Gangsta’ Cowboy

My husband J-Dub has a side not many people know.

To the outside observer he appears  to be a polite, hardworking, rugged,  no-nonsense cowboy.

But underneath his dirty, black hat lies a light-hearted wit.

I had a good day today and decided to text my darling to share my good news.

Here’s my text to him.

 And I received a prompt reply:

Yo, yo, yo, did Snoop Dogg steal my husband’s flip phone or what? 

I guess he and Snoop Dogg are tight, G.

Snoop D-O-double Gizzle is off the hizzle for shizzle, and anybody that disagrees is a lil’ bizzle.

Or something.

Forgive me, I know not what I speak. 

Fo’ shizzle nizzle.

Snoop Dogg's Black Cowboy Hat 

And yee-haw.

The Memory of a Sound

I recently purchased this magazine.
I say recently, but it was way back in 2010.

I have no idea why I would purchase a magazine called Do it yourself, since I don’t do anything myself.  There must have been something that caught my eye on the cover, but now…..who knows? This is one of those mags that if you have nothing to do all day except create adorableness from egg shells and paper, this is your heaven.

It does have some extremely cute crafts in it.


See, I even dog-eared this page on crafting with felt.  Felt makes me happy.  Not that there’s even a remote chance I’ll be frolicking with felt in the future.


This is an old railroad tie used as a mantle.  I love it.  We have a similar piece of rustic roughness found in an old building that we are going to use as a mantle in our little trailer house on the prairie.  Maybe in 23 more years or so.

But the point of this whole post is this:

These canisters.

My old grannie had an ugly-as-sin, avocado green tin canister just exactly like the one in the back of this picture.

It sat on her countertop next to the stove, and she sometimes stored goodies such as homemade peanut butter cookies in it.

I remember stealthily trying to lift the lid off to sneak a cookie or treat.  The “swoosh” of the lid coming off the canister echos in my head.  I would try not to make a sound, and inevitably always would pling, plang, and gong one against the other, giving myself away.  Like sneezing during a game of hide-and-seek.    

Sometime during my childhood, we got a new step cousin in the family.  He wasn’t one of us, and I remember treating him as an outsider.  When memories like these flood back, I always try to blame my sister.  But truthfully, I don’t know who was the instigator of being harsh with him.  It could’ve been my idea, or my cousin’s (his step-brother) or my sister’s, regardless I remember the four of us being outside huddled under a tree, being ugly to our new family member and telling him that “WE (the privileged real grandchildren) knew our grannie’s secret hiding place for goodies and that he had better be nice or we wouldn’t let him know.”

I wish I could go back under that tree and change that conversation.  I hope he doesn’t remember.  I’m ashamed.

Seeing these burnt orange canisters in a magazine stirred something inside me.  I asked my mom, who now lives in my grannie’s old house, if she knew where that avocado green canister was.  She said it was around there someplace.  Then about one week later, I received a call, and lo and behold, the little criminal she has living with her (another story for another time) was cleaning out the garage and it turned up. 

Here it is.  On my kitchen countertop by my stove. 

It’s not in as good of condition as the orange ones in the magazines. 

Why I have this in my house, in my blue and yellow kitchen, is something that I must explore deep within my soul.  And maybe discuss with my therapist, which happens to be Marie, my school librarian. 

Why, when I am desperately trying to simplify and minimalize, did I bring this old junky, unfashionable, semi-unpractical item out from the dust and mire of a dirty garage to sit purposeless on my already cluttered kitchen counter? 

Why do I sometimes go to my kitchen for no other reason but to lift the lid just so I can hear the pling from my childhood? 

I know why. 

It’s so I can see my grannie sitting in her chair with a poodle on her lap. 

 Or standing at the kitchen counter pressing out the peanut butter cookies.  She would let me mash on the cookie dough with a meat tenderizer to create the little indented designs and then sprinkle sugar on top when they came out of the oven, soft and warm.

