Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

It's not a day off from work.
It's looking at history, and what has withstood time and conflict.
It's not meeting friends for a meal and fun.
It's not ice cream and a barbecue.
It's not sitting in  your lounge chair.
It's raising your flag, remembering what is important as you look hard at everything.

It's saying "thank you" to those who have served.
It's remembering brave sacrifices.
It's putting your pride in your country out  for all to see, not on this weekend, but every day of the year.
It's  remembering duty and courage and the willingness to defend. 
It's honoring the memory of all of those brave men and women who gave their life in the service of this country, so you could live, here today, in the safe place they made for us. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Black and White

The sky is filled with your light because there are some things that even Heaven cannot contain.

In honor of all who gave their lives for Freedom this Memorial day.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fun With Foodables - Abby Lab's Day with Mom

The batphone went off so Mom said to post this which she wrote on her last day off with me and saved to draft.  I hope you enjoy the photos (of me!) and the fun. - Abby Lab
Days off are always nice - whether you are with family that live elsewhere or in your own home. But sometimes it's hard waking up after a week of work and travel.
I'll be less grumpy after coffee and pancakes.
Time for pancakes.  Replacing the buttermilk with maple flavored drinkable yogurt in the world's fluffiest pancakes recipe, with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of milk, these turned out mighty tasty.
After that, it  was time to make the bread for my husbands morning toast and lunches this coming week as he is not traveling. This  bread recipe, mixed up in the food processor  (one bowl, NO kneading) was in the pan in 10 minutes and after rising,  makes a loaf for about 70 cents. With some smoked turkey, this will make some dandy lunches for him with fruit and a homemade cookie.
We had a lot of catching up to do as both of us had been traveling a bit lately.

As he always does when he's been on the road a long time, he brings me a little gift, as I do for him.  Our goal, funny, often useless, and occasionally tacky  items (think dried scorpion in a lollipop from some place in the Far East once).  This trip's little gift was actually something we could use.

Even better, the TSA didn't take it.  The Fly Shooter

This will be great back up for the Fly Taser!
Then it was time to do chores.  My husband  had been home long enough to mow the yard during the last couple of weeks, but it needed it again, as well as some limb and flower bed clean up. I do my part in keeping the place up, sharing in equally in the fun around here means we share equally in the work.

But first Abby Lab needs to get outside for her walk.
I had a feeling somethings was watching me.  I turned around and there he was, scoping out the birds and squirrels.

This is a safe neighborhood, but it is good to be aware.

It felt good to get the chores done.

But we can't forget about lunch.
 Beef chow mein on crispy noodles. (a great way to use up a little piece of inexpensive steak)

Hey - there's one little bit left in the bowl.

Before I knew it, it was time to make supper. This day off was going by way too fast. Secret Ingredient of the day--handcrafted Fig Molasses, a brilliant recipe from a friend of mine, one not suited for the impatient or the poor with temperature control but making your own molasses, while tricky, is so worth the effort.

If it's something tasty, it's a good day in the kitchen.

Braised thick cut pork chops glazed with fig molasses and  served with corn bread and veggies.
click on photos to enlarge, carnivores, prepare to drool
Somebody sulked while the food was prepared.
Everyone is ignoring me while Mom is in the kitchen
 Nom Nom.  I smell something tasty.
I do!  It's something's coming off of the stove.

Sorry Abby - we've been down that road with you and pilfered pork.  You get kibble.

After the supper dishes were done, it was time for tea and a good book.
While Abby takes a nap with her little friend and I curl up in the rocker.
It will soon be time for sleep.  I hope you all had a safe, productive. and fun day, wherever it took you. - LBJ

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What's in YOUR Beauty Bag?

This was supposed to get posted on my healthy lifestyle blog and post dental surgery I accidentally posted it here.  So for you pet lovers not into makeup and skine care - as we say at work "move along folks nothing to see here."

My husband has been on the road for work a LOT, and when he's gone I don't really "cook", I just eat bagged salads, smoothies, and pizza which doesn't make for very interesting diet and fitness posts.

