Thursday, August 13, 2015

Goodbye, Jennifer Nicole.

First off, I want to say that I've been blogging for years (like, before it was cool) and I've had several different blogs, with several different names, and subjects in that time, too. I started all of them with the best of intentions, but sadly, they all fizzled out.

Personally, I blame it on being an Aries, and the belief that we have tendency to go after new things with a ton of excitement, only to lose interest in them before we ever complete them. I can also blame it on a professionally diagnosed case of ADD. So, there you go, I have astrology and medicine on my side.


I've given this blog, a wannabe DIY blog, almost 4 years and (at least) 2 name changes, and it worked pretty well for me.

However, a few months ago, I started to grow out of the whole "paint-every-piece-of-furniture-that-I-own" phase and, at the same time, I also started to figure out that I do not have the talent, patience, or budget to continue to do project after project.

{Plus, it's also a little hard to fit a table saw into this apartment.}

As I slowly began to realize all of this, I began to contemplate what I should do with the blog, itself. I didn't want to stop blogging completely because I do love to write,
especially about myself, but the whole DIY thing just wasn't working anymore.

As I thought about all of this, I went back to my blog and wound up on the stats page. I started noticing what posts had the most views and the most comments, meaning that they were also the posts that people enjoyed reading the most. I also noticed that most of these were the posts that I had enjoyed writing the most.

There were other things that these posts had in common, as well.

They were all about events and experiences that I'd had. Many of them were the posts where I had opened up and shared some of the details of my life, showing my vulnerabilities and imperfections. All of them, written from my heart.

Some were funny. Some were anything but funny.

They weren't written to impress people or  just because I needed something to post.

They weren't written for anybody else, but me.

It was at that moment that I knew exactly what direction I wanted to take my blog in and what I wanted to write about.

I wanted to write about things that were a part of my life in some way, whatever way that might be. They could be experiences, observations, thoughts, hobbies, opinions...whatever. I just wanted to write for the fun of it, with no guidelines or boundaries to care about. I didn't want to have to stick to a subject. I wanted a blog that portrayed my personality. Basically, I wanted some type of diary of who I was, and what my life was like, and if people found it interesting enough to read, that would make it even better.

I also knew that I wanted whoever it was that read it, to not only be entertained, but to also feel like there was someone out there that they could relate to. In my own past, as a stay-at-home mom who is a
huge hermit little bit of an  introvert, it was the blogs that I read that made me feel less alone and more like a human. There were actually several different blogs that I read on a regular basis, but the blogs that I loved the most, though, were the ones where I felt like the blogger was authentic. The subject didn't matter as much as the bloggers authenticity and their willingness to show their own vulnerability.

This is not a difficult concept. In fact, a lot of  successful blogs are built on it, which is also probably part of the reason for their, most likely, unintended success. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to build all of my previous, and most recent, blogs on that concept when I was too busy hiding who I really was.

Those days are over, though.

So, I decided that it's time to grow up, put my big girl panties on, and blog about what I wanted to blog about, not what I thought people want me to blog about. I wanted to blog about me and my life, not a life that I created because I didn't think people could handle the real one. I wanted to blog as myself with my true personality, not as a person with a made up personality that I thought people would like more.

With all of that in mind, I began the process of "revamping" my blog a few weeks ago. First, I decided on a new name and then created a new domain based off of that name. Then, I switched from Blogger to self-hosted Wordpress. I also added a new design theme in order to give the blog the "fresh start" that I think it deserves. It's still very much a work in progress, and I still need to migrate my posts over there, but eventually it will be finished.

(I hope)

In the meantime, I really hope you'll join me over there, even with all of the "construction" still going on, and I want to make sure to let you know that you don't have to be a single mom, or even a mom at all, in order to feel as though you can relate to what I have to say on it. You also don't have to have Adult ADD, be a cosmetic junkie, or be in a relationship with someone, and you definitely don't have to be a Lesbian! In fact, you don't even have to be a woman (although my demographics say that 90% of you are) to be able to relate to what I have to say.

You just have to be human.

That's it.

Hopefully, if you do decide to follow me over there, you'll find that to be the case.

If not, then you just wasted several precious moments of your life reading this, and you will never again get that precious time back.


P.S. - I almost forgot, the new blog is located at: 

Hope to see you over there. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What You're Telling My Kids When You Condemn Marriage Equality

Before I get to the point of this post, I apologize in advance for the following reasons:

1. This is not the positive, feel good post that I had planned on writing 
(I'll do that in another 6 months next time.)
2. It's an emotional and angry post that will likely be offensive to some of you. 
3. I'm going to swear. A lot. If you don't like it, just pretend I'm saying fetch, crud, or darn, or even golly gee cheese whiz.
4. I'm pretty sure there will be several grammatical errors because I'm posting while upset and my editing skills become even more sub-par when I'm in this state.

