Mostly I just putter.

Doctoral student, amateur cook, beginning sewer.

Mostly I just putter.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

At least they put some in savings

Fiscally responsible thieves.

Real Estate Envy

This disease hit me hard today. For the most part I'm pretty content with the search parameters that we have: price, location, etc. I also know that if we don't find something we love this summer we can rent for another year and try again next summer. However, every once in a while the bug bites and I start looking at homes that are at least $100,000 more than we can afford. Why do I do this? Suddenly all contentment disappears and is replaced with nasty little whispers like, "If I had a different job and made more money....if the Mister wasn't planning on going to school this fall..."

What I should be saying over and over again is, "At least we don't live in LA/New York/San Francisco!" Or, "We have what we need (and then some) and we will continue to live within our means." We are abundantly blessed, and the reality is that the price bracket we are looking in will produce a house that we like. Living within our means and allowing the Mister to go to school are higher priorities than wood floors and trendy neighborhoods. If we don't find it this year? There's always next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Dear Seller of the Cute Victorian,

How are you going to sell a house that has a toilet that was installed on the landing of the stairs to the basement? How have you lived with that for two years? There is no sink, no shower, no DOOR. The toilet is just off the dining room. In a stairwell. Convenient? I suppose. Bizarre? Definitely.

Dear Seller of the White House in West Denver,

Your house smells like stinky standing water. The floor is buckled and squishes when you step on it. People who walk into the house think it's gross. The kitchen is horrendous. The gutters had weeds growing in them--the realtor said he'd never seen that before. All that for the low, low price of $225,000!

Dear Seller of the Rowhouse in West Denver,

I'm kind of wishing now that we'd put an offer in. Now that I've seen what we can afford, your little bundle of cuteness is looking better than ever. Not that I'm wishing bad things for you, but I'm kind of hoping the contract falls through and we can have another shot at it.

With Kind Regards,


House Hunters

The Mister and I are looking to buy a house. One that is cute, has a little bit more space than we have in our apartment, and doesn’t cost too much. Ridiculous expectations, I know. As an obsessive watcher of House Hunters, I thought that I was prepared to jump into this search, and on most levels I am ready. My love of research and obsessive pigheadedness has finally paid off. What I wasn’t prepared for? The emotional “issues” that come up when looking at real estate. The Mister and I are having complex discussions about our values and priorities. How much does location matter? Our friends live in one part of town, I work in another part. Do we want to live close to friends or close to work? What does “quality of life” look like to us? There is always going to be a trade-off between size and location. The closer you get to the city the smaller the house you can buy with the same dollars. Do we want to buy a house that’s family-friendly now? Do we want to buy a starter home and downsize in the short-term so we can buy bigger when we do have a family (and live closer to the city? City = fun)? Once again, marriage has taken me by surprise, and I’m grateful. The conversations we’ve had in the last few weeks have clarified our values, and I think it’s made us stronger.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Weekend in Review

In a word? Heavenly. Reading, scribbling, cooking, walking, hanging out with friends around the BBQ, working on music with the Mister. Exactly the kind of weekend I've been needing for a while. Finished the Tony Bourdain book (so good!) and read Astrid and Veronika. Sweet, gentle, satisfying, and yet still leaves you twisting a little bit in the end. I felt drawn to this author because it was her first novel. A sample:

"'My life now consists of fragments', she said, 'where some are so blinding in their intensity that they make everything else indistinguishable. What shall I do with these glittering shards? There is no pattern: I can't make them fit. With each other, or with the whole that should be my life. It feels as if my existence was extinguished in a flash, and afterwards my universe became incomprehensible. Just shards and particles, which I carry with me where I go. They are sharp and they still hurt to touch. And they are so heavy.'" (p. 76)

Tonight we made lovely stuffed artichokes. The recipe is here. I'm not a fan of the Everday Italian TV show (the teeth! the cleavage! the teeth again, but with extra enthusiasm!) but some of the recipes are good. Anything that requires more than 6-8 core ingredients (not including spices, stock, etc.) is not going to get made very often in this household. This recipe looks elegant but doesn't require a lot of effort.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

We shan't speak of it

Things I’m not supposed to do anymore because there was “an incident”:*

  • Deep fry anything.
  • Roller blade.
  • Wear blue eye shadow.
  • Arm wrestle with my sisters.
  • Feed the dog peanut butter.
  • Confront a drunken man who is urinating in the bushes outside of our apartment. Yelling, “It’s too small to be offensive!” when he gets agitated.
  • Return to the Hult Center in Eugene. Who knew that it was possible to fall up the stairs and have your skirt flip over your head? In a very crowded atrium? During the intermission when it’s packed full of people? The scars are still very deep, and I can’t ever listen to the soundtrack of “The Music Man”. I didn’t like that musical very much, anyway.
  • Open any database that the Mister has spent any time building. Ever. Apparently I’m not very good at building databases but I’m incredibly gifted at deleting them.
  • Confront the man who is sipping on his beer as he drives by our table at the Dairy Queen and yelling, “Thanks for drinking and driving!” into his open window. **
  • Drinking more than two margaritas at the Rio in Steamboat Springs. I’m a giggler. Hee, hee, hee!
  • Singing in the shower before 7 AM. I hear that it's hurtful.

