Listening to Myself

Monday, October 31, 2005


I am not really a Halloween person at all. I used to really like it when I was a kid (my friends and I would even make haunted houses for our younger siblings, plan out our costumes and routes way in advance, etc), but I lost interest when my parents said I was too old to trick-or-treat when I was 11 or 12 and I never really regained it. Emma and I did make pumpkin shaped sugar cookies this afternoon though, which was as much as I was willing to do this year (and more than we have done in previous years). In the evening we did the same thing we did last year - we went over to my parent's house, had dinner, and played a game while I answered the door and dished out the candy. Emma is still not particularly interested in trick-or-treating (thank goodness, we do not need all that junk around the house!) although she did trick-or-treat at my parent's door a couple of times and helped hand out the candy to the people who weren't too scary looking. Last year she hid in the back half of the house and was far too scared to have anything to do with any of it, so I suppose this was an improvement. I'm rather hoping that she still doesn't want to do it next year, but I guess we'll see how it goes (and where we're living!) as it may not exactly be all that feasible anyways.

It is amazing how the amount of trick-or-treaters has changed in my parent's neighborhood over the years. They've lived there for about 15 years, and for the first 10 years they would get at least 80-90 kids through, and sometimes as many as 100 - 120 kids. There was one year when they think they had at least 150 kids come to the door. The last few years have really slowed down though - last year was only about 40-50 and this year I would be surprised if there were more than 30. Part of it is that the neighborhood is aging - all the original occupants (like my parents) all have children too old to trick-or-treat. Another other part is probably due to how expensive the neighborhood has gotten - it seems like all the people who have moved in during the last few years all have older children who wouldn't be out trick-or-treating. The city has also started a downtown trick-or-treat on the Thursday before Halloween, and this activity seems to have grown dramatically in popularity. We happened to be downtown for a late birthday dinner (Matt's birthday was the week before) with my family that night, and we couldn't believe the number of families out for the event. I wonder if a sizable portion of the population has just shifted to doing trick-or-treat on this night instead of on Halloween, and if that's a trend that will continue. At what point will people decide it just isn't worth the effort to sit around and give out candy to the 30 kids who come around, and turn out the lights... leading to fewer and fewer kids and more porch lights out for the night. I really can't decide how I feel about this. I have very fond memories of trick-or-treating with my friends (in this same town) when I was in elementary school, but it seems like things have already changed so much from what I remember it being like. Most of the kids who were out this evening were in the 10-14 age range, and quite a few of them had barely made any attempt at a costume (at least a third, if not half). I think in absolute numbers these shirkers are about the same as it used to be, but the percentage representation certainly has altered substantially.

The downtown trick-or-treat event is certainly easier for the parents, and it does have more of a larger community/camaderie feel to it than the neighborhood trick-or-treating since everyone is in the same area rather than spread out throughout the city. The downtown version takes less time, requires less walking, and probably safer (a lot less chance of having your bag snatched by the high school boys or all the other Halloween fears) but it does seem to lack a certain ambiance. I do love the smell of pumpkins lit by candlelight in the autumn air and looking down the familiar neighborhood street and seeing the cobwebs, colored lights, and giggling kids in a wide variety of costumes up and down the street. I went outside for a bit tonight, and I could barely smell the pumpkins and hardly any of the houses were decorated. I would have thought I would be young for nostalgia, but apparently not.

I am starting to feel quite large these days... and at 34 weeks I am starting to both become acutely aware of just how much bigger I am going to get and how little time there really is until this baby will be born. Matt says that I've developed a couple new stretch marks on the underside of my belly already, so there's that to look forward to seeing! *grin* (Boy was I surprised by those after Emma was born!) There's already been one birth from our childbirth class -- one of the moms went into labor at about 35.5 weeks. She's fine and the baby's fine and they are home already, so all is well at least... but you could tell that the news definitely shook up the rest of the class a bit! I was interesting that during our class on Tuesday the woman who had her baby early was talking about how it was really hitting home that she was going to be having this baby soon, and that she was really feeling on the cusp of the birth, even though she wasn't due for another 4 weeks. You could tell she was really feeling this quite deeply and emotionally, and it was a little amazing to find out that she ended up having the baby the following evening!

