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Friday, January 29, 2010

no worries

I am sane(ish) today.

Was just feeling a little insecure last night. Nothing new.


wingless was still breathing at 2:32 PM - 3 comments

Thursday, January 28, 2010

oh god it shouldn't be this way now

I can't seem to express just how torn I feel over all this. How sometimes I wonder if in the end this is all going to rip me apart. Painful. Tears. Alone. Reminding me of the abject rejection of high school. I don't want this to be it. I pray that maybe here I belong and spouting my crazy isn't going to be seen as unforgiveable.

Maybe someday. I won't feel like this. Shit.


wingless was still breathing at 9:25 PM - 0 comments

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

pursuing vs creating

I have been kind of unusually proactive lately. As you may or may not know, my mother the therapist long ago diagnosed me with (mild) bipolar disorder and this must be one of my hypomanic states.

After the earthquake I felt bombarded by images and pleas, calls to action, I started paying attention when the Christian radio station I listen to (The Message, XM 32) ran ads asking, "Do you pursue happiness or do you create happiness?" And then I saw a Meals on Wheels truck drive by. Stuff like that kept happening until finally I threw my hands up and gave in to the message God was clearly trying to deliver to me - DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE YOU LAZY...

I've felt this way before sure. Like most people with good intentions I periodically will see a cause or some sort of volunteer opportunity and think to myself, I should really do that, and then of course I do nothing. Because it's easier. And I am freaking lazy, probably one of the very laziest people I know when you get right down to it. But I knew that this time, this time, I couldn't let that happen.

And so y'all I am going to be a volunteer reading partner to an elementary school child and my first session is set for next Monday. I haven't reached the full blown commitment stage of things yet (that comes after the initial session when I get to decide once and for all if this is something I want to do) but I feel like I cannot turn away from this. If I do, I will be so very disappointed in myself. I will feel like the fraud I will be, that maybe I already am. I don't want to be that person. Not even if it's just to myself. You, dear internet, are the only other people besides Paul who know of this plan. Of this attempt to help create a little happiness instead of doing stupid crap to make myself temporarily happy (cough, blingy earrings that I did end up buying myself, cough).


wingless was still breathing at 8:38 PM - 0 comments

Monday, January 25, 2010


I was going to write something. I had something to say. About something. But maybe I'll let it wait a bit. I'm tired. And not feeling very eloquent.


wingless was still breathing at 8:57 PM - 0 comments

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

leave it to the frogs...

Sigh. So as you probably know I did a joint master's degree program which involved studying in France and many wonderful French classmates. I loved my time in France and I love my French friends and their families and all the wonderful French people I met. I found that the stereotype of snobby French people was ridiculous and that French people who can speak English LOVE to practice their English.

Which is why I find it particularly distressing that this is coming from French minister in charge of humanitarian relief in Haiti:

Aid organisations and the UN are struggling to get the flood of aid to those who needed it. A French Government minister accused the US of ''occupying'' Haiti after thousands of American troops entered the country to take charge of security and the distribution of aid.

I mean really? Really??? Do you, French dude, really want to go there? With Haiti of all places?

This tragedy has once again become a shining example of American compassion and exceptionalism. Once again America is the biggest presence, donating the most money, volunteers, medicine, food, water...pretty much everything. And that asshat as the gall to accuse us of wanting to "occupy" Haiti? Funny, the Haitian people don't seem to mind our presence there. In fact, they seem to be quite welcoming of the US soldiers and marines who are there, maybe because unlike this douchebag they are smart enough to know that the Americans are there to help.

Ugh. In case you can't tell, I'm pissed.

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wingless was still breathing at 5:37 PM - 0 comments

failures and wishes

Another week, another failed attempt at purchasing our own little piece of California. This time we weren't as deep into the process as with the last one, but somehow this one was a little more disappointing. What happened with the original place you ask? The inspection was an epic fail. Water damage all over the place (things that make your inspector say, "I've been doing this 28 years and I've never seen that before" are, shall we say undesirable). Oh and then there was the whole growhouse thing. No they were not currently growing p0t (that might actually have been a plus, extra income for the mortgage perhaps? heh) but there were clear signs that they had been and our inspector said he couldn't promise that they hadn't royally f*cked up the ventilation and/or electrical systems. That was like the cherry on top though, it really wasn't the worst thing by far.

