Rocket Surgeon: A person with less-than-stellar aptitude. A mixture of "rocket scientist" and "brain surgeon" This phrase describes a person who is neither.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moving Sites----Follow Me

Good Wednesday everyone.  I have an announcement to make: 

I am moving my blog to a new site. 

After several months of wringing my hands and chewing my fingernails, I have made the decision improve this old site.  So my new address is

I hope you come and visit, maybe put up your feet and stay a while!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Take Time to Laugh

I got an email from a reader (who happens to be a relative) the other day who said he likes my blog and all, but notices how the number of comments I receive are pathetically low.  So he was curious if I knew how many people visit my blog.  And actually I do.  The short answer is hardly any.  If I advertise my post on facebook, I'll get around 35 people come over and have a look-see.  Otherwise, on average I have 10 little ole visits each day.  But I am thrilled to have those 10 people, all of which I'm sure are related to me. 
The reason I know this is not because I'm telepathic, but because I have a little counter on my site.  It tells me very little, but it will tell me how many people visited, how long they stayed, and sometimes I know from whence they cometh. 

I also know if a person googled something on the internet which led them to my writings. 

So far no one has ever searched for how to flank a calf, because if they had they would be in luck here.  Nor are people searching for how to recover after witnessing a violent murder.  If so, they would find that here.  And to date, no one cares about what they can learn from geese or how I must be Lizzie Borden reincarnated.

But!  Do not despair.  Because the number one search request that leads people  to my rantings is Jesus laughing.  People want to see an image of Jesus laughing.  And it just so happens that I have a picture of Jesus laughing.  My dad must've snapped it when they were wearing plastic ponchos and visiting Niagra Falls.  And since it is the most requested, I thought I'd repost it.

And because who wants to miss Jesus laughing?

This is my favorite picture of my dad.

He's at Niagra Falls.

Reasons I love this picture:

1. It looks like he's having the time of his life.

2.   It reminds me of this picture.

Doesn't Jesus look like he's at Niagra Falls too?
I can just imagine them sitting across from each other and having the best laugh.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's in a Name?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

When Life Gives you Rainclouds........

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then I felt ashamed of myself. 

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

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

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

And I just wanted to share this with you.

Find your simple pleasures.

May God Bless You,

Simple pleasures

Monday, November 22, 2010

I've Got Mail

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

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

The Gift
by Alisen Payette, Missouri

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

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thoughts on a Sunday

November 21

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


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

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


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


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

Happy Resting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Funny Stuff My Niece Says

Funny #1----

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

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

Funny #2----

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

The Winner

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

Brandi said,

How about"The Promise Land". Those folks suffered through some trials and tribulations too. And, who would not like to buy some home grown veggies from "The Promise Land?"
This was a fun contest and I enjoyed reading all the responses.

There were funny ones like "Oleo Acres---The Cheap Spread"
 "Habitat for Insanity", and
 "Hillbilly Hell" .

There were  faith based ones like
"Hope Acres"
"God's Acres"
and "Beulah Land".

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

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

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Give-Away!!! Enter to Win!

Remember in the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest buys his shrimping boat and he discovers that shrimping is hard.  He only catches five shrimp, and the black man jokes that a couple more and he could make himself a cocktail?
Remember that old black man says, "you ever think of naming this boat?  It's bad luck to have a boat without a name."
So he names it the most beautiful name in the wide world:  Jenny.

Recently me and J-Dub bought a place.  A trailer house in the country.  I love our little place.  It's my quiet oasis.  An escape.  Our little ranchette, our ranchito, our little trailer house on the prairie.  

But as much as I love it, we've been having some bad luck:

Day 1---I sliced my hand open ripping up carpet (blog to follow someday).
Day 3 and 4---I was home sick from work throwing my guts up.
Day something else---our guinea bird that we inherited broke his leg and then was eaten alive.
Day something else---Jason's horse got sick
Day 4 or 5 days later----Jason's horse got sicker
Three days ago----Jason's horse died (blog to follow someday).

