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 dinner...at 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!

Monday, May 01, 2017

this house don't feel like home

After almost four months of travel, my body has finally succumbed to the travel illnesses I thought I'd managed to outrun. To be fair, I also got sick when I landed in Bali - but this is v. unfortunately timed, since I'm at a writing retreat with grand plans to get a lot done before going to SF next week. I'm not ridiculously sick yet, but my sore throat is really bad, and I've been fighting it with many forms of vitamin c all day. It didn't help that I didn't sleep much last night - I woke up at four a.m. because I didn't feel great, then woke up for good at six because the sun was too bright and my body thought it was 8am anyway.

But despite the illness, today was good - I spent the morning (after finally dragging myself out of bed) journaling, then talking to Barbara for awhile, then talking to Barbara and Anne. Eventually it was time to shower, and then the four of us went out for lunch at a Mexican place in the downtown area - I thought it was delicious since I haven't had California Mexican in forever, but they said it wasn't as good as the place they went yesterday.

Then we ran to a grocery store, where I mostly stocked up on meds, and then we came back and I attempted to work. I did get some good stuff done (mostly promo - I had a major ad running today that I wanted to supplement with some social media stuff, which I did), but then I talked to Anne, and then I took a nap because I really wasn't feeling well at all. Then I talked to [censored]. Then I got approximately fifteen minutes of writing done before Barbara wanted to brainstorm her next series and we spent a lot of time on that.

But all in all, San Clemente is gorgeous - our house is on a cliff overlooking the beach (where there was a shark attack this weekend, so watching the surfers has the added fun of wondering if you're going to watch a gruesome death), and it's really well suited for a writing retreat since it's basically two two-bedroom condos combined into one for the week, which means two kitchens, two living rooms, and two patios - which means it's easy to get away from people if necessary (and in my book it's v. necessary). Since I was the last to arrive, I got the worst room, which I expected - it's twin bunk beds, which is not my favorite thing (mostly because I can't sit up in bed and work there), but it's still totally fine and I'm #blessed, etc. And I'm mostly here for the company and the writing time anyway, and that's all great.

But now I really need to sleep - goodnight!

I'm a little unsteady

No energy left for blogging...I got five hours of sleep last night and had to wake up and be on again when all I wanted to do was stay in bed. Luckily most of the people who chose to sit at my breakfast table were people I was drinking with last night, so they had no expectations and I was sort of able to meet that low bar.

Then I spent a couple of hours working in the Milwaukee airport, then slept on my first (very brief) flight to Minneapolis, then worked for almost all of the flight to Orange County (with s break at the end to watch Brooklyn 99). I landed forty minutes early, grabbed a lyft, and came to San Clemente, where Barbara, Anne and Christie had already arrived over the last couple of days. We spent several hours catching up... But now I'm at my energy limit and must sleep immediately. Goodnight!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

wamp wamp (what it do)

I divulged my real last name to the romance readers today, and even referenced the seminal hit 'Wamp Wamp (what it do)', so you can guess what my mental state is. Yes, it's mostly fueled by wine and vodka and something called the 'dirty Russian'. So suffice it to say that I had a great day, but I'll say more tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, April 28, 2017

honey i'm good

I have to go to bed immediately...I made it to my 7:30am breakfast only fifteen minutes late, but over half the group was later than me, so #noregrets. The food and company were great - we went to Blue's Egg, and I had some delish hashbrowns and poached eggs. After we were done, I ran errands for several hours - my errand to Nordstrom (an overly complicated return because of some weirdness with the way the product was tagged + me wanting to keep the 'wrong' product but get the correct lower price for it) took three people twenty minutes to resolve. But they were all entertaining, and we had a great time failing to understand how the issue happened. Then I bought more stuff at the mall and also went to Container Store to get stuff for my table tomorrow.

Then I went to Walmart and realized belatedly that I should have gone to Target - I was in southern Iowa mode, where Walmart is the closest thing, so I defaulted to that. But when I was checking out, the chip reader declined both my credit cards and my debit card before the clerk finally realized that maybe the issue was with her machine and not with my cards. Her supervisor said there was nothing that could be done unless I wanted to pay cash. Since I had 20+ items and the other lines were all long, I dashed over to the ATM machine to get cash, which required navigating around someone who had collapsed and was being attended to by paramedics. #peopleofwalmart indeed.

sssanyway. The rest of the day is a blur and I need to sleep anyway, so, briefly - I took my rental car back, hung out, had a few precious moments to myself, had dinner with the other authors (and won a cheesehead!), and then did the Q&A, which involved sitting for two hours so that I could have my 90sec in the spotlight like all the other writers (we each introduced ourselves and answered one question). It was fun and went well, but then I should have crashed after and instead hung out in the bar with Deb and Josie (without drinking, bizarrely enough). And now I really need to sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

on a hippie trail head full of zombie

I'm exhausted and I have breakfast plans in eight hours, so it's time to go to bed - but I have successfully arrived in Milwaukee, which is unfortunately about the last place I want to be. It's super cold, and they're renovating the hotel while we're all here, which has made for some interesting times. I was lucky in that I didn't have to wait hours for a room - but also unlucky in that my room is ancient, smells funky, and doesn't have a new mattress yet. I don't remember last year's room being quite this bad, but I also spent my first night last year throwing up from food poisoning, so really, my memory is fuzzy on the matter.

sssanyway. I'll be less surly when I am actually participating in the event (maybe). I got up today at 6:45, showered, ate breakfast that was lovingly prepared by my dad (to the same specifications as all their breakfasts), finished getting ready, and bid a fond farewell to my parents. [censored] graciously took me to the airport, and we listened to [censored] and [censored] and [censored], with a little [censored].

My trip was totally uneventful, but it would have been faster to drive to Milwaukee. I spent three hours sitting in Chicago, where I wandered around looking for a vending machine that gives out free Google Fi gear (success, but in retrospect I shouldn't have walked all the way across O'Hare for a free luggage tag, no matter how nice it is), and then had a long lunch while writing and also talking to Katie (whom I made many grandiose promises to).

