Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There, There Panther

Pre-Turkey Day Greetings!

I am so excited about the mouth-watering, delicious turkey sandwich I am going to have tomorrow! Screw the dinner. Somebody give me a sandwich! Once all the tryptophan activates I'm going to slowly fall into a deep sleep.

Hopefully I'll do something hilarious. Dan usually regales me with some silly story about something I said or did while sawing the logs:

"Don't tell me what to do!" Yelled out in the middle of the night.

"There, there panther." Said soothingly as I smacked his face twice.

I've also poked a finger up both his nostrils in my sleep.

There was a night we got into normal sleep/snuggle position with him spooning me. His hand was just hanging across my stomach. He got a weird twitch, or something, and I about ripped his arm off because I thought it was a spider. Obviously.

I should have been writing these down. I'm sure there are a hundred more I can't think of.

My brother loves to recount the time we were sharing a hotel room in Hawaii. We went to sleep. Apparently I sat up in my bed, opened my eyes, and started blathering gibberish. After his initial shock, he realized I was still asleep. "Go to sleep," was all I needed, and I did.

Nighty-night Masterminds...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Procrastination

Hello Masterminds, and welcome to yet another stimulating entry of my most fabulous blog.

Today I finally struck something off my dry erase to-do list: apron. Yeah, I tinker with the sewing machine, another fine artifact from Ma's house. It all started because of a little hole-in-the-wall fabric shop in Berkeley called Stone Mountain Daughter's. They have great fabric! It's on Shattuck at Dwight; there's free street parking on Dwight.

I ended up taking a sewing class at the store. It was a one night class on how to make a retro-inspired hostess apron. It's nice to be able to make something, so I've been making plenty. Maybe for Christmas Santa will let me sign up for more sewing classes. Of course he'll get some slap and tickle for his trouble.

Where was I?

A friend of mine saw some pictures of the aprons I'd been making and wanted one. I thought, this is my big chance, I could make a million dollars on handmade aprons! I told her I'd send her the apron for $25 bucks.

Two weeks went by. The thought of the sewing machine was more than I could bear. I knew I had fallen into the dangerous, beguiling lull of perpetual procrastination. But I felt like such an ass not just making it and sending it to her. So I dragged out the machine. Dan hefted the ironing board and iron upstairs for me. And this is what I made:


And then this:


Followed by a crazy looking bistro style apron for my handsome Dan.

I ended up writing my friend a note, confessing that I wasn't much of a business woman to be starting out so shabbily, but I hope things will get better. Dan keeps trying to get me to open my own Etsy store. If you don't know what I'm talking about check out etsy.com. But be careful, it can get out of hand very quickly.

Tomorrow Masterminds!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Favorite Things

Welcome Masterminds!

I have been circling the idea about writing a blog on my favorite cleaning supplies. These are things that make my life so much easier!

One of my favorite chores to do is laundry. I love having my own washer and dryer (finally) and there is just something magical about folding warm laundry. Above is Tropical Expressions Gain. It smells hella good. Below is Clorox 2, which I almost always use with every load of laundry. Lavender is the one that is shown, but the original scent is great too.


Okay. Imagine a choir. Scratch that. Angels are singing. I love this cleaner. It's usually less than $3 at Target. It's a four-in-one all purpose cleaner with bleach. Be really careful around fabric, it will absolutely leave bleach spots. I keep one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. I just really love this stuff.

Above is Clorox's Earth-friendly version of Windex. It smells good. It works well. I'm stoked.

Scrubbing Bubbles are usually a good call in the shower. I don't like the idea of the contraptions that stay in the shower and clean "automatically." This spray foam is fast acting and tough on the funk that grows in the shower.

Comet with Bleach. This is a staple that every house should have. It is great for tubs, sinks, and even floors. I don't go through this very fast so I will go to the 99Cents Only Store and buy a couple at a time. I also get the one with bleach. I am very much an advocate of the bleach.

Lysol usually makes me laugh. It makes me think of my dad when people had colds he would spray everything in the vicinity. OCD. I use this on doorknobs when I'm in a completely neurotic cleaning mode. More often I spray the inside of the kitchen trash can when I take the garbage out. It controls the smell really well.

