Artie FAQ

Every time I post new pictures of Artie the Wonder Dog, I get the same questions. So I says to myself, self, the best way to deal with this is an FAQ!

Artie and me in January

1. Wow! What kind of dog is that?
Artie is a briard, a rather fascinating breed with a very interesting background! According to Wikipedia, “this ancient sheep guard and herder has … been used by the French Army as a sentry, messenger, and to search for wounded soldiers because of its fine sense of hearing.”

Artie's Easter Flop

2. Is he yours?
No, unfortunately, that particular bundle of love lives with my Aunt and Uncle up in Massachusetts.

Artie and Dad at Easter

3. Is that a muppet, a wookie, the hair-bin at a salon?
None of the above! Jason thinks Artie walks around with his tongue hanging out to help clarify the whole dog-thing.

Any questions?

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Love Deserves a Closer Look

Jason and I aren’t getting married in a church, so we’re not required to take pre cana classes – however, we still believe that our marriage deserves just as much work (if not more!) as our wedding, so (like so many other things!) we’re doing our own DIY pre cana.

While some may prefer to go the route of one judge and a few witnesses, to me weddings are meant to be a very public event. Yes, you’re giving a very personal promise but it’s also a time when you invite your friends and family to become a part of your relationship. By having them all as witnesses to those promises, you are asking them to help you uphold your vows and support you in your new life.

In thinking about all this, I decided that the best way to do so might be to start reaching out to friends and family *now*, and ask them to be our guides, our role models, and our teachers.

To that end, I’ve started coming up with questions to ask through facebook and will be sharing the answers, and my thoughts on them, right here as they come in. Stay tuned!

Question 1, 2/9/12
About weddings – Married folks, what’s the one part of your wedding day that turned out better than you could have imagined? The part that’s the true stand-out memorable moment?

Question 2, 2/10/12
For the married folks, again, I have a two-parter! What’s the one thing you *stressed* about before the wedding that, afterwards (or during), you realized was just not that important? AND if you could change/cut out one thing from your wedding day, what would it be?

Question 3, 2/15/12
What is the most important (to you) financial lesson you’ve learned from married life?

Question4, (TBD)
If you could magically send a short message to yourself, to be read the night before your wedding, what would it say?

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Happy St. Brigid’s Day!

“I’d sit with the men, the women of God, There by the lake of beer, We’d be drinking good health forever, And every drop would be a prayer.”

Find St. Brigid's crosses on Etsy!

Beautiful reed crosses from LauraTravisCarving on Etsy

St. Brigid has always fascinated me – the patron saint poets, blacksmiths, midwives, fugitives, and so much more! To me, she represents the spark of *possibility*, the vastness of what could be. To honor her, I’m going to go light a candle and make something!

I should like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I should like the angels of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal.
I should like excellent meats of belief and pure piety.
I should like the men of Heaven at my house.
I should like barrels of peace at their disposal.
I should like for them cellars of mercy.
I should like cheerfulness to be their drinking.
I should like Jesus to be there among them.
I should like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I should like the people of Heaven, the poor, to be gathered around from all parts.

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Surviving the Winter Seas (Or, The Great Long Island Sound Crossing

Close your eyes and breathe with the waves. Fight it and you’ll get sick. Dive deep into the water and *feel* it. Then the wind just goes right through you.


Boy, I knew I was in for a rough trip today but… Oy!

I’d like to take a moment to remind myself to appreciate the relative ease with which I’m able to make this journey, though. It makes me think about the great alpine mountain passes, the seasonal routes that can only be traveled a few months out of the year, the ice roads in the north, the GREAT oceanic journeys people were making hundreds of years before me.

Two bumpy hours out on the Sound? Starting to look pretty good.

The bags and mops are coming out now. Time to brave the last leg of the crossing out on the back deck. The waves won’t get me, but the smell might…

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Tragedy in Ohio

Warning – This post contains graphic images

Getty Images

As someone who loves and fights for all wild animals, tigers in particular, I have to say something about what happened in Zanesville, Ohio this week.

(unknown source)

For those who don’t know, a very troubled man released 56 wild and exotic animals from a “preserve” before he (possibly) committed suicide. Only 6 were safely captured. Of the remaining animals, 49 have been killed. The last remaining animal, a monkey, was most likely eaten by one of the large predators.

