Filed under: @ 4:27 pm

Somewhere, somehow, my 10th grade geometry teacher, Mr. Dickey (a terrible name to have if you’re teaching adolescents) is laughing his fool head off.

I cursed, sweated, and cried for a C in 10th grade geometry, swore I’d never ever need nor use it.  He cursed, sweated, and laughed to teach me what I needed to pull that C and knew somewhere deep down that I’d need geometry some day.

I also just spent about half an hour, with the help of this most wonderful internet, figuring the area of an irregular pentagon and then, roughly, the volume of same.
I’m going to need a bigger boat.
(to hold all of the sand, and then the concrete that I’m going to pour to create a pathway into my back garden and the stable base for my new rose trellis).



Black Panther

Filed under: @ 10:14 am

Haven’t seen it yet. Intend to see it in the theater which is a rare occurrence for Andrew and I since we’re basically antisocial misanthropic troll people who dislike crowds of the general public. Want to see it soon, schedules permitting, since the reviews I’ve gotten ROCK.

That being said, I know y’all have probably heard of The Bechdel Test and if you haven’t heard of Keith Knight please allow me to introduce you.  Keef has got to be one of the most brilliant commentators on American society in general since Molly Ivans died.

Keef, having seen Black Panther on opening night in his ‘burg, is proposing something akin to The Bechdel Test only regarding black characters instead of women.  It needs to be called “The Black-del Test”.  It really does.


Rest in Peace

Filed under: @ 7:14 pm

Anthony Michael Lenzer
19 December 1929 – 8 February 2018


Dear Tony

Filed under: @ 5:17 pm

I will never have enough words to say how much I am grateful for that with which you have provided me.
My love, my soul mate, and his entire boisterous, loud, annoying, deeply loving and deeply loved extended clan.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep watch. And I’ll make sure that Andrew takes good care of himself.

Be at peace now. I’ll miss you.



I’m not sure whether to cheer or weep

Filed under: @ 9:27 am

A fucking peacock.


An emotional support PEACOCK?!

Don’t get me wrong, I like pea fowl in general, and the cocks are absolutely stunning. But my own experience with them is that they’re temperamental bastards, they bite like alligators, and they make the most godawful sounds at sudden and random intervals.


(slap, slap, slap! pantpantpantpantpant) Okay, I’m better now. Phew!

You also have to love the fact that the woman showed up at the airport with the peacock after United told her THREE TIMES that they wouldn’t fly it.
Significant props to United and Delta.


Things I’ve Learned Listening to NPR

Filed under: @ 4:25 pm

Andrew and I aren’t odd in that we have named our Roomba. (If you must know his name is Reginald Roomba which we thought appropriately dignified for a butler type entity.)

We are not, however, as odd as the people that dress their Roomba up.


This Has Got To Be The Best Thing I’ve Seen In Months

Filed under: @ 9:42 am

Submitted with heartfelt thanks and the deepest respect to the powers that be at the Guggenheim.



Maybe I’m Just Getting Old

Filed under: @ 6:40 pm

We went to go see The Last Jedi as part of Andrew’s 50th birthday celebration yesterday (the first part, infinitely more satisfactory, was lunch at Goldberg’s Deli in Factoria mall).

And yeah, the theater was almost empty and the seats, bundled in cosy packages of two, were wide, properly supportive, and reclined providing ample leg room.
But the movie was bad.

Not Phantom Menace bad. The Last Jedi is watchable at least and Phantom Menace…. (shudder).
And maybe I’m being hypocritical because I’m willing to suspend my disbelief enough to accept faster than light space ships, laser blasters, light sabers, and Wookies.
But I’m sorry, regardless of being “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” THE GODDAMN RULES OF PHYSICS STILL APPLY. When you have (largely) bilaterally symmetrical bipedal humanoid characters as the focus of the story you cannot ignore the fact that in the ice cold reaches of the vacuum of space an unprotected bilaterally symmetrical bipedal humanoid body will literally have its lungs turned inside out, to say nothing of its eyeballs exploded UNLESS IT IS WELL PROTECTED.

Proof again that, as much of an improvement over George Lucas’ attempts as they are, the J.J. Abrams attempts at continuing the story line are the blockbuster definition of what happens when a pimply adolescent’s non-slave Leia fan fic is given a jillion dollar budget.

