Jogging Through Jello!

Dear Friends,

As today’s blog post title implies, I’ve been dragging big-time the past week. Maybe my fatigue is due to the drastic cut in sugar I made last month, maybe it’s perimenopause making its spooky debut, maybe it’s a thyroid issue—maybe it’s all three! In any case, I’m sick of it, so I made an appointment with my doctor to get checked out. 

Have you ever wanted to write for BP Magazine?

 

You guys & gals are fab writers so I wanted to share this info. with you. Last week I emailed BP’s longtime editor Liz Forbes (who I recently worked with on my article) and got back this auto-reply: 

 

Please be advised that Tanya Hvilivitzky has taken the role of bp Magazine &
esperanza’s interim editor. Tanya will respond to your email and editorial
questions ASAP.

We thank you for your patience during this transitional phase.

If you’ve ever wanted to pitch BP an article idea, now’s the time to come up with your idea. (look at the BP website here for their guidelines) and write it down.

I’ll let you know if I find out anything as far as who the permanent hire will be—I could be totally wrong, but I don’t see a problem with pitching to an interim editor.

 

Then again, I’ve only written for ten magazines since 1997. Please let me know if you think otherwise! Do what feels right!  The email is used is: editor@hopetocope.com

 

Lose It! Update

(And no, I don’t get compensated by mentioning Lose It! – ha! I wish!!!)

Do you want to drop some lovely adipose tissue (a.k.a. fat) you don’t need dragging you down? Even 5 lbs is an awfully HEAVY load to carry around – pick up anything that weighs 5 lbs and you’ll see what I mean. 

 

Join me & my friend, the blogger Kitt O’Malley, in the free Lose It! program. We’re in the “Bipolar Battlers” community group which you can find on the Lose It! website under “Community.” Let me know if you have questions. 

 

By the way, you don’t need to be in a group; you can go solo or create your own group – visit this link to make it happen!

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What’s new with you?

Inquiring brains want to know…please share in the comments if you’re in the mood.

And be extra-good to yourself this weekend! 

Lots of love,

Dyane

 

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

by Dyane Harwood

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

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Au Revoir, Fat & Dr. Benicio Frey’s Webinar

Dear Friends,

If you’ve read my book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder, you’ll know I was an A.C.E.-certified personal trainer and worked in a gym for a few years.

 

This was me, “B.B.D.” (Before Bipolar Diagnosis) 

At college, I gained the “Freshman 20+” instead of the typical “Freshman 15.” Ever since my uni days, my adipose tissue (the fancy term for fat) has fluctuated in quantity due to a variety of reasons; bipolar depression and stress/anxiety have been the main reasons for my weight gain.

 

Last year was one of the most stressful years I’ve ever experienced.

 

I was under a deadline with Post Hill Press to deliver my edited manuscript. At least writing my book didn’t almost kill me (During that same year, Bipolar Burble blogger Natasha Tracy published a post called Writing a Book about Bipolar and Depression Almost Killed Me), but what did happen was that I gained almost 30 pounds in only a couple months.

 

If I kept up that rate of weight gain, I’d turn into Jabba the Hutt!

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On a serious note, I’d risk developing very serious health conditions and complications.

 

 

I realized I had to come to terms with my emotional stress eating once and for all.

“Coming to terms” sounds nice and granola-y, but what does that really mean?

 

Well, for me, it begins with enlisting my counselor’s support and making a commitment to myself stop this vicious cycle.

 

It means bringing my shame out into the open, which is why I’m publishing this post despite having second, third, and fourth thoughts.

 

I’m also a fan of self-help books, although I admit I never do the exercises they usually require. Nevertheless, I just started reading a self-help book and a healthy food cookbook. Both of them are inspiring me and I’ll share those titles here after I finish reading them.

The only thing that has ever helped me lose weight has been using a free tracking app called Lose It!

Last year I wrote about using Lose It!:Losing a Mirror Carp Feels Good.

 

If you’re like me—an emotional, compulsive overeater/binger/midnight fridge marauder—and you’d like to join me and get healthier, please consider joining Lose It! I keep reading that pairing up with others when embarking on weight loss greatly increases your chance of success. 

