Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Time Machine August/September 2020

Time Machine August/September 2020

 We moved in to our old Homestead, The first night was surreal to say the least. There were many small projects left to complete and no list was needed, just start in and its kind of one foot in front of the other kind of thing till you get it all done. Graeme continued to help on weekends and always brought a super handy grandaughter along to help. No longer did we have the living room, den, Graeme's room and Lia's room. Instead we had the  Dance room, the Game room, the music room, and the exercise room which is still in development. The garage and outdoor spaces belong to the younger grandkids as they are learning you can play and learn outside all day long every day in Texas. Having a retired kindergarten & grades K-5 gifted and talented teacher for a Grandmother pays off big in 2020.

The Time Machine arrives with all our Worldly belongings. 
Easiest move we ever made from so far away. 
Our daughter who had a part time home assistant loaded all our stuff up in the family truckster and I used to hire a trucking company to load up the Time Machine in Seattle and a week later arrives at our driveway in Austin.

The Time Machine and the Little Truck that can back in their Back to the Future Spots.
déjà vu

One of the best projects you can do in 105 temperature is to recoat a roof with elastomeric.

Well miss the 12th floor patio view but now have a plenty big shady backyard on the Ground floor.

The previous living room was our music room but now is a Game room. The Admiral realized a small dream of having her own ping pong table.

I named her Lucille II
She is not a Gibson ES-335 but she plays and sounds the same to me.
Unfortunately Lucille II was pretty lonely in August and September I still pledged to do at least one thing every day for the homestead. We are getting back together now.

  Creating a new New Normal here in Texas is not without the uneasy weirdness the 2020 pandemic brings, but all this Texas Space and having the family just minutes away softens the reality.

Friday, August 28, 2020

June-July 2020 What Happened to the Phrase " An Inch is as Good as a Mile"?

 June-July 2020 What Happened to the Phrase " An Inch is as Good as a Mile"?

We were driving today and as I turned the corner the Admiral exclaimed " You came pretty close to that curb!" . My brain was immediately reminded  me of the moment when I was a teenager riding along with my mom and she came scarily close to a parked car, and I said " you sure came close to that car!"And she said " An inch is as good as a mile". At the moment I did not think so but I never forgot that moment. Today I repeated that phrase to the Admiral " An inch is as good as a Mile!" She did not think so either. 

I have been pondering that phrase all day and so I googled the phrase to find its origin, I had already imagined several scenarios where it would have applied to my parents generation.  This proverbial expression, first recorded in 1614, is a shortening of the older form, “An inch of a miss is as good [or bad] as a mile of a miss.”

Well I imagined so many instances where the phrase was entirely appropriate for a generation that survived so many challenges especially World War II. There must be thousands of men and women that narrowly escaped certain death. My father was a  highly decorated Army Air Force pilot that was known to fly supplies to South Pacific troops and landing on dirt fields among enemy fire to deliver supplies to those on front lines.  An inch was a welcome instance. 

In 2020 6 feet is now known to be to close and some are advising 15'! We have developed a bubble of sorts, now being called a Pod so that we can continue seeing our close family here in Austin. We marvel at how we imagined that as we left Seattle we were pretty sure we would return within two months and three months for sure. A plan was spawned to rent an RV and we would ride along with our daughters family back to Seattle avoiding the risk of hotels and pubic bathrooms. By the first of June the reality was overwhelming and so we switched gears and made a decision to not renew the lease with our tenets in our Austin house

The tenets were given a 60 day notice and we would be moving back into our old homestead August 1. June was spent making plans for completing any necessary renovations in the month of July so that we could move in July 1. We soon found out that since so many are stuck at home with no where to go for summer vacation they are all doing some type of renovations and all the skilled essential workers in Austin are booked weeks out. 

The last time I painted the entire interior of our Brookdale home was over 10 years ago as we were preparing the house for lease. Fortunately  my son Graeme dedicated his weekends and he brought along one of our granddaughters Ella and Liv each time to help paint, pressure wash and act as a lock smith as well.If I remember right we spent around $5K getting the house ready to lease, the renovation and move in expenses were more than double plus the scheduling of a plumber, handyman, and pest control guy added to the stress of having strangers in your home during a pandemic. A month was almost not enough time but we got the house in good enough shape to move in and we could spend August finishing up the details. 

