Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bunch of random topics

So first thing is, I was thinking about my "blog audience". The other day we were talking about "baby blogs" that people do so the grandparents/friends/relatives who don't live nearby can see pictures, videos, etc. about the new baby. Those blogs are basically written for someone. I know who my approximately 5 readers are, and occasionally I'll post something and think "oh, Marisa will find this very funny". But in general I try very hard NOT to post for anyone in particular. I want to make my blog applicable to all of my readers in general, and even to the internet at large. I do get those people who Google "mormon stockpiling" or "raw celery disease" or whatever else and end up here, and occasionally they actually start reading or even leave ac comment. I think in general my blog is like a TV show that is better if you watch it regularly (because the episodes build on each other and you know who the characters are), but if you come in at some point and haven't seen any previous episodes, that's okay too.

This Sunday's sermon at church was about the parable in Luke 12 where a dude has a really great crop one year, builds huge barns to store it all, and thinks he's set for life. Then he basically dies. Of course the point is - don't store your treasures here on Earth, because they're meaningless when you die. "Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul?" But when we first read that passage I thought "uh oh... stockpiling! This is me! This is bad!" As I reflected on it more, I think that my situation of buying in advance when I have a great price is different than storing/hoarding treasure. I don't want to be too quick to justify myself though, so I continue to ponder that question. Then this morning as I was reading Proverbs, I read "Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer." And I thought "that's me! I'm wise!" And then I thought "wait, I'm comparing myself to an ant." But it's just another "data point", if you will, for me in my ponderings. The ants are not storing up some food, thinking they are good and don't have to work anymore, and propping their feet up and living the good life. They are doing what they need to do to prepare for a rough period, they will use their food for the winter, and then they will do it all again the next year. I relate to that more than the first man - we buy things we know we will use ahead of time when they are a great price, then we have them when we need them instead of having to run out and pay full price. And when we have too much stockpiled, we just give it away. Anyway, just my current musings. Thought I'd share out loud I guess.

And now, the house. Ever since we looked at that first property a month or so ago, our realtor has been sending me a few houses every week. She sent one that really caught my eye last week, and Geoff liked it too. So we went to see it yesterday. It's on the river (basically a tributary of the Willamette, which is that river that you tried to sail down and dodge the rocks in at the end of the game Oregon Trail) and on a good day has a view of 4 mountains (Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, and Hood). Of course there are only 2 good days a year in Portland, but that's another story. :) It's on 2 acres, most of it forested, but there is still plenty of usable land around the house. The current house is roughly 1000 sq ft which is about half the size of our current house, but we use about half of our current house anyway. And there is no reason we can't expand/renovate/rebuild/etc. the current house. It was built in the 50's but there have certainly been some improvements since then and it's in pretty good condition. The foundation seems good, it's very clean (there is a faint smoke smell, I think he used to smoke but doesn't anymore, and he has a cat which I'm way allergic too, but we can deal with those things), and looks like it's been well maintained. We could move in and live in the house 100% as is. Yes, we'd definitely like to replace the carpet and wash and/or repaint the walls, but that's easy and by no means HAS to be done immediately. Then in a year or two Geoff would like to re-side and re-roof the house. Then in X (5? 10? No idea.) years we would do some of the improvements like maybe renovating the kitchen, adding more family/living/dining room space, adding a couple of bedrooms, etc. We're certainly not looking for a giant house, but it's nice to have a space for guests and whatnot (it's tough because I want there to be a space for my parents and sister to be when they come visit, but you can't not buy a house that is perfectly suitable for the people who will actually be living there for a week or so of visitors a year). There's just tons of potential with this property. I am wary because everyone seems to love it so much (Geoff, realtor, my parents, Geoff's parents), and that makes me feel like SOMEONE should not like it so I'm becoming that person. That's not quite worded right - I DO like it, a lot, I just am trying to be cautious. I also feel like it's not the right time to buy a new house, but Geoff and I have talked a lot about why it's not such a bad time. We've been on such a strict course of financial goals, particularly in the past 4 months, and this may involve a deviation from that which is hard for me, but once I'm used to it, it will be fine. And it's not even a bad deviation, it's just a modification of plans. Our realtor is looking into the exact property lines, easements, that kind of stuff, so we might have more data today. We'd like to go back on Sunday with Geoff's parents to get a second set of eyes on it, too, so I'm going to ask about that. So that's what I'm thinking for now. We'll see where this goes.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And for the record

In our grocery store (Albertsons), chorizo was actually located near the ravioli and ricotta. Because THAT makes sense. We had to ask about it, and the lady was like "I don't know why it is here... I think it would sell better near the Corona!"

