Sunday, July 31, 2016

and we're just under the upper hand, and go mad for a couple grams

I am not in San Francisco. I am also not in New Orleans. Instead, I'm in yet another hotel in yet another city - Houston, to be precise, where I was stranded due to some issues on United's part (our first officer was missing because his wife had gone into labor, so they delayed us for three hours while they waited for a new crew member, which meant I missed my SF connection). However, because it was their fault, United comped my room and my taxi and some food vouchers for tomorrow. And because I'm so tired, I purposefully asked for a 1pm flight rather than a 5am flight as usually happens in these situations - I'd rather get a full night of sleep and be productive on the plane, although I may regret this if my flight has issues tomorrow.

But despite it all, the weekend was worth it. I'm sorry for the paucity of posts - I haven't had my laptop open since Thursday, which is v. unusual for me, and it's hard to write blog posts on my phone. I think it's safe to say that Ritu is properly prepared for her wedding (or, if she isn't, it wasn't for lack of trying).

I'm going to do some rapid fire memories/logging for posterity, and then I'm gonna go to bed:


- I had a couple of two-sweet hurricanes to get the party going with Ritu and Kristen (a nurse whom I hadn't met before). When everyone who was going to arrive had arrived, we had dinner at GW Fins - I went there a couple of years ago with Grace and Tina, who are a v. v. different crowd from Ritu and her ilk. The seafood was tasty and the wine was delish, and this was definitely the most low-key meal of the weekend in terms of volume of noise, at least (although Ritu's baby niece, who was there with Shelly and Keith (the couple who got married at the German wedding five years ago), enjoyed making noise when she ran out of banana and remembered that she was jetlagged). Then I think we grabbed another couple of drinks after some other people arrived, but really, it's all a blur now (blog indicates we went to Bourbon Street...which reminds me that we went to a dive-y kind of place, where I had an ill-advised pinot grigio in an effort to stay relatively sober).


- Friday started with a late brunch in the Garden District at Atchafalaya, which was a lovely creole-type place in the converted house. Ritu's niece was again the star of the show, although the group had expanded by then to include Steph (whose wedding I went to in February) and Shen (who is quite possibly the tallest/most imposing woman I've ever met in my life, and watching her stand next to Ritu is sometimes laughable - she got in the night before but hadn't joined us until after dinner) and some other people.

- Did I mention there were seventeen women at this bachelorette, not including Keith and the baby (who mostly skipped the rest of Friday and Saturday)? And there are two Stephs, and two women who are both named Roshni Patel, so it got a little confusing.

- sssanyway. After brunch we wandered down Magazine Street with the plan of cutting over to St. Charles and looking at the mansions, but a sudden downpour split our group asunder. Half of us spent twenty minutes browsing at West Elm (the nearest store) and then called an uber back to the hotel; the other half were trapped under an awning, but we were eventually reunited.

- the rest of that afternoon turned into pool time. Chandlord, Steph and I were quite clever and bought booze and chips from the liquor store across the street, so we sat in the broiling sun and drank mimosas, and it was all quite lowkey. But the pool scene changed dramatically - at first it was only us, but then some bros from a bachelor party showed up, and then some families entered the mix, and a bunch of our friends came down, so it became a party. Also, it was only really bearable if you were in the pool (preferably with a mimosa), since it was too hot to handle sitting in the sun without being surrounded by water.

- then, at five we did a ghost tour. This turned into a debacle since we didn't adhere to the 'arrive twenty minutes early' rule, and also it poured on us again, but it was super fun and interesting - I learned a lot! And now I want to write a book about ghosts and demons (real and imagined) in New Orleans, but that's gonna have to wait.....

- that night, we were told to dress 'slutty' - and then dinner was at Willa Jean, a v. well-lit bistro-type place where sluttiness was certainly not the order of the day. But I think the food was great, and I enjoyed my cocktail (the loup-garou, ordered solely because that's werewolf in French).

- then we kept going out - first to Carousel, which was a lovely, v. southern bar with live music and tasty cocktails (and where we magically got a bunch of couches and chairs together, which shouldn't have been possible), and then to Bourbon O Bar, which was on last call when we strolled in...but the magic of New Orleans means that they made cocktails for us in plastic cups so we could take them with us when they kicked us out. That cocktail was the fanciest cocktail I've ever been served in a plastic cup (rosemary is usually not the accountrement of choice for the solo cup crowd).

- after that, many people kept going, but several of us split off and got an uber back. I wasn't feeling well all weekend - my stomach has been hurting really badly, which I blame Ritu's sister for since it feels about as bad as it did at her wedding. So I went back, but we waited for the uber in front of a church where a British kid was playing guitar and panhandling, and I think one of the Roshnis would have given him more than just a tip if she wasn't married. I, of course, thought it was a trap and that one of his Rasputin-looking accomplices was going to rob us, but nothing bad happened, so c'est la vie.


- Saturday I was feeling hungry and surly and stomachachey, so I skipped the outing to Cafe du Monde (where I couldn't have eaten the beignets and just would have gotten more angry) and had a crab omelette by myself at the Palace Cafe, which is just what I needed.

- Then, we had a late brunch at Country Club. The uber ride over was totally awesome, especially when the driver drove five blocks the wrong way down a one-way street to save us time (I adored her and gave her five stars because she was badass). Country Club has a brunch show with drag queens, so we ate our food (pretty tasty, especially for a place with live entertainment - I went basic, but a lot of the meals looked amazing), and we drank our bottomless mimosas, and we threw dollars bills at drag queens, as one does.

- Then, it was all more of the same...drinks, pool time, prep time, dinner time, drink time. Dinner was at a private room at Cafe Amelie, which was utterly delightful - it's another restaurant in an old house, and the set menu was delightful, and we all gave Ritu lingerie and she had to guess who it was from, which was entertaining. And I heard an awesome story from Connie about what her name could have been, and I bonded some more with Roopa (who I had already bonded with in the pool in a move that someone caught on video and made look way more scandalous than it was), and I continue to pay rent to Chandlord, and it was all fantastic.

- Dinner ended really late, so we ended up going back to the hotel and drinking in the lobby bar (after they were closed - we drank our own wine) and playing cards against humanity and asking Ritu inappropriate questions, and eventually ordering pizza.


- I was *not* in it to win it today - my stomach still hurt, and I was vaguely hungover (although not as bad as Friday morning, when I almost vomited in the cab because the guy went way out of the way and some bitch decided to wear incense as perfume and my stomach couldn't handle it - okay, she's not a bitch, but I was not feeling particularly charitably at that moment). But Steph and I got a late-ish checkout, so I laid in bed until ten and ignored the messages saying to meet for breakfast, and then I showered and packed and met them anyway, since a second group of us ate after the first group was mostly done. We went to Lüke (ridic name), and I had a burger and fries that saved my life.

- Then, we walked toward Jackson Square, and as we reached it we thought we were about to get hit by a deluge, so we ducked into Muriel's (on my suggestion) for cocktails and dessert. This took way longer than anticipated because southern service can be slooooow, but my drink was awesome (spiked coffee), and Muriel's is haunted, so people enjoyed that. And then, after a quick walk to a voodoo shop to check things out (I didn't buy anything, since my list of enemies is too long for voodoo to be effective), the two Stephs and I parted ways from everyone else and took a cab to the airport, where my travel adventures really began.

And now those are all the bare details - it was a really fun weekend, and I had a great time with (most of) the other bridesmaids and friends, and made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones (especially Roopa, whom I never see; and Steph 2, who was Ritu's friend when they were out here the summer I lived with Adit; and Priyanka (not Adit's wife), whom I met in Germany and who actually graduated from Centerville the same year that I graduated from high school, which is bizarre). And, of course, I always adore hanging out with Ritu, and I had a great time with her even if I had to share her with a whole bunch of other bitches.

And now I really, really need to sleep - I want to get enough sleep that I'm able to be productive on the plane and also get things done when I get home, so sleep is the best possible thing I could do right now. Goodnight!

international love

I'm sitting on the floor of my room, blogging on my phone to keep from awakening my roommates. Today was another fabulous day in New Orleans - I woke up with a major stomachache (after not sleeping most of last night because of it), but I had an awesome day despite that. This involved drag queen brunch with bottomless mimosas, an afternoon of leisure and pool time and questionable video-making with Roopa, lightning-fast attempts at cleanliness, and dinner at Cafe Amelie, where the food was great and the private room was even greater. And we had the hotel bar to ourselves when we got back, so we drank Titus Andromedon wine by the bottle and played cards against humanity and wished Ritu off to her wedded bliss in style.

