Thursday, June 30, 2011
After the signing, I sat in the lobby for awhile and wrote, and then decided to be a bad romance author and skip the luncheon/speech so that I could have some alone time. I wandered down a few blocks and had lunch at The Long Room, and "Irish gastropub" that sort of looks like Trinity College's library and serves up a mean shepherd's pie. I was playing with the voice/intro for my young adult book, and I stumbled across a voice that feels really good; I'm still playing, but it felt so good to get some work done and be happy with the first draft. I eventually did come back, though, and went to a workshop on writing historical series.
Immediately thereafter, I had the reception for this year's RITA and Golden Heart finalists. I got to accost and gush over Deanna Raybourn, who wrote that Victorian mystery series that I've been so thrilled by (including DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING, which I read a couple of weeks ago, and THE DARK ENQUIRY, which comes out tomorrow!). I also got my certificate for being a finalist (yay), and I saw the other finalists, etc. Then, I left the reception to go to my agency's cocktail party. That was super fun and an awesome opportunity to network; I met a woman who writes a great romance blog for Publishers Marketplace, and I also met the woman who was the first romance buyer for Waldenbooks way back in the day. I hung out quite a bit with my San Francisco chapter's president, who is represented by another agent at my agency, chatted with my agent a bit (who remains quite positive about my book and promised to follow up later), and connected with an awesome author who's writing a trilogy about Cleopatra's daughter - our agent insisted that we chat because she thought we'd love each other, and I think she was right.
After the party, though, I was wiped out (red wine will do it), so I took a nap rather than going out to dinner. I had to deal with some stuff I've been putting off when I woke up, but I left the hotel around ten p.m. in search of the nearby Sephora (which stays open until midnight - this place is heaven). I used their nail polish remover to take off my v. chipped manicure from last week, and bought a bottle of nail polish in case I want to put some on tomorrow. Then, I grabbed a late dinner at the diner across the street from the hotel, where I sat at the bar and was chatted up by both the guy who was sitting next to me and the bartender (named Sergio, apparently no relation to Jon Hamm's Sergio from SNL). Apparently, my shields were still down and I was in the "approachable" mode I've set myself up in for conference - I'll have to repair them asap. However, they were quite friendly, so I had no regrets. I also got to see a gigantic SUV trying to pull into a parking garage and yelling at the people trying to pull out claiming that the others had enough room to get around them - but the SUV backed out and left when one of the passengers tried to get out and accidentally shattered a half-empty handle of liquor on the sidewalk that had clearly been (illegally) in their lap. It would be funny if it wasn't so appalling.
And now that I've written a recap for the romance group blog I'm part of and talked to my roommate (who just got back from the Harlequin party), I need to get my beauty sleep in time for tomorrow. Goodnight!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I'm blogging from zee phone again, so this will be short. I'm kind if exhausted by all the self publishing talk going on at the conference, and it's probably a good thing that I'm not in my laptop because I would go off on a rant that none of you are interested in. But I had a moment this afternoon where I had to lie down for ten minutes, and I told my roommate I didn't want to have another self publishing conversation for at least a day. Of course, I ended up having another one an hour later, but my break revived me slightly.
Anyway, I had a good day - if I sound cranky, it's only because I haven't had any appreciable down/alone time in several weeks and it's starting to crack me. I went to some of the morning conference events, then went to the keynote lunch (speaker was Madeline Hunter, who was great), and randomly ended up at the same table as Joanna Bourne, whose son Doug lived in my freshman dorm. She's kind of a big deal in the romance world, and we renewed our acquaintance and had a lovely twenty minute conversation after lunch. Yay.
I went to a regency research workshop in the afternoon, then hung out with Grace and Tina and talked way too much about self pubbing. Then, I got ready and went to a Broadway show with nine of the Rubies - we saw "Jersey Boys", which is about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and it was awesome. And now I have to sleep before I die - goodnight!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I had a totally lovely day at the romance conference; it feels like I've been here forever, even though it hasn't even officially started yet. I managed to wake up shortly after seven, shower, and make it down to the lobby in time to do some work before the event I was attending this morning (although work was slowed down by running into people, which was v. nice). The event was also excellent -- it was a retreat from 9:30am to around 3:00pm, featuring a couple of interesting agent/editor panels and plenty of time to mingle with a lot of people I know. Sadly, lunch featured little tea sandwiches, and each of the three sandwiches featured an ingredient that I despise (salmon with horseradish, ham with asparagus, and cucumber with dill). I actually don't despise horseradish, but I don't love it; asparagus makes me want to vomit; and dill causes post-traumatic stress flashbacks of my first six weeks in Ukraine when I was twelve and dill was in season. It's quite rare for me to run into so many things I hate, since those are basically the only three foods I refuse to eat (I guess I also refuse to eat tripe, but that's not something you run into often), so I was undernourished all day.
But, the panels were good, although one of the agents was a huge bigshot in the publishing world who, in my mind, completely undermined his expertise and arguments by repeatedly saying that people still 'buy movies on CD-ROM'. For one, no one says CD-ROM anymore, let alone buys them. For another, movies don't come on CDs. And for a third, no one buys movies on DVD either. Needless to say, I was unimpressed with someone who should have wowed me, although I thought a lot of people on the panel were quite savvy and are obviously thinking hard about the future of the business.
After the retreat, I came up to my room to kick off my totally fabulous ruby heels and trade them for some almost-as-fabulous blinged-out sandals. Then, I had drinks with the other finalists in my category, which was lovely even though I'm pretty convinced that I'm not going to win and the competitive part of me is trying to claw its way out of the box in which I've locked it so that it can destroy them all, so the stress of keeping my inner competitive demon tranquilized was tiring. So, I recovered from that + a large martini by taking a nap. I should clarify that the group really is wonderful, and I enjoyed spending time with them, and I will leave it at that before my gushing starts to sound insincere (which it is not).
After my nap, I met up with the '09 finalists (the Ruby Slippered Sisters) in the lobby, and we had a two-hour dinner at an Italian restaurant called Becco, which is conveniently a couple of blocks away from the hotel. It was wonderful to see them, and I sat at a table with a lot of women I adore, so I had a great time. We followed it up with drinks in someone's room, and now I'm probably keeping my roommate awake by typing, so I should go to sleep. The conference starts in earnest tomorrow, and I have no idea what workshops I'm attending, so I should probably figure that out in the morning. Goodnight!
Monday, June 27, 2011
I'm blogging on my phone again, which means that I need to limit my words so I don't destroy my typing thumb. I had a lovely unofficial first day of the conference - I slept until nine, showered and got all made up, unpacked, and managed to grab a latte to wake myself up before meeting Ritu and Steph for lunch.
The destination was Del Postoperative, an absurdly fancy restaurant owned by Mario Batali, where multiple waiters see to your every whim and most menu items have to be explained to the huddled masses (like me). But, they have a reasonably priced set lunch menu with an appetizer, entrees and dessert of choice, so Ritu got us a reservation. We all thought it was splendid; I had an interesting sausage and lentil dish to start, followed by a seafood stew thing that I can't adequately describe but was out of this world in terms of flavor, and a tartufo dessert (hard shell of chocolate filled with a coffee flavored mousse). It was all outstanding and was a perfect way to bid Steph and Ritu goodbye.
After, I came back to the hotel, had a glass of champagne in the lobby bar, and met with my agent. We talked for an hour, and it was all quite positive; she loves my book and my writing and is confident we'll find a home for it somewhere, so that was good. We also talked a lot of industry shop, which I am fascinated by, so it was all great. Then, I had another cocktail (theme of the week), came up and called my parents, went out to dinner with fifteen of this year's finalists (which was truly lovely, but I'm too sick of thumb typing to tell you more), and am now going to bed. My retreat starts at 9:30 tomorrow and I need to squeeze some work in before that, so sleep is imperative. Goodnight!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
After doing my work and talking to my mother, I walked back to Ritu's, and Ritu/Steph/I had dinner at some Belgian place near Ritu's hospital. I had chicken vol au vent, which came out looking like sludge and had me very concerned, but it ended up being totally delicious. Then, Ritu went to work, Steph and I went back to the apartment, and Steph helped me drag my suitcases out to the street and into a taxi bound for Times Square. I checked into the hotel around 8:30 or 9, came up to my room, and spent the past four hours catching up with my roommate (Vivi, who won her category the same year I won my award) about publishing and life. And now I must go to bed immediately, since I'm meeting Ritu and Steph for an early lunch before coming back to the hotel and meeting my agent. I'm super psyched about the conference now that I'm in the vicinity of it, though, so I have a feeling it's going to be an awesome week. Goodnight!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Granted, it's still dirty as hell, and I don't understand why the method of garbage collection just involves throwing bags of trash on the street. But, today was lovely; we got up quite late, as one might expect since we were out until four a.m. and Ritu needed to recover so that she could work her ER night shift tonight. After we all got ready, we had a late brunch at this place called Punch, which was near Madison Square Park. We were originally going to go to the beer garden on top of Eataly, which is Mario Batali's massive Italian food emporium, but Eataly was packed and the wait for the beer garden was 30+ minutes, so we left (although if I could safely get fresh mozzarella back to California in my suitcase, I'd definitely go back before leaving New York). Punch was delicious, though, so it all worked out. Then, Steph and I let Ritu go back to her apartment so that she could sleep for a few hours before the night shift.
