Monday, February 29, 2016

swears she knew it, now she swears he's gone

I wasn't as hermity or as productive as I wanted to be today, and I'll blame the latter on the former. I woke up around 7:30, which was pretty good, but I only had an hour and a half or so to get some work done, and so I mostly did admin stuff (and procrastinated). Then I went downtown to the conference hotel - I didn't want to attend the conference itself anymore, but I had told Barbara and Bella that I would meet up with them to discuss some tings. So we sat in Bella's room for three hours and discussed those tings, which was all great, even if I probably should have been writing instead of indulging in my desire to hang out with other writers.

By 1pm, though, I was about to eat my own arm off, and Barbara's husband came to pick her up, so we adjourned. Bella and I ended up getting lunch at Wayfare Tavern, which was super delightful - I've been wanting to go there forever, but I never go to the financial district in normal circumstances, and when I do think of it, I'm never able to get a reservation. But walking in on a Sunday for a late lunch was totally fine. I've got to say that my burger didn't delight me - maybe it would have been better with the bun, but the combo of that particular type of cheddar on top of that much of that particular type of bacon didn't quite work for me. Or maybe I'm being overly critical because the burger was $22, and I've had a much more delightful experience at In-n-Out.

However, the restaurant itself was super cute, and their wine and cocktails looked great (although I didn't partake - Bella doesn't drink and probably already thinks I'm an alcoholic after seeing me at our writing retreats with the other residents of Martini Corner, and also it was 2pm, and also I need to keep detoxing after my month of fun (aka funth)). And if I ordered something else, I would probably be #inittowinit.

ssssanyway. Bella and I had a highly entertaining conversation, and she encouraged me to move to the north bay and said I could get married at her house once the pool house is done, so I guess that's helpful? I told her it would probably be more convenient for her to host my whole wedding than to fly to Iowa for it, which I think sealed the deal...especially since I had told her at some point in the distant past that Sonoma is the only part of California that my mom actually liked, so she said my parents would love it if I got married there. I think there are a lot of flaws with this plan (namely, I haven't locked down a date, or a suitor, and it's hard for a pool house to compare with the Round Barn). But it was still entertaining to discuss it, even though it was perhaps less pressing to find a wedding venue in comparison to other things on my to-do list.

Then I walked home, called my parents, and spent some time laying on the couch staring at my phone, since I needed to chill out. Then I ate supper, and then I meant to write....but instead I read a book for a contest I'm judging. It was super fun and cute, and I can't tell you what it is because I'm not supposed to divulge that, but perhaps I'll tell you someday when you've forgotten about this. I should have read all these books on the plane or on the beach, but I of course didn't, and now of course I only have a week to read them (when I should be reading my own book). But this one was short and I finished it in one sitting, and I've only got four more to go, so I think I'll make it.

But now I need to sleep - the foghorns are mournful tonight, which is an odd counterpoint to my happy heart, but hopefully that weird combo of drama + optimism will set the right tone for my dreams so I can write romance in the wee early morning hours before I go out for my lunch plans. Yes, I realize nine a.m. is not considered 'wee' in most places, but whatevs (and I actually plan to start writing at 7:30, but we'll see if I make it out of bed by then). Goodnight!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

american oxygen

I'm still at my introvert wall, which made today a little less than pleasant...but I was destined to hit this point, since I've spent the past couple of months socializing aggressively + traveling incessantly. But I got up and worked for an hour or so this morning, and then I made it to the conference by 10:30ish, which was totally respectable.

However, I don't think I'll do this conference again - I'm actually pretty advanced in my knowledge about self-publishing at this point (or know people who can help me find answers). My problem isn't one of knowledge, but rather one of getting out of my own way and getting shit done, and no conference can solve that. Also, the discussions today all sounded extremely basic, so I really didn't stick around for them.

But I did have coffee with a couple of other writers to talk shop, and I participated in a historical-focused breakout session, and then I spent another couple of hours talking to more writers (some of whom I hadn't met before, so at least I fulfilled the networking portion of the weekend). I think I'm going to go back tomorrow for some of the morning/midday stuff, but today was enough to convince me to come home rather than sticking around and trying to have dinner with people, since my social skills were fading fast.

So I got a ride home from Grace, and I promptly hermited out - I put on yoga pants, ordered some groceries so I could restock my fridge without leaving the house, eventually ordered a pizza for supper (since someone ordered pizza for lunch and I couldn't have any of it, and was craving it after smelling it for an hour), and spent the afternoon/evening working. A lot of it was figuring out how I'm going to get done everything I need to get done in the next month - I predict that I'm going to have to try a lot (or maybe just get some meth and write/clean the apartment manically until my teeth rot).

But I have a plan, and I have food to sustain myself for a few days, and I have every form of caffeine necessary (well, I don't have my emergency Mountain Dew, but I have to leave the apartment again at some point...I can always pick some up). So get ready for some crazy (aka boring) posts about how much I'm working the next couple of weeks (although I can't go into full hibernation, since I have some fun things planned, so don't give up on me yet). Goodnight!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

but now i know i'm better sleeping on my own

As you could probably tell from last night's post, I was really really not eager to go to this conference today. I woke up around eight, and I decided to do an hour's worth of work before going over...and that turned into 2.5hrs of work, followed by a call with Katie (who tried at my recommendation and has now either done all the work possible in a mad fit of productivity, or has been brainwashed to kill the Malaysian prime minister). Then I showered. Then I ate some peanut butter and jelly because that's all I had in the fridge (other than eggs, and I'd already had an omelette). Then I sat on the couch for awhile and did nothing of note, just to procrastinate from having to go see people.

I finally walked downtown around 1:30, with a stop at a Philz truck to get some coffee to fortify me for socialization. As it turns out, the conference part was fairly useless - I heard the end of one talk and all of another, but I mostly played on my laptop and designed banners for possible ad campaigns (I'm getting in it to win it on the ads front). Then I went up to Bella's room with her and Barbara, where we were eventually joined by Grace and Tina, so it was like a Hawaii reunion sans Christie and Anne.

We ended up getting dinner with six other people, which was about eight too many for my hermity soul. But we went to Belden Taverna, which I'd never been to - it's on one of those weirdly charming tucked-away alleys in the Financial District, and my pork chop was actually super tasty. I picked the place because it could accommodate ten people (which became eleven) within four blocks of the hotel at six p.m., so I didn't have high hopes for the food, but I would totally go back there.

But when we were done eating, I was beyond done, so I came home. Grace gave me a ride, which was nice of her (I really do like my writing friends, I'm just over socializing at the moment). So I got home around nine, and I spent the last two hours playing around with more ads stuff.

But I am reminded that it would be far better to release a new book and promote that than to flog books that are several years old at this point (although flogging those books definitely helps) I need to sleep and either write tomorrow before the conference, or leave the conference after lunch and get some writing done in the afternoon. Decisions, decisions. Goodnight!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

in the darkness i will meet my creators

I have returned to the grind, sort of, for one day and one day only. I wish it were more days - I really don't want to have to go to this conference thing tomorrow, and am tempted to skip it. But I think my current plan is to go late (there's a presentation up first that I've seen several times before), try to write before going, and then attempt to enjoy the afternoon - and if I don't enjoy the afternoon, then maybe I'll be similarly lackadaisical about my Saturday attendance (also, I spelled lackadaisical right on the first try, so if I drank too much last weekend, the wine didn't kill whatever brain cell knew that).

Today, though, I tried to get things done. I was at my laptop by 8:30, and I tried this music program that I'd heard about - claims that it will help you to focus like nothing else, although they warn against pregnant women using it, and you're absolutely not supposed to drive while playing it (these are strange warnings to get from a music site). And I have to say it worked - I spent two hours working, without really wanting a break and without really getting distracted. However, then I felt perilously close to tears over ancient wounds this afternoon for no good maybe when it reworked my brainwaves, it cut through some old scar tissue. Or maybe I'm just a hot mess when I'm writing, which is probably true.

sssanyway. The focus was great, so I'm going to try it again tomorrow. But I had to stop working and go to San Mateo for a writing date, which was probably ill-advised - I learn a lot from that group about publishing and marketing, so it's good to keep the connection, but I have a lot of trouble writing around them. So I wrote a few hundred words, and ate a delicious salad, but it really wasn't what I needed to be doing.

However, I came home, did another hour of work-type stuff, and then walked down to the financial district to have dinner with Jenn, who is the photographer who has done all of my covers. She's in town for the conference I'm going to, so we had tapas at Bask. It was super tasty and I would recommend the food heartily, but the service was fairly bad and so I was thirsty and had to wait forty minutes to get our check at the end. But it was great to catch up with Jenn, so #noregrets (even though I could have seen a movie and done things with 'real' friends tonight, but sometimes business takes precedence).

