November 30, 2007

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

The city of Chicago is retarded. View this and other photos from my trip to visit the lovely Violet a few short weeks ago. Actual blog entries about the trip to follow soon.

Posted by Ensie at 11:25 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

City Sidewalk Replacement

I really wanted to call this post "Fucking Sidewalk Replacement". And then in my head I was all, "but what if that's what goes up at Feed Tacoma and people are all offended and shit?" And then I remembered that I made a promise to myself that even though my Mom reads this blog from time to time (hi Mom!), that I wouldn't censor myself for anyone. That this is my own space to write whatever the hell I want...but then again...Feed Tacoma isn't my own space. Conundrum! Especially after all the publicity from yesterday.

I'll have to talk to Kevin about that. What's Feed Tacoma's official policy on swearing like a sailor?


This is my sidewalk:

Sidewalk 1.jpg

I know it's my sidewalk, not only because it's directly in front of my house, but because I just paid the city of Tacoma over $1000 to replace it. They sent me a letter telling me that I had to replace it, because of the terrible condition of my unholy sidewalk:

SW Letter.jpg (Click to read)

Am I the only one missing the terrible condition of my sidewalk? Especially, say, in the front six squares in the picture? Are there some booby traps or sidewalk demons I'm missing? No wayward tree roots have made their way skyward, and all of the cement is pretty much in one piece. I've read the description of "dangerous" sidewalks in Tacoma and I don't think mine falls into that category, but whatever.

So for the sake of peace, I've given in and paid for the stupid sidewalk replacement. Am I the only one pissed off by the fact that the original assessment of the sidewalk was done the year prior to my owning the house but I'm still paying for it? And why is the city forcing me to have ugly-ass sidewalks instead of keeping some semblance of historical accuracy since I live in the North Slope Historic District and I want to keep my neighborhood the way it is?

See my old-timey stamp?

Sidewalk Stamp.jpg

See the hideous, glowing, ghost-like, new cement?

Ghost Sidewalk 3.jpg

Am I the only one who thinks this patchwork of new and old cement will look like crap on a cracker? Get ready to welcome this look all over neighborhoods near you!

Posted by Ensie at 04:43 PM | Comments (520) | TrackBack

November 29, 2007

South Sound Technology Conference

Today's South Sound Technology Conference at the UW Tacoma was a blast. I had the chance to see a number of local bloggers speak, some of whom I am very familiar with, others I have never heard of before.

While I enjoyed listening to all the speakers and panelists, highlights for me included:

The "How Blogging Has Transformed the News" panel, featuring David Zeeck, Executive Editor of the Tacoma News Tribune, who was fascinating to listen to. He was a HUGE proponent of sharing resources and ideas, which was really great to hear, considering the arguments that have come up in the past between bloggers and "official" news sources.

The ParentBlogger panel which featured Elle of Life of Elle (among other awesome parent bloggers), who I met later on. How did I never know about this blog before? Definitely taking a permanent place on the blogroll.

Justin Carder on the "Civic Blogging: Public Discourse and Participation Through Blogs" Panel, who is working to create neighborhood blogs through his network. His Capital Hill Blog reminds me a lot of Feed Tacoma in that it's a place for people in a neighborhood to come together and become a neighborhood.

Several other bloggers and tech folks were present, including Derek of Exit 133, Kevin of and, and Andrew Fry (who did a great job being "policeman").

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November 28, 2007


This past couple of weeks just seems like it has been blargh.

I went out to visit my friend Violet a few weeks ago in Chicago (which I have sadly neglected to write about, but I swear I will!) and I was so happy for her! She and her partner J had just announced that they were expecting a baby! She was keeping it a secret until they traveled to California for Thanksgiving to tell her family. And now... She is dealing with it in a typical Violet way, and I love her so much for her strength and courage, but still.

And my friend Leigh who's Noisy Dog Studio kicks ass. She is one of the most amazing artists I have ever met. Much of her inspiration comes from her Boston Terrier Hugo, who rules their house. Hugo has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I e-mailed Leigh immediately, who told me that Hugo is taking it day by day on meds.

I'm ready for the happy now.

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may day studio

I was cleaning up my desk the other day and came across a card from an old friend. I meant to blog about her some time ago as she's someone who's immensely talented and creative. She runs a letterpress called may day studios in Vermont.

When I received a her card a year or so ago I decided to check out her website and lo and behold she has a bunch of lovely stuff for sale at etsy. She also has a blog.

