Monday, September 22, 2008


It's starting to get pretty chilly in Vermont, which means it's time to get ready for the long, cold winter ahead. Efficiency Vermont has put together a list of top ten tips for saving energy this winter. Several of these, like plugging the leaks around my front door, are on my to-do list. I'm also planning to get a programmable thermostat! I'll use this list as a guide and post on my progress.
  1. Make Your Home More Efficient. Efficiency Vermont-approved Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors can perform an energy audit on your home and install the recommended improvements, such as air sealing and insulation. Find a contractor and learn about financing options at Low-income Vermonters can get similar services for free - learn more at
  2. Lower the Thermostat. Each degree a thermostat is turned down (around the clock) in the winter equates to a cost savings of roughly three percent on your energy bill. Turning a thermostat back from 72º to 65º for eight hours a day can save as much as 10 percent on annual heating and cooling costs. Try lowering the thermostat when nobody is home, or just before going to bed. Programmable thermostats can help to manage your home’s temperature by consistently changing the setting whenever you want—even if you are asleep or at work. I'm pretty stingy when it comes to heat (hence my large collection of hoodies!), and Roger's a great little space heater. I also plan to install a programmable thermostat this winter.
  3. Plug Up Air Leaks. Focus on plugging air leaks in the attic, where warm air escapes, and in the basement, where cold air enters the home. If you’re handy, use expanding foam to seal larger holes and caulk to seal small gaps. You can also save more by adding insulation in the attic. There’s more information on air sealing and insulating at Or find a professional to help at One trick for finding leaks is to use a lit stick of incense - the drafts will disturb the smoke!
  4. Heat Only Space You Use. Close off unneeded rooms, but ensure water pipes have adequate insulation or heat and don't freeze.
  5. Let the Sun Shine In. Open the window shades on the south and west side of the house during the day to maximize the warmth of the sun, and close them at night. I've got two great south-facing windows, and I'm researching the most energy-efficient blinds to invest in.
  6. Fix Drafty Windows and Doors. Caulk around window frames and use weather stripping and door sweeps on doors. Properly adjusted window-sash locks will ensure that windows are properly shut. Use storm windows and put up interior window plastic, available in kits at hardware stores. I need to get some weather stripping - there's a leak at the top of my front door!
  7. Clean Up. Keep the area near registers, radiators, air returns and baseboards clear and dust-free. Vacuum or dust radiators and baseboards often and be sure they’re not blocked by furniture and carpets. Heat needs to circulate to reach all areas of the house, especially with a forced-air system. I kept this in mind when I was first arranging my furniture. I do have some cleaning to do in the spare room before the heat starts flowing though.
  8. Close Dampers When You're Not Using The Fireplace. An open fireplace damper pulls warm air (air you’ve paid to heat) from the house, even when there is no fire. And, if possible, avoid or reduce the use of traditional masonry fireplaces, which tend to be much less efficient than other heating devices.
  9. Tune Up Your Equipment. If your heating or hot water equipment has not been serviced recently, make sure it is cleaned and adjusted to operate as efficiently and safely as possible. I want to look into putting a layer of insulation around my hot water heater, but I don't know how to tell if I need it or not.
  10. Save Electricity. Replace your standard incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent bulbs. For information about which bulbs work best where and how much you can save, visit When purchasing new appliances, be sure to select models with the ENERGY STAR. Small appliances and home office equipment use power even when they're “off”. Plug TVs, VCRs, fax machines, computers, printers, etc. into a power strip and just turn them off. I have started replacing all of the MANY bulbs in my new house with CFLs. I'm also looking into dimmable CFLs, since the bedrooms and living room fixtures need them. All of my entertainment equipment (TV, DVD player, computer) are plugged into a power strip that I flip off every morning before work.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bitch Magazine update

Bitch Magazine has been saved!!
...for one more issue. In just a few short days, the Bitch community rallied to their support and raised over $46,000! If you had been planning to donate, update or start a subscription, please do!! More support means more time to strategize and come up with a long-term, sustainable plan. Keep it going!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Save Bitch Magazine!

Bitch Magazine's fate is in our hands

Don't let this smart, relevant feminist voice fall silent.

First the bad news: The print publishing industry as a whole is staring into a void. Across the board, newsstand magazine sales are in a slump, subscriber numbers are down, and paper and postal costs continue to rise. But it's not magazines like US Weekly or Vogue that you'll see disappearing from the newsstands—they have the parent companies and the resources to weather industry ill winds. It's the small, independent magazines like Bitch that will disappear, because the odds are already stacked high against them. And simply put: Bitch needs to raise $40,000 by October 15th in order to print the next issue of Bitch.

Now the good news
: While it's true that $40,000 is a lot of money, the number of Bitch supporters is in the hundreds of thousands. And they're asking each of us who values independent, nonprofit media and intelligent feminist cultural analysis to contribute what we can to ensure that Bitch thrives. And while they can't say what form Bitch will take in the future (their direction will depend, in part, on our feedback), they can say that they've been hard at work to find an innovative publishing model that will allow them to maintain the spirit and integrity of Bitch while also reflecting the changing world around us.

As a nonprofit, reader-funded media organization, Bitch's fate really is—and always will be—in our hands. Bitch doesn't need a parent company. They just need us!

::: Please help continue this important work by donating and sharing this message :::

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Magic Carpet!

I finally found the right rug!

Roger and I have been searching websites and stores for just the right one, with minimal success. There have been ones that I liked but weren't right for the living room, and some that were perfect but cost just as much as the living room, and finally I found this one, hanging on the wall upstairs at Homeport.

I dismissed it at first, thinking that the light gray areas would show dirt and dog hair easily. Luckily, this is an indoor/outdoor rug! So the pile is really short, and it cleans really easily!! (In the words of my sister, "You can just take it outside and hose it down!") I wasn't sure if it would look okay with the couch but luckily I remembered Mom's rule that of course ALL blues go together! So what would we call it, teal? Sea green perhaps?

I finally bought it this past weekend, on sale for 20% off! Roger and I proudly paraded it down Church Street and I put it down as soon as we got home. And I haven't stopped smiling about it since!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Localvore Smoothie!

Localvore Smoothie
-Vermont Co-op Milk
-Butterworks Farm plain organic yogurt
-Frozen local raspberries


I originally meant this to be a recipe post, but quickly hit a roadblock: I never make it the same way twice! Plus "glob" and "some" aren't really helpful measurements. I start with the milk and frozen berries, and once that's a bright pink, I add yogurt until it's the right consistency. The last thing is the honey, otherwise it sinks to the bottom of the blender. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Eat Local Challenge!

Once again this year, I'm taking the Eat Local Challenge for the month of September. I've pledged to eat only food produced within 100 miles of home for the whole month. I'll keep you posted on my trials and tribulations throughout the challenge!