Thursday, July 30, 2015

friend of the night

I'm exhausted, likely from a combo of jetlag and mental/physical exertion, but I am happy with what I accomplished today (I know, I never say that, check my temperature). I woke up early and was at the cafe by 7:20, so I had a couple of hours to work on Rafe and Octavia in relative peace. Then I took a long break to go to the south bay and train with Alyssa - I hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks, but I survived the workout, and it was great (as usual) to see her.

After that, I showered and then had lunch at Joanie's since the cafe at the gym is closed - I'm going to have to come up with alternatives, since the cafe that will replace it prob won't have the salads I usually get. Then I came back to the city, took a nap, wrote in my journal (I'm trying to do this most days again, since it's good for me even if it feels weird to take a break from writing by doing more writing), and finally dragged myself out of the apartment and back to a cafe for another three-hour work stint.

It all paid off, however; I finished writing a fifteen-page outline of the latest version of Rafe and Ava's story and sent it to my editor, so hopefully she can give me the go-ahead that this version is actually a winner and that I won't want to keep pulling my hair out and screaming every ten pages. And I felt good that I actually met my self-imposed deadline for sending this...there is hope for me yet.

After I finished that, I ate a salad, came home, and spent a couple of hours unpacking / doing laundry. I haven't totally put everything away, but I'm getting close, and it will be nice to have clean clothes even if I really wasn't feeling the laundry situation tonight. And now that I've done everything on my list for today, it's time for bed - goodnight!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I have returned to San Francisco, strung out and exhausted but high on life. This morning, as you might have guessed, was brutal, but I showered, said my farewells to Ritu (who accompanied me all the way to the curb, which is a sign of true friendship at five a.m.), and made it to the airport in time to eat breakfast, which is probably all that saved me. I had intended to write on the plane, but that was a jhoke; I dozed/slept for four of the six hours, although I did pull out my laptop and work for an hour in a rather desultory fashion.

I made it to my apartment by eleven a.m., and I really just wanted to go to bed, but I forced myself to change clothes, go out for lunch (salad!), and then sit at Another Cafe for a few hours in an attempt to get some work done. This wasn't entirely successful, but I did more than my fatigued brain wanted to do, so I'll take it. Then I came home (with a v. necessary stop at the grocery store) and should have done laundry, but napped instead. Then I talked to [censored] about his upcoming [censored], picked up my packages from downstairs (my favorite doorman asked if I live elsewhere part of the time...they must think I'm so fancy), took care of various tings, wrote in my journal, and did a couple more hours of work.

And now I want to go to bed...but first, the recap of yesterday for posterity, even though it feels like a lifetime (and several bottles of wine) ago. Ritu slept in since she'd worked until 5am (slacker), so I walked to the nearest Starbucks and wrote for a couple of hours. I made it back to the apartment and showered before she woke up, but when she was awake, we shared tea and sympathy in her kitchen until we were both too hungry to keep talking.

Then she recreated Mermaid Inn for me - we had a late lunch at B&G Oysters, where we were super leisurely and super fancy in our attempts to deplete their supply of sea creatures. We started with a dozen oysters, then moved on to salmon carpaccio, eggplant with feta, and an awesome crab shell that had been used as a dish to bake cornbread and crab meat. Yummy yummy. We also had french fries, because french fries. We also had a bottle of rosé, followed by another glass of rosé each (the glass was amazing...I could have kept going with that all day), followed by a chocolate/heath bar concoction, and some coffee because I was about to die.

So, that took most of the afternoon in the most delightful way possible. We were going to do the Freedom Trail tour, but we missed it in our rapacious sea consumption, so Ritu gave me the highlights herself (particularly the old cemetery where John Hancock and others are buried; also Faneuil Hall, where a bunch of strange people were dancing 18th-century dances outside, but I don't think the dancers were part of the official tour). Then we had drinks at the Liberty Hotel - it used to be a prison, but has been turned into a swanky boutique hotel with a swanky bar, where we had swanky cocktails and were glad that we weren't in prison.

Bill joined us there for a drink, and then we had a late dinner at Sarma, which was a Mediterranean place with lots of small plates (and two more bottles of wine). The food there was totally fantastic, and they were v. good about gluten-freeness, and the leisurely nature of our meal meant we were there for almost three hours. We discussed many and varied tings of both business and personal natures, and it was the best possible way to finish my #beastcoast adventures.

Then we went back to their house, and Ritu tried to ply me with more alcohol while I packed (but for once my common sense prevailed - maybe my Puritan ancestors are still haunting Massachusetts and were better able to influence me than they are in California). And then I went to bed, and now you know it all.

And now that I've covered two days at once (you're so welcome), and made it almost to ten p.m. (my goal was nine because I'm old), it's time to sleep so I can write in the morning before the gym - goodnight!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I closed my eyes and I slipped away

I can't blog tonight since I have to get up in less than three and a half hours to catch my flight....but suffice it to say I worked, committed an oyster massacre with Ritu, walked around Boston, had drinks at a jail, and had a very long, very tasty Mediterranean feast with my hosts. And now I must sleep so I can go back to SF, but I'll give you more details tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, July 27, 2015

ocean floor kisses

I am in Boston, but thanks to the schedules / general sedateness of my friends, I had the kind of low-key day I needed to start recovering from my #beastcoast adventures. Since we got back to Boston after one a.m. last night, we all slept in this morning, but I woke up at ten and spent a couple of hours drinking coffee / showering / making lists / considering my business / talking to Bill.

Eventually, Ritu woke up as well, and the three of us had a late lunch at Regal Beagle. Ritu picked the place because I claimed to want a salad, but when we got there, I ordered a burger because apparently my brain no longer recognizes the need for salad. Oops. Bill had to leave early to get back to work, but Ritu and I took our time finishing up, and then we stopped at Starbucks to get my requisite Boston mug before returning to zee apartment.

The rest of my afternoon was super lowkey; Ritu needed to sleep since she has an overnight shift at the hospital tonight, and I planned to use that time to get some writing done. Instead, I looked at my notebook and promptly took a nap. Then, I called my parents - we missed our usual Sunday call since I was with people all day yesterday, and I thought it was a good idea to catch up. Of course, they live in Iowa, where strange things happen, so my mom and I were disconnected when her power went out, but luckily she has a cellphone, so we were able to finish our conversation. Then I called my dad, and took another mininap in the fifteen minutes it took him to call me back.

As you can tell from the napping, I was not in it to win it today. However, I eventually rallied and did some work in the early evening before having dinner with Bill at Pomodoro. They served up a v. delicious risotto with lots of sea creatures (and chicken, and sausage, in case the sea creatures weren't enough), and I limited myself to one glass of wine, so I am almost starting to feel like a real human girl instead of a vat of wine and sadness.

After dinner, Bill dropped me off at the apartment and went to play basketball, and I spent a couple of hours being legitimately productive - sending follow-up emails, making more lists, etc. I think I've done the major/urgent stuff post-conference, and now I can spend the next couple of days working on the new outline for Rafe and Octavia (fun, I know). But at the moment, I really just want to go to bed so that I can write in the morning before socializing with Ritu some more. Goodnight!

the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out

It's 2:30am on the east coast, and I'm beyond exhausted...but I've successfully arrived in Boston, where I intend to enjoy my friends and work for a couple of days before heading back to SF on Wednesday. Today was another all-out death march of fun, but it started with dragging myself out of bed and packing and showering when all I wanted to do was lie there and dream of salads (I've reached the point in the trip, probably after the foie gras at Momofuku, when I really want to each something bland and lettuce-y).

However, I made it out of the hotel by eleven, and I met up with Terry for brunch so that I could say goodbye to her. We went to Blue Dog, which Terry picked solely because the huevos rancheros were mentioned in the Yelp reviews and she knows what it takes to help me recover. As it turns out, the huevos were delish - crispy tortillas underneath, with black beans and three eggs (and a side of bacon and a massive cup of coffee to try to complete the cure). However, while Terry's company was delightful and it was great to see her one last time, she also knew me well enough to see that I was fading by the end. So we went back to her place, where she insisted that I take a twenty-minute nap, which may have been the only thing that saved me today.

But naps cannot last forever, so I said my sad farewells, grabbed a cab, and met Tammy (aka Tammmmmeehhhh) at the Met. We saw the "China: Through the Looking Glass" fashion exhibit, which both of us had wanted to see rather desperately, so it's great that we were able to do it together. The dresses were, for the most part, either totally gorgeous or so ridiculous as to be really entertaining. We also took a brief swing through the "Sultans of Deccan India" exhibit, which had a bunch of diamonds, garnets, and other jewels and artifacts from India. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon (despite the crowds), and there's perhaps no one else I'd rather go to a clothing exhibit with than Tammy, so that was fun.

