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

 

 

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

Blogsville Mayoral Candy Date Debate #2 – Bring It On!

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Here we are again with Debate Tuesday, Week 2. I, Lexi, asked the questions this week and am hoping for some revealing answers to help you make an informed decision (to vote for me) in November. Be sure and grab one of the badges in my sidebar and display it prominently on your blog page to show your support!

For more information on us, the Candy Dates, you are invited to visit our blogs:

Lexi at Lexi the Schnauzer

Arty at Dory’s Backyard

Christmas at Paw Province

Now, let the debate begin!

1. If you could wish for any one thing for Blogville and have it come true, what would it be?

Lexi: There’s been a lot of medical problems lately. I would wish for perfect health for everyone throughout their lives.

Arty: My wish for Blogville and every-ville is that all our friends in shelters and roaming the streets find furr-ever homes real soon!!

Christmas: I know it isn’t possible, but I wish EVERY SINGLE Blogville peep could be in the same place all in one time and everyone would get a chance to talk about their experiences and meet the people and pets who they’ve loved from a distance for so many years.

2. Blogville includes anipals and peeps from all around the world. What experience do you have with foreign dignitaries that would help in your role as mayor, if elected?

Lexi: Let’s see. I had the French to my house one evening for an American meal served in the French tradition. Then I took them all for a walk around my neighborhood to observe and admire our American way of life. I hope they returned to France with stories of our American hospitality. Before a stressful production of Home for the Holidays I offered my therapy services backstage to the Chattanooga Symphony Director Kayoko Dan, originally from Japan. I went on to do therapy with several of the performers. Miss Dan was so appreciative that she sent me a Christmas card. I hope she lets the Japanese know of the kindness of Americans.

Arty: Hmmmm, well I love french fries and would love to try Chinese food someday. Other than that, I will be meeting with dogs from all over the world (well, from the USA and Canada) in June, when I attend the B.A.R. and hope to use this time to help refine my foreign policy!

Christmas: Well, because dog shows are full with top dogs from all over the world, I’ve met dogs from all sorts of places. I’ve met a Standard Schnauzer from Croatia and some other dogs I’ve met have probably been from 87 different places, too. Us Dachshunds are German dogs (wiener schnitzel, anyone?) so I’m part German! I am actually very fluent in German, but it’s a shame that my mommy is a human and can’t understand my German.

3. What is, or would be, your choice for a volunteer service and why?

Lexi: Since 2007 I have been doing monthly therapy with children of all ages at the local children’s hospital. My times onstage at the theatre were also volunteer work, besides being my very favorite thing in the whole world. Putting a smile on a sick or hurting child’s face and making people happy keeps me in touch with my purpose in life, to bring joy to others.

Arty: If given the chance, I would love to be a spokesdog for our anipals that need homes. Coming off the streets myself (when I was only 7 months old), I feel I would do a great job telling the humans out there Rescue Doggies Rock!!

Christmas: My mommy is thinking of training me specifically to be a therapy dog within the next couple of years. I love peeps and I’m very sweet and well behaved. I work well in public and I love to make peeps happy. My long body and longing eyes usually earn me lots of attention on my walks.

4. What is the hardest decision you ever had to make and how did it turn out?

Lexi: Mom and I play the “Leave It, Find It” game with treats. She puts a treat down, says, “Leave it,” and I have to ignore the treat while we go to the next spot in the house where she does it again. Eventually, Mom says, “Find it!” and I get to use my excellent memory to find all the treats and eat them. If I grab and eat one while Mommy is still in the first part of the game, the game is over. So the hardest decision is to leave the treat so that I can have more or satisfy my immediate desire to eat it right then. Things always go better when I listen.

Arty: Hmmm, being just 4 years old, I haven’t had to make many hard decisions except for deciding to resign myself to being an “Alpha in Training” under Dory. After living here for only a few months,  I decided she is the best girl for the job. Now I listen to (almost) everything she has to say! This has helped to give me the patience needed to be a good Blogville Mayor, and the ability to listen to others!

Christmas: My hardest decision? In my short life (I’m 2!) I haven’t had many hard decisions to make, except for one EXTREMELY DIFFICULT ONE!!! It was to decide if I wanted chicken canned dog food or beef canned dog food for dinner one day. Can’t you feel my pain? It was a very difficult choice, but I eventually chose the chicken. Where’s the beef?

