Because Whoo-hoo, Freedom ‘n Stuff. And Ice-Cream.

I had a very low-key 4th of July this year, and that’s ok. I feel it’s really in the spirit of Independence Day to just do whatever the hell works for you, and no one can make you go to a parade or have a barbecue or watch fireworks. (Especially not the British, not even the Siri on my phone which I have set to the British male voice and renamed “Nigel”)

Anyway. Most of the older kids were with their other “parents” (Uh-oh…. bitchy alert), except for The Drama who was hanging out here with The Girlfriend (who really is gonna need her own pseudonym soon), and The Canadian was working because it’s an interesting month, financially. So I invited The Chemist over, and we hung out and bitched about stuff chatted, and played with the babies, and most importantly, invented a new 2 ingredient cocktail.

You mix pineapple coconut ice cream with however much rum you feel you need, and voilà! It’s a Whatever-Colada.

I know, I know, it was the 4th. We should have called it something more patriotic like a Freedom-Colada, or a Majestic Eagle-Colada, or a Blowing Yourself Up With Illegal Explosives-Colada, but we are salty middle aged ladies who are practicing to be even saltier old ladies*, plus see above point about freedom, so it’s a Whatever-Colada.

I DO have a confession to make about the ice cream though.

I’ll give you a minute to sit down.

I made it from scratch. In an ice cream maker.

I know, I know, the world is spinning and you feel like you don’t even know me anymore. Just the revelation that I OWN an ice cream maker and know how to use it probably has you questioning the very nature of reality. But the universe is a strange and paradoxical place so just roll with it, K?

Obviously you can and probably should just BUY some pineapple coconut ice cream, but The Chemist brought over a tin of pineapple and I had some coconut cream in the cupboard and The Drama made a comment about Dole Whip and The Chemist can’t eat dairy ** and the planets aligned so we did THIS:

1 1/2 cups of drained pineapple chunks

3/4 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 cups coconut cream

2/3 cup monk fruit sweetener (yes, you could use normal sugar)

Pinch of salt

Purée in blender until smooth, chill for one hour, pour into ice cream maker and churn for about 25 minutes.

It was delicious. But The Chemist thought it needed a little lime juice so she added a little lime juice and then it was even better. I asked her how much she added, for documenting the recipe, and she was very vague. “Oh, about 2 wedges” she said, which is not much help because how big were the wedges and also, she’s a senior Chemist at an oil refinery so I expected a little more precision and am now slightly nervous about filling up my gas tank.

So she estimated it was about an eighth of a lime, and then she started talking about “noise in the measurement”. At least I think she said “noise in the measurement”. It could have been “gnomes in the mushrooms” or “gnats in the marshmallow” because I had NO idea what she was talking about. I gave up wanting to be a scientist when I was about ten, and discovered it wasn’t all about looking fetching in a crisp white lab coat and designer glasses, while standing behind a table covered with artistically shaped beakers bubbling with various brightly colored liquids………

So THEN she tried to explain it, but it sounded an awful lot like MATH***, which is something I mostly can do, but mostly choose not too. Like calisthenics. The Drama thought it sounded like math too, and his feelings about math can best be understood by imagining Jerry Seinfeld saying “Newman“.

But the point is, I celebrated our national liberty by choosing to NOT do unnecessary math, and TO drink delicious rum beverages.

And I think that’s beautiful.


*the kind that sweetly and bluntly say say exactly what they mean, because they are old and completely out of fucks to give.

**have you ever seen What We Do in the Shadows?? You should. It’s hilarious. Anyway, the scene where the newbie vampire doesn’t realize that he CAN’T eat real food anymore, and idly snacks on a single french fry, and ends up projectile vomiting blood in the alley?? That’s basically The Chemist with dairy.

***and disturbingly like the time, many years ago, when The Ex tried to convince me that “anyone can learn calculus” because “look, it’s just little rectangles”.

Because what else is he gonna do, really?

You know what this blog is like? It’s like that one free spirited friend who has the BEST stories but also some really crazy ideas and disappears for months, MONTHS at a time.

Anyone heard from Leonard? Last I heard he was backpacking in the Himalayas with a Swedish yoga instructor and a goat named Greg.

Really? I thought he got that internship in London. The one at the artisanal coffee shop/art collective run by mimes……

Nah, he texted me from Vegas. Won big at Caesars Palace and he’s gonna move to Texas and open a taxidermy warehouse.

All I know is he said he’d call me in two weeks, when he got to Amsterdam. And that was six months ago.

Huh. Well…… he’s probably dead.

But he’s NOT dead, and one day he turns up at your door with a wild look in his eye, a couple of new tattoos, and a bag of dirty laundry. Hi Leonard, there you are.

…….And here we are. First, an update from the last post, which was almost seven months ago.

A. The Ex is still up to legal and general shenanigans. And it’s still (mostly) not funny.

B. A fortunate combination of cash and Black Friday sales allowed us to replace various broken appliances, so I no longer have to clean my petticoats by beating them on a rock down at the local creek.

