Monday, August 31, 2015

say you'll remember me

I have nothing of interest to report today - I spent the morning sleeping/eating breakfast/showering, and the afternoon attempting to get some writing done. This was somewhat successful (actually, wildly successful compared to the last several days, since I got five pages between my afternoon session and my early evening session). And the back patio was pretty much the perfect temperature for working's too bad Iowa has seasons, since it would be a lot easier to write here in the winter if the patio were livable then.

Sometime in the afternoon, I took a break to go with my dad to the lumber yard to get a part, and then to my grandparents' house to take care of an errand. Then we came home and I wrote some more while they went to a visitation for someone who passed away (Rod, who used to own the gas station many years ago). When they got home, we ate supper, and then I talked to Lorena on the phone for a little bit - I'd wanted to see her while I was here, but our schedules didn't mesh. But it was good to hear her voice and catch up briefly, and hopefully I'll see her next time I pass through.

And now you know it all, and I should sleep so I can write and hang out and pack, etc., tomorrow. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

you'll see me in hindsight, tangled up with you all night

Most of my daylight hours were spent sans screens, although I undid all that relaxation by spending the past couple of hours on my laptop. But today was another day for seeing family. We started with Sunday brunch -- my dad grilled sausages, my mom made eggs, and we ate some of the tasty leftover fruit from her garden club, which was all tasty. My contribution to this feast was mimosa, since my dad had requested that I make them for him -- sadly, since he and I both had to drive after that, the mimosas weren't the bottomless kind that one can get in San Francisco, but c'est la vie.

After brunch, he and I went into town to see my grandmother. This was, as usual, fairly depressing, but she was in good spirits and happy to see me, so you really can't ask for more than that. I mean, you could ask that she had never developed dementia in the first place, but since that request clearly wasn't granted, her current state is at least better than some of the other alternatives.

sssanyway, we came home shortly thereafter, and I collected my mother so that she and I could visit my sister. I drove us over there in my old car (the 2002 Pontiac Sunfire that I drove from 2002 to 2007), which has held up surprisingly well given that it's now thirteen years old and was a deathtrap thirteen years ago right now, when we bought it before my senior year at Stanford. We spent an hour or two hanging out with Jackie, who just moved into a new house; my youngest niece (Allie) was home for a little bit before going to work, so I got to see her as well. It wasn't as long as we usually have when I'm home for something like Christmas, but I'm glad we made the trip.

Then we came home, and I gave my dad a ride to my grandmother's old house to pick up his truck, since he'd driven the tractor home instead. My grandparents' house is slowly returning to the earth -- the sidewalk is overrun, vines are growing up over the door, the barn could collapse at any moment, and even the trees are likely to die when the emerald ash borer arrives on the scene.

Life goes on (life finds a way, according to Jurassic Park), and life may even return to that farm someday. But my kids won't play with the beaded curtain on the doorway to the littlest bedroom, or swing from the bannister, or help my granddad with the TV Guide crossword puzzle as the box fan blows in the den, or eat my grandma's rolls in the kitchen, or riffle through the toys and treasures from my dad's childhood. And there won't be new lambs to name and bottle-feed in the barn, nor will there be peacocks screaming like damsels in distress in the yard. But I knew that all years ago, I suppose, even if I never allowed myself to think it.

sssanyway again, after that, I came home, and we had supper before [censored] returned to [censored]. And then my parents and I tried to watch television, but the air is muggy and still and no good for the signal (and by still I mean full of crickets - the country isn't nearly as silent as you might think, although I prefer crickets to sirens), and the tv signal kept cutting out for minutes at a time, so I gave up, came downstairs, and wrote/read/browsed the interwebs until now.

And now I must sleep - I want to get some actual work done tomorrow, and I need to run a couple of errands, and that all requires that I actually get out of bed in the morning like a normal person instead of a slovenly wench like I've been the last few days. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

you put your girl up on a pedestal, then you wait for her to fall

Today I ignored the increasingly-insistent murmurings of Rafe and Octavia in my brain...those fuckers have left me high and dry for this long, so they can wait another day before I start pouring them out onto the page. However, I'm taking the fact that I'm beginning to daydream about them (real daydreams, not the sort of joyless forced-daydreams I engaged in during brief moments when I thought I should be thinking of them) as a very good sign of productivity for the weeks to come. Or, if nothing else, I'm taking it as hope that finishing this book is possible (and yes, I know it's possible, but I'm indulging my 'artiste' moodiness about it for the sake of a more dramatic blog post).

sssanyway, I instead spent the day focused on what was around me, which meant less screen time and more people time. Granted, all the people shared my last name (or should have shared my last name...more on that in a moment), but this was still a good thing. I woke up too late to have breakfast, but early enough to try to hook [censored] on my Starbucks iced coffees, which he was pretty [censored] about until he discovered they [censored].

At some point, Aunt Becky showed up. She was here to visit my grandmother, whom I shamefully haven't gone to visit yet, but it's all rather depressing and upsetting to visit someone who won't remember that you saw them. Aunt B's scandalous pirate husband is in Brazil, so she was able to spend some quality time sitting in our kitchen so that I could catch up with her - I hadn't seen her since Christmas, which is unusual, but I haven't been home since then, which is the longest I've gone without a visit home in...maybe ever? Or maybe ten years -- in 2005 I was in India, and if memory serves I probably wasn't home between February and November that year.

So ten years ago, I was sitting in my office in Hyderabad, planning an epic train trip to Hampi (the Hampi dance is your chance to do the Hamp), and wondering whether Katie had survived Hurricane Katrina. I never look at my India blog anymore, but I randomly checked to see what I wrote ten years ago, and it turns out I wrote a postcard to Katie which is, as usual for us, tapping into a vein of sheer ridiculousness. Happily, she survived Katrina...and she called me this afternoon, which was a lovely interlude. She does not share my family name (although she should - I'm sure [censored] would [censored]), but we caught up on family-type stuff, and it was great to talk even if she could only spare a few minutes from her demon children.

sssanyway again, the rest of my afternoon was mostly spent on the back porch, drinking iced coffee and telling my mother the truth about the things I lie about on the blog (jhokes). Eventually I ran out of truths, and so we all ended up going out for supper; there were more deer heads on the walls than I'm used to, but it was otherwise quite enjoyable.

Then we came back to our town for dessert - the community has restored the old drugstore/soda fountain and it's open as a non-profit every Saturday night, run by volunteers who make the old-style sodas, malts, etc. that used to be sold there. It's been open for awhile, but this was the first time I'd gone to it since it's been restored. When I was little, it was run by a man named Milford, who seemed to keep the store open partially for something to do. The back of the store seemed to stretch on forever then, filled with dusty shelves covered with expired products that should have been sold or destroyed years earlier. Milford would often sleep in his chair in the store window, but when my grandparents sent me and [censored] over with a couple of dollars (their store was on the next block, and we could take money out of the cash register for malts), he would wake up and make us whatever we wanted.

Now, it's been restored with the same soda fountain, but the merchandize has been cleared out and they've put in some games and tables so that people can hang out. I got a cherry coke, which was the first real cherry coke I've had in forever (by 'real' I mean they add the cherry syrup there rather than buying premade cherry coke). I don't think they had ice cream cones, and if they did, the cones probably weren't as stale as Milford's. But overall they've done a good job with it, and it's cool that it's still there, even if it's not quite the same (but nothing's ever quite the same).

Then we came home, I messed around on zee internet for awhile, and then I came downstairs and read a couple of essays from Joan Didion's "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", many of which are about California in the 1960s. The first two were super interesting and v. well-written, which is either going to inspire me or cast me into despair. But either way, they're good. And now I need to sleep because I have grand plans to pour mimosas down my dad's throat tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, August 28, 2015

buy for me the rain, my darling, buy for me the rain

I didn't write today, but I planned out my writing schedule / launch schedule for my book (as I demanded of myself yesterday)...and it may be a wee bit aggressive. But it needs to be a wee bit aggressive if I'm going to finish this book and get it out before the holidays, and make up for the last three months I spent mourning my old life + the three months before that I spent completely immersed in + hating the life I was about to give up. So, onward and upward, right?

But today wasn't about that - today was mostly about doing stuff around the house and helping my mom to host her garden club. Her club came over at 2pm, so I spent the late morning helping her to get ready. While the club was meeting, I sat out on the patio and did my plotting/scheming, but I finished setting stuff out, making the coffee, etc., in time for them to come into the kitchen and partake of the goodies. And I sat with them during the social part, since I know all of them to varying degrees - many of them are also members of the secret society my mom and I are part of, and some of them have been around since the earliest memories of my childhood, so it's always good to see them. And they have one younger member, who was in the grade behind me in high school and married a guy in my class (Brett) - she brought her baby, who was super adorable, so that was all lovely.

