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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Laura's LiveJournal:

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Monday, January 26th, 2009
7:13 pm
Roomba vs. Robo-Quad
My parents gave me their old Roomba and it just decided to vacuum. Alice has her Robo-Quad (aka. Spider) in high aggression guard mode and is trying to get it to chase the Roomba. Vacuuming just became super fun!
Saturday, January 24th, 2009
10:22 am
New Addiction
I can't drink coffee because it gives me fibromyalgia so for the past few years I have taken care of my caffeine needs with tea.

Now I have kidney stones so the doctor says no more tea.

I thought I was done for but then I discovered the joy of Bev-Rev! http://www.bev-rev.com/

I love this stuff! They serve it at the coffee stand at the college and I tried it in steamed milk. It was like a dream come true. I found a distributer in Shoreline and now I own my very own bottle of this magic elixer. It is completely flavorless so you can put it in anything without ruining the beverage.

I've been using it for almost three weeks now with no fibro issues so I think it is not going to give me a problem there. Yay!
Saturday, December 27th, 2008
10:04 am
Fruitcake
My father has wonderful memories of the fruitcake of his childhood. He says modern fruitcake (the kind you can buy at the market around Xmas) is horrible. His mother would start making the fruitcake around this time of the year and then she would store it and feed it booze every now and then until next Xmas. It is supposed to be a very dark and rich cake not the yellow cake with candied fruit in it one sees today.

I got out my 1943 edition of The Joy of Cooking and sure enough there were several fruit cake recipes in there. I also found some online. Here is some of what I found: http://www.whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/fruitcakesec.htm , http://southernfood.about.com/od/fruitcakerecipes/r/bl51201b.htm

I am giving serious thought to making a batch of these. I say batch because the recipes in Joy of Cooking make 11 or 12 pounds of cake. I am assuming this will be several cakes. I am intrigued by the challenging nature of the project but I don't actually think I will like these cakes at all. I don't like things that taste like booze and I don't like cakes with fruit and nuts in them. I am not sure my father can or should eat 12 pounds of fruitcake.

Maybe there are others out there with a secret love of fruitcake. If so please share your secret here so I know there is might be a home for my fruitcakes should I succeed in making them.

So, am I a complete fruitcake myself for even considering this? Will I be doing permanent environmental damage by creating indestructible cakes that no one will ever eat and that will never biodegrade? Do any of you have experience with making fruitcake, how about second or third hand stories?
Sunday, December 21st, 2008
5:50 pm
Sledding
I still love it!

Alice and I took an old plastic sled up to the park near our house. There is a very gentle hill there as well as steeper one. Alice loved the gentle slope but she found the steep run too scary. Our sled is a two person sled so I was with her but even so she was scared.

We ran into a girl from Alice's class there and with a nice dose of peer pressure she gave sledding another try. She and the other little girl went several times together. I did a few runs on my own too.

What fun! We have plans to meet Alice's school friend there again tomorrow for more snow fun.
12:54 pm
Snowing again
There are already 5 inches of snow in my deck and now it is snowing again.

Normally Brian would be coming over today but unless he comes by sled I kind of doubt that is going to happen. I can not imagine trying to get up Capitol Hill to pick him up and it would probably take him all day to get here by bus. We always look forward to Brian's visits so we are sad that it isn't working out.

The work on Evelyn's house was finished just in time for her to move back in right before the snow hit so Alice and I are on our own now.
12:34 pm
Stranger in the snow update
He came by and got his car a little bit ago. I went out and looked on my porch where I found a bag containing the boots and a bottle of wine. I hope he makes it home safely.

There was more car skiing down my street last night. So I know there is a thick layer of ice under all that pretty snow. Around 10 pm last night a driver trying to go up my street slid back and lightly bumped a parked pick up truck. The truck became a sled and slid right out into the middle of 3rd Ave. NW. Nobody knew who the truck belonged to so a some of the neighbors, me included managed to push it just barely back out of the intersection.

Now people are snow boarding down my street. I am trying to get Alice to go with me to the park a couple of blocks away to play in the snow. We have a cheap plastic sled we can try out there.
Saturday, December 20th, 2008
4:21 pm
Syncronicity
Last week Brian came over on Saturday wearing sandals, as is his usual habit. It snowed and he was stranded here without reasonable footwear to get him to the bus stop and home to Capitol Hill. Luckily, it was just the beginning of this messy weather and I was able to drive him home.

Anyway, I decided it would be a good idea to pick up a pair of boots in his size to keep here in case it ever happens again. I found a nice pair of Timberlines at Good Will and picked them up for a couple of bucks.

Tonight a stranger knocked on my door and asked if he could abandon his car in my extra driveway. Since another car had already crashed into a parked car across the street, I said sure and asked if he was going to be able to get home. He said he was in for a long walk in the snow but thought he'd be okay. Then he looked down at his feet in a kind of sad way and I noticed he was wearing dress shoes. I offered the boots and it turns out they were a perfect fit.

