Sunday, December 30, 2012

deserted cities of the heart

My time in Iowa is rapidly drawing to a close, alas. Sad, since I doubt I'll be back before the end of April, but in some ways probably for the best since I need to get cracking on the revisions for Nick and Ellie (aka the book that will never be done - I may be too invested in it). So today, rather than holing up in my room and writing, I hung out with the family. [censored] and I watched the final episode of the most recent mini-season of [censored], which I had avoided watching since I knew that [censored] were going to die and I wasn't prepared for either the sadness or the [censored]. But [censored] encouraged me to watch it so that we can watch the Christmas episode before we part ways, and I'm glad I finally watched it, even if it did make me cry excessively. Damned [censored].

After we were finished with that, the family sat down to play a friendly game of rail baron, which took like eight hours, as per usual. We took a break around seven to eat supper, since my mother had made buffalo wings to sustain us with (verdict: success). Then, we finished the game - I came within a turn or so of winning, but I was foiled in my attempt, and then [censored] won. This was particularly disheartening since [censored] won last time we played - spending ~16hrs over the course of three days in the last week to give [censored] reasons to gloat was probably not the best investment of my time, but I suppose it was fun. Maybe.

And now, I should sleep; I'm particularly unenthused about doing anything tomorrow, since I'm starting to run short on me-time, but I suppose I'll rally. Goodnight!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

how can we be lovers if we can't be friends alone in a white room

My head is still spinning with all things Nick and Ellie, and I am eager to get back to work on them - I know that I said I was done two weeks ago, but these things are never done, and I want to do another pass at the story before sending it to my editor in a couple of weeks.

But first, my day. [censored] and I went to Des Moines, discussing many tings along the way, including [censored]'s plot to [censored]. I dropped him off at [censored], and then I went to the mall, where I intended to buy all sorts of heavily-discounted after-Christmas clothes. However, it was mostly a bust; the mall was insanely busy, so the pickings were slim and I ended up walking away with a new pair of jeans (same as my old jeans, just a different wash) and a few basic tees/tanks. Boring, but useful, I suppose. When I walked out of the mall three-ish hours after arriving, I discovered that the car had an inch of snow on it, which meant I had to find my mother's snow brush (covered in two years' worth of dust from our gravel roads, since it's impossible to have a non-dusty trunk here and they had no appreciable snow last year). Getting home proved to be treacherous, so I had a crash course (sans crashing) in steering into the skid and coasting to a stop on ice. Yay.

But I made it home, ate the leftover remnants of supper, hung out with [censored], hung out upstairs, and eventually finished reading the story/screenwriting book I was reading yesterday. And then I wrote a couple of pages of notes of what I think I might want to do to Nick and Ellie; I need to read through the whole thing and see what I think, but these notes are a v. good start. Now, though, I should sleep; my time at home is rapidly drawing to a close, so I will likely have family events this weekend, which means I need my beauty sleep. Or maybe I don't need my beauty sleep, since my foundation was finally in stock at Sephora today after three months of being out of stock. Either way, I'm tired, and it's time for bed - goodnight!

Friday, December 28, 2012

turn the beat around

I'm swimming in ideas for how to rewrite a couple of key sequences in Nick and Ellie's book, which simultaneously makes me want to lock myself away and write until my fingers bleed and/or pull the covers up over my head and sob quietly to myself. I suspect that whatever happens will fall somewhere between those two poles. But I spent most of the afternoon/evening/night reading the first 300ish pages of the story/screenwriting book my parents gave me for Christmas, and it helped me to give a name and a description to the problems that I vaguely recognized with my current work in progress but didn't know how to solve.

Not that I'm sure I know how to solve them now, either. The biggest problem is the ending, which I think I may need to completely rewrite; the second problem is whether the stupid killer subplot (which I hate so so much) is strong enough/in the right order; the remaining problems are smaller, within certain scenes, perhaps requiring adding a bit of backstory here or cutting down some dialogue there. I would have done all of this on the next draft anyway, but now I'm itching to rewrite the end before I send it to my editor...and that means I have a lot of work to do in the next ten days or so.

But now isn't the time for work; I need to go to bed, since I have grand plans to go to [censored] with [censored], and that requires getting up before noon. Life is hard. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

will you hose me down with holy water if i get too hot

Merry Christmas! I should have blogged last night, of course, but I was tired and doubted that anyone would be too disappointed. But then, [censored] told me that he was worried when I didn't blog, despite the fact that [censored], so perhaps I should have. But I had a v. lovely Christmas Day with the family. We woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:30 (to be fair, my parents had been up since five or something ridiculous) and started opening packages around 8. Since we go one at a time, and since we tend to give many smaller packages rather than one or two big gifts, this ritual took a couple of hours, and it was all v. merry. I got my usual haul of strange and interesting items, with an odd mix of writing gear (lovely fountain pen ink, some moleskine notebooks, a book on storytelling/craft), cooking/kitchen stuff (two cookbooks, a butter dish, iced tea spoons, etc.), survival/earthquake prep gear (leatherman, fire starter, emergency tent, and other gifts from my dad), etc., etc. After opening gifts, my dad picked up my grandmother and brought her out for lunch, and then I took a nap before the four of us finished our game of Rail Baron. [censored] won, much to my dismay, since I had been in a pretty good position to win it in another five or ten turns. Boo, hiss.

Today was utterly uneventful by contrast. I slept late, then spent the rest of the day in my pajamas, alternating between doing stuff online, playing solitaire (such an addictive waste of time), reading, and watching tv. Tonight was the Kennedy Center Honors, which is one of my favorite things to do during the holidays - this year they honored Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Led Zeppelin, and two people I'd never heard of. The Letterman tribute was pretty hilarious, and the Led Zeppelin tribute was awesome, with a great rendition of 'Stairway to Heaven' featuring the lead singer from Heart and a huge backup choir. I am reminded that writers aren't eligible for the Kennedy Center Honors, which is a shame, but I suppose I can survive without having that as a stretch goal.