Anyway, do you want to know what has me so upset that I had to begin this post with an apology?

What has me so upset that I am still shaking even though it happened this morning?

What has me so upset that I am on the verge of tears, and feel like I could break down and cry at any moment (which is not something that happens too often to me)?

And, most importantly, what has me so upset that I am contemplating the purchase of a punching bag instead of the new Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette debuting in 6 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes, and 24 seconds according to the count down calendar...(Yes, it's THAT serious!)?

Do you want to know, just, what is it that has me so damn upset?

I'll give you a hint.

What is something that seems to piss every single person off at one time or another, yet, we still can't get enough of it?

Facebook, of course.

Well, specifically, it's a link that someone posted on Facebook to an article written in response to the passage of marriage equality that has me so upset.


I read the article this morning, less than a week after the Supreme Court made its decision regarding marriage equality, and unless you live on Mars, you have probably noticed that the shit storm on Facebook that occurred as a result of that decision has remained pretty steady since then.

For the most part, I've been quiet (for me, anyway). I've "shared" a couple pictures that I thought were funny. I've commented on a few posts, but I haven't really come out full-force on the issue. This is mostly because I've been pretty damn opinionated and loud vocal in the past and so it's not necessarily a secret what my opinion on the matter is. I've seen quite a few posts and comments in support of the decision (Good hell, there sure are a lot of rainbow filtered profile pictures out there!) and I've seen quite a few posts and comments in disagreement with the decision. I've also seen posts from some people, pleading for everyone to stop this shit and get back to what's really important on Facebook, YouTube videos of cats.

For the first few days, I tried really hard not to read any of the negative articles I saw being shared because I didn't want to get upset about the same arguments that we've been having for years regarding marriage equality, that include hypothetical goat marriages and poor Adam and Steve.

I have to say, I was doing pretty good at avoiding the negative and focusing on the positive.

...and then this morning happened.

For the second day in a row, I read an article that included statements regarding the validity of LGBT families and the so-called harm done to children who have gay or lesbian parents and it infuriated me, much more than it has ever done in the past. In fact, I could feel my face getting hot and my hands starting to shake as I finished reading it and it wasn't because I was being attacked because of my sexual orientation.

It was because my children were being attacked because of my sexual orientation.

More accurately, they were being bullied.

Bullied? Yes, bullied.

(It may seem over-dramatic to use that term, but if you read the definition below that describes what bullying is, you'll see what I mean.)

Bullying is often defined as unwanted or aggressive behavior towards a person. It must also be repetitive and include an imbalance of power.

I think we can apply all of these to the current situation. The fact is, that children of  lesbian and gay parents are experiencing unwanted and aggressive behavior targeted towards them and their families on a daily basis from the media, as well as from people (often, adults) in their communities. Do you think they want to hear their parents, who they love, being talked about in a derogatory way, just because of who they are, or that they like being told that their family does not deserve the same rights as other families? That seems pretty unwanted and aggressive to me. This behavior towards LGBT families is nothing new, we've seen it over and over, so it also fits the 2nd criteria, which is that it is repetitive. The last criteria, the requirement of the presence of an imbalance of power in this situation is also painfully obvious. We are talking about the power of adults vs. children, and the power of religion and the media versus the power of a child. It's pretty easy to see who has the majority of the power in this situation.

Simply stated, my children, and others like them, ARE being bullied by those who want to assert their religious authority and/or political power over them and their family, who say things that are hurtful and often not true, and who continue to repeat themselves over and over in order to keep the power in their favor.

The people that wrote the articles I read, along with the more recognized Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ted Cruz, and many others who are publicly condemning marriage equality and claiming that our families are less than equal to any other family, and that our children are somehow being harmed because of our sexual orientation as parents, are actually the ones doing the harm.

They are acting as bullies, and, whether they realize it or not, they are bullying children and profiting from it.

They are doing so by publicly declaring a lack of acceptance and tolerance for gay and lesbian parents and their children, through the use of statements that support what I mentioned above. This can be considered the same as if they were to declare intolerance for the children directly, because when you condemn a parent to a child, you are saying to that child that something is wrong with them, too. (I learned this well-supported concept in divorce and child custody 101.)

Quite frankly, it's disgusting to me, not as a gay parent, but as a parent, period.

In my opinion, it should bother all parents, regardless of  who they are. 

Telling a child (either directly or indirectly) that their parents and families do not deserve the same considerations and rights as other parents and families, or that they are somehow being robbed or harmed because they have a gay parent, or parents, is much more harmful to them than having a gay parent ever could be.

My children are not being harmed by their mom being a lesbian. They are being harmed by the words and insults used to describe their mom by other people. They are being harmed by people saying that their mom shouldn't be allowed to have the same rights as other moms. They are being harmed by the people that are saying that June 26th, 2015 was the darkest day in American history because their mom now has the right to marry the person that she loves, no matter the gender.

