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Sunday, July 31, 2011

For this I am thankful: guest blogging & playground trips, to start!

Both my sisters are pregnant. This isn’t news, given that they’ve got virtually one full pregnancy between them now. What’s news here is that my first guest post ever (a) was prompted by reflections on my sisters’ impending maternity and (b) goes up at Cookie’s Chronicles early Tuesday morning.

I’d like to say I’m not checking the clock every three minutes and wondering, “Are we there yet?” Icould say it, too, if I knew it wouldn’t be an outright lie.

You see, sometimes I post things like Dead Moms Can’t Care and wonder, “What if this is the only TMiYC entry someone ever reads? What if they don’t see the giggly side of me, too?” Then other times I post things like Boba the instigator, Pooh the folk singer & Chris the contestant and fret, “What if this is the only TMiYC entry someone ever reads? What if they don’t see my introspective side, too?” (My life is clearly full of very grave concerns these days!)

My guest blog entry, “Mother, Child, Mother,” merges the two in a way that feels like it’s actually reflecting my entire soul. In one place. So I’m excited for that.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011


Occasionally I get to thinking about my old “Public Journal,” which I started in 1995 with the following words:

23 June, 1995
My, doesn’t she aspire to a lot! She aspires to be Bobby’s girl,
and that’s all that’s important to her!

I laugh at my younger self for how she told her extended family not, under any circumstances, to ever, ever read her online journal . . . and then expected them to comply! I remain tickled at how that younger me removed her online journals after indignantly Really Letting People Know they just as really needed to be better about minding their own business.

Oh, younger Deb, have I told you how cute you were?

Did I say "cute"? I meant "scary." In the hair department. September '01

Today I found myself wondering, “What was I doing this day a decade ago?” I didn’t find anything for July 29, but I found something even better. Only a few weeks more than a decade ago, I shared the following about being new to and broke in Los Angeles:

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boba the instigator, Pooh the folk singer & Chris the contestant

1. Boba the instigator

I left SDCC 2011 with very few new material possessions, most of which are pictured below and allof which are awesome. Boba was not acquired at the con, but he’s also awesome–apart, that is, from his penchant for instigating!

"KIDS! Do not make me lay down the smack! Boba, don't think I see you back there. Always with the instigating . . ."

Boba here is pretty much me as a kid: “No way, Mom. I had nothing to do with any of this. At all. I was just walking by when Rache–yeah, that’s it! Rache! She was telling the kids the winner got free ice cream.”

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dead Moms Can't Care

Nearly twenty years ago, I awakened screaming in pain in the middle of the night.

I was the stoic one. Bust my head doing flips off the bed? Greet it with a grimace. Fall from a stand off my moving bike? Greet it with a grimace. What good would crying do me anyway?

It was my customary stoicism that made my mom anxious. It made her so anxious, in fact, that she decided to take me to the hospital. She did this despite the fact her deadbeat ex-husband as seldom paid child support as medical bills.

A trip to the emergency room? That would put her out months of garage sale money, which was frequently all the money she had to get by.

During uninsured periods, my mom grappled with the same horrific decision every time one of her children got sick: a trip to the hospital and even worse financial instability than she already faced daily (including potential loss of home) or riding it out at home and risking—if worse came to worst—the loss of a child.

Of course, it’s not only a child’s own health care that determines her personal well being.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The high highs and low lows of my Comic Con 2011

Tiny Superman leads the way to SDCC!

JULY 21, 2011

In the sky. Like a boss.

I proclaimed myself done with Comic Con 2011 before I’d even picked up my badge.

Navigating the madness sans stroller is difficult enough for a space- and speed-loving introvert. With stroller? Such a person is apt to curse the darkness of the human spirit and wonder why she ever believed the best of people.

Still smarting from close encounters of the stroller kind, I was in grumbly mode as my friend Elsha, my son and I (st)rolled up to our first intended panel of the day: Oh, You Sexy Geek. In better circumstances, I might have stayed for the panel. As it was, I eyed the short line warily, prompting Elsha to say, “If you’re really not into being here, we can just go check out Hugh.”

“Oh, yes, let’s!” I told her, though the words might have accidentally come out sounding like: “Get me the f$%@ out of here!”

