this our joyful hymn

Not a traditional Thanksgiving pic….sorry, no turkeys in my files

Getting into the Thanksgiving spirit.  Thought I’d share this heavenly tune with you.  The words are from the traditional hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth.  The old lyrics were set to a new tune composed by famed English composer, John Rutter.  This is a perfect fusion of lyric and melody, in my humble opinion.  I’ve sung this many times in various choirs.  It never fails to make my spirit soar.  I’ve yet to get through it without tearing up.

Simple aural loveliness.  Hope it inspires your thankful spirit.

Remember to thaw the turkey in the fridge.  It may take a couple of days.
Giblet gravy love to all.

excuse to stay home

Most of my friends would describe me as an extrovert.  I enjoy talking to people, don’t freak-out in a party crowd and don’t possess a fear of public speaking (this previous post explains).  However, what makes my heart leap is glimpsing this warm light from my front window.  Home.  It means the Texan, the wiener, the talking bird, and the craggy hill rising behind the house are waiting to welcome me.

Are you making preparations for the upcoming holiday season?  I am.  I’d gladly spend day after bustling day here if I could.  Baking, putting up decorations, organizing closets and cabinets….my homebody side surprises me sometimes.

Today we have our constant West Texas companion-Mr. Wind.  He’s feeling blustery and bold today.  He might even enjoy ripping my car door from it’s hinges if he had a chance.  Think I’ll deprive him of that opportunity and just stay home as long as possible today.  In your face, Mr. Wind!

Hope you carry the warm light of home in your heart today.  Midweek love to all.

the war on…..

What do you think about the war on……
1.  Fat?  Haven’t you read about the restriction of the use of trans-fats in NYC restaurants?  Wave good-bye to fried chicken and doughnuts.  Is salt still allowed, or is that outlawed too?  Vanilla and nutmeg….you’re on notice!!
2.  Light?  Those damnable compact flourescent light bulbs drive me batty.  Heard about the law to prohibit all incandescent bulbs.  (oh, George W..what did you do??)  The (enviro-friendly and cheap thrifty) Texan has installed the outrageously efficient, money-saving cf bulbs all over our home.  I grew weary of switching on the lights in my pantry and waiting 5 minutes to see the canned corn.  Same for my closet…lots of days I was wearing navy and black cuz I couldn’t see my clothes.  I gave up and changed back to the incandescent bulbs.  Light on, light off…easy enough.  Hoping the Texan wouldn’t notice my anti-enviro radicalism.  No such luck.  He just noticed the quick, bright light on the pizza box resting our kitchen island.  Busted!  Light bulb hoarding, here I come!

3.  Christmas?  This time of year we hear about the war on Christmas.  I don’t care if you wish me ‘Happy Holidays’ or you say a hearty ‘Merry Christmas!’  Whatevs.  I DO resent having to remove every Christian Christmas symbol from city, state and federal property in this great land.  The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution talks about not establishing a state religion.  I don’t think not establishing a state religion means we have to remove every last remnant of our Judeo/Christian culture at Christmas time.  I believe the U.S. is a Judeo/Christian country and our body of laws flows out of that particular cultural and religious mindset.  Last time I checked, the Senate of the United States has a Chaplain who prays every day before the esteemed body conducts business.  If the Senate can have a chaplain, can we keep the creche at city hall?

4.  Dogs??  China now has a new law.  Only one dog per family, please!  Makes me glad I live in the wilds of West Texas.  Don’t want anybody limiting my number of kids, dogs and horses and other things.

5.  Wiener Dogs?  I was astounded when I read this article about dachsunds being one of the most aggressive breeds of dogs.  Is nothing sacred?  Stubby-legged sausage dogs are the new pit-bull?  Protect your toes and ankles!  Run for them thar hills, people!!

6.  Fun?  I have laughed myself silly over San Francisco’s ban on Happy Meals.  This is excrutiatingly dumb and an outlandish intrusion into the lives of American families and American Happy Meal Lovers.  Most fast food restaurants are now offering healthier choices, such as fresh fruit and salads.  People seem to like these offerings and they are popular menu items.  When a city government instructs a restaurant chain in what they can and cannot put in a meal….a Happy meal…we’ve lost our marbles.  Can’t folks decide for themselves if they want to eat HAPPY?  Can’t parents decide if their kids can eat HAPPY?  In San Francisco, the sad answer is ‘no’.  Legalize pot, but good gracious…..don’t put fries and a toy in the Happy Meal!!  Can’t believe I just said that.  I’m ranting now.
What should we do about all this nonsense??
We should meet in the no salt, no transfat capital of NYC.  We can join hands and  gaily skip our way to see Pee Wee’s Playhouse on Broadway.  Now, there’s some fun….watching Pee Wee back in the Playhouse zanily interacting with Chairy, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis and Pterri.  We could even go out for a happy meal and a milkshake after the show. Pee Wee’s Playhouse runs through Jan 2nd.  Doesn’t look like NYC is in the cards for me this year.  Break a leg, Pee Wee.  I still love you!
Oh…and remember…the secret word for today is….tyranny!
Here’s wishing you fatty, bright, holiday, canine, fun love this week.

