Memory Monday with Lexi

 

Ahhh, rolling around in the ivy feels so good.

Anyone who has followed this blog for very long knows that our precious Lexi had a very good and full life. Below are a few pictures of Lexi enjoying her time “working” at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, or “the church on the mountain,” as she identified it. She guarded my office and greeted all those I permitted to enter (everyone), insisting on being pet and requesting food. Both were often obliged. (She gained five pounds during her two years of Wednesdays and Fridays there.) She enjoyed going into the enclosed memorial garden, whose entrance was directly across from our office. She took special delight in rolling in the vinca, after which I had to try to fluff it up. Ever try to fluff an ivy?

Lexi also had her memorable moments inside. I usually took her breakfast with us. Sometimes she did not approve, and did the D&D (Disdain and Dump). She was always a good communicator.

I do not approve of this breakfast. Get me something else.

Then came our last day at St. Tim’s. A friend gave us a plant. This was the last photo of Lexi  at “the church on the mountain.” More adventures were to come!

This flower is pretty and smells good, but hey, where are the treats?

 

Memory Monday: Agility

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As was the way with most things we did together, Lexi loved training and running Agility courses. No matter where we were, if she saw agility obstacles, she would go and run them. When we were learning the weave poles, the instructor told us to lead our dogs through the first pole, then to let them run straight along the side to get used to the poles. Lexi, being the precocious pup that she was, did a perfect weave first time out (with no previous training).

When we were practicing, she was very patient with me (thank you, Lexi) when I would get confused about which obstacle was next. She would simply go to her favorite – the V ramp – and run it over and over until I got my bearings.

Today, while going through a box of Valentine decorations we will use for our  Dance Class Valentine Party, I came across a forgotten memory. These are our certificates of completion for Agility 1: Foundation; Agility 2: Obstacles; and Agility 3: Sequences.

Toward the end of the Sequences Course, our turn had come at the starting line. The instructor, with timer in hand, asked if we were ready. Looking down, I said, “Are you ready, Lexi?” In answer, Lexi shot toward the first obstacle, with me a split second behind her. I faintly heard the instructor call, “I guess she was ready!” I think, if Lexi hadn’t been totally focused on her task, her reply would have been, “I was born ready.”

 

Memory Monday: Angels on Earth

Lexi was two years old when I snapped this photo in 2005. I didn’t realize until later that she already had her wings! See them? Well, maybe not. But this I know: there were so many things she knew, understood and did that I could never explain. Don't I look like I have wings?
For instance, she would single out a dance student who was practicing the step  incorrectly and draw my attention to it so I could help them. And she was always right about it. How did she know?

Also, when I had her attention and visualized the sun rising and setting, she understood how many days until something was going to happen. On that morning she would get extra-excited. For instance, on Thursday night I might tell her that we were going to the opening of Rocktoberfest on Saturday, then visualize the sun rising, setting, rising. No reaction Thursday night or Friday morning, but Saturday morning she would do the really excited dog thing. How did she know?

What does your dog or cat or pig or bird do that you can’t explain?

Memory Monday – First Boating Blog

from June 30, 2005 originally posted on Dogster when Lexi was 2 years old.

Me on my boat in the horrid yellow vest. Don't I look like a bumblebee?

Me on my boat in the horrid yellow vest. Don’t I look like a bumblebee?

Today I swam eleven laps around my pontoon boat – a personal best – perhaps because no one was watching when I wanted back in after the fourth lap.  When we were done at the lake we went to Dairy Queen, a place that has the most wonderful treats. Brrr!  The ice cream made me very cold and I started to shake uncontrollably. I knew Mom would take my ice cream away if she saw me shivering so I gobbled my pup cup of vanilla ice cream (my favorite flavor).  It was worth it! To warm me up, Mom had to sit in the hot car with me until the shakes went away. I’ll make up for it tonight by puking on Mom’s bed.  Won’t she be surprised?!

Memory Monday – Beginnings

miss-greenI believe that for most of us, our lives are like a novel that can be broken down into chapters. A new love can produce a new chapter: romance, marriage, the birth or adoption of a child or of a pet. I clearly remember the Saturday in June of 2003 when that new chapter began for me – the day I fell in love with Lexi. While her 4 littermates were sleeping, Lexi was trying to bite the cool air coming out of the floor vent in her breeder’s home. Two weeks later, on the Fourth of July, I made the three hour trip back to pick up my spirited, eight-week-old puppy. Thus began a glorious new chapter of love in my life. My Angel Lexi, forever my heart dog.

 

 

Memory Monday: Whose Interview Is This, Anyhow?

