Sunday, January 31, 2010

in your face

Today was a v. bizarre day. Actually, it was a v. normal day until approximately ten p.m., when it took a drastic left turn into disaster-land. I spent the morning and early afternoon taking care of business online, and then spent the afternoon shopping, running errands, and attempting to write at Samovar. I spent the evening continuing to prepare for my trip while watching TV, and was on the verge of drinking a cup of tea and going to bed...

...when Adit returned with Jav and Lily in tow, all of whom had been drinking since the 1pm 'brunch' that I thought Adit was going to, which turned out to be a freaking vodka-tasting session in Alameda. The idea of vodka-tasting in the afternoon is slightly appalling; I tracked their progress the rest of the day as Javier checked into various wineries and bars around the bay area throughout the afternoon and evening, so I knew they were having a good time. They showed up here and Adit promptly opened a wine that was far too good to pair with a takeout burrito from the mexicatessan around the corner, which was quite beneficial for me since I was still (temporarily) sober enough to enjoy the delicious malbec.

Lily managed to escape and go home despite the strong social ostracism that Adit subjected her to, and then Adit, Jav and I went to this bar on Haight with the ridiculous name of 'The Mad Dog in the Fog', where we met up with Folkman and Ed (aka Caca). We proceeded to drink some more, and I ended up having a v. long, engaging, and generally good conversation with TJ, who lived on my floor in Loro when I was an RA. I also spend some quality time catching up with his ex-girlfriend Grace, who works at my company with me, so that was all v. nice. We left sometime after last call and picked up pizza at Mythic Pizza, then walked home. Caca ate his pizza here and bounced, and now Adit is making up a nest for Javier in the middle of our living room.

I should probably go to bed at some point; I have to do laundry and pack tomorrow before picking my dad up at the airport tomorrow night. Then I leave for Singapore and India on Monday -- yay!!! And now, goodnight -- wish me luck with the wine headache tomorrow!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

that stained glass curtain you're hiding behind never lets in the sun

I had a slightly lazier day than I should have allowed myself to have, given that my father and I leave for Singapore three days from right now -- but I accomplished the most pertinent things at the day job that I needed to do today (namely, several meetings), and then came home early with the intention of writing for a few hours. Instead, I failed to write; but I did make another porkchop and reheat some of the polenta from Wednesday (still delicious), and I watched one of the funniest episodes of Craig that I've seen in awhile. Eddie Izzard was the main guest, so he was of course hysterical. Then, Craig did a segment with a barbecue chef from southern Georgia, and it became apparent that neither of them could understand each other's accents, which made for comedic gold. I also watched another episode that started with Rosie O'Donnell and the puppets lipsyncing 'Addicted to Love' while Craig and three of his cronies wore tight black outfits, wigs, and overly painted red lips while pretending to play guitars. So, none of that was productive at all, but it was a v. welcome break.

I also made a list (an unfortunately very long list) of all the things I have to do this weekend to get ready for my trip, and I made a list of the things I need to pack, and I made a list of the things I need to buy/procure/steal. I love to make lists, so my current state (planning a big event a work + planning a two-week trip to India/Singapore) has put me in listmaking heaven. I also love crossing things off lists, but doing the things required to get to the crossing-off stage can be a bit annoying, so this weekend is going to be a hard slog. But it will be worth it when I pick up my dad at the airport on Sunday night and we get on the plane on Monday -- and I will have more than enough time on the flight to Singapore (via Hong Kong) to relax.

I suppose at this point I should go to bed, since there's nothing on my list that I either want to or can do tonight. Goodnight, and wish me luck this weekend! And just a few days you'll start getting travel posts, which have been sorely lacking since I haven't left the country in almost two years. I'm glad that I'm rectifying my foreign-travel drought -- here's hoping that I have a lot more foreign travel in my future in the coming year!

Friday, January 29, 2010

don't go sharing your devotion, lay all your love on me

Today was a hard and brutal slog; I finally sat down and did the task that I have been avoiding, which was making a master spreadsheet of all the tasks that I need to either accomplish or delegate to pull off this conference that I'm planning at the end of February. As expected, the list was devastating in its breadth, depth, and overall disaster level -- but at least now I have it all out there, can put deadlines down, and figure out what I'm delegating to whom. Yay, I guess.

I had a meeting with the big boss to cover all of this, did another couple of hours of work (after a brief rejuvenating run to Starbucks), talked to my parents, and then left around seven to go to Cafe Borrone. I'm trying to force myself to write regularly, and that means writing even on days like this when I would have rather curled up in a ball on the couch. So, I managed to write a couple of pages while eating my favorite gouda and turkey on focaccia sandwich, and I still made it home by nine. Then, I did curl up on the couch, watching the first hour of 'Pulp Fiction' with Adit before he went out on the town, and then watching the new 'Project Runway'. Now, I suppose I should go to bed -- tomorrow's my last day in the office before my trip, and so I need to get a lot done tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

send up a signal i'll throw you a line

Today was a reasonably good day; I didn't write as much as I intended, but all in all I accomplished most of what I set out to do. I worked out of the city today, which meant an easy commute via the muni (almost door to door - the muni stops at my corner and takes me straight to the corner that the office building is on) instead of the obnoxious driving commute that I will face tomorrow. I slogged throughout the day, taking a break to have a great lunch with Pete (great for the food, which was sushi with a bit of seafood chowder and a couple of the best little chocolate chip cookies you will ever have (they have small flakes of sea salt on them, which makes a world of difference), and also great for the company, since I adore Pete). I then left the office around five, came home, did the v. urban thing of running to the grocery store solely for tonight's meat, and then started cooking.

Unfortunately, I was halfway through making some polenta when I discovered that I had a 6:30pm conference call that I had not actually been calendared for. Luckily, the polenta was far enough along that removing it from the heat for half an hour didn't damage it, and so I took the call, then finished making the polenta and fried myself a porkchop. I ate my unusually fancy dinner while watching an episode of Craig, and then I did a little bit of work, procrastinated a lot, and wrote about a page of my novel before deciding to throw in the towel.

Five days from now, I will be getting ready to board a plane to Singapore (via Hong Kong) with my dad, so hopefully everything goes smoothly the next few days so that I am able to get everything ready to go in time. Now, though, I should sleep; I want to get up early, slog hard, and leave at five so that I can write tomorrow night (how many times have you heard those grandiose plans before?) , so wish me luck!

and i know that my heart will go on

Today was an excellent, albeit v. long, day. I made it down to Mountain View despite the rain-induced traffic disasters, and I slogged efficiently and productively all day. I took a break for lunch with Dontae (baked potato Tuesday!), then slogged the rest of the day. I left around 5:15pm so that I could grab a sandwich at Quiznos on the way to class.

