Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hey friends!

I've had some recent issues over here with blogger, and I've decided to make the move over to

Please find me there at Orthodox Single Mom

Many of my posts have moved there already, so your favorite things are probably already there!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

News. new series

I suppose it's been a while since I really posted. I've been super busy with school, taking care of the not-so-wee-one, and health issues. I have decided, though, to renew my commitment to this blog, and to make a concentrated effort to continue blogging regularly. This brings me to my post of the day, and the scary picture to the left.

Have you ever had one of those ISSUES? You know the ones. People tell you not to dwell on it, but it becomes all-consuming. Right. School has been that recently, and it will continue to be a big thing for a while to come yet, but right now, I am ALSO facing another major THING.

I am 38 days away from a total hysterectomy. Friends, I have to tell you, I am relieved and I am terrified. I will explore all of this further in upcoming posts. There is quite a lot to do to get ready, and frankly, the underlying issues are tiring me out pretty quickly of late.

Anyway, that's the basic information right now. If you're following my blog, you will be seeing periodic (no pun intended) updates about the preparation for this - physically, mentally, and spiritually, and AROUND THE HOUSE! Who knew there was so much to do? Did you KNOW that I won't be ALLOWED to VACUUM for SIX WEEKS?! Holy cow!

That's all I've got right now. If you'd like to contribute to helping me with the recovery, a dear friend begged me to set up a gofundme page to allow my friends and readers to do just that. That page is here.

I look forward to hearing from you all and reconnecting with you in the coming weeks here and at Keeping House With Kate.


Hysterectomy Support by

photo credit: bitzcelt via photopin cc

Saturday, March 22, 2014

On Mandy Mae. whom I loved best

I Loved You Best
Jim Willis

 So this is where we part, My Friend, 
   and you'll run on, around the bend,
   gone from sight, but not from mind, 
   new pleasures there you'll surely find.

   I will go on, I'll find the strength, 
   life measures quality, not its length.
   One long embrace before you leave, 
   share one last look, before I grieve.

   There are others, that much is true,
   but they be they, and they aren't you. 
   And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought, 
   will remember well all you've taught.

   Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
   the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed. 
   And as you journey to your final rest, 
   take with you this...I loved you best.

I hate to publish another dog obituary on my blog so soon after last year's loss of Kearney, but it's been a long time coming. We lost our Mandy at the end of February, a mere three days before she would have been with me five years. I have struggled and fought, unsure what to write and how to share this experience with you all, but then I know that you, my friends, would want to share in my grieving again and join me in celebrating the life of my very best friend.

You wouldn't, I fear, want to know the depth of my pain when I held her in my arms, laid as she was across my lap, on the cold floor of the vet's office, and I understood for the first time what is meant when people say they felt the life drain out of someone. The mere retrospective thought of this still leaves knots in my belly, and makes it hard for me to breathe. Her life was my life. She saved my life. We shared this life. And now it was gone from her. Now I must go on without her.

I am afraid to tell you how, night after night, I dream of her, and I awake in the morning without her, saddened all over again. I am afraid to mention how this freight train of emotion and longing hit me with the same force of the death of some human family members, and, indeed, more force than others. But I have promised you that I would be open and honest, and this is my truth. You see, my Mandy, I have said, was not a dog.

Mandy was more like my partner. From the day I moved into my first real home as a single mother, away from my friends "back home" in the bayous, Mandy was by my side. I pulled her, broken, bleeding and sick, out of her old home and brought her with me to heal. Our vet says that we helped each other to heal. We had both been neglected and mistreated, but now, we had each other. She was the one reason I held onto that home as long as I did after it became untenable, and one of the biggest reasons I moved into the home I still live in.

She slept in my bed every night. She pined away for my son when he was at his father's. She loved my parents and my friends. She let me cry into her silky soft neck when I was sad. She laid that same neck over my eyes when I got migraines. She wiggled when I laughed. She pouted when I was frustrated. She was ALWAYS THERE. She was our constant. She was our stability. She was our best friend. She was my partner. Without her, I think our hard times would have been much harder, and without her, I am not sure our good times would have been as good.

I woke up one morning in February to get ready to take our puppy, Christopher Marlowe, to get neutered, but instead, I found my Mandy in great distress. Her kidneys had officially failed her, and there was blood everywhere. She was confused and in pain. It was time. I made the appointment, and the next morning, my beloved died as she lived best: snuggled in my arms, my face in the silky smoothness of her neck.

I love you, sweet, sweet girl. We will never, ever forget you. We loved you best.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maintenance Mode at Keeping House With Kate

Friends, I have achieved (well, almost) the much-sought-after place we call Maintenance Mode.

What does that mean?

Find out about maintenance mode, my brand of crazy, and my system for maintaining my house with chronic illness (and a whole lot of boys) at my other blog, Keeping House With Kate.

The L Word, and a New Blog

Can we talk about laundry?

