Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Housefrau Fieldtrip: The Grocery Store!

Hateful, hateful places.

For a good long while, the LP had taken over grocery-shopping duties. I was prone to grocery-store mishaps: buying twenty pounds of potatoes, coming home with a cartful of hair products and no food, abandoning the half-filled cart in the middle of the store and crying as I drove home.

But now that I’m frauing the house, I figure it’s back on my list of duties.

Today was my third grocery-store outing since I started this whole not-being-a-productive-member-of-society thing. The first two went surprisingly well. I bought actual food, I managed not to yell at anyone, and I even remembered by Sooper! card. (When did all grocery stores start requiring a membership card to get ten cents off a head of lettuce? What are they doing with that information? There’s a sinister plot afoot, I tells ya.) In fact, the only problem I ran into was getting to the register and finding that my total bill for a week’s worth of groceries for two people was several times more than the monthly electric bill. I tend not to look at prices in the grocery store—they’re groceries, for chrissake; how much could they possibly cost? A fucking lot, apparently.

Today’s fieldtrip to the ingredient stores started at Vitamin Cottage—like Whole Foods except way smaller, way cheaper, and way crappier. It was fairly successful, although the people there are nutballs. One stocker yelled “Hi!” to me after I had passed him and was halfway down the aisle. Another worker was actually wearing a tie-dye t-shirt; didn’t anyone teach him not to embody stereotypes? And the other shoppers were exceedingly weird. Parking their carts in the middle of the aisles and then wandering off—not down the aisle, mind you, but to entirely different parts of the store. One woman followed behind me most of the time I was there. Each aisle I stopped in, poof, there she’d be, stopping her cart behind me and staring (really, really, staring) and the shelves. She never put anything in her cart.

Anyway, I got my cart to the check out, shamefacedly requested plastic bags instead of having canvas ones with me, and proceeded to dig through my purse for my car keys. Not there. More digging, more nothing. Uh-oh.

I got my groceries out to the car, and there I found my keys: dangling from the ignition. Lucky for me, I had also left all my windows down! The fact that no one hopped in and drove off while I was in the store for an hour is a testament either to the quality of my neighborhood or the crappiness of my car.

At any rate, it was now time to go to the regular grocery store to get all the things the health food store was either out of or doesn’t carry. Like apples.

Would you like to know what’s wrong with everything in the entire world, especially grocery stores in white-trash suburbs in the middle of the afternoon? Old people. And children. And old people who have children with them.

At least no one spoke to me or looked at me or followed me around the aisles, and after an agonizing search for oat groats and being laughed at by the produce guys for not knowing the difference between lime juice and key lime juice, I got out of there.

So that was my big housefrau day. I bought groceries. If you include the time I spent making a list, preparing my hair and face for public consumption, shopping, and putting things away, I think it took me right at about four hours. In fact, I got home just in time to start dinner.

I have no idea what to cook. Maybe we’ll order out tonight.

There is Currently a Spider

Somewhere in the vicinity of my desk.

I saw it crawling on the curtain and screamed at it. That made it fall down among my books. So I took a shoe and poked at the books until it ran out. Then I screamed at it again and it ran under the stapler. I thought that was weird, to run underneath a stapler. What a strange thing to even be able to run underneath. Anyway, you can probably guess the next sequence of events: poke with shoe, scream, run away. Repeat until spider goes behind desk and stays there.

I am not what you would call a tough broad. A partial list of the things I am afraid of might contain: bugs, the dark, strangers, mold, elevators, airplanes, being put in a loony bin, food poisoning, water, heights, small places, too-large places, being hot, throwing up, burglars, the idea that all the people I love will suddenly become different people who are strange to me, zombies, needles, dogs.

I think there is a common misconception that housefraus, ladies who bustle around the home doing ladyish things, are pansies. Faint-hearted. Wimps. Quite the contrary. Why, a good housefrau must possess a steely resolve and a stomach of iron. Must confront unidentifiable tupperware contents without a quiver. Must haul heavy laundry baskets up and down the stairs with nary a complaint. Must face down intruding spiders with a big black shoe and a soldier’s bloodlust.

A good housefrau doesn’t solve her housekeeping problems by screaming at them, then writing about it. A good housefrau straightens her apron and confronts whatever hideous thing it is until the blight is rubbed out and life once again gleams clean and odor-free.