Hopefully they will get him home without frostbite. He'll return them when he picks up his car.
Thursday, December 18th, 2008
10:08 pm
Shortbread
I've been wondering for a long time if making shortbread with Splenda would ruin a perfectly good cup of butter. I just made a half batch with Splenda and it turns out my fears were groundless. They still have the great buttery texture and taste almost as good as the real thing. Yay.
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
11:42 am
Snow day?
Alice's school is closed today for fear of snow. So far we have only wind but eventually we will probably get some snow. We are having a casual day. I went to Goodwill yesterday and got some cheap tree decorations that we will put on the tree today since all of my usual decorations are in Port Townsend in my Parent's attic. Last night Alice and I spent some time painting and glittering little wooden and plaster ornaments we got half price from Joanne's. It was fun and the results are sweet. We might do some more today.
Friday, December 12th, 2008
4:44 pm
Alice wants a robot
Alice has been bugging me to get her a robot. Yesterday she asked me to let Santa know that she needs a robot. Does anyone have a good robot recommendation? She is not asking for a specific robot as far as I know. She just says she wants a robot.

I found these on Amazon,
http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Gearbotics-Robot-Motorized/dp/B00004WGJS/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1229128333&sr=1-13

http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Gears-Wacky-Wigglers/dp/B0009K6K8W/ref=pd_sbs_t_3

http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Educational-Science-Kit-Robot/dp/B000RN6CDO/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1229128333&sr=1-8

http://www.amazon.com/Sourcing-Network-Sales-8039-Robotics/dp/B000OF50M4/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1229128333&sr=1-4

They all look cool to me and there were lots more too. Any one have experience with robots?
Thursday, December 11th, 2008
11:02 pm
Pretty little Xmas tree
Alice and I found a nice little tree at Home Depot for $30, It's a noble fir about 5' tall and light enough that I could set it up myself. I've got it in the stand which was too big for it so I had to wedge legos in there to keep it upright. I've got the lights on it. Now Alice and I have to make ornaments for it. I got some unfinished decorations to paint at Joane's along with some glitter paint and other stuff likely to appeal to a small child. It should be fun.

All of my usual ornaments are in my parents attic because I assumed we would be doing this there this year, oops. They will bring them over when they come for Xmas and then we can do some more decorating.

I think I love my little tree. It is tiny compared to the one we lucked into last year but it is so much easier to move around.
2:38 pm
Good deals on Chrismas trees in Seattle?
Does anyone have any suggestions for a good place to get an inexpensive tree in Seattle, preferably not too far from Fremont? I'm looking for something small to medium sized. Has anyone found any good deals out there?

Thanks.
Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
10:04 am
Off to find a replacement monitor
I called Office Max about my monitor. They said that since I did not buy the extended coverage I am screwed. That is kind of what I thought they would say. I will not be going there to get my new monitor. I think I will go to Costco instead. They have a good return policy.

Anyone have any ideas on how I can aviod having my monitors die so frequently? I think they are shorting out. They are plugged into a surge suppressing power strip and all that. Is there something about my computer that might be shorting them out? Is it just coincidence that I have had this happen twice within a year? I don't want to sacrifice another one if it is just going to short out too.
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
10:08 pm
Suckage
The monitor on my desk top machine is dead. It is a Samsung that I bought just a few months ago. What is up with my computer blowing monitors?
Friday, December 5th, 2008
12:34 pm
Don't you think Pres. Bush has taken enough pre-emptive action?
I have sent my letter. If you agree that it would be wrong for these people to receive pardons before they have even been charged with a crime, please send yours too.

***************************************
In America, no one is above the law:
Speak out against pre-emptive pardons and restore the American values
of justice and due process.
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=Re7dOQ9PKnSIFi4piTY2Vw..
***************************************
Dear ACLU Supporter,

There's a real risk that President Bush may issue pardons to a
number of high-ranking Administration officials for any activities
related to torture, extraordinary rendition and other abuses.

That's right. Even before they're charged with a crime,
Bush has the power to prevent any criminal investigation into the
activities of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Gonzales and others whose
behavior raises serious questions.

Send a message to President Bush telling him you oppose preemptive
pardons for torture.
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=SBj30spnjYlsXOn-Ub7AlA..

We must make it clear that preemptive pardons aimed at letting
high-ranking officials escape accountability for undermining the
Constitution and violating the law go against American values of
justice and due process.

Today, the ACLU is urging concerned people all across the country to
speak out against these pardons. Americans -- and the world -- have a
right to know the truth about torture and other abuses carried out in
our name.

Tell President Bush: you oppose preemptive pardons for torture.
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=wXJQeXNDnvJEtEnAWuEwPA..

This weekend, both The New York Times and The Washington Post issued
powerful editorials calling on President Bush to resist taking this
inflammatory action. We need you to do the same.

As the Post put it, "no country should be in the business of
concealing its history." We should be getting at the truth, not
excusing those involved in shameless acts.

So, in a preemptive campaign of our own, the ACLU is urging people all
across the country to tell President Bush that you won't stand
for preemptive pardons for people who were involved in torture,
illegal detention, and other abuses.

Take action: Tell President Bush you oppose preemptive pardons for
torture.
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=Ny5_B4CJDvw5VQ-vaYDnjg..