Blogging while I cook

This was our conversation on the way to the grocery store:

Me: "Where do you think Mexican chorizo will be located in the store?"
Geoff: "Near the beans."
Me: "WHAT?!"
Geoff: "Um, well... what is it?"
Me: "Sausage!!"
Geoff: "Oh. Well near the sausage."
Me: "Thanks, that's helpful. And why would it have been near the beans anyway?"
Geoff: "I thought Mexican chorizo was another word for garbanzo beans."

Hahahahahahha. Yes. That really happened!

But that's for a recipe for another night. Tonight I'm making Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts with a Lemony White Wine Sauce. Gotta go flip the chicken! Just a few more minutes. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Camping, Young Geoff, Illegal Lane Change, and President

I had to write that title to remind me of all of the things I want to talk about!

First of all, camping this weekend was excellent! Instead of the coast we went to a local state park (due to the forecast of severe wind and 3 - 6 inches of snow). That of course was added to our list of things that make us prematurely old. But we had a grand time nonetheless. We ate delicious food, had some wine, chatted a lot, and watched A LOT of movies. I love our camping talks, we talk about all sorts of ridiculous things that we wouldn't normally discuss. And then after we get back to real life I think "gosh, I probably shouldn't have said that, or talked about that, or mentioned that, or asked that (or all of the above)". And then feel bad for a week. And then I usually get over that and get excited for the next trip.

I know, I just began 3 sentences with the word "And". I remember learning at a young age you couldn't do that, and pointing it out to my teacher that I saw it in a book. She then taught me about "writer's prerogative". So I'm using that now!

Here are a few cute stories that came up while camping (I asked if Momlie remembered exactly when Geoff became a Christian, or realized what growing up as a Christian meant, or his faith became his own, or whatever happened for him):
- Geoff went to a Lutheran church growing up, and the church had a "First Communion" (which I normally associate with being a very Catholic tradition, but what do I know?), where you go through a time of learning about what communion is, etc. Normally people went through this in 3rd grade (actually I think that's what the Catholic kids where I grew up did, but it seems like Momlie might have 2nd grade for their church). Anyway, the year before that, Geoff started asking a lot of questions about communion and saying he wanted to start taking it. Momlie and David (Geoff's dad, who has passed away) told him that if he worked it out with the pastor, he could do it. So one day when they were at bell choir practice, Geoff left for a little while (it was a very small church, so it was okay), and he came back in with a piece of paper. When David asked what it was, Geoff said that it was his appointment with the pastor. She came to their house and told Geoff what he needed to understand and study, and he did everything he needed to do, and got his First Communion a year early! Yay for Geoff. (Interestingly, to this day, communion is something that is still extremely important to Geoff, and it happens to be important to me too. During "The Great Church Search" we have both been keeping an eye for churches that have weekly communion, rather than monthly which tends to be more common in Protestant and non-denominational churches).
- Even before that time, when he was very young, Geoff would serve communion at home. Whenever they had popcorn (or any small food like that), Geoff would go around and around and around passing it out to whoever was there, saying "The Body of Christ" each time to whoever was receiving. So cute.
- When they were greeting people at church, instead of saying "The peace of the Lord", Geoff would give people "A piece of the Lord" greeting. Which may be just as fitting, when you think about it!

Did you know you can get a ticket for illegal lane change for changing lanes too fast? Like if you realize you need an exit at the last minute and change quickly across several lanes of traffic, you get a ticket. Apparently you're supposed to be in each lane for 5 or 10 seconds before changing. Crazy. (and no, I was not the receiver of said ticket, although I deserve approximately 23689698 of those tickets. Hey, I grew up in Chicago!)

