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Tag Archives: Family

May 24 – September 11

I know I know. I wasn’t good about keeping up my blog this summer. Chalk it up to living in the moment because this summer was F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C!

First I wrapped up my time at Kellogg. It was bittersweet (and I suck at goodbyes). Since I skipped graduation in order to kickoff the move process with Ryan (and clear the way for writing this summer), Kiki came to visit me before I left to celebrate. She dragged me to a T Swift concert – which was actually pretty good. And then we went to Alinea, one of the best restaurants in the US. We were blown away!

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After I left Chicago, Ryan and I immediately started apartment hunting. Unfortunately, very early on, we got attached to the idea of a townhome (having a front door, big kitchen, etc.) – this blew up our budget a bit as well as limited our options. BUT we were lucky and found the perfect place in San Mateo pretty early in the summer. We’ll do a housewarming at some point, and I may share pics.

I’ve also been pushing pretty hard on the writing front. I worked on a near-future new adult novel for most of the summer (pitched as Friends meets Black Mirror in Silicon Valley). I got 30,000 words into it and realized it wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. Too serious, too message-y, too disjointed … the writing isn’t bad, but I’ve decided to put it aside for now and work on a few shorts as well as a new, more entertaining and more fun novel (outlining in process). After spending a lot of time with writers this summer (including at some great conferences – Readercon, Worldcon), I’ve realized that being so focused on publishing / external validation is just a setup for disappointment. In general, I’m trying to take it easier and make sure writing remains a stress-reliever not -inducer for me.

Of course, the biggest summer highlight was my wedding to Ryan! The weekend was beautiful and perfect. I’ve never been so filled with love for so much time. It was the best experience of my life, and I’m still riding the high. I love Ryan, his family, my family, our friends, and I can’t wait to one day be in a position to spend more constant time with the people I care most about. I’ve posted most of the wedding photos on my facebook page, but here are a few of my favs:

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Next up is officially starting work at Facebook. I am excited/nervous and eager to learn what product I’ll be working on.

Writing Update

Official update: I’ve had two more final round bumps at Stupefying Stories and IGMS (the latter of which was eventually rejected – boo!). Three new short stories written (two on sub, one still in beta). Novel worked on (~30k words) and benched. New novel outline 90% done. I slush-read for Cosmic Roots (another slush round starts in 1.5 weeks). And I’ve beta’d a few shorts from friends.

Story Recs

I did a TON of reading this summer. I crushed the Hugo nom list and then some. The highlights from my summer reading are:

+ The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. This is non-fiction and a must read for every American. I knew that African-Americans didn’t have the same opportunities in this country as others since the end of slavery, but I had no idea it was this bad. Could not recommend this one more.

+ Down Among the Sticks and Stones by Seanan McGuire. This is a prequel to her Hugo-winning Every Heart a Doorway, and I enjoyed this one more. It tells the origin story of two of the original book’s most interesting characters, Jack and Jill. It is a novella (so quick read).

+ The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. This was my first Scalzi book, the first in a new trilogy. This one is just entertaining space opera fun. I want to write more in this vein.

On the video game front, I’d also recommend Last of Us if you haven’t played it. I picked up the remastered version and was blown away. Sequel should be out sometime in the next few years (also looks great).

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October 29 – November 26

Big news this month is Ryan finally proposed! With some help from Kiki and Alyssa, he popped the big question at a romantic and private lunch. “Will you marry me?” was written on custom plates (made by Kiki!) and revealed once we finished our meal. I love Ryan so much and am so excited to be marrying him! Labor Day Weekend 2018. Now for wedding planning….

Other than Thanksgiving and the big engagement, this past month has been filled with revisions revisions revisions. After VP and a weekend workshop with Mary Robinette Kowal, I’ve been revising 6ish stories and preparing for more submissions. In January, I’ll be applying to both Clarions (Clarion and Clarion West), so will need to pick my 2 submission stories for each (I have 3 stories in mind, but one is in serious need of revision). I am very anxious about these two workshops – going to one would be a dream come true: 6 weeks of focused writing instruction, critiquing, and drafting. But, as is the case with any “best of,” these two workshops are really freaking competitive to get into. I’ll know officially in March how I did!