I ordered some of her thank you cards a couple of months ago and they are gorgeous. I send them to my special clients and a few friends - but I want to keep them because they're so pretty and funky.

I've been thinking a lot about handmade crafts these days (more to come on that, I'm sure). But in the meantime, if you're looking for some gorgeous, handmade cards, I highly recommend may day studio.

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November 27, 2007

Forever Dog

Pharaoh Hug.jpg

A dog can never really be separated from its forever person. Neither time nor space can ever come between them. So when the dog comes to the end of its earthly life, and must go on ahead without its person beside them, the guardian angel becomes a loving bridge that connects the two friends for as long as the person remains on earth.

--Excerpted from For Every Dog An Angel by Christine Davis

Thank you to Dr. Warren and the staff of Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital for making Pharaoh's last hour one of peace and love. And to the awesome folks at Mud Bay and Lucky Dog for the treats and hugs on his "farewell tour".

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November 26, 2007

I Heart Nerds

80% Geek

Oklahoma City Dating

Thanks Eden.

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November 25, 2007

Sadie Needs a Home

After much consideration, Frinklin and I have decided to find a new home for Sadie. This is doubly painful as it comes at the same time as we are dealing with Pharaoh's impending death, but it has become very clear to us over the last couple of weeks that Sadie is not fitting into our family the way we had hoped she would.

Initially, we assumed the Princess of Thumbs would eventually give way to the rule King Percy. He's a relatively benevolent King , allowing things to play out daily without interfering most of the time. However, this defiant female usurper who refused to bow to his kitty will definitely rankled him and he set out to break her. While initially these started out as long, annoying games of "I'm not touching you..." they progressed rapidly to something far more annoying and eventually dangerous.

We've been listening to cat fights that have been growing in intensity and frequency over the last few weeks. They've been upsetting the other cats, the dogs, and Frinklin and myself. They can and do erupt at any time - when I'm on the phone with clients, when we have friends over, or in the middle of the night. Nothing like waking up to wailing, shrieking, spitting cats in the middle of the bed at 3 AM!

The cat fights have also manifested in Sadie not being able to move comfortably around the house, causing her to start urinating in odd places like: the floor, the countertop, and the top of the kitchen cabinets. Yes - the top of the kitchen cabinets! Fortunately I own an arsenal of cleaning supplies and have scrubbed down and sterilized everything in my house regularly. Once the cat fights diminish, I believe the litter box issues will disappear.

The Humane Society does not accept cats with litter box issues, which is the category she falls into. So I'm looking for a new home for Sadie on my own. I truly feel that Sadie just needs the right home, not to be put to sleep. She needs a place where she feels secure and safe, and isn't chased away from the litter box(es). I think a home where she is an only cat would be wonderful. Dogs are not a problem. Cat-safe dogs are fine for her. I think she would be just fine with kids that wouldn't be too rough with her. She loves to sit in laps and be cuddled for hours while she purrs.

If you or anyone you know are interested in Sadie, would you please e-mail me at

. I am desperate to find something for her soon. She's too wonderful a cat to allow Percy to harass her anymore. I want to find her a home of her own with a family for her to love.


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November 23, 2007

Buy Local Day!

This is totally something I can get behind!

Instead of Buy Nothing Day, which I think is kind of silly (isn't it better to avoid the shops you want to protest all year?), use this day to focus on local shops who need the income just as much as the chain stores.


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November 21, 2007

A Terrible Decision

Yesterday I took Pharaoh, my elderly great dane mix, to the vet. He came home with me, but there's only a limited number of hours left.

It's been a long time coming. This trip. It was a consultation on his worsening condition. Since we brought him home he's had terrible back and hip problems, so bad initially that he slept outside for the first week. Stairs have always been his nemesis, and lately they've been more and more of a problem.

He's an incredibly proud dog, and hanging around anywhere near his hind end while he negotiates any obstacle is a good way to end up with puncture wound. His body language is clear, "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HELP. I CAN DO THIS MYSELF." Touch him, and a roar of anger will emit from within and he will go down, all forward progress stopped while he flails to reach you like an alligator in a mud pit. Charming, no?

Pharaoh wasn't meant to be here this long. We adopted him to have a home while he lived out his remaining weeks or months. Instead he lasted a year and a half.

He started following me around after a few days, insisting that his broken, clunky body get up and down to be in the same room with me, even if I was just changing the laundry around. He loves to plunk his head down in my lap, expecting his entire head to be roughly scratched and rubbed for a good 10 minutes before he will finally relax in his own bed. He's slept beside me since he could make it inside the house.