C. The Kicker turned two, and is trying to be the twoiest two ever. Good thing she’s super cute.

D. The Drama went ahead and Got A Girlfriend, who is actually adorable, and will probably get her own pseudonym here by the next bi-annual post. No motorbikes or tattoos yet. Yet.

E. I went ahead and had Surprise Baby Number Eight…. and of course she is the cutest thing EVER, and we figured out where to put her, and no it’s not in a cage hanging outside the window (relax, The Sicilian).


I seriously considered calling her “The Ninja”, but in the end I’m going with “The Cherry” because not only is she the final topping on our Super Nutty Hot Fudge Sundae of a blended family, but she came out with her stem tied in a knot.

Ok, umbilical cord. Which is basically the same thing for the purposes of this analogy. She also appears to be making Matthew 20:16 her life verse: “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last”

Because although being the VERY LAST BABY I AM HAVING I AM SO SERIOUS ABOUT THAT, she was also the first…..

-first premature baby, first born in a hospital, first to spend time in the NICU….. and of course first to have her umbilical cord/stem tied in a knot.

However at a labor of about two hours duration she did NOT beat The Drama’s record of half an hour, which pleases him. “NO ONE BEATS MY HALF AN HOUR” he bellowed, strutting through the kitchen. No really, that kid was not so much born as torpedoed out like a rocket ship on his way to Mars…

Anyhoo, The Cherry is almost 3 months old now, and has apparently decided that she made her point with that super dramatic entry, and is now a “good baby“. Also she is better in the car than The Kicker was. We DID eventually discover that The Kicker would stop crying in the car if we played Harry Belafonte’s Day-O for her. Over and over. And over. Well, it worked about 9 times out of 10. On at least a few other occasions she responded instead to Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing.* But most of the time all she wanted was to hear about that big pile of bananas. And how Harry wanted to go home. And the tarantula. Believe me I could write a dissertation at this point on the lyrics of Day-O.

So The Cherry doesn’t want any classic calypso tunes, but she does have one specific requirement. We need to be going FAST enough. She’ll start to cry if we drop under about 40 mph. It’s like some bizarre infant version of Speed, but with a lot less Keanu Reeves and more regular stops for breastfeeding.

Speaking of Keanu, Holy COW that dude is winning the Internet right now. More popular that Jesus (as John Lennon allegedly once said but Keanu never would, because he’s apparently so endearingly humble). Seriously, everyone is loving him at godlike levels and……… ah crap. Keanu Reeves had better not turn out to be the antichrist. I will be seriously peeved if he is, because along with everyone else in the known universe, I love me some Keanu.**

But, according to my conservative evangelical Christian upbringing, that’s exactly the type the antichrist is gonna be. A super duper popular messianic figure. Well that’s just great. I guess if Keanu runs for president I’m building a bunker and prepping for the apocalypse.

Just something else for Leonard to drink about.


*the lyric is, “I believe in miracles”. You’re welcome.

**and Elon Musk. Who is another serious contender according to the theology espoused in really bad Christian literature.

Because it’s multiple choice time again!

That’s right, it’s time for another rousing round of “Why Have There Been No Leonard Posts Since Freaking JULY???” Is it because:

A. The Ex filed a legal petition to take me back to court for frivolous reasons based largely on third-hand hearsay?

B. My dryer AND my dishwasher broke, and finances necessitated line drying and hand-washing for …… oooh, well long enough for it to start to feel like Little House on The Prairie around here?

C. The Kicker is ENTIRELY embracing The Terrible Twos, and doesn’t even TURN two until February?

D. The Drama is constantly on the brink of Getting a Girlfriend, wants to ride a motorbike, and is trying to persuade me that tattoos are legal at age 16 with parental consent?

E. I am, inexplicably and unexpectedly, PREGNANT YET AGAIN at the ludicrously advanced age of 46?

F. All of the above?

Go on. Guess. I’ll wait.

That’s right, gentle reader, if you guessed “F”, you win the prize! There are no prizes for guessing what “F” stands for……..

I’m sure some of you have questions, and in this post Leonard and I will do our best to answer them. But only about “E”, because it’s the only thing on that list that’s even remotely funny.

Q: Seriously? Haven’t you and The Canadian figured out what causes that yet, hurr durr durr?

A: Oh gosh, you’re hilarious. You should have a blog! Yes, we are aware that HAVING SEX IS HOW YOU GET BABIES. But if you go look up your chances of actually getting pregnant at my age, all the authoritative websites expound thusly: “The chances of conceiving naturally at age 45 is less than one percent”. That’s basically the same as popular methods of birth control, so we figured we were pretty well good to go. But of course sometimes, occasionally; the Pill fails, condoms fail, and APPARENTLY even being really really really old fails……. and here we are.

Q: Don’t you already HAVE five million children? Where are you going to put ANOTHER one?