5. A good mayor has to use empathy and common sense. Give an example of when you have done either one or both.

Lexi: Empathy: I do that every time I stay home with Dad when he feels bad and give him therapy instead of making demands. I do that when I give up my front car seat to Piper because he gets car sick in the back. Common sense: Sometimes when I come out of work the sun is shining in my eyes. So, instead of walking out into the parking lot without being able to see, I wait for Mommy to leash me or pick me up. Mommy says that is smart; I think it is just common sense.

Arty: I always feel when my Mama or Daddy are upset and am right there fighting for attention to soothe them! Also, as a member of a pack of four, I have the common sense to get to our food bowls first! Can’t have my brothers and Dory eating my dinner!!

Christmas: For empathy? Well, I always look out for my mommy. I make sure she’s happy and I have lots of fun taking walks with her. In the show ring, once I got very nervous. I tried to back off the table in the ring where my mom stacked me for the judge (a stack is a way a show dog stands in the ring). I don’t really know why, I was just nervous. Dog shows can be overwhelming sometimes. So she picked me up and talked to me and made me feel better, and when she put me back on the table, I was calm and happy and let the nice judge look at my teeth and pet me. The judge chose us for first place because my mommy put her dog’s needs first. I do the same for her. If my mommy is sometimes nervous in the ring or just in casual life, I like to lick her face or do one of my tricks to lighten her up!

Lexi for Mayor Day 2

Hello friends, Lexi here again. If you missed my Campaign Propoganda post yesterday informing you why you need to vote for me for the Supreme Leader of Blogville your Mayor, you can check it out here. Today, we move on to reasons #2 and #3.

2. Let Them Eat Cake: I eat at the table with my people. I get McDonald’s food and real cake for my birthday. How is this relevant, you may ask. I know how to manipulate the people and I will both share my knowledge with you and fight for your rights. Like your right to eat cake.

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.

3. All Lives Matter: All dog lives matter. All cat lives matter. All pig lives matter. All bird lives matter. All rabbit lives matter. In short, All Lives Matter. I will not discriminate because of species, breed, age, economic status, color, or gender. Not so sure about snakes and spiders, but I am open to discussion on this.

Lexi for Mayor

Hello, I am Lexi. I have been nominated (by me) for Mayor of Blogsville, and I accept my nomination. I won’t go into my entire background, as you can read more about me in my posts, in my Kindle book, and in the About section of my website. I am told I need a platform. I think I will use the platform I have used in the past:

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There is plenty of room on my platform for everyone.

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This is my platform. It is also commonly called a stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I possess many skills, experiences and qualities that make me uniquely qualified for this position as the Supreme Leader of Blogville your Mayor. Over the next few days I will use some of my considerable counting skills to list them for you so you don’t have to figure them out on your own. I am helpful like that. Today, besides, my platform, I will list reason #1 to vote for me, Lexi:

  1. Proclaimed Actor: You may have noticed that my election picture shows me next to my Publicity Photo and Annie Award. My Annie is like an Oscar for people and I was the first-ever animal to receive one at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. I received my Annie for the “Director’s Choice Award.” Quite prestigious. I went on to star two more times in other productions of the Wizard of Oz. Why is this important, you may ask. Some of our greatest politicians have been acclaimed performers. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono,  and Jessie Ventura, to name a few.
    Publicity shot 2006

    Publicity shot 2006 for Wizard of Oz

    Please be sure to check back tomorrow for reasons #2 and #3.

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!

One Lovely Blog Award – for ME!

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Woo hoo! Another award! I love awards. Like my Annie Award for being the best ever dog in a play (or something like that). And I love this award. It is so pretty.  Thank you, Puppy Doc and Samantha at Musings of Puppy Doc. You are my newest friends.

Now, according to the rules (below) I have to share 7 facts about myself. Hmm, how can I limit this to only 7… he, he.

