Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down

I find myself strangely loath to blog tonight. I'm so incredibly frustrated with myself and with my writing that I can't even muster up the desire to write some meaningless drivel here; all I want to do is curl up in a ball or pound the floor with my fists, but I'm too well behaved to express messy emotions like that, so instead I will just sit here quietly. I'm staring at the ceiling above my desk and contemplating why the beam there has holes drilled in it every eight inches -- what did somebody hang from the beam? And why am I wasting time considering that when my book is sitting, withering from neglect, and I spend hours procrastinating on the fucking internet because I'm too scared and frustrated by the prospect of writing the next chapter? It would be so much easier if I threw in the towel, killed Madeleine and Ferguson in one last beautiful orgy of blood and death (like a gruesome carriage accident, or a murder/suicide, or a hideous chandelier crash in a crowded ballroom), and got an MBA like I was supposed to.

Except I wasn't supposed to get an MBA -- I was supposed to get a PhD, and now I'm too old, unless I want to finish a humanities PhD when I'm in my late thirties and then spend my forties and fifties scraping by through several part-time assistant lecturer positions until I retire after Social Security runs out of money and have to live off of the store-brand canned tuna that I share with my horde of cats. So I could throw in the towel on the writing and just keep climbing the corporate ladder until I hit a dead end (sooner rather than later, since the surlier I get, the less easy it is for me to wield my charm to get what I want -- and regardless of what my brother may think, I can be charming with just about everyone in the world but him, poor thing). At least then I would have money to feed my horde of cats some high-end designer cat food while I eat take-out sushi instead of canned tuna (like I did tonight).

Instead, I'm sitting at my desk, banging my head against it and wondering why I'm wasting so much time not doing anything that I want to do. I *know* I'm wasting time, think that I know what I want to do, and yet I don't force myself to do it. Not only do I not force myself, I seem to actively sabotage myself and make it worse; I could have at least procrastinated by going to bed two hours ago, but instead I stayed up and made a Netflix queue (even though I don't watch movies), and now I'll only get six hours of sleep before I'm inevitably late again to the big boss's staff meeting.

I can't bang my head against my desk too hard, because the desk is made of glass, and while it's a sturdy, tempered glass, I don't want to tempt fate. The worst thing that could happen would be to accidentally impale myself with glass shards after this post, since everyone would immediately assume that I had done it intentionally, when really it would just be an accident borne of my own rage/stupidity. Instead, I'm going to suck on one of the cream-soda-flavored dum-dum suckers that I have sitting on my desk; it's been there just a bit too long, and so has that slightly softened top layer that probably contains more wrapper slivers than I want to consider. The rest of my desk is like a little explosion of what's been going on in my life over the last month -- my passport, a shower cap, a light-up jelly ring, a whole bunch of euro coins, hand sanitizer, a bell that I bought myself in Japan, pillow mist, the place card from Adit and Priyanka's wedding, some inhalable menthol I procured in Ireland to clear my congestion, more dum-dums, a travel converter, and a pair of scissors. None of that is particularly conducive to writing, but it's better to look at this view than to consider the gigantic pile of clothes in the middle of my bedroom floor (I never leave clothes on the floor, but apparently I'm turning over a new, rotten leaf) or the twenty boxes chilling in my kitchen.

Strangely, after pouring out some of my grim fantasies, I'm feeling better, even if you now feel worse. Perhaps I have transferred all my negative energies into the ether, and I will awaken refreshed, with a gleam in my green eyes and a story springing, fully-formed and Athena-like, from my head. Or perhaps I will awaken angrier than ever, plow through the day with the help of some Black Sabbath, and storm back to my house to once again stare at my manuscript and then shy away from it to seek solace in the interweb.

Doubt is really so insidious, isn't it? And it's so difficult to kill. There is no way to prove your doubts wrong without achieving the things you doubt you can achieve -- and if you don't think you can achieve them, why waste your time? The seed of doubt was planted when I came so close to selling and didn''s like I had scaled El Capitan, and just as my fingers grasped the very top, I slipped and fell into the abyss. Poor metaphor, since the only time I have climbed or will ever climb El Capitan was in a Duck Tales computer game that we had on our 386 PC in Ukraine -- but even then, it was devastating to fall at the last second. And while my safety net caught me, and I still have family and friends who believe in me, and an agent who is sticking with me, and a half-completed second manuscript that, on better days, I recognize as pretty good, the thought of climbing all that way again, just to be blown off the side again by fate and capricious editors, is pulling me deeper into the mire of my own doubt.

Or maybe I just need to tell myself to grow up, and I'm learning this lesson harder because I'm learning it at 28, instead of learning it at 12, or 15, or 22. The problem is (and it's not a problem, exactly) that I just am not used to failing at things. Yes, I fail at all feats of physical strength, and my lungs rebel at the merest hint of dust or pollen -- but tasks that require thought and mastery tend to go well for me. And now I'm failing at something that I really, desperately want, that I thought I had the talent for, and it's driving me absolutely up the wall.

And by being driven up the wall, I am being far more open here than I should be -- and without even the benefit of any alcohol to loosen my typing fingers. I just need to reclaim my dreams, recalibrate my expectations (to use a phrase I would use much more often if I had just gotten the damned MBA like a good girl, rather than frittering time away on creative visions), and get on with writing the book and trying again. If I fail again, I don't know what, exactly, I'll do; maybe I'll run off to Mongolia and launch an ill-fated export business to try to turn American consumers on to fermented mares' milk (step 1: create a YouTube video, step 2: have it go viral, step 3: profit). Maybe I'll stay at my current company with the handful of other people who are predicting they'll be "lifers", eating lunch with them every few weeks until we have to start demanding softer foods that don't harm our dentures.

Regardless, I'll keep blogging (lucky you...); getting something out every day, even when it's just this, is good for me, and I just wish that telling stories of characters I made up were as easy as telling stories here about myself. But if it were easy, I would already be rich and famous, and my assistant would be ghostwriting this, and that just would not be as much fun for any of us.

For being loath to blog, I sure managed to waste some more time writing this post; now I'll get less than six hours of sleep tonight. Yay. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

got your head held high and you feel just fine 'cause you do what you're told

I listened to a *lot* of "The Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails today. First I played it loudly through my headphones at work while I brutally slogged all day (and made the most terrible playlist ever using the iTunes Genius function, which managed to pull together a mash of all the most embarrassing angry-white-dudes-yelling songs I have on my laptop, which were eminently satisfying given my mood). Then, I just listened to it for an hour or two while doing edits to a key scene between Ferguson, his sister, and his father the duke (who is overbearing but not evil). I had been listening to "Alejandro", but it wasn't giving me the right mood, so I had to switch.

It's suddenly midnight, though, and while I'm happy with the progress I made tonight (continuing to make some major breakthroughs on how the book is going to end and what the structure is to lead up to that, and rewriting/combining/tightening some scenes), I should have procrastinated less and progressed more (or at least earlier in the night). As I mentioned, the slog today was brutal, and will remain brutal for the next couple of weeks. But, I came home at six and made myself some home fries for dinner (I adore fried potatoes; this time I added bacon, and it was like a super-unhealthy meal all by itself), and then took care of some email and generally procrastinated until around nine p.m. That's when I finally decided to get in gear and work on zee romance novel; unfortunately, had I decided to work on it at 7:30 instead of reading the latest issue of Romantic Times Book Reviews, I could have been done by 10pm instead of staying up late again tonight.

