Category Archives: Lucky Puppy

Behind the Scenes at ComicCon with The Lucky Puppy

Curious to see what happened during our first day at ComicCon? My father-in-law and fellow need connoisseur, Walt, is helping me tell the stories behind some of our experiences. For a sneak peak, visit this post at LuckyPuppy.net! And stay tuned for more news and posts as this nerd train keeps rolling through the halls of the San Diego Convention Center!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of Iron Man to tide you over.

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Welcome to AbbyGabs! (Again!)

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Abby, who had the gift of Gab.

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And so she took that gift and shared it with the world, via her blog. Days and nights she slaved away at her computer, manipulating turns of phrase, exhausting her mental bank of adjectives, and punctuating to her heart’s content. She was proud of that which she had worked so hard to create, and she reveled in the delight it brought her readers.

As time passed, the girl grew weary of issues with her blog’s platform. Frequent outages, crummy comment forms, and the inability to make her blog look exactly like she wanted led that gabby Abby to search the internet, far and wide, until she found the perfect platform for the blog that was her pride and joy.

The process was a daunting one: transferring RSS feeds, securing self-hosting, learning the ins-and-outs of HTML code. It took 5 days, and as many nights, for all of the components to fall into place.

Finally, she had complete creative control over her blog. Finally, she had reliable service from a provider she knew she could count on. And finally, she had her own personal account supervisor, who could come in at a moment’s notice and answer any questions she had about her host.

And so, the girl with the gift of gab officially became Queen of the Internet (for the day.)

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It soon became apparent to her, as she toyed with the new platform, that she had lots to learn. There were widgets to master, and menus to create, and coding to learn. But as she settled into the new space, she knew two things for certain.

One: WordPress already, so quickly, felt like home.

And two: no Queen of the Internet (for the day) can have a successful rule without one of these:

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Welcome to the brand new AbbyGabs!! If you haven’t already, click around and get to know the place a little. And feel free to follow me on the many social media sites that I use on a regular basis simply by clicking on the thought bubble buttons that took me three days to make!

Special thanks go out to:
Brian, for keeping me calm during the moving process, and talking me down from the ledge when things didn’t go just so.
Carrie at akaLaverne, for always being willing to answer panicked questions, give me advice on design, or send me her top 10 favorite themes just to get me started.
Alex at Late Enough, for giving me the courage, and the information, I needed to make the move in the first place.
Walt at Lucky Puppy, for giving me new ideas for the site, as well as cheering me on from the sidelines while the move was made.
Jordan, author of MamaBlogga, and the creator of the 10-step process that safely (and easily!) moved my blog from Blogger to Word Press.
And finally, to Cole, my account manager at Blue Host, for answering all my silly noob questions with grace, kindness, and complete accuracy.

One Surefire Way To Silence This Gabby Abby

My little website may not be much. It may not be fancy, or invite hordes of readers or make any important or political statements. It doesn’t change the way people view the world, or enlighten with brand new ideas, or create a stronghold on the internet that seems impenetrable.

In truth, my little website is just a silly blog, written for fun and amusement, mostly for myself. If others find it entertaining, that’s just icing on the cupcake.

Mmmm. Cupcake.

I don’t often post anything controversial here on Abby Gabs, and have never done a post about politics in any form. But today is different. Today, I’m standing up for Abby Gabs, and other websites like it.  Today, I’m holding out for my right to be heard, my right to be a voice in the millions on the internet. Today, I’m educating my readers about the SOPA and PIPA bills, in case you’ve never heard of them. And rather than climbing up on my soapbox, I’m going to leave it at that, step back quietly, and let this video do the talking for me.

See you tomorrow, readers.

*Thanks to Alex at Late Enough and Walt at The Lucky Puppy for inspiring today’s post.

Scooby Snacks Won’t Work

Summertime is in full swing, and we’re celebrating big time this year.

Why, you ask? Well, dear reader, I will tell you.

Brian’s Dad, Walt, and little sister, Rosie, are flying to South Carolina for a week long visit.

Walt and Rosie at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC.