  1. I am a svelt 20.5 pounds because I lost 4.5 pounds over the last few months. Mom took away my canned food and topped my kibble with veggies!
  2. My most favorite thing in the whole world is acting on stage. I even got a special blue lucite award with my name on it (the Annie Award I mentioned above) for “Director’s Choice.” I could be on stage every night and never get tired of it.
  3. My second most favorite thing in the whole world is therapizing kids at the kid’s hospital. I only get to go once a month because there are so many dogs who like to do this, but I am the only smaller dog. I sit in the bed with the little ones, and grin the whole time I am there.
  4. Of course, my very, very most favorite thing in the whole world is treats. I get treats while I act and before I therapize. I get a go to the mailbox treat when I am home with Dad and a night night treat. My BFF Carrie brings me treats to work at St. Timothy’s and my new BFF Dave brings me a treat to work at St. Luke. And now my newest friend Beth brings me a treat on Thursdays to St Luke.
  5. I hate being groomed and I hate getting baths. Mom says I creep when I am on the groom table, and I should know better after 12 years of getting groomed every month. I still think I could creep right off that table one of these times.
  6. Even more than being groomed, I hate wearing clothes. I mean, I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate wearing clothes of any kind. When I was younger I would stand like a statue if Mom put clothes on me. She could pick me up and set me down somewhere else and my body would remain rigid like it was made of plaster. Now, I run around in spurts like a crazy dog. Run, freeze, run, freeze.
  7. I am not a cuddler or a huggie girl. I like my space. If I want pet I will let you know. I will continue to let you know until I feel you have pet me enough. Then you need to leave me alone. Don’t hug me. I let the sick kids at the hospital hug me, and my Auntie Jen, but that’s it. Don’t cuddle me. I will run away from you.
  8. Yes, I can count, but I have one more thing to tell you. Here it is: I am smart. Don’t try to pull anything over on me, ’cause it most likely won’t work. And if it does work, and I figure it out, I will pee in your bed, on your side of the bed. And you won’t know it until you are so tired you can barely stand up and you start to slide into bed and suddenly realize it is cold and wet and smells bad. Bwahaha!

Here are my nominees: (Noodle, dear, you have already been nominated, or you would have been first on my list, sweetie pie.)

Shoko and Kali of  The Canadian Cats

Ray of A Dog’s Life? (Stories of me and him)

Rachel of rachelmankowitz

Belle, Bess and Bonnie of Three Pups and a Couple of Kitties

Sidney, Shelby and Sophie of corkscot

Dante of The Dante Diaries

Jasper and Nellie of  jaspersdoggyworld

Kismet (you mean old bird, you) of kylascott

Sammie of  Saving Sammie

 

The Fine Print for the Nominees:

1-Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in the post.
2-Copy the rules and add the blog award badge as an image
3-Share 7 facts about yourself to your fellow bloggers.
4-Then nominate 15 people (I of course didn’t do this many ).

 

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?

Memory Monday with Lexi and Friends

Lexi with annieToday is Memory Monday and I was thinking about my first performances as Toto in the Wizard of Oz. Mom had gotten down my Annie award and my head shot and I got so excited when I saw them again. I poked at the Annie and wiggled all over. I remember winning it! Me and Mom and Dad were sitting in the audience. I was wearing a strand of Mom’s good pearls, so I know I looked extra-good. I had already run down the aisle and up the stairs to the stage to help My Dorothy present an award. So we were just sitting there politely waiting for the awards to end when the director, Geoffrey, announced that the Director’s Choice award went to….wait for it….Lexi!!!!! I jumped out of my seat and ran back down the aisle so fast that I left Mom in my wind. The audience was cheering and clapping for me as Mom mounted the stairs to the stage and picked me up. I leaned into the microphone to give my acceptance speech, and everyone laughed. I decided to leave it at that and let Mom talk for me. I worked very hard for that award and am still proud of it.

After reminiscing a bit about my award, I poked at my head shot picture with my nose until it almost fell over. Mom knew I was saying, ‘That’s me!” I asked Mom to share some of my memoirs from that time.

Lexi with headshotMemory Monday

October 2, 2006
I am the star. That’s what everyone says. They say I steal the show, but honest, I didn’t steal anything. I just run out on the stage (at least most of the time) when Mom says, and get treats, and run off, back to Mom who is always there waiting for me. Now I have found that I can go down the front stairs and off the stage into the audience. That’ a hoot. Mom seems kinda freaked out when I get back, though. She says she can’t see me and isn’t sure if I am coming back. I know when I have to be back for when the good witch points at me and says, “Is that the witch?” Silly Mommy! I haven’t missed my cue yet. And those monkeys – oooooh I don’t like those monkeys. I run as fast as I can when I see them coming and Mom picks me up. But then she hands me to one of the monkeys! So, the last time they came after me, I ran into my kennel off-stage where I would be safe. When I came out of my kennel, thinking they were all gone, Mom picked me up and handed me to one of them again. I don’t know how I am going to stop her from doing this. Doesn’t she know they are scary?? I am Lexi the star.

