Jun 14

homekeeping 10

homekeeping 10It seems I’ve entered my Nanny McPhee Period when grey hairs corkscrew from the top of my head and adult onset acne gets comfortable and refuses to leave.  I know this isn’t a beauty blog, but I’ve discovered a couple products that have made this phase slightly less Nanny McPhee-like, and it wouldn’t be right not to share.

I haven’t the bravery to Google – “How Long Will I Keep Getting Periods” – because if there’s a woman out there who is still getting periods well into her senior years, I don’t want to know about her.  I don’t want to know that I could be that empty-nest woman, in her 60s (because I will be close to 60 by the time Jen leaves, if she decides to do so), traveling to Italy, sipping red wine at a lovely cafe and having to excuse herself from the intelligent conversation at the quaint bistro table for two because she’s having a “period” emergency.

I can handle many things, but I’m not sure I want to know how long I’ll have to deal with periods.  No, I won’t be doing hormone replacement therapy.  I’m the anti-chemical, left-over hippy, who doesn’t put anything on her lawn, doesn’t own a microwave, and has never colored her hair.  I will not be taking some sort of chemical supplement to help me through this phase, even if that would keep my kids from wanting to kill me or move into their dad’s house once a month.  (Come to think of it, my mood swings are sure to bring about that empty nest.)


Primrose Oil has kept my kids from packing their bags.  I don’t know why it works.  I don’t care.  It keeps me from wanting to slash the neighbor’s tires when he leaves his car running while he’s in his house obviously looking for his car keys.  Primrose oil keeps me from hiding under the covers until my period passes.  I love this stuff.  If I’m telling you about it, that means it works. Continue reading →

Apr 14

When the Organized, Independent, Single Mom Drops the Ball

ducks in a row“Mom, you know what I noticed about you?  You are organized.”


I have to be organized.


I know when the cat needs shots; when to change the furnace filter; the best time to plant sweet pea seeds (weather permitting); and when the frog needs his (or her?) water changed. Continue reading →

Jun 13

homekeeping 9

“But dad, I don’t want that kind of putter.  I know what I want and I’m paying for it with my own money.  I’ve researched this putter on the internet.  Dad, I know what I want.”

As they drove away without a new putter, Will’s stomach started to act up.

Once they arrived home from that day’s dad visit, both kids unleashed.

“He doesn’t know anything about golf.  Why is he telling me how to spend my own money?”

“Why do we have to go to his office for visits when he only sees us two times a week?” Continue reading →

Mar 12

homekeeping 8

Three bags, nine days, and no laptop.

We’re headed off for another adventure.

Jenny has packed her favorite Barbie, a new floppy sun hat, a swim suit and sundresses.

Will is taking his skateboard.  I’m concerned he might try to sneak Nina in at the last minute.

I’m packing Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder.  I’ve had it for a long while.  Something tells me it’s time to read it.

The kids plan to go horseback riding, golfing, swimming, hiking and skating.  They hope to hang with a mom who doesn’t have her nose in a laptop.  I’m going to make sure that happens.

I also plan to walk, read, swim, write in a spiral notebook, and pretend to hit a little white ball with a metal stick and try to avoid saying bad words while doing so.

As I write this post, it is snowing, and that means our timing couldn’t be more perfect.  I got to shovel walks this morning, and soon we’ll be boarding a plane to head south – another example of the good being better because of the bad. ;)

If you leave a comment on the blog while I’m away, please know that I’ll reply when I return.

I’ll miss you all.

Happy Spring.


Mar 11

homekeeping 7

Will is still struggling with images of ghosts entering his mind every night at bedtime.  Jenny just cut five inches off her long blond hair.

I’ve been mopping up the mess as best I can.

I’m providing them with lots of distractions – there’s packing to do, new books to check out, sketch books and art supplies to gather and journals to fill.

We are leaving town in search of Spring and a new perspective.

I’m hoping some sun will warm our winter-weary bones, and heal our bruised psyches. Continue reading →

Jan 11

homekeeping 6

It has been a while since I’ve written a homekeeping post.  I miss the format – loose, random thoughts on where we are and where we are headed.

