Tuesday, February 28, 2017

coplights, flashlights, spotlights, strobelights, streetlights

jetlag is hitting hard, and so I'm sleeping at weird times - I took a way too long nap at 5pm, which I thought was going to wreck any chance of going to sleep tonight, but now I'm tired again and am going to crash anyway. I wasn't totally on point with my goal to avoid all time online (in fact, I sucked at it), but I was much better about getting a lot of writing done, so I'm happy with that. I also participated in community breakfast - it's Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras if you want to laissez les bons temps rouler), and apparently the British observe Shrove Tuesday by eating pancakes. So the community manager (Michelle) made pancakes, but I ate gluten free toast with peanut butter, banana, and nutella, which was pretty delish even if it wasn't pancakes.

So, I met some people, with mixed results - I think I like a few of them, but I was feeling weirdly cranky about having to make new friends again. I'm sure this will wear off in a few days and Future Sara will laugh about how I thought I wouldn't make friends here...but right now, I'm not in the mood to deal with people. Interestingly, the London crowd seems much more focused on work than the Bali crowd, which probably makes sense since a) the weather sucks and b) most of the people here came to London for a specific work reason rather than because they're wandering the globe, and so have things to do.

When breakfast was done, I wrote in the main space all morning, then took a break to eat a sandwich. Later, I went to a tea shop to buy some better tea - and I discovered that the nearest high street (King's Street, leading off Sloane Square) is v. v. v. dangerous for me. I have basically moved to an even more posh version of the Marina, and so there's a Lululemon and an Anthropologie and a whole bunch of other desirable stores on that street - all of which are expensive by normal human standards, but cheap compared to the Chanel that I walk by on the way to the tube station.

But I escaped mostly unscathed, after buying tea and grabbing some eggs and milk. And then I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening writing/napping, with no particular rhyme or reason. And now I'm going to sleep, and hope that tomorrow requires less napping and more writing - goodnight!

Monday, February 27, 2017

light through the veins

Programming note: for the next few days, I'm going to treat my time in London as though it's a writing retreat (which feels plausible, since I just got here and don't really know anyone and am figuring out how to feed myself) and try to limit my time on social media/internet/etc. as much as possible so I can get deeper into the book. I'll still be blogging and will likely still post photos on Instagram - but I may have my phone off for swathes of time. So if something happens and you try to reach me and I don't respond right away, don't assume I'm dead!

You can probably tell, based on that, that the writing wasn't going perfectly today. Some of this was no doubt jetlag related - I woke up at midnight and thought it was time to get up (it was, if you were still in Bali, where it was eight a.m.). I went back to sleep, but I woke up again at four and knew it was futile to try sleeping again. So I got up, showered, made some eggs at five, and was settled in to work by 6:30. But I didn't actually start working until 7:30 (hence the comment above about needing to cut myself off).

So I worked pretty steadily until 9:30, at which point I was hungry again. So I walked down the street and had breakfast - there's a great cafe near here with a lot of gluten free baked goods, and I was in love even though it's clear that Chelsea is even more intensely crazy than the Marina was, and the bitchy yoga moms were out in full force. Then I was going to take a longish walk to Kensington High Street, but it started raining right after I finished breakfast, so I took the Underground three stops instead.

My first destination was Marks and Spencer, where I scored a $10 pair of microfiber slippers to combat the fact that I'm now in a winter climate with wood floors instead of a summer climate with stone floors, and also four pairs of socks for the same reason. Then I went to Boots (their equivalent of Walgreens, although with slightly nicer products) to buy shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc. And then I went next door to Whole Foods - there's a Whole Foods in Kensington, and it's nicer and bigger than basically any Whole Foods I've seen in the US. I found some gluten free bread and gluten free pasta, and discovered that they carry Kind bars (a staple of my diet that I've been deeply missing). I made one critical error in regards to weight and cost of deli-sliced turkey, since their prices are per 100g rather than per 1lb, which made it exorbitant - and was made more exorbitant when I ordered double what I should have. So, I will be eating turkey sandwiches as often as possible - but otherwise, #noregrets, and it's good to know I can get some specialty stuff while I'm here.

Then I came back, kinda worked again, made a sandwich and talked to the community manager for awhile, and then ill-advisedly took a two hour nap because I couldn't stand it anymore. Then I found the cutest little room tucked away in the attic, where I happily took care of business while sitting on a velvet chaise lounge looking out over the street.

I basically spent the evening lazing around when I should have been working - no, I don't want to be a workaholic, but I could certainly be working harder than I am now. I do think social media plays a big role, which I already knew - but I've been tracking my writing time very closely on this book so I can better estimate how long a project will take, and it's stunning how many of my writing blocks are only ten or twenty minutes long, followed by a thirty minute break that was probably twitter. It's hard to do great writing if you can't get deep into the story - and right now, it's too easy for me to stay shallow.

But that's a concern for antoher day - for now I need to sleep. Goodnight!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

crumbing like pastries

I know that I should stay up for another couple of hours at least...but the jetlag is hitting hard, and so even though it's only seven p.m. here, I'm blogging now so that this goes up before I inevitably collapse.

However, I made it to London in an entirely uneventful manner (well, slightly eventful when my Singapore to Kuala Lumpur flight was delayed, but I made my connection, so it ended up not mattering). I was v. happy that I'd used points to buy a business class ticket - that meant that the fourteen hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to London was a relatively comfortable experience, and I got almost eight hours of sleep. I also read one and a half books that I need to judge for the RITAs, and I wrote for a couple of hours, so that was all #winning.

I landed in London at five a.m. and made it through customs in record time. Then I took an uber here in deference to the amount of luggage I had with me. 'Here' turns out to be a lovely house in one of my favorite neighborhoods in London. My room is approximately half the size of my room in Bali, and there is no pool and no palm trees and no waitstaff eager to make my coffee thirteen hours a day - but there are also no ants, and I didn't sweat through everything I was wearing the moment I walked out the door, so there are plus sides.

Anyway, I showered, and then I walked toward the South Kensington tube station and had breakfast at Muriel's (delish). Then I bought some groceries, came back here and fully unpacked, and wrote for a couple of hours, and made tea, etc. I also went out and had a late lunch/early dinner, came back, ill-advisedly took a nap, and called my parents.