But now I need to sleep - I shall recount more details when I have a compute again. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

let the good times roll

i survived another day in New Orleans, and am now back in my room with Connie and Steph (with whom I am inadvertently going to cuddle tonight). There was much food and much alcohol and much sun and much rain and much talk of ghosts and blood, as is appropriate for a bachelorette. But that all all have to wait for tomorrow, since my roommates are trying to sleep and I need to do so as well. Goodnight!

Friday, July 29, 2016

I'll keep running if you call my name

I'm mildly drunk and majorly tired and blogging on my phone, so you'll have to make due with this - I'm in New Orleans, after a great flight where I was upgraded in both legs and so got some great writing done. And now I'm ensconced in bed, after drinks at the hotel and scalibut at GW Fins (which I had last time I was here), and more drinks on bourbon street.

And now I need to sleep so I can do all the things tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

i'm no good at aiming but i can aim it at you

I'm leaving for New Orleans in the morning, so today was all about checking things off my list and getting ready to go. The first item on the agenda was getting a long-overdue oil change and service check - I hadn't taken my car in since October, and while I haven't driven all that much (it's hard to drive the car when you aren't in the same state as the car), it was probably time. So I dropped my car off at the dealer, which is conveniently located four blocks from my apartment.

Then, I went to Peets and wrote for an hour - but most of the 'writing' was planning how I can write this book by November, since that's my secret goal (albeit not the goal I've thus far told readers about). The idea of a November release was daunting...but then I mapped it out, and realized that this week is the equivalent of early March for the last book (in that I'm sixteen weeks out from release). It's still daunting. But I realized that in early March I had very little done - more done than I currently have on this book, but I was still not in a great place emotionally, and I was just starting to get back into my writing groove. So....I'm not saying that trying to write this book in the next sixteen weeks is the best idea ever. But I would much rather get it out in November than have to wait until January, since I don't want to release it in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So, we'll see about all of that. If I hold to that plan, I need to get cranking on Lucy's story...but I need to get cranking anyway.

But cranking didn't happen today. When I was done with my coffee and my musings, I came home and spent the morning taking care of admin/email-type stuff. I also started packing, which wasn't hard since I'll only be gone for 3.5 days (but I think I took ten outfits, as one does). Then, I got my nails done, since my vanity knows no bounds. And then I grabbed another iced coffee, picked up my car at the dealer, came home, and spent the evening alternating between work, planning, cleaning, and total procrastination.

And now, I need to sleep - my flight is all too early tomorrow, and I want to get some work done while I'm in the air so that I can enjoy my time in NOLA without feeling guilty (and also, I need to write down any ideas I have for Lucy before my alcohol consumption on Bourbon Street destroys whatever brain cells those ideas are stored in). Goodnight!

i remember that night i just might

I'm exhausted and starting to fall asleep while typing, which doesn't bode well for the rest of this post, but we'll see what I accomplish. Today was mostly slogging - I started a bit later than I should have (9:30), since I wasn't feeling it this morning, but I worked solidly for a couple of hours and did a lot of minor-in-time but major-in-importance things that I'd been putting off, so that all made me feel good.

Then I left my neighborhood and had lunch with another writer at Mission Beach Cafe. I had meant to eat something healthy there, but I of course got the chilequiles instead - but I need to remember not to order then again, since they come with way too much tomato sauce on top of the eggs (hot tomato sauce, like upscale marinara). Still delicious, and the guacamole is great, but I was in the mood for something else. But it was nice to see that writer (we'd have lunch there once before a couple of months ago), so that was great.

Then I came home, switched supplies, and went out in search of caffeine, which I found at Peets. I sat there for a hour and wrote, and then I came home and did business stuff until 7pm because I'm so cool.

But then I had dinner with Claudia at Roam, followed by a cozy drink at the Grove, and it was all delightful. I hadn't seen her in a couple of months, so we had a lot to catch up on, but I think we accomplished it.

And now I've fallen asleep twice while writing this, so it's time to give it up and go to bed. Goodnight!

Monday, July 25, 2016

she grinds from monday to friday, works from friday to sunday

Today, oddly, felt like I was back at the day job, even though I was most certainly not at the day job. I woke up around 7:30 and messed around on my phone, but was at my laptop by 8:30 and worked straight from 8:30 to 11. Then I took a v. quick shower, threw on some clothes, and drove to Burlingame, where I met Anne and Barbara at Barbara's house for a working session. Barbara had sent her husband out to grab lunch for us, so I enjoyed my salad while catching up with them - but then we settled down to business and worked for five hours.

This work wasn't writing, for once - we've all been watching these ads tutorials, so we got together to discuss what we learned and practice making some ads (with v. helpful critiques/suggestions from each other). We did all of this by chromecasting to Barbara's tv, so we were able to watch each other - and it was all pretty useful, I think. We'll see if the test ad I made performs better than the ones I did on my own a couple of weeks ago - Anne's out of town for awhile, but Barbara and I are going to get together when I'm back from New Orleans (provided I still have brain cells after that trip) to analyze our test results.

So that was all great, but it was also exhausting (in a different way from writing). I left her place sometime after five, grabbed a coffee at Philz in downtown Burlingame, and then drove home. Traffic sucked, but it was alleviated by talking to Terry most of the way back (Terry my former roommate, not the Terry who is Barbara's husband, although he's delightful). When I got here, though, I was pretty burned out - so I mostly sat around and did nothing.

But I finally rallied and spent the last couple of hours taking care of random things - there are still many, many things on my to-do list, but that's okay. I need to spend some serious time starting to write tomorrow, rather than continuing to get bogged down in admin stuff - but that's a task for the morning. Right now, my task is to go to bed - goodnight!

robot heart

So much to do, so little time...and only three more days in San Francisco before I go off on another adventure. Today was lovely for the most part, though - I woke up, showered, drank a smoothie and did some business admin type stuff, and then grabbed my notebook and went out in search of errands and coffee. The errand was to buy shaving gel and coffee filters (which do not go together); the coffee was going to be at Starbucks, but they were out of cold brew iced coffee, so I went across the street to Peets instead.

Once I had my caffeine fix in hand, I spent an hour or two at the coffee shop scribbling in my notebook...and I may have come up with a killer idea for Lucy's story that will lend itself naturally to a new series after that. I still need to contemplate it and play around with what this would do to Lucy's development, since it's wildly different from what I had intended to do with her - but it may be better, so we'll see.

But eventually I was getting hungry, so I came home and used my coffee filters to filter the cold brew coffee that I'm attempting to make for myself (but I didn't have any of it today, so I'll get the initial verdict tomorrow). I also made a salad, which was tasty. And then I did a bit of work, and then I called my parents earlier than usual - and since I called them earlier than usual, we seemed to expand to fill two hours instead of one, but #noregrets.

As soon as I was off the phone with them, I went over to see Adit and Priyanka. This turned into a bit of a kerfuffle, since Vidya called me up and drunkenly requested that I have a 5:30pm dinner with her and Claudia, which I refused on the principle of already being at Adit and Priyanka's and not wanting to ditch them after ten minutes. I hadn't seen Priyanka in forever (checking the blog when I got home would indicate that I haven't seen her since March, which is crazy); I've seen Adit more recently than that, but it's always good to see him. So we talked about weddings and other fun shenanigans, and I ate some of their cheese and some of their brussels sprouts while watching them feed Vihaan, who was extremely cranky (likely because he's getting his first cold ever, which would make me cranky too).

Then I came home, and I talked to Ritu for almost an hour (weddings and other fun shenanigans - she continues to be the master of disaster). I also talked briefly to Katie, which is always a delight. And then I ate some leftover pasta, poured a glass of wine, and worked on website stuff for the past three hours (which probably requires ten hours, but whatever).

And now, I need to sleep - I have grand plans to learn everything I've ever needed to know about marketing tomorrow, which I doubt will actually happen, but I'm going to make a valiant attempt. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

almost human but i'll never be the same

My eyes are about to fall out of my head and I need to stop looking at a screen immediately - in fact, I'm typing this with my eyes closed and my head leaned back against my couch, because I have totally hit the wall. But today was incredibly hermity and incredibly productive - perhaps a not-cool way for a thirtysomething to spend her Saturday, but it was what I needed given all my recent travels and all my upcoming social endeavors.

