Wednesday, October 31, 2012

i seen the lights go down on broadway

Sorry for missing last night - I had nothing to report. I don't really have anything to report today either, but I figured my mother would be v. sad if I didn't blog, so I shall come up with something. I spent the morning reading about the hurricane/superstorm and cleaning up the kitchen, and then I drove down to the glorious south bay to have lunch with Alyssa (remember her?). I'm not planning to start training with her again anytime soon, since I don't particularly enjoy driving down south three times a week to be tortured and then parted with my money, but I found myself missing her and so we got together for lunch instead. She seemed to be in good form, and it was good to catch up, so yay to that.

After Alyssa, I wrote for a couple of hours, then returned to the man to have coffee with a friend who recently started working for the Play team on the ebook offerings. Naturally, I had many, many opinions, so I perhaps overwhelmed him, but it was good to see him and I do like rambling about my pet passions, so that was fun. Then I went to Stanford library and spent a few hours pouring over books and maps and other tings. And now I should sleep - much writing needs to happen tomorrow if I am to go to Carmel without feeling guilty. Goodnight!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

i was alone, staring over the ledge, trying my best not to forget

No words left...I woke up at Heather and Salim's, had dim sum with them (ill advised, since I'm allergic to it), sat in their backyard for a bit, contemplated going to Stanford library, and instead came home. And while I was home, I got caught up in stories - both my Regency story, which is destroying me, and my super secret non-gargoyle young adult project, which is clamoring to be written (probably because I shouldn't be thinking about it right now). So, I played the hermit, refusing dinner invitations and possible fun times to stay focused on all the words buzzing inside my head.

And now that you've wrung that many words out of me, I need to go to sleep - tomorrow I must get all those words out of my head and onto the page. Goodnight!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

it's just I'm home less than I like to be

I'm typing on my iPad, so this will be brief - I woke up, did stuff around the house, ate some leftover moussaka, and then drove to Stanford to work at the library for a few hours. I didnt write as much as I intended, but I wrote several pages about the endgame plot and my have figured it out, so I'll take it. Then I met up with Terry and a friend of hers for some fiesta - they waited to go in until I showed up, since the waitstaff inexplicably loves me and brings us free guacamole even though I'm far from a regular.

And now I'm spending the night at heather and salim's - a planned sleepover, not a tequila-induced one like last time. I plan to have breakfast with them, and then go back to Stanford and write - wish me luck!

Friday, October 26, 2012

crazy train

No words left...I wrote quite a bit (and had a big breakthrough related to that secondary character I was doubting last night), then made moussaka, which was a two-hour endeavor to rid myself of some extra eggplant/hamburger/milk. The moussaka was successful, although I think I didn't love it because I spent so long making it that it was rather anticlimactic to eat it. And I watched the second game of the World Series, and played on my ipad, and talked to Terry. And now that I've exerted myself far too much on this blog post, it's time for bed - goodnight!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

you can't carry it with you if you want to survive

True to my prediction, I didn't feel so hot this morning, and so I only managed to write a couple of pages over a medicinal dose of huevos rancheros at the cafe down the street. I had to throw in the towel early because I had an appointment for an afternoon of pampering to make me look more like a girl and less like a troll for Lauren's wedding next week. My old hair stylist is dead to me (or, not dead, but rather has moved to Minnesota, and it took me several months to come to terms with my loss and decide to seek out someone else), but I found a new stylist at her old salon who gave me a great haircut and an even awesomer blowout, so that's nice. And I got my eyebrows tinted and waxed by the eyebrow goddess there, and I also got a facial from her since I hadn't had a facial in months and months. And now my skin is fresh, my hair is pretty, and my eyebrows don't look like my grandfather's, so I think I'm ready for wedding pictures.

After all that, I went to the mall to buy shoes for the wedding, and I settled on a pair of nude pumps that I've been coveting for awhile anyway and had no reason to buy before because I am mostly barefoot these days. Then I grabbed an early supper at the mall, came home, and watched the first game of the World Series - and it will shock you to know that I turned it on on my own, without even waiting for Terry to get home. Amazing. After that, I got nothing done, but that's okay - tomorrow is a better day, and I need to sleep on the story anyway since a random new character showed up (or is about to show up - she's standing in the doorway of the room where Nick and Ellie are) and I need to decide who she is, what she wants, what she looks like, and whether she's even necessary or whether my imagination is spitting out random secondary characters who should stay buried in my brain for another day. Goodnight!

leave all your love and your loving behind

I'm in a much better mood than I was last night at this point. Also, I'm drunk. I would like to pretend that that's correlation, not causation, but I'm not sure I can tell you that with a straight face.

But first, the beginning. I woke up this morning and succeeded in not obsessing over the internets, thanks to my sim card being in my v. old-school dumbphone that I got in Singapore three years ago - I can receive calls and texts just fine, but I can't check my email or my goodreads reviews or my amazon sales stats on it, so that's an automatic win in terms of preserving my peace of mind. So I got up, took a shower, went downstairs, made myself some delish eggs (scrambled eggs with onions, andouille sausage, and cheese) and some coffee, and enjoyed my breakfast while reading my hometown paper from last week (highlights: they misspelled 'crowd' in a headline on the front page, and there was a pic of a woman spinning wool *directly from* her angora rabbit). Then I stewed over my book, and eventually walked up to the Peet's at Bush and Van Ness, where I wrote four pages or so while waiting for my car to be finished.

