Do something nice for a Veteran today.  A simple phone call and a “Thank you for your Service” is good.  I don’t care how busy you are, the only excuse for not making one such call is you’re dead. 

(In which case drop us a note, we have some questions.)

Topic 1:  Weight Loss with Oatmeal

I have been nibbling around the edges of dieting, but when working as hard as I have been (sweating like a fool, which come to think of it does make sense…) it’s easy to run off 10 pounds.

Three major changes in lifestyle may account for my loss of 10 pounds in recent weeks (since October 19):

1. I have been active as hell. Working – real physical hard, sweaty work every day for 6-8 hours. Mouse time doesn’t count.

2.Ending my consumption of martinis. Sure, they were fun, but as I age, my ability to bounce back from more than two glasses of wine with dinner suggest aging doesn’t include too many excesses.

3.I’ve just gotten started on Oatmeal.

There’s a book out, The Oatmeal Diet and I’ve been munching on plain old Quaker Oats along with some frou-frou organic brand, but to read the book, Oats have not been exploited by the corporate types yet because there is not enough interest in higher Oat production worldwide.

I highly recommend not only the book, but also eating half a cup of dry oats (add water to cook, duh) as eating it daily now for a week seems to have almost magically reduced by scale-breaking proclivities.

Also reduces inflammation, appetite for red meat is on the run, and now a small meal of high carb food (like mac and cheese) actually more than works.

Blood pressure has come down a bit too, although I am compulsively checking that and it could be from just plain old hard work.

Sleep hasn’t changed, workload hasn’t changed….

Oh…one of the couples we know? Well on her side of the family, her dad – who eats a bowl of oatmeal once a day – is now 98 and is looking like an easy hundred.

Statistically, oatmeal (and going to wine and no hard liquor) seems to be the path to many more columns.

Topic 2: iPad Travel Alert

I’m not saying this is widespread, and I don’ty have any other reports, but one of our sources up in the Seattle area reported a really odd case recently:

He was traveling OUTBOUND from Seattle and he was told that he had to turn over his bag for inspection because he had failed to mention his iPad and it was spotted on the scanner.

Now the odd part: His bag was taken from him, out of his view, around a curtain.

After a few minutes of “searching” his bag was handed back.

Upon arriving at his destination he discovered that his high-end ($175) Sony headphones were missing so he has filed a complaint with the TSA.

Other thing is where he bought the headphones had a 90-day theft insurance thrown in…and he had the receipt and discovered them missing when he unpacked….on day 88!

So here’s the deal:

No problem with TSA folks doing their job…but YOU have a RIGHT to be present when your bag(s) are searched. And, check the TSA website for which electronics are subject to search. Don’t give up your phones without accompanying them, either, since some people don’t have passwords for little goodies like, oh, bank accounts, locked down well.

Just passing it on…

Topic 3: Shop Work

Spent all day on the dumb end of power tools trying to get the trim (finish carpentry) just right. And caulked and trimmed out the new exterior door to the guest quarters.

This is not a particularly “fun” series of tasks (back hurts like hell), but it is rewarding when I look at the ratio of raw materials to perceived value.

Then I feel better.

UPS dropped off my new tile saw Thursday. Never had one before, but after seeing the great tile work that Chris Tyreman of The Chronicle Project did, well, I’m competitive. What can I say?


Topic 4:  How to Get More Tools

(Attention Tool Sluts!)

If you are new to the fine art of being a home handy-bastard, one of the fine points to success with limited budgets and spousal relations goes like this:

Work out the real cost of a proposed project.

Base everything on full retail prices. Then add in a couple of “necessary tools to do a good job.”

Most spouses have a hard time with significant who go overboard with their hobbies (which is why ham radio gear arrives when someone is shopping, lol) or put up things like 746-foot long antennas.

BUT – and this is top secret stuff to remember and it will fill out your shop – Make a logical case that the tool you need to buy (like that $1,500 class cabinet saw) will help you make much better cabinets than store-bought.

For the remodel of the guest quarters I’ve worked in a Skil tile saw and a Wagner power paint roller, for example.

This will not work with all women, but I am one of the most blessed men on earth because my wife is one of the feqw beautiful women I’ve ever met who has done commercial garage and carport rebuilding and can run a jack-hammer.

Who’d have thought?

Topic 5: Make Your Life a Huge Series of  Adventures

Your Life is your resume and the people you’ve touched along the way.

If you were to read your own resume today, would you find yourself a petty damn awesome person, or shading over into staid and boring?

I considered my wife carefully…the more skills, the better, I figured…

I mean seriously? Homesteader, masseuse, dancer, construction work, and  sergeant in her military hitch. Significant time as a Title clerk, well-driller & pipe welder, restaurant hostess, rodeo timer and as an artist and personal trainer….Mercy – sounds unbelievable.  I’ve been after her to finish writing a book about her adventures.

For me it was broadcast engineer, R&E mechanic, DJ, newscaster, news director, airline VP, software VP sales, college president, electronics sales VP, director of strategic planning,  business process and sales consultant, writer, financial whiz after a fashion, and here lately, carpenter, and novelist…

It is amazing how much you can figure out if you take 10-years per industry and try different things, working your way up a wrung each time…

But you see,  that’s the neat thing about working hard and living a long life. You get to try your hand at anything than interests you, if you’re willing to turn off the Cyclops for a while.

Not willing?

Well, back to the shop. Zeus the Cat will listen to me even if kids today don’t give a rip about experience and the joys of learning by doing…

Life=long learning, that’s the key – that an d oatmeal which takes us full circle.

See you Monday. And we part with the Home Handy-Bastard salute.

(This is the part where we hold up our hands and show all 10-digits present. Re-check Monday so don’t screw it up, right?)

And write when you get rich,

(Or come up with a perfect crime that doesn’t involve running for office and starting a Foundation…)