Deep Clean Week

On Memorial Day, I decided my entire house needs a good, deep cleaning. We’ve been having several messiness issues, from Ferret, to the cats, to just being too busy to actually pick up after ourselves. Usually when I start cleaning the house, I get distracted by roaming around to put things away. I start clearing the coffee table, and bring dirty dishes into the kitchen, only to realize I should run the dishwasher. I start loading it, and notice that I need to take the compost out so I can wash the compost bowl also, and while I’m outside I notice the peach tree needs water, etc., etc. I decided to take a different approach this time, and go room by room.

I started with the laundry room for several reasons: It’s small, so hopefully I won’t get discouraged right away, and give up the whole idea; it’s where the cat boxes are, so it has a high dirt to room size ratio, and cleaning up in there should have a large impact on the whole house, smell-wise and less cat litter getting tracked through the house; I had never fully cleaned it when we moved in, so there’s no telling how long it’s been since the shelves have been wiped down.

When you’re cleaning any area, work your way from top to bottom, and from the far corner towards the door. That way when wiping off shelves or counters, you can just wipe the dirt off onto the floor without worrying about it, and you will also not clean yourself into a corner. I don’t know about you people, but I get filthy when I’m cleaning, and the last thing I want to do is track my dirty self right across the floor I just cleaned.

I started by taking all the bottles and things off the shelves. I brought them all into the kitchen and rinsed them off. They had collected this sticky, lint residue that seems to accumulate in laundry rooms. I set them all out on a towel to dry. I used paper towels and spray cleaner to clean off both shelves. A box of junk had magically appeared on a shelf (Clutter Gnomes, I’m certain of it), so I sorted through the box, emptied it, washed it, and now it’s holding all the little laundry things, like a measuring cup, spray n wash, Rit dye (for an upcoming project), and stain remover. I organized all the stuff in there into categories: laundry, pets, and stuff I don’t use often went on the top shelf.

After the shelves, I used paper towels and spray cleaner to clean off the washer and dryer. They get that same sticky, lint coating, and I hate it, so they got a bath. I also took the lint screen out of the dryer and washed it with Dawn and warm water. It’s important to do that periodically to prevent fires. I set it aside to dry.

This would be a good time to run a cleaning load in the washer. Put your washer on the hottest, or warm setting, on the Super or Large setting. Add one or two cups of vinegar, and let it fill. I leave the lid up so that the cycle doesn’t start, because you want the hot water and vinegar to have a chance to soak in and clean the washer. After 15 to 30 minutes, shut the lid, and let it run through the cycle. Your dishwasher needs a cleaning cycle periodically too, but we’ll get to that on kitchen day. You should probably run a cleaning cycle every 6 months or so, or if the thing looks gross, or if you notice the water looks dingy when it’s filling.

The floors were the hardest part, because they are covered it cat litter and other horrific nastiness. Also, some of the linoleum tiles have started to peel up, so dirt gets all under and between them. We plan on redoing the floors in the laundry room and kitchen at the same time, but I need to recuperate from getting our bath tub fixed first.

For the floors, I started by emptying all the cat boxes, taking them outside, and hosing them down. I left them outside to dry, which hardly took any time at all since it’s so hot out. I also hosed out the cat carrier and left it to dry. I took the rugs we have spread out to catch cat litter that flings everywhere outside, and beat the hell out of them. There was fur and leaves (yes, leaves. No idea how they got there), cat litter, etc, flying everywhere. I threw them all in the washer after that.

I cleaned the floors in several steps:
Phase 1: Sweep
Phase 2: Vacuum
Phase 3: Swiffer Wet (this got much of the dirt, and yucky stuff I didn’t want to touch)
Phase 4: Vacuum with the hose
Phase 5: Curse a lot, shake fist at cats (they were unimpressed)
Phase 6: On hands and knees, scrubbing with a sponge and a bucket of soapy water (baseboards first)
Phase 7: On hands and knees, scrubbing with a sponge and bucket of clean water (still periodically screeching at cats)
Phase 8: After thoroughly rinsing the sponge in the sink, wipe down the floor one last time, and for God’s sake don’t touch it!

I even pulled out the washer and dryer to vacuum and Swiffer Wet behind them. Am I insane, you ask? No, I just live with demon cats who think it’s funny to throw dirty cat litter UNDER the washer and dryer, where it can be smelled, but never retrieved. If I could, I would caulk the washer and dryer in place so nothing could go under them again, but there has to be a better way. I will cogitate on that.