After that concluded, I watched the news, then most of Letterman, then came downstairs, filled one of my favorite pens with my new ink, and started reading the storytelling/craft book I got for Christmas. Verdict: excellent so far, but I've only read the warmup, so we'll see how I feel over the next four hundred pages. And now I should really go to bed so I can keep reading this book tomorrow (or maybe do some writing if I feel particularly adventurous) - goodnight!

Monday, December 24, 2012

don't bite the apple, eve

Merry Christmas Eve! Today was lovely, but I should really go to bed if I am to get up early to open presents. It's basically tradition to get up earlier than any other day of the year and groggily stumble around looking for caffeine before it's time to open presents, and I intend to follow through with that tradition tomorrow. To be clear, I'm the only one stumbling around groggily; my parents usually get up before five, so 7:30ish is actually a compromise.

sssanyway, today was great. My sister, her husband, her kids, and my grand-niece came over for Christmas Eve dinner (that's 'lunch' to you coastal fools), and the package opening was rescued by the UPS man, who showed up just as lunch was ending with ten packages that [censored], my father, and I were waiting for. That meant my sister actually got her main gift from me and [censored]; our offerings to her might have looked pretty paltry otherwise. My sister made me some really cute Christmas ornaments and some nice placemats, so that was lovely. And I got to spend some quality time playing with my grand-niece, who is super adorable; she's three and a half, which is a pretty cute age, and she was surprisingly willing to hang out with me given that I see her approximately once every six months.

My sister and the kids left around four, and then the fam spent some time putting the house back together and organizing for tomorrow. I went into town to get a convenience store cappuccino, which is my sad, shameful addiction when I'm back here, and then came home, hung out in the kitchen, and eventually started a game of Rail Baron. We played for three hours, which was just long enough to get all the railroads sold (the point at which shit gets real). A break was necessary at that point, since it was ten p.m., but we'll hopefully get to finish it tomorrow. Then, the parents went to sleep, and [censored] and I [censored] in preparation for [censored]. And now, it's beyond my bedtime - Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

it'll be just like you were never gone

Today was the end of Wampler Family Christmas (tm), and I had a few hours between the end of that festivity and bedtime in which to prepare for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But the day was lovely, even if I did wake up at 8:15; everyone (sans Drewbaby) came out to the house for breakfast, and we ate and hung out for a bit before Aunt B and Uncle B went back to Des Moines. That left mom, dad, [censored], Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathy, Gram, and I with nothing to do and all sorts of desire to play a game. But since Uncle Mark and Aunt Kathy wanted to leave by three, we couldn't play Rail Baron, so we dug through the closet looking for games...

...and as it turns out, most of our games are 20+ years old, and many of them haven't held up particularly well to the test of time. Let's just say that trivia questions are more challenging when they're related to long-gone 'current events', and a game about advertising slogans is really, really hard when most of the slogans are obsolete and half the companies/products have been renamed or disbanded. So, the games were a bit of a bust, but we were moderately entertained and still have lovely memories of Cards Against Humanity to tide us over until next year.

So we ate leftovers, talked politics (v. different than talking politics in San Francisco, I assure you), told Gram approximately twenty-five times that I've never met her cousin Gene and am now writing full-time rather than working anywhere, and generally relaxed. Mark and Kathy left as they had planned, and I took Gram back into her place in town, which was entertaining if only because I point-blank refused to buy her a lottery ticket on the way to dropping her off. Once she was safely indoors, I got a convenience-store cappuccino and drove the long way home with the windows down in an effort to get some (v. cold) fresh air and enjoy a few minutes of much-needed me-time. Yes, I am a hermit.

The rest of the evening was pretty productive; I took stock of all the presents that have arrived and the few things that are missing, then ate supper with the fam. [censored] went to [censored] at that point, but I stayed up, watched an episode of 'Blue Bloods' and an excellent episodes of 'The Good Wife', and wrapped approximately twenty packages. This may be the first time I'm done before Christmas Eve, although I suppose I'm not totally done; I'm missing one package each for my siblings, and my father is conning me into wrapping stuff, which is always a jhoke on my face. But hopefully this means I can actually get some sleep on Christmas Eve, which would be a lovely change from previous years.

So, speaking of sleep, I must go to bed - goodnight!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

don't need no credit card to ride this train

Today was Wampler Family Christmas (tm), which, as usual, meant much eating and much merrymaking. People were shockingly late getting down here from Des Moines, which means I was (even more shockingly) awake, showered, and fully dressed before anyone showed up. But everyone was down here by eleven, and then Aunt B and I went into town to pick up Gram so that she could hang out with us this afternoon. We kicked things off with lunch (smoked turkey and a variety of side dishes), then opened Christmas presents (yay), and then most of us played Cards Against Humanity all afternoon. Gram didn't play, which was utterly for the best, and my father and the scandalous Uncle Brian didn't play for reasons unknown to me, but the rest of us had a grand time.

'Grand time' makes it sound so civilized, though. It's basically an adult version of Apples to Apples, which was v. welcome in a group with a v. raunchy collective sense of humor; I think all of us were utterly bored with Apples to Apples by the time we last played it together, but the group (mom, [censored], Drewbaby, Aunt B, Uncle Mark, and Aunt Kathy) was too big to play Rail Baron, hearts, or canasta. So, Cards Against Humanity was a good fit, particularly with the added hazard of never knowing when Gram would wander by when you had to read off a card that said 'clitoris' or 'jacking off into a pool of children's tears'. We stopped around 5:30 so that we could clean broken glass off [censored] while Becky and Mark went into town to check into their respective motel rooms and buy some rum so I could make some eggnog. Then, we ate soup (vegetable beef soup + black bean chili), drank some eggnog (okay, only Becky and I drank eggnog), and played another round of Cards Against Humanity. My dad played that time, and he ended up winning it (that bastard).