I promised to do Memory Mondays after Lexi left for the rainbow bridge. Even though I have been following your blogs and getting smiles from them, it has been too painful to post anything, other than helping Piper from time to time. Every time I think I am beginning to heal, the wound rips wide open again. My precious husband is grieving much more quietly, but still grieving nonetheless. He has lost so much weight that his pants bag and try to slide off, and he is pulling out the clothes that fit him several years ago. We miss our little girl terribly. The house feels so empty with just Jeff and me here. Everyone else has moved on, one way or another.

It helps that it is October, with Jeff working Rocktoberfest every weekend and me accompanying him every Saturday. Even there, though, there are so many memories, as Lexi always went with us.

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Last week our eight year wedding anniversary came and went, with neither of us feeling like celebrating.

So today I am determined to tell a story I promised one of Lexi’s wonderful blogging friends not long ago. It is the story of how Lexi helped me get my job at St. Luke, where she was so loved, even to the point of a memorial service after her passing. So here goes.

In the spring of 2015, the Ochs Center – Lexi and my Tuesday and Thursday job – closed up their offices. Lexi loved going there and it was quite difficult to leave that last day.

Lexi leaving ochs

Last time at the Ochs Center: I know this is our last day here. So many good memories. I don’t want to leave…

The board president told me about her church needing a part-time office administrator and said she would recommend me for the position. Happily, I got the call and scheduled an interview. The next Wednesday we celebrated Lexi’s 12th birthday at St. Timothy’s, where I worked the other three days of the week, and where Lexi usually joined me on Wednesdays and Fridays. I brought cookies and people came by my office to wish Lexi a happy birthday and to eat a cookie. That afternoon it suddenly dawned on me that my interview at St. Luke was immediately after work that day. In looking forward to celebrating Lexi’s birthday, I had completely forgotten, and it would take me an extra hour to take her home and drive back into town.  I decided I would call to see if I could bring Lexi with me to the interview. Bold move, but I was desperate. As a contingency plan, I called Jeff, who said he would meet me at the foot of Signal Mountain to take the schnauzer if they said no. I made the call, explained the situation and made my request. Unbeknownst to me, I was speaking with a volunteer. He said, “Well, we don’t usually encourage dogs at the Sunday service, but I reckon it would be ok to bring her with you to your interview.” So I did.

It was certainly providence that the three ladies who interviewed me were – and still are – dog lovers. Lexi was on her best behavior as she sniffed around the room and under the table, then, not finding any food, sat quietly beside me. The interviewers were all impressed with my resume, but I think even more impressed with Lexi. After a rather brief interview, I was offered the position with the caveat that Lexi would also come work with me.  We started work the next week. She always believed she was the reason I got the job, and I won’t be the one to argue with that.

I had been sitting while being trained on phones, but decided I could learn as much in a more comfortable position.

I (Lexi) had been sitting while being trained on the new phones, but decided I could learn as much in a more comfortable position.

Memory Monday – Two Years Ago Today

Yep, as Lexi would have said, I’m at it again with those time-line thingies.

During September of 2014 Lexi was in rehearsal for her third run as Toto. We (Lexi and I) were working at the “church on the mountain,” as Lexi called it. From there, it was a mad 40 to 60 minute drive down the mountain, through downtown during rush hour traffic, and onto the interstate to get to the theater in North Georgia. Once we got parked, Lexi ran to the grass to relieve herself so that she didn’t have to take a break during rehearsal. Then up the ramp she ran and into the propped door, now focused and all business. This picture is of Lexi Toto hanging out with “The Piano Man” while listening to the director’s instructions to everyone.

Lexi with Piano Man

Memory Monday Walk Down Puppy Lane

I am so glad Mommy has gotten better about taking pictures, because we could only find three pictures of me under one year of age.

Me as Miss Green

Me as Miss Green

My head in Ara's mouth

My head in Ara’s mouth

The picture on the left was taken by the lady named Becky who had my doggie mom and dad. I was about 4 weeks old here. She put different colored collars on us puppies so she could tell us apart easier, and we were all Miss or Mr (plus color). It also helped prospective buyers who got pictures of us on the internet.

The picture with the German Shepherd. Now that’ one for posterity, isn’t it? I had this silly game where I grabbed Mr. Ara’s lip and pulled it out until he screamed. It was great fun. One day I decided to do an alligator roll with his lip between my pin-like puppy teeth. He wanted me to clearly understand what would happen if I did that again. I am a quick learner, and since my head is still attached to my body, you can see I learned that lesson the first time. Mommy took this picture to help me remember.