I’m suddenly having a peanut butter cookie hankering.

And I need a tissue.

Got No Power Windows

Let me tell you about my yesterday.

We had to do some work on the chicken coop, so I needed my new, old truck to help haul some old wood for me.  We tore down one side of the chicken coop that was just crappy old particle board hammered together.

We’re replacing it with some rustic looking wide planks that are in a pile of rubble from a torn down structure. 

So me and my niece Ash loaded up in the truck to gather the planks and drive them to the coop.  This was her first time to see this old heap of metal and as soon as she climbed in, one of the first things she exclaimed was how she loved those kind of windows.  You know the kind.  The crank handle kind. 

It took some work to get the truck running.  But once it did, it only died 3 times.  But then it got warmed up, and it was ready to go.  If only I could get it to go, that is.

Now I’ve driven a stick shift in my time, and once I re-introduce myself to the gears I can normally do just fine.  So I put this truck in first, it jerked forward a couple times, and then died.  My second attempt in first gear was a repeat of the previous failure.  I then attempted to start off in second gear, and it jerked and died.  I eased off the clutch more carefully, it still died.  I tried and tried and could not for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t get this truck to go without dying.  I studied the gear shift again. 

I wasn’t really sure what L stood for, I don’t recall ever seeing it on a gear shift before.  Ash assured me that it probably stood for Launch, so I slammed it into L, and sure enough that must be what it stands for ’cause away we went.

We gathered the boards up.

Then pulled all the nails out. 

Then we took a drive in the truck.  We rolled, and I do mean literally rolled, our windows down.  We even pushed open that little triangle window that is next to the big window and let the wind blow through out hair as we chugged down the dusty country lane. 

My old truck reminds me of a song that my daddy likes.  It’s called Power Windows.

Louis drives a beat up ’69 Dart.
Swears it’s the statue of Mary that keeps the car from falling apart.
With Gracie right beside him sittin’ closer than a smile.
She’s got her head on his shoulder.
He loves to drive and hold her.

He got no power windows. Got no power brakes.
He ain’t got no power nothin’ but he got what it takes.
He’s got Gracie’s arm around him and a smile on his face.
He’s got the power of love. 

That night, as I was saying good night to Ash, she remarked that it was the most awesome day ever.  The most awesome day ever?   How strange.  We didn’t do anything but work.  So I asked her what made it so awesome.

Her response made me smile.  She said just being out at the place, tearing down the chicken coop, driving the truck, and having family fun.

It made me realize that we didn’t spend any money.

We didn’t see anything fancy.

We didn’t have the newest, high-tech $300 gadget to entertain us.

We got no power windows even.

Just the two of us, hanging out, enjoying the sunshine, laying on an old wagon gazing at the clouds, telling stories, singing songs, and enjoying each other.

Which reminds me of another song.  This one my mama used to sing me when I was just a wee one.

Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money,
Maybe we’re ragged and funny
But we’ll travel along
Singing a song
Side by side.

Don’t know what’s comin’ tomorrow
Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow
But we’ll travel the road
Sharing our load
Side by side.

Travel the road in our old blue truck with no power windows,

Side by side.

A Special Lady

Today, in just a few short hours, my family will be celebrating my grandmother’s 93rd birthday over in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  I couldn’t  be there, but wanted to send her some happy birthday wishes.

{sending happy birthday wishes now}

Isn’t she beautiful? 

 Her name is Mattie Dimple Calico.  If that isn’t the best name in the world, I don’t know what is. 

She’s a gem. 

The older I get, the more I realize how important family is.  I cherish my grandmother and the memories I have of our times together.

Happy 93rd Grannie! 

I am so thankful to be blessed with you in my life. 

You’re a hoot and a tough old coot, and you’re always making me laugh.  

 I hope when I am old, I look and feel just like you!

I love you!  


Amazing Grace

My eleven year old niece takes art lessons. 