But I did update my beauty products based on new finds and a couple friends recommendations.  Today, I'm going to show you three collections and the reasons for them.

(1) This is the stuff I spoil myself with at home.  Makeup wise, I'm pretty minimal, but I like some really nice organic skin care for my at home regiment.

Starting at the upper left - Eminence mineral foundation.  I have super dry skin and this is the FIRST mineral foundation that didn't look like I had talcum powder on my face.  It's great light coverage that looks very natural.

Next to that is my favorite mascara - Benefit Bad Gal Lash. (has over 3200 five star ratings on Sephora).  A simple black mascara with a huge brush - it builds beautiful big lashes.

Below that is my newest find. Rodan + Fields Lash Boost.  A clear serum you apply to the lash line at night - it gives you visibly longer lashes in a month without some of the nasty side effects (such as eye color change) earlier prescription lash products had.  I found that if I used it nightly, my eyes were a little itchy. An R + F rep suggested using it every other night and it worked perfectly.  I can eve skip mascara if I'm in a hurry now my lashes are so long.

On the left Paula's Choice Resist Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA with Salicylic Acid and Antioxidants.  As I hit middle age I started getting these itchy bumps on my face and back.  The dermatologist said it's common and they're called keratosis pilaris.  This product zaps them in no time and leaves my skin overall much smoother (I even use it on my face).

To the right of that is my Honey Girl Organics Skin Care,  some full size, one a travel size.  I LOVE Honey Girl - organic, smells wonderful and SO moisturizing and made of such pure ingredients you could eat it. (if you have oily skin try their Super Skin Food Cream). They are also moderately priced given the ingredients and the owner always throws in free travel sized samples. The detoxifying Hawaiian blue-green algae, honey, and French clay mask is incredible.

The light blue tube to the right of them is a new try - First Aid Beauty mineral sunscreen.  I think it might be a little heavy for summer (for which I'll wear my Rodan + Fields Soothe Mineral sunscreen) but it was great during the cold weather and didn't break me out.

Eyes and Lips at the bottom - A Mac and a Fitglow (Canadian organic line) in light and dark pink, and a MAC shadow and highlighter.  To their right is Victoria's Secret pink lipgloss (purchased when I was getting some V.S. Heavenly - one of my favorite inexpensive perfumes).

That's pretty much my products at home. I do use other organic skincare lines - Frangipani Organic and Meadowlake Farms bee products, for blemishes and other issues that pop up with hormones and weather.  Their products are awesome and mix and match well with anything, but what you see above is what's in my cosmetic and beauty tray in the bathroom right now.
(2)  What I keep at Dad's so I'm not hauling stuff back and forth.  Mostly cheap, with an exfoliating product that's TSA size to transport out there since I buy it on the internet only. From left to right.

Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment. With rosacea I have to avoid any manually exfoliating products and this works really well, just a couple times a week keeps my skin smooth and it does smooth those really fine lines.

Next up is Alba Kids Mineral Sunscreen.  It's pretty thick so I wouldn't use it on my face every day at home, but it's super cheap and gentle is a great all over chemical free sunscreen for when I have a lot of yard work to do when tending to Dad's place.

Makeup is just a drugstore mascara. whatever lipstick is in my purse, and a Boom color stick for cheeks and eyes.

For cleansing and moisture all over you can't beat the Ceravie cleansers and the giant tub of CVS cream (their version of Cetaphil).

(3)  What I keep in a small overnight bag (with some personal care items and jammies and fresh clothes) in my locker at work, just the basics for a short-notice meeting in DC or elsewhere.

The products are the priciest of the products on the post today but they also pack an incredible "bang for the buck" giving me excellent anti-aging benefits with only a handful of products when I'm on the road. The larger jar is individual little capsules of retinol - I just put those in a sandwich bag.  The larger square is Rodan + Fields facial and eye cleansing clothes - as well, a few go into a baggie. That allows me to put everything in just a tiny makeup bag.
I roll in things - that's MY beauty secret - Abby T. Lab

From left to right.

