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Filtering by Tag: autumn

Sweater Weather

Seth Strickland

Everyone who reads this magazine in a tropical climate can ignore this post. 

For the rest of you: here in the Northern reaches of the East Coast, summer's lease hath all too short a date, and it's nearly time for temperatures to drop and for all of us to pause at a long-neglected spot on the rug and reach for... (cue Psycho  violins) the thermostat! Well, it's not that scary. Cheap thriller tactics. But, as deliberateLIFE  shows you in our issues (and issues - hah!), every decision you make is important for you and for others around you.

Resume scene.

You're reaching for the thermostat, but what kind is it? Not something you've thought of? Let's consider it. If it's one of those thermostats which look like bronze macaroons with a watch-like dial on the top, we'll talk to you in a little bit. Stick around.

If you have a programmable thermostat, listen up. Most people (the author among them) have not ever actually programmed  that sort of thermostat. We're going to encourage you to figure out how to do that if you don't know how - ask the techie friend, the neighbor who turns your laptop on and off when it's broken, a precocious nephew. You'll want to set the temperature of your house to automatically lower at night. Or, you can set up a whole-week program designed to keep the house cool when you're not there, or you're unconscious. Because, if you 1. get eight hours of sleep (as you should!) and 2. turn your thermostat down for those eight hours, you'll save something like 1% of your energy use per degree turned down. Amazing! Try five degrees cooler per night, and see if you can get it down to as much as 15 degrees cooler. You might already know this, but we figured we'd give you some numbers.

Now, for you macaroon people - you can do this too. You'll just have to remember every night to turn down the ol' thermostat. One percent per degree might not sound like a lot. But, if you bump down your thermostat ten degrees every night year-round (it works with the AC too, only the opposite way), you could look at saving 10-15% on your energy bill, and if your house is heated by fossil fuels, you're conserving that much usage which helps make a dent in the 22% of the country's energy usage attributed to residences. 

And now for the fun part! 

For ye olde sufferers (the victims of hard-handed dads who turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees), or those who want to take one or two (degrees) for the team, remember the existence of sweaters. They're warm. They go with everything. They can come from the Alpacas who live down the road (for some of us). They're also renewable insulation - a natural & (possibly) organic way to keep warm. And, best of all, you can knit them for each other. 

So, this lovely autumn, we at deliberateLIFE  encourage you to turn down the thermostat (or program it to do so!), and bundle up a little more. And, if you're savvy, knit a sweater for your buddy/significant other/child/dog. Not only is it soothing, you're helping lower your personal energy consumption.

Fall deliberately.

By Seth Strickland 

Like Riding a Bike

Seth Strickland

by Seth Strickland

"It'll be easy - like riding a bike." How many times in the course of an average month do you hear that phrase? It's not without reason - by the best estimates, nearly 27 million Americans ride a bicycle at least infrequently, but it's nearly certain that many more have learned. It's one of the trials of childhood - your pedaling guru holds you upright on two suddenly too-skinny pieces of rubber, and lies, "You'll be fine." A few dozen skinned knees and elbows later, you usually are. The phrase 'like riding a bike' itself, though, is a colloquial and positive version of 'old habits die hard', and it's positive for a reason.

There's the obvious positive that bike riding at any age gets you off the couch, but less obvious, perhaps, is the fact that twenty miles a week reduces risk of heart disease by half. Again: by half . While you're fighting heart attacks harder than whole wheat, you're also improving coordination, reducing stress, burning fat, and making your brain steadily more pleased with itself.

 'Okay, okay we get it!' cry out the fact-bludgeoned readers, 'we'll think vaguely about riding a bicycle!' Thinking about it can't cut it forever. Researching for this post has made me realize that most cycling articles have two main effects: they make the reader feel either slightly guilty or morally superior. So far, the bicyclists are feeling pretty good about themselves (see this cartoon chart to understand), and we, the spokeless masses, feel a little grumpy. But what do we do? How do we become one of the enlightened, a... cyclist ?

Here's the skinny: to be a cyclist, you only have to ride a bike. Amazing! Some gears, a chain, a handlebar, and a few brakes, and you will be welcomed into the elite echelon of bicyclists. And so, for the rest of this month, I challenge you to get out and ride one mile every day. That's all. By my count, that's something like six or seven miles. No sweat. Why? The first slow fingers of autumn are reaching out with crisp air, the kids are off at school, and the days are getting ever so slightly shorter. It's the perfect time for a bike ride.