After the museum, we met up with her boyfriend (who had no interest in fashion...ridic) and had a highly overpriced drink at Bar Pleiades. The drink was actually super tasty, but the neighborhood encourages outlandish prices. Still, it was a lovely way to spend an hour before parting ways with Tammy and Daniel and walking over to Central Park's Bethesda Fountain for my next rendezvous...

...which was with Ritu, Bill, Steph and Jon, who had spent the day wandering around and were ready for me to join them in their peregrinations. Oddly, as we sat there, we were eventually joined by Adit, who is in town for the weekend and ran four miles to say hi to us. This yielded vast quantities of sweat, so I didn't hug him, but other than that things were pretty much as normal. So we talked to him for thirty minutes or so before I insisted that we leave him behind so that we could have dinner before our respective train trips.

Dinner was duly accomplished at Jaiya Thai, where we had some v. spicy curry, some lovely duck, delish pad thai, and a terrible rum cocktail (but then, I didn't want a cocktail, so I don't regret not finishing it. Then I ran back to my hotel to grab my bags, and I rendezvoused with Ritu and Bill at Penn Station, where we caught a train to Boston. We inadvertently sat in the quiet car, which meant Ritu and I spent the vast majority of the trip (until we fell asleep thirty minutes from Boston) whispering secrets to each other while drinking a bunch of inferior cafe car wine (which they ran out of almost immediately, so it was good we bought three small bottles while they had them).

Now, I'm safely ensconced in Ritu and Bill's guest room, and I need to sleep properly before I pass out. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

don't bite the apple eve

I'm so full that my belly is distended, which makes me feel decidedly less chic than I'd felt early while walking through the city in my silk Marc by Marc Jacobs dress...but the conference came to an utterly fabulous end tonight (even if I will likely experience karmic retribution...but more on that in a moment).

When I woke up this morning, I was not feeling it - I've been going nonstop with the people stuff for a week, which is a bizarre switch after many weeks of solitude, and I haven't gotten enough sleep, etc., etc. However, I managed to get up, shower, make myself presentable, and get some iced coffee and a yogurt to tide me over until lunch. I consumed those things while sitting in the hotel lobby, where I ran into Sarah, who invited me to dinner tonight. Etiquette dictates that I should have turned her down since I had plans already...but I had wanted to see her throughout the conference and hadn't gotten a chance to, and I'm here to network, and I was already feeling a little bad about skipping the end of the conference to have dinner with non-romance friends when this only comes once a year.

Still, it was a total asshole move in many respects, but I ditched my dinner plans and went out with her instead....and as usual, assholes are rewarded and nice guys finish last. More on that in a moment.

Before dinner could happen, I had to get through the rest of my day. That involved going to lunch at Five Napkin Burger (two blocks from the hotel) with some people with whom I was giving a workshop this afternoon so that we could plan what we were saying over lunch. Despite how last-minute that sounds, it actually went really well, and I think people were engaged. The workshop included my friend Maya, so I got to hang out and say goodbye to her, and it included some other people I like, so that was all lovely.

After the workshop, I really just wanted a nap, but I forced myself to change clothes and leave the hotel immediately to go meet up with some of the people whose dinner I was ditching. Ritu and Bill came into NYC (even though I'm going back to Boston with them tomorrow night), and they were hanging out with Steph and Jon, who came in from DC. These are some of my favorite people, and we were supposed to have dinner with Chris and Priyanka (from the German wedding; we could have discussed Greek sovereign debt like we did then, although we might not have found it quite so funny now). So I went and spent a couple of hours drinking with Ritu/Bill/Steph/Jon before they went to Brooklyn for the dinner I was skipping. It was awesome to see them, and I'm planning to get brunch with them tomorrow, so hopefully that happens.

But then they had to go be good friends, and I had to go be an asshole, so we parted ways. My dinner was a fifteen-course tasting menu at Momofuku, which was an entirely extravagant, entirely ridiculous way to spend four hours. I wasn't expecting four hours - I wasn't expecting anything at all, beyond the fact that it was at Momofuku, since I was invited this morning (to replace someone who canceled). I shan't name-drop since we were in a cone of silence (and most of you don't know most of them anyway), but there were five other writers there, and it was all amazing. And by that I mean there was a lot of gossip while we ate really strange and delicious things. So I may get some karmic retribution for ditching my initial plans, but if I do, tonight was super fun and exactly what I came to conference for.

But now, my stomach is truly hurting (I really, really regret having nachos at the bar before going to Momofuku), and I need to sleep so I can survive tomorrow.  As awesome as this conference has been, I'm looking forward to hanging out with my non-romance friends again, and also to getting back to work and making that money so I can pay them billz. Goodnight!

Friday, July 24, 2015

we have a map of the piano

My conference continues to be super successful, and as long as I don't get lured out of my room in the next ten minutes, I might actually survive it and get some sleep tonight. This morning, however, was not so successful; since I didn't go to sleep until after one a.m., I knew there was no chance of making it to the 8:30am keynote, and there was certainly no chance of making it to the 7:30am breakfast (which I'm glad I skipped, since scouts (aka Twitter) report that the breakfast was egg whites and nasty wilted spinach). So I got some sleep, dragged myself out of bed, made myself presentable, and grabbed a yogurt and an iced coffee from Starbucks before going to my first workshop of the day.

It was quite interesting, albeit v. depressing (as I should have expected from the title) - it was about writing through depression, and the panelists were some highly successful, critically acclaimed romance writers who have struggled (secretly or not-so-secretly) with depression. I don't think I've been depressed, exactly - the last two months since I left the day job have been pretty awesome, and I'm completely happy with that decision. That said, as any regular reader has probably observed, I've had some moments of total anxiety/panic, which for me often translates into lying on the couch and doing nothing until I remember to leave the house and get coffee. So, the topic was pretty interesting to me; of course, the answers were mostly anecdotal and more of the flavor of 'you're not alone and a lot of writers struggle with this' rather than any tried-and-true way to get off the couch and accomplish something. But it was certainly fascinating to hear others' stories, and to remember that my #firstworldproblems are not, at the end of the day, all that severe or insurmountable.

sssanyway, after that panel I needed a break from people, and I still wanted to write some notes about Rafe and Ava from my conversations yesterday, so I snuck away and had a salad and a coke (note: no wine) at a french bistro a couple of blocks from the hotel. Then I came back, talked to one of my friends (Miranda, whom I befriended in New Orleans last year), had a meeting with an audiobook person (great meeting, no resolution yet on whether I'm going to work with them), and then spent over an hour catching up with my friend Stephanie (we used to share an agent, and I totally adore her and think she's super smart).

At that point, I kind of just wanted a nap, but I rallied and walked fifteen minutes or so over to a rooftop bar near the New York Public Library, where my friend Maya was hosting a small cocktail soiree to celebrate the release of her latest nonfiction book (Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained). It was a super cool party, with super cool people, and I got to catch up with a couple of awesome acquaintances and make some new ones while drinking champagne -- all of which makes me want to come back to NYC as soon as possible.

The party ended around seven, and then I absconded with Maya in a taxi to the East Village, where we met Terry to perpetrate an oyster holocaust at Mermaid Inn. We ended up eating four dozen oysters and three orders of fries (along with wine, por supuesto), which was way more expensive than it always was when I went with Ritu, since we missed happy hour and had to pay full price for the sea creatures. But they were worth it, as always, and my belly was very happy. Also, happily, I introduced Maya and Terry to each other, and since they're both SoulCycle cult members, they'll probably disconnect from me at the first opportunity.

Once we'd decimated the oyster population, it was time to part ways, so Terry and I shared a cab back to this side of the city. And even though I should perhaps have been social in the bar, I don't have it in me - I've been as social as I can ever be at these events, and I need to sleep tonight if I'm to survive the end of the conference + social time with Ritu et al over the next few days. But I'm feeling good about what I accomplished here (both in terms of oysters consumed and connections made/maintained/strengthened), so I think getting some sleep is v. well-deserved. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

lights is blinding, girls need blinders

My career is ascending and my liver is descending, and I can only hope that they don't cross paths before the conference is over (or, if they do cross paths, that my career ascends so rapidly that the cirrhosis is worth it). Today was a v. v. long, v. v. social day, but it was all fantastic. I actually made it to the keynote speech at 8:30am, which was a miracle, but my friend Barbara was the keynote speaker and I felt honor-bound to support her. She did a great job, and I caught up with some of the other writers we went to Tahoe with in April, so breakfast was worth it despite the early hour and the total lack of sleep.

