Friday, February 22, 2013

Favorite Toy

Of our five dogs, Maggie is probably the least playful.  She has a very laid-back, dignified personality and prefers to watch from the sidelines and occasionally referee the games of the other canines.  However, every once in a while she decides she's in the mood to wrestle or wrangle and then she seeks out her favorite toy.  It's an unexpected choice but perhaps it reflects her minimalist sophistication: it's a small stuffed cube.  Constructed of brown suede with seams tufted in cream-colored lambswool, it has the aesthetic of a rugged jacket worn by a Colorado cowboy on a horse.  Smaller than a tennis ball, this rather simple toy often falls to the bottom of the basket and thus Maggie has to hunt to find it (which, perhaps, is part of the reason she loves it - the act of finding it makes her seem like Queen Elizabeth II stalking stag in Scotland).  If you look carefully in this photo you will see that Maggie has perfected the act of balancing both front feet on the edge of the wicker toy basket allowing her better access to the contents of the container.  Viva la hunt!


On August 29, 2013 I resigned from Wichita State University and embarked on a glorious new life.  Although I have a long resume after 25 years dedicated to the discipline of Art History I decided I needed to explore new avenues and develop new skills.  I began job re-training to become a celebrity paparazzi stalker.  I had the perfect training exercise: capture Red Rocket in an embarassing moment that he would not want to see in the tabloids.  His guilty pleasure: playing in the sandbox.

Edward has a sand and water table on our deck and during the long, hot, dry summer our Red celebrity discovered that he could jump up onto the table to create his own beachfront Malibu mansion in the middle of the heartland.  He luxuriated in reclining against the soft-grained sand specially purchased for Edward's sensitive hands.

But don't watch me.  I see you in there.  You walked by the back door and glanced out and saw me laying topless on the beach and I see you racing for that camera.  Here I go.  Jump off the island and into the wooden ocean.  By the time you turn that camera on and get out the back door I will have my three legs planted on the terrafirma of the Kansas prairie.  Nice try. 

I studied photography while I was at Florida State University.  One of the best teachers I had drummed into our heads that the photographer needs to move to make sure there isn't "junk" in the shot.  Take two steps to the left so that the angle of your photo shifts and the trash can or bathroom stall door doesn't appear in the picture.  Tilt the frame up so that broken piece of linoleum or dirty spot on the carpet isn't prominently displayed in front of the feet of the family dressed up for the wedding.  So I am vexed by the fact that the only photo I managed to capture of the Red bathing beauty was taken through the smudged window of the back door and juxtaposes the front of our broken-down smoker grill over the face of Red Rocket.  But you can see from the pose of the subject that he had spotted me and was raising up on his legs to jump out of the box.  I finally caught him in the act but I think I can cross paparazzi off the list of potential new career choices.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lethargic Devotion

We woke this morning to a gray, drizzly day.  "Woke" is perhaps a relative term as we all seem to be suffering from lethargy.  I fed the dogs and cats at 5:00 AM and then settled in with a cup of coffee on the sofa to watch the post vice-presidential debate breakdown on CNN.  Within moments I had fallen asleep with Maggie, Rosie and Red Rocket as "blankets" along my side.  Edward and August discovered me at 8:00 AM and attempted to rouse me but I found myself stumbling back to bed with all dogs in tow.  An hour later I was awake for good and reading the newspaper in the recliner with Maggie and Red Rocket wedged in next to me and Hank laying at my feet.  When I got up to go into the dining room Hank followed me and as I sat at the table he devotedly parked himself on the rug and laid his big, soft, brown head on my bare feet.  These are the quiet moments I love with these dogs.  I will try to remind myself of this later today when I inevitably find "offerings" on the rug because the dachshunds don't wish to wet their feet on the rain-soaked grass...

Sunday, September 30, 2012


In recent weeks Edward has become enamored of YouTube videos featuring boys his age fighting "zombie nerf wars." Last weekend he dutifully made multiple trips to the basement to acquire his various plastic and styrofoam armaments and developed a weapons stockpile in the living room. Early this evening battle commenced between Daddy and Edward. What we didn't count on was the canine volunteer militia led by Maggie who attacked Daddy believing he was hurting "their boy." Note in the photo that Sophie slept through the battle...
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Shocking Revelations of Spoiling

As I walked by Edward's bedroom this evening I peaked in to see if he was asleep. His head wasn't on the pillow and the bed appeared empty. I stepped into the room quietly searching the darkness and discovered Edward bent double on the bottom half of the bed. He mumbled something so I knew he was still awake. "Edward what are you doing?" I asked. He replied, "I'm giving Rocket the most comfortable spot." I glanced up and as my eyes had adjusted to the darkness I saw it: Red Rocket curled in the soft middle part of the mattress with his head on Edward's pillow...
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Back to School

Today is the first day of fall semester classes at WSU and for the first time in three years I step away from the administrator's desk and return to the classroom full time.  While this is usually the most exciting time of the year on a college campus it is bittersweet for me as I struggle facing my future and the decisions I will make about where to go from here.  As I raced to dress and hustle out of the house this morning I was vexed by Red Rocket and Rachsie who both are employed in the job I really want: professional napper.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Berlin Blanket Wall

Admittedly, the "Berlin Blanket Wall" title would have a bit more impact if the dogs on either side were both German dachshunds! This "wall" was created when August got out of bed and threw back the covers; Hank promptly jumped onto the warm spot in the bed and settled in next to Rosie.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happiness is...

