Wednesday, August 31, 2016

now you're looking pretty in a hotel bar

I didn't do enough today. Full stop. I mean, I did laundry, and I scribbled in my notebook about Lucy and the amazeballs idea that Heather and I came up with yesterday (I think I'm going for it), but I should have done a lot of work and I really didn't do all that much. It's time to buckle down...but I only have tomorrow to buckle down before I go to Denver.

But the afternoon was busy - I had to get my bangs trimmed, so that took some time since I had to drive to the Mission and back. Then I went to Peets and drank coffee and wrote (pretty successfully). Then I got a massage, which I'd booked while I was in Tahoe - I've been having quite a bit of neck/shoulder/jaw pain, so I found a massage therapist who specializes in such issues, and I think it was totally worth it. She worked on me for ninety minutes, and I feel better than I did when I walked in, so I have no regrets about taking the time to go.

Then I came home, messed around online, showered, made myself look pretty, and went back to the Mission to have drinks with Sheila at ABV (one of my favorite bars in the city). This turned out to be one drink (I had my usual Jackel) and a snack (I had salami and some cauliflower in deference to my gluten issues + my other sensitivities), and we spent a glorious hour and a half recapping the Olympics and talking about a variety of ridiculous topics.

I walked her back to her apartment when we were done, and then she waited outside with me while I called a lyft. I went to Chandlord's after to say hi to her, but I beat Chandlord there, so I grabbed some green tea at Another Cafe (which I haven't been to in at least six months) until she got home. We chatted for an hour, and she was theoretically going to give me wine while she cleaned her place, but neither of those things happened (which was fine with me - I didn't want anything else to drink, and I don't have to live in her place, so cleaning doesn't matter to me). She also let me hug her with minimal fuss at the end, so I would consider the visit a success!

Then I lyfted home even though the distance is short because I didn't want to get stabbed. And now I need to sleep - I have to do all the things tomorrow, including a trip to the DMV and a writing date and packing and putting things away, etc. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

when you're ready, i'm ready

I had a lovely day, all in all. Of course, this morning was kind of a mess - I needed to unpack from my brief sojourn to the mountains, and I have no edible food in the house beyond some cream, apples, and canned tuna (well, no edible food if you are avoiding sugar/grains/legumes/alcohol, etc. - I could have had granola or popcorn or pasta or other things if those things were allowed. So I ate an apple for breakfast, and I ordered a salad from uber eats for lunch (verdict: the salad itself was not worth it, but the delivery was good and it kept me from starving, so whatever).

I did some work from home this morning - I need to reformat my early books so that I can turn them into a boxed set, and this requires some monkey work on my part. I didn't finish the monkey work before it was time to leave the house - I had a writing date with Anne (and only Anne), and I didn't want to be late. Since it was just the two of us and I had plans in the south bay later, we decided to switch it up and meet in Menlo Park at Cafe Borrone (remember that place?). It used to be my favorite cafe ever, mostly because I spent many evenings there writing after work when I was first working for the day job oh so many years ago. It was also my favorite for their gouda sandwich on focaccia, which I'd forgotten all about until I saw it on the menu and promptly started salivating like Pavlov's dog - the caramelized onions and turkey and garlicky mayo with the gouda was always total perfection, and now I can't eat it, and I'm sad.

So I grabbed a subpar iced coffee and a nice bowl of fruit and made do with that. Anne and I spent a nice hour chatting about life, which was great, and occasionally catching Pokemon (although she scoffs at how casual I am about it). Then we worked, and I actually wrote four pages, which was great (but I will probably scrap them all for reasons that will be obvious in a moment).

I left Cafe Borrone when the sun started burning me alive - I forgot about how it turns into a greenhouse in the late afternoon. Then I drove to Mountain View and made a quick stop at my optometrist's - I decided I should get new glasses since my old prescription is bad enough that I can't wear my glasses very comfortably (which is a bummer when my eyes get tired of contacts and I still need to stare at my laptop). After the glasses were procured, I drove to San Antonio Shopping Center (which is way more upscale than it was when it was a Sears, since it's now mostly restaurants and exorbitantly priced condos) and met up with Heather (aka dear respected madam).

We hadn't seen each other since June, so we had a ton to catch up on. She seems to be doing well - she's in school right now (a masters done while she's working full time), and is having a blast with that, and also seems to be enjoying work. We also talked about books (to read) and books (my own), and we brainstormed Lucy for a bit - and came up with a totally brilliant, totally off-the-wall idea that would go in a totally different direction than what I'd planned this weekend. So it's kind of ironic that I canceled my date with Heather on Saturday so that I could go to tahoe and work instead - maybe I should have met with her then so that I could have gotten this idea from her.

But you never know where ideas come from or what influences them, and it's possible that on any other night we wouldn't have come up with this. I'm going to sleep on it and decide in the morning - but I think it could be really good. We shall see, we shall see.

We finally parted ways around 9:30 (after 3.5hrs together, which is never enough), and I drove home, and now I need to sleep so I can be super productive tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, August 29, 2016

this was all you, none of it me

I'm back in San Francisco and I need to go to bed, but I had quite a successful retreat. I slept a little later this morning, but I considered the story while I was in the shower, and I'm feeling good about where it might (maybe, possibly) be headed. When I went downstairs, I spent a couple of hours chatting with Barbara and Lisa + taking care of a bunch of other random to-dos and emails that I'd neglected over the weekend. Then, Lisa and I went across the street to Starbucks to get coffee, since the french vanilla flavored Keurig coffee wasn't doing it for me at all - I probably should have sucked it up and driven to the real Starbucks, since the coffee at Safeway was lukewarm and tasted like burning, but the caffeine content was what mattered, so at least that was a success.

When I got back to the house, I did a bit more work, and then I made myself an omelette (with cheddar, leftover salmon from last night, and pesto on top with some roasted potatoes on the side - last night's leftovers turned into an awesome breakfast). Barbara sat with me on the deck while I ate, and it was so idyllic - the beach and lake were mostly empty since most people were back at work, and the view and the weather and the sun were all perfect.

After I ate, I wrote for another hour or so and got several more pages of Lucy's story, so that's great. But at four p.m. I had to throw in the towel so that I could pack all my stuff (it's remarkable how much my stuff got strewn about the house in less than seventy-two hours) and load up my car. Lisa and I said our goodbyes to Barbara and were on the road by five, and we made excellent time - there was no traffic, and I got out of the mountains before the sun started shining directly into my eyes, so we made it to Walnut Creek (where I dropped her off) by 7:45, which is a new record. After I dropped her off, I found a Chipotle and grabbed dinner since I was starving and knew I wouldn't be able to make it home (and that there would be no food in the fridge when I got here). Then I drove the rest of the way home, making it here by 8:45, which would have been good time from Tahoe even if I hadn't stopped to drop Lisa off and have dinner.

When I got here, I failed to unpack - I just messed around online and got ready for bed instead. And now I need to sleep - I want to work in the morning, and I have a writing date in the afternoon and dinner plans in the evening, so it's back to my usual grind. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

then get back to business

Tahoe continues to delight. Today was less productive than yesterday - perhaps because I didn't shower, and thus didn't come up with any amazingly brilliant ideas. Also, I got a later start than I did yesterday, even though I woke up an hour earlier - Lisa and I walked over to Safeway to get coffee from the Starbucks kiosk there, but after I'd stood in line for almost ten minutes, they put up a sign saying that they couldn't make hot coffee, iced coffee, or hot tea because their hot water was broken. Lolol. So we came back to the house and grabbed my car and drove down to Heavenly Village to the Starbucks there, where the line was well out the door and it took twenty minutes to get coffee.

But coffee is necessary for my life and wellbeing, so we stuck it out and I savored every sip. When we got back, I messed around in the kitchen and made a delicious omelette with cheddar and onions, along with sour cream and salsa. I was getting ready to work as soon as I finished it, but then Barbara and her son showed up (they had gone out for breakfast during our coffee exploits), so I talked to them for awhile, etc.

However, when I finally got to work, the work went pretty well - I did some more brainstorming (and Barbara and Lisa had some good ideas about the idea I had yesterday, which I think will be a series in its own right rather than anything to do with this book - which kind of threw me for a loop, since now I need to go back to a previous plot idea for this book and simultaneously start plotting the next series). I also wrote four pages of Lucy's story, which felt good (even if I know I'll scrap it all someday in a fit of despair).

Then I took a break to call my parents, who were doing as well as they usually are. After I talked to them, I really just wanted to keep sitting on the deck and watching the lake, but I went back inside, and we all talked about ads for almost two hours - I ended up giving an impromptu lesson in Google Analytics + AdWords, which I used to be super qualified for and am now only mildly competent at. But it was good to look into all of that, and I think I need to spend some serious time on it in the very near future - no other authors that I know of are doing big things with Google ads, which means there's an opportunity to seize a bigger piece of that marketing area if I just go for it.

sssanyway. We broke to eat supper; Lisa made salmon and roasted potatoes with pesto, and it was super yummy. Eating on the deck overlooking the lake didn't hurt either. Then we buckled down to write again, but I stopped writing new pages and instead scribbled several pages of notes before calling it a night. Then we got into a discussion about politics that I only half listened to (I'm sick to death of the election and didn't feel like getting into it, so I instead opened my bullet journal and made my plans for next week). We also got into a discussion about publishing that I listened to a bit more carefully, but by then I was really tired, so I wasn't quite as strident in my opinions as I sometimes am (okay, that's a lie, I said I would throw someone off an elephant if I had a chance, so I guess that's strident).

