Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son


video interlude

Hi everyone, Sugar here. Bionic told me yesterday that she very much appreciates everyone’s supportive comments on her last post and is still working on processing everything. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy some video of the Bean:

Saying goodbye to me in the morning:

And loving the Google Doodle from yesterday.

And I would also like to personally thank Google for inspiring the Bean to allow me to practice the piano. I told him I could play Clair de Lune if he would let me at the keys without freaking out, and he did! Progress!


Tacky or Hip?

It’s time for Baby and I to come clean: we’ve been two-timing you all. We also write a craft blog that’s been going for a few years, but we write under different names. I usually post instructions for how to make whatever craft object the post is about. I’m putting this post up on show and tell cause I thought you might want to see it. (I know, it’s getting a bit meta around here, what with posts about posts about posts.)

Anyway, the most recent edition to our craft blog is instructionis for this lovely beaded item (made by me) which Baby thinks is ugly.

deer head necklace

Last time I wore this thing out of the house she said, “I hope you don’t get shot on the way to the party,” (as in mistakenly shot by all those three-sheets-to-the-wind-north-woods-hunters we’ve got sitting up in the duck blinds of Crown Heights). Anyway, I think it’s cool.

Here’s a link to our crafty blog.

Make sure you go check out what the other kids are showing!




Show and Tell: More Stamps

Hey gang. Must say, I’m feeling a bit quiet these few days. But I hate to miss a Show and Tell.

Here are a couple of the dog stamps I’ve finished recently:

Dear Little Dog



Next up: a three-legged dachshund.

Shameless self-promotion: I’d lurve to make you a stamp of your dog, cat, hyena, or Mexican jumping bean. Here’s our Etsy shop, with stamps, nifty jewelry made by Sugar, and the occasional arty drawing of yours truly in stirrups….

Go see what the other, more talkative kids are showing over at Mel’s.


Thinking of England

Inspired by Twangy Pearl, Sugar presents an artist’s rendition of last Tuesday’s inspermination:

Note, please:

– Funny Socks
– Good Luck Thumb Ring on left hand
– Comfort Items Worthy Of A First-Rate Nerd: a hardback, high-ish brow, dystopian novel (quite excellent, by the way — and while it is grim, I was at least reading the chapter titled “Pollination,” which seemed apt), cell phone, and trusty journal. With pen. You never know.

Your wonderful well-wishings were folded up and tucked in the book. I got them out at the word “tenaculum.”

But wait, you say. Didn’t you need those buoying comments precisely because Sugar wasn’t able to accompany you? How does she know what it looked like?

Well, because on this snowy evening, I have just now been re-enacting the scene on our living room couch*. Yes, I put the socks back on and everything. The Society for Creative Anachronism‘s got nothin’ on us.

Next time someone asks what exactly it is lesbians do, perhaps I will tell them about this.

Happy Snow Day, everybody. Check out what the other kids are up to on Mel’s Show and Tell.

*NB: our couch does not have stirrups. Fear not. Also, full disclosure: I was really wearing a zip-up cardigan, like the nerd professor I am.


Show and Tell and Beg A Favor

Calendar Image Sample

Hello, lovies. It’s time again for Mel’s Show and Tell. When you’re done here, go check out what the other kids are sharing.

It’s scary financial times in the Bionic household. It suddenly looks like I may lose one of the two classes I’m scheduled to teach this semester — already a low number, bank-account-wise — which would mean losing not only income but also my health insurance. What this means for you is likely losing the chance to listen to me griping about pee until the fall, when I can get back into the system and therefore into the RE’s office. BUT! It is a new year and TIME TO MAKE THE FREAKING LEMONADE ALREADY.

We had already (before scary news) planned to revamp our Etsy site in an attempt to garner a little pin money; here’s motivation to get on that, pronto, even if it’s for milk money instead. (Man, I’d love to find a way to make enough for sperm money….) And internets, I sure could use some market research help. If you could let me know what you think of these ideas — and perhaps what you think reasonable prices might be — I’d be much obliged.

Item 1:

Beastial Wall Calendars



Yes, I know it’s a bit late in the season for these, but we have them around, so why not give it a shot, I figure. Each page is 4.25″x11″, with a different drawing by Sugar or me. We’ll list it both as printed — high-quality ink on heavy, matte photo paper — and as a cheap, you-print-it PDF.

We’ll also list an option of a 12-month rolling calendar, with date range of your choice. For instance, if you ordered one now, we could make it February 2010 – February 2011, so you still get two month’s worth. Crazy? Plausible?

Item 2:

Stationery stamped with handmade rubber stamp images of animals (or something else? thoughts?). Here’s an example of a set I made for Sugar’s turtle-obsessed mom this Christmas:


Her set was 10 cards each in 2 designs; I’d probably do 5 each in 4 designs for sale. (I made my mother a set like that, with 4 different images of her beguiling cat, but didn’t think to take a photo. Duh.) The cards themselves are very nice, heavy paper — the picture is of a paper with an artfully rumpled surface, but I’ll do future batches on smoother stuff, as these take the ink a bit unevenly.

I’ve also made dishtowels printed this way.

Item 3:

Custom stamp of your pet (or what-have-you). Here’s one I made of a friend’s dog:

Original photo:

The Nose Approaches....