Do we know how to pick 'em or what?

Anyway, Paul and I decided to donate to a couple of orphanages in Haiti after reading about the good work they're doing there and the dire condition many of them are in right now. God's Littlest Angels and For His Glory which runs Maison des Enfants de Dieu.

I've been doing a lot of research on what the adoption process was like for Haiti (prior to the quake, I'm sure there will be changes or that the program will be put on hold entirely for awhile) and was interested, thought not terribly surprised, to discover that the majority of the orphanages in Haiti are run by faith based organizations. There are actually are no government orphanages in Haiti and because of the nature of the orphanages most will only adopt to Christian or Jewish families. The government seems to have fairly strict marriage requirements (minimum ten years although I've read that they will relax that down to five years on a case by case basis) and they seem to generally want older couples (minimum age 35, but again they do make exceptions down to 27-28). This means that if Paul and I truly do feel called to adopt from Haiti we would most likely have to wait a minimum of 1.5 years (that would be the five year mark for our marriage and we would be 29/30 years old).

For me, I think this is something I'm actually really serious about doing. For Paul? I'm not so sure, but unlike a lot of guys he is open to adoption and I think if my first pregnancy is a hard one he will likely be even more open to it (especially if he doesn't get his boy! yes he's old school like that). From my research it's actually a shorter wait for Haitian boys so that would work in our favor!

I have read that Haitian adoptions even before the quake were long, bureaucratic, filled with needless red tape (more so than other international adoptions) and generally very drawn-out, angst-filled and stressful. It does give me pause but at the same time I think if God is calling us to adopt from Haiti He will make it happen. We have time to pray about this and prepare for it if it really is in our future, funny though I'm actually really frustrated that this isn't something we can get working on NOW (the process takes 2-3 YEARS). Of course, that's highly unrealistic considering we don't even meet the bare minimum marriage/age requirements and the earthquake will undoubtedly put adoptions in Haiti on hold for awhile anyway. I'm just impatient, as usual.

I do have reasons beyond just the earthquake for feeling like perhaps I'm being called to adopt specifically from Haiti but I'll save that for a post of it's own...

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wingless was still breathing at 4:20 PM - 0 comments

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dear God

So we ended up canceling our purchase agreement on the home. A long story for another day.

I'm not really upset over it, a little disappointed but whatever, I'll get over it. The earthquake in Haiti is on my mind and it has put things into perspective - big time. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, water to drink and most importantly, the ones I love are safe. What is going on in Haiti right now is just...unimaginable.

I've been trying not to read about it, watch the constant stream of news, look at the pictures - but I can't help myself. It's not something we should ignore is it? Even if we really, really want to?

I've been reading some blogs of missionaries and other charity workers who were already living in and blogging about their work in Haiti before the quake and their stories are some of the most heartbreaking I've heard. The pictures on this site probably give the best idea of just how extensive the damage is. If this post and this one don't make you cry, you are probably made of stone. This is another great blog of a family of missionaries from Texas basically asking for fervent prayers.

Paul and I have donated through our chosen charity World Vision but it just doesn't feel like enough. It feels like there should be more we can do, but what? I got this crazy thought in my head while watching a 20/20 piece about the orphans in Haiti, I've always thought I might adopt someday, why not from Haiti? Why not right now? As soon as I typed the word "adopting" into my Google searchbar the auto-fill completed my thought for me and "adopting from haiti" quickly popped in, so clearly I'm not the first American to have this idea. After doing a little research I realize that adopting from Haiti may still be in our future, but it's not something that's going to help right now. I guess for now, giving money is still the best we can do. That and, of course, pray.


wingless was still breathing at 10:29 PM - 0 comments

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

commitment phobe

Well internet, it appears there are no shiny objects in my future. However, a home? A home is looking more and more like a possibility.

