Sunday, August 03, 2014

Job Performance Review

Having completed another year of being the Husband of the Domestic Goddess, I decided it would be fitting to have a job performance review for Bo Hunkmeister. I have posted the transcript of our review here in the interest of corporate transparency.

Me: Bo, for the responsibilities listed on your job description, you are currently being compensated with my unqualified love along with periodic performance bonuses of unlimited smooches and hugs. There’s also other compensation that, for the sake of corporate security, we will not disclose. Pending the result of this job review, there is the possibility of a raise in your compensation in the form of a Chicken Fried Steak dinner with the pie of your choice.
Bo: Uhhh... ok.

Me: Let’s get started. Bo, what do you think are some of the highlights of the past year?

Bo: Well, in addition to my usual responsibilities of being an excellent husband, I’ve talked you out of your tree more than a few times, I introduced you to some more fun relatives you didn’t know, and I took you and the children on a three week adventure. I was a big supporter of all of your projects (writing, sewing, knitting, and professional whining) and I also kept you well supplied with iced coffee, bubble teas and whatever other whim happened to prance across your mind.

Me: Too true. There were some real accomplishments this year. I especially appreciated your effort on the trip to make sure it was a vacation for me and not “same job, different location.” Ok, next question. What would you say your strengths are? What skills do you bring to this job?

Bo: One of my strengths is definitely understanding that even if I don’t understand what you’re upset about, if it’s important to you, than it’s important to me. My other strength is my ability to sense when you need an iced coffee and to deliver said iced coffee in a timely manner. I also have the ability to see when the children are eating your flesh and to step in before someone gets hurt and/or arrested.

Me: Yes, I have noticed that we have finished this 23rd year of marriage with the same number of children we started with. With regards to our shareholders, also known as the grandparents, that is a very important accomplishment. Let’s continue; what would you say your weaknesses are?

Bo: Well, the ‘Great Biscuit Incident of 2008’ was kind of a watershed moment for me, a turning point if you will, in my approach to this job from which I learned a lot and made a lot of changes. But, if I had to point out a weakness in my approach to this job, it would probably be not having engaged a psychotherapist to help me understand all 256 personalities within you.

Me: Yes, I understand being the Husband of the Domestic Goddess can be a challenge of heroic proportions, but then that is why you were chosen for the job. Maybe that’s something we can work on for the coming year. You certainly are always interested in ways to improve, which in itself is a laudable characteristic. So along that thought, are there any goals you’d like to set for the coming year?

Bo: I think some constructive goals for the coming year would be to continue to seek ways to do my job better and come up with more funny inside jokes that are too warped for us to share with the general public. And maybe buy stock in Dunkin’ Donuts. Yes... definitely buying stock.

Me: Well, Bo, I may be speaking a little too hastily here, not having convened with the board of directors, but I must say we are quite please with your performance. We will continue at your aforementioned compensation level along with the stated bonuses. We thank you for yet another year of wonderfullness and we look forward to next year’s review. In the mean time, let’s go get some Chinese food!

Bo: As you wish.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Falling on My Sword

Seeing as how there was sooo much interest in the subject of bizarrely flavored Lays, as a public service, 

and to save you $4.29 in buyer’s remorse,

and because I had a house full of kids who are willing to do silly things in the name of a fun blog post,

and because one of them said, “Buy them! It will be like a science experiment!”

I went ahead and bought a bag.

I am almost ashamed to admit that.


I bought the bag home and set the bowl before six kids ranging in age from five to 13. Keep in mind these are the kids who thought Cool Ranch Doritos sandwiched between Oreo cookies was a taste sensation. I would say that qualifies for being “open minded”

Here are the results:

O, the 13 year old: “I’m confused.”
A, the five year old: “I like coffee and I don’t like coffee anymore!”
E, the 11 year old: is speechless
J, the eight year old: “Blech!!”
H, the ten year old: “Meh.”
W, the 12 year old: “Did Lays even try these before they sold them? I mean, I keep trying them to see if they would taste better but they don’t.”

The 17 year old walked in and said, “You didn’t seriously buy these, did you?” and walked out.

Apparently this particular flavor was submitted by Chad of Henderson, NY. He is quoted on the back of the bag as saying, “Cappuccinos are my lifeblood. A cappuccino potato chip lightly dusted with sugar...I may never put them down.”

Good grief, Chad! Where in the name of all that is good are you getting your cappuccinos? The Flying J truck stop?!? This potato chip is an affront to all that is good and holy about coffee based beverages.