After everyone left, I helped clean up, and then I went into town with my dad to get a few last-minute things for supper. Supper was duly accomplished, and I then procrastinated online for a couple of hours, as I'm so prone to do. But I talked to [censored] for awhile after that, and plotted his [censored] to [censored] in a couple of weeks. And now I'm going to sleep and dream about all my goals and how to accomplish them - goodnight!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

and i'm sorry for us, the dinosaurs roam the earth

I reached new levels of sloth today. That could probably be the end of the blog post, but I'll continue for posterity, as I always do. I slept later than planned, and then I spent the morning drinking iced coffee (fulfilling yesterday's goal of getting caffeine faster) and doing absolutely nothing (apparently I forgot the other goals I set for today). Then I cleaned old toiletries out of my shelves in the bathroom...I don't tend to clear things out here, and so various tings have piled up, most of which expired in 2010. But now the shelves are clear, and I'm debating tackling my closet next...but we'll see if I care enough to do that, or if that will have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas.

After all that exertion, I took a shower, then spent some quality time hanging out with my dad on the back porch. Then I drove my mom into town, where we bought some groceries (so exciting...I can feel how excited you still are to read this). And then I spent the late afternoon helping her clean up for hosting her garden club tomorrow, most of which involved vacuuming the entire upstairs, which made me think that I need to buy her a new vacuum cleaner since hers weighs 1.5 million pounds.

Then I spent some more time on the back porch, and at some point [censored] showed up from [censored] for [censored] days. We ate supper (hamburgers and sweet corn) while watching some fine CBS programming (Big Bang Theory, Mom, part of Big Brother). And then I finished out the night's programming while helping my dad cut melons for the garden club (and by 'helping' I mean I stood there and watched tv in the kitchen while occasionally holding open a bag for him to throw rinds in).

Now, though, I need to sleep - I want to write tomorrow, but you've all heard that before. But my real plan that must get done tomorrow is to plot out how much is left of Rafe and Octavia's book, what needs to get done to produce a final copy, and when I can realistically publish it...I need to back into some deadlines so I can contract with the appropriate publishing professionals for editing/etc., and I need to do it as soon as possible. So if nothing else, shoot me if I don't do that tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

i don't really care if nobody else believes

It was my first full day in Iowa, and it proceeded as it normally does here - I overslept, sat around talking to my parents in my pajamas for way too long, eventually took a leisurely shower, and then sat on the back porch admiring the view of the gardens and fields, fighting off the flies, and pretending to write.

Okay, so I wasn't totally pretending; I got some work done, but it wasn't millions of words. I think tomorrow I need to fuel myself up earlier - I didn't get any caffeine until two p.m., which in retrospect was my first mistake. But the caffeine was good once I had it (iced coffee using Starbucks Via packets, which was surprisingly good (or perhaps the fact that I could make it in fifteen seconds made it seem better than it was)), and the ideas are starting to flow for Rafe and Octavia, so hopefully I can get some more writing done while I'm here.

Eventually, though, I gave up and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out - partially talking to my mom, partially messing around on the internet (not that I really wanted to read any news today). And eventually, it was time for supper, which was mostly an excuse to eat a pound of butter - we had crab legs, corn on the cob, and baked potatoes, all of which require copious amounts of butter, and so I was in a v. happy place (please do not comment on the fact that my happy place involves butter).

Post-supper, we watched some fine CBS programming - 'Extant' with Halle Berry seems interesting enough, and 'Criminal Minds' was less scary/awful than usual because it involved plane crashes rather than psychotic torture scenes in basements (although it's odd that I find plane crashes less scary, given that I fly a lot - but then, I'm sleeping in a walk-out basement while I'm in Iowa, so maybe that's why the basement scenes on 'Criminal Minds', which I only watch here, always freak me out). And now, I believe I shall go to bed (or write in my journal, then go to bed) so that I can get up a little earlier and hopefully get some more writing done tomorrow...but we shall see. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

then the king and the queen went back to the green...but you can never go back there again

I have safely arrived in ye olde Iowa after a very long, mostly tiring day of traveling. I made it out of bed by 3:30, into a car by 4, through security by 4:30, and onto the plane with a latte and some yogurt to get me through the beginning of my day. I slept most of the way to Denver, and it seemed that everything was going according to plan...

...but then my flight from Denver to Des Moines was delayed an hour and a half. I was too tired to accomplish much of anything during that break, but I did some sales tracking/forecasting, so I suppose that was something. I also mainlined iced coffee in an attempt to wake myself up, which was mostly successful. So I dozed a bit on the second flight, but also managed to write a couple of pages, which I'll totally take.

My parents were waiting for me when I arrived, and we were reunited in the usual fashion by having a late lunch at Johnny's. This tradition is so sacrosanct that I plan my flight arrivals/departures around mealtimes (which is the smart thing to do anyway, since it's seventy miles from home to the airport, and food is necessary to survive the drive before/after the flight to/from SF). So we had lunch, then drove home with a stop in Indianola to buy groceries (and for me, groceries = champagne).

I dozed off somewhere south of Indianola, which enabled me to make it through the rest of the night without sleeping. We hung out and were generally slothful after getting home, including sitting on the back porch for a bit to admire the gardens and the water feature my dad built, until the mosquitoes drove us inside. We also enjoyed some fine CBS programming, although after seeing one episode of NCIS: New Orleans, I've got to say I don't like it nearly as well as what I've seen of the other NCIS's.

And now, after that hard-hitting tv commentary, and after unpacking my suitcase and sending some emails, I need to sleep so I can get on Iowa time and also get some writing done tomorrow and also hang out with the 'rents. Goodnight!

Monday, August 24, 2015

hungry and hollow for all the things you took away

I leave for Iowa in less than eight hours, which means I need to get up in less than six, which means I should go to bed immediately. However, today was pretty lovely despite the chaos of trying to get ready. I got up at 6:30ish, took care of some business-y type things at home, and then went to the cafe and wrote for a couple of hours before going to the gym. The writing was going okay this morning, so I was not very happy to have to leave, but I also wanted to see Alyssa before getting on a plane and wrecking my body, so I prioritized the workout.

And the workout, as it turns out, was good; my body is in much better shape than it was last week since I've been sleeping better (thank you, Karl the Fog, for returning at night and making my apartment more bearable...and also thank you, Joe, for the $35 shot of gin that somehow reset my brain into something more approaching serenity (although I don't actually think it was the gin, and if it was, that would be a v. dangerous habit to form)). So we did some kettlebell stuff, and she's programming workouts for me to do with the kettlebells I have in Iowa, which should be fun (or something).

Then I went to the post office to take care of some errands, grabbed a quick lunch, and drove back to the evil city, where I commenced the packing process. Since this necessitated doing laundry, it took longer than it should have, but I also took a break to go out in search of coffee, and I talked to Katie for a little bit, and I eventually had to shower since I hadn't showered after the gym. Then I walked over to Fillmore to meet up with Lauren (aka Subz) for dinner at Dosa - we hadn't seen each other in a couple of weeks, and I insisted on seeing her before I left because she might, possibly, have a baby before I get back (although her due date is right before my birthday, so she could just be even more ready to give birth when I get back).

We had a long, lovely, meandering conversation over Indian food, which is how our friendship first formed, so it seems appropriate to continue the tradition occasionally. Unlike India, however, the service was almost nonexistent; while I'm glad there weren't fifteen men hovering over us trying to get 'ma'am' to order something else, I probably could have been convinced to have another glass of wine if the server had ever shown up again. But that's all neither here nor there. It was great to see Lauren, as per usual, and I'm looking forward to meeting her child at some point in the very near future.

Then Lauren gave me a ride home, I spent a few minutes scurrying about and taking out the compost and washing my face, and now I shall sleep and hope to get five and a half good hours before the alarm goes off. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

i'm still fighting for peace

I went full hermit today, but I didn't get as much writing done as I had hoped. Somehow the hours slipped away while I drank tea and cleaned the kitchen and read a book and generally allowed myself to be slothful. I also talked to my parents (whom I will see in two days, but we still caught up for our usual Sunday call) and talked to Terry (whom I used to live with, so our conversations are much less frequent than they used to be), and I did a small amount of business stuff, so I suppose that's all good.