* Mostly it’s my mother who has banned me from these activities. However, the Mister, my sisters, and several of my friends have also weighed in on this list. Everyone’s got an opinion these days!

** Apparently I do a lot of confronting. Who knew?!? I like to think I’m pretty mild-mannered, but certain behaviors do get me riled up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I know why you're single

A close friend of mine has been doing the eHarmony dance for several weeks now. She’s an amazing woman and I’m so sad that she hasn’t met and married a great man, because she has a ridiculously funny, thoughtful, and loving outlook on life. This week she forwarded an e-mail to me that she’d received from a man she’d been communicating with through the website. She was frustrated because he’d made an awkward and juvenile sexual comment in response to a semi-serious question she’d posed. As we were talking about it I noted that I have so many amazing women friends in my life who really want to be married and haven’t found the right man. They’re frustrated, discouraged, tired and fighting off a raging case of “cynical” every day. The men I know who are single? I have no doubt in my mind why they’re single.

For the edification of the single, late-30s crowd, I present “Beulah’s Tell-Tale Signs For Single Men That Probably You’ll Never Get Married If You Don’t Figure These Out Already”. A lengthy title, I know, but I didn’t want to downplay the importance of this list.

  • Operating in a world not of this one. It’s a cliché for a reason: they’re badly dressed and slovenly, but still expect that Claudia Schiffer is going to be the woman they end up with. Take a shower every once in a while. Repeat after me, “The foul and unwashed stay single forever…The foul and unwashed stay single forever…The foul…”
  • Can’t read the basic social cues. My friend identified herself as a Christian on her profile. While I admire his attempt to avoid jumping to conclusions about her based on that label, she put it on her profile so he would jump to a few conclusions about her based on that label! The topic of pre-marital sex is (to many) Christians an important relationship milestone that you don’t open with a crass one-liner from a Chris Farley movie.
  • Not making an effort. Flowers and chocolate are always nice and are easy to pick up at Safeway on the way to someone’s house, and very few women are going to turn that down. But the best gift I ever received? The cables that I needed to connect my laptop to my stereo that I’d mentioned as an aside in a conversation with my boyfriend the week before. It meant that he had listened, and looked at my stereo to see what length cables I would need, and then he went to Circuit City and bought the cables. As I unwrapped the gift (He even wrapped! With paper and tape and a RIBBON!) I distinctly remembered thinking, “This man is definitely a keeper.”
  • The Peter Pan syndrome. This well-documented disease is easy to diagnose but hard to treat. “Friends with benefits” is no longer an option, because women in their thirties are over that drama and want a MAN. A Man who will be there when life goes in the crapper. A Man who will fold the laundry and load the dishwasher without making a federal case about it or (worse!) feel they’re doing you a huge favor. A Man who can manage their finances and think about purchasing real estate (if they haven’t already bought a house) and maybe even having babies without breaking into a cold sweat and whimpering like a newborn puppy.

My hope is that the amazing single women I know will continue to stay connected to their belief that being single is still better than settling…and we all know a woman who did and we feel sorry for her. She’s the girlfriend that can’t leave her husband home alone with the kids, the girlfriend that can’t schedule anything on Friday or Saturday nights because “he” might want to do something, the girlfriend who manages the finances because “he” can’t be trusted to remember to pay the bills.

A post for another day? Women in their late 30s who dress like they’re in late puberty. Women who are so desperate to get married they say and do whatever it takes to get to the altar. Women who create drama for the sake of creating drama.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Makes me proud to be an Oregonian

I have periods of intense homesickness, where I just want to be sitting on the beach watching the waves, completely lost within my own head. This just makes me laugh and my friends say, "Which one of your relatives was it?". Har, har.

Friday, May 18, 2007

From the Mister

"You're looking very cute tonight. Also, very Scandinavian somehow. But very cute."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The best dog ever

I didn't even have to agonize about this one for an hour...

...before I hit "Publish". One of the blogs I read every day posted this question. Who would you have on your Board of Directors? My choices:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (I desperately wanted to be her when I was little)
  • Dolly Parton (just for the 'tude)
  • Maureen O'Hara (lovely)
  • Madeleine L'Engle (one of my favorite authors)
  • Lynda Carter--I have a scar on the back of my head from my failed attempt to spin around fast enough to become Wonder Woman, so Lynda Carter owes me big-time.
That was fun! I'm sure I'll be spending time adding to the list on the commute home tonight.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What I'm reading...

The Nasty Anthony Bourdain. Nobody makes me laugh as hard.

What I've read...

Infidel, by by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It was excellent. I'd like to read a counter to it, though, as I'm always nervous believing what I read when the author has taken an "all-or-nothing" approach to a subject, particularly religion. Sadly, I made several (negative) connections to my own faith when I read it.