Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Cheryl Oreglia and her Debut Book – Grow Damn It!

Welcome to my first Q & A of 2023 as I resume back to regular scheduling here at my blog/website. I am excited to be featuring Cheryl Oreglia here today so you can get to know more about her. Cheryl just released her debut book – Grow Damn It! And when she emailed me last year, asking if I’d like an ARC of her upcoming book, and asked if I’d write an editorial, I was elated. Already knowing how and what Cheryl writes about because I’d been following her blog for a few years, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed in the book. Instead I was drawn right into her stories and her conversational way of telling them, stories about her almost sitcom-like life with her husband Larry.



About Cheryl:

I was born and bred in the San Francisco Bay Area, a California native, but don’t hold that against me because although I’m blond, I have never surfed, nor do I live in the lap of luxury. Due to circumstances out of my control, I now host a lifestyle blog called Living in the Gap, which appears weekly as I corral the time to write and reflect on the mundane. As I was entering menopause, I entered a graduate program, and amidst hot flashes and hormone surges, I secured an M.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. I do have a life outside of my head, and it squeezes between me and my keyboard like a frightened child. What can you do? On the surface, my life is common, I married the guy I met in high school, and we made a bunch of children, which to our delight, resulted in grandchildren. I’m now a retired educator who lives for weekends at the lake, but just below the surface is a unique voice, one that I hope will resonate with you. Living in the Gap is a customized, over-the-hill, gritty, complicated blog, and I think you’ll love it. Join me. Oh, and I recently published a book, Grow Damn It, you can find it anywhere you buy your books. If not, contact me at cheryloreglia@aol.com




Grow Damn It! is a captivating work by Cheryl Oreglia, who uses uncommon honesty and arresting humor to draw you into her cantankerous life, forty-year marriage, and revolving empty nest. She claims the space between past and future is where our potential is created or destroyed.

If you don’t like where your life is going, dig deeper, and write a new story. By weeding out the things that clutter her life, she invites you into a refreshing space with some of her most popular posts from her beloved blog Living in the Gap.

She surrounds herself with a gaggle of intriguing friends, along with a large and rambunctious family who challenge both her and the reader to live fully in an ever-changing world. Her provocative writing dares us to confront our lives not only with optimism, but courage, and uproarious laughter. Oreglia uses her experience to explore what matters most in life… the degree to which we love and are loved.


A Review for Grow Damn It by Diana Peach

D. W. Peach

5.0 out of 5 stars A witty, wise, and occasionlly heartbreaking memoirReviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 5, 2023

Oreglia’s debut memoir is a beautiful read. It’s personal yet relatable. It’s outrageously funny and heartbreaking, and it’s all about the challenges that life throws at us and how we grow into wisdom and love as a result. It’s one of those books that I might read on my birthday every year, to remind myself of what’s important about this one chance at life.

In a series of essays, the author shares the experiences from her life that shaped her thinking and led to change, appreciation, and a deep well of love. The chaos that comes with family relationships—parents, siblings, spouses, children, and grandchildren—becomes the fodder for growth. And her storytelling is honest and full of wit. As a woman in her 60s, I could relate to almost every experience that comes with aging—from the delights of menopause to corralling grandchildren to watching those we love die.

Which goes to show that not every essay in this book is laugh-out-loud funny. Many involved pain, loss, and regret. They pull on the heartstrings, sharing some tough truths—that life is temporary and things can change at the drop of a hat. Don’t waste it. Oreglia’s wisdom and advice seem to arise through quiet moments of presence when she can take a reflective breath, but she also references the words of other sages, notably John O’Donohue (Anam Cara), and writer Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), two of my favorite authors/books.

As Oreglia says, “Show up for your own life.” That’s my new mantra. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy memoirs and the opportunity to reflect on life’s universal lessons, and perhaps grow, damn it.




Welcome Cheryl. Now, let’s get to know more about Cheryl!


When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and why did you start

From my earliest memories, I’ve always been enthralled with writing. I remember learning the secrets of the alphabet, how you formed words and then used these words to express a thought. It was magical. I used to write poems, short stories and read them to my family, who encouraged my passion for writing. But life has a way of detouring our dreams with marriage, family, and worldly obligations.

When I was entering menopause, I entered a graduate program at Santa Clara University. This is smack in the middle of a thirty-year marriage, raising four kids, a needy dog, and high maintenance fish. Life was hectic.

As I was rolling out eighteen-page research papers, my passion for writing was reignited. I started writing stories and reading them to my sister. She was cautiously optimistic.

It was 2015 when my sister Nancy walked into the house with an exquisitely wrapped book for my birthday. She made me open it and read it out loud from cover to cover. “One day, I had an idea.” This is the first line in a little book by Kobi Yamada, entitled, What do you do with an idea?

She gave me this gift because she believes in me. From my earliest memories, this woman has had my back, and she protects my dreams like a well-worn jock strap (A misfit metaphor if there ever was one but it refuses to leave). Nancy is my only sibling. She lives just seven miles away, door to door. We calculated it once for fun. She dragged me to a feng shui class a few years ago, and now she claims my qi is off because my door is improperly positioned.

Hiding is impossible with Nancy because she knows my moves and sees the truth often before it is apparent to me. This is the resiliency of sisterhood. And best of all, when I call her in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep, she acts like this is normal.

The import of this little book is almost too significant to describe. After reading the entire book, I looked up. We didn’t speak a word, she just gave me this little nod, and I knew the depth of her fertile generosity. She was willing me to go forth with my work as a writer, but I was scared.

I have all the normal fears around exposure, and despite behavior to the contrary, I have never wanted people to think I am crazy, off-kilter, or worse – full of rubbish. She was begging me to jump!

She doesn’t have a great track record with asking me to jump. When she was six (beyond the age of reason), and I was four, she told me I could fly. I believed her and leaped off a shallow ledge, resulting in a nasty cut to my upper lip. I still have the scar to prove it. She insists the story is exaggerated, but you can understand my hesitancy when she says, “jump.”

I overlooked the past, took a leap of faith, and started a damn blog. My fingers actually shook when I hit the publish button for the first time. My husband immediately yelled, “You misspelled corral.” I almost fainted. Then he said, “No, no, it’s right.”

“I liked being with my idea. It made me feel more alive, like I could do anything. It encouraged me to think big… and then, to think bigger,” writes Kobi Yamada. After blogging daily for the entire summer, it became my greatest joy and a disastrous chore. I was trying to decide if I should give it up or not. I teach high school, and the semester was about to begin, which meant my time would be even more limited.

I was living in fear that I had used up all my words, there were no more valid experiences to write about, and the three people still reading (mom, Nancy, & Larry) were doing so out of obligation (This might be true).

Yamada writes, “Then, one day, something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky.” This happened when Krista Tippett tweeted, “I love your blog.” The power of one’s sister, by blood or by choice, is truly a blessing. The page views lit up like the Rockies during the summer of 2015, and of course, I called Nancy to tell her about my new BFF. I think she was jealous. She said, “Is she bothering you?” Love you, my fearless guardian angel, my sister, my friend.

I would have stopped writing if it wasn’t for Krista and Nancy. I’m forever grateful for their support, encouragement, and grace in pushing me in the right direction.

D.G. What an amazing story to your journey of authordom Cheryl. It’s so amazing and a blessing to have people who support our writing. 💜


Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages
you feel are well received by your readers?

Grow Damn It is an eclectic selection of stories that I hope you will resonate with you. The stories are about the realities of life, some sad, some funny, but most are about the challenges we are forced to meet in our daily life. It is my hope that we can grow and prosper by exploring some of the more demanding moments together, expanding our love and respect for each other. It is a book that I hope people will pick up again and again, finding new messages embedded in the tales each and every time.

These particular stories shaped me in some way, requiring me to stretch, recalibrate and grow damn it. I draw you into the chaos of a large family with children, grandchildren, and a gaggle of dear friends. As you know, life can get steamy. I dare my readers to enter as if in a sauna, naked, vulnerable, and ready to manage the intensity of life’s most intimate moments.

The most important message woven in the pages of this book is about jumping in, showing up, and participating in life, even when you want to retreat and lick your wounds. I want readers to know they are not alone, we’re all experiencing many of the same challenges, overcoming the same obstacles, and we can do it together with humor and love.

D.G. I love that Cheryl. A great summation for your book!


What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?

My husband and I have recently retired and we’re struggling to adjust to the new lifestyle. You would think that retirement would allow me time to write, reflect, read, and putter in the garden. But that has not been our experience. I’m busier now than I have ever been. We are both avid hikers, our first adventure was to walk a little over 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago, from France into Spain. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and plan on walking the Portuguese Camino in the spring of 2024.

My husband Larry is an experienced biker, as in mountain biking. So, in order to pull me into his world he bought us a tandem bike last year and we have been participating in tandem events across the country. In three weeks, we head to Japan, to join an organized tandem event and ride across the country.

Our third love is traveling which has been curtailed due to COVID but that is behind us now and we have trips planned to New York midyear to visit our daughter, one to Portugal in the fall to spend some time with our son, and quick stay in Florida sometime in-between to visit with old friends. We have a cabin in Lake County which draws in the entire family and we spend half of our time mesmerized by the beautiful shores of Clearlake, wine tasting, enjoying large family dinners, and lounging on the beach. Of course, Clearlake is my muse and favorite place to write. I write about all of these adventures in my blog, Living in the Gap, and they is the source for my collection of stories for Grow Damn It.

D.G. How exciting! I envy your fabulous getaways. I read about some of your hikes and hilarious events in your book, and on your blog. I always enjoy reading your stories. 💜


I was thrilled when Cheryl asked me to write an editorial for her book:

Vignettes and slices of life that will touch your heart, make you laugh, and sometimes cry—but, mostly, laugh. From tales of life, loss, values, victories, kids, road trips, and wine—always wine, Oreglia’s mini memoirs are guaranteed to captivate and entertain. I highly recommend this read! Sit down and savor these stories and Grow Damn It, while living vicariously through Cheryl’s journeys of life. I love her attitude and wit and am already looking forward to her next book!

~ D.G. Kaye, author of Twenty Years: After ‘I Do’ – Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.


Cheryl is sharing an Excerpt with us from Grow Damn It!

Chapter: After You Say I Do


I think it was the ten-year mark when I realized I could not change the dude I married, it was the same month all of our children came down with the chicken pox, and suddenly his travel schedule was unusually packed?

Hallmark does not make a card for this type of occasion.

I called my mom, “S.O.S., I’m sinking, send in the fu*king coast guard.” She was on the next flight and walked in the door just as I was throwing a shoe at the traveler for no reason. She caught it midair. Damn handy woman.

It’s not a moment I’m proud of but I tell you this because I’ve learned it’s okay to ask for help. As most of you know I would rather pull my fingernails out one at a time then admit defeat, but as if a card game, you have to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run screaming to your Mama.

We took our first vacation without the children during our tenth year. Mom flew in to guard the nest. I wrote out a complex daily schedule, loaded the refrigerator with food, and left the insurance cards on the counter. When we returned everyone was alive. A taxi was waiting in the driveway?

She couldn’t get on that return flight faster.

It was year twelve, let’s call these the difficult years, when I realized I could survive just about anything but not on my own. Our fourth child arrived, traveler dropped me off on the curb, with the child still in the car seat, a sign on the front lawn welcomed the baby home, and he headed to the airport for a weeklong business trip. I was trippin.

But Mom was there waiting for me. She had the older children dressed in the matching sibling shirts and the kitchen floor was recently swept. For some reason this made me inordinately happy, and I sat down in the living room and cried.

That night without a single word Mom heard my silent anguish, walked into the room, took the cranky baby out of my arms, and put me to bed. Then she crawled in next to me, rubbed my back, while she rocked the baby in her other arm, put us both to sleep. I would one day do this for my own child, but this is how I learned, her hand on my back, her heart holding my son.

One evening around year thirteen traveler called from a swanky bar in downtown Boston, he said, “what did you do today?” I thought he was kidding, we have four kids, a dog, a cat, and high maintenance fish. They all need to be fed, clothed, taxied all over town (except the fish) and he wants to know WHAT I DID TODAY? Yeah, I hung up on him.

“No long-term marriage is made easily, and there have been times when I’ve been so angry or so hurt that I thought my love would never recover. And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time.” Madeleine L’Engle

I decided it was time to go on strike (I may have overreacted a tad) but there is nothing worse than a woman on a diet, premenstrual, and perimenopausal. The combination can be lethal, especially for husbands, poor guy had no idea what sort of storm was brewing at home.

I did absolutely nothing for four days and could hardly wait for him to walk in the door. When he did, I was ready, a beer in hand (I never drink beer but it was the perfect prop), Magnum P.I. on the television, children running amuck, with no surface in the house visible. In fact, we had to create a path in order to get around.

He stepped carefully over all the rubble, leaned in to give me a kiss, and without a word rolled up his sleeves, and started cleaning. Thirty minutes in I asked for a cold beer and if he could hold off vacuuming until the commercial break? He was ever so accommodating.

I married a good one.

D.G, here – Loved the excerpt. It’s just real life in the Oreglia household and Cheryl demonstrates both, the way men sometimes think, and her remedy for a healthy, happy marriage. I am still cracking up at, “What did you do today?” Definitely a loaded question for a premenstrual, perimenopausal woman, on a diet yet! LOL. I loved this book and will no doubt read again.

Find Cheryl on her Social Sites:




Living in the Gap Blog

Amazon Authors Page



65 thoughts on “Q & A with D.G. Kaye, featuring Cheryl Oreglia and her Debut Book – Grow Damn It!