I wasn't in a particularly bad mood today - I was feeling contemplative instead, like a convalescing patient starting, barely, to feel like everything feels right again, or at least will be right again someday. Not that everything was wrong before, precisely. But I spent a lot of time thinking this weekend, and I realized that the block I'm currently feeling with my writing, and the weird sense of dislocation and anxiety I've had for the last couple of months, may have been a period of mourning for my old life...a life that I don't regret walking away from. But it was a good life, and it perhaps deserved to be mourned. And I didn't realize that I was going to mourn it, and so wasn't prepared for the grief.

That's not to say that I would change anything about the decisions I've made over the past few months, at least in relation to my careers. I couldn't wholeheartedly do both; I feel strongly that I was born to tell stories, not born to be a somewhat-effective middle manager; and it was time to commit to that path. But committing to a path means committing to abandoning another path. And that path, with its perks and its salary and the friendships I made there (particularly the friendships), would have been easy enough to follow. And leaving it this time feels more final than it did last time, since I suspect I won't go back to corporate America unless I realize that I want that more than I want writing - or unless I give up the writing dream entirely.

I guess the bottom line of this unusually-introspective post is that I've been mourning what I gave up. And I am still afraid of the path I'm on, even though I've committed to it - afraid that I won't be as successful as I want to be. Afraid that I'll be entirely too successful, and that success will change me and my relationships in ways that I can't handle (says the girl who won far too many awards and far too few friends in high school - I doubt #familytime will kick me out if I become amazingly famous, but old wounds sometimes heal badly). Afraid that the fact I'm dwelling more on the consequences of success rather than the consequences of failure means that I'm setting myself up for a fall, since failure is, objectively, far more likely.

sssanyway. This was all a rather interesting realization, although I've been stumbling around the outskirts of the realization for awhile without being willing to admit it. So I think the key now is to allow myself to feel whatever it is I'm feeling for the paths I've given up....but that now is the time to start fully, wholeheartedly, fearlessly going down the path I've chosen. And that means writing tons of books (romance or otherwise), playing around with new ways of telling stories, running away occasionally to drink gin with strangers, and embracing the people and things I love in my life without the lingering doubt that it will all someday vanish.

And on that note...I shall go to bed so that I can write in the morning, go to the gym, and get ready for Iowa. Goodnight!

i've got thick skin and an elastic heart

I woke up this morning feeling like I had been hit by the truck that carried the gin to Healdsburg. That's not entirely fair to the gin; it's not the gin's fault that I had a cocktail and two glasses of wine, and relatively little food, before embarking on the gin endeavor. Nor can it be held responsible for the fact that I was still sipping on the cognac the bartender had given me before the gin came into my life. Also, it's quite possible that what I was feeling this morning wasn't because of the gin, and was instead because I stuffed two large, very gluten-loaded cookies into my mouth at one a.m. - they'd been left in my room by housekeeping when I checked in, and were the only food around, and I was starving and not making particularly wise decisions.

C'est la vie, I guess. I still have no regrets, as predicted when I wrote my second blog post last night. However, I was close to having regrets, since I woke up later than I'd planned, desperate for more sleep, also desperate for water/ibuprofen, and with the knowledge that I couldn't dally because I had to make it back to SF for a baby shower. So I rallied, grabbed breakfast (included with the room - they had a lovely buffet spread with smoked salmon, ham, cheese, and a great crustless quiche, all of which went a long way toward restoring my spirits and my liver), grabbed more coffee, and threw my stuff in my car so I could make the drive home.

Luckily, I hit no traffic, so I was able to take a shower, dry my hair, and make myself over into some semblance of a responsible adult. Then I went to the baby shower for Adit and Priyanka (who are about to produce a key, up-and-coming star of "family time: the next generation"). It was at their house, mostly in the backyard, and it was LOVELY (note: Jess predicted that I would say it was lovely, since I apparently use that word waaaay too much, but she didn't predict that I would capitalize it, so I'm still capable of surprising people!).

Truly, though, it was v. lovely. While Chandlord and Katrina were nowhere to be found due to other obligations (some of which were on the east coast), many other key players showed up. I arrived at the same time as John and Jess, who survived their first earthquake in their new house last week (since their house is directly on top of the Hayward fault, earthquakes are somewhat tricksy for them), and shortly after Claudia (aka Santy Claude), who helped make it clear to everyone (okay, I did that on my own) that I have no idea what day of the week it is most of the time.

But I also talked to other people whom I either hadn't seen in awhile (Peder, aka Timmy, and his wife Suzy, who now have two children; he and I got into a massively dramatic fight and will likely never talk again, but that's cool), or whom I've met before but never had a long conversation with (Annie, whom I hope to talk to again more often!), or whom I always enjoy talking to because of the slightly ridiculous things I hear when engaging with the younger generation (Adit's cousin Samir, who told us how great Croatia is, and then said 'it's the only place I've been and I wanted to contribute to the conversation'). I also ate some tasty Indian food, which may not have been the best thing for my general digestion since I'm #basic, but it was good nonetheless.

Eventually, though, I had to give my final good wishes to Adit and Priyanka (including telling Priyanka it's her duty and privilege to treat her kid as a fashion accessory for at least the first few years, so I look forward to seeing what she puts on that baby), say goodbye to the rest of the family, and try to restore my ravaged body/mind. For some reason, rather than taking the nap I should have taken, I walked all the way to the Marina - I think I needed to move so the toxins wouldn't keep sitting in my liver. I grabbed an early dinner at Aix, and I had a delightful convo with two women at the bar who also mourn the loss of Des Amis and Nettie's Crab Shack - if Aix goes out of business, I'm going to have to give up on SF and move to Paris.

sssanyway, then I came home, and I should have gone to bed immediately even though it was only eight p.m., but instead I picked up an old standby ("Sunshine" by Robin McKinley, which I haven't reread in its entirety in a couple of years). Even though I know it almost by heart in places, I still somehow read half of it even though I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open.

So now I'm going to sleep, and sleep as long as I can, and then hermit the fuck out of tomorrow so I can get some writing done. Goodnight!

[p.s. Jessica also commended me on never lying on zee blog, but that's not, perhaps, an entirely accurate depiction of the truthiness of my blog (although I'm generally truthy). So, fun new game, I told a lie today - can you spot it?!]

Saturday, August 22, 2015

non, je ne regrette rien (part deux)

If you want to hear everything about my day, see the previous blog post. But I feel honor-bound to say that I didn't go to bed at 10:30 as I had proclaimed I would. Instead, I stayed up until almost one a.m., talking to this guy named Joe, who was utterly delightful (and who bought me a $35 shot of gin, which seems excessive only until you taste the gin and realize that it's the best thing God has ever allowed to be created, including yourself). His daughter joined us at some point, and the three of us + Pam (the aforementioned bartender from the previous post) had a delightful time shutting down the bar.

But now, really, really, I must sleep....but as the French would say, no, I regret nothing. Perhaps I will regret it all in the morning, but I trust that even if I physically regret tonight's machinations, my heart will be happy with what I did today. Goodnight!

Friday, August 21, 2015

non, je ne regrette rien

I have run away to an undisclosed location (spoiler: it will be disclosed in the next few paragraphs). I woke up this morning to my real life, immersed in San Francisco's fog, feeling blocked by a story that has caused me to despair for months. And I made a valiant effort to push through it all - I showered, put on a dress, and went to my favorite cafe, where they have begun to make my iced coffee as soon as I walk through the door (even when I'm late, as I was today).

But there was no amount of caffeine that could make the fog better. So I worked for a bit, but it was mostly futile. And then I decided to fuck it all and get out of the city, since the noise and the homeless people and the generally discordant feeling of being so lucky while walking through such tragedy was bumming me out. So I used Hotel Tonight and found a room in wine country for a relatively amazing rate, and I ran home and threw a couple of dresses and some pajamas and my writing tools of the trade into a bag...

...and then I drove north for an hour and a half. My mood lifted as soon as I passed the Golden Gate and the fog cleared, and I drove north in a state of bliss (tempered by my moody playlist, which clearly generated itself in the fog). I got to Healdsburg around 2:30pm and checked into my hotel, which is gorgeous - it's a former manor, built in the 1880s, and my room has a little patio where I spent some quality time writing this afternoon. The patio backs up against the gardens, and I heard the rustling, throughout the afternoon/early evening, of the chef's staff harvesting a variety of items for tonight's dinner. It was rather awesome to look up and see someone in chef's whites hustling toward the kitchen with a bowl of produce.

But I didn't eat the six-course tasting menu, even though this place has a Michelin star - I'm here to work, and I focused as well as I was able to. I went into town after checkin and grabbed a late lunch + some more coffee, then came back here and reread what I have on the patio. Then I took a nap (v. necessary), and then I spent the past four hours alternating between the veranda and a quiet corner of the bar while I ate delish food (scallop crudo, beet salad with tasty creme fraiche, cheese plate for dessert). I wrote a bunch of pages for Rafe and Octavia, and I befriended Pam (the awesome, newly-married bartender), and it has all been generally delightful.

