I've recently been feeling a little off-balance. Work and workouts are great - other stuff is not. By the time I get home, I just want to zone out on the couch until the morning - hardly apropos for getting anything productive done on the off hours. And I have SO much I WANT and NEED to do in those few precious off hours I do actually have. Like send out that artist release for the children's book. And call the people who have left me messages on my mom's voicemail box in Texas (how did they get that number). And pay my TRC website bill. And work on TIP (new, ultra secret project). And meet with British Ed to crank out our freaking songs so we can perform already.  And shower. And cook. And do laundry. And READ. And update you on ALL the things I am itching to write about. And. And. And. And yet, the only things I can manage to do are check my e-mails (but not respond to them), get my daily dose of NG and be a sack of shit for the rest of the evening.

So, my mind has been exploding on the inside - because it has somehow shut off in the process of all this working and working out. But lucky for me, I have alter-ego Jenny, who knows just what to do, most of the time. Knowing me best, as only me can know me, alter-ego Jenny (let's call her Benjamin) understands that I can't just go from couch lauder to productive Nancy. So, the other night, smart little Benjamin was like:

Why don't you plan a party?

And I was like: Say whaat?

(Yes, I talk to myself. Debate is the only way my better half will win)

Yeah, get your mind off your big couch potato ass.

Um, excuse you? I've been working out.

You know - give yourself something fun to think about, and the work you need to get done will just fly by.

Ohhh. Hm.

You know I'm right.

Yeah, well, maybe I'll try that concept. Thanks, Benjamin.

No prob, Blob.

Haha. Very funny.


Great. Get the guest list together. Buy the alcohol. Make a cupcake or two. And ta-da! Extensive Game Night at Benjamin and Jenny's! Followed by dancing and guzzling at whatever bars are lucky enough to house us. So far, the guest list is 15 and counting. I think my Beijing apartment can comfortably hold 10. Oops.

And all of a sudden, my mind is breathing again, and ready to be productive. Oh, Benjamin. You are so smart. Nothing cures flat-lining better than the prospect of some good ol' ridiculous, liver-blowing, FUN.






I've been slacking a bit on my do-differents, lately. Any ideas?


Good Day


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Just all out having a good day, which has already extended into a late night, probably early morning, and most likely a nap tomorrow afternoon. After an early workout this morning with C, I spent practically the entire day with M from Tianjin, brainstorming potential business alliances, playing, printing out photo shoot pictures that we took on my birthday and eating cake. After "work," I went to my second workout of the day, a group class with C that kicked my ass in a sweet, sweet way. Double workouts on Friday are becoming a habit. But don't worry - I haven't gone crazy. Balance is restored with post-workout sushi binges with my new friend MAC, beginning tonight. What? I need my strength for a busy weekend ahead. Five hours from now, after seven days of successful negotiation (and shopping), I am escorting the French publisher to the airport at 6:30am, after which I will be purchasing a bilingual version of "The Ring" for the evening activities. For some strange reason, I have invited some of my favorite staff (and some normal people) to my house for a scary movie/alcohol fest and bar hopping afterward. I mainly want to deflower the Chinese into a life of whiskey and crude behavior. Two of my girls will even be staying in my guest room for the night (mostly because I refuse to sleep alone after watching anything remotely creepy). Come Sunday brings another round of sing-alongs with Jenny and her guitarist, British Ed. He doesn't know it yet, but we're performing at Tun's Tuesday open mic night.


Snow Glow


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Though it happened about a month and a half later than the rest of the world, thanks to the Mongolian skies, we were bestowed a deliciously crisp gust of soft flakes all yesterday and today. Last night, as I was shuffling back from the gym, the legs of my pants caked in muddy ice I would later rinse out in the sink, rather than fight my way through the slush, I stopped and stared. Because it was 9pm, the snow fell like millions of icy, miniscule feathers, brushing against my nose and prancing on the tips of my eyelashes. I looked up, deeply breathing in dusts of cold. The dark night sky had a pink glow, and for a very long time, I stood there, mouth wide open, catching melting crystal shards on my tongue and listening to the calm that only snow can bring. The loud traffic, my toes wriggling inside my wet socks, the taxis splashing by, the neon lights - everything fell away, and it was just me and those dots of white gently floating down, down, down, into nothingness. Then I realized that these gorgeous ice flakes were probably just polluted Beijing rain drops in disguise, and that I had better close my mouth. So I did. And even though my ears were numb and my sneakers soaked through on the walk home, it was still a glorious night.


