He Says, She Says… Synthesis

Hello, Dear Reader:

It’s getting rather late in the day, but we didn’t want to let a Sunday pass without including something in the ‘He Says, She Says…‘ section of our blog.  As it happened we invested much of our day today at the ‘Organic Islands Festival and Sustainability Expo‘, billed as Canada’s Largest Outdoor Green Festival.  The festival was held this weekend at Glendale Gardens & Woodland, itself a beautiful collection of gardens at Victoria’s north end.  In a way our being there today was a coming together of things for us, and we wanted to take a moment or two to mention some of them. Continue Reading →

Being Green – Keeping Cool…

Happy Friday, everyone!

Well it’s 28o C here in our little corner of the planet as I write this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  Not as hot as some of the places on the planet, but still enough to make one consider moving to Australia for the next little while.  As the recent grid failure in the greater Toronto area can attest, people are doing what they can to stay cool despite the heat – no matter the ‘cost’ – and that got me thinking about green tips to stay cool.  I did an Ecosia search on that and it pulled up over 8.6 million links; obviously I’m not the only one to consider this.

If you’re designing a new structure, the choices are many, limited primarily by budget and design.  Site selection, passive solar and extra insulation are all good considerations, and there are many green products, both existing and new that can make your new building more energy efficient.  A couple of things you may not have considered include both the colour of your roof and the colour of your exterior walls.  Black shingle roof tiles may look good, but they absorb a lot of heat.  I’ve seen several homes in this area recently that have been painted a dark charcoal and the same applies there.

If your home has an attic, proper ventilation of the attic space can prevent a buildup of heat above the ceiling.  Again, if you’re building or renovating, consider the most energy efficient doors and windows you can afford.  They’ll not only prevent heat loss in the winter, but they’ll help keep your house cool in the summer.  Careful installation is equally imporant, as air gaps will allow hot air out in the winter and in during summer.  If your location allows it, keep some of the windows open from late evening to early morning as they’ll help cool the house overnight but be sure to close them before the day heats up.  Blinds or draperies (especially those in a lighter colour) can help shield some of the sun’s rays, as do awnings.

Fans (whether ceiling fans or portable ones) do nothing to lower the temperature of a room but the movement of air will help with evaporation of perspiration from your skin, which can help to lower your body temperature.  Keeping that in mind, leaving a fan running when you go out serves no real purpose other than to drive up your electricity bill.  Also, if you live in an area that has both high heat and high humidity, consider a dehumifier.  Lowering the humidy of the air in your controlled space will allow you to raise the temperature of your air conditioning unit while still feeling cool.

Air conditioners, whether portable or central are becoming more and more common, and are adding to the energy demands of virtually every municipality.  Like your furnace, ensure that your A/C unit is properly serviced to keep it running efficiently.  If it has a filter, keep it clean.  Try to use it only as a last resort, and keep in mind that a thermostat is simply a switch activated by heat.  Turning down your thermostat will not cool your house any quicker, but it will force the cooling system to run longer to reach the lower temperature setting.

Heat pumps – whether air-source or ground-source provide both heating in cooler weather and cooling in warmer weather.  Ground-source heat pumps are much more efficient than air-source heat pumps, but they also involve more extensive installation and are more expensive up front.

Remember that everything that uses electricity generates heat, albeit some more than others.  Do you really need to run your clothes dryer in the middle of the day, or could you wait until evening?  How about a clothesline?  Can you wash your clothes in cold water?  Ditto the stove/oven; a microwave uses much less energy than an oven.  A ‘full’ dishwasher uses less water than doing dishes by hand, but leave the dry cycle off.    How old is your refrigerator?  What’s its efficiency rating?  Have you thought about what you want before you open the fridge/freezer door?  Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans remove air to the outside, and/or open the window when taking a shower.

Have you replaced the incandescent light bulbs in your house with either CFLs or LED lights?  We owe a debt of gratitude to the inventors of the electric light bulb (Edison included) but the standard light bulb generates far more heat than light, as anyone who has ever used an ‘Easy Bake Oven‘ can attest.  Are you familiar with the ‘phantom electrical loads‘ in your house?  These waste energy, but they also generate heat.

On a personal level, wear loose-fitting clothing that is of a natural material.  Confine activity to cooler periods of the day when at all possible.  Drink plenty of water, and stay away from beverages that contain high levels of sugar and caffeine.  Caffeine stimulates the body’s systems and sugar inhibits water absorption by the cells.  Remember that if you’re thirsty you’ve already lost too much water.  Hunger is also often a sign of dehydration.  Drinking hot liquids/ eating spicy foods enables the body’s air conditioning system by making you perspire.  If you’re overheated, lie down and place a cool wet cloth on your forehead or at the back of your neck.  Be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, in yourself and others.

There are many more possibilities, some of them simple and some more complex.  Examples may be found here and here.  Above all, stay cool!  A relaxed mental attitude will go a long way to keeping your body healthy too.

Okay, this week’s links include many I’ve come across this past week, but there are also some links that I discovered when weeding out my bookmarks file – oldies but goodies:

Okay, that’s it for now.

Have a great week!
Mike.