Other than that, I’ve decided to switch my focus to a new novel post-applying-to-Clarions. I’ve had a few friends secure agents recently (nearly all of whom haven’t published a short story in a pro-market). As crazy as it sounds, I keep hearing that getting an agent for a novel is actually slightly easier than publishing a short story in a SFWA-qualifying magazine or webzine. Now all I have to do is think of a novel idea lol.

The next month is filled with tons of travel: 11/26 – 12/1 Chicago, 12/1 – 12/8 Orlando, 12/8 – 12/15 Telluride, 12/15 – 12/17 Bay Area, 12/17 – 12/28 Tokyo, 12/28 – 1/3 Seoul. Hopefully a lot of writing and reading will happen in there.

Here is Ryan and my sister’s new puppy, Gator:

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September 11 – October 1

Back to school! My last year at Kellogg is shaping up to be a great one so far. Not only do my classes seem more than manageable (at least as of now), I have huge gaps in my daily schedule which are perfect for writing and reading. While I haven’t written anything noteworthy in the last month, I have been marathoning through my reading list (mostly in preparation for Viable Paradise – two weeks away!)

My last first day of school:

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I’ve also officially signed my offer to return to Facebook, and I could not be more excited! I requested a bit of a late start date in order to free up my July / August for Clarion (which I will be applying to in December). My team approved the September start but for a date a little later than I wanted (9/17). When I mentioned this to Ry he suggested we use the few extra weeks to get married (<— yep, that’s how he said it).

So, even though we aren’t officially engaged yet, we’ve already started planning a Labor Day wedding. Honestly, the lack of romance doesn’t bother me – I really like the idea of getting married before starting work. That way we can just enjoy our time with family without me being a total stress pot. So far, wedding planning has been going like this:

Mom: Sydney, what do you think about X

Me: Okay.

Mom: And what about Y

Me: Okay.

Is there an opposite of a bridezilla?

Also, looks like the wedding will be in the same venue I had my Bat Mizvah – circle of life?

Last exciting update: Nancy and Kiki got a puppy! Excited to meet Gator over Thanksgiving!

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My next post will be after VP – can’t wait to share how the week goes!

December 9 – January 26

Sorry it has been so long since an update! I thoroughly enjoyed my winter break and then have been thoroughly not enjoying recruiting since coming back to school.

But, let’s start with the good stuff.

After my finals, I flew to CA to spend time with Ryan. I was a pretty bad friend and told no one I was in town so I could get some quality time with him. It was nice to have no interruption, especially since I see him so rarely 😦

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After a week or so, we traveled to LA to spend the holidays with Ryan’s family. I think all went well (although I did not hide my anti-socialness as well as I thought). Ryan’s parents were also very generous with their steak dinners 😉

I ultimately left LA festivities soon after Christmas and traveled to Mexico City for the annual New Years trip. A few of our regulars couldn’t make it this year (:(), but two of my college friends joined us and Joel brought a whole crew (though, we didn’t see much of them to be honest). Chris, Briggs, and I generally got our exploration on and I left Mexico City thoroughly impressed. Good food, good people, good prices, great culture.

Since New Years, I’ve been very focused on recruiting. So far I’ve received some good news from a few companies (3 final rounds, potentially a fourth, and 1 offer). Interviewing (and preparing for interviews) is a lot more tiring and stressful than I suspected it would be, but I’ve been lucky to have a really good prep group with friends. I am also lucky to be drawing so close to the other side of this whole beast.

Next I just need to figure out where to go for spring break 😉

November 17 – December 8

Well another quarter (and birthday!) done.

