Fun with Freestyle

Me and Mommy are having so much fun going to practice our dancing on Sundays. We’re getting our moves and routines together to go get our Title 4 in Cleveland, Ohio in June. I think Mommy still has a lot of work to do. Here is what we’re going to do at the beginning. First, we walk in and Mommy honors the pretend judges and audience. Then we get set up to start. Then we start our Freestyle dance.


After that we worked on our ending. Yep, it needs more work…

We went to our class again today and changed up some things to look better and fit the timing better. Just wait til you see us dancing at the Titling Event in June!

Many thanks to Comedy Plus for hosting Awww Monday!

Xena Schnauzer Dancing Princess

The Video You’ve All Been Waiting For

It’s finally before the end of the month, and my Freestyle video is ready, just like Daddy promised. Mommy wanted me to post this tomorrow morning, but that’s not Before the end of the month! Just to make Mommy happy, and so she stops nagging me about including this, let’s start off with a license plate at the Freestyle trials where I won my Freestyle Title for Level 3:

And this picture of me and Mommy on the Saturday we got our Freestyle Title for Level 3:

And now, with thanks to my Daddy for getting this to me sooner than to anybody else, and Before the end of the month, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for, the main event!

I am Xena Dancing Schnauzer Princess

My Freestyle Video at Last!

Hi folks! With everything shut down you may have forgotten that I am a titled Freestylist! Back in November in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (when I won my title!) the man who did the videos was supposed to do whatever you are supposed to do with them to put them on CD’s and mail them to everyone. Problem was, his wife got sick…really sick. Then his own health went down the tubes and he wasn’t even able to go down to his basement where he keeps all his equipment to work on videos.

After 3 or 4 months, Mommy told the Freestyle Federation that my Daddy both could and would do this for them if someone could get ahold of the raw footage and send it to us. I really don’t understand why we had to get a raw foot, but there you go. They did, and then the COVID-19 thingie hit, and Daddy got real busy producing glorified video-enhanced Zoom productions for our church. Mommy hasn’t seen much of him since that. He kept promising to work on the videos and that date would come and go and he was too busy. The last time that happened, Daddy found out just how upset he had made her. He sat there on our new porch with her for a while, with her ignoring him. When he finally said he guessed he would go downstairs and take care of some things until she was done, she just said ok without looking at him and kept on working on her ‘puter.

About an hour and a half later, he came up and asked if she would like to see my video! Of course, we wanted to see my video! I don’t care if he was trying to get out of the doghouse, I sure wasn’t going to let Mommy say not now!

I’m really, really glad she can’t stay upset like that with me! Anyhow, when I watched the video I saw how great I did, even though Mommy kept saying things like, “I didn’t realize she ran off as much as she did,” and “I can’t believe she titled.” I know how I titled… ’cause I’m great and ’cause they loved me!! Just listen to the roar of the applause at the end!!

Xena’s 1st Freestyle Performance
1st Freestyle Title

Xena the Titled Schnauzer Warrior Princess

Pee Ess: Mommy just suggested to Daddy that he go downstairs and work on the other Freestyle videos. I wonder if he’ll be back up for supper…

Dance Rehearsal

I’m getting ready for my first Freestyle competition. We’ve tweaked our routine and I’ve got my part down. I am having sooo much fun! Mommy is going to take me to work with her in a few weeks and we are going to leave in the middle of the day to drive to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. *bounce bounce bounce* I’m going to get something called a title. I already have the title of Princess Warrior. I wonder what my new one will be. Anyhoo, here is the newest version of our dance!

Xena Schnauzer Dancing Warrior Princess

My Freestyle Routine

We went to the Obedience Club of Chattanooga (OCC) on Sunday and practiced with my little friend Meg (on left) and her Mom and her 13-year-old brother, a mini-pin named Titus. Titus and Angel Lexi used to do Freestyle together.

Miss Fay was having trouble playing my music and recording my routine all at the same time, so it took several tries. By the fourth try, I was tired and getting a bit uninterested in the whole thing. And Mommy lost count at the end of my our routine and messed up the ending. At least it was just practice, and not a “trial.” It’s still pretty good, so if you want to see it, just hit the button to make it start.

That last part where we swirl around each other? I made that part up and Mommy liked it so much she named it the Viennese Waltz and kept it in our routine.