Keep an eye out for this to go on sale at Target. At around 2 bucks regularly I like the grapefruit smell and if you can see in the photo, it hasa the bleacha! Most of the other dishsoaps don't have bleach.

This make seem obvious, but a Scot sponge. It's just the regular yellow and green masterpiece. You can wash your dishes with it, use the Comet or the Lysol with this for extra cleaning power.

I have mixed feelings about the Swiffer stuff. The only thing I don't have is the Vac. We have massive amounts of pet hair and dust bunnies. This means I usually end up vacuuming on the hardwood floors with the Hoover, then go over it again with the Swiffer Sweeper, and again with the Wet Jet for hardwood floors. The Dusters just straight rock. You can't get easier than that. I chose this brand because it was cheaper than the Pledge.

They don't call this the Magic Eraser for nothing. I'm not going to think too hard about how it works but use it on weird things that you just can't get out with anything else. Stove top, marks on the walls, scuffs. It seems to vaporize pretty quickly as you use it though, so maybe it's not such a great idea for a big project.

And finally, I love this Arm and Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer. It smells really great and controls the stink. 'Nuff said.

Masterminds, I know this is completely nerdy. But I don't care. Later!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cleaning the Oven

Greetings Masterminds!

As promised! My oven cleaning experience!

You are so excited, admit it. So, like most of my adventures, this began by stealing a can of oven cleaner from my Ma's house. She bought it to clean the barbecue but we ended up taking that off her hands so I figured she probably didn't need the cleaner anymore. Thanks Ma!

I started by taking out the racks. The directions on the back of the oven cleaner didn't say anything about them so I felt it best to take them out. All I need is some melted oven racks in a puddle on the bottom of my rented oven. So here they are.


Above is the magic of my dirty oven. I would happily own to whatever mess I am responsible for but I don't recall looking very closely at the inside of this appliance when we signed the lease. It could be remnants of apple pie drool or something.


This is what the spray looked like in said oven. Ohh. It's so pretty. Not.


Then, I waited. For like, two hours. I was totally on pins and needles. Having never cleaned an oven before I was sort of waiting for some sort of fire to break out.


Tah dah! Here is the self-same oven looking spanking new and sparkly. I was so proud of myself! Nothing even caught on fire!

Masterminds, with proper attention to labels, you too can use dangerous chemicals. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Practice

I made the tough choice between writing an exciting blog about how I cleaned my oven and practicing for my honemoon. Practice makes perfect dear Masterminds.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Faking it

What up Masterminds!

Conflict has arisen from a sensitive subject. It may be difficult to maintain the excellence you have provided in the past. You may be tired, overworked, hungry, grouchy, or any number of other things that might lead you to the idea of faking it.

We've all done it.

Tonight I shall fake it. As, I've done before.

Let me explain.

So, some friends of ours are coming over to dinner this evening. When company comes and I'm pressed for time I like to make fish tacos. They are really easy, and much of the toppings can be prepared ahead of time. I'll post the recipe and photos once I figure out what the hell is wrong with my camera (other than the operator). Normally I make my own pico de gallo or salsa. Lately, though, my heart hasn't been in it.

So I've been faking it.

I take the Casa Sanchez mild salsa from the deli case at the grocery store and put it in a new bowl. I have flat out lied to guests before that it was mine. So wrong. I know.

The last time we had guests they positively raved about "my" salsa. They wanted the recipe. I tried to conveniently forget but was reminded a few days later. I sent my actual salsa recipe and just kept my mouth shut.

Until now.

Mostly because the people I've totally lied to don't read my blog.

I thought I'd feel better clearing this up but I don't. I feel like having some chips. And salsa.

Until tomorrow Masterminds!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Minor Meltdown

Well, hello Masterminds! I bid you a happy Wednesday!

Last night, I had a decision to make: should I write my blog or go to bed. For the benefit of your eyes and hearts, I decided to meander back to my bed.