  1. Fabulous and I felt like I was sitting have a coffee (or Margarita) with you both having a good old chat…Your sister sounds like the perfect antidote to life Cheryl and would be a wonderful addition to the get together… Grow Damn It! is very memorable and I could relate to so many of your adventures in love, marriage and life ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That would be a dream come true to sit on the sofa with you and Debby sipping margaritas and sharing our stories! I was blessed when it comes to sisters, Nancy is generous and kind sister, she’s my rock, and holds my heart as if it were a jewel. She would be a great addition to our get together! I can’t thank you enough Sally for all the support and encouragement you’ve given me as I’ve launched my first novel and tried to maneuver in the publishing world. It’s a maze and you’ve help light the way. Hugs and gratitude, C

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great Q&A and I love the excerpt. After reading your review of Cheryl’s book, it was great to learn a bit more about her and her adventures. Good luck to Cheryl and thanks for the introduction, Debby.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a morning! I woke up to your post Debby and the smile has not left my face. Thank you Debby for inviting me back to your blog, for letting me talk about not only my new book but my love for writing and all things in between. From the day I wrote and shyly asked if you would read an ARC of Grow Damn It you have been my champion. You took the time to read, you responded with grace and wisdom and you’ve guided me through some very complicated situations when it comes to publicizing our work and making our books accessible. I’m ever so grateful for your support, wisdom, and generosity. Thank you for featuring me today. I hope it reaches the right people who might find Grow Damn It to be the perfect inspiration as we embrace the spring. Sending much love and hugs to you, C


    1. It’s a community Cheryl. We all eventually have something to offer to each other from what we learn. Authors helping authors is my thing. I’m so glad I could be of help to you. And you know I loved your book, wasn’t like you had to force me to read it, lol. I’m so happy for you Cheryl. May you sell many books, and hopefully are working on another one soon!. Hugs my friend. ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. BTW
    Debby, I’ll start working on our post next week.
    My tax prep will be in, and the Art Gown I’ve been altering , for it seems like weeks, will be off on Monday night to a Gala in NYC.
    OH… and my mind melt with Rogers should be rectified by then. 🤞


  5. I have kept this quote in my “favourite quote book” “She claims the space between past and future is where our potential is created or destroyed.” A wonderful interview, Debby. Cheryl – what an exciting life and more adventures coming your way. I LOVE your connection with your sister, Nancy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rebecca, what a kind and thoughtful response. Thank you for holding my words in your quote book, I’m over the moon. I have one too that I cherish. Debby did a great job, she so supportive and organized! She makes it easy and fun. I certainly lucked out with my sister Nancy. She’s the best gift my parents ever gave me! I’d be lost without her. I hope you join me sometime at Living in the Gap, love to engage with you. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great Q & A, Debby and Cheryl! Cheryl, I’m currently reading your book and loving it! And this excerpt cracked me up the first time and I know there won’t be a last! Too funny! Taking care of the kids is just so easy, isn’t it? 🙂 Your hikes also sound amazing and resonated with the backpacking and hiking that my husband and I enjoy. While reading your book, the humor and the conversational flow is so comforting, like we’re sitting together enjoying a cup of coffee. Congrats on Diana’s review and Debby’s editorial. I’m sure the happy dance will go on for a very long time. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren! I’m thrilled to know you are enjoying Grow Damn It, that the content resonates, and it is as if you and I were sitting together and enjoying a cup of coffee. I’m swirling in that delicious image. Thank you so much for your generous words, for giving my book a try and sharing your thoughts. Debby has given me such extraordinary support. I’m learning that this is who she is, a giving, generous, and encouraging person who goes out of her way to support her community. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A fabulous Q&A, Debby and Cheryl, congratulations on Grow Damn It! Debby, I loved your questions and Cheryl’s answers. This a great review from Diana and I enjoyed the excerpt…so relatable, which is how I have always found your writing, Cheryl. This is just fabulous. Much love to you both. Xx 💕😘💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, what a lovely comment. I’m floating. I was just reading your newsletter Jane and I loved every word. I can’t tell you how giddy it makes me feel to know my writing resonates with you. Debby is an absolute dream, she did a fabulous job with the Q and A, and she’s fun to work with! Thank you so very much. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha, to this wonderful excerpt. God, I’m such a sucker for a great sense of humor. I picked this one up a few weeks ago and elevated it up the TBR list based on the excerpt alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I am overjoyed that you enjoy humor and appreciate my sometimes fulminating sense of humor. I hope you find Grow Damn It to be an intriguing read, Pete! I’d love to hear your thoughts when finished. Thank you so much for picking up a copy and elevating it to the TBR list! I’m over the damn moon! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m in the process of reading your book, Cheryl and thoroughly enjoying it. Wonderful Q&A Debby and Diana’s review, especially this line: Highly recommended to readers who enjoy memoirs and the opportunity to reflect on life’s universal lessons.
    Thank you to the three of you for your entertaining and reflective wise words. ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s