We are Team Xena! (and Mommy)

Working on Freestyle and My Certificate

As most of you know, we are back working on Freestyle. We also call it dancing. I finally got my Freestyle certificate after about 87 weeks of finishing the first class. I love to dance!  Sometimes my peeps put on music and dance downstairs where they have a real dance floor. Lucy and I sit off to the side and watch, and sometimes we ask to dance too. Then Mommy will take turns dancing with us.

Anyhoo, this last time going to Freestyle was pretty scary. As we were driving down the highway, the sky got darker and darker and then it started spitting at us. I had on my Thundershirt, which helps me to be brave when I’m riding in the car. I also had on my car harness which keeps me safe. But suddenly the sound of the rain hitting the windshield got super loud, and I wasn’t wearing my super hero cape.I panted and shook most of the rest of the way there. But once there, the sky turned blue and all I could think about was dancing! Mommy is my choreographer, and sometimes I show her new dance steps that I make up. She loves it when I do that and puts them into our routine. This first video is our very first attempt to dance our routine to our new music. I did great, but Mommy, well, just keep in mind it was our first try.

Mommy actually forgot to include the Viennese Waltz move I made up! Ugh! So she tried it again.

Oh well, maybe Mommy will have it learnt before we go back. I’ll keep working with her, cause she’s worth it.

Xena Schnauzer Warrior Princess

Freestyle and Shorts

Sunday I went to Freestyle with Mommy and learned to “touch.”

See that orange cone thingy behind me? Miss Julia stuck a treat inside it and then gave me a different treat every time I touched the cone with my nose. I really, really liked that game. I always keep an eye on everything going on there.

Other than Freestyle class, not too much has been happening this week, so me and Lucy, we thought you might like to see some short little videos of us. (He, he, I bet you thought you were going to get to see us in shorts – like clothes – right?)

While I was gone having fun with Mommy, Lucy was in the back yard eating all the meat off of a raw deer rib…and some of the bone, too.

Most days, Mommy says, “Who wants to get their teeth brushed?” and we both come running. I always go first. Our “toothpaste” is coconut oil with Neem essential oil in it. Sometimes we get Lavender essential oil in it too for flavor, but we like it either way.

Then it’s Lucy’s turn. Mommy got a red finger brush for Lucy, but Lucy kept trying to bite down on it. So, to keep her finger safe, Mommy went back to using a regular toothbrush. Did you notice me walking under Lucy? I do that all the time!

I’m still woofing at Daddy to fix the video of me and Lucy howling, and he keeps saying he is too busy right now. Grrrr. Hey, wait, maybe that’s what he’ll do for me for my birthday next week! Yeah, I bet that’s it! And lots of belly rubs and chair naps, too.

I am Xena Schnauzer Warrior Princess with clean teeth

 

 

Freestyle Demo, Here I Come

We are joining Brian for the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

 

 

I AM THANKFUL FOR FREESTYLE! Last Sunday was supposed to be our 6th and final Freestyle lesson in this set. We were asked to demonstrate a short Freestyle routine (more of a phrase, I am told) for the Obedience Club of Chattanooga on the first Friday night of May. It will be during their regular monthly meeting. The class had dwindled to just me, Duke the Dobie , and my new friend Meg the Powder Puff Chinese Crested. This is my buddy Meg:

Meg at FreestyleShe was kinda scared of me at first, but now we are happy to see each other. Anyhoo, our teacher asked if we all felt ready to do our demo (NO) and if we wanted to come in again this past Sunday (YES!).

Me and Mommy have been playing working really hard on our dancing. We take time every day to practice our under leg weaves (I go under Mommy’s legs cause she’s too tall to go under mine), and my backs, and our beginning and ending shapes and tons of other stuff and it is so much fun! Last Sunday we got to do our dance for our class and I we I was the best! In fact, I was so much the best that we get to go last at the demo so that we don’t outshine everyone else before they have a chance to do their dance. My teacher said it will all build up from the less experienced students to us. We have to have an intent. I intend to win. Mommy says, no, (yes!) our intent is fun! So here is what we did.

First was our Entrance. Then we Honored the invisible judges. Then we went into Opening Shape (I was supposed to sit, but Mommy miscued me). Then we did a Leg Weave, then a Serpentine across the floor. Then, after another bad cue, we did a Yahtzee turn and a half circle down to the middle of the floor, where we executed our Closing Shape. I bounced a lot to show how much fun I was having.

Mommy said we need a lot more practice. The teacher said come back on Saturday and we will all work on our dances some more. Yay!