But now I'm safely ensconced in my room and I need to sleep if I'm going to do a million things before leaving tomorrow - I think Lisa and I are staying and working through the day, then leaving here around four or five so we can get over the mountains before dark but also miss traffic in the bay area but also get home at a decent time. Wish me luck with all of that - goodnight!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

hanging out the passenger side of his best friend's ride

I think I need to call it a night early - I didn't get nearly enough sleep after last night's drive, and the sleep I did get was fitful (the combo of sleeping in a new place + it's hard for me to sleep past eight even if I'd like to sleep until ten or eleven). Also, altitude is not my friend, and the combo of the altitude + my sugar detox seems to be totally draining.

However...despite the bleakness of all of that, today was pretty fucking great. For one, there's sun in Tahoe - lots and lots of glorious sun to help me get over the gloom of San Francisco (where it apparently only got over 70 degrees once in August, which explains a lot of my malaise). For another, while I didn't write new scenes, I had a fantastic idea for the hero...which translates into a fantastic idea for a new series. So fantastic that even Barbara was excited about it (and she doesn't get excited about historicals, for the most part).

That idea came in the shower, which is where many of my best ideas come from - so I'm glad I took a break in the middle of the day to shower, since I might not have had the idea otherwise. But I spent the rest of the day (before and after the shower) either talking to Barbara and Lisa or messing around in my journal/on my laptop while playing with the story, and I'm feeling happy about all of that. But I'm at the point now where I just need to pick a path and start writing - I have a month before I have to turn something in to my editor, and I'd rather not fuck around anymore.

So I think I'm going to play in my journal for a bit longer and then go to bed and hit it again tomorrow - goodnight!

hey, i was doing just fine before i met you

I made it to Tahoe tonight, after a late-night drive that drained me to the dregs. I spent the day getting ready for this trip (and possibly procrastinating by getting ready) - but I crossed a bunch of random stuff off my to-do list, and I packed and took care of stuff around the house and bought tickets to go to Iowa at the end of September (and called my mom about said tickets), so that all came together nicely.

Once I had my car loaded up, I drove down to the Mission and grabbed a coffee for the road (in my thermos, since it would be awhile before I got on the road). Then I went to Al's Place for dinner. The purpose of this dinner was to hang out with Jenni and meet her boyfriend Jesse, and that was accomplished in amazingly wonderful fashion. I've known Jenni forever (she was in India after I was, but we were in South Africa together and made a few India trips together, and also a trip to Dublin, and an epic wine bus in the states, etc., etc.), but I hadn't met Jesse yet even though they've dated for awhile, so we decided to rectify this. He got a 5:30 reservation at Al's Place, which is very hard to come by, and I was excited to try it since I've been meaning to go for awhile.

It turns out it was worth the wait - the food was amazing, and featured some of the most inventive dishes I've seen in awhile (which says a lot, since I live in the land of ridiculous culinary creations). The menu is very veg-forward - the mains are all veg, while meats are offered as 'sides' (smaller portions to add something to your meal). But it doesn't feel vegetarian (and it's not vegetarian) - it still feels decadent and wonderful. We did the family-style menu, and they were very accommodating of my gluten issue (although I dumped the rest of the whole30ish prohibitions for the night, much to my stomach's later chagrin - but I don't think I had any added sugar beyond my wine, so I think that's still on track).

So, it was all wonderful, even if they did serve a plate of radishes (granted, with fancy butter and salt, but I still turn my nose up at them). The standout from an interest perspective was the 'lettuces' - they encouraged you to eat it with your hands, and it ended up feeling almost like eating nachos, since the lettuces had a creamy avocado sauce and some crunchy pistachio, as well as some edible flowers (okay, nothing like nachos, but gorgeous and delicious). The ribeye was excellent. The tomato and burrata was a standout, especially with presentation, but I love tomato and burrata anytime. They brought me a curry towards the end to make up for the pasta they brought for Jenni and Jesse, and the curry could have been a full meal in its own right - so good, but I didn't have room to finish it.

All in all, it was a great experience. I think Rich Table may still be my favorite tasting menu in SF, but this gave it a run for its money, and I would happily go back if the situation warranted (or if I could get a reservation).

Also, meeting Jesse was great - I really liked him, and the three of us had a delightful three-hour dinner (these things take time, man). But at the end of three hours, I had to dash out - dinner started at 5:30 and ended at 8:30, and then I needed to drive to the east bay and pick up another writer before driving to Tahoe. So I picked Lisa up at 9:15, and then it took three hours to get up here - not bad at all. I'm ensconced in my room now, after an hour of unpacking and downtime and general sloth, but I should probably sleep - the point of being up here is to be productive, and I can't do that if I sleep until noon tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

one night samba

I'm strangely exhausted...I don't know if it's because I'm still recovering from staying up until three a.m. the other night reading, or if it's because I haven't had any added sugar in the last four days and my body is probably reaching peak withdrawal. Either way, I hope my body gets its shit together soon, because I've got stuff to do and I don't have time to indulge my inner octogenarian right now (or maybe I should say my inner toddler...the octogenarians I've known probably get less sleep than I do).

But despite that exhaustion, today was a good day. I woke up at nine and scrambled to get ready, then left the house and walked down to Yerba Buena, where I went to my beloved Samovar. I was there to meet up with Lisa, who used to report to me at my old job (she left before I did and went to business school, and recently graduated and started working). We only had an hour, but it was great to catch up, and I forced her to watch me eat bacon and poached eggs since I hadn't had time to make breakfast before going there. An hour definitely wasn't enough time to catch up on everything, but at least it was better than nothing, right?

After we parted ways, I ran a couple of errands around there - I went to Target and got a cheapish white bedskirt since I'm planning to switch up my bedding (using stuff I already have + the lovely pillows I got as freebies from Ritu's wedding), and I went to Container Store to return something, and I stopped by CB2 and Crate and Barrel to browse and indulge in some homemaker daydreaming. Crate and Barrel made me super sad because I discovered that they discontinued the blush color of my dinnerware - I have a hodgepodge of light grey, dark grey, blue, blush, and white (all in the same pattern - they're intended to be mix and match) and I had intended to get some more blush, but that dream is now dead. It doesn't appear that they're going to discontinue the rest of it since they introduced a new color, but I'm still sad.

But I suppose that's a #firstworldproblem, so I'll move on. I took the bus back to my neighborhood and went straight to Peets, where I drank iced coffee and wrote for awhile. Then I came home and took a nap. And then I worked on a secret project, the results of which may be shared someday, but not today. But I had to stop doing stuff for myself then and walk over to Fillmore for dinner - I met up with Carolyn, who you likely won't remember.

Carolyn and I taught a summer class to high school students at Berkeley several years ago, but she was only out here for the summer, and then she went back to NYC. But she has moved here full time, and so we finally got together - it was supposed to happen in San Mateo today, but I bailed on writing down there and then also bailed on driving down for dinner. But while she's working down there, she's currently living up here, so dinner in the city ended up working out. We went to Gardenias (which I'd been to with Lauren once before), and it was a lovely place to catch up - we spent a couple of hours talking over wine and tasty food, and it was all delightful.

Then I walked home, and now I think I'm going to go to bed rather than trying to force myself to get anything else done. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

make it all all right for us

Today started with a productivity bang and ended with a whimper. I worked pretty steadily from nine to noon (mostly website stuff) when I realized that I needed to get ready to leave immediately or I was going to be late for my writing date in San Mateo. As it was, I was fifteen minutes late, and I made the heinous move of taking tuna salad to eat in front of them (although it looked super cute since I packed it in a bento box, and they claimed they couldn't smell it). The downside of this whole30ish thing I'm pursuing is that it's harder to eat something impromptu - but I successfully turned down our traditional rice krispie treat (even though we split it into thirds, so it's not like anyone gets too much), so sugar and grains will have to wait for another day to defeat me.

sssanyway. The writing date was with Anne and Barbara - I hadn't seen Anne in weeks (since before I went to Iowa, I think), since I was gone and she was gone and she didn't go to the conference in San Diego, and so our travels kept us apart for way too long. Barbara hadn't seen her in ages either, so we planned to meet at 1:30 instead of 2 so that we could catch up before we worked - and instead, that just meant we talked for 3+ hours instead of 2.5 hours. In other words, I did no writing at all.

But catching up is important, and we had a lot to discuss. And we did do a little work - we talked about ads and release schedules and goals, and I got some feedback on my tentative website design, so that was all worthwhile. I won't see Anne again until next week, but I'm making a last-minute trip to Tahoe with Barbara and another writer this weekend to do some serious writing, so hopefully I'll come up with a plot at some point.

