Ready for My Close-Up…Not!

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Neanderthal Dyane 

(Painted by my beloved father, the violinist Richard Leshin, 1927-2009)

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Here I am, looking slightly less like a member of the Homo neanderthalensis species

(Thanks to Crystal Crafton of rap.ture photography)

 

I hate having my picture taken. 

I posed for pics at my wedding only because I drank two bottles of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque champagne. Ever since that day, I don’t advise any gal to hit the booze a few hours before she gets married. Please allow me to explain…

Our wedding took place six years before my postpartum bipolar diagnosis. However, because of my alcoholic brunch, not eating, and not sleeping the night before our ceremony, I became hypomanic as Craig slipped the wedding ring on my finger. Ugh. Luckily I was able to get a full night’s sleep the following night, and the hypomania quickly subsided.

In keeping with the tradition of this blog, I digress.

Some of you know I turned in my manuscript on October 1st. Until the editing phase begins, there are other tasks to do, such as scheduling a headshot. 

Craig volunteered to take my picture, but I declined because this snob  wanted a professional. I know it’s possible for amateur photographers to take great headshots. One example is the shot my friend, the bestselling author Dan White (Under The Stars, The Cactus Eaters), took of his wife Amy Ettinger, also an author. Check out Amy’s beautiful headshot and what her upcoming book is about, that lucky gal!

Through a friend in my local Facebook group, I was referred to a reasonably priced photographer named Crystal Crafton and I booked her. I refrained from telling Crystal about my aversion to being photographed until we met, for I didn’t want to scare her off! We got together on Tuesday, and I immediately felt at ease with her.

The weather was sunny and clear, so I suggested we shoot at the beautiful Highlands Park across the street. As Crystal snapped away, I gritted my teeth while I emitted the sound the character Mini-Me makes in the Austin Powers movies. The intrepid Crystal had photographed far more challenging  situations, so my freaky noises didn’t faze her.

I was very happy with Crystal’s work! It’s a basic headshot – there’s nothing fancy about it, but I could always use these jazzed-up versions for publicity purposes.

Like this one, which I like to call the “Juice Newton”:

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“Just call me angel of the morning, angel!”

I couldn’t resist adding a link to Juice’s video. It has gotten almost 15 million views. (If you watch it, let me know if you think that’s all her real hair!)

Then there’s “The Bellah”:wp-1476983506051.jpg

“Bellah!” is a nonsensical word my high school BFF and I made up. We used to yell it out in the middle of Ms. Shirley’s 10th-grade math class to shake things up.

Option No. Three: “My True Self”:

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“Oh yes, I’m a Princess at heart, and you will wait on me hand and foot!”

When it comes to my book, I think about it often and I freak myself out with the dreaded “What If’s.”

What if they cancel my contract?

What if I relapse?

What if someone I love dies over the next year? 

I think my subconscious was trying to get me to lighten up the other night. I had a vivid nightmare in which my editor wrote me an icy email that said, “Your book will need a lot of work! We’re going to need plenty of time! Plus, we’re going to change the title to BRAIN HAMMER.”

I loathe the title BRAIN HAMMER! I love my title. I found BRAIN HAMMER pretty funny, and it felt good to laugh about it. But if it turns out I’m psychic, and my nightmare comes true, well, I’ll find other means to get my story out into the world. I’ll keep you posted! 

Quick 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 shed pounds. Thanks, in part, to Lose It!, I lost 40 lbs. Hopefully none of those pounds were taken from my hammer brain. It helps me to stick to Lose It! so I don’t yo-yo. Bradley and Marie’s encouragement helps me to no end. You can sign up for free at www.loseit.com – to join our group, search for the Wondrous Writers group at the website.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your wonderful comments & support, and I’ll see you next week, my friends.

Love,
Dyane 

p.s. Please don’t get mad at me if you listen to Angel of the Morning and it stays in your noggin waaaaay longer than you’d like!

 Facebook Birth of a New Brain Book Page – please visit & like it!

My new Twitter handle: @DyaneHarwood 

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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A Dose of Summer Fun After Bullsh*t-Induced Bingeing

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Avi and I chillin’ on the outdoor patio at Pono Hawaiian Grill

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The large patio was the perfect place to relax while Avi & Rilla enjoyed Da Lanikai Poke Stack. It has sashimi-grade ahi tuna, avocado, seaweed salad & more from “da poke bar”

Thanks and Mahalo to those of you who read my last novella post!

Special thanks to everyone who offered helpful insights. I’m extremely grateful for your support, wisdom, and humor.

I binged last Thursday and Friday night because I held my anger in for too many days in a row. I waited a week without expressing my rage until meeting with my counselor. (Um, that was not the greatest coping method!)