Post-breakfast, I had a meeting with someone from Wattpad, which was great; as mentioned yesterday, I kind of want to stalk her until she becomes my friend, but even if that doesn't happen, it was great. Then I grabbed some free books before attending a workshop Sherry Thomas was giving on subtext. Sherry is awesome, as I said yesterday, and the workshop gave me some good food for thought with Rafe and Octavia, so that was all lovely.

Then, I had just enough time to dump everything in my room before going out for lunch with one of my freelance editors. I adore her - she always tells it to me straight, and she has really great ideas, so we spent most of lunch (and one glass of wine each, which the first of many mistakes I made today) discussing the plot for this book and how to fix my issues. This was probably exactly what I needed right now (minus the glass of wine), so yay for that!

After lunch, I really just wanted to write, but instead I forced myself to continue the social death march. I went to an open house for Nook, where I likely made myself far too memorable by telling a story about the conference I went to in Denver that had a giant pump-dispenser sized container of lube for a game they played (Katie would remember, if she didn't have so much PTSD that she forgot it all). Then I went across the street with my other friend Barbara (no relation to Barbara #1, although she's part of the Tahoe group), and we had a drink while catching up in the relative quiet of a Times Square restaurant instead of the cacophonous hotel lobby. I absolutely adore her and she's one of the best people I've met in the last couple of years, so I'm glad we got some alone time together.

After that, the fun continued with another drink (sense a pattern?) with a blogger who has reviewed my stuff before with great feedback. Then I left the hotel and went to Rum House (pattern continues) and had two daiquiris with Parisa (my other editor, who happens to be Kathia's sister). She was in fine form, and it was great to catch up with her about things other than my writing and my fears, so I'm glad it happened.

Then, I was v. v. close to ending the night early - I needed some downtime, so I met Terry in her neighborhood and had a steak and some fries and half a glass of wine (I didn't finish the glass, which is a sign that I'm reaching my limit) while we talked about our days as casually as if we were still living together. Then I came home, made a cursory sweep through the bar, decided I could go back to my room and put on my nightgown with a clean conscience...

...and just as I crawled into bed with my laptop, Kathia texted me and asked where I was. So I went back downstairs and had a fancy soda, followed by a glass of champagne (I'm so weak) with Kathia and one of the iBooks guys. That was super super fun, bur perhaps ill-advised...but I'm not going to second-guess it. Instead, since I'm falling asleep while writing this, I'm going to sleep, perchance to dream of even better meetings tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

city never sleeps better slip you an ambien

I had an entirely successful first day at the romance conference (although I suppose this is day zero, since it technically doesn't start until tomorrow). And now I'm thoroughly exhausted and need to get up in six hours to do it again, so I must keep this brief. But today was delightful and went mostly according to plan. I had breakfast with my friend Kristin, who lives in the far far east bay (like, basically in Nevada), and so I hadn't seen her since the last conference for a wide variety of reasons (not the least of which is that she broke her ankle in half this spring, which made the already-unlikely chance of us meeting up somewhere even more unlikely). We caught up over breakfast at the cafe across the street, and we gossiped about the industry (my favorite!), so that was all great.

Then, I came back to the hotel, finished drying my hair, and went to an event for librarians/booksellers - first, a roundtable discussion about how to work together as authors and librarians to do successful events, and then a lunch where Jude Devereaux gave the keynote speech. That was all interesting, although it mostly reminded me that I need to figure out the right way to get my books into the right kind of print/ebook setup so that libraries will buy them. More work for me, I guess, but it's worth doing (maybe, I think).

After that, I took ten minutes to drop stuff off in my room, and then I had afternoon dim sum with like sixteen authors. We somehow managed to get all of us to Chinatown, which was a bit of a trek, but the dim sum was super tasty. And the group was really awesome; I don't want to name drop too shamelessly, but it was mostly historical writers, and I spent some quality time sitting next to Sherry, who kept stroking my arm because I seem so tactile to her. However, the last time I saw her I told her about my Indian breast massage, so really, this was nothing. The whole thing was organized by Courtney, who has organized similar endeavors over the past couple of years, and it has become one of my favorite things at these conferences.

However, all good things end, so we scurried back to the hotel, where I was supremely glad that I chose not to sign books at the booksigning this year since all those fools had to go immediately to the ballroom while I came upstairs and took a nap. Then, I put on a party dress and went to a cocktail party hosted by Kathia (who is Kate for the duration of this week), where I randomly met the woman from Wattpad whom I'd already set up a meeting with for tomorrow (and whom I totally adored - I would like to be her friend if that didn't sound so creepy), as well as the head guy at Kobo, several awesome writers, etc., etc. I ended up spending five hours there, but since I limited myself to three glasses of champagne, I'm in decent (albeit slightly dehydrated) shape. I also got to spend some quality time with Kathia's husband and sister, and it was all totally lovely.

But now, after walking through the chaos that is Times Square at midnight, I need to sleep - tomorrow is more of the same, but I have high expectations for what I intend to get through. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

bleed me dry each and every time

This morning was a little more lowkey than I intended...last night I went to bed with the intention of being in it to win it, but I didn't sleep very well (blame it on the alcohol + too much food + restless dreams), and so I didn't get up as early as planned. However, I had a v. leisurely, v. delicious breakfast at Cafe Luxembourg, which got me going enough that I was able to do a bit of writing before showering, packing, messing around online, etc. Then I grabbed a quick salad before vacating Terry's apartment and taking a cab to my conference hotel to check in and drop off my luggage.

After that, things quickly sped up - I dashed out of the hotel and onto the subway so that I could meet a blast from the past for drinks at the Tippler (bar in the basement of Chelsea Market). Only the most old-timery old timers among you will remember Dan Bentley, who has rarely made an appearance on zee blog since he's mostly lived in NYC for many years, but we were friends in college oh so many years ago. He's currently also funemployed (having recently left our mutual employer), and so we caught up on life over a couple of alcoholic slushies ('lushies', as they were appropriately named). It was good to see him, and to hear about his adventures as a poker player during his hiatus between regular jobs, and to know that his father is still alive and kicking despite the man's ungodly addiction to Krispy Kreme donuts.

sssanyway, we eventually had to part ways so that I could go to the first romance writer activity on my calendar this week - my friend Maya was moderating a panel about romance novels, and my friend Sarah was on the panel, so I felt a strong desire to attend. I dragged Terry with me, and it was entertaining/interesting (although some of the entertainment was provided by the fact that it was held, oddly, in a coworking space in SoHo, and so as we were discussing romance and feminism, some random dude walked through and stole some of the wine. lol.). It was also a good warm-up to the conference, since I saw several people whom I like there and am now eager to see them more + see more people tomorrow.

However, I wasn't thoroughly eager to keep seeing people tonight, so Terry and I ducked out, parted ways on the subway, and I came back to Times Square and had dinner at the bar of the restaurant across the street. This was supposed to be a gloriously solo endeavor, but the woman sitting next to me was v. chatty (in a nice way - and not about romance, since she was just a random traveler rather than part of the conference). So I talked to her while eating a cheeseburger, which will probably catapult me back into last night's too much wine / too much food / too overwhelming dreams situation.

But hopefully that's not the case - I'm really looking forward to the conference (despite not looking forward to spending twelve hours hanging out with people tomorrow), and I want to make the most of it. So I'm going to go to bed and hope for the best - goodnight!

Monday, July 20, 2015

cause all of my kindness is taken for weakness

My liver continues to take New York by storm. My writing...not so much. Today was lowkey and wonderful, though. I woke up around 6:30, promptly decided that was stupid, and went back to bed until nine. Then I did some business-type stuff, showered, grabbed a coffee and some yogurt to prevent my untimely demise, and did some more work until it was time to abandon Terry's apartment/neighborhood and go to Hell's Kitchen (appropriately named in this heat) for lunch with a romance writer friend.

Some of you may remember her - I call her Vivi, but her name is also Sarah, and she attended the wine bus birthday celebration that Terry and I had when we turned thirty. Vivi/Sarah and I hadn't seen each other since the romance conference last year in San Antonio, and we had a ton to catch up on. This was duly accomplished over margaritas (only one each! I feel so puritanical!) and food at Limon Jungle; the food was decent enough, but the company was great, and it was excellent to reunite and get caught up on everything before the conference begins and we're both slammed with other activities.

