Posts filed under ‘Outdoors’

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

The get-fit house

Before we had even moved in, Jason called this our “get fit” house. Why? Because we live less than a block from a really nice parkway and 3 blocks from a lake.

We’ve been so good about walking around here, and many times when I’m walking, I find myself thinking about how lucky I am to live here. I love it.

(this is where I note that Jason has been doing 25-mile bike rides along the parkway in an attempt to get in shape for the wedding. impressive!)

Anyways, who would have thought you’d find this beauty within the city limits?

My cousin, Jim, even had a race on the lake near us a few weeks ago.  (His boat is on the far left).

And his team won! (and we got to visit with Catherine during the race, which is always fun.)

I love it here.

June 25, 2008 at 10:59 pm 2 comments

pavers! part 2

Did I mention that we RAN OUT OF SAND on Sunday? As in, didn’t even get halfway through the project before realizing that we were not going to make it? So we had to improvise. We woke up around 8am Monday, and headed to Home Depot, then Menards, to rent a truck. For those of you who have never actually been in Menards – it is fantastic, and I hope you get to visit sometime. Definitely make a point to notice the DOS-based computer system still in use. They’ve got computers that look like they’re straight out of the 1980s. So awesome. Menards is like Fleet Farm meets Home Depot meets Walmart. (only, not so much Wal-mart-y, because I hate Walmart, but love Menards). Jason thinks it is best described as “a flea market… of hardware”. He also tells me that there are no Fleet Farms or Menards on the East Coast?!? Oh, the East coasters are missing out. Fleet farm is also fantastic.

Anyways, we rented the Menards truck because the Home Depot truck was rented, and headed up to Bachman’s, which is a huge garden/landscape shop in these parts. Bachman’s might be my new favorite garden shop, but it’s more likely that I’m just amazed by the sheer size of the place. It is huge, despite it’s urban location. Bachman’s, I’ll be bach. or, back, actually. Anyways.

Jason in the Menards truck.

We picked up another yard and a half of sand, then emptied it into our driveway, returned the truck. Cousin Catherine showed up to help out, and thank goodness she did. (Dear Aunt Tami and Uncle Doug: thanks for not only being willing to put up with my shenanigans for several months on end, but also for having kids that are willing to drive 30 min each way to partake in my shenanigans! Dear Catherine: you’re my new favorite cousin.) Catherine is pretty darn good at bricklaying… she put down most of the patio, while I brought her bricks and Jason tacked down pave-edge with stakes that we had purchased at Bachman’s. It looks good. Really good.

Awesome cousin Catherine works her bricklaying magic!

Around 3, I left to go to work and Catherine left to head home to do her homework. I also ran errands in between doing work stuff – we ran out of pave edge and stakes – so I had to rush around town to find them. Tricky. But Menards and Bachman’s were still open, so I managed to score the necessary supplies, and a burrito for JT (from Chipotle, of course). While I was at work, Jason finished the rest of the patio and put more pave-edge in surrounding the bricks. Then, I came home, freaked out, and re-did the part of the path that Jason had finished. Why? Because it didn’t look right. (Because the section had only 4 rows of brick instead of the 5 rows the rest of the walk had).

Jason installs the pave-edge.

So then, I was annoyed with Jason for not having paid attention to what he was doing when he laid the path, he was annoyed with me for ripping up all of his hard work and redoing it, and we were both totally annoyed with the project and also with the dog, because he kept barking from inside the house. I suspect the dog may have been annoyed with us for ignoring him all weekend. Annoyance was rampant.

Yeah, I ripped it up and redid it. Can you say “control freak”? How about “perfectionist”?

Barley spies on us from inside the house.

Anyways, we kept working till about 8 Monday night, when we finally called it quits. I finished laying all of the brick. Jason tamped the front walkway and patio, then put sand over the front part of the walkway and tamped again. I had to return the brick saw this morning, but we kept the tamper to finish up some things this evening.

Last night, we swept sand across the bricks and tamp them down. Repeat x3. This morning, we returned the tamper. This evening we (Jason) finished the bricks outside the side door (we couldn’t use the tamper because we couldn’t get it close enough to the house and then the bricks would have been sunk into the sand at different angles). But now we’re all finished with the brick pavers! Yay! It was honestly not all that tough to do – the most frustrating part was not having all of the supplies that we needed to complete the project, especially since we had to rent a truck to get the sand. But! If you’ve read our past home adventures, you’ll discover that not having the proper supplies to do the job is a theme around these parts…

Look! The finished product:

The patio and back walkways.

Another view of the patio and back walkways.

The back patio.

The back walkways.

View from the front. Not bad when you consider what it looked like 2 months ago…

The new patio and pathway are a huge change from before!

