Sunday, December 30, 2007

Say Hi to Sluggies

After Uncle George the one-eyed basset left to live at Karen's, we brought in our latest foster, Sluggo! He came from some sort of animal hoarder situation and was in rough shape but with a good diet and a warm bed, he's doing great. He's quite possibly the ugliest, "junkyard dog" I've ever seen, but in a sweet, bulldog way. Good news is that he may already have a home pending. I'm glad for him. (Look at those teeth!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hit the slopes

Here's my on skis a few years ago.

Here's me again, taking advantage of this week's crazy snow! Surprisingly enough, even though I hadn't skied in a decade, I did quite well. (And I also have to note that I posed like this especially for this photo comparison!) It's amazing how much better the entire experience is when you're appropriately bundled in the right, warm gear! We had fun. Gary, zoomed around on his snowboard. He wiped out once and I missed it was my camera. Dammit!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My pony friend

While I usually meet my equine pals at barns, I met Butterscotch, a FurReal Friend at WalMart last weekend. If this pony was available 30 years ago, I'm sure she would have been at the top of my Christmas list...!

With Butterscotch, your girl will feel like she is interacting with a living, breathing pony. Butterscotch is soft to the touch, with a fur coat and mane that feel just like a real pony. Her markings and color are modeled after a Shetland pony. Butterscotch also has built-in sensors all over her body, which enable her to respond to children in amazingly lifelike ways. If talked to, she will cock her head toward the speaker quizzically and blink her eyes.She will also react to petting, showing her enjoyment by rubbing her head against your child, twitching her ears, and swishing her tail. In addition to her convincing movements, Butterscotch also makes a medley of different sounds. She'll neigh and whinny just like a real pony, and snort when she wants attention. Should the room become dark, she will begin to whimper, letting her owner know that she needs a consoling hug to know that she is safe.

Saddle Up!
At over three feet tall, Butterscotch is more than strong enough to support a rider up to 80 pounds in weight. Your little girl will be overjoyed to sit on Butterscotch's back and pretend to go for a ride. Although she doesn't move her legs, Butterscotch will bump up and down when her hindquarters are tapped, simulating the feeling of a real pony ride. She will also make clomping sounds with her hooves while riding. Your child's imagination will soar as she pictures herself out on the plains with Butterscotch.

Caring for Butterscotch
Much like a real pony, Butterscotch loves to be groomed and fed. Children will keep very busy taking care of her. When given her special carrot, Butterscotch will chomp and munch on it. She also enjoys having her mane groomed with her brush. Along with her brush and carrot, Butterscotch comes with a special adoption certificate, which will give your little girl a real sense that Butterscotch belongs exclusively to her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A new star is born!

Following in his big "brother's" footsteps, Tankee has been invited by PBS to appear in the upcoming season of Fetch! The creators have decided that Riot (aka Murray) is on hiatus, likely shooting Antiques Roadshow or something similar, and Tank has been summoned by the temp agency. We have a lot of work to do to get Tankee Wankee in trainable form by January 5, but I'm sure with lots of hot dogs, we can get the job done. I'm thrilled that the legacy of stardom will live on!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Metal no more!

Obviously this is not my jaw, but many people have asked what exactly my jaw surgery was all about. The procedure, which I had done in the spring of '04, involved a removal of a section of bone along the line where you see the plates and screws in this image. I won't go into the details but let's just say that the reason why I had so much hardware is because they had to basically saw off my jaw, remove a portion and put it back together. Thank goodness I never let myself view any images or videos online prior to the procedure! I actually had double the amount of hardware (4 plates, 16 screws) than this fine model has, but you get the idea. I had the left hand side of the screws and plates out a year ago and the right side out today. SO glad it's done. And no hardware left in my wrist or my jaw (but I have a big collection of metal now!) The nurse said to me that when I was going under anesthesia I said, "You know, I don't know if I trust you guys with all this slicing and dicing!" ha ha