And here is a short snippit of a conversation from today:
Patrick: mccain is a career politician
you should run for president
i would vote for you
Kelly: WHY?
You and I totally disagree on issues.
Patrick: youre organized
you like to stockpile and save money
you enjoy the outdoors
youre prematurely old.
Kelly: LOL.
Those are not reasons to be president.
Patrick: you like calculating wealth, so i feel like national debt would annoy you
Kelly: I would be a disaster.
When is the last time you voted for someone because they enjoyed the outdoors? What about issues like climate change and foreign affairs?
Patrick: the enjoying the outdoors would mean you are about conservation and stuff like that
you would probably end up calling the british prime minister a freak or psycho or something
Kelly: See. EXACTLY why I cannot be president

Thursday, April 17, 2008

12 minutes

I have 12 minutes before a meeting to tell you about our first softball game last night.

In short - it was GREAT! So much fun. We played 5 innings in one hour and 40 minutes, which is almost exactly what we are "supposed" to do (it's supposed to be 5 innings with no new inning starting after an hour and 20 minutes, and we started our 5th inning at an hour and 18 minutes!). The girls were fantastic - at first they were a little confused and didn't know quite what to do, but as we played more they got better and better. It was neat to see their progress just in the short time that we played. In the first couple of innings a few of the girls had some trouble hitting the ball with coach pitch, so we added a tee if they couldn't hit it after 5 or 6 coach pitches. But by the last inning, every single girl on our team had hit at least one coach pitched ball. It was great! They got a couple of outs and MANY of our girls got runs! :) Very excited for our game today!

It was EXHAUSTING though. I had no idea it was going to be so tiring, but Geoff and I were both beat by the time we were done. I guess just from yelling for 2 hours (they need a lot of direction, both when batting and playing out in the field) and being up and about in the sun (yes, there was sun). At least we know what to expect tonight!

That only took 4 minutes... 8 to spare! :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A couple more stories

So first, the Lock N Lock. Geoff and I went up to Oma and Opa's to visit last July. This is when Oma and I discovered just how alike we are. So she kept sharing with me all of her neat little organizational tricks. She showed me these containers that she had from QVC. At first, I was unimpressed. I thought "but I have those little disposable Glad containers that I use for leftovers and such". But as she showed me more and more uses for them and how well they kept stuff, I was VERY impressed. The coolest one was a spinach container that had a thin little rack at the bottom to allow room for any water to drip down and stay off the spinach, thereby making the spinach last longer. She said she'd had spinach in that continer for a month! While we were there, she took us to a couple of stores to find Lock N Lock, but nowhere had any. Costco had Snapware, which is similar to Lock N Lock but not *quite* as good. She bought us a set of Snapware as an engagement gift to get us started. Later that month at our engagement party, she got us a few more Lock N Lock items - including the infamous spinach container. Which by the way, is amazing - it keeps food fresh forever! For Christmas, she gave me a Lock N Lock set of a bread container, cereal containers, and a few others. When we were visiting them last month, she showed me a little experiment she'd saved for me - she put some graham crackers in a Lock N Lock and some in a Snapware. The ones in the Snapware were all yucky and gross, but the ones in the Lock N Lock were good as new!! Seriously you have no idea until you try the stuff. Geoff makes fun of me because our whole pantry and fridge is filled with Lock N Lock. But our food lasts a looooong time that way. It definitely cuts back on waste! My mom's complaint is that it takes up more room in the fridge than a plastic baggie or something similar, which is true - but if you're willing to give up some space, you are gaining a lot of longevity. I heart Lock N Lock.

Next story. As we were driving through Seattle to Oma and Opa's last weekend, Geoff said "no wonder ages 16 - 25 are always getting in car accidents! Look at all of the people who are whipping around me. It is moms and dads with their young teenagers in their cars!" I asked him why it then wasn't the moms and dads getting into the accidents, and he said that they do have some driving experience under their belts which helps them be a little bit better at making decisions. But then their kids see the way they are driving and think they should be driving that way too, thereby causing them to get into accidents. It's quite amusing that 22 year old Geoff is getting frustrated with all of the crazy drivers on the road... :)

Prematurely old

When we got the camper, Momlie and Gary declared that Geoff and I were prematurely old. Here is a list of the top reasons why:

1. We own a camper (think about when you drive by huge motorhomes, who do you see driving them? 75 year old men)
2. We use Lock N Lock
3. Geoff commented that the checker at Best Buy was "a nice young man" (see this blog entry)
4. We Grocery Game (aka match coupons with sales to get the best deal)
5. I didn't go to Vegas with Patrick, Hart, and Becky when I was in Arizona a couple of weeks ago (to my credit, that was because Patrick and Hart decided not to go, not me!)

