cool hand lucy

Lucy chillin’

What do you get when you combine the words “November” + “ramblings”?

Novamblings of course!

(I know it’s dorky, but I just can’t help myself from dorking out!)

My November days have been filled with taking care of my two girls, playing with Lucy, eating bon bons (I wish) and working on Birth of a New Brain.

I have a super-rough draft which I call the “skeleton”. Natalie Goldberg gets the credit for that moniker. She wrote the classic book Writing Down the Bones which I read when it was published waaaay back in 1986. I was sweet sixteen that year; little did I know I’d be writing my first book a whopping 29 years later.


I’m reviewing each of the twenty chapters from start to finish, filling them with “adipose tissue”, or rounding out this draft with the right facts, incidents and more. (Doesn’t adipose tissue sound more lyrical than fat?) Then I’ll go through the chapters again and add “guts” to make the writing juicier, and hopefully far more interesting to the reader than it is now. It will be a fine line between the guts having T.M.I. and not enough T.M.I. , but I’ll do my best! 😉

Every writer follows her own set of rules. This is how I’m approaching my draft, which is subject to change. (Mercurial me!)

In September I signed up for a writing class with the world-renowned author Laura Davis. Unfortunately I had to drop out after my brother-in-law passed away. I’m glad that Laura gave me credit towards a future class, and it was great to finally meet her in person after hearing about her for years.

Meanwhile, I’m still going strong with my Dr. Alsuwaidan-style daily workouts.


JUST DO IT the Dr. A. Way!

Being sick with an evil cold/cough for almost two weeks threw me off. I missed all my workouts and my mood suffered – my whole family noticed that. But I got back on track to everyone’s relief, most of all my own.

What else?

The horrific events of Paris reminded me that I’m incredibly fortunate not to have been directly affected by such evil. 

Despite reading about what took place in Paris and being aware of atrocities happening every day worldwide, my preoccupation with petty dung (mainly regarding social media content) and my road rage have been getting worse.

I’ve become too negative, angry, envious and outward-focused.

Does any of that sound familiar? 



Remember when I gave up Facebook? I’m still Facebook-free and I don’t miss it at all. However, I ain’t no social media saint who can cut the virtual cord 100%. After I quit Facebook, I started using Twitter too much!  Twitter gradually grew into a Facebook-like trigger and it became too stimulating and, at times, upsetting.

Day after day I kept muttering “I have to cut back on Twitter!” to no avail.

Finally I saw the light. Something clicked over the weekend; maybe my despair about Paris speeded things up for me to make a positive change. I reduced the amount of people/organizations I’m closely following on Twitter. I’m now only reading tweets by those individuals and groups who lift me up, and who I want to support.

One such organization is Postpartum Support International. I became a member last week, and I’m excited to tell you that PSI has created a free online support group (both English and Spanish) for those with postpartum depression! How cool is that? You can use your name or be anonymous. For more information please visit:

Speaking of things that lift up one’s spirits, I wanted to share a resource that you probably already use – you’re all so hip – but just in case, here’s the info.

During my writing time I’ve been listening to a YouTube feed that claims to enhance focus in one’s brain

You might prefer AC/DC – just play whatever makes you happy and productive, right? Music is powerful. I’ve been around live music since in utereo – my father played the violin for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and my crib was located near his practice room. He praticed for hours every day. When he retired, over 100 people auditioned for his job!

I digress…but then again, I must keep this blog’s digression tradition alive.

When I must leave Lucy home alone, I put on anti-anxiety music for dogs so she’s not so freaked out. I think all of these New Age music loops help.  Do any of you use them?

And on that note (get it???) that’s all for now. Oh wait!!!!!

I forgot to mention this in my previous exercise post. I have chronic knee pain from two knee surgeries I had in 1991 and 2007. I had A.C.L. (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction and cartilage repair galore.

