Monday, June 29, 2009

Ugly Door Contest

"If you live in the Portland Metro area and missed his show this week, Handyman Bob (one of my fave contractors, Bob Strong) announced a great contest. If you could really use a make-over on your front door, visit Bob's website, fill out the entry form and upload a picture of your "ugly" door. One of his listeners will be the lucky winner toward the end of the summer.

If you know someone else who could use the make-over more than you, share the opportunity. And, at the same time, let them know about the show and invite them to become a fan of Around the House with Handyman Bob Radio Show

If you'd like to hear about how awesome Bob is, just give me a call. He's tweaked my own front door (which isn't ugly anymore, but it used to be!) and fixed broken drawers, re-caulked the shower, and fixed all the little problems that piled up, but we just never got around to. I'd happily recommend him!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Working from home for a few weeks and getting in some pool time.

*flowers courtesy of Kim
*placemats quilted by Pam

Thanks, all, for all your birthday wishes and fabu goodies...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scenes From The Nines

We spent the night in a hotel in downtown Portland last night. The Nines opened last October in the worst of times. Their occupancy hasn't been what they had hoped, so their prices are really attractive for such an upscale hotel. We decided to take advantage of it, and have a little get-away.

Dinner at Urban Farmer wasn't quite as wonderful as we'd hoped, but the hotel room didn't disappoint, and a night away was a perfect way to end my birthday.

The lobby featured mannequins, big jewels and high heels - fashionable art!

A ninth floor view of The Pioneer Courthouse and Pioneer Square, where we searched for the brick with our name engraved on it, but never found it!

I'd loved the decor - chic & a little bit fru-fru with a crystal chandelier & gold swirls in the wallpaper.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh, the food!

It's been quite the foody week over here at chez Cary.

On Monday, we held a baby shower for a wonderful friend of mine at work. Several people offered to bring things, and the cake made by friend Burdean was unbelievable! A life size pregnant woman's chest and belly! (And so delicious - we had a lot of discussions on where exactly we should make the first cut!)

But being Annette's daughter, I had to make sure there was enough food to go around and then ten times that again...

So I made Ina Garten's sun dried tomato dip, and served it with blanched asparagus, carrots and wavy potato chips. (the pregnant girl is craving salt)

And Martha Stewart's spicy noodles, which we served in small portions in cute little cups (it was a cocktail affair)

And Cooking Light's lettuce wraps, with fresh mint, peanuts, bean sprouts, lime and a garlicky sauce (in the cutest tiny boston lettuce leaves)

And Ter's famous BLT Guacamole with bacon, tomatoes and arugula on top

And Pam's Salted Nut Roll Bars, of which I only had to bring half a pan, so we've been devouring those all week

The guest of honor has a deep and wondrous wine cellar, so her hubby brought in bottles of red, white and champagne...all amazing

And I made a recipe from a Nordstrom cookbook (ha ha, I'm really a good customer) for a watermelon, strawberry lemonade.

While I was at it, I decided to just make a kick-ass meal for us, since Cam had just gotten home from school (and only has one summer class plus one semester to go)

So I made a grilled pork loin in a cumin adobo sauce that was so moist and tasty, and served it with a sauce that just magnified those flavors - so so good I almost fell over. And Ina Garten's jalapeno cheddar cornbread (with TWO sticks of butter in it. Egads, it was so good!) Plus grilled fresh pineapple and red peppers. YUM. I could hardly move after that feast, but I had to do all the cooking for the shower!

Last night Whit popped through town as he was on his way to Olympia for work, so we got to have him for dinner. I had a hankering for bruschetta, so I broiled up some garlicky, olive oily baguettes, topped with my own home grown basil and some fresh tomatoes and just a little bit of red onion, and I then when everybody else was eating their entree, I just had some more bruschetta with fresh mozzarella on top because I'd rather eat bruschetta twice!

A foody week and now it's time to head to the gym. And stay there till about November.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Want to be a Princess?

