Thursday, May 31, 2012

i need a heart i'll never lose

Today was my last full day in Iowa for the near to medium future, but unfortunately I'm nowhere near ready to leave. That's my own fault, of course; I haven't started packing, which will be a chore to make sure I retrieve everything scattered around the house after being here for 3+ weeks. I spent the morning sleeping, and when I finally got ready to do something vaguely productive this afternoon (I had planned to sit on the patio and enjoy the last day of sunshine, since it will be raining tomorrow, perhaps, before I have to leave for the airport), [censored] asked me for a favor. Of course, I'm not allowed to discuss the nature of this favor, since all things related to [censored] are [censored], but suffice it to say that I had to wear my sneakers, I discovered what ratchet straps are (or, as I called them, 'winch-y things'), and at the end of it I got a tour of my grandparents' old warehouse, which [censored] now owns.

[Censored] is stuck storing everything large/awkward/unused-but-of-dubious-value/sentimental garbage that the family has acquired over the past fifty or sixty years (or more; he bought it from my grandparents, who bought it from my great-grandfather). I'm one of the least guilty offenders, and yet he pointed out that he has two of my bikes, my scooter, my tricycle, and my Fisher Price kitchen. Oops. He also has signs from when my granddad ran for county supervisor twenty-odd years ago, which are conveniently last-name-only, so if either of us ever run, I suppose we can just dig through the warehouse until we find them. It was an odd trip down memory lane to wander through (as much as it's possible to wander through someplace with no clear paths or aisles) the washed-up detritus of my childhood. Also, in an even odder trip, we happened to listen to "Party Alarm" on the way over, which put me in way too good of a mood.

After we got home, I took a brief break, then went into town to hang out with Gram and say goodbye to her (even if she won't remember it, and even if she did tell me she won't bail me out of jail if I'm in it for prostitution). Then I came home and made supper for the family -- gluten free pizza using a King Arthur pizza crust mix. It actually turned out really well; I should have used more cheese, but other than that, the dough was definitely acceptable (and more like a dough than the v. thin crust gluten free pizza Terry and I usually get from Patxis). Then I got sucked into watching "Criminal Minds" (stupid) before coming downstairs and working nonstop for the past four hours on some stupid romance career tings (mostly formatting related). And now, I really must sleep - I have to get up tomorrow and pack, charge my gadgets, answer email, say goodbye to the 'rents, etc., etc. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

when they smash my heart into smithereens

I need to go to bed earlier than I have been; tomorrow will be busy, since I need to pack up, take care of a bunch of annoying tings, and prepare for Thursday's return to the city of sin. I wish I had gotten more accomplished today, but I spent the afternoon engaging with people, and it pretty much wiped out my energy to do anything else. My sister had set up an interview for me with a woman she's friends with who writes for her local paper, so I drove over there (~45-50mins each way) and did the interview, which was fun. Then, I took my youngest niece out for ice cream near Lake Rathbun -- it was good to spend some quality time with her, since I usually see the kids in a pack and don't really get to hear what's going on with any of them.

But by the time I got home, I was wiped out and ready to not think or do anything of importance. I did eat supper with the fam (hamburgers, hot dogs, new potatoes, corn, etc.), and then I watched some fine CBS programming, including a riveting episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles" and a total waste of time episode of "48 Hours: Mystery". I did a little bit of email and a lot of catching up on online news, all of which was procrastination on the things I need to do that require actual thought...and that procrastination will continue until tomorrow, since now I intend to go to bed. Goodnight!

this ain't a song for the broken hearted

I'm tired, and I really should get some sleep if I'm going to get up in time to get some work done tomorrow. I did wake up around nine this morning, which should earn me a medal, but apparently the Committee to Recognize AM Awakenings is out on holiday. Lazy bastards. Anyway, I got up, took care of some tings, took a shower, and took care of some more tings (and these tings are extremely annoying promo tings that I don't have time for, but it's my own damn fault since I haven't done anything for three weeks). I also ate a quick lunch of leftover bratwurst and potato salad (yum) and said goodbye to the 'rents before climbing into my father's truck and driving up to Des Moines to see Aunt B.

Becky's scandalous husband, Uncle B, was busy working on his house (note I said 'his house'; they still have both their houses, because they're just that scandalous), so Aunt B and I went out without him. We had sushi someplace out near Jordan Creek, which was surprisingly v. tasty, and then followed it up with some errand running and general hanging out. I avoided nearly all temptation, but I did buy an awesome green jacket (for the rain, not the Masters) that was almost 65% off, so that was a score.

I could have stayed for supper and had Mexican food, but I'd told my parents earlier in the day that I would be home for supper, so I left Des Moines around five p.m. (with a stop at Starbucks to get my espresso fix) and got home in time to eat steak with the fam. After supper, my dad and I sat out on the back porch, and he fed little pieces of raw bacon to the feral cats in an attempt to get them to let him pet them. One is getting slightly more willing to be touched while eating the bacon, but as soon as the bacon is in its mouth, it flees. The other was having no part of the touching, but did adore the bacon, so perhaps he'll have some luck if he spends all his convalescent time trying to tame them (I'm not placing any wagers on that, though).

I procrastinated a bit and caught up on general web stuff, but then I spent the past three hours working on stuff -- more of the tings that I was bitching about this morning, followed by overhauling the product descriptions of my books on Amazon. I thought my agent had to do it, but as I was playing around, I figured out a way to do it myself, which was awesome since I'm a control freak with better knowledge of HTML than her, so I was able to do it without having to explain what I wanted. I have no idea whether this will help sales, but since the previous description was just a mass of text and the new descriptions do a better job of parsing out reviews from the book blurb, perhaps it will encourage a few people to pick it up who might otherwise have glazed over the description and moved on to something else.

But now that I've spent hours staring at my screen, I need a break and a bit of sleep before tomorrow's promo/writing activities. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

your heart is an empty room

I have absolutely nothing of interest to report - I slept until ten, went upstairs at eleven, hung out with my parents on the porch until one, showered, hung out some more, did a bit of work, saw my grandmother, worked some more, ate supper (bratwurst (sans buns) and potato salad), and then worked/procrastinated/set goals/made lists until now. Not interesting at all, eh?

The main point of concern is that I need to write Ellie and Nick's book immediately - like, immediately immediately, if I have any hope of getting it out late summer/early fall as promised. So, expect my blog to ratchet up to utterly insane v., v. quickly, since I want to have a first draft by the 4th of July (hahahahaha, whimper). That's 2000 words/day, which is technically possible. I've certainly done it before, and 2000 words is not an uncomfortable amount to write (approximately eight pages), but I haven't done it consistently every single day for a month. There's always a first time, though, and hopefully this will work for me, even if I am going to Denver for a few days in the middle of that span. But now I need to sleep so that I can accomplish stuff tomorrow -- goodnight!

haemoglobin is the key to a healthy heartbeat

I meant to go to bed earlier than this so that I could avoid what happened this morning, since I unintentionally slept until noon. Oops. So I threw on some clothes and went upstairs to find my parents enjoying the heat on the back porch, where they promptly mocked me for my laziness. My dad wanted to go to a farm supply store and needed a ride, since he can't drive yet due to the fact that hitting the steering wheel in an accident would be a v. bad thing for his still-healing breastbone. He told me that the place was "north of Chariton", but I should have questioned him more specifically, since north of Chariton = much more than a couple of miles. Or, at any rate, I should have eaten something before going, but we both survived, so that's something.

