Tar and Abby

Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm tired, I don't like the food, it is noisy and they are kissing, did I mention I'm tired!!!

My favorite picture from the royal wedding. Little girl on the left. Loves her.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seoul, South Korea

this is where Eldest Son will be for the next 11 days. First of the Ponder children to travel overseas. I know he'll have a wonderful time visiting friends and I'll be glad when he gets home safe and sound.

Dear Author,

There are other ways to refer to a book of poetry other than 'slender volume of poetry'. You could have chosen 'slim volume of poetry'. NO, YOU SHOULDN'T! Honestly you've sold over 400 million books, you can do better...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top Chef Masters - goes on a diet

Interesting challenge - remake the dieters' favorite food. The chef that went home rubbed us all the wrong way here so we were not sad to see him go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

update - this is going to take some time!

Since my original passport is.... somewhere,
not here, not in this universe apparently,
and was issued in 1981 - I have to reapply.
And this is what they want nowadays -

- If you Claim Citizenship through Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents: Submit a Consular Report of Birth (Form FS-240), Certification of Birth (Form DS-1350 or FS-545), or your foreign birth certificate (and official translation if the document is not in English), parents' marriage certificate, proof of your parents' citizenship, and an affidavit showing all of your U.S. citizen parents' periods and places of residence/physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.

oh. my!

I get paranoid and with good reason...

Being born in another country, add 9/11 reactions, add birther hysteria, add TSA up against the wall! activity, add the recent story of a 95 year old man threatened with deportation (like me born in Canada of American parents) - and I get paranoid.

So add in today's news story about possible new passport regulations -

"If you don’t want it to get even harder for a U.S. citizen to get a passport — now required for travel even to Canada or Mexico — you only have until Monday to let the State Department know.

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for:

all addresses since birth; (for me that is about 17)

lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; (At least 10 over 40 years?!?! What if they are dead? Do I have to get a death certificate?)

personal details of all siblings; (I have one alive sibling and one dead sibling, same question applies as previous question.)

mother’s address one year prior to your birth; (Would my elderly parents even remember this; they've had 15 addresses since they got married.)

Please describe the circumstances of your birth including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth.” (If the doctor who delivered me was 50 years old at the time he'd be 105 now...)

any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. (again, my parents are in their 80s. And it was in another country, not the one where I was born.... Will pictures do?)

According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But did tell my kids to collect this kind of stuff now because government NEVER goes back. Remember the temporary income tax? Of course you don't, that was 150 years ago.

On the Zombie news front...

An essential book of childhood.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal wedding and royal swag

Thirty years ago we were riding our bikes around England and staying in campgrounds. Was a great way to get to know England, one mile at a time. Everywhere were heaps of royal wedding swag for Charles and Diana. Since we had bike packs for luggage there wasn't much opportunity to load up. I brought home a Prince of Wales silver necklace, a 100+ year old copy of Shakespeare's plays and a small ceramic half timbered cottage. The Engineer managed to haul home an authentic dart board.

When we got back I got up at 2am to watch the wedding live on The Today Show. It was sad to watch the marriage fall apart. I was watching TV the night Diana died. What a shock. Then the funeral and the poor boys.

I don't have much interest in this wedding. The dress is about the last mystery left. Being a good Project Runway fan I'll take an interest in that. I'll have the coverage on but no way I'm going to be up at anytime other than normal!

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Very nifty map of forestation in the USA.
You can play with the map HERE.
Article on the map HERE.
Note we have so many trees in the PNW they have to color them red.
Note that we live in the big blank spot in Washington. Having grown
up in green to red spots, here and Canada, I'm still getting used to it.

Benefit of The Great Flood

is getting things sorted, tossed, donated and stored. And finding things like The Engineer's Great Grandfather's wallpaper hanging tools. They have languished in a dusty corner since we moved to this house when the twins were 4 and GB just a baby.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Abby says Happy Zombie Ducky Day

They ate ducky's brains and ripped off his wing.
Tar says it tasted rad, dude, now where's that bunny?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Master would like to renegotiate a few things...