The car was done around 4pm, which was two hours later than I had planned, which put me behing on my dinner preparations. I'm over how much I spent on it; it wasn't the money that bothered me as much as not being an expert at all things and so not knowing whether this was something that was truly necessary vs. somewhat necessary vs. a total ripoff. You all know that I like to be right about everything, so this reaction will not surprise you. sssanyway, after the dealership, I went to Whole Foods to get some groceries, and then I came home and embarked on a v. fast death march towards dinner. I was hosting book club tonight, and I was making only things I've never made before, so that added to the stress...

...but it all turned out wonderfully. I bought the appetizers (guac and hummus), but the entree was a roasted eggplant and garlic soup that was *amazing*, if I do say so myself. It was amazing enough anyway because it is both gluten free and dairy free, which is v. hard to find in the "tasty" category of entrees. But the taste was lovely; it required roasting the eggplant, onion, carrot, and celery first (as well as roasting the garlic in a separate pouch), then combining it with broth, potato, tahini, garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and then pureeing it with my immersion blender. It came out seeming v. fancy and delicious, but it was quite easy to prepare - I would totally make it again. And I plan to try some of the other soups in the cookbook; my parents gave me this Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups for Christmas (at my behest) one year, but I was kind of daunted by the recipes...and now I am no longer daunted, so if you're reading this, perhaps someday you'll benefit!

I also made a gluten free apple crisp, using my Gram's recipe but substituting a speciality gluten-free flour mix for the regular mix, and it turned out perfectly. And we drank two bottles of wine (or rather, we split two bottles of wine, of which I had approximately 3/4s of a bottle myself since most people had to drive). And we discussed TURN OF MIND, which was mostly a discussion of how sad all of us were about the people we knew who had dementia, but it seemed the everyone really 'enjoyed' the book (if 'enjoyed' is the right word, which it's not entirely). And now I must really sleep, since I am sure I'm going to be hung over in the morning and I need to recover just enough to go get my brows waxed (and tinted, since they're going white, ugh) and my hair cut, and go to the mall to get shoes for Lauren's wedding. Goodnight!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the worst things in life come free to us

I'm kind of unbearably sad tonight...I would claim that I don't know the cause of it, but I'm pretty sure it's a combination of spending $3500 to fix my car and reading a novel with a main character who is succumbing to dementia. The car was unexpected because I took it in for a checkup (which it, admittedly, desperately needed, since I get the oil changed regularly but pretty much ignore all other routine maintenance) and they told me they had to replace the power steering rack or some shit. Boo. The book was more expected, since I chose to read it, but it really put me in the worst mood ever....

...and I suppose the reason it put me in the worst mood ever is obvious, since both my grandmothers and one of my great-grandmothers had some pretty serious dementia. Gram Wampler is still alive, but has slipped quite a bit, while Gram Holder passed away in 2004 and my Great-grandma Wampler died while we were in Ukraine, at which point she hadn't been able to speak for years. Tragic.

The book, TURN OF MIND, is really, really good, though; it was written by one of my creative writing teachers at Stanford, and she did a masterful job of capturing the decline in cognitive function and language ability and social skills and all the rest. The narrator is first-person for the most part, told from the perspective of a former orthopedic surgeon who is sliding into dementia and is also suspected of killing her best friend (although she can't remember whether she did or not). And I'm really glad to have read it, but I think it's going to haunt me. And it will probably haunt me because I saw too much of myself in the other characters, who slowly slip away from the main character because they have their own lives and can't stomach having the same fucking conversation over and over and over again, knowing she'll never remember it.

I don't really know what I'm trying to say here. I suppose it will haunt me because it made me think about what my feelings for my grandmothers tell me about who I am, and I'm not sure I like the answer. Is the impatience I feel toward them just my standard defense mechanism, where I've pre-grieved for them years before they're ever gone because it's easier for me to pretend that they're already dead and nothing but a memory? Or is that impatience something colder, more selfish -- a frozen heart, rather than one that can't handle the heat of its emotions? I suspect that my heart is a blocked, simmering volcano, not a frozen wasteland -- but that's probably why I'm struggling with Ellie and Nick right now, since I'm having trouble forcing myself to stay still and listen to all the long-buried emotions that I'm bleeding into their story, when all I want to do is burn everything and move to Thailand and forget that I ever wanted to be a writer, forget that I ever felt anything for anyone, and live in a moment where there are no choices and no divergent paths and no alternate lives that may or may not have been happier than the one I've found myself in.

Sorry, I should have posted a melodrama alert at the beginning. Tomorrow will be better, or at least cheaper, and I will hopefully drag myself out of this black mood (or at least channel it into the end of Nick and Ellie's story, which is fast approaching and would be approaching even faster if I could stop being sad about them). Goodnight!

Monday, October 22, 2012

can't you see what you've done to my heart and soul

The rain is coming down in San Francisco, thus ending our lovely October summer. Or perhaps it's not the end - but it feels like it must be. And I, for one, am glad to be free of our tyrannical sun overlord, since I like huddling up under down comforters and have a lot of flannel pajamas to rotate through.