The farm supply place was quite the operation; the guy who owns it used to know my granddad, since they were both in the seed business, but their shop is way, way larger than my grandparents' store ever was. They sell work clothing and every kind of farm implement you could want, including what my dad went there for -- a three-foot-long thing that looked like a mophead that had been cut open and all the tassels laid out in a straight line. Apparently you can douse this mop thing in fly poison, hang it over the entrance to your cow pen (or anywhere that they have to walk under), and thus treat your cows for flies without having to spray them directly all the time. Genius. But since dad hadn't been up there since before his surgery, we hung out so that he could catch up with the guys and I could sell a couple of copies of my book to the woman working the register. Yay.

After that, we drove home, got diesel (and had a fifteen minute conversation there with the son of one of my dad's old friends - the friend is dying of stomach cancer, which is absolutely awful), and came home. My mom made dinner (roast beef, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and squash, yum), and then I started working on Nick and Ellie. I didn't get a lot of words written, but I got a few written, so that's exciting - first time I've written anything since Mexico, and first time I've written anything for them in a month (or more). But now I need to go to bed if I'm going to get up before noon tomorrow -- goodnight!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

when a heart breaks well it don't break even

Today was v. small-town-lifey, and mostly consisted of visiting cemeteries. I didn't roll out of bed until eleven, but I suppose that's to be expected since I drove so much yesterday. I showered, put on grave-visitin' clothes (not really - shorts and a tank top, since it was 80+ degrees when we started), and made myself some eggs for breakfast/lunch. My dad had a checkup this morning (and everything looked good), so when they got home from that, my dad ate lunch with me while my mom sorted through her stash of grave decorations and organized what we were taking and what we were leaving in the closet. Then we loaded up the truck and headed out on the rounds.

For family members buried only in our county, Google Maps indicates that we drove ~52 miles (not including the slight detour to a job site where my dad's crew has been working, and into town to get groceries). First up was Allerton, which is only a mile from us, where we decorated my granddad's grave and also put flowers on my grandma's parents' and sister's graves. I also took a picture of the tombstone of Doc Duden, one of my first ancestors in the county, who was born in 1830 and lived until 1919. Then, we drove through the gravel backroads to Shriver Cemetery, outside what used to be the town of Harvard (one of many towns in the county which no longer exists in either legality or practicality), to visit Uncle Ervin, the dearly departed spouse of my Great Aunt Leila.

After Shriver, we drove to Seymour (a town which has certainly seen better days), where the bulk of my mom's relatives are buried. Gram and Grandpa Holder are there, as are a couple sets of her grandparents, two more great-uncles (Uncle Pat - married to Lucile, and Uncle Harold - married to Irma), and, sadly, my sister's first husband. We also inspected the very old, very interesting headstone for Artiemacy Riggs (1841-1912), which is stone carved to look like a treestump.

Post caffeine break at the local convenience store, we made the long trek north to Confidence, a tiny, tiny unincorporated town in the northeast corner of the county. There are only a few houses left there, but they have a relatively large cemetery, with an older section on one side of the pavement and a newer section on the other [linguistics lesson: "the pavement" here means a paved road, which is a big deal when most of the roads are gravel]. The older section is v. rarely visited, it seems; other than the graves we left flowers at, there was only one other grave in the whole section that had something on it. When we got there, we had to wait out a thunderstorm; we couldn't wait long enough and still got a little wet, but at least we didn't get drenched even if the sudden drop to 60 degrees and rainy wasn't pleasant in my tank top/shorts combo. At Confidence, we decorated my mom's dad's parents, grandparents, and a man named Greenbury Owen, a Civil War veteran who I believe was his dad's maternal grandfather (I kind of lost track).

After all that fun and excitement, we drove by my dad's latest project site (a bunch of houses near Lake Rathbun in the easternmost part of the county), then came home, ate supper (chili, in honor of the cold snap), and watched some fine CBS programming. I also wrote in my journal and did a bit of work, but not enough to signify. So, I suppose I should go to sleep so I can accomplish something tomorrow -- goodnight!

Friday, May 25, 2012

just another heartache on my list

I'm super sleepy, but I think my day was a success! I drove up to Cedar Rapids to hang out with some old family friends and give a talk at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, which was super fun. So I spent the morning getting ready, printing off handouts, printing maps (since I wasn't sure I'd have data service where I needed it to find my way to Cedar Rapids), eating, etc. before taking off around 12:30. I stopped for diesel on the way out of town and ran into the office manager for the convenience store I used to work at (not really surprising, since the office faces the diesel pump on the side of the building) -- hard to believe that her kid, who was twelve when I started working there, is now twenty-six and has a four-year-old. Craziness.

Anyway, the drive to Cedar Rapids was long (almost four hours) but uneventful. I went the longer way to avoid the deadly combo of road construction cutting swathes of the shorter route down to one lane + a ramp closure in Iowa City + Obama's visit to the town where I would have gotten onto the interstate, but the longer way was v. nice; the roads were good all the way, and if I had had more time I would have stopped at the "American Gothic" house (although the last time my mom and I tried to find it, it appeared that someone was living there, which kind of took the shine off it).

Once I got to Cedar Rapids, I saw Carol and Gene (my parents' friends from when I was little; Carol was the town librarian and turned a blind eye to my romance reading habits) and their daughter Jan, who is the reason why I chose to play the flute even though my embouchure sucks. I also met Jan's husband Mark, who wasn't sure I actually existed since he's met the rest of my family several times but has never met me, and their three kids -- four-year-old twins and a two-and-a-half year old, which is madness. They had also invited over a woman I didn't remember, since she graduated from my high school in 1983, but my mom was her 4-H club leader, so that means we go way back.

We didn't get to hang out at the apartment all that long, since I had left later than I intended, and so we all packed up and drove across town to the library, which is temporarily located in several storefronts of a mall because the catastrophic floods of 2008 ravaged the original library and they're still in the process of rebuilding it. Not to say that Cedar Rapids was as catastrophic as Katrina, particularly in terms of loss of life, but the city was pretty devastated and things are just now starting to come back (case in point: Jan works for a major museum there that is just reopening its permanent space this summer). But the library was quite nice, and the staff were super friendly - they'd apparently ordered several of my books, and all of them are checked out, which was awesome news!

As I expected, about four people whom I didn't know showed up, but between them, my entourage, and my library host, there were about ten people, which I thought was totally respectable. The talk went well and was really fun, and I signed books after, so I'm glad I did it. After I wrapped up, we all went to a restaurant called Leonardo's, which was awesomely kitsch (red booths, lamps made out of flower planters, an entranceway wall covered in black rocks, etc.) and caught up some more. But the kids needed to sleep and I needed to get back on the road for my three-hour drive home, so we wrapped up around 9:15. And my drive home was utterly uneventful, and I didn't fall asleep or hit a deer, so the trip was a success!

Now, though, I must sleep; I think I'm decorating graves with my mom tomorrow, so sleeping is imperative. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

working too hard will give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack

I didn't blog last night, not because anything was wrong, but because I am a lazy wench and didn't feel like blogging. So, to briefly recap (since I must go to bed immediately)...

