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.

Because I’m humoring The Sicilian

Today, Leonard is drinking and I am posting ENTIRELY for my friend, The Sicilian*. On social media she shared a video of “If Hal9000 was Alexa“, and it’s pretty funny because it’s y’know, true, and then she comment-nagged me until I replied. Which I wasn’t going to because dammit, The Kicker thinks my boobs are an all-night smorgasbord and I’m tired. But The Sicilian is a Force of Nature, so I gave in, and now there’s a whole blog post which is probably just going to encourage her…..

ANYWAY. I don’t own an Alexa (thankfully), but I do have an iPhone, and I can testify that Siri** is basically the same. We seem to be living at the point in history where we have voice activated technology, but it just doesn’t work that well. Oh, but how we want it to. We really, really want it to…… men especially (yes, that’s sexist. I don’t care)

Every now and then The Canadian tries to use the voice activated navigation on our late model SUV, because he really, really wants to be George Jetson (only more badass, obviously) but he knows when to roll his eyes and just use the buttons, or we will never get where we are going.

Unlike some people.

Some years ago, when I was still married to The Ex, he would every night, without fail, try to verbally set an alarm for the morning on his iPhone. And every night, without fail, it went something like this***:

Ex: Alarm

Siri: Hello

Ex: Alarm

Siri: What is your mother’s name?


Siri: I don’t know, but I could search the internet


Siri: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that

Ex: ALARM!!!

Siri: You have seven alarms

Ex: Set alarm

Siri: The white rhinoceros is indigenous to the continent of Africa

Ex: ALARM!!!

Me: For the love of Sam and Dean, just use the buttons like everyone else!

Siri: You have seven alarms


Siri: It looks like there are several movie theaters close to you. Would you like me to check showtimes?


Me: Give it UP. Siri hates you. All voice activated tech does. You know GPS tries to kill you every time you use it.**** Embrace it as a mystery of the universe and use the buttons!

Siri: You’re welcome

Ex: Alarm

Siri: You have seven alarms

Ex: Set alarm

Siri: Would you like me to set an alarm?


Siri: Ok, I can do that. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Ex: Set Alarm!!

Siri: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?

Me: Dude, she is messing with you. Siri is Skynet, she has achieved self awareness, and she is using her new-found autonomy to MESS with you. Use. The. Buttons.


Siri: There are three Alans in your contacts. Which one did you want me to call?

Ex: No! ALARM!!

Siri: Calling Alan Nolan…


Alan Nolan: Hello?

Ex: Ah…. hi.

Alan: Oh hey. Wassup??

Ex: Actually I dialed you by mistake. I was trying to set an alarm on my phone.

Alan: ……you know Siri hates you, right? Just use the buttons.

Ex: Uh…. thanks. Bye.

Alan: K. Bye!

Siri: Would you like to make another call?


Siri: Calling Lucky Dragon Chinese Restaurant…….


*The Sicilian gets a name because she’s about to feature in ANOTHER post, and I’ve randomly decided that’s the rule. Two posts, you get a pseudonym.

**I do not use Siri, except for occasional GPS navigation, and I have set her to the male British voice and renamed her “Nigel”.

***this is a (slightly) edited version of the (only slightly) exaggerated incident that I posted on Facebook at the time. I went looking for it JUST FOR YOU, The Sicilian. You’re welcome.

****this is true

Because dammit George, you bastard.

Leonard is drinking for a friend again today. No, not that one. Or THAT one. A whole new one! A sweet young friend of mine, who has been hurt. Hurt by a man, and I feel like I should have warned her because I’ve had some experience with the guy…..but gee, I really hoped it would work out different this time. Plus she probably wouldn’t have listened, because Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa, and freakin’ dragons are a pretty potent combination.

