Tar and Abby

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just Desserts ep 2

The guest judge for this episode was Margaret Braun - and she makes cakes like this!

The first challenge was to make a dessert from lemons (loooove lemon!). Apparently lemon and chocolate are not a good combination (why not?!) but the fellow running for villain tried that (he also ended up in the bottom of the elimination challenge so humble pie was on the menu). Descriptions via Hubert Keller 'Katzie’s lemon crepe ribbons with egg yolk and butter emulsion, Carlos’s citrus soup with sphere yogurt and olive oil powder, and Matthew’s lemon vanilla cream with mint puree and hazelnut sable.' Who knew there were such things as sphere yogurt and olive oil powder?? Thank you google.

The elimination challenge was to take place at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a very modern building, which brought out the most hideous cake designs for all the teams. Each team member made a layer and they were supposed to make some kind of design with the three of them stacked up. They failed. The insides looked, and sounded, delish. A very sweet chef went home, which Daughter pegged at the very beginning id-ing the elimination edit. I don't remember who won - they are still in that all look alike phase except for a few. No descriptions offered of the individual cakes except for Hubert Keller's favorite 'Amanda’s devil’s food cake with raspberry gelee, chocolate butter cream, and praline feuillete.' (Feuillete is a pastry?)

Chef Rebecca managed to break a bone in her hand in an off camera accident at their living quarters. She got it wrapped up (I've noticed a cast later in the previews) and kept on going thus landing her a place in my favorites list.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Hometown girl on Dancing with the Stars. Will have to record and watch. (We get up at 4.30am here so some shows are on past our bedtime!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Design Star - ep 8 - who has the time?!

The contestants were given $2500 to spruce up a tiny living room in a tiny apartment (NYC tiny) and then gave their on camera challenge live on the Nate Berkus show. Don't know who he is but looked him up as an Oprah star and has a syndicated show. One did well, two did poorly and one blew it out of the studio.

Their living rooms, which already had furniture, were all pretty boring and sad. I didn't see $2500 of much of anything in the rooms unless prices in NYC are much higher than the rest of the country.

I just haven't liked any of the rooms this year. And I wonder - so many times they can't finish, they have to make do and it looks like it. Boring is not going to keep viewers. I'd LOVE to see what they can do given sufficient time.

thunders, wind, fires - oh my!

A fast moving lightning storm sparked a bunch of fires here in our corner of the state. At one time the smoke was so thick it obscured the trees next door. One fire was next to The Engineer's nuclear plant. They got it under control and only burned 200 acres. In 2000 we had a fire out there that burned 150,000 acres - you can bet that was on our mind last night.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gardening dog spots tomato recovery!

The tomato is having a second act with application of tomato fertilizer!

Friday, August 26, 2011

David! David! Let me in, pleeease!

Read that, if the subways flood, NYC could be overrun by wet rats!!! I expect to see a post from David with a picture of one on his fire escape.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Project Runway - ep 5 - Bert gives up Biggest Douchenozzle Status!

Bert struggled hard to maintain his DoucheNozzley supremacy but had to hand over his crown to JoshM who added schoolyard bully to the title. I. Was. Appalled. And then to be awarded as a good team leader. WHAT A JOKE!
And, did I see Heidi wear a spangly black jumpsuit with spangly black baggy pants and running shoes?? Tell me I did not see that!
Other random thoughts - the running for some advantage (didn't like it with Chris March), Cecillia sure looked miserable, JoshC is back and still a sweetheart and did well!, next week - ak! children! ak!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Just Desserts - with details (spoilers)

In a move to ratchet up the drama both challenges, quickfire and elimination challenge, are team challenges. The cheftestants don't disappoint. Despite only knowing each other for 20 minutes they manage to bitch, moan and back stab each other on the confession camera.

Quickfire - they took over a soda shop on Santa Monica Pier. They had 30 minutes to make a modern twist on a classic soda fountain dish working in teams. Winning quickfire - 'pickled cherries, chocolate sponge cake and cream'*, runner up - a milkshake with Captain Crunch. Winning team won immunity.

Elimination Challenge - pick a book and be given a fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. One cheftestant from Argentina was all a sea as to what the fairy tales were about. The task was to build a show piece and two desserts for a masquerade party.

Winning was Little Red Riding Hood with a '
bombolini, with the strawberry gel you injected into it' and a 'blackout sponge cake with poached cherries and basil'. Their show piece was not to my taste, soaring and modern with little off kilter chocolate cottage, a sugar va-voom Red and lotus type flowers, a white full face mask dusted with pink. Odd. But the judges thought it verged on fine art.