Abby thinks our current relations with The Squirrel are too lax.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Great Flood Update

All the fans and de-humidifiers are gone! It. Is. Quiet. No more sleeping in a warm wind tunnel.
Asbestos found in the old flooring (new was put over it) in the upstairs bathroom which will be a hassle as it is a huge operation. Also in the downstairs bedroom popcorn ceiling. We knew that. Estimate will come in next week and then we start on the removal of all downstairs flooring and bathroom floor and ceiling (everything - popcorn, sheet rock, wood). So we get a bit of a break here and will work on stuff we can do.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top Chef Masters

Well, that was an interesting quickfire! Have never been that adventuresome to have tried any of it on purpose... I liked the one chef's technique of providing protein in a jar.
Was not so keen on the twists in the main challenge. I don't think a restaurant could actually operate, legally, with the first one - safety issues and regulations.
Still don't know any names but, at least, know faces!

Mad Scientist Wednesday

This project will make spent fuel safer. A project of the local Mad Scientists.

How can a bad situation get worse?

All materials to be removed from the basement (which is all flooring) is being tested for asbestos.
We already know the ceiling has it. The same guy who replaced one of our ceilings in '09 is the one doing the testing. It is probable all the lino downstairs is also asbestos contaminated. Many more $$$$ signs have been added to this project.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

update and what we found...

GB and I found this in the furnace room. Anybody care to guess what it is?

This did not hurt as much as it looks as we had already planned to rip up this old ratty carpet.

This hurt a lot, this wood floor is only a year old. They sawed it up.

Downstairs is a disaster. All flooring coming up. The sink cabinet is gone. Tons of stuff moved. Garage is stuffed with all the stuff we emptied out of various rooms. Insurance company on standby. First claim in 21 years. We didn't turn in the last flood.

(The top picture is a bag of potatoes, left in the pitch black, for over a year. The Engineer put them in the furnace room. We know not why....)

The Revenge of Abby...

She managed to magic the upstairs toilet. We've been having trouble with the thingy that makes the toilet stop running.
The Engineer has made fixes but.... (I blame Japan - the increased workload and stress is a direct result of their heartbreaking nuclear problems.)
Anyways... the toilet pumped out clean (thankfully) water for over an hour before I caught it. The reason I caught it was because the heat pump started screeching. The whole basement is flooded. The mattress in Eldest's room. Boxes in the furnace room.
The familyroom carpet is soaked. Again (we had a water heater go a couple months ago).
The ceiling in Eldest's room is going to be a goner.
I've got calls into clean up people and furnace/heat pump people.
This one is going to hurt. A lot.
On the plus side Abby stops barking the two times I've asked her this morning.
She's exhausted from having to supervise GB and the shop vac.
Tar just says, 'like wow, just wow, dude.'

Monday, April 18, 2011


I loves these - the peeps dioramas.
Some favorites here.
And the Washington Post contest here.

Abby and I are at WAR

She is now refusing to come in when she has the squirrel spotted.
No more coming to calls, squeakies, whistles, dog whistles.
No more coming to tasty treats. Tar getting a treat. Tar getting multiple
After dragging her barking self into the house a bunch of times yesterday
she had to stay in this morning after the first infraction.
She went to the door and made gagging sounds - like I'M GOING TO THROW UP!!!
Out she went, didn't throw up, started barking her fool head off at the damn squirrel.

This afternoon GB and I went out and bought a noise/buzz collar. Has 10 settings,
two warning versions. It has a remote control. It cost a lot.
And then we bought a bunch of chew bones and toys such as a lime
green squeaky hedgehog, to assuage the guilt.
Total bill over $200.

GB put it together, we read the directions, she is outside now. We are waiting....
The squirrel is waiting.... There is the rumble of thunder..... Tar is waiting...

UPDATE: Squirrel came outside his nest, stuck his fingers in his ears, waggled them, and
stuck out his tongue. Abby barked. As per instructions GB gave her the command, no and quiet,
still barking. Then he pressed the noise option on low. AND SHE STOPPED. And came in the house. The coming in the house may be due to the fact that it is hailing now...

Tarfus Arielus Doofus Stoner Duuuuude Tarzanate

Life is good.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"There's an eagle flying by, carrying a baby!!"

