Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It Happened Again!

Today has been great. And it happened twice to me this morning and I am blaming one of them on M.I. R., because Mercury has been in retrograde since May 19th and it doesn't go away until June 11th.

Early this morning before taking a stupid sponge bath, Little Debbie started barking outside, so I let the rest of our dogs go outside to find out what was going on. To my relief, I saw Tony and our great friend and plumber, Bill, working down by the pump house!

So I immediately celebrated "this exciting event" by turning on the faucets, in our 33 year old, plastic garden tub, because our temporary, self-imposed water restrictions were over and I could take another bath before going to my Blues workshop, at the Kerrville Folk Festival! Life was good—so far.

A little before 9:30, I grabbed my guitar and adios-ed Tony, but before I got out the front door, he made me stop so he could take another picture of me, posing in my latest folk festival/hiker/blues musician poser outfit. Then I adios-ed him again and our dogs and then jumped into Trigger and took off.

After parking Trigger, in their parking lot, across the road from the festival grounds, I carefully walked across Highway 16, carrying my guitar and purse. I hiked down the highway with my gear and it reminded me of when I used to hitchhike back in the early 70's. Even though my hiking boots, my poser outfit and the Martin guitar were just like the old days, I didn't have sweet Boomer, my first great Great Pyrenees, on a leash and a heavy backpack resting on my back. 

When I entered the grounds I started down the path that would take me to the Threadgill Theater and I started thinking about who I could borrow a backpack from for tomorrow's final workshop day. And guess what—I got lost and couldn't find it!

I couldn't believe that once again I had gotten lost and I felt so stupid for getting lost, even though everyone, in my family, has no sense of direction and we have spent our entire lifetimes getting lost. All of my life it has been a huge family joke and now the joke includes Kinky, Ben and Tony. And now Chet O'Keefe is in on the joke too, because after Cindy and I got back from Big Bend, in March, Tony told me that he had secretly asked Chet, in advance, to look out for us, because he didn't want Cindy and me getting lost in Big Bend.

Not wanting to be late for the workshop, I stumbled down two paths. One was a dead end and the other led to a bridge that took you to some kind of chapel, so I decided even though I would look stupid, it was time for me to go ask a friendly folk festival volunteer for directions to the theater. 

When I asked a nice volunteer he smiled at me and probably figured that I was a confused old woman, from the 60's, that was simply stoned, even though I wasn't, because I don't do drugs, because they're illegal and they make me dumber than I already am. Anyway, this kind man pointed the way to the theatre, even though we could not see the theater, because of all of the tents and tall, parked RVs.

I was only one minute late and only Reverend Robert B. Jones watched me go sit down, on a bench, on the second to the last row. And I am blaming getting lost on it being M.I.R. time, because traveling problems always happen during the M.I.R. days.

Today's Blues workshop was so much fun. I learned so much about using a slide and playing guitar in open tuning. And our dear sweet friend Donna Hatch, who gave me Ryan's ticket to this awesome workshop, showed up briefly, so she could take several pictures of us.

When I came back home, I told Tony about getting lost and of course, he laughed and teased me about it, while I turned on my amp and plugged in my guitar. 

"Listen to this, Tony. I've got to show you what I learned today." Tony sat down and then I picked up a pick and started playing some great blues rhythms and riffs, using my slide and Tony could not believe what he was hearing.

"Nance, you sound fantastic. Don't stop playing." I played for him for about ten minutes, then I unplugged and put away my guitar, because my fingers were sore from playing for four full hours.

Well, I've given up on borrowing a backpack for tomorrow, but I already know what I am going to wear to my last Blues workshop. Of course, I'll be wearing my hiking boots, Levi's and another pink bandana and I've chosen to wear my green, Appalachian Trail, long-sleeved t-shirt, because it will make people believe that I am one serious hiker. And I like that.

And that is about it for tonight, because I am going to watch Texas Rising, the new History Channel series, that our good artist friend, Steve Pietzsch recommended that we watch it, because a character playing Big Foot Wallace, Tony's famous, Texas Ranger relative, will be making an appearance, in one of the upcoming episodes. Here's the link that Steve sent to me and you can click on Texas Rising to check out this new series about Texas history. 

P.S. I don't think the show airs tonight, because yesterday I recorded the first two episodes, but I bet they will be running reruns and you can watch it on demand.

Y'all have a great evening!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kerrville Folk Festival's Roots Blues Workshop!

Omg! Today has been more than great! Early this morning, I took a real bath even though Tony had requested that I not take one due to our temporary self-imposed water restrictions. "Nancy, you don't stink, I promise. Just take another sponge bath and..." So I waited and took a real bath when he went outside to feed the dogs and clean their pens.

When Tony had finished doing our morning chores outside and walked back inside The Cabin, I was clean, dressed, nervous and nearly ready to go to the Kerrville Folk Festival's Roots/Blues Workshop, thanks to our dear friends Ryan and Donna Hatch, who had given me Ryan's ticket. "Nance, it is time for you to leave and if you don't mind I want to drive you there."

