woke up somewhat early this morning, was pleasantly surprised to find I was only moderately sore from yesterday's gym excursion, took care of some business stuff from home, and then went to Philz, where I slogged v. diligently until after one p.m. This meant that I needed two cups of coffee instead of my usual one cup (although I went small on the second cup so that I wouldn't have a caffeine-induced heart attack), but I'm really happy with what I got done. This happened despite being distracted by watching the staff attempt to get a crackhead to leave the bathroom, which necessitated some police intervention (luckily, there are cops there all the time since that Philz happens to be next to a lot of city/state/federal government buildings - I don't think they even called a cop, they just waited for the next one who happened to come in for coffee). This makes Philz about 1000x more interesting from a people watching standpoint than the San Mateo Starbucks where I write with Anne and Barbara, I have to say....

sssanyway. After I finished there, I came home, ate some lunch, and then got my nails done, because #priorities (also I had gel on my fingernails that had to be professionally removed, but I went for a regular manicure this time, so no more nail excursions until the book is done). Then, I walked down to my old neighborhood, where I stopped in at Itoya to buy some paper, and then I progressed on to Nectar to see Leah and Chris. I haven't been there nearly as much since Kathia moved away, since I'm less likely to make plans in my old 'hood, but I had run into Leah at Whole Foods on Tuesday and promised I would stop by (this after we had exchanged texts several times trying to coordinate - but they work all the time, so really the only time I can see them is by stopping by the bar on the nights they're both working there).

So I spent 3+ hours there catching up with them and drinking rosé, which was delightful - we were overdue for a catch-up, and the first hour or so was pretty quiet (the heavy drinking afternoon crowd were at the 'mexican' type places in the Marina for Cinco de Mayo, because bros like to celebrate 'holidays' like that). When their crowd picked up, I scribbled in my notebook for a couple of hours while eating burrata/prosciutto and then bacon wrapped dates - I had intended to go next door and gorge on steak at Aix, but I was comfy at Nectar and decided to stay put. I ended the night by having a lovely conversation with one of their employees, who stopped by for a quick drink, and so this was all a good way to get in some socializing while also talking about things that have nothing to do with writing.

Then I came home, laid on my couch and exchanged texts about cannibals with Anne, and closed my eyes for longer than I should have because I might have just fallen asleep right here and stayed here all night. But now I'm ready for bed, and I want to repeat today's feats tomorrow, except I want to replace the manicure/wine time with a long afternoon/evening writing session instead. Glamorous, I know. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

and i didn't wanna write a song 'cause i didn't want anyone thinking i still care, i don't, but...

Today was super productive for me and super boring for you, so you may as well move along with your internet browsing and come back tomorrow (when I will likely have more wine in me, and thus may have gotten into unexpected shenanigans, although I'm not currently planning to do anything particularly wild). I didn't get enough sleep last night, which I'm going to try to rectify tonight, and so I didn't get enough done this morning (although I did write). I also posted the preorder to all retailers on Facebook, which resulted in comments, likes, and preorders (which was kind of the point of posting it) - and now I'm mildly nervous because I'm not done with the book and now I'm committed. But it's now or never, and this is a real forcing mechanism rather than my self-set deadlines, so we'll see how that works out for me.

Anyway, sometime around 12:45 I took a break, reheated some carnitas (verdict: still so fucking good), cut up half an avocado, and had a tasty lunch. Then, I drove down to San Mateo, where I wrote with Anne and Barbara for three hours. We were pretty productive today - Anne and I actually have the same deadline, and Barbara is always finishing a book, so we were all desirous of some productivity. It's nice that we all get along even though Barbara tends to laugh at me and Anne for taking so long to write our books (Barbara is writing a novella right now, which is admittedly way shorter, but we helped her plot it like two weeks ago and she's sending it to her editor tomorrow). But she writes different stuff than I do, and comparing myself to other people is a recipe for disaster, so I'll stop.