What helps me a ton with the pain, which worsens in colder weather, is homeopathic arnica. Arnica is cheap, it has no contraindications with other medications (and believe me, I take an MAOI, so I know that for sure) and it works! I like Boron arnica and I use their pills and the external gel. You can get each of those for less than $12 at most health food stores or online. If you have joint pain/bruises/soreness, this stuff is awesome.

Wishing you a good, safe week and I’ll let you know how Thanksgiving goes next week.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving – I’m incredibly thankful that you’re all out there, and that I’m lucky enough that you read my blog.

much love,



Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of the acclaimed book Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.


53 thoughts on “Novamblings

  1. I love this, it was like reading a letter from a long-list friend and getting caught up. You have such a knack for making these posts feel like intimate conversation over coffee. Which I might or might not be sipping on right now. 💚You!

    • Thanks SO much for writing this, my sweet! I regard my blog as a letter to my friends and I think that’s why I truly love writing posts. What publish here isn’t highfalutin’ literature, that’s for sure! 😉 While I wish I could write sparkly & eloquently & uber-creatively, I don’t have that particular gift. You make me feel like what I write has value, and I LOVE you for appreciating this ramble, or Novamble, heh heh!

      Speaking of “intimate conversations over coffee”, well, I usually only drink it in the morning and it’s 3:00 p.m. but I’m having a cup right now in your honor. I need it! :0 It’s super-yummy!I’ll call it my “Ann Powerhouse Blend” – Peet’s Major Dickinson + my new addiction: coconut vanilla non-dairy creamer. Fattening, sugary, but ahhhhh – heaven!

  2. That was a heck of a summation of what has been going on in your life, thanks for the update! If I do not chat with you before, have a great Thanksgiving too!

    • Thanks Vic – yep, I like to ramble, that’s true. I know I need to edit further, but I get into a lazy WordPress trance and press the”Publish” button without going over it a few more times like I should! 😉 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’ll “see” you over at your blog this weekend playing catch-up!

  3. A very clever & insightful post! I also wish to thank you for the “retweets”. I am a Facebook addict but a twitter novice but I will try and return the favor. I have been participating (a little) in National Novel Writing Month for a new book. I haven’t been able to chalk up the words BUT it has cured me of spending an hour or more on Facebook each day. Now I just scan it at night in front of the TV and leave the daytime for more productive tasks. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving with your family & hope to see you in real life on Dec 5! Oh, yeah, thanks again for ordering my book. Just had a talk with the local NAMI office and we agree my publisher did not market it correctly. I wanted to emphasize hope, not darkness. So I hope to do a revision and my apologies for that. If you like it, maybe review it on Amazon? Thanks and Gobble on!

    • Hi Martha! You are very welcome for the retweets – it’s my pleasure! I’ll continue to do it too; I’m a big believer in helping promote my blogging/memoirist friends, especially when they are local, they write about mental health-related topics close to the heart and they are talented like you!

      Good for you for doing NaNoWriMo – I have friends who have done it and I admire you all! It’s a commitment, that’s for certain. One pal of mine does an all-night NaNoWriMo writing party on the East Coast! 🙂 I couldn’t stay awake all night plus it would send me into mania, a big no no as you can imagine!

      I’m *very* happy that participating in the writing event has steered you away from Facebook. :)))))) Although Facebook is a great tool to promote your book and I support you in that!

      I’ll definitely give your memoir a great review on Amazon soon – I’ve only had a chance to read a little because the past week has been difficult and I fall asleep right away during my reading time @ night, but what I’ve read so far is excellent and very moving/powerful. I also really love the pictures you’ve selected to use throughout the book. I’m a big believer in photos with memoirs, and I plan to do that too…..there’s no need for any apologies by the way. If you ever want to brainstorm marketing ideas, you might want to connect with my husband Craig Harwood – he’s at His book “Quest for Flight: John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West” (University of Oklahoma Press, co-written with Gary Fogel) has done well since it was published a couple years ago and won some awards. Craig has learned so much about marketing, etc. He has given a ton of book talks and has a very cool PowerPoint presentation. Many of his readers are on the older side, and he has some great stories about a few attendees who have fallen asleep during his talk! (He’s a compelling speaker and his presentation isn’t boring! 😉