That is only 5 things. I do not think we are prematurely old. Momlie will pipe in here with list of 238966 additions, I'm sure!

In between the weekends

Wow, lots going on! This past weekend we were at Oma and Opa's for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. We did not actually see any tulips, due mainly in part to that fact that we were having too much fun at PACCAR! Actually about halfway through PACCAR, we split into two groups - those that REALLY wanted to do the tulip thing and those that wanted to stay at PACCAR. It was just me and "the men" at PACCAR... such is the life of an engineer. I am often in meetings where I am the only female. Although industrial engineering has a lot more women than other types of engineering... anyway, getting off topic (you know I'm the queen of that!). After PACCAR we got a bite to eat at a new brewery... it was delicious!! YUM. Then we went back to Oma and Opa's and met up with Julie and Oma to go GEOCACHING!!!! We found four caches, including our first non-micro cache. The non micro was a Lock N Lock box (Lock N Lock itself really needs to be the subject of another blog another day - it is AMAZING!) that was probably 8x6x2. There were all sorts of little trinkets in there but we TNLNSL (geocache speak for Took Nothing, Left Nothing, Signed Log). It was great and we all had fun. Then back at Oma and Opa's, Julie, Geoff, and I sat outside and planned our camping meals. We planned Saturday night to be a "spontaneous" night (pick something up at the local market, perhaps fish since we'll be at the coast) and Geoff made fun for planned spontaneity, but when you're camping you don't just have a fridge full of stuff to choose from. You either have to plan the meal or plan to be spontaneous! After the planning session, we went inside for a DELICIOUS dinner. Steak, asparagus, salad, sweet potatoes, corn... oh my. :) After that we played a game called Hand and Foot. It was quite fun... I'd never played before but it's pretty easy to catch on to. Then Geoff and I went in the hot tub! I looooove hot tubs especially on cool evenings, it was a perfect night for it - not raining but still cool out. After that it was bedtime. The next morning we went to church and then headed back to Oregon. :)

There was also a lot of discussion about me and my blog at Oma and Opa's - for example, when does Kelly laugh? She doesn't laugh out loud at "planned humor" (pranks, TV shows, movies, comedy routines, etc.) but does she laugh when someone says something sarcastic or otherwise funny? Yes. What does she blog about? I don't remember the other things that were discussed but I know that there was discussion about / study of me and my blog. Odd.

Sunday evening we had a coaches meeting for softball - we got uniforms, met the other coaches, and aligned on rules (fun things such as all the players can be on the field at once, even if you have 12 people. There are 5 innings, an inning ends after 4 runs, everyone has batted, or 3 outs - whichever comes first. There is no keeping score. After an hour and 20 minutes, no new innings can start. A girl gets 7 pitches or 3 strikes when she is at bat).

Monday we had softball practice - this was the first time we used coach pitch instead of the tee. Coach pitch is what we'll use during the game. About half of the girls did awesome and had no problem hitting. The others will improve with time. They are all so positive and enthusiastic - we have a great team!

Last night we took a grand trip to Costco and purchased a new vacuum. We bought the Bissell Healthy Home. We have been talking about a new vacuum for MONTHS (and have probably needed one longer than that). We even went and "test drove" vacuums at Christmas with my mom. The Bissell Healthy Home was on clearance at some Macy's about a month ago and we tried to find one but they were out - sad. But then yesterday at lunch we were talking about what we were going to do that night, and Geoff said "I'd like to vacuum but it's a lost cause with our vacuum cleaner". I said "well we have to go to Costco tonight, let's just get a vacuum." The look on his face was PRICELESS. He was like "what? You just want to buy a vacuum, just like that?" After some discussion we decided we'd do a little research during the afternoon and pick a vacuum (I wanted the Healthy Home, he wanted a Dyson). A little while later he IMed me and said "you know what? I've been reading some reviews, and everyone says that the Healthy Home is awesome and the Dyson is just NOT worth the extra money. Let's get it!" So we did. And it's FANTASTIC. We vacuumed the downstairs, the stairs, and the upstairs and had to empty the canister twice because it picked up so much stuff. Ew. We were living with that. And I have allergies! Oh well. Now our home is healthy indeed. :) And our vacuum is excellent! We also did all of the camping shopping last night so we're ready to go for this weekend! Oh, and when we were at Costco I was browsing through the wine area and this nice fella said "excuse me, do you guys know anything about wine?" Geoff and I looked at each other nervously and said "a little". He said that his doctor wanted him to drink a small glass of red wine for his heart each night but that he didn't really like red wine so he wanted something sweet. We told him that unfortunately red and sweet don't really go together, unless you're talking about a port. So he asked about a particular bottle of wine he was looking at, but it was a cab and merlot mix so we said no no no!!! And he was like "well at least you steered me clear of that!" Then Geoff said that if he made a bowl of pasta, maybe with some sausage or peppers and onions, that might take some of the bite out of the red wine. He seemed to like that idea. We just had a lovely conversation and he was a lovely man. I'm glad he stopped us to chat! I always have the best conversations in Costco. I hope he finds his wine and his heart is okay. :) (poor guy is lucky I didn't try to invite him wine tasting with us!)