Class was excellent again; I didn't like the story that I wrote for this week, and in general find that because I've been writing romance, I'm so caught up in plot and pacing that, while I care a lot about character development, I tend to not use as much metaphor and symbolism and flashbacks and other literary techniques because they're just not part of my standard repertoire. Since I do want to write literary fiction someday in addition to romance, this is a bit disheartening -- but perhaps I would do better if I spent more time on my writing exercises instead of just turning in the barely-completed first drafts. It's hard to make more time for the writing exercises when I'm trying to focus the majority of my energies on Madeleine and Ferguson's story...but I have a couple of weeks off because I'll miss the next two classes due to my trip, so perhaps I can spend some more time on the exercises while I'm on one of the many interminable plane rides in my near future.

I left class slightly early to scurry back to the evil city and meet up with Adit and Vidya so that we could see 'Avatar' on IMAX 3-D. We bought the tickets on Friday night when we were all drunk and happy, and decided that Tuesday night was the only night that we could see the movie since Vidya is traveling tomorrow and then I'm leaving for India next week. Of course, now that the day had arrived, and we were sitting in the theatre at 10pm waiting for an almost-three-hour movie to start, at least some of us had second thoughts. But, the tickets were $17 each (imax, you slay me), and we all wanted to see the movie even if the timing wasn't ideal, so we settled in to watch.

Verdict? I really liked it, and it was a visual and technological masterpiece even if the dialogue was hackneyed and the plot was a highly-predictable mishmash of every blockbuster scifi movie in the past decade with every Pocahontas/Dances With Wolves/Lion King feel-good stranger-in-a-strange land tale. Despite that and despite some truly cringe-worthy dialogue, I thought that it was lovely, and I would be willing to see it again, so clearly the dialogue wasn't that bad. IMAX did make me a little leery -- luckily I didn't feel queasy, but there were enough shots from significant height looking out over cliffs and tree limbs that I felt just a little nervous. Silly, I know, but a good indication of how realistic they made the movie feel despite all the gangly blue people running around.

Now it's almost two a.m., and I should really get to sleep if I'm going to survive tomorrow. Luckily I can work out of the city tomorrow, so I don't have to get up quite so early; if I had to get up a six, I would be a sad panda. Instead I can sleep until eight -- yay! And so, goodnight!

Monday, January 25, 2010

love's austere and lonely offices

I find that I'm not in the mood to blog tonight; I didn't accomplish enough in any sphere today, and so I'm mad at myself, and when I'm mad at myself I'm not particularly good company for anyone. I did have lunch with Pete, however, which was the sole highlight (well, and I had a conference call with Heather, aka dear respected madam, which was the other highlight). I also managed to write the first draft of my short story, but I'm not particularly happy with it, and so I'm going to go to bed so that I can get up tomorrow and rewrite it before work.

I wish I wasn't in a blah mood today. I recognize that I have frightening, unrealistically high expectations for myself, and that this causes most of my woes. However, I also firmly believe that I won't accomplish nearly as much if I don't set audacious goals. It's just that on days like today, when most normal people would be satisfied with an appropriate mix of work and play and some slacking, I feel that I've let myself down -- mostly because I wasn't able to overcome my own apathy enough to break through and make progress.

Ugh -- that's all for tonight, as whining won't get me anywhere. I will accomplish more tomorrow by force, and I have class and a movie to look forward to tomorrow night, so I will be as right as rain (which continues to fall outside my window). Goodnight!

can't take my eyes off of you

I had a reasonably productive Sunday, which was exactly what I needed to have. I spent an hour or two at Atlas Cafe, where I plotted out the major points of my novel over a delicious portobello mushroom sandwich and a latte. Then I came home, wrote a few pages, talked to my parents, and wrote a few more pages while doing some desultory watching of football. I finished reading "A Mercy" for my historical fiction class (verdict: not really a fan, even if she did win a Nobel Prize), did some research on the 1906 earthquake for the story I need to write, cooked some chicken and sweet potato fries, and topped it all off by watching an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" with Adit. Meanwhile, Adit spent over twelve hours straight curled up in a nest on the living room floor, consisting of an air mattress, multiple pillows, and a down comforter (he just said "I don't remember what it's like to stand"). So, a v. lowkey day was had by all.

I have a fairly brutal amount of work to do this week, but since I can work out of the city at least two days this week, I will hopefully be able to get some writing done two. A week from right now, my father will arrive in SF, and we leave for Singapore and India a week from tomorrow! So, I need to keep slogging this week -- wish me luck. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

damn it feels good to be a gangsta

I had a reasonably productive, reasonably good day; I likely won't hit my twenty-page goal for the weekend because I'm going to have to work on a short story for my writing class sometime tomorrow, but I'm making progress. I woke up sometime after ten, did some dishes, took a shower, and pulled myself together despite my slight wine hangover. I inadvertently ended up watching "Shrek"; Adit had turned it on for some reason, and the love story sucked me. But, as soon as the movie was over, I dragged myself out of the apartment and walked over to Samovar, where I wrote for a couple of hours over quiche and masala chai. I walked home and did some errands on the way, stopping in at the bookstore that Vidya recommended yesterday, where I bought an interesting-looking book on the abolition movement in Britain (which I'm curious about, since one of Amelia's brothers may be a pirate-slash-abolitionist). I also bought some paper at Flax, and then I bought a Singapore guidebook at the travel bookstore on Market before coming home.

I spent the rest of the evening alternating between writing and procrastinating, but I wrote enough to feel satisfied with the evening. So, when Adit came home unexpectedly early from dinner and turned on the television, I decided to stop writing and watch 'Office Space'. It's maybe not the right movie to watch if I want to feel better about being employed, but it's quite entertaining regardless.

Now, though, I want to go to sleep so that I can get up and write like a madwoman tomorrow. I told my agent I would finish my next book by June, which is going to be a hard and painful slog, but I would like to get it out to publishers before the next romance convention in July, so slog I must. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

bread out with your head out

This was quite the day! Adit and I drove down to the glorious south bay in time for my ten a.m. meeting (where he inadvertently pointed at the big boss's boss and made fun of him, tanks), and then I slogged like a true workaholic until after five p.m. I got a lot of stuff done, which was v. necessary, and that means that that I'll be able to write this weekend without having to do any work for the day job. I then drove back to the city of sin, where I ate a bowl of frosted flakes to sustain myself, and then wrote a couple of pages of Madeleine and Ferguson's story while waiting for Adit and Vidya to show up.

They finally showed up around 9:45pm, and we polished off a bottle of wine that had been collecting dust on top of the fridge before going to a 10:45 reservation at Zuni. No offense to my parents or any other cooks, but I had the absolute best porkchop in my entire life there -- granted, I spent over $60 at dinner, but that included my share of another bottle of wine, a share of soup and a delicious polenta starter, and a flourless chocolate cake (as Adit said, 'good, I don't like flour'). It was all v. delicious, and we had a v. amusing conversation before vacating the restaurant around midnight. We tried to go to Martuni's, but it was packed with an unusual crowd. So, we came back to our place, ordered some pizza, drank some champagne and St Germain, and watched Conan's last episode. Now we're theoretically watching 'Talladega Nights', but Vidya is already asleep and Adit and I are close to it, so I think I'm going to go to bed instead. Goodnight!

Friday, January 22, 2010

matchmaker matchmaker make me a match

This is a four-minute post. The productivity surge continues, in my effort to throw resources at my book problem so that I can beat it into submission. I made it into the office by eight and slogged v. well until five-thirty; at that point, Adit came to my office and we carpooled home in the rain, which took almost an hour and a half. During that time, Adit reorganized my phone, made fun of my music, and read me every definition from Urban Dictionary of the various reputed meanings of the words "Wamp" and "Wamp Wamp", which was v. helpful. We spent the evening engaging in family time by watching tennis, eating leftovers from the fridge, and watching a couple of episodes of "Project Runway".

However, in the midst of all that watching of television, I managed to write 1461 words, which is almost six pages. Yay for me, and more importantly yay for Madeleine and Ferguson -- they are six pages closer to their eternal happiness. I intend to continue this massive outburst of productivity this weekend; my switch to longhand is really working for me, perhaps because there is no clock on my notebook staring me in the face, nor does it have access to the internet. And really, that's my only plan for the weekend -- I can't wait!

My four minutes are up, and I have plenty of slogging to do tomorrow, so I should go to bed!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

i can't let go, i can't get out

This is a four-minute post. I was twenty minutes late to my only important meeting of the week (well, with the exception of my one-on-one with the big boss, but this is the big boss's staff meeting) because it was raining sheets and traffic was abysmal even though I left early. That put me in a rather foul mood for the rest of the morning, but I recovered enough to slog with near-perfect productivity until my one-on-one with the big boss later in the afternoon. We covered an insane amount of stuff in the short amount of time we have, leaving me with a list of action items the length of my arm, and a mounting sense of dread/masochistic excitement over pulling off the entire planning, organizing, and executing of a 100+ person conference in the next 35 days (14 of which I will be in Singapore and India). It will happen, and it will be great, but February is going to be an intense month between my travels, my adventures with my father, my Olympic Rings Cake Experience, the conference, my fiction class, and my desire to write 4-5 pages/day.

The writing actually happened today; I left the office at four p.m., came home, washed my sheets (since I had an awful dream right before I woke up this morning that I had head lice -- not true, but it creeped me out), and wrote four pages. I then typed them up (since I'm pursuing my new strategy of handwriting, which seems to be just as fast as typing, and I type fast enough that I can type up four pages in less than ten minutes) and ate a delicious Amy's margherita pizza before doing some work for the day job for an hour. Now, though, my four minutes are up, and I would like to get eight hours of sleep before attempting tomorrow's rain-soaked commute, so it's time for bed!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

she spreads her love, she burns me up

I really should have gone to be right after I walked in the door an hour ago, but after go-go-going all day, I needed a few precious minutes of stupidity in front of the interwebs to unwind. My commute this morning was rendered ghastly by the rain and the general lack of infrastructure to handle more than 0.25" of water (case in point: the onramp that I usually take to get on the freeway was closed, forcing me to detour in search of another access point). However, I made it to work, where I slogged all day. I had a nice break in the form of lunch with Gyre; we traditionally have lunch every third Tuesday, and since Tuesdays happen to be baked potato day at my favorite cafe, I've probably eaten the same lunch with him approximately twenty times in the past year. I then continued my slog until 5:15pm, at which point I realized that I was going to be late for class if I didn't skedaddle immediately.

So I sped out of the office, drove through the nearest Taco Bell in search of some easy and deliciously bad sustenance, and furiously drove to Stanford, where I sat in the car to scarf down my baja chalupa before walking into class about four minutes late. Class was really good tonight, and didn't feel like it lasted for three hours; we spent the first segment doing mini-workshops of each other's stories from last week (which involved breaking into groups of three, reading each story, and critiquing them for ten minutes). My partners claimed to like my story, didn't think that my farm workers were overly cliched, and gave some helpful suggestions if I wanted to expand the story (which I probably don't, although I am curious what happens to the brothers). The other two stories in my group were really great too, and so I'm pleased to see that the other students are somewhat serious about this. That made for a great discussion of the reading for this week (the first half of Toni Morrison's "A Mercy"), and then we prepped for this week's writing exercise, in which I'm going to have to write a couple of pages from the point of view of a photographer during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After class ended, I drove home, sat around for a bit as mentioned above, and now am going to go to bed.

However, I need to think of a longer story (~15 pages) to write for this class, and I'm a bit at a loss. I thought about writing about Iowa; I thought about writing about Ukraine or India (yes, so similar); and then I had this great idea tonight of writing about Madeleine's brother, who is a major figure in the Parisian underworld since I need to do some research for that anyway, but I don't want it to turn into too much of a ripoff of "Les Miserables". So, I'll have to keep thinking -- but I need to research over the next couple of weeks so that I can start writing before/while I'm in India, so I'm going to have to decide quickly. Perhaps the answer will come to me in a dream tonight; for now, it's time for bed!

i won't stop until that boy is mine

I didn't realize that it had gotten so late, and now I'm not going to get nearly enough sleep before getting up for work tomorrow. In usual procrastinatory style, I put off the writing and reading exercises for my fiction class until tonight (class is tomorrow night), and so I spent the last five hours reading part of "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison, researching migrant farmworkers in the 50s, and writing a 2-3 page scene between two migrant brothers who are arguing about how they are going to pay off their debts. I struggled with this story because I don't really have that much interest in the 1950s or migrant farmworkers from a fiction standpoint, but I at least have a rough draft, and so I will get up tomorrow and finish it before work.

The rest of the day was lovely, although I didn't get up early enough to accomplish a lot. I spent a couple of quality hours eating a sandwich and plotting Madeleine and Ferguson's story at Duboce Park Cafe, and continued working on the plot while drinking chai at home and doing a load of laundry. Then, I went to the visa outsourcing place to pick up my passport, and was thrilled that it was done and approved, and so I now have a visa valid for one year and multiple entries to India. This means that my trip with my dad can now go on unhindered, which is a huge relief since we leave two weeks from tonight! I made a quick stop at the Gap to buy a new pair of jeans, then came home, ate my overpriced version of a peasant meal (bread, cheese and fruit, where the bread is a fresh-baked baguette, the cheese is some stinky soft brie-style cheese, and the fruit is dates), and worked on the assignments for class until now.

Sadly, it's after midnight, which means I really, really need to go to bed. After a three-day weekend, going back to work is even harder, particularly since it's raining here for the next two weeks, which will put a serious damper on my mood. I will just have to write a lot to compensate -- and if I'm going to do that, I need to sleep, so goodnight!