I don’t have an apron, and my bloodlust is sadly dampened by my innate squeamishness. I’d like to be the sort of lady who, when the zombies start marching, calmly whacks their heads off with a machete, then goes about serving a four-course meal to her guests; while the world ends around her, she heroically saves at least her own dinner party.

But I’m not. When the zombies rise, you’ll find me at the mall, playing house in a department store. And when Tom Savini comes, boy, won’t I be a picture!

Jesus fucking christ I hope that spider doesn’t come back out.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wet Paint

My landlord painted my front door without telling me.


So this is the second time I have come into my house through the back door (where the carport is), opened the front door to get the mail, and stuck my hand on a very wet, sticky, freshly-badly-painted door.

And then I see a handy sign taped to the front step saying “Wet paint.”

This came after a long afternoon of minor but for some reason extremely irritating little mishaps: my car gave me trouble starting, the filling station didn’t have cold soda, my hands inexplicably smell like rubber and no amount of washing seems to help.

Is that a symptom of something? Rubber-smelling hands? It’s probably an early indicator of rubella or something.

The thing is, it’s frustrating to housefrau in a house that isn’t really mine. I can’t do anything about the ugly walls, the terrible window coverings, the fucking horrible neighbors. And all the myriad little broken things that the landlord is uninterested in fixing, well, I guess I could fix myself, but why should I?

It’s startling to discover, when I’ve gotten the bright idea to clean underneath the fridge, grime that predates my living here by decades. Those bobby pins, crayons, and BB gun pellets certainly aren’t mine. I’m just adding my dirt to the layers already set down by other tenants. I almost don’t want to clean too deeply—I’d rather be swimming in my own filth than in someone else’s.

And yet, much as I crave my own little piece of land with my very own plumbing problems to call home, it’s much easier to rent. It’s nice to feel that the crappiness of my home is someone else’s responsibility. It helps to think that my failed recipes are the fault of an oven that someone else picked out. It’s reassuring to know that I can pack up and leave with no strings attached, and I tell myself that, I'm not stuck in this life, I can leave, I can leave, I can leave, and that makes it better when I keep waking up in the same pokey little house, same pokey little life.

Still, I think it’s just common courtesy to give someone a bit of warning before slathering paint all over their front door. What if I had been planning to throw a come-over-and-touch-my-front-door party tonight?

“Wet paint,” indeed. I just hope the landlord doesn’t spoil the hey-check-out-my-broken-bathroom-faucet shindig I’m throwing next week.

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's a bird, it's a plant, it's...Grow-a-note!

"Oh, bother. I need to send a greeting to a friend or family member. But I hate to send yet another bit of paper to be tossed into the rubbish. What's an environmentally-conscious housefrau to do?"

How about Shannon Lowry's Round Robin Press notecards. Each card's 100% recycled paper is embedded with wildflower seeds, so the recipient of your kindness can pop your greeting into the ground and get some blossoms.

And if they do throw it in the trash, at least the landfill will have some flowers sprouting amongst the diapers and spent print cartridges.

I Love Mooses to Pooses

My friend Andrew sent me a recipe. Since it only called for two ingredients and I happened to have both, I gave it a try. Here’s the recipe he sent, verbatim:

Greek Chocolate Mousse (Moussaki!?)

This is more verbose than the actual making—because I am verbose, I guess:
Take equal amounts of Greek yogurt and white chocolate (to fill a trifle dish use about a pound of each). Melt the choc, then stir in the yog. Before it sets, you can add a zoom of extra flavour: e.g., one teaspoon of orange blossom water, but think of rosewater, and it's very good with the juice of a lime + lime zest. Or scoop out the flesh of a passion fruit and stir in.
Let set (fridge, probably an hour is enough).
Before serving, add a layer of fruit on top to offset the richness-richness.
Raspberries are good. Peaches would be good, I bet, or apricots, or gooseberries.

Another variation: do the same with dark chocolate and double/heavy cream (I always translate types of cream wrongly—but I think you know what I mean). A bit of orange zest and a spoon of orange juice work well there.