Too much sickness, death and pain for 4 weeks.

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

J-Dub calls me up.  "Where you at?"
"I'm out at The Place."

Or I might ask him, "What are your plans."
"I'm going to work on The Place."

"Where's our broom?"
"I took it to The Place."

Even my mom is calling to say, "I'm coming out to help you work on The Place."

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner will be announced sometime next weekend :)

Isn't this fun??????

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Guinea's a Goner

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

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

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

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

As my niece Ashlynn would say, "When it's their time to die, it's just their time to die." 

Aint it the truth.  Aint it the truth.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Before and After #1

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

Front Door Before: 

Prepare yourselves to be amazed by this transformation!

 Front Door After:

To be continued.............   :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some Help From My Friends

Yesterday I posted about my new, old home and my bucket list. 
Today, because I am inspired by #4 on my list, which read "own chickens, goats, cows, ducks, and barncats" I thought I'd introduce you to a few new friends I've met.

This life in the country is going to take some getting use to.  Pictures were taken at dusk with a camera phone, so they aren't the greatest.
 This spider is about the size of a Andre the Giant's fist.  Not really, but seriously, the spider's out here are not your common house spiders.  They're eating beef for dinner.

 This is a snake skin.  To quote my dad, "if you found a snakeskin, the owner's around there somewhere."  I'm sure he is and the first time I see him or any of his cousins, I'll be sure and pee my pants right on the spot.

While my 11 year old niece Ashlynn was rummaging around exploring, she heard a meow.  And since she's the cat whisperer, she actually caught this frightened little cat. 

We fed it a can of vienna sausages.  We've seen about 3 more cats since then, but they are wild as the wind and there ain't no catching them.

This is a guinea that lives in the backyard, or outside of the backyard, it wanders wherever it wants.  It is wild as well and doesn't let anyone close to it.

And finally, my friend the sunset. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Queen of the Doublewide Trailer

I have a list.
It's sort of my bucket list that I began a couple of years ago. 
There's about 40 things on there that I want to accomplish in my life here on earth.  And it's a work in progress.
You can read about it here.
Actually I'm very glad I blogged about it, because you see,  I've lost it.

Number 1 says "Own land in the country. "
And hooray for us, because as of a couple weeks ago, my husband and I purchased a little bit of acreage outside of town. 
Yea!  Cheers! Hoo-rah!

And maybe not so hooray-ish, is that instead of a wonderful, historic, restored, beautiful farmhouse with a wrap-around porch like I imagined in my mind, there is a 1978 trailer house instead.

Yep, a trailer house and an old one to boot.
Not exactly a dream home, but it's a home nonetheless.
Now I've really had to put my money where my mouth is since I claim to be all about living simply and simplifying my life, and not worrying about possessions,  and all that jibber jabber I've been talking for the past few years.

So J-Dub and I have diligently been working, with some help from our friends, trying to make this place not look like a trailer and feel more like a home.  But at the same time, trying not to sink a whole lot of money into it, believing that it is simply a stepping stone to a permanent home later.... with a foundation.

 Jason's new term of endearment for me is his "queen of the doublewide trailer"
If you don't know the Sammy Kershaw song, you'll need to listen to it below.

We've got big dreams for our trailer and lots of paneling to paint in the meantime.

 I'm going to be posting before and after pictures of our Extreme Makeover Trailer House Edition, as soon as we actually get something finished.

So in the meantime please ignore the paint in my hair.

Your Majesty,
(yes, it's ok if you call me that)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bird Flu. Swine Flu. Goat Flu too?

On Sunday, I had a wonderful experience of meeting a fellow named Tom and making goat cheese right in his kitchen.
Although it involves quite a bit of science and chemistry, enzymes, bacteria, and heat, it wasn't too terribly confusing.  Cheese making can get a bit complex, but this was a simple basic beginner method.

Step 1 is to milk a goat.  I didn't actually get to milk the nanny goat.  I was looking forward to this, but nevertheless.

We began by pouring goat's milk in a big pot. 

 And heating to boiling, but not a degree more.

