What’s in a Name?

 I remember in upper elementary school and junior high before the teacher took roll on the first day of school, they would say “If there’s something else you’d like to be called, please let me know.”  Students like Johnathan preferred John, or Michael’s to Mike, Nicole’s went to Nicki, and the like.  I recall one girl who said she went by B.J., but the teacher adamantly refused to call her that!  Now in my classroom there are Madison’s that prefer Maddie, and Abigail’s that shorten it to Abby.  I was always just Angel. I secretly wanted to make one up for myself, but I’ve never been good at naming anything.   People would ask me if it was short for Angela, and no, it’s just Angel.

The story behind my name as reported by my mother, goes something like this.  My parents hadn’t picked out a name yet, my mom went into labor in the early morning, the hateful nurse on duty didn’t believe my mom when she warned her she was about to spit out a kid, so she hum-hawed around and didn’t call the doctor, therefore the doctor didn’t arrive in time and I was born with only my mom and the hateful nurse.  My mother states that she said the following beautiful words, “She’s such an angel.  All she needs is wings.”

They left the hospital a couple days later, only to have the hospital call the house informing my mom that a birth certificate needed to be assigned and I hadn’t been given a name yet.  So my mom places the phone on her shoulder and hollers to my dad in the other room that they need to decide on a name.  From there, the story is foggy.  I do know my dad didn’t want me to be called Angel because it wouldn’t look good if I turned out to be a bar maid.  But nonetheless I ended up as Angel, which might reveal something about my parents’ marriage.

The story behind my name as told by me, goes something like this.   I was the fourth child so by this time no one gave a crap, as evidenced by my baby book which only has the first page filled in, minus the hateful nurse’s name. 

I’ve always liked nicknames and I’ve always felt a little bit left out that I’ve never had one. I like an original nickname.  We know of one fellow called Punk and another Button.  I also like nicknames that just don’t fit with given names.

My grandfather on my mother’s side had a nickname for almost everybody.  And not just the kind that you shorten or make cute like Bill to Billy.

Here’s a run-down of some of my family members and their nicknames that Pop christened them with, I think.  There may be a mistake or two or an extra explanation and hopefully someone will pipe in and correct me.

(cousin) David Russell—a.k.a. Rusty
(cousin) Jay Scott—a.k.a.  Charlie
(cousin) Curtis—a.k.a. Theophilis shortened to sophilis
(brother) Stan—a.k.a.  Johnny
(brother) Steve— a.k.a. Stoop supposedly for stupendous, but I know Steve-O and it makes me wonder.

Aunt Frances—-a.k.a. Speedy
Aunt Bert—a.k.a. Shorty
(mom) Anne— a.k.a. Annabelle
(grandmother)Imogene—a.k.a.  Emmer
(great aunt) Mary— a.k.a.  Bummer

He died soon after I was born and he never nicknamed me.  I wonder what he might’ve called me. His nicknaming reminds me of a friend of Jason’s.  His name is Will but friends know him by Wild West Willy.

 He has an art for naming. He’s got a ranch called the Rocking Sombrero and gets ribbed a little by friends that his brand looks a little too much like the Arby’s hat.  He is the one who dubbed Jason J-Dub, his horse is called Pidinker, his dog Itty-Bitty, and his grandson Leroy, although not his given name of course.

The closest I’ve ever gotten to a nickname is auntie.  My niece Ashlynn calls me that, and like mothers and fathers who call each other mom and dad, Jason picked it up, now some friends call me that from time to time. 

What about you?  Are you nicknamed?  Do you love it or hate it? 

The Age

It’s Saturday.  Yesterday’s beautiful snow is lying in dirty spots here and there hidden in shadows from the sun.  Up against fences, in flower beds, in corners of the yards.  The rest has melted away.  Today is the first of a 16 day break from work/school for me and I am ecstatic.  So ecstatic that I awoke before 4 a.m. ready for my vacation. 

I do believe I’ve hit “the age”.  The age where you wake up early even when you don’t want to.  The age where you no longer fly out of bed ready to start the day, but rather step lightly and gingerly to the easy chair to give your joints a bit more time to warm up.  The age where you long for peace and quiet instead of people and noise. 

Last night J-Dub and I went to a little Christmas social then decided to go to the video store and look at magazines and videos.  After perusing a good 20 or 30 minutes, we left empty handed.  Walking out to the truck I said I just wanted to put on my jammies, drink something hot, and read a couple pages in a book before falling asleep.
He agreed. 
It wasn’t quite 9:00. 
So we’ve hit the age. 
Big deal.

