Other semi-interesting developments around the house...
Cats: Vogon bought a LitterMaid self-cleaning litter box. Biko started using it right away, but it took Fender awhile to warm up to it. I'm still undecided on whether I like it -- the disposal container filled up a lot faster than I expected. I picked up some catnip spray on the same shopping trip and amuse myself by spraying it on Fender's floor pillow and watching Biko throw herself all over it like a cheap ho on the scent of money until he comes over to see what she's doing to his pillow. It's cheaper entertainment than a feature movie ticket and I have hundreds of sprays left to go. Also, he has taken up sleeping right next to/curled around my head since I've returned home. It's sweet yet slightly creepy.
Plants: The tomatoes that sprouted out of the compost have taken hold in the two gallon-sized pots where the cabernet grapes appear to still be dormant. One of the plants successfully set fruit, so it's sporting two green tomatoes, one the size of a shooter marble and one the size of a ping-pong ball. The remaining cabernet grape has climbed its trellis and is pushing seven feet high right now. The rosemary died in my absence, but the fact that it lived for two months is nothing short of a miracle. I can grow practically anything, yet pennyroyal and rosemary seem to die in my presence. The herb seedlings Vogon started died too, but he said he only watered "what [he] could remember" while I was gone. We have a new "decorative" hot pepper with black fruit and purple leaves that bought and started a couple pots of herbs from seed on the bedroom windowsill by my dresser, as well as restarting the grass I keep on the other bedroom windowsill by the cat tree. It also died in my absence, but I start a new pot every 6-8 weeks anyway.
That cat pee incident: Stink Free Instantly! Urine Odor Remover lives up to its description. I applied it liberally to the loveseat cushions that Biko stained at the beginning of the month, let it dry overnight and now neither the stain nor the smell are discernible. The "fresh scent" smell of the product was nearly overpowering at the time I applied it but, again, it's barely noticeable now. Hopefully this means I can reclaim the living room couch and coffee table for Intarweb surfing with the laptop -- I think the loveseat is good to go so Vogon can return to sleeping in front of the TV in the study.
Beauty products: I picked up the Clean & Clear Oxygenating skincare collection. The fizzing cleanser sounds gimmicky -- and probably is -- but it's gotten me back into the daily habit of cleaning my face with a facial cleanser instead of just in the shower, the pretty microbeads in the facial scrub make me smile, and while I'm still not totally on board with using a moisturizer on my oily/combination facial skin, it is a lot lighter than the Cetaphil moisturizer I already had. Yes, I am retarded at girly stuff like this, but I'm making an effort.
Homemade onion rings: Vogon saw onion rings (gluten-free!) prepared on a Food Network show that looked tempting, so he bought a couple of Vidalia onions, a bag of rice flour and some frying oil and had at it. They taste so good I'm sure my arteries hardened just looking at them, but who am I to not share? From Tyler's Ultimate, episode "Ultimate Steak Sandwich":
Tempura Battered Onion Rings
Oil, for frying
2 large sweet onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings, thin skins removed
1 1/2 cups rice flour, plus more, for dredging
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 cup beer (use enough until you get pancake batter consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large Dutch oven or fryer with oil and preheat to 350 degrees F. Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Crack the egg yolk into a separate bowl and break it up with a fork. Add this to the well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in the beer as you whisk. Gradually make wider circles with the whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients from the edges - this will minimize the chance of lumps. Continue until all the dry ingredients are mixed and the batter is of a smooth consistency.
Take the onion rings and remove the thin membrane found between the layers (otherwise the batter won't stick as well). In a large dish add some rice flour, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat each ring in the flour. Dip in the batter and fry in hot oil in batches until golden. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.