But that's a struggle for tomorrow. When I left Starbucks, I went across the street to Safeway to get a couple of things that I can't get at Whole Foods, and then I suffered through a dramatically bad commute home (actually, it was normal for current traffic levels, but apocalyptic compared to what I wanted). When I got here I had grand plans to make tomato sauce and meatballs and zucchini noodles, but I was so hungry and so tired that I ate some salami, and then I made scrambled eggs, and then I called it a night.

I was going to do more work tonight, but instead I watched two episodes of Project Runway while answering a few emails in a most desultory fashion. And now I need to sleep and try to get back into the semblance of a regular schedule (but not too regular, since I'm driving to Tahoe late Friday night - but I'll have someone with me, so staying awake shouldn't be an issue as long as I get some sleep the next couple of nights). Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

kiss me twice

After last night's reading bender, you might have guessed that this morning did not quite go according to plan. I woke up at eight (after five hours of sleep), sulkily grabbed my eye mask, and blocked out the light so I could get another couple of hours of sleep. That meant I got up at ten, which wasn't terrible from an amount-of-sleep standpoint, but quality of sleep suffered somewhat. And, needless to say, quantity of work suffered as well.

But I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower and made myself presentable. Then I made mayonnaise, because I am clearly on a one-way trip to crazytown in the kitchen. The mayonnaise turned out perfectly from a consistency standpoint, but I need to find a lighter-flavored olive oil...but at least I know that I can make mayonnaise now, despite the repeated failures with the rouille recipe. I then used that mayonnaise to make fancy tuna salad (fancy tuna salad is exactly like my usual tuna salad, except I added some lemon juice, onion, celery, parsley, and chives since I had all that stuff on hand), which I ate like I was starving, because I was.

After that, it was time for a nap.

But I managed to sleep for less than thirty minutes this time, and then I packed up my stuff and walked down to Books Inc, where I found the second book in the series that I started last night (and I accidentally saw one line in the middle of the book that made me want to read it all immediately, but I am being good and refraining). Then I went to Philz, where I did a couple of hours of work. I'm still plotting, and still messing around with character development, and I think it might come together eventually.

Once I was done with my coffee and done with the people watching, I went to the library - I never go to the library, but I maybe should start, since it's only a couple of blocks from Philz and I'm there pretty regularly. This excursion was to get 'Lunar Men', which might be good research for some stuff related to the hero - it's about inventions and the start of the Industrial Revolution, so while it predates the time period I write in by some fifty years, that's good background for me to have. I also picked up a fantasy book while I was there, because why not.

Then I walked home, and I was starving again when I got here, so I had some salami and some leftover cheese from my Shedletsky party. Then, I cooked some stuff for tomorrow - I'm trying a sweet potato hash, and I cooked some components tonight for tomorrow's breakfast. It turned out so well that I almost ate it all tonight, but instead I had leftover thai beef, turned on the tv, and watched three episodes of an old season of 'Project Runway' while working for the past four hours. This was all admin stuff - I drafted a newsletter to send out tomorrow, and I messed around with website stuff, which I've been wasting a lot of time on for no real output yet. At some point soon I may have to decide to just hire somebody, but I'm stubbornly convinced that I can do what I need to do by myself if I just focus for a bit, so we'll see.

But now, I need to sleep (and not read) - goodnight!

likely story

At 8:30pm, I realized that I was tapped out on writing for the day (I was in hermit mode and attempting to focus on coming up with a plot today, which was both successful and not-so-successful, but I'll get to that in a moment). And I was all proud of myself when I crawled into bed with a book and the intention of reading for an hour before bed rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media....

...but now it's almost three a.m., and I'm bleary-eyed and dehydrated, but I read the book straight through from cover to cover. I haven't done that in awhile, and while I'll pay for it in the morning, it was worth it. The book was 'The Fifth Season' by NK Jemisin, and I'd bought it in paperback (in an actual bookstore!) the week it came out last year - I've loved everything else I'd read by her, and this promised to be no different. However, between one thing and another (my general malaise and despair last fall, and my mad scramble to write a book this spring/summer), I never got around to reading it. But she won the Hugo for it this weekend, which is scifi/fantasy's top honor, and so I was reminded that I had intended to read it.

And if you like fantasy, you need to read this right now. You should also read her other stuff ('The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' was amazing, but this was even better). The narrative structure was complex and interesting and sneaky and heartbreaking, and the worldbuilding was fascinating, and it made me cry repeatedly and dream of writing epics instead of trying to pack a whole world into the confines of an English country houseparty.

So yeah, if you like fantasy, read it.

The rest of my day was mild and uninteresting by comparison. I got up this morning determined to write, so I shut off my internet and put away my phone (after making a v. delicious whole30ish approved omelette with avocado), and I daydreamed about the story. I also played in my planner notebook, which is always a good way to procrastinate while feeling productive. Then I called my parents, and inadvertently ended up talking to them for almost four hours - I wasn't able to talk much yesterday because of my hostess duties, and apparently without the natural boundary of either supper or bedtime (as happens on Sunday late afternoon/evenings), we just continue to talk. Then, since I'd already spent four hours on the phone, I called Aunt Becky and checked in with her as well (and gave my regrets since I can't make the party she's hosting in mid-September - I think I'll go home at the end of September instead).

Then I alternated between writing and failing to write for most of the evening, with a break to eat some leftover chicken bouillabaisse (yum). And then I read the book, which turned into many hours of enjoyment which will wreck me in the morning (especially since I fully intend to walk down to Books Inc in the morning and attempt to procure the sequel, which apparently came out last week). I can't binge read it until I get some more plot developments for my own story, but it's going to happen sometime soon (although binge reading it is probably a mistake - this one ended on a cliffhanger, and the next one is the second book in the trilogy - a trilogy she may be behind on finishing, since she skipped the Hugo ceremony for her deadline and someone else had to accept her award for her. So bingeing now and then waiting forever for the next one might be a bad idea, but we'll see.) Goodnight!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

it's all your fault i screen my phone calls

I had a great day, despite some initial sloth, and now that I'm staring down the beginning of Lucy's book in earnest, it's probably time to quietly keep reminding myself that a) I've written six books, so I can surely write a seventh; b) the beginning always feels like shoving through molasses; c) it's possible to accomplish a lot in one or two solid hours and I shouldn't hate myself for how I spent the rest of them (although it would induce more happiness if I spent the rest of them reading or wandering through the city instead of aimlessly scrolling through twitter).

But despite the early sloth, I managed to recover. I spent the morning cleaning up stuff around the house, and then I engaged in some sloth, and then I took a bath to reset (bathing/showering often helps me reframe and get into the story again, provided I'm not angry about something, in which case showering is an opportunity to plot murder). Then I ran to Whole Foods to pick up a couple of things for this afternoon - my timing was far less ideal than it was on Friday, so the lines were ridiculous, but I was in and out about as efficiently as I could have been today.

After the grocery store, I met up with Tom for a writing date at Quetzal. I don't actually like Quetzal, but they have plenty of space and are v. conveniently located between us (and my jasmine tea, since I was avoiding sugar and non-heavy-cream milk products and so couldn't get a coffee, was serviceable enough). Tom and I caught up for a little bit, and then I wrote for awhile and actually got three pages, which was better than I expected - hopefully that will give me some momentum for tomorrow.

But I had to end early - the Shedletskys were coming over for dinner/Olympics watching, and so I needed to come home and prep. I made chicken bouillabaisse, which is one of my go-tos for meat-eaters when I want to make something that looks/tastes impressive but is actually easy (and whose leftovers I will happily eat for a couple of days). There's something wrong with the rouille recipe to go with it - rouille is a mayonnaise, and while it came together flawlessly the first time I ever made it, I've never been able to get it to come together since then (although even the runny, oily mess is tasty, since it's full of oil and egg and garlic and lemon and salt and saffron). But the chicken and potatoes are out of this world delicious - and if it weren't for the cup of wine and 3tbsp of Pernod in the base, it would be pretty close to the paleo-type whole30ish thing I'm doing. So, at least for this time, I'm calling it a win.

Of course, drinking my share of two bottles of wine is not whole30-approved - but Shedletsky brought a v. nice pinot noir, and then I made the mistake of opening a bottle that I'd bought when we had our epic wine tasting afternoon in Sonoma last year, so of course we had to finish that as well. Ostensibly we were going to watch the closing ceremonies, but those seemed boring, so we instead flipped through some esoteric sports whose rules we didn't know (air rifle, handgun, skeet, synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, etc.), and that was super fun.

But they eventually left, and I ran the dishwasher and did some writing admin stuff and drank some water (and, admittedly, ate some ice cream - I never crave ice cream, but I've had it twice in three days since starting to kind of move toward this whole30ish thing, which is a little weird...but I'm going to blame it on all the leftovers in my freezer from my Olympics party, which I should probably toss). And now it's time for bed - I'm pretty recovered from the wedding and excited to move forward on Lucy's story, so it's time to get some sleep and hit it in earnest tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

heart of darkness

Deep in the heart of the east bay -- so far beyond the bay that one might be forgiven, when one is there, for forgetting that the bay exists* -- lies a place called Castro Valley. Castro Valley is, indeed, a valley, with housing developments stretching up the walls of the valley to give the houses views of the land below. They also enjoy a view of sunshine, which makes it preferable to San Francisco, where it's been all fog and gloom for days.