Our destination was the Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka the Met, aka the museum where the kids in "The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" hid out when they ran away from home). Specifically, we wanted to see the Alexander McQueen fashion exhibit. We were able to skip the hour-long entrance line using Ritu's membership card, which was clutch, but even if I'd had to stand in line, it would have been worth it. His fashions, while often extremely bizarre, were exactly what interests me about fashion, since every article of clothing told a story and could set off whole worlds of inspiration. Most of it was unwearable in either form (giant metal headpieces that could easily take out the wearer's eye, bondage-inspired straitjacket-y bodices) or function (10-inch heels that only Lady Gaga could love, dresses with the crotch ripped out), but the work was fantastically beautiful, elaborate, and the epitome of tailoring and craftsmanship. In short, it was incredible, and if you like fashion and are in NYC during the next month, you should go.
After the exhibit, we wandered around the Met for awhile, although I could spend several days there, and then left to walk through Central Park. We only saw a tiny fraction of it, but what we saw was beautiful and felt quite wild despite its location within one of the biggest cities in the world. Then, we took the subway to Nolita (or Soho, I'm still figuring out my neighborhoods) and had dinner at Cafe Gitane, a French/Moroccan place with an out-of-this-world herbed goat cheese appetizer. I had hachi parmentier, which is basically a shepherd's pie, which is basically ground beef and mashed potatoes (my faves), which is basically delicious. Steph had a salmon pot pie, which was also delicious, and we both had wine (plus a diet coke for me, to feed my addiction). After dinner, though, I abandoned Steph to come back to the apartment and work (at nine p.m., so it's not exactly an early night). I finally figured out most of my schedule for the conference, although I still need to choose which workshops to attend, and I got some other things done that had been weighing on my to-do list. I'm likely not going to be able to do much fun stuff tomorrow, since I still need to prep for my meeting with my agent on Monday and build a splash page for a website that I'm setting up, but I'll still be able to see Ritu for a bit before moving to the conference hotel tomorrow night.
And that, my friends, is all for now. My culinary adventures will shortly become romance conference adventures, but as I expect the next few days to be packed, hopefully you'll enjoy this blog more than the boredom of the move-filled last two weeks. Goodnight!
I'm blogging from my phone again, so this is a super brief list:
- exhausted walk through Newark airport after flight to east coast
- delicious meatballs and polenta at a meatball place with Ritu Rani
- walk through lower east side, stop at Katz's Deli (where Harry Met Sally)
- naptime, shower
- snacky snack - oysters and drinks at Mermaid Inn with Ritu and (the other) Stephanie
- Roopa's play + Thai dinner + wine
- gay bar to celebrate passage if gay marriage in New York
- Blue Owl - fancy mixed drinks
- Ritu's local dive bar
It's almost four am here, which is later than I've stayed up in ages (even if that's only one am in California). So far, I'm having a blast in New York - it's a good thing I just signed a lease, or I might make a snap decision to move here. But now, I should sleep - more food, alcohol, and sightseeing await tomorrow. Goodnight!
Friday, June 24, 2011
The San Francisco airport is a complete zoo tonight, but hopefully I'll make it to New York unscathed. I almost violated my cardinal rule of boarding sans calories, but I bought some trail mix just in time in case we get stuck for days and the passengers start food riots.
I'm blogging on my phone, so I'll keep this brief. I spent the morning unpacking, and in the afternoon Terry and I got mani/pedis down the street from our place. We also went out for dinner at the Marina equivalent of the glorious south bay's Left Bank, which I must say served a far superior steak frites (although the phone tried to autocorrect frites to grotesque) and a delicious French onion soup. Then, we watched two episodes of Bones, Terry took me to the airport, and I thanked my lucky stars that my premier status on united got me out of the hour-long line to check my (admittedly overpacked, unnecessarily comprehensive) bags.
And now that I rousted a squatter out of my window seat, I shall put in my earplugs, don my eyemask, and attempt to sleep straight through til Newark. Goodnight!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Today was reasonably productive. Granted, I stayed in bed until eleven, but I needed one morning of laziness after the last few days. After I got up, showered, etc., I dropped off a pair of jeans for an emergency hem job before my trip, then wandered down the street and had a late lunch at La Boulange, where I ate slowly while writing a few pages of notes about the gargoyle series. Really, it is wonderful to walk out the door and have all sorts of food options around me; I didn't stock up on groceries because I'm about to leave town for twelve days, but food is readily available all around me.
What's also readily available is a Sephora, which is less than four blocks away -- and if you know anything about me, you know that that's dangerous. I haven't bought anything from Sephora (other than one tube of tinted moisturizer) since early December, which is like a record for me, but that meant that I was running low on several things and so had to stock up. But, I think that overall my addiction is under control, even if I know that I'm always just a hair's breadth away from a relapse.
I dragged my post-Sephora-euphoric self back to my apartment, where I proceeded to take care of the remaining stuff in the living room. This included hooking up the DVD player and the Wii, unpacking my Rock Band set, hauling boxes downstairs, hauling things from my car upstairs, etc. The living room, dining room, and kitchen are now mostly done, and I'm going to get my last few things put away tomorrow so that Terry doesn't have to sidestep them for the next couple of weeks. Then, I alternated between watching episodes of "Bones" with Terry and her sister Mary Kate (who is staying here tonight, and was apparently here last night, although I got home after they'd both gone to bed) and packing for the trip. I figured out all the outfits that I need for both the conference (including daytime professional clothes and evening cocktail party clothes) and my general sightseeing/writing time before/after the conference. At one point, I had 23 pairs of shoes spread out on the floor that were all in the running for the conference. Right now, I'm down to 8 (10 if I take my tennis shoes and my flipflops), but I'm not going to winnow down further until I pack the suitcase and see how much room I have left.
I should have gone to bed an hour ago, but I took some quality time to tinsel my hair. It's been eight months since I last tinseled my hair -- which happened to be when I left my job, and I can't believe it's been eight months since then. So, I have some nice, 'subtle' strands of purple in my hair, with spare tinsel ready to go into my suitcase in case I start losing it before the conference. And now that I'm checked into tomorrow's flight and have a list of all the things that need to get done before I leave, I really should get some sleep. Goodnight!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
But, Alyssa and I reassessed my progress, as we do every six weeks or so. I held pretty steady on the weight/bodyfat/measurements, although I'm getting stronger based on the intensity of my workouts (and the fact that the move didn't destroy me, despite all the stuff I've carried up and down several flights of stairs). So, all in all it was neutral/positive, and while I think that some of this protein/fat diet that I'm on is ridiculous (I'm not going to carry around coconut oil to pour on top of things to increase my fat intake), it does seem like something that I can tweak and meet my goals with fairly easily.
After we did an abbreviated workout (which still managed to make me sweat), I showered, dashed to Chipotle to inhale a burrito bowl, and then went back to the gym for a massage and eyebrow wax. This may seem like pure relaxation, but it was technically an action item on my list; my eyebrows were looking v. old-mannish, and my shoulders and upper back have been killing me for the last week or two. So, that was all v. nice, although I left when it was done and went immediately to my old house, where I proceeded to clean the kitchen for a couple of hours. It was 80 degrees indoors and approximately 96 degrees outdoors, so the last thing I wanted to do was clean, but it needed to get done.
