Category Archives: Adventures of a Domestic Goddess

The Secret Garage

Not as catchy as “The Secret Garden,” is it? Sunday morning I was having a very exciting dream full of intrigue and graphic violence and thrown soup packets. In the dream, the Beer Guy revealed that he had a secret garage under our house where he kept his collection of extremely expensive cars. He let me drive that one that was worth $7 million. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

This car, the most expensive in the world, is $4.8 million because it’s literally covered in diamonds.

That wasn’t even the most exciting thing that happened this weekend!

I chainsawed! We had a few branches break this winter and spring due to ice and wind, and I took the chainsaw out there and cut those branches down. And then, I cut down a few more. And a couple more. And then I chainsawed all the branches into manageable chunks of branch.

It was kind of amazingly fun! I want to chainsaw all the things!

Dramatic representation of me chainsawing.

Alvie and I also planted some garden stuff. We planted blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus in the permanent garden spaces. Then I gave him some seeds and pointed him towards one of the garden boxes we’ll probably take out after this year. Bean planted sunflowers (his favorite), peas, pumpkins, and watermelons, and then we did carrots and beets in another space. All that’s left is the peppers and tomatoes.

I also taught Alvie how to clean a bathroom (it’s going to take a lot of practice…) and we baked an apple rhubarb pie (which was delicious).

We did a “fancy” crust with moons & mini-bats. 🙂


The Bean had a pretty good weekend. I always enjoy our weekends together.* You know what’s weird, though? He just keeps growing! He is such an affectionate kid and loves to crawl into my lap, but he barely fits anymore. All of the HYUGE clothes he got for his birthday fit almost perfectly (I was hoping they’d be too big so he could grow into them).

There’s not a lot of room to grow in these pjs.

He’s pretty pleased that he’s “almost as tall” as me, even though it’s been pointed out that I’m not any kind of Amazon. But his feet! His feet are so big.

His new shoes that are about a half size too big and my feet. The only thing keeping me from cramming my foot into his shoe is that kid shoes are narrower than my (still pretty damn narrow) adult foot.

The time that he’ll fit into my lap and that I’ll be able to pick him up and carry him is definitely limited. I’m doing my best to treasure these moments (although his desire to be held and his ability to hold still are at odds with each other, which makes treasuring the snuggles very difficult) which I can still hold him and he still wants to be held.

So for now, we’ll have moments like this, where he looks at me like that while we’re showing off our crazy pizza.

This pizza, although over-topped, turned out to be amazing.



*always is such a fun term when dealing with a five-year-old who never. stops. talking. ever. EVER.

Three Things Thursday: Bits & Pieces

  1. I walked into a spider web while leaving the house this morning. It’s finally (FINALLY!) sunny and warm in Portland and the local arachnids are taking advantage of that by being gigantic and trying to catch humans before they’ve had too much coffee. I sincerely hope the man walking his dog enjoyed the dance I did.


  1. Someone stole a package off our front porch last night. A neighbor reported that a van with Washington plates stopped, someone got out & ran up to the front door, stole my Amazon package, and left a bag of garbage in its place. First of all, why leave a bag of garbage in its place? That’s ridiculous. You’re already being a thieving douchebag by stealing, do you have to compound your douchery? Really? Secondly, have fun with my lactaid and make-up application sponges.


  1. You know what the biggest problem with me being not at home eleven hours/day is? I’m really seeing the effects of not taking my five-minute breaks to do household chores. BREAK! Empty the dishwasher. BREAK! Switch the laundry. BREAK! Scrub the toilet. Unfortunately, we have not stopped eating (thereby dirtying the dishes) or wearing clothes (still have laundry!). This, even more than the lack of commitment my body has to getting up early to write, is irritating me.

I googled “filthy kitchen” so I could be melodramatic about the state of my kitchen, and after I came back out from under my desk, I decided to google “spotless kitchen” instead. YOU’RE WELCOME.


This weekend, I will be introducing my son to “bathroom cleaning” techniques. His reward for learning how to effectively clean up after himself? I’m gonna let him help me plant the garden. (He’s a well-known plant tickler…it’s gonna be great.)

