Posts filed under ‘Barley the cowardly bully’

Up North!

I visited one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes over the weekend, and stayed at my aunt and uncle’s fabulous cabin.

They have delicious donuts here.

The food was delish! The entertainment was fascinating! The accommodations were luxurious! And the price was certainly right!

I hope they’ll invite me back!

Friday, my cousins, Barley, and I headed up to the lake house after work. We met my parents and brothers who had been camping up on the North Shore (of Lake Superior) last week, and my aunt and uncle who were already up at the cabin. We didn’t get to the cabin until late, and ended up sitting around a campfire for a while, roasting marshmallows and whatnot. Then, the kids (myself included) and Barley retired to the bunk house for some much-needed sleep (at least, I needed it… I can’t speak for anyone else).

Saturday was a bit cold and rainy in the morning, but cleared up enough for us to go tubing in the afternoon! Tubing wars were a blast (tubing wars means there’s 2 tubes dragged behind the boat and you have to knock the other person off of their tube)!! Even if I lost to cousin Catherine, she proved to be a fierce opponent!!

Look how tough Catherine is (she’s on the green tube)!

Robby takes on Catherine (this time she’s on the blue tube).


Saturday night, we went mini-golfing. I’m not that good, but I can talk a big game. And! I got a hole in one on the “secret hole” and won a free round of mini golf (guess I’ll have to visit again to claim it…).

Jennifer and Trevor get hungry on the mini-golf course.

Sunday morning was more of the same – rain and cold. A thunderstorm came through early in the morning, and wimp dog was freaking out. So he crawled under the bed (I still cannot figure out how such a big dog squeezed into such a tiny spot!).

Barley hides under the bed in the bunkhouse.

But it cleared up in time for us to go waterskiing. Jim and Uncle Doug barefooted, Trevor showed off his waterskiing (he is REALLY good), Jennifer wakeboarded, and I tried slalom (one ski) skiing. It was tricky! I think I’ve only been waterskiing once before, so I fell quite a few times…

Jim waterskiing sans skis.

Trevor shows off his waterskiing skillz. He was even zooming back and forth, in and out of the wake!

Jennifer is super-awesome at wakeboarding… much better than my unsuccessful attempt in Kentucky!

Check it out – don’t I look like I know what I’m doing!?! (ignore the ugly face I’m making… not sure what that’s all about…)


30 seconds later… crash!

Then, Sunday night, we had to head back to the city. But not before we talked the land dog into trying his hand at water. He’d only go in until his belly touched the water…

He’s a water dog now!

The rest of my pics from the weekend can be found here:

Woman Lake
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July 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm 2 comments

a relatively lazy Thursday

Today was a pretty good and relatively lazy Thursday. I was up early and did some yoga before work, went to work, and did my usual thing there (i.e., work). But then, at lunch time, a few of us decided to walk downtown and check out the farmer’s market that is held every Thursday.

The herb stand at the farmer’s market.

I really like the farmer’s market downtown – it’s huge and there’s such a variety of things. Flowers, herbs, freshly-baked bread, candied nuts, cheese, sausage, fruits, veggies… it ends up being about 6 full city blocks of amazingness. I usually intend to go, buying from local farmers makes me really happy because the food is usually fresher and cheaper than I would buy it at the store.  But then I usually end up forget ting about it by the time Thursday rolls around each week.

Coworkers Mylissa and Christina at the farmer’s market.


Anyways, I ended up buying cilantro and basil plants, yellow squash, and zucchini (I’m hoping to make kabobs later this weekend and intended to pick up a bunch of veggies, but it just didn’t happen).

Coworker Katie buys snap peas.

Katie and I spent most of the afternoon moving our desks into a recently-cleaned out portion of our office (half of the office had previously been used for storage, but we asked if they could move some of it to give us room to spread out).  We’ll be getting some new coworkers in the office soon, so the office needed new desks and we figured we might as well set them up and use them ourselves.  I am so incredibly excited for the new desk because it will finally give me some space to spread out!  I was feeling really smooshed in my other cubicle!  Anyways, after our moving adventures, Katie and I called it a day.  JT came to pick me up, and we gave Katie a ride home.  Katie just happens to live near Electric Fetus, an awesome music store, so we stopped in to pick up a She and Him‘s new (only) album.  It’s cute.  We like it.  Since it’s the first CD J has bought in more months than I can remember, I thought I’d document it.

