Saturday, January 30, 2016

love, you're not alone

The last half of the day went off in a totally serendipitous, unexpected direction...I felt like I was headed for a hermit Saturday, and it turned out to be the opposite. I had trouble getting out of bed this morning, and I think forcing myself to get out of bed earlier is probably the thing I need to work on next - because I rarely have morning commitments, I tend to wake up at an earlyish hour and then lie in bed for another hour, which is usually not a good idea since I end up in some sort of weird half-awake fugue state which sometimes turns into wonderful daydreams, but other times turns into awful memories/nightmares. So I should probably sacrifice the daydream chances and get out of bed as soon as I wake up, rather than lying there and tempting the nightmares to come.

sssanyway. I finally got out of bed, put on some clothes, and went to Philz, where I worked for a couple of hours. I also stopped in at Books Inc and browsed around for awhile and bought three books (which is better than buying twenty, which is what I wanted to do), so that was a gorgeous interlude. Then I came home, made an omelette, sat on the couch, and debated what to do next - I was supposed to have drinks tonight, but those plans were postponed, and I was also supposed to have a video call, but that was postponed as well.

So I finally decided to shower, put on something cute, and walk to Fillmore to run a couple of errands, with the possibility of either writing on Fillmore after or grabbing a drink someplace. But just as I was finishing getting dressed, Katrina texted to say she was nearby. So I met her on Van Ness, and we walked to Arlequin, where we split some fries and started talking about venn diagrams of friends + romance publishing success + a variety of other topics. We were also hating on the incredibly loud, obnoxious group of people near us...

....when we looked up and realized that Vidya had joined them and was introducing herself to everyone. OF COURSE SHE WAS. It turns out that she was also on the Arlequin patio with Rajiv and Sheila, but they were in the back corner and Katrina and I hadn't seen them. So we joined them, and then John showed up, and John/Rajiv/Sheila/I sat on the edge of the drunken mess of people with Vidya as the only bridge between us.

So that was fun enough, but eventually we emancipated ourselves and went to Noir Lounge, where the six of us commandeered a table for six (which slowly turned into a table for nine over the next hour or so). Vidya's friends Dan and Jared showed up, as did Sheila and John's friend Jenny, and we had an utterly ridiculous conversation involving last chances to have babies, cannibal jokes, secret vasectomies, and other inexplicable topics.

We ended up splitting up - John/Rajiv/Sheila/Jenny went to the Richmond to celebrate an early Chinese New Year, and I went with Vidya/Dan/Jared/Katrina to The Page (at Page and Divis), where they intended to have a drink before a concert. Katrina went home fairly shortly thereafter, since she lived nearby, but I stayed until concert time. I was theoretically invited to the concert, but since it was sold out, I knew it wasn't in the cards. However, we had a delightful time; the threesome that Jared/Dan/I were planning failed to materialize, but I had a long convo with Dan about writing for blogs. And we grabbed food next door at Little Chihuahua, which now has a burrito-sized gluten free tortilla, which means I had my first burrito in several years and was in heaven because of it.

And then I came home, and now I'm going to sleep with the intention of getting out of bed right when I wake up tomorrow rather than indulging in dreamland. Goodnight!

when you see my face, i hope it gives you hell

I was productive again begins to feel like saying that may no longer be noteworthy, but I'm going to keep saying it for awhile and hope that this becomes less of a surprising streak and more of a state of being. Not that I was *perfectly* productive - I still laid in bed until nine and contemplated life and all its mysteries. But maybe that's what I'm supposed to do as a crazy artist. But then, I'm not actually all that crazy, just eccentric.

sssanyway, let's start over. I got up around nine, freshened up a bit, and went to Philz on Golden Gate, which is more crowded but has a more open, inviting(ish) space. I wrote five pages while I was there, which I will totally take (although the slavedriver within me is asking why I didn't eke out ten). Then, sensing a break in the rain, I made a dash for home - it wasn't actually a break, as it turns out, but I had a scarf that I turned into a makeshift hood, so I survived.

When I got home, I ate some leftover pizza and spent the afternoon working on my couch, which was probably bad for my back (yes, I am still an octogenarian). I had a bunch of random stuff to get through, and I did most of it, so I was pleased with that (even if I probably should have put it all off and kept writing instead). Eventually, though, as the sun was about to set I realized that I should probably shower and put on real people clothes, so I took care of that - it's always nice when I spend the day like a Victorian lady, sitting around writing my letters during the day and then getting dolled up to go out at night.

So I successfully got ready, dried my hair (unnecessarily, since I soaked it in the rain moments later), and walked down to the Mission. This was probably a longer walk than I needed in the rain, but the rain was really drizzle, and I felt like walking, and walking probably didn't take that much longer than sitting through whatever standstill traffic I would have found on Van Ness. I had dinner plans with Claudia (aka Santy Claude) at Dosa, which was long overdue - we hadn't seen each other since early in December, before my trip to NYC (okay, we saw each other at a house party right before I left for Iowa, but her labmates were all there and so we didn't say anything of substance to each other). So we caught up on each others' lives over chutneys and dosas and glasses of wine, and it was all lovely.

But eventually we parted ways, and I came home and held to my previous vow not to look at a screen when I got back - instead, I started reading Shonda Rhimes's "Year of Yes", which I had ordered last week (per the goal to look at screens less, I'm trying to read books in print more). She's the writer/showrunner for "Grey's Anatomy", "Scandal", etc., none of which I really watch because I am very apathetic about TV (much to Terry's dismay, who is probably laughing right now over the fact that I'm reading Shonda's memoir). But since I'm sort of in the middle of a year of yes of my own (as evidenced by the fact that I've gone out more this month than I did in the previous three), it's an interesting read. And even if it weren't interesting (which it is), it would be hilarious - she's a great writer above all else, so I'm enjoying that.

But eventually I realized that I needed to sleep immediately if I have any hope of writing my own stories in the morning before commencing the rest of the day, so it's time for bed - goodnight!

Friday, January 29, 2016

my hips don't lie

I'm totally full, totally out of words, and mostly delighted (with a little bit of malaise, because hey, you wouldn't know what to do with me if I didn't have a tinge of cynical bitterness, right?). When I woke up this morning, I ignored everything that I had realized over the last few days and decided to try to write in the morning - which resulted in sitting on the couch in yoga pants, procrastinating and falling into fear spirals and monkey mind. But if that's the first time this week that it happened, I'll take it.

However, I pulled myself out, got some administrative work done, ate some lunch, and then drove to the Mission - my mission was to get my bangs trimmed, which means I can now see again (even if I prefer it when I look like a bitchy supermodel...but I'm hoping I timed it so that I get back to that stage while I'm in Hawaii rather than holed up in my apartment). Then, I adjourned to Ritual, where I wrote for an hour while drinking a latte - the writing went pretty well, actually, and the latte (the first real one I've had in ages, since I've mostly been drinking iced coffees at home) was delish.

Then I came home, intended to write some more here, and totally failed again. But I didn't have all that long to work - I had dinner plans at six p.m. at Rich Table with the original Jen Lui. We've decided to have the occasional super fancy dinner, and this one lived up to expectations (at least, to the expectations of fanciness).

We ended up doing the chef's menu, which was a seven-course tasting with everything selected by the chef. They were surprisingly accommodating of my gluten issues (I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since most of SF is, but I was assuming that I wouldn't be able to do the tasting menu, and they wowed me). And I've got to say, the first course was incredible - it was a selection of bites from their appetizers/first courses, and it was all delicious. Even the salad was perfect, and I don't usually rave about salad. But we each got an oyster, and a potato chip with a sardine on it (which was somehow great, even though when I typed it I instinctively wanted to throw up), and a bunch of other deliciousness that I can't name now.

The rest of the courses were just the slightest bit hit or miss for me - most of them were hits, and I really liked the gluten free pasta (after I got over how many seeds were on top), and the petrale sole was delicious. There were a couple of bites that were slightly too odd for me (the panna cotta with chili and other spices during the first course wasn't my favorite, and I think the only thing I really didn't like was the combo of black garlic sauce with the ribeye, which my Iowa heart thought was a waste of a good steak), but the dessert (coconut tapioca, espresso-flavored mousse, and yuzu ice) made up for it.

And, of course, the conversation was great - we covered a wide variety of topics, including the prequel to the Babysitters Club series that Jen had loaned me awhile ago, as well as work, the city, adventures in growing older, etc., etc. Hopefully we'll keep up this tradition of having the occasional fancy meal, since it's definitely fun to try new places (even though I like the old places, as you all know).

After that, I walked Jen most of the way to the BART, and then I walked myself home (but it was still early enough that I didn't see anyone particularly crazy or dangerous). Then I procrastinated on my phone and did nothing until I realized that I needed to crawl into bed immediately - I have high hopes of getting some writing done in the morning (because I apparently didn't learn my lesson this morning, but I'm going to try going to a cafe when I get up and see what happens - it used to work for me, and maybe it will work again). Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

you can tell me when it's over if the high was worth the pain

I somehow managed to forget until just now that I was rear-ended earlier today, so either the crash was minor, or this evening's wine-and-book trick did its job. It's probably a combination of both - the rear-ending happened on Van Ness, when I was stopped at a light, and the guy just kind of tapped me. The damage looked worse for him than it did for me - his car is lower than mine, so he slid up under the spare tire on my rear door and scraped his hood, while I just ended up with some scratches. So we exchanged information and were done in less than ten minutes, and I kind of doubt I'll do anything about it, but I need to wash it tomorrow and see if the damage is more noticeable when the post-Tahoe grime is gone.