Tonight we have our first softball game! The weather looks kinda crummy, so we'll see what happens later this afternoon. I hope it's not rained out, the girls are so excited! Really I think the first couple of games will just be a glorified practice... but we'll see. It will be fun either way!

Tomorrow we have another game and then Friday we're going CAMPING! We're going to the coast again and we'll just leave straight from work - it works so nicely that way and we love getting there early, doing our setup, and then starting our campfire and observing everyone else pull in after they get off of work later than we do or have to drive more than we do. It's fun seeing some guys back their HUGE rigs in, and it's great to see who tumbles out of a pickup truck, or what kind of party lights people pull out to hang up. It will be a fabulous weekend!

And now some random things:

I use a lot of CAPITALS when I type. It kind of reduces the effect, don't you think?

Last camping trip, in February, we came up with the name Momlie for Geoff's mom (combining Mom and Julie). She was signing an email to both of us saying she was on her way to meet us for camping and wrote
We laughed and I said "she never should have written Momlie, now I'm going to call her that!" When she met us at the camper I told her that and she said "you know, I actually kind of LIKE the name Momlie". So I started calling her that - it's a great name for me to call her, and it's perfect for any hypothetical future grandchildren (from Geoff, Trevor, or Rebecca). But I haven't been calling her that around other people or in my blog because people would be like "who's Momlie" (okay, maybe I'm not giving you enough credit... you would probably figure it out!). Anyway, Momlie is "the mother in law". So from here on out, that is what she will be known as in the blog.

6 or 8 months ago, they started building a drive thru Starbucks on my way to work (previously there was no Starbucks on my route, if you don't count the one in the Albertsons that I drive by). It didn't open for a very long time, and then about 2 months ago we saw a car in the drive thru. They were open! We commented that there would be more and more cars as more and more people realized that it was open. And in fact each day for the next week or so there were more cars in the line. It leveled off at approximately 5. Well today was kinda yucky and cold out, and Geoff said "wow, look at the Starbucks line!" I immediately thought "oh, that must correlate with the weather." Then I said out loud "we should log date, time, temperature, weather conditions, and number of customers in line." Geoff said "Great idea! Do you have a log book we can use?" I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't... he had the same idea I had, that the weather changes the amount of people in line. He even said that it was too bad we couldn't figure out what each person was ordering! So tonight we're going to get a notebook from home and start logging the Starbucks line to see if there is in fact a correlation. Ahhh, this takes me back to my queuing theory classes. I love it. (actually, my group really DID study a Starbucks line as our project in that class... hehe). Anyway, that will be fun. I'll let you know the results.

Okay, I think that's enough for one day... sorry so long, but it's been a while. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

My husband is all about the bling

Seriously. Geoff definitely loves jewelry more than I do. I never wear my engagement ring because... well I don't know, I just don't wear it. Maybe because it's impractical. I don't know. (I do ALWAYS wear my wedding ring). When I was in Arizona recently, there was a woman who had very similar rings to me, except she had a third ring and I thought it made it look cooler. So I thought "hmm, maybe I should try THAT". I probably won't like it, because I think it's just that I don't like wearing rings, but it looked so cool on her so I want to try it. So I told Geoff that I might go to a jewelry store to try a third ring and see how it looks. He said "Okay. Can I go with?!?" I said of course, and he said "YAY!". We are so mis-matched... I am wasting a guy who likes jewelry on a girl who doesn't... when the whole rest of the world does. Oh well! Too bad for all of you. :) (oh, and since I don't wear my engagement ring, he always says he's going to take the diamond and make it into an earring or something for himself... hehehe)

And on to a completely new topic, some of the things on home listings are absurd! Cases in point:
"Seller says sell this property!" (as opposed to most sellers who DON'T want it sold??)
"Appraised for over $310.000 in the past" (first of all, $310? Or $310,000. And second of all, did you get the memo that the housing market has taken a downturn? That means your previous appraisals don't necessarily mean much.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Faster than Jiffy Lube!