I have ISSUES with laundry. Picking up laundry baskets hurts. Carrying laundry baskets hurts (and my laundry room is not IN my house!!). Transferring from the washer to the dryer hurts. Getting things out of the dryer hurts. Also, I have OCD, and one of my issues is that, for some reason, I cannot put away laundry unless the floors are freshly cleaned (I know. I am weird. Huzzah for neurosis!).

Read more at my other blog, Keeping House With Kate

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Week 1 - Organized Home Challenge - Countertops and Sinks - Part 1

So, I am starting the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home challenge from Home Storage Solutions 101 as part of my series "Keeping House with Kate". Also, as part of my personal challenge in this series, I am currently getting the house back into "maintenance mode" so I can resume my "room a day" cleaning schedule and my basic daily to-do list.

This month for the flylady habit of the month: Shining your sink, and, ostensibly, keeping it that way.

And this week's Organized Home Challenge is "all about kitchen organization, both overall and with specific emphasis on keeping your countertops and sink clear and clean."

I've been pretty open about my OCD. But here's the tricky thing. When you hear "housekeeping" and "OCD" together, you may get this idea that my house is ALWAYS PERFECT, because I can't stand when it's not, right? That's the common misconception. Let me clear that up for you.


Well, I am not a slob in the strictest sense of the word. I do tend to spend a lot of time tidying up and deep cleaning things. But I really like REALLY DEEP CLEANING. I can't be bothered with the minutiae of daily chores. Those are for normal people. Also, I get sick kind of a lot, and I get distracted even more.

So what we end up with isn't pretty. At all.

Especially if you have OCD
And like a tidy home
and....... are......... human?!

This is just painful.

Really, truly painful. From the hallway, my kitchen looks like this:

So, let's follow some steps here.

First, the planning, according to the Organized Home Challenge.

1. Think about the function of your kitchen.

Okay. My kitchen is used for cooking, storing food, eating, socializing, homework time, family calendar planning, "launch pad" area if you follow Flylady or "family control center" if you follow Home Storage Solutions 101, and it's also the place where stuff gets dropped off when we come in the house through the patio door (which is our main door.) and where the dogs drink their water (but not eat their food). It's the first room you see if you're coming in through the back door, which most people do, since my driveway is on the back of my house. It's ALSO the place where we take vitamins and incidental medications, and since cold/flu remedies and antipyretics (big, fancy word for "stuff that reduces fevers), it's pretty reasonable to keep the thermometers in there.

You should make a list like this. We're probably going to refer to it often, since as we organize our kitchens, we need to either make space for each of these functions or figure out moving some of them to other areas of the house. If you're with me on this, don't sweat. I'm not. We've got time.

If OCD Girl isn't stressing the details, you shouldn't either.

2. Create Useable Counter Space And Clear Your Kitchen Table (Mostly)

Kitchen table? Oh you mean THAT kitchen table.....

Pardon me while I remember how to breathe.

Usable counter space I can manage. But the table?! I am guessing they don't meant to clear off the kitchen table by shoving everything into a box either, huh?


Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? I am feeling a good bit overwhelmed right now. So, back to basics with me.

To start, I did the dishes. Then, because I am a SUPERGENIUS who started this while dinner cooked, I did dishes AGAIN! Dishes, like laundry, are the NEVERENDING CHORE. I do the dishes then have a cup of tea. It feels good. AND THE CUP AND KETTLE ARE NOW DIRTY DISHES! CURSE YOU PERRY THE PLATYPUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then it got cold. REALLY COLD. Like MINUS FIVE cold. And even with trickling water through the pipes, they froze. That's pretty awesome. And by awesome, I mean, HORRIBLE. See, there was a leak OUTSIDE........

Maintenance came to de-ice the pipes and put a heater in the laundry room to keep them from freezing again. Hot water and pressure restored, they headed out to the next property.

And the heater blew out my power.
So I sat in the dark for 24 hours.
And it got cold again.
And the pipes froze.

So, I was without running water for eleven days, and that is why this post is officially a BEFORE post. I will finish up the cleaning and organizing of my counters and sinks hopefully today, and then you will get an "after" post!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I haven't given up!

I am working on the promised blog posts, and they're all in a state of near-completion. Please bear with me. I've been dealing with a very sick little boy for two weeks and a lack of water and faulty power after the winter weather last week. I am still here, and those posts are still coming!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pressure #5 - Tell us about a time when you didn't bend to peer pressure, and you swam against the stream.

More peer pressure, BlogHer? Alright. More peer pressure!

Have you read my biography post from three years ago? That might be a good place to start. To sum it up, though, and you can guess this from my title here if you're new, I am an Orthodox Christian single mother. I was always a single mom, and I am a convert to Orthodoxy. So there's a lot of pressure there.

When I found out I was pregnant, there were three camps of "peer pressure:"  Abortion, Adoption, and Motherhood. Surprisingly, the Motherhood camp was the smallest and quietest. I find this surprising because I was not a particularly young woman (25 years) nor at the time was I uneducated and broke. I was in college and working two jobs. But those things quickly disappeared and the abortion and adoption advocates became even louder.