I did a few other things, like wash out the tub labeled “Cat Food” that inexplicably held cat litter, so it can now be used to hold (wait for it!) cat food. Revolutionary, I know. I even cleaned out the laundry hamper we keep in there. I’m exhausted, and I discovered that if you drink enough coffee, you don’t go super fast like in Futurama, you loop back around and get sleepy again. Well, lesson learned. I am stinky, dirty, and worn out, but my laundry room is clean, for the time being. I almost don’t want to put the litter boxes back in there.

So, I need some solutions to prevent cat litter from being flung everywhere. First off, we have tried the litter box with a little house on top. They will not use it. They will poo directly next to it, but they are apparently afraid to potty in the dark. They also dig like moles no matter what I do. I’ve tried both Yesterday’s News (which is made of newspaper, so it’s super light and gets flung even further than regular litter), and Feline Pine (which is made of sawdust. It starts out in larger, heavy pieces, but as they use it, it disintegrates, so they fling stinky sawdust everywhere). We will not get rid of the cats, but we don’t plan on replacing them as they inevitably die out. One of them is only 3 though, so we definitely need a long term solution. I have tried an exorcism, but these cats are far too powerful and evil for  me to have any impact. They usually just go back to napping once I’m out of holy water.

I’m sure you’re all completely captivated by my cleaning antics, and you’re wondering to yourselves, “What, no before and after pictures?” Um, no. What kind of fool do you take me for? The only reason I clean my house is so that people who come over cannot witness the squalor I allow to exist when there’s no one around. Why would I post pictures of the mess on the internet? I might as well just have friends over and say “WITNESS THE HORROR!!!”, but I doubt they would come back for the “after”. Posting an “after” picture without a before is just a picture of my laundry room, and I think this post is boring enough without that waste of pixels. So we’ll see if I ever get to the other rooms. I have a feeling I should have titled this post “Deep Clean Day”. I may have set the bar too high for myself. Maybe I can go watch “Hoarders” to inspire me.

May 31, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . House Stuff. 2 comments.

Hummus, finally

I know i’ve mentioned before that I don’t make my own hummus. It just never seemed worth the effort. Well my friend Sara, of the formally-long-red-hair finally convinced me to give it another try. Here’s the recipe that made me start making it again. I’m going to start with the basic, plain-jane kind, and then give you some flavor options.

I start out with a bag of dried garbanzo beans, aka chick peas (probably 3 cups or so). I put them in my crock pot, with lots of water, and (here’s the smart part) about a teaspoon of baking soda. That makes them get super soft, which gives you a creamier hummus. Put it on the 8 hour setting, and ignore it.

Once you have your squishy-soft beans, let them cool some, but the hummus comes out much creamier if you make it while they are still warm. So put them in your food processor with 1/2 tablespoon of tahini, 2 cloves of raw garlic, and at least a tablespoon of lemon juice. Don’t go overboard on the tahini, or it can end up tasting like peanut butter. I add some olive oil also, to add some creaminesss.

A couple notes on tahini: Tahini is sesame seeds smashed up until they resemble peanut butter. I have always been irritated by this product, because it’s one of those ingredients that you only need a miniscule amount of for the recipe, but you can only purchase it in mass quantities (The Oatmeal has faced a similar conundrum). I finally found a small(ish) reasonably priced, resealable jar over with the peanut butter in our grocery store! If you are able to find something similar, just make sure you mix the sesame oil that rises to the surface back into the tahini before you scoop out a dollop for the hummus. I wonder if anyone has tried making hummus with sesame oil, and no tahini? Maybe I’ll try that in the future.

Okay, so now you should have your basic hummus: chick peas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini (and salt if you want). Here’s some flavor options, but also feel free to be creative. Hummus is like a blank canvas, waiting for flavor.

Spices: I like to add cumin for a nice earthy flavor, and/or dill. Garlic salt, chili powder, chipotle, and Tony Chacherie’s have all served me well in the past.

Vegetables: I usually throw green olives into the food processor from the outset, along with a little olive juice and olive oil. You can obviously use black olives as well. I, personally, don’t like bell peppers, so I have no idea why anyone would want to throw all their hard work away by tainting something so delicious and healthy with the flavor of demon poop, but to each his own. Some people just like satanic doodoo.