 

On Lose It!, I belong to two groups where we cheer one another on. Once you’ve signed up, go to “Community”, then select”Find Groups” and type one (or both) of these in:

Moms with Bipolar group

Bipolar Battlers group

And now for something completely different….

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Dr. Benicio Frey

Apart from my weight woes, I wanted to let you know psychiatrist Dr. Benicio Frey will present a free webinar about perinatal mood disorder research next Wednesday, January 17th from 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. PST.  

The webinar is sponsored by the International Bipolar Foundation and it’s not too late to sign up – just go to this link!

The following section is just part of Dr. Frey’s impressive bio.; you’ll find the rest of it on the IBPF link:

“Dr. Frey is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, Academic Head of the Mood Disorders Program, and Director of the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. 

In 2008, Dr. Frey received a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship award to study brain imaging in perimenopausal women with depression, at the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Currently, Dr. Frey has over 100 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”

Lastly, I want to share a cool new resource with you – it’s run by John Emotions, the charismatic podcaster and founder of Bipolar Style. John wanted a “private, more focused area to talk about Bipolar” that will surpass Facebook forums, etc. He created Bipolar Party on Yammer and I really like the layout – it’s original and it has great potential. 

Come join us! If you’re interested, email me your email address so I can send you an invitation: dyane@baymoon.com 

And on that note, have a good weekend, and I’ll see you next Friday. (I hope I’ll see some of you on Lose It! too. Feel free to ask me any questions about it in the comments!)

Take good care & lots of love,

Dyane

 

Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw.

Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!

In Literary Limbo……….

 

 

Chips’s lively, off-the-wall presentation made me laugh out loud. Even if you don’t give a hoot about book covers, publishing, or the like, please watch his short talk. I guarantee you’ll find it fascinating!

 

What’s literary limbo? 

It’s not a West Indies-originated exclusive dance for men. 

(I always learn something new when I blog!)

I’m using another definition of “limbo”: a transitional state. I’m waiting to hear from my editor for the first time.

I’ve had nightmares about our first interaction. In my most vivid dream, the editor emailed me and tersely stated my manuscript needed a lot of work. To add insult to injury, I was told I had to change my title from Birth of a New Brain to BRAIN HAMMER! 

The title BRAIN HAMMER! reminded me of the Beatles’ Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. I couldn’t help but think of this classic song which ain’t exactly about peaches & cream.

 

Well, I couldn’t blame my disturbing dream on a spicy Mexican dinner. Once again my writing insecurity was surfacing from my murky subconscious to say BOO! At least I was able to laugh about it later. Much later.

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Hemingway was such a salty-tongued fellow! 

Of course, I can’t leave out Anne Lamott, or I risk getting trolled by an excessively ardent Anne Lamott fan. unknown-2

Believe me, they exist

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Book Cover News 

My book cover design is done, and it’s beautiful! Thanks to the brilliant book cover designer Vanessa No Heart for taking the concept to a whole new level. I’m not sure when it shall be revealed, but believe me, I’ll let you know as soon as I can. I’ll probably get it tattooed on my face.

A Cool Resource for Writers

I spotted the Publishizer link on Twitter and I was intrigued enough to take a look around the Publishizer site.

I encourage those of you with writerly aspirations to check it out.

The premise is this: You write a proposal and sell pre-orders, and the Publishizers query it to publishers for you. They even guide you step-by-step through writing a book proposal. Nice! (I’d also use agent/co-founder of the San Francisco Writers Conference Michael Larsen’s book as a reference.)

Publishizer queries a variety of publishers at pre-order “milestones.” If you sell 500 pre-orders, they personally query 20 publishers for you. There’s an extensive list of the publishers on the site.

Then you’ll arguably get one of the best problems of your life: you must select the best publishing offer for you. You’ll receive different kinds of offers based on the interest in your (fabulous) proposal.

After all that you shall select the best publishing offer and receive your payment!

Doesn’t it sound so easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy?