NARS tinted moisturizer with chemical and non-chemical SPF30.  It actually has a shade light enough for me (called Alaska, how fitting).  It leaves a luminous finish (not shiny) and provides light coverage, moisture, AND sun protection that doesn't break me out.

Next,  BOOM by Cindy Joseph Color and Glimmer sticks with another Bad Gal Mascara lurking in the background. The "Color" one can be used as eyeshadow, blush, and lip color and the "Glimmer" stick provides highlighting to bring out your best features.

For skin care it's simple.  Rodan + Fields Redefine night cream (which I will also dab on before makeup when it's winter) and a travel sized eye cream (hidden in the picture), their retinol capsules, and a sunscreen stick that's part of a two part hand treatment I use, perfect for hands and neck. Rather than haul a cleanser that may leak I use the R+ F Makeup Removers, then just wipe my face with a warm washcloth afterward (in the winter I'll replace the clothes with a small R + F Soothe cleanser for extra moisture)

The red thing?  Well, that's a clown's nose - you never know when one will come in handy at a meeting.

For product link for items you can't get at the local drugstore:: note: (none of the products were provided to me, all were purchased)

Paula's Choice:

Honey Girl Organics:



Sephora : (mascara and First Aid Beauty sunscreen):

Eminence makeup and Skincare:

Fitglow Cosmetics:

Victoria's Secret"

Rodan Plus Fields - One of the Lab Rescue volunteers is a consultant:  Her contact info is below. Jane's a good friend and a very caring consultant. (my consultant is actually in Chicago but I could NOT find her contact info today).  Jane is in Maryland but the products can be shipped anywhere.

Jane Slavin
Consultant ID: 1432479
Market: United States
Location: Columbia,MD

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ogden Nash Called it on This One.

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.
- Ogden Nash

Had a visit to the dentist a few days ago for a back molar that's given me some troubles.  It has a pocket in the gum that's developed back there due to an issue with a ridge in the tooth that makes it really hard to floss back there so I've developed a bit of gum disease in that area alone.  So they're going to go in with a laser and clean out any bacteria and then put a couple of stitches in it to shore it up so I don't lose the tooth down the road.  It does NOT sound like fun.

I've never liked the dentist. My childhood one's secret hero was the Laurence Olivier character in Marathon Man ("Is it SAFE?" ) and as a result, thought "gentle Dentistry" was only for wimps and enemies of the Reich,

I didn't even like getting them cleaned "your gums look sensitive LB - let me poke them with this prison shank".  Even the super nice ones annoyed me as they'd ask questions when I have a mouth full of instruments and I'd end up going full Chewbacca on them.


I am just a total dental wimp. 

So I had put off going to the dentist for anything other than a cleaning for a few years and then I get sent off to the periodontist. (more letters equals more money).  A lot of things were different. The X-ray thing was this 180-degree imaging machine that made whirring noises as it circled me. I half expected an HAL-like voice to say: "I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours."

There was a TV screen in front of my chair.  If they show reality TV, I want sedation. Note:  several people have said the sedation meds do weird things to one's brain. So If I call ANYONE at 2 a.m Friday morning and start singing The Lumberjack Song, Anchors Away, or Oh Canada just set the phone down and pretend it didn't happen. It will be our little secret.

But I was happy to find the periodontist was actually a very knowledgeable and kind man with a great support staff who made even the upcoming large four digit bill sound like a pleasant procedure, so I resisted the urge to stomp on him.  The dental assistant has even read one of my books (which may or may not be a help - oh look out - it's the prison shank!)

Still, I'm not looking forward to the procedure though my best friend offered to come over with hootch, smoothies, and mashed potatoes since my husband is away on a business trip.  Come back tomorrow for some photos of Abby Lab and general drooling.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Best Kind of Proposals

My friend

had a post up a while back about how she met her husband on Twitter and how he proposed.  I actually met my husband on the Internet.  It wasn't a dating website or anything like that.  I was writing for various magazines and had a very popular blog dealing with tools and cars and other popular "guy stuff" (since closed as Blogville is SO much more fun) and he was a fan and his Dad was Secret Squirrel, someone I knew well.  My name came up and an introduction was arranged. Due to our age difference (25 years) we were just "best buds" online, and talking on the phone for several years. Then we met in person and well, that, my friends, was that.  We were married two years later. The journey was chronicled in The Book of Barkley but for my friend Sam, tonight is the chapter of the proposal.

