Category Archives: Illustrated Post

Our New Neighbors

One morning about two weeks ago, I was knee-deep in my daily morning routine: coffee in hand, I take my handy dandy little golfcart for a spin around the grounds to check all the units. (For those who might not remember, I work–and live–at a storage facility.) So there I was…minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye, I notice the sun glinting ever-so-gently on something hanging from the building.

I slowed the cart, and my heart started racing before my brain even registered what it was that I was looking at.

There, spanning almost the entire width of unit 503’s door, was the biggest spider web I’ve ever seen in my life. And attached to it was, you guessed it, the “Big Foot” of the spider world.

I tried, for the sake of blog fodder, to take a picture with my cell phone. I really really did. And I’ve tried every single day since then, so I could prove to you that I’m not crazy and that Spiderman’s cousin, Merve, lives at my job now. But I just couldn’t do it. So, here’s a bad drawing instead.

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Damn. I couldn’t even bring myself to draw it. Forgive me, readers. Blame my raging case of arachnophobia.

Anyway, after this first Spider Sighting, I spent a lot of time thinking about just how to handle the situation. I was too chicken to deal with it myself, so I had two options: Tell my husband and make him go kill it, or leave it alone and hope it would get bored and move somewhere with a more swinging night life.

Brian didn’t go kill it. And it didn’t move to Vegas.

So for two weeks, I drove ever-so-slowly past the giant sleeping spider, hoping beyond hope that it wouldn’t leap from its perch and eat my face.

LET THE RECORD REFLECT THAT I HAVE NOT KILLED IT, ATTEMPTED TO KILL IT, OR REPORTED SAID SPIDER TO THE AUTHORITIES SO THAT THEY’D COME KILL IT!

It was with pride that the spider had lasted for so long that I mentioned it to longtime family friend and spider advocate, Charlene, on her recent visit. Interested, she asked to be escorted to see the eight-legged fiend. Ever the hostess, I took her back on the golf cart.

“Oh, that’s a writer spider,” she said with glee. “You know, like Charlotte’s Web!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her my true opinion of the children’s opus…

Web copy

…and so I nodded politely instead.

“Oh, Abby, did you notice?” Charlene said with enthusiasm. “It looks like your spider friend has also laid her eggs! See the sack hanging there?”

It was at this point that the mild panic attack started: ears ringing, throat closing, skin itching. I allowed my gaze to follow Charlene’s pointing finger and saw, with horror, the tiny little egg sack hanging from the rain gutter above the web. “Oh, that’s nice,” I said, feigning normalcy.

“The cool thing is that when it hatches, the little babies will make little web parachutes and fly away on the breeze.”

Thanks for the science lesson, Charlene. Now, every day, when I drive my golf cart by the unit hosting the little Eight Legged Family, it goes a little something like this:

 

But at least I haven’t committed mass murder yet. That’s the definition of progress. Right?

Introducing: AbbyGabs Apparel!

Originally, I only went to Zazzle to make t-shirts for Brian and I wear to ComicCon.  I swear.

(Pause momentarily so you can call me a Nerd.)

I had mentioned a few months ago that I was *thinking* about adding an AbbyGabs shop to my blog, for those few of you (Hi Mom!) who had expressed interest.

It all started with a Munchkin tee. And then the designs just kept on coming. So what I’m getting at is this: Guess who now has a full-blown Zazzle shop?

(All signs point to the nerd behind the keyboard.)

Some of the products come from illustrated posts I’ve done here on AbbyGabs. Others are just items in support of the blog. And they’re ALL customizable. Don’t love the t-shirt I originally used for a specific design? No sweat. Zazzle allows you to change it up to fit your tastes.

Just in case you’re curious, here are a few of my favorite items available for purchase as of right now:

For A Good Time Sticker

For A Good Time Sticker

Coffee Now! Mug

Coffee Now! Mug

Munchkin Lady Shirt

Munchkin Lady Shirt

Portable Super Hero Shirt

Portable Super Hero Shirt

Squee!!! Now I have to refrain from buying ALL THE THINGS!

(Full disclosure: I already purchased the Munchkin Lady tee, and will be wearing it to the Con next weekend!!)