I am Xena the Dancing Schnauzer Warrior Princess

 

Freestyle Lesson #4 with Critique

I sure do go through a lot of different emotions when it’s time for Freestyle. Here they are in the order I experienced them yesterday.

    1. Anticipation: We’re going to Freestyle! Yay!
    2. Fear: I’m riding in the truck *shudder, pant, pant*, I’m riding in the truck *shudder, pant, pant* the whole 40 minute drive there.
    3. Dominance: We pulled into the parking lot and I immediately forgot to be afraid. Instead, I saw the other dogs outside getting ready to go in (code for pottying) and I grrr-ed and postured.
    4. Fear of Humiliation: We got inside and I had just gotten on Mommy’s lap when I realized I forgot to “get ready to go in.” I didn’t want to poop in front of all those other dogs and have them laugh at me or see me as less dominant. I started shaking again.
    5. Excitement: It was suddenly our turn to show everyone our homework and I just knew we were going to ace it.
    6. Exhaustion: I slept most of the way home.

I threw in an extra turn and, after hesitating for only a split second, Mommy made it work with our short little routine. I think I did everything right. Of course, the first comment was, “She’s just so doggone adorable!”

Someone took a video. She didn’t do as good a job at videoing as I did at dancing, but here it is anyway.

That’s me getting my treat at the end. I thought you might be interested in reading the commentary afterward. It was all about things Mommy could do better.

  1. The opening shape: Stand up straight, Keep front leg closer and use her toe to make a better line.
  2. Praise on that yahtzee turn. That’s the one on the left side of your screen where we both turn outwards at the same time.
  3. Although Mommy wore all beige clothing to try to diminish her and highlight me, it didn’t work. They suggested she try all black.
  4. Use smaller hand motions.
  5. At the very end, finish getting her long legs down on the floor before I am completely in my down, he, he.

It seems that Mommy has a lot to work on, so we better go get busy.

I am Xena the Freestyle Schnauzer Warrior Princess

From Agility to Freestyle with Xena

Hey friends! I graduated from my Agility too class and I can prove it. I got another piece of paper saying so. Strangely enough, it has Daddy’s name on it too. He has never, ever gone with us. I don’t think he even knows what Agility too is. Mommy says I should give him a break ’cause he’s my Daddy and he loves me. I love you too, Daddy. ❤

Now we are going to focus on Freestyle for a while, and will probably go back to Agility again after we perform in Freestyle in April at the Chattanooga Obedience Club meeting. We’ve started working on our performance a tiny little bit. Last Sunday we worked on opening shapes. But I don’t think Mommy’s knees are up to what the teacher asked us to do. You can watch it here if you want. You can hear the teacher, Miss Julia’s voice asking us to try it different ways.

Our homework is to use an opening shape (we hope one that Mommy can get up from a little more gracefully) and turn it into a movement, then into a closing shape. We have two weeks before our next class, so we should be OK. At least if Mommy stays off her knees.  *sigh*  We worked on all kinds of turns, too. Miss Julia asked me and Mommy to demonstrate the yahtzee turn, and we did it perfectly! (Mommy’s been working ahead with me at home ’cause she already knows all this stuff.)

Did you see me scratching at the end of the video? Allergy season has started to hit, and I have only been getting my sea rum for 2 months, not quite long enough for it to work good yet. Mommy had an email conversation with my allergy dogtor and now I have to get more baths (drat) and almond butter covered Xertec (yum). He’s trying to take my beef-chicken-egg diet away from me, too, but Mommy thinks if it was the food that I would have itched all winter, and I didn’t. So phthh! to the allergy dogtor on that one.

Gotta go practice my Freestyle now.

I am Xena the Dancing Schnauzer Warrior Princess

From Pupdates to Ludwig Missing

WHERE WERE MOM AND DAD

Xena: Hi Everyone! As we mentioned not long ago, Miss Christy came and stayed with us while Mom and Dad took off without us for two whole nights. I showed her my favorite spot. Then I showed her how fearless I am when I play-attack Lucy. 

Miss Christy said I am as spunky as ever! Oh yeah, we found out that Mommy and Daddy went to a church convention. Here they are with a flat dude. The flat dude’s  name is the Most Reverend Michael Curry. Some of you may might have heard of him. Mommy said she missed us me us very much and the first thing she did when she got home was take us for a nice walk.

FREESTYLE

Xena: I know you have been waiting to see another video of me dancing Freestyle. This one is from my second lesson. 