the audacity of snow

Yesterday was a near-perfect 70 degree day.  We were blythely performing our autumnal tasks in shirt sleeves.  Last evening, a thunderstorm rolled in and ruthlessly drenched our town.  Almost 4 inches in one hour!  We don’t get lots of rain in this high desert of the Texas Panhandle, so the storm created mucho misery for motorists who were stranded on Interstate 40.   Businesses flooded, roofs leaked and all watery hell broke loose.

The night was ominous and thunder-y.  Definitely a covers pulled tight over the head type of night.  I told the Texan the air was reminiscent of a summer storm in the mountains.  While we were TRYING to catch our required shut-eye, the sky snappily flashed, the wind rattled the rafters and the incessant booming rolled.

This, fellow Chicken Winger, is the icy slap I received this a.m.
Check out the Texan’s hammock.  Looks like his swinging days are over.  Catch the detail of the Christmas lights on the house.  Yep, he was putting them up before the winter weather hit.  The man is GENIUS!
Care for a picnic on the back patio?  Don your long-johns and have an ice scraper handy.
OK….the Hacienda in back looks kinda……picturesque.  Cold, but picturesque.
Here’s the view from my office.  Yes people, this is where the storms of Chicken Wing creativity rain down.  Most of the time, I’m just praying for inspiration.  This is the sacred cradle of OCWAP.  Presenting my view this fine morning.  You’re welcome.
*****alert*****Just fielded a phone call from the Texan on his way to work!  He reports the snowflakes are as large as napkins and the first snow is causing a hellish traffic snafu in town.  He also observed this morning that my tall purple fountain grass waving proudly in patio pots looked more like smashed weeping willows.  Really funny, Texan….har-dee-har-har.  So much for the ‘purple fountain grass looks pretty in pots ALL winter!’ kind of talk.  sigh.
A certain someone has stubbornly crossed her legs and refuses to go out for her morning business.
She’s taking the ‘ignore it and it will go away’ position.  Good luck with that, wiener.
One thing is certain.  Everything changes.  I will appreciate the beauty of this day even though winter, and cold, and ice and snow aren’t my cup of hot chocolate.  I think the weather gurus are saying 70’s again next week.  Oh, joy!

That’s it from here, friend.  Sending snowflake love and best wishes to you from my West Texas ice bunker.  Enjoy yourself this weekend.

dog skills

Nothing earth-shattering today….thank God.
Here’s a treat…..helping you scale the mid-week hump.
 two short videos for your Wednesday chuckling pleasure.

Beautiful, intense grand-dog Rose playing her favorite game with the Texan.

Equally intense wiener dog.  This is her default setting when she wants for anything…food, a hug, going outside, her blankie, a rawhide chewy, to be picked up, etc.  I witness this scene numerous times a day.
Does this explain my……err….hmm….certain unique mindset?  (freakin’ crazy!)
I’m sitting up enthusiastically waving to you…right now!!  Give me a treat and revel in the rest of your week.
That’s all, people.

monday fire up

The West Texas weekend was………fun and very west texas-y.  Had the Sprouts and some friends over on Sunday.  We had a big shootfest, or as I fondly say-a gunapalooza-out in the boonies (not far from our house).

Be very afraid, green bucket. 
Mama’s got a rifle.
Our friend is a police officer and it was a fine opportunity to shoot with someone who is extremely knowledgeable in all things rifle and handgun.  I enjoy target practice.  Sounds crazy, but I find target shooting kind of relaxing.  I’m grateful to B…the officer…for fielding all my questions and helping me with safety issues.  I am grateful for heroes like B who work to make our community safe.  Do I hear a BOO-YAH?!

Out here, in the land of no trees, the sky is the THING.  It’s what we look at.  There is nothing else.  Mother Nature did not disappoint.

