Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

University of California Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County

Here is a great gateway resource for gardening in California, and especially in my local area:

MGCC Digital Pamphlet

Keeping Glasses Fog Free With a Mask

I’ve finally found a pretty good solution for keeping my glasses fog-free.

First, see the video below.

I put medical tape on the top, inside of my mask and fold it down; and I stick that onto my nose and face. My favorite so far is the blue Nexcare “strong hold for sensitive skin”. It’s $8/roll but comes off fairly easily and doesn’t leave residue on my face. Other tapes work well too.

And I use an anti-fog cloth. The cloth keeps my glasses from fogging at every breath. Instead, water drops start dripping down after a while.

The combination works “pretty well” which is way better than I had before.




Requiring COVID Vaccinations to Enter

Consider telling your favorite in-person organization about this:
If you are an organization in California that requires a COVID vaccination to enter the premises (or you want to be such an organization), there is a free, relatively painless system you can use. It is these 2 tools: and
The DNA Lounge, a night club in San Francisco started using these August 1 to require a COVID vaccine to enter the club. Deets here

New Gym, New Stronglifts Spreadsheet

I am completely excited about finding a new, great gym! Team Tufunga Training in El Cerrito. They’ve got the squat racks and treadmill that I wanted to do my Stronglifts 5×5 workout and it’s not overly crowded. Every time I’ve gone, at least 2 of the 3 squat racks have been available. Goodbye to 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness!

24 Hours Fitness Super Center is clean and well maintained but always very crowded. Their 2 squat racks are almost always busy. And I feel like I’m in a show there.

Planet Fitness is crazy cheap, $10/month but they’ve only got Smith Machines, no squat racks at all. And their Smith Machines are always busy too. I could “usually” walk on to a machine at 6am Wednesday thru Saturday. And all the other machines isolate muscles so much that I’d be there forever to get a workout done.

Bay Strength has all the squat racks but it’s a different model: $350/month, 2 2-hour sessions at the same time every week with a small group and a trainer. That’s not what I want.



Here’s my latest Stronglifts 5×5 spreadsheet. I’m pretty darn excited at my progress, and my body feels great! It was a thrill when my brother-in-law Walt mentioned out of the blue that my body was looking good and asked if I was exercising!

I switched to entering just the weight on each side of the barbell instead of the total weight since I’m never excited about doing barbell math  during my workout. Now my formula is “Whatever it was last time per side, put 2.5 lbs more on.” It used to be… ugh “Weight per side = (Last total weight / 2) – (45 lb barbell) + (5 additional pounds / 2)

The number in gray is the total weight, calculated by the sheet. The formula I use to calculate the total is  “=IF(ISBLANK(B3),,B3*2+45)”



News Headline: No

Tip: when a news headline asks a question, the answer is “no”.

Stronglifts 5×5 – Back at the Gym!

After a year of quarantine, I’m back at the gym doing the Stronglifts 5×5 workout!

Videos of Stronglifts Workout A and Workout B

Here is a grab of the Stronglifts 5×5 program from the webpage in case it goes offline. All the formatting is messed up so I strongly recommend you just look at the original page: Page grab: StrongLifts 5×5_ Get Stronger by Lifting Weights only 3x_Week

Thanks Schuyler for showing me the workout and proper form!

Air Filters and Backup Power for Fire Season

For my northern California friends…
With wildfire season warming up, here’s a tip… Rather than spend big bucks on air filters that will take up lots of space in your closet most of the year, get MERV 13 or better air filters for your furnace. Putting those filters on a fan also works very well. 2 years running we spent $20 on furnace filters instead of $300+ for dedicated filters and they kept our home feeling like a refuge from the wildfire smoke. I’ve written more tips over the past few years on my blog.

Your local hardware store likely has filters for you. Last year, a neighbor here on Nextdoor suggested I get furnace filters from and they worked out very well :-)

If you own an electric hybrid car, consider getting a $40 400 watt inverter and extension cords so you can power devices in your house with your car in case of blackout. You can plug into your cigarette lighter and get about 180 watts. Or find the 12v battery terminals and get a lot more. Investing in a $40 inverter probably won’t power your house’s fridge but could help a lot! And it’s a good, easy, productive, first step, that will get you thinking about what you -need- to power in a blackout. Especially seeing as a home generator costs $2-10k+.

Here’s a video of someone who is running their whole house from a Prius, an inverter and transfer switch. Think of a Prius as a 1000 watt generator.
– $1,000 transfer switch, professionally installed
– $300 1000 watt sine wave inverter
– $200 power cabling
– Prius

Parenthood Joy

Wonder and joy!

(this montage is from way back in 2018)

Back Yard Life

Cistus Victor Reiter in our Backyard

Cistus Victor Reiter in our backyard. Picked out by Abigail at Annie’s Annuals. :-)