Sometimes we reminisce about when we were children and we would eat with our grandparents at Furr’s Cafeteria, which has long since shut down and been replaced with a Mexican Food restaurant.  In our memories, old people lined the hall of the cafeteria, had employees carry their heavy trays while they struggled with their canes and walkers, and blew their noses in the maroon cloth napkins. 

Last weekend we went into the big city and in an attempt to avoid the crowds went shopping at antique stores.  I saw drinking glasses that I used at my aunt’s house, toys I played with as a young child, dishes from my grandmother’s cupboards, Little Golden Books I’ve read, and knick-knacks that sat on my mother’s dresser.  I’ve hit the age where almost all the antiques offer a memory. 

 Afterwards we decided to treat ourselves to Furr’s Cafeteria.  We got our trays and our napkin-wrapped silverware, which is now paper napkin-wrapped, and went through the line.  I tried desperately to veer from my childhood choices.  I was going to try something new and different.  After all, I am an adult now.  But it was as if some force from the past controlled me.  I wanted to order roast beef and green salad.  But it was as if I was a marionette whose puppeteer was manipulating my hand choosing baked fish and tartar sauce, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, a hot roll, and even when I longed desperately for pie, I was compelled to choose tapioca pudding with the whipped cream and cherry.  All the things from my childhood.  All the dishes I’ve ever eaten in all my outings to Furr’s cafeteria.  It was a delight.  It wasn’t the best food we’ve ever had but it was different from the restaurants we usually eat.  At the booth I had trouble hearing Jason a couple of times and had to ask, “Huh?”  He pointed out that I was “fitting right in” at Furr’s.

That day in Amarillo I relived bits and pieces of my past.  I thought of my grannie who served Saturday morning pancakes in stacks of four cut in triangles on those same Fiesta plates from the antique mall.

I thought of my parent’s red bedroom, with red carpet, and a red crushed velvet headboard when I gazed upon that glass rooster that used to sit on their dresser filled with change and such.

I thought of our kitchen wall with those coca-cola trays with the old fashioned women encouraging us to Enjoy Coke

I thought of scary Friday the 13th movies and Jason’s mask when I saw an old barn picture that used to hang in our home.  It always reminded me of a killing spree on Friday the 13th and I was scared of it. hu, hu, hu, ch, ch, ch…..hu, hu, hu, ch, ch, ch……I studied it for a long time.  It was smaller than I remember and so benign-looking 15 years later. 

The past is gone and all that is left are my memories.  Eventually those will pass too.  And some day, this Saturday with the melting snow will be a memory that I will be trying to grasp hold of.  Our lives are like a dream.  The kind where you wake up and you don’t remember it all, just a moment here and there.  You close your eyes and try to return to it because it was pleasant.  But all you have is a snippet here and a fragment there and the pieces don’t come together quite right.  And you long to re-visit, but you can’t.  You just can’t. 

And that’s one reason why I write.   These memories need a place to live.

When Life Gives you Rainclouds……..

My husband sometimes says he feels like life is kicking him where it counts. Those aren’t his words however, he’s much more blunt than I.  And even though I don’t own a set of “where it counts”, I’m finding myself doubled over in pain. 

When my husband’s life gets hard, I imagine a cartoon boy, his hands in his pockets, his head cast down, the sun is shining around him, but he has a dark, stormy rain cloud hanging over his head.  If he walks to the east, the rain cloud hovers above him.  When he turns to go to the west, the rain cloud moves with him.  Even as others sunbathe on the beach or run through meadows of wildflowers, he cannot escape his rain cloud.  He goes through life with a raincloud and no umbrella.  I think I must have seen this cartoon a long time ago and have recently dug it out of the file cabinets of my brain.

The last couple of months, the cartoon boy in my imagination has morphed into a cartoon woman.  A thirty-five year old woman to be precise.  One possibly on the verge of a mid-life crisis.  One with graying hair, a bad memory, and love of pound cake.  Whose name starts with an A and ends with a NGEL. 

My preacher says something like, “If you’re not presently going through a storm of life, you’re either coming out of one, or about to head into one.” 

Tonight, in the midst of my whining and moaning and the poor pitiful me’s of life, I took 2 ibuprofens to kill the pains of existence (I’m a real risk-taker, eh?) and decided to take a hot shower.  I dried off and my towel smelled so fresh and clean.  A simple pleasure.  I put on my night clothes and crawled under my covers at 7:15.  Another simple pleasure.   

I opened my Bible, and even though God didn’t jump off the pages and scream profound revelations directly in my ear, I received peace and a bit of serenity.  Or perhaps the ibuprofens were kicking in. Har Har.