But, c'est la vie (or at least that's my usual vie). I have to slog desperately all day tomorrow, but I hope to write some more tomorrow night; I'm seeing the light at the end of the plot tunnel, and while I still have a lot to write/rewrite, the way is becoming clearer (until a boulder smashes into the path fifty pages from the end, as I'm sure it will, but I will deal with that dream-crusher when I get to it). And so, I shall go to bed now, and dream of Madeleine and Ferguson and all the delightful and not-so-delightful things they will do to and with each other between now and the end of the book. Goodnight!

Monday, June 28, 2010

they justify my claims

I'm such an idiot; even though I got up at the ungodly hour of seven a.m. and didn't take any naps today, I'm still up after 1am, and I need to go to work in eight hours. Boo me.

The reason I got up at the ungodly hour of seven a.m. was because I had a massage and a facial planned in the city of sin. Unbeknownest to me when I scheduled the appointment (because I live under a rock when it comes to local and state news), it was Pride weekend in San Francisco, and Market Street was closed for a four-hour parade. Since Market Street is what runs in front of the mall where my spa is, I could have been screwed (not literally, of course, since I am straight, but you get what I mean). Luckily I put two and two together last night and decided to leave insanely early for my ten a.m. appointment in case I had trouble finding parking. Amusingly (or not), there was absolutely no traffic and I found easy parking in the garage behind the mall -- a little annoying that I got up so early, but I would rather have that than miss my appointments.

The massage and facial were both great, and I left feeling v. relaxed; I had the same masseuse and aesthetician that I had last time, and I'll have to book both of them again, since they were great. Then, in the ultimate act of suburbanism, rather than going to the parade, I walked to within half a block of the parade and detoured into the Container Store, where I bought some lovely boxes to store my various paper and ink supplies in. Yes, I am ridiculous. Then, I retrieved my car and drove over to the Mission to meet up with Vidya, who was finishing up lunch with some other people; I was starving at this point, so while she suggested walking to a wine/food place a mile away, I mutinied about three blocks into the walk and dragged us to Mission Beach Cafe instead. It was super hot inside, the conversations around us were ridiculous, and the food wasn't as good when I was paying for it instead of expensing it back to my company -- but it was good to see Vidya, and I was so thrilled to be eating something that it would have been pretty hard to disappoint me.

After leaving the city of sin, I came home (with a stop to buy popsicles since it's warm as hell), talked to my family for two hours, and then spent the rest of the evening trying to get my life in some semblance of order. This involved digging through the vast quantities of mail that have accumulated over the course of my travels and paying bills that were dangerously close to being late (including a Comcast bill that was four days overdue, much to my horror and chagrin, particularly since I was so furious at Adit for failing to pay our bill back in the day -- although in my defense, I paid it before they shut me off, and all is well). I also chatted with a Comcast rep about getting the free HBO that I was promised, which meant that I was able to watch True Blood tonight -- which may mean that I'm hooked on True Blood, and the only thing that will save me is that I won't want to watch two seasons' worth to catch up. Then, I did some slogging for the day job, and now I really, really, really should go to sleep.

So that's it for the weekend; while I've been telling everyone that I'm more settled in and sane, it was a lie. I'm going home next weekend, I have a wedding and a birthday party to attend the weekend after that, another birthday party the weekend after that, and then I have one weekend free (so far) before I go to the romance conference in Orlando. At this rate I'm never going to unpack, or finish my book, or do any of the other myriad things I need to do -- ugh. Clearly I'm going to have to force myself to stop wasting time reading so that I can get some shit done -- all the things I need to do aren't going to take care of themselves. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

she's always a woman to me

I'm blogging early tonight so that I can use Mac Freedom to force myself off the internet (it disconnects your internet connection for a specified amount of time, and the only way to get around it is to restart your computer), write for a couple of hours, and not feel compelled to switch back into blog mode before going to bed. I should have started writing earlier, but I let myself relax for awhile, which was blissful.

But before describing the end of my day, I should describe the beginning. I got up around 8:30 so that I could finish getting things into some semblance of order before Heather and Salim arrived for brunch. As you know if you read last night's post, I put together three sets of shelves yesterday, but I needed to put together my dining table and get the chairs out of their boxes before my friends showed up. The table was relatively straightforward to put together, and now that it's in place, you would never guess that I had to assemble it -- it looks lovely and is the perfect size for the space. The chairs, though, were another story. They came in boxes, with two to a box, and while they were already assembled and theoretically just needed to be pulled out, freeing them from their cardboard prisons was probably more challenging than putting any of the rest of the stuff together. I finally threw in the towel and made Salim do it when they arrived, which was a good call; even with a knife and his brute strength, it took him fifteen minutes to get them out of the boxes, leaving a ridiculous amount of cardboard and styrofoam all over my patio.

But the chairs are fantastic, the table is great, and everything is coming together (even if I'm back to having a lot of boxes in my kitchen since I had to relocate them from the dining area). Heather and Salim brought fruit, juice, and champagne, so we had mimosas while I cooked brunch. My timing was perfect; Salim was able to eat with us during halftime of the USA/Ghana match, then return to cheering/groaning on the couch in the living room while Heather and I caught up. I made french toast (absolutely stellar french toast, if I do say so myself), and the home fries that I made gave me hope that I may be able to rival my father's fried potato skills in twenty years or so (they were really good, although I cooked them in half a stick of butter instead of Crisco). The only failure was that I burned the first batch of bacon, which necessitated airing out the house -- but the second batch was fine, and burned bacon is a better burned smell than most other burned smells, if you have to burn something.

So Heather and Salim stayed until the end of the match (around 2:15?) before taking off. It was fun having them over, and fun to cook again -- and even more fun to cook again in a place with a dishwasher. I loaded up the dishwasher, washed some of the remaining cookware, and left the bacon and potato pans to soak. Then, I took a nap that stretched to two hours, before getting up and dealing with the mass of cardboard/styrofoam on my patio. I considered writing then, but instead I procrastinated by reading an entire Real Simple magazine cover-to-cover, and then I finished up the dishes, unloaded the dishwasher, and ate a delicious Amy's enchilada (made better by the fact that I sat at my table, rather than eating it off my lap in the living room like a sad spinster).

Now, though, I really want to get some writing in. Tomorrow, I'm going to the city of sin rather early for a massage and a facial, and then I'm hoping to con Vidya into having lunch with me before I head back down to the glorious south bay. So, I can write some tomorrow, but I have work to do for teh day job, and I need to keep making some progress on the unpacking so that I finish before it's time to pack up and move again. If nothing else, I want to get things into reasonable shape so that I can post pictures for those of you who can't come over in person -- Salim said that he's always thought of me as a gnome, but that this place confirms it (although now I'm a woodland gnome, I suppose, rather than a city gnome, if those exist), which I somehow took as a compliment. I adore it, and I'm going to adore it even more if I ever get everything else out of boxes and into their proper places.

Okay, time to write -- goodnight!

i didn't think we'd still be rolling

I need to go to bed immediately -- I should have gone to bed hours ago, but I wanted to put together the shelves that were delivered today, and it ended up taking way longer than it should have. But, they're up now and they look lovely -- and now that they are up, I can make more progress with unpacking, since I can start filling them up with the contents of all the boxes that are still sitting in my kitchen and living room. My dining table, chairs and bedframe also came today, but I haven't touched them yet; the table and chairs are a task for tomorrow, and the bed will probably be put off for a couple of weeks.

