Battered not broken: reflections from a scooter crash

There is a split-second for your body to prepare for the trauma before the car slams into your left side, and a leisurely ride into work on a sunny day becomes an exhausting and painful day at the hospital. 

Your fight-or-flight instinct is sparked by the adrenaline pumping through your vulnerable shell: your heart pounds; your muscles tense; your awareness is heightened, just as the worst of your situation becomes the prime object of your focus.

The hood of the car is, all at once, a white blur streaking toward you, and also a crystal clear threat to your existence.

As the collision strips from you the handlebars–and with them your ability to control your destination–you hold out your hands to catch yourself from a fall that you won’t be able to avoid. Continue reading “Battered not broken: reflections from a scooter crash”

A first attempt at Swiss Zopf bread

So much of my bread journey so far has been about no-knead breads that serve a purpose, and the Swiss Zopf bread sort of fits in that trend. My sandwich bread is helping to save us a little money; my Rosemary Asiago is helping us to, well, eat more Rosemary Asiago bread; but the Zopf is a nice looking bread that connects us to the Swiss part of our lives.

Zopf bread, right out of the oven

The great thing about this bread is that it looks complicated, but is relatively straight-forward once you figure out the braiding pattern. “Zopf” in German literally means “braid,” but a traditional Zopf only uses two strands instead of three. (Although I saw one with five!) Continue reading “A first attempt at Swiss Zopf bread”

Save money making your own sandwich bread?

This post is about a side of home bread baking that I’ve not spoken to many people about: cost.

If you dip into the bread baking section of social media you’ll be amazed by the artisan works of edible art. Professionals and amateurs alike post photos of loaves beautifully decorated with ivy patterns or artistic folds; videos show time-lapse views of skilled dough shaping and loaf preparation.

I appreciate those skills, and continue to try to learn them, but this post isn’t about that. This post is about home baking loaves of sandwich bread to support a family, and how much that costs, with probably more detail than is necessary.

My backstory and detailed cost breakdown will follow, but here’s the point:

Baking loaves of wide-pan wheat-white-oat bread myself cost us up to $3.80, lasting a week and a little longer.

Buying bread ran us $3.57 per week, but could be up to $5.57 without cheap bread options. (I’ll explain.)

Continue reading “Save money making your own sandwich bread?”

Baking Vlog Ep. 7: Pumpkin Spice (Quick)bread

I’ve been a journalist for about 15 years, working in the US, Germany, and Switzerland, with stops in Oslo, Cairo, Prague, and more. But after I graduated from college with a journalism degree, I didn’t know exactly which direction I would head. I got a big break filling in for a reporter in Olympia, WA, and afterwards had a chance to be freelancer. But in between reporting gigs I needed something to pay for food, and gas…so I became a baker. Here’s a short story of me being a bread baker’s assistant:

I hope you like it, and please subscribe on YouTube, and to my e-mail list.

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Continue reading “Baking Vlog Ep. 7: Pumpkin Spice (Quick)bread”

How Swiss experience is helping the US embrace apprenticeships

“How Swiss experience is helping the US embrace apprenticeships”
Published 23 Sept 2019 | swissinfo.ch
by Tony Ganzer

“With an experienced hand, Sara Anderson leans over to reload a truck-sized machine on the manufacturing floor of SFS intec, a Swiss firm in the US state of Ohio. Just 19 years old, she’s a student-apprentice, part of a maturing effort in the United States to build a talented pipeline of workers for factories of the future. 

“It’s a benefit for us as a Swiss company to be here in the US and find a new workforce,” says Simon Schmid. He’s the general manager for the automotive division of SFS intec, which produces small but vital metal components for automotive brake systems, ABS, engines, and more in the town of Medina, southwest of Cleveland.  

Coming from Switzerland, Schmid and his company are steeped in the Alpine country’s long history of apprenticeship programmes that start students training in companies as early as 15 or 16. At that age, US students generally attend upper secondary schools based around classroom work and have fewer on-the-job training opportunities.   

But apprenticeships are getting a serious re-think by American companies, schools, and governments to change perceptions about vocational training. Two years ago, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to create more apprenticeships with an executive orderexternal link pledging $200 million (CHF193.6 million) in funding. However, Politico recently reportedexternal link that the initiative had not created any new apprenticeships. The US Department of Labor is still in the process of distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in grantsexternal link to “close the skills gap” between worker abilities and job requirements.” 

Read the whole article at swissinfo.ch