So, this will be boring for you - but the productivity mostly consisted of marketing endeavors and catching up on personal/admin stuff, as well as folding clothes and other random tasks. I'm in the middle of a death slog to watch a bunch of marketing videos from the Hawaii conference before they expire (everyone seems to have procrastinated on this, so Anne and Barbara and I have split them up and are going to get together on Monday to debrief). So I spent the morning and evening watching a bunch of hours of videos about facebook ads, which was worth doing, I suppose.

At some point I took a break to eat a salad, and at some later point I actually left the apartment in search of more felt-tipped pens (how many pens does an author need? how many grains of sand are on a beach?) and coffee, so at least I walked outside for a bit. But then I came back, watched more videos, ate some leftover pasta, and opened a bottle of wine to get me through the rest of the facebook videos.

After I finished the videos, I probably should have given my eyes a break. Instead, I messed around with my face (charcoal masque followed by hydrating masque in an effort to fix the inflammation caused by my gluten encounter) and then spent two hours messing around with my website.

Yes, I'm so fun.

And now I need to stop looking at a screen and go to bed - I have a whole ton of stuff I want to get done tomorrow as well, and I need to squeeze some writing in amongst all this other work if I have any hope of meeting my next deadline. Goodnight!

Friday, July 22, 2016

and all your weight, it falls on me, it brings me down

After many awesome days in a row, followed by some downtime, followed by last night's convention ridiculousness, it's perhaps not surprising that I was mostly surly and unproductive today. I'm also a little worried that I'm getting sick - I definitely don't feel right, which made everything a bit hazy (to the point that I tripped and fell rather badly on a curb during the only ten minutes when I left the house today, bruising my left knee and scraping my right palm and startling the hell out of some guy who was walking his dog).

So I mostly let myself be slothful today. I got up late and drank some orange juice and made some tea, and I spent the rest of the morning messing around in my planner (although it turns out that planning != doing, which means this doesn't totally count as productivity). I also showered, which was exciting. And in the afternoon, I left the house to drop off dry cleaning, fall on the sidewalk, and get a cold brew iced coffee before returning to the safety of my apartment.

I spent the rest of the night doing anything but actually writing/working - I did a couple of loads of laundry, cooked some chicken and fried some bacon for cobb salads for the weekend, and made a batch of spaghetti alla amatriciana since I still wanted tomato-y goodness but couldn't eat the other half of the gluten-filled pizza I accidentally ordered last night. The food all turned out delightfully, but I think cooking wiped out my energy reserves, and so I've done nothing that I intended to do tonight.

But that's okay - I'm going to go to bed shortly and hope that a bunch of sleep and all the vitamins I took today will revive me. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

baby it's all right now

I don't even know where to start - my temper is inflamed, but I should recount things in the order in which they occurred so that I don't miss the good things that happened. I woke up this morning and was feeling #inittowinit, which was a good thing because I had some promotional activities to take care of this morning. That involved hosting a facebook chat with a historical romance group - and since I'm an overachiever (but also a procrastinator), I wrote up some historical fun facts to share with them (longer than they needed to be, written right before I had to post them rather than in a leisurely manner several days ago).

So I wrote up a bunch of stuff, and then I threw on some clothes and drove to Berkeley and holed up at Philz to do the main part of the chat. The reason I drove all the way to Berkeley for Philz is because I had lunch plans after, and I wouldn't have made lunch if I'd been online from 11am to 11:45am at home. So I got my coffee and settled in and got lots done (some other work-type tasks were accomplished while I was monitoring the facebook stuff), and that all felt really good.

But I stopped being productive around 12:15 and met up with John and Jess for lunch at Saul's, our usual go-to place. John's mom is in town, so she watched Ian while John and Jess came out for lunch, which meant Jess could eat without having a human attached to her (although I offered to sit closer to her if that would be helpful). It was great to see them, of course, but the unfortunate thing was that John recently fractured something in his ankle, so he was wearing a boot and not moving very quickly, which is all too bad. But Saul's was still great despite that, I think.

Then I went back to their place and briefly stared at their sleeping child and briefly talked to John's mom. I left a little after two to try to beat traffic, and while I wasn't perfectly successful in that attempt, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. When I got home, I was going to do all the things, but I was feeling really run down and tired, and so I ordered groceries rather than going to buy them, and I did only one load of laundry (the stuff that needs to be hung up to dry), and I messed around online and did nothing and eventually ordered a pizza because I also didn't feel like cooking.

That was the beginning of the end for me. It turns out that I accidentally ordered a regular gluten thin crust rather than a gluten-free crust, and I didn't put two and two together until I was a couple of slices in, which means I totally poisoned myself. And it really feels like I did poison myself - while I've had trace amounts here and there, this is the most gluten I've had at one time in months, and it feels like my skin is on fire and everything itches and I kind of want to die.

Or maybe that's how I feel about tonight's RNC performance - I don't know. I think it's the gluten. But I watched Ivanka and Trump (and Jon Voigt's intro, which must have made Angelina suuuuuper happy), and at the risk of upsetting every since blog reader I still have on both sides of the spectrum by expressing my full opinion.....I was pretty furious. Furious that this was the best the Republicans could put up this year (although I would still rather see Trump be the president than support Cruz the Zodiac Killer). Furious to see a candidate for the presidency care so little about the actual role of the presidency that he doesn't seem to understand or care what responsibilities lie within the executive branch and which are firmly part of the states' mandate (and the last I checked, states' rights was part of the Republican platform). Furious that he seems totally happy to suggest that he should take some version of authoritarian power, contrary to everything that I thought the party once stood for in terms of individual freedom and state sovereignty - and the natural extension of everything that Obama has been (mostly rightly) criticized for in terms of his vast expansion of executive power. How can a party that hates Obama for his executive overreaches even consider electing someone who seems to think he can write whatever executive order he wants? And that doesn't even get into all the problematic things he says and believes about refugees, immigration, the fact that David Duke immediately said on twitter that it was an awesome speech, etc., etc., etc.

The few things that sounded like actual policy recommendations would be more at home in the Democratic platform - Ivanka's promise for equal pay for equal work, better maternity/family leave, (both of which I'm for, fyi), etc., as well as Trump's total abandonment of any principles of free trade (plus a general lack of understanding of how treaties work and what it would mean to abandon ours). It's also astounding to me that any real evangelical would get behind him, given that he's made no attempt to follow Christian values in much of his own life (and even said that he probably doesn't deserve their support). And saying that he was only going to give facts and then saying that we're the highest taxed country in the world (false) and that crime is going up and America is more dangerous than he's ever seen it (debatable, but crime is still remarkably lower than twenty years ago, particularly in places like NYC), and a bunch of other cherry-picked half-truths, was just icing on a cake that really pissed me off - because some of his base will always be convinced that any attempt to dispute his 'facts' is just spin from a biased media. And Trump is nothing if not brilliant at controlling the media narrative.

But I think what bothered me the most was how very negative and dark and fear-mongering it all was. It was basically an overly-long riff on how dangerous things are and how awful America is, with a lot of empty promises about how Trump is the only person who can possibly save us. But it's all spin and cherry-picking of facts (which, by the way, we will also see at the Democratic convention next week - another thing that appalls me in general is how I can see Fox News and the New York Times, for example, both talk about the same issue with two totally different sets of facts and opinions and viewpoints, and both of them can sound logical and right, and they're both just catering to their base to get clicks/views/money, and it's nearly impossible to tease out what's 'true' anymore). And for all that I haven't been impressed by Obama as a policy-maker in a lot of ways, you can't deny that it's a lot more inspiring to hear a speech about America's future in a positive light, rather than spending an hour listening to someone scream into a mic about how everything is on fire and we need to close our borders and build walls and destroy alliances and burn everything down to save it.

sssanyway. What I'm hoping is that this is the final death rattle of this incarnation of the conservative side of the aisle, and that the next few years will lead to some sort of rebirth - because I don't think it can go on like this.

So after that, I sat in the dark and stewed for awhile, and debated whether I should get into politics or blogging or the media in an effort to actually fix things - or whether I should write novels with optimistic endings and provide hope in another way - or whether I should stockpile food and aluminum foil hats and wait for the end of the world. I also snapchatted for quite awhile with my cousin (you may know him as Drewbaby), which is the first time I've ever used snapchat for more than three seconds - so if the apocalypse comes and they purge anyone over thirty-five, I may have enough skills to pretend that I'm younger.

