I'm Laura. I am a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, a seamstress, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic. She/her.


How to contact me:

     laura @ cybermenology.com
     Cybermenology Handmade

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Childfree snark

Posted at 09 Oct 2008 02:41:41 PM

I'm laughing so hard. Really, really snickering, and it's nearly impossible to explain why to the casual observer.

I just read this article at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Quoted here, in part:

"Soon after one is married, almost everyone starts to ask the dreaded question, “when are you having kids?” You gain a little weight and people jump with excitement because they think you are WITH child…nope, just WITH cheeseburger. Every time you say you are nauseous every person tells you, “must be pregnant” or maybe I just don’t feel good?
My husband and I fall into the non-breeding category. We are child free by choice. Which is something many a person can not get a handle on. When I tell people I am not having children they give me a sad look and usually tell me, “there’s always adoption”. There is, just not for me. It’s not that I can’t have them, I don’t want to have them. I’m all for everyone else having them, don’t get me wrong. Have as many as you like. I’m just not of me having them is all.
One of the greatest things my mother ever said to me was that though she loved me dearly she was quite sure that her and my father could have lived a full and happy life without kids and so could I. Some people would cringe that their mother would dare say that. I didn’t take that as a bad thing, but as a very freeing thing. I never had the produce us a grand child thing hanging over my head.

It was worse when I was a teacher. Fellow teachers could not believe I didn’t want to have kids. But you love kids. No, I love teaching kids, there is a difference. Plus, I taught junior high. You want to talk about fantastic birth control…try a 13 year old(or more like try 120 of em a day). I was never maternal to begin with. I don’t coo over babies. There are some down right ugly ones(there I said it…and yes, I mean it). There are some darn cute ones too. When my friends have babies I’m the one standing in the corner not huddling around the baby.
A few years back Ann Landers wrote her now famous “The Childless Couple” which is pretty much what I refer people to when they get on my case about not wanting to have children.

“There is nothing sadder than a childless couple. It breaks my heart to see them relaxing around swimming pools in Florida, sitting all suntanned and miserable on the decks of their boats — trotting off to Europe like lonesome fools. It’s an empty life. Nothing but money to spend, more time to enjoy and a whole lot less to worry about.

The poor childless couple are so wrapped up in themselves, you have to feel sorry for them. They don’t fight over the child’s discipline, don’t blame each other for the child’s most obnoxious characteristics, and they miss all the fun of doing without for the child’s sake. They just go along, doing whatever they want, buying what they want and liking each other. It’s a pretty pathetic picture.

Everyone should have children. No one should be allowed to escape the wonderful experience that accompanies each stage in the development of the young — the happy memories of sleepless nights, coughing spells, tantrums, diaper rash, debts, “dipso” baby sitters, saturated mattresses, emergencies and never-ending crises.

How dismal is the peaceful home without the constant childish problems that make a well-rounded life and an early breakdown; the tender, thoughtful discussions when the report card reveals the progeny to be one step below a moron; the end-of-the-day reunions with all the joyful happenings recited like well-placed blows to the temples.

Children are worth it. Every moment of anxiety, every sacrifice, every complete collapse pays off as a fine, sturdy adolescent is reached. The feeling of reward the first time you took the boy hunting — he didn’t mean to shoot you, the lad was excited. Remember how he cried? How sorry he was? And how much better you felt after the blood transfusion? These are the times a man with a growing son treasures — memories that are captured forever in the heart and the limp.

Think back to the night of romantic adventure when your budding daughter eloped with the village idiot. What childless couple ever shared in the stark realism of that drama? Aren’t you a better man for having lived richly, fully, acquiring that tic in your left eye? Could a woman without children touch the strength and heroism of your wife as she tried to fling herself out of the bedroom window?

The childless couple live in a vacuum. They fill their lonely days with golf, vacation trips, dinner dates, civic affairs, tranquility, leisure and entertainment. There is a terrifying emptiness without children, but the childless couple are too comfortable to know it.

You just have to look at them to see what the years have done: He looks boyish, unlined and rested; she’s slim, well-groomed and youthful. It isn’t natural. If they had had kids, they’d look like the rest of us — worn out, wrinkled and exhausted.”

Can I just say that I LOVE Ann Landers? The woman has truly mastered the art of sly, surreptitious snark.