Sauces: I recently used a red wine vinagarette Italian dressing in mine, and it was awesome. It instantly gave the hummus a lot of complex flavor without much work on my part. I also used, brace yourself, dill pickle juice. I only eat the Clausen pickles that you find in the deli section of the store. All others just taste sour to me, but this pickle juice was great in there. Don’t judge! (I know my friend Bon Quiqui is probably drooling at the thought of pickle juice hummus right now).

The other sauce I used recently is Sriracha, aka Rooster Sauce. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a spicy red chili sauce, usually found in Asian restaurants. I have been using it in an unholy number of foods lately, to the point where it may get its own post soon. It makes the hummus spicy and delicious, to the point where I don’t want to share at all. AT ALL. It’s miracle hummus. I want to eat it with a spoon instead of crackers or carrots. I’m not kidding.

So I hope you’re all happy that I’ve seen the error of my ways, and admitted my ignorance. I’m not perfect, but everyday I get a little closer. but then I do things like almost set my house on fire, and I stumble back a few steps.

May 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cooking. 2 comments.

Barbarella!! (the club, not the movie)

It’s Friday, and that means it’s 80’s night at BARBARELLA!!! I have ALWAYS loved 80’s music (Mi Madre said MTV was one of the only things that would keep my quiet as an infant; that and Richard Simmons (totally not kidding)). When I was in high school, a few of us girls would go down to Westheimer in Houston to go dancing on 80’s night whenever we could. Now, I can listen to the same great music and go dancing in a MUCH safer place.

Even though Barbarella has been down on Red River for awhile, it’s a relatively recent discovery for me and my friends. It seems like a different girlfriend has wanted to to go each Friday for the past couple months. I have literally been there 4 times in 2 months. Considering I had only been to 6th street 2 or 3 times in the 5 or 6 years preceding that, it’s a big deal.

Barbarella has big screens up where they play music videos. Videos in the 1980’s were just ridiculous, and they constantly crack us up. Each night of the week has a different theme, but so far I’ve only been on 80’s night. Saturdays is “New Noise”, Thursdays are “Grits & Gravy” (no idea what that means), Tuesdays are “Tuesgays”, Sunday Bump is HipHop, and unfortunately that’s all I can make out from their terrible website.

However, drinks are cheap (Happy Hour ends at 11pm), especially compared to other places in town, and the staff are nice and funny. The place doesn’t get packed until midnight or later, but if you just want to go dance, this is absolutely the place to go. There is no cover charge when I get there, (but I heard one starts at 12:30), and Lone Star (the greatest beer in the world) is only $2!! So I can have a super cheap, fun evening out, which is how I like it.

So tonight is the night. It’s 80’s night as you are reading this, so grab a friend or two, and head down to Red River, just north of 6th street, near Emo’s (which sucks, don’t go there unless you have to). Dance it up, and have a blast!

May 27, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . My Quest to be more Interesting. 1 comment.

It’s Rapture-rific!

Even though the Rapture obviously did not occur this weekend, (was there ever any doubt?) I thought I’d do a rapture post. It’s a movie AND book review, in one! Ooh-la-la!

First things first: how to out-live zombies. Max Brooks is (un)dead serious about his subject matter, and 100% practical. This book is written as a completely serious guide to survive zombie hordes. He even has historical accounts of when zombies rose in the past, what causes them, and how to survive beyond the complete extinction of humanity. It was very practical and useful. I am presently building a 10-foot-high cinderblock wall around my home, as per his instructions (not literally). On the Clever Chick Scale this earns a “I will keep it on my shelf, possibly loan it out, but probably not re-read it”.

The Last Man on Earth, starring Vincent Price, is based on the novel “I am Legend”. After having seen this one, and the Will Smith version, I really want to read that book. For an older movie (it’s from 1964), the plot moves at a decent pace, and the acting is good. There’s a twist at the end that I thought was genius, and of course it’s Vincent Price, so creepy-awesomeness just exudes from it. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “I probably won’t rewatch it, but I would recommend it to friends”. Plus, it’s on instant on Netflix, which is always a bonus.

Well, I hope everyone had fun at the “apocalypse”, and didn’t do any long-term credit damage, or anything. Save that for December 2012.

May 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Book Reviews, Movie Reviews. Leave a comment.

Restaurant Review: Coco’s Cafe

My friend Phuongie, of Mi Bella Rosa designs and blog, has probably eaten at every Asian restaurant in Austin, and knows where all the good ones are. Last time she graced our fair city with her presence, she took me to Coco’s Cafe on Highway 183 near Burnet. It’s in the same shopping center as Mister Tramp’s, and Sunflower Vietnamese Restaurant.