So for a first day, it was all as smooth as it could be - we'll see if the jetlag is kind to me. Goodnight!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

going mad for a couple grams

I'm sitting in a lounge at the Singapore Airport, waiting for my departure from Asia. I fly to Kuala Lumpur (which is half the distance from SFO to LAX, so I'll probably spend more time taxiing than I will in the air), am on the ground for an hour, and then I spend fourteen hours flying from Kuala Lumpur to London. I used credit card points to buy a business class ticket, which I'm exceedingly grateful for at the moment - I'm looking forward to fourteen hours offline to work/sleep/read (sort of like a silent retreat, but at thirty thousand feet and with less chance of ants but more chance of dehydration).

I'm sad that my time in Asia is coming to an end - I really enjoyed Singapore more than I expected to. Granted, I did nothing of note other than walking around last night. But I got some excellent sleep, and then I had a delicious buffet breakfast (I love Asian hotel breakfast buffets, since they always have a strange mix for their various clients - so I had bacon, eggs, sausage, sambar and rice, a samosa, and some chicken dumplings). Then I worked in my room until two - they gave me a later check-out, which was super nice.

Then I ventured out and got a pedicure, which was v. necessary (I hadn't had one in five weeks and that one wasn't good, so my nails were looking particularly wretched). I also had Din Tai Fung again, because those dumplings are crack and I can't resist them even though I know they're full of gluten. And then I walked back through a variety of aboveground/underground malls since it was raining - I walked almost half a mile, across several streets, without ever stepping outside. One of the malls had a Tokyu Hands (a great Japanese store), where I bought some washi tape and an umbrella - I should have had an umbrella in Bali, and I'm sure I'll need one in London.

Then I worked at the Fairmont for another hour, and then I came to the airport, and now I'm going to post this, eat a snack, and head to my gate. Next stop London - goodnight!

Friday, February 24, 2017

we're just under the upper hand

I snuck out of Roam this morning at four a.m., leaving like a thief in the dark - but only if thieves in the dark are mildly hungover and lugging seventy pounds of luggage. I was surprisingly sad to say goodbye to Bali - it was a good place for me, full of interesting people and great food and all the things I need to get some serious writing done, and I'm going to miss it.

But all things end, and so I went to the airport, checked my bags (including paying an excess baggage fee, which was kind of a production but not interesting enough to document here), ate some yogurt, and boarded my flight. The flight was smooth and uneventful, and I slept for most of it, but it wasn't enough to overcome last night's lack of sleep. But I survived, landed in Singapore, made it through immigration, found my bags, and took a taxi to my hotel.

Then I had lunch with Michelle - she and I worked together in Dublin waaaaaay back in 2006, and she's also friends with Irish Matt (remember him?), and she now lives full-time in Singapore. So we met up with lunch, and she took me out to Din Tai Fung - the soup dumplings that should inherit the earth, since they're so fucking good. I should have ordered a million, but I refrained.

We also had coffee after, and it was great to see her and to catch up properly (rather than just follow each other on Instagram). Then, she went home - we were supposed to have dinner tonight instead of lunch, but her parents decided to come visit this weekend, so our plans were thrown into flux. It was probably just as well - I came back to the hotel and napped for an hour because I'm *exhausted*.

But I decided to get out and explore the city tonight - not that I need to do much exploring, since I've been here before (for a few hours with Irish Matt in 2005, and several days with my dad in 2010). But I walked down to the river and had a long, leisurely dinner at an italian restaurant (not the most obvious choice in Singapore, but I was craving something other than nasi goreng). I had two glass of wine and some risotto, and I read most of a book that I have to judge for the RITAs, and the bartender comped me a glass of grappa at the end, so I'm relieved to see that my ability to befriend bartenders still works (in Bali the liquor is too expensive to ever comp it).

Then I wandered around the city for over an hour - it's gorgeous at night, and the temperatures were perfect, so I walked down the river and dreamed of other worlds. And now I need to sleep so I can write those other words - goodnight!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

i keep on falling in and out of love with you

My time in Bali is drawing to a close, and it doesn't feel real yet - but I must get up in four hours to go to the airport, at which point my wine headache and lack of sleep will probably make it feel very, very real.

Today was an exercise in saying farewell - I got up early because I couldn't sleep, and I spent the morning working on the roof deck for the last time while drinking a flat white and trying not to miss the place before it's gone. Then I spent several hours packing - it was made easier by the fact that I just have to throw everything into bags, but it still required some organization skills. And then I spent an hour eating a burger and drinking wine and reading a book at Element (see: saying farewell). I then needed to go to the supermarket to hit up an ATM and buy some wine for tonight, but it was the hottest day we've had since I've been here and I was thoroughly melted already, so I hired my favorite motorbike guy to drive me there, wait five minutes, and bring me back. #missionaccomplished

Then I spent the rest of the night saying farewell to people. I also traded sunscreen for a skirt, which was the kind of bartering that can only happen in these odd serendipitous travel situations. A few of us toured each other's rooms (a weird shadow of the night when Clayton, Sarah and I toured each other's rooms, but Clayton has been gone so long that the people on this tour never knew his name...), and I pawned off some stuff that I was getting rid of (no need for spray sunscreen in London!), and then I took Rachel's skirt from her, which felt like I was getting a better end of the bargain.

And then we ate in the kitchen downstairs - Xavier cooked, using ingredients and a recipe prepared by Eka (one of the women in the cafe who had the day off and made this for us Blue Apron-style). Several people also had the same idea of contributing wine, and we all bought the same kind, so there were like six bottles of wine + a box of the same wine, and I got very happily buzzed. And I said goodbye to all my favorite people, and we planned my presidential campaign (it is perhaps ill-advised to start a presidential campaign with three Americans, two Russians, a French guy, an American-Chinese dual citizen, an Indonesian, and a bunch of Canadians, but they quickly said I could go for world president (and the French guy, Xavier, bowed out because 'the French are useless'), so campaigns have gotten off to worse starts, I guess). We also listened to auctioneering recordings on YouTube, waded in the pool to cool off, had a sidebar convo in the laundry room where I unveiled my master detective skills about the people around us (luckily Tamara and Fenny had both been drinking as well, so they were duly impressed), and generally had my favorite kind of night.