After lunch, I came back to Terry's, cooled off for a few moments, and then went out in search of more hipsterish iced coffee than I could get at Starbucks, since my hipster soul was becoming parched. I succeeded at Irving Farm, where they served my iced coffee in a widemouth mason jar, which made me feel right at home despite the fact that it's so absurdly fucking hot outside. So I did some more work there for a couple of hours, which made me feel slightly better about life.

Of course, I wasn't really intending to work all that diligently on this trip, so when I found out Terry was home from work, I abandoned my writing and came back to her apartment, where we had a glass of wine and talked about corporate ridiculousness like the good old days. We then had an early dinner (sushi, with some really excellent/interesting rolls), and then we met Vivi/Sarah and her friend Leigh for drinks at The Smith. Leigh also works in television, so it was good for her and Terry to meet, and the four of us had a delightful, albeit slightly 'Sex and the City'-ish, conversation.

But all good things must end, so Terry and I came back to her apartment, watched a couple of episodes of "Parks and Rec" (shut up, not addicted), and then called it a night. And now I must sleep - I intend to write tomorrow, and maybe go to the gym, and maybe buy a handbag, and definitely check into my hotel, and absolutely have drinks with a blast from the past (suspense!) before going to a romance writer event. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

listen to your heart

Today was quite decidedly awesome, thanks for asking! I lazed about like the wench I am until nine, when Terry went for a run and I decided I should shower and pull myself together. Then we went down to Chelsea for a special brunch with an extra special guest appearance from Tammy (aka Tammmmehhhhhh) and Daniel (aka the sad alpaca, although he's looking particularly happy and buoyant these days with his spiffy new hair). Tammy is living in Philadelphia now, but Daniel moved to NYC and she comes up to see him pretty often, and she graciously agreed to come up and hang out with me on my free day in the city.

So we went to Montmartre, a French bistro-y place that was super cute and super delish. I drank sparkling rosé, which makes everything right with the world, and coffee, which makes things even righter. I survived Terry/Tammy/Daniel splitting pancakes as an appetizer in front of me, but it was worth it since my breakfast was super tasty (soft scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and potatoes). After brunch, we went to Chelsea Market to wander around, and I had vague PTSD flashbacks to my day job since I used to go to Chelsea Market every time I visited the NYC office. We then proceeded up to the High Line for popsicles, since it was a million and thirty degrees today and we were all dying despite our best efforts to dress for the heat.

It was totally awesome to see Tammy, of course; I hadn't seen her and Daniel since Shedletsky's wedding last year, where we were all groomsmen (although clearly Daniel was the most important groomsman of the bunch). So, we caught up on her life in Philly, which seems to involve a lot of poverty and taking of buses (but when she's done with her medical residency eventually, none of that will ever be true again). Hopefully I'll see her again sometime soon, but it will clearly require me coming to NYC since she'll never come to SF again (not that she's the only person lobbying for me to move to New York...).

sssanyway, Terry and I left them around 2:15 and went to midtown, since we had tickets to see 'An Act of God'. It's a ninety-minute one-act play starring Jim Parsons (Sheldon in Big Bang Theory), in which God has taken over Jim Parsons' body and has deigned to spend ninety minutes giving us a new set of ten commandments and answering audience questions. I thought the script was super funny and clever, and Jim Parsons is a great actor - he displayed way more range than you may have thought from the play description, and I was really impressed. It was definitely a great way to spend part of an afternoon, especially since I rarely get around to doing stuff like that in SF.

After the theatre, we went to Central Park and had drinks (cocktails + more rosé) and cheese/charcuterie at Tavern on the Green. Then we came back to Terry's apartment, took a break from the heat while watching tv, and eventually (and perhaps surprisingly) rallied to have dinner at Piccolo, a cute, tiny Italian place a few blocks from Terry's building. We also discussed Rafe and Octavia's story, and I may be switching gears slightly (back to a gear I'd previously been on), but I remain ever hopeful that I'll eventually finish this fucking book.

Once we were done with dinner (and yet more wine), we came back to the apartment again and watched a couple of episodes of 'Parks and Rec' that were perhaps too on the nose for some of my recent angst, but that somehow made them even funnier to me. And now, I shall sleep and hopefully get on east coast time so that I can accomplish all the things tomorrow - I want to write, go to the gym, and have lunch with a writer friend, so we'll see if I make it. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

i'll be holding all the tickets and you'll be owing all the fines

I have arrived in New York, and it is glorious - just as glorious as you always guessed in your youth, even though the guys in the Pace Picante Sauce commercial made it sound like a veritable hellmouth of sin and tastelessness.

As you can probably guess from that opener, my day was lovely and mildly alcohol-fueled. I got up at 4:20, was in a cab at 5:15, managed to grab a v. quick, rushed breakfast at the airport, and successfully boarded my 6:45am flight without incident. I flew first class because I'm a fancy bitch (also, because I need tax writeoffs and this is the only work trip I have this year, although I guess I can write off the plane ticket to Hawaii if I buy before the end of the year), so I was pretty comfortable all the way to NYC. That meant that I was able to sleep, daydream, listen to my music, and eventually write five pages of Rafe and Octavia's story while drinking a Bailey's on the rocks...all before noon my time.

That would have been the perfect morning, but the time change meant that I arrived in NYC at three p.m., and then I had to collect my bags and grab a taxi to Terry's (remember her? she was my roommate). It is a million and ten degrees in NYC, but it was actually pretty nice today (I think it's supposed to be a million and thirty degrees tomorrow), so I have survived Day 1. Terry's place is super cute - it's v. nicely decorated, just the right size for her, and on a street that has some v. dangerous shopping opportunities.

So we caught up for a brief moment in her apartment before I switched into something more befitting of our state (single, relatively young, not homeless or traveling cross-country) and we trekked out in search of wine and snacks. Our first stop was a wine bar near Terry's place, where we had cheese and prosciutto (I was starving) and a glass and a half of wine each. Then we went down to the West Village (via subway - Terry actually takes public transportation here, which is as shocking to me as it is to you, but it's the thing to do in NYC, I guess), walked around a bit, and then had dinner at Extra Virgin (a Mediterranean-ish place, although my steak with bearnaise sauce was way more French than anything else). It was v. posh and lovely, although since we split a bottle of wine, I probably would have thought anything was v. posh and lovely.

Anyway, that all gave us loads of time to catch up, which was lovely; we've been doing a better-than-expected job of having occasional video calls to stay in touch, but in person and mildly intoxicated is always better. Then we came home (via cab, because Terry hasn't totally succumbed to public transit yet), sat on the couch, and watched three episodes of Parks and Rec (because neither of us have changed at all, obvi).

And now I desperately need to sleep - I didn't get my afternoon nap today, and we have brunch plans and Broadway play plans and dinner plans and all sorts of other plans tomorrow, and I theoretically want to write before all that (hahaha). Goodnight!

Friday, July 17, 2015

said you had to leave to start your life over

I know I usually don't start out with any sort of excitement at all in these posts, but I have to say...I'm super fucking excited to go to New York.

My flight is in approximately nine hours, so I should probably go to bed immediately. But I spent the day getting ready to go - some work/emailing people at a cafe early this morning (where I hung out with Hugo), followed by a mani/pedi (I always up my grooming game for these events...not that I'm particularly slovenly otherwise, but my grey gel manicure looks especially spiffy), followed by lunch at MyMy since I have no groceries in the house (I will come home to one package of pepperjack cheese, one container of cottage cheese, a few eggs, and a rotting apple). Then I did another hour of work at at the cafe, where I saw Hugo and Chandlord briefly...but I couldn't hang out for long, since I had many preparations to make before leaving.

Of course, I left packing almost too late, so it's hard to tell if I did it properly (the lateness may have been impacted by taking a nap and calling my parents, but since I did laundry while those things were happening, I don't feel too bad). Luckily I'm not signing books this year, so I'm not taking much swag, and I remembered to take my business cards, so I think I'm good there. I also tried on dresses and figured out exactly which outfits I need for which days (in a bid to not overpack, which I think was successful, but since I'm gone for eleven days or so I need a lot of stuff). And then I cleaned my kitchen, took out my recycling, surprised and delighted my neighbor down the hall by giving her fresh flowers (I'd gotten them a couple of days ago and they were looking too nice to throw away), finished packing, did some more romance work, etc., etc.

Anyway, I'm eager to get going...I have a really good feeling about this conference, and I feel like things are shaping up in a way that points to good opportunities (or at least fun networking) coming out of all of this. And, of course, I'm also excited to see a bunch of east coast friends, eat a bunch of delicious food, do some fun things, kill my liver, and die of heatstroke.