E.B. White is responsible for that line and for the insight into a dog's brain and what they really see.

asparagus harvest

One of the more back-breaking crops grown around here. The fields look like plain dirt and then you see all these people out in them, bending over. They carry sharp, V-shaped knives and that is how they cut the spears, down low to the ground. Local university has been working on a commercial picker for years.

sign of spring

This is marsh marigold, a water plant. Abby ate the one that grew in the shallow part of the pond so I bought another one yesterday and stuck it in a pot of water on the deck table. Try and eat that! Marsh marigold is my favorite pond plant. 39 degrees, cold, rainy, windy but a sign of spring.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

u haz to be quiets

Day of Silence - Seattle version.

I. Hate. To. Vacuum.

Because with puppies it gets SO MUCH HARDER.
First you find all the toys, pick up as much shredded sticks as you can and think, oh, the fluff from disemboweled toys - I can vac that right up.

No. No you can't.

So you have to do surgery to the vacuum on the porch but you can't get the stuff out of the last rigid hose which is packed with the stuff.

You try a bbq skewer. Not working.

You go in search of the two bendy things that The Engineer has. No where to be found. Do you call The Engineer and ask, keep in mind that all communication is monitored for security reasons. 'Dear, where are the bendy things?' I think not.

Then you feel the cord and the four mends where the puppies have chewed on the cord. Hoping that one of them is hot again so you can toss the vacuum in the pond and buy a new one? No such luck. Electrical engineers can mend cords...

I hate to vacuum because, around here, you never just vacuum...

The pond is waking up

Pond from the deck, using camera's zooooom feature.
So far no sign of HRH The Lady Bullfrog. Not sure what Abby will do when confronted with a bullfrog. Tar would ask to lick it I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

too tiny kitchen - Top Chef Masters

Did they do it on purpose? Or did someone not think the challenge through? The kitchen was very small for that many people. Not enough burners, people plating almost sitting on the floor? Still don't know the chefs well enough. Just like the beginning of the regular Top Chef.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Local man spots UFO over the river!!!

Well, of course he did.
They. Have. Come. Back.

Story on the newspaper's site this afternoon. "Last night at 10.30pm the man saw three lights over the river. The lights weren't blinking like an airplane's. They were lined up vertically in a close, tight formation. He watched for about 15 to 20 seconds as they moved west over the river between the two bridges, about 2,000 feet. They were moving down the river. The radar at the airport was shut down for the night...The Communications Center refused to say whether any strange reports came in to the 911 dispatch center Monday night."

Refused to say.....

Now I've seen unidentified flying objects in the sky twice. Three things. Twice. Freaked me out. Totally. You know it is... Different. I am completely ready to believe that they were some kind of experimental airplanes. I hope they were airplanes...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shoes, especially GB's shoes, make the best pillow

Tar in a blurry picture taken via The Engineer's phone. GB provides many opportunities for shoe pillowage.

So... just who accepts PR's award at the Glaad Awards?

Via Blogging Project Runway - Mondo Guerra accepted the award on behalf of the producers for best reality series...... Hmmmm....... A consolation prize? A we're sorry we gave you second place prize? Or a gol-damn were we stupid to give you second place and now we're trying really hard to hitch our series to your star prize?
Taking off my cynical slippers - okay, maybe, you are an extraordinarily brave young man who has conducted himself with good grace throughout the whole affair and for your work with HIV awareness prize. Go Mondo Go!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why Murphy rolls in the muds after a nice baths

According to *the book* (previously mentioned). Murphy rolls in the mud after his nice bath because Murphy knows better. Murphy knows he needs to get back his doggy smells (which he apparently acquires from mud and dirt). If Beth used shampoo then the mission takes on more importance. Even unscented shampoo, doggy or not, has a fragrance to a dog. And if it is lavender and lilac and herbs and sunshine and ocean breezes, well now.... which is probably why GB buys Man Shampoo - which kind of smells like a cross between pine sol and turpentine.

Inside of a Dog

No, Abby hasn't exploded. (Yet...)
My new book - Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. Written with a clear love
of dogs from a scientist's viewpoint.
Just started but we may find some answers to Abby's two dimensional existence.
Will keep you posted.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Dad turned on the sprinklers and we got soaking wet playing in them. Sprinklers are RAD!