Yeah, I guess I’m just getting old. You damn kids should get the hell off my lawn.


At long last….

Filed under: @ 9:25 am

Back from whatever hiatus has been present in the last 6 months.

Seamus was adopted by a veterinary dentist friend of mine in Vancouver BC. She reports that Seamus is growing up into an obnoxious, highly intelligent (I think that lump on his face probably contains brains too) adolescent cat who likes to snuggle with her adolescent son. An ideal situation.
Seamus has also had three separate facial surgeries. Two to remove supernumerary teeth (one set of deciduous, one set of permanent) from a bony cyst underneath the lump, one to have the teeth on the left side of his lower jaw manipulated so that he isn’t biting the roof of his own mouth. Apparently Seamus is a typical bottle raised kitten brat which means that while he’s very bonded to people, he doesn’t see why he should behave any differently with people than he would with his own siblings so there is often a good deal of chaos and confusion whenever he has to be restrained for medical purposes. Snort! Do your veterinarian a favor and don’t ever adopt a bottle raised kitten. They’re all bratty.

That having been said, here’s my new and revised October well wishes for 2017:

Happy Birthday (10/2)
Happy Birthday (10/4)
Happy Birthday (10/7)
Happy Birthday (10/8)
Happy Birthday (10/9)
Happy Birthday (10/14)
Happy 30th! Anniversary (10/17)
Happy Birthday (10/20)
Happy First Birthday you red headed little squirt! (10/22)

And a very happy (if slightly belated, you missed the October cutoff by 4 days and I think your Mama is probably grateful for it) birthday to Shawn & Annie’s new son Samuel who was born in a remarkably short period of time on 9/26.

love you all!


Hey! Y’all wanna see something cool?

Filed under: @ 5:55 pm

Meet Seamus

To give him his full name he is Seamus Sloth Winston De Bergerac. Heather and I couldn’t decide on which was more appropriate so we kinda just stuck them all in there. “Seamus” because Heather and I are both raging fans of Archer and when he was first dropped off with us Heather was scolding a loud dog patient about how he needed to hush because he’d “wake up the wee baby” and Seamus just followed from there. And my understanding is that “Sloth” is one of the monster-ish sort of characters from The Goonies but I’ve never seen The Goonies so I wouldn’t know. Andrew, however, agrees that Sloth is appropriate. “Winston” and “De Bergerac” should be pretty self explanatory.

We got a call on the morning of 3/20 from someone we’d never seen before asking about whether we’d euthanize a 3 week old kitten. The kitten, she said, had a cleft palate and while he seemed to be keeping up with his litter mates, they were getting to an age where they were going to wean soon and she was afraid that this little one wouldn’t be able to eat normally. She couldn’t afford the surgery he was going to need to repair his face and she didn’t want him to get sick from aspirating food or waste away and die because he wasn’t getting proper nutrition.

Since I have an interest in surgery (to say the least) and Heather has a soft spot for bottle raising hard luck kittens, we told the woman on the phone to bring the kitten in and surrender him to us. We’d evaluate him and if I thought he was potentially repairable I’d do what I could to repair his face and Heather would take care of the kitten raising. If I didn’t think he could be reconstructed I’d euthanize him.

So she brought him in. 3 weeks old, 13 whole ounces in body weight, and in remarkably good flesh and good health for a kitten with a facial defect.
As it turns out, kitten doesn’t have a cleft palate! Whoopee!
Kitten has a cleft nose, of course, and possibly a partially cleft face – thus the third set of whiskers – but the palate is intact. So Heather is on Mommy Kitty duty, Seamus is gaining weight appropriately, and I’m burning up the internet posting photos and dragooning specialists on VIN to help me plan out how and when to reconstruct this face. I’m very excited.
And I already have one dental specialist interested in coming to observe and/or help with the procedure whenever it happens.

God I love what I do!
Besides, how could you not go completely gaga over this little spottybelly?


I am (21st century) woman, hear me roar…

Filed under: @ 11:28 am

As I sit down at my sewing machine to spend a lazy Sunday puttering around with quilts and hats and things, these activities are being performed:
1. The bread maker is baking a loaf of bread.
2. The rice cooker is making up my breakfast oatmeal for next week.
3. The washer is washing dirty clothes and
4. The dryer is drying clean clothes.
5. The Roomba is vacuuming the living room and dining room/kitchen.

