Thursday, August 16, 2018

CASAU - Crimes Against Stuffed Animals Unit

CASAU units are popping up everywhere.  This could be happening in your own home!  One minute it was quiet and the next -
 one of Abby Lab's friends is headed to the slammer!
I think we need a good defense attorney.  Ernie???

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The House That Barkley Built

Abby Lab here.

This is the house from The Book of Barkley that Mom bought in hopes her Dad would live with her (her stepmom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer). It had a mother in law wing and there were no steps or stairs, with a  Lutheran church and park nearby.  It would have been perfect for her Dad. But her stepmom, after many prayers, went into full remission and her Dad changed his mind so Mom sold the house as it was just too much work to maintain as a single person who traveled a lot.  But she and Barkley had several happy years there (it was on a small retention lake so lots of water time though she was thankful for a fence so he wasn't in it 24 and 7).

It worked out as things tend to do when we trust in someone higher than ourselves.  The sale provided Mom enough money to pay for Dad's in-home nursing care these last few years and she met and married Dad who already owned a home.  Her home now is a LOT less to clean, and seriously less yard to mow. :-)

And even though it's small with a small yard, it has its own charm.

But she will always have fun memories of this Indiana home and her time with Barkley there.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Happy Birthday Mom!

Abby Lab here -

Mom turned 60 this weekend.  That's well like 187 in dog years. Dad came through with some nice pressies.
A choker with some gears on it (Dad is an engineer), and a bandana for the LEO range bag.
So even if Mom accidentally takes the ear off the hostage again, she'll be styling. (There's a reason they don't send the scientists to hostage negotiations)
He also got her a new cooking pot 
and this thing which Dad said is an "Italian Army Hat" and then there was a romantic dinner out.
But the best part of Birthdays is the cake!  

Red Velvet bundt cake with chocolate chips and cream cheese icing


Happy 187th Birthday Mom!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Off to the Dog-Tor

I think we have the only dog that LOVES to go to the Vet.  She gets lots of pets, as her fur is extra soft (we think she's part flat-coated retriever) and the Vet Tech is the ONLY person she'll let trim her nails.

Checkup went well, we got six months more heartworm and flea and tick stuff and she got some treats.  Weight was 72 pounds, which is good for her (she's not as big as most purebred labs).

She didn't want to leave and ran around all excited for about 10 minutes after we got home.

For 12 years old (as best as we can tell) she's in really good health.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dog Warning Signs

I took a short walk this afternoon, as a small package had mistakenly been left on my porch instead of a house a few houses down, where it was meant to go.  The wind had blown my screen open so the actual address wasn't visible. and the guy in the little delivery van most have just "guessed".

No worries - I got the package dropped off.  But on the way home, at a house a few doors down where there are several small children, a new sign was in the  front window.


I wondered at that as I wouldn't imagine they'd get a large, aggressive dog with a couple of children under the age of 4.  The tiny dog they did have got out once and barked at Abby and when she barked back the dog RAN. . . .  YIP YIP YIP YIPYIPYIP back to the safety of the yard. Once, when my husband was out in the yard, and it ran free, it barked at him once, he stomped his foot and YIP YIP YIP YIPYIPYIP back to the safety of the yard.

I saw one of the kids out playing in the backyard with his big brother, and said, "did you get another dog"?

"No  - it's the same one, Mom just got the sign to warn people".


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

National Lighthouse Day

Our friends at:

are having a Blog Hop today in honor of National Lighthouse day. They asked us to post a photo of our favorite lighthouse. The picture is one I took up in Northern Ohio, where I once lived with Barkley. It's actually a little replica lighthouse located at the Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermillion, Ohio.  It's a replica of the iron 1977 Vermilion Lighthouse.  I always enjoyed visiting that museum (now closed) and Barkley and I had many a romp on that little strip of beach, no matter what the temperatures.

Great dog, good memories.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Around the Village

Abby Lab here -

Mom's third Book, Small Town Roads, which won first place in the Reader's Favorite International Book Award for Fiction (Religious Theme) is indeed Fiction but the small rural town in it is based on a bit of our village, at least the town square and our little neighborhood.  Not far from us is a restaurant, now closed, that has a cow on the roof.  After the Cubs won the world series, someone climbed up there and put a Cubs sign on the cow, but what we saw recently was even funnier.

It was cool enough earlier in the week that I got to go for a drive to CEE VEE SSS with Mom. And guess what WE saw?

It looks like someone decorated the cow again.

Abby T. Lab

Saturday, August 4, 2018


 What are you making in the kitchen Mom?
Ohhhh, Swedish Woofles!

 Dad, are you going to share?
That looks like too much food Dad, you really should give me some.
Dad, did you hear me?
Look DEEP into my eyes - give me a woofle!
OK, Abby, Dad will give you one little piece with no butter.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A River Song

Frost on the window turned to fog as the heat kicks on.  It was a trip to my Dads, taken in the fall, the growl of the furnace waking from hibernation, waking me too early from the rapture of deep sleep, as I roll over and sigh with its loss.

