Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kip's Tale: Prepping for Surgery

After Kip's RoboKnee is installed, we're going to have to be really careful about his jumping and going up/down stairs while he recovers. Yesterday BD built ramps for the back deck and the truck (our main mode of transporting Kip).

He started with a trimmed down piece of plywood to cover the deck stairs. It is attached to the deck for now but can be removed once the RoboKnee is fully functional.



The ramp is covered in all-weather carpeting for traction.


After an initial hestitation, Kip was using it like a pro. Notice the empty flower pots on either side of the ramp? Kip's first plan of attack was just to leap over from the side and avoid the ramp altogether. It's a miracle his real knee has lasted this long!



We were worried that Kip would balk at the truck ramp since it was a bit higher and the ramp itself is narrower, but he went right up it and into the truck with no problems.


[Author's note: Kip's surgery was actually performed today (12/31). We've heard from the surgeon, and everything went as expected. Kip is currently resting comfortably in ICU where he'll be monitored throughout the night. I'll have a full post on the surgery once we get him home and settled.]

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scenes from Carolina Basketball: Cast of Characters Edition

Thanks to a contact that he has at the university, BD and I have been lucky enough to purchase faculty/staff season tickets for Carolina basketball for the last several years. There is usually a rotating set of people we see on a regular basis that have either half or full season tickets in the vicinity of our seats.

I've taken the liberty to affectionately nickname some of the regulars...

The BlackBerries: I'm not really sure why these two even come to the games. They never show up until right before half-time. She proceeds to constantly check email/send text messages/update her calendar on her BlackBerry while he looks around aimlessly and stifles a yawn.

The Back Seat Coach: This guy really really wants to be Roy Williams. He calls out what he thinks should be the next play, directs the players to their positions on the court, and loves to shout things like "box out. box OUT! BOX OUT!!" over and over and over. I made the mistake of looking over my shoulder at him once. He had that creepy bulging forehead vein thing going on so I've never looked again.

The Statistician: Friend of the Back Seat Coach. Apparently he knows every imaginable physical stat of each player (including the opposing team!) and wants everyone around to know he knows. "Tyler Zeller has a 7'4" wingspan." I am so, so tempted to actually look up some of this information and call him out on it because I highly suspect that he just makes it up as he goes. But then I'd have to nickname myself.

The Back Seat Ref: This guy points out every.single.solitary. foul (real or imagined) that he sees and practically has an apoplectic fit when the ref doesn't call each one. "That was a CARRY. He CARRIED that ball! How did the ref not see that? Is he blind? How could he miss that oh-so-obvious CARRY. OMG. Who is this guy? And there's a HAND CHECK right there. I guess he didn't see that either. OMG. Why do we even have refs at this game??" And on and on and on. Do you know how many things are against the rules in basketball?? I don't either, but seriously, Back Seat Ref... if they called every tiny foul every time the games would last longer than the 2+ hours they already are! No one cares that he carried the ball! Move on with your life!

The Rednecks: These two are my favorite. They are hilarious and good natured. They say a lot of cuss words during the course of a game which I normally find inappropriate at events where kids are around. But it comes out sounding like "well, gawd day-um" or "sheee-ut" so I'm pretty sure no one even realizes what they're saying.

The Chatty Cathys: Surprisingly this is two men who chat during the entire game and never about basketball. As a matter of fact...they talk about everything but basketball. A few of the discussions I've overheard include their favorite Napa Valley wineries, a road trip through the mid-West, and the latest app downloaded for the iPhone. When they recently started a debate over the merits of the Chicago Manual of Style I thought I was going to come unglued.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Et Tu, 2010?

For various reasons (big and small), 2009 was a tough year at Casa de LA & BD, as it was for a lot of people we know. We have high hopes that 2010 is going to be significantly brighter, better, and less stressful for us and others. Although we're still a few days out from the new year, things aren't exactly getting off on the right foot...or paw, in our particular case.

It seems our sweet Kip has ruptured the cranial cruciate ligament in his left hind leg -- the equivalent of the ACL in the human knee. While we were in Louisiana last week to see our families for Christmas, he injured the leg playing at the kennel.

