Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meet Sophie Friedman!

Today has been good. This morning while I was walking with Leslie the phone rang and I let Carlton take the call—it was my sister Cindy. "Hey, Nance. I was just calling you back. Thanks for calling me yesterday to remind me it was Nita's birthday. Call me. Bye."

As soon as I heard Cindy's words I realized that I had forgotten to call Nita last night to wish her a happy birthday, because I was blogging. I felt terrible for forgetting, but I kept on walking.

When I was done walking the walk I picked up the phone and punched in Cindy's phone number in Austin. "Hi, Cindy."

"Hi, Nance," my sweet sister said. "I had called earlier to thank you for reminding me about Nita's birthday. For two days I have been reminding myself her birthday was coming up and I even asked Ray to be sure to remind me so I wouldn't forget. If you hadn't called to remind me I would have forgotten." I started laughing.

"I forgot to call her," I said, and then we started laughing. "All day yesterday I kept reminding my myself to call Nita when she got home from work and I had even posted happy birthday wishes to her on my blog yesterday afternoon. Then last night I started blogging and I totally forgot about it. I feel terrible about it and I can't believe that I forgot. And I don't have anything to blame it on except that I'm old. Surely Nita will understand since she's two weeks and a few days older than me. Who knows—maybe she's already forgotten about it..."

I spent the rest of my morning doing paperwork and returning phone calls and then I fixed lunch for Tony and me and then we went over to the Lodge to visit with Kinky. Then we came home and I plowed into my paperwork.

Around two o'clock Buttermilk took Tone and me to Medina so I could mail out some letters and go the Medina Community Library to check out their Medina wall of 2010 Medina women, because I was one of the women on that wall.

I love the Medina Community Library. The staff and volunteers are friendly and helpful and the library has really good vibes. Every time that I go into the library—everyone is always smiling—my kind of place to say the least.

After saying hello to the staff and volunteers Tony followed me to the room where the exhibit was and we found it to be very interesting. As I was reading about the women Tony said, "Here's your picture over here, so I went over and took a picture of part of the wall. When I saw it I felt honored to be among some great Medina women. Mine is the last on the right.

Early this evening Tony and I were over at the Lodge visiting with Frank and Kinky. "Have you put up pictures of Sophie on your blog or Tone's Facebook?" Kinky asked. "Everyone is bugging me about wanting to see pictures of her." Tony and I pulled out our cameras and shot Sophie.

Tonight I have a lot of writing to do, so I am dedicating tonight's blog to Sophie Friedman. Even though Brownie is still number one and Chumley is number two and Sophie is number three. Here are some of my pictures that I took of Ms. Friedman this evening sitting with Kinky on the back porch. She's a real sweetie.

P.S. I am happy to say that Nelda and Jimmie Dunn had a safe trip and are back in DeQueen, Arkansas and we already miss them! And I hope that Ellen, Eileen and June have fun kayaking the Guadalupe tomorrow—my thoughts will be with y'all while I'm doing paperwork. 

Y'all have a great evening!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Know An Ant Expert!

Well, you can chalk up another great day for me thanks to Cheryl Ratliff, another one of my newly found friends. I don't know what is going on in the Cosmos exactly, about me suddenly meeting all of these super people who have come into my life, but I like it and you won't hear me complain one bit.

This morning Cheryl showed up, as planned earlier last week, to walk some dogs for us, but that didn't happen right off, because when she pulled up to the trailer, after we greeted each other with hugs—she was ready to start walking, but instead, I invited her to come inside the trailer first for a visit and a cup of hot tea. I drank Guayaki Yerba Mate organic tea and Cheryl's drink of choice was Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger, an all natural herbal tea—cafffeine free. Then we sat down at the kitchen table and got to visiting.

In no time flat, we discovered we had so much in common, even though I talked way too much as usual. We talked about making lifestyle changes and eating healthy, smoothies and Jaws, my Vita-Mix machine that I love, recipes, bragged about our husbands Walt and Tony, family matters, reading and writing, books, life lessons we've learned, how laughter makes the world go round and other similar topics. But when Cheryl told me that she walks the walk with Leslie Sansone—it sealed our friendship. We knew each other.

We laughed about having so much in common like: jumping off of mountains and always landing on our feet and everything always working out for us some how for the good, my best friend Cindy Pickard, in northern New Mexico and her and her son, Andy's awesome documentaries about life and the teachings of the Native Americans. We were amazed that we shared the same interests.

When Cheryl told me that she was an Aquarius my jaw dropped and I sat my mug down on the table. "I knew it!" I said. "I love Aquarians and I have so many good friends that are that sign like Ben Welch who with his business partner Miles Compton make Miles of Chocolate, which has been voted the Best Chocolate in Austin for the past four or five years! It's in all Central Markets, H-E-B stores, Whole Foods—you name it and it's there. It is the best chocolate that I've ever eaten and..."

When I finally shut up Cheryl said, "Walt and I love chocolate, especially Walt." So, I got up from my chair and pulled her a big frozen chunk of it out of the freezer and gave it to her for her and Walt to enjoy. Then we went outside to walk some dogs after Cheryl went to her car and gave me one of her favorite books to read. "Nancy, I love this book and I want you to have it, Canyon of Remembering by Lesley Poling Kempes and I know you will love it, too."

Cheryl and I laughed and talked non-stop as we walked three sets of dogs: Layla & Little Girl, Hank & Nellybelle and Blackie and Alfie and then we had to quit because Tony and I had to go to Kerrville to get supplies.

As we released Blackie and Alfie inside their pen, Cheryl said, "I am an ant expert, Nancy. When we lived in Florida and..." Tony overheard her telling me this, because he was leaving Mo Bandy, Randy Travis and Mandy's pen.

"Besides Red ants, Fire ants we have Bull ants too," T. softly half-hollered as he walked up to us. Cheryl told him that she had never heard of Bull ants. "Nance, take Cheryl over there by the ring and show her."

"Tone, I don't know what they look like," I admitted. "Can you show us?" Forty-five seconds later we were staring at a Bull ant mound. Then we started talking about ants.

Before Cheryl left she told us that she would be back soon with Walt and family to walk our dogs! T. took this picture of Cheryl and me in the kitchen and I look like I could be her mother even though we are close to the same age. When Tone showed it to me tonight I said, "Why me Lord?" And Tony laughed and then he gave me a big bear hug.

Y'all have a great evening! I'm fixin' to make some popcorn for Tony and me. Thank you, Cheryl for the book and for coming out and making my day. And, Nelda and Jimmie I hope that you got back home safely and please drop me an e-mail. Y'all have got to meet Cheryl—she's one of us! I'm outta here.

Happy 59th Birthday To Nita!

Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday dear Nita. Happy Birthday to You! Today is my sister-in-law's (Ronnie's sweet, sweet wife) 59th birthday and Tony and I love her and want to wish her the best birthday ever!

We love you, Nita!

P.S. Nita, please call and tell me what 59 is like, so I will know in advance, what new "old age" ailment to expect. And remember that in dog years you are only 8.25 years old and that's something to howl about!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jimmie's Barn!

Today has been a total blast! This morning I got up early, so Hazel and I could finish cleaning the trailer before Nelda and Jimmie Dunn, our great friends from Arkansas, arrived. Tony was so excited about seeing them he even helped by taking out the trash and cleaning up his office.

At one o'clock sharp the dogs started barking outside to let us know that the Dunn's had arrived, so T. and I raced outside to greet them. Even though Tony used Thunder's ramp I won the race and was the first one out our gate.

