February!

It is February and with the realization of that (I guess I might have had things on my mind) comes the reminder as I sit sipping my coffee that the snow mounds outside are still shoulder height with me (I am 5’ 10”) and the ice floes on the roof are thick.  The only thing that gives me hope is that the daylight situation is very clearly changing.  Okay, as I reread this paragraph I am only sorry it sounds so negative, because I am not at a negative point at all!

Yesterday was a tough one technology wise, it seems that I have had a few of those lately.  I am currently blogging on two sites until I can get the new one under control.  As I have stated in the past, control seems to be the almighty word of reality in most of our lives whether we admit it or not.  In my world, most of my true frustration has been in regards to people and control.  This situation is more like man fighting machine.  It remains to be seen who shall win this one but I have not given up the battle.  Instead of doing what I might have done in the past, I am biding my time more and I am doing only enough fighting to keep me from total frustration.  On the new site, I click on a button and nothing happens or I click on it and I get an ERROR message.  Christian told me that with the upload of pictures that I need to diminish their size first, which makes sense, the old site did that automatically for me.  This makes me wonder whether or not I have made a mistake in choosing to move to the new site.   Supposedly, in the long run, I shall have more freedom to make the site my own.  Yesterday, another main struggle on www.richardjkoerner.com was the one where I was trying to change the background picture on the top to one of my own taken in France about ten years ago.  I have the choice of a wheat field northwest of Paris or of a surprising attractive weedy poppy field.  They are both cool, but although I seemed to have properly chosen my avenue of change, nothing happened.  Christian is coming over, and a part of his new consulting business, check this out: www.cnkconsultinggroup.com, is to work with issues like this so we shall see if he knows his stuff.  I know he does and I know we shall regulate my website issues.  It is just that you have to weigh whether or not the whole thing is worth it.  My natural tendency is to hang on to the old since I know it works.  Okay, let me restate this, in a way I dislike change, but I am smart enough to know that it needs to be done.  It is just that, emotionally I have not always had the ability to handle that well.  The aging process, as maligned as it is, can be of help and it is most certainly helpful here.  So I am hanging in there for the ride.

I am really happy that yesterday I managed to set up some really nice electronic flashcards that are associated with the Bien Dit textbooks by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston that New Trier is using.  I “spreadsheeted” the vocabulary and uploaded it to a website associated to the app.  This shall allow the students I am tutoring to have another avenue of ways to learn vocabulary.  I find that as the time has gone by since I first started teaching, that memorizing has gotten harder and harder for students.  I am sure that it is totally associated with the evolution of pedagogy and the relegation of memorization to a position in learning where it is not totally appreciated.  I do understand that memorization for so long was overused and over touted.  I also am cognizant of the fact that language learning employs a large amount of memorization whether or not we like the concept.  What I am seeing is that the students who are having the most issues, and here we are not talking about students who are failing, but who are trying to maintain more of an above average profile in their classes, are often in their predicament because their continued inability to maintain the vocabulary load and acquire more is hampering their reading ability and causing unnecessary errors.  The subsequent issue is that their confidence level declines and they become sometimes totally or close to totally paralyzed in the learning process.  They then think that they are not language students.  I maintain that anyone can learn a language.  Yes, the ability we all have may be different, but just take a look at the influx of immigrants to the U.S.  Not all of them learned English perfectly, but if they were surrounded by the need to know English, somehow they all managed.  As I may have stated in the past, I misjudged my own grandparents’ abilities with English.  Their speech may have been halting but they frankly communicated quite well, for the most part.  My goal with all of this is to squelch some of the “elitist” attitudes that have been passed on about language learning.  World language teachers are sometimes at fault for having this elitist attitude with their students and cause the lack of confidence that turns them away.  So, I hope that this fun “tool” of a simple app on a phone or iPod will help in some way.  It is most interesting as I tutor and find that my best work is done when I can make it a bit more fun on a personal level and I play psychologist and inject their personalities with the confidence they deserve and need.

Michael went out of the house quite early, off to take a basic skills test in order to matriculate in a graduate program at the university.  I remember taking this test myself in the not so distant past as I completed the program for administrative certification, a certificate which, in fact, I never used.  I recall that despite my knowledge that it was a no brainer, that I would have no problem passing it, that it was an annoying, silly hurdle that I had to get past.  It is unfortunate that we have to have such a test to take, but the reality is that there are people who just are not prepared to move on educationally.  This all reminds me of the reasons why Mary Kay and I moved where we did.  We realized that education is just like real estate as they always say, “Location, location, location.”  As much as my children complained of the snobbishness, the crazy attitudes of the newly rich, and the entitlement of their peers, they received a good education here in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  And, as we all know, they can take everything away from you but they cannot possibly take your educational instruction back!

