Monday, January 31, 2011

Today Was Rex's Funeral

Tony and I want to thank all of you for the kind words, cards, hugs and prayers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

'Erb Just Had A Birthday!

Today has been great, but tonight's blog is going to be short for two reasons. One, I spent almost all day preparing Tony's and my income taxes. Two, I cannot wait to sit down and watch Hallmark's movie, "The Lost Valentine" starring Betty White, who I absolutely adore and respect.

Tony and I had so much fun last night with Carol and James! Before James and Carol picked us up to go with them to the comedy club in Kerrville, we already knew that we were going to have a great time, because we love Carol and James, because they are two of the sweetest and nicest people we know.

On our way to Kerrville, we (mostly Carol and me) talked and laughed non-stop. And by the time we arrived at the Santo Coyote my back was already starting to ache, because of laughing too much. After we took our seats Carol took off to go powder her nose and when she came back from the "Little Girls Room" she was grinning ear to ear, because she had met one of the comedians.

After Carol told us about her meeting the nice, funny, woman comedian, we started telling stories about our youthful pasts and all of us were laughing so much about finding out who had worn long hair, an afro, smoked, etc.—I quickly realized that I didn't need to see comedians to make me laugh—I just needed Carol, James and Tony.

The comedy show was hilariously great and when it ended we (all of us) talked non-stop about the show, as James drove us home. And before we said goodbye to Carol & James we have decided to go again.

This morning Kinky called. "Nance, Sophie asked me to call you, because she wants to see you." Twenty minutes later I was over at the Lodge telling Kinky, Sophie and "The Boys" about our-night-out with Carol & James and the comedy club.

Before I left to come home Kinky's phone rang. "Hello, Herb!" Kinky said, as we sat outside on the porch with The Friedmans. "How are you  and Karen doing?..." A few minutes later, Kinky said, "Cousin Nancy is sitting here with me and she sends you her best...."

After Kinky said goodbye to Herb, who y'all know as 'Erb, because I pronounce it wrong, because I was taught that the "H" is silent from a communist in Fort Worth, Kinky and I started talking about how much we liked Herb and Karen. "I love them, Kinky," I said. "'Erb just had a birthday last week on the 27th and..."

Late this afternoon I took a tax break and went over to the Lodge to visit with Kinky, Dylan & Sage and in time flat—we were all laughing. Then Sage blew me out of the saddle when she told me that *&%#$@, a famous movie and television star, with a hit TV show,  liked her writing. I would tell you who he is, but first Sage has to give me her permission to make it public. Before leaving the Lodge I told Sage, "I am green with envy of you, because I love that actor so much and his show..."

Y'all have a great evening! I'm fixing to watch "The Lost Valentine!"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We Had A Blast Tonight!

The Best Medicine!

Today has been great, but first off, I want to wish Arlene a Happy Birthday again and I hope that your birthday has been a great one.

Late this morning I went over to the Lodge to visit with Kinky and The Friedmans. Like Kinky, Brownie, Chumley and Sophie were all doing fine. But, Brownie made me laugh the most, because he has taken over the couch in the big room, where he hides and guards his dog treats, and like it or not, he has made it clear that Chumley and Sophie are not welcomed.

When Kinky and I went into the big room to visit I sat down next to Brownie on his couch and his tail wagged happily, but when Miss Sophie came up for me to pet her, he curled his lips at her and snarled, so she went away in a snit. "This is my boat," I said, speaking for Brownie, which is an annoying habit that both Kinky, Tony and I do, "and I am the captain of this ship." Kinky chuckled as Sophie jumped up on his lap.

As we visited, I petted "Brown Dog" and every time that I would stop Brownie's tail would begin thumping the couch, until I started petting him again, so I made a game out of it with him. When Kinky went into his office to get something Brownie jumped off of the couch and went outside using Kinky's doggie door and that's when Sophie jumped up and ran over to the couch and quickly snatched two of Brownie's favorite, big Milk Bone treats, and then she ran to her bed, near the fireplace, and hid them under the cushiion, before laying back down in her big, plush doggie bed fit for a queen.

When Kinky returned, I was laughing and I told him why. When Brownie returned and took back the command of his ship he started sniffing the cushions and I could tell that he knew "Sophie the Pirate" had once again, come on board and stolen a few of his treasures, because after he finally quit sniffing around, he looked at Sophie, over in her bed, and glared at her, as she innocently batted her pretty eyelashes back at him. After Kinky and I had a good laugh about it I came back home.

After lunch our great friends and volunteers: Lisa and Matt came out with their friends Chris, Dan and DeDe and her cute son Skipper, came out to walk our dogs! After howdies and hugs I had a short, but fun visit with Lisa before she started walking our dogs with DeDe, Skipper and Dan and that's when I tricked Matt into helping me!

"Can I be of any help, Miss Nancy?" Matt asked, as he saw me trying helplessly to put a screw through a 2"x4."

"Yes, Matt! Please," I said, as I batted my long gray eyelashes, that no one can see, because I don't wear make up, or even know how to spell it correctly. "Come on inside the Space Ship and help me screw this 2x4 into this wall. I don't know why it is so hard. The battery has a full charge, but these screws aren't cooperating with me." I handed the cordless drill to Matt and he quickly went to work. When Matt was nearly done attaching the many 2x4's to an interior wall for me, Tony walked up and started laughing.

"What's so funny, Tone?" I asked, as I stood by the kitchen sink, so not to be in Matt's way.

"Matt, I don't know how she does it, but like me—Nance has you doing all of the hard work for her!" Everyone started laughing.

"I know and she's good at it too," Matt said. "She's a woman and all..."

"That's just the way we women work," Lisa jokingly declared. "Isn't that right, Nance?" I smiled and nodded my head inagreement.

After feeding some apples to Shalom, Roy & Gabby and Little Jewford, the volunteers left and went back to Kerrville and I hated to see them go because I love them. But it was especially hard on Tony to see Matt leave today, because Tony knew it was now his turn to take over Matt's job and be my right hand man.

I hope that y'all are having as much fun as Carol & James and Tony and me are having right now, because we are on a double date, at a comedy club in Kerrville and we should be home shortly. I wrote this early this evening and scheduled it to post at 10:20 tonight.

Have a great evening and May The Force Be With Us!
 or maybe even better,
 If laughter is the best medicine—then I am addicted to it!

Happy Birthday Arlene Wheaton!

Happy Birthday Arlene, of The NoMads! Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday Dear Arlene. Happy Birthday to YOU! And many more! We love you and so do The NoMads and we wish you the best birthday ever! You Rule! And, so do The NoMads!

Friday, January 28, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture!

Today has been wonderful. This morning after I cooked "Cousin Nancy's Huevos Ranchero's" for breakfast, I called Kinky to see if he wanted some, and then we went over to the Lodge and ate breakfast with him. During our fun breakfast, Kinky told us the funniest thing about what Albert Einstein once said when he was asked, "If he knew what weapon of destruction would be used if there was a World War III." And since I can't remember the exact quote exactly, Einstein answered, "I don't know about World War III, but I do know that if there were to be a World War IV—they'd use rocks." So, to say the least, we did a lot of laughing during our fun breakfast.

Ten minutes after we got back home, our super volunteers Eileen and Lisa showed up to walk our dogs, so I went outside to greet them and to my surprise, Lisa had brought us a tree, for Tony to plant, in honor of his brother Rex, and Eileen had brought a beautiful vase filled with beautiful flowers for us and their sympathy card was so sweet.

After we carried them inside the trailer Eileen said, "I think Sharon is coming out today too, so she can work with Annie Oakley." And then there was a knock on the door and it was Sharon Griswold, the incredible dog-whispering trainer of, "Rover Misbehaving?"! After a fun, but short visit, because they wanted to go outside and get to work, I invited them to come outside and take a peak to see my latest improvements to the Space Ship. As we walked to my new1976 motorhome I started telling them about the cabinets that I had painted.