I took a break, though, and ran to the Stanford Shopping Center to pick up a couple of things for the conference. I intended to get a new shawl/something to jazz up my old formal dress, but as I was browsing, a different dress caught my eye. I tried it on and fell in love with it, so I bought it; I'll have to try it on again tomorrow and make sure it's as good as I thought it was before I decide to keep it. I also used some Nordstrom rewards to buy another absurdly large cocktail ring; this one is silver with a 1.5" x 0.75" concave oval littered with metal and crystals. I tried to tell Heather that it was more 'neutral' than my other cocktail ring, since the other ring is pinks/purples and doesn't go with everything, but she wasn't buying it. I'll have to wear it on my middle finger, since they didn't have a smaller size, but it looks too awesome to give up.
After Nordstrom took my money, I ran to JCrew to get a replacement black cardigan for the one that I love but that is fading after too many washes; then, I went to the Gap and got a replacement pair of jeans for the pair I always wear, which is starting to rip. I stopped back at home to pick up two boxes of documents (more on that shortly), picked up my dry cleaning, and then went to my old place of work to pick up Heather for dinner.
Before dinner, she kindly helped me to shred the two boxes of documents I dragged with me (that's the sign of a true friend). Then, we went to The Counter in Palo Alto and had delicious burgers while catching up for a couple of hours. Salim picked her up around 8:45, and then I went back to the cabin, where it took me three times as long asI thought it would to load my car and wrap up the tiny last-minute details. But, it's done, and even though my car is crammed fully of stuff, at least that's one less thing to worry about between now and my trip.
I got home around 11:15, and then wrote a couple of pages of notes regarding my young adult 'gargoyle' series, since I was brainstorming during my drives today. And now, I need to sleep desperately; tomorrow holds more personal grooming stuff, like a mani/pedi, getting my jeans hemmed, etc., along with the mandatory empty the car game. Goodnight!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
So today was mostly focused on the apartment. I didn't get out of bed until after 10am, since I had my late-night Oakland/Monk's Kettle experience with Adit and didn't go to bed until v. late. Once I got out of bed, I made myself some oatmeal, heated up a hamburger from yesterday so that I wouldn't have to cook any protein, and fueled myself up for the day ahead. I spent the afternoon alternating between taking care of emails, agendas, travel arrangements, etc., and finishing with the kitchen. The kitchen is in great shape now, since everything is in its proper place; if I could sit in the kitchen without seeing the rest of the apartment, I would feel quite organized.
Eventually, though, I needed a break, and Terry had been outside to report that it was a lovely day (albeit too hot in the apartment). So, we walked down Union Street and had an early drink/dinner around 5:30pm. My caesar salad was quite good and reasonably priced, and I enjoyed a single glass of pinot grigio (really, I can't keep drinking every day, but at the risk of sounding like I'm self-medicating, it has been nice). We sat around and talked about work and life and the apartment, etc., before finally coming home so that I could keep making progress on the apartment. I now have almost all of my clothes unpacked and my printer and desk mostly set up, so my room is livable even if there are still several boxes that I need to take care of. I finally stopped a little before 10pm so that Terry and I could watch an episode of "Bones", and now I should probably go to sleep. I leave for the conference three nights from now -- gasp. Goodnight!
Monday, June 20, 2011
Before we get to that, however (and that story is actually much happier than it sounds), the rest of my day was a mad dash to try to get the new apartment into livable condition before I leave for New York. I made breakfast this morning (bacon and oatmeal, yum), showered, and finally forced myself to tackle the many and varied kitchen boxes. After about five hours of work, I got everything in the kitchen unpacked and put in its proper place, with the exception of the glassware, teapots, etc., that I intend to hand wash in the morning. The kitchen is awesome, though; the appliances are top quality, and there was enough cabinet space for all of my stuff plus the couple of boxes that Terry brought up (needless to say, since I'm the girl with about eight casserole dishes, my kitchen stuff overwhelms Terry's stuff by a factor of 5:1 -- and not that she's complaining, since she can now use it all as well). So, I felt a little hum of happiness at the thought of future brunches and dinner parties while I was unpacking, and I can't wait to do something food related at the new place.
After finishing with the kitchen, I called my parents and wished my dad a happy father's day (yay). Then, I dealt with all the stuff that was in my car so that I would have room for Adit's luggage (boo). Eventually, I made myself supper (a cheeseburger sans bun and a steamed artichoke, which is becoming one of my go-to meals), and Terry and I watched an episode of "Bones" while eating.
But, I did manage to drag myself upstairs after "Bones", and after doing some brief rearranging of my desk, I forced myself to ignore the mess, sit down, and write. I managed to squeeze out three pages of Ellie and Nick's story, which is good -- and I reread the scenes that I wrote a couple of weeks ago and love them now that I've had enough distance from actually writing them, so that's a good thing. After writing, I took a break with Terry to watch another episode of "Bones", and then I drove to Oakland (aka the dirty east bay, although I won't disparage it too much for fear of getting shot) to pick up Adit.
Adit's flight was delayed, and he had to pick up bags from baggage claim, so by the time we left the airport, it was close to midnight. However, Adit had promised me latenight mac and cheese, and so we drove back to San Francisco and went to Monk's Kettle for a v. late snack/drink. Their kitchen was open until one a.m., and while they weren't serving mac and cheese, we did split a small plate of wild mushroom risotto (which would be anathema to my family, since my parents despised the risotto I made for them and [censored] isn't a fan of wild mushrooms). Adit had some sort of v. hoppy, light Belgian ale, and I had a Scotch ale that was v. dark and had some interesting undertones to it. And then we talked about work, life, Boston, San Francisco, and the state of the publishing industry. Despite how much I enjoy complaining about things like picking Adit up from the airport, I'm glad he's moving back; the city wouldn't be the same without him, and I need that siblingish love-to-hate-each-other vibe occasionally.
Anyway, I dropped him off at his place (not Vidya's -- shocking, I know) around 1:30am, and then drove back to the safety of the Marina. And now, I should really, really sleep; I'm not planning to drive anywhere tomorrow either, but I need to start taking care of romance writer stuff, and I don't have a lot of time before the conference. Goodnight!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
It was wonderful to see her; she seems happy in her current role, and we had a great conversation and life and work and everything. After we finished brunch, I took them on an impromptu tour of Stanford, which they had not planned to officially visit -- but once I was done with them, I think I managed to catapult Stanford to the top of her son's college list. Of course, Stanford can sell itself all on its own with the gorgeous campus and perfect weather, but I did talk up its winning points. And, I took them to the library, which is one of my favorite places of the world, and they agreed that it's pretty special. We also walked through the new science and engineering quad, which was built after I left, and it seemed to impress her son since he wants to go into computer science. Really, I'd be happy as long as he goes anywhere but Cal (sssssss), but I'm glad that my alma mater passed their tests with flying colors.
After we parted ways, I went over to zee log cabin and cleaned for a few hours. I had some junk removal people come and clear out the garage, which was worth the money since I simply don't have time between now and the conference to haul a bunch of different kinds of giveaways/recyclables/refuse to a variety of different drop-off points. I also cleaned the bedroom, closets, hall, and living room, and loaded my car with as much stuff as I could fit. The only things left to do are grab my remaining patio chairs, clean the kitchen, and take a few last things out of the house, but that's all stuff that I can tackle on Tuesday.
I left the cabin around 4:30 and went to the grocery store at the end of California Avenue, where I bought cream, bacon, and hamburger in an attempt to get back onto my crazy weird diet for a few days before leaving for New York. I also used their Coinstar machine to exchange all my loose change for an Amazon giftcard (because the giftcard gives you the full value of your coins, rather than giving Coinstar the 9% cut they take if you get cash). As it turns out, 'loose change' is probably a misnomer. Basically, every time I've moved for years, I'm just dumped my big bowl of loose change into a ziploc bag and stowed the bag in my car. So, after sorting through several bags of change and removing all the euros, pounds, yen, rupees, rand, schillings, Singaporean dollars, pesos, etc. (and the euros and pounds were a not-insignificant amount), I took all the US change to the Coinstar. And the end amount was...