October 5, 2006
I keep adding things to my part as Toto, as the audience notices and responds. I have, however, decided to leave one thing out, and Mom has finally stopped trying to make me do it, because I am not going to do it anymore. Period. End of discussion. Those trees scared me. They walk around and dance and act entirely not like trees. Well, they got in my way after I skipped – well I try to skip – with Dorothy and the Lion and the Tin Man and the Scarecrow across the stage. It is the third time I sort of skip down the proverbial yellow brick road during the play. The first two times went fine. Then that third time those trees, oh those nasty moving trees, got in my way and it scared me and I will not do that again when they are on the stage. Absolutely, positively not. I am LexiToto.

October 12, 2006
So there I was near the front of the stage close to all my adoring fans, and I was getting a bit bored just standing there with my good pals – no one was feeding me or petting me or singing to me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the wicked witch sneaking across the back of the stage. Thinking it would be great fun, I turned and ran after her, barking as loudly as I could. She kept stopping and motioning with big waves of her arm to go away. I glanced over at Mom in the wings (isn’t that a funny name for part of a building that can’t fly!) and she was making big waving motions at me too. She must have been really enjoying my impromptu performance. Then my good pals, the lion and the scarecrow and Dorothy all started looking from side to side and saying, “What can Toto be barking at?” Silly people, I was right behind them!  The audience started laughing so of course I kept it up until the witch was clear off the stage. What a great time that was! I tried it again the next night to see if people still thought it was funny, and they did, so I am just going to add it to my part. Won’t the wicked witch be surprised!

Now, for more Memory Mondays from some of my friends:

Here is Ziva the Blackberry Bully Monster last summer. (Ziva is my newest friend!) Check out her blackberry memories.Ziva the pit

 

 

 

Memory Monday by Noodle the Schnoodle (my boyfriend). Check out his peanut butter memoryNoodle

Hmmm, do you detect a theme starting? Well, we are dogs!

https://noodle4president.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/memory-monday-2/

The Swing-Dancing Schnauzer

Things have been relatively quiet lately. No more frenetic drives to the theater. I didn’t even get to go to the children’s hospital in November because my special day fell on a holiday and the Lois lady wasn’t there to give me treats or to ask the children if they like dogs. The same thing is happening – or not happening, as the case may be – this month. Sigh. I bet the kids miss me.

I have been going to work with Mom more often. It can be tiring. I often sleep a lot, especially at her Tuesday and Thursday job. When I go to her church job on Wednesdays and Fridays there is too much to do for me to sleep. I have to visit with the lady next to Mom’s office. She needs to pet me a lot and always gives me treats. A pup has to stay awake for that, you know. I hear people walking around upstairs so I have to run up the stairs a lot to be sure someone isn’t getting something I’m not there isn’t a burglar. So far, so good. Then comes lunchtime and I have to run up to the secretary’s office and watch her eat. I never get much, but I am certain I will eventually wear her down. I heard Mom tell Dad she was leaving me home today, but he was on my side. He said he was too tired to deal with me today, and asked Mom to pleeeease take me. Thanks, Dad!

Last night I went to a local dance studio and helped teach dance again. I was so excited that I bunny-hopped all around the floor and kept yelling, “Hurray!” Mom finally told me to stop barking. I didn’t recognize her at first, but the student was  a girl from when we used to teach dance in Dunlap many years ago. She is all grown up now and was there with her boyfriend. I remembered to watch them very closely and bark when they didn’t do something right and bark again when they did. I know, I used to only bark when something wasn’t right, but I have decided that people need encouragement for a good job. Savannah remembered me, and laughed and smiled and said what a good girl I am. Every time Dad walked off the dance floor, I ran over and stood on my hind legs to dance with Mom. Then the music would stop. It’s no fun to dance without music. I got pretty disgusted with that and laid down in front of the door so that no one could leave until I got to dance, too. Mommy finally scolded Dad and told him to let me dance to the music before he turned it off. I didn’t dance very long because it is harder to stand up on my hind legs than it used to be, but I did a very good job with the Swing. I had so much fun!