This baby seems to have found a new favorite position which makes my belly look odd and lopsided. As near as I can tell (and sometimes I really wish I had a little window so I could see what he is doing in there!) the baby is somehow wedging his bottom up under the right half of my ribcage and I think sticking his legs out straight and down to the lower left. This makes the upper left portion of my abdomen feel strangely empty and makes the right part feel very full and cramped. I really don't remember Emma being quite so active as this one. I think this one is going to be a fair amount longer than she was, which is probably part of it. Emma was only 17.5" long at birth (5th percentile!) and I think this one is going to be more average in that regard. I've been reading my week by week pregnancy book and supposedly the baby is almost 20" long and weighs almost 5 lbs - which really makes me wonder what Emma was at this point in the pregnancy, considering that at 38 weeks she was only 17.5" long and 6 lbs, 6 oz! I guess that's the thing with averages or medians or whatever it is that they're using in the book - you're going to have examples that are a lot less (and a lot more!).

I can also tell that I am getting pretty far along in this pregnancy by the change in what I am reading. I've been on a big non fiction kick for ages now, and I seem to finally be moving out of it. Now all I'm reading is sci-fi (can you say escapism?) I've recently read Eon by Greg Bear and now I'm working my way through Time Enough for Love by Heinlein. I've listened to this one before, but I haven't actually read it, which is an interesting experience. I can still hear echoes of the narrator's voice and I hear the narrator's pronunciations for all the names and such as I read, but it feels somewhat odd because the book progresses so much faster since I read faster than I could listen to the book. By this point when I was pregnant with Emma my reading had deteriorated (sorry, Matt!) such that I was pretty much only reading Shadowrun books for the last 6-8 weeks of the pregnancy so I feel like this time I'm doing a fair amount better. I know several other women who are reasonably big readers who have had their readings patterns change as get towards their due date and I wonder how common that is. Anyone else out there experience this?

Emma has been very patiently waiting for me to finish this so that I can make a felt king for her. Yesterday we spent quite awhile in the morning making a felt princess and two complete felt dress outfits (dress, crown, gloves, shoes, dress decorations) and Emma is eagerly awaiting the next installment of this activity. I feel so talented and creative these days, even though I've always considered myself somewhat of a dunce in the creativity department. But Emma is pleased with what we're doing, and I'm trying to make sure I'm not too (outwardly, at least) critical of my efforts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yes, we did get home

Boy I was tired yesterday! We got home at about 2:30am, after even more delays at the airport (they had trouble finding someone to fuel the plane, minor problem...). Thankfully the parking lot shuttle was quick to come and we had a smooth drive home once we got out of the airport area. I'm hoping that things will be a bit more back to normal today as I was completely dead yesterday and barely managed to do anything. Today I plan on doing some laundry, grocery shopping and hopefully making a batch of cookies so that I can give some to my brother as a thank you for checking in on the cats. We'll see how I do though - I also have to have enough energy to go the childbirth class tonight!

When we got back early Monday morning we noticed that our next door neighbors have a for sale sign up in their front yard... I looked it up online yesterday and they are asking 565K for their 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath 1600 sq. ft. condo (w/ a garage and a postage stamp backyard). Over a half a million dollars for a condo in the 'burbs, well over an hour (at commute times - 45 min with no traffic) from San Jose and San Francisco! Yeesh. There's another one that is the same floorplan as the one we live in that is on the market for 535K. I mentioned this to my mom and she said "Well, that gives us that much more to work with if you stay in Livermore, right?" I guess she has not given up on that particular idea, which isn't exactly a surprise. I of course love my mom and we have a great relationship and all, but sometimes I feel like I... Must... Break... FREE!! *grin*

Something Matt and I were both struck by when we were driving around up in WA was how right the area felt to us. We both just felt like we belonged there and that it would be the right move for us. In many ways, I think it is the more challenging choice for us, but with challenge comes growth and (hopefully positive!) change, right? I think we'll be able to live richer and more fulfilling lives there, and I also think it will be a better place for us to raise our family than around here.

Well, enough of all that. I think I'm going to pop in a load of laundry and start on my cookies now.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stuck at the airport

We are stuck at the airport. We got here a little after 5 for our 8 pm flight (yes, we were eager to head home) only to find that our flight was delayed until about 10. Now the departure is set for 10:50 pm. This is a long time to sit at an airport, and I'm way beyond ready to BE HOME!!! Emma's doing great though - Matt and I are taking turns reading to her and exploring the airport with her. At least the Portland airport is quite nice and the food is decent. I'm not sure what's holding up our plane, but at least it is now in the air from SF and they have a good idea when it will be here. Using wi-fi at the airport is definitely cool, btw.

