Posts filed under ‘Barley’

Barley’s choice test

Two posts today! I must be feeling guilty for leaving you stranded.

Anyways, I just wanted to announce that we will no longer be purchasing doggy toys for our dog. First, he is absolutely terrified of anything that makes a noise – squeak one of those squeaky toys while he is in the room, and he runs away with his tail between his legs. Honestly, I am a little grateful for this – all that squeak-squeak-squeaking would drive me insane. However, it makes buying doggy toys really difficult since almost all of them squeak.

Jason happened to stop by a PetSmart last week, though, and picked up this awesome fleece-fringed ball. You know those fleece blankets that are tied together and have little fleece fringe all around them? Well, this ball is just one big fleece fringe ball. It’s super-awesome and we thought the dog would love it (plus, for $3, we could hardly go wrong).

However, a choice test suggests otherwise.

Let me just interrupt here to let you all know that my research deals heavily with choice – I give subjects the choice between a small reward and a large reward. The tricky part is that the large reward is given after a delay and the small reward is given immediately. So it’s kind of like if I asked you if you wanted $1 now or $5 tomorrow. Basically, I’m assessing the relative value of the two rewards – which reward do you think is better?  (This is related to drug abuse, gambling, binge eating, and other potentially harmful behaviors because people who engage in those behaviors tend not to pick the delayed reward, even though it is obviously more advantageous in the long run to do so).

In Barley’s choice test, he was given the choice between his awesome new fleece ball and a cardboard box that I brought home from work. (FYI – I didn’t blog last night because I had brought supplies home that I needed to craft… basically, I had to shove a bunch of wire into a bunch of plastic tubes. Like 80 to be exact.)

And here’s his choice:

So from now on, we’re just going to give the dog cardboard to play with. Because it’s cheap and easy and he prefers it anyways.  And, if we want to really add some excitement, we throw a treat in there and let him dig it out!  It’s like how he’d forage for food in the wild… or something.


July 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

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

our weekend in Milwaukee, featuring gratuitous dog pictures

Our trip to Milwaukee on Friday was reasonably fun. Or, at least as fun as a 5-hour drive that you’ve taken 50+ times can be. Jason thought he was hilarious, and has proclaimed himself the funniest person I have ever met. Which is interesting, because how does he know who I’ve met and how funny they are? Hmm.

So I suggested that he list the top 10 funniest things he’s ever done. He struggled to come up with 2 things, and I can’t even remember what they are.

Anyways, after this conversation, I decided that the dog should get a seatbelt since he sits up like a real boy in the car. Honestly. So. Ridiculous.

We made it to Milwaukee alright, and let the dogs play. Little dog (aka Comet) seemed pretty thrilled to see us and to have a doggy play buddy. He has so much energy. Big dog (aka Barley) was also thrilled to see another of his kind, and the two played like champs for about 45 min. Then, big dog got tired and started doing this defensive move where he spins in a circle and hip checks little dog and little dog goes flying across the room.


But then, this happened:

(you can’t get mad – I TOTALLY warned you).


And we were amazed that the little dog, who is approximately 1/5 big dog’s size would try to dominate him. Crazy little dog. So we thought we should separate them for a minute.

Saturday was busy busy busy! We met with the pastor that will marry us in the morning to find out the results of our marriage test. It was a lovely scantron that we filled out about a month ago and sent to some (real) psychologists to score. We did so well that they suggested we may have cheated on the exam – we scored 90-100% in each category. We take this as evidence that we’re actually becoming the same person. Although, we were a little annoyed that we only scored a 90% in the personality category because I’m stubborn. But we both agreed that I am stubborn, so I really feel like we should get a few bonus points for at least being on the same page with regards to my stubborn-ness.