A: The Canadian and I are discussing options. Stack them like Tupperware? Hold a Hunger Games style tournament to cull the weak and free up some bedrooms? One of those 1930s style baby cages that hang outside the window? We’ll figure something out. We’re smart and creative and slightly deranged.

Q: So……. is this the last one?

A: Good Lord yes. For the love of all that is good and holy, yes. Steps will be taken. Permanent steps. The conversation went like this:

The Canadian: well, one of us is getting fixed after this.

Me: seems hardly worth it, there’s no WAY I could get pregnant AGAIN at my age!

TC: (darkly) That’s what you said about this one…… and the last one.

Me: good point. Snip snip.

Actually, once you are already preggers in your mid 40s, people come out of the woodwork with stories of their Great Aunt Betsy who had a baby naturally at 52; so it’s possible this happens a lot more than those Official Internet Medical Authorities seem to think. It’s possible, in fact, that the Internet Medical Authorities don’t know what the “F” they are talking about.

Q: OK, what pseudonym will this baby have on the blog?

A: I have no freaking idea and am open to suggestions. I’m considering ditching the whole descriptive pseudonyms thing and just giving them all Borg Drone Designations, which would make this one Eight of Eight.

Q: You’re just trying to get your own reality tv show, aren’t you?

A: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!! NO. What, like some kind of bizarre Brady Bunch/Addams Family hybrid?? NO. Apart from anything else, how would we fit a camera crew in this place? We’re still figuring out where to put Eight of Eight.

Q: So are you excited??

A: Oh Honey, I’m too tired to be excited. Ask me again in 5 – 10 years.

ANYWAY…… I did the math, because obviously I’m a glutton for punishment, and figured out that when little Eight graduates high school I will have been raising kids full time FOR 42 YEARS.


Q: (long pause) How …… how is that even possible?

A: I had The Hair (One of Eight) when I was 22. I’m 46 now, 18 years from now I will be 64. 64 minus 22 equals ……. 42. Yes, really. If my life were a video game, and all the bosses were mommies, I would be the ultimate final Boss Mom. And I COULD kick your ass, but I wouldn’t, because I’m tired.

Q: (longer pause) ….. is it possible your children play too many video games?

A: Yes.

Now if you will excuse me, it’s dinner time; and I need to make sure my kids ALSO eat too much take out pizza.

Because there’s good news and bad news, but always cocktails.

I hurt my back pretty damn bad about ten months back. This is not the good news. There’s a story to the injury, of course, and I’m not going to go into it at this time, but it does involve a boat. Approximately 30% of all cool stories start with a boat, and about 85% start with alcohol*. Yes, there is overlap**, although ironically my boat story does NOT involve alcohol. Yes, the story I’m not bothering to tell you right now. MOVING ON…..

Anyway, I was in excruciating pain for the first few months, even on maxed out painkillers, and then in bad and constant enough pain after that to still take pain killers every day. No, still not the good news.

The good news is, I found a way to reduce my pain so dramatically that I’ve taken less drugs in the last few weeks than I was taking before on a daily basis. The bad news? I had to give up sugar to do it.

Which, long story short, is why I was sitting outside in an Adirondack chair recently, in 95 degree heat, with a glass of iced tea. Unsweetened green/white iced tea is my soda substitute, and no I can’t do diet soda because I found out the hard way that apparently, fake sugar is as much a pain inducing inflammatory as real sugar. I refuse to give up alcohol (or bacon), however, so I was also wondering what I could put in my iced tea to make it more relaxing. I decided against bacon.***

Now somehow I’ve gotten to the age of 45 without ever having had a Long Island Iced Tea, but I’d heard of it, and I assumed that iced tea would be a key ingredient. It’s not, I looked it up. There’s NO tea in it. It’s got FIVE different kinds of alcohol, and cola. It’s not the elegant sounding beverage it tries to pass itself of as at ALL; it’s basically rum and coke with extra steps. And not gonna work for me because 1, cola and 2, way too freaking complicated.

So I just went ahead and invented the Caribbean Iced Tea instead, and this is how you make it;

Get a container. I used a mason jar but any glass will do. Or a mug. Whatever.

Put Iced Tea in it. Any tea. I like a green white combo but you could do black or herbal or any other kind. You do you, girl.

Now put some rum in it. How much rum? I don’t know… stressful was your day? I did about 2 shots of rum to 8oz of tea. If you don’t have any rum, you should first stand at your bar (or pantry, whatever) in a bewildered fashion, and say “Why is all the rum gone?” Then put something else in it. Like whiskey. Or gin. Or cooking sherry. Whatever you have.

Add a slice of lemon, to prevent scurvy. This step is optional. I usually have fresh lemons on hand because I like to squeeze lemon juice on everything. Fish, chicken, veggies, rice, recalcitrant children. But if you don’t have any just leave it out. Or put in a maraschino cherry. Or some peach or something. Just you know, not CELERY.