Then I took a lyft home with a slightly weirder than usual driver, and I did another hour of work. And now I need to sleep, and hope that my brainwaves settle into some sort of productivity-sans-tears pattern - but at this point I'll take productivity no matter what the side effects are. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

master of disaster

Ritu is gone, and February is winding down, and I'm staring at the wide swathes of empty space ahead of me (aka three weeks in March before I go back to visit the fam in Iowa) and getting excited about refocusing and finishing my book. The last few weeks have really been pretty ridiculous, all in all...and while I don't want to stop the ridiculousness, I also should probably do some writing since that was what I was born to do (okay, maybe I was born to drink wine, but I doubt it).

sssanyway. I woke up feeling pretty good this morning - it's amazing what sleep and water will do for you. So I took care of some work type things this morning, and I ate an omelette and took a shower, etc. Then I walked down to the Mission to get my bangs trimmed - this satisfied my need to be able to see through my hair again, and also satisfied my need to feel like I am still able to walk places and do things even though I really just wanted to take a nap.

Once my bangs were done, I grabbed a delicious cobb salad at Grub (I've never been there, but I walked by on my way to get my bangs trimmed and saw someone's salad and coveted it, which is a sign of how malnourished I am since normally I would have ordered breakfasty-type foods there instead). Then I went to Ritual and wrote for a couple of hours, which was productive and delightful and I wish Ritual wasn't a 45-minute walk away.

But I was forced to have fun again - Ritu and Bill were leaving tonight, so we made plans for one last hangout session. We met up for drinks at ABV - the first time we went there, Bill screamed at me and the waitresses and everyone else because he was already drunk from another excursion, but he and Ritu were sober tonight, so we had a much more lowkey time. John showed up as well, and then Vidya came, and we should have left immediately to go to Adit's, but we instead were assholes and stayed at the bar and had another drink.

But we eventually walked to Adit's, where Claudia was waiting for us, and we said a brief hello to the baby, who was looking v. cute but was also perturbed that we interrupted his postprandial peace (I don't know if anyone considers post-breastfeeding to be postprandial, but I'm gonna roll with it). We also said a brief hello to Priyanka, who may have also been perturbed, which we deserved because we were half an hour later than we said we would be.

Then we all went over to Mama Ji's, which is a Chinese place, where I quite likely had accidental gluten again. And it was delicious and entertaining - even more entertaining when Adit used my phone for something and then trolled a bunch of people I never talk to by liking their transactions on Venmo (ugh). Also, we discovered that Ritu's official title is Master of Disaster, which is so accurate that I'm now upgrading her to her own personal tag on zee blog. Congrats, master of disaster!

Then Ritu and Bill said their sad farewells and went to the airport, and Vidya went to dance, and Claudia went home, and Adit went to see the baby (and by that I mean raise the kid for the rest of his life). John and I had intended to see Zoolander II, but were sidetracked by these dinner shenanigans, so I think it might happen tomorrow instead (it sadly needs to happen soon, because it looks like the movie is terrible and will probably exit theatres v. shortly). So I came home, considered doing some work, and am instead going to go to bed and work tomorrow - goodnight!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

monday left me broken, tuesday i was through with hoping

I woke up this morning in Guerneville...or, to be more accurate, I woke up every hour last night in Guerneville, and I woke up for the final time around seven a.m. The bed was comfy and the cabin was quaint, but my body is beginning to rebel against my blatant misuse of my liver, and I don't sleep well in strange beds. Also, I am covered in bruises of indeterminate origin and blisters from wearing a variety of shoes I don't usually wear and bug bites from Hawaii and itchy skin from too much accidental gluten. So it's well past time for me to detox and drink water and sleep and hope that my body forgives me for this latest round of abuse.

However, #noregrets. I had an awesome time at Steph's wedding, and Ritu's tasting yesterday was super fun and super delicious. But this morning I was pretty surly, and it would have been for the best for everyone if I could have some alone time - but instead, Chandlord had to suffer through a ride back to SF with me in rush hour. She survived, though (she was alive when I dropped her off, so if something happened to her today, I didn't do it). And then I came home, stared at my laptop for a little bit and did some tracking for a promo I had going (my first book is free and I ran an ad for it that got it into the top 20 free books on Amazon and Apple, so that's good).

But I really couldn't focus well today. So I went to Sweet Maple and had brunch - amusingly, I ran into my two favorite servers from Tony's cafe, since Tony is closed on Tuesdays and we were all cheating on him. The coffee did a little bit to revive me, as did a stop at the Japanese stationery store to buy some washi tape (necessities that no one thinks are necessities but me and Japan). But when I got home, I still took a long nap, which did even more to restore me.

Then, I was going to write, but my brain still felt foggy, so I did a thorough cleaning of the apartment (everything but vacuuming), and then I did email/business stuff for the last couple of hours. And now, I'm going to take the unprecedented step of going to bed (my own bed!) totally sober and totally early, and hoping I can get nine hours of sleep so that my brain wakes up ready to write. I've got four weeks to finish this book, so it's time to be in it to win it. Goodnight!

slowly drifting, drifting away

im typing on my phone, so excuse the typos....but today's adventure was Day Five of wedding funtimes. Today wasn't a wedding, though - I came up to Russian River to participate in the tasting for Ritu and Bill's wedding. When i woke up, I really just wanted to hermit out and write a book, but I managed to drag myself out of bed and into the shower and into some clothes so that I could pick up Chandlord (mostly) on time. We drove up together, which gave us ample time to catch up before the fun...

...and while I never guessed how much fun tasting for someone else's wedding could be, this was actually super fun. That could be because of the nine bottles of wine they opened for the seven of us, but I'm not sure. We tasted food for both Friday and Saturday, and it was all so good - it's clear that they have some real talent, since I don't usually like lamb and the two lamb dishes were some of the best things in the menu.

But I won't spoil anything for you since some of you might be at this wedding in August. Suffice it to say that the venue is really gorgeous, to the point that I may have to come up here for a week and write. And the owner is also awesome - to the point that I almost regret that Ritu found him, since I now can't get married here but want to hang out with him and make his staff cook for me again.

C'est la vie. After the tasting, we sat around while Ritu dealt with a potential photographer, and then we went down the street to taste ice cream (amaze balls, especially the lavender honeycomb - and I don't usually go for lavender in food). Then we drank leftover wine from the tasting, and then we had dinner at Boon (? It's all blurring together). I should mention that today was Ritu, Bill, their parents, and me and Vidya, which was a hugely delightful group. And dinner was so delicious - too bad I was so full that I had no choice but to split some fish and Brussels sprouts with Ritu's mom.

Then we came back to the ranch, counted all the ladybugs infesting Bill's room, and then Ritu and I sent everyone else to bed (including Bill, who fell asleep next to us) while we drank more wine and debriefed.

And now I need to sleep - Vidya and I are leaving early tomorrow, and then I need to go into hardcore hermit mode and write for the next few days. Or, even if I don't write, slowing my roll on the wine and eating more salad would probably be a good idea. Goodnight!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

pour a little salt we were never here

I'm back from San Luis Obispo, and I am luxuriating in all sixteen hours that I get to spend in my apartment before I take off again. Tomorrow's destination is of uncertain length - there's a chance that I'll be home in time to sleep in my own bed, and there's a chance I'll be plied with so much wine that I have no choice but to pass out somewhere along Russian River.

But that's tomorrow's adventure - we must stick to the regularly scheduled programming and discuss today's adventure instead. I awoke at eight feeling only mildly like death - but I attribute that almost as much to lack of sleep over the past few days (weeks, months) as I do to the alcohol I had last night. Drinking isn't great for my sleep patterns, nor is sleeping in unfamiliar beds, nor is the fact that I'm guessing I've had too many meals with trace amounts of gluten, which means my skin is itching everywhere (although that could also be because my mind is overwhelmed by a bunch of hideous bug bites I got on one leg in Hawaii, which I've scratched so hard that my leg is now also covered in bruises surrounding the bug bites - Ritu said they look fine but that I should get steroids in a few days if they don't go away, but she was also drunk when she said that, so idk).

In other words, I need to detox immediately and get back to being a hermit and write a fucking book. And all of that is about to happen. But today wasn't the day for that - instead, I showered and rolled downstairs to the breakfast room, where I had breakfast with Ritu and Chris and Connie and Mark. Mark was more interested in licking the edge of the table than eating the subpar breakfast offering, and if I were also a two-year-old, I might have joined him. Eventually, Bill joined us, and it was clear which half of us had spent last night drinking until way too late and which half had gone to bed at a reasonable hour thanks to the tyranny of their toddler. Luckily, both halves probably thought they'd gotten the better end of the deal, so we parted ways as friends.

After breakfast, Chris/Connie/Mark left, and Bill went up to shower, and Ritu and I sat in the breakfast room and gorged on another helping of potatoes to try to fix what ailed us. Then I drove the three of us back to the bay area - the drive was pretty uneventful, although we were delayed by an accident, and I got another chip in my windshield (I am growing increasingly unimpressed by California freeways - this is my third chip in five months). But we stopped for a late lunch in Gilroy, at a totally awesome hole in the wall Mexican place that Bill found via Yelp. And we made it to Oakland in time for me to drop them off at the rental car pickup so they could rendezvous with their parents, who were all flying in today.