      Sorry to ramble – as you now know, it’s my nature! 😉 I hope to see you on Dec. 5th at Bruno’s, but if that doesn’t happen (with 2 young girls prone to colds I never know whta to expect) I promise to stay in touch with you. Thanks for your lovely comment, and talk to you soon!! Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble, your new friend Dyane

  4. I have to agree with you on the Arnica gel and the new age music loops. I just got into that type of music and it is soothing while I sit here and write.

    • Hi Tessa!! I’m so happy you also are an arnica fan – I use both the pills and gel now and my pain is so much less! I’m thanking God for it and I just hope the arnica combo. continues to work…..I’m also glad you’re listening to the new age music as you write -I admire you for being proactive an exploring different positive elements that will support your writing!!! :)) Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, Dyane

      • Thank you, the Arnica gel worked better than the prescription gel I have. The new age music is soothing to my soul. I find water sounds especially soothing. I find them on , but never seem to find the ones I liked when I first heard them. Should have listed them or something. My reflexologist has them playing in the background and she has a waterfall.

      • Hey, Tessa, I’m so glad you know Dyane tooooo. Dyane, are your ears burning? You two are my favorite writer buddies so far.

      • Hey Dyane! haven’t seen you in a while. Don’t know if it is the reader since I miss a lot with this thing or you haven’t written lately.

      • Hi again Tessa! I post just once a week now – I used to post daily but I won’t be doing that again anytime soon! :0 Have a good Thanksgiving!!!!!! (((hugs))))

      • Hugs to you and enjoy your Thanksgiving. I miss a lot of posts with the reader, but that one was a silly medication boo boo LOL!

      • now I know it is time for bed…I took my pills and forgot we just talked. Forgive me for looking like a total idiot. I need to put my Arnica on my foot.

      • You are so silly – you’re not an idiot!!! I do the same kind of thing all the time, Tessa – that’s too funny about “needing to put arnica on your foot” – you didn’t put your foot in your mouth; you’re awesome! XOXO

  5. Nice update. Love the way the book is coming along. He he. Adipose tissue is the better term.😁 Fill that book up with adipocytes. Love me some loose connective tissue! Talk nerdy to me😉

    • “Adipocytes” – oh Jess, I love that!!! I shall continue to talk nerdy to you! Thanks for taking time to write – I know it has been super-rough lately, I owe everyone comments on their blogs – I’m hoping to catch up this vacation week! Sending you big hugs and I hope things are going better for you as I write this. XOXOX Dy

  6. Who’s that girl on the front page? Me finds her Super Sexy 🙂 Ok now lady, your noveramblings (something like that right?) fill me up with glee (how is that than chuckle?) hahaha andipose, and all those new/old words – I love music too and just wish my hearing wasn’t this so antidisposed 🙂 to listening to music without need of a head set and up up up volume. In sum, so much going on for you there: ONWARDS lady 🙂

  7. Thank you for these youtube links! I’m excited to try the focus music, and the anti-anxiety music for my dog! He is just as anxious as I am…poor baby.

    • You are so welcome! :))))

      Let me know if your sweet hound likes the anti-anxiety music!!!!! I know it’s kind of hard to tell….apart from the focus music, I listen to the anti-dog anxiety music too! I figure if its good enough for Lucy, it’s good enough for me! 😉 XO

  8. I love your dog! I had Georgie and Tessa they were my babies and I miss them so so much I can’t even think of getting another one and going through that emotional turmoil of losing them again!

    I admire all the writing you do that’s awesome!

    • Thanks so much for your sweet comment & for the follow. I completely understand how you feel about not wanting another furry babe – I honestly didn’t think I’d ever get a dog again after my two girls Tara & Shera died. Lucy came to us several years after Shera died at age 15; Tara had already died a few years before her. 😦

      To my shock, my husband brought up having a dog again last year (he seemed like he never wanted a dog again either!). Everything fell into place without my running the show as far as Miss Lucy was concerned. I got a big kick out of the fact that we share the same birthday: March 18th.