However, I'm going to go to bed after this and get up earlyish so I can write with coffee on my patio before heading back to the city - I'm only here for the night, since I have to be back in the city for social plans in the afternoon. But as a sunny, peopleless break for focusing on my writing, this was exactly what I needed. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

lost souls and reverie

I'm pretty much out of words tonight, so I'm going to go to bed as soon as I'm done with this. I woke up this morning, not as early as planned, and made it to the cafe, where I worked for a couple of hours. Then I came home, took a nap, and cleaned up the detritus of my recent discarding binge - I got rid of four garbage bags of clothing/shoes, plus packed another two big bags to sell to ThredUP. So now my apartment is mostly livable again, if 'livable' means that it's not covered in discarded clothing like a typhoon hit my closet.

I was supposed to have drinks with some former work friends tonight, but, true to form, the drinks were canceled because day jobs are apparently more demanding than writing jobs (theoretically, at least from a timing perspective). So it's quite possible that we'll all be old and grey before I ever hear about the Parisian adventure my work friend was on when I left the day job three months ago (although, to be fair, he didn't get back until I was in NYC, and then he moved apartments, so things have been hectic...but still, I'm going to be old and grey before you know it). So since I'd rearranged my schedule to accommodate drinks, and then those plans fell through, I was left to my own devices. So I did a bit more work, and then I headed down to my old neighborhood, where I bought a new journal to replace the one I just finished. Then, I broke in the new journal over sushi and wine at my favorite place in the old neighborhood - I think they were happy to see me, since they gave me a (totally unnecessary) glass of cold sake at the end.

And then I walked home and did some more tidying up, but I don't really have the energy to tackle anything else, and I think sleep is more important if I'm going to get anything done tomorrow. Wish me luck with the words - goodnight!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

it's a fine romance but it's left me so undone

Today was pretty much the usual, so that's not very exciting for you. I succeeded in getting up early enough to go to the cafe and write for a couple of hours before going to train with Alyssa - and I also was able to verify that the couple who make out in the cafe during the early morning hours are still going strong and not apparently impacted by the leak of data from the Ashley Madison marital cheating website, so good for them!

Then I went south to train with Alyssa, which was entertaining since I was sore from my massage. But the work we did felt good, so at least there's that. I promptly undid it by having lunch at Palo Alto Sol - I never go there anymore since I don't live or work in the south bay, but I hadn't had mexican food in ages (Nopalito probably counts, but it's too authentic when I really just want tortilla chips). So I ate lunch while contemplating my plans/to-dos for my business, but I also mostly just sat outside and watched the people of Palo Alto wander by, as they do.

After that, I drove home, took a nap (mexican food is a really ambitious undertaking, apparently), got a coffee, and then got my nails done because I'm a princess. Then I came home and wrote in my journal for awhile before buying groceries. And then I sorted through my shoes to see which ones spark joy, and I think I'm tossing/selling a surprising number of pairs - but I feel good about this. There are too many things that I keep because I feel guilty that I spent money on them, but seeing them sitting on the shelf just reminds me of the money spent, not of anything good. And if nothing else, I'm more likely to wear/enjoy the pairs I'm keeping (still like 40+) if they're not crammed into cubby holes with multiple pairs I hate. Yes, this is the ultimate #firstworldproblem.

And now, I shall go to bed early so that I can write as early as possible tomorrow. And finally, happy birthday to Katrina, loyal friend and blog reader lo these many years! Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

like dreaming of angels and leaving without them

I'm going to bed immediately so that I can get back on the early-morning train more effectively - today wasn't bad, but I was still recovering from my sleepless weekend, so I didn't get up and around as early as I planned. But I went to the cafe and worked for a few hours this morning before grabbing breakfast at MyMy (clearly my grand plans of cooking for myself all the time went out the window sometime around NYC, but I'm going to get back into cooking when I'm back from Iowa).

Then I drove most of the way down the peninsula to get a massage from a massage therapist whom Alyssa had recommended for me. I haven't had a regular massage therapist in a year or two, since the woman I used to use (and love) moved to Colorado and I never found someone I liked going to regularly. But given what a disaster my body was yesterday, I was glad that I was able to get in to see this woman today. She's definitely not a spa-type masseuse - in fact, there were points where I nearly wanted to cry and/or vomit from the pressure/joint movements. But even though my body now feels subtly bruised everywhere, I think it was worth it...we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

After that, I came home, messed around the apartment for a bit, realized I wasn't going to get any more work done, and so went to Philz and read a book for awhile while drinking coffee. Then I came home, showered, ate a sandwich, and spent the rest of the evening cleaning out my closet. I had purged a bunch of clothes before I moved, but I'm finding that I'm overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I still have, and there are certainly types of clothing that I don't need in my new life, and there are other things that I've held on to and don't need/want/like/wear anymore.

I'm mostly using the 'does this spark joy' method recommended by the "Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" book that I started reading while I was stranded in Tahiti in May. I'd used some of those principles casually since then (particularly the strategies for folding stuff, which are great), and I've been tossing more stuff than usual, but I decided to go all-in on the clothing (and potentially everything else) in an effort to reduce the mental energy required by seeing stuff in my apartment.

Since I'd already done one purge before, this purge didn't take too long - I got through all my clothing in two hours, although I need to rehang some stuff to be oriented differently, and I need to pack up the stuff I'm giving away/tossing/selling. That was just clothing, though; I also want to purge shoes and bags, but that's a project for another day. And then I'm going to do another round of book purging...I gave away ten bags of books when I moved, but the 'spark joy' method is probably going to cull the herd even further.

However, bedtime is more important than continuing the purge, so I'm going to sleep so that I can write joyfully before going to see Alyssa tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, August 17, 2015

and you would hide away and find your peace of mind

Today was a really long day, filled with much socializing, much to the detriment of Rafe and Octavia. I woke up this morning shortly before the earthquake...actually, I woke up at 4:30 and dozed fitfully after that, but I was out of bed when two quick jolts reminded me that I really need to stock up on water again.

But I crawled back into bed and tried to sleep a little longer, since I really didn't sleep all that well last night, and I certainly didn't sleep well the night before. It was a lost cause, though, so I got dressed in a very surly fashion and went to the cafe, where I worked for an hour and tried to get the coffee flowing through my system so I wouldn't die (success, I guess, since I'm still alive, but I was still pretty tired despite the caffeine).

Then I went to the south bay to train with Alyssa. My body was moving worse than it has in months, which is an alarming and immediate side effect of not getting enough sleep and spending too much time this weekend sitting on my couch and staring at my laptop. However, Alyssa had also done a training/certification this weekend and clearly wanted to practice some of the stuff she learned, so we did a lot of breathing/motion exercises. I eventually did a bit of kettlebell work, but barely enough to break a sweat. But given the fact that everything hurt this morning when I woke up, this was probably a good thing.

Anyway, I left Alyssa, showered, and then sped over to my old place of employment for a quick lunch with Lillian (whom I went to India with in February, if you recall). Then she escorted me into my old building, where I crashed a party for Tomas and Andrew; things have really gone downhill, since I would have had champagne at such a function (instead of bread pudding, which I obvi can't eat, although everyone else seemed to enjoy it). But it was good to hang out for a little bit and say hi to the people who were around.

Then, I dragged Tomas, Viviana and Jen over to coffee lab with Dave, which felt v. strangely like old times. These are the moments when it's hard to believe I left three months ago, rather than three days ago. So the five of us had coffee and gossiped (two of my favorite things!), and then Viviana and Jen left us, and then Tomas eventually tired of telling me that he's never going to hang out with me, so he left as well. But Dave gave me a ride back to my car, thus sparing me from having to walk a couple of blocks in wedges in 90+-degree heat, and I made it off campus at a respectable hour...

...but then I had to kill a couple of hours in Mountain View before dinner. I was supposed to write, and I did a bit of writing at Starbucks, but Starbucks was way too hot and way not conducive to writing. Eventually, I was able to leave that terrible place and meet up for pho with a bunch of super-oldschool people from my former place of employment. My usual friendship renewal dinner was supposed to be tomorrow, but I'd asked them to move it to today so I wouldn't have to drive down again, and that inadvertently meant merging it with another old-school group of similar tenure. We calculated, and between the ~10 of us who were there, the cumulative length of time we've spent employed at the goog is ~94 years. Lol.

sssanyway, it was great to catch up with the usual friendship renewal suspects, and to weirdly catch up with the people in the other half of the mega-dinner whom I never see. Some of us stayed after for shaved ice next door, which was tasty (but maybe not worth the lines). And then I drove home as fast as I could without getting pulled over, since I'm desperate to go to sleep.

