I worked from 10 - 9:30 today, sending out the juror table to Howard's client at 9:20. It was really nice getting that monster document out. Tomorrow should be a solid writing day. Back to True Colors.
I had a 14-hour work day today, which is extremely rare for me, but it couldn't be helped. Howard V. was in panic mode because he needed to create a jury matrix on 71 jurors by Thursday evening. He wanted as much information as possible on the jurors, including information from Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Snedigar Research. From 6 pm to midnight, I vetted the Sneidgar information and placed it in the juror document (97 pages of tables) so that others could access the document in the morning. I went straight to bed once I got home. The next day will be more of the same, unfortunately.
Woke up at 6:30 and only wrote for an hour before going into work early to help grade jury instruction questionnaires for Howard. Lots going on with the McDonald focus group on Friday morning. Alice may participate in the focus group. It's two days. I think she'll enjoy it. True Colors is dominating my mind right now. It's a more complicated story than I had initially envisioned. I'm trying to keep it simple. Came home at 7, talked to Alice and Chris, then called it a night at 10.
Woke up at 4 and made it to the gym at 5. Played racquetball with Steve and Tiger in preparation for my big match tonight. Wrote for an hour before work, organized and unpacked and tidied up a bit. Work was fine. Came home and went to the gym at 5.
I played my semi-final match against Tyrone tonight and it was a lot like the Seahawks/49ers game last week. Unfortunately, I ended up playing the role of the 9ers and T is going to the Super Bowl. I have to hand it to him. He played great. Unfortunately, I did, too, which speaks to T's athleticism and commitment to winning. I was ahead 12-0 in the first game, then T stepped it up big time, changing his serves, playing with more intensity and focus and playing with a lot more aggression. He scored the next 14 points in-a-row. Luckily, I scored the final three points (it was 14-14 for the longest time) and took game 1 on a fluke shot that barely reached the front corner. The second game was all T, beating me 15-8. He served first in the tie-breaker and scored 10 points before I even served. Then I scored 6 points in-a-row, but it was too little too late and T took the final point and the match. We played for 80 minutes. He was reasonable throughout (no crazy calls this time) and I congratulated him on playing so well. Damn, it kills me not to be in the finals, but what can I say. Someone had to lose and I just didn't have enough bullets left to finish him off. It was one of the best matches we've played against each other. In the end, Tyrone deserved the victory because he really stepped it up and beat me when I was playing very well.
With so many weekends devoted to events, guests, trips, etc., it was nice to relax in SF with Alice. We woke up early and did our thing on Irving, ordering drinks at Starbuck's and bagels at Posh Bagel next door. We surfed the net for an hour or so, then headed over to Costco, Home Depot, and Target for food, car wash supplies, and Super Bowl fare.
In the afternoon, Alice's ipad was mysteriously erased. The night before, Austin's ipad was stolen when his backpack was taken from the back seat of his father's car. At first, I thought the thieves had magically erased Alice's ipad. It made no sense, so I spent about 30 minutes looking up icloud ids and Apple ids and Find my iPhone details. Alice called Austin and Austin had inadvertently erased his mom's ipad, thinking it was his. I then found his icloud information (I'd initially set it up when the ipad was Austin's grandfather's) and set up the sounds, flashing messages and passwords that essentially rendered the stolen ipad completely disabled. The ipad hasn't been online yet, but once it is, all sorts of anti-theft bells and whistles will go off.
The Find My iPhone feature is pretty neat.
We had rack of lamb, rice and squash for dinner while watching Identity Thief, which was truly horrible. I like a good bad movie as much as anyone, but when I film crosses the line into lazy ridiculousness, I can't watch it. Neither can Alice. We watched the first 20 minutes and the last 5 minutes without feeling like we missed anything.
We moved on to another film on Netflix, Stuck in Love.
Now this was a good bad film that was watchable. The acting was excellent and telling was earnest enough, but it seemed a little too precious and silly for my taste. I love stories about dysfunctional personality types, especially when they're writers, but this film didn't ring true much of the time. I would have liked if more had I seen it when I was in my 20s. Reality has a way of spoiling a lot of movies because the goods they're trying to sell have no bearing in reality whatsoever.
After the movie, we stayed up for a few minutes of Saturday Night Live before we shut'er down.
Another typical day of racquetball, writing, working, more writing. True Colors will take another 8 weeks or so to complete. I'm not sure about this story, which might me a good thing. The novels I'm certain of seem to get stuck in the pipeline. I think it's pretty clear to me that when one of these novels takes, they'll all take.
Practiced for an hour in the morning, then went home and wrote. Have most of the first part written. The book is in four parts. Once the first part is done, the other three parts should follow quickly. So many distractions though, and still no word on Zombie Cookies, which amazes me.