I would have done more huddling today, in fact, but a) it wasn't raining yet and b) I had commitments. No writing got done, but I did spend some quality time with my roommate. True to our forms, I talked to her about survival gear and preparing for the apocalypse, and she dragged me to Bloomingdale's so she could buy a sweater and some boots. I may be able to keep us hydrated, but she's clearly going to look hotter while we're dying. Bitch.

The preparation book I started reading this morning is hilarious - as I told Terry, my decision was to buy a prepper book by one of the crazies, and then tone it down to fit my own views on the likelihood of an apocalyptic event that requires me to leave the city immediately. This book is all about building a 'bug-out bag' (BOB) with stuff needed to survive the first seventy-two hours - at which point you should have reached your 'bug-out location' (BOL), which you have already prepared as a safe haven. Nowhere in the book does he discuss that there are plenty of emergencies where having a BOB is a great idea, but where it's also going to be fine to hang out in your home (or near it) while services are restored. Apparently, in his view, whenever there's a disaster, you make a run for your BOL and then ask questions later.

What I would find particularly hilarious is that if all these people who have built secret hideaways in the Rockies/Utah/Idaho/Nevada were all prepared for a major cataclysmic event...and then that event turned out to be the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, which would bury all of them under several inches/feet of ash. But I digress.

Anyway, the book is interesting, and at some point I'll figure out what's useful vs. what's crazy and start planning from there. Eventually, Terry and I went to the mall, then came home, and then I drove to the glorious south bay and had dinner with Alaska Matt, his wife Kia, and their (relatively) new baby, which was awesome - I hadn't seen them in ages, so it was good to catch up. And now I'm home and desperately need to go to bed; writing *must* happen tomorrow, and I must also go back to my short-lived vow to avoid phone and laptop since my neck is killing me. And how am I going to carry a BOB from here to my BOL with a sore neck? Goodnight!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

you make me feel like i've been locked out of heaven

Today got off to an unusual start - I woke up at 5:30 a.m., which is v. v. unusual since I now only get up before eight if I have a romance writer meeting (once a month) or an early flight. But I didn't plan to wake up at 5:30 - instead, it was forced upon me because the fire alarm in my bedroom started chirping. If there was any way to keep sleeping through it, I would have, but it proved impossible, and so I put on pants and glasses and drove to Safeway to buy a battery. Then I came home, installed the battery, went back to bed, and slept until ten, thus demonstrating my dedication to my sleep.

When I finally woke up, I messed around on the internet, made a hamburger for breakfast/lunch (perhaps that's weird, but I had a package of hamburger I needed to use and there's really nothing better than a hamburger any time of day), spilled a whole glass of iced tea in the living room (no ill effects other than to my temper), and then settled in to write. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to, but that's okay; I finished the scene that I was working on, and then made the mistake of taking a break to go to Philz and get a coffee and some fresh coffee beans. When I got home, I instead turned my attention to watching the last bit of Big Game while organizing my emails - I didn't *answer* any emails, but I archived everything I don't need to answer, which is actually progress in my book.

But I had to stop messing around eventually because I had a party in the south bay tonight and I had to shower/dry my hair/put on makeup/put on heels like a normal employed girl (which I am certainly not, if my aching feet are any indication - I can barely tolerate heels anymore). The party was a joint birthday party for the big boss (remember her?) and the big boss's husband, who I had also worked pretty closely with way back in the day. I had a great time, since I got to catch up with a lot of people that I worked with when I worked with her, including both people who are still at Google and people who have moved on to Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc. And I got to chat with the big boss and her husband, of course, and admire their house, which is totally gorgeous and makes me feel like I'm living in a hovel (albeit a hovel with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof deck, so as hovels go, it's not too bad).

And then I came home, glad that I am writing romance novels and not answering emails for a living (since I'm clearly terrible at email now, and it's only getting worse). And now I shall go to sleep and attempt to write more tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

when i see your face

Nothing at all to report today...I suffered through my hangover, did some writing, did some errand-running, did some eating, and did some tv-watching with Terry. Yes, boring. But I will continue to be boring until I'm done with the current draft of the book, so get used to it. And now I shall sleep so that I can write more tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, October 19, 2012

long nights, strange men

If I were to draw a picture of my blood alcohol level for today, it would look like a two-humped camel (aka Bactrian, although perhaps I shouldn't have reveal that I know that). Or, perhaps my picture of a Bactrian camel would look like my alcohol consumption - I'm such a bad artist that any squiggly line could be meant to stand in for any other squiggly line. Sorry.

sssanyway, I was actually productive today, despite that inauspicious opening paragraph. I woke up, did a bunch of work, typed ten manuscript pages into my laptop, and had just started writing new stuff when the cleaners showed up. Yes, this is a first world problem. But since they seem to prefer if I'm not here while they clean, and I have no desire to hang out and watch them and feel guilty about my overly posh life, I immediately left. I had to go to the post office anyway, so I did that...and then I was walking back toward my place, with the intention of going to Starbucks and writing. But I got seduced by the vision of an outdoor table at a bar, since it was a legitimately warm day in the city (not 60 degrees, but like 80 degrees - unheard of). So I got a glass of white wine and intended to sit there and write while nursing my glass. Instead, I had three glasses of wine and some ceviche, and I overheard the most ridiculous conversation ever from an unemployed 47-year-old who seems to enjoy sleeping with married women with low self esteem (his 'friend' turned to me as soon as the guy went to the bathroom and said that he hadn't seen the guy in years, which is a clear sign of how ridic it all was). But, I still managed to write four pages, so I'll take it. And really, days like this come v. rarely to San Francisco, so I have no regrets.

