Wednesday, August 31, 2011

if you think you need to go

I probably should have gone to bed an hour ago, but since my sleep schedule has remained remarkably consistent since coming home, I don't know why I thought I would sleep early tonight. I was quite productive today even though I didn't write a single word of the gargoyle blog. Instead, I fulfilled my familial obligations (to be demonstrated shortly), watched some "NCIS" (which I consider work, since it's all about pacing and character arcs), and continued working on my consulting plans. Of course, there was also some game playing on Google+ and an inordinate amount of Twitter stalking, but that's to be expected.

My mother and I went out for lunch today (shocking, I know) at the cafe that we usually go to in the town north of us. I had an Alyssa-approved Cobb salad and mildly regretted it; it was tasty, but no Cobb salad can live up to the version I regularly eat at Joanie's. I followed it up with a non-Alyssa-approved creme brulee, which was delicious (although why they put whipped cream on top, I don't know). My mother had an apple dumpling that was even better, and I'm guessing her chicken salad was good too, so all in all we had a fine time. Then we drove through the town where my high school was so that my mom could stop at the bank before we returned home and tackled our afternoon activity.

Our fun time this afternoon was devoted to continuing the project I foolishly proposed -- photographing everything in the house and noting where it came from and whether it has any special significance. I took approximately 190 pictures today, which necessitated digging through the china cabinet, buffet, curio cabinet, closets, etc. and dragging out various dishes and mementoes. Then my mom and I went through the pictures and captioned them all. It was a pretty slick process using the ipad, but it still took several hours, and we haven't even touched anything downstairs. But at least we got all the main stuff upstairs, and hopefully we'll get to the rest of it either on this trip or the next time I come home.

The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful. We had steak and sweet corn for supper, which was totally delicious, followed by the "NCIS" episodes mentioned above. And now, I should really sleep; I intend to drive up to Des Moines tomorrow, so sleep is necessary. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

this love has taken control

Today was pretty much not a vacation day - which is good, since it's a Monday and I should be working rather than being completely funemployed. I slept late, as per usual, although not any later than I should have, and then caught up with the online world before finally taking a shower and eating lunch. I spent the afternoon out on the back patio, watching warily for grasshoppers who threatened to destroy my enjoyment of the great outdoors and attempting to work on the non-gargoyle book. I succeeded, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth (my wailing and gnashing, although the grasshoppers would have gnashed if they'd gotten the chance), and managed to string together eight pages even though I kept wanting to quit. Yay for me, right?

I celebrated this glorious occurrence by eating roast beef; my mother made a roast for dinner, which was v. delicious. We then adjourned to the living room for our usual after-dinner ritual of watching whatever fine programming happens to be on CBS; tonight it was one of their comedy blocks followed by "Hawaii Five-O", and I may have to get into that show this fall given that I have a violent crush on Alex O'Loughlin. However, I was only half paying attention to the show, since I put in another five hours of work or so after dinner while the tv was playing in the background. This work was all related to my consulting business rather than my personal writing, but I feel better for having done it even if my to-do list exploded as a result.

And now, after a supremely boring post, I shall go to bed. I have grand plans to have lunch with my mother and take more photos of her hoard tomorrow, so I really should sleep. Goodnight!

Monday, August 29, 2011

the method in the madness

I didn't get as much done today as I had hoped, but perhaps that's to be expected given that I was busy with family stuff in the afternoon. My sister and her family came over for lunch, so I sat around for a few hours with them; my nieces and nephew were in good form, and it's hard to believe that my nephew is graduating from high school this year. After they left, I inadvertently took a bit of a nap, then watched the second half of "Amistad" with my father. The rest of the evening was similarly unproductive, although it did include some fine CBS programming in the form of "60 Minutes", "Big Brother", and "The Good Wife". The "60 Minutes" episode included the story Steve Kroft did last year calling into question the veracity of "Three Cups of Tea", which brought Greg Mortenson's empire crashing down over the past few months. I, of course, delighted in watching the train wreck even though I shouldn't have, since he has actually done some good for education, but he's also apparently done some sketchy things with finances and has exaggerated his accomplishments. But my favorite part of that story wasn't part of the "60 Minutes" piece, but rather was something I read after the piece aired a few months ago -- Greg Mortenson claimed that he initially thought that Steve Kroft was a suicide bomber when he ambushed Mortenson at a book signing, even though he introduced himself as Steve Kroft from "60 Minutes". Ha.

I abandoned the living room when "CSI: Miami" started (although I did hear the opening theme music), with the intention of writing. But I only wrote a few notes to myself about my heroine before getting lost in Wikipedia. I realized that I don't know enough about my heroine's life goals and motivation -- and while this might be realistic, given that teenagers often don't have a crystal clear plan for their lives, I need to have at least some clarity so that she can be a strong, action-oriented heroine. Luckily, I trust that all of those questions are churning in my subconscious, and this is probably something that I can't force, although I do need to sit down tomorrow and do some brainstorming.

But now, I should sleep; it's two a.m. in Iowa, which is my bedtime any way you slice it. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

that's nobody's business but the turks

Those of you who have seen my living spaces may have guessed the curse I bear -- I have a severe case of uberorganized perfectionism that is in direct conflict with my equally dominant hoarder genes. If you've never put two and two together, the scales should fall from your eyes when you consider my hundreds of books (hoard) organized alphabetically and lined up precisely an inch from the edge of the shelf (perfectionist), my rapidly multiplying collection of Starbucks mugs from around the world (hoard) tucked neatly into cabinets (perfectionist), my vast array of photos/museum programs/theatre tickets/postcards (hoard) tacked with military precision in straight lines on my bulletin boards (perfectionist), etc. It's no wonder I have an ulcer, since these two genes should never have been combined.

So what do you do if you're a perfectionist hoarder, descended from a perfectionist-hoarder union? You realize that the parental hoard is going to cause mass chaos upon their deaths and decide to organize in advance while everyone is still living and in their right minds. So I started a new project today, which involves photographing everything of any importance in my parents' house and captioning it with where it came from, what its familial significance is, whether it's been promised to anyone, etc. The hoarding tendencies mean that there's a lot to photograph, but my mother's perfectionism means that it's all clean and nicely arranged, with lots of interesting backstories that should be preserved. I took 55 photos today, hitting the highlights of the kitchen and living room, but since I haven't started going through china cabinets, curio cabinets, kitchen cabinets, etc., we're at the tip of the hoard iceberg. But I'd rather do it now than regret it later, since neither my brother nor I would remember the minutiae of which bowl belonged to which great-grandmother, etc.

That wasn't the only thing I did today, of course -- and besides, with my snazzy ipad the entire process is a breeze, since I can photograph something, upload it immediately, and caption it all at once. I didn't write today, although I may read a writing craft book for a bit before I go to bed; I usually take Saturdays off, and this one was no exception. My mother and I visited my grandmother in her new assisted living facility, which is a v. good situation for her even if I'm a little horrified that a health-related institution attached to the county hospital is serving apple-snickers salad (which is pieces of apple, fun-size snickers, and cool whip). I also went with [censored] down to her old house to feed the half-feral cats still lurking in her barn. I'd found her house depressing for years, ever since my granddad died, and so usually avoided going there whenever I could -- but it was much worse today, with most of the important stuff gone and so much detritus (see: hoarder genes) left to deal with. But, the kittens were super cute, and August in Iowa is possibly the most beautiful month of the year, so it was lovely to get out in the sunshine and enjoy the day.

Eventually we had supper (bratwurst and homemade mac and cheese), and then my mother and I laughed at the patently faked fight scenes in an old episode of "I Spy" (starring Bill Cosby in the first lead TV role played by a black man) which was playing on one of the retro broadcast stations that started up in Iowa after TV went digital last year. I fell down a couple of rabbit holes on Wikipedia but eventually pulled myself out, and I may actually go to bed before midnight (shocking, I know). My sister's coming over tomorrow and I'm hoping to get some writing in before that, so we shall see what happens. Goodnight!

standing by

It was a lovely day in the middle of nowhere today; the temperatures were just about perfect, with no hurricanes or earthquakes or any other disasters to mar the day. I didn't get out of bed until almost eleven, which is about when I would have woken up anyway when accounting for the time difference, which meant I only had three hours to unpack, shower, hang out, check my online Google+ game, eat lunch, etc. before my mother hosted her garden club here. I chose not to participate in the club meeting, since I'm not a gardener and know nothing about anything they were discussing. Instead, I sat on the back patio, overlooking the pond and the lush rolling hills, and wrote six pages of the non-gargoyle book. I still wrapped up in time to help my mom serve dessert to her garden club peeps (I don't know if the oldest member, at 94 years of age, would appreciate being called a 'peep', but I shall anyway) and say hi to all of them, so that was nice.

