eco ramblings september 2014

Website reborn. We are thrilled to share with you our brand new, completely redesigned website:! Created by web designer Gabriel Damon (, who also happens to be the son of our bookkeeper Andrea, our new site has easy-to-use product information pages to allow you to explore and research our offerings with ease. We hope you will be as excited about it as we are!

nikkiR.I.P. Nikki. Many of you may have discovered already, but if not, I’ll say it here. In mid-July, our darling, sweet shop dog (also our family dog), went off to chase squirrels and cats in dog heaven. We miss her, but also know that she enjoyed a very long life, where her needs were catered to in my every waking moment. She was smart and sensitive, with an extreme case of separation anxiety. She did a LOT of very funny things over the years, and we reminisce with love. We’ve been paying a lot of attention to other people’s dogs, so bring yours in (on a leash, please) to help us fill the void and get some dog cuddles in. Babies help, too.

A new routine with benefits. I decided I would like to get more exercise, so I started biking along West Cliff on the days I don’t swim. I’m kicking myself for not starting this up years ago! Every time I’ve gone out on my bike, I’ve seen dolphins or whales, otters and naturally, lots of birds. My binoculars have moved from the glove box of the car to the handlebar bag of my bike. It has increased my appreciation for living here tenfold, if that was possible. It’s not a difficult or strenuous ride (unlike the bike-swim combination on other days), but I get to stretch my legs and the many repetitions of 18 oz. curls of binoculars-to-eyes does tire out my biceps.

Eco wheels. After driving our VW Passat for almost 16 years, we purchased a plug-in hybrid last week. Making the leap to that level of technology was both exhilarating and terrifying, and has proven pretty comical an adjustment. We got a Ford C-Max Energi, ticking most of my requirements: made in America, purchased locally, able to go long distances as a family car, affordable, compact, hatch-back, cute, fun. I drove around with the rear wiper on for a while, having bumped the button then being unable to turn it off. Since I can’t remember the last time we had rain, I was embarrassed. The funniest was when I “stalled” it in our driveway, half-way into the street. I have rarely driven automatic cars. They made me nervous. I learned to apply the brake before hitting the button (the button!) to turn on the car, and leave my left foot (used for the clutch for 35 years) firmly planted on the little slope left of the brake, so as not to put us all through the windshield when I’m inclined to shift gears. Though braking does add charge to the battery because the car has a regenerative braking system, I am trying not to scare everyone. I put a couple miles of charge on it coming down the hills from the UCSC pool a few mornings ago. Miramar hill is particularly good for adding miles to the battery. It’s all very exciting.

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