I am still in my psycho-control-freak state, pouring over every document, searching the internet for inspectors, obsessing over the fact that the bank will not BOW TO MY WILL and give me all the terms I want despite the fact that we are admittedly getting a great deal on this house...

Holy crap.

A house.


Suddenly everything is framed in terms of how my life will change. No more turning off every single electrical appliance so the circuit breaker doesn't go off when I blow dry my hair (good). No more ridiculously indulgent 80 degree thermostat because no matter how warm we keep it in here we never pay more than $20/mo in electricity bills (bad). Both of us being able to fit in the kitchen at the same time (good)! Having an actual commute to the office (very, very bad).

I'm starting to understand all those men I berate when they know they have an awesome lady but they just can't bring themselves to take that final step and pop the question. I am totally That Guy when it comes to buying a home. Paul on the other hand is already happily imagining the window treatments he is going to buy...role reversal much?

I probably shouldn't do this, what with being in the midst of negotiations to sign my life away, but I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine now.


wingless was still breathing at 6:18 PM - 0 comments

Monday, January 04, 2010

shiny objects

If we don't get this house I am totally buying myself a pair of diamond earrings.

Because, whatever. They are sparkly.

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wingless was still breathing at 9:21 PM - 0 comments

Friday, January 01, 2010

maybe you better sit down for this

If I had been standing, my knees would have gone weak when I read this:

Last year, Oakland’s Ad Valorem rate was 1.33% of the tax value of the property. This year, somehow it magically has risen to 1.41%. If anyone understands how this came to be, I’d be very interested in knowing. I was unaware the electorate had passed a bunch of large new taxes.

Um...Okay...If I was completely terrified before, I'm whatever is one notch above that right now. In my last post I wrote:

Oh yeah, and not that people in my current neighborhood aren't liberal (they are, very) but the new neighborhood appears to be full of those hardcore IN YOUR FACE liberals who also have money and are therefore the absolutely most annoying type of liberal there is.

It looks like not only are they generally annoying, they will have the power to cause my wallet a large amount of pain if we do buy this home.

Read the entire thing if you are remotely interested as the author makes excellent points about resale values and why voters who are homeowners might vote to approve these ridiculous taxes.

As an aside, why is it I've never read this guy's blog before? If nothing else comes of this at least I have a new blog to read.

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wingless was still breathing at 11:21 PM - 0 comments

no goals, but a list nonetheless

Today, on the first day of the new year decade, we spent the afternoon driving around what may be our new neighborhood. In a lot of ways it is the polar opposite of what we have now. Suburbia versus urban living. Cityscape versus wooded mountains. 550sqft versus 3,130sqft.

Yes. Three thousand one hundred and thirty square feet. What the hell are we going to do with that much space? I have no clue. We are bursting the seams of our 550sqft studio right now but needless to say we will be doing a lot of furniture shopping if we do end up getting this place.

And in case you were wondering, yes I am still terrified. I know we have a long way to go since our offer hasn't even been presented yet much less accepted and since this is a REO I'm not taking the inspection as a given...I'm just terrified of committing to owning a home. Maybe it's not a rational fear but apparently I am a commitment-phobe (except when it comes to marriage haha).

I think if we found the absolutely perfect place, a home that involved zero compromises then I'd be fine. After all, that's what I got when I married Paul and I had no butterflies about that. But even in the current market, there's no way we can afford everything we want in the areas we're looking in.


  • minimum 2 bedrooms (city), 3 bedrooms (suburbs)
  • minimum 1.5 baths (city), 2 baths (suburbs)
  • a view is preferred
  • parking (non-leased)
  • usable outdoor space (at least enough for a small grill)
  • excellent schools (if in the suburbs)
  • easy access to a supermarket (in the city this means 1/4 mile or less)
  • no walkups on upper levels
  • cat friendly
  • nice updated kitchen/baths (or priced low enough to allow for remodel)
  • no street noise (we are sick of hearing the garbage truck/street cleaner in the middle of the night!)
  • if in the suburbs, easy access to BART and/or short commute into the city (>30min)

  • And I'm probably forgetting about fifteen other things. Let's just say while Paul and I make comfortable living, especially considering we are relatively young, we do not make enough to realistically afford all of that in the neighborhoods we want (North Beach in the city or a school district that's ranked top 50 in the nation in the suburbs).