I just reread homekeeping 5 this morning.  Wow.  What a difference six months can make.  Blood, sweat, tears and a lot of cussing later, and we seem to be in a good place.

Knock on wood.

It has been almost three months since Mark and I had the marathon chat session about the kids and his relationship with them.  I did not perform miracles that day.  It would be nice to say that I was able to reach him.

Honestly, I think Mark hasn’t changed one iota. Continue reading →

May 10

homekeeping 5

stopI did it.  Saturday night I dropped some plates.  I’m not proud of myself, but there it is.  Actually, I didn’t so much drop them as fling them against the wall.  Only two of ’em.  I can’t glue them back together.  I will carry on with the four remaining plates.

Here’s the non-venting version of where we are.  Kids are scheduled for a visit with the counselor on Wednesday.  Mark is not scheduled for more visits.  Mark doesn’t see why the kids need to see the counselor.  He thought last week’s visits went well.  He doesn’t understand why Jenny has her heart broken by the fact that Will got a landslide of goodies from Mark.  We found the ideal bike for Jen.  I talked to Mark and told him that Jen fell in love with a bike, “She said you are buying her a bike, can she please have this bike?”  Mark said, “That’s not the bike I’m getting for Jen.  I have selected a different bike.  I will be buying the bike that I select, not the bike that Jen wants.”

First plate thrown.

Mark said, “You mean to tell me that Jen won’t talk to me because I won’t buy her the bike she wants?  The visits went well last week.  Let me talk to her.  Why won’t she talk to me?  Will won’t talk to me, either?  Why won’t they talk to me?  That’s it.  I’m calling my lawyer.”

I should have said, “Go for it Mark.  I’m sure you retained the one lawyer on the planet that will be capable of making your kids like you.” Continue reading →

May 10

homekeeping 4

I still have to pack, but my toes are painted, fake tan is applied, kids’ hair is cut, the single plant that we do have is watered, and the fridge is empty.

It’s time for vacation.  Even the very word, ‘vacation’, is delicious.  Just saying it makes the tightness in my shoulders melt.  The minute it rolls off my tongue, I swear I can smell sunscreen and feel sand in the waist band of my swimsuit.

Not taking my laptop means I’m not taking the blog with.  It sorta feels like leaving one of my kids behind.  Jen and Will are delighted that I won’t be hiding behind a computer screen.  They are unbelievably supportive of the time and attention I devote to the blog.  But it’s time that they get all of me for a few days.

We can’t head off without updating you.

__________ Continue reading →

Apr 10

homekeeping 3

jennys-bouquetA long time ago, I realized I couldn’t really boss my kids around.  Oh sure, I could, but I’d be annihilating their spirits in the process.  I’m not that kind of mom.  There are probably a lot of parents that do a great job being the boss all the time (I doubt it), and it’s good for the three of us to remember that I am the boss.  But, there is a lot of truth in being selective about which battles to pick.

THAT is why I love this blog.

I can boss it around.  I can ignore it.  I can feed it or not.  I can tell it how to look, and what to wear and what to say.  And I can tell it when to shut up.  I can tell it when it’s getting too big for it’s britches.  I can comfort it when it needs to be comforted.  And I can ignore it when it gets whiny.

Ultimately, I am the boss of where this blog goes.  Cool.  Scary.  Fun.

So far my battles have been with the tech aspects… css, downloading files (where do they go?), and all the behind the scenes stuff.  Perhaps I could/should have been more selective in what I’ve written, but then blogs are like TVs.  The reader holds the remote.  (Is that the faint sound of clicking I hear?  The sound of someone moving on to another site?) Continue reading →

Mar 10

homekeeping 2

talent-stampsI don’t like watching people eat live, slimy, crawling insects.  In the old days, I watched the reality TV show, Survivor, with Mark.  I haven’t checked out a reality show since.  I’m not a snob.  I just don’t get the fascination.  Actually, I liked the part of Survivor where the contenders talked about their families, and I did like watching the dynamics of the groups at play.  With each new season, it seemed to be less about interacting and more about eating creepy crawly things, so I lost interest.  That being said, I’ve noticed that this blog strongly resembles reality TV.  At least I’m sparing you the bad clothes and the smelly bathroom details.

