The Henrys

Posted by barb on Mar 31, 2011 in Family

Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I love my Build a Bears, and that they travel with me. I take pictures of them in random places on my travels. I think all six of my Build-a-Bears have been to Minnesota, since I come here at least once a year (and usually more).

When I was packing for my short, 3-day trip to see my parents for Dad’s surgery, I debated whether or not to bring one of my Build-a-Bears. But in the end I decided against, since it was such a short trip and I wouldn’t be visiting any MN sites. That, and I wondered if it was a little inappropriate, especially if anything happened to Dad. (Also, I was bringing our smallest suitcase, and I don’t think I could have fit one in there!)

However, within a couple hours of arriving in MN, Dad asked which Build-a-Bear I had brought. I had to confess that I didn’t bring one. He looked mock-hurt and said something like, “What? You don’t want to take a picture of one in bed with me?”

After Dad passed away, I thought about his disappointment that I didn’t bring one of my Build-a-Bears. What to do? I decided to make one for him – one that could play with him through eternity.

Sweetie and Andrew took me to Build-a-Bear at the mall while we were also shopping for funeral clothes. I picked out the Shaggy Dog, and made two of them (you didn’t think I wouldn’t need to keep one, did you?). Sweetie warned the BaB employee stuffing our bear that mine was for a funeral, so she downplayed the stuffing ritual a little. Andrew, Sweetie and I all put hearts in both dogs, sending our love to Dad.

Sweetie looked at the stuffed dogs and declared that they told her their names were “Henry”. When a stuffed toy talks to you, you have to listen. Then I looked at them, and discovered that Dad’s was “Henry John” and mine was “Henry Joe”. Why? Because “John” was Dad’s middle name, and “Jo” is mine.

Then we went to pick out clothes, which had to be Dad’s normal “uniform”: jeans and a t-shirt. They even had a t-shirt that said “Father of the Year”, so each of the Henrys got one, along with jeans, tube socks, tighty-whities, and white tennis shoes (with red and blue stripes). The only difference between Henry John and Henry Joe is that the bottoms of Henry John’s shoes are pure white where the bottoms of Henry Joe’s have a bit of red. This was a fluke, but make it easier to tell them apart. (Though I also left the tag on the one for Dad, just to make sure.)

Before I could let Henry John go, though, he and Henry Joe had to play around a little. They started by fishing in the bathtub. They even caught something!
The Henrys show off their fish

Then they went out to see what they could find in Dad’s truck. They discovered a power tool that I think they probably should have left alone!
The Henrys getting into Dad's tools

They also went to check out the Model A, but (thankfully) couldn’t figure out how to start it.
The Henrys on the Model A

Henry John gave a big hug to Teddy – the teddy bear that Dad had played with as a kid. I think Teddy told Henry John a few secrets about games he and Dad loved to play, so Henry John would have more fun with Dad.
Henry John gives Dad's old teddy a hug

Henry John, along with his fishing pole (‘cuz Dad loved to fish) is now keeping Dad company. Henry Joe is home with me. Anything that Henry Joe and I do together, I think Henry John and Dad will be doing, too.

All the pictures of the Henrys playing together are in my Flickr set: The Henrys.

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Quiet Canadian Christmas

Posted by barb on Dec 25, 2008 in Pictures, Travels

Jo peeks in one of the bags under the tree

We’ve had a quiet Christmas. Yesterday it snowed again – third snow storm this week, I think. We’ve decided to just hunker down and enjoy being in the house. Not much to report from here – we opened presents last night, slept in this morning, and are just kicking around the house. We’ve watched the Christmas specials that I brought with me (White Christmas, A Christmas Carol (the Patrick Stewart/TNT version), and A Christmas Story). Andrew’s cousin came for a little while yesterday, and his Auntie and another cousin came for tea today. We may go into “the village” tomorrow to check out a new antique store.

We’ve been keeping an eye on the weather to see when I should drive home. It looks like I’m still okay to head home on Saturday — the forecast is for rain and 50 degrees for a high in upstate New York. Hopefully I’ll be home Saturday night.

