Tuesday, March 29, 2016

That One Friend

For those of you that are "that one friend", thanks for making life so much more joyous.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Snackie Search and Rescue

Dad - I tried to catch my treat but it bounced off my nose and landed under the stove! You have to save it before the dust bunnies eat it!
 I'll snoopervise
 You got it!
 Nom Nom Nom Nom

Saturday, March 26, 2016

It's Another Special Day

Happy Birthday Dad!
I made you stuffing to go with your birthday meal!
Love - Abby T. Lab

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Barkday Sarge

Happy Barkday

It looks like much of Blogville has shown up at your PAW-ty to help you celebrate turning 10 and your Mom and Dad got you some wonderful food and pressies.

Go on over to say hello and join in the fun!  You'll see some old friends and maybe meet some new ones. Frankie Furter and I have already arrived!

Plus -

there's  all kinds of neat foodables as well as PUNCH!
Photo from Sarge's Paw-ty post

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Blogville Birthdays - Special Days

“Who throws a cupcake? …honestly!”
- young Dr. Evil, Austin Powers

I haven't made a cake in a while, usually asked to bring in my dark chocolate cupcakes with buttercream.

Cupcakes are fun

The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of "a cake to be baked in small cups" was written in American Cooker by Amelia Simmons. They're more than a dressed up muffin. They're fun, they're easy to prepare and share, and if they turn out too dry and overdone they make dandy replacements for sporting clays (pull!).  For lunch OR launching in a trebuchet, they're dandy little things.

But when it's a special occassion - especially a birthday around here, a cake gets baked.

My husband usually requests  either my Guinness Chocolate cake,
the Guinness Gingerbread (notice a trend here?) 
Or the creamsickle cake for summer gatherings.

I love cake.

Cake for celebrations or for cheer is a tradition that dates back as far as the Romans, with the idea for the candle on top being attributed to both early Greeks and later, Germans. The origins notwithstanding, the cakes vary from region to region and even among families. Everyone has their own favorite cake for celebrations.

The first one I remember, was not a birthday cake, but an Easter one.  I can still recall that ranch house, the apple trees I was almost big enough to climb, Mom's rose garden that  she painstakingly kept up, that after her death, still bloomed without help or hindrance from any of us.  I can picture that moment as she brought out the cake like it was yesterday.  For at Easter every year, Mom would make a two layer cake, then cut it in half, adding a nose, ears and tail to make a bunny cake. Then she'd make a small cake into a baby bunny. It didn't look exactly like the one in the cookbook but it was close.
We'd eat it at the very end of the day, after church, after thanks, after dinner.  Here is an extremely faded photo  from the late sixties of one of them.
There were other cakes over the years, some plain, some fancy. Another family member  made me a cake one year that, well, was completely burned on the outside and raw in the middle (using that bachelor cooking time conversion  method of doubling the temperature and cutting the cook time in half).  We still laugh about that.

Birthday cakes come in all sizes and flavors. Everyone had a favorite, though mine has been, since the very first cake that I can remember, yellow with chocolate buttercream.

Birthday cakes range from  memories of "Oh, that's so sweet!" (and yes, that's a plumbers candle my husband added to his homemade cake).
to "Someone's in the doghouse!"
Then there are wedding cakes. Cakes at weddings are intense elaborate affairs that can cost hundreds of dollars or can be hand crafted.

What were once tradition white cakes and frosting with the bride and groom toppers are now  as individual as the couples involved.  We had a Doctor Who Wedding Cake.
Since we're fans and I have red hair like Amy and my husband looks like The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) especially as he's the only 32 year old I know that regularly wears bow ties, it was fitting.
But why all the talk of CAKE in Blogville today? - Abby seems to be asking me.

Because tomorrow is a very special birthday for

So stop in and join the fun tomorrow and wish him a wonderful day. Abby will be there with Frankie Furter and all your friends will be gathered around. We can't wait to see what treat his Mom makes up for him to celebrate.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lady and the Tramp Stamp

Don't I look all soft and adorable.  Please feed me treats.

With Abby all beautified for the upcoming birthday party for Sarge tomorrow, it brought memories of trying to get Barkley bathed, NOT the easiest of tasks.

From the Book of Barkley (Outskirts Press) and some photos of Barkley with my little Point and Shoot that you may not have seen.

CHAPTER 34 - Lady and the Tramp Stamp

I've had some bad haircuts in my time, as with very fine but also curly hair, it happens.  Barkley, however, has been spared getting shaved and groomed but for the occasional bath and nail trim.

Why is it a breed that loves the water and will cannon ball into any available pool or pond, hates getting baths?  When he was a puppy he just got his baths in the tub.  He wasn't too happy about it, but I could hold on to him and although I'd end up as wet as he was, we got it done.

