• 25Apr

    I’m just gonna leave these here. Both of these came across my Twitter feed this morning.

    7 reasons why being childfree isn’t selfish

    Would you help save the Earth by being childfree?


  • 12Feb

    That’s me on Twitter. Here are just some of the many ways in which being a #childfree couple is selfLESS—and not selfish as the childless Pope claims:

    • We are not adding to the 7-billion and growing number of humans on this planet. Earth is dying and humans are the cause. Those who have children/grands need to realize that their legacies might very well witness the end of this planet.
    • Smaller house.
    • Smaller/fewer cars.
    • We are never too busy to recycle, even if we have to schlep over to the hazardous waste center once in a while.
    • Less food consumed.
    • Less trash produced. However many diapers a kid goes through….they aren’t in the landfills because of us.
      We aren’t using gallons-upon-gallons of water to wash cloth reusables.
    • Speaking of water, it is a very precious resource, so we are conservative (and working on being even better). That’s easy to do with just two.
    • We are sick less often, so we are less of a burden on any workforce for missed days of work.
    • Since we are sick less often, the buck stops with us for the spreading of germs; we stay home. We have the sick time to do so because we didn’t use it up when our kids were sick.
    • We never burden our friends with stories of pregnancy/labor/delivery or the horrifically gross and boring stories of potty training.
    • We live smaller (not just the house/car but wholly) than parents. Less plastic (reusable snack and juice boxes, toys). Less consumables, in general. We use less batteries (and then we recycle the ones we do use at that hazardous waste center instead of being too busy and letting them go into the landfill).
    • While we will take part in “parenting” our own parents, we will never put that burden on to someone else.
    • We live within our means. Kids are expensive. If we had kids, we’d take on (lots of) debt. That is not responsible.
    • We are not passing on any genetic traits/conditions to humanity’s future. Humanity doesn’t need my family lines of heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and even suicide.
    • Because we aren’t burdened by the time commitment of children, we are better citizens of our world. We give time where our skills can be of use.

    We don’t assume we are the be-all-and-end-all to humanity and “the future”. No, we aren’t spawning the next Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, or Rosa Parks; no one in their right mind thinks we would. Our kid would not find the cure for cancer; our kid would like gaming, movies, and some music and spectator sports. In short, our kids would be couch potatoes. We also aren’t “giving” the world the next Jeffrey Dahmer, Adolf Hitler, George Zimmerman, or Casey Anthony. In fact, we aren’t even giving the universe more Emils and Loris. You’re welcome, Earth, Milky Way, and beyond.

    And here is the one that drives the point home, every time: Please describe why you think having kids is a good thing without using “I” or “want”. Not easy, is it?

    The decision to have kids or not is purely personal. The Pope and other leaders need to stop chastising those who don’t have/want kids.

    No wonder I stopped being religious/christian, nevermind Catholic. Hey Pope, the giant hat makes you look like an ass, but your condescending attitude makes you sound like one, too.

  • 09Jun

    For those of you keeping “score”, Texas School came and went with bounding successes, new friends, and loads of new information for As You Wish. Both Leanne (& Steve) and Ben (& Jenn) are now married. My six seven weeks of heavy work is now complete. I can resume some of a normal life, again. (And damn! It was all at least as fun as a barrel of monkeys. I’m truly honored to have been part of each of the wonderful events. Oh the grand stories….)

    We are now planning our housewarming. If you did not get an eVite and want to come, email me and I’ll add you to it. I think I got all ~seven of you, though. 😉

    Today, we did a bunch of projects around #ANewHome, which now has a name: Doma Luza. Doma is Czech for home. #DomaLuza will be our Twitter tag from now on.

    The big project for today was to clean the dryer’s exhaust pipe of lint. Dryer lint is highly flammable and is a major cause of house fires. So, we set out to clean as much as we could. After taking off the flexible hose that goes from the dryer into the wall, we decided to just get a new one. At the store, we also found a drill-attachable brush to clean the lint duct up to 8 feet. Our duct is much longer because it vents through the ceiling at the 2nd story, but we know we got the majority of the lint this way. Plus, we can buy another extension or two next time and get even more. So, Emil ran the brush via drill, and I ran the vacuum. His name is Animal; Dyson named him that. Even Animal needed several breaks to unload the fluff coming out of the the vent. I guess our trash dumpster will smell good this week. It was a dusty job, but otherwise easy. I felt a lot better for having done it. (BTW, if you want to take this on, hit Home Depot instead of Lowe’s; the same tool is $20 instead of $40.)

