Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sometimes It's OK When They Move Away

My best friend recently moved from Seattle to New Mexico and though I do miss her dearly, we now have the opportunity to talk on our daily commutes home which sadly take about the same amount of time though her commute is more than twice the distance of mine. There have been some nights when she's beaten me home after leaving work AFTER me. But I'm not bitter.

Tonight Mot left work early to pick up her car and so she drove most of the way from Hatch to Las Cruces before talking to me (as I was still working). Along the way she spotted one of the most beautiful sunsets, something that can only be found in the dry place she has moved to. She pulled off the highway and grabbed her camera. She then called me and left a message describing the beauty of the scene.

I quickly called her back after work and asked her to send me the photos. They were worth driving off the road for!

Mot also recently visited her parent's alpaca farm and included some fantastic animal photos for me. The first one is my favorite. Such beauties.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

After a long hiatus, I've updated my reading page.

After a short hiatus this week, I've also updated my photo page

And especially for Pattern Slave, this sweater is in Hors Serie Numero 13 * layette & Junior * Bouton d'Or and is FULL of lovely beautiful outfits for children.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Dear Blogger

All I want for Christmas is to be able to switch over to your new fancy, smancy blogger system. Why do thou forsake me just because I have too many posts from being loyal blogger user over the years? Shouldn't you reward me for my loyalty?




I'm working hard on this cute little sweater for Baby Gabby and last night I checked to see if it was fitting and IT DOES!

Thursday, December 21, 2006
A Weird Meme

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”Six weird things about me:

1. I didn't learn how to speak until I was about 4 years old.

2. I am terrified of birds. They will PECK your eyes old. Yet I often pet sit for a parrot named Nik Nik.

3. Squirrels frighten me too. They are rodents with bushy tails.

4. I LOVE riding on airplanes.

5. I am an extremely deep sleeper. A few years ago, my brother called me very late at night for a ride home from a bar. I had told him to call me anytime since drunk driving is deadly so he did. I answered the phone, told him I was sleeping and to take the bus before hanging up on him. Sadly I remember none of this conversation. I'm not really the best person to call in the middle of the night for a ride.

6. I talk to all animals and believe that one day they will talk back in English, until then we communicate through barks and meows. I carry on long conversations with my cat and sing to her daily.

I'm tagging- Meg, Erica, Jessica, Carolyn, Sundara and while I'm tempted to tag Norma I think I'll bother LeAnne!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Final Hippie Steps

The final weigh-in. The end of the Eight Week Challenge. The time to reflect on one's environmental changes.

The Slate/Treehugger challenge ended last week and now is the time for me to tally up my changes and reflect on the past eight weeks.

By making relatively few changes, I reduced 62.78 percent of the carbon emissions I reported at the start of the challenge. And I've actually reduced 574 percent of the emissions I pledged to cut over the last eight weeks. I have taken the annual equivalent of 1.79 cars off the road which is huge to me.

During last eight weeks I switched out my regular light bulbs to CFLs. I lowered the heat in my room.

I started noticing where I was buying my food, started to lessen the amount of beef I eat and started choosing products with less packaging.

I'm purchasing a new surge protector that monitors when products are turned off and switches power from that plug off all while watching out for those nasty energy vampires.

I've shortened my showers to 5 minutes or less though I still take a bath once a week (a girl has to have her weekly bath!).

Additionally I've started taking the bus at least one time a week (so far this week twice!) and taking my recycling home to be recycled when there are not places to recycle it out in the world. Yes this means I carry trash home from my lunch at work but hey it's not heavy and it feels good!

With all these accomplishments, there are still a few more things I need to do.

I still need to remove myself from some catalog mailing lists to rid myself of all those catalogs that I never shop from anyway!

I need to work on trimming pointless trips in car and maximize my driving time. I need to purchase more recycled paper products and print out less paper items at work.

It's all a daily process but one I have embraced and will continue to embrace for the rest of my life.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Sweater Grows as Another Year Passes

In leaps and bounds, the sweater grows and the pattern entices me. Sunday allowed me the opportunity to sit and watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy while knitting on Gabby's sweater. It was a perfect Sunday and I did finish the back (though I do not have the photographic evidence as yet).

