Well Hell, Woman

I don't think this is going to surprise most of you, but after much thought, I'm hanging up my blogging hat. After nearly eight years, I feel Derfwad Manor has run its course. I actually feel it ran its course a good while ago, but I just couldn't let it go.


Unlike in the past, this is not a reaction to anything other than that it's time. The quality and consistency of posts have gone down and the pesky breaks are getting longer. My love for Johnny Depp has, frankly, waned. Now it's all about Mark Ruffalo and Peter Quinn from Homeland. I think blogs have seasons and I can feel this one's is over. 


The main reason I've been hanging on is because of of the community we've built over time. I can't speak for you, but without it, my life would be far less satisfying. I know many of you nearly as well as you know me. I've been reading your generous, thoughtful comments (and blogs) for years and had the privilege of meeting a number of you. I've met your families and slept in your homes.


Thank you for that.


So with all this in mind, I hope we can start a forum to keep on trucking, together. I'm thinking we should start a private Facebook group. I'm not very well versed in forum platforms so if any of you have better ideas, please let me know. If you're interested in creating a group, leave a comment on this post on DM's Facebook page and I will invite you to join. I'm going to keep the blog open a few weeks so everyone knows the scoop, and then I'm going to pull the old broad down to eliminate monthly hosting fees.


I began Derfwad Manor when I received a laptop from my family on my 40th birthday. Thank you to them for kicking off a really amazing ride.


May your Secret Boyfriends remain loyal and your hair keep looking good. If you are ever in Seattle, let's have coffee. I mean it ( See you in the funny papers.

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Reader Comments (100)

While I can say I'm saddened by this news, I can't say I'm surprised - your interests have been changing for awhile, and while it's been fun for us to eavesdrop on the growth and changes, you can't do everything forever. Something has to give - it took me a long time to realize that just because I was interested in something for awhile doesn't mean I have to be forever!

I truly and from the bottom (and top and sides) of my heart wish you joy and satisfaction and success with your new directions. It's exciting and scary all at once, and sometimes I think that's one of the best feelings in the world.

Thank you, TC! It was really nice meeting you.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTC

I'm dense, I guess, but you truly caught me completely by surprise here. I'm stunned, but I guess I'll move along. But the thing is, you're a friend, and I'll miss you. Even more than that, I'll miss your writing! You have such a gift. Even when you think you're off the mark, you're really on. How will this Facebook thing work out? Sorry to sound like it's all about me, and that you have no right to do what's best for you. It's just going to take some time to adjust. Best wishes to you, Mrs. G.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I'm not sure I could put into words what you have meant to me. So, I will just say, best wishes to you and yours. I will miss you, Mrs. G.

Thanks, Karen

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

This blog has meant as much to me (if not more) as it has to you. Thank you for the kind words.

Caroline, the FB group would be private and include interested readers. We could stay in touch and discuss any subject we want. I'm sorry you were stunned. I'm not sure how to have announced it without many feeling that. xoxo

October 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterMrs. G.

Mrs. G ever since I stumbled upon your blog back in 2008 it has been a delightful ride. Growing up in a very conservative Christian atmosphere you helped open my eyes to a broader world and planted little seeds of feminism. You helped me feel okay with questioning things that I had been told to believe and most of all made me feel good about being a woman. While I may be sad that Derfwadmanor Manor is ending, I truly wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

Ashley, this is one of the nicest comments ever left. Thank you.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Today, I'm deleting negative comments. Please direct them to

October 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterMrs. G.

I am sad of course, but not so much surprised. Except for the Johnny Depp part, that I wasn't expecting. I have made some wonderful friends through the Manor, and I hope that we can all continue to chat on the new group page.


October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSmalltown Me

i can't believe you're getting negative comments. Jesus Criminy!! What do people want!?!? grrrrr.

that TC, i'm not surprised either. a bit sad, yes, but....knowing in my heart that facebook will keep the true friendships alive and that you I will meet again (that was such a grand time!! i cherish those photos and memories!!).

things come and go in our lives for a reason....once their purpose is completed, it's time to move on.
so goes the way of blogs, it seems.
thanks for ride, mrs. g (and family)'s been a helluva good time!