I spent about 3 hours cussing at my laptop, Snapfish, and the world in general. It all started very innocently at about 7am yesterday morning:

I received an email from Snapfish; I could get 100 free 4x6 color prints with any $5.00 purchase until 12 midnight.

Sweet! I have hella pictures I wanted to print and Dan had said he wanted some New Years cards to send out. How hard could it all be?

How hard could it all be? Haha. Hahahahahahaaahhhahahahahahahah.

Fucking hard.

It actually isn't that hard, but when you have an ancient laptop computer that is ridiculously stupid it becomes an insurmountable task of immense proportions. Think Sisyphus.

I spent an hour saving photos from my Facebook account to my travel drive only to find out that they were saved in an incompatible format.

By the time Dan came home I was completely unreasonable. I was hitting things, grunting and groaning, I was threatening to throw my laptop against a wall. Oh how close I came to making laptop art for you all. Hmmmm.

However, by 11pm I had finally uploaded my 100 photos, I did the layout and order for our cards and I was not about to press one single surplus keystroke even for you Masterminds. I was being a world class brat.

A brat with 100 free prints. Mwah hah ha ha haaah.

A little evil streak never killed anyone, Masterminds, and neither did a discount.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Writer's Block

Greetings and salutations my dear Masterminds,

I would like to formally blame the recent time change for my general lack of oomph. In my complete and utter spazziness, I have a list of no less than 62 items to write about, but still I can't decide.

It's not my fault.

I made a pot of iced tea. I cleaned the house. I snuggled the kitties. Yet, I am blank. And completely embarrassed!

It's not my fault?

My aunt and uncle had a beautiful dinner for Dan and I last night. She has given me the encouragement to try my first fried chicken, so keep an eye out for that experimental recipe and photos.

Other than that, I've got nuthin'. Be patient, if you be so kind, and I will be back tomorrow. And until then, I am big enough to acknowledge:

It's totally my fault.

Only a true Mastermind could admit it. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Crock of Cake

Greetings Masterminds!

My Ma recently told tale of an office potluck that featured a Crockpot cake. Yup. A coworker made a cake allegedley using only a box of cake mix, a can of Dr. Pepper and a Crockpot.

I said incredulously, "You're full of it Ma."

But no, she wasn't. So, here I am to show you the evidence of my experient.




Crockpot Cake Revealed

1 box cake mix
1 12 ounce can of Dr. Pepper
1 can of cherry topping

Put cake mix and Dr. Pepper in Crockpot.




Cook for 3 hours on low.
Scoop out servings and top with cherry topping.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it is and it isn't. First, like the problems I have with my oven, I can imagine that Crockpots are not all in the same condition, or maybe even the same brand. I should have turned the heat off after 2, rather than 3 hours.


And we bought a bad choice in cherry topping.


I was imagining a gooeyer, syrupier masterpiece, but was presented with discolored Bing cherries and a watery pink sauce. To be honest, the cake is so moist it almost doesn't need a topping. Maybe just a little Cool Whip, and voila.

Will I ever make this again? I'd say no, but on second thought maybe. I have a hell of a time with my oven, even with a thermometer in there, and tend to have dried out cakes. By the time the toothpick comes out clean we have absolutely no moisture left, so this could be a good alternative. Presentation sucks. If I tried this again, I'd make sure to let it cool a bit and maybe see if I could get it to fall out of the crockery. Finally, I didn't realize until after I'd made the cake that the counter the Crockpot sat on was slightly sloped.


I ended up with a uncooked part, you can see it on the bottom of the photo above. It didn't even taste good. So beware.

I'd like to thank Handsome Dan for being my sexy co-mad scientist. Thanks Baby! Tomorrow Masterminds!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bucca di Beppo! or Homemade Pizza

Masterminds, I have no idea what Bucca di Beppo actually means. I sort of like it that way. I yell it out in the kitchen whilst gesticulating wildly. Bucca di Beppo! I think it's a chain restaurant.

Anyway.

Yeah, pizza. Homemade pizza is way easier than you think and hella good. That's right bitches, mama's from Nor Cal!

Sorry, I'm back on track.

