30 September 2012

SmartHours winding down...

With only a few hours remaining in September, we're coming to the end of our enrollment in OG&E's  SmartHours program this year. Our most recent bill reflected a $93.24 savings this past month due to time-of-use savings.

In summary, from May through September of this year, we:
  • Spent $595 less than the same time period in 2011.
  • Used only 91% of the kilowatt hours we used last year.
  • Paid only 68% of what we paid last year.
Bottom line—if SmartHours is the same/similar program next year as it was this year, we'll be signing up! I can honestly think of no real sacrifices and loved the savings. We maintained a high level of comfort and convenience. IF we got SERIOUS about, I know we could have saved even more—according to the charts, we used almost twice the power as our neighbors' average. Wow. Again, if you'd like to read all posts about our SmartHours experience, simply click here.

I've also enjoyed participating in the blogging program. It's been fun telling my friends/readers about my experiences and I'm thrilled I had so many wonderful stories to report. Thank you for inviting me to participate!

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

27 August 2012

More bowls...

Here are the most recent bowls I've made. The aubergine and crimson one was for our daughter-in-law. They are in the process of updating their home and hopefully this will fit in with the facelift.
The lighter color one was for a friend who moved to Tulsa. She's decorating a new home and these are her three colors.

Bowls minus "B" minus "s" equals OWL!
My sweet friend Kelsey was telling me about collecting owls when I saw her several days ago. I happened to come across a cute owl pattern on Etsy, via Pinterest. That pattern was sold out, but I came across a few more. I made a sample, liked it, then set out to make one just for her. He's been named Wilbur and she sent me a photo of his new home. I'm so tickled!

SmartHours—winding down...

SmartHours runs through September so there are only a few weeks remaining. Our newest billing was last week and here's the highlights. Soley due to SmartHours pricing, we saved $81.63 this billing. This billing cycle was $75.61 less than last year at this time, and that includes our moderate run of 100˚+ days, including some 109˚ and 113˚ days! We used 97% if the kilowatt load this year compared to last. And, had we been on SmartHours last year, our bill might have been $64 less. All tolled, so far we saved just over $350 this summer soley due to SmartHours pricing and time of use. And our bills have been $484 less this year than last from May through July.

Based on this year's experience, I'll gladly sign up for SmartHours next year. I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't. The savings are incredible and I can't really think of a downside. Once I got over Tom's initial misgivings, it was smooth sailing. I know we could have saved even more if we were uber vigilant, but for a couple of comfort hounds, we did well. I'll have one more summary in late September—stay tuned!

10 August 2012

Fabric bowls...

Two fabrics + 80 feet of clothesline = Fabric Bowl
We were invited to a friend's 50th birthday celebration. I knew I wanted to make Leesa something, but what? As it worked out, I was able to wrap each of the two fabrics two ways which gave me a four-level range of gradation. When I purchased the fabric, I was thinking of mimicking a zebra pattern. I knew, a few rounds in to the base, it probably wasn't going to succeed. But I kept on, lightening the black/white balance until the top four rounds which were my darkest tone.

Made from 2011 BOM Batiks
A few days later (I think that was last night) I started my own bowl. Months ago when I was working on my BOM batik quilt, I saved .5-inch wide strips intending to make a fabric bowl someday. This was also before I took the class. From the background color fabrics, I cut the supplied 3-inch wide strips down to 2.5 inches. I started with the dark tones, worked into the middle and light tones, and finished with more dark strips.
Paper piping ready to be wrapped
Instead of using clothesline, I tried out some paper piping cord. I bought this stuff decades ago when I was sewing spa and makeup bags from vinyl-laminated fabric—it was c.1988-1991. One thing I really liked about using this piping is that it is on a spool so unwinds easily with no tangling or twisting. I LIKE. I worked directly from the spool; wrapped the cord at the sewing machine; then stitched a bit and wrapped some more. I like the shape of this one—a little curvy and a turned down lip. Got this one done mid-afternoon.