When I woke up this morning, I intended to stay in San Francisco and work - I'm feeling antsy about the book and it's past time to get cracking. But then Jess sent me an adorable photo of Ian wearing the raccoon vest that I got him, and so I decided to throw aside my productivity plans and go east to inspect a few members of the child army.

But first, I had to feed myself - so I made these sweet potato and zucchini latkes, and fried a couple of eggs to put on top, and it was fucking #winning. I might leave out the cumin next time, since I wasn't in the mood for cumin at ten a.m., but they could be great with a little bit of cayenne, perhaps. I will say that if I keep up with this Whole30ish plan, I'm going to be using my food processor a lot more than I usually do - I used it last night for cauliflower rice, and this morning to shred zucchini and sweet potatoes (something that I might do in bulk and freeze if I intend to make a lot of latkes), and I intend to make mayo and rouille tomorrow. But I'm kind of excited to cook again, so I'm going to embrace it while this feeling lasts.

After I ate, I showered, sent some emails, and then went to Books Inc to buy a birthday present for a member of the child army (my favorite Dr Seuss book, "If I Ran the Circus", and a book about the Summer Olympics). Then I made myself a snack and got in the car and ventured east, and then even farther east, until I reached Castro Valley.

Castro Valley is the home of a lot of identical houses, one of which is owned by Oniel (aka Fauxneil, aka Bill Crosby, although I suppose that nickname should now be retired since Oniel has never, to my knowledge, given anyone quaaludes) and Katie (who doesn't get a nickname because she didn't come to my 2008 Olympics party because she was boycotting China's human rights violations, which is admirable, but I mean, come on, there's cake!). Oniel's oldest kid, Cole, turned five, and so I went to say hi and wish him happy birthday even though he has no idea who I am. But he and his sister are super cute (and very very tall for their ages), and I got to see Folkman and Kristen and some other people whom I hadn't seen in ages (because they have all produced members of the child army). And hopefully now that Oniel and I have seen each other twice in a month, we'll get into a more steady rhythm than once every five years.

But all good things must end (or, rather, all east bay communities can eventually be escaped from), so I said my farewells and drove to Berkeley, which is a different part of the east bay, to say hi to John and Jess and Ian. Ian was being his usual adorable self, although he refused to nap today (not my problem!). And John and Jess seemed to be doing well - we hung out in the house, and then we ended up going to Cancun for tasty Mexican food (this was not at all Whole30ish approved - I avoided the legumes and rice, but I had the crispy corn tortilla and chips, which was probably a mistake). That turned into a super stressful outing because John and I were both having extreme social anxiety about the people around us who were trying to claim twenty seats before they'd ordered any food (which is such a ridiculous thing to say, but it was stressful to watch).

sssanyway. After dinner we went back to their house, and John and I had a drink (beer for him, water for me) and discussed going to Missouri in 2017 for the total solar eclipse (it's on!). Then I drove home, put on my jammies, and watched Olympics (and got super angry about Ryan Lochte, who is such a douchebag).

And now I need to sleep - I need to be productive in the morning because the Shedletskys are coming over in the late afternoon for our last chance to watch Olympics together this year. Goodnight!


*disclaimer: it is less than five miles as the crow flies from the bay. But with traffic, that's approximately eighteen hours**

**disclaimer 2: it took me less than an hour, with traffic, to get out of SF, cross the Bay Bridge, and reach Castro Valley. But still, it was a journey.

Friday, August 19, 2016

i've touched this place before somewhere in another time

I spent almost all of today homemaking, which means I'm wiped out but may be able to feed and clothe myself for awhile. I had intended to get up and write this morning, but I didn't set my alarm and I ended up sleeping until 9:30, which I guess is what I needed (and I kind of hope I repeat that feat tomorrow). That long sleep set me up for a morning of slothfulness, which is probably also what I needed.

But then I got down to business - I did laundry, made my shopping list, and started tearing apart my kitchen to figure out what I need, what I need to throw out, and how to better organize things so that I can cook more aggressively in a small space. When my laundry was done, I drove to Whole Foods and managed to hit at exactly the right time for ample parking (where 'ample' equals 'more than two spaces available in the garage') and short lines. This was a good thing, since the shopping itself took forever - as mentioned last night, I'm moving toward cooking/eating no added sugar, along with a variety of other things to cut (I'm dubbing it 'Whole30ish', since I'm cutting the grains/legumes/sugars like Whole30 but allowing myself cream and butter because ain't nobody got time to make ghee all the time, and also allowing slightly less militancy when going out for dinner with friends). So I spent an exorbitant amount of time and money tracking things down for the recipes on my list - now that I have things like coconut oil (and coconut aminos, which seems like some sort of sorcerer's trick) and more spices, hopefully shopping won't take as much time/money in future trips. Of course, discovering that Whole Foods sells pre-julienned zucchini for zucchini noodles means there will probably be times when I prioritize quality of life over saving money, but we'll see.

sssanyway. When I finally got home, I proceeded to thoroughly clean the rest of my kitchen and take out the compost and recycling. Then I made a thai beef stirfry with cauliflower rice - it was slow going, mostly because I'd never made either recipe before and had to keep adjusting. But the end result was really, really good (and I could see it being even better if I turned the stirfry into a curry.

Of course, tonight wasn't a perfect exercise in restraint...I heard the Coke commercial one too many times and made myself a coke float (which I deeply, deeply enjoyed - I haven't had a coke float in forever, but I happened to have ice cream and coke leftover from my Olympics party, since they're not usually staples in my house). So after my tasty, healthy meal, I indulged in   sugar bomb, which promptly put me to sleep.

And now I need to take out my contacts and go to bed and dream of all the things I want to get done tomorrow - goodnight!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

sorry i'm not home right now, i'm walking into spiderwebs

I was highly productive today - expect my posts to be boring for a couple of weeks, for the most part, since I'm sinking into a productivity phase in an attempt to recover from the month of fun. That doesn't mean everything's going to be dull, since I do have some social activities coming up...but for the most part, they won't involve half a bottle of bourbon and a bunch of bad decisions. #sorrynotsorry

So anyway, I got up today and took care of tings around the house and worked for a couple of hours from the comfort of my couch. Then I ate lunch and drove to San Bruno, where I met up with Barbara and Deborah for another writing date. We met early but talked longer than we should have; we're all in the early phases of books and no one seemed all that excited to work on their stuff, but eventually we buckled down and I got a couple of solid hours of work done. I'm still not writing - I was researching the industrial revolution for most of today, and I found a couple of books that I want to read to go more in-depth on some stuff. But at this point, I'm getting close to the point where I just need to get started and trust that it will all work out in the end...even though it's hard to trust that, for some reason, despite the fact that I've now pulled it off six times and will undoubtedly pull it off again.

By 4:30 or so I was done, so I parted ways with Barbara (Deb had left earlier), ran a couple of errands around there since they were easier to do in the south bay than the city, and came home. Once I got here, I ate some leftover Indian takeout and spent the rest of the night holed up on my couch watching Olympics and doing some intensive meal-planning - I want to eat more cleanly for the next couple of months (read: less alcohol, no sugar, cut back on all the weird grains that I eat in an attempt to make up for my gluten loss), but that requires stocking up on totally different things and perhaps trying some new recipes (which should be fun, since I like cooking). So I made a list of things that I need, and I intend to go to the grocery store at a point tomorrow where traffic + parking aren't bad (which is a miraculous, rarely-discovered combo) - normally I walk to the store, but this trip is too intensive for that.

But now I'm desperate for sleep, and I need to write for a few hours tomorrow before I get distracted by food + homemaking like I've been for the past few days...goodnight!

you'd still enjoy it with your foot on masada

Okay, today was really long, but I got a lot of stuff done that I had intended to get done, so I feel good about that. I didn't get up until 9:30 since I went to bed so stupidly late last night (a feat I'm on track to repeat tonight), but then I cleared things off my table and took care of things in the kitchen so that I could start working by 11. And I actually worked for several hours (four-ish, which is less than I need to work but more than I've worked on a book since finishing the last one) - most of it was research, along with some daydreaming, but I think I'm tiptoeing toward a viable plot and am nearly ready to begin writing in earnest.

But then I took a break to go to Staples to buy markers (so very necessary, because I only have like a hundred markers), and also to a hardware store to buy some supplies for a home project. Then I came home, turned on the Olympics (last night's coverage, then tonight's coverage), and did three loads of laundry, ordered Indian takeout (I look like such a poser with mehndi on my hands and a bag full of butter chicken), and organized all of my jewelry (verdict: I have too much stuff, but I always want more) while watching. I also put away the rest of the stuff that I'd dumped in my apartment after coming back from the wedding - I have more stuff than I had when I left, which is unfortunate since my place is too small for more stuff, but I'll deal with that later.

Then I continued to watch the Olympics while working on my secret home project for awhile - we'll see whether it comes to fruition. But it's suddenly almost one a.m., and I have stuff to do in the morning before another writing date with Barbara and Deborah, so I should sleep and prep for that. But at least I'm not Ryan Lochte (or, worse, one of the swimmers he was with who didn't make it out of Brazil in time - lolololol). Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

all we need is somebody to lean on

I just stayed up way too late considering how tired I am - I was watching old gymanstics replays and working on my website and somehow the night got away from me. But today was good, although I still have a lot of recovering to do - I laid in bed until 9:30 and probably could have stayed there for another couple of hours, but I had to get up and go to Palo Alto.