That’s it. Easy peasy, sit and sip. Refreshing AND relaxing****

It occurred to me, halfway through my second Caribbean Iced Tea, that busy overworked mommies probably need a lot more super simple cocktail recipes. Things you can remember how to make even when you can’t remember where you left any of your six pairs of sunglasses. Fortunately my friends are HUGE enablers and have so far helped me come up with two new 2-ingredient cocktails:

The Break-up Bomb. The Chemist and I invented this one when she brought a mutual friend over to drink and bitch about men, right after she (the friend) broke up with a loser who was lying to her about not only his actual name, but also his marital record. I had some berry flavored sparkling wine which seemed appropriately girly, but not nearly alcoholic enough for our friend’s needs. So we pulled some blackberry moonshine out of the bar and tossed a shot into the glass of bubbly. It’s like a sake bomb, but a lot pinker, and more alcoholic.*****

The Slutty Mary. The Sicilian brought over an Odwalla fruit smoothie on the 4th, and put vodka in it. So we figured if it was vodka mixed with like, eight different fruit juices instead of just tomato juice then it was less a Bloody Mary and more a …..yeah. Yes, we’d all had several drinks already at that point.

Omg, my friends and I all sound like total lushes. We’re not, I swear. Although if you’re reading this blog at ALL you’re probably not the kind of person who would care.

Anyway, the beauty of these cocktails is not only that they are super simple, but super adaptable. ANY sparkling wine plus ANY moonshine equals a Break-up Bomb. Vodka with ANY blend of multiple juices equals a Slutty Mary. Any iced tea plus any kind of rum is a Caribbean Iced Tea.

I know, I know, I’m a mixology genius. And I would absolutely write a book if I could manage to get a blog post out more than about once a month……


*statistics source: “Dude Trust Me”

** A classic overlap story example: The Canadian went to a bachelor party weekend for one of his friends last year. It was on a houseboat. There was alcohol in abundance. At one point a boat full of bachelorettes started heading toward them, calling put playfully, “We come in peace!” The Canadian’s drunk buddy misheard them and yelled back, “Yeah, you can come pee over here!” Whereupon the girls’ smiles faltered, faded, and they turned their boat around.

***this time.

****and by “relaxing” I mean “deceptively alcoholic”.

*****our friend said she should be called “The Idiot”, but The Chemist and I disagreed and pointed out she is NOT an idiot, she has just been making some Questionable Choices With Men in the wake of her lengthy and abusive marriage ending. So she deserves to be cut quite a bit of slack. Therefore, we shall call her “Moonshine” instead.

Because I Weep for the Future of Humanity.

That’s it, I’m officially an Old Fogey who has begun to declare that the world is going to Hell in a hand-basket*. Forty-five years old (wait…..45? 46? No, 45) and that’s it, I’m throwing up my hands and despairing of life on Earth, and the sooner Elon Musk colonizes Mars the better.

What could possibly have made me finally lose all hope? After all, I’m old, I’ve seen some shit. I remember bell bottoms and the Cold War and when “Fergie” meant the Duchess of York. In all these decades of political upheaval and cultural decline, I’ve maintained my sunny disposition** and laughed gaily*** while sipping my Sauvignon Blanc. What could possibly have pushed me over the edge NOW? Is it the increasing vicious political rhetoric of our times? The deep seated corruption rampant in the system? The 573 new genders? (Is a boy? A girl? No, it’s a demi-glazed half elf tri-color loaf of bread….)

I’ll tell you what it is. It’s the dancing.

I know what you’re thinking. How can this be? After all, I’m old, and I’ve seen some shit. I remember disco and break dancing and, God help us, the Macarena. What could possibly be so bad that…..let me stop you right there.


No, no, not the dental hygiene practice. The dance move****

So The Kids These Days are doing a new move called “flossing”, and it is without a doubt the single most idiotic dance I have ever seen. And again, remember I’ve lived through the Macarena …….and Gangnam Style. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, click HERE; but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And I would just ignore it like I’m ignoring politics and the Kardashians and 80% of the laundry, but I can’t. Because I have The Sport, my 11 year old step son. The Sport is what I call a “full-body fidgeter”. He does not stand still. Until recently his default movement of choice was miming dribbling a basketball and shooting hoops. Now……now it’s flossing. He’ll be just standing there, in the kitchen, talking to me about something completely normal, while doing that annoyingly stupid little dance move. Constantly.

I blame the public schools.

I promised Khaleesi she could be in this post, because dancing is kind of her (other) thing. She wowed us all on New Years Eve with a little impromptu Bachata in the living room. She’s good. So I asked her if she’d heard of flossing (because at the age of 23 she is no longer a “kid”, but IS a Young Person These Days). She demonstrated it briefly and it didn’t look quite so stupid when she did it, but probably because I’m pretty sure she did it ironically. This silly little thing? Is what the expression on her face seemed to say. I know, ridiculous, isn’t it?? She might have tossed her long blonde hair at that point*****

Anyway, the crotchety old-person point I am making is this: Kids, stop flossing. Just stop it. You look like morons. And while you’re at it, turn off that damn rap music, pull up your pants, and get off my lawn.


