Places to Avoid Walking During My Lunch Break

This year for Mother’s Day my kids bought me a Fitbit Flex. I got it setup late last week and have gradually increased my walking, both at home during the evenings and at work over part of my lunch hour.

Flush creek as seen while walking at lunch on Mon 5/12/2014Monday I headed out of my building and eventually ended up along the banks of Brush Creek (sometimes referred to as Flush Creek), which flows east along the south side of the Country Club Plaza.  As you can see from the photo above, I will most likely NOT be retracing my steps on this route in the near future.

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Apollo and the MLK 2014 Sunset

It’s been ages since I posted a sunset photo.  The wind really picked up yesterday just as the sun set on a gorgeous day:

sunset with Apollo
MLK 2014 Sunet

Of course, when I stepped outside into the backyard to take the photos, Apollo just had to join me.  He had a hard time standing still for his portrait, but this one turned out well:

sunset with Apollo
Apollo peaking around the fence at me.

It was a very busy three day weekend.  We made great progress on our remodeling project.  The weather was so nice I was able to walk both dogs without wearing a jacket and we grilled out Sunday afternoon.

Hope all of you had a great weekend as well.

Treats for Rotts

Late Sunday morning, taking advantage of the unseasonal warm fall weather, I cleaned the Bonneville inside and out.  I did this in anticipation of treating my hubby and my dad to a birthday dinner later that afternoon.

By Monday morning, though, I had to re-install the seat protector in the back because we had a nine o’clock appointment at the vets for both Apollo and Lexy.  They both behaved very well in the lobby, even though another young male Rottweiler was being picked up by its owner.  He was quite rambunctious and excited to see his owner.

treats for Apollo and Lexy

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Pleasant Evening Stroll with Apollo and Spring Flowers

For the first time in nearly a month, Apollo and I took a pleasant evening stroll around our neighborhood.  I didn’t get much exercise, as I became easily distracted by all the beautiful blooming spring flowers and trees.  The temperature stayed in the 70s and the sky remained cloudless as the sun dipped toward the western horizon.

Flowers with Apollo
Flowers with Apollo (click for rest of album)

The forecast for the next couple of days, however, predicts more rain, so Apollo and I may not get out and about until later this week.

Terry and I also visited our local Home Depot to purchase a replacement day lilly (for the one lost to the driveway re-construction a year or so ago) and a couple of new flowers to add to the bed around the mailbox. As soon as the day lillies bloom, I’ll snap some photos and share them here.

Happy Birthday Apollo

This past Thursday May 9th, Terry and I celebrated the anniversary of our adoption of Apollo seven years ago. Since we rescued him we don’t know his exact birthday. Our family vet estimated that he was a year or year and a half old when we rescued him.

So we will give Apollo the benefit of the doubt and round down to eight, which is probably over 50 in human years. Welcome to your midlife crisis Apollo. You’re over the hill now and it’s smooth sailing from now on.


This morning I took a half dozen pictures of Apollo as the lounge on the couch. I tried to take a couple more outside but there was too much difference between the shadow of the house and the bright morning sunlight on the grass behind him. I upload them to my Flickr feed but I uploaded one separately here to this blog for your enjoyment.

Happy Birthday Apollo!

Adopting Alexis

Alexis (aka Lexy)
Alexis (aka Lexy) adopted July 2012

Terry started surfing PetFinder a couple of months ago, looking to adopt a female Rottweiler close to Apollo‘s age (he’s six).  While Apollo seemed to be less depressed about Roxy’s passing, he still wasn’t eating enough or getting enough exercise.  We visited nearly every shelter in the Kansas City metro area, and some in outlying cities (like Atchison, Kansas), but could not find many Rottweilers (regardless of gender).  We’d almost given up on adopting, and had started looking at buying a puppy (gasp!) or a retiring female from a breeder.

Midway through the middle week of July, Terry saw a post appear on Petfinder for an abandoned female Rottweiler in Parsons, Kansas.  The listing claimed she was six years old (a likely perfect fit for Apollo).  Terry contacted the shelter, Proud Animal Lovers Shelter, and expressed our interest in adopting her (almost sight unseen).  Alexis (the name given to her by the shelter) would be spayed that day and would need to recover a few days before she could be released to us.  Terry arranged to pick her up on Monday, July 23rd.

I requested vacation (or PTO as it’s referred to now) for that Monday and made arrangements for my backup driver to drive the van.  Parsons was about three hours south of us, between Pittsburg and Independence, Kansas, nearly a straight shot down US 59.  Early Monday morning, Terry met me at my backup driver’s location so I could trade the van to her and become a rider in my own car as Terry drove us south to Parsons.  Because the shelter didn’t open until noon, we took our time, and even a detour through Iola.

