Category Archives: Play us a song…

The day is getting right away from me…

This weekend was so busy and my week isn’t looking any less so!

Thursday evening, I did my best to take myself out. (Part of that included literally taking myself out.) I cut my right pinky on a pair of tongs while making dinner for the Beer Guy. Later, I broke a wine glass, and in an attempt to pick up the pieces, stabbed my right thumb with the broken stem of said glass. Later, after being bored to pieces, I talked the Beer Guy into taking me to karaoke. This was not my best decision to date. And then I fell down and sprained the shit out of my ankle, because that’s how I roll.

The "Most Interesting Man in the World" says, "I don't always roll a joint, but when I do, it's my ankle."

I went to the Rose City Romance Writer’s Spring Fling on Friday evening and most of the day Saturday. I’d headed over to meet up with some writers for a pre-conference happy hour, but I couldn’t find them (and didn’t look too hard, people are scary, yo!), but I did spend a very productive hour filling in my new planner, having a beer, and making plans.

A beer, a planner, and a week's worth of plans

The morning session on Saturday (on marketing) was fabulous, I met some great people, and handed out my new cards to just about everyone. I’ve gotten to the point where I can say I’m an author, talk about my book, and encourage people to look into it. I’ve really grown a lot in the last year! I also spent more money on books in two days than in the last few months. Autographed romance novels are a deductible expense, right?

Romance novels by Farrah Rochon and Cecilia Tan

Saturday evening, I had dinner with a friend in town for the weekend. I’d met her at the RT convention last spring, so it’s not surprising that our conversation was about 75% book and writing related.

gin and tonic

There was also a G&T. My first of…more than one…that evening

The Beer Guy had a friend in town this weekend, too, so we hit up karaoke Saturday night (and talked even MOAR books…turns out we have a mutual appreciation for a lot of the same paranormal books and authors).

karaoke screen

I swear the Beer Guy is in that photo behind the inconveniently placed pole

Yesterday was a lot more chill, but I still managed to get a lot done in terms of The Waning Moon (details Wednesday!).

Today is all about errands, little business things (finances, marketing plans, freelance business planning), and wasting spending a great deal of time on a PowerPoint (complete with charts!) that I will be presenting to the Beer Guy tonight. Ideally, all conversations would have an agenda, copious notes, line charts, and trend lines. I have been informed that it’s a little weird, but have decided that I can embrace being a little weird if it enables me to get my point across.

Powerpoint Slide that says "Death by Powerpoint" in blood with a zombie

I swear, it’s not as bad as all this!

I’ll have a book review up tomorrow, some writing updates Wednesday, and my “Letter to Alvie: Five Years” post on Friday. (Thursday will be a surprise for us both!)

 

Fearless Friday (Navel Gazing Edition)

Bear with me as I use the internet as my free-ish therapist.

But First

An amusing anecdote

I don’t often use a thesaurus. When I do, it’s because the word I want is in my brain but not materializing, so I’ll use the thesaurus to try to suss out what I’m intending to say. I do love when other people use a thesaurus, though. Especially when they are obviously choosing words that they’re not entirely sure of. Today, I was using a thesaurus without having a specific word in mind because I wanted to be alliterative. I absolutely adore alliteration. ANYWAY. I wanted a synonym for “change” or “transformation” that started with “F.”

The only thing that came up was “fluctuation.” And that just made me laugh. Because fluctuating is not my goal. Fluctuating is my current state.

And Now for Something Completely Different

The last few years I’ve become a fearful person. I’ve lost a lot of the confidence I used to have. Part of that is being stuck in an employment situation where the feedback fluctuated (ha! used it!) between over-the-top praise and ridiculous, unfounded, mean-spirited criticism.

Part of that was being stuck in friend-lationships that weren’t healthy, because I glommed onto the first friendly folks when I moved to Portland and wasn’t as discerning as I should’ve been with my friend love.

Part of that was spending a lot of time worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and upsetting the delicate ego balance that I tiptoed around starting in 2008.

Part of that is my natural state of being. I’ve been diagnosed with all sorts of fun (and sometimes contradictory) brain malfunctions. The older and more experienced I get, though, the more I realize that the one defining characteristic of everything my brain has ever done wrong is the overwhelming anxiety disorder.

I am good with routine. When I was working, my routine was

  1. Wake up early
  2. Make coffee
  3. Shower (or workout)
  4. Write with all the coffee
  5. Breakfast (and shower if there was working out)
  6. Work
  7. Pick up the Bean
  8. Make Dinner
  9. Put Bean to bed
  10. Read
  11. Bed
  12. Repeat

It was a good routine.

When I left the architect, my routine was disrupted. I was staying up later, not eating on days when no one was around to see if I was eating or not, I didn’t have Bean every day to keep my days steady, but I was still doing many of those things…just later. And working out fell by the wayside. I was staying up too late to get up early to write and workout. But it was no big deal. On nights I didn’t have the kid, I did the writing. It kind of worked.