Then I came home, with a stop at the worst Starbucks of all time (I thought I might get mugged going in, and the drink took ten minutes and was kind of wrong, to the point that I might have happily given it to the mugger on the way out). I talked to my parents as soon as I got here, and then I spent most of the night in a completely desultory internet browsing black hole - there was all sorts of stuff I should have done, but I was too exhausted and too in need of a mental break to do any of it.

But now I'm going to sleep and try to get up in time to accomplish things before my next adventure - goodnight!

i can't be holding on to what you got when all you got is hurt

Today was pretty much perfect.

Granted, I missed one friend milestone (John and Jess's baby shower) to witness another friend milestone (Steph and Jon's wedding), but other than the tradeoffs required, and other than the raging hangover I had from last night's drinking (which came on top of the wine tour the day before, and the drinking on Wednesday, and the lower-key drinking on Tuesday and Monday, and the singles' valentine's party on Sunday, and all the mai tais I had in Hawaii.....), I felt pretty good about today. I think I need to detox in March - I would say that I'm starting tomorrow, but I'm spending Monday in Russian River with Ritu and Bill to do a tasting at their wedding venue, so cutting wine from my diet tomorrow would be slightly premature.

sssanyway, back to today. I had breakfast with Ritu, which was great - the food was so-so, but it was lovely to hang out with her for some quality 1:1 time. We eventually parted ways and showered, and then we grabbed Bill and met up with Chris and Connie for a late lunch. I have somehow not seen Chris and Connie since before their baby (Mark) was born, and since he's now two, that tells you something. Granted, they lived in San Diego for a bunch of that time, but it's kind of crazy that I had to come to SoCal to meet their child when they live forty minutes from me.

But we had lunch at a taco place (along with our new friend Kirsten, who is still friends with us despite our shenanigans), and that was great. Generally, this wedding weekend has been awesome because there was nothing expected of me and lots of easy hanging out time, which made it feel like a cool friend break rather than a soul-crushing obligation. [editor's note: if you're reading this, I'm not referring to your own wedding as a soul-crushing obligation - I loved all your weddings, etc., etc.].

Then we came back to the hotel and quickly cleaned up, and Ritu and I split a half-bottle of wine in the lobby while waiting for Bill so we could take the edge off our hangovers and prep for the wedding. And the wedding was absolutely gorgeous - Steph looked amazing, and their vows were beautiful, and the backdrop was stunning. Then we had cocktails and snacks on a terrace, followed by dinner in a barn - the dinner included some great beef and chicken and pad thai and salad, and was possibly one of the best catered wedding dinners I've had. And there was an open bar, so you really can't go wrong (unless you go too deep on the open bar and end up in vomit territory, which I didn't come even close to, but I know some people who went deep into vomit land).

Anyway, the wedding was super fun, and I had a great time reconnecting with Chris about work and life and kids (especially when we had a brief political discussion about the Iowa caucuses, and someone who had never met either of us very earnestly said that he was extremely pro-Bernie, since the normal expectation at a California party is that everyone is pro-Bernie....he backed away slowly after we both looked at him and continued our conversation in a relatively anti-Bernie bent)  (I should rephrase and say that that conversation was not my favorite part of reconnecting with Chris, since we had lots to catch up on, but it was certainly entertaining). And Ritu and Bill and I stayed until the bitter end, when we caught a ride back to the hotel with Jared, whose cousin Heather drove us all in his SUV, thus saving us from the risk of someone whose name I won't divulge possibly throwing up in an uber (again, not me - I'm almost sober at this point).

So I would say that Steph and Jon's wedding was a smashing success. And now I must sleep, and dream of the pep talk Steph's mother gave me (she made me promise her that I will have an amazing life, which I'm on board with), and dream also of love and new friends and all the serendipitous and ephemeral connections that occur at weddings - goodnight!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

and i didn't mind, it's not my kind, it's not my time to wonder why

Today was a perfect mess of work and old friends and new friends and relaxation and sunshine and red red wine (stay close to me). I woke up in time, theoretically, to have breakfast with Ritu and Bill, but I promptly texted them to say I hated them and wanted to keep sleeping, so I curled back up and slept for another hour. And then I took a quick shower and had breakfast on my own while doing some work - parts of breakfast were mildly disgusting, but it's free, so whatever. And they had coffee and wifi, which is all I really needed.

After breakfast, I sat in the courtyard and worked in the sun for three hours or so - I didn't get much writing done, but I had some business stuff to take care of (which I'm glad I did - some of it was totally material to some promotional activities I have coming up next week, and if I hadn't done it today, it would have been too late). And it felt good to be productive while traveling - I need to prove to myself that I can do that while traveling if I'm going to allow myself to go on as many trips as I want to go on in the next couple of years.

But eventually I met up with Ritu and Bill and we walked downtown and had a delightfully leisurely, extremely delicious late lunch at Luna Red, which serves a combo of tapas + global dishes (which seems like a weird combo, but we loved it). We had ceviche and bacon wrapped dates, and Ritu and I split the seafood paella and the beef green curry, and Bill had some lamb rolls, and we all had a lot of wine, and we talked about life and work and weddings and romantic disasters (in other words, everything we've missed in each others' lives in the last few months). And I could have sat on that patio forever...

But all good things must end, often to make way for better things. We wandered back to the hotel (with a stop to buy olive oil products - Bill is in the food oil industry and actually tastes oil plain, which I find a trifle bizarre), and then we bought a bottle of wine to drink in the lobby because we couldn't wait another thirty minutes for the free happy hour to start. Jared, my new favorite person and favorite wedding guest, walked in as Ritu and I were attempting to open our bottle, and I think it sealed our relationship because we looked so ridiculous. Also, clearly we're going to be friends because he has a son named Samson and he hasn't yet punched me in the face for calling the kid Samsung all night, so I think we're cool.

sssanyway. Ritu, Bill and I took a uber to the wedding venue, where we partook of a lot of tasty food for the 'rehearsal dinner' - they had a food truck with a pizza oven, so there were a lot of delish-looking pizzas. Luckily there were also a lot of delicious meatballs, so I ate like eight of those plus a lot of a tasty salad, and I drank a lot more wine (provided by Spencer, who is dating one of Steph's sisters and works at a winery), and I generally had an amazing time. Basically, I can have fun at any wedding if I put my heart into it, and I'm putting my heart into this one, which means I've befriended a ton of people and Steph's parents have started calling me the daughter they never had, so I think that's a good thing?

Eventually, though, I needed to get some sleep, so I called an Uber - and somehow someone showed up who had space for six, so we brought back Ritu, Bill, Kirsten (she's awesome), Jared (again, always awesome - he apparently did some comedy stuff for Second City at some point, if that says anything), and Kirsten's cousin (who is also cousins with the groom). Jared went to rejoin his wife/son almost immediately, after asking me to smell his hand (you had to be there), but Ritu, Bill, Kirsten and I bought another bottle of wine from the hotel and sat out by the firepit for an hour to drink most of it And I comprehensively insulted Kirsten's Hungarian boy-toy, but I think she's okay with it.

But now, it's one a.m. and I need to sleep if I have any hope of being functional tomorrow - more fun awaits, and I am determined to be as charming as possible to seal the deal with Jared and Kirsten and some other people in terms of being friends in the future, so wish me luck with that. Goodnight!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

should've never said the word love, threw a toaster in the bathtub

I have checked into another hotel for three nights, after spending only four nights at home - but I feel like I'm a pro at this. And it's a good thing that I'm a pro - I woke up at 7:25 after seven hours of fitful slumber (the rain was so loud at times on the skylights above my bed that I finally put in earplugs), and I had to shower and pack and eat breakfast and caffeinate so that I could get out of SF as soon as possible. 7:25 was later than I had previously intended to get up (see: last night's impromptu drinks wrecking my good behavior), and I was cutting it close - so close that 'lunch' consisted of fritos from the gas station I stopped at along the way, and when I checked into my hotel, I didn't even take my bag to my room - I just called an uber to take me immediately to the wedding venue to meet up for the afternoon's fun activities.

Still, the drive was lovely and uneventful - I made it from SF to San Luis Obispo in four hours, including my stop for gas, so that seemed decent. And I pulled up to the wedding venue (a ranch with a gorgeous house) just as Ritu and Bill were arriving from an errand (they got in at 1am), and in time to help them finish making the guest gift bags before boarding the bus o' fun.

The bus o' fun was appropriately billed, as it turned out - we went to two wineries, with great tastings at both, and it gave those of us who came in early a chance to mingle and meet each other. It was mostly all family + me and Ritu and Bill, but I am really enjoying Steph and Jon's families so far....especially Steph's mom and dad, who are delightful and highly entertaining (and patient, in the case of Steph's dad, since he somehow ended up driving the wine bus).