I am Lexi, the Swing-dancing Schnauzer

 

The Temperamental Thespian Schnauzer

Weekend two of the play is over. Friday night my people brothers and Jentry and the boy came to watch me perform. I wish Riley had come too. He could have seen how it is done – not that he could ever do it.  Nobody told me I was going to have to perform two times on Saturday. That’s just too much. At the second show I got through the first two scenes – my favorites – where I run out onto the stage to Grayson. Then I wanted to go home. I was tired and hungry and the treats weren’t coming fast enough. Mom was trying to make one cheese stick last through two performances. That’s not right, it’s a cheat. And it is me who is being cheated. So I ran off the stage every chance I got. Mom got mad at me, but I don’t care. What are they going to do, fire me? I don’t think so. They will never find another Toto as good as me, especially on such short notice – or ever! I have rested and am ready now to be on stage again this weekend. I am Lexi, the temperamental thespian schnauzer.

My Thoughts on Being Toto

I am back!

Everyone still says, “Ahhhhh” the first time I run out onto the stage.

I like Grayson, who plays the part of Dorothy. She is the keeper of the treats.

I like the Lion – no one has told me his name. He is soft and I am comfy when he holds me.

I like the flying monkey. He isn’t used to dogs, but he loves me and I am sweet to him so he will know that dogs are good. I have to be reminded to run when he puts me down. Grayson yells, “Run, Toto, run!” and Mommy is in the wings waving a cheese stick for me to come eat. That helps me remember.

I like the wicked witch. We remember each other from last time. She gave me a present, some bling for my collar. I like bling.

The trees do not scare me this time.

I have to remember to stay away from the edge of the stage where it drops way down into the music pit. I can feel Mommy’s fear every time I get too close to it. Sometimes Grayson calls to me when I get too close.

I am doing a good job. Everyone says so. Once in a while I run off stage to my Mom so she can tell me I am doing a good job. I need that reassurance at times.

I am Toto. Hear me bark.

Off to See the Wizard

August 2, 2014

            I’m off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz. It is official…I am Toto again! It is at the same place as last time, the Colonnade in a city called Ft. Oglethorpe in a state called Georgia. I have been practicing vocalizing since I found out I am Toto again. Even my people brother Andrew came running up the stairs to “see what all the noise was about.” Mom said I was just telling her about my day, since it was one of those two days I stay home with Dad. I didn’t correct her, mostly because she hadn’t given me my supper yet, but she was wrong. I was working on my voice and expression for on stage.

I love being on stage. I have been practicing a lot of things on my own. Mostly barking. And projecting my bark. And acting like I haven’t been fed. And acting like I have to go out, then running to the kitchen when Mom gets up off the couch. That last thing is improv. Mom has started teaching me how to bow down for when the play is over. I keep thinking she wants me to lay down. She needs to be clearer with her signals. Sometimes Riley hears us working and comes in the kitchen and performs a perfect bow. Show-off dufus. Then he gets one of my treats. He is not in the play and does not need to intrude on our practice time.

I hope you can come see me. The play starts September 12th, so this is a limited time offer. I hear that all the time when the TV is on, and it always sounds good. I am once again Lexi-Toto.

The Tivoli Experience

December 17, 2012
Precious fans, I know you have been waiting with bated breath – or maybe that is kibble breath – to hear about my command performance on stage at the Tivoli. Let me just say it did not start out well. Mom and I went in the stage door and the doorkeeper – sorta like that guy with the big mustache and top hat who kept the door at the Emerald City – said, “That dog can’t be here.” Without missing a beat Mom said, “Yes she can.” He said, “No she can’t.” Mom said, “Yes she can,” the man said, well you get the picture. They finally called in the folks in charge and had a big discussion and looked at rules and you won’t believe this, no I couldn’t. It seems the place is owned by the city and I would have had to have permits from the Humane Society and the ASPCA and I think God himself. They said it is easier to get permits for fireworks than for animals. Everyone felt bad since they had, after all, invited me, so they said I could stay, I just couldn’t perform on stage. What was I to do…I’ll tell you what! Therapy! There were a lot of stressed-out people around there, and I didn’t waste any time. That sweet lady maestra was there and spent time petting me and talking so nice to me in her pretty voice. In fact the next day she gave Mom a Christmas card with my name on it too and asked why she didn’t bring me!

After about an hour or so my Dad showed up and I was so happy to see him. I had just finished my therapy work – and believe me, there were a lot of folks there who needed it – and he and Riley and I went home where I took a much deserved nap.

I didn’t tell Riley I wasn’t on the stage. Let’s keep that our secret, ok?

Lexi, the Tivoli therapy dog