(side-note: Really?? That's the darkest day? I think 9/11 was a tad worse.You know, because a FEW THOUSAND people died tragically, at the hands of terrorists. If not 9/11, what about Pearl Harbor, or any other event that has ended with mass casualties? As far as I know, nobody has died because of a gay wedding, but plenty of people have died because of hate that has been justified due to religious beliefs.)

Now, I'm not asking for people who disagree with the fact that I have been given the equal right to marry who I love, to stand up and cheer about something they don't believe is right ( just like I don't think I should have to stand up and cheer for Crocs). I'm not asking for anyone to change their opinion on what they consider to be marriage. I'm not asking to get married in anyone's religious temple, and I'm not asking anyone's pastor to perform a wedding ceremony as a religious figure (In fact, I strongly support you and your church's right to not do so).

What I'm asking for, is that people think of my children and their feelings, before saying that our family is "wrong" or "against God's plan", or otherwise condemning us, while using religion as justification.

Before saying that I am causing psychological harm to them just because of the gender I am attracted to.

Before making a derogatory comment in front of their 9 year old, who sits across from my son in school, after finding out that his mom has a female partner.

Before claiming that they are any less happier, or that they will have any more problems, than their peers who have straight parents, just because their mom is gay.

My sexual orientation does not make my children, or their feelings, any different than your children and their feelings. They feel the same emotions as your children do, and my heart breaks just as much when I see them hurt and upset, as your heart does when your children are hurt and upset.

My children are not any less, or any more, valid than your children.

Please remember that before you say something that might be hurtful to them, or other children in families like ours.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

February 4th

Today my divorce was made final by the state of Utah after many months, if not years, of my marriage already being over.

In a few more days, on February 4th, another finality will occur, as I leave this home for the last time, never again calling it "my home", except when speaking in past tense.

It "is" my home will become it "was" my home.

My home, that I watched being built over a period of 9 months and that was supposed to be the place where we could finally settle down and where our kids could finally memorize our address.

 My home, where I agonized for weeks over what cabinets I wanted and what counter tops I thought would look best with them.

Should I go for the wood flooring or the more durable laminate flooring that looks just as good and would allow me to get the quartz counter tops I wanted?

{The counter tops won.} 

My home where paint colors were chosen. Carpet was decided on. A bigger front porch was added as well as french doors off the dining room so we wouldn't have to go through the garage to let the dog into the backyard like the original floor plan called for.

My home, where I fought for two extra feet to be added on to the kitchen area so there would be space for a drop zone for coats and backpacks.

My home, will no longer exist as of February 4th.

A part of me feels like I should be grieving at the loss of this home that I spent so many months watching, as it was constructed.

Grieving at the loss of my life, as I knew it.


A much bigger part of me recognizes that this home was all part of a facade.

A facade that I lived in for over 34 years and that was much bigger than 2,400 square feet.

A facade where I played the part of a housewife while at the same time doing my damnedest to hide my "terrible" secret, desperately trying to smile on the outside, while feeling as if I were drowning in an abyss on the inside.

 This bigger part of me also recognizes how much better my life has gotten since making the decision to tear down that facade, which included a doomed marriage and friendships that dissolved as a result of its demise. In truth, these things, much like the smile on my face all of those years that I was completely miserable, actually never really existed.

(Actually, the person that said "I do" over 15 years ago, who built a home based on distraction, and friendships based on a lie, never really existed either.)

As I type this, I am sitting at the kitchen table, looking at everything I still need to pack, and thinking about how funny it is that my worst fear for so many years was that the facade that I had carefully created would crumble all around me and that my life, as I knew it, would fall apart as a result.
Well, the facade finally did crumble all around me.

And my life, as I knew it, did fall apart.

But in a plot twist, I ended up being the one who held the sledgehammer that caused it.

And on February 4th, I will remove the last of the debris created by the destruction of  that facade when I walk out the door of this home and pick up my keys for my new one.

An honest one.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Family "Chaos Minimizing" Command Center

A few months ago (yes, I said months), as I was getting ready to go back to school for the semester, I decided I needed to a better way to manage our busy schedules, organize those endless classroom letters, and display those fabulous report cards that my genius kids are always getting because they take after me, of course!

Once again, enter Pinterest and about a thousand examples of these leave-it-to-beaver organization centers, referred to by moms much more organized than myself as "Command Centers". 

After days of pinning about a zillion of these so-called "command centers", I began planning my own version of one, which, let's face it, is really more of a "chaos-minimizing center" rather than a "command center". I knew I wanted to include a few things for sure: a monthly calendar (duh), a weekly calendar, some sort of sorting system for mail and homework, some place to write notes to each other, like "Hey mom, I'm -$16.00 on my lunch account because you keep forgetting to write the check and they said that if you don't give me one tomorrow, they will be sending me out to forage in the dumpster."

