Tuesday, March 31, 2009

champagne supernova

Today was totally ridiculously awesome. In the string of days I've had in the past week, this was the first one that was great without a significant level of badness. It can't rival the awesomeness of finding out about finaling for the Golden Heart (only six days ago, omg, it feels like a lifetime), but there was nothing to despair about either.

It probably helped that I worked out of the San Francisco office today, and so was a bit removed from the shroud of despair that fell over the office after the layoffs last week. Not that there weren't layoffs in SF too, but I didn't run into anyone whom I knew of who had been laid off, and my team wasn't there, so I didn't get any Q&A or tears or anything else super sad. I want to be there for my team, obviously, but for my own mental health, today was a good break from that.

I worked out of SF because I had that photo shoot this afternoon to get a headshot for the Golden Heart press release. The photographer was good, but also crazy; it's a good thing I've watched more than the necessary amount of "America's Next Top Model", because I knew what she wanted when she kept saying, "Smile with your eyes...work it...flirt with the camera...I know you have attitude in you...right there...don't lose it!" It was fantastic. We did it all outside, in front of a variety of walls, sometimes leaning, sometimes crouching, and once walking towards her to get some "movement." She took 230 shots, and she narrowed it down tonight to sixty, which I have to narrow down to two by the end of the weekend. Yay.

I spent some quality time with Katrina this afternoon, since she was also in SF, and I also got a bit of real work done. Then, I scurried home, dropped off my bag full of tricks (aka makeup and high heels), and met up with Chris for dinner. It was v. entertaining -- we spent a lot of time talking about zombies, which are my favorite thing, as well as the possibility of combining a walrus and a horse, which I thought was good. After dinner, we had coffee at a cafe I had been to once before -- the cafe on Fillmore that I went to several months ago, only to be driven away that time by a couple of old guys talking v. passionately about unions. And after tonight, the verdict is that I'm never going back there again. The barista spent ten minutes talking to us about "Twilight" and live-action role-play games (she recently moved here, and seemed to want to make friends). We extricated ourselves, sat down and talked for awhile -- and then a homeless dude wandered in and threw up on the floor beside us before sitting down with his two big cans of beer, before proposing to the barista as she kicked him out of the cafe. Awesome.

So, it was quite the night. Now, though, I should really go to bed -- theoretically I should go to work early to keep trying in vain to get caught up on email, but we'll see if I can summon up the energy/drive to get there before nine. Goodnight!

but inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold

I need to be in bed asap -- but I had a lovely evening! While today at work was not exactly pleasant (meetings pretty much all day from eight a.m. onward, and still dealing with the fallout from last week's layoffs), it wasn't as bad as last Thursday, so I guess we're making progress. But after work, I went over to Natasha and Chris's house, which was totally awesome. Chris was in India with me way back in the day, as was another guest (Kevin -- I think we very briefly overlapped, although he was in India for quite awhile before I got there), and Natasha and I have become better friends over the past few months through work. Terry has been friends with Natasha for awhile, so she was there, as was Kevin's girlfriend Ashley and some other dude named Jay.

We had a totally awesome time; dinner was excellent, and Chris made us watch some ridiculous ten-minute solo by the drummer from Rush. Then we played some Catchphrase, some people went home, and then Chris, Terry and I got very excited about some Nine Inch Nails performance of "The Hand That Feeds" -- much to Natasha's chagrin, since she apparently *hates* the song and we rocked out to it twice. Then, I survived the long drive home, and was totally surprised when I got here to find that Terry had sent me an iTunes gift of the song, since I didn't have it! Yay! So while it's not exactly bedtime music, it's what I'm listening to.

It's bedtime immediately, though -- I have to get my beauty sleep for my photo shoot tomorrow :) Goodnight!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

I had a decent day today and my equilibrium is a bit restored, although I'm by no means in the clear when it comes to my sense of balance. I woke up early again this morning, and again the thoughts rushed in and kept me from going back to sleep, so I took care of stuff around the apartment, then walked down to Union Square again. I love my neighborhood; at ten a.m. on a Sunday, I passed a group of middle-aged men sitting on the sidewalk passing around something that smelled like very cheap alcohol. But my destination was Samovar in Yerba Buena Gardens, which is so upscale in comparison that it's like Samovar and the men drinking on the sidewalk inhabit completely different worlds even though they're only a mile apart. I just had masala chai at Samovar with Katrina yesterday, but today promised to be another gorgeous day, and I wanted to get out and enjoy it.

After Samovar, I went to the mall again, and this time, despite going to exactly the same stores that I went to yesterday, was more successful. I think I know what I'm going to wear for my photo shoot on Tuesday, unless I change my mind at the last minute -- I got a cute dress at J Crew, which I'm excited to wear in general even if I decide not to wear it for my photos. I also bought some totally kickin' silver shoes, which made me happy. Nothing like blowing money in a recession to make me feel like I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy while giving myself some retail therapy at the same time.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry, removing tarnish from a couple of silver items, meticulously painting my fingernails, and talking to my parents. I talked to my brother first, and then he said that our parents would call me back as they were engrossed in some fine CBS programming. I fell asleep for half an hour waiting for their call -- since I've been getting up too early and have been walking an emotional tightrope during my waking moments, I'm dead by afternoon, as evidenced by the fact that I unintentionally took naps both yesterday and today. But, I talked to my parents, which was v. nice as usual. Then I did work email for an hour or so before having dinner with Oniel (aka Fauxneil) at a Thai place somewhere between my place and his girlfriend's apartment. It was great to see him, although I felt vaguely bad about talking about myself too much (we rehashed a bunch of stuff about layoffs; while I'm clearly more excited about the Golden Heart than I am about the layoffs, I'm trying not to get my hopes too far up on the romance book side, so I'm spending far too much mental energy thinking about the awfulness of the layoffs instead). So, I'll have to get together with Oniel again someday when my life has been normalish for a couple of weeks.

Even though it's not quite ten p.m., I'm going to go to bed -- I want to get sufficient sleep the next couple of nights so that I don't have dark circles under my eyes for my photo shoot. It kind of feels like senior pictures all over again -- and ironically enough, I look almost exactly like I did in my senior pictures, since I've grown my hair out and am currently about the same size as I was when I was seventeen. So I suppose I could just use one of my senior pics for this press release -- but I'm actually a little excited about doing a photo shoot, so I'm following through with it anyway. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

give a little bit of your love to me

Today, while much better than yesterday, wasn't quite as balanced as I had hoped. I woke up at six a.m. and made the mistake of thinking, which then made me wide awake. I laid in bed for an hour hoping to fall asleep again, but I failed. So, I got up and took care of the final bits and pieces of my tax stuff, researched tips for makeup/clothing for author headshots, and then took a leisurely shower and played with my hair and makeup for awhile to see whether there was anything I "needed" from Sephora.

I was all excited to go forth and conquer, but then I got rejected again by the agent who rejected me pre-Hawaii and decided to reconsider after I finaled for the Golden Heart. I'm actually okay with it; she clearly wasn't enthused the first time, and even though I would have liked to have her as an agent, it might have been hard to get over the fact that she had originally rejected me. She gave some more feedback, but while I recognize what she identified, I think a lot of it is personal preference -- so I'm essentially looking for the agent who shares my taste. When that will happen, I do not know, but even though I'm not devastated, it did dampen my enthusiasm.

