Dec 10

Away from home for Christmas

This is my second Christmas now away from home.  Last year we were a bit more festive: Christmas Eve MB made a yummy past dish, and on Christmas Day, he prepared some lovely cornish game hens with stuffing and a salad.  This year we’ve been very lazy.

Yesterday morning was like any other.  I worked a bit in the morning, then hit the gym.  Five miles, woohoo! For lunch and dinner, we ate random leftovers and at whichever restaurants were open (Mel’s for a late lunch, a Thai place for a late dinner).  We hung out the New People cafe in Japantown for a while.  (Vegan donuts for half price after 5 PM!) I brought my writing but didn’t feel like working so I – dangerously – ended up shopping instead.

All I bought was a $45 super soft sweater.  It’s dark gray and the material is unbelievably soft and cozy and not scratchy.

In the evening caught we caught Tron: Legacy, which wasn’t as bad as the reviews make it out to be.  I mean, a lot of the dialogue was dumb and boring, but there was plenty of action and the special effects were amazing.  Plus the music was super-cool.

There were a surprising number of people at the theater.  Lots of Asians, as I predicted, and at least one person who wanted to get away from her relatives.

“My family is so dysfunctional!” she said to someone on her cell phone.  “I don’t want to hang out with them on Christmas Eve.”

We got home around 11, had our late Thai dinner, and watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire.  We would have liked to have gone to sleep shortly after, but we had trouble with our noisy neighbor yet again.  This time it was her television, which she apparently moved into her bedroom (which of course is right under ours).  It was probably regular volume, but at two, three, four in the morning, regular volume directly under us seems very loud.  MB even stomped on the floor really hard (all 180 pounds of him jumping up and down three times).  The neighbor gave a little screech, then turned the volume down a tiny smidge.

Made no difference.  By 3:30 we decided to give up on sleep and got up for a while.  Finally, at 4:30 she turned off the TV, and we were able to go to bed.  So annoying that we have to schedule our sleep around the habits of a big fucking loser who happens to live below us.

I slept till about 9:30, and got up only because I had a huge craving for coffee and the vegan donuts from New People.  It was so bad, I couldn’t even wait to make new coffee.  I zapped yesterday’s leftover while a new pot percolated.  Still delish and highly effective.

I called my parents to wish them a merry Christmas.  My mother told me that apparently my father is now a huge fan of shopping online.  He hates shopping in real life, but loves ordering things like toasters and water heaters off the internet.  So the Amazon gift card I got him will be put to good use.

Since this morning I’ve been working on a draft of an essay for a travel writing contest due in early January, and jotting down some weekly goals, to help keep them all straight but also so I can cross them off as I complete them.  Check!  Or strikethrough! I should say.

Today is gray and rainy.  All we have planned is possibly checking out this Chinese restaurant we’ve been meaning to try.  Hopefully it’ll be open.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Dec 10

Quick and random update

I know I’ve been pretty lax lately with the updates.  I could say it’s because I’ve been focusing all my energy on my memoir, but really I’m just lazy.

Life has been peaceful since my grandmother’s funeral.  Besides working and writing, I’ve been (as usual) trying to exercise more consistently and regularly.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve been very good, though of course today I’m tempted not to go.

Last Tuesday I was a ball of firy productivity.  I got up early and went to the gym.  Then I went right back out and headed to Union Square for my mother’s Christmas present: a gift card from a department store.  But first a delicious ham and gruyere baguette and coffee from my new favorite place, Crepe O Chocolat.

Going to the store early was a good idea.  There were hardly any people, nor at another store where I got some new pajama bottoms.  I’ve had the same ones for YEARS, and MB is constantly making fun of how thin they are in the seats.

Then I was back home before noon. Spent the afternoon working and writing.  By 3 I could have really used a nap, but I pushed through it.

On Thursday I was out and about early again.  Sent my parents’ package (btw, I love the automated postal machines but hate the people who feel they have to read every entire screen for each and every package; here are two pieces of advice: THEY’RE ALL THE SAME and JUST SAY NO), hit the gym, had yummy spicy seafood Vietnamese pho, did a bit more shopping, hung out at the New People cafe in Japantown to work.

