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

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

Food Storage Solution

My Old Plasticware

My Old Plasticware

As a man who uses dishes (as well as wash them), I have been frustrated by the food storage containers that we have been using in our house for a while. Over the last thirteen years, we have been collecting different plasticware. Now, for those first years of marriage, money was tight. So, when cheap Gladware sets became available, I was elated. But that didn’t stop me from keeping the occasional butter container. Nor could I possibly part with the plastic container that comes with my lunchmeat. Forget the fact that the shape is almost the same as the Gladware, but the lid doesn’t fit anything but itself. Having a mix-and-match set leads to confusion and delay when actually trying to use the containers for storage. There is a slow down when:

  1. Trying to find a lid for a container
  2. Trying to put the containers back to where they live – (nothing stacks correctly)
  3. Choosing the appropriately sized container – (not really understanding how much volume each container holds)

So, I have decided to standardize. This led me to the question of which containers I should buy. Thanks to all who answered on the Facebook shout-out. It really gave us some things to ponder. There are a few choices. BPA (aka, Bisphenol A) has been deemed toxic. So, make sure that your plasticware is BPA free. Good news. I didn’t find any plasticware out there that had any BPA. In fact, most of the companies are going out of there way to let you know that their products are BPA free. Regardless, the thoughts are that one should still not heat things up in plasticware. Only use it for ambient temperature needs. The recommendation we received overwhelmingly was to use glass for things that need to be reheated. This led us to a difficult choice – plastic or glass?

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The New Plastic and Glassware

We decided to go with both. The idea is to use the glassware when we know something will need reheating, and plasticware when it will not. The real question is which brands did we end up buying? (Drum-roll please)

For the plastic, we went with the Rubbermaid Premier, and the glass we went with Snapware Glasslock. We found the prices to be very competitive at Costco, so I bought three boxes of the plastic, and two boxes of the glass. For a total of:

  • Plastic
  1. 12 x 1.25 cup containers
  2. 12 x 2 cup containers
  3. 6 x 3 cup containers
  4. 9 x 5 cup containers
  5. 3 x 9 cup containers
  • Glass
  1. 4 x 1.4 cup rectangle
  2. 4 x 3.2 cup rectangle
  3. 2 x 5.9 cup rectangle
  4. 4 x 1.3 cup round
  5. 4 x 2.3 cup round

Just take a look at how well it fits in the cabinet. 🙂

-Along the 5S way

Plastic Bags

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Bags of Bags

We all have them. Some of us would rather not use them, and some of us don’t care one way or another. Regardless of which camp you belong to, the plastic bag is easy to come by. I find that in everyday use, the plastic bag does have its place. Usually for cleaning unsightly messes that the dog makes. Should it be used when a reusable bag would work better? No, probably not, but there is a reason for keeping them around.

The real question is why do I have so many? Following the attitude of not throwing away anything that you might need later (A fallacy and rather poor way to live life), I have become a collector of bags. Not that I need them, but rather because, “Why would I throw away a perfectly good bag?” It may not look like it, but there are over 500 bags in this picture. Some of them date back almost a decade ago.

New 5S rules:

  1. One small bag of plastic bags may be kept. If the bag is full, you don’t need to keep it.
  2. If the plastic bag has a hole in it. Don’t keep it.
  3. Use re-usable bags whenever possible.