Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Night Football - Wide Retrievers

Abby Lab WIDE RETRIEVER here with a Football update.
Even at almost 97 Mom's Dad is fairly sharp mentally.  Mom takes care of the bills as that was getting difficult for him, even as a former LEO turned CPA. But he still enjoys card games and cribbage and usually wins and can hold a lively debate on current events or history as he still avidly reads.

But if he's had a rough night's sleep, he can be a little out of it the next day.

Mom calls him every night at exactly the same time (yes, that can be a real pain sometimes as far as a proper dog treat schedule and dinner time but it's important to him).

If he is watching a game the calls are brief (he loves his sports).

Last night after Mom and Grandpa's usual exchange about their day, Mom's next visit (he still lives in his home out in Washington) and the weather he said (quite excitedly):

"Football is on!"

Mom asked:  "Who is Playing?"

He said:

"The Green Bay Packers


The Georgia Catheters"

Parents - you can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Blogville's New Catering Truck is Ready to Roll

click on photo to enlarge it

With a little help from Mom and Dad, Blogville's New Catering Truck "Wags and Woofles" is ready for the big Valentine's Dance.

We'll have delicious hot and cold food for all kinds of critters and lots of treats from Chewy! However to avoid (ahem) CERTAIN critters we are a NUT-FREE truck.  Just saying.

Mom is embroidering my name on my new Chef Hat and I'll be ready for the big day.  Do you have a date yet? Singles are most welcome but if you have someone you want to ask, now is the time!~ I can't wait to attend with Frankie Furter.

I am very honored to have been selected as Blogville's new Chef and hope that Angel Sasha will be proud.
Don't forget to send your pictures to Murphy and Stanley's Mom by February 1 if you plan on attending. See you there!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Well I WASN'T Expecting a Package?

Either my husband has a big automotive project planned  on the suddenly noisy Escape this weekend

or Abby ordered a poodle.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Many Licks Does it Take. . .


To get to the Tootsie Roll Center?

Abby's Mom here - I thanked Abby for doing posts the last couple of nights. I still feel like death on a stick and need THIS

as a hat but I had to go back to work today.

Yes, that's a scorpion in the middle of that sucker.  My husband travels internationally a lot and on the longer trips, he sometimes brings me home a silly and often tacky gift from a local gift shop (as well as some really cool things).

But I thought of that sucker while my jaw thawed out from an emergency trip to the dentist today.

When you have to start the day in an expensive suit with heels, it can only go downhill.

I had some business that required serious suit-like adult clothing to testify in (hey, the black suit matches my lunch bag that looks like a battery!)  I even attempted something with a scarf, a subtle animal print, draped around my neck since the silk sheath under the suit jacket was a bit too low cut for the setting.  They make it look easy to do scarves like that in magazines.  I ended up looking like I had a marsupial attacking my throat and gave up and changed blouses.  Between that and wheezing and snorting throughout the entire process I probably had all the courtroom presence of  a cross-dressing Barney Fife on Ambien, but duty called.
But despite the grown-up activities, I still snuck in my daily Tootsie Pop between, for lack of a better word, "events" (Grape). Of course, I bit it. I always do.  Only this time, I bit it a wee bit early, so instead of the chewy center I got a piece of enamel.

Which had previously been part of my left rear molar.

Recess!  (Revert to 3rd-grade mode)

Fortunately,  it was time to break for the day, so my dentist worked me in, as he had a cancellation.  It didn't hurt at all, but the sharp and rough areas were going to bug me over the next three days.

I did get some teasing about "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop"  as the dentist and his assistant were of that age that they would remember that commercial.
Dr. E. fixed it with some resin that was the color of my teeth  (C1 and C2 were considered and we went with C1)  I told him "don't use C4, as if I bite another Tootsie Pop I might explode."

Never make bad jokes to a man with a drill in his hand.

As it was just one corner, he bonded the resin to what filling was in that tooth and the remaining tooth itself (after doing a bit of drill work), after building up a little shelf of some sort as a platform for the materials. He then shaped it and smoothed it so it looked and felt just like a tooth. It looked totally natural and cost 1/5 of the cost of a crown another Dentist may have likely tried to sell me. He said it won't last a lifetime, maybe 2- 5 years. With the expenses for Dad's nursing care, I'll take it for now.

