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Jul 10, 2013

Stream of Consciousness for a Balmy Wednesday



Readers, today I just need to babble a bit.

First, I own not one, not two, but -- as of this morning -- three non-working Oster hair clippers.  These little appliances are marvelous at cutting hair: I've used them to shave my head and beard (and once to make a faux fur coat) on a weekly basis for nearly 15 years.  They were all made in the USA and feel solid.  But in two cases, the wire broke at the point where it enters the clipper (see pic below), and in the third, the motor seems to have worn out: it barely hums.  I know (think?) these could be repaired but I don't have the ability, nor is there a place anywhere near here where I could have them serviced.  It's very frustrating and so typical of the way things work -- or don't work -- these days.



Two of the three Oster clippers I bought off eBay -- they were used but in fine working condition -- and I've just put a bid in for another.  It's not so much the cost of another one that bothers me (you can get a second-hand one pretty cheap) but the waste.  As you can see, I kept the two non-working models when I got my third, and I guess I'll keep that one too though I'm not sure what good it does me.  The old blades are of value I suppose...

In other news, I have not yet started sewing Michael's new cotton eyelet shirt -- maybe today.



His preference is for the Negroni shirt pattern which would not be my choice -- not a fan of camp shirts -- but he's going to wear it.  Still, it doesn't make me excited to get started.  The last Negroni I made was at the end of my shirt sew-along two years ago and I think I wore it once.  I showed it to Michael the other day, he tried it on and now he wants it, so I gave it to him.  For an Autumn he certainly looks good in a lot of my clothes!



Next, what do you think of dress forms that have wooden bases like this one?  Apparently this is the French style.  You can probably guess why I'm asking.



Finally, I continue to wrestle with the things that I think compromise the quality of my life over which I have control.  For example, in the past, I've had mixed success trying to limit my coffee intake.  Attempts to limit my computer time have been a complete bust -- I guess I'm not really committed to it and I'd even go so far as to say that I'm on the computer more than I was when I started dealing with this issue.  It's such a time-suck as well as an energy drain for me.

It occurred to me while swimming this morning that one might assess one's health based on The Four S's -- I like to think I made that up but nihil nove sub sole, as they say.

1) Stamina

2) Stool

3) Skin

4) Sleep

I think these are pretty self-explanatory, and we'll all have different baselines for each, but in short, if your stamina is good, your bowels are normal, your skin looks clear, and your sleep is decent, then you're doing pretty well.  Does that sound right to you?

Sleep has been an issue for me from time to time, though lately I've been sleeping much better despite the intense heat.  We've been getting local vegetables and fruit from our CSA so our diets -- while always low in processed foods -- are considerably greener.  Coffee is still an issue -- I drink a small pot of espresso daily and really don't want to give it up -- but I figure that as long as it doesn't disrupt my sleep or my digestion, it's OK.  In the heat and humidity of summer, it gives me a boost.

Sugar begins with the letter "s" and that's something I always try to limit, both for reasons of weight and overall health.  Michael has a sweet tooth and loves rich baked goods, which I would almost never buy if it were up to me but it isn't always, and when they're around I'm tempted.  I do eat like a French woman, however, and a forkful of whatever is tempting me is usually enough to satisfy me.

Alright, I've rambled enough.  If you have any opinions about Oster hair clippers, vintage French dress forms with wooden bases, or The Four S's, feel free to express it below.  I should really start sewing something, but this heat...

Have a great day, everybody!

(Willy makes a bed in my Ralph Lauren sheets.)

54 comments:

  1. Maybe you could add "sewing" to make five "S' s"? :)

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  2. Sweet dreams, precious Willie!

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  3. You might want to consider getting a pair of clippers that have a swivel cord base. I have the same problem with flat iron/curlers as you do with clippers but once I switched no problem

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  4. If you want to rationalize some computer time, go to Youtube and look up how to repair hair clippers. My h can repair or teach himself to repair, just about anything and turns to blogs or Youtube for a lot of information. Since you have working clippers coming from Ebay why not use the non-working ones to learn on?

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  5. Knew I forgot something...why the hell give up coffee!!!??? I tried when I was in the hospital for an overnight procedure. I had the bright idea that since I couldn't have any the day I went in and didn't have any the next day that I should let this be the start of my caffeine detox. Not only did I not want to get out of bed and start walking but I didn't even want to go home. I saw the coffee cart in the hall and had a small cup. The will to live washed over me and the rest is history.

