Saturday, December 06, 2008

Here’s the log of our electric production for the last week of November and the beginning of December.

Date- Kilowatts
11,23- 9.02
11,24 -5.72
11,27- 7.30


As you can see, there’s fluctuation from day to day depending on the weather. There are blank days throughout the log (as with December 4) because the digital readout goes off some time after the day becomes dark enough to stop power generation. If I’m away in the afternoon or if I misjudge the time, I get to a blank screen and there’s no way, unfortunately, to retrieve the information.

What I do know is that our total electrical production is 674 kw since the system went into operation in late July.

In other energy-related news, Fritz and I got back to the house from an afternoon away last week to discover the house was chilly and the Aga stove had gone almost cold--we had run out of propane. When I signed with the company that supplies us, I told them I had an Aga and was assured that they were familiar with its propane consumption and would schedule tank fillings accordingly. Clearly, they’d miscalculated.

Because we’d gotten home after the end of the business day, it took a while to get a delivery. By the time the talk was full, the Aga needed to go through it’s entire twelve to thirteen hour fire-up procedure which uses up a lot of gas. I was prepared for this the first time we fired it up, but wasn’t expecting to have to do it all over again just four months later.

I spoke with the propane company the next morning and told them I didn’t want this to happen ever again. They were more or less sufficiently apologetic and did promise to shorten the time between fills on my account’s schedule, even to the point of coming way too often. I said that would be preferable to our running out ever again.

The top of the Aga is too hot for a cat but the stone counter is just nicely warm and has become Starr's preferred perch despite the fact that she's not supposed to be up on table tops or counters. She's a cat and she has her own agenda.


This Christmas meme came not from a blogger but from a long-time friend of Fritz’s (and now of mine) who lives with his husband north of San Francisco in a wonderful house they’ve renovated themselves. He reads this blog (Hi, Skip!) so I decided to answer him here and let any of you who like it take a crack at it yourselves.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper, 99.9% of the time. Occasionally a bottle of wine gets dropped into a bag.

2. Real tree or artificial? Real, always. We grow our own here. Fritz was doing that for years before he and I met and we keep planting new baby trees for the future.

4. When do you take the tree down? Somewhere around a week after New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog? Once a year it’s just fine, particularly if it has a nice shot or rum or brandy in it. Then I’m really happy to build anticipation for another 364 days.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A continuing one—the complete set of Landmark Books from Random House, world history written for children but not diluted or bowdlerized. They fueled my growing interest in history and established my current reading habits.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Anyone old enough and in a household established for enough years so that they already have EVERYTHING--and are actually trying to get rid of some.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My younger daughter. A gift certificate to Bloomingdale's, some gourmet foodstuffs, some dumb but wonderfully funny garment for her little poodle and we’re done.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I have a set of hand-carved African wood sculptures that I gathered from various stores, matching the sculpture to a character in the story. I never found a child figure to go with the others so I asked a friend who whittled to make me one, specifying that it had to look like the St. Joseph figure. Joseph is so kicked to the curb in the story that I thought he deserved a little attention even if the baby isn’t his.
It’s purely cultural—I left belief behind long ago.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Analog cards, in envelopes, with stamps and hand addressed. 11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A CD by someone named Paul Potts, a Brit caterwauling opera arias, trying to sound like Andrea Bocelli, which is bad enough to begin with.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Ten Commandments. “Oh, Moses, Moses!” Hollywood Biblical schlock in excelsis. And Ann Baxter is so pretty and evil-vamp. Heston is completely wooden as an actor but looks great when he comes down from the mountain with the tablets of the law and two streaks of Max Factor “I have seen the Lord” gray in his hair. John Derek’s chest isn’t too bad, either.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I do it all throughout the year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I probably did once but I can’t remember and really wouldn’t want to unless my back was to the wall. Regifting sometimes does happen as a host or hostess gift when going to dinner and only if it wasn’t terminally tacky to begin with.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Home-made Scotch shortbread. A woman at my father’s office used to make it and give boxes of it to everybody in their little unit. Vast amounts of butter were involved. Currently, Fritz’s maple syrup and walnut pie that he invented, using our own syrup. Or his maple mousse which is to die for--or from, given the amount of whipped cream involved.

16. Lights on the tree: Yes, including one or two surviving 1950s lights with the candle shaped glass tubs full of bubbling colored water.

17. Favorite Christmas song? I’ve come to hate most of them but Adolph Adam,’s Cantique du Noel (O, holy night) and the Ukrainian Carol of the Bells are two I actually look forward to hearing.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Whatever can be arranged with all the members of our far-flung families.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes, and so can you—just memorize the brief introduction to “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer”—they’re all there,
and with the music, they'll stick in your mind. If you want that kind of thing stuck there.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star. Over the years it’s been many things including a lovely white dove of peace that I think is more appropriate than anything else.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One on Christmas eve and the rest the next morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The Little a-rum-pum-pum-pum-pumming Drummer Boy---I loathe it.

23. What theme or color are you using? I’m a theatrical designer and Fritz has designed, so there’s lots of color here always. We use the traditional red and green a lot for Christmas.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner. Champagne!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Gift certificates to a particular nursery here as we have masses of planting and landscaping to do in the spring.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? To judge by the pattern of response in my comments, I’d guess Lewis, Dr. Michael, and maybe Mark (Romach)—no pressure, guys!

27. Wh
o is least likely to respond to this? Maybe I’ll be surprised, but RG, Karl and Jake.


The following is a comment I left on Mike Hillwig’s blog in response to his thoughts on a boycott against companies that contributed to the campaign to pass the infamous Proposition 8 in California:

Ultimately it all comes down to demographics. Marginalized folks have no clout until they become economically valuable to big mainstream businesses. I think it’s obnoxious but it’s the way of the world: if you’re poor your rights are far from secure.

We know, of course, that not all gay men and lesbians live the gilded lifestyle. Many struggle to get along, but the perception is that we all have the cash for debauched cruises, body waxing and a constantly renewed wardrobe. For this we will be tolerated by corporate America. As the line in the song from Steven Sondheim’s A Little Night Music rightly says: “It’s intolerable being tolerated.” Our rights need to be guaranteed not at the ballot box but by the highest courts in the land.

And, yes, those who are all too anxious to take our money and then contribute some of it to the suppression of our rights need to be punished and punished severely the only way they understand—kill their profits by refusing to take their tainted goods and services and let the scum go bankrupt.

Ah yes, Paul Potts. I bought that CD. An impulse buy at the checkout line in our local Chapters bookstore.

I'd seen him on youtube; a heartwarming storybook winner of Britain's Got Talent. He sounded good.

The CD was awful.
Oh boy, a cold house in the middle of a NH winter is never pleasant. I love the energy production guys are so cool. And, yes, we have a nativity scene.... you'll pardon me now while I go and get baby jesus a cup of morning coffee. He's crying.
Good quote from Sondheim.

Sorry to hear about the gas issue. I hated when we had problems like that. Whenever such things happen, I feel like it's quite a reminder of how close we are to the caveman days!

So how much of your electricity needs are covered by the 674kw?
I bought 'The Ten Commandments' last week on DVD. I love that movie :-)
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