The trip has been great and we've had a wonderful time. At this point we're just thinking it is a matter of when rather than if in regards to moving up here. We're still trying to puzzle through logistics though, and I think we're only going to be casually looking until after the baby's born. We've also decided (*gulp*) that we're going to look for something further out on more land. We spent most of the day on Friday driving around and that's what we decided would be the right direction. We didn't just drive around though while we were here - we also went to the zoo, the science museum, Powell's (and got a bunch of great books - we're very excited, especially Matt), the Saturday Market (a neat local crafts market, the best of that sort of thing I've ever been to) and ate twice at this great brewery in downtown. I also got to take my first trip to a yarn store, which was overwhelming, but fun. I bought some yarn and a set of 5 double pointed needles... to go with my sock knitting book I picked up at Powells. I know I'll probably regret this later, but I am so fascinated by the idea of knitting socks I just couldn't resist. We'll see how I do... I've read one person say that knitting on double pointed needles was like wrestling with a porcupine, so I'll be curious to see how bad it really is.

Oh, so tired and so ready to be asleep in my own bed. I don't think we're going to be getting in at Oakland until after midnight and then we still have to get the car and drive home... I doubt we'll be home before 1:30 am. I really feel for Matt - he has to get up and go to work tomorrow, and he's already told me that this next week is going to be a busy week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tax reform

I have been eagerly awaiting the results of the tax advisory commission (yes, I'm serious, I'm that weird) and I'm pretty pleased with what I've been able to read so far about their findings. I think that what they are recommending makes a lot of sense and would go a long way towards simplifying the code and evening things out. I'm glad to see that the AMT would disappear and that many of the deductions would either go away or get turned into credits. The elimination of the tax breaks for property taxes and state and local taxes is an interesting touch, and I didn't expect that one but I think it seems reasonable. There's always some faint hope that perhaps this could pressure high property and income tax states to shift their tax break and create a more level playing field between the states. The changes in the mortgage deductions could be quite interesting - limiting the amount of the mortgage interest that could be deducted (and turning it into a credit), killing the second home deduction and then raising the cap on excluded gains could really help out the middle and lower middle class with their home mortgages, more so than the current scheme. I haven't read much in detail about the simplified savings accounts, but I think it would be hard to create something that would be worse than our current scheme of 11 or 12 different types of retirement accounts, 4 different education savings paths, not to mention the 2 different medical savings accounts. (Numbers may be wrong, I'm trying to remember back to my tax class last year, and things have changed a bit since then w/ the new Roth 401(k)s) Overall, I think they've done a good job balancing everyone's general interests and trying to come up with a system that is attempts to at least minimize the pain (afterall, we are talking about taxes here, so there's got to be some pain involved!)

Of course, the whole thing is a pipe dream and is bound to go exactly nowhere. The Sacramento Bee had a great editorial by Dale McFeatters about it this morning (sorry, registration required) which does a nice job summing things up and I thought I'd quote his summary, as he does a good job showing exactly why nothing will come of any of this:

"The recommendations of tax reform commissions - and the shelves are packed with their sensible proposals - tend to come as a unified whole. Like the proverbial sweater, start pulling out individual threads and soon the whole thing comes unraveled.

The dirty secret of the tax code is Congress writes it and the IRS only administers it - and takes the heat for the lawmakers' handiwork. Congress placed every deduction, credit, account, shelter, and loophole there in response to the demands of favored and powerful constituencies.

And we expect Congress to yank these breaks away from them just because it makes sense? Good luck."