The sign on the side of the Electric Fetus store.  I just thought it was really neat.

JT with his new purchase.

Both J and I got off of work early, and decided to head to some craft stores to pick up some materials for some wedding craft-y things we’re going to do. Jason hates the craft store, but I promised that we could go on a date afterwards, so he was a good sport.

JT got hungry while we were shopping.


J spotted this and couldn’t stop laughing for 10 minutes.  Yes, he’s still 10 years old.  And no, he did not arrange the letters in this fashion.

Our dinner date at the Herkimer was very fun. And! A red phone kept driving past, ringing. It was the strangest thing I’ve seen in a while… I tried to capture a picture, but didn’t get a very good one, so you might have to use your imagination on this one.

J loves the Herkimer.

The red phone drives by.


After dinner, we came back to the house, and we’ve been watching the dog try to find a good hiding spot (he is terrified of the fireworks that are being set off in our neighborhood).

Hiding spot #1: The bathtub (which is ridiculous because he DESPISES taking baths).


Hiding spot #2: Under the basement stairs, snuggling with the nasty cobwebs and whatnot (it’s seriously gross under there.  Guess the dog will be back in the bathtub tomorrow for a cleaning…)

July 4, 2008 at 12:19 am 1 comment

Back from SJ

I am back from San Juan! Let the blogging resume!

As I was packing and preparing to leave last weekend, we had a pretty big storm, and the electric went out. Thank goodness we had unpacked all 4 candles that we own and had them sitting on the fireplace mantle. It was a bit tricky trying to pack, do laundry, and prepare my talk without any electricity. Packing went okay, but I had to fix a button on my white blouse, and ended up using bright yellow string to attach it. Oops! The talk and the laundry didn’t happen. Also, the dog was TERRIFIED. Kind of hillarious. See?

Yes, our 75 pound pitbull is cowering behind the sofa AND the side table.

Anyways, that was a fairly stressful way to start the trip (especially since I had NO clean clothes to pack), but somehow I managed to wake up at 3am, when the power came back on, and throw in a few more loads of laundry.

The rest of the trip went without a hitch, though, thank goodness. San Juan is very cool, my CPDD friends were all at the conference, my roommates were awesome, our room was fantastic. I couldn’t ask for much more.

I attended much of the conference, since Jason wasn’t there to distract me and make me hang out at the beach/pool like he usually does (okay, I confess: it didn’t take much coercion to get me interested in hanging out near a beach/pool).

One of the highlights of the week was Bill’s birthday dinner. Bill turned the big 3-0 on Sunday, and we all celebrated by hanging out poolside and consuming pina coladas. Later in the week, a smaller group of us went to an amazing tapas restaurant to celebrate Bill’s birthday again (Bill – what was the name of that place?). It was delish and the sangria was also fantastic. Best meal I had all week. I wish I could go to Bill’s birthday dinner every week.

Greg, Michelle, Emily, Bill, and I at Bill’s birthday dinner!  (Emily and Michelle were my fabulous roommates for the week!)

Mmm… Sangria!  And it tastes even better when it comes in an adorable pitcher.

Me and the birthday boy!

Other than that, lots of great talks, great chatting with people, and all that. My talk on Thursday was the LAST TALK OF THE CONFERENCE (save the best for last?), and most of my friends had left by then, but I think the talk went well. My public speaking skills have improved dramatically in the last year or two – I think because I gave quite a few talks at UK. As I proudly exclaimed to JT after my talk, “I didn’t even do anything funny like itch my neck repeatedly!” He suggested that I check myself in the mirror to make sure… in the past I have done funny things like itch my neck while talking, and he made sure to give me crap for it. Constructive criticism, right? Sigh.  I suppose that if JT doesn’t tell me these things, I will probably not know they happened.

Dr. DJ Stairs pours himself a glass of flavored water in the hotel lobby.

Thursday evening, Emily and I and others headed to Old San Juan for dinner.  We ate at a restaurant called Tantra that featured “Indo-Latino” Cuisine.  Basically, it was a Puerto Rican take on Indian food.  And it was delicious.  And so were the mojitos.

I spent much of Friday morning sunning myself at the pool.  It was fantastic.

Somehow, I managed to drag myself to the airport for the long trip home.  Flights were delayed, and I didn’t get home until after midnight, but JT and Barley came to the airport to greet me, and JT had even gotten a haircut!

June 22, 2008 at 12:16 am 4 comments

he’s so pretty!