And now, bedtime approacheth; I am risking a hangover with my eggnog/wine consumption today, but more to the point I barely had any water and perhaps didn't eat enough, which is always a dangerous mix. Or maybe I just have a headache from laughing until I cried so often - it's unclear. [censored] is taking Drewbaby to [censored] early tomorrow, and then we're all having breakfast (sans Drewbaby) before people start heading back to the Des Moines metropolitan area (which makes it sound so metropolitan!). And then I have a scant few hours to wrap presents and take care of tings before Christmas Eve arrives. Goodnight!

Friday, December 21, 2012

we are spirits in the material world

Holiday preparations continue apace; I'm not precisely ready for Christmas, and much depends on the safe arrival of several packages on Monday, but today was v. productive regardless. After answering all my email last night, I slept the sleep of the just, but I was still up, dressed, and showered before noon, which is quite a feat for me when on vacation (and when I never switch from Pacific timezone to Central timezone). And then, I spent the afternoon preparing...I made two crustless quiches for Sunday brunch and a batch of chili for tomorrow, to go with the vegetable beef soup my mother made (and all the other stuff she made as well - I won't pretend I was more industrious than her, obvi). I also printed out a set of Cards Against Humanity, which is a game I saw at Heather and Salim's; they are sold out, but you can print the cards, so I did that even though it then took me almost two hours to slice and dice the cards with the paper cutter.

Luckily, I was able to cut cards after an enjoyable supper with the fam and while watching three episodes of 'The Good Wife' (on CBS, of course). Then I came downstairs, chatted with [censored], poured myself a small glass of Bailey's, and read a few chapters of a research book for the non-gargoyle young adult series. But the book started to put me to sleep (or perhaps it was the Bailey's), and I should go to bed anyway since we've got Wampler Family Christmas (tm) this weekend. Goodnight!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

said i wouldn't call but i lost all control and i need you now

I just engaged in my every-three-months cleanup of my email inboxes - I realize that every three months is probably too long to go between cleanups, but my lack of a schedule or a routine means that emails that I thought I received a few days ago turn out to have been sent two months ago, which is usually pretty embarrassing. In the corporate world, if someone sends you something and they need a response, they'll just send it again - but in the private world, if someone sends you an email and you ignore it, they don't respond and just think you're being an asshole. So, for those of you whom I've been an asshole to (that's probably all of you), I'm sorry.

Anyway, the aesthetic appeal of three empty email boxes (my personal email, my professional email, and my fan email) should be enough to keep me answering my email regularly, but I'm sure I'll slip again in the future. Still, I'm glad I crossed that task off my list. The rest of the day was a wash; I woke up at noon (after apparently sleeping through a fire alarm chirping outside my room that woke up everyone else in the house at three a.m. - I guess I was tired), messed around on the interwebs, showered, and then read through all my notes on the non-gargoyle young adult project. I'm feeling very itchy and in need of some writing time, but I'm torn between playing with the gargoyles for awhile and banging out the Madeleine/Ferguson novella that I wanted to write over the holidays. Decisions, decisions. I also ate supper with the fam (roast chicken, yum) and watched just a bit of fine CBS programming before answering all my emails, so all in all it was a lovely day.

Finally, though, I'm sad to report that our blizzard wasn't a true blizzard; while [censored] had trouble getting to [censored], we didn't get enough snow to cover all the tall grass - we just got enough to blow around wildly with the gusting winds, which still caused problems. We were luckier than Des Moines, though; I guess my uncle and Drewbaby were snowed in without power at their house in the rural area north of Des Moines, and my aunt, who had stayed in Des Moines for the night so she could make it to work, was instead stranded because the place she stayed lost power and she couldn't get her car out of the garage. Oops. So while I may wish I had seen more snow, I don't actually wish for that at all. And now, I should sleep; tomorrow I must wrap many presents and cook many things in preparation for the weekend. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

welcome to thunderdome

I'm super sleepy and expecting my sleep to be interrupted by the same bitchy monotone voice of the weather radio announcer who interrupted my sleep last night. Last night's weather announcement was just to warn us about this impending blizzard that we already knew about, although the announcement was apparently warranted because they were upgrading (downgrading?) us from a winter storm warning to a blizzard warning. YAY, right? But the weather radio is automated and super loud, since it's meant to wake us up when there's a tornado, so that was all v. unwelcome for me.

sssanyway, I had to get up anyway because my mother and I were on a mad dash to stock up on groceries and finish Christmas shopping before the blizzard. We went over to Centerville and bought groceries first, knowing it was so cold that we could do that first and they wouldn't go bad while we did everything else (you know you're not in California anymore when you put fruit in a cooler to keep it from freezing rather than keeping it cold). Then we met up with my sister and my nephew for lunch to celebrate my mother's birthday - we had a buffet, and while the restaurant is quite nice (it's where Katie, if you remember her, had her wedding reception), the buffet was not particularly gluten-free friendly, so I had some subpar meat and some scalloped potatoes made from a boxed mix. Boo.