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Slushy and Cold Days in Montreal

Posted by barb on Dec 22, 2008 in Pictures, Travels

After a bit of…um…schimpfing…we drove up to Montreal yesterday. Once we got onto the main highway, the roads were fairly clear. The wind was blowing, so snow swirled on the roadways, but mostly visibility was good. Montreal proper was actually worse than the highways – sloppy and slushy and slippery. But, with only one wrong turn (which actually made the directions easier), we made it to the hotel, checked in and parked in the underground garage.

On tap for the day? Shopping!

We bundled up (it was *cold*), grabbed lunch, then took the metro to Old Montreal. Jo came with us, so she could pick out a new outfit and a couple things for her friends back home. We also took in Notre Dame Cathedral in the snow — very pretty.

Jo enjoys a sloppy hot chocolate (with yummy real whipped cream)

After a bit more shopping, finally making into a little mall (for warmth!), we settled down for hot cocoa. I also got new mittens and a hat (tuque or tuke), which helped me keep warmer.

Next stop? A Hello Kitty shop!!!! I picked up a few fun things, and we headed back to the hotel for a while. We needed to rest from the trudging around in the slush and the cold.

Finally we walked down Saint Catherine’s Street, stopping at Addition Elle – an awesome “plus sized” shop (unlike Lane Bryant, their most common fabric is *cotton*, not polyester or some crappy, shiny, wrinkle-attractor). I ended up finding a cute new winter coat, so I spent way more than I should have. Oh well – it’s so much better than the one I had.

Jo checks out Ogilvy's window display

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped to press our noses against the Ogilvy’s window – dressed up for the holidays.

The morning was cold. Cold, cold. Frost-bite cold. Cold, cold, cold. (Woke up to -8 degrees F). We bundled up and went found a crepe place on St. Cate’s. Very cold breakfast — the crepes were warm, but we sat by the window, which was very, very, very cold.

Jo outside the Canadian Center for Architecture

Then we walked to the Canadian Centre for Architecture. We spent some time there – the special exhibit was about ways that people change and interact with their surroundings, featuring exhibits on guerrilla art and gardening, among other things. We also walked through the restored Victorian house which had been turned into a reading and meeting area (so no Victorian furniture or decor). Finally looked at the exhibit on sky lights. It didn’t take us very long — I’m glad we went once, but we don’t feel the need to go again.

Finally we met up with Andrew’s friend and his wife for lunch. We had been thinking about going to the Botanical Garden, but I didn’t feel like walking much more (I’d forgotten how tiring it is to walk in the slush and ice), and I really didn’t want to drive home in the dark. So, we headed back to the “country” and Andrew’s parents’ house.

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Posted by barb on May 31, 2008 in Pictures, Random Thoughts, Thesis/Grad Life

A week ago yesterday I graduated! It was a moment I think many of us thought might never come, especially during the past 6 months, but I’m happy to say I did it.

I decided to go through ceremonies for several reasons — the first was that I promised my dad that I would. When I quit grad school in 2001 with “just” my master’s degree, I decided not to go through ceremonies, and my dad was fairly disappointed. I didn’t want to celebrate my master’s, though, because I felt like it was a defeat, rather than a triumph. I was quitting short of my goal.

More importantly, though, I feel like I needed the ceremony as a kind of closure. The defense was a bit of a let-down because I didn’t have the sense of accomplishment when I finished. The graduation ceremony gave me at least some of the sense of closure, the sense of accomplishment. I even walked away with a real diploma!

Here are a couple of pictures of my hooding ceremony, from Peter Teuben, a member of the astronomy department
Kim hooding me

Felicia graduated, too, and here she is in her regalia (I still need to make her hood, though):
Felicia in her grad regalia

I’ll post a report from the grad party that followed last Saturday later; hopefully tomorrow.

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Hee hee hee!!!

Posted by barb on May 13, 2008 in Crafty Me, Pictures

Felicia’s cap for graduation is ready:
Felicia's tam!

Now, if I could just get the gown the right color, I’d feel pretty good.




Posted by barb on May 13, 2008 in Pictures, Travels

I know things have been quiet around here lately. I was hoping that after I defended that I would magically find a new fount of energy which would result in a flurry of activity both in my life and in my blog. Truth is, I’m tired. I’ve been tired for months, and I have a feeling that it’s going to take an equal amount of time to recover.