      You never know… may surprise you! I hope someday you have sweeties in your life again, just because you deserve that kind of love so much, but I don’t mean to pressure you either!!!!! The timing needs to feel right…. XOXO

      • I live in a different state than my kids and my daughter’s getting married next August and I have to go. She would be devastated if I didn’t make it. She already has the hall and her dress. She is so excited! I can’t have an animal until after this wedding. I don’t really know anyone in the area so I wouldn’t have anyone to watch him.

        I have been thinking about it though. I’ve decided to get a senior dog. I’m going to skip the house-training and chewing stages. I’m terrible at picking names so that will be in place.

        I’m never going to let myself fall for an animal like I did with Georgie. I can’t go through the emotional devastation again. A senior dog will keep a respectful distance. It won’t be like you have to care for his every need like you do a puppy. He’ll be settled and lazy. I live in a small apartment so I’m not sure of the size of the dog. It won’t matter if I get a big dog because he’ll be lazy enough that the size of the living quarters won’t matter. I really prefer bigger breeds but I can appreciate a smaller dog and they are cute. I don’t like that yapping all the time and I have neighbors to worry about. Georgie and Tessa were Pit Bulls. I don’t anticipate getting another one of those. I was thinking maybe a Lab.

      • I am a new friend of Dyane’s. I’ve decided that when our cats pass away, or if we have to put them to sleep, we are going to adopt a senior and a young cat. Senior cats, though rumored to be more set in their ways, and homeless for a good reason, can’t find compassionate homes. A younger cat instinctively knows how to navigate rough interfeline waters until the older cat comes around, that’s how it worked with the 2 year old momma cat that we first adopted from no kill shelter.

      • I’m more of a dog person. I can deal with walks but not a litter box.

        I’m definitely getting a shelter dog. Don’t shop adopt!

        That sounds like a good plan. I’m only going to get one dog. I’ve had two in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it but I live in a small apartment and I really am trying to keep my responsibilities and obligations limited.

        Nice to meet you 🙂

      • That’s truly awesome, Lady A! My kids want a cat (and I wouldn’t say no) but Lucy hates cats….sigh. Thx for your email & I’ll write back this weekend! It has been a nonstop day but now I’m housebound for a while. Hope you are good! XO

    • Thanks! It actually does seem to soothe her – I call it her “spiritual dog music”! It’s worth a try….I should give you the heads-up that there are a few of these anti-anxiety pet soundtracks that have weird, high-pitched sounds for about 20 seconds scattered here and there. I have no idea why! When we heard them, the girls and I said, “What the ????” Lucy didn’t seem to care, but if she hears a siren of any kind her barking goes off-the-charts!

  9. Just started following you a few weeks ago via Andrew. I too had postpartum depression and was diagnosed with BP1 and ADHD pretty much simultaneously. It’s so wonderful that I found your blog space!! I love the title of this post!! Perfect. And if I know I’m going to be gone and I’ll be back after dark I leave the light on for my dog May. Much love and can’t wait to see what else you got round here!!

    • I just started following *you*! Woo hoo! Thanks for this awesome comment; it made me happy to read it! I’m so sorry you suffered with PPD & got the BP1 & ADHD diagnoses – what a combo. from hell. I look forward to checking out your blog! I **knew** you must be cool as well as feisty as we are both Blahpolar fans, yes? I miss her posts this past week- I know she’s busy with her friend, but I get Blahwithdrawals…. 😉 Take care & I’ll be in touch, my new friend. XOXOXOX Dy or as that wacky Blahpolar calls me in honor of Stephen Fry, “Fryane” p.s. you’re a great dog mom – so many people aren’t thoughtful when it comes to doing just simple things like leaving lights on etc.