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  6. I second going to youtube and finding out how to do it yourself. Or, you could try an appliance repair shop. for example . . . http://www.appliancedoctorx.com/ . This not a plug, but just something I found in the New York area with only about a minute of searching. I'm sure someone could fix it for you if you really want it fixed. I'm a big believer in fix and re-use. The planet can only hold so much garbage. Love reading your blog. Ron in Germany

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  7. We used to have a local hardware shop that repaired small appliances. Then Home Depot AND Lowe's came to town, the hardware shop went bankrupt, and we throw away our small appliances instead of repairing them. :/

    I agree with you on the 4 S's. I think they're all related, too. I was forced to cut down on sugar, wheat, and dairy due to digestive issues, and what do you know, my skin cleared up.

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  8. Hi Peter:

    I bought a fabulous fit dress form years ago, came with that same wooden stand as in your photo. It stinks. It kept tipping over. I bought a cheap plastic Christmas tree stand, knocked those curlicue feet off it and rigged it so it holds the upright part upright. Now "Looshilala" doesn't tip over at least.
    Also, I am convinced there'd be no way at all for my heart to keep beating__ __ without coffee.

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  9. You can fix the issue with the worn wires on the clippers very easily with Sugru. Have a look at sugru.com to have your mind blown by the possibilities for fixing/improving your stuff. (I am not affiliated with that business; I just love using it!)

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  10. I think your Four S theory is spot on. I'm pretty lucky on all fronts, although now that we're out of Africa/Arabia, I think I'll see a dermatologist to do something about sun damage - I've got some spots and stains that I suppose these days they can laser back toward my onetime boyishly clear complexion.

    As for coffee - on its own, I'm convinced that it's nothing but good for you. It's when it's turned into one of those appalling Starbuckische concoctions that it will kill you.

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    1. "As for coffee - on its own, I'm convinced that it's nothing but good for you. "

      Agreed. Supposedly it helps prevent Alzheimer's in some way, among other things - but then we're talking coffee, not frappucinos. My grandparents in the Netherlands were big coffee drinkers and while they had other health problems as they got older, Alzheimer's was never one of them. My grandfather lived on his own and rode his bicycle to the market and to the chess club until he died at age 86. He was sharp as a tack.

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  11. Give up coffee?!! Nothing's wrong with anything in moderation.
    Thanks for the link Kapinny. My DH has a pair of Potatoe Nike shoes he loves! Maybe this can extend its life.

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  12. Replies
    1. Sometimes it disrupts my sleep so I have to cut back. If I could I'd drink it all day!

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  13. IS Michael sure he is an Autumn? Not that I am an expert but Michael's skin tone in the pictures looks more cool than warm...

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    1. He looks kind of summer-ish to me.

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  14. I'd be willing to take a crack at fixing your clippers if you sent them to me. At a minimum I'm sure the cord from the one with the broken vibrator could be switched to one of the ones with a broken cord.

    Shipping two ways would almost certainly cost more than buying a new pair, but sometimes a symbolic act is worth the extra trouble. Let me know if you want to make these into a moral stand for living right and desire some assistance; otherwise if you just want a haircut buying a new pair is probably the right solution. It is annoying when something is 90% good but for one reason or another still useless.

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    1. Holly, I've already bought a new pair off eBay, but I'd be happy to send you mine anyway if you want -- could be a blog post for you! ;)

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  15. Hi! New reader here (about to start on a Negroni for my husband). When I was pregnant I probably should have given up coffee...but I decided that giving it up would be worse on me and my family than having one small cup a day. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to enjoy life :)

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  16. How does anyone start the day without coffee! After that I like my caffeine cold (Coca-Cola). I know it's not good for me but I can't give it up but I ration it out to myself. I believe in consuming pretty much anything in moderation. I would drive some people crazy because I almost never "clean my plate" . When I am done, I'm done and its hard to know exactly how much to take. In restaurants, there is almost always too much. If possible I bring it home.

    I remember having major appliances for 20 years or more. We were recently told when our ten year old appliance was repaired , that we were well past the average lifespan of our whole kitchen which was all bought at once when we built the house!

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    1. My fridge is nearly 25 years old and still works just fine. And I almost always bring food home from restaurants: the portions are often so large I lose my appetite!

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  17. Mmmm, coffee. Being newly liberated from Mormonism I've been enjoying coffee immensely. Alas, caffeinated coffee gives me a migraine 24 hours later, so I have to limit myself to decaf. Still totally worth it.

    Maybe you could try subbing decaf for your afternoon coffee and see if that helps your sleep.

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    1. Have you tried the half caf varieties? Maxwell House makes a good one. I only do afternoon coffees when I'm a little out of steam and I have a boat load more stuff to do. Welcome to coffeeland, Krista!

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    2. Coffee is a diuretic and can dehydrate the body and therefore can give headaches. Whenever I drink coffee, I have about twice as much water as coffee and I never had a headache due to coffee. So I hope that works for ya' Krista!