...three dogs in a freshly made bed. Happiness for the dogs, that is. I am vexed by Hank's compulsion to rub his chocolate lab body all over the clean sheets, blankets and pillows to "christen" the bed. I suppose I should be thrilled he doesn't christen it in another manner...
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Good Morning?

This is what I saw when my alarm sounded this morning and I opened my eyes...
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Monday, August 6, 2012

PROOF! Not a Mirage!

I had to sneak carefully up to the back door to take this shot and Red Rocket saw the camera and had just started his leap out of the sandbox when I managed to snap this picture!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Breaking News

This just in: the winner of the "tonight I get to sleep with Edward" showdown is: Red Rocket!

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Although Edward may be willing to exchange bed buddies tonight, Red Rocket is unhappy with the idea. I think we may have a showdown over who gets to sleep with Edward. Or they're going to have to share.
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Ring Around a Rosie

Rosie likes to sleep on Edward's botttom bunk. Tonight Edward asked if we could make it up special so he could snuggle with her (he usually sleeps on the top bunk with Red Rocket.) I made her a nest with Edward's "Kojo the Croc" blanket buddy and she has settled in for the night.
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Beached Whale

At long last we have had a break in the endless spell of arid, three-digit temperature days.  Last night a cool front moved through and we had a brief moment of thunder, lightning, a smattering of rain and a reduction of the high from 103 to 93 degrees.  In anticipation of this "relief" (?) August booked a tee time at the local golf course and planned to play his first round of golf in six weeks.  He was so excited that at about 8:30 last night he went into the garage to get his golf clubs and place them by the front door for a speedy departure in the morning.  That's when it happened.  Rosie snuck into the garage behind August and she didn't sneak out.  He was oblivious to the fact that she had followed him into the garage and shut the door between the garage and the house.  Was Rosie terrified and distressed?  No.  Locking Rosie in the garage was like locking a child in a candy store.  Because we had just purchased a brand new 44 pound bag of dogfood and had stored it, yes, you guessed it, in the garage. 

Did we notice she was missing?  No.  By 8:30 PM the dogs have usually all settled in for a snooze and so all was quiet.  At 9:30 PM August went into the kitchen and I heard him exclaim, "Oh, my!"  I was on the couch in the living room and yelled, "What's wrong?"  He came into the living room carrying Rosie in his arms and said, "Feel this belly."

Talk about bloated.  Like a sausage on the grill about to burst out of its casing.  Like a water balloon at the moment it's about to pop.  Like a 10 pound dog who has just feasted on a 44 pound bag of dogfood.  It didn't take us long to discover the evidence.  We knew she had gotten into something.  We found the dogfood bag with a small hole in the side.  I was actually relieved.  As faithful readers of the Red Rocket Report know we have a history of consumption of canine-unfriendly foods in this house... I knew Rosie would be uncomfortable but she would survive.  She laid on the chair in the living room like a beached whale and could barely waddle outside at "last potties" call (she did NOT receive the customary dog cookie upon returning to the house as the others did!)  She survived and is back swimming with the other fishes, metaphorically speaking that is.   

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Imperfect Pitch

At our last parent-teacher conference at Edward's elementary school a very dedicated music teacher attempted to explain to us how Edward's singing lacked pitch.  As a public educator myself I try to take Edward's schooling very seriously but the reality was that if this gentleman was expecting Mommy to help with "pitch development homework" he was talking to the wrong parent.  The only person in our house with worse pitch than Edward is his mother.  As an art historian I am dedicated to the principle that "a picture is worth a thousand words" so I offer this photo as evidence.  Has anyone, EVER, seen Hank look less than thrilled, excited, and ecstatically happy during his waking hours?  Clearly Edward's attempts to entertain Hank with singing and clapping were not met with a standing ovation.


I suppose after enduring four weeks of 105 degree heat and no rain what I saw when I came home from work early this afternoon might have been a mirage... But I don't think so.  Edward's babysitter Gina tries to put all (or most) of the dogs outside when I pull up in the driveway so that when I walk in the door they don't jump up and snag my pantyhose if I'm dressed up.  My usual routine is to quickly change clothes and then let the dogs back in the house.  Today when I approached the back door Hank was waiting, tail wagging and body wiggling, to greet me.  But Red Rocket was not beside him.  I caught a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up at the middle of the deck to find Red Rocket inside Edward's sand table digging with his single front paw and holding a plastic toy soldier in his mouth.  I suspect he was in the midst of burying a "kill" but he glanced up and saw me looking at him and jumped out of the box.  I tried to get him to "pose" for a blog shot but he refused; so I've posted a picture of the empty sandbox and you'll have to use your imagination.  If Wichita Red Rocket Report followers have trouble doing this just stand outside for 30 seconds and surely the resultant hot flash you experience will evoke the mirage.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Five little doggies sleeping on the bed,
Momma has nowhere to lay her head,
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,
"Let sleeping dogs lie and surrender your bed."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Heating Pad Thief Strikes Again

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Move over Kazimir Malevich; your Suprematist white-squares-on-a-white-square have nothing on my brown-lump-on-a-brown-lump!

Canine Sociology

Is there such an academic discipline as "canine sociology?"  Could I sweet-talk another university into giving me an honorary degree in this subject so I can avoid the PTSD of returning to graduate school for another PhD?  Because if I can become a canine sociologist I have the perfect case study laboratory in which to experiment... I am fascinated by how our dogs occupy, share or define space in our house and how these patterns shift according to the time of day.  I will begin the ambitious task of writing a dissertation that maps this dog movement.  But here's a preview: 9:30 PM finds "the boys" sharing space on the bed.