    While we were at the two stores, we looked at curtain panels. yuk! “Oh, we found those pretty curtains at the hardware store,” said no one ever.

    While at Lowe’s, we found an über cool light for the former dining-now-part-of-the-living room. So, we were able to say buh-bye to the glossy brassy shiny “chandelier” and get a fixture more suited to our needs. It’s florescent/bright, so the light is very cool while the rest of the room is in warm tones. Also, it won’t dim. But, it provides one hell of a light that will be wonderful for gaming when we want to set up a table in that area.

    I finally re-assembled the yoga-ball-desk-chair in our office. I was able to “hide” the usual desk chair until I need it.

    I also found the “good” shower curtain hooks recently, so we replaced the cheap/cute one with a nice one we got from a friend at our own garage sale. :) Turns out, we have three extra shower curtains. Two of them are really nice. The “cheap” one is cute.

    We still spent Friday night (gaming at a brewery!) and the whole day Saturday (went to a Mini Maker Faire!!!!) with our #childfree friends. And, we went to the ANK! Monthly Supper tonight, too.

    Our life in #Austin truly is amazing. We have so many more opportunities for entertainment that is “us”, fitting & long-term friends, and professional opportunities, too. We are lucky to have had the opportunity to move here. We were smart to prepare our careers/lives for whichever way the wind blows us.

  • 05Dec
    Birthday Bacchanal 2012

    Emil and several of our #childfree friends have late-November through early-December birthdays: Kelly, Jeff, Emil, Judy, and Ryan. So, we made a huge weekend out of it for all of them.

    Friday, Jeff, Judy, Emil, and I went for Thai lunch in Cedar Park on our way to Flat Creek Estate winery. We had the most amazing wine tour ever and nice grounds for gentle “hike”. I definitely recommend the place as well as taking the day off from work to go on a weekday. (Look for it soon on AsYouWishAustin.com, too since they have wonderful wedding pakckages.) On the way back into town, we stopped off for Italian and then played What Were You Thinking? Saturday, a whole mess of people (Pam & Ryan, Kelly, Tim & Sallie, Marvin & Keisha) joined us at Independence Brewing‘s monthly beer party. After a siesta, Pam and I threw a Dr. Who themed party for the birthday kids. Sunday morning, Jeff/Judy/us went to brunch at the new Jack Allen’s kitchen in Round Rock.

    Anyway, here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend.

    this one will become a water color quite soon!

    I don’t think I’d ever been to a vineyard in the fall. It’s a totally different look!

    It was so nice to enjoy the fall colors in Hill Country!


    This glass (with a category five HURRICANE) is from Independence Brewing’s fifth anniversary party.

    The elusive Maya made a grand appearance at the party.

    And Kitten Pickles did her best to steal the show!


    I’m already looking forward to next year’s Birthday Bacchanalâ„¢

    â„¢ trademarked by the lovely Judy

  • 09Oct


    Maggiore’s a “family-friendly” bar where yeah, there are usually a few kids on the restaurant side or in the video/pool area, but they are also usually very well behaved. One time, I completely cringed when an entire little league team came in, but was well behaved the whole time they were there. They were so good, I complimented their coaches/dads on my way out the door. Monday night was a different story…and different kids.

    7:30pm. On a school night. During Monday Night Football.

    The kids in the video/pool area (next to our reservation, but again, not usually a problem) were piercing loud. There where a 2-3 of us there at first and we were shouting to hear each other. Their parUNts wanted them to leave the table and go play, but didn’t give them quarters play pool or video games. They got so loud that I sat up and recorded a video of the little urchins; it’s not a good video and far from their worst behavior, so I won’t post it. When they started ripping the holes out of the table (that is on the video), throwing the cue ball into the video games, and throwing cue sticks on the concrete floor, I got up and went to tell our server. She made sure a manager heard the conversation. He said, “ok. I’ll tell my dad.” I thought they’d handle it, but I knew they were busy.