Then I read part of a memoir called “A Three Dog Life”  about a woman’s struggles to make a different life after her husband receives a traumatic brain injury and loses his memory. 

And then I felt ashamed of myself. 

As I sit in my bed, under my covers, comfortable and safe and healthy,  I am reminded no matter how awful and bad I think my life gets, it’s a walk in the park compared to others who have been dealt a far worse hand than I.  

I am reminded that no matter how heavy and dark my rain cloud appears, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45 

And I am reminded that rain allows for some beautiful harvests. How am I to grow and change and become a new creation without it?  “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”  Hosea 10:12

And I just wanted to share this with you.

Find your simple pleasures.

May God Bless You,

Simple pleasures

I’ve Got Mail

A single joy of mine is walking to the mailbox.  It’s not too far, but far enough.  Just down to the green gate, then just a bit on the county road to the highway where three boxes are lined up waiting.   We get no mail out here yet, we haven’t fowarded our address, so a questioning person might question my actions of walking to the mailbox.  But it appeals to me.

Most days I walk to the mailbox, open it, cluck my tongue at its empty womb, close it, and walk back up the county road to the green gate back to the house.  However, my daily walk found the mailbox fruitful the other day when I found my new ubscription to MaryJane’s Farm magazine.  I quickly sat down and devoured it.  Here’s an excerpt I’d like to share:

The Gift
by Alisen Payette, Missouri

I have learned a lot in the past eight years living on our small Missouri farm.  I hae always loved food, but participating in the planting, growing, harvesting, and storage has caused me to appreciate it in a different way.  I have come to say that my favorite thing about farming is sitting down to a completelyy homegrown meal in the middle of January.  Just this last winter, I realized what a gift this lifestyle has truly been—and the awareness came in the form of a pie.

With each fork-filled bite, I tasted more than the pie…it was an experience, a memory.  I looked at my neighbor, who had created this savory dessert to close an amazing meal.  I thought of her pigs who had lazily watched her work the warm days of summer…they became the lard she rendered in the cool of the fall…which eventually helped create the rich, flaky crust that danced among my taste buds.  I thought of the rhubarb, carefully tended, harvested, and prepared by her hands.  As fresh cream slowly melded with the juice of the pie, I thought of the cow from the nearby farm who was led from the field to the barn and back again.  I felt as if I were eating a gift wrapped in love, hard work, and true appreciation for the food itself.

Gosh, I wish I could describe how this writing makes me feel. 
I have such dreams friends….

Thoughts on a Sunday

November 21

Today brought me the challenge of finding a sitting, reading, writing place outside where it was sunny and calm.  But if the spot had sunshine, it also had wind, and if the spot was wind-blocked, it was also sun-blocked.  I settled for sun combined with wind and I made due.  But as I struggled holding down my pages with one hand, and constantly tucking hair behind my ear with the other, I couldn’t keep the thoughts of Lizzie Borden at bay.


I laid across the bed of a wagon filled with scrap metal and let the sun warm my face.  I closed my eyes and when I opened them, it was as if I was looking at the sky for the first time ever.  I don’t recall it ever looking so blue.

Jason pulled up to catch the horses.  He didn’t even notice me sprawled on that wagon of junk.  The cows in the next pasture lined the fence to stare and watch the action of horses avoiding harnesses.  The horses lost.  They were loaded into a trailer and driven off.  One by one the cows grew bored and dispersed to munch the grasses.  I wonder why the phrase isn’t “curiosity killed the cow”?


I haven’t seen the cat for several days.  Why do I have a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach that she is flattened underneath one of the seven huge round hay bales that are lined up like soldiers in front of the house?  All except one is in formation.  I imagine a sargeant in its face yelling.  But the day is too nice for screaming.


I can’t wait until this trailer is in a completed state.  I could be working to make that possible, but after all it is Sunday. 

Happy Resting.

Funny Stuff My Niece Says

Funny #1—-

She loves Halloween and last year she went as a bunch of grapes.  This year she told me she was going to go as an apple. 
Grapes last year and an apple this year.  I do believe she has a theme going on. 
Pumping her fist in the air she cheered, “Go Protein!!!”

Author’s Note:  Everyone thought she was a tomato.

Funny #2—-

The new home we bought is rather close to railroad tracks.  At first we thought the rattling of the trains would really bother us, but Ashlynn paused in the painting of her bedroom and announced,
“I’ve hardly noticed the last four trains that have gone by here.”

The Winner

The winner of the $25 gift card is Brandi Cayce!

Brandi said,

How about”The Promise Land”. Those folks suffered through some trials and tribulations too. And, who would not like to buy some home grown veggies from “The Promise Land?”