But tomorrow is way less social, and way more writerly, with a massage thrown in there somewhere to try to fix my woes. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

i told you to be patient, i told you to be fine

Today was, if I'm being honest, really really rough. This is probably because I was so tired all day - I didn't sleep well at all last night, from a combo of heat + stomachache + repeated awakenings to see if I'd somehow missed my alarm going off. So, when the alarm finally went off at 4:30am, I was already mostly awake anyway. That made getting out of bed easy enough, even though the rest of the day suffered because of it.

But I put in some contacts, threw on yesterday's clothes, and picked up a friend to take to the airport (undisclosed friend bound for an undisclosed location -- #sorrynotsorry). The friend made me iced coffee as a reward, so that was awesome. And obviously the traffic to SFO at 5am on a Sunday was quite easy, so I was there and back before the sun came up.

The coffee and adrenaline, though, made it impossible to go back to sleep, so I sat on my couch and drank my coffee and contemplated life and love and the mystery of it all as the sun rose over the city. And then I did some writing, which was moderately satisfying (albeit difficult). I also did early morning laundry, which was v. necessary since I hadn't done laundry in a couple of weeks and was out of workout clothes, which would have been v. bad for seeing Alyssa tomorrow.

Anyway, eventually I had to put away my laptop, take a shower, and meet up with Claudia (aka Santy Claude) for brunch. I picked her up and we ended up going all the way to the doldrums of the Outer Sunset, where we ate at a Irish tavern because it was easy and good. Our conversation was also easy and good, and she was understanding of the fact that I was too tired to really verbalize anything profound (or to finish my mimosa, which is a first).

Then I dropped her off, came home, and promptly slept for an hour. And then I called my mother, who sounded like she was doing okay enough, so that was good. I then folded all the laundry I'd done earlier in the day before talking to my dad; I will see them in a week and a half, which is a good thing since I haven't been home since Christmas (even though I saw them in Texas).

Then, I was going to get coffee and either write or read a book and try to go to bed by nine, but as I was procuring the coffee (which is the only thing that kept me from dying tonight), I got last-minute coerced into family dinner at My Tofu House. It was the usual bit of ridiculousness, particularly when we stack-ranked a bunch of our friends in order of weirdness (it's possible that I'm third-weirdest, which I find weird, but this blog and the fact that I write in it every single night was used as Exhibit A in the case against me, so whatever). But Adit, Priyanka, and Chandlord were all in fine form, and Chandlord put up with me making a lot of grandiose statements about how many holes I've drilled in her walls, and it was fun to watch Priyanka eat a million things, and Adit is somehow the least weird of all of us (which, albeit true, is kind of a shocking realization, especially since he was wearing a shirt with a penguin on it).

sssanyway, we wrapped up with a group hug (I went for Priyanka's torso, which may have ended the group hug abruptly), and then I gave Chandlord a ride home before popping several ibuprofen and hoping that my headache will subside as soon as I get some sleep. And now I'm going to crawl into bed and hope I get eight or nine solid, uninterrupted hours before tomorrow's south bay death march begins - goodnight!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

we are never ever ever getting back together

You're getting one paragraph, and a short one at that, because I spent the last five hours staring at my laptop and trying (somewhat successfully) to get the words to come out, and I just realized I have to go to sleep immediately if I'm going to get up in time to take a friend to the airport tomorrow. So, the end - more tomorrow. Goodnight!

Friday, August 14, 2015

and i want it and i wanted it bad

Today really did not go according to plan. I woke up early this morning (on plan!), but my stomach was hurting last night, so I hadn't slept all that well. But I dragged myself out of bed and over to Another Cafe, where I discovered that Kathia had already beat me there (although we hadn't confirmed that we were meeting up). So I sat with her and worked for a couple of hours, and I came to some excellent realizations about a secondary character, but those realizations required brainstorming rather than putting real words on the page, so I was a little dissatisfied with my progress.

But eventually I came home, made some eggs, took a shower, and was all ready for success with the next errand - I'd hired someone to come and mount my tv to the wall, which I was super psyched about. But it turns out that these walls are totally fucked (and by fucked I mean non-standard) - the wall I wanted to mount it on is actually a ventilation shaft (which now totally explains the draft that comes through the cable outlet), so he ran into metal rather than a stud. Then I tried the backup wall, which would have been non-ideal anyway, but he ran into metal there as well. The screws that came with the tv mount wouldn't work for this situation (and perhaps nothing would), so he apologized profusely and restored my tv to its stand instead of to the wall where I'd wanted it to be.

This was a total bummer, obviously; my choices now are a) no tv, b) get rid of a couch so I can move the tv stand, or c) leave the tv tucked into the nook between the loveseat and the library cabinet until I feel like watching it. Or d) return to the status quo where the back of the tv is visible from the dining table, but I hate that option. So I'm going to go with c) for now and see how I feel about it; since I haven't watched tv in a month, I don't really need it out all the time, but I don't know if this is a good solution either.

sssanyway, at that point I was thoroughly frustrated, so I walked down to Union Street and partook of some retail therapy (two shirts, nothing major). Then I came home, grabbed an iced coffee at Starbucks, and actually worked for a couple of hours - again, not a lot of words produced, but I did some research into the Spanish war that Rafe was a participant in, and I think I realized some things I'd failed to realize about him before that will make the book stronger.

Now, though, I really want to sleep; today was kind of frustrating, but I trust that it's all forward progress (on the writing side, at least; the tv was no progress at all). Goodnight!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

it doesn't move me to be cold

Today was pretty much perfect, although I initially had trouble remembering what I did when I sat down to write this post. Maybe that's a good sign?

Anyway, as you know, I went to bed last night with grand plans of getting up early to write. I still managed to sleep a lot, but since I had gone to bed so early, I was still able to make it to the cafe by 7:30ish, where I greeted my favorite cafe people with far more vim and vigor than they're used to seeing from me. I wrote there for a couple of hours, and I was pretty happy with what I got done even though I was distracted by business-y stuff.

Then I came home, showered v. quickly, ate a snack, and drove downtown to my salon, where I got my bangs trimmed and my brows waxed. My bangs are now back to the point where I can see easily, but I regret not looking as stylishly bitchy (or bitchily stylish) as I look when my bangs are over my eyes and I look like I don't give a fuck about anything because nothing is as interesting to look at as my own thoughts. But I suppose looking approachable occasionally is a good thing? Maybe?

Anyway again, the salon was lovely, and I feel groomed now, so that's good. Then I came home, messed around on the internet, ate some leftover pizza, and finally dragged myself out the door so I could write for an hour before my afternoon activity. I ended up walking to Arlequin, where I had a glass of chardonnay while writing a couple of pages; it wasn't the most conducive environment ever, but I'll take it.

Post-writing, I walked down the street a couple of blocks to have a meeting (a meeting! not just a social activity!) with Jess. She wanted to hear what I know about publishing, and it's quite possible that I told her far too much about how the sausage is made, which is always a danger since publishing is one of my favorite topics. But she hugged me at the end, so she's either the nicest person ever (actually, that's already been established), or she genuinely liked the publishing mini-lecture. Either way, it was good to see her, and the cafe was delightful, so that was all great!

Post-Jess, I grabbed a lyft (who took forever to pick me up, but he was so nice while driving me that I forgave him) and went to the marina, where I met Kathia for a creativity date. I should say 'creativity date' because I was writing, but she was doing watercolors since she's between books and tends to do other artistic things in the meantime. We hung out at Nectar while pursuing our creative arts, and all told between Nectar + afternoon + morning sessions, I got 3000+ words (about 12 pages), which is awesome for me.

But all things must end, so we put away our creative endeavors and went next door to Aix, where we shared some risotto and some steak frites, and where I had my fourth glass of wine of the day, which will likely remind me of itself by giving me a headache tomorrow. And then we shared a lyft, and I came home and messed around on the internet. And now I shall sleep so that I can accomplish similar feats (or at least some writing) tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

i don't have to take your heart, i just want to take your time

Not that any of you should care about my sleep patterns, but I gave up my nap today so that I could attempt to go to bed before ten and get back into my early-ish routine. The last couple of days have started later than is ideal for my writing, and I want to get up early tomorrow so I can get more fully back in the game.

