Category Archives: Made of Awesomesauce

Hashtag Blessed

 

I was nervous all day. I tried to convince my author group that I was probably going to die. (Spoiler: I did not die.)

The Beer Guy and I sat at home and had dinner before heading on over to the bookstore, and I spent the last 30 minutes before we left bouncing around our home, trying to practice reading without hyperventilating, and freaking out about the possibility that I would mispronounce “geas.” (My PSM’s sage advice: “It’s not ever really used so no one will know.” She also helped me figure out how to correctly pronounce it, because she is aces.)

My other pre-reading activity:

A glass of white while practicing reading.

At one point, it occurred to me that I read aloud almost every evening. Sure, maybe it’s to my five-year-old, but that counts, right? I decided to pretend I was reading to a bunch of children, and that actually really helped.

The Beer Guy and I got to the bookstore about 20 minutes before I was due to go on, and Elisa, who is one of the nicest humans in the world, helped me get set up and gave me more wine (and a bottle of water) to calm myself.

MY BOOKS! ON DISPLAY!

The room filled up with friends (thank you all so much), Elisa introduced me, and then it was go time. I’d picked out three selections. One from The Cardinal Gate to introduce Eleanor, and two from The Waning Moon.

It wasn’t until about 30 seconds into my reading that I realized that Eleanor swears like a motherfucking sailor. I mean, I knew she wasn’t avoiding the cursing, but until I had to read out loud in front of a roomful of people, I had no idea how many times she says fuck on a single page.

This is my “what? another motherfucking swear word?” face

I think it went well. I tripped over a couple words (but not geas!), but everyone laughed when they were supposed to laugh and no one fell asleep or wandered off. After I was done reading, there were questions. A fair few! And good questions!

My captive audience mingling while I was signing…

And then it was time for signing. I signed a dozen or so books, got to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, and apparently had a great time.

A few of us headed down the street to celebrate me surviving my first public reading with pink champagne (courtesy The Beer Guy, who really knows me well), snacks, and excellent conversation. The five people who joined me are five of my favorite Portlanders (I have ten favorite Portlanders…only half could make it), and it was so nice to see them all together.

A regret I often have is that I don’t take enough pics of my friends when we gather together…

It was an amazing evening, and I’m so glad I did it! I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends who gave up their time and money to come listen, ask questions, buy books, and spend time celebrating with me. One friend brought me the perfect tote bag:

So appropriate, because my uterus hates me AND my author group has termed itself the “illuterati”

My friend and fellow illuterati author Mel Sterling brought me flowers, gave me amazing advice, took some nice photos, and asked good questions.

At the end of last evening, I posted this on my Facebook author page:

And for everyone who insisted on photos and video – you have The Beer Guy to thank for that. He’s the one who uploaded everything to FB last night. He also calmed me down, carried all the heavy books, made the reservations for the post-signing drinks, and procured the bottle of champagne. There is no way I could’ve done any of this without him. I really am #blessedAF

Eleanor Morgan and the Case of the Noisy Chimney Koalas

I slept poorly last night. I was restless and plagued with weird dreams. We currently have a family of birds who’ve built a nest in our chimney and the babies are newly hatched and loud AF.

Because the bird noise is near constant right now, it’s invaded my subconscious, and last night I dreamed opened up the fireplace and found: two dozen hummingbirds, some rabbits, a hawk of some kind, baby owls, opossums, raccoons, stray cats, and a koala.

Hopefully, I’ll get more sleep tonight and the baby birds can adequately learn to fly in our chimney so they can get the hell out and we can make a chimney hat or whatever to keep future critters out.

****

I spent a lot of time with The Ruby Blade over the weekend. Saturday was definitely my most productive day, with Friday coming in second. Yesterday was not so great. I finally managed to get things moving in late afternoon when my friend RJ started bribing me. Every 500 words, I got another page from her current WIP. It was very effective!