And in case you’re dying to purchase one of the many awesome items in my shop, but you manage to lose this post, you can find a tab at the top of my blog to take you direction to AbbyGabs Apparel!

new screen shot

So if I come up with an illustration, phrase, or idea that you’d like to see on an item in the shop, let me know!! There’s an easy-to-fill-out form in the AbbyGabs Apparel tab above. I’m happy to make a specific custom product, just for you!

Happy Shopping!

Paul Bunyan Is A B***H

My life is sort of chaotic right now. And not in a good way. It sort of feels like Paul Bunyan picked up my life, shook it around, and left it all topsy-turvy.

Paul Bunyan

That wasn’t very nice of you, Mr. Bunyan. Seriously. Don’t you have trees to plant?

Oh, wait…that’s Johnny Appleseed. My bad.

Anywhoo, without going into great detail, let me reassure you that I am fine, Brian is fine, and our families and friends are all fine. We are just under a great deal of stress (work-related, mostly) and we are busy trying to pick up the pieces from Paul’s rampage.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking for any and all ways to relax lately. One of the ways I put a smile back on my face is to visit one of my very favorite blogs, The Pintester, written by the hilarious Sonja Foust. Her posts are always snort-worthy, so much so that I recently bought and read her book: Vampires and Tantric Sex: How To Publish Your Book Like A Bona Fide Badass (co-written by Lisa Creech Bledsoe).

sonja

Not only did this book teach me valuable stuff, and helped me to create a clearer path toward publishing my own book of badassery, it kept me in stitches for all twelve chapters. It was awesome. All my writer friends should check it out.

But this post isn’t about Sonja’s book. Nay, this post is about me finding my smile again by visiting her blog. When I clicked over this morning, I was already smiling when I realized she’d posted a video blog. (She is my vlog s-hero. They never, ever, ever disappoint.) Then I watched it and realized she was hosting a contest.

Hooray! Contests!

contests

I would have entered if she’d offered me a stale cookie that she found under her couch, because 1) I love cookies and 2) I love entering contests. But when I found out that, through SlimFast Sweepstakes, she was offering a ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR GIFT CARD from SpaFinder.com, I was like, WHAAAAA???

It’s like she knew that we’d been struck by the evil brute Bunyan, and that I needed a reason to keep from drinking a chocolate bourbon milkshake while at work today.

So I entered in all the ways possible (including this here blog post.) You should enter, too! (Except you shouldn’t, because I really want to win. But if you do, I won’t hold it against you. So long as you take me with you on your spa excursion.)

So thanks, Sonja–for the daily chuckles, for my new Book Publishing Bible, for giving me something to aspire to with my own video blogs, and for giving me the opportunity to win a prize that will allow me to soak my tired feet in cucumber-scented water. I love you. *SOB*

Childhood Memories: Monkey Edition

You guys remember the game “Barrel O’ Monkeys,” right?

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If not, I can’t really help you on the real rules of said game. But I’m pretty sure that every child of the 80s had this little gem tucked away. At least, I know my brother did.

One boring, rainy, summer morning, I was whiling away the hours in my hot-pink bedroom, jamming to the New Kids on the Block, and wishing the rain would let up so I could go outside and play. Suddenly, my three-year-old little brother came into my room, looking for someone to entertain him.

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And he had with him that holy grail of toys—the Barrel o’ Monkeys.

We may or may not have tried to figure out how the game was supposed to really work. I’m fuzzy on the details. All I know is that at some point during our play time, I thought it would be super-nifty to see what would happen if we hung the monkeys from my ceiling fan, then turned it on.

(I had an odd relationship with my ceiling fan growing up. Don’t ask me why.)

Anyhow, it was my job to attach strings of chimps from the paddles of the fan (because it was dangerous and exhilarating. Plus, I was the only one who could reach.) Meanwhile, it was Adam’s job to wait for my signal, then turn on the fan when my fingers were clear.

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The fan would start spinning, slowly, and the little plastic simians would hang tight, inching slowly toward the very tip of the blade.

“Fastah, Seesy, Fastah!” the over-excited toddler would exclaim.

And so I’d pull the chain, increasing the fan’s speed to high.