However, that doesn't mean I wasn't productive today; I got up around 7:30 and wrote in bed for awhile, and then messed around the apartment and took care of a variety of tings until it was time to go to the south bay and train with Alyssa. The workout was good, even if today was one of those days when I kind of hated the fact that I had to go to the south bay - I intend to keep seeing her for the foreseeable future, but that may abruptly end if I get sick of driving down south. However, the workout, as always, was worth it.

Post-workout, I showered, grabbed lunch at Joanie's, and then drove home. I had intended to write all afternoon, but instead I took care of a project I've been ignoring for awhile - I hung up the thirteen picture frames that I'd ordered from West Elm a couple of months ago. I don't have photos to put in them yet, so the frames are all blank, but it's better for them to be blank on the wall than to be stacked on my dining chairs taking up real and psychic space. I also organized some stuff to get ready for the guy who's coming to mount my tv on the wall later this week - I'm excited for all of this to be done, since the apartment already feels brighter/lighter/more open and will be even better when the tv is properly mounted and I've sold the entertainment stand.

Anyway, that all sounds like procrastination, but while I was measuring and hammering and leveling, a crucial piece of Rafe's story line clicked into place, and I might not have gotten there if I'd stared at the computer screen instead. So I'll take whatever I can get, even if the words were slow in coming today.

Once all that was done, I ate some takeout pizza (I hadn't ordered pizza in ages, but it felt appropriate tonight for some reason, messed around with some sales tracking data, and ruminated on Rafe's storyline in my journal. And now I am going to go to bed early, get up early, and hit the writing hard in the morning so that I can be slightly more whimsical about my afternoon - goodnight!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

go forth and have no fear

I hate writing. Now that that's out of the way, let's cover the rest of the day. I woke up at sixish and thought about going to the fact, I actually got out of bed to do so before deciding that was a fool's errand since I'd only gotten six hours of sleep. So I went back to bed and slept until 8:30. Then, I tried again, and I made it to the cafe by ten, where the cafe staff promptly told me that I was late. Ha.

I was surprised to find Kathia there, since we hadn't made a strong plan to meet up, but clearly it's the best option between us, so she was already hard at work. I wrote for a couple of hours, but it was slow going, which was mostly my own damn fault. Then we adjourned to MyMy and had lunch together, which was far more delightful than whatever I had going on on the page.

After MyMy, I came home, took a nap, made some tea, and stared at the screen for far too long, since I'm making this far too difficult. But I got a few pages today, so that's all fine. Then I finally showered so that I could pursue something more social - I met up with the original Jen Lui at Novela for drinks and snacks (which was really dinner, since we ordered far too much food, but it was all delish). We were there for over two hours despite the absurd noise levels (clearly we're old, which was most of the topic of conversation tonight anyway), and it was great to catch up with her and be mildly bitter together.

Eventually, though, it was time for her to go to the south bay and for me to come home, which I accomplished with the help of a Lyft since I didn't really want to walk through the Tenderloin after dark alone after seeing two half-naked, mostly-crazy homeless guys starting to fight each other for supremacy while I was walking Jen to the BART station. And then I messed around with photos until now, which was a lovely, bittersweet walk down memory lane - the photos I went through tonight were pre-2008, which was faster since I took fewer photos back then, but the photos were filled with people whom I haven't seen in ages, or fell out with, or don't keep in touch with but would probably love again if I saw them. But I have a ton of potential photos for my walls, and the next task is to winnow them down and order the right print sizes so I can finish the project.

But that's a task for another time...right now I must sleep so I can write before training with Alyssa tomorrow. Goodnight!

down on virginia and la loma, where i got friends who'll care for me

I hit up a wide variety of locales and peoples today, which was totally delightful (if totally unproductive). I should have gone to the cafe this morning, but I wasn't feeling the walk, so I stayed home and did a bit of work while drinking tea and admiring the view from my windows. Then I drove to the south bay and trained with Alyssa. It's amazing that she can tell from how I'm walking how much time I spent on the couch with my laptop - due to Saturday's metadata updating extravaganza, I was tighter than I've been recently (although leaving the day job has been v. good for my body and wellbeing overall). So we did a lot of stretching/various exercises to get all that sorted out, plus the usual nefarious kettlebell agenda.

After that, I cleaned myself up and went to my former place of employment for lunch with my former boss. It's been three months since I left, which is hard to believe, and yet not hard at all since it feels like forever (in a good way). We caught up on a wide variety of tings, so that was all good. Then, I went over to my old building and absconded with Eugene for a break across the street; the problem with going back to campus is that I want to see everyone, but if I see everyone I get stuck in traffic and get nothing done, so I have to be judicious in my visits. But my presence must have been sensed, since two other people emailed me while I was driving home to say they wanted to see me in the next couple of we'll see how that goes.

sssanyway, Eugene was good, and I caught up with him without biting him (unlike my going-away party), so that was lovely. Then I drove home, managing to avoid all traffic through some minor miracle, and grabbed some Philz Coffee on the way. That wasn't enough to keep me from needing a nap, but the nap was a short one. Then, rather than writing, I messed around with photos - I want to print a bunch of new ones for the photo wall I'm making + for the inspiration boards that I need to put up, and so I went through several years' worth of photos. This turned out to be a v. fun exercise, filled with v. fun (occasionally bittersweet, but mostly fun) memories. I'm not done yet, but it was a good way to kill the early evening...

....and then I drove to Berkeley to have dinner with John and Jess in their new house. They just moved on Saturday, so they're definitely still getting settled in, but their new house is actually an old house, and it's incredible. I loved everything about it on first sight, and it was especially lovely to see them already settling into it (and into a much more convenient life, since it's only a few minutes from John's office on campus + not far from Jess's new job in Berkeley). So we caught up on life and tings while eating chicken and drinking pinot noir, and it was an excellent evening that was actually worth the drive over and back (shocking that I would say that about the dirty east bay, I know).

But now that I'm home, I must sleep immediately so that I can be in it to win it tomorrow - goodnight!

[and p.s. - happy birthday to Katie, whom I adore, although you don't hear much about her on zee blog since she lives in Denver - but I walked by Biscuits and Blues the other night and remembered the v. drunken evening we had there many years ago despite being underage, and it seems fitting to remember that now even though we're all getting old. happy birthday!]

Sunday, August 09, 2015

and it's been awhile since i can say that i wasn't addicted

I probably should have planned to take today off entirely, since that's effectively what happened, but since it wasn't in the plans I was a little cruel to myself about it. After last night's long slog of pain, I slept later than usual this morning (eight a.m. is late now, which makes me feel geriatric, but I trust this will change as winter approaches and the sunrise doesn't wake me up as effectively). And I was rather slow to get around, but I ended up going to Another Cafe, where I happened to run into Kathia since this is clearly the best place to work anywhere in our general vicinity.

So, I theoretically wrote for a couple of hours, but I was too tired and cranky to get much done, and sitting there without being productive only made me more tired and cranky. Eventually we parted ways, and I stopped by Whole Foods to get some groceries (I am finally remembering that I need to cook again post-NYC since eating every meal out is bad for the budget...and I want to run away to Europe in October, which is not precisely budget-friendly either). Then I came home, messed around with some wall decoration stuff (ordering a mount so I can mount the TV, setting up a handyman to come and do that for me, and then arranging some templates for the picture frames I want to hang so I can test out the layout before actually hanging them up), made some eggs, took a nap, and took a shower.

Then I called my parents and talked for an hour and a half - they seem to be in better shape than they have been, and they were quite smug about the beef they were about to eat (in contrast to my plans for dinner at Enjoy Vegetarian, which is something else entirely). I fortified myself after that with a walk to Philz to get coffee, followed by a hangout with Terry - these aren't the same since they are accomplished over videoconference rather than over wine in the Marina, but I'll take what I can get.

And then I had to vacate the comfort of my apartment to go to the Inner Sunset for family dinner. I was going to drive there, as per usual, but at the last minute I remembered Outside Lands and that parking might be impossible, so I lyfted there instead. Family dinner was a bit of an odd crowd since Adit and Priyanka insisted on that location, then ditched us (without really communicating) because they got tickets to Outside Lands/Elton John instead. Pfft. But tonight's family was Omar, Chandlord, Katrina, and Raja, and it was really v. v. entertaining. We spent an hour and a half talking over pseudomeat, and we didn't manage to cover any topics other than what we all did today (although that covered a lot of additional topics, like podcasts, book clubs (awkward subject, since Katrina/Chandlord/I were in a book club that I killed), Pride and Prejudice, Canadian dating sites, etc.). You'll just have to trust me that it was entertaining, since I can't recount a single jhoke here.