This appears to be the continuation of a day or so of limping we saw in July, which at the time we attributed to a sprained muscle or other minor injury. We now suspect that the incident in July was probably the first strand of the ligament to rupture. The jumping at the kennel was just enough to cause the remaining two ligament strands to give out.

He's currently on a regimen of anti-inflammatory and narcotic drugs to ease any discomfort. Other than the limping, you'd never know he was in any pain -- he is still his usual smiley, waggy self. And he navigates surprisingly well on 3 legs!

He was sedated today to take x-rays which confirmed the diagnosis. We're scheduled to see the orthopedic specialist on Thursday, and the surgery to repair the knee will be scheduled shortly after the consult.

Although this is actually not an uncommon injury in dogs, and we are expecting a full recovery in 6-8 weeks, you can imagine that BD and I are understandably anxious about the surgery. We have every confidence in our vet and the specialist to which we've been referred, but we'd appreciate any prayers/happy thoughts/good juju you'd send our way.

He may not be a human baby, but he's our baby.




Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Reading

My Kindle is here! Santa's elf, the FedEx man, delivered it this morning.


(You should be focusing on the Kindle in this photo -- not my unwashed hair, makeup-free face, or the tree that appears to be growing out of my head!)

I've already downloaded The Lovely Bones because I've been seeing the trailers for the movie, and I didn't read it when it came out a few years ago. And I've downloaded The Professor and the Madman because it's been on my wishlist forever.

What else should I be reading?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Stitches: Happy Anniversary

This was the super-top-secret cross stitch project that I worked on for most of this year (8 months, to be exact). I made it as a gift for my parents to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.


"There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage." ~Martin Luther

Happy Anniversary, Mama and Daddy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Flashback Friday (and Merry Christmas!)




Christmas 2002
These are from the last Christmas that we lived in Louisiana. We had both just graduated from college and were planning a wedding for March. Kip was about 18 months old and full of energy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flashback Friday


BD's high school senior portrait - 1998

Oh, this one is a classic. Look at that letterman jacket!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh, Fudge

Continuing on my quest to consume as many calories as humanly possible learn to cook new holiday treats, I recently made fudge for the first time.

Using a family recipe provided by BD's step-mom's sister, I took these simple ingredients...


worked a little BD-assisted magic...

and VOILA! a holiday classic appeared.

Okay, so it was a teensy bit more work than that, but it is melt-in-your-mouth good, so it's worth buying larger pants the effort.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday: Haircuts after work. (BD mad - hair cut "too short" [Author's note: It's totally not.] because LA tried to talk stylist into giving him a faux-hawk.) Chinese takeout for supper. Watched several episodes of Nip/Tuck on DVD.

Saturday: Slept in. House cleaning - bathrooms scrubbed, floors swept/vacuumed, furniture dusted, laundry clean, folded, and put away. YAY for clean house! (Housework done never rarely not very often during school.) Walked with Kip. Bundled up for cold walk to the Dean Dome to see a Carolina blow-out.


Sunday: Rainy and cold. BD grocery store and other errands. LA wrapped gifts and made homemade fudge. Walked with Kip. Shrimp creole for supper. Watched The Ugly Truth on DVD.

Holiday Music

I'm not sure where you stand on the Holiday Music: Love It or Hate It spectrum, but if you're looking for some good holiday music for yourself or for a gift, here's a recommendation:

Christmas Cheers by Straight No Chaser.




(photo credit: Amazon.com)

Their last year's album, Holiday Spirit, is also excellent. I actually think I prefer it to the new one, but I've listened to it more so that may be affecting my taste.

Straight No Chaser is the men's a capella group from Indiana University. They have a pretty cute version of 12 Days of Christmas on YouTube.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday

BD, LA, & L - January 2003
The three amigos - BD, me, and L, my college roommate. This was taken at an engagement shower for BD and me. L was my maid of honor (hence the corsage).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Final(ly)

Fall Semester 2009: COMPLETE!

*falls over in an exhausted slump*

Tales of the Tail: The One with the Boxing

Kip gets very playful when the temperature starts dropping. It's been pretty cold here recently, so he is full of energy. He plays this infuriating game where he paws at the back door (his signal that he's ready to come in) but instead of coming in, he just backs away from the door and wags his tail. This is cute at first... not so cute the 500th time. Sometimes he wants to play chase or fetch, but more often than not he just stands there and wags his tail.