So, that kind of shook me up despite it being minor, and it gave a weird tinge to my afternoon since I kept feeling the crash after (this is, apparently, a thing, since I had the same aftershocks when I was hit in October - I'm not liking the driving at the moment, since I'd gone 17+ years without any accidents and have had two in three months). But before the crash, I'd had a good morning - I got a lot of business-related stuff done, including prepping 1099s to send to the vendors who I paid more than $600 to last year, so that was all excellent.

I also spent some quality time prepping for my Hawaii conference - I leave in nine days, and while I'm mostly excited at the moment about sun and sea and mai tais and friends, I also need to remember that there is quite a bit of work to accomplish there, and that I need to prep for it. So I put the schedule into my calendar and my planner, and noted the 1:1 meetings that I need to prep for (I have eight appointments with the various retailers and book services who will be there, and while they are varying degrees of importance, they're all ultimately important and I don't want to look like an idiot despite not having put out a book in over a year). And now that I'm a little more organized, I'm not too worried about getting prepared, but I need to do some more work in the next week before I feel solid about it.

Then I made myself an excellent omelette, and then I showered and ran out the door for my writing date in San Mateo (to which I was ten minutes late, because see above). Anne was there, but Barbara wasn't yet, and so Anne and I talked until Barbara arrived, and then the three of us talked, so I basically wasted the first forty-five minutes (and by 'wasted' I mean 'enjoyed myself'). But then I wrote a surprising new scene for Rafe and Thorington (they are brothers, after all, and at the same party, so they should interact), and I'm loving what I have so far - like, actually loving it, in a way I haven't loved anything I've written in so long. So, yay.

But while I should have kept going with it, I was more concerned about beating traffic home, so I left at 4:15ish. Traffic was still brutal, but I didn't get rear-ended even though the girl behind me on the last critical mile into the city was taking selfies the entire time, so I feel #blessed. When I got home, I debated being good and cooking - but I was feeling slightly fragile, so I ordered a pizza, worked until it arrived, and then opened a bottle of wine and read 'The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before'. Jen Lui loaned it to me a couple of months ago, and since I'm seeing her tomorrow night, it seemed like tonight was the right time to read it. It's a prequel to the BSC series, and while it's perhaps a little bit below my reading level, it was still fun to read.

I was thinking after that I don't really remember how I felt when I was turning twelve, as the girls were in this book....but then I realized that that was the summer that we moved to Ukraine, which is, by definition, so fucking weird compared to the usual twelve-year-old experience. So I do remember having crushes on older boys, but my crush went on to be in the Ukrainian parliament. And I remember fighting with my parents about what to wear (I had a real thing for wearing a long turtleneck belted over leggings, which at the time seemed weird, and now is exactly what I would wear again, although maybe a regular sweater instead of a turtleneck). But there no other kids around, except for [censored], and nowhere to go, and anyway, I was kind of glad to be trapped in an apartment eating radioactive homemade bread and homeschooling myself for a year rather than dealing with the assholes in seventh grade. So it all worked out, I guess.

And now, I think I shall sleep - I'm liking my strategy of doing business stuff in the morning and writing in the afternoons, and I want to continue that trend tomorrow, but that means getting some sleep (and hoping the rear-ending didn't cause any whiplash). Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

it isn't you, isn't me, search for things that you can't see

I enjoyed an absurdly fancy sushi lunch, made a lot of work progress in the morning and writing progress in the afternoon/night, walked four miles, washed and folded four loads of laundry, and spent some quality time watching crackheads at Philz I would say that today was a smashing success.

Granted, I didn't get up early enough - and by that I mean I lazed about in bed for at least an hour when I really could have gotten up. But then I curled up on the couch with an iced coffee and my laptop and slogged successfully for a couple of hours. Then I had to run out of the house and walk down to the Embarcadero to meet Gyre for lunch. There was a point when I realized I was going to be ten minutes late, and I thought of getting in a lyft - but the traffic nightmare on Embarcadero and the surrounding areas in preparation for the Super Bowl has already started, and taking a lyft a mile would have taken as long as finishing my walk under my own power.

Luckily, Gyre was slightly late too, so I didn't keep him waiting - and we spent an hour and a half catching up over really ridiculously tasty (and ridiculously expensive) sushi and tea. I hadn't seen him since before Thanksgiving, so we had a lot to discuss. His stories made me exceedingly glad that I am no longer managing people, and my stories likely made him exceedingly glad that he's been with the same incredibly sane woman since they were both nineteen, so we probably both left feeling smug and self-satisfied.

After that, I intended to go to one of the Philz on Market Street, but the area was buzzing (with both Super Bowl setup and the usual financial district midday scene), so I started walking home...and then decided to hop on a bus to save myself some walking. So I rode to Van Ness, then went down to the Philz on Golden Gate, where I drank coffee and wrote for a couple of hours. The early chapters are starting to come together, although I'm still struggling with a bit of monkey mind when I open the book to work on it - but it's going leagues better than it was, so there is hope.

Then I came home, did four loads of laundry, took out recycling and compost (the compost had become its own ecosystem and was on the verge of sentience, and I felt bad for destroying it), and ate some supper. Then, I procrastinated on the web (and also did a few business-y things)....but eventually, I curled up in bed and wrote for another hour. This time, though, I was making notes for 'Spinster Honeymoon' - I had been mulling over it this evening, and I suddenly had an idea for structure, and some snippets of dialogue started coming to me, so I wrote it all down so I wouldn't forget it. Whether I write this book this year or not remains to be seen - but I think I want to.

And now, I'm going to sleep and hopefully force myself out of bed earlier tomorrow so I can accomplish all the things - goodnight!

Monday, January 25, 2016

f*%$ you, julio senior

I had an awesome day. On some intellectual level, I know that I do better (mentally/emotionally, at least) when I'm slightly overscheduled, and yet for the last few months I shied away from overscheduling because of the irrationally opposite belief that I needed wide-open swathes of time in which to get work done. Lol. Past Sara was a trainwreck, I think. But Present Sara owned it today, and I hope Future Sara learns from the last couple of weeks of overly-scheduled time and implements some changes.

sssanyway. Today was one of those overscheduled days. Which is not to say, of course, that it was hard - I got up at 8:30, as opposed to the 5:30am start time I had when I was commuting, and was still working by 9:15. I slogged v. diligently for a couple of hours, and then I ate a quick breakfast, packed my gym bag and my laptop, and drove to San Mateo.

I went to Equinox for the first time in two months, so I'm probably going to be super sore tomorrow - but it was great to go back, and I seem to have outlasted the first three weeks' worth of new years resolutioners, because the gym was the same level of crowded that it was in November. I did some squats and lunges and kettlebell swings, and then I did some cleans/presses and some snatches, and it all felt great even though I realized I'd lost my calluses (they'll come back quickly).

The amusing thing, though, was that I was working out near this super fit-looking girl who was doing some interesting-looking things, interspersed with jumping ropes (which I'm way too uncoordinated to pull off). I was in 'I haven't been to the gym in two months' mode and feeling like a poser, and just kind of assumed she was judging me. But as I was putting away my chalk and putting my shoes back on, she asked me where I learned my kettlebell exercises, and I ended up showing her how to do a clean and press. This is the third time since leaving Alyssa that someone has complimented my form / asked me if I'm certified, so apparently Alyssa did me right. And I got some tips from the girl on other kettlebell exercises to look up on YouTube, so that was kind of fun, in the end, and it teaches me to stop ignoring/judging people at the gym.

sssanyway again. I showered, grabbed lunch in the cafe, and then went to Starbucks and wrote for a couple of hours with Anne and Barbara. I have like five different possible opening scenes going, and so today was about comparing them all and trying to stitch them together into one scene - I didn't finish, but I made good progress.

And then, I met Shedletsky for happy hour in San Carlos, where we drank a lot of pinot noir and discussed tech-related things. Then, we adjourned to an italian restaurant and had dinner with Tina (aka Bride of Shedletsky), and continued to discuss life, and also discussed a possible trip to Macchu Picchu (aka Macho Pikachu, in Shedletsky-speak).

So, that was all great. And then I drove home, and now I need to sleep; tomorrow is more low-key than today, although I have grand lunch plans with Gyre. And low-key is good - while overscheduling myself is good, I think I'm in the mood to be productive, and there are many, many things on my to-do list that I could apply myself to if I feel like getting out of bed. So I'm going to get into bed now and see if that happens - goodnight!

pale prophecy

Last night's break from the social whirl paid off, even though I had a bit of regret when I heard that the plan I bailed on turned out to be quite fun. But really, I had no regret - I needed nine hours of sleep and a bunch of water instead of whisky, and that's exactly what I had. So I got up a little after eight ready to hit the day, and I showered, made myself some iced coffee, and was at my desk (and by desk I mean kitchen table, but I live in a studio so that's the best I can do) by 9:15.