Yesterday was lovely, albeit unproductive. I spent nearly three and a half hours catching up with Lorena, our neighbor who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria back in the '60s, was my Talented and Gifted teacher in junior high/high school, and is married to the town's Presbyterian minister. I took her a box of caffeine-free herbal tea, and we discussed life and books and small town goings-on, etc., which was all v. nice. Today, I vowed to get stuff done, and I did some of the stuff that has been weighing on me for ages - in particular, I waded through three email inboxes (although there's still a lot of stuff left to answer in all three of them) and did a bit of stuff for my SF romance chapter (namely inviting a speaker for this summer).

I also had lunch with [censored] and my nephew Zane in Millerton; [censored] and Zane put up more electric fence to expand the miniature cows' pasture, and my dad watched from the window and occasionally called them with instructions. When it was time for them to break for lunch, I went with them even though I hadn't showered or put on any makeup - usually not a problem for Millerton, since it's predominantly farmers/construction guys, but I ran into my old bio teacher turned principal turned superintendent, so that's slightly unfortunate. But my cheeseburger sans bun was good, and I was pleasant even when [censored] and Zane ordered pie and ate it in front of me.

My mom made a delicious supper (fajitas), and I got sucked into an episode of "Criminal Minds", which I usually find disturbing, but I turned off the kitchen tv before the second one started so that I could get back to work. I had to pull together my notes and handout for a talk that I'm giving tomorrow at the Cedar Rapids Public Library - Cedar Rapids is 3.5ish hours away from here, which is a long ways to go for an hour-long talk, but my mom's best friend moved there several years ago. Her daughter is a director at the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids and set up the talk through a friend of hers at the library, and I'm excited to go - it will be good to see them, and it's also a good chance to talk to some writers whom I don't know. But, as usual, I ruminated/stressed about it for weeks, then pulled together the talking points and handout in <90 minutes - it's a shame that I always do this to myself.

So anyway, I should really sleep if I'm going to get up and make myself pretty and drive to Cedar Rapids (and then drive back in the dark through deer infested roads). It's a toss-up on whether to take my beloved old Sunfire or my dad's truck - the Sunfire gets better gas mileage and is easier to park, but if I hit a deer with it, it's much more likely to kill me, so I'm torn. Wish me luck either way - goodnight!

Monday, May 21, 2012

in the burning heart, just about to burst

I'm a procrastinatory mess; I suppose that's to be expected, since the last two weeks have been pretty stressful, but I need to be working much more than I currently am. Le sigh. I woke up this morning around 9:30, messed around on the internet for awhile, and then made myself breakfast (eggs and oatmeal, like my usual breakfast in California rather than my oddly-timed diet when I'm home). I had a date to go into my old high school and see my former band director and Spanish teacher -- school ended last week, which is the earliest it's gotten out in recent memory since they had absolutely no snow days to make up this year (unheard of). But, the teachers had a half-day inservice today, so my band director had said I should come by after. I'm glad I did; I hadn't seen either of them in ages (which makes sense, since I graduated thirteen years ago), but I always really liked both of them and we had a lot to catch up on. I hung out with them for a couple of hours and now feel properly caught up on gossip -- it was almost enough to make me want to go back to school and then move back and teach English, but that impulse will likely wane when I return to the land of sushi and sangria.

After visiting them, I ran to the grocery store, came home, and thought about working on my pressing to-do list. But then my dad's Aunt Judy showed up; she lives a ways away in Missouri (hiss), but even though she's 71 she's still working doing something involving education/school oversight, and she was at a school relatively near us on the other side of the border, so she stopped by to make sure my father was still alive. She's 'a hoot and a half', as people sometimes say here, and it was really nice to see her (even if she did kind of depress me by going into more detail than I've ever heard about the time my great-grandma had a sudden heart attack and died on Christmas Day, just after getting the turkey out of the oven -- I was a baby and don't remember it, obvi, but that would put a damper on things).

Aunt Judy eventually left, and we eventually had supper, and then I eventually started half-heartedly working on the things I needed to do tonight. I finally wrote a guest blog that I needed to finish, and I scored the final contest entry I needed to judge, so at least those things are done. But I'm 3-4wks behind on email and haven't written anything for Nick and Ellie in almost a month, so I need to get cracking. Goodnight!

my heart will go on

I'm beyond tired and must go to bed immediately - I'm starting to get cracking on my writing career again, and so I need to work as much as I can the next couple of days to get caught up and write again. Today, though, was mostly about family - Aunt B came down briefly this morning, and then I had to shower and drive my mother over to Moravia for my nephew's high school graduation.

The ceremony was nice, albeit long; they only had 24 kids in their graduating class, so they combined scholarship/awards announcements with the commencement itself, which really extended teh length of the program. But, I'm glad I went; my nephew is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself, and it was good to see him for a little bit. Also, I've been to grad parties in churches, and I've been to parties in machine sheds, but this is the first party I've ever been to that was in a machine shed that has been converted into a church. Amazing. His grad party was nice, replete with pulled pork, party potatoes, and baked beans, and everyone was in good spirits.

When we got home, we found that one of my mom's garden club friends had brought a crockpot with a pork roast and some potatoes/carrots for us and visited with my dad for a bit, which was nice of her. So, we ate more meat, and then adjourned to the living room, where everyone tried to stay awake to watch Tom Selleck's latest made for tv movie (mostly to no avail). And then I worked until now, but I can't keep my eyes open anymore, so I guess that's all for tonight. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

the heart of rock and roll is still beating

I need to go to sleep immediately so that I can wake up in time for Graduation Round Two, but today was lovely. I slept for eleven hours last night, which was much needed, before finally getting out of bed sometime well after eleven. That left me less than two hours to get ready, which was both plenty of time to get ready and not nearly enough time to procrastinate and avoid the task at hand. But, I finally got dressed (in a black tank top and jeans that I hadn't intended to wear, but most of my clothes need washed and the remaining options were all dresses that were too nice for a casual outdoor graduation party), ate lunch, made coffee (Philz french press, which I'm sure is an abomination in this neck of the woods), and loaded [censored] up in my father's truck so that we could drive to my cousin Drewbaby's party.

Drewbaby lives north of Des Moines, which is almost two hours away. That's not really so bad, but between us, [censored] and I have probably driven to Des Moines at least ten times in the past two weeks, so we're kind of over the scenery at this point. Also, we took Gram, who asked us five times in the first four minutes about how my dad was feeling, since she's vividly remembering his surgery but is completely failing to remember that he's out of the hospital and that everything went really well. Sigh. Needless to say, spending four hours in a car with her was an entertaining/amusing/heartbreaking experience. But, we got up to the party with no issue (even though I'm still driving my dad's gigantic truck, which I find quite enjoyable -- and even more enjoyable was the look on Gram's face when she realized I was driving).