But, I'm exceedingly happy to have the furniture (even if I now have an obscene amount of styrofoam to dispose of). It threw a major kink in my day, though; it was scheduled to be delivered sometime betweeen 12-1, and since Adit was here, I decided to not go into work before teh delivery so that I could say goodbye to him. So I made him eggs, and we sat around a bit, but then he borrowed my car to drop some stuff off at a mover's location -- and so even though the delivery came before 1pm, I had to wait almost an hour for my car to come back so that I could go back into the office. When I got there, I slogged until almost six, then went to Cafe Borrone (where I had a mini panic attack wondering whether I'm really meant to write and whether the next book will be any good, but I recovered) and tried to write for a bit. I then abandoned it for Crate and Barrel, and then picked up some food at Andronico's.

The reason I had to pick up food is because Heather adn Salim are coming over for brunch; and while Heather said she totally understands that it's filled with boxes, but they probably wouldn't understand if they were invited over and then not fed (although that happened to my family once, which was hilarious). But that's why I have to go to bed immediately -- I'm starting to fall asleep on the keyboard, and I need to get up and set up the table if we're going to have somewhere to eat tomorrow. Goodnight!

Friday, June 25, 2010

i know he thinks you're fine and stuff, but does he know how to wind you up?

This is a four-minute post. My life has returned to some semblance of normal; Adit is sleeping in my couch, which is lovely, even though it's only for one night. The conference is over, and I can start trying to settle into my house some more. And I'm not drunk or hungover, so both of those are good things.

The rest of the conference today was great; I skipped the morning sessions to do work for the big boss, but then participated in the afternoon session that she was kicking off. Her speech went well, although we didn't have a chance to debrief since she left after her speech and I stayed for the rest of it. But staying was well worth it; the content of the afternoon was great, with the major highlight being the former CEO of Domino's Pizza, who started his speech by handing out free pizza for everyone (smart guy), and ended up being one of the most engaging speakers I've ever heard.

Anyway, the only downside was that the session ran way, way over; it was supposed to end at five, and I didn't leave until after 6:30pm. Granted, I talked for a bit to Pete and Durand, but still. That gave me just enough time to make it down to the glorious south bay for dinner with Adit, Jav, Chris and Connie at Chris's favorite Mexican restaurant in Mountain View; we somehow put away at least five baskets of chips, and we all had drinks and cleaned our plates too. Needless to say, it was totally delicious, and it was great to have some family time before Adit leaves for his cross-country trek. Unfortunately, John and Jess couldn't attend because it turns out that John has whooping cough -- I may have been really, really annoyed that I got the tetanus/pertussis vaccine in January because it made me so sick and put me out of commission for several days, but now I'm glad, since John and Jess were here this weekend and I'm apparently safe from their contagion.

Now, though, I should really go to sleep; I have more work than ever for the day job and so need to go into the office tomorrow morning, but then I need to come back here to await delivery of my furniture! And then I'll probably go back to the office and also work this weekend, but at least my place is starting to come together. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

come on angel, come on come on darling, let's exchange the experience

I'm rather annoyed with myself; I spent the evening procrastinating, and it wasn't even entirely enjoyable procrastinating. A lot of it was stuff that has been on my to-do list for awhile, but the fact that I prioritized it above writing meant that it was procrastination. I finally caught up on email to my alter-ego account, signed up for an all-day retreat at the romance conference with a specialty group focused just on Regency-period research and writing, and retinseled my hair (in a lovely shade of bright pink). I also cut up several peppers and onions to freeze, and made myself some delicious veggie fajitas rather than just heating up an Amy's enchilada as per usual. I did a little bit of work for the day job, while procrastinating and wasting time on the internet. And then I packed for the conference I'm going to tomorrow; it's in San Francisco and lasts almost exactly 48 hours long, but because it's more time-consuming to plan and edit one's wardrobe down, I somehow ended up with two dresses, four tops, a pair of jeans, a couple of sweaters, two sets of pajamas, and five pairs of shoes. Whatever -- it all fit in my carryon bag, and I'm not going to make myself feel less ridiculous by spending half an hour figuring out exactly what I don't need.

Perhaps I procrastinated because I actually worked pretty hard at the day job today; not to say that I don't always work hard (ahem), but the only break I took today was a long-scheduled lunch with my friend Jason, and we had to abbreviate it because I needed to get back to the desk. I got tapped to pull together some talking points for my company's CEO for his speech at the conference I'm going to tomorrow, which was fun, but obviously that meant that I had to drop the myriad other things that I needed to take care of (all for usually-important people who aren't used to getting deprioritized because of an even-more-important person). So, I'll have to slog quite hard tomorrow morning to make sure I'm ready for the conference -- but, I shall survive.

I suppose I should go to bed now; I'm feeling a little too cranky about not making progress on my book today to go to sleep, but I also don't want to be a zombie tomorrow (vampire or werewolf tomorrow, yes, but not a zombie). Although maybe I wouldn't want to be a vampire, since it's the solstice and so my party time tomorrow would be more limited. Anyway, on that absurd note, it's time for bed!

Monday, June 21, 2010

the space between your heart and mine is a space we'll fill with time

I just quoted Dave Matthews as my title and I had dinner at Chevy's tonight. Shoot me.

Despite my plea for euthanasia, I actually had a totally lovely day. I woke up at 8:45 to hang out with Felicia for half an hour before sending her on her merry way -- and got a call at 8:50 from Adit and Priyanka asking me to have brunch with them in the city at 10am. Seventy minutes' warning for a brunch that is forty-five minutes away is a little absurd, but thanks to the fact that I showered last night and did not feel the need to impress either of them, I was able to make it (by 10:20, but they showed up four minutes after me, so whatever). So I had tea with Felicia and wished her a fond farewell, hurriedly cleaned myself up, and drove to the evil city, where I met them at Serpentine (one of those faux-industrial places in a neighborhood called the Dogpatch). Parking was easy, which was all I really cared about since I've fully reverted to my "I hate driving to the city" suburban roots. The food was good (I had the aptly named "Meat, eggs, potatoes, toast", which had exactly those items and nothing else -- the eggs were perfect, the toast was good, I loved the potatoes, and thought the sausage was bad, so it all evened out). The coffee was good (fair-trade and organic, natch). And the company was good -- I'm convinced that Adit will be out here once a month anyway, but it was good to see Priyanka before she starts her residency and disappears for a few years.

After brunch, I drove straight back to the glorious south bay, where I collected four loads of laundry from my house and went to the laundromat. I have a washing machine and dryer in the garage, but it's so slow per load that four loads would have taken seven hours or so; instead, I spent precisely two hours doing laundry, and I was able to enjoy a Philz Coffee next door and write a scene of my romance novel while I waited. Then I came home, folded stuff, hung stuff, and left the rest of it in a big pile (the lack of light in my bedroom gives me little incentive to keep it organized -- I need to buy some lamps pronto). I then spent some quality time on the phone with my parents, who were in good form despite the fact that it's been raining for days and looks set to continue for another week. I thought about pointing out that they wouldn't have that problem if they moved to California, but I decided not to waste my breath.

I ended up driving halfway back to the city to have dinner with Vidya; I refused on principle to go all the way back to San Francisco a second time, and so we compromised on Foster City. Vidya wanted to go to a pizza place called Waterfront, but the wait for a table on the water (hence the name) was 45+ minutes. So, we instead went to the Chevy's next door, which had absolutely no wait for waterfront tables because the food is terrible. I mean, it's really bad, and given how much good Mexican food there is around here, it's pretty inexcusable that we went there. In fact, Vidya was picking at the remnants of her meal during the interminable wait for someone to bring us our bill, and I actually asked her to stop eating her food because it was upsetting me that she was continuing to eat the disaster that was our food. But, we had a good time and the setting was appropriately dismal for a lowkey dinner.