But now I'm desperate to close my eyes for a few hours - and then the journey begins again. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

smoke on the water

Second-to-last night in Bali, and the last full night of sleep I'll get, so I should probably enjoy my bed while I can. I spent today working and taking care of business (where business = pleasure); I got up in time to be upstairs and working by 8:15, which is rare for me. But I spent the morning writing, while have a smoothie for breakfast (which turned into an ant apocalypse as they all swarmed my glass after I was done) and nasi goreng for lunch.

Then I took a motorbike taxi to Yoga Barn, where I had a 90-minute massage. The guy was really talented, and he also did a lot of stretching stuff with me, so my body felt great by the end. Then I had a late afternoon snack there while writing some more, and it was all feeling delightful, and I could have happily hermited out the rest of the day...

But instead, I came back here, showered, and then had a glass of wine on the roof with some people. Then, a few of us went out for dinner - we ended up at Hujan Locale, which is a v. trendy spot near Seniman Coffee. It's Indonesian fusion, and while my cocktail (an old-fashioned type) was good, I thought my risotto was a little bland (although adding the spicy sambal helped). We also joked about me burning my bridges with everyone here since it's my last couple of days - they can all apparently see the writing on the wall when it comes to my method of dealing with departures (pretend you're not leaving until the very end, then say something super awkward and disappear).

Tamara, Xavier, and Xiao all had to work after, but Talesh, Meg, Erin and I decided to grab a drink at Night Rooster (the place I went yesterday) since I'd talked it up so much, and it was #worthit. Then we came home, and now I need to sleep - I must do all the packing tomorrow, and get cash, and say goodbye to people, and write a bunch. Wish me luck with that - goodnight!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

tryna rain, tryna rain on the thunder, tell the storm i'm new

I spent today saying goodbye to Ubud. That meant taking some much-needed time to myself and exploring new things (mostly shopping) + saying goodbye to favorites. First up was breakfast with Fenny (the community manager I've befriended) at Elephant. We walked down the crazy footpath with the ravine on one side, which I won't miss, and then I had an iced coffee frappe, which I will miss.

We also had a long, very interesting discussion about religion and politics and culture - she grew up in Java and Sumatra and is Muslim (like the majority of Indonesia, although Bali is predominantly Hindu), but even though her mom just made the pilgrimage to Mecca, she is not strict in her own beliefs (yes to alcohol, no to veils). And she doesn't have a lot of patience for the way some of the hardline Muslims are using religion to rile up their constituents against certain politicians who are predominantly ethnic Chinese, and whom there is a lot of jealousy against because some of the Chinese descendents (who have been in Indonesia for a long time) have become quite rich - there's an issue going on right now with the mayor of Jakarta, who is Chinese/non-Muslim, and a hardline Muslim group who is trying to bring him down by accusing him of blasphemy.

And here, again, it feels like more of a divide between rural and urban than it actually does between religion or morality, and Indonesia's democracy, with its melting pot of multiple religions and ethnicities and languages, seems to face very similar challenges to America's. And in a lot of cases, I think political parties pay lip service to a specific set of beliefs (whether it's the evangelical movement or progressive politics) in a cynical attempt to gain votes and stay in power - they can rile up the base during the election, and then ignore them until it's time to go back to the ballot box.

sssanyway. That wasn't the most coherent couple of paragraphs I've ever written, but I need to go to bed asap - I haven't been sleeping well because I've got too much on my mind, and I have to upload my book in seventeen days and I'm not done, and I have to go to London this weekend. So moving on from Fenny (whom I adore), I spent part of the afternoon shopping for souvenir-type things that I hadn't bothered to buy the rest of the time I was here (a great leather purse, a couple of figurines, etc.). I also went to Seniman and wrote for a bit. I got an impromptu foot/hand reflexology massage, which I adored.

And I ended up at Night Rooster by myself - it's the bar associated with Locavore (home of the incredible meal I had a couple of weeks ago), and it's very nearly as good as Locavore itself. Both of my cocktails were great (I preferred one, called Ashes, way more; the other one was a bit of an ordering mistake on my part since it was too sweet, but Ashes had rye whisky and a burning pinecone next to it, and you'll just have to trust me when I say it was perfection in a glass). I also had shepherd's pie, which I realized in retrospect was a weird dish to transition between Indonesia and London...and then I had the 'd.i.y. indo mie', which was a noodle dish with a duck egg and some duck, to which you added your own mix of chili sauce/soy/peanuts. It was also incredible - I ate every single bite of both dishes, and tried to scrape every last bit of flavor off the bowls.

Then I came back to Roam, did a load of laundry, and talked to Lisa, Tess, and Fenny while I waited for it to be done. And now I am going to bed - goodnight!

Monday, February 20, 2017

recapture the rapture

I'm soooo sleepy - today was good, all in all, but I'm ready to crash. I woke up early (for me), took a shower, and spent an hour on the roof talking to my parents - the weather is improving (in other words, there's less rain), and so I took advantage of the sunny skies to sit on a lounge chair and get some morning sun before the heat became too intense.

Then I packed up my stuff and went to Yellow Flower, where I ate and drank coffee and wrote for a couple of hours. Then I came back, rested, and wrote some more while eating some nasi goreng (only three more days of nasi goreng!). Then I rested again. And then I dragged Erin to Pacha Mama so that I could enjoy one last meal there - we lounged on one of the sofas, ate delicious vegetarian mexican, and talked about writing and novels, and travel, which was great.

Then we walked back, and I ditched her along the road to pop in to Element and have a drink with Tamara - I'd avoided drinking at Pacha Mama, but I decided one last glass of wine at Element (if it's the last glass) would be good. We talked for quite awhile before heading back, and when I got here I realized the washing machine was free, so I decided to do laundry despite the hour. That resulted in a lot of time spent hanging around the kitchen doing nothing...although my conversation with Olia (a Russian who teaches English and also is very very into yoga) was great, and I enjoyed bantering with Xiao and Meg (don't bother to learn any of these names, because in three days I'll be going elsewhere and there will be a whole new cast of characters to introduce).

But now my laundry is done (although still damp for dumb reasons), and I must sleep so I can accomplish allll the things tomorrow - goodnight!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

sugar coma

Nothing to report - I got up late because I'd stayed up late, and then I had lunch at Juno's, and then I wrote all afternoon. For dinner, I went with several people (including a new person, since apparently I have to keep making friends right up to the last moment) to Room4Dessert, which was tasty (again), but took waaaay too long. We ordered some regular food to start, and then we shared the 'full tasting', which was all nine desserts on the list - and rather than bringing them out smorgasbord style, they brought each dessert one at a time, with 10-15mins between each one, which took forever (so long we had to call our taxi and tell him not to come yet).

