Oh no, how did I get in here??! It's
the end of the month and Toby once again found himself stuck in a tub.
As you can see, Toby really enjoys being
wet...I don't know what kind of a Retriever he is, but he sure isn't
the water kind! Toby HATES water.
It took a while to completely wet down
Toby. After that, it's suds time! I use a sponge to scrub
him, keeping one hand under his chin the entire time. Most dogs
really slim down when they're wet. But not Toby! He's still
as big and bulky as when he's dry. So I feel like I'm washing my
car, just scrubbing away...head, top, bottom, legs, tail, butt.
Surprisingly, Toby doesn't shed that much during the bath. Of
course, I brushed him before the bath to get most of the loose fur off.
The big rinse, I
take my time rinsing him off. You can't rush the final rinse
because if there's even a small amount of suds left on his coat, Toby
will itch for days after. And there's a method to follow, always
rinse top down.
Sometimes I think water is Toby's kryptonite, it
renders him immobile. He becomes all stiff when wet and I have to
use a lot of force to turn him around in the tub to clean his other
side. Luckily, that also keeps him from fidgeting around too
Finally, clean and released from the tub. After drying him off
somewhat with a large towel, he's released from the bathroom.
Toby then rolls around on the carpet to try to get this wet stuff
off! Hey, a clean wet dog beats a dirty dry one any time! :-)
I saw this clever
idea from Martha
Stewart. I have always been a little facinated with rings and
hooks but never had any good ideas on how to use them until I saw
Martha's dish towel with grommet project. Inerting an eyelet or
gromet and ring at the edge of a towel so that
you can hang or hook the towel to anything. The project is so
simple yet so useful!
I find that towels with the flat strip at its
border works best for this project. That way you don't have to
punch the eyelet through the thick part of the towel. I picked up
this eyelet tool from Michaels
along with a small pack of eyelets for a couple of dollars.
As you can see, I made myself a beach towel
can hook on to my beach tote. You can probably tell from the
bottom photo that I like to hang things!
I also made a Toby-quick-wipe towel to hang
front door so that I can wipe him down if he gets too dirty playing
with his friends.
do not use the towel to clean your car, the metal eyelet and ring may
scratch the paint off.
Please share if you have your own ring-and-hooks
project. Now that I have the supplies, I'm always looking for new
ways to use them.
Things are blooming...we had our first hot day in
LA. There are signs of Summer everywhere. But having grown
up in LA I know that this is merely a Summer-tease, as if LA is warming
up just for Memorial Day weekend. We still have to get through
June-gloom. But it is nice to get a preview of what's to come in
another month or so. It also makes it tough to work in my
window-less office building during the day...
This is the second bloom from the same rose plant.
I took this
picture with my new camera. I love the
zoom feature on this
camera, it makes taking beautiful flower pictures so easy.
I think I will spend one lazy afternoon taking pictures of all the
beautiful flowers in my neighborhood and make a pretty photo collage.
My friend and "big sister" Eftyhia introduced me
to real Greek food. I have always loved Greek salads but it was
only recently I've discovered dolmakaki.
That's the little grape leave wraps in the picture. It is so
yummy that I have to get them every time I hit my local Greek place Daphnes. Daphnes
calls these wraps dolmas but I guess they are all the same thing.
Initially, I was hesitant about eating grape leaves. But they are
actually really fragrant and really soft. Eftyhia tells me that
they boil the leaves until they become really tender. At 3 pieces
for $1.29, I will be eating a lot of these little wraps! :-)
Other Greek foods I like are Avgolemono Soup which is basically a rice
chicken soup with lemon juice and Baklava, a
sweet phyllo pastry with nuts and honey. Yummy!
Haha! I love this Non Sequitur via my fellow
nerd friend S.
I am glad the above didn't happen to me when I taught my astronomy class.
Another misconception about astronomy I experienced most with students
is that they think
they will just be looking at lots of beautiful, colorful pictures of nebulae and
space the entire semester. I didn't show one single picture to
my astronomy class. I could have, but due to time constraint, I
didn't. But I don't believe it hindered the learning of astronomy in
way. Go to S's
space blog, it's full of beautiful pictures people expect to see
related to astronomy.
Rabbits roam wild and free in Dallas. :-) I
caught this one just sitting in front of a home in Plano, a suburban neighborhood of
Dallas. I spent four days in Dallas attending a nerd conference
visiting my cousin and her
family. My perception of Dallas (cowboy hats and cow farms) has
certainly changed but one
thing does hold true...everything IS bigger in Texas! :-)
Below are views of Dallas from my 14th floor
hotel room. That bright spot in the nighttime picture is the
moon. It was huge...and not even full yet. Though it was
the weather was incredibly nice with a cool breeze. Many parts of
Dallas look and feel very much like parts of Los Angeles. A few
times, I had to remind myself that I was not in LA anymore...
