Pop Goes the Ramen!
On Saturday afternoon, while I was out shopping and goofing around with husband and in-laws, my mobile phone rang. Thinking that it would be my husband calling from the other end of Opry Mills mall to say that he and my father-in-law were done playing in the Man Toy Store (Workshop Tools), I answered it quickly. It was not the husband, it was the 13 year old son. Conversation ensues something like this. While reading, keep in mind that 13 year old is at home with his 20 year old brother, who works in fast food!
Son: Hi, Mom.
Me: Hi, Jake. What’s up?
Son: Where are you?
Me, (in my slightly-exasperated voice): At Opry Mills with Dad and your grandparents, why?
Son: Oh. Well, I was hungry. (long pause)
Me: Oh? And?
Son: I made some ramen.
Me (becoming slightly more exasperated, but feigning a patient tone): OK. So, you ate then?
Son: Well, no, not exactly. There was a little problem.
Me: What was the problem?
Son: I forgot to put water in the microwave dish. (another long pause) The ramen kind of burned.
Me: Oh. So you burned a package of ramen? In the microwave?
Me: OK. So, make a sandwich…
Son: Yeah, I could do that, but…
Son: Well, um…the bowl kind of melted. In the microwave.
Me (stupidly): The bowl melted? In the microwave?
Son: Yeah. What should I do?
Me: Throw the stuff out, maybe?
Son: Oh, well, I already did that. But the house really smells bad now. And it’s all smokey in here. We opened the kitchen window and turned on the fan, but it’s not helping much.
Me: OK, well give it some time. Any thing else? I s’pose you’re still hungry, huh? So, now you can go make a sandwich.
Son: Yeah, but, Mom…how do I get melted plastic off the thing that turns around in the microwave?
Me: Ah. You mean the glass turntable plate? Well, take it out of the microwave, get a butter knife, and scrape gently…after it’s cooled…blah, blah, blah…
Yup. He burned ramen. In the microwave. When he said that the house smelled funny, I assumed something sort of plastic-y and temporary. Not a good assumption, by the way. At any rate, I told him to corral his brother and open ALL of the windows downstairs and let fresh air in. Then, I went on my merry way. About an hour later, I’m having lunch with husband and in-laws, and I get a text message from my wonderful 13 year old son:
Son 2 Mom: Hey, mom. does melted plastic make carbon monoxide?
Alrighty, then. Now, if you knew my son, you would know that he is my son, and has a little bit of the melodramatic running through his veins, so I take him with the proverbial grain of salt, and don’t instantly freak out. Well, actually, I took him with a giant rock of salt this particular time. I determine that Stupid Older Brother decided that the windows had been open long enough, closed them, and went back to His Cave (his bedroom, where his computer and Xbox 360 live). So, younger son and I trade messages for a few moments, while I tell him to re-open all of the windows, both upstairs and down (because he admits that the smell has floated throughout all 2400 sf and 2 stories of my home. Hell, I think you could smell it in the garage!!). Then, I mildly ask, “you feeling ok?”, and he says, “I’ve got a headache from the smoke and my eyes are burning, probably also from the smoke. Why?” Oy. So, I send him to take an Advil, grab the dog and the older brother, and go sit on the front porch till we get home. And, upon arriving home, I discover the horrible odor, determine the my son does not know how to read and follow instructions (because he and his brother are both back in the house, in the living room, playing video games. The living room is adjacent to the kitchen, mind you. Oy!). Luckily, both sons appear to have survived the Burning of the Ramen incident without any further brain damage than that which comes naturally from them being male. 😉
Oh. My. Word! My house still smells like burned popcorn and melted plastic. And it’s now Monday night. sigh
The Plot that Didn’t Thicken, aka Flaxseed Gel – take 1
I follow a hair-care routine based on the book, “Curly Girl”, by Lorraine Massey. Basically, as I mentioned in some earlier posts, “going CG”, as it’s called, means to cease using sulfate shampoos and conditioning/styling products containing silicones. I’ve been using DevaCurl products for several months now, and I like them, but I must admit that, after about 4-5 days of using them, my hair gets kind of…flat…and maybe a little…crunchy/dry. Bleah. So I generally go about 3-5 days and then use the Burt’s Bees Moisture Shampoo (sulfate free, but deadly-drying/stripping) and then slathering my hair with a daily deep conditioner (the leave-it-in-for-3-to-5-minutes kind, as opposed to put-in/rinse-out kind), which results in great, springy, bouncy curls again. But I’m really disappointed to discover the evil ‘cones in hair care products produced by/for Lorraine Massey’s NYC salon, DevaChan. And I’m almost out of everything except B’Leave-In anyway. With the recent paycuts (yes, plural – don’t ask!), I can’t really justify buying more of the very pricey Deva-Curl products when there’s ‘cones in them there bottles. And Jessicurl, possibly the 2nd most well-know CG-friendly hair care line, is even more expensive (although most people say that a small amount goes a longer way with Jessicurl).
