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Tag Archives: Education

Sharpening Not Just Your Knife

My father and grandfather could keep a pocket knife sharp as a razor with an Arkansas stone (a type of wet rock).  I’ve never been able to reach that level of sharp.  EVER!  With anything!  I’ve spent tons of money on all kinds of things to sharpen my knives because I’ve been totally spoiled by my dad and granddad.  I can not abide a dull knife.

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I keep several in a favorite coffee cup in the kitchen.

CC’s dad used the bottom of one of my coffee cups to sharpen one of his knives and I had to try it.  It works.  It works well, except it is unwieldy and I wanted something that was smaller and easier to take camping and such.  Then I read something on a blog about using ceramic insulators as a sharpener.  I already knew from my research that ceramic is one of the greatest sharpeners, so…  A quick trip to eBay revealed ceramic insulators for sale for a cheap price.  I paid $5.00 for a dozen.  I then went to Home Depot and bought a wooden dowel.  Cutting the dowel into pieces, I inserted them into the insulators as a handle and TA-DA!  I have sharpeners that keep my knives razor-sharp.

I would like to note several things.  I spent the time to research before buying my knives and bought quality knives.  I managed to catch a block set of them on sale for $30.00, as a close out item.  I’ve had the set for more than ten years and the only issue I have had is the wooden handles have to be oiled periodically.  If I had it to do over, I might go with a different type of handle.  Then again, I might not.  I like natural materials.  I didn’t want serrated knives because they are a pain to sharpen, if you even can and most just don’t cut as smoothly as a honed hollow ground blade.  Don’t know what a hollow ground blade is?  You might want to research that.  The point that I’m trying to make is spending the time and money on quality decreases the quantity that you will end up using up.  (Think smaller footprint on the Earth and less aggravation for you!)

These are not wonder sharpeners in one regards.  If you do not know the proper technique for sharpening, I highly suggest you jump on YouTube and check out some videos.  Sharpen more than your knives, sharpen you mind by learning something new.

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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in A Penny Saved

 

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Moses, the Second Coming

I love Dilbert. Like the immortal Calvin & Hobbes, the cartoon carries a pithily accurate set of observations of our society.

In this episode one of the riffs is about people staying home when they’re sick. Or not.

Right now I’m tending to DG because she’s home with a cold and the remains of an allergy attack. I’ll ignore the allergies – suffice it to say that some people need to recognize that they live in a country with relatively plentiful and clean public water, and need to utilize this utility instead of gallons of cheap and noxious perfume or cologne.

She’s sick because it’s the latest round of what’s being boomeranged between her coworkers, who won’t/can’t stay home. Why not? Because management is more stupid than most and actually punishes contagious employees for at very least refusing to spread disease to themselves and the thousands of public they have close contact with every day.
Likewise, they’re all sick because people choose to go out in public each day while ill, spreading the crud as if they were tipping those who serve them.
Crud you, too.

Do we really need to realize the prophesied second coming of Moses? (Read the judeo-christian bible(s), they explain a lot about american culture, or at least Dilbert.) I mean the dude’s claim to fame was really that he revolutionized public health back in the day, regardless of perpetrating genocide and misogyny.

I may be on a soap box here, but I firmly believe that ignorance is the core problem here. Ignorance of basic public health (despite the commercials), ignorance of basic personal health, biology, business and history.

Which costs more, to excuse an employee from attendance or Smog Forbid actually dole out the sick day pay they were promised at orientation, or to work them until they can’t and have spread the health to everyone else? Not to mention the customers who either have the sense to stay home when they get sick (from employees) or to avoid the petri dish that is your workplace.

But it isn’t just contagion. One of DG’s coworkers was injured by a faulty elevator – sustained a serious concussion, as it happens. The woman couldn’t function, but no one would help her. They just shoved paperwork in her hands and gave attitude with it. Never mind that she couldn’t get herself home, figure out the paperwork and frankly needed an ambulance and worker’s comp (which she didn’t get, either).
People at large don’t know when it’s time to stop soldiering on or to stop demanding such of others.

Not that I have a problem with our armed defenders, but somehow everyone who doesn’t act like a Marine in a war zone is treated like a hypochondriac. As a result we have a decided public susceptibility to disease, a host of prevalent, chronic conditions and a rising cost of getting things treated when they get out of hand. I’d prefer that people have an affordable, easy access to certification that they’re sick or injured and don’t have to work and the basic education to care for themselves. And no, I don’t believe that Johnny Carry Gun should or needs to demand money from everyone to fund this convenience. This is a fairly easy matter for employers to create, and that I believe would save them money.

Right now the common situation is that one needs a doctor’s note in order for an absence to be excused. That means that said employee shells out, say 4 hours of pay for a copay, plus Rx costs, if they have insurance. Whereas a simple clinic that only certifies in writing that yes, Bob was contagious or too ill or injured to perform his duties, needs _______ modifications, etc. No treatment, no ongoing care, no Rx that isn’t necessary for a swift recovery, but maybe a sheet of paper or info link saying what to do for self care. Things like what over-the-counter medications actually cure, what simply alleviate symptoms and when a recovery can reasonably be expected.
Oh, and a compulsory education course for management and admin, whose duties include sending people who appear contagious and not antagonizing employees who aren’t skiving.

In short, have the sense the gods gave Girl Scouts in the 50s.