We did take a long weekend in Myrtle beach a couple weeks ago, and I have to say that it did wonders for my morale. For the first time in a long time, I can say that I was truly happy. I went into sensory overload in the Build a Dino Store there, but a good kind of sensory overload. We played loads of mini-golf, and also played in the ocean.

Wave rolling over my foot Dinosaur Adventure: Me and the steggie Felicia with her shell collection

(All of my Myrtle Beach trips are here.)

We haven’t gotten on our bikes this year yet, and that’s probably going to wait until mid-June, after I get back from a meeting in St. Louis. I haven’t gotten into my scrapbooking yet, though hopefully that will pick up this weekend. I have had loads of ideas for blog posts (pink? in a John Deere store??), but lose interest by the time I get to a computer. I promise that I’m coming back, and I’m getting less tired and more happy every day, but I have a feeling that its going to be a while before “My Silly Life” is terribly active again.

I’m trying, though.

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Even crazy-thesis-ladies get a break from their thesis every once and a while

Posted by barb on Mar 3, 2008 in Crafty Me

I haven’t been scrapping with Laurie in a long time, so we decided to get together in February around her birthday. Sadly, Laurie’s household was all sick with the flu when our scrapping date came around, so we postponed until this past weekend. I spent *all day* Saturday up at Laurie’s house. Really, all day. I think Laurie was sick of me by the time she kicked my arse out, but, hey, it’s her fault for not kicking me out sooner.

For part of the time Laurie’s friend Kirsten joined us – she’s new to scrapping, so we had to show her some things that she *needs* to waste…er, invest, her money and time on to improve her scrapping.

Felicia also came along, since I was starting on her scrapbook. She and Ruby helped out with our scrapbooks.

Felicia scrapbooking  Ruby scrapbooking

Here are a couple of my completed pages:
Felicia's album page 5-6  Felicia's album page 7-8

I was very naughty on Sunday, and continued scrapping instead of working on my thesis. Oh well, at least I feel nice and refreshed and ready for writing this week. (That actually was not sarcastic, though it might have been hard to tell.)

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Airport blogging

Posted by barb on Oct 26, 2007 in Pictures, Random Thoughts, Thesis/Grad Life

Greetings from the Huntsville airport, here in sunny Alabama.

I thought I’d blog earlier this week, with being at a conference and bored in the evenings, and all, but obviously it didn’t happen.

I’ve been at the Eight Years of Science with Chandra meeting this week. I travelled with the Constellation-X booth, but I also had a poster at the meeting. Attendance at this meeting was actually fairly low, but surprisingly, it was the first time I’ve had any interest in my poster from researchers doing work in my field. Yup, I’ve brought posters to 3 or 4 AAS meetings and the last Chandra meeting – all relating to my thesis work, but this is the first time I’ve had a discussion with anyone *in my field*. And they seemed interested in it! I have to say that it’s nice to finally have some outside validation of my work.

Con-X booth Felicia at the Chandra meeting

Other than that, it was a typical conference. A few interesting talks, a few boring talks, and several talks that I just didn’t understand (either due to language/microphone difficulties and/or due to material).

Felicia and me at the Space and Rocket Center

Yesterday (my birthday…hurmph) the conference ended at noon, so I packed up the booth, and then Felicia and I went over to the US Space & Rocket Center, which was right next door to the hotel. I actually had gone many years ago, when I was in junior high or high school (can’t remember exactly when), with my aunt, uncle and grandma. Sadly, I was a little disappointed this time around. One of the coolest things to see was the Saturn V rocket last time. Now the Saturn V is getting a new home, in an under-construction building next to the main building. Translation: I didn’t get to see it. They also have a mock-up of the Saturn V standing in the “rocket park”, but the area was also under construction, so I couldn’t get up close to it.

Oh well. I did get to see the other rockets, and took some pictures with Felicia (more posted to Flickr later). Plus I got some astronaut ice cream – since I couldn’t have cake on my birthday, at least I got some ice cream.

