Lu the star student

I signed Luna up for puppy training at Petsmart.   I waited until she had her shots before signing up which they require (and don’t check!!!!)  It’s $100 total to go for the six weeks, one hour a week.  Yesterday was our third class.  They teach, recognition of their name, sit, walk on a leash, greet without jumping on people, leave it, and down so far.   I wish I would have taken my first dog to training, I may have mentioned how terrible she was around people.  I still think that part of that is a dog’s disposition and there are things that you do that can add to a dog’s anxiety.  It is really important to lead your dog.

Luna is in a class with 2 German Shepard puppies that are 10x the size of her.  We all occupy the training area and sit away from each other, if our dog barks, we turn them to face the wall.  I encouraged the family to attend the dog training class with me.  This week I got my son to come with me.

We were amazed of how quick the dogs learned leave it and she actually learned down.  The trainer talked about behavior issues.  Luna likes to steal socks and currently she has been hiding under the entertainment center and chewing the wood.   The sock stealing can be dangerous for dogs, if eaten, they can cause blockages in the intestines requiring surgery.  I have been negotiating with her to release things she has with treats.  This effectively teaches her to do exactly what she isn’t supposed to, another reason that people need training just as much as the dogs do!  The trainer taught me how to squeeze her gums into her teeth so she releases objects and it works!  I’ve been trying to pry it out of her jaw which didn’t work.

For chewing, the trainer suggested using the product Bengay which is an ointment that relieves muscle pain, I went to purchase this and read that it’s poison if ingested.  This is the only bad suggestion she has made.  I went back to the bitter apple which is much safer for dogs.  When she goes under the entertainment center, I dig her out, put her harness and leash on and keep her next to me.  I had to do that multiple times yesterday.

For the most part Luna goes to the bathroom in the correct spot.  On occasion she will pee in the wrong spot.  The trainer was adamant about removing the dog from the area,  saying nothing, and cleaning the area without her around.  She suggested to continue making it a big deal when she goes in the right spot.  The idea is that the dog responds to positive reactions and actually want your positive acknowledgement.

It’s worth it to go to dog training.



Lu the star student


It’s here!  Finally.  The house has been cleaned everything is done and we are ready to close and start the 6 week move process!  We are really happy with the design decisions we made and now have more to make with the interior.

our house

We purchased the sofa sectional after visiting the house and taping off the dimensions to see how it would fit.  We have agreed on the smaller 60 inch round table for the formal/only dining room and instead of buying the chairs that go with the set, we found some tufted chairs for $75/per chair!  This will not only save money, it will give it a casual – formal look.  We still need the buffet and the bench for the opposite walls, window treatments, a rug and artwork.  We have a long way to go.

I finally have decided on a setup that will work for my office which is in the breakfast room that we are not using for dining.  This is a win that I sold my husband on this idea.  I know I will be happy in this space.



I am also happy my husband is helpful in making the decisions on what we need.  We sold our last house with the refrigerator which means we need to buy one.  As it turns out, this was great because our new refrigerator will need to be counter depth!  These are things you don’t notice until you start putting in the appliances.  Our last house had the refrigerator on a separate wall and it was built in for a good size depth refrigerator.  A counter depth refrigerator sticks out less and is a lot smaller because of it.  I don’t do a lot of storage, so it will be ok to have a smaller refrigerator.  The builder assumes the laundry room will have another refrigerator and allows space for it.


Since Luna came into our lives we have adjusted by lowering our mattress to the floor so she can sleep with us and jump off the bed to get to her potty pad.  Now that we are going to be setting up our master bedroom we need a solution for Luna to get in and out of the bed.  She is now 5 months and jumps on the furniture and sits on the back of the chair in the living room.  So we are going to purchase a day bed that will allow her to get in and out of bed!  I love dual purpose furniture.  It’s called a daybed and we can use it for guests, yay!


Still more decisions to make and things to do.  All of this with a senior in high school getting ready for prom and a puppy in training.  Life is really busy for us!


