Friday, June 30, 2017

I am inimitable

I have hit my introvert wall so hard... It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose. If anything, it's a wonder I've made it this long staying in other people's houses and successfully refraining from murdering them and everything they love. It helps that everyone I've stayed with is truly delightful, so the introvert wall has nothing to do with them and everything to do with my fragile energy levels and my desire to spend a morning lazing about with no pants.

But I think Barbara hit a wall today too, although hers was from not sleeping due to pet issues. So we didn't hang out very long before I went to Starbucks and she went for a walk. Unfortunately, most of what I wanted to do involved the internet, and Starbucks somehow didn't have internet, which made me sooooo cranky. Barbara joined me, and we talked and worked, and I actually got some really good stuff for spinster honeymoon....

Then we parted ways again, and I had a long lunch and journaled and did some light retail therapy. Then I went back to Barbara's and we worked some more, and then had an early dinner at a thai place. Then we had a glass of rosé in her garden, which is really delightful. And then I came home, with a stop to buy a heating pad and some icy hot strips for my shoulder, which is still hurting (although I probably tore my other rotator cuff by trying to put the icy hot bandages on it). And now I must sleep so I can regain some of my social energy for the next stint of seeing people I love - goodnight!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

that green light i want it

I had another great day in Colorado Springs. I woke up this morning to breakfast cooked by my airbnb host - I've never stayed someplace where I had a room in someone's house instead of renting the entire place, but this was the most convenient option and it's working out really well (read: breakfast was tasty and they haven't harvested my organs yet).

Then Barbara picked me up and took me to her tai chi class, and now I know what old people are doing when they're waving their hands around in the park. It's more involved than that, and not everyone there was old, but I could see how it would be v. good for your body and your mobility (things that are currently falling apart for me after becoming a hobo who lives on wine and friendship). Then we went to the grocery store, and then we went back to her place and ate and talked and napped and worked, which is v. writerly of us.

We ended the day with a long writing/voice exercise - Barbara is a gifted teacher of voice stuff, so it was almost like I got a master class for one just because we were hanging out and playing with words. At some point I opened rosé to get through the emotions dredged up by the exercises, and so we drank and wrote and then she made tacos (yum yum yum), and we finished off the night and the wine by sitting out in the gardens watching a gorgeous light display (sunset followed by lightning) before I took a lyft back to my airbnb (a sentence that wouldn't have made any sense at all a decade ago).

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

love don't discriminate between the sinners and the saints

I'm in Colorado Springs, which is not Denver, but it's close enough that it wasn't a massive production to get here. I woke up this morning, said farewell (for now) to Katie, did a load of laundry, and then drove down here (with a quick Target stop on the way). My friend Barbara S lives here, and I'm v. eager for several days of writing, talking about writing, and ruminating about life with her.

So far, it's all pretty delightful. When I arrived, her puppies were *incredibly* excited to see me - the puppies are the reason I got an airbnb instead of staying with her, since I wasn't willing to be awoken at 4:30am by puppies wanting to go out. But after we let them play a bit, we went out for lunch, then went back to her place and talked all afternoon/evening (with a break for me to check in to my airbnb and buy some wine, of course). It's a sign of how much I love her that I really just wanted to keep talking even though I hit my introvert wall like a month ago...but that's been true of everyone I've hung out with recently, so either they're all great or my introvert wall needs to be tuckpointed asap, since it appears to be failing.

But now I need to sleep, and I really need to stop reclining in this bed in a way that's going to aggravate my shoulder again - goodnight!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

we order different drinks from the same bars

Blogging from my phone because my computer is in the middle of a v. ill-advised update/reboot cycle and I want to sleep. My fucked up shoulder almost got the best of me today, but I seem to have treated it with a lot of ibuprofen and a couple of margaritas, so hopefully I can sleep tonight.

But today was great - great for friendship, and great for getting things done. Katie and I went to a coworking place that she frequents so I could check it out, and I got so much done there - I did some actual bonafide writing in the morning, and then got a lot of admin work done this afternoon that I'd been putting off forever. And I got to take a break in the middle to have a tasty omelette and a glass of rosé with Katie at a cafe down the street, which felt so lush and delightful. So, the coworking space is a winner, but I won't be in the neighborhood for the next week or two, so I probably won't get to indulge in its comfort for awhile...