This is a Dentist that makes sure there are some actually GOOD magazines out in the waiting room, NOT 15 copies of Sports Illustrated all from the 70's.  I knew he'd take care of me.
Seriously, I have the best dentist on the planet, and he entertained me with stories, while he worked away, about shooting a firearm long range, prone, with his wife and a Biathalon instructor on a vacation.  I could only mentally nod while offering such valuable shooting tips as. . .


With a tooth that looked better than it did waking up this morning, I was out in an hour; some gas for the Truck, then back to Secret Squirrel headquarters to drop off some papers while my lips unfroze (Slurpee--bad idea)

But home soon beckoned, quiet, the Zen of a peaceful Bungalow, a colorful throw rug, a loving, obedient dog who plays with her toys as gently as she does me.

Usually. The floor looked like the back of my truck tonight - filled with mounds of wadded up tissues.
Apparently, the Angry Bird Sound when she bit the Green Pig Angry Bird Toy unleashed something primal after weeks and weeks of  nuclear build up. Sorry Abby - you've lived with us for HOW many months without destroying a toy again, but no more unsupervised visits for you!

She feigned sleep when I came in but I caught her with an eye open.
I'm going to feed Abby, blow my nose (again) and have a glass of wine. Then I'll see if my inventor husband can come up with a patent for that TP hat.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Health Alert from Honorary Dog-tor for the Day Abby

Dog-tor for the Day Abby Lab and friends here - Mom still feels poopy with her sneezes and constant sniffles so I'm doing tonight's post again.  I think she is feeling slightly better, she did put a meatloaf in the crockpot with diced sweet potatoes and drizzled some Iron Chef Orange Sauce on it (she will be lazy on cooking when she is sick).  AND she sent a note to Dad that said

"Pick up some white wine please on the way home.


Tonight's post is more serious, a health alert for pets put out by the FDA.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning vets and pet paw-rents against the toxicity of a topical (applied to the skin) human skin cancer cream that has sent FIVE dogs to the Bridge WAY too early after they ate some of the product.

The product is Fluorouracil Cream USP 5% which is marketed for our humans as Carac, Effudex, or Floroplex and is very dangerous to pets, most especially dogs.  One dog punctured the tube before her owner could get it away and began the barfing and seizures within two hours.  12 hours later he left for the Bridge as have four other dogs that the FDA knows of.

So for the safety of our furry friends, please immediately put all pet AND human medications, including creams away, in a safe place as soon as you use them. If you ever use any of the creams above, discard any tissues or machine wash immediately any fabric that this cream may have touched and consult your doctor about covering the area with a fabric or band-aid dressing to prevent pet licks that could be very bad for your pet.

Thank you, and I now return you to our regular programming.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Funnies

Abby Lab here - Mom is really sick with a head cold and can't stop sneezing and sniffling so she's kinda miserable right now.  I'm going to put up some pet funnies to make everyone smile (including one for the Crabby Girls).

Monday, January 16, 2017

Framed - Monday Eats

Abby Lab's Mom here with our Sunday eats post a day late since we were celebrating Abby's birthday yesterday.

I had to get geek glasses, being a couple years shy of age 60, putting them on mostly for close up work or when I'm really tired.  The glasses do tend to wander away, and it seems I'm forever cleaning all the smudges off of them.  I'm not sure how it happens, I clean them until they're pristine and 15 minutes later, they're  totally smudged.
Picture a morning in the kitchen while preparing breakfast

Husband:  I think I know how your glasses get so smudged.
Husband:  I just found them lens side down in the butter.

That might explain it.

So get out your glasses for a Monday morning recipe, sure to keep everyone nearby.
French Toast with Maple Bourbon Butter

For the french toast:

Whisk two extra large eggs in a shallow dish or pan with 1/4 cup milk.

Add in one capful (half teaspoon perhaps) of good quality pure Vanilla (or any good quality non-imitation vanilla) 3 dashes of good quality Cinnamon, and a couple of pinches of sugar (perhaps 1/2 teaspoon).

Slice day old bread in 7-8 thick pieces and place in egg mixture, turning to let a little soak into it on both sides (but only for a few seconds, so it doesn't get soggy). Cook in a lightly greased fry pan over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.

Serve with maple bourbon butter and bacon.