I’m not sure if my feminist forebears would be cheering because I’m getting all of this stuff done at the same time as I’m doing something that I want to do, horrified at the lazy slattern their genes produced because I’m having machines do everything for me, or censorious because I really should be spending my Sunday at church instead of doing housework on a day of rest.

I am 21st century woman. Hear my appliances beep!


Dear Teddy’s Old Fashioned Root Beer

Filed under: @ 1:28 pm

In 1992 or so I discovered the hard way that I’m allergic to almost every artificial sweetener except sucralose and saccharine. A sip or two of a soda sweetened with aspartame is enough to make my lips go numb and, if I don’t promptly stuff myself to the eyebrows with migraine medication, within a few minutes I’ll have flashing blue lights in my peripheral vision, sound and light sensitivity, and a headache you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Acesulfame potassium skips the numb lips and enhances the blue flashes. It’s really neat!

I have gotten into the habit of reading labels pretty carefully. Anything with a label on it that says “Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine.” gets dropped like it was hot (for those not in the know one of the metabolites of aspartame is a compound called phenylalanine which causes significant problems to those people who are subject to phenylketonuria). If a package says “DIET” I don’t come near it. If it reads “NATURALLY AND ARTIFICALLY SWEETENED” I don’t come near it. If it reads “LOW CALORIE” I don’t come near it.
So when I recently drank part of a bottle of Teddy’s Old Fashioned Root Beer and it didn’t have any of those labels on it, I figured I was okay.

I can understand the urge to put out a product that is partially sweetened with no-calorie sweeteners. It’s a good product and it’s lower in calories than you’d expect. Win-win situation, right?

And yes, I accept the fact that I bear some responsibility here. With my sensitivities, and especially after having been burned by Wrigley’s gum while on a trip to Scotland, you think I’d be in the habit of reading the whole label of anything I haven’t tried before. I am in the habit of doing do and I do generally read the whole label. In this case though it wasn’t I that picked up the bottle of Teddy’s. My husband offered to share his soda with me and since it wasn’t labeled as “diet” “low calorie” or “artificially sweetened” he figured it was safe for me to drink.

I submit that any product which has high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient should be more clearly labeled if it also includes artificial sweeteners. I don’t pretend to know a lot about people, but I’m pretty confident in saying that I think someone who is concerned enough about their calorie intake to seek out something that is artificially sweetened isn’t going to be real enthusiastic about a product that is loaded with high fructose corn syrup. And those of us who are on the natural sweetener bandwagon are going to be intensely grateful to not have to worry about gotchas in our sodas.

It was a good root beer though.



Well it has been, and will continue to be, an *interesting* year!

Filed under: @ 4:51 pm

New Years’ Eves I have known….

I’ve been pensive because a week or so ago I came to the realization that it was 20 years ago this month that I called my first boss at my First Job as A Grownup, got his wife, chickened out on actually speaking to HIM, and told her that I was leaving for Hawaii in two weeks and I wasn’t going to be coming back.
And, of course, I’ve been pensive about the state of American politics. If, by ‘pensive’ you understand that I’m saying “scared shitless of”.

I have, and probably will continue, to drone on and on and on and on and on about what a shithead Dr. First Boss was and what a horrid job that was. I’ll try not to here.
I was terrified. An assload of student loan debt, no job prospects despite having been looking for several months, and, thanks to Dr. Shithead, pretty much convinced that I shouldn’t be a veterinarian.
New Year’s Eve 1996 was spent on Oahu. That may have been the year we walked down the block and joined in at a party that one of Joan & Tony’s neighbors was holding where a _very_ many things were going kaboom. Or it may have been the year that we bought a lot of things that go kaboom ourselves and annoyed the snot out of the neighbors as well as scaring the living daylights out of a very young Caitlin (here’s a photo of her firstborn, Calvin, by the way)Calvin Lee Anthony

with sparkly spitting ground bloom flowers that went kaboom at the end. Scared the piss out of me too, the first time one went BANG when it was done spitting sparks.
Despite death, medical issues, moving, and general chaos, though, 1997 turned out to be a pretty decent year.