When he was older, it didn't go so well.  You know those wildlife clips from Africa that show the lion running and jumping on the zebra, taking it down in a flurry of legs and hair.
It was something like that.
So I had to take him to a "groomer."  It was a lady recommended by his previous vet where we used to live, the groomer working from her home out in the country.  I asked if she did larger dogs and she assured me she did all the time.

I left him. She was very friendly; the place spotlessly clean, her instruments shining and well cared for, the other dogs there, waiting to get picked up, looking content.

When I came back, she was there, with another girl I did not recognize.   "I had to call for help," she said.  Both of them were drenched, with wet hair, clothes, everything.  There was water on the table, on the floor, several of their tools had been flung across the floor, and the picture on the wall was all askew.  They looked like they'd been in a tornado and flood combined.

 Barkley was in his pen, drying out, with a scarf around his need, looking ALL happy but not liking the scarf much.

 "I'm sooo sorry, I said, please; let me pay you extra for your services."  They declined, but I gave her a huge tip with a second apology.

 As we left, she looked at me and said, "Miss, I appreciate the business, and hope you'll think of me if others ask about pet grooming.  But please do not bring him back."

So baths got less frequent but we managed.  There were no more fashion accessories though, at least until he came home with a square of fur missing from his lower spine.

 It was some simple veterinary surgery to remove a small benign fatty growth from that area as well as four little skin tags on a couple of his legs.  Common enough in older dogs but if he kept chewing on them it could do some harm, so off they came.  At the same time, since he would be under anesthesia, his scheduled doggie dental cleaning and care was accomplished.

 Barkley loves Dr. H., and is oh so excited to get in the door and see her. I dropped him off in the early morning and could pick him up after I got off of work.  He was not so happy with me when I picked him up.

 He looked at me as if to say - "You told me some pretty girls were going to check my teeth and pet me, and I come home with Brazilian Bikini Butt."

Barkley is a "no fuss dog."  Although he is AKC purebred and a hunting breed, he's lived a quiet life at home.  It's been a simple life of water and dirt and running amok, not constant grooming and bows in his ears and dog couture.  If I dressed him in costume as a food object or cute insect, he would likely steal the clippers and give me a Mohawk in my sleep.

 He was neutered as a youngster; there's lots of good rescue dogs out there, so he wasn't going to reproduce, bloodlines or not, but he'd had a life of only routine fussing over, just enjoying being part of my family.  His not-so-secret canine mission was that of most working dog breeds - to sniff every object in the entire world, peeing on anything that smelled even remotely like another male dog and then having done so, trying to -

(a) eat it

(b) bark at it

(c) carry it around in his mouth

(d) hump it

But his teeth needed attention, so this had seemed like a good time to get it all done. The vet sent me home with some samples of dog treats that help with tartar, as well as a brush and some poultry flavored dog toothpaste (mmm, for breath that's barnyard fresh!)  The veterinary technician said, "With a little practice your dog will enjoy his brushing."

 I didn't tell her that the Storming of the Bastille was better received and less bloody than my attempt to apply a few drops of flea medication on his skin between his shoulder blades a couple of years ago.

 I'd be wearing the chicken flavored toothpaste by the time we were through.  I won't mention the look of disdain I'd get at a pink toothbrush.  But the doctor only has his health in mind and we talked about some alternatives to keep his teeth and gums healthy.

 He did fine, though he whined a little when he did not get a full bowl of food the night before the procedure, by doctor's orders, and he was in a little discomfort when he came home.  I had pain meds, but I could not give him one until the next morning, so he got much extra care and got to sleep with Mom on her bed, something normally not allowed.

I lay with him while he went to sleep, telling him he was still a handsome boy and even offering to show him the picture of me from the 80s when I had a mullet.  He declined, it appeared, nodding off to sleep, happy that this day was done.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prayer and POTP

POTP for the good people of Belgium and those innocent citizens of other nations who were harmed.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Postal Pressies!

Abby Lab here. The mailman rang the doorbell to give me a package today!

It's from my fella Frankie Furter at

Otherwise known as -

And guess what he sent me?

Squeakie Tighty Whities!   Bwahahahahar!

Looking good!
And a squeaky to deaded soon!
What's this?  Alligator Gumbo Treats!
Hurry up Mom!  I want and try a gator treat!
For me?
Thanks Frankie - you're the best.  squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Truffle Dog

Truffle Dog sniffed out the truffles.

Black truffle pate pizza with fennel sausage, mushrooms, and lots of cheese on a hand tossed crust!
After I get dressed up and go for my walk I get Pizza Bones!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Remembering

Ireland.  The land is rugged and it is raw, morning breaking with a crash of spray against a sea cliff, days stretching longer than the beaches that lie quietly in wait for a footstep to make an impression on them.