This is her most recent painting.

She loves art, drawing, creating, and having fun.

Let me tell you a little bit about her.

She was born under less than perfect circumstances and survived a very traumatic beginning in this cruel world.  Her middle name is Grace and she was quickly coined Amazing Grace by my dad. 

She recently brought home a paper she had written in her 6th grade writing class called The Time of My Life.  She made an A, I might add. 

I’ll just let her tell you about herself.

Here’s her story:

When I was born I cried like a squealing pig.  My mom had me at 5:30 in the morning.  My biological mom was very happy when I was in ther world, my grandma was rushing to the hospital to see me.

If you’re wondering what my belief is I’ll tell you.  I believe in God and going to church and listening about God.  Worshiping God is quite fun.

She goes on to talk about being in a play, who her best friends and best friends for life are, some vacations she’s been on and then she tells her story. 

When I was 4 1/2, I was mauled by two rotweillers.  My dad was asleep and my step mom was busy, so when I yelled for my dad, he did not hear me.  I was in the back yard holding their puppy singing my ABC’s, then all of a sudden the mom and the dad came and attacked me.  By that time I was yelling so loud that my neighbors could hear me, but my dad still did not hear me.  Finally my step mom went outside to take the trash out, she heard a little cry, then she saw me.  She ran inside and woke my dad up and told him what happened.  My dad went outside to see.  He YELLED go start the car.  My dad ran inside and got a towel and wrapped me up and picked me up and ran to the car.  He drove really fast to the hospital.  When I got there they put me on an ambulance and drove me to the Amarillo hospital.  The ambulance driver rushed me into the ER and got me into surgery immediately.  After they turned me over to do the back, there was a huge gaping hold in the back.  The doctors went outside and told my grandma and my dad that it will be 3 or 4 hours till they finished sewing all the hole back together.  So my grandma waited and waited and waited and finally the doctors came out and said we’re done with the surgery and now we have to roll her back into intensive care.  Later on in the day I awoke with a lot of people waiting for me to wake up so they could give me gifts and love.  That day I felt a lot better.  Soon afterward I got to go home after 6 or 7 days in the hospital.

Today I am recovered and acting like a normal eleven year old.

The jury is still out on the “normal” part.

Here’s an audio of her from a few years back  You must listen.

Listen Here

Or try this:

She’s the greatest. I love her dearly.  She’s amazing Grace.  God’s hands are on her life.  It is evident.  She is here for a reason.  She is destined for something great. 

Just wait and watch.

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mum taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mum would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.

(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honour them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home – not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing..

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 






His name?….



We just call him ‘TV.’

This was an email I received recently.

It really made me think.

My momma says it is all Rhett Butler’s fault, for when he said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d*&n”, that was the beginning of cussing on the TV, and the world’s gone to pot ever since. 



My challenge is still out there for you to turn off the TV for one day, not a day when you’re gone from home shopping or at a ball game, but a weeknight or even a Saturday at home, when it’s a real sacrifice.


We didn’t have electricity and that meant we didn’t have T.V.  We had darn poor radio too.  So that meant we did the strangest things at night … we talked to each other!”  WADDIE MITCHELL, Cowboy Poet


The Seinfeld Post—a post about nothing

I’ve accepted a challenge by WordPress, the site where I blog.  They are challenging bloggers to either post once a week or once a day in the year 2011.

I am going for the once a day posting challenge.  It’s a biggie.  Especially considering how long it takes me to write one of these boogers.   

I missed the very first day of the year.  Which technically means I failed before I even started, but I am going to perservere anyway. I may be a failure but I ain’t no quitter.

Now its January 5th, Day #5, and guess what?  I’m out of ideas.  I got nothing.  I have nothing to write and a sneaking suspicion this might be a long year.  Yesterday evening, after I pushed publish on my last blog, I closed my laptop feeling very insecure about my post, and thought  It’s a good thing noone is ever coming back to read anything I’ve ever written, because I have nothing more to say. 