Monday, October 17, 2005

I've been looking forward to blogging tonight, but now that I'm sitting with my computer in my lap I don't seem to have many coherent thoughts in my head. I came down with a cold last week and I'm still trying to get through the tail end of it. Matt came down with it today, poor guy, and I'm really hoping he'll get over it faster than me. I'm also hoping that if Emma hasn't gotten it yet that she won't end up with it... especially since we leave for Portland on Thursday! I'm really looking forward to our trip and getting a chance to look around up there with Matt. At this point I think we've decided (again) that we aren't going to stay in this area, despite whatever enticements my parents try to offer to keep us around. There's a lot that has gone into this - part of it is not really feeling that this area is a good choice for an investment property these days (given how high prices are already), concerns about timing problems when it came time to sell (what if they're ready and we aren't or vice versa), and not really wanting to be entering into another living situation where the timeframe for staying there is for the next couple of years rather than for the foreseeable future. We also feel like it is just too much assistance to accept - too much leaning on my parents to provide for our family - something that bothers both of us quite a bit. It is nice to know that our parents are in the position to help us if we really needed it, but I think it is something else entirely to have them involved to that degree.

We had a nice visit over the weekend with some friends who live on five acres and who just finished having a house built for them (although they are doing quite a bit of finishing work themselves). Seeing their to-do list was a daunting and impressive thing. It made me think a bit more about the commitment and time required to undertake such a endeavor... and it made me think that perhaps I'm not up for all that! Right now I'm leaning more towards large backyard rather than acres, and an existing home (even if it does need work) rather than land. I think that Matt's in agreement about the second part, but perhaps not the first. It is a lot to think about sometimes, but I'm glad that we are thinking and talking about it.

Alright, I've blathered on long enough. I hope everyone who reads this had a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Busy Day

Well, not as busy as my Wednesday was last week, but still we were pretty busy. We started the day by picking up my MIL's friend that she flew up from Southern CA with then dropped them both off at the airport for their flight home. After that, we headed through the Caldecott Tunnel over into Walnut Creek, got lunch, then visited the Lindsay Museum. The Lindsay Museum is this intimate little wildlife museum with some great animals and displays. Emma and I hadn't been there since June, and we were both really looking forward to the visit. Even though it hadn't been that long since we were there last, I was really surprised at how differently Emma approached the museum. When you enter, they give you a little sheet with pictures of some of the animals (both living and taxidermy) that are in the museum so that you can do a little "treasure hunt" sort of thing while you are there. Previously, Emma has either completely ignored the paper, or just scribbled randomly on it, not really connecting the pictures with what we were seeing. This time, she totally got what it was for, and led me off into the museum, paper and pencil in hand ready to find what was on the sheet. It didn't last the whole time, but she would periodically refer back to it and I think she managed to find about half of the animals on the sheet. Since the sheet had a lot of prehistoric animals on it that she didn't know (that is their current temporary exhibit) I thought she did pretty well. I was impressed that even though she knew what the paper was for and wanted to do it, she wasn't single-mindedly focused on the paper either, and was interested in looking at everything still, even if it wasn't on the paper. I have seen some kids go through, paper in hand, and not even want to glance at the animals that are not on the paper. I thought she did a good job balancing the task given to her while still retaining her general curiosity. While I was there I signed us up for a class about the weather that will be every Thursday morning for the first three weeks of November. We took a class about the sun back in April, and she still talks about it so I thought it would be neat to do another one - especially before the baby comes!

Emma went to bed early, and I am already in my PJ's at 8:30. I'm sure I have some homework to do for my childbirth class so I think I'll try and tackle that next... and if I manage to stay awake after that I may either watch a movie and knit some more (I'm almost done with my second bootie!) or perhaps I'll dive into more of Pride and Prejudice (can you believe I have never read this book before?? Clearly there is something wrong with me). Hmm... decisions, decisions!

Oh, speaking of Pride and Prejudice, that reminds me that I added something else from LibraryThing to my sidebar. I've started entering the chapter books I've read to Emma, and what we are reading currently. What we are reading currently is displayed in the sidebar, and if you go to my library there's a tag called "read to Emma" that lists what it sounds like it should list. Can you tell I'm enjoying LibraryThing? My only quibble is that he's released his import functionality, and it is entirely based on ISBNs. Unfortunately, that is one piece of data about the books I've read that I have not been tracking in my database all these years so I won't be able to use it. Not sure what to do about that other than be slightly annoyed. :-)


Emily tagged me a couple days ago with a what are you listening to quiz and I think I have a chance now to answer it, although I really don't have much of an answer.

So anyways, here's what I'm supposed to do:
Instructions: List five songs that you are currently enjoying. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now.

Post these instructions, the artist and the song in your blog along with your five songs. Then tag five other people to see what they're listening to.