Upon arriving in Parsons, we drove around for quite some time trying to find the shelter.  The street sign for Meade was very far back from Main Street, but after passing it for the fifth time, we spied it and found the shelter.  We returned after a quick lunch at the local Brahms just after noon to fill out the adoption papers, pay the adoption fee (and make a donation in addition) and finally met Alexis.  She had just had a bath that morning and was shedding a truly terrifying amount of fur.

While Terry finished the paperwork, I took Alexis outside wiht a borrowed brush and attempted to help her shed more of her fur.  I was only partially successful.  We said our goodbyes and thank yous and walked Alexis to the car.  Unlike every other dog we’ve ever had, she did not jump into our car the moment the door opened.  We had to coax her, with treats, and in the end Terry had to lift her into the backseat.  We could only surmise her last trip, when she was abandoned in a drought scorched field in 100 degree heat, must have scared her and left very bad memories.

I drove the return trip home as quickly as I could, with only a brief stop in Garnett, Kansas by a small fishing lake to allow Lexy to stretch her legs.  Except for the construction and delay of crossing through Lawrence on US-59, we made record time, returning to Lansing before four o’clock.

We introduced Apollo to Lexy (both of them on leashes) in the front side yard.  Since Lexy only weight 75-78 pounds, Apollo outweighed her by fifteen to twenty pounds.  They both seemed to get along (at least they didn’t immediately growl and attack each other).  Terry took Apollo back into the house and I followed with Lexy through the garage.


The next obstacle we discovered for Lexy was how to climb stairs.  Apparently, she had only been a kennel dog as she didn’t know what to do with stairs.  We got her up the stairs into the main floor.  Her first attempt at descending the stairs amounted to a flying leap from the top step, bypassing six or seven intervening steps, and splaying out on the tile floor at the bottom.  I am happy to report that almost two weeks later, she now sails up and down the stairs, nearly as well as Apollo does.

Lexy had an eventful first week.  Terry took her to our vet and his examination revealed a much younger dog.  He estimated her age between two and three, not the six suggested by the vet in Parsons, Kansas.  His reasoning:  her teeth were damaged from chewing on either chain link fence or a chain (or both).  Also, her paws were permanently splayed out, most likely from wire mesh on the floor of a kennel.  We can confirm Lexy is much younger than Apollo because once she became more relaxed in our home, she began playing energetically with toys, shoes, food dishes, water bowls, laptop lap desks, … just about anything that wasn’t nailed down.

Six days after adopting Lexy, Apollo and her had their first major altercation.  It happened last Sunday evening and it upset Terry and I so much neither of us could sleep and Terry took Apollo to the vet first thing Monday morning.  Lexy had latched onto Apollo’s neck and would not let go, even with Terry and I both attempting to separate them.  Apollo received a puncture wound and an abrasion.  Lexy received no wounds, mostly because Apollo is a gentleman and knows when to let go.  The vet examined Apollo and said he would be fine, giving Terry a prescription of antibiotics just to be on the safe side.  He is doing well a week after the incident.  Lexy has behaved better in the following week.

We put the baby gates back in the doorways between the great room and the kitchen, so that visitors would not need to worry about a Rottweiler frontal assault.  We’ve started training Lexy, teaching her how to sit and lay down.  I haven’t walked her yet, but come to think of it, I’ve only walked Apollo once in the least two weeks due to the near constant heat advisory we’ve been under for most of July.

Lexy, relaxing and getting some much needed affection.

We are so glad we found her and hope Lexy spends many more years with us.

Welcome to your forever home, Lexy!

Hot June, Cool Moon

I backburnered my walking routine as the mercury topped triple digits the last week of June.  I just can’t submit Apollo, who is mostly black in color, to early evening walks, with the sun still beating down, making the asphalt and sidewalks very hot for his paws.  I managed to squeeze in four walks this last week of June, but only three the week before.  My best most consistent week came during the second week, where I only missed two days out of seven.  The first week became almost a complete wash, since I spent three days at an astronomy convention, one day observing a lunar eclipse and another day observing Venus transit across the Sun.

June 2012 Step Stats
Step Stats for June 2012

I didn’t take many photos this month with my cell phone while walking Apollo, probably because we walked very early or well after sunset most days, to avoid the heat and humidity as much as possible. I did capture a few flowers, sunsets, sunrises and quirky canine moments though and am sharing them below (click on the image to see the entire album):

Apollo returning home.
June Walks with Apollo (click image for rest of album)

I need to find a better way to get exercise for both of us during the summer.  My experience tells me July and August will not be any cooler than the last day of June.  I guess it’s back to doing Wii Fit Plus in the great room for the next couple of months.