But he's started snarling and snapping at the other dogs and cats, inciting fights with The Jeffrey and ending up the loser in a number of battles. He's refusing to eat more and more often, and he can't seem to remember when he's in or outside before letting loose his bladder anymore.

During the car ride to the vet yesterday he couldn't get all the way onto the car seat to see out the window - possibly his favorite thing ever. He had to ride on the floor.

So this weekend Frinklin and I will have a Pharaoh Day with car rides and walks and dog park. He's on super-duper pain killers to keep his body up to the tasks his mind will enjoy.

Next week he will be put to sleep and his ashes spread over the Tacoma Narrows.

As I write this he is curled up beside me as best a great dane with back problems can curl. I am already missing him.

Pharaoh Comfy.jpg

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November 19, 2007

Great Kisser. It says so right there.

Found at so anyway...

Lets101 - Free Online Dating

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November 16, 2007

Movie Penelope and James McAvoy

You'd think I'd be sick of Jame McAvoy after Becoming Jane and the upcoming Atonement (pant, pant). But after glimpsing Penelope, which was originally scheduled to be released in the Spring, then in October, and now in February 2008, I'm firmly in the more-James camp.

Posted by Ensie at 03:50 PM | Comments (227) | TrackBack


Tagged by Eden.

8 things I am passionate about:
1. Frinklin - my husband, future father of my chillins, and he who makes me laugh every single day
2. Animules - adopting shelter animals, spaying and neutering, and getting rid of breed specific legislations (specifically that which targets pit bulls)
3. Reading - I love to do it, and I seek out others who do it. Kevin, I am not giving up on you!
4. Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses - manna from heaven. Only available two months per year.
5. My family and friends - if they would all move here!
6. Tacoma - never thought I'd love living here as much as I do.
7. Kicking Frinklin's ass at Wii tennis. Hee.
8. Comic books. You got me. I'm nerdy.

8 things I want to do before I die
1. Have kids.
2. Convince my husband's extended family to forgive their grudges and have huge family holidays like I want. There's like 500 of them and every one is feuding with every other one.
3. Find a career I really love. I love working with books, but my new boss sucks and it's gotten stale and boring. I need something new with people I love.
4. Manage finances better. Yes. Always.
5. Travel more for pleasure instead of business. With all the animals this is tough. Have to work on this one.
6. Improve my writing skills
7. Improve my photography skills
8. Procrastinate less. This should probably go at the top of the list.

8 things I say often
1. "That's hilarious!"
2. "Somebody peed again." Seriously, never have a geriatric dog and two pissed off cats at the same time. There's constant pee everywhere.
3. "It's burning my nose hairs!" And dog farts. Have I mentioned the dog farts?
4. "Shut up."
5. "Seriously." Jesus. I'm like a valley girl from 1985.
6. "Did you feed the dogs/cats/bird/yourself yet?" Sometimes I can't remember if I've fed myself.
7. "Did Kevin and Sarah call yet?" Because we go out to dinner almost every night together.
8. "Are you done with the Wii yet?" I've got important playing to do.

8 books I’ve read recently (not necessarily finished; not necessarily novels)
1. Atonement - OK, I'm reading it. I haven't read it . I'm on page 25. Does that count?
2. The Other Boleyn Girl - same thing. I keep trying to find the time to get into it. I will finish it.
3. Make Him Look Good - Cute. Racy. Fun.
4. Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm - Jon Katz. Always good. No dogs die in this one.
5. Flight: Volume Four - not as good as the earlier volumes.
6. DMZ Vol 1: On the Ground - An excellent graphic novel.
7. Fables Vol 1: Legends in Exile - EVERYONE told me to read this series. I'm three volumes in and liking it. It's not the best ever, but it's got potential.
8. The Year of Yes - second time I've read it. Sweet and funny if you can stand the author constantly telling you how smart she is, smarter than the entire state of Idaho, if you believe her.

8 songs I could listen to over and over (this is according to iTunes)
1. Underground - kimya dawson - I'm considering getting the tattoo in this song if I die before Frinklin.
2. The Blowers Daughter - Damien Rice - like 40 listens on iTunes
3. Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall - so catchy
4. Picture Book - The Kinks - I love this song
5. Let Go - Frou Frou - Garden State soundtrack oh how I love you
6. 40' - Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand kicks ass
7. Caring is Creepy - The Shins - Garden State again
8. Love Will Come to You - The Indigo Girls - picking just one IG's song was terribly hard

8 things that attract me to my best friends
1. Humor
2. Openness
3. Loyalty
4. Generosity of spirit
5. Sense of fun
6. Love of animals
7. Appreciative of quirkiness in life and people
8. Creativity

And the tagging...Sara you are it!

