Monday, June 26, 2017

all those rumors, they have big teeth

I'm back in Denver after a very long day of travel. I woke up a little after seven, which gave me time to shower, finish packing (easy peasy), help clean the kitchen, and still have time to journal on the back porch for half an hour, so that made me feel pretty smug. Then we left the house and drove to Sedona for brunch - we'd exhausted the v. limited eating options in the Sedona-adjacent town where our rental house was, and it was either DQ for breakfast or drive to Sedona. Sedona, obviously, won, and we had a really great brunch there - I thought the food was good but not great, but the view of the red rocks was perfect, so overall it was a win.

Then we all wandered around for an hour or so before we realized that none of us want to buy crystals and Sedona is somehow the only town in the world that makes its whole living off selling rocks. So, we parted ways with Jess, who lives in Arizona and was driving home from Sedona, and then Grace, Jenn and I drove back to the Phoenix airport. This took a couple of hours through a scorched hellscape and 110+ degree heat, but it was entirely uneventful. I dropped them off at their terminal, took the rental car back, and had an hour and a half to kill after going through security, so I sat at a bar and ate a burger and had two glasses of wine and wrote/worked, and I was, again, feeling pretty smug...

...but that smugness ended when my plane left the gate on time, taxied to the runway, and...stopped. There was some mechanical issue, and they returned to the gate, and we ended up leaving two hours later. Bleh. Also, sometime after arriving at the airport and sitting down at the bar, I mysteriously destroyed my left shoulder, and I can barely lift my arm above my head to take off my clothes, so that made for a highly unpleasant flight as my shoulder got stiffer and stiffer after sitting in my airplane seat for 4+ hours instead of 2.

So, after lugging myself and my stuff through the Denver airport, finding my car, and getting to Katie and James's at 11pm instead of 9pm, I'm surly and sore and ready for bed. Hopefully sleep will magically fix everything - goodnight!

threading the needle

Blogging on my phone so this will be brief - today was my last full day of my retreat, and it went so well. I woke up and journaled outside before the sun got too crazy, and then did a bit of work inside. We all took a break for lunch, which meant going to Dairy Queen because Grace loves it (I wasn't complaining, since I got a Heath Blizzard for the first time in many years).

Then I worked all afternoon, and I'm still falling in love with my spinster honeymoon while still being scared by it. We also did a lot of tarot character development, which was super fun. We were going to go out for dinner, but we were all still pretty full from DQ, so we went to the grocery store to forage, which meant my dinner was a frozen dinner of chicken tikka masala and the rest of the wine I opened the other night. And then we gossiped until I was too tired/happy/bitchy to keep going.

And now it's time for bed so I can fly back to Denver tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

i want something just like this

Long day, not quite enough actual writing - but I got up and journaled rather than checking twitter, which was way better for me, and then I spent most of the day doing character background work for Spinster Honeymoon. At three p.m., though, I had to stop so I could shower, and then we all went into downtown Sedona for the evening. We wandered around and looked at some shops, and had a super tasty, v. v. filling dinner at a Mexican place with multiple kinds of guacamole and some enchiladas that made me quite happy. The margaritas made me happy too, but everything together was a little too much, and now I feel like I have a food baby.

But I'll probably survive. After we wandered around some more, we came back and played Cards Against Humanity again (Grace won, after having never played before last night - she's a natural). And now I'm going to go sleep so that I can be more productive tomorrow, since it's our last full day here - goodnight!

Friday, June 23, 2017

born in arizona, moved to babylonia

I haven't been able to get internet on my laptop, which is probably for the best, so I'm typing this on my phone before turning in. Today went really well - I woke up and journaled outside before it got too hot, and then I dragged everyone to Starbucks for caffeine and food before I felt too hangry. Then we came back and I wrote for awhile... I'm getting back into spinster honeymoon and I think it's going to be great.

But we took a look break for lunch at a nearby brewery, which served great burgers. Then we grabbed some groceries and drove back here, and I worked the rest of the afternoon. This mostly involved character development, which mostly involved some tarot for my characters using a tarot for writers book, which was more helpful than you might have guessed.

But I stopped around six and talked to Grace while she cooked dinner for all of us. We enjoyed it together, and then we played cards against humanity, which was as ridiculous as always. And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I feel so close to you right now

Too tired to blog - I'm in Arizona, after an entirely uneventful flight. The drive was much more eventful - I picked up the rental car, then picked up Grace, and then we got totally lost trying to pick up Jenn (it was definitely a Google maps issue). Then we tried to drive to Sedona, but a massive wildfire had closed I-17, so we had to detour around it.

Did I mention it was 120F?

But we survived and made it to our cabin, where Jess was v happy to see us. Then we had a ridiculous dinner at the nearby casino, where I had enough margaritas to dull the pain of the drive. And then we gossiped at home, but I'm turning in before everyone else because I'm basically still on central time and am too tired to function. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

are we in the clear yet

No blog tonight...I made it to Denver without incident and promptly reunited with Katie (by picking her up at the airport). We had a drink and some snacks at Avanti, as we often had before, and then spent the evening hanging out with her kids (and James, when he got home).

But I'm exhausted and I'm flying to Phoenix tomorrow, since my travel schedule makes no sense at all. So, it's time for bed. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

find me and follow me through corridors, refectories

I am sitting in a hotel room in North Platte, Nebraska, which is a town I have driven through many times before. What I had not done before is drink thirteen ounces of so-so wine at Ruby Tuesday, which is what I did tonight - I was having some deep thoughts about Spinster Honeymoon, and by that I mean that I thought about journaling and instead spent too much time messaging people on twitter. But twitter is part of the plot of that book, so let's call it research and move on, shall we?

When I woke up this morning, I was still in Iowa. But it didn't take long to get ready to go - and it was all v. desultory since I wasn't on a specific timeline. So, that gave me time to have breakfast with my parents (my dad made hashbrowns in addition to the usual bacon and eggs, so I think he really does love me!). Then I said my farewells to them and headed west (well, north first, then west for hours and hours). The Iowa portion of my journey was entirely uneventful. Right after I crossed the Nebraska border, I discovered that tornadoes had passed through there recently - I saw some pretty gnarly remnants of what used to be machine sheds twisted into post-modern art shapes, and I had to take a detour because some of the electric poles had been blown into the highway. It's incredible what a tornado can do - one of the poles I saw had been snapped at the base, but then deposited, still vertical, in the field nearby, and the lines hadn't been severed. Bizarre.

After that, things got super boring - Nebraska is kinda the worst for scenery, and as I've said before, Nebraska has the longest stretch of interstate that is perfectly straight (seventy miles that doesn't deviate by more than three inches). But I took a break when I got to Kearney to see the museum inside the Archway - I've driven under it many times, since I-80 passes underneath it, but I've never stopped. They had some good exhibits about the history of the North Platte trails - the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails all went through Kearney (then Fort Kearney) to Fort Laramie, where they split off to their different destinations. And the transcontinental railroad and I-80 followed in the same path - so many decades of western expansion went through there, and they did a decent job representing it. It was a little heavy on theatrics and light on facts, but it was really nicely done and I'm glad I stopped.

Then I drove to North Platte, where I decided to spend the night - I could have pressed on, but I was tired and the pickings between here and Denver are slim (although I like Ogallala as much as the next girl, I guess). So I checked in and walked next door to Ruby Tuesday, where I ate some chicken and drank the aforementioned wine, which was better than I expected and not as good as I wanted. Then I came back here and talked to Katie for an hour, since it was too much to expect us to wait to start catching up until we see each other tomorrow. And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Monday, June 19, 2017

consoler of the lonely

It's time for bed - I need to get up earlier than usual tomorrow so that I can take care of last-minute details and eat breakfast before heading west. Today went pretty smoothly, though - I hung out on the patio for lots of it, but I also organized my stuff and packed my car and crossed many things off my to-do list.

But none of those things are interesting to you, and I need to sleep so that I can be well-rested for my voyage. Next stop is somewhere between here and Denver...goodnight!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

own the night

Happy Father's Day, everyone! I spent mine eating breakfast (delish), visiting my grandma (depressing), and hanging out with my dad on the back porch (entertaining and informative). I also got a wee bit of work done, and I had a delightful supper with the parents - my mom made barbecued ribs and potatoes and creamed peas, and it was all v. tasty.

But now I need to sleep - I'm leaving Tuesday, so I'll be spending tomorrow deciding what to take with me for the next two months of adventures. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

dead leaves and the dirty ground

Time for bed...I spent the last three hours working, which is unusual, but I didn't have much time to work earlier in the day and I was feeling compelled. I woke up this morning, made an omelette (perfection) and at it with some avocado like a fucking millennial. Then I thought my sister was arriving imminently, so I showered without washing my hair, but I discovered after I got out of the shower that she wasn't coming until 12:30. Oops.

So I hung out on the porch with my parents until she arrived. She came over with my niece Allie, and they hung out for a couple of hours - my mom had to go sit at the round barn, and my dad had other errands to take care of, but Jackie and Allie stayed for awhile. When they left, I mostly procrastinated (with a bit of journaling), and then I ran into town to look for cointreau for margaritas. But our grocery store only has extremely cheap triple sec and I wasn't willing to lower my coastal elite standards, so I grabbed some Mountain Dew (yes, that shot my coast elite high horse right out from under me) and came home.

Then the parents and I went to Seymour for supper - Saturday night is prime rib, which we all enjoyed. Then we came home and my dad and I watched some 'Magnificent Seven' together (the short-lived tv show, not the movie), and then I came downstairs and worked until now.

And now it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

another love grows cold on a sleepless night

I'm tired and I should probably wash my face and go to bed in case we lose power...there's been some impressive lightning going on outside for a couple of hours now, and while it's mostly skirted us, there's always a chance that something will happen.