This will be the first time we’ve seen them since the summer of 2009. We often take turns with our visits—they’ll fly to SC one year, we’ll fly to Las Vegas the next. (No, not to visit the casinos or to count Elvises. They actually LIVE there. Sort of.) But with Brian in the throes of nursing school, it’s easier for us to fly them here. And so, our week long vacation begins next Tuesday.

For now, we are knee-deep in the planning phase. What will we do while they’re here? We aim to take them to as many different places as we can each time they come. In 2009, we did the zoo and the water park.

This time, we’re planning a Fort Sumter boat tour:

A trip to the Angel Oak:

And, the day I’m most looking forward to:  an ALL-DAY beachathon.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of many 11-year-old kids who wouldn’t be downright thrilled at the prospect of sand, surf, and sun for an entire day. Most kids I know would already be quivering with delight like a kitten hopped up on catnip.

Not Rosie.

She’s even talking about NOT packing a bathing suit.

Now I know for a fact that this girl can swim like a fish. In the summertime, Walt often talks about how he has to check her neck for gills. So that’s not it.

She had a blast the last time we visited the coast, although we were only there for a few minutes. But she loved darting in and out of the waves, picking up shells, and looking at the ocean. So that’s not what’s causing her anxiety, either.

She doesn’t mind sand. She’s not afraid of seagulls. She’s a card-carrying supporter of picnics and family fun.

So who do we blame for Rosie’s slightly problematic, undeniably dubious attitude toward beach day?

Walter. His blog. And his obsession with Shark Week.

Now, listen. I’m all for educating people about the perils of swimming in the ocean. I was a lifeguard for 4 years. I’ve been swimming, and surfing, in the ocean since I was in middle school. I understand all about riptides and currents and tides.  I also know to warn people about jelly fish. And what to do if you get stung. I’m first in line to lecture you about sunscreen, finding shade in the hottest part of the day, the importance of wearing a hat, and reminding you to stay hydrated. I am a Beach Veteran, and I wear the badge of honor proudly.

I can honestly say that, in my 15+ years of enjoying the ocean, I have never, I repeat NEVER, seen a shark.

I’m not saying they don’t exist. I’m not saying shark attacks don’t happen.

I’m saying that I don’t ever swim out deep enough for it to be an issue.

Jaws doesn’t frequent the shallows, my dears. No matter what Steven Spielberg would have you believe.

So I’m hoping, with all my might, that when Rosie sees me go into and come out of the ocean without becoming Sharky Snacks, that she’ll join me in the fun.

Keep Jaws happy, and your own backside intact, with Sharky Snax!

Keep your fingers crossed, readers. And Walter–start convincing her now to bring that bathing suit.

And NO MORE DISCOVERY CHANNEL!

At least until this trip is over.

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I am not, nor do I profess to be a shark expert. I’m not a scientist, I don’t have a degree in marine biology, and I cannot map out shark territories for the curious. I can only say that, in my experience, sharks are less of a concern than, say, heat stroke or riptides. I’m sure that someone will read this blog and send me 10 links of shark attacks off the SC Coast, and I probably won’t read them. I know shark attacks happen. It’s just not often enough to keep me out of the water. I promise you, reader, and you too, Rosie, that we will employ all the anti-shark-attack methods that I know: swimming at a busy location, avoiding deep water and riptides, and always swimming with a buddy. And I’ll bring along the Shark Snax, just in case.

An Official Abby Gabs Birthday Celebration

Don your party hats and dust off your dancing shoes….it’s my Father-in-Law’s birthday today!!

Dancing Banana Pictures, Images and Photos

Because everyone deserves a dancing banana on their birthday…
Here are five things you probably don’t know about my FIL, Walt:
#1: He’s a blog author, too! He’s been writing a blog for as long as I’ve known him, and The Lucky Puppy was a major inspiration for me to start my own blog. You’ll have to drop by and visit him sometime. **Warning** This blog is not for kids! Be prepared for a lot of political discussion, dirty jokes, and a strange sense of humor. But, it’s why we love him so.
#2: Walt and I are as different politically as two people can possibly be. He thinks I’m a dirty tree-hugging liberal hippie. I think he’s a fanatical right-wing extremist. It makes for heated debates, that’s for sure. But when it comes right down to it, I think we’re both a little closer to the middle than we let on. (Shhh….don’t tell him I said that. He’ll think it’s a conspiracy and somehow link it to how the Democrats are brainwashing women under the age of 35 into believing that Republicans are the Devil.)
#3: I’m just guessing, here, but I’m assuming he likes it when people sing to him. So, on three, ladies and gents….One, two, THREE:

(My confusion with technology just makes this video funnier. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to edit it out….)