Coco’s is Taiwanese food, which I had never had before, that I can recall. I got a rice bowl with pork, and Hubby got a rice bowl with bar-b-qued eel. Both were fantastic, and cheap, at about $6 each. Phuongie got several kinds of appetizers (I forget which ones), but they were all very tastey as well. Each day Coco’s has a different kind of soup, and the day we were there it was some kind of melon soup. I had never had anything like it, and it was great as well. If you go there, there’s a huge pot with bowls next to it to the left of the counter by all the silverware, and it’s self-serve.

Coco’s also has a bazillion types of drinks. We got bubble teas, which are the beverages with large, round, tapioca balls, or “bubbles” in them. The bubbles are chewy, like gummy bears, and I enjoyed mine a lot. Coco’s has an amazing website also, beautiful, but functional, and it shows you the variety of drinks available. They don’t have any prices listed on the website, but everything was cheap or reasonably priced. They only take CASH, however, and have an ATM on-site, which just screams of “scam” to me, but whatever. Just take some cash out before you head over there.

On the Clever Chick Scale this place gets a “Super delicious, and great value. I can’t wait to go again, and I will recommend it to many friends”. My only criticism is the fact that they only take cash. That just seems ridiculous these days, but it’s not enough to keep me from going back. Loved it!

May 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Restaurant Reviews. 4 comments.

Austin Art Space

Our friend, Kro, is working on becoming a full-time artist, and recently got a piece into a local gallery/artists studio, Austin Art Space. He invited Hubby and I to the opening, which was great. There was a ton of amazing work, and I took a picture of a few of my favorites. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the names of any artists, so if your work is pictured here, please let me know.

This is a glazed, ceramic piece that I liked a lot. There wasn’t much sculpture around, and I have a soft-spot for ceramics.

This piece was amazing, although hard to get a picture of. It’s a shadowbox multi-media piece. The whole background is irridescent, blue-green-black feathers. There are red and black feathers in the right corner, and lichen in front of those. The coolest part is the real bat skeleton hanging from the top. I’ve seen so many horrible mixed-media pieces over the years, it was nice to find someone who focused on using the materials effectively, rather than just glueing crap together.

I liked this artist’s use of color. There were lots of people at the opening, so it was hard to get pictures of some pieces.

I love the perspective and colors in this piece. It’s really detailed, and beautifully fun.

It’s hard to tell from this angle (again, too many people in a small space), but this one has an old-fashioned microphone in front on the left, and a city-scape in the distance. I’m not sure how this was done, but I love all the little details.

Again, I love the colors in this one, and the simplicity. It looks like a woman dancing, with words stamped to either side of her.

This is the piece by our friend, Kro. Again, I love the detail. I have never been able to get charcoal to do anything for me, so I appreciate this piece all that much more.

This is one of my favorites, but I am partial to octopi. The colors are fantastic, and I wanted to steal it, and bring it home with me. It’s so ethereal, and the oil paints are so smooth, and textural.

All of this artwork makes mine feel so amaturish. I’ve never been able to get the depth, detail, or beauty in anything I’ve tried to paint over the years. It’s a good thing I focus on finance and crafting, because I could never make it as a real artist. Congratulations to our friend Kro!

May 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Arts and Crafts, My Quest to be more Interesting. Leave a comment.

Mega Book Review

I have been reading a lot lately, and I think the book review posts are probably kind of boring, so I decided to do 4 in one on this bad boy. We have had a really wierd, hectic week, so reading has been a nice escape for me. My dentist tried to make me a pirate, my trivia team had a rough time last night, and our bathtub was finally delivered, but missing a piece, so I think some escapism is justified.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

I had heard a lot about how funny David Sedaris is before reading this book, which is why I bought it. It’s a series of short stories about his life, and they are pretty funny. I read a few of them to Hubby, and he didn’t seem to find it as funny as I did. I enjoyed it, and will probably read more of his books, if I find them on the clearance shelf. The Clever Chick Rating this earns is a “Liked it, will be passing it on to friends, and I would buy more of his books if they were super cheap”. I need to condense my rating system, but stars, or thumbs up don’t really give my opinion accurately.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The Bean Trees is by the same author as The Poisonwood Bible, which I really enjoyed. This one is about a young, maybe early-twenties, girl from Kentucky, who decides to drive across the country and just live where ever her car breaks down. As she’s driving across the country, someone sticks a two year old girl in her car for her to care for. She ends up in Tucson, Arizona, and the story develops from there. It was interesting, although not as good as The Poisonwood Bible, in my opinion. On the Clever Chick Scale it gets a “I will pass this on to friends, and even though I’ll continue to read her novels, I maybe pickier about which ones”.