But I was feeling very blah for some reason.  Just physically tired.  And piggish too!  MB had a dinner meeting so I just ate the leftover pizza in our fridge and then a bunch of Doritoes.  So much for my low-fat diet.  Then I had pizza again the next day at work!  Need to lay off the cheese for a while.

My latest obsession is The Hunger Games.  The books are SO GOOD.  YP turned me onto them, though I’ve been hearing about them for ages.  Gripping and surprisingly brutal.  No mushy love stories or sparkly vampires.  (There is some sparkling but only because the progtagonist is tripping from some deadly wasps.)  I’m on the second book now.

This rainy weather just makes me want to curl up and read The Hunger Games all day.

Oh, and write too, I suppose.  My memoir is taking way longer than expected, but I’m wrapping up the last chapter.  Now it’s quite a bit longer.  At start it was around 50,000 words, but now I’m close to 90,000.  I expanded quite a bit, especially in the beginning.

Back to work!

Sep 10

Babbling blaterhing blithering

This week I finally finished my work project.  The deadline to the publisher was Wednesday 9/1, and I got manuscripts to my boss Sunday night.  Yesterday we did a bit more work cleaning up, but I think that should be it, unless the publisher comes back with changes.

I’m excited to get back in the swing of things in terms of my own writing, but it’s a bit scary too.  My work project was very straight-forward.  My own writing less so.  But I have some pitches and submissions planned.  I just have to do them.  Also, the Nervous Breakdown!  I didn’t post at all last month, and I have tons of reading to catch up on there, The Frisky, and elsewhere on the interwebs.

This weekend MB and I don’t have any plans.  We’ll just hang around the thankfully quiet city, work on our projects, take walks, see movies.  After a week of chilly weather, we’re hot again, though not as hot as last time.  I think it’s supposed to cool right back down tomorrow.

My folks are in L.A. now, helping out with my grandmother.  MB and I fly out there late next week, and the week after off to Seattle!  After that I probably won’t want to travel for some time.

Wow, this is a really boring blog post.  Okay, two things:

1) If you’re my Facebook friend, you know about the disturbance in our building last week.  Because my blog is public, I can’t go into too many details, but let’s just say it was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? meets Cops at three in the morning.  It was very strange and kind of scary.  This same individual this week was heard hammering and drilling at again in the middle of the night.

2) This week I learned that a teacher from my high school died.  Not just died: killed himself.  Threw himself in front of a train.

I had one class with this teacher, and while he didn’t change my life like he did other students, it’s still incredibly sad and disturbing.  He was very active in the school – a dynamic teacher, soccer coach, adviser to various clubs.

He was in his early 50s, which means he was YOUNGER THAN I AM NOW when he taught our class.  That just blows my mind.

It’s especially strange because my class just had its 20 year reunion (which I obviously did not attend), though I was lucky enough to hear all the dirt, including that this teacher was still teaching at the school.

And then just a few weeks later, the terrible news.

3) I know I said “two,” but I have to end a nicer note.  I went bowling yesterday with my co-workers.  Wow, I suck!  I’m also out of practice.  But I did make a couple of strikes, including during a time they were giving away T-shirts.  So I won a T-shirt!  That’s bright purple.  And which I’ll never wear.

Aug 10

Evil espresso, eviler wine, evilest fake running

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost three weeks since I last blogged.  I have a lot to catch up on.

I’m finally at a point in my work project that I don’t have to work too much this weekend.  While I’m glad to have time to work on my own stuff, I’m a little nervous too.  The work project is a no-brainer.  There’s a set process and  I just follow it.  With my own stuff, it’s a lot more loosey goosey.

My low cholesterol life is still going strong, though I did splurge twice this week on  fatty pesto pasta with fatty sausage, the first time after I had drinks with my co-workers and the second time last night because I didn’t feel like fish. (Last night was chicken sausage but the pasta was still pretty oily.)

It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a drink.  MB doesn’t touch the stuff and I’m allergic to alcohol so drinking is never that much fun.  Wednesday night I had a glass of red wine – no, half a glass of red wine – and I was DRUNK.  Very warm, very red, light-headed, and chatty.  By the time I got home, I was craving bad food.  Hence, the fatty pesto pasta.