Or rather, I would have had no regrets if it had ended there. Instead, I came home at 7 and made the brilliant move/mistake of texting Adit, who promptly said that he could have dinner at nine p.m. (I'll chalk this up as research into how Regency people lived, since they ate/drank/partied nonstop). That gave me just enough time to sober up for a bit before I met Adit and had another two cocktails + some truly delicious food at Delarosa. Even that might have been survivable, but he missed his bus, and so we had another cocktail at Mauna Loa, which was definitely not advised. But it was good to see him on his own, since it's been months and months since we've done a proper catch-up. And I got home at midnight, which is an hour earlier than Terry estimated, so I'll count that as a win. And now I should really sleep so that I can write through my hangover tomorrow -- goodnight!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

there'll be peace when you are done

Sorry for not blogging last night; I was already in bed when I remembered that I hadn't blogged yet, and as nothing particularly exciting had happened, I didn't feel the need to get out of bed just to tell you that I am boring. And that sad fact continues to be true today - I only left the house to check my mail and to sit up on the roof, and I spent the whole day alternating between writing, cooking, and obsessing over natural disasters. I fully recognize that cooking and obsessing were merely attempts to procrastinate from the writing.

But the cooking was excellent - I made home fries with andouille sausage for breakfast, with two eggs over easy to enjoy with them, and I was v. v. happy as a result. And the disaster obsession was...interesting. I recognize that I'm a little OCD about being prepared for stuff, and my current level of preparedness for earthquakes is less than I would like it to be. Google gave me an earthquake kit once, and it's still in my car, but it's like five or six years old at this point, and I'm sure some of the stuff has expired. And I have shoes and a first aid kit under my bed, and a bunch of year-old bottled water in the storage unit, but that's not really a plan. I was randomly adding stuff to my Amazon cart as I thought of it, but then I scaled back and just bought a disaster preparedness guide (trying to find one that is reasonable without trying to convince you that you need a second way-off-the-grid home deep in the woods + a beater truck converted to run on biodiesel + two years' worth of beans is surprisingly difficult).

And, despite my decision to hold off on buying anything until I have a plan, I also bought a really cool solar-chargeable AM/FM/NOAA weather radio. While we never have weather in California, it feels strange to me not to have a weather radio given the reliance on them in my hometown, and this model is particularly cool because you can also charge your smartphone from it, which seems like an incredibly useful feature. If you want one, you can get it here.

In other news, I wrote several pages of zee romance novel, so that's good. And I hung out with Terry, which was also good. And now, I must sleep so that I can continue being productive tomorrow, hopefully without being convinced that the world is going to end (which may just be wishful thinking on my part, since if the world ends I don't have to finish this book). Goodnight!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

and in a pipe she flies to the motherland

Today took a v. abrupt, v. welcome left turn, which means I wrote about sixty words instead of six thousand words. I got up, puttered around the house, and then walked down the street to have breakfast at a cafe and reread the last ten pages of my manuscript so that I could figure out the next scene. I intended to walk to another cafe after that and work all afternoon...but instead, while I was eating, I got a phone call from Walter (aka Harold, aka the Talbotross), who said that he was three hours away and asked whether I had time to hang out this afternoon. I threw caution to the winds and pretended that I am not writing a book so that I could hang out with him, since I would surely regret indulging my hermit tendencies at the expense of getting to catch up with Walter for the first time in over a year...and according to the blog, I last saw him March 28/29, 2011, which was quite some time ago indeed.

Anyway, Walter showed up and we hung out in my apartment for awhile, and then we walked down to the marina and looked at the water, the boats, and the woman who has trained pigeons to let her cuddle them (ew). Then we came back to my place, hung out some more, and then had dinner at Chow (much more satisfying and sanitary than watching a woman cuddle a pigeon). Then we met up with John and Jess for a drink (alcohol for me and John, hot chocolate for Jess and Walter, as life should be). And now I should really sleep; Walter brings out a purely crazy level of awkward/awesome in me, and I need to restore myself if I'm going to handle having breakfast with him - he's sleeping on my couch, so I will see him in the morning before he continues his trek north. Goodnight!

Monday, October 15, 2012

diamonds in the sky

This morning was rough, as is to be expected after last night's shenanigans. My mom said that when she first checked my blog this morning, I hadn't written yet, which is a testament to both how late I stayed up and how early she woke up. However, I would assume (I did not ask) that she did not wake up to an alarm that had been going off for awhile, the remnants of a bunch of daiquiris running through her veins, and the unwelcome knowledge that she had to get up and be presentable to a classy bridal shower in an hour. Bleh.

But, Terry wins the roommate award (stiff competition!) because she went to Starbucks and got me coffee, and also drove us to the shower and then dropped me off after so I could retrieve my car from where I'd left it last night. And I think I pulled off the appearance of sobriety and responsibility quite well at Lauren's shower, even if I was feeling just a bit out of my element since I was struggling through a hangover while most of her other guests were talking about their small children, their cats, etc. I don't have small children for obvious reasons, and I don't have a cat because I refuse to be a romance novelist who lives alone with a cat, so I just drank my water and tried to get my brain to work. The shower was v. lovely, though; it was at Lauren's house, but her mom made some v. delicious crustless quiche and a nice salad, and I really like Lauren's female relatives, so it was great to get to see them. And the shower was garden themed, so I got Lauren some of the deadheading/snipping shears that my mom likes and a bunch of seeds for various herbs and lettuces, so hopefully she enjoys them (and invites me over to eat the fruits of her labors next year).

