It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This is Lovebug. She has been at the shelter for almost two months (a pretty long time for the shelter...). Nobody seems to want her and it completely breaks my heart because she really is one of the three biggest love bugs I have come across there; I remember them all - Blowpop, Socks, Lovebug.

Every week when I come in she meows, walks right over to the door and waits for me to open her cage. When I do, it's all snuggles, head-butts and purrs. If she were declawed, she would be kitty number two for us. She's about three years old and would make a wonderful little friend, if anyone wants a four-legged addition to their family! Does anyone know anyone that might want Lovebug?

This little Julian. Another precious heart-breaker. I'm not as worried about him though. I'm sure someone will snatch him right up...maybe one of you? He smelled a little funk-tastic, but nothing some soap and water wouldn't fix in an instant. I opened his cage and he hopped right out on me. He snuggled right up under my chin and started kneading my shoulder. I looked down and...he was actually trying to nurse on the wrinkles in my shirt! It was so cute and so, so sad - all at the same time. By the time I put him down, I had little wet spots all over my shoulder and sleeve where he had been sucking my shirt.

And Toby. Toby is in with the small dogs. He's about four months old and he's a Beagle/Dachshund mix. I imagine he will grow a bit more, but I think he will stay pretty small (surely). He also stole my heart this evening. He was very quiet in his kennel. Very still and calm. Most of the dogs are quite rambunctious in that room, but he just sat there while I opened his door and cleaned his cage. I could see him tremble for just a second before I started petting him, but once I started petting him, he was full of kisses and mini tail-wags. And even though he was a little scared of his new surroundings, he didn't leak pee. I like that in a dog!

(this picture doesn't do him justice at all)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Christopher and I went to the zoo a couple weekends ago. It was a little chilly, but really fun - and it was JUST warm enough for all the animals to come out! (That's the most important part.)

(pretty ducks)

(what's cuter than a duck butt?)

(this little guy is special like buster cat nixon - he needs eye drops every day!)

(the polar bear totally was not into visiting with us)

(i once was a wolfpack of one...)

(i really wanted to make a animal that totally loved me. i thought it would be something cute, cuddly and a mammal...perhaps a big cat. it turned out to be this humming bird. he was totally into me.)


(the flamingos were awesome...and squawky)

(another bird almost pooped on me when christopher was taking this picture)


(this is some sort of pigeon! a pigeon!)

(this lemur stretches like buster)

(they were playing - the big one totally pushed the little one off the tree)


(an actual banana tree - how neat!)

(i think this guy might have been my favorite)

(i just want to squeeze him!)

(at one point, i'm pretty sure he tried to cough up a fur ball. do lions do that?)

(so pretty)


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Biltmore at Christmas

Christopher and I decorated our front yard! Doesn't it look nice? Ha! Right - we went to Biltmore to see the house decorated for Christmas and it was wonderful! Of course we went on the one day it decided to snow here in Winston, but it was still totally worth it. When we got to Biltmore, the first place we went was to the barn. It was pretty awesome because it was rainy and nasty outside so I didn't have anyone to contend with when it came to the animals. They were all mine!

(softest goats ever!)

(pretty curls)

(is that not the sweetest face you have seen all week?)

(i'm a total sheep whisperer here)

I heard the lady working in the barn tell someone that one of the sheep really like to have it's feet rubbed between the hoof and dewclaw. Oh really? I'll try! Christopher saw her showing someone else and said it was really cute. There were three sheep. I tried the first one...

(what are you doing to my foot?)

It clearly wasn't that one. On to the next...

(it's not me, yo! this feels weird!)

And then this precious, little sheep came up and put her hoof up on my leg!

(it's me! it's me!)

(look at this! it's like we're holding hands!)

After the barn, we went to the house. It was so beautiful! So, SO beautiful! I know a lot of people say, "a house like this is too big! Who needs all this?" But I call those people house quitters. I would totally live there. The first two people I would hire would be my "Pet GPS Monitor" (think NORAD command center for pets) and my "Christmas Tree Putter Upper." What's that you say? Why don't I put my own trees up? There were, if I heard correctly, 52 trees in that house. 52!!!

I would love to share some pics of the inside of the house with you, but we, unlike a bunch of other people I saw, followed directions and did not take pictures...or video. I'm not kidding - people were taking video.

We went to the shops after the tour and it turns out Biltmore is now brewing some of their own beer! Pretty cool, huh? Christopher wanted to buy some of the pale ale, but they were out in the gift shop at the house. We ended up going to the wine gift shop and tasting area, which was pretty cool. We hadn't been there before. We tried some new wines and bought Christopher's beer...and some new wines! ;-) It was a pretty spectacular Saturday.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shelter WIN!