I’m hoping that one more week of focused, intense work, and I’ll be able to wrap this draft up and send it to my beta readers only a week late.

This weekend’s writing supervisor is checking my work.

 

****

I feel like I haven’t had much time with my kiddo lately. He’s been at his dad’s since last Wednesday (the 26th), and the previous weekend, he was at the coast with his grandma. The Beer Guy and I got out there for one night, but it feels like it’s been too long since I’ve gotten an adequate amount of Alvie Bean snuggles. I can’t wait to pick him up tonight and I’m even more excited to spend the weekend with him. (Please remind me of this at 3:30 pm on Saturday when I’m updating my Etsy listing because he never. stops. talking.)

****

I actually had a wonderfully productive weekend, even beyond the writing. I did menu-planning and got groceries for the week (although I know we’ll have to restock the bananas midweek), went to pick up my new glasses, got my car washed and the oil changed, got a massage, and brought some of my books to a local book store where they are currently on sale. In addition, I’ll be doing a book reading and signing there on August 10 at 7 pm. If you come, you can ask me anything, buy paperbacks of my books, and get them signed. I’ll also try to convince you to come have a beer with me after (my treat).

Motivation Monday

Today is a very high-anxiety day. Chest-crushing anxiety. (I don’t know why. That happens a lot.)

Thanks to last week, in which I hit 85% of my exercise goals, I know the proper ways to start treating this anxiety.

I have my swim stuff in my bag (and, unlike last week, I packed a comb, flip flops, am charging my swim watch, and brought my goggles instead of the Bean’s). Tomorrow, I will run. Wednesday, I will yoga. Thursday, I will run. Friday, I will swim. And Saturday, I will run.

If I hit 5 of those, I’ll be happy. Even if I don’t get to my time/distance goals on each one, I’ll still be happy to get out there. (Friday, I didn’t hit my swimming goal, and was extremely frustrated until I remembered that it was my first time in the pool in a year and swimming 500 yards was better than all the swims I haven’t done. Some is better than none. I should probably get that tattooed on the backs of my hands and my forehead or something.)

Other things I am doing in the way of self-care include:

  1. Eating healthy and regular meals
  2. Getting back into the habit of meditating
  3. Reframing my life into positive “I am” statements.  (“I am a runner” NOT “I used to run more.” “I am an author” NOT “I write but still have to have a day job.”

Since I have trips planned to Mexico (October) and Spain (March), I also need to really dig into my Spanish refreshers again. I minored in Spanish in college, but haven’t kept up the practice. I could probably skate by with my limited skills and the fact that people everywhere speak English, but I’d rather make the effort – and since Bean didn’t get into the dual-language school, I want to start doing more Spanish at home so he at least has a shot at a foreign language while his brains are still malleable.

(Speaking of brains, I was texting with my PSM this morning and we decided that it was monumentally unfair that one person could have both a defective brain and a defective reproductive system. You should really only have to be stuck with one of those. Although, I guess since she and I are both graced with both breath-taking beauty and dazzling intelligence [well at least one of us is…], maybe this is the trade-off?)

I’ll leave you with a picture of my adorable Bean who’s been at the coast with grandma since Thursday. 

Three Things Thursday: Randomness Edition

  1. I ran Saturday and Tuesday and I have plans to run today with a coworker.
  2. The Beer Guy is out of town this weekend and it’s just me and the Bean. It’ll be the first time it’s been just the two of us for longer than a few hours since last October, I think.
  3. My author copies of my books arrived yesterday! One of each will go in my summer author book giveaway basket (!!!), a few of them are going to a local bookstore (!!!!!) and the rest are waiting for my book signing (!!!!!!!) coming up next month.

Moving Day!

I have been in the process of moving my website from one place to another for a long time. I’ve been blogging at gazellesoncrack since 2006 (although I’ve owned amycissell.com for just as long). Today amycissell.com is live. There might be a few broken links or broken forms, so bear with me as I get through them, but overall, this should look just like home.