Spent the day writing, reading, organizing. I'm still working on the first third of TC. I'll spend a few more days on the first 20 chapters, then move on to the middle of the novel. I have a lot left to finish.
I love going Seahawk crazy in games that matter, and today's game mattered about as much as any in Seahawk history.
I was a total basket case throughout most of the game. Poor Alice had to endure all kinds of rabbit hopping, screaming, pleading and hooting. Sorry, Alice! But in the end, the Hawks prevailed. Next stop, Super Bowl! Oh, yeah!
After the game, Alice and I went over to Heidi and Steve's, parents of Austin's friend Ben. The mood at their house was gloomy to say the least. I didn't show any emotion until after we came back home. I then watched highlights and read a few Facebook posts from friends back in the Pacific Northwest. What a game! One of the most intense I've ever seen. So physical. The Hawks/Broncos matchup should be a good one!
I played Tyrone at 10 in the morning and beat him 15-4, 15-11. It means we may meet again in the semis. I don't like playing Tyrone at all. He's goes mental inside the court and has a very limited range of fairness from my perspective. In other words, he's a total head case sometimes, especially when he's excited and arguing a point. I will always have a ref watching us play when we have a match that matters. At any rate, it felt good beating him so soundly.
I had a wonderful lunch with Susan and Libby in San Francisco. It had been many years since I'd seen them, so it was wonderful catching up. We ate at Cafezaza, which makes excellent burgers and fries. The conversation was lively and upbeat. We also walked around the Mission for an hour before I headed over to Alice's.
Alice and I went to Korean Barbecue for dinner, then saw August: Osage County. I enjoy good dysfunctional stories, and this one had some familiar moments that I totally understand. Drinking, pills, mean-spiritedness, enabling, craziness, I love all that stuff. I'm so glad I don't engage in that kind of unhealthy dynamic anymore...at least I try not to.
I went to bed around 11. Can't wait for the big Seahawks game tomorrow. Go Hawks!
I played Alex in the morning and beat him in two games, 15-11, 15-3. The first game was very good. He was ahead 8-3, but my serves started to click and I scored a few aces.
I had to go into work at 10, so I wasn't able to get much writing done today. I finished most of what I wanted to accomplish at work, and ended my day at 3:30.
I went to bed at 8:30 after spending a few hours doing chores, reading, and thinking over True Colors. I play my match against Tyrone tomorrow morning, then have lunch in the city with Susan and Libby.
I practiced for an hour this morning, then came home and wrote. I worked from 12-5, then came home and relaxed for a few hours before going to Mark's house for his monthly poker game. I couldn't catch a card and ended up only winning one pot. I lost $15 for the night. I went to bed around 11:30.
I was supposed to play Tyrone for my singles match, but we rescheduled for Saturday morning. That was fine with me. I can use the extra rest. I play Alex tomorrow morning at 6.
well in the a.m. after listening to a couple of CDs from The Mind Body
Code. I really liked CD 4 about age and how centenarians think. I puts
in perspective how young I am when I approach what I can still do. As a
result, I've been playing with renewed energy and intensity, beating
Steve regularly in the morning.
I'm working on chapters 13-15 in True Colors. Hoping to finish in February.
weather is really beautiful these days, but we need rain badly. The
California drought is becoming a big news story. January and February
are usually heavy rain months, but I haven't used my umbrella at all
this season. Not good.
Watched a few episodes of Key & Peele after work. Those two are amazing to me. So funny with great production values for their show. Super stuff. I think they're geniuses.
Woke up at 5:40, practiced for an hour, wrote for two hours and continued getting things organized before leaving at noon. Played my match with Roger and beat him handily. Chris and I FaceTimed for an hour, then talked to Alice before going to bed.
I finished Blink today. It's been on my shelves for a few years now. I really liked this book. The Tipping Point is next.
Woke up at 4, drove home, changed, then hit the gym by five. Steve and I played one game of singles, then I played with Steve and Ron against Chuck and Tiger for three games, taking all three. I left the gym at 7 and began my first true day of writing in 2014. I have a lot left in True Colors, but I think it will come quickly. The story's there. I just need to organize and make things readable. I worked from 12-5 today. Lots to do for the rest of the week. Time to pay off some of the damage done in December.
Woke up at 7 and made waffles at Alice's. Talked to Jill this morning and had a great conversation about the mind body connection.
Watched the San Francisco game against the Panthers and wasn't surprised that the 9ers took care of business. Next week's game on Sunday (Seahawks/49ers) will be epic. Not sure yet where I'll watch the game. Could be at home but also could be here at Alice's.