    Parent is a Verb

    Bad parUNts are a part of the world that I hate. …and these parUNts were so far removed from their children’s behavior, they could have been anywhere in the restaurant. I wasn’t going to go table to table asking who had the ill-behaved crotch fruit in the game area.

    On the way back to the table, I reached for and asked one kid for the ball. He politely said yes and promptly dropped it. He clearly knew he was getting away with bad behavior. I took it and sat back down. For ~20 minutes, it was bliss. We all thought the manager had come addressed their behavior with their parents.

    Knittiers 1. parUNts 0.

    Confrontations from Entitlement Mom and Bully Dad

    Before management could do anything, it got ugly.

    Mom approaches our table asking if we took the ball. While it was much longer it went a little something like this:

    Entitlement Mom: Did you take the ball from the pool table?
    Crocheting Cat Lover: Yes, they were throwing it into the video games.
    EM: They were rolling it.
    Me: …and throwing it, and screaming so loud we had to yell to hear each other, and throwing the cues on the floor. I have a video; do you want to see it?
    EM: Do you have kids? I can tell you don’t. Well, I’m a it’s a lot easter to tell someone how to be a parent when you aren’t.
    Me: Then I wish you would; Parent is a verb.

    EM: “Parenting is ha-ard” (or some similar whine).
    Me: Kids who act like that are the reason I don’t want kids.
    EM: I’m a teacher and…
    Me: I’m the daughter of two teachers and they taught me respectful behavior in public.
    EM: [repeated requests for the ball; repeated declines…eventhough it was laying on the table right in front of her.]
    [somewhere in the middle of all this, another member of our group arrived]
    EM: So you think just taking the ball from the kid without telling them why is ok?
    Me: It worked quite well; they’ve been good since I took it.
    EM: So your not gonna…?
    Me: I’ll give the ball back to a manager, but I’m not giving it to you.
    EM: Some b.s. about kids are our future, as if to imply that a) hers will be leaders, and b) all kids deserve respect from all adults
    She then accused me of being a cat person, said she was sure I lived alone, and told us to “go back to our knitting”.

    It was funny to watch her try to be insulting and fail so miserably. Not one of us (there that night) has kids. All of us have pets. Half of us are married. Um, telling me to “go back to knitting” when that’s what I came here to do??…well, crochet, anyway. It’s the lamest attempt at an insult. It’s like wishing I couldn’t have kids. Bingo! bitch.

    We collectively weep for our future as one knitter says, “I would not want my kids in her class.” Moms like this woman and kids like hers are the biggest reason I don’t want kids.

    Our server comes back and one of gals tells her that there is only one working toilet. We learn the sad reason: you have to hold the handle down and kids won’t do it. So, “our future” can’t properly flush a toilet or try again if everything didn’t go down the first time. If this is the case, they sure as hell can’t run our world.

    Dad strolls up. He seemed genuine when he apologized for his boys behavior and politely asks if I took the ball from them. I said that I did because they were throwing it and thanked him for apologizing for their behavior.

    Bully Dad: My wife is really upset.
    Me: She’s not the only one.
    BD: No, she’s really upset and angry.
    Me: She’s not the only one.
    [BD: Asked if the manager came to our table.]
    Me: No. [Why would he come to us? they aren’t our kids!]
    BD: Well then. [huh? Do you hear the words you say or do they just fall out of your head?]

    He starts a big argument where if you don’t share his opinion or if he doesn’t “agree with” the facts then you’re just wrong. I hope he’s not registered to vote, the moron. Somehow he hones in our tallest member. When he dragged her in, she snapped her fingers at him.

    BD: You can suck what I wave in your face. [paraphrasing, here]

    She stood up shoving the table in my direction. We were on a stage, so when she stood up, she was a full 2 feet taller than him (maybe more).

    By this time, three servers and half the dining area are watching the very long argument. BD has been joined by his friend and–get this–the boys. They are watching and learning from him! “The Future” my ass.

