A Good Dog

One thing about Luna that struck me is her intense eye contact.  I haven’t really noticed that with other dogs.  This makes it nice because she will look at me and already we are on the way to communicating.  I wouldn’t say we noticed the eye contact when she was 8-10 weeks old it was sometime after.  Now that I have noticed and realized the value of eye contact, I foster eye contact by reciprocating as a routine.


People say that training is key to a good dog.  I believe that is true.  Still, there is an element of disposition, sometimes you are just born with it.  Now that I have had the experience with two dogs of the same breed with completely different personalities I believe breeding had a lot to do with disposition.

Because of the horrible experience I had with my first Bichon, this one definitely was introduced to a lot of people and other dogs.  Even with that first encounter or subsequent early encounters with people, my first dog was anxious and I really think that I got her that way.  Luna is not anxious at all.  We will walk by other dogs who are barking like crazy and their owners are doing their best to restrain them and Luna will not bark and just observe.  She doesn’t cower in the presence of big dogs either. That is not something we got from our puppy training or even anything I could possibly do to teach that.  Maybe she senses that I am not afraid of big dogs and don’t say or do anything behavior wise that would cause her to fear them.

On our walk yesterday we encountered ducks that just walk the streets.  My previous dog would have wanted to chase, Luna observed.  Now I will say that a person can add to a dog’s anxiousness by saying with extreme excitement, “look a duck!!!”  I did say in a calm voice that is a duck, no excitement. And when walking by other dogs, I do communicate with Luna to continue the focus on me and say her name and “let’s walk” in a calm voice.  So maybe that helps.


She had her first flight on United and we were squished in like sardines, it’s hard to get the carrier under the seat where the animals are to stay for the duration of the flight.  Luna made friends with the flight attendants and they let her sit on my lap the entire flight.  I was sitting in the window seat and the couple next to me appeared  uninterested in dogs.  Luna is good about that too, she senses it and leaves them alone.  However if you are a dog lover, she recognizes that too and will give you all of the love you can stand.


I think with my first dog I was really careful with her because she was so tiny and when I would see kids or people going at her to pick her up I feared they would drop her when she squirmed.  So I would shield her which probably made her more anxious and distrustful of others.  There is a solution for this!   It is so simple it’s crazy!  I recognized that she is a DOG!  Sounds pretty dumb, and yet it’s genius.  Dogs are not what you carry around like a stuffed animals or a baby, they belong on the ground.  When people greet your dog, all four paws need to be on the ground.  And when people come at your dog to pick it up, the owner intercepts and says, you can greet my dog when she is on the ground.  That’s it!

If you are going to be in control of your dog , you have to be assertive enough to stand up to others and let them know how you want them to interface with your dog.  It’s always best to ask permission from the owner if it is ok to pet.  This helps the owner maintain control of their animal which results in positive behavior outcome.

Luna has some trouble with jumping on others to give kisses.  Not everyone is enchanted with her enthusiasm.  The solution for this that works is I put her on her leash and step on it so that she can’t jump and she stops.


Animals appreciate your attention to detail and consistency!


A Good Dog

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim

For my daughter’s 21 birthday we went to Las Vegas.  The most exciting part of our Las Vegas trip for me, was the trip to the Grand Canyon.  It’s closer to go to the west rim and see the sky bridge, however the most popular visitor spot is south rim.  That would be a 4 hour 22 minute drive (according to maps) from Las Vegas.  About 40 minutes outside of Las Vegas is the Hoover Dam.  We left early, after 7AM and arrived at the dam at 8:15AM, this was just before they officially open the facility, they let cars go in.  We drove over the dam and parked at a spot to take pictures of the back of the dam.  The only way to get pictures of the front of the dam is to walk the Mike O’Callaghan and Pat Tillman bridge.  This is actually the first right inside the security check point.  There are normally buses stopped there and they do have latrines.  You have to walk about .25 mile and it’s up, but it’s well worth it. (It’s handicap accessible).  Turns out if you don’t want the tour and you don’t want to visit the gift shop, this is the best time to go, otherwise it’s crowded and there is a line.


