Watering Responsibly

Cary, NC continues to be a role model to other towns on how they manage the supply of water.

No watering in Cary NC on Mondays!

Believe it or not, water does not have a never-ending supply.

Cary, NC town leadership has understood this for decades and are leaps and bounds ahead of most other towns in the United States on water management and conservation.

Remember the Wake County water crisis in 2008?  Do you know who already had a plan implemented… Cary, NC.  in 2001 Cary was the first town in North Carolina to supply reclaimed water to homes.  In 1996, Cary set a goal to reduce water demand per capita 20% by 2015.

No watering in Cary NC on Mondays!

As you would expect… even though drought and water shortage in Wake County isn’t making headline news, Cary, NC is not slacking off and continues to lead the pack in regulation and education regarding good practices on how, when, and in what quantities the town water is consumed.

Need to water your lawn in Cary, NC?  If you’re hand watering or have a drip irrigation system (a very environmentally sustainable choice!) you’re good to go.  Sprinklers or other automated devices are restricted to 3 days a week and the days you can water depend on your address. Just remember though…NEVER on Monday!

cary nc watering schedules


Keep up the great work Cary, NC!

For more information and your Cary, NC watering schedule visit the TownofCary.org

Happy Earth Day 2012! Celebrating the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day 2012!
Celebrating the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day!!!

Happy happy Earth Day everyone!  Celebrations are going on around America in the form of festivals, tree plantings, litter pick-ups, electronic and paper recycling events, and more, so we wanted to take a moment to join in!  People everywhere are doing more and more to lessen the impact we have on the planet, finding a better balance for how we consume resources.  We want our great great great grandkids to have clean drinking water, good soil to grow foods, and breathe fresh air too! 


Whether it’s by composting, recycling, reusing, reducing, rainwater harvesting, using renewable energy, sustainable purchasing, using more energy efficient cars or appliances, or others (as there are MANY others), using, disposing and replenishing smartly are a big part of what it means to be sustainable.


If you haven’t already incorporated sustainable habits into your every day life, TODAY, Earth Day, is the perfect day to start!


A while ago we wrote about Being Green in Everyday Life which has some great easy, inexpensive ways to work good habits into daily routines (if you’re looking for a place to start).  

My favorite definition of environmental sustainability is: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  How do you define it?

Are you doing anything special to celebrate Earth Day 2012?

Back from a break & a heartbreak…

Back from a break… and a heartbreak.

Jess & I with Gramps in September


When was the last time you took a break?  I don’t mean a coffee or lunch break but a REAL LONG break from your daily routines?

I am back from just one of those types of breaks.  It was an accumulation of holidays, travels, and death that caused this one.  

It all started when on November 19th my Dad was rushed to the hospital in Tucson AZ after a choking episode in the dining room of their assisted living facility.   Not anything new, as at 93 years his health & strength had been failing through the year.  But it was different.

Lee and I had plans to head to a St. Peter family reunion in Cincinnati over Thanksgiving before we got the news.  But we decided we would still go .  I’m so glad we did as we thoroughly enjoy being with family.   There wasn’t much time to log in or be very active online with a house full of nieces, nephews and lots of little ones all around.  One of my nieces enjoys Twitter so we sent out a few obscure Tweets but that was the extent of our ‘online’ presence.  It was a nice break…

But then as the news of my Dad’s health began to emerge as grave, we realized that once we got back to Raleigh I would have to get to Tucson and quickly.

I was blessed in that when I got to my Dad’s bedside he was still able to communicateSunrise in Tucson a bit and we chatted about all sorts of things…  memories, my sister, even the dogs we owned when I was growing up.  He asked me where did I think he was going to go…  then for the next 8 days I spent hours on hours sitting with him at his bedside.  I cried, I prayed, and I re-evaluated things in my life.  Dad passed away peacefully on the morning of December 9th.  

I stayed with my step-Mom for a few days and then headed back to Raleigh.  But even once I was back I still couldn’t bring myself to pick up the pace I once enjoyed here in the Rain or anywhere else back online for that matter, it just didn’t feel right.