After the shower, I came home and promptly collapsed into a nonverbal, dehydrated heap, and I ended up taking a nap before talking to my parents, who seem to be in good spirits. Then I put some clothes on (since I'd gone all out on my nap and put my nightgown on) and went downstairs, where I ate some tuna and watched tv with Terry and her sister for several hours. And now, I must sleep; I have to be over my hangover tomorrow so I can return to my no computer/no phone/no driving/tons of writing plan for the week. Goodnight!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

i'd rather run the other way than stay and see

I don't even know what to say about today - it was like I had two days, since I had one fairly awful day, took a nap, and then had one fairly awesome day. The fairly awful day started with getting up at 7:45 so that I could shower, make coffee, and leave the house in time to make it to my romance meeting, where I had to tell the assembled throngs that I'm not running for VP of programs again next year - it's the right decision since so much is up in the air for me, but it still wasn't easy. And the projector didn't really work for one of the most visual presentations we've had this year (by a cover artist), which I felt some personal responsibility for even though there's nothing I could have done. Bleh. But as usual, it was good to hang out with some other writers, and I had lunch after with a couple of my favorite members, so that was fun.

Post meeting, I drove back to the city of sin and went to the Whole Foods in SOMA, where I stocked up on all the ingredients necessary to cook for the dinner party I was supposed to have tonight. I had planned to make boeuf bourguignon, mashed potatoes, gluten free chocolate chip cookies, etc., and I bought a bottle of wine for the boeuf and a bunch of chips and salsa to snack on while the food was cooking. However, as soon as I got home, I opened my back door and discovered, too late, that the wine had rolled up against the door, and when I opened the door it fell out and shattered in the garage, which took ten minutes to clean up. Stupid.

But worse was that just as I was putting the cookies in the over, Salim called and said they had to cancel. That left Alaska Matt and Kia (and their relatively new baby), and so I texted them saying that rather than cooking I would just order in, and they responded by flaking too. While I understand the flake on all sides, I was still pretty pissed off (not at them, at the general state of the world). So I put away the bouef ingredients, ate a row of chewies, knitted, and then slept for an hour. I was v., v., v. close to just staying in and indulging in a pity party...

...but Adit had planned his birthday party for tonight, and I finally, sternly, grimly convinced myself that I had to go (despite the fact that at this point I was already half asleep in my bed). So, I rallied, and I'm v. glad I did; as sometimes happens, I went from zero to six thousand, and so I had at least four hemingway daiquiris and part of a vodka cranberry (on a stomach filled only with chewies, which may have been a mistake). And I saw all the usual suspects - Adit, Priyanka, Vidya, Katrina, John, Jess, Cathy, Tom, Julie, Deano, Minnie, etc. The last small group of us closed out the bar at two a.m., and then Adit, Priyanka, Chandlord, two other peeps, and I ended up at Grubstake, where I v. much enjoyed some v. cheesy potato skins in an old, converted trolley car. Yes, I'm such a hipster.

And now I really must sleep; I have a shower to attend in the morning, which is going to be super brutal, and at some point I need to retrieve my car and write ten pages. Goodnight!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

and suddenly i become a part of your past

Day One of limiting my laptop/cellphone/driving was a qualified success - qualified because I wasn't 100% successful, but I was way, way more successful than usual, and my neck really didn't hurt much all day. I spent some time on my ipad this morning (loophole!), then showered, grabbed my notebook, and had brunch down the street, which was a mistake since it's Friday and so my usually-dead cafe was full of post-college frat boys drinking bloody marys in preparation for the weekend. But I overheard an awesome conversation about how some dude's best man is furious at him for marrying the girl he wanted to marry, so that was entertaining. Then I walked down to Fort Mason and kept working, and all in all I wrote close to ten pages by hand. Yay!

When I got home, I cleaned my room and took care of some minor tings before getting in my car (I decided driving would still make me feel better than risking my life with the cabbies) and driving to Mission Beach Cafe to have dinner with Jenni, Nick, and Nick's girlfriend. You may remember Jenni from two nights ago; you may remember Nick from my time in India, where he played a masterful role in my birthday scavenger hunt and attempted to get a room at Passion Men's Hostel on only his second day in India. Ha. I hadn't seen him in at least three years, and in fact just realized that he shares a name with the Nick I'm currently writing a book about - awkward. They're not the same person, I assure you. sssanyway, we had an awesome dinner, and then we went to a bar down the street and watched the pivotal final inning of the Nationals/Cardinals baseball game (where I discovered that the guy who I'd seen earlier wearing what I thought was a Walgreens baseball cap was actually wearing a Washington Nationals cap - that's definitely an upgrade).

And now, sadly, I must sleep; I have my monthly romance meeting tomorrow, which is the hardest morning of the month for me. Goodnight!

