Friday, April 21, 2017

The Blue Apron Experience Part 2

If you haven't tried Blue Apron, I highly recommend the cook-it-yourself meal plan. So far, at the end of week 5, we've only had one meal that wasn't all that spectacular. We've enjoyed eating foods from different cultures and finding out how easy it is to prep/prepare when 2 people are involved in the process. From our first thought about dinner to sitting down to eat has not yet taken more than 30 minutes.

Part of what I have enjoyed is making the meal with Y. He's learned to read and follow directions, rather than flying by the seat of his pants in the kitchen. He's learned that the prep should all be done before the cooking starts -- unless there are potatoes or a grain. In that case, start the process by putting the grain or potato into a pot to cook as it takes that part of the meal about 14 minutes to cook and the rest of the meal half that time.

And, we do the dishes and clean the kitchen together, so I don't have to face a mess when all is said and done. Y is great at taking care of himself for most of his meals, but he "finishes" when he is done eating, regardless of what's left on the stove, on the counter, in the sink, and still on the table. Rarely is there a morning without a dirty pan still in the sink "soaking."

Sharing the Blue Apron experience means the meal prep and clean-up both get done, which makes me a much happier person all the way around.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Spoken Word

Listening to a talk show interview caught my attention for the manner of speaking throughout the conversation. The actress talked about not doing something “as of yet,” which I’m not sure actually has any meaning. She was in “close proximity” to a friend, which is redundant because proximity means closeness. She assured the interviewer that “I, myself” had never done something another actor had done. And throughout the interview repeated, “it’s like, yeah” before finishing the thought.

I’m not sure why this type of conversation is so popular among young people, but it is fingernails on a chalkboard to me! Of course, all chalkboards are now whiteboards, so this young speaker would have no idea what I meant by that critique :-). 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Growing Old and Gardening

I finally broke down and hired the neighbor whose business is “garden,” as it says on the side of his truck. The front yard was so overgrown that one could literally not walk on the walkway to the front door. The weeds were up to 2 feet tall, and the bougainvillea completely blocked access from the garage to the front door. Made it a challenge to get to my front door, which is not bad – except for the fact that I’ve been purchasing items on line that need to be delivered to the front door.

Sergio did a great job and, in the process of cleaning, discovered that the bird fountain had broken into three separate pieces, which means the birds and stray cats can’t get a drink as the weather continues to warm. I’ll go up to the hardware store and buy a new ceramic fountain and then ask Sergio to drill a hole through the ceramic so the small rubber tubing for the watering system can be installed to keep the water fresh on a daily basis. The back yard is overgrown, but not in an area that interferes with navigation of the space, so it can stay that way.

I used to take pride in how nice my yard looks, but, frankly, I am all over the hours in the hot sun to get it to look that way, and the older I get, the less I want to do yardwork. I have talked to Sergio about his monthly plan, where he comes in and cleans up what needs cleaning and checks the watering system. I’ll only need him to do this until about October, so I’m opting for paying him the going rate and not have to do it myself.

UPDATING: After writing this post, I had occasion to go out to the patio and saw what a disaster my backyard is! Reluctantly, but shamed, I got the clippers and dead-headed some of the shrubbery, then turned on the water and gave all the plantings a much-needed drink of water. It's not perfect, but now if Sergio wants to take a look at the backyard, he won't be seeing dollars signs. :=)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unwinding

I have been knitting since I was in elementary school and crocheting since I was in my 20s, so I know a lot about yarn performance. Back in the day, it was what would be called fancy yarns by today’s standards: cashmere, nylon/rayon blends, all-cotton, and yes, silk. I used to have to save my babysitting money to purchase yarn that was sometimes 25 cents a skein, and sometimes a dollar or more a skein. I began making washcloths out of 100% cotton yarn and still enjoy making them today. I found the repetitious motions of using my hands very calming, which is still true.

Today I received a shipment of yarn I purchased on sale through a website KnitPicks. There are 4 skeins of 4-ply Felici Worsted in the pile which I intended to use to make a fancy scarf pattern for future gift-giving at the holidays. I excitedly located my pattern and picked out the “test” yarn to see if this pattern is all I think it’s going to be, and started the 282-stitch chain. The yarn kept splitting and shredding with every stitch, making it impossible to pull through the loop that is part of the chain. I persevered and was finally able to get the chain the correct length, then started on the actual pattern – which was infuriating as the yarn continued to split apart with each stitch I tried to crochet! For every stitch I made, I had to undo it and try to get the 4 plies of the yarn together so I could complete the stitch. It was my stubborn inner core that kept me at it –but I’m not going to use this yarn for anything after today’s experience.

This yarn is labeled “special reserve,” and I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds like the maker is pretty darned pleased with this skein of yarn. I’m not sure why, however, as it is the poorest quality yarn I’ve ever bought! Because this first attempt is a test of the pattern, I have cussed my way through half of the scarf and will find a way to finish it tomorrow. I can’t use this garment because it’s not smooth and uniform the way a crochet stitch scarf usually looks—and it will look far too “handmade” for me to feel any pride in my accomplishment of finishing it.

What a downer!!

Yes, I can return the yarn and get my money back, but it’s only 4 skeins of the yarn and the cost of the return postage will negate the amount in a refund. I have sent an email message to Knit Picks expressing my dissatisfaction with the product, so maybe they will have “someone” take a look at the quality of this yarn and second-guess the decision to market it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Freekeh and Labneh

Tonight's dinner included freekeh, a grain that we both really liked. It, too, took 25 minutes at a boil to cook until tender, but once it was cooked, we added cooked kale that had been seasoned with lemon, garlic, dates and s&p. Once we piled the freekeh on our plates, we added the cooked salmon and then poured labneh, a "cream" sauce, over the top.

Dinner was delicious. Again. I really enjoy Blue Apron and cooking with Y ... who also does dishes.