Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Car Buying Adventure

Today, I bought a new car. Well, at least I negotiated over the phone with the dealer on a price for a new car, which will be available sometime in the next two weeks. The guy I was dealing with pulled every trick in the book. Here are the statements and actions I experienced over the 2 day period of negotiation:

"We have one coming in tomorrow that was ordered for another couple, but they have decided that they don't want to buy it right now".

When I called to negotiate the price, he told me he was with a customer and would call me back in about 1 hour. It was 1.75 hours when he called back.

I give my price, slightly over invoice. "Oh, no, invoice is not that. Edmunds and KBB don't know what the real invoice is, they don't sell cars".

New price from him, $500 below MSRP. I suggest another price, $500 above the new invoice he indicated.

"I need to call my manager to check on this price".

Sound of phone conversation, with barely audible conversation, but little tidbits about "She wants this, well, yes, I don't know, really?" Comes back with a price $600 below MSRP.

"I have to get to another appointment". (sense of urgency)

I suggest another price, a little more above invoice.

Another phone conversation with his manager.

Then, he comes back with a price that was $50 lower than what I had suggested, so I took that. Funny, the whole thing. DH thinks I should have negotiated a set of floor mats, but I was done by then.

Oh, and the car is still on a boat somewhere, due to land any moment at the port. Delivery in about 10 days. Coming in tomorrow, eh? ;-)

Starting a G-List

Not that this will come as a surprise, but there are other Gudruns out there in blog land! I have found a couple:

Gudrun P

Gudrun in Manchester, UK

Gudrun Blogga

Gudrun's Schmunzel-Blog

There has to be more out there, maybe I should start a G-List, like the even popular T-List of Travel Blogs. Anyone with the name Gudrun can add themselves to the list and we could create a big web of Gudruns. This idea probably does not make sense to you if your name is more common, but frankly, as a Gudrun in the middle of California, my name is a bit of an oddity. So, to all the Gudruns out there, let's unite!

Friday, December 14, 2007


From Little A the other day:

"I cannot wait to get married when I am older, but I don't want to kiss on the lips".

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I won, I won: SVMoms Makeover

I am so excited, Beth from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog just told me I won the Makeover Contest. I am so thrilled I cannot even stand it. For the real announcement, check this out. Prizes include:

A transformation facial and classic massage at Thermae Day Spa and Salon.

A hip and stylish outfit from Calla Clothing, along with a pair of shoes from Calla Kicks.

Stylish haircut, manicure and makeup from 1258 Hair Studio.

3 month individual membership and two personal training sessions from Fitness 101.

And, a romantic dinner for two at a swanky Menlo Park restaurant....

This is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in a long time (well, the birth of my kids might have been a little more exciting!) I cannot wait to get started, although I hope I will have a month or so of working out before I get my new outfit from Calla!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Here Comes Another Bubble - The Richter Scales

Hysterical, especially the part about blogging everything!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Candle Making for Gifts

After reading an interesting post on Boogiemum about candle making, I finally found the time to do the same project with Little A. I was a little nervous, as I have not made candles before, but it actually turned out to be much easier than I anticipated, mostly because the directions on Boogiemum were so clear and she included pictures.

I started with a pound of Parowax Household wax, which I cut up with my chocolate fork and dumped into an old coffee can. I put this can into another pan that was filled with about 3 inches of water, making a double boiler of sorts. Over medium-low heat, the wax melted. When it was almost done, Little A threw in a green crayon that she had broken up. At the same time, I added some bits from a broken green candle that I found in the candle drawer. Turns out it was a nice candle from Australia, so it provided some lovely fragrance.

After all the wax and crayon bits and broken candle were melted, I poured 1/2 an inch of wax into my mold (an empty fake-o egg container) and nestled in the top of a taper that I purchased on sale at Longs. Then I added a cup full of ice, and more hot wax almost to the top of the taper. Then I let it cool for an hour.

Since I had some melted wax leftover, I also filled a couple silicon muffin cups, adding wicks that I salvaged from the broken candle.

We repeated the whole process again with red crayons and our final result is very Christmassy. I plan to package a red and green candle together for each recipient.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Advent Calendars for everyone!