Once removed to the fresh air, the world felt full of wonder again. As I mentioned here, most of my Hugh Jackman/Real Steel encounter actually ended up being shark-and-Slurpee time. I was happy to be experiencing something so very Comic Con sans the oppressive crowds and artificial lighting of the convention center.

Those guys inside? They didn’t get to see police officers riding the shark. Of course, the upside of this is that they didn’t see me riding the shark, either:


While many men would gladly have swapped places with Li’l D, my son was disappointed that hisshark encounter involved a motionless shark.

Workin' the mojo. Shark mojo, that is.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


goodbye family / zombies don't pose for too long / oh look she's--agh, brainssssss!

last july, my son
found comic con snoozeworthy
while i played ripley

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Closet Monster & the Seven(ish) Posts

Like Surrey gal, I'm reluctant to act on being "tagged" in others' blog entries. But when I'm tagged as I was below, how could I resist the challenge?

4. The monster in your closet because I’m spiteful and she wrote sooo many interesting posts and I know it will be a very difficult task for her


1. Most beautiful post


I've written many posts that have beautiful components, but one entry in particular marked the transition between my speaking in generalities and opening myself to both the pain and beauty of sharing the details: “The love inside, you take it with you.”

2. Most popular post

One of my entries (see #5 below) was Freshly Pressed, which gave it an unfair advantage over the others! Six hands for lifting: on my mom, mental illness, fear & hope has double the hits of my not-unfairly-advantaged, next-most-popular post.

3. Most controversial post

My sixteen-year-old self was happy to blog about anything and everything that crossed her mind. Because this blog is as much an "author blog" as a personal blog, I steer clear of individual issues that would detract from the heart of TMiYC, which is believing--and reflecting--that there's hope no matter how dark things have been or look now. I did get some heated responses (not all of which were in comment) to my reflections on why I didn't bother finishing the second book of The Hunger Games: Waitress, I’d like to return my Katniss and get a Sophia instead.

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Monday, July 18, 2011


I wouldn't be in such a hurry to plow through this to-do list!

A few days ago, I was approached by Sue about writing an August guest entry for her blog. After exchanging a few emails narrowing down the topic, I had the entry to her within three days of first approach.

Some hours later, I breathed a sigh of relief to tweet the following: Submitted my first guest blog today! Pleased to have it deemed “beautiful” instead of “an affront to my eyeballs” by @SJM_CookiesMom #myWANA

The timeline of this guest entry gave me an opportunity to reflect on my experiences as a mostly retired procrastinator.

It all began to change some twenty-score and seven years ago. (Shh, don’t interrupt me with details like the fact I’m only 32!)

I was a young whippersnapper on the verge of graduating college when I handed Professor F my term paper, which he puzzled over for several seconds.

“It’s my term paper,” I explained helpfully.

“It’s not due for another three weeks, Deborah.”

“I did ask if I could turn it in early.”

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Maybe they are just going home

Try as I might to remember, I forget most my night dreams.

By contrast, one night dream I wished to forget clung to me for many years before I finally accepted its memory will be a constant companion throughout my life.

I am sitting in a doctor’s office with my sister Rache. She holds my hand as her elderly doctor informs her she’s not only sick with cancer, but that it is so invasive and malignant within her body that she has at most three days to live. Rache seems resigned; she simply pats my hand while I weep.

I’m suddenly by myself outside a large church. I gaze up at it and think, “How could you, G-d? How could you?” I walk inside the empty church and see that, though no lights are on, it’s full of sunlight filtered through stained glass windows. The church’s paneling is dark, so the light mostly emphasizes the nostalgic darkness of its interior.

Without being aware of having moved, I’m in the center pulpit of the church. I fall to my knees, look skyward and try to see the beauty of the panes above me. Instead, I see only beauty which my sister will soon never be able to see again.

I scream. I scream, and scream, and scream, until my voice is lost and I can scream no more, and the ground around me is drenched with my tears.

I heard that same scream this afternoon.