I didn’t mention that last night we had dinner with one of the sons and his fiancée, a delightful dinner that if seen by outsiders would have been questioned as perhaps the activity of a loony bin.  There was, of course, the delicious repast prepared by Michael served with the last of the Beaujolais Nouveau which was accompanied by almost “wet your pants” laughter that I cannot today pinpoint as to subject.  I just asked Mary Kay about it, she called it a “pinky up” sort of discussion which somehow refers to the fakey British accents put on by just about everyone as movie quotes were flung about and the humor went from normal to bawdy.  Somehow, the only thing I remember was the mention of “Spotted Dick” which is a supposed dessert in Britain.  That says a lot about British cuisine, doesn’t it, and perhaps this last comment lends credence to my supposed discrimination against the Brits that I put in a previous blog entry.  In any case, we were literally rolling on the floor.  That was a pleasure to see as the evolution of events from Michael’s arrival at home in December that went from total and all out dysfunction to where we are now.  It seems that the healing process is well on the road, we just need to hang on to it and continue to go with it.  Last night was wonderful and I am so glad that dinners are going back to where they should be.  The culmination of all our healing will be evident as we come together this coming Thursday to fête Mary Kay’s birthday, the number of which shall remain nameless. 

On the agenda today is perhaps a visit to the gym if we can fit it in, a movie and relaxing dinner with some very good friends, and perhaps some insight into my technology war.  I am looking forward to it, bring on the day!

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Florida, Texas, and thoughts of New Trier

Florida, last year when I was working for ASC

 

As I am sitting here in my sixty-eight degree surroundings and see the snow capped piles in the distance through my living room window, I ponder what today might have been like had I been still working for the language lab company.  This week the conference was in Florida, next week in Texas.

Most assuredly I would have donned a suit and spoken to hundreds of people  as I worked the conference in Orlando.  As nice as Orlando is, it is not my favorite Florida venue, and Florida, in fact, is not my favorite warm weather place.  I would have been nice seeing my ASC colleagues, especially George Washington.  I would then have gone this week to Texas, probably Austin, to work that crowd.  I truly enjoy travelling and working with educators so that would have been fun.  That was not meant to be and I do believe that something is around the corner for me, so we shall see.

Pretirement has been an interesting part of my life.  I miss teaching, I miss the camaraderie with the great students and my wonderful colleagues, but I do not miss the hassles.  I do not miss grading papers, although I could easily get back into that, it wasn’t my biggest issue.  I do not miss the bureaucracy and the myriad of add on jobs that occurred during my thirty plus years’ career.  People have absolutely no idea how much school functionaries are put upon by the changes in philosophies and progress in educational thinking.  What I really don’t miss is the politics and the silliness that it brought into our daily lives.  To me these things are totally unnecessary and only made our jobs harder.

Recently, on Facebook, a former student, or should I explain, a former acquaintance student of mine contacted me about this blog.  She told me she was remiss in not having contacted me sooner to tell me that she enjoyed the blog.  She said that she enjoyed the poignancy of my feelings in the entries I have posted so far.

She also mentioned that she would love to have my reaction to the atmosphere within the Modern and Classical Languages department that had pretty much adopted her, during her time at New Trier.  She was truly the departmental mascot.  That is one of the reasons why I knew her.  In my stay at New Trier I have gotten to know far more than my own personal students.  Alison was the “advisee” of my good friend and colleague, Adrienne.  She was a student of Japanese, not French.  I knew her because of her association with my good friend.  Alison, like many of our students and advisees, was omnipresent in the office, searching us out to talk, to discuss, to confide, to connect.  That is what so many of us as teachers and advisers were all about.  We did it because, frankly, we were on a mission.  We were not always sure whether we were born with that mission or turned to it from New Trier, but I am convinced that it was both of those reasons.  Not only was it our mission and our calling, but we reveled in the wonderful communications and experiences we had.

Adrienne is the consummate French teacher and also the consummate teacher as well.  She is very interested in her subject area and teaches it with the highest professionalism possible.  I say teaches, because she is still teaching although “retired.” I would say that she is truly “pretired” as I am.  She was all about the kids, she is all about the career that she took on and espoused; lives, eats, and still breathes to this day.  She is a hard worker, a motivator, and the most caring person you could ever meet.  The day she retired was a tough one for me since I could no longer count on seeing her on a daily basis for the moral sustenance that we all crave as we do our daily jobs.  That made my subsequent years at New Trier harder. 

