Is Climate Change Causing the Coldest Winter?

Is Climate Change Causing the Coldest Winter?

Is climate change causing the coldest winter on record in Texas since the 1890s? Dr. Shahir Masri a Master in Environmental Sciences elucidates misconceptions about greenhouse gas emissions and offers insight into his research in his new book Beyond Debate. 

One degree or so seems like no big deal. Some areas are getting cooler and some warmer. Variability is enormous. 

Across the polar caps it is about 10 degrees different. 

At the peaks and troughs. How are they changing over time? Average is a scientific metric, not very useful to the average person.

Nevertheless, to give this experiment we are conducting with our planet Earth, not doing enough for a fighting chance of survival is an experiment.

The planet might make it but as a species humans and the animal populations are dying because of climate change now. 

We are in the sixth mass extinction. Eighty percent of our animals are being lost right now. A real siege we need to address.

Shahir belongs to the same Climate Reality group in Orange County, California that I do. He says joining a climate action group is the single most important thing anyone can do. 

We can read about what is going on or listen to a podcast, as in this case, Tristan Miller interviews Dr. Shahir Masri on the One Earth Podcast where environmental pioneers who are the beacons of tomorrow share what we all need to do collectively.

What can we do? Solutions involve the three pillars of climate action as Shahir likes to address it. 

One is civic duty-changing a few policies- make a phone call to the representatives who are supporting climate change initiatives. Of course voting is at the top, number one thing to do. Canvas for an elected official.

Two involve outreach and education. It is important to talk about these concerns. Share the ways you are taking action to care for your life and the livelihood of the planet. 

Are you composting? Are you planting trees? 

Have you worked towards having a more sustainable lifestyle and sustainable fashion

Well if you are doing any of the things that are moving the planet forward to offset the damage of Co2 then share it with your friends and neighbors. 

Be proud of it, whatever you might be doing. It is ok to care about certain topics, write articles and share existing articles. 

Tell the average person about the science of accelerating the climate crisis. We have had the twenty hottest years of all time. 

Read Bill Gates new book.

Three is considering our carbon footprint. Something we have been doing for a long time. Try to turn the a/c off in the summer, buy an electric car, and more by reducing fossil fuel energy on an individual basis.

More of what we can do is to buy from small farmers and local farmers’ markets. Use refill stations for shampoo etc. There are farm fresh market boxes that can be delivered to your door like one called imperfect foods. You can get 10. Off your first box here.  We are not trying to be perfect but trying to do a little more imperfectly.

One way to put it. We have not had carbon dioxide Co2 emissions this high since 3-6 million years ago, the time before that was 65 million years ago. 

Potentially it has never happened before. We are living a global experiment. 

Careers are dedicated to this experiment and the answers do not look good.

Fossil fuels liberate greenhouse gases releasing bad pollutants. It is a public health hazard on a global level. Air pollution impacts cognitive abilities, and impacts cardiovascular disease. 

Couple hundred thousand people are dying a year, 3.5 million are dying prematurely. 

Scientists are studying Air pollution not only as a human carcinogen but also possibly a cause of autism. A known fact is it affects developing brains. 

There are major correlations to disease by virtue of your surroundings. 

Improved sustainable energy is imperative. 

Ultra fine and fine particles coming out of the air can be reduced and is a huge public health gain.

There are major correlations to disease by virtue of your surroundings. 

We have to drive a halt to this experiment. Drive ourselves back to lower greenhouse gasses. 

Invoked as the planet but it is human civilization that stands to lose. 

Earth has been around 4.5 billion years.  

6.5 million years ago we had a snowball planet. That has happened twice in Earth’s history. 

Fluctuations have been extremely dramatic. Have not stood the test of time. The last ten thousand years have been a pretty stable climate.

If earth becomes unstable, nothing precludes the planet from disrupting or change, bringing life to a halt. 

On a positive note.

This book Beyond Debate is about trying to get the word out to everyday people around the country. It is less an academic approach but more a grassroots call to action to bridge the gap between science and the public. It is about climate outreach. How is it affecting people at a local level? Surveys were done and compiled for a paper shared on website. A peer-review study.