When my job ended, everything just went tits up. I spent a lot of September and October alone in my house doing nothing. Not working out. Not writing. Not editing. I had all the time to make things happen, but I was too overwhelmed to get started.

Now we all know that to some degree I got over that, because my book was published this week, but I’ve still never gotten back to that routine. Every time I think I’m getting close, something happens to fuck it all up again.

It’s been a hard week. Releasing a book is stressful, even though it was the culmination of a lifetime of dreams. Having a child in a co-parenting situation is stressful, because I am not in control 50% of the time and I really like to be in control. Dealing with my recent rental situation is stressful because there were rats and the landlord and I disagree on a few financial things. Not having a job is stressful. Because money is awesome and I would like some of that stuff.

Do you know what helps my stress levels? Working out. Working hard. Being a little bit sore most of the time.

Getting to bed before eleven.

Getting up before six.

With my current mental state (fragile, in case you’re looking for another f-word), that isn’t happening. I need to find the switch to flip.

Self-care and self-love have fallen by the wayside in my attempt to throw all my energy into caring for my son and fighting all the battles that continually show up.

I just bought BexLife’s new book (at the recommendation of my PSM) in an attempt to find that spark that will help me reconnect with me. I signed up for Weight Watchers (something I’ve used to great effect in the past) as a way to be accountable for what I’m putting (or so very often, not putting) in my body. I have packed my swim bag and intend to drag my anxiety-ridden ass back to the pool (that is less than 3 blocks from my new digs) next week. I will take the boxes of work detritus out of the back of my car so I feel safe parking at a trail head and running in Forest Park. I have the tools I need.

I’m 40. There’s never going to be a better time to make my life everything I want it to be, and there’s no one who’s ever going to be able to make those changes for me.

(Except you. Each and every one of you. If you could all commit to buying my book once/day…that’d be cool. I mean really…what’s $2.99/day? That’s less than a coffee at Starbucks! *cue sad music and a montage of hungry, cold Amy who can’t even turn on the space heater in her office without tripping the surge protector*)

40 Before 40 – Update the Third

I am 1/4 of the way through my 40th year! Things have definitely been going a little better the last month. I’m feeling better (back is better and no more sickness), I’m getting into a new routine (although it’s still hard with Bean…I get to have a routine, and he has to have two routines), and I’m getting things done!

Let’s get started, shall we?

7. Sing a new song at karaoke. On May 6, I totally did this. I sang “Punk Rock Girl.” AND THEN! last week, I sang yet another new song! I am now a new song singing maniac. (I do not have any photographic evidence of me singing, so you’ll have to take my word for it.)

14. Try hot yoga. I did this! On May 5, I took a hot hatha class. I hated every second of it. Seriously. Never again.

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19. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday. So much cheese was made!

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My cheese making setup. Please note the small green stool there. I needed that to reach all the things. My kitchen is a bit on the tall side and I am decidedly not. My friend Elizabeth said, “In the kitchen of giants, you are still queen! You have killed the jolly green giant and used his head as your stepping stool.” Pretty much…

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Curds and Whey (no spiders here!)

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Weighting Games..aren’t you imPRESSed? (Ha! SO MANY PUNS!)

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Parmesan ready to enter the cheese cave for it’s long (9 month) nap

 

27. Get back into my DIY habits – I used to do a lot more homemade stuff. – getting started on that with my cheese. And I have a lot of berries and figs coming, so there will be jam.

This is the face of a domestic goddess.

This is the face of a domestic goddess.

32. Try a new (to me) cheese each month – this month’s cheese was a dry cow’s milk cheese called Cougar Gold from Washington (state).

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My 40 before 40 challenge

Update the first

Update the second

Upcoming Goal Reaching!

I’ve already got a few things booked and paid for coming up

I bought tickets to the opera (6), so that’ll be in the June update. We are going to see a Portland Opera production:

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My friend Alisha and I are taking a barre class (8) and then drinking recovery beers this week!

I signed up for a knife class, and I think that qualifies as (10) take a cooking class. Besides, I need to figure out how to stop stabbing myself now that I own sharp knives.

Bean’s summer vacation (17) is going to be primarily spent in South Dakota where I’m hoping I can take him fishing (20).

I’m back on track with my Swedish lessons (24) which is not going to help me at all when I get my passport stamped on my trip to Iceland (35).

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As for the rosé tasting (18), this is going to be scheduled soon. I want to limit it to 10-12 attendees, (including the adults that are contractually obligated to be there by either (a) being me or (b) dating me), so if you desperately (or even moderately) want to drink pink wine in my back yard in July, let me know and I’ll tell you the dates I’m looking at.

 

Practicing...