Then I got on the plane to Milwaukee, which spent more time taxiing in Chicago/Milwaukee than it did in the air. The rest of the evening was uneventful - I got to the hotel, unpacked a bit, ate dinner with the other authors (and by that I mean I ignored everyone and talked to Deb, who's a San Francisco friend, although she left SF after I did and is now going to travel around Europe all summer). Then I came to my room, finished unpacking, and did three hours of work. And now I'm going to sleep and hope that I wake up in time for breakfast - goodnight!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

a banjo on my knee

I'm still too tired to blog, but I'm getting complaints even from the people I'm currently with who know exactly what I've been up to this week, so I'll write something brief so I can move on with my life. Today was my last full day in ye olde Iowa - the trip went way too quickly, and now it's time to pick up and move on to my next adventure.

So, I spent today as I spend all last days somewhere - furiously packing, taking care of last-minute tasks, and generally running around like crazy. This was a slightly harder packing job than the last few since I had many more possible items to choose from, and also because I have to take thirty pounds of books and gifts to Milwaukee for the event I'm going to.

But I think I have the right things with me - this time, the climates will range from Milwaukee in April (45 degrees and raining) to SF (looks warm, feels cold) to Miami (sunshine with a chance of Zika) to San Antonio in June (you might as well pray for the sweet release of death rather than trying to pack for the heat/humidity). So I've packed mostly warm-weather stuff with some layers to add on top, and hopefully everything will work out.

When I was finally done packing, it was nearly time for supper (but I snuck in some potato chips and my favorite dip an hour beforehand, so I wasn't particularly hungry). Then, we played Ticket to Ride - we only played one game, and [censored] won, but Mom came in a close second despite looking like she was losing the entire game, so that was exciting.

And then I came downstairs, dealt with all the highly unpleasant mail that had piled up while I was gone (and that I probably should have dealt with a week ago...lol), and now need to eke out six hours of sleep so I can get up and go to Milwaukee. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

beautiful man i know you're lying

No blog again tonight...I stayed up way too late answering email, and I have a million and one things to do tomorrow to prep for my next trip. Goodnight​!

Monday, April 24, 2017

billy the kid

I'm too tired to blog tonight, which is just as well since it's basically all [censored] anyway. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

don't hurt yourself

#sorrynotsorry for not blogging last night - I was super sleepy and fell asleep as I was journaling, so no blog for you. Today was similarly fun/tiring - Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy came down for the day, and since they arrived a little after nine, it was indeed a full day.

However, I didn't spent a lot of time with them in the morning - when they got here I was taking care of stuff online (mostly related to packing up and leaving again), and then my dad and I went into town to see Gram (scouts' report: dementia is still the worst). But we were back well in time for lunch, which was delish - bratwurst, hamburgers, homemade potato salad (because potato salad from a container is an abomination), baked beans, and layered lettuce. Or, in other words, one of my favorite Iowa summer meals.

Mark and Kathy spent the rest of the afternoon here, and Kathy and I split a bottle of sauvignon blanc that I had in the fridge, so everyone got through the day unscathed. Then they left, [censored] decided to [censor], and I spent the rest of the evening watching some fine CBS programming while continuing to prep for my next set of adventures.

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Friday, April 21, 2017

you could be happy and i won't know

Way too tired to blog - I spent hours trying to catch up today, and I feel like for every email I send and every task I do, another two spring up to take their place. But I sent a bunch of emails, booked plane tickets and cars and airbnbs and other things, went to the Round Barn (twice!), and did it all without requiring a nap. I also unpacked all my stuff and documented what I'd taken with me so I can make better decisions next time (for example, I took way too much first aid stuff + vitamins I didn't finish, and I should reevaluate, because that all adds up to weight I have to schlepp around).

Finally, we had an excellent supper - my mom made a beef roast that was almost exactly like prime rib, along with a baked potato and a salad, and I was pretty delighted. But I came downstairs all too soon, talked to [censored], finished unpacking (it's not all put away yet, but it's a start), and finally wrote for thirty minutes on a somewhat-secret project.

And now I'm tapped out and need sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

washed up on the sand, barely alive, wishing the undertow would stop

I'm super sleepy - my jetlag has confused all of us, since I almost always wake up sometime around ten when I'm in Iowa, and right now I'm regularly waking up between six and seven. This is a problem that must be rectified. But it probably won't be rectified tonight.

I worked allll day - mostly promo stuff, since I continue to realize that I should probably be selling this book. I also had a call with someone from my old place of employment who wanted advice on leaving (it's pretty clear what he wanted to hear since he talked to me), answered some personal email (work email is still backlogged), etc.

Then we ate supper - hamburgers, green beans, fried potatoes, and the general sense of midwest satisfaction that comes from such a meal. And then I came downstairs 2.5 hours ago with the plan of going to bed, but I ordered a bunch of stuff for next week's author signing, since that *had* to get done immediately.

And now, after a super boring post, it's time for sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

she gave me a night, that's all it was

I'm working like mad to take care of all sorts of things that I've neglected over the last month. Today, that meant accidentally waking up at six a.m. (hi, jetlag), and then working in bed until my battery died around ten. At that point I was desperate to eat anyway, so I went upstairs and hung out for awhile, and I also showered and went to town (exciting stuff) to get some groceries.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon in photoshop - I was designing some collateral for an event I have next week (v. belatedly), and it took many hours, but I was pleased with the results. I finished just in time for supper, which I enjoyed, and then I watched some fine PBS programming (not CBS! mostly because Wednesday is Criminal Minds night, and so we watched a documentary on the Nazis' extermination of the Jewish population of Vilnius, Lithuania, which was not the most uplifting subject, although the people who survived were rather astonishing).