Agriculture could be more of a community. We should support local permaculture.

Grow gardens which are good for our psychology as well. 

Consuming less. Heavy marketing on buying things perpetuates a culture of waste. 

Pay for more services that benefit our lives. 

Have experiences rather than things.

Diet is another main example of that. 

Small farming. We have to shift to green infrastructure. It is incredibly important. More subsidies for green energy.  

Subsidies for Oil and gas have to dwindle.  

Switching to electric vehicles for clean air burning car emissions. 

More conservationists like the imperfect food companies to curb the ridiculous 40% of food that is wasted. 

Look for ways to get more trees planted.

City officials want to hear from you. Consult a constituent that cares. Ask a climate expert to talk to your group.

Get Your Dressing On! What does it make you think of? 

Salad Bowl Dress yourself with sustainable fashion. Grow your own food. Buy imperfect food. Make imperfect clothing. Add pockets for gardening. Working at life experiences. Not by buying something new. 

Painting is Peasant Wearing Madras – by Realist Realism painter Gustave Courbet (1870’s)

Easy Make Kitchen Island

Easy Make Kitchen Island

Easy Kitchen Island

If you are lucky enough to have an eat-in kitchen but find the table not very functional while you’re cooking around it with chairs. Make it an island! Easy peasy simple style. Just add bed risers under each leg used to raise a college dorm bed. 

At first, we had a butcher block table from Ikea in the kitchen for a long time. It seemed like we could use it for cooking, etc. But it turned out to be a nuisance in a heavy traffic area with its sharp corners, we all were always hurting ourselves.

Butcher Block Table in the kitchen

This table used to be in the kitchen with its sharp corners.

The Butcher Block Table

Then low and behold we switched it out for our fancy french provincial worn-out oval-shaped table. Added the risers and now we have an awesome island! I bought a few red tractor seat stools online and thought we were good to go. Beware the stools didn’t come with footrests, hence the affordable price. The red stools proved hazardous for anyone who wanted to live.

Red Tractor Chairs in front of chalkboard wall.

Red Tractor Chair in Front of Chalk Board Paint Wall in the Kitchen

We were compelled to replace them with industrial chairs from the Tuesday Morning store. It just so happened they had the splotch of chartreuse paint on them matching the project. 

Industrial Stools

We found these industrial stools that push in close to the table.

Before long I will have hoof-shaped canvass covers for the risers. Update: The Tuesday Morning by our house has closed, a victim of the pandemic. I will miss it. It was too easy to shop there for gifts and the best stationery.

I ended up buying four of the pegboard rolling gorilla shelves there in the closeout sale, two for the art studio garage and two for YES a new storage unit, which has changed our lives for the better. Pros and Cons of having a storage unit could go on forever and the pros win. 

All this time later the easy renovations I made for the kitchen have proven lasting. This was done a few years ago when I made the backsplash, chalkboard wall, and painted the counters, but we have moved the stools to the backyard cocktail table and put the butcher block table back in the space against the wall, and raised the table an extra couple inches by adding another riser to each leg, they have two now and the height is perfect. 

The only thing I would change about the kitchen now is well… so much. The good news our landlord has agreed to replace the stove and hood because the whole unit has completely broken. These poor landlords really do not have a choice.  So as the perfect tenets we are, we will buy it ourselves and deduct it from the rent.

We have one picked out. The only caveat is getting a new wall oven to boot. Ours is kind of broken but still barely functional. We feel all three should be replaced together. So we’ll see?

The oval table still has not been painted as I had planned but we have it in our great room which has an area almost changing by the seasons for a dining room. We did get six new trendy chairs to go around it. I’ll add the Amazon link here. I love them although they have to get tightened every so often when a screw just falls out. Sound familiar?

The Easy Island in the Kitchen.

Oval Island with Ategeres Shelves in the background.

Next, paint the patina out of the table with glossy sign paint a terra cotta color.