I had a surprisingly pleasant time in
Dallas. I even managed to squeeze in a little bit of
shopping at the new Galleria
I particularly liked this little teapot store. I
didn't get a chance to visit the 6th
Floor Museum. I will definitely visit Dallas and my cousin
But in the end, I missed Toby and the sound of ocean waves
crashing. I was glad to come home to congested and gloomy
LA. Toby spent four days in a doggie hotel and couldn't be
happier to come home. He is one with the couch again. :-)
The new Galeria in Dallas. Look close and
hard, there were hardly anyone at the 4-story mall!! The ice rink was
nearly empty. No mall in LA is ever
that empty, even on weekdays.
I'm off for a week leaving my computer behind for
a little R&R. Here are some pictures from last weekend's
activities to tie you over til I return.
Last weekend, I dragged Toby out to participate in the Walk for the Underdog
charity event at the La Brea Tar Pits.
her boys, Duke and Eddie, joined us for the festivities. This was
the first ever dog walk for us so everyone was super excited! All
the proceeds go to support the dogs. Luckily, the weather was
cool and cloudy, perfect walking weather! Enjoy the pictures.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!
Toby got the shotgun position.
Kim and the boys were in the back of the SUV for the ride.
Picture time before the walk!
We all had to register for the dog walk and to make our donations.
We decided to check out the events and booths before the actual Walk
got started. There was even a live band!
One of the many cute booth signs we saw...
There were tons of booths to visit.
Chateau Le Pooch...so many doggie toys! Toby wouldn't leave the
booth til I got him a toy. He ended up with a big pineapple. :-)
The Husky Adoption Booth!
I didn't want to adopt a Husky but boy did I ever wanted to take this
teddy bear home!!! It's a huge, hug-able, poofy baby St.
Bernard!!! This thing was sooooo soft and cuddly. But of
course he was not up for adoption...
Off we go on the Walk! Follow the big yellow sign.
It was very strange to hit Wilshire Blvd with all the dogs...
The boys became fast friends in no time.
Break at the street crossing as everyone waited for the lights.
Invasion of the dog walkers through the Mid-Town neighborhoods.
The trail of people and dogs were quite long...
This curious little dog was watching all the commotion from his
Water break. The walk organizers provided water and treats for
the dogs throughout the walk.
The end is in sight!! I still can't believe Toby completed the walk!! I
so proud of him!! He was such a trooper to keep up with
everyone on the walk.
Toby and Eddie, exhausted, resting as Kim and I got some lunch.
But where's Duke?? He was still fetching a ball after the walk!!!
After our lunch, we hung around to watch little dogs hit the
Look at this little guy jumping over the hurdles!
It was a fun day with lots of sights and activities. But we also
got tons of free toys and treats. And don't forget the stuffed
pineapple I bought for Toby, it was his birthday present from mommy. :-)
Toby slept for 4 hours straight after we got home! :-)
You win a Toby kiss if you can guess what these
things are suppose to be. No, they are not flowers...
There's been a lot of baking in my kitchen
lately. A few days
after my successful dog cake attempt, I decided to bake some
cookies. I can not recall the last time I baked cookies. So
I decided NOT to make cookies from scratch...a very wise decision!
:-) I bought some Pillsbury
sugar cookie dough from the supermarket.
A while ago, I bought a few cookie cutters and I
wanted to use one of the shapes. Sounds simple right? Well,
the cookie dough came in a roll that was too small for my cookie
cutter. So I had to re-mold the dough into larger diameters in
order to cut the shape out. The sugar cookie dough was so sticky
it was hard to get the cookies to keep their shape. I ended up
throwing away about half of the dough. Plus, I failed to remember
that cookie dough will expand A LOT after baking. Thus my cookies
all melded together and the original shape was lost! :-(
Luckily, the cookies are still VERY yummy. Lessons learned: Leave at
least 2" between each cookie. :-)
While I was messing with the cookie dough and the
cookie cutter, Toby thought that I was baking him another cake!
He kept pacing around me in the kitchen and trying to sniff the
counter! He must have been thinking fondly of his cake-eating
experience as shown in this picture. Sorry Toby, you can't
have that cake everyday and still keep your diet! :-)
who's birthday it was on Monday?! Toby is officially 4 years
old! I can't believe it's been almost four years since I brought
furry guy home with me. I remember the first night I had Toby
with me, I was so worried about being able to take care of him. I
couldn't wait until living with him became routine, until I didn't have
to worry about him getting an illness or something. When I was
young, we had a dog that passed away at 1! Now, I just know Toby
will be at home sleeping when I get off work. He's just a normal
part of my life and I'm very thankful for that.