Then I came downstairs and talked to [censored] about [censored]. And then I worked for another hour. And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

traveling prayer

It's only 9:12pm in ye olde Iowa, but I'm going to go to bed as soon as I write this. I barely slept last night, no doubt fueled by too many margaritas and mai tais (two of my favorite cocktails, but they really shouldn't be consumed in the same day). Yesterday was an exercise in overindulgence, which was precisely the opposite of the exercise undertaken by all the marathon runners - while they were running, and while Ritu was volunteering in the post-race emergency tent, Bill and I sat at a restaurant and had many drinks and ate lots of tasty Mexican food. I'd worked diligently all morning, but diligence definitely went by the wayside (along with my sobriety)....

When Ritu got back from volunteering, we had a lateish dinner at Tiger Mama, which was super delish - kind of Indonesian food, or at least southeast Asian with some Chinese mixed in. We had a whole duck, as I referenced last night, and I had two mai tais, and it was all delightful.

But my hangover was not delightful, nor was the fact that I had to get on a plane. Bill and Ritu graciously took me to the airport, which I really appreciated, and my travels were all v. smooth (other than the turbulent approach to Atlanta, where I had a layover, which made me want to vomit). I did a tiny bit of work and a tiny bit of reading on the plane, but mostly I napped and reconsidered my life decisions.

Then I got to Iowa, where my parents and [censored] picked me up. We had our traditional dinner at Johnny's, where I ordered a v. nontraditional chicken (my body is rebelling after all the stuff I've forced into it the last two weeks, and for once I didn't think steak would help). Then we came home, I hung out valiantly for an hour, and now I'm giving up and going to bed anyway. There's tons of stuff I want to get done in the next ten days, and tons of quality time I need to spend with my family, so getting some sleep now is imperative. Goodnight!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

it always comes as a surprise when i feel my withered roots begin to grow

I have come to associate Boston with somehow being both incredibly delighted and nauseatingly full. This is, of course, all Ritu's fault.

I could probably end the blog post there, but in the interest of posterity, I'll continue. I woke up at four a.m. thinking it was nine, but that was a trick played by my jetlag, so I slept fitfully until eight. Then I stumbled out of bed and talked to Ritu - we caught up on many tings while she force-fed me berries and yogurt and cheese and chocolate and tea and coffee. Then Bill woke up, at which point the champagne started, and didn't really stop until it was time to shower.

Our main plan for the day was a decadent 2:30pm 'brunch' at Bistro du Midi. I had two cocktails, tuna tartare, a delicious burger with goat cheese, and some sorbet, and was thus completely stuffed. At that point my body thought it was eleven p.m., and so when Ritu suggested that we walk in the park across the street from the restaurant, we walked for approximately five minutes before I sat down and then promptly took a nap in the grass. #noregrets

Eventually, I forced myself awake (Bill also fell asleep, and Ritu amused herself by taking pictures of us, apparently). Ritu's friends Anne and Dan showed up, and we started talking, and kept talking until I suddenly demanded water so that I wouldn't die. So we walked down the street, I drank water from a public fountain and probably got cholera, got some more water at a Nespresso store, and then took the train toward Ritu's house, where we all went to a bar and sat outside and enjoyed conversation and tater tots. It was a perfectly gorgeous, summery day in Boston (mid-80s, which made for a great night), so we sat outside until it eventually started sprinkling, and then Anne and Dan went home.

Of course, Ritu couldn't let us stop eating after that, so Bill, Ritu, and I went down the street to a cook-your-own Japanese barbecue place. I was still so full that I had a sprite and some miso soup and a bit of rice just to get Ritu from trying to force me to eat anything else (this strategy was only marginally successful). Then we came home, Bill expressed shock at the amount of washi tape I've been traveling with, and we listened to a bunch of Billy Joel.

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I didn't didn't

This wasn't as rough as flying to Bali, but it's 12:39am in Boston and I've been moving for approximately 24hrs. I didn't get seasick leaving Venice despite the fact that it was misting and the sea was swelling and everything still felt like it was rocking, so I'm taking that as a win. Checking in was a v long line, and I barely had time to grab some prosciutto and some potato chips for lunch (lunch of champions, but gluten free is hard for Italian fast food). And my transit through Oslo was super rushed - but then luxury, since my cabin was oddly empty (I'd booked premium because it was almost the same cost as economy, and this was definitely the way to go).

When I got to Boston, Ritu and Bill were waiting outside baggage claim, which was a surprisingly touching treat. Then we grabbed snacks, can't home, drank and ate, and then went to a 10pm reservation at our favorite Mediterranean tapas place. But I was falling asleep at the end, so it's good that we came home rather than going for third dinner....

But now I've taken melatonin and am desperate for a bed - goodnight!

Friday, April 14, 2017

on the road again

I'm all packed up and ready to go - but my heart's not quite ready. Approximately twenty-four hours from now I'll be landing in the US - I was telling Veronica about a great restaurant in Boston today, and when I pulled the search result up on my phone to show her the location, it reminded me that Ritu/Bill/I have reservations there tomorrow night. It will, of course, be great to see all the people I'm about to see, but I'm not quite ready for my trip to be over....

...but I am ready to swap out the 40kg of stuff I have and get some different stuff for the next phase of my travels. Today was a v. idyllic last day, although everything still felt like it was spinning after all the hours I spent standing on ferry boats yesterday. The last day of class was excellent; Rachael is a great teacher, and I've enjoyed all the exercises tremendously. After class, Veronica and I grabbed lunch nearby (a great gluten free pasta! and then a salad after because we were both still starving, although the waitress looked at us askance when we ordered a salad after having pasta because that's just not done). Then we took naps. Then we went out in search of fun things to buy - we found the paper place we've wandered by multiple times and managed to find it when it was open, and it's now one of my favorite stores in the world. The Italian man who runs it seems to be a sole proprietor and also makes everything himself, and I bought the most beautiful leather journal with the Venetian lion embossed in the cover, and holding it makes my heart happy. He also showed us his guest book, which was signed by Johnny Depp, and then he gave me and V each a bookmark with our initials, and he was so friendly (and kept speaking to us in Italian even though we clearly didn't really quite understand him), and it was kind of magical.

