I want it

The Mrs. and I, not yet even 30, have a strong obsession with retirement – specifically with building / renovating a house to our own desires. We’ve moved around so much in the past that we haven’t found the justification to spend the time, effort, and money on major remodels of any house we’ve owned. It just hasn’t been worth it. So instead, we surf the internet looking for land we could build on, but probably won’t buy. We buy books and magazines for architectural / layout / just-plain-neat ideas.

In general we’ll cycle through a low and high period of ‘Dream House’ contemplation every 3-4 months. Every cycle we refine, just a little bit, what features we want and what details we’re willing to sacrifice in order to keep the cost ‘reasonable’. We’re not looking for a 5,000 sqft house with Cape Cod beach front and a helo pad, but as a ‘forever home’ we aren’t exactly going economical in all aspects.

The basic idea is a house in the Northwest with ready access to infrastructure like major airports and Home Depot, preferably Portland. Approximate size of the house is 1,800 to 2,000 sqft. We got those numbers based on the space our current hobbies require and anticipating future growth to those hobbies once we retire (i.e. we MUST have a dedicated library). We’re fans of the Not So Big House concept, but aren’t going to take ‘smaller is better’ to the extreme.  An open floor plan is highly desired.

Just last week while reading the most recent Better Homes and Gardens magazine, we saw an article on a bungalow that sparked a new peak in the Dream Home frenzy. The bungalow was based on a plan created by The Bungalow Company – the name aptly describes what they do. After surfing their site for a while we determined that a) we’re big Arts and Crafts bungalow / cottage fans, and b) we found a plan that matches 80% of what we’ve talked about previously: The Manzanita (Option 1).

It’s bigger than we really want and obviously set up for a household of 4+ (by the time we retire ours will be 2), but we’re sure it can be massaged as necessary. The interior pictures are good – although their photographer needs to figure out how to adjust for windows in every shot so we can see more of the kitchen.

Our favorite details are 1) the laundry upstairs where the bedrooms are, 2) the wall cut-out in the stairs so people descending can see the fireplace in the living room, and 3) the nook in the kitchen that opens into the entry and living room – it looks like a perfect place for grandkids to work on a puzzle / play cards while dinner is being cooked.

So much fun to dream and plan. 🙂


Have a safe, happy, and tasty Thanksgiving everyone!

Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Indeed. Now go watch some football or something. It’s -5F this morning, so all activities are indoor this year for us.

Since it’s soon-to-be-famous (who knew?!), I thought I should post the recipe in case others wanted to taste the yummy goodness. I will admit that we found this particular recipe in a health magazine a couple years ago, so the Mrs. and I can’t take credit. It’s good – and healthy (kinda) – and darned easy to make. If you can boil water then you can make this chutney.

Cranberry Chutney

Soon-to-be-famous Cranberry Chutney

2 c Whole cranberries
1 1/3 c Sugar (not so healthy, but needed else the cran will tart you to death. Turkey can’t save you!)
1 c Dried chopped figs (if unable to find dried figs, we’ve used dried cherries instead. Works well.)
5 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Water
1/2 c Dried cherries
2 tbsp Chopped red onion
1 tbsp White rum (we never seem to have enough when Thanksgiving comes around – blame the Mrs. – and no one has complained when we leave it out. Apple juice can be substituted.)
1/2 tsp Curry powder
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Fresh grated ginger root


  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and cook 18 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Let cool before serving.

Can also be used as garnish on cream cheese dolloped crackers or as condiment on leftover turkey sandwiches.

So Al Gore, who invented the internet, says the earth is warming quickly and we’re on the cusp of passing the point of ecological no return and dying a horrible, hot, death.

Enter stage left: Christopher Monckton, who “…advised Margaret Thatcher, FRS, on scientific scams and scares”, lays out how the U.N. has possibly cooked the books regarding the warming trend so many are alarmed about.  Specifically, “…the UN had minimised the sun’s role in changing past and present climate, persisted in proven errors and used unsound data, questionable graphs and meretricious maths to exaggerate future warming threefold.”  Wow.  Not holding much back, is he?  [Note to self: I’ve got to add meretricious maths to the next performance report I write.]

Not content with that, he then lambastes the proposed solution of spending 1% of the world’s GDP in order to “avert disaster”.  The likely outcome?  “They are also coy about what value our $500 billion a year would buy us. They say that if the world stabilises atmospheric CO2 at about 485 parts per million we’ll have spent 1 per cent of GDP to get – er – a 1.1 per cent fall in consumption.”

Not being an environmental scientist, I can’t really say whether global warming is something to be worried about or not.  I’m convinced it’s real, but I’m not convinced it’s as bad as people think.  Call me a skeptic, but until the models can predict the temperature 5 and 10 years down the road (hasn’t been done yet), then it’ll be more likely I buy into the global warming panic.

I’m all for environmentally friendly buildings, power, cars, and more.  However, I’m for those things because the Mrs. has introduced the concept of ‘frugality’ into my life and I’ve taken a liking to it.  If I can save some money by changing the light-bulbs to LEDs and having an energy efficient house, then maybe she’ll reward my efforts by funding one of these.  Plus, I’m a big fan if independence.  So, being independent of middle-eastern oil is good and being independent of aging U.S. power distribution systems is better.  Go green!