If you live in the Bay Area, please support this CARDA event…

Hi everyone, I am reposting this for a friend of mine, who is a volunteer with CARDA, a non-profit organization that provides trained search and rescue dog teams to help locate missing people. Her teams have been involved in many searches you have read about (the Sierra LaMar search, the San Bruno fire, etc., etc.) and many more that never made the news. CARDA members own, train, and deploy with their dogs, and absorb nearly all the expenses.


On Saturday, May 5th, 2012 all Pet Food Express stores in the Bay Area and beyond will be hospting the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) for a fundraiser.  All funds raised will go directly to the costs associated with the training and deployment of CARDA Search and Rescue dogs in the search for missing people.  Pet Food Express is donating 100% of any pet wash token sold on May 5th, 2012 to CARDA.  Additionally, Pet Food Express stores will be accepting donations to CARDA at their registers that entire weekend.  Tokens for the self-serve pet washes can be used at any Pet Food Express store with a pet wash (all but two of their 43 stores) and do not have to be used on the day of the event.  The event runs from 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.  Search and Rescue dogs will be at Pet Food Express stores to meet the public.  Additionally, veterinarian Ian Dunbar will be at the Rockridge store from 11:00-3:00.  Author Kaye Hall will be at the Napa store.  Author Leah Waarvik will be at the El Cerrito store in the morning and the Alameda store in the afternoon.

More information about the event can be found on the CARDA website (www.carda.org) and on CARDA’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/CARDA-California-Rescue-Dog-Association/102324023137880  (Please “like” us and share!).

See a clip of our dogs in action!


HO-scale models

Dear Bassa,

Per your request. I made these from scratch. They are made from balsa wood — light and sturdy — and in HO scale (1:87). Some people prefer basswood but it’s a much thicker wood (and therefore a little harder to do.) I just used a fine X-Acto blade and some Elmer’s Glue. My dad loved everything old and classic, including the railroads. He converted his 8-car garage (yup, 8 cars) into a giant model railroad set. He was the “engineer” and I was the “architect”. We built small towns here and there, nestled in the hills and valleys of his twelve train tracks.

I started making model buildings from scratch from a very young age. In the beginning, they were made from cardboard boxes. My window curtains were hand drawn with color pencils. Several years ago when I came home to pack up the house after my dad passed away, I found them in an old box. They had been lugged around several countries and were bent and misshapened, but he still kept them.

Anyway, here are the newer better balsa wood version. I took these photos for you while I wait for the boiling water that I just poured down my drain to unclog the clog that I created….

Which one do you like best?

Boraxo is not Borax

Or, what NOT to do at 12 a.m.

After I nominated wonderful bloggers last night for the Versatile Blogger Award, I decided to unclog my slow-draining drain. I could have waited until this morning, but I thought, “hmmmm, if I pour this stuff down the drain now, it will work its magic by the morning.”

It sure did!

I had read in the “Old Time Cleaners” (short little pamphlet I got with an organic gardening book), that if you pour 1/2 C. of Borax into the drain followed by slowly pouring in 2 C. of boiling water, it would be a sure-fire way of unclogging your drain.

I had gone to Ace Hardware yesterday to purchase some Borax. The nice ladies there said they don’t make Borax anymore, but they do have several big boxes of Boraxo around. So, although there is a picture of a hand (“powdered handsoap”), we both immediately focused on the phrase “safe for all pipes”.

I read the ingredients. Borax, soap, water, sodium chloride, glycerin…seem like all natural ingredients. And I didn’t want something caustic like lye down the drain. So after deliberation, I decided to get Boraxo. Never mind that it’s a gigantic box; I am sure I can use this for other applications.

(As I type this, “get rid of pests without pesticide”, and “DIY cleaning supplies”, and “13 natural rememdies for ant invasion”, pop up on my “Related Articles” panel.)

Anyway, I woke up this morning and my sink is completely clogged up. The Boraxo had turned into a fine gelatinous layer overnight. By gelatinous, I mean it feels like a thick flat jellyfish. I scooped up the whole thing with my bare hands (it did not break apart) and tossed it in the garbage.

Then I spent the next half hour (unsuccessfully) snaking out the drain pipe. It’s still clogged up and I am not sure what to do next. I am convinced that I am not the only person who has done this…please tell me I’m not. But I sure need help. Does anybody know? All suggestions, no matter how silly, are welcomed at this point.

My hands are soft, smooth, and above all, clean — just like the box promised.



Seven Things…

This is the last little bit I needed to do for the Versatile Blogger Award…it’s just taken me a while to complete, work and all…Madeleine is staring at me to go to bed. So, without much further ado, here it is: 

Seven Things About Me:

1) I am an only child. My mom is an only child. My dad was an only child. I have a very short attention span. I am sure it’s a genetic defect.

2) I love learning new things, although I never liked studying much (see #1 above). I mostly enjoy random tidbits, factoids, useless (or useful) trivia, and generally obscure topics of disccusion. “They” say that we only use 10% of our brain. Just think how much more I could learn if I didn’t have to work. Having a career really hindered my brain capacity.

3) I am a civil engineer by training, but really a housewife at heart. If I didn’t have to work for a living, I would expand my brain capacity (see #2 above), cook fabulous meals for my girl, plant a bountiful garden, take the pups on long leisurely walks, bring back the 6:00 p.m. cocktail hour, get back into watercolor and photography and music, build balsa wood structures at HO scale, fix a bunch of things around the house, clean out the garage (again) – well, you get the idea.