...$89.86. That's a lot of freaking change. Granted, there were 13 dollar coins in there, but I also had 47 quarters, 406 dimes, 256 nickels, and 1171 pennies. Needless to say, it was worth going through the minor inconvenience of taking them to the sorting machine. After I finished with that, I stopped by Philz Coffee in Palo Alto to get coffee (obvi), then drove back to the evil city. I sat in traffic for a bit on the approach to the bridge, which is always frustrating since I'm not trying to get on the bridge, but c'est la vie. I made it home around 6:30, did a bit of procrastinating on the internet (mainly looking at hat stores in San Francisco since I'm tempted to get a fascinator to wear to the awards ceremony), and then showered and redid my hair and makeup for dinner.
Dinner was a lovely event; Terry and I walked over to a restaurant called Mezes, which does Greek small plates, and met up with Lauren (aka Subz) for a wonderful girls' night out. I can't do girls' night out every single night, particularly not if it always involves a bottle of wine, but tonight was great. I love Lauren and missed her while she was in Michigan, and I'm glad that she's back and that she'll be pseudo-neighbors with me and Terry (the place we had dinner tonight will be about halfway between us or so when she moves into the house that she and Nathan are currently renovating). So, we had a great time (and a great malbec, much to the chagrin of tomorrow-Sara, who will mildly regret it), and we have grand plans to get together more often in the future.
Terry and I made it home around 10:30, and now that I've stayed up until almost midnight (does 11:23 count as almost midnight? it will once I spend the next fifteen minutes brushing my teeth, washing my face, unearthing my bed from the pile of clothes currently covering it, etc.), I think I'll go to bed. My main plan for tomorrow is not to drive anywhere at all; other than that, we'll see what happens. Goodnight!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I made it out of bed, into my car, and down the peninsula in time for my ten a.m. appointment with Alyssa. We discussed life and watched "House" while working out, which is our usual Friday ritual. Then, I grabbed a quick lunch at Chipotle before going to zee log cabin to continue cleaning it out. I managed to get the rocking chair, my desk chair, and two of the patio chairs into my rav4, in addition to two bags of foodstuffs, a six-pack of wine, my bulletin boards, etc. I also cleaned the bathroom, emptied the last remnants of all of my closets, and sorted through everything in my pantry. So, the last things left down there are to pack up the rest of my food, clean the kitchen counters, swiffer everything, grab the last four patio chairs and the last little bits of stuff, and take care of the massive pile of detritus in the garage. To that end, I'm running out of the time before the romance conference and need to start focusing on what I'm doing there and who I need to meet up with, so I've got the junk people coming tomorrow afternoon to remove said detritus from the garage so that I can move on with my life.
I drove back to the city and ran into precisely the traffic that made me leave here to begin with, but c'est la vie. When I got to my apartment, I unloaded all the chairs, and then promptly hightailed it back downtown to get my hair cut. I had neither the time nor the desire to do this today, but it was my last chance before leaving for NYC next week, and I need to do some serious personal grooming before the trip so that I don't look like a troll (I've got an eyebrow waxing appointment on Tuesday and need to schedule a mani/pedi to repair my move-ravaged nails). But, it was good to see my hairdresser; this is the first time I've ever seen the same person regularly, but I've been seeing her for a couple of years now, and I love her. We didn't change anything drastically since I need to be recognizable to the romance community (which means long hair, since that's what's in my headshots), but maybe I'll go short again later this year? Or maybe not; right now, the need for chaos has been served by moving, but I'm sure I'll be feeling the hair-chopping urge in a few months.
On the way back to the apartment, I kidnapped Chandlord and brought her to the evil Marina. She examined our new place and pronounced her approval, and then she, Terry and I walked up the street in search of a restaurant. We basically stopped at the first one we found, exactly one block away -- an Italian place called Pane e Vino. A lovely time was had by all (or at least by me; after my second glass of wine, it doesn't quite register whether others are having a lovely time or not, but we shall pretend that they were for my sake). We split a bottle of wine, I loved my pasta dish (tagliarelle/egg noodles with chicken and mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce -- not Bart/Alyssa approved), and then we split two desserts between the three of us (a good tiramisu and an excellent cheesecake). I must say that it's lovely to be able to walk out the door and find food without getting in my car and going to the same three places in Palo Alto that I always go -- and it's even lovelier to be able to drink without worrying how to get home, since we dumped Vidya in a cab and sent her on her merry way when we were done.
But now, I'm super tired, and while I'd like to blame it on the pasta/wine extravaganza, I'm sure a large part of it is how much I've been doing and how much I have yet to do before going to New York. So, I'm going to go to bed; I have to drive down to Palo Alto again tomorrow to have brunch with Laura (long-time readers may remember her as the director whom I befriended several years ago, although she left and moved back to Texas a couple of years ago), and then I'm going to try to finish cleaning zee cabin even if it kills me. Goodnight!
Friday, June 17, 2011
I slept like the dead last night; the new apartment is actually quieter than the log cabin too, since the windows are better and there doesn't seem to be anything nesting in the roof or attempting to chew through the wall. I managed to get up sometime after eight a.m. and pull on some workout clothes, pour myself a mug of tea (automagically brewed just for me by my lovely teamaker, of course), and head down to the glorious south bay for my training session with Alyssa. Terry came with me and worked out while I trained, and then we went to zee cabin so that Terry could pick up her car and I could load my car with some of the remnants of the cabin. I got most of it; if the movers had been able to fit the patio chairs in the moving truck, this all would have been easy peasy. But, I'm probably going to have to make three trips to get the remaining chairs + the food in my pantry, which is slightly annoying. And, I still have to clean and deal with all the junk languishing in the garage, so I've got quite a bit left to do over the next few days.
The new apartment is starting to come together, though. I got back up here around two p.m., which was early enough to meet our other landlord (I met the wife last week, but the husband came over today), since we had a minor issue with the washing machine last night and asked him to check it. He was lovely, as was his father (visiting from Australia), and he was clearly more handy with tools than either of us are -- he fixed the washer, and he also tweaked the plate on my door latch so that my door closes properly (after expressing frustration with what were apparently the worst contractors ever, given the number of problems they had with their renovation). Just after he left, Comcast showed up, and now we have internet and television, which is magical.
I tried unpacking the kitchen, but ran out of steam and took a nap instead. We ordered Chinese and sat around watching a couple of episodes of Bones, and then I spent a couple of hours trying to unearth my bed from under the pile of stuff I put on it today, which led to me missing Chandlord's half-birthday party at Martuni's (which is par for the course, since I miss all her real birthday parties too, but I was too exhausted to rally). Then, I spent an hour looking over a friend's application for something, and now I need to go to bed before it gets any later. I'm training with Alyssa again tomorrow, which gives me a chance to grab another load of stuff before coming back to the evil city. Yay. Goodnight!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The start to the day was rough; I slept about as poorly last night as I ever have, and so even though I could have gotten seven hours of sleep, it felt like much less. But, I successfully got up around 6:15am (shocking, I know), showered, and got most of the stuff done that I wanted to finish before the movers arrived at 8am. They were all super friendly, and the lead guy's mother writes women's fiction, so I gave him my romance card and said she was welcome to contact me. That's the thing with movers - maybe you shouldn't give info to strangers, but they already have your address and your phone number, so what's the harm in giving him my romance email address as well? Besides, he mentioned that he was reading something like his fourteenth novel by Emile Zola, and I have a weakness for guys who are better (or at least differently) read than I am.
sssanyway, the poor bastards had to repack the whole truck because Terry's movers weren't exactly incentivized to economize on space. They filled every square inch of that truck, although we weren't able to get the rocking chair, the patio chairs, or two of Terry's boxes of clothes. Still, they worked wonders, we tipped them well, and then they left, glad that they were not the ones who were going to have to unload the truck and haul all that stuff up 2-4 flights of stairs in the new place (two flights = from the street to the front door, although there's an elevator for the first part of that, which they made use of; then there's another flight from the living room to the bedrooms, and a final flight from the bedrooms to the roof deck).
But, Terry got a call from her movers right after that to confirm the time, and recognized the voice -- and it turns out that, unbeknownest to anyone, we had independently selected the exact same movers, and those poor bastards were on their way to unload us. Ha. They stopped for lunch (as did we, at Joanie's - the staff may have been surprised that I showed up with someone else for once, and that I was completely slovenly today, but they took it in stride), and on the way to the city they dragooned a fourth dude into helping them. Amazingly, they unloaded the entire truck, put together the beds, set everything up, etc., in three hours, which proves yet again that hiring movers is worth every single fucking penny.