Nothing could really top that, but we wandered around a bunch more shops, and found a jewelry place that had also been closed the last time we saw it, where I bought a pair of earrings. Then I cut myself off from further purchases, because really, it's unnecessary. We ended our wanderings with a glass of wine and an attempt at looking out over the water (really we looked out over a dock, since the waterside restaurants reserve the waterside tables for people who are eating meals). Then we met the rest of the group for the goodbye dinner - it was a cute outdoor terrace right around the corner from our hotel, and I had more gluten free pasta and split a bottle of chianti with Misty (who is lovely - another SF person, although I don't know her well), and generally enjoyed the feeling of the end.

Then I came back to the hotel and packed, and I think that I distributed the weight in my bags appropriately to keep from having to pay any excess (as long as my backpack doesn't burst in transit). And now I'm going to sleep so that I can prepare myself for the flight tomorrow - goodnight!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

lay it all on me

Venice and my foreign travels are rapidly drawing to a close - it's odd to think that I'll be back in the US in two days, since I've spent thirteen weeks away. But I'm too high on life, drunk on Venice, and in love with the last few weeks to think about the future.

Today was utterly exhausting and utterly excellent. I woke up after getting the first full night's rest in a week, and I could have happily stayed in bed another couple of hours, but I ralled and dragged myself downstairs for this morning's writing workshop. It was all about memory and taboo subjects, which hits at some of the core of what I want to write (and what I have been avoiding writing forever). At the end we tore our exercises up into tiny pieces in the courtyard of the ancient monastery where we're holding our workshop, and it was all v. cathartic.

Then I had a break, and I used it to have a simple lunch of roasted chicken, potatoes, and wine (half a bottle of it) in the Venetian sun while scribbling in my journal. Then, we took a v. long trip to Burano and Murano - this was all kind of a killer, since it was an hour and a half each way to Burano, and while Murano was on the way back, we waited forty minutes for the boat in Burano. So, I didn't really see the glass blowing or the glassworks of Murano. But Burano was gorgeous - such beautiful colors on the buildings, and lots of lace (their traditional specialty).

I spent most of the afternoon/evening hanging out with Veronica and her family + Lisa, and we had a great time - after we finally got back from the other islands, we v. quickly grabbed jackets and went to the dinner Adam had reserved for us. We went back to the neighborhood we went to last night, and the meal was perfect - just different enough in terms of style to feel satisfying, but the food was gorgeous and decadent and wonderful. We split a couple of bottles of wine, and I courted disaster with gluten again by having spaghetti carbonara - if I was going to court disaster, I'm glad it was with this dish, since it was utterly perfect and I almost ordered another helping for dessert.

And now, I need sleep rathe desperately - goodnight!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

lemons and desperation

Venice continues to delight, and I continue to be v. v. tired - almost hungover with the elated exhaustion of finishing my book. Today I tried to be mindful and in the moment even though I'm distracted by book release stuff. The writing exercises this morning were great - we spent some time wandering around and observing things, and Rachael pointed out that a lot of my little pieces have involved vessels full of water (cups, mugs, cisterns, wells), which was interesting, although I don't know what to do with that bit of wisdom...

After we were done for the morning, I took advantage of some downtime to wander the quiet sidewalks and ancient canals between here and San Marco. San Marco itself is awash in tourists, but I found a restaurant that served surprisingly good risotto for being in such a touristy area. So I sat and people-watched and ate my risotto and drank my wine, and it was all a perfect moment.

Then I met up with the other writers at the Doge's Palace - we had a 'secret itineraries' tour, which took us through the secret wings of the Doge's Palace. That includes the prison cells for the highest-ranked prisoners, the areas where the secret police and the Council of Ten did business, the area where Casanova escaped from, etc. It was cool to see, especially since the tour guide was a great storyteller.

Then Lisa and I split off from the group, took a vaparetto (water bus) back, and had a couple of drinks and snacks near our hotel so we could catch up properly. Then I took a twenty minute nap that could have happily lasted two hours. And then I had dinner with Rachael, Veronica, V's husband Adam, and their son Owen. We went back towards the neighborhood where I had such a lovely dinner last night, found a great little restaurant with the perfect outdoor seats, and enjoyed a lot of fun conversation and some delicious food (they had gluten free pasta!). And my time here is all too rapidly drawing to a close...

Which means, I suppose, that I should sleep. Going to bed now would go a long way toward restoring my sleep deficit, which means I'll probably play sudoku for an hour, but I'm hoping sanity wins out. Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

smoke on the water

If I write this really quickly and go to bed immediately, I can get eight hours of sleep tonight, so that's going to be the priority. My book came out today - too soon to tell how it's doing, especially since I'm 6-9 hours ahead of the US and have scheduled my newsletter to go out shortly, but so far so good. If you're interested, you can find more at sararamsey.com/taking-the-earl. Prego!

So today was good, but I was way too tired to be #inittowinit. I got some good stuff out of the writing exercises this morning (all about talismans and dying worlds), but I wasn't feeling super psyched about staying awake. Then I had lunch with Veronica and Rachael, and then Rachael went off to do her duty to the group (since she's the leader/teacher) and Veronica and I played hooky. We were going to work/write at a cafe, but instead we ate more food and drank half a bottle of wine and talked about writing for two hours. This was probably more important than me actually working since she had some good advice (she writes young adult), but it still felt like I was getting away with something...

Then I came back, took a nap, and did promo stuff for a couple of hours. That's been frustrating only because the wifi here is quite slow and uploading images is like pulling teeth. But I took a break to have a solo dinner - I hit my introvert wall awhile ago, so I wandered to a place I hadn't been before, found a cute, quiet restaurant, and indulged my need for some journaling and some reading. I also tested out the gluten situation by having both spaghetti bolognese (outstanding) and tiramisu (I realized I don't really remember tiramisu anymore - I remember loving it, but it's not something that can easily be made gluten free). I'd heard that some people have less of an issue with the wheat in Italy, so we'll see. I currently have a headache, but that could be the extreme lack of sleep and ongoing slight dehydration...we'll see.