First up on the list was a video chat with Kathia - we hadn't caught up since before the holidays, although we had exchanged some emails/texts, so we had a lot to say. Her life is more dramatic than mine at the moment, especially since she's contending with a blizzard, so it was good to talk (and to catch her up on my usual drama, which is not particularly dramatic at the moment). After we finished talking, I made myself an omelette with my new omelette pan and John's omelette technique, and it was so fucking good. Granted, I included some delicious (and deliciously overpriced) ham, and mushrooms and green onions, and monterey jack cheese, so it wasn't just the eggs that were good - but all together, it was totally perfect and now I want to eat an omelette every morning for the rest of my life (except on the mornings when I want to have salmon and cream cheese, of course...or the mornings when I'm hungover and go down to the marina so Tony can make me some huevos rancheros).

And then I got a pedicure, because my toenails were looking beat and I'm too much of a princess to neglect them. Then I worked for a couple of hours on a secret project, and I'm still debating what to do about this secret project, but we shall see. Then, I had my usual phone call with my parents - we talked health and politics and weather and Iowa State basketball on their side, which is pretty par for the course, and we talked writing and ridiculousness on my side, which is also pretty par for the course - but it was good to talk to them, as per usual.

After that, I worked on Rafe and Octavia for an hour. Then, I accidentally took a ten minute nap, and then woke up with a start and realized that I needed to leave immediately. So I put on real pants and ran out the door to meet up with Katrina. We had a quick, healthy, reasonably priced (ish - for SF, at least) dinner at Spinnerie, which is the rotisserie place near me - while we have seen each other pretty often since I got back from Iowa, we hadn't really had much of a chance to catch up on our own, so it was great to have a bit of a lowkey hangout.

We continued the lowkey hangout at Hemlock, where we had a hot toddy and talked while waiting for the main act of the evening - a comedy show hosted by Anchor Brewing, which included a performance by Sean Keane, who is friends with Vidya and Katrina and a bunch of other mutual people (although I haven't really crossed paths with him much). John showed up before the show, and he's friends with Sean as well, so Sean ended up talking to us before his performance (the whole thing was running like an hour late).

Then we went into the room where the show was happening, and there was a bizarre bit with the Anchor rep, who was asking people if they had any questions about beer or brewing or anything else, while ignoring the fact that the crowd clearly wanted to get to the comedians and the band. John later called the guy 'Beer Santa', which should give you a picture of what he looked like. But he finally left, and the first performer started (Caitlin Gill), and she was totally awesome and told a great story about stripping in front of a group of strippers whose holiday party she was performing for.

And then Sean performed and he was great too, and I loved his story of accidentally becoming a river troll while high on shrooms, but John later told me that his story about a proposal at a baseball game was all made up, so now I feel like the whole world is a lie and that I can't trust anyone ever again. Sad times. But I laughed a lot and wondered why I don't go to comedy shows more often, and then I remembered that I went to this one because it was free and less than two blocks from my house, and then I stopped feeling bad about my past decisions.

Eventually, though, it ended, and we all parted ways, and now I am writing this to you so that you will not be mad at me tomorrow when you check the blog and discover that I didn't post. You're welcome. Goodnight!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

don't you know that you're toxic

As you might have guessed from last night's post (which was really this morning's post), my day was kind of brutal. I dragged myself out of bed at 8:30 and managed to shower and make myself look halfway presentable before walking down to Samovar in Yerba Buena Gardens for a brunch date with Heather (aka dear respected madam).

We hadn't seen each other in a couple of months, partially because I was out of town and partially because she somehow had the wrong number in her phone for me and so texted multiple times and then assumed I hated her. Lol. I definitely hate people, but not her. Luckily, we cleared up that misunderstanding and had a great time catching up over brunch - it's perhaps an exaggeration to say that it was 'fun', since she's dealing with family stuff and I had a lot of drama to catch her up on (all of which is luckily behind me, but again, we hadn't seen each other since before I went to Denver, so there was a lot to say about SF and NYC and my writing and everything else). But I always love hanging out with her, so I loved our extended catch-up over tea and toast ('toast' is big in SF right now - I'm sure all of you in other parts of the country also love spending $10 on a piece of bread with a couple of eggs on top!).

sssanyway. My voice was shot even before I got to her, and I had somehow had something like an asthma attack this morning while getting into the shower (luckily I have an inhaler), which I'm going to blame on no sleep, too much alcohol, and too much karaoke/shouting to be heard at the bar. But I didn't feel quite like death, so I stopped at the mall, flipped off a guy and his friend who made some comment about my pussy and then vaguely wondered if they would find me and murder me later (so far, the answer to that would be no), tried on (and liked, but did not buy) some jeans, and then decided to go home. I left the mall and promptly walked into the middle of a big anti-abortion protest (the sexual harassers in the mall must have been avoiding that scene), and I was a) v. glad I hadn't driven downtown and b) v. eager to get out of the crowd.

So I walked home, grabbed Philz on the way, and then messed around on the internet in a desultory fashion until it was time to talk to Terry - we had a lot to catch up on, so we did it via hangout, and I got to hear about her experience with the historic blizzard. Then I took a nap, which was v. v. necessary, and did some more productivity stuff, and ate some spaghetti with some amatriciana sauce that I'd frozen last month (delish - I wish I had more sauce and am going to have to make another batch asap).

At that point, I was supposed to go out - I had tentative plans to do more karaoke with John and Vidya at Rickshaw Stop, but despite texts from both of them, I held firm to my belief that I needed to stay home and sleep tonight so I can get something productive done tomorrow. I've been happy with how social I've been this month, and I'm determined to do more new things this year than I did last year (I have the time for it, and that was one of the reasons I quit my job to begin with) - but tonight I needed a break, so I took it.

So I got some more stuff done tonight, and now I'm going to sleep, hope that I get nine hours, and then try writing in the morning before pursuing my other plans for the day. Goodnight!

hold me closer tony danza | them baggy sweatpants and the reeboks with the straps

At approximately 11:30p.m., I turned to Adit and said that I needed to take it slow tonight because I have brunch plans at 10a.m. and didn't want to repeat last night's off-the-rails adventure. But then he got this crazy light in his eyes, and I got a crazy light in my eyes....and experienced readers can guess what happened, and why it's now four a.m. and I have to get up in 4.5hrs. So I'm taking the unprecedented step of using two song lyrics for the post title, but since I feel like I lived several days compressed into this one, I'm going to go with it.

The first part of my day was highly professional; I went up to Sausalito to meet with some writer friends, and we found a really awesome coworking space that I would love to go back to. Then we had lunch at Salito's, which was right on the water, and my fish was delicious.

But you don't care about any of this - you're just waiting for the part where I had like ten drinks, so I'll try to speed this up.

I got home around three, and then I cleaned my bathroom, took a nap, and worked until six. And then I got ready and walked across the street to Yamasho for karaoke. John (the John from two weeks ago) had suggested karaoke themed around singers who died recently...but a combo of David Bowie and the Eagles is actually fairly depressing/ridiculous, so we added any singers who have died, or any singers who we wouldn't mind seeing dead. That expanded us into Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots ('Vasoline' is always a song I love when I remember it, but I never remember it) and a variety of other choices...although how we ended up singing 'Tiny Dancer' multiple times is beyond me.

But after singing for 2.5hrs, we were all famished, so we adjourned to Flybar for drinks/dinner. There were six of us (Chandlord, John, Rajiv, Sheila, and Nina), and we spent a couple of hours having a highly ridiculous conversation about high school crushes on Al Gore + sending goats as gifts.

At that point, my evening was still sedate, but it was about to go off the rails. John, Chandlord and I took a lyft to a bar in SOMA for Misha's birthday party, but John walked in, took one look at the party, and left - he somehow tops even me on the hermit spectrum. But I kept walking in, and we immediately found Annie, who gave us a tour of the bar (lost on us, since we spent most of the evening in the same four feet of space, until it was time to dance).

And then we saw a bunch of other people, and then Adit showed up, and my liver waved a white flag upon seeing his face, Pavlovian-style, as though it knew there were no other options. So I had a pisco sour and a gin and tonic (and a bit of another gin and tonic), and a shot of whisky and a shot of tequila, and I was glad that we're getting old since Adit stopped there rather than continuing to ply me with alcohol (or me continuing to accept it).

We also danced a ton (although the deep house went way too deep for awhile), and I met some new people, and I avoided talking to some old people (mostly just the guy whom I've been introduced to many times in the past decade who always acts like he's never seen me in his life). And Adit and I somehow worked a lot of real-life stuff into our conversation despite the club-like atmosphere, so that was great. And then, at 2:20ish, Adit/Katrina/I caught an uber to Grubstake, where Vidya met us (she somehow had escaped with her life before, but put it in danger again by coming to Grubstake). There, we somehow 'befriended' a South African bartenderr in line, who was exactly the kind of ridiculous stranger you hope to see at Grubstake (unlike the two furries who came in in full-on animal costumes, which was a little too far beyond even for my tastes.

sssanyway, we accomplished the first part of our recovery over cheese potato skins, and then I made it home, and now I'm going to get every bit of the four hours of sleep available to me before I have to get up and be social again. Goodnight!