There in the sand, small bits of history, small stones, a piece of bone that appears to have been carved, a perfect, pristine shell, both delicate and strong. Water and history, two elements of life that draw me in deeply, draw me back to such places. Part of my childhood was spent on the shores of a body of water in the West where we stayed in a little cabin with a view of the water,  years before Californians discovered it and developers took over the place, building vast condos that blocked out the sun.

My brother and I would get up while it was still dark, and march down to the waters edge, hoping to get there to see the dawn explode over the water. I could spend hours there, just watching the way the water shaped itself around the rocks and me, the gentle waves moving against the shore, like breathing. In the bright cold water, there would be all sorts of strange creatures,  all sorts of mysteries.

We'd wade along the edges, gingerly looking, while not harming anything that was there, hoping to find a prehistoric shell to take home, knowing that at some time, all of the land where our family homesteaded had once been part of this ocean.  We occasionally found bits and pieces of things, some strange, some so very familiar.

Many of you have seen a sand dollar. They're commonly sold in souvenir stores. But what you see is only the remaining skeleton of a living sea creature. When living, the sand dollar is covered with fine hair like cilia that cover tiny spines, soft, and almost purple in color. But the remaining shell is beautiful, fragile, white. The essential essence of what this creature was.

We'd come home at the end of an adventure, our pockets full of small rocks and shells and artifacts of the day. I felt somehow at home with these small bits of the ancient land, though I felt as if I was living in a alien world in the small eddy currents of their homes, among creatures that were so different from me, somehow I knew I belonged there. At night, we'd build a fire and sit and listen to the lapping of the waves, dreams of my future filled my head. The sound of the water, growing and swelling in rhythm to my heart beat, an accompaniment to the laughing and roasted marshmallows, the joys of a night on the water, under open stars.

The rocky  rugged cost of Northern Island took me back there, the rush of the water an affirmation of what draws me to search and discover. It takes me back to the taste of salt on my lips, that of rain or tears, only the years remember. The water rushes, then waits, as I do, moving in, retreating, watching, still waiting. Remembering everything past, hoping for everything good of the future, in a bone deep calm that belies the deep ache in my muscles as I climb up a trail that leads to cliffs hundreds of feet above.

There at the top, a view, an expanse that is as untouched and unchanged as what drove me here in the first place. There's few other people, the rest taking the bus back the short distance, just a couple of us, strangers but kindred spirits, not speaking, simply looking outward. The others don't dare the height, the edge, not with the wind that day, but we do, not feeling the fear until afterwards, only feeling alive, on the wind the smell and the taste of the longing to simply be here.

In my last trip to Ireland, while overseas for a professional speaking engagement (with a free weekend  to play tourist), I took an afternoon off to  go to the Trinity College Library. Specifically, I wanted  to look at the book of Kells, books hundreds of years old, there in a massive hall, watched over by the white busts of philosophers.

There in the dizzying array of centuries of thought how very close I felt to them, and wondered what they would think of us today there. People so different yet not so much. Priests, wanton victims, lovers, students. A flock of beleaguered human beings rushing through life with little more than spare words of text, our lives left, not to handwritten words that flow from veins that open within us, but to small snippets of meaningless text, words thrown out into the electronic atmosphere without thought to discourse or what meaning they leave in their wake.

Then the Book of Kells, painstakingly recorded in colors of the earth, preserved for 1200 years. I stood transfixed by their vision, which in their Latin told me nothing but that someone of great faith had been here and recorded his heart, a message that though I could not translate accurately, I could never fail to understand.

Too soon, the trip was over and it was time to go home. I will make the trek up above the sea, one last time before my flight back to the States is set to leave. I will go back to a happy dog, and the friends who watched him.  I'll try and recreate some of the dishes I dined on there in historic inns, there in a quiet kitchen, a calendar on the wall, on the counter perhaps a bit of loose tea spilled, a pen and a journal there by the window. The house holds its traces of me, assuming I will come back and if not, that at least I would be remembered by those who share my table,  even if not related by blood.

Boxty with Whiskey Cream Sauce - made at home

 But for now, a few more hours ,a few more artifacts of time I stole from the past, flirting with the ancients, hard rocks, the smell of peat and coal, a land brushed with snow, burnished with the traces of those that went before. Traces that say, remember me, remember this, for in it you will find yourself, and leave a piece of your heart behind.

There on top of a sea green cliff, I will throw out a rock to watch it splash down far below, as above, I watch above, from a strong, yet fragile, light shell that houses this old soul. The rock flies through the hindrance of the deepest sleeps, through the stiff fabric of the wind, into the warm sea.