I was also a slacker about working out this week.  Last Sunday I just didn’t feel like it, and was so blah in the afternoon, I made the mistake of having a double espresso.  As with alcohol, I’m sensitive to caffeine.  I mean, I can have as much as I want before noon, but after that, I’m in trouble.

I thought I’d be up till one or two.  I was up till 5:30 AM.  The worst was when I’d drift off, only to be jerked awake by something random – the door creaking, the girl downstairs talking at the top of her lungs, my brain skittering off to some random memory.

Luckily I work part-time so I just switched my days, working from home on Monday and going in on Tuesday, which meant missing yoga.  Boo hoo.  Then I went in on Thursday instead of Friday because we had a meeting I didn’t want to miss, which meant missing yoga again.  Must go twice next week!

Speaking of the gym, lately I’ve noticed this chick who simultaneously cracks me up and annoys me.  She’s Asian, very thin, and has a lot of dyed hair – you know, that weird brownish, reddish, yellowish color that some Asian women seem to favor.  She runs on the treadmill, but she runs 1) with all that hair down 2) fully make-up’d, and 3) holding onto the side rails for dear life.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run next to her.  Being that close, I could see that in addition to big hair, she had big, fake boobs.  I mean, not ginormous but solid and perfectly round.  For a moment I wondered if she was actually post-op (ie, formerly a guy), but looking at her hands, I didn’t think she was.

To motivate myself, I got into a pretend competition with her.  I *have* to run more than this chick, I told myself, with all her hair and her tribal tattoo and silicon lady lumps.  But she ran a lot, and pretty fast.  Glancing at her machine, I saw that she ran six or seven miles an hour.

BUT.  She was holding onto the machine the whole time, the sides or the handles at the top.  And she wasn’t sweating at all, as far as I could tell.  Meanwhile I was running between 5.7 and 6.3 MPH for four miles, and I was drenched.

Then someone she knew took the treadmill on her other side, and they had a whole long conversation.  I mean, she was hardly out of breath.  I kept thinking, It’s because she’s holding onto the handrails right? She’s basically bracing herself or lifting herself up.  (The real question is of course, Why do I care? but I do and that’s that.)

This morning I found that it *is* fake running to hold the treadmill the whole time. Yes, vindicated!  I mean, I already knew that, but I just needed the internet to assure me again.

Now that I’m done being catty, it’s back to the gym again.  I’ll say hello to Miss Big-Hair-Fake-Boobs-Fake-Runner if I see her.

Aug 10

Work work work

This week I started on this project at work.  We sort of waited till the last minute to get started so I basically have the month of August to write four short books.

It’s not a lot of writing.  It’s mostly gathering information, editing it, and putting it all together, which does take time.  I was supposed to get the first 30 entries of the four books done by tomorrow, but I only got two done, with working at home on the days I wasn’t in the office.  I’ll have to take the weekend to do the other two.

I love getting paid to write!  And it’s actually nice to work on something that’s not about me.

Speaking of which, here’s another article about me! Specifically about the time I got into it with an obnoxious hipster douchette when I still lived in New York.

In cholesterol land, I’m finishing up week three.  This week I really craved bad food but resisted.  The worst are all the bad salty snacks available for free in the kitchen at work.

I decided I’m going to try to work in an hour of carido once a week.  For the four times I do hard cadio, I usually do about forty minutes, whether running or on the elliptical.  For one of those four times, I’ll try to run five or six miles, or 40 minutes running plus 20 minutes elliptical, or vice versa.

This past Tuesday I felt like I was at the gym forever.  I ran five miles, walked for five minutes, then did an hour of yoga.  I was soooo hungry afterward.

In vertigo land, I’ve decided that my allergy meds haven’t been working.  In fact, I think they make me more light-headed (which is indeed a side effect) as well as incredibly parched in the morning.  I read that ginkgo biloba might help with vertigo so I took some earlier this week.