Friday, January 22, 2016

we are always running for the thrill of it the thrill of it

Tonight went totally off the rails, and it's two a.m. and I need to go to bed *right now* because I have actual meetings tomorrow (followed by actual karaoke, followed by actual house parties, all of which are trés important).

But today was great - I spent the morning/midday/afternoon being productive, and then I walked to the marina, where I had impromptu wine at Nectar with Chris and Leah (unplanned, but v. excellent). Then I stopped in at the Apple store (my original goal), and the I ended up having dinner at Aix, where I was quite sedate until I met some random strangers and ended up having one of my ridiculous 'talk to random strangers and learn their life story and perhaps become too involved' nights (they invited me back to their place, and the guy was careful to clarify that this was not an invite to a threesome, but I ultimately declined and ate pudding instead).

So after they left, I closed down the bar with the bartender and the hostess, and then I came home and was going to blog two hours ago, but I dozed off with my laptop on the couch. So now I'm going to go to bed for reals and hope that tomorrow treats me kindly - goodnight! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

you go, i'll stay, you can keep all the memories

I'm back in my apartment in the evil city, and I'm actually happy to be here - perhaps the equivalent of two months away from it in the past quarter or so has made me love it again. But then, I haven't actually been outside in the city yet, and they're about to shut down a bunch of streets to prep for the Super Bowl, and it's supposed to rain all we'll see how long my joie de vivre lasts.

But today was great, and I wasn't totally ready to leave Tahoe even though another day probably would have resulted in cracked and bleeding hands (I am a princess and do not handle altitude well). I slept in a bit, and then I spent the late morning/early afternoon working and writing with Barbara. I really like her a lot, and she and her husband are perhaps the nicest couple I evidenced by the fact that I've now spent almost three weeks at her Tahoe house in the nine months, which is certainly welcome (especially since her house is super nice and right on the lake). And hanging out with her is always inspiring and always results in a list of a million things I want to do with my books/publishing career - and maybe this time I'm actually going to follow through on all of them.

But I wanted to get on the road by four so that I could get through the mountains by dark - and I accomplished that goal down to the minute, which was great. The whole drive took less than four hours, which wasn't bad; I would have been home sooner, but I stopped for food and actually sat down to eat it rather than eating in my car, so progress was delayed. But when I got home, I unpacked, put everything away, and made my plans for the rest of the week.

And now, after several days of highly productive engagement in the mountains, I'm going to go to sleep and see if I can replicate that feat in the concrete jungle. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

you want to go the fast way from jupiter to mars

I'm still in Tahoe...I think I'll leave tomorrow, since my skin is starting to dry up and I need to get back to lower altitudes before I look like the cryptkeeper, but it's been a highly productive trip to the mountains. Today was slightly more lowkey than the previous days; Bella and her family left around noon, and after that, I think Barbara and I were both feeling slightly lethargic (albeit still productive). So I answered a bunch of emails (not all the emails I need to answer, but it's a start), and I did some business-y stuff, and then we talked for awhile and walked to Safeway to get stuff for dinner.

But when we got back, I got some feedback on the latest direction for Rafe's development (which was super helpful). And then I barricaded myself in the media room and wrote for a couple of hours, which was great. But I stopped around five, and Barbara and her husband and I made dinner and hung out. Eventually, I opened my laptop again and did some more work (changing prices, doing some ad stuff)....and I made the horrifying discovery that my blurb for my first book fails to mention 'duke' enough, which is a serious rookie error since dukes sell books better than anything, and I didn't say he was a duke until the last fucking line. Oops. Clearly it's still sold a bunch of copies over the past four years (hard to believe it's been four years...), but I need to rectify this immediately.

But that's a task for tomorrow - right now I need to sleep so I can write in the morning. My current plan is to work here most of the day and leave around four p.m., with the grand plan of getting through the mountains before dark, stopping for something to eat before hitting traffic in Sacramento, and hopefully arriving in the bay area at the end of rush hour. But we'll see if that all works out - the main goal is to get some work done tomorrow before I leave, since I know I won't want to work when I get home if I leave in the morning. We shall see, we shall see. Goodnight!

Monday, January 18, 2016

who owns my heart? is it love or is it art?

I've completely, totally, unavoidably hit the wall on work - which is probably kind of bizarre for most of you to read, since many of you had a three-day weekend off, while I spent the entire three-day weekend working more than I've worked in at least two months. But a hard and brutal slog was probably a necessary way to burn off the rest of my pre-holiday anger/depression/malaise, and I'm feeling the story again, so this is all a good thing.

But yeah, today was brutal. I slept later than planned because I was wiped out from yesterday's work session, but I was downstairs by ten, and I spent an hour talking to Barbara while making myself an omelette (the first omelette I've ever made, and it turned out perfectly thanks to the lesson John gave me in Calistoga (was that really only ten days ago?)). There is a risk that I'm going to be hired to be her personal chef, since her husband was v. impressed by the looks of my omelette and keeps hinting, very strongly, that he would like for me to make him the soup that I'd made on one of my previous writing retreats. Ha.

Anyway, eventually Bella's husband and kids left to go skiing, and Barbara's husband left to work on stuff at their other rental property, and the three of us started working. We'd intended to work from eleven to three and then stop and relax for the rest of the day, but instead we worked until almost seven. At that point, I was so beyond dead that at some point I just walked away and wandered aimlessly around until I realized that I needed to eat something immediately or die, and so I ate some tortilla chips even though we were leaving for dinner in ten minutes.

Apparently it didn't ruin my appetite...we all went to MacDuff's, which is a Scottish pub a couple of blocks away, and I had the shepherd's pie (beef, onions, carrots, and some deliciously cheesy mashed potatoes on top) and a glass of wine, and I ate the entire shepherd's pie like I'd been starved for a week (which is the consequence of thinking so hard all day - creating things from scratch takes a lot of mental energy, so it's no wonder I'm wrecked).

And then we came home, and unlike during the previous nights I refused to be lured into further conversation - so I came upstairs, hid in my room, and read for the last hour or so. But Tahoe has been super productive, and I'm hoping I can keep the productivity going tomorrow (although Bella is leaving, so Barbara and I have plans to be less slave-driverish with ourselves and possibly go to work at Starbucks for a couple of hours, which would be a nice change).

And now, I need to sleep so I can continue my recovery and enable some productivity tomorrow - goodnight!

i know this road, goes back to the start

It was three years ago right now that I went back to the day job - I remembered, just now, that I started there the of MLK Day. That's the only observation, feels like yesterday, and like a lifetime ago, and I have no feelings at the moment other than a bit of wistful nostalgia for how I must have felt on that weekend three years ago, and how I must have thought that I'd found exactly the right job at exactly the right time (which was true, although it didn't end up staying that way).

sssanyway. Today had nothing to do with that, and wasn't melancholy at all, so it's funny that I ended up in melancholia when the rest of the day was great. I spent almost all of it working downstairs with Barbara and Bella, which was all rather intense - I'm making great progress, etc., but that comes at the expense of all the energy necessary to keep my brain firing on all cylinders when I'm used to taking a lot more naps.

But we broke at five, and I talked to my parents for awhile, since I couldn't let Sunday go by without catching up with them. Then, I hung out and took a break, and then we all met Veronica (another writer) and her husband and son for dinner at Riva Grill. Riva is the common location for our end-of-retreat fancy dinners (or, at least, we've gone there on the last two retreats I've been on), and while the retreat isn't over, the dinner was v. welcome. I had scallops with dungeness crab risotto and two glasses of excellent pinot noir, and it was all totally delightful.

Then we came back to the house, and Bella tried to pry secrets out of me (but failed) and told me the only story she knows about Adit (he someone, mysteriously, found our friend Anne's book at Goodwill many years ago, and found that it had been signed by Anne to give to Bella, who had somehow donated it, and of course Adit told Anne immediately because that's the kind of friend he I have now found someone who hates Adit for the most tangential and bizarre of reasons, which feels like a win!). And now I need to sleep so that I can attempt to rest my brain in time for tomorrow's workathon - goodnight!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

what's wrong with being confident

There are parties going on around us tonight, and while I'm fondly remembering my youth, when I used to stay up all night drinking in rental units in Tahoe on snowy weekends like this one, my inner octogenarian is currently wishing the kids would get the fuck out of my yard.

However, despite my curmudgeonliness, today was great. Or at least it was productive - but my brain is fried, and I really need to sleep (and I'm glad I brought my earplugs). I basically spent the whole day working with Barbara and Bella, with some breaks for snacks and caffeine and a lot of laughter. We stopped around five and spent the rest of the evening hanging out...and a game of "Balderdash" sort of made an appearance. I say 'sort of' because Bella's daughter basically read us snippets from cards and tried to get us to guess stuff, which was actually pretty amusing (and interspersed with occasional outbursts of rage from other people in the house about the extremely loud party going on below us). But the most interesting part for me, since I'm a dork, is that the house has a newer version of Balderdash than the one that my family played over Christmas, and the non-1980s version has many different clues (including stuff around weird laws, which was kind of fun).

sssanyway, I'm even boring myself tonight, so I'm going to sleep and hope that my brain restores itself so I can work just as much again tomorrow. Goodnight!