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Anyway, I thought the section showing how many agents were interested in each proposal particularly interesting. Please keep in mind that this is my rather poor paraphrasing of what Publishizer’s all about, so go take a peek!

Here’s A Memoir I Recently Enjoyed

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I like the publisher’s description, which I’ve edited quite a bit so this isn’t a 3000-word post. 

“The remarkable story of rising to the top of the music charts, a second act as a tech pioneer, and the sustaining power of creativity and art. Thomas Dolby’s hit songs “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hyperactive!” catapulted him to international fame in the early 80’s. A pioneer of New Wave and Electronica, Thomas combined a love for invention with a passion for music. But as record company politics overshadow the joy of performing, Thomas finds a surprising second act.

Starting out in a rat-infested London bedsit (I must interject: “GRRRRROOOSSSSSSSSS!!!!!”)  a teenage Thomas Dolby stacks boxes by day at the grocery and tinkers with a homemade synthesizer at night… with a bit of luck he finds his own style, establishing himself on the scene and recording hits that take MTV  by storm. The world is now his oyster, and sold- out arenas, world tours, even a friendship with Michael Jackson become the fabric of his life.

But as the record industry flounders and disillusionment sets in, Thomas turns his attention to Hollywood. Scoring films and computer games eventually leads him to Silicon Valley and a software startup that turns up the volume on the digital music revolution. By 2005, two-thirds of the world’s mobile phones embed his Beatnik software. Life at the zenith of a tech empire proves to be just as full of big personalities, battling egos and roller-coaster success as his days spent at the top of the charts.

(I snipped quite a bit off at this juncture – they gave too much away in their mongo-blurb.)

Thomas Dolby has been named Johns Hopkins University’s first Homewood Professor of the Arts, where he will help create a new center that will serve as an incubator for technology in the arts.”

Now that’s a class I’d love to audit! 

As a longtime fan of Thomas Dolby’s music, I was caught up in his incredible story. The only portion I found challenging was the uber-Silicon Valley techie descriptions, but that was to be expected. I was also very moved to learn about Dolby’s transgender child Harper, and Dolby’s ultimate acceptance and support of his  on. I was plain-old-sad when this memoir ended; I wanted it to go on, which is the sign of a truly awesome book.

The catchy, witty song Close But No Cigar is one of my favorite tunes from Thomas Dolby’s Astronauts and Heretics album, complete with a rip-roaring guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen. Avonlea and I got to see Dolby perform in Santa Cruz; she was in utero at the time. (And unfortunately she doesn’t care for his music or any other “80’s music nightmare artists” for that matter!) 

The Lose It! Update

My friends Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear), Marie Abanga (Merry Marie) and I are using the Lose It! app & website to get healthy. Thanks to Lose It!, I lost 40 lbs. – the equivalent of a small child or big carp fish! However, maintenance is tough, especially because I still struggle with compulsive overeating. I’m sticking to LoseIt! so I don’t yo-yo as I’ve done in the past.

You can sign up for free at www.loseit.com to join our little group; search for the Wondrous Writers group at the Lose It! site. It’s easy. Not peasy-lemon-squeezy. (Sorry.)

————-

It’s raining cats, dogs, and banana slugs today. The power could go out at any minute, so I’m pressing “publish” before checking for typos. I used my new BFF, Grammarly Premium proofreader, as I typed along and it caught some nasties, but not all of them. I’ll take a chance of offending the typo police. 

I hope you have a good weekend, a happy Halloween on Monday, and I’ll see you next Friday with tales to tell.

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love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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Bad Manners

Can you believe I used to publish a daily post?

Neither can I. (Never again!) But I felt like sharing this “extra” post today since I meant to publish it last Friday. I really hope your Monday is going well, and I want to thank you, as always, for reading!

Xo,

Dyane

I wrote Bad Manners the same day I waxed poetic about the happier topics of redwood baths and bulletproof coffee. If I had combined both sections it would’ve been a novella, so I held back. Plus, this post has an entirely  different tone and needs to stand alone.

It’s not a feel-good piece. The post is so whiny, if your laptop had a “smello-net” feature, this post would smell like Robert Mondavi’s winery!