Then, we went to Walmart (under duress, since there is nowhere else to shop for the stuff we needed in Centerville anymore), and then I dropped my mother off at her dentist appointment and killed an hour at a consignment-type shop while waiting for her. I am reminded that I know more about ceramics and porcelain and antiques than someone my age probably should, and I bought at ceramic plate with a green chinoiserie design on it that later research confirmed was probably pre-World War One. I know, I need a chinoiserie plate like I need a hole in the head, but it was cute and I was drawn to it like the ceramics crackhead I am, so whatever.

sssanyway again, we drove home as the rain began (which seemed so ominous) and got our groceries put away while my father was making sure his animals will survive the upcoming apocalypse. The minicows and peacocks aren't going to be very happy, since this is the first major winter storm in quite some time (last winter was really mild). Then we had supper, played a game of hearts, and have been enjoying (if that's the right word) a v. odd thunderstorm. It's raining, with a lot of lightning and thunder, but it's only 33 degrees, so at some point this is going to switch over to ice, then snow. They're having thundersnow north of us, which is even more intense than regular snow, so I'm hoping we get some of that. We're prepped for the worst, so getting snowed in tomorrow would actually be kind of fun. I'm a hermit by nature anyway, so it's not like I'll go stir crazy if I just have to sit inside and read a book. And if it gets really bad, I have a bottle of Bailey's, which it would be nice to pour over fresh snow and drink by candlelight, right? Anyway, I need to sleep so I can enjoy whatever tomorrow brings -- goodnight!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

o [censored], where art thou

First and foremost, happy birthday to two of the best ladies in my life - my mother, who is exactly thirty years older than my friend Vidya. YAY BIRTHDAYS!

Second and leastmost, I had a good day, mostly because I slept for eleven hours before it started. That meant I woke up sometime a little after noon, feeling more refreshed than I have in ages. I can't accomplish the same feat tonight, since I need to get up earlyish (9?) so that I can shower before going with my mom to stock up on groceries, have lunch with my sister, and finish Christmas shopping before a blizzard strikes tomorrow night. Yes, a blizzard. This is going to feel like the end times for me even if nothing bad happens - 6" of snow and 40-mph winds are apocalyptic when your only weather patterns are 65 degrees + sun and 60 degrees + fog. Boo. So in my precious few hours awake today, I went into town with my mother to buy stamps and a couple of other things, then planned the menu for this weekend with her so we can buy groceries tomorrow. We also went out for supper to celebrate her birthday - there's no better birthday celebration than one that involves ribeye. Then we came home, watched some fine CBS programming, and I sent some emails and talked to [censored] about [censored] before realizing I need to go to sleep.

And so, to sleep I shall go. By this time tomorrow night, all that frozen stuff will be falling from the skies, and great havoc shall be wrought upon the earth. Goodnight!

Monday, December 17, 2012

we've been poisoned by these fairy tales

I made it to Iowa, no thanks to the eggnog still going through my veins when I woke up at three a.m. - but my hangover was mercifully mild and I don't think anyone could have guessed what I got up to last night, since I woke up in time to shower, dry my hair, put on makeup, and dress v. cutely for my trip. The flights were all perfectly on time, although I was forced to sit with the peasants from SFO to Denver - specifically, two of the dumbest people I've had the misfortune to listen to in recent memory, who had a toddler sprawled across their laps. I shan't recount all of their tales of stupid woe to you, since it will just make my blood boil, but suffice it to say that they asked the flight attendant if he was going to give them an infant life vest like the people on the last flight did (apparently from Hawaii to SFO). He said no because we're not flying over water from SFO to Denver - but when we took off, the woman was like, "omg, we're flying over water!", because the runways extend out into the bay. Of course, we were away from water in like thirty seconds, but she couldn't see that because of the fog, and so then they speculated for a couple of minutes about how stupid the flight attendant was for not knowing which direction we were flying in. Um. Thank god for earplugs, is all I'm saying.

sssanyway, my second flight was much better, and my parents picked me up on time and took me to a steakhouse for lunch. I had warned them that I would be surly and hungover, but I was surprisingly chipper - I think I'm so exhausted from the past ten days that I am past my surliness, which is a rare state for me. So we all had steak, then stopped at Walmart (hiss) and Hy-Vee (yay for an expanded gluten free section!) before coming home. And then I stayed up until now, which is really quite shocking; I thought I would fall asleep hours ago, but I hit a second wind around seven p.m. California time, as I always do. I think perhaps I'm diurnal...I do get some stuff done in the morning, and I thrive at night, but afternoons are the devil.

And now, I should sleep, or at least try to; [censored] arrived from [censored], which is part of why I'm still awake, since we exchanged insults and generally [censored] for longer than I intended. And so, goodnight - more Iowa fun awaits!

ho hey

I must go to bed immediately because, due to an absurdly bad decision on my part, I must get up in less than four hours so that I can go to the airport and head for Iowa. The 'head for Iowa' decision was not the bad segment of that statement, but the fact that I booked at 5:30am flight was just sheer stupidity on my part.

Aggravating the stupidity was the choice Terry and I made to host a small holiday soiree tonight, so I'm drunk on life (and by life I mean eggnog) and really *really* not in the mood to take a flight tomorrow. But the party was worth it -- many of my favorite people came, including most of the usual suspects (Chandlord, Fred and Jamie, Adit and Priyanka, John and Jess, Katrina, Dan, Lauren and Nathan (aka Subz and Subz-ma'am-sir), Tom and Minnie, Julie, Rat (in a special guest appearance from Bangalore), etc.) And I made two soups, two types of cookie, a lemon cake, and a whole vat (aka a punch bowl, which is rarely seen in these parts) of homemade eggnog, which was to die for. Many jhokes were told and much merriment was made, including a dramatic reading of part of one of the sex scenes from my first book + some dramatically terrible color commentary on the Niners game (from those of us who know next to nothing about football, which either amused or infuriated those who cared about the game).