What is dubiously worthwhile is paying for a towaway permit; when we got here, every single space in our properly-designated, signed towaway zone was filled. I called SFPD and they sent a parking cop over, who promptly ticketed all of them -- but, the street we live on isn't particularly busy, we were already double parked and unloading without being hampered by the cars, and so I told the parking cop that they wouldn't have to be towed as long as our moving truck wouldn't get a ticket for double parking. He agreed to that, and we weren't harassed at all during the move, so I suppose the cost of the permit was worth it even though it didn't work exactly as intended.
So the movers finished around four, and Terry and I took the truck back to the Uhaul (on one of the sketchiest streets I've seen in the city -- so sketchy I refused to leave my car unattended, so Terry had to go into Uhaul alone), and then came back and started unpacking. All told, I've already unpacked almost all my books. Turns out that unpacking books goes a lot faster if you remember that the goal is to empty boxes, not to organize every book alphabetically by genre. Unpacking the books and my bedding/towels cleared out enough boxes to let me move my desk and file cabinet into the proper positions, which means that I'm equipped to unpack the items that go into those pieces, which means I can make even more progress in the coming days.
But now, I desperately need to sleep; I'm training with Alyssa at 10am, so Terry and I are leaving here around 8:30 to go to the glorious south bay, where she will work out too before we go back to my place and grab another load of stuff. Yay. Goodnight!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Still, given the amount of stuff I have, I got done in a relatively painless matter. I woke up this morning, ate some oatmeal and enjoyed some tea from my teamaker, took care of some romance business, and then started packing. I took a break to grab some lunch, came back, and was finishing up with the packing in my bedroom when Terry's dad showed up with her moving truck. Terry was shortly behind them, so I chatted with both of them before she took him to the airport to send him back to SoCal. When she came back to my place, she graciously helped me pack some boxes of dishes before she took a nap and I kept going with the kitchen. Eventually, Terry ran out to pick up salads from Sprout (which I will miss when I move to the evil city), and we ate and refreshed ourselves with a couple of glasses of wine while watching some Daily Show. I finished the kitchen after that, and now Terry and I are watching 'The Voice'. The movers are coming around eight a.m. tomorrow, and once they get us loaded, we're going up to the city to unload and start the whole process again in reverse. Yay.
So, I suppose I should go to bed, but I'll leave you with news of Sean Bean (aka Boromir in Lord of the Rings) getting stabbed outside of a bar and letting the bar staff give him first aid so that he could finished his drink. And now I'm going to enjoy my last night of slumber in the log cabin. Goodnight!
Then, the packing started. Really, the blog doesn't get any more interesting (or less boring) than it already is, so if you're already bored, feel free to leave and come back tomorrow.
If you're still here, I did two loads of laundry, finished packing my living room, all of my office supplies, a variety of fragile mementoes, my files, etc. I sorted as I went, which made things slower, but I'm getting rid of stuff, which is good. I also packed all my shoes, most of my clothes, and my handbags and laptop bags. So, my bedroom and coat closet are basically done; I need to decide whether to fold everything neatly into plastic crates and send it up to the city with the movers, get wardrobe boxes tomorrow, or risk wrinkles and just dump it all in a few containers and drag it up to the city myself.
I'm actually in okay shape; the major task left is the kitchen, with another half hour or forty-five minutes of sorting and packing of the remnants of my linen/makeup closet. But Terry's getting up here early tomorrow afternoon, and I'd hoped to get done enough to run up to the city with her and take a few things to the apartment, which is unlikely to happen at this rate. We'll see how far I get by noon. Since the movers arrive in 31 hours, packing down here is a higher priority than taking stuff up to the apartment. But, I'm excited, both to be done packing and to move into the new place, where I likely won't run into a spider every time I turn around. Goodnight!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I intended to keep going with the packing after dinner, but instead I got distracted by thoughts of starting my own freelance editing business. I think I have a decently workable plan in place, with some ideas for how to market myself, how much I need to charge to make it worth my while, and who I need to connect with. I can't let it get in the way of my own writing, or else I might as well just go back to work full-time, but it would be nice to build something that could help pay the rent while I continue to write. So, I came up with a name for my business, registered the domain, and ordered some business cards so that I can have the cards in time for the romance conference in two weeks. I didn't order a lot of cards, and there's obviously a lot to be done before I can hand them out (namely, setting up my site), but at least I have them in case I make the right connections at the conference.
Of course, that was brilliant procrastination on my part, since it's something that I've needed to do for awhile, and so I could pseudo-justify doing that instead of packing. But I need to finish as much of the packing as I can tomorrow; the end is in sight in both my bedroom and my living room, but I haven't touched the kitchen or my linen/makeup closet, so I need to get cracking. And to that end, I'm going to set up my teapot, go to bed early, and get started earlier than noon tomorrow. Goodnight!
Anyway, despite that, I had a good time, and I'm looking forward to the national conference (which is only two weeks away!). After the program ended, I drove into the evil city and dropped some stuff off at the new apartment, which was looking lovely in the midday sun. Then, I came home, grabbed a v. late lunch, procrastinated a bit, took a nap, and finally started packing. I only packed nine boxes, but that's because I started with books (always a mistake) and ended up rereading some old journals from college. That turned out to be a rather depressing/introspective interlude, mostly because I was usually depressed and introspective when I wrote in my journal (which, sadly, was the bulk of several different quarters at Stanford, although the references were oblique enough that now I can't remember most of what I was referring to). Still, it was interesting to go back and see what was bothering me then, even if it's not the most pressing thing on my to-do list.
Also, in preparation for living with Terry, I watched seven episodes of "Bones" while packing. I have to watch a million seasons of it to catch up with it before it is on live again in the fall, since I know Terry will force me to watch it (and I will, admittedly, be an all too willing participant). Watching tv probably wasn't the most effective way to get packing done, but it was certainly better than listening to sad music and brooding over my journals, so I'll consider it a win.
And now, I'm going to go to bed, and set my teamaker to make me some delicious restorative caffeine bright and early (or, in other words, at ten a.m.). Goodnight!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Today was decent, though; I didn't pack like I should have, but I took care of some errands and saw some friends, so it was all good. I made it to the gym in time to train with Alyssa, and we did our usual Friday workout, which consists of a lot of cardio and stretching while watching "House". I pulled something in my right bicep a couple of days ago whilst breaking down the boxes in the garage, and so we attempted to work that out with limited success. Then, I showered, dried my hair, and went to my old office to have lunch with Gyre, one of my oldest work friends. His wife is going to have their third son any day now, so I probably won't have lunch with him again for awhile, but I said I would venture to the wilds of the dirty east bay to see them once the baby arrives and they're settled in. So, we spent today catching up on life and gossip, and I got my fill of tasty free food, which was all quite lovely.
After lunch, I ran to Target and got a couple of things for the apartment, then came home and took a nap before cleaning up my kitchen. Then, I went back to the gym to meet with Bart, the dude who is encouraging me to eat more protein/fat and fewer carbs; the meeting went well, although he's a big fan of supplements and I have my doubts. Post-Bart, I dropped off my dry cleaning (an absurd amount, since winter basically continued until three days ago), came home, thought about writing, and instead procrastinated until it was time to pick up John and Jess at John's sister's house.
I somehow got suckered into taking them to the airport tonight (and by suckered I mean John vaguely asked and I less-vaguely agreed), and in exchange, they bought me supper beforehand. We went to Cafe Borrone, and all three of us had gouda sandwiches (best sandwich ever) while discussing live over/under the noise of a folksy band playing in the corner. One woman was playing a washboard strapped to her chest, which is the definition of folksy, right? Eventually, it was time to part ways, so I took them to the airport, came home, and caught up on a variety of stuff until now.
And now, I really must sleep; seven a.m. is going to come all too soon, even with my delightful teamaker to look forward to. I think I'll set the timer on it to brew the tea right as I'm waking up, which should provide at least nominal incentive to get out of bed. Goodnight!
Friday, June 10, 2011
After I trained with Alyssa, I grabbed a quick lunch at Joanie's Cafe. I learned that they bought the former Round Table Pizza building down the block from their current location, and they're going to move there in three weeks. But, the Joanie's people are keeping the building they're currently in and turning it into a French bistro, which makes sense since they have such a great location and business that they might as well expand rather than just move. All things change, but the Cobb salad I had was just as good as ever, and I'll likely stop in at the new Joanie's occasionally when I return to the glorious south bay to see Alyssa (and my other friends here, of course).