Today was great from a productivity standpoint, though - I woke up, made a tasty omelette, and then spent the afternoon hard at work on the back porch. I had to stop around five so that I could finally shower and eat an early supper (ribeye and baked potatoes) - my mom and I had a meeting of our secret society tonight (she goes to every meeting; I go approximately once a year when my trips home overlap with a meeting night). So we went into town for that, and I saw a bunch of ladies whom I always enjoy talking to (mostly faces from my childhood - there are some younger members, but a lot of them were in it when I was a kid, and I've known them forever).

And now I need to sleep, since I want to hit the writing hard tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

please don't take him just because you can

I actually wrote today. Yes, I'm shocked too. I'm slowly triangulating around who these new characters are and what they might care about and what their voices sound like, and so I wrote some stuff to see where it would go. Most of it was on the back patio this afternoon, but I even wrote for another half hour in bed tonight, so I guess I'm excited about it? (knock on wood)

Beyond that, the rest of my day was good - I woke up to my alarm at eight and promptly turned it off and slept until nine. Then I spent the morning procrastinating and watching news coverage before spending the afternoon writing/doing laundry/arguing. I also spent a couple of hours doing other admin work, which was good. And I ended the day with a delicious smalltownlife meal: bratwurst, scalloped potatoes, and baked beans, cooked by my mother (and father, since he had to grill the brats). The post-dinner scenery was also worth examining -- we watched a deer (buck, since he had the beginnings of a nice rack, which is a different kind of nice rack than you think of in cities) slowly, for whatever reason, follow our cat from the field to our yard, where he encountered a wild turkey wandering in the other direction. They all seemed entirely unfazed by this, so maybe they're friends? I'm guessing they would have been less excited to see a coyote or a fox, though, so I doubt that this kind of harmony prevails in all the nooks and crannies around us....

And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

as i recall i think we both kind of liked it

Long day of screen time, short day of productivity. I'd been doing pretty well staying (somewhat) off twitter and the news the last couple of weeks, but today I consumed it to the point that I drained my phone battery by seven p.m. Bleh.

But I got some good stuff done - I woke up in time to have a video chat with my friend Sarah from Bali (we hadn't talked in ages, so were way overdue), and then I made a tasty omelette with bacon, onions, mushrooms, and pepperjack, so the morning got off to a good start. I then went on a slow slide into social media hell, but I did manage to do just a little bit of writing (I'm avoiding the story and I know it), and I watched all of Sessions' testimony (lolol), and I took a walk down to the corner and back (an accomplishment when it was ninety degrees and the wind was whipping up all the dust from the dry gravel). I also formatted a paperback, answered some email, and had a long argument (or shall I say discussion?) about politics.

So, all in all, it wasn't the worst day, but tomorrow I need way less time on twitter and politics and way more time writing. Goodnight!

Monday, June 12, 2017

I am the warrior

No blog because the wifi appears to be down (which is good since I should get offline and go to sleep anyway). Goodnight!

somewhere under wonderland

I have returned to Iowa after approximately 15.5hrs in a car - I woke up in Texas, showered and packed and loaded up, and then had breakfast with the fam at Cracker Barrel. Then, [censored] and I parted ways with the parents and headed north. It feels almost cruel that Texas is so big that we spent the first five or so hours just driving through Texas. By the time we reached Oklahoma, I was convinced that we wouldn't make it the whole way (~980 miles), and was already looking at hotel rooms in Kansas....

...but then [censored] and I had supper at Braums outside of Oklahoma City (an apparent staple of the Oklahoma/Kansas area, mostly known for their milkshakes and dairy products), and we somehow caught a string of second, third, and fourth winds. So we kept going, passing through Oklahoma, Kansas, and a bit of Missouri before reaching Iowa. We successfully threaded the needle through cops, semis, and errant deer (there was a lot of blood on the road in some parts), and we pulled into our driveway around two a.m.

And now I must sleep - I've gone too long without writing or doing anything productive, and that needs to stop (as soon as my body feels like it's stable and no longer riding in a car). Goodnight!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

she had a need to feel the thunder

The family reunion is over and I am quite sad. I had a great time out in the middle of nowhere in Texas - which, to be fair, is not so different from where any of the rest of us are from, since we established that most of the Wamplers in this lineage live in places that no one else would want to visit. So, during our family meeting today, we agreed that we would host it here again next year - not sure yet whether any of my branch will make it here next year, but I certainly hope to come again.

sssanyway. This morning I had breakfast with my parents and [censored] before [censored] and I stopped at Starbucks and headed out to the ranch (you know it's important to get my coastal elitist fix in before heading out into the hills). We took no wrong turns this morning, so we made it in good time and spent the day lazing about and talking to family and making jokes and generally enjoying the day.

And by that I mean I enjoyed making margaritas. #kiddingnotkidding

I can't really do justice to the afternoon, which involved conversations about prison, dildoes, and ninja turtles. My great-grandfather and his siblings (who are the ancestors of all sixty or so people at the event) would be so proud. But I really enjoyed the conversation, especially since it continued over the catfish fried up by the Oklahoma contingent. And the evening ended with a fantastic fireworks display, as per which point we all parted ways with plans to do it again next year.

And now I need to sleep so that [censored] and I can get up tomorrow and cross the long dark of Moria (and by that I mean the nine hundred and fifty two miles from here to Iowa via Oklahoma/Kansas/Missouri). Goodnight!

Friday, June 09, 2017

return of the mack

The family reunion today was a smashing success (emphasis on smash), although I mostly hung out with my immediate family (as often seems to happen at these gatherings). [censored] and I joined our parents for breakfast at the hotel, and then [censored] and I both [censored] for awhile before heading out to the ranch (with a stop at [censored] to buy tequila).

The ranch is, as always, nearly impossible to find - Google Maps clearly has no idea what's out in the hills of Texas, and whether something is a passable road or a deadly ravine. But we only made two wrong turns, one of which we make wrong every single time (note to self: don't turn left at the scarecrow!), so that was all good. When we got there, we proceeded to spend the afternoon having a grand old time. Lunch was some v. delicious chicken enchiladas with rice and beans, which made me super happy. Then I was going to make margaritas, but when I wandered toward the kitchen to make them, I started talking to Melissa (her last name is, unsurprisingly, Wampler), and then over the course of the next hour, every person sent to discover what had happened with me and my margaritas succumbed to the lure of our conversation.

But I eventually made margaritas and proceeded to get somewhat sloshed (only because my first one turned into a full solo cup as I kept readjusting the ratios). And I spent the afternoon engaged in desultory conversation, including a game of 'guess the pregnant girl' played with possible girls from Drewbaby's high school class ([censored] and I know no one in Drewbaby's class, but it was somehow really fun nonetheless).

Also, someone hired a band because one of the couples was having their fiftieth wedding anniversary today, so there was music for a couple of hours - including a rendition of 'Amarillo By Morning' (you would have to be there to understand why we found this delightful). Also, someone skinned a rattlesnake, and I kept seeing snake in the fridge when I would make another margarita and was startled every time.

And now I need to sleep so we can do it again tomorrow - goodnight!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

crying dawson

No blog - I spent the day hanging out with Sherry, then hanging out at the Austin airport (where I'd dropped off my rental), and then my cousin Drewbaby picked me up so we could drive out to Kerrville together. When we arrived, we reunited with my parents, [censored], Andrew's parents, and my dad and uncle's cousin Gary, and had dinner at the same place we went a couple times in 2015.

Then, [censored] and I [censored] with Aunt Kathy and Drewbaby, which involved [censored] and noncaffeinated fun. And now I need to sleep so that we can go to the reunion tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

i think that i'm feelin' the vibe, i see the love in her eyes

Too tired to blog, but today was a great day. I got up at eight and promptly went on a long walk with Sherry, which we mostly spent talking about food (making me v. hungry) and trying to maximize time in the shade (since it was hot and getting hotter by the second). When we got home, she made us crepes for breakfast (yum!), and then I did a couple of hours of work before eventually taking a shower.

Then, she and her son and I went for lunch at a place called Ski Shores, which overlooks a big river and serves up all-American fried deliciousness. I really enjoyed hanging out there - the deck was right over the water, but shaded so that we weren't dying, and there were all sorts of huge fish (maybe bass?) and a bunch of turtles hanging out hoping that we would throw food to them (which Sherry's son obliged).

When we got back to the house, I procrastinated, then took a nap, but I spent a solid three hours taking care of a dumb admin task that I'd been putting off forever, so I'm glad for that. And then I spent the rest of the evening hanging out and talking about industry stuff with Sherry (and India and China and a bunch of other subjects with her and her husband). But now my visit is sadly drawing to a close - tomorrow it's on to the next part of Texas for the next adventure, so I should get some sleep. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

lost weekend

Too tired to blog - I woke up in San Antonio at 6:45 so I could have breakfast with Laura before she went to work. We went back to Supper, which was delicious again - I had some potatoes and some smoked salmon, which made me v. happy. Then we parted ways, and I hung out and finished my coffee before going back to her place to repack my stuff, take care of some business, and send a couple of emails before heading off on my next adventure.

I drove up to Austin in the middle of the day to avoid rush hour on either end - I'm visiting my friend Sherry, who also writes historical romance (although she's been doing YA and mystery recently), so we spent the day hanging out. She made lunch when I got here (an awesome shrimp curry), and we spent the afternoon chatting (although I had to take a twenty-minute nap at some point because that's how I roll). Then she started cooking dinner, but we took a break to go to some high-up lookout point so that I could see some of the hills/water near her house (two things I don't associate with Texas, even though I'm theoretically aware that Texas has both hills and water in some locations).

Then we came home, she finished making dinner, and she and her husband and I hung out and discussed books and tech and life. And now I'm desperate to sleep so I can write tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, June 05, 2017

some some some i some i murder, some i some i let go

I had a great day in San Antonio - so great that I'm mildly annoyed that I'm leaving tomorrow, but I have other plans that I want to pursue, and I'm sure the next stop will be as great as this one. I woke up this morning later than I planned, laid in bed for a bit, and then showered and walked over to Pearl, where I had lunch (because I missed breakfast by ten minutes) at Supper (which serves all meals, contrary to its name). I had a salad with chicken that was quite excellent, although the Coke I ordered with it was perhaps my favorite thing since I hadn't had soda in awhile.