More Giardiniera
I've been wanting to make something special for a young friend of mine from the same fabric as my Lemon Pepper Poppy Quilt. I cut mostly .75-inch strips from the remnants and arranged them into a pattern I liked. This wound up being another bowl with a 6-inch base (as were the two previous ones above) with a slightly turned under lip. I loved it for her! And she loved it, too!

I've got a couple more bowls to make for friends and family while I'm still in the bowl-building groove.

from The Gourmet Yarn Co.
Two weeks ago, I took a class at The Gourmet Yarn Co. on knitting the Spectra Scarf designed by Stephen West. Owner Margaret Schroeder taught the class. It was a sluggish start but after two hours, we all got the hang of it. I've been working on it off and on and am pretty pleased so far. The only part I didn't like was finding a mistake I couldn't live with 70 rows back. Yup. A big part of knitting is fixing mistakes. I'm getting better at it. I pulled the 70 rows; managed to get all the stitches back on my needles; and am now back about where I was before. I've learned a couple of things through this project. First, I've been purling incorrectly for years. I was throwing my yarn the wrong direction and twisting my loops. Ugh. And two, with long sessions of knitting, I've much improved my hand positioning/use and cut down of lots of extra repetitive motion. I am only about 25% done, so there's lots to do. It takes a certain kind of faith/folly to knit in the summer on 113˚ days while dreaming of cooler temps down the road.
Tosh Merino Light (Ruby Slippers) and Crazy Zauberball
I fell in love with this scarf when I first saw it on TGYC's Facebook page in a near-Cherokee Red and blues/gray variegated yarns. They were out of the red when I bought my supplies, so I chose a plum and orange/taupe/gray/purple variegated yarns. I still think I'd like to do a red one that will remind me of Fallingwater's tower of windows.

19 July 2012

Same song, second verse, more $avings...

Hi, all! I first mentioned it on Facebook and here it is—solely due to OG&E's SmartHours pricing, we saved $125.79 this billing! Additionally exciting, this billing cycle's total was $252.90 less than last year at this time. Part of that is due to us using only 75% of the kilowatt hours as last year. But even so, let's imagine last year's usage at our current average kilowatt hour rate—had we been on SmartHours last year, our bill might have been $160 less!

For 143 hours every week, we pay only 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour. From 2–7 p.m. each weekday, we pay anywhere from 4.5–46 cents per kilowatt hour. That rate varies due to energy costing more to produce when temps and usage volume are up.

We are now in the midst of 100-plus degree days and higher nighttime temperature lows. I notice this in our 'base load' overnight usage. We've even turned off the heater on the hot tub, but are keeping the pump running for a 'cool tub.' I have also recently turned off the window unit in the sun room area because we spend so little time in there. Other than early morning, it is mostly shaded throughout the day. If we plan on working in there (Tom's plastic model building; drafting table; my sewing/crafts) for any amount of time, I'll crank 'er back up.

I've moved most of my energy-gobbling chores outside of the 2-7 p.m. SmartHours. These include baking (yeah, right), running the dishwasher, and washing/drying/ironing clothes. The one activity I've not moved past 7 p.m. is cooking dinner, so we do have some usage spikes around 5-6 p.m., but that's still only a matter of a dollar or two.

I've been thoroughly pleased with SmartHours. I'd encourage my friends to try it. To check your OG&E account eligibility, click here. (Homeowners, renters and those in multi-family residences may qualify if those residences already have SmartMeters [were likely installed outside in 2010] in place.) Remember, you, the CUSTOMER retain COMPLETE CONTROL over how cool or warm you keep your space as well as how and when you use your energy. Want to know more about the SmartTemp thermostat tool that's at the center of your money saving? Check out this video.

If you've got questions, please comment below and I'll get back with you. If you want to read my other SmartHours posts, check them out here. As you'll see in the tiny tagline below, these are sponsored posts. Rest assured, if being enrolled wasn't worth it, I'd tell you that, too.

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Two years later...

Back in July 2010, before I gave serious thought to ever making a quilt, I came across this quilt when I was merely fabric shopping at Oklahoma Quiltworks. I was in the midst of becoming enamored with poppies. This was one of two quilts I fell in love with. Only recently has its colors reminded me of Italian giardiniera—simply lovely pickled vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, and peppers. Did I mention I loved bright greens and oranges together? I bought fat (22" x 18") and linear (44" x 9") quarters of each of the fabrics with the idea of making little fabric yo-yo discs, but with no final project in mind. Those pieces became the beginning of my now-sizable fabric/fat quarters stash.

Fast forward a bit. I came across a pretty little quilt pattern called Lemon Pepper from Madison Cottage Design. What attracted me to the pattern was that it was made of fat quarters, and I have lots of those on hand. I made the crib size one, with a bit of variation. It called for 35 blocks (five across by seven down), but I made 36 blocks and arranged them six-by-six. That total helped me mathematically as well. Oddly enough, I did NOT build this in Photoshop first. That said, it meant I organized the fabrics differently.

The instructions for this quilt were not exact. It said 'mix it up.' Random order? How does one make order so it appears random? That took my brain on quite the hamster wheel ride. Each block contains nine fabrics. Nine. Like Sudoko. I can find a solved Sudoko puzzle and assign each fabric a color number and arrange them accordingly. Ouch. It started out as a good idea but wound up searing my brain. So I ranked the fabrics and noted/classified the nine as three greens, three reds, and three grays. I let the greens dominate the order. Oh, did I mention in this strip quilt, each row is made of three widths of strips. Sorting strips to make the 36 blocks was another short course in random order. 1-2-3, 2-3-1, 3-1-2, 3-2-1, 2-1-3, and 1-2-3. It made sense to me. Once I arranged each three-strip, nine-piece block, I knew I didn't want them jostled. I got the idea to lay each block's components within a 'page' of a filing sorter—31 plus 12 slots (below).
I got it all pieced together and wound up taking the top with me to Prairie Quilt where I'd gone for a demonstration, but I hadn't really thought about what I wanted to use for a backing. Loved the demo on hexagon piecing. (I absolutely love the folks at Prairie Quilt! If I ever need to buy another sewing machine, I'll get a Pfaff from them!) The demo was upstairs which is also where they display their sale fabric. And from across the room, my eyes lasered in on the same orange lantern pod fabric used on the front! Okay, to have a real appreciation for this amazing find, consider this: I found this two years later, in a completely different shop, AND on sale for 30% off! Divine providence for sure!

The last trial for this quilt was in the quilting. I still have not gotten comfortable with free-motion sewing. It's kind of like 'random order'—very foreign in feel and uncomfortable to do. But maybe I could build up some muscle memory and power through it. So I did. I used my Bertie's BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) to stagger, swirl, stutter, loop and curl my way over my quilt's surface. I told a friend it looked like I had Tourette syndrome spasms—and I probably inappropriately cussed a few times, too! Sigh. I finished up the binding and now it's done! Haven't a clue what I'll do with it, but think I will use some of the left over strip pieces for some gifts. I glad to have another project done, especially because it goes back to the beginning of this fabric journey of mine.

28 June 2012

Here comes the heat...

Well, not THAT Heat. But while I think of it, thank you Oklahoma City Thunder for an exciting playoff and finals extended season. It was kind of fun how fans (recent and die-hards) supported our wonderful team.

We are back into those 100˚ days since Tuesday and for the next several days. This is a great time to put SmartHours to the test!

SmartHours pricing with OG&E began at the beginning of the month and runs through the end of September. In a nutshell, we pay 4.5 cents per kWh (instead of 11.3 cents per kWh all of the time for non-enrolled customers) for all of our electricity usage over these four months, with the exception of no more than 30 hours a week—2–7 p.m. Monday–Friday (excluding national holidays). Our SmartHours price may be the low 4.5 cents per kWh; standard 11.3 cents per kWh; medium 23 cents per kWh; or high 46 cents per kWh (see graphic above).

I am notified (via text and/or email) the day before of which price point I may expect for the following day's SmartHours, and plan accordingly. In addition, I have, thus far, received two additional Critical Price Alerts which notify me of an even higher billing rate per kWh within the 2–7 p.m. window. Today's Critical Price Alert was from 4–7 p.m.; yesterday's was from 3–6 p.m. Both times, the rate bumped up to 50 cents per kWh. See the graphic to see how the rate fluctuated through the day (light red line).

In addition to consciously planning extra power usage outside the 2–7 p.m. window, using my thermostat is a tool that regulates our AC usage. Several days ago I tweaked some of my setpoints and edited my schedule. The temperature is still quite comfortable. In addition to setpoints and schedules, there's also an Conservation setting where the thermostat takes my settings and applies my choice between Comfort and Balanced and Savings. As you can see, I keep our setting between comfort and balanced, so it keeps temps a bit cooler than if it were set more toward savings. Again, it is MY option to adjust/modify these settings.

There's already good news for tomorrow, Friday. I've already received my alert that the cost per kWh for 2–7 p.m. tomorrow is the standard 11.3 cents.

I took a look at my OG&E bills from 2010 and 2011 (before SmartHours enrollment) and our June bills were in excess of $500 each time. I look forward to not only a lower total bill but am also excited about how much SmartHours usage will save us. Remember, it was $143.70 last month! Stay tuned for more!

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

19 June 2012

SmartHours update...

We just received our first bill which includes half of a month of SmartHours pricing. Okay, it's NOT the beginning of the 50+ days of 100˚ temps, but in addition to using 1,814 fewer kilowatt hours this year than last, we also SAVED $143.70 in THIS billing alone SOLELY by taking advantage of SmartHours pricing. I think I already mentioned we are not particularly frugal about our power usage, so this kind of savings is pretty dang special!

I still think I want to do some adjustments to the setpoints and schedules on the thermostat that may yield even more saving. Now THIS is exciting!

To see all of my posts about SmartHours, simply click here.

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

05 June 2012


Us, 2004
1. Married eight years to my wonderful husband!
2. Great physical therapy with Karen at Mercy Spine.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder's great play in NBA Western Finals.

04 June 2012

SmartHours in effect NOW...

SmartHours pricing plan started on Friday, June 1, and runs until September 30.

I've been looking forward to SmartHours (click here for more info) beginning so I can be excited about how much we'll be saving. On Thursday, I received a text notification alerting me to how much power will cost per kilowatt hour on Friday, between 2 and 7 p.m. The amount was the lowest cost possible, 4.5 cents. Today, I received another text for tomorrow's cost, and it's at the same amount. It will be interesting to see how this adjusts over the summer.

I also received a weekly usage email. It's really convenient having this information at my fingertips in case it's been awhile since checking my online account. It had been so long, I had to reset my password.

To be honest, we've never taken proactive measures to save on our electricity usage. We've been enrolled in 'average billing' for awhile and that averaging kinda eases the pain of summer usage highs against winter usage lows. I'd like thinking I'll set the thermostat differently, do the laundry earlier or later, and such, but even if I don't, I think we'll save just by virtue of being enrolled in the plan.

One comparison I am looking forward to tracking has to do with our plan to empty and unplug the hot tub in July. I suspect its constant running/heating keeps our passive usage average high. Over the past couple of days when Tom has used the hot tub, I did notice a spike in those hours' numbers (see below at 5 p.m.). Oooh, cause and effect!

I plan on going back into my thermostat settings and making some adjustments to better accommodate the SmartHours 2-7 p.m. weekday sweet spot.

Looking forward to that first bill of the summer to see what we've saved compared to last year's unadjusted rates. Stay tuned!

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

22 May 2012

As seen on TotallyTutorials.com...

Blogspot now has a new dashboard interface which gives bloggers statistics on page views and such. After seeing I had over 1,200 page views in April, I discovered my Pet Food Bag tutorial appeared on Totally Tutorials on 14 April!!! I don't recall when I submitted it to be considered, but I certainly did not know it had been published. How exciting!

When I made them, I was thinking what great book bags they'd be because they're so durable. And then I took it with me to the library. And it crunched and crackled which sounded very loud in its environment! Oh, well. :-)

Big 'n' bright Granny Goose...

Here she is, in all of her painted glory! I got to the point where I was ready to call her 'done,' and this is it. Toward the end of the painting, I still wasn't happy about the balance and decided to add a few kernels of deer corn, just like what we've fed her over the winter. Looking for these three kernels reminded me of the time in college when Buddy Centini was looking for 'perfect' popped corn to serve as models for a soft sculpture we was making. Hey, that was only 37 (!) years ago! Eek!

The frame came from a mirror I bought a few years ago. It broke, but I just stuck it in a magazine rack and forgot about it. When we were having new furniture delivered, I came across the mirror and frame, tossed the mirror and discovered the frame fit my painting perfectly. I added the bright yellow-green, and voila!

I am happy to have it done. There are other processes I'd like to try, like much wider brush strokes and more impressionistic color. But there's time for that. I absolutely love this artist's (Morian - a sample of her pet portraits process) style and credit that excitement for starting my own painting. I plan to meet with her this week about something unrelated*, and will take Granny Goose with me. (*I won a giveaway from her blog.)

In the bag...
Another project I started and finished last weekend was a tote for a new friend of mine. Kara recently graduated OKC-OSU with a degree in Sign Language Interpretation. As it happened, a day after she gave us her graduation announcement, I came across fabric at Quiltworks that was the ASL alphabet! I wanted to spell her name from it and apply it to something I'd make. It took a few weeks, but this past Saturday, I finally got serious about it and put this bag together. Fortunately and I had the fabric and materials I needed on hand here at home. I used one of those magnetic fasteners and installation was quite simple! It took the whole day, but was glad to get it finished by evening. I gave it to her the next day and was thrilled with its reception. Tah dah, another project done!

SmartHours update...
As I mentioned in a recent blogs, we've signed up for SmartHours through OG&E, and I relay my experiences on my blog.* I've been receiving updates on the amount of energy we're using, via weekly reports. Our usage continues being quite high compared to our neighbors, so it will be interesting to see how the SmartHours plan works when it OFFICIALLY begins on June 1. Thus far, our thermostat settings on our new thermostat have worked out pretty well. With a few of these already too warm days, I've adjusted some of the immediate settings for comfort. Once we get into June, I'm sure I'll have some more thoughts about our experience! We're looking at highs of 90˚ all week. Here comes summer!

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

14 April 2012


Top plus pieced (Disappearing 9-Patch Modified) backing.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got my quilt top and backing sent off to be quilted. My son's girlfriend's Memaw has been quilting for decades and she quilted it together for me at a very reasonable price. I'm so tickled with having it done. I had a binding misstep but redid it and am very happy with it (primarily the miters) now. At the bottom right of image, you'll see the custom label I made from inkjet-printable fabric, scanned fabric, and a Photoshop file. If you'd like to see the BOM journey, click this link: BOM pages.

June 2011
Granny Goose, painted lady...
Okay, well, I've painted Granny Goose. Wait, it dawns on me I've talked about her on Facebook, but have not mentioned her here. She (I am only assuming she is a she) showed up last May, along with three new Canada Goose families. We started feeding them over the summer. Granny Goose grew to trust me more and eats from my hand, and lets me take pictures up close. This tickles me to death. She also eats from Tom's hand. I've taken scores of photos of her over the months. The photo from which this painting was created was an interesting pose from early November 2011.

I got a good start on this painting several weeks ago. I plan to get back to it soon so I can add it to the finished list, too. Fine arts painting isn't something I've tried in decades so I was a little hesitant to take it on. Since January, I've been in a group of other creatives and we are studying the book "The Artist's Way." For some reason, I bought the book in April 1997 but did nothing with it. No doubt, this was during my 'if you buy the book, then by osmosis, you will absorb its contents' phase. When Naomi mentioned it late last year, I told her I would be interested if she knew of a group studying the book. Enter, art group. She's belonged (for months or years?) to one comprised of ladies who've been meeting weekly to explore their creativity.
Under-painting, preliminary work, changing horizon line
In this exploration of reclaiming creativity, I think I gave myself permission to try painting again. I 'had' to paint in painting class in college (c. 1977?) but my heart just wasn't in it. Those close to me were much better at it and I didn't feel I had the 'knack' or wanted to pursue it. As with some other disciplines, I admire this ability in others and avoided taking the plunge/gamble myself. After all, I'm a GRAPHIC artist, not a fine artist. (I guess I can be both!) I would be remiss if I did not mention that animal artist, Morian, inspired my under-painting and color process. LOVE her work and was thinking I'd commission her to do a painting of some of my pets. Because of this attempt, I feel brave enough to try more paintings.

Thermostat in various modes
SmartHours update...
As I mentioned in a recent blog, we've signed up for SmartHours through OG&E, and I relay my experiences on my blog.* Two weeks ago, we had two of the thermostats installed. I really like the features. Not only can you save multiple Setpoints and Schedule when they will run, it also shows how much you're paying for power per kilowatt hour. Right now, it's only $.084/KWH, the 'winter' rate, I believe. Oh, and a correction of my last SmartHours' post—those not enrolling will pay a constant 'summer' rate 24 hours per day, every day of the week which is roughly $.11/KWH. With SmartHours, I will pay $.045/KWH on non-peak hours. Peak hours (2-7 p.m., M-F) will run from $.045–.113–.23–.46/KWH, depending on low, standard, medium, or high (respectively) system usage.

The installation went quickly and the installer helped me create Setpoints and Schedules. The menu on the thermostat is pretty self-explanatory (though I have glanced at the manual once) and, though it's a small thing, I like that it's self-illuminating. If it's nighttime/dark/I'm half asleep and wanted to check or change the settings, I don't have to turn on a hall light to see what I'm doing.

I've also been looking at some of my usage charts and find our usage still exceeds what our neighbors use. Again, I wonder if it's partly due to keeping the hot tub running to one degree or another constantly. I'm toying with the idea of unplugging in for an hour or two to see what that does do our usage for those hours. Maybe I can see about turning down its setting during our peak hours, too. Heck, for summer, I don't know that we even use it much in the summer. Hmm. Something to think about.

So, there are still about six weeks until this all starts being 'for real.' SmartHours pricing runs from June through September. I'm sure to have some additional ideas, thoughts, revelations about it before them and will share them with you when I pull a few together.

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

13 April 2012

Welcome, Ilsa...

Seventy years old?! Did you know it was 70 years old? No, really? Yep, it was November 1942 and and "Casablanca" opened, just a few weeks after the allied invasion of north Africa during WWII. It's one of those movies that's perfect in B&W and should NEVER be colorized or remade.

I've been working at this post for a little while—mostly since the time I decided to name my 'new' car Ilsa. Ilsa Lund is the Ingrid Bergman character in the movie. Certainly you'll recall Miss Bergman as one of the great exports of Sweden. So, Ilsa it is. I have come to find out that Ilsa Lund is Norwegian. Sigh. As I've heard said: "Don't confuse me with the facts—I've made up my mind!" Ilsa it is, I say! Besides, it is also a Swedish name and is a variant of Elizabeth, my middle name.

In addition to being the 70th anniversary of the movie, there will also be theaterical showings of the movie across the country on 26 April. Locally, that will be at the AMC Quail Springs and Tinseltown off MLK and I-44. Ticket prices are about $12.50. One show time only—7 p.m. Am definitely thinking about seeing it. The idea of viewing such a classic on the big screen sounds enticing. Anybody want to go with?

Okay, back to MY Ilsa. I got her on 23 March, just a week after poor Red threw herself into the cable barriers and kept me from being injured. Tom called me that Friday morning while I was still with my art group in Edmond. He was pre-approved for a certain amount for a used car loan at only 1.99%. All I had to do was find a car that was no more than five years old. The credit union, well, all of the credit unions around Oklahoma City, sell their (mostly repo'd?) cars at one lot in Edmond. He thought I might like a Ford Edge mini-SUV they had. Sure, I'll go look at it. I looked at it and it was okay, but then I saw this pretty little Vovlo wagon parked next to the lot's modest little office building. Really? Could Tom ever stomach buying what he'd call a 'liberalmobile?' He calls to say he plans on leaving work early and we agree to meet at the Carl's, Jr. a mile or so down Broadway. I told him about the Volvo and he chuckles a bit.

We both drove back to the First Rate Autos lot and I showed him the Edge he'd told me about, and then the Volvo. He reacted quite well. We took it for a test drive. Still liked it. But what really sealed the deal is that we went by Swedish Imports and the owner mentioned that he knew the car, its previous owner, and had thought about purchasing the car to resell himself. He told us what it would cost to look it over, get its oil changed, and run a CARFAX® report on it. SOLD. We went back to the lot and within a couple of hours, were driving her off the lot for good! With a little shuffling, we got the rental car returned that evening and my sweet little Volvo was coming home.

How Ilsa looked the day we bought her
Min lilla grå kombi...
My little gray station wagon. Kombi means 'station wagon' in Swedish. What a cute little word! Ilsa's settled in and is getting used to the places I drive and also used to sitting—lots. I don't go all that much so she passes lots of time just sitting in the garage, resting. Sometimes an easy life is not all that exciting. She's decorated with an Apple sticker and even a People's Church graphic. (There's been some discussion in the family about putting THIS 'coexist' sticker on her.) Heretofore, I resisted putting our church's sticker on my car. I didn't want to give other drivers the opportunity to blame my church for my zealousness behind the wheel. I'll try behaving myself better. Also, due to her metallic gray body and luscious light gray leather interior, I'm have a good time adding little splashes of color inside where I can. I even keep one of my IKEA bags in her back cargo area so she'll have some Swedish companionship! Yeah, I really am THIS silly! Thank you, Red, for keeping me safe. Thank you, Tom, for a really lovely safe, speedy and NICE car!

28 March 2012

Too early to think about summer?

Okay, it's only late March and we've already run our AC a few days. I don't know about you, but I'm already praying we don't have summer temps like we had last year! And even if we do, I plan on saving on my OG&E electric bill this summer!

Perhaps you've seen the ads on TV or the inserts with your monthly OG&E bill about SmartHours. Along with some other local bloggers, I am joining with them in reporting my personal experiences* with the SmartHours program. It's a energy saving and monitoring program (which can also save you some money!) in which you may enroll and runs from June through September. The idea is that there are peak and off-peak electricity usage hours over these months. Peak hours are between 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. weekdays. Not only are these the hours when more energy is used, it is also the time band in which we are charged more for that power. There is a higher strain on production then so they charge more. Conversely, off-peak production comes at a lower cost per kilowatt hour. (I find myself using the words electricity, energy, and power to mean the same thing. They may technically mean three separate things, but until I learn otherwise, they're all the same to me!)

We enrolled a couple of weeks ago and are scheduled to have our NEW SmartTemp thermostats installed this Friday. I'm excited to have a thermostat I get to learn from the beginning. We have a programmable thermostats that came with the house, but I've never really gotten the knack of them, and probably actually defeat their settings. We are getting two because we have two separate heat/AC units/zones.

Our real-time usage and month's projection
Enrolling also gives us immediate access to MyOGEPower, reports on energy usage, as well as suggestions to reduce usage. What's interesting to me is that through our Smart Meter (the outside one that's been out there for some time—I have no recollection of how long ago or when it went in), I can see reports on many different aspects of power usage. I can see how our usage compares to others in my neighborhood; receive hourly meter update readings; see what our baseload (always on) usage is; projected bill for the month; and so forth.

I also think there may be misconceptions about the program and thermostats. YOU, the customer, retain all control over how much and when you use your power. 'Big Brother' does not make you swelter on 100˚+ days with no AC between 2:00 and 7:00. You are, however, given information and suggestions on how you may use less through those peak hours when fuel costs are higher. OG&E is going to charge you more during the peak hours anyway. Why not learn to use your energy more advantageously to control your costs?