And today is my 32nd birthday. This year a wind storm to commemorate my birthday while 32 years ago it was a blizzard in Minnesota that welcomed me to this world. That might be why I really enjoy the cold weather over warm balmy temperatures. Truely I do.

*Next up, a Weird Meme!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wind Storm 2006 (or what I call a HURRICANE!)

Last night the Seattle region was on high-alert. A HUGE windstorm (or seriously a Level 1 Hurricane) was baring down on the region. The 520 floating bridge was closed and the mid-span opened. The lights were flickering. Harold the Reindeer had dug his claws into the grass, bracing for windgusts of up to 75 mph.

I snuck outside shortly before the power went out and shot some video on the mini digital camera.

You can hear the wind howling along. We had a few shingles fall off the roof and there was a broken fin from one of the fish hanging near the front door but all in all we made it through. Others were not as lucky.

As I drove my Mom into work today, most of the way was without power (though I did find one gas station with power and I guess according to my Disaster Prepared Mother, I should always keep my gas tank half full but I don't and so driving on fumes made me nervous this morning). It took us almost two hours to get to work and the bus wouldn't have been much better. I saw only one bus going our way the entire way in compared to the usual 5-8 I usually share the road with.

You know this "weather" we've been experiencing is a bit too much! I SURRENDER!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Observations from a Bus

I took the bus into work today since the daily commute has really begun to drag on me and my understanding of the nuances of road rage continues to grow. While losing the "freedom" of having the car at work with me can be a negative, the ability to read a book or knit or both is a huge positive. Another great positive about riding the bus is the opportunity to people watch. I LOVE people watching and think this may be why I love riding on planes so very much.

This morning's ride provide a plethora of people watching once I got off the Express bus and switched to the Local bus for the second part of my ride. There was one girl who caught my attention and not just merely because she was holding two take-out containers in her lap (and made me wonder where they were from and if the food was any good) and neither because she was quite pretty but wearing a handkerchief on her head with dirty sweats. No, this particular girl caught my attention because she talked on her cell phone all the way from Downtown to Georgetown where I got off and she continued talking on her phone. She did a majority of the talking while the person on the other end appeared to just listen. I put in my headphones and tried not to stare at her (because staring RUINS people watching).

Then she started talking about Burlesque shows and how she really needed to practice more but her apartment was too small and the park nearby had too many trees. She also talked about how another girl just wasn't impressed but then she wasn't impressed about so many things.

I sat there wondering if the girl knew she was on the bus and that 35 other people could hear EVERY SINGLE WORD she uttered and now several of the men were wondering if it would be polite to offer their place for her Burlesque practices. The young teenage boy sitting across from me tried not to lean over for a quick look but couldn't do it gracefully.

Ahhh, the joys of bus riding.

Now for the knitting part of our program! I'm knitting along quickly on Gabby's sweater though I don't seem to be making quick progress. I think sleep and work are getting in the way of sweater production. I am also making great strides on my knee sock and I can't wait to wear them!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The Mancho, or why Meg and I should not be pattern makers

Mancho 002

Meg is working on a Christmas present for her father and I kindly offered some assistance with the pattern since she was using different yarn which a different gauge than the pattern called for. Now last year, I used this same yarn to create this same pattern but did not write down what I did. No problem! I'll use my fantastic math skills to help a friend out! I calculated, I added, I subtracted, I hmm'd, I haw'd...I decided she should cast on 180 stitches.

Meg diligently cast on and began knitting. She told me she was almost done with her second skein. I told her that she must be almost done and she said, nope, not long enough yet.

I came over to her house, I checked out the present.

I said, "This looks quite big. You should rip."

She said, "No, it's good" We continued on our merry way.

Last night at Purly Girls I decided to try it on. One look at Jessica's face revealed that something was horribly wrong.

Rebecca suggested that Meg add some ribbing to make it tighter around the neck and flare out around the shoulders. Meg responded that it was a lovely suggestion but her dad was not a gay man but, "rather and outdoor-Idaho-let's-go-fishing/camping-and-build-stuff kind of a man." That sent Meg and me into fits of laughter.

Mancho 001

We have now created the MANCHO, the perfect Gaiter/Pancho for the outdoorsy gay man. Yes, Meg and I will never be knitwear designers.
Monday, December 11, 2006
My Witty Dad

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday and as we drove towards the restaurant in Downtown Seattle, my Mom noted that my Dad had to drive himself to his own birthday dinner. I chimed in that he could pull over and I'd drive the rest of the way.