Anyway, the food was great and walking back over the bridges and along the canals at night was magical. Then I did another ninety minutes of work, and now I need to sleep.

Finally, happy birthday Aunt B! Goodnight!

Monday, April 10, 2017

venezia waits for you

Apologies for not blogging last night - I arrived in Venice to glorious afternoon sun, ate crab gnocchi, and promptly got vile food poisoning that resulted in me vomiting for three hours straight (scouts' report: the tile floor of my bathroom was delightfully cool while I sweated through my shirt). I am now wondering if I actually have a strange shellfish allergy, since this happened a year ago right now when I ate sushi at the Chicago airport on my way to a conference - it was the exact same onset and duration of symptoms. But I've had shellfish in between, so maybe it was just bad food poisoning luck.

Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling way better but totally exhausted - I've barely been sleeping the last week (did you know I wrote a book?), and yesterday was a total wreck anyway because I was hungover from Saturday night, got very carsick (to the point I almost had the guy pull over) in the cab from London to Gatwick, got slightly seasick on the water taxi from the Venice airport to the hotel, and had one super bleak moment where I got off on the dock outside my hotel and the dock was bobbing all over the place and I had to heave my giant backpack on my back and suddenly thought I might get pulled over backwards into the canal. So yeah, yesterday was not ideal.

But today was gorgeous. I enjoyed the writing exercises this morning, and I'm glad to have a week to play and write new things that aren't related to Lucy and Max. Veronica, Lisa and I had lunch at a little restaurant on an ancient square, and then we went on a pilgrimage to find the Fabriano store - Fabriano makes delightful papers, and while they aren't as delightful as my beloved Leuchtturm1917s (of which I bought three, in limited edition metallic colors, in London), they're v. v. close. So I bought a notebook and a pen, because that's what I do, even though I can only get two more kilos of stuff to hit the weight limit on Norwegian next weekend. Maybe I should wear all my jewelry onto the flight like a fucking pirate queen...but hopefully it won't come to that.

When we got back to the hotel, I did some work in a gorgeous, quiet courtyard, and then I took a nap, which was the real standout highlight of my day. Then I had dinner with Veronica and her husband and son - I was supposed to go on a walking/drinking tour, but walking/drinking seemed like a bad idea for my slightly-fragile stomach. So we had a lowkey dinner instead, with some more delicious gnocchi for me (I'm assuming the food poisoning was caused by crab, not gnocchi, but we'll find out!). Then I came home under a gorgeous full moon, worked some more on pre-release-day stuff, and called my parents since I missed calling them last night.

And now I'm desperate for sleep - goodnight!

Saturday, April 08, 2017

and i still don't know why i love you so much

Too tired to blog, but today was some of the farewell I needed - I woke up after extremely fitful sleep (going to bed at four a.m. after bleeding myself totally dry on the story made for restless slumber) and made some tea in my room, and then I immediately started packing. I'm mostly done, but I have a bunch of trash to take out and some remaining things to tuck into my bags tomorrow. Luckily my flight isn't until 1:30pm, so I can get up at a civilized time (but since it's 2am here, a 'civilized time' still means I'm only getting six hours of sleep).

But I managed to take a break to get a pedicure - I hadn't had one since Singapore, which was six weeks and many lifetimes ago, so my toes were looking super ragged. Today was the nicest day of all the days I've spent in London, and it was lovely to walk outside and feel the sun on my face and know that I get to tell a different story starting this week. Verdict is out on whether it's going to be SPINSTER HONEYMOON or the young adult gargoyle book - I'm going to play and see what happens.

After my pedicure (when I was still in my post-book haze and reverted to my american ways and tipped 20% and clearly confused the hell out of all of them), I walked back here, grabbed my laptop, and did some work. I also had a goodbye drink in the coworking space with Philippa, who is one of the best people I met here. Then I took a quick nap before going to Bluebird to meet Gemma - she was at the Bali Roam, and she lives near London but this was our only chance to get together. It was great to see her, and also to experience Bluebird on a Saturday night, when the Chelsea scene (tight dresses, suit jackets, posh attitudes) is in full force.

After saying goodbye to her (again), I met up with Michelle and Amanda for a final girls' night out. We had a bottle of wine at Chelsea Potter (well, Michelle and I had it; Amanda had cider), then we grabbed gelato, and then we came back here and drank more wine and ate all the cheese that I had while talking about life and love and everything else. The worst part (possibly the only truly bad part) about this nomadic existence has been saying goodbye to people, and I didn't enjoy saying goodbye to them - but hopefully I'll see them both again soon, either at another Roam or in other cities on future dates.

But now that I've written far more than intended (but it took six minutes to write this - my fingers are still in #beastmode), I really need to eke all the sleep I can out of the last night in this bed so that I can go to Venice with a happy heart. Goodnight!

Friday, April 07, 2017

all of the lights

DONE. omg omg omg. I mean, I'm still doing some formatting stuff (namely the paperback, which won't come out the same day as the ebook), and I'm also doing laundry even though it's two a.m. because I have stuff that needs to hang dry and in 36 hours I'll be on a flight to Venice. But I thought I'd say I'm done so that those of you tracking at home are in the know about my mental state (mental state: manic, super hyped, about to crash). Goodnight!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

sipping from your cup til it runneth over

Out of words. I'm so close to done, and yet so far...but I need to sleep so that I can see straight again. Back to London tomorrow, where I will either upload this fucker or cry into my wine at midnight - goodnight!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

magna carta holy grail

I'm wiped out and seeing visions, and so deep in the story that I can't spare any space for blogging. I think I'm going to hit my deadline, but I've got miles to go before the end, and forty-eight hours to accomplish it in. So I'm going to sleep now and hope that tomorrow was as productive as today was - goodnight!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

electronic refrigeration hum

I'm in York, and I have hit peak mania that happens when I'm finishing a book, which means I'm not fit company for anyone. Luckily, no one expects me to be fit company. My train up here was lovely and uneventful (but stupidly early in the morning). I spent a couple of hours working in the hotel bar while drinking tea, then took a long lunch break (longer than planned, since the restaurant I went to was waaaay too slow and the kid next to me was one of those kids who would have been better off staring at a screen instead of having his mother take the phone away from him and then let him bounce around and play with some sort of clicking gear for an hour - toddlers are one thing, but this kid appeared to be ten and I despised him v. irrationally).

