Makes ya wanna think.

travis and mika

Canine Improv Theatre: Timmy Falls into the Well for the Very, Very Last Time

Travis is great at improv acting so long as his part is that of an enthusiastic dog. Trav-trav is a Collie/Shepherd/Something mix.

Travis is an enthusiastic kisser.

Today he looked particularly Colliesque so I called him Lassie which devolved into this piece of Canine Improv Theatre:

Travis delivers great news about Timmy.

For those of you too chronologically deprived to catch the Timmy/Collie reference, here is the opening of one of the best TV shows ever: Lassie.

The Lassie Theme Song is burned into my DNA.

Timmy was the clumsiest boy on Earth. His inability to avoid falling into wells stressed out poor, sweet Lassie day after day after day.

Travis and Mika and I evened the score.

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What I did on my Summer Vacation

Before I started my own blog I noticed in blogs I followed that sometimes the busiest times in a bloggers life are the least blogged. June was a huge month for me and I’ve been putting every word I have into Hel’s Bet.

I’ll do a photo-essay of June.

I drove east to Philadelphia for a big family reunion in mid-June.
I chopped my hair off and drove east to Philadelphia for a big family reunion in mid-June.
Unfortunately the Subaru engine blew up (hole in the engine block) in Amherst OH. Bless AAA!
Unfortunately the Subaru engine blew up (hole in the engine block) in Amherst OH. I was ready to head back to The Pad but Margaret saved the day by renting a car for us to drive the rest of the way to Philly. Thanks, Magoo!
My wonderful cousin Dave and his gorgeous and talented wife Anne Sophie to great care of Mika and Travis at the Llama Ranch. Mika and Travis escaped and had a night of adventure before the SPCA found them and called. Thanks Dave and Anne Sophie!
My wonderful cousin Dave and his gorgeous and talented wife Anne Sophie took great care of Mika and Travis at their Llama Ranch. Mika and Travis escaped and had a night of adventure before the SPCA found them and called. Thanks Dave and Anne Sophie!

We had a great big Graduation Party for Miles (High School - heading to UConn) and Josh (Drexel -heading into the turbulent music industry). I was able to enjoy the party immensely because I could rest and control the pain at any time. It was great!
We had a great big Graduation Party for Miles (High School – heading to UConn) and Josh (Drexel -heading into the turbulent music industry). I was able to enjoy the party immensely because I could rest and control the pain at any time. It was great!
Diane and John and Mom and Joan and Yours Truly together again!

We took a day trip to our traditional family beach - Ocean City NJ. Weve got lots of traditions at OC starting with lunch at this pink restaurant, The Chatterbox.
We took a day trip to our traditional family beach – Ocean City NJ. We’ve got lots of traditions at OC starting with lunch at this pink restaurant, The Chatterbox.
We built a cool sand castle.
We built a cool sand castle.
The traditional burying of The Uncle.
The traditional burying of The Uncle.
We walked the boardwalk to buy salt water taffy at Schrivers.
We walked the boardwalk to buy salt water taffy at Schriver’s.
Mom took on all comers at Skeeball.
Mom took on all comers at Skeeball.
Grandmom Almira is proud of Margaret for winning a stuffed wombat.
Grandmom Almira is proud of Margaret for winning a stuffed wombat.
Sunsets in Ocean City are a bit different from the ones Im used to at Martel Lake.
Sunsets in Ocean City are a bit different from the ones I’m used to at Martel Lake.
Margaret bought a nice hat.
Margaret bought a nice hat.
To get back to The Pad Margaret rented us a nice car and we dropped by Dave and Anne Sophies Llama Farm (their house was build in 1740) to pick up the dogs. Thanks Dave and Anne Sophie!
To get back to The Pad Margaret rented us a nice car and we dropped by Dave and Anne Sophie’s Llama Farm (their house was built in 1740) to pick up the dogs. Thanks cousin Dave and Anne Sophie!
The 4 of us driv back to Wisconsin.
The 4 of us driv back to Wisconsin.