Friday, April 8, 2011

playing with the camera

The new camera has arrived and GB and I are playing with it.
This camera is awesome as it can catch Abby morphing between two different worlds.
We found out when she is shaking she is traveling between Earth and The Other Place.
You can see her disappearing there....

math magic

From Twitters -
"Blow your mind! Take the last two digits of the yr you were born -now add the age you will be this yr & the result will be 111 for all"

It works for every member of the Ponder family.
I loves this kind of stuff and my favorite assignment in grad school
was a lesson plan on math magic.
Like all magic it works by misdirection.
We're not talking his age, we're talking how far it is from 1900 to 2011.
Youngest son will be 22 years this year and was born in 1989.
Start at 1900. Add the years to his birth year, 89, add the age he will be this
year, 22 years
that takes us right up to now 89 + 22 = 111.

So you're adding the years between 1900 and 2011, which will always equal 111.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Once again I runs out of energies...

Abby in The Engineer's chair. Tar does not try to sit in this chair. Or mine. But Abby sits in them both.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Reunion and Top Chef Masters

First the reunion show. Lots of funny bits, behind the scenes (which I love) and getting to see my favorites, DaleL, Carla, Fabio. The bit between Elia and TomC over the rather scathing interview she gave was very uncomfortable - anyone see that? And it didn't get resolved.

Then Top Chef Masters, which I hadn't paid enough attention to realize it was premiering tonight. Changes!
A new judge, a new host and a new format!
Just like regular Top Chef - they start as a group and get PPYKAG-ed one at a time. They are playing for more money $250,000 and for charity. In their stew room, which is the kitchen, they get to sit at a table in comfy chairs. I don't know if we are going to get to see them in their jammies in their chef house/apartment. Since some of them are older I hope they put their foot down about that!

I think I'll like this new version of TCM - will get to know folks better. Challenges - quickfire was crazy and the main challenge - wow, they really threw it at them early. I won't say any more in case you didn't catch it - nice thing about Bravo you can always catch up.

This. Is. So. Cool!!!

It is time for Richard Branson to conquer the oceans!!

"Virgin Oceanic is a five-journey proposal, in which they'll hit the Mariana Trench (Pacific), Puerto Rico Trench (Atlantic), Diamantina Trench (Indian), South Sandwich Trench (Southern), and Molloy Deep (Arctic). "They" is Sir Richard Branson (whose cojones can only be measured in cubic miles at this point) and Chris Welsh, an American pilot and explorer. The Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest trench known, and has never been explored."

Full story here.

Why am I on the floor?

Because Tar is on the bed. And he BREATHES. And TWITCHES. And takes up SPACE. And I growl and get crabby about it and huffy about it. So I jumps off the bed and then I have to lay on the floor. There will be punishment for this!

We made the news!

On CNN, no less. Traces of radioactivity in our drinking water.
Not worried about us - but gawd only knows what this will do to Abby and her relationship to sulfur and mayhem.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

chew proof

Yesterday I vacuumed up plastic orange bits, today it was purple bits. Tar is working thru his collection of toys. The best are the rope pull toys, he shreds them into an explosion of fibers but they stay together.

More water

Three times the normal amount coming over a falls located about 45 minutes from here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

my new camera ordered today!

Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Black 14.1 MP 2.7" 230K LCD 4X Optical Zoom 28mm Wide Angle Digital Camera -- whatever the hell that means.

GB picked it out.
When Eldest took photography in school, he used my old 35mm and developed pictures in the darkroom. When GB took photography the teacher had just switched to digital and computers. GB was one of the kids who set the whole lab up for him. He kept GB in that class by making him a teaching assistant.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

golfing is for the ducks

Our mountains are full of snow and now we're getting flooding. Like the duck using the golf hole as an island.

Abby has new way to communicate with her Master

For the first time in her puppyhood The Engineer brought out the 'flame thrower' - a propane gas weed burner. Abby was entranced. She followed him around the backyard, nose to the ground.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I know what our next vet visit is going to be about...

Twice this morning, Abby has come within inches of catching The Squirrel. Once when she raced him to the pine tree and once when he missed the fence and fell to the ground. The Engineer thinks Abby will win any smack down. I think she is going to get her face messed up and require stitches. This is Abby at the base of the tree The Squirrel uses as his first avenue of escape off the deck.

One of the hazards of Dry Side living

Washington isn't all rain and evergreens. Lots of sagebrush and agriculture around here. The dry winter fields make for loverly dust storms. Roads are regularly shut down. I remember not being able to see my neighbor's house across the street. More wind forecast today...!