Tuesday, March 29, 2016

That One Friend

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

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.

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. .

Friday, March 11, 2016

Blogville PD - Be on the Alert!

It's Friday and the squirrels are ready to rumble!

Somebody needs to let  Police Commissioner Sarge know!

And what's this - Oh no!    Someone lost their pet and he's HUNGRY.  If you see him, toss a chicken and run and call the Blogville Police.

Go check out Police Chief Ranger's Post.  The Blogville police department is expanding and there are new positions available for Deputy Top Cop, a Dispatcher and a Morale Office (to make sure everyone's safe and welcome and we don't run out of donuts).

There's more info on Ranger's Blog so click on the link right below.

Officer Abby reporting for duty!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Non-Pet Message

Today is International Women's Day.  I know there are both men and women pet lovers here in Blogville, but this is for the women who are Mom's to their pets, and perhaps children as well, partners to the one they love, cleaners up of the dog barf and litter boxes, doers of the laundry, and slayers of dragons (backwards and in high heels as Ginger Rogers once said).

For you,  I offer you a quote that for years I kept on my wall.  If you've  read either of my books you know my story, but this quote always meant something very special as I made my journey to finding both myself and a quiet heart.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Bird Dog

I'm keeping an eye on that feathered dude.

He looks Angry.

Friday, March 4, 2016

On a Dark, Flat Land She Rides

I've been entangled with law enforcement/secret squirrel work in one form or another much of my adult life, except for that stint flying jets while people in really desolate and dry countries occasionally shot at me. My parents were both LEO's.  Mom was a  Deputy Sheriff,  Dad was a Military Police Officer (career).  It's a tough job, it's a stressful job.  The media generally lies about you (well, about you and anything more complex than plankton), much of the public doesn't like you and it often involves exceedingly long days, physical discomfort and sometimes, danger. Like those that work that brutally difficult and honorable job of firefighter, and those that serve to help the injured as EMT's, as well as those personnel that support them, you do what you can to get through and that sometimes involves a little well placed humor in quiet places.

Tonight after a VERY long day, a little story. The names in this story will remain anonymous, but any of you who were growing up in the mid 70's will know exactly what I'm talking about in this MUCH more recent tale.

"L" was a little tuckered out and moving slow, trying to get a bite to eat as a call went out on the radio to  all of the locals - there was a complaint and a possible danger to the public in this dark, flat land.  Having busted out of it's stall perhaps, "a pony running free in the roadway". 

Laughing, "L" grabs the cellphone and hits the call button for the the local LEO dispatch as the young and "wet behind the ears" Deputy is accepting the call on the radio.

"It's "L", I'll pay you $5 to get on the radio and say the pony's name is Wildfire..."

 It wasn't 5 seconds later..

"Complainant advises pony's name is Wildfire."

You could almost hear the laughter across the county and the diligent young man does NOT put it together.

On scene, he's even confirming with the owners of the horse that had "busted down it's stall"  that the name was, indeed, Wildfire so that he could accurately note it in the report. Word is the middle aged owners just looked at him like he was perhaps a bit strange. It wasn't until he had closed out the call and was back at headquarters asking, "What did it matter what its name was. . . . . .?"

"oh, damn it!"

You all have a safe evening out there, being mindful of weather and traffic and watch out for ponies in the road (rear ending a pinto never turns out well).

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dr. Seuss Day

Barkley - "But you said my bed was the square grey one."

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
- Dr. Seuss

Happy Dr. Seuss Day! This is a Worldless Wednesday blog hop which we hopped onto at -

But since it's Dr. Seuss's Birthday we wanted to share a few words.