Maple bourbon butter:

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup good quality bourbon (avoid anything called "Monster Mash" and costing $7.99 for a gallon) and a pinch of salt.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove until just bubbling, stir in bourbon, maple syrup, and salt and bring to a full simmer, whisking constantly until golden colored and thick (about 5-6 minutes.)

Serve over french toast, biscuits or pancakes. Excellent drizzled over any breakfast meat that goes with those.
There would be pictures of the bacon, but it seems to have disappeared.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday!  Mom thought it was on the 10th and Dad thought it was the 20th, but Dad pulled out my adoption paperwork and it was it was today, the 15th.  I can't believe I've been with Mom and Dad almost 3 years after that scary shelter place where my friends would leave with a shelter person and never come back.

I'm not sure what 'high-kill" shelter meant but I'm so grateful someone from the Lab rescue place drove 12 hours round trip to rescue me as they were getting ready to take me for one of "those" walks because I was getting too old to have lots of puppies and I was very sick.

Once my heartworm was fixed Mom as well as some other things  -
Mom came and got me from my foster Mom and we've never been apart other than when she visits her Dad in Washington State and I stay with Dad or the lady that runs the dog walking service we use with Andy the rescue lab and a HUGE fenced yard (she and her husband even let me sleep on the couch!)

It was a great birthday and I am 8 years old!

First, there was a beautiful card from my sweetie - Frankie Furter. I love it that it has a wiener dog on it!

Thank for celebrating with me Frankie!

Mom got me a new stuffie!
And a Birthday treat from The Pet People Store! We buy all our food and treats from Chewy but Pet People has a little dog bakery so I get something from there on my birthday and Christmas!
Even better, instead of just regular kibble Mom made me Meatsloaf for my birthday mid-day dinner, made with crushed kibble instead of grains, and no onion, salt or garlic in the gravy and dog safe veggies like zucchini and carrots

I even got to eat off a people plate! (all the photos were just a total blur of feeding frenzy and wagging tail). Mom made this remark about piranha and skeletonizing a cow - I have NO idea what she was talking about!

I don't know why Mom didn't have a little one for her and Dad, and they ate the leftover pork roast with their taters because it was yummy! (OK, except for the carrots - I ate the carrot and went SPEW SPEW SPEW!  Mom even got all Gore-May on me and sprinkled parsley on the plate so I'd fresh breath for Frankie.

Happy Happy Birthday!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Barkley - On Mischief

There have been more than one Labrador Retriever in my life, but Barkley was the most spirited of them all.  He was never destructive, unlike a family black lab before him who ate my ugly pilot's uniform hat, the other pilots accusing me of smearing it peanut butter and leaving it on the floor:-)

No, Barkley was just inquisitive, always wanting to be in the middle of the action which meant, with bouncy step and sweeping tail, sometimes things got broken.

So for you all, a little fun in the memory of Angel Barkley (be advised only a few pixels were harmed in the making of these photos).

Raiders of the Lost Bark
 But I found my toy!
I chased it. I caught it. Then I didn't know what to do with it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Thank You

Abby's Mom here.  A big thank-you to any of you who bought any of my books for gifts this Christmas. TBOB had a nice little spike in sales that helped me donate to a lady that has a Blind Horse rescue that lost her husband of 19 years to a heart attack a few days ago and didn't have the means for a proper burial as well as help a couple of bloggers with unexpected Vet bills. I love to write, but wouldn't have gone through the whole book publication/editing thing (not fun) except to help folks I couldn't otherwise be able to help.

I've appreciated all the reviews, but this recent one on my book published in November really struck home as the reader really understood the message of the book, which though from a Christian publisher, is less about any specific religious doctrine and more about living a life of love and peace and caring for each other as neighbors, as Christ would have done.

The photo above - the barn I would pass on my way to work when I lived in Indiana.  The rail spike on the cover from Small Town Roads was part of its door and I loved the photo.

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like a book that will make you think, this is the one L.B. Johnson's novel is about self-discovery in a small town. What really shines is less the story line than the psychological exploration of the heroine. That exploration (and her lush writing style) makes the characters come to life. Indeed, it makes us consider our own lives - as someone who has a family member struggling with dementia, this bit about the heroine's mother and her struggle with Alzheimer's jumped at me:

"Initially, she had little moments of forgetfulness, like any person of her age, but she was such a bundle of energy, still active in church and volunteering, taking dance classes, working in the garden. Then one morning, out of the blue, she came into the kitchen and sat down, looking at me and I realized she did not have a clue as to who I was. What struck me was not that but the look on her face as she realized this, realized she should know."