That shit kept me up for two days.  Well, not literally, but that night I didn’t sleep well, and last night I didn’t sleep well either!  I didn’t feel jittery, but my brain felt energetic.  Last night I did eventually fall asleep and for a good amount of time, but it took me a while.

I haven’t read anything online that says ginkgo biloba will keep you up, but I guess if it improves blood flow to the brain, that goes without saying.

I haven’t taken it again.  Maybe I’ll take it tomorrow morning.

By the way, since I stopped taking my allergy meds, I’ve felt much less light-headed.  Plus I’ve been more careful about not bending my head forward when I’m on the computer, and taking more breaks.

On that note, off the computer for the night!

Jul 10

Writing, the Valley, allergies

In case you missed them, here are the pieces I published this month:

    I’m Competitive, The Frisky, June 29
    Ghosts, The Nervous Breakdown, June 21
    I Want to Be Like My Dad, The Frisky, June 18

Right now I’m working on a long essay for a contest that’s due today. Hopefully I can turn it in before my SF pal picks me up for our monthly Thursday Museum Excursion. Today’s it’s the Legion of Honor. Apparently they have an Impressionist exhibit that’s companion to the de Young’s.

Earlier this week I went to my first Silicon Valley dinner. It was out in Palo Alto – or maybe Menlo Park? – and was pretty relaxed. Downtown Palo Alto seems very nice, at least from what I saw, but in a weird way. Like everything is a bit too nice, everyone is a bit too pretty and fit, but not LA-pretty where it’s obvious. It’s hard to explain. I’ll have to spend more time there to know.

Near the restaurant was a giant mall headed by Neiman-Marcus. I was really curious to go in and see what it was like.

In vertigo news, yesterday and the day before I was starting to feel light-headed again. Last night I took an allergy med, and I felt much better quickly. I wonder if that’s the key, treating my allergies, which are the culprit for my sinus/throat problem, which lead to my inner ear imbalance. I know that for those Meniere’s disease patients with food allergies, sometimes treating those allergies helps alleviate their vertigo.

I never even realized I had allergies. I don’t do much sneezing, but my throat gets easily irritated. I always thought I was just almost coming down with a cold.

I can’t believe it’s nearly Fourth of July.  It feels like early spring here.  I don’t even know if I have a day off.

Jun 10

Feeling much better

I don’t want to speak too soon, but the vertigo seems to be going away.

Yesterday I felt pretty crummy: light-headed, groggy (though that may have been the motion sickness meds), and a little nauseous.  But then I did my therapy, which usually brings on several bouts of vertigo (necessary in order to be rid of it) but I didn’t experience any.  Maybe just the tiniest bit of nystagmus.  I slept semi-inclined, just in case, and this morning, while still groggier than usual, I felt much better.

My plan is to keep doing my therapy for at least a week, sleep semi-inclined for one or two more nights, and see the doctor on Friday.  He may or may not know anything about BPPV, but at least I should just get myself checked out.  I’m not taking any meds though, that’s for sure.

I was surprisingly productive yesterday, despite not feeling well.

  • I wrote a draft for my next Frisky article.  It’s too long and meanders, but at least I have something on paper.
  • I bought groceries and much-needed TP.
  • I did a load of laundry.
  • I wrote a draft for my next Nervous Breakdown post.  Suddenly inspired while I was, of all things, folding laundry, I jammed out the piece in under a couple of hours.  When you’re inspired, you’re inspired.

Jun 10

A quick post before work

I don’t have anything too intelligent to say, except that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with our upcoming LA trip and my parents’ visiting next week.

I mean, it’s not like I have that much to do, but now that I’m working, even just those few days a week, I feel like I have a lot less time.

But I’ve accomplished just about everything:

  • dresses bought
  • shoes, already have ’em
  • accessories, already have ’em
  • hair cut
  • library books renewed

Of course we already have our plane tickets and hotel reservation.

So why the overwhelmed feeling?  I guess I’m used to having a lot more time to myself.  Plus over the weekend I figured out what I want to write this month, and it’s kind of a lot.

A long essay for a contest that’s due July 1. It’s mostly excerpted from my memoir, so it’s a matter of putting those excerpts in the right order, with the right transitions, which I think is sometimes harder than writing an essay from scratch.