Geoff changed the oil on my Jeep tonight, and when he was done he pronounced "Faster than Jiffy Lube!" He was too - including all of the cleanup, it took him about 20 minutes (time for two batches of cookies to bake). I was VERY impressed!! My friend Kristie has been calling Geoff lately about all of the car woes she's been having, and she said to me on Monday "I'm glad you brought a mechanic into the family". Hehe. It *is* awfully convenient. ;-)

Since I've been out of town twice in the past two weeks and we're going to Oma and Opa's this weekend and camping next weekend, we took tonight as a "be productive" night. We had a couple of errands (okay, and one quick geocache) that we took care of on the way home, and we got home around 4:45. It is now 7:30 and I finished all 12 things on my list, Geoff finished all 6 things on his list (his things were bigger than mine - one of mine included taking something out of the freezer to defrost it!), plus we made dinner (artichokes and hot dogs, weird combo I know but it worked - and the whole dinner was less than the retail price of one artichoke, yay Grocery Game!) and I made two batches of cookies. Now I'm blogging and Geoff is out running his motorcycle to keep it running well. Yaaaaaaaaay for productive nights!

An observation

At work I've noticed that sometimes you'll kind of know of someone for a while, maybe you've emailed with them a few times or talked on the phone, but you've never met them face to face. This is extremely common in my large company. Sometimes I feel like I work with people I don't know more often than people I do know! But then you meet the person face to face and all of the sudden you're like best friends. Now that you "really know" the person you'll ask them to do more favors for you - like "oh hey, it was great to meet you the other day! Can you pull me this set of data? THANKS!!" Not quite sure how friends = favors, but it seems to. I have done this before, and just yesterday I met someone new and today I had two new emails from her asking me to do a few things for her (we had only emailed a handful of times before we met). Interesting.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another day, another cache!

Softball practice was fun last night. :) I think there may have been some confusion about the time (we started 30 minutes earlier than last week because that's when we could get the field) - either that or people were just late. I couldn't really tell because everyone seemed to be there on time to pick up their kids. It went by a lot faster than the first time and the girls are just great. There was a dad that asked if he could help out too, which worked out nicely. The girls picked their name last night - the Dragons! It came down to the Dragons and the Lightning and Dragons won out.

On the way home we decided to try another geocache... it was in a parking lot with a bank, IHOP, Dollar Tree, Marshalls, Baja Fresh, etc. Luckily it was in the corner, so we drove right to it. We knew it was near a light (the clue was under the light and above the concrete), so we just looked around the light quickly and found it immediately. YAY! Our second find. Then we tried another right near our house in an Albertsons/Wendys/Subway parking lot, but we could not find it. We thought it was near a light, similarily set up and hidden to the last one we found. But it didn't seem to be there. There was also a cart return near there, so it could have been in there. The clue was "not what you're thinking", so I'm not sure quite what that meant. There were a lot of people out and we didn't want to call attention to ourselves, so we decided to leave and come back sometime when it was darker out. This is the closest geocache to our house, so we WILL find it sometime. It's about 2 blocks away! :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

My AZ weekend!

I'm back from Arizona for the second time in two weeks. I love Arizona, but I'm glad to be back home for now. Plus we're going to Washington this weekend and camping next weekend, so I'm not REALLY at home. Friday night we went to Los Dos, which is my FAVORITE Mexican restaurant. They have fabulous margaritas and delicious food. It's incredibly spicy but that's good because I'm trying to like spicy food more anyway, and it is very flavorful. With a margarita and some sour cream, I can take the heat! Yummy. There was some discussion about driving to Vegas that night, spending a few hours there, and driving back before my flight the next day, but that was eventually vetoed (giving my parents-in-law more fodder for their fight about me being "prematurely old" - lack of spontaneity in this one!). Saturday morning we went to breakfast at "The Farm", which is where Hart and Becky got married. Delish! Then we went to Hart and Becky's new house for a while. Somehow it came up that they couldn't find their GPS that they got for their wedding, so Hart started looking around for it. Then someone else mentioned geocaching, so we decided to go! We went to a park in Gilbert to look for the cache - 4 of us spent probably 45 minutes searching for it and never did find it. What a bummer. Still, it was grand fun. We hung out for a while longer and then it was time to take me to the airport! A great visit. :)

