Getting Recharged

I’ve come across a few good links on rechargable batteries recently. Not all rechargables are created equally, and it definitely pays to get high capacity ones and a good charger. Considering how many times I’ve re-used the batteries in my digital camera and shower radio, I’ve definitely saved quite a bit of money even though the rechargables cost more up front.Here are a few sites I’ve come across (mostly dealing with AA batteries) that I’ve found helpful in making some educated decisions:The Great Battery Shootout is fairly up to date and focuses mostly on using rechargable AA batteries in digital cameras.Performance comparisons of some NiMH battery chargers is a little older, but shows that not all chargers charge batteries the same way.Battery University has a three part tutorial describing all types of rechargable batteries including the best charge and discharge patterns for extending long battery life for each type.

14 Kaija months

Today Kaija turned 14 months old. Quite a bit has changed since the last update. I forgot to mention then that she no longer tolerates baby food. She’ll let us feed her apple sauce or yogurt, but she’s in control of putting everything else in her mouth.She used to like Cheerios, but since about the beginning of the year they’re so yesterday. She loves to eat a slice of plain bread or toast in the morning. She’s also become fond of Rice Chex. Other foods she likes: ground red meat (beef, gyros meat), pasta, peaches, pears, peas, dried cranberries, and anything that comes out of the crock pot. We have to be careful about the order in which we put things in plain view, though. If she sees us pull out the cranberries to sprinkle over our salads, she’ll stop eating her vegetables until she gets some.She still likes to sway back and forth when she hears music on the radio. About a month ago she added the Flashdance running-in-place routine to her repetoir, though she doesn’t seem to do that much anymore.She hasn’t really learned any more Baby Signs except for one that she uses constantly… No! Ever since we started shaking our heads when she threw her food on the ground or walked over to an electrical outlet and put her finger near it, she’s become very familiar with the motion. And she quickly picked up on the notion. She shakes her head when we ask her to hand over something that she’s not suppose to have or when we ask her if she’s ready to go down for a nap.Though she understands quite a bit of what we say, she really hasn’t expanded her vocabulary much. However, she does say “doh” when she shakes her head, and will say “dah” and “woof” when she sees a dog. She’ll also say “dat” and point to an object. We can only assume she’s asking “What’s that?” so we try to figure out what it is and repeat its name a few times.It’s pretty apparent than at this point Kaija has left the “baby” stage behind and is very much a “little kid” now.

Sometimes Bad is Bad

Can’t keep up with the ever growing list of Bush administration scandals? Not to worry. Via Salon, Peter Dizikes has put together a list of the top 34 scandals from Bush’s first term.I can’t help think that anyone who voted Bush into a second term is 1) either living under a rock or completely being distracted from what’s going on 2) blindly and uncritically partisan to see that his/her ideals are not really being represented by this so-called “Republican” administration 3) standing to profit from all of this illegal/immoral/questionable activity or 4) two or more of the above.All I can hope is that the nation hasn’t completely tuned these scandals out. Perhaps one will emerge that will be just too big to ignore which will spark a movement to purge this merry band of evil doers from the oval office.

Mango No. 5

Whoo hoo! My 5 lbs. of dried organic mango slices just arrived. I became hooked on them two years ago when my Aunt Brenda received said quantity from a friend who runs a mail-order business. She shared them with Jennifer and I while we were staying at her place over the holidays. Though they are a little expensive, they are a much healthier snack than potato chips/cookies/chocolate/etc.When I discovered that the Whole Foods in San Francisco carried them in their bulk section, I new I was in trouble. Every time I walked past the store during my morning and evening commutes I had to restrain myself from going in because there was no way I was going to leave without at least a pound of them.I was severely disappointed when I found that the Whole Foods near our house in Michigan does not carry the dried mango slices. Occasionally they will carry dried mango chunks which aren’t nearly as good. They don’t have nearly the flavor of the mango slices, so they are often coated with sugar to compensate.Thank goodness for the Internet. After a particularly strong hankering for the orange goodness, I came across an online shop that sells them called SunRidge Farms in Santa Cruz, CA. The mangos they sell are a little more expensive than the mangos that I had been buying from Whole Foods, considering I also needed to pay for shipping. But I just ripped open the bag and they actually taste quite a bit better. They have a bit more flavor and aren’t as dry or as tough, probably because they have not been sitting in a bulk bin in a forced-air building for several days.Now, I’m not usually one to fall for bribes, but if anytime in the future you want to sway me one way or another, dried mango slices would be a good place to start. 😉

