Friday, September 22, 2017

The Catering Truck has Arrived - Blogville Picnic!

Abby T. Lab here. It's time for the Blogville Picnic and barn dance. I was so looking forward to this.

With help from my Mom, a lot of work goes into the catering so Mom can take photos and help me prep the foodables, so we're so happy this day is finally here and our work can be shared!

Even better, Frankie Furter has joined me to help! Yes, my fella Frankie. He's been on a blog break with his family but he and I talk often on the computer with our Mom's assistance and he so wanted to be here with me today.
We're going to set the goodies out on picnic tables so everyone can help themselves and enjoy the other activities as we are!
 There's yummy fresh fruit!
This one is for my Frankie Furter.
Cheese filled Piggie Buns

 More pupcakes! (made with safe for doggies - with Carob instead of chocolate.)
Tuna and cheese mouse nibbles!

 Hot Dog Corn muffins.  Peeps love these too, they taste like corndogs.
Mini Weiner Dogs
Toilet Water Cocktails

and a HUGE selection of other drinks at the Margarita truck run by my friend:
and grab some plain water to take to the activities!
 Chews and Tennis balls for after we finish eating.
And for the kitties, some catnip toys.

Help yourself and we look forward to see you at all the activities!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thankful Thursday

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, 
a life without one, is a life diminished.”
 - Dean Koontz - Author

Join our Host:

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate Day

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  

A word of caution to those of us who have spouses or partners.  Getting your loved one to make you dinner with:

"Avast ye scurvy weasel.  Get below deck and peel me some taters fer grub?"

May be LESS than effective.  Right Abby?
So, what's for Supper?

Something on a plank?  (no, too predictable)
Hardtack? (no,  I got that on my last airline flight)
Kraken?  (too much like calamari)
Chum?  (no, I'm out of Chum Helper)

No, I need something I can grill on the deck.

How about Barbecued Landbird.  Mmm.  Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce.

4-5 bone in chicken pieces
1/2 cup light mayo
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch Hot Hungarian Paprika
2 to 3 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1  and 1/4 teaspoons of your favorite hotsauce (I like Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke from Indiana) 

Chop the garlic and mix with all ingredients except hot sauce.  Reserve at least 1/4 cup in a mug or small bowl.  Add the hot sauce to that, stir well and store in refrigerator until ready to grill.

Marinate the chicken in the remaining sauce for 2-3 hours in a shallow pan turning once or twice during that time.  Remove chicken, discarding marinade and grill for 8-10 minutes over hot coals, (direct heat) turning once at 5 minutes so it sears but does not burn. Move the pieces on grill so they are over indirect heat and cover and cook for 18-20 minutes or until 165 degrees F., basting with reserved sauce a couple of times and turning once more if it looks like it's getting too dark before it is done.
The flavor is subtle and smokey, and the bird is as juicy as can be.

Guests may not walk the plank for it, but they will give it a hearty "ahoy!" Serve it with oven baked beans and salad (with some Gorgonzola cheese and buttermilk dressing). or your favorite side dishes. Don't forget a proper ale.   

Now time to hoist your pirate flag!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Look Abby - a Surprise from Koda's Collars!

What Mom?  I got a package in the mail?

It's from

Koda's Collars by KodasCollars on Etsy 

It's 2 new collars!  A Candy Corn one for Howl-o-ween and a DC Comics one for my secret superhero personality.

Dog Mom and rescue advocate Lisa makes some WONDERFUL collars, leashes, and accessories.

Even better -  $3 of every collar is donated to animal rescue!

The quality of the workmanship is amazing.
The loop design of the dog collar prevents it from slipping off the dog's head if they try to back out or struggle to prevent the dog from escaping and endangering himself. The collar is dog-friendly and more humane than a choke collar because there is no constriction when fit correctly. There is a large loop connected to a small loop. In the "relaxed" position, the resulting circle slips easily over the dog’s head. The larger loop is adjusted so that when a leash is attached to the small loop and pulled, the small loop tightens up, but does not choke the dog. When the smaller loop is pulled, the two outer parts of the collar should join in the middle, fitting comfortably on the dog's neck.

