Merry Christmas!

Of course we didn’t decorate this year–unless you count stacks and stacks of brown cardboard boxes and a big pile of documents to be shredded festive?–but I do have three new ornaments that can’t be put away because all the Christmas bins are in storage. They include my yearly purchase of a sleigh bell, a holiday tradition since 1992.

There’s a little dog house ornament that served as my name tag on a gift I received at a party the RPM board members gave for the staff and our spouses/significant others. I not only work for amazing people, I have the thrill of feeling like I’m part of the solution to Houston’s homeless pet population–and I get to hang out every week with some of the best co-workers, volunteers, and donors any group could ask for. What a “job!”

And finally, that Snoopy dog house ornament is PERFECT. It was a closing day gift from our realtor George, who found our house and helped negotiate its purchase–and tucked inside it was a note letting us know he made a substantial donation to Rescued Pets Movement in honor of our new home. If you ever need a Houston realtor, let me know. George not only found the home that is perfect for us, he became someone we enjoyed getting to know along the way.

I have plenty more to blog about over the next few days, so watch this space. Thank all of you for reading, for commenting, for writing your own blogs and journals or FB posts and Tweets that I enjoy so much, and for making this another memorable year. Even with some losses, it’s been one of my favorite thirty-fifth years.

Now I need to finish decorating Tom’s birthday cake–happy birthday to my favorite Christmas kid!

A Movable Garden

We have let the little garden grow as it would over the past few months. The lantana is wild and overpowering, but beneath it, there are still other plants and flowers thriving.

It’s the playground of lizards.

The fragrance of the lavender soothes.

The mystery of it lures dog noses to snuffle their way in, and they often sample the flowers to see if the taste has changed since last time.

We will dismantle it when we go, moving its parts in pots, and then replant them at our new house. We hope they’ll thrive. We’ll create another small garden there.

Aaron would have turned twenty-one today.

This is how we celebrate

We closed on the new house back in mid November, and this is the week when the seller is moving out. Even so, we won’t be moving in yet, because we’re having new flooring put down wherever there is carpet. Off-white carpet and dogs do NOT mix.

But soon there will be photos!

Though Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of them all, Tom and I were both sick with colds so not in a very festive mood that day. Plus no one was here–Tim was away house- and dogsitting. So Tom made our Thanksgiving lunch of comfort food: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

That was okay with me! We were able to enjoy photos from my brother’s and sister’s Thanksgiving dinners. The next day, Debby came to town and we did it up right that weekend.

Regardless, the DOGS were able to celebrate appropriately.

Including sweet Anna May, whose name has been officially changed to “Anime,” because–those big eyes and big ears are perfect for that kind of illustration. I need to learn how to draw her. Here she is with her new friend Sugar.

She also plays hard with friends Pollock, Pixie, and Penny. No photos of that, but here’s proof that she loves her sisters and they tolerate her.

Curled up with Margot.

Ready to snooze with Guinness.

A few days later, we celebrated Lynne’s birthday (which fell on Thanksgiving Day this year, but she was out of town). First she boxed everything that was in and on the built-in bookcases in the living room.

When the bookshelves are empty, you know shit’s getting real.

Then we had dinner and a cake with candles.

There is still a LOT to pack. Who’s coming over?

And on December 12, I celebrated the BEST job in the world when I became a great-aunt again. Welcome, baby Liam, and congratulations to Josh and Dalyn!

Veterans Day

I shot this photo from my car last week (I was stopped at a traffic light) and thought today was a good opportunity to share it in honor of veterans like my father and brother.

Every time I think I’ll have time to write a post, something else happens. October was a busy month and November promises to be more of the same. So I’m sharing catch-up photos from the past few weeks.

Here are Sarah Beth and Gina Ann the day of their transport getting their travel collars. They arrived safely in Colorado and were adopted the same weekend.

Tim shot this photo with my camera at last week’s transport, and I love it. These are the transport toys that are very loved.

This envelope contains the papers that make it official. We no longer own The Compound. We are tenants until we move into our new home in December.

I do have photos of the new house, but since the seller is still living there and it’s filled with his possessions, I think it would be rude to splash those over the Internet. However, here you can see one of my favorite things about the new property: room for dogs to run. Pollock and Pixie in particular are going to love this.