When I got home, I procrastinated by watching Food Network, and then finally did the two or three work-related things that I had to do this weekend. Ever since I got back from Japan, I've been shifted to sleeping after midnight instead of going to sleep at 10pm like the octogenarian I am; I need to get back to my old ways, but clearly I failed tonight as well. Sigh.

Happy fathers' day to all you fathers out there! Goodnight!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

don't tell her to turn down, put on your shades if you can't see

I had a v. productive day, even though I didn't get out of bed until almost eleven. Once I finally dragged myself out of bed, I went on a mad dash to unpack as much as possible before Felicia's arrival. There's nothing like an impending houseguest to force progress on unpacking, and I did a lot today -- my kitchen is now fully put together! I still need to clear out the stuff hanging out in the dining area, my bedroom is a mess, and I need to organize my file cabinet, but things are coming along. I also spent some quality time washing linens and cleaning the bathroom, so my place is feeling much more livable than it was when I got home from Europe a couple of weeks ago.

My timeline became unexpectedly compressed when John and Jess called from downtown Palo Alto and ended up coming over. It was great to see them, as per usual; unfortunately, I could only offer them water, since stocking my fridge has not taken priority, but they seemed to accept my lack of social graces. I'm looking forward to being fully unpacked so that I can properly entertain -- this is the perfect place for having people over, and I'm eager to start cooking again now that I have a fully-stocked kitchen and a dishwasher. So hopefully later this summer I will start planning parties; the trick is finding friends to attend those parties, but I'll figure it out.

Anyway, John and Jess left about fifteen minutes before Felicia came over. She's doing a weekend dance event at Stanford, and so she's staying with me tonight. It's been great to catch up with her; with my travels and my generally busy last few months, I haven't seen her in awhile. We had dinner at the Peninsula Creamery (I'm fully returning to my glorious Palo Alto lifestyle, including all the restaurants from my college days), and then hung out at my place. She left briefly to do the group photo with the dance group, and when she returned, we watched the end of "Blades of Glory" and several Food Network shows.

Now, I'm going to let her get to sleep, and I'm going to try to get up early enough to accomplish a lot more tomorrow. I want to increase my writing time, though, rather than just focusing on housework, so we'll see how that works out. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

hey soul sister, ain't that mister mister on the radio

I was more lazy that I should have been today. I went to work as per usual, and I did work, but I took a lovely break to have a less-than-lovely lunch with Chandlord (to clarify, it was great to see her, but lunch was fairly bland and mismatched -- I had a slice of pizza that was inexplicably devoid of sauce, and some smoked salmon 'ceviche' that was basically just a pile of salmon). After Chandlord left, I spent a few more hours slogging, leaving the office around 5:30pm to go to Target.

Yes, Target was the most exciting part of my Friday night. I bought new towels, some hangers, an iron, and a drying rack, all of which I'm v. excited about (particularly the drying rack, since I seem to have an unerring knack for falling in love with and buying clothes that are line-dry-only). I grabbed a burrito on the way home from Target, since by the time I was done shopping I was too hungry to come home and cook. When I got home, I did a load of dishes in the dishwasher and washed another bunch of dishes by hand, and then sat down on the couch with the intention of writing...

...and procrastinated for almost three hours. I know, terrible. I read every news site I read, caught up on blogs in Google Reader, and generally messed around to no productive end. But, miracle of miracles, I managed to pull myself out of my procrastinatory spiral, and from 10:30 to 11:45, I wrote a little over 1000 words of zee romance novel (approximately four pages). It's not an awesome output, but it's 1000 words more than I had; if I wrote 1000 words per day for 90 days, I'd have a complete draft of a novel. As it is, I'm already 50,000 words in, so 1000 words a day would only require another month of writing. So, I'm pleased. Those 1000 words also finished off the scene that I was working on two nights ago so that I can move on, which is exciting, and I'm looking forward to writing more tomorrow.

However, tomorrow I also need to do laundry and keep trying to unpack, so we'll see how much writing I get done. But, at least 1000 words seems to be a good goal, so I will make a valiant effort. Now, though, I need to go to bed and try to force myself to fall asleep before one a.m., since I've been having trouble with that -- goodnight!

Friday, June 18, 2010

don't want to kiss, don't want to touch...just smoke my cigarette and hush

I have nothing of interest to report tonight (not like that ever stops me). I had meetings all morning, and then I slogged and talked to my friend Joy all afternoon. I cleared out around 4:30 so that I could buy groceries and make it home in time for a 5:30pm videoconference (all of which I accomplished successfully). After my conference call was over, I unpacked most of the rest of my kitchen; I still have two boxes left to unpack, and I need to wash some of the things I unpacked, but the kitchen is virtually done. This is good news -- I need to focus on cleaning out the dining area this weekend, so it's good that I got some stuff done today.

I should have worked for the day job tonight, but instead I spent a couple of hours editing my romance novel (and listening to Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" on repeat -- yes, I'm a masochist). In addition to unpacking, my other big goal for the weekend is writing a significant chunk of my manuscript, and so I spent some time today cleaning up my manuscript versions, since I've been working off of two different computers over the course of my travels, and I needed to update it all to one version before I completely forgot which pieces of which manuscript were newer. But, I'm all caught up with the edits I've done, both on the computer and in my notebook, so I'm ready to stride forward starting tomorrow.

I wish that I could stay up later and write, but I think I should force myself to go to bed. I'm not feeling jetlagged during the day, but I'm having trouble sleeping, so I just need to keep pushing to get back into the right timezone. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

harder better faster stronger

I failed to write today; the day job was rather consuming. It always is on Wednesdays -- between the big boss's staff meeting and my standing weekly 1:! with the big boss (today stretched to ninety minutes instead of sixty), I have more meetings than usual, and those meetings inevitably result in a mountain of follow-up work. Today was no exception; it's clear that the next few weeks are going to be a little more horrendous than usual for the day job. This may be a good thing, since before my travels I was starting to get bored -- but with my workaholic tendencies, I need to be careful what I wish for.

So I was at the office from 8am to 6:25pm, and then I left (ten minutes later than I should have) to meet up with Tolu, Jane, Lizzie and Joann for sushi (ironic, since I was just in Japan four days ago). Joann just moved back to the States after almost two years in Singapore, and Lizzie is moving to Seattle (she leaves tomorrow to look for apartments), so this was the only chance for all five of us to get together (until Tolu's wedding in July, of course). It's great to have Joann back, sad that Lizzie is leaving, but at least we're maintaining balance in the number of people who go to these dinners. It was great to catch up with everybody, and we had a fairly ridiculous conversation in which I decided I should write a book about a werewhale (a hot pirate who, at sunset, becomes a whale). Yes, it's ridiculous, and no, I'll probably never write it, but it made me laugh so hard I almost cried, so that was good for a few minutes of amusement.

After dinner, I came home just in time to watch the season premiere of "Top Chef: Washington DC". I didn't focus on it totally because I had work to do, but I watched it just closely enough to form some opinions about some of the chefs. Then, I watched an episode of "Dinner: Impossible" while wrapping up my slide making, and now it's time for bed.