Portland's Northeast Sacramento Street home to 5 Rose Festival princesses, 1 queen

by Lisa Grace Lednicer, The Oregonian
Friday June 12, 2009, 8:32 PM

Lisa Grace Lednicer/The OregonianRachel Seeman, the current Rose Festival queen, grew up on Northeast Sacramento Street and admired her princess predecessors from the block. She went to Amanda Stutevoss' bridal shower and Leslie Wenzinger's wedding.
Here's a tip for girls who dream of becoming Rose Festival princesses: Tell your parents to move. Specifically, to the 7500 block of Northeast Sacramento Street.

That particular stretch of the Roseway neighborhood has produced five Rose Festival princesses over the years, including last week's queen. All the young women at one time lived within tiara-flinging range of each other.

With that track record, 2009 Queen Rachel Seeman was destined to become part of the Rose Festival court, said her dad, Dan.

"I tell ya, those other princesses are very proud of her," he said.

Throughout Rose Festival history, there have been multi-generational princesses within one family, two sisters who were queens in different years and one girl who was voted junior court queen (back when the festival had a junior court) and then Rose Festival queen a few years later.

Joan Arnold, Madison High princess, 1959
But no one at festival headquarters could think of another instance of multiple princesses from one small block.

"Must be something in the water there, huh?" mused Rich Jarvis, the festival's public relations director. "It's cool for the neighborhood."

The Northeast Sacramento Street dynasty began in 1959, when Joan Arnold was crowned Madison High's princess. Then, after a prolonged dry spell, Amanda Stutevoss was crowned Benson High's princess in 1999. Aubrey Isom was crowned Madison's princess the same year.

In 2000, Leslie Wenzinger was crowned Madison's princess. And this spring, Seeman became Grant High's princess and then queen.

Aubrey Isom, Madison High princess, 1999
"Admiring them growing up, I wanted to be just like them," Seeman said, sitting in a living room crowded with rose bouquets, ribbons and other souvenirs. "They were real to us. They were the girls next door, but they happened to be outstanding individuals."

Note to Portlanders who smell a conspiracy: There is none. This isn't a case of stage mother mania gone amok or festival favoritism. The only edge the girls had was occasional advice on speeches and outfits from princess parents on the block.

The young women describe Northeast Sacramento Street as an unusually friendly place, even by Portland standards. The street overlooks the Rose City Golf Course and most of the homes are 1950s-style ranches, with lush lawns and American flags. Neighbors talk fondly of poker games, potlucks and yearly block parties.

"It's a wonderful place to live and raise children in," said Carrie Moses, the street's unofficial mayor. "It's like living in a small town. People take care of each other and really get to know each other."

Amanda Stutevoss, Benson High princess, 1999
They also tend to stay put. Arnold's mother still lives in the house where she raised her daughter. When Isom's family moved out of their home, the Wenzingers moved in.

Growing up, the princesses formed a tight-knit sorority. Stutevoss and Isom played on the same softball team; Isom and Wenzinger played on the same soccer team.

It was a relief that Isom and Stutevoss went to different high schools because they didn't have to run against each other for princess honors.

"As it turned out, we both got it, and it was fantastic," Stutevoss said. "Aubrey and I had each other, and it was like a security blanket."

And when they won, one little girl took note.

Seeman, 7 at the time, lived across the street from Stutevoss and brought over flowers and a congratulatory card. Her brother, Ross, made Stutevoss a crown out of blue construction paper.

Leslie Wenzinger, Madison High princess, 2000
Last week, when Seeman was named queen, she said she had wanted the title since the year Stutevoss and Isom won.

Recently, another little girl moved to the neighborhood, raising the possibility that the dynasty will continue. "Who knows?" Seeman pondered. "Maybe in 14 years ..."

And in case that fails, there are at least two houses for sale nearby.

Just call me to see my listing... and your daughter might be the next princess!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A homebuyer assistance tool for first-time homebuyers in Portland.

If you know anyone who has never bought a home, here's one more reason why NOW is the time! Especially in Portland, where the PDC offers an amazing credit ON TOP OF the $8000 home buyers credit offered by the Feds. Look at how much they'll save! (and with low home prices, and low interest rates, the time will NEVER be better!)