Since this lesson, I have gotten much better at walking close to Mommy’s legs. She shows me what she wants by holding a wooden spoon with almond butter on it down next to her leg when she walks. Tricky Mommy, but I don’t care. It tastes great and wait ’til you see my next video!

Lucy: Can I go next, Xena?
Xena: No, it’s still my turn.

XENA STANDS UP FOR HERSELF

I mentioned a little while back that I stood up to 2 dogs and They. Backed. Down.  I know y’all have been waiting to hear that story. The first “incident” was when Peyton and Slider’s folks came to pick them up after being groomed. Mommy let me go outside with everybody and while I was trying to make friends Peyton growled and lunged at me. You can see in this picture that Mommy has used her as a guard dog, so I should have been more cautious.Anyhoo, I lunged right back at her. We never actually touched, but I was ready. Her Mom said no one has ever stood up to her before, so Peyton didn’t know what to do and just quit.  The second time was with the dog sitting next to me and Mommy at Freestyle class. We don’t have a picture of this dog, but he is the typical, crazed Border Collie. He was already worked up because he wanted to do Agility instead of Freestyle, then he kept starring at a little girl there, and finally he snarled at me. I stood up and lunged and he pulled away. *wipes paws* That  took care of that!

CHRISTMAS TREE

Xena: Maybe you remember that our tree was still up the beginning of January. I started placing bets on if it would come down before Valentine’s Day, and if so, by how many days.

Lucy: Who were you betting with, Xena?

Xena: Myself. That way I was sure to win. Anyhoo, it’s gone. It disappeared the first week of February. I looked out the window to see if it was in the front yard, but I couldn’t spot it. I also ran through the side woods to try to find it, but I couldn’t smell it anywhere. And I got in trouble for running out of the yard.This red leather chair took over the space. No matter. I won the bet. I won the bet, Mommy. Give me a treat.

LUCY AND THE KENNEL

 

Lucy: Everyone was very kind to me when I let y’all know what I got for my birthday – a jail cell. I am very happy to report that I was so good after I saw it that Mommy never had the heart to make me stay in it, not even when both she and Dad left the house. She kept the door open so I could go in and explore, but why would I want to do that?

It is now folded up and leaning against the wall. That was a better present!

MISSING FRIENDS

Xena: That reminds me, I haven’t seen my friends, Brownie Bear or Ludwig or Rainbow Bear or even little Sweetheart Bear for 87 weeks.

Lucy: How on earth did my prison remind you of them?

Xena: They spent a lot of time hanging out in my kennel. Anyhoo, do you know where they are, Lucy?

Lucy: I heard they are hibernating in the guest closet for the winter. Bears do that you know. Of course, Winter Bear is still awake and playing in your kennel ’cause he’s a winter bear.

Xena: But Ludwig’s not a bear…where is he?

Lucy: He’s supposed to be guarding the bears while they sleep all winter. Let’s go take a peek. Xena: HEY YOU BEARS, WHY ARE Y’ALL SLEEPING AND WHERE’S LUDWIG?

Lucy: Shhhhhh Xena, don’t wake them up or they’ll be grumpy. But where is Ludwig?

Xena: *whispering* Maybe he got hungry and went out for a burger and fries.

2 days later

Xena: Hey Lucy, I just checked and Ludwig is still gone. I hope he didn’t get lost. Or eaten by a coyote. Or squished on the road. Or, or… Mommy! Call the Missing Ludwig Po-Po’s and give them Ludwig’s picture. We can post it on all the trees and telephone poles, too.To be continued…

I am Xena the BRAVE Schnauzer Warrior Princess

and I am Lucy the umm, well, the Lovable

Freestyle–Woohoo!

I went to my very first ever Freestyle Dance class and I am so psyched! Hey Lucy, come look at the videos of me dancing with Mommy!

That’s my very first time around the floor. Can you tell how excited I was? I wanted to be sure everyone knows that I am really into this.

Lucy: But you…

Xena: I did so good that I got to do a special move called a Serpentine. I don’t think Mommy followed me very well; I had to keep coming back to get her.

Did you hear the teacher talk about the special move that Mommy did to help me switch sides,  and hoped she could remember it? No? The recorder must have gone off before that. Well, I’ll ask Mommy to keep watching the recording so that she does it again. The teacher said the move would catch on and even get named after me!

Lucy: But you….