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Picked a pack of pickled peppers

Posted at 03 Jun 2009 12:38:12 PM

Oh, and I forgot to mention (no doubt it's the badly-formatted HTML in the previous post which distracted me) - my pepper plants -finally- are growing peppers!

I noticed that it's October, yes. I'm not sure anyone's told the plants yet...

So, what to do with the copious amounts of small mild-to-hot peppers that I'll be getting, assuming they don't freeze? I'm thinking something with a sweet pickle brine, if I can pull it off. Odds are there's probably something at Orangette's blog on the subject - her boy's pretty into the pickling thing...

(Note to self - try this. Matt mentioned those pink onion quick pickles too awhile back, and anything those two darned good cooks recommend can't be bad!)

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Sewing and eating multiculturally

Posted at 03 Jul 2007 05:20:56 PM

So I'm sitting here, waiting for it to be after 5:00 which is therefore close enough to 6 that I don't feel bad about leaving. Alternately writing perl and reading the Julie/Julia project, convinced that I really must buy her book, even if it is censored, because I have this fear that one day the intarwebs will crash and everything will disappear and I'll never be able to read it again.

You know me with my passion for re-reading crap. Apparently it extends even to weblogs. Who knew?

Went home during my lunch hour to show the nice man from the moving van company around my apartment. I realized something while doing this fairly-detailed itemization: I have a LOT of stuff. Now I see why you laughed, J, when I said I was giving myself a week to pack all of it up.

Worked on my Kinsale cloak last night, which I am determined to finish before snow flies this year. I finished the second inner seam, which unaccountably I had failed to do at the same time I sewed the first one, and then moved on to the part which invariably causes all of my sewing projects to fall by the wayside: hand-sewing seams. Long ones. 6 feet of them. Twice. That seam is what gathers the whole 6" what-will-be-neckline of the cloak into a nice beautiful gathered 24", and is done by hand-threading two rows of doubled buttonhole twist 1/4" apart along the whole edge, and then pulling both pieces of thread simultaneously so as to make it gather evenly. I initially stalled at this point last fall *cough* when I discovered that no matter how I begged, pleaded or gave puppy eyes to the nice clerks at craft stores, they would not order me buttonhole twist. Maybe in the 70s they carried it, but not now. I finally gave in and ordered the stuff online, and am actually quite glad that I did. It's very heavy stuff, and I can see why the pattern instructions specify it rather than wimping out and saying that maybe you can go ahead and use several folds of regular ol' thread in its place - wool is even heavier stuff, and anything less wouldn't hold.

Tonight I plan to make inroads on the collar. I kind of expect that nothing much will get done on Wednesday, as there's apparently kind of an all-day party going on at Frosty's and then I am determined to go to the B-Mets game that night.

Thursday I will be cleaning and maybe sewing if I can find a part of the hood which looks like it could be done easily, and then Friday Dan arrives at BGM at 2 and that evening we head up to my parents' for dinner and even later we head up to Lake George. Yay!

Contemplating what to do for dinner... last night was roast chicken and pita bread and tzatziki, which was excellent, and today for lunch was a chicken sandwich (which is, by the way, the best use on earth for a roast chicken. It's great when it comes out of the oven, but using real roast chicken is the only way one should ever make a chicken sandwich -- this goes double for turkey, which actually has a real possibility of being made with that pressed sliced deli crap which ends up tasting almost exactly like slimy water. Ugh).

I have a craving both for the burrito suizo that the Mexican place near work makes divinely (thankfully for my diet they only serve the meal I want during lunch hours), and for the warm peanut dressing the Thai place serves on salads. Peanut dressing is not precisely stellar for my wasteline either (I realize that I have almost nothing to complain about, but that 'almost' is haunting me given that I am supposed to be bikini-clad this weekend. Hush. Permit me my neuroses, and be thankful that at least I am eating at all!) Since I am fairly sure that I can pick up a passable peanut sauce from Wegman's on the way home (and also bread. Oh god, crusty french bread. So much for the diet...), it will be salad for dinner.

Three things to note: 1. My, aren't I multicultural? I think we've hit 4 countries just in the contents of this post. 2. I forgot what this one was. 3. I'm not sure whether it's sad or gratifying that I started looking up recipes for peanut sauce before it dawned on me that I could just buy a bottle of the stuff. I realize that in my newfound elitist way I believe that anything a grocery store can do, I can do better, but really now. Especially given that I'd either have to buy smooth peanut butter or pick the nuts out of my precious extra-chunky, and I honestly am not sure which road I would choose.