So to celebrate the big occasion, I baked Toby a cake! I've never
done it before so I searched the web for a simple dog cake
recipe. I found Peanut
Butter Delight. It was so easy to make, it only took me ~10
minutes to mix up the batter. I baked the cake in a bone tin and
it came out really well! The verdict? Toby LOVED it!
He would've eaten the whole thing if I hadn't put it away. He
finished it all in two days and was pacing in the kitchen wanting
more! :-) Happy Birthday my little Toby! :-)
~Peanut Butter Delight~
1 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degF
Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and
mix well. Pour into mold sprayed with a nonstick spray.
Bake for 35 minutes. Store in refrigerator.
also suggest using low fat cottage cheese for frosting the cake.
I skipped the frosting to prevent messiness.
P.S. Sorry about the non-video in the previous blog. The clip I
posted is in .mov format which can only be viewed using QuickTime.
I am trying
to convert the movie clip into a format PC users can view. I
guess only myself and maybe 2 other Mac users out there can view my
My new toy. This is the Canon A620.
After much pondering and deciding, I chose this model over the much
Both models touted the 7.1 megapixel quality that I wanted and they
both had impeccable reviews from hundreds of users. So it all
came down to size, optical zoom, and flip screen. The SD550 wins
out in size but the A620 has better optical zoom and a bonus flip
screen. So in the end, I went with the A620. The price
difference also allowed me to purchase a 1GB memory card, crucial for
taking high resolution images and movie clips. And in the end,
the A620 is still a very compact camera for all its worth.
So to test out my new toy, I took it to the beach for a test
drive. Thanks to the flip screen, I can now take self
portraits. Toby, however, was not too thrill about my new
I had to test out the movie option of my new
camera, and Toby was just the right subject for my video clip.
Tobster Productions proudly presents a video clip
of Toby digging at the beach.
If you turn up the volume you can hear the ocean waves
crashing and you can actually hear Toby panting as he attempts to dig
himself a comfy hole to sit in. Enjoy... :-)
For some reason I could not get the movie controls to display. But you
can still control the movie by:
To play or restart: double click on image.
To pause or stop: click on image once.
(You'll need QuickTime to view clip. The movie clip is 1 minute long.)
Cinco de Mayo has a
special meaning for me. Three years ago, I defended my
thesis on May 5. Scheduling a PhD defense is rather
tricky...you have to gather 4 (or 5) very busy professors together for
at least 3 hours to attend your defense. After many phone calls
and emails, May 5, 2003 was set to be my "date". It was after I
had passed my defenese that I realized it was Cinco de Mayo! But
how appropriate, passing my defense was like being liberated from years
of confinement. I spent years making plots like this one. I
studied the Earth's electric fields responsible for Geomagnetic
Storms. I even came up with an acronym within an
acronym! I called my electric fields MACEP
(Mapping of AMIE Convection Electic Potentials) where AMIE
stood for Assimilative Mapping of Ionospheric Electropotentials.
I took this picture years ago on the roof top of the Math
at UCLA where I called "home" for 7 years. Happy Cinco de Mayo.
I was watching Toby from work yesturday and caught
this adorable image of him yawning in his crate. I think he had
just woken up from a long afternoon nap with one of his best friends.
Can you see his little dog buddy?
No, these are not Reese's
Pieces. Believe it or not, they are candy and chocolate
covered sunflower seeds!
Yes, they have individually coated each
little sunflower seed with chocolate and a candy shell. I got
them from Trader Joe's...above
the ice cream shelf. The verdict? They are actually pretty
yummy. There is a hint of the sunflower flavor. They are
very small so you would eat about 4 or 5 of them each bite. I
guess they are healthier than the Reese's Pieces. Turns out that
likes them! Except she gets ones with the fancy packaging.
I think they
will also go well as ice cream toppers. Hm...maybe that's why
they were sold near the ice cream section. :-)
The very first rose
under my care. A beautiful start to May.
And guess what Toby got in preparation for
May? :-) Yup, he got a bath...much to his chagrin. But it
was all his own fault, for not having enough will power to resist his
treat. Once I got him into the bath tub, he knew it was all
over. He just stood there all stiff and endured the rest of the
bath in silence. It usually takes me about 10 minutes to get him
completely wet, down to his thick undercoat. Then I spend another
5 minutes sudsing him up with a sponge, spraying him once in while with
water to keep him wet. After a good scrub, I rinse him off for
another 10 minutes, until I'm sure there is absolutely no more soap on
him. Then I wring him off before letting him out of the
tub. Finally, I wrap this huge towel around him and dry him as
much as possible.
Tip: During the entire bath time, I kept one hand
gripping his chin. This will keep dogs from shaking and spraying