Thanks, D. It was a blast to meet you!

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterdebKuroiwa

I get this and I'm in, I'm in,I'm in.
You know I love this crowd.

I'm so glad you're in, M.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermeredith@whynot

Good for you. You don't owe us a thing, and I think the facebook forum option is perfect. I use them for scholarly groups and it totally suits our purpose of maintaining community and privacy.

And the community here has been as great as the writing. I've enjoyed the connections, the stories, and how this place has helped me rethink my perspective, and work on my own relationships.

To everything a season, and just so you know, this season you made here was GREAT.
I love you broads.
Thanks for everything. I'm in.

Thanks Molly. Hey, your kitchen looks great!

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermolly

This does NOT let you off the hook for us meeting in person. Writing alongside you at The Women's Colony was an amazing and enriching experience for me and reading your posts--and all the comments from this community on the posts--was the best part of my day for years.

I treasure the many people I met because of you. In fact, being Mrs. G's First Slow Cook Thursday is one of my claims to fame. I am linking it as a hat tip to you for changing my life by your desire to build community--I owe much of my current success as an advocate and community builder to your incredible model.

I love you. That is all.

Oh we are going to meet, Jenn. In fact, I often have to remind myself that we haven't. You have been an inspiration to me too. xoxo

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

You will be missed. I have always been able to come to the Manor when I need a break from reality. It has been like a security blanket in some of my worst times. It has made me laugh, cry and smile.

Everything has a season and I have truly enjoyed this season in your life and hope you get much enjoyment out of your next.. I would love to be a part of a Facebook group or any other.

I really appreciate it, Other TC.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe other TC

I'll miss the Manor, but we all have to move on. I know you'll do some wonderful things!

I'm grateful for the opportunities you've given me, both at Derfwad Manor and at the Women's Colony, to publish my writing. It's given me the confidence I needed to motivate me to apply for MFA writing programs. (how long will the Manor be up? The publication section on my CV links to it!!)

More than that, you've created a community that is rich and vital and forged many connections that will remain.

I'm also grateful for having met you, personally, and for your kind support and counsel when I went up to Seattle to see my late friend Laurie.

Best to you, Heather, and stick around on Facebook!!

Thank for sharing your writing with us. I know you'll be a hit in your MFA program! I'll leave the Manor up for the month. Let me know if I need to leave it up longer. xoxo

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Snow

I've been reading since 2006 or 7? I lose track... I'm sorry to see you stop, but I can totally understand that it's time to move on. I'm in on the Fb group. I do think you should collect some of your posts for posterity. An essay collection perhaps? I think we'd buy it :)

Thank you Amy. I'll think about it.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Heather, as much as I am surprised, I'm also…not. I understand the feeling of not wanting to let others down by 'retiring' the blog, but there are certainly seasons in our lives, aren't there? On a very much smaller scale, I've backed away from blogging, too, and I'm not sure if I can get up and running again. I want to--but we'll see. I love the idea of a Facebook group! Can't wait to find out more. But most important: AAAACK! NO! DON'T GO! Oops, I mean: all the most fabulous best wishes on the next leg of your journey through life. What marvelous fun it's been! Thank you for your wonderful writing, achingly funny stories, and sincere affection. See you later, Mrs G.

Thank YOU Jenny. I'm really glad you got some good laughs.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennyExplainsItAll

Having lurked for years catching up between one family crisis and then another,I have loved the openness and honesty of your writing always. Thank you so much for the willingness to share your life with us. I've spent more than a few late nights reading, laughing, sniffling, and being glad to know you and your wonderful community were out there. While I still can't promise much more than being a devoted lurker, I think a Facebook group would be a great direction to go. And if not, I will remember and wish you and yours the best the world has to offer!

