Sunday Confessional 12/11/11

Heather says:

It’s been a few months since we’ve done a Sunday Confessional and I have a deadline causing some serious productive procrastination*, so now is just as good a time as any to bring back the series. For those new to Home-Ec 101, welcome, the Sunday Confessional is just a reminder that life isn’t glossy magazine perfect. Here on the interwebz [sic], it is way too easy to crop the “bad” or “embarrassing” out of the snapshots we choose share. This series isn’t so much a celebration of failure as it is a reminder that we’re all human and we all mess up. Yes, even that stylish lady in the carpool lane who never has a hair out of place. No one has it together all of the time. I know that I personally have spent way too much time, mostly in real life, stressing myself out trying to make everything look 100% ok 100% of the time.

We all have our off days.

The day where we really wish the Fed Ex dude didn’t need a signature because, oh I thought I could put off that shower just until I finished that next project.

The week. . .ok it was two, but I was really sick in the middle of that. . . where all six of us had to use the upstairs bathroom because I couldn’t get my act together enough to finish recaulking the downstairs shower. Which, I should probably also admit that any home project that involves caulk also tends to involve a lot of risque humor, because apparently I still have the mind of a teenager. Snicker snicker, nudge nudge, giggle. No, I really don’t want to grow up. In my defense the shower now looks great, it just took a while to get there.

And then there was last Saturday where I accidentally trapped myself on the roof for a while because I was too chicken to climb back down without anyone holding the ladder. So I sat up on the roof and posted about my predicament on G+. Thankfully my oldest kid wandered back from the neighbor’s where he’d been playing and held the ladder for me, before I actually had to use my phone to do anything productive like call for help.

Published by Streetcar PressBut really today’s confessional is about onions, a great big pot of onions. I was going to make French onion soup, I had my kitchen clean, I was taking pictures of the process so I could share the recipe here, and then the mail came. In the mail was a package addressed to me. In the package was a chap book, Grab and Go: What to bring when things go really wrong from Streetcar Press. I sat down and started reading, my house filled with the aroma of beautifully caramelizing onions. And then time passed, I finished the book, set it down, and realized the smell had changed slightly -the onions had caramelizing in an enameled cast iron pot in a 400°F oven, a technique I highly recommend, as long as you pay attention. I ran into the kitchen to find I no longer had the beautiful golden brown onions I wanted. Oh no, I had a pot full of charcoal that took a long, long time to scrub clean and no French onion soup, le sigh.

Even good cooks get distracted. Use a timer and don’t have friends send you distracting reading material. Or have the friends send reading material, just save it for when you aren’t in the middle of making dinner.

So, what do you have to get off your chest? The Sunday Confessional is open, just keep it family friendly.

*Productive Procrastination – happens when any job, no matter how distasteful, becomes more urgent and satisfying than the one with the nearest deadline. Want to know if I have a big project stressing me out? Is my house immaculate? Yes? There’s your answer.



  1. James on December 13, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Fruitful may have beat me to the punch, but If you ever burn a pot and it leaves a lot of carbon stuck on the bottom try this. I swear it works! Put enough water in the pot to cover the carbon with three ( I am sure it doesn’t need to be three, but) balls of crumbled aluminum foil and bring it to a boil. While it is boiling add 1/4 C baking soda. It will foam up, but shouldn’t overflow. Let it boil for a couple more minutes, turn the fire off and let it sit.

    I learned this from an African woman 6 years ago and it always works. I have had to do it twice in a really bad situation but all of the carbon came out.

    This is productive procrastination for me. I am finishing my thesis and was looking up some information about home economics and came across this. I have a couple of techniques for caramelizing onions, unfortunately this is not the time. I need to get back on track.

    Have a good day.



  2. Erin on December 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    My husband has been away for 3 weeks and I’m in the throws of horrible morning sickness. I havent done any house work or cooking since he has been gone. Instead I choose to go to work, sleep, and surf the net, much better uses of my energy!

  3. Fruitful on December 12, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Although your burnt onions story is sad, my confession is it makes me happy – sorry! I’ve burnt out my Le Creuset, and generic Aldi cast enamel pot, about 4 times altogether. I’ve been crushed and miserable afterwards and felt it indicative of all my failures in life. The last time was so bad the pot sat in the right hand sink soaking with baking soda for 2 weeks, getting another scrub once a day (or so…). The thing is this seems to happen when I’m incredibly tired and overwhelmed and vulnerable, completely off my game – just when I don’t need a Herculean pot-cleaning task (and I need a good dinner!). Anyway it was reassuring to hear I’m not alone in unintentional enamel abuse. Your entire site is very reassuring – I love it!