Let’s try another decade back.
New Year’s 1986
I’d finished my first quarter at Evergreen and had the world ahead of me. I probably spent the evening with The Trompler Foundation burning things in Eric’s driveway and dancing around chanting ‘UBI’.
Halfway through Regan’s second term and hopeful that we were at least not going to get another four years of THAT when the next presidential election came around.
I loved being at Evergreen. The learning environment was exactly what I needed. I was excited by what I was learning (if not, precisely, the mechanics of learning it…. #readtoodamnmuchFreudforanyone’shealth) and planning for my future. A lot of things are possible when you’re 18.

New Year’s 1976?
Sheesh. Carter’s set to take the White House and I’m simply *aching* to get out of third grade. I probably tried to stay up until midnight and then was ticked the next morning when I realized I’d fallen asleep.

2006? Home. Family. Friends. A good fire, sacrificed Spam, and knowledge of the year to come. A little trepidation, a new job in the offing, two more years of Shrub, and the conviction that we could stand together and keep going. And we did, and I did.

Which, if I think about it, is an echo of where I’m at now (minus the ‘new job’ part)

Happy New Year y’all. Let’s see if we can at least achieve that.


A blast from the past

Filed under: @ 9:27 am

Our hummingbird feeder had water in the ant moat which promptly froze overnight Friday night. The ice cracked the housing in which the hook is seated which meant that at any time the feeder might come crashing down out of the grape vines.
When we found this on Saturday morning we moved the feeder so it was sitting on the grill under the grape vines where it usually hangs, but that was only a temporary solution. We didn’t want the hummingbirds to get used to the feeder being there (seeing as we sometimes, y’know, actually USE the grill and would prefer not to be harassed when we have to move it), nor did we want the grill cover to become covered in hummingbird poo.

And it was a fairly urgent problem. We have Anna’s hummingbirds. Anna’s don’t migrate out of the PNW during the winter and they are, by far, the most stubborn, pig headed little feather brains I have yet to run across. If the feeder isn’t there we literally have birds hovering three inches away from the back door and in front of the kitchen window giving us the stink eye. Leave the feeder down for too long and the little idiots will dive bomb you when you go outside.

So Saturday afternoon I trotted down to our local Wild Birds Unlimited to get a new hummingbird feeder.

I walked into the store with eyes focused on the back corner where I knew the hummingbird feeders were displayed.
I was no more than about three steps into the store when I heard “Hi Peggy!”. A nickname I’ve not used in 30 plus years.

Screeching to a stop I looked around and saw a guy at the checkout counter. A nondescript dude, a little taller than me. Dressed in jeans and a jacket, some type of facial hair, maybe a hat, and probably an ear plug in his right earlobe (I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to details).
I stopped, fumbled… “Oh, hi! Um…..” I thought he looked a little like one of the Scotts (there were two or three dudes named Scott that hung in my group in high school) and I was about to say “Scott” when he chimed in with “Casey”.

I mumbled something to him about it having been a long time, then was distracted by one of the bird groupies with whom I had a discussion about hummingbird feeders. By the time I got to the checkout he was gone.

Casey? Maybe K.C.?

This was obviously someone I knew from junior high or high school. He can’t have been someone I knew from my summers as a camp counselor because I was going by Margaret by the time I was working at Sealth.
Saturday evening I trotted out my Bellevue Beacon (“Go Wolverines!” *GAK*) from 1986.
There were no guys named “Casey” in my graduating class from high school. I didn’t think about K.C. until later and I’ve been too busy to go back and look if there’s someone I knew with the initials “K.C.”. And I don’t think I’ll _ever_ want to have sufficient time to go back through the entire damn student body to see whether or not there was someone in one of the lower classes that I knew named “Casey” or with the initials “K.C.”

So Casey (or K.C.) from Burien Wild Birds Unlimited, if you’re out there I’d appreciate knowing who you are and how you know me.
There are some people from junior high or high school with whom I’ve lost contact that I’d like to contact again. Since I have no idea who you are I doubt you’re one of them, but either way I’d like the answer to the mystery.


So Margaret, whadja do at work today?