The drive through the dessert was beautiful.  There is elevation changes and interesting rocks, mountains, and desert growth.  It’s just beautiful and hot, at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  For whatever reason we had the windows cracked and the AC on high. There are gas stations along the way so you don’t feel isolated and it’s a four lane highway with plenty of trucks and other travelers on the road.  We crossed into mountain time, however Arizona doesn’t participate in the time change so the time stayed the same at this point of the year.


It’s $35 to get into the National park.  To the left (west) is the village side where the lodging is located, we stayed at the El Tovar, over a 100 year old hotel.  And it was awesome, very lodge-y.  The lodging is mostly located on the rim.  Now that I’ve visited, it’s clear to see that the park is roughly 22 miles wide, on the west side beginning with Pima point just beyond the village to Pipe creek is a 12 mile rim trail.  It’s easy hiking (handicap accessible).  I went to the Bright Angel trail head and went down the trail .2 miles just to get a sample of the trail.  On the way I saw Lookout Studio and some wild life, California condor, elk and squirrels.


I hiked a couple of miles on the rim trail which the hotel sits on and then had to work hard to get my daughter to go on a drive with me to the desert tower which is the farthest East point of the park.  I wanted to catch it at sunset.  We went too early, and still it was worth the trip.  Currently there is road work which signs say delays the trip to Desert View by 30 minutes.  We were lucky that the workers were not working on the road at the time and didn’t experience a delay.

desert tower

I spent the evening on the back porch watching the sunset sipping wine.  My daughter eventually joined me for food.  There was a bat that came and snatched whatever bug it was after, even though it wasn’t buggy.  My daughter was oblivious to the bat, thankfully.  The weather was so pleasant, they played old rock music and this is my little piece of heaven.  The rooms are not spectacular, despite the fact that we paid more than the resort stay at the Venetian for the night.  They have a simple small bathroom and a queen bed.  It reminds me of the small space my grandmother had when I would go visit.  Those were some of my most happiest times.  Even though this room was updated,  the span of years between the original build of the hotel and my grandmother’s place was 50 years!  Afterwards we went to view the stars with the most pleasant weather.


El tovar sunset

The at least 100 room hotel does not have enough parking and they do let you know that ahead of time, I found parking in one of the over flow lots C and didn’t find it to be too much of a walk.  I wouldn’t have seen elk up close or the train station if I hadn’t had to park away.  The railroad is how building materials and guests got to the area in the early 1900s.  Today, you can take a train from Williams Arizona which is about an hour away into the park.  My daughter didn’t want to go with any tours and I’m happy we didn’t.  We make our own adventures and they are pretty cool!



Peace, serenity, this is the good stuff.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim


I found this placed called Wicked Core and thought I would try it.  The Wicked Core studio doesn’t consider their studio Pilates, they say its Sebastian Lagree fitness instead of Joseph Pilates fitness and the exercises are on a different reformer called a megaformer.  The class is 45 minutes and for two trial classes I paid $15 each.  The exercises are designed to make you shake, I found them fatiguing and not really designed to allow for different levels, if you fatigue in Pilates, you are instructed to cut your reps or modify the movement.  There is no suggestion here.  To quote the instructor she said we do a lot of lunges and planks.  There are no exercises on your back.  I think the props you have in Pilates allow for more variety in exercise.  The instructor mentioned the routine changes every time, however the two times I went it was basically the same.  The music is really loud and I can barely hear the instructor.  All I heard was a series of count downs and it was confusing.  I had to look at my neighbor to see what position I needed to be in.  The instructor did come around and manipulate me into a correct position a few times.   There is no spine work so you get a work out on legs, core and some arms .  Pilates works every muscle in my opinion.   Overall, I did feel like I got a workout,  I just like Pilates better.   This location was closer to the house, however I’d rather travel a little further and go to real Pilates.

wicked core megaformer

On with more exploring.  There is a park close by that has a creek that floods in heavy rains, you can see the trees that came down as a result of the Harvey flood.  In this park there is a sandy beach area and it’s not crowded.  There is no life guard support.  The park considers the beachy area a canoe launch.  And further down the creek is another launch.  In between there is a paved greenway through the trees that is 20 miles in length.  My plan is to take the bike there and check it out.  I’m hoping to recruit some people to go with.