My first toy in my new home

My first toy in my new home

My peeps brother Andrew came to meet me on my first day in my furever home. He brought me this lion hand puppet. I had great fun with it for years. One of my peeps – usually Mom – would put her hand in it and I would attack it! I was only 8 weeks old in this picture.

Six month old Riley with his new toys

Six month old Riley with his new toys

Bonus picture: Mommy found Riley when he was six months old – or at least that’s how old the vet said he was. She didn’t know his taste in toys, so she bought him a variety. He liked the bone best. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop him from chewing up our bedspreads, dog beds, pillows, and blankets.

Memory Monday – WOZ Crew in Pictures

This month for Memory Monday I thought I would mix it up with a picture collage. Isn’t that why we take pictures, anyhow, to remember? This one contains never before posted pictures of my first time as Toto in 2006. You can click on the collage to make it bigger and easier to see.

The top left picture is, of course, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion. The Tin Man got mad at me once because I got away from Mom during his big scene, his solo performance, and danced back and forth across the stage with him. The audience was laughing when it wasn’t supposed to be funny. He may have forgiven me by now. I never had much interaction with the Scarecrow. A man made out of straw is liable to flop onto you at any time, so it is prudent to stay your distance. The Lion was my buddy. He carried me a lot, especially when things got a bit scary, like in the Wicked Witch’s castle. He didn’t even get mad the time I gently reached over and grabbed his nose between my teeth while I was in his arms on stage. It was just an affectionate nip, which, as a fellow animal, he seemed to understand.

WOX Montage

In the top middle picture, that’s me in Dorothy’s arms, sandwiched between the two witches. I was fascinated by the wicked witch. She was scary mean when we were on stage, but so nice to me at other times. However, I managed to upset her once too. *sigh* She was sneaking across the back of the stage, supposedly unseen by Dorothy and company who were at the front of the stage. I ran off from Dorothy (which Toto was always doing in the movie) and started following and barking at her. She started waving her arm wildly at me to get away, which, again, got the audience laughing. I felt it was such a success that I included that in my performance every night. She never seemed to get used to it. *sigh*

The bottom left picture is of me and the costume person. I liked her because she never tried to put costumes on me. She said I was perfect the way I was. *big smile* Finally, the bottom middle picture is my brother Andrew, so proud of me after one of the performances!

This is Lexi Toto with lots of great memories!

Memory Monday – Cat antics

Dear Friends,

I asked Mommy to run this for me while I am getting my teeth cleaned. I was shaking in the arms of the tech when Mom left…

It’s here again, friends, the first Monday of the month. This time I find myself thinking about the first time I found out that cats can be ok. I had never had much luck with them in the past. They either tried to kill me (Mom says I am a bit melodramatic with this) or got me in trouble by making me cross the street to chase them, or just scared me a lot. Let me tell you what happened to change my mind.

    (L-R) Piper, Marley, me

Mom went away and my BFF Auntie Jen picked me up to stay with her and her two schnauzers, Piper and Marley. Note: Marley no longer lives with Auntie Jen.  I didn’t know there was going to be a cat involved! But, sure enough, there was a cat in her house, big as day. Not only that, Piper and Marley played with her. Can you believe it? When the cat started trying to get me to chase her for fun, I didn’t trust her. I have been tricked like that before, and it never ended well for me. (At this point in my story, please imagine me rubbing my nose with my paw, tears in my eyes.) This crazy cat was so persistent about it that I finally couldn’t help myself – I chased her. Then she chased me, but not mean-like. She was kind of laughing, in a cat way. Then she let me chase her some more. I liked this cat. I drew the line on cuddling with her like little Marley did. I did cuddle with Marley, though. Everyone cuddles with Marley.The last night I was there both my dog friends went to stay with their grandmother and I got to snuggle in bed all night with their Mom and Dad all by myself – no other dogs to take the attention I should be getting. I hoped Auntie Jen would come and get me again sometime. The next night I got to stay with my Grandma and sleep under the covers with her and eat toast and jam the next morning. I loved my Grandma.

I was Lexi, the cat-playing, snuggling schnauzer.

Memory Monday – Theater Finale

Before I tell you about my final gig as Toto, I remembered that I wanted to show you something from the first show. The Theatre Centre had these cool buttons made. That’s ME!

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Now, I am back to give you what you crave: details of my final appearance in a production of the Wizard of Oz.