*What does that even mean? I started to look it up but honestly it was boooooring. No comedians or vodka at ALL.

**No, that’s not an earthquake. That’s the Earth shuddering on its axis as a result of every single person who’s ever met me, epically rolling their eyes at the idea of me being described as having a “sunny disposition”. Ok fine. My disposition is more “Bitchy Eeyore” than “sunny”, but I’m making a point here, People. It’s called artistic license. Just roll with it.

***I also remember when this meant “in a merry carefree manner”. Because I’m OLD.

****if we want to call it that.


Because Yuck.

“If there’s one thing, one piece of advice I’d pass on to future generations after I die, it’s that you vote for leaders, not entertainers. If there are two things, the second is that your tastes are your own.”

-The Voice*

He has a point, taste is a very personal and subjective matter. How else to explain why an otherwise apparently intelligent person would voluntarily drink a Bloody Mary?

You can blame The Sicilian** for this. That girl is all over the social media with pictures of Bloody Marys that transcend the regular abomination that is a Bloody Mary. These are apocalyptic abominations. They feature sandwiches on skewers sticking out of the glass. Burgers. Giant pretzels. Shrimp and pickles and onion rings. One of them displayed a whole pizza on a stick coming out of the drink. Another had a roast chicken. Yet another, a whole extra Bloody Mary rising out of the first. That’s some Inception level shit, right there. Amazing feats of balance I guess, but still abominations. These monstrosities now haunt my nightmares, and have driven me to publicly share my feelings about even the most basic Bloody Mary. These are my feelings:

Yuckity yuckity yuck yuck yuck. It’s like I’m the only one who has noticed the Emperor has no clothes. I want to run around smacking these vile concoctions out of people’s hands, shouting “Stop, what are you DOING?? Don’t you understand these are HORRIBLE???”

Look, I have nothing against vodka, I’ll drink a Moscow Mule or a Screwdriver or especially a White Russian. I’ll even drink a vodka martini***, but I have no idea why anyone would want to ruin perfectly good vodka by putting tomato juice in it. Tomato juice: the worst of all the fruit juices. Tomato juice is where tomatoes go to die when they haven’t got what it takes to be sauce or soup. Tomato juice is just……just wrong. Like puréeing banana and putting it on pasta.

Yes I know, you’d think adding vodka would help. But it doesn’t. Especially since pretty much everything else that gets put into a Bloody Mary seems designed to see just how bad this beverage can be, and people will still drink it. Worcestershire sauce, wrong. Pepper, wrong. Horseradish??? So, so wrong. These are things you put in a casserole, not a cocktail.

And then there’s the celery stick (which according to my research, more on that momentarily, is a more recent addition). Really?? Celery is to vegetables as tomato juice is to fruit juice. Vile, insipid, and entirely unnecessary. Celery is right up there with organ meat on my list of foods to avoid.

So I always say that I’m convinced the drink was invented as a joke, and I was going to write a humorous little scene about a couple of drunk guys inventing it as a joke, but first I thought I should, y’know, do a little research and what do you know I don’t even have to write it because THAT IS BASICALLY WHAT REALLY HAPPENED.

I kid you not. Ok, history is a little divided over who originally came up with the recipe, but I’ve researched this extensively for at least 20 minutes, and the most likely candidate is George Jessel, in 1927.

George Jessel was a comedian. A comedian. He’d been drinking all night with a playboy named Elliot at a bar in Palm Beach. They were trying to sober up for a volleyball game, the bartender was laughing at them and handed over some vodka, and George invented the Bloody Mary. Really. Go look it up. The Bloody Mary was actually invented by a drunk comedian.

And I have to admit, I hate Bloody Marys, but I love that story.


* In a literature essay about how much he hates Pride and Prejudice. Or in his own words, “This rant I try to pass off as a literature essay”

** YOU remember The Sicilian!

*** I know. I’m a Philistine.

Because We Miss Steven and Murray, Part 2.

Ooh, ooh, ooh! Let’s play “Why Have There Been No Leonard Posts For Three Weeks”? C’mon, it’ll be fun!

Is it because:

A) The Ex threatened a return to court for not one, but TWO separate issues? With another incoming threat anticipated?

B) I came down with the Killer Stomach Flu and had to spend quality time with a certain porcelain fixture, followed by a generous epilogue of fever and chills?

C) The Canadian threw his back out and is in even more pain than the time he went skiing with a bad back and then broke a couple of ribs?

D) The Drama is a lot of work?

E) All of the above?

Oh well done, you guessed it. Fortunately I live in a country where reasonably priced wine is available at the grocery store, and so I carry on. Plus Steven is back, which makes me happy. He’s hanging out with the fabulous Brooklyn, and of course he offered her his wig, but she politely declined because she doesn’t need hair to be cool. Not that she’s judging Steven’s lifestyle choices.

