Arrr, y'all


POOP, I’m a Butterfly

This is how my 30s went: pregnant and awesome, awesome babyness, terrifying baby surgeryness, community awesomeness, Hell, Big Loss-Trauma #1, soberness, the New Start, the Big Move, fabulous parentness, Big Loss-Trauma #2, more hilarious trials and tribulations, late 30s amazingness and I’m in a chrysalis and it’s squeezing me and POOP, I’m a butterfly.  That was it in a nutshell.  But seriously, let me tell you about TODAY.

This morning I woke up as usual exactly one minute before my alarm went off.  6:59, every morning of the week. Every morning, you ask? How is this possible, you ask?  Magic, I reply.

Lordy Lordy, look who’s 40.

Mo, Ry and I did our morning routine while singing all our conversations to the tune of our favorite Andrea Bocelli song.  Then we listened to that song, Time To Say Goodbye, all the way to Waldorf.  My family.  I love them.

We stopped over at my mom- and dad-in-law’s after for tea and gifts and visiting.  Betty fed us bagels and pomegranate seeds. Knobby serenaded me sweetly with his rendition of the birthday song and made me love him even more, which I didn’t think possible, because I love Betty and Knobby a whole awful lot.  My in-laws. I love them.

Exhausted by the opera singing and hugging and eating and waves of love from Facebookworld that took place from 6:59 to 10 a.m., upon returning home I collapsed dramatically to the sofa and crashed utterly and completely for about two hours.  Then I chatted with Mom for a while, always a treat, because she’s awesome.  See above statement re “My family”. After giving me my annual Huge-Ass White Roses B-day Bouquet ™, Mo took me to lunch at my favorite hole in the wall restaurant since the history of ever, Sari Sari.  It’s so good you think your brain must be playing tricks on you, because you just never thought any food could taste this exquisitely amazing.  I got what I can only describe as Filipino fish chowder.  In other news, I would like to open a restaurant next door to Sari Sari called S’okay S’okay.


Then we went to Goodwill in the uber-off chance that I might find a pair of knee-high zip-up high-heel leather boots in size 9 and 1/2 for my costume party, and you know how many times I went into Goodwill to find, I don’t know, a shirt, any color, size large, that semi fits, and gone away frustrated and empty handed?  Damned if I didn’t leave there with a pair of knee-high zip-up high-heel leather boots in size 9 and 1/2.  And a sweater that looks amazeballs on me, and the exact set of Ball jars I’ve been needing for the homestead.  Because Goodwill knew it’s my birthday.

We picked up Ry and met cousin Amy for coffee, Amy who was there for my very first birthday in Lebanucky and who has made me feel like I fit in in this new town I’m calling home.  Then home for a chilly walk down the tracks, me and the dogs, and my new dog-beating stick that I carry in case another big 0ff-leash dog comes barreling out to try to kill Jake and Paw, like what happened earlier this week that ended up with Jake all battered and Mo with a bite to the hand after body-slamming a monstrous lab.  (They’re both healing fine.)

Then it was just regular nighttime routine.  Dinner, jammies, reading aloud from Riordan’s latest Olympians novel, snuggling, tucking in, vegging out on the computer, eyes getting blurry.  Mo and Ry are asleep, Sugarpaw has her head on my shin, Jake has made himself a nest out of what were clean sheets, Wispy is curled up somewhere warm, Bo the betta is blowing sleepy bubbles in the dark.  The house mouse, which is leaving tiny poo in the bottom kitchen drawer and which I will tomorrow trap in a Havahart.  Paw is twitching gently and snoring in little huffs, chasing something.  Tomorrow I’ll be 40 again.  Life is good.




On our way home tonight, Mo and I drove past a cat lying in the road. We drove on in silence for a few blocks.  “We should go back,” she said. When we got back there was a very young, scared-looking woman standing guard over it so no cars would run it over.  I laid my hand on its side.  Warm, but not breathing.  I asked her if it was hers; no, he belonged to her neighbor. I asked if she was okay. She didn’t say anything.  In the light from an oncoming car that had stopped, I carefully picked him up and carried him to the side.  The car that had given me light pulled up, and it was my friend Jana, with her kids.  How random, I thought.  Her face was full of kindness and concern.  She gave me a blanket from her car to wrap the cat in.  Her kindness added to mine added to Mo’s added to that young scared woman and her young husband, who joined us from their house, and that kitty all wrapped up in a soft blanket, all our sadness and kindness added together and surrounding his little body, his quiet sendoff committee. Maybe it wasn’t random at all.  He was limp and heavy, and had soft fur, like Wispy.

