Taking a bow

Don’t think of this as good-bye.

Well, okay, maybe a little.

Friends, after months of periodically mulling things over, noodling, waffling, and otherwise staring into space for extended periods of time I’ve decided it’s time to end my run here at One-Woman Show. For over two years I’ve shared my tales of juggling life, laundry and love, and blogging has been a part of this juggling. But in the last six months or so I’ve realized how important it is for me to simplify my life a bit more, or at least to focus my time and energy a little differently. And with that comes choices.

For now, I’m choosing to focus on new — and renewed — pursuits instead of blogging:

Like writing a new humor column at The Imperfect Parent!

I’ve spent the last year dishing about single parenting and divorce in my Dinner for One column, but it’s time to change focus, particularly because my single days are winding down. (Woohoo!) So, I pitched an idea to the editor for a new yet-to-be-titled humor column and he liked it. I’ll be starting in late June so check back here or at the Imperfect Parent website for more details!

Like writing and submitting articles, essays…and, eventually, another novel.

I didn’t discover a love of writing until my late 30’s; I didn’t discover blogging until 2007. I’ve often wished I’d made these discoveries earlier in life, but now I understand (or at least begrudgingly admit) they came into my life at exactly the right time.

This blog has helped me find my voice and hone my writing style. It’s also opened up writing opportunities for me — other potential blogging gigs, my first column — plus helped me connect with potential agents, authors, writers, and, yes, readers like you whose feedback and friendship I value so much.

What I haven’t spent as much time doing as I’d like to is writing outside of OWS. I’m excited to change gears now and do more pitching and submissions. Build my portfolio. Collect those clips. Get more paying gigs! Start work on Novel #2.

I don’t know how or where this will all go, but I have confidence it will go somewhere.

I want to (or maybe I have to?) give it a go.

Like volunteering — through blogging!

Yes, you read that right. I’m combining my interest in non-profits and writing by helping to start a blog for HEARTH, a great organization I’ve been involved with for about 5 years. HEARTH helps up to 15 single moms and their children find their footing again – through safe housing, mentoring, parenting and life skills classes — plus a lot of hard work on the women’s part. I hope I can keep up with them as an occasional guest contributor.

Like spending time away from the computer.

Despite all I’ve written about, well, writing, I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors, more time exercising (because I’m actually exercising again!) and just enjoying more of life with the wonderful people in my life.

That’s what I really want to do when the curtains close.

Oh, there is one other thing.

 

 

Heh. I’ve always wanted to say that (and it’s true). ;)

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading and sharing your comments here.

I’ve loved blogging at OWS and wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself blogging again someday. In the meantime, I’m linking to some of my favorite posts below. Please enjoy them… and see you real soon around town or the internet!

Susan

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Best in Show / Vintage Susan/ One Woman’s Favorites to Write:

I Will Beat Myself Silly with a Limp Lizard (One of my all-time favs!)

Scenes Not from an Italian Restaurant

Italian Genes Do Not Equal la Dolce Vita

Query Me This A really fun one to write. Seriously, I cracked myself up.

Party Moms Gone Mad

Complicated Like This

This is My Life

Take A Flying Leap (or Watch Me Take One) Probably the last time you’ll see me jump out of a plane on purpose!

You Tarzan Me Be Jane

Embarrassing Dating Tales I: Mothballs and Me

And MORE Embarrassing Dating Tales: Dwight Was Right (oh, and these are just the “best” tales – oy!)

Wake Me Up Before You BloNoGoGo - A pseudo tribute to NanoWriMo…and if you don’t know what that is, well, never mind

My Life in Poetry (or Not)

Dating and the Patience is a Virtue Experiment

Better yet, when my patience finally paid off:

A Blog, A Law and a Little Luck – Part I

…and Part II (yeah, it’s good :) )

“Man, he’s good!”

The kids woke me up this morning at about 7, but their enthusiasm to find what Easter Bunny hid overnight was catching; I practically bounded out of bed, too.

Kids grow up so fast these days, I’m thankful that T-Rex, age 7 1/2, and Drama Girl, age 9 1/2, still believe in the power and joy of all things magical. And, I’m glad they came equipped for the challenge:

As I watched them search the house I heard them exclaim, “Man, he’s good!” and “That Easter bunny dude is really tricky!” The only downside with EB being so darned good at hiding those Easter baskets is that I killed time by eating way too many of those M&Ms and jelly beans he left.  ;)

Hope you’re having a great Easter/Sunday in your neck of the woods!