All in all, the party was really lovely. They'd cleaned out their machine shed and had set up tables inside, which was great since it was both hot and windy today. They had a baked potato bar (yum) and a bunch of walking tacos -- a delicacy that I hadn't realized growing up seems to be confined mostly to Iowa and possibly some points farther south. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but you take a personal bag of Doritos, cut off the side, smash up the chips a little for ease of later eating, and then dump in taco fillings -- meat (usually with taco seasoning), sour cream, cheese, lettuce, olives, etc. You eat the whole mess with a fork, which always confused me, since a real taco might be easier to eat while walking than a walking taco. But the food was all great, and the crowd was never too full at any given time, but there had already been a ton of people. And Drewbaby appears to be on track to graduate, which I suppose is all that matters.

When [censored] and I both got home, we were surprised to find that the parents had visitors -- they never have visitors, so we weren't quite sure what to do. Luckily the strangers weren't serial killers; instead, they were old family friends (Clell and Leanne), and it was great to see them. And now, I'm falling asleep over my keyboard, which is always a good sign to stop -- goodnight!

Friday, May 18, 2012

give your heart a break

I need to go to bed - I'm so excited to sleep in my own bed, even if it's not really my own bed but rather the closest thing I've got right now. Happily, my dad came home from the hospital today, which is excellent news! I spent last night in the hospital with him, and I must say I'm quite glad to bid adieu to that place. Mercy really is quite good, and I liked almost all of the nurses/techs/doctors, and the facilities were pretty nice, but it's not really someplace I felt any urge to spend more time in.

I slept a few hours last night (fitfully, obvi), and then took some quality time this morning around eight a.m. to eat breakfast in the cafeteria and send some important romance business emails (not that eight a.m. is ever quality time for me, but you take what you can get). I finally left the hospital around 9:30, took a nap and a shower, went to the mall to exchange some sunglasses that I'd bought in Chicago (the new pair is better, but I'm not 100% sure about them either - thank goodness for awesome return policies), and then drove home with a stop in Indianola to stock up on produce and other perishables. It was nearly ninety degrees today, so it's good that I took the cooler with me, and even better that my dad's truck (which I've now utterly claimed - I made my seat preferences his second preset on his automatic seat, and I added presets to his radio system) has leather seats that can be cooled in addition to being heated.

So I came home, unloaded the groceries, and hung out until my parents got back from Des Moines. For supper, we opted for pizza; we still had a gluten-free frozen pizza in the freezer that Uncle Mark had brought us at Christmas, so I ate that and also martyred myself by going into town to pick up the pizza they ordered from Casey's for themselves, which is pretty much the best pizza ever. While in town I washed my dad's truck, and I partially failed that bonus round -- I had to pull in the sideview mirrors to fit through the carwash, and when I crawled over the console to pull in the passenger mirror, I hit the horn with my leg and no doubt looked like an asshole to the person who was already in the carwash. Then, when I drove in, I thought I had cleared both sides with plenty of room -- but the water system is substantially narrower than the overall framework, and I ended up only having an inch and a half of clearance on the driver's side. I thought that was fine at the time, but [censored] pointed out that there are now stripes of dust where the water didn't have a chance to flow -- oops.

Anyway, enough of that. Tomorrow is another day, one in which I may kill at least one relative -- either Gram for repeating herself 25 times on the way up to Drewbaby's graduation party and back, or [censored] for abandoning me to do it all by myself. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

take a bite of my heart tonight

I am chilling at the hospital, spending the night with my dad while my mom gets some rest and [censored] takes care of things on the homefront. I spent last night at home, and realized that it was the first time I've ever slept in that house by myself - so I slept with my door locked, which may have been ridiculous since I'm quite used to sleeping along. But half the county knows my dad is in the hospital, so if anyone was going to break in, this week would have been the time (except for the fact that [censored] and/or I have been there every night except Sunday). So I parked the truck in the driveway rather than the garage to show habitation and locked everything, two precautions that are usually totally unnecessary.

But I survived without getting murdered in my bed, and was only disturbed by the sound of our usual pair of geese trying to fight off an intruding pair of geese, since they like to keep our pond to themselves every year. When I woke up, I talked to my agent for an hour or so about marketing strategies for SCOTSMEN, since it's selling but not as well as HEIRESS. Then I fed the cats (who were no doubt miffed that I woke up at 9 instead of at 5 like their usual caretakers), watered the miniature cows, took care of some other things, and drove to Des Moines to hang out at the hospital. Dad is doing really well and should go home tomorrow, if things continue to progress as they are, so that's good news. But in the meantime, I'm sleeping here tonight, and then driving back home tomorrow so that I can take Gram to Drew's graduation party on Saturday -- four hours in a truck with someone who repeats herself every five minutes should qualify me for a medal, right? Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

i feel my heart start beating to my favorite song

First up, happy [censored] to [censored], who turns [censored] today! Yay!

I'm super sleepy, and didn't get nearly as much done as I intended tonight (story of my life), so I think I'll go to bed. I spent last night at the hospital with my dad - it's no wonder patients leave the hospital exhausted, since they came in every hour to check on something or other. My mother and [censored] showed up around 6:30am, so I promptly abandoned them all and went off to sleep for a couple of hours. I woke up around 11, showered, packed up my tings, went to the hospital again and ate lunch with my mother, and then hung out with my dad for a bit before everyone and their mother started showing up to check him over again. At that point, I left again and drove home; since [censored] is spending the night at the hospital tonight, I came home to feed and water the flora and fauna and take care of the various errands that needed to get taken care of. That included stopping by to say hi to Gram, feeding the feral barn cats at her house, watering dad's miniature cows (pics to come - they're adorbs), and getting the mail (I walked out to get the mail rather than driving, so no attempt at bonus points this time -- I was approaching the box from the south on the way back from Gram's house and didn't think I could turn around and reverse up to the box in the truck without destroying it).

Anyway, things with my father are going really well, so that's good news. And I'm enjoying driving his pickup, although I learned something new -- a three-quarter-ton truck doesn't weigh 1500lbs, but rather is certified to *carry* 1500lb. This is a crucial distinction, since I parked it yesterday on the top level of a parking ramp that said any vehicles over 6000lb were prohibited -- and [censored] estimated that this truck weighs at least four tons. Who knew? Not me, at least, even if this is a well-known fact to other people. Luckily I didn't collapse the garage, and I didn't park there again, so I live to screw up in some other way tomorrow. Since I intend to stop for diesel on the way back up to Des Moines, I'll get plenty of practice!

And now, I must sleep; I'm going back to Des Moines in the morning and likely spending tomorrow night at the hospital, so I should rest up and get some work done in the morning before going up. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

oh heart, i just died in your arms tonight

So far so good with my dad - he got out of the ICU this afternoon, and has been walking and sitting up as ordered. This is all v. good news, obvi, so we're all pretty happy with that. I won the 'stay at the hospital overnight' lottery for tonight, so I'm holed up in a chair beside his bed, which isn't that bad since the chair can lie down flat and I have a pillow and a blanket for some modicum of comfort...