Coffee, and Other Things that make me Scream Quietly to Myself

I have a really fun debilitating anxiety/panic disorder for which I take a hefty daily dose of delicious, nutritious anxiety meds, and for the most part I now lead what passes for a normal life for a member of my family, but when I mistake the caff for decaf and down a very large cup of extra-strong French roast, you can pretty much pretend that Gabapentin, deep breathing and plenty of sleep were never invented.  This is why I didn’t do drugs in college: I’m so hypersensitive to even mild mind-altering chemicals that they cause me to utterly freak out, among other nasty effects. I’m not saying I ever smoked pot, because you know, the guv’mint is listening in, but if I ever DID, everyone else would be fine, but my reaction would range (depending on how many tokes) from panic to, oh I don’t know, lets just for fun say my arms and legs would totally stop working and my friends would have to carry me back up to my room, where I’d have a hallucination of my friend Marti as a cardboard cutout on a 2D construction paper background with little cut-out stars twinkling around her like an angel’s sparkling halo.  

It’s been a long day. 

Alert! Do not read if you’re afraid of my breasts!

Okay, now that we’ve weeded a few out, lets get down to business about some things.  Mainly, the fact that I’ll be 40 in two and a half months, and lets face it, I’m chubbing right up.  I mention the part where I’m going to be 40 because I don’t want you to forget my birthday, but mainly because the speed of my girth-growth is scientifically in direct proportion to the increasing rate at which I’m approaching my forties.  These two factors in my life are inextricably connected.  Scientifically.

This past weekend I was out at a festival with my pal Amy C, and we were taking all these pictures of ourselves posing with enormous creepy puppets. See photo below because it illustrates my point. Well, you can tell I’m tucking my head in to avoid the creepy tongue-thing, so ignore the chins, but even so you can see the weight gain in my face. Or maybe only I can.  But you can see it really well if you look at my ass.  Which I did not have photographed with creepy puppets.  So take my word for it.

Amy and Blue with Creepy Puppet

I work hard to overcome the fat-phobia that from childhood on was drilled into my easily drilled-into brain from TV and gawd knows where else.  GI Joe did not jiggle.  Of course, there was Fat Albert, he was awesome, but you know, he was only one person, and one fat cartoon character person cannot overcome the thousands and millions of cartoons and ads and soaps I watched from years 8 to 16 that drilled fat-phobia into my head.  I’m sorry, Fat Albert, I know you tried.  (Note: contrary to what you may be thinking, I did not have unlimited access to television. I am maybe exaggerating slightly about the “million” ads.  My parents had strict rules about TV time and kicked my brother and me out of the house constantly; of course, we’d just go climb a tree and sit there talking about cartoons and ads.)

Umm, Blue, where’s the part where you talk about your boobs?

Yeah, so, my metabolism is slowing down like a train coming into the station, that station being Year 40.  Memories of my college dancer abs and tight upper arms are fading into the mist, replaced by the daily surprise of waking up to this new me in the mirror.  I have pillows and sag and really fun round parts that used to be not quite so round.  And despite what I do, the healthy attitude toward eating and exercise (do it to feel good, not look good), the daily mantras (my body is perfect, my body is perfect), some mornings I honestly have just felt unready to look at myself in the mirror.  Until I went bra shopping.

Me: Excuse me, I’m not much good at this, I need a bra for a shirt I’m wearing to a wedding.  It’s pretty low-cut.  A push-up, I think? In black?
Lady: Bras are over there. [because I’m at Target. They don’t fit you for bras at Target. Right.]
Me [returning]: Two please.
Lady: Just go in.
Me: Oh… right. Thanks.
Mirror: Whoa, hey there chubby, that cup you’ve worn since forever ain’t cutting it. Utter spillage.
Me: Oh my gosh. Oh wow, you’re right.
Lady: Any luck?
Me: Actually, I … I think I need … a size … bigger?  Oh my god, I need a bigger cup size. Or maybe even two sizes!  Oh my god!  Squeee! [returning with an armful]  Okay, I’m goin’ in!!
Lady: Whatever.
Mirror: WHOA NELLY!  Lookit that RACK! NOW we’re talkin!
Me: I can’t believe it! Big boobs! WOOT!
Mirror: Now get out there and flaunt it!
Mirror: Damn right. Now you just juggle those mamas back on home in that shiny black sling and show that other mirror who’s boss.

The end.

Addendum: next time you see me, feel free to stare at my boobs to see if they look any different.  Just keep in mind that I occasionally, mildly exaggerate.


I may or may not look exactly like this woman with teacups on her breasts.