I lingered over my lunch longer than I intended; I was continuing to brainstorm my gargoyle series (you do remember that 'gargoyle' is now the codename and it has little, if anything, to do with gargoyles anymore?). And in my brainstorming, I came across a delicious, wondrous idea that made me nearly giddy with excitement -- it was one of those flashes of inspiration that left me stunned with how wonderfully the human mind and create and unmake whole worlds in an instant. As a result of the idea + more traffic than I expected on a weekday, I was nearly late to my meeting with my new landlord. However, I strolled up to her building at precisely 2pm, after finding favor with the parking gods and snagging a street spot rather than having to pay for one of the lots in that area. Granted, the street spots are still $3.50/hr, but most of the garages in that area are $3/20mins until you hit the daily maximum, so this was a bargain.
My landlord was lovely; in addition to passing over the keys, she gave us a tin of chocolate to welcome us to the city. We had coffee at the Starbucks down the street from her office and chatted for half an hour or so, which was nice -- it's always good to feel like you have some sort of connection to someone beyond sending them a check every month. After we parted ways, I went over to the apartment, and spent an hour and a half measuring every single wall, closet, etc., so that I could diagram the rooms and start thinking about furniture arrangements. The living room can't be settled until Terry and I combine our things, and the dining room is all Terry's, but at least I could start figuring out my bedroom. That may seem a little OCD, but some of my stuff (and in particular, my library cabinet) is too big/heavy/unwieldy to relocate without the movers' assistance, so I want to make sure its location is determined before moving day.
And I must say that I'm even more excited to move in now that I've explored it more thoroughly. I was excited before, but seeing it again, and examining little things like outlet placement and sink fixtures and cabinet space, made me positively giddy. I'm not excited about packing, and since I haven't started, I should probably get over my lack of excitement and get started. But, I think that once we have the apartment arranged, it will be wonderful.
After I finished at the apartment, I sped home, just barely beating rush hour (although I did sit in traffic in the first couple of miles of the attempt to escape the evil city, but the rest of it was fine). Then, I called PG&E to arrange utilities, ordered movers for my portion of the move (getting my belongings out of the house and into Terry's truck), and ordered a street permit for the moving truck in San Francisco. And eventually, I made supper -- a rather large cheeseburger and an artichoke, for what it's worth. And then I abandoned all pretense of packing tonight and read some more of that neuropsych book about writer's block that I'm slowly making my way through, which was rather interesting.
Since today is not Friday, though, I should really go to bed. Alyssa awaits as usual, and I've got lunch plans with Gyre, an afternoon appointment with Bart (the man who is encouraging this high-protein thing), and dinner with John and Jess that exists solely so that I will take them to the airport afterwards. Somewhere in there, I fully intend to organize some things to take to the apartment on Saturday -- but we'll see whether my intentions fail me. Goodnight!
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Anyway, Chandlord and I had a lovely hour of chatting before she went to work. As soon as the door closed behind her, I crawled back into bed and went back to sleep. Perhaps this was counterproductive, but since the major task on my to-do list was to clean the garage, it's understandable why I procrastinated. But I did eventually get up, get myself dressed in something good for the spider-infested ruins of the garage, make some more tea with my teamaker (yay), and go out to tackle the garage. And, I succeeded in breaking down all the boxes that needed to be broken down, corralling all the styrofoam and other non-recyclables into garbage bags, and identifying which items in the garage I will likely take to Goodwill, which ones I need to sort through before moving, and which ones are packing materials that will be useful for my upcoming move. I also did two loads of laundry and swept the garage, so that was all great -- and even though I killed several gigantic spiders and let several others get away, I appear to have emerged unscathed.
After I finished the garage, I came in, ate the last of the leftover Thai food from two nights ago, showered, and tidied up the bedroom and living room in preparation of my landlord showing the place. Several people showed up, including a girl who lived in FloMo when I was a freshman there and who later worked at Google (which was just bizarre), although it seemed like there were fewer people this time than there were when I rented the place a year ago. But, since he's raised the rent by almost $500, that would weed some people out. Some of them seemed interested, though, so hopefully he gets a new lease signed. Either way, I'm moving out next week, and now that he's shown the place, I can start destroying it by packing in earnest.
My landlord left a little after six; at some point later, a straggling couple showed up, and I showed them around even though I wasn't particularly obligated to. Then, I made some supper -- a boneless pork chop and some extremely delicious home fries (consisting of one potato, half an onion, and a whole ton of butter to meet the required fat content of the meal). The pork chop was about a third the thickness of a classic 1" Iowa Chop, but it was still tasty. And then, I procrastinated a bit...
...but eventually dragged myself out of my procrastination to write several pages of notes/brainstorming related to my top-secret gargoyles project. It's going to be awhile before I'm ready to write those books in earnest, but I need to start gathering my thoughts and researching what I need to research in order to plot them and create a viable world/structure/ruleset for what happens. While I intend to stay focused on Ellie's story, it was fun to work on something else for a couple of hours. But now, I should sleep; I'm training with Alyssa in the morning, and then I'm driving up to the evil city to meet one of the new landlords, get the keys to the new place, and measure every inch of the apartment to determine how to arrange my massive amounts of stuff. Goodnight!
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Today wasn't all fun and games; I made it into my ten a.m. training session with Alyssa, who appropriately punished me for not coming into the gym this weekend. Then, I spent the midday and afternoon thinking about the move, talking to Terry about some logistical stuff, procrastinating, and running to Target and Whole Foods to pick up some necessary items for the days ahead. I finished up my errands around 4:15, and Chandlord showed up for 'coffee' sometime thereafter. We actually had no coffee (she had a San Pellegrino limonata, crackers, and cheese, while I nursed my water bottle and made strawberry shortcakes for later), but we did talk for a couple of hours, which was totally lovely. Sadly, she made dinner plans that conflicted with the Blood of Lincoln dinner, so she left about half an hour before John and Jess arrived.
But John and Jess did arrive, bearing salads from Sprout so that I wouldn't have to cook (although I had to make shortcakes -- the last supper couldn't happen without something I made, and strawberry shortcakes are always delicious). We had a v. lovely, v. long dinner (I spent an hour slowly, oh-so-slowly, eating my salad, which John pointed out is a very Marina-girl thing to do), with excellent conversation and plenty of wine (for me and John, at least; Jess didn't imbibe).
During the break between salad and dessert, we played with my new teamaker for the first time. It had arrived on my doorstep when Chandlord left, and so before John and Jess arrived, I was able to clean it but did not have time to make any tea. So, we made some bai mudan (a white tea, with less caffeine than the black tea I usually drink) to test it out. The awesome thing (among many awesome things) about this teamaker is that it allows you to select the optimum temperature and brewing time for the precise type of tea you're making -- for instance, because white tea is more delicate, it should be brewed at 185 degrees rather than at boiling like a black tea. It also allows you to set desired strength and adjusts the brew time accordingly.
For the first part of the cycle, it behaves like any electric kettle, and the water heats up to the desired temperature. But when the water gets to the temperature, the basket of tea leaves slowly descends into the water (which is being held at ideal temperature). The basket stays there for the precise length of time required for that tea varietal, and when the time is up, the basket lifts out of the water and your tea is ready. Then, you can keep the tea warm for an hour without the leaves continuing to steep, which is amazing. I'm so, so in love with this. And, it made the absolute perfect cup of bai mudan -- I appreciated that tea so much more than the times when I've made it using the hot water from my tea kettle, and I think this teamaker will encourage me to try other non-black teas that I haven't had much success with in the past.
Anyway, I'm the only one who's this obsessed with the teamaker, so I shall continue. We retired to the living room with our teas, then returned to the kitchen for strawberry shortcake (awesome, if I do say so myself) before having another tea (and yet another glass of wine, in my case) and retiring to the living room again. Jess was falling asleep by the time Chandlord returned, but at least the full force of Blood of Lincoln was together for a few moments before John and Jess disappeared into the night. And then, Chandlord and I chatted for an hour before Vidya, too, began falling asleep on my couch -- the cabin has a v. soporific effect. Now she's asleep and I should be, since she's going to wake me up at seven so that we can have a shortcake breakfast before she has to go to work. Tomorrow also requires me to clean up the garage before my landlord shows the place in the afternoon, so I should probably get some sleep. Goodnight!