Remembering Roxy: Knock Knock!

Roxy with Royna and Derek July 2011
Roxy with Royna and Derek (July 2011)

My Memorial Day weekend edition of ‘Remembering Roxy‘ catches me scrambling after an incredibly chaotic week at work. I usually aim to publish these posts a few minutes past midnight on Fridays (thanks to automatic scheduling from WordPress).  Not only did work leave me exhausted, but I spent many evenings this week either visiting with my daughter or standing for hours outside on a sidewalk photographing the moon (during the solar eclipse and playing tag with Venus).  I woke up this morning and realized I neglected to finish writing about Roxy and door bells.

When someone rang the door bell at our house, before we rescued Roxy or Apollo, most of the time we couldn’t hear it.  The physical bell is located in the basement in the area where the water heater and furnace reside, directly under the coat closet and the front entryway.   Visitors could find themselves stranded on the front porch and may have resorted to calling our cell phones to get our attention.  All this changed when Roxy arrived.

Roxy could hear the screen door opening.  She would charge the door, growling softly but insistently.  If someone knocked, she might bark, once, sharply.  If the doorbell rang, without someone opening the screen door first, she would bark quickly, once, maybe twice, and then charge the door.  I never worried about intruders with Roxy on patrol.

When Apollo joined the family, we noticed a marked difference in his attitude towards the door bell and visitors.  Roxy continued to charge the door, and usually made it there first.  Apollo barked loudly and frequently, but did not attempt to rush in front of Roxy.  Rather, he would hang back and wait to see who came through the door, opting to circle behind them in his stealthy sneak attack mode.  Roxy and Apollo made a great team.  She charged in where angels, and Apollo, feared to tread.

Roxy and Apollo waiting impatiently for dinner. (Oct 2009)
Apollo takes point, but Roxy not far behind. (Oct 2009)

Terry discovered that a door bell sounded during a commercial, television show or movie could cause both dogs to jump up and start barking.  The first time this happened, they both ran to the door expectantly.  One day, he teased them relentlessly, hitting the ‘instant replay’ button on the satellite DVR remote, replaying a commercial with a particularly authentic sounding doorbell.  Eventually, both dogs gave him ‘the eye’ and grumpily went back to napping.

Knock Knock!

Who’s there? 


Howl who?

Howl you know unless you open the door?

My Walking Week

I did very well the first week of May, managing to meet my goal of 7,000 steps six out of seven days:

I took Sunday off from fitness because Terry and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary two days early.

Monday, Apollo and I took our longest walk of the week, an hour long meander around the neighborhood at dusk.  We saw a few flowers and a strange small dog with a pink mohawk who got very excited when Apollo walked by the front yard on the sidewalk.  Pedometer: 10,790 steps

Killer pink pooch
Click photo to see the rest of the album.

Tuesday, Apollo and I took a brisk forty-five minute walk around the area.  Pedometer: 7,941 steps

Wenesday, I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to walk Apollo in the evening because Terry and I were meeting a couple for dinner and a concert after work.  So I took half my lunch hour and walked around the park behind the American Century towers on the Plaza.  Pedometer:  7,640 steps

Thursday morning, I took Apollo on a short pre-dawn walk for thirty minutes.  My vanpool is leaving later now (at a quarter to seven), so getting up at my normal alarm time of five o’clock leaves me quite a bit of time to get some exercising in before getting ready for work.  And, it allowed me to mow part of the lawn in the evening.  Pedometer:  8,313 steps

Friday evening, Apollo and I walked for thirty minutes or so, and saw a pretty nice sunset and the almost full ‘super’ moon. Pedometer: 8,810 steps

Saturday overflowed with activities.  I mowed most of the rest of the yard (push mowing for an hour).  I cleaned house (more steps vacuuming and toting things up and down three flights of stairs).  I ran errands (shopping).  Apollo had a play date with a potential adoptee at the dog park (date didn’t go well, but I got more steps in).  And I still took him for a walk that evening, for about a half an hour.  Pedometer:  11,309 steps

The second week of ‘in training’ for my walking regimen to prepare for the KC Heart Walk seems to be a success.  I’ve increased my activity.  This week will be a challenge, though, to get enough walking done.  We’ll see how well I do and how dedicated I remain to my goal (and to increasing that goal) of seven thousand steps each day.  Especially since I didn’t get to walk at all on Sunday thanks to spring thunderstorms.  And to show you I wasn’t the only lazy one in the house, here’s a photo of Apollo eating his supper … laying down.

Lazy dog