After we left Starbucks, I went to the gym in San Mateo and did some kettlebells. I hadn't been to the gym in perhaps three months, which is way way too long - understandable, given how much I've been gone, but I was also getting lazy. So I did a workout similar to what I would have done three months ago, although I dropped the weights just a bit (did most of my swings at 12-14kg instead of 14-16kg) - and I'm guessing I'll be sore tomorrow as punishment for the fact that I hadn't done any of this in awhile. But my form felt like it came back pretty effortlessly, and I wasn't totally out of shape. And it turns out that going after writing works out pretty well, as long as I don't have plans that night - the gym wasn't too crazy packed at 5:30pm, and even after showering and eating and messing around on my phone, I was still home by 7:45 (without sitting in traffic like I would earlier). So maybe this will become a bigger part of my routine again, which would be good for me.

Anyway, when I got home I should have been super productive, but I'm tired, and so I ordered a new fountain pen instead (because clearly if I'm freaking out about finishing my book, a new pen will help). And now I'm going to bed - goodnight!

when you're in doubt and when you're in danger

I spent like ten hours staring at screens and doing bona fide work today, and yet I got no actual writing done - ugh. But you've gotta pay the cost to be the boss, right? When I woke up this morning, I should have eaten and made coffee and meditated and showered and done all the other things that make me feel like a normal human. Instead, I went straight to my laptop and wrote emails and took care of business stuff for two hours, which made me feel all bleary-eyed and crazy.

I took a break after that to shower and grab a quick brunch at MyMy, since I didn't feel like cooking breakfast food - but they were out of corned beef hash, and I made the ill-thought-out decision to get their salmon omelette, realizing after I got it that smoked salmon is not something I want for awhile after last week's food poisoning extravaganza. But I ate most of it without feeling too queasy, and the potatoes were super yummy.

Then I went to the grocery store, came home, and started making supper - I wanted to try making carnitas, since I love pulled pork of all kinds, and carnitas is up there with my favorite foods of all time. So I bought a pork shoulder, dug out my crock pot, and tossed the pork in (after rubbing it with salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin) with an onion, a jalapeno, some garlic, and some orange juice. This cooked for six hours, which made me ravenous all afternoon, since the smell was amazing.

But I couldn't eat it, so I worked instead. I spent the whole afternoon updating backmatter and making links to my preorders and dealing with pricing stuff and tweaking blurbs, since I have some promo stuff coming up and that promo stuff will be much more effective if I make these adjustments. Not that I really wanted to spend my day doing that, when I need to be writing (see: the fact that I have a preorder I can no longer change), but this stuff was pretty time-sensitive.

Around five I took a break for awhile to chill out and make some slaw to go with the carnitas. Then, I had a long chat with Terry - we hadn't had a video call in at least a month, so we had a ton to discuss. Happily, I'll see her in NYC in a month, so we don't have to go much longer without a proper catch-up, but this was a good start. Then, I finished making the carnitas - after taking the meat out of the crockpot, I shredded it all (super easy, since it was falling apart), and then I took out what I wanted to eat tonight and fried it briefly so that one side crisped up like a good carnitas should. And I have to say, it was fucking delicious. I didn't love the tortillas I got today, so tomorrow I'll probably just eat carnitas and slaw like a salad, but the carnitas were perfect - super tender, juicy, and a little crispy.

Obviously, I have a ton left over (a 3.5lb pork shoulder is a little too big for me to eat comfortably in one sitting), so I froze half of it since the recipe said it freezes really well, and saved the rest for lunch/dinner for the next few days. And then I probably should have written - but instead, I dealt with more promo type stuff until now.

But I think I'm mostly through with the promo stuff that had to get done immediately, so the focus for the rest of the week (month) is to get the book into shape. We'll see how that goes, but I'm hoping that a real, immutable deadline will help me (without making me any crazier than I already am). Goodnight!

