A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: friends (Page 1 of 2)

Ketchup is a Vegetable by Robin O’Bryant

Have I ever told you about my friend Robin O’Bryant?

We met online a couple of years ago through mutual friends and hit it off like peanut butter and chocolate. When we finally met in person at a blogging conference it felt like coming home, minus the piles of clutter and that wet dog smell.

Ketchup Front cover 200

Robin and I have the kind of relationship where I can text her questions like “Bucket Head says his butthole is itchy. I’m scared,” and she’ll text back sage advice like “Whatever you do, DO NOT Google Pinworms,” and then digitally hold me while I reply, “Too late. OMG. MY EYES!!” Continue reading

How to break the ice at a blog conference.

I’m on my way into the big city today for my second day of the Haven Conference. It’s a blog conference specifically geared at DIY/Home blogs and it’s been an absolute HOOT so far. These women are incredible. For such a creative group, they sure have great business minds. I have met so many warm and engaging ladies who are beyond generous with sharing their knowledge and talents.

This has been a great conference for me…nice and small, local so I can sleep at home, and very inspiring. I’m so glad my friends, Kerry of HouseTalkN’ and Kristy of Living Life (Un) Simply, talked me into going with them! {Love love love!} They are even more fun in person than they are on Twitter, if you can even imagine.

Kerry texted me the day before the conference and said “You are in charge of keeping me from making an ass of myself, btw…”

Surely she must have meant to send that to someone else. I’m more of an ass-enabler than an ass-preventer, as you can probably tell.

Kerry is a HOOT.

Yep. That’s Kerry. And that’s just how she greets Internet friends. Can you imagine what her family reunions look like?

Kerry’s also a former teacher, and she gladly conducts impromptu workshops on things like ambush dancing, unconventional greeting phrases like “You’re so cute, I just want to breast-feed you,” and all the latest gang symbols.

That there little gesture can mean a variety of things…like “form a diamond defense” in basketball,” or “does this dress accentuate my flesh belt?” According to one gal Kerry knows, it is also the international sign for vagina. Hey, the more you know. So ladies, if you ever find yourself in a setting where it would be considered uncouth to use anatomically correct Latin-based terminology, like, oh I don’t know, the Michigan House of Representatives, you can always just flash this hand signal instead.

Or just do what I do and try to work the word vagina into as many conversations as possible.

“Hi, I’m Leslie! No, I’m not really a DIY blogger, unless you include the DIY tips I share about vaginas. Oooh, I love your bag! Did you sew that?! Do you sell those? I used to sew, but then I had kids. Now I can’t even find a pair a scissors when I need them. Sometimes I fix stuff around my house like refrigerators. What’s your blog about?”

See? It’s easy. And totally not offensive. It’s just a body part like any other…knee, eye, vagina. I honestly do not understand what the big whoop is. Vagina, vagina, vagina.


Okay, gotta go. Don’t want to be late for day two! Vagina.

your friend,

PS – my comments are closed for the summer, but you can chat me up on Twitter and Facebook, and please do! I miss you guys. Vagina.

Mama Needs a New Pair of Boobs

So I met this cool chick named Kristen McClusky a couple of weeks ago at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and it was basically love at first sight. And not just because she has really pretty hands and lives not far from where I used to live in Oakland, California. Kristen writes a delightful blog called motherload: diary of a modern day housewife superhero. And it was after I read her About page that I knew I had to have a little piece of her (in a totally non creepy way) to share with all of you.

Well guess what? I networked! I sent her an email expressing my non-creepy love and asked her if she would pretty-please be my very first guest blogger.

And she said YES! OMG. I made a new friend…in real life. Somebody pinch me!

So without further ado, I present my new friend Kristen McClusky and her boobies…


My gay friend Rick thinks I have great tits. He admires them with the shameless gusto that only a guy with no interest in “going there” can.