Anyways, we also appear to have “unrealistic” ideas about marriage (we scored only 30% in the marriage expectations category) – both of us answered “strongly disagree” to the statement, “I expect the romance to fade over time in our marriage” and the “correct” answer was “strongly agree”. Does anyone else find it strange that the church would take such a cynical view of marriage? I mean, shouldn’t they be all smiling-happy-marriage-is-great? Anyways, we get that romance and going out on dates might not occur as frequently now as they did when we were first dating, but we want to really put an effort into making sure that we go on dates and spend fun time together (not just work-on-the-house time). Jason’s parents are actually really good at this… they go to all sorts of charity events and movies and whatnot together. So we’re hoping that they can be our role models in this endeavor.

Another reason we scored so low in the marriage expectations category was that we haven’t talked about the traditional roles that a mother or father would have in raising children. Sitting down and outlining a mother’s vs a father’s obligations in raising a child seemed really silly to us at this point. I mean, moms and dads are mostly there to love, protect, and care for their kiddos, no? And I think that if that’s the bottom line, then it doesn’t matter who changes the diapers, feeds the kid, plays with it, or whatever. I fully expect Jason to participate in all of those things, and I know he expects me to do the same. Anyways, we’re not planning on having kids for a while, so it’s not even relevant. Strike this conversation from your memory.

After we aced premarital counseling and were told that we did not have to go back, we ran some wedding- and graduation-related errands and then met with someone at the grain exchange room (where our reception will take place). More on that tomorrow.

We then headed back to my parent’s house, where they held a graduation party for my brother, Robby, and my cousin, Jessica. The dogs also enjoyed the party – or, actually, they enjoyed destroying my mom’s hastas in front of a relatively large audience.  We got to visit with the fam for a bit (always fun) before getting glammed up for our engagement photos.  More on engagement photos when we get them back (hopefully in the next week or two).

We stopped at John Hawk’s Pub (where our rehearsal dinner will be held) so that Jason could taste and approve of their chicken sandwich. We, unfortunately, had horrible service (although everyone around us seemed to have *great* service, so I think it was our waitress). Jason still approved of the chicken sandwich. Phew.

Then, we walked over to the Milwaukee Residence Inn (and if you haven’t gotten your rooms reserved yet, DO IT NOW). We checked out one of the one-bedroom suites and I think our guests will be quite pleased. The entire hotel was remodeled in April and is AMAZING. Big rooms (or at least the one we saw was), marble countertops in the kitchen, great view of Milwaukee, and REALLY REALLY close to our rehearsal dinner and reception venues. The hotel is also connected to a mall via skyways, and is near a whole boatload of restaurants and bars.

Sunday, we woke up and participated in a walk for Epilepsy. My parent’s wonderful neighbors, the Bergrens, lost their daughter, Darcy, who had Epilepsy only a few years after they moved into our neighborhood. The Bergrens are just the sweetest family ever, so it was fun to go out and support them by walking with their team. They had organized the biggest team at the event, which I think is a testament to how absolutely nice and wonderful they are. So we stuck around after the walk to socialize with other neighbors and friends. And to get a picture of Jason with oversized sausages (the German and Italian Sausages, to be exact). Only in Milwaukee, friends. Only in Milwaukee.

After the walk, we decided some crucial wedding things with my parents, visited with a musician at church and also a musical family that my dad knows to pick out music for the ceremony. While they were playing, it really hit me that this whole wedding thing is real! Yikes! I’m really getting hitched! And then I started tearing up and getting sentimental, just sitting there in the living room of these people that I had met 5 minutes earlier. So there is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER that I will NOT be crying the day of. There’s just something so sentimental about the music in the ceremony that totally gets me choked up. I am going to be a train wreck. Please pack extra kleenex in your purses. I will need it.

After we made some serious musical decisions, Jason headed to Qdoba, while my mom and I picked out bridal undergarments and had my first dress fitting. And I’m even more excited about my dress now that we’ve got that all done. Also, I ended up changing up my shoes – I will now be wearing these fabulous pointy silver shoes with little bows on them. They are so cute, but also look like I could kick someone’s butt in them. So, don’t make me go bridezilla on you. It might hurt.