Housing Services
Mortgage Credit Certificate

A homebuyer assistance tool for first-time homebuyers in Portland.

The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program is for first-time homebuyers in Portland. An MCC provides homebuyers with an annual tax credit, which reduces their federal income taxes owed as long as they keep the loan and continue to occupy the home as their principal residence. The tax credit helps the homebuyer to more comfortably afford the monthly payment on their first home. The amount of the MCC tax credit will equal 20 percent of the annual mortgage interest paid by the homebuyer.

The following example shows how the amount of the MCC will be calculated. The example below assumes the homebuyer gets a 30-year mortgage of $250,000 with a 6.0% annual interest rate. Based on this example the total annual interest payments during the first year of the mortgage would be $15,000. Based on these assumptions here is how much tax credit they would get:

Example of a Mortgage Credit Certificate Calculation

1. Sample Home Loan Amount $250,000
2. Sample Annual Interest Rate 6.0%
3. Total Annual Interest Paid $15,000
4. Mortgage Credit Certificate Rate 20%
5. Annual MCC Amount (Line 3 x Line 4) $3,000
6. Monthly Credit Amount (Line 5 ÷ 12) $250

The amount of the annual tax credit is then deducted from the homebuyer’s total tax liability. If the homebuyer is not able to use the full amount of the MCC tax credit in a particular tax year— it may be carried forward for up to three calendar years. If the homebuyer’s total annual federal taxes is less than the total amount of the MCC, the MCC is most likely not the right program for them. The amount of MCC tax credit differs based on the amount of the homebuyer’s loan, interest rate and term of the loan. Each lender may treat the MCC differently for underwriting purposes and also depending on the type of loan selected. The above example is for educational purposes only and is not an actual offer of credit.

Eligible Homebuyer

First-time homebuyer, which is defined as not having owned a home in the past three years; this requirement is waived if the property is located in a “Target Area”
Annual household income limit is based on family size as follows:1-2 Persons-$70,000 3 or more persons-$80,500
Must meet first mortgage lender’s criteria for underwriting, credit and down payment requirements
Must occupy property as “principal residence” within 60 days of the purchasing the home

Eligible Property
Must be located within the Portland city limits
Must be owner-occupied during the life of the loan
Single-family units only, including condos and town homes
Maximum purchase price - $361,125 city-wide

You must use a participating lender, and Windermere Mortgage is one of them.

If you'd like more information, I'd be happy to speak to you, or put you in touch with Bertha Ferran at Windermere Mortgage.

More on the PDC web page here...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The 3/50 Project: Save Our Shops!

Save Our Shops!

thanks, Nadya, for the link!
Who are your favorites?
Mine are Annie Bloom's Books and Paloma...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Get your $8,000 HUD tax credit now

Get your $8,000 HUD tax credit now

HUD tweaked stimulus tax incentive so first-time home buyers get instant assistance with down payment and closing costs.

NEW YORK ( -- First-time homebuyers will now have access to quick cash to help them with their down payments.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that first-time homebuyers using FHA-approved lenders can now get an advance on the $8,000 tax credit created by the stimulus package and apply it toward their down payments or closing costs.

"We believe this is a real win for everyone," said HUD secretary Shaun Donovan in a speech before the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). "Families will now be able to apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase right away. What we're doing today will not only help these families to purchase their first home but will present an enormous benefit for communities struggling to deal with an oversupply of housing."

As part of the stimulus package, Congress created a refundable first-time homebuyers tax credit in hopes of helping on-the-fence buyers to take the home-purchase plunge. But buyers couldn't collect the $8,000 credit until tax time, rather than at closing time -- when it's needed.

The delay created an obstacle to reigniting the housing market because most first-time buyers -- the ones who would buy much of the available inventory -- have only saved enough to cover 4% of the purchase price, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The mechanics of the new program, according to NAHB economist Robert Dietz, allow lenders to purchase tax credits from the buyers and then collect the rebate from the IRS. Homebuyers must still come up with FHA's mandatory down payment of 3.5% on their own, but they can use the tax credit to lower their principal balance and save on monthly payments.

By Les Christie, staff writer