Losing Team was Hansel and Gretel with a sad show piece. A brown, bare house - wth where was all the gingerbread, the candy, the wicked witch?! The two women on the team were snippy, snooty and mean. The poor fellow stayed out of their way and got blasted for not stepping in and his 'butterscotch brioche with pineapple, sage, and goat cheese mousse' was not foresty. Second dessert was a 'chocolate cloud with milk sorbet, cinnamon cotton candy, and hibiscus seltzer was equally jarring, and the seltzer was sticky sweet and nearly flat'. One of the two fighting women got sent home. Not even close on names - other than Orlando who may be auditioning for season villain, super talent or tallest man there.

*All single ' quotes I lifted from Bravo.

A drinking game for those that can - how many times, on any cooking program, do you hear, "I used a *little* this or that"? You hear this on Project Runway too, a *little* jacket, a *little* bit of lace, *little* black dress.

Previews - someone ends up in a cast. Cheftestants fight and cry and make desserts. Judges love and hate stuff. Some guest judges show up. Gayle is Gayle and boobies and David are you watching?

Top Chef - Just Desserts

starts tonight. :-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

hgtv has a red truck - ep 7

I have not seen this show - HGTVed - but apparently the homeowner gets a lot of rooms made over at once. By *one* designer. These hapless homeowners got six designers.

We liked the master bedroom. Hated the kids' rooms. The familyroom was oddly shaped and kind of a no win situation. Hated the living room. Tolerated the dining room. Thought the foyer was odd, non-functional and the above area was tragic. Do not like houses with soaring ceilings to begin with.

Winner was fine but the two they sent home?? Did not agree. The foyer/nook and kid room with the tragic 'bunkbed/lockerettes' should have gone home. (How long was that little boy going to fit in that tiny space?)

But we think they sent home people they could not envision producing a show with. Both auf'ed designers did not come off well on camera for HGTV for whatever reason.

Remember The Great Flood?

The Great Plumbing Disaster happened on April 18th. All damaged material was taken out and then we waited. And waited. And waited. Lots of different things needed to be ordered. The restoration company and the insurance company went round and round and round and round.
And today we have work starting. Four months we've gotten used to watching where we stepped and moving around various piles. I had time to pack up and move lots of stuff so I know where it is. Right now they are doing the downstairs which isn't too much trouble. The upstairs is going to be a real pain. And the dogs are an added factor. At 115 pounds Tar is enthusiastic and wants to HELP. GB will be back at the end of the week and he will be a big help to have around. This is so much fun! otoh - the house needed updating on flooring and the main bathroom so it is a blessing in a Big disguise.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

it's a new world -

On my twitter feed this evening:

Sultan Al Qassemi
retweeted by eddieizzard

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Abby slows down. It happens.

Been up since 6.30am. Cat Alert!!!!! ALL DOGS ON DECK!!! at 7am. Keeping up the cat patrol because that cat is OUT THERE SOMEPLACE!!! Crashing at 11am.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Make an outifit for Nina. Prepare for your Doom!

Plan B?
The designers had been to Mood, they are cutting fabric, can we start over? Granted dying the fabric saved one designer.
I don't think, I KNOW, I've never been threatened with firing for wearing a non-chic outfit to work. I'd be a total wreck.
Where was Olivier this week? Even Bert couldn't find him when he was sitting right next to him on the sofa.
We're going to miss the aufed one. And congrats to the winner!

Tar Thursday

It's a lot of work being a puppy.

teachers getting ready for school

Not really. Just struck me in many ways. Swat training in an empty school building locally.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nod and Furd are spying on the witch's cottage

I am not an artist but I can draw after a fashion. I need something to draw from. Usually I can find what a need on the interwebz. Not this time. I needed a caldron next to a spell book. I could not find any pictures! So I had to make one. All this stuff is from my kitchen and bookshelves. The Engineer's pile is not in the sketch. Nor did the price tag on the jar top! *If* I like how it turns out I'll post the picture - sketch, water color and pastel pencil.

Resurrection of the tomato plant?

For some reason this summer was not kind to my tomato plant or the pepper I stuck in there. My master gardener friend is appalled. My mother sent me tomato fertilizer. The tiny tomatoes (it is a grape tomato) were beyond delish. So we are attempting to jump start the plant into fall. Most plants here have a revival after we get out of the 80s.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Design Star - ep 6 - guess who was the Bridezilla?

Design a wedding reception! In almost no time!
The bride and groom were sweethearts.
The designers had their bridezilla moments.
And the biggest bridezilla of them all went home!!!
The winner was a good choice and would make a really likeable host.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Abby wants to be a big dog, too.