And then my father and brother returned from hiding (they'd spent half an hour waiting at the end of the driveway for people to start leaving) and we all drove up to see my cousin Drewbaby's first football game of the season. We stopped on the way for dinner at the Pizza Ranch in Indianola, which is pretty much the opposite of anything Alyssa-approved, since they serve both a pizza buffet and a fried chicken and mashed potatoes buffet. Yum. We made it to Bondurant just as the Bondurant-Farrar high school band was playing the national anthem, and Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy had saved us seats in the visitor bleachers (since Drewbaby plays for North Polk). Aunt Becky and Uncle Brian were also there, so we basically had a family reunion sans Drew in the bleachers, much to the detriment of everyone around us who actually knew what was going on and cared about football. Happily, Drew made 4 of his 5 point-after kicks and his team won handily, and since the weather was gorgeous we all had a lovely time. Then we all hung out at the nearby Burger King before parting ways at closing time so that our side of the family could drive home. We got here around 12:30am, and now I should really go to bed. Goodnight!

Friday, August 26, 2011

meet me halfway, right on the borderline

I'm in ye olde Iowa after an entirely uneventful trip -- and so far I haven't contracted any strange new illnesses, so I'm considering this a success! And I even left the apartment ten minutes earlier than I had planned this morning; verily, my preparation for this trip astonishes even me. Terry was kind enough to drop me off at the airport on her way to work (sort of), and my premier status on United meant that I got through check in and security with plenty of time to get a latte and stroll to my gate. It also meant that I got upgraded to first class, which was lovely -- I can report that the other half lives on complimentary pseudo gourmet food served with table linens, and that they get little ceramic dishes of warm mixed nuts (in the edible culinary sense, not in the 'Lance Armstrong is missing one of these' sense). I can also report that I can't quite touch the floor in first class, which is pretty much the story of my life. I had a lovely conversation about e-publishing with the man sitting next to me, then proceeded to write three or four pages of the young adult book (which I should really brainstorm a title for someday, since its code name in every document I have for it is still 'gargoyles' even though gargoyles have no role in it).

We landed in Denver on time, so I killed a couple of hours eating some more (mistake) and typing up the pages I'd written out in longhand on the plane. I didn't get upgraded to first class on the way to Des Moines, so I survived sitting with the peasants by sleeping (and dreaming of a plane crash that would silence the incessant screams of a child two rows ahead of me who seemed to be screaming just for the hell of it rather than out of true pain or frustration). We got into Des Moines early, but my parents and brother were miraculously early to pick me up; I was half expecting them to still be out shopping, but they were in the terminal when I arrived. They didn't have a fatted calf to slaughter in my honor, so we went to Johnny's Italian Steakhouse and ate some of their fatted calf instead. Or rather, we had calamari (which is wholly unrelated to beef, for my vegetarian readers who are confused about such things), my parents had steak, I had a pasta with a spicy sausage/tomato/mushroom sauce, and [censored] had his usual chicken alfredo variant. And then we drove home and my family enjoyed quizzing me on whether I noticed the one new thing that we passed, since I notoriously don't really pay attention to things that we pass on the road. I actually knew immediately what was different -- for the first time, there are now crossbars and flashing lights at the railroad tracks near our house, which means that theoretically you'll get some warning before being slammed into by a train, rather than having to stop, turn off the radio, look both ways, and hope you're not going to get killed. Yay for modernity.

Upon arriving home, I caught a brief glimpse of the dog that is trying to be adopted by my parents (and by that I mean it showed up this morning and is desperately friendly), but I allowed [censored] to take the brunt of his affection while I slipped into the house. My brother showed me a Jon Stewart clip about how the media is ridiculously over the top in its lack of regard for the Ron Paul campaign, and then I went upstairs and watched Letterman and Craig while messing around on my laptop. And now, I think I shall go to bed; it's my usual bedtime in California, which means it's 1:40am here, and I should probably try to get up by ten a.m. so that I can clean up and unpack before my mother hosts her garden club. Ah, small town life. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

foghorn leghorn

It's a v. foggy night in the city of sin, appropriate for my precipitous flight out of here in the morning. I don't intend to murder any prostitutes before I go, but if I do choose to bust out some Jack the Ripper moves, the fog would serve my purposes quite nicely. I can hear the foghorns from here quite clearly on nights like these, which adds to the ambience in a much more pleasurable way than the earthquakes we had last night and this morning -- granted, the earthquakes were small and only lasted a few seconds, unlike the foghorn which goes on all night, but I doubt that the foghorn is going to destroy the city someday. Unless the foghorn has some artificial intelligence that is only a few years away from sentience, but while I assume that the machines will kill us all within my lifetime, I don't think a foghorn will be the one to lead the machine revolution.

Well, that paragraph was weird. Thanks for sticking with me. I should be in bed; while I don't really have to get up much earlier tomorrow than I usually do, it would be in my best interests to get out of bed when the alarm goes off so that Terry can take me to the airport. Shockingly, I was finished packing eight hours ago, so I'm about as ready for my trip as I can hope to be. I spent the day crossing stuff off my to-do list, which unfortunately didn't include writing; I tried to write, and even took my laptop to La Boulange in an attempt to jolt myself into productivity, but I failed. However, the story is pounding at my head and trying to get out (it would be helpful if I got ebola or some other hemorrhagic fever so that the story could bleed out my ears, but I doubt I'll pick up a hemorrhagic fever in Iowa -- although if anyone could, I could!), so hopefully I'll get some quality writing in on the plane. But I'm satisfied with what I got done today; I'll be coming home to clean sheets on the bed (unless I somehow soil them tonight), plenty of clean laundry, a scrupulously neat room, and a space that I love to write in. Granted, I also love to play games and read wikipedia in that space, but at least the space is conducive to writing and daydreaming as well.

Terry came home around 6:30 and rescued me from the strange mood I'm clearly in, so I had someone to talk to other than the characters in my head. We had a v. girly night; she got a manicure and I got a pedicure (v. necessary, since my feet were becoming exactly the kind of hardened, scaly mess that one would expect of a girl destined to rule the curly-brow kingdom), and then we had dinner at an old school restaurant where we watched a bit of the Giants game. Then we came home and I scared her with my knowledge of megaearthquakes, supervolcanoes, and how we're all going to die (which I think gave her yet another reason why I've got an ulcer, since I know too much about this stuff, but that's all just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of my craziness, so I don't consider it too much of a problem -- which may be a sign that I have a problem). She went to bed shortly thereafter, no doubt to escape my doomsday ravings, and I subsided into sullen mutterings before finishing up the last few things I wanted to do before tomorrow.

And now I shall go to bed; tomorrow I shall be in Iowa! Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

let it rain over me

Be forewarned that I'm in a rather foul mood -- sometime around three or four a.m. last night, I woke up because I somehow tweaked my neck in my sleep and was in serious pain every time I moved my head. Needless to say, I slept rather fitfully after that, and my fitful slumber was not helped by the first sunny morning we've had in the Marina in a couple of weeks. My neck hasn't really stopped hurting since then, despite my attempts to treat it with Tylenol (since I don't want to take my preferred Aleve because NSAID pain relievers are possible causes of ulcers) and a heating pad (which I have because I'm prematurely embracing an octogenarian lifestyle). It's better than it was when it first happened, but it's by no means good, and it pretty much scotched my ability to do half of what I intended to do today.

