Not watering the wok

I made fried rice for supper last night.  After the meal I cleaned the wok I had used with salt and a paper towel.  


I had “rescued” this wok about thirty years ago from a closet.  My Dad’s girlfriend thought the only way to clean any cooking tools was with soap and water.  She had let the steel wok deteriorate into a rusted mess.  As I recall I found a couple of very nice cast iron frying pans at the same time.


After many hours of working the wok with steel wool I was able to clear the rust and have a smooth cooking surface.  I seasoned the wok with oil and have never used soap on it.  A few years ago I decided to take things one step further and stop using water on the wok.    


As I cleaned the wok I wondered if it was worth the effort to keep it clean. As I rubbed the salt into the wok I realized there was more to this process than just getting organic material off a cooking surface.  In asking myself if it was worth the effort I was asking myself if the meal was good enough to justify the work it took to clean up after consuming it.  It was.   I was also aware that by using the wok I had made it better than it was before I started.  I was also aware the time I spend doing simple tasks well is rarely wasted time.



Dan Lococo

Facilitation, planning, analysis


Affinity By Design, LLC




Sharing hard lessons

The other day Jessica let her mother know she had sold her I-Pod for $200.  She was very proud of herself for getting some good money for something she had never used.


When she came home from college last night we found she was depressed about the way her semester has been going so far.  School is much harder this semester.  The math class she is taking is being taught by a new instructor who doesn’t seem to have the knowledge transfer thing down too well.  Jess needs a tutor but has been too busy to get one.  The drama of dormitory life is present at her school just as in all other schools at all other times.  Still, it is a force to be dealt with at the most inconvenient times.  And the I-Pod sale:  E-Bay let her know the buyer was fraudulent and she wasn’t likely to get paid for her I-Pod.  Unfortunately she had already sent the device to the buyer on the assumption she was dealing with an honest person.


I could tell how bad Jessica felt about getting ripped off.  It didn’t seem like time well spent to ask her about why she didn’t use any of the safeguards E-Bay has suggested avoiding rip-offs.  The situation left me with a dull ache in my stomach.  


After sleeping on it I began to wonder about that dull ache in my stomach.  It certainly had something to do with Jess getting ripped off but I don’t wish we had raised her to be suspicious of everyone she deals with.  The naivety  Jessica possesses is a precious part of her personality.  As I lay in bed thinking about how bad jess must feel about losing the $200 she thought she had earned for herself I reflected back to my college years.  I had had a beautiful racing motorcycle I no longer used but didn’t want to let go of.  I had left it in the storage area of a house I had lived at.  When I went back to get the motorcycle (many months after moving out of the house) I found it was gone and the owner knew nothing about where it might be.  It was an expensive lesson for a nieve kid.


I think I need to find an opportunity to share the experience with Jessica and let her figure out the lesson part for herself.  I am confident she will take the lesson well and move on with life.




A Ministry in Waiting

It’s the warmest morning we’ve had in the past month and a half.  Both Zoe and I really could use an early morning walk.  As I come down the driveway one of my neighbors lets me know it’s very icy.  I knew this as soon as I came out of the house, but was grateful to have the cautionary warning.


I’ve decided this morning to forego the standard listening fare of business reports/books in favor of commercial radio.  I figure this will allow my mind to wander during the endless stream of commercials for things I don’t need or want.  The classic rock station is playing some good music, so I think I’ve struck a good balance between time to ponder and time to just let the morning drift by.


My neighbor is right, it’s quite icy in places, but the warn air makes the occasional dance steps a welcome trade-off.  The walk is a good opportunity to reflect on the week.  


The song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas comes on the radio.  It was popular at a time when I was quite troubled over losing my vision to retinitis pigmentosa (tunnel vision).  Listening to the song reminds me of how fleeting things can be:  having vision and loosing it, feeling sorry for myself and moving on with my life.


As I walk my mind goes to conversations I’ve had in the last two days.  I’ve been working on a project to get blind people more involved in the pursuit of their own independence.  In doing the grass-roots portion of this project I’ve talked to a wide variety of people and received a wide variety of responses.  Two of these people have contacted me in the past two days just to talk.


On Friday I got a call from a microbiologist who has lost his vision over the past three years.  This PhD has published two dozen articles and written a number of chapters for various textbooks.  He seemed very interested in the fact I have my own consulting practice,  Our discussion included some of the struggles involved in dealing with vision loss.  It was an interesting discussion; as much as I have great respect for the accomplishments this man has achieved, he seems to be equally captivated by the fact I don’t let my blindness get in the way of my goals.  There seems to be a great opportunity for mutual benefit here.  


On Thursday I got a call from an older woman who wanted some advice on software which would allow her computer to both magnify the screen and talk out loud.  From our previous discussions I’ve learned she has done some investing.  I am hoping to get her involved in the program I’m developing so she can be a role model for others.  As we talked I learned she really wants to do more things for herself.  She wants to be able to read her own investment reports and to be able to stay in contact with people by email.  This is exactly what I am hoping the program work I’m doing will cultivate.


Reflecting on these conversations brought me back to the start of my walk:  sometimes all we need is a friendly voice to remind us to watch out for the slippery spots.  I only hope I can be that friendly voice for those who reach out to me.  What if the project I’m working on could create a place where hopes and fears, and sharing of gifts came together?