Well this picture represents all the places we have traveled to and places where we had fun eating out or going to music events, hiking, boating, sports events, or just hanging out with friends and family, there are at least 50 in the set. 
It is also a picture of one of the walls we painted.Notice the shadow lurking, this represents the unfinished list.

Try this with record consecutive triple digit days. 

Check out this Eyed Click Beetle
Its all about the small stuff, sharing at least 50 Texas bugs with the grand kids is where it's AT!

. Learning to live where the Inch has probably disappeared for a very long time and Love is more about Distance

PS: Of good note, our tenets of 10 years were able to buy their first home, good things evolved for everyone.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Austin Living Inside May 2020, What Time is it?

Austin Living Inside May 2020 What Time is it?

What time is it? Do you remember when time seemed to be going way to fast?

When we arrive in Seattle almost 7 years ago, things were moving much faster than our previous three years spent aboard our cruising boat Wand'rin Star. Life certainly slows down when you are never moving faster than 6 knots and most of the time you are moored somewhere new and you just take your sweet time to explore new environments. A year is a Year! Then a move to Seattle, one of the Tech hubs of the planet, and all of a sudden the pace picks become a time traveler. The months are screaming by and it is already New Years Eve? In the course of a "cruising year" your first born grandson turns six and his little sister three. 1=6.

Then we all are placed into at self isolation at home. 2020 will definitely become known as the loongeest year on record. Any idea of returning to the old normal is completely gone, and figuring out the new normal will be a very long experiment. Self Isolation routines are just as personal as any other part of ones life.
Here is our daily routine:
8:30-9am Wake Up
9-10:30 Lazy Breakfast/coffee, Watch the morning news.
11-12:30 I practice guitar, the Admiral does stuff, like read, or cook, or keep up with the latest pandemic news from Seattle, Fort Worth, and Austin on Google
12:30 -1:30  Richard Simmons Sweating with the Oldies Aerobics routine together.
1:30-2:30 Lunch and some PBS documentary
2:30-3:20 Short walk in the neighborhood.
3:30 Then the Admiral talks with her 87 yr old dad, and I practice some more guitar.
Mess around
5:30 time for Happy Hour and the Evening news.
The Admiral finds sleep around 10:30, I stay up and watch a movie on Amazon Prime.

Some days we sweep and mop, every ten days or so I go to HEB to pick up an order.

On Weekends the Grandkids come over and enjoy the back yard and swimming pool. Since they are also adhering to strict stay at home procedures we have a nuclear family bubble that can co-exist.

As the picture becomes very clear we are adjusting future plans almost on a daily discussion basis. For people in our age group, those over 65, we must accept that we will continue to live in this self isolation life style until there is a vaccine. Even if and when a remedy becomes available we will live out our lives much differently. The next unknown virus is just around the corner and hence we will forever be guarding our health. Living in a 12 story condo building is out. Living in a single family home is back in. The way we travel to and from different cities will change to a slower mode of transportation. Flying is out, slow road trips are in.

A White Morph Squirrel, at first we thought it might be an albino, but no red eyes so Google helped sort it out.
Slowing down to wildlife speed is a great way to spend a May Texas day with grandkids, lots of Texas wildlife right in the backyard, Definitely different from the Pacific Northwest!
A Green Anole Lizard loves the Iron plants in the backyard.

A cool looking moth on the fence.

Indian Blanket

Prickly Pear

Scarlet Hedgehog

Barrel Cactus

Lots of Deer this year in Northwest Austin adding to the city nature.

The Family Naturalist

Frozon crayons, ice cube with water coloring.

We are Blessed this house had a pool!

A type of soccer golf, 2 points if you get it in the chiar.

Thank you Mark! Mighty fine Coffee, made every morning of May very special.

A student of mine from back in the day contacted me on messenger, Charlie Whitman, and wanted to thank me for being one of the few teachers who helped him along. The bonus points from a career in teaching are the calls you get from previous students thanking you for your small part in their lives, and seeing how they are successfully living out their purpose in life. This is a recent band pic and he is certainly living a very full life. he is a very intelligent person who simply did not fit in the public education box, a man well ahead of his times.