Unfortunately, I have to be in the office at 8am tomorrow, and then I have a five hour break between the end of my last morning meeting and the 5:30-6pm meeting I forced upon myself. I really need to write tomorrow -- I'm not going to be silly like I was this morning and set my alarm for 5:45, since I'll inevitably just reset it in the morning, but I'm going to slog my hardest at the office so that I don't have to do anything when I get home other than write. Luckily the big boss is gone tomorrow afternoon and all day Friday, so that should give me a bit of a breather -- Madeleine and Ferguson were left in quite a state of, shall we say, frustrated need in their carriage, and I should get back to them sooner rather than later. Now, though, it's time for me to sleep -- goodnight!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

somewhere deep down inside, something is saying, 'love doesn't last that long'

Today was excellent in the 'getting back on the horse' kind of way. I didn't get up early and write as I intended, but I did slog quite successfully all day; if I'm lucky, I might be almost caught up from my trip by the weekend. I cut out of the office around 5:30 to have coffee with my friend Natasha; we were only able to hang out an hour, which as it turned out was not long enough, but it was lovely to see her after a v. long travel-induced hiatus.

After coffee, I drove to my favorite cafe in the entire south bay (Cafe Borrone, of course), where I had a fantastic sandwich and a glass of white wine while contemplating my novel. And for the first time in a long time, I didn't just contemplate it -- I successfully wrote six pages (~1500 words), most of which was a steamy scene in a carriage (hence the wine). I've still got a long row to hoe to finish this book, but I'm finally, *finally* writing again, and I intend to keep it that way. It felt so good to actually get it down on paper -- I would have kept writing longer, but I ended up throwing in the towel around 8:45pm and coming home because I still had some work to do. I procrastinated a bit by watching some tv, but then I resolutely turned off the television and finished the slides that I had to make for tomorrow's eight a.m. big-boss staff meeting.

So unfortunately I have to be at the office by eight a.m., and I have dinner plans (that's not unfortunate, just inconvenient for my writing, but exciting for seeing friends), so I have to decide whether I can get up early tomorrow or whether I can try to write after dinner. Momentum is so important...but I am quite slothful and in love with my bed, so I'm not sure what's going to win out. We shall see, we shall see...regardless, it's time for bed!

Monday, June 14, 2010

out here the good girls die

Remember yesterday, when I thought that my anti-jetlag strategy had worked wonders? And that I was going to go to bed, get up early, and write? Ha.

Instead, I laid awake until almost 3:00am; around 1:00am, I even got out of bed and finished reading the rest of my manuscript, which failed to put me to sleep. Sometime around 3:00am, I dozed off...and sometime after 3:00am, the battery on my phone drained itself, and so my alarm didn't go off. Consequently, I awoke this morning to the sound of a woodpecker outside my window, and I was ready to kill it for waking me up before the alarm -- only to discover that it was after 10:00am. Oops. Since I was already late for work, I did some work from home for most of the day; I probably wouldn't have bothered to even go in, except I had ordered some shoes while I was traveling and I wanted to pick them up (verdict: I'm sending them back, so it's too bad I rallied to go into the office).

Once at the office, I stayed until about seven (no real feat, considering how late I was), and I'm all caught up on work emails from my trip. Then I grabbed a sandwich at Quiznos (the perfect antidote to a sushi-filled week), came home, and finally got around to watching Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" video (at my brother's behest -- you know that you're behind on your pop culture when a straight guy from Iowa is the one who tells you to watch a Lady Gaga video). It was utterly ridiculous, and after that I was absolutely useless; so, I wasted time on the internet, reading publishing blogs and the like, and now I need to try to sleep so that I can get a lot of stuff done tomorrow.

But, the only exciting thing that happened today is I finally ordered the furniture that I needed to make my place feel complete -- bookshelves, a kitchen table and chairs, and a bedframe. All are from Crate and Barrel, of course, since it's my favorite/only place to shop for such things; all are reasonably priced; and the shelves and bed are the same shelves and bed that I've been looking at for *years*, so I'm content that I'm going to be satisfied with my purchase. Crate and Barrel sent me a 10% off coupon when I moved into my new place (clearly they love me as much as I love them), which was about enough to cover tax and delivery. The furniture is coming next Friday, which means I have a week and a half to clean the place up so that the kitchen table can actually go in the kitchen (which is currently being used to store a bunch of boxes of crap). This is as good an incentive to unpack as any -- but right now, I'm going to go to bed, and attempt this whole 'getting up early and writing' thing again tomorrow.

For those of you with the same furniture fetish that I have, this is what I selected:

Shelves - Sloane leaning bookcases (for the wall by the main entryway)

Table - Trestle espresso drop-leaf table (with the advantage that it can be more compact if I move into a smaller place someday - seats 4-6)

Bed - Porto metal bed frame (I have no idea why, but I've always wanted a metal bed -- well, either a metal bed or a big canopied princess bed, and I'm not living in a big enough place to have a big princess bed -- and I've seriously been eyeing this one for years. I've always held off because bed frames aren't all that necessary, but it's a flat delivery fee for everything, and I figured that after seven years of living on my own, it was time to have a real bed)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

saw cinderella in a party dress, she was looking for her nightgown

My trip to Tokyo (and the longest Sunday in recent memory) is over, and I'm strangely happy to be crashing back into reality. It started over thirty hours ago, at 6:30am Sunday in Tokyo, when I got up absurdly early to check out the Meiji shrine and the iris garden and forest around it. The shrine was beautiful, particularly since I was there early enough to avoid the crowds; it's in the middle of acres and acres of lush forest, so it's hard to believe that you're in the heart of downtown Tokyo. The iris garden only blooms in May and June, so I felt v. fortunate to see it -- it was like a river of irises meandering through an ancient forest, and I will post photos later if any of them turned out okay.

After seeing the shrine and the gardens, I went back to my hotel, showered, and had a leisurely brunch in the ground-floor restaurant. Then, I packed (v. quickly, since I was a bit too leisurely about brunch), checked out of the room, and hung out in the bar/tea room in the lobby for a couple of hours until it was time to board the bus to the airport. The bus took over an hour and a half (Narita airport is not conveniently located); and so even though I left the hotel four hours before my flight's departure, I didn't spend a lot of time waiting at the airport. The line for immigration exiting the country was absurdly long, so between that and scrounging for snacks to take on the plane (so that I didn't have to eat either of the disgusting meals they served), I only spent twenty minutes or so sitting at the airport before boarding the flight.

My anti-jetlag strategy seems to be working so far; I finished the book I was reading during the first ninety minutes of the flight, and then I slept for about six hours (fitfully, but with my neck pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs, it was as good as it was going to get) before waking up for the last bit of the flight. So, when I landed in SFO at 11:00am Sunday PDT, I was able to stay up all day (shocking, I know). The car that I arranged for picked me up on time, I was home a little before noon, and then I showered and put on a flow-y, fuchsia jersey-knit dress that was more appropriate for a party than a homecoming for one, but I thought that dressing in something other than sweats would help me stay awake. Then, I spent some quality time at Cafe Borrone, where I attempted to work on my book (with little success).

I came home and talked to my parents for awhile; they were in fine form, and while it feels like I've been gone for ages, I had just talked to them before leaving last week (as usual). Then, Vidius Chandicus came over and was v. eager to explore downtown Palo Alto (ha), so we went to Coupa Cafe and split part of a rather disgusting tres leches dessert (we sacrificed the rest of it). Deciding that our conversation would be better continued over wine, we adjourned to Joya, where we sat feeling somewhat shabby in the overposh lounge area while drinking red wine and catching up on all the things that have (not) changed since I've been gone. It was lovely to see her, of course, and I'm quite smug about the fact that she's come down twice to see me even though I've only been in town and in my new house for about ten days -- clearly I will get her to move to the glorious south bay someday.