Meanwhile, we’re putting a lot of our stuff that’s already boxed or binned in storage, including, as I think I mentioned, all the dolls. The other day I pulled up to the storage room and this was on the ground outside. It looks like a gruesome crime scene from “CSI: Mattel!” Fortunately, it didn’t come from one of mine, as they are all still securely packed away.

This is Betsy. Tom and I gave her her freedom ride out of BARC.

We are also fostering her. She’s a breed I’d never heard of: podengo pequeno mix. She’s a little over a year old and as sweet as she can be. She enjoys a peaceful coexistence with Margot and Guinness.

Betsy leaves Thursday for Colorado. It’s been a pleasure to share our home–or the home we’re renting–as part of her journey to her forever home.

It’s definitely real now

We close on the sale of our house the first week of November. Then we lease it from the new owner until we move into our future house–I just handed over earnest money and option pending checks–after mid December. We won’t be in the new Compound and unpacked by Christmas–but we just may be able to ring in the new year there. Everyone here is excited!

I don’t have photos of the new place yet, since I don’t think the current owner would appreciate me traipsing through it with my camera. But of course I’ll be flooding this blog with pictures sooner or later.

Meanwhile, you know what keeps us busy.



Between us, Tom and I gave these three their freedom rides out of the pound, though we didn’t foster them. They’ve all left for their new homes in Colorado.

One day I picked up these three and let them hang out at our house for a few hours until their foster mom could come get them.

Graham, Phil, and Darby definitely filled Craft Night with puppiness. They just left for Colorado today.

And for the last week, we’ve been taking care of these two toy-hoarding, chow-loving miscreants.

Gina Ann and Sarah Beth will travel to Colorado next week. You can see how stirred up they keep Margot and Guinness.

Leap of Faith

Just a quick update: A blogging break means I don’t have time to write anything right now. I usually have time to post photos, as I’m about to do. But first, because I also don’t like “teases” from people online or off, the only reason I’m not saying much about some of the things taking up my time is because I don’t have details to share yet. I am working–non-writing, non-editing work–and I LOVE what I’m doing. I’m having to relearn how to manage my time to meet deadlines and expectations. I’m enjoying what I’m doing, but I’d like to talk more about it later.

I’m still a writer and editor. In fact, I recently read something in a Louise Penny novel that has resonated with me as a writer and will be the topic of a future post.

And second, we have made a HUGE decision: to relocate The Compound! Still right here in Houston, but though we love our home dearly, our lives have changed through the years so that we just need more space. Our little bungalow is a wonderful place and has a buyer who will preserve it and make it even better, so I know we’ll leave our home of almost twenty years in good hands. But until I have more details about where we’re going, I have nothing to share. We’re making a leap of faith, and it’ll be a wonderful adventure for all of us–yep, that includes Tim, Pixie, Penny, and Pollock, and if all goes as we’re thinking, we’ll expand the population of The Compound. Don’t jump to conclusions! I haven’t figured out a way to clone Tom; I’ve been 35 too many times for a visit from the stork; Tim has no plans to take a husband; and we aren’t adopting any more dogs. I really will share more as I know more.

Though speaking of dogs, I gave three little sweethearts their freedom rides out of BARC on the start of their leap of faith toward Colorado.

Sasha ready for her temporary foster home.

Moto ready for his temporary foster home.

And this girl. There will be more photos of Bell because she’ll be with us a week before she travels.

100 Happy Days: 84

Sometimes it’s the little things… I had a hanging wire basket many years ago–I think it was mandatory during one of those past decades when I’d probably barely cut my teeth–and who knows what happened to it along the way with a divorce and an ever-changing cast of roommates and homes.

Recently I was reading how this thing I do–putting damn near everything in the refrigerator because of the climate I live in–is bad for potatoes, onions, and some fruits and vegetables. I love almost all vegetables, but I have a problematic relationship with fruit. I like it okay, but I rarely think about eating it. And if I put it in the refrigerator, it’s really easy for me to forget we even have it.

Solution: back to the wire basket. Some things still have to be refrigerated, but as long as we eat those apples and oranges quickly, they can stay at room temperature. It’s working, because I’ve eaten at least half a piece of fruit a day ever since Tom figured out a place to hang this Container Store version in our small kitchen. Making healthier choices is a happy thing.