First let me say I am Not Judging!
As we choose how to spend our expendable income, perhaps we can avoid doing these types of single use celebrations. Instead of spending $170 for something to help fill up land fills, perhaps it might be better spent doing something sustainable to celebrate, like plant a very special tree that will remind her, him, or they of the special moment for many years to come and help our environment recover from to many years of excessive carbon. Just one example of thousands of ways you could spend the $170 in a much more loving and sustainable way

Teaching Texas Essential Skills: Sitting on a tailgate and enjoying it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

All Things Are Connected, Even Those things You Can Not See, Hear, Taste, or Feel: 50 Things You Can Do to Help. April 2020

All Things Are Connected, Even Those things You Can Not See, Hear, Taste, or Feel: 50 Things You Can Do to Help. April  2020

Sharing some Texas Nature with the GrandKids

Yes, we are all connected but it goes far beyond just the human kind. Every single thing that you can see, hear, taste or feel, even those things that you can’t, even those that you can imagine, are connected.

I remember a 9th grade science teacher giving the class a lesson that I have never forgotten. He gave the example of a fish that lived in Alaskan waters that ranged in 31 -57 degrees F. from winter to
summer. And another fish that lived in tropical waters with temperatures ranging from 70-98F from winter to summer. The two fish were put into the same bucket that had 65 degree water. One fish thought the water was way to hot; the other thought the water was very cold.

One single person far away was having, I am sure, just a normal day. He/She left their home on an errand to the market, perhaps, to buy a pangolin for dinner (remember the bucket). Just as they were putting their fortunate find into a sack for the short walk home, a gnat landed on their nose. The person touched their face to shoo away the pesky fly. For the next week this person lived their normal busy life in a very crowded apartment building and densely populated city.

Remember how everything is connected? A far away single tiny microscopic particle that cannot be seen, heard, tasted, or felt is now part of every person’s life on planet earth. Finally a perfect example of how we are so interconnected! Parents have the perfect tool to teach their children and their communities that everything we do impacts everybody and everything. A sneeze on the other side of the planet matters.

The most recent pandemic is providing an incredible range of opportunities for human kind to change our lives, lets hope that those changes promote the health of not only the Human kind but for all kind, Mother Nature is patiently watching. She has already provided us so many ways to learn but we as a whole, we just have not met her expectations. Storms, Fire, draught, and floods were mot impressive enough so she put us in time out with a pandemic. Already in just four months the air and water is cleaner than anyone in the two youngest generations have ever seen. Nature has its on way to purify air water and the entire environment. Humans have overwhelmed the natural process and any attempts by mankind to rectify the damage has been to little to late.

The solutions to Climate Change seem way beyond the ability of any one person to control or to have any real effect on. Even recycling seems almost impossible since so much of the stuff we put in our recycle bins are never actually recycled and end up in the garbage dumps anyway. The recent pandemic has revealed the possibilities of world change as we can clearly see the reduced air pollution from so many sources and cleaner water as well. Conserve, reuse, recycle, living small, and buying smartly where it clearly encourages corporate responsibility (Money Talks!) are things all of us can do to affect change and a healthy planet.

To Celebrate the opportunity that Mother Nature has so graciously given us to recreate our daily lives I am sharing 50 ways you can help to restore Mother Natures faith in the human race. (I’m pretty sure that not one of us wants to see what’s next if we ignore this very gracious opportunity.)

50 Ways You Can Help:

For some reason humans like to categorize their lives. Perhaps it provides some sort of order to their world.  But just like the fish in the bucket we all come from somewhere different and have different ways of organizing or living our everyday existence. So I'm going to throw out, organized my way some general ideas and surely you can take them back to your community and use the ideas to create.
Five broad concerns: Air, Water, Energy, Personal Responsibility, & Corporate Responsibility. Everyone can make a small difference in each of these areas and even if just a minor percentage of people make not so inconvenient changes, the impact can be huge. Going beyond there is also political action you can take to encourage a healthy planet. Some simple research on the internet will lead you to nonprofit organizations that are highly organized and are fighting hard to fight climate change. You can join their efforts and they will send you updates. They will also notify you when important bills or other issues are being debated often giving you a personal voice by signing their petitions or easily sending letters to your congress persons. They do all the work, they write the letter and based on your zip code your letter will be sent to your representative. Joining these efforts make a huge difference as your voice also indicates who you may vote for in upcoming elections. Politicians like to win and they will change to get your vote…. numbers count like money!