After howdys, handshakes and hugs we hugged each other again. It was like a family reunion. We met Jimmie and Nelda two years ago at our first Kinky Roundup at the ranch to benefit our rescue ranch. The minute that Kinky introduced them to us I knew I liked them and felt as if I had known them all of my life and Tony felt the same way, too. They were good people to say the least and their vibes were good. And that is how our long distance friendship began.

Before going up to the house I gave Nelda and Jimmie a tour of the Space Ship as they told us about their twelve hour trip to Bandera yesterday. Then they told us they loved the Space Ship and thought it was really cool and then we went inside the trailer to visit.

Ten minutes into our visit Jimmie made me cry and Tony just sat in his chair and did noting, but nod his head. I teared up when Jimmie said, "Nelda and I have a gift for y'all. I wrote a poem for you, Tony and Kinky and Nelda did the artwork and framed it and you can throw it away if you want to." Then he handed me the poem to read in the picture frame, but I couldn't because I was so touched by their thoughtfulness, so I asked Jimmie to please read it to us instead. Jimmie cleared his throat as I wiped away some tears.

"Those Who Walk
(For Cousin Nancy, Tony, and Kinky)

There are those of us who walk this land
Who are blessed among all others.
For we speak with the animals
And see them as sisters and brothers.

Some say it's a waste of time and money.
But those people just don't realize
That we're repaid in a million ways
By the love in an animal's eyes.

When our life on this earth is over
We ask, "Oh Lord please hear our prayer"
And when we cross that Rainbow Bridge
Let all our animal friends be there.

                                      By: Jimmie Dunn"

"Oh Jimmie, that is beautiful," I said, as I stared at the picture frame. "I love it. You are a great poet." Tony nodded his head in agreement. "And Nelda, I love the way you framed it. Thank you, so much. I am going to make copies of this and hang them in my writing cabin, office and Space Ship and..."

"Make me a copy too, Nance," Tony said, "so I can hang it my office." Then T. gave them a stack of his beautiful post cards and they thought they were beautiful and then they showed us some pictures of Marlow and Miley, their beautiful rescued dogs born on Kinky's birthday—November 1st, and their big ranch.

The time flew by so fast, because I was having such a blast as we talked non-stop and laughed at just about everything under sun, which included topics like: the mysterious little graveyard they found on their ranch which dates back to a 1902 tombstone, tornadoes, music, family, floods, snakes, dogs, their 23 year old blind horse, Roy Rogers, tractors, funny fence-building tales, our failures to speak the French language, our favorite authors, Branson, Missouri, droughts, pickup trucks, etc. and lastly, Jimmie's barn, which he is so proud of.

As Jimmie showed us pictures of his barn he said, "Originally it was used to just house hay, animals and farm equipment and I have spent many years turning it into a replica of the Old West. I've covered the tin walls with old signs, old farm equipment, posters, etc. and..." 

"It is so cool! It looks like it could be a museum of country life in the past," I remarked, as Tone and I admired his barn pictures." Then we went into Outer Space and resumed our fun conversation. Then we went over to the Lodge to visit with Kinky and we had a great time. Here are a few pictures.

This evening Nelda and Jimmie took us out to dinner and Tony and I had so much fun with them and we hated to say goodbye to them. We told them before we drove away in Buttermilk that we might take them up on their offer to come visit them. 

On our trip home all Tony and I could talk about was how much we loved the Dunns and wishing that they lived closer to us, because they are like family to us. I could write an entire book about today's fun, but it is way past my bedtime and I must "hit the hay." We love Nelda and Jimmie and I wish them a safe trip home tomorrow and we can't wait until we see them again. 

Y'all have a great evening!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Texas Animal Imprints Magazine Rocks Even More!

Today has been another great day. It got down to fifty-one degrees this morning and then it quickly warmed up to eighty degrees, so I didn't feel stupid wearing a long sleeved turtle neck with my denim overalls. I love wearing turtle necks and my favorite wardrobe to wear are my winter clothes, because they cover me up and help hide my muffin top and old ladies neck.

 This morning after I walked six miles and cleaned up, I checked my e-mail. My new found friend Joni Daniel, the publisher of Texas Animal Imprints: The Celebration of Animals & Nature, a beautiful, uplifting magazine that I love, sent me a note about their upcoming November / December issue which will feature Connie Strong's sweet story about our rescue ranch, so I shot her back an e-mail.

While I was checking and answering my other e-mails Joni shot one right back to me and I returned it as fast as she had returned my last note. Twenty minutes later after I had answered all of my e-mails and was about to get offline an e-mail from Joni popped up in my mailbox, so I read it and I am so glad that I did, because she has invited me to write an ongoing column for her magazine which would also include a Pet Of The Month story with a picture! Talk about thrilled—I was speechless and as you know that is such a rare thing for me—just ask Tony and all of my friends.

After re-reading her invitation several more times to make sure that I wasn't dreaming I pinched myself to make sure—and it hurt, so I shot Joni back another e-mail accepting her invitation and telling her how excited, honored and thrilled I was to be asked and my answer to her was, "Yes, I would love to do it! You've just made my day..." And I meant it. Then I thought about Tony and went outside to find him.

"Tony! Thank goodness were done with Mercury in retrograde and the full moon," I half-hollered, as I walked up to Ben and Gracie's pen. "I am so excited! You're not going to believe this..." After I filled him in on my good news I had a light bulb moment or maybe I should say a Kodak moment. "Tony? This just popped into my head." Tone started chuckling. "How about you taking the pictures of the dog of the month for me and I'll give you credit for the photo? It would be something else for you to add to your photography portfolio! How cool is that!"

Tony put down his pooper-scooper and smiled, "I would love to, Nance. Are you sure?" After I reassured him I returned to the trailer and went to check my e-mail just in case Joni had changed her mind. When I opened my mailbox I had received one new e-mail from her.

In the last e that I had sent to her I asked Joni if it would be okay for me to announce this on my blog tonight and this was her response:

"You can paint it on the bathroom walls. Also get Tony involved to get great pics and I'll give him photo credits. We need to think of a catchy name for the column. I'll pass this on to Connie and between the three of us, I'm sure we can come up with a great column name!!!!" 

When I read her words, "Also get Tony involved..." I could not believe that she and I were on the same page and thinking the exact same thing about Tony taking the pictures, so I ran (jogged) back outside to find T. and tell him what Joni had suggested. I don't think he fully believed me until he came inside the trailer and read Joni's note twice.

After lunch Buttermilk took us to Kerrville, so we could pick up a pain prescription for Thunder, because we had run out. Before going to Hoegemeyers Animal Clinic we stopped by Wolfmueller's Books, so I could give Sandy and Jon a copy of Texas Animal Imprints magazine and tell them our good news. Their store was packed full of customers, so we had a short, but fun visit with them and then we left to go to Hoegemeyers.

When T. was inside the clinic picking up Thunder's pain pills I glanced up and saw the magazine tucked inside the overhead visor—I had totally forgotten to give them the magazine and share our good news. When Tony climbed into Buttermilk I said, "We've got to go back to Wolfmuellers. I forgot to..."

"Sandy, I forgot to give this to you," I said, on the sidewalk, as we watched an ambulance and fire truck parked in the street, five doors down with their lights flashing. After I told Sandy about the great Kinky story and Ace Reid's story both written by Connie Strong in the September / October issue I told her about being asked to write monthly columns for them and Tony taking the pictures of our dogs, as Sandy thumbed through the magazine.

"Nancy, that is great news!" she said, as she grabbed my hand and squeezed it. "Listen, this is a great magazine and I know that they would fly out of here. People like to read this kind of stuff..." When we drove away the ambulance and fire truck were still parked in the street with their lights flashing.