Friday, January 15, 2016

even if we can't find heaven, i'll walk through hell with you

I'm in Tahoe, which I am slowly coming to associate, pavlovian-style, with intense work instead of fun vacations. When I packed this morning, my suitcase consisted almost entirely of loungewear (yoga tights, slippers, scarves, etc.), and I had to bring two extra totebags with paper, pens, markers, my portable keyboard and trackpad, more sweatshirts, books, etc., etc. Considering that almost all of my Tahoe trips in the past five years have been for writing retreats (either solo or in groups), it's no wonder I think that coming to the mountains = work instead of fun.

But that's fine with me - I do want to get back up here for a fun snowy break sometime this season, but it's MLK weekend, which means even if I wanted to do a ski lesson, the crowds would be prohibitive for my hermity heart. So I packed my stuff this morning and made it out the door by ten, and traffic was miraculously good (especially after last night's horrendous debacle getting to/from Berkeley) - I was expecting some early holiday rush, but I didn't hit any delays at all, and there was no line for lunch at the In-n-Out in Placerville.

So I got here a little after two, which was exactly when Barbara and her husband arrived. We hauled our stuff into the house and sat around until Bella and her family showed up, and then several of us went over to Safeway to stock up on groceries (and were amazed that Safeway was also relatively empty - something I trust will not be the case later in the weekend).

Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon working with Barbara and Bella; Bella's family is up here to ski, and Barbara's husband will somehow amuse himself, but we're working all weekend. All of that went well, but we hit a wall sometime around seven as we all got progressively hungrier waiting for our pizza to arrive (which took almost two hours from when we ordered, and they screwed up Bella's in the worst way possible (she had ordered gluten-free, cheese-free veggie and they brought a gluten-free meat-lovers with extra cheese instead - so I ate some of that, and they had to bring her a new pizza later)). So we finally ate, and then we sat around talking until almost ten.

But now, I really need to sleep so that I can be wildly productive tomorrow - goodnight!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

i keep on hoping we'll eat cake by the ocean

I was highly productive for most of the day, but then I had to drive to the east bay and it all went sideways...but I had fun while I was there, so I suppose I can forgive the absolute torture that was the drive...

But first, my day. It certainly started better than Alan Rickman's (too soon?), although I slept badly and had nightmares this morning for the first time in awhile. But I rallied and spent the morning working on a side project I've got going, while also doing laundry and prepping to leave for Tahoe tomorrow. I basically worked straight through until twoish, when I showered and got dressed and packed up some stuff, and then I thought I could drive to Berkeley and work for a couple more hours before my dinner plans.

And that was a good plan...except it took an hour and a half to drive to Berkeley, including forty-five fucking minutes to get to the base of the Bay Bridge from my apartment (a grand distance of three miles). I almost could have walked there in that amount of time. Granted, it was raining, which always makes traffic worse, but this was truly horrendous. So by the time I got to Berkeley, I only had an hour to work, but I was diligent and got through a bunch of stuff while drinking Philz (which was comped by a v. friendly cashier).

Then, I braved traffic again to meet John and Jess for dinner at Townhouse in Emeryville. I hadn't been to Townhouse in several years, but I had been wanting to go back, and John and Jess and I had made this plan a couple of weeks ago (before I had gone up for our impromptu Calistoga adventure last week). So we talked about work and life and raccoons and human feces, and it was all the usual good clean fun.

And then I drove home, and while it took far less time to get home than it took to get there, I'm totally wiped out and considering the bad move of going to bed super early and thinking I'll get everything done that I need to get done before leaving tomorrow morning (probably a foolish and unwise decision, but it might be the one I made). Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

okay you want me up in a cage, then i'll come out in beast mode

I have no patience for blogging tonight - I spent most of the day staring at screens, and most of the evening drinking/socializing, and most of the night reading, so I'd rather go to bed than type this. But I'll recap since you're eagerly awaiting this...

As I said, I spent most of the day staring at screens - I worked really diligently most of the morning, and then I took a break to get some pho (and I survived the walk through the Tenderloin there and back, so that's a good thing!). Then I took a nap to sleep off the pho coma. And then I stared at a screen nonstop for a few more hours, which was productive but also nausea-inducing, since I'm used to getting up and taking breaks more often than that.

But eventually (at 5pm), I had to stop, shower, and put on real people clothes (yes, getting dressed happened at 5pm, but in my defense I had switched out of pajamas at 8am and brushed my teeth and hair, so I wasn't totally slovenly). I met up with Jenni at Amelie - I hadn't seen her in over a year (since the night of my team's offsite in Half Moon Bay in November 2014, which I remembered even without looking back at the blog to figure it out). So, needless to say, we had a ton to catch up on, which was duly accomplished over two glasses of wine and some cheese and charcuterie. She seems to be doing well, and I was glad to hear all of her life updates, and I hope that we manage to see each other again a little more frequently than our last hiatus would indicate.

And then I came home, and I should have worked some more, but I wasn't feeling it, so I spent an hour and a half or so reading the first section of Elena Ferrante's "My Brilliant Friend", which has been getting acclaim in all sorts of circles and has been on my reading list for awhile. And now I'm going to sleep, hope that my dreams are happy, and get up ready to hit it hard in the morning - goodnight!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

my mama don't like you and she likes everyone

(sidenote: my mama likes no one, so in this case, the title lyric has limited validity)

I was quite productive today, despite making a second trip to the south bay in two days and continuing to overdose on social activities. This morning was mostly consumed with tax stuff - I needed to get information to my CPA for making a January estimate, and that required digging through a bunch of stuff since I've been behind on my bookkeeping. But I got it off to her, and then I went to Samovar, where I ate some tasty toast with poached eggs and bacon. I also drank chai and wrote for an hour - my attempt to reconfigure Rafe and Octavia's story might actually work this time, but I don't want to jinx it.

Then I went to my salon, where I got my eyebrows waxed and tinted so I don't look like my granddad, and where I also got a facial since my skin was feeling wrecked after six weeks of travel - Denver did no favors to my hydration levels, and NYC/Healdsburg/the last week of socializing did no favors to my detoxing. Both of these services were accomplished with Amanda, whom I adore, and we had a lot to catch up on (she gave me a rundown of east bay neighborhoods, since she has lived there forever, and even gave me her phone number in case I want more info - but at the moment I'm thinking I need to hunker down and write for a few months and not think about blowing up my life quite so dramatically).

Then I drove to the glorious south bay, which I really didn't want to do, since I have so much work and so many social things on my calendar (this is a problem of my own making, I know). But I showered there, since I hadn't showered this morning, and then I went to Philz to work some more. But I was only at Philz for half an hour before Joann asked if I wanted to meet for dinner early, since she was starving and wanted to get out of her office. So I met her at Pacific Catch, which is where we were meeting the four other people for dinner, and we ordered a bottle of wine (it was half off all bottles tonight), and we waited, and caught up, and waited some more...

...and twenty minutes after the appointed meeting time, we were still the only people there. It's a sign of how bad traffic is in the bay area that we just thought this was normal, rather than wondering what had happened. But as it turns out, the restaurant had seated three of the other people at a different table on the other side of the restaurant, and so we'd all been waiting (and they ordered the same bottle of wine that we did).

Luckily, we figured it out, and then we caught up on all sorts of things. It was our semi-regular friendship renewal dinner (people who started at my old employer in 2003, which is a lifetime ago), and we hadn't had one in ages, so it was good to see everyone. Of course, I'd seen Joann and Jen more recently, and I see Jen the most now that she's working in SF, but it was lovely to see Tolu, Jane, and Lizzie. And they are all v. v. eager for me to write my spinster honeymoon book instead of a historical romance - so at least if Rafe and Octavia fuck me over again, I have a backup.

Eventually we all parted ways, and I drove back to the city of sin, and now I'm too tired to work - so I'm going to sleep and hope to hit it hard tomorrow, when I have no plans until 6pm (it's a new record!). Goodnight!

Monday, January 11, 2016

in every lost soul the bones of a miracle

Today was melancholy and bittersweet, and full of memories, and ultimately full of connection and happiness. I woke up this morning after nine hours of sleep, which was enough to restore me, but also enough to give me waking dreams for the last hour, none of which I wanted. But I got up and took care of a bunch of stuff around the house (mostly cleaning/dusting - it was so dusty after six weeks of neglecting the dusting that I couldn't bear to work from home until the dusting was done, so I did it at nine a.m. on a Monday like a crazy person). And then I showered, and did some planning for the week ahead.