Monday, January 18, 2010

the ghost in you

Today was a day for recovery following two nights of mild debauchery. I slept until after eleven, lounged around the apartment eating bagels and watching tv with Adit, Priyanka and Eric, and then bid them a fond farewell while they went on a tour of the city and I contemplated writing. I actually was not successful at all with the writing today; I tried to go to Samovar, but there were no seats, and so I took the bus to the Tenderloin to pick up my car from the alley where I left it last night (thankfully, despite the broken safety glass on the sidewalk from break-ins of nights gone by, my car was intact and undamaged when I picked it up). I decided to go to Atlas Cafe, but it was also packed (rainy weekends in San Francisco flood the cafes), and so I ate a fantastic portobello mushroom sandwich at the bar and then drove home. I spent some quality time talking to my parents, Adit/Priyanka/Eric returned from their tour of the city, and we watched part of "The Rock" and the beginning of "The Prestige" before seeking out dinner.

Dinner ended up being soft tofu at the Korean hot pot place in the Inner Richmond that we often go to, which was perfect for a cold, rainy Sunday. We warmed up over some extremely hot (temperature-wise) and moderately spicy soup and rice while watching the end of the Golden Globes on mute. After dinner, we took Eric to the airport so that he could fly back to the east coast, and then we returned to the apartment, where we watched tonight's "60 Minutes", which had particularly heartwrenching stories about Haiti and about high school football in American Samoa, as well as the usual few minutes with Andy Rooney. Adit and I then watched the rest of "The Prestige" while Priyanka slept through most of it. I had seen bits and pieces of "The Prestige" before, and the whole movie just made me feel kind of sad, but Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale were both fantastic, and the movie was well worth seeing.

Now, though, I should really go to bed -- I have the day off tomorrow, but I need to be productive. If nothing else, I have to do my assignment for my writing class, but I also want to spend some quality time replotting my novel so that I can start to feel my way through how I'm going to incorporate my new, better idea into the framework that I already had. I also have to go to the visa outsourcing place at 5:30pm to see if I can pick up my passport, so wish me luck with that. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

red red wine you make me feel so fine

I had another night of debauchery, and so the three-day weekend continues to be celebrated in style (and not in a style particularly suited to honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. either, which is amusing). I woke up around ten this morning, forced myself to shower in the belief that it would make me feel better (a belief that was partially accurate), and then spent the entire afternoon sitting around the living room with Adit and Priyanka, snacking and watching football while reading my manuscript and making notes about the changes that I want to make (which are depressingly extensive, and so I really need to get cracking). I had a moment of despair when Adit took pleasure in pointing out that if I had been born a year earlier, I would have started working at my current employer a year earlier, which would have made enough difference in my net worth that I could be semi-retired and living in a fabulous loft; and if I had finished my book a year earlier, I might have easily sold it before the start of the recession and the collapse of the publishing industry. Sigh. This line of thought was not particularly useful or productive, so I mourned what could have been for a few minutes before getting back to work. I also mourned Arizona's decimation at the hands of the Saints, since Kurt Warner is an Iowan with a heart of gold, but I digress.

In the evening, I went to Jasmine and Michael's for dinner -- it had been a year since I last saw them, which is almost unforgivable, and I attribute it to the extreme hermitage that I have partaken in over the past few months. I met their son Kieran for the first time; he is one of the most adorable babies (well, one-year-olds) that I've ever seen, and it was fun to see and play with him even if he was a bit fussy at diner. We hung out for several hours, continuing to drink wine after Jasmine put Kieran down for bed, and it was absolutely lovely to catch up -- hopefully I'll see them again sooner than a year from now.

I left their place around 10:30, after receiving a dozen missed calls from Adit, who very inescapably insisted that I meet up with them for karaoke. There's a new karaoke place less than a block from the apartment I rented from the Chandlord, which includes private karaoke rooms, wine/beer/sake, and food, all of which is a great idea. I arrived in time to sing enough that I expect my voice will be scratchy tomorrow; after drinking some wine, I just go for it with the singing, and my enthusiasm theoretically makes up for my marginal talent. The room was full, with Adit, Priyanka, Anton (the former inhabitant of my room), Amanda (Anton's wife), Nir (whom I mistakenly referred to last night as Neer), his girlfriend Molly, two kids named Eric, and Katrina all hanging out. We sang a lot of songs until almost one a.m. and I had over half a bottle of wine, and we ultimately vacated in search of a bar. Sadly, both of the bars that Adit and I wanted to go to were closed, and so we ended up at this weird bar called Outsiders that we will never go to again. We had one drink there, then found a taxi to take us home, and now I'm calling it a night.

Hopefully I'm not hungover tomorrow -- I really need to get going with the writing, and there's no time like the present. Other than making my way over to Vidya's to retrieve my car from the alley where I left it tonight, I have no serious plans tomorrow, and so writing will make its way into the cards. For now, though, I really need to go to sleep -- goodnight!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

you left my heart empty as a vacant lot

I'm too obliterated to blog effectively; I decided to let go for a night and accept the consequences in the morning, and the result is that I had several glasses of wine and a couple of the high-falutin' cocktails that San Francisco is known for (I think it was called Sunshine Swizzle? whatever it was, it had vodka plus grapefruit juice plus some other liquor I have never heard of).

Today was generally better than expected; because I was working out of the city, I slept until after nine, and then got ready quickly so that I could do some work in the morning. I continued to work while having lunch at Duboce Park Cafe, and then returned my laptop, phone, and other persona effects to my apartment so that I could take my visa application to the agency responsible for Indian visas. Their website was quite specific about not allowing cell phones, bags of any kind (other than a 'small ladies pouch'), or other materials, and so I took my application + passport in a ziploc bag, and had my wallet as my only other item. It turns out that they don't have a metal detector and no one checked to see if I had a phone, but better safe than sorry. They seemed to think my proof of residence was just fine (in fact, they seemed willing to accept the handwritten change-of-address on the back of my driver's license, but said it was good that I had the DMV record just in case), and so I was in and out in ten minutes. Barring disaster, I should have the visa on Monday, which is v. good news!

After my dinner tonight, I'm realizing how much I am missing India -- from a lay perspective, it may appear that I have an Indian fetish given the percentage of my best friends who are Indian, but while the fetishization may be questionable, there is no doubt that I have a fascination with the place that a lifetime will not cure. It has been two years since my last trip to India, and I am very much looking forward to going back -- and to showing my dad a place that has meant so much to me in the past few years. As I was saying to Adit, the amount of people you see on one block in Hyderabad is equal to the amount of people you see in an entire day in San Francisco -- there is no way to compare the two, and both of them are so dissimilar from where I grew up that it's a wonder that I haven't lost my mind from all the differences. So it will be great to see Hyderabad again, and to go shopping for saris for Adit and Priyanka's wedding in Delhi, and to see the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri with my dad, and to experience all the other things that I love about India. It's truly a place that I could continue to go back to for the rest of my life; while there are dozens of other countries supposedly at the top of my to-do list, India will always be there regardless of how much I see.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day working, and then spent a quality hour with my manuscript before Adit, Priyanka, and two of their houseguests returned from Sonoma. Priyanka, Neer and I drank wine while Molly took a nap and Adit picked up Eric from the airport; then, the six of us had dinner at Mission Park Cafe, where I had rabbit for the first time. It was v. accessible rabbit, in the form of rabbit pot pie, and so it tasted a lot like chicken even if there seemed to be some humor in serving rabbit with a bunch of roasted carrots. It's funny that I've tried and loved eel before ever eating rabbit, but there is no accounting for the traumas in my parents' childhoods that led to the banning of foods like rabbit and lamb in my household.