But today started back home, where I woke up at 6:15 and was just as surly and bitter as I always am at 6:15, which was unfortunate for [censored] since he was trying to talk to me and I was having none of it. But a long shower and some Philz Coffee (thank goodness for French presses and for planning ahead by bringing coffee with me) somewhat revived me, and I was on the road by 8:20ish. I brought my dad's truck up to Des Moines, which was a grand adventure; he drives a gigantic diesel crewcab, which is approximately a million times bigger than my RAV4. I had to wait to leave until my brother unloaded the various tings that could be stolen out of the back end, none of which I would have seen any value in (a pitchfork, a log chain, a shovel, etc., but apparently log chains are like $60 - who knew?). But the truck has adjustable pedals, which meant that I could bring the pedals closer to me rather than moving the seat so far forward that I risked decapitating myself with the airbag -- really, I should probably get adjustable pedals on all my vehicles, since I'm pretty sure an airbag is more likely to kill me than anything else.

As was the case with last night, the drive went totally fine but I failed the bonus round. In this case, the bonus round was putting diesel in my dad's truck -- I successfully remembered to get diesel instead of gas, and to get clear road diesel rather than red farm diesel (not a problem in San Francisco, but red diesel is for off-road farm use only and costs less due to lower taxes, but is dyed red so they can catch you if you're using it for road purposes). But the gas tank is approximately level with my breastbone and the diesel hose is significantly larger/longer than a regular gas hose, so it was pretty unwieldy to pump -- so much so that when I was trying to hang the nozzle back up at the end, the guy on the other side offered to just take it from me rather than watching me look like a tiny idiot. Sigh.

sssanyway, I made it back up to the hospital around ten a.m. and spent the rest of the day trading off with my mom, hanging out with my dad, typing on my ipad (jhoke), and getting hyped up at the hospital Starbucks. But now, I really must sleep -- I'm exhausted. Goodnight!

Monday, May 14, 2012

take another little piece of my heart

I'm thoroughly and utterly exhausted, and I must confess some secrets to you, Dear Reader, since I have been rather vague about my small-town-life activities the past few days. No, I'm not cooking meth in an abandoned farmhouse. But I came home a week earlier than I anticipated, since I wasn't supposed to fly in until tomorrow, because my dad was having an angiogram last Thursday and I wanted to get here before it happened. As it turns out, it's a good thing I came; the angiogram went totally fine, but rather than putting in stents like they had suspected they would, they decided to schedule him for bypass surgery, which happened this morning. Obviously that was rather upsetting and nervewracking, and so we all spent the whole weekend dealing with/preparing for that, organizing tings, making lists, packing the necessary items, etc., etc.

But, the good news is that it went really well - we had to be at the hospital at five a.m., which was murder, and they took him into the OR at seven. Then my mom, [censored] and I hung out in the waiting room with Uncle Mark for a few hours, getting the occasional update from the surgical nurse (the staff at Mercy is awesome, btw). They ended up doing three bypasses, which was less than we thought it might be, and he came out of surgery on schedule, got off the ventilator sometime this afternoon, and was cracking jokes despite the fact that he can't laugh without causing himself serious pain, so I guess that's all positive. It's going to be a long recovery, but fingers crossed that it all goes well.

By tonight, though, [censored] and I decided that we should make the dark and dangerous journey through deer-infested wilds to come home and take care of some more stuff rather than staying in Des Moines. And I drove, which is an adventure since the pickup I drove is ridiculously high off the ground and is also ridiculously long and wide -- I passed the seventy miles of deer-infested wilds unscathed (and only saw two deer - either it was an off night, or [censored] and I were both so tired that we couldn't effectively scan the ditches), then failed the bonus round when I tried to get the mail, couldn't reach the mailbox, dropped some of it on the ground, and almost faceplanted when I nearly fell out of the truck in an effort to pick everything up. Le sigh. I'm getting up at six a.m. to drive back to Des Moines and relieve my mother for a bit, but I thought I would sleep better in my own bed, and since I'm likely on graveyard shift (hopefully no pun intended) this week given that I'm more likely than Mom and [censored] to be functional at three a.m., sleep would be wonderful. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

stop in the name of love before you break my heart

I'm full of beef brisket and high on caffeine, so bear with me. Today was all about running errands and taking care of business. I woke up earlier than I usually do when I'm home (ten a.m., so shocking), had breakfast (Greek yogurt, strawberries, and some gluten-free granola - possibly the first time two of those three food items have darkened the door of our county), and hung out with my mom and made notes of things to take care of. Then I showered, packed up some tings, cut up some veggies and fruits to freeze, ran some errands in both the towns near us, made some coffee, watched my dad water his miniature cows, and loaded my stuff up in [censored]'s truck. The fam came up to Des Moines to spend the night, which is proving to be our second-worst family vacation ever; the first-worst also involved sleeping in this particular hotel, but started by going several hours out of our way to play mini-golf in Missouri, which we didn't do this time.

Once we got up here, we ended up having supper at the Iowa Machine Shed, which is a gigantic restaurant where the staff wear overalls and there's some sort of tractor/hayrack that people rode around on outside. We were all going to have prime rib, but they only had prime rib medium well, which is an abomination. So, my parents had steak and my brother and I had beef brisket, which may have been an upgrade. Then we came back to the hotel and my brother and I have been watching the finale of "Survivor", which I know nothing about, but I always like to catch up on such fine CBS programming while I'm home.

And now that I've fulfilled my blog obligations, I think I'll go to bed - goodnight!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

nothing i can say, a total eclipse of the heart

Today was v. v. small-town-lifeish. I realized, to my surprise, that I know several dudes named Clell here, a name I've never seen or heard anywhere else -- the name distributions here are way different than what I'm used to in California, particularly since there is no one here named Vidya. But that really wasn't the highlight, although that may surprise you. I slept for over ten hours last night and wasn't woken up by a coyote yipping outside my window like I was the night before, so that was a plus. Then I spent the day engaged in a variety of small-town activities (after making eggs with peppers, onions, salsa, and avocado, which was decidedly not small-town).

First up was a Mother's Day tea at my grandma's assisted living facility. Tea was something of a misnomer, although they did have iced tea, but they also had cake, cheese and crackers, some chex mix variant, lemonade, etc. And I won the raffle for a plant, which I can't take back to California, but which will be a great regift for my mom's Mother's Day tomorrow. My mom, dad and I went to the tea, and we hung out for forty minutes or so before packing Gram up in the pickup to go to a friend's daughter's high school graduation party. Getting Gram into the truck is an entertaining bit of work, and my dad takes a stepstool for those excursions so that she can get up a little higher before trying to boost her the rest of the way up.

The graduation party was for the daughter of a couple involved with the Round Barn site, so the party was at the barn. I ended up seeing a lot of people I knew, including Ross and Lorena (our neighbors), my old band teacher and her husband, my elementary music teacher and his wife who taught me piano lessons, Bill the retired florist, Hal and Jackie (Hal grew up with my grandma and Jackie is the British woman he married), etc. So that was all lovely, and it was good to see a bunch of people so quickly. Then, [censored] and I went down to Gram's house to feed her feral barn cats, and then my sister and two of her kids came over to hang out for a couple of hours. After they left, we ate leftovers from last night and watched a DVD (shocking, I know, since we never watch movies). And now, I really need to go to sleep -- goodnight!

Friday, May 11, 2012

shooting at the walls of heartache

I had an utterly uneventful day, but I suppose that's to be expected after sleeping for 11+ hours. By the time I woke up it was almost noon, so I didn't accomplish much of anything since I spent most of the afternoon talking to my parents. At some point I went into town to run some errands and say hi to my grandmother, wh (like the rest of the town) was rattled because a well-known figure in the community was killed in a car accident this afternoon after apparently running a stop sign on a gravel road. Sad way to go, I must say.

