Square Roots & Solatubes

Mom, Casey and Dad travel to the construction site to figure out, and ultimately place the proposed Solatubes.  You know, tubular daylighting devices (TDDs).  This is in lieu of putting in sky lights.  For our house, conventional skylights present a challenge somewhat, as the combined roof pitch and skylight location causes the “tunnel” portion between the roof and room ceiling to be 10+ feet tall.  It could be done, but is a bit extreme in our opinion.  Therefore, we are going the TDD route instead.

The manufacturer claims that the Solatube will lighten an area approximately 300 sq. ft.  So, exactly how big is the 300 sq. ft.?  Kinda need to know this to help determine tube spacing and locations.  Is it 10 ft. x 10 ft.?,  20 ft. x 20 ft.? 

Dad says, “Hey, Casey, what’s the square root of 300?”  

There’s a three second pause, and out comes, “17.3 ft.” 

“Shit, really?…How did you do that?” 

“Daaad, it’s easy, the square root of 3 is 1.73.”  Dad,  “of course.”

Top Down Ride

We cruised with the top down on the on April 16, 2016.  So much fun!

Even more delightful because this 1968 GTS sat in the garage without starting for 13 years and we only thought about rides (we spent our time raising kids and enjoying their activities).

Seems all that was required to start it was a little Russ magic.

File Apr 28, 7 22 51 AM

1968 GTS, 383 4 speed


“Dad, I need to Pop!”

He took one look at her shoes and asked, “Are you really going to wear those?” And Jen said, “Daaaaad, I need to Pop!” — AND SHE DID!

JenShoesWe just arrived to attend the First Year Engineering Conference*and met her before her presentation. It was a lively day with more than 500 professional looking Freshman presenting at their allotted time.  A combination of interested parents, smiling upperclassmen hosts, eager presenters, and posters that hung on the walls created the energetic atmosphere. We

  • saw Jen’s winning “best in group” poster,
  • learned that Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes are the topics of interest to many students, across engineering disciplines.
  • ate a plentiful and YUMMY Lunch!
  • enjoyed Jen’s presentation skills
  • watched the roommates’ visually interesting presentation.
  • met the friend group parents and enjoyed a dinner for 12 at Lidia’s Pittsburgh.

The day was one of those days you feel blessed to have!  Can’t wait for another event.

*Each year the entire First-Year Engineering class at the University of Pittsburgh participates in a professional-style conference. Each student and a partner prepare a conference research paper and poster then present their paper to their peers, alumni, family and faculty. This paper is the completion of a year-long writing project.




The Dustpan

By mistake I threw the dustpan away, oops. 
It happened the day I cleaned the concrete pad outside the walkout basement.
It was the favorite dustpan.
We ventured to Home Depot on a Saturday.
It was a popular dustpan shopping day, and the aisle was jammed with customers.
After a short wait, we retrieved the dustpan we wanted, the same as we had before.
Who knew dustpan shopping was so popular on Saturdays.
The joy of owning a new dustpan carried into Sunday and beyond.

Every Call is Precious Time

Picture 1179

I’m sending out gratitude into the world — for the opportunities to connect with my adult children in by phone or video.

  • Tonight a Google+ chat about the stresses of homework, the joy of discovery, the challenge of a project and the thought/search into next semester classes.
  • A few days ago a call to share an update:  the search for a place to live when moving to a new place for a first full time job, finding someone with which to share an apartment,  the first day of work scheduled and the plan for the first few weeks after graduation.
  • Snapchats, Facebook, Instagram and Texts — all a view into who they are and who they are becoming.

I appreciate the connection,  I always learn something new, learn something about myself, and my heart expands with love.




The month of May has always been busy for our family and this year May was no exception,  you could even say it was a month on steroids:)

Chris came home from Penn State and we drove to Durham, NC to get Casey home from Duke University, 1050 miles round trip.  Spent a day packing her up too.

Once home I headed to Cincinnati to work with my IdeaConnect Partners then picked up Karim, friend of Chris, on my way to the family cottage in Michigan the next weekend, 600 miles total.

The rest of the family headed to Michigan to our family cottage to install the docks, 700 miles round trip.  We stopped to eat in Greektown at the dusty grape, oops, I mean the Golden Fleece (their Gyro meat is made in-house and to die for, really), and then Chris and I took Karim back to Ohio to his internship and then home 400 miles.

goldenfleece picniceastbrady

While home we – painted a room, picnicked, went boating, found property to buy along the river, waterski’d, wakeboarded, sailed the hobie, kids went to cedar point, attended academic awards dinner for Jen, celebrated 2 birthdays, had two different friends of Chris visit for a weekend (diff weekends), sent Chris to New York for his internship and sent Casey to China for her summer studying Chinese (ok that was early June, but really,  all that prep was in May – shots, shopping, packing, etc).  at least 1000 miles, probably more.

JenBday LindaBday

almost 4000 miles, super amounts of FUN, a future life change (now we want to be living on the river), and now an empty house again — well, Jen is home and now with a driving permit — but that is part of June’s story:)

I love MAY!


DSC09601“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” — Chief Seattle


This month the land chose us (Russ and me).  We know we belong to it, the land by the Allegheny River. It is really an amazing story.

Three weeks ago we finally articulated our common wish to live by the water as we entered into empty nest life – a few years out.

Two weeks ago, Russ saw land along the Allegheny River near East Brady that was being developed.  We hadn’t known about it.  He called around until he learned of the developer.

Only one lot was left, no view of the river, but river access.  We decided to see it and met Angie.  We instantly knew she is special.

As we talked with Angie about the land in her development she was excited to tell us that two other lots had come available.

Together they were perfect and claimed us immediately.  I don’t know how to explain it.  We visited 5 days in a row, trying to understand what we felt deep within.


Each visit, each touch, each walk around the trees (oak, maple, sassafrass, birch, cherry and tulip), near the river, and along the property lines roots us deeper.

Now we ask the Universe to support us to claim the land with monetary exchange, because we know we belong to it, but there is the current societal norms to adhere too.

In deepest gratitude for us and the generations that follow us.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” 
— John Muir