"Wednesday afternoon, after I was finished with all of my paperwork and business, I decided to take down the kitchen cabinets and paint them and it turned out to be a lot more work than I had expected it to be," I said. "I numbered each cabinet as I took them down and then started taping off the six cabinet doors, which nearly took me an hour to do. Then I started carefully painting them. And it was hard, because I am not a good painter and can't paint a straight line."

Then we went inside the Space Ship and I loved the girls reactions! After everyone told me how much they loved my latest improvements I said, "Thank y'all. Now tell me, what's wrong with this picture?" And pointed to my newly hung cabinet doors on the passenger side of the van.

They looked at the cabinets and then asked, "What? They look beautiful." So I started laughing.

"It's a Nancy. I did it again. The second cabinet from the end is painted upside down!" And we all started laughing. "Because I forgot to number that one at the bottom, so I would know which was the top and bottom. And then I did the dumbest thing yesterday before I hung them back up. I decided to paint the inside doors lavender with spray paint and I covered up all of the numbers, so none of them are hanging in their right places..."

"They look fine, but all you have to do is repaint it," one of them suggested.

"Nope. No way. I will never do that again. I have accidentally turned my Space Ship into another "It's A Nancy" and who knows, maybe someday it could become valuable." After we all laughed about it, Lisa and Eileen took off to go walk some lucky dogs, while Sharon went to do some whispering-work and massage therapy on Annie. Here are a few pictures of Eileen and Lisa working with Sharon to help Annie settle down around other dogs and people—and it worked—thanks to Sharon Griswold!
Sharon with Annie "sitting and under control."

Lisa with Maggie and Eileen with LaToya 

Annie behaving herself and acting calm.

Sharon fixin' to massage Annie while whispering to her.

Around noon Eileen and Lisa took off to go eat lunch in Medina before heading back home to Kerrville, while Sharon and I drove Annie around in Kermit to see how she would react and Annie passed with flying colors! For the very first time since we got Annie—she was calm when we petted her, acted like Kermit was no big deal and we were totally thrilled about it! After a long talk with Sharon about Annie and her out-of-control issues and how to handle her progress, Sharon suggested that she come out every Friday to work with Annie and she is convinced, as we are, it won't take long for Annie to become the super dog that we know she is. Thank you, Sharon Griswold! Your magic worked miracles on Annie today!

This afternoon our last stop in Kerrville before going home, was to go by the music store, next door to Wolfmueller Books, because I am thinking about buying a dulcimer and taking some dulcimer lessons at Club Ed this Spring, because I love Club Ed and dulcimers and also because my great brother-in-law Ray (married to Cindy) is an incredible dulcimer player.

Our plan was to go to the music store first and then drop by and say hi to Sandy and Jon, but when we walked past Wolfmueller's opened door we heard Sandy say,"Hi, guys! Come on in."

"Hi, Sandy and Jon," Tony said. "We're going to the music store to see if they have any dulcimers on sale. We'll see y'all in a minute."

When we walked inside the crowded music store I saw my good friend Phil Houseal, the Director of Club Ed, and waved to him as he was paying for his purchase. Then we got to visiting. "You must be Tony! Cousin Nancy's husband," Phil said, as T. and him shook hands. "I want you to meet my friend Karen Shirer, she teaches guitar at Club Ed." After Karen and I shook hands I told Phil that I loved Club Ed and was thinking about signing up for their beginners dulcimer course and he was thrilled to hear it, even though he hasn't heard me play a dulcimer. "I really enjoyed reading your book, Cousin Nancy," Phil said. "And I want you to know that I have sent a copy of your book to my brother..." And I was thrilled to hear that, so I guess you could say, "That seeing Phil today was more than thrilling." You Rock, Phil!

After we left the music store empty-handed we went next door and had a fun visit with Jon and Sandy. 

Tonight I have posted a new, short youtube video that I made over eight years ago about some of the great dogs and animals that we have rescued and I hope that you will check it out. It starts out with the rescue ranch being in Utopia at my mini-ranch in 1998, where we started the rescue ranch, and then moving it here in 2002 and it basically ends with Jerry Jeff Walker, Kinky, Dwight Yoakam and me backstage at the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch benefit held at Bob Cole's Hill's Cafe in Austin. I have titled it Have I Told You...

Have a great evening and May The Force Be With Y'all, because I love you.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday 'Erb!

Today is my dear friend Herb Cares birthday! Kinky, Tony and I love 'Erb and think the world of him and his lovely, sweet wife Karen, who are, by far—the best ballroom dancers on the planet. In fact, they even know how to do the Texas Two Step.

Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday Dear 'Erb. Happy Birthday to You. And many more! We love you and You Rock 'Erb!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tony's Brother Rex Passed Away This Evening.

Happy Birthday Ben Welch!

Today Ben is Ben Welch's birthday! Tony, Kinky and I love Ben and we wish him the best birthday ever.
Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday to You. Happy Birthday Dear Ben. Happy Birthday to You!

Monday, January 24, 2011

On The Cover Of Texas Animal Imprints!

Today has been great. This afternoon while we were in Kerrville, we stopped by Wolfmueller's Books to say hi to Sandy and Jon and to get them to sign Lynda's soup cookbook that she won in my contest, and to show off Tony's pictures on the cover and his beautiful pictures inside the Texas Animal Imprints January / February magazine!

When we arrived at the bookstore Jon greeted us from behind the checkout counter. "Where's Sandy?" Tony asked. "I bet she's out buying more books."

No, she's not out buying books today," Jon said. "She had to go home to pick up a book." Then we started laughing. "She should be here any minute..."

"Jon, I brought Lynda's cookbook to get y'all to sign it. And if you don't mind, keeping it here until Mari can swing by and sign it, before I mail it to Lynda."

"Sure, that's fine. We don't mind..."

"Well, Tony is becoming a famous photographer, Jon. Take a look at his beautiful picture on the cover of  Texas Animal Imprints January / February magazine!" I said, as I handed the magazine to Jon, so he could look at it.

"And Joni, the publisher, also used one of Tone's pictures for Connie Strong's great story about my friend Cindy, when she interviewed her about her documentary "MANITOU-API: WHERE THE SUN RISES" and Tony also took these pictures of Pilgrim and Pumpkin for my column that I wrote! Isn't this great!" I bragged, as Jon quickly thumbed through the magazine to look at all of T.'s pictures.

"You're good, Tony. These are beautiful photos," Jon said, as Sandy walked in the back door and waved to us, before coming up to join us. "Sandy look at Tony's pictures..."

"I love these, Tony!" Sandy said. "Congratulations." Then Kathleen Keen walked in the front door. After greetings, Sandy handed the Texas Animal Imprints magazine to Kathleen and said, "Tony took these pictures..."

"Tony! I love your pictures, especially the one of the sunset."

"He took that one from our front porch," I said. "I love all of his pictures! And you can go online to read Texas Animal Imprints January / February magazine right now. Y'all will love Connie Strong's article about Cindy, too. And Kinky's column."

A few minutes later Kathleen had to take off and then some customers walked into the bookstore, so I looked at books while Sandy and Jon helped their customers. Before leaving their bookstore, I bought these two books about my hero, Mark Twain! And, I a can't wait to start reading them.

Around four o'clock today, I went over to the Lodge to show Kinky my new books, Grant and Twain: The Story Of A Friendship That Changed America by Mark Perry and Who Is Mark Twain by Mark Twain himself, that have never been published before! "I've got and already read Who Is Mark Twain, and it was good, but I would like to read this one."

"I'll loan it to you as soon as I finish reading it," I said, before we went to visit with The Friedmans in the big room.

Tonight, as soon as I finish writing this blog, I plan to start reading the Grant and Twain book. I am so happy for Tony about his photos being on the cover and in Joni's beautiful magazine, Texas Animal Imprints and I hope that you will subscribe to Joni Daniel's great magazine and check out the January / February issue online. And please read my column about...

To Be Continued...