Adrienne and I not only worked together on the Winnetka campus, she even accompanied me on trips to France as we “shepherded” kids through a Homestay/Exchange program.  She and I became “Mom and Dad” to so many kids as we studied, worked, and traveled together.  I could always count on Adrienne to work with anyone and everyone because no matter what, she cared.   I can also say, with total objectivity, that although she was revered in the halls of the Winnetka campus,  she deserved to be on a much higher pedestal than she was, for all the good she did.

Adrienne and I had been through some very tough times while at the school.  We had lived through and dealt with a Caligula-like department chairman who attempted to make our lives very difficult at times.  The office that Alison speaks of so fondly was not a pleasant place to be.  We were stressed, we were under the gun, we knew that the proverbial shoe could drop at any moment and we would be subjected to moods and reactions that we never deserved.  We lived through it and we pride ourselves on the fact that despite the enormity of the bad situation we endured, our students were never aware that it was occurring.  In fact, they are the ones I credit with our having gotten through the stress and trauma.  Having them as our focus allowed us to deal with the extremely unpleasant man who was our supposed superior, inflicting his mean-spirited whims on those of us in the office that he had singled out unjustly.  I remember oh so fondly the days that he wasn’t present in the office, for some reason, and how the curtain of unpleasantness was lifted.  I also remember the joy when we heard of his impending retirement and how he pretty much disappeared almost completely from view unlike others who had retired.  We had obviously been justified in our dislike for him and our lack of appreciation and understanding for the job he was doing.

Alison showed up during a time period of healing.  I remember talking to the person who became the new department chairman and saying to her that she mustn’t mistake our anxiety in being called into the office as being due to something she had done, but instead realize it was an almost Pavlovian response to what we had been through with her predecessor.

Things were never really the same after Cecil’s departure, but they did, most assuredly get better.  Alison saw the real “us” as we were able to freely go about our jobs and welcome all into the office.  The office had always appeared as a “haven” of sorts even during Cecil’s tenure, we had always had wonderful food and snacks to share.  Those of us who were “persecuted” never really allowed anyone else to suffer (except for, in my case, my poor family!) and the students were,  as I said, never aware.  Once Cecil was gone, we set about to “recover” and be our normal selves.  I recall so many students who made daily visits to us.  I so remember the wonderful, brilliant, young student who was having parental issues and how she would visit me daily and we would discuss rationally what needed to be done.  I remember telling her to get a calendar and set up to countdown the days until her graduation.  She did so, she graduated, she is well on the way to achieving so much and she is going into education.  She is one of many that we were able to reach and help.

The office that Alison came into was not a huge space but it contained well over thirty people.  I am not saying, in this entry, that all of my colleagues were on the same page as Adrienne and I were, but for the most part, they were very good people.  There always were a certain number of people who, since having been placed on the good list during the bad years, never really could understand the pain we were undergoing.  They were so happy at their situations that they almost refused to see what was really going on.

It hurts so much when people try to denigrate the job that teachers are doing.  I know that teaching, like any profession, is going to have some people who are not performing as they should.  I know as well, that so many of them are performing so far above and beyond what they are paid to do and just don’t get the recognition.  I know this personally from so many discussions I have had during the years and these discussions have been with acquaintances and family alike.  I know that some say that the tenure process and unions for teachers are a problem.  I know as well that had I not had tenure that I would have been in some hot water for a short time during my career since I had a supervisor who decided that he was going to try to make my life difficult.

So, in the end, I am so thankful to people like Alison and Adrienne because they are so representative of my experience in the teaching world which is so rewarding and oh so memorable.  It is so nice to be touched by having worked with people like these and receiving oh so much from them.  That was one heck of a career.  And hey, I am pretired, so on it goes!

The Soup Spoon debacle

 

Tis a cold day once again in the northern suburbs of Chicago and I ponder a subject brought up to me by my sons recently, the ubiquitous soup spoon.  I must admit that I have generated some funny stuff in my time and the soup spoon subject is one of them.  For some reason, years ago, I discovered that I truly enjoyed soup like many people, and I still do.  My grandmother always made all of the family noodles and I grew up not really knowing the store bought variety.  Her noodles probably made soup such a large part of the Koerner repertoire.  Along with this, I was also spoiled by using a most amazing soup spoon, one that makes the “dégustation” of it all the better. 