Paris in Houston

I’ve never been and want to go some day to Paris.  I love French things.  Why not set the mood of Paris on a rainy day?  What comes to mind for me is cafes, crepes and poodles.  “Lu” is my dog.  She is a Bichon Frise which is another French origin dog, just not as iconic as the Poodle.  We actually met a man who had a Bichon Frise that he named Paris.  We went to the dog park for the first time.  Lu has had all of her shots so we could finally take her.  What an exciting experience!  I didn’t know how she would act with other dogs.  We put her on the harness and leash and she was so excited about all of the smells.  The park we go to is one of the best ones I’ve seen.  It is 188 acres, has a large fishing lake, a big dog and little dog fenced in area (both sides have access to the water).  There are always people running, walking or biking around the lake.  The trail is 2 miles around and this is my favorite place to ride my bike.

luLu would go up to other dogs and stand on her hind legs and put her front paws on their back.  It seems dominate, however she would also lay flat in front of them as if saying I just want to meet you.  Once we saw she wasn’t being aggressive, we took her off the leash.  She ran around with a dog we met, Jolie.  She looked like she was having so much fun.friends

A chihuahua named Tinkerbell kept coming up to her and growling.  It was so funny, Lu wasn’t chasing her and the dog would go away and come back to her and growl at her.  Lu handled it well, she basically ignored her.  It’s interesting that some dogs are social and some scared or maybe a little aggressive.  I am thrilled to have her behave well and can’t wait to get her into her training.  I am very driven to do all I can to have Lu behave and be social…I’m scarred for life with the memory of our previous Bichon and how aggressive and antisocial she was with people outside the family.

On with the cafe…My daughter needed help setting up her unfurnished apartment.  After our urban adventure not too long ago, I have been working on her table.  I ordered an inexpensive unfinished 36 inch pedestal table off of Amazon made of rubber wood.  The small dining space has been a challenge to put in the right size table.  The free one was way too big, so I went with a 36 inch and it seems small.  The free chairs seem too big around the table although I have seen smaller round tables with Windsor chairs and it looks fine.  I’m really happy with the dark espresso finish and painted glazed two tone bottom.


I will be working on the chairs next.  They will have an espresso seat and painted glaze everywhere else.  I just don’t know if I want the Windsor chairs with arms or without.  I found a pair of Windsor chairs without the arms on Offer Up for free and I just might go get them.  Apparently Windsor chairs date back to the 17th century.  They are made of all wood and the process of turning wood for the spindles, carving the seat and bending the wood by steam to create the arched back.  The chair may have received its name from the trade town of Windsor in England so says Wikipedia.

Now for some crepes!  I discovered they are pretty easy to make in a blender.   Today’s crepes will be strawberry, banana, Nutella and we will also have ham, cheese and spinach.  Yum!

Paris in Houston

The Good with the Bad

I think I’ve been guilty of not accepting what I would consider unpleasant emotions well.  It isn’t realistic for life to go on with only certain emotions.    Happy feels better than sad, anxious or uncertain.   Those unpleasant feelings are motivators to do something about it.   I think it is normal to strive for being content.

A new puppy is great!  She is a great source of companionship.  With that comes some unpleasantness.  She has eaten some strings, while annoying it’s dangerous.  It kept me up worrying about it after I pulled out an 18 inch shoe lace that she was trying to cough up.  (It had made it all the way down to her stomach.)  I feared surgery on a little pup.  And while she is so little, I can’t leave her for too long.  Her spirit is amazing.  She loves to see people and is a big time cuddle bug!  I absolutely love her.



The building process on the house is coming along too!  We have now been in the apartment for 3 months.  This sacrifice will be worth it because we don’t have to worry about selling our house, who knows if it would have sold so quickly when we are ready to close on the new house.  The peace of mind has been good.  There have been so many decisions and more to come.  This week we viewed the progress.   The kitchen cabinets and countertops were in!  The three major areas I had to modify have turned out good.  The kitchen had a bump out above the cooktop that was awkward, so we changed to a vent hood that would look ok with a build out around the weird bump to the ceiling.  This is one of the benefits of viewing the same plan in the build process. You can see things you need to change.