Alvie from 2 years ago watering the plants after giving them a good tickle.

Monday Miscellany

So much stuff stirring around in my brain right now. SO MUCH. That means bullet points for you!

  • Every time I start to exercise regularly–and I mean every fucking time–I get sick. I have head congestion and a runny nose, which makes it impossible to run because I like to breathe. Breathing while running is hard enough when I feel great. JFC, universe!! Do you want me to be fat and lazy? Because that would be easier for me, and if that’s what my destiny is, I can go ahead and give in.
  • I’m going to do some gentle, non-inversiony yoga today. The purpose is to remind my muscles that we do like to move a bit and keep the habit of carving time out of my day to exercise.
  • BUT SERIOUSLY! WTF??? This is monumentally unfair.
  • Other important things: I desperately need a job. If you want to pay me money, let me know. I’ll do anything! (Although, I’d prefer to edit or write or proofread. I’ve done a little bit of those things freelance, and would enjoy doing more.) However, if you need someone to do the weird stuff, I can do that, too.

  • After finishing up the edits (and cutting 25,000 words) on The Waning Moon, I decided to reward myself with a little gaming. I’m not much of a gamer (anymore), but there are a few things I like. It’d been a while since I’d played on my PC (I don’t even use the PC for anything–it just sits around getting dusty and storing old photos of the Bean), and it was a PITA to get everything set up. BUT, finally Saturday evening post Bean bedtime, I was in and playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ve killed some stuff, which is a nice break from writing all day where I also have been killing.

  • The Bean and I have been making bread every weekend he’s here. He’s becoming such a great helper (and I’m almost sincere about that now!) and really enjoys kitchen stuff.


  • He’ll be five in less than two weeks, and I’m not sure I’m ready. It’s fun watching him grow up and become his own person, but he’s almost too big for me to pick up (I need him to ‘jump’ when I pick him up), and carry, and hold–although we do our best. He’s been extra cuddly lately, and I’m taking advantage of that as much as possible. I know there will come a day when he doesn’t want me to hold him anymore.

  • This week’s focus is getting the crap stuff having to do with The Waning Moon done–synopsis and blurb. It took 130,000 words to tell the story originally–how am I expected to break that down to a couple pages, much less a couple paragraphs? Once I talk about coffee and tacos, I’m out of space!
  • The first newsletter went out last week with an exclusive peek at one of my favorite amusing bits from The Waning Moon, as well as the first chapter of Raj’s story. Sign up now to learn more about our favorite vampire!
  • If you’ve read The Cardinal Gate and are so inclined, I’d be delighted and grateful if you’d review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Of course, if you haven’t read The Cardinal Gate, I’d be even more delighted and grateful if you did! (It’s available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and Kindle Unlimited.)


That’s about enough miscellany for today. Have a great week!


Manic Monday

My entire Monday routine is off today. Between the time change (which I’m hoping was responsible for my small child’s sudden, but hopefully not permanent, transformation into a feral velociraptor) and the fact that instead of having my groceries brought to me, I went to the grocery store like a commoner, everything is off.

It’s almost 11 am, I didn’t breakfast (I usually eat after dropping the child off at daycare), and I haven’t done anything work-like yet.

Except grocery-shopped. And we legit menu planned last night! I wrote down plans for a whole week, made a grocery list, bought all the things on said list, and am really excited that a good 1/3 of the plans include recipes from my #bebetterbookchallenge cookbook.

There is a section on “marine mammals” and a recipe for reindeer blood pancakes. Since The Beer Guy refuses to let me start a reindeer herd in our back yard, and I couldn’t find reindeer blood at New Seasons, we’re stuck with pork and banana curry, abelskivers (finally get to use my new abelskiver making pan!), and Icelandic meat soup. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The weekend was pleasantly busy. It was the first weekend I had the Bean since before my birthday, and we did a lot of lego-ing. He’s also turning into quite the helper. We made bread yesterday, and he helped me mix all the ingredients and shape the loaves. He also made waffles Saturday morning, and helped us do more work in our office space (the last hold out for organization). (You guys, cohabitation is amazing, but getting two adults’ worth of stuff into one house that already contained an adult is challenging.)

