Cleaning the Sink

20130422-220521.jpg I have been given an enormous freedom: the freedom to dry my dishes with a drying towel and put them away immediately.  I know, this sounds a bit strange.  For years now, I have had a drying rack.  Our family would unload the dishwasher onto it and we would allow the dishes to dry for hours — usually overnight.  Then, we would come back to a mess that would still need to be put away. Often the dish cycle was not complete before I needed to unload the dishwasher again, and I had not yet put the dishes away from the previous dish cycle. This was an ongoing source of frustration and agitation in our family. The kicker of this problem is that I didn’t even recognize that it was a problem. Through all of my best efforts of ‘5S‘ing the house, I somehow missed what should have been an obvious “Please 5S this Clutter Catcher” area.  It was a constant irritant, and yet, I had no idea that it was such a problem area.  I had even less of an idea of what to do about it. 20130422-220558.jpg Then one day, we happened upon the “Fly Lady.” In about a day, this woman changed my life and my sink. One of her first lessons is shining your sink. (Click here to visit the lesson.) After reading this, it became apparent that the drying rack was doing nothing but creating an extra step. I can just dry the dishes with a drying towel as I am putting them away. I don’t want to sound dense, but the idea had not really occurred to me. Truly, I have the freedom to just dry the dishes and put them away as I unload the dishwasher. And while I am at it, I dry the sink with my towel when I am done to help shine the sink for the next time I use it. This has the added benefit of keeping the number of dishes used to a minimum. To make it more of a habit, we run the dishwasher now every night whether it is completely full or not. This way we established the habit of unloading the dishwasher and putting the dishes away in the morning to get the day off to a good cleaning start. Our family is six members strong at this point, so running the dishwasher every night may or may not work for you. Both my wife and I have been doing this for about a month now. I will never go back.  My drying rack was offered to the garbage man this morning as a sign of my commitment. Honestly, there was no love lost on this one.

Total Lunar Eclipse of 15 June 2011

21Dec2010 Eclipse by Fred Harris

21Dec2010 Eclipse by Fred Harris

Here comes another total lunar eclipse; however, North America will not be able to see it this time.  It is supposed to be a darker eclipse at totality due to the ash cloud and gaseous fumes put out by the erupting Chilean Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano. For more information about the eclipse visit here. For more information about the volcano and how it will affect the eclipse, visit spaceweather.com.

Lunar Eclipse of 15 June 2011
Lunar Eclipse of 15 June 2011

Fantastic CME from the Sun 7Jun2011

There was a fantastic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun at about 6:30 universal time today. I have never seen anything like this. At the eruption site, I measure it to be approximately 9 Earth diameters wide, and it “rains” back on the sun in that peculiar way that coronal material falls back to a star. Check it out in the embedded video.

Cutting a Watermelon

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Slicing in two pieces

So, I found out that my wife hates cutting watermelon. The reason? I can eat it about as fast as she can cut it.  So when I offered to start cutting the watermelon. She let me.  I stepped up to the watermelon with my knives and cutting board in hand and had an immediate revelation.  I had absolutely no idea how to cut a watermelon.

Now, my Shun knives are pretty sharp, and I have no desire to make a trip to the emergency room. So, I had to stop and think about this.  Here is the method that I came up with. (If someone knows a better way, please share)

  1. Wash the watermelon to get off any gunk on the outside
  2. Dry the melon so that it isn’t slippery
  3. Slice the melon in half. Careful with this one. I use a 8″ Chef’s knife, but wish I had a 10″ Chef’s knife.  This is just an awkward cut. Moving the melon as well as the knife causes the knife to work at its best.
  4. Once you have 2 halves, it gets a little easier.  Now that the melon is not as tall, you can section it with a slicing motion. Start by putting the tip of the knife on the board, and pull right through the melon.
  5. Once there are sections, it is time to remove the rind. I use a modified slice.  I put the section of watermelon on the board and I carefully slice in two separate arcs.
  6. Once the rind is removed, the meat can be sliced into pieces. (Be sure to use good technique. This part is easy, but good slicing practice)
  7. At the end there are those pesky end pieces. I slice triangular pieces, and then I grab my favorite spoon and finish them off. Yum.
    Sectioning the Watermelon

    Sectioning the Watermelon: I use a slicing motion

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    Removing th Rind: A modified slice

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    Slicing the Meat: Remember to use your slicing skills

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    Cutting Corners: A slice again