What's cool about homemade pizza is you can have the ingredients just around for the most part. You can get super gourmet, but I keep it simple, and haven't seemed to have gone wrong, yet. The following recipe is from the Instructions and Recipe book that came with my Kitchen Aid 6 Quart Stand Mixer, the third best appliance I own (my washer and dryer are first followed by my gas powered vibrator).

Crusty Pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 and 1/2 - 3 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 and 1/2 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 2 minutes, or until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down.

Brush 14-inch pizza pan with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around edge to hold toppings. Add toppings, as desired. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings (1/4 pizza per serving)

Pizza for a Crowd
Double the ingredients and prepare in the 6 quart mixer bowl.

Yield: 8 servings (1/4 pizza per serving)


A few things: This recipe is obviously for lazy asses like me. Hand kneading dough, while satisfying, is work. If you don't have this fancy ass mixer, or a Ma to steal one from, you can hand knead the shit out of it (around 8 minutes). I don't own a pizza pan. I have too much stuff already. I just use an old cookie sheet, remember when they had edges? Yeah, that kind. I use butter because I'm lazy and not going to make another utensil dirty just to brush oil.

As for toppings, we usually put around 8 ounces of tomato sauce followed by turkey pepperoni, olives, and lots of mozzarella on the very top. In the pictures below my friend Mick was my helper and we made a vegetarian pizza too, simply by substituting the pepperoni with thin sliced Roma tomatoes.

Above is the dough before rising.

This is Mick punching the dough down after it had risen.

Artfully poured tomato sauce. Bucca di Beppo!
I think this picture is of the vegetarian pizza.

Then they went into my dirty oven.

Pepperoni

Vegetarian

You can see that the vegetarian is a little over cooked, this was my fault. My oven's heat isn't quite regulated to cook two pies in so I probably should have switched their positions halfway through the cooking time. It still came out delicious even though it looks a little done.

This is a far cheaper and handier way to have pizza! Yum! Bake away Masterminds!

It's Raining Babies

Happy Friday Masterminds. A Friday the 13th at that.

Television is full of excitement. National Geographic will be searching for Amazon Headshrinkers and I saw an article about a contributing photographer who thought he was being attacked by a leopard seal but it was really trying to feed him. People travel the world testing their limits, eating beyond their societal scope, meditating, tromping and the like.

You want to test your limits? Start thinking about kids.

Dan and I have talked about having some loin fruit in the future. Little, crazy ass, Dans and Jos running about quoting Auntie Mame and writing software before they can tie their shoes.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I LOVE just the Dan and me time we have. It's so awesome staying in bed late and eating weird things for dinner. We are only responsible for ourselves and making sure the house doesn't burn down when I'm using frying pans.

But, my friends, it's fucking raining babies. They are everywhere. On the bus, in friends' wombs, at the grocery store, toddling around cooing and looking cute every-fucking-where.

They are in my garage. Well, not physically. My dear friend gave me some hand-me-down kid stuff, 'cause the baby bomb already went off at her house. She probably thought we were closer to b-day than we are. Hell, to be completely honest, it changes from day to day. But there it all is, the cutest stuff you ever saw, sitting ever so innocently in my garage. It mocks me, whispering your uterus is useless.

Then there are the irrational fears. What if the plumbing doesn't work? What then? Will I be a failure of a woman? Will I just have dogs? Will I adopt. Foster? Buy a ranch in Montana and kiss a cow on its wet nose?

Then, inversely, what if I do become with child? Where will we live? Will I breast feed? That one nipple is messed up from the nipple piercing gone wrong. Will I have one giant breast and one empty sack? I don't want a C-Section! I don't want to drop a deuce in front of strangers to squeeze a new life into the world. Am I waiting too long? Is it too soon.....

Okay.

I'm back. I needed a few moments just me and a paper bag. It's all good.

So you see my dears, this issue is everywhere and nowhere for me. Here's a good Virgo's list of things to do before I let Dan fertilize me:

Lose 100 lbs. (seriously)
Stop taking all drugs
Stop fucking cussing
Relax
Relax some more
Seriously, fucking relax. God damn it, I fucking cussed again! This blows!