Oh, 4. the comment scripts still don't work, since yesterday I fought with my sewing machine rather than writing perl. I swear it will be done (while channeling Christopher Guest, no less), I just ... don't know when. Nobody comments anyway, so I suppose it's really not that big of a deal. Somebody write me an anti-spam function so that I can make this thing independent of being signed-in again, please?

One more note and I swear I'm done - BPAL is doing Neil Gaiman, Good Omens and Stardust-themed lines of perfumed oils now. How cool is that?!

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Of cooking, blogs, and lemons. But mostly lemons.

Posted at 11 Dec 2008 11:54:28 AM

The best part of any day is coming home, sitting down in the comfiest chair or couch available, and taking off my socks. Today, this sockless moment is accompanied (in my family's grand tradition) by the delight that is a buttered hard roll and orange juice.

Today was unquestionably better than its predecessors. I got a good morning call from Dan, which is always better than IMs (though less preservable and more subject to inconsistencies in our respective wake-up times). I had several entertaining and even absorbing things to do at work, which these days is nothing short of a miracle. I had a somewhat generic-ized recap of my last couple of shitty days with the lunch group at work, and received a comforting round of approval, which had the almost immediate result of making me feel less of a miserable wreck of a failing emotional failure and much more like a normal person again.

And in between all of that, I squeezed in the time to read back through Hungry in Hogtown's blog and start reading forward through The Julie/Julia Project. I'm a latecomer to the movement which is the latter, I know, but when I first heard about it I thought something like "Oh wow. Major points for coolness, but gods, that must have sucked!" And then I promptly forgot about it.

I came across a review of the book which the blog spawned (and by itself, how cool is that fact?) on one of my blog-hopping adventures today, and someone's comment mentioned that if you thought the book was at all entertaining, the blogger in question really ought to try reading the blog itself. Well, you know me. Things are nice, but if I can get my grubby little paws on the original of anything, I'll be a convert for life. I think it's something to do with my innate snobbishness, really... a delightful feeling of superiority over anyone who's only ever experienced the derivative.

Only I always forget to actually feel superior, and end up just happily recommending at length whatever the original in question is to my conversational partner.

The moral of this story is, I haven't actually read the book, as I think that I really would prefer Julie's story in its original, unadulterated blog format (the physical *format* of the blog drives me nuts with its total, almost vicious plainness, but given that it was one of the first of its food-blogging kind one really can't judge it too harshly. She had more things on her mind than pretty graphic). Some of the comments I read about it criticize her slightly harsh writing style, but I just don't see it. Maybe something didn't translate well to the book, or maybe people are too used to the modern style of food blogging which is all sweetness, colorful adjectives and humorous anecdotes about the [rare] mishaps that actually make it onto the internets. I think she writes honestly, and I'm looking forward to reading the next 10 months.

All of this reading about food today made me think about a project that I've had on my ToDo list for quite some time now - Preserved Lemons. The deal with preserved lemons is, you cut them in quarters, pack them in salt, and pour lemon juice over the whole thing. You shake it a few times over the next few weeks (or months). And then you eat! (The actual edible part, after all of that pickling, is the rind. The pith just peels away, and you can chop up the rind and use it like a more cohesive form of zest.) I am having visions of moroccan curries and of this risotto with chicken and lemon that I made awhile ago, devoured like it was going out of style and can't wait to have again.

Yes, I like lemons. A lot. Mmmmm, lemon.

Heh, Dan just came home and now my train of thought is complete derailed. I'm pretty sure that's all I really wanted to get through here, though.

...OH! I think that my hot pepper seeds have sprouted! I checked yesterday and there are three little sprouts peeping up out of the ground! This fills me with glee and visions of curry. The herb garden may be a wee bit difficult to transport cross-country, but if those peppers are actually growing I will find a way!

OH! again -- bought myself a present on the way home from work today. I'm so excited about the prospect of this Linguini with Lemon Cream Sauce (yes, I know. I'm obsessed. Cut me some slack, it's my first really happy day in about a week) that I gave in and bought Nigella Lawson's How to Eat, in which resides that aforementioned linguini recipe. I usually avoid trendy books and such like the plague, and those from normal-seeming people doubly so, but she just does cozy, comforting normal so darned enticingly that I really don't feel like I'm giving in for the sake of the trend. It's a good, solid cookbook which is almost idolized by many of the bloggers I read and trust, and I'm glad to finally own it.


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