After it boils, lemon juice is added, and the cheese makes it's curd (as in Little Miss Muffett, sat on her tuffett, eating her curds and whey)

Then it was poured through a cheese cloth.

 Drained completely of its whey.

Salted, then pressed.

Wa-lah! Cheese!  Creamy, delicious goat cheese.  This simple process is called chev cheese.  I'm not sure of the spelling, but this cheese can be eaten right away with no aging involved.

A different method of making cheese involved using Rennet tablets which can be bought in the pudding aisle at the grocery store. 
There are several cheese recipes in the packet.  We attempted this method, but it was way more confusing for my little brain, and something when awry with the heating or the gas-iness of the recipe, or perhaps it might've been the fact that I was not gentle enough with the cheese and made the curd too tiny.  But Tom ended up making ricotta out of it.   I was about "cheesed" out by this point.  It had taken several hours and I can only handle so much new learning at one time.
So we went out to meet the goats.  There were three nannies named Ivy, Angel and someone else, but my memory fails me. 
And there was Billy, the male.  

He was the stinkiest, foulest creature I have ever had the pleasure of being molested by.  On second thought, maybe not.  But on with the story.  He rubbed his stinking, foul head against my leg and followed me around like Mary's little lamb, minus the adorableness.  He reminded me of a bad date.  I attempted shoo-ing him, he wouldn't shoo.  I attempted canine words of "No!  Go!  Get!"  to no avail.  His odor was a tad bit akin to the stench of the cheese we had just made and I began to get rather nauseous.   
About 14 seconds after leaving their house, I started feeling rather ill.  I couldn't help but associate it with the cheese, and I refused to allow the cheese to be the cause of my distress because it is such a basic, old fashioned, pure farming activity.  I set my mind to determine the cause of my upset stomach. 
 I mentally retraced my lunch of the day, which was several hours earlier and I thought it rather unlikely that I would just then be sick from it. 

I dismissed the cause of my sickness to working in an elementary school classroom where children carry a plethora of stomach bugs, diseases, and overall grossness which I could easily contract by touching an eraser cap.

Therefore, after experiencing a complete and total barf-o-rama (name that movie) and with the abundance of scientific-ness I acquired in my brain with the art of making cheese, I can only conclude from my research that I contracted a serious sickness from Billy, the disgusting goat that I came into contact. 

 I have unofficially, unconfirmed that I have "Goat Flu".

It's the only thing that makes sense.
I am fully expecting to receive a Nobel Prize for my latest discovery.
Just you watch.

Scientifically Yours,

(friend of 7-up and Saltines)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Funnies from the Schoolhouse

The lessons taught in school are not limited to reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Read on.

Story #1
Although there are teacher bathrooms (two total) at my school,  it isn't always feasible to leave a class of 22 little darlings with sharpened pencils unsupervised to walk down the long halls to find one.  Often we teachers run into the closest available restroom at the last possible minute.  The closest bathroom also happens to be used by children.  In one particular bathroom in our school, there is a crack about an inch wide when the stall door is closed and many times we teachers have looked up to see a young eyeball staring back at us through the crack.

One of my co-workers darted into the girl's restroom the other day, sat down to do her business, and before she could finish, she had two little Kindergarten faces appearing under the stall door watching her.
One kindergartener said to the other, "Is there a big person in there?"
In which the other peeking kindergartner replied, "It's a grown-up!"
First Kindergartner:  "" 
They just couldn't believe that grown-ups used the bathroom, or maybe they couldn't believe they used the kid's bathroom.  I don't know which, but the teacher had to give them a small lesson on how rude it is to peek under the stall and watch other people using the restroom.  Then she wiped and left.

Story #2
We have a teacher who is expecting a baby in about 3 weeks.  It is hard not to notice her belly coming down the hall.  At the end of the day, I was walking my children outside to their parents and we passed the pregnant teacher.  My student asked me with astonishment, "Is she pregnant?" 
I replied, "No, she swallowed a watermelon."
In which my second grader replied, "Wow, It must have been a big one!"