At least one post for The Nervous Breakdown. Originally I was going to post the excerpts that are now going into the long essay.  So I’ll have to write something new, which is better anyway.  I wrote a draft of something this past week.  It’s sort of all over the place right now, but I think I can cull one or two essays from it.

An essay I owe to a magazine I’ve written for before. They’re not strict about deadlines, but I want to turn it in this month.

An submission for another literary journal. Reading period ends August 31 so I have plenty of time for that, but I’d like to get started this month, if possible.

A bunch of dinky how to articles. Part of me says I should stop doing these, but I actually kind of enjoy them, if the topic isn’t too nonsensical and if someone else hasn’t already written about the topic.  Plus it’s a guaranteed payment.

Whew!  Obviously I’m bringing my computer to LA.  Friday night there’s a rehearsal dinner, but the wedding the next day doesn’t start till four, so we have the whole day.  We’ll just be at the hotel, but MB and I are very good at occupying ourselves.

May 10

Commuting, reading, writing

Can you believe I’ve been so busy I didn’t have the chance to post since last Wednesday?  It’s a good feeling.

I’ve quickly gotten used to commuting to my new job.  The bus seems to come at eight on the dot every morning, which gets me in ten or fifteen minutes before my 8:44 train.  Because the train is going away from the city, it’s usually pretty empty.  I can get a seat by myself and write or read peacefully before the very quick 30 minutes passes and I’m at my destination.

I’m definitely glad it’s not every day though.

Yesterday morning I was able to get myself to the gym (with MB’s prodding), which felt great after not working out Thursday or Friday.  I worked on my writing somewhat but not enough.  I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which made me cry.  Just one more in the series!  Today I started The Woman in White

In writing news, I have two new pieces:

    Wrinkles in Time at The Nervous Breakdown about how reading Madeleine L’Engle made me want to be a writer. 

    I’m Not Beautiful, and That’s Okay at The Frisky about how while I was once hot, I’ve accepted that I’m now not, and that maybe beauty isn’t worth fretting over after all.

Today I need to work on my novel like crazy and get a couple of pitches ready.

May 10

What’s new

I have a new piece up at Matador Life. It’s about how a Buddhist monk and a trip to Prague helped me leave my cheating husband.

I got the job! It’s part-time technical writing/admin work at this start-up right outside SF.  This week I work Thursday and Friday, but my regular schedule will be Monday, Wednesday, and half a day on Friday.  Yay for moola and getting out of the house!

Part-time is so perfect for me.  On my “free” days I can write, and the way my schedule is now, I don’t even have to miss my yoga classes.

I have renewed energy for my corporate murder mystery. I got some very helpful feedback recently.  I was dissatisfied with my NaNoWriMo draft, but I hadn’t even looked at it.

So this weekend I actually took the time, and so far it’s not as bad as I thought.  It definitely needs work, but – so far – it seems to be doable work.  In fact right now I like this version better than the rewrite I had been working on.

I have renewed respect for good customer service, because I got some shitty service over the weekend.  Normally, Elite Cafe is awesome, both in terms of waitstaff and food.  But yesterday there was a new bartender who was a bit of a dick.

We were sitting at the bar.  He asked us if we wanted anything to drink, but I couldn’t hear shit because the place is noisy and he was mumbling.  So I just gave my order.  He looked sort of taken aback, but whatever.

He got our drinks and repeated our order to MB only.  So I really didn’t hear that time.

Inevitably I got the wrong order.

I was nice about it.  I said, “Oh, I actually asked for the corned beef hash.”  To me good customer service would be, “So sorry! We’ll get that straightened out right away.”  But he had to say:

“That’s why we ask you twice.  To make sure we got it right.”

So it’s my fault huh?  Even though obviously I couldn’t hear anything you said, and you asked my boyfriend and not me what my right dish was?

I think the waitress behind the bar realized the new guy’s faux pas because she apologized to me and tried to be friendly.

Sure, it was totally partly my fault for getting the order wrong, but let’s pretend it wasn’t.  That’s part of the whole experience of going to a good restaurant.