Uncle George

After the ride, and after the Hanukkah celebration, it was off to Worcester to pick up my newest foster, Uncle George. Poor Uncle George must have had a tough life, as he lived outside, suffered from heartworm, and somewhere along the line lost an eye. But what a sweet dog he is! He is extremely skinny and I can see every rib, but he's a great eater and I'm sure we'll fatten him up in no time. He also came on the transport (another 20-leg journey from Tennessee) with a very cute blue sweater to help him brave the elements. He's a vey good boy with the most wrinkly legs -- like bunchy old lady nylons! Love Uncle George!
On another note, Artie went to his new home on Thursday and I think he'll be very happy there. The new family is semi-retired and will therefore be home with Artie a lot. He got to sleep in bed with them his first night and when I spoke with his new "mom" on Friday she said, "We're madly in love." Hooray for Artie!

Hanukkah time!

This weekend we celebrated Hanukkah at Gary's dad's. It was a great day with tons of presents and a birthday celebration for me, which was an added bonus! Here, Gary and I pose wit the girls in our matching hats from the Pennsylvania crew. I love our hats! Below, Laura and I take time to pose with her dog, Bosco. Love that Bosco. And that Laura!!

Holiday trail ride

This weekend was a busy one. Sunday I had the holiday party at the barn and it was so much fun. Four of us went out for a 5+-mile trail ride and it was amazing. We were a little unsure how the footing would as the ground was covered with snow and we weren't sure of the icing, etc. But it turned out to be great. Allie and Riley led the way, followed by Collette on Truckles (her first time riding with us), then Chris on Pilot and me and Olly-var. Oliver was by far the most pokey pony, but I love that. Here, Oliver and I pause by the century-old cemetery Allie found way out in the woods. It's crazy because the only way out there is by trails, yet it's very ornate. Makes you wonder how and why it came to be. The end of the ride had us walking back on the road about 1.5 miles and while I've never ridden Oliver that long on the road, he did great amongst the cars and barking dogs. I was very impressed! I also got to use my new trail riding GPS -- Fun!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Atari on the big screen

Earlier this year, Gary and I puchased not 1 but 2 40-inch flat screen TVs. We've been doing a lot of wondering lately why we bothered to get one for the den, since we never use it. Well, we finally figured out a good purpose for it: my Atari 2600!

Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Circus, Donkey Kong, Kaboom... the list goes on!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Visiting Santa Paws

Yesterday I took Tankee and Artie to have their photos taken with Santa Paws. While the professional ones came out much better, these are still cute. Artie is going to his new home on Thursday. I'm going to miss him lots, but they seem like a great home. Below is a photo of Artie and Buford (the foster we had last week.) The best part is that this was not staged -- Buford put his arm around Artie all on his own!

A hunting we will go

Yesterday, Chris and Allie an I went out on a 5+-mile trail ride. It was amazing (even if when I was leading Oliver over a small ravine he jumped and landed on me!) We came face-to-face with a few hunters who were nice and assured us they wouldn't take aim. They even radioed ahead to their pals to let them know we were out. The jingle bells really helped they said, so that's good to know. Oliver got a little spooky at the gun. Smart boy.

Guitar Hero

I admit it. We're 30-somethings, and we're fans of Guitar Hero III. Here's Dena (first time player) rocking out. She proved to be a natural, even when Tankee was humping her leg. I continue to get booed off stage. Oh, now that I thoght about it, Dena's only a 20-something. Must be why she's so damn good.

The Mousinator

When tackling the basement, Gary doesn't mess around. Having to deal with a scary ceiling project that was sure to reveal a colony of critters, he donned this fine Tyvek suit complete with a respirator. I think we've found a good idea for next year's Halloween costume.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The orange brigade

Serena and I headed out in our orange regalia today for a long trail ride, which I mapped with Gary's GPS. The boys were great, even with the jingle bells we attached to their saddles to scare off the hunters. Sounded a bit like Santa coming down the trail!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hunting apparel

I never thought I would shop in the hunting section of Dick's Sporting Goods, but today was the day. Now, I'm not the one hunting, but seeing as it's BOW HUNTING season, it seemed like a good idea to clothe myself in some sweet orange for tail riding. Chris and I put the vests to good use today on a 2-hour ride. It was sleeting and gross but we had a good time exploring. And even better -- we made it back alive!