More pictures are here:

Pavers 5-2008

May 28, 2008 at 9:59 pm 5 comments

Code Red, Purple Building

… a post in which I am a little cynical about work, but provide rationale for overall happiness.

2-3 times each work day, I hear the building’s alert system. It’s always “code (insert color here), (insert another color here) building”. Easy enough to ignore, right?

But the other day, I heard, “Code Red, Purple Building” and thought: red = fire. Oh crap. What building am I in? I don’t think it was the purple building. At least, I didn’t see or smell a fire, and no one fled. Mystery… I still am not sure what building I’m in, so I hope that someone will come get me if there really is a fire. I mean, I was told at new employee training that I am to consult my supervisor before using a fire extinguisher, so my only hope is that someone will let me know what’s going on.

Another thing about work that I think is quite silly is this notice: St Patrick’s Day Fun. I suspect work is trying to boost morale by allowing us to wear “green and jeans” on Monday (provided I have my supervisor’s permission, of course). Now I am certain that my employer is not the only one to support such activities, but it’s just a little too reminiscent of high school spirit days. What’s next? Clash day? Having said that, I do appreciate the effort to make work a more ‘fun’ experience, and I probably would appreciate it even more if I wasn’t already wearing jeans to work every day. But really, if you want to make work more ‘fun’ for me, I would suggest the following: a couple extra $$ on the paycheck, a few hours off, less confusing fire codes, someone to finish all the papers I’ve got left from grad school and UK.

Anyways, despite that cynical rant on fire alarms and spirit days, we really do have a lot to be happy about today.

First, Jason’s family welcomed a new addition yesterday. Congrats Marty (Jason’s cousin) and Cailin! We’re excited to meet the little guy (and his mom… we haven’t even gotten to meet her yet!).

Second, Barley was so so so well behaved at school last night. He was attentive, adorable, and did everything I asked him to. The teachers even used him as an example. With any luck, Barley will pass level 1 and get to wear a cute little hat like his cousin, Comet, did at his doggy school graduation.

Congrats to Trevor and Comet!  Barley hopes to follow in Comet’s footsteps someday soon.

Barley gets cuddles for his excellent doggy school performance. 

To reward him for his efforts, Jason took him for a long walk this afternoon and we made doggy treats together.

Barley helps me make doggy treats.

A third reason to be happy? It was in the 40s today and sunny. It’s my third-favorite part of winter – the warm up. (my first favorite is the first snow, and my second favorite is anytime it snows a lot after that). Having purchased new shoes, a knee brace, and official wick-away-your-sweat running clothes, I hit the trails in full force today. Jason took Barley on a 2-mile walk, and B-dog came home sooo tired. There were tons of people and dogs walking and running around the lake near our house, so I am certain our doggy enjoyed not only the walk, but also the people- and doggy-watching.

And fourth! Jason gave a stunning presentation at work today, and even wore dress clothes! I can’t actually verify the above statement about the presentation, but I hope it’s true.

Check out Jason in his “I-have-a-real-grown-up-job” outfit.

March 11, 2008 at 1:42 pm 3 comments

winter warm up?

Let’s hope it lasts. Now that skiing is over and it’s almost March, I have no desire to wait for the bus in -15 degree weather. I’d much prefer the 20s-30s we had this weekend.

Yesterday I began training for a half-marathon that I’ve resolved to do this year. I’m not sure which half marathon I’ll run (if I can actually make it that far), but I’m hoping that this will get me in shape for the wedding. Not to mention, it’s good to get out in the warmer weather.

Today was beautiful, and we took full advantage of that with a trip to the doggy park. The park near our house is amazing. It lines the Mississippi and there are miles of off-leash fun to be explored. Much of the park is wooded, but there’s a little beach area along the river for doggies that like to swim (fortunately, Barley is not one of them). Barley had such a good time – we could tell by his wagging tail. He played with a bunch of dogs, and one of them was even a Barley-look-alike! We decided that Barley is sort of the geeky indie kid in the bunch (he takes after Jason) – he’s never quite in the center of action, but is always paying attention to what the other dogs are doing. Sometimes he’ll join in with their chasing and wrestling, but he’s mostly pretty aloof.

Barley looooves the doggy park.

So does Jason.

After our trip to the dog park, I cleaned out the vacuum cleaner (because it was completely clogged) and then vacuumed much of the house while Jason brewed beer in the garage. I went on another run with Barley late in the afternoon and then headed to my aunt’s house to have dinner with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and my grandparents who are visiting from Milwaukee. I came home to find Barley looking uber-pathetic and tired… I think I wore the boy out.

Jason’s brew set up in the garage.

I think he’s tired.

February 24, 2008 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

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