Practicing…

 

June is going to be the month of pie and jam and summer award reading books…

How many shades of heather does one person hold?

I mean heather as in an oyster color. I didn’t want to use “shades” and the g-word in my title as I’m already disappointing scores of Google searchers who are here due to a shoe fetish.

I am currently in the process of trying to make a HYOOGE life decision. In my head, which is a strange place, nothing can move forward (like buying a new house in a better school district or signing up for the GRE) until the decision is 100% made and zipped up in the irrevocable decision box.

I pride myself on being able to see all sides of most issues. If you need a Devil’s Advocate, I’m your woman. (Do you ever wonder if the devil really needs advocates? If yes, and it’s a high paying position, I’d like to put in my resume.) (Call me, Lucifer!)

But, if the issue is something the directly impacts me (not my kid or my family or friends), there is only black or white.

I had the opportunity to spend an hour on the phone with a Life Coach (hi Marste!) and outlined my two choices. (BTW – this is something I highly recommend. I cannot speak positively enough about how wonderful that hour was.)

After talking about what it would mean to not choose the Big Change and finding out that I am remarkably mature and insightful (paraphrase), I also found out that maybe I don’t have to make it a Big Choice all at once. I can keep on living my life as I move towards the center.

As I was talking about what I do with my time, I prefaced a lot of what I was saying with “I might be crazy” because I get told that sometimes. I’m busy. I work a pretty intense job (actually, two currently), I write (not as much as I think I should), I’m training for a half ironman, I have an almost-three-year-old, and a husband, and a few friends. I’m starting dance classes next week and I am, with the help of Rosetta Stone, teaching myself Swedish. I’m co-chairing a cookbook project for an online group I’m in. I’m working on a research project and eventual paper and maybe presentation  with someone who makes me look like a lazy slacker (love you, PSM!).

I am trying to do more things that scare me (see above re: dance class).

I am trying to travel more (see you soon, Chicago!), write more, be more. I am all about more.

I’m seldom about less, unless you’re talking about less social interaction. Then I’m all about the less.

I don’t really know how to do less and stay functional. If you gauge busy on a scale of 1-10, my preference for optimal life-satisfaction and productivity is right around an eight.

If I’m not full up, then there is room for discord and anxiety and those creeping little thoughts that are not helpful.

However, after the hour with Marste, I committed to try to find a center and to seek my balance in something different from left-braining with intensity all day and right-braining with equal intensity the rest of the time.

I am going to look for small steps and resist the go big or go home attitude.  I can be full without running full-tilt at whatever the next Big Choice is. Theoretically. (When I decided that the next Big Choice was a baby, I devised spreadsheets, created optimal timelines, charted ALL sorts of things, created a super secret blog about conception and then pregnancy, and read every book I could get my hands on. I won at pregnancy up through the positive result on the pregnancy stick. THEN the variable introduced into my planning made everything else go haywire.)

There’s only one real problem with this. I’m not sure how to look at the heather-colored spaces between. I might need a live-in life coach (note to self: add that line to the sister-wife job description currently posted) to give me more feedback on a daily basis.

My goal though, as always, is to feel good about the decisions I’ve made and completely own them. And also to be completely badass.

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Three (3!) Things Thursday

1. I have been sick! And being sick sucks balls. I did go to work on Monday as I said I would. I got there, talked to my boss, and then went home. I was there for a 5 pm meeting that I didn’t want to miss, but my boss convinced me that he would just give me a full report, and that no one wanted my germs. By the time I got home, I was soooo sick. SO SICK. But, Alvie Bean was feeling better. He slept better Monday night, and then Tuesday was all chipper and “hey! play with me!” So the architect took him to the nanny, because I was barely able to get out of bed to feed the wee man. I stayed in bed until nearly noon on Tuesday. So. Miserable. I finally got out of bed and had some soup. And then I reclined on the sofa instead and watched eleventy episodes of Dr. Who. I finally put on clothes in time to go fetch Alvie Bean. I have never been so grateful for child care as I was Tuesday, when I could send him away for several hours so I could be sick in peace. Wednesday morning, I felt better. Not great, but better. I still sounded like a 65-year-old waitress who’d been chain smoking for 50 years, but I did go to work for a day of meetings. (I’m sure all I met with felt great about meeting with me. I did wash my hands a lot.)

2. I am making great strides on my plans for my Aggressive HappinessTM project. With the exception of the days of sick, I have been getting in my morning movement, my lots o’ water (that has happened every day) and been in bed w/ lights out by 10ish. I am also doing some pharmaceutically related things that should help push me over the hump of non-happiness. Mostly meth. Ha! I jest. There are no illegal street drugs involved.

3. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this lately, but my son is pretty darn cute. Even when he’s a raging snot monster and a crankosaurus rex, I can usually coax a wee small smile out of him.

Baby Beethoven rocks out with his bad self