Dad was still sleeping - going to bed around 7:30 pm waking about the same time in the morning. For myself, a cup of hot coffee and freshly baked bread, consumed at the table that's seen several generations pass.  A sip of liquid, the tear of bread, a communion with the morning, as I said a prayer of thanks.  Elsewhere, the world rushed ahead, gathering like seagulls at a fast food place, eating their microwaved food thrown at them out a window. Few wish to get up earlier just to have this quiet time, the language of yeast and oven and hands being a foreign tongue, a Mass for the dead, the generations gone, whispering from the walls around.  That morning, I sensed them, the history in this house, even as I knew they are not there, the words I spoke, head bowed, a whisper in the mist.
Each time I visit, weeks apart, I wonder if it will be my last, but for a funeral.  It's a thought that's never far from my mind as I arrived back home, the clock showing a new day has started, even as I exited the terminal from a delayed flight.  Cabs waited, hovering around the doors, like stray cats, seeking warmth and sustenance. I hailed one, my husband being told to not wait up when I realized I'd be landing just a few hours before he got up for work.  The driver was an older man, cordial and polite. After ensuring I was buckled in, and an obeisant glance at the cross on the rear-view mirror,  he takes off into the night, uttering a torrent of Greek into his hands-free phone, a cheerful animated conversation with a friend, by his tone.  Though he's totally attuned to the road, his words rush past with emotion, a smile, a gesture of futility, a pondering frown, and more smiles.  Of the rapidly flowing language, I only caught one phrase in English "walking dead" and I had to stifle my laughter.  We are a nation as bound by the old as we are the new.

Each time I go home to see Dad, things change. Small businesses closed, a big box mart type store replacing a row of houses that used to line the small highway in a nearby town.  Dad's house itself is largely unchanged, but for fresh paint and a good roof, something my brother always took care of. The only thing that changes as I come in, is my Father, the man slowly and carefully coming to the door, still the man I remember chasing me down the street when those training wheels came off the bicycle and I realized how fast I could fly, unfettered. Yet, even as he's approaching a hundred years on this earth, his spirit is as strong as the staff in his hand, to be raised when one needs help to fight, to be leaned on when one is weary. Yet even as he has aged, he's remained a constant, and even as my own faith at times foundered, I saw his strengthen in his eyes.
On the table by his chair lay a well worn Bible, something to be read each day before his meal. On the wall, certificates and flags, photos of submarines and airplanes, markers of duty that stand above a table on which sit two children's toys, sturdy little vehicles a generation old, one commanded by a small, well-loved teddy bear. Dad has outlived two wives and two children in this house, an older sister, lost before I was adopted, and the reason this family became mine. As I sat each day and listened to him read, I was aware, dimly and without regret, of the silent sundering of this family, too soon, only one of us remaining.

But the words of the Book of Psalms call me back into the present  This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. And we will, taking every moment we can out of the time remaining, like the savoring of a fine meal, one flavor upon another, sweet diffusing the bitter, the spray of warmth against the tongue, the velvet of oil, that binds but does not subdue. We are not shy guests at the feast the world offers, breathing deep of the day. Like the freshly baked bread, the air is full of the breath of sweet warmth, comforting long after it has been consumed.
After the breakfast dishes were washed, we would make our way into town for gas and supplies, taking the ferry. It's a ritual journey that's been made a hundred times. Sure, one can take a small bridge to the other route, then a huge span of metal across the river some miles further, but it's not nearly as fun. Passing the Nordic Hall, we get to the ferry in time to be first on, where Dad can sit in the vehicle sensing the motion, and I can lean against the front barrier, the wind in my hair, stray raindrops on my face.

The river looked like steel, the wind coming from the mouth of the river, humming as if through wire. I remembered another ferry ride, the last one with my big brother, as he stepped off the boat back to land, to have that silent cigarette he thinks I don't know he'd smoke.  I watched him in the faded fabric of the shore, his form, a thin piece of steel unbending before the wind, the embers of his cigarette fraying away in fiery shreds, carried on that biting wind like sparks of ice.
That day, everyone now on board, we moved away from the dock. The ferry moved with the aged motion of service, the rituals of grace, the tending of the fires of an altar, burdens born secretly, yet even in its cumbersome age, moving towards the light on the horizon.

A ferry has been making this run for almost a hundred years, and will a hundred after we are all gone. The faint leap of my heart reminding me of how much I missed the water, the faintly metallic scent of the sea, evoking pale images of silent hopes, the fragrance of forgotten tears.  The other riders probably thought I'm was daft, standing out there in the cold and the wind, the throb of the engine a song within me, of history and a name which lies on the edge of memory beyond capturing, falling behind, left in the churning wake. The sound of a ship's horn brought me out of my pondering, cleaving the air like a star does the secrecy of night.  I turned and waved at my Dad, and went back in the vehicle to keep him company.

I would make this trip again, the intervals between, shorter and shorter, as is time. Even when the last trip is made, the ferry will continue to run. From island to shore, from the past to the future, the span of distance is small.
 -L.B. Johnson

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Someone's Brain is Tired.

 Abby Lab here - Mom says her brain is tired after a long trial today.  
 She'd rather be riding her bike.

Still, there were moments of fun after everything concluded, and some coffee was spewed in her secretary's cube.  She doesn't go to the office much anymore so it was fun to see people. Mom still has a cube she can use if she is up there, but she mostly works from home now.
The calendar is old but she likes the message.
My Mom is sort of a nut and has goofy stuff up everywhere.  Including the ham radio diagram and the gnome target she took out with some .45 at the LEO range after a bad Travelocity experience.
 She's happy to have more space with her promotion but she misses being outside doing field work.
 But since she blew her knee out she has to be careful.
Dad is home from his parents, wine is poured and there is spaghetti sauce simmering in the crockpot and homemade bread to go with it.

You all enjoy your evening.