      • Thanks! Yeah talk about a triple whammy! Ah, our dear friend Blah ❤. I’ve not been on my much… Still reeling from grief and life. Oh so THAT’S where Fryane comes from😉
        My May dog had a small marble sized tumor removed today so that hasn’t added to the stress at all… 😑. And don’t get me started on the (guinea) pig…… lol

  10. Hey Dyane,

    Thank you for being such a good Twitter role model! Like you said we need to keep it all healthy right. I guess it is good to remember that it is not exactly like being out and socializing but in a way it is and those kinds of things can be too stimulating and triggering like you said.

    I have to say I love that Sass found you. Just reading through this comments made me so happy because it is so full of community and warmth.

    You have a good thing going here. As you know!

    and I came across this Green Gables quote and it spoke to me in a away and I thought of you ….

    “We pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self denial, anxiety and discouragement.”

    lots of love

  11. One comment on herb use: arnica should not be taken internally. I know they’ve developed pills with buffers, but there is NO evidence taking it internally will help in any manner whatsoever. Use it topically. And get it suspended in alcohol, not in a cream or gel. It will be much more effective.

    • Thank you so much for commenting – I didn’t know about the suspension issue and that’s awesome to know! :)))))))) As far as the pills go, I’ve noticed that my pain goes away when I use them. If I don’t use them, I have pain. This has gone on for years… do you think it might be the placebo response?

      • Possibly. More possibly it’s some side ingredient that’s working. If you’re in the states, finding the tincture suspension may be difficult. Hope you can get it, tho. I use it a LOT. A few drops at night and bruises go away, stiffness, etc. A remarkable natural healer!

  12. Arnica works well in gel form too. And you’re sounding good – are you? Well done for the book stuff, that’s huge progress. And love to Lucy.

    • Hi my lovely! It was so good to see your post the other day. As i mentioned there I was going into Blahpolar withdrawal! Yes, I use the arnica gel externally – no arnica smoothies for me! 😉

      Hope your time with your friend is going well.(not sure if it’s over?) I’m hanging in there – I used to love using that phrase, but now I just find it morbid – do you have a favorite one that expresses the same thing??

      Sending you a big hug and several hugs to S. too!!!!! XOXOOXO

  13. Hello Dyane, I wanted to let you know I love your posts! They are so detailed, like short stories really. You are an amazing writer and funny and so in command of what you say! Love the picture of Lill Lucy chillin’. And Dr. Al Suwaihidin is beyond cute Hahaha. Happy thanksgiving to you and your lovely family. 😘😘😘😘

    • This was such a beautiful comment to wake up to today, Samina!!!!
      Thank you!!!

      Your compliments have truly made my morning wonderful and I’m super-grateful for them & for you!!
      I think Dr. Alsuwaidan is a bit relieved that I live very far away from him! 😉 Hee hee! No, I’m just kidding – he knows that I’m simply a champion of his work, and the fact that he’s not hard on the eyes is icing on the cake. I figure if his picture attracts more readers to his important, groundbreaking research, why not share the joy, yes? 😉

      I wish you Happy Thanksgiving and your amazing family!
      ❤️🍗 (Not sure if you’re vegetarian…..if you are then: 🍞 (I was looking for pie but all I found was bread ha ha ha!!!)

      • You are hilarious! Yes to my compliments, one thing I forgot to say is that you are so comfortable writing your posts, you live in them and make them FUN 😘 And yes to Dr. A’s eye candyness, can you ice cake with candy? Haha I’m sure he’s a little upset you’re not closer 😘 I’m a free rangeatarian but bread is good! Happy Holidays funny girl! 💕💕💕💕

  14. So good to read this, Dyane. Natalie Goldberg is one of my favorites and I love her book “Writing Down the Bones” and also her “Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life.”

    Condolences on the loss of your brother-in-law. May memories be comforting.

    Just a short note this time to wish you and your family a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving. We’ll be celebrating tomorrow, as B’s new job in retail sales demands he work on Turkey Day.

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