Well, the thing is, I don't really listen to much music anymore - Emma really is not a music fan and will frequently ask me to turn the music off if I try to listen to something, especially if it is non-instrumental. She's always been like this - even before she could talk she would be fussier if music was on, especially if the music had words to it (no matter what the genre of music it was).

Right now what I have stuck in my head is various songs from The Secret Garden (the musical) as I've been listening to that when I do have an opportunity to do so. The "I Heard Someone Crying" and "Lily's Hazel Eyes" tracks are the ones I hear most frequently in my head the last couple days. It has probably been a week since I've listened to it though. I started listening to it occasionally a couple weeks ago when I began reading The Secret Garden to Emma because I wanted some help with what a Yorkshire accent might actually sound like. I can kind of hear it in my head, but I have a hard time reading the text and having it come out even somewhat intelligibly. Listening to the soundtrack has definitely helped me puzzle through the dialogue in the book, and I think I'm doing a better job at reading it now, which is gratifying.

The other thing I'm listening to recently and that Emma is much more willing to listen to is Symphony No. 2 by Brahms. It was an impulse buy from the iTunes Music Store after Sarah mentioned it on her blog and I am enjoying it very much. I would really like to own more classical music as I do generally enjoy it, but I feel so completely overwhelmed when I look at it I generally don't end up getting anything. I am such an dunderhead in that area, it is just pathetic. It is something I would like to learn more about, but since I really have no idea where to start or what to do, so it hasn't been real high on my list of things to do.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Quick little story

One little story I forgot to mention on my last post that I thought I would blog about... on the way up to Portland, there was a fair amount of turbulence. At first the baby was really bouncing around and kicking and pushing - I really don't think he liked the bouncing at all. After a bit though, I started feeling a very strong and steady pressure against my rib cage, and a lot of pressure down toward the bottom, at my cervix. I think the baby had figured out that he could brace himself to stop the bouncing, and then proceeded to do so for the rest of the flight. I was pretty amused by this, although it did make it rather hard to breathe!

(p.s. I am using he as a generic here, I'm not giving anything away since I don't know if we are having a boy or a girl)

Oh, another little story that I thought was funny - about 5 minutes after Emma was excused from the table at dinnertime, she came running back in saying that she was being chased by fierce bears. I asked her if she needed to go hide under the covers of her bed, but she said that the bears would be able to find her there. I then asked her what she thought she should do, and she replied that she was hoping that her nice mommy who loved her very much would let her on climb on her lap and save her from the fierce bears (all delivered with a great smile and giggle, of course!). Usually we discourage her from hanging on us after dinner, but I couldn't resist such a creative little story!

My mother-in-law is visiting until Wednesday, a visit we all enjoy. I am actually going to go out and run errands by myself today - what a novelty!

Still feel pretty drained about all the home-buying stuff, and generally not thinking about it much. I did check on that property this morning and it is no longer in MLS, but it is still on the listing agent's website. I'm not sure if that means they've already accepted an offer or if they've taken it off the market for some reason or what. Oh well, whatever, I just thought it was strange.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I flew up to Portland yesterday, rented a car and drove across the bridge into Vancouver. (I felt like such a road warrior - reminded me of my working days! I teared up though whenever I saw a small child though because it made me think of my daughter... I am so glad I able to be home with her!) I met up with the realtor I contacted and she seems nice and competent, although somewhat inexperienced and new to the area. She knows where to look to get answers and is not afraid to ask questions, and she works in an office with some very experienced realtors so I'm really not worried about it. I rather like the city of Vancouver, it is green and pretty and I love all the trees everywhere. I love that you can see Mount Hood from all over the place (well, the bottom of it at least, it was overcast yesterday). The city seems to be extremely car based which is unfortunate, but there are some bike lanes and paths at least. Overall, it seems like a pretty livable place.

So, the house. Well, it looks like it is in pretty decent shape (especially given its age) but there are certainly no end of projects - small and at least medium sized. It is small - smaller than I realized. (The bedrooms are particularly small) The basement would be difficult to make into living space, but it could be a good storage/workshop space. The lot is smaller than is listed on the real estate listing - it is supposed to be about .42 acres, but is actually only about .3. It used to be .42 or .45 but it was subdivided in 1997 and the other lot was sold. That lot was recently purchased and people are trying to get permits to do something with it - which could be an issue because it is at a lower elevation and to the south, which could easily block the sun to the garden area in not too many years, especially if they started planting trees for privacy. The house does have a lot of personality though, I just wish it was bigger. Given how the house is laid out, it is hard to see how it could be easily enlarged - it looks like it would be quite an undertaking and would require some pretty major reconfiguration of some of the existing rooms. I like the personality the house has though, and it has a nice feel to it but I'm not convinced that it is the right place for us.