Someday, hopefully, I'll stop regaling you with tales of my health woes, but it seems appropriate for an old-before-her-time hermit with grandpa eyebrows. Beyond the neck pain, though, the rest of my day was fine. I didn't hang any artwork like I had intended since I didn't feel capable of wielding a hammer, but I did unpack from my Germany trip, do two loads of laundry, and get my room as close to finished as I could. I need to carry one box and a bunch of trash/recycling downstairs, and at some point I need to hang some art, but my room looks really good. I didn't write today, but I spent much of the time that I was putzing around the apartment daydreaming about my characters. I even downloaded a collage app for my iPad and started downloading photos and images that remind me of my heroine so that I can make some visual collages of who she is -- it's not something I've really had the patience for before, but the app is extremely slick and I think it will work well for me. I also reorganized my writing notebooks in preparation for my trip home, so hopefully I can get packed tomorrow.

And so, that's all. I saw Terry briefly tonight, but since she was in about the same mood that I was, we were not particularly jovial company. And now, I should go to bed; I'm supposed to train with Alyssa tomorrow, but if my neck still hurts in the morning, I don't think sitting in the car for two hours (and not being able to check my blindspots) is a good idea. We shall see, we shall see. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

it's about to be a scary drop

I desperately wanted to stay in bed this morning, but I managed to drag myself out of the house at a time that should have made me early for the gym; thanks to fate and traffic conspiring against me, I was instead ten minutes late. But Alyssa was in good form and proceeded to make up for lost time with various implements of torture, including resistance bands, kettlebells, and else tings.

[side note: my mother observed yesterday that my friend group has stolen the 'h' from 'tings' and 'tanks' and put it into 'jhokes', which is quite insightful]

As I was saying, Alyssa tortured me, but she made up for it by giving me a card at the end of my workout, which was v. sweet. I then showered and left the gym to run some errands, filling prescriptions and going to the mall to return some stuff that I bought before I went to Germany. Of course, returning some stuff meant that I tried on other stuff, and so the trip cost me money rather than recouping it, but we'll see if I keep what I walked away with. Then I scurried back to the gym to get my eyebrows waxed by a woman who told me after she had put wax on my brows that she used to dress like a chola -- which, needless to say, concerned the crap out of me, since the images on a Google image search for 'chola eyebrows' should tell you all you need to know about this phenomenon. However, she did a good job and I didn't walk away looking like a chola, so there are small miracles. On the other hand, she also told me that my curly grandpa eyebrows are 'unique' and that I should feel special that I have them, since she's never seen someone with straight hair and curly eyebrows. Perhaps I would have believed her, but she told me later that her favorite job is doing makeup for burn victims and other people with facial disfigurements who have never ever felt beautiful because she can give them hope -- which made me wonder if her attempt to convince me that I was a special grandpa-brow princess was her way of making herself feel like a do-gooder. Sigh. At any rate, the curls have been trimmed down and I don't look like my granddad anymore, so I'll take it.

After that rather entertaining conversation, I went to Stanford library and wrote five pages of zee gargoyle book; I'm almost a fourth of the way through the first draft, which is crazy. Crazier is that I daydream about my characters constantly, so if you ever catch me sitting around with a dreamy expression on my face, I'm either thinking of the curly-brow kingdom I'm destined to inherit *or* I'm listening to my characters' dialogues in my head. Stanford library was good for my productivity, even if it was slightly too warm and forced me into taking a ten minute nap. I finally escaped, though, and drove to Mountain View for what turned into a Blood of Lincoln reunion at Vive Sol. Originally Jess and I were going to have dinner by ourselves, but I invited Chandlord, who overcame illness to join us, and John put in a surprise appearance despite the fact that he's been too slammed with work to do anything fun for weeks. It was lovely to see them all; I hadn't seen John since before I went to New York, and hadn't seen Jess much since then either, so it was all v. welcome. Then I drove home (with a stop at Lowes to get some light bulbs - I live a v. exciting life), watched an episode of "Bones" and an episode of "South Park" with Terry, and ignored the lesson of the "South Park" episode she showed me (all about the boys getting sucked into World of Warcraft) to tend to my online Google+ game.

And now, I shall go to bed; I have a ton of stuff to do before Iowa, including writing and many other activities, and so sleep is imperative. Goodnight!

Monday, August 22, 2011

since i made it here i can make it anywhere

Amazingly, I accomplished some stuff today, so I suppose I don't have to engage in any self-flagellation tonight. Oh, wait...I didn't write, so self-flagellation is back on the agenda. But I accomplished a bunch of other stuff on my list, mostly related to the apartment; we're trying to actually get some of the decorative elements done before I leave, and we were moderately successful. Terry and I finally laid down the rug that has been rolled up and leaning in the corner of the living room since we moved in, and it looks great. We also agreed on how many photos we're hanging in the living room, so I need to order some prints and find some hardware for the frames. I also unpacked my last three boxes and discovered that one box was all used packing paper (which I recycled), one box was stuff I actually wanted (including a bunch of silverware that I had been missing since moving to Adit's), and once box was some small decorative stuff that I actually wanted to put out. So hopefully I can clean up and put away those last bits of stuff before I leave for my trip so that my room is finally done (or at least as done as I can get it before Thursday morning).

Between doing decorative stuff and procrastinating from doing the decorative stuff, that took most of the day. I called my parents around four p.m. and caught up with them for an hour or so, and then took care of a few more little things before finally leaving the house and driving down to Belmont to have dinner at Shedletsky's house. Dinner was make your own pizza, and I was quite smug that my sauce:topping:cheese ratio was perfect and didn't cause my crust to disintegrate like some of my other dining partners' attempts. It was great to see them; I hadn't seen Shedletsky in several months, but he seemed to be in fine form. I finally left around ten p.m. and drove home, where I have procrastinated and planned for tomorrow until now. And now I shall go to bed; I'm training with Alyssa tomorrow instead of Tuesday, so I have to get up and go down to Palo Alto in the morning. Bleh. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

i'll drink to that

Actually, I won't drink to that; after last weekend's going-out-with-a-bang social activities, I'm attempting to adhere to the no-alcohol rule for the next few weeks. As a result, today was pretty lowkey. I slept somewhat fitfully until ten a.m. -- I had been sleeping wonderfully, until someone started scraping paint off the house behind my apartment promptly at eight a.m. when such noises are permitted in the city. Boo. Of course, he stopped just after I finally got out of bed, although he went back to it for most of the rest of the afternoon; I really hope that he decides to sleep in tomorrow, or else I will be quite annoyed.

The midday continued to be mildly frustrating; Terry had plans to go to lunch with some of her b-school friends, who were 90 minutes late to meet her (who does that?), which unwittingly inconvenienced me as well because I was holding off on showering until after they left because Terry was using their brute labor to bring her desk up two flights of stairs from our storage unit, and I didn't want to shower until I was done helping with that task and unpacking/repacking the storage room. However, I can't really complain (even though I just spent two run-on sentences complaining) -- they got the desk up here with minimal drama, which means the storage room has more usable space that I can promptly fill with the last couple of boxes from my room + Terry's bike. But by the time they left and I showered, made some vague effort to dry my hair, and left the house, I was an hour later than intended to Katrina and Geetika's joint birthday party in Dolores Park.

Dolores Park was the general ridiculousness that it always is, with people openly drinking and smoking pot, some illicit DJ putting on a random dance party, a dude wandering around selling pot-filled caramels, some guy spending an hour shaving intricate patterns into another guy's head (with a sarong as a hair cape), a bunch of frisbee players, Vidya being herself, and some people wearing animal masks. It was a cloudy day in the city, but it was still a nice way to spend a couple of hours, even if I did spend the early portion of my afternoon hating on one of the party guests whom I didn't know -- she was playing croquet badly and too aggressively for her skill level, and hit my foot hard with the ball twice and almost missed me twice more even though I kept trying to move away from her. I bitched about her unwittingly to her boyfriend, but I was annoyed enough that when he said she was his girlfriend, rather than apologizing profusely like I normally would (and like I did to the strangers who were assaulted by a rogue champagne cork from Katrina's first champagne-opening experience), I just told him "good luck with that". Ha.