When I got home, I hung out with the 'rents, cursed the fact that they still watch "Inside Edition", and then watched "Undercover Boss" while eating supper (roast beef, mashed potatoes, carrots, and gravy, yum). We adjourned to the living room for "CSI: NY" and "Blue Bloods"; I think CSI is probably played out, but I like "Blue Bloods" and am sorry that I have twenty shows in the queue ahead of it that I know I will never catch up on. Or maybe I can catch up quicker by fast forwarding through and only watching the Tom Selleck bits.

But now I'm falling asleep over my laptop, possibly because this is the most boring post I've ever written. Sigh - goodnight!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

you hold it in your hands the two halves of my heart

I'm flipping exhausted; I only got five and a half hours of sleep last night, so I suppose that's to be expected. We did a family trip to Des Moines today, which wasn't exactly what I wanted to be's hard to believe that less than three days ago I was in ye olde Mexico, and now I'm in ye olde Iowa, and the differences are astonishing.

So anyway, we went to Des Moines and saw Uncle Mark (yay), but couldn't see Aunt Becky since she's in Spain with her scandalous husband (lucky devils). We came home later in the afternoon, with a stop along the way at the grocery store to stock up on gluten-free delights, and then hung out until supper. I went out to watch my dad feed his miniature cows, some of which will eat treats out of his hand -- three of the cows have had even more miniature calves, which were totally adorable. Then we ate supper, watched some fine CBS programming (Person of Interest looks like it's really good, but I stopped tivo'ing it since I have a million shows to catch up on and not nearly enough time to do it), and now I need to go to sleep immediately. I intend to use this weekend to catch up on the hundreds of emails I've ignored in the last couple of weeks, and possibly retinsel my hair and paint my toenails so that I can feign some level of festive, relaxed vacation mode even though I'm stressed and should be writing. Goodnight!

even the sun sets in paradise

The buzz from my vacation is nearly over - of course, that means the hangover is over too, which is a perk, but unfortunately the sunburn on my knees lingers, as do the little red ant bites deposited in random patterns across my flesh. But, I made it to ye olde Iowa, so I suppose that counts for something? And I slept almost eight hours in my own bed, which was v. welcome.

Today was utterly uneventful; I was out of bed by eight a.m. and took the last three hours in my apartment to finish packing, cleaning up, emptying the fridge, etc., etc. before going to the airport. I made it through security without incident, picked up a gigantic latte and an equally gigantic thing of yogurt (gluten-free airport eating is possibly the most challenging gluten-free experience, given that all the fast and easy sandwiches are barred to me), and boarded the plane almost on time. However, we sat on the runway for almost an hour, which was super annoying, and was made even more annoying because the dude sitting next to me continued to text/tweet/email not just on the tarmac (understandable, if annoying to my rule-abiding sensibilities), but while we taxied, took off, and until we reached an altitude where we no longer had service. Some judicious spying helped me discover that he's the athletic commissioner for the West Coast Conference; I will now rather loftily declare that I don't like to see someone who thinks rules don't apply to them in charge of a student athletic conference. Yes, I'm overreacting. But still.

sssanyway, I spent the rest of the flight to Chicago working on my super secret novella, which is continuing to develop in new and interesting ways. When I got to Chicago, I had approximately an hour and twenty minutes, so I traversed the vast underground neon-lit tunnel that is O'Hare's only bit of whimsy in the midst of what is usually an awful experience, and then made it to my gate. The flight to Des Moines was early, and I had the only empty seat on the entire plane right next to me, which was lovely. And I started reading a book on medieval mysteries (gargoyle research), which was super interesting. I got in at ten p.m., and so [censored] came to pick me up without the parents, and we made it home without hitting any deer, so there are small miracles. And now I really, really must sleep -- third bed in three days, but this one is comfy, so I'm looking forward to it. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

las modelas are in the casa

I'm back in San Francisco for the next fourteen hours, which is sad because it's a) not Mexico and b) only fourteen hours before I get on another plane. However, the trip to Mexico was utterly worth any mild inconvenience I may suffer over having to turn around and leave immediately. This morning (after I blogged, of course; first things first) we had breakfast at the house, then went to the beach club for one last hour or two in the sun. As it turns out, none of us wanted to be in the sun given our varying degrees of burning -- no one got totally fried, but kayaking did a number on both me and Lauren's knees, and everyone except Chandlord (lucky bitch) had some amount of crispiness. So we hung out under the umbrellas, took a few photos, indulged in a final pina colada (doble, por supuesto), and enjoyed the last little bit of sand and surf before it was time to go home.

After we'd all showered and finished packing, Terry, Chandlord, Katrina and I said our sad goodbyes to Lauren (aka Subz, aka Zubisubz), who is staying on through Saturday. I'm not sure what was sadder -- that Lauren is alone tonight (Nathan is joining her tomorrow), that we had to say goodbye to her, or that we're all insanely jealous that she's still there and we're all back in San Francisco. Sigh. But the four of us got to the airport without incident, checked in (with some v. inefficient gate agenting going on, and some shady efforts to 'upgrade' our seats that would have resulted in Chandlord and I giving up seats together on the bulkhead for two middle seats several rows back), got to our gate, and paused while I ate a cheeseburger (sin pan) and fries. Katrina was on a different flight leaving twenty-two minutes earlier, so she had to abandon us, and then the rest of us boarded, settled in, and had an utterly uneventful flight back to San Francisco. I tried to prolong the afterglow with a Bailey's on the rocks, but that was about as sad as a cougar at a frat party, so I took a nap instead.

When we got to San Francisco, Katrina retrieved my car from long term parking while the rest of us were still disembarking/going through customs, and we came back to San Francisco, where our fellowship was broken. Then, Terry and I ordered a pizza and watched last night's episode of "The Voice" before I came upstairs to pack for Iowa. I'm almost done -- I need to do some last-minute things tomorrow, but I don't have to leave for the airport until 11:15, which feels positively civilized.

And now you can go back to your regularly scheduled reading without having to be jealous of my Mexico trip -- Iowa awaits, and while it's definitely worth being jealous of, I have a feeling the events that I'll be reporting on will be rather different than all the drinking and fun in the sun I was doing in Mexico (unless the miniature cows want to get their drink on -- I wonder whether fresh-from-the-cow milk would be good in a White Russian??). Goodnight!

nathan of the sea

Apologies for not blogging last night; I tried to blog after everyone else went to bed, but then the internet went down in the house and I couldn't get it to come back up. So if you thought I was dead, fear no more -- I am still alive, at least at 8:30am in Puerto Vallarta, and hope to remain so until my usual blog check-in tonight!

Yesterday was lovely, though; I don't know how it's possible, but the beach/sun/water may have been even more gorgeous yesterday than the two days prior. There had been vague talk of renting a boat to take us snorkeling, but those plans died -- it would be too dramatic to say there was a mutiny of all hands, since I don't think a mutiny can be accomplished through sheer laziness (and there wasn't a cutlass in sight). Instead, we sat around and had a wonderful breakfast (as all the breakfasts have been), and then Lauren and Terry went to the gym while Chandlord, Katrina and I went to the beach club (where our old waitstaff friends were happy to greet us, since they knew we would proceed to drink all day).