I’ve been volunteering at the shelter for about six months now. You may remember that it didn’t start out so well…but luckily it got much better! I’ve been feeling a little frustrated because it’s seriously sad there sometimes – about three fourths of those animals get put to sleep. I really wanted to do something a little more than just clean poop; I thought I might be able to help with some sort of copywriting or social media – something that would go beyond my couple hours a week at the shelter. Nobody there really seems interested…

About a week ago I was leaving work and saw a guy walking his dog up the street. I thought, “I work with him…no…no, I don’t work with him…hmmm…how do I know him?” I made my turn and was sitting at a red light when he came walking further up the street…I looked again…and then down at the dog, and it hit me! He adopted that dog from the shelter while I was there one night! And I brought him the dog! I was so excited – it completely made my night. You never know what happens to those animals once they are adopted (I’m telling you, Forsyth County Animal Control – let me write some success stories!), and it was just so cool to see a happy person/pet combo walking down the street!

But wait! There’s more! I got in the elevator this evening to go home and that guy was standing in the elevator!!! I almost immediately blurted out, “YOU ADOPTED THE DOG!” but I thought that might seem weird. As I was stepping off the elevator trying to think of a better way to word my thoughts, I heard him say, “do you volunteer down at the animal shelter?” Haha! He actually works a couple floors above me for one of our sister companies. How cool is that? I talked to him for a couple minutes (in my excitement, I kind of forgot to introduce myself or catch his name), and he totally likes his dog and even called the dog a “perfect fit” for him!

Yay! Shelter WIN!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

No Teef

Poor Buster Cat Nixon. We took him to the vet two weeks ago and the vet recommended a dental cleaning. When we were at the vet last year, the vet checked his teeth and said they looked perfect! This year - they were really bad. What happened?!?! On her way out of the exam room, the vet said "Let me get you an estimate for a dental cleaning with extractions." WITH EXTRACTIONS??? What? She thought that two of his back teeth were pretty bad and might have to come out. She gave us a "worst case" estimate with four teeth coming out.

Today was the big day. Christopher dropped Monkey Bear off at the vet on his way to work and we each crossed our fingers that I would pick him and his 30 teeth up - all still intact. I got a call this morning after we dropped him off that they were going to need to take SEVEN teeth out! Not only were they going to need to take seven out, but four were already missing! It seems they fell out at some point. Buster had feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions - or "neck lesions." Poor, poor kitty. After reading about these neck lesions, it seems they can be pretty painful - and darn cats - they don't like to let you know when something is wrong. I feel terrible his little teeth were so bad and we didn't even know!

I picked him up a little after 3:00 and they gave me a chart that looks like the picture above, noting which teeth were gone. The circles are teeth that were missing, and the exes are teeth that were extracted today - NINE! Yikes! He basically has fangs now.

I brought him home and he stumbled out of the carrier. He didn't really want to be held; he mostly just walked around like a drunk person, trying to decide whether to lay in his carrier or on the floor outside the carrier and clang the door back and forth. It took him a good hour or two, but he seems pretty much like his normal self now...a bit more mischievous, if anything. He has already dunked two toys in his water and let them drip around the house, and I have had to chase him off the counter/sink no less than ten times. His dry food bowl is in the sink and he can't stand it. The vet said he might not want to drink or eat tonight...well - they don't know Buster Cat. Little does Bust know, but he probably won't be seeing that dry food bowl for a while!

The mischievousness continues: a couple weeks ago I ordered some Yeowww! Catnip Sardines for Christmas for Buster, Oscar and Pico (Keith - don't tell them!). They came in the mail today. When I brought the mail in, Buster was still struggling to get around. I brought them in my room to hide them in my dresser. I heard a commotion and Buster was running after me - he actually smelled those things through the box! I hid the toys and put the box on the counter to take out to the recycling bin. I turn around a few minutes later and that cat is on the counter rolling over the box! I took the box apart and put it on the floor for him. I tried to give him one of the toys but he pretty much lost control and his little anesthesia sheet says to not let him get too excited...I had to take it away. However...if anyone is looking for a good catnip toy, I would recommend Yeowww!