"Okay. I just need to finish lacing up my hiking boots," I half-hollered from our bedroom. Then I heard Tony chuckling to himself, in the kitchen.

When I walked into the kitchen, he said, "You look great and you don't stink, but why are you wearing your hiking books?"

"So I'll fit in and not stand out," I replied, feeling totally relieved and knowing that I really didn't stink and him never finding out about my earlier bathing activities. When I grabbed my guitar, Tony grabbed his camera and told me that he wanted to take a picture of me and here it is.

Tony dropped me off near the ticket gate and drove away, as I picked up my official, purple folk festival  wristband and got directions to where the Threadgill Theater was located. "Excuse me Ma'am," a very polite, nice man, about my age, said to me. "Why don't you hop into the cart and I'll drive you over to it?" So I thanked him and then climbed into the golf cart's back seat, with my guitar and we took off.

When I arrived almost everyone attending this awesome workshop was there and the three super nice, friendly, extremely talented musician, instructors were sitting up on stage and they were jamming and they sounded fantastic. So, I looked around and decided to sit down, somewhere in the middle, behind a friendly man and his super cool service dog.

Five minutes later, the faculty, Steve James, Roy Book Binder and Reverend Robert B. Jones, stood up and introduced themselves to all of us. Then they asked us to please pick the Gospel, Roots or Blues group that we wanted to participate in. I picked Reverend Robert B. Jones' Blues group.

A few minutes later, every one had moved to their designated workshop areas, inside the theatre. Then the reverend reintroduced himself to our fifteen member group and suggested that we take turns and tell our names and how many years that we've have been playing the guitar.

There were three other women, in our friendly, cozy workshop and yes, I was definitely the oldest one of them all and everyone else for that matter and I was so grateful that I had sneaked a bath and I didn't stink. I sat there nervously listening to the friendly men and women tell their first names and say things like, "I've been playing for one year. I've been playing for ten years. I bought this guitar yesterday..." Since I was next to the last I quickly started calculating how many years that I've been playing guitar, because I knew that I had all of these much younger guitar pickers beat.

Seconds later, everyone turned around to hear me say, "Hi, I'm Nancy and I've been playing guitar for over fifty-three years." 

Then several people gasped, some eyes got really big and you could hear jaws dropping to the floor and then I heard some man say, "Wow! That's incredible!" and then another man say, "Oh my god!" It was totally hilarious and it made me laugh out loud, as I blushed, because I am sure that they must have thought that I was in my late seventies.

Anyway, I totally loved attending Reverend Jones' Blues guitar workshop and I can't believe how much that I have already learned from him, because he is such a great instructor. In fact, his workshop is the best Blues workshop that I've ever been to. And I highly recommend it to anyone interested in improving their guitar playing skills. 

Tonight I've already decided that tomorrow morning when I rise and shine that I will take a stupid sponge bath, to conserve our temporary low water supply and I know exactly what I am going to wear to the workshop. I'll be wearing my hiking boots, a pair of 501 Levi's, that beautiful, blue bandana that Pat Helms gave to me and my super cool, B.B. King, black, long-sleeved t-shirt. And that is about it for tonight. "Thank you, Ryan and Donna, for giving me the ticket to attend this awesome guitar workshop! I absolutely love it and I can't wait to go to it tomorrow and Thursday."

Y'all have a great evening!

Am Writing My Blog Right Now And Will Post It Within The Next Hour!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Don't Take A Bath Blues!

Today has been great. This morning we got another inch of much needed rain and then lightning hit so close to the trailer that it made our trailer shake, which made our dogs wake up, leap off our bed, like they had just been shot out of a cannon!

A few seconds later Tony walked into the big room and said, "@#*^! I think it hit your writing cabin." Then he opened the front door and looked outside. "It didn't hit your cabin. It's fine..."

Around noon the sun came out and it turned my expression from this  : (  to this  : )  Around 3:00, I called Kinky to see if he had made it back to the ranch okay, because earlier he had gone, to Kerrville, to get more groceries. "Yes. The roads were fine, Nance and...."

After we had adios-ed each other I grabbed my camera and then I jumped into Kermit, so I could go check on the creek crossings for Chet O'Keefe, because this morning he left Terlingua and he and his cool dog, Willie, are on their way back to the ranch. Here are the three pictures that I took. And please notice that the water level has dropped down several inches and you can see more of the dock and that the bridge is totally safe to cross. Meaning that we are no longer land-locked.

When Kermit and I pulled up to the trailer, Tony walks out on the porch and says, "The pump, in the creek, is not working again. It probably is full of debris it collected from the flood and it just needs to get cleaned out. I've already called Bill about it and he told me that he will try to get out here, in the next couple of days, after the creek level goes down."

"How much water is left in the tank?"

"The tank is half full. We've got at least 750 gallons to last us and the dogs outside for several days. We should be fine."

"Darn it, I was fixin' to go wash a load of clothes and I need to take a bath."

"Nance, please don't take a bath and our clothes can wait."

"Okay, this is great. What am I going to do about tomorrow? Because I can't go to my first blues guitar workshop, in the morning, wearing muddy clothes and not having bathed?"