After she dropped me off at my house, I vowed to stay awake for another couple of hours, so I started rereading Madeleine and Ferguson's story from the beginning to try to get back into it. I'm pleased with a lot of it, annoyed by some of it, utterly baffled (as usual) with how to make the beginning feel emotionally intense and exciting -- and I think more ready than I was earlier today to get back into the writing. I'm going to try to get up tomorrow and write before work -- if I'm ever going to finish this damn thing, I need to write a lot over the next month or so, and that means writing regularly during the week.

Now, though, I'm going to go to bed and hope that my jetlag isn't too horrific tomorrow -- wish me luck!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

harajuku girls

The title is somewhat of a misnomer, since I didn't make it to Harajuku today, but I'm running out of Japan-themed song titles, so you're going to have to bear with me. I started off the day with a delicious breakfast, and then caught a subway all the way to the other end of the line, where I saw Sensoji Temple. It was quite moving and interesting to see the crowds, and I have some lovely picturesget the efect to prove it. Then, I wandered around some more, went to the Tokyo Edo museum, came home, thought I would take a nap and failed, and then went out for dinner. I just got back -- it was perfect, but since I ordered a set menu, I got way too much food. It was all delicious, though, and it was a good way to say goodbye to Tokyo.

I'm sorry this is brief, and apologies if it is poorly written, but I can barely keep my eyes open and need to go to bed. Goodnight!

Friday, June 11, 2010

i think i'm turning japanese, i really think so

The conference is over, and while my jetlag isn't quite 100% cured, it's close enough that I didn't have to take a nap today (which is probably unfortunate, since I'm going home in two days and will have to start the recovery process all over again). Today was lovely, though; I got up and did a bit of work at the conference hotel before enjoying one last buffet breakfast overlooking Tokyo Bay. I grabbed a taxi to our Tokyo office, which is conveniently located in the same tower as the hotel I'm staying in, and I was able to check into my (gorgeous) new room before going into the office.

I wasn't remarkably productive at work, although I did complete the tasks that were absolutely crucial, so I have no regrets. I took a break in the afternoon to go to a stationery store and grab coffee with Taylor, a woman visiting Tokyo from the San Francisco office; I don't know her that well, but it was good to hang out with a friendly face, and going to a stationery store was one of the must-dos on my list for Tokyo anyway. The store was super cute, and I could have spent a lot more time (and money) there than I did, but I held back. Then, we went to the Starbucks overlooking Shibuya Crossing. It's reputed to be the busiest Starbucks in the world; I don't know whether that's true or not, but it was certainly crowded, and the view over Shibuya was incredible for people-watching. I will post pics someday, but suffice it to say that I could have stayed there people-watching for hours.

When I got back to the office, it was time to pack up (after ruining Shawn's productivity by introducing her to I came back to the hotel, read the highlights of my guidebook, and decided to be a complete dork and go to the seven-story flagship version of the stationery store in Ginza. Shawn and I are supoosed to go Sunday, but I didn't want to risk missing it. As it turns out, when the store is that large, it's easy to get overwhelmed, and they're also stocking to a more business crowd, which means fewer super-cute accessories and much more plain, useful stuff. It was still great to see, though. I also stopped at a department store, which was fun -- it's always cool to see the types of things that are on sale in different countries, and I was drooling over their bedroom slippers and their tea sets. Luckily, the desire to stick with carry-on luggage only is helping to rein me in -- it's hard to fit a whole tea set into a roll-aboard without ditching clothes, and I like all the clothes that I brought with me. So, we're at an impasse.

After shopping, I grabbed dinner at an all-you-can-eat sushi place. In the States, an all-you-can-eat sushi place can sometimes be dangerous, but this place was totally fantastic. It was nearly all nigiri, with a few hand rolls thrown in, and you could order as much as you wanted (up to 20 pieces at a time). I contented myself with less than 20, but more than 10, with the consequence that I'm completely stuffed. It was good to have some real sushi in Tokyo, though; perhaps tomorrow I'll try to find some tempura to round out my experience.

I made it back to the hotel from Ginza with no problems. Now, I really must go to bed; I want to see some shrines tomorrow, and I also intend to go to Harajuku to see the Meiji Shrine + a lot of ridiculous costumes. That's a lot of walking, so conserving my strength now is key -- goodnight!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

i fell into a burning ring of fire

I heart Tokyo. I always expected that I would; I read more Haruki Murakami during my college years than most people ever will, and my "History of Japanese Pop Culture", while rather fluffy compared to some of my other classes, was also one of my favorites. But, even though I've barely had a chance to explore, it's living up to expectations so far.

I spent almost all of today at the conference that I'm attending. I continue to be jaded when it comes to the conference, but despite my jadedness, I was still able to finish the big boss's slides to her satisfaction today. I successfully woke up and made it to breakfast with her and one of her directors this morning to go through the deck one last time, and then I made the final edits before her talk. It went v. well, and she was happy with the slides (although she's already making rumblings about redoing the whole deck for the conference we're going to in two weeks, just as I suspected she would -- so the next two weeks will be a repeat of the last two weeks, although I won't be jetlagged at the conference since it's in San Francisco). However, it says something rather strange about me that I was happier when she complimented my dress than when she complimented some of my slides -- maybe it's because I'm secure in my intellect but am always looking for validation for my taste? Or maybe it's because my priorities are totally in the wrong place, which is clear since I seem to enjoy shopping too much to make any major life changes. Regardless, the dress is pretty awesome -- Katie, it's the wrap jersey dress from Boden USA that I mentioned a few weeks ago, and almost everything I ordered from there has been great.

Anyway, the conference was a smashing success. Afterwards, I was deadly tired, but I decided to rally and go out for the arranged dinners around Tokyo. They split the conference across several restaurants that they rented out. My restaurant was Gonpachi Ginza, which served sushi and unlimited drinks. I only had a diet coke (although they later told my table mates that they don't serve diet coke, so either they lied to them, or they gave me a regular coke without telling me), since I was in no mood to get obliterated, but the sushi was great. I also caught up with a girl I knew in Hyderabad years ago; it turns out that she left the company several years ago, moved to Bombay to work for a startup, and that startup was recently acquired by my company, so she's back on the payroll. It would be so strange to make the decision to leave a company, only to get sucked back in months or years later -- but she seems to be taking it in stride.

I was totally done with making small talk around nine p.m., and I debated taking an exorbitantly expensive taxi back to the hotel (which would have been fine, since I would have expensed it). But instead, I walked a few blocks down the street to see a bit of Ginza at night -- it is an incredible display of lights, people, and ultraluxury stores, and while I wouldn't want to spend much time there, seeing it at night was amazing.

I've been taking some pictures, and I will post them someday, but you're going to have to wait -- right now, I desperately need to sleep. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

my woman from tokyo

I am feeling v. nostalgic for sales conferences of yore -- it was all so much simpler and more exciting when I was young, the world was fresh, we spent extravagantly on useless items like bringing David Hasselhoff in to sing to us, and I had absolutely no responsibilities other than finding my way back to the bus at the end of it. The past few conferences have been gradually less fun for me, partially because I am jaded and realize that they all contain the exact same content, partially because my closest work friends (of whom I have many) are almost all in other organizations within the company and so no longer attend, and partially because I've either been managing a not-insignificant portion of the attendees or planned the conference itself.

