Friday, January 29, 2010

I Love Lucy!!!

Our little Lucy is a neurotic dog! We got her in August 2008 shortly after I had knee replacement sugery. The day we picked her up from a friend's home (where she was sheltering this abandoned dog) I was felling bad. Louis Dean had been left to himself pretty much as I spent days in bed he felt like it was time to add a companion dog to our life! As it turned out, Lucy seemed to think I was HER responsibility (probably since I was lying down on my friend's couch even as we met Lucy) and she proceeded to stick with me like glue! Now Louis Dean was the one needing companionship! I just needed to sleep! As the days passed with her staying right by my bed, we noticed that when Louis Dean was up and about she barked at him. When he sat down she would come up and put her head in his lap and STAY THERE as long as he allowed! This has continued!! No matter WHAT we do...she barks at Louis Dean, but ONLY when he is standing up! When we sit in the den or out in the gazebo she is right at his feet. She absolutely LOVES him....and 'herds' me.!We have figured out she must have been abused by a man the size of LD! I can take Lucy for a walk and she NEVER barks at the people we pass or even other dogs. In all other ways Lucy is a near perfect critter. No behavior problems, no accidents in the house. Of course we keep her kenneled when we are not home and at night when we go to bed. She does not see her kennel as anything but a safe place and has never even shown the slightest reluctance to enter it at day's end. We learned early on that when we are away from home Lucy goes berserk if she is left loose! She tries to get OUT of the house to find me. The first time we left her she tried to get out our back bedroom door. She shredded the lace panel, damaged the drape, DESTROYED the room darkening shade and it was just my good fortune she did not shred my best negligee that was hanging on the door. We were not gone that long.....and that's a good thing! No telling WHAT she would have done if we had been gone any longer. She gets beside herself and is frantic so it is in her best interest as well as ours that we have the kennel. She used to be able to get out of it by sliding the floor section out and then lifting the kennel with her back and walking out from under it. Louis Dean fixed THAT!!

Now we have tried everything we can think of to change this 'barking at Louis Dean' behavior of hers! We even went to a dog training class but only attended two sessions. We were afraid Lucy would pick up some of their bad habits! SOME of those dogs barked at EVERYTHING!! For $100 we ended up with two 'clickers' on the deal! And 'clicking' does not work for her either! We have tried shushing her, gentle voice, holding our hand out and saying "no"....none of this works! And I have to say she does NOT respond any differently to yelling either! Finally, LD bought a shock collar for her. Even THAT doesn't really work! (Although I think Louis Dean enjoyed trying it a little too much if you ask me!)Yesterday afternoon a friend was visiting us and she has had a lot of experience with 'problem' dogs. (She also watches Dog Whisperer!) SHE suggested we ignore her. Never make eye contact when she is outside her 'dog mode'. Do not give ground. We are now trying this approach! So far......she is STILL barking at him! It is a GOOD THING that I love Lucy.....and even more important....that Louis Dean does, too!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Texas Road Trip

Monday dawned bright and beautiful! The temps were to be in the upper 60's and the huge blue sky was given even more beauty and depth by the high streaky white clouds. A perfect day for a road trip and we had a destination and purpose in mind.

My husband and I met on eHarmony in April of 2005. At the time he had a home in Brownwood, Texas and I had one in Irving. Since his roots in Brownwood were relatively young and tender and MY roots had grown so deep as to be entwined in the bedrock....we decided on making OUR home together here in Irving. Hence we have leased the house in Brownwood to the nicest people! They are a landlord's dream! My husband has had to do little in the way of maintenance other than some A/C-Heater repair (in which case he called a serviceman) and a water heater replacement (that the tenants installed) and a new ROOF which my husband(then 72 years old!) did himself with the help of his son-in-law, Byron! SO on this day we needed to purchase a new microwave to replace the old one which had recently bit the dust.....and deliver it to Brownwood which is EXACTLY 169 miles from our front door to there!

We headed out around 10 am (as we are SO not 'morning people') stopping in
Arlington on Interstate 20 to buy the said appliance. The road stretched out invitingly in front of us! Since we live in North Central Texas, you can drive for hours and hours in every direction except North...and STILL be in Texas! We took a lunch break in Thurber, Texas, to eat at The Smokehouse. They have the BEST Chicken Fried Steaks! From there we headed out I20 to Cisco where we turned off the Interstate and traveled through rural country settings all the way to Brownwood. Louis Dean enjoyed the quiet and the scenery. I, on the other hand, had a 'delicious' one hour nap!!! I LOVE a nap in the backseat of a car on a road trip!

The visit with Marilyn and her warm and loving family was so nice! We had a lot of catching up to do as we had not seen them in 14 months! Marilyn and her daughter, Kristen, made a wonderful dinner! We had Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Fresh Garden Salad, Garlic Toast, Iced Tea and Coffee and CHOCOLATE CAKE!! Even better than the food was the good conversation round the dinner table! We talked of books, authors, current events, was SO pleasant! Made my heart feel good to see a family that eat dinner together in the kitchen most evenings instead of the slap dash- grab a bite- and eat in front of the TV habit we so easily fall into these days! Marilyn is a creative decorator and has skillfully taken a 'vanilla' HOUSE and turned it into a warm, inviting and unique HOME!