sssanyway, you know I'm not a nice person at heart, and my peak writing emotions have removed my filters. I walked around York a little bit and saw the outside of York Minster + the shopping area known as the Shambles + a bit of the medieval town wall (it's all gorgeous!), came back to the hotel, finally got my room, unpacked, took a nap, and then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening/night working. The hotel is perfectly suited for this - the desk in my room is great, and the bar and bar food are lovely, and I think I'll get a lot done here.

But now I'm beyond desperate for sleep - goodnight!

Monday, April 03, 2017

happiness is a warm gun

I need to get up in approximately six hours, so this will be brief. I spent the morning doing less than intended, and then I ran an errand - I had to return a dress that I'd bought v. ill-advisedly, and I also had to pick up some notebooks that I'd ordered from an art supply store. These errands were a fifteen minute walk from each other, but the walk between them was delightful - I popped into the basement of St Martin-in-the-Field, which is a church that was rebuilt in the 1700s but had originally been on that site since at least medieval times. They've turned their crypt into a cafe, and I'm not sure how I feel about that - it was a little disconcerting to see metal cafe chairs scraping against the tombstones laid into the floor. But time marches ever onward, and at least the church is still continuing to do its homeless outreach and other community activities thanks to the proceeds from the cafe, so c'est la vie.

Then I picked up the notebooks (limited edition Leuchtturm1917s, which are the dot grid notebooks I use for my bullet journals - these were the same price as the standard ones, but the covers are a limited edition metallic, and yes, I'm a dork). Then I stopped at a Starbucks that was way too fancy (table service!), and got their nitro cold brew, but they apparently don't put ice in their cold brew and my American desire for ice said that was a real disappointment.

Then I came back to Roam, wrote for an hour, ate a snack, and then recorded a podcast with a romance blogger (she's kind of a big deal, but not to any of you, unless you secretly read Smart Bitches) - she wanted to interview me about my nomad life thanks to my instagram, and I of course said yes, and the podcast was fun (I'll post a link when it's out). Then I vegged for a couple of hours and ate dinner. And then I wrote for another couple of hours, which was great, before succumbing to the lure of all the people downstairs. The goodbyes are starting in earnest, especially since I'm gone for three of my last five nights here...

...and speaking of, this wasn't brief at all, and now I need to go to bed. I'm looking forward to productivity in York, and you should expect that I will have very little coherence for blog posts. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

forest sounds

Today was immensely boring, although I talked to my parents (always entertaining) and to Bali Sarah (no closer to figuring out where I'm living this summer, but I'm itching to make some plans, and since she's also nomadic I'm trying to intersect with her for a couple of weeks). I also wrote, did laundry, answered emails, and got way too distracted. And I took a walk and picked up takeout for dinner, since I was desperate to leave the house for a little bit.

But this book is soooo close to done, and yet so far away, and I can't waste any more time if I'm going to finish by Friday. Every other book has required me going away for a few days to finish it, and I hit that wall today - and so while it feels ridiculous to book a hotel to take a break from my hotel, I'm owning my ridiculousness and doing it anyway. I can't go tomorrow because I have an interview for a podcast and I have to have good internet, but Tuesday morning I'm going to an undisclosed location (aka York) and staying until Friday. And I'll either finish the book there, or I will come back a sobbing mess and will drink wine until it's time to go to Venice so that I can forget my failures.

And now I shall sleep, and aim for a better day tomorrow (which requires staying in my room so that my #fomo doesn't result in me talking to everyone who wanders through the kitchen/coworking space). Goodnight!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

chimes and bowls

No blog tonight - I worked almost all day and barely left the house (other than to run to the grocery store), so there's nothing interesting to tell you. I also got my nails done, but that didn't require leaving the house either - the woman who cleans the building on weekdays (Bianca) has a sister who does nails on the side, and she came to do nails for people. Mine look really nice, but it took her a long time to do them (especially since I started talking to Amanda and so hung out for a couple of hours while she was getting her nails done), and I kind of wish I had just worked during that time instead.

But I'm going to bed now - it's only eleven p.m., but last night's attempt to go to be early was thwarted when I got on wikipedia after writing my blog and went down some serious rabbit holes. So I'm going to try again tonight and hope that this leads to earlier morning wakefulness/productivity - goodnight!

Friday, March 31, 2017

god save the queen

Today got off to a v. inauspicious start - the fire alarm went off at 7:30am, right as I was waking up and debating going back to sleep and skipping the community breakfast. So I stumbled downstairs, and it was a false alarm (probably someone else's shower), but since I was already up and Michelle saw me up, I decided I should probably go to breakfast.

This was a mistake. I should have gotten more sleep instead. I probably should never have kids, since I can't seem to function on less than eight (seven at the least) hours of sleep for more than one night a week. But I showered and made it downstairs by 8:15 to meet for breakfast. It seems that most people made better decisions than I did, since it was only Michelle and this guy Edgar (don't learn his name, he's leaving tomorrow). We went to Bluebird, which I've been to a couple of times before, and it was actually lowkey and lovely, but my energy was already flagging by nine a.m.

But I'd taken my laptop with me, so I abandoned them and stopped at a cute coffeeshop called Wanted Man that I'd been wanting to try. The coffee was good and I got a juice as well - I had a horrific headache for most of the day, and I was hoping the juice would help. It didn't, but I got some writing done, so that was good.