It was spring of 2014. I was eleven years old, limber, sharp of mind, and jonesing to get back on stage.  My first Dorothy had been one of the managers at Rock City ever since I knew her. Every year she would hire Dad to teach Irish folk dance in March at Shamrock City and polka at Octoberfest. She deserted us left after having her second baby and Rock City hired a new person, Jonathan. During the Shamrock City gig in 2014 Dad heard Jonathan talking about bringing WOZ back to the Colonnade. Dad came home and told Mom she needed to go with him the next weekend and bring me and some of my calling cards. Of course we went, and the next thing we knew we were being asked to submit my bio for the play. It’s pretty impressive, so I know you will want to read it, too. Lexi’s Bio.

Even though it had been a couple of years since my last performance, I was still active in Freestyle. That kept me sharp and responsive to movements. I still did a bit of preparation for my part, which you can read about in a previous post. There were lots of rehearsals, too. I knew what to do, so I tried to help everyone else so we could just get on with opening the play. Here are some pictures from rehearsal:

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Why isn’t anyone up here rehearsing with me. Chop, chop, people!

 

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                                                   Always listen closely when the director gives directions.

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 See how close I am to the drop off? Mommy held her breath a lot.

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Hi I’m Toto. Nice to meetcha.

 

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That’s Dorothy on the left, Glenda the good witch on the right, and a couple of  munchkins in the background.

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This young man had never held a dog, so Mom convinced him to hold me. Now he wants a dog.

 Finally, rehearsals were over. Every night for a week we didn’t get home and in bed until eleven o’clock. Mom and I were exhausted. We were barely getting to work the next day.  And there was too much to do for us to sleep at work. Our schedule was get up, eat breakfast (me), go to work, eat lunch (Mom),  starve the schnauzer, go to the theater, rehearse and get treats (me), go home, get a treat (me) and go to bed. Over and over again. I lost a whole pound.

The play opened in September of 2014. I loved being on the stage again. It was on Mommy’s birthday that I posted my thoughts about it, which you can read here. Of course, I had a different Dorothy again. Here is a picture of us on stage. I know this is while we are in Oz because her dress is blue. In Kansas, everything is black and white. Isn’t it funny that I am still  black and white in Oz, BOL!

Me and my 3rd Dorothy

Me and my 3rd Dorothy

 I look at the picture now and am embarassed about my weight back then. No wonder she grunted every time she picked me up! What an extra 5 pounds can do to a little schnauzer!

On opening night, those munchkins kept getting in my way. They started dancing as I was entering from stage right and almost danced me right off the front of the stage. Now that would have been an opening night to remember! It shook me up. I wasn’t myself the rest of the night. I hear people say that, and I think it is funny. Who are they if they aren’t themselves? Of course, in my case, I was Toto. BOL. The next night Mom adjusted my entrance to be from stage left. It worked much better.

I performed every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, plus a matinee on Saturdays. I’ll tell you, by the time Saturday night came around I was almost too tired to walk onto the stage. I know my acting Saturday evenings suffered from it. At first Mom would take me out shopping – like to Lowe’s Hardware or the pet store  – after the matinee, just to kill time. We live an hour away, so it was too far to go home. When she realized how tired I was she let me sleep in my kennel in the wings, just off the stage. That helped, but I was still ready to go home. By the end of the second week I was posting about that.

One night my Dad came and watched me perform. I didn’t realize he was there until I saw him in the lobby at the meet and greet. He held me while everyone pet me and asked if I was his dog. He had the honor of saying yes. I was really tired from my performance so I laid quietly in his arms. However, when he put me down, I tried to scamper down the hall, where I could smell the Mexican food from some other event. I am never too tired for food.  After that, either Mom or Dad held me until it was time to go home. Drat, foiled again.

WOZ 3

The last day of the play was a Sunday. Before the curtain opened on the evening performance Mommy said she had something very important to tell me, and to listen closely. She said it was not only the last performance of this production, but probably my last performance as Toto. She said to do my very best; push away being tired and give them a show they will never forget. So I did. I acted my little heart out. I think it was my best performance ever. I took my final bows with Dorothy and the cast and walked to the door. I was too sad to say goodbye to anyone. At least I have my memories.

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

When all the world is a hopeless jumble, And the raindrops tumble all around, Heaven opens a magic lane. When all the clouds darken up the skyway, There’s a rainbow highway to be found, leading from your window pane. To a place behind the sun, Just a step beyond the rain. —- Somewhere over the rainbow…*

*The opening lines from the song “Over the Rainbow.”

Memory Monday – Wizard of Oz Part 2

Let’s see, where was I in recollecting my first experiences as Toto. Ah, yes, we had just met my now Auntie Jen.

