Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Honesty

It is alarming how close my thoughts are to negativity these days. A 30-second conversation with a jerk-hole realtor ruined my entire day, which had been going well up to that point {camp was good, we saw Roy Williams walking his laps near the Dean Dome, what could be better?}. We lost out on the place we thought was going to be the one and the dude was rude about it, and then I felt myself spiraling into depression about my hip, my weight gain, my love life, how slow work is, how I really need to get a part-time job but it wouldn't be feasible due to my 2x/week physical therapy appointments...

For the past {how many? I've lost track} months all anyone can ever say is "stay positive" and "you'll be up and running in no time!" But no one truly understands. It is literally impossible to imagine this situation if you have not been in this situation. And I'm doing it all alone - I don't have my parents here or a significant other to talk to. I have me. I seem to have stalled in progress in therapy, we're having to seriously work at beating back inflammation, I have constant pain when I walk - anywhere - even to the bathroom - and I haven't felt like I've improved in two weeks. My elastic waist shorts no longer feel comfortable most of the time because I have gained weight from the last 9 months of inactivity, and I'm not able to participate in the two things on Earth that make me the happiest - running & soccer. I'm uncomfortable in my own skin and can't physically do much about it.

People will say: look at the positives! Look how far you have come! You can walk! You have to find things to be happy about now, or you will always be unhappy even when your hip is better or your situation is different!

But today, honestly, I do not see the positives. I do not see the progress. I do not see the bright future or the happy ending or the light at the end of the tunnel. I see a bum hip, an unhappy girl, and not much else.

Frustrated GIF

I am having the hardest time finding housing for next year in Chapel Hill. I have been looking for two months and have zero leads and zero interests. I feel like it should be pretty easy, since I lived there for 4 years and know the area well.

Unfortunately, I've now struck out on 5 different places. Long story short, I had a showing scheduled today for 3pm; at 2:30, I get a call from the realtor that he has a deposit on the way. We made this appointment on Friday, so obviously there was plenty of time for us to go see the unit and had we known he had other interest, we would have gone earlier. Luckily I was already in Chapel Hill, or I would have been halfway to town and had to stop and turnaround and go home once I found out. AK is also leaving North Carolina for the entire summer in just a couple of hours, so this was the first and only showing that she was going to be a part of. And we are supposed to be moving August 1, so we're getting a little bit down to the wire in a town that's run by university schedules. I just feel like with all of the crap that has happened in the past year, I would appreciate just one thing - ONE thing - being easy. Or working out. Or just being something that doesn't make my life so much harder than it already is.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

This Week

This week I will be spending my days volunteering at a camp in Chapel Hill for young people with autism and other developmental disabilities. I will then be returning home to work during the evening, with detours for physical therapy and house-showing appointments. I have a busy, busy week ahead! I stocked up on some frapps today at the grocery store. Grab-n-go style.

Since I will have to work between 4pm-bedtime everyday, little bloggy will be on the backburner this week. I know I said last week I probably wouldn't be blogging and I ended up posting everyday {I had a lovely week in MD, by the way. Pictures to come!}, but this time I actually mean it. I will try to pop in as time allows, but in the meantime I will leave you simply with this:


Thanks to SK for this. It is my life.

Have a fantastic last week of May! {Ah!! Where oh where has the time gone?!?}

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Thumbs Up Friday

Friday again?! The week sure flies by when you're dogsitting an incredibly naughty pup and you get very little sleep because said pup keeps waking you up during the night because she constantly walks from one room to another and then sticks her gigantic head in your face just to make sure you're still there. Not like that's happened to me this week.

It's been another good week of life, despite some hip frustrations (yesterday was the 8 week mark, by the way!) that I'm hoping to talk out with my therapist when I get back there on Tuesday. Here are snapshots of 5 things making me happy this week:

Itchy pandas-

The ramp my dad made for our dog so he doesn't have to go up a step to come inside-

 Roly poly fluffy puppies-

Swirly margaritas for a Friday lunch with my bestie SK-

My own sweet adorable {15-year old} camouflage pup-


 Have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Enjoy the extra day!

Question of the Day:
Any plans for the Memorial Day weekend?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Zoofari

Thursday already? This week is flyin' by. Just one week closer to freedom. It probably helps that I have two huge furballs taking up all of my attention this week.

I spent yesterday morning exploring the National Zoo. My mom bought her & I a membership last year that expires at the end of June, and with that membership comes free parking - so I wanted to take advantage of the one definitely sunny day while I was home this week. Whenever I go to the zoo, I spend most of my time feeling terrible for the animals - how unhappy many of them probably are, how horrible humans are for continuing to destroy their habitats, how many of these species might be extinct within our lifetimes or the next.

But, I still love watching when they do adorable things like this:
Tai Shan
 And when they scratch themselves on rocks because they are itchy:
Mei Xong
 And when there is a whole family of otters named after foods (think Radish, Chowder, Rutabaga, Pickles... and Kevin. Love animal Kevins!):

And when there are elephants getting pedicures with gigantic nail files:


Come on girl, I know you have treats somewhere in there
 And when orangutans are actually climbing on the O Line:

The weather was fairly cool for the majority of my visit, so I enjoyed wandering around {and avoiding the hundreds of school children} for a couple of hours. Though my hip did not.

After lunch, I was able to meet up for lunch with my bestie JG, who lives and works in DC. While my parents live "close" to DC, it is always a big production to get into the city, so I don't do it often {though I should}. So it was wonderful to be able to see her while I was in the city.

We went to a restaurant called Chef Geoff's, which is located very close to American University. They had plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and while we chose to sit inside to take advantage of the all-day happy hour special, the outdoor area looked like a wonderful place to enjoy a few drinks after work.

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I enjoyed a "Straight Up" pizza, which was a modified margherita pizza, and JG had the Bistro Burger - cheddar, monterey jack, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. We supplemented with kiwi-melon sangria and Shocktop Belgian White.

A delicious end {mid-point?} to a lovely day!

Question of the Day:
What is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cute News Alert

The web world blew up yesterday around the story of our effervescent Vice President, Joe Biden, who sent a handwritten letter to Myles Davis, age 7. Myles had written letters to Mr. Biden, President Obama, and Rep. Gwen Moore (from Wisconsin, where Myles lives), suggesting that if bullets were made of chocolate, the country would be a lot safer.

Myles with his letter and replies from Biden & Moore
Well, that could work. Though, to be honest, it might increase the peril of obesity in our nation. I mean, if people are just shooting chocolate everywhere, that sounds like a recipe for weight gain.

In his reply {great handwriting, by the way}, VP Biden writes: "I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate. You are a good boy, Joe Biden."

Biden's letter
As a side note, did anyone else notice how cute-old-man it is that he wrote "so very long?" That just seems like a phrase that old people use. And it is adorable. All politics aside, I think that Biden is hilarious. He always makes amazing facial expressions, and this one time in a vice presidential debate in 2012, he used the word 'malarkey':

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Just malarkey.

This reminds me of a story from a couple of years ago in the UK that also went viral. A little girl wrote to Sainsbury's, a supermarket, suggesting that they change the name of 'tiger bread' to 'giraffe bread' because the bread looks much more like a giraffe than a tiger. The full story is here, but photographs of the girl's letter and the reply she received are below.


Kids say the darndest things.

{Original Biden article, including photographs, can be found here}

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Carolina Tiger Rescue

On Saturday morning, I took my friend JM on a little date to Carolina Tiger Rescue, a non-profit wildlife sanctuary in Pittsboro, NC. I spent the summer following my graduation from college as an animal care intern at CTR, so it will always hold a very special (exotic, even? Funny funny) place in my heart. I haven't been back to visit since my internship ended, so I was very excited to go - even though JM snoozed through her alarm and it took me 10 minutes of banging on her door/calling her phone before we were able to head out the door. Luckily, we arrived just in time for our tour!

Rajah tiger
Carolina Tiger Rescue began in the 1990s as a breeding for conservation facility, but soon the vision and mission changed and the team turned towards rescue and protection. While CTR is home to many tigers, there are also lions, ocelots, servals, caracals, kinkajous, bobcats, cougars, panthers, and my favorite animal, the binturong (which I think is ADORABLE but apparently that sentiment is not common):

Becky the binturong
One thing that I really love about CTR is that even though they allow the public to tour the animals, their enclosures are made to feel as real and natural as possible; and, unlike at zoos, a tour is just about as busy as life gets for the animals. Tours are 2x/day on the weekends, and of course at other times for particular reasons by appointment. I was actually just at the zoo this morning, and it just struck me anew how horrifyingly loud and disruptive busloads of screaming children would be for the animals.

Collins bobcat
The staff of Carolina Tiger Rescue also tries to make well-known their mission and their viewpoints on various exotic animal-related issues. Wild/exotic animal facilities are not always so transparent, so it's nice to know what they are all about. On public tours, the staff also wants to make sure that the public is learning about the various species and each individual animal, as well as ways to protect, conserve, and improve, rather than just looking at the animals.

Roman lion
While it was supposed to be cloudy yet dry, it actually ended up raining on and off throughout our entire 1.5-hour tour. Sometimes a downpour, sometimes a drizzle. But - worth it. I love these guys!

Question of the day:
What is the most unusual animal you've ever seen or heard about?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ticklish Koala

For the rest of your Monday.


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Maryland + Baseball

Happy Monday, folks! I'm coming at you from Maryland this morning {hooray!}. I'm up here dogsitting for the week, and whenever I come home to visit, even when I'm working, it kind of feels like I'm on vacation. So the blog may be a little bit lonely this week; if it is, I apologize in advance. More than likely, it will consist mainly of photographs of dogs. But I know that's why you read it in the first place.

I managed to have a very full, delightful, and busy weekend before I made the drive to Maryland, beginning with a Friday afternoon apartment showing in Chapel Hill. AK is out of the country so she wasn't able to go with me, but the apartment was lovely. The complex seems well-maintained with fairly new amenities. My only concerns are that trash/water/sewer is not included in the rent price, it's more expensive than the area is probably worth, and it might be a little too far from campus for me. TBD.

Post-appointment I was headed to the UNC baseball game, but I had about 1.5 hours to kill, so I headed over to the boys' house. They are all in Cabo, and the spare key wasn't where it's supposed to be, so I couldn't get inside - so instead I sat on their front porch, drank a Corona, and caught up on some e-mails.


 There was a very high chance of storms, but the weather ended up being absolutely perfect for Friday evening baseball. UNC ended up winning the game, and with that win they officially topped the ACC standings. Go Heels! The ACC tournament is this weekend at the Durham Bulls stadium, but I unfortunately won't get to go to any of the games since I'm in MD.


Colin Moran, junior, 3B. I want to be his best friend.
 After the game, I walked back to my car through our beautiful campus so I could enjoy some evening views of my favorite place on  Earth. Worth it:

Bell Tower
On Saturday night I met some family friends at the Durham Bulls game for a second helping of baseball. My mom's goddaughter goes to school in Durham, and we've been trying to set up a time to get together ever since I got off my crutches. Her family happened to be in town this weekend, and they offered me an extra ticket to the baseball game, so there we were. The Bulls actually played the Norfolk Tides, which is an AAA affiliate of our very own Baltimore Orioles, which was a very cool coincidence.


 The Bulls won in only 7 innings. Right after the 7th inning ended, all of a sudden it started POURING. I mean this was a legitimate soaking rain. We ran to cover and tried to wait it out for a while; eventually, we gave up and made a {long} dash to the cars.

The whole family {minus 1!}
The D family used to live in Maryland and attend our church, but many years ago moved to NC. We don't get to see them much - especially with all 6 kids together! - so it was so wonderful to see them {minus 1 who is studying abroad}. There are a few teachers in the family, and I always enjoy picking the brains of new teachers, so that was an added bonus.

More weekend recap tomorrow. See you then!

Question of the Day:
Baseball - yay or nay?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Thumbs Up Friday

Good morning and happy Friday! It's been another wonderful week {wow, two weeks in a row. I like this!}.

Best things of the week?

Thumbs Up: As you've already heard, last weekend's surprise engagement party was quite the success, and I was so happy to be a part of it!

Thumbs Up: I'd been debating for a long time, but I finally bought a ticket to go see Brad Paisley when he's in Raleigh. This seems like an obvious "yes" decision, but there are a few other things going on that day that made me uncertain whether I could attend. Luckily, I came to my senses and I now have a date with this cutie on June 8.

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{Side note: I have a Stetson - a real one! - that looks very similar to his trademark white one. Basically we're meant to be. Wife who?}

Thumbs Up: Tomorrow I am taking my friend JM on a date to Carolina Tiger Rescue, which is exactly what it sounds like. I interned there two summers ago, and haven't been back since. I can't wait to see some of these guys:

binturong {source}
And tigers, too, obviously. But mostly the binturongs. {Which are seriously cute animals and don't try to tell me differently!}

Thumbs Up: A fabulous mid-week much-needed lunch date with BS, complete with empanadas and a beer that made me slightly less productive than usual on Wednesday afternoon. Whoops.

Thumbs Up: Last night I went to the Beach Music Festival at North Hills with JM, and it was fantastic. The band that played was called Liquid Pleasure, who we are actually quite familiar with, as they often played at fraternity events when we were in college. It was a beautiful night for outdoor music {and a cold beer. And ice cream...}.

post-Liquid Pleasure
I am headed back to Maryland this weekend for an entire week of dogsitting a fluffy naughty 10-month old Great Pyrenees puppy {and an older, responsible one, but that's not nearly as exciting}. Many puppy pictures to come! Have a wonderful weekend.


Questions of the day:

Any exciting plans for the weekend?
What is your favorite wild animal?
Have you ever heard of a binturong?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Owl City Loves Oreos

A new commercial just aired for Oreos, with a cutesy jingle sung by Adam Young, the man behind Owl City.

Let's talk about this.

First of all: Oreos rock. I go through phases of whether I like eating them or not {I'm weird}, but they cannot be beat. Even the mint ones. But you better go double-stuf or go home.

Second: This commercial is adorable. The animation is precious and the jingle is catchy and memorable.
Watch here and be tickled:


Oh, you want the lyrics? Well, I found them for you. You're welcome.

Wonder if I... gave an Oreo to the big bad wolf; how would the story go?
Would he still go huff and puff?
Or would he bring those pigs cool stuff
To decorate the deck he helped them build?
Would they not get killed?
Wonder if I... gave an Oreo to a vampire in a creep show;
Would he not act so undead?
Would he thirst for milk instead?
I just got this feeling that it might work out alright
Cause creme does wondrous things inside a chocolate sandwich dream.
If I gave 'em to great white sharks, would they share 'em with baby seals?
Would they call up a giant squid for a friendly meal?
Wonder if I gave an Oreo
Wonder if I gave an Oreo
What if I gave an Oreo... to you

Go now and spread Oreo wondrousness around the world. Happy day.

Question of the Day:
Oreos: twist-and-lick or all-at-once?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Merci Buku

You guys, I might be the worst blogger in the history of blogging. {Okay, this is probably not accurate, but whatever.} I went out to lunch today, sat outside, ate delicious food, drank a beer {sorry, work}, and enjoyed the company of a fabulous friend, and did not take a single picture of the food, the restaurant, or the beer. Fail. I will chalk it up to enjoying the company and not being worried about photos.

At any rate, I had a lunch date today with my dear friend BS, who lives in Chapel Hill but works in Raleigh, which is convenient for me and my belly. This time we tried Buku, a "global street food" restaurant neither of us had been to yet. {The name Buku is a slang twist on the French phrase, Merci beaucoup, which means "Thank you very much" in English.} The restaurant has a pretty unique selection of foods; from its website: "inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors in cities across the globe, our chefs harvest an array of unique and distinct flavors and present them authentically, in a virtual kaleidoscope of plates."

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They're not kidding - there is a wide range of tastes and cultures on the menu. I selected the empanadas {chipotle-braised chicken, tomatoes, guacamole, queso fresco} and BS went with the falafel {chickpea fritters, house-made pita, tomato, cucumber, hummus, tzaziki, tahini}. Both were delicious!

empanadas {source}
My empanadas were fresh and very flavorful, and the crust was light and airy. My only complaint is that there were only 2 - I probably could have used a third one to really fill me up. But, still good!

It was a very lovely lunch hour being able to sit outside in the nice spring/summer day and chat. All of my closest friends left for a week-long vacation to Cabo today, so it was great to be able to see BS. I chose not to join the trip for various reasons, but now I am really wishing that I were on vacation. Plus, I can't talk to my best friends at all for an entire week, and that is a mild form of torture.

Cheers to good friends, good food, and a good life!

Questions of the Day:
Do you have a go-to restaurant, or do you like to mix it up and try new places each time?
What was your favorite vacation?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Durham Bulls

Last Thursday night, a group of friends went to a Durham Bulls baseball game. The Bulls are an AAA minor league team that plays in - obviously - Durham. Even though I've been close to Durham for 5 years, this was my first game! I love baseball so it's strange that I haven't been to one until now. 

After a few rainy weeks, the day of the game was absolutely beautiful. Even better, it was $1 snack night (hot dogs, french fries, and popcorn were all just $1). And the Bulls beat the Syracuse Chiefs, 4-2. Hooray!

view of the park from Tobacco Road
We got to Durham a bit before game time so that we could enjoy a couple of beers at Tobacco Road, a sports cafe with locations Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. In Durham, the bar actually overlooks the Bulls' stadium, so you could watch the game from the comfort of the bar if you wished.

view of Tobacco Road from the stadium
This, to me, is the coolest thing - ever. We actually ended up going back to Tobacco Road after the game for another beer before heading home. The big bull sign mounted on the Tobacco Road patio is a game for home runs - if a player hits a home run and hits the grass on the sign, a particular row will win free salad; if a player hits the body of the bull, the row will win steaks. Fun!


Though we had seats for the terrace, which is near where the infield ends and outfield begins, we sat in the outfield. The seats weren't bad - and with my new, nifty camera, I could take close ups that looked pretty good. We bought our tickets through a Living Social deal {those are the best!}, but I'm told that outfield tickets normally cost only $7.50 or so. Totally affordable.

me & my amigo HL
It was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful Thursday evening - summer weather, beer, baseball, and my best friends.


Questions of the Day:
Do you like watching baseball?
Have you ever been to a minor league game?

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Weekend Surprise

Hey party people! I hope your week is off to a roaring start. I'm hoping this week will speed on by, but I have a feeling it might be a bit slow-going. Oh well.

This weekend I made a 48-hour visit to Maryland to attend a surprise engagement party for a friend from high school. Her fiance organized the whole thing, and it worked great! She had no idea, and was so happy and surprised. Her fiance even flew in a couple of her friends from college who live out of state, so he did the thing properly.

high school friends
The party was held at a DC restaurant called Local 16, which featured a bottomless mimosa brunch special that we very much enjoyed. We had our party on the rooftop deck, which was slightly warm and humid, but otherwise very special.

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I haven't quite gotten into the taking-pictures-of-food thing yet (if ever...), but I had their 'original pizza' (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil) and it was delicious. I ate every last bite. I love few things more than well-made restaurant specialty pizza pies. Yum!

the happy {engaged!} couple
I spent the rest of Saturday hanging out with my family, and fell asleep in my parents' bed by 9pm {true life}. Sunday morning included a small Mother's Day celebration, doing some car-related chores, and cleaning out the bookshelf and game closet per my mom's request. Once I was nice and dusty and sneezing, I hit the road back to NC.

It was a lovely weekend - and I am so glad that I was able to be part of this wonderful celebration for YC and CM! She was so genuinely happy to see all of her family and friends there, many from out of town, and celebrate this exciting time in her life. Congratulations, YC!


Question of the Day:
Have you ever organized a surprise party for a friend? Did it work? 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Baby Goat Jumping on a Pig



Happy weekend, friends.

Five Thumbs Up Friday

This has been a wonderful week! {Boy, I can't remember the last time I said that.} It has been super busy, as will be the rest of my May, but it flew by.

Some highlights:

Thumbs Up: One of my fabulous amigos, SK, bought a ticket to join me & my friends at the Zac Brown Band concert in Raleigh in June {she lives in Maryland}. Muchos excited.

Thumbs Up: My 6-week post-op appointment was a success. The hip is doing great and I am able to progress in physical therapy!

Thumbs Up: Last night I went to a Durham Bulls game with a bunch of my friends. I actually saw my therapist there! {I can't get away...}. The Bulls won, it was perfect baseball weather, and it was a really fun evening.

My photo uploader isn't working very well, so here is a picture of my amigos at the game.
Thumbs Up: My little girls had their last soccer practice on Wednesday night. I won't be at their final game tomorrow, and they all acted sad and a couple gave me hugs. It was precious.

Thumbs Up: I am leaving in just about an hour to drive back to Maryland for the weekend!

See you Monday! Enjoy the weather!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How Do You Survive Hip Surgery Rehab?

I know you've all been wondering. And, lucky for you, I just so happen to now be an expert on this subject. There are four keys to a successful recovery:

#1. Mom. If you are having hip surgery, or any surgery, or really if anything ever goes wrong, call your mom. My surgery and first week of recovery would have been 100x harder and more miserable if I didn't have my mama there to take such wonderful care of me, despite my complaining, frustration, yelling, and grumpiness. Moms are the best. And mine is the most best.
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#2. Have sweetest of sweet friends that bring/send you gift baskets, flowers (lots of flowers), and wine (lots of wine). It was also Easter. I had three flower arrangements, one teddy bear, one box of chocolates, four bottles of wine, one Edible Arrangements with chocolate-covered fruit, one collection of Tastefully Simple to-bake goodies, and these:









#3. Going back to having an awesome mom, have an awesome mom that buys the first two seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD and uses her boss's Amazon Prime account so they will arrive soon enough for her to bring them with her.

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I am now OBSESSED (and I mean obsessed) with this show. It. Is. Awesome. (Boy, I really need to work on finding a synonym for awesome.) We watched 4 or 5 episodes at a time (yes), and were only two episodes short of finishing the second season before my mom went back to Maryland. I've since watched the third season. Season 4 starts in the US next January.

#4. Ask your friends and family for book suggestions, follow them, buy $50 worth of merchandise from Barnes & Noble, borrow a few books from your local library, and buy a few books for your Kindle for PC.
 
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In no particular order, I read all of the following books:
A Visit From the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan
My Beloved World - Sonia Sotomayor
Liar and Spy - Rebecca Stead
WonderR.J. Palacio
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Insurgent - Veronica Roth
It's Kind of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini
When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead
The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

I still have several on my list, including Gone GirlWild, and Ender's Game. Both Wild and Ender's Game I bought for Kindle for PC, so I will be able to start work on those once I finish with my current read, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

I enjoyed every book I read, though some more than others. My one big fail was The Pillars of the Earth, which I was told is a fantastic and very engaging read. The subject matter is even something that interests me. I struggled through the first 200+ pages before finally deciding to give it up as a lost cause {the book is close to 1000 pages}.

So, there you have it. If you ever have hip surgery, you now know what to do. You are in good hands.