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.

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.


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?

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.
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.

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.

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

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


Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

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

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!


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."

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:

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.

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.