Xena: So now I go to Agility every Monday and to Freestyle every Sunday. Woohoo! Woof! Woof!

Lucy: *sigh* Good job, Xena.

I am Xena the Schnauzer Warrior Princess and almost Freestyle Champion (woohoo!)

Lexi’s Memorial Service – Recorded

For those of you who were unable to watch live this morning, here is the link to the recorded service. The sound levels are not great on this raw footage, so please bear with it. They improve a bit into it. Later, when my dear, over-worked husband has a bit of time to work on the sound, I will repost it. But for those who don’t want to wait, here it is on Vimeo:

Lexi’s Memorial Service at St. Luke UMC

 

 

Sunshine and Walking

Hi friends. I am still feeling pretty lousy.Mom said that’s a lousy way to start a message, but it’s the truth. Even with my meds, my tummy doesn’t feel good and I don’t want to eat. Except once, yesterday, the “make Lexi feel famished” pill kicked in and I gulped down most of a can of k/d.

This morning I wanted to go outside. The back of our house faces the east and the sun had not quite topped the trees. However, a few rays of sunshine pierced through the branches and foliage to make sun puddles on the concrete just outside of our enclosed patio. Mommy carried me out there and held me in the the sun puddles until her back ached and she had to sit down.

After a while we went in, but Mom could tell I was still restless, that I still wanted something. When she asked me if I wanted to go for a walk, I went to the front door, the one we often use to go out for a walk. Mom let me go out without my leash, too! I made it down the stairs ok and we walked side-by-side down the driveway, where I made my usual right turn to walk along the bottom of all the yards. We only went as far as the neighbor’s house. When we got back to our driveway, Mommy asked me if I wanted to keep going and I said yes, so we walked past two more houses to the corner where all the neighbor dogs leave their pee mail. I read what was there and turned left to go down that road for a few more houses. Sometimes I followed Mom, and sometimes she followed me. It was kind of like when we did Freestyle, only without the music and fancy footwork. We live out in the country in a quiet subdivision with only local traffic, and Mom made sure I didn’t wander into the road. She knew there was no chance of me taking off to chase anything.

There were tons of smells and Mom let me explore along the way. It was just like old times. There we were, just the two of us, taking a leisurely Sunday stroll through the neighborhood. Once back home, Mom carried me up our driveway and I am pleasantly tired now. I think the “make the schnauzer famished pill” might be starting to kick in too, so Mom is going to stop typing so she can use her hands to feed the schnauzer.

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Our Valiversary

Valentine + Anniversary = Valiversary.

That’s what my sweet Noodle and I have today. My crew worked really hard to come up with something special enough for my fantastic guy. Well, most of them did, anyway. I finally decided that anything short of the personal touch would not be enough, so I brought on some so-called experts. They wasted no time checking out different internet sites, did a search on “love” and found that women sometimes dance for their guys… and their guys like it.

big dog eyes 1 bigdogeyes3 bigdogeyes 2

big eyes collage

After the crew did more research, there was a massive scrubbing of computers. I’m still not sure what happened. So…

I did my own dance for you, honey.  Mom helped me dance while Dad recorded it for you. There were times I was dreaming of dancing alone, just for you. I hope you enjoy my personal present to you:. (Be sure to keep watching when the butterflies appear at the end!)

Continuing the 8 Photos of Happiness Challenge

Noodle nominated me to participate in the 8 Photos of Happiness Challenge created by Ariel’s Little Corner of the Internet. How fun! In no particular order…

My all-time favorite thing…the stage. And this is a montage, so it counts as one picture, as Noodle said!
My all-time favorite thing…the stage. And this is a montage, so it counts as one picture, as Noodle said!

I love to go to Rock City with Mom and Dad for Rocktober Fest. I always see some of my peeps friends there and there is good German food for a good German dog, too!
I love to go to Rock City with Mom and Dad for Rocktober Fest. I always see some of my peeps friends there and there is good German food for a good German dog, too!

This picture is from my 10-year-old birthday party. I had a Healthy Choice meal with my Mom and Dad and then my very own cake shaped like a dog. I know, kinda’ weird, but Mom meant well. Can you see the happy all over my face?
This picture is from my 10-year-old birthday party. I had a Healthy Choice meal with my Mom and Dad and then my very own cake shaped like a dog. I know, kinda’ weird, but Mom meant well. Can you see the happy all over my face?

This one is from my last Freestyle competition. I love Freestyle!
This one is from my last Freestyle competition. I love Freestyle!