Mika was overjoyed to spend time with her Margaret.
Mika was overjoyed to spend quality lap time with her Margaret.
When we got back to The Pad summer was well under way. Pumpkinseeds were nesting in the shallows.
When we got back to The Pad summer was well under way. Pumpkinseeds were nesting in the shallows.
We love having Margaret at The Pad.
We love having Margaret at The Pad.
We had yummy pancakes for Daddys Day.
We had yummy pancakes for Daddy’s Day.
Margaret (and Mika) helped me organize precious archives for my biographer ;^)
Margaret (and Mika) helped me organize precious archives for my biographer ;^)
We took some vigorous hikes on deer trails.
We took some vigorous hikes on deer trails.
Its not often I have a photographer along on a hike.
It’s not often I have a photographer along on a hike.
Margaret had to go back to Seattle. We miss her.
Margaret had to go back to Seattle. We miss her.
Although we miss Margaret we cant feel too sorry for ourselves - Its Summer at The Pad!
Although we miss Margaret we can’t feel too sorry for ourselves – It’s Summer at The Pad!


Happy New Year from The Pad

smileyguyBest wishes for a great 2009 from Doug Sharp.

This year I am going to find a publisher for Hel’s Bet and get ChipWits II out the door with a new programmer.

2008 was a year of ups and downs. My health was down but my friends kept me going. Thanks, all.

Mika, my horrible HuskyHappy New Years from Mika, here waiting for me to leash her up for a walk. She will never understand why humans don’t walk dogs every waking hour.

Travis, my horrible shepherd/collie/newtHappy Hogmanay from Travis, waiting for me to open the gate so he can terrify small furry creatures. A walk is like a video game for Travis – chipmunks and squirrels and rabbits hiding and squeaking and running away. It’s a game he was evolved to play.

hard-at-workThe three of us hard at work while a blizzard rages outside.

I am determined to rock 2009!


The Eternal Battle Between Dog and Frog Puppet & Frabjuous Day!

Margaret, my beautiful but criminally insane Margaret Criminally Insane

daughter , trained my horrible dogs to torture a frog puppet.

They seem to like the activity, twisted though it is, so I indulge them with bouts of Kill the Frog:

Travis starts his attack on Frog

Travis, driven mad with frog-hate, moves in for the kill:

When he has the frog in his mouth Travis is pure evil:

Mika isn’t intimidated. She wants that frog:

Once Mika has the frog it’s hers:

and Travis doesn’t bother to fight her for it. Mika is too intense when she plays tug-of-war. She loves to pull and she won’t let go and she’s 39 pounds of bone and muscle. She’d play tug-of-war all day if she could train a human to be her slave. She doesn’t care about HAVING the frog – she wants to play tug with it, so she doesn’t keep it to herself for long:

She runs right up to me and demands that I try to pull it away from her:

Pitying the poor frog, I rescue it:

We reenact the eternal Battle Between Dog and Frog Puppet 2 or 3 times a night. The dogs lure me outside to play by being unbearable cute and eager.

On the Frabjuous Day front:

NO MORE SLEDGING OF SUPPLIES, LAUNDRY, AND TRASH!

I had to drive fast to plunge through a foot of wet snow where the road dips into the valley, but I can now drive up to the cabin:

Spring has sprung at The Pad.


Life at The Pad

We are creatures of habit here at The Pad. My dogs and I live a comfortable daily rhythm.

Every morning the first thing we do is GET MEAT! The dogs wait for me to wake and when I stir Travis gives me a minute of snuggling and chin-kissing. I yell “MEAT!” and they scram for the dog door while I grab my robe and slippers. It’s an explosive way to start the day.

I get them pieces of meat from the fridge while they wait outside. Some days they get a big piece of meat and take their time eating it. Other days I scatter little pieces around the yard for them to hunt.

I, meanwhile, prepare my morning latte while looking out the kitchen window at this scene:

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The meat feast isn’t over, however. Years ago in a moment of generosity I gave the dogs a second, smaller piece of meat after they finished their first. “Meat dessert” is now a mandatory fixture of our daily schedule; I never forget to fling them their second piece.

I retire to my computer to drink my latte and eat oatmeal while I read my lib political blogs.

Being a geek with a few scrozzled neurons I don’t wake at dawn. I average a 1pm wake-up, so the day is well along by the time we see it. After breakfast it’s time for our daily walk or canoe.

Then the boring part of the day for the dogs as I write and program at my infernal device.

A few times every evening the dogs gang up on me and mount a cuteness offensive, generally jumping around like ninnies until they get my attention and convince me it’s time to play. So we run outside in a jumble and chase each other like ninnies:

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Sometimes I howl as loud as I can just to listen to the echoes. Neither of the dogs are howlers so they are rather non-plussed at this.

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Most nights I’m in bed reading by 2 and asleep by 4. Nine hours of shuteye and I’m ready to give my dogs some MEAT!