Christmas 2010

It was a much quieter, and different Christmas and New Year this year for us.  And I really did get a break that I didn’t realize I needed.   

Being away ‘on break’ really helps to put things back in their proper perspective.  



I wish you all a very Happy New Year.  Be sure to remember to take a break now and then.  And to spend time offline with those you love.

Are 60 candles too many for a cupcake?

Happy Birthday


Today’s my birthday…  and as I sit here sipping coffee this morning my thoughts are drifting back to just what I’ve experienced over the past 6 decades in my albeit sheltered world. And counting my blessings…

Growing up outside of Gary IN, I have seen racial equality make huge leaps and bounds…  I’ve seen woman move into the business world where we never dreamt was possible.  Is it perfect no, but it sure is better!  I’ve watched as determined people CAN change a whole country!

I’ve seen the nucleus of family & marriage change from when I was growing up.  I’ve learned that even though it’s different than how I was brought up, it’s still ok.  There’s no less love in same sex marriages, or families brought together in other ways…

I’ve seen the beauty and the beast in people.  I much prefer the beauty.

I’ve gone from party lines and phone numbers like 607R, to skype and Google voice…

I also remember growing up that homes had a lot of people living in them and only 1 bathroom.  
When I wanted to talk with my sister I’d have to walk into her room.

Dinner was always at 5 pm

Nobody ever worked on week-ends except if it was an emergency!

I won’t even go into politics...  it was a whole LOT different.  We actually rallied behind the president elect whether we voted for them or NOT.

Folks would actually just ‘stop in’ and say hi at our house.  They didn’t need to call ahead, or need an invitation.  

Things have changed.  

I think I’ve experienced something along the lines of what it must have been like during the industrial revolution.  Except my worlds changed due to this thing called the Internet.

Some good ~ some bad.  I won’t judge.  But I do believe it’s changing society.  It was slowly at first but the speed is increasing exponentially.  

I’m just grateful that I can sit here this morning sipping my coffee reflecting on what’s been in the past and dreaming of what’s coming in the future.   I’m a very lucky lady…

Be an Environmental Champion by Adopting a Spot!

Want to be an Environmental Champion?  Adopt a Spot! 

Adopt a spot in Cary, NC - Be an Environmental Superstar!


… This cape could metaphorically be YOURS!!! 

 

The Town of Cary, NC is looking for Environmental SuperStars for a new conservation initiative, Adopt a Spot

Not unlike the North Carolina Adopt a Highway program, Adopt a Spot is a volunteer-based program designed to connect citizens to litter reduction efforts, environmental service projects and beautification efforts within Cary, NC.

 

Interested? Here’s the gist:Cary, NC Adopt a Spot or Plant Bed

  1. Adopt a spot (or if you have a green thumb – adopt a plant bed!).
  2. Commit to maintaining it by controlling litter and through beautifucation workdays 4 times annually.
  3. Plan to do this a minimum of 2 years.
  4. No need to run out right now and buy supplies… the Town of Cary will supply resources for the tools and supplies you’ll need.
  5. In return, YOU (the courageous environmental champion), in appreciation for your hardwork and dedication are designated with a permanent sign (similar to the NC Adopt A Highway program) and are presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Mayor!  You’ll also feel really good about helping keep Cary, NC clean and beautiful.

For more information or to volunteer and become a recognized Environmental Superstar, visit the Town of Cary, Adopt a Spot webpage.


We hope to see you out and about in Wake County, NC!

How secure is that coffee shop wi-fi?

flipboard


Just how secure is that free Wi-Fi?

Just a couple of Saturday’s ago I was enjoying a delicious pumpkin spice coffee at a delightful Starbucks just around the corner from the Palace Hotel.  I loved being in San Francisco.  There’s so much to take in and see…

But as I was sipping my coffee reading my Flipboard on my iPad, I had a gnawing feeling about using a pubic wi-fi.  Just how secure was the Wi-Fi??

Now since I don’t usually find myself using public wi-fi’s I wondered if it was safe...  So upon returning home I looked into logging into the coffee shop, airport, hotel lobby, or other spaces that offer free network connections.  To my surprise (well not really) I read that there are some pretty smart shaky hackers out there that take advantage of unsuspecting users.  BUT the good news is that there are ways of protecting your logon.