Blue’s Superpower

A while back I was Facebooking about all these psyche and IQ tests I was undergoing, to determine whether or not I have ADHD.  The results are in. But first, there’s this. While I was being tested over those many weeks, while I was fidgeting and testing and looking out the window and humming to myself, I also renamed the tests, because I am easily distracted. There was the “Long Wiener Intelligence Scale”, also known as “If You Give Me Another Fucking Brain Puzzle I’m Going To Vomit”. There was “The Addled Index Self Report”.  Also “The Addled Index Observer Report by the Addled Person’s At Wits End Wife”.  The Connor’s Continuous Performance Task became “The Brain Exploder”. The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement didn’t need renaming, really, but if I did rename it and the new name had nothing to do with male genitalia I would call it simply “Dante’s Circle of Eternal Brain-Testing Hell, Just For Me”.

Here are the results, for those following the Blue’s Brain Saga, because you care.  There were a bunch of other tests for depression, anxiety, hopelessness and suicidal tendencies, all created by some dude named Beck, I figured this out because the tests are all called “Beck”.  Mr. Beck says I’m mildly [read: medicated] depressed, anxious and hopeless, and utterly non-suicidal. Whew! Good to know.

As for ADHD … wait for it … yes! I do, in fact, utterly and completely unsurprisingly, have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, minus the hyperactivity, and minus the disorder, because I don’t believe it’s a disorder, but just a different kind of wiring, or actually more like a superpower. I will be going back in the coming months to learn some new skills and get better at living in you puny humans’ non-ADHD world.

And as for IQ, I’m smart.

Overly Long and Mind-Numbingly Detailed Garden Report (with photos of totally almost-naked people to keep your interest)

I feel that I must apologize.  Here it is, almost summer already, and I’ve not posted a SINGLE page about my garden.  I know this is an issue you really care about, so I am really beating myself up for dropping the ball and letting you down.  I’m going to make it up to you now, with this Overly Long and Mind-Numbingly Detailed Garden Report.  Scattered throughout I will provide pictures of totally almost-naked people.  Because.

Spring has come and gone, here in the fair city of Lebanucky, in its usual short-lived explosion. The Spring flowers bloomed every color known to man and then wilted away, crazed lustful birds fought and mated and threw themselves against windows in their ritual Springtime madness, people burst forth from their stale winter quarters and began jiggling their thigh-fat in neon jogging shorts, dogs pissed on hydrants with wild abandon.  All over the shared acre behind our house,  wild violets spread a dazzling purple blanket. Hawks screamed from the top of the towering old black walnut.  Creeping charlie crept up from its winter roots and spread itself out in the green shade of the ivy OH MY GOD AN ASS


You can never start your garden too early, my friends, but actually you can, as evidenced by the fact that I transplanted kale and cabbage from the indoor garden room and it all immediately died from frost.  I took my time with the rest, tending to the indoor starts and biding my time until the weather finally gave in.  The overwintering perennials were already there: lambs ears, strawberries, and second season garlic, an experiment of mine; in the Sunny garden, oregano and sage.  Our daffodils came up along the ivy fence, and mystery bulbs from a friend’s wedding revealed themselves to be red and purple tulips WELL HELLO THERE DAVID BECKHAM


  and several types of daffodil.  Then the rest of the perennials emerged. Second year daisies and lupine, which I had given up hope of ever blooming, came up stems and leaves.  Raspberries, blackberries and black raspberries started leafing out.  Next came the cole crops. Broccoli transplants and sugar snap peas from seed went into the Sunny garden, while spinach and beets from seed, and cauliflower, kale and cabbage transplants went into the big garden.  Soon thereafter we transplanted red leaf romaine, I say “we” because my hero Mo is doing the garden with me this year! Isn’t that awesome? Because it is a lot to take care of for one gal, people, especially a gal whose eyes are too big for her garden OMG LOOK AT THOSE HUGE – NECKLACE BEADS


to start with and who keeps unnecessarily adding and widening beds every year. It’s pure greed.  So anyway, after the lettuce I had my first Big Drag of the season.  I always make a little greenhouse tent for sweet potatoes, which I start from cut slips in 5 gallon buckets. They have to be kept warm, you see.  But I was lazy and made a lame-ass tent out of plastic that had holes in it, and didn’t keep the potatoes properly watered, so instead of sending up leaves they rotted. So the sweet potatoes were a flop. Every year I kill something.  I learn by killing shit, and that’s just how I roll. Luckily I have a fabulous client who bought us sweet potato plants, just to be nice, after I gave her a few tomato plants we didn’t have room for.  Next came the herbs, all of which went into the Sunny garden: thyme, more oregano, dill, 11 basil plants HEY THERE WHATCHA LOOKING AT


curly leaf parsley for my mother in law and cilantro/coriander.  I have a few footnotes here.  Last year I planted the wrong kind of parsley, flat leaf, and although Betty used it, it’s just not the same and I’m kind of proud that I got it right this year.  Also, did you know that cilantro, when allowed to go to seed, produces coriander?  I am still in awe of that.  You can harvest the little pods, store them in a jar and, when you need ground coriander, grind them up with your little wooden mortar and pestle.  Yes, I happen to have, and use, a little wooden mortar and pestle SWEET JESUS PUT THAT AWAY