Then we came home and Katie made supper, which was v. tasty (turkey burgers and sweet potatoes), and then I had a long call with my friend Maya while Katie and James worked on getting the kids ready for bed. I hadn't talked to Maya since something like November (how sad/embarrassing), so we were way overdue and it was fun to talk to her. Then I hung out with the girls and said goodnight to them, and then Katie and I (and later James) sat out back and enjoyed the night air (hopefully it doesn't cause fever and ague, but this isn't the Kansas Territory and I'm not Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I'm probably safe).

And now I must sleep - goodnight!

Monday, June 26, 2017

all those rumors, they have big teeth

I'm back in Denver after a very long day of travel. I woke up a little after seven, which gave me time to shower, finish packing (easy peasy), help clean the kitchen, and still have time to journal on the back porch for half an hour, so that made me feel pretty smug. Then we left the house and drove to Sedona for brunch - we'd exhausted the v. limited eating options in the Sedona-adjacent town where our rental house was, and it was either DQ for breakfast or drive to Sedona. Sedona, obviously, won, and we had a really great brunch there - I thought the food was good but not great, but the view of the red rocks was perfect, so overall it was a win.

Then we all wandered around for an hour or so before we realized that none of us want to buy crystals and Sedona is somehow the only town in the world that makes its whole living off selling rocks. So, we parted ways with Jess, who lives in Arizona and was driving home from Sedona, and then Grace, Jenn and I drove back to the Phoenix airport. This took a couple of hours through a scorched hellscape and 110+ degree heat, but it was entirely uneventful. I dropped them off at their terminal, took the rental car back, and had an hour and a half to kill after going through security, so I sat at a bar and ate a burger and had two glasses of wine and wrote/worked, and I was, again, feeling pretty smug...

...but that smugness ended when my plane left the gate on time, taxied to the runway, and...stopped. There was some mechanical issue, and they returned to the gate, and we ended up leaving two hours later. Bleh. Also, sometime after arriving at the airport and sitting down at the bar, I mysteriously destroyed my left shoulder, and I can barely lift my arm above my head to take off my clothes, so that made for a highly unpleasant flight as my shoulder got stiffer and stiffer after sitting in my airplane seat for 4+ hours instead of 2.

So, after lugging myself and my stuff through the Denver airport, finding my car, and getting to Katie and James's at 11pm instead of 9pm, I'm surly and sore and ready for bed. Hopefully sleep will magically fix everything - goodnight!

threading the needle

Blogging on my phone so this will be brief - today was my last full day of my retreat, and it went so well. I woke up and journaled outside before the sun got too crazy, and then did a bit of work inside. We all took a break for lunch, which meant going to Dairy Queen because Grace loves it (I wasn't complaining, since I got a Heath Blizzard for the first time in many years).

Then I worked all afternoon, and I'm still falling in love with my spinster honeymoon while still being scared by it. We also did a lot of tarot character development, which was super fun. We were going to go out for dinner, but we were all still pretty full from DQ, so we went to the grocery store to forage, which meant my dinner was a frozen dinner of chicken tikka masala and the rest of the wine I opened the other night. And then we gossiped until I was too tired/happy/bitchy to keep going.

And now it's time for bed so I can fly back to Denver tomorrow - goodnight!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

i want something just like this

Long day, not quite enough actual writing - but I got up and journaled rather than checking twitter, which was way better for me, and then I spent most of the day doing character background work for Spinster Honeymoon. At three p.m., though, I had to stop so I could shower, and then we all went into downtown Sedona for the evening. We wandered around and looked at some shops, and had a super tasty, v. v. filling dinner at a Mexican place with multiple kinds of guacamole and some enchiladas that made me quite happy. The margaritas made me happy too, but everything together was a little too much, and now I feel like I have a food baby.

But I'll probably survive. After we wandered around some more, we came back and played Cards Against Humanity again (Grace won, after having never played before last night - she's a natural). And now I'm going to go sleep so that I can be more productive tomorrow, since it's our last full day here - goodnight!

born in arizona, moved to babylonia

I haven't been able to get internet on my laptop, which is probably for the best, so I'm typing this on my phone before turning in. Today went really well - I woke up and journaled outside before it got too hot, and then I dragged everyone to Starbucks for caffeine and food before I felt too hangry. Then we came back and I wrote for awhile... I'm getting back into spinster honeymoon and I think it's going to be great.

But we took a look break for lunch at a nearby brewery, which served great burgers. Then we grabbed some groceries and drove back here, and I worked the rest of the afternoon. This mostly involved character development, which mostly involved some tarot for my characters using a tarot for writers book, which was more helpful than you might have guessed.