Another variation (the greedy one): bake a thinnish layer of chocolate brownie, and let it set/cool. Then add a layer of the white choc, as above, then let that set/cool. Then add a layer of the dark choc, then let that set/cool. Of course this would be in a tin pan, but it can work well in one of those cake tins with springs, if carefully lined etc.

It also works to pour mix directly right into ramekins rather than a trifle dish.

I figure this is easier than making mousse, anyway! There are lots of ways to experiment.

Isn’t he adorable?

I tried the first variation, but with milk chocolate instead of white. And I didn’t add any flavors, as I didn’t have any. And I didn’t use a trifle dish because I don’t know what that is.

It turned out tasty.

Andrew, is this what it’s supposed to look like?

I served it with sliced bananas, as that was all the fruit we had in the house. And I made far too much for two people—Andrew’s right, it’s insanely rich. But it was a successful cooking excursion all around!

If you can’t find Greek yogurt at the supermarket, try the health food store. It’s good stuff—tangier and less sugary than regular yogurt, with a denser, grittier texture. I have been eating it with blackberries mixed in.

Andrew is from London. They have all kinds of food there that I’ve never heard of. He is the one who gave me the recipe for beet root spaghetti, which I have yet to attempt. I did make spaghetti last night, but I used an unorthodox cooking method. Here’s my recipe for spaghetti:

Credit card

Call local Italian place and order spaghetti delivered. Also some bread, maybe.
Place food into dishes and serve in front of television while watching the entire second season of The Office (British version) in one night.

Yep, I run a tight ship. Gourmet meals served in a well-kept house.

There are socks all over the place.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

And Then a Miracle Occurred

It’s been one of those weeks. You know, the ones where you sleep until noon, stay in your jammies, and don’t shower.

I am a smelly person.

One pitfall of housefrauing is that no one validates my existence. There’s no paycheck that proves I count in the world, no cubicle that people expect me to occupy as if it matters in the least. Everything I do with my time, I do because I want to, because it matters to me.

And that, my friends, is terrifying.

Maybe I’m starting to understand why those horrifying people agree to have their pathetic lives exposed to the world on shows like “Nanny 911” and “Wifeswap.” It’s all pretty silly, what we do with our days, slogging along to our bellies’ urges, draping decorations over the walls in which we enclose our very very small selves. It’s a big world full of tigers, and we are slow and tasty monkeys. Even those whose deeds sweep the world must at some point fold their underpants into a drawer, rinse their lunchplate, write “floss” on a grocery list.

They say that the more scientists look at the minute particles of the world, the more vast those microcosms become. Each atom is bursting with particles; each of those little fellows is swarming with more bits of life. It’s not that life is boring—it’s too fucking full. Every gesture is a mosaic of minute postures, and to scrub the sink becomes a tapestry too rich to contemplate. We build life thread by thread.

I suppose that what it all comes down to is this: I didn’t do laundry this week; instead, I bought new clothes. It’s been that kind of week.

And yet, somehow, something wonderful occurred; a feat of housefrauing beyond my wildest dreams:

Sprouts! In my pot of dirt! By the simple act of doing absolutely nothing, I have green growing things.

I’m thinking that next week I’ll just stay in bed every day and see if a solution to world hunger doesn’t turn up in my living room.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lessons Learned: A mincer is not a mincer is not a mincer

So I’m making a recipe that calls for two tablespoons of minced shallots. I have the shallots. I also have a mincer. It’s a garlic mincer, but it’s still a mincer. This book wants the shallots minced, fine, I’ll put them in this mincer and mince the motherfuckers.

But, lo, that is not what happened. I put the shallot in the mincer and squeezed and, instead of some nicely minced shallots squooshing kind-of grossly out the other end, all the juice in the shallot was forcefully expelled out of the shallot, some onto the kitchen counter, but most directly into my eye.

Then I cried like a baby. Not because my eyes were aflame with the juice of an onion (although that too), but because once again, I have been fucked over by cookbook authors.

See, a shallot is like a tiny little onion, all crisp and juicy. And garlic is like, well, garlic. Not at all the same thing, and they cannot be minced with the same tool, apparently. But did the cookbook say this? No. Did it say, “Mince the shallots by using a knife and cutting them so tiny that you also slice off some of your fingernails, not by using a garlic mincer, which will get you all onion-juicy”? No. The mincing of the shallots was not even a step in the recipe! It’s just there on the ingredient list: 2 minced shallots.