Auntie Jen and cousin Piper

Auntie Jen and cousin Piper

In theater, there is something called a green room. It is where the cast can sit and rest between scenes, but most especially between the first and second act. I usually showed up about 15 minutes before the show started since I didn’t need makeup or wardrobe. It would be just in time to warm up my voice with everyone, as I previously posted. Besides, it was fun to see the stage manager sigh with relief every time I walked tore through the back stage door. One evening as I ran toward the warm-up room I smelled, then saw, someone walk in with baked goods and place them in the green room. During the entire play I couldn’t stop thinking about that. Now let me mention that as unlikely as it may seem, there are a few scenes that I am simply not supposed to be in, such as when Uncle Henry and Auntie Em can’t find me or My Dorothy after the tornado. It was during one such scene that I could no longer control my urge to eat those baked goods. Unfortunately, they were on the far side of the stage. Sure, I could have taken the long way around behind the back curtain. Bwahahaha! Who are we kidding? Even I know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and that line took me straight across the stage. Like a good quarterback (my peeps brother Andrew watches a lot of football so I understand a bit of it), I made it through the first line of defense as I exited the stage, intent on my goal. The second line of defense closed in on me just before I could round the corner and devour what was calling me to it like a siren song. So I didn’t get my baked goods and Auntie Em was mad at me. 😦 Mom wasn’t very happy with me either, but gave me points for speed and determination. Points? She could have just given me baked goods.

I ran so fast everything became blurry.

I ran so fast everything became blurry. (reenaction)

In June I posted some Memory Mondays about my time as Toto. If you missed them, you can read them here. I was going to tell you all about winning my Annie Award, but that is included in the June post, too. I guess Mommy’s name is also on the award because she was my stage director.Annie Award

Mom actually made a schedule of when I was supposed to be on stage with cues and stage sides to enter and exit. If you are interested, you can see it here.

2nd Production of the Wizard of Oz (WOZ):

Early in 2010 I got called to star once again as Toto in a WOZ production at a convention center called the Colonnade in a town called Fort Oglethorpe in North Georgia.  I blogged about it at the time, also. Go ahead, click the link, it is safe. I got left out of the playbill, if you can believe that! I mean, who leaves the star out of the program? I wasn’t too happy about it, but Mom was steamed!

This time the director didn’t have a plan for what scenes I could be in or how much I could be on stage. Having had some experience at this, Mom called the shots for me. She let me go on stage a lot more, but not when it would have hurt the story line. She still had my playbook all marked up with when and where I was to enter and exit. Apparently, direction and routine appeal to her as much as they do to me.

I didn’t understand why there were long gaps between each scene as the sets were changed. At one such time I was with Kandis the Dorothy behind the curtain, bored with waiting and peeking out to see what I could see. Suddenly I spotted my Auntie Jen in the audience! I glanced back at Kandis, who was distracted with texting, and made my break. For the first and last time in my career I forgot the stage actor rules and tore down the stairs and into the middle of the audience, leaping right into Auntie Jen’s lap. I was wiggling all over, wagging my tail and even gave her a hug. She was beaming. I could feel the happiness radiating off of her. People in the seats near her were asking if I was her dog. “No,” she replied, “this is my niece.” ❤

We went to the Star Awards ceremony, which was held at the Colonnade. I fully expected to get another award, but those people forgot all about me – again. I made my point by running up on stage while Kandis (Dorothy) was singing Over the Rainbow. Would you believe she had her eyes closed and didn’t even see me! So I trotted backstage, lickity split, where they were setting up the food for after the awards. If I wasn’t going to get an award, I sure was going to get something out of being there. I came back out as she was finishing the song and this time I know she had to have seen me because people were chuckling. When she looked down, I slipped her and went back to the food. She came after me, though, and acted so very glad I was there. We went to the lobby and she wanted me to run with her and play with her, but I just wasn’t into it.  I was a bit bummed, no award and all, and I just wanted to get back to the food.

When the play was over, I did a final blog about it.

“Stay tuned” as they say, “for my final Oz blog the first Monday is January!” Great story! Great pictures! It is all about me!”

I (still) am LexiToto.

Memory Monday: Lexi-Toto

I have had three sessions of acupuncture and B12 shots for my hip. Since my last visit, I have been running around like a puppy, up and down stairs and all over the place. Until today. I woke up hurting. Mom called the vet and Dad is taking me Wednesday morning for another treatment. I don’t mind going to this vet. They are super nice to me and feed me so many treats I don’t even notice what they are doing. In the meantime, I got another hydrotherapy (bath in the jetted tub) and a buffered aspirin. Mom sat in the tub with me and said she was very proud because I didn’t even shake this time. I just have tomorrow to get through until I get some more relief with the acupuncture.