Eventually it was time to leave before Outside Lands traffic swallowed us whole, so Omar kindly gave me and Chandlord a ride back to this side of the city (well, I assume he dropped Chandlord off someplace safe...I made it home, which is all that matters). And now I want to sleep so I can get back into my usual routine and hopefully write (or at least be kinder to myself) tomorrow - goodnight!

i tell my love to wreck it all

My eyes feel like they're bleeding, but I think they're merely, finally, producing tears after hours of having contact lenses glued to them while I stared at my laptop. Today was both highly productive and highly delightful, but I'm now highly wiped out. It started at seven a.m., when I made some tea and read a book for an hour (yay). Then I cleaned myself up and met Kathia at Another Cafe for an hour, where I was supposed to write and instead redid the outline for the middle section of the book. Then I came home, grabbed my car, and drove to Pac Heights, where I had brunch at Ella's with Lauren (aka Subz).

Lauren was in fine form, as usual. I still need to give her the customary birthday grilling about life and goals and hopes and dreams, etc., since we didn't get to go out for her birthday, but brunch didn't feel like the right time for that. But we still talked about life, work, friendship, impending babies, etc., which was all v. good. And we made plans to do yoga together sometime (I know, my fall into California yuppiedom is complete). So, hopefully we'll maximize friend time before her baby arrives, at which point I will switch to showing up at her house during naptime so that we can catch up without having to drag the baby to a restaurant.

After brunch, I came home, took a nap, and then commenced the slog. I worked on my couch for two hours, and then I went to Another Cafe (again) with Kathia (again) and worked for another hour or so. All of that work, plus the work I did tonight, was related to updating purchase links the back of my ebooks + uploading those ebooks to all the retailers - this seems like a simple task, but the most effective way to generate sales is to provide unique links to each retailer from within books sold by that retailer (on the theory that someone who buys one book from Apple will want to buy the next one from Apple as well). So since I have five books on five retail sites, that's twenty-five separate files, and there were bunches of changes to be made within each file, and any mistake could be quite costly. See: my eyes feeling like they're bleeding.

But I took a break from the screens so Kathia and I could have dinner. We tried to get into Liholiho Yacht Club, but even at 6pm the line was 2.5hrs for a table for two. So we abandoned that plan, walked down to Union Square, and ended up at Aveline. I'd never been there, but it was pretty lovely - the interior was oddly bright and airy, but my steak was bloody enough to balance it out.

Once we were finished with dinner, we walked back toward our respective areas until it was time for me to leave her. And then I came home and spent the last three hours finishing my back matter nightmare and uploading all those files to all those sites (and being reminded of how happy I am not to be working for a retailer). Now, I must take my bleeding eyes to bed and hope they recover so I can write tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, August 07, 2015

eastern glow

Today was v. quiet and v. hermity - I didn't hit any of my writing goals at all, but I did make it through a very long to-do list of very annoying tasks, so at least that's something. And when it became clear that the writing wasn't going to happen, I let myself take the night off. So I walked down to the Marina, bought a few books at Books Inc, and read part of one of them at Atami Sushi (my fave sushi place in my old neighborhood) while eating delish fish. This was probably what my soul needed, even if (or especially because) my brain is demanding writing perfection right now.

But now I'm tired, and I want to read some more, so I'm going to sign off the screens and read in bed for awhile. Tomorrow is shaping up to be more likely to yield productivity - writing time in the morning, brunch plans, and then more writing (and a writing date) in the afternoon/evening, so hopefully I'll make up for today's lost time. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

sings a song sounds like she's singing

The writing was like pulling teeth today. In fact, it was just as cliched as the opening sentence of this blog. Granted, I got five pages, which isn't actually all that shabby...but I had wanted twenty, and I'm still having trouble with some scenes, which is no bueno since I really don't know what else I could possibly do with this book beyond the fifteenth idea I've had (and am currently working on, with the blessing of my editor).

sssanyway, today wasn't totally miserable, although it was mostly miserable. I met Kathia to write this morning, although I only got a page in that first two hours because I was distracted and working on a scene that I'm just going to have to skip for the time being (although I never realize I need to skip it until it's totally demoralized me). Then I went to Union Street (my old hood) for an appointment, followed by lunch at Caffe Union, where Tony was v. happy to see me (even as he castigated me for not having sent out my romance newsletter recently). Then I came home, took a nap, procrastinated, showered, and finally wrote another four pages from the couch, which I will totally take.

Then, to get myself out of my head, I met up with Chandlord for a drink. We ended up at Two Sisters, where I had three glasses of wine, and we split some cheese and deviled eggs, and I had some prosciutto to get me through the night. We didn't really have much to catch up on, but we somehow managed to sustain a conversation for three hours because #friendship. Then we went to Slate for karaoke, where we saw Ken, but I only lasted for forty-five minutes before deciding that I hate noise and people and needed to come home and sleep immediately.

So, sleep is the plan I'm going to pursue, and hopefully now that I've decided to skip the scene that was killing me, I can make faster progress tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

aren't we all just runaways

I suddenly realized that I need to go to bed immediately before I pass out on the couch with my contacts in like a sad workaholic. Today was v. productive, for the most part; I went to Palo Alto early and trained with Alyssa at 8am (okay, more like 8:15 since I hit traffic and was bitterly reminded of my former commute), and then I showered and dolled myself up before going to Philz and working for an hour.

Then I had lunch at Apple, thus achieving my mission of starting to talk to more ebook retailers now that I no longer work for my previous place of employment. Lunch was both fun and useful, which is all you'll get from me here. It was also nutritious, although I'm mildly appalled that Apple employees have to pay for their food - my former employer certainly spoiled me in that regard (although I prob shouldn't be surprised about paying for food since I do it all the time in the real world).

After lunch, I drove back to the city before traffic got brutal, and I took a longer-than-usual early afternoon nap since I was still feeling tired from not sleeping that well a couple of days ago. Then I rendezvoused with Kathia and wrote for awhile at Rapha; I never go there now that I live so far from it, but I had secret plans to get a steak at Aix after, and so Rapha was on the way. I got five pages out of the endeavor, which, again, was not fifteen, but I'll take it.

After Rapha, I successfully accomplished my protein-replenishment plan by having an early dinner at Aix, where I sat at the bar and ate a steak and drank a glass of wine while planning out my next couple of weeks and all of my to-dos. Then I came home, messed around for a little bit, and then forced myself to buckle down again for the last couple of hours and take care of administrative tasks (mostly related to cleaning up book metadata and generating new short links to book retailers that I can track more effectively - yes, I'm a dork).

And now it's time for bed, since I have plans to replicate at least some of this productivity tomorrow - goodnight!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

stay true, see it through they say

Today was mostly, somewhat, occasionally productive. I didn't sleep all that well last night; I think my stomach is still recovering from NYC, and I will spare you further details about my highly acidic state since it makes me sound like an octogenarian. However, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:45, put on some clothes, and went to the cafe, where I met up with Kathia for an early morning writing date. I was there approximately three and a half hours, although I was definitely not maximally productive...I did some business stuff, and I wrote three pages, and I caught up with Kathia, so that was all v. v. good, but it wasn't the fifteen pages I really wanted to write...

...but that's forgivable. Shortly after Kathia left, I threw in the towel and went to MyMy for a late breakfast/early lunch - I really need to buy groceries, since I haven't done so since NYC (mostly because I love to eat breakfast/lunch out and am using the lack of groceries as an excuse for my sloth/fanciness). Then I came home, took a nap, and spent a couple of hours cleaning my apartment. I'd never fully unpacked from the conference and I had stuff strewn about the place, but everything is now put back in its proper place and the kitchen and bathroom are sparkling. I'm back to thinking I should do a major purge of everything I own, and I'm also looking into mounting the TV on the wall since I rarely watch and it's taking up valuable floor real estate. But those are all things that can wait for another day.

After I cleaned everything, I took another nap, and then I cleaned myself (showering at 4pm is becoming kind of a habit). Then I wrote for another couple of hours and got myself up to nine pages total for the day, which I will totally take. And now that my day is over, with some tings accomplished and some tings very much ignored for a later date (hey, I never said I was going to stop being lazy about tings like email and interpersonal communication), I'm going to sleep - I have a lot on the docket for tomorrow, and I hope my stomach conspires with my body to give me a good night's sleep instead of a bad one. Goodnight!

Monday, August 03, 2015

i could show you what you wanna see and take you where you wanna be

Today was not too shabby, even if I have clearly reached the point in my self-employment where I no longer remember where in the week I am, since I asked three different people what they were doing this weekend (clearly not remembering, at all, in any way, that today was Monday). Oops. I did put on pants before it got dark today, so that's a good sign!