And then we got home, and I wrote for another hour, but I've hit the wall hard and need to sleep. Goodnight!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

we got fun and games

Sorry for the late post - I was writing for the last three hours, and didn't feel like stopping until I hit the wall really hard and realized that this is approximately five hours after the bedtime that had been imposed by the lack of lights at the silent retreat.

So, as you can guess from that, today was good, but I'm trying to go hard after the book again since I have a serious deadline and am not as far along as I would like. I got up and tried a new place for breakfast/coffee - Juno's is super close by here, but it requires turning left instead of right when you leave my hotel, and I don't do that very often. It was great, though, and I spent several hours catching up on email and life tasks while drinking coffee and observing the world.

Then I came back here and procrastinated. But I broke the procrastination cycle and wrote some this afternoon (after buying some ointment for the very very many ant bites I've acquired), and then I virtuously skipped all fun plans and worked this evening. I did write at Element with a burger and a glass of wine (it's like a poor man's Des Amis, if you remember my love for that place)...and like Des Amis, I've made friends with the staff, which is a double-edged sword since they're friendly but they also tend to want to talk while I'm working.

But I got some good stuff done, and then I took a break when I got back here to hang out in the kitchen and talk to the people who had had fun tonight (I didn't miss much, although their food/drink options were much more varied than mine). Then I came upstairs and worked for three hours. And now I am desperate for sleep so I can do similar magical feats tomorrow - goodnight!

Friday, February 17, 2017

put my thing down, flip it and reverse it

I had an amazing time at my silent retreat - so amazing that I can't really put it into words. And also, I am desperate to sleep - it's 10:23pm, but I went to bed by nine for the last three nights because there were basically no lights in the retreat (it was solar powered, so I could read with a reading lamp, but that gets old), so I've hit my wall for the day. Also, I left the retreat and returned straight into eight hours of socializing, which was too much (albeit good).

So you're going to have to wait for a recap - just suffice it to say that the retreat was incredible, the location was stunning, the food was great (I never knew how much I liked curried cassava until now), I was glad I smuggled in some caffeinated tea, and I'm already trying to figure out when I can go back for a week. But now I need to sleep, and enjoy the air conditioning + the fact that I can't hear any frogs/birds/insects making a glorious cacophony (the humans were all silent, but the jungle did not get the memo). Goodnight!

Monday, February 13, 2017

looking for clues at the scene of the crime

IMPORTANT PROGRAMMING NOTE: there will be no further blog posts until Friday evening, 17 February (Bali time - that's approximately Friday morning in the US). I am leaving for a silent retreat tomorrow and will be offline for three days, which is the longest I'll be without internet since the day I got my smartphone (and possibly since somewhere around 1996). I am excited and ready to disconnect, but I'm sorry that you won't hear the minutiae of each day until I get back.

I spent the day mostly working - nothing too exciting, although I spent some time doing some personality stuff and talking to Lisa about it (Lisa is certified to coach on some of this stuff and has some great insights, especially since it turned out that four of my top five strengths on the assessment I did overlap with hers). No more on that yet - I need to do some meditating on it while I'm off being silent in the jungle.

I then spent the evening having a solo dinner with Sarah - I'm leaving for my retreat tomorrow and she's leaving to go back to the US before I get back, so we had to say our goodbyes tonight. We went to Naughty Nuri's first and had barbecue - it was a v. different experience than most of the places we've been going, since a) it was almost entirely meat, and b) it was more open to the elements, more rustic/old school, and full of meaty smoke from the barbecue set up out front. But it was super tasty - I had a hot dog, of all things, and my fries were great, and the margarita was surprisingly wonderful.

Then we went next door to Room4Dessert, which we hadn't remembered was there - Sarah had wanted to try it, and we realized by accident that we were right next to it. That turned out to be incredible - the space is really cool, and their dessert menu is decadent and interesting, and they have a fantastic-looking cocktail list. We had wine instead, but that was also tasty, and our two desserts (a chocolate creme brulee and something called 'Whisky, Torture, Turgenev', which I ordered solely for the name bc I like Russian authors and whisky and torture) were both outstanding. There was an American woman working there, which was also interesting, and so we chatted her up when we weren't busy talking to each other.

Then we came home, which was an experience - the motorbike guys who had taken us there came back to pick us up, but at that point the rains had arrived, so I put on the poncho one of them handed me (which was more heavy duty than my jacket) and we set off. I don't know how they see anything, since the rain was driving into my eyes and blinding me, but it was an exciting adventure and I made it back in one piece. Then Sarah and I sat on the roof and talked for a couple more hours and generally tried to make peace with the fact that we're about to part ways and go back to our regularly scheduled other lives. This is the downside of summer friends.

But now I need to sleep - I have a bunch of stuff I want to do tomorrow before I go offline, and I also need to pack and eat something before I go. Goodnight!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

it's the little things that kill

No blog tonight...I stayed up until after one a.m. talking to my parents, and I need to sleep immediately. But today was good - some decent writing and excellent journaling at Lazy Cats, a delightful nap, some hanging out on the roof, dinner with Erin at Pacha Mama, and then a glass of wine while the eight other people from Roam who showed up at Pacha Mama after us were eating their meals (I sat at three different tables at Pacha Mama tonight, which is a new record).

But now it's time to sleep - goodnight!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

it's raining men

It's not raining men, but it was certainly raining enough today to sound like little men were hitting the roof at terminal velocity. This was one of the wettest days we've had here, I think - it started raining sometime midmorning and basically didn't stop. I'm going a bit stir crazy, since I spent the whole day working on the roof (although I slept last in deference to the fact that I didn't get enough sleep the night before). But the writing that I got done was good, and the business work was also good, and I also took a break to talk to Sarah (of course), and I also did laundry, so #noregrets.