I have to run - time to give the little guy some pain medicine...and an eye drop...geesh. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Alternate Sound Barrier

I went to the Nascar race with my parents this past weekend. There’s always a lot of good stuff to share after a race. I could tell you about how my mom, while claiming to be enjoying the race, read a book for at least 250 of the 334 laps. “I’m enjoying it…do I have to watch ALL the laps?” I could explain the parking situation and my proposed solution to fix it, or how funny my mom’s face was when my dad told my mom to “get on the bridge with a group of skinny people – this is the one that collapsed a few years ago.” We could talk about Nascar attire or even the winning driver!

Really, all this stuff would make for an entertaining blog post, but nothing could actually top this:

That’s right. Most people use headphones or earplugs. This guys uses tampons.

My Apologies

Sorry, guys. It’s been brought to my attention that nobody cares about NY mansions. I kind of had an inkling when I posted these posts and nobody commented, but I took the pictures. I had to do something with them…and I love these places. I thought maybe you would think they were cool too.

Yesterday at work, I asked Lindsey if she had seen something I posted a while ago on the blog and she said, “No, Ginger! Because the past couple times I have looked at your blog it’s been all these stupid houses!”


I went to show her the picture I was talking about and as she was slowly scrolling down (out of guilt) she said, “It’s like a bad fieldtrip, Ginger. Didn’t you realize nobody cared when you saw all these ‘0 comments’?”


So in an effort to regain your attention I would like to share the following Halloween joke with you:

What is a mummy’s favorite type of music?


Okay, okay. One more!

Why did the skeleton go to the movies by him self?



I will try and make further blog posts more interesting to you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walkway Over the Hudson

There’s an old railroad bridge in Poughkeepsie, which crosses over the Hudson River into Highland. Construction on the bridge started in 1873 and the bridge was opened in 1888. At the time it opened, it was considered a “technological wonder” and was the longest bridge in the world. In 1974, there was a fire on the bridge, which ended its use.

A group called “Walkway Over the Hudson” began an effort to open the bridge to the public in 1992 – this was while we were still living in NY! I had no idea! (Of course I rarely picked up the newspaper at the age of 12…perhaps my parents were aware of the group’s efforts?) Anyway – it took a while, but 17 years later, in 2009, the bridge had been renovated and was opened to the public as a pedestrian walkway!

The bridge is 1.28 miles long. While no longer the longest bridge in the world, it IS the longest pedestrian bridge in the world!

(Mid-Hudson Bridge)

(tug boat and oil barge)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

When we went to Biltmore in April, Christopher mentioned, on more than one occasion, that it was insane how highly they thought of this house to charge $65 per ticket. Well, $65 to walk yourself through an old house without air conditioning might seem steep, but I now think it is well worth it!

What’s that? You question this? Well, take a look at what you get for $65 at Biltmore:

The grounds are immaculate. They continue to expand on the property. There are restaurants, stores, a winery...a hotel. The inside of the house is perfectly kept up. The estate holds events, and decorates elaborately each year for Christmas.

Check out the front lawn at the Vanderbilt Mansion, where we entered the grounds for free and toured the house for $8:

And it’s not just the lawn at Vanderbilt. The back patio, where we used to take family pictures, is now closed off and there are weeds growing up through the cracks in the concrete. Inside the mansion, the elevator has been broken since 2007. They are slowly raising the money to bring it back to its original working order.

This is the rose garden at Vanderbilt. The gardens are taken care of by a group of volunteers. They do a pretty darn good job for volunteers, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

And here’s what you get at Mills Mansion when you enter the grounds for free and tour the house for $5:

I wish I had taken more pictures here. The stone wall that runs the length of their property at the road is in pieces. Chicken wire keeps loose pieces from falling to the ground. From the road it looks like there would be a haunted house through the trees.

When the property was originally gifted to the state, they used it for the grounds. The house was more or less just a building that happened to be there. When some of the exterior stucco of the house started to crack, they sprayed it with gunite, a cement coating, which turned the brilliant white stucco grey. Not only did the gunite turn the color dull, but also it coated all the intricate details. What was once dental molding now looks like bumpy trim.

And the Mills Gardens – they have been done away with long ago. The greenhouses were torn down and I couldn’t see anything that even slightly resembled a flower.

They are slowly starting to restore the Mills Mansion, but it will be a slow renovation as they continue to raise money.

I left all these pictures their original size so you can click on them and enlarge them.

Of course it’s lovely that anyone can just drive up to one of these estates and use the grounds for free and tour the house for a more than reasonable price. Roosevelt’s home tour was $14…that seemed to me a happy medium. It didn’t break the bank, but nothing seemed to be in too bad of disrepair. Of course I’m sure that property carries a bit more weight being that of a former president.

Where’s the happy medium? I’m not sure, but the next time I pay to go to Biltmore I think I will appreciate it a bit more.