But I stopped around six and talked to Grace while she cooked dinner for all of us. We enjoyed it together, and then we played cards against humanity, which was as ridiculous as always. And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I feel so close to you right now

Too tired to blog - I'm in Arizona, after an entirely uneventful flight. The drive was much more eventful - I picked up the rental car, then picked up Grace, and then we got totally lost trying to pick up Jenn (it was definitely a Google maps issue). Then we tried to drive to Sedona, but a massive wildfire had closed I-17, so we had to detour around it.

Did I mention it was 120F?

But we survived and made it to our cabin, where Jess was v happy to see us. Then we had a ridiculous dinner at the nearby casino, where I had enough margaritas to dull the pain of the drive. And then we gossiped at home, but I'm turning in before everyone else because I'm basically still on central time and am too tired to function. Goodnight!

are we in the clear yet

No blog tonight...I made it to Denver without incident and promptly reunited with Katie (by picking her up at the airport). We had a drink and some snacks at Avanti, as we often had before, and then spent the evening hanging out with her kids (and James, when he got home).

But I'm exhausted and I'm flying to Phoenix tomorrow, since my travel schedule makes no sense at all. So, it's time for bed. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

find me and follow me through corridors, refectories

I am sitting in a hotel room in North Platte, Nebraska, which is a town I have driven through many times before. What I had not done before is drink thirteen ounces of so-so wine at Ruby Tuesday, which is what I did tonight - I was having some deep thoughts about Spinster Honeymoon, and by that I mean that I thought about journaling and instead spent too much time messaging people on twitter. But twitter is part of the plot of that book, so let's call it research and move on, shall we?

When I woke up this morning, I was still in Iowa. But it didn't take long to get ready to go - and it was all v. desultory since I wasn't on a specific timeline. So, that gave me time to have breakfast with my parents (my dad made hashbrowns in addition to the usual bacon and eggs, so I think he really does love me!). Then I said my farewells to them and headed west (well, north first, then west for hours and hours). The Iowa portion of my journey was entirely uneventful. Right after I crossed the Nebraska border, I discovered that tornadoes had passed through there recently - I saw some pretty gnarly remnants of what used to be machine sheds twisted into post-modern art shapes, and I had to take a detour because some of the electric poles had been blown into the highway. It's incredible what a tornado can do - one of the poles I saw had been snapped at the base, but then deposited, still vertical, in the field nearby, and the lines hadn't been severed. Bizarre.

After that, things got super boring - Nebraska is kinda the worst for scenery, and as I've said before, Nebraska has the longest stretch of interstate that is perfectly straight (seventy miles that doesn't deviate by more than three inches). But I took a break when I got to Kearney to see the museum inside the Archway - I've driven under it many times, since I-80 passes underneath it, but I've never stopped. They had some good exhibits about the history of the North Platte trails - the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails all went through Kearney (then Fort Kearney) to Fort Laramie, where they split off to their different destinations. And the transcontinental railroad and I-80 followed in the same path - so many decades of western expansion went through there, and they did a decent job representing it. It was a little heavy on theatrics and light on facts, but it was really nicely done and I'm glad I stopped.

Then I drove to North Platte, where I decided to spend the night - I could have pressed on, but I was tired and the pickings between here and Denver are slim (although I like Ogallala as much as the next girl, I guess). So I checked in and walked next door to Ruby Tuesday, where I ate some chicken and drank the aforementioned wine, which was better than I expected and not as good as I wanted. Then I came back here and talked to Katie for an hour, since it was too much to expect us to wait to start catching up until we see each other tomorrow. And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Monday, June 19, 2017

consoler of the lonely

It's time for bed - I need to get up earlier than usual tomorrow so that I can take care of last-minute details and eat breakfast before heading west. Today went pretty smoothly, though - I hung out on the patio for lots of it, but I also organized my stuff and packed my car and crossed many things off my to-do list.

But none of those things are interesting to you, and I need to sleep so that I can be well-rested for my voyage. Next stop is somewhere between here and Denver...goodnight!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

own the night

Happy Father's Day, everyone! I spent mine eating breakfast (delish), visiting my grandma (depressing), and hanging out with my dad on the back porch (entertaining and informative). I also got a wee bit of work done, and I had a delightful supper with the parents - my mom made barbecued ribs and potatoes and creamed peas, and it was all v. tasty.