I started this blog as a way to vent, and then process.  Jen, Will and I were developing, and still are developing, some great tools for dealing with narcissism.  First, it was about dealing with their dad’s narcissistic behaviors. The blog continues to be about their relationship with their dad, and ultimately my relationship with their dad, since you never really come to the end of a relationship with an ex.  /:(

More recently, this blog has also been a significant tool that helps me figure out how to be in a healthy relationship, or least what I need to change about how I have been in relationships.

I have an image of this blog representing a tunnel.  It’s a pretty dark tunnel, but it isn’t damp or cold, and we have each other.  The kids and I are making it through this tunnel hand-in-hand.  More than once-in-awhile, there are portholes in the walls of the tunnel.  They shed some light on our path.  These portholes are the tools that we’ve gathered – good words and small practices that we do in a day to help us stay positive.  The portholes are also all the encouragement from those who comment and those who support us in our daily lives.

There is a faint sound in this tunnel.  I think it comes from the end.  It sounds like a breeze rustling leaves on trees, and birds fluttering and chirping, and a creek running nearby.  It sounds like a great place to be.  The three of us want to get there.  We are making steady progress.  Just ask Donna. She sent me this note a couple days ago. Continue reading →

Mar 10


spring-windowMark took the kids skiing today.  A story is brewing.  I’ll keep you posted.  Literally.

Last night I made grand plans to concentrate on the book today.  Kids would be gone the whole day and I’d have uninterrupted time to wrap up some loose ends.  I’m hoping to have something to release before we head out on our cruise.  I’ve been reading a lot about how, if you’ve been sharing all kinds of stuff on a blog for free, your followers/readers/sisters/tribe will squawk if you expect them to start paying for content.  I haven’t done such a great job of following the advice of the ‘experts’ so far.  This blazing my own new trail is too damn fun to start following some other proven path.  I like to think that I’m being the responsible parent by setting up a counseling fund for Will and Jenny.

But before working on the book, and after checking out my favorite haunts on the web, I was going to go get some groceries before a girlfriend comes for lunch.  I canceled with her last week because I was feeling like a bad mom for spending so much time at art shows and not doing “real” school work; because I was still in a funk about John; and because my ankles were swollen.  I’m not kidding about the ankles.  I just now came out of the bathroom after putting on some mascara and dragging my fingers through my hair.  My mom would be proud of me for not leaving the house without mascara.  And then I thought, “screw it.  I’d rather write on this blog than get groceries.”  ‘Course, I’d rather do just about anything than go get groceries.

Yesterday’s blog post was huge for me.  I felt like it was taking a risk to write about God/prayer/chrch and all that icky (to me) stuff.  I was actually in tears when I hit the ‘Publish’ button.   There were huge tears of relief streaming down my cheeks.  I know when I’ve written something powerful (powerful for me, and I hope for you) – I get teary during the process.  Susan shared a tip with me about how to keep yourself from getting teary.  Hold your index finger under your nose.  Hold it perpendicular – like you are pointing  in the direction of your ear – and apply a little pressure.  It works!  But I’ve yet to figure out how to type while pressing my finger below my nose.  The acronym for finger under nose is f.u.n. Nice.

So while I was just getting ready to go to the store I was thinking about a new category for this blog.  I was going to call it “housekeeping” but I can’t come up with any positive feelings when I hear that word.  I’ve not kept it a secret that housekeeping is on the bottom of my list.  In fact, my mom called the other day, and after I answered she said, “What’s going on?  You’re out of breath.”  While panting into the phone I said, “Don’t get your hopes up.  I have my clothes on.  I was dusting furniture.  You know, blowing the dust off the tops of the furniture.”  Only there was a lot of dust and I was running out of breath. Continue reading →