But we got back to the ranch in time to grill dinner (with a stop at Smart and Final, which I just remembered - everything was a little hazy for a little bit after the second winery, but we acquired more buns than will be needed at any point this weekend, so I think that's a good thing?). Since I hadn't had lunch, I had two hamburgers and two hot dogs (sans buns), and I think it will help me to live another day. Then we played some ridiculous version of 'heads up' via a phone app - one person holds the phone up to their head, and everyone else tries to get them to guess the phrase showing on the phone. It was actually pretty fun, and easy for a group, so I give it a thumbs up.

But after a lot of random talk, including the possibility of starting a pyramid scheme and/or a church with Steph's mom, I really need to sleep - I'm not going to whale watching tomorrow because I want to get some writing done, which means I have to get up and actually follow through with that plan. Goodnight!

love don't hear no more, no i don't fear no more

Today was mostly great, with a sideways turn into even greater, but that sideways turn means that tomorrow is going to be chaotic and crazy and I hope I can make it out of my apartment in time for all that I need to do. I had intended to go to bed early tonight, get up at five, and drive to socal - but since it's almost midnight and I haven't packed yet, that seems like a fool's errand.

However, today was worth it. I woke up around nine, took care of stuff around the house, showered, etc., and then did a couple of hours of work from my dining table. I also made myself a delicious omelette, which always makes me feel both fancy and hermity. Then I drove to the south bay for a writing date with Anne and Barbara - we met an hour earlier than usual (1pm instead of 2pm) so that we could talk about advertising stuff. We're all trying to implement the things we learned in Hawaii, and talking through it and sharing tips is so so helpful.

Eventually Poppy joined us, and we stopped talking about ads and got some writing done (what I wrote went well, but it wasn't nearly enough). Then I came home while enduring the awful traffic (it's raining today, which makes it brutal), ate some yogurt, changed my clothes, and walked down to the Mission to meet up with John and Charu for drinks and music at Amnesia. I should have taken a cab - it was only sprinkling when I left, and I was determined to walk and get some exercise before my upcoming weekend of partying, but there were a couple of sudden downpours and the forty-minute walk left my totally soaked (like, I could wring water out of my jacket).

Still, despite never totally drying out, it was a really fun night. There was bluegrass-ish music going at Amnesia, and I had a couple of glasses of wine and we talked about all sorts of fun things. Then we warmed up and nourished ourselves with soup at Mau - I had the beef pho, which was extremely delicious, and warming up with broth and beef was exactly what I needed.

After eating, Charu left so she could go to bed, but John and I continued down the street to another bar (Sycamore), where I had a third glass of wine, which was enough wine to loosen my tongue to the point that I confessed that 'Sahara' is one of my favorite movies, so I'm pretty sure I'll never hang out with him again. But it was all fun, so #noregrets. Then we parted ways, I had a delightful lyft back to my apartment, and now I need to sleep immediately - I think I'm better off going to bed now and getting up early to throw some stuff in a suitcase, but we'll see whether this is a good plan when I get to San Luis Obispo and discover that I brought nothing suitable for a wedding. Wish me luck - goodnight!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

she's a runner, rebel and a stunner

I need to go to bed immediately - I didn't get enough done this morning, so I just worked for the past three hours, and now the morning is going to come all too soon. But I let myself sleep in this morning, which was probably a good thing since I was so exhausted yesterday. And then I spent the morning sending some emails and taking care of some business, and finishing with the unpacking and organizing of my apartment so that I can spend tomorrow preparing to leave it again.

Then I walked down to soma to visit my salon and get my eyebrows waxed - I had intended to drive to save some time, but it was a gorgeous day out, and walking through the Tenderloin is somehow less stressful than driving through it (albeit smellier on a warm day like today), so I walked instead. On the way home, I stopped at Jane on Larkin and wrote for a couple of hours - it's slowly coming together, and it needs to come together more quickly if I'm going to meet my deadline (which I am - I'm pretty committed now), but today was a good start after ten days away from it.

Then I got my nails done - since I'd gotten gel for the conference, I had to get it removed, and I got it put back on so that my nails look spiffy for the wedding I'm going to this weekend + the conference I have in SF next weekend. And then I came home, sat on my couch, and didn't do much.

But the night took a turn for the better - I met up with Chandlord, Katrina, and Annie for a girls' night out. This makes it sound like it was impromptu, but it took close to a month to organize because Annie was out of town and then I left. We had a v. lowkey dinner at an Afghani place a block from my house, and then we went to R Bar, where I had a surprisingly tasty margarita that did nothing to dull the pain of inadvertently seeing the last few minutes of the ISU/Baylor game. But we talked about books and boys and other ridiculous topics, and it was all quite delightful.

Then I came home, and I wanted to go to bed, but I instead spent the last three hours updating ebook files and metadata and prices on all the retailers - I have a promo coming up next week that I really needed to do some prep work for today, and I think I got through all of the mandatory stuff. I still want to update my website and do some cleaning up of review quotes + book descriptions for the books that aren't part of the promo (since if the promo goes well, people will look at buying the other books). But I at least took care of the pricing and metadata stuff that had to happen to make the promo go off smoothly.

But that took three hours, and now my eyes are crossing and I need to sleep. There are things about the writing job that aren't all that glamorous, and metadata updates are one of them - but I'm glad I got it done. And now, goodnight!

Monday, February 15, 2016

you can take back your memories, they're no good to me

You may have guessed, based on when I went to bed last night + the fact that I somehow ended up at Grubstake six hours after getting off of a trans-pacific flight, that today was going to be brutal for me - and if you guessed that, you guessed correctly. I couldn't really sleep in because it was too bright in my apartment by eight a.m., but I also couldn't really get anything done because I was too tired and too dehydrated after last night's adventures.

So, today was a bit of a wash - I had intended to hit it hard, but instead I mostly wanted to nap and cry (okay, maybe I am being melodramatic - but no sleep + the sudden adrenaline crash after a highly successful conference made me kind of cranky). However, it wasn't all bad - I got groceries, and I also did all my laundry, so it's possible that I will be able to feed and clothe myself for another few days. And I did a little bit of work, but mostly I napped.

But I had to rally and shower and get out of the apartment - I had dinner and drinks with someone who used to report to me, although I will not divulge names because I'm not sure that s/he wants it to be known that s/he still sees me. And I'm not sure that I want it to be known that I still see anyone at work either, outside of my occasional lunches, since I've been trying my best to distance myself from the shenanigans there and so have mostly avoided either extending or accepting invitations to do things (with some notable one-offs).

Still, it was good to see him/her - we went to Nectar for a drink, and then went to Aix for dinner, and it was all v. entertaining. Either s/he is attempting to suck up to me for reasons that make no sense since I have no sway/influence anymore, or it's true that I am still missed after nine months away - so I'll choose to believe the latter, since it's way nicer to believe that I was a rockstar (I was, after all) and so v. difficult to replace (I am, after all). Also, I'm v. modest.

So, it was all a v. lovely way to spend a couple of hours. Then we parted ways, and I came home, and I need to go to bed so that I can make up for some of my lost sleep. Goodnight!

kiss me hard before you go

[editor's note: I wrote this last night but it didn't publish (I think there was an html error related to using the less-than sign) - apologies to any of you who were desperately seeking a recap of my day!]

It's nearing three a.m. in San Francisco and my night took an unexpected feels like I lived two days in one, which seems to be happening to me lately. I woke up this morning in Hawaii and was v. v. sad to be leaving - but was made slightly less sad when the gluten free toast at the hotel had mold on it (which I discovered after I'd eaten a couple of bites). So maybe it's time to cook for myself again.

But I successfully packed, ate breakfast, and then called my parents while sitting on my balcony for the last time - it was too early to get great sun at the pool, so I just enjoyed the view of the ocean while talking to my mom. Then I scurried to the airport, and I got there really early because I heard that the line for security yesterday was 30+ minutes - but I checked my bag and got through in less than ten. So that gave me time to eat a proper lunch (sushi) while talking to my dad.

The flight was uneventful - no turbulence, no drama, and totally on time. I alternated between dozing, writing, and combing through my to-do list to figure out what I absolutely must get done this week (turns out there's a lot, and that doesn't take into account the fact that I'm going to southern California on Thursday and don't have all that much time in which to get stuff done). My bag showed up almost immediately after I got to the baggage claim, and I was one of the first people into the taxi line, which meant I made it to my apartment less than forty minutes after getting off the plane, which is a total record.

But I didn't stay here - Katrina was hosting a Valentine's party for single people, and even though being single isn't something that is currently stressing me out, I decided that it would be good to go (#yearofyes and all that). So I came to my apartment, threw my bags down, changed into fresh clothes, powdered my nose, and ran out the door to catch a lyft to her neighborhood. The party was super fun, and we eventually continued it at Page (down the street).

