The reasons are many. The summer started off mild and we didn’t feel the need to grill outside. We had a new stove with a grill burner and I loved using it with our grill pan. I enjoyed the fact that I had much more precise temperature control than on the outdoor grill. Then there was the fact that I was not allowed red meat until the third week of August on account of my surgery . No grilling hamburgers. By the time it started getting hotter and we thought about maybe grilling Terry was not up to the task of cleaning the thing. And any attempt I might have made at cleaning it would have been woefully inadequate.
So it’s autumn and our grill sat covered all summer. We’ll think about this again in the spring.
On Sunday Terry and I made a routine trip to Bed Bath & Beyond (BBY as we call it), a couple of “20% off one item” coupons in hand, to get ice cube trays. (Sometimes we use more ice than the ice maker can keep up with and one of our trays had a crack in it.) There were big signs saying Clearance — Store Closing — All Sales Final. We weren’t surprised.
I wrote back in June about how the chain was struggling and how I couldn’t find what I was looking for on one particular trip. I wondered how long our local store would last. We have that answer now.
I like BBY, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get there. The two closest stores will now each be about thirty minutes away and it’s just not worth it. Hence my tossing that stack of coupons. Between Target and Amazon we’ll be just fine.
Still, it’s a convenience we’re losing and local jobs that will be lost. The latter, especially, is not a good thing.
I really had no desire to buy yet another kitchen appliance. I figured we were in good shape as far that went. But when I went to unplug our toaster oven the other day, I noticed that the cord was hot. I mentioned that to Terry, and she said that she had noticed the same thing. She also pointed out that the toast was burning around the edges, even on the light toast setting. I had noticed that as well, but I figured it was operator error. Guess not.
It really hasn’t been that long since we replaced our toaster oven, less than two years, but here we are again. My brother, who is a retired firefighter, told us then that when the cord is hot, to waste no time. He said, in essence, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not wait for the next sale. Replace it now.
The most recent toaster oven had a convection setting. But that was well before we got our new stove with its convection oven. This time around we opted for a smaller model without the convection capability, but with toast, bake, and broil. We’re trading in Hamilton Beach for Black and Decker. Our new toaster oven takes up considerably less counter space, which is a nice bonus, given that counter space is at a premium in our kitchen.
It’s not something we wanted to do, but when my brother speaks about fire safety we listen.
I wrote some weeks back about how we didn’t have sunflowers this year. I was disappointed and speculated that perhaps this was due to our unusually wet winter.
I’m delighted to say that the sunflowers have arrived. They started showing up shortly after the Fourth of July. They are now out in abundance and are showing up on undeveloped property throughout the west side of the San Jacinto valley.
You may recall my writing that sunflowers to me represent hope, progress, and new beginnings. I am, therefore, most happy to see them this year in spite of their late arrival.
My brother Brian is really good at updating me on things he knows I’m interested in. Like when he told me that there was an Indian restaurant going in on the east side of town. Terry and I live on the far west side of Hemet and my brother lives near the extreme eastern border of the city limits. So I appreciate it when he tells me about what’s happening out that way.
The restaurant was “It’s Taste of India,” which is rather odd grammatically. Either there is an “a” missing or the restaurant was owned by someone named It. In either case, Terry and I were delighted that the restaurant opened, because previously the closest Indian restaurant was thirty minutes south of us in the congested, high-traffic realm of Temecula.
We were pleased with the food at Taste of India and valued the hospitality of the owner. We had lupper (late lunch/early supper) there a number of times and always loved it.
I was unhappy, then, when Brian told me that a Mexican restaurant had moved into that space. When I had a chance to head out that way myself I saw that beneath the restaurant name the sign said, “Authentic Mexican Food.” Say what? There must be two dozen Mexican restaurants here in the San Jacinto Valley. So all of those are fake?
No matter. What is important is that we’ve lost our local Indian restaurant, and for that Terry and I are very sad,
Thursday was my final Toastmasters meeting. I had planned this for a while.
I joined Menifee Toastmasters in October 2015 after having moved here in May. I really enjoyed it. I liked the way the program was structured and the progression involved. The program was based on a series of print manuals with a nice range of variety. After I finished the Competent Communication manual and got my Competent Communicator award a whole new world opened up with a selection of fifteen advanced manuals on a wide variety of topics. Through those I got my Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Communicator Silver awards. In amongst all that I got my Competent Leader award through the Competent Leadership manual.
And then Toastmasters International had to go and change it all. They replaced the previous program with a new one called Pathways. It is all web-based and focused on corporate-sponsored clubs, as opposed to the community clubs. It has a distinct career-based bias, neglecting the wider range of experience. I was not happy with the new program.
Thursday’s meeting marked the end of my tenure as president of the club, so it seemed time to make the break. There are other things I can do on those Thursdays. There is the Farmers Market, there is the local interfaith council on the second Thursday, and always the noon Eucharist at Good Shepherd Episcopal.
In counting my ribbons I found I had twelve best speaker awards, thirteen best evaluator, and nine best table topics, the impromptu segment. The count is not exact, as there were ties and sometimes I got the ribbon and other times not. So I feel good about my accomplishments.
Nonetheless, it is time to move on.
No, absolutely nothing
No, I regret nothing
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
—Paul Anka as sung by Frank Sinatra
Several weeks ago I gave a speech at Toastmasters about regrets. At the end of the speech I made clear that I was very happy with most aspects of my life and my varied career choices. I said I was certainly very happy with my life and marriage today. But in the body of the speech I wanted to make clear that while my complaints are few, I am not of the “I have no regrets” philosophy. I listed several.
One regret that I did not mention, but which I should have, is giving my KitchenAid tilt-head stand mixer to my sister-in-law Julie, Terry’s sister. I had owned the mixer since 1977, when my parents bought it for me before I headed off to open up the new B. Dalton Bookseller in Laredo, Texas. It was about 2003 or 2004, I suppose, when I saw the larger capacity KitchenAid bowl-lift mixer on sale at our new Lowe’s in Gilroy and decided that I had to have it.
What I failed to take into account was the fact that in 1986 Hobart Corporation, those folks that make the industrial-grade mixers for pizzerias and bakeries, sold KitchenAid to Whirlpool. The mixer I bought was not nearly as well made or sturdy as the one I gave to Julie.
The bowl-lift mixer has performed well over the years, nonetheless. However, last week it came to the end of its useful life. It still mixes, but no longer kneads dough. It just sits there making a high-pitched squeaking noise that sends Tasha outside. With our new oven and the bread baking I am doing once again, kneading dough is a central mission for my KitchenAid.
I ought not complain given that the mixer has lasted fifteen-plus years. But the KitchenAid I gave Julie is still going strong, as far as I know, and she makes good use of it. She would not be willing, nor would I even consider asking her, to give it back. So Terry and I had to begin the quest for a replacement.
We went to our local Bed Bath & Beyond, but they didn’t have want we wanted. We came home and pulled up Amazon (of course). We settled on a 5-quart tilt-head Artisan model. It is not without reason, after all, that that is the model you often see on Food Network.
It is scheduled to arrive today. I am looking forward to a long and productive relationship. And I will, of course, keep you updated.