The Little Bladder That Couldn’t

First off, let me preface this post: It’s not about my urinary tract.

Okay. That’s out of the way. We have an old house that is a piecemeal assortment of halfway-done jobs by the former owner, who thought himself much more of a handyman than he was. For instance, the tiles in the bathroom were installed on drywall rather than green board, even in the tub where there should probably have been cement board. There are plenty of other “charming” elements to our house, but I’m not sure I can directly attribute the plumbing to that guy.

Our bathroom sink backs up ALL the time. We boil water and pour it down, hoping to clear up some soap clog, but to no avail. The pipes in our bathroom wall make several random right-angle turns and span several feet in a straight line across the back of the room. There’s no gravitational pull on anything, so clogs are almost inevitable. Continue reading

Leo’s Big Adventure / Cat Attract Product Review

A few weeks ago, my cat, a six year old DSH named Leo, escaped from the house from the back porch while the Murse was taking out the garbage. Usually, we notice right away when he slips out, but it was late in the evening, and we didn’t notice. He ended up out all night, and in the late afternoon of the next day, I noticed I hadn’t seen him all day. My cat is front declawed (yes, I know, I’m opening myself up for a royal trolling), and he doesn’t spend any time outside unless he liberates himself by stalking the windows and doors. I feared the worst for him: The longest he’d ever been out for was an hour or so, and he usually stayed pretty close to the house. I couldn’t find him.

I circled the house making kissy sounds and clicking my tongue to attract him, but I saw and heard nothing. I thought for sure I’d find him splattered across the busy road that’s half a block up, where people scream by at ludicrous speed. Just as I was about to climb the back porch steps and give up, I heard the tiniest of meows. I couldn’t even figure out where it was coming from, it was so faint. I clicked my tongue and listened some more. He was under the porch, sandwiched in a window well, and he wouldn’t come to me. Continue reading

Rice Flour (Gluten-Free) Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

Put these in your mouth!

Put these in your mouth!

My girlfriend Merry from …and Baby Makes Five… sent me a request last night to attempt a conversion of my favorite cupcake recipe. It’s a cayenne-pepper-spiced chocolate cake smoothed over with cinnamon buttercream. Though I am the polar opposite of vegan, I fell in love with this Mexican Chocolate Cupcake recipe from Strawberry Pepper, whose blog caters to the no-animal-products crowd. I just use regular butter and milk in the frosting and call it good. They’re seriously out of this world, and I routinely look for excuses to bake them! Thanks, Merry!

Why did she ask me to do this? Well, Merry has developed a sensitivity to gluten, and she can no longer eat the cupcakes from the above recipe. Being, as I am, on a budget, Merry asked politely that I only use rice flour in my recipe. This was perfectly acceptable to me as I had some rice flour laying around waiting for a purpose. I found a recipe for Rice Flour Cupcakes on Baketivities, a now woefully defunct blog. I instantly decided that it was the recipe that I needed for this project. I was drawn to it for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, there are lots of things used in GF cooking that I don’t have laying around the house. I have several friends with Celiac Disease, and I always want to cook dessert for them when I see them. However, xanthan gum, potato starch, and other powders that are often found in GF recipes are tremendously expensive — especially for someone who doesn’t actually need to eat them. This recipe had none of that stuff in it. . . just rice flour and eggs: I’ve got those. I figured that I could somehow mash the two recipes into one.

I pretty much nailed it on the first go!

Continue reading

Blog, Take 3

So, I like to write, but I find that trying to pigeon-hole myself into a specific blog topic gets really boring really fast. I’m going to combine all of my previous blog attempts into one now, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. We’re going to talk about grammar, cooking, child rearing, my adventures in going back to college, liberalism and anything else that comes to my busy little mind. It will be Sonjariffic, I promise.

Today, I’m just going to tell you that, though I love having energy-efficient appliances, they really fail in some regards. I literally CANNOT get my blankets and pillows clean in my stupid low-water washing machine. All that happens is that my heavy laundry absorbs all of the water, and then it gets shaken around for half an hour. I am going to have to visit the laundromat to get them clean, which I hate to do. When we lived in West Reading, we lived right next door to a corner laundromat, and that didn’t make leaving the house to do laundry any less of a pain in the ass for me. While I would literally brave twenty feet to the laundromat so that I could frantically toss everything into a basket and return home, Kaeloo would have plenty of time to unlatch the screen door and faceplant onto the porch. If Archoo was home at the same time, he could be halfway down the block, one of the pets could be on the loose, or I could be locked out. Fun. Only SLIGHTLY less annoying than gritting my teeth in a laundromat further away from home as they ran around in circles, weaving in and out of other laundry patrons, screaming and carrying on like little crazy people. Continue reading