Johnson's ability to make you stop reading and think about your own life is remarkable and is spread throughout the book. This about a rescue dog is one of a million similar gems:

 "On my couch is the form of a little black dog. I do not know why Clyde was a stray. He responds with great plaintiff urgency to the sound of small children laughing, looking around for them as to say "my kids, my kids" only to get this look of pure sadness when he sees they are strangers. The first time I witnessed it, I cried."

Johnson tells you a story not by telling it, but by showing you these scenes, one after another. I found it a slow book to read because I would suddenly snap back from where I had been mentally wandering, remembering a time when I too had had an experience like what was being described.

This book asks big questions: What is it to be human? What is it to live the Good Life? What is it to leave that Good Life?

 I cannot recommend this book more highly

Purrs for Jamison Day

Today is the day that  Christmas and Robin Whiskers and all of Blogville is honoring Jamison the cat who was badly injured and after much care and treatment, was gently led to the Bridge last Monday by his grieving family from:

We first met Jamison when his brother Noodle took him to the Court of Common Fleas and Judge Frankie Furter ordered him to apologize to Noodle for some name calling.

They continued to gently spar but still loved one another as did all of the family, one that had lost too many pets in the last couple of years, including Mya, Khia, and Franklin the Duck.

Jamison was much loved and is deeply missed by his family.  Too many of us know that horrible feeling of leaving the Vet with just an empty collar and a large bill and having to do so during the holiday season is even more difficult.

Noodle's girlfriend Lexi, who also made that Bridge journey this last year, has a wonderful Mom who set up a Go Fund me to help Jamison's folks with the fairly substantial Vet bills.  They are a young couple, with several animals to care for, so any little bit helps and the link is found below.

We will miss you Jamison - you will not be forgotten,

A Go Fund Me Account has been set up to help the family with Jamison's Vet Expenses

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

To Frankie Furter: A Response

Yes, it's true, I'm the new Blogville CHEF after being recruited by City Manager Christmas from
Of course, I'm still in the Blogville Pawlice Force so that does NOT make me the Police CHEF, as that would get confusing with the Pawlice CHIEF, but I think I can manage both tasks as long as I have a friend to watch the catering vehicle if I'm on patrol after making the foodables. It's going to be tough to fill Chef Angel Sasha's paws but I will try and make her and Blogville proud (and not hungry).
We miss you Angel Sasha!

 And as to your question about the Valentine's Dance. . .
I picked the heart that says "Yes!" (Ok, and maybe I picked another heart too but I'll tell you which one at the dance).

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 9, 2017

"Splody" - A Barkley Memory for Samantha and Greg

The quiet, serene, pre-Barkley office.

This story is for Angel Jamison's Mom and Dad, Samantha and Greg at

 on remembering why we do what we can for our pets, even if it means letting them go. Drop by and drop them a kind word - they could use it this difficult day.

We all come home to different environments.  For some, it's the sound of little kids squealing with delight that Mommy or Daddy are home.  It's the the clatter of footsteps like the thunder of small ponies down a trail, that is no trail, but is simply a hallway rug, worn by that repeated motion of sheer joy.

For some it's a simple "Hello Sweetie" a hug and a kiss.

And sometimes it's the blissful sound of silence after a really long day, when all you want to do is eat a hot meal and have a mug of hot tea while you lay out the thoughts of the day in your favorite spot to write or perhaps watch one of your favorite old adventure movies.

The night in question was the later kind but it was going to be one of those very nights where the tea was a glass of Malbec.
Mom, come quick!  Someone pooped on the rug!

Barkley usually greeted me at the back door to the garage, alerted by the door going up, with that terrifying bark that to outsiders sounded ferocious. The work day dog walker always came to the front door so if he heard the garage door, he knew it was me. He sounded scary, but he would let me take a bone right out of his mouth with my bare fingers.  I was his protector and his protected and if I wanted it, it's mine.  But he would defend to the death, that bone, from any creature of a lower, parallel plane, those that were neither protected or protector that would take what he loves.  So even with that quiet temperament that was his nature, I know he'd defend to the death, as well, my safety.