Two weeks later…

Well. Here I am…again…after 2 weeks away. Sorry ’bout that. Between being knee-deep in a blur of damask, DJs, swirls, florists and other wedding planning, and then being out of commission for 4 days with a seasonal bug I’m way behind the eight ball. What’s hard about blogging again for the first time since a break is what the heck to write about.

Which is why I present to you

My Two Weeks in Review:

One Part Update; Two, Three, Four… Parts Nonsense

Planning

As I mentioned above, the wedding planning is going well and going whether I want it to or not. We’ve secured just about all of the “big” vendors for the big day (in December!), but have a few more to go. Seriously, I’m hitting the wall with all of it, but J. has been my partner in crime in all of this and is helping out a lot.

Two funny stories from the last two weeks:

1. J., my kids and I went to a local bridal show last Sunday. It was a bit like “one of these things doesn’t look like the other” because there we were — the 40+ old fogies and blended family — among all of these 20-something brides with their moms and BFFs. Drama Girl was totally digging the bridal store booth set up with gowns and models on display. At one of these booths the lady looked at us looking at some tiara/headpiece get-up and asked, “…And who is the bride here?”

Hmm. Let’s see. I think it’s illegal to marry off 9 year-olds, so that would be ME.

2. I told DG that I had made appointments at two different bridal salons, the first coming up this Sunday. I explained that, although I know she’s dying to get her junior bridesmaid dress, we may not have time to look at them at this appointment. Her response:

“Yeah, I figured we’d only have time to try on the elderly dresses when we go.”

Elderly.

Please. Pass me the Metamucil and remind me to pack some Depends when we go.

Pets

My kids are back to pleading for a dog. I can blame this partially on J., who LOVES dogs and is like the Dog Whisperer, and partly on my next-door neighbor, who has the most wonderful Rhodesian Ridgeback…all 5 months and nearly 60 pounds of him. (The dog, not the neighbor.) Anyway, we’ve gone over it before and we went over it again that we just aren’t getting a pet…just yet.

Coincidentally, The Ex happened to mention to me 2 weeks ago that he was bringing a pet snake home for the kids. He had originally intended to get them a garter snake, but then found out they’re indigenous to PA and therefore not sold in stores. So, what is the next best thing, you ask? I’ll tell you.

A ball python.

A ball FREAKIN’ python.

Holy crapoli, you might add. After reaching for a Depends, I certainly did.

Now, you have to understand this came as no surprise to me because a) The Ex is Mr. Wildlife/Outdoors/Circle of Life/Grew up with 2 brothers and snakes and snapping turtles and all sorts of other critters; and b) he just does these kinds of things. Like, for example, getting our kids a pet python.

I also must mention that, while being a dufus at times, he would do nothing to harm our children and is very safety conscious. After grilling him and then seeing the reptile palace in person I can see it’s bolted securely and designed to keep Brownie — yes, Brownie because he’s/she’s brown with caramel colored spots — inside. I will also admit that I touched the snake. Have you ever touched a snake? It’s surprisingly soft.

Now, now. I know you want comment something very inappropriate here, but let’s stay with the program, shall we?…

By the way, the snake is full grown at 4 years old and about 3 feet long, so it won’t get any bigger. The kids seem to dig it (although I don’t like the idea of it constricting some poor mice, even if it needs to eat, too), but Brownie seems to satisfy their need for a pet for now.

Thank God in Heaven we are dog people.

Pillows

I go through times when I just can’t fall asleep without an internal struggle between my body and brain. This has happened a few times in the last 2 weeks. Despite my life being peppered with pythons and wedding plans out the wazoo, I don’t think it has as much to do with stress per se as it has to do with my pillows.

I love my pillows. I hate my pillows. They hurt my neck because they’re too high. Then the one is too low. Then, like last night, I get frustrated that J. falls asleep in about 3 nanoseconds, regardless of his pillow situation, while I begin practically hyperventilating at the idea that I’m losing sleep with each breath — and I’M the one who needs 8 hours, not him. I’m not frustrated at him; I’m frustrated at myself.

There are other things I do to try to fall asleep like getting up to read for a while, and sometimes just laying my head on the mattress without a pillow until I can fall asleep (which ends up hurting my neck, too), but has anyone tried one of those high-priced conform to your head pillows? Or anything else that’s worked? (I’m thinking having a supply of some anti-sleep anxiety meds might help in drastic situations.) I’ve gotten used to down pillows and I’m trying some other stress reduction techniques, but I’m all ears.

zzzzzzzzz…………………………………………………………….