Another  birthday pic, this one from this past May. I love birthdays and I love MickyD's!!
Another birthday pic, this one from this past May. I love birthdays and I love Micky D’s!!

I love boating on my Sammy Joe, feeling the wind in my face.
I love boating on my Sammy Joe, feeling the wind in my face.

I love to help Mom in the kitchen.
I love to help Mom in the kitchen.

There are so many more pictures of things that make me happy, it is hard to choose the last one. Should it be of me at work at the church on the mountain? Or rolling in the ivy? Or taking a trip?

It's hard to stay awake when it is bedtime, but sacri- fices have to be made.
This is one of my nite-nite rituals with my Dad. Happy endings to happy days.

It’s now time for me to nominate the following blogs/friends:

One of my new friends Kona, at Mister Baloney Head

Sammy at, well, Saving Sammie

My friend who I wish would stay out of the street, Cupcake, at Cupcake Speaks

Sophie, who knows what a real terrier attitude should be, at corkscot (OK, Shelby and Sidney too)

I do not wish to be responsible for anyone’s unhappiness because I inadvertently omitted them, so If you want to join the challenge, just JOIN!

Rules and explanation of this tag:

  • Thank your nominator/s and link them in your post.
  • Link the creator (Ariel’s little corner of the internet)
  • Post your 8 photos of happiness;
  • The photos can be anything that represents a moment, object, place or feeling that makes you happy.
  •  Pop in a brief description of the photo, why you chose it or let the photos do the talking!
  • Spread the happiness and tag up to ten other bloggers!

Memory Monday: The Triple i

It’s Memory Monday time again and I wanted to try once again to explain why  I am not BFF’s with Riley . He is an imposter, an imposer and an imposition. (I am practicing my i words today.) He wants to do everything I do. Here are two examples. (No Mom, I don’t think I am obsessing over Riley.)Memory Monday:

June 18, 2012

Riley’s Diary: I am an agility AND a freestyle dog.

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Me and Andrew at Agility!

Hi friends. I completed my first agility course with my people brother Andrew and got a nice piece of paper for it. Not edible. Andrew is going to keep it because it is his first time doing anything like this. Well, it is my first time too, but I love Andrew so I guess I will let him keep it. We are now in Agility II and doing stuff called teeters and weaves. I am slowly getting used to stepping on a training board that moves around. It is a bit scary, but I am getting braver every week. The other dogs are all running across the real teeter. I need to think about it a bit longer before I trust it. Agility is really great though, cause I get tons and tons of treats while I am there, really good stuff I never get any other time. The best part, though is that Andrew has a new toy he plays with me only when we are there. I want to play with the other dogs, too, but I have to understand that this is not the time for it.

Me and Milo practicing our Freestyle.
Me and Milo practicing our Freestyle.

I have also been going with Mom and Lexi and Milo to Freestyle training. I have to sit in a crate a lot, but boy do I ever love it when I get to go on the floor and strut my stuff. Everyone says how very beautiful I look with my long legs, just like a Tennessee Walking Horse. Now I don’t know what that is, but it must be really pretty.

I am so happy to get to do the things my talented little sis does! She’s the best!  Riley

Now here is a Memory Monday from my best guy, Noodle. Noodle 2

Memory Monday – Winning at Freestyle

Hi friends. Today is….Memory Monday! I have been thinking about my first Freestyle Competition. For those of you who don’t already know, Freestyle is coordinated movement between a person and a dog, set to music selected for the dog’s tempo. In other words, it is doggie dancing! Woohoo! Here we go…

May, 2011

I had spent a grueling six or more months preparing for my first competition. My tempo had to be determined (145 bpm), then music picked out. Mom and I tried out lots of different 145 bpm music until we came upon Dan Landrum’s Split Rail Fences. He plays an instrument called the hammered dulcimer, and the beat and sound of the music made me pick up my feet, lift up my head and prance around the floor. Voila, we had our music.  I was starting in Level IIa,  where there were standard moves we had to include, such as right and left side heels, face work including backing and different crosses. We worked hard on all that, and being a natural, I quickly perfected the moves.

The next step was putting together a routine using all those moves. Mom and I went to the dance studio and worked on the wooden floors where it wasn’t too hard on our joints, and we had plenty of space to m-o-v-e. After about 40 minutes I would get tired and lose interest, so we kept the workouts down to around a half hour each time. Sometimes we would do what Mommy had sketched out on her writing pad, and sometimes we would do what I thought went best with the music. That’s part of being a team. Combining both our ideas, we finally had a routine. Now to practice, practice, practice that routine until we could both do it without hesitation (and without Mommy looking at her notes).