I don’t know why, but for some reason, the soup spoon intrigues me.  There are so many shapes out there and so few of them appeal to me.  I am sure that most of you are going to be wondering what I am talking about.  How can it be that the simple shape, size, and weight of a spoon can affect your enjoyment of something?  It can, however, and when I moved to Chicago from Cleveland I brought my own special soup spoon, absconded from my mother’s kitchen.  

The infamous soup spoon is on the left, simple stainless steel, lightweight and thin, and having the perfectly rounded, not too small or not too large shape.  For some reason, soup just tastes better with this implement.

I realize that everyone does not have the reaction to this issue that I do, and at times I thought that perhaps I am odder than the average Joe.  Frankly, I am guessing that I am.  Mary Kay has assured me of this fact from time to time.  Mary Kay’s reaction to the soup spoon issue has always been one of incredulity.  She didn’t understand why I would make a face when a different, heavy, humongous, spoon was given for me.  She didn’t get that using it would make me enjoy the experience less.  For her, a soup spoon is a soup spoon.  I guess I was just born with a stainless steel soup spoon in my mouth and she wasn’t!

For years I wondered if perhaps I needed professional help in this area.  I was almost to the point of wondering if I could really enjoy soup with the wrong instrument.  I feared going out into the public arena and being forced to ingest soup with a less than perfectly shaped piece of silverware.  Restaurant forays scared me for this reason. 

Along came the Koerner boys and I soon realized that although I now had to share the one, precious spoon I had imported from Ohio, that I had proven that spoon shape does make a difference.  Over the years, the Koerner boys and I had constantly vied for the position of wielding the stainless steel soup spoon.  When soup was served, we would all do our best to jockey the spoon into position at our place setting.  

The result of all this is that I came to a new understanding of myself and the fact that I really am “okay!”  My fascination and need for a good soup spoon was normal! 

A few years ago, we made an important discovery.  In my acquisition of the Dirilyte (or Dirigold) silverware we received when we broke up my mom’s household, that we were in need of a few replacement pieces.  Good old eBay came to my rescue.  I inadvertently picked up a few more pieces than I had planned on, among them the soup spoons.  For some reason, we rarely used the soup spoons of this set, but one glorious time, we did.  I discovered that although the stainless soup spoon was good, the Dirilyte version was spectacular.  The other thing is that I now had a large quantity of soup spoons at my fingertips, and we would no longer have family squabbles at dinnertime!

Yes, the Dirilyte version is even better.  For some reason, the shape is perfect and even more importantly, the weight is right.   It is the perfect soup spoon.  Why this has not caught on with the American populace is beyond me.

Do I need a life?

Confessions of an admitted (addicted?) iPhone user

I have always liked my guy toys.  I love new technology, computers, etc. 

As an organizational freak I like to use technology to organize things that I cannot do otherwise.  Lists, files, folders, you name it, I like to utilize it. I store them on my iPhone.

I remember the first cell phones, those large brick-like things  that I first had a chance to use when I took students on a field trip years ago, borrowing it from the school.  I graduated from that to my own, continuing on down the communication continuum until I got the iPhone.

I truly enjoyed the iPhone 3G until I made the mistake of updating to a version that signaled the demise of the apparatus.  I was so frustrated I realized I had to have the iPhone 4 and that was a glorious transition.

I spend altogether too much time on it, using it, researching apps, adding apps, and the like.  It is a technological double edged sword in that it makes your life easier and takes away your time as it is so intriguing that you cannot put it down.

It is no longer a pain to be stuck somewhere because there is always something to do, play a game, read my book, check a schedule, be reminded to change my contact lens (yes, lens, I only have one, this was not a typo). 

I remember that before I had the iPhone, I had a very primitive Blackberry.  I remember that I thought it was amazing.  Little did I know!  I also remember reading that a very large percentage of users would get up during the night to check something on it.  

I have never had a PDA and never gotten up during the night to check something on my smart phone.  So, although I am hopelessly addicted, I still have some control, don’t I?

RJK’s Helpful Hints

 

This is one of those moments where my mind goes to things that I do to make my life smoother and/or greener.