I also looked at 4 other properties and they aren't worth talking about. Suffice to say they look a lot better in the pictures than they do in person. Three were on really busy streets (and had some other issues too) and one definitely had moisture problems (eww - not a good thing!!) But, still, it was good to see them just to get some idea of what is available at that price with a larger lot.

At this point I'm not real thrilled with what the amount we'd like to spend would get us there. To me it feels like we'd be settling - moving all that way, away from friends and family just to live in a house that is less (perhaps even a lot less) than what we want. I think that if I'm going to be in a town sort of setting, I'd like it to be at least somewhat walkable. I feel like if I have to get in the car to do everything, I might as well live further out on more land.

Something else dramatically different has also come up - my parents want to discuss a potential investment opportunity with us, but they only thought of it last night and left this morning for London for 10 days... so we can't really sit down and talk about it for awhile. But the gist of it is that they would sell the condo we are currently renting (which is mostly paid for - good for them!) then we would go in on a property in this area which would mean we could buy something here with a mortgage that we could still afford/qualify for. Then they would still be invested in the market, and we could get into it and be somewhere bigger and with a bigger yard and still stay this area. How much do we want to stay here though? I don't know. Would we just plan on living here for another 5-7 years then used our (hopefully!) increased equity to buy a bigger/nicer house somewhere else entirely? (that's when my parents are planning on leaving the area - when my step-dad retires and they move to Tahoe) I doubt whatever we would buy here would really be our forever home, but it could certainly be a very strong step in that direction. (But then again, the kids will be that much older, and we will have rooted ourselves more here and and... *sigh*)

So, yeah, I don't know. I'm tired and I feel completely drained. Another thing I'm wondering - is all this so intense because I'm pregnant and nesting? Granted there's still an underlying desire to settled down and buy a house, but is it so intense right now because I'm 30 weeks along and filled with all sorts of interesting pregnancy hormones? I dunno, but something to think about.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Craziness, continued

So, I'm going up there... tomorrow (wednesday!)!!! It turned out to be the best day for Matt to work from home to stay with Emma and the cheapest flight.

Fingers crossed and all that - it is still hard to believe I am doing this!

Crazy, impulsive things

So things are still looking very promising with that property - very promising. Matt and I are seriously considering sending me up there in the next few days to take a look at it, and at a couple other ones that look interesting, but not quite as much so.


It is strange because it feels really quite right to be doing this, but then I step back and think "what are we doing?? This is insane!!"

My mom is in complete shock and is not happy. My MIL is totally excited and enthused about this (I suppose it helps that she's used to having to get on a plane to see her grandchild). Things have been very trying, emotionally, to say the least. I feel fine when I think about things for my family, but I feel horrid when I think about my mom & the rest of my family. I've tried to prepare my mom for this possibility, but it doesn't seem that I did a good enough job stressing our seriousness.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

We are crazy

I've periodically been torturing myself by looking at homes in the Vancouver (WA) area to see what is on the market. I try to tell myself that it is market research, but really it is a way to make me feel even more frustrated and caught up in limbo. I looked at one point yesterday, and found a place that seemed neat, but the pictures were pretty bad so it was rather hard to tell. I told Matt about it though, and he took a look and liked it too.

Well, I looked at it again this morning, and the listing agent has put up a bunch of new pictures as well as panorama shots of the inside and outside of the house. What can I say, it really looks great. Kinda Funky, kinda old, with a big lot with some work done and some work left to do. It is a farmhouse style home built in 1920 (I shudder to think what the wiring looks like) on almost a 1/2 acre somewhat close in, with a few fruit trees, and a nice garden area for a garden. They haven't done a lot of landscaping, which is a good thing, and there is more work to be done in the basement and in a mostly finished outbuilding. Yes, we aren't exactly looking for the usual tract home!

