Wednesday, September 30, 2009

House Update

So, it's been almost a month since we put our house on the market. Curious about how it's going? Well, I'll fill you in.

Since we listed, we've had 11 prospective buyers come by. According to our agent, that's rather impressive traffic (especially considering the economy)! When asked for additional comments in the home feedback, we received compliments on the kitchen, deck and main bathroom. Two potential buyers even listed us as their second choice. Visitors ranked mostly "well maintained" for the interior and a mix of "well maintained" and "average" for the exterior. That's fair.

On the flip side, potential buyers have dinged us points for some things we really can't control that much: not having two full baths (we have one and a half), the look of our street (there are two houses that aren't as well kept as the rest of the street) and the slope in the yard. We told the one potential buyer who didn't care for the open cabinets that we did indeed have the cabinet doors in storage and could put them back on. 

Here's the feedback summary (click to enlarge):

Because our comfortable "yes, we'll take it" price is lower than where we originally listed the house, we're going to reduce the price slightly and see what happens. This new price point appears to be comparable with the under contract homes in the area with similar comps to urs. As most of you know, it would be nice to move into an apartment to save more money for our future home, but it's nice to know we're not being forced  to lower our price to a point we're uncomfortable with.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mamma Sake Bomb

Here is my awesome mom doing a sake bomb last weekend. To be fair, she doesn't drink much or often — but she handled her sake bomb like a pro.

(Not sure how to rotate the video without some software that I don't have... booo!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moms are People, too!

My mother asked for a super easy birthday present this year: to spend time with her kids.

She headed up to Atlanta on Friday for a weekend of fun. We did it all! Shopping Ross and TJ Maxx-style, eating, singing karaoke, watching football, loving on Roxxi, tasting pumpkin-flavored beers and more.

These photos pretty much sum up the weekend:

Roxxi gets some love. (She's cone free now, btw.)

Dan and the most fun mom on the face of the planet.


Mr. Ru San's waiter, you want me to WHAT?

Dance on my chair? Oh, okay, cool.

Coy Anna.

Bailamos! Let the rhythm take you over, bailamos!

Miss Independent...

"You're beautiful... so beautiful... it's true..."

Good times!

Happy birthday, Mom! You're so fun and always a pleasure to spend time with. 

(Paul, I'm sorry I didn't take any photos Friday night! Sad face. If you're lucky, I'll post a video of mom's sake bomb)

Nadine's baby shower!

I put on my baby shower hosting shoes for the second time this year — and I think the event went well! I feel so... domestic?

Friends Kirsten, Sally, Ann and I threw a little luncheon soiree for Nadine. Among Nadine's requests were a laid-back atmosphere, nothing too fancy (think the opposite of cucumber sandwiches and crumpets) and nothing too embarrassing. Fair enough! (Oh, and if you see a monkey theme, it's because of a monkey love and jungle nursery theme.)

The agenda:
Nadine clearly enjoyed herself — and the guests brought 'lil forthcoming "Baby Z" some awesome things (bottles, dishwasher baskets, clothes, blankets, booties, socks, toys, books and more).

Here are some photos from the day:

THE diaper cake. Kudos to Kirsten for suggesting 
(I had no idea about these things).

Gorgeous flowers (hydrangeas and daisies mostly)

The hot mama-to-be was okay with us serving drinks of all varieties.


Cohost Ann with friend Karen.

Cute cake for Baby Z.

Karen, Sally and me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Siblings Visits Part 2: Paul/Athens

Continuing my recap of siblings visits this week...

I rolled into Athens around 5:15 Tuesday afternoon. Paul was outside his apartment waiting for me! Eager to show off his more mature digs (Paul lived in The University of Georgia's — mostly freshmen — Creswell Hall last year).

Paul kicks his feet in the air outside his place
(a traditional celebration for posh college apartment living)

As with my Anna/Dahlonega visit, I didn't have much of an agenda for our time together. Paul suggested something fun: doing a scenic driving tour of all the places I lived when I went to UGA. Paul visited me in almost each place but didn't have a point of reference before. Way fun!

We didn't feel the need to swing by Russell Hall (a freshmen dorm up the hill from Paul's 2008-2009 residence), but here's a picture of it anyway. Six East, represent!

Russell is home to UGA 1,000-ish co-eds every year.

Paul LOVES the tour.