But now I need to sleep - Vidya and I left at one and came to Grubstake, which is conveniently located between us and is also fucking delicious. So we shared some cheese-covered potato skins, and I had scrambled eggs on top of that, and it was perfect. And now I'm home, and falling asleep while I type, so I'll spare myself some embarrassment and go to bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

appreciate your service, but i'd only hurt you, sorry

My Hawaiian odyssey is coming to an end. I'm sure you're as disappointed as I am since you don't get to read any more posts about how fancy I am -- and so you're just going to have to hate me based on hearsay and impressions of my resting bitch face, rather than on actual posts from tropical locales.

sssanuwau. I'm suddenly way waaaay too tired to blog, and I need to go to bed immediately if I'm going to get up and pack and take care of things and maybe lay out by the pool before my flight. But today was quiet - I spent the morning by the pool with Christie before she left for San Diego, and then I took a break from my sun worship to have a late lunch with a woman who works for Kobo - this wasn't conference related, but rather something we set up when we realize we'd both be around today. We went back to Duke's (for the third time, for me), and I don't regret the repetition - my pulled pork sandwich was delicious, with the perfect sauce on top of it to make it delightful.

Then I came back here, spent another couple of hours by the pool, showered, and scribbled in my journal while eating shrimp tots and drinking Seghesio zin at the bar (they let me take my final glass to go, which is a key sign of civilization/disaster). And so I finished up my night on the balcony, dreaming of my next beachy vacation and slowly starting to contemplate and prioritize all the work I need to do to get me there.

But that's all you get for now - tomorrow night I'll be back in SF, where the hardcore slogging will begin in earnest (although I have a wedding to go to next weekend, so I won't be suuuuuper diligent immediately). Goodnight!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

i'll show you what it feels like now i'm on the outside

The conference is over, and I'm simultaneously extremely eager to get back to my real life and extremely desirous of another week on the beach. Sadly, I'm not going to get another week on the beach, so I'll have to settle for real life - but I have tomorrow in Hawaii, so I'm going to try to make the most of it (and by that I mean burn the hell out of myself).

Today, though, was a delightful end to the conference. At 7:35 I was still in bed, but Anne texted me to say she'd decided to go to the 8am meeting, so I threw on some pants and some mascara and joined her. It was a roundtable with a movie producer who did things like 'The Bourne Identity' and 'Pulp Fiction' (I may have mentioned him on Wednesday, but that feels like forever ago, so I don't know), and while I have no movies to pitch at the moment, it was still v. interesting to talk to him. Then I skipped the rest of the morning stuff in favor of having breakfast and working for a couple of hours - I have so so much that I'm thinking about, and I needed some alone time to process it and start to pull everything into some semblance of order (which I wasn't successful with, but I need more than a couple of hours for that).

But as I was finishing breakfast, some impromptu lunch plans materialized - which meant I switched tables in the same restaurant and had a 'lunch' that consisted of a mai tai and a bunch of nachos that I stole from Anne. Then we all went to a final workshop on advertising options beyond Facebook, which was basically a whirlwind tour of the entire internet. And I am reminded again of how useful my old AdWords experience would probably be to my current career if I actually took time to refresh/relearn it and implement it, so that's probably priority two for this year (after priority one, which is write some fucking books).

By the end, though, I was beyond done, so I adjourned to my room for some quiet time. This turned into not-so-quiet time because I brought Anne with me (she had checked out this morning and put her stuff in my room, since she was leaving tonight), and we ended up sitting on the lanai and sweating nearly to death and talking for a couple of hours about what we intend to do and what our goals are for the next few months. We're in somewhat similar situations, so it helps to brainstorm with her and see what we can test out at our level (since strategies that work for someone with thirty books might not work for someone with five).

And then I took a quick shower, and Anne and I met Barbara and Christie for the final dinner of the conference. We probably should have gone to the closing reception (and some of our party ended up feeling guilty enough to ditch us and go to that), but instead we went to the Mexican place some of us had gone to earlier in the week. And it was actually pretty perfect - it was nice to have a smaller group after a week of 7-10 person dinners, and we sat outside and drank margaritas and ate guacamole as the sun set. And there was so much to talk about in terms of what we've all learned and discussed and been thinking about that it was good to decompress in this group.

When we got back to the hotel, we sat on the beach for half an hour so we could watch the Hilton's Friday night fireworks show, which was lovely (and far more impressive than we had thought it was last Friday, when we couldn't really see it and were only hearing it from the place where we were having dinner). And then I said goodbye to Barbara (who I'll see Wednesday anyway) and Christie (who I might see tomorrow), and then Anne got her stuff from my room and went to the airport, and I was suddenly thrust into silence and solitude. So I spent the first three hours of downtime that I've had in awhile messing around with my website and upgrading my Wordpress installation and installing a Facebook tracking pixel and making sure my Google Analytics was properly configured, etc., etc. Clearly I am feeling #inittowinit, and I don't want to lose momentum (even though I really need some sleep).

Speaking of, it's time for bed - tomorrow I'm determined to get some time by the pool sans laptop, since Sunday is soon enough to spend the whole day working. Goodnight!

Friday, February 12, 2016

tora tora tora

I can't blog tonight, which is a shame since I have stuff I want to say...but the internet isn't working, so I'm typing this in my phone, and I'm way too tired for that noise.

But today was great - I did the Pearl Harbor tour, which was as moving as you might expect for someone who a)had two grandfathers in the Pacific war, and b)was a total nerd for studying WWII and writing and honors thesis about it (although my research was more focused on Germany). Seeing the "tears of the Arizona", which is the oil that the USS Arizona is still leaking seventy-five years after being destroyed, was really moving. Even more moving was remembering that so many of those "men" who died (1100+ within minutes after the Arizona's powder magazine blew up) were seventeen or eighteen, and had no idea when they woke up that morning that we would be at war instead of safely docked in Honolulu.

We also saw the USS Missouri, which was the battleship where the surrender was signed in Tokyo harbor - it's bizarre to me that some of the battleships that were integral to WWII were modernized to serve in Desert Storm, only to be decommissioned again. But between my time at the War of the Pacific / Nimitz museum in Texas in June and my Pearl Harbor experience now, I've had a v. militaristic set of vacations.

I could say more, but I'm so tired and still typing on my phone. I've also hit my introvert wall so hard - I was going to be quiet by the pool this afternoon but instead talked to Nalini for two hours. That was great, actually, since I'm really glad I befriended her - but it didn't make me feel more eager to see people. But tonight we had a dinner reservation at Duke's for ten of us (which is made three weeks ago, so I was a little miffed when it suddenly became eleven, but we dealt with it). So I went to dinner, enjoyed the hell out of my dinner ("seafood luau" = seafood in a coconut ginger curry), and I enjoyed even more hell out of my mai tais (which were delicious but getting stronger).

And now I must leave you - I have a couple of meetings tomorrow, and then I'm done and free. But I'm sure I'll think of something - so get ready for tomorrow :) goodnight!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

i'm the best baby that they never gotta keep

My to-do list coming out of this conference is overwhelming and exhilarating and frightening and awesome, and today just added to it - so of course I spent the evening eating and drinking and laughing with friends rather than tackling any of it. But today was great, even though it started too early and lasted too long.

The eight a.m. session was about Facebook ads (which just reminds me how little I'm doing on Facebook and how much I should be doing (ugh)). Then I had a couple of 1:1 meetings, followed by a workshop on using Instagram influencers (turns out you're supposed to use hashtags in a targeted and meaningful way, rather than using them to add a dose of snarkiness to your post - but I'm going to assume that snarky is my 'brand' and keep going with it). And then we had lunch - the food was good, and the talk was decent, so that was all delightful.

But I was hitting my introvert wall pretty hard today, so I left the end of lunch and took a twenty-minute power nap before going back downstairs to go to a panel on Hollywood/movies/tv adaptations of books (not all that useful for my historical romances, but potentially very useful for SPINSTER HONEYMOON). Then I had another marketing workshop, and then two more 1:1s to end the day - and those (with people who actually sell my books) were super helpful and v. engaging (and I think I may have convinced the girl from Kobo to be my friend and hang out with me on the beach on Saturday when everyone else is gone, but we shall see).

So that was all really promising, or at least better than being punched in the throat, so I'll take it. Then I came up to my room and collapsed on my balcony for awhile - I had intended to get some work done, but I mostly sat and stared at the ocean. I was interrupted by Grace, since we hadn't actually caught up 1:1 on this entire trip (when we go to Tahoe, we often ride together just the two of us, and we didn't get that this time, which I really missed). So we sat in my room for an hour and had a much-needed catch-up on life stuff rather than writing stuff, which made me happy.

Then we met up with others from the group and had dinner at a restaurant in the hotel - if it wasn't quite as tasty/atmospheric as last night's dinner, it was made up for by the fact that it took two minutes to walk there. Several of us discussed a variety of important topics, like rape in 1980s romance novels and the fact that we all loved those books even though we wouldn't read them or write them now, and how young adult fiction has possibly replaced/eliminated historical romance as the gateway drug for teen readers (Katie and I spent endless hours reading historicals, which was pretty much all we read (except for my sci-fi excursions with martian flat cats), but I bet if we were growing up together now, we'd be reading YA).

sssanyway. After dinner, I was going to make my escape, but I was lured back to Christie and Barbara's suite, where we ended up discussing the magical power of bitmoji (and more depressing thoughts on whether historical is dead, mostly led by Monica, who is quite successful in Scottish historical romances, which makes me a little nervous if she's feeling like all our readers are dying and no one is replacing them). I happen to disagree somewhat, but since I also plan to write more than historical romance, I perhaps don't care all that much.