This is bullshit, people. The ingredient list is for ingredients. Ingredients come from the store. There are no “minced shallots” at the store. That’s preparation. Step one of your recipe should be “Mince the shallots. Oh, and by the way, here is how to mince a shallot.”

And while we’re at it, let’s quit with this coy game of “I-know-what-vegetables-look-like-and-you-don’t.” The other day I was going to make a recipe that called for leeks. So off I went to the grocery store to get some. Unfortunately, I don’t know what a leek is. I’ve never seen a leek or eaten a leek or taken a leek to a baseball game. Lucky for me, my grocery store has signs! But when I located the sign that said “leeks,” there were two vegetables underneath it. There were also other signs for things like “bok choy” and “edameme” (???), and all the vegetables underneath were sort of jumbled around. So I had to take my best guess, then walk around the store until I found someone who worked there and shake the vegetable at him and demand, “Is this a leek?”

It was. But when I got it home and chopped it up, I only had half a cup. I needed two cups. Did the recipe say “4 leeks” in the ingredients? No, silly, it didn’t. It said, “2 cups chopped leeks.”

Cookbook authors, listen up: I’m wise to your game, and I’m not going to take it anymore. Two can play at this.

So now I present my gourmet recipe for Herbed Cornish Game Hen:

1 Herbed Cornish Game Hen,


Look! I’m a cookbook author! Give me money.

In the Garden: Black Thumb Thursday

I have a plant.

My usual method of dealing with anything is to obsess over it while it’s new, then forget all about it for a while, and then suddenly remember and shower it with an uncomfortable amount of affection out of guilt for ignoring it. I call this erratic nurturing, and it works fine with most inanimate objects. Plants and friendships, however, tend to suffer from this approach.

Plant, though, has been alive for almost three years, which is stunning. I have killed a LOT of plants in my day. When I moved into my current house, my mom brought me this plant, and I fully expected to dispatch it with due haste. Somehow, plant has withstood my nurturing. It has been left outside overnight when the temperature dropped well below freezing. It has sat inside with the curtains closed for a week. It has gone for a month with no water. It has survived a month of being watered daily. It has somehow made it through my well-intentioned effort at pruning (unlike my LP’s hair).

Recently, I added an orchid to my things-I-might-kill family. My friend Rachael grows orchids as a hobby, and she assured me that most varieties of orchids are surprisingly easy to grow. She described orchids’ preferred means of care as “benign neglect.” Sounds easy, but I am more prone to malicious neglect. At any rate, the orchid is not dead yet.

At least, I don’t think it’s dead. It’s kind of hard to tell. When I was eight I had a tiny cactus plant that I never watered because I was afraid of drowning it, and then one day I picked it up and the plant just sort of fell over, because it no longer had any roots at all. It had been dead for months, and I hadn’t known.

I hope that doesn’t happen with people. I could leave my life partner alone in his office for weeks, thinking he’s playing a video game, and then one day walk in and find his eyeballs all dried up.

Well, today’s housefrau project (other than trying to iron, which didn’t go all that well [my mom gave me an ironing ham {it looks and tastes nothing like actual ham, believe me} and I tried to use it, but, come on, it’s, like, round]) was to plant some flowers! I found some ziploc bags of dirt in the basement (I dunno), put them in a pot, and put some seeds in it. Seems a little too easy.

I had a bunch more seeds left, so I scattered them in the dirt by my front door, sort of under a bush. Now we’ll see who’s got the greener thumb: me or nature! Oh, it is on, Mother Earth!

I’d have taken photos of the whole process to share, but 1) like anyone really needs to see photos of a container of dirt, and 2) I’d left the camera on for three days, so the battery was dead.

Sigh. Guess my erratic nurturing doesn’t work with digital cameras either.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Current Statistics: Wrapping a Present

Things overturned on kitchen table:
Vase of flowers
Candle (burning)

Things that temporarily bound fingers together:

Things jabbed into various body parts:
Teeth-things on tape dispenser
Flowers, somehow

Things currently on floor:
Flower petals
One present (wrapped [badly])

Monday, May 08, 2006

I am going to make some fucking SOUP!