4) Along with English and Vietnamese, I am fluent in Catonese and Doganese. Clearly the main reason for this blog, and the only reason Madeleine and Gingersnap! and Beatrice (The Cat) love me. They are full of good stories, but they are very clumsy on the keyboard. I am sure if we had birds or other animals, I could easily pick up a new language. Except for fish. It’s really hard to communicate underwater.

5) I am a compulsive spell-checker. I check everything from the editor’s notes to cereal boxes to restaurant menus. Technical instructions from third-world countries are the best! It pains me when Brian texted me with “I just had the most offal nite”. I wanted to ask if he had liver or kidney. But I refrained. Most people don’t like to be corrected.

6) If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be near a white sandy beach. Some place nice and warm and sunny. I can picture tall palm trees swaying in the breeze, distant afro-cuban music playing from a radio, gentle waves lapping up against the shore. I am in my shorts and t-shirts and flipflops. Or maybe those monkey shoes with the separate toes. Michelle is calling me inside to finish up some chores, but I can’t hear her because I am outside “asleep in the hammock”.

7) Speaking of the tropics, I have an unreasonable and irrational fear of cockroaches, probably developed in early childhood when I saw one crash-landed in my grandmother’s ear while she was napping. In Vietnam, they are round and shiny black. Unless you accidentally step on them. Then they crunch and turn sort of a slimy green. They can also fly and swim. Most of my friends think that I am afraid of spiders — which is true. But I can feel them before I see them, so the element of surprise is eliminated. Cockroaches fly at you out of nowhere. And they get tangled in your hair.


Versatile Blogger Award Rules (part 2)

I got all excited the last time and forgot to post the rules for this Award. (Yes, there are a few rules, but totally worth it!) Here they are, and I hope they’re not in any particular order because I already messed up.

Rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Nominate 15  fellow bloggers.

2. Inform the bloggers of their nomination.

3. Share seven (7) random things about you.

4. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture on your post.

Now I am on to nominating my nominees! Woohoo!




Versatile Blogger Award

Holy Mother of All Cannoli, I have been awarded an Award!! This is the most awesome thing to have ever happened in my blogging career! I am honored and flattered and humbled. I finally logged in today after weeks of being absent. My professional life has been a roller coaster; today was my last day as a City employee. I will be starting anew on my own. Exhilerating and scary all at once.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. In the moment, it’s about the blog! So first, I would like to say “THANK YOU!!!” to Thriving Pessimist who bestowed this lovely award upon me. We share a great many things in common, including similar love interests (both 2- and 4-legged). On a good day, I am as tall in my sneakers as she is in her heels. Haha. 🙂

So, without much further ado (there are rules and all), I want to reserve the rights to roll out some of my nominations later. However, in the spirit of passing on this prestigious award, I would like to nominate the following bloggers:

Dog Island Farm: My new obsession; one of the very best bloggers on urban farming. I have learned a lot from her insight and experience. And Rachel is here in the Bay Area too! Stories abound about goats (including pregnant ones), chickens, roosters, slugs, composting, seeds, weather, and all the other farming rants and raves.

Speaking of rant and raves, or better yet, Rant and Roll is simply hilarious. I have no idea who she is, but she’s quirky and fun, and she ought to be on the Ellen Show. And she’s Canadian to boot.

With a Freshness:  Her name is Abby. She’s a bunch of things, including being a mother, a fitness instructor, and a life coach. And she needs to write more. I hope this nomination will get her going again.

Sandrine Pelissier is, without a doubt, my favorite artist whom I happened to chance upon one fine day. She has the most wonderful watercolor collection. You can see step-by-step illustrations of her amazing work.

If you like cooking, and especially Thai cooking, look no further than Pranee’s Kitchen. Her recipes and cooking instructions are easy to follow, and her photos are mouth-watering. Seriously, don’t jump in your car to go to your nearest Thai restaurant. Just visit Pranee’s page.

PhotoBotos.com followed me one day out of the blue, and since I also have a passion for photography, I started following PhotoBotos as well. You get one amazing photo everyday, and that’s a promise. That’s how I found about the dogs underwater photographs by Seth Casteel. I LOVE these photos!

Which leads me to No Ruff Days whose entire (dog) dialogue is with an inspirational quote with a dog picture guaranteed to make you smile everyday.

Pure Complex, by Kay, is probably the first blogger that I followed on a regular basis. She has great thoughts photos recipes on all sorts of stuff. She has quite a following, and the comments are just as fun to read.

While we are on general feel good stuff, please check out Dr. Anthony’s Blog, Basil Wheel (ATA MOTEK), Airport Made Simple, Just Ramblin’. I don’t think they are new to the world of the Versatile Blogging Award, but it’s still good to be acknowledged.

Finally, I would like to mention all my favorite dog mom and dad bloggers. I always read their pages but most of the time I hardly ever comment. (It’s really hard to type on the phone.) I feel like a lurker sometimes. Anyway, in no particular order:  Rumpy Dog, Bongo Dog, and Bassa’s Blog. They are all gifted authors and share the wonderful world with us all through their dogs’ eyes. And tails, and mouths, and paws…..I love you guys.

It’s really late and I need to go to bed. Tomorrow (maybe) I will finish up with the rest of this wonderful award. I need to notify the nominees and make this thing all official-like. And I have to post seven things about me which you may/not or want/not know about me.