I assumed the student knew I was joking with her, but I soon discovered otherwise when a few days later we encountered this same teacher again.  My student asked her, "Did you swallow a watermelon?"  The teacher answered, "No, I'm going to have a baby."
The second grader looked puzzled and said, "How did you swallow a baby?"

Story #3
Farts happen.  Yes they do.  Sometimes more often than I care to smell.  They happen the most particularly by a small girl in my class.  This usually causes the classroom to erupt in laughter and disrupts our learning.  I have spoken to her about how it is unladylike, not to mention bad manners to do that in public.  But after she let yet another one rip, she quickly announced, "But I had to get it out, it was hurtin!"

A few days later, this young lady did it again.  No big surprise.  The children are all getting quite used to it by now.   A boy in my class said to her, "Remember, you're not supposed to fart!" 
She answered him, "Remember, it's not ladylike to say fart!!" 

I do believe this lesson needs to be re-taught.

Kids say the darndest things.
That would make a great TV show!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Fall

I like spring, but it is too young.
I like summer, but it is too proud.
So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow...
Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age.  It knows the limitations of life and is content.
                                                                                             ----Lin Yutang

I like this quote because as each day passes in the seasons of my life, I am beginning to become much like autumn. 
I like to believe I am gaining wisdom as I age.  I think back to the foolishness of my youth, and the arrogance of my early adulthood.  Those seasons have passed and yet much beauty of life is to come. 

I, like autumn, know my limitations and am content.

Enjoy your season!

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."  Psalm 111:10

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Prayer For Your Child

Although I'm child-less, I own a book called The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O'Martian. 
My sister gave it to me because I have a special child in my life that I love deeply.
I've since bought one for a friend who recently had a baby that she loves deeply.
I want to share a prayer with you from the pages of this book.

I was praying this prayer today for my niece Ashlynn because she had a math quiz.  And as I was praying for her, faces of the students in my own class and former students I have taught began coming to my mind.  I thought of their parents, their praying parents who desire the best for them, and I decided I would email this prayer to them when I found time today at work.
But then my day actually began.  I took the book to work with me, and it never left my purse.  My day was an ordinary, hectic, run 100 kind of day.

But now I am home.  And the sun has gone down.  The TV is off.  The dishwasher is running with the supper dishes in tow, the buttons and brads on the wranglers are clinking in the dryer, and my mind is calm and clear of the day's tasks.

So now I share this prayer with all of you:
whether you are parents,
or grandparents,
or aunts,
or uncles,
or teachers,
or mentors
(at the risk of breaking copywrite laws and everything)
for the children you love.

Instilling the Desire to Learn:

I pray that (name of child) will have a deep reverence for You and Your ways.  May she (he) hide Your Word in her heart like a treasure, and seek after understanding like silver or gold.  Give her (him) a good mind, a teachable spirit, and an ability to learn.  Instill in her (him) a desire to attain knowledge and skill, and may she (he) have joy in the process.  Above all, I pray that she (he) will be taught by You, for Your Word says that when our children are taught by You they are guaranteed peace.  You have also said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7).  May she (he) never be a fool and turn away from learning, but rather may she (he) turn to You for the knowledge she (he) needs.

I pray she (he) will respect the wisdom of her (his) parents and be willing to be taught by them.  May she (he) also have the desire to be taught by the teachers You bring into her (his) life.  Handpick each one, Lord, and may they be godly people from whom she (he) can easily learn.  Take out of her (his) life any teacher who would be an ungodly influence or create a bad learning experience.  Let her (him) find favor with her (his) teachers and have good communication with them.  Help her (him) to excel in school and do well in any classes she (he) may take.  Make the pathways of learning be smooth and not something with which she (he) must strain and struggle.  Connect everything in her (hisi) brain the way it is supposed to be so that she (he) has clarity of thought, organization, good memory, and strong learning ability. 

I say to her (him) according to Your Word, "Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverbs 23:12).  "May the Lord give you understanding in all things" (2 Timothey 2:7).  Lord, enable her (him) to experience the joy of learning more about You and Your world.

