Sunday, May 31, 2009

No More Outdated Cans...

Several years ago, my garage looked like the above picture and so I built shelves customizing the measurements so my Plymouth Grand Voyager also fit in the space. On the north wall the shelves were 24" deep which I thought was a nice advantage. I later found out that it was mostly a waste of space because things sort of got lost in the depth of the shelves. Making do I stacked cans of green beans, corn and potatoes only two high since a third layer invariably toppled over noting every time I restocked what a pain in the rear it was to maintain the rotation.

Drooling over the Shelf Reliance set up in Costco - I couldn't justify the expense even if it was rotation perfection. However, even the Shelf Reliance product didn't make efficient use of my twenty four inch shelf depth. I was googling myself sick searching for a better...less expensive version when I came upon an idea made out of cardboard. I liked the idea but I wasn't sure it would last. I also found a company in Utah that makes custom can rotators but they were spendy and only did local pickup.

I decided to visit Lowe's thinking that smelling lumber may give me inspiration on how to economically satisfy my need to improve my current can system. I picked up a couple one by two by eights and some peg board to come up with a design. Since I am not the engineer type but more the trial and error type, I made several prototype designs before I got one I liked. I had the entire weekend while the rest of the family was in Seattle to try and fail my idea until I got it right.

After several decent designs which required only minor tweaking I began the assembly line process of filling up all four shelves with can rotators. Each one hold between 15 and 18 cans and 10 fit across each shelf for a total can capacity on all four shelves of between 600-720 cans.

My goal was not to duplicate the other products out there -- only to do it less expensively. I added labels which I cut from left over peg board and printed out on my computer the labels on off white card stock and of course I couldn't resist inking the edges before I nailed them to the units themselves.

The best design I found was to make two units together because they were stronger that way. Since I did these custom to my shelves I don't really have any plans or measurements except what I used. The cost savings ended up being significant since each unit cost approximately $3.50 in materials. I was satisfied with the outcome and my blister is healed up.

The tools I used to make this project were: a table saw, a compound mitre saw, a 16 guage brad nailer (for the 1 1/2" and 2" brads) and an 18 guage brad nailer (for the 5/8" brads),a compressor, a measuring tape, a square, wood glue, gloves (not when I was sawing) and a dust mask for cutting the peg board.

The shelves are different heights so I had to make some adjustments on the height of the can rollers. There was not enough room to make an additional row on the shelves at the top so I just left the unused space.

Mystery Chin Attack...

Okay I realize this not the most flattering picture of my chin but for posterity sake I am inclined to blog about it.

Initially I explained the symptoms to my favorite Nurse Practitioner who suggested it could be Shingles. When I went to see her the next day the diagnosis of Herpes Zoster aka Shingles was ruled out. It is more likely another Herpes relative (HSV 1) -- which is very different from it's floozy cousin (HSV 2) which I never want to get. Truthfully I hate referring to anything on my body as Herpes anything even though that is official medical terminology. In laymans terms I have a monster cold sore, which fortunately there is good medicine for.

That's my story... and I'm sticking to it -- stuck in my domicile at least until my face clears up sufficiently to be seen in public. FAQ's to follow:

Yes -- it hurts and itches and oozes.
No -- I am not sharing drinks or kisses with anyone -- I don't care how many times they ask.
Yes -- I wash my hands a million times a day -- I'm not sharing this with any of my friends.
and No -- I have no idea how I got this since I have the most stress free life ever.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Big a price...

Traveling highway 395 towards Spokane on several occasions Tim noticed a potential fishing spot. With the aid of Google Earth he located the pond and drive out to explore the possibilities. A "No Trespassing" sign only meant he'd have to locate the landowner. After obtaining permission to fish he unloaded his one man pontoon boat and collection of fishing rods including the spin caster he received from his Grandfather Harry Greenstreet.

I received a phone call late afternoon that he caught a horse and had the pictures to prove it, only later learning the large mouth bass put up a fight dragging him into some nearby bushes. Grandpa Harry's rod, which was resting on the boat was knocked off in the scuffle.

Noting location of the downing, Tim plans to return with mask and snorkel to retrieve the heirloom - hoping to salvage at least the rod itself.

Rapala Glass Perch Shad Rattlin' Minnow -- four and a half bucks plus twenty three for the fishing license equals one sweet photo to post on Sportsman's bragging wall.

Friday, May 15, 2009

WARNING may contain...