I'm going to go play some Rock Band and think about this some more.

Hope you all had a great day. Tomorrow, homemade pizza!

To Streak, or Not to Streak

A *sheepish* greeting Masterminds.

Too many days have gone by without logging in to regale you with my insanity. I apologize. However, it could be construed that I was gathering research to entertain and instruct you fellow Masterminds.

Yeah! That's it! Research!

We've had guests. In fact, with any luck they should be fast asleep in our little office/guest room. All the alcohol, ahem, I hope they are still breathing. Either way, I hope they're comfortable.

So my friends, a husband and wife, took Dan and I out for a belated wedding dinner at the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco. Quite delicious! Dan and I had been before, but this trip was markedly better than the last. Again, it could have been the pre-dinner libations, but I like to think it was the good company.

But here we are, as usual, I can't sleep. My insomnia is good for the blog because this is when, I would like to think, I do my best writing. So here I am on the floor of the bedroom, as the office is occupied, trying to decide if I should risk the streak. A root beer would be so fabulously thirst quenching right now. Maybe a pudding cup. I'm smiling to myself at the thought. Hey, I deserve these treats, I cleaned the holy hell out of the house. The problem is I have no pants. Think pants in the British sense here. I don't know, it seemed appropriate to fling them off in our room when we got back from dinner. And though I had the energy to grab my rickety laptop, throw a pillow on the floor and begin a rambling story, I don't feel that I have the energy to put on appropriate bottoms.

Do you see the pickle?

With that, I wish you a good evening my fellow Masterminds. And bid you the courage to try something completely outside the social norms even just for a good story. ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BookFace

Electronic greetings Masterminds,

I would like to say that I am incapacitated from a cleaning frenzy. Sadly, this is not the case. My back is just bunged up. Today was one of those rough days.

You know how it is when you're sick. You kick it in bed, or on the couch, sleep, or read trying to get back to the thousand things that you have waiting for you.

Or, you have an iPod. Dan gave me his old iPod touch that he was using to develop apps. On it are all sorts of goodies, but one of my favorites is the Facebook application. There it is, just an innocuous little button, but one tap with your finger and you are updated on all sorts of nonsense. I know which of my friends got drunk and/or laid last night. New photos are posted. It is one of the choicest black holes to throw my time into. It is the proverbial rabbit hole.

I think social networking is particularly interesting because of the differences it presents in human communication. It, like any society, has social rules and regulations that are built in as well as tacitly understood. For example, a guy I went to high school with found me on Facebook. Okay, fine, I'll be his friend. So, after I accepted his request I started looking at his page. Oh, no. I don't want to completely offend people but there were some aspects of his interests that are not so savory to me. I pondered for a day and then un-friended him.

The great thing about Facebook is when you take someone off your friends list, they usually don't know. Well, somehow he found out. Yesterday, months after I deleted him, there he is again, in my friend requests inbox asking to be my friend.

I asked myself, am I being a bitch? Probably, but I think that's something that I can live with to surround myself with the people that I think are worthwhile. So I hit ignore and did not think another thing about it.

Today, I had another request from the same dude. What don't you understand? I don't want to be a part of your pyramid scheme. Peace out.

Now I almost want him to try one more time. Hee hee. See what I mean, as meaningless as it is, there are social rules attached to Facebook. Think about it the next time you are in your comfies on your couch and you update your status, echoing into the darkness of cyberspace that you think Miley Cyrus is the greatest.

Rant is over. Mastermind out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Drunk as a Dog

Hi Masterminds!

No, I am not drunk. Nor do I wish to be.

I just found out the most awesome news: my good friend and her husband are coming for a visit. She's a busy film editor and we don't see each other as much since that I moved back to the Bay Area.

However, there is a dark side to this... and I am powerless to stop it. It will happen no matter what.

I will clean until I drop.

As it is I'm embarking on my monthly, now I have guests! This means only one thing: drunk as a dog cleaning. Allow me to explain.