Finally, the big day arrived. My good friend Pierre is one of the bosses at C.G. Roxanne water bottling company, and he sent over tons of water for the thirsty people. I was the official spokes dog for the company that day.

Lexi with CG Roxanne Water (1)Mom bought me a new travel kennel so I would have my own private place to rest. It is sort of like a celebrity dressing room. I was very happy and excited and kept popping up to see what was happening next.

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I had my music edited to fit our routine and we brought that to be played for My Performance our dance. When I got there I receive my Freestyle medallion. I also got a program with my name and stats in it, along with all the important info about our dance. (I don’t know why they called me a b…ch!) I was number 203, and Mom had to wear a sign rubber banded around her arm so everyone would know it was me.

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Mom and I went onto the center of the floor, where we both bowed to the judges (well, at least in my mind I did) and assumed our starting positions. Mom nodded at the minion Jim who was running sound and we started our routine to Split Rail Fences. I was brilliant. I was so brilliant that I got some points deducted. The judges said I wasn’t allowed to do laterals at this level. (Laterals are where Mommy and I both move sideways by facing forward and crossing our legs. I am a natural “leftie” so that’s the direction we moved. It’s lots of fun.) No one had told Mommy that the rules had changed since she ordered the rule book. Even so, the judges wrote that on the bottom of the score sheet. They also wrote,”A delightful and joyful team.” I still won a medal, and we went home tired and happy!0712151619

Now, my amazing four year old boyfriend, Noodle, shares a Monday Memory.

Noodle 2 (You will see that we are a good couple – both so talented! 🙂 )

Memory Monday: My Sixth Year

Memory Monday

Can you believe I scrunched a whole year into one blog? I wrote this right after I turned seven years old in the year 2010. (Be sure to check out Noodle’s Memory Monday post, too!)

May 9, 2010

It’s been such a busy year! My birthday was Friday, and I went to St. Paul’ Episcopal Church – where Mom works – to spend the day. We had a party – cupcakes and doggie ice cream for me, people ice cream for everyone else. How many schnauzers do you know who get to have a birthday party at church! I have been there more lately, since our house is up for sale and I go with mom when there is going to be a showing. Everyone loves me (of course) as I play my magic on them. If Mom can’t find me, she just has to look for who has food at their desk. I will be sitting there staring at them. Not long ago I greeted one of my bestest friends, Gail, at the back door, and made her understand I wanted her to follow me. I led her into the work room where I had detected bagels on the table, but couldn’t reach them. I had been sitting staring up at the table until I heard Gail come in and ran to ask for some help. Unfortunately, Gail didn’t give me one.

It has been another exciting year for me! Mom and I graduated from three agility classes; then Mom put it down for a while. I was doing fine. Mom was having trouble keeping her bearings on the course. So then we moved on to Freestyle with a different group. Pam (with Sophie-the-schnauzer) was in agility with us, and went on to Freestyle. Sophie has really blossomed with this special attention. She even won some events her first time out at an agility competition! Anyhow, it was mostly just me and Sophie in the Freestyle training with a couple of good teachers (and Mom and Pam). They were starting to prepare us to compete in the April event here in Chattanooga. Then another opportunity opened that I couldn’t resist – I was asked to play Toto again at the Colonnade in Ringgold, Georgia.

rainbow
The Colonnade where I played Toto for the 2nd time.  I wonder if God sent the rainbow especially for us.

We had six weeks of rehearsals and two weekends of performance, and it knocked us out of Freestyle training. I figured we could get back into Freestyle, but this opportunity wouldn’t wait. Anyhow, I bonded with my new Dorothy, who Mom couldn’t call Dorothy, because every time she did, I went running off looking for Kim, who played my first Dorothy. So mom just called her by her name, Kandis. The wicked witch, Jan, used to train dogs, so we spent some time at her house with Kandis, too, during which time I also bonded with her…not such a good thing. Read on… The second weekend of the play, during the scene where Miss Gulch (also played by Jan) has lost “that dratted dog” and gone back to the farm looking for me, I got away from a distracted Kandis (who was probably texting, but definitely not watching me) and ran back out on stage to Jan, where I stop and look up at her. Jan looks down at me and cracks up. At that point “Uncle Henry” points at me and says, “There’s that dratted dog!” and, as if on cue, I run back off the stage to Mom. Everyone in the audience roared with laughter. I do love to make people laugh!