In its editorial, The New York Times made the case clearly:

"The Bush administration distorted statutes and case law to legally
justify interrogation techniques that had long been considered torture
under domestic and international law. It relied on sloppy or
aggressive legal analysis as a basis for evading judicial review of a
warrantless wiretapping program. It has at every turn chosen the most
expansive interpretation of the law to rationalize indefinite
detentions and deny federal court review to those in custody. It has,
in short, determined its preferred course of action first and then
stitched together absurd readings of the law to defend those
choices."The last thing America needs as we set out to restore the
rule of law and repair America's reputation in the world is a
last-ditch Bush effort to pardon those who guided our country so far
off course.

Please act now. Help the ACLU raise a powerful wave of protest
expressing outrage that pardons by President Bush are even under
consideration.
http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=4fN82cejtHjNH65FYhB2bQ..

Sincerely,


Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director
ACLU

P.S. Pardons could happen at any time. We need as many people as
possible to take part in this effort as quickly as possible. Please
forward this email far and wide.

© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004
Saturday, November 29th, 2008
11:50 am
Xlear = Miracle Sinus Cure!
For several years now I have developed a sinus infection every fall. For most of November I had a nasty sinus infection and it was just getting worse. On Tuesday I broke down and got some Zithromax from my doctor but I really did not want to take it because whenever I take antibiotics my whole system gets overrun with yeast. Then I have to take a month of Diflucan and tons of pro-biotics to get things working right again.

Before I started the Z-pack I stopped at Super Supplements to pick up some Vitamin D and on a whim I asked the clerk if they had anything for a sinus infection. She recommended this nasal spray called Xlear (Clear but with an X). It contains xylitol, which is good for sinus infections as well as for dental problems. I decided it was worth a try before condemning myself to 6 months of third world belly.

My sinus symptoms got better within about an hour of my first use of Xlear and by the next day (Thanksgiving) I was all better. I love this stuff!
Friday, November 14th, 2008
4:18 pm
Hi
I've been in a really introverted phase and haven't checked in here in a long time. I think I am back now so I just wanted to say "hi."
Monday, August 4th, 2008
10:45 am
For first time home buyers
The new housing bill includes a first time buyer tax credit that is available through June 2009. It is a little complicated and is also available to those who have owned a home in the past but not within the last 3 years.

Couples can get up to $7500. One thing to be aware of is that it does have to be paid back over time. Basically the government is offering an interest free loan to first time home buyer or buyers re-entering the market after an absence of at least 3 years.

It could be very useful for some buyers. Here is the link to the government site about it: http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/
Tuesday, July 8th, 2008
2:39 pm
My take on the May Market Stats,
I just got a copy of the real estate sales statistics for May as well as year to date for King County and it is very interesting because what I am seeing is that although prices have only dropped slightly between May 2007 and May 2008 and not at all in the YTD comparison, the number of sales has dropped significantly.




I hope this is legible but I suspect it will post too small to read. The bottom line is that the number of sales for the month of May dropped 43% in 2008 compared to the number of sales in May 2007.

I think people have been hesitant to buy because they have been hit with so much media focus on falling prices but most of those articles are not really talking about our market. They tend to focus on the more newsworthy areas like Florida and California and Las Vegas, where prices really have dropped significantly. If they mention Seattle it is usually to say that our market is one of the few that has not seen huge price drops.

I'm not saying it's not a buyer's market here, because this is the best market we've seen for buyers in many years. Sellers are much more willing to be flexible and there are more homes to choose from. It's a great time to buy. I am just saying our market really is pretty strong compared to the rest of the country and I think it will stay that way. Hopefully as people realize this they will be more comfortable buying a home or an investment property and we will see the number of transactions come back up to more typical levels.

With luck, I will be the one to handle some of those transactions! I am throwing my whole heart into real estate. Brian has agreed to watch Alice while I work on the weekend now that she is older and easier to deal with. This has removed the biggest obstacle to getting my business back up and busy. I've been doing open houses and it does feel like the market is starting to pick up.

I am also looking into a total revamp of my website which is now more than a dozen years old. I built it myself and it was pretty nice back in the day. For a while it was one of very few Seattle real estate websites out there so I got lots of hits and plenty of business from it. Nowadays it looks pretty sad compared to all the fancy professionally designed sites agents are buying. The lovely Naomi has offered to help me in this venture and I am pretty excited by the things she has shown me so far. It will probably use something like wordpress which means there will certainly be a real estate blog component to it. I guess I am sort of trying that out here today.
Sunday, July 6th, 2008
12:38 am
Cats don't like Flagyl
My cat, Bubbles, is sick. She has some sort of bacterial overgrowth in her gut so I have to give her Flagyl twice a day. I have taken Flagyl myself and there is nothing in the world that tastes so foul, with the possible exception of hydrogen peroxide.

Bubbles just put up quite a fight and even though I managed to get the stuff into her it didn't end there. She is now foaming at the mouth but she is too angry with me to let me clean her up. I mentioned the foaming to the vet and his response was "Yeah, it tastes really bad." So I guess foaming is par for the course. Tonight she managed to draw blood from both my hand and my leg so I think her strength is returning. Yay, I think. Ouch.
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