So I was lying on the unmade bed reading a magazine this afternoon (this is what kept women do with their time, right?) when it occurred to me that I should go make some badass soup. It’s 75 degrees out, which I gather is not good weather for soup, but that didn’t deter me. Neither did the fact that I have never really made soup before.

(I was reading an article about the Donner party when this particular bee entered my bonnet, but I discount the notion that that had any bearing on my desire to cook.)

My mom gave me a gorgeous soup cookbook, and I have leafed through it admiring the pictures many times. But most of the recipes start with something like, “boil a brown cow’s foot for twelve hours,” and I wanted to do something simple. Something that was mostly already done for me, but that I could claim to have cooked because I got out a cutting board.

You know what this means, don’t you? It means that I am going to have to MAKE UP MY OWN RECIPE.

I opened the cupboard and found a carton of organic creamy sweet potato soup and, get this, an actual sweet potato. Brilliant! I will cook the sweet potato, put it in the ready-made soup, and it will be tasty. It has to be. Sweet potatoes always go with sweet potatoes.

Except the vegetable I had might have actually been a yam. I don’t really know. And it had little purple fellows sprouting from it.

But onward! I started peeling it, and it seemed to be leeching some sort of weird milky-white liquid.

I was on the phone with my wonderful friend Kelly at the time, and she said that it was fine. She’s had a baby in her tummy, so I assume that all divine secrets of the domestic realm must have been imparted to her through some sort of uterine transmogrification. Also, she makes great salads.

So then I diced up the vegetable and the insides had all kinds of weird little holes inside. Kelly’s remark was, “I’ve never seen that when I make sweet potatoes.”

Oh well. I decided to boil the sweet potato, so I dumped it in a pan of boiling water and splattered insanely hot water all over myself.

Shirt changed and with a renewed sense of caution, I decided to fancy-up the soup. Who wants sweet potato soup with just sweet potatoes in it? The answer to all cooking questions is invariably corn and garlic, so I dumped in some of that, along with some black beans and garbanzo beans, because I had cans of them and they seem innocuous enough.

The soup looked really disgusting.

When my darling LP came home, I had him taste one of the sweet potatoes, as I am terrified of tasting food while it is still in the process of becoming edible. He deemed it “okay.”

I’m given to understand that flavors “mingle” in the pot if you leave them alone. Much like Christian singles at a picnic, I imagine. So I ignored the food for a while and added more things to my Williams Sonoma gift registry, things that will certainly guarantee that my next soup-making adventure is a success.

After a while I got bored waiting, so I decided it was time to eat my creation. I didn’t have any bread, so I served it with crackers made out of seeds. Also, I was out of napkins, so we used dishtowels. One of the dishtowels was kind of damp, as I’d just used it to dry some dishes, and there was only one clean one left.

The verdict: Here’s a rough transcript of our dinner conversation:

--Hm, it’s good.
--This tastes like food your mom makes.
--Oh really?
--Yeah. It’s nourishing. I like it.
--You don’t think it’s a little bland?
--It only tastes bland because we’re accustomed to eating food that’s less bland.
--Mm, this really is good.
--Oh, good.
--I’m getting excited thinking about eating this food.
--You’re eating it right now.
--I’m excited about eating some more of it.
--Hey, this garbanzo bean looks like a butt.

And so on. So, I guess it came out all right. I still don’t know why the sweet potato was full of holes and white stuff, but if we die of some mysterious sweet potato disease, I’ll let you know.

Housefrau Field Trip: The Alpaca Show!

Yesterday was the Great Western Alpaca Show in Denver. Like a good housefrau, I traipsed down to pick up some lovely fiber arts and take in the unbelievable cuteness.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, this is an alpaca:

At the show, alpacas are placed in funny costumes and paraded around.

They are also taken through obstacle courses,

although they often don’t like it.

The show is also a chance for the alpacas’ fleeces to be judged and ranked, which helps their fleece fetch a handsome sum at market. Alpacas are shorn.

Then, clever housefraus or underpaid Peruvians can spin the fiber.

The resulting yarn can be woven into fabrics

or felted into hats and other products

or just sold as yarn

to be knitted into things like scarves

or adorable monkeys.