I really appreciate your good wishes.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Your blog has meant so much to me. I'm a huge introvert--I barely keep in touch with friends in real life!--so the fact that I comment on your blog and drove 3 hours to meet you on your tour should tell you how much I appreciate you and love the colony. You and I have quite different opinions on many things, yet at the same time, sometimes I think we are twins. So much has changed for me personally over the past 8 years and everything you wrote about was perfect at the right time. Anyhow, enough rambling, but I would love to keep in touch through a facebook group of some sort. And I love your stories--I agree it would be wonderful to archive them or print them up somehow.

Jenny, thank you so much for making the drive! I'm so glad we met. I think we are twins -- especially where bloody marys are concerned.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjennyinnc

Heather darling, there is nothing but unabashed love and sarcasm in my heart for you. I will be one of your FB babes. This has been marvelous for so very long; I, too, would not be the same without the Derfs.

Madtown Tanya, you are definitely my kind of broad. I still wear the dress.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMadtown Tanya

We may not always agree and I rarely comment but I understand how you feel and hope you will transfer to a free site and post at will. With my kids gone, I feel like there's less going on around here and less to post about too. Your posts are always top notch and something I always look forward to reading. Heather, give yourself more credit and when you do, it still won't be enough. <Hugs>makes

Hugs to you too, Katherine. I'm glad many of us disagreed. It forces us to consider other opinions.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine Aucoin

Your writing is amazing and you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing so much with your readers over the years!

I will be lining up to buy your first book (please tell me I won't have to wait too long!)

Thanks D! Regarding the book? From your mouth to god's ears.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterD Anderson

I have so enjoyed the colony and your writing....I wish you nothing but the best and will truly miss you. Good luck in everything....will see you on FB?.....hugs

Aww, thanks Trudy. Yes, see you on FB.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTrudy

Ouch! This hurts! I love your writing and your stories. It was such a treat to meet you; you should have heard my squeals of excitement when I heard from you that you would stay at my house even briefly. I'm in for a FB group. I would miss knowing what is going on in your world.
Best of success to you. You are very talented, even if you don't realize it!

I so loved staying with you! Let's all keep up with each other on FB.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterknittergran

Heather, I knew this moment would come, and yet I am still sad to see it in print. I have great respect for you and I know you made this decision from a "good place" of reflection. You have made the internet a better place -- and for this, I am tremendously grateful. I dearly wish that Derfwad Manor could live on the internet in static form (kind of like visiting the house and neighborhood in which you grew up) but the expense isn't wise, and honestly this place isn't the same without the give and take of community nurtured by you.
Please do gather up your posts into a book of derfwad goodness. It would be treasured by so many of us.
I look forward to being a part of keeping that community moving forward on facebook.

Thanks Karen. You know you are still welcome to stay in the Cat Room!

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren (formerly kcinnova)

The preservation idea is taking off...

It is! Whew...I need it.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Well, dear Mrs. G., you have made me come to a monumental decision....I am going to get my sister to help put me on Crackbook...errrr, Facebook, when she comes to visit next month. I have always resisted having anything to do with it, but there is no way I can lose touch with something I value and respect so much as the tribe of the Manor. You have created a unique gathering place in the big, bad internet, with such joyous acceptance of all, and truly gifted story telling and commentary. In the years I have been reading, you have given so freely of yourself and your talents, often leaving yourself vulnerable to harsh criticism. It has been such a treat to have enjoyed your writing and I know that karma is going to be very, very kind to you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you Ellie! Such nice words. I'm glad you are going to keep up with us. Crackbook is a breeze.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllie

To sound like a broken record, I'm surprised and not surprised. I've been reading for years and have gotten so much from this blog. You are talented and gutsy. I just know it's going to pay off for you soon. Writing talent like yours is important and someday the whole world will know who you are.

Thanks anonalso. I appreciate your kind words and faith in me.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranonalso

Aw, gee, Mrs. G ... I get it - I'll miss this place - it's been such a part of me for so long and what a ride! I'm all in for the fb thing - but I hope you'll leave us with the answer to one lingering question ... what was the deal with your aunt and the feather boas?