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
...where I wrote ~1850 words, or approximately 7.5 pages. I'm quite happy with the scene I was writing today, even though I know that I'll have to cut it down; it's the first scene where Ellie hangs out with the other women in her circle (Amelia and Prudence, since Madeleine is off on her honeymoon or something with Ferguson), and so it was a bit of a breather from the intense emotion of the scene that I wrote the other night. So, being productive on the book made me feel like the whole day was wonderful, even if I should have gotten some other daily life stuff done in addition to the writing.
But, I stopped writing slightly before I was ready so that I could run by my old office to drop off some books for Joann. She took about a dozen of the books I culled yesterday, which was lovely, and we spent a few minutes catching up in the lobby before she went back to work (I do not envy that she was working until 7pm) and I went to meet up with Heather (aka dear respected madam). Heather and I had a lovely dinner at Shana Thai and caught up on all sorts of things, mostly of the book variety but also of the life variety. She'd also signed up for about a dozen books, but I took the entire box of unclaimed romances and let her pick through them to see if anything else struck her fancy. Between Heather, Joann, and the other people I sent the list out to, I'm probably giving 30-40% of the books to friends and donating the rest -- not bad, right?
After Heather and I parted ways, I came home and researched movers, move permits, and all sorts of other fun stuff. I also read up on some dude who trained himself to get up at five a.m. every day -- not exactly one of my goals, but I would like to get better about getting up when I've set the alarm to go off rather than hitting snooze for an hour. And now, I should go to sleep; Alyssa awaits in the morning, and I need to tackle the garage tomorrow afternoon before the final Blood of Lincoln dinner in the log cabin tomorrow night (sniff). Goodnight!
Monday, June 06, 2011
Anyway, I slept in, then made myself some oatmeal and bacon, then settled into my task for the afternoon -- sorting through my books and deciding what to discard. I ended up culling about 100 books, which would be a large number for some people, but for me made a barely-noticeably void on my shelves. The task took longer because I made a spreadsheet and listed them all out to allow my nearby friends to say whether they wanted any of those books before I donate them later this week, but hopefully the books all find a good home. Then, I sorted through my closets and culled anything that I haven't worn recently, know I won't wear again, or have had for a decade (with incomplete success on that last criterion). I still need to go through three or four plastic bins of clothes that I believe can be almost entirely tossed, but this was all good progress.
While I was sorting and culling, my landlord came over, cut the grass, and cleared the patio of leaves. It took him over three hours, but it looks lovely now -- a little less like an overgrown fairy-tale cabin, but a little more habitable. As soon as he was done, I left the house in search of an early dinner, and had a cheeseburger (sans bun, per Alyssa's orders) at the Counter. Not per Alyssa's orders, I also had a glass of wine while writing in my journal and doing some desultory watching of the NBA finals. Then, I came home and talked to my father; I'd talked to my mother earlier in the afternoon, but since my uncle and aunt and cousin were over, I delayed talking to my dad until they were gone and I was back from supper.
I didn't feel like cleaning or sorting tonight, and I'm not going to start packing in earnest until my landlord shows the place on Wednesday(ish), so I decided to read a book. I finally picked up Deanna Raybourn's DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING, which continues the stories I was reading before my roadtrip of the Victorian-era daughter of an earl who falls in love with a private investigator of v. mysterious backgrounds and quite prodigious talents, and of the dangers she gets herself into as she gets involved in his investigations. The whole reason I started the series was because I loved the title of this one, and I wasn't disappointed; the first half was a little slow, but the second half was uniformly excellent. Needless to say, I inhaled the book and finished it tonight -- not the best habit in the world, but one that I haven't figure out how to break myself of.
And now, I should go to bed; I intend to tackle the garage tomorrow, go to the gym, and have dinner with Heather (aka dear respected madam), so sleep is essential. Goodnight!
Sunday, June 05, 2011
I got to the city later than I had planned; I had to go to Kinko's first to scan the lease for the new place, which took much longer than I anticipated due to a) incompetence and b) their usage of v. slow computers, no doubt to increase the time it takes for you to complete tasks since they're charging by the minute. But, I still wasn't the last one to arrive at Katrina's house, and I got there just in time to eat. She was hosting a small, lovely brunch in her new apartment for the first time, and the place is super cute -- one of those quirky apartments that abound in San Francisco, with hardwood floors, interesting woodwork, etc. This one is nicer than a lot I've seen, though, and Katrina's made it feel quite inviting, even if her cat does have a particular disorder that I won't discuss here for fear of hurting its feelings (I'm always surprised to discover who's been keeping up on the blog, and on some level I wouldn't be surprised if he was, too).
Adit and Vidya were in attendance, too (and came as a package deal, of course, since Adit is Chandlord's permahouseguest -- although he supposedly was moving out today), as was Jess (alone, since John didn't come up to the city with her for her voice lesson before brunch). Raja and Akash showed up shortly after me, and while I haven't spent all that much time with either of them, they were quite entertaining (and the contribution of pastries one of them brought was much welcomed). So, we all hung around and made a variety of jhokes; Jess had to leave early, but the rest of us stayed until promptly 1:55pm, since Katrina had warned us in the invite that she was kicking us out at 2pm. As it turned out, she didn't need to kick us out, but we went anyway -- and then all of us trooped over to Adit's new apartment to check it out. It's only a few blocks from our old apartment, and v. conveniently a block away from the Samovar in the Castro, so he may see more of me than he bargained for. It's also quite spacious, and I'm sure will look great once they have more furniture than a bare mattress on the floor and a janky table that the old tenants left behind.
The boys all parted ways then, but I pressured Chandlord and Katrina into going to Samovar with me, where we continued the merrymaking for another couple of hours. Chandlord and I both got tarot readings from the dude who reads tarot cards at Samovar on Saturdays -- in retrospect, perhaps we should have asked for guidance on whether we would murder each other in Germany, but we both were more career-focused today than anything. Then, I dropped both of them off at their respective homes, made a quick stop in Hayes Valley to buy some soap (crazy, I know), and got hit on by the cashier at a cafe when I stopped in to use the bathroom and get a cup of coffee before driving home. After flirting with me, he gave me my coffee for free, which was a) entertaining, since my rule-abiding soul secretly sympathized with the 'uptight' coworker who shot him dirty looks over it, and b) welcome, since as it turned out, the coffee was terrible.
I spent the rest of the evening at home, taking a nap because I was so wiped out from the day, taking a shower because I was so wiped out from the nap, and then writing in my journal. I will spare you the full extent of the melodrama, but I'm spending a lot of time these days pondering how I can stay more 'present' in my daily life. I know that sounds all psychotherapeutic or new-agey or something, but the point is that I don't let myself sift through the mess of my emotions, and I either numb everything (using the internet as my number one anaesthetic), or I give in to my desire to cut my hair / destroy a relationship / run away to a different country / do something crazy whenever everything gets calm enough that I'm able to hear all the emotions that are usually buried under the general cacophony of my purposefully chaotic life.
Numbing everything worked pretty well when I was trying to stay a moderately productive cog in a corporate machine, but if I'm going to write the stories I know I need to/want to write, I can't keep hiding. Ellie and Nick's story is killing me because it starts off with a bang of emotion -- there's no easing into it like there is with most romances, because they knew each other a decade earlier and were secretly engaged before she threw him over for his cousin, and so their interactions from the very first page are filled with hatred, longing, love, desire, loathing, and regret -- all those messy emotions that I usually sublimate and turn into jhoketime. If I'm going to write their story the way that I know it needs to be told, I have to force myself to sit at my desk and let those emotions come out, no matter how hard it is and how much I want to pull away from the flame.
So I didn't do as good a job of sparing you from the melodrama as I intended -- my bad. But now, I should think about going to bed; my landlord's coming over sometime tomorrow afternoon to clear the leaves off the patio, so I should probably get up and dressed sometime in the morning so that I don't look like the sloth I usually am when I'm home during the day. Goodnight!
Saturday, June 04, 2011
After he left, I ran to Chipotle and grabbed some protein-y, v. late lunch (does 3pm still qualify as lunch?), then procrastinated far longer than I intended to, but I finally rallied myself and went to Stanford library to write for the evening. My writing is still going far slower than I would like, and I'm averaging half as many words per hour as I was during the endgame of Madeleine and Ferguson's story. But, I managed to write 2100 words of Ellie and Nick's story, including their explosive (if I do say so myself) first kiss after a decade apart. This story may well kill me, but at least I'm making progress. There's no way that I can have a rough draft done by the romance conference (which is less than a month away now - yikes), but I passed the 10,000-word mark, which means I'm approximately an 1/8th of the way through the rough draft (although my final draft will likely be ~90k). All I can do now is keep going, and I'm going to try my best to force myself to write even during the move process, since it would be way too easy to tell myself to spend the next month packing, moving, and unpacking without writing a single word.