My task there was lunch with Alyssa (remember her?) - my old trainer, whom I hadn't seen in approximately nine months. It was great to see her and catch up, and we had lunch at Joanie's, which I always enjoy. Then she showed me her new gym space - they recently took over the building that used to house my favorite stationery story on California Ave (Village Stationers), which is great for them and sad for paper-lovers. But the space looks great, and I said hi to Chris, who owns the business, so it was great to catch up with them.

Then I said farewell (with a promise to get together again soon) and drove to San Bruno, where I had a writing date with Barbara and Deborah. I got basically nothing done, since I'm still too tired to feel creative, but I ran my plot ideas by them and they were in favor, so at least there's that. Then I came home and took a nap, which helped.

So I was going to watch Olympics and work on my website all night, but at 6:45 I got an impromptu call from Chandlord - she and Ronak came over so he could see my place, and then we all ended up seeing 'Florence Foster Jenkins' starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. I thought the movie was cute - not the best movie ever, but the performances were great and I liked the premise.

Then I came home and watched more gymnastics (I'm caught up on everything except floor, but that result was inadvertently spoiled for me), and now I need to sleep - I want to clean up my place tomorrow and organize some tings, and also rest up and grocery shop, etc., so that I can start being productive again. Goodnight!

Monday, August 15, 2016

more than diamonds more than gold

Today was all about recovery mode - I'm still tapped out from the weekend, and I'm going to force myself to go to bed as soon as I finish this so that I can aim for eight hours of sleep before the sun comes up (and hopefully a couple more hours after that). I didn't get moving very effectively this morning, but I eventually showered, made myself some tea, and drove to the Dogpatch to return the audio equipment from Ritu's wedding (success). Then I decided to go to the Marina and have lunch at Tony's, since I hadn't seen him in a couple of months - but unfortunately the most annoying woman ever sat at the bar a few minutes after I did, and she got on my very last nerve. Usually I can humor strangers (especially odd strangers like this one, who showed me the pictures that she carries around of Amma, an Indian guru-type figure who occasionally has events in San Ramon, and said it's the only reason she wasn't harmed by some homeless guy last night), but I was really not in the mood today.

So I scarfed down my huevos rancheros and said goodbye to Tony, and then went to the post office to mail Ritu and Bill's marriage license (success - they're stuck with each other now!). Then I came home to drop stuff off, and I took a twenty-minute nap that turned into a two-hour nap instead. But I finally rallied and went to Philz, where I worked for a couple of hours - no writing, but I spent some quality time figuring out my to-do list and checking in on what I want to get done the rest of the month, so I'm feeling better about all of that.

Then I came home, made supper, and watched more Olympics - I got through the rest of the swimming coverage, so I'm done with all of that. I want to catch up on gymnastics tomorrow - I still, miraculously, have not gotten spoiled on anything in the last three days (except the men's 100m dash, because I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday when it happened and she said who won - thanks Mom!), so I've been staying off Twitter and Facebook, which has actually been a really nice break from the news and social media.

But that's all for tomorrow - and more importantly, I need to start actually working again, so I have a writing date tomorrow, as well as a whole list of stuff to accomplish. And that means sleep is critical - goodnight!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

all i need is to be struck by your electric love

As I was driving home today via the scenic route, with the wind whipping through my still-curled bridesmaid hair and the scent of dozens of roses from stolen wedding bouquets swirling around me, I felt like I'd somehow performed a hard reset on my body/soul/spirit this weekend - I felt more drained than I've felt in recent memory, and yet somehow relaxed and weightless (although weightless is not true in the literal sense - my steady diet of cake and bourbon over the past month has gotten out of hand, and I need to fix that immediately). And my exhaustion should have been obvious this afternoon - I got home and made two trips up from my car with stuff, but then abruptly tumbled onto the couch and fell asleep for thirty minutes (which I wish had been thirty hours).

But the wedding was wonderful, and my posts the last couple of days probably didn't do justice to how much fun I had and how great the event was (and also how disgustingly in love Ritu and Bill are). There were a lot of really hilarious moments, a lot of really ridiculous moments (any wedding planner who doesn't think to wear a watch is probably in the wrong business), a lot of Adit moments, and a few emotional moments (for the record: I cried briefly during their vows, but mostly held it together). I knew more people than usual at this wedding, since many of my college friends were there + I'd met a bunch of the med school women at the bachelorette + I knew some of Bill's friends/family from other activities over the last few years - so it was fun to catch up with people whom I haven't seen in ages, and also to deepen my acquaintance with people who seem fun and interesting.

However, as I said last night, I blew past all my limits Friday, and then I had to put my game face back on for Saturday and summon my extrovert reserves to get through emceeing the reception. I was successful at this, although I did gnaw meat off a lambchop bone while standing up and waiting to announce something like I was a fucking barbarian. Luckily, only a couple of guys at my table saw me do that, but it was probably made better by the Burger King-style crown I'd acquired by that point in the evening. So, that performance tapped out the rest of my energy, which is why I escaped earlier than planned last night to curl up in bed instead.

But I rallied this morning for a few hours - I packed up my stuff and then went to the farewell brunch (eggs and potatoes and a lot of coffee were exactly what I needed), and I said farewell to people. But I didn't end up leaving until 1pm, even though I checked out at 11; thanks to my proximity to the venue + my inability to say no, I came home with two bouquets (plus Ritu's bouquet, which I'm going to try to do something with), two dozen white roses, a bunch of alcohol (including more Jack Daniels than I have any desire to drink), popcorn, chips, sparkling water, four pillows, etc., etc.

Eventually, though, I was all loaded up, and so I said my final farewells to Ritu and Bill and their families. But Ritu's sister and mom told me to invite them to my wedding so they can work, so I should probably look for a spouse so I can get some payback, right?

Then I drove home, taking a slight detour through the redwoods rather than going down 101 (which was probably about the same speed but way prettier). I also stopped at In'n'Out to help with my recovery. Then I got home, unloaded some stuff, fell asleep, woke up, and called my parents. And then I spent the evening trying and failing to put things away and watching swimming coverage from Thursday and Friday (I miraculously didn't get spoiled on anything except one of those swimming races, so it was all exciting to me - I'm going to catch up on the rest tomorrow, hopefully).

Now, though, I'm desperate to sleep - I should have gone to bed three hours ago, but the Olympics beckoned. Goodnight!

baby you're like lightning in a bottle

Ritu and Bill are married! Yay! Can I be excused now?

j/k, of course. I mean, j/k to my request to be excused, not to their marriage. Although since I have the marriage license in my possession and have been asked to mail it, it's possible that their marriage won't legally happen either (insert evil laugh, even though we all know I like checking things off lists too much to let that one slide).

However, I'm fucking exhausted...so much so that I slipped out of the party without saying goodbye at 12:30, and am ignoring the music still pumping nearby so that I can get some sleep. I blew past all my limits last night, which made this morning rough - I theoretically didn't have to get up until ten, but I woke up at seven (after four hours of sleep) and never fully fell back asleep again. I should have brought my earplugs - remind me to just always keep them on hand. So, four hours of sleep, on top of the five I got Thursday night (plus all the stress of driving), and the five I got the night Bill stayed with me, and the other short nights due to Olympics watching have combined to totally wreck me.

It was all worth it, though. I spent the morning getting ready, failing to caffeinate (another major problem), taking care of tings, getting my hair done (a ridiculous experience), and eventually getting Chandlord to help me wrap my sari. The wedding pictures were at one, and then the baarat was at two - that involved Bill sitting on a horse while we all danced around him and led him to the wedding site. Eventually, we all walked down the aisle and took our seats for an incredibly long ceremony (so long that I got up and got lemonade at some point) - but I liked the priest, who had a ridiculous sense of humor and storytelling.

Then we did more bridal photos, and then I changed out of my sari and into a cute dress that wasn't nearly warm enough for nighttime even though it would have been perfect this morning. The reception was fun - the signature cocktails were named 'master of disaster' (for Ritu, bourbon-based) and the 'transatlantic romantics' for Bill, replete with gin. I went master of disaster all the way, even though buorbon wasn't what I really wanted after last night's extravaganza.

I enjoyed my table (Claude/boyfriend, Adit/Priyana, Robert and his husband (I haven't seen Robert in a decade, perhaps)), and we played some madlibs and generally had a good time. I had to keep breaking to go on stage and announce things (along with Vidya and Chad), but it seemed like everything went smoothly. And I rocked a Burger King hat, so there's that.

But now, after a long, entertaining conversation in the bitter cold (where I probably offended Priyanka by telling her she looked like an Indian auntie giving advice), and having a catch-up convo with Shen, and a brief conversation with Keith......

But I'm falling asleep as I write this, so I'm going to cut it short. Suffice it to say that the wedding itself was gorgeous, as were the bride and groom (face it, mostly the bride), and I had a great time. I shall tell you more someday, perhaps - but tonight I'm desperate for sleep and so this is all you get. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

we both know we ain't kids no more

I have had too much bourbon and not nearly enough sleep, so I will attempt to keep this brief. I am in Guerneville, which is part of the Russian River area in Northern California, in a room that is entirely too cold (which is better than a room which is entirely too hot), nursing feet that were bruised/cut after an ill-advised barefoot adventure in a meadow (doable) that turned into gravel stairs (omg so fucking painful).