This was a fun contest and I enjoyed reading all the responses.

There were funny ones like “Oleo Acres—The Cheap Spread”
 “Habitat for Insanity”, and
 “Hillbilly Hell” .

There were  faith based ones like
“Hope Acres”
“God’s Acres”
and “Beulah Land”.

There were lucky ones like
“The Branded Ace”
or “The Golden Nuggett”.

Thanks for all the ideas and we’ll do this again soon!!!

A Give-Away!!! Enter to Win!

Remember in the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest buys his shrimping boat and he discovers that shrimping is hard.  He only catches five shrimp, and the black man jokes that a couple more and he could make himself a cocktail?
Remember that old black man says, “you ever think of naming this boat?  It’s bad luck to have a boat without a name.”
So he names it the most beautiful name in the wide world:  Jenny.
Recently me and J-Dub bought a place.  A trailer house in the country.  I love our little place.  It’s my quiet oasis.  An escape.  Our little ranchette, our ranchito, our little trailer house on the prairie.  
But as much as I love it, we’ve been having some bad luck:
Day 1—I sliced my hand open ripping up carpet (blog to follow someday).
Day 3 and 4—I was home sick from work throwing my guts up.
Day something else—our guinea bird that we inherited broke his leg and then was eaten alive.
Day something else—Jason’s horse got sick
Day 4 or 5 days later—-Jason’s horse got sicker

Three days ago—-Jason’s horse died (blog to follow someday).

Too much sickness, death and pain for 4 weeks.

I’m a tad bit superstitious, so like Forrest, maybe it’s bad luck to have a trailer house in the country without a name.  Because right now we just call it “The Place”.

J-Dub calls me up.  “Where you at?”
“I’m out at The Place.”

Or I might ask him, “What are your plans.”
“I’m going to work on The Place.”

“Where’s our broom?”
“I took it to The Place.”

Even my mom is calling to say, “I’m coming out to help you work on The Place.”

We’ve gotten accustomed to it so far, but it just doesn’t sound very homey and I don’t think it will look good hanging on an arch above a cedar lined entrance.  Someday.

Jason and I have tossed around a couple of ideas, but we are having trouble roping the right one. 
So I’m having a little contest right here on my blog.
I’d like all of you who read this to submit suggestions of names for our place.

Bring on your ideas.  Stop our bad luck!!! 
Give us a name for our new little homestead and you could win a $25 gift card from Lowe’s Home Improvement.   Since that’s where I’m spending most of my money right now, it only makes sense. 

To enter to win, just think of something clever, cute, original, homey, ranchy, or catchy for us to call our new home, make sure it has good luck attached, then leave it in a comment with your name and you could win.

We’ll pick our  favorite from among the entries, and if we hate them all, we’ll just pick a winner at random!!!

This contest is going to run for a week so all you creative minds can think, and think, and think, and think.
Enter to win with as many names as you can think of.

Winner will be announced sometime next weekend 🙂

Isn’t this fun??????

Now leave a comment on here.
Down below.
See that blue comment word? 
Click it!

The Guinea’s a Goner

Earlier I introduced you to my friend, the guinea bird.

Unfortunately I must report that he fell upon a tragic accident. 

My husband found him hanging upside down on the fence with one of his legs caught between two pickets.  We don’t know how long he had been that way.  He was still alive and Jason rescued him from this position.  But his leg or hip was obviously broken and was dragging behind him.  He couldn’t fly, and could barely hop.  When we tried to get near him, he flapped his wings furiously, and attempted to run, and usually fell on his face.  Jason thought we should just shoot him, but me being the optimist thought maybe he’d recover.  So we placed him in the backyard and shut the gates so that nothing could get in there, like a coyote.  I bought some food, and we watered him. 

He lasted like this for three days.  And then I didn’t notice him in the backyard.  Come to find out, something got a hold of him and killed him.  Jason shielded me from awful images, and had disposed of his body before I noticed it.  We are suspecting it was a hawk that we’ve seen around there a couple of times.  Please don’t dwell on his last moments.  Don’t picture it.  Don’t think about it.  Go to your happy place.
It’s a hawk eat guinea world.

As my niece Ashlynn would say, “When it’s their time to die, it’s just their time to die.” 

Aint it the truth.  Aint it the truth.

Before and After #1

My husband and I have been engrossed in a trailer house remodel since the beginning of the month.  It is hard dang work.  After hours and hours of grueling labor, sweat, dirt, and eating vienna sausages from a can, I finally have a before and after picture to show off.

Front Door Before: 

Prepare yourselves to be amazed by this transformation!
 Front Door After:
To be continued………….   🙂