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)

Like a shooting star, a comet, or an orchid bloom, you are loved. We cannot hold it in our hands, but be present in the moment of your light. Keep shining Mrs. G

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan in Miami

Susan in Miami said it better than I can--we are all lucky to have been part of the Manor. I'll miss seeing your posts, but I love the idea of the online community. All you broads on here are truly my friends. Mrs. G, you built a beautiful thing. Very few places on the internet are as loving and supportive and funny as this place. It's hard to say goodbye to a place that's been part of my life for 7 years but it'll be good for you to truly be able to focus elsewhere. It's good to know when to let go. Best of luck woman!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

Well hell, indeed! I do understand, though. Over time our interests, passions and priorities change. Life would be so incredibly boring if it always stayed on the same path, and you should follow your path wherever it may take you. I am so very glad that I got to meet you and spend time with you. If you're ever in KC, please give me a ring. I will miss the Manor, but the dream of the Colony lives on! Much love to you Mrs. G!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

I never did comment enough here but have enjoyed reading for a long time. You have no idea how excited I was to meet you on your tour. Best of everything for your future projects. I'll miss you here but maybe I can stalk y'all on the FB forum?

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Adios, Mrs. G! And I wish you all the best! I enjoyed your writing and always appreciated your humor, it's the best. This is my stop, too, as I refuse to join the facebook crowd. Best to all the Derfs!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermaggie

Oh, Heather - I understand your decision and fully support it. Yet the tears run down my face. :) I'm so grateful to you and the Derfs for everything we've had here. I'm glad we get to continue on elsewhere and I am still hoping mightily that I get to meet you and others in person someday. Love and hugs always... Thank you for your blogs - you are absolutely one of my favorite writers/thinkers ever and you have touched my life so. You know how to reach me if you ever need me. Anything at all, m'dear!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteraphrodite

See you on FB (and at the monthly Algebra Anonymous meetings).

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristy Lee

Waaaah! Facebook group yes please.
It is sad when things run their course...but I understand.

Safe travels and happiness to all the G's :)

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah J

Class act, Mrs. D. I totally understand. Sometimes it's right to let the curtain fall and move onto the next gig. Because there always will be one for you!! Something exciting :-). I would have let Minnesota Matron slide but for the book's publication. I'll hold onto the blog as a vehicle for a bit, but that too has seen its moment. There is a season and part of that was parenting, too. Much love. Thank you for the joy you brought me here: the arc of a strong narrative, lift of a lovely sentence. There was much to appreciate and admire!

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMinnesota Matron

So very sad to see you to hear this but I understand.
I will miss your writing and this place and the people that are here.
It would be honor to be part of the Facebook group it's a great idea. Sign me up please.
One of my regrets is that I didn't drive to Kansas City to meet you so the next time you decide to go across country you can be damn sure I'll be there.
All the best to you Mrs. G.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

One day, as a momma long ago, I dreamed a dream. And then? I found Women's Colony/Derfwad Manor, and hoo boy! Another mama had dreamt the same dream! That got my heart started, I tell ya. I missed the in real life meetup, but reading here, all this time, has kept me going. As it has for so many other women, and Gary :)

So, we are a like, and we are not. I think most women have this yearning. For belonging, for someone to "know" them. I felt that here. My thanks, and hat tip, to you dear Heather. A camaraderie so fine, I could almost taste it!

I will be on the facebook group. I've been on there almost since day one, so it's not big scary thing hovering out there. As an introvert, I groove on "talking" to people out suits me. I'm glad you can move us all over there.

I agree about just know when you know.


October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Noooooooooooooooo! So sad.

October 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMidwest Mother

Gosh. What can I say that hasn't already been so eloquently said? You are a treasure Mrs. G and I will miss you so. And I think I have something in my eye because I keep having to wipe it.

Yes to Facebook. And I echo Karen's request: Please do gather up your posts into a book of derfwad goodness. It would be treasured by so many of us.

Is that possible? Can we help you financially accomplish this?

I love you girl.


October 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranon today

Without knowing it, you challenged me to be a better writer. Writing briefly for "The Colony" was a lovely shot in the arm. And? We'll always have the the common denominator of a good monkey story. I consider that one of the high points of knowing you.