But then I had to drive to the south bay to have lunch with my old boss - hence the melancholy, bittersweet memories. It has been eight months since I left work, and some things have changed completely and irrevocably, and some things haven't changed at all. For starters, I haven't finished my book, but you know that. But the old boss and I went to one of my least favorite cafes (Root), which has gotten strangely better (the carnitas tacos were actually delicious), and then grabbed coffee at Coffee Lab (writing there in the early mornings is one of the things I still truly miss, after having let go of most of the rest of it). Then we went back to our old building, where I spent a lot of quality time talking to Tom and Howell, and a little quality time talking to Tomas and Manuela and Ravi. Then, I absconded with Eugene and made him talk to me for half an hour in my car in the parking lot; he's the one who put a noisemaker in my car a year ago, so if anything happens to my car in the next few weeks, I'm blaming him.

Then, full of gossip and without anyone to tell it to, I left campus and drove myself back to the city. I'm truly happy that I left work, and truly don't regret that - but it's still bittersweet to see the old team. And Sriram (the old boss) gave me a Christmas present that he'd given to everyone else on the team (a nice metal water bottle + a card with pictures from their offsite), so it's almost like I never left...but of course I've been gone forever.

sssanyway. I got home, took care of a few more things around the house, and then walked two miles into the Mission and wrote at Ritual for an hour. This is a great place to write by hand, since they don't have wifi, and so I got an iced coffee for fall-of-Rome prices and wrote in my notebook for an hour. As I've said, I'm making a solid, last-ditch push this month on finishing Rafe and Octavia's book (before deciding whether to abandon it forever), and so I scribbled for an hour on what I want to change and what I've realized about it, and what makes the story feel alive vs. dead for me. Now that I've owned the decision to push forward, and now that I've owned what the book is about, there's a chance I could just drink whisky for the next three weeks and bang it all out in one long, emotional orgy of writing and drinking, but I think I'll take the non-Hemingway approach and try to write it sober instead. But we shall see.

I had to stop writing, though, to meet up with Can Sar (remember him?) at Foreign Cinema. We hadn't seen each other since Shedletsky's wedding a year and a half ago, so we were way overdue for a catch-up. This was duly accomplished over a delish dinner (I had risotto, into which they had snuck some kale, but it was so good that I forgave them; I also had two glasses of Banshee's pinot noir, which I'm glad I discovered during my epic Healdsburg adventure in December) - Can seems to be in fine form, and is reading books for like twelve hours a day, which leaves me in awe and also slightly jealous.

And then I took a lyft home, and then I had an impromptu phone call with Katie, who always makes my heart sing and my spirits soar. And now that I've connected with old coworkers and old friends and even older besties, it's time for me to sleep - I want to write tomorrow before commencing my social whirl, and I also have some business to take care of, so sleep is imperative. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

i want you by my side

I'm hitting my introvert wall, but today was great - and I think I can keep pushing through the next few days of social whirl if I go to bed as soon as I finish writing this. I think I've stayed up until at least one a.m. every night since I got back from Iowa, and this was the first night that I didn't drink anything, so hopefully I'll feel more refreshed tomorrow.

But you don't care about tomorrow - you are here for today's recap (okay, maybe you're here because you're bored).

I dragged myself out of bed this morning and drove over to the dirty east bay - I suppose now is as good a time as any to tell you that I've been considering moving to Berkeley. Yes, this is a total jhoke on my face, since I've hated on Berkeley for the last fifteen years. But in December, when I was mostly extremely blocked and angry and unable to write, I was thinking that maybe moving would help (although then I was thinking I would put my stuff in storage and go totally nomad). And then, later in December, when I'd gotten some quiet solace in Iowa, I was thinking that maybe I still wanted to live in the bay area, but that I wanted to live somewhere with more space and more peaceful surroundings.

And so today, I went over to Berkeley to spend some time wandering around the Berkeley Hills - I was looking at both the hills and at North Berkeley, and decided to check out the hills first. This was a good thing; as soon as I saw the hills, I realized I wanted no part in living in them. The area is super peaceful and gorgeous, and there are some awesome walking paths that cut through the hills so you don't have to drive or walk on sidewalks. But the hills are really steep, and it seems highly unlikely that I would ever walk down (or, more likely, back up) them to go to a coffee shop or something. Also, the steepness gives me some serious concerns about landslides, especially since they're right on top of the Hayward fault, which could go off at any moment.

Anyway, I wandered around the hills and the Solano shopping/restaurant strip, and I had lunch, and I bought a book at a bookstore, and it was a nice morning (even if it proved that I don't ever want to go there again). Then I rendezvoused with John and Jess for a v. brief conversation, which was delightful.

But after that, I'm going to put moving thoughts on hiatus for a little bit - I really, really am feeling like writing again, for the first time in forever, and I should strike while that iron is hot rather than obsessing over whether I want to move and where. And I actually like my apartment - it's the crackheads that are a problem, and if I'm holing up and writing and ordering food in to support myself, the crackheads are less of a problem (until I become one).

sssanyway again. I came home in time to have my usual Sunday afternoon call with my parents, who were in fine form. Then I did some stuff around the house, and then I picked up Chandlord, and then we went to the Sunset to have family dinner at Enjoy Vegetarian. There was a pretty long line for the first time in the many times I've been there, and since there were seven of us (plus a baby), we had to wait awhile. But it was worth it, I think.

It was kind of the usual suspects - Omar is in town, so he had organized it, which meant we ended up with Adit, Priyanka, Chandlord, Katrina, and Raja. This group tends to be ridiculous, and we somehow got the waitress (Rachel, whose English is somewhat imperfect) to start saying 'boom' after serving us, so that was exciting.

We also did our usual 'recap your day' conversation, although we turned it into 'weekend update' and put a time limit on it (two minutes to recap, three minutes for the audience to ask follow-up questions). It turns out it's really hard to keep from asking follow-up questions, and we were all trying desperately to remember them - but this kept the conversation from getting bogged down in a play-by-play of Raja's internet browsing as it usually does, so I think this was a good thing. Or maybe it was a bad thing, since Raja can entertain you for forty-five minutes by telling you everything he did on a day in which he didn't leave the house (as discovered at a previous family dinner).

But everyone's updates were mostly enjoyable, mostly informative, and clearly only hinting at many things going on beneath the surface, which was v. entertaining. Also, many of us had overlapped with each other at various points in the weekend, so hearing those overlap points from others was interesting. Anyway, this game probably isn't the game that most people play when having dinner with friends, but I quite enjoyed it.

Eventually, though, Adit and Priyanka had to leave to feed Vihaan (who cannot enjoy vegetarian yet, but he hung out in his carrier for the duration of dinner with minimal fussing), and the rest of us sat around for a bit longer and continued the ridiculousness before parting ways. Then I gave Chandlord a ride home, and I really really hope she hasn't given me the cold she has (which she may have given me yesterday, before she knew she was sick).

And now you know it all, and I must sleep and hope to recover from hitting the introvert wall so that I can write in the morning before attempting extroversion again. Goodnight!

you used to call me on my cell phone, late night when you need my love

My extreme social schedule continues unabated, and I may crash by the end of it - but today was super fun. Of course, it started off in a slightly surly manner since I had four glasses of wine last night with John (whom I should perhaps introduce as someone who is generally in my friend circle, although it's confusing to introduce yet another John to the blog mix; we were trying to organize karaoke last night but the other people bailed, so we held to the drinking portion of the wine and karaoke evening), and also a lot of sugar, which made for a mildly unpleasant morning (my liver is still weeping for its easy vacation days in Iowa, but I'm whipping it back into shape).

But I got out of bed and through my morning routine in time to meet Lauren (aka Subz) for a quick brunch in her neighborhood. She seems good, but I've got to say our conversation didn't sell me on the idea of motherhood. Still, it was great to see her even though we only had an hour (again, not sold on motherhood), and hopefully I'll be in town again someday when she can get an hour away from zee baby.

Then I came home and was considering doing some epic cleaning of the apartment when Vidya (aka Chandlord) came over, shouted 'Ellis Act!' as she walked through the door, and proceeded to make me cry. That's actually all true, although perhaps those events were unrelated. But I made her some chai, and she curled up in my freshly-made bed, and we talked about all manner of things, and it was lovely (or lowely, as she would say). Then I gave her a ride to Castro Theatre, and came home and had an hour of solitude...

And then I drove to the glorious south bay to have dinner with Joann and Jen in San Mateo. You may remember Joann from my spinster honeymoon, and I continue to feel like I need to write that book someday. The three of us never catch up on weekends, but now we feel like we should only do this on weekends - it was nice to be leisurely about it, and I feel like we talked about work less, which may be because we weren't all coming straight from our jobs.

So we had dinner at Central Park Bistro; I had scallops with risotto, which was delicious, and then we split a couple of desserts. When we were finally done there, we adjourned to Grape + Grain, which was a wine/beer bar, where we watched a nasty head tackle during the end of the Steelers/Bengals game, and then promptly forgot all about it and continued to catch up in a delightful and dramatic fashion. We ended up staying there until after eleven, which is not soooo late...but we're all old, and we'd met at 6:30, and we all still had to drive home to our respective locations (San Mateo was kind of the midpoint for me and Joann), so we parted ways abruptly.