Without further adieu, here’s the debut of a (very) occasional section called….

I Don’t Feel The Magic!

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Two events happened over the past few weeks that got my goat. *

know I shouldn’t have gotten defrosted about them. Much bigger calamities are afoot and many of us are struggling. I’m still upset about Ulla for all kinds of reasons. I guess the horrible loss made me more vulnerable to the b.s. that’s simply part of life.

I hesitated publishing this post in fear of turning some of you off, permanently, due to my whining and negativity, but I’m sharing it anyway because my gut says to do it. (Obviously I’ve watched far too many Scandal episodes!)

Most importantly, I value learning about what some of you do to rise above your own wicked, petty ways in response to bad manners. I hope you might share a juicy anecdote or two in the comments. (I’m still working on the rising-above part, so please bear with me! I’ll keep you posted…)

In the meantime, check out this meme’s heartfelt quote. I recommend you read it whilst listening to Snatam Kaur:

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That sounds good, but this is a double Pisces you’re dealing with! I’m a walking exposed nerve ending!!!

So here’s the latest…

Petty Thang #1 

“You Asked Me To Help You, I Did, and Now You’re Blowing Off My Emails – Whhhaaaat?”  images

This isn’t a complex situation. Before I get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to acknowledge I’m cognizant there could be extenuating circumstances why “Mechante” hasn’t replied to my emails. Illness. Crisis. Laziness. Who knows?

HOWEVER, according to Mechante’s Facebook activity over the past week, she seems to be doing fine ‘n dandy. (I spied on her Facebook page using Craig’s account; I’m still footloose and Facebook-free!) Yes, here is where I tell you my deep, dark secrets! 😉

Anyway, I doubt my emails went into Mechante’s spam folder because that never happened during our previous email communications. Her email is the same.

I wasn’t asking her to give me money or do anything major. I was simply offering her a unique opportunity, and all she had to do was write back “yes” or “no”. But I only heard the sound of silence.

After that, I was tempted to remove my 5-star Amazon review about her book, but I didn’t. This is progress, no?

Petty Thang #2  

“Now That You’re Famous-By-Association Means You Can’t Take Thirty Seconds To Thank Me?”

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This petty thang regards one of my best writing teachers.

The backstory: After I took her classes, she became involved with a super-famous writer who had many tête-à-têtes with Oprah. That’s all I’m writin’ here. 

A couple weeks ago I read in the paper about a cool event scheduled to happen three minutes from my front door. My teacher would be there! Even though I suffer with social anxiety, I knew I had to go. 

I was inspired to write her a letter, and wrote over three hours. (Yes, I used precious, kid-free time I should’ve spent editing my book.) 

I explained how she influenced me as a writer. I wrote how grateful I was for her feedback. I mentioned what happened to me after college graduation – how I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, endured the hospitalizations, the ECT, and so on. Lastly, I described my joy at landing a book deal.

I wasn’t asking her for anything. I didn’t need her famous partner’s help – I’m sure she gets hit up for his contacts all the time. 

I assembled a couple belated “thanks for being a great teacher” gifts (a soap  and a signed copy of Craig’s beautiful book), a Papyrus thank-you card, and my business card.

After I sealed up the goodies in a mailer package and wrote her name on it, etc. I drove to the venue. I made sure she got the package. I didn’t see her face-to-face, but I know without a doubt she got it. 

It has been over a month and I never received a reply. Not even a one-line email.

Um, whhhaaaaaaat?

Maybe since the return address didn’t have a celeb’s name on it, I wasn’t worth a simple thanks.

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(Yes, it’s crass, but the image made me laugh…)

I know, I know, it’s dumb. As my friend the magnificent writer Greg Archer would say, “Get over it!”

Blogging about such malarkey helps me, I kid you not. (I goat you not?)

p.s. I give you permission to bill me for bloggotherapy. Can we set up a monthly payment plan?


* I love the phrase “get my goat” – I need to use it more often!

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Lose It! Update – I’m A Proud Loser (40# since April, 2015!)

