Monday, August 24, 2015

Three People & Three Dogs in 300 Sq. Ft

Lots of time to read
We have been here in Houston for a little over a week now living in a hotel.  This will be home sweet home until we buy a house.

Yes, Engineer, Diva, and I along with our four-legged companions packed up our absolute necessities (such as safety gear, a small library of books, and a cast iron skillet, respectively) and caravaned to Clear Lake.

The dogs are doing surprisingly well in our three room confinement.  We take them out at regular intervals and I take the younger two on a walk every day. 

Winnie & her dinosaur making themselves at home
I truly despise driving and would really love for someone to figure out that Star Trek teleportation stuff soon. Since our friends and family know that, upon hearing the news that we would be moving to Houston, the number one question was, "What are you going to do about driving?" Um...just do it?

And I have just done it.  Despite the fact that there have been torrential downpours about half the time and standing water on the roads, I have soldiered on.* 
Even though the drivers here are extremely aggressive having no regard for speed limits or spatial awareness, I have carried on. 
On the drive down when the interstate was closed and forced us to exit while I was following behind Engineer only to be cut off by a Sheriff, a flatbed truck, and a motorcycle gang, I did not panic but instead pushed onward.  Okay, maybe there was some mild panic. 
One has to do what one has to do.

The number two question everyone has asked is, "What are you going to do?"

So concerned are our sweet friends and family that I have received phone calls and/or texts nearly every day from someone checking on my state of well-being.   Thanks y'all and I'm doing fine!

I have been trying to find our groove as far as timings go.  The school run and Engineer's work hours are pretty much down pat now...other than he has traveled quite a bit this past week, making a solid routine a bit harder to nail down.

Diva is enjoying her new school and has made a few friends.  Though it's a very different environment from her classical school in Bossier.  

Caspar helping Diva with her homework
See those cookies?  I baked those in a toaster oven.  Very reminiscent of an Easy Bake Oven situation.  In fact, all of my cooking has been in miniature.  It's been interesting.

This hotel room is equipped with a kitchenette including a two burner stove.  Every day I have been at the front desk asking to borrow some piece of kitchen equipment.  The very kind and patient front desk attendant told me today that I was very domestic. 

I'm sure she's only saying that because I borrowed a blender to make homemade hotsauce.  Or maybe it was the corkscrew for the white wine to go in my risotto.  It could have been because I asked for a wooden spoon or a hand mixer or measuring spoons.  Whatever the case, the front desk staff has been asked for things that no one has ever asked for before apparently.  And they are amused by my requests.

What I'm wondering is if the other hotel guests are not amused by Diva and I singing show tunes?  The walls aren't that thick you know.

In response to an invitation from Diva's friend, we have visited both the contemporary and traditional services at a local church and really liked the traditional one. 

We have been invited to a couple of houses for dinner which has been lovely.  We hope to repay their kindness soon.

*Incidentally, I was told that heavy rains were pretty rare and that I shouldn't worry too much about them.  Right...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Madly in Love

We are back in the Lone Star State.

Diva has started her new school and Engineer has been enjoying working from his new office. 
As for me, I am coordinating our lives from Team Moppins' temporary headquarters - a hotel room.

Yes, the three of us and our three dogs have taken up residence in a hotel for the time being as we transition from selling one house in one state and buying another here.

It sounds glamorous living with maid service, a concierge, and a gym down the hallway, but in reality, we are in each others space 24/7 and we are living small.  It is what I imagine life in a camper or tiny house to be like.

Before uprooting ourselves, I was on a loop telling my people that this experience "would be an adventure."  Mostly I needed to hear that on repeat for my own sake - my own sanity.

We could all very easily slip into a state of rage irritation having to gingerly dance around each other to do everyday tasks but instead it has been quite pleasant.  Maybe even...dare I say 

I teased some friends saying this experience could go one of two ways at its end:  either we will not want to be near each other for a good long while or we will genuinely enjoy each other's company and grow closer as a family.

It's still early days but so far, we have really enjoyed living simply and we are making it work...cheerfully.

What more can I ask of my peeps?

1-4-3 EM & DM for embracing a spirit of adventure. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Johnny's Pizza

Growing up in East Texas our basic TV stations came from two locations:  KLTV channel 3 out of Longview, TX, and channels 6 (KTAL), 12 (KSLA), 24 (KLTS) and 33 (KMSS) out of Shreveport, LA.  As you can see, most of those came from across the border which meant the commercials were heavily influenced by their locales.