I succeeded at Sephora (where "succeeded" means "spent lots of money"), but I failed in my search for a new top to wear for the photos. I may go shopping again tomorrow, or I may be content with some of the stuff in my closet. After shopping, I came home and accidentally slept for an hour and a half. Katrina called around 4:30 or 5 to ask if she could still take me out to celebrate/mourn the week's events -- I was afraid that wine might make me sad, so we went to Samovar instead. They recently opened a third location at Laguna and Page, and while it serves all the same stuff, it wasn't nearly as crowded. So, we hung out there for a couple of hours and rehashed everything that's happened this week. It was v. v. lovely, and I'm glad I got out of the house and hung out with her, despite my mildly antisocial mood this weekend.

It's time for bed. I have more to accomplish tomorrow than I can possibly get done; I basically did no work last week, because Monday Walter was in town, Tuesday I was too tired to focus, Wednesday was the best day ever, Thursday was the worst day ever, and Friday was spent picking up the pieces. I can't do everything tomorrow that I should have done last week, but I should at least put in some effort. But I also need to do laundry, bake cookies, at least think about starting again with Madeleine and Ferguson's book, and have dinner with Oniel. So, sleep is crucial for all of this -- and for restoring emotional equilibrium so that I can survive the next volley of good and bad that will surely hit. Goodnight!

Friday, March 27, 2009

all my friends say that of course it's gonna get better

Today was pretty much awful again -- not as awful as yesterday, but the shock and horror of yesterday was replaced by rage and sadness today, while at the same time I felt required to keep it together so that I could "lead through the changes" with my team. The fact that I just started crying out of nowhere while taking care of some stuff a few minutes ago is a pretty good sign that I'm emotionally maxed out -- the highs and the lows of the past three days have been and continue to be so intense that I'm having trouble coping.

By 4pm, I was tapped out, so I decided to leave. I stopped at Starbucks to get caffeine for the road...and ran into Ziv, Vickie, Erin, Will, and Brittany, who were all on the team I managed before I took my leave of absence last year. I ended up hanging out with them until seven; it was really great to spend some quality time with them, particularly since Ziv went to law school and Will works out of San Bruno, which means I rarely see them. The quality time together was really good and I think I needed to hang out with people -- but at the same time, I feel more guilt and personal responsibility for my old team than I probably should, and so I was a bit of a mess on the way home, and so I'm going to go to bed early in hopes that some sleep will help me to recover my balance.

But, as with yesterday, the intense lows were balanced by intense highs. The agent who contacted me yesterday, and whom I sent my query letter and manuscript to, said she was really eager to read it and would get back to me by Monday if I promised not to accept other representation in the meantime. She may totally hate it, but her response today was good. I made an appointment with a photographer to get a real headshot next Tuesday, so I'm looking forward to spending money at Sephora this weekend (I realized in the photos that Katie took that my eyebrows sort of disappear halfway over my eyes, and while I do have a Sharpie and could draw them in, I would probably be better served by getting an eyebrow pencil). I also heard that one of my friends who I thought got let go yesterday was actually just the subject of an unfounded rumor, so that was a bit of relief in an otherwise-bleak landscape.

We'll see how tomorrow goes -- I'm kind of hoping for some boredom, because I don't think I can take a fourth day of new and surprisingly intense emotions in a row. At least the weather here will be lovely; perhaps I'll take a walk and let the crackheads in my neighborhood entertain me. Goodnight!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

get right to the heart of matters, it's the heart that matters more

I'm operating through some pretty ridiculous emotional swings right now. I'm also operating on a venti mocha, which served as my supper, so bear with me. But if you've seen the news, you'll know that about 200 people in my company were laid off today, which made for the most unpleasant day of my career coming exactly one day after one of my wildest dreams came true. Ridiculous, eh?

I wasn't laid off, but some members of my team were affected (how's that for manager-speak?), as were some of my friends. While I won't comment on the decisions, anything like this is obviously rough, and while I managed to keep it together for the team, I was (and remain) really sad for the individuals involved.

That's really all I can say about that -- it sucked, and tomorrow will suck, and next week will suck. But in the midst of all that suckiness, bright spots emerged -- like the fact that an agent, from an excellent agency, whom I had not queried before, cold-emailed me this morning (to my dearsara@sararamsey email address, which means she did her homework) asking to see my full manuscript. Two days ago, I was despairing in my agent search (prematurely, given that I've been at it for two months and many people search for two years), and now, I have agents reaching out to me. I also spent some quality time distracting myself from my sorrow by looking for a photographer, and I believe I've found someone to do a headshot next week for the official press release. I also had a long conversation with my parents, long conversations with Joy, Alan, and Dave, and a shorter but still helpful conversation with Katrina, so I'm in a better place. And, thankfully, I had a quick lunch with Adit -- I originally intended to cancel, but as the morning wore on, I realized that I really needed a half hour with someone who didn't work there and who could take my mind off of all the awfulness, and he fit the bill perfectly. One of my sins is not relying on my friends enough, but I was glad he came over today; the family time was much needed.

So, that's all. Tomorrow will be a better day because it can't possibly be worse. And at some point I'll recover my equilibrium -- but the blog may be an even crazier place than usual for awhile. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

in which faith is restored

I had been having a bit of a crisis of the faith in terms of my likelihood of finding success as an author. I kept reminding myself of all the people who get rejected hundreds of times before becoming a bestselling author; I kept saying that I would keep going with book one and, if I didn't sell it, start pitching book two; I kept waiting patiently for my ship to come in. But, deep down, I was beginning to doubt -- I was letting the rejections get to me, and it was sapping the creative juices out of my veins.

However, finaling in the Golden Heart was just a totally awesome feeling, and it's given the the strength to keep going (and the desire to get back to writing Madeleine and Ferguson's story, much to Terry's delight). I was perfectly happy all day, only getting annoyed when something threatened to encroach upon my perfect day (like meetings that became wildly inefficient; in the interest of not letting meetings get me down, I canceled as many as I could and left early). Tomorrow could always be bad, but today was fantastic.

As mentioned, I canceled as many meetings as possible, and was admittedly not particularly engaged in the meetings that I attended. I had a long lunch with Terry on main campus (where we apparently missed seeing Ben Affleck in the cafe we ate in by approximately twenty minutes -- although I might not have noticed him anyway, excited as I was about the Golden Heart), and spent some quality time with Katrina when I gave her a ride back to the evil city. I also had nice conversations with Vidya (aka the Chandlord), Katie, and my parents. And, I drank half a glass of wine and watched some Craig, which was a nice end to a great day.

Thanks to all of you who congratulated me -- it means a lot that so many of you are supportive and don't just think I'm a nutcase for trying to be a romance novelist. And now, it's time for bed -- I have a seven a.m. meeting, and while I predict I'll have trouble focusing on it as well, I shall persevere. Goodnight!

I finaled in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest!

I got a call at 7:57am telling me that AN INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE is a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest! This is the industry-leading award for unpublished manuscripts, which is a huge boost to my confidence as I continue the agent search. Malcolm and Amelia live to fight another day!