Writer extraordinaire Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I are persevering with our healthy eating & exercise routine. I won’t kid you – it’s tough! We use Lose It!’s website – at least it’s free! Remember, you can always join our Lose It! group: Wondrous Writers.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.

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Redwood Baths & Bulletproof Coffee Keep Me Sane…Sort Of

fphoto-sixteenHenry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Fall Creek Unit, California

photo courtesy of David Baselt

 

This post was originally four times as long, and it covered too many topics. Thankfully, I saw the literary light and I deleted most of it.

Some folks might think that writing profusely about all sorts of things sounds rather manic; if anything, I’m headed for the opposite direction. That’s due to my friend’s death. I miss her. I wish she was still around to read my post and write one of her trademark witty comments. She sure knew how to make me chuckle.

Apart from my not quite believing she’s gone, the fall is a rough time of year for many of us. I love the fall. Those who are close to me know that I consider Halloween to be the most important day of the year, but in the past I’ve become manic or depressed in October.

Although I’ve been stable for three years, I get nervous. That’s not that long a time. I use my Sunbox, which I’ll write about next week, and I’m doing something new that’s helping me ground myself, literally.

Redwood Baths

Yes, redwood baths. I’m not the only one to love these tall trees. One writer did a fair job of expressing his reverence for the “giants of the forest”. You might’ve heard of him. 

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.

John Steinbeck

Recently I learned that the trees emanate far more than silence and awe. In Japan there’s the practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.  The term “forest bath” is misleading, but I love it. Forest baths are simply mellow walks among the trees in which one aims to be present and notice the beautiful environment.

When I first went on redwood strolls, they resembled hasty showers rather than relaxing baths. I wasn’t taking in my magnificent surroundings. Instead of gazing up at the tall redwoods to see ethereal shafts of daylight peeping through their branches, I stared at my feet plodding along the dirt trail. 

I ignored the refreshing, cool scent that was a unique combination of Fall Creek’s redwoods and the other trees. It took time for me to change my old habits, but after reading an article about the physical, spiritual and emotional significance of forest baths, I began regarding the forest in a totally different way.

Now, brace yourself for some dry statistics – they’re very convincing and cool, so that’s why I’m including them.

Studies have shown that 20-30 minute-long forest baths are enough to reap health benefits. A 2010 study published in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine found that forest bathing lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Some benefits are derived from inhaling the forest air. The trees emit organic compounds called phytoncides such as alpha-pinene and d-limonene; these are substances that are also found in some essential oils such as grapefruit. (I worked at an essential oil practitoner college in the 1990’s, so I got a big kick out of that fact!)

Check this out: these amazing phytoncide compounds not only protect the trees and plants from insects and disease  – they can benefit people. A 2009 study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology cited a direct link between inhaling phytoncides and an increase in the body’s natural killer, or NK cells.

NK cells, a major force in our immune systems, help identify and destroy infected, damaged, harmful Satan cells. They’re considered important in the study of cancer. Another study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology found that forest bathing significantly increased the activity of NK cells by an average of about 50 percent. Whoa! I like that.

If that stat wasn’t cool enough, there’s another convincing reason why forest baths can help anyone suffering from depression and anxiety:

the power of the color green

Color theory studies have shown that green triggers emotional responses including relaxation, calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope, and even excitement. One reason the color green is thought to generate positive responses is due to our genetics. Green environments signaled to our ancestors that there was the presence of three essential aspects of survival: food, shelter, and water. 

I found the Japanese tradition and studies fascinating. It was validating to learn my humble walks had health benefits galore. Next time I want to pass on a forest walk, I’ll remember that it’s free and it’ll make me feel better…plus I won’t be billed for it by any greedy insurance company!

Bulletproof Coffee 

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A Fun Public Scene: Avonlea wanted to try one sip of the pricey java; naturally she spit it out and entertained the Silicon Valley commuters!

After reading ketogenic articles and the bestselling book Keto Clarity, I finally bit the bullet and tried bulletproof coffee. (If you caught that pun, you’re a quick one!)

A couple weeks ago Avonlea and I went to the high-end cafe Coffee Cat in Scotts Valley. Scotts Valley is home to many Silicon Valley commuters and their multi-million dollar abodes. 