Thanksgiving was great. There were (almost) no fights although certain people in my family did seem awfully eager to pick some (*cough*mom*cough*). Got to hang out with all my favs though, including these two:

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I also happened to be highly productive – applying to all of the on-campus tech roles I am recruiting for. I find out if I’ve been invited to interview for most of these over the next few weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Oh! And I celebrated my 27th birthday. While, it does feel strange to be ever further away from childhood, I actually feel like a lot of good things in my life are coming together (in other words, I don’t really feel the pressure of a ticking clock). I am in a great relationship (with Keno, my dog, obviously), have great career opportunities, feel more and more satisfied with myself as a person, and have really invested in skills (both professional and personal) I find myself using often and deliberately. I think each year has been better than the last for a few years now. Hoping to keep up the trend!

Speaking of great feelings, I just wrapped finals! (Did I say great feelings?) — Finals went …. uh …. yeah. Let’s just say, I think I’ll be getting B’s in MORS (our leadership class) and Operations. The B in MORS is pretty silly – I actually did well in the class, but my teacher has a rule that only 40% of his class get A’s. This doesn’t really make sense to me if the averages on assignments and exams are above 90%. My scores were good (>90% on most graded activities / exercises), but I probably was too close to the average to get an A (boo!). On the other hand, I totally deserve the B in Operations. Didn’t find the class too enthralling, so I basically stopped going about a third of the way in (wrote a lot of fiction though :)). I DO think barring any major surprises, Research-Design-Build (RDB) and Accelerated Finance will be A’s.

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Ultimately, I ended the quarter on a high note I think. In RDB, we got to present our final projects to Harley-Davidson’s CEO (pictured below!) and I was really really happy with my team’s work. It was a great end to a bumpy quarter.

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Now to the break! It will be a mix of relaxing and working. Goals: 1) Prep for behavioral interviews (ugh ugh ugh), 2) write 3 submission-worthy stories (probably the biggest challenge listed here), 3) impress Ryan’s family over Christmas, and 4) have a great time in Mexico with the crew (Briggs! Chris K! Chris M! Joel! Stefan!) — see y’all in 2017 (O_O)

October 5 – November 16

Well the rest of the quarter went by fast – whew!

October was a great month though. Aside from recruiting craziness picking up, I feel like I am getting better at the whole balance thing.

I also had two friends (Chris and Stef!) come visit Halloween weekend. It was so great to catch up with both of them. We also saw Hamilton in Chicago that weekend (it was AMAZING).

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Kellogg’s big fall formal also happened in October (Fall Ball). The event was great, but my favorite part was definitely the two hours my crew spent hummer limo-ing around Chicago before the event.

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November kicked off with the election (see my last post for more detailed thoughts there). I am still not quite over the results. Don’t support Trump. Not impressed with some of the cabinet members being floated around nor his ideas around policy. But, we are where we are, so still hoping for the best there.

Otherwise, November is going well. Everyone on KTech exec went to Michigan last weekend for a retreat. It was so nice to spend a night away from Kellogg with no technology and just each other. I feel closer to everyone who went and can’t wait to go again (hopefully soon).

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(love folks’ faces in this pic :P)

I am really really excited about the Thanksgiving break. Though I will be spending most of it writing cover letters and working on projects for school (boo!), I will also get some quality time with Ryan. I haven’t seen him in two months and am going utterly crazy over the whole separation. I am equally (if not more) excited to also get some time in with Keno:

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(don’t know why that edit & send is there :/)

Not looking forward to the political drama that will inevitably erupt among my politically-split family over Thanksgiving dinner, but at least I’ll have the food to comfort me 🙂

After, I’ll have a week of class before finals then will be off to the Bay for the holidays. Looking forward to all my Ryan time ❤

August 15 – September 8 – Family Time

Well, I took a break from my travels to come back to Orlando for my cousins’ b’nai mitzvah. Aside from the requisite (and quite fun!) family time, I had a fairly productive few weeks in the States.

Checked off:
1) Wrote and submitted all my business school applications (6 schools)
2) Applied and was admitted to Dev Bootcamp (wahoo!!!)
3) Got into (really into) crossfit
4) Checked off all my doctors’ appointments (including more vaccines yay!)
5) Unpacked and repacked a much smaller suitcase for travels

A few pics from my time home:

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Next up: XOXO in Portland! Then off to Japan 🙂