Anyway, after the croquet set was put away and I felt like I was in a safe zone again (albeit a safe zone surrounded by strange people in animal masks), I had a good time. I hung out with Jess, Chandlord, Katrina, Adit, Raja, and a variety of other guests, including a girl who was John's aunt's friend's daughter and is visiting the city to decide whether she wants to move here. We ended up splitting from the group and discussing writing for awhile, since she's a freelance writer/writing teacher with an MFA and I'm a novelist (if one can call oneself a novelist if one hasn't sold a novel, bleh). sssanyway, the afternoon was lovely, but since I wasn't drinking because of the ulcer friend, I made my farewells, grabbed a sandwich to go from Morning Due Cafe (one of our old haunts from the days Adit and I lived together, which were less 'days of wine and roses' and more 'days of sandwiches and insults' - and wine, I suppose), and came back to the ultraevil Marina. Once here, I ate half my sandwich, and then Terry and I watched half of last week's Project Runway. She had to go out before the show was over, but I finished it like the trooper that I am, and now I'm contemplating going to bed early so that I can get some stuff done tomorrow. We all know how that story will turn out, so I won't leave you in suspense -- I probably won't get anything done, and will beat myself up about it afterward, which is why I have an ulcer. Charming, eh? Goodnight!

come - we have borscht

I had a v. low-energy day -- it started when I didn't want to crawl out of my cozy bed to drive through the fog to the south bay, and it didn't really improve from there. That's not to say that I didn't have fun; my training session with Alyssa was good, as usual, and you'll find out momentarily that I actually left the house tonight and did something entertaining (yay for me). But the salad I had at my beloved Joanie's Cafe made me feel slightly queasy, since my stomach is no longer hurting but isn't exactly perfect, and I was sleepy on the drive home, so I took a nap when I got here. I did eventually write a few pages of zee non-gargoyle young adult book, and I'm slowly figuring out what happens next, so hopefully I'll make some progress this weekend.

Terry got home from work and watched me eat some slightly stale bread with peanut butter (not that stale bread is better for my stomach, but it's what I had leftover from dinner on Monday), and then we walked over to Fort Mason to watch an improv show. We were going to check out the food trucks that are set up in Fort Mason on Friday nights, but since I didn't feel like eating, we just went straight to the theatre and grabbed seats. Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan (aka Nathan) met us there, and we had a delightful time. It was a longer version of improv than I've seen before -- the show was two hours, and they improved an entire movie-length love story. There were parts that were truly hilarious, and there was one particularly attractive dude who looked a lot like Robert Pattinson and who also drove some of my favorite plot points, so score for that. The show basically managed to appeal to all my interests -- a love story set in the 1800s, with a guy who goes to India, and another guy who ends up kidnapping him and taking him to Moscow. Needless to say, I was utterly delighted. They're doing a Jane Austen themed improv show on my birthday, so you can guess where I'll be celebrating my thirtieth...

After the show, we grabbed cupcakes from a truck right before it closed down, and then Lauren and Nathan gave us a ride home. And now I should really consider going to bed, since I have grand plans to write tomorrow morning before attending to my exciting social calendar. Goodnight!

Friday, August 19, 2011

had a dream i was king -- i woke up, still king

I spent the entire day in the glorious south bay -- which wasn't entirely glorious, since I should have been writing in the evil city instead of bumming around my old haunts, but it ended on a high note, so I'll take it. I went down to train with Alyssa, of course; I was less sore than I expected from yesterday's brush with yoga, but Alyssa worked to ensure that I will be sore tomorrow. So, training with her in the morning should be fun. After we trained, I did another half hour of cardio while reading the first couple of chapters of "Game of Thrones", which I'm finally trying after hearing great things about the HBO adaptation of it earlier in the summer. So far, I really like it, and if it gets me to do more cardio whilst reading it, that would be a good thing.

After finishing cardio, I showered, changed into clean gym clothes, and hung out in the lobby for an hour reading a story for tonight's writing group and taking care of some other tings while drinking a smoothie (I'm such a yuppie). Then I had a stretching session with Brian (hence the decision to stick around the gym, which I don't usually do), who worked on my hamstrings and calves -- I'm pretty sure he bruised me, but I feel temporarily looser than I usually do, so hopefully that will help.

I finally left the gym and snuck over to my old place of work to kidnap Heather (aka dear respected madam) and take her to Starbucks for a blissful hour of gossiping. I hadn't seen her since before I went to Germany since her family was in town for two weeks right when I got back from my trip, so catching up with her before I go to Iowa next week was imperative. She was in reasonably good form, and I was quite happy to see her even though it was too short for my tastes. After I dropped her off, I grabbed a v. early dinner at Chipotle and worked on their patio for awhile; I had to relocate to another Starbucks to use their free wireless briefly, since I needed to upload a last-minute blog post for the group romance blog I'm part of, but at least I got some stuff done.

The reason I stuck around the south bay was because I had my writing group tonight. I'd taken the unusual (for me) step of sharing something that was still an early draft, with a lot of details still to be figured out -- they read the second chapter of my non-gargoyle top secret young adult project and gave me feedback. It was super helpful to see what they thought was working and what wasn't, and it's all good stuff to keep in mind as I keep pressing forward with the rough draft. Sadly, I'm still a long way from being done, but the idea has me v. excited, and it was good to get some validation that the writing group thought it was cool too. We also discussed a short story about Anglo-Indians, written by our host, which I quite enjoyed, and we all sat around and discussed writing and the industry and life until it was 9:30pm and I needed to get back to the evil city before collapsing.

Meeting with writing groups, whether it's this one or the romance writer community, always makes me feel very excited and eager to get cracking, so I'm a little resentful that I have to drive down to Palo Alto and train in the morning. But I'm keeping my weekend much freer than I did last weekend, so hopefully I'll make some serious progress. Now, though, I should sleep so that I can make it to the gym on time -- goodnight!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

salaam namaste

I had a lovely day, even though I only wrote two pages -- but since those two pages were written with a fountain pen filled with Noodler's Widowmaker ink (Noodler's is the brand; Widowmaker is an awesome bloody red), it really felt like so much more. I got up in time for a conference call, which was the first one I've had in months and months. Since I agreed to plan the awards ceremony for next year's romance convention, I anticipate that I will have many more such calls in the next few months. The call was good, but it lasted an hour, and then I spent another hour and a half typing up my notes, putting together an email welcoming the committee to their new responsibilities, etc. Ah, the joys of work.

When I finished, I had just enough time to grab some water, a towel, and the yoga mat I bought yesterday before walking up the block to try yoga for the first time. Alyssa (aka the devil who tortures me) has told me multiple times that I should try yoga to improve my flexibility, and I finally gave in since there are many yoga studios in my neighborhood (since that's what Marina people do). This studio was quite nice; it's very small and intimate, and there were only eight people in the 12pm class, which was perfect. I had no idea what I was doing on a lot of it, and no fancy yoga mat could make up for how much I was sweating (although now I understand why people buy Lululemon yoga gear, if they think it will help), but I actually rather enjoyed it. Things I Hated and Now Love - 5328, Sara - 0. The intro deal was 3 sessions in the next ten days for $10, so I'll try to go a couple more times before heading back to Iowa next week, but since it's seriously one block away and not crowded at noon, I don't think going will be too much of a sacrifice.

After yoga, though, I basically collapsed on the couch and played with my ipad for an hour or two. I finally showered, sat down at my desk, took care of some more stuff, attempted to buckle down, and daydreamed about my book for awhile. I finally wrote my two pages, and the fact that the ink looked like my own blood was appropriate for how hard it's been to get the words out on this scene. Terry came home around seven and neither of us wanted to cook, so we went to Perry's, which is a restaurant a couple of blocks away that made me a mean grilled chicken BLT. When we got home, I typed up the pages that I'd written earlier, took care of some other stuff, checked in (briefly!) on my online game world, and should now consider sleep. I'm training with Alyssa tomorrow, which could either be great or terrible depending on how I feel post-yoga -- we shall see. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

i just came to say hello

Today was much more productive than yesterday; I still didn't write a single word of the non-gargoyle YA book, but at least I didn't spend five hours playing online games. I made it down to the south bay in time to train Alyssa (well, mostly on time; getting out of the city was rough), who was in fine form. Then, I showered, grabbed a salad at Joanie's Cafe, and went to Borders to peruse the latest round of discounts. While I scored some great deals and walked away with eighteen books (a strange mishmash of YA, romance, and writing books), I'm not sure I'll go back -- it's just too depressing picking over the rotting carcass of my favorite bookstore.