When we got home Tony mowed and I returned several phone calls. Then I went over to the Lodge to deliver some mail for Kinky before he arrived back at the ranch.

This evening at six minutes past seven the phone rang and I let Carlton take the message. "Hello, Nancy and Tony. This is Jimmie Dunn and we just got to Bandera and..." And I picked up the phone.

"Hello, Jimmie! Tony and I cannot wait to see you and Nelda. I'm so glad that y'all made it safely. How was your trip from Arkansas?" Jimmie laughed.

"Well, let's see. We got here fine, but it seemed a lot longer than before, even though we only made two stops. We left Arkansas at six thirty this morning and we just checked into our motel a few minutes ago and we're fixin' to go eat a steak somewhere. We will try to be there at one o'clock if that is okay?"

"Jimmie, that sounds perfect and we will see y'all tomorrow. Please tell Nelda I said hello and..."

Y'all have a great evening!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

She Was Home!

Today has been okay. This morning while I was finishing up walking six miles the phone rang—it was the nice woman who had taken Jill home to try her out, but sadly it didn't work out, because Jill hid and would not eat or drink water, so Jill came back to the rescue ranch after lunch.

When Tony returned Jill to her pen the woman watched in amazement and disbelief as Jill happily ran into her pen with her knob of a tail wagging wildly as she jumped into Tony's arms and kissed him. "Looks like  she's glad to be home," I said, as Jill ran to the gate to say hello to Ruth Buzzi and Chuck, in the pen next to hers. "This happens a lot. Every time a dog is returned to us they can't wait to get back into their pen..."

"She's acting like a totally different dog," the sweet woman said. "I really wanted her to live with me and my little rescued dog, but she would have nothing to do with us. All she wanted to do was hide. She seemed so unhappy—totally different than the way she is acting now." Jill ran up to the fence and licked my hand and then she ran back to Tony's arms. She was home.

After thanking the woman for giving Jill a chance and for bringing her back to us all of the way from San Antone, I tried to make her feel better. "Please don't feel bad—it was just not to meant to be. I promise you, she will find her perfect forever home and I hope that you find your little dog a buddy..."

Before the lady drove away she wrote a check to our rescue ranch and gave us a bag of dog food that she had especially bought for Jill and then she drove off. Five seconds later—Jill drank and drank some water. "She'll be fine, Nance," T. said, as he petted Jill, who seemed so happy to be home. "The right person will show up. I promise you."

Tony and I started mowing and weed eating late this afternoon and we didn't quit until nearly seven o'clock, because he had thrown his shoulder out and I had a headache. I haven't had a headache for over twenty years, so I figured that I had better stop weed eating and go drink some water, which was difficult because my hands kept shaking from the vibration caused by the weed eater—for over ten minutes after I had shut it off.

I am fixin' to do some reading and I want to wish Jimmie and Nelda Dunn a safe trip to Bandera. "We can't wait to see y'all! Drive careful! Kinky should be back at the ranch tomorrow and I can't wait to see him and I hope that he will be around to see you two."

Y'all have a great evening!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lay In Waiting!

I started my day off on the wrong foot, so to speak. Early this morning around four-thirty Mama started barking, probably because of the full moon, so I got out of bed and let the dogs go outside. A few minutes later I let them back inside and then we went back to bed.

A couple of hours later I woke up and Tony was gone. Once again I got out of bed and let the dogs go back outside and then I went back to the bathroom to put my glasses and Crocs on. When I reentered the kitchen I stopped dead in my pink-rubber-shoes tracks and stared at a dying—four inch long scorpion on the floor by the kitchen table and it gave me goose bumps and then it straightened out its tail and croaked. It would never sting again.

I apologized to him or her for crushing it with my bare feet when I was going to the bathroom to put my glasses and Crocs on, but I also told it was his or her fault for being inside the trailer. Then I shot it and did my morning chores as it lay in waiting for Tone to come home from the Old Timer and remove it from the floor for me.
I was cooking T.'s breakfast when he walked inside the trailer. "Morning, babe," he said, as he laid his camera backpack on the coffee table. "How are you this morning?"

"Well, I'm fine now, after having another near death experience. I stepped on that scorpion with my bare feet after I let the dogs out," I said, as I pointed at it. "Will you pick it up and put it in the trash for me?"

"You're lucky it didn't sting you," Tone said, as he picked it up in a paper towel and then buried it deep inside the trash can under some old newspaper." After he gave me a hug—I gave him his breakfast. When he went outside to do his morning chores, I walked six miles with Leslie and fortunately, I didn't step on another scorpion.

Today was quiet and no one came out to see our dogs which was a little disappointing. Tony and I had planned to spend the afternoon mowing and weed eating, but it started raining just a little after three o'clock and it has just started raining again.

It just thundered real loud and the rain is pouring down hard, so I am ending tonight's post right now, because I need to go unplug everything. I guess that I will read tonight and hopefully we can mow tomorrow.

Y'all have a great evening!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Turtle Love!

Even though it is full moon time once again, I had a great day. This morning instead of walking I cleaned the trailer. I wish that I loved doing house(trailer)work, but unfortunately, it is not at the top of my bucket list or any other list that I have. All that I can say is, "Thank goodness I have Hazel, my lavender colored "Animal Dyson" vacuum cleaner to help me.

When I was done cleaning I put Hazel back into the closet and then I went outside to say hello to our super volunteers Eileen and Ellen and to thank them for coming out to walk our dogs for us. After the howdys and the hugs I said, "Eileen, I loved reading your fish story. You're a true Fish Whisperer and I think we should appoint you as our official fish rescuer." The three of us laughed as Eileen retold and acted out her story, "The fish was right here on my back, but I couldn't see it and I couldn't quit screaming for some one to get it off of me, because I really thought it was a snake and I am terrified of snakes!" Ellen and I started taking turns teasing Eileen about her five-inch-fish-fiasco and the laughter flowed like the Guadalupe river. Then Eileen turned the tables on Ellen.

"Now wait a second, Ellen," Eileen teased, followed by a hearty laugh. "Does Nancy know about the bat in your pants story?" The two started laughing. "Tell Nancy about the bat in your pants, Ellen."

After they quit laughing Ellen said, "June, Eileen and me went to a bat colony near Mason to watch the bats go out for their evening of mosquito eating. It was real dark and I was wearing some baggy pants when the bats took flight. Some of them even brushed against our arms as they flew past us. They'd circle above us before leaving the cave and it was kind of scary to have bats that close to us, but it was pretty awesome, too. Anyway, after the bats left we took off, too.

Eileen drove her car, I sat in the front seat and June was in the back seat reading a map and giving Eileen some back road directions to get us back to Kerrville."

"It was dark as all get out and we eventually found ourselves on a road that turned into a dirt road for tractors with grass three feet tall in the middle and it was pretty scary, but June kept insisting that we were not lost," Eileen added. "Then Ellen screamed."

"I had reached down to scratch my leg and I had felt something really big inside my pant leg and it was slowly moving up my leg. I started screaming OMG! Stop the car! Pull over, now! OMG! Let me get out of the car!" Ellen said, as they broke out laughing.

"I slowed and pulled off the slick wet road as fast as I could," Eileen said.

"I started screaming, 'Unlock the child-proof doors, but Eileen couldn't see the button to release the locked doors, because it was so dark outside. When she finally found the button I jumped out of the car and dropped my pants. Thank goodness it was dark, "Ellen said, as they started laughing and I cringed at the thought of having a bat in my pants. "It was a grasshopper!" Ellen said. "It was as big as my hand and I released it. I've never seen a grasshopper that big."