You are finally home from a fun night. There were cocktails and inappropriately greasy foods. Perhaps there was dancing and maybe a cigarette or two. Now you are in bed, fully clothed because you don't know if standing is the smartest idea at the moment. The room seems to be spinning and though putting your foot on the floor does seem to slow it down, it does not stop it. Calm down. Just control your breathing. Uh-oh, you're feeling those cigarettes now. Maybe those weren't such a good idea. Maybe a quick trip to the toilet might not be that bad of an idea. Oh crap, standing is bad. Abort. Repeat abort. You drag your sorry, drunk ass to the toilet and begin your homage to that porcelain goddess.

That's when you see the things that put you over the edge.

I like to call it drunk as a dog cleaning because that is the only time, ever, that you see your house from that angle, and oh it ain't pretty. The kitchen and the bathroom are the worst.

So you see, all this estrogen, and now guests! I'll be crawling around for the next three days cleaning like I love the bathroom floor. I'll be smelling sponges and bleaching things.

Anyhow. Tomorrow!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Monday Eve

Good evening fellow Masterminds,

I am typing in the warm light of our IKEA floor lamp, in the living room, listening to the soothing sounds of my dryer finishing my last load of laundry. I have even done the dishes. This is not like us. Usually by Sunday night the house is in shambles, just destroyed.

My extra cleaning energy is most likely from my coming menses. Yes, my hormone level, and whether or not my Ma is coming to visit, determines my neurotic need for cleanliness. Low estrogen = naptime! High estrogen = give me bleach and a toothbrush and get the fuck out of my way. The latter is sort of where I am right now.

One step beyond this, my end-of-the-year eyes see all sorts of opportunities to wear handkerchiefs and clean on my hands and knees. There is something so inherently awesome about starting the new year with a clean house. When Dan and I got married, I wouldn't leave for City Hall until I'd cleaned the whole house and eaten an avocado (and he still married me, I know!).

Now I'm off to fix homemade pizza with Dan, and wind down this already quiet evening into the glorious, prosaic bliss that it is.

Mañana Masterminds...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

La Vie en Rose

Bon soir Masterminds,

Dan and I are excited to finally go on our belated honeymoon towards the end of this month.

When we were just engaged--remember, those of you that know us, those three months when we were disgustingly mushy--we would put on our rings and gaze at each other. Yup, that mushy time never ended. We gave up waiting for June 5th and got married two months early.

Waiting was so difficult, especially since we already had the rings we bought online. We were so excited, we would wear our rings to "practice." You know, doing those silly things that lovey-dovey people do.

Well now, we wear our rings all the time, but we've been diligently practicing for our upcoming honeymoon. The gushy goo-go eyes have never stopped. It's going to be so nice to be kitty free and in the Pacific.

I titled this post La Vie en Rose, even though we are going to be far from Paris. Life with Dan is tinged with pink and beautifully nuanced like the French could appreciate.

Check out La Vie En Rose, the Edith Piaf song was redone by a local band called Pomplamoose. I can't get it out of my head!

Sorry for the meandering post. I guess I'm in the clouds with my best friend, practicing for our happy life. (It's okay if you feel the need to evacuate your stomach. We recognize.)

Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Guest Post: The Dan

Howdy Masterminds! (Howdy, that's what we say where I'm from)

Today is a guest post. The Mastermind is doing well, but tonight she was more interested in me than a blog post. Sad but true.

Fear not, I don't want to leave you without words to fill your eyes so I'm giving the inaugural Guest Post on The Domestic Mastermind.

What to talk about. Jo has talked about me so I should probably return the favor a little. Okay, just a tiny bit. Or not at all (you see, I have to keep the peace a little bit around the house. Anything revealed will be by Jo, not me. It's better that way. Trust me.......Call the police.)

Come to think of it, Jo's more interesting to me than trying to whip up a Guest Post on the spot. I feel drawn to depart the world of computers (where I spend all day working in the cartoon mines, slaving for the enjoyment of the masses).

I'll leave you with one helpful hint for when the warm weather returns.

Ever get parched and want a nice satisfying drink other than water or a soda? I know, me too.

