Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stormy Weather

Blessings Darlings!

Wow, we had that 600+  mile storm blow thru' here last night - it started in Chicago and moved at like 70 MPH eastward.  Oodles of lightning, heavy rain, hail, incredible winds.  Trees down in neighbor's yards, streets have clearly had tree problems but locally all seem open.  Most here have power.

Not so in the DC area we moved out of.  Some 2 million people (well over a million electric 'accounts') are without power.  BGE isn't even pretending to be working on restoring power to homes, they are working on getting power restored to hospitals and water pumping stations.  Mandatory water restrictions are in place because of water pumping problems. 

Meanwhile, no power and the heat's still supposed to be near 100 degrees and the humidity is even higher today than yesterday. It's a mess. 

If I was still there, I'd be at the ice cream distributor in Hyattsville buying dry ice - BGE USED to give it out during outages but doesn't any more.  Mind you, I'd be in line there with a jar of quarters, because this caught me with almost no cash in the house - even the 'emergency cash' was down to $20.  The Spawn has some, I had some, but the dry ice (plus a bag of cubed regular ice) would take all we had between us.

The storm also had a big impact on the Farmers Market this morning.  Many vendors missing, maybe due to storm problems at their places or closed back roads between them and the market.  We DID get green beans, zucchini, and some grass-fed beef from a vendor Suz and I had discussed trying for a big purchase.  And if things go well I might try to organize a big purchase from 'em even if Ms Suz doesn't join in.

Frondly, Fern

Local Food

Blessings Darlings!

We've been visiting one of the local Farmers' Markets on Saturday Mornings for the past month or so.  Lovely local food. Higher prices than Big Chain Stores.  We haven't been buying much, tho' I did barter some bialys for mushrooms.

I THINK we're going to set a budget for buying starting today.  Maybe $20, get some beans, meat, maybe some goat cheese.  It's a HUGE decision for me.  I really want to eat more locally, support local businesses, eat more organics.  But while we have money to do with with this week, I know that the Chubby Hubby will lose a month of billable work due to the MASTERs conference and visiting his mother, so money's going to be kind of non-existent in August and September.  The things I'll be spending $20 on at the Farmers' Market would be $10 or less (not organic and with lots of food miles on it) at the grocer.  Due to the heat I'm NOT going to be bartering baked goods for a while, either.  Tho' I suppose I could do the baking on a pizza stone on a covered grill.  Hmmm.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, June 29, 2012

Heat Wave

Blessings Darlings!

Summer is surely here.  It is 105 degrees out right now, and will be about 100 for the next two days as well.  I'm grateful that my office is in the cool basement, and that I have a fan to handle the stuffiness from the humidity.

As a result of the high temperatures I'm NOT getting on any of the bicycles, road or stationary.  Yes, I should, but I'm not.  I'm being almost totally lazy.  What I AM doing are the upper body weights and I've added ... standing.  For at least 5 minutes out of every hour of the day, if I'm at my computer at all in that hour, I am standing while reading/typing.

I'm standing right now as I blog this, in fact.

It's not going to be a substitute for exercise, I know that.  It simply gets me off my pasty white ass for  5 minutes an hour every day.  Today, since I've been at the computer for at least 15 minutes every hour since I set this goal, I'm going to be at 20 minutes of extra standing by the time I finish this blog post.  I might even get another 30 minutes of standing in today, depending on how much time I spend by the computer here in the basement hiding from the heat.  Since the house is already clean, and I only have laundry on the line to deal with (the Spawn is bringing home pizza for dinner), I could easily spend most of the next 6 hours down here,  Heck, I might even sleep down here, which at least doesn't involve the computer so I won't be standing 5 minutes out of every hour all night long.

Oh, that pizza the Spawn is bringing home:  Spawn reads Sunday newspaper ads.  Pizza Hut is now offering a Garlic Bread Pizza.  Spawn is a garlic addict - when he makes garlic bread it can blow your head off.  So he's picking THAT up for us to try for dinner.  It should be interesting.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Slightly Off Grid

Blessings Darlings!

All household computers are either unplugged or turned off (or both) as we have a loud active thunderstorm going on right now.  Power surges and electronics don't make for happy households or businesses, you see.

Problems with technology here started rather earlier today, however.  By noon we were not able to either make or receive long distance phone calls.  Being a bit behind in many of our bills I made sure that payment wasn't a problem (it seemed unlikely, since I was able to make local calls and our local carrier handles our LD, too.  Plus, I couldn't even make 800 calls).  No, no holds on our account, but it was the first they'd heard of problems in our area.  Well, yeah -  I couldn't even call THEM on THEIR 800 number, I had to call using a cell phone with a different network to reach them.