We finally left MKE around 6, made it to MSP around 11, and passed out just absolutely exhausted.

June 30, 2008 at 11:27 pm 2 comments

more on walking

I mentioned yesterday that we’ve been really REALLY good about walking around here. I blame most of that on the dog – even though he’s the laziest dog ever, we feel compelled to take him out for exercise. He just gets so darn excited about going out – his tail wags so fast and furious that his whole rear end shakes. It’s so cute.

He’s getting pretty good at walking without pulling  your arm off, too.  And even though I have to walk with a bag of chicken to keep him walking next to me, it is SO worth it.  Because getting your arm pulled off is miserable.  And he is 75 lbs of pure muscle.  My arm doesn’t stand a chance without the chicken.

So, yeah, he’s pretty good.  Until…

Oh no!  It’s the manuever we affectionately refer to as “the death roll” (“death” because it totally kills the walk).

See?  Not walking.

Yes, still just wriggling along the ground. (here is where I begin awkwardly looking around to see if anyone is staring yet).

Really, Barley, Come on.


Okay, boy, seriously.  (this is usually the part where I start trying to bribe him to get up and walk again).

Please!  Come on!  Here boy!  Here, here, here!  I’ll give you chicken!

A whole chicken!  Two whole chickens!  Please, just get up and walk like a normal dog!

(insert awkward stares from passers-by)

You don’t want chicken?  How about steak?  Please. Just. Get. Up.

Honestly.  This is ridiculous.  None of the other dogs do this.  Look!  That other doggy is walking!  Can’t you just walk?!?

OH.  Done.  Finally.  -sigh of relief-

If this is any indication of what kind of parent I’m going to be, the kids are totally going to walk all over me.

Only, I suspect chicken isn’t such a good bribing tool with kids.

June 26, 2008 at 10:34 pm 1 comment

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 – 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

the terrible twos?

Last night was a HORRIBLE night at doggy school… the worst one yet. Usually, Barley just does things that are a little annoying – less than perfect behavior. But last night! Oh! He went above and beyond annoying…

At first, he was just uber-distractable. As in, paid attention to everything BUT me, was NOT interested in treats. AT ALL. What dog does not want treats!? Instead, he was interested in the weimerener directly to our right. He kept staring at the dog, and the dog would whine back, which would only intensify Barley’s staring. Then, we started moving around the room, and Barley lost control. He was all barking and trying to get the weimerener’s attention and just being generally obnoxious and disruptive. After the THIRD barking incident, the teacher came over and told me that she wanted me to keep him in the corner, sitting, and just give him a treat any time he looked at me. For 30 minutes.

After class, all the other dogs left and we stayed to talk to the teacher. She said she’d give him another week in the class, but if he’s disruptive again next week, he’s kicked out of the class! She’ll refer him to their behaviorist! Crap.

I was so stressed out and pissed off by the end of class that I was almost in tears. Freaking dog can do his homework perfectly at home, but freaks out in public!?! Uggh. Ridiculous. The whole thing was ridiculous. (And since I made fun of my neighbor for crying about his cat last week, I feel even worse for being hypocritical. Who cries about a pet anyways!?)

The teacher did suggest, though, that maybe this is because he’s two and reaching maturity, so he’s trying to push the limits. Is this true? Anyone witness changes in their dog’s personality at age 2? Because I’m not sure that I buy it. I’m more inclined to think that there is just something about this weimerener that Barley finds interesting… he doesn’t seem interested in any of the other dogs in the class.

So, the dog is grounded this week. I think he knew we were mad last night, because he was just slinking around here after school… And, today, he emailed Jason to ask him to pick up the new Death Cab for Cutie CD for me, since they are my favorite and the new CD came out today. He’s trying to show me that he’s sorry!

Jason must have felt bad about everything, too (he was there to witness my frustration last night), because he came home with flowers and swedish fish! And I LOVE flowers and swedish fish! So thoughtful!

May 13, 2008 at 8:47 pm 3 comments

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