Like confetti at a strip club, the monkeys went flying across every surface of my bedroom. And my little brother clapped his hands, stomped his chubby little legs, and begged for more.

When you force children to stay inside during a summer storm, things are bound to happen. One thing led to another, and before you knew it, the Barrel o’ Monkeys weren’t our only test subjects.

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The more toys we added to the game, the funnier it became. Ninja Turtles, Care Bears, Magical Princess Barbie—no one was safe. We played and played for HOURS…loading up the fan, turning on the fan, laughing hysterically as the contents of our toy boxes zoomed across the room, cleaning up the carnage, starting the whole process over again.

Eventually, the rain stopped. Mom called us downstairs for lunch. And the game was forgotten when we were allowed to go outside. Stomping in mud puddles and pretending to be a backup dancer for the New Kids won out over our brand new game.

Until the next thunderstorm. Then all bets were off.

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And today? If one of us mentions Barrel O’ Monkeys, we both collapse into fits of laughter. Why? Because it was the best Brother-Sister-Rainy-Day-Game, EVER.

A Beetle Encounter

After a delicious Cinco de Mayo feast with my family last night, Brian and I made our way to our vehicle to head home. I was only slightly bleary from beer-ritas, but enough alcohol had been consumed that it was a no-brainer for me to take the passenger seat. Brian climbed behind the wheel, winced when his knees hit the steering wheel (my legs are really short, y’all), adjusted the seat so he could actually drive the car, and put the key in the ignition. He reached over his shoulder to pull his seat belt across…

…and yelped like a large-breasted blonde in a horror flick.

“OMG WHAT?” I shout, thinking he’s gotten his hands on a tarantula/live grenade/baby rattlesnake.

“There’s a BUG on the DOOR!” he gasped.

I’m immediately on alert mode. You guys know how much I hate spiders, and although the perpetrator hadn’t been identified as such, I was still ready to administer all evacuation protocols.

But it wasn’t a spider. It wasn’t a stinging wasp or a praying mantis or any other large, scary bug. In fact, it wasn’t even a BIG bug. It was a small, unassuming beetle.

Untitled-1

However, Brian didn’t see cute little bug guy. “Blerg,” he shuddered. “It looks like a COCKROACH.”

So I’m assuming he saw something more akin to this guy:

Untitled-2

Either way, Mr. McCartney had fluttered into our car as we’d climbed in. And now he was hanging out on the door, banging his head gently against the window in an attempt to escape.

Brian did what any logical person would do. He pushed the button to lower the window, thinking the beetle would gracefully take his leave. However, like Buttercup in the Fire Swamp quicksand, the little beetle was sucked down into the pits of despair. And Brian wasn’t pulling a Westley, either.

(*Author’s note: I’ve been waiting over 2 years to reference The Princess Bride on this blog. Thank you, Brian and Beetle, for making it possible.)

So, for the next ten minutes, we sat in my parents’ driveway, waiting for the bug to reemerge. When his little antennae would appear above the rubber seal between the door panel and the window, Brian would lower the window again, attempting to shoo him out, to no avail.

Finally, frustrated and sleepy, I convinced Brian to take me home. “The bug will come out on his own eventually, and then you can open the door and swat him out.” It sounded logical to me.

The hubs wasn’t too happy about this decree, but he also wasn’t willing to argue. And so, for the next 4 miles, I sat in my seat chuckling as quietly as tequila would allow me to chuckle, while the bug worked his way out of the chasm and Brian did the gangster lean over into my seat.

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About halfway home, we stopped at a 4-way intersection, and Brian leaped into action. He whipped the door open with one hand, grabbed a stray notepad from the depths of the car with the other, and finally, successfully, shuffled our friend, the beetle, out into the night.

The damage, however, was done. Because the only thing that broke the silence for the rest of the car ride home was the occasional sound of Brian blanching with bug-disgust.

Side Effects

You’ve taken prescription drugs before, right? For the most part, they do what they’re supposed to do. But every once in awhile, you get the privilege of taking a medication that has the kind of side effects that leave you feeling like you just came off a roller coaster in hell where angry people threw heavy objects at your head for fun.

No? Just me? Well then clearly, you’ve never taken fertility drugs.