These could be sold two ways:

– You commission a particular item or set of items with your pet’s image — say, a set of cards or an apron. I keep the stamp when done and add it to my general rotation.

– You commission the stamp itself, with all rights to the image. I send you the completed stamp, one stamped item (set of cards?), and instructions for what inks are permanent on fabric, etc. This version would cost more, since I don’t get future use of the image.

Help me, internets, please!


At The Last Minute

This has to be quick (and therefore long), because I want it done in time for Mel’s Show and Tell, but I promise I’ll get you more wedding stories sooner or later. Tonight I want to show you our bouquets.

A devoted and determined and diligent friend I met at the community garden — let’s call her the Plant Whisperer — made them. The Plant Whisperer is no amateur in this department. She works as a celebrity stylist, and her portfolio has like every famous person I’ve ever thought of in it. Her apartment is stuffed with amazing things, from bajillion dollar silk curtains a rich client tired of to a Louis the something-or-otherth vest that Andy Warhol tossed her way. I call her the Plant Whisperer because however impeccable her taste and impressive her client list, her skills in the garden outstrip them. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden just traded 90 year-old peonies to our garden in return for her fairy foxglove seeds, because, frankly, the alpine garden she’s established in the corner of our old building lot is better than theirs.

Months ago, she asked me to send her a list of flowers I like, and I did nothing about it, in part because I’m lazy and would find a way to postpone breathing if I could, in part because I was determined at that point that the legal business was no big deal — the real celebration will come in the spring, when our friends can come to a big party. Three days before the wedding, my mother just happened to forward me an email she’d sent to old friends, telling them we were getting hitched:

I hope they’ll carry flowers.

Mama always has been good at finding that B in subtle. She checked in via phone to be sure I hadn’t missed it.

Sugar and I had invited our parents and two friends from our respective early childhoods who have ended up living within blocks of us, hundreds of miles from our hometowns. I called my “womb buddy,” who’d offered to help with flowers, but it soon became clear this was asking a lot. Womb Buddy is a Soil Engineer and terrified she’d screw this up. I wasn’t expecting much — a grocery store bouquet with a ribbon from home? — and I thought the Plant Whisperer could at least supply the name of the flower I don’t like. She did (alstroemeria), and immediately took charge of the whole project, sending me home with ribbon swatches to hold up to our dresses, enlisting another garden stalwart and all-around prince to drive her to the flower market at 5:30 am, and ultimately coming up with this:

Bigger here.

I still can’t believe we had something so beautiful to carry. They were stunning. I couldn’t have even imagined something so lovely. The roses came from an established bush in the community garden, so we’d have something “old.” The heather made me feel less bad for forgetting the Scottish tradition of a silver coin in my shoe (though Mama says my blood was Scottish enough). The dark red peonies reminded me of Sugar’s grandmother, who grows them and who couldn’t travel for the ceremony.

The leather box in the photo is from the Plant Whisperer, too. We carried our rings in it. It’s a replica of an opera glass case belonging to Napoleon’s wife, Josphine, and so it has Sugar’s and my shared first initial J embossed on it.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, she’s insisting on naming the new peony at the garden — the one she got in return for her seeds — after us.

It all makes me think about grace. Grace is like all of this: something you get despite the fact that you could never deserve it.


Cupboardful of Faith

It’s a busy time in the bionic household, and a time of great changes. Or rather, it’s a time of contemplating changes — both potential and inevitable — and wondering if we’re up for it all.

It’s fall, and a good time for canning.

I find canning a source of great comfort in uncertain times. It’s a lovely bit of household magic — the sugar stopping time, water sealing the jars. It seems impossible (like so many things do right now), and the fact this small impossible thing works gives me some faith that bigger things will, too.

The only preserves I make regularly are Green Tomato Preserves, from a recipe by the great Edna Lewis. (If you haven’t read The Taste of Country Cooking, her cookbook/memoir of growing up in the Virginia farm town her grandparents founded as freed slaves, well, it’s worth your time.) This year, a few friends whose tomatoes (unlike mine) survived the blight, traded me their unripe tomatoes for the promise of jam.


3 lbs green tomatoes + 3 lbs sugar.

The tomatoes have to be really green. If they’re starting to ripen, use them for something else. You can let them ripen on the windowsill or make a lamb tagine or fry them if they’re still mostly green. We’ve been doing all three.


The tomatoes, with stem ends and blemishes removed, rest under the sugar overnight. The next day, they will have released enough liquid to dissolve some or all of the sugar: the first miracle. They get cooked for an hour, then left to rest overnight again.


On the third day, the preserves get cooked for another hour or so. Jars are boiled, jar lids and rings sit in a simmering pot. Tomatoes and strained liquid are spooned into jars, which are just barely closed before being submerged in boiling water. The air in the jars expands and squeezes out from under the lids. When the jars are returned to the air, their contents cool and contract. Lids ping shut against the new vacuum.


The jars cool in place overnight, and on the fourth day I fill my cabinet with amber vials of autumn.


P.S. There’s something else these days giving me faith in the future, too.

ETA: I’ve never done Mel’s Show and Tell thing before, but it seems nifty-difty. Looking forward to checking out the other participants, though it may take until after Friday….