I'm closing down my space too, but not until I can come up with a good closing post for the last six people who still read. No self- pity here...just fact. In the mean time, I take comfort that we still have the ability to eventually meet in real life and I'm determined to do that. I'm not against popping up again in another writing forum if blogging ever stops being dominated by those who write from the comfort of their ad-saturated ivory towers. I'm considering the prospect of writing a book about my teaching experiences and given the amount of free time teaching allows, I should be roughly 85 when the first draft is completed. You'll be missed and, like Harriet the Spy, I know you'll get the "itch" to write. I know this because it's in your blood as it is in mine. Be well, friend, and take no shit from trolls bearing buckets of negativity. They're just jealous.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRainbow Motel

Oh, friend.

I understand. I don't like it, but I understand.

THANK YOU for sharing your world with such honesty and grace. Thank you for introducing us to new people and for creating such a lovely community. I am better for it.

I hope you will continue to write in some shape or form. You have such a gift - your writing is keen and brave and lovely, just like you.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCha Cha

Oh, friend.

I understand. I don't like it, but I understand.

THANK YOU for sharing your world with such honesty and grace. Thank you for introducing us to new people and for creating such a lovely community. I am better for it.

I hope you will continue to write in some shape or form. You have such a gift - your writing is keen and brave and lovely, just like you.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCha Cha

Good bye Mrs G.
I will miss you.
On a lighter side, I will never forget
watching you burn diet books in your
barbecue, but adding a stick of butter was priceless.
i wish for you the best of everything.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda C in Seattle

I would love to be a part of the FB group. I don't even remember how I found you, but it must have been related to homeschooling. I've been reading your blog for several years, and even had my son "friend" you later on FB because I didnt have an account. I'll certainly miss this place. It's an amazing group of people.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Love you Mrs. G - if there are any future fb groups, I want in. Found you on PW and have loved you ever since, especially your encouragement on the home school front. Best of everything to you.


October 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbeckyb

You've given us so much, you don't owe us a thing... but I'm glad you'll stick around for a private FB group. During the last election cycle some of us liberals joined a private Derfs and Sluts group where we could vent our emotions, and it worked beautifully. I think you'll be happy with it, Mrs. G. All the fun and none of the responsibility for upkeep on the manor!

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercardinal

Whoa, these comments are really touching. Thank you. I'm so glad the interest in the FB group idea has really taken off. To those of you who don't get FB, thanks for the friendship. I hope we meet again down the road.

October 21, 2014 | Registered CommenterMrs. G.

I'm not surprised but I am sad. I will miss seeing you, but you are STUCK with me now. We've met in person! We will meet in person again! And I love the idea of a Facebook page. I admire how gracefully you are letting go of DM, and can't wait to see what you do next. Love and light and more love, Barb

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarb Cooper

Ah, shit. I'd been holding on, deluding myself that it really was just a short break while you went through the training and started the new job. But sometimes you just have to pull the plug when it doesn't work for you any more. You created something truly special, made us all feel better about ourselves and each other, and made me snort-laugh at some amazingly funny turns of phrase. Thanks, Heather. Really.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacCrackHouse

Heather. I am in. I discovered you much later than most (maybe through Barb Cooper -except I don't know how I discovered her, so who knows?) Been more than grateful for the guffaws of laughter, the not so silent "Amens" after one of your exceptionally well written rants and the just plain joy of reading (most of) the comments. Looking forward to the FB page.

October 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermomwhoknits

Duuuude! Derfwad Manor and The Women's Colony have been shining lights in my life for these many years and I am grateful for the laughs, tears and wisdom from your writing Mrs G and the comments and confessions of my fellow Derfs. I will gladly join in a Facebook group.

October 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertrash

Wait! What? Well hell....

I'm gone for a few days and look what happens! I totally understand but am very sorry to see the manor go. I will soldier on with the Facebook gang and will certainly keep my secret boyfriends as busy as possible.