Once it got too dim to shoot safely, our eyes turned to the sky for the big show.  God’s majesty was on full display and we stared in slack-jawed awe.

Back to our house for a dinner of undercooked meatloaf and kinda crunchy undone scalloped potatoes.  Thank God for microwaves!  Drink enough red wine and everything tastes gourmet.

I don’t write about cooking too much on this blog.  Love to cook, but there are others who are excellent at cooking and writing about it.  My friend…I’ll call her little V, taught me a tasty lesson I want to share with you.  Whilst little V was making coffee-flavored brownies this summer, she reached for the chunky sea salt to add to the recipe. 

“Little V….WHY are you adding chunky sea salt?  Are you crazy?  The salt won’t be dispersed throughout the brownie….what are you thinking?”   (Sadly, I talk  like this to little V sometimes)
My bitchy, controlling food-Nazi kitchen habits are hard to break and little V is a saint.  She replied,
“That’s the point.  You taste this patch of saltiness in the middle of the chocolate flavor.  It’s delicious!” 
Sounded stupid to me, but I did something I rarely do….shut up.  After dinner, we enjoyed what had to be the most astounding dessert of the summer, oh hell….the entire YEAR.  Warm, oozy coffee-flavored brownies with ice cream.  They were astounding, cuz your taste bud would happen upon these unexpected zones of  heavenly saltiness.  We talked of this dessert for WEEKS!  Little V is a genius.  Thank you my friend!!
Why am I sharing this NOW, you inquire??  Cuz I did this same thing with regular ol’ chocolate chip cookies yesterday as a dessert to my hugely undercooked meal.  I used chunky sea salt in the recipe instead of regular table salt.  I can’t tell you what a fantastic difference this made in the cookies.  You must, must try this in your next brownie or cookie recipe.  Be bold.  Roll the cooking dice.  The holidays are approaching.  If you do this, let me know if you can taste a difference.  I could…..and I’m never turning back!
Hope you hit the mark today.  Big sky love to all.

let’s have funia!

Don’t count me among those on the razor’s edge of internets technology.  I test my skills to the max every time I post a photo on this blog.

I want to tell you about a freaky FUN website.  It’s called PhotoFunia.  I discovered it on my cousin’s Facebook page! (Thanks, Lori)  It’s probably been around FOR-EV-ER and most of you have been using it a looooonnnnngggg time and I’m the last one to discover such a great, interactive website.  Oh…and hey….have you guys heard about MySpace??

Anyhoo….PhotoFunia is E-Z to use.

You just look at their effects page.

Choose an effect and upload one of your favorite photos.
And you’re done.(mr bikey, mr bikey…hey…look)
Makes your pics look all urbane and cool.
Like Andy Warhol.

Like cutting-edge, 4-story high prairie dogs.(with nipples!)

Some of your photos can even look sexy, eh?

As a memorial, I used the rare bird photo for this one.

If you want to read the tear-evoking story of the dastardly fate of the rare bird, you can at
Once you recompose yourself……have a funia day.  Photo-y love to all.

halloween wrap-up

Sunday night Halloween carnival at our church.  The kiddos bounced on those big blow-up thingys, splattered paint in spin art, gorged themselves on carnival food and topped it all off with a ‘trunk or treat’ in the church parking lot.

The Texan and I helped out with the ‘trunk or treat’.  The wiener donned her orange and black jester’s collar and she permitted the little ones to stroke her velvet fur.  She feigned friendliness and interest mostly in those adolescents reeking of hot dogs and nachos.

I wore an Orphan Annie costume.  And for that extra-special touch of zaniness, I applied too much rouge.  Classic.

I had a cool shark costume planned for the Texan….but he was too large to wear it.  No matter how we tugged and pulled together, we couldn’t get the costume over his shoulders.  So…..Roxy-Doxy and I represented with our costumes while the Texan passed out candy from the back of our truck.

We enjoyed the young ‘uns in their get-ups.  Did you have goons, goblins, fairies and Spiderman knocking on your front door?  Here are a few of the enthusiastic youth.

Pink-crowned royalty.

Show me your muscle, Spiderman!!

The wiener inspecting Scooby-doo

Purple loveliness

Poke me..I’m done..cuteness overload!

Young at heart


Enchanting Bat Girl
Hope your weekend was happy and sufficiently scary.  Friendly advice:  if your hands continue shaking, you stare at the fascinating hamsters in your kid’s room at 3 a.m. and you’re training for a marathon, but can’t run 1/4 mile…..lay off the candy before visiting your physician. 
Kit-Kat and Whopper love to all.