Sunday morning we met Gary at church. We were supposed to meet Julie too, but she hadn't slept well that night so she stayed in bed - what a slacker (yes, she does read my blog, and yes, she will scold me later for calling her a slacker on the internet. She will also laugh.) We went to the same church we went to last week (that Geoff and I have gone to for a while before the Great Church Search of 2008). The pastor at this church is excellent! One of the funny things he does in his sermons is mention "oh he's so spiritual" in a sarcastic way. For example last week he was talking about how he saw a stack of papers on the side of the road... he didn't pick them up because he's from California, not Oregon! Then he said "oh, Bob would have definitely picked them up, and then recycled them - Bob's so spiritual". Then yesterday he asked us to flip to a certain place in our Bibles... he saw someone get there really quickly and said "look at Fred, already there - Fred's so spiritual!". It's very funny. (NOT that that's what makes him an excellent pastor, just an amusing antedote to share). After that we went to Julie and Gary's for a delicious fajita lunch (see, earning points back by calling the lunch delicious - but honestly, it was). Then we talked about my Arizona trip, and geocaching came up. Everyone thought it sounded like tons of fun... and then Geoff and I recalled that we hadn't used our REI dividend yet for the year, plus I had an American Express gift card that I got from work, so we took those things, went to REI, and bought ourselves a GPS! It's nothing fancy, but it does the job we need for geocaching! So we took Julie and Gary and went to the parking structure of a local mall to try to find a cache hidden there. The 4 of us looked for about an hour and couldn't find it! We did get stopped by mall security though - that was fun, trying to explain we were looking for treasure in the parking garage... hehe. Luckily he was super nice and let us continue our search. No one was thrown into "mall jail". We also got a lot of suspicious looks from shoppers heading back to their cars. Certainly not a place you'd want to take kids geocaching - way too much traffic! This one was rated a 3.5 out of 5 on the difficulty scale. I think we thought too much of ourselves, we're going to have to try an easier one. Geoff and I swung by another cache location near our house on the way home (this one included a few pictures on the website - both of what the actual caches was, and of where it was hidden in the sign of the park). We walked straight to the sign, I felt up around the letter E, and there it was! It was a teeny tiny capsule about half the size of your ring finger that had a teeny tiny scroll that we signed our names to. It was so fun to find our first cache! We're going to try another one today after work on our way to softball practice. We're addicted. ;-) Definitely recommend it if you have or can borrow a GPS!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The house...

So remember the house last week that I said just wasn't the right time? Well after I blogged that, Geoff and I really couldn't get it out of our mind. There was just something about it. Not so much the house itself, but the land it was on (half an acre). If you want to see it, go to and look up number 7113286. Since we couldn't stop thinking about it, we called up my (I guess our now) realtor and asked her to show us the property. I was expecting THE VERY WORST so it wasn't as bad as I thought. It was worse than Geoff thought though. It smelled like cigarette smoke before the front door was even open, and there was stuff EVERYWHERE. Every single surface was covered, including the entire kitchen. There was even a half empty bottle of vodka sitting on the kitchen counter - now if that doesn't attract potential homebuyers, I don't know what does! ;-) Luckily, I'm pretty good at looking through someone else's furniture/junk/paint colors/flooring/etc. to the potential of a house. This house definitely would have needed a lot of work - new EVERYTHING, or else tear it down and build new, but it had potential. My preference would have been start with the house that was there and renovate it, where as Geoff wanted to just build new. We do have the trailer, so we could have lived on the property while building new. The land was GREAT - there was a nice patio (good condition, nicely sized) that would be perfect for a hot tub (which is like my super-nice-to-have item that I really want someday). There was plenty of land for a shop for Geoff, and maybe an organic garden for me if I could manage to keep it alive. The price was also great - in addition to being a decent asking price, our realtor had the feeling (both on her own and from talking to the listing agent) that the owner would likely take an offer for 70 - 80% of the asking price. It was in a perfect location in terms of proximity - in the "country" but about 8 minutes from work, right on the freeway to get anywhere, an hour from the coast, 10 - 15 minutes from the grocery stores, less than 5 minutes to Costco (I know a Costco near the country, ha). BUT not a perfect location in terms of LITERALLY being right on the freeway - it backed up to the on ramp of the freeway that connects Portland and 26 (have I written all of this before?). We talked about building a sound wall and planting stuff there, and honestly the noise is less than our current house which is pretty close to a stop light so you get a lot of stopping and starting, plus big trucks, rather than just constant noise. But you're still right on a highway, plus that road is only 2 lanes there but 3 in other parts, so if they were ever going to do an expansion they would take our land! We checked with the county who said there were no current plans, but who knows what would happen in 10, 15, 20 years. There's just a lot of risk associated with buying that close to the highway (even if we could get over the sound and stuff), and who knows what would happen to resale value. I'm sad, and now I really want a house that we can REALLY renovate (with the price of that house, we would have had quite a bit of money available to do the necessary renovations). But that's okay - again, it just wasn't QUITE right. Something else will come along eventually. And that is my sad blog post about the house that still just isn't meant to be. :( Tear.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