Now, about Memory Monday. Since several of you expressed your delight in reading about my times as Lexi-Toto, and since I never tire of thinking about it, I have decided to share more stories of those years. My career spanned three productions over the period of eight years.

As I’ve mention, the first production – the one in Chattanooga at the Theatre Centre – was my favorite. Here are some of my first thoughts about the experience, posted during that time.

A local bakery donated biscuits in the shape of hot dogs with a hole in the center so that a stick could be put through them. You know, so it would look like a hot dog being roasted over a campfire. Mr. Marvel would lower the stick while he was talking with My Dorothy and I would run and pull the hot dog biscuit off the stick. The audience loved it. Then Mr. Marvel always chuckled and said, “What’s a sausage between two friends?” Or something like that. One time I was still chewing when My Dorothy grabbed me up into her arms and swung sharply around to try to head back home before the tornado. That was right when I was opening my mouth to chew, and pieces sprayed all over stage. In a subsequent scene I made sure to clean the stage!

It wasn’t all fun and games and treats. There were those dreaded flying monkeys. When they started screeching and flying – yes flying – at me I would run as fast as I could across the stage, heading for my kennel dressing room. Most of the time Mom would catch me and hand me over. Traitor! Didn’t she know those monkeys were terrifying? At least I was compensated each time with an extra treat from the head monkey, who had to run back out on the stage with me when the scene changed. That’s when everyone found out I wasn’t a water breed. When the wicked witch told him to take me and throw me in the river, he would always fumble and I would leap from his arms and, this time, make it straight into my kennel dressing room.

Sunday afternoons were fun shows. There were always lots of little people and they adored me. After the show, folks were allowed to come up and have their picture taken with some of the cast. They could ask for who they wanted in the picture with them, such as Toto, or Dorothy and Toto, or the Lion and Toto or the Tin Man and Toto or the Scarecrow and Toto or Glenda and Toto. They usually asked for My Dorothy and Toto. Even then I loved having my picture taken! That’s how we met my Auntie Jen. The story goes something like this: Jen saw my picture in the newspaper and said, “How did Piper’s picture get in the paper?” When she read the article she found out that my cousin Piper and I came from the same breeder. She e-mailed the breeder and got my Mom’s e-mail address. They started corresponding like that until my almost Auntie Jen came to see me perform. It was an instant friendship between us all, and we are now all family. Isn’t that super neat? I don’t know why people think you have to be born into a family to BE family. After all, both my Mom and I were adopted and we couldn’t be more family! Same with my Auntie Jen…I love my Auntie Jen.

I think that’s all I can tell you for now. My hip is starting to hurt again and I need to rest. Next time I will tell you about receiving the Annie Award, about attending other plays at the theater, and maybe even about my second time playing Toto, two years later. I’ll have some pictures to show you, too. In the meantime, if you get lost, just remember to follow the yellow brick road.

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

Love,

Lexi, the Toto

Memory Monday

I was laying around the house thinking about all the fun I had as Lexi-Toto in the local productions of the Wizard of Oz. To kick things off, we all attended the Annie Awards (like the Oscars, only at our local theater) in 2006. This is where I first met lots of the people I would be working with. A couple of people asked why I (a dog) was there, but as soon as they heard I was going to play Toto, they welcomed me to their ranks. It was a formal affair, so Dad made me wear a tux collar and bow tie. It matched Mom’s red dress! Don’t they look like proud parents? I still had a few months before the play opened to grow out my hair for the Toto look.

Annie Awards Reception 2006

Annie Awards Reception 2006

Here are pictures of me with my Dorothy from the first production in 2006 and the third one in 2014. You can probably see where I put on a pound or two in those eight years. Dorothy #3 used to grunt every time she picked me up. Mom said she was sorry about the extra weight, but that she wouldn’t be able to grunt like that during the live play. BOL

2006

2006 with my first and favorite Dorothy

2014

2014 with my last Dorothy

I must admit, I do look and feel better since I recently lost some weight on my green bean and carrot diet.

There was a lot of publicity surrounding the production at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Sometimes during our six weeks of rehearsals my Dorothy and I had to stop to have our pictures made for the newspaper and playbills.

Publicity shot 2006

                Publicity shot 2006

For this picture, Mommy hid a piece of cake under my Dorothy’s right shoe. When she realized how focused I am when there is food involved, my Dorothy started rubbing hot dogs on her skin and hiding treats in her socks. See why I loved her so much? It certainly kept me with her – at least most of the time, as you will soon see.