I was enjoying the outdoor seating of my favorite cafe, basking in the goodness of having written 840 words in my WIP after a writingless week, when heartwrenching cries filled the air. My own heart plummeted to my feet as I thought, I know that sound. While I didn’t know its exact source, I knew it almost certainly had to do with the hospice next door.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Giveaway winners

Thank you to everyone who entered and spread the word about this giveaway! I truly wish I’d had the money to send of a copy of Stop Pretending to everyone who wanted one instead of limiting it to three copies.

As for those three copies? A copy apiece will be making its way to the following contest winners selected by

  1. 25
  2. 12
  3. 29

Some entrants might want to see the names correlated with these numbers*, so I guess I can include those too:

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

So You Think Unicorns & Magic Can Dance

I live in Los Angeles. I do. I share an apartment and a child with someone who was on reality TV and now works in show biz. I did extra work throughout law school, and hope to do a bit more in the years to come.

These L.A. things are pieces of the life I live, but neither representative nor particularly reflective of the remainder. It’s for this reason I was initially reluctant to mention my family’s weekend adventures with Around the World for Free, or to document tonight’s also biz-related amusement.

Buddies in wait for SYTYCD

This entry wasn’t supposed to happen. Imeant to just go to tonight’s So You Think You Can Dance taping and enjoy a little off-the-grid time with my girlfriends Elizabeth and Elsha.

Do you suppose said girlfriends made this easy by being dull and quiet? Of course they didn’t.

I did my best to take in their banter without taking literal note of it, but knew an entry would be forthcoming the moment the following exchange concluded.

Elizabeth: What are they wearing?!
Elsha (immediately): Magic. Unicorns!

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Glimpses of my family on :)

Reminder: Don’t forget to enter my two-book giveaway before Friday!

As you know if you read the comments on my Friday evening entry (Around the World for Free. On my couch), I was anxious after the fact about having participated in the web-based CBS show "Around the World For Free." While I post a fair deal about my life on TMiYC, I also have full content and editorial control here.

The video including Parvati's visit with my family has been posted. I'm pleased to report it includes just enough me to show I was there for the adventure and little more. In other words, there's not nearly enough of me for me to wish a unicorn would now whisk me away to live out my days in a rainbow! Since I can't imagine rainbows being source to good, bitter-as-I-please IPA, I'm pleased with this outcome.

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Two vampires and a merman walk into a bar . . .

Reminder: Don't forget to enter my two-book giveaway before Friday!

Hope and all things hope-like, I will make you suffer!

Once upon a time, which for the more literal-minded among you might look like March 7, 2011, yours truly reported she’d be releasing the second book in The Glass Ball trilogy (begun by The Monster’s Daughter) in September 2011. The third book in the trilogy would follow by roughly six months.

Oh, March 7 Deb, you’re so cute!

When I posted these deadlines, I encouraged y’all to “Remind me I am merely editing already written books, for which six months apiece was probably a lot on the excessive side.” I didn’t (a) bother mentioning that I’d begun writing another book or (b) anticipate I’d finish my first edit of TMD 2 and realize I really didn’t want to wield my pen like a pitchfork just because I could.

I took the month of June off writing. I was driving myself crazy with blogging-related endeavors, so that I felt I needed a total reset before diving into non-blogging projects with energy and a fresh perspective. I considered my works in progress occasionally during that month, deciding I’d nose-down and plow my way through:

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Who doesn’t love free books? Stop Pretending+1 giveaway

giveaway: preface

One month ago today, I posted the hardest thing I’ve yet written: Six hands for lifting: on my mom, mental illness, fear & hope. In the wake of posting about my experiences with my mom’s mental illness, I was stunned by the outpouring of support and like stories. In addition to the peace of having confronted my grief head-on, I was then greeted with thousands of other blessings in the form of your words.

The message in this is simple. I’m not alone. You’re not alone. The more we share our experiences, our hope, and our love, the brighter the world will be for those who continue to suffer the many hardships correlated with mental illness.