    This particular home is in an area we haven't given a thought to in the entire two years we've been looking. My mom started to think outside of the box for nice areas that would cut down our commute time in comparison to the suburb we were focusing on and came across this place. With no traffic it's a 20-25 minute commute to the office, the negative being we would have to cross a bridge. But it is close to a BART station so that is an option as well. It's generally considered a wealthy area but has proven not to be resistant to the recession and housing crisis. This is bad, but also good because it means we can actually afford to live there. This house is still at the bottom of the price range for the area and it's towards the top of our price range.

    It's bigger than we wanted. Since we live in a studio we are actually more comfortable with smaller spaces, ideally we thought we'd get something around 1,500-2,000 sqft and this place is double that. While it's not what we ideally wanted, getting more space is not a deal breaker. The downside (besides all the cleaning!) is we would have TONS of room to entertain but the only guest parking would be on the driveway because of how narrow the streets are. I'm also not sure how I feel about maintaining so much house and the cost of heating it. I'm thinking, I don't feel so good about it.

    The house is on a hillside so we are particularly considered about what the inspection might have to say about the foundation. The roof looks like it might be a bit warped so we are curious about that too. And there is some water damage on the second level (it's tri-level) so that is an area of concern as well. From our untrained eyes the house looks solid (we were actually able to see underneath two of the levels because of how it sits on a slope) but what do we know.

    It has nice views from the top level and the view from the bottom two levels are obstructed by the neighbors trees...if we do buy this place we'll probably have to make nice with them and eventually let slip how much we'd *love* to have a view from our kitchen..hint hint.

    What else should I say about this place...

    Everything in the house is new enough and nice enough that it doesn't have to be remodeled (except the floors because of the aforementioned water damage). Although Paul has ideas about changes he wants to make (because, of course he does) he's admitted he can live with everything for good long while before getting serious about any upgrades. Because of the price point of the home (again assuming a relatively clean inspection report) it's not unreasonable to think we can put quite a bit of money into the house and still not come close to over-improving it which is a huge bonus for us since Paul has the remodel bug.

    The elementary school is excellent, the middle school is acceptable and the high school is, well, awful. At least by our standards. We've been told by people in the area that most people send their kids to private schools. This is not ideal since it can have a major impact on the resale value of a home and we both want our kids to go to the best schools possible. BUT we figure high school is at least fifteen or so years away so maybe it's not that big of a concern. As far as resale goes, it seems like the people who buy in that area don't buy for the school district anyway since we've been told that a lot of them actually bypass the public school system altogether, including the excellent elementary schools.

    I think my major hesitation about this home is that it's not in the city, which is a bit schizophrenic on my part since I know I don't want to raise kids in the city, but also, my kids are only figments of my imagination right now so I'm still feeling a bit selfish about what I want versus what my imaginary kids might need. I like being five minutes away from the office. And I like my neighborhood. Sometimes I just look around and think, wow, I live here and I'm amazed.

    Oh yeah, and not that people in my current neighborhood aren't liberal (they are, very) but the new neighborhood appears to be full of those hardcore IN YOUR FACE liberals who also have money and are therefore the absolutely most annoying type of liberal there is.

    I think when it comes to buying a home, part of my trepidation comes from the fact that I really don't know what I really, really want. Do I want to be in the city or do I want to be in the suburbs? I want the best of both worlds! I want the convenience of the city and the convenience of a suburb and realistically? I am being unrealistic. I know. I think I'll probably end up being happy no matter what happens.

    Or at least I hope so.


    wingless was still breathing at 8:17 PM - 6 comments

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