Taking care of to-do lists today. Easy day in preparation for all the work I have in front of me in January and February.
The 49ers took care of business against the Panthers today, so it's the 9ers and the Seahawks next Sunday. That will be a great game! Alice will cheer for San Francisco and I'll cheer for the Seahawks.
We watched last week's two-hour premiere of season 4 of Downton Abbey, this afternoon on Apple TV, followed by episode three. It's nowhere near as good as season one, but that is to be expected. Still, it's a very enjoyable series with likeable characters. I just wish we didn't have to go through more Anna and Mr. Bates drama. I'm fine with them being happy for the rest of the show, but I guess that's impossible now.
Woke up at 6:30 and hit my five-minute list. I organized my finances and got caught up on my blogs. I actually have a lot of online stuff that needs updating. I haven't touched my website in a while and need to update everything.
The Seahawks play the Saints this afternoon. This should be a very good game!
It was a great game! The Seahawks defense was strong against a very good New Orleans team. Things got tense toward the end of the game, but the game clock ran out and the Hawks came up on top.
Alice and I had San Tung chicken wings for dinner with rice and corn. Very good. We went to bed early. Not sure why we were so tired, but we could barely keep our eyes open at 9:30.
Woke up at 4:30, hit the gym for three hours, went to breakfast with a few of the morning racquetball crew, then drove mom to the airport at 10. We had a great couple of days together. She was very happy. Leo, Louanne and Kim will visit her on Sunday for three days on their way to Las Vegas.
I worked in the afternoon, then played a racquetball match against Carlos Mansena, who's been playing a lot of racquetball the past few years and is constantly improving. He beat me in three. I had my chances, but missed opportunities. I came home around 8, ate dinner, watched about 40 minutes of The Master, then went to bed. I was exhausted from hosting and playing so much racquetball this week. With mom gone, the holidays are officially over. Now it's time to wrap up True Colors Detective Agency and all the rest of the books I want to write this year.
Today is mom's 70th birthday. It's a number she can't handle, but we're making the best of a brutal situation this week as we continue to eat at great Oakland restaurants and enjoy playing crib and hanging out.
This morning our day began with a field trip to Varinsky Associates in Emeryville, where I help out for a few hours each day.
I introduced mom to Cheryl, Chad, Paulette and Alissa. We chatted for a few minutes, then headed out to Grand Lake Kitchen for breakfast.
We both ordered the french toast and berries.
They were so good, three huge slices of french toast with berries and maple syrup. Yum!
After breakfast, we stopped over at Gregg's Grand Salon a few doors down and said hi to Louis, who's been cutting my hair for years. We then took a walk around Lake Merritt, then came back to my place. I worked for a few hours, then we got ready for dinner at The Star.
There were ten of us total and we had a great time. The food was excellent as always. We ordered three salads, three pizzas, lots of wine and coca-colas, and some dessert. Mom was very happy!
Woke up at 4 and went to the gym for the first time in over two weeks. I came back home before 8 and mom and I hung out at my place until I left for work at noon. She watched several episodes of Scandal on Netflix.
When I came home, we headed over to Alice's for dinner. Alice cooked up a storm, making squash soup, rack of lamb, zucchini, and corn. We then had crepes for dessert. It was all so delicious. We left around 8:30 and came home by 9. I was so tired that I changed into my pjs and was out by 9:15.
Woke up at 7 a.m. this morning. I was planning to go to the gym at 5, but I still wasn't ready, so I slept another two hours. Cleaned up, got groceries and flowers for mom, and left for work at 10. I'll work from 10-12, then pick up mom at the airport, then go back to work for a few hours. We'll eat at Penrose tonight and maybe catch a film if there's time. There are so many films to see right now.
Picked up mom at 1:15 p.m. and drove her back to my place. We went to Arizmendi and played a game of crib while nibbling on our brioche knot and currant scone. We then headed back to the apt. and I set up mom for a few hours of alone time while I went to work for an hour to finish up a report that needed to go out.
For dinner, our plan was to go to the new restaurant on Grand Ave. called Penrose, but surprisingly, it was closed. We then tried Camino, but it was closed too, so we drove to College Ave. and walked down the street in search of a nice place to eat. We stumbled upon a new restaurant called The Barrel Room, a new place about one month old, which turned out to be a perfect spot for a leisurely dinner. Mom had a flight of champagne, three glasses of different champagnes that she said were fantastic. We ordered two starter plates, (1) dates stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts wrapped in pancetta and roasted, and (2) almond trio of vanilla spice, applewood smoked, maple roasted. We shared a salad of escarole with apples, walnuts, and blue cheese, and for our large plates, mom ordered boeuf bourguignon croustade with micro greens and I ordered cassoulet with duck confit, toulouse sausage, pork and white beans. Everything was delicious. The restaurant wasn't crowded and the atmosphere was beautiful, so it ended up being one of those perfect meals where everything is good and enjoyable. I was very happy with The Barrel Room.