He dryly noted that it was ok and that he'd "probably have to drive himself to his own funeral."

And you know what, he probably would. My Mom and I just aren't that big of fans of actually driving ourselves places!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Seven

The Slate/Treehugger challenge this week focuses on water.

Think water and global warming, and melting Arctic ice caps may come to mind—a problem that can seem pretty insurmountable. But the water in your sink and dishwasher and bathtub also has a CO2 cost associated with global warming. And it is a cost you can reduce. Using less water means less waste and pollution. Using less hot water means fewer CO2 emissions. The average American household expends about 14 percent of the energy it uses on heating water. That adds up to nearly 4 percent of the country's total energy use and spins off about 260 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

A lot of excess water simply leaks away—like the vanished heat we talked about in the Green Challenge a few weeks ago. Then there are gushy toilets and showers. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, Americans with inefficient fixtures and appliances use about 80 gallons of water per person per day inside their homes. Replacing old and conventional faucets, washing machines, toilets, and showers with energy-efficient and low-flow varieties can stanch the flow by as much as a third—and you'll also trim CO2 emissions. How you heat up water makes a difference, too.

Slate/Treehugger offers the following suggestions to help "wash away your CO2 sins":

• Switch to a low-flow showerhead and save gallons of water a day. Some low-flows deliver excellent water pressure with only 1 to 2.2 gallons per minute (as opposed to the current government standard of 2.5 gallons per minute or pre-1992 shower heads that use even more water).

• A bathroom-sink faucet need deliver only 0.5 to 1 gallon of water per minute. In the kitchen, you want 2 or 2.5 gallons per minute so you won't get frustrated when you're filling pots. If your faucets are higher pressure and ready to be replaced, pick a lower-pressure model.

• Showers account for two-thirds of all water heating costs. The shorter your shower time, the more CO2 you'll save.

• Take showers instead of baths, which use more water.

• Turn the water off while you shave.

• Unless your dishes are really dirty, scrape instead of rinsing them before loading them into the dishwasher, especially if your dishwasher automatically prerinses or has a rinse-hold cycle. Also, use the energy-saver option, let the dishes air-dry, and, if possible, choose the light or cold-wash option. And wait until the dishwasher is full to run it.

• Which is more efficient—you or the dishwasher? Machine bests man in this debate: Hand-washing uses an average of 10 to 15 gallons of water, while automatic dishwashers use about 8. If you don't own a dishwasher or need to wash pots by hand, don't let water run while you're scrubbing.

• Instead of using hot water to thaw frozen food, let it defrost on the counter or in the refrigerator.

• An old water heater can operate for years at very low efficiency before it completely breaks down. If yours is more than 10 years old, it's likely running at less than 50 percent efficiency. Replace it with an energy-efficient one or, better yet, a heater without a tank, which warms up water only as you need it rather than holding hot water at the ready all the time.

• Many hot-water heaters come factory preset at 140 degrees—hotter than you need. Reset your water heater's thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and save yourself CO2 pounds (and a scalding).

This week I've scored 1918 or the annual equivalent of taking 0.20 cars off the road. Below are some important water facts.

• Installing a low-flow shower head saves an average of 507 pounds of CO2 per person
per year.

• Running the dishwasher only when it's full saves about 50 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

• Setting your water heater's thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit saves about 275 pounds of CO2 emissions per person per year.

• Insulating your hot water heater saves about 500 pounds of CO2 per person per year.

• Installing a solar water heating system reduces your CO2 emissions by about 360 pounds annually per person.
Saturday Sky

Saturday Sky 12.9

Friday, December 08, 2006
Seattle Morning

We've had someone in town this week for work from Texas and I've been heading to Downtown Seattle before work to pick her up. This morning due to light traffic, I was about 25 minutes early.

I decided to park my car and snap a few photos of the United States Courthouse which I've always been drawn too due to its beauty. I put the photos up on Flickr and I'm already planning a trip downtown with my big camera to get better shots.

Last night I decided it was time to cast on for another baby sweater. Gabby needs a Christmas sweater and heck, why start this early, why not cast on 16 days before Christmas. I like this stress filled plan!

I did a proper swatch last night and can already see the finished sweater in my head.