Friday, October 12, 2012

i'm losing you and it's effortless

I'm getting desperate to make my neck feel better, and desperate times call for desperate measures. [note: if you don't enjoy me going on about my neck like a cranky octogenarian, skip to the next two paragraphs] I'm pretty sure my woes stem from a combination of typing on my laptop, scrolling on my smartphone, and driving, since it's worse whenever I'm doing anything related to those activities. The laptop is particularly problematic, since my whole job/life involves the computer...but that's probably a reason to figure this out and fix it now, rather than waiting until it's so debilitating that I can't type.

So, goal for the next three weeks: stop using my smartphone, limit my driving to essential trips only, and only check email twice a day (and write a quick blog post so you know if I've survived another day). This fits with my goal to get through this draft of the book anyway, since I'm writing by hand already and can just keep going with that without messing with the laptop. If that helps, then I'll have to figure out how to adjust everything a little more permanently - perhaps by getting some of the voice recognition dictation software that I know a lot of writers use. Or by becoming a luddite and hiring someone to type up my handwritten manuscripts (ha). We'll see how this goes!

As for the rest of the day - it was pretty good, all things considered. I had to go to the far south bay for a dentist appointment, since I've never bothered to find a dentist in the city. Everything looked good, although they tried to upsell me on invisible braces that I don't need and that they were appealing to my vanity to try to sell - they said my bite is perfect and everything's in great shape, but six months of invisible braces could make my teeth perfectly spaced, since I never had braces as a kid. Ha. After the dentist, I went to Stanford and worked for a few hours; I had to type up the 6000ish words I've written in the past week, and I made it through that without dying, so yay. I figured out that the most ergonomically pleasing way to type from my notebook was to prop the notebook up on my screen and stare straight ahead at it, and then go back after every page and correct whatever typos I made from typing blind - bizarre, but it worked. And now I must go to bed - I need to write tomorrow, and grocery shop, and try not to go crazy from my laptop/smartphone withdrawal. Goodnight!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

i wish you were a stranger, i could disengage

I had fun today! Totally not allowed, I know. I will admit I got a little distracted this morning; I had to answer comments on the guest blog post I did for the Rubies, and also Amazon released this new 'feature' (aka a torture device) in which it updates the popularity ranking of all authors every single hour. If that's not torture, I don't know what is. Luckily, I'm apparently popular right now - I'm currently #60 in the top 100 historical romance authors on Amazon. This means approximately nothing, since it's only Amazon sales, and my previous free downloads must have counted toward that average...but I still feel good about tings, since the majority of the authors on the list have well more than two books out, so I must be doing something right (other than the amount of time I spend obsessing over stuff, which is totally wrong).

But I had to stop working around one p.m. and drive to the dirty east bay to pick up my bridesmaid dress for Lauren's wedding. I will freely admit that I wasn't super psyched; the dress was picked by Lauren's sister, who is 5'7" and v. skinny, and so I was pretty sure I was going to look like a trainwreck (in a more literal sense of the word - squashed in all the wrong places). But, as it turns out, I had psyched myself out for naught; the color is lovely, and while the dress didn't make me 5'7" and skinny, it accentuates some kickass curves that I can accept. And it doesn't need altered! So, that's all a win.

I got back to the city around 4:30 (I ate after getting the dress, then tried to buy a jacket at REI, but they were out), and I did a bit of work and took a nap before meeting up with Jenni at a wine bar in Russian Hill. I hadn't spent any quality time with her since the last time we met at that wine bar, which was like six months ago, so it was great to see her. When we parted ways, I called Chandlord on a whim and met up with her and Katie at Bob's Donuts, where my wine-soaked state convinced me that it was a good idea to have a donut (hint: it wasn't). And now that I'm home, I need to sleep - I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, and I must write or else I deserve to be shot. Goodnight!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

it's for the best you didn't listen

I need to sleep was productive in a lot of ways, but not in the Nick and Ellie ways, and I'm going to pay for it tomorrow. But I ran a ton of necessary errands, had a lovely lunch with Becky and Christine (some of my writing friends), wrote a long guest blog for the Rubies (on discoverability and marketing - not particularly interesting to any of you, but if you are interested, it's here), and went to the library and worked for a couple of hours. So, yay to all that.

But the most exciting things are that a) I got a new pillow and b) I bought some IcyHot strips to slap on the side of my neck. They feel awesome - I'm not sure I'm in less pain, but I'm in icyhot pain instead of muscle pain, and at this point I'll totally take it. So, I'm going to go to bed with my icyhot and my new pillow like a grumpy octogenarian and hope that I feel better enough to type tomorrow. Goodnight!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

tonight you're the prey, i'm the hunter

I'm tired and cranky and oh-so-hermity, but I wrote three pages today - three hardfought pages that should have been ten or fifteen pages for the amount of time I agonized over them, but three pages is way more than nothing, so I'll take it. I also knitted while I mulled over the next phase of the plot, which I think kind of shocked Terry - when she came home, she found me on the couch with a thousand-yard stare, and when she asked me how the writing was going, I responded with 'I taught myself how to knit' and held up 10.5" of scarf that I had made between yesterday and today. Ha. But then, she shocked me by saying she is now only watching tv on weekends, so I guess we're even.