I can remember as a child watching with equal amounts of amusement and disgust the commercial for Johnny's heart shaped crawfish pizza - a Valentine's special.  That was my first impression of Johnny's Pizza House.

Before moving to Louz-yana I had no actual experience with Johnny's but had been regaled with tales of its awesomeness from all of our native friends.  When I say all, I mean every. single. stinkin'. one of them.

I don't know if there is something in the water or some sort of propaganda in schools that indoctrinates the youth of this swampy state, but seriously, all of the locals love it.  Not only do they love it, but they hold it in a sort of nostalgic high-esteem, like it's part of their family history...which it very well may be.

One thing you have to know about me is that although I'll eat most food, I do have a line where the quality or taste is such that I just cannot stomach it.  But with pizza, there is no line.  I love pizza in all forms so much that my tolerance threshold is non-existent.  I will eat your brick oven baked artisan crusted fig, locally sourced goat cheese, and arugula pizza or your frozen Totino's Party Pizza and although I may enjoy one more than the other, I will not complain about either. 

Pizza is my kryptonite.

So it is no surprise that while we were in the process of moving across the state line, our weekend routine would be to load up a van and a car full of our stuff, drive to our new house, unload the stuff and order Johnny's pizza.  We did that religiously for about 6 weeks.

What we learned about Johnny's in all of our indulgence research:

  • Slices - Their pizza is cut in strips not wedges which is actually quite brilliant.  The consumer can choose a smaller or a larger strip according to their hunger needs.
  • Toppings - They have some interesting toppings and whatever you choose on your pizza, Johnny's will pile on an ample amount.  (FYI, there is a loud cry of rejoicing throughout the land when it's time for the "Sweep the Swamp" pizza which features crawfish and shrimp.)
  • Price - Johnny's is definitely more expensive than it's larger chain competitors but it is tasty and there are coupons available.
  • Delivery Drivers - We have had the friendliest delivery drivers from Johnny's.
  • Crustless - I am one of those people.  The people who leave evidence of how many pieces of pizza they ate on their plate.  I don't eat the crusts so it is fortuitous that Johnny's toppings go all the way to the edge so there is no crusty leftovers.  Love that!
  • Cult Following - Seriously, Louisianians are die-hard Johnny's fans.  For example, one of my dear sweet friends even admits that Johnny's is not the best pizza in the world, yet it is still her favorite.  
I cannot say that Johnny's is my favorite pizza in the world, nor can I say that I have a personal attachment to it, but what I can say is that it is really good pizza and here in NW Louz-yana, it has the competition beat.

If you'd like to try Johnny's for yourself, there are locations all over Louisiana and they have even branched out into Texas.

Check them out at

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Madly in Love

See that kid up there?  Yeah, that's my >gulp!< high schooler!

Engineer and I figured out that this time four years from now, we will be moving Diva into her dorm room.  Her dorm room!

Yesterday we went to get her contacts so that her new school chums would not witness her bright purple glasses constantly sliding down her nose.  

It was her Daddy's idea.
And it was a good idea...but I don't like it.

Now she looks like a young lady. 
Not five minutes ago she was my little girl.

My tiny girl who, once realizing that random people would give you things, told everyone on our vacation in Bulgaria that it was nearly her birthday. 

My wee lass who had the most beautiful English accent when we moved stateside and who has subsequently replaced it with an East Texan one.

My precious miracle whose birth was the most impactful moment of Engineer's life.

Where did my little girl go? 
She's right up there.
Looking at me through contact lenses....while I am looking at her through tears.

1-4-3 DM!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Madly in Love

Nice dachshund socks Diva.

Diva has a very personal sense of style.  I would say it would fall under the "unique" category.

She likes what she likes...and what she likes is to walk out of the house looking eerily similar to Punky Brewster most of the time.  Now I know what my Momma must feel have felt like.

So when Engineer took her school shoe shopping, I received a series of texts consisting of photos of distinctly decorated shoes.  I was pretty sure Wonder Woman high tops were not going to comply with the school's uniform code.  And to my dismay, both Engineer and Diva were pleading the case for the undoubtedly cool yet completely inappropriate footwear. 

After a long text dialogue and even a phone call or two, Diva decided to "settle" for purple Converse high tops.

1-4-3 EM & DM!  Thank you EM for taking Diva shoe shopping and thank you DM for having such interesting shoes that can never be filled.
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