It Looks Promising

The new lights and outdoor sockets came so Andy installed the green one to see how it would work.


It does put out more light than the five LEDs he tried.

View from the west, through kitchen window.

View from the west, through kitchen window.

View from east, through living room window.

View from east, through living room window.

He had no trouble seeing it from the road a mile away. The picture below isn’t as round as the actual light because it was taken without a tripod.

View from the road across the valley.

View from the road across the valley.

So, this idea is an improvement. The next step is to install the red one about two feet from the green one to see if two distinct colors can be seen across the valley. When that happens will partially depend on the weather. It is threatening to snow, which might mean Andy has to plow.


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Yay, Retirement!

I do love being retired.


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Doing Research

I laughed out loud at this cartoon, not because of the doctor’s attitude — my own doctor wisely encourages me to do my own research — but because it reminds me of Kaitlin’s pediatrician. When Kaitlin broke her ankle the doctor went into another room and brought back a book — on how to set a fracture like Kaitlin’s. As I recall she said the treatment depended on which bone(s) were broken so she needed to refresh her memory. Good for her! She didn’t feel the need to impress me with her knowledge, she just wanted to treat the ankle. That’s the kind of doctor I like.


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Yesterday we talked about the connection between expectations and happiness. The Danes seem to be a great example of that.

Early one dark April morning a few years ago I was sitting in my living room in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, wrapped in a blanket and yearning for spring, when I opened that day’s newspaper to discover that my adopted countrymen had been anointed the happiest of their species in something called the Satisfaction with Life Index, compiled by the Department of Psychology at the University of Leicester.

I checked the date on the newspaper: it wasn’t April 1. A quick look online confirmed that this was headline news around the world. Everyone from the New York Times to Al Jazeera was covering the story as if it had been handed down on a stone tablet. Denmark was the happiest place in the world. The happiest? This dark, wet, dull, flat little country made up of one peninsula, Jutland, and a handful of islands to its east with its handful of stoic, sensible people and the highest taxes in the world? The United States was twenty-third on the list. But a man at a university had said it, so it must be true.

“Well, they are doing an awfully good job of hiding it,” I thought to myself as I looked out of the window at the rain-swept harbor. “They don’t seem all that frisky to me.”

—Michael Booth, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

Apparently that stoicism and common sense explains a lot. A Danish professor was intrigued by the idea that the Danes report themselves as happy:

After careful study, Christensen thinks he isolated the key to Danish anti-depression. “What we basically figured out that although the Danes were very happy with their life, when we looked at their expectations they were pretty modest,” he says.

By having low expectations, one is rarely disappointed.

—CBSNews, And the Happiest Place on Earth Is

This article from The Atlantic agrees:

Could that be the secret of the Danes’ contentedness? Low expectations? It is true that, when asked how they expect the next year to pan out, the Danes do typically expect less than the rest of us, and when their low expectations are fulfilled, so are they. Happiness has never been an “inalienable right” in Denmark, so it could be that the Danes appreciate it all the more when it manifests itself. Perhaps Danish happiness is not really happiness at all, but something much more valuable and durable: contentedness, being satisfied with your lot, low-level needs being met, higher expectations being kept in check.

Do you agree with the Danes’ approach to life, or do you have another one that you like better?


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Happiness = Reality – Expectations

I laughed when I read this the other day:

Happiness = Reality – Expectations

Reality minus expectations means if reality is a lot worse than what we expected, we’re going to be unhappy. For me it was the opposite, adult life has been a lot better than I expected, and I feel blessed. On the other hand, when I expect things to go smoothly, it’s easy to feel frustrated when obstacles get in the way.

This post was going to be completely different this afternoon, but a number of things didn’t go “right” the past day or so, and as I write this I’m on hold trying to resolve one of them. Clearly I need to work on my sense of humor and redefine what “right” means. :)


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Our Own Sunshine


I came across this sentiment the other day and agree wholeheartedly. Do you have any strategies for creating your own sunshine? As I’ve said a gazillion times before, one of mine is



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I’m So Glad…

I’m so glad I’m not a kid anymore.


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Not Quite There

Andy did separate the Christmas lights.



But they didn’t look like Christmas from the road about a mile away. Combined they were bright enough to see easily as a white light, even though the total was only 25 watts, but I needed the binoculars or the zoom lens on my camera to distinguish the colors. Andy said he could barely distinguish them.



So when we got back home last night we went on the internet and found some 23-watt colored compact flourescent bulbs, so we’ll try those next. If they work they will hopefully be several times brighter than what we have now. That’s a big if, but it’s worth a try.


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As the years go by Andy and I have more and more trouble juggling, so we keep simplifying our life. We still make big messes sometimes.


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Yay, Andy!

Just before he left Wednesday morning, I asked Andy what he was going to do. He wasn’t sure but listed some possibilities, so I said whatever he chose just take a couple of pictures for a blog post. When he came back that afternoon he handed me the camera with a big grin, “As orders, I took some pictures. You don’t have to use them in a post, but you do have to look at them all…. and say, ‘Yay, Andy!’ ”

Sure no problem.

It took him more than an extra hour to get up there because he had to clear some trees off the road:

Tree 1

Tree 1

Tree 2 Before

Tree 2 Before


Tree 2 After

Tree 3 Before

Tree 3 Before

Tree 3 After

Tree 3 After

Tree 4 Before

Tree 4 Before

Tree 4 After

Tree 4 After

When he got up there he compared the outside and inside temperatures — 40.3° outside, 74.7° inside). The solar heating panels are doing a great job.


He had lunch, then checked the rat zapper in the truck,



and did some maintenance on the electric power saw he had used on clearing the trees. He cleaned it off, recharged the battery, and gave it some oil.


Then he replaced the water he had used in the storage batteries


and used the hydrometer to check the state of the charge of the batteries.


When all that was done he worked on the calculations for the electronics to automatically control the temperature of the batteries. (He’s keeping the battery performance constant as the temperature of the battery house changes with the seasons.)


All in all a busy and well-documented day. Yay, Andy! Thank you!


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