About two weeks ago, I started taking a drug called “Provera,” which, in layman’s terms, sends signals to the woman’s uterus that it’s time to start a cycle. This drug doesn’t send those signals quietly. Oh no. It launches your hormones into overdrive, sending you into the ugly cry over the fact that you think you *may* have just hit a ladybug with your car, even though your husband assures you that you probably didn’t since the car is still in park. Worst yet, for the first several hours after I took the pill, I would have this foggy, unfocused feeling.

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Donnie Wahlberg could have been standing in my living room wearing fig leaves and playing the ukulele, and I seriously wouldn’t have noticed. I spent most of those 10 days staring off into space, wondering where my mind had wandered off to (usually to daydreaming about Donnie Wahlberg wearing fig leaves and playing the ukulele.)

***For those DW fans, I am apologizing here for not drawing him in said fashion. I’d like to think that someday, he’ll want to be my friend, and I don’t want to offend him off gate.***

Once the Provera, and cycle, come to an end, it’s time to take pill #2. Enter–Clomid. This happy little pill tells a woman’s ovaries to release eggs, which increases a couple’s chance of getting pregnant. If you thought the Hazy Abby with Awesome Daydreams was fun, wait till you meet Mega-Hormonal Abby on Clomid.

Brian and I would argue about Clomid’s worst side effect. I say, without a shadow of a doubt, that the hot flashes associated with this drug are AWFUL. First, my ears start to burn. Then my entire face gets red and feels like it’s going to pop off like an over-filled thermometer. By the time the heat creeps to my neck, I’m ready to move to Antarctica, where I plan to bathe in the frigid waters with glee. All I can do is sit back, let the wave take its natural course, and pray that the AC stays on long enough to get me through the 15 minutes of sweat-inducing, swear-inducing flash.

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Unfortunately, the rest of my little family has to live in the igloo that is our house throughout the course of treatment. Brian has taken to wearing hoodies and socks, as well as staying bundled up beneath our thickest afghan, to battle the sub zero temps in our living room. However, he does so without a single complaint, even with icicles hanging off his nose.

For him, though, I think the worst side effect is watching me go through the mood swings. I can be telling him a joke one minute, complaining about politics the next, and in ten minutes time, I’ll be sobbing my eyes out about my lack of Word Press skills. The most fun ones, though, are the ones where I get angry. One little thing—something left in the middle of the floor that causes me to trip, an item that I need not being in the place it’s meant to be when I go to find it, an asinine comment on Facebook (by someone who’s comments are always asinine, therefore usually expected.) And suddenly, my Clomid-driven rage monster emerges.

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I have to fight down the urge to break things, roar at the top of my She-Hulk voice, and eliminate all threats to my safety. However, I usually allow myself to slam around, say mean things loudly, and rant until the feeling passes—and all the while, thinking to myself that it’s the Clomid reacting to the situation, not myself.

Fun stuff.

The honest truth, though, is that if these pills work, I’ll be over-the-moon happy about it. Obviously. We’ll all throw a party and dance the Happy Fertility Drugs dance. It’s all about the destination, not the journey–even if the journey is filled with pretty colors and hot flashes and rage.

We’re Moving!

The day has finally arrived!! I am in the process (finally) of moving Abby Gabs from Blogger (booooo!) to Word Press (YAAAAAY!)

And there’s absolutely been no tequila involved!

So far.

Nobody said anything about vodka though.

So, while I’m waiting for all the techno-babble mumbo-jumbo to go through, my site may be temporarily down. I’m hoping to be able to start setting up the new blog by Monday, and keeping my fingers crossed for a re-launch by the end of next week.

I know you’ll miss me, friends and neighbors, but I’ll try to post silly anecdotes on my Twitter and Facebook pages to keep you thoroughly entertained in the interim.

In the meantime, here’s a cute illustration of myself to remind you that we are currently undergoing some construction.


See you on Word Press!!

Wii Bowling Party: An Abby Gabs Tutorial

A little friendly advice, from me to you: when your husband/wife/significant other/roommate/little sister/self-built android comes to you and says, “Let’s have a Wii bowling tournament party!” —–>just say yes. 

Because we did one this past weekend, and it was SO. MUCH. FUN.