Check out www.sararamsey.com for more info about Malcolm, Amelia, and AN INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE; I'm still building it out, but this is good incentive to put in more content :) Other finalists are being posted as they come in on Cindy Proctor's blog, Judi Fennell's blog, and the full list will be up later today at the RWA national website (currently down - they must be overloaded!).

Now back to my regularly-scheduled string of meetings...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

suppose i never ever saw you

I was totally exhausted all day today; clearly I am getting old, since it used to be no big deal to go to a late movie, and yet last night's outing wrecked me. Then again, if I went to a late movie a couple of years ago, I only lived fifteen minutes from work. And, this morning I had to get up in time to see Walter and Julia off (which took an extra 10 or 15 minutes, in addition to any time we hung out in the apartment). So, where a year or two ago I would have been able to wake up at 8:30am to get to work by 9:15am, today I woke up at 6:30am. That means I can't completely determine whether my exhaustion is age-related or commute-related...but either way, today was not pleasant. I ended up doing the unthinkable -- I took a nap from 6-6:30 in a weird, sketchy "nap pod" so that I wouldn't fall asleep on the drive home. The pod smelled a little funky, which bothered me, but it was just slightly more legit than sleeping on the couch in my office in full view of any passers-by, so I did it despite the odor. It was successful -- I didn't even come close to falling asleep on the drive, so I consider that a victory.

The only other point of "interest" (used loosely, since little here is of interest) is that I had lunch with Gyre and Lizzie today. Lizzie no longer works for our company, but she's close enough to come for lunch, and so we celebrated Gyre turning thirty (speaking of old...). I also saw both Terry and Natasha, since I wanted to give away all the remaining chocolate chip chewies from last night to prevent me from eating the entire pan (which would have been totally doable -- they were a particularly delicious batch). It would have been even better if I could have focused on conversations or fully enjoyed them; Terry was appalled at how out of it I was when she saw me at 5pm, which is a bad sign. So, I'm going to bed *right now* so that I can sleep for nine hours in hopes that it will prompt a recovery. Goodnight!

broseph goebbels

This is a four-minute post. I had a lovely day; I woke up early, and was just about to walk out the door when Adit called and asked if we could carpool. This was v. entertaining, since we had a lovely conversation, got to enjoy some speedy carpool-lane action, and had an argument over Nickelback vs. "good" music, which Adit of course won when he just disconnected my iPod and connected his own.

The rest of the day at work was good. I cleared my calendar to get as much stuff done as possible, then ended up losing that time by catching up with people who were surprised to see me in my office and so stopped by to chat. I still left early so that I could come back to the evil city in time to hang out with Walter and Julia. We spent some quality time entertaining each other, and then had visitors: Julie, Tom, and Shari came over to see Walter, and a fun time was had by all. After they left, we were at a loss for what to do next, and so engaged in our favorite pastime -- we went to see a bad movie. Julia is a saint for putting up with us. We saw "I Love You, Man", which I was slightly disappointed in. I think I don't like movies where the main guy is too too awkward throughout, and Paul Rudd was about as awkward as any guy ever is. But, there were some good laughs in the movie, and it was nice to have someone around who would agree to see something terrible with me rather than just ignoring my increasingly-desperate pleas to see a movie.

On that sad note, my four minutes are up -- goodnight!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

fluent in the language of silence

The title should inform you that the esteemed Walter Talbott is in town for a surprise guest appearance. He called me on Friday to ask if he and his lovely fiancee (technically wife on paper, but they haven't had the all-out bash yet) Julia could stay at my place tonight and tomorrow night so that he could show her around his old Stanford/San Francisco stomping grounds before going to Yosemite for a few days of camping. I was delighted, of course; I saw them in the Netherlands last year, but I'm v. appreciative of our new see-each-other-once-a-year trend rather than the two year average lapse that we had before that.

I spent the morning and afternoon crossing more things off of my to-do list. I must be in some sort of weird springtime nesting phase -- my apartment is cleaner than it has ever been. I even took all the shelves out of the fridge and washed them with soap and water, which is something I should have done when I moved in, and now the fridge is sparkly and more well-stocked after my morning trip to the grocery store. But really, there's nothing left to clean (other than continuing to purge my closet), so hopefully later this week and all next weekend I can return to the book.

I talked to my parents for awhile this afternoon, and then did work email for about an hour before Walter and Julia arrived. We spent some quality time in my apartment catching up, and then met up with Adit, Katrina, and two of their friends for dinner at a Moroccan/Tunisian place near me. The food was quite good, particularly their mint tea, but it all paled in comparison to the conversation. Adit is v. good at asking questions and demonstrating interest, which makes for interesting conversation; and the conversation is equally interesting when he diverts from the questioning into pure ridiculousness. Katrina was also in fine form despite still being in recovery mode from some awful illness, and I was particularly pleased when she almost immediately agreed with the possibility that Walter might in fact be the Loch Ness Monster. So, a fun time was had by all, and Julia survived her first night in the city! I consider that a rousing success.

I'm getting ready to go to bed; I'm going to get up early tomorrow so that I can get some stuff done at work and then leave work early to spend more time with Walter and Julia. Have a lovely week, friends!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

half believing there will sometime come a day someone gives a damn...maybe when the concrete has crumbled to the sand

I had an excellent day, but now I'm totally exhausted. I woke up late, took my time getting ready (I even blowdried my hair, shocker), and then walked down to Yerba Buena Gardens to have brunch/lunch at Samovar. It's one of my favorite utterly ridiculous places in the city, since it has a great mass-appropriation of vaguely Eastern cultural and religious artifacts, all the better to create an over-the-top environment that almost (almost!) convinces you that your quiche and your masala chai are worth the money. The food is overpriced, but you're not paying for the food -- you're paying for the great view over the gardens and for the excellent people-watching. Both met my expectations today, and the food was delicious, so I was quite happy. I spent some quality time there brainstorming my young-adult series, but was ultimately driven away by the three pregnant women who sat next to me -- there's enough of a baby explosion at work without having to hear it on the weekends.

When I left Samovar, I decided to go shopping. Market Street was closed off for some sort of protest/demonstration/march; the leader was chanting something about funding education through her bullhorn, but the signs were a hodgepodge that looked like they're just carted out by the individual demonstrators whenever they show up at a demonstration, and most of them had more to do with Iraq, Palestine, and labor unions than they did with education. My favorite sign read "Capitalism is Organized Crime". I rolled my eyes and turned away from the protest to edge my way through the police presence and go into the mall, where I promptly spent money to continue to fund organized crime (or, perhaps, the livelihoods of the many sales clerks I interacted with).

My shopping trip was a wholehearted success. I didn't buy a lot, but given that I've dropped two sizes since moving back to California, I'm in dire need of some new basics and also need to donate at least half of my closet to charity. The biggest success came at Nordstrom, where I let a woman do a proper fitting for a bra for the first time ever. If you're a woman and have never done a real fitting, run to your nearest lingerie store and do it -- I was shocked and appalled at how different her suggested size and my self-selected size were. Granted, dropping two sizes is going to change your bra size too, but I was just totally off. Scenting blood, she sold me on multiple bras, most of which were on sale, and all of which I would buy even if Nordstrom actually is an organized crime syndicate.