Before last Thursday, I had been binge-free during the past four months; it was a personal record, and one that was deeply meaningful.

After literally working my derrière off to lose 35 pounds, I was relieved I stopped bingeing after the second evening. I even told my family I binged – that was a first. (Previously, I was secretive about my compulsive overeating.) They encouraged me to go easy on myself, which I’ve tried my best to do since then.

What has helped my mood immensely is keeping busy and having fun with my two girls. 

I’ve been making up for all the summers I was unable to do a thing because my hospitalizations for bipolar depression. Those agonizing separations from my little ones will always haunt me. So you can understand how I can’t begin to explain how good it feels to get out and spend time with my daughters despite my social anxiety/generalized anxiety. (These natural lozenges help me when I’m really freaking out!)

I took Avi and her friend to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk while Rilla was petting snakes and tarantulas at Science Camp. (!) If you glance at these shots I took on their monitor (sorry for the blur), you’ll see that the girls had a bit more fun than I did on the Boardwalk’s famed, ninety-two-year old wooden rollercoaster, The Giant Dipper.

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What was more my style was driving an hour to gorgeous Pacific Grove to meet one of my best friends. (She plays a memorable role in my upcoming memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder.) 

Just before we arrived at the beach, I drove by Monterey Bay Urgent Care. That was where I used to go for my required physicals so I could receive my ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). As the great 80’s band Naked Eyes sang, there’s always something there to remind me!

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We caught up on life while the girls enjoyed all the beach had to offer…

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 Rilla was only a few feet away from a harbor seal!

Yesterday we strolled around Santa Cruz’s outdoor Pacific Garden Mall which is full of tourists, college students, yuppies, street performers, and sadly, many homeless people. We visited the indie Bookshop Santa Cruz to pick up our Harry Potter Festival tickets. (Yes.)

This “Staff Pick” display cracked me up!

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Bookshop Santa Cruz holds many positive memories for me. I’ve been visiting it since I moved here to attend college in 1989. Yesterday I watched their staff set up chairs for Julie Barton, the evening’s featured author. She was there to promote her bestselling memoir about her depression experience: Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself. (Yes, I’m jealous of her!)

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This topic has been covered years ago by BP (Bipolar) Magazine blogger Bruce Goldstein in his book Puppy Chow Is Better Than Prozac: The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life.

Sometimes I wonder if my book’s cover should have a big picture of my photogenic Scotch collie Lucy – who cares if she’s not central to the theme – it would sell a helluva lot more copies than if it had my visage on it! 😉 A SocialMediaToday article, “Put A Dog On It”, proves my point! 

Julie Barton’s book cover reminded me of a book I bought last year at the Catamaran Writing Conference titled The Wrong Dog Dream. I heard an acclaimed author/writing instructor speak named Jane Vandenburgh – she was incredible. Check out her book cover:

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Recently our most famous local author Jonathan Franzen spoke at Bookshop Santa Cruz about his latest book Purity. (He does not have nor needs a dog on the cover – he wrote a little book you may have heard of called The Corrections.)

Franzen’s longtime partner Kathryn Chetkovich was my college writing teacher, and get this – she actually liked my writing when I was nineteen and didn’t think I could ever write professionally! Chetkovich wrote Envy, a famous essay for Granta Magazine about how she reacted to her partner’s skyrocketing writerly fame – you should read it.

Now I wish I kept in touch with her. I admit I’m shameless when it comes to finding those who could help promote my book! Oh well.

I’ve seen quite a few amazing authors speak at Bookshop Santa Cruz over the decades. Who knows, maybe one day their picky staff will allow me to speak about my book. (I’ll bribe ’em!)

Apart from browsing bookstores, screaming on rollercoasters, and soaking up the sun at the beach, I have two items for the “Miracle of Miracles” category.

I took the girls roller skating (let me tell you….that’s a workout!)

The little, out-of-control skater kids who raced past me were the epitome of scary! And speaking of scary, I cleaned our decrepit fridge. (And no, I wasn’t manic. I was groggy as hell, LOL! I’m groggy every day!)

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It’s no lie! Hopefully it’ll stay clean for longer than two weeks!

Today I’m taking the girls to see a matinee (Ice Age: Collision Course in 3D – yikes! But they’re begging me to see it – I can’t resist their soft, little hugs – I’m a sucker!)

I also plan to catch up on your blogs and your comments sometime today and over the weekend – hurrah! Now you know why I haven’t had time to do much besides gallivant about town.

Sending you my love, & see you next week!

Dyane

I want to send a special shout-out to Bradley of the terrific blog Insights From a Bipolar Bear. We’ve been encouraging each other in our free online Lose It! group as we work on our weight loss/exercise goals. If you’re interested in joining us, mention it in the comments and I’ll send you an invite.

Thank you Bradley!!!

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