I had the best time staying with you Anne. I still covet the life sized JD (and your cooking). The red boas were for my aunt's launch of a heart disease awareness group --

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne in GA

Oh, I'll miss this. I'm on with the FB idea, but this - the marvelous writing, the camaraderie, sharing, the privacy (of sorts), and mostly, you. I'm glad we actually had a face to face, and look forward to another (soon? c'mon, it's still warm down here and the tomatoes are blooming again). Mrs. G, I have sensed you had moved on, especially with both children out of the house, but I'll miss Derfwad's retreat. Now off to FB so I'll at least have you there. I am already on one private group there, but you know, a guy started it, and there are a bunch of other guys, and I like them, I do, and I know they like me, but they also like boobs! Pictures of boobs! Sheesh. Love you, honey, let's make sure this connection lasts a lifetime.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternaomid.

Mrs. G I love you. And I will miss you. I do hope we can put facebook to good use and keep the manor alive as a private group. I have treasured this blog and hooker I am going to feel the loss. But I'll put on my big girl pants and try to keep the derf spirit alive in my own part of the world.

And, if that beautiful dream we have all dreamed together should one day come to pass, I would like to request a regular spot for Tuesday nights at the chef's table. Mr. Bourdain and I have things to discuss. I'm going to keep hoping.

Come see me in Portland anytime and I'll buy you a Salt & Straw cone of your choice. To all you sassy and fine women and fine Gary, farewell. You are the tits! Love always, Kelly

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Sometimes the best thing is knowing "when." I don't do Facebook so this is my stop. Good luck and best wishes! :0) It was fun!

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermamaraby

I have followed your blog for many years and have cried, laughed, questioned, been outraged or confused over what I have read. It has truly been wonderful. I especially love the pictures that you chose and the sense of community that this blog has. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I hope to be able to follow you on fb.

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Well, this was a helluva thing to read first thing in the morning. Yours was the first blog I'd check every morning for so many years! Your writing, your sense of community and your warmth and wit have made me laugh, think, and get teary-eyed. Thank you, Heather. You are a classy, sassy broad and I wish you good times, joy, and answers to algebraic formulas as you move forward. I'd love to be included in any fb community you may develop; I would miss you and so many of the derfs that I've come to "know" over the years! Best of luck, hussy!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarty

Not to be too dramatic, but it's entirely possible that I owe my life to you, my fellow derfs, and this space. And now, as I transition into making sure that it is a life that was worth saving, I will need to learn facebook my own self. Through my tears, I am wishing you the absolute best. Wishing you smashing success with all of the dreams that you hold and the new ones you will create. Please also extend my gratitude to your family who so graciously shared you with us.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranother sue

I am sad, but I understand. I can only hope, someday, you will write a book and it will be a best seller and you will be on all the talk shows and I will say I knew her when. Oh, my fantasy, not yours, sorry. I will miss you, your humor and all the Derfs in this community. When I first found your blog, it was the highlight of my day while I worked at a very unsatisfactory job. Thanks for that. I understand, I don't like it, but I do. Good luck, Mrs. G.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlbug

Oh, Mrs. G...I will miss this place, but of course you need to do what you need to. I'm on for Facebook. I hope a lot of Derfs come along too!

It was such a pleasure to meet you and the other Derfs when you came to Philly. It was a wonderful time!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessie - a different one

It's been a bumpy ride Heather but I've enjoyed it. DM came at a time I needed it all those years ago with tiny children. Now my kids are older and the dynamic of my life has changed as well. Thank you for being encouraging about my choice to homeschool. The first year was REALLY HARD but now we're on the thrid for my daughter and first for my son and it's gotten so much easier. I am sorry we never met in person. Facebook and I don't get along so my involvement ends here but good luck to everyone.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather in Oregon

I will miss coming here but I completely understand. Life is a series of changes and this is just one. That said, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your posts and the community you created. I'm a huge introvert and I much rather listen than talk.....or read than write. Reading your comments, musings, views, etc. and the input from the readers has been enlightening for me and I would love to join the FB group. Who knows....I may even say something. :)