Have a great evening and May The Force Be With All Of Us!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Dylan Ferrero! In Dog Years He's Not That Old!

Early Saturday morning, after breakfast, Tony and I went over to the Lodge to drink a cup of coffee with Kinky. We talked about Thunder and her passing and Kinky's kind words about her made me smile. Then we talked about The Friedmans giving up dog bones for their New Year's resolution and Chumley being so happy to be back home since his observation stay at Hoegemeyers. "Is Maude coming home today?" Kinky asked.

"I think so, but I need to call the clinic, as soon as we get home, to see if she can," I said. "I really miss her even though I don't seem to count, with Maudie. She loves Tony and that's it." Kinky started laughing.

"In a few minutes I am going to Kerrville and I will be glad to pick her up for y'all," Kinky said.

Twenty minutes later, after talking to Susan at Hoegemeyers, I called Kinky and then Trigger and I took off for Kerrville. My first stop was to get groceries at H-E-B. Then I went to Hoegemeyers to meet Cassie, one of their new, sweet vet techs, so she could sign-off on Cowboy's adoption forms, because she had fallen in love with him, after we had rescued him from the pound, and then taken him there to get him neutered and his shots, etc.! 

"It is so nice to meet you, Cousin Nancy!" Cassie said, as she filled out Cowboy's adoption papers. "I love Cowboy so much! My husband and I have L.T., an Aussie mixed with Blue Heeler and Border Collie that we rescued last year. And Cowboy is the same size as L.T. and they are already best friends. Thank you for letting us adopt him."

"No, thank you, Cassie. We are all so happy about you adopting Cowboy, before he ever made it to our rescue ranch. He's a very lucky dog."

"Cowboy is really trained. He sits on command, heels and is house broken!" Cassie bragged, as she handed me my clipboard. Then Maude entered the lobby all excited and started looking around the room for Tony, her hero, but since he wasn't there, she acknowledged me and wagged her tail, so I picked her up and we came home. And the minute that she was reunited with T.—I once again became invisible to her.

This evening, three minutes before the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears, I called Kinky to see if it was okay for Tone and me to come over for a visit. "Sure Nance. Y'all come on over."

When we walked inside the Lodge, we were first greeted by The Friedmans, in the kitchen and then we walked into the big room and said our howdies to Kinky. "Y'all just missed Dylan," Kinky said, as he lit up a cigar. "Today is his birthday and he is sixty-eight years old. Can you believe that? Sixty-eight."

"Well, Kink, in dog years he's not that old," I said. "He's nine years older than me and I can't believe that. Tony, how old is Dylan in dog years?"

"About nine and a half or so." When the Jets and Steelers game started, Buttermilk took us home.

Tonight I have some exciting news to tell you about my good friends: Copper Love, the incredible world famous horse whisperer and Connie Strong, who wrote an incredibly great article about Copper for the popular magazine, "Horseback!"  And I promise that you will love reading it. Yeah, Copper and Connie—Y'all Really Rock!

P.S. Happy Birthday, Dylan! You Really Rock, Too!

Have a great evening and May The Force Be With Y'all!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Graduate!

From last night's blog:
To Be Continued...Will it be Lori, Of The NoMads, Displaced In Texas, Dogmom, Garnet Sheffield or Anonymous aka Lynda Peters who won the contest? And also find out tomorrow about our lunch with Lori and Mari, which lucky dog found his fantastic, forever home, late this afternoon and what happened and what we got when Carol and James came over to see us, early this evening and lastly, what Kink had to say when he called me, a couple of hours ago, from Nashville!

"The winner of the Easy Soup Recipes cookbook contest is Lynda Peters!" Mari declared, then she called out the scores of each contestant and all of us were amazed about how close their scores were. Then we had a fun visit before Mari took off in her van and we followed her, in Trigger, to the restaurant where we were to meet Lori, of the NoMads for lunch.

As soon as the three of us were seated at our table, Mari and I started talking non-stop about organic food, organic seeds, made in America products, and dogs, etc., while T. sat back in his chair and munched on some chips and salsa, as we waited for Lori Graham, of NoMad and Cowboy Steak House fame, to arrive. Then Mari shocked me with some scary news.

"The other day while I was shopping at a grocery store in Kerrville, I discovered that many of the cheaper "store's brand" foods are not products of the United States."


"I picked up a can of beans that had the store's brand name on it, instead of the more expensive name brand can, next to it, and looked at the bottom and was horrified when I read that it was a product of India! I could not believe it, so I started picking up more cans along that isle, with the store's brand name on it and none of them were products of the U.S.A.! I had always thought that the cheaper store's brand name products came from the same place as the big brand name products, but with different labels..." Then Lori showed up and apologized for being late.

"Who won the cookbook contest?" Lori asked, as she removed her coat.

"Not you," I jokingly, quickly quipped, and then we all started laughing. After we gave our waitress our orders I said, "By-the-way, I want to thank y'all and the NoMads for sponsoring a pen at the rescue ranch. Y'all are so nice and please thank all the NoMads for us and..."

While we ate and enjoyed our delicious meals—Lori, Mari and I continued to talk non-stop about how much we loved The RockBox, in Fredericksburg, while Tony spoke not a single word. When it was time for us to leave the restaurant I asked where our check was, because Tone and I wanted to treat them to lunch, but we found out that Lori had already paid it. Thank you for lunch, Lori! 

When we came home Carlton was flashing on the breakfast bar, because Rose had called earlier to say, "Mom and I are leaving Kerrville and nearly there. We brought Dunn with us to see how he and Dustin get along. I hope it is okay. Bye." So, I pulled Dustin's paperwork from the files and quickly wrote up his adoption papers. Ten minutes later Rose and her mom, Sharon, arrived with Dunn!

After howdies and hugs we drove down to Dusty's pen and introduced the two dogs by taking them on a short walk to see how they got along. As we walked I thanked Rose, once again, for the dog toys that she had made for our dogs and then Rose blows me away, when she tells me that she and her friends wanted to do even more to help our rescued dogs, so she and I discussed some cool ideas, as we happily watched Dustin and Dunn become best buds. Before leaving the ranch, Sharon handed me a sack full of assorted Girl Scout cookies, which made T. and me happier than we already were about Dustin being adopted by Rose and her wonderful family, so I took this picture of Rose with Dusty and Dunn before Rose climbed into the backseat to ride with "The Boys" for their two hour drive back home. Thank you, Rose, Hannah, Sharon and Kevin—we love y'all!

After Kermit took us back to the trailer the first thing T. and me did was open up a box of Girl Scouts Thin Mints! After I ate one cookie and Tony ate two, we decided to invite Carol & James over for a visit, because it had been way too long since we had seen them. In fact, the last time we got together was when they taught me to weld and use a plasma cutter. 

Twenty minutes later we went outside to greet our good friends. After howdies and hugs Carol handed me a big plastic bag of her famous homemade cookies, that she had baked just for us—the ones that we love so much, that have caused T. and me to fight over the last one.

Tony and I love Carol & James so much, because they're like family to us, because we can go a long time without seeing or hearing from each other, because of our busy lives, and then when we finally get back together—we can't wait to catch up with each others news. So, as we drank coffee inside Nellybelle—it was non-stop fun and laughter, as we took turns telling each other about our latest escapades and fun adventures. Right before dark they went home and we hated to see them leave, but the good thing is—we are going to go on a double-date with them next month, to a comedy club in Kerrville and we can't wait!

Kinky called me from Nashville, a little before eight o'clock last night, to find out if Dustin Hoffman had been adopted, because I had forgotten to call him after Dusty got adopted and he was thrilled when I told him, "Yes, Kink. Dustin is the graduate today and..."

Okay, y'all it is eight-thirty and I am fixin' to go watch "The Mentalist" which I recorded last night while I was writing my blog, because Carol and James love the show and told me that I would love it, because we are all hooked on "Lie To Me."

Today has been more than fantastic too, but I will write about it tomorrow. And, I want to thank every one for their sweet notes and kind words about Thunder's passing. I love y'all.