There are four main types of air pollution sources:
mobile sources – such as cars, buses, planes, trucks, and trains
stationary sources – such as power plants, oil refineries, industrial facilities, and factories
area sources – such as agricultural areas, cities, and wood burning fireplaces
natural sources – such as wind-blown dust, wildfires, and volcanoes

What Can I Do to Help Reduce Air Pollution?
Every time we drive to school, use our heater or air conditioner, clean our windows, or even style our hair, we make choices that affect air pollution. These steps, as well as many others, are things we all can do to help reduce air pollution.
  1. Conserve energy – remember to turn off lights, computers, and electric appliances when not in use Use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. Participate in your local utility’s energy conservation programs
  2. Limit driving by carpooling, using public transportation, biking and walking Combine errands for fewer trips
  3. Keep your automobile well tuned and maintained. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on routine maintenance, such as changing the oil and filters, and checking tire pressure and wheel alignment.
  4. Avoid excessive idling of your automobile
  5. Drive electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  6. Use electric or hand-powered lawn care equipment
  7. Be careful not to spill gasoline when filling up your car or gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment
  8. Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full
  9. Choose environmentally friendly cleaners
  10. Use water-based or solvent free paints whenever possible and buy products that say "low VOC"
  11. Seal containers of household cleaners, workshop chemicals and solvents, and garden chemicals to prevent volatile organic compounds from evaporating into the air
  12. Purchase and use low-polluting outboard marine engines and personal watercraft (4-stroke and direct fuel injection 2-stroke outboard marine engines).
  1. Political Action to help reduce Air Pollution:  Most air pollution is produced by the burning of fossil fuels and waste, and this is the focus of the World Health Organization’s global recommendations:
  1. Moving from coal and gas power stations and diesel generators to solar, wind and hydropower
  2. Prioritise walking, cycling and public transport over cars in urban areas and shift to electric cars
  3. Improve the energy efficiency of homes to reduce heating needs and avoid coal and wood burning inside
  4. Promoting waste reduction and use incineration only when unavoidable and when emissions controls are in place
  5. Create green spaces in cities to help remove some pollutants
  6. Advocate for emission reductions from power plants and more stringent national vehicle emission standards
Water pollution is defined as contamination of water bodies which includes lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater. We all know how the pollution of our water is a major issue, especially as we ramp up our production of potentially harmful substances. Not only does water pollution result in contaminated water, but it also hurts the wildlife that depends on safe water for survival. With increased global warming and climate change, our planet is already reeling under acute water crisis. Moreover, with population of this world growing an explosive rate, the water resources are also getting polluted at a higher rate.
While there is no single short step to stop water pollution, there are number of things that we can do in our daily lifestyle to reduce water pollution. The best way to clean the polluted water is not to clean the polluted water but to stop polluting. Here we have compiled a list of 25 such ways that can help you to reduce water pollution and make it safe for animals, unique. organisms and ecosystems that are being harmed and going extinct at an alarming rate.