So now that I have reconnected with my friends for three hours after my marathon/sprint to finish Nick and Ellie, I must bid them all farewell, sleep for three hours, and go to Iowa. Goodnight!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

i just haven't met you yet

The mad dash to do everything under the sun before I go back to Iowa continues. For the second weekend in a row I ran errands with Terry at nine a.m. -- I sincerely hope this is not a trend, but it was good to accomplish what we accomplished (grocery shopping at Safeway and Whole Foods). When we got home, I ate the sushi I'd bought at Whole Foods, made some lists, sat around lethargically, and eventually took a much-needed two-hour nap. Then, I spent the rest of the night slogging; Terry and I did some edits to the Christmas tree (I sawed off some branches and she added more lights and ornaments), and I took a break to watch an episode and a half or so of 'The Tudors' with her (so I will probably dream of gruesome Tudor-era executions, which may actually be an upgrade from the apocalyptic nightmares I've been having with surprising frequency).

And then, the cooking commenced. I made a lemon cake, a bunch of sugar cookies, and chocolate chip chewies (all gluten free). I didn't get the sugar cookies frosted, but I feel v. industrious, so I'll take it. I also [censored] with [censored] at some point, which was a nice break. And now, alas, I must go to bed -- while I have the list of things I need to pack for Iowa, I haven't started yet, and packing is just one of approximately five million things I must do tomorrow. Goodnight!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

hey there delilah

Today was a little bizarre...the school shooting in Connecticut was obviously awful, and I have no words to describe it, but I also was too mentally exhausted to handle watching hours of coverage about it, so I tried to take care of other stuff on my list instead. I didn't sleep all that well last night, likely because I was in a strange bed and my back is still hurting, but I spent a couple of quality hours hanging out, drinking tea, and checking email before driving to Mountain View to have a v. quick lunch with the big boss. She's just as busy as she ever was, it seems, and it had taken a couple of months to get time on her calendar - so even though we only had half an hour to catch up, I was still glad to see her and reconnect (that sounds so business-y - we basically just talked about my books/career and her career/life, which wasn't nearly as business-y as it sounds).

Post-big boss, I went to Michael's (the craft store) to get some Christmas crafty stuff. Yes, I've gone over the deep end. But it was all already discounted, and there wasn't much on my list - fake snow was the key ingredient, and I got some absurdly glittery fake flowers, which I did something legitimately cool with despite what they sound like. Then I drove home, with a stop at Lowe's to return a plastic christmas tree stand and buy new lightbulbs for the entry light fixture, and some absurd city traffic that was already springing up at 2:45pm. Then I talked to my parents for quite some time to catch them up on my life and hear all about the many and varied things they've been up to.

And then, I drank half a bottle of wine and decorated like I'm a crazy woman, which is probably true since I chose to hang out drinking wine and decorating rather than going with Terry to her holiday party. It's not like I bailed on her, since I'd refused the invitation when it was extended due to the fact that I knew finishing my book was going to wipe me out. But she seemed to enjoy drinking and watching me decorate before she went to her party. I put up garland and lights over the fireplace, I fixed the rocking chair (not broken, but the felt on the bottom of one of the rockers was hanging off), replaced lightbulbs, and made a glittery floral arrangement and a bunch of little terrarium type things with fake snow and glitter flowers. I realize as I type that that those decorations sound truly hideous, but I promise they're pretty cool - perhaps I'll take pictures to demonstrate. But for now, I really need to go to bed; I have grand plans to grocery shop, alcohol shop, make cookies, and pack for Iowa tomorrow, and since I've barely slept this week, my bed seems mighty appealing. Goodnight!

Friday, December 14, 2012

oh, we're bleeding out

I'm so exhausted. I can't remember the last time I was this exhausted - maybe during my dad's surgery week? So obviously this is way less intense than that, now that I've put it in context, and I feel like a terrible person. sssanyway, I'm still tired enough to complain about the fact that I'm tired. Part of the reason why I'm exhausted is that I barely slept last night; I'm still full of Nick and Ellie adrenaline, I think, and my posture while finishing was so bad that my back and legs and everything else ache like mad, so I had to pop four ibuprofen just to feel human again. I had some stuff to take care of in the glorious south bay today, so I came down around eleven, had lunch, did my tings, picked up my new contacts, got a pearl milk tea (sans pearls) and continued south to Santana Row, where I intended to do some Christmas shopping...

...but I was so tired that I thought I might cry if I couldn't just sit down, so I got an impromptu, v. fancy pedicure instead. That satisfied my need to sit down, and I got a foot massage to help alleviate the fact that I've been wearing heels more often lately. It was the right call, even though I felt a bit lazy; the rest of this weekend is going to be a mad dash to finish everything I need to finish before going to Iowa, so it was nice to have some me-time. Then I met up with Heather (aka dear respected madam) for dinner, where I had a glass of wine that helped to start my cure. Then we came back to her place, where I drank some Bailey's on the rocks, which made everything right again. We also watched "Miss Congeniality" for some reason that still eludes me. And now I must sleep; I have lunch with the big boss tomorrow (provided her admin doesn't cancel on me; we've been trying to have lunch for four months), so I should at least attempt to look respectable. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

forget what we're told, before we get too old

I am still a little burned out and crazy from finishing Nick and Ellie's book last night, but even though I was exhausted, I didn't sleep well - I think I'm still on an adrenaline rush. Or the caffeine I've pumped into myself over the past week is still working its way out of my system. Anyway, I was up and about by a little after eight this morning, and I took care of a whole bunch of stuff around the house before going downtown to get my bangs trimmed and my eyebrows waxed in preparation for the holidays. Then, I ran some errands (buying coffee beans to take back to the midwest, getting Christmas decoration supplies at CB2 and Cole Hardware, buying more leggings at Nordstrom, getting a present for my grandmother, doing other Christmas-related things, etc.).