Yes. My friend has been hurt by George R R Martin.*

(Oh, if you know nothing about Game of Thrones, feel free to skip this one. Maybe go read about when The Canadian went skiing)

So my friend loves Game of Thrones, and is devastated because apparently new episodes are delayed until next year. At which I laugh bitterly, hollowly, along with everyone else who read the books. Because now the show fans know a small portion of our pain……

Yes, I slogged my way through the books. Each one of them was door-stop hefty, although up to about 30% of the whole thing was just long, loving descriptions of every single feast that every single character ever went to. We don’t CARE if Daenerys is eating Dog in Honey and Crispy Fried Locust, George, get back to the damn story! Not that we should be surprised at George’s obsession with feasts, have you seen him? He’s like Jabba the Hutt with a wizard’s beard.

So anyway, I read the books, because the book is always better, and it was supposed to be a trilogy. A TRILOGY. Then at the end of the third book George says he’s sorry and it will take one more book to wrap this saga up. So I read the giant fourth book, even though Tyrion wasn’t in it at ALL, what kind of crap is THAT, George?? And the end of the fourth book he says he’s really, really sorry and it will just take one more, he promises. So I read the mammoth fifth book, and at the end of the fifth book George walks out and just leaves you hanging, with nothing explained or resolved, wondering if he’s ever coming back.

He’s not.

A few years ago a friend asked if he should read the books, and I responded with a resounding “NO! It’s too late for me, but save yourself!”, and a list reasons of why A Song of Fire and Ice is like a bad boyfriend. Including:

-It will consume all your time. Yes, it’s an attractive story. It’s all dark and mysterious and compelling! But it will suck you in, demand all your attention, and keep you up turning it’s pages when you’re really too tired to even enjoy it.

-It hurts you for no reason. After a while you become numb to the constant violent murders of your favorite characters. Or you think you have, then something like the Red Wedding happens and you wonder why you ever got involved with this thing ……

-It always leaves you hanging. No storyline is ever resolved. It just keeps getting MORE complicated. The only closure happens when someone dies ….. and not even always then.

-It makes promises and never follows through. See above.

I did try to watch the series, afterwards, and it turns out GoT is one of those rare exceptions to the “book is always better” rule. But I’d been ruined for it. It’s like this:

Let’s say you date this guy (the books) who promises so much and just lets you down over and over (Bad Boyfriend, see above). And then he leaves you and you’re upset and angry but also a little relieved, and you move on and realize you can do better, girlfriend! Then you meet his younger brother (the show).

And the younger brother is hotter and really seems to have his shit together, plus you know, less obsessed with feasts, so you go out a few times but……… Eh. You just have a bad feeling. He reminds you of his brother. It not him, it’s you, and you end it before you get too committed**.

And then your friend starts dating him, and you’re happy for her. She’s happy, she’s having a great time, and you really hope it works out. And THEN, he starts to act just like his brother. And you hope it’s just a blip, that he’s just super late*** this one time, but that baaaaad feeling is back again and you don’t want her hurt like you were.

Ok, I’ve officially pushed THAT analogy as far as it will go.

So my advice to my friend – and all GoT fans – is this: Don’t wait around pining. Make your own closure. Decide in your own head how the Epic Tale of the Iron Throne of Westeros ends, and that’s that. That’s what happened. No, shut up, that’s what happened. The first book was published in 1996. It’s time for a damn ending.****

Then if the show comes back and you like how they wrap it up, fine and dandy. If you DON’T like how they end it, well that’s just how the multiverse goes. Stick with your version. You have the power.

A rousing rendition of “I Will Survive” is possibly in order too.


*to be fair, I don’t actually know how much GRRM is involved with the tv show. But he started the whole thing plus I guess I’m still a little pissed off , so it’s All His Fault.

**I think I realized I wasn’t going to make it through the show when I knew Khal Drogo was going to die, and it was Jason “Scrummy Man-Hunk” Momoa.* No one should have to deal with that. Ok, it’s possible I’m also still a little bitter about the premature end of Stargate Atlantis. But that’s a whole other rant blog post.

***A YEAR late

****someone could make good money online with a Game of Thrones Ending generator. You plug in your favorite and least favorite characters, click on “End the Bloody Saga Already!” and get instant closure. For those who lack the imagination to DIY.


*But not as scrummy as The Canadian, obviously.