(unknown source)

Jack Hanna aided local officials in hunting down all of these animals, including bears and large cats. As a well-known animal lover and conservationist, he understandably had a lot to say about this loss.

“When I heard 18, I was still in disbelief. The most magnificent creature in the entire world, the tiger is… to lose 18 Bengal tigers in the world today is beyond a tragic loss.”

There are only approximately 1,400 Bengal tigers left in the wild.

Despite this fact, I agree with their actions. It’s very likely these animals lived in less-than-ideal conditions (to say the least) and even the happiest and fattest wild animal is still wild. “People have to understand something… human life comes first… no one loves animals more than me, but human life has to come first”, said Jack Hanna. On that subject, Debbie Leahy, captive wildlife regulatory specialist for the Humane Society, said:

“We do not fault them for using lethal force. What we’re finding, in places where they have lax regulations … rural sheriffs and local animal control officers are being forced to deal with issues ranging from rampaging chimpanzees to tigers running amok. …We have found, in some cases, they’re just as traumatized as the rest of us. They don’t want to have to shoot these animals. People shouldn’t be blaming (authorities). They should be blaming the Ohio government for not taking action to prevent this incident.”

And I do. The biggest tragedy is that Terry Thompson was somehow allowed to own these animals in the first place. According to the Chicago Tribune, there are numerous reasons why Thompson should never have been allowed near an animal, let alone be responsible for the care of any. His numerous strikes include being charged with animal cruelty 11 times since 2004 and deliberately underfeeding his horses (allegedly) then fed them to the lions when they died. And yet somehow, he managed to meet the bare minimum requirements for keeping these animals. Disgusting.

AP Photo - Tony Dejak

“Every month brings a new, bizarre, almost surreal incident involving privately held dangerous wild animals,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society, said to CNN. “In recent years, Ohioans have died and suffered injuries because the state hasn’t stopped private citizens from keeping dangerous wild animals as pets or as roadside attractions. Owners of large, exotic animals are a menace to society, and it’s time for the delaying on the rulemaking to end.”

Always one to look for the positive in something, I truly hope this incident finally forces Ohio (notoriously lenient on this matter) to enact to stricter laws regarding the housing of wild and exotic animals by private citizens.

Posted in Animals, Current Events, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Food is For Fuel

Losing weight is like starting to unwrap a present on Christmas morning with the knowledge you might be unwrapping it for the rest of your life.

I found that on Fitocracy’s spotlight of one of their members, Vainglory. His story is one that I can’t directly relate to, but I’m sure many can. With the help of and fitocracy he is down to *half* his previous size. Wow. If you want to know more, he has his own blog at

Vainglory's Before and After

Fitocracy is an intriguing site… I didn’t look around much, but it looks like it’s essentially a massive fitness game! It’s not open to the public just yet, but I requested an invite 🙂

I’ll have an update later about my own progress, I just wanted to share this lovely little morsel.

Posted in Fat-Off | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Feeding Frenzy: Avocado Chicken Ranch Bowls

Last Saturday, my boyfriend and I were hanging out at my parents’ house. We were outside enjoying the crisp early fall weather and discussing dinner plans when I suddenly decided that I absolutely *had* to make this new dish I had been thinking about. We were celebrating a family friend’s birthday, what better time!

My boyfriend and I raced to the grocery store, then I got to work.

The Process - Making the Bowls
(Feel free to follow that pic back to flickr and look through the rest of the set!)

I love the avocado club rolls at the California Pizza Kitchen, and wanted to create my own dish with similar flavors. A few weeks ago I was in Stop and Shop and noticed a package of egg roll wrappers, it was time to give it a try! I gathered up the major elements – avocado, chicken, bacon, tomatoes – and gave it a go.

Assembling - Avocado Slices

They were a hit, I was so happy! Nothing makes a girl proud like a bunch of mumbles and nods 🙂

All in all, I think this is more of a summer dish, but sitting next to the toasty warm chiminea on that mild fall evening I could almost imagine the sun was shining on my shoulders.

Avocado & Chicken Bowls

No matter which season it is, these are absolutely delicious. Want to try them yourself? Just click this link for a PDF of my recipe. If you get a chance to try it out, I’d love to know what you think!

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