So, get excited for my east coast adventures since that's what the blog will be for the next week or two. You're welcome. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

i gave her my heart but she wanted my soul

I still haven't packed for NYC, but since I have over twenty-four hours to rectify this, you shouldn't be surprised. Today was great, though. I woke up relatively early and went to the cafe (and made the mistake of walking down Sutter instead of Bush; one block is enough to determine whether you smell normal city odors or the horrific wafts of human feces everywhere), where I worked for a few hours (although I did more business stuff than writing). Then I walked to my old neighborhood, where I checked in on Tony; he was in good form, as usual, and I felt v. relaxed and well-satisfied sitting at the counter and chatting with him while eating my breakfast/lunch. He even commented on how relaxed I look now that I don't have the day job - I may be a seething mass of nerves inside, but I certainly look healthier than I have in a long time, so I'll keep faking it until I make it.

After lunch, I went to the AT&T store to get a new screen protector for my phone (the last one died a noble death in the line of duty when I dropped my phone on the marble threshold of my apartment as I changed my mind about exiting; I thought the screen had cracked, but only the protector had), and then I did some desultory shopping on Union Street (the first time I've bought new clothes since leaving my job two months ago, which is a new record for me - and by limiting myself to only one dress and one top, that's also a new record).

But then I suddenly wanted to be home immediately, so I walked back to my apartment. The weather was gorgeous on the walk back, and I never get anything done in the doldrums of mid-afternoon anyway, so I decided to put on a swimsuit and write/brainstorm by the pool (which I haven't used since I moved in). But in the twenty minutes it took me to put on my swimsuit / cover my pale flesh in sunscreen / hydrate / gather my things, the fog had rolled in, and so the pool was way chillier than I expected. I gritted it out for twenty minutes and took a sort-of nap on the deck, and then I sat in the hot tub for ten minutes to warm up again before coming back upstairs and showering. So the plan was nearly entirely unsuccessful - but now that I've realized this is a potentially viable option (barring fog), I expect to do it whenever I have the chance.

Anyway, feeling v. smug with myself for taking advantage of the fact that I can do whatever I want, I showered, dried my hair, and walked to Fillmore to work for an hour before dinner. I decided to do my writing at a wine bar, which was a mistake; the regular clientele turned out to be super annoying (moreso because the place was dead and so there was no masking their conversation), and then a couple who may have been on a first or second date sat next to me, and I was too amused/appalled by them to concentrate. But I did some good planning for the next Rafe/Octavia scene, which should make tomorrow easier...

...and then I went to Troya, where I met Lauren (aka Subz) for a delightful dinner/catch-up session. It's now completely and utterly apparent that she's having a baby, which is super exciting (and reminds me that I need to do some stuff for the baby shower). And she was in v. fine form; but then, I always enjoy seeing her. I'm not sure she always enjoys hearing the latest ridiculous updates from my life, but she at least pretends to be amused (like the people on the date I observed earlier, although I think she actually does like me).

And now, after coming home and doing another hour of work (is it work if I was looking at hotels in Hawaii? my tax writeoff for the Hawaii conference says yes), it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

walked into the room you know you made my eyes burn

I'm leaving for NYC in 2.5 days, so I really need to get cracking on all the stuff on my to-do list. Today was pretty good for that, though; I woke up early this morning (much earlier than I actually got out of bed, thanks to a weird alarm situation going on outside, but I bitterly stayed in bed until seven out of sheer spite), and I went to the cafe for an hour and a half to write/scribble in my journal. There was more scribbling than writing, but I'll take what I can get. Then I said hi to Hugo (we are ships crossing in the night, or rather, at dawn, since I get there before he does), came home, packed my bag, and drove to the south bay to see Alyssa.

I thought my workout wasn't all that hard, but she said, v. mildly, "I'm interested to see how you feel tomorrow" - and based on how my back is feeling, I'm slowly beginning to put two and two together. We deadlifted for the first time in a couple of months (many reps at 135lb), and then we did cleans and presses. She also had me try pressing the 16kg kettlebell for the first time, which was a jhoke; I can do a 12kg with no problems, but adding 4kg was more of a jump than I expected. So I look forward to seeing what new and strange tortures she's going to add to get me to the 16kg press...

...but that's a torture that I won't have to deal with for a couple of weeks. After we trained, I showered, grabbed a salad, drove home, and took a nap. Then I stopped at Philz for a coffee before going downtown to my salon, where they worked on making me more ladylike for my conference. That means my brows are now tamed (and no longer white), and my hair has been cut (although the blowout won't last, obvi).

And then I came home and spent the last three hours working - I had to figure out what I'm packing, and I did some pricing stuff for my books that always takes forever (with more to do tomorrow after some of today's changes go into effect), and I registered for a conference in Hawaii next year (because, obvi, it's Hawaii in February, which is waaaaay better than San Francisco in February). And now I need to sleep so I can repeat all of this again tomorrow, with more work and less deadlifts. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

more than a feeling

I had a lovely, rather unusually nice day today, with a decent combination of work + playing hooky + homemaking to keep me energized. I got up earlyish and was at the cafe by 8am, where I did an hour and a half of work before Kathia picked me up for our day's adventure. We went up to Sonoma to hang out for a few hours, and it was totally delightful - it was quite warm up there, which gave me a chance to wear the awesome black sundress I bought for Bora Bora (but never got around to wearing there). We wandered around the square for awhile, eventually settling down at a cafe to have a glass of champagne since the tasting rooms weren't open yet (how dare they not serve wine at 10:30am on a Tuesday!).

But eventually things did open, and we had a leisurely, totally delicious lunch at The Girl and the Fig. We split some radishes (not my fave, but they were good enough) and a bowl of their corn bisque (totally my fave), and then we each had a steak, which made my heart and my stomach happy. We also had wine flights (whites for me and picpoul for Kathia, which is a white varietal that I'd never heard of before), and the sommelier was so freaking excited about explaining the picpoul flight that it was v. adorable to watch.

Eventually, though, Kathia abandoned me so that she could get a massage (the reason she was going to Sonoma; I was along for the ride), and so I wrote for an hour and a half while nursing an iced tea against the heat at another cafe's outdoor patio. Then she picked me up and we made it back to the city by four, which was perfect - I desperately needed to do laundry tonight in preparation for my trip, and I also wanted to clean my bathroom, unpack the picture frames I ordered a month ago to make sure none of them were broken before the return deadline passed, etc., etc.

So, all of that was duly accomplished, and I only spent an hour or so messing around on the internet and distracting myself in the meantime. Oh, and I took a nap, but that was v. necessary after the wine+writing+sun. And now you know everything I care to tell you, and I must sleep so that I can write before the gym tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, July 13, 2015

tryna break the chains but the chains only break me

Today was a really long day, almost like I was back at the day job, but the day job isn't paying me for the time I spent there. I woke up early (actually, really early - at 2:30am I woke up to a highly acidic stomach and a too-hot bedroom, which made the rest of my sleep restless) and made it to train with Alyssa by 8am, which was way too early for my non-dayjob life. But that got me to a 10:30am doctor's appointment, followed by a couple of hours spent working at Philz Coffee in Palo Alto. Sitting on the shade-dappled patio with an iced coffee may have added to my stomach acid, but it certainly helped my headache.

Finally, though, it was time to interact with other people and stop playing with my fictional world. The first stop was the Samsung campus in Mountain View, which I've never been to; I was there to see Amit, whom I haven't seen in eight years or so, and have lunch with him and Vidya (whom I haven't seen in eight hours or so) to talk about the charity they work with and some ideas Amit has for eventually writing a book. I learned that Samsung employees have to pay for food, which seems barbaric, but Amit bought our lunch and it was all v. nice.

So it was great to catch up with them and to see Amit again after all this time. But I was on a schedule, so I said goodbye to them and went to my old place of employment to have coffee (aka drink water, since I had already had so much caffeine that I was twitching) with Eugene. He commented that I'm like the old retired spy in the spy movies who has been out of the game for years, but who still has all the files and knows where all the bodies are buried...I think I'll take that as a compliment. We caught up privately in a building away from where we sat, but then I went back with him to say hi to whomever happened to be around. More people had showed up to work today than usual, so I got a v. sweaty hug from Tomas, a less-sweaty hug from Lillian, and some good conversation from Viviana (who perhaps still hasn't forgiven me for leaving), Yune, Manuela, and Shannon. Of course, I can't catch up on everything (nor, perhaps, should I want to), but it was good to see those people...