But now I need to sleep - I'm leaving Tuesday, so I'll be spending tomorrow deciding what to take with me for the next two months of adventures. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

dead leaves and the dirty ground

Time for bed...I spent the last three hours working, which is unusual, but I didn't have much time to work earlier in the day and I was feeling compelled. I woke up this morning, made an omelette (perfection) and at it with some avocado like a fucking millennial. Then I thought my sister was arriving imminently, so I showered without washing my hair, but I discovered after I got out of the shower that she wasn't coming until 12:30. Oops.

So I hung out on the porch with my parents until she arrived. She came over with my niece Allie, and they hung out for a couple of hours - my mom had to go sit at the round barn, and my dad had other errands to take care of, but Jackie and Allie stayed for awhile. When they left, I mostly procrastinated (with a bit of journaling), and then I ran into town to look for cointreau for margaritas. But our grocery store only has extremely cheap triple sec and I wasn't willing to lower my coastal elite standards, so I grabbed some Mountain Dew (yes, that shot my coast elite high horse right out from under me) and came home.

Then the parents and I went to Seymour for supper - Saturday night is prime rib, which we all enjoyed. Then we came home and my dad and I watched some 'Magnificent Seven' together (the short-lived tv show, not the movie), and then I came downstairs and worked until now.

And now it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

another love grows cold on a sleepless night

I'm tired and I should probably wash my face and go to bed in case we lose power...there's been some impressive lightning going on outside for a couple of hours now, and while it's mostly skirted us, there's always a chance that something will happen.

Today was great from a productivity standpoint, though - I woke up, made a tasty omelette, and then spent the afternoon hard at work on the back porch. I had to stop around five so that I could finally shower and eat an early supper (ribeye and baked potatoes) - my mom and I had a meeting of our secret society tonight (she goes to every meeting; I go approximately once a year when my trips home overlap with a meeting night). So we went into town for that, and I saw a bunch of ladies whom I always enjoy talking to (mostly faces from my childhood - there are some younger members, but a lot of them were in it when I was a kid, and I've known them forever).

And now I need to sleep, since I want to hit the writing hard tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

please don't take him just because you can

I actually wrote today. Yes, I'm shocked too. I'm slowly triangulating around who these new characters are and what they might care about and what their voices sound like, and so I wrote some stuff to see where it would go. Most of it was on the back patio this afternoon, but I even wrote for another half hour in bed tonight, so I guess I'm excited about it? (knock on wood)

Beyond that, the rest of my day was good - I woke up to my alarm at eight and promptly turned it off and slept until nine. Then I spent the morning procrastinating and watching news coverage before spending the afternoon writing/doing laundry/arguing. I also spent a couple of hours doing other admin work, which was good. And I ended the day with a delicious smalltownlife meal: bratwurst, scalloped potatoes, and baked beans, cooked by my mother (and father, since he had to grill the brats). The post-dinner scenery was also worth examining -- we watched a deer (buck, since he had the beginnings of a nice rack, which is a different kind of nice rack than you think of in cities) slowly, for whatever reason, follow our cat from the field to our yard, where he encountered a wild turkey wandering in the other direction. They all seemed entirely unfazed by this, so maybe they're friends? I'm guessing they would have been less excited to see a coyote or a fox, though, so I doubt that this kind of harmony prevails in all the nooks and crannies around us....

And now I need to sleep - goodnight!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

as i recall i think we both kind of liked it

Long day of screen time, short day of productivity. I'd been doing pretty well staying (somewhat) off twitter and the news the last couple of weeks, but today I consumed it to the point that I drained my phone battery by seven p.m. Bleh.

But I got some good stuff done - I woke up in time to have a video chat with my friend Sarah from Bali (we hadn't talked in ages, so were way overdue), and then I made a tasty omelette with bacon, onions, mushrooms, and pepperjack, so the morning got off to a good start. I then went on a slow slide into social media hell, but I did manage to do just a little bit of writing (I'm avoiding the story and I know it), and I watched all of Sessions' testimony (lolol), and I took a walk down to the corner and back (an accomplishment when it was ninety degrees and the wind was whipping up all the dust from the dry gravel). I also formatted a paperback, answered some email, and had a long argument (or shall I say discussion?) about politics.

So, all in all, it wasn't the worst day, but tomorrow I need way less time on twitter and politics and way more time writing. Goodnight!

Monday, June 12, 2017

I am the warrior

No blog because the wifi appears to be down (which is good since I should get offline and go to sleep anyway). Goodnight!

somewhere under wonderland

I have returned to Iowa after approximately 15.5hrs in a car - I woke up in Texas, showered and packed and loaded up, and then had breakfast with the fam at Cracker Barrel. Then, [censored] and I parted ways with the parents and headed north. It feels almost cruel that Texas is so big that we spent the first five or so hours just driving through Texas. By the time we reached Oklahoma, I was convinced that we wouldn't make it the whole way (~980 miles), and was already looking at hotel rooms in Kansas....