Monday, May 02, 2016

maybe i'm just like my father, too bold

I'm back in San Francisco, where I must immediately go into total lockdown mode to finish my book by the 18th (at least finished enough to send to my editor). Things are getting real, since I just created preorders on all platforms for an end-of-June release - I'd had a preorder on iBooks for a long time, but there's no penalty on iBooks for pushing the preorder back, which I've now done like three times. But the other platforms are more finicky (and Amazon blacklists you from creating preorders for a year if you miss one)...so basically, now I'm committed. Ew.

So today was mostly spent working, while also traveling, while also hating Chicago O'Hare again. I checked out of my hotel at eleven, and I went to the airport early thinking I could hang out and work and eat lunch for a couple of hours - which turned into four hours, because my flight to Chicago was delayed by 90+ minutes. This was not good, since my original two-hour layover in Chicago was intended to give me time to make my leisurely way to the gate, and instead wasn't really enough time to accommodate the delay. And I blame Chicago for this, not Milwaukee, since the plane that was delayed originated in Chicago and had mechanical issues. Ugh. But it's probably a good thing I was delayed, since I didn't have to walk past the sushi restaurant that poisoned me and debate whether to accost someone.

But I got some solid work done at the airport, so whatever. And when I landed in Chicago, I immediately started running (I had 13 minutes to switch terminals before boarding ended, and while I had weak hopes that they would let me board after the draconian boarding cutoff time (which is now fifteen minutes before departure time), 13 minutes is not really enough time to get between terminals in Chicago). Luckily, the stars aligned and there was a shuttle bus between my terminal and the other terminal ready to go (with only me on it, as it turns out), and so I made it to my gate only mildly out of breath and with four minutes to spare.

And then I got even luckier because there was an empty seat next to me, so I was able to enjoy my wine (necessary, after Chicago) and snack while writing all the way to SF. When I got home, I immediately unpacked to stop myself from being able to procrastinate with that tomorrow, and then I spent the past two hours doing the preorder setup stuff (which required finalizing the back cover copy, creating a dummy file to upload, etc.).

Now, though, I am exhausted and need to sleep so that I can hit the writing hard tomorrow - goodnight!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

cause you make me feel like i've been locked out of heaven

I should have gone to bed a couple of hours ago, but since I'm probably still on west coast time and will return to it tomorrow (provided that Chicago O'Hare doesn't try to kill me again), it's not so surprising that I'm still up.

Today was a decent day, all in all - I got up later than intended and barely had time to shower before going downstairs for breakfast (the last event of the weekend). Breakfast was more sparsely attended than the lunch yesterday, but I enjoyed the people at my table - and my still-damp hair must have been okay, because the girl who sat next to me (who I later discovered was fourteen) abruptly blurted out 'you're so pretty!' after we'd been talking for ten minutes, which was hilarious and awkward and, of course, gratifying enough that I'm writing it down even though I shouldn't be so gratified by comments about my face from teenagers. But whatev, I'll totally take it.

sssanyway. Vanity aside, the rest of the morning was good - I took some pictures with some readers, bid fond farewells to people, and then went to the lobby with the intention of writing while the housekeeper cleaned my room. But of course I ran into people, and ended up having coffee in the lobby with Lari and her husband (who looks a lot like a hobbit, as was pointed out by one of the only male authors in attendance) - which was great, because I like Lari. But they eventually left me to my solitude, and I messed around and didn't get much done for a couple of hours because I was too wiped out to think.

But then I made a comprehensive list of what I need to get done this week (there's a shocking amount), and then I called my parents and talked to them for an hour and a half. Then I had supper in the hotel restaurant (decent, not the best ever, but totally adequate and way cheaper than SF), where I worked on the back cover copy for Rafe and Octavia's book. I continued this in my room until now, which means I probably spent four hours on it tonight - it's only a page, but it has to be a great page, and I need to get it done. But I got it to a decent enough state and sent it to some writer friends for feedback, so we'll see what they say.

And now I need to sleep so I can get up, shower, pack, eat breakfast, and go to the airport - wish me luck with all of that. Goodnight!