When I was a kid, we had an au pair for a year from Switzerland, and she made us the greatest advent calendars I have ever had. Each day was a different surprise and she made the whole thing by hand. Sadly, she had to return home to take care of her parents, so she was not around another year, but ever since then, I have loved advent calendars. This year is no exception, although for different reasons.

My kids are so motivated by opening the little doors that I can exert all sorts of control over them, which is an awesome thing to have in the morning as we struggle to get ourselves all sorted out and ready to go to school/work. Usually I have to keep reminding them, threatening them with timeouts, pushing, pushing, pushing until we finally get out the door. This morning, all I said was that everything had to be done before they opened their advent calendars - get dressed, eat breakfast, practice piano, brush teeth, wash face, brush hair, make bed, put on socks/shoes, feed the dog, and turn out the lights in their room. It is 8:15am and both kids are ready to go to school and we don't even have to leave for 15 minutes! This is going to be a great month!

Picture courtesy of Tim Bartel

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tamale making update

For my zillions of readers who have been worrying themselves sick over my post from Thursday, I wanted to provide a follow up after my Cookie Exchange and Tamale Making Party. In short, it went great. Here are the details....

Yesterday and this morning, I worked pretty hard. I had a great experience at Chavez Market, where I was able to pick up the masa, corn husks, pork and chicken, as well as some great Mexican crema, fresh salsa and queso fresco. I also visited Trader Joes and Safeway for a couple other things, and got home about 11am. Then I got to cookin'.

I roasted three butternut squashes from my CSA, Two Small Farms (it is not really my CSA, I am just a happy subscriber). To this, I added the queso and white cheddar cheese. I also boiled the crap out of a chicken and once it was cooked, shredded the meat and added some roasted tomatillo salsa that I made this summer (tomatillos also from Two Small Farms).

While this was working, I mixed my cookie dough - I made two different cookies from one master dough, from the One Dough, Fifty Cookies book. The two I chose were Lebkuchen Biscotti and Rugelach Spirals. Last year, I made Walnut Maple Syrup Cookies and Chocolate Dipped Coconut Sticks. All of these have been excellent, I love this book. I would recommend it, you should buy it!

Yesterday afternoon, after The Big Guy returned from his chess tournament (5th place among all 2nd graders!), we went to see the open studio for Mitchell Johnson, an artist friend of ours. While the kids ran around, we viewed his newer pieces from Italy and work he did this fall back east. It was nice to have a break and view someone else's creative work. On the way home, DH suggested a quick stop by the Toyota dealership to check out the colors of the 2008 Prius. Tee hee!

Last night, we had a quick dinner of soup and Hatch Green Chili Bread (from Trader Joes, DH is sooo happy!), and then got to tree decorating. DH did the lights, the kids did the bulk of the ornament hanging and I decorated a separate 3 foot tree with ornaments from my Great Aunt Marie. She sent me her collection last year after she decided she was done having Christmas trees and it is great to be able to display them on a special tree.

This morning, after coffee and newspaper in bed (Sunday morning routine), I got up and got going again. Little A helped me package the cookies into little holiday bags. DH helped me with the Quince Tarte Tatin. I finished cooking the Posole Soup and got the salad ready to go. Also mashed the avocados for guacamole and put the chips out. Then a quick wipe of the counters and I was ready to go.

My guests arrived, I poured Gruet and Italian Sodas while we snacked on the guac and chips. Lunch was nice and relaxed, with great conversation. After our lunch, we proceeded to assemble the tamales which went a little quicker than I thought. Everyone seemed to get into it and many tamales were produced. I steamed mine tonight and we will eat them tomorrow. The one I sampled was pretty tasty!

Four rounds of cleaning the kitchen, and two loads of dishes in the dishwasher, everything is finally cleaned up. We tasted all the cookies tonight and DH and I have picked our favorites (which means they will be squirreled away out of sight of the kids!). Tomorrow I will take all the extras from my baking to work to share the joy. Gosh, I love this party and all the work was worth it, I will continue the tradition next year.....