Anyway, once I had gathered all of my supplies, I began working on my "chaos-minimizing center".
I started with the monthly calendar first:

I knew a couple things before I started making the calendar. The first was that I wanted it to be magnetic, but that I also wanted to be able to write directly on it like a dry erase board.  I also wanted it to be fairly large to accommodate my rather large handwriting (and my failing eyesight). A 12X12 size like I was seeing all over Pinterest would not do.

 I decided on a size of 24X36, mostly because the sheet metal was already cut to that size and I didn't want to risk serious bodily harm by cutting it to fit a certain size.

Now, the sheet metal was not perfect. It did have some slight scratches and discoloration on it, which I take as being fairly normal because so did all of the other sheets. However, since I was planning on antiquing it to give it a rustic feel, I wasn't really worried.

After I got it home and spent even more time on Pinterest in search of an antiquing method to use, I found one that called for using a 50/50 vinegar-water solution and tried it.

which didn't work out too well...

After staining my hands a nice orange color when I picked the sheet up, I decided that it would be better to just cover the sheet in fabric and found a remnant of a neutral color fabric for really cheap at the fabric store

After covering the sheet with the fabric, I made the grid for the calendar next. I started by doing some not-so-quick math in my head in order to figure out the size squares that I needed. Then I used a level and ruler to help me draw the lines straight.

After I was finally finished tracing the grid in pencil, I used washi tape to complete it.

The next step was labeling the days of the week, which I did using these chalkboard style labels I found at Michael's:

(obvious hint: use a permanent chalk marker for labels that you plan on being permanent wait for it to dry. I used regular chalk markers first and they smeared badly when I was trying to slide the calendar into the frame) 

Next, I made the magnets that I would use for the numbers for the date. I used bottle caps that I found in the scrapbook section of the craft store where all of the embellishments are, round label stickers to write the dates on, and stuck them to the inside of the bottle caps. I used round magnets I found at Walmart on the backs (the strip ones weren't strong enough because of the fabric).

The original frame I bought was a cheap poster frame, and no where near strong enough to hold the sheet metal. In fact, it pretty much broke apart as soon as I lifted it up (I tend not to think of things like this ahead of time). I ended up having to take that one back and get one that was much more sturdy (and, unfortunately, much more expensive) so it would hold the weight of the sheet metal:

Here's how the calendar looks today:

(Okay, so it's actually how it looked back in November, but you get the idea.):

The weekly calendar that I posted about here sits below it and makes it easier to write the details of our week, rather than crowding up the monthly calendar with them. It also makes it easier for Diva and Destructo to know what's going on for the week as far, as what parent has them what day, since their dad's work schedule is unpredictable and his days with them change from week to week.

The next part of the command center involved a bulletin board on the adjoining wall where important notes and reminders could be hung, as well as a place where other papers and homework could be stored somewhat safely, instead of ending up on the counter top for more time than I'd like to admit collecting stains from various food and beverage items. 

The file organizer is from TJ Maxx and has a bin dedicated to each child. I like that it also has a shelf on the top where I can store items that we frequently use and that are needed often for homework. 


 Aside from the file folders used to organize homework and chore charts (which I have yet to make, let alone use),  I made each kid a binder to store the work they wanted to save and were most proud of during the year, along with their report cards and school pictures. I figured this is a much more organized way to store this type of stuff, rather than throwing everything into a plastic bin  like I usually do.

I also decided that the kids should each have their own magnet/dry erase board to to hang other things up that they felt were important or to write notes to remind me of things like this:

The magnet boards can be found at Walmart or Target and I found the rustic steel letters of each of their first initials at Michael's above each of them to add a little bit of decorative touch.

On the opposite wall of the calendar, I hung a mail organizer and another dry erase/magnet board that I found at Office Depot to write reminders for myself on (which I still manage to forget). I also hung something else that I find to be rather special next to the mail organizer...

The recessed area next to the mail organizer wall was planned to eventually be a built-in with a coat rack and bench, but since I'm not going to be here much longer, I just hung some hooks on the wall for backpacks and coats and put a shoe organizer on the floor below them.

I put the bench that I refinished a long time ago on the wall opposite of the coat rack, under the calendar, so someone could sit while taking off their shoes if they wanted to. The basket below the bench is supposed to keep hats, gloves, scarves, and other miscellaneous things nicely organized as well.

Too bad, it hasn't worked quite that well in practice:

Anybody need a toddler size life jacket in January?
However, despite the apparent difficulties my children have with walking two feet to hang their backpacks up,  I'm still really happy with the final product, which only took over 2 months to complete (and probably wouldn't have ever been finished if I hadn't had the help of my awesome girlfriend who hung everything up for me!)

It certainly isn't Pinterest perfect, but it works pretty well for us least in theory.