The Kitchen Counters Needed Painting

The Kitchen Counters Needed Painting

The kitchen counters needed something. Who am I kidding, the whole kitchen needed a gut job. Because that is not happening anytime soon, I had to do some simple renovations in the meantime. Knowing I was about to install some beautiful handmade tile backsplashes in the kitchen, with my new island, and wall of chalkboard paint, the counters had to go. 

Or use Rust-Oleum countertop paint, easy peasy, again. I cleaned the counters really well (with a dab of tsp powder) not that that ever makes a difference, haha, and applied the paint with a little 4″ High-Density Foam Paint Roller.

Rustoleum Painted Counter

Decided to paint the counters with Rustoleum Counter Paint

I am tired of grey so I chose the rosemary herb color. It turned out a pretty grey/green, and I love it.

Everyone should paint their counters if they feel like we did. “Ugh, I hate these beige gross counters and I can’t wait to get some granite or better yet bamboo!”

Bamboo countertops are a renewable resource and look very attractive. This material looks and feels like wood. However, bamboo countertops are not from wood, but from the grass. The bamboo surface is an engineered product. It is an assembly of many pieces of bamboo that are attached to form panels and board, just like how plywood is made.

Bamboo counters are the best. They are easy to take care of and your dishes will not break if they are accidentally dropped from a foot above them. 

If I had a house where I could afford the best counters I would get bamboo over granite. 

Kind of like, I would get another all over, one sheet linoleum floor rather than a hard tile, or any kind of tile kitchen floor. Since that is our next project I will write a blog about it.



Kitchen Chalkboard Wall

Kitchen Chalkboard Wall

Thinking about all the quick fun decorating projects I have done, usually before the Holidays, I found this unpublished blog. The wall is still a lot of fun with the quote, “Creation or Consumption, does that make me a cannibal or a can of bull?”  Not worth photographing, but I will when someone writes or draws something new.

This wall was made a few years ago now. It has held up well except I would have sanded it better to have a smoother writing surface. Sometimes I just want to get it done, and won. Instead of taking the time to do something right, more refined.

Taping off the Wall

Taping off the wall preparing for the chalkboard paint.


Why bother I think sometimes when all the decor I make in this house is on the temporary side. It is a rental in a beautiful So. California neighborhood. But almost treasonous not to own our own home with real estate always, always going through the roof. 

This little rental, mid-century home I have been making little surface renovations on for many years would sell for ¾ of a million while my neighbor’s homes would sell for much more as they have made real renovations of adding on bedrooms, great rooms, vaulted ceilings, new kitchens, and more bathrooms besides many a year ago removed the popcorn ceiling. I made my own peace with ours by buying textured everything white in the bedroom, down to dingle ball sheer curtains.  

We opted out of the no money down housing options of ten or so years ago and with our fast-paced life and joyous neighborhood never found a way to move into a house we could afford. But as all renters say, that may end soon. Nah, we just always think that because our landlord only needs to give us a few months to vacate. If something were to happen to him, and his children have to sell the house. Since he seems happily able to accept our rent every month we should feel free as the free birds we are to flee the coup if the time comes. 

Chalk board paint wall long shot.

Finished chalkboard paint wall.

Meanwhile, we have raised three children here. The hardest part of inevitably leaving this house will be leaving behind a big back yard full of fruit trees, many kinds of gardening experiments from raised beds, cactus, flower, and vegetable gardens to pots with avocado trees and wild blackberries.  

Each project grew out of respect for the bones of our house and the implicit wishes of the landlord not to do anything at all to the house. So we have only painted a few walls black and painted many other varied bright colors all over the house. We have removed wallpaper, pulled up carpet, lived with authentic mid-century windows by covering them with the most contemporary dressings we could combine. 

Our kitchen cupboards have never been painted, all-natural wood, but we replaced the hideous handles at the start of living here. We found multi-colored balls and silver handles to go with the “rustic” wood. Our linoleum floor is about to be our next biggish project because it needs replacing. But honestly, we are afraid of what will happen if we lift the large happy offwhite sheet. Afraid of what we will find underneath or not find a solid floor. 

There are many things that have gone on here to suffice as living breathing artists in residence.

Chalkboard Paint Wall with One Inch Ruler

A wall to make notes and shopping lists.