Posted by Ensie at 01:28 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

November 12, 2007

Crown Bar Review

I was really excited to be checking out Crown Bar which recently opened on 6th Avenue. Owned and operated by the same team that handles my favorite Tacoma restaurant, Primo Grill, there was no way this could be a bad experience, right?


Since it was a Friday night (November 2nd), I assumed it would be difficult to get a table, however, at 7:30 during the Dia Day Los Muertos procession down 6th Ave. myself and Cassioposa walked right in and were seated. There were a couple other free tables, but the small bar was full. We ordered a couple of beers; mine a European Apple beer was fantastic, but at $8.50 a bottle I wasn't going to drink more than one.

When we were joined by a third, we ordered up the bratwurst, grilled bread, and curry ketchup appetizer. The grilled bread was delicious, the curry ketchup sweet and a little bit spicy, and the bratwurst was average. There was an agreement at our table that an appetizer of the grilled bread alone would be a great addition to the menu, as we all loved it, and could have taken or left the bratwurst.

When it came to ordering dinner, I chose the much-talked-about Jerry Stokes berry's buttermilk fried chicken, butter braised local greens and substituted the garlic mashed potatoes with the goat cheese olive campfire potatoes. Cassie had the Cougar gold mac and cheese.

Disappointment reigned over dinner. My fried chicken arrived hot from the fryer, but was bland and tasteless. It seemed as through there were no spices in the mix at all. On the contrary, Cassie sampled her mac and cheese, finding surprising peppercorns as she swallowed her few bites. My "greens" were a soggy, greasy mess of chard that was almost inedible.

I did enjoy the potatoes that were yummily mixed with goat cheese and green olives. They made up the majority of my dinner, as I hardly any of the chicken or chard.

The topper was a cocktail for Cassie that tasted like Windex mixed with rubbing alcohol. It claimed to be some sort of martini, but after we all sampled the blue concoction, it was proclaimed to be the worst drink ever mixed. The nearly full glass was left on the table with the majority of our dinners.

After tip our bill was over $100 and I felt ripped off. For "street food" this is enormously expensive. We had two beers, one cocktail, one appetizer, and two meals.

All but one table was empty when we left at 9:30PM. A bad sign.

I really, really wanted wanted to like Crown Bar. But the concept and the execution don't seem to mesh very well. And...well, are you a bar or a restaurant? If you're a bar serving street food, should your bill be a hundred bucks after eating there? And if you're a restaurant, can you get the rowdy people at the bar to stop screaming and yelling, and to quit leaning over my table and listening to my conversations? It's highly distracting and annoying. I'm also not thrilled with the decor (seriously - the silver fireplace rock? It's hideous), but I see what you're going for.

The food is the biggest issue though - if the food is good I'll sit through bad drinks, high prices, weird decor, and drunk guys leaning over my plate. Unfortunately, it's not.

Posted by Ensie at 02:48 PM | Comments (45) | TrackBack

November 07, 2007

Reminder to Self:

These are not breakfast:

candy cane kisses.jpg

Also, one bag does not equal one serving.

Posted by Ensie at 09:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 06, 2007

The Movie Juno and kimya dawson

I can't wait to see this:

Not only does it look funny and has a great cast, but it features the music of kimya dawson, who I am currently obsessed with. If you haven't heard her, she is the female half of the Moldy Peaches, which may or may not be broken up.

kimya is classified as folk, or anti-folk, or country, depending on who you talk to. Her songs are the definition of raw and personal, almost stream of consciousness in their confessional style. Listening to Remember That I Love You feels like hearing her diary set to music. I also highly recommend Hidden Vagenda. Both albums have songs that are sweet and sad and funny and perfect for every emotion you have ever felt.

Favorite songs include Underground, The Competition, and I Like Giants (Remember That I Love You) Lullaby for the Taken, Parade, You Love Me, and Moving On (Hidden Vagenda). But they're all good. You can find her music on both eMusic and iTunes.

kimya dawson lives with her husband, Ange and daughter, Panda in Olympia, WA. She creates handcrafted items and continues to perform all over the place. Can't wait to see her live.