But he knew the sound of my truck and the bark would take on a different tone. I normally heard him before the door was even up, the sound, wild and faint, and incomprehensible but for its meaning. Bark!  Bark!  "Mom's Home!"

It was later than normal and that night long ago when I came in - silence.  He was comfy on the couch, Brinks Barkley, sleeping on the job.
I patted him, fed him, let him out to go potty, which he always does after he eats. I was glad his tummy was feeling OK, as the previous evening he had snarfed up a bit of greasy food wrapper that had hit the floor when emptying the trash, and I figured that might upset his tummy.

So I poured the wine, put on some barley soup on to heat for supper, and sat down to call my boyfriend (now my husband) from the couch.

We  had just said hello when:

 "Oh, Crap! Barkley threw up in the corner earlier!  I have to go".
Barkley had an ultra sensitive stomach as far as rawhides and some people foods, even when he was youngster, unlike my last black lab who could eat an entire tank and then just gently burp.  So several times a year, Barkley would snag some fatty food that's dropped (bacon!)  or a piece of sandwich left unattended or a paper napkin or such that was soaked with meat juice.  He then usually threw it up. He always upchucked in the same spot, if he couldn't alert me in time that he needed to go out, a corner of the front room between a sofa and chair. Since there's a nice rug there, I laid out a large clean towel in the spot, just in case.

Unfortunately, it wasn't barf. Other end. Poor thing,

I'm sure he tried to hold it, but couldn't.  He'd never done that in the house since his first couple of weeks home as a puppy. Of course, this time, he carefully MOVED THE TOWEL OUT OF THE WAY FIRST before he tagged my floor with the latest of Labrador retriever gang signs (in poop!) But I could see the doggy thought process - "Mom gets upset if I grab her clean towels off the counter so I will protect her clean towel even in my indisposition - I'm a good dog!"
Mom, I was just FOLDING these clean towels I found on the counter.

He just looked at me from a distance, as if he expected a scolding, as I cleaned it up (pointing out the large area of tile in the entraceway he could have selected instead of the carpeting, though he didn't appear to be taking notes). There is nothing quite like the look of a dog that's expecting harsh words, no different than a human that somehow knows you are angry, even if they aren't quite sure what exactly they did wrong; a sort of shocked and unbelieving sorrow.

You look at them, your heart beating strongly with the heat of the moment.  They look at you, their heart beating a hollow echo as though already retreating, as they wait for your reaction. You look at them again, weighing a hundred expedients, knowing what you need to do, and not necessarily what fatigue and emotion might prod you to do.
I went over and gently scratched his ear saying  "It's OK, you couldn't help it, you're a good dog", patted him one last time, and gave EJ a call back

"(sigh) It wasn't barf".

"Oh, so the "Oh Crap" was literal then?"  We laughed and proceeded to chat while Barkley laid down next to me for an ear scratch, feeling fine physically, but needing the reassurance that all was well.

When people get married they take a vow of "in sickness and in health". In a way, we also do that with our pets.  Owning a pet is not cheap, even for youthful preventive care.  Then, there are always the things you don't expect, especially as they age, things that result in someone wearing the cone of shame or the expenditure of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
But you help them get better, you adjust your schedule, make doctor appointments and you offer only warmth and support.  You don't  lay your hand upon them with forceful curse and belittlement. They look at you to be the strong one, the tender one. They trust you to act from your heart and not from the infinite, internal voices of human fear and angst.

Then, on those nights when you come home really, really late from work, your soul weary, the house dark, they will quietly come up to you, leaning into you, drawn from their slumber to your side like steel and magnet. At that moment, there as both your hearts beat in the silence, you realize that every measure of sickness and health was worth it, even if their days are numbered.

Their time is so short, indeed, but that does not mean you should not love.  In "people" years, Barkley was probably sixty something. But they were years condensed down into their core elements, as if a simple ordinary succession of days were not enough, as if the love and all of that faithfulness, the freedom of the field, and the tug of a leash toward the horizon was compressed down into something as hard and brilliant as a diamond.  Everything, every single element of so many long days is there in that short span of time, compounded into that one leap, one surge,  toward the lights of a vehicle in the drive, one joyous bark that contains within it simply, "My person is home.”

He cared nothing about where we lived, how I looked or how much money was in the bank.  All he cared about was how to bequeath that which sustained him, in his too short life, his faith and his love, as he patiently waited for me to join him.