After we quit laughing about her bat-in-the-pants story, they told me about their latest white water kayaking adventures with Ellen's sister June. By the time they were done talking I was laughing so hard I asked them if I could go kayaking with them sometime and they welcomed me. "Last week we started above Center Point and stopped at Dave's Place and ate lunch and then we paddled down the river to the dam in Kerrville and got out of the water," Ellen said. Then we talked about the popular Hill Country bar and restaurant, Dave's Place, in Center Point that Jon and Sandy and Rick and Leisa and they have highly recommended that we go check out. Then Eileen and Ellen gave me updates on their dogs that they adopted from us.

According to Eileen, Callie Dean is by far the smartest dog on the planet and Ellen made us laugh when she told us about Jermaine Jackson's latest escapades. "Jermaine doesn't like change," Ellen said. "The other day I had hung my poncho on the back of a bar stool and when he came inside and saw it—he immediately cringed and ran back outside."

After Ellen and Eileen left the rescue ranch, Frank, T. and I went to Dave's Place in Center Point for lunch and we had a blast and I can see why it is such a popular Hill Country hangout. I love it.

When we arrived at Dave's Place there were over thirty Harleys parked in the parking lot and the place was rocking. After we placed our food orders at the counter we went down to the deck and grabbed a table and this is a picture that I took of our view overlooking the beautiful Guadalupe river.
As we waited for our order we walked around Dave's place and took pictures and here is a couple of beautiful Macaws that I shot.
Then I wandered into their sun room that was really cool, and hot and humid. I took these pictures of a beautiful turtle with a straw hanging out of his mouth and before leaving I happened upon these two turtles madly in love.

This evening at five o'clock Tony I arrived in Bandera to deliver Jill to her hopefully, potential forever home and we have our fingers crossed for her. Sharon, a nice woman from San Antone, who works in Bandera, had called me this morning about Jill and she was wanting to try her out with her dog that she felt needed a buddy. Please keep your fingers crossed for Jill. She is a great little dog that was badly abused by a man and she deserves the very best. She has been adopted out twice, but was returned to us because all she wanted to do was hide under the beds. Hopefully—third time is the charm for her.

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Big Whopper!

What can I say? It's been another great day and the pumpkin tasted great in my smoothie. This morning after I walked six miles I made homemade Lasagna and put it in the oven and then I filled my coffee mug with some Kona coffee and sat down at the kitchen table to check my e-mails. Fortunately, I only had seventeen new ones and the one that I received from my good friend and dog walking volunteer, Eileen Gotke made me laugh out loud when I read her fascinating fish tale. Eileen wrote:

"First, please accept my apology for not coming out yesterday morning to walk the dogs...I was with June and Ellen on the river in kayaks and I got caught by a fish! Yes, exactly what I just said! We had just gone over some whitewater toward the left bank near some cypress trees except Ellen fell out of her kayak at the rough spot. So I was leaning over my kayak to retrieve her water bottle that was headed my direction, when I felt something on my left front shoulder pulling at my life jacket...OMG, I immediately had the image of a snake in my mind and I started screaming like a little girl! "GET IT OFF ME!!!" I swiped at it and it felt like a snake and it was moving...OMG, I continued to scream...some body said, "It's a fish, Eileen!" My mind didn't get off the snake image immediately and I continued to scream...I finally twisted my head to the left and looked, and indeed it was a fish! But it had a hook in it's mouth and the hook was stuck on my life jacket! OMG more screaming...they kept on telling me it was a fish and then one of them came up and unhooked it off me...OMG it was still on a long fishing line and I have no idea where it came from. If I didn't have a heart attack right then and there then I think I'm doing pretty good health wise! When I really looked at the fish it was about five inches long. Just so you know, no fish was hurt during the stated ordeal...he was removed from the hook and let free to swim away...with ringing in his fish ears, if he had them!

Callie did a great job at her 3rd obedience training class today! — Eileen"

After I had Tony read her story he laughed with me about it. "Tony, we should appoint Eileen as our Official Fish Rescuer!" I said. "What do you think?" He laughed and went down the hall to his office. Then I sent Eileen an e-mail thanking her for sharing her story about the big whopper that she heroically rescued and freed. I love happy endings and I am going to end tonight's post, so I can read some more of Susan Wittig Alberts mystery book, A Dilly Of A Death. To say the least—it's good!

P.S. Today I received the sweetest card from Cheryl and Walt Ratliff and it touched my heart.  I want to thank them for making my day special. And, I also want to thank my dear friends Jon and Sandy Wolfmueller at Wolfmueller Books for helping me with my books and keeping me laughing. What would I do without friends like you?

Y'all have a great evening!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today has been another good one. I got up early around six o'clock and fed our dogs and then started a load of laundry in Queen Bee, while Mr. Coffee made me some delicious Kona coffee. When my chores were done I sat down at the kitchen table and checked my e-mail. I had twenty-six new ones to read and I saved the one from my friend, Patty in Florida, for last, because I knew it would make me smile—and I was right.

Patty sent me a really cool video about puppies and I absolutely love it, even though it made me tear up because it was so sweet. I hope that you will check it out, because I promise it will make you feel good.

This morning while I walked eight miles the phone rang—it was Lisa, so I picked up the phone and chatted with her as I dodged sleeping dogs and jogged around the big room. She told me that she and Mark are meeting in Houston this weekend. She'll be driving down and Mark in Mississippi will be flying in and they plan to go to a football game and do the town and she is so looking forward to seeing him, again. I told her that I was so happy that she has found her true love and for them to have fun in Houston and for her to drive careful.

When I was done talking on the phone to Lisa and galloping around the living room and kitchen I decided to call Carol, so she could tell me how she had cooked the Fairy Tale pumpkin a few years ago, that our friend and neighbor, Grace Atwood, had given to us. I called her at the ranch and got Carol's machine and then I called her cell phone and got that machine, too.

Since I was anxious to cook the gigantic pumpkin, so I could regain my counter top space, I grabbed my Joy of Cooking cookbook off of the bookshelf and went to the pumpkin part of the book and read the easy cooking instructions. It said for me to slice up the pumpkin and bake it in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour or until it was soft. "This will be a piece of cake to do," I thought, but I was wrong.

After I lifted and put the pretty, plump pumpkin on the marble pastry cutting board on the counter top, that my friends "Erb and Karen Cares gave to me, to help me make better homemade flour tortillas, I pulled a big knife out of the drawer and then proceeded to insert it into the pumpkin, but because the pumpkin was as hard as a rock—I had to use all of my strength to push the knife down into the pumpkin and then I couldn't pull it back out. To say the least, this Fairy Tale was starting to scare me.

I knew that I needed Tony to help me, but since he was busy outside working, I briefly thought about throwing the pumpkin into the garbage can and covering it up with newspaper, so he would never know, but then I had a second thought, "If Carol, as small and petite as she is, did it—then I can, too!" So I turned on my iPod, selected the song "Young At Heart" sung by Jimmy Durante from the "Sleepless In Seattle" soundtrack and then I clicked the repeat button, so it would play over and over again and then I cranked up the volume on the Bose iDock and went to sawing with a new knife.

Jimmy Durante had to sing that song seven and a half times before my fairy tale came true and I had eight giant chunks of pumpkin sitting on the counter waiting to be cooked, so I turned on the oven to 325 degrees.