(If you took a wrong turn at the internet equivalent of Albuquerque, and have no idea where you are or what’s going on, you should read back a few posts and get all caught up. Then you can make an informed decision on whether to back away slowly or not…)

So Steven is back, but not Murray. Murray was the life-size skeleton I bought at Costco several years ago, with The Drama. It was The Drama’s first trip to Costco, and he loved it. He said the only way it could be better, would be if it sold stuffed animals. No…. not the kind you get at Toys R Us. The kind you get from a taxidermist.

Anyway, he turned out to be a good little shopping buddy. Talked me OUT of buying a new blender (even though it was called the NINJA) but talked me INTO buying Murray.

Well, if I’m being honest I’m not sure who talked who into that. But really, does it matter? Because who WOULDN’T buy a life size posable skeleton? For only $35? For no reason at all? Ok, the checkout girl pointed out that Halloween was coming, which I guess was the reason they were SELLING it. But not the reason The Drama and I were BUYING it. Halloween??? Pffffff. A mere afterthought. We took him home, named him Murray*, and immediately put him in lederhosen for Oktoberfest.

After that Murray was standard decor on the porch or in the yard, in seasonal garb for all occasions (Christmas, New Year, International Talk Like a Pirate Day…..), including a memorable Halloween (fine yes HALLOWEEN) as Zaphod Beeblebrox on a bike:

Yes, that is Steven in his rainbow wig, riding behind.

It was all fun and games and fancy dress, until the day The Ex borrowed him for a Sunday School lesson** and “accidentally” decapitated him.

We tried to fix him. Well, the kids and I did. I suspect The Ex was always jealous of Murray. Or maybe he was resentful of the time that he (The Ex) fell off a skateboard trying to show off for The Hair’s buddies and injured his arm, and then we made fun of him with Murray:

But apparently even duct tape has its limits. So we had to resign ourselves to Murray being a mere skull, which we at least had to admit was apt, given his namesake. The Hair and The Voice had a sign by the entrance to their shared room/man-cave which read “Danger: Pirates and Ninjas and Lasers and Shit”, so we attached Murray’s head to that, and he is apparently still there and they want to keep him. I can’t blame them. They have promised me that when they no longer have a room at their dad’s they will bring me Murray, so he can be reunited with me and Steven. Or at least his skull can. No one knows what happened to the rest of his body, except possibly The Ex, who probably did something unspeakable with it.

Which is a pity, because I think living with The Canadian has made me more creative***, and I think a headless skeleton could really fit in around here……..


*Named after Murray the Demonic Talking Skull from the Monkey Island video game franchise. Obviously.

**true story.

***yes, I was clearly such a dull and unimaginative little thing before.

Because My Friends are Enabling Me.

You guys. Now I know exactly how Jenny Lawson feels when people send her whimsical taxidermied animals.

So I blogged nostalgic for Steven and Murray, and the next day I go to put my trash out and here’s THIS outside my door. Her name is Brooklyn, she’s fabulous, and she knows it. She came with a note of introduction, but I have no idea which of my amazing friends left her on my doorstep like an orphaned baby in a basket…. or orphaned torso with attitude in a coconut bra, as the case may be. The Sicilian and The Chemist are prime suspects, obviously.

Omg I’m in love. She doesn’t have any hair or, you know, LEGS. She’s also missing a finger, and has obviously generally knocked about a bit and seen the world. But she is rocking that coconut shell bra and has epic, EPIC Resting Bitch Face.

I think the RBF is my favorite. It says that maybe she is all beat to hell and hasn’t had all her parts since 1986, but she is still low-key cooler than you will ever be. So far The Drama is the only one who seems to have a problem with Brooklyn, and I’m pretty sure it’s because he knows there’s only room for ONE Queen Bitch around here, and he’s gonna have to fight to keep his title with Brooklyn as a contender.

I wanna get her a disco ball and a dirty martini and play some Gloria Gaynor. Is that so wrong?

So anyway my friend Khaleesi* came over, and we were trying to figure out Brooklyn’s arms. I figured they would swivel all the way around, because her HANDS do (aqua blue nail polish, btw). But they really didn’t move at all, so we figured she was just stuck in that one pose forever, until we moved her from the outside bench to the art studio in the yard and one of her arms came off.

So we panicked briefly but only briefly because we didn’t wanna lose our shit in front of Brooklyn, because she’s just soooo cool and totally not fazed by her arm coming off, but then we realized it would just pop back on. Whew.

And then it occurred to us that we might be able to pop it back on at a different angle, so we popped it off again and sure enough, we could put it back on positioned up instead of down. THEN, Khaleesi commented that her arms looked weird, and they did, and she realized that her thumbs were the wrong way around. So then we popped off BOTH her arms and switched them around, and that was much better:

Bonus: we are now all prepared if Brooklyn wants to be Venus de Milo for Halloween, which I think is a definite possibility, because she’s classy like that.