A quick visit to Google Maps showed that Henderson, NY is a rather scenic town on the shore of Lake Ontario; 20 minutes from a Starbucks in Watertown and 12 minutes from a Dunkin’ Donuts. Really Chad, there is no excuse.

And it makes you wonder what Lays passed over thinking that this flavor would sell.

The highlight for me was the fact that Lays felt it important to put this statement on the bottom of the bag: "Does not contain caffeine"
Good to know 'cause I was a little concerned about the kids catching a buzz off of these.

Friday, June 27, 2014

You Have Been Warned

Dear Appliances,

As you may be aware, the Bo Hunkmeister is going on a trip. This letter shall serve as your official notice to stay on duty. Previously, when the Bo Hunkmeister has gone away, a few of you decided that it would be great fun to stop working and leave me bereft of your services. While this has at times provided a small amount of amusement in the form of blog posts, in general, it has been a highly irritating happenstance.

Therefore, I am formally putting you on notice that failure to work according to your accepted standards will not be tolerated. It has already been an expensive year with the furnace, alternator and van transmission deciding to go AWOL. So much so that the Bo Hunkmeister and I were contemplating celebrating New Year’s Eve June 1 in the hopes of ending an expensive year and starting a newer, less expensive one. The UN however denied our request to alter the time/space continuum.

Thus you are hereby ordered to continue working. Please heed this notice. As the mom of six, two born by C-section, I am not to be trifled with. To paraphrase Shakespeare, hell hath no fury like a mom left without her appliances.

In closing, treat me right and I will treat you right. Resort to your previous hi-jinks and there will. be. pain.

Love Always,
the Domestic Goddess

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Potluck Ideas

I love my library. One of the reasons I love my library is because they periodically hold book sales in which they sell off old books from their collection or those which have been donated.
And just in time for our monthly potluck, I found these two gems:

I really don't know how people lived through the 70's. Good music and weed? Because the recipes in these books would have kept me fasting for years. For. Years.

The first book, "Casserole Cook Book" is not so bad. I mean there are reasonable casseroles in there like

Jumbo Cornburger

Chicken Chip Bake 

That's not chips make from chicken or chicken chips as in cow chips, but chicken with potato chips. (note to self: send email to Herr chip folks suggesting new flavor.)

photo credit: K. Frye
On the other hand, can Chicken Chip really compete with DAWG! ?
(exactly what flavor is DAWG! ?)

Here's a Tex-Mex favorite: 

Chili Con Weine

Because to say Weine is classier than saying Chili con DAWG! Make sure you garnish with olives because that's what makes it authentic.

Alas, there was no photo for this, but the ingredient list caught my eye.

Whoever wrote this must have gone on to work for a political campaign. The recipe calls for a batch of "Potato Fluff Topper" What is that, you ask? If you read through the recipe, it's your basic mashed potatoes with two eggs thrown in for good measure. I love how simple, down to earth mashed potatoes have been re-worked to be "Potato Fluff Topper" Is it a duvet or a meal? It's both!

This cookbook also has helpful hints such as:

Cereal and sesame seeds together? Using canned meatballs? What level of hell is that from?

My absolute favorite is what constituted a "salad" from the 70's. Now a days, when I think of salad, I think of fresh greens and veggies with a nice vinigrette. Back then it was stacked:


Tomato Towers!

Or, even better, in gelatin!!

Read the fine print: "Favorite - Perfection Salad"

Perfection was defined in the 70's as shredded cabbage and celery floating in unflavored gelatin.

And it's a "Favorite" 

Think on that a while.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Bucket List, part 2 (because I have a really big bucket)

My original bucket list had 14 items on it and in the year since I've published it, I have accomplished one thing! Woot! But I've come up with 5 more things for my list!! Woot, woot! At this rate, I'll have to live a very long time to get done what I need to get done. Hear that, Grim Reaper?

How much longer do we have to wait?

Here's an update: 

On the items requiring travel, those will just have to wait a while. Unless I win Powerball next week, there's no way I can swing airplane, hotel and food for eight people to all the places I want to go. 

However, I can cross off number 5! I ran my first 5k in April of 2013. It took seven months to get up to the 5k/3 miles but I did it with Princess Buttercup, W. Bear and Bo Hunkmeister. The best part is we still continue to run.

I'm close to achieving number 6 as well. I finished writing the series on my friend's experiences living in South Africa and America, but I've yet to stop procrastinating on getting it published by Lulu. I thought I would print up a few as Christmas presents, but at the rate I'm going, it might be Christmas 2020.