And then I came home, finishing doing stuff around the house, and spent the past couple of hours contemplating the publishing industry while painting my nails and trying not to fall asleep, detrimentally, at eight p.m. But I have fun plans for tomorrow, including a sleepover with Heather (aka dear respected madam), and then I can spend the weekend getting ready to go back to Iowa! Yay! Goodnight!

the dog days are over


There are no more words.

Today was pretty brutal -- for all of you who are wondering, idly, why I don't write forty pages every day, it's because the first five pages are reasonable, the first ten pages are mostly manageable, and every ten-page increment is carved out of my brain in such a way that those processing centers are truly no longer capable of processing anything. I drove home last night in a daze, thankful that I could use cruise control (and, btw, I saw FOUR FUCKING DEER by the side of 280 at one a.m. last night -- if I had hit one in California, where I have never seen a deer on the freeway before, I would have been truly upset). I woke up this morning in even more of a daze. Everything felt foggy and weak...and yet I had to rally because I had lunch plans that required me to be coherent and presentable.

So I showered, put on a cute skirt (old) and some brown sweater leggings (new) (oh, and a top, also old - I didn't go to lunch like a bare-breasted fertility goddess, although someone there apparently thought I left my job to have babies rather than write books, so maybe I'm exuding some pheromones). And then I drove down to the water to have lunch with Gretchen, one of my former directors. She was in fine form, and it was good to catch up with her and talk about life. Then I had a second lunch, which just consisted of drinking a diet coke while Katrina ate her first lunch. Then Katrina made me a latte (fancy), I came home and took care of some calls and errands, and then I stared stupidly at my laptop trying to figure out how I was going to think clearly enough to finish this book. Clearly that didn't go well, since when I decided to make a piece of toast with peanut butter, I dropped the bread on the kitchen floor, then picked it up and rinsed it off before putting it in the toaster. Weird.

By the time Terry got home at seven, I was basically nonverbal and unable to tell her anything at all -- so I stopped pretending and came upstairs, where I slogged, successfully, for five hours. And now, the book is done and off to my agent, and I am going to sleep the sleep of the just, then get up tomorrow and try to tackle everything I need to do before I leave for Iowa in five days. And maybe I'll celebrate the book being done -- or maybe not, since it won't feel real until my brain is functioning again. Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

there are many things that i would like to say to you but i don't know how

SO CLOSE TO DONE OMG. So close. I was at Stanford library from 1pm to 1am, but it closed at 1am (it's finals week), and I was half a scene away from the end, but I couldn't stomach the idea of moving to the twenty-four-hour study room to finish. So, I drove home, feeling strangely surreal and out of words -- my mind felt just a little empty, in an odd way, as though whatever voice produces my running monologue was totally out of words due to my writing binge.

So, obvi, I did nothing else today; I woke up lateish, ate something, showered, and was at the library by 1pm. I stayed there for twelve hours, with a break to get a burger at the Treehouse (it's like I'm a student all over again). And I think I produced forty new pages from the tattered, bleeding remnants of earlier drafts. That's the most I've ever done in a day, and utterly unsustainable -- I just hope I have enough left tomorrow to finish that scene, reread and proofread what I did tonight, and format it so that I can send it to my agent.

But now, I really must sleep; I have lunch plans tomorrow morning, and then it's back to the slog (although I may slog in the city, in hopes that I can be done by six or seven and eat something tastier than a Treehouse burger). Goodnight!

Monday, December 10, 2012

let the right one in

Today was both wonderfully productive and amazingly unproductive. Wonderfully productive in that I was out of bed and out the door by nine a.m. to participate in some roommate bonding/Christmas decorating schemes; amazingly unproductive because I did not finish the book today. I had toyed with the idea of going to Stanford to work, but I was too tired (less than six hours of sleep never works well for me) and too unmotivated.

But I can officially say that I have caught the Christmas spirit after so many years trying to avoid it. Damn. Terry and I went shopping for a tree stand because we didn't want to buy the one at the place where we bought the tree...but after going to two different Lowe's and discovering both were sold out of tree stands, we ended up going back to Fort Mason and buying a tree stand there. There was also a craft fair going on, so I got a soap dispenser made out of a blue Mason jar, which I adore. And then we came home, put up the tree, I made us some celebratory eggnog french toast (most delicious french toast ever, and you couldn't tell I used gluten free bread), and Terry put up the lights while I cleaned the kitchen. So, all in all, that was successful...

...but I have not decorated for Christmas ever, and now all of a sudden that's all I want to do. I warned Terry that I believed that Christmas decorating is like vampires -- per vampire lore, they are not allowed to cross the threshold of your house unless you invite them, but once they're in, you're basically powerless to stop them. And for me, that was true with Christmas -- as long as I never decorated, I was safe, but the moment I decided to decorate, I was lost. And now I'm truly lost, thinking of cool centerpieces and interesting garlands, etc., etc. Damn.

So the rest of the day was mostly a wash, but that's probably because I was too tired to really think and my head has hurt all day. I should have just taken a nap in the afternoon, but I tried to power through and didn't get much done. I did shower and talk to my parents, so I suppose that's something. And I took a break tonight to watch an episode of 'Wedding Band' with Terry. But now I'm going to throw in the towel, admit defeat for the night, go to bed, and hopefully sleep nine hours so that I can be revived for a long slog tomorrow. Goodnight!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

you gotta get up and try, try, try

I've hit the wall, and hard -- but not as hard as the fools who just moved into my complex are going to hit the wall when they get a raft of complaints to their landlord tomorrow for the party that is still raging tonight. Considering that the people next door to us were very short for this world because their dog peed on one of the community plants and they occasionally slammed doors, these young twenty-somethings are clearly in the wrong complex. And I personally cannot wait to join my octogenarian neighbors in bidding them a swift farewell!

