Friday, May 29, 2009

Blooms: A Photo Essay

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well, That was Embarrassing

Last night we went to see the Carolina Hurricanes (hockey) in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, Carolina lost the game 4-1 which means they got swept in the series by the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can't really say they suck since they got this far in the playoffs, but to not win even one game in this series?? Pittsburgh clearly had Carolina's number from game 1.

We had never been to a playoff hockey game before, so it was still pretty fun.

You know you're watching ice hockey in the south when the zamboni is a John Deere.

Thanks to the binoculars I got for my birthday, I saw all the fights in lip-busting detail.

The New Chair

Today BD picked up the new furniture we bought over the weekend.

A new chair and ottoman for the computer room! I needed a place to read/study where the TV downstairs wouldn't disturb me. Previously the only option upstairs was to sit on our bed and read. Trying to sit on the bed and read dry school material = me asleep in less than 15 minutes. At least this way I'll have to sleep sitting up which will be marginally more difficult for me.

This chair met all of my requirements: small-scale, upholstered, geometric print, and squishy cushions. Although this one is decidedly less squishy than the floor model at the store, the chapters in the textbook for my summer class are all 50+ pages long, so I'm sure I'll have it broken in in no time.

Here is a close-up of the pattern.

Operation Grow Garden - Week 3

The veggies have been planted for about 3 weeks now.

The cherry (or grape? I can never remember) tomato plant is doing well. It has little yellow flowers all over it.

The regular tomato plant is looking a little puny. BD is ready to give up on it and rip it out, but I think it will be okay if we just give it some time. It's growing, but it is not very full and bushy like the other one.

The cucumbers are growing like crazy. The protective cage has little tufts of white hair from the attempts of the four-legged predator, but so far he hasn't gotten to them (yet).

BD's sunflowers are doing great. The little seedlings are about 6" tall now.

They already turn and follow the sun each day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

We had a lovely Memorial Day weekend here at Casa de LA & BD.

BD pulled out all of the pansies we had planted for the winter.

We put in red verbena and red, orange, yellow, and pink celosia for the summer.

Kip helped, of course.

And we spread a fresh layer of mulch in all the flowerbeds.

Ta-daaaaah! Summer-fied flowerbeds!

We also did some furniture shopping. (This is not what we bought.)

BD did some grilling for our...
Memorial Day feast: bbq chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and rolls...
followed by homemade chocolate pie. YUM.

And we did some relaxin'.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Hostess with the Mostess

Really? You don't mix your party punch in a 5-gallon bucket special, party-punch mixing container?

I suppose you also do not make your honoree sniff unlabeled jars of baby food to guess their contents?

Or have the other guests guess her waist size?

Then you obviously haven't been to a baby shower at MY house!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tales of the Tail: The One with Baby Food

Human babies aren't the only ones who like to eat pureed peas off of a spoon. I have several jars of baby food leftover from a game for the baby shower I hosted last weekend. Kip has tried the baby food version of peas, carrots, pears, sweet potatoes, bananas, and apples. We have tried to give him pieces of both pears and carrots before, and he wasn't interested in them at all. But mash them up and put them in a jar, and he thinks it is a big treat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In Memory

For the last two years I have been blessed with a wonderful manager at work. He was intelligent and hard working, and he was a man of integrity. He challenged me to step out of my comfort zone - to tackle big projects, to apply to grad school, to speak up for myself - and always had an encouraging word when things got tough. He was also charming, funny, and most importantly, knew when to laugh at himself. He was my mentor; he was my friend.

In March he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In spite of facing a bleak prognosis, he was most concerned with how his absence was going to affect the team's workload. He took a few days off after the initial diagnosis to undergo surgery and then was back at work for a few days before being forced to take a leave of absence due to the ravaging effects of the aggressive chemo treatment.

Here is an exerpt from our electronic conversation on his last day of work:

Him: Alright, don't let this swell your head, but among all people you impress me the most in how you rise to the occasion. You have taken up much of my slack single-handedly and done so with grace and humor. This is in addition to working your butt off outside of [work] to get your degree. I am truly impressed and feel quite fortunate to have you on the team and have made [dept director] aware, though she already seemed to be aware. I will forever be truly grateful and hope you haven't grown to despise me or the job before I get back.

Me: head swelling in 3, 2, 1...

Him: I do mean it in all sincerity.

Me: Well thanks, I appreciate that. I hope you know that you are one of my very favorite people here and a main reason why I like this job. I have learned so much from working with you. If I handle things with grace and humor, it's because I've learned how to do it from watching you. You are not only my supervisor and mentor but also my friend. But there is no way I am capable of filling your shoes, so you need to hurry up and get better before this place burns down without you.

Him: head swelling in 3, 2, 1...

I attended his funeral last week - 7 short weeks after his diagnosis. The service was filled with lots of tears for a life too short but mixed with smiles and laughter over shared stories of how this man touched so many lives in one way or another.

Work is not the same for me these days. Life goes on, of course, as it should, and I am trying to honor his memory by handling things with grace and humor. But I often find myself listening for one of his trademark remarks: "Can I get a whoop whoop!" was a favorite of his on good days or "Son of a biscuit!" when things weren't going so smoothly.

Rest in peace, Carl. You are missed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tales of the Tail: The One with the TV Buddies

Kip loves for someone to lay on the floor and watch TV...

so he can get right in their face and block the screen.

He will eventually put his head down as long as the petting is satisfactory.

These two are good TV buddies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tales of the Tail: The One with the Nice Spring Weather

Kip is enjoying the nice spring weather and the new landscaping in the backyard.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring Landscaping

We've added a few new plants in our backyard this spring. Our backyard is half wooded and half open grass. We don't want a bunch of manicured beds out there, but we did want to dress it up just a bit. Along the back fence we planted 3 red-tipped photinias and a flowering cherry tree. The photinias will keep their leaves all year long, so that will keep us from having to look at bare wood fence during the winter. The cherry tree will have beautiful pink blooms during the spring.

We also planted a magnolia tree. Magnolias are the state flower of Louisiana. Magnolia trees grow really slowly, and I usually don't like slow growers, but I love those big white blossoms. This one has tons of buds on it, so I'm hoping we will see some flowers later this summer.

And this is just a random basket of purple and red petunias. I have three of these hanging along the side fence. I plant petunias in these baskets every summer because I like the way they grow over the edges and trail down.

We have also planted several azaleas and a dogwood tree this year. Dogwoods are the state flower of North Carolina. But I didn't get pictures of them before the blooms fell off, so right now they just look like green trees and bushes. The dogwood won't bloom again until next spring, but the azaleas should bloom again later this summer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Operation Grow Garden: Week 1

In our "garden" this year, we have planted 2 tomato plants and a cucumber plant. Last year Kip ate the cucumber plant before it had a chance to grow, so this year it is protected with chicken wire. He didn't bother the tomato plants at all last year, and we got 100+ tomatoes off the 2 plants (yes, we kept a count...yes, we are dorks). These are planted inside the wooden fence, so Kip is the only predator that can get to them. Although I have heard that birds will damage a tomato crop, we haven't had that problem.

BD is growing sunflowers from seeds again this summer. He did this 2 years ago, and the sunflowers got over 6' tall. They were gorgeous! These are planted right outside the wooden fence. We don't have to worry about Kip bothering them, but they still have to have a chicken wire cage around them because the rabbits think they are delicious. The little seedlings are only about 2" tall so far.