I love summertime. It makes me happy in so many ways. I love the heat and the sun, the long days, being outside, and working in my garden. I love having adventures with loved ones, being out on the water, or just walking along the Puget Sound, finding shells and pitching rocks. I love driving […]

Jos-Tens of Thousands of Dollars.

I graduated high school approximately 127 years ago so I have only faint memories of the process leading up through senior year to graduation. I never really expected to have to think about it again – including how to navigate through it – because I don’t have children. I do, of course, have my step-daughter, Vee, […]

Spy Girls.

The birth of Agent V – Spy Girl, and her arch-nemesis, Mr. X, was a fluke; a complete accident brought about from the convergence of a Happy Meal toy, several Japanese cartoon and video characters, and a desperate need, on my part, to come up with something that would entertain V when she was seven […]

A Rose by Any Other Name…

V came to me the other day and informed me that she wants to change her last name. She knows I chose my own name and she wanted to know what the procedure was for doing it, and how one picked a name that would harmoniously go with one’s first name, which is, of course, […]

Driving Lessons.

As a step-mom, you have to be careful not to overstep your boundaries with the real mom; life is a constant negotiation, with strategic planning taking place around many things. V’s mom emigrated here with her mother from the Ukraine; she has her priorities and perspectives and they don’t often match anyone else’s. She and […]


What do you do when your stepdaughter turns to you in the car and asks you whether her father ever really loved her? My heart broke for her, but I knew I had to be as honest as possible while tailoring my answer to her age and ability to understand. I could see that, although […]

The Cold War.

I went into the parenting section of the bookstore the other day and while there were shelves of books on parenting, there was maybe one on step-parenting. Why there is no guide book on the step-family situation – which judging by my experiences and what I’ve been hearing and reading from friends and on blogs, […]