I got back from Stanford sometime shortly after eleven, and now I should probably go to bed; I need to get up and fax/email the signed lease on the new place to my new landlords, and then I'm going up to the evil city to have brunch at Katrina's. Driving to the evil city should be a big ball of fun since we're in the midst of a weekend-long rainstorm, which is both highly unseasonal and highly unwelcome, but I shall survive. Goodnight!
Friday, June 03, 2011
That means I should have taken advantage of my remaining walking skills while I still had them, but I failed. I went to downtown Palo Alto and had lunch at Sprout whilst reading a neuropsychology book about writer's block (my SymSys approach to trying to figure out what's blocking me), and when I was approximately halfway through my salad, I looked up to discover that Jessica was standing beside me. She was on a work excursion to Palo Alto and happened to stop at Sprout for lunch, so she and her coworker pulled up seats at my table and we chatted for half an hour. It was v. serendipitous to run into her like that; when I'm in the city, I will sadly run into the south bay people less often, but hopefully it's compensated by similar run-ins with city people instead (even though the evil city cannot replace the glorious south bay in my heart!).
I left Sprout at 12:45, because I had told myself that I would go to the Stanford library by one p.m. to write. But, since I'd left my laptop at home when I went to the gym, I had to stop in and get it...and I decided to make some tea...and then, suddenly, it was five p.m. What I did during that lost time, I don't even remember, which is rather depressing. I did make a list of all the stuff that I need to do, which I think daunted me enough to not even get off the couch. Suffice it to say that I'll have to be way more productive tomorrow if I'm to have any hope entering the weekend in good shape.
Eventually, I did get up and make dinner -- steamed artichoke + a cheeseburger. And, I took care of some minor romance-community related things. And, I finally opened my new manuscript again, reread the scene that I'm working on, and realized that part of the problem and part of why I'm blocked is that the scene is in the wrong place. So, I moved half of it to a scene that will happen later, and then started writing fresh stuff to replace the lump that I hacked off, but I got in approximately sixty words before the emotions of the scene overwhelmed me. Seriously, Ellie's story will either kill me or make me a fucking writing goddess -- right now, all I'm seeing is so much death, but hopefully I'll make it.
Now, though, I'm throwing in the towel on all of it -- the writing, the thwarted ambition, the packing -- and going to bed. Tomorrow is a new day, and from what I know of the cycles of my productivity and mood, it will be a vastly better one. Goodnight!
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
So I spent most of today anticipating the move and starting to mobilize. That meant tackling my garage, which was not high on my list of things I wanted to do, and so I indulged in some procrastinatory efforts (including three loads of laundry and remaking my bed). The problem with the garage is that it has a single bare lightbulb, was full of cobwebs before I ever moved in (and has only added more swathes of cobwebs in the last year), and is also full of cardboard boxes that I need to slice up, flatten and recycle. Of course, it's also full of cardboard boxes that I intend to use for my move, which is great since I doubt I'll have to buy any boxes - but when I had furniture delivered from Crate and Barrel last fall, I just dumped all the packing materials in the garage rather than flattening the stuff then. If you've ever ordered anything from Crate and Barrel, you know that they pack things in twice as much cardboard and styrofoam as anyone else, so the packing materials for my kitchen table, four chairs, and queen-sized bed are rather frightful.
But, I made good progress with my box-cutter, so I'm pleased with that. I also met my goal of filling up my garbage bin and my recycling bin for tomorrow's pickup, since I don't want to waste any opportunities to dispose of stuff in the next few weeks. I'm letting go of things more than I have on previous moves - I recycled a whole crate full of old romance writing magazines, nearly all of my DVD cases, a blender w/a rusted blade, a bunch of cardboard, etc. I also cleaned out my fridge and freezer and dumped some of the stuff in my pantry, so all in all it was quite a productive afternoon.
I had to stop just before five p.m. to see Bart about my progress with the high protein diet; overall it was decent, except for when I went out, which was about half of my meals last week. Oops. So this week I'm supposed to be more strict, which I will endeavor to do. That meant that I went to Whole Foods straight after seeing him and bought hamburger and sweet corn, and I had a cheeseburger and corn for dinner. Yum. And then I thought I would write, but my energy died just as I sat down to the laptop (funny how that happens), so I caught up on industry gossip instead.
And now, it's only ten p.m., but I think I'll crawl into my freshly laundered sheets and read for a bit before going to bed. Alyssa awaits in the morning, and then I need to carve out some time to write before I do some more move-prep - Ellie and Nick can't wait for me to move, go to NYC, and go to Germany before I start writing again, or else they'll be old and grey before I ever get to chapter four. Goodnight!
After I showered, I sat in my car and had a twenty-minute conversation with the owners of the condo that Terry and I are attempting to rent. They previously lived in the unit and vacated it only because they had a child and wanted to give him more outdoor space to play in, and since they love it and put a lot of work into it, they're understandably paranoid about prospective renters. Luckily, Terry and I are probably two of the most exacting people you will ever meet when it comes to paying bills on time and generally being on top of things like leases, and we're also both good at talking to people and putting them at ease. They'd talked to Terry just before they talked to me, and even though I'm a writer with no income, they still decided to give it to us. At least it was clear that I have a reasonably pragmatic plan (at least as pragmatic as it's possible to be when one leaves a great job to write romance novels), so they didn't seem to have any qualms about that. It probably helps that I live in one of the only areas in the country where it's not only accepted to be 'funemployed', but is almost a badge of honor - I have a feeling that renting a place with no discernable income would be a bit more difficult in other cities.
Anyway, after I got off the phone with them (and they were lovely, btw), I went to Joanie's to grab lunch. My original plan was to go up to the city early and have lunch at Samovar, my favorite place ever, but none of their items fit with my new protein regime, so I had a Cobb salad at Joanie's instead. Then, I took care of a few tings via the free wireless at Starbucks before driving up to the evil city for a facial. The facial was so awesome that I once again failed to cancel my spa membership - I swear I will one of these days.
Post-facial, I showered to get all the massage lotion out of my hair, then blowdried it, made myself up, and browsed in the mall for an hour. Then, I walked down the block to Amber India (the only Indian restaurant I've ever been to that actually felt chic and posh), where I met up with my long-lost friend Lauren (aka Subz). Lauren finished business school last month and is back in San Francisco permanently, which is awesome news for me (and for her too, I presume). Her boyfriend Nathan (with whom I shared a v. memorable trip to Berlin and Amsterdam oh so many years ago) recently bought a house near the Presidio, which is not so far from the apartment Terry and I are likely moving into, and so I'm looking forward to hanging out with them much more in the coming months.
It was fantastic to see Lauren; I hadn't seen her in over a year, and yet it felt like we hadn't missed a week. Granted, it probably helps that she's read my blog occasionally during that time - it never ceases to amuse me how my long-lost friends seem to know what I've been up to even when I haven't spoken to them in months. But anyway, it's always a wonderful feeling to pick back up right where you left off, and that definitely happened tonight. We caught up over a long dinner at Amber, and Nathan showed up at the end of it to say hi. He hadn't eaten yet, so we adjourned across the alley to Press Club, which is a fancy basement bar. They make it feel members only by taking your credit card at the top and giving you a 'press pass', which the waiter charges your orders to. I didn't have a drink, since I was preparing for the drive home, but the winelist looked good and Nathan's snacky snacks also appeared to be delicious.
We wrapped up there around nine p.m., and then I drove back down to the glorious south bay and caught up on romance email and other tasks for the past couple of hours. And now, I should probably go to bed; if I'm moving in a couple of weeks, I need to start weeding through stuff and making sure I maximize my trash/recycling pickups so that I don't have too much stuff to dispose of in other ways at the end of it. I suppose I could do my tried-and-true tactic from moves I made in the south bay in the past, which is take stuff to Stanford campus and dump it in the FloMo dumpster, but I'd rather be an adult. Or not. Either way, I have a lot to do tomorrow, so goodnight!