Filed under: @ 5:48 pm

Oh not much.

Just this:

just this...

just this…

The dog’s head is on your right off camera. Ignore the blue stuff, that’s our surgical scrub.

Basically I removed the weight (and nearly size) equivalent of a gallon of milk off of this dog’s abdomen and thigh this morning.

When she went outside a couple hours after surgery to have a pee she was walking funny. I don’t think she knows how to walk without that thing in her way.

God I love surgery!


And just because I’m three sheets to the wind….

Filed under: @ 6:48 pm

Because, well, That Man.

Well, That Man and two shots of rum in my Coke when I got home from work this afternoon.

*VERY deep inhale*

So I spent the summer in the garden, but in the middle of August our third doctor’s marriage imploded in some exotic fashion and she needed a job that was closer to her kids so we contracted from three doctors to two and I’ve been running my butt off ever since. Andrew had two surgeries on his left arm and is on the schedule for next Friday for two procedures on his right arm, and in between times we hosted Sara and Danny for most of a week and spent a good deal of time touristing around Seattle.

Including going to the Chihuly exhibit and garden at the Seattle Center.
I’ve never really been much of a Chihuly fan. I think a lot of his pieces look like the vomitus of one, or several, heavily drunk molten glass eating monsters. But at the exhibit I was actually able to find a fair number of pieces, generally the most simple ones, that I really liked
Comme ca:
Sugar crystal candy

Native basket glass
Native Basket Glass 1

Et ca:

Native Basket Glass 2

Native Basket Glass 2

Sometimes it pays to play tourist in your own town.

And it was while we were at the Chihuly exhibit that we received news of the newest member of the fam!
Calvin Lee Anthony Hughes was born on the evening of 10/21/2016. Proud parents Caitlin Rachel Pomaika’i Hughes (Andrew’s middle niece) and her husband Cameron Hughes. Kiddo was 19 1/2 inches and 5.25 pounds at birth. Long skinny kid, that one!
And, come to think of it, why don’t I have any photos? Great Auntie (oh dear GOD I’m old!…. And a little tipsy, can you tell?) needs photos! And as soon as Great Auntie can get her head out of her ass she’ll be finishing, then sending along the quilts that are the kiddo’s welcome present, but there is a high likelihood that if I were to try and finish the one remaining unfinished quilt at this point I’d be sewing myself into the blanket and I don’t fit well into a flat rate mailer these days.

On the subject of being a tourist, though, I spent the weekend _after_ Sara and Danny were here in Atlanta. No, I didn’t get to see the historic, nor the flesh pots of Atlanta. I flew in Friday evening, had dinner with a bunch of my online professional contacts, slept, got up, spent all day Saturday conferring and eating with my online professional contacts, slept, got up on Sunday, checked out of my hotel then had EIGHT HOURS to spend hanging out in Atlanta with my purse and my carryon before my flight home.
And because I couldn’t leave my carryon with the check in desk at the airport (since Alaska doesn’t open their checkin desk at the Atlanta airport until 3:45 p.m. on Sundays)……. I went to the zoo.
NEGLECTING to remember that the date was October 30th, and there just MIGHT be some type munchkin related municipal EVENT at someplace like the zoo on the last weekend day before Halloween.
Fortunately the Zoo Atlanta security folks are _extremely_ cool and let me leave my carryon with them for the six plus hours I spent poking around the zoo. And crowds not withstanding it was a nice visit. Nice zoo, much smaller than Woodland Park, and way more “amusement park-y” than Woodland Park, but still a nice zoo, and way, way, WAY better than spending the time between my hotel checkout (1030 a.m.) and my flight home (1840 Atlanta time) at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport.
They’ve got a great reptile house which includes a copperhead snake — never seen one of those before and they are quite attractive — and a charming chameleon. On one of the PBS Bill Nye The Science Guy episodes they featured a rather prolonged video of a chameleon. Chameleons being (perhaps, I can’t quite remember right now) the one species on the planet whose eyes move independently of each other they were showing a video of this chameleon with entirely funny little “squeak” “squirp” noises dubbed in every time one of the eyes moved. I’ve had a soft spot for chameleons ever since.
Oh, and for the record the (extremely small example) of Atlanta architecture I saw was really neat. I like the “everyone needs a big front verandah” look of the houses, it’s weird to have EVERYONE refer to me as “Miss Margaret”, I didn’t see one. single. Starbucks. (not that I found that a black mark for Atlanta, you understand, I just thought it was noteworthy), and sweet tea is way overrated.