Nevertheless I’ve accepted this challenge, I want to do it,  and I need to post something daily.  Something with a little substance.

All day I’ve been thinking about a topic. 

WordPress is putting out ideas over at, so I hopped over there for some inspiration.  Today’s topic is “Are you stressed out right now?  If so , why or why not”  Uh, yeah, I kinda, sorta don’t have an idea for a blog the 5th day into a challenge. 

Next I thought I might do a Wordless Wednesday post like other bloggers do, where they just post a picture and no words at all.  But I can’t, I tried that before.  And I just can’t say nothing.

But if I was going to do a Wordless Wednesday post, which I’m obviously not, here is the picture I would use.

But I can’t post a picture like this and not explain it.  It’s just not right.

This was taken on Thanksgiving Day.  My mom was cooking and we all gathered up at her house.  It was a pretty large crowd and one must admit, it is hard to cook for a large crowd especially when the cook is out of practice, has adult ADHD, and is displaying the early stages of Alzheimers.  I LOVE YOU MOM!!

Authors Note:   Okay so right now I must pause in writing and tell you, if my mom ever reads this, which she probably won’t because she’s forgotten I even have a blog, but if she does, I will need protection from her immediately.   I will pack my bags, move to a remote location and not leave a forwarding address.  If I make it out alive.  I’m scared.

Back to the story.  My mom was a bit frazzled, all with the turkey being undercooked, forgetting the ham,  not having enough chairs for everyone,  the broken plate and the spilled tea.    So when I saw a cigarette on the rolls, and my mom being  the only smoker in the house, I thought Holy Cow, she’s gone over the edge now.  There’s no turning back.  Call in the white coats.  Haul her to the loony bin. 

But she denied doing it.  That was not me, she claimed. 

She was adament about her innocence.  I would NOT have done something like that

Now mind you, this is the same woman who drove off and left my niece ordering a milkshake at  Jay’s Drive-In the other day and didn’t realize she’d left her until she got home, then had to rush back only to find her leaning against the bricks sucking on her straw with not a worry in the world.  So laying a cigarette on a dinner roll and walking off seemed very plausible to me.

So I was all like, mom you probably just forgot.  Who else would have done it?

And here I must give my mom a little credit.  It wasn’t her after all.  She was right.  She would not have done something like that.  Of course she wouldn’t.  The heathen children later confessed (after torture and beatings) that it was them.  They were playing pranks on the grown-ups.  They felt we needed some revenge after forcing them to sit at Mr. Tiny’s table, which in itself is a whole ‘nother story.


Here are three of them shaking their fists at us just because we forgot they existed and didn’t have a  table or chairs for them.  I don’t know why they’re complaining.   Children never get to sit at the grown up table during the holidays.  It’s like the law or something.


Here’s something funny that happened today.  I was teaching my classroom full of second graders that I adore.     There is not a single child in there that I want to hog tie and gag.  Not one.  We’re studying weather patterns and the water cycle.  So I ask the question, “Who can tell me the four seasons?” 

And one of my boys blurts out, “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

Journey to the Land of Less is More Mile #2–Emails

This is the year for simplification in my life.  I am working towards uncluttering my surroundings and living with less.  I’m taking baby steps, even though to me they are like miles.  My destination is the Land of Less is More.  It’s my imagined Nirvana where the capital city is Simplicity. 

I spent some time this past week cleaning out my emails.  I’m unsubscribing to all the emails that dominate my inbox and my time.  Instead of just deleting them like I’ve been doing for years now, I’ve been taking a few extra seconds, sometimes minutes, to roll down to the bottom and hit unsubscribe. 

I’ve said good-bye to constant reminders to lose weight and tips for a healthier me.

Adios to ads for 20% off and Last Day Sales.

Sayonara to instructions for a weekend project to build a backyard pergola.