The color isn't right in the above image so I snapped a few more until I got it right which you can see below.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I’m at a loss after hearing of the loss of James Kim.

I’m just devastated for the Kim family and yet also awed by their strength in the face overwhelming odds.

May James be at peace.

May Kati and her babies draw from all the love the world has in their hearts for this very special family.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Vote Early, Vote Often

Tourist Photo on JPG
Preview Photo just to the right --------->

Come on! You know you want to!*

*Really though only vote if you feel inclined, it's not like I'm going to hunt you down or something!

I got my "Official" finisher's button for NaBloPoMo today.

I think I like it!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
November Round-up

1. NaNoWriMo = This Goal Was Not Accomplished though I did get a good amount of words down on the paper. I'll go for this again next year.

2. NaBloPoMo = This Goal Was Accomplished. I actually found it thrilling to post everyday and it wasn't too hard to come up with blog posts. I did take the last two days off to give my readers a rest.

3. NaNoSweMo (National Sweater Knitting Month) KAL = This Goal Was Almost Accomplished.

Goal #1 -- The Purple Sweater

Unfortunately the sleeves are still not attached!

Goal #2 -- The Hourglass Sweater in Green

The sweater started out like the above photo at the beginning of the month and is now ALMOST complete. I just have a few finishing details to complete.

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Six

The Slate/Treehugger challenge this week focuses on the Holidays.

According to Slate/Treehugger, the holidays lead Americans, on average, to increase their garbage by 25% starting at Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. All this consumption adds up to a total of more than 25 million tons.

To help the carbon-conscious consumer, Slate/Treehugger offers the following tips to consume less:

• When shopping online or by mail order, consolidate your orders into as few shipments as possible.

• Consider the benefits of buying locally made goods, which aren't transported over long distances to get to you.

• Consider also gifts such as tickets to a play or concert, a museum membership, or art classes.

• Reduce the number of holiday shopping trips you make to save on gas and bring along some reusable shopping bags? Most paper bags are made from virgin paper. Plastic ones are less CO2 intensive to make, but they're still made with petroleum and take hundreds of years to decompose in the landfill.

• If you're sending gifts by mail, choose small, light packages, which take up less space and fuel than big, heavy ones.

• Wrapping paper—usually made from virgin materials—is a large part of the holiday-waste stream. And if it's shiny or sparkly, it can't even be recycled. If every household wrapped three gifts in recycled materials, we'd save reams and reams of paper.

• Every year, 2.65 billion holiday cards are sold in the United States. If you're buying, choose cards made from recycled paper and avoid the shiny can't-recycle kind. Even better is to send e-cards. And recycle the nonshiny cards you receive.

• A deluge of catalogs has probably already descended upon your mailbox. It takes 14 million trees to produce the mail-order books we receive annually. And along with direct mailings, catalogs account for more than 4 million tons of CO2-emitting landfill mass.

• Christmas trees are a topic of much environmentalist debate. Fake trees are reusable but are made from petroleum-derived sources and often shipped from abroad. Real trees, for their part, are typically sprayed with lots of pesticides. And new research shows that pine-tree farms capture less CO2 than the hardwood species they're displacing in some parts of the country. Organic Christmas trees are tough to come by. Plus, of the 33 million real Christmas trees sold in North America every year, many end up in a landfill, emitting carbon dioxide as they rot. If you opt for a real tree, be sure to bring it to a local recycling center, where it can be chipped for mulch or used whole to stabilize wetlands. A better choice may be to purchase a live, potted tree, which can be planted outside after the holidays. Evergreen varieties such as pine, spruce, and fir work well in many regions.

• Replace conventional incandescent holiday string lights with their light-emitting diode counterparts. These energy-efficient strings use up to 95 percent less electricity, last up to 10 times longer, and are safer since they produce very little heat. LED lights are more expensive, but you'll shave a few dollars off your electricity bill and pounds off your carbon weight. And unlike conventional light strings, if one bulb goes bad on an LED string, the rest will still work. No matter what type of lights you use, limit yourself to keeping them on for four or five hours a day, and turn them off at night.

• If you're decorating with candles, choose the ones made from soy wax or beeswax. Both are renewable resources, as opposed to regular paraffin candles, which are made from petroleum.

• For holiday parties, rent real plates, glasses, and silverware (or use your own) instead of using the disposable kind.