Since dinner started at ten p.m., it was necessary to drop Eric off after dinner so that he could sleep before his residency interviews tomorrow. We dropped him off (as well as Molly, who was v. sleepy), and then Adit, Priyanka, Neer and I went to the bar down the street, where we drank pretentious cocktails while discussing "Cadillac plans" and other issues related to the health care debate. And now, it's almost three a.m., I'm well past sober, and it's time for bed. I'm going to use this weekend to write excessively (after I recover from the inevitable hangover) -- wish me luck!

Friday, January 15, 2010

where the world ends

Today was a rather stressful day, thankfully interrupted by a lovely dinner with Natasha and Chris. I was freaking out a bit about the whole visa situation, which culminated in receiving an email back from the consulate around 4pm saying that there were no other documents they would accept, but that I could get a proof of change of address paper from the DMV in lieu of a new driver's license. I madly checked the DMV website and discovered that the Redwood City DMV was open until 5pm, but closed tomorrow due to the fact they have no money, and closed Monday for Martin Luther King day. So I threw everything in my bag (except my dry cleaning, which will have to stay at the office until Tuesday) and dashed for my car, then drove frantically to Redwood City. I arrived by 4:30, took a number, and was out the door by 4:45 $5 poorer but holding a priceless sheet of paper verifying that my address is indeed my address. Provided that the consulate actually accepts it, it appears that everything worked out; I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to drop off my application in person, so if they approve it I will have a visa Monday or Tuesday. That's much better than spending the weekend wondering how long the wait at the DMV would be on Tuesday or Wednesday (not to mention that the big boss will be back next week and I won't have time for such shenanigans).

I didn't really have time for such shenanigans today either, but better today than sometime in the next two weeks. I slogged violently the rest of the day, and then took a break after the DMV to have dinner with Natasha (and later Chris, who joined late). We went to Yume Sushi in Sunnyvale, which I had never been to before, but it was utterly delicious, and the server was incredibly friendly (particularly after she accidentally broke the ice by inadvertently laughing when she overheard Chris say to me 'do you have sparkly shit in your hair?'). It was lovely to catch up - they went to Costa Rica over the holidays for a slightly belated honeymoon, and I'm incredibly jealous of the fun times they had (Katie - take note!)

Dinner wrapped up a little after eight, and I made the annoying trek back to the evil city, where I even more annoyingly worked from the time I got home until midnight. But, I got a ton of stuff accomplished that I needed to get accomplished, which will clear up any need to work over the weekend. That means that I can spend the weekend doing exactly what I need to be doing, which is writing up a storm. Of course, I have to get through tomorrow first, which will necessitate more slogging + a trip to the visa processing office, but the weekend is so tantalizingly close! And on that note, it's time for bed!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

pick up the receiver i'll make you a believer

Ah, drama, how I have missed you...and yet now that you have returned to my life, how I wish that you had stayed away. I'm currently grappling with a visa issue that will likely turn out to be nothing, but is just annoying enough to have me the slightest bit concerned. The matter at hand is that the application for an Indian visa requires proof of residence in the form of a driver's license or major utility bill. And the unfortunate truth is that while I changed my address with the DMV several months ago, they do not issue new licenses for change-of-address changes, and so I can't use my driver's license. And, since I moved in with Adit, absolutely none of the utilities are in my name. Theoretically they deal with this issue all the time since there are plenty of roommates, recently-moved people, etc. who apply for visas, and I do have three previous Indian visas with no history of bad behavior, so I'm hopeful that I can throw a whole bunch of other documents at them and they will have mercy upon me. The only other option is to lie about my address, which is fine in theory until I get caught and banned, so mercy will have to do.

I wasn't going to tell this story because my parents read this blog and if I were to not get an Indian visa it would spell disaster for the trip my dad and I are taking -- but, I have had drama before previous trips to India (the liquids plot was discovered the day before I left in 2006, which meant we had no liquids at all on the whole 24hr trip; when I moved to India in 2005, I lost my passport the week before I was supposed to go and had to run all over the whole city to replace it and get a visa), so I am relatively confident that this will all resolve itself. Luckily I can drop it off in San Francisco myself rather than mailing it in and hoping for the best, so it should be fine.

Beyond that, today was a busy day; I had a few meetings in the morning, and a checkup with my doctor regarding my crazy reaction to the tetanus shot. She was clearly annoyed at the nurse who gave me the vaccine, since the woman gave me tetanus and pneumonia less than half an inch apart, which is a) a no-no and b) means they don't know which shot I reacted to. But, she didn't think the arm was infected and determined that it will be fine if I keep applying heat to it (yum, cooked tetanus), so despite the 3+" knot in my arm, I am now cleared to start taking my typhoid vaccine ;)

I spent the rest of the day and night slogging; I have a lot to do before I go to India, and so it's going to be a busy couple of weeks. Now, though, I should really get some sleep so that I can start it all again tomorrow -- goodnight!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the party boys call the krem-i-lin

This is a four-minute post. I had a lousy first half of the day and a great second half of the day, so it all balanced out. I woke up with a continuation of the headache I've had for days, and ended up going into the office rather late so that I could apply heat to my arm while lying in bed. But, when I got to work, I had a baked potato with Joy, then slogged violently for a few hours so that I could get through the most critical of my action items before leaving at 4:15pm so that I could meet up with Ritu and Vidya for coffee before my class.

We went to Cafe Borrone, one of my favorite places in the south bay, and ended up having three of their overpriced-but-delicious sandwiches at a v. early hour since I wanted to eat before class and Ritu and Vidya decided not to have dinner afterwards. We had a lovely time, and then parted ways very sadly (or rather, I parted ways with them -- they very well could have hung out for hours afterwards) so that I could make my way to Stanford just in time for the start of my class.

Class turned out to be very good, and I think it's going to be really useful and interesting. The teacher has good things to say and runs the class well, the class itself is small (less than twelve people, which is very small for a continuing studies writing class) and mostly people who are working on projects already and so have some concept of writing, and the discussion tonight was interesting. I'm finding myself really excited about doing research, focusing on historical writing, etc. -- it could be difficult to balance it with work, my book, my upcoming travels, etc., but it's going to be good.

Now, though, my four minutes are done and gone -- it's time for bed!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

it's a nice day for a barnyard wedding

I worked from San Francisco today, which I intended to do all along because the big boss is in Dublin and so there were no meetings that I needed to attend in the south bay. However, due to my lingering illness and malaise (I have seriously had a headache since I got my shot, and it's driving me crazy), I worked from home rather than going into the office. I slogged during the day, taking a break to run to the store and buy myself an Amy's enchilada and some more tea, and eventually wrapped up what I needed to do so that I could lie on the couch and nurse myself with tea and a book.