The chalkboard paint was going over big in the teenager’s room, another blog of black teen cool, so I thought we should have the little wall in the kitchen painted. The little wall should have been demolished years ago, so why not be made into a chalkboard. I would write down my biz orders and photo lists besides quickly right down recipes and quotes to keep my business moving forward. It was easy and cheap. Looks great! Is fun! And can add new decor to the kitchen faster than new curtains and hot pads. 

The edge goes over the corner one inch to make a ruler on the wall. Not yet drawn in.


Handmade Hodgepodge Tile Backsplash

Handmade Hodgepodge Tile Backsplash

One of my friends has a very cute house that she is always fixing up. But with the pandemic, it was hard to justify doing some projects while it was ok to try other projects. Since Home Depot was always open throughout considered an essential business she thought it would be a good time to do something about the old wallpaper behind her counters. Going this way and that over what she should do? Paint, buy boring backsplash, or hang new wallpaper. Well since she is my friend I assumed she saw my backsplash and just discounted making her own. But I suggested she should make one since she is very crafty and she could make it super custom to her house decor. She loved the idea So here goes the story and the how-to of making your own backsplash.


Here is how we did it.

Kay and Heather Making Tile Backsplash

Kay and Heather breaking up tile.


A holiday weekend with family usually means family art days. Either making art or going to museums, galleries, lobbies, sculpture gardens, and private collections. It also means going to movies, seeing photo slide shows, talking about the latest video, podcast, comedian, TV show, and then discussing the periodicals, blogs, and of course it is always better to be reading a good book worth talking about.

This past Thanksgiving weekend lasted until Monday, and it’s Tuesday, and no wonder my little family is tired. It was a lot of fun.

Making art was on the agenda. The best thing was getting my mother off the hook to do collage at her house, to instead, as a stroke of genius, help her by coming up with one of about fifty projects I have /had ready for the willing nieces, kids, sister, brother-in-law, and mother to work on.

We tiled. I had the luan boards already precut to the correct size for new backsplashes in my kitchen and some extras pieces for people to take home, or if willing, make for my bathrooms? 

My mother had some old dishes, and I just ended up using those funky “state” plates sitting in an unused cupboard. Breaking the dishes proved a perfect job for my helpful brother-in-law.

We were all novices, but no slouches to creativity. Everyone went to work like it was a race and everyone finished theirs and helped the others until they were all done. Any crazy suggestions like gluing a serving dish to one were welcomed with the agreement it would work.

It went over well for me because I trust the artistic license of my family, ever tasteful and ingenious. We had a great time. But the pressure is on to do the next step of the grout. Christmas can’t come soon enough!

So you would think maybe people would help then with grout, but no way. I am expected to be so all over the tile project, have it hanging, and beautiful. Because a decorated home is the only reason to entertain or is it entertaining is the only reason to clean? And decorate?


It took a few months but we finally got the tile done and installed in the kitchen! In case you haven’t read about the family tile project, I put my family to work making back-splashes for our kitchen and/or bathroom. Since there were a lot of us, and I didn’t want anything permanent in my house, we built them on luan specially cut to order at Home Depot.  We all thought, maybe, there might be an extra one to give away, but some of the glue we used was not the right kind. I recommend only using tile glue AcrylPro 1 Qt. Ceramic Tile Adhesive, which is really easy to use and a quart will go a long way. You can spread it on first, then add the pieces or glue each one separately. So I single-handed re-glued the biggest piece for over the stove and the other two were fine. Another two pieces just fell apart though.


We cut a 5’ long piece above the sink.

Gluing Down the Tile

Fay making her backsplash. The Tile Party!


All glued down.


Mixing the Grout.


Wipe off with a big sponge.


Since this was my very first time tiling I wasn’t sure how to apply the grout. I ended up using a bag I bought from the Restore for around a dollar. It comes in many forms and colors. Really you just have to experiment. I love how the white grainy one I chose turned out!

Something came over me while I was getting ready to install the tile. I decided to make an easy island in the kitchen, paint one kitchen wall with blackboard paint and paint the counters with counter-top paint.