Best of luck to you, Heather! I know we only met very briefly but I have you to thank for meeting some of my favorite humans. Without you there would be no Gary, no Meredith, no Suzanne, no Aunt Snow, no Karen, no Melissa, no Jenn, no Cassi, no Heidi...I know I'm forgetting some awesome folks, sorry... in my life. You've been an inspiration to me as I started my website. I can't thank you enough for the friendship and community you're created here. Much love to you! xoxo Claudia

I, too, have been reading your blog since finding you through PW years ago. Sad to see the Manor close down but not surprised. Thank you for the laughter and tears through the years, often just when I needed it most. Best wishes to you and your family for much happiness and success. You are a wonderful writer and storyteller and a brave, feisty person. All wonderful qualities! Please keep my email address on file in case there is a reincarnation or a successor to DM. No Facebook time suck for me but if you start another blog, I'm all in.
Take care,
Debbie in AZ

October 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie in AZ

I would love to stay in touch...count me in!

October 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Mrs. G - congratulations on such a successful blogging run! I totally understand, but I did give a verbal gasp when I read your post. :) I will miss your writings tremendously! I'm mainly a lurker, and found you from the Pioneer Woman (a period of my life I like to call "wasted on inferior blogs" - seriously, have you been to her site lately?? Holy commercialized much? Yes, that is entirely jealousy speaking ;) )

Best, best of luck with all your endeavours! I'll miss DM!

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLori K

Oh, Mrs. G. This is news that doesn't surprise but does disappoint. Yours is a unique voice on the internet. I have loved your turn of phrase. I marvel at your candor. I admire your deep devotion to family mixed with some sassy humor. Your blog has been a gift. I am sorry to see it go, but am glad that we can keep up through FB at the very least. Best wishes to you and yours and if you ever get a wild hair to start writing again, please know you have an audience. Hugs, woman. Les

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter1Les

I <3 you Mrs. G. Yesterday, today, and always. See you on FB.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie O

I will miss the Manor enormously -- it is the first and still only blog I've ever followed, and for many years your thoughts and humour, Mrs. G., together with the comments of all the derfs, have made a huge difference in my life. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a beautiful and generous and brave person, Mrs. G., and I wish you and your family and to all the derfs good lives, good health and much happiness.

Thank you!

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMona

Best of luck in all you do. I agree with the notion of composing a book-from your columns or otherwise. It will be great. I read here (lurk) all the time but comment infrequently. Heading over to put in a request to join the FB group. Thanks for starting this.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBj

So...any chance you'll reconsider? Just a hopeful visit back to read all these great comments. I'm having a hard time imagining the internet without your voice in it on a regular basis.

Wow. Has it only been 8 years? It feels like Derfwad Manor has been a part of my life almost forever.


Can't believe it's coming to an end.



Okay. I'll work my way through the stages. But I'm in Western Washington too. I hope/expect to meet up one of these days. Tell me when. Until then, love to you. I can't even express how much I'll miss the Manor.

October 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

I haven't read all of the comments, but my sentiment is the same as the ones I have read at the beginning (I will get to the others soon, I enjoy the comments, too!) - sad to see you quit writing on the blog, but happy for you and your new adventures. It was always such a wonderful experience visiting this site - from the funny, excellent writing to the awesome people commenting. I don't even remember the year I found your blog, you were on blogspot then, and I've followed you though all of your moves. I think you are a wonderful, kind, beautiful, overall awesome woman. I would love to be a part of a facebook group with you. I've often wanted to come to Seattle just to have coffee with you. Someday I might make it out west and I hope that if I do, I get the pleasure of meeting you in person.

I hope you someday write a book. Self publish, Kindle, anything... even a compilation of your posts here. Your blog is the only one I've kept up with... if I don't visit for a few weeks, I go back and read every post. Since you joined facebook, I loved getting the notices of new posts.

You could maybe just take the current facebook group and make it a private group for everyone to keep up with each other. I'm not all that well versed on facebook, either, so I'm not sure.

I wish you well - you have touched so many lives, it's very sad to see this come to an end. I do hope that you have all of your posts saved somewhere! Much love, good vibes, good thoughts and all that stuff towards you and your family. I'm not saying goodbye, though... because I'll still see you on facebook! :)

October 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

My dismay when the Women's Colony was shuttered, my joy when the Manor reopened... You have been a delight and a joy. Sparkling sardonic prose wrapped in a realistic sarcastic cat shawl. Like so many have said before, this place will be deeply missed and the regret will run deep, for a long time. But thanks also for the exposure to the many blogs I have read over the years, and will continue to read, as long as they have a few more posts in them. Miss you already.