While the oven preheated, I put two chunks to a dish and then I cooked four chunks at a time in the oven for over an hour and then I repeated the process. When I was in the middle of removing the skin from the first round of cooked pumpkin the phone rang—it was Carol. Since I was covered up with pumpkin problems I let Carlton take the call. "Hi, Nancy. This is Carol," she said, and then she started laughing. "I got your message and I am glad that you got your Fairy Tale pumpkin. Hmmmm...cutting it was a real *#*!* and I couldn't do it, because I wasn't strong enough. I had to get John to cut it for me. Maybe Tony can cut it for you using an ax?" Carol started laughing. "Bye."

After I removed the skins I chunked the chunks into Jaws, my mighty Vita-mix machine, and flipped the on switch. Ten seconds later I had pureed pumpkin and it looked like orange baby food that you see in little baby food jars. With Mama and Abbie watching me, I then spooned the orange goo into plastic bags and placed them in the freezer. Then I took a much needed break and returned Cheryl Ratliff's phone call.

I had a fun conversation with Cheryl and we laughed a lot. She told me that she wants to come out next Wednesday to visit us and to walk our dogs and that she and Walt were fixing to plant the Four O'clocks that Kinky and I gave to her. Then Cheryl put Walt on the phone. "Nancy, I want to thank you so much for your hospitality last Sunday. We really enjoyed ourselves and I..."

"Walt, I really enjoyed meeting y'all, too and I just wish that Tony had been here, so he could have met y'all. I've told him all about y'all. I told him that I knew that y'all were like family, the minute we shook hands."

"We are looking forward to meeting Tony. From what you have said and written about him, he sounds like one really nice man..." After I got off of the phone from this really nice man and his wife, I peeled and pureed the remaining pumpkin chunks and then cleaned up the kitchen.

All that I can say is, "Fairy Tales can come true. They can happen to you, but trust me I will never and I mean never buy another pumpkin, Fairy Tale or not, and cook it. If I had known how much work and trouble it is and was for Carol to have done that for us without ever complaining about it—I would have taken her out to dinner seven days in a row, because she earned it. Thank you, Carol! I never knew.

My lesson for today is: Pumpkins are meant for people who have a lot of time on their hands. I love pumpkins as much as anyone else does and I don't mean to be bad-mouthing them, because I know that they are really good for your health. But after chopping and sawing one into chunks and then cooking it—I've come up with a new word—Pumpkin-itis and I've got a bad case of it! My definition for Pumpkin-itis is: a temporary state of mind that causes one to want to smash pumpkins, because pumpkins can only be easily sliced by a man using his trusty chain saw. Since I don't have a chain saw or want one, I now know from experience, that the next time I need some pumpkin for my smoothies I will just go to H-E-B and buy a can, because it will save time and be a lot cheaper.

Late this afternoon the phone rang—it was Kinky calling from Washington D.C. "Hey, Nance! How are you?" He and I had a short visit and he is doing fine. We mainly talked about Sophie and The Friedmans and the weather.

"Sophie is doing great," I said, "and she seems to be getting along better with Brownie and Chum. When are you heading out to Albuquerque?"

"Friday," Kinky said. "Please tell The Friedmans that I will see them Monday and give Sophie a hug..."

Y'all have a great evening!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little While Later!

Thank goodness Mercury is out of retrograde, because today has been another great day for me. I woke up early and did my morning chores and after breakfast I started walking with Leslie, while Tony was outside feeding the dogs and cleaning the pens.

After I had walked four miles and had just started the walking video over again, so I could walk two more miles when the phone rang—it was my good friend, Reverend Analea Rawson from the Unity Church in Austin. I wanted to talk to her, so I muted Leslie and decided to walk with her and her friends in silence, as I talked to Analea.

Forty-eight minutes later, I was laughing and still talking on the phone to Analea, as I finished walking four more miles. After I turned off Leslie Sansone's walking DVD, I started pulling things out of the freezer and the refrigerator and started preparing Tony's and my lunch, as Analea and I continued to talk. Twenty minutes later after we said goodbye to each other, I pulled the Mexican cornbread out of the oven and Tony and I sat down and ate chicken with beans and cornbread. T. cleaned his plate, so I guess you could say, 'it was pretty good.'

Thirty minutes later Tone loaded Kinky's old electric typewriter into the back of Buttermilk and we took off for the UPS Store in Kerrville, so I could ship it to Roger and Mary Peach in Kansas and so I could also mail Analea her silver ring back to her that she had taken off and left on the bathroom counter when she had washed her hands.

After I had paid the shipping fees, Buttermilk took us to Wolfmueller's Books. We had to park in the back of the bookstore, because they had so many customers in the store. When we walked in the back door, we saw Jon at the front counter busily checking out customers. "Where's Sandy and Mary Jo?" I asked.

"Mary Jo is off on Tuesdays and Sandy is out buying books," Jon said. After the line of book buying customers left the store we stayed and had a fun visit with Jon.

"Jon, I've got a big secret and you can tell Sandy, but no one else—especially Kinky." Jon nodded his head and then I revealed my secret, which I can't tell y'all about, yet. Hopefully, in two weeks or less it will no longer be a secret and I can tell y'all.

After we played 'I've Got A Secret' I said, "Jon, I'm doing a book signing at the Medina Library on October 14th and I am really excited about it and then we talked about that. Then we talked about Nelda and Jimmie Dunn coming to visit us from Arkansas and how excited T. and I were about it. Before leaving Kerrville's favorite bookstore, I bought two more books by Susan Wettig Albert, because I am hooked on her China Bayles mystery series. She is a fabulous writer and when I start reading one of her books—I can't seem to put them down. She's as good as Sue Grafton and Lillian Jackson Braun, and her mysteries take place in the Texas Hill Country. In other words—I love them!

After we said goodbye to Jon, Buttermilk took us to H-E-B, so Tony could buy gas and I could get groceries. Tone went to get gas after he dropped me off at the front door to save time. When I was nearly done shopping and my cart was nearly full Tony found me in the fruit and vegetable section over by the bananas. "Are you nearly done, Nance?" Tony asked, impatiently.

"Yes, and look what I just found!" I said, excitedly, as Tony looked into my cart. "It's a Fairy Tale pumpkin! Can you believe it?"

"Are you sure it's a Fairy Tale?" T. asked. After I showed him the sign on the pumpkin bin and the sticker on the bottom of the pumpkin he believed me. "I'm going to have to call Carol and let her know they have Fairy Tale pumpkins and I need to find out how she cooked it. She did it the last time for us."

"Be sure to get her pumpkin bread recipe, too," Tony said. "Her pumpkin bread was the best that I have ever eaten."

This evening around six o'clock, while I was doing some paperwork, Tony walked into the big room carrying his camera backpack and he said, "I'm going fishing. I'll be back in a little while."

A little while later—we had an unexpected fifteen-minute downpour that wouldn't quit. In fact, the rain was coming down so hard and fast it made Toto get under our bed to hide. Two minutes after the rain stopped as fast as it had came T. walked inside the trailer—soaking wet and it made me laugh when I saw him. He was drenched from cowboy hat to boots. "Did you catch anything?" I teased. Tony laughed, as Mama came running out of the bedroom—into the big room and jumped up on him and showered him with kisses.

"Yeah," he said, as he unbuttoned his wetter-than-wet shirt, "I've got over a gallon of water in my boots for you."

P.S. I want to wish Rick a Happy 64th Birthday, again and I just discovered that Susan Wettig Albert's book, A Dilly Of A Death that I bought today at Wolfmueller's is signed by her to someone named Isabelle! I love it!

Y'all have a great evening!

Happy Birthday Scooter!