    She repeatedly told him we were concerned they were going to hurt someone. All I remember him screaming was “nine-year old boy” and how he didn’t want her parenting his child. (Again: Then, would you please parent your child? After all, “it takes a village” to raise your idiot fuck trophy.) And then his friend chimed in that they all play baseball together and know how to throw a ball and wouldn’t hurt each other. What?

    Anyway, it wasn’t even her, it was me. I’m the one who took the ball…but he honed in on her like a yellow jacket. I’m grateful for her and feel guilty that she felt the need to step in.

    None of us know what to do. Just as we were about to pull one friend out from between them, our tall friend tells him she’s getting a manager becasue she doesn’t know how we can help him. He yammers on about how he doesn’t help. (Um, then go sit back down and leave us alone.) I don’t know if she found a manager, but she came back to the table and said she was going home. None of us blamed her.

    We hear another man’s voice, but can’t make it out. Then we hear Bully Dad say, “Well, then there needs to be a sign that says 7-8-9 year olds can’t play pool.” We gather that the manager told him the boys can’t be destructive. Also, they weren’t playing. Give them some quarters if you want them to try to play the game. I bet they will.

    What the bully dad doesn’t know: she’s a peace officer. Between that and the size and height she had on him, she’d have laid him out flat and pinned his arms back before he could even think about a second punch.

    As she’s leaving, she text me from the parking lot that the families are leaving.

    Knitters 2. parUNts 0.


    This is the part of the world I like.

    Server: I’m so sorry.
    Me: Thanks. We just didn’t know what to do.

    A little later in the evening, we hear the sounds of parents and kids: putting quarters to the table. Dad broke the balls (either that or Mom’s on the pro 8-ball circuit!). They taught them the difference between stripes and solids. They taught them the geometry needed to bank a shot. They taught them the rules and played a nice and enjoyable-for-us-and-I’m-sure-them-too game of pool.

    Closer to our usual closing out time, we had one more conversation.

    Manager/owner: I’m very sorry for what happened tonight. I want to apologize on behalf of Maggiore’s and also thank you for taking the ball from those kids. We normally have our servers take it away in the evenings for that very reason, but we just got so busy. Thank you, again, for taking it from them.
    Me: It’s Monday Night Football and y’all are slammed. Thank you for addressing it when you could.
    M/o:  Please come back. We’ll see y’all next week.

    Knitters 3. parUNts 0.

    We won’t be back next week; we have other plans. But, then, we are down to making a choice after many months of searching for our new knitting home. Last night’s group still wanted to give Maggiore’s another chance. If the managers/owner agree that Parent is a Verb, we just might make it our new home.


  • 12Jun
    Harry: So, what are we going to order?
    Sally: Well, I’m going to start with the grilled ridichio.
    Harry: Jess, Sally is a great orderer….even the chef didn’t know how good it could be.
    Jess: I think restaurants have become to important.
    Marie: Oh, I agree. Restaurants are to people in the 80s what theater was to people in the 60s…. I read that in a magazine. 
    Jess: I wrote that….
    Marie: I’ve never quoted anything from a magazine in my life….I don’t know that much about writing, but…
    Jess: It spoke to you and that pleases me…..No one has ever quoted me back to me before.
    When Harry Met Sally (like any of you expected anything else!)

    Tonight, I did this for someone. We were at a going away party [1] for Christine & James as they prepare for their move to Savannah, GA. Through other friends we have in common, we were introduced to Cedric, who “knew something about me that I didn’t know he knew” right as Emil was joining us. What a great conversation starter! And, since he’s (Cedric, not Emil) a hypnotist, I figured anything was fair game.

    Cedric started off with, “If I said to you…” and then quoted something faintly familiar and then something I recognized. I said, “Oh, we’re both Browncoats!” and we bonded. I told him how we didn’t see the show as it aired, but we saw the first syndication, that we owned the short-lived series, and the movie which we’d seen a bunch…and then said that we even owned a CD of music that fans made. I paused as I tried to think…..and then it came to me slowly, “trinity, trinity…..no, that’s not it…Trilogy, Trilogy, I want my Trilogy …” to which he picked up and carried the whole tune with correct lyrics and…get this: the same voice we’ve heard sing it. He wrote and sings the biggest fan-created song in the entire story line; it’s arguably one of the biggest reasons that Serenity came to be a movie. (Fans seriously revolted when Firefly was not picked up for a second season after the network had screwed it out of having any chance at being seen in an early-DVR time of television when timeslots still mattered.) Hat Tip to the Bedlam Bards…and if the song is not your thing, at least listen at 1:40. LOL!