...but I eventually needed to get off campus before I forgot that I didn't work there, so I went to Starbucks in Mountain View and messed around on the internet for a couple of hours, since I was too done to do anything else. Then I met Joann (of spinster honeymoon fame) for dinner; we hadn't seen each other since our trip, and we had a lot to catch up on. This was duly accomplished at Pacific Catch, which was not at all as Pacific as our previous adventures, but I'll take it.

And now I must sleep, and hope my stomach behaves itself tonight so that I can have fun and get stuff done tomorrow (perhaps in that order, if my plans with Kathia hold). Goodnight!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

i wanna get better

I'm still blocked on Rafe and Octavia, to some extent, but that's becoming an incredibly depressing topic of conversation. And by 'incredibly depressing' I mean that I'm starting to get angry at myself for not being better at compartmentalizing my personal life so that I can write more effectively.

You may point out that getting angry about this isn't helpful; you'd be correct. However, on some level I simply haven't dealt with all the inherent/residual stress involved from having blown up my whole life over the past three months and switched apartments / quit jobs / said goodbye to coworkers whom I'd thought I would stay in touch with more regularly / committed to a creative life that involves a lot of solitude and not a lot of reassurance.

And unfortunately I haven't found a great way to write effectively while my monkey mind is so easily distracted. But writing in the morning seems to help, so I'm going to prioritize that. And there have been a lot of great things in the past couple of months - I've had more time for my friends, and for going to the gym, and I've been eating better and drinking less (I know, I'm shocked too), and I've been slowly connecting with other writers and starting to do things for my writing business that I've been meaning to do forever.

So really, it's all good. I just want to focus this week so that I can get into a groove before I leave for NYC, since I have high hopes of writing while I'm there as well. But it's time to turn those hopes into a reality, even if the slog is hard; the end result will be worth it.

sssanyway, today wasn't all doom and gloom despite the past few paragraphs. I got up early and did some work at Cafe du Soleil before meeting Jess and John there for breakfast (don't call it brunch!). As I mentioned on Thursday, I missed Jess's musical salon night because I got sucked into the seedy underworld of whisky and tattoos, so I felt it was imperative to catch up as soon as possible after that debacle. So we discussed our respective lives over mimosas (still, don't call it brunch), and I had the totally scrumptious spanish-style tortilla (basically egg and potato, which are two of my favorite things). And it was good to see them before I go to NYC and they move to Berkeley and our friendship dies a sudden death as the Bay Bridge comes between us.

After that, I came back to my neighborhood and went to Another Cafe, where I worked for a couple of hours on Octavia's character/style/mannerisms, since I feel like she's not quite coming together for me. I also said hi to Hugo, who was working there as per usual. But I didn't stay for all that long; I had a hangout date with Terry so that we could coordinate on my upcoming trip (yay!). And then I cleaned the kitchen, threw out an impressive display of mold formerly known as my compost, and called my parents. They have baby peacocks now, because of course they do.

At that point I contemplated walking down to the Marina and eating steak/drinking wine at Aix, but luckily I checked their website and discovered they're closed on Sundays. So I instead took the half-assed approach and bought sushi at Whole Foods, and then decided to drink water instead of opening the champagne I considered opening. I have to train with Alyssa at 8am tomorrow, so sobriety seemed like the better part of valor. And then I spent the rest of the night answering some emails, taking care of business, writing in my journal, and planning my to-dos for the week or two ahead.

And now, I'm going to breathe in, breathe out (green to red, machinehead), and remember that I went through all of this the last time I quit my job, and I seem to be getting closer to the end of the tunnel much faster than I did last time, so this is all good. If nothing else, the fear spirals this weekend were better than last weekend, or the weekend before that, which seems to indicate progress - and I don't have time for fear spirals this week, since I have lots to do before going to NYC (where all fear will die naturally while I'm having fun/being inspired, or it will be killed by the Rat King in the subways, either way). And on that note, I shall also stop being dramatic and go to bed. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

some nights i stay up cashing in my bad luck

Today was pretty mellow, but it went somewhat according to writing, but enough socializing to keep my head clear so I can hopefully get some writing done tomorrow. I woke up in time to eat some breakfast, drive to Palo Alto, and work out at Equinox - I forgot that Saturday mornings in Palo Alto mean a lot of suburban moms/dads attempting to get a workout in, and the gym was packed compared to hangover-time in San Francisco. But I got my workout in, showered, and made it to brunch with Heather (aka dear respected madam) right on time, so I felt v. smug about that.

We met up at Joanie's, which, as you know, I adore; happily, they still have almost all the same staff as they had years ago when I used to go there all the time, and they always act so happy to see me (and I'm, obvi, v. happy to see them). Heather and I hadn't seen each other since right before I left work / went to Bora Bora, so we had a ton to catch up on. We spent a couple of hours at Joanie's, and then we went across the street to Printers' Cafe, where I had an iced coffee on top of the endlessly-replenished coffee I had at Joanie's (on top of the tea I drank on the way to the gym), which made me all twitchy and crazy on the drive home. But the caffeine rush was worth it to have some quality time with Heather - she's one of my faves, and I don't see her nearly often enough.

All good things must come to an end, though, so I drove home and took a nap (which was more of an attempt to rest my eyeballs than anything else, since my caffeinated state was too extreme to allow for real sleep). Then I messed around at home for a few minutes before deciding to actually follow through on the plan I'd made with Hugo and Vidya (a plan that I had thought I would almost certainly bail on) - I went to the Mission (I know, so unusual for me), in a very sketchy Lyft situation (the driver was fielding calls from his boss, which seems weird, about an accident he'd had earlier in the day, which didn't instill confidence).

Once I arrived safely, I had drinks at Cease and Desist, where Hugo and Ken and some other people whom I've befriended at a nearby cafe were guest bartending (with all tips going to charity). I hadn't intended to drink tonight, since I feel like I still need to detox from my weird tattoo-whisky night on Thursday, but I ended up having a glass of wine and one of Ken's daiquiris (but it was for a good cause, so it doesn't count, right?). And I should really write it off on my taxes, since I may have convinced Ken's wife and her friend to buy my latest book, so I guess this should count as marketing. But it was fun to hang out with all of them, even if going to a bar from six to eight meant that I came home slightly tipsy while the sun was still out, which is ridiculous.

But I got home without drama, and I read a book for the last hour or so (a young adult fantasy to help me understand the market better for my not-gargoyle book...but the book I'm reading pretty much sucks despite being a bestseller, so I'm a little disappointed). And now I'm going to go to bed so I can pursue social + writing plans tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, July 10, 2015

i would do anything for love (but i won't do that)

My hangover this morning wasn't all that epic, but there was a point where I certainly didn't feel well...but that could have been from eating steak at eleven p.m. after drinking whisky on an empty stomach, and not necessarily from sheer quantity of alcohol consumed (which wasn't really all that much). However, I managed to drag myself out of bed, shower, and make it to the San Francisco office in time for lunch with Natalie, who was one of the people on the team I used to work on. It was great to catch up with her, and we talked about the fun stuff I've missed since my departure ('fun' may not be entirely accurate), writing, life, etc.

So, that lovely interlude put my in a great mood...and then I followed it up with a facial, which made things even better. Then I came home, sent some emails, and decided that I needed to get out of the house. So I went to Another Cafe, where I did a few hours of busy-work and spent some quality time talking to Hugo, who has made me exceedingly glad that I don't have to study for the bar exam like he does.

By sevenish, though, I was done, so I came home, ate a sandwich, messed around online, and painted my nails. And now I'm going to indulge my inner hermit (and my inner hangover) and go to sleep early so that I can be in it to win it tomorrow -- goodnight!

cakes on a plane

Today did not go *at all* like I intended for it to go. That was somewhat good, somewhat bad. The somewhat bad part was that I intended to write several thousand words and didn't actually end up writing anything. But it wasn't all bad...I spent several productive hours brainstorming a plot element that requires significant planning, as well as thinking through the plot of the third book so that I don't screw it up with this one. That's all necessary stuff, but it doesn't make it any easier to wish that the writing would come more easily...

...but beyond that, today was good. I went to the cafe by nine and saw Hugo there (earlier than usual), so I hung out with him downstairs while working for a few hours. Then I left during a break in the drizzle to come home, write some emails, eat some leftover steak with fresh eggs, and take a nap (my life is hard). Eventually, I had to pry myself off the sofa and into the shower, which did a lot to cleanse my sins.