After Borders, I drove back to the evil city, stopped at the grocery store to stock up on real food rather than the stuff I served at my dinner party last night, came home, and called my parents. I also spent some time researching yoga studios in my effort to check another thing off my list of activities that will turn me into a vile Marina yuppie, so I may go to one of them tomorrow depending on much I hate my soul and want to destroy it. And I'm not going to lie, I played a bit online, but it was nothing like yesterday. Terry showed up sometime, and we watched an episode of "Bones" and last week's "Project Runway" before I decided I'd had enough tv and came upstairs. I spent the last couple of hours preparing for a call that I have tomorrow -- I don't have 'calls' anymore like I did at work, but since I'm planning next year's awards ceremony at the romance writers convention, I'm going to have some calls this year to discuss it. The first one is tomorrow, and I think I'm prepped for it, but we'll see how it goes.

And now, I should go to bed; even if I do have a call and the possibility of yoga tomorrow, I need to get myself back in gear and create some serious wordcount for my novel. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

kiss me til you're drunk and i'll show you

I am horribly ashamed of myself today - I started off with all these great intentions, and then I got sucked into the online ripoff equivalent of "Civilization" on Google+ and wasted several hours. I've been craving a good game of Civilization (I should be ashamed to admit this, but if you've read any entries over the past eight or nine years, you know that I'm a dork), but the latest Civ apparently doesn't work well on a mac, so I've never bought it. I got way more into this online thing than I had any reason to, though, particularly since it's not nearly as strategic and involved as Civilization (which may be a good thing).

Suffice it to say that while I did stop long enough to go downstairs, clean the kitchen, and eat the leftover half of my burrito last night, I didn't really pull myself out of my stupor until 3:30. At that point, it was imperative for me to shower, go to the grocery store, and start preparing for the dinner party I threw tonight. As it turns out, I made way too much food, as always, although I blame this miscalculation on the fact that Adit didn't show up and neither Tom nor Julie ate much because they'd both stayed home sick today. But, Priyanka, Tom, and Julie came over, and Terry ate with us, so it was still quite fun despite the disasters. I made my old, easy standbys - caprese salad with those awesome roasted tomatoes, truffle butter pasta, and strawberry shortcake - and the evening overall was a success.

And now, I must do whatever it takes to keep from wasting hours on online games; I'd managed not to play a single game on Facebook, and now suddenly I'm exactly what I snubbed before (which is pretty much the story of my life). I have to go to Palo Alto to train with Alyssa tomorrow, but I have grand plans to come back early and write like made tomorrow -- we'll see how much I get done. Goodnight!

Monday, August 15, 2011

and aim for my heart if you feel like

Today was a lovely cap to a hectic weekend -- I'm glad that the weekend progressed as it did, but I do wish that I'd gotten a chance to write today in my brief downtime between events. I slept fitfully last night, as expected since I had been drinking and was sleeping on a daybed in Adit and Priyanka's living room -- I don't sleep well if I've been drinking and I can't sleep in strangers' beds, so once the first exhaustion wore off, I woke up a little after eight and just laid there dozing until Chris and Connie woke up. We sat around and chatted for awhile, but Adit and Priyanka never materialized, so we finally left. I needed food, so I walked down the block to the Castro Samovar in search of some food and caffeine. Unfortunately, I thought my chai was much worse than all the version of chai that I've had there, like the milk had been scalded. Also, the service was generally quite bad, led by the greeter who had the poor judgment necessary to wear a red thong under v. thin white linen pants (with a belly-baring button down tank top).

So I eventually fled the Castro, came home, caught up online, and slept for a copule of hours. Then Pincus called, which was an excellent motivator to get out of bed, through the shower, and out on the street to meet him. We actually met at Adit's, even though he wasn't there, because the parking situation is better than it would be here. We walked around the Castro and through Dolores Park for an hour or so, and since Adit still wasn't back from his afternoon event, we then drove to my place, toured about, and spent some quality time talking about life. Adit and Priyanka showed up sometime around 7pm, and we spent the usual ridiculous amount of time that it requires us to make dinner plans. We'd finally settled on Tacolicious, but a block down the street, Adit mentioned "60 Minutes", I expressed disappointment at not being included even though I had walked away from our roommate relationship in the past, and then suddenly we had turned around and were on our way back to the Mission amongst much laughter.

I must say that Papalote's is an excellent burrito shop, and their homemade salsa is the best thing I've tasted in an age. So we hung out there, ate, and went back to Adit and Priyanka's apartment to watch "60 Minutes". Yes, we're old. I came home before watching "Entourage", though, and with the realization that I've barely slept the last two nights and haven't done any writing, I'm going to go to bed now and hit it hard tomorrow so that I can have fun in the evening. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

to the window, to the wall

I am high on life (read: drunk on wine), tired, and about to sleep on Adit and Priyanka's daybed. I could have slept in their guest room, but Chris and Connie are already asleep there, so I will have to make do.

Sssanyway, I only slept a few hours last night before waking up and going to Berkeley for the monthly romance writers meeting. the meeting was great, all about professionalism in one's writing career (which I'm guessing does not count ignoring an ulcer to get drunk and then blog, but I digress). My friend Becky came to the meeting, we stayed for a great lunch afterward, and I v. stupidly voluntereed to be the VP of programs next year, because I'm a sucker for punishment.

After the meeting, I drove home, which took 75mins due to ridiculous traffic on the bay bridge, and then came to Adit's to help him cook since Priyanka was still sleeping. We made risotto and a pesto pasta, and Priyanka woke up in time to fry some pakoras. Tom, Julie, their former roommate, Chris, Connie, and another one of adit's friends showed up over the next couple of hours, and we had an extended dinner party (wrapping up with a giant Mrs. Fields cookie that Chris had inscribed with "bite me koolwal", ha). Eventually, we relocated to Dolores Park, where we saw a free outdoor screening of Jaws. And then we lost Chris and Connie to blissful slumber while the rest of us went to a bar and had far more alcohol than was advisable. We lost Tom and Julie at the bar, but Adit, Priyanka and I then went to a diner and tried to stave off hangovers with fried breakfast food (I anticipate no success). And now I'm staying the night rather than trying to find a taxi home, so hopefully I sleep okay despite my sins. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

storms are brewing in your eyes

I need to get up in less than six hours, which is criminal, so I shall be as brief as possible. I made it down to Palo Alto just in time for my ten a.m. training session with Alyssa, which was a miracle given how much I didn't want to get out of bed. Alyssa found new and creative ways to torture me, but I left feeling victorious. After I showered, I went to Joanie's and had my usual cobb salad (they know what I want as soon as I walk in), then spent an hour trying to run my errand for the day -- finding bolts for my patio table. I tried to be good and frequent a local non-chain hardware store, but was punished for my do-gooder nature because they only had three bolts in the size I needed, and I needed 24. However, I did get them to make spare keys for our apartment, which we'd been meaning to do for awhile, so it wasn't a total wash. And then I proceeded to Home Depot, where the bolts I needed came in packages of 3 or 4 for $1.15 (nuts included), instead of the $0.55/bolt (not including nuts) at the local place. And we wonder why small businesses struggle...granted, I would have bought from the small place because they actually tried to help me find what I needed, but it ended up being cheaper to go to Home Depot, buy and rip open a couple of bags of bolts to make sure they were the right size, and then procure the rest.

Armed with $8 of bolts, I came back to the city of sin and put together our patio table -- so now (or perhaps after I clean the cobwebs off of it) we can sit on the roof deck and enjoy the fine California weather. Then I spent some quality time chatting with friends online, which I almost never ever do, so that was good. I also made some more notes about zee gargoyle book; I brainstormed at lunch and I've been thinking about it quietly in the background all the time, so I think I'm close to understanding what happens next. That's the danger of going into the book without a clear plot -- sometimes I have to stop and let things percolate, which always feels like laziness even though there really isn't another option at that point.

Eventually, though, I had to get ready and go out. My friend Jenni (whose fiance passed away this spring) just moved to the city with Lauren (not Subz - my old boss from a million years ago who was really more like a friend than a boss), and they invited me, Durand, and two of Lauren's b-school friends to an inaugural dinner party at their new place. They would only be a 10-15min walk from me, but as it's straight uphill, I drove instead and spent as much time looking for parking as I would have walking, but I arrived non-sweaty, so that was worth it. I had a totally fabulous time; it was great to see Lauren, Jenni and Durand, as usual, and Durand and I hit it off with the b-school friends quite well (to the point that I told two people I had just met a few hours earlier that I once baked a cake, decorated it to look like Poland, and then 'partitioned' it at a Germans vs. Austrians theme party, which is usually not something I divulge right off the bat as it makes me look crazy). I didn't get home until 1am, sort of forgetting until I was in my car that I'm supposed to be in Berkeley at 8:15am to meet some people before the monthly romance writers meeting. Ugh. So I should really, really go to bed -- goodnight!