Be Blessed,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Necklace That Won My Heart

I'm a simple girl.  Really I am.

There are few materialistic things in life that catch my eye.  I don't have to have the newest, best, or most stylish.  My car is more than 10 years old, my TV is not a flat screen or a plasma or a high definition, And until recently, I had a cell phone with an antennae for crying out loud!!

I can pass on lots of stuff.  Except for Sara Lee pound cake in the freezer section.  I rarely can pass that up, so I avoid that aisle completely.

With the exception of food, not much catches my eye.

But I crossed paths with a necklace a couple of weeks ago that made me swoon.  My heart beat rapidly.  I fell in love with it.  It was clunky, funky, chunky, and gawdy.  But gawdy in a good way.  The price tag on it was a little more than I cared to spend on jewelry.  I prefer the 25 cent machines in the foyer of the Pizza Hut,that is more my speed. 

So I walked away from this necklace.  With much sadness I might add.

I ventured to other booths set up at this fine, family event I was attending.  I looked at purses and shoes and candles and pot holders.

But I kept thinking of that funky necklace.  I wanted it and I wanted it badly.

I checked my pockets and had just enough money to buy the neckace and have some money leftover for a turkey leg, so I caved and bought the necklace.

I put it on immediately and got a couple compliments.

Then I wore it to work the next day.

I got more compliments on that necklace than I've received in all my born days on any thread of anything I've ever slapped on my body. 

That evening, I came home with a boosted self esteem.  I was relaxing in my Lazy Boy and my neck started bothering me.  I reached up to rub the back of my neck and felt a lot of little bumps.  I recently have been ill with an infection that has reared its ugly head in all manner of ways, so my first thought was "Oh my gosh, now I'm getting a rash, it must be the infection trying to get out of my body!"

But no. 

It later dawned on me after washing my neck and the irritation disappearing, that I was having an allergic reaction to my new necklace!!!  The necklace that I pined for.  The necklace that jumped off the table into my arms.  The necklace that made others wish they were me for just a fraction of a millisecond.  Or maybe not on that last sentence. 

I am heartbroken over it.

So I'm left with a dilemma.  I can wear my new necklace with a turtleneck, which I despise or I can give it away.   gasp!

I'm going to attempt to wear it one more time to see if my problem persists.

I'm hoping for the best.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Disgusting Story

I've discovered my purpose in life is to educate all the other dudes in the world, not counting myself,  about a cowboy's life.  If you can't handle a little pus and blood, not puss in boots, but pus in blood, you might want to quit reading now.  But if I can take it, by golly, you can too!

Being a cowboy isn't just about looking cool in chaps and spurs.  That's what I used to think too.
But, sometimes they have to work.
And sometimes this work is quite unappealing.

Take this for example.

This is a bull.

And he's got a problem.

He's got an abscess on his jaw.  

An abscess that needs to be drained.

And I know just the cowhand to handle such a job.

Not only is this abscess uncomfortable and painful, well it's ugly.  And just how is this bull supposed to catch a cow with an ugly mug like this?  You just answer me that, why don't cha?

Jason pens him and pushes him into a squeeze chute which basically squeezes him tight so he can't kick, fling, fight, maim or kill us.

He gets stabbed with a pocket knife, and doesn't even wince.
Don't say I didn't warn you.  It's only going to get worse from here on out.

The abscess begins to drain.

And drain some more, and more, and more.

The bull can very easily swing his head around and be very unpredictable, possibly smashing Jason's fingers. This string of pus is also very unpredictable when the bull flings his head. You don't want to be standing in the wrong place when six inches of gunk begins to sail across the sky. Trust me on this one.
 So Jason gets a nose ring and uses it to pull the bull's head to the side.  It was my job to keep his head to the side by pulling on this chain with a nose ring on the end, stuck in a bull's nose. I had to look away as Jason continued to squeeze and stab the abscess. 

I just needed to break away from this story to show a pretty picture for a moment.  I think we all needed a diversion don't you?