I am a HUGE Cream of Wheat fan! I make mine with milk instead of water and sometimes I add a smidgen of butter and brown sugar for extra goodness. I don't take the time everyday to enjoy the enriched farina taste but when I'm in the mood I like to have it on hand.

Yesterday was such a day and the red box was nowhere to be seen. I was sure I had an extra supply -- couldn't find it anywhere. Turns out Tim kiped the 28oz container for his own mid-morning hot fillingness at work 45 minutes from here. This morning I stopped by Albertsons for my own box.

One cup of cold milk in a glass microwavable bowl awaiting the cereal sat on the counter as I poured the contents of the red box into a lidded plastic container for fresh keeping. Out fell a small dark something I didn't recognize. Fishing it out with a spoon I decided it wasn't enough to scrap the entire meal although I wasn't interested in the extra protein it might provide. Continuing to pour, out came another unknown -- this one quite a bit more alive and...crawling.

Cream of Wheat breakfast over -- milk down the drain, I double looked and indeed it was alive and moving. I chose Special K instead today.

Did you know that the US Food and Drug Administration put out a printed manual entitled --

The Food Defect Action Levels

Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods
that present no health hazards for humans

Take wheat flour for example -- according to this manual it is perfectly legal and presents no health hazard to humans to include an average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams of flour. I'm not sure if live insects are included in this number. Here's a photo of what the bug I saw looked like.

While I ingested soggy K's I clicked "contact us" at the BG Foods web portal. Here's what I wrote:

I purchased a box of Cream of Wheat 2 1/2 Minute cereal this morning at Albertsons on Clearwater in Kennewick. The best by information on the box reads: Jan 09 2010 XJM 07:21 9 The UPC Bar Code is 1313000612. When I poured the cereal into a plastic container for storing I noticed what looked like a dead bug. I scooped it out with a spoon not really that worried about it. After pouring more there was a live crawling bug in the cereal. The box of cereal cost $4.49. I would like a full refund and new box of bug free Cream of Wheat for the hassle. If you need a copy of the receipt I can provide that. Please contact me regarding this matter as truthfully I am extremely grossed out by what I saw crawling around in your product. Thank you!

One time when we lived in Pocatello I wrote a letter to Breyers after purchasing a half gallon Peach Ice Cream that was freezer burned. Not only did I receive a refund of my purchase but a delivery of a dozen or so frozen products from Breyers arrived two months later.

Here's hoping BG Foods provides me enough bug-less product to last a long time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Can Too...Erase your Past.

One thing I picked up from a class last year was that photo's are more pleasing to the eye when backgrounds are not filled with distracting objects. You know -- the old tree coming out of your head concept. What's been frustrating to me is capturing a nice snapshot with a distracting something or someone in the rear.

Enter PS3. An easy fix is a bit of a Gaussian Blur to the background so that the focus remains on the subjects. The contrast is sometimes too obvious with this method. Another idea is to cut out the background altogether and insert another in it's place. Unfortunately no one really believes your bookshelves always stay that neat or that you live on the beach in Acapulco.

Using a Clone Stamp in combination with a Blur Filter and a low flow mid opacity Eraser you can just take out what distracts you. No offense to the background extras - I just want to see my boys.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Little Prom Humor...

Dane and McKay's Prom Date...

McKay's First Prom...

McKay and her two friends Whitney and Tiana were all three so beautiful dressed up for Prom. Out of the several backdrops we had -- they chose the black velvet -- only it was not very wide so they had to scoot in together. No serious poses allowed.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pantry Pie

Here's the cheesecake pie I made with only items that I had in my refrigerator and my pantry. The strawberries were the extras I didn't need from a baby shower dish I made yesterday. Here's the recipe.

Graham Cracker Crust -- which I had in my pantry (otherwise I would have used the actual graham crackers in my pantry with a little melted butter)

The filling = 1 can of sweetened condensed milk -- oops, didn't have that one so I made my own. Here's that recipe: 1/2 cup hot water -- put in blender, add 1 cup powdered milk (from the cannery) and 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter -- high speed for 3 minutes -- voila... sweetened condensed milk.

Back to the filling -- into your sweetened condensed milk add 8 oz cream cheese (not low fat -- it won't work), 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon real vanilla. Mix up in the blender for additional two minutes (it should be getting thick)

Pour into your graham cracker pie crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then top with whatever you like -- cherry pie filling or whatever. I used the strawberries just by them selves and it was delicious. The cheesecake pie is very rich and thick.

Lest you think I am the bomb for thinking up this recipe -- can't let you think that.. the recipe comes from Crystal Godfrey's Milk Handout at .