And then I came home, and now I need to sleep - I'm similarly overextended for the next few days, which means I need to get some actual work done tomorrow (and I'm weirdly excited to do it, so I should seize that momentum). Goodnight!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

these seconds when i'm shaking leave me shuddering for days

Let's see how I do with the blog tonight, since I spent ten hours socializing, most of those hours also drinking, and not nearly enough time sleeping/working/recovering. But it was all epically fun, and I have no regrets.

I woke up this morning in Calistoga (or St Helena or something - the cabin was in the middle of nowhere between some of those cities). It was misty and beautiful outside among the redwoods, and cozy and delightful inside. John made us all omelettes (which were delish - I should probably get an omelette pan and practice), and Jess cut some fruit to make for a v. visually appealing fruit platter, and I sat around and did nothing but make tea for myself (#sorrynotosorry).

Then we all parted ways and worked for a couple of hours (although I also threw a shower in there, so my productivity was less than theirs). Then we walked their dog around a bit of the property (again, gorgeous, although I didn't bring clothes suitable for hiking, so I nixed the idea of forging the stream that had been raging with post-rain anger last night). And then we drove into Santa Rosa for a late lunch at a tasty Mexican taqueria (Taqueria Las Palmas, where my taco was out of this world good).

Sadly, I needed to part ways at that point. I left John and Jess around 1:45 and was home before three, which gave me time to do a tiny bit of work before (trying, and failing) to change my situation by taking a nap . Then I walked to Nectar, where I met John (different John) for drinks. We continued the fun at Mezes, which I hadn't been to in ages, and then we tried to drink with Adit (but instead said hi before he locked the door to go out for dinner). We then had dessert and another drink at Delfina (where we only wanted a drink, but felt coerced, in the best possible way, into chocolate and cheese). And we ended up at ABV, which I adore, and we hung out with Charu and Julie (old old Stanford people whom I never see anymore), so that was all a good way to end the night.

But I'm falling asleep as I write this and have no idea whether any of it means anyting - so I need to sleep before my dreams totally overtake my ability to write. Goodnight!

Friday, January 08, 2016

your heart is too strong anyway

My dire warnings about lack of connectivity tonight were somewhat founded, but I'm eking out just enough signal to post this (I hope). Today was a full-on immersion into the social whirl, but I actually got some work done (shocking, I know!). I also got the 9+ hours of sleep I was hoping for, which may keep me alive tomorrow when I get six or seven tonight...

But I woke up this morning, laid in bed and listened to the rain drumming on my skylights, and eventually got up to pour the tea that had made itself for me in my timed teapot. Then I curled up on the couch with a blanket and my laptop and spent a couple of hours rereading what I've got for Rafe and Octavia. I had basically put them totally away for the last six weeks or so, as I was feeling like the book had possibly died on me - it was feeling so wrong that I wasn't sure it would ever be right, and I was on the verge of abandoning it entirely, apologizing to my fans (and likely losing a bunch of them), and starting a new series. And I had done some work on the secret gargoyle project, although not enough to really make a ton of progress there...before taking off my time in Iowa entirely, which was probably what I needed.

But I decided to open up Rafe and Octavia and see how it felt with some time and distance. So I read most of it this morning, and got through the rest of it during my writing date this afternoon, and made some notes as I was reading. And the verdict: there are certainly parts that are boring and can be edited/cut, and there are parts where I'm probably struggling (possibly too much) to decide what to recap from Thorington's book and what to leave out, since this book overlaps with that one (which was probably a stupid way to set it up). But....there are also parts that are great, and feel like they're alive (albeit on life support, with a weak, thready pulse). So maybe it's more like one of the ancient trees in my front yard in Iowa, struck by lightning so many times that the core is cracked and it looks dead, but is somehow still putting out new growth thirty feet up in the air.

Anyway. I don't exactly know what the next step is, but I intend to find out. And that's vaguely exciting, but I'm trying not to get too excited because this is the first time I've been excited about it in months and I don't want to jinx it.

So...eventually I had to shower, and throw some stuff in a bag, and run out the door to drive to Hillsdale for lunch at Cheesecake Factory (which I haven't been to in years). This was weird because a) Cheesecake Factory and b) I was invited by Barbara, who I'm friends with, but the lunch was to celebrate the birthday of another writer whom I've never met before in my life. That woman arrived and sat across from me and was clearly trying to figure out if she knew me and why I was there, so that was vaguely humorous. But lunch was really fun, and I liked the birthday woman, and I knew four of the five other women, so it was all good.

Then, Barbara, Anne, Poppy and I went to Starbucks and wrote for a couple of hours (and gossiped a little). My 'writing' was finishing rereading, but that was what I needed to do. Then, I went to Belmont and met Shedletsky for a drink (mai tais!) at Rangoon Ruby. Our drink was at 5pm, which seemed highly civilized to me, and we talked about our vacations and recent developments in tech, which was super fun. At 6pm, Tina (aka Bride of Shedletsky) joined us, and we had a v. v. v. tasty dinner, and reminisced about our magical north bay experience from December.

But eventually I had to leave them to have another magical north bay experience - which means I drove two hours up to Calistoga to arrive here at 9:30pm and hang out with John and Jess. They've had a house up here for a week, and it's gorgeous (although I couldn't see the outside as it was dark, but I could hear a creek raging, and the trees are beautiful, and I saw Orion as soon as I got out of my car - that constellation always makes me happy somewhere deep inside). So I came up to hang out and spend the night with them, which means we spent the last three hours catching up (although Jess fell asleep for the last twenty minutes of it, which was probably the smart thing to do). Their hospitality remains unparalleled; John made us cocktails in his usual fashion (invent something with whatever is around), which resulted in us each having two mugs of 'honey bacardi' (hot water, honey, bacardi gold rum). Surprisingly, this was one of his better efforts, hence the ability to have two of them.

But now, my liver is whispering that perhaps living in Iowa would be healthier for it, and my heart is whispering that perhaps California is worth sticking around in even though my soul longs for a bit of wild nomadic wandering...and my body is saying that they're all being stupid and it's time for bed rather than ruminations about the future. So I'm going to sleep so I can enjoy the north bay before heading back to the city tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

she's been living on the highest shelf

There is a chance that I won't blog tomorrow night (second time in six days is unheard of, I know) - I'm currently planning to visit John and Jess at a cabin they're renting in the north bay, and they have said that wifi is spotty and cell reception nonexistent. So if you don't hear from me, don't assume I'm dead - I will hopefully be continuing to ramp up my week of extreme socializing in a delightfully remote location.

Anyway. Today was relatively quiet compared to what I've got coming up, which was probably a good thing since I barely slept last night - I ended up not falling asleep until almost two a.m., and thanks to the whisky/tequila with Chandlord + the heavy rain on the skylights above my bed + the significantly noisier surroundings after three weeks in Iowa, I slept fitfully at best. So I spent most of today in a tired haze, which didn't make for much productivity (I didn't even try to write).

But I did a bunch of stuff around the house and finished unpacking. And I walked down to the marina to see my aesthetician, and then I had a long, leisurely brunch at Caffe Union. They were pretty quiet today, so Tony and I talked for a long time, which was a perfect interlude. Then I walked home, took a brief nap, did some more work + some stuff around the house, and then drove to the Mission to get my bangs trimmed (I now look merely cute again, rather than like a bitchy model-type - but I can certainly see better).

When I got home, I was torn between eating here, going out, ordering in, or not eating at all - I was too tired to make a decision, and I defaulted to not eating for too long, which meant my blood sugar demanded instant satisfaction. So I ate some yogurt and some fritos (dinner of champions), then did a bunch of work, and then ate a gluten free bagel with cream cheese and salmon (the bagel, which was not from my usual brand, was horrible, but the salmon went a long way toward reviving me).

And now, I think I'll go to bed early and hope I get nine hours of sleep - I have a massive quantity of plans tomorrow (lunch with writer friends, afternoon writing date, early bird dinner with the Shedletskys, and then a drive to the north bay), so I should probably rest up. Goodnight!

where do the good boys go to hide away

I have returned to the city of sin, after having spent 34 of the last 48 days out of town in some capacity (three weeks in Iowa, plus a couple of days in Healdsburg and trips to NYC and Denver = no time for the city of sin). But it's looking like I'm going to make up for my absence - suddenly, unexpectedly, I have plans every single night (and some days) between now and next Friday, when I leave for Tahoe. Actually, tomorrow night is free, but given all the things I need to do, I expect to spend it working (or to be lured out unexpectedly).

So...I shall keep this brief, since there's not a lot of interesting stuff to report (beyond the surprise special guest at the end!). I woke up this morning after not enough sleep, and I finished packing in time for my parents to take me to Des Moines. We had lunch at Johnny's, as per usual, and then they dropped me off at the airport and we said our sad farewells. Checking in and getting through security took less than five minutes, so I checked the internet world and messed around until my flight.