Coffee Cat has a super-cute logo that someone painted on this Fairy Door

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I was excited to learn that Coffee Cat sold their own version of bulletproof coffee they called “Ironman Coffee” to avoid being sued by Silicon Valley bulletproof founder Dave Asprey. Silicon Valley is only 30 minutes away, so it’s entirely possible he could find out about the breach and sue away.

When I tried my Ironman coffee I was disappointed.

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My cup cost $5.50 for about 10 ounces, and consisted of coffee, Kerrygold butter and MTC, which are medium chain triglyceride fatty acid – yummers  The coffee had all the right elements, but it tasted pretty gross. There went $5.50 + tip down the drain.

Last week I had the opportunity to try a homemade version of bulletproof coffee at my friend’s house. She combined about 8 oz. of Peet’s Major Dickinson’s coffee, a heaping teaspoon of organic butter, and a tablespoon of organic coconut oil. She simply mixed it together with a spoon instead of using a gold-plated $500 blender that also doubles as a kareoke machine.

I didn’t have my hopes up high that her concoction would be palatable, let alone delectable. I was pleasantly surprised to find it very yummy and had two more cups!

Inspired, I bought the same ingredients and made my own version. It was far better than Coffee Cat’s Ironman fiasco, but not quite as good as my friend’s cup, and I can’t figure out why that’s the case…it’s a mystery! If I figure it out, I’ll write about it here.

Anyway, articles such as this one and a blog post (and comments) by Dr.  Georgia Ede imply that the ketogenic diet can make a major difference in bipolar disorder symptoms. If you haven’t read any of this material before, it’s worth checking out.

I’d like to end this post on a positive note, but unfortunately that’s not happening today….

The Lose It! Update – It’s Not Going So Well For Us

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Awesome blogger Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I are struggling with our healthy eating & exercise routine, but we aren’t going to give up. We’re still using Lose It!’s website. Nothing’s gonna stop us now.

Cheesy 80’s Rock Will Never Die…

If you’d like to join us, sign up for free at www.loseit.com. and search for the “Wondrous Writers group”.

Thanks for reading, and above all else, have a great Thursday night, Friday & weekend! See you next Friday.

love,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.

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Sadness Behind the Smile

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I’m at my daughter’s beautiful middle school library. This corner overlooks the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods where I go “forest bathing”, a.k.a. shinrin-yoku, with Lucy. (Check out this cool article about the Japanese health tradition.) 

 

Like many of you, I’m grieving over the suicide of Ulla, which I wrote about last week. I think about her often. I even talk to her in the car when I’m alone – it’s a bit crazy, I know, but hell, maybe she’s listening…whilst rolling her eyes. 

I found out that her beloved dog Solo has been in a friend’s temporary care. A permanent home is being sought. You can visit Ulla’s final blog post for more information in the comments section: https://theblahpolar.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/dont-what-shut-up/

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Solo

 

My Memoir Manuscript Update

My Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder ms is due to the publisher in 15 days. I know it’s only the beginning of a long editorial process, but I feel like I’m running mile 25 of a 26.2 marathon and I’m so close, yet so far away from the finish line.

I’ve been writing this memoir, on and off, since 2007, so it has felt like forever, and that’s a mighty long time. 

Speaking of Prince, you know I’ll be buying this memoir when it’s published even if it may seem a bit opportunistic in terms of its timing since Prince’s death is still recent.

I keep track of upcoming memoirs by searching on Amazon and through subscribing to the excellent blog Memoir Notes by author Lynette Davis. Like Lynette, I love reading good memoirs – I always have.

Anyway, I’m getting excited to move forward in publishing process, but I remain nervous as hell. I was instructed by Post Hill Press a few weeks ago to complete a metadata form. Have you heard of those? I was clueless, so I’ve been taking a crash course in what I call metadata madness.

My particular metadata form requires all kinds of info. such as:

a short book description, back cover text, a one sentence description of my book, search phrase lists, BISAC categories, marketing plan ideas, cover ideas, social media platform details, endorsements and blurbs, comparative titles, and my nemesis: the plot synopsis… I’m dizzy just from reading that!!!