    We chatted a bit about their experiences with various renaissance fairs, specifically the Sherwood Forrest Faire about 45 minutes outside of Austin. He joked that we had to have seen them, but I didn’t remember. 😉 I was certain we’d passed by, but I didn’t remember any particularly “dirty” songs at the faire.

    On the way to the car, I told Emil, if he’d quoted the episode, “Out of Gas”, I could have finished it right away:

    Wash: When your miracle gets here, you just pound this button once, it’ll call back both shuttles.
    [Movie trivia: When the series was cancelled, Alan Tudyk gave the prop button to Joss Whedon and repeated ~that line to him….and then we got Serenity.]

    On the way home, Emil had an Ah Ha! moment and realized we had seen them at this year’s Sherwood Forrest Faire. They were “dirty bards” at the front and center of the faire. We even heard them sining one of their Firefly-fan songs and remarked how that didn’t exactly fit with the faire, but seemed just perfect, anyway. As soon as Emil said a little about them, it all came flooding back to me, and I remembered standing close to “back” stage and dancing along to the dirty. :)

    Turns out, there are some Firefly/Serenity themed shows this weekend that he’s in and we’re going to try to go. wow! He also turned us onto the show Portlandia, which could just as easily be about Austin as it is Portland; they even have a “Keep Portland Weird” sign. wow! Thank you, Christine and Judy for making sure we met Cedric! #OnlyInAustin #WhyAustin

    I realize this shows off what giant nerds/geeks we can be, but I was pleased and proud to be the one who made his day.


    [1] It sure is easier to attend these once every ~3 years instead of 3x per year. Again, #WhyAustin!

  • 12Apr

    Recent online “bashing” of the Childfree has morphed into a “why bother” or “what’s the point” mentality as more parUNts have “joined” the, ahem, conversation[1].

    “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…a Very Good Place to Start”

    If you haven’t read my Parent-to-Childfree spectrum, check it out. Here are the basics:

    • Parent – both a noun and a verb. Parents (n) wanted to have children and parent (v) them well.
    • Childless – someone who wants kids, but can’t have them
    • Childfree – someone who doesn’t want kids, not now, not ever

    But What’s the Point?

    Just like parents want to find families with kids the same age(s) for playdates and socializing, childfree people want to find friends with commonalities, too. Because of their schedules and the time it takes to properly care for children, it is difficult to be friends with parents. They simply don’t have time to be friends. When they do spend time with friends, it’s usually with the ones with kids so they are killing two birds with one stone. They almost never go to the trouble to hire a sitter to spend quality adult time with their childfree or childless friends. In addition, it’s heartbreaking to lose a close friend to the burdens of parenting. As childfree people, we have all been there and miss those friends terribly. In turn, we seek friends who won’t do that to us again….we seek friends who don’t ever want kids.[2]

    Is that really so crazy to believe? ..that we just want to be around people like us?

    Apparently, it is.

    There are several parUNts out there (the three nasties claim to hail from Alabama or Mississippi, London, and Australia) who troll the #childfree tag just to pick fights and argue that it’s not “our” word/tag. So, here are my I-don’t-Tweet-these responses:

    1. Get a life. Please go parent (v) your children.
    2. Um, yes it is too our word. It was our word for decades before Twitter and hashtags existed; hell, it was “our” word before I was born. We don’t troll #parenting. Have a little mutual respect. (Or at least some common freakin’ sense.)
    3. Read a book, the news, a blog, or something and get your head out of your ass. The world does not exist to pander to your offspring. You chose to have kids and claim they are the best things on Earth. If that’s really how you feel, then if I did chose to become a parent, you’d just be arguing with me that your kids are better than mine. Again, please just go away!
    4. Why do you care? I like knitting. I don’t get on #quilting threads and bash quilters. What business is it of yours if I do or don’t have kids? Why do you care that I don’t want them? Do you also seek out people who choose not to own a car and bash on them? Do you also hate vegetarians? Haters gonna hate, I guess.
    5. I don’t even want my own; I sure as hell don’t want to hear about yours….not after the “example” of a human being you’ve been.
    6. Grow up.
    7. I just want to read news stories, blog posts, jokes, etc. about/for the childfree culture. (and yes, we are a culture). That’s why I follow a tag called (amazingly!) #childfree. The fact that you’ve put your crotch trophy to bed is uninteresting and clogs the thread for good stuff. Yes, I have blocked and reported you for spam many times. So did many others. And, eventually, I stopped seeing most of your drivel.
    8. We are only seeking one tiny little corner of the Internet where we can gather. Is your life as a parent really so miserable that you have to impede on our tiny sliver of space?
    9. …and a constant loop of “fuck you!”

    The Culture

    So, what defines our culture, in general?

    1. Adult conversations. There is never any mention of pee, poop, or puke. Rarely is there any talk of kids at all….they aren’t part of our lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t love and adore young family members and our friends’ kids. But we don’t interact with them much, so it’s a rare part of our conversation with anyone.
    2. Spontaneity abounds. We can drop whatever we are doing and head out to Happy Hour without planning ahead of time for a sitter.
      (We did this on Tuesday with our friends Jeff and Judy. And, in 2009, we dropped our lives in BCS and moved to Austin without any cares about the time of year for kids/school, what school district we’d live in, or any safety/financial considerations of raising kids in a bigger city.)
    3. Simple living. We can live our own lifestyle. We can work the job we want/like because we don’t have to maintain the salary necessary to support children.
      (Though we still think we had the most amazing house in Bryan and wish we could have moved it with us to Austin, it turns out we didn’t like being home owners. We don’t like maintenance for the lawn, plumbing, roof, A/C, etc.  We have fallen in love with apartment living….and when a light bulb burns out, we simply let someone know that they need to come change it. If we had kids, we would need a larger place, a yard, etc.)
    4. Environmental. Some people choose to be childfree to minimize the impact on our dying planet. Most childfree people are good stewards to the planet by recycling, driving efficient cars, using minimal resources, etc.
    5. Well read. Childfree people delve into books and movies. And, because we aren’t watching the sproglet’s current favorite for the 842nd time, we engage not only in more books/movies, but also in better quality ones.
    6. Well Educated.
    7. Fun. We user our time to further our on hobbies and interests. On the weekends, we aren’t stuck at 1-year-old birthday parties, soccer tournaments, or dance recitals. During the week, we aren’t schlepping anyone (other than ourselves!) to practices and rehearsals.
    8. Technology not toys. We can have the latest/greatest gadgets.
    9. …and many, many more!

    We are a culture just like any other group with something in common. It’s time for the “nasties” to learn to be polite and respectful; after all, they have young/impressionables at home.

    [1] They haven’t really “joined” and it’s not really a “conversation”. They have mommyjacked (or daddyjacked) the #childfree tag on Twitter, inserted themselves into a conversation where they have no real business being, and have rudely scoffed at childfree people for making a different choice than they did. WTF and why do they care? We all wish they would go back to parenting (again, as a verb) their offspring.

    [2] Living in Aggieland was the same way. Every year, we had a very tearful goodbye to dear friends. One year, we lost three in one week. Someone is always graduating or taking that next big career opportunity. They were ~daily parts of our lives. Then, suddenly, they were gone.

  • 21Feb

    It’s been one party after another for us.

    • Miami played FSU in basket ball (and had a darn good showing!)
    • Our No Kidding! chapter had our annual Chocolate party on Valentine’s weekend.
    • This past weekend was a beer tour at Circle Brewery (owned by a Miami alumnus!)
    • The same day, we attended a Mardi Gras party hosted by two Creole Cajuns!
  • 02Jan

    We joined two childfree friends for a quiet New Years Eve celebration with the games of Talisman and You Don’t Know Jack for Roku. Hours of gaming fun! Even though I was last-place-by-far, I was quite surprised to learn it was 11:30 and we should freshen our drinks and find the new stand in for Dick Clark. Time flies when you’re having fun.

