Friday, January 29, 2010

Flashback Friday

L & LA, fall 2000

This is me and my roommate, L, during our junior year of college. Actually we weren't roommates anymore when this photo was taken. We lived together our freshman and sophomore years in the dorm. We both moved off-campus our junior year and, for various reasons, lived with other people. We worked together at our on-campus job and got in trouble a lot with our weirdo boss for talking too much.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flashback Friday

BD and his dad, date unknown

This is my all-time favorite picture of BD and his dad. I have no idea where they were -- it looks like some type of amusement park ride. I'm not sure what year this was taken, maybe 1988 or so, judging by :ahem: BD's mullet.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Letters from First Grade

I've received the 3rd letter from my nephew in first grade. You can see how much his writing skills and handwriting have improved in just the last few months:

2nd letter

1st letter


Dear Aunt [LA], How is Kip

doing today? I wish you were

over at my house. Have you

had any snow? What is your

favorite holiday? My favorite

holiday is Christmas. When

are you going to come to my

house? My dad set rat traps

in the attic to catch mice.

I am working very very hard

in school. Please write back.

Love, [nephew]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dinner AND Dessert.

I am taking 3 (!) classes this semester. To compensate for 9 hours of grad school, I worked out a plan with my supervisor so that I am only working 30 hours a week until May. It feels like I have a lot of extra free time right now; talk to me in a few weeks, and we'll see if my answer's the same. In the meantime, BD is enjoying the delicious benefits.

Dinner: Stuffed bell peppers.

Dessert: Ice Cream Pie with Caramel Sauce (recipe from The Pioneer Woman.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heard Around the House

Scene: BD is doing laundry downstairs. He comes upstairs where I am doing school work in the study...

BD: Look at this! [Presents a pair of his socks that are now clean and dry, with a pair of my still-soaking-wet socks balled up inside his.]

LA: What? My feet were cold! I put on a pair of your socks over mine to keep them warm.

BD: And you didn't bother to untangle the two when you took them off?

LA: Ummm...

BD: Only you, darlin'...only you.

LA: Your life would be so boring without me in it.

BD: Yes, but the laundry would get done faster.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Scenes from Carolina Basketball: What the...?? Edition

Carolina vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday 1/16

Carolina has had a tough season so far, and unfortunately Saturday's game was no different.

Before the game...

Pre-game warmups...

Introducing the starting lineup...


Aaaand that's where things went sharply downhill. Carolina lost to Georgia Tech 71-73; at one point in the game they were down by 20. They're now 1-2 in conference play. Eeek!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

(Rainy) Sunday Night Date Night

Date Night Activities: dinner at a Mexican restaurant, grocery shopping, and the season premier of 24. We are such wild animals!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flashback Friday

Kip, early 2002

Kip grew like a weed in the first year of his life. I think he is about 6 months old in this photo and around 25 pounds. Even though the vet told me otherwise, I was convinced that he was full grown at this point. And of course, he kept right on growing for another year or so. This was the first little apartment I lived in by myself during my senior year of college, and Kip would sit on those steps and watch me do homework. Still to this day he sits on steps like this - with his butt on one step and his paws on the other.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kip's Tale: Recovery, Day 14

Kip got his staples removed today! The surgeon said he is healing perfectly. He can now go up and down the stairs in our house (with our supervision), and we can begin 15 minute exercise walks.

We left him home alone a couple of days this week with the doughnut collar on him. This is what things looked like when we left:

And this is what we came home to:

Methinks he is tired of the inflatable collar!

Cookie Trials

I have been looking for the 'perfect' chocolate chip cookie recipe. You'd think that chocolate chip cookie recipes are pretty standard, right? Well, you'd be wrong, my friend.

(Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookie -

I decided that the only way to determine the best recipe was to conduct a blinded cookie trial. That's right...I'm that dorky.

I started with 5 recipes. BD was my blinded taster, but I needed him to help make the cookies, so I copied the recipes into a text file to strip out any identifing graphics and labeled each recipe with a number.

(Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gourmet, October 2003)

I made one dozen cookies from each recipe, following the recipe exactly. To complete the trial we used a total of 9 sticks of butter, 10 eggs, 6 cups of brown sugar, 3 cups of white sugar, 11 cups of all-purpose flour, 7 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 10 bags (20 cups) of dark chocolate chips.

(The Chewy - Alton Brown,

BD tasted the cookies while they were warm and fresh from the oven. He made notes on the big 3 features: chewyness, chocolatey-goodness, and prettyness.

(Chocolate Chip Cookies -

We narrowed it down to the top 3 and then tasted them the next day to determine the ultimate winner.

And, the LA&BD award for best chocolate chip cookie goes to...*drumroll, please*

The Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Rounding out the top 3 were the recipe from Gourmet and the recipe from All Recipes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kip's Tale: Recovery, Day 8

It has been exactly one week since we brought Kip home, so today is 8 days from the actual surgery. He is doing pretty good. He's not putting any weight on the leg, but it's still a bit early to be expecting that. He is starting to toe-touch for balance when he's standing still. We're down to pain meds every 12 hours, and he seems to be feeling fine.

We still haven't figured out how to prevent him from licking the incision so we can both leave the house at the same time. We have the soft e-collar but he hates it with the fire of a thousand suns, and he can't drink water or move around very well when it's on him.

Plus, he kinda looks like that spitty dinosaur from Jurassic Park when he's wearing it.

Kip says, "What did I do to deserve this."

We did try one of the inflatable collars that are supposed to be more comfortable than the e-collar. He is able to move around better with it on. But it took him about 5 minutes to contort his slinky spine and crane that long neck around and begin licking like there wasn't a swim ring wrapped around his neck.

BD and I took turns working from home each day this week so we could be here to keep an eye on him. This was the view from the webcam on my laptop most days.

Other than that, we've just been trying to keep him calm. By his demeanor, you'd never know that he had major surgery a week ago. His biggest complaint is that we won't let him climb up on the furniture to get to his favorite spot on the couch. We have to flip up the couch cushions the minute we get up because he makes a bee-line for any unoccupied spot.

In the meantime, he tries to get as close to on the couch as possible.

Here is the incision on Day 7. It has started to scab up, and the bruising and swelling looks much better. He goes back next Thursday to have the staples removed.

Flashback Friday

LA and my dad, 1983ish

I don't know what the backstory is for this photo, but I love the wig and hat my dad is wearing. Tres chic!

Monday, January 4, 2010

30 Things About BD

1. More often than not, he sings in the shower. If he doesn't know all of the words to a song, he just makes up lyrics.

2. He makes up random nicknames for Kip such as "Tootle Britches" and "Willis."

3. 80s music is his favorite type of music. Billy Ocean is his guilty pleasure.

4. On the weekends, he drinks 2 quarts of sweet tea in 48 hours.

5. He keeps his shoes obsessively clean. Often he'll wear shoes that are 2+ years old and you'd think they were brand new.

6. He will watch any kind of movie. Yes, even cheesy Lifetime movies.

7. The sports page is the first section of the newspaper that he reads. He reads the sports section cover to cover and skims the other sections.

8. He wakes up in a good mood almost every day.

9. When he goes fishing, he kisses the fish he caught before throwing it back.

10. 24 is his favorite TV show. He owns every season on DVD.

11. He does not like to be by himself for more than a couple of hours.

12. He feels guilty and apologizes to Kip on days that Kip doesn't get a long exercise walk.

13. During cold weather, he tucks his shirt into his pajama pants to "keep out the drafts." It is both dorky and cute.

14. He has an bachelor's degree in math and a master's degree in public health.

15. He will not eat Burger King.

16. When we walk in the neighborhood with Kip, he picks up any sharp objects he finds in the road (nails, screws, etc) so that "no one will get a flat tire."

17. He doesn't care for raw onions.

18. It is almost impossible to get him to spend money on himself.

19. He doesn't like bacon as a topping on pizza.

20. He is an only child.

21. Since our wedding day, he has never removed his wedding band. In fact, if it ever needs to come off it's going to have to be cut because now it won't come over his knuckle.

22. He puts a glass of chocolate milk in the freezer before he drinks it.

23. He claims he does not have a favorite movie. The closest he gets is to list a Top 5 -- in no particular order: Rounders, Jerry Maguire, the Rocky series, the Oceans series, and the Bourne series.

24. He is embarrassed to admit that his actual favorite movie is Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze.

25. He started playing golf with his dad at age 9.

26. His job title is Senior Biostatistician.

27. His eyes change color from blue to green depending on what color shirt he's wearing.

28. One day he would like to do some extreme back country skiing.

29. He cannot nap.

30. Today is his 30th birthday.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kip's Tale: Recovery, day 3

Well, it has been a long weekend of constant dog-sitting, but our patient is doing okay for his 3rd day of recovery.

We are supposed to put a cold compress on his knee for 20 minutes every 4-6 hours. Raise your hand if you think this is easy to do with an 80-lb dog. *crickets chirping* That's what I thought.

The first attempt lasted about 7 wrestle-filled minutes. BD is in charge of ice pack time. He has since perfected the technique and has been more and more successful each time.

Our main concern right now is preventing him from licking and chewing at the incision site. We have a soft e-collar (aka the Cone of Shame) to help. I put it on him this morning when I got frustrated after the 10th time of making him stop licking in 5 minutes. Needless to say he is not very happy about it, but he tolerated it. I have never seen a dog groom himself as much as Kip does. I think he must be half cat.

I put it on him again while we went to the grocery store today and by the time we got home it was still on but completely flipped backwards. I have no idea how he'll do while we're at work. It doesn't seem sturdy enough to last if he really decides he wants it off his head.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Kip's Tale: The Surgery


Kip had his tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery on New Year's Eve by Dr. Lee at Veterinary Speciality Hospital in North Raleigh.

The details of a TPLO surgery are complicated and are better explained by a vet. Basically, in layman's terms, it involves installing a metal plate to help stabilize the knee without disturbing the integrity of the joint.

Kip did well throughout the surgery and overnight in ICU. We brought him home about 1:30 this afternoon. He ate some food and has been sleeping on his bed for most of the afternoon.

His whole left leg is shaved; the incision is on the inside of his leg and is about 8 inches long.

Below are the pictures -- taken about 24 hours after the surgery.

Flashback Friday (and Happy New Year!)

Kip, February 2002

Look at those ears and all the black in his fur! He never really has quite grown into those ears; I think that's the coonhound in him. Most of the black grew out by the time he was 3.