After shopping, I trudged back to my apartment, did some laundry, and spent the rest of the evening starting to clean out my closet. I have one whole tub of stuff to donate, and another twenty or so pieces that I want to try on tomorrow before deciding whether to keep or eliminate them. But now, despite my satisfaction at an accomplishment-filled day, I'm beyond tired -- and it's no wonder my feet hurt, since the round-trip was 2.5 miles, not including the two hours at the mall and another trip to the post office a few blocks away. So, I shall sleep the sleep of the just, and hopefully I'll get some writing done tomorrow! Goodnight!

those were the best days of my life

I stupidly stayed up until now, when I really should have gone to bed early. I'm having trouble adjusting to the timezone -- or perhaps I'm having trouble getting up in the morning because I have to go to work, which is less exciting than staying in my fabulous bed. I supposed the truth will be told when I discover how easily I get out of bed tomorrow morning, knowing that the only obligations I have are to myself.

But, I spent the evening being insanely productive with my personal responsibilities. I got home around 6:15, and spent the rest of the night doing various, mostly financial, tasks that had piled up over the past few weeks. It took several hours, but I'm all done, so I can move on with my life tomorrow! I intend to run some errands and also spend some quality time brainstorming my young adult fantasy series, before coming home and a) sending out more query letters for Malcolm and Amelia and b) working on Ferguson and Madeleine's story. I have a lot of work work to do, but I think I'll save that for Sunday -- I have an itch to write, and I should strike while the iron is hot (or itchy, to totally mix metaphors).

Despite my general lack of enthusiasm, work was okay today; the only real highlight was lunch with Mahin, in which I had to confess that I did not read her favorite romance novel while in Hawaii because it was one of the books that infuriated me due to its use of the same techniques that an agent had so brutally rejected in my work the previous week. Beyond that, I had some meetings, did some work, and left as early as my conscience allowed so that I could come home. And the rest, you already know, since this entry is more disjointed than usual.

It's well past my bedtime (unless I decided to watch Craig in realtime for once). Goodnight!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

we'll be the same tomorrow 'cause we've all been painted by numbers

This is a four minute post. Work was fine today; nothing particularly earthshattering or difficult, I'm just not caught up from going on vacation and can't seem to find the time to get caught up given how much stuff is being added to the heap.

But, March Madness started today! This is like my little picker-upper between Olympic Games -- it's the only other major sporting stuff that I get obsessed with, although I made need to pick up something else, like tennis or soccer. I foolishly entered a bracket pool -- or rather, I foolishly agreed to enter a bracket pool with some v. hardcore people, which means that even though I was 13 for 16 on the first day, I'm very close to the bottom of my group. I would have done better had I not allowed my allegiance to the University of Northern Iowa to sway me, and I will admit that, in retrospect, picking Villanova to go to the final game was likely a mistake. But, I can't help it that I tend to choose based off of how I like the sound of the name, so I guess my coworkers will get some easy money out of me.

I watched tonight's games at Terry's -- I went over after work, we grabbed some takeout cheeseburgers, and then we watched until the end of the last game. I stumbled out at that point and managed to make it back to the evil city, but now I really must go to bed -- I have to be at work at nine a.m. tomorrow, and while I will likely need to do some work this weekend, I want to get out early enough to catch some more basketball. Enjoy the tournament!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

i'll cut my hair and change my name

This isn't even a four minute post. I wanted to go to bed two hours ago, and probably should have; I had meetings straight from 8am to 5pm, with another event for almost two hours after that with some visiting managers. But instead, I sent out the one email that I absolutely had to send, then spent 45 minutes watching an episode of Craig Ferguson while painting my fingernails. His guest was the guy who plays Sheldon on 'Big Bang Theory', and the actor was as ridiculous in person as he is on the show, so that was quite funny.

I have nothing else to report; I was going to joke that I'm brain dead after an exhausting day, but that's not so funny given what happened with Natasha Richardson this week. So, I'll just express that I'm too tired to write more and leave it at that. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

tomorrow's just a future yesterday

This is a four-minute post. Today was great from a friendship standpoint. I had a lovely lunch/family time with Adit and Vidya (aka the Chandlord). I also had a v. nice dinner with Terry; we abandoned our pretense of getting together to "write" and just went out for dinner instead, which was a welcome change of pace even if I ate way too much Mexican food. And, due to the miracle that is daylight saving time, it was just getting dark when I made it back to the evil city around 8pm, where I promptly barricaded myself in my apartment to avoid the drunkards on the streets. My prediction is that my commute tomorrow morning will be hassle-free, since most people will be too hungover to go to work early, and I have to be there at 8am for a meeting.

In other news, my cold is getting better, but my sinus headache is still awful; again, I refuse to contemplate whether the headache is actually work-related instead. Whatever is causing the headache, it needs to stop -- I made it through another fifty emails tonight, but many of those had come in today, so I still have 112 unread and another thirty that I've read and am too lazy/busy to respond to immediately. Perhaps I'll make some progress tomorrow, but I have meetings straight from 8am to 5pm and may have plans for drinks with coworkers shortly thereafter, so the chances that I will get anything done are slim. Sigh. I still have my post-vacation glow, but if I don't get to do some writing soon, it will disappear. Four minutes are up -- goodnight!

Monday, March 16, 2009

i've created my own prison

I thought that I was getting better, but with the onset of evening and the subsidence of my Tylenol Cold medication, my sinuses are starting to clog up again. Or, I'm massively allergic to something in my apartment -- but I'm banking on this being a cold, because if this is an allergy, I'm totally screwed.

Today was an overall decent day at work, even if I have 150+ unread emails still in my inbox. I had meetings most of the day, then had a nice, long conversation with Joy (we are, quite amusingly, basically the same person), so I didn't leave the office until after seven. But, I'm so so happy that daylight saving time is here -- when I left the office, it was still light! Miracle! With the advent of longer afternoons, things can only get better -- and I'm recommitting to my writing, effective as soon as I get caught up with my work emails. That means that I'm getting back to Madeleine and Ferguson asap, hopefully sometime this week, but absolutely no later than the weekend.

Okay, my head hurts and I don't want to focus on the laptop anymore. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

i've got this feeling that won't subside

I'm still sick, and I openly admit that I was quite whiny about it while on the phone with my parents. My head hurts, my nose is geysering (sorry if that's an unpleasant mental image), and my lungs feel like they're going to develop one of my favorite deep-seated coughs. Worst of all, I have no groceries, and no one to send out in search of soup. Luckily, I remembered that I live less than a block from a decent Chinese takeout place, and so I bought milk (for tea) at the Walgreens across the street, picked up some hot and sour soup and some noodles from the Chinese place, and am prepared to hunker down over the next few evenings.

I didn't do myself any favors today, of course. My apartment was dirty and so I did a commendable job cleaning it -- I fully unpacked from my trip, did three loads of laundry, dusted, Windexed my glass-top desk, vacuumed, and changed the sheets. The problem with all that industry is that I'm v. allergic to dust, so while I'm better for my cleaning in the long run, it may not have been the best thing to stir up today.