Last night, we were back in action at doggy school. Barley again was the dunce of the class, and again had to stay outside the ring while learning tricks. This week, I made Jason train him while I sat and watched. It was nice. Especially the part where one of the other ladies that was watching started chatting with me. She looked over at Barley and goes, “He’s so pretty!” and he looks back and starts wagging his tail. He’s such a funny dog.

The boys. I am so so so tempted to make a real dunce cap for Barley to wear to class.

He’s also recently taken to laying in the dirt piles around our house. He’s going to be seriously mad when we fill those in with flowers and mulch. Each day after work, JT or I (whoever gets home first) lets him out to do his business, only lately, he’s been running outside and plopping himself down in the dirt, and he’s happy to just lay there for hours.

He has so many nicknames: Lazy Dog. Dirty Dog. Sun Dog. (picture glammed up using picnik).

Another super-awesome thing he does is that he barks at all the sketchy people that come near our house. For example, one of our neighbors’ kids looks like he’s up to no good, and when his friends come over, they all admire our handsome doggy. They try to stick their hands through the fence to pet him. And that’s when Barley barks and growls to let them know that they should stay. the heck. away.

And R. Favorite? Barley hates him. A little back story: R. Favorite is the neighbor’s fence man (and yes, that is seriously his name). He seems like a nice enough guy, but –how do I put this nicely?– perhaps missing some of the normal social graces we’ve come to expect from anyone who is remotely sane. For example, there was this dialog (keep in mind we’ve only talked to this guy like twice before this):

SCENE: Jen’s parents are visiting for the weekend. It is Sunday evening, and after a long weekend of fence-building, Jason and Jen are putting the final touches on the front section of the fence, Jen is holding a level while Jason screws in the fence plank. Enter R. Favorite.

R.: Hey, you guys are in the medical field, right?

Jen: [slightly puzzled] umm… yeah.

R.: Well, you might be interested to know that I hold the Guinness Book World Record for largest kidney stone passed.

Jason: [Crippled with shock and amazement]

Jen: [Trying to be polite] Oh, really.

R.: Yeah, I’ve got another one growing right now!

Seriously. I am not making this up.

Anyways, we can’t really figure out what this guy’s deal is since he never shows up until after 4:30pm to work on the neighbor’s fence. We originally had him give us a quote for our fence. He came in at $5100. We did the project ourselves for about $700. But! When he quoted us, he had a little schedule and is scheduled like months in advance and also referred to his “team” or “crew” which, unless it consists of multiple personalities, we have yet to meet.

So, we don’t mind that Barley barks his head off when R. Favorite shows up. In fact, we try to encourage it.

June 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm 5 comments

doggy school dunces

The adventure at doggy school continued tonight. The good news is that we didn’t get kicked out OR sent to the $100/hour behaviorist. Only minimal growling was involved. Phew. No urine or vomit was excreted from Barley dogg tonight. Yes! And, Barley PAID ATTENTION TO ME. I mean, at first he was all, “hey! there’s a dog over there. and another dog there! and wait! I see the teacher… oh hey teacher! I know you have treats – I want TREATS! oh, but look there, check out that dog. and hey. that dog is really cool looking.” And I was all, “hey doooggggggggyyyy! Pay attention to me! Look at me! I am as exciting as those dogs!” And he was not having it. Not interested at all.

But then, a miracle happened, and that miracle was chicken. The substitute teacher handed me a few pieces of chicken, and Barley was like, “YOU ARE THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN! I JUST WANT TO LOOK AT YOU! I WILL DO ANYTHING YOU ASK! I WILL TOUCH THAT METAL SPOON WITH MY NOSE! LAY DOWN? NO PROBLEM! JUMP THROUGH A RING OF FLAMES? ANYTHING FOR YOU AS LONG AS YOU’VE GOT CHICKEN IN YOUR DORK POUCH!” And then, I was playing it cool. I was all, “Yeah, I’m in charge, doggy. Whatever.” And it was amazing. Please send your chicken leftovers to us. They will be put to good use.

The bad news? We had to go do our training activities in the corner. Jason was kind enough to take a picture.

(note the dunce caps.  and Barley’s attentiveness – I must have had chicken in my dork pouch.  Also, I thought I would mention that I made this using www.picnik.com – it’s a free site that lets you mess with photos and is a million times easier than photoshop.)

May 19, 2008 at 11:02 pm 1 comment


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