[This post has been amended 10/5/07]
Ida is my landlady’s mother, she won’t let me take her picture. Ida is my friend (her grandson is autistic so she has a soft spot for me) and she’s been coming to help me straighten up the place. I am absorbed by stuff. I haven’t unpacked the boxes from when I moved in -over a year ago- and Ida is an organizing fanatic. I’m grateful because my executive functioning is very poor. Tuesdays and Thursdays we get dirty. Yesterday we found some 5 to 10 yard pieces of cashmere in camel, black and a beige/green hounds tooth, along with some black silk velvet that I’d forgotten I had. I took some before pictures last week and once the place gets more together, I’ll print the before and after shots. All in the interests of 5S of course.
[Amended to include the photo (below) of Ida. I swore I desperately needed a photo of this coat I made eons ago and told her that since I didn’t have a dress form, would she please model it? I can’t believe she agreed. I actually wanted this photo because it is the only known intact photo of her, and my real intention was to give it to her daughter and grandchildren. She destroys any photo of herself she finds. Btw, this coat sold pretty well. The shawl collar is a cow split, the blanket was a custom weave although the design of the buffalo isn’t original. The designer needed a buffalo silhouette to design the blanket and my ex had a buffalo tee shirt from a store in Tucson so we used that. The humor in it is that the tee design was messed up; its designer omitted the buffalo tail. True to form, my designer copied it exactly, never noticing the missing tail either. None of us noticed the missing tail until the jackets were plowing off the line.]
Speaking of 5S, this stands for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. Jon Miller over at Panta Rei (a lean manufacturing blog) posted his most recent synopsis from chapter 30 of Taiichi Ohno’s book (long out of print; Jon’s translating from his Japanese copy) which describes 5S as:
“Seiri (Sorting) is throwing out what you don’t need and Seiton (Straighten) is arranging items so that they are ready when you want them. Arranging things neatly is only Seiretsu (lining up in rows) and proper shop floor management requires Seiri and Seiton.”
Taiicho Ohno goes on to tell a story of when he visited a warehouse that was a mess. There was no order there and all incoming parts were stored so that even obsolete designs were kept for a long time. Ohno told them to do 2S and when he came back he found that they had done Seiretsu (lining up parts in neat rows) but they had not thrown anything out or put items in their proper place. So he scolded them.
Jon very eloquently and simply describes lean so I hope you’ll have occasion to visit him soon. I’d bought a book on 5S last Christmas -ostensibly as a gift for my husband; our gifts to each other are suspiciously self-serving- but I haven’t read it yet. Eric: there is no need to comment, thank you very much. Anyway, back to Ida and my 5S project.
Last Thursday Ida didn’t come and I missed her. I’d bought all the angle iron for shelving at the hardware store on my way to work. I like the little hardware store up the street from my office. It’s an old place and one of the few businesses with a bicycle rack.It is amazing how few businesses provide a place to lock up. Ida had gone to pick chile somewhere north of Derry with her brother who had just came into town -for the annual trek to get chile. That sounds like a good time. Ida said later they only picked about 110 lbs and that they would have gotten more had the fields not been so wet and such fertile ground for mosquitoes.
This is chile season; officially autumn in the southwest. I should have told you about that. The tempo of life changes a little in chile season. Our swallows leave, their third brood bred and gone. Farms are close in all around us, so chile season is a big deal. You can buy 30 pound bags of it at Albertson’s and have it roasted in the parking lot. Some people make chile season an annual family reunion activity and find a place to pick their own chile which they then roast en mass. Hundreds of pounds of it. When chile season comes, there’s an undeniable crispness in the morning air but this year I feel cheated. It rained so much of the last two months that I feel we didn’t get our full due of summer (my favorite season) so it can’t be fall already. I hate running and biking in the cold.
Last weekend was another official harbinger of Autumn, the annual The Whole Enchilada Festival which is by turns so fascinating, ugly and bizarre it could generate its own series of posts. Eric and I rode our bikes down, who wants to mess with parking? A local restaurant owner started the whole thing (something like 12 years ago) making the world’s biggest enchilada so he could get into the Guinness World Book of Records and now it’s morphed into this weird hybrid of festival meets low rider convention with a good measure of biker and gangsta thrown in for good measure. You know how it is, any excuse for a city-party. The paper said the enchilada would be made on Sunday at 3:00 so we timed our visit to arrive in time so that I could get a picture of it but nooooo, the paper lied lied lied lied lied lied. So, all I got was a picture of the enchilada pan -dirty of course.
Typical, I guess I’m doomed to be late. Speaking of late (not to get off track) but this weekend we have the Southwestern NM State Fair and there’s supposed to be this little monkey named Whiplash, who rides a border collie rounding up sheep and I have got to be on time for that! The picture in the flyer was adorable. Imagine a border collie with a monkey dressed up in a little cowboy outfit complete with rope and hat on his back. At first glance, the photo looks like a cowboy that’s been photoshopped to fit on the dog’s back. [post amended] I searched for Whiplash on the web and found a funny video clip of a perfomance. He’s been performing at rodeos for fifteen years.
But back to the enchilada festival, the event tends to draw the low rider and biker crowd. I don’t know why that is except that they have a low rider car show. And not just cars but bikes too. Here’s a photo of a low rider recumbent bike:
And here’s another version, complete with gangsta sound system:
So that was last weekend. How did this post go so off track? Oh well, you can quit reading at any time. This weekend we’ll be going to the State Fair so I’m excited about that. Oh! And my friend Sally is coming down to visit me! I’m thrilled to see her but darn it all, I’d been planning to play a little trick on her and I won’t have time to do it now. When she moved from Estancia to Albuquerque, she gave me a pattern bunny punch thinking she already had another packed and I was just going to give it to a DE at some point (I collect extra tools that I end up giving away so nobody ever leaves my place empty handed) but later, she found that she did need the bunny back. So, as a little joke, I was thinking of having the punch powder-coated hot pink, maybe with some purple polka-dots on it before I gave it back to her.
Oh, before I go, another bit of love I found on my trips back and forth to work; Habitat for Humanity will be building some homes in this long vacant lot:
I’m thinking I will take a picture everyday, watching the houses grow, saving the photos to make a slide show for the future home owners as a housewarming gift. My husband and I are big supporters of Habitat for Humanity. He gives them lots of money, I don’t know how much ’cause I never asked. This project is so close to us that it is very likely we’ll help build them, we’ve already discussed it. Eric is an electrical engineer and me, I have no credentials but I’m a hardcore DIY plumber, electrician, carpenter and all around grunt.