...but then [censored] and I had supper at Braums outside of Oklahoma City (an apparent staple of the Oklahoma/Kansas area, mostly known for their milkshakes and dairy products), and we somehow caught a string of second, third, and fourth winds. So we kept going, passing through Oklahoma, Kansas, and a bit of Missouri before reaching Iowa. We successfully threaded the needle through cops, semis, and errant deer (there was a lot of blood on the road in some parts), and we pulled into our driveway around two a.m.

And now I must sleep - I've gone too long without writing or doing anything productive, and that needs to stop (as soon as my body feels like it's stable and no longer riding in a car). Goodnight!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

she had a need to feel the thunder

The family reunion is over and I am quite sad. I had a great time out in the middle of nowhere in Texas - which, to be fair, is not so different from where any of the rest of us are from, since we established that most of the Wamplers in this lineage live in places that no one else would want to visit. So, during our family meeting today, we agreed that we would host it here again next year - not sure yet whether any of my branch will make it here next year, but I certainly hope to come again.

sssanyway. This morning I had breakfast with my parents and [censored] before [censored] and I stopped at Starbucks and headed out to the ranch (you know it's important to get my coastal elitist fix in before heading out into the hills). We took no wrong turns this morning, so we made it in good time and spent the day lazing about and talking to family and making jokes and generally enjoying the day.

And by that I mean I enjoyed making margaritas. #kiddingnotkidding

I can't really do justice to the afternoon, which involved conversations about prison, dildoes, and ninja turtles. My great-grandfather and his siblings (who are the ancestors of all sixty or so people at the event) would be so proud. But I really enjoyed the conversation, especially since it continued over the catfish fried up by the Oklahoma contingent. And the evening ended with a fantastic fireworks display, as per which point we all parted ways with plans to do it again next year.

And now I need to sleep so that [censored] and I can get up tomorrow and cross the long dark of Moria (and by that I mean the nine hundred and fifty two miles from here to Iowa via Oklahoma/Kansas/Missouri). Goodnight!

Friday, June 09, 2017

return of the mack

The family reunion today was a smashing success (emphasis on smash), although I mostly hung out with my immediate family (as often seems to happen at these gatherings). [censored] and I joined our parents for breakfast at the hotel, and then [censored] and I both [censored] for awhile before heading out to the ranch (with a stop at [censored] to buy tequila).

The ranch is, as always, nearly impossible to find - Google Maps clearly has no idea what's out in the hills of Texas, and whether something is a passable road or a deadly ravine. But we only made two wrong turns, one of which we make wrong every single time (note to self: don't turn left at the scarecrow!), so that was all good. When we got there, we proceeded to spend the afternoon having a grand old time. Lunch was some v. delicious chicken enchiladas with rice and beans, which made me super happy. Then I was going to make margaritas, but when I wandered toward the kitchen to make them, I started talking to Melissa (her last name is, unsurprisingly, Wampler), and then over the course of the next hour, every person sent to discover what had happened with me and my margaritas succumbed to the lure of our conversation.

But I eventually made margaritas and proceeded to get somewhat sloshed (only because my first one turned into a full solo cup as I kept readjusting the ratios). And I spent the afternoon engaged in desultory conversation, including a game of 'guess the pregnant girl' played with possible girls from Drewbaby's high school class ([censored] and I know no one in Drewbaby's class, but it was somehow really fun nonetheless).

Also, someone hired a band because one of the couples was having their fiftieth wedding anniversary today, so there was music for a couple of hours - including a rendition of 'Amarillo By Morning' (you would have to be there to understand why we found this delightful). Also, someone skinned a rattlesnake, and I kept seeing snake in the fridge when I would make another margarita and was startled every time.

And now I need to sleep so we can do it again tomorrow - goodnight!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

crying dawson

No blog - I spent the day hanging out with Sherry, then hanging out at the Austin airport (where I'd dropped off my rental), and then my cousin Drewbaby picked me up so we could drive out to Kerrville together. When we arrived, we reunited with my parents, [censored], Andrew's parents, and my dad and uncle's cousin Gary, and had dinner at the same place we went a couple times in 2015.