But I was really at the introvert wall at that point, and I was basically trolling everyone (Anne seemed to appreciate my sarcasm, at least), so I decided to remove myself from the fray before I accidentally, actually offended someone. So I came back to my room, and I have to go to bed right now if I have any hope of making it onto the 8am bus tour to Pearl Harbor tomorrow. I should probably be working tomorrow and starting to organize my to-do list, but I've always wanted to see Pearl Harbor, so I'm going to put off everything I need to do for another day. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

take this and take six, haters

I had thought that tonight would be a quiet, early night during which I could rest and recuperate...but as usual, I was wildly incorrect. Today was great, though - this conference has definitely been worth it (although I guess 'it' is ill-defined, and it's hard to say that going to Hawaii isn't worth 'it' ever, right?). But I feel like I've got tons of ideas (both writing and marketing/career) sparking, and I'm sucking in lots of energy (like an energy vampire, which is unusual for me since I am usually the energy donor rather than the vampire in many situations).

sssanyway - I had to take sudafed this morning and felt a little bit off all day as a result, but it was better than continuing the wracking cough/misery that I woke up to. I may have pushed it too hard yesterday, and I definitely pushed it too hard today, but I feel like I need to - the purpose is to make connections and learn things, which I'm doing. I went to the 8am breakfast, mostly because Barbara was speaking - and while she called out the people at her "friends table" who were writing too slowly (I felt affronted, but so did half the other people at the table, so I guess it probably wasn't directed just at me), her advice was generally spot-on.

Then I went to a Kobo talk (great), followed by a publisher talk, followed by an hour and a half break for lunch, which I spent in Christie's suite working/eating lunch with her and Monica. Then I went to a talk by another retailer (secret!) and had two quick 1:1 meetings (one was innocuous; the other convinced me that I need to write SPINSTER HONEYMOON immediately).

At that point, I hit the introvert wall hard, so I walked to the mall to pick up my altered pants (thankfully they look great and were perhaps worth the drama), and I also picked up the underwear I'd ordered from Nordstrom to be ready for me when I got there (I brought plenty, but failed to coordinate colors, so have several light dresses left and a whole bunch of hot pink/red/black to go underneath it, which doesn't really work so well). And I hit up Anthropologie, mostly because I needed a break from people and shopping was a fun way to spend an hour. The mall was way too large and way too fancy, but it was a good interlude.

Then I came back to my hotel and sat on my balcony for ten minutes while eating a granola bar and drinking iced coffee and staring at the ocean and making notes about the story brewing in my head. And then I met up with some of my friends for dinner - we walked down to a Mexican restaurant that had a gorgeous rooftop terrace, and we drank margaritas and replenished our Californian need for avocados.

After that, I should have gone to bed, but Anne lured me into going up to Christie's room again, and so I sat there from 8:30 to midnight like an idiot. Monica was there as well, and the four of us gossiped and had a hilarious time. At some point Barbara came back from her dinner, and things went a bit off the rails (Christie told some story of a woman almost dying in the house she was buying, and we ended up talking more about politics than is usually advisable), but it was all super fun...and I continue to learn things even when things are off the rails, so I guess that's good.

But now I need to get the 6.5hrs of sleep that I'm going to eke out tonight - tomorrow is chock full of meetings and I'm not sure I'm going to survive it, but I'll try my best. After I get through tomorrow, the rest of it is gravy (Pearl Harbor + dinner plans on Thursday, a couple of meetings on Friday that I may skip in favor of more beach time), so hopefully I remember that perspective when I wake up surly and sleepy in the morning. Goodnight!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

eh, sexy lady (oppa gangnam style)

I realized today that I've been all over the Polynesian Triangle in the last year - Easter Island and Hawaii are two of the three corners, and while I didn't make it all the way to New Zealand, Bora Bora is a pretty respectable distance. If I were a more sincere, #basic white girl, I would say that I'm so #blessed and post an appropriate image with an appropriate quote, but I'm not that - so I'll just say that I love beaches, and I would vote for every future conference to be held in Hawaii.

But I need to speed this up - today was great, but I'm so tired (I've only been sleeping five good hours a night, thanks to my cold situation), and I have to get up in time for the eight a.m. breakfast tomorrow because my friend Barbara is speaking there. Today, miraculously, I forced myself out of bed and downstairs in time to get a coffee before going to an 8:30am talk with Anne - and I'm glad I went, because I had some ideas while sitting there. Then, we went to the keynote brunch - the food was more like lunch food, but it was surprisingly good for hotel food. And Bella was the keynote speaker, so it's always fun to hear her talk. It's frankly a little bizarre that I've become close enough friends with the people who give speeches at these things to end up sitting at their table during the talks...I don't think I could have predicted this five years ago, but a lot of it comes down to being lucky to live in the same city as some super successful writers. Also, I think I'm vaguely endearing (and by that I mean some people love my cynical, sarcastic side), so that probably encourages them to keep me around.

sssanyway. Bella's talk went really well, although it was hijacked afterward by someone who wanted the mic to talk about their own advocacy stuff, which was just bizarre. But then I tried to go to another talk, decided it wasn't working for me, and so went to one of the outdoor bars and worked for a bit. Then I had a meeting with a couple of people from one of the retailers (hint: I make a lot of money from them, but then I pour it back into things like the gorgeous new gold MacBook that I'm typing this on, so maybe it's all going to be a wash in the end). The meeting went really well, and we talked about ways to promote Rafe and Octavia's book, and they seem excited about it. So, yay to that.

Then I took a too-brief nap and a much-needed shower, grabbed a snack, and boarded a bus for a luau. This was nice, but it was also probably a mistake - I didn't realize when I signed up that this was a massive excursion, including a bus ride that was an hour each way, plus four hours at the luau itself. The dancers were really good and I thought the kalua pork was as tasty as always, but it was too long and I felt trapped (as did others - a few people called cabs and were willing to cough up the $100+ to get from the luau back to Honolulu). Still, I had fun with the group, and I think that the new woman I met last night (Nalini) now sees that I'm not a total raging mess since I only had one watery mai tai, so it's possible we'll be able to be friends after all.

Then we came home, and while I had hoped to sleep on the bus, our guide entertained us the whole time (which involved things like doing the wobble and the macarena while seated). So that was actually pretty fun, but I hit a wall as soon as I got back to my room, and I never want to see people again. But I have to see them in nine hours, so I should go to bed and get over my temporary hermitville - goodnight!

Monday, February 08, 2016

i know i got to be right now, cause i can't get much wronger

I had the best day and made the worst decisions, and it all seems to have turned out wonderfully. My cold still abides, and I woke up around four a.m. and daydreamed/nightmared until I finally got out of bed at sevenish to face the day. But I cleaned myself up, put on a swimsuit, grabbed some tea and yogurt from Starbucks, and then called my parents unusually early (eight a.m. in Hawaii = ten in California and noon in Iowa) - this was the best time for quiet, uninterrupted catching up, so I heard all about their lives and told them a little about Hawaii (which is basically nothing, since I've had no meetings these last couple of days and have just lazed about).

Then I met Barbara and Christie down on the beach, and they had very helpfully grabbed a chair for me, so we laid out allllll day. We got there at nine, and I left at four, and in between I only took a break to grab a to-go salad (and then a coke) from a nearby deli. Miraculously, thanks to the sunscreen routine I perfected in Bora Bora, I only burned a bit of my elbows and a small strip of my back where my swimsuit top rode down...and I'll totally take that. Lying in the sun did great things for my soul (and probably my skin, and hopefully my cold), and the weather was as perfect as it could have been. Christie, Barbara and I also brainstormed each others' books, gossiped, and laid about (they both went to University of California at Santa Barbara, so they are far more proficient at tanning than I am). And I read several chapters of THE STORY OF A NEW NAME (the second Neapolitan novel; I read the first a couple of weeks ago), and gossiped with Christie about the advanced unpublished copy she was reading from an author whom I used to adore and whose books have lately sucked (and will likely continue to suck).

sssanyway. Needless to say, we totally ignored the Super Bowl, which I'm fine with. Eventually, Bella showed up (and promptly went to her room), and then Anne and Poppy joined us, and it was all v. merry. But I took a couple of hours off to shower and change and have some non-group time. And then we went to Barbara and Christie's suite to have snacks and drinks before dinner.