You can also get a quick release on most designs and the directions for doing so are on Lisa's webpage.
In addition to the "loop" the collar has a side strap that allows you to adjust its "relaxed" size a few inches.  With small/medium/and large sizes and the ability to adjust you can probably find the right size for any pet.

There's over 250 unique designs from sports teams, to states, to holidays, to the latest trending things (even a sock monkey one!) -  you're going to have to have more than one!

This being fashionable is tiring!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Abby Lab's Mom With Computer Basics

You know me, safety forced. 
 - Red Green

I'm not the person people come to for help with computers.  I'm just the forensic scientist that has a homemade computer made out of a 1940's Analytical Balance.  That is the total extent of my computer knowledge - what the basic components are (and yes, the big button is on/off).

I'm lucky that I have an admin assistant at work that was  in administration in the Army or I'd not be able to get anything done without him.

So sometimes even the basic stuff is a challenge

Like when I tried to upload Windows 10. The last laptop I got had Windows 8. To say I hated Windows 8 was an understatement.  Using it as I did to capture and sort photos for the blog was about as user-friendly as the U.S. Tax Code.

The intent I guess, was to meld together the desktop and mobile platforms to try for a single operating system that would work on the desktop, notebooks, and tablets.  What I got was a system that just screamed for flaming torches and pitchforks.  The tutorial was no help at all, simply telling me to move my mouse to any corner. . and then. . WHAT?   What is it supposed to do, to be?   And all I could think of was Saturday Night Live's The Church Lady with "could it be. . . SATAN?"

It just leaves off right there and apparently, I was supposed to just cognitively know that although most scroll wheels go up and down, Windows 8 wants you to scroll sideways.

So I muddled through, scrolling through screen after screen of run on photos, only to find the one I wanted to add to the blog, only to have something go "zap" like Samantha of Bewitched was in the room and the next thing you know my picture was missing and there was a pony in the room.

See, that's my computer skill.  So tasks that are basic for everyone under the age of 50 are more a challenge for me. Like, what do you do if you have a hard drive you want to get rid of.

Sure you can take out all your data, compress and encrypt using a strong encryption and then format the hard disk drive. Even if the bad guys recover the encrypted file, trying to decrypt the recovered file would be a difficult task (think the average politician and a really hard level of Angry Birds).

But you can't just delete a file from the hard drive, it doesn't go away.  When files are erased  (and that's a pretty loose definition of the word) from a hard drive, they don't really disappear, only the file location information is removed. In other words, the file(s) are invisible to the operating system (like Windows or Linux) but not impossible to recover (especially for geeky folks that have nothing else to do)
"Me, mess with my colleagues?"

So what do you do when you've replaced a hard drive, to make sure someone doesn't get the info off of the old one and you're really not a computer whiz.

I'll offer some ideas from the past few years.  Then you all can come up with one of your own. 
No, not going to cut it.
There's an assortment of shop tools and stuff out in the garage.

You can bury it. With enough old computers around, you can have your own "Hard Drive Body Farm".

There's blunt force trauma.

You might want to check with your homeowners association first. 
 Ve haf ways of making you talk.
There's heat (but there's that whole harmful volatiles issue).

What's this?  

"Product warranty void if drive experiences shock in excess of 350 G's."

350 G's?! What on earth would have that kind of destructive force?


No, with Barkley gone, the current "mandibles of death"- Abby Normal the Labrador  -couldn't do any significant damage, and she shouldn't be using anything but stuffies to play with.

I could use an extra coaster.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Upcoming Blogville Activities

In addition to the Blogville Picnic and Barn Dance (click on banner on the upper right sidebar for more info) the Blogville Demolition Derby is also coming up, now scheduled for Oct. 7.

There is room for several more entries.  You just need to send a front head shot and a side shot of yourself and Oreo's Mom will get you in a car.