Judging by two paragraphs about my health, I must be in an octogenarian mood tonight. That wasn't the case the whole day; actually, I had quite a nice day, despite the cold. The cleaning was just enough to make me feel like I did something useful -- but I also indulged myself by watching three episodes of "30 Rock" and two episodes of Craig Ferguson (including the episode that my brother mentioned was very funny -- and an even better episode from the night before that, when he made an unexpected joke about how his Puffs kleenex box, when put into close-up, made it look like he was doing a PBS documentary on Roman artwork). I had a lovely conversation with my parents, in which they were only mildly distracted by the NCAA tournament selection show (on my mother's side) and chickens (on my father's side). And, I read the first three chapters of a creative writing textbook -- it was written by the woman who taught my creative writing class at Stanford this quarter, and her textbook is just as excellent as her teaching.

I suppose I should go to bed. Despite my Puritanical workaholic tendencies, I'm normally the first person to advocate for the proper use of sick days -- I hate people who come in and get everyone else sick while being only mildly productive themselves. But, unless I feel worse tomorrow than I do right now, I'm going in, if only for a bit; I have a couple of meetings that I don't particularly want to skip, and calling in sick as soon as you get back from vacation just feels ridiculous. We'll see how I hold up, but right now, it's bedtime!

you know that i was hoping that i could leave this star-crossed world behind

I'm home. And, I'm so happy to be back that I actually found myself dancing through my apartment as I listened to music while unearthing my pajamas and miraculously finding a gorgeous Martinelli's apple juice in the fridge. This despite the fact that I am well and truly sick; I spent the flight back from Hawaii inhaling my nasal drip since I didn't have kleenexes, which luckily didn't bother my seat companion because he was too busy snoring the entire time (except for the first part of the flight, when he was not-quite-surreptitiously-enough spitting chew into a water bottle, making me want to throw up).

I can't believe my immune system made it through the entire winter, only to flame out on vacation. I don't want to be sick next week -- I want to get caught up before things get too out of hand, and coming back with a cold wasn't part of the plan. This is particularly the case since my colds inevitably move to my lungs and set up shop there for a couple of months, and I'm in no mood to deal with that. Bleh.

Really, on the surface, it appears that I had a bad vacation, given that I got sick, didn't write a thing, and will likely end up spending several hundred dollars fixing the rental car (the damage was immediately noticeable to them, even if I would have never seen it without the tag I got from the valet). But, on the contrary, I feel that it was exactly what I needed.

For one: Katie and I had a fabulous time. Verily she is a member of the race of Joseph (a term you would only know if you've also read all of the "Anne of Green Gables" books obsessively; it sort of means soulmates). I really hope that we do something like this every year, since she's one of my favorite people ever, even if she is so damn tall that we look silly together.

For another: in my feverish state, I had an important realization (I would call it an epiphany, but I supposedly had an epiphany yesterday, and how many epiphanies can you have in a row?) tonight. Or rather, two important realizations: a) I didn't think of business school once while I was on vacation, other than telling Katie I should probably go -- that seems to be an indication that writing is my real passion; and b) I believe that my writing dreams will come true because I can't see how they could fail. That's a dangerous hint of delusional mania, but hear me out -- I feel like I have some innate talent for this word-shaping business, but what was lacking before was the personal drive and the self-confidence to turn my latent talent into something useful. Somehow, somewhere along the line in the last year, I found that drive, and with it came the confidence that I could keep going with this.

So, to hell with the agent rejections -- I'm going to keep going, with both submitting the first book and writing the second. And, on the flight back to California, I did some more playing around with an idea for a young-adult fantasy series -- I've decided that I'm not going to be content just stealing Julia Quinn's career, but I want to take on J.K. Rowling as well.

This will all likely fall to dust tomorrow morning when the Tylenol Cold is out of my system and I'm left whimpering in bed with a sinus headache and a feeling of despair -- but I'm writing it down so that I can find the feeling again. Tomorrow I need to run errands and take care of things around the apartment so that I can get back into my real life, and then after that it's back to writing with a vengeance. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

you're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no

I spent significant time in the sun today -- but I don't think it was enough to kill off the virus that I've been harboring for the past few days, and I fear that I will succumb while traveling tomorrow. I had been feeling better, but tonight, my cold/flu/SARS/insert-other-melodramatic-disease-here returned, and I've started sneezing and coughing. Maybe I'm allergic to something, and I suppose that the thought of returning to work is what I'm allergic to...but I doubt that.

I had an epiphany during my fifth hour in the sun this afternoon; whether it was fueled by sunshine, dehydration, or the obnoxiously loud conversation of some awful teenagers near me (I vacated in suppressed outrage shortly after hearing one of them say that he'd gotten his expensive Maui Jim sunglasses from a dude who stole them from the pool kiosk and traded them to him for weed -- which made him feel comfortable saying that he had paid for them, which I found ridiculous), I do not know. But the epiphany was this: as much as I like to joke with Katie about going "off the grid", and as appealing as the idea of moving to Hawaii was during my first few days here, I'm not so sure it would be good for my writing. My hypothesis is that the majority of the people here are a) part of an ancient culture I do not understand, b) social drop-outs who are here to escape 'real' life, or c) vacationers stealing a fantasy out of their normal lives. That's not to say that everyone in Hawaii fits one of those three groups -- but those three groups predominate.

But I don't need the experience of other people's fantasies -- I daydream enough to fuel my writing for a lifetime without needing to observe the daydreams of others. What I need is life experience, the kind of messy, invasive mucking about that comes from things like relationships, chance encounters, the stories one hears from one's friends and coworkers, etc. And it's much easier to do that, at least for me given my initial shyness with strangers, in an area where the players are known and are all grounded in their own real lives.

So I guess I won't be going off the grid anytime soon. Or rather, if I do, it will be somewhere in the continental US -- which is also good, given my apocalyptic fantasies, since I don't want to be anywhere that is critically reliant on regular food deliveries from giant container ships. Maui is a fabulous place to visit, and I certainly hope to come back, but no one's going to lure me into buying a time-share here, despite the gorgeous beaches and perfect scenery.

That's pretty much it; I spent the morning mailing my books back to my apartment (since it was cheaper to mail them than to risk paying for an overweight bag), then checked into tomorrow's flight and was on the beach by 11am. I stayed there until almost five, succeeded in only slightly broiling myself, came back to my room to change, and watched the sunset by the pool while writing in my journal. I spent tonight packing, spreading aloe on my poor burned feet (I swear I slathered on the sunscreen several times today, but my feet apparently defeat all attempts to protect them), and generally getting ready to leave. By this time tomorrow, I'll be back in San Francisco! Goodnight!

Friday, March 13, 2009

my guess is yes you can, like can i kick it? wicked

Today was even lazier than previous days, if that is even possible. In what was likely a saving grace for my skin, the skies were overcast all day, with brief spurts of rain, and so I didn't get to spend any time working on my melanomas. Luckily, I had anticipated this downturn, and so I had a reservation to get a manicure and a pedicure at a spa on the south side of the island. It was quite blissful, and now my feet are soft and my toenails are a lovely shade of purple, while my hands have been temporarily rescued from the ravages of my laptop.