This turned into kind of a shitshow - we went to Roy's, which had amazingly delicious sushi, and so I spent $100 on sushi...but by that I mean i spent $50 on sushi and $50 on martinis, which explains why it was a shitshow. Anne, Christie and I sat together in what we immediately dubbed 'martini corner', and while everyone else stayed relatively sober, we got merrily wasted. I suspect Christie (who was way more wasted than us) will be v. v. surprised in the morning when she sees, again, that Anne and I turned a selfie of ourselves into her phone wallpaper. But I think that all this lubricant may have made me extra charming to Nalini, a v. famous paranormal author who joined us....or I burned a bridge with her but she was too charming to say so. I knew everyone else (six of the eight people I went to Montauk with, plus Barbara's daughter and Tina's husband), and they all know how the denizens of Martini Corner roll, so it was all super fun.

But it was perhaps ill-advised when I'm still recovering from my cold, so I'm going to go to bed immediately. I theoretically have a panel at 8:30, but my first real commitment is at 10, so we'll see how things are feeling in the morning (I'm predicting minor spinning + surliness, but nothing to destroy me). Goodnight!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

play secretary, i'm the boss tonight

I had a pretty great day in Hawaii despite being sick, which wrecked all my plans. I was all excited to see the North Shore, etc., but I woke up at 3:30am when my Sudafed wore off, and I didn't really sleep much after that. Instead, I dosed and daydreamed until seven, when I finally got out of bed and faced the reality that I shouldn't go play if I have any hope of getting better, rather than worse, before the conference. And since the conference is what I'm here for, and since I have meetings Tuesday and Wednesday that I would like to be mostly coherent for, I took the extremely unusual tactic of playing it safe and staying in rather than being lured into sightseeing.

But I still showered, got dressed, and met up with my friends at 8:30 to say goodbye to them before I went off to one of the restaurants to have breakfast. I ate and worked there for a couple of hours - I wasn't feeling well enough to go out, but since most of my daydreams consisted of career stuff, I felt like getting some shit done. Then I adjourned to Starbucks, where I paid the criminally high hotel-Starbucks prices for a tea to soothe my cold, and I continued to work for awhile.

By noonish, I was suddenly, achingly tired, so I took a nap. Then, I went to the bar and ordered nachos (comfort food), but I didn't eat a ton of them because I got a text from my friends saying they were coming back to Honolulu for a late lunch and asking if I wanted to be picked up so I could join them. I said yes to that, mostly because I wanted to get out of the hotel. So we went to Duke's, which we're also going to go to on Thursday night (I made a reservation ages ago - it's the same Duke's that Terry and I went to in Malibu many years ago, and I dream of their mai tais). However, due to my illness, I stuck with water today (that's how you know I'm sick), and I listened to everything I missed (not much - I'm glad I stayed in and rested, particularly since it was overcast and misting most of the day, which means I didn't miss beach time either).

Then we came back to the hotel, and I rested/worked on my balcony until sunset. Eventually, I went to Barbara and Christie's suite (Barbara is giving a speech, so they gave her a fancy room), and we sat around and talked for three hours, as we usually do. I did succumb to temptation and have some white wine, since Christine was drinking it and I usually need it if we're going to gossip about publishing (my favorite!). But all in all it was a lowkey night, and I think that was a good thing.

So, sorry you didn't get to hear any tales of wild adventures in Hawaii today - but I'm hoping tomorrow will be a beach day, followed by a late-ish dinner at a fancy sushi place after more people arrive in the afternoon. And I'm really hoping I'm feeling better, since Christie and I are going to brainstorm each other's books (she's starting a new one, and I'm slowly coming up with a plot for SPINSTER HONEYMOON), and while I come up with some of my best ideas while I'm hallucinating, I don't always remember them. So to that end, I'm going to go to bed - goodnight!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

it takes two to make a thing go right

As I said last night...I'm in Hawaii, bitches! And it's pretty magical, but I definitely have a killer cold, which is dampening the magic somewhat. However, I bought Sudafed for this cold (and am probably on some watchlist as a result - I haven't bought Sudafed since it was restricted because of the methheads, but now I realize that it's a wonder drug because it's the only thing that got me through the flight). And I drank a lot of tea and water and juice today, and only had one mai tai (theoretically one should probably have zero mai tais while sick, but where's the fun in that?). So I'm hoping that if I get a lot of sleep tonight, I'll make some vague attempt at recovery.

However, that vague attempt at recovery didn't go so well today, mostly because it involved a lot of travel and hanging out. I got up at six, was out the door before seven, and got to the airport in time to have a delicious breakfast at Andale and get some tea for my thermos. I strolled up to the gate just as they were starting to board, and so I cut into line with Barbara and Kristen (Barbara is my writer friend; Kristen is her daughter, who happens to work at one of the online book retailers who shall remain nameless, and so is attending this conference in her own right). I knew they were flying first class, so I had used miles to upgrade myself because I figured I would be super sad and jealous if I had to sit in economy while they were in first - yes, I'm spoiled. What was bizarre was that I ended up sitting next to a former doctor of mine, which made for some strange and interesting conversation since she knows somewhat intimate details about my life and I know absolutely nothing about her. So that was super awkward for about ten minutes, and then it was kind of fun (although we didn't talk all that much).

So, I took a couple of brief naps on the plane, but for the most part I spent it working - and by working I mean prepping for my meetings here, and stalking the LinkedIn profiles of people I'm meeting with, and taking notes on things I want to discuss. I'm not done with that, but I should have some time this weekend, and the meetings don't start in earnest until Tuesday/Wednesday.

When we landed, Barbara, Kristen, and I shared a cab to the hotel, checked in, and then immediately ate a late lunch at one of the hotel restaurants. The hotel we're staying at is ridiculous - not that it's super nice or posh (again, I'm a princess, and have been spoiled forevermore for tropical vacations between my stays at the Fairmont in Maui last Thanksgiving + the Four Seasons Bora Bora + Lauren's dad's house in Puerto Vallarta....), but the 'hotel' is really more of a giant resort. There are five towers of rooms, twenty restaurants (everything from smoothies to Benihana to bars to Round Table Pizza to some fancier local-type things), multiple pools, and immediate access to Waikiki Beach.

But I was too sick/tired to make use of the pools, and it was overcast this afternoon anyway. So after we had lunch, I came back to my room, unpacked and hung my stuff up (I'm here for nine nights, I might as well settle in), and took a brief nap. Then I ran a ridiculous errand - I bought some pants yesterday and had no time to get them hemmed, so I brought them with me in hopes that the hotel could alter them. They couldn't, but they directed me to a dry cleaner in the nearby mall - and that mall is gigantic, so it took me ten minutes to walk to the mall and another ten minutes to cross it and find the dry cleaner. But they took the pants, and I'll get them back Monday, which means I'll have them for Pearl Harbor + other sightseeing + flying home, which is all good.

When I got back to the hotel, I grabbed some more tea and then met up with Barbara, Kristen, and our friend Christie, who arrived a couple of hours after us. We had snacks and drinks at one of the bars (including some 'shrimp tots' that were basically fried shrimp, and were so fucking good), and engaged in some desultory gossip (as writers do), and saw the tiniest bit of the hotel's Friday night fireworks show. And we made plans for tomorrow - Barbara is renting a car and we're going to explore the North Shore, which should be fun, provided I don't die of a sinus explosion.

So, that was my day - it's only 9:45pm here, but it's 11:45pm back home and I am exhausted, so I'm going to call it a night and maybe try to write before we go north. Goodnight!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

you lured me in, i couldn't sense the pain

I got maybe five hours of sleep last night, which did not help my cold situation (which is definitely a situation). And today was mildly frustrating - I did some email-type stuff this morning, and then I walked down to the marina to see my aesthetician, but she totally flaked (and later claimed she'd thought she had texted me to cancel, but I never got it). So after waiting at her office for twenty minutes, I proceeded to my next plan, which was brunch at my favorite cafe. Tony didn't know I was sick, but he gave me a mimosa, and I'll pretend that the splash of orange juice had enough vitamins to make it healthy.

Then I walked home, put in a load of laundry, and took a twenty-minute nap that saved my life. Then I talked to Kathia for awhile; we had put a video chat on calendar so that we would actually catch up, and we actually accomplished it, so that was one of the day's bright spots.

But after I stopped talking to her, I had to finish my laundry, and I went to Walgreens to stock up on cold meds, and then I had to pack (and I have no idea if I packed all the right stuff, but I'm just gonna roll with it at this point). Packing was pretty slow, probably because I feel like death, and probably because I kept taking breaks to mess around on the internet (stupid internet).

But I'm all done packing, and I cleaned out my fridge and took out the trash and am generally leaving my apartment in okay shape. So now I'm going to go to bed and hope that 7.5hrs of sleep is enough to restore me a little bit.