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Chicago Report

Posted by barb on Sep 8, 2007 in Pictures, Travels

I just got back from Chicago – thankfully the migraine that threatened this morning did not manifest itself into a full-blown headache. Still not feeling great, but at least I’m home.

Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

  • I flew out last Friday, a few days before my conference, so my parents and I could play for a couple days. They drove out from Minnesota, and we met up at the hotel Friday evening.
  • Saturday we went out to Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, where Frank Lloyd Wright had a house and studio from 1889-1909. We toured the studio and house, and then took a walking tour of the neighborhood where FLW had designed several houses.Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of the day, because I lost my camera somewhere between the end of our walking tour and our hotel. Sigh. Dad and I went back that night, and we all went back Sunday morning, but no camera.
  • Sunday, Mom, Dad, and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry (after first going to get me a new camera). I’ve been once before, but it was 10 years ago, so I didn’t remember much, and I’m pretty sure that much of it has been re-vamped since then. We didn’t do any of the “extra” activities, like the IMAX or touring the submarine, but we still spent all day there. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend it.
    Dad and Jo in the combine Robie the Robot Look out, Jo!  That's a jet engine!
  • Monday, Labor Day, Mom and Dad had to head back, so they dropped me at the conference hotel, and after I settled in, Jo and I walked out to Navy Pier. She talked me into getting her a second Chicago t-shirt, with matching shoes. I also stumbled upon the stained glass window museum on the pier – very cool.
    Jo at Navy Pier Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
  • Tuesday I walked around downtown, seeking out some of the public sculptures that were listed on my “pop-out” map of Chicago. I ended up at Millennium Park. One thing that struck me on my walk was the amount of green in Chicago. Not in the downtown, strictly, but between the city and the lake. Chicago has refused to let developments take over the waterfront, and has left a strip of green between the waterfront and the tall buildings. There were points when I was walking through the gardens that I could have easily forgotten that I was that close to a large city. It was very peaceful.
    Monument wit... Clarence Buckingham Fountain Inside Cloud Gate
  • Wednesday the conference began, and I started feeling ill. All-in-all not a bad conference, though I didn’t get in much networking, as I had hoped, because I’d just go back to my room after the sessions.

I’m glad to be home. It was mostly a good trip, besides losing my camera, skinning my knee, feeling ill, and nearly having a migraine while traveling. Huh. It doesn’t really sound like a good trip, does it. Oh well, it wasn’t as bad as all that.

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Playing in DC

Posted by barb on Jul 14, 2007 in Around DC, Pictures

We took a trip into DC today to see a couple little things that I’ve been wanting to see. First on our list was an R2-D2 mailbox. I’d heard rumor that there was on at L’Enphant Plaza, so our first stop was there. Sadly, we walked all around that area and couldn’t find it. It may well still be there, but I didn’t have any better directions, so we gave up.

Jo Looking at the Capitol

We trekked up to the main DC post office near Union Station from there, stopping along the way for Jo to take a look at the Capitol. We did stop at a shop and found the 5 best motorcycle jackets ever, but alas we didn’t come for that so we left empty handed. There was some kind of police event downtown, as we saw bunches of police cars and motorcycles on the Mall. And the police cars were from many non-DC-area jurisdictions.

The second place I’d heard there there was an R2-D2 mailbox was the DC post office, so we popped in there, but still didn’t see one. Andrew asked at the counter, and they told us to go to the Union Station post office. Fortunately, Union Station was just across the street (I’m not sure either of us could have walked much more before lunch!)

R2D2 Mailbox!

And it was there! Cute as everything! Andrew had even saved one of our outgoing pieces of mail so I could mail it from there. He took a picture, but hasn’t uploaded them yet.

Jo at the Bead Museum

From there (and after lunch), we went to the Bead Museum. We’d tried to get there earlier this year, when they had a Shakespeare bead exhibit, but a migraine kept us from going. (Damn migraines!) They’ve now set up and exhibit on cowrie shell beads. The museum is rather small, but then, beads are generally fairly small. There is a permanent collection tracing beads back to 12,000 BCE to the present. It’s an impressive collection, especially the beads made before modern times.

On our way back to the Metro, we stumbled upon a cheese shop – Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop. Naturally we had to stop in, and we came home with a couple of stinky cheeses (yum!).

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