Then I sat in the Hotel Emma lobby for several hours and worked. They had a couple of tables that felt almost like the old-school library tables at Stanford Library, which I haven't been to in far too long, and it made me quite happy to be sitting inside working. Granted, I didn't get enough done because I was distracted by the constant dumpster fire of Twitter + texting Katie + texting Sherry (who I am staying with tomorrow) + calling my parents since I wasn't able to talk to them yesterday. Yes, it sounds like I'm blaming all of them; no, it's no one's fault but my own.

I walked around the Pearl area for a little bit when I needed a break, and then I secured a seat in the bar/lounge area and ate tater tots and had a glass of rosé and wrote for another hour, and that writing was pretty great (mostly because my phone battery died and my laptop was on the verge, so I was writing longhand in my notebook and couldn't be distracted by anything but my own thoughts). Then I walked back to Laura's, making it inside approximately forty-five seconds before it started pouring (that's not an exaggeration).

I hung out here for twenty minutes or so and charged my phone, and then Laura got home from work and she, Matt and I went out for dinner (Mexican - a place called La Fonda). The food was tasty if you like Tex-Mex - it's really amazing how all-in tex-mex is on the queso situation, and more amazing how all-in Laura was, since she wanted me to try both the regular queso dip and the different, no-less-delicious queso fundido (melted cheese that is somehow not a dip, because it's a cheese that was basically melted in a griddle and starts to reform into stringy unmelted cheese as soon as it's off the heat).

So needless to say, I ate a child's weight in cheese, and I also had two margaritas, and it was all quite delightful. Then we came home, Matt went to hide from us, and Laura and I spent a couple of hours talking about life and career stuff and personality tests, and it was pretty much exactly the conversation I probably needed tonight (since I'm weighing several options: go all-in on writing romance, keep writing something non-romance (which may mean taking on some part-time consulting work or something to pay the bills if that book doesn't sell), get involved in politics/community work, or do something else entirely). sssanyway. More to come on all of that as my thoughts become more clear, tanks.

And now I need to sleep - Laura and I are having breakfast before she goes to work tomorrow, and then I need to pack and take care of a couple of things before heading back to Austin. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

feels like summer

San Antonio is Austin's sadder, square-er neighbor to the south, and my memories of this town mostly involve melting in the summer heat on previous trips. But it's also apparently the fastest-growing city in Texas, and there are tons of new restaurants since the last time I was here (2014 for a conference and 2015 during my last family reunion), so I think I can handle being here for a couple of days...

...and I may want to stay even longer than that, but duty calls. I woke up this morning in Austin feeling better than I deserved, and I showered and packed and loaded my car and grabbed an iced coffee before meeting up with Alaska Matt for brunch. We went to Arturo's Underground, which was so incredibly tasty - I often find scrambles to be overcooked/too dry, but this scramble with bacon, onions, mushrooms, jack cheese, avocado, and chipotle hollandaise was perfection on a plate. I also loved their home fries, and the coffee was good, and it was all fast and seamless (and actually underground, since it's in a mostly submerged level slightly below the street). So, that was a great way to wake up, and Matt and I continued our conversation with many jokes until it was time to part ways.

I then drove to San Antonio, where I met up with Laura - she was one of the directors at le Goog many years ago, and we've stayed in touch pretty well since then, since I consider her a mentor and also like her crafting skills. She lives here now, and she offered me a guest room for a couple of nights if I wanted to hang out - and I'm glad I took her up on it, since a) I always have fun hanging out with her, and b) there's lots of great food and drink to indulge in while having our long, winding conversations. When I got here, she made me a Moscow mule (she doesn't drink but insists on keeping her guests well-lubricated), then we ordered food and picked it up (some carnitas hash for me that was so good that I ate almost all of it even though I hadn't thought I was hungry yet), and then I sat around with her and her husband and son and drank some white wine and generally enjoyed their company.

At some point it rained, but when it stopped, Laura, Dave (her husband) and I walked over to the Pearl, which is an old brewery complex that has been completely redone into a bunch of restaurants, shops, and luxury condos, along with a hotel that looks to-die-for. We stopped in for a drink at the hotel bar, and I think I'll go back there and write tomorrow. Then we wandered around a bit and got some ice cream (ice cream is not one of my go-to foods, but this was worth it), then walked home, and then Laura and I talked about career stuff for quite awhile (we had started this conversation at the bar, and then continued it for another hour at home, but I'm not going to tell you anything about any of it because I'm evil and also lazy).

Then we went to the grocery store to get salad-type stuff for dinner, since I wasn't hungry and neither of us felt like going out. And now I'm going to go to bed at an entirely reasonable hour (10:45! but that's 11:45 on the east coast...but my body doesn't know where I am anymore anyway). Tomorrow could be a glorious free day for writing since Laura's working and Dave's going out of town, so I'm going to get up and walk over to the Pearl and eat breakfast and probably lunch and drink a lot of coffee and do some people-watching. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

every kid on the whole damn street was gonna make it big and not be beat

Hello, Austin! I woke up this morning in Miami, after too little sleep, and I scrambled to pull myself together in time to get to the airport. That was all accomplished without incident, and I checked in and grabbed an iced coffee and a granola bar before boarding my flight. I spent most of the first flight (Miami to Atlanta) plus my layover in Atlanta finishing HILLBILLY ELEGY - I really very highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of political spectrum. It's the kind of memoir that I long to write, although I can't write that memoir because my childhood wasn't as bleak as his (luckily, neither of my parents are disasters, so my home life was totally stable, but my community was disintegrating even then). I had avoided reading it for a long time because I thought it would be too preachy or annoying, but the author (an Ohioan of Kentucky hillbilly descent who went into the Marines before going to Yale Law School) did a really excellent job of capturing his version of the Rust Belt without either romanticizing it or overly pitying/condescending to it.

Anyway. After that I was all fired up about life and community, and I spent my plane ride from Atlanta to Austin scribbling ideas in my journal. Then I landed, grabbed my bags, collected my rental car, and checked into my hotel, where I had just enough time to rinse off and change before meeting up with Alaska Matt for dinner.

Longtime blog readers may remember Alaska Matt, although it's been awhile - he moved back to Alaska in the summer of 2015, which is the last time I saw him. But he moved to Austin a month ago, and so we had a delightful evening of discussing current lives and reminiscing about past ones. He picked me up at my hotel and we went to a Mexican restaurant that one of his new coworkers recommended, where we had delicious margaritas at the bar before proceeding to eat some v. tasty cuisine. Then, we went down to 6th Street, which is a supposedly famous strip of bars, but it seems to be full of douchebags. But we found a quiet corner, and I had three cocktails (some sort of alcoholic lemonade that went down way too easily), and it was all perfect. Perfect, of course, except for the fact that we were inundated with people way too young for us, listening to music that was uncomfortably close to our high school playlists (not that we knew what playlists were then)...but it was fun nonetheless.

But there's nothing more to regale you with - I need to sleep so that I can have breakfast tomorrow before going to San Antonio. Goodnight!

Friday, June 02, 2017

american dream

It was my last day in Miami, and I am most definitely not ready to leave - it's a pretty cool city despite the endless heat, and I feel like I've only scratched the surface of what I could find here. Beyond that, I'm feeling super antsy to dig in and make serious progress on my next book - I might have been able to do that this week, but instead I spent fifteen hours dealing with last year's taxes, which certainly put a crimp in my plans. I'm liking the nomadic experiment so far and am happy with what I've done -- but for the future, I need to aim for 4-6 week stays in places if I want to be productive.

But that's an issue for another time. Today was mostly consumed with wrapping things up here - I did spend a couple of hours writing in my notebook while enjoying the tiny desk in my extra room (my Miami room is definitely the nicest of the three Roams I've stayed in), but I mostly spent the afternoon packing and organizing and dealing with last-minute tasks. I leave for Austin bright and early tomorrow morning and I knew I couldn't put off packing until then (even though packing should theoretically be easy since I'm taking everything I arrived with).

I also needed to finish early because I had evening plans - my cousin Moriah lives in Miami, and we went out for dinner and drinks. I believe this is the first time we've hung out alone as adults and it was pretty great - she's the same age as [censored], so we'd hung out quite a bit when we were little, but she grew up in St. Louis and we never spent that much time together once her family was busy with sporting activities and stopped coming to Iowa so frequently (especially after my grandma on that side passed away).

So anyway, Mo picked me up and we went to Wynwood, which is a very cool, artsty neighborhood that I'd wanted to check out but hadn't made it to yet. We had burgers at a hole-in-the-wall place called Kush, which looked like a dive but is all in on the farm-to-table movement, where I had rosé from a can because their menu trends heavily toward beer instead of wine. Then we went to Wynwood Walls, which is a famous outdoor art installation area, and I saw some amazing murals (my fave was one of Moriah's faves as well - from a distance it looked like a very well-drawn face, but up close it was actually made by gouging concrete out of the wall to create shadowing that turned into the face from a distance). We continued to catch up over mojitos at one of Mo's favorite bars on that street, and it was all quite delightful.

But I sadly had to part ways earlyish, since I want to get six hours of sleep before my flight tomorrow - fingers crossed that I make it out of here okay, since it was stormy most of the day and I don't have high hopes for improvement tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

late night when you need my love

I can't believe that it's almost time to leave Miami - I could easily stay here for another two weeks, since I'm starting to get into the groove with work and am loath to pick up and disrupt myself again. This is a good lesson, though - the last six weeks have been too chaotic, and while it was well-timed in the sense that it happened right after I released my last book (and I always seem to need a break before getting started on the next project), I'm starting to get really antsy about getting stuff done. So, the trick will be finding ways to be productive in Texas for at least a few days next week, and then hoping that the weather in Iowa will be ideal for me to make use of my favorite outdoor 'office' on my parents' back deck.