  1. Use Less Plastic It is very difficult to break down plastic after it is produced. Much of the plastic we consume ends up in the world’s water supply, where it is even harder to fish out and safely throw away. If you can use as few plastic items as possible, you are helping the environment. Plastic waste also spreads decay in the water supply.
  2. Reuse Items Whenever you buy something that is not recyclable, such as plastic, it is better to reuse this item as many times as possible. This limits your consumption and means less of those products will end up in the world’s rivers, lakes and oceans.
  3. Recyclable Options If there are two options for a particular item, pick the one that is easily recyclable. Glass bottles are much better for the environment than plastic, for example.
  4. Do Not Dispose Oils in the Sink While there is nothing wrong with consuming oils in your food, or applying them on your body, it is a bad idea to dispose of oils in the sink. It is better to dispose of oils in the garbage, or collect all your excess oil in one bottle and then throw that away.
  5. Cleaning Chemicals Similar to oils, cleaning chemicals are hazardous when they enter the water supply. If you are emptying out containers of household cleaning supplies, do it in the trash can not the sink.
  6. Do not Throw Away Medicines Never throw away medicines in the water supply either. Even if you have whole pills that you do not need, it is a bad idea to flush them down the toilet or crush them in your kitchen sink disposal.
  7. Household Items Do not throw household items, such as cloths, dental floss or wrappers, into the toilet when you are done with them. Toilet paper is specifically made in a way that breaks down easily in water pipes, but these other items pollute the system.
  8. Garbage Disposal Even though most homes have a garbage disposal system in the sink, it is better to use it as rarely as possible. This system can break down solid objects, but those items are harmful to the water supply. It is better to throw them in the trash can when possible.
  9. Dishwashing or Laundry Only use your dishwasher or washing machine when it is close to being full. Using these machines to clean one or two dishes, or a few pairs of clothes, is an incredible waste of water. The less amount of water you use during washing, the less
  10. Limit the Use of Detergents and Bleaches While it is okay to use detergents and bleaches in dishwashers and washing machines, it is better to limit your use as much as possible. Do not put two cups of bleach in your washing machine when the instructions only call for half a cup.
  11. Use Environmentally Friendly Detergents Whenever possible, get environmentally friendly detergents, soaps and dishwashing liquids. While these are sometimes more expensive, you are doing the environment a great service by using less harmful substances.
  12. Gardening While everyone wants a nice garden in their home, it is incredible how much water we waste during that process. Install a waterbutt in your home, because it can catch rainfall throughout the year and allow you to use that to water your grass and plants.
  13. Avoid Pesticides If you need to overhaul your garden, attempt to do so without using any herbicides or pesticides. These are very harmful to the environment. Talk to landscaping companies in your area about environmentally friendly replacements for these products.
  14. Conserve Soil When chemicals get into the soil, they spread through the water because of the topsoil getting carried by the falling rain. This is normal, but if the soil is exposed to excess phosphates or harmful substances, it can cause serious damage to the ground. Contrast banks right in front of waterways so that you can stop the soil’s movement.
  15. Do Regular Car Maintenance If you have a car, truck or other mechanical device, it is best to maintain it after regular intervals. This ensures the item is running efficiently and not polluting the environment that much. Remember, pollution in the air does have an eventual impact on our water supply.
  16. Oil Spill The waste that gathers up when you are working on your car or other mechanical devices is harmful to the environment. Oil and transmission fluid are two examples of substances you do not want in your drains or sewers.
  17. Cellar Drains or Septic Tanks If you have a cellar drain or septic tank, be sure that it is not draining directly into your sewerage system. This can cause serious issues and pollution in the system. Talk to your local water authority about proper ways to manage a cellar drain or septic tank.
  18. Do Not Litter! If you are visiting an area where there is a nearby lake, river or ocean, do not throw any type of litter or trash into or near the water. Even if you throw away a wrapper on the beach, the tide will eventually pick it up and take it into the water supply.
  19. Use Water Sparingly Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. Bathing actually uses a lot more water than showering. But do not take 20 minute showers when 10 minutes is all you need. Every bit of water you conserve is a way to help the environment.
  20. Plant Fauna at Lakes or Rivers If you live in an area where a lake or river is present, you might want to think about planting some local fauna near the water. Trees are also helpful. Not only do they look beautiful when they grow, but these natural items help protect the nearby water supply from pollutants. Fauna also limits the Carbon Dioxide in the water, which balances out its pH level.
  21. Clean Up Litter If you see someone littering near water, ask them to keep their items and throw them somewhere else. If you see litter on the floor, pick it up and put it in a bag and throw it away when you get home. It is easy to think that someone else will do the job, but we can all help each other and our environment by being proactive.
  22. Stop Chemical Pollution If you notice someone throwing chemicals into the water, or hear about such an incident, talk to your local water authorities about the matter. Tell them what you saw or know and implore them to take action. If you stay quiet, you are letting the problem get worse.
  23. Buy Sustainable Meats While we all enjoy a hamburger from time to time, it is important to think about the impact of factory farms on our water supply. These farms produce huge amounts of waste, which ends up harming the nearby water supplies. Whenever possible, buy sustainable meats instead of those produced at factory farms.
  24. Stop Immersion of Ashes in the bodies of water While it is a common practice, especially in Hindu religion, to immerse the ashes of deceased person into the holy water of sacred river Ganga, it pollutes the river water and adversely affects the water quality. Dead bodies are cremated on the river banks. Partially burnt bodies are also flung into the river to keep up with religious faiths.
  25. Political Action: Join Water Conservation Organizations If you have time, you can join a water conservation organization. If you have a busy schedule, consider donating to a nearby organization a few times a year. Even small donations can have a positive impact on those who are fighting to keep our water supply safe and healthy. Also join their website and sign their petitions and letters to legislative representatives.