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    3. Thanks for the replies. I drink A LOT of water every day, so I'm sure it's not dehydration. Especially since I only drink 1.5 cups of caffeinated coffee a day. I have other triggers for migraines (gluten, heavily sufated wine), so it's easy for me to see the pattern.

      And, honestly, I'm just too scared to try the half caf kind. The Hubby works nights and we have two small kids so I just can't chance getting knocked down by a migraine. Decaf coffee still has two other stimulants in it and tastes just as delicious.

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    4. I never drink decaf. Methylene chloride is widely used to remove the caffeine from coffee. It's really awful. Here is a blerb straight from OSHA "Methylene chloride, also called dichloromethane, is a volatile, colorless liquid with a chloroform-like odor. Methylene chloride is used in various industrial processes in many different industries: paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing, paint remover manufacturing, metal cleaning and degreasing, adhesives manufacturing and use, polyurethane foam production, film base manufacturing, polycarbonate resin production, and solvent distribution and formulation.

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    5. I will drink decaf only on the rare occasion I'm having dinner out and need the taste of coffee to enhance (and wash down) my dessert. Otherwise, ugh.

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    6. In reply to Meg:

      There is Swiss Water decaf that uses just water to decaffeinate their coffee.

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  18. In the Boston area, there are geniuses in the Russian emigre community who can fix appliances, no matter how small, for a fair price. I think in Soviet times it was very difficult to replace one's favorite gizmos and people would do whatever it took to keep them running. Field trip to Brighton Beach?

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  19. Easy-peasy for an electrician to replace a cord; if that's all that's wrong! the vibrator-defective clippers are probably dead in the water, but a cord is not at all difficult to replace. I still cringe when I think how, early on in our relationship, my BF handed my Wahl vibrator over to his best friend to have the cord replaced! I thought he was going to do it HIMSELF. But it was great to have the new cord: that vibratot is nearly 30 and still going strong!

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  20. The Wefixit Yahoo Group has discussed hair clippers and how to keep them running. Maybe someone there can help you tinker with them.

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  21. Willy recognises bedding when he sees it :)

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  22. Check out the Fixers Collective in Brooklyn. They meet once a month and only ask for a $5 donation: http://fixerscollective.org

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  23. French dress forms are the best, can't beat them.

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  24. Years ago I mixed up caffinated and de-caff coffee and accidentally went cold turkey from coffee for a number of days. I hadn't realised how addicted I was, but it was a nasty withdrawal. I still drink coffee now, but I have switched to Good Earth Vanilla Chai tea in the afternoon. Other teas I tried just didn't hit the spot, but that chai seemed satisfying. I might just go boil the kettle right now...

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  25. Apparently, sewing chihuahuas are very much like sewing cats...

    I know my father would be able to repair your power cords, but unfortunately my father lives half a world away from you (and so do I). Basically, it involves taking the appliance apart, removing the old cord and soldering a new one in. But it also involves knowing which wire goes where...
    As you can see, we're also in the "old appliances" camp. Our old kitchen blender just died on us; father tells me it is about 30 years old, and he's still thinking of how to repair it... unfortunately, it's not just the cord.

    I'm not much into coffee, but I'm having the same sort of problem with black tea. I drink it in half a litre quantities, so I'm able to drink even two litres of it a day, when I'm on a roll... I try to add liquids of other kind as well, but sometimes I forget myself, and sometimes I have trouble sleeping because of that.

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  26. I think the clippers with bad cords could be fixed. The trick for most of us is whether we have the tools and time to do it. Or have someone close by who can do it so we don't end up paying more for the postage and repair than buying another. And to be honest, I think most think only of the cost of repair vs cost of new, not what happens to the broken item after it is tossed out.

    I can think of 2 possible problems with that dress form base. Tripping over the legs sticking out like that or the whole thing tipping over. You might keep an eye out for a broken office chair that has a base with wheels sitting on the curb and use that? It might be more stable and have the bonus of being on wheels. Or add weight to the base somehow.

    I think most know this, but it's worth repeating - do NOT quit caffeine cold turkey - cut back gradually. Caffeine withdrawal headaches are wicked. I used to be able to drink regular coffee all day, but now I need avoid caffeinated coffee after noon.

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  27. Peter, you might want to contact Bruce at brucessharpning.com to see if your clippers can be repaired. I have had him service a set of clippers for me, and he has sharpened my blades. I have a couple of hairy dogs, and a hairy husband that require my clippers be in good working order. I thought his prices were quite reasonable. There are also other folks on the web that provide this service.