I'm discovering more each time I delve into the information and invite you to join me on the journey, both in reading about my experiences, or signing up yourself and sharing YOUR experiences with me! For all sorts of information, testimonials, and check your enrollment eligibility, go to the SmartHours (click) info page and/or download the PDFs below!

Helpful links:

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

19 March 2012

Truly grateful...

This past Friday, March 16, about 9:50 a.m., while merging with traffic from the Lake Hefner Parkway onto the Kilpatrick Turnpike, I had a car accident that flung me into the cable barriers backwards at a quickly decelerating rate of speed. It happened so quickly. And then it was still. I think I'm fine and get my car to limp and drag herself across the eastbound lanes and park on the right shoulder. Texted Naomi to say I was fine but would not be at art group. Called Tom and told him. He said he'd head right up there and come get me. Called 911.

Tail light in pristine condition!
After a few minutes, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Walters pulls up to check on and assist me. Once he sees that I'm okay and have given him my license and insurance verification, he gives me an accident report to complete. Oddly enough, I use some NASCAR terms describing the incident. The car in front of me 'checked up' and I 'over-corrected.' just a point of humor to me. Tom arrived with a Sonic Route 44 Coke Zero with vanilla (previously misreported as a Diet Dr. Pepper with diet cherry)! What a guy! The trooper even comments that Tom has his priorities right, making sure I am fine first.

Left side looks great!
Fast forward, Red gets flatbed-towed to a nearby body shop and there she still sits waiting for her inspection. We dropped by after lunch to not only make sure the tow truck driver understood where we wanted her taken, but also to take some photos. Poor girl. She's pretty banged up all along the right side. Going backwards along cable and posts from 60+ mph leaves its marks. She punched through the cables halfway up the front hood and over the back of the spoiler on the trunk. We should find out this week how severely she's damaged. Yes, she's 11 years old, but she has fewer than 80,000 miles on her so she's a pretty spoiled little girl. I really want her to get fixed and come home. Dory misses her.

I spent the afternoon resting cozily in bed. I'd start feeling queasy, thinking about what might have been. Almost as quickly, I took the time to fill that feeling with gratitude for exactly what had occurred. The more I responded to friends who were concerned for me, the more evident it became:
  • Ultimately, God had the wheel
  • Events unfolded exactly as they were meant
  • This was one of the BEST days of my life

29 February 2012


  1. My repeat freelance customer of seven years
  2. Our income taxes are filed
  3. Davy Jones' life and career — rest in peace, Daydream Believer

    19 February 2012

    Another gray day...

    And more Gratitudes:
    1. Gray days when I have nothing required of me
    2. My church's online services (experiences)
    3. Afternoon (or early evening) naps

      04 February 2012

      Gray day...

      But grateful for...

      1. An empty to-do list this weekend.
      2. Time to work in Tangle-a-Day calendar
      3. Sharing a great home-cooked breakfast with my sweetie.

      31 January 2012


      On a favorite blog I follow, Jeanne often posts three things for which she is grateful. I enjoy her entries and would like to do the same. I also hope this means I'll post more often because even if I don't have anything newsy, I always count myself grateful.

      She also posts a stash report. I don't see that happening too soon.  ;-)

      * * * * * * * * * * *

      1. A fantastic brownie recipe from a friend.
      2. Tears of joy from another friend.
      3. How well the colors orange and turquoise go together.

      18 January 2012


      Just wanted to get these posted so I could link to them on Pinterest. I started these in May 2010. The first ones were made from red and yellow Post-it Notes. From there, I pretty much just stuck with variations on the theme. I bought a bunch of artificial 'silk' poppies and used some of their leaves and reproductive parts. I had lots of fun with these. I still want to make some with organza and tulle.

      I suspect I started these back when Gwen was creating some pretty special azalea blossoms. She's always such inspiration! Okay, friends, I scoured through her blogs and found I was inspired to make paper flowers by the one on 23 April 2010. Thinking back, I think this was a time I knew of Gwen, and remembered Naomi from a few years back, but before we got reacquainted later in 2010. Wow! Sometimes you think you've known friends forever and then you realize it's only been weeks or months or years. I treasure my bouquet of friends, always!