Then, [censored] and I [censored] with Aunt Kathy and Drewbaby, which involved [censored] and noncaffeinated fun. And now I need to sleep so that we can go to the reunion tomorrow - goodnight!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

i think that i'm feelin' the vibe, i see the love in her eyes

Too tired to blog, but today was a great day. I got up at eight and promptly went on a long walk with Sherry, which we mostly spent talking about food (making me v. hungry) and trying to maximize time in the shade (since it was hot and getting hotter by the second). When we got home, she made us crepes for breakfast (yum!), and then I did a couple of hours of work before eventually taking a shower.

Then, she and her son and I went for lunch at a place called Ski Shores, which overlooks a big river and serves up all-American fried deliciousness. I really enjoyed hanging out there - the deck was right over the water, but shaded so that we weren't dying, and there were all sorts of huge fish (maybe bass?) and a bunch of turtles hanging out hoping that we would throw food to them (which Sherry's son obliged).

When we got back to the house, I procrastinated, then took a nap, but I spent a solid three hours taking care of a dumb admin task that I'd been putting off forever, so I'm glad for that. And then I spent the rest of the evening hanging out and talking about industry stuff with Sherry (and India and China and a bunch of other subjects with her and her husband). But now my visit is sadly drawing to a close - tomorrow it's on to the next part of Texas for the next adventure, so I should get some sleep. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

lost weekend

Too tired to blog - I woke up in San Antonio at 6:45 so I could have breakfast with Laura before she went to work. We went back to Supper, which was delicious again - I had some potatoes and some smoked salmon, which made me v. happy. Then we parted ways, and I hung out and finished my coffee before going back to her place to repack my stuff, take care of some business, and send a couple of emails before heading off on my next adventure.

I drove up to Austin in the middle of the day to avoid rush hour on either end - I'm visiting my friend Sherry, who also writes historical romance (although she's been doing YA and mystery recently), so we spent the day hanging out. She made lunch when I got here (an awesome shrimp curry), and we spent the afternoon chatting (although I had to take a twenty-minute nap at some point because that's how I roll). Then she started cooking dinner, but we took a break to go to some high-up lookout point so that I could see some of the hills/water near her house (two things I don't associate with Texas, even though I'm theoretically aware that Texas has both hills and water in some locations).

Then we came home, she finished making dinner, and she and her husband and I hung out and discussed books and tech and life. And now I'm desperate to sleep so I can write tomorrow - goodnight!

Monday, June 05, 2017

some some some i some i murder, some i some i let go

I had a great day in San Antonio - so great that I'm mildly annoyed that I'm leaving tomorrow, but I have other plans that I want to pursue, and I'm sure the next stop will be as great as this one. I woke up this morning later than I planned, laid in bed for a bit, and then showered and walked over to Pearl, where I had lunch (because I missed breakfast by ten minutes) at Supper (which serves all meals, contrary to its name). I had a salad with chicken that was quite excellent, although the Coke I ordered with it was perhaps my favorite thing since I hadn't had soda in awhile.

Then I sat in the Hotel Emma lobby for several hours and worked. They had a couple of tables that felt almost like the old-school library tables at Stanford Library, which I haven't been to in far too long, and it made me quite happy to be sitting inside working. Granted, I didn't get enough done because I was distracted by the constant dumpster fire of Twitter + texting Katie + texting Sherry (who I am staying with tomorrow) + calling my parents since I wasn't able to talk to them yesterday. Yes, it sounds like I'm blaming all of them; no, it's no one's fault but my own.

I walked around the Pearl area for a little bit when I needed a break, and then I secured a seat in the bar/lounge area and ate tater tots and had a glass of rosé and wrote for another hour, and that writing was pretty great (mostly because my phone battery died and my laptop was on the verge, so I was writing longhand in my notebook and couldn't be distracted by anything but my own thoughts). Then I walked back to Laura's, making it inside approximately forty-five seconds before it started pouring (that's not an exaggeration).

I hung out here for twenty minutes or so and charged my phone, and then Laura got home from work and she, Matt and I went out for dinner (Mexican - a place called La Fonda). The food was tasty if you like Tex-Mex - it's really amazing how all-in tex-mex is on the queso situation, and more amazing how all-in Laura was, since she wanted me to try both the regular queso dip and the different, no-less-delicious queso fundido (melted cheese that is somehow not a dip, because it's a cheese that was basically melted in a griddle and starts to reform into stringy unmelted cheese as soon as it's off the heat).