After I got back to the hotel, I talked to my dad, had a late afternoon sandwich at the poolside bar, and then inadvertently took a nap for two hours. Then, I read a book; while I intended to write today, I didn't quite summon the energy. I realized around 9:30 that I was getting hungry, and so I went out for a quick dinner at the sushi place that Katie and I found earlier in the week. They have karaoke and stay open really late on Thursdays and Fridays, so I was able to get great sushi in the middle of a raucous crowd -- and at half price, too, which was great.

The only fly in my ointment (other than the fact that tomorrow's my last day here) is that there is apparently some damage to my rental car, and I'm stewing over whether I caused it or whether it was there and I just didn't see it when I did the walkaround. I never would have seen it, but I had to use valet parking at the spa, and when I got the tag back, I noticed that they had circled that there was a dent on the front fender. Sure enough, when I looked tonight, there was a dent -- but it's so low to the ground that when I walked around the car at the rental lot, with the bumper flush to the parking barrier, I wouldn't have seen it. So now my dilemma is a) mention it outright to the attendant when I return it so that I can hash out any argument (and likely pay for it even if I didn't do it) in person, or b) ignore it and hope that they don't notice it either. I'm 98% sure I didn't do it, although I did make one u-turn in which I scraped the bumper across the ground, but this looks like I would have had to have hit a large-sized rock in order to indent the bumper rather than uniformly scrape it, and I'm pretty sure that didn't happen. Ugh. Any smart ideas for handling rental car issues?

I shall try not to let that bother me on my last day, however -- and here's hoping that there will be some lovely sunshine tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

cruel sun

Lahaina, once the royal capital of the Hawaiian Islands after King Kamehameha conquered all of them and brought them together, means "cruel sun", but it did not quite live up to its name today. I drove to Lahaina this morning, intent on exploring, and had breakfast at a restaurant overlooking the harbor, which was v. nice. Then I wandered around downtown Lahaina, which is mostly full of tacky souvenir shops, although I did find a cute pair of shorts and a totally kickin' skirt. I also took a quick peek at one of the old missionary homes in Lahaina; the missionary did pretty well for himself, since he was also a doctor, and the dude's descendants now control significant land in Hawaii, including the US's largest pineapple production company, as well as some major resort holdings in Maui. Nothing like converting the natives and making a land grab at the same time, eh?

After deciding that I was done with Lahaina, I came back to the hotel, v. carefully applied sunscreen to every bit that could be exposed to the sun (sometimes more than once), and then spent four hours on the beach. I took a brief break for another delicious kalua pork sandwich, but the majority of the afternoon was focused on a) stimulating a case of skin cancer sometime in the next fifty years, and b) reading a romance novel. I'm having a lot of trouble reading romance novels right now, and I must say that the drubbing that the agent who rejected me last week gave me is annoying me as I try to get into new books. She mainly critiqued my point-of-view switches and the fact that it was highly implausible that Amelia would wander around in her nightgown; and yet both the books that I've read so far on this trip feature similar POV switches and highly implausible behavior from both the hero and the heroine. So maybe I need a break from the romance genre altogether -- although if I don't get Madeleine and Ferguson together, ain't nobody going to get them together, so I need to get back on the writing train posthaste.

I leave you with a picture of me and Katie prior to the luau on Monday night. Tomorrow I'm getting a manicure and a pedicure, which is pretty much the extent of my exertions, before lying on the beach again the rest of the day. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

mahalo for the memories

Katie is gone, sadly, and now I'm sitting in my room trying to figure out what I will do for the next three days. I think it's quite likely that I'll just lie on the beach, although I will need to be careful -- while I'm not burned all over, there are patches where I clearly missed a sunscreen application that are a bit tender.

Katie and I woke up fairly early today and decided to go for a drive in the upcountry around Haleakala. We did not do the famed voyage to Haleakala Crater for sunrise, because that would have necessitated leaving at three a.m., but we drove around in the area around Haleakala. It was quite beautiful; Haleakala is a former volcano, once the tallest (from ocean floor to tip) mountain in the world, and it's still absolutely massive. We did not drive very far up, but we did get some magnificent views of the rest of the island with the ocean falling away in the distance. We also stopped at one of the few wineries in Hawaii and did a tasting; I quite ridiculously bought a bottle of sparkling wine made out of pineapple, so some lucky friend is going to be forced to drink that with me in the near future.

After Haleakala, we came back to Ka'anapali, changed into our swimsuits, and spent a few hours on the beach. We took a break when we were feeling a bit scorched to have a late lunch by the pool, then spent a final hour in the sun before getting cleaned up and packed up so that I could take Katie to the airport. We stopped for dinner at some pizza place that was delicious despite the ridiculously spacey waitress, and then I said adieu to Katie before coming back to the hotel.

Katie and I had a fabulous time together, all in all, and we spent a significant amount of time talking and catching up on each other's lives and rehashing our past experiences. Now, I have the next three days to myself, and I intend to do very little; I think I could use three days of virtual nothingness to center myself and return to California ready for the various tasks ahead.

That's all for now; perhaps you'll get some pictures someday, but I'm too lazy tonight. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

uh sorry

Note - next post ends abruptly because of my iPhone, and also I'm sick of typing. Goodnight!

ain't no thang

The fun continues in Maui! Katie and I are having a marvelous time. We spent the day on the beach, and while I successfully slathered myself in sunscreen, I missed the tops of my feet and now they're annoyingly burned. Not as bad as some other burns I saw today, though...both on fellow beachgoers and, more disturbingly, major burn scars on the backs of a fire-dancer's calves at the luau we went to tonight. I thought they turned the lights down for him to show off his cool fire moves, but it may have also been to protect the audience from the knowledge that he had clearly suffered majorly for his art at some point in the past.

The luau was fun...they had some awesome kalua pork that strangely reminded us of home, and while the mc was totally ridiculous, the dancers were fantastic. It would have been more awesome if the clouds had dissipated and revealed the stars, but you can't have everything you want.

My favorite memories of the day, in no particular order, are:

1) I bought a pair of sunglasses (I know, I have a problem). The saleswoman had told me that they were the only pair left and she intended to buy them if I didn't, which I thought was just good marketing. But then when I decided to buy them, she teared up and looked like she was going to cry! Weird!

2) We walked down to the luau, and I was telling Katie a story as we got off the elevator. When I turned around, she had disappeared...and I realized she had failed to get off the elevator with me! The staff an I all thought this was hilarious as we waited for her to come back.

3) At the luau, some poor dude got dragged up to dance, and I have never seen anyone lea able to move their hips. He was wearing a v. Southern Iowa outfit -- blue jeans and a denim shirt -- and Katie's insult was that he looked like he was from Leon, which is 30mins west of us. That's what I love about southern Iowa...everyone thinks every other town is trashy except doe theirs.

Monday, March 09, 2009

there is something wrong with that car

Katie and I are having a marvelous time in Maui! This is despite the rain...the weather is hardly the sunny wonder of my dreams. But the rain makes everything feel very lush and tropical, which I take as a good thing. Today we did the Road to Hana, which means we spent most of the day in the car navigating windy mountain roads that put the treacherous stretchs near the ocean in Northern California to shame. It was totally worth it -- we saw multiple waterfalls, verdant vegetation, and lots of fabulous ocean views. We frolicked on a black sand beach, ate lots of banana bread, and shopped in some fabulous boutiques in Paia. So all in all, it was an excellent day, despite the fact that we both got realty carsick on the drive home.