And the rest of my humble abodes:

Sophomore year part 1 (left halfway through the year for a 
killer house I couldn't pass up renting): Riverbend 
(aka "super crappy and super cheap") Apartments

Sophomore part 2: cool Gaines School Road house with three lady roomies

Junior year: Pineview townhouse with four other gals

Senior year with crazy Katie (East side house - three bedrooms)

Each dwelling was, of course, accompanied by stories of crazy roommates, big parties, friends and other momentous occasions. Maybe I'll recap some of those stories sometime... (Paul, please don't repeat some of those stories!) This fat girl also gave her brother the inside scoop on her favorite restaurants and other hot spots (word up to Five Star Day, DePalma's, Taco Stand, Peppino's and Gyro Wrap). 

All that talk of food got us thinking about dinner. Even though Paul's been doing a great job of food shopping for himself, we thought a departure from all those Lean Cuisines and sandwiches was in order. We decided on lemon, butter and caper tilapia with wild rice and broiled asparagus as our sides. There may or may not have been a little cabernet, pinot grigio and ice cream involved as well. 

One stop (sorry, Anna, we got twist-off wine bottles) at Kroger and we were ready to rock.

No wine glasses? It's just as classy in a UGA tumbler!

Just a little flour here and there.

Mmm. Asparagus with salt, pepper and a smidge of oil (broiled for 16-ish minutes) 
along with our tilapia and long-grain wild rice.
Despite the messes created by the flour and fresh lemon juice, we deemed the meal a success. (If you're interested in making Julia's delicious and light tilapia recipe, see the end of this post.)

Bravo reality TV obsession and ice cream eating are in our genes. We dedicated a mere 2.5 hours to Jeff Lewis and his OCD craziness on "Flipping Out" while chewing on some Edy's chocolate yogurt with brownie swirl. My love is still for Zoila though.

While there are no photos to document it (sadness!), we rounded out our visit with a nice Mama's Boy breakfast with my long-time friend Kate. She filled us in on life, her position with a citizen's advocacy group and other fun Athens things. 

Thanks for letting me visit!

Lemon Caper Tilapia
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon drained brine-packed green peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or more if it looks like the fish may start to stick)
  • 4 tilapia filets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Lemon slices (optional)

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. While butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and black pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess flour.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until butter turns golden brown. Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fillets from pan. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in two teaspoons of butter with a whisk. Serve sauce over fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Siblings Visits Part 1: Anna/Dahlonega

I feel like this is a Paul Beck-style post. See Paul's diary/blog here.

I decided it would be fun to have a weeknight slumber parties with my sister Anna and brother, Paul. Anna is a senior at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, and Paul is a sophomore at The University of Georgia in Athens.

(Oh, I'm starting a new job on Monday, which was the reason for my tour de siblings)

Dahlonega was my first stop. I met Anna at her apartment upon her return from student teaching. Since I didn't have a specific agenda for the visit (other than spending time together), we sat for a while and brainstormed our options.

This is Anna. Look how excited she is to hang out with me.

After much deliberation (and much watching of Bravo), we decided cooking at Anna's apartment would be more fun than going out somewhere. Adding to our decision was the fact that Anna needed to do grocery shopping anyway. We settled on this recipe for Asian lettuce cups, though we decided to improvise slightly by using cashews instead of water chestnuts — and adding carrots. We also added eggrolls and edamame to the shopping list. Mmmm.

Shopping at Super Wal-Mart in Dahlonega was as exciting as ever. I think we spotted a few mountain people and friends of Anna's (okay, those are two separate categories of people) during our "low prices" voyage. 

Fun at Super-Walmart (THE hot spot in Dahlonega)

After unpacking nearly $100 worth of groceries and making a second trip to Wal-Mart for something we forgot (whoops, Anna!), we were in business. Chopping, dicing, slicing, sauteing and mixing was tons of fun. The final result included the chicken mixture (seasoned with a special sauce), cut iceberg lettuce and two topping sauces (one spicy and one sweet/sour).

Yum-o! (Just kidding, Anna. I know you hate Rachael Ray)

Lots of special sauce(s)

The finished plate (Anna even set the table!)

The rest of the night was lots of fun, too. We went by the library for a bit, played a little dress up, watched more Bravo (love the Rachel Zoe Project) and talked about fun fashion blogs.

With Anna off to student teach again, I spent much of Tuesday catching up on e-mails and reading Water for Elephants. It was good to see Anna for a few minutes before I jetted off to Athens. We concluded our visit with an errand: Anna needed to pick up some donuts from a sorority sister for a fundraiser. She's quite the salesperson; within five minutes, she'd sold a dozen to a neighbor and a dozen (via phone) to Paul.

(Spotted on the sidewalk) Ouch. Apparently someone didn't 
REALLY want all of their donuts, Anna.

Tomorrow's post: visiting Paul in Athens!

The Patient is Home from the Hospital

We're proud of our little girl. She took her surgery like a champ and is now home recovering.