I’d have slapped other men for saying even half of what Rick has said about my boobies. But with him? I’m flattered. I mean, Rick has exceptional taste.

Then one day while critiquing my shoes and cleavage, he asked me if my hooters were fake. And I was crushed.

Crushed because it was suddenly, painfully clear that when it comes to ta-tas, the man has no idea what he’s talking about.

I think my response went something like, “THESE?! These barely B cups? You think someone would PAY to have these droopy, nursed-two-babies, formerly not-even-that-fabulous boobies surgically constructed?”

After throwing back my head and laughing heartily, I tousled his hair and said, “Stick to what you know, honey.” Then walked away.

By the time you read this I’ll be in Miami at the Mom 2.0 Summit. A trip to Miami sends a clothing-careless Nor Cal mom like me into a fashion frenzy. My yoga-pants-and-flip-flops uniform will not carry over to the Versace Mansion (where I’m truly attending a party, thankyouverymuch).

So I’ve been shopping.

I had the good luck to find a few new fabulous frocks. But I’ve gotta say, my mommy mammaries are NOT doing them justice. I mean, especially in a strapless number. It’s one part engineering–needing to just hold the dress up–and one part aesthetics. Having more would just look better.

I needed bigger boobs in six days. So I went to Victoria’s Secret.

I was on the phone with my friend Meggie when I walked into the place. Which was good since it let me wave off the short, older woman with a tape measure around her neck who approached me. I know her type–the bra-fitting Nazi–all too well.

I had a Russian crone measure me for a nursing bra once and nearly needed therapy afterward. She hijacked me with her tape measure, stretching it over my chest in the middle of the store. She barked, “NO!” to the bras I’d picked out, yanked others off the rack, then marched into the small dressing room with me to try them on. She wrenched straps into place, and poked at puckering fabric as I stood terror-filled. And I don’t scare easy.

“This one good,” she snapped as I meekly tried to look at it in the mirror. “You get it.”

I left with three bras I was afraid not to buy.

At V’s Secret I found an apparently un-hostile saleswoman and quietly stammered, “I uh… need to buy some… boobies.”

“Built into the bra, or separate?” she enquired, as if she were asking, “Milk or sugar?”

“Uh… separate? I think?” I was doing that make-everything-a-question thing California girls do. Probably since I felt like a kid myself, looking to stuff my bra.

In the corner of the store she grabbed a pink and black box and pulled out a rose-colored satin pouch. From there she withdrew a semicircular, clear rubber blob.

As we both stared down at it, I wasn’t sure what to say.

“Do I, uh, try it–them–on?”

“You can,” she said, handing the box to me. “Can’t get any germs from ’em.”

In the dressing room I shoved the cool gel disks into my bra. There are actually two per boobie–one goes underneath for lift, and the other on top to flesh things out.

I took a picture of my curvy profile with my phone and texted it to Meg. (If you don’t have a girlfriend you can text tittie pics of yourself too, what have you got? If you need, I can send you Meg’s number. You’ll love her. Email me.)

She texted back her approval. And I was pleased too. For $59 this was a hell of a lot cheaper–and less messy–than surgery.

As I dropped the rubber falsies back in their sack I couldn’t help thinking about the single gals who use these things. I mean, for the unacquainted couple, they should be called Disappointment Disks. Sure, in the bar they look great, but back at your apartment how do you explain four rubber jellyfish flopping out onto the floor? Doesn’t seem so sexy after all.

At the register a middle-aged woman rang me up with a smile. “Love these,” she whispered.

I wondered what The Husband would think of them. Foolish or fabulous?

Whatever the case, when you finally get the rack you’ve wanted since you were 13, it’s not for your hubbie. It’s not even for the admiration of your fabulous gay friends.

No, these new boobies are all for me.


See? Didn’t I tell you? You can get more of Kristen (probably wearing her “Disappointment Disks”) at motherload, Twitter (@MotherLoadBlog), and Facebook.