The morning and evening sky is absolutely beautiful.  The hot day comes to a close and the cooler (warm) temperatures are extremely pleasant.  The sky looks like an abstract painting.


We checked out a few restaurants this weekend.  One was fancy to celebrate my son’s high school graduation.  I snapped a pic of the interesting chandelier.


The other restaurant was picked by my daughter to check out on her birthday.  She is into the trendy farm to table restaurants supporting local food sources.  It was called Herb and Beets.  I had this beet and avocado toast drizzled with balsamic.  She had a salad and fried eggrolls stuffed with macaroni and cheese.  My 3 pieces of toast cost $5.  With the new kitchen at home I would rather make stuff at home.  I think my food comes out pretty good.  I made her a trifle for her birthday “cake”.  Everything was from scratch, custard, whipped cream, lemon pound cake.   It took all morning and it turned out great when I mixed the runny custard with cook and serve pudding.

It’s funny how people post pictures that show seemingly good outcomes, you don’t see the other part of what may have led up to that picture or the struggles.  That applies here as well.



The Art in Father’s Day

Waking up to a rainbow outside has to be a sign of a start to a great day.  It’s the day to appreciate dad.  My husband and I won’t have a chance to visit our parents this year, although we are fortunate to celebrate with our children in the new home.

It finally rained and the best thing to do when it rains is my husband’s favorite activity, which is go to the movies.  He goes to the theater almost every weekend (mostly solo) and the movies aren’t even good most of the time!  I think he goes just for a story.  We saw the movie Tag which is about grownups who continue to play a game of tag every year in the month of May in an effort to remain youthful.  They quote Benjamin Franklin:

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!”

Theaters have really changed!  The aisle widths are larger, seats are over sized and  recline.  This is a big improvement!  I wish the airlines would do the same.  Really why bother going to the movies if you are more comfortable at home?

The bar stools came in this week so now we have an excuse to break in the new space with Father’s Day dinner watching the baseball game at the bar.  On the menu, hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad and fruit.  For desert, banana pudding, my husband’s favorite!

It still looks pretty bare in the house.  Slowly it will get there.  I’ve been looking for some art for a prominent niche.  For some reason inside the house feels more modern and I’ve been leaning more towards modern decor.  I found this mid century modern brutalist nail art by an American artist, Corey Ellis that I think would be perfect. It would go next to the fireplace in the niche.  Brutalist from what the Internet says is a period after World War 2 whereby things built were completed with unrefined materials, simplistic in design and built with strength.   I really like the idea.


brutalist nail art


The Art in Father’s Day

Windows of Opportunity

We have been working out the quirks of the new home.  We have some issues with the technology and with the AC units.  Things to be frustrated with, however so long as you are determined to resolve, it will be ok.  It’s been a couple of weeks and we are working on windows.  For the bedrooms, I convinced my husband to let me install blinds from the local home improvement store.

We had two drapery makers come out this week.  One was double the price of the other.  The lady that was less expensive was Russian.  I love her!  We work well together.  She brought books of fabric and it was super easy to make a choice.  Once the room has the fabric, it will be cozy.  It would seem the trend in window treatments is simple panels, geometric designs and mainly neutral colors.

I spent most of the beginning of the weekend getting the guest room ready for my daughter.  It’s still a room with random furniture, just less of it now.   It has an eyebrow window and to cover it for privacy has been a challenge.   There is a balance between living like you are in a fish bowl, exposed and covering all the windows up.   While looking at blinds that will fit the wide window, I learned that a Palladian shelf can be installed in the window to provide the middle support that is needed to hang the blinds.  One quote I had was $900+, however I can do the shelf and the blinds for $180.  In the meantime, I used a shower curtain tension rod with her sheers for some privacy until the order comes in.  By leaving the arch and the three windows above it open, there will be enough privacy and enough light keeping the room looking spacious even though it is relatively small.


My husband’s office windows are too narrow for blinds and shutters seem to be a commitment to cover up the windows.  To solve this problem Nora suggested a traverse rod with linen panels.  She showed me a video of one of her previous projects and it seemed like it was the perfect solution for his office.  It will have a little bit of a formal look and masculine with the light grey solid color.  He will have the privacy he wants in the evening and the ability to enjoy the view which is of a small court yard during the day.