Have a great evening and May The Force Always Be With Y'all!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Judgement Day!

Today has been another great day, as most of mine always are, thanks to my dear friends: Sandy and Jon Wolfmueller, Mari Villanueva, Lori Graham, Sharon & Rose Kemp and Carol & James!

This morning while Tony fed the dogs outside, I bundled up and cleaned the dog pens for him, because we had some urgent business to take care of in Kerrville, before having lunch with Mari and Lori.

When we arrived at Wolfmueller's Books we were twelve minutes late when we walked inside the bookstore. Mari, who was sitting in a chair, visiting with Jon, behind the front counter, greeted us and then I apologized for running late for the judging of the soup contest and yes, I blamed it on the Full Moon, of course. "Where's Sandy?" I asked, as I handed out copies of the six contestants entries on why they thought they deserved to win my soup contest and receive a free copy of the Easy Soup Recipes cookbook.

"Sandy is out buying more books," Jon remarked. "She told me to vote for her if that's okay with y'all?"

After we agreed that it was not a problem, I said, "Listen y'all, I've got a real big problem on how we are going to judge this thing, because all of them are hilarious."

"Don't worry about it, because Mari has got it all figured out," Jon said. "Tell them about it, Mari."

"Okay," Mari said, as Jon passed out pencils to us. " I think Nancy, since you are the writer amongst us, you should read each one out loud to us and using a scale of one to ten with ten being the best, then we secretly give each entry a score and then we add them up at the end and the highest number wins."

"That's great, Mari," I said. "I like that. And oh, by the way y'all can all mark off Karin Pohlmann's entry, because she has already received a copy of the cookbook, because I sent it to her in Germany, the same day that I mailed Ben his copy of the cookbook, which he loves. Karin was the "Mystery Friend," but, I think we should all take turns reading these aloud." And that is when Mari ignored me—making me feel like I was suddenly invisible. "Okay, I'll read "Lori of the NoMad's" funny one first..." When I finished reading it aloud we all laughed and then we wrote down our secret scores. Then there was the sound of silence.

"Go ahead, Cousin Nancy," Mari said. "We're ready for the next one." Jon, Tony and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"No, it's your turn to read one, Mari," Jon said, followed by a laugh. "Nancy wants us all to take turns reading them." After we all chuckled, Mari read, "Displaced Texan Polly's reason—which we all thought was hilarious, too. Then we secretly wrote down our scores, again. Then Jon read what "Dogmom" wrote and we laughed throughout Jon's reading and then we once again wrote down our secret scores.

By now, I, Judge Cousin Nancy, was starting to feel like a real pro at judging this soup cookbook contest and I could not wait for Judge T. to read Garnet Sheffield's reason why she thought she deserved to win the free soup cookbook.

Tone stood up, cleared his throat, because he has "Cedar Fever," a Hill Country allergic reaction to cedar pollen, that affects just about everyone who lives down here, and then he began slowly reading Garnet's, more than funny, reason why she thought she should win the contest and we laughed throughout Tony's reading and then we wrote down our secret scores, again.

After we had quit laughing I read what "Anonymous" aka Lynda Peters, wrote and like the other entries—it was so funny that my back started aching, because I had been laughing way too much. After writing down our scores for Lynda, Mari took over. "Okay, everyone give me your scores for Lori." After we gave Mari our scores to tally up, we gave her our scores for "Displaced Texan Polly," then "Dogmom," Garnet Sheffield and "Anonymous." Then Mari added up all of their scores and said, "It was really close, y'all. Guess who won?"

To Be Continued...Will it be Lori, Of The NoMads, Displaced In Texas, Dogmom, Garnet Sheffield or Anonymous aka Lynda Peters who won the contest? And also find out tomorrow about our lunch with Lori and Mari, which lucky dog found his fantastic, forever home, late this afternoon and what happened and what we got when Carol and James came over to see us, early this evening and lastly, what Kink had to say when he called me, a couple of hours ago, from Nashville!

Have a great evening and May the Force Be With Y'all! I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thunder, The Perfect Dog!

I'm sorry, but tonight I cannot write a blog, because I need to shed some tears, because this afternoon we had to put our beloved Thunder down and our hearts are truly broken, because T. and I loved her so much.

In 1996, I ended up being the lucky one, because Thunder decided to make me her best friend, the day that I drove into the small town of Utopia, after a tipoff from a friend, to rescue Thunder from being shot, because of no fault of her own, She had been dumped in Utopia and was homeless and had been caught eating out of stores trash bins, and that was over two years before Kinky, Tony and I decided to officially start our rescue ranch over at my mini-ranch in Utopia.

And since that day that I put Thunder inside my truck and drove her home, she was my shadow and constant, loving companion and she always followed me everywhere that I went and she was never more than ten feet away from me at anytime.

Thunder always made me laugh and smile when I looked at her and she had a way of letting me know that she loved me. I am so grateful and thankful that Thunder came into our lives, because she has given me over fifteen years of unconditional love, joy, devotion and happiness.

Thunder, please know that Tony and I loved you as much or more, as you loved us. We will always miss you and you will live in our hearts forever and you will never be forgotten. We thank you for sharing your life with us. Rest in peace my love, because you deserve it, because you were one of the best dogs that I have ever had the honor to know and love.

Thunder Heart Simons
1995 - 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Around Three-Thirty!

Today has been so much fun thanks to the Force (sunshine) being with me, but not because of the Full Moon outside. Tonight's blog is going to be shorter than usual because it is nearly nine o'clock and I need to go to bed. So, Mari, let me apologize upfront about this being a continuing story.

This morning Charlie Cooper, our good friend and neighbor, came home with Tony this morning, because he wanted to help T. with his morning chores, so he could learn how to do them in case of an emergency. Even though I didn't have any coffee made we had a really fun visit with him, as we ate our breakfast.

After breakfast Tone and Charlie went outside to feed our dogs and clean pens, so I went over to the Lodge to visit with Kinky and hear about his and Chumley's mad dash, in the wee hours of the morning, to Hoegemeyers Animal Clinic, to get Chumley looked at, because he was shivering all over.
"Chumley and I left the ranch around one-thirty. Sophie wanted to go, but I made her stay home to keep Brownie company," Kinky said, as we sat outside drinking coffee in the sunshine. "Autumn, the new veterinarian at Hoegemeyers was already there waiting for us when we pulled up, and she immediately went to work on Chum. He was stopped up and Autumn told me that it would be a miracle if she didn't have to operate on him in the morning, because his ex-rays looked really bad...The good news is, Autumn called me just a few minutes ago to tell me that the medicine worked overnight on Chumley and he is going to be fine! But she wants him to stay at the clinic for a few days for observation."

"That is fantastic news, Kinky. What time did you get back to the ranch?"

"Around three-thirty."

"Well, I tell you what. If we go to Kerrville today, we'll run by Hoegemeyer's and visit him. Can he have visitors?" Kinky started laughing.

"Yes, that would be great, Nance," Kinky said. "When I told Autumn that you might want to stop by and visit Chum-bum, since I'll be out-of-town for the next couple of days, she got real excited and said, "I love Cousin Nancy and I can't wait to meet her. I listen to her on Harley..." "You're getting famous, Nance," Kinky teased, as we chuckled about it.

"Well, guess who's butt and bottom of their foot are sore today?" Kinky started laughing and then lit his cigar, before Sophie jumped up into his lap.

"That was a great "Chevy Chase fall" you did yesterday, Nance. It was classic and you..."

When I came back home I returned several phone calls and then I decided it was time, "To do something for Nancy"—like trying to learn the new Apple software, that I bought last week, so I can turn my latest book, Meanwhile Back At The Rescue Ranch: The Dog Days Of Cousin Nancy into an e-book and start generating more money for T.'s and my early retirement in ten years—when I turn sixty-nine.