Parenting, Extreme Makeover

Finally, I’ll share that the last two weeks have been full of both fun/amusing and aggravating parenting stories. I won’t bore you with more except that my pillow talk reminded me that one technique to embrace sleep is to cut out the computer or TV before going to bed. Perhaps it was coincidence then (or subconscious cause and effect) that I banned my children from watching TV (at my house, anyway) for the month of April.

Tough?

Yes.

Effective in getting my kids to listen to me in the morning and get ready as I ask them?

Possibly.

It was one of those not-as-rare-as-you’d-like-to-admit ineffective parenting moments, this one involving Extreme, Sweeping Statements.

I had had it Monday morning trying to get us out the door fully clothed on time without one of us (i.e., me) having a nervous breakdown. So I banned TV.

And wouldn’t you know, that evening after some griping about it T-Rex and Drama Girl played together really, really nice while I made dinner? The next night we went for a walk.

I’ve watched a few shows in the last two nights, but Tuesday night I decided to forego another catfight fest on Real Housewives of NYC for a half hour of reading a new magazine.

You know what? I slept really, really well that night.

OK, that’s the recap.

I do, take two

Many of my friends (including some of my best single parent pals and readers) have asked how I’m handling this whole getting remarried situation. Well, I’m so glad you asked. Or that some of you asked.

I swear someone asked me…or did I imagine it?

Never mind — I’m a-gonna tell you anyway in this month’s Dinner for One at The Imperfect Parent. I reveal more about breaking the news to my kids and what it’s like to be in wedding planning mode a second time around. I’m happy to say: so far, so good!

Read all about it before you get sidetracked with listening to Mominatrix’s Radio spot on Christian sex toys. Or at least go back and read my article afterward. Please?  ;)

Etiquette

The other night we were driving over to my parents for dinner and T-Rex said to his sister, “Hey, Drama Girl, is my nose bleeding?”

She responded that no, his nose wasn’t bleeding.

I asked him why he thought his nose was bleeding — he’s had one nose bleed that I can recall in his 7 years — and he said something like, “I just want to make sure if someone looks up my nose it isn’t bleeding.”

Me: “Hmm. Do many people look up your nose?”

Him: “No.”

Drama Girl: “No, that wouldn’t be appropriate.”

__

On a more serious note, today I’m having lunch with The Ex. After I told the kids about my engagement to FlyBoy/J. and how J. one day would be joining our family I called my ex-husband, who I’ve had a good relationship with since our divorce 6 years ago, and told him the news. I wanted him to hear it from me, not them.

Well, he didn’t react negatively exactly, but he was in shock. I tried to be straightforward, honest and explained the potential timeline, but let’s just say I lost him at “hello…I’m getting married again.” We spoke for about 15 minutes, he thanked me for telling him the news and we hung up.

As I suspected, after a bit of time went by for him to process the news, he wrote to me with his concerns and questioned me on one or two things that, frankly, really weren’t any of his business.

I answered his questions as maturely and as kindly as possible; I realized he was expressing concerns as a father, but I also understood there likely were other emotions running under the surface. (He’s been dating someone for about 3 years, so some of it may not even have to do with my situation…but that’s none of my business!) I told him I’d be happy to talk further.

To my surprise he sent me an email a few days later saying he was sorry he had acted the way he did, and that he knows I have the kids’ interest at heart. He then wrote, “…I know the best thing for our kids is for your marriage to be happy and stable, and I’ll do whatever I can to help.”

Wow. That brought a tear to my eye. And it still does. I feel very lucky to have The Ex in our kids’ — and therefore my — corner.

So we’re meeting for lunch to talk through some things. J. has also offered to talk to him, if he wants, but first things first. I’m not sure what the etiquette is with an ex-spouse, but I think honesty, maturity, and kindness would be an appropriate start.

Knowing, learning, laughing

Two things that have gotten me through singlemamahood are knowing I’m not alone in my situation (knowing, however, that no two situations are alike) and knowing how to laugh — at myself and/or the circumstances. I was trying to think of what to write for my latest Dinner for One column and decided to share a story from my first week of being officially on my own. Six years later, it still reminds me to keep laughing and to keep things in perspective — eventually, anyway. Living near a pharmacy doesn’t hurt either.

A few words for Ann Coulter

I couldn’t let Ann Coulter’s latest rants about single mothers escape without response…but instead of ranting right back, I tried to respond like any good parent would: with love. And advice. Lots and lots of unrequested advice.

Read more and share your words of wisdom with Ann in this month’s Dinner for One at The Imperfect Parent.

And, as any good parent would say:

I do this to save you from yourself;)