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  • Once done painting a room, take the main switch plate or an outlet plate if you need to and put a small piece of masking tape on the back with the information of the paint you used, the date, and how much you used.  That way, next time you PAINT THE ROOM it will be easier.
  • An inexpensive way to make NICE SWITCH PLATES is to take simple plastic ones and to spray paint them with a special pounded metal look alike paint that is available in any hardware store.
  • Buy special violet pots, they come in two parts; one is the actual pot the plant is in, the other part is the receptacle it sits in.  This receptacle is filled with water thus allowing violets and orchids even, consistent access to the water.  It also means you have to pay less attention.  VIOLETS AND ORCHIDS WILL BLOOM MORE with this system.
  • To easily MIX NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER, go online and find this system (see the picture) which allows you to mix it without a mess.
  • STAYING WARM when you are keeping your thermostat lower is sometimes hard.  Buy nice afghans and throws to keep in the room where you spend most of your non-sleeping time and keep in a place that is easy to get to.  This has become a tradition in our house.
  • REMOVE STAINS easily with Fels Naptha soap.  It is a hard rectangular bar I find in the grocery store and/or hardware store.  It looks like a yellow brown bar of soap.  Pre-treating stains with this makes it a snap to get rid of most stains.
  • GETTING RID OF LIVE CHRISTMAS TREES is sometimes a pain.  I try to leave mine in the back yard where I can see it, maybe put old bread or something that birds like on it.  Then I take the pruning shears and easily cut off the branches and use them as mulch and/or in the compost.  The pole you are left with is great to grow climbing things like pole beans in the summer!
  • It is very annoying when you have some sort of item like a Carpet Spot Remover and you realize you cannot remember how to use it and/or YOU CANNOT  FIND THE MANUAL.  I punch a hole in the manual’s upper left hand corner and use a plastic tie that I can easily remove to attach the manual to the handle.  You never get into that predicament again!
  • You just painted the room and someone nicked the new paint.  Put some TOUCH UP PAINT in a small mason jelly jar and tighten with a cap.  I usually put several layers of plastic wrap under the ring that usually holds down the lid.  You can easily see the color if you forget to mark what it is.
  • Buy a METAL FIRE STARTING CHIMNEY to start your charcoal.  I hate the smell of lighter fluid on my food and this is inexpensive since it uses newspaper, usually one double sheet is enough to get it going.
  • BUY HIGH QUALITY CANDLES as the don’t drip and they last longer.  They are worth every penny.
  • BUY HIGH QUALITY FRENCH MILLED SOAP.  You think it is overpriced but once you try it you shall realize why it is more expensive.  It doesn’t turn to mush and lasts forever.
  • SHEA BUTTER in anything makes a difference.  Dry or sensitive skin will love it.
  • TIMERS are great just to keep your house safe but also for winter decorations.  I have an inexpensive mood light on either side of the fireplace from IKEA and connect these to timers which I connect my indoor Christmas lighting to, one less thing to do!
  • GARLIC AND ONION SMELLS on your hands are easily removed by rinsing your hands in water as you rub and/or hold a piece of stainless steel (I usually use a piece of silverware).  It is an amazing chemical reaction.
  • NYLON ROPES AND BELTS that are constantly coming undone can be fused by quickly exposing the ends to a match.  Be careful to not let it catch on fire!  This is an old Boy Scout trick.
  • PAPER COFFEE CONTAINERS like those found at Trader Joe’s are great for all kinds of storage and are easily labeled.  Metal coffee cans are great also.
  • VANILLA SUGAR  is easily made by putting a vanilla bean in a container with regular sugar.  When the sugar is depleted, add more.  You can use this in all sorts of recipes or wherever you use sugar (your coffee?) to add a subtle vanilla flavor.
  • A CUBE OUTLET PLUG (which allows you to plug more than one appliance in) is always in my travel bag.  I always seem to need one with all the electronic items I travel with.
  • REAL VANILLA and other non-artificial flavorings make a big difference when you cook, don’t shy away from them.
  • TRAVEL VALETS (as they seem to call them), a fold flat item that you pinch the four corners of to hold items like wallets and keys are great to take with you when you travel and make it less likely you will lose your valuables.
  • SOAP AND CANDLES are great for lubricating zippers that are not working smoothly.

My supposed Midlife Crisis

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I was on the treadmill at the gym and for some reason thoughts of my car came to mind.  I don’t know why.

My car is pretty cool, very cool, when you consider who I am and the cars that I have driven in my lifetime.  Teaching in an affluent school is fun, especially when you drive up in a car that has more rust than any beater on the road.  Frankly, I didn’t care.  Didn’t care as well when we, as a family, were down to one car and I actually managed to walk to the bus stop, take a bus, and walk the rest of the way to school.  It was particularly funny since the kids recognized me on the local bus and questioned me consistently as to whether or not I was a “narc” paid to make sure they were behaving.