This morning didn't go according to plan - I went over to the airbnb where Ritu was staying to pick up some stuff, which turned into a 90-min adventure instead of a 30-min task. Then I came home and rapidly packed, showered, and stuffed some salmon into my face to stave off hunger. And then I drove to Adit's - at this point, I was already 45-min later than I had intended to be for the day. The lateness was compounded by a variety of additional 45-min delays (speakers took longer to pick up than anticipated; I had to take Adit home; traffic was awful thanks to an accident), so I only made it to the venue 15mins before rehearsal, and was super stressed as a result.

But rehearsal went smoothly, and I had a glass of champagne before descending back into sound madness (but Adit had it all under control in the end, despite some mishaps and calls to tech support). I also had time to make one of Ritu's other friends (Geetha) help me put on one of my saris - I've never worn that one before, but I really loved it, and I was comfortable in it all night.

The sangeet and dinner were all great, and I took a few moments to reconnect with the staff of Dawn Ranch (who jokingly warned the bartenders to cut me off before I'd even had a drink - they know me too well). The food tonight was incredible - they did a really good job with everything, and I now wish I'd eaten more even though I was full then. I also talked about Scotland with Shelly's husband Keith (they were the bride and groom in #summerofmygermanwedding), and reconnected with several people whom I haven't seen in a decade, so it was all lovely. And I got henna in the form of the Olympic rings on my wrist, so yay me.

After dinner, we adjourned to the bar, where DJ Purple (the karaoke DJ extraordinaire) kept the party going. I sang "Bad Touch" with Chris to relive our youth, and I had a stirring rap rendition of Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass", and between that and my awful, totally ineloquent on-the-fly toast to Ritu and Bill, I think I've established myself as the bridesmaid with nothing to lose.

Or at least I thought I had nothing to lose, until I had multiple bourbon drinks (on top of the wine from dinner- and I was getting great pours, since I bonded with the reception barmen over romance novels and turkey slaughtering, and bonded with the regular bartender over an open bottle of wine), and also a lot of singing, followed by a trip to the meadow with Bill and a couple of his groomsmen to attempt to see the meteor shower (verdict: too cloudy, but with a lot of chance of ridiculousness). And now I must must must sleep so I can look okay tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, August 12, 2016

come on come on turn the radio on

No time to blog tonight - I had an awesome, hectic, chaotic, beautiful, exhausting day, and there are more of those to come, so I need to get the six hours of sleep that I might possibly be able to get if I go to bed right now (like, right right now). But I spent the morning taking care of tings (personal business and to-dos, a rapid-fire trip to Sephora to get new foundation since I've gotten too much sun this summer and my usual foundation looks grim, etc., etc.). And then I quite selfishly spent two glorious hours watching the livestream of the women's gymnastics all-around final, which was #worthit. And yes, I cried at the end.

But then I had to stop being selfish and start being social, so I threw on a dress and my new foundation (and rocked the beachy waves I'd created with an abundance of mousse and sea salt spray) and dashed out the door to go to a mani/pedi place in Potrero Hill. You might note that I just got a manicure yesterday, which is true; today was a pedicure with Ritu's bridesmaids. It was really fun and lovely - I took champagne, and Connie took the most delicious hummus I've ever had, and we all hung out and enjoyed each others' company.

Then things got hectic, including a trip to the grocery store at the wrong time, finding an uber for Bill's mom, getting Ritu and all the groceries back to the airbnb (and getting yelled at by the neighbor for parking illegally - lol), making a thirty-second dash into Lauren and Nathan's house to return the sunglasses he left at my place on Saturday and also to kiss Finley on the head while he stared angrily at me for interrupting his dinner, and then dropping my car off at home so that I could drink tonight (although as it turned out, I didn't drink enough to warrant this).

Then I lyfted back to the airbnb, and we had a lovely evening (after an hour of total chaos getting everything ready) - I hung out with people, and ate some pizza, and got mehndi on my hands (it looks great!), and generally had a delightful time.

But now I've written way more than I intended to, and I need to get some sleep if I have any hope of functioning tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

rising like a spire (or spider, if you prefer)

Today was a lovely mix of olympics and vanity, with some other productivity thrown in the mix. I spent the morning getting my own stuff done + figuring out what I needed to do for the wedding, while enjoying some iced coffee and the lovely quiet of my apartment (although I listened to some "80s training montage" radio station, which interrupted the quiet but maybe helped to get me motivated).

At noon, I took a break and ate some pasta (good for my stomach, bad for my waistline) and watched the first half of the men's gymnastics all-around. It was an awesome competition this year - the men really brought their a-games. I've not enjoyed men's gymnastics as much as women's gymnastics recently because it seems like there have been so many falls as the difficulty levels reach unrealistic levels (one of the same reasons I'm no longer as big a fan of women's figure skating as I used to be - it's hard to be so enthralled by performances when everyone falls). But the all-around today was awesome - and watching the livestream was great, because I saw athletes I never would have seen otherwise (did you know Cuba has a gymnast?! you probably wouldn't if you watch primetime). In fact, given that I haven't seen any gymnastics in primetime yet and I'm about to go to bed, watching it on livestream was definitely the way to go.

But I had to stop halfway in for grooming-related activities. First up was a much-needed haircut - I should have gotten my bangs trimmed two weeks ago, but my stylist was on vacation, and so I had to wait it out (I suffer for my hair almost as much as these Olympians suffer for their sports). She did a great job and I can see again, so that's great. Then I came home, with a quick stop at a party supply place for stuff for tomorrow. And then I got a manicure, which was delightful - I got one of my favorite manicurists, so that was fun.

Then I ran to a hardware store for more stuff for tomorrow, and then I came home and gathered things that I need to take places tomorrow, and I ordered thai food and watched the rest of the all-around. I managed to not get spoiled on the result, and it was super intense - it came down to the final two guys on the high bar, and unfortunately the guy I was cheering for ended up getting silver, but c'est la vie. I saw some great gymnastics, and I'm glad I watched it in its entirety.

Then I switched to the primetime broadcast, which was boring by comparison - I'm a little tired of all the time spent sitting around waiting for swimming to happen. I realize that NBC coerced the Olympics into doing it live in East Coast primetime (which means Phelps raced at midnight in Rio, which seems so stupid), but it would be nice to see anything else once in awhile. And the fact that they're deferring to swimming means that all the lovely gymnastics that I saw today only started at 11:15pm in primetime, when I'm ready to go to bed.

sssanyway. While I was watching, I did some laundry and dealt with some packages and took care of other things. And now I'm ready for bed - tomorrow starts all the wedding ridiculousness, and I need sleep before that. Goodnight!

i've gotta stay high all the time to keep you off my mind

Today was a long, mildly frustrating/unproductive day - mostly because I didn't sleep enough last night, and my routine this morning was thrown off because Bill (Ritu's fiance) stayed with me last night, which made for a much different morning than I am accustomed to having. But I got up, showered, made an omelette (and made another one for him), and took care of some tings before leaving around 10:45 to go to the east bay to get my brows waxed. It's entirely unnecessary for me to go that far, but I love my brow person and haven't had time to consider finding a new one, and I desperately needed to get groomed before the wedding.

So I saw the brow lady (lovely and entertaining and very good at her job), and then I went to Anthropologie to see if anything struck my fancy for the wedding and ended up shopping for an hour (I found two dresses and a sweater, but perhaps none of them are suited for the wedding - oops). Then I came home and found that Bill was still here - he had left when I left and was supposed to be doing other stuff today, but his plans changed and he came back to my place to work, and he was here until five. That severely curtailed my traditional naptime, let me tell ya. But I ate some leftover pasta (and didn't share), and I watched a bit of Olympics (although I wasn't able to watch the replay of the women's gymnastics yet, and while I'd assiduously avoided spoilers, I accidentally got spoiled when I opened Snapchat and saw a promoted/featured story - ugh).

Eventually, Bill left, and then I got ready and strolled down to Japantown, where I met up with Jen Lui for dinner. We tried out a new restaurant for both of us (An Japanese, which is tucked away on the second floor of a mall that I never go into), and it was really delicious - we each got the 12-pc nigiri omakase, which meant the chef chose what to give us. The initial appetizer before that was perhaps the best thing we had (a white fish with lemon mashed potatoes, which I've never had at a Japanese restaurant, was to die for), and I traded my uni (sea urchin) for Jen's clam, but other than that it was really tasty. It was the first time I'd had Japanese food since my encounter with food poisoning at the end of April, and it went pretty well - it's still not something I'd necessarily crave at the moment, but I'm glad I can get back on the (sushi) boat.

After we caught up over fish, we wandered around the mall and made a stop at Maido (my favorite stationery store), and also browsed through a bookstore until they closed. Then Jen returned to the glorious south bay and I took a lyft home, where I promptly settled in and watched all of tonight's primetime coverage. I wasn't impressed by the coverage tonight (too much sitting around waiting for swimming), but I was impressed with the results.