I love limeade. They are so easy to make it's ridiculous.

Dan's Limeade

Juice 2 or 3 fresh limes (depending on how sour you can take) into a pint glass.
Put in a teaspoon to a tablespoon of sugar or Splenda (or bar syrup for you debonair folks *wink*).
Mix the lime juice and sweetener together.
Fill the glass with ice.
Pour in soda water for a nice texture.
Stir and enjoy.
Have a great weekend Masterminds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Granola

Hi Masterminds!

I was feeling particularly spunky today. I decided to make French baguettes and granola. My granola recipe is of course based on the one in The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. The way I do it seems to be a hit, so here it is:

Granola

Four handfuls oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Honey
Butter

Add honey to taste. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a big bowl, mix it all together. Grease 9x13 Pyrex with butter. Put the granola into the greased Pyrex and bake for 40 minutes, stirring halfway. Cool completely before storage.

You could use maple syrup instead of honey for a different taste. Be careful about eating too much, it's so easy to do because it's sweet, it could give you the runs. Both coconut and flax seeds will make you poo. Be warned.

Tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Revenge with Aluminum Foil

Good evening Masterminds!

You've probably heard me tell tale of the Yoseph, that sly, drooly lover who makes me laugh all day long. Yet, you know we have two cats. The other's name is Polly, and she is the Antichrist.

Dan and I think that she may be bi-polar. Sometimes she all happy, running around trying to kill air, then other times she's pissed off at us. No, really, like so mad she pees.

I am a mad, crazy smeller of a woman. I like to smell everything. Maybe that's just how women are, I know that's how my Ma is. So, the peeing is not my favorite thing.

We've tried to deal with it in a myriad of ways:

Good cop: Oh, sweetie, what's wrong? Here are extra scratches and extra treats to make you be good again.

Bad cop: No! No! No! You are a really bad kitty and if you pee again I will go ape shit.

We put a bell on her, so we could hear her sneaking around trying to pee. That worked for about two days, and then she figured out how to walk without the bell making noise. She's a fucking ninja.

I have reintroduced the "Bad Kitty Water" which was originally for the non-stop meowing that started in our new apartment when we'd set up a kitty free zone. The "Bad Kitty Water" is a spray bottle of tap water. When she pees now I take the spray bottle and she gets it in the face as I yell bad kitty and hold her over her mess. Lots of hissing, from both of us but it really hasn't made a difference.

Today I washed out the cat litter box. Maybe she's a smeller too? I don't know!

Thank goodness we have the kitty free zone, otherwise I know she would sneak up and steal my soul in the middle of the night while I'm sleeping.

I don't know what to do. Dan and I are tired of cleaning up pee. We've spent so much money on vet bills and pee-geter-outer products it's ridiculous.

Advice from another blog suggested that we put aluminum foil where the cat pees and that should help prevent further accidents. They aren't accidents. But the upside is she hates aluminum foil. So at least I feel a little bit of revenge calm.

I just about go insane when she does it. I mean she's a freakin' kept woman, she eats all day long, sleeps on a pillow and then pees in my living room.

Oh. Hell. No.

I am begging you all. Please, if you have any suggestions to share, this Mastermind would appreciate it. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Being Dangerous with Epoxy

Salutations fellow Masterminds!

In response to my blog post yesterday, a spider special agent tried to kill me as I went down my front stairs. The Resistance also created some technical difficulties in connection with my lovely laptop, which is why I am writing so late.

On to the danger!

Part of the charm of our unit is that it is old, and a little weird here and there. I think they call it "funky" on Craigslist. There are stains and cracks that just make it that much more of a home to Dan and I.

The kitchen is my favorite because it has an old built-in shelf right above the sink and the ridiculous over-painted white cabinets; the ones that will now forever remind me of the East Bay. The kitchen drawers are metal, from some long forgotten mid-twentieth century company. Suffice to say, I love our house.

I was not too stoked though, when the handle to one of the cabinets fell off. Okay, I ripped it off because I forgot it was loose and should have fixed it sooner. The wood was stripped clean and both screws would no longer hold the hardware in the wood.