So, in 2005, in need of a car, I went online and found a great deal in Evanston, a bit south of me.  It was a Subaru Impreza WRX, a very cool car which is almost not cool in that I really don’t think most people would recognize it as such.  A Subaru, with all wheel drive, black interior and in the infamous Subaru blue, I bought this car at the boys’ recommendation.  They study vehicles and knew of it, knew that it was a rally car, usually known for the Paris-Dakar (Senegal in Africa) Rally.  Although it doesn’t look fast in my eyes, per se, it is turbo charged and moves swiftly.  I test drove it and bought it on the spot and we never had any regrets.

It turns out the blue color is cool and the car is amazing.  It is also stick shift, something I love in a car.  Forced at the age of eighteen to learn how to drive it, the only car I could borrow from my sister to get to my educational internship, I learned on the hilly part of Cleveland, of course.  I remember hating left hand turns and also that intersection in Parma where the light turns red right in the middle of a relatively large incline.

The car is the one everyone wants to borrow, black leather seats that are heated to keep you warm in the winter and damn it knows how to hold the road!

My pretty car has a story as well.  In 2008, one of the boys borrowed it to go to his warehouse.  It was December and weather was cold but uneventful, or so we thought.  We were waiting for his return in the evening .  We didn’t hear from him, he didn’t answer his phone.  I think it was around 11:00 pm and he walks in the house.  He seemed a bit out of it.  It turns out he had been going north on Route 41 and was in Park City, south of Waukegan.  He apparently hit “black ice” and lost control of the car.  He ended up in the ditch adjacent to the road, in the center after rolling twice.  The cop who stopped to see what was going on said later that he was really upset at having a rotten start to his evening, he was thinking the worst.  Lo and behold, he walks out of the car with nary a bruise.  The only somewhat substantial injury was a cut above his eye from where the rear view mirror tagged his after being detached.  The trunk had flown open and its contents dispersed (we picked them up the next day, included in its contents was my favorite, “Merde, il pleut” umbrella) all over, the only real loss there was a cell phone.  The interior of the car was seemingly untouched, the airbags didn’t even go off; the little impact from rolling wasn’t enough to cause airbag inflation (I called Subaru on this and that is their take). We did force Richie to go to the hospital to be checked, he was very sore for days, but overall, absolutely fine.

We dealt with the insurance issues, and within days I had the 2008 version of my 2005 so-called midlife crisis car.  I figure, not only is it one cool car, it had saved my son.  Koerners can get upset.  Usually it is for things that are unimportant.  With things like this, our thought is that cars and materials can be replaced but human life cannot.  The safety record of a Subaru is well known so another “Blue Demon” was added to our long list of cars we have had in our fleet.  I have certainly come a long way from my first car:  a yellow, stick shift, Ford Pinto!

To rinse or not to rinse the dishes…

Every so often, we all experience a moment that seems to be the impetus for many more, a snowball effect of thoughts and research that go somewhere else.  As I reflect back, at the time you have no idea what is occurring.  A simple moment expands, morphs, evolves into something else.

Many years ago, I recall sitting in my good friend’s apartment in Strasbourg, France.  We had just had a great lunch in the kitchen, which is unusual in itself, dining being more of an experience than that, but this was a special treat since I was a close enough friend to be less formal than normal.  I remember being in shock that she was just taking the dishes and throwing them in the dishwasher without rinsing them.  I said to Christine in French, “You aren’t rinsing the dishes?”  She replied, “I have a dishwasher, why on earth would I do that, that is what a dishwasher is for.” That started a discussion that turned into a bit of Koerner research that changed our family ways for good.

Upon my return home, I discussed the situation with my wife.  We were in need of a dishwasher and the idea of not having to rinse the dishes sounded like a sound, practical, logical way of dealing with them.  We were also so tired of not being able to hear when the dishwasher was working.  Thus began the research.  We found out that the European dishwashers were less noisy when functioning because they had a system that didn’t require a food grinder.  The heat and pressure from their systems meant that it wasn’t necessary.  They did have a filter which needed periodic attention but that is truly a no brainer as it doesn’t require all that much from you.  We decided to pay a little more and we purchased a Miele, similar to that of my French friend.

The first time we used it we weren’t even sure it was running, it was so quiet.  So, the other day, when our dying Miele was emptying its last jets on the Koerner dinnerware, we went out and bought another.  Yes, it is possible to put your dishes straight into the dishwasher without rinsing, and we have now done it for years.