IMG_0348 (1)

The plan had the fireplace in the middle of the wall in the living room.  I didn’t like the idea of having the TV over the fireplace and didn’t want the TV on the opposite facing wall.  So we had the builder move the fireplace over so the TV and fireplace can be on the same wall side by side and also bump out the fireplace so it isn’t just flat on the wall.  The fireplace will have stacked stone from the floor to the ceiling.  Can’t wait to see the final result.  So far it looks like it will work.


I am certainly not like one of those stars on HGTV who can just visualize how things will turn out.  People who can do that have a gift!  I feel as though I’m living the shows a little.  This has been like an episode of Property Brothers, where you have a budget and need to make a change, it cost more than you have budgeted,  so you have to find other areas to cut back.  You really need to spend the money in the areas that matter and cut back on the ones where it doesn’t.  For instance, the plan shows the house with a barrel tile roof which is absolutely gorgeous and comes with a hefty price tag.  A composite roof is easier to care for and allows the money to be spent on other things.  These kinds of decisions are key to a final outcome that fits the bill!

Moving to the other side of town will have some good and bad also.  Hopefully we will accept both and find contentment…and that definition is ….

A mental or emotional state of satisfaction maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind

This knowing there will be a spectrum of emotions that go with it.  To be O.K. with the chaos around you.

The Good with the Bad

Icy Day Workouts, Cupcakes and Puppies

What a strange combination, this really does sum up the highlights of the week.  In Houston we had the ice storm-ageddon.  Schools and businesses shut down, the roads were icy especially the many overpass bridges that are around here.  The city doesn’t have enough vehicles to salt the roads, we hardly ever have this kind of weather.

I love running at night, however with the patches of ice, I figured if I want to extend my ability to run, better do it safetly.  So that means the dreaded gym.  Moving to this apartment has the gym “perk”.   The overall goal is to workout for an hour. There are treadmills, cycle machines, elliptical and some kind of stair thing… Oh and weight machines too.  People were working out on these machines and I snagged the last one.  It’s kind of embarrassing when you have no clue what to do to get started.  After moving and just pressing buttons, I got the machine to work.  My goal was two miles, there was a TV playing a show I never watch without sound so the time goes by like a hamster running on a wheel…booooring!  The people cleared out and I pretty much had the place to myself so I moved to the cycle and eliptical machines and tried a few minutes of each, this time there was no one to watch my awkwardness of fumbling with the machine to get it to work.  Lastly I found what I call the Pilate ball, something I actually know!  The ball had exercises printed on it and they were things we normally do in Pilates.  The hour was finally over….by the end of the week we are in the 70s!!!!


Many people trapped indoors put their culinary skills to work.  In the beginning of the week, we scrounged around to find things to eat because no one wanted to walk to the store.  However, a friend made a night of baking cupcakes and that sounded good to me!  Maybe a cupcake with fresh strawberries?  I came across this Martha Stewart recipe which seemed perfect.  Martha Stewart is the queen of all things home.  And her recipe for strawberry butter cream swiss meringue frosting is a considerable feat.  The cupcakes came out great, but the first time I attempted the frosting it was a flop.  My husband was irritated with all of the mixing that was going on.  I tried again and the frosting worked out for the most part, I used some complicated frosting piper that mixes three icings because it was the only one in the store with a coupler…frustrating!




There is at least one shining star and that is baby Luna.  A puppy is like having a baby in the home.  I don’t like to leave her more than 3 hours.  The exercise pen connected to the cage thing didn’t work out.  Apparently she is a climber at 3 lbs she can scale the wall no problem.  She even figured out out how to get out of the cage, so I had to clip it closed.  This is for her own good because she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth.  I’m so afraid she is going to choke on something or eat something that will hurt her.  We took her to go see the house and I bought a puppy sling to carry her, she wasn’t too thrilled about it.  Oh well, most people love to see her and our few visitors come just to see her!

pooch purse

Icy Day Workouts, Cupcakes and Puppies

Luna New Year

Our New Year began with welcoming baby Luna. Coincidence that it’s also a full moon?  I wanted to get another dog after enough time past since we lost our first dog in April.  I have been over to friends houses and left early after spending time with their dogs and missing mine so much.  I ran with my sister-in-law’s dog over Christmas…again missing the companionship of a dog.  Since we are in an apartment my thought was that we would wait until we moved into the house, however, another thought was that we can get through some of the puppy training in a smaller space.  I have been following some breeding websites online and decided to call the one near me.  They didn’t have any babies posted, but I figured I would find out when they might have puppies again.  To my surprise they had two available.  I asked the family to go with me and see.  Our last dog was really nice to me and my husband and the family for the most part, but was really mean to everyone else.