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  28. OOPS! Typo. I meant to type brucessharpening.com

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  29. Sugar = insomnia for me, but somehow I wouldn't imagine that hot flashes are an issue for you. (Cathy might want to plan ahead, though.)

    Tea (black, no sugar) is a mainstay; I do try and limit it to the early part of the day.

    Good luck on the small appliances front!

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  30. Coffee's complicated. Latest research shows it reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, lowers likelihood of developing colon cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, parkinson's disease, depression cognitive decline liver disease. These are correlational studies; people who drank certain amounts of coffee got these diseases less.
    On the other hand, even drinking coffee in the morning can disrupt sleep. And if you drink Starbucks, beware!! You might as well be drinking buckets at a time.

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  31. I agree, I don't remember NY being this hot and humid and consistently rainy pretty much ever. It was very hot last year but not nearly this humid. It's life sucking. All I can manage to do is cut stuff out right now. Sewing seems like such a chore with the sun baking my sewing room.

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  32. The problem you are having with your clipper cords is virtually the same issue I've been having with iPhone charger cords: I'm on my third cord! The wire "crimps" at the end of the plug when the iPhone is held in the hand while plugged in. The Verizon Store claimed this occurred because of misuse despite the fact that no one in the place could demonstrate how to hold the iPhone without crimping the cord! It's clearly a design flaw and gravity at work, not misuse! The crimping eventually causes the charger not to function. Apple fortunately replaced the chargers for me, but why not simply address the problem and correct the flaw? Here is one of THE best designed products of the last 50 years, and a simple, cheaply-made, poorly executed electric cord is its undoing!

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    1. I've had the exact same problem with Macbook cords. :(

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  33. Perhaps an idea to consider while evaluating stress...."Simplify Stuff" with guilt-free tossing of the broken clippers!!! Put them out by the curb where you pick up stuff and bring home. Find joy in letting someone else find your "TREASURE" as a way to not feel guilty! Don't fix them as it will perhaps take a combination of time, money, and effort (mental and physical). Why add stress to your life? Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should rise to the importance of actually doing.

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  34. My father had a saying... Its broke you can't hurt it. Take a screwdriver and take one apart. It is VERY easy to fix a cord, once it is apart. Rarely are the cords soldered anymore. Give it a shot, you have nothing to loose.

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  35. your ramblings are my entertainment and Willy obviously knows a good floral when he sees it

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  36. I think your four S's are a great indicator of health! I'm a nurse, and when I worked in an inpatient environment, we were particularly concerned about stool and skin. I think coffee is a fairly benign indulgence. As someone else pointed out, it has been linked with health benefits.

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  37. New reader as of today!

    Your clippers should be easy enough to fix. Really with these it desnt matter which wire goes where, it will just reverse the switch and motor direction. The one that just hums is likely clogged with hair or got bumped in a cupboard and tweaked a tine. Pull the top blade off (two phillips scews) and clean it thoroughly. Lay it on a flat surface like polished granite countertop or window pane glass and check if the tines are all still good.

    Pull the bottom blade off and clean it well also. Use a good strong solvent to remove any old lube or hair product that turned to goo. Follow up with alcohol. Then use a good light oil (sewing maching oil works well...) and put a drop or three on the flat surfaces where the blades touch.

    Turn it on and try giving it a couple of bumps on the side to get it started if it doesn't go right away. If it is still dead, you now have a good set of clean and useable blades for your next thrift store find! Or throw them on the 'bay for a few bucks to recoup your expenses. Find an enterprising ex-convict and he can make decent tattoo guns from the motors and such. Or even a non ex-con!

    Love the blog, btw. Still new to sewing, mainly want to be able to alter dresses for my miniature but full busted wife, or my "fat me" expensive sport coats that make me feel like I'm 6 and wearing my dads clothes!

    Cheers!

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  38. I can't bear to read through all 50 of the other comments to see if someone already suggested this, but in case not, how about trying to get them fixed at a lamp store? I think they're experts at replacing wiring in small things.

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  39. Re: Clippers

    I think they are designed to fail after a few months. I tried every possible brand and they always die. Also many newer ones have an integrated battery that can't be replaced. I finally gave up on electric clippers and now just use the cheap plastic disposable razors and scissors.

    Re: limiting caffeine

    I recently switched from energy drinks to coffee and tea. I am trying to avoid anything with artificial sweeteners in it or other chemicals I can't identify. I just don't trust them and whatever they put into energy drinks seems to make me really paranoid emotionally. Who knows what else they are doing to my body.

    Re: limiting computer time

    To limit my computer time, I unplug my laptop and only use it until the battery drains. I put the power charger in an uncomfortable place to sit, so it forces me to take a break!

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