Winter Wonderland

The interesting times never stop here at Casa Windeler.Our house is at the end of a T intersection within our neighborhood. When we first looked at this house, I remember wondering if the owners had had any problems with cars failing to stop at the intersection and driving onto the lawn. I never asked them if they had, but I don’t have to wonder any longer. Two nights ago we received a few inches of snow. At about 11 am yesterday I opened up our front door to retreive a package that the UPS delivery person left on the front porch and noticed a dark patch in the ditch at the front of the property. Looking a little closer, I noticed a set of tire tracks in the snow that ran along the front of the yard to our driveway. Apparently as a reflection of the old fogie that I seem to be becoming, my first thought was “Great, we’ve got some $*#% teenagers going for joy rides across our front lawn.” Then I realized that the roads were probably pretty slick and that somebody had slid off the road into the ditch. They weren’t able to back out, so they drove forward and then to our driveway. I wonder how many more times that will happen this year.Last night we received a few inches more of snow. I was up late doing some work, so I woke up a little later than usual. I had just finished eating breakfast and started doing the dishes at the kitchen sink when I heard a rumbling sound from our driveway. I looked up from the sink and out the window only to see a visible stretch of black pavement. I hadn’t gotten around to shoveling yet, so the driveway should still have been covered with a decent blanket of snow. I commented to Jennifer about this, and we walked over to the window that faced the rest of our driveway. There, in a beat up old red Ford truck with an equally beat up yellow plow attached to the front of it, were two guys plowing away like there was no tomorrow. In less than 10 minutes the driveway was cleared and they were off. When they pulled out of the driveway they didn’t even stop at any of the neighbors. We don’t pay for a plowing service. We didn’t recognize them. They didn’t leave a service brochure or anything. We don’t know if they were friends of the previous owners who don’t know that they’ve moved or what. We’re guessing that maybe they were friends of the people who slid into our yard the previous morning and they’re doing it as a “Let us make it up to you” gesture. Regardless, Thank You Mysterious Plow People! You saved us a lot of work. Perhaps you could stop by the next time we get a few inches of snow?

Conscious Marketing

Doing a little research on eco-friendly house remodeling, I came across a book called Conscious Style Home: Eco-Friendly Living for the 21st Century written by Danny Seo. I’d never heard of Danny before, but judging by the article about him in Outside magazine, I think he stands a chance at boosting the market for sustainable and eco-friendly consumerism.Being “green” has traditionally been seen by many as too “out there”. Often the terms “hippie”, “tree hugger” or “granola” are used condescendingly to refer to environmentally friendly people or actions because being eco-unfriendly is, for the most part, the norm and has been stereotyped to be lacking in style. Danny is using the visibility of the rich and famous in an attempt to change this attitude. He’s trying to make being green desirable by showing that being green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. If lots of celebreties are doing it, how can that be unfashionable?It’s applaudable how far he’s gotten in his efforts. He’s even working on a television series based on the premise of his book that Ford Motor Company is considering sponsoring. Though probably not working totally alone, his efforts will probably have more impact than many other large grass roots “Save the Whales” type organizations have had in changing the actions of the general public or corporations. For perception defines reality, and the perception of the general public even more so.I haven’t read the book yet, so what I know of him is only from the article. Based on this, I just hope that his “Fur Free” campaign isn’t single minded. Plastic beads and other marketing material might be spreading a message, but hopefully it’s doing so in a eco-friendly way at that.