But now I need to sleep so I can do a million things tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, August 08, 2016

the bombs bursting in air

Today was a lovely mix of work, fun, and olympics - if only all days could be this gorgeous. I woke up around 7:30, messed around the apartment and did some cleaning, and then made it to Philz by nine, where I worked for a couple of hours. I didn't write anything, but I started reading a fascinating book called 'Green Retreats', about women's relationships to gardens and gardening in eighteenth century Britain. I only made it through the introduction, and I'm looking forward to reading the other sections (each section is about a different gardener - mostly rich women who also had time to write journals/correspondence, so obviously a lot of women have been erased from the historical record entirely). It's much more of a sociological study than it is about gardens themselves so far, but it's giving me a lot of ideas about Lucy's character and what might have mattered to her.

So that was great, and I didn't really want to leave - I probably could have gotten another coffee, and then had lunch at some comfy place nearby, and been quite content to read all day. But I had to meet up with Bill and Ritu, who have arrived to prepare for their nuptials (which they claim are still happening). They got to my place and dragged all their luggage up here, and then we walked down to Arlequin and had lunch and wine in the sun (the wine shouldn't be a surprise, since that's what we do together). Then they went to City Hall to get their marriage license, and I came home and took care of some tings.

When they were done with that, we dragged all their stuff back downstairs and took it to the airbnb where Ritu and her family are staying this week. It's a lovely house, and hopefully everything is smooth this week. We also tasted some riesling for the wedding (which I've apparently had for days - it was shipped to me by the venue so that they could taste it today and make a decision).

Then, Bill and I came back to my place (he's staying here for one night only before picking up his family tomorrow and checking in to a hotel), and I set up my new gadget - I realized yesterday that my livestream of the Olympics was skipping really badly on the Chromecast, but wasn't skipping much at all on my laptop, so decided that maybe the issue was the Chromecast (which is several years old at this point). So I ordered a Roku Stick ($50) on Amazon, and somehow got free one-day shipping, so it was here this afternoon.

It turns out to be a great decision - my livestream hasn't skipped at all tonight, and the quality is way better than the Chromecast was (close to HD). It also has its own remote and on-screen interface, so after I was done setting it up, I don't need to use my laptop or phone to stream. It still needs a cable subscription for most of the apps to work properly, but it's slick enough that I'm happy with it as-is and probably won't bother hooking up real tv at this point.

So needless to say, as soon as I was on my couch and ready to watch Olympics, I didn't leave it. I had tried to watch men's gymnastics before Ritu and Bill arrived, but when I tried to finish watching it this afternoon (while Ritu and Bill were at the courthouse), the results were spoiled by the app, so I gave up. After Bill left, I ate supper (leftover pasta, yum) and took a nap, and then I watched the full evening coverage (still ongoing) while answering a bunch of emails, taking care of my face via mud masks, etc. My favorite moment, of course, was Michael Phelps' death stare, but it was all fun - and I'm going to have to pack in as many livestreams as possible over the next two weeks now that my devices are all working properly.

But now, I need to get some sleep - I have to do some grooming/shopping activities for the wedding tomorrow, and I have dinner plans, and I need to keep reading about gardening and also watching Olympics (women's gymnastics!). Goodnight!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

i need you in my house 'cause you're my home

I followed through with last night's pronouncement and did almost nothing today - possibly almost too much nothing, since I didn't leave the apartment at all (even to get coffee, which I had planned to do), but it was probably what I needed. I did very little in the morning, beyond cleaning up some stuff in the kitchen. And then I spent the early afternoon watching Olympics coverage - I streamed the women's gymnastics qualifiers (not all of it - just the rotation that the US was in), and I enjoyed watching the whole qualifier without interruptions as happens in prime time.

At some point I took a break to talk to my parents, as always. Then I took a nap, because my day had been so strenuous. Then I messed around in my planner/journal and figured out what I need to get done this week (answer: write before the wedding). I eventually made supper - my stomach is still a little sensitive, so I didn't want anything with acid or other irritants, and I also didn't want to leave the house to buy groceries, so I ended up making chicken alfredo (with gluten free spaghetti) because a creamy cheesy sauce sounded good (albeit not healthy). The recipe was really simple and turned out deliciously, and now I have leftovers to eat while carb-loading for the intense activity that is watching the Olympics.

After I ate, I turned on prime time coverage and watched swimming while answering a whole slew of emails that I'd neglected over the past few days. But now it's later than I intended, and I should sleep - tomorrow commences more social activities, and I also need to write before any of that happens, so wish me luck with that. Goodnight!

okay ladies now let's get in formation

Today was a wonderful way to kick the Olympics off in style. Of course, now I'm tired and v. happy that I have tomorrow to be completely hermity before a week of craziness - but today was #worthit.

I got up at 8:30 and immediately baked two cakes - a lemon cake and a blueberry cake (both gluten free). The Olympic Rings Cakes (tm) are traditionally five cakes, and are traditionally full of food coloring - but the last time I baked all five cakes, I ended up throwing away the equivalent of two cakes, and also we're all much classier than we used to be and are somewhat averse to food coloring. So I didn't dye the blueberry cake blue, which I think was a sign of great forbearance on my part (and also the cake looked way better than it does when it's blue).

After the cakes were baked, I did some other things to get ready - I went to Whole Foods to buy fancy cheese and dairy products, and I went to BevMo to stock up on rum and cachaƧa (where I ran into Julie and Brian, who were stocking up for their own party tonight - too bad we accidentally booked over each other), and I took a shower, and I prepped a gallon of mai tais and a pitcher of mojitos. Shockingly, though, I was mostly on time in terms of getting things ready for the party - usually I'm still cooking when people show up, but this time I was basically done when people arrived, so I was able to enjoy myself.

And it turns out that that's a good thing - far more people arrived than I had anticipated, which means that I actually had a mostly-accurate amount of food for the first time ever (we got through all six fancy cheeses! and a ton of guac, and two and a half bags of chips, and most of the cake, and all the mojitos/mai tais). I had only gotten confirmations from ~12 people as of last night, and somewhere around 25 people showed up (not counting infants), which made for a super fun, super crowded situation. I live in a studio, which is probably not designed for 25 people - but it all felt lovely despite that.

John and Jess (and Ian) were the first to arrive, and they were followed shortly thereafter by Oniel, whom I hadn't seen in years (possibly almost five years, although I think I saw him another time in the intervening half-decade). Walter and Carson and their baby showed up right before Oniel, although their baby was the youngest of the child army and so mostly slept through the whole thing. There was a flurry of arrivals after that - Adit and Priyanka came (with Vihaan), and Anthony (whose hair is reaching peak 80s band), and Dan (whom I hadn't seen in ages), and Vidya, and Justin, and Marco (Claude's brother), and Terry (still in town, although she leaves in the morning), and Lauren and Nathan (and Finley), and Claudia and her boyfriend Sam, and Sheila and Rajiv (Sheila is perhaps the only person who was as excited about the Olympics as I was).

That all turned into a full house, and some people absconded to the terrace with their wine, while others (mostly John/Anthony/Dan) talked about the Guns 'n' Roses concert that they're going to, and we all drank mojitos and mai tais, and Anthony and I very ill-advisedly tasted both the cachaƧas (turns out that the one he brought is infinitely better than the one that I bought this morning, but they are both terrible). Also, Adit left and then came back and then kept saying goodbye for an hour, as he does. Also, John did inappropriate things with my fake baby (Prom King), including putting him up on the skylight over my bed (which is reachable from my terrace). Also, Lauren's son unexpectedly tried to eat my nose, so if he has any diseases in his saliva, I'm pretty sure I inhaled all of them.

The party started to clear out around six (with a temporary clearing earlier when Vidya and a couple of others went to Taco Bell, although they came back), but then the second round of the party happened - just when it was down to Rajiv/Sheila/Justin, Jesse and Maya showed up, and so did Raja, and also Katrina and Annie. Round two was more lowkey (or at least it had a higher average age, since there were no children), but no less fun - we talked about a variety of ridiculous things, and Raja made some entertaining pronouncements about how easily we could all do gymnastics, and we cleared out the rest of the cheese and mai tais, much to my relief. And Jesse gave me an Olympics medal, which was v. sweet (especially after he had basically forced me to give him one with his crazy eyes - I award medals mostly at random, but it was nice to get one back).

Everyone left around nine, and I ran the dishwasher and watched gymnastics and vegged and inadvertently napped until now. And now I am going to go to bed and revel in the fact that I don't have to set an alarm tomorrow and don't have to do anything or see anyone or cook anything or prepare anything - the full extent of my ambitions is to clean the kitchen (almost done anyway), get coffee, watch some olympics, and maybe read a book about gardening. Yay. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 06, 2016

they deftly maneuver and muscle for rank, fuel burning fast on an empty tank

As is common whenever I host a party, I probably have more left to do than I can possibly do in the time allotted. But as is also common whenever I host a party, it will be fun regardless of what happens and how ready I technically am when the first guest arrives.