At that point, I was planning to meet Kathia for a writing date, followed by Jess's art|song salon, so I put on a cute dress, tights, and boots. However, Kathia was getting a tattoo redone, and it was taking a bit longer than she expected, so she said I should meet her there. This turned out to be totally awesome, but it lasted for five and a half fucking hours, which meant that I a) missed Jess's performance, and b) missed dinner, which was crucial. It was particularly crucial because, in something that seems totally verboten for tattoo artists, we were drinking wine and whisky from the bottle during the whole experience.

Wine and whisky together is always bad; wine and whisky on an empty stomach is worse. But I had an awesome time watching Kathia get tattooed, even though it took way way longer than it should have (see: breaks necessary for the tattoo artist to drink more whisky). Her husband Jerry was there, and at some point we somehow managed to pick up Jason and Steve, who happened across the tattoo guy drinking outside and decided to join us. Steve died at some point (and by that I mean he disappeared), but he was replaced by Eli (aka Steve 2.0). And a truly fantastic time was had by all -- the tattoo guy, despite his rather lax approach to sobriety, was hilarious (he proposed not-marriage to me, which I accepted), and he did some awesome (but still unfinished) work on Kathia's shoulder.

Eventually, though, we called it quits and went to Bell Tower for a v. late (post-ten p.m.) dinner, where Kathia and I both ordered the steaks we'd been dreaming of for hours. And then I came home, and now I'm intent on passing out in my own bed before the whisky and wine overtake me. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

i can see it coming, i can see it come for miles

I had a decent enough day, I suppose, but getting up early to train with Alyssa kind of threw me off my game. Not that I got up that much earlier than I've been getting up, but it turns out that morning is my most productive time (I hate myself), and so I didn't get anything done before seeing her (although the workout might have been better than usual). Then I showered, had breakfast at Joanie's, checked my mail in Palo Alto, and was home by 12:30.

Theoretically that left me the whole afternoon to write...but I don't do that well in the afternoons. And I needed a nap. So I took a nap, then messed around on the internet, then dragged myself to the cafe with the intention of writing, but I mostly did business-type stuff instead. By five I figured I was never going to accomplish anything (and some brogrammers were being particularly loud, which I found particularly annoying), so I came home with the intention of doing nothing tonight.

But happily, I was lured out of my hermitville and back into productivity by John, who was working at Cafe du Soleil and gave me a heads up so I could join him. This accomplished two things: a) I got to see John, and b) I got the glass of wine I'd been wanting but couldn't have at my cafe. So we caught up for a bit, and then did an hour of work (finally - no new scene, but I made some progress on my thinking), and then we had a late dinner at Thep Phanom. All in all, this was quite delightful, and I'm glad we got to spend some quality time together before I go to NYC and he moves to Berkeley and we never see each other again (okay, maybe "never" is a strong word).

Now, though, I need to sleep so that I can get up in the morning and seize my productive time like it's meant to be seized. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

say something i'm giving up on you

Tomorrow morning is going to feel like I'm going back to the day job, because I have to see Alyssa at eight a.m....but then I think I'm going to have breakfast at Joanie's after rather than going to slog through a bunch of emails/aggravations, so even though getting up and driving down early will suck, the rest of the day will be great. And maybe I will slog through emails...but at least they'll be emails of my own doing, and not emails related to the day job.

Today was pretty good - I didn't write anything fresh, but I spent several very productive hours at a cafe combing through the timeline of the overarching series and making notes of how the scenes I've planned for this book match up to the scenes that already existed in the previous book. At this point I've probably planned as much as I can plan and I just need to start writing, which is always, always the hardest step. So maybe tomorrow I just need to do it. Or get drunk and do it. Or something.

Anyway, I came home for a late lunch, took a nap, tried on dresses for NYC (I have no idea what I'm going to pack, but I have enough options), took a shower, and then spent some quality time at a Facebook party for someone else's book launch. Yes, that sounds silly. Basically I spent half an hour 'hosting', which meant liking people's posts and occasionally writing (hopefully, possibly not) witty things on the page. But it counts as work, so whatever. Then I went back to the cafe for my second shift; this time I didn't intend to write, but instead I spent the hours of 5:30 to 7:30 taking care of business stuff, reevaluating my defunct Tumblr, going through my website and making notes of everything I need to update, and working on the cover for my new book.

So, getting some business stuff done felt good, even if I'm probably still procrastinating from the book. Then I came home again, ate something, messed around on the internet, and packed my bags for tomorrow.

And now I'm going to sleep, hopefully dream something good, train early tomorrow, and hopefully write something good. Goodnight!

Monday, July 06, 2015

everything that you ever dreamed of disappearing when you wake up

Today was marginally better than yesterday...actually, it was a lot better, although I was still prone to despair in the darkest parts of the afternoon. But I woke up at 6:45 and was at the cafe before eight, where I got in a solid couple of hours of work before leaving to train with Alyssa. It was going well this morning, and I sort of regretted breaking the concentration to go south -- while I'm glad that I'm still seeing her, that's the one problem in favor of no longer going to Palo Alto, since it definitely eats into the most productive time of my day.

But the workout itself was good, and I have no regrets about that (even if my hands are developing multiple stripes of calluses, which feels so unladylike - I'll never marry a Regency duke now!). Then I showered, ate lunch, and went to San Mateo for a writing date with Anne, Barbara, and Poppy. I hadn't seen them since before Texas, so it was good to catch up, and I got a lot done there as well. But by five p.m. I was totally fried, and I had to stick around for a couple of hours anyway because I had plans nearby and there was no point in going home. So I messed around online and messed around in my journal in a somewhat desultory fashion, which didn't help my mood...

...but then I met up with Shedletsky and Tina for dinner, and that turned everything right again. They just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, which is super hard to believe, and we caught up on everything in our respective lives over steak at one of the v. old-school places they like to frequent in Belmont. It was great to see them, even if their ideas for romance novels alternate between 'possibly genius' and 'truly horrifying'.

Now that I'm home safe, though, I need to sleep - I know everything will be less anxiety-inducing once I'm getting more words on the page more regularly, and I think I've done enough plotting for now and it's time to start producing scenes. So that's the plan for tomorrow (easier said than done, but I'm going to give it my best shot). Goodnight!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

your trojan's in my head

Today was kind of a mess, if I'm being honest. Not for any good reason, really...but I'm feeling like I'm not being productive enough, and when I get into one of those fear spirals, it's easy to let it carry me all the way to the bottom rather than finding an off-ramp. But at least I know a fear spiral when I see one I have some hope that I've eventually deal with them more quickly, if not evade them entirely (a noble, likely futile goal).

But it wasn't all fear and stress and despair...I woke up moderately early and met Kathia at 9:30, so I got in a couple of hours of legit brainstorming this morning. I'm coming close to a solid plot, I think, and I am planning to press hard this week to see where I can take it. After we parted ways, I said hi to Hugo (who was working, unbeknownst to me, in the same cafe downstairs), laughed at his general life plight because I have no bedside manner, and then left him to his studying so that I could buy groceries and make a belated breakfast/lunch. Then I spent the early afternoon doing laundry/napping/panicking. And then I called my parents, who were in fine form (albeit still, somehow, sick), which made me feel better because at least someone will still love me even if my books all suck henceforth and I have to get a job as a janitor at a Starbucks because I never even learned how to pull a shot of espresso properly. Sigh.

sssanyway, I was going to mope some more after I got off the phone with them, but since I now recognize a fear spiral, I instead put on some real clothes, walked to the Marina, and had an extended dinner at Mezes. I picked the right night to do it, since they were v. v. slow, so I got to catch up with the bartender in a v. leisurely way. I also enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine and some delish chicken skewers while plotting and scheming in my notebook...I wanted to plot out the week ahead, and I accomplished it well enough. Eventually, I said goodbye, came home, and finished a book I'd started awhile ago ('Prudence', a steampunk novel that's a spinoff from a series I'd previously loved - my jury is out on whether I love this series yet, but it was a good enough read).

And so, happily, I feel better than I did this afternoon, and I'm eager to tackle this week with all the ruthlessness I used to use against my day job. Or something. Goodnight!

nothing lasts forever...but the sound of love astounds me every time that it calls

I had meant to go to bed super early tonight to make up for last night's debauchery, but I sabotaged myself by reading a book instead. C'est la wasn't the worst choice I could have made, I suppose. I was pretty lazy this morning (see: last night's debauchery), but I eventually wandered to my old neighborhood and had a late breakfast at Tony's cafe. It was good to see him; he showed me pictures of the vacation he and his family took this week, which were cute enough to make me forgive him for being closed when I wanted breakfast there on Thursday. Then I was going to go to the gym, but I hung out for an hour writing first, and by the time it was time to work out, I wasn't feeling it.