Ciao to Daily recipes for the world’s best chocolate cake.

So long, See ya later, Hasta La Vista, baby.

In cleaning out my emails, however, there are some that I cannot delete.  I’m very sentimental to emails that I receive from people just saying hi.  Not the forwards about what a great friend I am or wishing me well, but a personal note.  This sentementality must be a love language of mine.  I’m tender to letters, cards, and emails that are genuine.  I have kept letters from my grandmother from when I would visit my dad in Oklahoma in the summer and she would write me.  I have a note from my second grade teacher  telling me how much she enjoyed having me in her class.  I realize she gave one to everyone, but it still means something to me.  I save cards from my husband that I know he stood and pored over and even though all he wrote was “love, jason” they still mean the world to me.

I have emails from my dad too.  I’ve saved them all.  As I spent some time going back and reading them, I smiled a bunch.  He never pays much attention to spelling or punctuation.

I thought I’d share a sampling.  Even though you may not know him, being Bob is his job, so listen to him.

About Exercise:

“i’m really enjoying it, although i’m sooo tired by the end of the week. hope i can stay focused and motivated. i kno i’m never going to be small again, but, who wants to be a little old man, then everyone in town would be beating me up.”

On Learning How to Use Email/computer

“hey ang, got your email earlier and just found out how to get back to you.  how ya’all doin’. can’t find the question mark.”

On grandchildren:

“i’m getting awful anxious for little hannah to make her appearance soon, aren’t you?  That little ashlynn is such a little apple dumplin’ aint she?  this grandpaing is getting to be quite a kick.  think i’ll just live forever.”

On pictures he doesn’t want posted on facebook:

“my gosh, angel, lets get rid of that pic of me and you sitting outside your house. it looks like i forgot to p-ut my teeth in or sompin.”

When my brother lost his artificial floating on a raft in the Illinois river:

“i’m so sorry that stan lost his leg. at least he has another one
at home,”

On gangsta talk:

“hey ang, what up, homes?”

On poker (I have no idea what he’s talking about here, except he didn’t win me an inheritance)

“hey girls, i played in a million dollar freeroll tournament yesterday, and
only made one bad play, and it cost me. i was about 2, 800 in chips and we
were down to about 1100 players. i was dealt pocket nines, and bet out for
about 800 bucks. the guy smooth called, and i put him on A-big, or a pretty
good hand like that. over the next two cards we got all our money in the
middle, i turned over the nines and he had aces in the hole. i say i made a
bad play because i led out bettin on the turn and river. i let him trap me,
i should have been checkin on the 4th card, and if he bet big, i could lay
the nines down. but, i wassn’t thinkin. i find a lot of people doin this in
a game with over 5,000 people in it. also people playin, 9-2 off suit, or
5-3 suited and suckin outon people. people that really have no idea what
they’re doin.”

On pets:

“so, you have a new dog…well, y’all be good to him and make sure he earns his keep. it sounds like he has more training then i could ever give him if he knows what “whoa” means. our stupid dog thought it meant “go at a high speed away from here” because that’s what he did when the gate was opened. i still miss him tho.”

On coming for a visit:

“I’m just going to drive all the way out to gray county, then i may get a room if i am
so tired i can’t continue. Once my truck gets a whiff of Pampa, it’s awful
hard to shut down, so i’ll be coming in at a high lope. Hope that your old
General Moters product don’t shake its self to death on that one stretch of
hi-way. Angel if you can put me up (with out me having to do anything)(and
for free) lemmee know, ok?………………… you’ns, “

On Whining:

“i’m so lonely. noone ever emails me. i wonder what my kids are doing. probably eating icecream.
no body ever comes to see me. the neighbors won’t speak to me. my dog ran away. woe is me.”
On Advice:
“my best advice i can give is this: DON’T GET FAT.PERIOD.”
On Love:
“remember i love you both. so love me back…”
I love you back dad.  Thanks for the emails.