My ex-husband gave me the inspiration for gazellesoncrack and I fully embraced it. I am not graceful. (In fact, in college, there was a person who regularly just called me Grace.) This is not an untruth. For 11+ years, my entire online identity was wrapped around gazelleosncrack.

But in the past 11 years, I’ve become so much more–this space has become so much more. It started as a place to share my clumsiness and book reviews, became a place to share my clumsiness, book reviews, and shoe pr0n. Morphed into a place to discuss clumsiness, book reviews, shoes, and my health & weight loss journey. Then it skidded sideways into a pregnancy tracker and half-hearted mommy blog. All of this while doing my best to hide my real name from the internets.

And now-this is where we are.

There’s a lot less focus on the awkward (although that still exists), I never talk about shoes anymore (my interest in pretty shoes fell to the wayside about the time I had foot surgery), and my posts about my kid are getting fewer and further between as he gets older (and so much bigger, omg, he comes up to my chest now!).

It’s book reviews and writing and health (physical and mental).

I was doing a meditation this morning (seriously guys, if you haven’t read Rebekah Borucki’s You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life, get on that) and realized that the last two years have been nothing but attempts to breathe out the bad and breathe in the good.

I breathed out the job that I hated with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. The job that made me have panic attacks and high-level anxiety. The job that caused me to stress-eat and stress-starve (and may have fucked up my entire digestive system semi-permanently). The breath maybe wasn’t as controlled as I’d have preferred, but it’s gone, it’s out, and this is better.

I breathed out a marriage that had been weighing me down for longer than I care to admit. Letting go of a relationship that doesn’t buoy you is harder than it ought to be. Adding a kid to the mix certainly doesn’t make that process easier.

I breathed in new possibilities. I published a book (soon to be two). I’m taking control of that part of my life.

I breathed in a new job that, although not as exciting as it could be, still pays me with real money and affords me the time and energy to continue to work on my writing.

I breathed in a new relationship with a wonderful man who continually surprises me with how much he’s willing to give to me and my son, just because he loves us.

There are still things that I need to let go of and still things I need to pick up. I need to be bolder, more brazen, more confident. I need to be less anxious, less self-deprecating, less willing to put myself and my needs last. More movement, fewer excuses. More running, less sitting.

I started meditating – started being a person who meditates – when things were terribly, terribly bad earlier this year. I’d just turned 40 and was broke. Unemployed. So anxiety-riddled that I couldn’t tell where my brain was anymore. The one meditation I did over and over and over was (again, from the aforementioned book): “Your situation may look like a mess. That’s real. But you are not that mess.”

That got me through March. I started this job the end of April. I’m sleeping better. Eating better. And (and hopefully the beer guy will back me on this) being an all-around happier, more relaxed person.

I’m not saying that mediation got me a job and fixed my crazy, but there is evidence to show that mindfulness and mediation have a positive effect on anxiety (and a whole host of things!). And less anxious = all around better everything.

I’m still not meditating every day, but I’m definitely getting to “more often than not.”

Which brings me back to moving. Moving on. Moving up. This is one more letting go. Letting go of the gazelle that I so identify with “ten years ago Amy” and “Amy who was married to the architect” and “Amy who was too scared to really live.” (My spell check suggests I mean “Amy who was too sacred to really live…interesting…)

Now, instead of taking a name someone else gave me, we are here. At amycissell.com. (Yeah, I know that technically someone else gave me that damn name, too, but hey! It’s very me. 40 years of me, in fact.) I might never achieve the level of fearlessness I’d like, but I’m going to stop letting fear hold me back from what I want.

I will no longer be a dreamer of dreams. I will be a doer of things.

So welcome. Welcome to Amy Cissell Writes. The past is all here – I don’t want to start fresh because the lessons I’ve learned have been invaluable, but let’s move forward with fresh goals, shiny new intentions, and a courage that belies the fear.