Chandlord and Katrina entered a weird vortex of incomprehensibility v. early on, and I was obsessing over Caro and Westbrook (the characters in the super secret novella I'm working on), so I put in my headphones and listened to music while working (which looks nothing like work, since I was just staring at the waves and occasionally making a note in my notebook). When Terry and Lauren came back, we all drank some more (pina coladas for me, and Isidro, my new best friend, makes them dobles), ate some food, slathered on the sunscreen (not well enough as events turned out), and hung out until the desire to have approximately twenty minutes of activity overtook us.

So Terry hung out on the beach chairs (under Isidro's watchful eye) while the rest of us went kayaking. I'd never been kayaking before, but Lauren did crew for awhile in college, so I parasitically got into a two-person kayak with her so I could enjoy all the advantages of kayaking without the death I might have found for myself amongst the rocks. Chandlord and Katrina were each on their own, and we didn't stay out super long; the weather and the water was gorgeous, but we weren't in the mood for a ton of work, and so Lauren and I "threaded the needle" between some giant rock clumps (I felt so proficient) and made it back to the beach. I sunburned my knees in the kayak, which annoyed me; I'd been v. good with sunscreen except for a patch I missed on my shoulder two days earlier, and I even wore a tshirt over my swimsuit to protect it yesterday, so burning my knees felt like an insult.

Post beach club, we came home, showered, had margaritas and guacamole at home (since the margaritas and guacamole made by the chef here are the best I've ever had), and then went to the Four Seasons to have cocktails at one of the bars overlooking the beach. Post-cocktails, we came home and had dinner -- Italian-inspired this time, with a caprese salad, some chicken dish (for me, Katrina, and Terry; Lauren got fish and Chandlord got veg), and a really awesome crustless cheesecake. The chef did an incredible job accommodating all of our various food preferences/allergies on this trip, since all five of us have different restrictions -- but everything the chef and his sous chef made for us was outstanding.

We sat around the table until bedtime, and then I tried to blog, and then I grew frustrated and went to bed. And now you're caught up, and you know I'm alive -- you're welcome. We're potentially going to the beach for a bit this morning, and then we have to leave for the airport at 1:30; I'll be home by sevenish, and then it's a mad dash to pack and get things sorted out before my flight to Iowa leaves tomorrow. Sad, since I could stay in Mexico forever, but I suppose I'll survive. Goodnight!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

patron saint of awesome

I will freely admit that I drank an inadvisable amount yesterday - turns out all those cocktails at the beach club were doubles, and Isidro (our new bestie/server) did a v. good job of keeping us drunk and happy. Add that to the wine we had at dinner, and it's no wonder this morning was rough. I slept outside until three a.m., then relocated inside just because I didn't want the daylight to wake me up. I thought I was fine this morning, and I had a lovely breakfast (hard to not be lovely when the food and coffee just shows up when you sit down), and Chandlord and I discussed whether the romans knew what potassium was (a jhoke that clearly won't translate here). Eventually, thought, it was time to stop being slothful and start rallying for activity, which is when I realized that my hangover was going from mild irritant to all-out apocalypse...

Still, I rallied sufficiently to go with the crew to Sayulita, a small town with fun shopping about half an hour from the house. Lauren (now known as Subizubz, as we continue our nickname innovation) lured me in with promises of housewares, and she wasn't mistaken in either my love of such things or the appeal of the shops in Sayulita for one with my addictions. Sayulita was super cute, and small enough that even when we did get separated, it was just a matter of traversing the same four blocks until our searches for each other bore fruit. I was v. restrained, though, and only got myself a new desk ornament; while the whole place felt vaguely like India, the prices were at least 5x higher, and the disconnect between the prices and the ambience kept me from splurging. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the beach, and the food there was great - my carne asada was fantastico, as they say, and the guacamole there is enough to make an avocado atheist a true believer.

After Sayulita, we came home, changed into swimsuits, and drove the golf cart to the beach club. I immediately veered off and got a massage, since I was tired, cranky, almost-not-hungover, and sore...and it did wonders for my muscles and my mood, even if I did have one of my usual weird experiences where the masseuse did something I wasn't expecting (nothing major, but let's just say I felt like I had been mounted). Then I went back to the beach, where isidro encouraged me to have a piƱa colada doble, and the hair of that particular dog was enough to get me back in the game.

When we came home, we all showered, and then the chef fed us an amazing meal - one of the best salads I've had in agrs, a Veracruz style fish dish with rice and vegetables that was out of this world, and a sorbet/ice cream with an interesting spice profile. And we drank wine, and told jhokes, and talked about menfolk, and generally celebrated being alive and lucky. Terry and Lauren both peeled off to go to bed, but Katrina, Chandlord and I made snacks, and now I think I should get some sleep. Goodnight!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

(diablo mojito)*(Infiniti)

Hello, sad people who aren't in Mexico. I had THE BEST day (and I don't use capital letters lightly, so you should accept my happiness). I didn't know what time it was all day, and I had no way or inclination to check my email or twitter, and I got some sun (but not too much), and everything I ate was wonderful, and Lauren (aka Subz) and I went drink for drink all day, which was perfect.

Really, there's nothing I can say without sounding like I'm trying to make you jealous. We all got up in our own time, hung out, and ate whatever the staff brought us. Eventually we put forth some effort and took the golf cart to the beach club, which we had practically to ourselves, where we tanned, relaxed, played in the water, ate snacks, and drank many drinks. When we were done there, we came home, showered, and went to the nearby village, where we had an amazing dinner and some dude played "Hotel California" on his guitar (which brought back fond memories of india for me and Subz). And now, I really should sleep - I think I'll sleep outside, since it's gorgeous and I can always go into my room if it gets too cold or the geckos try to eat me. Goodnight!

Friday, May 04, 2012

this isn't mexico, this is crazytown

I am sitting in a gorgeous open air living room in Puerto Vallarta, in what is undoubtedly the nicest place I've ever stayed in my entire life. Today was utterly perfect; I woke up excited (a rare feat for me at six am), got ready, and rendezvoused with my traveling friends to go to the airport. Katrina picked up Lauren (aka Subz, who has requested a new nickname, which is both bold and dangerous, since the best thing we came up with tonight was LL Mill J) and brought her to my place, and then we all picked up Chandlord (who is stuck with that nickname for eternity) and went to the airport. Lauren and Katrina were on a flight that was 30mins before me, Chandlord and Terry, so we dropped them off, then parked the car, went to the airport (with someone on the shuttle who believed his kid's water polo card was proper ID - I wish I knew how that worked out for them), and grabbed food before our flight.

The flight was even lovely, which is rare; Chandlord and I sat together, and I had a Baileys on the rocks and two coffees and wrote five pages of a super secret novella. Subz and Katrina were drinking margaritas when we got out of customs, and they encouraged us to get margaritas for the road. So we did, of course, even though the driver later gave us cold towels and offered beers as greeting. It was probably forty minutes from the airport to the house, which was spent in raucous celebration of the fact that we are in Mexico...