#4: Walt once gave me advice that shaped my life, and my marriage. The force is strong with this one.

#5: All kidding aside, Walt has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He’s always willing to drop everything when you need him, he gives the best long-distance pep talks in the world, and he loves his kids more than anything else in his life. People always tell you that when you get married, it’s a package deal. Well, I can honestly say that Brian’s Dad is a true gift, and I’m glad I got to add him to my family when I married his son.

Love ya, Dad!

Because it’s not a true Abby Gabs’ Birthday without some Photoshop…

 

The Best Advice I Ever Received

No matter who you are, someone in your life has, at some point, given you some advice.

Don’t chew with your mouth full.
Be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you.
Never cross the street on your hands–it’s illegal in 4 states.

Most of the time, you nod and smile and think, “I already knew that, but thanks.”

Sometimes, though…sometimes it’s the kind of advice that changes your life.

I’ve been in exactly 5 serious relationships, including my marriage. For the most part, the boys I dated (and I say boys because I met my husband while we were still in college, so these relationships took place while I was a kid) were nice boys. They treated me well enough, and each one taught me valuable lessons to take into life.

My High School Sweetheart taught me to love earnestly, with my whole heart. He also taught me about heart break.

My Musician taught me to live in the moment, and to enjoy life as it comes. He also taught me to pine.

My Best Friend taught me to dream a little, and plan a little. He also taught me what it feels like to have the rug pulled out from beneath your feet.

Then there was The Jerk. I think every girl dates at least one, and The Jerk stole most of my sophomore year of college from me. He taught me to be mistrustful, but he also taught me how to take up for myself. And eventually, how to walk away.

Each relationship, each lesson, put me in a place to be ready for that one big Love that came my way. It prepared me to love My Husband with my whole heart, earnestly and completely, without giving up my own identity.

I thank each of them for that.

A few years later, as My Husband and I prepared for our wedding, advice started coming out of the woodwork.

Never go to bed angry.
Don’t bring up the past when you fight.
It’s not okay to call your spouse a cotton-headed ninny muggins.

I can’t tell you how many people said the same thing to us. “The first year of marriage is ALWAYS the hardest. If you make it through that first year, you’ll make it through ANYTHING!”

We weren’t worried. We went into our nuptials with confidence, never wavering. As we stood on the beach, hand in hand, with the sun setting behind us, the rest of the world disappeared. I never expected it to be like that—movie epic good—but it really was, for me. There was a moment, standing on the dunes with my parents, just before they gave me away, when I felt my face break and the tears well up, and for that fleeting moment, I thought I would cry. And then I thought, “No, don’t miss this.” And I didn’t. Not a single second was missed, and I was beaming from the “Dearly Beloved” to “You may kiss the bride.”

A few days after we were married, my brand new father-in-law took us aside and sat us down for “the talk.” (Not “the birds and the bees” one, the “you just got married and here’s the wisdom I’d like to pass down” one.)

He told us that we would face times of trouble. It’s inevitable, everyone does. He prepared us for money woes and growing pains and silly disagreements. And along with it all, he gave me the most profound advice I have ever received.

“No matter how noisy life gets, don’t be afraid to turn down the volume and focus on the most important thing of all—-each other.”

It may not seem like much, it may not shake you down to your foundation, but this has become our Marriage Mantra. If everybody else’s problems start to bog us down, we disconnect from the world, shut it down for a few hours (or a few days) and just focus on our relationship. When real life gets too real, too scary, too much to handle, we regroup and refocus on each other. We constantly remind each other how lucky we are, and that as bad as we think it is, there are people in the world who don’t have what we have. And for that, we are always grateful.