First of all set your laptop, iPad, or smartphone to where you have to manually select the network you want to use.  Making sure you KNOW what you’re using.  So for instance while I was at Starbucks, I chose the “starbucks” network to login to.  

I didn’t know that there are different types of encrypted sites  For example one of the wi-fi securityearliest types from over a decade ago is WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).   If it’s a WEP network know that it is UNSECURE and treat it as such.  Better to look for WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) or even better WPA2.

If you’re browsing and reading, you need to be careful of course BUT if you’re planning on sending any personal data or paying bills online you’ll really want to make sure you’re on an encrypted website.  How can you tell?  Look for the ‘https’ in the URL – the “s” stands for “secure”.

If you’re a regular and enjoy the atmosphere of taking your laptop out for a day, there are a couple of software programs that you could use to make sure you log onto safe sites.  You could try these 2 free FireFox addons; Force-TLS or HTTPS-Everywhere

Other ways to keep safe; be sure and keep your software up to date, and turn the wi-fi off on your device when you’re not using it.  And probably one of the best ways to keep from getting hacked ~ change your passwords now and then.  

What are your thoughts about public Wi-Fi?  Please be sure and share with us any tips that you know of on how to keep us safer online….  

Tired of litter on the roadways? Wanna do something about a litter-bug? Here’s how you can help…

report a litterbug


North Carolinians it’s time to turn our attention once again to keeping North Carolina Beautiful….

What makes NC beautiful?  We do…  and twice a year the The N.C. Department of Transportation sponsors Litter Sweep.  This year the event is scheduled for Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.

Just what is it?  Litter Sweep are volunteers that go out and help to clean up North Carolina roadsides.  Here in North Carolina we are working hard towards becoming a litter-free state.  

What do they do?  In the spring of this year volunteers were report a litterbugresponsible for removing more than 1.6 million pounds of roadside litter ~ that’s a lot of soda cans and cigarette butts!!

Litter Sweep volunteers will help support the the NCDOT maintenance crews, Adopt-A-Highway groups, N.C. Department of Correction inmate crews and community service workers who all participate in cleaning up our roadways.

Don’t litter.  It’s not just a campaign slogan.  Littering in NC can cost you big time.  It’s an illegal offense that if you are found guilty you could be fined up to $2,000, receive a point on your drivers license, AND be sentenced to community service work.  Do it again and those fines double!  

If you or your organization would like to volunteer here in the Triangle contact;

   Office of Beautification Programs
    1540 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1540

Phone: (919) 715-3188 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (919) 715-3188      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: (919) 715-2554

    www.ncdot.gov/~beautification

Do you ever see someone who has forgotten ‘NOT to litter’?  Ever wish there was something you can do?  Well there is.  In NC you can Swat-a-Litterbug.

Here’s what the Swat-a-Litterbug program asks us to do;

  * E-mail: On-line Swat-A-Litterbug form to report a litterbug (click here)
  * Call 800-331-5864 and ask for a Mail in the Swat-A-Litterbug card*
  * Call our Customer Service Office at 1-877-DOT-4YOU (1-877-368-4968)

The offender with receive notification of their littering offense.  They will be reminded of the penalties for littering, and urged to stop littering and encouraged to help keep NC beautiful.

We all can do something to keep America Beautiful.  Here’s how we do in the Carolinas…

 

Replace or Improve the Windows in your Wake County Home ~ for Added Value and Savings

 

Replace or Improve the Windows in your Home ~ for Added Value and Savings

 

Looking for ways to add value to your home in Wake County, NC that will also cut energy bills?  If you have windows that need updating this is a great place to start.

 

Walls of window let the sun come streaming into living space

Walls of window let the sun come streaming into living space

Depending on your budget:  If your home has new windows, when it comes time to sell your home in Wake County, there is definite added value.  Depending on your budget, weigh the pros and cons of replacing your windows versus updating them. 

If you’re considering buying a home in Wake County, be sure your home inspector checks out the conditions of the windows and the thermal seals.  Old windows with broken seals can cost you money on your utility bills and you may be able to work with the sellers to obtain a credit to help offset some of that cost.

What can I do to make my windows more efficient without replacing them? 

Windows in Wake County, NC

If you’re not yet ready for the expense of buying new windows, you still have good options.

  • Seal up any gaps or holes with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Apply a window film, glaze or Low-E coating.  These applications help manage the heat transferred through the glass that add dollars to your cooling bill (and fade furniture!).  **There are a couple of different types and varieties of each available – source out your options carefully, some are more effective and blend better than others.
  • Storm windows can sometimes be added to single pane windows to add efficiency.

Check with your tax advisor as some films, glazes, Low-E coatings and storm windows are eligable for the federal residential tax credit for energy efficiency.

**You might look into having an energy auditor or replacement contractor help you determine your best option for windows.  Your choices often depend on the conditions of not only your windows but the walls that surround them.

What should I look for if I want to buy new windows?

Depending on your needs…

  • Replace the window and frame
  • Replace window in existing frame
There is 1 main guideline to keep in mind if energy efficiency is what you’re after.
Windows in Wake County, NC
It’s simple – for new windows, look for the ENERGY STAR® designation.  These windows meet a hefty criteria of efficiency standards. 
BONUS – replacement windows, skylights and doors installed on your primary residence THIS YEAR (2011) may qualify for a federal tax credit of 10% of the purchase price (unfortunately this excludes installation labor), up to $200.   On top of the tax credit… don’t forget you could also be saving hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs annually. 
**Check out the Energy Star windows webpage for specific information on how much you can save Windows in Wake County, NCin utility costs.

 

OK, I’m ready to get started, now what?  There are great local companies in the Wake County area that can evaluate and give advice based on your specific needs.  If you would like us to recommend one contact us and we are happy to help.

 

We hope to see you out and about in Wake County, NC

Quite day of reflection on why I am proud to be an American…

 


remembering 911 - fly your flag!



Quite day of reflection…

Lee and I made sure our flag is flying high today…

We all remember what we were doing when we heard the news 10 years ago.  I so vividly remember Lee calling me as he was heading into the office; his voice was different,  he said he heard on the radio about some accident involving the Twin Towers in NYC – he suggested I turn the TV on…

I did and what I saw will be burned in my memory forever.  The horror of the events that day is like nothing I have ever experienced in my life…

So as I reflect today in thought and prayers I just wanted the world to know that I too cry for all that was so violently taken from so many innocent people… 

Thinking about the children who lost their Mom or Dad when they were just 2 or 3 years old, today they are teenagers.

Remembering all the unselfish heroism that took place that day and in the days that followed…

Parrot Mill Inn NJ

 


I pray that we have learned that we need to protect those who serve their communities with state of the art equipment, enabling them to do their jobs with the best tools to keep them informed and out of harms way whenever possible.

 

I PROMISE to make it a point to thank our servicemen and woman whenever I can wherever I am…  They are my true heroes. 



We are in a new frontier, fighting new and different wars that’s true...  But today I also want to tell the world that I am proud to be an America.  

We may not be perfect but we are one nation under God.

How are you going to observe the 10th anniversary of 911?

 


How are you going to observe the 10th anniversary of 911?


US flags

In less than a week the world is going to turn her eyes on us once again.  

We will spend a day remembering the events of a terror attack on our nation that happened 10 years ago.  Can it be 10 years have gone by?  Sometimes it feels like it just happened a few months ago.

 

All of us will reflect on where we were, our thoughts, and how our world has changed.  There will be many events planned in our communities but here’s something that we can all participate in.   

Get your flag out!

One of the events being planned (you may have gotten the email chain we will never forget 911that’s being circulated) is to get the word out across the country to everyone – home owners, apartment dwellers, business owners schools – you name it – EVERYONE to get their flag out!

The plan is that on Sunday – September 11, 2011 everyone puts US flagstheir flag out.  It’s one way for us to honor those who lost their lives on one of the most tragic days in US history.  It’s also a  way for us to show our thanks  to every person fighting at home or abroad for our freedom.

We will never forget…  and we will fly our flag of

The United States of America with pride…