It was a good time. And, as you may have surmised, we got a digital camera. I have refrained from posting all 550 pictures we took with it at the Alpaca Show, but rest assured that, when I attempt to knit that alpaca yarn into a scarf and it somehow manages to turn out as a flesh-eating virus, you’ll see photos.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Life Cycle of a Food: Death on the Plate

The pots de crème came out wonderfully, despite the mishaps of making them. Which I suppose just goes to show that making food is like making children: completely horrible.

I think it’s time that we had “the talk.” Let me take you, dear readers, on the wonderful and mysterious journey of food’s life cycle.

Food begins as just a twinkle in the eye of the randy chef. It starts as raw ingredients. These come from a magical place called the grocery store. If you want to know where they come from before that, you’ll have to ask a scientist, or a farmer, or maybe a professional wrestler, I don’t know. Stop asking questions.

Raw ingredients sit around in the fridge or pantry until they are very close to spoiling. That’s when the chef begins to hear her culinary clock ticking, and she realizes that she has very little time remaining in which she can still cook something. (This might also be around the time she realizes that her acting career isn’t going to materialize after all.)

The chef gathers this fetal-food and begins the birthing process. Much screaming and gnashing of teeth ensues. There is grating, sautéing. Maybe something catches on fire. Possibly some hot and heavy zesting goes on—I don’t know, what you do in your bedroom is your own business.

At any rate, the fetal-food at some point enters the incubation process. This can be anywhere from a few minutes to days, depending on exactly how disappointed you are that your life is turning out to be much more meaningless than you’d planned.

(Side note: the prudent chef sticks to preparation processes that are left largely unsupervised. Sure, it’s fine to stir the food now and then, and maybe play it a bit of Mozart, but largely you should leave it the hell alone. You’ll see sickos on television sipping the broth and adding a pinch more oregano or whathaveyou. This is disgusting. If the recipe calls for me to sample the embryonic fluids of my gestating food, I know it’s the devil’s work.)

And then—voila!—the food is born. It takes up residence on a plate and begins its glorious existence. The food’s life span is inversely proportional to how long it took to produce. Therefore, tamales you spent three full days preparing should last approximately four minutes before they enter what’s politely called “ignoble death.”

Food that has not been conveyed into someone’s belly sits on the counter for a while, gradually cooling and coagulating. In a few hours, the food is dead and is ready for a proper tupperware burial. It’s sealed in plastic and embalmed in the refrigerator until such time as all mourners have had a chance to push past it for a soda. After a month or so, the food and its coffin are conveyed to the trash bin and a nice fellow comes around and carries it off to its final resting place.

Then the chef buys new tupperware.

Now, some crackpots will whisper to you tales of mystical creatures known as leftovers. These mad cooks like to dig up dead food from the depths of the fridge and reanimate it for later consumption. Don’t fall for it. Reanimated food is an abomination. And chances are it will eat your brain before you can swallow a morsel of its flesh. Don’t play god with your food—or we’ll all be running through the streets from giant zombie stroganoffs.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Once More Around the Block

Today’s adventure in getting lost in a small town I have lived in for four years took me (eventually) to my chum Andrew’s house. We went to the printer and looked at proofs for his new chapbook, which will be lovely. Then over a delicious lunch he gave me the following recipe:

Dice beets. Sauté in olive oil for a while. Add dry spaghetti and sauté it for a while too. (Sauté dry spaghetti, he says. He says this like it’s something everyone does all the time, as if you call up your pals and they say, “Oh, yeah, just watching the ball game and sautéing dry spaghetti.”) Then add boiling water and some other things and cook it for a while. Then you have pink pasta.

I am clearly out of my league, here. I have done the following things with spaghetti: boil it, pour jar of sauce on it. Andrew is from England. He has notions of yogurt beyond my wildest dreams.

I have accomplished nothing remotely housefrauey today. But I am in awe of the fact that this nice lady made a sweater for a tree. Now I must learn to knit and make sweaters for something. I don’t have any trees. Maybe I can make a sweater for my neighbor’s dumpster.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Problems with Chocolate and Underpants

Tomorrow my former co-workers and I are having a potluck. I am bringing dessert. My general method of bringing foodstuffs to other people’s homes is to buy something at the store, put it in my own tupperware, and say I made it. But since I have a newfound lease on life, I decided to take a stab at this thing called preparing my own food.