Tony and I love Rick Reichenback, The Friendly Lighthouse Keeper, and we want to be among the first to wish him a Happy 64th Birthday! Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday dear Rick. Happy Birthday to You—Scooter! We love you!

And remember, Rick—you're only nine in dog years!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Dunns Are Coming!

Yesterday was a great day, even though my personal horoscope had predicted it to be not so great. Usually my daily horoscopes are right on the money, but this one was so far off I think it must have been a misprint or some other's sign.  It told me to stay inside and for me to spend my day with a child. A child? A dog maybe, but not a child. Hmmm..., to say the least.

After I walked six miles with Leslie Sansone this morning, Hazel came out of the closet and we deep cleaned the trailer and child-proofed it—just in case a child might show up. I have to admit that I like kids, but I purposefully chose not to have children, because I don't like them that much and I am not kidding.

 As I cooked shrimp quesadillas for Tony's and my lunch, I nearly burned it, because I was worried about how I was going to entertain a child-for-a-day. During lunch I told Tony about having to spend my day with a kid and he laughed and then said, "Well, I'm not," he said. "If you go with me to Walmart you won't have to and the kid will go away. And seriously, I really doubt if a kid is going to show up, because your horoscope predicted it. And, if you think about it, Nance, we don't know anybody with young kids?"

Ten minutes later, after Tony and Buttermilk left for Kerrville, the dogs started barking outside and the first thing I thought was "the kid's here" so I went outside on the front porch and saw a car driving in. I didn't recognize the SUV, so I went down the steps, out the gate, to go meet the mystery child that I was suppose to spend my day with, and boy was I surprised!

I walked up to greet the smiling couple. "Welcome to the rescue ranch. I'm Nancy," I said, as I tried to see through their darkened car's windows to see if there was a kid inside the car.

"I'm Walt Ratliff and this is my beautiful wife Cheryl and we have been supporting your ranch for years," he said, as I nervously shook hands with both of them—waiting for a kid to suddenly pop out of their vehicle and start running around like a wild child. "We love Kinky," Cheryl said, "and we have read everyone of his books and we just wanted to come out and take a tour of the rescue ranch. Is that okay?"

"Sure," I said, relieved that they had not brought a child along with them for me to entertain. "Let me give y'all a tour." Because I was so happy about the childless couple I gave them the Grand Tour. We went into the Space Ship and then we went into Outer Space and drank some hot tea, then we went inside the trailer and then Kermit took us over to the Lodge for a fun visit with Kinky.

As we watched the Dallas Cowboys losing to the Chicago Bears, Walt said, "Kinky, one of my favorite lines of yours is when you said, 'Mr. President. Build that fence!'" And, we burst out laughing and then I shot them.

Then we went outside so they could see the Friedman Family Bone Orchard. As Kinky and I showed them the graves and talked about plants, Cheryl told me that she loved the pink Four O'clocks and was into planting native plants, so I broke off a small branch and handed it to her. "Take this home and just put some dirt on it and it will grow. I promise. I have some and..."

"I suggest that you plant it in a pot and keep it inside until Spring," Kinky suggested. "OMG! Look! My Plumaria's first bloom. It's beautiful." After we admired it—I shot it, too.

 On our way back to the rescue ranch I said, "When we get back to the trailer I will get y'all a wet paper towel for the plant, so you can wrap it up until you get home and can plant it. And you can tell your Petal Pusher Club members that you have Kinky Four O'clocks." They laughed, stayed a little longer and then they thanked me for the Grand Tour and left. I really enjoyed Cheryl and Walt's visit. 

An hour later Tony and Buttermilk came home. "I shot some beautiful pictures in the park after I went to Walmart and I can't wait to show them to you. Did a kid come out?"

"Nope, and I've had a great day. This really nice couple showed up and..." After I had told T. about Cheryl and Walt's fun visit I took a nap with Mama and Abbie, but I didn't sleep, because Mama kept tossing and turning and kissing me.

My dear friend, Reverend Analea Rawson, the minister for the Unity Church of Austin, arrived around six thirty bearing gifts—chairs to be exact. "Nancy, I love finding old chairs and fixing them up and giving them away to friends. I brought a chair for you, one for Tony and two rockers for Kinky." 

I love Analea. We had a great visit and caught up with each other's news and then we went over to the Lodge, so she could visit with Kinky and give him her rockers, along with a bell and a dog statue to add to his Friedman Family Bone Orchard.

After Frank and Tony unloaded the chairs from the bed of her cool, white Toyota truck we walked around the side of the Lodge to the back porch and watched Kinky arrange them. Then we sat down in them and talked as the light rain fell. She and Kinky talked about Hawaii, Ireland and their other favorite places that would be nice to live and then we laughed a lot as they discussed politics, as Sophie happily sat in Kinky's lap as he stroked her. An hour later Analea and I were back in my kitchen, sipping hot tea, as we solved the world's problems. I really enjoyed Analea's visit, because she is such an 'up person' and we have so much in common. Before she left to drive back to Austin in the rain, we have decided to try to go together to northern New Mexico in October to visit Cindy and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that trip to happen.

Today has been good. It rained early this morning and it is raining, again as I type this. This morning I got a phone call at 10:01 as I was jogging around the big room with Leslie and her walking buddies, so I let Carlton take the call. "Hello, Cousin Nancy and Tony. This is Jimmie and Nelda Dunn from Arkansas. Nelda and I want to drive down from DeQueen to come see y'all on Tuesday, September 28th and we wanted to check to see if that would be okay. Please call us at..." I was thrilled!

As soon as I walked six miles I jumped in the shower and cleaned up and then I went outside to tell T. about Jimmie calling and them coming down. "Tony, you can sure tell that Mercury is direct and is no longer in retrograde, because the Dunns are coming! Jimmie called and they want to..."

"I know, Nance," Tony said. "Jimmie wrote me on Facebook to tell me about them wanting to come down and see us. They are great people and..."

"I know, Tony," I said, as he fed Randy Travis, Moe Bandy and their sister, Mandy. 

Early this evening I punched in the Dunn's phone number. "Hello?"

"Hello, Nelda, this is Nancy. Tony and I would love to see you and Jimmie on the 28th! We are really excited about it."

"Well, we are sort of like y'all. It is hard for us to take off with all of our animals. We have an old horse that has to be fed three times a day. Well, you know, Nancy. Anyway, we've been wanting to come see y'all for quite a while and our daughter told us that she will babysit our animals for us. So, we are going to drive down on Monday and stay in Bandera and then we will come see y'all on Tuesday. What time would be good for you? In the morning or after lunch?" After we decided on a time, Nelda and I visited a little longer and then we hung up on each other. We had us a Dunn deal, so to speak and we can't wait to see them. I know that Kinky would love to see them, too, but his schedule is real tight right now and I am not sure if he will be around, but I hope so. In fact, I wish that all of y'all could meet Nelda and Jimmie—they are our kind of people and I just wish that they lived a lot closer to us.

P.S. This is for Roger and Mary Peach. Congrats on winning the auction for Kinky's old electric typewriter with the F key not working. I planned to ship it out today, but we didn't make it to Kerrville today, so I apologize and I will ship it UPS to Kansas tomorrow. (What are 'riends 'or?)

Y'all have a great evening! I'm fixin' to pop some popcorn and we're going to watch Hawaii Five-0!  I hope it's not real bloody.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sorry, Not Tonight!

Today has been a lot of fun. This afternoon some really nice people came out for a visit and tour and this evening we had company until nine forty-five and we really enjoyed Analea's visit. I will write more about it tomorrow, because I am tired and going to bed.

Y'all have a great evening!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mark In Mississippi—Happy Birthday, Again!