My score was 154, which means I've promised to take the annual equivalent of 0.02 cars off the road.

Here are some of the numbers that Slate used in their calculations, which reflect averages:
• Donating a tree saves about 50 pounds of CO2 in a year.
• Purchasing a wind-power gift card from Native Energy offsets 2,000 pounds of CO2
• Joining OurEnergy saves about 139 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
• Switching out three strings of regular holiday minilights for LED lights saves 17 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Corners of My Home - The Desk

I've been meaning to tidy up my desk area for some time but something always seems to grab my attention or something distracts me from my ultimate goal (Let's be honest -- it is usually the Internets) but after a day of working from home, I decided to take this corner.

I gathered up the mini sweaters I've made and strung them up above my calendar. I hope to add a bulletin board where my calendar currently sits but that will come later.

Then I stacked some glass containers up in the corner of the desk. One of them holds yarn ball labels while another holds some pretty yarn for mittens (these came from my Better Paln of long ago, Sandy). I need to get these mittens made so I can wear them and I'm hoping that if the yarn is right where I can see it, the inspiration will be there for the knitting.

On top of these containers, I propped my iPod and my Artist Model. Her outfit still needs to be completed but for now, her jaunty skirt and cozy sweater work for me.

All in all, my little desk is tidied up and my little corner feels more welcoming!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow DAY 015

It's a Snow Day today though I am attempting to work from home. It's a bit difficult when I don't have all the files I need though. I'm making it work though since I'm Supergirl.

So last night I promised to tell everyone about my FOUR hour bus ride home but first let me start with Sunday night. It began snowing on Sunday evening and I informed everyone that I would be taking the bus into work as I did need to figure out if riding the bus a few days a week worked for me.

Snow DAY 012

Monday morning came bright and early and my Dad drove me to the Park and Ride. This turned out to be a blessing later in the day but at the time, I just thought he was being nice. The Park and Ride is about two miles from the house so it's not too far to walk, ride your bike or drive but in the dark it wouldn't be very safe to walk or ride ones bike due to visibility and a wee shoulder.

I rode the bus into work and LOVED it! I arrived at work at 7:45 a.m. and settled into work feeling good about my bus experiment. So far the ride in was a success! I could do this!

Snow DAY 010

So I worked and I had Yoga and all was good in the world. I left work a few minutes before 5 p.m. so I could catch the 5:01 p.m. bus. This turned out to be a WISE decision. I caught one bus to the Jackson Street exchange near Qwest field and watched all the Seahawk fans heading to the game. By this time, the snow had started but I was feeling secure because my bus had arrived and so all would be well. The bus headed through downtown and I overheard someone saying that their husband had caught the bus at 4:30 from downtown and was only about halfway to my stop. NOOOOOO! I called my Dad to see where he was in his bus route. He was only a few stops ahead of me and said to call when I got closer to our stop. I noticed the bus was only moving at about 3 mph. We were going nowhere fast!

We got on I-5 around 5:45 p.m. and I arrived at my bus stop at 9:00 p.m. The bus was moving at only a few miles an hour and the bus driver started letting people off wherever they wanted so they didn't have to walk as far. I found out later that Highway 522 which is the main road by my house was closed off and on which is what slowed us down. My parents drove someone home from their bus who had left his car at Northgate Mall. They could only take him to the bottom of his hill though as it was too slippy to get up. Mind you, my parents and this man both lived in Minnesota for few years and know what to do in the snow. It's the ice that one just can't drive in.

Snow DAY 008

So I arrived at my bus stop at 9:00 p.m. and my parents were waiting in the warm car. We stopped by the grocery store for dinner and headed home. I was so exhausted that shortly after 10:30 p.m. I fell into bed and awoke this morning to more ice. We all made the decision to stay home and are now enjoying a Snow Day!

Snow DAY 007

Whew! I'm not sure about such long commutes but I will take the bus again. The ride in was good so I'm sure the ride home could potentially be good too!

More snow pictures are on Flickr.
Monday, November 27, 2006
So Damn Tired

Really one should never have to endure a FOUR Hour Commute on a bus to get home just because it SNOWED!

This story will have to wait until tomorrow for a proper telling. I left work today at 4:50 p.m. and didn't get off the bus until 9:00 p.m.

I actually became bored on the bus and started wiggling! It was just too DAMN much!

Sunday, November 26, 2006
What a Day!

I woke up this morning at 5:45 a.m. and quickly dressed for my half marathon. I knew it would be cold, so I layered on two cool max shirts and my jacket before grabbing a fleece for afterwards since I could hear the rain outside.

I rushed out to my car and headed on down the road. There was SNOW on my windshield which made me seriously wonder if this race was a good idea. Nonetheless, I was in the car which made me committed and I continued on my way. I made a bad directional decision and headed down I-5 and exited off the Mercer Street exit where I sat for over 40 minutes before illegally parking and running to the race start. I bustled about for a few moments and then the race started. We were off!

I kept one eye out for my training partner. We had trained together for so long that not to actually run the race with her would be just wrong. Along about mile two, I started a conversation with another runner and we began running together. She was the perfect pacer for me. We ran and chatted but I still kept an eye out for my buddy. At mile four, we found each other to great joy! I knew we would meet up! Now there were three of us running along. It was crazy cold and the rain/slush wouldn't stop but it didn't matter all that much.

We jogged along through the puddles and the mud. At the top of the Madison hill, Zubin, his people and friends were waiting to cheer me on. They even had COW BELLS! I was so excited to see people I knew. Zubin was dressed as a runner wearing a garbage bag. I so wish I had a photo of that!

We then coasted on down to Interlaken Park and back through Capital Hill. Around Mile 11, Uli (the marathon winner) passed us with racer on his tail.

My training partner asked, "Are we there yet?" I told her it was just a few more miles and we'd be home free!

Around mile 12 people began lying to us and telling us we had less than half a mile to go. They were wrong! We had 3/4 of a mile to go! Seriously that is huge when you are pooped!

We glided into the finish around 3:30 which is about 30 minutes slower than I've ever ran a half marathon but then again I had the most fun ever and I've never run when it was practically snowing before! Also as an added bonus, my car was not towed nor did it have a ticket on its illegally parked butt!

After the running bit, I headed home and was taken to brunch for some tasty treats. Shortly after we arrived home, true snow began! Fingers Crossed! I want a SNOW DAY!

Saturday, November 25, 2006
Saturday Sky

click on photo for larger view

It's a beautiful Saturday morning which is surprising after the gloom and doom forecasted by the weathermen. I am praying this holds out until tomorrow afternoon when I'm done with my race.

Destiny loves the sunny weather today but does wish it was a bit warmer!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Buy Nothing Day

Every November, for 24 hours, Adbusters remembers that no one was born to shop. This year, partly because I have to work and partly because I too believe no one was born to shop, I will be taking part in "Buy Nothing Day".

The important point to remember about this day is that there is more than one way to participate than by just controlling one's spending habits. Today is also a day to think about the cost of excess consumption. This is of greater consequence than a reflection on your credit card bill.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for a wonderful family, a great place to live, a grouchy cat and wonderful delicious dinner made by Maman!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day!
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Hippie Steps -- Week Five

The Slate/Treehugger challenge this week focuses on electricity.

The electricity we generate is responsible for 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, making it the largest single source overall. As demand for electricity has risen, so have greenhouse-gas emissions, increasing by 25 percent over the last two decades, according to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. That's because most of our electrical-power supply comes from burning fossil fuels, natural gas, oil, and, especially, coal, a huge CO2 culprit.

Coal is abundant and relatively inexpensive, so it's likely to remain a prime source for electricity for decades to come. And with operation costs on the rise, power companies aren't likely to invest voluntarily in technologies to reduce emissions. There are low-carbon options: Renewable power sources such as biomass, wind, and solar currently account for just 0.6 percent of electricity production. Hydroelectric power, however, provides 7 percent of our electricity, and nuclear power nearly 20 percent. These sources have other drawbacks, but throw off little or no CO2.

If your electricity comes from a dirtier source (you can find out here), then the energy used in your household may amount to more than twice the greenhouse-gas emissions of an average car. Which leaves trimming CO2 pounds from electricity partially up to you. Distressingly, 40 percent of all household electricity is used to power electronics while they are turned off. Collectively, this squandered electricity (often referred to as phantom power load) equals the annual output of 17 power plants.
-- Slate/Treehugger

They also offer tips on reducing your electricity use which conveniently provides the added bonus of a lower electric bill.

* The typical incandescent light bulb turns only about 10 percent of its electricity into light. The rest is wasted heat. Compact fluorescent lamps energy-efficient bulbs use two-thirds less energy and produce 70 percent less heat. If every American household replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a CFL, we'd prevent 800,000 cars' worth of greenhouse-gas emissions.

I have personally replaced four regular lightbulbs with CFL lightbulbs and am working my way through the house. It seems a waste to throw away perfectly good lightbulbs just because they aren't CFL's.

* Cable and video-game boxes, DVD players, and other electronics can use as much energy in standby mode as a 75-watt light bulb that's left on. If a device offers an "off" option for standby lights, use it. Otherwise, try plugging electronics into a power strip, which you can turn off when they're not in use.

This is something I need to do. In fact, I will go out and get a few power strips this weekend and start turning things off!

* How many times have you left your cell-phone charger plugged in, even when your phone is not? Wall chargers for things like iPods and cameras suck energy out of the socket, even when not attached to their mates. With the national average at five chargers per person, unplugging adds up.

I always unplug my cell-phone charger once my phone is charged up. I also unplug my toothbrush along with many kitchen appliances. I'm happy with with what I'm doing here.

* Rechargeable battery docks for gadgets like drills and handheld vacuum cleaners can draw from the socket five to 20 times more energy than is stored in the battery. Unplug them once tools are juiced.

I'm all about rechargeable batteries and even when I bulk at the inital price I have to remember that over the long haul, I'm saving money and energy.

So I took the weekly quiz and this week I've pledged to take the annual equivalent of 0.12 cars off the road. This calculation was based on the following averages.

* Exchanging three frequently used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs saves about 150 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Unplugging your electronics when they're not in use or using a power strip to shut them down saves about 500 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Unplugging external battery chargers for MP3 players, cell phones, and the like saves 213 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Replacing a conventional cordless phone with an Energy Star model saves 13 pounds of CO2 a year per person.

* Replacing a refrigerator that is more than 13 years old saves about 50 pounds of CO2 a year per person, and an average of 650 pounds of CO2 per person over the life of the appliance. Energy Star-rated refrigerators use about half as much energy as models manufactured before 1993. Each year, that comes to about the energy it takes to light the average household for nearly five months. So, if you're leaving on an old fridge in your basement to store extra food from time to time, you're adding to your carbon waistline.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The Knitting Fairy

After knitting the Fetching gloves as a gift for a faraway friend, Meg wore them around, petted them, told me how much she loved the gloves and ooh'd and ahh'd over them. Then she said she just didn't know when she would have the time to make them with all her other projects.

The Knitting Fairy heard her request and has promised her some gloves. From what I've seen so far from the Knitting Fairy, they look good! One has to just love the Knitting Fairy!

The gloves are being made out of one of the colors above, EVERYONE but Meg can click to see how they are coming along so far!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Salt Lake City on a Whirlwind


This past weekend, my parents and I headed out to Salt Lake City to place my Grandfather's ashes in his niche, next to my Grandmother. My dear, dear Father booked our tickets to fly out on the 6:30 a.m. flight which translates to a Grumpy Rebecca getting up at 3:30 a.m. I calmly informed him many times before Saturday that this was a bit early for me and that I was going to hit the Starbucks as soon as we made it through security.

Friday evening as I finished packing my bag, I heard some swearing from the next room where my Dad was printing out our boarding passes. I sensed that this wasn't a good sign and darted into the room to ask him what was wrong. It appears that my Dad booked our flight to leave on FRIDAY morning instead of SATURDAY morning. I told him to call the airline and then to tell Mom about the situation. He rebooked our tickets but instead of flying direct, we now needed to fly through Reno which put us into town a bit later than planned. So that debacle was taken care of and now we have something to torment my Father about for the next two thousand years.

Saturday morning arrived (and I use that term loosely) and we headed to the airport. We arrived at our gate with 40 minutes to spare and used that time to watch people run to the other gates and leaping onto planes with seconds to spare. One scene which provided us with hours of conversation was the gate people announcing the final, final boarding call and telling the wife of a very late couple that she needed to either get on the plane without her husband or rebook her flight along with him. She decided to get on the plane. A full five minutes later, the husband comes strolling up and is irate that the plane is leaving without him. He calls his wife and there was some hand gesturing and the gate lady telling him that she needed to rebook his flight. Ohhh boy!

So then we get on our flight and are told that we are going to wait for a few people since the security line was so bad (it wasn't bad when we went though but then my family is all about the preparing ahead). This lady gets on with her child and says something about not knowing where her husband is. A few minutes later she gets off the plane with her child and the flight attendant is telling her that they can't wait for her husband. Seems like husbands and wives were getting separated at the airport!

We connected through Reno (not sure I ever need to go back there) and arrived in Salt Lake City.

I'm always amazed at how well kept up Salt Lake City is. Their roads are wide, their gutters cleaned and they don't seem to have the plethora of potholes that plague Seattle. As my father put it, "Salt Lake is well scrubbed" and my mother added that it made you want to be a better person.

Flowers at Ceremony

We headed out to the cemetery and had my Grandfather’s ashes interred in his niche next to my Grandmother. The cemetery is lovely and he has a wonderful view of the rockies.

Larkin View

After the internment we spend the rest of the day driving around Salt Lake City so my parent’s could trot down memory lane. I asked if we could head down to Temple Square and so we did. We arrived near dusk and the light was just beautiful.

Mormon Temple

The square was awash with people and the space in front of the temple was covered with brides and their families taking pictures.

Temple Square in Sepia

Saturday evening we had a fantastic dinner before heading back to our hotel to collapse in a heap.

Sunday was spent visiting family relatives before heading home to Seattle. We spent some more time driving around the city and heading down Old Mill Canyon.

Old Mill Canyon

We arrived at the airport and made it through security though I was pulled aside for a bag check. It appears that my telephoto lens and camera charger were bundled up together and it looked, "suspicious". Of course this meant my Mother beat me through security. Darn it!

We arrived at our gate and sat down to await our flight. Everywhere around us were people wearing Xango shirts in bright orange. It looked a bit like a massive cult descending upon us. We soon found out from listening in that all of these people had been to SLC to learn how to sell Xango ala Tupperwear Party style.

So with this interesting people watching opportunity, we boarded our flight which instead of heading directly to Seattle, was making a pit stop in Spokane.

As we headed to Spokane, our pilot announced that we were 20 minutes early which meant we would have 40 minutes to sit on the plane before taking off for Seattle. I wasn’t sure that this was worth announcing but the pilot was quite pleased with himself.

I could see the lights of Spokane below us and then my parents and I noticed that the same lights appeared to be beneath us again. My Dad muttered that we were circling the airport and wondered if this was due to us being early.

Shortly thereafter the pilot announces that we are having a malfunctioning light on the dashboard and that was why we were circling. I decided to ignore this information and not freak out.

My parents decided to mull this over and my Dad then made sure that my Mom and I were aware that the problem was probably related to the landing gear. My Mom announced that her death certificate was not to list, Spokane before pointing out the emergency exit rows to me.

My Dad told me to step over the slow people because, "Politeness is for dead people."

This made me giggle and I told him I was quoting him on the blog. Pretty soon we were all giggling and my Dad was pointing out that not being polite was only reserved for adverse conditions.

Eventually we landed in Spokane and took off toward Seattle. Unfortunately we hit some turbulence over the Cascades which made my stomach lurch around. We eventually arrived home and I again collapsed into bed. It was quite difficult to get up this morning for work but I do have Thanksgiving off so I’m looking forward to that!

Of course, it does sound like Lolly had it a bit rougher on her return home so I shouldn't complain too much.
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back from SLC

I'm back from Salt Lake City but Blogger is down...I'm hoping that I can post this way to keep the Posting a Day love alive!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Salt Lake City

I'm off to Salt Lake City (a.k.a. Land of Dooce) for the weekend. I'll be back on Sunday for a proper post.

Until then, Destiny has agreed to guard the blog.

PS This totally counts as a proper post for NaBloPoMo.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Updating the Hourglassing

My NaSweKniMo sweater is coming along nicely. This morning I attached the second sleeve and embarked on the yoke.

I'm inspired to knit faster as I really want to wear this sweater! Only 13 more days of knitting left and I'll be out of town this weekend. I hope to fit in some airplane knitting but I sense that I'll be busy most of the weekend.

Today is so beautiful that I was able to snap a few photos of the trees in the backyard.

The full set can be found here on Flickr.
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