-Cappy

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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A Whole New Kettle of Hope

I’ve been overweight most of my life and all of my adult life.  I usually run somewhere between 360 and 380 pounds.  Yeah! I’m almost 400 pounds.  Most people who know me wouldn’t believe it.  When they finally do, they say things like “it doesn’s look like it because you’re so tall” and “you carry it well”.  Well, yeah, I am tall and yes, I do carry it well the way they mean it, but it doesn’t change the fact that my body is breaking down due to the strain of carrying too much weight.  Then there is the issue of not being able to find clothes that fit, much less ones that I like.  Oh, and they cost more and never seem to last as long.  Let’s not even talk about chairs with arms on them!  Ever stood up and had to lever a chair off your ass with your back and thighs?  Ever seen the look of revulsion on someone’s face when you eat your piddling little portion of food even though smaller portions don’t make you lose weight.  Ever had someone look at you and actually have the balls to say, “why don’t you eat a salad?”

This sounds like a lot of whining, huh?

That isn’t the point of this post.  The point of this post is HOPE.  Want some?  I’ve got some to spare for you.  Why?  Because most of us have that “extra” that we’d like to get rid of.  What I’m suggesting isn’t going to be easy.  It isn’t going to be a magic pill that you take every morning with your milk chocolate mocha and donut and the pounds simply melt away.  Its going to be hard work, but you’ll love yourself for doing it.

I will say this: I have yet to break a sweat doing what I’m doing and I’ve been losing a steady five pounds a month.  (more now that I’ve incorporated phase two)

Before you whine, listen.

Five pounds a month isn’t all that much, but if you talk to everyone who has ever lost the weight and kept it off (and I know you have talked to them), they will tell you that long-term weight loss is the way to go.  The reason is because it means that you’re changing not only your scale readout, but also your body, mindset, and metabolism.

The first thing I did was go gluten-free.  Yes, yes…  I know everyone thinks that it is simply the latest excuse going around.  As someone who started losing the moment she stopped ingesting this crap I suggest you try to convince someone else.  What’s more, I don’t have the joint pain that I did.  I don’t have the moodiness that I did.  I don’t have the apathy that I did.

Wait a minute!  What?  Apathy?  What’s apathy?  Dictionary.com says:

Apathy
noun, plural apathies.
1.  absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2.  lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

Check out this link: Food Intolerance

Notice any symptoms that might be you?  I sure did.

So what happens when you get rid of those food intolerances?  You body tries to come back to normal.  It took MONTHS, but I’m proud to say, I’m happy.  Yeah, I know.  You ARE happy.  Lie to someone who hasn’t been there.  You have moments of happiness and optimism, but you live in a drudgery of just making it through the day.  I now live in a place of optimism and positive outlook and the only real difference in my life is the gluten.  Are you gluten intolerant?  I have no idea.  It might be something totally different, like dairy or nuts or…  Play around with your diet and find out.

Before you throw what I’m saying out the window, try it.  One week just cutting back on the gluten was enough to convince me, but everyone I talk to, says give it two weeks.  Two weeks of cutting something out of your diet?  You’ve done stupid fad diets for longer than that.  You’ve given up sugar for longer than that!  Haven’t I done that stupid heart healthy diet too?  Grapefruit every blessed morning?  Bleck!  I HATE grapefruit.

All that being said, I now get to the hard work phase (as if giving up gluten is easy, that crap is in EVERYTHING!). Does anyone know what these are?

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The two smaller ones are kettle bells.  (The big purple one is a bouncy ball that BG thinks is her kettle bell.)  The little puny one is mine.  The not much bigger one is CC’s.  I’ll let CC tell you about his experience.  I’m telling your about mine.

My kettle bell weighs 15 pounds.  BG weighed more than half that when she was born!  I use a fifteen because my wrists aren’t strong enough handle a heavier one without hurting myself.  Eventually, I will move up to the 25 pound (red) one, but for now I use the little one.  They make smaller ones for those of you who need something even smaller.

Here’s the deal.  Kettle bells are NOT a NEW thing.  The Russians have been using them for a VERY long time with huge success.  You DO NOT have to do endless reps.  You DO NOT have to do impossible weights (15# remember!).  I DO NOT sweat when I do mine (big issue for me; I HATE to sweat).

What you DO HAVE TO DO is not drop it on your head or foot!  These are solid iron.  Take the time to research how to do the exercises correctly.  I know you know someone who is doing this, but are they doing it correctly?  Probably not.  Go online and look up a guy named Pavel Tsatsouline.  This guy might be weird, but he knows what he’s doing. Click on his name to go straight to his website or hit YouTube for videos of him doing his thing.

Since I’ve started doing kettle bells, the fat is melting off me. (Yesterday was the start of week 2 and yeah!  I’ve already noticed a HUGE difference.)  I don’t know how much I’ve lost because they don’t really make an affordable scale that will weigh me, so I don’t have one (the five pounds a month thing is from the doctor’s office).  I do know that since I’ve started doing kettle bells, my pants are starting to fall down and my shirt no longer tried to pop a button over my belly when I sit down.  I can SEE the difference in the mirror.

I do recommend that you do some serious stretching after working with kettle bells.  It seems to help with muscle soreness.  Yoga has been my friend for years and I find that combining it with kettle bells is a wonderful synergy, but FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in Fitness

 

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When does a child becomes an adult?

I work with the public everyday.  One of the things I do to amuse them and myself is have a random question of the day.  The other day the random question of the day was: at what point should children start practicing to be adults?

Shocking to me the average of all the answers was at ages 16 to 18 years of age.  I’m sorry, but these answers answered so much about what is wrong with the world and why my child gets so many compliments for being smart, well-behaved, and mature.  My three-year old has been practicing to be a responsible member of society for roughly three years at this point.  Crazy as it sounds the meaning of no, how to pick up your own mess, and please/thank you are real life skills!  (I’m still working on that pick up your own mess bit myself.)

That being said, my daughter is already learning important life lessons now.  1. Mama and Daddy won’t always be there to pull your fat out of the fire.  2. No means no and usually for a darn good reason.  3. That she really is loved and that good discipline is part of real love.

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2014 in Baby Genius

 

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