The book in question was quite apt (or perhaps poorly chosen) - Andrea Barrett's "Ship Fever", a collection of short stories revolving vaguely around botany and nature, and the 100-page-long title story describes the horrendous typhus epidemic that swept through the Irish immigrant ships quarantined outside of Quebec during the Irish diaspora during the potato famine. Considering that I have been feeling plagued myself (ironically by something meant to prevent me from feeling plagued, which makes me feel even more acutely that I would have died of some hideous disease years ago if I had lived during one of the eras that I love to read and write about), this wasn't the best book for me to read - but it's the first reading assignment for the historical fiction writing class that I'm taking at Stanford this quarter, and since the class starts tomorrow, I couldn't put it off any longer. At least it was this book, and not one of the other assignments, which just happens to be about the Black Death (can't wait!)

Anyway, Ritu came over after she was done with a dinner in the city; she has an interview tomorrow, and I offered to let her stay here rather than at Vidya's since Adit is gone tonight and our place is much more convenient to public transport than Chandlord's. So, we caught up for a couple of hours just the two of us, which was fantastic; she of course had to go to bed so that she could get up for her interview tomorrow, and I should go to bed too so that I can continue to coddle my absurdly whiny and octogenarian style of lying abed sick. And so, goodnight; I'm going to Mountain View tomorrow despite the absence of the big boss, and so there will be no more lying abed for me. Goodnight!

Monday, January 11, 2010

are you going to scarborough fair?

I had a v. lazy day, but it was probably what I needed to have in order to get back into full fighting form. I slept until around ten, messed around the house, took a shower, watched some football with Adit and Priyanka, and tried (and failed) to feel guilty about watching Adit clean most of the apartment (I did offer to clean the bathroom tomorrow, which he accepted, so that shall have to suffice). I spent a couple of quality hour this afternoon putting together a couple of notebooks, printing out all of the existing manuscript pages for Madeleine and Ferguson's story, and arranging them to my liking (yes, I am a dork). I also spent some delightful time on the phone with my parents, which, despite the cold and snow there, made me wish that I was still on vacation.

However, while I may not be on vacation, I did take leave of my responsibilities to go over to Vidya's to watch 'Pride and Prejudice', which I oh-so-happily received from my parents for Christmas. When I got there, I was surprised and delighted to find that Ritu Rani was there as well -- it was quite a surprise, since I knew she was in town but didn't realize that she was coming up. We ordered pizza, drank wine, talked, and ended up watching the entire 5+ hour spectacle while mocking/sighing over it/loving it relentlessly. Colin Firth is just so incredibly brooding and wonderful (although Vidya seemed to have more fondness for the various hounds in the movie), and I somehow want to watch it again and again even though I find almost all of the characters to be perfectly awful and annoying. I'm sure that I made it more annoying by pointing out just how reprehensible someone's behavior was given the mores of the time, or going off on a short tangent on the number of capes to be found on a man's greatcoat, but we still seemed to enjoy ourselves despite that. The one fly in our collective ointment was when I realized that Jane Bennet's face in some lights and at some angles reminds me of Steve the Pirate from "Dodgeball"; he was much on my mind today because I realized that he was actually playing a bit part in a DirecTV commercial, but it's a shame that I made one of the romantic heroines be associated with a total nutjob from "Dodgeball".

Ah, well, c'est la vie. It was all lovely, but I really need to go to bed so that I can get up in time to work tomorrow. Goodnight!

The movie was over at twelve, and I left Vidya's at 12:45.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

shake rattle and roll

I seem to be recovering slightly from my tetanus vaccination; I don't have a fever or chills, although I am still swinging from hot to cold a bit more than usual. However, I've felt nauseated all day, and the red inflammation on my arm appears to be growing rather than shrinking -- and wherever the red appears, it becomes painful and v. tender to touch. So, things like putting on my coat are surprisingly painful -- but I didn't spend the day sweating and shivering like a junkie, so that was a massive improvement.

Instead, I spent the day doing nothing; I woke up around 9:30, sat around until noon, took a nap, took a shower, watched some tv, and then started organizing my new notebook for Madeleine and Ferguson's story. At five I felt like throwing up, but I rallied so that I could see Sri, since I hadn't seen him in a year and he was leaving the area tonight. Vidya picked me up and we met Sri, Sri's old roommate Raymond, Adit, Priyanka and Katrina at Gialina, thus recreating the pizza experience that I had three weeks ago (although we swapped out John and Claude and swapped in Priyanka, Sri and Raymond). Given the increase of vegetarians, we went all-veg on this round, getting two spicy pizzas, one four-cheese pizza, and one squash pizza -- and, of course, we put an egg on a couple of them. It was all delightful, and we sat at a weird bar down the street for an hour before Sri left for the airport. Then, Katrina dropped me, Adit and Priyanka off, and Priyanka promptly continued to sleep as she had slept at the bar while Adit and I watched "Rachel Getting Married". It was really good, although I don't like handheld camerawork and the band hanging out in like every scene kind of annoyed me -- but Anne Hathaway was really good in it, and it was pretty moving. After the movie, I spent some time reading about earthquakes (I didn't feel the one up near Eureka today, but I felt the ones yesterday and the day before, and it's a little unsettling to have three notable earthquakes in three days) -- and now that I've freaked myself out, it's time for bed!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

good morning starshine

The tetanus shot is still wreaking havoc; I spent most of the day sweating, with a two-hour block of chills late this afternoon. However, I survived the chills better today because I remembered that I got a heating pad for Christmas last year, and applying heat directly to my spine kept me from shivering myself to death. I went into work despite all of this because the big boss had a big meeting that I wanted to attend, but I left around two, stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some chicken noodle soup, and spent the rest of the afternoon, evening and night curled up on the couch, alternating between wearing a tshirt and flannel pants or wearing tshirt/sweatshirt/flannel pants/sheepskin slippers/all-encompassing blanket depending on where in the fever/chills cycle.

I shall stop complaining about my health now because it makes me feel even more like an octogenarian (although I just had the awful realization that I officially qualify as 'woman living alone with the cat', if you accept Adit's preposterous claim that some people used to call him 'the cat') -- although I think my complaints aren't entirely ill-justified given that I have a red welt the size of my entire hand on my upper left arm. But, as Adit so kindly pointed out, given my allergic reactions to everything I likely should have been weeded out of the evolutionary genepool long ago, so I will be thankful for what I have.

So in my utter sloth tonight, I watched three episodes of Craig, part of Jeopardy!, and the movie "Sunshine Cleaning" that I wanted to see when it came out last summer. It starred Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Alan Arkin, which made me v. excited -- although it ended up being a bit more depressing than I was expecting, and while it was good, it wasn't exactly the sort of trash that I was in the mood to watch. I then proceeded to waste some time on the internet and was getting ready to write this post and go to bed when Adit and Priyanke showed up with their friend Johanna in tow. We ended up talking for a couple of hours, which was fun (lots about robber barons, gypsies, skin cancer, and midgets), and so now it's time for bed. Hopefully I will be better able to sleep tonight...we shall see. Goodnight!