This advice has gotten us through those money woes, and those growing pains, and those silly disagreements that my father-in-law warned us about. It got us through B deciding to go back to school. It’s helped us deal with our fertility problems, and the fact that, after almost 7 years of marriage, we still haven’t started a family.

It got us through cancer.

So now, whenever a friend announces they’re getting married, or they’re having a baby, or they’re facing new life complications, I always pass along the seed that my father-in-law planted. Because it has truly shaped our lives, our love, and our relationship. And it has grown into the bedrock of our marriage.

The Facebook Phenomenon

Remember Myspace?

You know…with the flashy backgrounds and the glittery “YOUR SPACE IS AWESOME” comments and the “SURPRISE MY MUSIC SUCKS” playing through your computer speakers?

Right, well, when Myspace first became all the rage, I ignored it. I mean, I wasn’t a 13 year old girl who dreamed of having a unicorn-themed website where all my friends could come by and OMG me to death.

My Father-In-Law, Walt, has been on the internet since before the internet was cool. (Seriously–he’ll tell you all about it on his blog, The Lucky Puppy.) So naturally, he fell in line with the masses and whipped himself up a Myspace page. And then, the recruiting began.

Phone call: “Hey, Abby, you should get a Myspace Page!!! 
Then we could message each other all the time!!”
Email: “Dear Abby, Have you looked at Myspace yet? DO IT!”
Text Message: “RU on Myspace YET?”
Sky writer: “MYSPACE ME ABBY?”
 
Finally, I caved in. Created a Myspace profile. Added my pictures and my info and a pink background and whatnot.
And discovered blogging.
A couple of years later, the word “Facebook” crept up in the news.  “Oh boy,” I thought. “Another social media website that I’m going to get sucked into.”
I didn’t wait for the barrage of messages from my tech-savvy FIL, I just jumped in with both feet…..
And immediately became obsessed.
I stayed online for HOURS, updating my profile, loading pictures, and stalking my friends.  I spent more hours looking for people I went to elementary, middle, high school with. People I’d known from summer jobs and internships. People who knew people I knew from way back when. Friend requests, status updates, quizzes that told me my aura was blue, not orange. I reconnected with friends I thought I’d lost forever, people who I consider some of my best friends today. AWESOME.  I think it’s pretty plain, between you and me, how I felt about Facebook versus Myspace:
Then I found the GAMES! Oh, Lordy, the games. I was particularly fond of Farmville. I spent so much of my free time planting cotton, harvesting wheat, and watering flowers that I could’ve qualified for my own piece of property in Idaho. The sending of gifts, the asking for nails and buckets and crap to build horse stables with, the visiting my neighbor’s farms to gain experience—it was all-consuming. But I kept at it…because of my affinity for the little ducks.
Then came the “dark period” of 2009. B and I had been trying to have a baby, again, and were unsuccessful, again. I was in the depths of despair, and turned even more free time to the internet. What time wasn’t spent on Facebook was spent researching infertility, weight loss techniques, and adoption. And then, the floodgates opened. Within 1 month, 6 of my friends announced they were pregnant.
I slipped into a deep depression.
I would log onto Facebook everyday, and be flooded with pictures of baby showers, sonograms, cribs and high chairs. As happy as I was for these friends, some of whom were the best of my friends, I felt myself harboring hateful feelings that did not feel like the Abby I’ve always known.
So B and I made a pact. No more Facebook, for at least one month. Even on our Blackberry’s. We called it our Facebook Sabbatical.
And we did. And I didn’t miss it. Mostly.
By the time the month was over, I was ready to log back into my online life and see what was shaking. But I promised myself that I wouldn’t play Farmville, or any other games, anymore. And that I wouldn’t obsess over other people’s business. I started blocking people who enticed me to argue politics, or made statements that frustrated or annoyed me. I vowed to only spend 30 minutes a day on Facebook…no more, no less. And I learned to control the addiction I had to social networking.
What we learned on our Facebook Sabbatical: As fun as it is to keep up with people, connect with lost friends, brag about our successes…our life is here. In the real sense. With each other. All the rest can just fall away.