Friday, August 12, 2011

not so fireproof

Today was extremely lackluster; I just need to accept that I probably have one day a week in which I am completely useless so that I give up on it earlier and do other things. I just barely made it down to Palo Alto in time to train with Alyssa, which went well despite my utter lack of desire to be there. Then I ran some errands, had lunch at Chipotle, and came back to the evil city with the intention of going grocery shopping. But, there was unexpectedly annoying traffic on the final approach to the bridge, and by the time I got into the city proper, I was in no mood to go to the store and then fight my way back across town to my apartment.

So, I came home with the intention of writing -- and instead read some profiles of 9/11 victims' families ten years later (happy birthday to me!) in the New York Times, then took a nap. I tried again to write when I woke up, failed again, finally threw in the towel, made dinner (including some undercooked hamburger, which hopefully will not make my stomach worse -- my dream is that the bacteria kills whatever is in my stomach without killing me in the process), and started rereading Susan Cooper's OVER SEA, UNDER STONE, which is the first book in her THE DARK IS RISING series. It's one of the classic works of children's fantasy, and since I'm trying to figure out how to pace the beginning of my non-gargoyle series so that I reveal just enough information to clarify without revealing so much that it either takes away suspense or makes the story drag, this was good research.

Sadly, it kind of sucks that I now view so much of my reading life as research -- I basically took the activity that I enjoy more than any other and made it a duty, which is rather unfortunate. Sometimes it's awesome (i.e. I can spend two hours watching "Highlander" and say I was working!), but on nights when I'm not in a particularly good mood, my old standby of reading a good book doesn't always soothe me. Still, I'm not going to complain about getting to read whatever I want, and I need to spend more time doing it given the extreme piles of unread books sitting around waiting for me. But now, I'm going to go to bed; I'm training again tomorrow, so I should really get some sleep. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

when you have to purchase mad d batteries

I'm falling asleep over my laptop, so this shall be exceedingly brief. I slept in longer than I should have this morning, but that's the consequence of going to bed at 1:30am. So I didn't have time to make it to the gym this morning, but I did drive down to Palo Alto and get my blood drawn for the tests my doctor wanted to run to figure out what's going on with my stomach. Then, I scurried over to my old place of employment to have lunch with the dude who replaced me. It's been more than two months since I was last on campus, but it still felt like home -- enough so that I was v. annoyed when the receptionist wouldn't let me through the secure doors to use the bathroom, even though it's her job to keep riff raff like me out. The dude seemed nice, and his excitement about the job at the beginning of his tenure seemed proportionate to the apathy I felt at the end of mine, so I suppose it's good that the big boss has him instead of me, right?

After I left campus, I went to Starbucks and played around with my consulting website for awhile. Then, I decided to go to the other campus of my youth so that I could write at the Stanford library. I took a break when I first got there and talked to Katie (happy birthday, Katie!), and then I managed to crank out six pages this afternoon -- not the twelve that I was hoping for, but I'll take it. Then, I grabbed dinner at the CoHo, drove back to the evil city, and spent the last couple of hours procrastinating, talking to Terry, and rereading the first segment of my manuscript before starting to fall asleep. I'm almost 20% of the way through the first draft, which is great progress, and things are quickly heading towards the first major turning point of the book, so I hope my sanity will survive it.

And now I'm off to bed -- I have to go down to the glorious south bay (which is feeling less glorious) again tomorrow to train with Alyssa, and then I need to write before the story kills me. Goodnight!

beating like a drum and it's coming your way

No writing today, and I just stayed up way too late messing around with my website -- shame on me. But, the day wasn't a total wash. I made it down to the south bay in time to train with Alyssa, so that was lovely. Then, I visited my doctor about my stomach issues; she wasn't able to diagnose me completely, and so I'm going to get some bloodwork done tomorrow, but she went ahead and gave me more acid blockers since I'd responded well to that before. The sad news is that I'm supposed to stop all alcohol, caffeine, mint, chocolate, etc. for the next few weeks, which is going to make me v. grumpy indeed. But, if this is fixed just by taking an acid blocker for a few weeks while my stomach heals, I'll do it without complaining (too much).

After the doctor, I grabbed a quick lunch and drove down even further into the glorious south bay - past the point of glory, actually, since I was down somewhere around Los Gatos. My dentist is down there, and even though he's now over fifty miles from my new house, I'm staying loyal. So, I got my teeth cleaned, and a clean bill of health with no cavities for something like the fifteenth year in a row. Then, I made my way back up to the evil city, where I procrastinated a bit until Terry got home. Neither of us felt like cooking, so we went over to Unwind, which is a bar/food place a block away from us (we're so adventurous). We caught up over sandwiches, then came home and ended up watching Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", which was kind of hilarious. Then she went to bed and I worked on my consulting website until suddenly realizing that I needed to sleep if I had any hope of making it down to the glorious south bay in time to get to the lab tomorrow.

So that's life for today - I will endeavor to be more interesting tomorrow. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

i got the moves like jagger

I was v. productive today - I don't expect the rest of the week to fall in line like today did, but I'll take what I've got. I didn't get out of bed until almost ten a.m., but I still managed to write 3029 words (12 pages), do two loads of laundry, work out, watch "The Highlander" (the movie, not the series, starring Sean Connery in a supporting role in which he plays an Egyptian/Spaniard who sounds like Sean Connery) as research for my book, respond to a whole bunch of email that I'd been shamefully neglecting, and read a chapter of "The Secret History of the World," which is all about conspiracies and thus v. good for my young adult non-gargoyle romance. I also watched the last episode of Craig's trip to Paris from last week, which was an excellent culmination of a fantastic series of shows. And I even showered somewhere in there, so I'll count that all as a smashing success. If I could write 3000 words every day...

...but I can't, and I shouldn't be going there because then I will be horribly disappointed with myself when I don't do it again tomorrow and will end up ironing my hands or something as punishment. Tomorrow will not be nearly as productive since I'm going to be running around the entire time -- I've got training with Alyssa, followed by a doctor's appointment to find out what's going on with my ulcer friend, followed by a dentist's appointment that I've already rescheduled three times, followed by the potential for dinner in the glorious south bay. If you didn't discern any appreciable writing time in there, you would be correct. So, I'm going to go to bed now and try to get up early to write before going to the gym. I know, if you had a nickel for every time you heard me claim that I was going to get up early, you could buy a whole *chain* of hotels in Bratislava. But really, I might actually do it this time. Goodnight!

Monday, August 08, 2011

i blame myself for being too much like somebody else

I wrote six pages today; I'm not in love with it, but it will do for now. I'm in this weird dead-feeling patch of the manuscript where I need to set up whatever the main quest is for the rest of the book, but since I don't know what the quest is, they're sort of wandering around talking and failing to get to the point. That means I know I'll edit a lot of this out, but if they don't wander in the wilderness, I'll never figure out where they're going, and the story will die on the vine. Isn't that dramatic?

So I got out of bed sometime after ten, showered, ate some appropriately invalid-y food, made a lot of tea, and tried to fix our internet router. While I was fixing the router, I also installed the expanded hard drive for the Tivo, so we have an additional terabyte of storage -- yay for more saved episodes of Craig Ferguson in my future. I managed to write in the afternoon despite almost getting sucked into watching tv with Terry's sister, who was hanging out here this afternoon -- my fortitude at walking away from a television was amazing. I threw in the towel on the writing when it was time to call my parents, and after talking to them, I slunk back to the tv and watched an awesome Craig episode in which he visited Versailles. Then, I walked down to the heart of the Marina to pick up a salad (verdict: would have been great if the dressing hadn't been chock full of dill, which I still can't eat without having bad flashbacks to Ukraine), came back, watched some "Mad Men" and "Bones" with Terry, and then pretended to write for the rest of the evening. I say "pretended" because I would look at the manuscript for a bit and then conveniently remember something that I needed to do, so I didn't add many words.