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Energy Use: 11 ways to cut big waste in our energy system Americans spend $350 billion a year on electricity – with three-quarters of the energy going to waste. Apart from the financial burden, such excess contributes to pollution and global warming. Fortunately, there are clear solutions toward a more efficient system – from power plant to plug.

  1. Adjust your day-to-day behaviors To reduce energy consumption in your home, you do not necessarily need to go out and purchase energy efficient products. Energy conservation can be as simple as turning off lights or appliances when you do not need them. You can also use energy-intensive appliances less by performing household tasks manually, such as hang-drying your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer, or washing dishes by hand. The behavior adjustments that have the highest potential for utility savings are turning down the heat on your thermostat in the winter and using your air conditioner less in the summer. Heating and cooling costs constitute nearly half of an average home’s utility bills, so these reductions in the intensity and frequency of heating and cooling offer the greatest savings. Close your drapes or drop your window shades during the day.
  2. Replace your light bulbs Traditional incandescent light bulbs consume an excessive amount of electricity and must be replaced more often than their energy efficient alternatives. Halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) use anywhere from 25-80% less electricity and last three to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. Although energy efficient bulbs are more expensive off the shelf, their efficient energy use and longer service lives mean that they cost less in the long run. are the clear winners in terms of their environmental and financial benefits.
  3. Use smart power strips “Phantom loads,” or the electricity used by electronics when they are turned off or in standby mode, are a major source of energy waste. In fact, it is estimated that 75% of the energy used to power household electronics is consumed when they are switched off, which can cost you up to $200 per year. , also known as advanced power strips, eliminate the problem of phantom loads by shutting off the power to electronics when they are not in use. Smart power strips can be set to turn off at an assigned time, during a period of inactivity, through remote switches, or based on the status of a “master” device.
  4. Install a programmable or smart thermostat A programmable or can be set to automatically turn off or reduce heating and cooling during the times when you are asleep or away. When you install a programmable thermostat, you eliminate wasteful energy use from heating and cooling without upgrading your HVAC system. On average, a programmable thermostat can save you $180 per year. Programmable thermostats come in different models that can be set to fit your weekly schedule. Additional features of programmable thermostats can include indicators for when to replace air filters or HVAC system problems, which also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
  5. Purchase energy efficient appliances On average, appliances are responsible for roughly 13% of your total household energy use. When purchasing an appliance, you should pay attention to two numbers: the initial purchase price and the annual operating cost. Although usually have higher purchase prices, their operating costs are 9-25% lower than conventional models. Wrap or cover foods and drinks in the refrigerator.
  6. Reduce your water heating expenses Water heating is a major contributor to your total energy consumption. Other than purchasing an energy efficient water heater, there are three methods of reducing your water heating expenses: you can simply use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, or insulate your water heater and the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes. If you are considering replacing your water heater with an efficient model, you should keep in mind two factors: the type of water heater that meets your needs and the type of fuel it will use. For example, tankless water heaters are energy efficient, but they are also a poor choice for large families as they cannot handle multiple and simultaneous uses of hot water. Efficient water heaters can be anywhere between 8% and 300% more energy efficient than a conventional storage water heater. Also, be sure to account for its lengthy service life of 10 to 15 years in which water-heating savings can accumulate. Wash your clothes in cold water. Always use the cold water faucet, unless you really want hot water.
  7. Install energy efficient windows Windows are significant source of energy waste, which can amount to 10-25% of your total heating bill. To prevent heat loss through your windows, you can replace single-pane windows with double-pane ones. For homes in cold regions, gas-filled windows with “low-e” coatings can significantly reduce your heating expenses. In addition, interior or exterior storm windows can reduce unnecessary heat loss by ten to 20 percent. You should especially consider storm windows if your region experiences frequent extreme weather events. In warmer climates, heat gain through windows may be a problem. In addition to minimizing heat loss, low-e coatings on windows can reduce heat gain by reflecting more light and lowering the amount of thermal energy diffused into your home. Depending on the climate where you live, ENERGY STAR windows can save you $20-$95 each year on your utility bills. Window shades, shutters, screens, and awnings can also provide an extra layer of insulation between your home and external temperatures.
  8. Upgrade your HVAC system An HVAC system is composed of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. Heating alone is responsible for more than 40% of home energy use. Because homes in Northern regions are exposed to much colder temperatures during the year, ENERGY STAR gas furnaces have different specifications in the northern and southern halves of the United States. Upgrading to a “U.S. South” ENERGY STAR certification can save you up to 12% on your heating bill, or an average of $36 per year. ENERGY STAR furnaces in the northern half of the U.S. are labeled with the standard ENERGY STAR logo and are up to 16% more energy efficient than baseline models. This translates to average savings of $94 per year on your heating bill in the Northern U.S.
  9. Weatherize your home Weatherizing, or sealing air leaks around your home, is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. The most common sources of air leaks into your home are vents, windows, and doors. To prevent these leaks, you should ensure that there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window, or doorframe. To seal air leaks between stationary objects, such as the wall and window frame, you can apply caulk. For cracks between moving objects, such as operable windows and doors, you can apply weather stripping. Weather stripping and caulking are simple air
  1. Insulate your home Insulation plays a key role in lowering your utility bills through retaining heat during the winter and keeping heat out of your home during the summer. The recommended level of heat resistance, or “R-value,” for your insulation depends on where you live. In warmer climates, the recommended R-value is much lower than for buildings located in colder regions like the Northeast.
  1. Political action to move away from fossil fuels to sustainable solar and wind power and other sources like geothermal.
And Finally 50: Money Talks, Money Walks. All the above is about Personal Responsibility. Taking care of Corporate Responsibility is all about how we chose to spend our money. Not everyone has the time to research all the corporations that we purchase our goods and services from but there are some organizations that do and you can join their email list. Spending your money with those business that are practicing environmental friendly policy and avoid spending those who continue to pollute will alter the Capitalist landscape. Political action to regulate is helpful as well but in today’s political world Money is the most powerful tool, spend it wisely!

It is obvious that many of the same daily practices can help reduce air/water pollution and reduce energy consumption. You can’t do all the above but you can do some, that helps a LOT.  I avoided suggesting any certain political action groups since that is a personal thing. I belong to the Puget Sound Keepers and they are very active on all three fronts of air, water, and energy. I trust them and they make it easy for me to participate by sending me updates, petitions to sign and letters to send to my representatives. I believe it best to use a local political action group where you can volunteer to make sure they are the ones you want to be associated with. They are all connected to National organizations anyway. Thank you for helping to save our planet and our grandchildren!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

March 2020 Mother Nature Sends All Humans To Time Out

March 2020 Mother Nature Sends All Humans To Time Out

The March Temperatures were above average and we were entertained by increasing sun and a new activity of squirreling away dry goods and stocking the freezer to capacity. Covid-19 was becoming a reality and there were so many unknowns. The Admiral has the instincts of a Labrador and the combined intuition of at least 20 gifted women. Our pantry was overflowing and there were bags of can goods and more lining our bedroom wall. The leaders around the U.S. advised to have a two-week supply of food and necessities. We were ready to survive for two months or more for sure. Schools were canceled and we began to limit visits with grandchildren. Within days Seattle became the epicenter in the United States and the Steakley Family was on high alert. The text between mother daughter, and son were non-stop and plan A, B, and C’s were in the pipeline. It was very clear that a large percentage of citizens in the Greater Seattle-King County area were not heeding the calls for voluntary sheltering at home. Changes were rapidly increasing. One of the plans was to move temporarily to a neighboring state to a community that was much less populated but still had essential services. We began to pack the cars with all of our stores. By the next day options changed, and by the third day a decision was made to make the drive to Texas to get close to our Austin family.
I made a run to Whole Foods to get some sandwiches for the 1st day of driving. The night before my daughter told me that deploying the National Guard was being discussed as an option. As I was driving to whole Foods there were three very large National Guard vehicles in front of me. They seemed to already be preparing for the call for duty. The atmosphere in the crowded Whole Foods was very serious and tense; I had not felt that level of concern since I was A 10 year old evacuating Galveston Texas just in front of Hurricane Carla. The next day Plan D went into full-blown action, we emptied the cars back to our homes and prepared the houses for a long absence. The next day, March 16, we boarded a plane and arrived in Austin that evening. As our Son in Law said "it felt as if we had just taken the last flight out of Saigon". Our daughters’ family had rented a home till June and our son had a home waiting for us in his neighborhood that just happened to be available. Our entire Austin Family is within a 5-10 minute drive from each other and we circled the wagons with plenty support for the duration of sheltering at home. My son, daughter and I spent the next three days going to different stores, HEB, Target, Whole Foods, Randall’s, + ordering deliveries from Amazon to get our two refugee family’s stocked up all over again.

This is just one tiny example of billions occurring simultaneously across the globe as the human race adapts in the cause of survival. However, Mother Nature is not concerned so much with the survival of the Human Race as much as she is concerned with her own survival. She has sent so many strong messages to the Humans who have ignored her pleas for an end to the attacks she has endured for so long. Enough is Enough, Mother Nature is sending the strongest message to date, let’s hope we all are listening and responding appropriately. Really do not want to experience what she has in her pocket next if we do not use our very valuable time out experience to drastically change our daily living, our livelihoods, and our global conscience.

March weather is warmer and mixed as Spring enters.

The Clear days bring out the PNW Beauty in Full Mountain Bloom

September 16 as we exit Seattle on a Blue Sky day we get the full Cascades Experience, Mt. Rainer.

Blake Island in the center with Elliot Bay and Seattle in the background and Vashon Island in the foreground

We get the full view of the Cascades from Mt. St Helens to Mt. Baker at the Canadian Border. The depth of the range is revealed to us for the first time on this flight.

Rainer up close. 

A fine Sunset over the incomprehensible beauty of OUR planet.

Sheltering at our temporary Austin home. The Little Truck that Can on duty.

After two months I have recovered enough skills to restart Mickey Baker.
A great thing to do while sheltering in place: restart an old hobby!

Page 4 Lessons, convert the Chord Progressions to Keys of Ab, F, and Bb 

I want to introduce to you the TWO Sheet Principle.
Pre-Covid 19 we could use 4 or more sheets to manage our business. But know it is more than prudent to follow the TWO Sheet Principle. 

It is very important that as we go forward that we apply the very simple, effective, and efficient TWO Sheet Principle to every facet of our daily lives at work, home, and play. Our very existence as care takers of Planet Earth depends on this most simple idea. Mother Nature has given us ALL notice. She can easily use her power of love of the Earth to find new caretakers.

Friday, March 20, 2020

February 2020 The Calm Before the Storm

February 2020 The Calm Before the Storm

The rains from January continued through most of February providing the Pacific Northwest with the most rain during winter in recorded history.  The storms last sometimes just for a day or two with a sun break day and then the rains return. Rain has never been a problem for the NW natives, they are accustomed to getting out in it, they are born outdoors people. No umbrella (or Bumbershoot) required. 

My return to a old hobby has filled the long nights with fractured jazz chords and slowly reviving dexterity of some dormant fingers.

At the Whale tail, Seattle Center having outdoor fun.

Not all of the fronts come with big winds but When the winds come from the North and funnel down through the Canadian Fraser Valley the winds can easily reach tropical force +.

The fading sunbreak before the next front coming in.

A day to escape and get out on the water. We did manage to actually get a sail in on a Sunny 50 degree day. We had 15+ NW winds with a great downwind sail to Elliot Bay and then, after reefing the Genoa, a closed hauled romp back to Shilshole. 

It's Clara's turn now to enjoy Pocket Beach.

A message on the Beach

And another one?

Mt. Rainer is a personal friend to all who live in this region.

Clara loved this plant at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

A Blue Sunset on our walk to our first Sounders game of the Season.

As more and more people submit their DNA the data reveals more clues to your ancestry. A  old family document suggested we had ties to the Vikings but now this. 

Brian and Ann Heckman, who we shared some fun times with in Seattle, lives near Winter Park, Colorado and got this incredible shot at sunrise right out the front window of their home. What a special moment.