Posted by Ensie at 09:30 PM | Comments (119) | TrackBack

Dreams of Wii

Today's Sheldon (click to enlarge):

Hee. Snort.

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November 05, 2007

Witch Creek Fire: Visit Home

I'm finally finding some time to sit down (albeit when I should be working) and blog about traveling down to San Diego and visiting Ramona since the Witch Creek Fire. It was a whirlwind trip - only four days and I didn't get to volunteer as I would have liked. The Del Mar Fairgrounds (where they still had over 2,000 horses and other large animal evacuees one week after the start of the fire) didn't need me the time I had available, and I was only there for a few short days.

Driving around Ramona was strange. So much seemed normal, and yet not normal at all. Traffic was heavy, I'm not exactly sure why. Possibly it was people traveling up to look at the fire damage? Or Evacuees coming back into town after being gone for almost a week? Porta-poties were everywhere due to lack of water, and then unsafe water, after the Ramona Municipal Water District pumping station went down. Many of the restaurants were shut down for the same reason, so one had to go "down the hill" for food or head over to my parent's church Mountain View Community for a donated meal.

While I'm not in agreement with the church on a lot of issues, they did a lot for Ramona over the week of the fire. There were firemen and women from all over the place fighting various fires that desperately needed food and shelter, which were provided. National guardsmen and women were also offered a place to eat and sleep. They told us they were sleeping in parks and on the ground and had MREs or no food before they were told to go to the church and were given cots and a real meal.

The church also provided people that had lost their homes with immediate assistance - clothing, toiletries, dog and cat food, diapers, and then to directed one to the appropriate relief agency, even give you a ride if you needed one. And if you were a church member and lost anything, my Dad's job was to locate and interview you to see what resources you had available, and what you may need in terms of shelter or monetary funds, both immediate and in the long term. That's awesome.

In driving down Magnolia Avenue, which becomes Black Canyon Road, it was shocking to see houses missing that have been there as long as I can remember. Houses that are so much part of the landscape, that fit in so well with everything around them, you almost don't realize they're missing. Then you see the black scar where they once stood. It's amazing how small the footprint of a house is. Houses seem so large when you're living in them, and so tiny when they're nothing but ashes and soot, sometimes without even walls left to mark where rooms divided a place. Friends lost homes. People I know lost homes. Leonard. Mike and Traci. Dallas and Rich. Dallas' Dad. Rhetta and Ron. Ken and Linda. Amy.

The fire burned right up and all around my parent's house. Embers melted their fence. The hay in the barn caught fire and burned half the barn bad enough that it will have to be completely torn down and rebuilt (oh darn!). The firebreak my Dad mows likely saved the house - that and the crazy neighbor who stayed while the fire raged. He was the one who put out the fire in the barn with dirt when the water lines melted (THANKS MIKE!). I've evacuated before and it was heady and terrifying, but not nearly as bad as being stuck in Washington waiting for news of my family as they evacuated without me.

Pictures are up at Flickr.

A few samples:


Fire 2.jpg

Fire 3.jpg

Fire 4.jpg

Posted by Ensie at 05:34 PM | Comments (196) | TrackBack

November 01, 2007

Workspace Confessions

Today I was browsing the internets as usual and came across Dooce and her most recent entry about how Apartment Therapy wanted pictures of her workspace. Of course she submitted tasteful and artful pictures of various items arranged on desks and walls. All her shit is artsy and cool.

I wonder if this is how her workspace is every day, or if it gets cluttered and piled up, the way my desk is? It's so the opposite of artsy and cool. If Apartment Therapy ever wants my desk shots, here's what they'd get:

It's crucially important that my cell phone be comfortable.

That green thing is The Jeffrey's Dogzilla Halloween costume.
Workspace 1.jpg

Looking at these pictures makes me see it through new eyes. Yikes!
Workspace 2.jpg

OK - so this is pretty messy. But technically it's in piles. Piles of incoming, outgoing, and, uh, important stuff. VERY IMPORTANT STUFF. So don't touch it.
Workspace 3.jpg

This cracks me up every time I look at it.
Workspace 4.jpg

Is it wrong that there are more comics than work related items on here?
Workspace 5.jpg

God it's good I don't meet clients at my office.
Workspace 6.jpg

Books, books everywhere! Those shoes are also very important for work.
Workspace 7.jpg

Posted by Ensie at 02:47 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack