For our best baby girl

India Friday Likins, 01/24/2006 – 03/08/2022

I grew up allergic to fur and feathers, which meant “no dogs allowed,” even though I desperately wanted one. Therefore, I consider it a minor miracle that one day I happened to stop at a craft store in Burlington, which was both having a major sale and had a resident pomeranian. I immediately discovered lots of small shiny things to buy, but it wasn’t until I’d already been sitting-on-the-carpeted-floor-digging-through-bins for at least an hour that the pom wandered out.

I admit that I panic’d and thought I’d probably stop breathing shortly, but much to my surprise, I didn’t. And so I decided to test my luck a little and stay longer (also, there was about half the stuff I hadn’t gone through yet).

A couple hours later, I’d petted the pom, and even let him lick my wrist, and will admit that I was a little sneezy, but nothing like what I’d have expected for having interacted with a real, live dog. (Especially considering I spent most of the time sitting on a carpeted floor, digging through *very* dusty bins of buttons and bits.)

A hope blossomed, so I started researching and found a wonderful pomeranian breeder with a great reputation (who is now focusing on grandkids not puppies) who was kind enough to let me come bury my nose in her newest litter of puppies. So I met a bunch of bebehs…

…and I fell in love with this one.  On the 16th of March, I brought her home, naming her India (because she was black like India ink) Friday (because of the Steely Dan song, Black Friday).  

And she’s been the Very Best Pupper – when I met Adrian, she fell in love with him just like I had… she did all her best tricks for him, and she’d follow him anywhere.

He helped her perfect her “monkey hold”:

She’s been so patient, despite all the costumes we (ok, mostly I) dressed her in:

And the ridiculous situations that we (again, mostly I) put her in:

And the bad (and some not-so-bad) haircuts by yours truly

She even tolerated her rambunctious (and probably a little annoying) younger brother, Roman, when he joined us in 2015:

But even the best little girl can’t live forever (though 16 1/4 is very old for a pup), and the past week has brought changes of the not-good sort that made it clear to us that she wasn’t happy any more. So agreed that it was time to say goodbye and “send her off to college” (kind framing thanks to my friend K).

Adrian and I both agree that was the only loving and responsible choice, and we have no regrets about making the decision.

But our hearts are still breaking because our baby girl is gone.

Here are a few more favorite pics of her.

Many more pictures of India and Roman are here and here


Birthday at the Biltmore

I spent my mumbledy-mumbleth birthday at the Biltmore Inn on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I’d always wanted to stay at the Biltmore (so, win!) and, more excitingly, the gardens were featuring an installation of large-scale glass pieces by one of my very favorite artists, Dale Chihuly.

Adrian (who bestowed this most gracious gift unto me) was incredibly patient while I took All The Pictures.

Here are a few of my favorites:


I also loved these three things:


And I’m calling these my Ghost Fish:

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Restoring history…

T. Ed Pickard, Order of the Long Leaf Pine

T. Ed Pickard, Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Going through some old photos over the weekend, I found pictures that I took of my Granny and Grumps’ kitchen wall, which was covered with awards, certificates and photos that reflected that his years of service to North Carolina.  One of them was for  the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” which Wikipedia said was created in 1965.

Well, my Grumps was presented the award on September 9, 1964 (which means Wikipedia was wrong, and I had proof!).  Looking further, I found the website for the Order of the Longleaf Pine and the listing for all recipients — and Grumps wasn’t listed.  Apparently record-keeping was somewhat sparse during the early days of the award’s existence, and the site asked anyone who knew of a missing recipient to send that information in.

So I did.  And I just got a very nice email back from the current manager of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society saying that not only was he delighted to add Grumps, but that Grumps’ certificate was one of the earliest he’d seen.

And I’ve made a mod on the talk page for the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Wikipedia explaining that the award existed at least as early as 1964.  We’ll see what happens.

An amazing discovery

My Grumps, my mom’s father, loved photography (it runs on both sides of the family: Grandpa, my Dad’s dad did too).  He had a series of cameras, most of which I’ve now ended up with, from old Brownies to Kodaks to Polaroids.  Apparently he took mostly slide film, as I ended up with *hundreds* and *hundreds* of slides, mostly Kodachrome (gives you those nice, bright colors).

Some of the slides, though, were a type I’d never seen before: stereo slides! I knew they existed, but I’d only seen them in commercial format; I hadn’t realized that home photographers could take them.  Well, take them they could, and Grumps did, with what I assume must have been a Stereo Realist camera (sadly, the camera has not yet turned up).

I ended up with 30ish boxes of stereo slides, so perhaps 200-300 images total.  I’m having them scanned, some in 2D (the ones that are “meh” in quality) and some in 3D (to Blu-Ray, for the ones for which the 3Dness would be worth it, according to the company that is doing it for me).

I’ve gotten back the first batch of 2D ones — check it out:


My Grumps, apparently a fan of the selfie!


My Granny and my mom at Grandfather Mountain


My Aunt Sister and ??


Fantastic pic of the Golden Gate Bridge


a splendid birthday…

…is comprised of:

  • the guy at Starbucks saying “That’s not you!” upon seeing the picture on your credit card, and upon being told that it, in fact, was me, only *20* years ago (in college) saying “WOW. You look much better now!”. And giving me a free mocha.
  • a delicious lunch out with new work colleagues at Sandwich in Chapel Hill (a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try forever) — grilled cheese with shaved beef and prune preserves — yum!
  • a delivery to my office of my favorite flowers (gerber daisies and roses) that were sent by aklikins
  • bonus mid-afternoon birthday cookies from work folks
  • cards and presents (from dtnorman and Adrian’s parents and sister and my aunt and uncle) in the mail (one of the presents from my Dad was a tiny remote-controlled Mini Cooper… as it turns out, I don’t have a puppy after all, I have a cat!! You should have seen her trying to catch it and batting it around!)
  • dinner out with aklikins at Rue Cler — more yummy!
  • presents from aklikins — including a new laptop with a touchscreen that is *neato* (and I just want to play with it now!!). And a remote-controlled WALL*E (who falls over rather drunkenly a lot, which is funny) !! And lots of other really swell stuff!!



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