The play ran for six weeks and I reported for duty every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. I would arrive in time for warm ups. I would run to the room where I could hear everyone singing, “Doe, ray, me, fah, sew, lah, me, doe,” and scratch at the door until someone opened it and let me in.  I would run to the front row and do warm ups with the cast. “Aroooo, arrrr, woof, woof!” I was so good that everyone would laugh with joy. Then we would all sing warm ups together again and everyone would laugh again. It was so much fun!

There were two distinct episodes when hot dogs in the socks did not keep me with my Dorothy. The first week on stage, I realized I could run down the stairs behind the good witch, Glenda, and visit with the audience. I had a limited amount of time so I visited quickly with just the first row, letting them know I was glad they had come. Then I tore up the opposite set of stairs and across the stage to stand next to my Dorothy in time for Glenda to point at me and ask, “Is this the witch?” Even though I never, ever missed my cue, this whole thing made Mom and my Dorothy a bit nervous, so Glenda started blocking my exit stairs with her big skirt. Drat.

A little further along into the production I realized the Wicked Witch of the West was sneaking across the back part of the stage while Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Lion were near the front of the stage, discussing which way to go. Since not much else was happening, I thought it would be great fun to chase and bark at the Wicked Witch. She kept waving her hand and stage-whispering, “Shoo, shoo”  at me. Later I found out that my Dorothy and her friends weren’t supposed to know the Wicked Witch was there, which explained why they only looked from side to side while saying things like, “Is that Toto barking?” and “Where is Toto? Do you hear him?” The audience laughed so hard that I kept doing it every night.

I have lots more stories, but my brain is a bit tired from all this remembering, so I will share more next time. Is it supper time yet?

An Extra Memory Monday for September

Mommy loves September – it is her favorite month. She asked me to share some of the fun things that have happened in Septembers past. In pictures, here we go!

 

Mommy made a new outfit for Rocktober Fest and wanted a German dog in the picture to make it authentic. I don't like being held.

Mommy made a new outfit for Rocktober Fest and wanted a German dog in the picture to make it authentic. I don’t like being held, and I especially don’t like being hugged.

Not to be outdone, Dad donned his authentic lederhosen AND held a schnauzer.

Not to be outdone, Dad donned his authentic lederhosen AND held a schnauzer (me again).

 

 

I love staying at hotels. This one was on the way to Wisconsin. Dad was busy on the phone and not paying any attention to me.

I love staying at hotels. This one was on the way to Wisconsin. Dad was busy on the phone and not paying any attention to me.

Once again I get picked up for a picture. We stayed at a B&B in Appleton, WI. Daddy used to own this house.

Once again I get picked up for a picture. We stayed at a B&B in Appleton, WI. Daddy used to own this house.

 

I enjoyed walking down to the river at the B&B. I love all the new smells.

I liked walking down to the river at the B&B. I love all the new smells.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down a September memory lane. What’s your favorite month?

Memory Monday

Mom has decided that she is cutting back on Memory Mondays to be only the first Monday of the month. That was today. Dad was trying all day long to install a new solid state hard drive in Mom’s computer, so she couldn’t do anything on my blog. Long story short, her computer rejected the hard drive, so here we are, waiting for the poor old drive to fail. Maybe Mom could give it shots of adequin, like she puts in my leg. BOL!

We finally sold our house in Red Bank, TN last week. That means I don’t get to go over there and sniff all around the yard any more. I think I am going to miss it. I thought I would post some memories in the form of pictures about my life on De Fue Street.

This is me and my Dad on my birthday in 2008. I don't know why he has such a funny look on his face.

This is me and my Dad on my birthday in 2008. I don’t know why he has such a funny look on his face.

 

This is me waiting for Christmas dinner in 2007.

This is me waiting for Christmas dinner, 2007.

 

I liked to sit in the chair on the front porch and watch everything happening in the neighborhood.

I liked to sit in the chair on the front porch and watch everything happening in the neighborhood.

 

Mommy planted flowers in pots and made the porch pretty.

Mommy planted flowers in pots and made the porch pretty. Look at my crazy beard!

 

On cold winter nights I would lay on the ottoman in front of the fireplace. Mom used to say it was the most expensive dog bed she ever bought.

On cold winter nights I would lay on the ottoman in front of the fireplace. Mom used to say it was the most expensive dog bed she ever bought. 

 

I would go out the back door into the great big fenced yard. My screen house was out there too, and I could duck under the screening if I wanted to be inside it.

I would go out the back door into the great big fenced yard. My screen house was out there too, and I could duck under the screening if I wanted to be inside it.

 

A dog and her stick. Goodbye, sweet De Fue Street House.

A dog and her stick. Goodbye, sweet De Fue Street House.