Inspired by this seemingly-regular person (who in retrospect is probably an alien blessed with unrealistic culinary skill), I decided to make chocolate pots de crème. Since they have to be refrigerated for a while, I planned to make them this afternoon.

Things went swimmingly at first. I boiled milk and separated eggs (!) and chopped up exceedingly fancy chocolate. Then I put the liquid in the ramekins and popped them in the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.

While they baked, I shaved my legs and went looking for my massage underpants. I had a massage scheduled at the local massage school in the afternoon. An indulgence. Last time I went there it was awful, but I figured that the semester is further along, so maybe the students have improved their technique. At any rate, underpants that conceal my ass crack are essential for situations in which I am naked with a person but not in a sex-way. I have one appropriate pair.

I could not find the massage underpants. This boded ill. I was forced to gird my nether-regions in lace.

The oven timer dinged ten minutes before I had to leave. Perfect! I could just pop the custards into the fridge and be off. But lo! What’s this?! These are not custards! These are entirely-not-cooked-at-all containers of chocolate liquid!

I called my mommy. We speculated that the evil atmosphere of Colorado had cursed my custards. Her suggestion was to stick them back in the oven, turn it off, go to my massage, and turn the oven back on when I returned. She seemed to think that leaving uncooked eggs and cream sitting out for two hours was not at all problematic. Since I have a scar on my hand from the last time I ignored my mother’s advice, I did as I was told.

Off to a relaxing massage! In the pouring rain! Now, I’d only been to this place once before, and I was coming from a different direction, and I am prone to getting discombobulated in the relative confines of grocery stores, but I didn’t seem to think I needed to check the address before leaving. It’s a big brown oddly-shaped building right off a street near my lifepartner’s office. So off I sped!

I turned down what looked like the right street and proceeded to a big brown oddly-shaped building and pulled in. Parked. Looked at the sign. I was at Lockheed Martin. Yes, the defense-weapons contractor. I went to get a massage at a place that manufactures warheads. I turned around.

Fifteen minutes late for my appointment, I finally found the right place. Rushed in. They’d given my appointment away to a walk-in. No socially-awkward rubby-dub for me.

Back home. Custards back in the oven. Went to switch the laundry. And there I was confronted with a perfect housefrau cliché: I’d washed my lifepartner’s favorite white cotton shirt with a pair of red cotton underpants.

I called my mommy again. She instructed me in the magic of a potion called bleach.

Checked the custards. Checked them again. Again. After being in the oven for two and a half hours, they finally appeared cooked. I had made exactly enough to take to my potluck tomorrow; no extras for tasting or screw-ups. So I stuck them in the fridge and decided that if they appear too liquidey when we eat them tomorrow night, I’ll say it’s pudding. Or some sort of French chocolate dessert soup. Maybe crème de la I-can’t-fucking-cook.

I emailed the lifepartner. Asked him to bring home takeout. Called it a day on housefrauing.

Tune in tomorrow for “Watch Me Get Drunk and Say Uncomfortable Things to My Friends.”

PS—Advance apologies to anyone reading this who might be eating those pots de crème tomorrow night.

Welcome to My World

I quit my job.

Now I’m at home.

aaaaaaaaaaaaall daaaaaaaaaaaaaay loooooooooooooooooong.

There are a variety of domestic activities at which I’ve never excelled. Cooking, cleaning, ironing, sewing, not cutting myself, killing spiders, and owning aluminum foil are some of these things. I have ended two different relationships when the man I was dating bought me foil.

But now that I have some time on my hands and I seem to have contented myself with only writing ten pages of My Brilliant Novel, I thought I might throw myself into all things housey. After all, I’m against marriage and against having children, so I might as well do something with my pent-up uterus juice.

And I thought I’d write a blog about it. Because life doesn’t exist if the world’s not watching.

So, hello, world. Welcome to my little life. I have a wonderful lifepartner and I run a magazine. I once caught a pair of socks on fire in the microwave.

Perhaps I’ll update this blog constantly. More likely, sporadically until I get bored with it in a week. Hooray for the internets!

PS—Hi Mom.

Who links to me?