But, I shall add words tomorrow; I'm not going to Palo Alto, so I have the whole day ahead of me to write as much as I please. I expect that means I will write nothing and be severely disappointed in myself, but I will attempt to avoid my usual fate. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

by the time you hear this i will have already spiralled up

I didn't write a single word today, which means tomorrow is going to need to be crazy productive - hopefully I dream of some plots tonight so that I can make progress. But despite the lack of writing, I had a lovely day; I woke up around ten, showered, ate my ulcer-friendly bagel for breakfast, and started staring at the manuscript. I hadn't looked at it very long before it was time to get ready for Natasha and Chris's baby shower; it feels liks just yesterday that I was at their wedding shower in the same place (Natasha's parents' house in Belmont), and now they're about to pop out a kid. Craziness. Anyway, the baby shower was super fun. I saw a lot of people from work that I hadn't seen in awhile (since Natasha's birthday party in April, to be exact), and I love Natasha's family, so that was fun. They hired some people to cater the equivalent of a taco truck, with a grill and a whole condiments spread set up in the driveway, and I'm happy to report that the ulcer let me eat two small quesadillas (one with chicken, and one with the riskier carnitas - but they were small and I spaced them out, so they snuck under the ulcer's radar). Natasha is a super cute pregnant lady, as expected, and they're going to be v. entertaining parents, so hopefully everything goes well.

After the baby shower, Terry and I came back up to the city, and I sat down at the desk and procrastinated for a bit before thinking about writing. But then I made arrangements with Jessica for her to come over for dinner, with pizza and Anthony and Dormain in tow, so I spent an hour cleaning the apartment instead. I hadn't seen Anthony and Dormain in ages; they've gotten married since I saw them last, but otherwise they seem to be the same as always (entertaining and ridiculously cute). They circled for parking forever, but eventually made it up to the house, where we spent a couple of hours enjoying pizza, wine, homemade cookies (with peanut flour - who knew?), and tea. After they left, Terry and I watched an episode of Bones, which would have been better if I hadn't immediately guessed the killer, and now I"m going to go to bed early in hopes of writing a million words tomorrow. Goodnight!

there's a countdown waiting for me to erupt

Even though I was loath to get out of bed this morning, I made it down to the glorious south bay in time to train with Alyssa. We didn't get much training done; today was one of our periodic reassessment days in which we measure everything, set goals, etc. Since I haven't been in town much for the past few months, the main goal was just to maintain everything, but now that I'm looking at some extended time in California (with the exception of the twelve days I'm spending in Iowa at the end of the month), we've set some aggressive goals. Of course, all the stuff we discussed related to diet is directly dependent on whether I'm allowed to eat anything after I meet with my doctor on Tuesday -- I'm really hoping that it's an easily treatable ulcer that doesn't require long-term changes to what I eat, but we shall see.

The ulcer friend was pretty quiet today, but I barely fed it, so that seemed to starve it into submission. I'm basically living off of bread until I go to the doctor, which seems to be working. So I wrapped up at the gym, ran an errand to Target, grabbed a bread product at Starbucks for lunch, came back to the city of sin, and attempted to write this afternoon. I only got in four pages, which wasn't as much as I intended, but I'm kind of stuck because I've hit a wall (literally; the heroine's back is against a wall in a dead-end alley) and need to figure out where the next few chapters are going. I even took a break to clean my bathroom in hopes that that would inspire me (since it would be great to stop cleaning the bathroom because I needed to write -- it's a great excuse), but no dice. Eventually, I took a longer break and watched last night's episode of "Project Runway". And, Terry came home and we watched an episode of Craig, so it was all good. And then I came upstairs and wrote two pages of notes on where the story is going, so hopefully I can start writing again tomorrow.

But now I need to sleep; I'm increasing my wordcount goals aggressively for next week, and I need to start immediately. Maybe it's crazy, but I want to see if I could write this book in a couple of months if I really set my mind to it, and the only way to do that is to double my current daily wordcount averages. Doable, yes; likely, not so much. We shall see, though -- goodnight!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

i don't switch up i just laugh

I'm counting today as a positive disaster -- there were some rather negative aspects that are currently clouding my memories, but all in all, things went well. I'll get the negative out of the way right now: I didn't write anything (although I did do some brainstorming), and my ulcer friend is back and trying to eat through my stomach wall so that it can kill me (the fact that I'm anthropomorphizing my ulcer friend isn't worrisome at all, right?). The ulcer friend is much more negative than the writing, obvi; I thought that perhaps, perhaps it wasn't as bad as it had been when I was in Germany, but I pushed my luck tonight and ate meatloaf, and I spent the entire drive back to the city shifting around in pain and worrying that every cough (from the unrelated still-healing cold) was going to end in vomiting all over my dress. Yay.

Enough drama about my ulcer friend, though. As I said, the rest of the day was good. I trained with Alyssa, which was both good and bad; since I'm still recovering from a whole host of ailments, I think I'm running a slight, lowgrade fever, and the workout overheated me. Fifteen minutes in a cold shower solved that, though, and I took my time dolling myself up before going to Joanie's for lunch, since I thought I might be able to tolerate a salad (I was, which is why I got cocky and ate meatloaf later). I did some brainstorming there for zee gargoyles, so it was all v. nice and leisurely. Eventually, though, I took care of the errand that I was dreading and went to the AT&T store to beg for them to restore my unlimited data plan. As it turns out, it was the best customer service experience I've had in awhile; I didn't have to wait in line, they didn't argue with me about it at all, they switched it back immediately, and the rep even texted me an hour later to say that he'd checked the status in the system and it was all worked out. So yay for them -- if all their service was like that, they'd have a much different reputation these days.

After that errand, I sat in a parking lot and called United to fix the other debacle from yesterday. That woman was also v. nice, and fifteen minutes later, she was able to issue the ticket I was trying to purchase yesterday, so I was quite pleased. And then, I took care of some more stuff before heading over and picking up Irish Matt, who was in town for a few days and suggested that we get together. Longtime readers of this blog know that Irish Matt does not bring out the best of my temperance when it comes to drinking, but I managed to confined myself to two glasses of sauvignon blanc over four hours, which is pretty good for me when I'm hanging out with him. I took him to Cafe Borrone, and we spent some quality time sitting in the sun (well, the shade near the sun) on the patio, which was utterly lovely. Then, we walked across the street to the Oak City Grill, where I had my ill-fated matchup with a v. delicious beef/veal/pork meatloaf. I dropped him off at his hotel just before my stomach started hurting in earnest, which was perfect timing since I would have been v. poor company after that.

But, my stomach is feeling better than it was in the car; it's by no means perfect yet, but I'm sure sleep will help. Tomorrow it's back to my bread and water diet in an attempt to control the problem until my doctor's appointment on Tuesday -- I live such a wild and crazy life. Goodnight!

grave digger

It was another productive day; I fell approximately one hundred words short of my daily goal, but I'm going to let it slide in the interest of getting some sleep, and will plan to make it up tomorrow. I made it out the door a little before ten and spent a couple of hours at La Boulange, where I ate some v. bland bread-type breakfast in the interest of nursing my ulcer whilst writing some of zee gargoyle romance novel. I came home because I wanted to sit in the comfort of my own home while finishing up my writing goal, but when I got here, I discovered that the Nexus S phone was free for today only. After researching my options online, I realized that I needed to go into a Best Buy store to buy it if I wanted to keep my unlimited data plan, since I couldn't keep it by ordering online. I also discovered that the only store in my general vicinity with phones in stock was in Marin. So, I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, spent an hour in the Best Buy in Marin, and walked out with a sleek new phone. Of course, the rep fucked it up and somehow gave me only 2Gb of data with an 'upgrade' to 1000 texts/month, which is why my bill was the same price as it had been before (which is the only number he gave me to verify that I was still paying the same amount/supposedly getting the same service). So, I'll have to call AT&T tomorrow, but at least the phone is sweet.

I swung by the grocery store on the way home to buy more bland bread products, then spent the late afternoon on the phone with United buying a ticket home in August (and that rep seems to have fucked up as well, given that after twenty minutes on the phone, the reservation in my account says it's "on hold - purchase by 11:59pm EDT on August 4" - so I get to call United sometime before/after I call AT&T tomorrow). I did a bit more writing as well, but I threw in the towel when Terry came home, and I sincerely hope I dream up a plot for the next chapter tonight, since I have no idea what happens next. When Terry got home, we drank some wine (prob a bad idea, but my ulcer isn't officially diagnosed), watched another episode of Craig in Paris (love!), and watched an episode of Bones.