Here's some new bucket list items:

1. Eat out for two weeks.
Because I have issues with breakfast cereal, I basically cook breakfast five days a week for the kids. "But there's seven days in a week, oh Domestic Goddess!" Yes, my darlings but one day a week is cereal day and on Sunday Bo cooks the chocolate chip pancakes. Anyway, I also cook dinner six days a week, 52 weeks a year. I say six because we've recently instituted a "Kids Cook Friday" rule wherein the oldest three are in charge of getting dinner on the table. All that to say I cook. I cook a lot. And trying to cook something healthy, appealing and economical that many times is hard. So I have told Bo that the day my youngest moves out of the house, I'm going on a cooking haitus. I don't want to have to think healthy, appealing or economical for an entire two weeks. I just want to point at the menu and say, "Bring me this and bring it now!" I'm even going to leave my dirty plate on the table. Bo, having done a bit of business travel in his career, says I'll get bored eating out. I say, I'd love to know what it feels like to be bored of people bringing me food on demand.

What is your pleasure, my Queen?

2. Eat my way from one end of Atwells Avenue to the other.
We have a wonderful street near our house that has quite a few notable restaurants. It's Providence's version of Little Italy, but on a smaller scale. Ok, much smaller scale. Atwells Avenue used to be just Italian restaurants with one Chinese place thrown in (owned by an Italian of course) but recently, it has evolved into a more eclectic mix of cuisines. I want to eat at each and every one. Except the hookah places. I've got no desire for apple cinnamon smoke.

3. Play Chorus 42 from Handel's Messiah on the piano
Singing Chorus 42 (Hallelujah) from Handel's Messiah was an annual tradition with my high school choir. Accompanying the choir on piano was my friend Zoe. I played piano at the time but seeing her storm through this piece like a boss blew me away. I want to have that level of skill and dexterity. I wonder if she'll commute down from Boston to give me lessons. I have my own libretto and I'll pay you in cookies, Zoe!
Wait, what note is that?

4. Get my motorcycle license
This is more of a house keeping sort of thing. I've got no desire to run out and get a Harley. I just think that in the event I'm out for a ride with Bo and he becomes incapacitated, it might be necessary for me to ride the bike home.

5. Do an IronMan Equivalent
I say equivalent because you have to travel to one of these competitions and the entrance fee is usually big, like $700 big for the one in Lake Placid, New York. An Ironman race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile marathon, raced in that order and without a break. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race. You know, given the effort I expended to get to a 5k, I might have to reconsider this goal. Seeing as how I'm only at 30 minutes of running, no swimming and I don't own a bike, this one just might be a pipe dream. I also think dropping $700 so I can hurt myself is silly. Unless there's good swag. I'd do it for really good swag.
"Excuse me, when do we get our t-shirts?"

Ok, so let's see original list was 14 items, remove one, add 5, carry the 3, disregard the 2 and I'm left with uh....uh....a lot to do.

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Morning After

I think the morning after Halloween is the most anticipated morning second only Christmas.

This is what I woke up to this morning:

The kids spent close to an hour sorting and trading their candy. They will set the candy up on display so the siblings can see what there is available for trade (OCD much Tater?). This photo was from 7:30 AM and already Tater had cornered the market on Nestle Crunch bars. Of course, Mom has a big bin in which kids can trade in "undesirable candy" (i.e. Double Bubble, Butterfingers, Almond Joys) for whatever Mom has left over from last night's give away stash. Mom has also been known to pull rank and force a trade for Kit Kats or Milky Way Dark. I like to consider it a unit lesson on life in the former Soviet Union.

Observing the mayhem, Buttercup asked, "Are we actually going to eat breakfast this morning or just fondle the candy?"

Here's some fun stuff that was acquired last night.

This made me laugh. When I was a kid, these candies were packaged to look like cigarettes. I guess it was decided this was not a good idea since, oh I don't know, CIGARETTES CAUSE DEATH. So now they're called "Candy Sticks." Just what flavor is Hulk Candy Stick? I'll probably continue to call them candy cigarettes just like I continue to refer to my breakfast as Sugar Smacks and not Golden Crisp (you're fooling no-one Post!)

The most coveted Halloween prize is the "Full Size" candy bar. Apparently calling something Fun Size does not make it so. The winner in this year's "Full Size" haul is Gummi. It's that smile. I swear, one day I'm going to walk into a BMW dealership with that kid, have him smile and walk out with a new car.