And now, I'm going to take my gluten-poisoned self to bed and hope that I sleep dreamlessly tonight - I have a lot to do tomorrow that doesn't involve politics or allergic reactions or anger or anything else that I felt tonight, and I want to make it all happen. Goodnight!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

if i hadn't blown the whole thing years ago i might be here with you

I'm nearly as tired as I was last night, but I'm going to rally and provide some content to keep the masses (aka my mother) from coming after me with pitchforks. Today was a slow reentry to the grind, although most of you will probably not accept me calling my life a 'grind', so let's start over.

I woke up this morning, threw on some clothes, and was at Philz by nine, where I worked for the rest of the morning. I'm trying to come up with a plot for Lucy's story, which is slow going since I know very little about her world except for what I said in Octavia's story...and that gives me some stuff to work on, but it's not enough. I had an idea for her already, but I'm doing my due diligence to make sure that idea has enough conflict built in to create a whole story from - but it's possible that I'm overthinking it and need to start writing. We'll see, we'll see.

Around noon, I came home and inadvertently took a nap - I'm still a little burned out socially from my conference, so I seem to be sleepy. But I woke up and went to Lers Ros for a late lunch since I still haven't bought groceries - I had some thai food to revive me, and I spent another hour scribbling plot notes into my notebook, so that was all great.

When I got home I really wanted to slack off, but I forced myself to watch a couple of hours of video tutorials about facebook ads (life is glamorous). But by 6:30 I was beyond done, and also needed to clean myself up, so I showered, threw on some clothes, and walked down the street to my dinner date.

Dinner was with Lauren (aka Subz) at Gardenias, which I hadn't been to before - it may become our new go-to for #girlsnightout. It's only five blocks or so from me, which makes it appealing as my possible elusive Des Amis replacement (although it's five slightly sketchier blocks than my Marina haunts, so I don't know). They had several interesting and delightful wines on tap, and the food was great - we split some mushrooms and some avocado/lime/cucumber dish to start, both of which were fantastic, and I had a pork chop that made me as happy as pork usually makes me. We were both in the mood for dessert, but Lauren had her heart set on a fruit crisp that I couldn't eat, so I had meringue and mint ice cream, and we both finished all of our desserts, so they were clearly delish.

And, of course, seeing Lauren was as great as it always is. We had a lot to catch up on, since I hadn't seen her since the night before I left for Iowa, but Gardenias gave us ample time and ambiance to discuss our lives. When it was finally time for us to part, she gave me a ride home in her lyft, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again when I'm back from my next adventure.

But now I need to sleep - I have tings to do tomorrow, and books to write and marketing plans to make, and those things won't happen without sleep. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

let the cops chase us around

I'm too tired to blog - today was great, but it was more socializing than I was strictly ready for after the conference (writing date in San Mateo in which no writing was done and we gossiped for three hours; drinks and dinner with the Shedletskys) and I'm out of words and out of energy. So you'll have to wait for a better update tomorrow - goodnight!

we've gotta let go of all of our ghosts....we both know we ain't kids no more

I'm fully reimmersed in my life in the city of sin, as evidenced by the fact that I just did a shot of fernet (the official shot of San Francisco - and also, I am too old for both shots and fernet, and especially for shots of fernet). Today wasn't nearly the productive day that I dreamed of, but I also expected that - I always have some downtime after conferences, and today was lovely despite the lack of productivity.

I spent the morning making some attempts at adulthood - I made coffee, ate a granola bar, and sat down to my computer by nine, which was good enough. And I even did some stuff. But I had to stop at 10:15 to shower, and then I took a lyft to Lyft - my friend Gyre now works for Lyft (in the corporate offices, not as a driver), and he and I met for lunch. Lyft feels very much like Google did 10+ years ago, which made me a little nostalgic...but not nostalgic enough to abandon my life of story-telling and yoga-pants-wearing.

Anyway, lunch with Gyre was great, and we had a lot to catch up on, but he seems really happy there. After we were done, I walked to the mall, which gave me some much-needed time on my feet after a week of conference time. I returned a bag I'd purchased before, and I intended to buy some paper/pen stuff, but my favorite stationery store in San Francisco is now closed, which was a real bummer. So I stopped at the Container Store, and I stopped at Crate and Barrel, and then I took the bus home like a peasant.

But I'm not totally a peasant...when I got home, I ordered $100 worth of books on the history of British gardening, since Lucretia is into horticulture and I thought books about English country gardens might give me some good ideas. I also talked to Terry, and I also did some other work, and I also took a nap, and I also followed the RNC on twitter and despaired about the state of the party and the death of all of my former ideals in the face of fearmongering and chaos and incoherent attempts at 'policy'.

sssanyway. I eventually abandoned twitter and put on a dress and heels and walked to Octavia, which in this case is a restaurant on Octavia Street and not a character in one of my books (although Octavia is also a character). Chandlord and I had made plans ages ago to take Julie and Brian (who is also known as Deano) out for a fancy dinner to celebrate their wedding (which happened last fall, but which neither of us could go to), and our fancy dinner happened tonight. We made a serious dent in the menu - we ordered almost everything, and everything was almost equally delicious. We started with the burrata (which I always love) and the 'deviled egg' (soft boiled egg with lots of spices, which is yum), and then we had a whole bunch of dishes (some stuff I couldn't eat, including pasta, and then a bunch of crudo, grilled calamari, and an incredibly wonderfully smoky corn chowder with potatoes), and then we had entrees (salmon for Julie and Brian, some mushroom delight for Chandlord, and a complexly delicious chicken confit for me), and then we split dessert (rocky road Eton mess, which was delish, and a strawberry float with strawberry soda that was a surprise standout).

Of course, despite the fanciness of our meal, we were still totally ridiculous, and I had to spend some time searching my phone for inappropriate photos of me and Julie's friends at my 2006 Olympics party (#rideordie, Torino!). Also, we were sitting directly next to a bona fide celebrity (Kate Walsh, who was in Grey's Anatomy) - I thought she looked familiar when I sat down, but I hadn't placed her. Chandlord figured out who it was and texted me and Julie, and then told Julie to check her phone - but when Julie opened her phone, the first thing she said was "Who is Kate Walsh?", which made us not at all subtle. Oops. But c'est la vie - and she talked to us about dessert at the end, so it could have been worse. But it seemed appropriate to celebrate Julie's wedding with that level of ridiculousness + alcohol + a lot of talk about Sean Connery.

Then, unexpectedly, we took a lyft to Julie and Brian's local bar (the Buccaneer), where the bartender made me something with Malibu rum, and we all took fernet shots (except Chandlord, who left early). But now that I'm home, I need to sleep; I have a writing date and dinner plans tomorrow, and I want to get other stuff done before I drive south. Goodnight!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper

I'm too tired to do anything at all tonight, including blogging....but I made it home from conference with no drama and I'm happy to be back for a few days (eleven nights in my own bed, to be exact - I counted). I woke up this morning after about six hours of sleep, and I laid in bed for a little bit before showering and throwing all my stuff in my suitcase. I said my fond farewells to Sarah, and then I left the hotel absurdly early, shared a cab to the airport with Barbara, and spent my downtime at the airport eating fish tacos, drinking a glass of subpar sauvignon blanc that I probably shouldn't have ordered, and then drinking coffee to counteract the wine.

Eventually I boarded the flight, and I slept halfway to SF and played in my planner for the rest of it. When we landed, I retrieved my bag (which I had to check to accommodate the free stuff I picked up at the conference), then took a cab home. I tried to call my parents when I got here, but they weren't ready to talk, so I ate some fritos and took a nap because that's a healthy decision. Then I talked to them for quite awhile while drinking tea, which was restorative.

After that, I ate some eggs since I had no other groceries and didn't feel like ordering anything. Then, I read for a couple of hours in an effort to keep myself from going to bed at eight p.m. - I read most of the middle portion of 'The Alloy of Law', which is the first book in the spinoff series to Mistborn. So far, I think I liked Mistborn a lot better, but it's interesting to see how the spinoff has turned the event of the earlier series into the myths of this civilization.