...a level of celebration that was utterly eclipsed when we were greeted by the splendor of the house we are staying in. I can't even describe how awesome it is, other than to say that most of the living room/dining room is open air and overlooking a private pool (which we hung out in this afternoon), and there is a staff that can make the best margaritas I've had in ages (with some salt on the rim that includes cayenne pepper and other spices - a touch I want to replicate at home), and they bring them out to us while we swim. They also made us dinner, which was amazing - tortilla soup, enchiladas, tamales, and a flan that was so good that I ate all of mine even though I dropped half of it on the table). Then we took a constitutional walk around the area and saw the full moon over the ocean, and then came home and talked over wine in the loungey living room. And I'm blissfully happy, and I didn't check my email for twelve hours, and I didn't even bring my laptop - it's like I'm a whole new person.

But now, I believe I shall go to sleep, and dream of the beach, and try not to cuddle Chandlord (we are sharing a room, but the bed is massive, so I think she will be safe from my depradations). Goodnight!

take a holiday in spain

It's well beyond bedtime...I need to get up in exactly seven hours, which wouldn't be so bad if I'd slept for more than five last night. I got up this morning in time for my unplanned trip to my gynecologist, which went totally fine and so was mildly annoying because they made me get an exam before renewing my prescription, thus necessitating taking 3.5hrs out of my last day at home to get it done. But I made up for it by going to Nordstrom immediately after; I returned two swimsuits that I'd ordered online, since I decided that the cost of the swimsuits was ridiculous given that I will probably wear them once a year...and then promptly bought three tops, a pair of shorts, and a totally gorgeous skirt that I'm utterly in love with. The grand total, though, thanks to judicious application of some Nordstrom rewards, came to $24, so I felt inordinately pleased with myself.

Post Nordstrom, I went to the post office to mail a couple of things and check my PO box, then drove back to the city of sin and talked to my parents as I drove to kill several birds with one stone. When I got home, Chandlord came over to watch last week's "Mad Men", and I let myself be distracted because I was too tired to get anything done. After she left, I took a nap, then started organizing my packing -- and then got a call from Lauren (aka Subz), who was stuck in traffic and wanted to see if I could pick up her dog from doggy day care before it closed, since Myla's day care is two blocks from my house. So I walked over to retrieve Myla, walked her back to my place, and then drove her home. Then I came back, packed, sent my regrets to John because I had too much to do to go to his birthday drinks tonight (sigh), and slogged hardcore until now.

And now, I must sleep - Mexico awaits! I'm not taking my laptop (SHOCKING), but I'll have my ipad, so perhaps you'll get some post-margarita blog posts out of me this weekend. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

she's a little runaway

Extreme productivity + bad decision making = long, long day. I woke up before eight entirely on my own, which was bizarre; I was going to go back to bed, but I saw a couple of emails I needed to answer, so I did that instead, and then I was wide awake. So, I took care of a bunch of stuff, showered, talked to my parents, and was out the door by eleven to grab some food and work at Morning Due. I only stayed there for one 'shift' (how I think about my time there, since I have to move my car every two hours due to parking restrictions in the neighborhood), since I had a bunch of errands to run - so I left, went to a party store to buy gloves for a video I'm supposed to shoot (completely unrelated to my own video), then went to a liquor store to stock up on alcohol (yes, this is important), then came home, did laundry, and kept working down my massive to-do list. I surprisingly got through just about everything I intended to accomplish today -- tomorrow is still going to be a brutal slog, though, particularly since I have a snap, unplanned appointment with my gynecologist in Palo Alto tomorrow morning (TMI, but I tried to renew my birth control and they wouldn't refill it unless I got an exam, since it's been a year and a half, and they had a cancelation for tomorrow that I could And in 32 hours I'll be on a plane to Mexico, so I really must get stuff done before then!

Tonight I was prepared for a long slog with the laptop, and I was all settled in to do it -- I had ordered and eaten some pizza, settled in on the couch, and started watching "The Two Towers" as motivation for my work (since nothing motivates me more than watching Aragorn do his save-the-world ting). But then Adit called and asked if I wanted to hang out (or, in Adit form, told me I was hanging out). I certainly didn't have time for it, but I hadn't seen him and Priyanka in a month and won't see them again for at least another month, so I put aside the laptop, put on some pants, paused Aragorn in all his dirty splendor, and went with Adit and Priyanka to second dinner (which I didn't eat any of, thus intensifying the drinks I had instead).

They wanted to go to a pizza place in Russian Hill (or Polk Gulch?), but the line was long, so we put our name in (to a fancy iPad that texted us five minutes before our table was ready, allowing us to wander away) and then went down the street to another restaurant/bar to have drinks while we waited. My drink was excellent, although slightly marred by the waitress, who, when I asked her whether it was a good choice, asked "have you ever had a mojito before?" Did I look like I climbed out from under a fucking Prohibition-era rock? Anyway, we finished our drinks, went to the pizza place, ordered a bottle of wine, and proceeded to talk about self-publishing, the economy, and politics for ages. Then I came home, let some of my buzz wear off while watching Aragorn march on Rohan, and then wrote a guest blog post for my publicist. And now, I really must sleep, particularly since I'm now destined to sleep for approximately 5.5 hours...sadness. Goodnight!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

settle for a world neither up or down

No news worth sharing today...I woke up at 7:30 and couldn't go back to sleep, which meant I'd only slept five hours, and it threw off my entire day. I did take a nap this afternoon, which made me feel somewhat better, but I have too much stuff to do to be so lazy. Then again, the stress and pressure that I'm putting on myself is crippling, which is probably why my to-do list feels so overwhelming...sigh. If I could stop feeling like everything was so do-or-die right now, maybe I would actually get something done.

Anyway. Today wasn't entirely lost; I finished editing the video I was working on, did a few email/romance tasks, participated in an online chat with some other writers about some promo opportunities for the conferences we're all going to this summer, etc. I also took care of my dry cleaning, did some laundry, went to Sephora, and figured out what errands I need to run before going to Mexico. And now, I think I'll go to bed -- perhaps a decent night's sleep will help me calm down enough to finish the stuff on my list without just tossing my computer out the window and running for the hills. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

won't you take me to sleepytown

This is the latest I've stayed up in ages and ages...I got sucked into a vortex of video editing and am just now emerging, bleary-eyed and headachy, to take stock of all I did and all I ignored in my quest to make a video. I couldn't help myself, though; I'm excited with what we taped over the weekend, and I want to make it look pretty and shiny and sharable so that we can get it out before I lose interest and move on to the next shiny thing.

So anyway, today was productive if you count the video, and utterly unproductive if you don't. I went to a cafe and worked for a couple of hours, then came home and cleaned up from yesterday's shoot and my own inebriation-induced squalor. I also talked to my parents to make up for dramatically shortening yesterday's usual Sunday call in the interest of going to a winebar with Chandlord -- today I had no other plans, so we caught up as we usually do. Then, I started editing, with a break to make and eat some chili, and I have been editing ever since. Blergh.

But, it's coming together, and I sent a draft to Terry (who, as director, should be editing this, but I got impatient and thought it silly to make her do it when she's traveling like mad and all the shots are on my laptop anyway). And now, I really must sleep - I need to do things tomorrow that have nothing to do with the video, and perhaps get some writing done as well, so wish me luck!