Today has been a lot of fun. This morning while I was outside watering my plants in Outer Space the phone rang—it was Matt. "Hello, Tony and Miss Nancy, this is Matt. Lisa and I and coming out to see y'all and we're bringing two new volunteers with us. We're on our way." When I came inside and listened to his message I thought, this is a nice way to start off my day and I was right.

When they arrived they helped Tony outside and then he brought them to the trailer for a visit. The first thing Lisa said after hugging me was, "Today is Mark's birthday and I am so in love with him!"

"And, I can see why," I said. "Tony and I really like Mark a lot..." After she and I briefly caught up with each others latest news, Matt gave me a big bear hug and then it was his turn to fill me in on what all he has been up to. The whole time while Matt talked, Tone teased him and Lisa and I could not quit laughing. After all was said and done we went outside, so I could meet the new volunteers, Trisha and Amberly.

After Lisa introduced me to the two nice women we hung out at our front yard gate visiting. Trisha told us that she had just lost her dog of fifteen years and her heart was broken. She said that she wanted to adopt another dog, but she wasn't quite ready to do it today. We understood.

Before heading back to Kerrville, Matt told me, "My awesome parents are coming to visit me in October and I will try to bring them out for a visit."

"Matt, I love your parents. I feel like I've known Gail and Paul all of my life. Please tell them that we would love to see them..."

This afternoon after lunch the phone rang—it was Kinky. "Hello, Nance, you sure sound cheerful today. What's going on?"

After I filled Kinky in on Lisa's and Matt's fun visit and told him about the two new volunteers he said, "Please invite them to come over to the Lodge. I would love to see them."

"I would if I could, but they are gone," I said. "Are you still fasting?" Yesterday, Kinky told me that he was going to fast for twenty-four hours from sundown to sundown tonight.

"Yes, and I haven't smoke my cigar either."

"That is fantastic, Kinky," I said. "I'm fixin' a pot of beans right now and..."

"Don't talk about food, Nance," Kinky warned. "I'm not hungry, so please don't talk about food. Do you want to come over?"

I spent the first four minutes at the Lodge watching Arkansas vs. Georgia football game with Kinky. "Who you for?" I asked, during a time out.

"Georgia," Kinky replied, as he stared at the television, twirling his unlit cigar in his fingers. During a commercial he said, "I think Sophie is going to work out fine. Yesterday, she and Brownie got into it over a bone, but all they did was growl at each other. I'm really starting to like her and..." And then he stopped talking in mid sentence, because the game came back on and the teams were still tied 24 -24 with only twenty seconds left in the game. Then with fifteen seconds to go in the game we watched Arkansas win. "Let's go for a walk," Kinky said. "Come on Brownie, Chumley and Sophie. Let's go for a walk. We'll watch the Texas - Texas Tech game tonight."

When we walked out the backdoor I looked up at the sky and said, "Looks like we're fixin' to get some rain, Kinky."

"I think you might be right. Let's walk down to the creek." We took off headed for the creek with the dogs running ahead of us. No sooner had we arrived at the creek it started raining, so we quickly walked back up to the Lodge. The second that we got under the porch to get out of the rain—it stopped raining.

This evening at sundown I went over to the Lodge and fixed Kinky my new popcorn recipe that Tony came up with and Kinky liked it.

P.S. Tony and I want to wish the love of Lisa's life—Mark in Mississippi a happy, happy birthday!

Y'all have a great evening!

Happy Birthday Mark In Mississippi!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good News—Bad News!

First, the good news. This morning as I was finishing up my sixth mile the phone rang—it was Nancy! Not me, but the Nancy who adopted Toby Keith from us yesterday, so I muted the sound and shut Leslie up, answered the phone and continued walking with the video. "Nancy, this is Nancy," she said. "I had to call you to tell you about what an incredibly great dog Toby is!" Her words made me smile, as I started race walking in circles around the big room while holding the phone up to my ear.

"I know," I huffed. "He is a great dog. I love Tober so much—he is close to my heart and..."

"Me, too! His manners are impeccable. He sits and waits at the door for me to let him go outside and our caretaker is in love with him! In fact, I know he wants me to give Toby to him, but I won't. I can't. This beautiful dog has stolen my heart. He is truly a magnificent dog! I've never had such a great dog."

"I know," I said breathing heavily into the phone, hoping that Nancy wouldn't think I was some kind of a weirdo. "How'd he get along with your old Blue Heeler?" I asked, crossing my fingers, as I spoke the words.

"OMG! Smokey growled at him when they first met, to let him know that he was number one, and Toby was number two and Toby did nothing—like he didn't seem to care. They are now best friends and inseparable. They are sitting together on the porch as I speak. This dog is awesome!"

"I know," I said, sounding like I was on the verge of having an asthma attack, even though I don't have asthma, as I finished the sixth mile and turned off the workout video.

"Oh, let me tell you what he did last night!" Nancy said, as I took a sip of water and started making choking sounds, because I swallowed the wrong way. "Are you okay?"

After a short coughing spell I gasped, "Yes, I think so. I just swallowed some water the..."

"Well that's good that you're okay," Toby's best friend said, as I wiped away the tears forming in my eyes, caused by another one of my almost near death (choking) experiences. As Toto stared at me with concern in his eyes—Nancy went on to say, "When I got in bed last night Toby came over and sat down beside me on the floor and looked at me. I invited him to sleep on the bed and he jumped up on the bed and laid down beside me with his head resting on my pillow! I couldn't believe it! He slept there all night! I cannot thank you enough for telling me about Toby and letting me adopt him. I promise you, that I will give him the greatest life that he deserves. Thank you, so much!"

Once again, I wiped away the tears, but this time they were tears of happiness for Toby. "No. Thank you, Nancy for adopting Toby. I cannot thank you enough. You have truly just made my day..."

After our conversation ended, as I was putting the phone back into its cradle Tony walked inside the trailer. "Nance, I need for you to call—what's wrong, babe? Why are you crying? Tell me." After I told him he smiled, gave me a hug and then he went back outside to work.

Now for the bad news. I've got to keep it short because it is raining and starting to thunder outside. I'm sad to say that Trace Adkins, my new, used overhead projector that I was going to use to do portraits, has left the building (trailer) and he is now on his way back to New York City and it isn't his fault.

Unfortunately, the company sent me the wrong projector. I had purchased model 9550 and when I started messing with Trace I realized that he was a model number much lower—9100—and could not perform like the newer model with all of its bells and whistles. So this afternoon T. helped me put Trace Adkins back into his box and we drove him to the UPS Store in Kerrville and bid him farewell and a safe trip.

As I sit now and stare at the twenty-eight dollar plastic bag from the craft store, sitting on the kitchen table, filled with assorted sketch pads, pencils, the must-have ARTGUM eraser and the professional pencil sharpener, that I bought a few days ago for my new hobby—I am not sure what to do, because maybe it is an omen that this is not the right hobby for me after all. I know that it said that 'no skill is required' and all, "Which makes it the perfect hobby for you," Tony declared, reassuringly to make me feel better, as he loaded Trace into the back seat of Buttermilk, but I don't know. I've got to think about it some more. Sweet dreams, Toby!

P.S. I just went to the sink to wash a few glasses and screamed when I saw this drowned, five inch long Scorpion in the dish water! Tone came running and removed him and placed him in the trash can. Yikes! Maybe it is another omen. Come on Fall!

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Today has been great and so was yesterday. Yesterday afternoon around five o'clock while I was visiting with Rick and Tony inside the trailer the phone rang—it was Kinky. "Nance, they're here. Can we come over now?"