Because I am old and not the brightest candle on the chandelier or a computer nerd, which I wish I was—the hours flew by fast, as I slowly tried to figure it all out. I admit that I am a slow learner, and I blame it on being Left Eyed and Right Handed because—my wiring is messed up and also because we're under a Full Moon, again.

Right before I thought my eyes were fixin' to fall out, the phone rang—it was Kinky. "Nance, do you and Tone want to meet me for a late lunch in Kerrville?..."

An hour later the three of us gave the young, blonde waitress our orders—which were exactly alike. Then we talked about hair. "When we leave here Tony is going to get his hair cut at Snippers...." And by the time we finished eating lunch—Kink decided to follow us over to Snippers and give them a try and get his hair cut there, too.

While the men's curls fell on the floor at Snippers—I shopped at the craft store, a few doors down, for fabric for my Space Ship. Twenty minutes later, after Tony's and Kinky's ears were lowered, we stood outside the beauty parlor and decided to go over to Hoegemeyer's and pay Chumley a visit.

Okay, it is now ten minutes past ten and I must go to bed now.

Have a great evening and May The Force Be With Y'all!

To Be Continued...(Sorry, Mari)... : )

Monday, January 17, 2011

May The Force Be With Y'all!

This morning I was feeling a little down because of no sunshine for too many days, because I am one of those people who literally powers-up on sunshiny days. So, I've come up with a new name for people like me, who are so affected by the lack of sunshine and it is—WASP! And it doesn't stand for White Anglo Saxon Protestants. It means "We Are Solar-Powered-People!" And for all you WASPS out there reading this, you'll understand why my mood drastically changed for the better, when the sun finally came out this afternoon, as Trigger took us to Kerrville to run two errands.

Our first stop was at Home Depot, so I could buy some lumber, screws, paint and nails for my nail gun, for my upcoming Space Ship Project which is scheduled to start tomorrow afternoon, after I return phone calls, e-mails and do some paperwork, because it has been predicted that the sun will be out in full Force to power-me-up! So I guess my new sign-off for now, on e-mails etc., is going to be the same as the "Star Wars" famous saying—"May The Force Be With You!"

After we left Home Depot we went to Hoegemeyer Animal Clinic to pick up Walter Cronkite and Cowboy, but Cowboy wasn't ready to come home, because he had torn out his stitches. Here is a  picture of our new rescue ranch anchordog, Cronkite, in the front yard of my cabin. He is one great, happy dog and is so sweet. In fact, he kissed T. and me non-stop as we drove him home. Tomorrow I will take his official "glamour shot" for our web site and post it on my blog tomorrow night. Isn't he adorable!

Early this evening I went over to the Lodge to visit with Kinky and he was thrilled when I told him the good news that Dustin Hoffman was being adopted on Thursday by the Kemp Family. While I was over there he showed me a beautiful, black & white photo that Billy Joe Shaver had sent to him, of Billy Joe and Kris Kristofferson standing side-by-side, in their late twenties or early thirties and I absolutely loved it. After that, we went outside and played with The Friedmans for a while. Before leaving, I offered to help Kinky gather some firewood to burn in his Lodge and it turned out that it was an offer that I should not have made.

As I finish writing this blog tonight my foot and butt are somewhat sore, because of the fall that I took when helping Kinky. And here's what happened when I picked up my very first log."Nance, that log is way too big for you," Kinky warned. "Get a smaller one." I laughed and picked up the heavy log anyway.

"I'm fine, Kink. Don't worry about it." Then I tried to take a step, but my pink boot wouldn't budge because it was tangled up in a vine, so I stepped backwards with the other foot to try to free my boot and that's when a rock shifted under my boot and I lost my balance and fell right on my butt and started laughing!

"Are you okay, Nance?" Kinky asked, with concern in his voice, as he came over to help me.

"I'm fine, Kinky," I said, before laughing, again, as I stood up and brushed off the back of my 501 Levis. "I just lost my balance, again, that's all. You know how I am always tripping or falling on something outside. And that's why I don't like to walk outside because I..."

"Well, I must say that it was a really great fall, Nance," Kinky said, as we both started laughing about it, and loaded our original two heavy logs into the bed of Kink's pickup, Mr. Green Jeans. "It was as good or better than any of Chevy Chase's famous falls. He was so good at that and..."

Have a great evening and May the Force Be With Y'all!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

We Need More Roses!

Yesterday and today have been great! Yesterday morning, to my surprise, because of the cold weather, our super volunteers Eileen and Lisa came out to walk our dogs and then Jim showed up to walk our dogs, too, while Tone had taken off for Bandera to photograph his nephew Zachary showing his pig at the stock show!

About an hour later, Jim took off when it started raining, so I invited Eileen and Lisa to be the first to take a tour of my new, thirty-three year old Space Ship before I started renovating it. Even though it is pretty rough inside—they liked it and told me that they couldn't wait to see the end results.

Because it was cold outside, I invited "The Girls" to come inside for some coffee and a visit and that is when Lisa went to Eileen's car to get the Brownies that she had baked for Tone and me. Within minutes we were drinking coffee, eating Lisa's delicious, homemade Brownies and laughing! After we shared funny stories about some of the weirdest funerals that we have attended, Lisa reaches inside her jacket and hands me a little black book, Pocket Astrologer  2011  and says, "I want you to have this, since you are into astrology." To say the least—I was thrilled! Thank you, Lisa. I love the book and your Brownies somehow have magically disappeared!

When Eileen was telling us an hilarious story about trying to bury her and Dean's mother—I saw a man standing outside near our fence, so I interrupted Eileen and said, "Y'all some man is out there and I don't know who he is. I'll be right back."

"We'll leave so you can talk to him," Eileen said, as she put on her coat.

"No," I said. "Please stay because I have no idea who this guy is..." Then I opened the front and half-hollered, "Come on inside the trailer." The bald headed man smiled and then came inside and told us about a sweet dog that had been dumped where he was staying, that he was trying to help. I wanted to help him, but because we are "full-up here" I said, "Sir, I'm sorry, but we can't help, because we have no space available for the dog..." And fortunately he understood. Thirty minutes later after a fun visit with "The Retired Postman From Wyoming" he left and went home with the dog. And twenty minutes later The Girls left to go eat lunch in Medina, before heading back home to Kerrville.

An hour later, Paul, our great volunteer from Helotes, showed up with a truck load full of free dog food, so I went outside in the chilly, drizzling rain and helped him unload the dog food, because Paul recently had some back surgery. I didn't mind the heavy lifting of the bags, because I considered it exercise, and the only hard part for me, was climbing up into the bed of the giant pickup, to move the dog food to the tailgate, so Paul could move it into the barn. Overall it was fun, because Paul and I caught up with each others news. In all, it only took us thirty minutes to unload the free food.

An hour after Paul left—T. came home and said, "Zach took third place!"And I told him all about my  busy day as he drove me to Kerrville to turn in my year-end reports to our accountants.

Today was great because our friends Kevin Kemp and his beautiful daughter Rose came out, so Rose could give us dog treats, and homemade toys that she made for our dogs! If you remember, last year, about this time, Rose came out with her sister Hannah, her mother Sharon and Kevin to give our dogs the toys she made, which are our dogs "Favorite Toys Of All Toys!"Here are a few pictures that I tool of Rose, Kevin and our dogs. And I hope that you will  enjoy watching this funny, if I might say, five minute video that I put together this evening of our dogs LOVING THEIR TOYS!  I titled it "A Rose Is A Rose, Is A Rose! Thank you, Kevin for bringing Rose out here so she could make our dogs happy! And all I can say about Rose is—Rose Kemp Rocks Big Time! And we need more Roses in this world! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have only two more things to tell you. Early this morning I received an interesting e-mail from my friend Cheryl Ratliff of Cheryl & Walt Ratliff fame. She congratulated me on getting my new Space Ship and sent me a link to view an old Airstream trailer that had been renovated and I nearly fell out of my chair, because I LOVED IT! Here's one of the pictures. And thank you, Cheryl!