Some of these items are parts of a standard book proposal, but my proposal didn’t include all of them. I wasn’t asked to submit this info. until now. There’s more to the form, but you get the idea…meanwhile, I might dress up as a metadata form for Halloween. Here it is in all its glory:

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Happy Halloween – let me give you a headache instead of candy!

I’m still not caught up with some of your blogs, but I promise to catch up soon because I’m missing out, you know? 😉

I’ll be back next Friday with the latest excitement in this neck of the banana slug-filled redwoods. (My alma mater’s mascot is the banana slug. No offense to banana slug aficionados, but I’d prefer the mountain lion, another local legend, or a dolphin!)

imagesAt least this slug reads…

I wish you a good weekend!

love to you all,

Dyane

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p.s. Lose It! – We’re Losers and We Like It! Update

Bradley, blogger extraordinaire (Insights of A Bipolar Bear) and I continue to encourage one another regarding our weight loss quest/exercising/healthy eating on Lose It!’s website. We’re struggling these days, but we’re not giving up, ya hear that Bradley? If you’d like to join us you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com. Search for the “Wondrous Writers group” & say hello.

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October, 2017.

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Recollections of the Macabre, the Furry and the Fat

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Alpine Meadows, home to the Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, is incredibly beautiful. We’ve been coming here for years to stay at the funky “Munchkin” cabin. Miraculously, the owner only charges us a third of what she could get, and Craig makes it a working vacation so we can afford it.

We trek up here in the winter and during other years we visit during the late summer. It has been amazing for this L.A. girl to observe terrain after it has transformed into the winter and summer.

Last time we went to the Munchkin it was wintertime. The owner and her friend were there to briefly greet us. I chatted with him and learned that he was veteran of the ski industry. He recounted several colorful stories about working at the various Tahoe ski resorts.

“I was here in 1982 when the Alpine Meadows avalanche happened,” he said somberly.

Uh, what avalanche?” I replied sheepishly. He suggested I read a book called A Wall of White by Jennifer Woodlief. I wrote the title down on a piece of paper, intending to download a sample on my Kindle when we returned to the world of WiFi, but I lost the paper and forgot all about it.

When we got to the Munchkin last weekend, I was excited to find a copy of A Wall of White: A True Story of Heroism and Survival in the Face of a Deadly Avalanche in the basement, of all places. I began reading it and so did Craig. (We took turns stealing it from one another.) Each of us finished it within two days! A Wall of White was a national bestseller, and I could see why it was a hit– the writing was top-notch, and it was a definite pageturner.

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Although I found the story fascinating (especially the explanations of different forms of snow, and how avalanches are created) I wish I never, ever read A Wall of White. It was such a morbid, vivid, disturbing account that literally happened just a few minutes from our cabin.

One of the avalanche victims was an eleven-year-old girl – my Avonlea’s age. She died because her self-centered, #$%^& father ignored not one, but two warnings not to hike up to Alpine Meadows during a ginormous snowstorm.

Last year before I read A Wall of White, I blithely drove up to the Alpine Meadow’s ski resort’s remodeled entrance area. I wanted to publish a blog post, and since the Munchkin doesn’t have internet, I could tap into Alpine’s free Wifi. While I sat there shivering in my car, skiers stomped and swarmed all around me. I bet most of them were completely oblivious about what had taken place there 33 years ago. 

Last Monday I needed to make an online bill payment, so I drove up to Alpine Meadows with a different mindset than I had last year. I couldn’t help but ponder about how people had hiked up the same road that I drove upon. They could never have imagined that they’d soon be smothered by tons of snow. Ugh. The thought creeped me out, but it also made me feel deeply grateful for being alive.

wp-1471306240991.jpgGrateful I have my furry muse Lucy

and grateful for my precious girls!

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Yesterday we took the gondola headed to the top of Squaw Valley; I was proudly Xanax-free! We didn’t know a thunderstorm was coming our way! This is a shot I took on the way back down, just before the staff closed the gondola for the day:

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I promised last week to write about some adventures. The truth is that this has been atame week. I guess I could make something up, since I can be devious, but to quote the great Annie Lennox, “Would I lie to you, honey?”