But now it's respectable for me to go to bed, which I need to do since I want to get a lot done tomorrow while also socializing more than I typically want to on the day after a conference. But the conference was awesome, and I have #noregrets. Goodnight!

if you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain

Conference is over! I'm definitely ready to go home, but I definitely had an amazing time - I talked to so many people, and got a decent confidence recharge, and learned some new things, and expanded my ever-expanding to-do list, and successfully never had more than three drinks in a day, which is a pretty good record for me at a conference.

Today was more of the same, but I was hitting my introvert wall, which made rallying difficult. I got up at 7:30 and threw on some clothes (the same clothes I'd worn briefly on Thursday, but I don't think anyone noticed) and went down to breakfast with Sarah so that we could see Sherry Thomas speak. Sherry is a fabulous writer, but I'm also friends with her (weird to say it, but I think it's true), so I wanted to make sure to hear her speech - and she did an awesome job with it, so I left feeling inspired. I talked to Barbara for a little bit after, and then I was going to go to my room and shower, but instead I met up with my friend Leigh for what turned into an hour and a half of talking and commiserating and goal-setting near the pool.

Then I went straight in to lunch with Barbara, Jami, Veronica et al. But I was running dangerously low on social energy at that point, so after I ate every last scrap of my salad, I abandoned them, put on my swimsuit, and laid out by the pool for a couple of hours. I put my headphones in and covered my face with a shirt so that no one would recognize or disturb me, and I had some glorious time alone in the sun to burn away my social stress.

Eventually, Sarah joined me, and we sat for awhile while I drank a mai tai, and then she went for a run and I grabbed an iced coffee and came up to shower. Then I did a tiny bit of work before meeting Sarah and some of our mutual friends for a very early dinner, where I quietly hated on one of the people ("friends" is apparently a misnomer) and ate too many nachos, which resulted in a nacho baby under my cocktail dress. #noregrets

Then we came upstairs and finished getting ready - Sarah was up for two awards tonight, so she needed to look presentable, and I also needed to look presentable since I was along for the ride. When we were ready (which was kind of a joke, since I forgot hairpins and styling cream and eyeliner, and she forgot fake eyelash glue and foundation), we met Jules and Lia for champagne in Jules's room (Jules was also up for an award), and then we sat together at the ceremony.

The ceremony was waaaaaay too long (30mins longer than the one I planned, but I run a tight ship), and unfortunately Sarah and Jules didn't win their categories, which was a bummer. But there were some good speeches, and I cried a bit, and we snuck in a bottle of champagne and finished it at the table, so it was all good.

But after a bit of time in the bar with some truffle fries and part of a mai tai, and after some debriefing with Sarah, it's beyond time for me to go to bed - I have to get up and pack and fly home, and then recuperate so I can work this week. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

when all of your flaws and all of my flaws are laid out one by one

I'm really having quite an excellent conference. There's something that feels a little different about this one than several of my previous ones - and maybe part of it is where it falls in my release schedule, since this is the first time I've come when I just released a book. My books have typically come out in the November-March timeframe, which means July is usually when I'm in the doldrums of despair over the next one - and this time I'm feeling quite good about things, which is a welcome change.

But it's more than that...I don't want to jinx it, but it feels like a lot of the cloud from last year has lifted, and I feel confident about both my writing and my business plans again, and I also feel more confident and happy as a human being, which means I've had no shame about seeking out people and making new friends and networking and doing all those things that I should have been doing. So instead of hanging out exclusively with my safe, easy clique (which is, admittedly, filled with absurdly successful people), I've forced myself to seek out new experiences and reconnect with other friends.

So today was more of that. I woke up, showered, and grabbed breakfast before making it to a 9:45am workshop on branding and marketing (I knew a lot of it, but some of it was useful). Then I went to a workshop on publishing data and trends, which was super interesting because I'm a data nerd; I would have found it more interesting if I were working for my former employer, but it was still good for me.

Then I took a break and had lunch with Elizabeth, who writes historical romance/mystery - she's moving into self-publishing, so we had a long talk about that over cobb salad at a restaurant down the street. Then I came back, went to part of a workshop on historical romance, and skipped out to grab some caffeine and go back to my room to change. I also chatted with Leigh and Amy/Carey (same person, two names) for awhile, which was delightful.

But then I forced myself into more social activity and went to a Nook-sponsored cocktail hour, where I told the Nook manager (with whom I've hit it off) all about my five-bottles-of-rosé experience from last week, which is such a funny story that I have to tell it to everyone. No business was conducted, but I think I won cocktail hour with that story, so yay. Then I had dinner with Grace, Tina, Jami, Veronica, and Poppy, followed by a mai tai with a subset of them + some SF writers (including Rachael for a bit, whom I adore).

So that was all good. My face continues to win - I don't know why people want to give me things and tell me things, but the lunch bartender gave me a bunch of new sangria (delish, especially with all the hard alcohol in it), and someone today told me a family secret that most of her family doesn't know. and I continue to be stunned and delighted and intrigued by the human condition. But now I really, really need to sleep - I have a breakfast thing, and tomorrow night will be late, so I should get some sleep. Goodnight!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

she may contain the urge to run away

It's the second night in a row that I've thrown in the social towel early - but it's also the second day in a row that I've talked for 12+ hours, so I think I deserve a bit of a break. I got some lovely sleep last night, and then had a leisurely breakfast with Sarah in the concierge lounge (the fancy place that my fancy upgrade got us access to). After that, I showered, threw on some clothes, and went downstairs with the intention of getting some work done - but I ended up talking to a variety of San Francisco writers until it was time for lunch.

I was originally going to have lunch with my writing retreat crew, but my goal is to branch out and not just hang out with my clique, so I grabbed a table next to them and sat with Sarah (who is also named Vivi/Lizzie) and several of our fellow golden heart finalists from 2009, and also with Jules, whom I met in San Francisco a few months ago. She and I ran into each other yesterday and made plans to meet up, and that continued after the lunch - she and Sarah and I sat out on the back patio, and I had a glass of wine for the team so that the waitress wouldn't mind us sitting there, and it was all delightful.

After we parted ways, I took half an hour to be alone and drink some iced coffee before meeting up with the Nook people (delightful!). Then I hung out on the patio again with my clique (Barbara, Christie, Grace, Tina, etc.). Then I met up with Darcy for a drink - she's a historical writer whom I'd roomed with in Kansas City many years ago (okay, three years ago), but we hadn't talked much since then. As it turns out, this was all very serendipitous - she's getting back into historical more aggressively, and I'm being more productive, and she's also very funny, so we had a great time.

And then I had exactly eight minutes to run upstairs, drop my laptop and grab a sweater, and meet Grace and Tina for dinner (okay, I'm not being perfect at escaping my clique, but I love Grace and Tina and we've been hanging out since the 2010 conference, so whatever). We had a great, lowkey, laughter-filled dinner at a restaurant on the water, although we couldn't see the water from the back patio. We walked back and I drained the last of my battery to show them Pokemon Go, and then I came upstairs to recharge my phone and myself, and now I don't think I'm going to rally.

So anyway, the conference is going really well, and I'm feeling good about where I'm at and what I'm doing and who I've seen and how I've connected to people, so that's all great. But I'm itching to write, and itching to do all the other things on my list - so getting back to San Francisco and having ten days of productive time before my next adventure will be good. But there's two more days of conference to get through before that, so I should sleep and get ready for that - goodnight!

if i had the chance i'd ask the world to dance

I had an awesome first real day of the conference (although technically it still doesn't start until tomorrow, but since I just talked for about twelve hours straight, I'm going to count today as a conference day as well). I woke up after some v. fitful sleep, made more fitful by my temporary roommate's white noise app - the white noise was some kind of water theme, and I think I had to pee like five times last night as a result. Stupid.

Luckily, I switched rooms and roommates today, so no more white noise for me! I got up, showered, and checked out of the old room at ten, but the new room wasn't ready, so I stashed my bags and met up with Nalini for a couple of hours. We mostly chatted for the first hour and had an awesome time, and I got to eat some of the gluten free cookies that a German blogger had brought to her (Nalini's in a whole different stratosphere of success and has some super rabid fans because of her paranormal books, which tend to attract rabidity in fandom - so people come up and give her gifts, which is v. interesting). Then we actually wrote for half an hour, which was great - I thought about Lucretia for a little bit, and I hope to repeat that feat tomorrow.

After that, my roommate (whom I know as Sarah, but who is also Vivi and Lizzie) arrived, and we had a delightful lunch in the hotel - we have a ton to catch up on, and we started the process over food, which was v. welcome. Then, I had a business meeting with one of the retailers (fun), and then I did a bit of personal work before meeting up with Erin (a historical writer who is not the historical writer named Erin with whom I roomed last night) for a margarita and some discussion of non-traditional historical romances - very timely, since I kind of want to set my next series in Vienna in 1814 and that's not exactly common.

Then, oddly, I had a blast from the past - one of my former coworkers was in town for the conference rather unexpectedly, and she emailed this morning to see if I wanted to meet up. I loved working with her back in the day (Amanda was basically the second-in-command on the partnerships side, and I always liked her even when I was frustrated with her boss), so I was very glad to see her (and to get my former employer to buy me a glass of wine and some guacamole). We talked for an hour, and then one of her minions (Anna) joined us for another forty minutes, and it was great to hang out with both of them. And Anna kept saying how relaxed and happy I look, which is true, but may have also been because I was rocking a chic black jumpsuit and gold sandals, which is so far removed from what I wore at work that I must have looked like I am living a totally different life (which I am, I guess - #sorrynotsorry).

After that, I had like twenty minutes to check in to my new room, grab my bags, run upstairs, powder my nose (with real powder, not cocaine - I'm in San Diego, not Hollywood), and run back downstairs to meet up with people to go to Christie's house for a party. She lives here, so she had people over, and it was so fun - great to see her house, great to eat her food, and fun to hang out. But I bailed early because I was so exhausted, so I shared an uber back with a friend who works at Apple, and then I unpacked and washed my face and talked to my roommate a bit more.

And now that I've recapped all of that, it's really time for bed - goodnight!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

in my heart i feel so high, i wanna know the answers why

I'm in San Diego for my romance conference, and I really need to go to sleep - today was a long, lovely day, but it started with very little sleep (I couldn't fall asleep for two hours last night, which is unusual for me, and then I was in a twilight haze instead of being fully unconscious until it was time to wake up at five a.m.). So I was not particularly happy to be at the airport, but I made it with no issues (and with only a carry-on after some last-minute repacking, so we'll see if I removed anything crucial from my suitcase this morning).

I stocked up on iced coffee and boarded on time, and my flight was perfect - on time, empty seat next to me, mostly empty plane, so no issues at all. Getting to the hotel in San Diego was also a breeze, and I checked in and dropped my stuff before meeting up with Barbara and Poppy for lunch. We walked down the beach a few minutes and had lunch at someplace overlooking the water - the view was great and my cobb salad was what I needed (although I also ate too many fries).

Then, we met up with Christie, whom I adore, and we tried to take the ferry to Coronado. But we missed it by two minutes, so we instead called an uber, which was a way better plan - we had him take us over the bridge and straight to the Hotel del Coronado, where we sat on the outdoor terrace and had a cocktail and some guacamole and generally enjoyed life.

At that point, I was getting tired and also needing to decompress, so when we got back to the hotel I put on my pajamas and crawled into bed and read/napped for an hour. But I rallied for dinner - the four of us met up with Nalini, Deborah, and Josie (Nalini is someone I became friends with in Hawaii and I adore her; Deb and Josie live in SF and I quite like them as well), and we walked into the Gaslamp district to have dinner at Rustic Root. I had a nice gin cocktail and some v. awesome shrimp and grits with chorizo (shrimp and grits is reliably gluten free, although I'm still not totally feeling shrimp after my food poisoning, but the chorizo was perfect). And I stole some of Nalini's fries, so that was even better.

When we got back to the hotel, I hung out next to the firepits - this hotel is pretty gorgeous, at least with the pool/outdoor bar/firepit setup. I saw some old friends from the San Francisco chapter, whom I haven't seen since I basically stopped going to meetings two years ago - so that made me nostalgic and made me think I should go back sometime soon (other than the fact that I'm out of town all the time). Then, I had a late evening conversation with my friend Sherry, whom I completely love and adore - we had a wide-ranging talk about islands and books and writing and other fun topics, and I'm glad I got some quality time with her.

Then I came back to my room intending to sleep, and instead spent the last two hours talking to my roommate (Erin, who is only my roommate for tonight) - we had a proper catch-up, which is always good, especially since she also writes historical. And now I'm desperate for sleep, so I'm going to bed - goodnight!

Monday, July 11, 2016

baby don't save me if your love isn't strong

I need to get up in a little over seven hours, so I should probably go to bed. Today was a fairly hermity day, all in the service of packing for San Diego + getting some downtime/introversion before embarking on my next adventure. So I spent the morning drinking coffee and playing with my plans for the week, as well as trying on dresses and doing laundry and figuring out what to take with me.

Then, of course, I had to do something to pamper myself, so I got a manicure and a pedicure to repair my ravaged nails so I'll fit in with the women at the conference. Then I went to the post office to mail a book to a reader, which was a faster errand than I anticipated. I grabbed coffee on the way home, and then spent more time than I intended messing around on my laptop - clearly I wasn't really in the mood to pack.

But I got all packed up, and I ate some supper, and I took out the trash and folded the rest of my laundry and have generally left my place in decent enough condition for my eventual return. And now that I've taken care of all sorts of business and cleaned up all sorts of messes, it's time to sleep and hope for a good conference - goodnight!

tin soldiers and nixon coming

I had a fairly quiet, lazy day, which was probably what I needed in preparation for my upcoming week of romance business activity. I spent the morning enjoying the peace of my apartment with some coffee and my journal/planner - yes, that's super dorky. I also made a v. delicious omelette (made more delicious by avocado, salsa, and sour cream), and then I showered and drove to the Mission for my only real mission of the day.

That mission was to get my bangs trimmed so that I could see again - they were beyond supermodel length at this point, and I couldn't wait any longer. My hair stylist was running a bit behind and I was running early, so I absconded to Ritual and got some coffee to fix my headache (success!), and then went back to get my bangs trimmed. Then I came home, stowed my car, and attempted to call my parents with no success.... I left the house and walked over to Vidya's, since she was having an afternoon soiree. My parents called when I was two blocks from her place, so I couldn't talk to them long - I got off the phone when Katrina arrived on Vidya's stoop a couple of minutes after I did. The party was both lovely and delicious - Vidya wanted people to pick plums, and while I didn't pick any plums, I really enjoyed eating the plum that I chose to ate (and I brought home three more, although I may not be able to eat them before I leave).

So it was quite delightful to hang out on her patio, and the weather was better than it has been, and I got to catch up a bit with Katrina, and I saw Rajiv for the first time in ages, and I was also happy to see Jesse and Maya (and Adit, although I saw him a lot this weekend). But I was firm in my desire not to drink today, so I didn't partake of any of the wine (even though it looked good), and I also was firm in my desire to leave around 5:30 so that I could come home and do things.

Of course, the best laid plans...I got home, but I didn't write anything tonight. However, it was all totally worth it. I talked to my parents again and got fully caught up, so that was good. I exchanged emails with [censored]. And I talked to Katie for almost two hours - first while walking home (which ended abruptly when her kid started throwing up), and then after I'd talked to my parents. By the time I got off the phone with her it was nine p.m. and I hadn't eaten yet - but some leftover chicken and a fresh quesadilla fixed that problem immediately.

So now, after all that restorative social activity, it's time for bed - goodnight!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

y'all know we were made for each other so i find you and hold you down

Yesterday, as you may have gathered from my v. brief blog post, was a fun but drunken endeavor, and so today was spent paying the wages of my sins. I met this guy yesterday for lunch at Starbelly - he's the graphic designer whom I met serendipitously at Nectar a few weeks ago, and we'd decided to further our acquaintance over food and rosé. This turned into a *lot* of rosé - he'd ordered a bottle and grabbed seats on the patio before I got to Starbelly, so we kicked things off right. And I had their chilequiles for lunch, which were quiet tasty.

But since we both work from home, and since I hadn't started my next project yet (and was in a celebratory mood - I don't think I've properly celebrated Rafe and Octavia's release, which is why I've been lazy the last couple of days), and since he had nothing to do, this turned into another bottle of rosé at Starbelly. At 4pm, we moved on to Blush, where we somehow had two more bottles of rosé...and then we had dinner at Hillside Supper Club, where he ordered another bottle, but we didn't finish that one because at that point I couldn't handle the thought of any more rosé (although my duck entree was fantastic). It was a bit odd to spend nine hours together as a first real meeting, obviously...but he was highly entertaining and the conversation and wine were flowing, and it was all charming and extremely ridiculous, and we had a lot of things to bond over in regards to the difficulties of living a creative entrepreneurial life + odd similarities in our childhoods, so it was a fun way to spend an afternoon. And I tend to like having these random serendipitous encounters, so #noregrets.