Actually, I put on pants really early, but I'm not sure that workout clothes count. I was up and out the door by 7:15, and I worked at my favorite cafe until 9:15ish, which was good (although I mostly spent it daydreaming about Europe, which was probably not all that productive). Then I went to the south bay to see Alyssa, who tortured me (but not too badly). In an unusual move, I didn't shower there; instead, I got a jamba juice and came straight home, which made for a much better traffic situation, so perhaps I'll continue that trend. Then, still unwashed, I took a nap before going back to my cafe to eat a salad and slog some more.

All told, I got four pages, which is less than I wanted but way better than nothing - it's a rewrite of the first scene from scratch, which is always slow going. But hopefully I'm on the path and can write faster (or at least more diligently) tomorrow, when my only plans are writing dates and writing and more writing, with some housecleaning thrown in on the side.

Eventually, though, I had to come home, shower, and put on real clothes so that I could have dinner with Claudia (ho ho ho!). We met up at Fresca in West Portal - I've been to Fresca on Fillmore a few times, but West Portal is like the hinterlands to me since I rarely go south of Market unless I'm going to the Mission/Castro or SOMA. But it was actually pretty easy for me to get to, provided I didn't mind walking through the "Walking Dead"-style wasteland of Van Ness to get to the MUNI station. On the way there, I weirdly ran into Ken (of karaoke fame with Chandlord over the past few weeks) at the MUNI station, so we shared a train and talked most of the way, which was fun.

Anyway, it was great to catch up with Claude, and we did so over some v. tasty Peruvian food (along with a couple of glasses of carmenere, which I discovered in Chile and hadn't had again). We mostly commiserated over our advanced ages, but we're not that old, so I refuse to be depressed about it. We also discussed Europe, since I'm trying to lure anyone and everyone into my dreams of a European odyssey (preferably unlike the original European odyssey, which involved a lot of men getting turned into pigs).

And now that I'm home, I need to go to bed immediately - I have an early morning writing date with Kathia, which is the same as what I do every morning except I'll have a partner in crime, so that's a new and exciting development. Goodnight!

[p.s. observant (and hopefully even unobservant) readers will note that the blog style has changed, since the ice motif was bumming me out. if the font is too difficult to read, pls let the management know in the comments, tanks.]

Sunday, August 02, 2015

mischief managed

It's time for bed if I'm going to hit the writing hard tomorrow on the schedule I've planned for myself...but today was a lovely, albeit child-filled, day. I got the ten hours of sleep that I needed last night, which put me in a much better mood this morning, but it also meant that I was running late for the baby shower that I cohosted for Lauren (aka Subz) and Nathan. However, I successfully prepped all the stuff for two punches, carted it all down to my car, showered, etc., and made it to the house at a respectable time.

And, truth be told, I was pretty respectable overall - I remembered that I showed up to her bridal shower with an epic hangover from Adit's birthday party in 2012 (not that I could have told you why I had the hangover - the blog is like my own private (public) pensieve), and I also was the inebriated bridesmaid at the wedding, so I was v. v. glad that I didn't show up with a hangover today so that all the parents of small children could judge me. However, I did my best to get the parents of small children drunk off my champagne punch (which, don't tell them, also contains cognac/grand marnier/triple sec). I may have only succeeded with John and Jess, who were my partners in childfree crime, but that was quite all right with me. We spent the early afternoon on the deck and the later afternoon on the windowseat while the fifteen or so children in attendance ran all over everywhere, and while I might feel differently someday, the childfree life today was v. lovely.

sssanyway, the party turned out beautifully; Lauren and Nathan seemed to enjoy it, and Lauren's mom brought some awesome food, and the children didn't burn down the house or poop all over everything, so that seems like a success!

After the party, I stuck around for quite awhile and helped clean up, but I made it home by 4:30 and called my parents (who were getting yet another storm, because #Iowa). Then I walked all the way to the Marina to have a comfort dinner at Mezes; I desperately need to buy groceries that aren't champagne, but I was past the point of being able to forage here, and I wanted to relax. Marco (the bartender) took excellent care of me while I wrote in my planner to ruminate over my previous month and plan for August, so that was a great end to the weekend.

And now, as I said, I need to sleep so I can be in it to win it tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

all those things i didn't say wrecking balls inside my brain

I was far less enthused about today than I intended to be, for reasons that even I can't decipher...but I think it was mostly related to sleeping very poorly last night, with a sour/unhappy stomach (and I forgot that I have a geriatric's bed, which meant I could have raised the head to maybe make my stomach better, but in my sleep I still think I'm young, so it didn't occur to me). There's no great reason for why my stomach was sad...yes, I had half a bottle of wine and a bunch of food relatively late in the evening, but it was all the veriest of healthy choices compared to what I did to myself in NYC/Boston last week.

Regardless, I slept terribly and woke up unhappy. But I had to get out of bed even though I wanted to stay there...I had earlyish breakfast plans with Chandlord, and since she owns my apartment, I couldn't bail. Oh, and I like her company (and her face). We met up at Brenda's, which serves soul food in the Tenderloin, and since we were there at 9:30 we beat the worst lines and were seated fairly quickly. I made the tragic mistake of having a beignet, because I adore beignets and blithely said they won't kill me; while it's true they won't kill me, it was perhaps a stupid decision on top of my already-unhappy stomach. However, the beignet was delish, even if it meant that I barely ate my shrimp and grits. Chandlord and I caught up on life and tings, but it was all fairly mellow since she was tired as well and neither of us were in it to win it.

So after that, I came home, took a quick nap, folded clothes, and then got a manicure - I will call this manicure necessary since they had to take off the gel polish that I wore in NYC, and it's now replaced with a sad regular manicure that will chip off tomorrow. Post-manicure, I did some stuff around the apartment, wrote in my journal, and then went to the grocery store - I'm hosting a baby shower tomorrow and needed to buy tons of beverages, which took way more time than I wanted it to take.

But despite all that, I rallied and met up with Kathia to watch the end of her tattoo - by the time I got there, Isaac was very close to finished with it, but I spent an hour hanging out with them before it was all over. This was much more lowkey than the previous tattooing endeavor (probably because there was no whisky in sight), which was probably a good thing since I don't want to be hungover for the baby shower tomorrow (I know, I'm becoming such a classy adult).

After that, I came home, messed around online, ate a sandwich, and am now contemplating going to bed at 9:30pm so that I can get up early and prep for the shower and maybe do some writing beforehand. Or maybe I'll just sleep for ten hours and hope that fixes me. Goodnight!

then you disappear and make me wait

As is typical of the day after a highly-productive day, I didn't get all that much done. I spent most of the morning dealing with promo-type stuff, which was good enough; I was at the cafe by 7:30 and worked until 10:30, so that's not so shabby. Then I proceeded to the San Francisco office of my former employer, where I had lunch with Gyre - we see each other a lot more now that I'm not working in Mountain View, and it was great to catch up (even if my guest lunches are accumulating at an alarming rate...but if the last time I left is any indication, they will all eventually fall off until Gyre is the sole survivor again).

After lunch, I walked home again (total miles accumulated today: at least seven, between walking to SOMA and back + walking to Another Cafe twice + my dinner adventures), took a nap, and then called my mother. After talking to her, I wrote in my journal for awhile, then roused myself out of my hermitville and walked through the fog back to the cafe, where I did another couple of hours of work. Then I said a v. brief hello to Chandlord before coming home, where I intended to clean the apartment...

...but I was lured out again by Adit and Priyanka for a v. lowkey family dinner. I went over to their house first, and Adit and I spent an hour catching up while drinking a bottle of wine (well, except for the last half-cup, which was saved to be sacrificed for a fruit fly trap later). It was good to see him in the comfort of his own home, where he didn't drip sweat all over everything like he did in Central Park last week. Then Priyanka finally got home for work, and we eventually went out for dinner. We initially tried for Mama Ji's, but we got there just as they closed (at 9:45pm! this barbarism would never happen in NYC!).

So we retraced our steps and ended up at Namu Gaji, a Korean place that Priyanka had wanted to go to all along. Oddly enough, we were seated at a communal table right next to one of my former coworkers (Tom, who sat in the same cube as the people who reported to me, although he never had that dubious honor), but we managed to keep our conversations mostly separate. Not that my side really had any conversations - the three of us were all so hungry and so tired (because we're too old for ten p.m. meals) that we mostly focused on stuffing our faces.

But it was great to see Adit and Priyanka, and the food was lovely, and my first post-Boston wine went down oh-so-smoothly. And now, even though I want to hold on to my theoretical youth, I think it's time for bed -- goodnight!