Memory Monday: Nursing Home Therapy

I don’t get to go to nursing homes anymore, not since my Grandma died. Sometimes I still think about it, though, because I still like older people. And sometimes when we go to the children’s hospital, we sneak into the section where there are sick big people – mostly older – and I feel their need. I give them the very best therapy possible. Hmmm. I think I will ask Mom to start taking me to nursing homes again. They need me. I have asked Mommy to type my memory Monday part in blue so you will know when it ends and we are back to now.


Memory Monday: My first trip to a nursing home.

March 20, 2007: Mom came home from work early on Friday and took me to a nursing home. At first I thought I was going to see my Grandma who lives near there, but I got to see lots and lots of other people who are old like my Grandma. Their rooms all open out to hallways, too, so they wouldn’t be able to let me stay all day either. They all talked to me nice and petted me. Mom told everyone about me being Toto in the Wizard of Oz. The bling on my collar was the picture button with me and Dorothy on it. No one had met a real, live star before, and I think they liked that. I felt very proud. There were a lot of cookie crumbs and I cleaned them up for everyone. I am a good helper.  It was hot and stuffy in there and my throat got parched. It smelled funny too, like stuff I am not allowed to do in the house. I started whining and Mommy looked like she was going to be sick, so we left. She said we might go to a different nursing home next time.

I am a therapy dog now. I hope I don’t have to learn a new name again, like I did for the play.

Saturday I get to see my good schnauzer friends, Piper and Marley.

Lexi_Piper_Marley on patio 07

The Three Amigos: (L-R) Piper, Marley and Me

We are all going to get tested to be therapy dogs for hospitals that take care of children. I like all the children petting me. I am so sure I will pass whatever the test is. I hear that Marley is a little worried about this because she never liked kids. I think I will talk to her about it. After all, I never liked kids either until the Wizard of Oz. I will let her know they are really OK. Sometimes they are yummy sticky and they usually drop food, so it’s good to hang around them. I am Lexi, the new nursing home dog.

See, I even said way back when I was only 4 years old that I am a nursing home dog. Yep, gotta’ get that going again.

Noodle 2Now for a Memory Memory post from my bestest guy, Noodle.

Memory Monday: The Elevator

Today I was thinking about elevators and how they have become a part of life. I ride an elevator at least twice every time I go to therapize the sick kids at the children’s hospital  and even understand the etiquette of elevator riding: turn to face the front and be quiet.

Sometimes I rode the elevator when Mommy and I worked at St. Paul’s. One evening we were all there (Mom and Dad and me) teaching a ballroom dance class. There was a good mixture of parishioners and folks from the big band that my Dad plays in. They all know me and know enough about me to realize what a talented genius I am. We taught in a large room upstairs, with the elevator just outside the door. Eventually, I got bored and headed down the stairs, then down the long hallway to the kitchen, which was at the other end of the church. I thought maybe I could get a little snack before going back to help with the class. While I was gone, something made the elevator ding. The class stopped and, suddenly realizing I was gone, everyone looked questioningly out at the elevator. Finally, someone voiced what everyone there was thinking: did Lexi push the button and get on the elevator? BOL! I am not tall enough to push the buttons!

I want to share with you the story of my first elevator ride in today’s Memory Monday.

February 6, 2007
I had my first ride in an elevator. Mom carried me onto it. It started to go up and when she tried to put me down I clung onto her like crazy. No way was I going to stand on this thing that was moving under us. She caught me with her knee as I was sliding off her and she saved me. The doors of this elevator thing slid open and she carried me out into a hallway. Then I got to visit my Grandma in her new apartment. I was so excited to see her and she was excited to see me too. When we were done visiting Mom held me on the elevator ride back down.

A few days later I went back to see Grandma and had to go on this elevator thing again. Mom tricked me – just walked right onto it with me on my leash. I was looking at this person that I thought would pet me and wasn’t paying enough attention to where I was going. I could feel it begin to move, but I kept my eye on that bright metal circle in the middle. I think that was the thing making it all happen. We made it up OK and I was wiggly happy to see my Grandma again. Grandma had a piece of toast all ready just for me. Mom thought she tricked me again when we left, but I knew that as long as I watched that circle thing, it would be OK. I just wanted to share that with all of my friends so you would know to just watch that metal circle and you don’t need to be afraid to go on an elevator. The elevator will take you good places, like to see the people you love. I am Lexi, the brave elevator-riding schnauzer.

By the way, since I posted this eight years ago I have come to realize that not all elevators have metal circles in the middle and that isn’t what makes them work. I am older and wiser now!