Anyway, today was v. productive, but I managed to squeeze some non-writing stuff into it without feeling like I totally wasted it. I was up and writing by 9:30ish, which is crazy, and continued to slog pretty steadily until early afternoon. I should have gone to my romance writing chapter's holiday party instead, but I am desperate to finish this book, so I skipped it. But in the interest of roommate peace and wellbeing, I kept the plan to go with Terry to get a Christmas tree. Her friend Angela came along, and we went to Fort Mason, where some charity had Christmas trees (precut, an abomination compared to my childhood) set up in one of the pavilions. So we picked the best tree (naturally), got them to net it, and were going to have them put it on top of my car when I realized that it would probably fit inside if I folded the seat down (it did). So we got it home, and I rewarded Terry and Angela by making them eggnog, which I am becoming quite proficient at.

But rather than enjoying my eggnog in a leisurely fashion, I had a couple of sips and then met up with Katrina and Chandlord for a late-afternoon snack. I hadn't seen them in ages (since before Thanksgiving, I believe?), so it was nice to see them, even if I didn't know most of the people they were talking about because I'm so much of a hermit that I haven't met anyone new in ages. I got home around 6:30 and worked straight until 12:30, with a v. brief ten-minute break around ten p.m. to talk to Terry and drink a bit of leftover eggnog in an attempt to fuel the final push of the night.

Now, though, I really need to sleep; I don't think I'm going to finish tomorrow, but I have high hopes for finishing Monday, and a v. long slog is required tomorrow to get me there. Goodnight!

Friday, December 07, 2012

where there is a flame someone's bound to get burned

It's 10:45pm on a Friday night, and I am doing exactly what you would expect me to be doing -- going directly to bed. I am totally and completely out of words for tonight, and keep making typos even as I try to write this, so I think it's time to throw in the towel. I was massively productive today, despite spending almost two hours on the phone with various family members discussing Christmas shopping plans. Even with their interference, I edited several chapters (where 'editing' means I slaughtered sentences and reshaped paragraphs, not just corrected typos), then tossed out a whole chapter and rewrote it from the ground up (fifteen new pages! excavated directly from my brain!).

And now, the words have run dry and I need to sleep so I can do this again tomorrow. Goodnight!

i belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart

Hello! I had too much eggnog.

But I will continue to write this blog post as though I've never imbibed any alcohol in my life, since I like to pretend that I'm sober and see whether I can make it through the post without typos. Today was less productive than I had intended; I was out of bed around nine-ish, and I made myself an awesome breakfast (three slices of bacon, one egg, and one slice of gluten-free toast, where the limiting reagent was the toast; I only had one slice of bread left in the freezer, and runny eggs sans toast is a tragedy, so I had to cut back on the eggs this morning). Then I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen because I am turning into my mother. Then I reread what I wrote yesterday, did some light edits, and pronounced myself satisfied with what I had produced (miracle!).

But I had to go to the glorious south bay today, which interfered with everything. First it interfered with my writing; I had to shower, get dressed, dry my hair, and do all those other things grownups supposedly do. Then, I went to my optometrist, who pronounced my eyes to be wonderful, but not before he dilated them, which made the drive home and most of this evening just a little odd. Then I drove home during the beginning of rush hour (not really a good thing to have done, since I'm considering getting a job, and rush hour reminds me how wonderful my current shindig is). And then I had to work on my Christmas list, since I knew that if I didn't send it to my mother today, she would kill me...

I took a rebellious break, though, and had dinner with Lauren (aka Subz, aka the bride in that epic wedding I went to last month) and Terry (aka my long-suffering roommate who came home to discover that I was singing to the same song over and over and over again, as is my wont). The food was tasty (fish tacos), the wine was also tasty (a pinot grigio that was more of a rose (row-ZAY, but I'm too lazy to find the little accent to go over the 'e'), and a pinot noir), and the company was tasty (I refrained from licking either of them). Then, Terry and I dragged Lauren back to our place, and I made a small batch of egg nog to get in the holiday mood (not hard, since you'll be in the holiday mood just mixing the stuff up - even the fumes are potent).

But Lauren left long ago, and Terry went to bed an hour and a half ago, and I'm just quietly rocking out alone with my last glass of eggnog and the feeling of satisfaction over sending my Christmas list before [censored] did, thus winning yet another skirmish in our interminable sibling rivalry. [censored] will win the war when he takes excellent care of our parents someday while I just throw money at the problem, but for tonight, I reign supreme. I shall go rest on my eggnog-soaked laurels now...goodnight!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

these spies, these slow hands

I'm totally out of words because I wrote fifteen pages of new material today to fill a placeholder I had made for the scene that was supposed to go there (a rather intense Nick and Ellie scene, and by intense I mean they had sex and it always takes me forever to write those, and I usually write them last so I know what the emotional arc is so that the scene feels necessary and not gratuitous). It's actually rather amazing that I wrote fifteen pages, since I didn't start until six p.m. -- but that fifteen pages took me six and a half hours, with a break to eat some string cheese and another break to eat some chocolate, and a third break to do a crossword puzzle because I'm an octogenarian at heart.

Anyway, the beginning of my day didn't look promising; I stayed in bed too long, and since I wasn't looking forward to writing this scene, I kept putting off working. Then, it was time to go downtown and get my bangs trimmed -- they were actually the perfect length, but in a few days they would be too long, and my new stylist is so great that I don't want to lose her trust by trimming my bangs myself if they get too bad before it's time to see her again. So I got them trimmed, then went to the mall to return a bra that I had bought a month ago, worn once, and discovered it squeaked every time I moved (which is quite distracting when you work alone in a silent house). It was odd that it squeaked, since I had bought two others in different colors and they were totally fine. Anyway, I returned that one, bought a different black one to replace it, and then got some leggings to replace the worn-out onces I had to toss. Then I ate at Chipotle (gluten free food of the gods), came home, and worked for the last six hours. Yay, me.