Okay back to the gore.

Jason continued with this madness until most of the filling was drained out, but it was still huge.  He did all he could do for this fellow, then sprayed him down with wound medicine and iodine for healing.

You're free to go #779.  Please remain calm and continue forward.  Do not, I repeat, do not turn around and charge at us. 

This is not a Texas murder scene.

Another pretty picture.

Hopefully you can erase all those horrific images from your minds. 

Have a good day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Got Gates?

After being married to a cowboy several seasons of my life, there is one critical rule I have learned. 

It may be the most important lesson ever needed to be learned by green cowhands. (meaning me)

The ranch is divided into pastures by fences and gates.  The fences are very important and serve many purposes.

The fences keep calves away from the mama cows after being weaned so they don't get back on the tit. 

The fences keep the bulls out of the cows when there shouldn't be any hanky-panky going on.

The fences keep the neighbor's bull out of the cows when you don't want a black calf in amongst your red ones.

The fences keep all the cows out of an over-grazed pasture when it needs resting from the cows eating the grass too short.

And the gates help move all these animals around from pasture to pasture. In and out, in and out.

An open gate, on the other hand, allows for the cattle to meander wherever they choose, in wrong pastures, mingling with the opposite sexes, reeking havoc on a cattle ranch and making a cowboy who has to sort them all out, very grumpy.

The cardinal rule of cowboying (among many others) is

Many times have I heard the complaint from my beloved of how somebody left the bleepity, bleep gate open and made a mess for him to straighten out.
It has been ingrained in my head ALWAYS CLOSE THE GATE.

I went out with Jason for a little job this past weekend.  He needed to gather up about 20 cows and pen them.  This entails getting horseback and pushing cattle (cattle that don't always want to go the direction you want them to) from one pasture, through a gate, into another pasture, through another gate, into the cow pens. 

My mission if I choose to accept it: 

Jason to me:  I'm going to go gather the cattle over in this pasture.  You need to go up this road to the east.  You'll come to a green gate.  Go through the gate, make a left hand turn to the north, open the white gate running east and west.  Open it into the trap.

And then he rides off.

Me:  But?.....what?......Jason?   (wondering)  Which direction is north?  Did he say open the green gate or the white one?  Was I supposed to go up an east road or a north one, open an east gate or a west one?  When did he learn to speak Swahilian?  Remember Angel,  Always close the gates, always close the gates, always close the gates. 

I decide I'll figure it out when I get there.
And so begins my journey.

I travel where the turkeys have trekked.

I meet a wounded comrade.

He is grateful for my assistance.

I reach the green gate and pass through.
And then there are two.  Two gates.  Which one am I supposed to open?  The north one?  The east one?  I scan the horizon for Jason.  He is nowhere to be seen. 
Am I supposed to open this gate? 
Or this gate?
 I can't remember what he said.  My heart is racing.  My palms are sweaty.  Oh the repercussions I will face if I open the wrong gate and let cattle in the wrong pasture.  I say a silent prayer, toss a coin, draw a straw, open a gate and hope for the best. 
Then I leave the way I came, out the green gate.

Remembering to latch it up securely.

Then Jason arrives with the cattle, pushing them along the fence line.

They make the turn, through the east/west gate opened up to the north or something like that.
  Basically, I did it right!!!  Yea me!!

In they come.

A little further.

Mission accomplished.

  I opened the correct gate into the correct trap, and Jason penned the cattle.  All went just as planned.

Well, except for when the cows took notice of me.

See them staring at me.  I've been spotted. 

They've noticed me and it has caused alarm to their bovine brains.  So they do what cows do.

They head back out the gate they just came through and run down the fence line in the opposite direction.

And Jason has to, well, uh, he has to do his job all over again and turn them around and bring them back down the fence line and in through the gate.  Again. 

Then Jason spent the rest of his time either opening a gate.

Or closing a gate.

Or opening a gate.

Or closing a gate.

And fixing the green gate I didn't latch correctly.

But I helped a bug. 

That's a noteworthy achievement, right?