Just over a month ago, Roxxi was playing in the yard and suddenly let out a painful yipe. For the next several days, she put minimal weight on her left hind leg — and it only got worse. Dan's online research quickly pointed to the canine equivalent of an ACL tear (a cranial cruciate ligament tear).

The prognosis was confirmed a few hundred dollars of exams, x-rays and blood work later. Our vet (Dr. Katz at North DeKalb Vet Clinic) shared a few different repair options with us, the mostly highly recommended of which being the TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy). This surgery is supposed to be better for big dogs and for its shorter recovery time and lower risk of a second repair surgery. Dr. Katz told us the surgery would run about $2,200. To us, having a healthy and active dog (versus a forever limping one) made the surgery worth it. (note: the best-priced surgery was $2,800 because of our dog's size.)

After getting a second opinion with Dr. Becky Teal of Tri County Animal Hospital in Cumming (loved her!) and shopping around local orthopedic surgeons for quality and price, we settled onNorthlake Vet Surgery (located in Clarkston). We felt like we were in good hands with Dr. Corse, an experienced and friendly animal ortho doctor/surgeon. Dr. Corse assured us they would take care of Roxxi, and that we could come back for follow-up appointments as much as we wanted (any and all follow-ups are included in the surgery fee).

Roxxi went under the knife yesterday mid-afternoon. Surgery and her subsequent overnight stay went well. When Dan picked her up this morning, the vet's assistants said she may not be hungry. Wrong. Roxxi always can find her appetite. 

She's resting now, trying to embrace her interesting new haircut. In about 12 weeks or so, we hope our sweet Roxxi will be skipping, jumping and playing like new.

Where to Pee and Poo

Caught on a road trip with the unstoppable urge to go? Concerned about the quality of the places you'll stop to relieve yourself?

Just in time for TMI Thursday, I introduce to you the "Sit or Squat" iPhone and blackberry app (thanks for the heads up on this, Mom). Sit or Squat helps you locate [a decent] restroom anywhere in the world.

If you're in a rural area, I'd recommend BYOBing hand sanitizer just in case...

Admitting you need to make a potty pitstop: angry grumblings from significant other
Price of downloading app: none (sponsored by Charmin)
Knowing you won't be tinkling in your seat: priceless

(this post was brought to you by LiLu's always wild and crazy TMI Thursdays)

TMI Thursday

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Word Debate (busybody: what does it mean to you?)

Time for a vocabulary discussion.

The word: busybody.

The situation: in the past few months, I've heard the word used differently than what I understood it to mean. I grew up thinking that a busybody was nearly a synonym for someone who is nosey — or the neighborhood gossiper.

This differs from what I've heard lately from acquaintances, friends and strangers. Their usage seems to be more a literal translation of the words, say, "one who keeps their body busy — or rarely stays idle." (Used in a sentence: When Mr. Smith sold the classic car he restored, I doubted he would give up the hobby because he's always been a busybody.)

(See what the Free Online Dictionary has to say about the word here.)

Discussion: is our generation changing the definition of this word? It's happened with other words so it could happen again. Wikipedia tells me that the evolution of word usage — usually to the point that the modern meaning is radically different from the original usage" is called semantic change. 

Here's a semantic change example from Wikipedia. "Egregious originally described something that was remarkably good. The word is from the Latin egregius (outstanding) which is from e-, ex- (out of) + greg- or grex (flock). Now it means something that is remarkably bad or flagrant."

What do you think "busybody" means? Or what words irk you to hear used incorrectly?

p.s. I do enjoy English, grammar and general semantics but by no means always choose my words correctly...

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Strange Man in my Backyard

To my surprise, shock and dismay, I just saw a strange man walking around in my backyard (specifically on our deck). I almost peed in my pants and collapsed into the floor. When he realized that I found him, he turned his back to me, flashing letters that spelled "METER READER."


But I'm pretty sure he's scared, too. Here's the monster he saw staring back at him from the darkness of my cave:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Blog Category: Wines Under $10 That Don't Suck

Introducing a new category for my blog: Wines under $10 that don't suck. 

I'm no sommelier, or even someone who can give a coherent review about wine that uses the right terminology — so I'll leave the real reviews more for the experts — but I can tell you if I do or don't like something I've tasted. (In the meantime, I'll try and work on my wine-describing skillset...)

Enter Beaulieu Vineyard California BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 ... A tasting note on Scrugy tells us this about the red:

Color: Ruby Nose: Very fruity, with black and Bing cherry, followed by some fresh herbal notes. Palate: Medium-full and while not complex, has very good "quaffer" characteristics of tasty red fruit with some brambly blackberry underneath.

BV is a rather widely-carried wine. I found it at my local grocer for $7.19.