Sex, Murder, and a Double Latte by Kyra Davis

I was feeling lazy, so I grabbed a chick lit book off the shelf. It turned out to be a really intrigueing murder-mystery-chick-book, and I was pleasantly surprised. The main character is an author of murder mysteries, who is possibly being stalked and forced to live out one of her own novels. The characters were great, and well developed, without any of that somebody-acting-stupid-to-move-the-plot-along stuff. I did actually guess a little bit of the plot, which means it must have been pretty obvious, but it was good, none-the-less. On the Clever Chick Scale this earns a “Will definitely pass it on to friends, and watch for other books of hers on the clearance shelves”.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

This book starts out very interesting, but ended well before lots of loose ends had been tied up. In the 1970’s, youth in Chinese cities were sent to live in the country for “reeducation” by the Communist regime. This book tells the story of two boys who move to a village together, and how they adjust to life there. The historical parts were what I found most interesting, but then it devolves into a love story, and ends too soon. On the Clever Chick Scale it gets a “Didn’t fulfill its potential, but it was well written, so I’ll pass it on to friends”.

Whew. Or as Mi Madre says “Hoot!” (she also says she doesn’t want to be Mommy Dearest, so she’s Mi Madre now). That was a long trek. Maybe I’ll do more of the future book reviews like this, instead of one post dedicated to each book. I think it kind of works better. With all this reading, I haven’t been crafting much, but I have been going and doing interesting things, so you have that to look forward to. Plus, I may do a whole post about zombies. The delights never end here!

May 19, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Book Reviews. Leave a comment.

It’s not easy being green…at work

I’ve been paying a bit more attention to my routine at work. At home, I recycle religiously, avoid packaging where possible, use green bags and eco-friendly cleaning products. The office is a whole different story.

I already bring my lunch in reusable containers, print everything possible double-sided, and recycle the massive ink cartridges we use. I am bad, though. I use disposable plates, bowls, plasticware, and *gasp* bottled water! It would be super simple to bring a bowl, plate, and silverware from home, and just keep them up here.

So far I’ve dramatically reduced my use of post-its and note pads by creating a digital to do list in Excel. This enables me to have multiple pages, so I can separate everything, and keep my desk cleaner.

I finally bought one dish to bring to work that I can just wash instead of throwing out. It’s kind of a bowl/plate combo; either a really wide, shallow bowl, or a pretty deep plate. I had soup in it yesterday, and it worked great. Plus, it’s Corelle, and it was only $1 at Goodwill! (I also found some fantabulous shoes while I was there, which might show up in a later post).

I turn off my monitor when I leave for the day (I can’t shut down the computer because of the way things are networked), and I’ve stopped using my candle warmer. I’m trying to wear warmer clothes, so I don’t have to turn my space heater on as much, and I have a CFL in my lamp instead of a normal bulb. I take dead batteries to be recycled instead of throwing them in the trash.

I’ve been trying to print less overall, but our work is very paper-dependent. That might be changing in the future (the company is slowly crawling toward a paperless office), but we’ll see. Of the paper we do print, most of it has to be shredded when it needs to be disposed of, but it all gets recycled. The stuff that doesn’t need to be shredded used to all get mixed into the same pile, but now I’m trying to avoid wasting the electricity of shredding excessively, and throwing it directly in the recycle bin.

There are things I will not do to go green, all of which I will tell you about right now! (if you get the movie reference you get a gold star!)

1) Hankerchief – that’s disgusting. No, just no.

2) “Let it mellow” – also disgusting.

3) Pretty much anything that’s too disgusting to comprehend.

Other than that, I do what’s practical, and within my budget. I’m still looking for little ways to improve my routine, but there’s a lot that not under my control at the office. I’m sure that’s how it is for most people, but little things have an impact, too.

May 17, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Thriftiness is Cool. 3 comments.

Movie Review: The Trotsky

Hubby and I followed one of those internet rabbit holes that pop up sometimes, and discovered this movie. I was watching an Arcade Fire music video, My Body is a Cage, on you tube, and another video of theirs, Intervention, popped up, and Hubby clicked on it.