Do the Tootsie roll people have a factory somewhere that churns these things out just for Halloween? Is there someone out there who thinks, "Boy howdy! I can't wait for Halloween so I can get some of those lime Tootsie rolls!" I mean orange? Lemon? Vanilla?!? Apparently some of these flavors are actually made with an excretion drawn from beavers. But "Beaver Butt" flavor is a lot to typeset on a tiny wrapper.

Our very sweet neighbor gave us these cupcakes. Given the noise she has to put up with living next to us, I'm surprised she didn't give us a half dozen tranquilizer darts. This is also the neighbor who introduced me to Stroopwafels. I will never move from this neighborhood as long as she's here. Never.

This is by far my favorite piece. Who needs marketing? Branding? Pshhh! Get right to the point! Why waste time on logos and typefaces?
Maybe GUM is an acronym for something?
Gob-Smacking Unimaginative Marketing?
Gross Unidentifiable Mucilage?

Definitely more fun than should be legal.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


 Halloween makes for some fun times here at Casa de Diva. Of course, having an incurable case of Art-School-Itis as well as being a tight wad means I require homemade costumes. Not only that, but I was scarred by those vinyl sheaths with the plastics masks that passed for Halloween costumes when I was a kid. Remember your breath making the plastic Casper the Friendly Ghost mask all hot and icky inside? Yeah, me too. I've noticed they don't make those costumes any more. Did OSHA catch up with them?

Anyway, having a large family,  I refuse to buy those 'costumes in a bag' for all six kids every year so they have to come up with costumes on their own. There's some whining and complaining, but I think it's right and proper that these kids expend some effort for their yearly bag of candy.

So most of our costumes end up being made of found objects or pieced together from Savers. We also instituted a rule of no last minute changes. The deadline for costume decisions is night before at 7:00 pm. This rule was set because I would have a kid that wanted to be the Michelin Man. Much effort and time would go into making said costume only to have the kid come up to me Halloween morning and announce they have a new and better idea. This in turn meant the entire day was spent scrambling for something to make them look like Mrs. Haversham. Thus we created the rule.

The day of Halloween is like backstage at Versace's Fashion Week show in NYC; semi-clothed people running round with make-up and hair partially done, fussing and fuming about missing costume pieces. And Mom sewing up last minute pieces or gluing a child into their costume. Finally, after about an hour of mayhem, we're assembled and ready to go.

Trick or Treating is always fun as the kids have to explain at each and every house what their costume is. "I'm a Weeping Angel. Yes, Weeping Angel. It's from a TV show called 'Doctor Who'. No, 'Doctor Who'. It's a British show." Why can't they just be a princess??

Gummi, the youngest, is fun to watch because he's still amazed that all he has to do is say three words and people give him candy. And that this happens more than once. He'll go to a door, flash his winning smile, even though he's dressed as a deadly spider, and then come running back to us with an exuberant, "Look what I got!!" He won't move on until we look in his bag and admire the latest Three Musketeers Bar. And this happens after each and every house.

I think the best part is the next day, what I call the 'horse trading'. The children all gather in the living room and assess their spoils. They sort the candy according to size and desirability. Then they commence furious trading with each other. Not just one for one trading but market value trading. After all, a Snickers mini-bar is worth at least three of those weird Tootsie roll flavors that are only available in October. Certain candies are confiscated by Mom. Like those Sponge Bob chewy things. They are just too weird to be safe to ingest. Some kids try to corner the market on a particular candy. Tater is known to trade anything, including younger siblings, in an effort to get Nestle Crunch bars. Other kids try desperately to get rid of the undesirables like Butterfingers. Then there's the kids who try to gain the Kit Kats and Twix bars so they can use them to bribe Mom later.

Here's the run down of this year's costumes:

This is Buttercup as a pirate. That's her most intimidating face. Maybe she should keep her day job.

This is Gummi as a Black Widow Spider. I think the penny loafers go well with the skull cap, don't you?

This is Baby as RobotMan. No small pieces were swallowed in the making of this costume.

This is W. Bear as Hawkeye. Those are milk jugs put together to make a quiver for his arrows. Reduce, reuse, recycle Hawkeye!

This is Git Ur Done as the aforementioned Weeping Angel. Although in this picture, she looks more like the What's Going On Here? Angel.

This is Tater as Artemis Fowl. Seeing as how Artemis is a criminal genius, we told Tater to look smarmy. This is his best shot.