Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Home Prices Drop, Sales Rise in Seattle

The Seattle Real Estate market has been fairly bullet-proof, until lately, when following the trend across the United States, prices here have also dropped, reports this morning’s Seattle Times. (If you have ever dreamed of having a home in Seattle, even after all my rain photos, now is the time!)

The Associated Press

A real-estate-agents trade group says sales of existing homes rose 3.1 percent in July as buyers snapped up deeply discounted properties.

Stephanie Kuhn — who moved in March from the Seattle area to Orlando, Fla., because of a family emergency — has yet to find a buyer for her Mountlake Terrace condo.

The two-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot condo has been on the market since March but is drawing little interest.

“I can’t buy another house until I sell my house up there,” said Kuhn, 47.

Seattle and Portland, Ore., were among the top 10 metro areas in the nation with the most pronounced drop in home sales last month compared with July 2007, according to The Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report, which analyzed all home sales recorded by all local agents.

The AP-Re/Max home-sales report was one of two released Monday. The second was from the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of existing homes in the West edged higher overall in July, as many buyers took advantage of falling prices in foreclosure-ravaged areas in California, Nevada and elsewhere, both reports show.

About 1.1 million pre-owned houses and condominiums were sold last month in the 13-state region, up almost 1 percent from the same month last year, the Realtors group reported. But the median home price plunged more than 22 percent to $273,200, it said.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, News, Seattle, Shopping, Social Issues | | Leave a comment

Science, Cows and Serendipity

This is from BBC but I first heard this story on National Public Radio.

Scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen were studying naked mole rats and discovered that when they build a nest, the sleeping areas are always south. They wondered if humans also had an unconscious magnetic sensitivity and decided to use GoogleEarth to study how campers set up their tents around the world, but found that it was too difficult to see tents, but they could see cows really well. Since they could see cows, they decided to survey the cows and discovered that MOST of the time, cows face either north or south. Who knew?

Cattle shown to align north-south

By Elizabeth Mitchell
Science reporter, BBC News

Have you ever noticed that herds of grazing animals all face the same way?

Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.

Wild deer also display this behaviour – a phenomenon that has apparently gone unnoticed by herdsmen and hunters for thousands of years.

In the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say the Earth’s magnetic fields may influence the behaviour of these animals.

The Earth can be viewed as a huge magnet, with magnetic north and south situated close to the geographical poles.

Many species – including birds and salmon – are known to use the Earth’s magnetic fields in migration, rather like a natural GPS.

A few studies have shown that some mammals – including bats – also use a “magnetic compass” to help their sense of direction.

Dr Sabine Begall, from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, has mainly studied the magnetic sense of mole rats – African animals that live in underground tunnels.

“We were wondering if larger animals also have this magnetic sense,” she told BBC News.

I don’t know why, but random discoveries like this fascinate me. If you want to read more, you can do so here, at BBC News or here at National Public Radio.

Dont’cha just love these scientists? They figure out things just because they are curious!

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Experiment, GoogleEarth, News, Relationships, Technical Issue, Tools | 7 Comments

Hope in a Bottle

Holy Smokes, I notice I am just about out of my trade-mark Smog eye shadow, totally unavailable even in the Sephoras in Kuwait and Qatar, but fortunately available in a nearby Sephora here in Seattle. Sparkle introduced me to Smog, and Maui Wowie, by Urban Decay. If you know me, you know how funny that is. The name is so Goth. I am so not.

As I am perusing what else I might need and not even know it until I see it, a very strange man comes into Sephora with a patter and a handful of red, white and pink balloons.

Honestly, I thought he was like a singing telegram, and maybe it was somebody’s birthday, but the gals working in Sephora were sort of brushing him off and his patter was, well, unattractive when not profane. One gal, working on a makeover, was kind but firm, and said good-bye to him and he seemed to take the hint and left. He comes by almost daily, she said.

As I was checking out, I asked the Sephora lady if she had any little samples of face cream, so that when I go back to Kuwait I can put them in my little plastic sack and use them so my face won’t get all dry, and she very graciously gave me several. It wasn’t until I got home that I took a good look and started laughing. In my family, we have always called all face creams “Hope in a Bottle.”

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Beauty, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Seattle, Shopping | 19 Comments