Eventually, to my delirious joy, the daisies and lupine bloomed!  Stop looking at the orange penis! I put in zinnias, purple morning glories, mammoth sunflowers, snapdragons, canna lillies, little pansies and one purple salvia, and helped Rocky dig and plant her own little round flower garden. We put in the flowers she had started in the nursery: snapdragons, bunny tails and zinnias, along with bachelors button and a marigold she had gotten as a birthday gift, and the wheatgrass she grew at school. Also new to the garden are two little fairy houses, made of bark, moss, leaves and sticks.  The fairies have already moved in; we can tell because the little beds have been slept in.  Melissa tilled yet another new bed for tomatoes, and we transplanted 12 or 13 romas and purple heirlooms and 2 cherries (for little Kait upstairs), plus a few banana peppers for Betty.  The spinach all died, the broccoli shot up suddenly, then just as suddenly turned to flowers and is done, and the basil got frostbitten and turned yellow but is perking up now NICE BUTTON


Add these to my sad sweet potato attempt and that early mass kale and cabbage murder and that’s all my killing for the Spring season. We’ll have a good crop of kale and cabbage, thanks to subsequent planting of seeds, and tons of lettuce, tomatoes, peas, beets, cabbage, sweet potatoes and herbs, plus what looks to be a ripening bumper crop of  berries. Also, it’s mulberry season!  The tree out back is already full of them. For three days Rocky and the neighborhood kids were up in a ladder picking and picking, getting me bowls of berries, and then we all sat out under the old walnut and ate mulberry pie.  Ry’s feet and clothes are still purple.

Last but not least, my next door neighbor Jason brought home a couple dozen Cabernet grape sticks, and he and I planted them in buckets.  I love Cabernet.  Regrettably, I no longer drink, but Jason says you can eat the grapes too.  Looking back over this post, I’m thinking it may be a good thing that I no longer drink.  MAN OF STEEL!!


‘And that, thank god, concludes this Garden Report.

Rocky’s Crazy Whacked-Out Dream: Egyptians, and Hellhounds, and Killing, and Other Stuff

By Rocky

(illustrations by Mama, except for the Magical Fruit Lady)

Last night I had a really weird dream, and my mama wanted me to record it, because she wanted to make a story about it.

Me and Mommy were for some really weird reason, we were sitting in an Egyptian’s dungeon room

Rayya's Dream Panel 1

and there was a magical fruit lady, and she was at the top of the building, and she said

Rayya's Dream Fruit Lady small“Hey Rocky, catch this, it’s skinny lotion”, and she tossed it to me and I said, “Hey Mommy, look, it’s skinny lotion, and look at that side exit, we can go through it” and we poured skinny lotion all over each other, and we slipped through the side exit

Rayya's Dream Panel 2

and then everybody started chasing us

Rayya's Dream Panel 3

and then as you would probably expect, I ran toward the horse barn because I love horses, and then Mama came up and I said, “Hey Mama, you want to know how sharp my Swiss army knife is,” and she said “Sure,” and I stuck it into her thumb, and she said, “Wow, that’s sharp”

Rayya's Dream Panel 4

and then she disappeared, and then I ran into the horse barn, and then I got a bridle, and then I put it on the horse, and then we started running around,

Rayya's Dream Panel 5

and then the horse started talking to me, and me and the horse were just jumping over the fence to get out, and there was this girl, and she said, “Hey, stop!”

Rayya's Dream Panel 6

and I said, “Hey, look what I found,” and I un-clipped the sword from her belt, and I said, “I’m gonna kill you,” and I went whack whack whack

Rayya's Dream Panel 7

and now she’s dead, and then I realized that Mommy was in a hellhound’s cage, and the hellhound was about to eat her, so I ran through, and I went over to Mommy, and I touched the point of the sword to the hellhound’s nose, and it said whhiiiine, and then I walked away, and then I untangled Mommy,

Rayya's Dream Panel 8

and then everybody started chasing us, for some reason, again

Rayya's Dream Panel 9

and then Pharaoh came, which is the king of the Egyptians, and then I cut off his head

Rayya's Dream Panel 10

and then we went home, and then there was the magical fruit lady again,

Rayya's Dream Fruit Lady big

the end.