I still can't believe that it is a trailer, but because Eileen and Lisa told me about everybody in Hollywood buying up old Airstreams and getting them renovated—I can believe it. And when I showed it to Aaron, who had come out to help me tear down the inside of the Space Ship, early this morning, while T. did his chores—he about flipped out and so did T. when he saw it! 

After Aaron and I had basically gutted my soon-to-be rocking, rocket ship he found this little rock inside a drawer and handed it to me and then I nearly flipped out. "OMG! Aaron, this is unbelievable!" I excitedly half-hollered. "It's a sign!" And I could tell that that made Aaron nervous. "This is the universal symbol for GRATITUDE!..." After Aaron went home, I phoned Cindy and Ronnie to tell them all about my new Space Ship and the Gratitude Rock which mysteriously appeared as a sign for me.

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Walter Cronkite!

Today has been great. This morning we received news that Rex is not paralyzed and he was able to move his arms, legs, fingers and toes, but he still has a long way to go to recovery, so please keep saying those prayers for him.

This morning around ten-thirty Ellen and Charlie Cooper came over to show me their 1978 GMC Midas "fixer-upper" motor home and I bought it! And it hardly cost me any money at all and I am so excited about it, because a little over a month ago, a friend called me up and out-of-nowhere tells me that she wanted to buy my Space Ship, because she loved it and she had to have it, so after discussing it with Ben, Tony and Jon—I sold it to her! Then I got mildly depressed about selling my beautiful Space Ship that I had fixed up, because I loved her and missed her, and that is why I didn't tell you about selling her. And since then I have been looking to buy another cheaper-than-cheap RV—that I could fix up.

So, yesterday when Charlie, Tone and I were visiting inside the trailer, I mentioned to him that I was looking for another cheap, old RV to renovate and decorate, Charlie says, "Ellen and I have one for sell, but it's definitely a fixer-upper and needs some tender loving care and it's really cheap..." And my face lit up like a Christmas tree when he told me the low price and the rest is history. Here is a picture of my new Space Ship, which I am seriously thinking about painting pink.

After Charlie parked my Space Ship for me, because I don't know how to backup anything, he and Ellen took off for Medina to go meet some friends for lunch, so that's when I fixed lunch for Tony and me. And I must admit that I talked Tony's ear off, about my upcoming Space Ship renovating plans, throughout our entire meal. Then we took off for Kerrville.

Our first stop was at Wolfmueller's Books to see Sandy and Jon. After I told them how excited I was about my new Space Ship, they told us that they will be Judges with T. and me for my cookbook contest! And before leaving their bookstore we unanimously decided to invite Mari to be one of the Judges, too! Then we took off for the Kerrville pound to rescue Cowboy and Buddy, because they were scheduled to be put-down tomorrow.

The minute we met Buddy, a friendly German Shepherd / Basset Hound cross and Cowboy a beautiful Border Collie mix with a blue eye and a brown eye, we fell in love with them. After signing off on their paperwork we put the happy dogs inside Trigger and took off for Hoegemeyer's Animal Clinic to get them neutered, shots and anything else that they needed.

As Tone drove Trigger, these two sweet, one year old dogs kept kissing us on the face and by the time Tony parked Trigger in front of Hoegemeyer's Animal Clinic, I had renamed Buddy—Walter, because he reminded me of the late, Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News.

After we dropped off Walter and Cowboy at Hoegemeyers we headed home and since T. was my captive audience—all I talked about was my Space Ship project.

P.S. Mari, please let me know if you will help us judge my soup cookbook contest! I promise it will be easy and fun and I cannot wait for you to read or if you already have—Karin's "kraut problem in Germany," Dogmom's (Mary) "fostering program for wayward dogs in Kansas" and Garnet's "trying to teach her husband Sandy that soups are not just appetizers before eating a hamburger with fries" reasons why they think they should win the cookbook, posted at the bottom of last night's post—they are hilarious! 

Y'all have a great evening!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's That Easy!

I want to thank everyone for their prayers for Tony's brother, Rex. He is still in critical condition, so please keep on praying for him. And I want to apologize for not answering all of your e-mails promptly.

Today after lunch Tony and I went to Kerrville to get groceries and to run a few errands. Our first stop was at Wolfmueller's Books to see Sandy and Jon and to also pick up the two Easy Soup Recipe cookbooks that I wanted to give to Ben, and the other copy to send to my mystery friend, who doesn't live in Texas and has no idea she's getting one.

After greetings, Jon told me that Mari had come in on Monday and had purchased two more of the super, soup cookbooks. "Here are the two we held back for you," Sandy says, as she hands me the books, so I could pay for them.

"That's great. Thank y'all for holding them for me," I said. "How many do y'all have left?" Sandy held up two fingers. "I want to buy them, too," I said. "Because I want to send one to my sister Cindy and the fourth one—I am going to give away on my blog!" Everyone started laughing in the customer filled bookstore, while nodding yes. "I was thinking about having a fun contest, for free, with my friends and the people who follow my blog, and ask them to post a Comment on my blog, using 50 words or less on, "Why I Deserve To Win The Easy Soup Recipe book" and the contest will last a week, before we decide who needs it most. It's that easy."

"We decide?" Sandy asked, as Jon kinda frowned and started rubbing his forehead.

"Yes, the four us could be the Official Judges for the contest and we could sign our names inside the cookbook, too! It'll be fun."

"But, what about Mari?" Tone asked. "She loves that cookbook, as much or more as y'all and you know she's a really great writer too."

"Not a problem, Tony. Even though I love Mari and count her as a dear friend, she'll be the only person who we won't allow to enter my contest," I quickly quipped, as we started laughing, again. "I bet she won't even care..."

We left Wolfmueller's a few minutes later when Sandy and Jon got busy checking out their customers and I have my fingers crossed that they will be Judges with T. and me.

THE EASY SOUP RECIPE CONTESTSTARTS NOW and Ends at Midnight on JANUARY 19TH—And It's FREE! All you must do, except for Mari, of course, because she has bought as many copies of this great cookbook as me, is to write in 50 words or less: "Why I Deserve To Win The Easy Soup Recipe cookbook!" and post it on my Comments section, located at the bottom of each new post.  The winner will receive the signed by the Judges cookbook and I promise that I will personally mail it out on January 20, 2011! It will be fun!

P.S. I want to thank our good friend and neighbor, Charlie Cooper for coming out this morning to help Tony with his chores. We love y'all, Charlie and Ellen!

Y'all have a great evening!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Say A Little Prayer

This morning after breakfast we had a big scare. Tony's older brother Sam called and told me that their brother Rex had not shown up for work this morning and was missing, so I immediately put Tone of the phone to talk to Sam.

After T. talked to Sam, we jumped into Trigger and took off to go look for his brother and his truck on Highway 16, because Sam and Tony were scared that he might have had a wreck between Medina and Bandera. Thirty minutes later I called Sam on the cell phone and he told me that he had just found out that Rex had been in a serious, one car rollover, right before he got to Bandera and that he was now in a hospital in San Antonio in critical condition, so we turned around and came home with heavy hearts.

Because Tony was sick with worry he wasn't hungry, so he didn't eat lunch. Then Sam called from the hospital to give us an update on Rex's condition, which wasn't good at all and he told Tone that no one was allowed to see Rex except for his wife and children and there was nothing that we could do, so tonight I am asking everyone to please put Rex and his family in your prayers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chula Bean McLean!

Due to predicted thunderstorms tonight, I wrote this between three-thirty and five forty-two today and have it scheduled to post at eight-thirty tonight.

Today has been great. This morning around ten-twenty I went outside to greet Eileen Gotke, one of our dedicated volunteers and good friends. She had come out and brought along her friend Debbie, to walk our dogs!