It occurred to me hours later that maybe we could have just switched her hands instead of her whole arms, but I’m a little nervous about that because her hands fit a lot more loosely than her arms and I’m worried I might get one off but not be able to get it back on. Of course if I CAN’T get her hand back on, I could just get her a hook and she’ll be ready to hang with Captain Cup-hook, our mini one-armed pirate skeleton, who guards the front door from atop a bottle of grog. He started out as a REGULAR mini skeleton, The Canadian bought him to go on the tow bar of his truck for Halloween – as you do – but then there was a misadventure involving my younger step-son (The Monkey) and a car door and …well….

So I made him a new arm out of wire and screws and a kitchen cup hook at the end, because OBVIOUSLY that’s what you do. You lose an arm or leg or eye, you just get a hook or peg or patch and presto, you’re a pirate.

Oh…… Brooklyn would make a kick-ass Pirate Wench.

So I guess next time Khaleesi comes over we should have a couple of rum based beverages and detach Brooklyn’s hands and arms and see what configuration looks best. Then we’re gonna get her a tube top and a filmy blouse and some bangles.

Anyway, I pointed out to Khaleesi that I guessed she’d be in the blog post about this, so we’d better come up with a pseudonym for her because that’s how things roll in Leonard’s World**. After she was done squealing and jumping up and down and clapping her hands she suggested something either related to music (which is what she does) or Daenerys Targaryen (who I guess she identifies with because I don’t know…..she’s blonde and has a thing for Jason Momoa? Of course, who DOESN’T have a thing for Jason Momoa???***)

“I’ll call you Khaleesi if you want” I offered. (More jumping and squealing)

“How about MY Khaleesi?” She suggests.

Yeah….no. That’s in the same camp as “Captain” Deadpool, as just too much and not gonna happen.

Khaleesi it is. Welcome to getting written about on my wacky little blog.


*second time on the blog, you get a name. That’s how it works. Although it occurs to me there have been exceptions…. ok, let’s just say the rules are random and arbitrary and that’s how it’s gonna be. My blog, my rules……or lack thereof.

**not to be confused with Elmo’s World, on Sesame Street, which The Kicker watches and which is frankly an even weirder place.

***well, ME, I guess, because The Canadian is all the hunky scrummy manhood I can handle, and The Drama, who swears he’ll only turn gay for Ryan Reynolds.

Because This is Not How Respectable Middle-Aged Ladies Behave.

Oh not ME, obviously. My behavior is at all times a model of genteel and ladylike respectability.*

My friend The Sicilian, on the other hand, has been getting up to interstate shenanigans with our mutual friend, The Chemist**, and then texting me about it at 3.30am.

The Sicilian has lived a life filled with family melodrama, crippling health issues, and financial insecurity, and has come out the other end with her sense of humor intact – if a little twisted. Oh also, she used to be married to Satan***. So I think it would be fair to say she has earned the right to a few shenanigans.

Anyway, in the middle of one recent night, after sliding The Kicker back into her crib – stuffed full of milk and temporarily placated – I checked my phone to see what time it was. It was 4am, and I had three missed texts from The Sicilian, who was in Oregon with The Chemist for a family funeral.

People, I’m a mommy. My initial gut reaction to text messages in the middle of the night is panic. Ohgodohgodohgodohgod who’s dead??? …….My fuzzy brain read something about her wearing a coat over her pajamas. Ohgodohgod they’ve been kidnapped by psycho hippy-hillbillies (because Oregon) and have escaped and are running down some back-country dirt road miles from civilization !! Texting me for help!!! Where did The Canadian put the antique rifle???

Around about then my brain woke up enough to remember that since The Sicilian and The Chemist were in Oregon, which is the next state over, they would hardly be texting ME for help escaping the psycho hip-billies, which is totally a word now. That’s a time-sensitive situation and I’m ten hours away, and frankly a little flaky these days about getting back to people.****So I read the REST of the messages and no, no hip-billies, no deserted backwoods roads of certain doom. Just The Sicilian and The Chemist, unable to sleep, and therefore having a little party in the car in the hotel parking lot. Just two middle-aged ladies*****, some booze, some mixers, some ice …….and a bootleg bear.

“In case,” giggled The Sicilian, “I get pulled over like last time!” Oh, you don’t think a text message can giggle? You, my friend, have not met The Sicilian. And apparently their little car-party was so fun they did it again the next night, and texted me again, but at the more decent hour of 10.20ish. Because the next day was Sunday. “For God’s sake,” texted The Sicilian, “we’re not heathens”

Anyway it turns out a bootleg bear is EXACTLY what it sounds like. An innocent looking teddy bear, with a secret zippered compartment for stashing your liquor. I have not personally met this bear yet, but I love him, and he needs to be given a name, and cherished. I do not have a bear that I can hide my booze in, but The Hair found Steven in his room at The Ex’s house, and brought him back to me. Which made me very happy and also made me wonder if I could hollow out Steven’s neck and head cavity, and stash a bottle in there. I mean, I think I could, but it just seems wrong somehow. “Welcome to your new home , Steven. Sorry I left you behind and mostly forgot about you for ages but hey, at least The Ex didn’t throw you in the dumpster so that’s something, right? Now come over here and let mommy scoop out your skull to hide her hooch.”