So, in an effort to save money, I decide I’ll follow the fine example of so many other curlies that I’ve lost count and make my own hair gel at home. Flax seeds apparently can be used to make a fine hair gel that many curlies just adore. I’ve read all about it on the Naturally Curly Crafters forum on Ravelry, and also on naturallycurly.com, and it doesn’t look to difficult to make. So, I hit Whole Foods Market on Saturday afternoon, and grabbed some of the ingredients I could remember – whole flax seeds, some pure aloe vera gel (AVG), some grapefruit seed extract (GSE), jojoba oil, and epsom salts. Then, on Sunday, I got a separate pan, funnel, tea ball, and whisk, so that these would stay “pure” and not be exposed to foods and vice-versa – cuz eating espom salts just sounds gross. And now we’re ready to make gel, following this recipe, right? So. Here we go:
I grab the distilled water and the seeds, put the required (1/4 cup) amount into the tea ball, the cold distilled water in pan, along with the seeds in the ball, and follow the cooking instructions. I got…boiled off water and really sticky flax seeds in my tea ball. Bleah. Maybe it will thicken if I add some of the other stuff, huh? OK, so I do that. Nothing. Maybe it will get thicker upon standing, eh? Nope. Not a bit. Bleah. OK, down the drain goes that mess, while my entire family is taking great pleasure in telling me what an IDIOT I am, without ever actually saying those words. sigh
Another Sticky Wicket, aka Flaxseed Gel – take 2
So, only somewhat discouraged (and pretty much out of DevaCurl AnGell, with no place closer than 80 miles round trip to buy it), I decide I will be undaunted by my failure of last night and try again. This time, instead of distilled water, I will use the filtered water from my in-door dispenser on the fridge, and I’ll skip the tea ball, since I had a hard time getting the water to cover it in the pan. So, I get all my stuff ready after supper, and decide that I’ll use fresh seeds this time, since the ones I used last night are sorta…glued to eachother. LOL!
I put two cups of fridge water in the saucepan, added 4 tablespoons of seeds, and away we went. I stirred constantly, and within a few moments of coming to a boil, I could see that it was beginning to thicken! Yay! OK, turn down the heat and simmer a while….till it looks like egg whites or (eww!) snot. So, I’m stirring and cooking and stirring and cooking, and it’s getting thicker. Finally, it seems to be just a wee bit thinner than egg whites, so I turn off the stove, move the pot to a cool burner, and prepare to strain out the seeds. Oh, no! I can’t find my strainer! I get a pair of panty hose, and my MIL goes to her motorhome and brings in another couple of options. None of which worked. The stuff was like GLUE – it clogged up the panty hose, it got stuck in the wire spatter shield, even my regular colander was a no-go. I even tried putting it back over low, low heat and adding more water to thin it down a little. Still no joy. Threw the entire mess (panty hose, plastic bowl and all) into the trash and washed up. sigh
I am full of fail at flaxseed gel. I may try one more time tomorrow night, depending upon my tolerance for more teasing from the family. Or, I may just go to CVS or Walgreens and try to find some CG-friendly gel. Or maybe I’ll give up and order some Jessicurl. But that would mean not being able to buy yarn for, well, at least a month…hmmmm….