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbendersmutter

Well, Mrs. G., this makes for a sad Monday, but we all know that sometimes the muse is there and sometimes she flits away to parts unknown. I know I speak for many when I say your writing has often been a tonic for what ails us, so let us know whenever she passes your way in the future. Count me in on the FB group please.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

I have been primarily a lurker. But a loyal and not-creepy lurker. And I will miss this space and the roaring heart you've shared with us all. But change is good. No matter what, change is good. So Godspeed in your next endeavor, Mrs G. XOX

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShana

Thanks Mrs. G for sharing all of it. I've never had that much courage, go forth and be sassy!
I'll miss you and the community here.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterklcrab

As an only-occasional poster but long-time reader, I am so sad to see you go, but not surprised as life is taking you in new life always should. I am a FB holdout, but I do hope and believe that I will see your wonderful writing pop up again somewhere. You have a unique and winning voice and like other commenters, I urge you to compile your past posts somewhere (I would buy the book!). Thanks for all the funny, touching, thought-provoking, and delightfully REAL posts over the years. I will miss your voice. Wishing you and the rest of the G. family lots of joy and adventure ahead.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter*m*

Aw, Mrs. G. I understand. I don't remember any longer when I first ran across you, but once I did, I was hooked. I went back and read the archives and then followed along through the various platforms and sites. You've made me laugh loudly, brought a tear to my eye other times and a time or two made me think "what the hell?" Those are all good things. I know it's hard, but never, ever doubt your gift as a writer. You have it.

One piece of writing that has always stuck with me, through my own good and bad, is your piece about marriage. Peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys. I think I'll go see if I can find it and print it off now to keep. It's a good reminder about a lot of things, not just marriage.

Take care.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

oh my.....sadness is wrapped around me....

While I understand, I will miss this place, your writings, your guts. Life without this piece of heaven for me will truly be darker. Where most times I don't "fit"....even in my clunky way, I felt accepted here.

You all are the most amazing broads - with you, Mrs. G, leading the pack.

I realize that life is about change and embracing those changes, but this one will be tough. Mrs. G....thank you for the years of laughter, most excellent writing, a place for joys to be shared, heartbreaks healed and compassion gifted.

If I can figure out the facebook thing and you'll allow me....I'd love to keep up with you all.

Here's a hug (a big bear one!) from me....with tears on my cheeks.....thanks for letting me be a small part of this amazing place.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Carol

Diane Carol and others who are going to have to launch themselves into Facebook, I promise it is easy. You can set up an extremely minimal account and then never do anything with it. However, just having an account will let you join the private Derf page where you can just read comments or join in by simply typing in the comment box and hitting post. You can do it! We'll help.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersusan

I'm happy for you... I think you will be less stressed and feel lighter, so yay! But... waaaaaa, it's still sad... on days that you posted it was like getting to open a present... and I'm going to miss updates on you and your family. That being said, I so understand! Now go forth and conquer the world!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie

Mrs. G, You have so much to give, I'm glad you're spreading the wealth beyond our "doors", but man alive I'm gonna miss this community! A book of the best posts would be so welcome, even if it did have to leave out the comments which were invaluable.

Fellow Derfs -- You all have saved my marriage (so far), my sanity (what there was of it) and my life (no, really). Thank you!

best of luck and much success with EVERYTHING you do. I'll see you on FB.

MUCH love.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterilyanna

I will miss you and your hilarious stories and your great writing. You are the backbone of this wonderful community, so I hope it can continue on facebook as a forum. I feel really privileged to have been able to meet you when you stopped in Charlottesville two years ago.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatience

Dear Mrs G. Thanks for the memories. It's been great being allowed the privilege of peeking into your life and times. I live where computer reception is problematic so I don't bother with Facebook but it will be a comfort to know that out there, there is one wise witty compassionate woman allowing others to share her thoughts without dissembling, Franinoz

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfraninoz

Again, thanks for all the kind, supportive comments.

October 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterMrs. G.

So sorry to read this, but I do understand. Over the years you've entertained me, given me much to think and laugh about and a safe place to vent. I feel ever so lucky to have met you in person. Thanks for a wonderful ride and all the best in your future adventures!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter~annie
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