BD, who is infinitely more patient with that "game" than I am, will go out and have "boxing" matches with him.

The opponents face off.




Kip swings the first punch!


BD deflects the hit!


See all those muddy foot prints on the deck? Because it has been rainy lately, his paws often have to be washed off before he can come inside. He loves it just about as much as you would imagine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let the Holiday Eating Begin, 2009 Edition

Last year I made Zebra Nipples to give out as holiday gifts to neighbors and co-workers. They are really cute, but to make as many as I need there is a lot of spreading out pretzels, unwrapping kisses, placing m&m's, etc. With precious few weekends between now and Christmas, I decided I needed something with a lower work-involved-to-benefit ratio.

I recently found a recipe for caramels that looked delicious and decided to make a test batch over the weekend. Which worked out perfectly with my plan to procrastinate as long as possible over my one remaining final school project.

BD was not very happy about the caramel making because he loves caramels but has thousands of dollars worth of dental work in his mouth that run the risk of removal-by-caramel. Sorry, BD!

I started with a few simple ingredients.


I melted the ingredients in a "heavy-bottomed" sauce pan (I'm not sure what exactly that means!) while stirring constantly. I used a food thermometer to check the temp and cooked it at 240 degrees for 2 minutes.


It took about 2 hours to cool to room temperature and was then ready to cut,

wrap,


and bag!



I'm not sure I accomplished my goal of less work; I had to cut up the wax paper by hand and wrap and twist them individually. But I'm thinking of doing a combination of caramels and nipples in the gift bags.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday: BD made homemade pizza for supper. Walked with Kip and looked at Christmas lights in neighborhood. Watched several episodes of Nip/Tuck season 5 part 2 from Netflix.

Saturday: Slept in. Weather rainy and cold. Watched Carolina basketball lose to Kentucky 68-66. (gulp.) Managed to recover from that enough to go out to Bali Hai and run some Christmas errands. LA made caramels; BD watched UFC fight.

Sunday: Slept in. LA met girlfriends for lunch. BD walked with Kip, watched UNC women win 2009 NCAA soccer tournament, and did laundry. BD made taco soup for supper. LA worked on last final school project (due Wednesday); BD watched Sunday night football.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flashback Friday

LA & BD, April 2000

We were dressed up for Casino Night at La Tech. This was a school-wide event held every spring in the student center. It was kind of like the college version of prom. There were all kinds of casino games to play. I think you won tickets or tokens or something that could be exchanged for prizes, and there was also food and dancing. I think it was probably a fund raiser for one of the campus organizations, but I'm not sure which one. I wonder if they still do this every year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fall 2009

We've had an unseasonably warm fall this year, so we didn't get the brilliant fall foliage that we've had in years past. I managed to get a few shots of the one remaining plant with fall colors in our yard.







Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monarchs

The cupcake decorating bug has struck again! This time I went with something a bit more difficult.


I made the butterfly wings out of dark and white (tinted orange) melting chocolates. The antennae were dark chocolate. The book provided templates for the shape of the wings and antennae.



The wings set up in the fridge in about 5 minutes, and then I put them on top of chocolate cupcakes with vanilla (tinted yellow) frosting. Chocolate frosting made the body of the butterfly.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Weekend Recap

The nice thing about Thanksgiving break is that it is generally a low-stress holiday. It was just the two of us this year, so we didn't do the traditional turkey-dressing-pumpkin-pie route. We did homemade tacos, refried beans, and salsa instead. (Feliz Thanksgiving?) We ate and watched movies/football for most of the day on Thursday and Friday.

The not-so-nice thing about Thanksgiving break is that it is right at the end of the fall semester, so I have two final projects due next week. On Saturday and Sunday I mostly did this


while BD did this

Sunday Stitches: Wonderful Life (started)

I've started a new cross stitch project.


Oh, really? You can't tell what it is? Hmmmm...I guess you'll just have to stay tuned until next week! I know, I know -- this blog just keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Carolina Basketball - 600th Win

Tonight we celebrate Coach Roy's 600th career win with an 80-73 victory over Nevada.