Show her some love, y’all!

6 More Things I Learned at EBWW

Have I mentioned that I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, last weekend?

Kidding. Obviously I can’t stop talking about it. But the rules of good blogging still apply and thus I have chosen to divide and conquer with several posts instead of one so as not to overwhelm or bore you to death. See? See how much I care for you people?

So, picking up where I left off last week… here are the rest of the gems I simply must share with you about my EBWW experience.

7.) It can be a real pickle to write your truth about people you know and not be chased out of town with torches and pitchforks. But here is the best advice I heard all weekend about how to walk that fine line:

“Cut as close to the bone as you can without getting sued or divorced.” ~Adriana Trigiani

In other words, change their name and write the hell out of that sucker. Wise words indeed! (Love her!)

8.) When you declare your intentions to the universe, the universe will send you all the resources you need to stay on your path and achieve your goals.

"One of these things is not like the other..."

That photo was taken at dinner last Friday night with writers Michelle Freed and Kathy Buckworth. Earlier that day, Michelle gave me a family sized pack of my current vice of choice, York Peppermint Patties, just because. How awesome is that?! Somebody better stop me before I break into a Dionne Warwick song. And you know I will, dammit.

The next day, I met Ernie. 

Ernie and Leslie at the Erma Bombeck tree dedication.

Ernie and I hit it off right away. We both wear funky glasses, we both have a fondness for hair styling products, we’re both fluent in sarcasm, and neither of us were imbibing. We were pretty much attached at the hip from the moment we connected. Thank you Ernie! You were just what the doctor ordered.

9.) The banana phone is alive and well in Dayton, Ohio. And if you ever want to make friends real fast in between conference sessions, whip out your banana phone and call someone. It’s a real crowd pleaser, believe you-me.

Check out my sisters-of-slapstick, Julie Ott of ott mama and Stacey Hatton of Nurse Mommy Laughs, working it old school.

10.) You’re never too old for the buddy system, especially while traveling in a strange city. Plus, a travel buddy makes it safer to share your cab with a strange man in Uni-Bomber sunglasses who may indeed turn out to be not so strange after all. In fact, he might just turn out to be one of the highlights of your trip due to his incredible wit and willingness to go with the flow…even in the midst of a very invasive trip through security.

And that’s how Nicole and I met Jef, of The Cult of Jef, a blog that’s “Sporty, yet casual.” I have found myself repeatedly laughing out loud at everything I’ve read there so far. Do yourself a favor and check him out. Here’s a good place to start.

11.) Pack your dirty skivvies in a bag at the BOTTOM of your suitcase so the poor man searching your luggage for the giant metal EBWW souvenir water bottle that looks incredibly similar to a pipe bomb doesn’t have to touch every. single. filthy. garment in your bag. Oh dear God in heaven, now I know why those poor things wear gloves. Bless his heart!

"Lord Almighty, what is that smell?"

"Ma'am, is this your large metal cylindrical object?"

Not unrelated, the brand name of the EBWW souvenir water bottle is “Bullet.” Not kidding. See for yourself:

Yessiree Bob, there’s nothing quite like transporting an extra large silver bullet through airport security. Good times.

12.) Normally I don’t advocate cracking jokes about granny panties with just any TSA Agent, but I must say, this sweet man was a wonderful sport (and quite gentle with my delicates). Life lesson: asking a stranger for a hug can really make almost any embarrassing situation feel a little better.

I always enjoy a little cuddle after my full body cavity searches, don't you?

And that concludes my list of all the wonderful things I learned last weekend thanks to the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. Please tune in tomorrow to read about all the qualities I look for in a good roommate! (Don’t worry Nicole, your secrets are safe with me.)

your travel buddy,


Appetizer Love: Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Jalapeños!

I just love a good potluck, don’t you?! Takes the pressure off the host, everyone gets a chance to contribute and feel important, and it gives us all the opportunity to try new foods. It’s just win-win. Love that!