But we still had internet and power, so we could communicate with our customers via e-mail. 

Well, UPS got here about 3 pm, and filled me in that NO ONE in the area has LD phone service .... and if you had internet thru' the phone company you are SOL. 

So it looks like NOT bundling all information services thru' one provider is a Very Good Thing.  Internet thru' Comcast, land lines with Frontier, cell phones with AT&T and Sprint, has given us ways to communicate even with Frontier phones and internet down.

It's not a deep a back up as having a ham radio set up, but it will do for today!

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Doomsday Preppers

Blessings Darlings!

There has been some discussion online about what Nat Geo's intention was in airing the show - was it to encourage prepping? To make preppers look odd?  Something else?  So I figured I'd activate my sleeper cell over at Nat Geo and get the inside story.

The story is about .... eyeballs.  Ratings.  Viewers. Apparently, what people watching TV want to watch is shows about people mostly like them .... but with an interesting difference.  So middle class people who look at the problems around the world and DO something to prepare to weather them made it to TV.

Actually, Nat Geo doesn't even produce Doomsday Preppers themselves, it comes from a third party company, so Nat Geo doesn't do the editing or selecting families or anything.  Nat Geo has more than one show dedicated to groups that, while the members are still part of society, they do or believe something somewhat .... fringe. I don't know if all of the series about 'fringe' folks are from 3rd party companies or not. 

Word is that the third party company couldn't find folks outside of the US who prep.  Which tells ME that preppers outside of the US have better OPSEC than US preppers have.  Nat Geo seems to feel that means that folks outside of the US don't feel they'd survive doomsday. 

Frondly, Fern

Monday, June 4, 2012

I want. I want. I want.

Blessings Darlings!

I'm having one of those days where my personal 'wants' list is growing exponentially. 

I want a new used car (since our current only car is STILL not running in the rain).
I want a new bicycle, that actually fits my under 5 foot tall frame instead of being too big. And that has fenders so I can ride when it's wet. 
I want a bike trailer.
I want to learn how to maintain my bike on my own.
I want to learn how to do my own at least basic car maintenance.
I want the hardware to do my own basic car maintenance once I learn how to do it.
I want to split another grass-fed organic steer with friends.
I want a share in an organic local CSA.
I want to own my own home.
I want to live where there is no HOA.
I want goats.
I want chickens.
I want a really good deer fence around my garden.
I want to lose 70 pounds.
I want to be able to bike 40 miles a day, on hills.
I want dental insurance.
I want my son to make more money, so he can pay off the university and then save money to pay for those two more semesters he needs to get his Bachelors Degree.  In Psych. Which is marginally more useful than a BA in Philosophy.

Too many of these need money.  But I'm working on the ones that need my efforts.  I'm biking regularly .... even if today I could only do 4 miles on the local hilly roads.  And I'm afraid to bike to Suz's, since the road she lives on is hillier than the one I live on!  I'm exercising and eating better, which should eventually lead to weight loss.  I've signed up for my first bike maintenance/repair class.  I've looked for local (like, within 35 miles) classes on car repair and haven't found any yet, but I'm still looking.  I'm taking the existing car back in to the shop this week, to point out that it still dies in the rain (but that's going to include money.  OTOH, it will include less money that getting another car). 

Oh, the car. I admit it only died in the INCREDIBLE rain we had, not a normal rain.  But we haven't been driving in normal rain because we're afraid.  This time the rain hit while the Spawn was at work.  I suppose I should have driving him since there were thunderstorms predicted.  He waited an hour after it died to see if it would start, then had it towed home.  $90 for the tow. Should he have waited in the dark another hour?  Dunno. 

Spawn is applying for jobs in OUR town, instead of the larger/busier town he works in now, so we can get around the car problem.  It's not like he's making a penny more than minimum wage, so if he gets one his hourly wage won't go down.  And since the restaurant isn't getting much business he's getting sent home early a lot, so he's likely to get a job with as many hours.  Since there doesn't seem to be any advancement where he is - heck, he hasn't even been allowed to watch all the training videos for HIS position since they don't want to have him on the clock due to their low sales - darn near any other job will have as much promotion potential. 

He's not likely to get one locally until fall, when the students get back.  But if he applies every fortnight over the summer they'll get used to seeing him AND learn that he's persistent.  Okay, what they'll really learn is that *I* am persistent in kicking his butt out the door to apply for jobs. 

Anything you want?  What are you doing to get it/them?

Frondly, Fern