At six, I had a side meeting with Sarah, Xavier, and Tamara - we're in early discussions to potentially come back to Bali later in the year and rent a villa. I'm personally not in any position to commit yet...while I'm definitely enjoying significant elements of the nomadic lifestyle, I'm not positive yet that I'll still be enjoying it by the end of the year. But I've been more productive this past month than I was for most months of last year, and there's a lot to be said for that. And I'd like to come back to Bali when it's not the rainy season - and there's a major writing festival here at the end of October, which is appealing. But we at least agreed to what we'd theoretically want to spend and where we'd theoretically want to look - the idea is that we could have some places in mind (and possibly have one of us actually look at a couple), and then confirm it when we get a little closer and can make some real decisions.

sssanyway. Chances are I'll come back to the US and decide that I need to live someplace with a desk and friends rather than traveling forever, but we'll see. Ironically, we then went out for dinner and I had a sudden introvert meltdown and had a moment where I would have happily never seen anyone I've met here ever again. But I think that's because I've done too many group things, and not enough hermity things, and the emotional stress of saying goodbye to people while also meeting new people is weighing on me. Alex and Sanj left today, which was a bummer; several other people showed up, and I spent some time trying to guess their life stories. And that all takes a very different kind of energy than talking to people whom you've known forever.

Anyway - enough of all that, it's time to go to bed. Goodnight!

Friday, February 10, 2017

only love can break your heart

I had a slow day - I didn't wake up hungover, exactly, but I didn't sleep well last night because I'd eaten so much that I basically had a food baby and had to pee like three times to relieve the pressure. So I woke up tired and lethargic, but still dreaming of dinner, so #noregrets.

I spent the day hanging around Roam - I wanted to get some work done, and I didn't want to exert too much effort, so that meant working on the roof and eating a smoothie for breakfast and nasi goreng for lunch (standard, really). I didn't get much writing done, but I got a lot of other work done, so I'll take it.

Part of the reason I stuck around here is because I had a friend coming into town - this girl Erin arrived this evening, and I wanted to be here when she got in. She's also a historical romance writer, approximately my age, and she's embarking on a few months of nomad travel - and when she started planning her trip (about a month after I did), she decided to start in Bali since I would be a familiar place and the hotel situation is a very easy soft landing. She got in tonight, just as a massive downpour happened - it had been rain-free all day, but suddenly it rained as hard as I've ever heard it, which made conversation impossible while we were sitting on the roof deck (we didn't get wet, but the sound of rain pounding the roof drowned out everything else for awhile).

But we had a glass of wine with Tamara and Xavier, and eventually Tamara, Sarah and I inducted Erin into the ways of Element (two-for-one cocktails from 1pm to 8pm, although Erin refrained and only had one). Then we came back and I said my almost-goodbyes to Alex and Sanj; I'll probably see them in the morning, but they're leaving tomorrow and I am sad about that.

But that's the way the nomad life goes, so I shall harden my heart, go to bed, and plan to get some real writing done tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

i've had my fun and now it's time to

I think I had the best meal of my life tonight. I wasn't expecting it; I've had amazing, incredible culinary experiences before, and while Locavore was recently named the best restaurant in all of Asia, I didn't actually expect it to live up to the otherworldly meal I had a Momofuku in NYC, or even the likes of Gary Danko, Rich Table, or Octavia (Octavia isn't a crazy stand-out like Momofuku, but the strawberry float with homemade strawberry soda, and the Eton mess, and the deviled egg, will live on in my memory long after the rest of you have faded into the darkness of dementia).

(wow, that got bleak. let's rewind.)

I think I had the best meal of my life tonight.

Unlike everywhere else I've been in Ubud, it's essential to have a reservation for Locavore - a restaurant that is committed to the local food movement, and which also partners with local artisans to produce all of the serving dishes and other products. I managed to score a reservation for me, Sarah, Tamara, Gemma, and Xavier for eight p.m., and we all agreed to do the seven-course tasting menu with paired drinks. The paired drinks were all cocktails instead of wine, and they were some of the most inventive, interesting cocktails I've ever had.

But before we did that, we each ordered a cocktail to start. Mine was called 'trouble maker' (of course) and was served in this ridiculous wooden urn with lots of ice, a flower, a straw, and a bunch of bulleit bourbon and hibiscus - yum. But Gemma ordered the one I'd almost ordered ('into the wild'), and it was delicious - but on the side, they had a little pot of herbs which they lit on fire, and she said the cocktail was even more incredible when you sipped it with the smoke from the herbs wafting around the drink.

Then the food started, and it just kept coming. Before we even got to the first course, there were like three pre-amuse-bouches and two amuse bouches, and they were all totally incredible. There was some sort of seaweed 'pillow' with a delicious liquid inside that none of us understood but all of us loved; there was a potato fritter with some sort of sauce that I would have killed to be able to eat more of; there was a salted spinach chip that was somehow beyond my usual enjoyment of any of the base components; and there was a palate cleanser of 'bloody mary sorbet', which you will just have to trust when I say it was fucking delicious.

And then the main courses and the drink pairings started, and it was a culinary wonderland. Little touches, like spraying mushroom essence into the cocktail at the table, turned into gorgeously tasty moments. There were seven courses, but the standouts were the beef tartare, which had some accompaniments that I can't remember but that made for the best single bite of the meal; the catfish, which was laughably decadent compared to the breaded and fried (and delicious in a different way) catfish of my youth; and the slow cooked duck egg with rice, snails, garlic, frog, and wild flowers, which I could have eaten forever.

Dessert was way too much - there was the regular dessert, which was a trio of sorbets (good way to end)...and then they brought out like five more bites for each of us, including some sort of yogurt in a spoon, a chocolate cake bite, and an egg custard served inside an eggshell. So we were all totally stuffed at that point. But throughout the night, the conversation flowed, the people were lovely, and the food was delightful - so it made for an epic night. And while it was certainly decadent by any standards, the total came to <$140 each for all the food and eight drinks each, which I consider a total win.

Then we came home, and now I just want to lie in bed and rub my belly and dream of this meal, and past meals, and future meals, and how food binds us all together. The rain is falling outside, as it was when we were leaving the restaurant, and the thunder and lightning and rainfall is as soothing and exciting as the meal was...and makes me miss other summers, and other storms, and other meals, even as I wouldn't trade this one in for anything.

Other than the meal, the rest of my day was unexciting; I went to Yellow Flower with Sarah for breakfast, and then I came home and worked allllll day, with a brief break to eat some nasi goreng and chat with Katrina via whatsapp (the app of the future). [also, I just noticed that I called this place 'home'...interesting]. The work was good, in the end - I redid my whole sararamsey.com website, and it looks like it's basically launched, which is great since the old one was in dire need of a revamp and I finally figured out how to get Squarespace to do what I wanted it to do.