Except I did have some regrets this morning...I got home last night around 10:30 and promptly fell asleep on the couch without having enough water, and then I crawled into bed around two and slept until 6:30. So when I finally crawled out of bed this morning, everything ached and everything spun. That meant I wasn't capable of doing much of anything, so I finished reading MISTBORN (verdict: j'adore! and now I must read the next series immediately). By then it was 12:30 and I was suddenly going to be late for my plans, so I ate an enchilada and drank some water and took a shower and dashed out the door to go to Quetzal to meet Tom for a writing date.

Since I'm not really writing Lucy's story yet, I didn't have much to do, but it was good to see him - we talked for the first hour or so, and then I nursed my fairly terrible coffee and did some prep work for Lucy. Shockingly, sadly, ridiculously, I discovered a major flaw in Rafe and Octavia's story while I was doing this - I was updating my series bible to include details from their book + Thorington's book so that I know what I'm committed to for the next book, and I realized that I somehow skipped a whole day of the house party. In other words, where it takes x days for something to happen in Thorington's book, it takes x-1 days for that to happen in Rafe's book. I thought I'd been so careful about this, but in the final edits I combined/shifted a couple of scenes, and I somehow lost a night. Damn.

No one has noticed thus far, and it's not actually the biggest deal in the world...but I'm still a little annoyed. So after I found that, I was kind of done for the day. I bid farewell to Tom, went to Whole Foods to grab food for tonight, and then came home and cleaned - I had to fold laundry and put away my suitcase (which I shall get back out on Monday), and I also cleaned the bathroom and cleared off my desk/dining table. And then I made chicken tacos - I'd marinaded the chicken earlier in the evening, so it was v. straightforward to cook the chicken thighs and heat up a tortilla and enjoy. It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

So at that point, I was feeling less hungover and more smug/content about what I'd gotten done, and I was about to curl up with a book....when Adit texted and said he wanted pizza. So I ended up meeting him at Montesacro Pinseria, which is in the mid-market area where everything looks like it's been hit by the zombie apocalypse - but I took a lyft and didn't get stabbed, so that was great. I'd warned Adit in advance that I wasn't drinking tonight because I need a couple of days of health before going to San Diego, and for maybe the first (and only) time in my life, I stuck to my word around him and didn't get lured into sharing a bottle (although it's too bad, since their list looked great). But I had some cheese, which was delectable, and the atmosphere was very familial even as the apocalypse continued to rage outside.

So it was good to catch up with him some more in a v. lowkey way. But by 11 I was done, so I grabbed a lyft home, and then I succumbed to the sneaky, counterproductive lure of taking a nap on my couch before blogging (terrible habit). And now I need to go to bed for real, continue my detox tomorrow (while getting more work done), and start preparing for San Diego. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

freedom cut me loose

no blog tonight- I had a lovely day, but it involved part or all of five bottles of wine, and while that was spread over ten hours, it was still enough to put me asleep on my couch as soon as I got home. So now I'm going to recover in bed and tell you all about it tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, July 08, 2016

i got that summertime sadness

It's summer in San Francisco, which means mist and bitter winds, and wearing my down-filled jacket on my nighttime adventures, and considering turning on the heat but huddling under the comforter instead. Today was a classic reintroduction to my life in the city of sin. I woke up to fog and gloom, and I messed around for a bit before taking four loads of laundry downstairs and then going to the grocery store to stock up on the bare essentials for the next few days (I leave again on Tuesday, so I don't need much).

The morning continued in this vein - some housekeeping, some desultory internet procrastination, some drinking of coffee, etc. But I had to get my act together and pick up Chandlord at 1:15ish - we had a date to organize someone else's wedding, and that required going up to Guerneville and tasting someone else's food. This, of course, is a reference to Ritu; there were a few dishes from our tasting in February that the kitchen needed to retest, and Vidya and I were tapped to be the testers. Since it was all Indian food (chaat, samosas, paneer, biryani), Vidya was more important for this task than I was, but I was quite happy to eat all of it. And I was happy to see the people at the ranch again - I think it's going to be a really fun wedding, and if I don't misbehave myself too badly, I think they would let me rent a cabin there during the off season for some hermity writing time this winter....

But winter is not just coming - it's already arrived. We grabbed some coffee and left Guerneville around 4:30, so we were home around 6:15, and the fog descended upon us as we crossed the Golden Gate. I dropped Vidya off at home, then came to my own home and intended to do all sorts of things, but basically did none of them since I decided instead to take a nap, mess around, and read all the horrific early tweets from the Dallas shooting (reading post-shooting tweets is, tragically, something it seems I could do every day).

I took a break from mourning, though, to have some much-needed family time. I'd asked Adit if he wanted to grab dinner, which was a no, but he was free for a drink after 10:30. Vidya was also out and about, so I met her slightly earlier at the Vestry (after taking a lyft where my driver started going off about the Illuminati, which was somewhat surprising), where I had a glass of wine and she had a cocktail and we started to talk about life even before Adit joined us. Our conversation continued through our drinks there, and then on to Monk's Kettle, where we split a bottle of gamay noir, and where Chandlord had a veggie burger and Adit and I split some risotto, and where we had cheese for dessert like we were a bunch of Regency dukes. We had a long-ranging, rambling conversation about life and friendship and balance and local politics and homelessness and anger and global minima, and it was all very soothing and very familial even as it wasn't all entirely uplifting.

But by 1:30 the monks were ready to be rid of us, so we stepped out into the mist, said our goodbyes to Adit, and then Vidya and I shared a lyft to our neighborhood. And then I should have blogged, but I was so tired that I fell asleep on my couch. And now I'm going to go to bed in earnest, and hopefully get some glorious sleep before tomorrow's adventures (lunch with a near-stranger, housekeeping, perhaps various other exciting things). Goodnight!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

my favorite mistake

I have returned to the city of sin and the land of Karl the Fog, where I shall enjoy my own bed for six nights before jetting off to other adventures. Today was wildly uneventful - I woke up in my Iowa bed, spent some quality time upstairs talking to the parents, and then packed, ate lunch, and showered before they took me to Des Moines. The drive was smooth, and they kicked me to the airport curb just before 4pm (and by that I mean we made our sad farewells for now, although it did happen on the curb rather than in the airport).

The Des Moines to Denver flight was slightly early, and I was upgraded, so I enjoyed some wine and did some thinking about Lucy's story while in the air. When I got to Denver, I successfully got a standby seat on a flight leaving an hour earlier, so I only had to sit around for an hour and a half instead of two and a half hours. That break was well-utilized by eating a salad and drinking some more wine - so when I boarded the flight, I was done with all thinking about productivity and spent the trip reading MISTBORN instead (I'm still making my way through the third book, which I put down over a month ago because I was intent on finishing Rafe and Octavia's book before allowing myself to finish this I know what I'll be doing this weekend).

And now, after a smooth lyft ride home, a shower, and some procrastination, it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

crocodile tears

I'm suddenly super sleepy, which I had staved off by having way more iced coffee than I should have had today. But today was a good enough last full day in the land of corn. I spent much of the morning/midday outside, which was nicer than I had expected (it was supposed to be 95, but clouds and a breeze kept it from getting that hot). I also made tuna melts for the family, which I think went over well (I enjoyed mine, which is all that matters). And I showered, which is a huge accomplishment.

But beyond that, and some photoshop self-tutorials, and some rib eatin', and some tv watchin', I have nothing else to report. Tomorrow I need to pack and go to the airport and fly to California, where I will have five days to do alllll the things before leaving again for my annual romance conference, which I am not ready for at all. But that's all something to stress about another day - for now, it's time for bed. Goodnight!

Monday, July 04, 2016

come on over baby

I'm going to actually try to go to bed before 12:30, which would be a new record for my time at home. Today was okay, all in all, although I got very little done, and what I tried to get done ended up breaking everything....