We had to leave right after dinner for the three hour plus drive home. That's the HARD part of a road trip! It is always more fun going than it is coming home! We noticed there was light traffic coming back. Driving the country roads we used our bright lights most of the time as we were the only car around! Usually the interstate is full of the big trucks especially at night but we were surprised when we stopped at the Rest Area to find the only vehicles parked were cars and RV's! Perhaps Monday night is an 'off' night on the road these days! That played to our advantage and we made pretty good time arriving home 12 hours and 15 minutes after we pulled out of the driveway!

Our next road adventure will be to Florida by way of New Orleans! I can't wait!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

That's What I Love About Sunday.....

"That's What I Love About Sunday" is a country western song by Morgan Craig. I heard it on the radio last week and it has stayed with me and came into full bloom in my mind today as I sat in church this SUNDAY morning! As I sat in my pew, I gave thanks for all the blessings of a Sunday! Church is a place where you can feel like family...enjoying each other's happiness and success as well as feeling the pain of fellow members. The prayer requests become very meaningful as you involve yourself more fully into membership. I love the fact that people actually DO miss you when you are not there...and that we care about each other. I think church fills a very real and often overlooked need in our emotional lives. The need to MATTER! The sermon today "Holding Hands" focused on God's way of turning 'you' and 'me' into 'US' by bringing congregations both large and small,here and far away.....from many denominations....into the whole Body of Christ....all holding hands!
There are many things I like about a Sunday. From the Sunday School, to the choir singing, to the sermon, communion, the fellowship, start to finish, it ALL feeds the soul! And even after church there is a flavor to a Sunday afternoon that is so special! Whether you watch football, go for a drive, take a nap, read a is an opportunity to fill the reservoir in our heart and give us the needed energy for the coming week. And THAT is what I love about Sunday!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday.....

Today we attended a Happy Birthday Party honoring my 89 year old Aunt Alice. It was a delightful afternoon filled with the sounds of laughter as remembrances were recalled and the joys of seeing cousins and relatives! All too often these days the times for gathering are centered around funerals and weddings. While these serve a purpose it is so very nice to gather simply to celebrate a birthday and enjoy visiting with each other! My Aunt said this was the happiest and BEST birthday she ever had! She had NO IDEA so MANY would be there! She is an amazing 89 she bowls three days a week and is still driving her own car! She has ALWAYS been incredible so one should not be surprised she still is! My Mother and all three of my siblings were there. We laughed and ate and had FUN! Good, clean, simple FUN! Just being together! Before the meal my cousin Richard Lloyd gave thanks in prayer for the occasion and for God's goodness to us all. I am PROUD of my family. Just average working people which is what makes people EXCEPTIONAL! All families have their share of sorrows as well as joys...learning and growing from BOTH! So, YES! Today was wonderful!

Friday, January 22, 2010

I never MEANT......

I never meant for the MINT to completely take over the front flower bed! Now I love mint probably more than most people but I have WAY too much even for ME! I enjoy it in tea and garnishes for fruit...I may even try my hand at mint jelly soon! However the explosion of mint in my flower bed HAS to be stopped! It was strangling the rose bushes and crawled into every nook and corner of the area. Last night I realized the huge job this would entail if we tried to hand pull every plant! So we decided it was best to take OUT the good plants (rose bushes and liriope) and dig AROUND the honeysuckle and lantanas. Which is exactly what we did! The dirt DID fly! The rose bushes were made comfortable in a temporary 'plant hospital' (Wheel barrow!) and the liriope made safe in the water fountain tub. Then we turned up ALL the soil with a garden rake and pulled long lengths of the mint roots out. As the sun set and we surveyed our accomplishments, it looked more of a MESS than when we started! I have faith, however, that we WILL have a beautiful flower bed in the near future! The beauty of living in Texas is that we have the luxury of beautiful weather in the middle of January! The below freezing temps we have had lately are so NOT the norm for this area! We worked a few hours yesterday afternoon in our shirt sleeves and then again today! We called it quits just in time to appreciate the beautiful sunset! There is something so rejuvenating when you are working in a garden! I could not help myself today when I was shopping at Home Depot. I HAD to buy some Sweet William bedding plants as well as 15 Freesia bulbs and 15 Anemone! So as I leave the bed to rest for the night, I feel like we accomplished quite a bit today. One step closer to having an attractive flower garden...and that's how all things are done...step by a little....there a little.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Beginning!

This is a first for first day writing my first blog! I am a big fan of keeping a journal and have been doing so since 1986. Since writing is such a good tool for organizing your thoughts...this will give me an area to more fully express myself!