Congratulations, CRoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback Friday

LA & BD, May 1998 - high school graduation

BD was the salutatorian of our class (hence the medal). He led part of the ceremony, but I can't remember which part. The year we graduated there was an obnoxious number of valedictorians - like 8 or 10. I think it was BD's one B in AP Biology that cost him the valedictorian rank.

I can remember that I got my bangs trimmed the day before graduation, and she cut them too short. I was upset because I thought the short bangs made me look too young. Right. It was the bangs. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to just get used to it - 10+ years later and people still tell me how young I look. My mother says I will appreciate that one day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend Recap

Friday: Ate dinner out at a Mexican restaurant near work. Watched Carolina basketball blow a 2-pt halftime lead into an 87-71 loss to Syracuse.

Saturday: Slept in. Obsessively streamed episodes of last season Grey's Anatomy from Netflix. Took Kip for walk. BD watched Carolina football beat BC 31-13. LA cross stitched.

Sunday: More sleeping in. More obsessive streaming. More walking with Kip. BD did grocery run and outside house work - mulched leaves, cleaned gutters, etc. LA began preliminary work on capstone project for next semester. BD watched MLS finals. LA cross stitched.

Sunday Stitches: Simple

I started and finished this quick piece over the weekend (a lot of sports on TV = plenty of time for me to stitch). This is a Lizzie Kate design, stitched on 28ct lambswool linen with overdyed thread.



These days when we see this phrase plastered on everything from picture frames to coffee mugs, blog titles *ahem*, and bumper stickers, it becomes just another over-used cliche. But, for me, the simplicity of the message still rings true. It's a scary world out there, and there are a thousand bad things that can happen every day. I have a tendency to worry about things that are beyond my control; I let the "what if's" and the "why me's" take over; I focus on the negative. This simple phrase centers me. It helps me find my footing in an uncertain world and reminds me of what's real, what's important.
So, I stitched it. I'm going to finish it with a patterned mat and a funky frame and hang it where I'll see it often -- to remind myself that it really is that simple.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flashback Friday

Kip and me, October 2001

This was the first weekend we had Kip. The vet estimated he was about 3 months old. We didn't have a collar for him yet, so we just looped an old leash around his neck. He was so tiny - about 7 pounds. He stayed that small for about 3 nanoseconds.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who's a Pretty Boy?



Monday, November 16, 2009

And So It Begins...

Carolina basketball 09-10 has begun. They are already 3-0 on the season, but I just attended my first game yesterday due to school conflicts, etc. And by "etc" I mean "9 pm tip-offs when it's rainy and cold - I am not that much of a die-hard fan - have a good time at the game by yourself, BD."

Our seats got moved down 3 whole rows this year! We're now on row T instead of row W. We have high hopes that maybe our great-great grandkids won't have to bring binoculars to see the games. Although, if you've ever been to the Smith Center, you'll know that those 3 rows make a huge difference in how bad your quads are burning when you finally get to your seat.



It is very strange to not see very many familiar faces out on the court. But Ginyard and Thompson were strong leaders, and the Tar Heels held off the Valparaiso Crusaders 88-77.


This season is the 100th year anniversary of the Carolina basketball program. There is a new decal on the court in honor of the occasion.

It wasn't all fun and games for me. We live about 45 minutes away from the Dean Dome, so I got in an extra hour and a half of reading for school while in transit. I asked if I could bring my books in to the game. BD told me he was sure that the reception area at the divorce attorney's office would be very quiet, and I could get a lot of reading done there.

Until next time.....GOOOOOO Tar Heels!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Letters from First Grade

The second letter from my nephew in first grade:



Translation:

Dear Aunt [LA],
I am going to be Snake Eyes for
Halloween. Today after school
I am going to a carnival. How
cold is it in North Carolina?
How is Kip today? What is
Uncle [BD] doing right now?
I am still working hard in
school. I am doing my best
in school. Love, [nephew]

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Flora

BD recently planted some beautiful pansies in our flower beds.


Our tomato plant is *still* producing tomatoes!