Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Ken and I took off from Seattle today at 10:30 am in our trusty Prius with borrowed chains in the trunk just in case. (Thanks Marcos!) There was some concern that the snow accumulation overnight might vex the progress of the recent warming trend and ruin our chances for a smooth journey. But little did we know what awaited....
We made it to Portland in record time. In 3 hours. We don't even make it down here that quickly in normal weather. There was light traffic and I-5 was just wet pavement. I was utterly amazed. One thing I did do was follow WDOT on Twitter and get updates on my phone of all the troubled spots. It's a good idea if you're traveling. Unfortunately Oregon isn't yet down with the Twittering but does have a comprehensive website.
One interesting thing is that Olympia has its own micro-climate and was colder than anywhere else. We got a little snow and the slightest bit of slush just south of Tumwater, but other than that--easy peezy. It rained a little then it was clear--but less eventful than our normal SEA-PTD drives.
Everything was easy until we neared the WA/OR border. The car's thermometer said outside temp on the WA side was 36, as soon as we hit the 205 bridge it was 32 and it stayed there as we drove. Mother has been house-bound for several days and requested that we go to the store and pick up some things once we hit Portland. I was razzing her a few days ago that she should get out and use the 4wd in her Subaru. I was thinking how bad can it be in Portland? I figured, the side streets are snowy here in Seattle but all main arterials are clear so it should be exactly the same in Portland. Well...we got off 205 and we immediately realized Portland has a little more thawing to do. Sandy Blvd which I assumed would be clear was slushy and the Safeway parking lot was ridiculously slippery. And getting down the 500 feet of mom's cul-de-sac in Portland was the most adventure we had the whole trip.
But my brother has a much more difficult route from Pullman to Portland. He's already traversed from Pullman to Tri-cities and will stay there overnight. But he's going to continue tomorrow which will take him through the Gorge--and from all indications that area is still sub-freezing during the day. He's got a back up plan and can stay overnight in any of the cities along the way but he wants to make it for Christmas. If any one can do it, it's him.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
(Ken in a Ballard park making snow boulders)
make me glad we have insulation now. Everywhere we turned this past summer & fall, Puget Sound Energy or someone was encouraging homeowners to have good insulation for energy efficiency. We really had no idea how good or bad ours was. We were shocked and amazed to find out that prior to pumping a whole bunch of loose cellulose insulation into our attic that we only had an R-factor* of 8? You're supposed to have 38. Up until a few weeks ago, all that had been keeping our expensive oil-fired heat from floating off into space were 1930's newspapers and old rat droppings. Lovely.
Do you know how you can tell if someone has good or adequate insulation? I learned from an appraiser the other day if you look at roofs after it's snowed those with no snow or considerably less have poor insulation while the roofs with lots of snow signal good insulation. When you look around the neighborhood especially now in the PNW, you will know.
Now we notice that when we move from the back rooms to the front of the house, the air is the practically the same temperature. Before, it was noticeably colder in the front rooms (single pane windows don't help either). Yeah, windows are next year.
*R-Factor (Thermal Resistance Factor) - The National Commercial & Industrial Insulation Standards Manual defines R-Value as - a measure of the ability to retard heat flow rather than to transmit heat. The higher the "R", the higher (better) the insulating value. Source
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
• Plan your gift giving so you can get more creative and tailor the gift to your recipient.
• Budget what you are going to spend overall or even per person. (And stick to it!)
• Use a spreadsheet to keep track of what you’re getting for who and how much
• Avoid the malls to avoid impulse buying
• Don’t go into debt for gifts.
• Purchase online or from catalogs. You can shop any time and compare prices easily. My Favorite catalogs for selection, uniqueness and prices: Solutions, Restoration Hardware Gifts, Crate & Barrel, Harry & David.
Some examples of meaningful gift ideas:
- Photo gifts! Maybe this year you had a family vacation, birthdays, milestone events or just some great snaps in general—photo gifts are one-of-a-kind and endearing. Snapfish.com, Zazzle.com, Cafepress.com, are just a few places that can turn a digital photo into gift-giving gold.
- If you don’t want to break the bank and can’t find that perfect gift, give the gift of time. In our busy lives, a special outing or a pledge to do an extra chore can be better than any physical gift. Make a special coupon or ticket to be redeemed at the receiver’s convenience.
- Handmade or homemade gifts can be refreshingly unique and supportive to small and/or local businesses. Your area Farmers Market or sites like etsy.com are great places to look.
(This is a piece was originally written for Lillylikes.com but was not published.)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
The opening scene's dialogue did not sound like the characters were saying things as much as actors were reciting a script. Not a strong start if you ask me. But indeed it did get better and more interesting.
Don't get me wrong by episode 3, I can recognize that this is a great show--great characters, great story, great visualization. But in my old age, I don't have the stomach for all the tussling and the corruption and the backstabbing--of the Baltimore Police Department. There's a definite aspect of brutality and everyone smokes and cops drink alcohol in their squad cars on the duty then drive--it's now a pattern established in the first 3 shows. The drug pusher's world is intensely "gritty" and even more dire. I'm sure if I wasn't so hung up on these things, I'd enjoy the show more. But as I told Ken, every moment I watch it, I'm just waiting for someone to pull out a gun and shoot someone else. And I can't take that kind of anxiety. It's why we stopped watching Lost half-way through the first season--it was just too stressful. Perhaps if real life weren't so grim, I'd find this concept more "entertaining." But as it is...I don't know, maybe I'm just a big ole whiner.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
- Visions of the Future (Dutch)
- TED Blog (NEW & noteworthy!)
- Boing Boing
- Joystiq.com (NEW & funny!)
- Geek Dad on Wired.com
- Gamespark (Japan)
- Offworld Blog
- 20minutos (Espana)
- Wired.com Blog
- NeoTeo (en espanol)
- Gratis Juegos (en espanol)
- Blog of Interaction Guru, Johnny Chung Lee (scroll to the bottom)
- Make Magazine Blog