All in all, it was shaping up to be a quiet night, and I was about to knock out the last hundred words of my daily goal when Adit called, asking if I was going to Julie's birthday party. I wasn't super psyched about leaving the house, as evidenced by the fact I'd been in my pajamas since four p.m., but while Terry went to bed (lucky girl), I rallied, threw on some clothes, and grabbed a cab (see: earlier wine consumption) to Julie/Tom/Rat's place. There were ~14 people there, but it was quite lowkey, particularly for them. Chandlord showed up as well, and a v. good time was had by all, with a lot of talk of a lot of topics that I shall not repeat here. Adit, Chandlord and I left sometime after midnight and got pizza (mistake: I was quite hungry, given my half-starved day, but my ulcer friend didn't like pizza), and then I took a cab back to the foggy Marina.

And now, I should sleep; I'm training with Alyssa tomorrow, I have several annoying calls/errands to make, and then I'm writing somewhere in the glorious south bay so that I can be productive before my dinner plans down there. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

i had my spit glands removed during the war

Today was a v. productive day culminating in an awesome Craig episode and a mild resurgence of zee ulcer, so overall I'm counting it as a victory. I drove down to the glorious south bay to train with Alyssa, and I was on time despite taking time to eat breakfast this morning, which was rather miraculous. It was v. good to see her; the advantage/disadvantage of being on time is that she can force me to do more exercises, and while it felt good to work out (shocking, I know), my still-recovering cold/ulcer-ravaged body was quite winded/overheated by the end of it. Still, it was good to be back. We're going to reassess and set a new baseline on Friday and come up with plans for the next month, and I'm excited to have some sort of routine. Also, according to the scale at Equinox, my ulcer helped me to lose six pounds whilst in Germany, so I'm going to start calling it my ulcer friend until my doctor tells me otherwise next week.

After working out, I took a cooling shower, dried my hair, and went to Joanie's Cafe (the love of my life) to have a cobb salad and brainstorm what happens next in my gargoyle romance novel (sans gargoyles). Then, I went to downtown Palo Alto and checked out the liquidation sale at Borders, which made me quite depressed. Borders was my absolutely favorite store as a child, and I basically hoarded whatever money I could get so that I could buy books there whenever my parents took me to the one in Des Moines. So, I'm quite sad that they couldn't get their act together. The liquidation sale isn't in super final closeout mode yet, and so the books I got were only 20-30% off, but I still walked away with an odd mix of history (mostly middle ages/secret societies), romance, and young adult, all of which will feed into my eccentricities. I also ran into Alana, an old coworker (in the 'we worked together for seven years' meaning, not the 'elderly' meaning) who is currently on maternity leave, so we caught up briefly in the dying light of the store (which is cutting back on A/C and lighting and no longer offers bathrooms, which I suppose is another way to cut costs). I'll have to go back next week and see what's been priced lower, but at this point I just hope it dies quickly rather than lingering on in pain.

My stomach felt pretty queasy after lunch, and so I bailed on the v. tentative plan I had to have dinner with Jessica and instead came back to the evil city, where I nursed my vaguely pain-filled stomach while writing in bed. I later relocated to Starbucks to eat a plain bagel for an early dinner, since I didn't think my spaghetti sauce from last night was going to make my stomach happy, and I kept writing until a little after seven. All in all, I wrote ten pages today, which was enough to make me feel quite smug. That meant that I could veg in front of the tv tonight without feeling guilty. And veg I did...

...and I saw the best thing ever, which was last night's episode of Craig Ferguson in Paris. He's in Paris all week, and if last night's episode is any indication, this whole week is going to be a winner. He really is an amazingly funny, inventive dude; rather than having a stage or a location or whatever, he did several interviews outdoors on card tables set up in random spots, and also did interviews on an open-top bus and in a restaurant (replete with a waiter setting and clearing plates around them as they spoke). It was the most awesome thing I've seen in forever, so you know what I'll be watching the rest of the week. Then, I watched a rerun of "NCIS: Los Angeles" that I hadn't seen, did some stuff online, and am now going to go to bed. I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow, but I want to see if I can hit ten pages again -- a girl can dream. Goodnight!

Monday, August 01, 2011

i'm on the edge with you

I treated today like my first day back at work - I even put on manager pants and a sweater, despite the fact that I had no plans to leave the house. Of course, I didn't get out of bed until almost eleven, but I blame my lingering cough for that. When I did get out of bed, I showered, made myself both lunch and dinner (hamburger + corn for lunch, and spaghetti sauce for dinner since I needed to use up the rest of the hamburger before it went bad), ate, and then sat at my desk and stared at my manuscript. I eventually wrote six pages, which is my daily goal right now, so I was pleased about that. But, I don't know exactly what happens next, and so progress ground to a halt so that I could give my subconscious a chance to come up with a story.

When I stopped writing, I called my parents to make up for not talking to them yesterday due to the timing of book club. Then I tried to write some more, but didn't get very far, and so I threw in the towel. I was making my spaghetti when Terry got home, and so we hung out while making and eating our dinners. Then we watched an episode of "Bones", and then I spent a bit of time considering the secondary character who popped up at the end of the chapter I just finished so that I can write the next chapter tomorrow.

But now, I should sleep; I'm training with Alyssa tomorrow, which should be fun and painful, so I should get some rest. Goodnight!

i want a new drug

I awoke at six a.m., which may be a sign that the jet lag is still having a subtle effect on my sleeping patterns -- I wasn't able to go back to sleep, which is rare for me, so I laid in bed for three hours going down some rabbit holes on Wikipedia. I eventually got up, did the dishes, took a shower, made some breakfast, ate said breakfast, and was still in my chair at my desk by eleven with the intention of writing.

And despite that intention, I still tried to avoid it. I checked Google +; I checked Twitter; I checked Facebook; I chatted with Ritu Rani; I checked the social media triumvirate again; I copied my to do list from my notebook to my whiteboard; and I typed up the scenes that I'd written in longhand while I was traveling. Eventually, though, I pulled myself out of the procrastination morass and forced myself to write, and I turned out 1500 words (six pages), which ain't so shabby. Figuring out what to reveal and how to reveal it in the opening chapters of my non-gargoyle romance is going to be tricky, but at least I love a challenge, right?

I finally needed a break, though, so I walked to Starbucks, grabbed a latte, came home, and tried to call my parents. They weren't home, so I did some researching of women's names, then started reading up on famous weapons. I did talk to my parents for a few minutes eventually, but it was only to tell them that I couldn't talk because I was on my way to book club (sorry parents!). Book club was quite fun again; Lauren (aka Subz) wasn't able to make it because she was in Tahoe for the weekend, but Vidya, Terry, Katrina and I met at Katrina's to discuss this month's book -- BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey. I think we all agreed that it was too light to really have grievances with; we all seemed to enjoy it, and yet we also wished there was more of a narrative thread or perhaps more substance or something. But, as the point of the book club is to drink, we succeeded, and a good time was had by all.

Post book club, I got a call/text from Katie, who said that a coworker of her sister's was in town and was looking for someone to get a drink with. I thought I was doing him a favor (although it turns out that Katie's sister is also in town and could have hung out with him, but foisted him on me instead -- well played), so despite my lingering cough and the fact that I got up at six a.m., I agreed to meet up. So, I dropped Katrina off at the bar, took Terry home (where we quickly grabbed food), and then took a cab back to the bar to hang out with Katrina and two of her friends. The friends ended up being total rockstars; I want to start a romance book club with one of them, and the other makes elaborate themed-food Oscars parties that sound v. reminiscent of my Olympics extravaganzas. Needless to say, we all got along swimmingly, and it's probably a good thing that one of them had to leave before the guy showed up, or we would have totally overwhelmed him. But, he was nice and the conversation was fun for an hour, which was all I could take before it was time to return to the Marina and my lovely bed.

And now, I shall sleep; my whole plan tomorrow is to write and catch up on bills, all of which is v. necessary. Goodnight!