Abortion was NEVER a consideration. Ever. But I DID consider adoption, if briefly. SO many people were pressuring me to "give my baby a chance" and "give him a better life." One person, when I said that I planned to raise my child, even told me that I had "no right to do that to an innocent child." Certainly, there was a lot of pressure. The adoption agencies I spoke to OBVIOUSLY wouldn't hear of any other choices.

But I chose to raise my son. It wasn't an easy choice, but I don't regret if for a moment.

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pressure #4 - Tell us about a time you bent to peer pressure.

Oh, the dreaded peer pressure.

Readers, I confess, I used to be a REALLY HEAVY SMOKER. I started in high school, because my boyfriend and all of his friends smoked, and because at that time, I was really messed up and struggling with a lot of things. So, I started smoking. I didn't like it, but I fit in. Actually, in the words of Bill Clinton, for months and months, I didn't inhale! But the next boyfriend was a smoker, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that. So I kept smoking.

Eventually, I inhaled, and eventually, I got addicted. Later stilll, I quit, and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Then, for some reason, I started AGAIN. Then I quit again. It's a battle, you know? I think with any addiction, it's always a struggle.

Am I now a nonsmoker? Well, mostly, yes. Once in a while I slip up. Once in a while I give in. But it's not an all-the-time thing.

And there's my deep, dark secret.

NaBloPoMo January 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pressure #3 - Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?


I am supposed to be writing something, aren't I? Right, yeah. I was going to answer a question about whether or not I procrastinate. I was going to answer the questions seriously, but I can't stop laughing? Do I have a tendency to procrastinate? Do primates have opposable thumbs? Is rain wet? Am I wasting times coming up with rhetorical questions instead of just admitting that I am a confirmed procrastinator? If a tree falls in the forest......... no. Wait. That's a different sort of question.

I like to joke that "one of these days, I will stop procrastinating."  Sometimes, I think I am THE WORST procrastinator, and then I look at some of the people in my life. What I've noticed? The most creative people, and the very highly intelligent people I know (the two are not mutually exclusive, by the way) are some of the WORST procrastinators ever. Perhaps the outlook is good for me after all?

Interestingly, if you do a google search, and you type in "procrastination linked to" google automatically suggests the following: "procrastination linked to perfectionism" (check), "procrastination linked to anxiety" (check), and "procrastination linked to intelligence" (so maybe there IS hope for me yet!) Google ALSO gives you a ton of great memes about procrastination, as you can see.

So, WHY do I procrastinate? According to Eric Jaffe, "True procrastination is a complicated failure of self-regulation: experts define it as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we’ll suffer as a result. A poor concept of time may exacerbate the problem, but an inability to manage emotions seems to be its very foundation." And I thought I just really hated folding the laundry!

In my defense, I DO really hate folding the laundry.

Well, no, that's not actually true. I really LIKE folding the laundry, once I get going. I just tend to put it off. Every SINGLE time.

In the same article I quoted above, the author quotes Joseph Ferrari (great name, by the way), who is, apparently a "pioneer" in procrastination research (unlike me. I am a pioneer in procrastinating research.). Ferrari says that "to tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up."

Now, one one hand, that makes sense to me. On the other hand, it really is almost that simple (for me, the chronic procrastinator, not for someone who is clinically depressed.). I haven't read the whole article. Ironically enough, I have bookmarked it to read later.

But it isn't quite that simple either. Because my brain says "just do it," and when I DO just do it, I realize how simple and fast "it" was, and how easy it will be to do it again in a day or two. But I never "just do it" in a day or two either. Whatever IT is.

Why do I do this? Well, it COULD be OCD related. The link between OCD and procrastination is PRETTY evident in a cursory google search, but I went into some of the results. says: "OCD manifests itself in a large variety of ways, and individuals usually suffer from a combination of symptoms. Most people with OCD also share common difficulty with daily activities, such as tardiness, perfectionism, procrastination, indecision, discouragement and family difficulties."

In an interview with NPR about his book Triggered, Fletcher Worman confesses, "It's funny — procrastination can be a symptom of OCD in the sense that because you know a project will require so much of your effort, and you're so frightened of screwing up, it's easy to just keep putting it off and putting it off and putting it off."

There's definitely a link. The link is there with ADHD too. In this article at Psych Central, Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is quoted saying, "I don’t know anyone with ADHD where procrastination is not an issue."  He also says, very cleverly I think, "For people with ADHD, there are two time zones: Now and Not Now. If it is not happening now, the ADD-er will tend to procrastinate until it gets closer to the ‘Now’ zone."

So, is it an OCD thing? An ADD/ADHD thing? A time management thing? Laziness? I don't know.

All of this was not the official answer to the BlogHer question, though. The question was, specifically, " Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?" The answer? MY answer? BOTH! As much as I really do have a very chronic procrastination issue, I LOVE getting that to-do list checked off.

And now, I have a million things to do. So I am going to go read a book. Cheers!

NaBloPoMo January 2014