Friday, January 08, 2010

fever and ague

So this tetanus shot has completely messed me up. I had trouble sleeping last night because I woke up at three a.m. feeling nauseated and chilled; I absolutely had to go to work because the big boss has an important meeting tomorrow that I'm helping her to prep for, but I really wasn't cut out for it. I've discovered that I can work through the fever cycles but not through the chill cycles; after my morning meetings, I spent the morning wearing two sweatshirts and a blanket and shivering in my office. Around noon it switched to a fever, and so I got through the most critical pieces that I needed to finish before meeting with the big boss; after that meeting, Adit picked me up and we drove back to the city of sin.

I needed to work tonight, but I felt chills coming on, so I tried to take a nap -- but ended up shivering so hard that I couldn't sleep. When the chills started to subside, I got up, watched the rest of the Texas/Alabama game while eating enchilada and drinking tea to warm myself up, and then did work for a couple of hours. I would have been done half an hour ago, but I had a nice conversation with a friend of Vidya's who is applying to my workplace and wanted my oh-so-wise insight, so I took time out for that. Now, though, I need to sleep; hopefully this stupid fever/chill cycle will go away tomorrow.

Oh, and we had an earthquake here today; I felt it, but at 4.2 it was just fun rather than dreadful. So between earthquakes, fever and chills this was a v. weird day; hopefully tomorrow will return to standard format! Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

it takes my pain away

This is a four-minute post. It may be shorter, since I'm having trouble typing -- I went to the doctor for what was supposed to be a routine checkup, but since I'm going to India she decided to stick me with a tetanus/whooping cough vaccine and a pneumonia vaccine. I had a tetanus shot before I went five years ago (can't believe it's been that long), but they recently added whooping cough to the mix, which she recommended due to my allergies and my general lack of lung capacity. However, now I can barely lift my arm and the pain is radiating down my side, which will be quite inconvenient given all that I have to do tomorrow.

The rest of the day was actually pretty good, though; I made it in to work in time to grab breakfast before my two-hour marathon meeting at eight a.m., and then slogged the rest of the day (actually, I was slothful for a couple of hours in the afternoon after getting the shots, but then I slogged really hard until seven). I left the office at seven and made it to the evil city just in time to have dinner with Lauren (aka Subz), one of my favorite former expats, who was back in town for the holidays after finishing her first autumn in business school. We had a great time catching up, although it made me miss her all over again; I'm going to have to con my way into a trip to Ann Arbor at some point in the near future so that I can see her in her new abode.

Now, though, I really have to go to bed; I need to be back in the south bay at eight a.m., so hopefully I'll be able to sleep despite my arm. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

i'll love you with all the madness in my soul

I had an excellent day today; I was equal parts productive and social, and it all worked out quite well. I went into the office around 9:30, slogged violently until 4pm (with a break around 11:30 to talk to Heather, aka dear respected madam), and then had a long, productive meeting with the big boss that resulted in enough tasks that I will need to slog violently tomorrow and Thursday as well. I then escaped the office at six and wrote for an hour at a nearby Starbucks; the scene was the beginning of when Ferguson discovers Madeleine's secret life, and it all went v. well until I ran out of paper and had to leave. I've decided to try writing long-hand for awhile (with a fountain pen filled with magenta ink, no less), and it's helping me to get back into my novel and is also far more portable than lugging around my work laptop and my writing laptop every day.

I left Starbucks around seven, smug with my accomplishments, and headed back to the evil city. I then quite happily got a call from Walter (aka the Talbotross), who received my Christmas card and decided to reconnect, and so we talked for half an hour or so while I drove home. My battery sadly died and so we had to cut things short, but it was v. nice to hear from him. I then procrastinated for an hour, ate some hummus, and then worked for an hour and a half.

Just as I was wrapping up for the evening, Adit returned from the east coast, bearing luggage and Priyanka. As much as it was good to have the place to myself for a couple of days so that I could successfully strew things all over the house while unpacking, it's v. good to see them, and I'm looking forward to some ridiculous times over the next few weeks. But I cannot have any ridiculous times tonight, as I have to go to bed so that I can make it to Mountain View for my one important eight a.m. meeting of the week. Goodnight!

run run run away, it's your heart that you'll betray

This is a four-minute post. I wasn't quite as productive as I could have been today, but on the whole I did exactly what I needed to do -- I caught up on work email from vacation, finished cleaning the living room/kitchen, bought tickets for me and my dad to fly from Singapore to Hyderabad on February 6, wrote a letter of rec for someone applying to business school, and wrote romance for an hour. So, as much as I may wish that I had crossed everything off of my to-do list, written for two hours instead of one, and gotten around to cleaning the bathroom, today still wasn't too shabby. I'm also returning to the healthier eating habits that I had developed last fall and abandoned somewhere around the time of the insane conference I planned for work in August, and so I accomplished all that despite subsisting on turkey and hummus -- good for me.

I'm feeling antsy about my writing; I seem to be alternating between feeling wildly confident because I'm in love with my characters and their story, to feeling utterly depressed because it's going slowly and I'm unimpressed with my first-draft writing style. I need to hold on to the confidence and get over the perfectionism, but that's easier said than done. However, I've written a book before, so I can do it again -- I just have to force myself to write for an hour every day, and more on the weekends, so that I can get through the blasted first draft and get to the fun tweak-every-word part sooner rather than later.

Four minutes are up -- goodnight!

Monday, January 04, 2010

may you have a thousand sons

Most of today was pretty blah, but the evening totally made up for it. I'm really not eager to go back to work; theoretically a two-week vacation should have reenergized me, but it just made me feel like I needed another two weeks, months, years, whatever. Hopefully I'll feel differently tomorrow when I'm settled back into my lovely, well-decorated office with all the lovely snacks and lovely people, but we shall see.

I failed to write today; instead, I concentrated on trying to instill some semblance of order on my apartment before Adit gets back on Tuesday. Unfortunately for him, I concentrated on my own room, which is now spic and span and well organized, but I still have crap all over the living room. However, I did run the swiffer around to collect all the errant hairs and dust bunnies, so that will have to do. I should be able to finish tidying up the living room tomorrow, but between unpacking, doing a couple of loads of laundry, going through two months' worth of mail, etc., I just didn't get to it. I also spent some quality time talking to my parents for our ritual Sunday phone call (even though I just saw them two days ago), a brief chat with Aunt Becky, and a little (but actually not a lot) of procrastinating on the internet. And, I had two delicious meals; one was frosted flakes, but they were heavenly with the fat-filled milk that I complained about yesterday. The other was a v. upscale version of a peasant-style lunch; peasants used to live on bread and cheese, but I had baguette, a soft double-cream cheese, an apple, a bit of honey, and several dates, which was awesomely, easily delightful.