Of horse and hound

It's been a busy few weeks! Mikey went to his new home on Sunday and I think it will be a great match -- 2 young kids that fell in love. Then Monday we had Samantha, a basset/lab mix who was adopted Monday night. She was a cutie... Now we've got Buford as a foster. And we're babysitting Artie (another foster whose foster 'parents' are away for Thanksgiving) until Sunday. So yeah. Lots of dogs. Tankee is being a nice sport! This photo is Artie. Doesn't he look like a little old man? He was found as a stray with his collar and leash on -- how/why noone came looking for him is beyond me. Anyhow... now on to the horses.

Sunday I went down to Frank's barn to see Brittany and Kayla's horse show. It was a fun day, even if it was freezing!
Here's the reserve grand champion of the leadline classes. Kayla did a great job, too, even if Cloudy work up on the wrong side of the stall that morning. I was very proud of the girls!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Foster

It's been a tough week with the loss of our Rye-Man, but we reached out to a very needy hound named Mikey who joined us as a foster on Wednesday. Mikey was a stray and taken in by someone who really had no room for a dog. She left him outside all day long in Tennessee and he got bad sunburns all over his back. Thankfully someone stepped in and pulled Mikey from that situation and helped him heal. I picked him up off a transport with about 30 other dogs and let's just say he's living the high life now. He is a real good snuggler altho he steals my socks. He's only 2 and what a cute boy. No, we're not keeping him -- he's far too adoptable and would be great with a family. I need another oldie -- some old grump that no one else wants... But I felt that with the loss of Riot we had to help another... He'd want that.... The folks at Fetch (the TV show) sent an amazing Riot tribute video with all of his clips from the show. It's such a treat.... he was the best... but it's nice to have a hound in the house again.... smells just right! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Goodbye, Rye-Man

Goodbye my silly Rye-Man. No dog will ever be as giving and squishy and happy for even the shortest of walks. I'll forever miss your whistle and your goose honk and your big beautiful face. It's been a great four years... xxx

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Rye-Man and Tankee. No costume for Oliver this year -- last time I had him in a costume parade he needed a little assistance from his friend Mr. Tranquilizer.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Faces in places

Love this site. Scroll through and find all the faces. I think I may have found the place to submit my chocolate chip cookie with the likeness of Mother Theresa.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My new favorite

I just bought this magnet today and love it. What more can I say.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Carve away (without the mess)

Sometimes you just need a stupid web-doodling application. So in the spirit of Halloween, here's my latest favorite. Just click here and carve. And it's a lot less messy, too. (If you have sound, use it -- it's strangely addictive.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More from NH

It was a gorgeous weekend in NH -- foliage was unreal as was the weather, which was well into the 70s. After the Zipride, we wend for a little hike.

As we were sitting at the top, we ended up chatting with this guy who was rock climbing. As he was waiting for his partner to make it up the rock face, we got to talking about where we're from. Of course the guy would be from ASHBURNHAM!
As it turns out, she knew my brother. Funny...!!! Before we left on Sunday, Gary and I headed out to Jackson Falls where we got married in February. It was fun seeing the place with no snow this time around!We'll have to make this part of our annual visit. It was so pretty...

...and looks so heavenly!

Fear Factor on the Ziprider

This weekend was the annual trip to NH with Gary's friends, some of whom have gone every year for 14 years. On Saturday, Gary, Joanna & Craig and I headed over to Wildcat to check out the Ziprider. Let's just say that we weren't all sold on the idea, but after lots of watching and convincing, we all did it. Below, Joanna looks on as other riders zoom past.
The ride is about 50 seconds long and goes about 45mph while the rider is suspended in a flimsy harness off a cable.