I'm exhausted and blogging from my phone, so no pics tonight. Katie has taken a ton of me, including a particularly ridiculous one in which she encouraged me to free my flowing hair, which was a clear mistake since the wind immediately made me look like Animal from the Muppets. So perhaps you'll get pics soon, but for now, goodnight!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

come on ride that train

I almost forgot to blog tonight, which would have been totally criminal! I'm in Maui, with Katie (aka the queen of my heart), and we are having a fabulous time. It's cloudy and raining, but the island is gorgeous regardless. We got upgraded to a full ocean-view room, we have a kickin' silver convertible, and we had the most fantastic dinner (with pre-dinner cocktails while we waited) at some sushi place recommended by a guy that chatted Katie up on the plane. Seriously, it may have been some of the best sushi I've ever had -- and we spent some quality time catching up and teasing each other as per usual.

I'm going to go to bed right now; we're getting up early tomorrow to do the road to Hana, and I've also been up for nineteen hours, so it's definitely time to sleep. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

this time i'm mistaken for handing you a heart worth breaking

It's definitely time for bed -- I've done far more stuff today than I wanted to have to do, and I need to go to sleep so that I don't oversleep and miss my flight!

Today was generally pretty up and down. I made the mistake of checking my personal email while walking between two meetings and discovered that I had been very speedily rejected by the agent I was so excited about earlier this week. The only good news is that clearly my letter had excited her enough to check out the manuscript as soon as it arrived. I guess the other good news is that she provided "constructive" feedback, which I appreciate now, but when I read it between meetings, it felt like a knife to the heart. I'm not surprised, exactly; the first part of my book is weaker than the last two-thirds because I rewrote pieces but probably should have rewritten the whole thing, and I don't think she made it past the library scene at the end of chapter three, which she seemed to take major issue with because a) I switched point of view too many times, leading her to think that's endemic in my book even though I don't really do it anywhere else, and b) she thought it was unrealistic and historically inaccurate that they would have gotten together like that.

So I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to think about it for awhile; I don't want to set aside Ferguson and Madeleine to fix Book 1, because the whole problem of Book 1 was that I set aside the beginning for too long and then had trouble continuing it. I'm going to stick to my plan and write at least the first draft of book 2, and see what the other agents currently holding material have to say -- but I might take a breather from the agent submissions and reevaluate the first 70 pages of book 1 before submitting it broadly again, in case the problems she highlighted are serious dealbreakers.

That was all pretty blah. I was in the office from 8am to 2:30pm, and I left early so that I could come home, do laundry, pack, and wrap up some work stuff. My work day was really full (I somehow got scheduled for consecutive meetings with my boss, my boss's boss, and my boss's boss's boss in the same 2.5hr period, which should be illegal), and then I had a lot of stuff to wrap up and a strong need to figure out what to pack and what to leave behind, so I'm not totally relaxed. I still have one work thing I'll have to do on vacation (a couple of letters of recommendation for someone who's applying to business school -- good luck, dude, since this is the third round and third round is usually tough anyway, even without this being the most difficult admissions year in over a decade). But, hopefully I can do some of it in the airport tomorrow morning once I'm through security, so that by the time I get on the plane I can stop thinking about work.

One final thought -- my dad helped me to see, although I've seen it before and promptly blocked it, that I'm effectively working for the company that's destroying all the companies that could make my publishing dreams come true. Corporate whoredom is a well-known concept, but how many people can say they're actively engaged in killing their own dream? At least for the next week, though, I'll be more focused on sun than self-sabotage, which is a v. good thing. Goodnight!

Friday, March 06, 2009

hey there baby, i could use just a little help

Actually, I don't like accepting help, as anyone who's ever known me likely recognizes. It's amazing I've gotten as far as I have without having a heart attack. I saw my tax lady tonight, and when she saw me, she commented not once, but twice, about how good I looked (including the word 'pretty', which was strange), because the last time she saw me was during the mad scramble when I was leaving my job last year and packing up to move cross-country, and that was at the tail-end of the most stressful work year of my life. So I mean, it's a good thing I look better, but I am still worried because I feel myself slipping back into that awful abyss, and I need to be careful that I don't end up looking like a zombie again. A zombie covered in glitter, of course, but a zombie nonetheless.

Nothing particularly exciting happened, though, and I worked from 8pm-11pm after I got home from seeing the tax lady, so I'm more than ready for bed. But it looks like I'll get through all the major action items before vacation, so I don't think I'll need to check in at all while I'm gone. YAY. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

sunrise, sunset

I'm a complete disaster. I made it to my 7am meeting this morning, and I also got to take a shower first; the downside was that I went in sweatpants because I didn't have time to doll myself up. So I sat through the meeting, then went into the bathroom and changed into a skirt and sweater, blowdried my hair, and applied better-than-usual makeup because one of my tasks for the morning was to escort the head of India operations and I didn't want to look like a college student who had just pulled an all-nighter.

Everything went pretty successfully, although I had meetings or escort duties pretty much straight through from 7am to 5:30pm, and I don't like it when my only "break" is from 8:30-9:30am. But, I saw a totally gorgeous sunrise over the bay as I drove down to work, and I saw a nice sunset as I drove back to the evil city twelve hours later. Then I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, spent an hour pulling together all of my 2008 tax information for an appointment I have with my tax lady tomorrow night, and then worked until now. Sometimes I hate being an adult.

One bad thing happened: I got a form rejection from one of the agents I queried three weeks ago. This isn't that big of a deal; I have now discovered that it hurts a lot more when they've actually seen your book than when they have only read (or skimmed, or shredded) your query letter. And she was a query-only person, so I'm moving on with my life.

But one good thing happened: I watched some Craig Ferguson, and he had an awesome segment in which he pretended to be some sort of redneck American singer selling an album on an 'infomercial'. He had a ridiculous fake mustache, a bad hat, a flannel plaid shirt with the sleeves cut off to show his tattoos, and sang such songs as the "great American eggs" commercial theme song, and "The Humming Song", which ended with him just saying "'merica", which reminded me a lot of Adit. So, that was fabulous, and now I'm ready for bed. Three nights from now, I will be in Hawaii!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

we all just wanna be big rock stars

This is a four-minute post. I am failing at balance! I worked almost all evening (although part of it was at Borrone w/Terry, so of course we talked too), and I'm finally going to bed -- but I have to be in the office at seven, and I have to look halfway presentable since I have hostess duties with the head of India operations all of tomorrow morning. That's hostess in the "make sure he gets to where he needs to be" sense, not in the "provide fresh mints and warm towels" sense -- which in itself is a reference to flight attendants, and not to anything dirtier or more nefarious. It's clear I need to go to bed if I'm making a statement like that.

So yeah, nothing else to report; it continues to rain with reckless abandon here, which is putting a damper (heh) on my style. But I enjoy the sound when I'm lying in bed, so I think I'll go there now. Goodnight!

Monday, March 02, 2009

the disco hotspots hold no charm for you

I am knee-deep in the danger zone. While I was feeling substantially less stressed yesterday, my little beast of a mini-project culminates Wednesday morning, so I need to wrap it up. I had a 9am meeting this morning about it that I couldn't be late for -- and when I looked at the traffic info on the way out the door this morning, I realized that there was a high chance I would be late, so I drove to the SF office instead. It was good that I made that decision -- turns out this morning was one of the worst commutes in awhile, and it took people who left around 8am almost two hours to get to Mountain View. Ugh. So I worked in SF until my parking meter ran out (which was pretty quick, since the meters in that neighborhood are an exorbitant $3/hr, and I didn't have that much change on hand).

But I just had an awesome moment -- I'm watching Craig Ferguson from a few nights ago, when he had Rosie O'Donnell on, and he ended up discussing tortoise sex and the sounds that tortoises make. However, he didn't highlight the grunting that I remember so vividly from my childhood experience with tortoise mating -- instead, he mentioned the slow, very slow, clapping of their shells against each other. I feel so connected with him!

Yeah, so I worked all day, then left a little early to mail the manuscript to the agent. I enjoyed a pearl milk tea on the way back to the evil city, and then worked until now. But Hawaii is only a few days away! So even though this week does not look particularly promising, I think I'll survive. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

are you waking up holding, holding your breath

I have restored balance to my universe. This magical restoration (and the ceasefire that my spasming thumb muscle declared as a result) came from a mixture of personal effort and fortuitous happenstance. My own actions played the largest role -- I slept in, then spent the afternoon getting caught up on work stuff while hanging out with Adit, thus prepping for the week and recharging my social batteries at the same time.

The fortuitous happenstance was an email from an agent -- she requested the full manuscript!! I'm v. excited...this particular agent is the one I think I'm most eager to work with, and since her query process involved sending her the first ten pages and a synopsis, she must have really liked what she read if she decided to ask for the whole thing rather than the standard partial. So, I'm printing the whole thing now, and intend to skip out of work at 5pm tomorrow so that I can make it to the post office in time to send it off. Then it's back to the waiting game -- but since this is the first time someone has requested the whole thing, I'm pretty psyched.

As alluded to earlier, the rest of the day was nice too. It rained most of the morning, but it was only drizzling when I walked over to Leland Tea Company to meet up with Adit and Anton. When I got there, I was essentially the only customer, although business picked up substantially in the five hours that I was there. They were clearly training a new server, who also clearly has no interest in or aptitude for customer service, given that he forgot our tea (it's a tea place, man), then brought the tea but forgot the cups, and when I asked for cups, he brought cream instead. Good luck, kid.

Adit was entertaining as usual, offering to prepay $100 on the spot if I promised to name my first kid T-Rex. I politely declined, although I did consider it longer than normal people would. And, despite the distractions posed as Adit would mutter things like "Wamp...Wamp...Wamp" or "Swampnugget" under his breath, I got a lot done for work. This week may almost be manageable as a result, which is good; I would like to stay caught up so that I don't have a mad scramble on Friday before I leave for Hawaii.

I spent the rest of the night talking to my parents, washing some sheets, prepping the manuscript submission for the agent, and eating the leftover chicken schwarma sandwich from last night. I realized why I liked it -- it's a wrap, not a real sandwich, which makes it like a burrito, but it's a burrito with different spices and potatoes instead of rice. There's a reason why Taco John's, a popular Midwest knockoff of Taco Bell, serves things like the "meat and potato burrito" -- we like potatoes. In fact, I just looked at Taco John's menu, and they don't have a single rice-based dish on the menu. So it's little wonder that I appreciated the potato in my chicken schwarma, since it strangely made me feel at home despite the fact that it's definitely not a Midwestern delicacy.

Okay, I should probably get ready for bed; if I don't get some sleep tonight, I will set myself up for failure this week despite my best intentions. Goodnight!

we're strange allies with warring hearts

For starters, happy birthday Claude!

Today was excellent, and while I still feel exhausted, it was exactly what I needed to detox from the work week. I made it down to Stanford in time for the last session of my class, and it was fantastic as usual. I was happier with my latest story in the light of day (rare, usually it's the opposite), and it got some good comments in the class discussion. Even though I'm glad the class is over because it's been difficult to balance it with my job and my romance novel, I think it's probably the single best thing that I've done for my writing, and so in that respect I'm sad that it's finished. The prof may try to continue the class in the fall, so we'll see what my schedule looks like then -- but when I got home today, I ordered her textbook on creative writing (she's written a textbook that's quickly becoming standard for college creative writing classes, which is another indication of how well she knows her stuff). So if nothing else, I can continue to play with craft and voice even without the class.

After class, I met Chris and Natasha for brunch (which is what I always call dim sum, even though we met at 12:45pm) at my favorite place in the world -- the Hong Kong Flower Lounge in downtown Millbrae. They had never been, and I was delighted to introduce them to the splendid wonders on the Cart of Happiness and point out the horrors on the Cart of Sadness. We ordered too much too quickly and so did not have room for my favorite thing (deep fried shrimp in bean curd) or egg custard deserts -- but we had bbq pork pastries, bbq pork buns, siu mai, har gar (aka shrimp families), a shrimp/scallop dumpling, shrimp noodle, shrimp/pork bean curd, and egg roll. Mmmmmm.

I had not been to the Hong Kong Flower Lounge in months -- possibly not since Tammy came to visit in August -- but as soon as I walked in it felt like home. Odd, I know, since the majority-Cantonese clientele surely had no inkling that I used to frequent the place as much as they do. But Tammy may be happy to know that the saddest, most depressed looking waiter (not the semi-impaired har gar kid, but the other depressed dude) got promoted to the Cart of Happiness; I know that it warmed my heart. I also had a lovely conversation with Chris and Natasha, getting all caught up on their recent trip to India and their current status, so hopefully we'll do this again in the future.

After that, I came home, did some light cleaning, played around on the Internet, took a nap, and then was told by Adit that I was having dinner with him, Katrina, Peder (aka Timmy), and Anthony (aka Anton). I complied, picking him and Anton up on the way to Old Jerusalem. It's a Mediterranean place in the Mission, small and cozy with fake wood paneling and huge murals that are apparently of old Jerusalem. I never ever think to go out for Mediterranean food of any kind, but this was truly winning. I had a chicken schwarma sandwich that was both delicious and huge, so I have half of it left over for tomorrow. It seems particularly fitting that I had to ask to take it home, since we spent part of the meal discussing me and Claudia's obsession with Marie Callendar's, which caters to 65+-year-old diners and likely sees a ton of requests for doggie bags, etc.

Anyway, dinner was lovely, and the family time was entertaining as usual. I parted ways from them because I am lame and don't have the stamina to go out, but I will likely meet up with Adit in a cafe tomorrow. This is a good thing; I may not be able to work on zee romance novel since I have a lot of work work to do, but I tend to be productive around him (counterintuitive, I know), so perhaps a few hours in a cafe with him could make a significant dent in my overflowing email inbox. Then it's back to the grind on Monday -- but a week from now, I'll be in Hawaii!