So needless to say, I ate a child's weight in cheese, and I also had two margaritas, and it was all quite delightful. Then we came home, Matt went to hide from us, and Laura and I spent a couple of hours talking about life and career stuff and personality tests, and it was pretty much exactly the conversation I probably needed tonight (since I'm weighing several options: go all-in on writing romance, keep writing something non-romance (which may mean taking on some part-time consulting work or something to pay the bills if that book doesn't sell), get involved in politics/community work, or do something else entirely). sssanyway. More to come on all of that as my thoughts become more clear, tanks.

And now I need to sleep - Laura and I are having breakfast before she goes to work tomorrow, and then I need to pack and take care of a couple of things before heading back to Austin. Goodnight!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

feels like summer

San Antonio is Austin's sadder, square-er neighbor to the south, and my memories of this town mostly involve melting in the summer heat on previous trips. But it's also apparently the fastest-growing city in Texas, and there are tons of new restaurants since the last time I was here (2014 for a conference and 2015 during my last family reunion), so I think I can handle being here for a couple of days...

...and I may want to stay even longer than that, but duty calls. I woke up this morning in Austin feeling better than I deserved, and I showered and packed and loaded my car and grabbed an iced coffee before meeting up with Alaska Matt for brunch. We went to Arturo's Underground, which was so incredibly tasty - I often find scrambles to be overcooked/too dry, but this scramble with bacon, onions, mushrooms, jack cheese, avocado, and chipotle hollandaise was perfection on a plate. I also loved their home fries, and the coffee was good, and it was all fast and seamless (and actually underground, since it's in a mostly submerged level slightly below the street). So, that was a great way to wake up, and Matt and I continued our conversation with many jokes until it was time to part ways.

I then drove to San Antonio, where I met up with Laura - she was one of the directors at le Goog many years ago, and we've stayed in touch pretty well since then, since I consider her a mentor and also like her crafting skills. She lives here now, and she offered me a guest room for a couple of nights if I wanted to hang out - and I'm glad I took her up on it, since a) I always have fun hanging out with her, and b) there's lots of great food and drink to indulge in while having our long, winding conversations. When I got here, she made me a Moscow mule (she doesn't drink but insists on keeping her guests well-lubricated), then we ordered food and picked it up (some carnitas hash for me that was so good that I ate almost all of it even though I hadn't thought I was hungry yet), and then I sat around with her and her husband and son and drank some white wine and generally enjoyed their company.

At some point it rained, but when it stopped, Laura, Dave (her husband) and I walked over to the Pearl, which is an old brewery complex that has been completely redone into a bunch of restaurants, shops, and luxury condos, along with a hotel that looks to-die-for. We stopped in for a drink at the hotel bar, and I think I'll go back there and write tomorrow. Then we wandered around a bit and got some ice cream (ice cream is not one of my go-to foods, but this was worth it), then walked home, and then Laura and I talked about career stuff for quite awhile (we had started this conversation at the bar, and then continued it for another hour at home, but I'm not going to tell you anything about any of it because I'm evil and also lazy).

Then we went to the grocery store to get salad-type stuff for dinner, since I wasn't hungry and neither of us felt like going out. And now I'm going to go to bed at an entirely reasonable hour (10:45! but that's 11:45 on the east coast...but my body doesn't know where I am anymore anyway). Tomorrow could be a glorious free day for writing since Laura's working and Dave's going out of town, so I'm going to get up and walk over to the Pearl and eat breakfast and probably lunch and drink a lot of coffee and do some people-watching. Goodnight!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

every kid on the whole damn street was gonna make it big and not be beat

Hello, Austin! I woke up this morning in Miami, after too little sleep, and I scrambled to pull myself together in time to get to the airport. That was all accomplished without incident, and I checked in and grabbed an iced coffee and a granola bar before boarding my flight. I spent most of the first flight (Miami to Atlanta) plus my layover in Atlanta finishing HILLBILLY ELEGY - I really very highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of political spectrum. It's the kind of memoir that I long to write, although I can't write that memoir because my childhood wasn't as bleak as his (luckily, neither of my parents are disasters, so my home life was totally stable, but my community was disintegrating even then). I had avoided reading it for a long time because I thought it would be too preachy or annoying, but the author (an Ohioan of Kentucky hillbilly descent who went into the Marines before going to Yale Law School) did a really excellent job of capturing his version of the Rust Belt without either romanticizing it or overly pitying/condescending to it.

Anyway. After that I was all fired up about life and community, and I spent my plane ride from Atlanta to Austin scribbling ideas in my journal. Then I landed, grabbed my bags, collected my rental car, and checked into my hotel, where I had just enough time to rinse off and change before meeting up with Alaska Matt for dinner.

