Last Thursday we got a home energy audit from a service called IAQ Solutions, part of Blue Dot Kansas. It would have been good to get the audit last fall, but the waiting list was quite long. The fees were also quite reasonable: the cost of the audit itself is paid by a grant, so we just have to pay for the auditor's transportation from Topeka, which will be about $125, but we haven't got the bill yet. In any case, the recommendations he made should pay for themselves in a year or two.
What my sister calls the "marital industrial complex" has been rightly criticized for its environmental impact. When you're planning a wedding, there are simply too many things to think about without worrying about ecology as well. I'm sure my college friends would be shocked to find that Jessie and I will be using disposable dishes, for example.
People keep asking for this recipe, so I'm going to post it here...
I used to really love "monster cookies" -- that is, oatmeal-M&M-peanut butter cookies -- but then peanuts stopped agreeing with me, and I learned that most chocolate is made by child slaves, and I was living around a bunch of health-food enthusiasts, so I needed a wholesome substitute. I started from this basic oatmeal cookie recipe, which I found online somewhere:
My landlady in Fairfield had an old rusty reel mower in the garage, and I tried using it once before giving up -- it just wouldn't cut worth a darn, so I assumed it was dull, and I asked around to see if anyone would sharpen it, but no one would. But then just before I left Fairfield, a friend told me that he used a reel mower, and he was the first person I'd ever met who did, so I asked him how he sharpened it. He said, "You don't need to sharpen it. You just adjust it right, and it sharpens itself." Well, that got me intrigued, so I tinkered with t
Jessie and I just returned from spending 10 days at her parents' house in Manley, NE. We had a great time, but we're both glad to be home! Here are some reflections on our home life, inspired by the time away:
Earlier this year Ben and I listened to the book The last lecture by Randy Pausch. In this book the professor, who was dying of cancer, talks a lot about the importance of fulfilling childhood dreams, no matter how big or small. I can certainly say that having Ben in my life and planning the rest of our lives together has fulfilled and is fulfilling many dreams for me but recently I fulfilled a childhood dream without him. In November, my friend Dareth and I went to the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) concert in Kansas City, Missouri.
I traditionally call my holiday letter a "newyearsletter" because I rarely have it in the mail before Christmas, and this year is no exception. However, if you don't mind viewing it online, you have that option! See Jessie's beautiful photo collage and read about our 2008! Note that our street address and phone numbers have been removed from the online version.
Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a happy new year!
A friend of mine was looking at this site a few days ago and commented that while the back yard is torn up, it would be an ideal time to install "geothermal" -- a ground-source heat pump. I see where he's coming from: he's had his house for years and has probably already done all he can with insulation and so forth. But we're not there yet... we're still at the efficiency stage.
When we put a thick layer of leaves on the front yard (sheet mulch for next year's gardens), we knew there was a risk that kids might play in them. When we got a big pile of dirt in our back yard, the neighbor kids delighted in walking up and down on it. But it wasn't until we got a 5-foot-deep trench in the side yard for days on end (and an equivalent amount of dirt piled 2 feet high all over the back yard) that we started to have problems.
So the first semester is quickly winding down. Graduate classes are over in just over 4 weeks and I will spend almost all of next week at a conference (with the company of Ben--I am so glad your work is flexible my love!). So I have spent much of my time grading the last two weeks and I find that I feel I am either being too hard or too soft--have not yet figured out the balance!