Anyway.

I decided to get some epoxy to simply glue everything back into place. I bought epoxy to try to glue a swag hook to the ceiling of my last apartment, but the idea of the mixing, and possible gluing of myself to something inappropriate, made me hesitate. Well I hesitated so long that epoxy dried up. Dan and I went down to the old school Ace Hardware in El Cerrito.



The epoxy I chose was in a kind of syringe form with two tubes running side by side. They gave me a little stick of plastic, which they called a "mixing paddle," and a place in the molded plastic container to mix the goo. The black stick above is the "mixing paddle" sitting in the special area for concocting.


With luck, the glue should set in 24 hours and will hopefully out last Whirlwind Jo, at least until we by our own house that I can demolish in any way I please.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spiders

Hello Masterminds!

It is now officially November, and I would be completely justified in writing a creepy blog post about how I survived October. Mine is a true story that began long ago, okay 2004, in France.

I was just minding my own business, wandering about Paris and its environs when I discovered a weird bump on the inside of my arm. It was too blistery looking to be a mosquito bite and it had a red ring around it. I knew already, it was a spider bite.

I hate spiders. They freak me out. I'm sure this one was a trained spider assasin that was hanging from a tree as I meandered around Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, scared out of my wits.

Armed with a large English-French dictionary, and the unreasonable fear that a spider bit me with the singular plan to lay eggs in the wound, I went to le pharmacie. Slowly, in my broken French I explained to the pharmacist that I thought I had been bitten by a spider. I didn't think it was appropriate to pull up my shirt and point to the offending bite but that's what she asked me to do. Ahgast, she scurried away and brought another pharmacist over. Clucking his tongue and shaking his head he sold me the French aerosol version of Bactine. But it didn't have that good smell. Anyway. They told me that if it didn't go away in 48 hours to see a doctor. I was pretty much panic stricken. Alone, in France, waiting for the spider version of Alien to happen to me.

Of course, it didn't go away but got bigger. They have a service in Paris where a doctor will make a house call. For 60 Euros I had a doctor come to my hotel. He assured me that it was an infected mosquito bite, but he would drain it because it was so large. The doctor's English was worse than my French (and that's saying something) so I was horrified when he gasped and told me that something was in there. Lots of ers, ehs and shrugging later I knew in my heart though he couldn't tell me I'd been attacked by a spider.

When I got back, I told my brother all about my trip. We joked that it was an international resistance of French spiders that were trying to kill me. We even named it: le Resistance Francais de Arignee.

As the years passed, my fear has grown. Now we live in Richmond, which is a wolf spider paradise. They are all out there, looking in my windows, biding their time...

If there is an eight-legged offender in my house, it gets eliminated; immediately. If it wants to live here, fine. But I pay rent, and if it doesn't it gets squished.

I'm okay with ants, snakes, rodents, hell, even axe weilding psychopaths; but I am not a fan of the spiders. I will admit, grudgingly, that my unrealistic idea that a spider resistance has been organized to eliminate me is, well, horrifying. However, I would like you all to know the great lengths I am willing to go in order to entertain you. Even at the possible cost of my sanity... er, I meant life. Yeah, life.

Hoping you are safer from the Resistance, Mastermind out.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cupcake Terror

I only have a few moments to write, Masterminds.

I am in terrible danger. An evil, Halloween cupcake is haunting me, and wants my soul.

It all began when I heard an innocent knock at the door.


I thought the neighborhood kids were playing a prank, so I took the mysterious confection and threw it in the trash, because I am neurotic.


But soon I noticed visions of it everywhere.



This is the photo journal of the Cupcake of Terror. Frantically, from room to room I run with my camera catching glimpses of the apparition as my anxiety mounted. I am certainly in grave danger.


Since the Cupcake made its first appearance, Dan, my beloved, has vanished. I am alone in the house on Halloween night; the night when the souls of the departed walk the earth once more.






Night envelopes Richmond and my fate is sealed.

Happy Halloween from the Domestic Mastermind and co-conspiritor, Danimal.