Longtime blog readers may remember Alaska Matt, although it's been awhile - he moved back to Alaska in the summer of 2015, which is the last time I saw him. But he moved to Austin a month ago, and so we had a delightful evening of discussing current lives and reminiscing about past ones. He picked me up at my hotel and we went to a Mexican restaurant that one of his new coworkers recommended, where we had delicious margaritas at the bar before proceeding to eat some v. tasty cuisine. Then, we went down to 6th Street, which is a supposedly famous strip of bars, but it seems to be full of douchebags. But we found a quiet corner, and I had three cocktails (some sort of alcoholic lemonade that went down way too easily), and it was all perfect. Perfect, of course, except for the fact that we were inundated with people way too young for us, listening to music that was uncomfortably close to our high school playlists (not that we knew what playlists were then)...but it was fun nonetheless.

But there's nothing more to regale you with - I need to sleep so that I can have breakfast tomorrow before going to San Antonio. Goodnight!

Friday, June 02, 2017

american dream

It was my last day in Miami, and I am most definitely not ready to leave - it's a pretty cool city despite the endless heat, and I feel like I've only scratched the surface of what I could find here. Beyond that, I'm feeling super antsy to dig in and make serious progress on my next book - I might have been able to do that this week, but instead I spent fifteen hours dealing with last year's taxes, which certainly put a crimp in my plans. I'm liking the nomadic experiment so far and am happy with what I've done -- but for the future, I need to aim for 4-6 week stays in places if I want to be productive.

But that's an issue for another time. Today was mostly consumed with wrapping things up here - I did spend a couple of hours writing in my notebook while enjoying the tiny desk in my extra room (my Miami room is definitely the nicest of the three Roams I've stayed in), but I mostly spent the afternoon packing and organizing and dealing with last-minute tasks. I leave for Austin bright and early tomorrow morning and I knew I couldn't put off packing until then (even though packing should theoretically be easy since I'm taking everything I arrived with).

I also needed to finish early because I had evening plans - my cousin Moriah lives in Miami, and we went out for dinner and drinks. I believe this is the first time we've hung out alone as adults and it was pretty great - she's the same age as [censored], so we'd hung out quite a bit when we were little, but she grew up in St. Louis and we never spent that much time together once her family was busy with sporting activities and stopped coming to Iowa so frequently (especially after my grandma on that side passed away).

So anyway, Mo picked me up and we went to Wynwood, which is a very cool, artsty neighborhood that I'd wanted to check out but hadn't made it to yet. We had burgers at a hole-in-the-wall place called Kush, which looked like a dive but is all in on the farm-to-table movement, where I had rosé from a can because their menu trends heavily toward beer instead of wine. Then we went to Wynwood Walls, which is a famous outdoor art installation area, and I saw some amazing murals (my fave was one of Moriah's faves as well - from a distance it looked like a very well-drawn face, but up close it was actually made by gouging concrete out of the wall to create shadowing that turned into the face from a distance). We continued to catch up over mojitos at one of Mo's favorite bars on that street, and it was all quite delightful.

But I sadly had to part ways earlyish, since I want to get six hours of sleep before my flight tomorrow - fingers crossed that I make it out of here okay, since it was stormy most of the day and I don't have high hopes for improvement tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

late night when you need my love

I can't believe that it's almost time to leave Miami - I could easily stay here for another two weeks, since I'm starting to get into the groove with work and am loath to pick up and disrupt myself again. This is a good lesson, though - the last six weeks have been too chaotic, and while it was well-timed in the sense that it happened right after I released my last book (and I always seem to need a break before getting started on the next project), I'm starting to get really antsy about getting stuff done. So, the trick will be finding ways to be productive in Texas for at least a few days next week, and then hoping that the weather in Iowa will be ideal for me to make use of my favorite outdoor 'office' on my parents' back deck.

But Texas should be plausible - I believe that I'll have Monday to myself, and I'm spending Tuesday-Thursday with a writing friend, so at least there's hope. And the reunion is always worth taking a break for, since Wamplers of all generations tell great stories that I intend to shamelessly steal someday.

Today, though, was an exercise in trying to get things done. I was unsuccessful in the morning since I slept late (so much for trying to get on this timezone...Saturday I'll move an hour closer to the west coast, so maybe that will help), but I worked from one to nine p.m. with only a couple of breaks, so that counts. And I ended the evening by reading (HILLBILLY ELEGY, which I am *loving* - more on that another time) on the patio for an hour before splitting a bottle of rosé with Luisa, so that was delightful.

And now I must sleep - goodnight!