I managed to clean myself up and drive down to Palo Alto in time for dinner with Vidya and Claudia at Krung Siam. We went there for old times' sake, even though there are many better restaurants in the area (although it is, after all, cheaper than many of those restaurants, and is quite tasty). We had all the usual suspects while catching up one last time before Claude's return to the east coast on Tuesday. After dinner, Vidya suggested that we try to find a restaurant that she had only been to once, whose name and location she couldn't precisely remember -- miraculously, we succeeded, and ended up having dessert at Joya. It was like having two different evenings all wrapped into one; while Krung Siam is popular with the college kids for its relatively cheap food, Joya is clearly trying to be all that, and appears to be succeeding. We were going to sit in the lounge area, but since we were glared at by the three couples who were all in varying stages of making out in the area, we repaired to the main dining room. I want to go back and try their cocktails, which look interesting, but we settled for two desserts: churros with chocolate sauce, and a strawberries and cream concoction that was perfect in its delicious simplicity. There was a band playing overly loud Spanish-infused music, which encouraged Vidya to try dancing in her seat for the majority of the evening -- but it was all v. fun.

Sadly, we had to part ways, and now I won't see Claude again until later this spring. I made the trek back to the evil city and intended to go to bed as soon as I got here, but I instead promptly wasted an hour doing dishes, catching up on Twitter, etc. Now, though, I really must go to bed -- getting up at six a.m. is not going to be welcome tomorrow, but I must try anyway. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

it's only natural

I had a lovely first day back in California, even if it started later than I intended and I accomplished v. little. I slept until after ten, took a shower, putzed around the apartment, and finally walked over to Samovar in Hayes Valley for a bowl of tea soup and a masala chai. I started rewriting the first chapter of Madeleine and Ferguson's story while I was there -- I'm going to start writing every day (or at least three weekdays + both weekend days), so this fulfilled that even if it wasn't a tremendous wordcount. On the way home, I stopped by Flax to buy some paper for my notebook, and then successfully foraged for food at the independent grocer near my apartment. I decided to try a new brand of milk, buying it for its glass bottle (which I hope will keep it from getting tainted by the odors in the fridge), but I didn't realize until I got home that the milk wasn't homogenized, and so it's a little too creamy or something for my processed tastes.

But the best event of the day was that I drove down to Menlo Park to have dinner with Claudia (my former roommate, aka Claude the Fraud, aka Santy Claude) at our favorite tapas place. We are having dinner tomorrow night with Vidya (aka Vidius Chandicus, aka the Chandlord) as well, but we decided to meet up without her tonight so that we could have a tapas meat-fest without starving her. It was lovely to catch up just the two of us, and even lovelier to do it over deviled dates, chorizo, patatas bravas, etc. We followed the tapas with coffee and dessert at Cafe Borrone, which happens to be across the railroad tracks from Iberia; that two of my favorite places are within a block of each other seems to hint that I should strongly consider moving back to Menlo Park.

We parted ways around 9:15, and I drove back to the evil city. Now, I'm ready to go to bed, but I'm debating how to get my back to quit hurting; I think I strained it or something from lugging my two-laptop carry-on bag all over the place during my thirteen-hour layover in Memphis a couple of weeks ago, since it never felt quite right while I was home, and carrying the bag yesterday threw it over the edge. While I do need to carry stuff tomorrow since I need to do laundry, perhaps I will refrain from walking anywhere with my laptop, and I will just have to hope that that will do the trick.

That's all for tonight -- goodnight!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

so this is the new year, and i don't feel any different

Yes, the song lyric for tonight is too trite and cliched. However, considering that it's 1:45am (3:45am in Iowa, where I just arrived from), and I just got to my apartment, I hope you can forgive my lack of creativity. My flights were mostly on time and completely uneventful, and my four hour layover in Minneapolis (pronounced "Minne-ne-apolis" twice by the flight attendant on the DSM->MSP leg) was made bearable by my Kindle and a big bowl of chicken tortilla soup (that tasted like no chicken tortilla soup I'd ever had, but rather like a jar of chunky salsa).

I would tell you more, but there is nothing more to tell, and I'm exhausted. I wasn't ready to come back; despite living in the middle of nowhere and being nearly impossible to get to drama-free in the winter, my parents do take good care of me while I'm home (case in point: brunch today, which consisted of fried potatoes, eggs, sausage, bacon, and blueberry muffins), and we had an absolutely delightful Christmas. All good things come to an end, I suppose; and if nothing else, I'm feeling reenergized about my writing, which is a good thing. Now, though, I desperately want to crawl into bed and sleep for eight or ten hours -- goodnight!

Friday, January 01, 2010

moon river

Based on my standard time zone, this is the last post of 2009; but in Iowa, we're already almost an hour into 2010. I rang in the new year watching some SNL highlights of Will Ferrell downstairs with my brother, his friend Logan (best friend from high school/college roommate), and Logan's girlfriend Sammi; nothing super exciting, but since I'm usually home for new year's eve, that may have actually been the most I did on a new year's eve since the one where Katie and I rented a hotel room in Des Moines, went to a big party, and got raucously drunk.

The rest of the day was laid-back as well; I made the treacherous walk out to the mailbox to drop my Christmas cards off for the postman, and I packed my suitcase for my flight back to San Francisco tomorrow. My mom and I watched the Stanford game, which started off great but ended in heartache; we watched the same second-half implosion with the ISU/Minnesota game after that, but ISU held out and ended up winning their first bowl game in a v. long time. Logan and Sammi came over around six, and ate dinner with us before going downstairs to play games and watch tv, but I hung out upstairs so that I could book tickets for an upcoming trip to India (yay!!) And I periodically looked at the moon -- the blue moon on New Year's Eve was perfect here, lighting up the snow like it was dawn rather than midnight.

Theoretically, I should be more than happy to see the 00's go, and eager to welcome the 10's. And yes, there have been all sorts of calamities and disasters. But, there are always calamities and disasters; I think the internet and the 24-hour news cycle just makes it all feel more urgent and traumatic and unending. And I had some wonderful years in the 00's -- I wouldn't want to sacrifice my twenties, even if they didn't go exactly as I planned at the outset (I thought I would have a PhD and be married by now, not that I regret that those things didn't happen). I loved college, got to live in India and Ireland, have a fabulous group of friends and a wonderful family, wrote a book, and did tons of fun things. I'm not really excited about my thirties, although theoretically I will come closer to figuring out my life, and that would be a good thing.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who have been reading over the years. I blogged for most of the decade -- starting in 2003 with the xanga blog back when xanga was cool, and then on Blogger starting in 2004. This makes my 374th post of 2009 -- if you've read it all, you deserve a medal! I've learned so much about myself and people and life in the past ten years, and a lot of that distillation process has happened here, even if I don't regularly write all the behind-the-scenes drama going on (although there hasn't been much drama recently -- maybe I need to go out and incite some). I will aim to keep this up in the 2010s, but more importantly I will aim to talk to my friends more; blogs aren't a substitute for real interaction, even if four-minute posts are easier than going out for drinks.

Happy new year, everyone! May the next decade bring all sorts of fun and happiness for all of you.