So I won’t. It WOULD make him a conversation piece, but really, how much more of a conversation piece does he need to be? The Hair brought the rainbow Afro wig over too.

I shall invite all my respectable friends over to toast his return. They can bring Leonard a bottle in the bootleg bear.


*What’s that sound, you ask? Why, that’s the sound of every single person who knows me, rolling about on the floor and laughing raucously.

**you’ve met The Chemist. She was the one swearing at her phone.

***not literally. I assume. I don’t ask too many questions.

****Despite this, I have assured my older children that they can and should always call me for help, from anywhere, at anytime, no matter what. When The Hair got to a certain age I had this talk with him. “Really Sweetie, no matter WHAT. If you wake up in a hotel room in Amsterdam with your buddy Crispin and a dead hooker and eight pounds of cocaine, call me”*. Whereupon my poor son turned to me with mild alarm and said “What goes ON in your head?!?”

*****The Sicilian looks a good twenty years younger than she is, and perhaps if I hang out with her long enough I will discover her secret. I’m hoping it’s wine. Seems likely.


* If this were to actually happen, it would be Crispin’s fault. No, this is not biased mom-talk. If it were Crispin and The Drama in that situation (which frankly is slightly more likely), it would probably be The Drama’s fault. Regardless, any or all of them should call me.

Because We Miss Steven. And Murray. Part One.

I don’t miss many things from my old life, with The Ex. But I was short on space and time when deciding what to take and what to leave, and I’ve since regretted a few things left behind. Like the lego Stargate that The Hair made one Christmas*. And Steven and Murray. No, Steven and Murray are not yet more superfluous children, accidentally forgotten like Keven McCallister. Steven was my bald mannequin head**, and Murray my posable life size skeleton.

Steven came to me via a friend, who bought him cheap at some weird sidewalk sale, because her daughter was interested in makeup, and she thought a mannequin head would be good for said daughter to practice on. Said daughter was creeped out, however, and my friend quickly came to the realization that NO ONE in her family was quite weird enough to fully appreciate Steven, and in fact she knew only one person who was. So she rescued him from the depths of the closet where he had been shoved in horror, and gifted him to me for my 40th birthday.

We knew his name was Steven, because it was written on his neck. Steven clearly had a past, and needed love. I suppose if you want to get technical Steven could have been his owner’s name, but frankly that’s not the kind of controlling patriarchal world I want to live in***. So his name was Steven, and I bought him a rainbow Afro wig and a collection of holiday hats.

Then one night, The Hair and I were up very late, watching Angel. Specifically the episode where Angel has to save a pretty young thing who’s being stalked by a neurosurgeon. A neurosurgeon who practices “psychic surgery” and can detach and reattach parts of his body at will, the better to stalk her with (and if there is anyone reading this who thought for a second that I was talking about the heart-warming family drama Touched by an Angel, instead of the Buffy spin-off about a crime fighting vampire with a soul, back away from this blog slowly. This is not the blog for you. You will not enjoy it. Go bedazzle something). Anyway, Angel’s PLAN to defeat Mr Floating Eyeball involves chopping him in pieces and boxing them separately so they can’t reattach (good plan!). In the end though, he merely knocks off his head (weak). The Hair and I were uncertain this was sufficient and had this exact conversation:

Hair: Put it in a jar!

Me: Yeah, like on Futurama.

Hair: Maybe we should put Steven in a jar.

Me: You know, I think we have one big enough too …..

Hair: I can’t believe we didn’t think of this before.

And that is why Steven was in a huge glass jar on the kitchen counter the next morning, when The Ex came down to go to work, and was not amused. The memory of his startled cry of panic warms me to this day.****

>sigh<. I miss Steven. And his BFF, Murray, who I am just too depressed to think about right now. I’m gonna go sniff sadly in my Chardonnay; maybe text The Hair, nostalgically, and write about Murray another day.

Murray and Steven, circa 2013:

(Ok. Maybe they ARE my superfluous children…….)


*He left it on the table and added more accessories to it every morning like a wonderful sci-fi advent calendar, until finally on Christmas morning I came downstairs and there was a little lego Santa on his sleigh, flying through the Stargate. Have I mentioned recently how much I love The Hair?

**I was reminded of Steven recently when The Bloggess mentioned in a post that she once tried to rescue a decapitated head. I say if you get to a certain age and don’t have a least one story featuring some kind of disembodied head, what have you been doing with your time?

***You might say we already live in that world, and you might have a point. Which is all the more reason to make a whole alternative world, with alcoholic unicorns and skeletons in fancy dress and yes, disembodied rainbow-wigged mannequin heads who are empowered enough to somehow write their OWN name on their neck.

****I might be kind of a bitch.