I spent most of the morning/afternoon hanging out on the patio. It was only seventy-ish degrees and cloudy all day, so it wasn't the most beautiful day on the patio ever, but it was probably way more comfortable than it will be tomorrow, when it should hit 95 degrees again. My mom joined me for quite a bit of this, which was lovely. We also took a break to help [censored] with [censored] before he [censored], although it's unclear whether [censored] survived the adventure (fingers crossed!). And I spent a little bit of time scribbling notes about Lucy's story in my notebook - I want to start writing this week, or at least have a better sense of where the story is headed.

Eventually, though, I came inside and ate the bounty of my dad's afternoon activity - he used his smoker to make ribs, along with an experiment in pork belly, and it was all so fucking good. I am fond of pork, while [censored] isn't, so it's a good thing he had to [censored]. But the ribs were delicious and the pork belly was fantastic (and would be even more fantastic if it were grilled or fried after being smoked), and my mom's potatoes and green beans were a delightful addition.

So we mostly didn't talk while eating all of that, since we were all in our own individual hog heavens (had to, #sorrynotsorry). Then I started messing around with my website again, and I tried a new wordpress theme that broke everything (including my old theme). I got it back to the point where it's a viable website again, but I need to decide whether to keep going down the wordpress route, or whether to finish the Squarespace site that I was playing around with (which looks very pretty, but has some limitations), or whether to do something else entirely. Decisions, decisions.

But now I really need to sleep - there's lots I want to get done tomorrow (mostly sitting in the sun drinking coffee, rather than sitting in the clouds drinking coffee) - goodnight!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

two can keep a secret if one of them is dead

I've got nothing of interest that I can report tonight - it was your typical day in the land of corn. I woke up late because I stayed up until two a.m., but I strolled upstairs in search of coffee just in time to horn in on my parents' breakfast, which meant I had bacon and an egg to start myself off right. Then I showered in time to get clean before my sister and niece and nephew showed up - I'd seen Jackie a few days ago, but I hadn't seen any of the rest of them, so they came over and hung out for awhile.

Then they left, and my mom and [censored] and I hung out and talked about [censored]. Eventually, my dad returned from his errands, and eventually he and I went into town to see Gram (he goes every Sunday to take care of her, and I took the opportunity to see her again even though she didn't remember hanging out with us all day last weekend and won't remember that I saw her today). When we got home, we had supper (cheeseburgers and the best french fries, with some salad to make it all look slightly more healthy), and then [censored] went to [censored] and I watched some fine CBS programming (Madam Secretary and Elementary).

But I finally stopped watching TV and went into the kitchen and sat at the bar to get some work done - and just as I was opening my notebook to scribble notes, [censored] showed up from [censored], and we talked about [censored] and [censored] and [*censored*] until well after midnight, when he [censored]. And then I did a bit of work, but I should probably go to bed (or at least stop looking at screens) - goodnight!

send my love to your new lover

You can probably guess that I meant to go to bed three hours ago and instead fell into a computer black hole - this time, one involving photoshop and an attempt to see if I could fix the issues I have with the cover for Lucy's book myself rather than contacting my cover artist (who I used a year and a half ago for this cover, so it's a little late to be asking for changes, although I certainly could). The verdict is that my own skills might be good enough for this particular task, but I need to take another look in the morning (and probably take a class on Photoshop, since I'm sure there was a better way to do what I just did than the janky trial-and-error method I used).

But today was good, all in all. I slept until ten since last night was even later than tonight, and then I messed around the house and hung out and ate lunch before going to the round barn with my mom. She was supposed to sit there this afternoon (they have volunteers sit there on weekend afternoons during the summer months to give tours), and I had said earlier in the week that I would go with her...back when I thought that it would be sunny and beautiful and I could talk to my mom and read a book at a picnic table all afternoon. Instead, it was rainy and cold, and I spent the afternoon dusting and sweeping up flies in the house on the property while my mom vacuumed and cleaned, since they're in the middle of doing a big clean-up to get the property ready for an event next weekend. Yes, this felt like a bait and switch of my original plans. However, I'm glad I was able to help, and there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Then we came home, and I promptly opened a bottle of wine to recover from the trauma of cleaning. I relaxed until dinner (brats, cheesy potatoes, baked beans - a veritable feast!), and then I did some desultory work (looking at cover art for future covers, playing with ads, messing around in my journal, etc.) while watching two episodes of 48 Hours: Mystery. I came downstairs around 10:30 and planned to go to bed...but then I pulled out my second laptop (the one with photoshop) and decided to test one thing, and now it's three hours later.

So now I must go to bed - we've got some family stuff tomorrow, and I want to relax, but we'll see if I allow myself to. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

near, far, wherever you are

I continue to spend too much time messing around with my laptop, but today was a pretty productive day with some fun at the end of it. I spent the morning doing some work inside - I wanted to approve the print proof of my paperback, which I accomplished, so it should be available in print in the next few days. And I took a break to eat a sandwich with my mom - I bought my favorite canned tuna at Whole Foods the other day (twelve cans, to be exact), and I toasted some gluten free bread, and it was all delicious.

Then she went to do some stuff at the round barn, and my dad was off running errands, and [censored] was doing whatever [censored] does. So I went out to the back porch to work, which meant I had to scare the kittens - they hid from me for an hour after, but eventually they realized the patio is the best place to be even if I'm scary, so they rejoined me.

My afternoon was mostly consumed with writing my friends and family newsletter, which is totally different from my fan newsletter (the fan newsletter was critical to send out Wednesday so that I could drive sales; this one is more for fun). If, for some reason, you're not on the friends and family newsletter and would like to be, you can sign up here - it's mostly full of jokes and only happens when I have a new release (and sometimes not even then - I think I hadn't sent this one out since Prudence's book, which was ages and ages ago).

sssanyway. I got all the jokes sent out just in time, and then I showered and said a rapid farewell to the family and absconded with my mom's car so I could go to Centerville and have dinner with Hannah. We were in the same class in school, and we were (er, are) also cousins of some kind (third? fourth?). She's the naturalist at a park near our hometown, but I don't always see her when I come home since sometimes my trips are more limited in nature. But it was great to see her tonight - we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant in town (verdict: tasty but not as tasty as where [censored] took me on Tuesday), and then we went to her place and hung out with her husband on their back patio. He also went to high school with us, although he was older, so I didn't know him as well when we were in school - but they started dating then and are still together, so it was good to see him and catch up.

So we had a generally delightful time until it got dark, and I decided to drive home before I got sleepy. Once I got here, I talked to my mom and watched tv until too late, and then I spent the last hour and a half messing around with ads stuff when I should have been sleeping. I'm going to rectify that mistake immediately - goodnight!

Friday, July 01, 2016

selling the drama

I didn't get much done today - as mentioned last night, I kind of hit the wall, and that feeling continued through most of today. It didn't help that I stayed in bed until ten, but that felt necessary. But I spent most of the day sitting on the patio (first with coffee, then with iced tea). For the majority of it, I did nothing but some desultory checking of sales rankings and social media. But then I did some brainstorming for Lucy's story (get ready for new names! I will no longer be talking about Rafe and Octavia!) while trying to move as little as possible so as not to scare the kittens who were also eager to hang out on the patio (but not eager to hang out with oh-so-threatening humans). The brainstorming went well and I might actually be excited about her story...but since I have no idea who her hero is, what he does, what his issues are, or even what his name is, it might be premature to start writing.

Eventually, though, I put everything away, took a shower, and drove into town. My parents' political party was selling food on the town square as a fundraiser - there's music on the square every Thursday during most of the summer, and different groups take turns selling food for it to raise money. I dropped my mom off, took her car home, talked briefly to Katie, and then went back into town to eat, since there would be no supper for me otherwise. They were serving smoked pork (delicious) and baked beans, and also some excellent hot dogs, and pie that I couldn't eat, but I didn't miss pie when I could have a hot dog instead.

This also allowed me to see a variety of townsfolk (the former owner of the flower shop; my old piano teacher; my friend Elaina's mom; the county attorney; the sheriff; various and sundry other people). I was likely the only person there who is on Nancy Pelosi's email distribution list, which was a comment that drew much amusement and head-shaking, but they didn't run me out of town, so I'd say it was a success.

Eventually, I came home, and I guess I lied about getting nothing done because I spent the last five hours working on website stuff. It doesn't feel like I got anything done because it's not done and that time would have been better spent taking care of other tasks, but c'est la vie. And now I need to sleep - goodnight!