This video is the song set to the 1925 silent movie “Battleship Potemkin”. You may be familiar with the famous “Odessa Staircase” scene, where the Russian soldiers are marching down seemingly-endless stairs massacring civilians. A mother is shot on the stairs, and as she falls down, dead, she accidentally pushes her baby in its carraige down the steps. We then decided to read about the movie on wikipedia, which had a section called “In Popular Culture”. That section lists other movies and things that have referenced it.

That’s how we stumbled upon the movie “The Trotsky”. It’s about a high school senior who believes he’s the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky. After holding a hunger strike and trying to unionize his father’s factory, he is forced to attend public school. He then decides the students deserve to have a union so that the school system has to actually educate them, rather than functioning like a prison system.

Hubby and I both really liked it. It was very funny and clever. The way the main character, Leon, rebels against the school system and administration is very smart, and I wish I’d had as much motivation when I was in high school. Rather than just whining about how stupid the dress code is when some people can’t even read at a functional level, he addresses the contradictions inherent in the school system. Students are expected to be as responsible as adults, and yet also to do as they’re told, like children.

If I had watched this in high school, I would seriously have tried to stage a walk-out at some point (possibly). We really enjoyed this movie, and some of the one-liners are classics. If you know anything about the history of the Communist movement, it has a whole other level of humor as well. On the Clever Chick scale, this gets a “I will quote it, probably watch it again, and recommend it to friends, but it’s for a niche audience”.

May 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Movie Reviews. Leave a comment.

Post-Apocalyptic Costume Part 2

As part of the Fallout party Hubby and I went to, I dressed as a Wasteland Surgeon. Part of the costume appeared to be canisters on the belt that looked like soup cans. Fortunately, I had several in the recycle bin ready to go. I peeled off the labels, then had to attach them to the belt.

I used a pair of black socks I was going to get rid of. I think they worked well, because the fabric is stretchy. I used half a sock, wrapped around each can, and sewed together.

I call this “Frankenstein” stitching. It’s ugly, and thick, but serves the purpose. This part was going to be facing the belt though, so it doesn’t really matter what it looks like.

I hunted around the house for medical looking implements to stash in my utility belt. Cotton balls and an ace bandage were a no brainer, and then we just happened to have all these syringes laying around! They don’t have needles on them, since they are for giving medicine to the pets orally. We collected them from various trips to the vet, and now I’m glad they were filling up that drawer in the kitchen.

Latex gloves, dog nail clippers, medical tape, and of course duct tape rounded out my medical supplies.

To attach the cans to the belt, I just used some tan yarn. I tied a loop at the top and the bottom. Using the socks worked great here, because the yarn sank down into the fabric, and had a really good grip on the can. I left the tails hanging on both loops.

I used the hanging ends to tie each can onto the belt. I tied all three very snuggly together so they would help keep each other in place, and vertical.

Here’s the finished product:

A pipboy and Nuka Cola added to the authenticity. Using make up to add dirt all over was fun, plus I rubbed and dripped red paint a few places to make pretty convincing wounds.

May 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts. 3 comments.

Book Review: Jesus Land

This book is the true story of how the author, Julia Scheeres was raised with her adopted brothers in the 70’s and 80’s. I’m going to quote from her website, since she’s much more articulate than I am:

Jesus Land is about my close relationship with my adopted brother David. It covers our Calvinist upbringing in Indiana and our stint at a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic as teens.

David, an African American, was adopted by my family in 1970, when he was 3. We were the same age.

The book begins with our move to rural Indiana and our transition from a tiny Christian school to a large, public school where David and my other adopted black brother were the only minority students. It ends with David and me on a beach in the Dominican Republic. It’s a pretty wild ride between these two events.

The central theme of Jesus Land is how race and religion tested our relationship. It’s a book about a couple of misfit kids learning to survive in a hostile environment, and the transcendence of sibling love.”

They end up in a crazy reform school in the Dominican Republic.


This book does not have  happy ending. I kept fighting through all the sad, bizarre, and tragic things that happened to them, hoping it would all turn out great. If you don’t like sad books, do NOT pick this one up. It’s very well written, but it’s tough to read.


So on the Clever Chick scale, it gets a “It was good, and I’ll probably never forget it, but I’m selling it”. This makes 14 books read for the year. My average is almost 1 a week! Frankenstein really slowed me down, though. I’m reading a fairly good one right now, and I’ve managed to clean several off my shelves with this process. It helps that I stopped buying more! I was cleaning out the guest room and found 6 or 7 more though…what can I say, it’s a vice I’m working on.

May 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Book Reviews. 3 comments.

Next Page »