    • HeatherSolos on December 12, 2011 at 7:32 am

      I’ve got a few pieces of Le Crueset and then this fall I picked up a 6 quart oval (the one I burnt) at World Market for a very reasonable price. So far I’m not seeing much difference.

      But yeah, I do dorky things all the time. We’re all human, we all get distracted and yes, I hate scrubbing pots as much as the next person.

      It’s totally ok to laugh or feel better knowing that. 🙂 I get relieved when the people I look up to flub stuff. (I’m not saying I take joy in their pain just that I need an occasional reminder that they are human, too) Now if only I can model their ability to handle it with grace and I’ll be set, right?

  4. on December 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I’ve been working on a project of painting and covering some thrifts store dinning room chairs. I have 6 chairs and its taken me two months so far. I have two chairs dones so that averages 1 chair a month. At this rate it will be late spring by the time I complete this “weekend” project….

    • HeatherSolos on December 12, 2011 at 7:34 am I admire anyone with the patience for those tasks. I look at our sad bar stools at the breakfast bar and I KNOW I should do something with them, but then I’d have to make a decision about color and I’m a commitment-phobe. 😉

  5. stacyl on December 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Too much running around, working, and socializing, so my house is a mess. Don’t even ask me about the state of the laundry. Alas. All I want to do is stay home, in a clean house that I don’t have to clean, and do Christmasy things with my son and my husband–make ornaments, bake cookies, make paper chains, etc. But I keep having to be somewhere, or wanting to be somewhere, at the same time.

    • HeatherSolos on December 12, 2011 at 7:35 am

      @stacyl I understand. With all the travel I did this fall, I mainly did triage cleaning when I was home. It was acceptable, but not great. I still need to get my butt in gear. You can’t tell it’s the 3rd week of Advent around here at all.

  6. JoyceK on December 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    May I suggest caramelizing the onions in the crockpot — takes longer but no chance of burning. I had to make French onion soup for 24 people for our gourmet dinner group recently and it saved me a lot of time and effort. Just fill the crockpot with sliced onions. Put a stick of butter on top and turn it on to high. It took about 18 hours, half on high, half on low.

    • stacyl on December 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      I am going to try this–thanks!


  7. KeterMagick on December 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you, Heather, I now have a term for what I do. All. The. Time. “Productive Procrastination.” It sounds so much better than “task avoidance.” ;o) Like today I really do have to look for a document that has gotten lost on a messy desk. I’m not normally at all messy, but lately that desk has been the task I”ve been avoiding. No clue why, but I feel like I would rather pull my toenails out with rusty pliers than touch the thing. Weird.

    Your roof story is too funny, but I know what you mean about ladders. I have no real fear of heights, but I also have no sense of balance on a ladder so I avoid them. Having someone hold the ladder does not help; I still get the heebie jeebies.

  8. Dechlin on December 11, 2011 at 8:23 am

    My confession: I don’t actually care that the house is a mess today. (!!!)

  9. VeraThomasHannaford on December 11, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I so need to write a post.

    • HeatherSolos on December 11, 2011 at 8:16 am

      @VeraThomasHannaford Yes, yes you do. 🙂

    • carolinadreamz on December 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      a post? what is that? *giggle* @VeraThomasHannaford

  10. MrsBYork on December 11, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Sounds like it must have been a great book!

    My confession? The house is freezing & I can’t face going downstairs, so breakfast this morning was the box of stuffed dates I’d put away for my dad’s Christmas present… oopsie

  11. imabug on December 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

    was it a good book at least?

    my house has been terribly neglected after the last month of dealing with stupid work crap, regular work stuff and school exams and projects. it’s not a pretty sight.

    • HeatherSolos on December 11, 2011 at 7:13 am

      @imabug I liked it a lot. It’s useful and overall has a very reasonable level of preparedness for a variety of situations. It’s written in plain English without going all disaster umm trying to think of a tasteful way to put it and failing miserably . . . you know what I’m talking about, the over-the-top-survivalist material that’s more about the ego than relevant info.

      It’s a non-fiction book that had me interested enough to burn dinner. I think that’s about as good of an endorsement as you can get from me. Typically I only get that interested in fiction.

      • KeterMagick on December 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

        @HeatherSolos@imabug Apocalyptic? Fear-mongering? I know what you mean about the ego stuff. I dwell in a corner of the Internet that frequently intersects with that sort of thing, and I am so tired of it. I read a study a few years ago that indicated that the ego-monsters are actually MORE likely to be quickly injured or killed when put into a survival situation due to overconfidence and showing off. They also are more likely to become predatory on those they consider to be weaker. I prefer to mind my own business and maintain the element of surprise. ;o)

        • HeatherSolos on December 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

          @KeterMagick that’s one of the things I liked about Rustin’s advice, it was about getting along rather than playing alpha just for the sake of it.

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