But now, it's definitely time for bed - real life returns tomorrow, since I will be mildly hungover, still full, and v. much in need of some writing time. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

i can taste the dishonesty

I'm finally, truly getting back into the story - a scene that had stymied me for days suddenly came together with an unexpected arrival (as in, I didn't expect it either), so that's good news. Also, I felt better today, since I got a little overheated but never got carsick and also didn't drink any coffee made by shitting cats...so my stomach was in a better place than it was yesterday.

So, brief recap: I got up, showered, threw on some clothes, and walked into central Ubud in search of breakfast and coffee and a place to work. I ended up at Seniman, which is a lot farther away than Lazy Cats, but is also delicious - I'd been there once before, and they're definitely serious about their coffee. So I had their huevos rancheros and a perfect iced double latte, and I journaled for a bit. Then I relocated to a bigger table, pulled out my laptop, and had a cold brew coffee while writing. I was there for so long that I needed lunch as well, but the lunch I ordered was weird - it had 'square rice', which I assumed was regular rice in the shape of a square, but it had somehow been densely compressed into little squares that looked like tofu, and I was not a fan. But it fueled some more writing, so all was forgiven.

Then I walked back home, although I stopped at a jewelry store on the way and bought a ring (so necessary, I know - but it will be a good souvenir). By the time I got here, I was drenched in sweat and on the verge of overheating, so I turned on the air conditioner, drank some water, and took a nap. Then I skipped the community dinner in favor of doing more writing/work - this book ain't gonna write itself, and I'm on a tight deadline and need to focus when I'm feeling the urge to write. Also, tomorrow night I have plans for an absurdly fancy dinner, which means a) I won't be able to write tomorrow night and b) I probably also won't be able to write Friday morning, although I'll make my best attempt.

But now it's time for bed - goodnight!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

where's your head at

Today went totally off the rails, so I need to go to bed and try again tomorrow. I got up early this morning so that I could go to Denpasar to renew my visa, and that was the best/most seamless part of my day - the driver picked me up at 7:45, drove me to the immigration office, and it became immediately clear that I had paid for some v. extra special expediting, since when I walked in someone handed me a number (like you pull at the DMV or a deli counter) and I was 7th in line with 20+ people waiting. I got my fingerprints and photo taken and was out of there within twenty minutes; they'll bring my passport and my extended visa back to me in a couple of days. I don't know how much my processing cost above the standard fee, but considering that I didn't have to fill out any forms or navigate any lines, it was well worth it.

I then asked the driver if he could drop me at Lazy Cats instead of my hotel on the way back, since I needed to work. This was no problem for him, but since I'd mentioned that I like coffee, he suggested that I try the famous luwak coffee on the way back. I knew this was a trap - it's the lowest of the low season for tourism right now and all the drivers/shops/restaurants are politely desperate, and I'm guessing he got some sort of kickback for taking me there. However, I'd had 'try luwak coffee' on my possible to-do list, so I decided to roll with it.

Luwak coffee, for those of you who are still blessedly unaware, is coffee made from beans that were eaten by a wild civet cat, which partially digests them before shitting them out. The beans are then collected, washed (hopefully), and turned into some of the most expensive coffee in the world. The place we stopped was obviously a tourist trap - they had two coffee bushes/trees of different varieties, a couple of ginger, lemongrass, aloe, pepper, and other plants, an elderly woman half-heartedly roasting a few beans, etc. My guide/waitress later confided that the coffee can't be grown there anyway because it's too hot. She was also an expert at getting me to feel guilty about how much money I have, but I tipped her anyway because she was funny and I enjoyed talking to her.

So I tried all the teas/coffees (free tasting! of course), and then paid for a cup of the luwak coffee. It was not very good. I like my coffee with milk anyway, and I really couldn't tell much difference between that and the usual Balinese coffee on the island (which I also find to be a little harsh/unenjoyable compared to Sumatran/Javan coffees).

After I parted ways with the coffee lady, my driver drove me the rest of the way back to Ubud. I should have gone home instead of Lazy Cats, because I was already way too overheated and vaguely carsick. But I went to Lazy Cats, tried to work, and utterly failed.

Then I went to a massage at Tamarind - I got a hot stone massage, which I wouldn't have booked if I'd known two weeks ago that this was going to be one of the hottest days of my trip. The massage was excellent, but the stones were a little too hot, and I have some suspicious red marks like tiny burns in a couple of sensitive locations. However, I would totally recommend the place despite that - but try to be cool before you arrive, since hot stone massage is not a good activity for warm weather.

Then I was going to come home, but as I walked out of the spa, it started raining, so I dashed back to Lazy Cats since it was the closest nearby cafe. Sarah was there, so I talked to her, and then I eventually grabbed a cab back to my hotel.

But I ventured out against to have dinner at Element and try to write in my journal - but I've once again befriended the wait staff, so I wasn't able to write much because we were talking too much. And eventually Sarah walked by; she'd gotten completely drenched in the downpour that had happened a few minutes earlier, so she joined me and we had a lot of wine and talked for two hours and it was all beautiful.

But now I need to sleep - the day ended on a positive note, but my stomach felt gross all day (either I was still carsick, or the teas/shit coffee didn't agree with me) and I was way too fucking hot, and then way too fucking wet on the walk back, and I need to get some real work done. Goodnight!

Monday, February 06, 2017

midnight in a perfect world

Today was an experiment in trying to be more productive that didn't actually result in any additional productivity...but I was still happy, so I'll chalk it up as a minor win. I woke up at 6:45 (shocker) so that I could call my parents, but I went downstairs to make tea first and ended up spending almost an hour talking to Tamara (and making eggs for breakfast). Then I called my parents - it was around the time I usually call them back home, but that meant I kind of interrupted the Super Bowl for them (and by 'kinda' I mean 'definitely', but it was the early part).

After that, I showered and went upstairs and worked for awhile. That was successful. Then I met up with Sanj and walked to Elephant Cafe for lunch - the original plan was to go to the ATM (very necessary), have lunch (slightly less necessary, but fun and delicious), and then go to yoga. Instead, we went to the ATM, had a long lunch, and skipped yoga entirely. Sanj left a couple of hours after we got there, but I stayed and tried to work for an hour, with v. mixed results since I was falling asleep the whole time despite all the coffee I had today.