It's only a rock, only a bit of artifact of the past that holds in it, not the prolonged burden of time that  too many embrace as they age, but the bright colored fluent movement of youth, the dancing heels of those days of risk and glory.  Perhaps the days of my youth are gone, as is the rock,  yet the feel of its absoluteness remains in my hands, in me, long after the wind goes silent.

Too, too soon, it is time to head back. Clouds kiss the top of the hills, the rocks knitting up the small tendrils of fog into shawls that drape us as we hike on down. Layers and layers, the sea cliffs lie. Down, descending through those layers of clouds, layers and layer of memory. Memories of many miles walked upon such shores, from that first sound of a wave in my childhood to this, the span seems endless.

Till we meet again Ireland, Thar gach ni eile. .

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Dog's View of "The Bachelor"

Abby Lab here - My Mom does NOT watch reality television. But last night, I heard her admitting to Dad that she watched clips from the second to the last episode of The Bachelor and she wanted to see the ending, because the Bachelor told TWO women he was in love with them.

What The Dog!

But anyway - I'll tell you how it came down when we caught Mom catching a clip of the ending. I'll just go visit GIFY and try and explain what happened to Mom in scenes from the show.

Because was I surprised.  You see, Mom doesn't watch stuff like that, she watches cars blow up and crime scenes and the most romantic thing she wants to see on TV is Zeva from NCIS beating up some thug.

My first thought was AGHHH! Who are you and what did you do with my Mom?"  Maybe there's a side to her I did know, and it was just unleashed by watching The Bachelor.

Who knew my Mom had a secret life.

Sure tried to explain to Dad that the Bachelor was a Hoosier so she wanted to see what all the fuss was about as she'd never watched the show before.

Don't pretend we didn't catch you watching it Mom.

Sure - you were just watching a clip while you unwound from your work day.

Which sometimes  is like this.

And I bet you got all sappy at the proposal to beautiful Lauren and all, even as you were so sad about JoJo losing.  

But she's awesome and left with some class so you're probably happy that she's going to be the next Bachelorette which you will probably also sneak a watch of the ending of, even though you pretend not to.

I'm glad THAT's  over and our lives around here can get back to normal and we can watch Animal Planet again.

But I want to know when The Bachelor - Doggie Edition is going to air.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

POTP for Hank the Dog and some of Blogville


Sadly - I got news that Hank the dog went to the Bridge today, surrounded by people who cared about him, burned over 80% of his body with smoke damage to his lungs.  The vet bill will still have to be paid, as well as tending to his remains and his "Dad" is now homeless  - so thanks for your prayers and support for his Dad Chris, who had no other family but Hank. - LB

How the day started: 

Abby Lab here - they say the world is a small place and indeed it is.  This morning my Mom saw news about an apartment fire in Alabama while searching for weather related news in the south, where a friend lives.  No humans were hurt but a dog was burned and injured as it jumped from the third floor apartment to escape the flames. So sad.

Later, she got a message from a friend in Colorado, regarding a GoFundme for a dog hurt in a fire. It was that same dog.  Mom's good friend said the person that the dog jumped towards was someone Mom knows as well, the neighbor of the man who lost everything he owned and almost his best friend.

Hank's  apartment was the only one badly burned but it was gutted.  Hank the dog went through a glass window or door to flee the flames before jumping from the third floor to his neighbor Joe. He was attended to by first responders, just like people, administering to his burns and getting him oxygen.
The man Mom knows, the neighbor of Hank's owner, has set up a Go Fund Me, to help with the dog's vet expenses - he's got some cuts, some burns and a couple broken bones, but he is stable at AMC Emergency Specialty Center and  hopefully will recover with proper care. He is all that this poor man has left, everything else burned, the other units suffering only smoke damage or no damage at all. Here's the info and the link to go fund me.

The goal is enough to cover the vet bill and perhaps leave a little extra over to help his owner Chris, further, as he literally has only his vehicle and the clothes on his back left. Click on the link below for more info.


Thanks for sharing some POTP wishes for healing for Hank and his owner Chris from Birmingham.

We also have a GoFundMe fundraiser for Cookie's Mom on the right sidebar for Cookie's meds with a thanks to everyone who donated.

Lastly,  please give some additional POTP to the Dad of 
He's been in the hospital with tummy issues and it's worrisome for everyone.

And as always, Mom appreciates the prayers for her 95 year old Dad, who is in failing health, but happy in his home of 60 years, with the full time health aid Mom gets for him so he can stay there as he wishes.

Thanks  - I hope we can all get where things are healed and calm and Mom and everyone can just be like THIS

No Mom - I never said you were SHAPED like that - just that you need to be all relaxed and happy like that.