Then I came back here and worked more of the afternoon, when I wasn't nursing my headache or eating lunch. And at four p.m. I took a twenty-minute nap, which I probably should have done at ten a.m. since it went a long way toward restoring me.

Then I threw on real clothes and went to today's exciting adventure - a semi-private tour of Buckingham Palace. I've never been since the palace is usually only open during the summer when the queen is at Balmoral, and I saw this ticket by chance a month ago and bought it. I'm so glad that I did - the tour was only thirty people, and we were guided around for an hour and a half and shown all kinds of wonderful stuff. I'm obviously a suuuuuuuper dork about all of it, both the historical stuff (the guy who collected much of the stuff in the most impressive rooms was George IV, who was better known as the Prince Regent while George III was too mad to rule, and the Regency period is named after him) and the modern stuff (when we stepped into the music room, I immediately knew it was where a bunch of royals had been baptized, because I am crazy).

Anyway, I loved every second of it - picturing both the balls and soirees of Victoria's day and the pomp and ceremony of the present, and all the history in and around the building and its contents. The tour ended with a glass of champagne, which encouraged me to buy a mug in the giftshop (it's no Starbucks mug, but I'll be drinking tea out of it for a long time anyway). No photos were allowed in the palace, so you'll just have to trust me that it was super cool.

When I was done, I took a few pictures outside as the sun was setting, and then I came back to Roam, ordered some thai food (I was starving, so I ate it all), and hung out briefly with some people who were getting ready to go out to the pubs. I, however, am taking the virtuous path and going to bed right now so that I can get lots of glorious sleep before doing lots of glorious work tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

london bridge is falling down

Today was great, except for the fact that I got up too late to get much done in the early morning hours. However, I did get a lot of great stuff done despite that. I wrote for several hours in the late morning/early afternoon, and then I left the house to go to a museum. I'm glad that I prebooked the ticket - I wouldn't have gone today if I hadn't, but it turned out that today was totally gorgeous - the warmest day we've had since I got here, with enough sunshine to start replenishing all the vitamin deficiencies that have caused some surly moods.

My destination was the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which is quite far from here (six miles is an eternity). I decided to take the Thames Clipper there - the ferry down the Thames is about as fast as any other option and faaaaaar more scenic, although it only runs every twenty minutes and so may not be as efficient if you mistime it. But I timed it perfectly, and it was a gorgeous day to take a boat down the Thames, even if I had a few moments where I feared seasickness. But it was #worthit for sure, since I saw all sorts of London landmarks while enjoying the sun.

When I got to the Maritime Museum, I went straight to the special exhibition on Emma Hamilton, who was the infamous mistress of Admiral Nelson. You of course allllll know who Admiral Nelson is - he was the hero of the British Navy (although he became much more of a hero after his death, since it's easier to deify people who die tragically and are no longer able to insult you in real life). He'd lost an arm and an eye in previous naval battles over his long career, and spent many years thwarting Napoleon - he fought the Battle of the Nile against Napoleon way back in 1798, where he destroyed most of Napoleon's hopes of becoming a new Alexander the Great and conquering Egypt before going on to conquer India (I read a lot about this in 'Napoleon in Egypt' several years ago, which I'm sure I waxed lyrically about at the time).

But the exhibit wasn't about Nelson - it was all about Emma, a poor working-class girl who rose to the height of celebrity and infamy in the late 1700s. She became the mistress of Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador to Naples, after his nephew (the guy she was previously sleeping with) sent her to stay with Hamilton without telling her that he intended for her to become his uncle's mistress instead. Gross. She was furious, of course - but there wasn't much to be done about it, since she was already in Naples when she figured it out.

Whatever happened next, she did seem to eventually fall into genuine love with Hamilton (not the same Hamilton who got shot by Burr, obvi), and they finally married many years later, which was *not done* back then. But she was on her way to respectability...and then she fell for Nelson when he came through Naples. Sir William seemed to be okay with this, as the three of them traveled together to get back to London in ~1802, and she split her time between the men going forward.

But things don't work out well for mistresses. Sir William died, and left her money but not enough for her lifestyle...and then Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar, cementing his place in British history and leaving her out to dry. She was barred from attending his funeral, and the British government gave all sorts of honors/money to his estranged wife (whom he hadn't seen in eight years) while giving Emma nothing. She lived for a few more years, increasingly desperate, before dying in poverty in France.

So...now you know. You're welcome.

The exhibit was really cool, but I was pretty angry throughout - she was a very intelligent woman (she was fluent in French and Italian within a year of reaching Naples) who had the misfortune of being born poor in a time when women had very few rights, and she suffered all the consequences of the Nelson affair while he became the hero of his age. Ugh.

Anyway, to wrap this up, I then did a speed tour through a couple of other sections of the museum (which I've seen before), then left when they closed at five. At that point I was starving, so I went to a nearby restaurant and had a steak and a glass of wine while writing in my journal and contemplating the things I'd seen. Then I took trains and tubes back to my neighborhood, and when I got here I did some solid writing for a couple of hours (when not talking to [censored]).

And now I need to sleep so that I can repeat these feats of writing and cultural exploration tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

when you play me you play yourself

I'm still recovering from my overly-long trip to Lincoln, but today was pretty good despite that...although I didn't get up until after ten, which was perhaps excessive. But I got some good writing in, and I went grocery shopping, and I did some more writing, and I had some breakthroughs, etc., etc.

I should have kept working all night, but I made the mistake of going down for community dinner - and then I stayed at community dinner for five hours because #fomo (and #wine). It started off low-key and I ate a lot of halloumi (it was Greek night and I don't think halloumi is Greek, but I like it anyway), but then things went off the rails and I ended up watching Strong Michael mimic kicking someone's beating heart on the floor, which seems like a good way to end a night. I also tentatively said goodbye to Mari the Japanese viola player (saying goodbye is still the worst), told some guy I don't like all that much that he knew nothing because he mistook the Queen for the Queen Mother (how dare he?! commoner.),  and exchanged many knowing looks with Amanda, who is still in the first blush of youth (she was a freshman at Boston U during the Boston Marathon bombing, if that tells you anything), but who seems to find all the same things ridiculous.

So it was all delightful, but I need to sleep so I can write and go to museums tomorrow.

Also, side note, while hashtagging above, I accidentally discovered that the @ symbol can tag someone on Google+ (remember that product?). So I'm tagging +Vidya Chander to see what happens. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

all the castles in the sky

I had a really long day - it was great and I saw some cool stuff, but I'm totally wiped out. I made a day trip to Lincoln today - it was one of the most important cities in England a thousand or so years ago, but it's faded in prominence quite a bit since then. However, it's home to one of the best-preserved Gothic cathedrals, which was the tallest building in the world for at least a couple of hundred years. It also has a castle, and since I like castles and cathedrals and am also looking for ideas for my young adult book (which I'm planning to get back to asap), I decided to take a day out and explore it.

So I got up early, went to Kings Cross, and caught a train to Lincoln. This was all uneventful, and I wrote some on the train (I took my laptop with me to facilitate this, which means I had to drag it around with me all day - which was a lot of dragging, since fitbit says I took 20000+ steps and climbed 45+ flights of stairs). When I got to Lincoln, I had breakfast before climbing up an appropriately named street called Steep Hill (it is v. steep; also, people weren't always all that creative).

My first stop was the castle. There's a pretty extensive exhibit on Victorian prisons, since part of the castle was turned into a prison at some point - I could write a lot about this, since I actually know some stuff about Victorian prisons, but I'm too tired to write it up right now. The exhibit was interesting, though.

They also have one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta - the Bishop of Lincoln was one of the signatories, and he brought his copy back with him in 1215 and the cathedral held onto it ever since. It's now loaned to the castle, since the castle has a special subterranean vault specifically for the Magna Carta (plus the Charter of the Forest, which was signed in 1217; Lincoln is the only place in the world that has both). So it was pretty cool to see that, especially since I was basically the only person in the vault - I've seen one at the British Library before, and also seen a slightly later copy in DC, and in both cases the crowds were insane. Being almost alone with it was nearly goosebump-inducing.

Then I walked around the medieval wall surrounding the castle grounds. Then I went to the cathedral, which was astonishing - and it helped that it was also mostly empty, unlike similarly impressive cathedrals like Notre Dame. Then I had an amazing gluten free tea in one of the shops below the castle, which made me happy.

But the day went a little downhill from there. I was ready to leave town by four, but my train wasn't until 6:15, so I killed time at a bookstore (and bought a book). But then my train was delayed by half an hour, so I missed my connection to London, so I didn't get back to London until nine. By then I was starving, so I had a late dinner in St Pancras and wrote for an hour while I sat there just so I could get some more stuff done - which means I didn't get back to my hotel until after eleven.

So now it's time to sleep, dream of castles, and hope that I'm recovered so I can write a lot tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, March 27, 2017

you look as good as the day i met you

I have to go to sleep immediately - I'm going on a day trip tomorrow to look at some medieval shit and daydream about gargoyles when I should be finishing this stupid book. But today was good - I put in some serious work on the stupid book, which made me v. satisfied. So satisfied, in fact, that I felt giddy and had to take a break, so I met up with a visiting friend for dinner and a lot of wine in Soho.

The friend was one of the Roshni Patels from Ritu's wedding - in fact, I wasn't *entirely* sure which Roshni I was meeting, since one Roshni on Facebook has a highly stylized photo that could be anyone, and the other has a photo of a dog. However, I was pretty sure it was Iowa Roshni, and this proved to be true. She's in town for a long girls' weekend, and she and one of the other girls met me for dinner at Balans Soho Society. We had two bottles of wine and a lot of food and a lot of laughter, and it was all highly entertaining.

But now I must sleep, since I need to wake up in 6.5 hours to catch my train to an undisclosed location (the location is Lincoln, England, which is basically the same as undisclosed since no one's heard of it, but it has some medieval stuff that I'm excited to see). Goodnight!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

everything that rises

No blog tonight - I did nothing at all of note today. I didn't leave the house, and I mostly worked, looked at airbnbs, looked at/booked train tickets, and also looked at plane tickets and calendars. I also called my parents, and then I wrote some more.

So, since I was so boring today, there's nothing to say, and a lot of incentive to go to sleep so I can have a more interesting day tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

don't love me

Given that I didn't go to bed until after two last night, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that I slept until 10:30. When I woke up, I didn't really want to see people or eat anything, so I made a cup of tea in my room and started rereading my book to work on heavy edits. I was blissfully reading for about an hour, thinking maybe I should just stay in bed all day, when I accidentally spilled my tea in my bed (first time I've ever done that, after years of precarious habits).

So, that put a damper on my lazy day. I stripped the sheets quickly to dry off the mattress protector before the tea could seep through, then took a shower since I was covered in tea as well. At that point I was starting to get hungry, so I went downstairs, made some eggs and toast, and then made some coffee and worked most of the afternoon. This mostly involved reading/editing, along with some desultory chats with Philippa (the film/book agent who I really like a lot).

But around 4:30 I was beginning to think that fresh air would help, so I went outside, wandered around the neighborhood, found an organic grocery store I didn't know about, and stocked up on some stuff. Then I came back, threw it in the fridge, and ordered Thai food instead of cooking. I then spent some time talking to Penny (whom I've mentioned before) and some new guy whose name I don't remember (let's call him Mansplainer...although that's a little harsh, since he was also entertaining). We got into a rather deep conversation about feminism and romance novels, with some delightful (for me to watch) subtext involving Penny and the guy flirting with each other, so that was all fun.

But I abandoned them to their flirtations, came upstairs, and read the rest of what I wanted to get through tonight. I also answered some emails and used some eye mask product under my eyes - on this trip I've gotten repeated astonished comments about my age and how I don't look thirty-five (enough comments that I don't think it's a fluke), and I want to keep it that way. But sleep is probably the better option for revitalizing my face - goodnight!