As we visited, I told them about Karlen and Drake McLean coming out so they could give us a check to sponsor a pen, as Karlen's Christmas present, from her loving family. "I can't wait for y'all to meet Karlen and Drake. They are the nicest people and in the past years they have adopted two dogs from us. Eight years ago Drake adopted Al Gore, a really cool black Lab, who they nicknamed Al Air, because he flew with Drake, and then in 2006, Karlen adopted Terry Clark, who we had rescued from the Kerrville pound, who she renamed Chula Bean McLean. Unfortunately, Chula a beautiful, sweet- chocolate Lab mixed with Springer Spaniel—a Spanador—passed away recently and it broke Karlen's heart, because she loved Chula Bean so much. So, instead of receiving Christmas presents, Karlen asked her family to make donations to us, so she could sponsor a pen in Chula's name. The sign is being made now and it will say, "In Loving Memory Of Chula Bean McLean." They should be getting here any minute now and I want y'all to go over to Kinky's with us for a fun visit."

"We'd love too, but are you sure?" Eileen asked, as the dogs outside started barking.

"Yes, I'm sure," I half-hollered, as we saw a Jeep driving in with four, smiling people sitting inside it. "It's them! Let me go greet them. I'll be right back. Then we'll go over to Kinky's." Then I race-walked to go greet them.

After howdy and hugs, Drake and Karlen introduced me to Karlen's sweet parents Richard and Karlen, who I instantly liked, because their eyes seemed to sparkle like Karlen's and Drake's. "I'm so glad to see y'all and to meet y'all. Welcome to the rescue ranch. Kinky is leaving in about thirty minutes to take Marcie to the airport, so why don't y'all follow us (Eileen, Deb and me) over to the Lodge for a visit?"

The minute we all walked inside Kinky's Lodge the fun-fest began!

(It is four minutes past four o'clock. I will continue with my story, but Jon Wolfmueller just called me from Wolfmueller's Books and said, "Hi, Nancy. It's Jon. I just wanted to let you know that Sandy has six more copies of Easy Soup Recipes."

"OMG, John! That is great news! Please reserve two copies for me and I will come by Monday to get them."

"Two?" Jon asked. "You want two books? I thought you only wanted one to give to Ben."

"I am getting one for Ben," I said. "But, I want to get the other one as a surprise for my friend *****.  As soon as we get off of the phone I am going to send Mari, who I think, is at a dog Agility Trial in Leon Springs with the NoMads, a high priority e-mail about y'all having only four cookbooks left." John was laughing as we said goodbye and disconnected. And, I just finished sending Mari a heads-up e-mail about the cookbooks. Now back to the story about that fun-fest over at the Lodge.)

After greetings and introductions Kinky invited everyone to come into the kitchen for some fresh coffee and some of his delicious, just cooked beignets. Then he took them into his office and gave them a tour and signed books for them. This is a picture of him in his chair signing a book.

While Kinky was entertaining his guests in his office, Drake left the Lodge and quickly returned with some pictures of Chula that Karlen and him wanted me to have and I nearly teared up when I saw Chula and how beautiful and happy she looked as I thought about what a great life she had had.

While everyone visited with Kink, around the pool table,  Karlen took me aside and told me about how much Chula had meant to her and how much she had loved her and thanked us for rescuing her. Then she told me a beautiful, heartfelt story that happened to her after Chula Bean stepped on her rainbow, but I can't share it, because it was private. Before leaving the Lodge, I took this picture of everyone, except Eileen, because she is camera shy. From left to right: Richard, Karlen, Kinky, Karlen, Debbie and Drake.

When we returned to the rescue ranch, I dropped off Eileen and Debbie at the barn as they requested, so they could start walking some of our dogs, and then I drove on up to the trailer to visit with the McLeans. Before Tone and I gave them a tour, Drake and I went inside the trailer, so he could give me the checks Karlen had received as Christmas presents to help Karlen sponsor a pen in Chula's name, and then Tony and I gave them the tour and I really enjoyed visiting with all of them. As I like to say, "They're my kind of people!"

After Drake and Karlen and her parents left to go eat lunch in Medina, Tone took off for Medina too, but not to eat lunch with them, but to get supplies at the Medina Ace Hardware store, before it closed at three o'clock. 

After I put some chicken in the oven to cook for lunch, I went outside to find Eileen and Debbie, but I didn't have to look far, because they were already walking towards the trailer. "Y'all come on up!" I hollered. "I've got something I want to show y'all."

After they came inside I had a short, but fun visit with them and then I said, "Eileen, this is for your eyes only, sorry Deb—it's the second column I wrote for the upcoming "Texas Animal Imprints" magazine. It hasn't come out yet, but I want you to be the first to read it, so you can give me your honest opinion of it." Eileen sat down in the chair and began speed-reading it.

When she was done, Eileen looked up and said, "Nancy, I love it and I can't believe you wrote about..."

"I had to, because I love...and just had to write about it." After Eileen and Deb left to go eat in Medina—Tony returned home and we ate lunch.

It is now five forty-two and it has not started raining or thundering yet. I wrote this early, because I wanted to make sure it would get written and be posted tonight before I might have to  unplug everything in the trailer, because of the weather. Because tonight I am dedicating this blog "In Loving Memory of Chula Bean McLean, the greatest and most loved Spanador in Texas, because she was one of the lucky ones who will never be forgotten." 

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No, Nancy!

Today has been great. This morning I had a fun visit with Harley and Dusty aka LaToya was Harley's Pet of the Week. Then we talked about me being in the Club Ed catalog, which I am thrilled to be in and then Harley teased me about me letting dogs kiss me on the mouth and then he says, "Cousin Nancy, did you know that I am teaching a course at Club Ed this Spring?"

"No, I didn't, Harley. That's great! What are you going to teach?"

"Fifty reasons why you should not let dogs kiss you on the mouth!" I burst out laughing and then Harley joined me in laughter.

Ben arrived about nine o'clock this morning and he surprised us with a gift—a giant brick of Miles of Chocolate! Thank you, Ben! Then we had a more than fun visit inside the trailer, before he and Tony went outside to do the morning chores and I took care of some paperwork and returned phone calls.

Ben ate lunch with us today and he loved my new recipe from the Easy Soup Recipes, that Sandy and Jon gave to me for my birthday, called "The Blue Norther" stew and he and Tone ate second servings, before they went back outside to work.

After they went outside I called Wolfmueller's Books and Jon answered the phone. "Jon, I need to ask a favor of y'all. Ben's here and he just ate "The Blue Norther" stew recipe from that recipe book y'all gave me and he loved it and I want to give him a copy of that cookbook. I was wondering if y'all could pull that recipe book off the shelf for me and hold it for me, so I can give mine to Ben and then pick up a new copy tomorrow when we come to town." There was a moment of silence.

"No, Nancy, we can't," Jon said, "because we have sold out of them again, but I think Sandy is going to order some more..."

Around four T. and Ben came inside the trailer and once again we had another fun visit and that is about all that happened today.

Y'all have a great evening!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pirate Radio—Rocks 'N Rolls!

Last night I didn't post a blog because I spent almost all of my day playing catchup with my paperwork, e-mail and phone calls and was "computered-out," so to speak. I stopped working around seven o'clock and decided to treat myself to a movie that Dylan had highly recommended to me, when we saw him and Sage over at the Lodge on New Year's Day.

I watched "Pirate Radio" on HBO and it was so fantastic and it is now one of my favorite movies! It takes place in England in 1966 and I believe it is a true story. It is about a pirate ship full of disc jockeys, that broadcasts rock 'n roll offshore to the people of England, because the British government would not allow its citizens to listen to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, etc. and I highly recommend it. I loved the story and the music was the best, and brought back so many happy memories.

In 1966, I was fifteen years old and I didn't know about the English government banning rock 'n roll over there. I had been listening to the The Beatles, Stones, etc. since the 1963 "British Invasion." Anyway, I think people, especially around my age—will absolutely love it. I am glad that I recorded it and I cannot wait to buy it, so I can add it to my collection of favorite movies. (Tony didn't watch it with me, because he only likes country music.)