“Six hands for lifting” was prompted by the beautiful, heartfelt book Stop Pretending. It’s my wish this book will eventually land on each of your bookshelves, so that you may share it with others who will be touched by its accessible truths . . . and perhaps be compelled to find their way to healing, and help, in other forms.

giveaway: details

On July 15, 2011, I’ll give away two paperback books apiece to three winners. The first book of each set will be a copy of Sonya Sones’s Stop Pretending. The second book will be of each winner’s choice, with the caveats that each must be both available on Amazon and cost $20 or less. (I’d love to hook you up with autographed, out-of-print first editions of your favorite book, but I’d also love to help my son with college someday!)

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mourning Has Broken

Jumping between my three favored radio stations a few mornings ago, I landed on some DJs discussing poker. One of the DJs said, “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.” Discussion was abruptly replaced by a clip of Kenny Rogers’s “The Gambler,” which propelled me back in time seventeen months.

My siblings and I stood over my mom’s freshly filled grave in silence, having whispered our farewells. I suggested we should sing something in farewell since Mom had always loved music. What better way to convey her music would always fill our hearts?

What do you sing in farewell to the person who physically housed you for your first nine months, then made it her purpose to shelter you as best she could once she could no long provide total protection? How do you choose such a song? In our case, my siblings and I murmured and cast aside suggestions until I proposed “The Gambler,” one of Mom’s favorites. The beauty of that song, to me, is that it’s also woven through many memories not involving my mom. It thus served as a perfect reminder of (a) happy moments singing the song with her, (b) times where I was mocked by the friends who’d later come to sing along to Kenny Rogers with me and (c) the fact that all these experiences, memories and hopes are both bound together and bound to continue in different forms as long as we keep singing old songs together with the new ones.

Together, my siblings, Nathan and I sang “The Gambler.” When we’d finished, we kissed our hands, touched our fingers to Mom’s grave, and walked against the cold wind back to our cars.

“The Gambler” is also one of the songs my sisters and I put onto two discs that comprised Mom’s memorial soundtrack. No matter how rough Mom’s life got, she found a few minutes of getaway in her favorite songs.

On our shared birthday, I got to hear one of my mom's favorite singers. Photo by Dana S.

Sure, sometimes she drove us batty listening to the same song over and over for days, but most the time she’d listen to the radio and turn it up for her favorites. Simon & Garfunkel, Tracy Chapman, Cat Stevens (pictured to the right, for reasons recounted here) and Harry Chapin all played a part in bringing back happy memories with Mom as we recalled her at her memorial, where we tried to remember her with primarily love instead of sorrow in our hearts.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer hiatus & zombie snacks


Just two days ago, Ba.D.’s sitcom went on hiatus for the summer.

Then, yesterday, the indie film he was working on wrapped.

What’s that you say? There’s no way an entire feature film shot in a day?

OK, so maybe it’s been eight weeks and three weeks, respectively. But it feels like it’s only been a couple of days! That counts for something, right?

FYI, zombies: if you attempt to snack on this baby, I will sever the hell out of your brain stem

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This coming Friday, I'll be posting a contest in which three winners will each take home a two-book set. The first book will be Sonya Sones's Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy. The second? Well, that'll be more open! Stay tuned for Friday's entry.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beware the baby-snatching pirate!

This has been a weekend full of good things, but this afternoon was especially delightful. Ba.D., Li’l D and I headed over to the Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier. There we were soon met by our friend Em and her mom, who saw Li’l D for the first time since she and her team of student nurses helped usher him into the world 21 months ago. ♥

Come any closer and I'll loose 'im to the sharks!

All told, we were probably only there for an hour. But what an hour it was! Not only did I get to remember the joy of the evening I met Li’l D, but I was awash in memories of visiting the very same pier–accompanied by my old law school roommate and her husband–my first evening back in Los Angeles three years ago.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Question Friday (scheduled post fail #3 for the week!)

5. Would the people you went to high school with be surprised by your life today?
I think, for the most part, they’d be surprised to learn they went to school with a “Deborah Bryan” at all! Those that might remember me, such as the girls who sometimes laughed at my Mickey D’s outfit and prodded me to ask them, “Do you want fries with that?”, might be surprised to read my bio. They might see that the fact I worked at Mickey D’s wasn’t a sample of my life to come so much as a reflection of how I was already striving toward a future in which I saw fulfilled my dreams for a better life.

I kept this so someday I'd remember just how far I'd come