So I walked home in the brutally oppressive heat, stopping to buy a pair of earrings and a couple of dresses (having cash is dangerous). Then I spent way too much time trying to cool off in my room before showering and going upstairs to work. The first hour and a half of work was actually great, but then I started talking to Tamara, and then Sanj showed up, and we started talking about fertility (which made me want wine, which I ordered, along with some nasi goreng because I was *starving*), and that turned into two glasses of wine, and then Sanj and Tamara spent a lot of time trying to get a French guy with a manbun to realize that he needs to break up with his girlfriend asap. At some point I realized that this conversation was 'no longer serving me' (in other words, I was wasting a lot of time on something that meant basically nothing to me), so I ran away to my room.

But it's too late to write tonight - I have to get up early again tomorrow so that I can go to Denpasar (the state capital) to get my fingerprints taken for my visa renewal. Goodnight!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

don't want to fall in love with you

After a sweltering day with no rain, the winds are beginning to howl outside and it feels like a storm is moving in. Yes, I've been complaining about the rain, but when it's not raining, steam rises from the ground and turns the world into a sauna. With the heat and humidity, I had an odd moment today where I could almost feel corn silk in my hands, like it was summer back home and I was shucking corn (not that I ever had to do that, since my parents usually took care of it).

But I'm not at home - I'm still in Bali, which continues to delight. I had breakfast and a long conversation with Sarah; Yellow Flower has rice pancakes, which are basically a big, thin crepe covered in bananas, coconut, and syrup, and they were completely delicious (and an odd departure for me, since I rarely have sweet things for breakfast). And Sarah and I had a lot of interesting parallels in our respective lives, so we've gotten pretty deep into our summer camp friendship.

After breakfast (which basically became brunch), I came back here and did some work, although I wasn't satisfied with what I got done. Then I got a massage, which I was v. satisfied with - it was better than either of the other massages I've had here, and was a three minute walk from the hotel (made perilous only by roosters in the rice paddies and angry dogs that seem to belong to the spa and are doing nothing for their business). Then I came home, rinsed the oil off, and took my laptop and snuck out to have a solo dinner at Element. As mentioned yesterday, I haven't been getting enough alone-time, so dinner and a glass of wine and my journal and some work on my laptop were like balm to my soul.

Then I came back and did a bit more work upstairs, but the wind kicked up and I'm feeling tired, so I think it's time to sleep. Goodnight!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

romeo save me

I woke up this morning far less hungover than I deserved to be, but I definitely didn't get enough sleep last night, which made today somewhat brutal. However, I got up and showered in time to say goodbye to Clayton, who left this morning. Then I walked to Yellow Flower, where I ate a delicious omelette and messed around in my journal.

It was a gorgeous day today - it was the first sunny day without afternoon rain in at least a week, and I wanted to take advantage of it. I declined the opportunity to get in a car and go to some touristy 'traditional village' (although it sounds like it was cool), and instead said goodbye to zee Germans (who also left today, after having birthday cake for one of them) and then laid out by the pool for an hour. By the time I got out to the pool, I only got twenty minutes or so of direct sun before it slipped behind the building, but that was perfect - and I was able to lay with my feet in the water, which helped to cool off from the oppressive heat and humidity.

But I couldn't laze around all afternoon - I needed to get some writing done, so I spent the rest of the afternoon writing, eating nasi goreng, doing laundry, and having a great chat with Tamara about writing. I had intended to be a hermit and order food in and keep working tonight, since I'm reaching the (temporary) end of my tolerance for large group activities, but Sanj messaged me about dinner with her, her boyfriend Alex, Sarah, Tamara, and Saurabh. That was at the upper end of my tolerance for group size, but I like all of them and it's Saurabh's last night here (it feels like half the group is turning over this weekend), so I agreed.

Unfortunately, though, the six of us suddenly turned into twelve - two other people joined us, and when we got to Pacha Mama, we found four more people from the hotel who had just arrived there and decided to merge with our table.  Of those six additions, I can't stand one of them and find two of them super weird and possibly crazy, so that put a sudden damper on my mood. Also, it was live music night, which added a layer of noise on top of my grated nerves (although I really enjoyed watching this one man-bun-wearing yoga-type dude request 'Wonderwall' from the band and have his own little groovefest in his head while listening to them). But I maneuvered myself to sit with most of the group I came with (throwing Tamara to the wolves, alas), so I mostly managed to enjoy the conversation. And I refrained from drinking anything despite my annoyance, so I'm hoping I can get a good night's sleep and hit the work hard tomorrow.

Anyway, that's all a very long way of saying that I need some me-time. I genuinely like so many of the people here, and my #fomo means I don't want to say no to dinners - but I also don't like large group activities. And because we've all discovered the same 'best things' nearby, it means that when I do go out by myself, I tend to run into people - I saw Sarah and another couple at Yellow Flower this morning (and said I didn't want to join them when they invited me), and I saw Clayton both times I went to Lazy Cats this week, and that makes it hard to get away.

But this is a real #firstworldproblem - on the whole, I'm really glad that this has lived up to my hopes so far in terms of meeting people and making friends and learning new things. But I think I need a day off from friendship...and I intend to get it tomorrow. Goodnight!

Friday, February 03, 2017

gotta break loose cause that's the motto

Today was rather wild - or, at least, I will tell myself that tomorrow to console myself for my inevitable hangover. The morning/afternoon was quite productive - I got up, cleaned myself up, and walked to Lazy Cats so that I could get some fresh air and get some work done. On the way, I had my first bargaining experience - I bought two dresses for 150,000 rupiah (which is $11), after the guy opened with 99,000 for one of the dresses and I counter-offered 150k for two. Perhaps I got ripped off, since he accepted immediately; but I could never buy two dresses I actually like for $11 total in the US, so I walked away satisfied.

Then I went to Lazy Cats, where I did a substantial amount of writing and also a substantial amount of admin work. I also talked to Claudia (aka Santy Claude), which was delightful. It started raining at some point, and it kept raining for hours, so eventually I was forced to walk back in the drizzle so that I could shower and get ready for tonight's main event...