The last one was a ton of fun!

Send pictures to her at

And check for updates at:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Going for the Gold

I can't attend the award ceremony in Miami as I had already planned a trip to Dad's and he is really looking forward to it. But I got my medal in the mail!

If any of you want a little more of a backstory to my books or my writings, my most recent live interview is transcribed below:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thankful Thursday!

By the end of the work week - things I have in common with a raccoon.

Dark circles under eyes.
Staying up all night.
Eating junk.
A little chubby.
Will fight you if provoked.
Possibly rabid.

So thankful tomorrow is Friday.


For Thankful Thursday.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Abby Home - An Update and then on to How I spent my summer vacation.

Abby the Lab is home and none the worse for wear but for some shaved fur for the IV's. That was a close call. I am so thankful I was only gone a short time and she was able to vomit all the raisins shortly after ingestion. After a couple of hours without forced vomiting, it's often fatal. Please check your kitchen folks - these were in a deep cupboard where I keep my oat granola bars, a space she had never showed an interest in when the door was opened and also a very small space her head would barely fit into, yet she still got them out. Thank God for Countryside Veterinary Center who took awesome care of her.  Her dog walker helped me get her wrangled to go get her 24 hour follow up blood work (she lives right by the Vet and just met me there to help unload and unload in lieu of today's walk) and she's home from that and the results were great.

Her band-aid has TRACTORS on it!

I knew that macadamia nuts, chocolate, onions, and garlic were toxic to dogs but I had no idea raisins were so potentially deadly. I am going to make sure ANY product with raisins in it is high up in a closed container.

In the news this week, another dog died after eating just one cupcake made with artificial sweetener xylitol. Even one serving of xylitol can kill a dog. That can be found in peanut butter, so please check your label before feeding.

Other sources for xylitol include:

Sugar-free mixes such as pudding, cake, cookie mixes, even ice cream, and yogurt. (we always check Abby's yogurt purchase to make sure it's made with only sugar.)

Sugar-free condiments.

Sugar-free breath mints and gum.

Flavored waters and drink powders

Protein bars and powders.

Toothpaste, mouthwash, breath spray and some nasal sprays.

I'm going to be the most avid label reader from now on. No one should have to be terrified that they accidentally poisoned their beloved pet.

Now on to happier news!  It's Abby Lab in "What I did on Summer Vacation" Blog Hop presented by:

Dad spent his extra time working on the house here in the Windy City plus he was in Texas and England a whole bunch this summer for work.  So I kept Mom company and got lots of walks with my dog walkers. They didn't take a vacation so Mom can check up on her Dad in Washington regularly.

But I still had a great summer, even better now that Dad rebuilt the back steps so they go INTO the yard instead of onto the driveway, I have a fence so I can go out and roll in the grass and snoot things.

It used to look like this.
Yes, that's as steep as it looks. The new steps are only half as tall so easier on my joints and on Mom's bad knee.
Dad worked hard on it!

The wires you see up above is a zip line.  When it's super duper cold and dark, Mom hooks the blue line onto my collar and it slides down the red line.  That keeps me close to the fence and the garage which is lit so Mom can make sure I just do my business and come back. (It's high enough and angled so it doesn't catch on the fence). She hates when she has to put on boots and go fetch me because I'm snootering the front corner of the property where she can't see me and won't come in, even though it's 20 below with the wind chill.

Not that we ever get any snow in Chiberia.
I tried to talk her into a little short line with a basket so I could give squirrel rides into the garage door (one way!) but Mom said "no!" 

These pictures were taken before the paving was done from the steps to the gate but I was so happy to check it out after the steps were stained.
"Mr. Bun - are you under the bush today?"  The house was built on TWO lots (lots in the old villages are TINY) so there is another good bit of yard across the driveway and the rabbits have a regular highway going back and forth.
 Thanks Dad for making my backyard fun and safe for my summer vacation!
Squirrel patrol - my watch never ends.
Here it is with the paving!