P.S. Global Giving is a group that matches donors with non-profits, and their Green Open Challenge is currently underway. To win, a group needs to recruit at least 50 donors who will donate at least $4000 (collectively, not individually) – an average of $80 each. To some people $80 is a lot of money; to others it won’t even pay for dinner.

All of the causes are worth supporting.  As an example, one of this years participants is Vakan’Ala, a group from Madagascar that is working to reforest the country. Right now Madagascar loses 100,000 ha of forest per year, in a country that is only 58.7 million ha in total area. Their request is here: Primary Forest Restoration in Madagascar

Mike’s Writings X

Hi Folks:

Although Marcia and I have been keeping up pretty well with the disparate areas of our blog, there has been one section that hasn’t been given much attention: my ‘Mike’s Writings‘ section.  In fact, I haven’t posted anything here for over three months.  I mentioned this briefly in an e-mail I sent recently to a friend, and that got me thinking about this area of our blog again.  Here’s a part of what I wrote:

“Anyway, I’ve also been doing a lot of my own writing.  It’s interesting, but I used to write solely for me – then I found myself sending out some of my writings to a select group of people – so a year ago I bought a laptop so I could type directly instead of writing everything out by hand first.  Then I put some of my writings on our blog… but it all became too public for me.  Earlier this year I read ‘Eat Pray Love’ and in that book she mentioned that she has a notebook just for her most private conversations, so I bought one and began writing in that while simultaneously doing some of my more public writing.  Then I gave that up and now I mostly just write for myself again, although I do read much of what I write to Marcia.  There’s a different feel to writing thoughts out by hand, although it definitely takes longer.  It feels more private, I think.”

Shortly after that I wrote the following in my journal, which further expanded on what I was experiencing.  I am going to share that section here, in its entirety… Continue Reading →

Poetry ‘n’ Pics III

Hello Dear Ones!

My book  – A Year in the Life of a Bus-Traveling Poet – went to the printers on June 29th. Blessings be, we beat the deadline! Since then I’ve been filling all my spare time writing poetry galore! Lots to include today … enjoy! Continue Reading →

Marcia’s Meanderings – As One Door Closes …

Hello Dear Ones!

Last week I spent all of my time in a last minute rush to finish the final editing on my book – A Year in the Life of a Bus-Traveling Poet – in order to get it off to the printer by June 30th. Once the pages had been sent off, I chose to take a few days to rest and regroup. Only then would I feel that the door had closed on that leg of my journey.

Yet you know what happened? I couldn’t stop writing! Where before there had been rewrites and editing, now poems came rushing to the forefront of my thoughts. I’ve written over 4 dozen micropoems in the past many days! Not only that: the skeleton of my next book – the first of potentially many novels – has been forming so clearly, I put in at least six hours yesterday on its creation. What a satisfying feeling.

I was once asked what I enjoyed doing so much that I would do it even if I didn’t get paid for it . My answer was simple and instantaneous – write! “That,”  they said, “is your passion.” Well, if there had ever been any doubt within me, there is certainly no question about that any longer!

As one door closes … another opens – or maybe it’s the window beside it. For me, my first verse and prose book  merely awaits the viewing and approving of the proof copy before it can be opened for sale through Amazon.com. That is now the door closed. The door that is wide open for the next leg of my life journey is visible and I’ve peeked inside to find the most incredible decor – my future …

What might be within the open door awaiting you?

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

He Says, She Says… the True Nature of a Gift?

Hello, Dear Reader:

Well, we’re back from our self-imposed hiatus from ‘He Says, She Says…‘ posts; we’re awaiting the proof copy of Marcia’s new book from the printer.  Last night we were going through previous posts to determine what we’ve covered and realized that this is our 30th post in this category!

Every morning before we get out of bed we take a moment to ask each other about remembered dreams from the night before, and often one or the other of us will have a sequence to share or sometimes an idea or a thought that arose out of our nightly wanderings.  Here’s an example from a week ago: “Old fears make perfect soil in which to plant new dreams.”  This morning Mike awoke with the thought: “Understand the true nature of a gift.”  It reminded us of a blog post done by Seth Godin a couple of weeks ago titled, “Gifts, misunderstood.”  It’s well worth reading, in our opinion, as are all of Seth’s posts.  In his post Seth mentions O. Henry’s book ‘The Gift of the Magi‘, a Christmas story.  Although unmentioned, the movie ‘Pay it Forward‘ would also fit into this genre of gifting.

So, with that in mind we thought we’d make the topic of this week’s He Says, She Says… post, “The True Nature of a Gift?”

Hugs,
M&M

Follow these links to read what He Says/She Says: Marcia’s View / Mike’s View

Being Green – Celebrations

Hi Folks:

Well, the topic for this week’s ‘Being Green’ post is ‘Celebrations’, and there’s a lot to celebrate this weekend. If you live in Canada or are an expat Canadian living elsewhere in the world, Happy Canada Day, +1!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

Continue Reading →

Poetry Corner – Sneak Peek

Hello Dear Ones!

Well, June 30th has come and gone. It is now Canada Day – July 1st – and my book is at the printer, having met its deadline!

Here’s a sneak peak, especially for you: a write-up of my bio and a précis of my book – plus the fabulous cover that my hubbie Mike did up for me! Check it out here: Marcia’s New Book. Continue Reading →