But Texas should be plausible - I believe that I'll have Monday to myself, and I'm spending Tuesday-Thursday with a writing friend, so at least there's hope. And the reunion is always worth taking a break for, since Wamplers of all generations tell great stories that I intend to shamelessly steal someday.

Today, though, was an exercise in trying to get things done. I was unsuccessful in the morning since I slept late (so much for trying to get on this timezone...Saturday I'll move an hour closer to the west coast, so maybe that will help), but I worked from one to nine p.m. with only a couple of breaks, so that counts. And I ended the evening by reading (HILLBILLY ELEGY, which I am *loving* - more on that another time) on the patio for an hour before splitting a bottle of rosé with Luisa, so that was delightful.

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

so get ready

My eyes are glazing over - I spent another five hours today working on tax stuff. Remind me to stop putting this stuff off, since it always results in two or three days of pain when it's time to file returns.

But for all that, my day was pretty good. I took an hour this morning to talk to Lisa, who used to work for me way back in the day - as always, it was good to catch up, and it made me a wee bit nostalgic for corporate life (but not enough to actually go back). I also took a break to talk to Katie, who for some reason is still talking to me even though she should be planning to ghost me immediately so that she doesn't have to host me when I'm in Denver in June/July.

Then I worked until 8:30, which was miserable. But I stopped and enjoyed my first Miami community dinner - people barbecued, and I mostly just helped with cleanup since I didn't bother to make anything. But we had some highly entertaining conversations, and I watched some dueling content marketing/coaching types discuss their strategies, which is both amusing and informative. And I've kicked it into high gear with being snarky - if there's one 'advantage' to the moving around that I've been doing, it's that my sarcastic side comes out more quickly (that's almost certainly not an advantage, but #sarasnotsorry).

And then I came to my room fifteen minutes before midnight and tentatively booked two weeks here in September - highly tentative and mostly influenced by the fact that I have a credit that was going to expire, and I knew that if I booked something now they'd let me move it later anyway. But I'm kinda tempted to spend September doing a two-week roadtrip around the south and then spending two weeks in Miami (with my car, which would make it way easier to get around here). We shall see, we shall see. The other options on the table are 1) a month in Bali, or 2) a month in Eastern Europe (Budapest, Prague, maybe Warsaw, Vienna, and Salzburg), with the kicker being that I have to be back in SFO by September 28. But September is currently free, and I need to plan something that is both interesting and helpful for my writing endeavors...and I probably have too many ideas of what that could be.

But that's a decision for another time - goodnight!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

god is a dj

I'm sleepier than I should be, since I slept last night and also took a nap this evening, but I also walked a lot in 95-degree heat, so I'm going to chalk this up to general exhaustion and leave it at that.

But today was good despite my exertions - I woke up and spent the morning working on a variety of tings. Then I took a lyft to Brickell, a neighborhood v. close to me and to downtown, where I ran some errands - I had to mail a letter, and I had a v. necessary stop at Sephora for some dry shampoo, and a less necessary stop at Cole Haan to look at sandals (no luck). Then I walked over a bridge to downtown, where I sat at Starbucks and forced myself to write (successfully) for an hour. Then I picked up some stuff at CVS and some stuff at Whole Foods, and then I walked back to Roam, which was way more walking than I had intended.

However, I didn't spend the evening working as I should have - instead, I went out for a late dinner with some of the other Roam people. There were nine of us, three of whom I'd met in London before, and it was really fun. Of course, it was a going-away party of sorts for a couple of people whom I had only just met, which is how my life has rolled for most of this year, but it was still really entertaining. We went to Crust, which has a surprisingly tasty gluten free pizza - I ate four slices even though I didn't need the last one because it was so damn good.

Several people were going out after, but I am old and also must write tomorrow, so I came back with the group who was feeling similarly old and in need of sleep. Goodnight!

Monday, May 29, 2017

bienvenido a miami

Nothing exciting to note's a holiday for those of you with regularly-scheduled jobs, but I'm desperately in need of some working time. Of course, that didn't actually succeed in getting me out of bed before ten a.m., but eventually I was quite productive. I spent the early afternoon journaling/planning, and then I spent approximately five hours this afternoon/evening working on tax stuff - I'd deferred my taxes since I was out of the country and didn't have all my documents in time to file in April, and now I need to actually deal with it. Of course, since I was a lazy asshole and didn't really deal with receipts for most of last year, this is a traumatic and harrowing (and by that I mean boring, repetitive, and eyestrain-inducing) experience.

But five hours of progress is better than nothing, and was sufficient to reconcile everything that was on my credit card statements for the past twelve months (luckily my memory is still up to par and I can either remember based on the name of the restaurant/store/whatever what I was doing, or my calendar can tell me). I still have at least five hours of work to go, but that was a solid stint.

And then I stopped working around eight, ate some leftovers, and read a book until now - "All We Wanted Is Everything", which is incredibly depressing and not particularly interesting yet, but we'll see how it pans out. And now I want to sleep and finally try to get on the proper timezone - goodnight!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

miami the bass and the sunset low

I apparently forgot to blog last night - #sorrynotsorry. I had a great two days in Miami, replete with lots of sun, food, alcohol, books, and friendship time with Terry. Yesterday we spent the whole day by the pool, and I mostly laid around and drank deliciously icy alcoholic beverages while reading THE ROSIE PROJECT (adorable! Sort of like the book version of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, but this guy wants to have friends and not be quite so insufferable, and his path toward falling in love is really cute. I recommend). Terry and I also talked a lot, and we eventually abandoned the pool to have dinner at the hotel (it was *crazy* in South Beach this weekend, so we didn't want to venture anywhere that would require driving). It turns out that the dinner at the hotel was fabulous, so this was not a sacrifice.

Today, I got up earlyish again, and I got to her hotel before traffic got ridiculous, which was great. We met at the pool, where I finished reading my book, and we had two margaritas each just because we weren't ready for vacation to end. Then we had a late lunch at the hotel (on the veranda overlooking the crowds), which included a bottle of rosé, so I was well and truly tipsy by the time Terry needed to leave.

So, she grabbed her bag, and we shared a lyft away from the madness of South Beach. She dropped me off at Roam, and I took a nap and a shower before I called my parents. They were making plans for Texas, but with my current lifestyle, planning anything more than a week away seems like more effort than it's worth. Yes, I've gotten weirdly blasé about some types of planning, although I can still be totally OCD when the mood strikes.

Then I ordered sushi for delivery, and I read another book tonight (which I started at the pool this morning) - CRAZY RICH ASIANS, which I'd heard Joann and Jen talk about before. This is why I ordered sushi, because I really just wanted fried rice or noodles after reading about Singaporean food,and sushi seemed like the next best thing. The book was okay - I didn't love it, but I think that's because the narration dipped in and out of too many characters' heads in a way that didn't make me feel all that connected to any of the characters. The main hero and heroine ended up feeling a little blank, although the characters as a whole were entertaining and I enjoyed the excessive displays of wealth. And I want to keep reading the series, so I guess that's an endorsement.

But now it's almost one a.m., and I need to sleep - I'm treating tomorrow as a work day, which means I need to get up and write. Goodnight!

Friday, May 26, 2017

a little flesh, a little history

Sleepy, stuffed, and definitely ready for bed - today was tons of fun, but I overindulged and need to sleep it off before starting again tomorrow. I woke up this morning after not quite enough sleep and rendezvoused with Terry (remember her?), and we promptly engaged in some debauched day drinking. And by that I mean that I had some sort of vodka-filled berry lemonade with my cajun scramble, which is way stronger than I usually start with in the morning...

Then we change into swimsuits and spent the afternoon on the beach. We'd been told that there was beachside bar service, but this was not true because of some special events happening this weekend, so I held down the fort while Terry went across the street to get a couple of drinks to go for our first round - which felt more like rounds 1-3 (or 2-4, if you count brunch), because they gave her plastic quart containers like you get takeout soup in, each filled to the brim with a mojito (for me) and a margarita (for her). A quart of mojito is approximately 1.3 pints more than I was expecting, so I got somewhat tipsy while we laid in the sun and talked about life...

And then we continued the fun by going to Tequila Chicas and having a frozen margarita and some chips. Then we changed and went to Drybar, where we got blowouts - Terry was shocked that I'd never done one, as was my blowout guy and every other person who worked there. But my blowout guy complimented the texture of my hair, so at least someone in South Beach besides myself got to feel how awesome my hair is....

Yeah, I'm bragging, not sorry. ssssanyway, we took our fancy hair to our dinner reservation at 27 Restaurant, which turned out to be an incredible place. Of course I had to have a cocktail in the twenty minutes we were waiting (a Bayside Britney, which was tasty, and I had to text Irish Matt to show him the menu since, as he responded, the drinks all sounded like the chapters of his autobiography). Then we were seated, and the food was outstanding - we had the best falafel I've ever had, some fish in a curry sauce with 'ancient grains' (some of them need to stay ancient, but they were really delish in this context), and arepas with beef brisket that was to-die-for good. And we (or I) ill-advisedly ordered a brownie and had a few bites, which is probably not helping my sudden headache/stomachache.

Or maybe that's the fact that I drank basically no water and approximately 80oz of cocktails today. I only had one with dinner, which I ordered solely for the name - "One Night in Bangkok", which was essentially bourbon in a thai iced tea, and it was better than it had any right to taste, and I'm sure my face lit up with the expression that I get when I suddenly want to have ten cocktails. It's a good thing Adit wasn't there, is all I'm sayin'.