Since I don’t have a current adventure to share, I’d like to tell you about the bear sighting I had at the Munchkin four years ago.

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I had just gotten out of the shower and walked into the dining nook. I glanced at the picture window that had a beautiful view of a steep, woodsy hill behind the cabin. Craig was upstairs, and the girls were watching television in the living room next to the nook.

As usual, I was out of it I was extremely depressed, lethargic, and medicated with meds that weren’t working except to give me zombifying side effects. Despite the fact I was in such a gorgeous setting with my family, I couldn’t appreciate anything.

When I looked out that window, I realized it was a different view than what I was accustomed to.

There was a small bear looking at me.

Oh. My. God.

“BEEEEEAAAAAAAR!!!!” I screamed without thinking. (The little book titled Bear Aware has a bunch of information on what to do and not to do when you see a bear. Unfortunately I hadn’t read Bear Aware before I had that ursine moment, so I was clueless.)

The bear looked at me. He/she probably thought something along the lines of’

”You are such a silly human! I could take you out with one of my farts!”

The girls and Craig came running into the room just in the nick of time to catch the incredible sight. With the four of us watching, the bear scampered up the hill to its mom, who was our of sight. (Craig figured out it was definitely a cub due to its size.)

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I know that some of you might think, “So you saw a bear, no big deal!” But please take my word for it when I tell you those ten minutes were a big deal. The rest of that afternoon I felt less zombie-like. Looking into that cub’s eyes permeated the stupefying effects of my meds. I can understand why bears are sacred totem animals.

The most unbelievable part of this adventure was that the cub had not only been outside of the Munchkin cabin. The bold bear had climbed up three steep flights of outdoor wooden stairs, walked through our front door (which was accidentally cracked open…all I can say about that was it wasn’t me) and went into the basement to grab a bag of garbage. The bear headed back down the stairs with its spoils in tow. This happened while we were all in the house, oblivious to our guest! The cunning cub had been silent as the dead, and was only fifteen feet away from the girls while I showered and Craig was upstairs. The bear could have easily explored the rest of the house…

Lesson learned: lock your door in bear country! 😉

 Lose It! Update 

The Lose It! quest continues with my blogging buddy Bradley, author of the excellent Insights of A Bipolar Bear. We encourage one other through Lose It!’s website. If you’d like to join us, leave a message in the comment section or sign up for free at www.loseit.com. Search for the “Wondrous Writers group”.

The two of us have struggled lately with overeating, but we remain committed to our goals! We know it’s normal to have setbacks – it’s recovering from them that matters. Speakng of Lose It!, I’d like to share my “before and after “shots taken at The Munchkin.

This is my favorite writing spot – the balcony overlooking the back of Squaw Valley:

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2013: 170#  

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Yesterday: 125# 

It has felt so goog to be able to walk up the Munchkin’s three flights of stairs without the extra adipose tissue. Hauling the extra weight used to make me huff and puff and almost hyperventilate. Plus my knees were not happy about it either, especially my knee which had ACL reconstruction after I had a basketball injury.   

Birth of a New Brain memoir update

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Almost every morning during this trip, Lucy has woken me up at 5:00 a.m. I’ve fed her & taken her outside to do her thing. (That hasn’t been so bad since I’ve gotten a great view of the stars, something I don’t get at home since the redwoods block the sky.)

Next I made fresh blood, I mean coffee. I headed out to the deck to work on editing the final chapters and appendices/resource section. The manuscript is due October 1st, and I’m nervous as hell, but excited. I feel like I’m at the end of a ten-year-long pregnancy, and a looooong labor looms ahead. (Yes, I’ve worked on this draft since 2007 after Rilla was born.) There are no epidurals for the publishing process – what a bummer! 

I’ll keep you posted on what happens this fall – the good and the bad! (Hopefully more of the former than the later.) I’ll be back next Friday, and I wish you a great week and perhaps a (positive, fun) adventure of your own!

love,

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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