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After a long hunt I finally found something on my list that I had been looking for:

My new Made In the USA can opener

My new Made In USA can opener

A made in USA can opener. It is an EZ-DUZ-IT can opener made by John J Steuby Co from St ouis. As you can see from the packaging they really play this up. I was delighted by the price – it was $11.95 – only one dollar more than the made in China one next to it. I did a “heft test” in the store between the two in the store.Plus I was able to purchase it a small local business on State Street in Madison. (Tellus Mater)

The can opener has a website but they must spend lots of time making can openers but not a lot on web design.

This thing feels serious in my hand and I am looking forward to using it to open chili, soup and other canned movies. I don’t plan on buying another can opener for years.

The 24 Hour Watch and The Annual Clock

I have a love/hate relationship with time. On the one hand I waste a lot of it. On the other hand it is all we really have. It can hurt my head if I think about it too much.

What options do we have to measure time? A 12 hour clock or watch? A calendar? I don’t like these. I like the big picture; I like the long term. So I have two alternative timepieces to give me a different perspective. A 24 hour watch and an annual clock.

24 Hour Watch

24 Hour Watch

24 Hour Watch

This is my 24 hour watch. I bought it my senior year of college Continue reading

Cabin Fever

It always seems that the heart of winter leads me to think about the greener grass of summer. It is easy to escape to the future and the better times ahead. But these daydreams come at the expense of the present.

I generally spend a lot of time inside during the winter avoiding the cold, but in summer I spend a lot of time avoiding the heat. Sometimes I will take a walk but generally once I get home I stay inside. Sometimes I get to thinking where I am going; what is my destination?

Overture Center for the Arts

I was riding my bike to work earlier this week on the bike path and I saw bootprints and a set of dog paw prints in the freshly fallen snow. They pretty much moved in straight lines but the dog Continue reading

Three Practical Benefits to taking Baths in the Winter

I decided to take a bath this afternoon after a long weekend and I came up with 3 practical benefits to bathing in the winter.

1. It warms you up

I take warm baths and after I get out my body is really warm form sitting in the tub.

2. It warms my apartment up

After I am done I sometimes leave the warm water in the tub and let the heat dissipate into the air rather than sending it down the drain. This is like recycling the heat that is stored in the water.

3. It adds moisture to the air

When I leave the water in the tub it also adds some moisture to the air which can help humidify my apartment which can get quite dry in the winter.

These three benefits are in addition to getting clean and relaxing that come with bathing anyway. Readers of my previous work know I am already a fan of baths. I would encourage you to give bathing a try if you haven’t done it in a while.


The best $3 purchase I made this week

On Saturday I made a 3 dollar purchase that has already paid itself back and will continue to do so every few weeks. That purchase? A drain plug for my bathtub.

A hot bath cures what ails me. The warmth melted any stress away. Sitting in a tub in my bathroom lets my mind wander as there isn’t much to focus on. I mentally reviewed the weekend and week that was and prepared myself for the week to come.

When time isn’t an issue it is much more satisfying than a shower. It is the perfect way to spend some time while waiting for my bread dough to rise on a Sunday afternoon, especially when the Packer’s are having a bye-week.

If you haven’t taken a bath in awhile I encourage you to set aside some time and give it a try. You may find yourself blocking off some time on your calendar a few times a month! I think we should encourage a little less screen time in exchange for a little more bath time.

A Canadian Quarter – Paying it Forward

The laundry facilities at my apartment are coin operated. I dislike scrounging for quarters and raiding my piggy bank every week so I usually just buy a roll of quarters at the bank. I opened up a new roll today to get the required change so I could wash my clothes when I noticed one that wasn’t like the rest. A female on the front! Scourge of scourges . . . the dreaded Canadian quarter.

As of this writing a Canadian quarter only worth $0.24. I paid $10 for $9.99. But then I had a bright idea. I used it for my coin operated laundry. This is what they mean when they say “pay it forward”, right?

Radio – My Kind of Entertainment

100_3514Reflecting on your journey can help you as you move forward

My journey of life improvement has lead me to cut down on my television consumption. I always read that watching less or no tv was better for you, but until you try it you just don’t understand how much better it is. I still keep a 20″ tv for the Packer’s games and the occasional Rick Steves’ Europe episode.

For entertainment I find myself listening to the radio more. The main advantage of listening to the radio is that it does not lock in your sight and sound the way television does. I can wash dishes, cook, write or just plain stare out of the window while listening to the radio. With a tv I keep my butt in the chair and my eyes on the screen. My apartment is small enough that I can listen to it all over with ease.

One of the favorite things about the radio is that there are some stations that are commercial free or commercial “lite”. These are the stations I like to listen to; I have grown an aversion to advertisements. Some of my favorite stations in the Madison area are:

  • Wisconsin Public Radio – I especially like Old Time Radio Drama. They had some interesting advertising back in the day!
  • WSUM – the student station of UW Madison aka the Snake on the Lake
  • WTMJ – for the Brewer games & Bob Uecker
  • 88.7 Classical Music – part of Wisconsin Public Radio I think
  • WORT – community radio at it’s finest

Thanks to the internet I can listen to stations from all around the world or those just outside of my geographic reach:

Those are my favorites but I am always looking for more. When I was out in South Dakota I heard an advertisement for a radio show called the “Floydian Slip”. You just don’t get that on normal radio stations!

Do you have a go to radio station? Do you ever listen to radio from other countries or in a different language?

Space – or “Nature abhors a vacuum”

Tile floor at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre, SD

Tile floor at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre, SD

Today I am going to write about space, or, more specifically, living space. My recent move has been an upgrade from the 300 square feet of living space that I had previously enjoyed. (Have you ever seen that billboard advertisement that says “Bigger than your first apartment”?). Now I have all this empty space and I am afraid of nature filling it up.

I did like my old place, but the location left something to be desired for my current situation. A small space meant it was much more economical to heat and cool. And when I was looking for something I only had one closet to rummage through. Now I have 4 closets!

My new place feels much bigger. It is no longer just one room. One of my favorite things is the large, south facing window in the living room giving lots of light. The winter won’t concern me as much because I don’t pay for heat. My living space is very open right now and I will try to keep it that way. My bedroom has my mattress, a lamp and a small nightstand. There is nothing on the walls and it is very peaceful. The living room is also sparse. I have my computer, chair, stereo, lamp and plants. I have an antenna TV but it is not plugged in. (I have developed a serious dislike for commercials.)

The only major thing I am considering buying is a couch. It would be nice to offer people a place to sit when they visit which is rarely. I would also like to be able to host Couchsurfers. I am not sure Middleton is a big destination but I guess you never know.

I am worried about my space filling up with stuff. I like open space. Plus it is cheaper to not buy things in the first place. One way I am combating this is by not having a car. Everything I bring into my apartment is carried or biked. That should keep my apartment empty for the time being.

Have you noticed your space filling up? Have you ever couchsurfed or hosted someone? Let me know!