Tonight we had dinner together and it was everything I was hoping it to be casual and intimate.  I love it!

Windows of Opportunity

New Home Living

We have been in the new house for a week.  It’s overwhelming, I start unboxing something and then get distracted and switch areas.   It’s hard to keep focused when there is so much to do.  This week we got a lot accomplished.

My husband just wants to keep buying which is driving me crazy.  He stated he isn’t using  wire hangers and proceeded to order wooden hangers.  I put the clothes on the hangers for him and there wasn’t enough.  I convinced him to go with plastic for t-shirts.  His side of the closet… and mine…pics below!

When we left our old house, many things needed to be replaced.  We bought a new lawn mower, trimmer and blower.  The lawn needed attention!  And my husband replaced our patio cushions.  I wondered if it was a good idea to keep the patio furniture.  It ended up costing us a small storage unit for 6 months.  At least we didn’t have to put out more money for a new set.  We don’t have a grill right now so I went to the store to get an electric one, which they did not have.  I went for a table top propane grill for $30 because eventually we will do a nice grill.   An hour later I’m still putting together the pieces and it didn’t work.  Convinced that this grill would work, the next day I kept trying and finally got it to work.  So happy for hamburgers!


We are dealing with an AC problem, they have been out twice to repair it.  This is one of the many things that is stressing me out!  In Texas you don’t need to have AC problems, especially a brand new unit.

The breakfast room re-purposed to an office space is coming along.  I found some art at the “At Home” store.  You can get some great decorating ideas walking into some of the builder model homes.  I’m going for updated on a budget.  Deciding on how to setup this room was not easy.  I looked for ideas on the internet, nothing really helped.  It was weird that we walked into the furniture store, saw the desk and chair and then the vision came together.    We walked into many furniture stores, some just don’t have the style that excites you.  The desk just needs a lamp and a couple of decorations and it’s done.  Simple and no clutter.




New Home Living

Memorable Move Day

My husband says to me, “See?  It’s much better and I always have to take you kicking and screaming”.  After 3 moves just to sell our house and move into this one, I would agree that it must be an absolute.  I still don’t know how people do it.  It has taken weeks to setup and move.  Today alone my fitness tracker says I walked 10 miles and moved 23,000 steps.  That’s with hired movers!   I didn’t want to pay for the movers again because it would be the 3rd time and we had minimal stuff in the apartment.  We sold some furniture with Offer Up.   It took 3 men 1 hour to clear the apartment of the 20 boxes I packed and the few pieces of furniture we had.   There was a very large entertainment center that went to a consignment shop as part of the deal and that made it worth it.  It would have been a couple of $100 dollars for me to rent a truck and it would have taken a lot longer.  Besides, my husband’s back couldn’t take it.  I would have never gotten the entertainment center out and that alone was a $170 delivery to the consignment shop, so $400 was money well spent.  This particular company was very good at estimating, the last one was not!

We ate our first meal at the dining room table, there was only three of us and it was Indian food.  And it was comfortable, which is the feeling we were going for despite the room being considered a formal dining room.  We still have boxes everywhere and our guest room is a storage room that needs to be addressed.  My work space off the kitchen is comfortable and bare.  I just noticed that the desk and chair is Rachel Ray home.  That’s pretty appropriate because it is my work space that is designated per plan as the breakfast room.  I can’t wait to complete the design.

Luna is so happy to have the space!  She was blitzing around the backyard.  She now has to learn to potty outside versus the potty pad so it’s like training all over again.  I think she is going to sleep well tonight, today was very busy, she had to be in her cage while the movers were moving and all of the activity had her very excited.

So this is my dream house.  I have no idea how long we will get to stay here.  I was so happy moving into the last house and thought, I really hope we get to stay here.   We stayed there long enough and I’m happy to start a new chapter in a new place.

I am feeling completely overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and I feel like a fish out of water.  So I tried to take an hour to spend with my daughter at the pool in  between purchasing a mower, a weed eater and a grill for the hamburger bbq.  The weed eater died so only half the yard is finished, the table grill was an hour project and then the regulator doesn’t work.  So many projects and things to fix.


Memorable Move Day