For this conference, I wasn't involved in the planning, but I'm responsible for the big boss's slides for her speech tomorrow, and so I couldn't get raucously drunk at the party tonight because I have to do another version of her deck sometime between now (10:30pm Wednesday) and tomorrow (8:00am Thursday). So, I had a glass of wine and a glass of champagne, chatted with some of my friends who have relocated to Tokyo, stayed just long enough to get a ringing in my ears from the speakers, and then came back to my room to work on slides. I'm far enough along that I think I should go to bed now and take advantage of my sleepiness; if the past two nights are any indication, I'll wake up at 5am anyway, so I might as well get some sleep and finish up in the morning.

However, it wasn't all as gloom and doom as I may be making it sound -- the speakers today were good, I've reconnected with several people whom I like quite a bit, and I'm feeling good about the slides I'm making. It's just hard to feel super psyched about this conference when I compare it to the old four-day sales conference/ski trip extravaganzas that I used to go to (one of which was immortalized in my incredibly drunken blog post from January, 2005). But, I shall persevere, and my trip is already moving quickly towards its conclusion. The weekend will be really fun, though; Taylor (a girl from California who is visiting Tokyo) is going to take me to her favorite stationery shop, I'm going to have brunch with Shawn on Sunday, and I'm planning to do some serious wandering and sightseeing on Friday evening and Saturday. I will be sure to post pictures -- but for now, it's time for bed. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

domo arigato mr. roboto

This is a v. short post because I am utterly exhausted and need to go to bed, but I wanted to make sure my mother knew I was still alive. I survived my first day in Tokyo; it was easy to survive, of course, but v. difficult to stay awake. I was in meetings virtually straight from 9:30am to 5:30pm, then had a meeting in the cab on the way back to the hotel, and then a brief respite before meeting up with the big boss at 7:30 to discuss her slides (which I will have to find time to work on tomorrow). Then, I had a three-hour dinner with the Asia/Pacific leadership team (+ the big boss) at this Japanese restaurant in the hotel; the food was great, but it was brought out in eight v. small courses, which of course took forever. So while I'm tired and need a break, I'm not going to get much of one; the conference that I'm here for starts tomorrow morning at 8:45, goes straight through to 5:30, and then there's a party from 6:30 to ??. Ugh.

However, Tokyo is great, and I'm really looking forward to spending a couple of days touring around at the end of the conference. There's no time to think of that, though -- I'm going to try to get some sleep now so that I can be in better form tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, June 07, 2010

say hello, wave goodbye

I am in Tokyo! More specifically, I am in a hotel on Tokyo Bay, looking out over the harbor, and attempting to conquer both jetlag and my to-do list. I only met with moderate success in both arenas; when I got to the hotel around six p.m., I promptly slept for two and a half hours, and while I finished the most urgent tasks on my to-do list after waking up, I'll probably not get caught up this week.

However, at least the flight was good and v. uneventful; I made it to the airport with plenty of time to buy the snacks that I meant to pick up yesterday, which staved off hunger induced by the two v. bad light meals that were served on the flight. The flight itself was ten hours, which was long enough for me to read a book and most of another book (which I then finished in the airport while waiting for immigration/the bus to the hotel), take a short nap, watch the second half of "How to Train Your Dragon" (my friends' constant use of "slay your dragon" is wildly inaccurate), and the second half of "The Last Station" (which I should have watched all of; it was about the final days of Tolstoy, and his tumultuous love with his wife of fifty years, played with all the usual skill by Helen Mirren). The first book I read was "The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker", which was, well, strangely beautiful (I was intrigued, not entirely sure if I liked it, but still intrigued enough that I am going to read the next one). The second was "Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake", by debut historical author Sarah MacLean -- it was one of the better historical romances I've read in awhile (even if I'm a bit jaded by my own drama and found a subplot involving a bet with an odious baron to be a little eye-roll-worthy -- the rest of it was lovely). Then again, reading about a twenty-eight-year-old spinster hit a bit too close to home, but I was able to overcome that inconvenient detail and enjoy the story.

And now, I really need to go back to sleep, or at least try to; it's 7:30 in the morning in California, but it's 11:30pm in Tokyo, and I need to go into the Tokyo office tomorrow morning. Ugh. However, I shall take as many pictures as I am able so that I can start the Tokyo photo contest at some point (although based on voter turnout in the last photo contest, this may just be an exercise for me, Tammy, and my mother). Goodnight!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

this river is wild

This isn't even a four-minute post, in all likelihood - I did nothing of interest today, and I desperately need to go to bed so that I can get up in time to go to the airport for my flight to Tokyo tomorrow. I woke up this morning, paid my bills, took a shower, went to the mall in search of sneakers and came away with a wireless router and a spare battery for my new digital camera (and some necessities from Sephora, of course), then went to the office to pick up a package that was delivered after I left yesterday. I intended to stay at the office and work, but I discovered belatedly that I had left a crucial notebook at home, and so I couldn't accomplish what I meant to do. So, I came home, rearranged my living room (it looks lovely!), packed, and then slogged for the day job. I also talked to my brother and my parents for almost two hours combined, so I'm feeling v. well connected to my Iowa life.

And now, it's time for bed -- I told you this would be an uninteresting post. However, the interest level should pick up when I make it to Tokyo (particularly if I fail to navigate the bus to the hotel and end up blogging frantically from my cell phone). Wish me luck!

you're yes then you're no

I just watched a couple of hours of "Say Yes to the Dress" -- television really is not a good thing. For those of you who do not have cable (*cough* parents *cough*), "Say Yes to the Dress" is this show on TLC that shows women coming to a fancy-schmancy bridal salon in New York to find their wedding dress. On the surface, there is nothing more depressing than being close to thirty and sitting at home, alone, on a Friday night, watching a marathon of shows about other women buying wedding dresses. However, the show is completely mindless entertainment, and it makes me supremely thankful that a) I'm not retarded, b) I have sane friends, and c) that if I ever do buy a wedding dress, I don't think it will be quite the train wreck that some of these stories are.

After the day I had, I needed some mindless entertainment; I had to be in the office by 8am for a meeting, and then I slogged brutally (with a break for breakfast, but no lunch) to prep for a meeting with the big boss. We're trying to pull together the slides for her speech at the conference in Japan next week, and as always it's a last-minute scramble -- which means I'm going to have to work on it tomorrow, in between packing and running errands and doing all sorts of other last-minute preparatory things.

But, I snuck out a little before five and got a pedicure while writing a little bit; I probably only wrote a page, but it was better than nothing. Then, I grabbed some dinner, came home, took care of some work stuff, and then procrastinated until now. Tomorrow the procrastination ends and the mad dash to get ready for Tokyo begins -- wish me luck. And now, it's time for bed -- goodnight!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

a dream deferred

I have avoided blogging about the progress towards/away from publication of my romance novel -- it's like dating around, you don't want to scare off potential suitors by blogging about the trauma you experience at the hands of other suitors. But, perhaps now is the time to give an update, since many of you care (or at least profess to care) about whether and when I'm going to get published.

So the short answer is that it looks unlikely that my first book will be picked up by a publisher. My agent and I have certainly reached the end of the road in terms of the publishers we submitted to; there is another group that we could submit to, but given how relatively positive the rejections were, we're confident that some of the editors would want to see my next work, and we would rather sell to one of the top houses if at all possible.

However, while the rejections were v. nice and encouraging, they were still rejections. In two cases, the editors really loved the book, but the sales or marketing teams wouldn't get on board. Ultimately, there's not much I can do about it except write book two and keep focused on the future.