We walked in and saw two Bichon puppies.  My husband immediately picked one out and my son liked the other.  My daughter also liked the one my husband picked out, a spunky runt.  This is much like our first dog.  The difference this time is that I promise to train this dog and to socialize her.  I see how we failed last time.  These dogs are so tiny I was over protective of the fragile little body.  That feeling came back again. I am going to fight it.  She is about the size of a guinea pig.

I am going a little crazy.  I got a small crate for her and she cries to be let out. So of course she is sleeping in our bed already.  When I leave, she has to be crated.  I thought I would try a pen, I even connected it to the crate (usually animals like a place to go that is covered).  I went to the store and within 5 minutes my husband couldn’t take her crying and when I returned she was happily snuggling in his lap.  Oh no!  We are in trouble.  The little pup is already trying to rule the house.

The breeder was crate training the puppy, she tries to only pee there.  NO! So now I’m trying to train her on a potty pad next to the door.  This is a hit or miss on day two.  Oh boy, we have some sleepless nights and a lot of work ahead of us.   I love the breed.  The Bichon just reminds me of a companion, loyal and will just hang out with you, they don’t shed and I love their curly frizzy hair.  She follows me everywhere.  Currently she is at my feet with her head on them.  I spent the last two days bonding.  I don’t normally like moving only a little, however, I believe this was necessary time together.  And it is below 30 degrees outside, so what else are you going to do? (There is no skiing in Houston!)


Luna New Year

End of the Year Wrap up

It is a challenge to keep up your cheer when you have things hitting you from every end.  Whenever you can go out and do something you enjoy…savor every moment!  It’s your time to recharge so you can think clearer.  On the way to visit family for Christmas I took advantage of some time to hike part of the Hill of Life in Austin.  Austin is so very cool!  They have lots of outdoor things to do.  Friends from the Big Bend trip told me about this hike.  It’s on Austin’s Barton Creek greenbelt.  The best I can guess is that this is a 6.7 mile hike one way.  I knew that I would only get a taste of this with my kids and figured we would walk to the water…which is spectacular and back and I was guessing it would be a couple of miles.  You have to know the capability of your company!  This trailhead begins in an older neighborhood.  There are many people hiking with dogs and even mountain bikers.

hill of life

You walk down to the water and the “hill” is the way back.  The rocks are a challenge, there are pea size to grapefruit size rocks.  A lot of unevenness.  When we got to the bottom we saw clear water.  There were two waterfalls not far apart.


If it were warmer, I would be swimming!  My daughter got me some Chacos for Christmas, very cool water shoes.  It was too cold to wear them this day.  We met a man with a Brittany and a black dog, they were well behaved despite their venture way ahead of the man who brought them.  We made our way back up the hill in time to travel an additional 5 or so miles to the Austin 360 bridge also known as the Pennybacker bridge before sunset.  This was my daughter’s idea and a great one it was!  So my husband is not the hiker, however my kids were intrigued.  I’ll take whoever will go with me.


You have two paths, one steeper than the other.  At the top, to the left you can see the Austin skyline.  Once we climbed to the top we saw a marriage proposal in rose petals with sand and lined rocks.  So sweet this was done at sunset.  You can also see cedar trees lining the highway, people decorate them as Christmas trees.

cedar trees

This was an amazing day.  We had a great time together and then had a really great dinner.  Christmas was amazing, the food the company, everything.  I know how lucky I am.  I hope you find your happiness too.  This is the BEST part of life!

End of the Year Wrap up