I spent today escorting a French publisher, fresh off the plane this morning from Paris, around Beijing. Apparently they want to make a french version of our magazine, which could be fun. Since the publisher is a she, we spent the entire day shopping my balls off.

In other news, below is by far the best Valentine's Day gift I have EVER received. And it's not even from my boyfriend. Although, Jameson is certainly a man friend, and my very best one at that. LOVE YOU J!

                                                                             "Happy 6.08 years of friendship!
                                                                          I must say that I am quite impressed
                                                                      with my Photoshop skills. Thanks to YOU."






I've got a pile of half-finished blog posts ready to be unwrapped and exposed, but there is barely enough time to finish that half-eaten sandwich that's squashed in my bag, between my day planner, cell phone and nalgene. There's also that pile of semi-washed dishes in the sink, the pile of clothes draped all over my guest bed, that pile of trash bags that desperately needs to be thrown out, and that delicious pile of books I am eager to plow through. Such has been my life recently. I've got my workout and work regime almost to a tee, but the other piles just seem to be, well, piling up. Anyway - I WILL post something that is actually worthy of your time, soon. But first, I have to go not have enough time for that pile of to-dos on my piles of to-do lists.


My bad. It was the hotel next  to the CCTV tower that caught on fire. But apparently, it was the CCTV tower that hired the fireworks that started the fire. Oops.Their bad.






After I came back this morning from an early workout with C, I went to my kitchen to make some oatmeal and egg whites. As I bent down to pull the pan out from underneath the counter, I felt a heat on my forehead. I looked up; the stove was already ON. Little blue and yellow flames were dancing happily in place, teasing me from inside their little grate. The last time I cooked was when . . . yesterday morning? Jeez.

In other news - the infamous CCTV tower (the one that looks like a giant pair of pants) just down the road from me, caught on fire last night as the entire city celebrated Lantern Festival, the last official end to the Chinese New Year. This is not surprising because every Wang and his uncle Wu was blowing up the streets with lines of crack(ers), bouts of BOOMS and window-tapping, ear-splitting shits of colorful dynamite. It was only a matter of time before something burst into real flames. My taxi driver this morning exclaimed to me in Chinese that the tower looked like 9-11.

And, in light of this post's theme, a few weeks ago, the twin towers of the new Landgent Center, literally across the street from my apartment, veiled the rare blue sky in huge ebony puffs. I have never been that close to a real fire, so I spent almost that entire morning shooting it. You can also see a dim, pre-burnt CCTV tower in the background, toward the left, right behind the second set of apartment complexes.


La la la




Yesterday morning, I dragged my tired ass out of bed at 8am to go meet C for breakfast and ice skating, her birthday present to me. And even though I had gotten eight hours of sleep, I still felt like I was hit by a train. I spent almost the entire day before with my guitarist, cranking out songs and getting ready to search for gigs (again – more on the singing spiel, later). After recording and re-recording and adapting and dining on buy-one-get-one-free sashimi at the chic bar around the corner, it was 9pm and my body barely had enough energy to prop open my crashing eyelids. I was up until 6:30 that previous morning, scouring the streets for used books and street food, and chatting and photo shooting with M, who hauled over from Tianijn as a surprise for my birthday. My tank was running on two hours of sleep, and I'm still making up for it. Nevertheless, the weather these past few days has been gorgeous, and the step into 25 has been great. And ice skating was great. Partly because I have been wanting to go for a long time, and partly because C has boosted my balance and stability in our training sessions. The last time I went skating was at least five years ago and I barely let go of the railing. Today, I was able hold my own, even while those little Chinese Kerrigans triple-axeled and double-fudged their tiny Vera Wang outfits around my ankles. It was a good do-different.






I am now newly one quarter of a century, 22 hours and 27 minutes old, China time.