But despite the rather depressed mood of this post...tomorrow I'll be in Hawaii, bitches! And I think this conference is going to be great for me, and the sun will be just as great. So if I can just make it onto the plane, everything else is golden. Goodnight!

needle and the thread, gotta get you out of my head

I need to go to bed immediately - I was messing around on my laptop, and suddenly it's almost one a.m., and I feel like I'm suddenly coming down with a cold, which I really hope is not the case because I am leaving for Hawaii in less than thirty-six hours. But today was decent enough - not productive enough despite my best efforts at Philz, but I had curry at Mangosteen, and I got my nails done in preparation for Hawaii, which is the most important thing. I also had dinner with Lauren (aka Subz) at Troya, where we caught up on a ton of stuff - it was great to see her out and about on an evening, and hard to believe that her son is five months old (today!).

Sorry that's boring, but that's all you get - I'm going to mainline some emergen-c and go to bed. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

i'll be your sinner in secret

Today felt like a long day, but that may have been because I was slightly hungover this morning and never really hydrated enough to recover. However, I got out of bed at a reasonable hour, made some iced coffee, and talked to my parents for over an hour - there was a lot to recap from the caucuses, which I found fascinating (they had the best turnout they've had in years, including a bunch of people who switched parties, which I found v. interesting). And it made me kind of wish that I could participate in the Iowa political process, even though I am generally happy that I live somewhere where I can vote without being in danger of getting snowed in at the same time.

After that, I spent most of the rest of the morning on the couch with my laptop. I took a break to make an omelette for lunch, and then I took a nap, and then I packed my gym back and went to San Mateo. I did some kettlebells + enough squats and lunges that I'll probably be sore tomorrow, and then I cleaned myself up and went to Philz to work.

However, before I went into Philz, I made an impromptu call to Katie, and I somehow caught her at a time when she was able to talk, so we caught up for quite awhile. Then I sat at Philz and worked for an hour. By this time it was almost seven p.m., so I had to pack up my stuff and go to dinner - I met my friend Amber, who is both a romance writer and an Episcopal priest, which fascinates me.

So, we talked about a wide variety of romance/religious topics over dinner at Three (seafood risotto for me, which was tasty), followed by a drink at Grape and Grain (the bar Joann and Jen and I went to earlier in January). This was all great, and we spent three hours talking, but by the end I suddenly realized that I needed to leave immediately or I would perish.

So I came home, and now I need to sleep - I have two days in which to do everything I need to do before Hawaii, and I'm suddenly (as in, just this very moment) realizing that that's not nearly enough time. So if I say tomorrow that I procrastinated, please punch me. Goodnight!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

and she was looking at herself, and things were looking like a movie

Perhaps I should have stayed home and watched political coverage like a good Wampler...politics are in my blood, although I've ignored that blood while living in California, where it feels that my vote doesn't matter and I don't feel any particular tie to the land or the community. But, needless to say, I didn't stay home....but more on that in a second.

First, the beginning of my day. I woke up and laid in bed daydreaming slightly longer than I should have, but I succeeded in forcing myself out of bed, and I was at Philz on Golden Gate by 9:15 (an eminently respectable time for someone who doesn't have to commute or hold herself to a schedule). I wrote a couple of pages more than I had and a couple of pages less than I should have, but I'll take it. Then I came home, ate some leftover pasta + sauce (omg, still, so delicious), and took a nap.

But I slothed as much as I could sloth, so I spent the afternoon taking care of a variety of business-y type tings in advance of my Hawaii trip. Then, eventually, I changed out of yoga pants and into real clothes (with a shower as an intermediary step) and walked down to the downtown area to pursue an evening of non-caucus-y fun.

First up was drinks and tacos with John at Novela - it was kind of a shitshow, and maybe I won't go back there again, but the wine was tasty and the tacos were good. And really, the only reason we were there was because it was close to the next plan of the romance writing alter ego got free VIP tickets to an advance screening of the new Nicholas Sparks movie (THE CHOICE, out on Friday). This turned out to be an incredible experience. For one, you can apparently buy wine at the concession stand and take it in, which I did not know. For another, because we were VIP, we had great reserved seats, and also we didn't have to surrender our phones (everyone else had to surrender all electronics at the door, because apparently someone thought that someone might want to film/steal this, which is impossible).

So, we got to the theatre just in time, and the movie started without any trailers, and we were shushed by someone nearby within the first two minutes of the movie (apparently our witty and erudite commentary was not as welcome as we thought). All in all, it was so bad that it was good, or something. Or at least we enjoyed ourselves. And even though it was terrible, I still teared up a couple of times at the end, because beneath my resting bitch face lies a heart of gold.

After the movie was over, we went to another bar and split an italian hot sausage and fries, and I had another glass of wine, which was both totally unnecessary and totally necessary. And then we parted ways, and you can tell that I was tipsy because I got into the first available cab rather than calling a lyft like a good techie.

And now, I need to sleep so that I can call my parents tomorrow and get the caucus lowdown, and also get some writing done, and also keep prepping for Hawaii. Goodnight!

Monday, February 01, 2016

these beats of a dark heart use baselines to replace you

I kind of inadvertently took today off from writing (and most work in general), and I think I am more excited about writing tomorrow because of it. When I woke up this morning, I only lounged in bed for a little bit before I remembered that I was supposed to try getting out of bed earlier - so I was up and curled up on the sofa with tea by 7:45, which is way earlier than I usually get up on a Sunday without dire need.

So, since I was awake, I finished reading Shonda Rhimes's "Year of Yes". I highly, highly recommend it - if nothing else, she's a great writer, and she tells the story of her year in interesting, beautiful, moving, thought-provoking, funny ways. But if you're stuck in a rut, or feeling like this is your last-ever chance to have kids (not what I'm feeling, but I keep running into people who are feeling this), or are generally waking up and looking around and wondering if you're living the life you'd actually intended to sign up for, this is a great read.

If you're even the most casual, unobservant reader, you probably picked up on the fact that I was oscillating in and out of a local minima (Adit's techie word for depression, which has stuck since he found me in a local minima my junior year of college and said, "Wampler, look at you, how are you living", which I think is his way of saying he cared) for much of the end of last year. And while I would say that I'm mostly out of it and mostly moving forward and mostly able to write again, there are definitely still days when I can feel myself holding back, holding myself down, holding myself apart.

So while I don't think that any book is the be-all end-all cure for anything, I read this one at the right time, when I was in the right place to hear it. I was already doing a lot the past few weeks to be more present in my life and say yes to more things and do things that I normally wouldn't do and meet people I would normally spurn, and Shonda's advice is basically all of that, taken to the logical conclusion of doing it all the time, in as many big and scary and growth-inducing ways as possible. So, if you need that kind of message, definitely try the book - and if you want to talk about it, let me know what you think.

So, I finished the book this morning, and then I wrote down the quotes I'd highlighted - I'm using a new computer-based journal instead of paper (an app called Day One), which I'm weirdly kind of liking (we'll see how long this last, since I'm a diary whore and switch notebooks frequently). Then I showered, etc., and sped down to the south bay for lunch.

My destination was the New England Lobster Market in Burlingame, which looks like it's in an industrial park, but they serve surprisingly delicious (and upscale, at least by price) seafood (mostly lobsters and crab and shrimp). Joann is about to embark on a special diet that will prevent her from eating all seafood and rice for a month, so this was her pick, and I'm glad we went there. It was nice enough to sit outside in the sun, and I had each of their three tacos (lobster, shrimp, and fish) - I loved the shrimp one, and the lobster and fish were good as well. But the winner may have been Jen's crab nachos, which I would happily eat again and again.

After we'd caught up on our lives and learned that Joann's diet restricts rice but allows Doritos (medicine is weird), we parted ways and I drove home. I desperately wanted a nap, but instead I went to whole foods and bought groceries (and white hydrangeas to give my dining table some funereal chic). Then I came home and called my mom - we talked for quite awhile, since politics and local events have resulted in a lot to catch up on. So much so that my dad didn't get to talk to me at all - he had to wait until after they'd eaten supper.

So the break in between gave me a chance to start cooking my own supper - I wanted to make pasta all'amatriciana again, so I cut up everything and started the tomato sauce before my dad called me back. The sauce simmered happily while I talked to my dad (maybe less happily, because of the subject matter and not because of the speaker) about local developments, politics, my writing/career stuff, etc. I'll probably have to talk to them again on Tuesday to hear how the caucuses went down, but for now I'm going to bury my head in the sand and hope that Iowa and New Hampshire winnow the field down so that there are fewer decisions to make (or at least fewer candidates to listen to) by the time the California primary rolls around.

After we hung up, I finished the sauce, which involved cooking bacon and onions and garlic and red chili flakes together, then adding some of the tomato sauce to the mix, and then combining it with pasta. I only made enough pasta for tonight, but there's enough finished sauce for 2-3 more servings, and enough tomato sauce to freeze and eventually make more sauces later. So I ate my pasta, and it was so fucking good, if I do say so myself - easily one of my favorite new recipes.

And then I maybe should have written, but instead I curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and finished reading 'My Brilliant Friend' (the first book in the Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante, which has gotten a ton of well-deserved acclaim in the last couple of years). And now I should probably sleep - it was nice taking today off, but I need to write tomorrow. Goodnight!