So I came home, ate a snack, took a nap, showered, and went to Philz, where I spent a couple of hours continuing to read the book about satire in seventeenth century London (riveting!). I read it for another hour when I came home, but at that point I needed to take a break from such a stimulating subject (and from staring at pages). So I straightened up my apartment, made a sandwich, ate the sandwich, painted my nails, and then read some filthy vampire erotica to make up for my studiousness.

But now that the illicit fireworks finally seem to have died down outside, I'm going to sleep and hope that I restore myself so that I can write tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

you'll fall in love and you'll be screaming demon

I was out and about far, far later than I'm accustomed to (I know I said that last night, but tonight has last night beat). However, I drank far, far less alcohol than I usually drink in the particular crowd I was out with tonight, so maybe I'm growing up? Or maybe the desire to not be hungover so that I can write and go to the gym tomorrow overcame my usual go-with-the-flow (of alcohol) vibe.

Either way, I'm remarkably sober (if remarkably tired), so you'll prob get too much detail in this blog post and not nearly enough typos/jhokes. #sorrynotsorry

The day started off later than usual due to last night's mild debauchery, but I made it to a cafe by ten-ish, where I worked v. diligently for a couple of hours. I didn't write anything, but I took the necessary step of going back through Thorington's book to see what I'd committed myself to that might help/hinder the new plot idea I had (answer: I committed to some things I wish I hadn't, but it's not insurmountable). Then I came home, ate lunch, and then got a pedicure (perhaps not a necessity, but I'm not going to cut pedicures until I start cutting expenses (which hopefully won't have to will depend on how Rafe's book does and whether I think the market will keep growing or whether the ebook industry is going to collapse under my feet and take my dreams and finances with it) -- and even then, there are prob other things I would cut first). I did a bit of work/planning while getting the pedicure -- perhaps not enough to write it off on my taxes as a business expense, but enough to get me daydreaming about my business.

Post-pedicure, I came home, took a nap, and then walked to Philz (which was closed early, so I went back to the other Philz). I spent a couple of hours reading 'City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth Century Britain' -- my new idea for Rafe involves some satire stuff, so I'm doing some research to get some ideas about British satire and understand the limits of what I can do with this idea. The book is actually quite fascinating and well-written, so I'm enjoying reading it -- perhaps not so much that I would recommend it without reservation to all of you, but definitely enough that I intend to keep going over the next few days. Of course, I can't just do research -- if I do that, it's easy to spend weeks/months not writing at all. So I want to start writing (or at least outlining) tomorrow, even if the temptation of reading is strong.

However, all fun times must come to an end, so I reluctantly put the book aside and pursued my duty of attending Chandlord's pre-4th of July party. Perhaps if I'd pounded alcohol early I would have been more prepared for what was to come, but I was quite sedate -- I had a glass of wine and a glass of whisky on the rocks, which I nursed until it became more water than anything else. And I mostly spent the party catching up with Omar (who visited me in Iowa so many years ago) and Maya and Jesse (who have twins and somehow miraculously still have a social life), along with Ken (whom I saw last night; this was our third interaction ever, but I think he has a solid sense of who I am since he complimented my brazen ability to throw shade at people around me) and Hugo (who works at the same cafe I've been working at -- and by 'works' I mean he's studying for the bar while I write; we're not baristas, obvi). And Katrina was there as well, although we didn't have a lot of quality time together. At some point some random group of dudes showed up, but other than throwing shade at them (while checking them out in a desultory sort of way), I had no real interaction with any of them.

Despite the lack of interaction, our fractured groups (sans some of the people who made their blessed escape) ended up at YamaSho, which is a karaoke place with private rooms. Adit and Priyanka met us there, after attending the opera (so civilized), and Omar and I hung out with them upstairs while they ate ramen and we started trying to get through the gigantic bottle of sake that Omar ordered. Eventually, though, we descended into the bowels of hell, where there was a battle for karaoke supremacy going on between Ken and some of the random dudes from Vidya's party. This was kind of entertaining to watch, but I was far too sober for karaoke (although perhaps sober is better than exhausted, since Omar somehow fell asleep in the middle of it all). However, it was still fun to hang out, and I didn't have a mental break from the noise and run away abruptly like I did the last time I went to YamaSho, so I'd say that's progress.

Anyway, I left with Adit/Priyanka/Omar, who gave me an entirely unnecessary (but sweet) ride home to make sure I didn't get murdered; since my apartment was across the street from where they parked, it would have been far more efficient to let me walk home while they watched me get murdered from a distance, but the ride was nice anyway. And now I must sleep so that I can write/read/work out tomorrow -- goodnight!

Friday, July 03, 2015

kiss me hard before you go

I awoke today at 5:20am from a nightmare in which I was in an interminable meeting with someone from my old job, which was just like every meeting I actually ever had with that person (interminable, and unmemorable save for the fact that every moment was excruciating even though the end result was always unworthy of mention). Luckily, the dream ended when I went back to my desk and then remembered that the intern is currently sitting in my desk, at which point I remembered that I'm free and don't have to dream about those fuckers anymore. [disclaimer if any coworkers happen to have stumbled across my blog: if you're reading this, you're (probably, maybe) not classified as 'those fuckers' in my mind].

sssanyway, I went back to sleep until seven or so, and then I showered and hied myself to my old neighborhood with the intention of having breakfast at my favorite cafe. But Tony is slacking this week and closed the restaurant so he could take a vacation. I'd already paid for parking, though, so I found another place on Union Street that served a totally delish pulled pork hash with poached while I felt dirty for cheating on Tony, my side-piece breakfast was really awesome. And Tony never has to know, right?

Then I went to SenSpa and got a massage. This was probably unnecessary; other than tweaking my neck in my sleep on Sunday, my body has been pretty relaxed (even Alyssa has commented that my body no longer resembles that of a wizened desk troll), and the only tension the massage therapist noticed was in my forearms (prob a combo of writing all the time + doing a lot of kettlebell/grip-type stuff). But it certainly felt good to get a massage and relax for a bit.

Post massage, I showered again, ate a snack, and met up with Kathia for a couple of hours of writing. I made a lot of notes about my new ideas for Rafe and Octavia, and she and I discussed my possible new plot while wandering through the Asian Art Museum after leaving the cafe (she's a member, so we could just go in for free). I think the new plot is a winner - it doesn't have the tired cliches that I thought the old plot had, and it leaves more room for happy/jokey/entertaining scenes instead of a lot of sturm und drang. So tomorrow I need to start rewriting what I have and making progress toward a solid draft.

I got home around 5:30, and I then messed around, made some chili because it was literally the only thing I could make (I'm even out of eggs), took a nap, and fortified myself for late evening plans (and by 'late' I mean '9:30 start time', which is plenty late in my sad new book). Chandlord came by and we went to Slate, where DJ Purple was doing karaoke night. I had heard many things about DJ Purple in the past, but true to form, I'm years late to the party. We met up with a couple of Chandlord's friends, and it was all quite delightful. It probably would have been even more delightful if I'd had ten drinks instead of one (at least until I vomited up drinks six through ten), but I was relatively subdued in an effort to keep from having a productivity-destroying hangover tomorrow.

I made it until 11:05, which was five minutes later than my goal, and so I parted ways with the group and came home. And now I shall sleep, hopefully dream of Rafe and Octavia instead of my fucking coworkers, and attempt to be productive all day tomorrow before pursuing some more social activities in the evening. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

we are all made of stars

I meant to go to bed two hours ago so that I could get up super early and head for the cafe as the sun comes up...but instead I finished reading one book and started reading another. I'm not very regretful about this, though, since one of the things I intended to do more of after leaving the day job was to read more books, and I've definitely been doing that. What I *do* regret, though, is that somehow in my reading stupor I didn't notice that there was construction starting up outside, and there appears to be some sort of annoying roadwork going on at the corner that my apartment overlooks. There are times when I hate living in the city, and times when they do roadwork at midnight definitely qualify.

However, the rest of my day was good...I got up in time to do a bit of work at home before driving to the south bay to train with Alyssa. She tortured me, but it was bearable. After, I showered, ate a salad, grabbed coffee at Philz, drove home, and spent the afternoon doing more administrative stuff and answering email...I probably should have written, but that's on the plans for tomorrow, so I'll take what I got done today and call it good. And then I ended my night in a glorious haze of reading, so now you know everything.

Sorry, that was probably as boring for you as it was restorative for me. But my regularly scheduled social life resumes tomorrow (not that that's any better for you, but still). Goodnight!