So that's the story -- no more talk of publication until I finish Madeleine and Ferguson's book. It's coming along okay, and I worked on it tonight for a bit, but I need to get cracking if I'm going to finish in the next month or so. Thanks for your support, and I'll keep you posted on te second one!

Other than stressing over whether I'll finish this book, today was fine; it was nice to get up at 6:45am and still make it on time for an 8am meeting, so I'm glad I moved down here. I had a series of general meetings and two meetings with the big boss, as well as lunch with Heather (aka dear respected madam) -- with all the random stuff I had to do today, it was good to take a break from meetings to have a proper lunch. After work (and being in the office for thirteen hours), I went to Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, where I had an excellent sandwich and wrote a couple of pages of the new romance novel before throwing in the towel. And now, even though it's not even ten o'clock, I'm going to go to bed; I have to be in the office by 8am tomorrow, and I might as well indulge my jetlag since I'm about to go eight hours in the opporsite direction and just confuse myself entirely. Goodnight!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

so you think you can write slides

I should really go to bed; I forced myself to stay up even though I desperately wanted to take a nap, but since I have to be at the office at 7:30am for a conference call, I should get some sleep now. Today was moderately lovely; work was boring (starting with a two-hour big boss staff meeting), but I had lunch with a coworker and then promptly left to work from home for the rest of the day, so it wasn't terrible. The reason I came home was because Comcast was supposed to set up my cable and internet; the guy showed up around 3pm, and hooked up my phone and internet, so I've returned to the modern world. Unfortunately, my wireless router doesn't seem to be working (it's six years old, was already in its death throes, and I dropped it today and managed to bruise my wrist almost inexplicably in the process), and even though my plan is supposed to come with HBO, it's not coming in, which will necessitate a call to Comcast (one of my least favorite activities, right up there with getting ultrasonic cleaning done on my teeth). But, I was able to watch a lot of Top Chef: Masters tonight while working, so television is good.

The one sad thing is that I discovered that I'm going to have to rearrange my living room. The wall that I was going to put my TV against has an outlet -- but I discovered that the outlet is only a two-prong outlet, since the house is old and some of the outlets don't have the third prong. So my options are to rearrange everything, or buy a long extension cord and run it all the way across the living room in some attempted-unobtrusive way. I think moving everything is probably the better solution, unfortunately, but I don't have the energy to do it now -- so the TV is propped precariously on the fireplace hearth, and the router is chilling on the floor.

But, the day brightened up considerably when Vidius Chandicus dropped by; she was my first official guest in my new place! She was in finer form today than she was at during lunch yesterday, and we celebrated that fact by going to Coupa Cafe. She had a mexican hot chocolate, I had a tiger spice chai, we shared a red velvet cake, and we amused ourselves by listening to what appeared to be two fairly dimwitted Stanford Business School students discussing some event or project. All in all, a fun time was had by me, and I think Vidya enjoyed herself as well.

After we parted ways, I came home, indulged in television, and worked on some powerpoint (ugh) for a couple of hours. And now, it's time for bed; I have the 7:30am meeting that I mentioned above, and must slog steadily all day, but I'm hoping to get some writing in tomorrow night. Goodnight!

we interrupt this broadcast

No real post tonight, I'm sorry to report; I came home tonight with the intention of writing for several hours, but after eating some delicious take-out sushi (I blame the planning I've been doing for my Tokyo trip for the uncontrollable craving I had for sushi tonight), I fell asleep on the couch sometime around 7:30pm, and I just woke up. I can't stay up, though -- I need to get back to sleep so that I'll be able to function tomorrow morning, particularly since I have the big boss's staff meeting at eight a.m.

But, you're not missing anything -- today was uneventful, although I did have a lovely(ish) lunch with the Chandlord, which was the only highlight of the day. The rest of it was mostly a long, boring exercise in filing expense reports, which will continue tomorrow (ugh). And with that in mind, I should really go back to sleep -- goodnight!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

imma be living that good life

I managed to keep my jetlag almost entirely at bay by slogging excessively around the house all day, and then reading a book from approximately eight p.m. until now -- I didn't even take a nap today, as much as I might have wished for one. I woke up several times last night, but forced myself to stay in bed until 7:30; then, I got up, showered, and made terrific progress unpacking all of my books. The books are stacked two-deep on every available shelf, and I intend to get another set or two of shelves to alleviate the burden (since I'm sure to acquire more books in the coming months, and there are two boxes of Regency-era research books that I didn't unpack), but it's a good start.

After unpacking the books, I finally ordered Comcast service; they will arrive on Tuesday to set me up, at which point the clock will start ticking on the end of whatever promotional offer they gave me so that I ultimately end up paying hundreds of dollars on internet and television, but the satellite card that I'm using leaves much to be desired (there are a lot of mature trees surrounding my house, so I think the signal is struggling) -- I can't keep going without real internet access, and being able to watch Craig Ferguson again would be nice. Then, I took a quick jaunt to Crate and Barrel to salivate over their furnishings; I didn't order anything, but I'm getting closer to deciding what shelves I want, and I intend to order them before I go to Japan so that they can be delivered as soon as I get back.

I took a break from all things house-related to grab a sandwich at Quiznos (they're renaming my favorite sandwich -- what was the 'turkey bacon guacamole' is suddenly the 'california club', which seems completely unnecessary to me). Then, I walked down to Printers' Ink cafe, where I enjoyed a cafe au lait while spending an hour working on Madeleine and Ferguson's story. It's slow going trying to get back into it, but I can't keep procrastinating on it if I'm going to finish before the romance conference. On the way home, I stopped to pick up some essentials (basically, three servings of Amy's enchiladas, and some bread, ham and cheese for sandwiches), and then settled in for some more epic unpacking.

My kitchen is now almost entirely unpacked; I still have a couple of boxes to go, but it's looking much, much better. I also hauled several loads of empty boxes out to the garage, unpacked my suitcase from my Europe trip, and tidied up the living room, so the place is feeling like it's starting to come together (if you don't look at the huge pile of stuff hanging out in the dining area). If I can focus over the next few days, it should be almost entirely unpacked before I go to Japan -- which would be good, since coming home to a disaster yesterday was distinctly unpleasant.

I finally stopped unpacking around eight p.m., and I ate an Amy's enchilada before picking up a book that I found while unpacking -- "The Convenient Marriage" by Georgette Heyer. While I've read at least a score of Heyer's books, I'd never read this one; I'd ordered it sometime in the past, and somehow never got around to picking it up. I ended up reading it straight through, even though I had set an alarm to remind myself to go to bed (which I promptly dismissed, as I was in the middle of a chapter when it went off, and I didn't bother to check the time again). I would give it four stars out of five; some of the dialogue and a lot of the situations were vastly entertaining, and I loved the hero. It did drag a bit in the end, and I felt like she got too wrapped up in her own cleverness with some side plots and didn't give us enough of the relationship between the two characters; but since she was writing in the first half of the century, she never included sex anyway, so her structure and pacing is v. different from present-day romances. This one seemed like a combination of the irrepressible heroine from "The Grand Sophy" and the sleepy-seeming (but actually razor-sharp) heroes of "The Unknown Ajax" and "The Masqueraders" -- so I liked it, but any of the three i just mentioned were more enjoyable books.

Anyway, I really should go to sleep; I have a lot to do at work tomorrow and I don't want to get home late because I desperately need to do laundry. Of course, since I now live less than twenty minutes from work, that shouldn't be too much of a concern (yay). Goodnight!