Well, The Gatekeeper and I had the chance to attend a humdinger of a potluck last Saturday night with some of our best church buddies. We were asked to bring an appetizer. Oh thank God. I hate it when people ask me to bring the paper products. What a slap in the face. I mean, really; you show up with maggoty rice salad ONE time

Anyhooo… I knew I wanted to bring something different but awesome. Nothing worse than bringing a duplicate dish and forcing all the guests to do a Taste Test in front of you both. (Speaking of which, I don’t care how Southern you think you are, if the hostess asks you to bring a green salad, do NOT show up with Baked Mac and Cheese. You totally fucked up my menu that time, Beverly. Pfffft.)

So I started thinking of all the appetizers in my arsenal, and one in particular jumped out as a major crowd pleaser: Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Jalapeños! I know, right? Bacon: the magic word. It just makes everything better. (Apologies to my Kosher readers.)

I was first introduced to this magical appetizer a couple years ago when my dear neighborhood friend Mama Cloud stuck a plate of them on my front porch and ding-dong-ditched me. What a refreshing change from the flaming bag of dog poo I was expecting! Instead, there was a note on the plate that said “You’ve been tagged by the Appetizer Fairy!” God, I love that girl.

Even if you don’t love spicy foods, you might like this. The baking plus the cream cheese mellows the jalapeños so that there is just a hint of a kick left. Although sometimes you do get a super hottie that will just light you up! But that’s part of the fun in my book…like a milder form of Russian Roulette! But instead of a violent bloody death the worst case scenario is the dreaded double burn. So worth it.

Another nice feature is that this is true finger food. It’s easy to grab and easy to eat, as opposed to dip & chips that can really slow the buffet line down and piss off the hungry people patiently waiting at the end of the line.

Are you sold yet? Here’s what you’ll need to recreate this magic in your own kitchen:

  • jalapeños (get at least a dozen!)
  • cream cheese
  • bacon
  • aluminum foil
  • toothpicks
  • rubber gloves (optional)

1.) Preheat your oven to 400° F and wash your jalapeños.

2.) Cut the tops off. Then slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes so you get two jalapeño “boats” from each pepper. TIP: if you have sensitive skin, wear contact lenses, are menstruating, or plan on changing a baby’s diaper later, wear rubber gloves for this part! Trust me.

3.) Use a butter knife and fill each jalapeño with cream cheese. It doesn’t matter what kind you buy. I used a brick of regular store-brand cream cheese for this batch. I’ve seen other recipes online where people mix herbs and spices in with the cream cheese first. Unnecessary. Keep it simple, I say.

4.) Line a baking tray with foil (for easy cleanup). Use a tray that has sides or you will have a bacony flavored greasy mess on your hands and a potential fire hazard to boot. Nothing spoils a party like a house fire, believe you-me.

5.) BACON TIME! I cut each of my raw bacon strips into thirds and stretched it a little to wrap it around the cream cheese stuffed jalapeño. It was perfect. You need about five inches (you don’t hear me say that everyday). Secure each bacon piece with a toothpick through the whole thing (including the bottom layer of the pepper). TIP: pull the number of toothpicks you’ll need (plus a few extra) out of the box before you get started so you don’t have to keep reaching into the box with your bacony fingers (ew!).

6.) Place in your preheated oven and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked. Remove from the oven and marvel at the majesty:

7.) Move them to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra grease, and then replate them onto something pretty.

8.) Eat a few before you take them to the potluck or you’ll never get any...these things move FAST.

9.) Stand back and watch people go berserk while they fight over these babies. Then flash some gang symbols, shout “AW HELLS YEAH!” and enjoy knowing that you’ll never be relegated to paper products again!

Like my cooking style? (What is wrong with you?) Here’s a link to other recipes/kitchen tips I’ve posted previously.

still brimming with potluck pride,


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