That flight was interesting in that I sat next to a guy who is from the next county over from me, and who is likely the guy who bought some of the tiger shrimp that my dad also got from a special order at our favorite butcher counter over Christmas. So we talked most of the way, which I resented less than I usually do. We were early getting into Denver, which gave me time to get my boots shined (very necessary after three weeks of snow and dust and mud). And then my SF flight actually got in slightly early as well, which as v. unexpected given the rains here. So I grabbed my bag and then took a lyft home, and had a v. nice conversation with a v. entertaining Brazilian driver who told me horror stories about Oakland (my favorite topic!).

When I got home, I was determined not to fall into torpor, so I unpacked, threw three loads of laundry into the machines downstairs, and went to Whole Foods to get some basic necessities to get me through the next couple of days. They were almost entirely out of eggs (except for the super organic ones that are $9/dozen, which is ridic), so apparently everyone else in my neighborhood was also stocking up on basics. But I have some things to tide me over (most importantly, cream for my coffee), so that's all good.

But eventually, I was lured out of the safety of my home to have an impromptu drink with Vidya (aka Chandlord). She met me here and we walked to Benjamin Cooper, where I had my first cocktail since Healdsburg and we caught up on many of the things I've missed here. She has done an excellent job of befriending the bartenders there (#protip: befriend the bartender), so they gave us whisky shots in super fancy shot-sized flutes (I assume they're for cordial or something), which was entirely unnecessary on top of the cocktail (and not a particularly good mix with my tequila/elderflower/zinfandel drink, which was itself a strange and interesting choice), but entirely appreciated.

So we caught up in a delightful and desultory fashion, and I made it home without being stabbed (although I saw some prostitutes and a couple of guys passed out on the street and some other questionable characters, who were, all together, more people than I probably saw in my hometown the entire time I was home, and far more likely to stab me than any of my neighbors (although you never know about [censored]). And now, I need to sleep and hope that I can get some semblance of work done tomorrow - goodnight!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

all my limbs can become trees

Today was my last full day in Iowa - and suddenly, like that, my vacation is over. I'm glad I stayed another week, was long enough to fully relax, and also long enough that I'm vaguely looking forward to going home (or at least to seeing friends again - I've been making plans like mad, and am suddenly overscheduled for the next couple of weeks, which is v. v. different from my hermitville here).

But today was a lovely last day in the midwest (and I hope it's the last day, if only because I hope I don't get stranded anywhere tomorrow due to the rains in SF). I spent the morning taking care of some tings online, and then I spent the afternoon catching up with Lorena. She's one of my favorite former neighbors/teachers, and I hadn't seen her in ages - so I went over for tea, and we ended up talking for three hours. We talked about creativity, and writing, and history, and a wide variety of other subjects, and it was delightful to spend some quality time with her after missing her on several previous trips home.

But by 5pm I needed to come home and hang out with my parents, so I did. My mom made cheeseburgers and fried potatoes for supper (dinner of midwest champions), and then we watched some fine CBS programming (Scorpion and NCIS:LA, both of which I really like). And then, I was going to pack and go to bed...but instead, we turned on the 'end' of the Kansas/Oklahoma game, which turned out to not be the end because it went to triple overtime, so I watched for almost an hour. It was a great game, and so sad that Oklahoma lost - I think they could have won it if they hadn't had to play Iowa State two nights ago and then travel to Kansas.

It was worth watching, but the downside was that I had to pack everything up, which means I'm now going to get much less sleep than I am accustomed to getting. I know, my life is hard. Goodnight!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

i am not throwing away my shot

Huh. I forgot to blog last night. Like, straight-up forgot - which hasn't happened in so many years that I can't fathom it. Typically if I miss a night (which also hasn't happened in many months), it's a conscious decision. But last night, I had spent a lot of quality time with my planner and my journal, and my laptop was sitting closed on my desk, and I somehow didn't realize I hadn't blogged.

Luckily, I was asleep in my bedroom in my parents' house this morning, so they didn't freak out and assume I was dead (although if I slept any later, they might have come knocking on the off chance that I was dead). But to the rest of you, my apologies! Not that you care, since you missed nothing. But still.

sssanyway. Yesterday was pretty uneventful, which is probably why I didn't blog about it. Also, ISU lost to Oklahoma in a close game, which is probably the other reason why I didn't blog, since my mom is a bit touchy about her Cyclones. But I made chicken tortilla soup yesterday, which was delish, and I went into town to procure the ingredients for it, which was not delish (town leaves much to be desired, especially when they don't seem to have the money/skills/whatever to properly clear the roads like the other town near us does).

Today was also quiet - after hearing from every member of the household that I had failed to blog last night, I then ate some yogurt, took a shower, and went into town with my dad to see my grandmother. She was the same as usual, and I'll leave it at that. Then my dad took me around and showed me stuff, like how much better our town is at clearing the roads than the grocery store town, and the trees they cut down at [censored]'s [censored] yesterday, and all the alleys and city roads that were platted out when the town was formed back in the 1800s but that have been forgotten/closed/never made, and the snowy delight of the lake outside of town (where we learned that squirrels will apparently eat hedgeballs - and thanks to the Wikipedia article I just read about them, I learned that the leading theory is that hedgeballs were previously eaten by giant sloths or mammoths in ancient North America, but that when the large mammals died out, the range of hedge trees shrunk down to the Red River Valley because there were no animals to aid with seed dispersal. Interesting!).

So after we explored, we came home, and I pretty much wasted my afternoon. But I took care of some business online this evening, and I had supper with the parents ([censored] went back to [censored] this afternoon, so we said our sad [censored]s earlier in the day). And now, I think I shall sleep - I have a bunch of stuff to do tomorrow in preparation for returning to San Francisco (land of fog and feces) on Tuesday. Goodnight!

Friday, January 01, 2016

are we out of the woods yet

I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night, and I had more wine than I intended to have, which meant that today was something close to a lost cause. However, I did wake up in time to have breakfast with the family - my mom made breakfast casserole, which was delicious, and I enjoyed it even though I didn't open the bottle of champagne I'd intended to enjoy today (see: too tired, too dehydrated).

But despite my lethargy, today went pretty well from a sporting event standpoint. I watched the Rose Bowl this afternoon, and was perhaps the only person in Iowa wearing red and cheering resolutely for Stanford - but even my cold, dead heart felt the slightest bit of sympathy/pity for the Iowa team. I've never been a Hawkeye fan, so my loyalties weren't divided here - but I'd spent the last week seeing coverage on the local news about the Rose Bowl and all the Iowa fans who were in Pasadena for the game, and there were a bunch of people from my hometown there, and so I'm a little sad for them that their trip was destined to end on a rather bitter note.

But my pity was fairly small, and my schadenfreude was fairly large, so I enjoyed the game...and I hope that Stanford's football dominance continues next year. And our mastery today made Northwestern's drubbing by Tennessee even more delightful, for so many reasons. So today might have been perfect from a sports standpoint if Oklahoma State ([censored]'s grad school alma mater + former employer) had done better in the Sugar Bowl - but you can't win 'em all.

So that's the sports update. The rest of the evening consisted of supper (bratwurst, since you must eat pork on New Year's Day), more football, more mindless internet usage (I was too tired for much productivity), and some journalling to ring in the new year.

And now, I shall bid you goodnight - I want to get ten hours of sleep and hope that I wake up restored and ready to do good things (or at least more things). Goodnight!

turn up the lights in here, baby

Happy new year! This is my first post of 2016, and my 3773rd post overall - sometime later this year, I'll hit my 4000th post. Yes, I'm old.

But that's not the news I want to deliver to you today. Instead, I shall commence with what I always commence with - the boring minutiae of my day-to-day. I spent the morning/midday/afternoon guzzling iced coffee and working on some romance business stuff while kind of, sort of talking to my mom in the kitchen. Eventually, I took a break for some internet time, and I showered, all of which was v. necessary. And we also eventually had supper (cheeseburgers, and also french fries fried in beef tallow, because we are living the ultimate #throwback #smalltownlife - those french fries are fucking delicious, and I may have licked a couple to keep [censored] from enjoying them).

On a normal Iowa New Year's Eve, I would spend the evening messing around in my journal while my parents slept/snored in the living room. There is only one NYE when I went out in Iowa, and that was an epic shitshow that resulted in me getting glass embedded in my foot and leaving bloody footprints all over the hotel bathroom after drinking far far far too much with Katie (the queen of my heart) in Des Moines. But tonight, I decided to tempt fate and go out again. However, given that the destination was [censored]'s best friend's house, and given that there is a baby in residence there, I was pretty sure that I was safe.

And yes, I was safe - but it was still fun. We sat around and drank wine and heard far too many stories about [censored] and friends' adventures at [censored] or while [censored]. And we also played a lot of Cards Against Humanity, which was highly entertaining. But all things must end, so eventually [censored] and I came home, and I am sure I shall regret the wine I drank tonight when I wake up tomorrow.

But tomorrow is another day (actually, it is today).

sssanyway. I hope you all have a happy, healthy, wonderful new year! Perhaps I shall recount some goals for you in a later post, but right now the wine has me at the place where I can only say that my goals are to 'write all the fucking books' and 'seize all the fucking opportunities' (and no comment on how to parse 'fucking books' and 'fucking opportunities' - you're smart, you can figure it out). Goodnight!