I remembered my role from 2 1/2 years ago. I picked up old habits, like how I followed the foursome down the yellow brick road. My agility and freestyle training had honed my responsiveness to their movements. And yes, in the opening scene where I run out onto stage at the end of the Rainbow song, ending up in Dorothy’s arms, a collective “awwwwww” still resounded from the audience.

Jennefer (Piper’s mom) and my Mom are still good friends. So she came the first night the play opened and sat in the second row. Yeah, not a good idea. Halfway through the second act, I peeped out from behind the curtain, spotted her, and tore across the stage, and down the stairs, leaping into her lap! Jennefer said she felt like such a proud aunt. People started asking her if I was her dog, and she said, no, I am her niece. Now we call her “Auntie Jen.”

The same doggie bakery who made all my healthy treats and “hot dogs” (really dog biscuits) donated them for the play. They remembered me. Who wouldn’t?

A couple of weeks after the play ended, Mom and Dad and I attended the cast party. They played the video of one of the performances, and at the end of the opening credits, it said, in great big letters, “Introducing Lexi as Toto”. Not quite accurate, but pretty neat, nonetheless. I mingled and when dinner was served I sat at the head of one of the tables and ate my salmon and asparagus off a fork (of course Mom cut it up and helped me with the fork). I never, ever, put my head down into the plate when sitting at a table. I to know that would be extremely bad manners.

I go once a month to T.C. Thompson Children’s hospital. Among all my tricks, the best one is putting a big smile on a sick kid’s face. I sit quietly on the bed next to a child to let him/her pet me. I don’t move around the bed or ever step on the child, which is pretty important since many have had surgery. We would both love to go more often, but there are too many dogs who love to do the same thing. Mom is certainly blessed to have a boss who sees the importance in what we do, that she can take off work every month to do this.

I am scheduled to go to an elementary school next week. The children have been reading about service dogs, and they want me to come so they can see a real, live, therapy dog. Mom says I will probably spend the time sniffing under their desks for crumbs! I am Lexi, the birthday girl.

Here are pictures showing other highlights of my 6th year:

Lily, 11 years old
Lily, 11 years old.  I didn’t appreciate her being around then. She is at the rainbow bridge, now.

Ivy 2010
Ivy, 12 years old. I guess I didn’t appreciate her, either, and now she is gone, too.

Outer Banks house where I vacationed
House in the Outer Banks, North Carolina where me and Mom and my peeps brother Adam vacationed with Mom’s best friend from “up North” and her big Italian family. I got a lot of sand burs in my hair.

Dad is ready to go teach polka at Rock City. Here I am hoping he hasn't gotten some wild idea about putting a costume on me.
Dad is ready to go teach polka at Rock City. Here I am hoping he hasn’t gotten some wild idea about putting a costume on me.

It's almost Christmas!
It’s almost Christmas!

Mom says her grandma's stairs were the most photographed in the world because that's where she had so many pictures taken. I think that must be why she poses me on our stairs. That's Father Christmas next to me. Later, I chewed him up.
Mom says her grandma’s stairs were the most photographed in the world because that’s where she had so many pictures taken. I think that must be why she poses me on our stairs. That’s Father Christmas next to me. Later, I chewed him up.

We all went to Wisconsin and stayed in a big house Daddy used to own. Now they rent out rooms and feed you breakfast.
We all went to Wisconsin in the spring and stayed in a big house Daddy used to own. Now they rent out rooms and feed you breakfast.

This is Bud. He's a Puli. He lives at Daddy's old house.. I'm still wondering if he is really a dog.
This is Bud. He’s a Puli. He lives at Daddy’s old house.. I’m still wondering if he is really a dog.

I didn't know this would be my last birthday in our house where we had lived for 4 years.  It made me sad, I didn't want to leave. (But I fell in love with our new house the first day there!)
I didn’t know this would be my last birthday in our house where we had lived for 4 years. It made me sad, I didn’t want to leave. (But I fell in love with our new house the first day there!)

Then I turned seven, and that’s a whole new story! I hope you enjoyed seeing the year leading up to my seventh birthday.

Memory Monday:

Here is Noodle’s Memory Monday. Noodle

My Life in Slides by Lexi (the Schnauzer)

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