"They're coming! Right now!" I said, after hanging up the phone. T. and Rick looked at each other and they asked simultaneously, "Who?" Then they started laughing.

"I'm not sure," I said. After taking a sip of water I said, "Kinky is bringing over a man who is a real famous fisherman. He has a fishing show on TV and..."

"I hope it isn't (name withheld to protect the innocent or the guilty, so we will call him Borax) Borax!" Rick said. "I knew Borax forty years ago and his wife and me... If it is Borax, I am going to go hide in your bedroom closet." I could tell that Rick wasn't kidding.

"Here's what we will do, Rick," I said, calmly. "When they get here I will go outside and greet them. If he's Borax I will introduce you as Scooter. I'm sure after all these years— there is no way that he would recognize or remember you." The dogs started barking outside, so I left the trailer to go meet or not to meet Borax.

When we walked inside the trailer I looked directly at Rick and said, "Scooter, I mean Rick, and Tony this is Alan Warren and his assistant Jeffrey." As Rick let out a deep sigh, Tony said, "You're Alan Warren! I love your show Alan Warren Outdoors and I watch it religiously. You've got a twin brother too, right?"

"Yes, I do, Tony," Alan said. "Is that your bass boat outside?..." Then Tony and Alan started talking about fishing for a few minutes.

"See, Alan, I told you that Tony would know who you were," Kinky bragged. As the men visited and talked some business, I could tell that Kinky, Tony and Rick liked Alan and Jeffrey as much as I did—they were two really nice guys.

When there was a lull in the conversation Rick says, "Do you know Borax?" Alan and Jeffrey burst out laughing—they knew Borax. Then they started trading funny stories about Borax and they had all of us laughing. When it was time for them to leave I gave Alan a copy of both of my books to read about our rescue ranch. We hated to see them leave and we are looking forward to their next visit and I am going to make sure to take a picture of Tony with Alan and post it.

Tony woke me up at six-thirty this morning, so I could do the Harley Show at seven forty-five. Rick came inside the trailer around seven o'clock to drink some coffee with us before taking off on his Triumph to meet up with Leisa in San Marcos.

Five minutes after Scooter left I called the Rose 99.9 radio station. I had a lot of fun talking to Harley on and off of the air. His Pet of the Week is Hank Hill. "Hank's a wonderful dog. He is only a year and a half old, sweet, good on a leash and great with other dogs..."

This afternoon at three o'clock, Toby Keith, who is close to my heart and one of my favorite dogs found his forever home and I am so happy for him. After I told Nancy, a nice woman, about the same age as me, about Toby's sad life story and the awful events that led up to us rescuing him—she could not wait to adopt him and take him home and spoil him. Toby seemed thrilled to be leaving our rescue ranch for the second time, and he appeared to be very happy and comfortable sitting in the back seat of her big, fancy white pickup as they drove away.

Ten minutes later as I was filing Toby's adoption papers away the dogs started barking outside and Tony went outside to see who was here or what was the matter. A few minutes later T. walked inside the trailer. "Nance, your overhead projector is here. I'll open it for you."

When I walked into the big room—there it was sitting on the breakfast bar! "I love it, Tony!" I said, as I touched it. "I'm going to name it Trace Adkins. I can't wait to try it out." Tony laughed.

"I like the name," T. said. "Maybe I can use it to trace a few portraits, too. I was thinking about doing that Hummingbird..."

Y'all have a great evening!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Scooter Triumphs!

Today has been great, because Leisa and Rick are here and Mercury has left the building—so to speak. But early this morning, before the sun came up—it was interesting to say the least.

I was sound asleep in bed with Toto sleeping on top of my pillow above my head and Mama laying spread eagle on her back beside me when I heard Rick say, "Good morning, Tony. Are we ready to go to the Old Timer?" Mama barked and jumped off of the bed.

"Not yet, Rick. It's only five o'clock and the Old Timer doesn't open until six-thirty. It's too early."

"Oh? I saw the lights come on inside the trailer, so I figured it was time for us to go to the Old Timer."

"I got up, because a dang scorpion just bit me twice on the elbow," T. said, "and I just killed it and it hurts like..." They talked for a few more minutes, but I couldn't understand them, because the central air came on and drowned out their conversation and then there was total silence except for Mama's barking.

"Tone!" I drowsily, half-hollered from the bedroom. "Is Rick here?"

"No, but he was," Tony said, followed by a laugh, as he flipped on the kitchen light.

"Why? It is still dark outside. What time is it?"

"Ten after five," T. said, as he let Mama and Abbie go outside into the backyard. "I just got bit twice by a scorpion. Rick saw the lights in the trailer come on, so he thought it was time for us to go to Medina. I told him it was too early and he went back to bed. I'm sorry I woke you. You need to go back to sleep." As Mama and Abbie barked non-stop outside the bedroom window I somehow fell back into a deep sleep.

When I got up at six o'clock Mama and Abbie had quit barking, but Toto, Hank, Little Girl and Thunder took up the slack and barked at me to let them go outside for an important business meeting. After I fed my best friends I made some coffee, started a load of laundry in Queen Bee and then I began making breakfast for us humans.

Breakfast was fun. We teased the heck out of Rick for coming into the trailer at five o'clock and thinking that it was time for them to go to the Old Timer. When he and Tone were outside feeding the dogs and cleaning up the pens Lisa and I decided to give Rick an early surprise birthday party this evening even though his birthday is a week away on the 21st.

After the birthday party plans were made, the dogs fed and the pens were cleaned they took off on Rick's Triumph to explore the Hill Country. I spent the next hour returning phone calls, e-mails, writing some bills and then I called the H-E-B in Kerrville to order a birthday cake for Rick. "I need a small, cheap, chocolate birthday cake that reads: Happy Birthday, Scooter!" I told the baker-man. "We will be in Kerrville in about an hour to pick it up." The man coughed.

"Scooter? Happy Birthday, Scooter?"

"Yes, Scooter," I said, with a laugh and then I spelled it out for him. "Scooter. S, C, O, O, T, E, R." After I ordered the cake I called Wolfmuellers Books. Jon answered the phone. "Hi Jon. This is Nancy. We're giving Rick a surprise birthday party this evening, even though he won't be sixty-four until next Tuesday and we would love for y'all to come to it."

"Sorry, Nancy. We can't. Sandy's cooking tonight. The other day she bought some stuffed chicken breasts that we were going to eat last night, but we were so tired we ate pizza instead, so tonight she is fixing them. Please tell Rick that we are sorry that we couldn't make it and wish him a happy birthday for..."

"I will, Jon," I said. "I totally understand. I'll tell him that y'all couldn't come to his birthday party because y'all don't like him and that you would rather stay home and vacuum and watch info-mercials than drive out here and..." Jon burst out laughing and then I started laughing. "I'm teasing..."

Late this afternoon when the cute Port A. couple got back from their ride—Rick and I went over to the Lodge, so he and Kinky could finish the pool tournament, while Leisa took a short nap in the Space Ship and Tony gave some friendly visitors from Bermuda and Galveston a tour of the rescue ranch.

Five minutes before T. brought the visitors over to meet Kinky—Scooter beat The Hummingbird Man hands down—The Scooter Triumps! And to put it mildly—Kink was not a happy hummingbird.

This evening, around seven o'clock, Rick was totally surprised when Tony walked inside the trailer with his birthday cake. After we sang happy birthday to him, Rick blew out the six grouped candles and the grouped four candles and then I shot the cake and then he cut it and served us all a slice. It was a pretty good cake and fun day.

Y'all have a great evening! I'm fixin' to go to bed.