Craig and Joanna hustle off the chair lift.

Once at the top, Joanna makes peace with the situation at hand.
Here, Craig gets strapped in as he and Joanna ready for take-off. Apparently he mooned me and Gary from the bottom while he waited for us to take our turn. Sadly, I missed the show.

And this is basically the view from the top. I'll say this much: It's steep. I couldn't get any photos going down, but click here for a video that someone else posted.

Now, to the best part. When I was looking online for additional photos online tonite, I came across this notice on the mountain's website posted yesterday -- they day we went: "The ZipRider will not be open the remainder of today Saturday October, 20th or tomorrow Sunday October 21st. Unfortunately, the retrieval system that performs the necessary function of moving empty chair safety harnesses back to our starting deck is currently inoperable. We are working to repair as quickly as possible. Please check back here to know when the ZipRider will fly again." NICE!!!! Let's just say after reading that I doubt I'll be zipping again!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No more corporate uniformity; credit cards dress up

(Editor's note: I wrote this for tomorrow's column for the paper but wanted to share this advance copy. I am going to order up... now!)

Ever been intrigued by a credit card simply because you like its design? From horse breeds to sports teams, there’s a company out there willing you charge you interest for use of its card. Now there’s a way to personalize any card with zero damage to your card – or your credit – which brings new meaning to an attractive offer.

It’s a simple idea, really – “skins” for your credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards, you name it. Just buy, remove the backing, apply the sticker and instantly you’ve got a cool-looking card.

Produced by CreditCovers of Madison, Wis., the stickers’ designs range from faux Burberry plaid to camouflage. “Blackout,” the company’s best-seller, blacks out all info but the subscriber’s name, card number, and expiration date.

According to the company’s website, CreditCovers will not damage cards or their swipe strip since the sticker is applied to the front only. They’re also safe to insert in ATMs. While removable (sometimes with a little help of such products as Goo-Gone) they are not reusable. And, while the company states the cover will last “forever,” if it does wear out, they’ll replace it for free.

Available in select retail stores (the closest is Prelude Gift Expressions in Needham), all are available online for $4.99 apiece.

Visit to browse the online catalog.

The Penguin Egg

Who know this 69-cent impulse buy at "don't you just love a bargain" Christmas Tree Shops would be such a hit?! This cute little penguin is currently birthing itself from the confines of its egg thanks to a little water and hard work on his behalf. Granted, he might be a bit stunted since I did let the water evaporate a bit too much last night (woops) but he's still at it. I hope by tomorrow he'll be big enough to ride. (No offense Oliver, but with only 3 shoes, you're now out of commission until Saturday!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

DC Weekend

This weekend the entire Hill/Green/Crews-Hill family headed down to DC to celebrate my cousin Pearson's wedding. It was a gorgeous weekend and it was fun to have the family together, even if it was a whirlwind of a trip. Gary returned home from Israel at 3:30 Friday morning and we left for DC just a few hours later... Needless to say it's been a crazy few days, but fun nonetheless. Below are just a few highlights of the weekend.
Above, Dane and Emily sample some fine water at the reception. Not too much now, kids...!

Here's me and my one and only cousin, Pearson, at the rehearsal dinner. He's hilarious.

Here's the entire, EXTENDED, family. That's right folks, this is it. And it includes Alison, our newest member, and my Aunt Johanna, Pearson's mom. I love how it looks like Gary and I are Emily's parents. Everyone's all jumbled up, so I guess it doesn't really matter...

As is only the case with wedding dance floors, David (my brother) and Pearson paired up for a quick dance. Just long enough for a photo, really, but long enough!

And, just as proof that we were in fact in our nation's capitol, (because honestly, it was such a crazy trip that we could have been anywhere) here's the Washington Monument from the back of the cab window.