We survived!

We survived our first softball practice! It was actually really fun. :) About 20 minutes before practice started, it was hailing big time - yikes. We weren't sure how that was going to go. But it stopped and actually got a little sunny out, so by the time we started it was chilly, but tolerable. We met under a pavillion with picnic tables, and we had a little meeting with the parents and had them fill out forms. While I was collecting the forms, Geoff said "all the little girls come with me!" and they were so funny, they just lined up behind him. Then we walked over to the field and he started practice. He had them throwing the ball to each other for a while. There were only 9 of them there, so I had to throw with one for a while. After a few minutes she said to me "this is kinda easy..." so I suggested we move back. Then I felt bad for her that she had to be with me, so we rotated partners. At that point another player was quietly saying "Coach? Coach?" to Geoff, and I pointed her out to Geoff. Geoff said "what's up?" to her and she said "um, I'm bleeding." So I went over to her to see what was wrong. She had a small cut or hangnail on her thumb, so I took her off the field. Her mom was right there and had a band-aid in her purse (we had a first aid kit in the car, from now on we'll bring that out to the field!) so she fixed her right up. That girl is the cutest thing Geoff and I have ever seen... we both think she's our favorite. She's the smallest one (she's only 6!) and Geoff at first thought "oh great..." but then he saw her throw! He claims she can throw the ball further than I can, which may be true! After throwing for a while, we started batting practice. Geoff had the girls line up in a semi-circle in the field and had one player bat at a time. He was great when he worked with them, he made sure their feet were in the right place, that they were holding the bat correctly, etc. The bat was too big for the tiny girl, but she had her own bat so she used that. The other girls were getting cold and bored during batting practice (whoever wasn't batting) so Geoff would occasionally throw a ball out there just to keep them somewhat entertained. They would throw it back and sometimes Geoff wouldn't be paying attention and it would go over his head or whatever - ohhhh how they all giggled every time that happened. They thought Geoff was hilarious. Geoff claims that little girls like him because he has ALL girl cousins (at least on his dad's side) so he knows how to interact with them. Anyway, it was quite cute, and in 20 year or so I might have some competition for my husband. ;-) Then we worked on throwing grounders for a while. At this point it was about 6:40, and practice was supposed to end at 7, but the girls were all freezing and all of the parents were there so Geoff let them go home. That worked out well. At the end of practice one of the moms talked to us about more ideas for drills and said that she'd love to help us (she had thrown her back out this week so couldn't help last night but wants to in the future). It was definitely a good first practice, and our real goal was to see what skill level the girls had (a lot of them have played before, so that was good to find out... they acted like they would be comfortable with a pitch rather than a tee, so that's cool, we'll try that at the next practice) and how they interacted and what it was like to entertain ten 6 - 9 year olds for an hour and a half. :) Geoff will be on his own this Friday since I'll be out of town (hehehe) but then I'll be back for next week! We haven't picked a practice schedule for next week yet but we'll figure something out. This week Monday and Friday worked but starting next week there will be conflicts every day but Friday, so we'll miss at least one girl every week. We'll figure it out!