    Jeff and Judy are fabulous and comfortable hosts, so we had plenty of options for snackage and drinkage. They got a Hickory Farms gift for xmas filled with summer sausage, cheese, mustard, fancy crackers, etc.

    They also shopped a little. Wallace and Gromit fans: we got to try Wensleydale Cheese! (Come On! Say it in your best Queen’s English Accent, “Weeeeeennn-sley-dale!!!”) I was tempted to have more that just a taste. nom nom nom. I didn’t expect to like this exact one because it was laced with cranberries (texture issues) but it was divine and smooth! Emil liked it too, which says a lot about the cranberries adding to the flavor in a good way!

    We had some great beer and wine options, but since I was officially skipping a dose of Codeine for a respiratory infection, I kept a slow pace. They did send us home with a lovely bottle of Innovac!ón wine. It’s a Tempranillo Malbec from the Mendoza region in Argentina. Bliss. In. A. Glass. I hear it’s at Specs and even Costco!

    Judy was the only one who would eat Hoppin’ John with meat, so she made one like none I’d ever seen: with collard greens and ham. Interesting. It smelled good and inspired me to add greens to my next vegan version of the same.

    Emil grabbed his usually favorite party snack tray from HEB and about 30 bottles of Dr. Pepper.

    I made two new things that were just lovely, in my vegan opinion. (And, since both casseroles I made for xmas were so bland I dumped all of them down the disposal, this was a nice change of pace.)

    Vegan Chili-con-queso

    • 1 can vegan chili (Some are just beans and tomatoes with seasonings. Others have textured soy protein for a “ground meat” feel to them.)
    • 1 8oz tub of vegan cream cheese
    1. Bring the cream cheese close to room temperature.
    2. Heat the chili for 2-3 minutes in a microwave.
    3. Blend the two together.
    4. Microwave again as necessary to blend and/or just before serving.
    5. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

    This is the closest thing to a real queso I’ve had and it was good. Judy liked it, too! The beauty is that any of you can pick up a can of Wolf Brand chili and cream cheese and do the same non-vegan version. The recipe didn’t call for heating it, and it is good when it’s no longer warm, but it was so much better heated up! One advantage of the vegan version is that there is nothing in it that will spoil if it sits out all night for a long party. So, if you are taking this to share, you might consider keeping it vegan for convenience.

    Cream Cheese Sandwich Spread

    • 1 8oz tub of vegan cream cheese, room temperature
    • fresh garlic, minced; to taste. (I used about 2 Tablespoons and it was quite garlicky.)
    • 1-2 bell peppers (the small red one I was was not quite enough. I’ll use two colors next time.), diced
    • celery, diced (based more on taste/texture than anything. I used about half a small bundle. I’ll add more next time.)
    1. Bring the cream cheese close to room temperature.
    2. Mince the garlic and dice the veggies.
    3. Blend all together.
    4. Serve with crackers, baguette pieces, Melba toast, etc. Or, use as a spread on your favorite veggie sandwich.

    I’ve been in a hummus and guacamole rut, so this got me right out of it. I can’t wait to try it again with other veggies (carrots? tiny broccoli?) and on a sandwich with fresh veggies to compliment. Again, if you aren’t vegan, use your favorite cream cheese and some crisp veggies for fresh noshing. This will be great in the summer (and since it was 78 degrees on New Year’s Eve in Austin, it was a welcome refreshment.)

    Whatever way you found to celebrate, we hope it was grand.






  • 22Dec

    There has been much debate over the last few days over the definition of the term Childfree. I feel the spectrum is best described with a graphic. Unable to find one on the web, I made one.

    the parent-to-childfree spectrum

    ©2011-2012 Lori Luza.

    Best viewed with a browser that will re-size the graphic to fit the window.

    From people who happen to have children, to parents, to the childless, to the childfree, this graphic I made describes the whole spectrum.



    For those who are curious where we fall, we fall into the Childfree sub-category above. We are also “fixed”, so we don’t have to be Militant.