I couldn't think anymore at that point, so I spent the evening staring at the manuscript to no avail, and then taking care of a whole ton of little things that have been niggling at the corners of my mind demanding attention. This means I now have a lot of errands to run tomorrow, but I think I'll survive. For now, though, it's bedtime - and let's hope that this f'ing scene ends tomorrow so that I can get on to something that doesn't take hours per page. Goodnight!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

law of conservation of words

Nothing worth blogging about tonight - I wrote several pages today at rather great personal cost, and not nearly as many pages as the hours I put into them. Bleh. Then I talked to my parents, walked to the overpriced organic grocery store four blocks away to avoid the shitshow that I was sure to find if I drove to the Marina Safeway, and made taco salad for me and Terry since my mom had me craving it. Then I watched some sports that I cared nothing about because it was better than looking at my notebook again...and then I came upstairs and taught myself how to knit. I must be getting close to the end of this draft, since I had this same bizarre urge to learn how to knit when I was wrapping up HEIRESS a year and a half ago. But this time I have bigger needles (so it looks like it's going faster) and more exciting yarn (a pinkish/reddish/orangeish multicolor), so it's kind of awesome. I'm sure the urge will pass, but as a way to detox my mind and rekindle all the words that I've burned out during a day of hardcore slogging, it's not a bad hobby to pick up.

And now I must go to sleep so that I can repeat this whole mess again tomorrow, hopefully with a bit more speed and a bit less angsting over every single word choice. Goodnight!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

you and i go hard at each other like we're going to war

Today was lovely; I took the day off to enjoy living in the city of sin, which is extra sinful this weekend since it seems like every event ever is happening all at once. In fact, there were so many people in town that I think it overwhelmed our cell tower; I was having trouble getting calls and texts, and then would get a whole string of messages at once. Boo. It's Fleet Week AND there are America's Cup events going on at the same time, all of which are located really close to my neighborhood, so the entire area was kind of a shitshow.

But, I had a great day despite the tourists; Heather (aka dear respected madam) and Salim came up for the day, and I picked them up in another area of the city since there was no way they would ever find parking here. I dropped Salim off as close to Pier 39 as I could get before the traffic got too bad, and then Heather and I came to my place, where we spent the afternoon eating, drinking, and eventually watching the Blue Angels from my roof deck. I made chicken skewers and roasted tomato caprese salad for lunch, Terry made guacamole, and we drank peach bellinis, followed by rose (that should be ros-AY, all fancy, but I don't want to try to find the accented e), followed by mojitos. And, as was the case last year, the view of the Blue Angels from our roof deck was awesome, and it seemed like everyone in the Marina was out on their roofs watching the action.

Salim eventually reunited with us after walking back from Pier 39, and we watched last week's episode of 'The Voice' (mostly so that Heather and I could proclaim our attraction to Blake Shelton) before we went to Heather and Salim's favorite thai place in the city for a delicious and much-needed supper. Then I dropped them off at their car, came home, and am now contemplating life and thinking about how much I like living in the most expensive city ever vs. how much I like doing a job that pays nothing. The choice, it burns. I shall sleep on it, as I always do, and hope the choice doesn't burn a hole through my stomach lining to join all the other ulcers I've given myself. On that cheerful note, goodnight!

Friday, October 05, 2012

i still recall a sad cafe

I wrote five v. v. hard-fought pages today and am basically out of words, so you're lucky you're getting any blog at all (if lucky is the right word for the opportunity to read my drivel). But I accomplished what I set out to accomplish today; I made a v. quick trip to Palo Alto to check my mail, drop off my favorite pair of sandals and a purse to get repaired at a cobbler there, and eat at Chipotle, and then came back to the evil city (with stops at BevMo and Whole Foods to stock up for the weekend). Then I took care of stuff around the house and alternated between writing and pulling my hair out until nine p.m. Then I called it quits and reread part of 'Scotsmen Prefer Blondes' to remind myself that I'm capable of telling a coherent and at least mildly enjoyable story. Ha.

And now it's sleepytime - I need to write five pages tomorrow to keep on track, and I have grand plans to watch some Blue Angels since it's Fleet Week. Luckily those grand plans don't involve leaving my house - there are some advantages to the Marina. Goodnight!


I'm tired and hermity, so you're not going to get much out of me tonight - today was productive, although the productivity came late and so I haven't had a chance to recover my words. I was supposed to have lunch with Gyre today, but I canceled in the name of writing, which was a good call; instead, I went to a cafe and worked for a couple of hours, figuring out how to approach the next scene, etc. Then I went to the grocery store, came home, and was v. startled to find that our cleaning lady decided to come today instead of tomorrow. However, mid-afternoon today was way better than nine a.m. tomorrow, so I'll take it.

Thus banished from my house, I walked down to the marina area and wrote in a cafe for an hour or so with the sounds of fighter jets (it's Fleet Week) roaring overhead. Then I came home, cooked supper (a gluten-free pizza casserole thing that my mom had tried while I was home; it's not pizza, but it's a decent alternative if you like a casserole dish full of cheese). Terry came home from LA while I was cooking, so we caught up while my thing baked. She went out for drinks with some people, but I ate supper and then wrote another 3.5 pages to add to the page and a half that I'd written at the cafe. Those five pages are closer to ten pages since I'm writing in a notebook with absurdly narrow rules (my fave), so I'm pleased with that. And then I came upstairs, flushed all my fountain pens (by that I mean I emptied them and flushed them with water, not that I flushed them down the toilet) - not the most pressing thing on my agenda, but since they'd all been inked up at various points this summer and then abandoned, it was necessary to do at some point. Yes, I'm a dork. And now I must sleep so that I may get up and repeat today's productivity - goodnight!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

a town called mercy

All told, I was rather lazy today; this probably makes sense given that I burned myself out on contest entries yesterday, but I'm not pleased with myself. I spent the morning reconciling sales reports that my agent's assistant sent (for July - tings are slow in publishing, but about 6-12mo faster than if I were getting royalty statements from a traditional publisher). And then I messed around doing who knows what until it was time to meet up with Marina (not the neighborhood, the girl who used to live in Loro when I was a freshman). She's an artist who lives in Cyprus now, but she's in town for Stanford homecoming, and we got together for tea since I'm not attending any of the reunion events. It was lovely to see her and catch up on what she's been doing in Europe, so that was super fun.