So to summarize:
Three sheets to the wind. Check.
Multiple surgical procedures on Andrew’s arms. Check.
Sara, Danny, and Chihuly. Check.
New beebee nevvy to play with when we’re next in Hawaii. Check.
Atlanta, chameleons, Bill Nye, a total absence of Starbucks, and overrated sweet tea. Check.

If anyone knows a veterinarian who wants a full time job where you don’t have to work weekends (my best potential candidate is likely moving to Edinburgh now that The American People have Spoken) let me know.

But for right now I need to lie down with my earbuds in my ears and pretend that the last 36 hours have been a really fucking weird dream.


Filed under: @ 5:29 pm

Yesterday I thought the most absurd thing I’d hear all day was a client telling me: “Oh my dog can’t have food allergies. All the different brands of dog food I feed her are low in yellow corn!”
(a side note…. What the actual FUCK?!)

But, yeah. It wasn’t.

Happy day after the election everyone. Stay away from foods that are rich in yellow corn.


Because they’re cool

Filed under: @ 4:19 pm

Sally, who will be 30 years old next spring, has developed an occasional constipation issue. Since Sally hadn’t produced any notable amounts of stool from her last feeding about a month ago, on the advice of my exotic species treating friends I took her to work with me on Monday to get some x-rays that might tell me if there was a mass that was keeping her from pooping normally.

I’m happy to note that there is not a mass and, miracle of miracles, a little radiation therapy does a great job treating snakey constipation because when we were done taking x-rays Sally pooped copiously. All over my fresh scrubs.

Regardless I thought I’d post these because they’re cool!
Sally Head




I’m not certain what to make of this

Filed under: @ 9:10 am

So as a long time gardener I’m familiar with a number of conditions that will create deformed tomatoes. Your tomatoes will crack if there is uneven watering (or if you’re growing a variety that is prone to cracking). Your tomatoes will have blossom end rot, withered, black rotten ends, if there’s not enough calcium in your growing medium.

But this one is beyond me.tomato priapism


I Am A Luddite

Filed under: @ 6:16 pm

Just before I left on a trip out and about to run errands this afternoon I told Andrew that I was going to go to the post office.
His reply: “Why go to the post office?”
I answered: “I *like* to go to the post office.”

Okay, maybe “like” is too strong a word. We’re not talking hurdy-gurdy music and cotton candy, but we’re not talking dirges and wailing banshees here either. Going to the post office is value neutral in general except that I like supporting the USPS and I do still get excited about getting the occasional piece of Real Mail That Isn’t A Catalogue or A Bill (which happens rarely).

And I needed to go to the post office to get stamps so I could continue to post our bills in timely fashion (Yes, I do still receive paper bills through the mail and sit down once or twice a month to (gasp) write checks to cover the bills which I then send back through the mail. I said I’m a Luddite, hush up and listen!).

“But Margaret!” I hear you cry, “When stamps are available at every grocery store, gas station, and even through stamps.com, why _bother_ making the extra trip to the post office?! Isn’t that a waste of time?”
Enh. Maybe so and maybe no. The point is that I was going to be right next to the post office while running other errands and while going to the post office is value neutral most of the time, getting cool stamps is a definite plus so I stopped in.
And cool stamps I most certainly got.

I walked up to the desk and asked for commemorative stamps. The desk jockey promptly got out his book of commemorative stamp samples and, of course, I glommed onto the Star Trek 50th anniversary commemoratives.

Making the Vulcan salute, the desk jockey told me that I had to be able to do that to qualify for purchasing those stamps.
I promptly did so.
With both hands.
At once.
My Geek blood runs strong.

Desk jockey and the younger desk jockey at the next service bay were suitably impressed and I completed my transaction.
At which point my desk jockey pulled another Vulcan salute at me and said “May the Force be with you.”
Which allowed the younger desk jockey and I the opportunity to soundly rag on the guy for not being a real Geek.

And that, my friends, is why I like going to the post office!!

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