After dinner, we were stuffed beyond belief, and both of us were tired, so we took a cab most of the way back to her hotel and walked the rest. I went up to her room to get my stuff, and then we walked out to a different street where I could get a lyft without getting stuck in crazy traffic. Then I came back to Roam and promptly talked to Katie for awhile - this is not our usual time to talk, but maybe it should be since the kids had just gone to bed and we were able to talk for quite some time (and I think I held it together despite my alcohol consumption). And then I finished the book I started reading yesterday, and now I must sleep so I can go back to South Beach in the morning before the traffic gets totally insane - goodnight!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

welcome to miami where they hustle hey

Nothing interesting to report today - I slept until eleven because I was up until three, and then I laid in bed and read twitter because I apparently hate myself. Then I showered, ate some yogurt and granola and had an iced coffee for 'lunch' (it was two p.m.), and talked to a couple of people I met in the kitchen while they used the sous vide machine to cook some catfish (yeah, I don't know either).

Then, eventually, at like four p.m., I settled down to work...but since this was one p.m. in California, it's almost like I was on schedule. I wrote until six (actual writing! it was good!), then took a break to eat the salad I had the foresight to buy at Whole Foods yesterday while talking to more people in the kitchen. And then I did two loads of laundry and worked in the coworking space from seven until almost eleven, where I finally answered a bunch of emails and tried to get my life a little bit in order.

And then I came upstairs and read in bed for three hours - tonight's endeavor was 'Something Borrowed' by Emily Giffin, who is v. popular with women for some reason. This book really isn't my jam - the heroine is a maid of honor having an affair with the groom in the summer before the wedding. And I guess I don't have an issue with that (friends: don't ask me to be your maid of honor!). j/k. I have moral issues, but it's more that I have a problem with the tone, and also the banality of the main character. Apparently I'd be more okay with them cheating if either of them were particularly compelling creatures.

But now I shall go to bed, and hope that the book ends better than I think it's going to when I finish it, and perhaps dream about why so many people lie to so many people whom they love (yes, we all do, but if it's human nature, why is there also a moral judgment about it?). Clearly SPINSTER HONEYMOON is taking a dark turn - get excited. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

dear theodosia

I should have gone to bed a couple of hours ago, but jetlag has struck and also I was too consumed by other things to sleep. I woke up late today (the inevitable consequence of staying up until three a.m., which I'm about to do again), and then I messed around my room for a couple of hours - I always need to unpack whenever I'm someplace for more than a night, so I unpacked and organized everything and generally settled in. Then I showered, and then I realized that I was desperately in need of caffeine and food (in any order)...

So I went downstairs and found the kitchen, where I ran into Dane and Luisa, whom I'd met in London. We reunited and talked for a bit, and I had some iced coffee (without ice - barbaric), and then Dane showed me around the property, which is pretty great. After that, I walked downtown - it was only fifteen minutes, but it was incredibly hot (94 but heat index made it 101), and also involved walking over a drawbridge and under some overpasses, all of which felt super sketch (no dangerous people in sight, but still). I grabbed a late (3pm!) lunch at a Mediterranean version of Chipotle (delish!), and then spent an hour writing at Starbucks, which was great.

Then I went to the Whole Foods next door and bought a few breakfast-type things, and then I took a lyft home to avoid the whole walking situation. When I got here, I put the groceries away and promptly decided to avoid tonight's community dinner - I don't feel a strong need to get involved here, particularly since Terry comes tomorrow and I'm here to get some work done when she's not here.

So, I spent the evening reading 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette?', which I LOVED - it's exactly the right kind of voice/structure for 'Spinster Honeymoon'. I read from 6:30 to ten, and then I took a break to watch a livestream of a Junot Díaz talk that was happening at Stanford tonight - I almost didn't, but I'm so glad I did. He's a fantastic author (don't take my word for it, he won the Pulitzer), and his speech was excellent. This resulted in me having a lot of feelings, so I tweeted a lot about it, which took a lot of time...

But sometime after midnight I was done, and then I succumbed to temptation and decided to finish reading my book rather than going to bed. And now I'm done, and I need to sleep so I can assimilate all the culture/thoughts/lessons/voices I heard today - goodnight!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

we'll bleed and fight for you, we'll make it right for you

I've said my farewells to San Francisco and have reached the opposite coast. I woke up this morning, showered, packed, and was almost done packing when the hotel fire alarm went off - so I vacated and went to Another Cafe to get one last coffee and do a bit of journaling before leaving SF. The downside of this was that I totally forgot about the delicious half of a quesadilla that was in my hotel fridge from last night, but I suppose I'll survive despite the sadness of leaving such an important piece of my life behind (friends: I'll miss you too, but you're no chicharrones).

Eventually, I took a lyft to the airport, where I checked in without much incident and had time to grab a salad and an iced coffee before boarding my flight. I've been feeling like I've overindulged the last six weeks or so (basically since I went to York and had to fuel the massive amount of brain work/trauma necessary to finish my book, which I fueled with equally massive amounts of steak, fries, wine, and coffee)...and you know I'm feeling like I need to eat something cleaner when I willingly choose a salad with kale and chickpeas, and then eat the whole thing with some semblance of enjoyment. Weird.

My flight from SFO to Atlanta was uneventful, and I did a bit of work and also watched 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' (also work - it's research for my next book, although I'd seen it before years ago). I had over two hours in Atlanta, so I ate a cheeseburger and garlic fries and had two glasses of wine at Gordon Biersch (the kale salad apparently made me feel like I deserved a 'treat yoself' moment, lol) and did a bit more journaling. Then I took a v. empty flight from Atlanta to Miami and had a whole row to myself, which was delightful and also weirdly annoying since it allowed me to see more of the weirdos spread out in the other rows. People are strange.

When I got to Miami, I collected my bags and took a lyft to Roam. I've seen no one and did not attempt to tour the property, but my room is gorgeous - the bed is comfy, there's a real closet and a chest of drawers (unlike Bali and London), and I have a cute little enclosed patio with a rocking chair, so that's all winning. And now I want to sleep and try to get on this timezone so I can get some work done - goodnight!

Monday, May 22, 2017

the dreammaker's gonna make you mad

I continue to be a glutton for food and friendship, but all of that is going to come to a screeching halt tomorrow (until Friday, when I'm reunited with Terry, so it's not like I'm going off into the wilderness). I woke up this morning later than planned but earlier than desired, and I spent the morning running necessary errands - I grabbed breakfast at MyMy (an old haunt), then schlepped a bunch of stuff to the post office to mail home so I wouldn't have to drag it around for the next three weeks, then took a lyft to Nordstrom to return a sweater I bought last week that appeared to snag itself on contact with air.

By that point, I was running just in time for my first social activity of the day - I had a semi-late lunch with Lauren (aka Subz) at Bun Mee on Fillmore. While there, I described myself as the old-time town crier of our friend group, since I've done a giant circle of people in the bay area over the last two weeks and have reported important news around the circle as I've moved between people. We had a delightful lunch, although it's always too brief, and I felt a few moments of genuine sadness as I walked away from her at the end and remembered that I won't see her again for a couple of months. This is the downside cost of my peripatetic lifestyle....

...but the upside is that I'm going to Miami tomorrow, and if I get Zika it will be repaid via the sheer delight of sun, heat, water, and time to work on my book. After I said goodbye to Lauren, I walked to Japantown, where I was going to buy washi tape but instead bought some little post-it flags shaped like matroshka dolls (don't ask, I'm an artist and it's part of my process). Then I came back to my hotel because I was exhausted and needed an hour.

But I rallied in time to go to Nopalito and meet up with Katrina for dinner and drinks (three margaritas, in my case). I'd spent a lot of time with her cat over the last week, but obviously I hadn't seen her, so we were overdue for a catch-up. And it was all delightful, and I'm impressed with us for rallying when she was so jetlagged and I was so exhausted.

But after three hours of dinner, it really was time for bed, so we parted ways, and I thus said goodbye to my last stop on my tour of the bay area. Tomorrow I shall go to the airport and fly to Miami - I can't guarantee that my blog will be more interesting then, but it will certainly contain new experiences. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

the room where it happens

Today was pretty rough - I do not like being hungover,and I should probably take steps to avoid such situations in the future. But the fact that I only had a hangover once in my entire California sojourn must mean that I'm growing up! (or, the people I was hanging out with have all grown up, take your pick)

Part of the problem was that I woke up at nine even though I had no reason to, and has also only had six hours of sleep, so the morning was going to be rough regardless. I walked down the hill to grab a soda, which I thought would help, but then I also got a latte, which definitely didn't help. But I enjoyed some journaling while doing some people-watching - it was Bay to Breakers today, which meant that people were dressed like damned fools, and I got to see some of them as they fanned out from the race looking for bathrooms. In other words, I was glad that I went out in search of sustenance early, before they all turned into drunk zombies.

Then I went back to Katrina's and spent the afternoon getting ready to depart, which meant laundry, packing, taking a long nap, and talking to my parents. I left there a little after six and took a lyft to a hotel - I'm staying in a hotel for my last two nights here, which will hopefully get me in the mood to start writing in earnest this week. When I got here, I dumped my stuff in my room and left immediately to go to Chandlord's - she very generously, very graciously hosted me and Claudia (aka Santy Claude!!! don't tell her I said that) for takeout pizza and a bottle of wine (which she decanted because she's a lady). Many jhokes were told, and I ate five pieces of pizza like a total glutton because I hadn't had good gluten free pizza in five months and was rather desperate.

When that was done, I said my tentative farewells, walked back to the hotel (all of a block and a half) and messed around online until now. And now I must sleep - goodnight!

looking for a mind at work

Adit happened.

I could probably end there, but that would shortchange a lot of important people tonight, so I shall attempt to persevere. I spent the morning/daytime/early afternoon working at Katrina's apartment, and that was good, but I eventually realized that I should vacate and take advantage of the gorgeous weather. So I walked for twenty minutes and ended up in the Castro, where I got an iced coffee at Reveille and did an hour of journaling. I was also reminded of why I don't always love San Francisco, since a fifty- or sixty-something man came in and I'm pretty sure he wasn't wearing pants...he was wearing a tshirt that came to his thighs, but I'm pretty positive I caught a testicle shadow as he was bending to pick something up. Fucking San Francisco.

sssanyway. I eventually went down the block to Beso, where I had first dinner with Jen and Joann. They were in town to catch the Hamilton matinee, which I'd helped procure them tickets for, and so we discussed the show over tapas and wine. Then, they left the city and I went straight to second Barzotto with Sheila and Rajiv. They had a v. nice gluten free pasta, and also the company was obviously stellar. Then we went to Hawker Fare, where we met Chandlord for a drink - and when Adit showed up, it became a second drink. Sheila and Rajiv v. gracefully bowed out, but Adit, Chandlord and I continued to ABV, where I had two jackels and a lot of friendship (including Adit's friend Sumeet, whom I hadn't seen in forever).

And then Adit and I walked until it was time to part ways, and I wasn't ready to say goodbye, but I had to call a lyft anyway. And now, after three glasses of wine and four cocktails, I should probably call it - goodnight!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

born in arizona, moved to babylonia

I'm falling asleep sitting up in bed, so this is going to be too brief - today was a tour of all the things I loved, starting with a leisurely brunch at Caffe Union, and then a tiny bit of shopping, followed by a mani/pedi at my favorite nail salon. Then I took a lyft back down to the Marina and hung out for a couple of hours with Chris and Leah at Nectar (yay!) before buying some cupcakes and schlepping back to the opposite side of the city to have dinner with Adit and Priyanka.

There are probably more interesting things to say than that, but I'm beyond exhausted - goodnight!

Friday, May 19, 2017

baby i'm so rising

I overindulged in food and friends, but I don't regret any of it. I spent the morning attempting to get some work done - this mostly involved standing at the kitchen counter working on my laptop so that Duncan wouldn't sit in my lap and distract me (Duncan is a cat, not a boyfriend or a vagrant, fyi). I also made perfect avocado toast and iced coffee, which felt v. much like my old San Francisco life, except for the fact that I don't live here anymore and perhaps never will (but never is a word I never like to use).

Eventually I showered and schlepped myself down the hill three blocks to Nopalito, one of my favorite restaurants, where I had a solo lunch with my journal and my thoughts. It was delicious, and I left completely stuffed - I've never gone alone before, and I wanted the special appetizer (a cold tostada with snapper and smashed avocado, which was outstanding), but I also wanted the quesadilla roja con chicharrones and a million other things on the menu. So I settled for ordering the appetizer and the quesadilla (which is made with a delicious combo of queso fresco, pork, and pork rinds - you may find this abominable, but I find it #winning), as well as a margarita, and I ended up eating most of it and being totally, uncomfortably, gluttonously full.

So, of course, I had to add coffee to my stomach to increase the drama. Then I settled up my extravagant lunch bill and went to the Outer Sunset, where I met up with Veronica for more 'writing' ('writing' is in quotes because we talked a lot about writing, and each also did a bunch of admin work, but as far as I know neither of us wrote new words on our intended projects). By 5pm it was time to admit that we were far more interested in each other than in our books, so we finished off the last glass of champagne left from the bottle we opened yesterday, and then the last glasses of red wine from the bottle we'd started at dinner last night. I had a great time, as per usual, and it all flew way too fast, and I'm not ready to say goodbye....

But eventually I said goodbye, took a lyft with a delightful man in his seventies who also composes flamenco music (and said a prayer to all the gods and muses that I don't have to drive a lyft when I'm seventy to subsidize my art, especially since lyft will be dead and we'll all be cyborgs by then anyway), and met up with Claudia (aka Santy Claude) at My Tofu House. Claude had had a tooth pulled today, which is why we went for soft tofu - but it was good to go back there, even if I wasn't hungry at all when the food came out and I ate it anyway like a true champ/loser, take your pick.

So, we caught up over steaming bowls of deliciousness, and then we went to the Mission to meet up with Vidya (aka Chandlord). The stars aligned and Claudia found parking immediately, right across the street from ABV, so it felt like it was meant to be. ABV is one of my favorite bars in the city, and I had my favorite cocktail from their menu (The Jackel, which is misspelled for reasons I don't understand). We sat around and talked for an hour or two, and then Claude went home and Chandlord and I walked to Market St, where we parted ways on different lyfts to different locales.

And now it's definitely time for bed - goodnight!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

i can keep a beat with no metronome

Today was lovely, but I need to sleep. I spent far too much time this morning reading social media, which now seems to be spectacularly imploding every thirty minutes or so, but I dragged myself out of bed and through the shower so that I could be out of the house by ten. My first stop was to get a bottle of champagne for the afternoon's activities, and then I dropped my rental car off at the car agency. Then I took a lyft all the way out to the ocean....

...where I was slightly early for a ladies-who-lunch date at the Cliff House with my writer friends. This has become our go-to spot since it's easy for everyone to get to, and it's a great place for lunch if you like looking at the water and being fancy. Lunch included Grace, Veronica, Anne, Barbara, and Poppy, and the six of us were there for three hours and probably annoyed the waitstaff by hanging out for so long, but #yolo.

Sadly, when it was over I had to say goodbye to almost everyone - I'll see Grace in Sedona in a month, and I'll see Barbara and V in Orlando in July, but I might not see Anne until the end of September since she might not be here when I'm back in August :( So after I said all my farewells, Veronica and I went back to her place - she and her husband had invited me over for dinner to recreate our Venice evenings, so I went back with her and we tried to work. And by that I mean we talked about working (we're both at the start of projects - me at the start of a new book, her at the start of massive edits) and looked up all the books/movies I need to read/watch to do research for SPINSTER HONEYMOON.

Then we hung out with Adam while he made dinner (a delish pasta puttanesca that I could have eaten waaaaay more of). Their son ate dinner with us, and then they showed me their Oculus VR setup - I was kind of stunned at how amazing it is. The first game they put me in involved shooting things in space, which I really liked. The second was traumatic - it just involved moving around a space station exploring it, and I was immediately afraid of heights and nauseated by my floating movements, so I had to get out. Then I tried a boxing game (I wasn't so good) and a sword-fighting game (better, but I knocked something over in real life). But I can see the future now, and in fifteen years we'll all be living in Oculus worlds so we can forget that the real world has become a dumpster fire. And people like me who can't move in an Oculus world without throwing up will end up in some sad netherworld caste where we have to take care of the physical bodies of the people living in Oculus....

...but I digress. After that, Adam made dessert (strawberries and homemade whipped cream!), and then V and I watched '27 Dresses' in the name of research. Adam started to watch with us but bailed immediately, and V and I stuck it out, but we *hated* it - there was so much wrong with the story and how the characters were built, and everyone was horribly unlikeable. Ugh. But I learned what not to do, so I guess that's good?

And then I said goodbye, came back to Katrina's with a v. friendly lyft driver, and now I shall sleep - goodnight!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

i can lead a nation with a microphone

Today was my first day almost entirely by myself since I was in York finishing my book over a month ago, and it was v. sorely overdue. I've had an excellent time in the last month, and I will continue to have excellent times, but today felt like a reward for my introvert heart for getting through so much social time without flipping out at anyone.

I woke up at Joann's and spent a couple of hours doing nothing but reading twitter (not good for my mental state, but still somehow relaxing). I mostly sat there because I was trying to wait out traffic, which has reached apocalyptic levels in the bay area...but by 10:30 I really had to get on the road. So I stopped at Starbucks for a sad breakfast of string cheese, a granola bar, and an iced coffee, and then I drove to San Mateo, where I worked out, used the steam room, and showered. I also ate lunch there, which made me feel all smug and healthy.

Then I had a doctor's appointment, since I figured I should get a yearly checkup while I was in the state where my health insurance is active. Then I drove back to the evil city, and I talked to [censored] on the way because it's [censored] - happy [censored], [censored]!

Then I checked in on my storage unit - it's all still there, and I was a little verklempt at seeing everything packed away so neatly. I grabbed four dresses and a swimsuit for my upcoming adventures, locked up again, said hi to the storage manager (who totally remembered me - he's great!), and then drove to Katrina's.

Once here, I indulged my inner hermit - I took care of Duncan, and then I walked down the street to Ragazza, where I intended to have gluten free pizza. They were out of dough, thus thwarting my gf pizza desires (I haven't had a good one since December and I'm getting really cranky about it), but I had a bunch of cured meats and cheese and two glasses of wine and some chocolate while writing several pages in my journal, which was exactly what I needed.

And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Monday, May 15, 2017

feel good inc

Today was another long day of errands, driving, work, and friendship, and I need to sleep immediately. I woke up at Katrina's and enjoyed the feeling of lazing in bed for a bit without any exuberantly-awake children nearby - luckily her cat is mostly silent, so he didn't try to get me out of bed. But I couldn't stay there as long as I wanted to (which was alllll day) - I dragged myself out of bed, threw on some clothes, organized some tings, and then did a load of laundry.

While the clothes were washing, I went down the street and had a latte and some yogurt - it is nice to be someplace where I can walk down the street for a latte, since that hasn't been true for a month. San Francisco has its upsides. Then I threw the clothes in the dryer, showered and packed up, folded the clothes, and vacated the place - Duncan (the cat) is likely confused about the situation, but hopefully he'll handle it.

Then I drove to Berkeley solely because I forgot my jacket yesterday, which was a real bummer since it added well over an hour to my day just to drive there and pick it up. Then I drove to San Mateo, where I went to Nordstrom and engaged in a bit of retail therapy - this was the first time I've had a car and a truly free day (Milwaukee doesn't count) and access to an American mall in a v. v. long time, and so even though I had less than an hour, I did a speed round of the store and picked up a couple of cute things that entirely ignore the fact that I'm nomadic and about to go to a series of sweltering climes...

Then I had a writing date with Anne, Barbara, and Poppy, which I mostly spent looking at bridesmaid dresses. Then I drove to Mountain View to pick up my new contacts, and then I went to Vive Sol and sat in the parking lot for twenty minutes until it was time for dinner. Joann, Jen and I had much to discuss - I'd seen Jen more recently, since she was in London while I was there, but I hadn't seen Joann since December and we had lots to say. When we were done lingering over dinner (the staff was even more done with us, since they'd rather aggressively cleared everything an hour earlier), I drove to Joann's, and she and I continued to talk/gossip until it was time to start winding down.

And now I'm going to sleep - goodnight!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

step from the road to the sea to the sky

Too tired to blog effectively - I woke up early again, had a delightful breakfast with John and Jess and Ian, and then Jess and I celebrated mother's day by leaving Ian with John so that we could go to Equinox. She did a yoga class, and I did some cardio and a kettlebell workout that made me v. happy (before showering and getting a smoothie that made me even happier).

Then I dropped her off at home, said goodbye to everyone, and drove to the evil city. I spent the afternoon working at Another Cafe (one of my old haunts) with Tom (aka Tom Foolery), which was great. I also called my parents, both because it was mother's day (happy mother's day!) and because I always call them on Sunday.

Then I drove to Katrina's house and unloaded my stuff and said hi to Duncan. And then Chandlord picked me up and I went to the Sunset for family dinner - we met up at Enjoy Vegetarian, which is one of our other old haunts. It was quite the turnout for family dinner, including people who don't even live here - Chandlord and I were early, so we held down the fort and ordered some tings, and then we were slowly joined by Omar (in from Toronto), Misha, Marina (visiting from Boulder), Raja, Claudia, and Adit and Priyanka. They brought Vihaan with them, who was extremely sad and confused to be there, but it was generally great to see everyone.

Sadly, we didn't have enough time together - the restaurant closed at nine and they were v. v. eager for us to leave. Adit and Priyanka took Vihaan home, and Chandlord and Raja bailed as well, but the rest of us grabbed a bit of ice cream and then had a drink and discussed driving cross-country with bees, refugees and border crossings, and other things that didn't require such a high level of detail. And now I must sleep - goodnight!

i can't feel the way i did before

I just stayed up an hour and a half past when John went to bed, and 2.5hrs after Jess went to bed, which means I will probably be awoken by Ian (the big king of saliva) in approximately six hours. But I had another great day in California. I woke up this morning to the happy sound of a child playing (that is the nicest thing I can say), and stubbornly stayed in bed for another ninety minutes despite that. Then I got up so we could go for an early breakfast at Saul's, my favorite breakfast place ever (that may be a slight exaggeration) - but the corned beef hash there is definitely the best I've ever had, and I was v. pleased to have it again.

After Saul's, we came back and I took a shower before Jess and I went next door to meet their neighbors. Jess hooked me up with them because they're looking for a dog/house sitter for a few days in August, and I'm v. pleased that this is all working out - their dog is super sweet, and the house is beautiful, and I saw their patio and immediately fell in love with the idea of writing in the sun there for a week.

Then, I talked to Jess for a bit more before parting ways and driving into SF. This took almost an hour and a half, which was sheer torture, especially since it's only sixteen miles. I made a quick stop at Katrina's to check on her cat, and then I went to Julie's house to have a late brunch with her, Tom, and Deano. It was really great to see them all, and it didn't feel like enough time...but it never feels like enough time. We discussed books and tech and weddings, and a v. fun time was had by all.

Then I suffered through another torturous hour+ drive back to Berkeley. When I got here, we went to a barbecue that Jess's company had bought tickets to, stuffed our faces, and immediately drove home (with a stop to pick up ice cream). Then we hung out in the kitchen the rest of the night, where John and I drank boulevardiers with ice spheres and talked about life until the wee hours (10:30pm counts as a wee hour when there is a baby involved).

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Friday, May 12, 2017

favorite fighting frenchman

I'm in the dirty dirty east bay after a day of fun and friendship and just slightly too much wine (but nowhere near the wine experienced the last time I was in the east bay). I awoke this morning in Belmont, after a perfect night's sleep in Shedletsky's guest room - perhaps the advantage of my nomadic lifestyle is that I have, so far (knock on wood), slept perfectly in every new bed I've found myself in over the last week, which is kind of unheard of. I took a shower, packed up my stuff, said goodbye to Shedletsky (whom I hope to see again very soon), and eventually showed myself out so that I could drive to my next adventure...

...which was a quick stop at Starbucks, followed by a long, idyllic drive to Santa Cruz. I had lunch plans with a writer friend named Jules, whom I don't mention much because she lives in Santa Cruz, which is pretty much like living in Nevada in terms of my desire to drive there on a normal day. But we were long overdue for a catch-up, so we had lunch and talked shop and I learned some interesting tings, which all made it worth going.

But at 1:30 my meter was dead and I needed to get on the road if I had any hope of beating traffic (a forlorn hope for sure). The drive from Santa Cruz to Berkeley took over two hours, most of which is not very scenic at all (unless you like your scenery full of warehouses and freeway walls and depression). But I got here just before four, stopped at a wine store to buy something for John and Jess, and was on the verge of picking something when their power went out. Luckily I had $41 in my purse, and the guy happily took $38 of it for two bottles of Italian wine (which may or may not be good, since I loved Italian wine in Venice but was also thrilled to be in Venice and would have loved anything if someone told me it was red wine).

Then I met up with John for coffee near his office, and we discussed labor unions in a Berkeley backroom like the counterculture people we most definitely aren't. Then we went back to his house, where was rendezvoused with Ian (the big king of saliva, as his nickname is in Chinese, although it doesn't translate all that well into English). John made cocktails featuring his experiment with clear ice, which was quite impressive, and we mostly chilled and broke things until Jess got home from work. Then we enjoyed a v. v. lovely evening of fun and friendship, with tamales and wine to feed our bodies and laughter to feed our souls. This feels like the right time to use #blessed, so I'll throw it in.

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

who lives who dies who tells your story

My tour of west coast friendship continues...I'm not going to be able to see everyone I want to see while I'm here, but I'm certainly making an effort. I woke up this morning in the city of sin, surprised to find that Fin had slept later than I had, which made for a quiet morning for everyone involved. Subz took him to daycare after he woke up, and then she and I enjoyed a lovely bit of conversation about future goals before it was time for both of us to take care of more immediate concerns. She left to take care of errands, and I showered, packed, and got a ride to a Hertz location, where I rented a car for the next phase of my endeavors.

I took care of some tings in the city, and then I drove south, with a stop at Specialty's to have a cobb salad (delish) before meeting up with Anne and Barbara for a writing date in Belmont. I eked out 600 words on my new book (it's always pulling teeth at this point), and also did some ad stuff, and also gossipped. Barbara left around five, but Anne and I stayed until 5:45, and it was all good. Then I went to Safeway, and then I went to Shedletsky and Tina's - I'm staying here tonight, after a v. delicious and entertaining dinner. I brought the wine, and he supplied a perfect filet mignon with potatoes and broccoli, and it was all pretty awesome.

And now, I should sleep - we realized that I was pretty much a total hobo, since I showed up with wine and some bandages to dress one of my open wounds (it's not really open - I thought I had a weird blister on my middle left toe, which has hurt pretty badly all day, but now I suspect it might be a spider bite or something since it's swollen in multiple places). So, I should go to bed before they find out about my heroin habit. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

and there's a million things i haven't done

I had a perfect day in the city of sin...but it's a little bizarre to be back, since it somehow feels incredibly familiar and not at all like home at the same time. I woke up to the dulcet tones of Finley screaming with delight over waking up / getting dressed / having breakfast, which is par for the course with toddlers, so it was actually kind of delightful. Then I had some coffee, ate a snack, threw on some clothes, and went for a long walk through the Presidio with Lauren and her dogs. It was all cool and misty and gorgeous, and I went up and down a lot of hills and steps that reminded me that my vast walking across London's mostly-flat surfaces probably wasn't actually enough to keep me in shape. We talked throughout, and it was as perfect as a morning could be.

Then we had brunch at Ella's before coming home and parting ways - I took a shower and went to the Mission, where I wrote for an hour at Ritual before getting my hair cut. I hadn't had my hair cut since January, other than my own self-trims to maintain my bangs, so I was overdue, but I think my hairdresser was pleased that I didn't cheat on her during my long absence. Then I came back to Lauren's worked for another hour or so, and then spent the rest of the night hanging out. We put Fin to bed and then ate Indian takeout and drank a bottle of wine that Nathan retrieved from his wine cellar (aka the garage), and discussed tech and politics and national issues, and it was the kind of conversation that I was craving since I didn't have much of it while I was in Bali/London.

But now, it's time to sleep - my nomadism kicks in again tomorrow, so I should sleep while I can. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

the world turned upside down

I saw Hamilton tonight and OMG IT WAS SO GOOD. SO GOOD.

And that's the only update you're getting because I'm tired and typing this on my phone, and also I cried for approximately the last hour of the musical and was on the verge of ugly crying and so my eyes are all scratchy and don't want to stare at a screen. I'll give you more of an update tomorrow - but briefly, I hung out with Heather and Salim this morning, talked to [censored], worked, left Heather's, came to Lauren's (aka Subz), spent the afternoon with her, had a decadent dinner at Rich Table, and then saw the show, which made for a pretty perfect day. Yes, I'm bragging. Goodnight!

Monday, May 08, 2017

i can see all obstacles in my way

I had a great day in the glorious south bay, even though I walked down Castro Street in Mountain View and idly thought that I would be okay never walking down that street again. Not that I intend to never go back again, but the thought did cross my mind.

But before I went to Mountain View, I spent the morning lazing about in bed and taking advantage of the fact that Heather's guest bed is comfy and I've spent enough nights here before in the past that my body didn't do the usual thing where it freaks out on the first night in a new place and doesn't let me sleep. Then I hung out downstairs briefly before spending an hour on the phone with a writer friend (Darcy) to catch up on industry gossip. And then I ate a late breakfast, since Salim made me scrambled eggs and coffee and a whole heap of berries, which was all delightful.

Then, Heather went into work and dropped me off in Mountain View on the way. I spent a couple of hours at the cafe at Books Inc, where I successfully wrote a thousand words (as good as I ever get when I'm starting a project). Then I went to my eye doctor, who proclaimed my eyes to be as good (bad, but good) as ever, so my prescription didn't change, which was a relief. He also dilated my eyes to the point that I could barely see anything up close the rest of the afternoon - so to those of you who texted me this afternoon, apologies for being too much of a crackhead to respond.

When that was over, I got a pearl milk tea (I could see distance to cross streets, but ordering a lyft after was super difficult) and went to Heather's office, where I sat outside and wrote for another few minutes until she was ready to go. We came back to her house, dropped off our stuff, and then went to Willow Glen for dinner at someplace called The Table, which we went to on a whim because our original destination was closed. It turned out to be quite tasty - their initial wine offerings for us tasted like they'd been open for several days, but when we realized that ordering by the glass might be a bad idea, we instead got a half bottle of pinot noir, which tasted perfect and was the right amount for us to split. I also had a v. delicious pork chop, and Heather had fried chicken, and we shared a pot du creme after, and it was all a delightful complement to our deep, hours-long conversation.

Then we came home and I lured Heather into the dark side of bullet journals - someone should pay me, since I've converted multiple people to the cult. I also watched some Family Guy with Salim, which made me think of [censored], who was undoubtedly asleep. And now I must sleep as well - I have to schlepp my way to the city of sin tomorrow for some entirely decadent plans, so I need my beauty rest. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

i'm trying to tell you now it's sabotage

I'm inching closer and closer to San Francisco. I woke up this morning in LA, strangely not at all hungover (for perhaps the first time ever after hanging out with Irish Matt - I must be growing up!), and hurriedly showered, packed, and drove to Long Beach airport. I dropped off the rental car, checked in, and discovered that Long Beach is tiny - only ten gates inside a single terminal that was clearly constructed in the days before TSA and can't really accommodate the requirements of modern lines. But it was an easy breezy process, which I v. much appreciated.

The flight was uneventful and I read the entire way. When I arrived, it couldn't have possibly gone more smoothly - I made my way to baggage claim, texted Heather with my door info as I was grabbing my last bag off the belt, walked outdoors - and didn't even have to break stride because she pulled up as I was walking out the door. This felt like a v. baller move, even if I was wearing a hoodie and schlepping more stuff than I assume ballers do....

sssanyway. I'm staying with Heather (aka dear respected madam) and Salim tonight and tomorrow night, and we had much to catch up on. So we talked all afternoon, which I loved, until I took a break to call my parents (as usual). Then we spent the rest of the day/evening mostly eating, joking, and watching movies - Salim made steak and corn on the cob, and we watched 'Major League' (ridiculous 80s baseball movie), part of 'Zoolander' (if you don't know what that movie is, please show yourself to the exit), and all of 'Neighbors 2' (which was surprisingly hysterical despite my v. low expectations for it).

And now it's bedtime, since I have much to do tomorrow - goodnight!

one way ticket

I had a fabulous day in LA, which involved lazing in bed (v. necessarily) until after nine, and then spending the entire day with Irish Matt (remember him?). I just got back to my airbnb after 12+ hours of friendship, and it was highly delightful (and I'm relatively sober compared to how I would have been on previous days where we'd spent twelve hours together) - but I'll regale you with details tomorrow, since I need to sleep immediately if I'm going to make my flight tomorrow morning. Goodnight!

Friday, May 05, 2017

i'd be safe and warm if i was in l.a.

I was very sad for my retreat to end today, but I caught up with some old friends, so the rush of new experiences overcame the sadness of leaving San Clemente. It didn't help that I barely slept last night - I was all good from eleven p.m. to two a.m., but I woke up at two and was as wide awake as if it were eight, and I tossed and turned the rest of the night. I realize this is normal for a lot of people, but I consider myself to be a champion sleeper, and so those rare nights when I can't sleep make me feel angry and oddly defeated.

sssanyway. I got out of bed around 7:45 and spent a v. happy hour (which feels so long ago now) sitting on the deck looking out through the mist to the ocean beyond, drinking coffee and answering emails and planning activities for my upcoming sojourn to the bay area. But I had to stop enjoying myself so that I could shower and pack and vacate the premises. We all said goodbye to Christie, who was driving back to San Diego, and then Barbara and Anne and I finished getting ready and took a lyft to the airport. We parted ways there - they were on the same flight back to SF, while I was only at the airport long enough to pick up a rental car.

I then drove to Culver City, which took a little over an hour - since I haven't driven much in the last four months, and most of that driving happened in Iowa, this was a bit like going from a tricycle to an Evel Knievel-style motorcycle stunt. Luckily, I navigated the freeways and lights and accidents and sudden stops without any issues (despite being exhausted and hyped up on Mountain Dew), and I made it to my destination...

...which was a bookstore that specializes solely in romance novels. I would mention its name but I don't want to show up in any of their social media scans - but the store was totally wonderful, and it was great to see them put such an emphasis on romance novels that are mostly ignored everywhere else. I was mostly there to meet up with my friend Jenn, who hangs out there a lot, but I was glad to see the store.

However, I didn't browse much initially - we were both starving, so we walked down the street and had lunch and caught up on work/life. She also writes historical romance and also is the photographer for most of my covers, so we had a lot to discuss. Then we went back to the store, and I managed to only buy three books and a necklace (a real sacrifice on my part, made solely because I don't have room for any more stuff). Then I said farewell to Jenn and drove my airbnb (50mins to go less than ten miles, which is a v. California situation).

I was only here an hour, but I used half of it to take a nap, which miraculously restored me before my dinner plans. Mahin picked me up at 6:30, and we went to Urth Caffé, which had a delightful outdoor patio with even more delightful heat lamps. Mahin and I used to work together forever ago, and she and I would occasional have lunches to secretly talk about romance novels, which always felt fun and vaguely forbidden. I hadn't seen her in forever, but we'd exchanged emails a couple of months ago, and since she's living in LA now we took the opportunity to get together again. She's also a writer now, so we talked a lot of shop, which is fun and fascinating for us and of absolutely no interest to any of you.

So, three hours flew by way too fast, and my heart wasn't ready for the night to end, but my stamina was on the verge, so Mahin dropped me off at my airbnb - and hopefully it won't be another five years before we see each other again. And now I'm desperate for as much sleep as I can squeeze in in yet another unfamiliar bed before tomorrow's fun plans destroy my immune system and my liver - goodnight!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

games continued

It's my last night at my writing retreat, and I am definitely, 100% not ready to go. This house has been perfect - it's right on the ocean, which means we've spent every night by the firepit, snacking around the flames because it was too wonderfully decadent at home to bother going out for dinner.  Our days have fallen into an easy rhythm of working or walking in the morning, going out for lunch (today we went to South of Nick's, which was totally perfect Mexican with portions so big that I brought half back for dinner), and then writing all afternoon and talking/gossipping all evening.

So, I'm feeling in the story groove here, and I'm also enjoying the endlessly crashing waves of the Pacific - but it's time to go off to my next adventure. Today was all good - I got more sleep than I have been, since I forced myself to stay in bed until 9:30, and then we had the aforementioned lunch. In the afternoon, I did a bit of writing, and I also recorded a podcast with Rachael, and I also talked to Terry. And then we spent the evening in delightfully desultory conversation - catching up with other writers is good for the soul.

But now it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

all i really know is i don't wanna know

Too tired to blog - I'm verklempt because Buckingham Place is likely to announce something big at midnight CA time, and I'm too sleepy to stay up for it. I blame the NyQuil for that - I feel worse than I did yesterday, since my congestion is ramping up and it gradually outshining my sore throat, and so I'm taking more drugs than I probably should.

But I'm still having a v. productive time - I got up at seven and actually wrote this morning, which was a novel feeling (ha). We lost power to the house at 11:15ish, but as we were on our way out to door to grab lunch, this didn't affect us at all. We found a cute place on Dana Point's harbor, and my huevos were yummy (but not as good as Nitks). Then we came back here and worked afternoon. Then I ate supper and watched the sunset with the girls - it was pretty perfect, all in.

But now I'm desperate to sleep, so goodnight!

but you don't really care for music, do you?

Despite my encroaching illness, I had a v. good writing day. I woke up this morning with my sore throat raging and nothing else particularly wrong with me, and I sat out on the deck with my journal and the mist for a couple of hours - mist is probably not good for sore throats, but it's great for daydreams.

Then I talked to my friends for awhile and continued to brainstorm Barbara's book from last night before they ordered me to shower so we could grab lunch. We walked down to a nearby cafe, where I got a gluten-free quiche and some extra egg salad for tomorrow - but the walk back up to the house nearly killed me. I was supposed to record a podcast with a fellow author this afternoon, but I decided that my sore throat and congested-sounding voice and general exhaustion made me unable to do this, so I begged her to reschedule for Thursday, which she accommodated.

So I spent the afternoon alternating between writing, doing admin/social media work, and trying to burn the illness out of my body by sitting in the sun while eating vitamin C gummies. I'm working on SPINSTER HONEYMOON, and so I spent my writing time this afternoon brainstorming characters and plot points. However, I had a much more helpful and productive session brainstorming it with the group over takeout pizza for dinner - I usually don't brainstorm my own stuff in groups all that much, but this turned out super helpful for this project (and I actually came up with two totally different ideas beyond my original idea for this book, and all three of them could probably be viable books, so it's kind of an embarrassment of riches at this point).

So, I'm full of dreams and eager to dig into the story, but I couldn't abandon the group to their conversation and do my own writing without feeling rude. So I hung out with them until 9:30ish, at which point we were all feeling like retiring. I spent the last three hours doing some reading (I'd told a friend I would do a quick beta read of her book, so I wanted to finish that), and now I'm going to sleep and hope that I feel better tomorrow so that my head is clear enough to write - goodnight!