Here are my tips to creating the world’s awesomest Bowling Party, all from the comforts of your living room.

You Can Do It, Too: Wii Bowling Tournament Tutorial



Tip #1: Let Your Husband/Wife/Significant Other/Roommate/Little Sister/Self-Built Android Come Up With The Name Of The League AND The Event.

Because then, you wind up with a name like:


While it makes some decorations a little more difficult to create (YOU try putting that many letters on a banner), it makes everyone laugh when you step into the room to announce that the Inaugural Tournament of the Incredibly Excellent Bowling League of Awesomeness is about to begin. 

Don’t worry. If you say it enough, you won’t have to look it up every time. Promise.

Tip #2: If you have someone with minor OCD in your life, allow them to take over the planning, decorations, and food for the party.

In this little scenario, that person would be me. And I had an absolute blast planning bowling alley themed foods, bowling pin cards to identify said themed foods, meticulously wrapping the white plastic eating utensils with red electrical tape to look like bowling pins, and coming up with the most complicated bracket known to man.

Cheesy Bowling Ball

It only took four hours…ish.

OK, I lied. The bracket was too complicated for me. Brian made it up, I just wrote it all pretty.

Tip #3: Re-stock your printer with paper before you allow the OCD person in the scenario to begin creating decorations.

I made banners, lane markers, food cards, and more, just using my printer, some scissors, tape and string. I’m the MacGeyver of crafts, y’all.


Tip #4: Take pictures.

And once you’ve had a few beers, feel free to give the camera to your friends so they can capture some candids as well. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on all of this:


Seriously, the best shots are often the ones taken after you bust out the booze. As long as they’re in focus. Which brings me to my last tip…


Tip #5: Don’t take so many pictures that you aren’t allowed a little creative room to groove when it’s time to blog about your party.

Because after three beers and a rum-and-coke, my camera was left in a corner somewhere, and I forgot all about a hundred different shots I wanted to take, including a group shot of the 11 bowlers that came to our party.

But never fear, Photoshop and our Nintendo Miis are here!

Back row, from left to right: Zach, Kristie, Arielle, Steven, Jenn, Ashley, Fred, Ray, and Sam
Front row: Abby and Brian

Seriously. That’s one epically awesome team portrait–which is perfectly fitting for the Incredibly Excellent Bowling League of Awesomeness. (See, I told you remembering the name gets a little easier the more times you say it.)

There’s a Milk Monster In Our Midst…

It all started when Dizzy was a kitten. You know—adorable, small, rambunctious. One day he discovered the milk at the bottom of our cereal bowls. And the obsession began.

It was all fun and games at first. He’d hop up in my lap, nudging his tiny little nose toward the bowl. I’d give in to the cuteness and let him lap the milk from among the Fruit Loops, and we would all giggle at the cute little slurpy noises he would make as he gobbled it all up.

Fast-forward a few years and now Dizzy is a full-grown, 10-pound cat. He’s still adorable, but he’s much bigger now. And much more insistent that he gets his milk prize every morning. He still jumps up in my lap, but if I’m less than agreeable with his begging, he takes matters into his own…paws.

When he’s satisfied that he’s saturated his paw in enough milk, he’ll sit back and slurp it right off of his foot. Loudly. Usually in my ear.

This habit annoys me. It all but infuriates Brian. Being the Dad in this scenario, Brian usually puts Dizzy on the floor with a firm “NO.” And Dizzy, knowing which side his proverbial bread is buttered on, will sulk for a moment, then mosy over to my corner of the room.

His M/O has changed a bit over the years. He will find a perch that is as close to his goal as possible (usually the arm of the couch) and stare at me as I eat my cereal. Sometimes his face is less than an inch away from mine.

He doesn’t always wait so patiently, but for the most part, he’ll allow me to eat at least 3 spoonfuls of cereal before he makes his move. And then, ever-so-slowly, he’ll start to creep closer, and closer, and closer, until…

Most of the time, I get relatively annoyed, and relatively quickly, and wind up pushing him out of the bowl. But some days…most days, as soon as he starts making that same slurpy sound…

…I cave in and let him have his fill.

It’s worth it, even if I have to eat my Cheerios dry.