Then I came home, intended to write - and instead watched the presidential debate, even though I had vowed until thirty seconds before it came on that I wasn't going to. Then I watched the commentary on both CBS and PBS (thank you, tivo). Then I decided I was in no state to write romance after all that, so I watched four episodes of "Doctor Who". I almost never watch television (or, at least, in comparison to my roommate), and I'd saved up all five episodes of the fall mini-season, and I decided I should watch them before the result of the fifth episode is spoiled for me (since it's kind of miraculous that it hasn't been spoiled already). So I watched four of them, and quite enjoyed them, but realized that it was suicide to start the fifth episode at midnight - it stars the Weeping Angels, which are my least favorite villain ever, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I had to sleep with my light on the first time I saw an episode with them. So, I'm saving it for a different time - like, say, at breakfast, with lots of coffee and sunlight and twelve hours afterward to forget them before it's time to close my eyes.

And now, I need to sleep - tomorrow must be much more productive than today. Goodnight!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

one of these mornings

Apologies for not blogging last night; I was in the midst of a truly annoying project and was falling asleep over my keyboard when I finally decided to throw in the towel, and I couldn't bear to stay awake any longer and blog. But yesterday was mostly lovely; I spent the day attempting to write and finally figured out what was wrong with the scene I had been struggling with, so that is good news. Then I went to my old neighborhood (yes, I realize I have like fourteen old neighborhoods; this one is where I used to live with Adit) to have dinner with John, Jess, and Emily, who is in town from Berlin. It was great to catch up with all of them, of course, if slightly surreal to see them in the same place and consider how we're all getting old.

But I couldn't hang out all night; I had to come home and start on this stupid thing I got roped into. As I mentioned in my Sunday night blog post, I had finished judging the 8 entries I was assigned for my chapter's writing contest, but some other judge claimed she had never gotten hers and then refused to do any of the ones she was assigned. We asked for volunteers, but only a couple of people helped out - and since it had to get done immediately and I am a total sucker, I ended up with sixteen entries to judge. That basically took two hours last night and seven hours or so today - each entry is 15pgs, which doesn't take forever to read, but the stupid f'ing scoring sheet requires scoring 20 different attributes on a 1-5 scale and writing a comment for any score equal to or less than a three. Ugh ugh ugh. But I'm done, and some of the entries were really good, so at least there's that.

So, you can guess that I spent all day judging entries today. I took a break to make myself a knock-off of the bayou omelette I had in New Haven a couple of weeks ago - andouille sausage, shrimp, peppers and onions, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream. I made a scramble instead of an omelette, and I think I messed up a few things: I used too many sundried tomatoes, too much olive oil, not enough pepper and onion, and my cheddar cheese was just slightly over the hill. Despite that would-be-catastrophic number of fuck-ups, it was still really good, and I'm prepared to try again someday.

Around three p.m., though, I realized I needed to get out of here and head to the south bay to beat traffic before dinner. So I went to a Starbucks down there and judged contest entries like a madwoman until it was time to meet Heather (aka dear respected madam) for a v. belated dinner to celebrate my birthday. We talked about all manner or topics, as per usual, and it was great to see her and catch up on all the latest in our respective lives. I also resisted the siren's call of margaritas (or, more accurately, the siren's call of the waiter who always tries to get me drunk; I had one margarita, which was about three too few in his view), so I was able to come home tonight and sleep in my own bed like a responsible adult. Ha. As soon as I got here, I had to finish inputting feedback on seven entries, but now I'm done, and I'm going to stop volunteering and stop seeing people and move into a cave on a mountain top where I, too, can claim that I can't possibly do stuff like this. Ha.

Okay, sleepytime beckons - goodnight!

Monday, October 01, 2012

maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away

Man, I'm tired. I sadly didn't write anything of my own today, but I did judge a bunch of contest entries that were due tonight. More sadly, I may have gotten roped into judging more of them tomorrow, since one of the judges claims she never received the entries she was assigned (I smell a rat), and since I'm on the board of the chapter, I kind of got tapped to help out. Ugh. So, I need to get up early tomorrow and write before the additional entries show up - I have grand plans for a month of hermity productivity starting tomorrow, and I can't let contests or visitors or the lure of far-off places distract me from finishing MARQUESS so that I can move on with my life.

But at least I felt productive today, and I cleared a lot of stuff off my to-do list that had been looming for awhile. I also cleaned off my desk, which made me happy. And I went to a cafe and ate/chatted with Terry before we both did some work for awhile, which was nice since she's going out of town (wise lady - she doesn't want to be here for my initial descent into madness). But now I must sleep if I have any hope of getting tings done tomorrow - goodnight!