We would have ordered dessert, but wanted to catch the 7:30 showing of American Hustle at Bay Street. We just made the theater by the end of the last trailer. American Hustle is a great film with outstanding performances from everyone, but the real star in my opinion is Christian Bale, who is brilliant in his role as a morally conflicted con artist.
David O. Russell is on a major roll. This film is terrific from beginning to end, with a great story, fascinating characters, and a wonderful narrative flow that just purrs along like a well-oiled Lincoln Continental. Best Film of the year so far...oh wait, I forgot about Gravity, which may still be the best film I've seen so far. Gravity was that astounding to me.
After the film, mom and I arrived home and went right to bed.
Today really feels like the first day of the new year. Christmas and the holidays are over, and now I can focus on writing again. With mom here for the next few days, I'll have to wait until the weekend before I lose myself in Lani and Lauren's world again.
Work this afternoon was fine. Nothing major, though Howard has what I had, a bad cold that won't go away. He also watched Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States and found it fascinating. It's funny that we both watched the same show when we were sick.
I cleaned up my place in the evening in preparation for mom's arrival. We should have a great time!
Austin and I went to breakfast together to celebration his acceptance into Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga. We went to Park Chow on 9th and Irving, which has become our hangout for morning breakfasts. I ordered french toast and Austin ordered pancakes. It was really great hanging out with him and hearing his take on the world. I showed him the watch Jill got me and he said it was clean, which I guess is the new word for cool.
In the afternoon, I watched the 49ers play the Packers in a very good playoff game. All the games this weekend were close and exciting except for the Chargers/Bengals. The 9ers played very well and must be thrilled with such a tough win. In the evening, Alice hosted a dinner for her bike gang. 11 people sat at the table and there was so much food we barely made a dent. I really enjoy Alice's friends. The party ended around 9:30 and I was in bed asleep by 10:30.
I had to take it easy again today. I still haven't fully shaken this cold. My throat is about 75% better, but still nags me. I went to the library and rented a bunch of old movies, some ipad manuals and the Best American Short Story collection for 2013. In the evening, we went to R&G Lounge for Alice's aunt's 78th birthday. The food was delicious. We sat upstairs in the banquet room with two large circular tables. It's always nice seeing Alice's family. Once at home, we watched a little Apple TV and went to bed.
It certainly doesn't feel like Friday. I'm wrapping up items I've neglected and taken care of bills, which is always a bit of a shock after December. Mom comes next Tuesday for her 70th birthday, so I have a bunch of stuff to take care of by then. I'm caught up at work and looking forward to this year. It should be a good one.
I bought some Robitussin this morning to manage my cough. It works well. I'm not coughing right now.
I head over to Alice's and will stay there the weekend.
I'm still not 100% and have a raspy voice that makes me sound old and tired. I worked in the afternoon for the first time in two weeks, then met some friends at Cato's for a few hours. I came home and tidied up before calling it a night. I'm looking forward to the weekend and wrapping up True Colors.
I woke up at 7 and felt better, though I was still stuffed up and my throat was still sore. Alice came over at 10 with all kinds of food and Chinese medicine, which she told me to drink. It was pretty nasty but cleared my nasal passages. We went for a short walk outside. It was a beautiful new year's day. We made chicken soup in the afternoon, which I've been drinking all day. Alice left around 4 and I rested on the couch Facetiming Jill, mom and Gwen. Around 7:30, I received a call from Lisa, who said no one knew where Rossana was. Her fiance Daniel hadn't heard from her all day and was growing worried. Rossana had been sick like me and spent New Year's Eve alone in her apartment. When Daniel drove over in the evening, Rossana wasn't at home, but her cell phone was there, which was strange. Rossana usually always has her cell phone with her. Her last Facebook entries were of her and Daniel's trip to New York, where Daniel proposed and Rossana accepted. There picture in front of large Christmas balls in New York is beautiful. I called Neal and he shared some information with me regarding Rossana's old boyfriend Elijah. Everyone who was worried about Rossana wondered if she had seen Elijah New Year's Eve. As it turned out, Rossana was found last night with Elijah and has since called off her engagement to Daniel. She's fine, which is a great relief; however, her ongoing drama and craziness continues. Poor Rossana. Poor Daniel.
I went to bed at 10. My headache was gone, but I still had a sore throat and no energy. What a way to welcome in the new year. Once my health is back, I'll be ready to hit the ground running!