...which was drinks at the Four Seasons to celebrate Clayton's birthday/going-away. You all know that I'm a fancy bitch and I love the Four Seasons, and this place was next-level gorgeous - the bar looked out over a perfectly groomed tropical jungle, and the drinks were perfect. So, because they were perfect, I had four (as did Clayton). Sarah and Clayton and I went early to secure a space and hang out in a quieter setting, and I felt like such a lady ridding sidesaddle on a motorbike over there (in deference to my dress, since I couldn't straddle my motorbike taxi guy without looking supremely inappropriate). But a bunch of other people showed up over the course of the evening, and we were pleasantly surprised to see a Balinese dance performance - it felt like one of those rare, magical night when everything goes right.

When we were done, the bill came to 4.5 million rupiah (to contrast, each of my cocktails was 30k more than my two dresses this morning), so it was fun counting that huge stack of money. Then we came back to our neighborhood and had dinner at Element - I also had four more cocktails there, which was four more cocktails than I needed to have. And when we were done there, we all came home, and Sarah, Sanj, Saurabh and I sat on the roof and drank a bottle of wine.

Needless to say, I need more water and less typing, so I think it's time for bed. I'll really miss Clayton, but the nomad life requires a fickle heart and an eye toward the future, so I'll have to lay a friend trap for whoever shows up next (but typing that makes me sad, so let's pretend I didn't say it). Goodnight!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

through the storm we reach the shore

Today was rather delightful, although it started with a hangover and ended with a rainstorm. I woke up later than intended, after spending an ill-advised hour at four a.m. reading twitter (please take my phone away from me), and then I showered and tidied up before venturing out of my room. My first task was to make tea, and while I was making tea I met some new Aussie guy who just showed up - he's something of a tech bro and seems to be investing in startups, but also makes money via airbnb, and he wants to write an ebook. This all sounds vomit-worthy, but he was more interesting than that bio made it sound, and he's here for a month, so I'm sure our paths will cross again.

Then I went upstairs and ate some nasi goreng (breakfast/lunch/dinner of Roam champions) and messed around online. I also had a long, delightful conversation with Tamara, who's also a writer...but I cut it short to have a video call with Adit (no one calls him the cat). We were talking about this book idea, and so we came up with some actions and next steps, which I'm pretty excited about.

But I couldn't work on it this afternoon - I needed to work, rather desperately, on my historical instead. So I packed up my stuff and went to Lazy Cats, taking a risk since it had been very rainy/windy earlier and looked like it might be rainy/windy again. In fact, it was so relatively cool/windy that I wore jeans today for the first time since arriving in Bali, which was a fun departure from my strange tropical wardrobe.

Lazy Cats was great for my productivity, and I would have happily stayed there even longer, but there were drinks planned tonight for Mandy, whom I haven't mentioned here before and will likely never mention here again since she's leaving tomorrow morning. I'd be totally happy if our paths crossed again, but one never knows. So I walked to No Mas, which is a second-floor bar with a cool vibe (and the dreaded live music, which is always too loud, although these guys were pretty good despite the volume). A whole bunch of people showed up, and it was all v. relaxed and desultory....

But the music was loud, as I said, and I was on the verge of going home (in fact, I had just settled my bill), when Clayton and this British guy he'd met on a volcano this morning at three a.m. and I decided to go get another drink (and food for me, since I hadn't eaten dinner). This slowly morphed into almost everyone from the original gathering ending up across the street at Art Cafe, which was much, much quieter. I had a glass of red wine and a tasty chicken sandwich, and I got into a super deep conversation about US and British politics with Alex, Sanj, Tamara, and volcano guy (whose name is Tom).

Alex and Sanj left abruptly to take Sanj to a late-night clinic before she died of diarrhea issues, but the rest of us stayed until eleven and continued to enjoy ourselves. I also got Tom's info, since he grew up in Devon (which is where my latest series is set) and said he'd send me some recs of places to go/things to explore while I'm in London, which would be lovely. And then we all parted ways - Tom (volcano guy) went off to wherever he's staying, and six of us grabbed a taxi. Just as we were piling into the taxi, it started to drizzle - and just as we got back to the hotel, the downpour started and we all risked getting soaked running from the car to the door. Rather fitting way to end the day, since I'd avoided getting wet all day and was feeling too smug about it.

And now I need to sleep - I need to be productive in the morning, since Clayton's birthday + going-away drinks are tomorrow (there are going-away drinks alllll the time in a situation like this) and I've convinced him to do them at the Four Seasons since I'm a fancy bitch and want to check that place out. Goodnight!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

i stopped an old man along the way, hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies

Tonight took an unexpected turn. I blame the rain, which has fallen throughout the day, alternating between calming drizzle and apocalyptic downpour. I woke up relatively early this morning, showered, made myself some eggs, and then went upstairs to drink tea/work for awhile. As I was working, the first great wave of rain arrived - the wind picked up, and suddenly it was driving rain into the coworking space more aggressively than I've seen it so far. We all scattered, pulling up laptop and power cords and papers, and pulling tables and cushions away from the west 'wall' so that we could escape the rain.

But once we were all away from the open areas, work resumed. However, I took a long break to talk to Ritu - it was the first official friend chat I've had since I've been here, and it was delightful. Bill joined us, which is fine since he claims he can distill alcohol during the apocalypse for us (I'll believe it when I see it). So we caught up, and I quite enjoyed it, and they seemed to be able to hear me despite the sound of driving rain the background, so that's all good.

Then I ate some nasi goreng (the rice dish I eat all the time here), and then I worked for the rest of the afternoon. But in the evening, I took a break to have dinner with Clayton and Sarah - we went to Pacha Mama (again) because I was desperate to get out of the property, and so we skipped the community dinner. The food was delish, as usual. But I also had two glasses of wine - and then, when it suddenly started pouring and we had to switch tables to avoid getting wet, we all had a third drink. We also ordered the bananas flambe, and I was drunk enough (or social enough) to get the owner/chef to show me how to make them, which meant I got to cook them for us tableside with his oversight. I didn't set any of us on fire, so that was #winning.

Then we tried to leave and come home, but halfway here it was so wet that Sarah and I dashed into Element (abandoning Clayton) and had another drink there while we continued our conversation. Just after we dried off, we finished our drink and it was time to leave, so we ran the rest of the way. But I'm sufficiently dry now, and I need to sleep if I have any hope of being productive tomorrow. Goodnight!