Today has been good. I spent my morning doing more paperwork and then Buttermilk took Tony and me to Kerrville to run a few errands. Our last stop was at Wolfmueller's Books to visit with Sandy and Jon, but unfortunately, Sandy was in San Antonio buying books, so we had a fun visit with Jon.

Before heading home I purchased another copy of the well-done documentary on Kinky, that our friend Simone de Vries, from Amsterdam, made many years ago, because I had loaned my copy of "Kinky Friedman: Proud To Be An A**Hole From El Paso" to a friend and never got it back.

When we got home I returned a few phone calls and then I sat down and watched it, with Toto sitting in my lap and we totally enjoyed seeing it again, because Toto is it, along with Hank, Little Girl, Mr. Magoo, Brownie and Chumley—not to mention Sandy Wolfmueller, Dylan Ferrero, Little Jewford, Max Swafford, Ted Mann, Chinga, New York Ratso, Washington Ratso, Cleve Hattersley, Bill Clinton, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Tom Friendman, Marcie, The Old Timer in Medina, our trailer Nellybelle, and me and many other friends of Kinky's. 

After it ended I called Kinky to tell him about buying a new copy and watching it and I am going to loan it to him tomorrow, because it has been a long time since he has seen it, too. If you are a Kinky fan and have not seen it—you can buy a copy at Wolfmueller's Books.

Tonight I designed and made a personal 2011 calendar in iPhoto, using T.'s and my favorite pictures like I did last year, and then I went online to Apple, uploaded it, and placed my order, because we don't have a 2011 calendar in the trailer. It usually takes 3-4 days to get it and I figure if we have gone five days doing without a calendar—we can go a few more days, besides it is only time. I am real proud of it and cannot wait to see it! When it arrives I promise to post it on my blog.

Well, I am fixin' to go to bed now, because I have to get up real early tomorrow morning, so I can do my chores before doing "The Harley Show" at 7:45. 

Y'all have a great evening!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Today has turned out great, even though this morning it went about as far south as it could go and I am counting all of my blessings tonight.

Early this morning, after breakfast, Tony and I went over to the Lodge to drink a cup of coffee with Kinky and Marcie. When we arrived at the Lodge Marcie was still asleep in the Annex, so we ended up drinking coffee and had a fun, but short visit with Frank and Kinky instead.

After we left the Lodge, as Buttermilk took us over the river and through the woods, Tony complained about his chest hurting, so when we got home he took two more baby Aspirin, then he went outside to do his morning chores.

Ten minutes later Tony walked inside the trailer and said, "Nance, my chest is really hurting. Would you mind coming outside with me while I do my chores, so you'll be there if something happens?" His words scared me, so I closed my laptop and turned and looked at T. and I could tell that he didn't feel good, so I asked Tony to call Wolfmueller's books to see if they could recommend a clinic for us to go to. After Tony told Sandy about his chest hurting, she told Tone she wanted to talk to me, so Tony handed me the phone.

"Nancy, go to the Emergency Room right now!" Sandy said. "I'm serious. Take Tony to the Emergency Room now..." After I promised her we would, I called Aaron to see if he was working today, because I was going to ask him to come out and feed our dogs for us. Aaron answered his cell phone on the third ring and he told me that he was working and then he asked me why, so I told him about Tone's chest pains and us fixin' to go the hospital in Kerrville. Then I called Kinky.

"Kink, I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking Tony to the Emergency Room right now. I'll call you when we get there. Bye." Thirty-three minutes later, I dropped Tony off at the front door of the Emergency Room and then I went and found a parking space for Buttermilk.

When I walked into the ER a sweet nurse was helping put T. into a wheelchair and then they quickly took off with me right behind them. Within twenty minutes Tony had been hooked up to a EKG heart monitoring machine, had given some of his blood away for free, which nearly caused me to pass out, and had chest ex-rays taken. Then we were told to sit and wait and be patient, because it could take several hours before the tests results came back, so I went outside and called Kinky to give him an update and then I called Sandy and Jon and updated them, too. They all told me to "hang-in-there," so I took their advice and hanged.

As we waited patiently in the private room, I told Tony that everything was going to be alright and then my cell phone rang—it was Aaron. "Nancy, they let me take off and I'm leaving Medina right now and heading for the rescue ranch, so I can feed the dogs for y'all. How is Tony?" After I thanked Aaron for helping us out and relieved that he was going to feed our dogs I teared up. Then the phone rang again—it was Kinky. After I updated him on T.'s condition Kinky asked me to meet him and Marcie at one o'clock for lunch at a nearby restaurant. When I told Tony about the invite, he told me to go have lunch with them, so I did.

When I walked inside the restaurant Kinky, Marcie and Max Swafford, our good friend who wrote the greatest book about Kinky, The Kinky File, waved at me from a table, for me to come join them. After I sat down at the table the waitress appeared and asked us if we were ready to order. "I'll have the Speedy Gonzales with tea, please" I said. Then Marce ordered their daily Special.

"I want exactly what Cousin Nancy just ordered," Kinky said, followed by a laugh. "With flour and corn tortillas, please."

Then Max says, "Me, too. I want the same thing that Nancy and Kinky are having, too. It sounds good." Then the friendly waitress smiled at us and then she took off to go turn in our orders and then we started talking about Tony. Max, who had just eight days ago had a heart attack and survived it, had been air lifted to San Antonio where they put a stint in and cleaned out two of his arteries, tried to cheer me up as did Marcie and Kinky. Before leaving the restaurant Max asked me if it would be okay for him to go see T. and I told him yes, and then I thanked Kinky for lunch and then said, "Y'all, I know that Tony is going to be okay. I really do." After hugs, Buttermilk and I took off.

As I was walking in the parking lot headed towards the Emergency Room I hear, "Nance, wait up!" I turned around and there was Max. When he caught up with me he says, "This feels so weird to me, because eight days ago I was walking, right where we're walking—into the ER..."

When we walked into Tony's room he was glad to see us and two minutes later—the doctor walks in and she says, "Everything looks great Mr. Simons. Your heart is in great condition and everything looks really good. We are waiting on one more test result to rule out a possible blood clot and if there is one we will check you into the hospital for a few days to dissolve it. If there isn't a blood clot we can send you home in about an hour." I don't know who was happier to have received her news, because we were all smiling.

After Max left, I visited with Tony for a few minutes and then he suggested that I go to H-E-B, to save time, to get our groceries, so I took off to H-E-B, because I knew that T. was going to be okay.

While I speed-shopped in H-E-B I ran into our dear friends David & Desiree Farrar, owners of Kerrville's favorite B&B—"Trails End Guest House." After howdys and hugs they teased me about us running into each other again at H-E-B and then they asked me where Tony was. "Well, he's in the Emergency Room at Peterson's right now and..." After I finished telling them the whole story their frowns quickly turned into smiles and they told me to call them if we needed anything. Then a few isles later, I ran into our dear friend and neighbor, Sally Merwin and I had the exact same conversation with her. Then I paid for our groceries and Buttermilk took me back to the Emergency Room where Tony was patiently sitting in the waiting room—waiting for me—to go home, but we didn't go home right then, because we needed to swing by Hoegemeyers Animal Clinic to pick up our little Maudie.

We arrived back at the rescue ranch just a few minutes before five o'clock and the three of us were so glad to be back home! Then I looked at Carlton, who was flashing on the breakfast bar, and saw that I had nineteen new phone calls to return. I listened to them as Tony and I put away our groceries and then I returned ten of the most urgent phone calls. Then T. and I went outside, right before dark, and cleaned the dog pens while handing out treats to our super rescued dogs.

To say the least—it has been one heck of a day for us, but like always— it turned our great and I am so thankful for that. And tonight, after reading Mari's comment about not being able to view my nine minute 2010 Blog Memories, which I accidentally forgot to make Public—is now Public! I hope that y'all enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it. Happy New Year, once again! I know it's going to be a great year! I love you, Tony!

Y'all have a great evening!