See you on The Facebooks!

October 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercheryl

I love you writing, and enjoyed our year(ish) of collaboration more than I can say. You continue to inspire me and I'm grateful beyond the most distant star that we are friends. I still want to be your right hand woman when you go on that book tour. I'll fend off the crazies. See you at Chistmas...?

October 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteraarynb

I wish you the best in everything Heather! I so enjoyed meeting you when you came to Houston!! I've loved reading your stories and have been grateful that you were ok with us Derfs emailing you once in a while when we just needed to "talk". Thanks again for being there! You rock!!

October 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermissy

Late to the farewells because I have been mostly absent from reading and writing blogs, too. I keep thinking I'll drop mine and not nearly as many people would notice! I live the FB idea to keep in touch.

You inspired me to start my blog and I aspired to your level of humor, kindness and creativity.

I wish you the very best with algebra and beyond.

October 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrightsideSusan

I've loved this ride---it's been a whoopin' hollerin' can-I-help-you, Look what I can do, what can I do for YOU, take me as I am, help me with making some changes, did I do the right thing?, I hope you'll forgive me, I can't believe you said that, How BRAVE you are, how much I admire you, I need a hug, There's just SO much you can do, Who does she think she IS?, Can I just vent a little, Help me make it through the night, Do you know how special and wonderful you are, There's no business like show business, I finished my degree/project/book/life plan, Hooray for YOU!, I just lost something/someone so profoundly wonderful, and here's who I really am---I trust you with it, to hold it in your hands and heart and abide. You HAVE kept us zipped and snapped.

A closing out, a winding-down, a beloved home stripped to the echoes---the SPIRIT of this wonderful place---this haven of fun and hope and good friends---that's gonna go on forever.

Bon Voyage and Godspeed, our kindest, funniest, smartest, ballsiest friend---I wish you well and warm and happy.


October 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

I think I only commented once or twice and I'm too far south in Florida to have met up with the now-legendary Derfwad tour, but I do believe that I've read every word that you've ever written here, Heather. I loved to hear your voice in your posts and I'll sorely miss that. You've gradually weaned us off that in the last months and we'll have to move on. I absolutely agree with others here that you should write a memoir--your writing is far better than most of what I read (and I read a lot!) Everything has a season and the season for the Manor is over but I'll miss you. I feel like you're a friend I never met.

October 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Shy Deb

I hear you on seasons, and I so suck at knowing when they're over. Glad you hung on as long as you did, thank you for that ... every word was devoured, many laughed at, and many stretched my eyes in good-for-me ways. All were enjoyed. You will be missed mightily, please please count me in on FB (I'll go comment) and wishing you Dansko's and delight and passion for whatever season comes up next. I'm going to come knocking one of these days, and drag you out for a drink and a clove ... xoxoxo.

October 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

Best wishes. I'm sad to see you go but thank you for all the great years!

October 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie J

As a fellow blogger whose life just took a sharp turn in a crazy-ass direction, I get it. We'll keep this party alive in different ways and fan the flame of friendship you've nurtured for so long. All of it, every single crazy mom, ugly shoe, secret boyfriend, grumpy hair day post made me feel like I'd found this safe feminist haven. A coven of the very best kind.
I'm making weekly contributions to my 401K again, so when it's time for downpayments on our cottages at the colony, I'll be ready.
See ya in the funny pages, you wonderful helluva broad.

October 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Westemeier

Long-time lurker who has admired your writing for as long as I've been lurking. Thanks for the stories and best wishes to you and your family.

November 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Wow, love you so! I'll catch you on the FB. I understand, life is busy here, I don't get to check in as much as I'd like. Glad I saw the post though. Thanks for everything!

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSalty Mama

Mrs. G, I wish you all the best. I have loved this space and you writing. From way back...maybe even that one site...your home schooling posts keep me going. Particularly the one about gum drops. Anyway, thank you friend. See you on fb.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather W.

I hope I'm not too late. I've decided where ever it is you are going I want to go too.
Just tell me how to get there. I feel like I'm just starting to get to know you all.

December 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSpringhill

gosh....I miss this place.......seriously......sniff......

January 14, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Carol
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