Here he is helping by wearing every single one of my race medals – back when I used to actually fucking run.

The best part of the whole weekend may have been Friday night, though. When we got home, Alvie Bean told me he needed to write a letter to Frank the Leprechaun. We don’t do Santa, nor the Easter Bunny, and although the Toothy Fairy hasn’t come up, that’s likely no. We also don’t do religion, and when he asked me who Jesus was, I may have explained Jesus by referring to our book on Thor (and other mythology).

So Frank the Leprechaun kinda threw me for a loop. But I went ahead and helped him with that letter.

He can’t read, but he knows all his letters, so he’d tell me what he wanted to say and I spelled every word for him.

Fun fact: the Bean writes from bottom to top.

Funner fact: when he asked me how to spell “goodies” and I spelled it for him, he said, “Oh, wonderful! I am so good at writing seven-letter words.”

It reads (from bottom-to-top):

“I didn’t know you had a chimney. Your house is a mess. Thank you for making goodies with me.”

After I snapped the picture, he added “To Frank. From Alvie.”

(Turns out Frank is a leprechaun who lives in a tiny house at Alvie’s daycare and the kids write him letters, and if they’re good listeners, Frank gives them goodies. This Santa-model of behavior modification isn’t the way I’d go, but whatever. He wrote a letter to a leprechaun. There’s only so much I can rail against.)

At least we’re not here. Yet.


So, here we are, now at 11:30 on Monday. I’ve gotten groceries, removed all trail running obstacles from my car. Done a little more office organization. Taken out the compost, recycling, and garbage. Had more coffee than usual. And written a blog post. (Also, applied for two jobs and filed my unemployment claim for the week.)

I have seven days to finish my reader-ready draft of The Waning Moon. I am on chapter four. There are twenty-three chapters and an epilogue. Send wine. And an internet outage.


PS – If you’re interested in what’s going through my head while I’m working on The Waning Moon, you can follow my Pinterest board.

PPS – The first issue of the Amy Cissell newsletter will be coming out next week! Sign up now!



40 Before 40 – Final Progress Report

I will be forty in 23 days. TWENTY-THREE. DAYS.

There are days that I feel old, but most of the time I have trouble reconciling the number forty with how I feel.

The last thirteen months have been some of the hardest of my life. Between separation, divorce, job loss, and no job found…it’s been stressful to say the least.

I didn’t get through my list of 40. Some of that is due to financial constraints (I shot my wad on the big one – going to Iceland) and some is due to the inability to do things because of depression and anxiety.

You know what, though? I don’t care. There were some stretch goals on there. I’m not going to rehash everything I didn’t do, but I’m going to show you what I did do.

  1. Attend a live concert
  2. Climb a tree
  3. Go to the local nude beach
  4. Go to the opera
  5. Sing a new song at karaoke
  6. Take a barre class
  7. Take a cooking class
  8. Funky hair color
  9. Try hot yoga
  10. Volunteer
  11. Do a fun thing with Bean every day of his summer vacation
  12. Rosé in the garden in July
  13. Make a cheese that needs to age 10 months and eat it on my 40th birthday
  14. [Redacted]
  15. Become passable in Swedish (I’m still doing lessons!)
  16. Develop a habit of meditation
  17. Get back into my DIY habits –bread, stock, cheese, jam, etc.
  18. Perfect the homemade pie crust.
  19. Take a good photo
  20. Try 12 new cheeses
  21. Drink a bottle of expensive champagne
  22. Get a stamp in my passport
  23. Meet three ‘in the computer friends’ in real life. (Still waiting on my PSM)
  24. Publish my first book – this should happen this month or very soon after depending on how long it takes me to format stuff. (If anyone is interested in an ARC, let me know!)

So – twenty-four of forty things. That’s not a great success rate, but I’m really happy about how much I managed to do even when I was so anxious I could barely leave the house. I don’t plan on hitting any of the missing 16 items in the next 23 days. My primary goals for February are to get my book out and find a goddamn job. Oh – and to turn 40. Of course.

Don’t worry – I have a whole list of things I’m planning on accomplishing in the next year (although maybe not 41 things…). Stay tuned for all the ways I’m going to be awesome next year.