Today should have been much more productive than it was, but I wasn't feeling it for some reason - so I dallied, but I also did three loads of laundry and cleaned out my fridge and hooked up my tv (somewhat unsuccessfully, but it'll do), and I went to Safeway and bought most of what I need for tomorrow. I also ran a couple of loads of dishes to clean my glassware, and I dusted my bar accoutrements (mostly bottles of liquor) so that they look drinkable, and I took inventory of my alcohol supply so that I know what to buy tomorrow (hint: where'd all the rum go?).

But even though I was ready to start baking tonight, I couldn't - I had dinner plans with Terry (remember her? she's in town) and Lauren. We went to Sessions, which is new-ish in the Presidio. I was more militant than usual about my gluten issues due to my stomach woes, so I made them leave the crispy onions off the burrata that we ordered to start, and I asked more questions than I usually would about the salmon, but I think I avoided getting poisoned. Our waiter seemed like he might have been high or drunk, but he was charming enough, and the food was pretty tasty. I feel about it pretty much exactly how I feel about Presidio Social Club (which is nearby) - the food is good, the service is always a little weird, and I mostly am interested in returning because of the free and readily-available parking. In other words, I'd go back, but not out of any sense of eagerness or excitement to return.

Or maybe I wasn't excited because I was missing the opening ceremonies - I don't know. For someone who loves the Olympics, I miss the opening ceremonies a little too frequently - in 2012 I was in Anaheim for a conference (although I made the person I met with that evening go to ESPNZone with me to watch, although we couldn't hear any of the commentary), and in 2010 I was on a plane back from India. I'm going to have to do a better job of blocking my calendar in 2018!

So anyway, when we were done, I took Terry to her sister's house, and then I dropped Lauren off at her place, and then I stopped at another grocery store to grab a couple of things I forgot that are necessary for cake-baking (I don't have cooking spray or vegetable oil since I gave those things up long ago, but they're necessary for this particular endeavor). And then I came home and watched the end of the opening ceremonies while taking care of stuff around the apartment and attempting to rearrange furniture to open up more space (spoiler: this is an impossible dream).

But now I need to sleep, and hope that my stomach and my excitement somehow conspire to get everything done before the party. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

taffy stuck and tongue tied

I once again didn't get enough done today, but I'm still going to chalk it up as a win. When I woke up this morning, I had to scurry around like a crazy woman to get ready for someone to come and clean my apartment - yes, I cleaned before the cleaning. But there were things I needed to put away and tidy and straighten to make the cleaning as effective as possible. And while it felt indulgent to pay someone to clean a studio, which I am typically capable of keeping clean myself, I'm glad that I did - since I've been gone so much, it was descending into filth (the wampdevils were in danger of consuming the bathroom floor entirely), and my stomach woes make me unfit for cleaning.

So anyway, the person I hired showed up at 9:30, and he did a pretty good job - his vacuuming was perhaps less thorough than mine would have been, but since I despise vacuuming, I'll take it. While he was cleaning, I took care of some other things around the apartment, and also sent some emails, and made some lists, and generally tried to organize myself for the many other tasks ahead.

As soon as he was gone, I gathered my things and drove down to San Mateo. I had a writing date with Barbara, but I went early to eat a salad at Specialtys (which made my stomach hurt) and go to Target to buy some household tings (which I would have had delivered, but Google Express couldn't deliver anytime in the next two-three days, which is *not* the definition of Express). Then I met Barbara and worked for a couple of hours - I didn't produce many real words because I went down a rabbit-hole of trying to find a name for the hero, and then I realized that I may want a different kind of name entirely because he may be the rougher, more self-made sort, so perhaps all of this was for naught.

sssanyway. Around 4:30 I parted ways with Barbara, who will be in Hawaii for the next week, so there will be no more writing dates (not that there would have anyway, since I'll be consumed with wedding stuff). Then I went to Diddams and got some party stuff. And then I spent an hour driving home, which got on my nerves....

...so when I got here, rather than cleaning things or organizing things or doing the million things on my to-do list, I ate some leftover pizza and spent a couple of glorious hours reading 'A Natural History of English Gardening: 1650-1800'. Yes, I understand that you may not find this glorious. And, to be fair, I'm not entirely in love - the guy is entirely too wordy for the points he's attempting to make in some places. But the book itself is gorgeous - well-suited for a coffee table, and he did some beautiful illustrations, and the research is interesting. It also pointed me toward a book about women and gardening that I think will be far more useful for the purpose of Lucy's story, so maybe I'll read that in my off-time tomorrow.

But there shouldn't be much off-time tomorrow - I *must* go grocery shopping in the morning, and bake some cakes, and get some liquor, and do some laundry, and generally do the things I should have done tonight. So sleeping now would be a good idea - goodnight!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

she's got a boyfriend anyway

Today went entirely off-plan. I spent the morning taking care of legitimate stuff, for the most part, and also making tomato soup for lunch. The soup was tasty, but it was perhaps the wrong choice - as soon as I ate it, my stomach flared up and I had to lie down and curl up and nap (or think about napping) for a couple of hours. This was an unwelcome situation, since I have so much to do - and also, I got a little worried that my stomach seemed to be getting worse instead of better.

So I took a shower, and then I went to urgent care. This was mostly useless - they basically told me to take some tums and try again later. And by that I mean that they thought it was general stomach irritation, but to come back if I'm not better in a few days.

So after that, I came home. And I had to cancel on dinner with Jen - we were supposed to try a new place in Japantown and I was excited to see her and eat delicious food, but I decided to prioritize resting instead. And you can tell that I'm sick, because I binge-watched six episodes of Leverage rather than doing anything truly productive. However, I did shred enough stuff to fill two grocery sacks with shreddings (basically, everything that has come in over the last year that I should have shredded and instead have thrown into an increasingly-unsightly pile in my closet), which was a task I've clearly been putting off forever, so that's good.

Anyway, that's all I've got to report - I need to get stuff done tomorrow, so going to sleep now would probably be a good idea. And my stomach doesn't hurt as badly as it did - it basically only hurts when I eat, so maybe not eating would be a good idea? We'll see - but for now, it's bedtime. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

i love cheap thrills

I'm still in recovery mode from this weekend's adventures, so today was kind of rough. I spent the morning trying to get my life back into some semblance of order - answering a few emails (not enough), ordering groceries, doing laundry, making appointments, etc., etc. My house is nowhere close to tidy and I have a ton of stuff to do if I'm going to host an olympics party anytime soon, but at least I got some basics taken care of.

But then, after messing around online and eating some eggs and generally trying to motivate myself, I scurried down to San Bruno and met Barbara for a writing date. We talked for longer than we should have (mostly about ads, but also about life), but I eventually settled in to write, and I officially produced the first page of Lucy's story. No idea if it's going to stick or if I'll keep going with that storyline, but it's a start. And it's odd to start a book, I must say - opening up a new file and conjuring a story completely from scratch is a strange thing to do with one's life.

When I finished with that, I parted ways with Barbara, drove home, took care of a couple of things, and then made the v. unusual move of knocking on my neighbor's door. I had run into the guy in that couple in the elevator, and something compelled me to ask what he does for a living, at which point he mentioned that he's looking for a job. So I told him that I have some contacts (lol), and he said I should stop by for a glass of wine when I got home. And I actually followed through, and we had a nice chat.

It turns out that his wife was on her way to a historical fiction book club (which, in retrospect, would have been way more fun for me than talking about the tech scene), but we all talked for twenty minutes or so - and then he and I finished the bottle of wine that he'd opened while discussing the neighborhood, the shitty aspects of our building and the management company (while I merely had some tiny leaks, they have an actual hole in a closet, which sounds way worse), favorite restaurants, methods of coffee brewing (I think I sold him on an aeropress), etc., etc. So it was a rather interesting and impromptu evening, and we'll have to do it again in a week or two because we ended up not talking about tech at all.

But by the time I left their place (and walked two feet to my place - next time I'm not going to wear shoes; and also, we could just break into each other's places anytime anyway, since we share a terrace and both leave our windows open), I was *starving*, and so spending an hour making the soup I was going to make tonight wasn't in the cards. So I ordered some subpar curry from Sprig (the first thing that has ever disappointed me from them, but maybe I was too hungry to appreciate it), messed around online, and generally did very little - I'm tired, and my stomach still hurts, and I think relaxation and sleep tonight are important so that I can try to get a lot done tomorrow.

And on that note, it's time for bed - goodnight!

breathing in the snowflakes

I fell asleep on the couch while I was starting to write this, so you're going to get the blandest, most boring post out of me. But suffice it to say that I got enough sleep last night to make me happy that I'd stayed in Houston overnight - not enough to keep me from sleeping all the way here, but enough to make a good start on my recovery.

When I finally got back to the city, I spent quite awhile on the phone with my parents - I'd talked to them briefly yesterday, but today was better for it. I talked to my mom for a long time about Whole30 and dietary issues, etc. - I might do it, but we'll see.

Then, I ignored the issue of health and went to Delfina for dinner with some of the family. Omar is in town, and tomorrow is his last day, so I met up with him for dinner. This also included Vidya, whose idea it was; Adit, because of course; and two of their friends whom I don't know.

There were tons of ridiculous things discussed, including animals, but I'm falling asleep again and need to go to bed before I screw up my chance of sleeping well tonight. Goodnight!