I found a flower pot to put her bowl in. Raised it nicely for her height. And is cute, too. Don't tell her.

big dog feeding station for Tar

The unit came with two metal bowls. They were too scary to eat from. We finally put up his old bowl on top of the unit and he ate out of that. Abby went right up and drank out of the water side.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Project Runway - spot the decoy! Ep.3

The decoy garment!
I wonder who made it?
Would have been fun!

The challenge - stilt walkers.... but we didn't want costumes.
Does anyone remember the drag queen challenge? The lady wrestlers?

And where the heck did they ever find a bunch of stilt walkers?
Are they all over the place in NYC?
Do these girls make their living as stilt walkers?
That bit of information would have been nice to know!

We have fallen out of love with Bert.
We love Anthony more than ever!
I am serious about adopting him.

Feel so bad for the final bad two.
The one remaining worries me and needs a big hug.

Tar is so big...

that we decided he needed his dish raised. We're going to get a stand at the pet store this weekend. For now the chair is sufficient.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We're so proud!

Forbes has named us the 11th Geekiest city in the country.

" ranks near the top for the highest percentage of geeks, as measured by the number of workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions.

It ranks us as the 11th geekiest city in the nation, just after Seattle at No. 10 -- that's plenty of geekiness but with sunnier weather...

But here, it's more than the numbers considered by Forbes that add to its geeky appeal.

Few other cities in the country name their streets after scientific heroes, chemical elements and subatomic particles.

People live or work on Einstein Avenue, Curie Street, Proton Lane and Mercury Drive.

They buy groceries at Atomic Foods, bowl at Atomic Bowl and drink at Atomic Ale Brewpub and Eatery. Babies are dressed in onsies with the warning symbol for radioactive waste on the backside...

(Our academic teams designed their competition t-shirt around the radioactive theme. Was a best seller!)

While the Forbes article looked only at percentages of workers, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Index of Innovation and Technology puts more statistics to the area's standing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It found that in 2009, there were 32 scientists or engineers for every 1,000 people employed in both counties. That's almost 80 percent more than statewide."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For Maddie - frog decor

American Gothic Frog - hangs in the bathroom

My SIL gave me this frog. He needs arms.

Frog sits with the deck pots.

Matching book ends

Frog pot

And that's it. Surprisingly. Besides the chorus frogs and bullfrogs that come and go in the pond.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Design Star - ep 5 - we've got a trend!

I wonder if she realizes that the other teams seem to get along. And that her partners get along with the other designers?
We think the wrong person went home.
We liked the country kitchen best. My SIL has a country kitchen in a country farm house on a real family farm. The design team needed a heavy duty mud room off the kitchen, a CB radio in the corner, two huge freezers, cows, pigs and chickens outside the door and miles and miles of wheat fields.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Of Ocean Power and video games

This is a really interesting article about current research and testing going on here in WA state regarding turning ocean power into electrical power.

Read thru until the end and you'll find this ---
"researchers from the University of Washington have been using remotely operated vehicles to scope out the rocky ocean bottom...

James Thomson, an oceanographer at the University of Washington's applied physics lab, said researchers had to use robots because humans were allowed to dive only 120 feet. They have discovered currents so strong that they can hear rocks rolling around at the bottom of the ocean. The currents are so forceful that it's even impossible for sediments to settle.

For Thomson, driving the vehicles remotely has been particularly difficult.

"I wasn't allowed to play video games as a kid," he said. "And now it has professional ramifications."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

GB goes to a baseball game.

San Francisco Giants. Looks like a brief moment of summer for SF.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Silence of the Rabbits - Project Runway Ep 2

Is not Olivier reality TV gold?!
"I almost feel emotional..."
We loves him at the Pond.
We keep trying to place his accents.
Abby approved of the challenge.
Tar wants to know what happened to all that dog food.

first sunflower

Actually one of the volunteers that sprouts from sunflower seeds strewn around by the birdies at the bird feeder.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

books, books and more books

Pre-ordered :-) Coming out August 18th. The Dyslexic Advantage.
I live with a family of dyslexics. They ask me how to spell words through the bathroom door. And they are all very, very smart.
But it is hard to be a first grader and not be able to read like your friends. Or a fourth grader. Or a sixth grader. One of my children could not read until age 13. It is very, very rough.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Am I dectecting a pattern here?

Especially when next week's preview was shown... Once again I didn't really like any of the rooms. Which means I have no taste. :-) And again I like the contributions of the same people I liked last week - Karl Sponholtz and Leslie Ezelle. At least I'm consistent.