"Take a sponge bath," Tony suggested, before he started laughing which made me laugh out loud, too.

After we had quit laughing about our temporary, self-imposed water restrictions, I laughed again and then said, "Great. I've really got the blues about attending the super cool, blues guitar workshop, because I am sure that I will probably be the oldest person there and the only woman there. And now I'll stink to high heaven and be wearing dirty clothes that have muddy paw prints all over them."

"So what? Don't worry about it. Your new Martin will impress them," Tony teased.

"Right!" I replied. "And I bet you that they'll all be asking each other, "How can that old, smelly, frumpy-looking, woman, wearing muddy clothes afford a Martin?"

And before I could finish what I was fixin' to say to Tony, he cut me off and joked, "They will all think that you stole it!" Then we both started laughing, again.

And that is about it for today, because now I have the "don't take a bath" blues and instead of taking a bath or a shower right now I must go take a stupid sponge bath instead. Because Chet should be arriving, at the ranch, within the next hour or so and I can't wait to show him my new Martin guitar—that I purchased on eBay.

7:30 UPDATE: Chet loves my guitar. He gave us a mini acoustic concert and then he plugged it into my amp and blew us out of our saddles. It was unbelievably awesome. Now I love my guitar even more, because Chet knows how to play it like a pro and make it sing.

Y'all have a great evening!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Land-Locked Got Water!

Today has been great. Yesterday morning when it started raining it seemed like it was one thunderstorm after another. Because we were unplugged for most of the day and night I took a couple of sleepless naps with our dogs, did some writing, did a little reading and then I played my guitar.

This morning after breakfast Tony and I grabbed our cameras and then jumped into Trigger to go check out the creek situation and it did not take us long to realize that Kinky, Tony and I were temporarily land-locked.

Echo Hill's low water creek bridge

Deer Valley's creek crossing bridge that is totally underwater.

A few minutes later, we returned to the rescue ranch and jumped into Kermit and took off again so we could go check on the dam. And on our way over to the dam we discovered that four, large Spanish Oaks that had fallen down, because of the flood.

When we got to the dam it was fine and overflowing as were both of the creek bridge crossings, that get you to Kinky's Lodge. A big cedar tree had also fallen down and was resting on top of the long, white, swimmers bench, on the dock and the dock itself was nearly underwater, too.

When we returned back home, I downloaded my pictures and videos that I had taken and then I put together a short, YouTube video that I have titled: Land-Locked Got Water, to show the out of bank creeks, uncrossable bridges, some of the downed trees and the rescue ranch, etc. Please Click Here or on Land-Locked_Got Water to view the video.

It is now close to 3:00 and Tony and I are fixin' to jump back into Kermit, so we can go check the creek crossings, etc. And when we get back home I plan to do some writing and then watch a movie, so that is about it for today.

Y'all have a great Sunday!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Rain Check Tonight!

Today has been great. This morning Tony and I went outside to do the morning chores, before the rain arrived promptly, at 10:45. Since then it has been on and off big time thunderstorms and we've been unplugged for nearly most of the day. And we have just found out that in Medina they have received over six inches of rain.

As of ten minutes ago, we have received over four inches of rain today and we're thankful! So far we are not land-locked, but that could still happen and I hope that it doesn't. Our dogs are doing fine and the skies are still gray and rumbling, so that is about it for tonight, because I need to go unplug everything again.

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bill Hageman and Jay Pennington Rock!

Today has been great. This morning I received a very exciting e-mail from our dear friend Jay Pennington. He wrote to tell me that our dear friend Bill Hageman, Chicago's favorite columnist, at the Chicago Tribune, had written a fabulous story about his Pet Search and Rescue 501(c)(3) non-profit, because I am one of the Board members of Pet Search and Rescue.

I was more than thrilled that Bill had written a great story about Jay and Pet Search and Rescue, because it will help get the word out that every animal shelter, pound and rescue organization out there should be using his free software, that he designed, that helps save pets and gets them back to their loving families.

I knew that Bill was going to write the story about Jay and Pet Search and Rescue, because Bill had contacted me last week and had asked me to write a few words about Jay's awesome pet rescue project. So I wrote a few words about Jay's great efforts and the good work that he is doing and e-mailed it to Bill.

Jay sent me and the other Board members a link to Bill's story, in today's Chicago Tribune and when I read it I was nicely surprised that Bill had quoted me. Here's the link to Bill Hageman's more than great article about Jay Pennington and his Pet Search and Rescue. Click here.

If anyone reading this tonight is affiliated with a local pound or an animal shelter, etc., you can help save thousands of pets and get them back to their families by spreading the word about Jay's free, easy to use software.

And that is about it for tonight, because I am going to go watch KENS 5 evening news at 5:00 and 6:00, because since Bill helped get the word out, this morning, about Pet Search and Rescue, KENS 5 is also doing a story about Jay and Pet Search and Rescue. So go out there and help spread the word, because every shelter needs this software! If you need more information please contact Jay at:

Y'all have a great evening!