CHAPTER 38 - Simple Evening

It was supposed to be a simple evening. It was an early day at work, but I was home in time to get a quick shower and get dressed up for a dinner date. EJ had been overseas for a couple of weeks on business and was flying in to see me for a quiet evening.  We enjoyed the evenings like this, making dinner together, both of us loving to cook.  Then we’d play an old fashioned board game or take Barkley for a long walk. EJ would play with him, talking to him as if he were human, while I got a bubble bath. Then we’d curl up on the couch, Barkley usually shoving his way between us, to lounge against us until everyone was sleepy.  Weekends we’d play with the tools in either his garage or mine, building on things stronger than wood.

Somewhere over the course of a friendship of many years and a bonding over bad knees and bad dogs, EJ became a big part of my life.  I’d missed him a lot while he was gone, our talks of the future becoming more serious.  Tonight, I was wondering, would he pop the question?

But first, I had to feed Barkley and take him outside to potty.
My neighborhood is a quiet one, with both young and retired couples.  I have a police officer on one side of me, a young couple on the other.  All of them are great neighbors. The young couple has a rescue dog, a smaller yellow lab/terrier mix. Barkley likes to bark at him out the front window but is mostly ignored, despite his attempts at engaging the hound by leaving his calling card on the front bushes.

The block was quiet, so in a hurry to get ready, I let Barkley out to do his business.  After that, he sniffed everything, then trotted in through the garage and went into the house, off leash, just as he'd done several hundred times. He'd patiently wait in the kitchen for his treat, while I cleaned up the deposit and a few others made earlier in my yard in the dark. One thing about a ninety-pound dog, if the barking does not scare burglars away, the land mines in the yard might. As based on volume, they might think you have a grizzly bear on premises. So I kept one of those big long-handled scoopers that is open on one end and has a secondary shovel-like thing to help gather everything up.

But as I finished that up, lo and behold, the neighbor arrived home with baby and dog in tow, the dog jumping out of the car off leash to go into his house.
I wasn’t sure I could get all of his landmines in the scooper in one trip, but with careful balance, I did. It really was the perfect plan. Until Barkley heard the dog from deep within the house and rushed out the back door, out the open garage door, racing over to the neighbor's drive to finally meet their dog.

I rushed over to collect him, wielding a pooper scooper that had more crap in it than most political campaign commercials.  Barkley was over in the dog's face with the typical Labrador retriever “hi there, hi there, hi there, play with me play with me play with me” like some demented door to door magazine salesman.

The neighbor dog did not like Barkley in his space, trying to make friends on his turf, and immediately launched into “bark bark bark bark” complete with crazed eyes and snapping teeth inches from Barkley's face.

It was all show; the teeth were not making contact though they could have, but Barkley was freaking out, never having been set upon by a weird stranger (if he'd on-line dated as the rest of us have, it might not have been so traumatic). So I lunged for his collar as my neighbor pulled his dog away, one arm stretched out, the other swinging up, not realizing what I had in my other hand (yes, you can see this one coming).

Pooper Scoopers make a dandy catapult with the right angle and force.

The load of dog poop went up, and then, as gravity is likely to make it do, it came down.

Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat!

It was raining down on their driveway like a bad day in Beirut (so glad my coat is brown).

The dogs are now suddenly friends, sniffing and wagging tails, the neighbor apologizing profusely as he takes his dog and the baby from the car seat and goes inside to get the family situated.

Barkley back inside with the door firmly closed, I got paper towels, a plastic bag, a broom and water to clean their driveway, which I was doing, hair disheveled, looking like I was a very sore loser in a game of Poop Paintball.

Just then EJ rolled up, all dressed up, more than for typical travel, with a bottle of expensive wine.

I think about all he could have said if he weren't laughing so hard, but what he said was, "Would you like red or white wine with that?” - LBJ

(By the way - I said yes)