A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It all started with one lightbulb

My husband does oil paintings. He's very good, I think. One of the drawbacks, though, is that to paint, he requires good, consistent light. For the past almost 3 years, we have lived without electricity, which makes obtaining the light he needs difficult. We do have a generator, however. So he recently went out and bought a compact fluorescent bulb for a lamp we have had sitting around unused for the last 3 years. I came home from work that day to find the generator running, my husband happily painting, and this amazingly bright light in our bedroom.

Since we moved into this house, we have lived without electricity, because MEA wants $30,000 to hook us up. That's a lot to pay for the privilege of paying them every month for the rest of our lives. Plus, we don't exactly have $30,000 sitting around collecting dust.

We have made do with a propane lantern, and some battery powered LED lights that can sit on tables, counters, etc., and provide a minimally useful amount of light.

But coming home to this huge amount of light in my house made us start a new conversation. When we built the house, we wired it for electricity, assuming that one day, we would have some. We just had not put in light fixtures or outlets, because we didn't think it would happen very soon. So we started talking about maybe getting some outlets, switches, and light fixtures, and a pigtail to connect the house to the generator. It didn't take much talking. We now have light in our house, and thanks to compact fluorescents that don't use much power, we can have light in our entire house if we need it, without stressing out the generator, at least for a few hours a day while the generator is running.

This is a huge improvement. It has turned cooking and eating dinner into a completely different experience. I can knit in the evenings without a headlamp. Plus, we can charge the cell phones, the kids' nintendos, etc. We really love it.

BUT. There is always a but, isn't there? In some ways, it feels a little like defeat. Like we compromised for convenience. It is also important to us to try to live in a way that is as friendly to the climate as possible. The generator runs on gasoline. A lot of gasoline. And I am guessing it does not run particularly cleanly. And it is noisy.

We are making plans for solar panels, maybe a windmill, and batteries, and only using the generator for backup. But that is a long ways down the road, after the addition is done. We will have the generator for a while. Two steps forward, one step back.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Resolutions

It's that time of year, New Years. Everyone and their dog makes resolutions about how they are going to change their lives over the next year, and I am no exception. But I always make a bunch of resolutions, and then forget about them. So I have a different plan this year.
They say that if you can repeat something for 30 days, it becomes a habit, something that becomes something you can do without thinking about it. So I think this year, I am going to pick 12 things I want to work on, and focus on each one for a month. At the end of the year, if my theory works, I will have made 12 changes in my life, while only having to think about one at a time. Here is my list, in no particular order:

1. Write in my blog more often, at least once a week. There are a lot of issues that are important to me, that I want to talk about, but I have been ignoring everything because I work such long hours.

2. Quit drinking diet pepsi. I figure I can wean off it in the first two weeks, giving me the second two weeks to get used to it. I had a bone density scan done a few weeks ago, and while I don't have osteoporosis, I do have lower bone density than 84% of women my age. The phosphoric acid and carbonation in pop leaches calcium from bones.

3. Make healthier food choices. I think this one is pretty self explanatory.

4. Exercise regularly, including strength training. Again, I shouldn't need to explain this one.

5. Use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic. We use and throw away way too much plastic, and this is one big thing I can do to reduce my use of plastic.

6. Get back in the habit of regular scripture study and prayer. Go to church every week.

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We have put a lot of effort into using less, but have lost a lot of ground lately, mostly because we are so busy.

8. Finish two knitting projects that have been sitting around for months, a sweater for my younger daughter, and an afghan.

9. Get more organized and streamlined at work. Right now, I have cases that are months old, and it is causing problems. I need to get them closed.

10. Get in the habit of taking vitamins, calcium, etc.

11. Spend more time doing fun things with my kids.

12. Quit using bad language.

By the end of the year, I hope to have made a lot of progress. I will tackle #3 first, and I will go more into detail in another post.

Happy New Year!

- Posted from my iPhone