So, now Matt and all are all a'twitter and wondering what to do. We're contacting another real estate agent in that area and we'll see what kind of information we can get about the general area and neighborhood. We're not going up there until the 20th, but if things continue to look good, perhaps I'll go up myself and take a look... Like I said, we're crazy! If we did end up buying this place, I figure we wouldn't close until at least mid to late November then we'd get through the baby's birth and Christmas then move in January or February. Yes, paying rent and a mortgage for 2-3 months would not be my first choice, but it bypass the need to rent up there for awhile and also solves the whole what to do with the cats problem. And like Dy recently said in the comments "that baby will never be more portable that it is right now, before it gets here." It is far easier for me to go up there to look at stuff now than it will be once the baby is born...

But still, pretty crazy since we're talking about a city that Matt and I have never been to, and we're developing our views the whole area based on websites and my visits to downtown Portland. Yup, crazy - but Matt's willing to do it and I think I might be too! I'm really looking forward to going up there in a couple weeks!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

30 Weeks!

I'm now at 30 weeks and I think I have reached moose stage. I feel big, but not quite all the way to elephant - I think that will hit at about 34 weeks. From there I think I'll go onto blue whale until I finally pop. But we shall see, I reserve the right to change my mind. I don't remember feeling quite so stretched and sore in my lower abdomen in my last pregnancy, but I have also recently concluded that I remember very little of what my last pregnancy really felt like. I made myself think about what time of year it would have been at this point in my pregnancy with Emma, and I think I'm actually stacking up pretty well. I think I was more tired last time, bigger, and more awkward feeling. So at least there's that (or something). I did get my glucose test results back this week and everything was fine, so at least that's one less thing to think about.

This has been a quiet, slow week. It got hot again and it sapped all my energy away completely. My favorite activity for the week has been turning on the AC and the ceiling fan in my bedroom and retreating there to read stories to Emma and nap. So, yeah, not much going on. I did manage to put together the newsletter for my mom's club this week (which was quite an undertaking!) because the woman who normally does it had a baby at the beginning of September. I'm glad she's only asked me to sub for one month. The creative aspect of it was fun, but trying to get the info from everyone and dealing with all the little petty stuff gets rather annoying. It made me remember what I disliked about working in an office environment and glad that I have the opportunity now to be a stay-at-home mom (who for some reason volunteers for dumb stuff like this!).

Another thing I've been enjoying this week is LibraryThing, a nifty way to catalog books and see how your collection overlaps with other people's collections. I've been keeping track of all the books I've read since I've graduated from college and now I am slowly entering them into the website (yes, I am *that* obsessive). It is quite a lot of fun to watch how my overlap changes as I enter books, and to see what books are common and which are not. I have all of 2004 and what I've read so far in 2005 entered in, and I still have from late 2002 through 2003 to enter from my notebook. The rest are in an Access database and I think I'll wait until the programmer gets the XML import working again before I move those over. If you'd like to look at what is in my library so far, here's my library. I've also added on my sidebar a little bloglet that shows everything tagged in my library as "currently reading". Yes, as you might suspect, these are the books I am currently reading.

Matt and I have spent most of the late afternoon and evening in the kitchen, an activity we thoroughly enjoy. I made a chicken pot pie (using a bird I cooked earlier in the week, and chicken stock Matt made) and Matt made a multi-grain bread using some grains from a batch of beer we brewed a few weeks ago. After eating and cleaning up, we also made cinnamon rolls for the morning. Since they are made with all whole wheat flour, they are healthy, right? :-) Just in case anyone is curious, the pot pie recipe came from this cookbook: Mom's Best One Dish Suppers, which I got recently and have made several dishes from. All the recipes have been good so far, although I've found them to be a bit time consuming the first time through. But at least they aren't just "a can of this, a can of that" which I loathe, and I'm willing to spend the extra time in order to use better ingredients! The cinnamon roll recipe comes from The Urban Homemaker, and I only make a half batch at a time because I do not need to feed an army. While I'm at it, the bread recipe that Matt used for the multi-grain bread came from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book - a great cookbook for making whole grain breads. Um, yes, we have a thing for cookbooks around here... but at least they do see use! (Well, except for this one, which I think is fantastic and extremely intimidating. One reviewer calls it "My Favourite, Least-Used, Essential Cookbook" and another calls it "Food for the imagination only", both descriptions I'd have to agree with. But I doubt I will ever part with it!)

OK, time to enter some more books in LibraryThing!