And now, I really should sleep -- I need to repeat this performance tomorrow (sans shopping), and I have an eye appointment in Mountain View and a social plan (gasp!) in the evening, so productivity is going to have to happen earlier in the day. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

I'm way too tired to blog, so I will attempt to keep this brief (how many times have you heard me say that?). Today was quite productive, if I do say so myself - I woke up after nine thanks to my reading binge last night, but I was out the door by 10:45, and I went to Stanford to work on zee romance novel. I had lunch first (more subpar than usual - new waitress was nice but inefficient, and the kitchen undersauteed the veggies in my scrambled eggs), and then I checked my mail in Palo Alto and talked to my mom, since I hadn't fully caught her up on my life when I talked to her on Sunday.

Stanford proved quite productive, despite my lackluster lunch; I edited three or four chapters and wrote 4-6 new pages of material, which I'm v pleased with. I would have kept going, but I had friendship renewal plans with Tolu, Joann, and Jane in Sunnyvale, so I had to reenter the world of real people and hang out with them. It was lovely to see them, since I'd missed the last couple of dinners, and we had fun catching up. Eventually, I got home (around eleven), reread what I was writing at the library (good stuff), and started falling asleep on my keyboard - so I think it's time for bed!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

this is a wasteland now

Today was...odd. I was actually up and at my desk by 9:30, which is practically unheard of given my lacksadasical morning 'routine', and I made great progress with the writing for an hour or two...when suddenly I hit a wall. And by 'wall' I mean that I got interrupted by a phone call, and then I discovered that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant (this is major news in my industry), and then I got lost in a two-hour wormhole on Wikipedia that started by looking up what year Tipu Sultan was killed during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (too early for my purposes by a year or two). So I ate some lunch, but my concentration didn't really come back. I left the house around four, in hopes that a walk might help, but it only helped my closet (and harmed my bank account) since I live far too near some v. cute clothing boutiques for safety. Damn my gluttony.

So I came home, messed around with the book a bit more, ate a v. subpar supper (actually, come to think of it, it wasn't supper - it was two slices of ham and a piece of cheese, which may explain why I'm hungry now). I had promised myself a snack later, but at some point I decided that continuing to bang my head against my laptop was fruitless and bad for my eyes, and so I picked up my kindle instead. We all know how that decision turned out for me -- I read the whole book I started in one fell swoop over the last five or six hours. Bleh. But the book was great; it was the first YA book by one of my favorite adult paranormal authors (Kresley Cole), called POISON PRINCESS. Some of the pacing was a little off, since the places where there would have been sex scenes in one of her usual books were replaced with almost-kisses and considerations on whether this was the right time for the main character to lose her virginity. Since everything around them was a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I'm torn between 'when's the WRONG time?' and 'it would be beyond foolish to risk a pregnancy at this point!'. And I also thought the book took a bit too long to get rolling, with a bit too much happening before the apocalypse. But the premise is v. intriguing to me (a bunch of teenagers are all fated to play the roles of various Major Arcana cards from the tarot deck, and will end up killing each other in a battle of good vs. evil), so hopefully the next book comes out soon.

And now it's almost two a.m., and I need to get up tomorrow and write enough to not feel guilty about the fabulous dresses in my closet (and they *are* fabulous - perfect for whatever job I will end up getting to pay for them). Goodnight!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

restless hearts sleep alone tonight

I'm too tired to blog tonight, but unfortunately that's more due to excess gluten intake than to any sort of productivity on my part. I made it down to San Jose this morning despite the rain and flooding, and what was supposed to be brunch at Heather and Salim's with Jenni, Lauren and Durand turned into almost six hours of hanging out. That was lovely, of course, but it wasn't really in my plan for the day, which called for me to be at Stanford and writing by two p.m. The waffles also weren't in my plan, but when brunch lasts six hours, you eat what you can get (and they were tasty, after all).

I still had to go to Stanford after "brunch" to return an overdue library book, so I drove there and talked to my parents while sitting in my car before trekking across campus. But I promptly left after returning the book, since I was too tired to hole up in the library, and I grabbed dinner at Chipotle before driving home, talking to Terry for a bit, and then curling up in my bed. And now that I'm in my bed, I am going to sleep - tomorrow is for writing, though, so slap me if I don't say I wrote when I blog tomorrow. Goodnight!

underwater sunshine

I was in ultra hermit mode yesterday and today - hence the lack of blogging last night, although I suppose I should blog tonight or I may lose all my loyal readers (aka my mother). At least I left the house yesterday, for a v. quick trip to Safeway during a break in the rain. I didn't step outside the apartment at all today - in fact, I barely stepped outside my bed, since I wrote on my laptop in bed most of the afternoon/evening. But, I'm making good (if tortuous) progress on Nick and Ellie, and I wrote ~15 new pages today to replace a scene I decided to scrap. And I took a break to watch the Stanford/UCLA game yesterday. I almost regretted it, since I hadn't seen a lot of games this year and was worried that I had jinxed them, but luckily my absurd prognostication came to nothing, and Stanford carried the day.

And really, I have nothing else to report. Usually my hermitville is at least punctuated by talking to Terry, but this is not currently the case since she went to LA for the weekend. But I have plans to see people tomorrow (a brunch in the south bay, inconveniently timed to coincide with heavy rains), and then go to my beloved Stanford library and slog like there's no tomorrow, so at least I can move my hermitville to another location. And perhaps if I finish the next draft of the book this week as I plan to, I can be more fun at a not-so-distant date. Goodnight!