Tuesday, December 28, 2010

a bloggy anniversary

Self-aggrandizing.  That's how the Texan described my idea for this blog post.  Read on?.....you decide.

I'm shouting from the tippy-top of my chicken coop:
On a Chicken Wing and a Prayer is celebrating it's one (1) year anniversary!!
birthday cake

A year ago, I was just another middle-aged lady with unwanted facial hair armed with a new Nikon camera and a copy of Blogger for Dummies.  It was an enormously bodacious bite, but I've managed to keep pecking away in 2010.  Naw, I don't have a barnyard full of followers.  Only losers measure success solely by those numbers!  Ever hear of quality over quantity?  Ever hear of sticktoittiveness?
Here's the self-aggrandizing part the Texan was warning you about.  I want to take a moment to recognize some of OCWAP's best moments....chosen by.....me.

Here's some of the best chicken scratch of 2010 
You have a favorite on the list?  Puh-leeze flap your wings and cluck it out in the comments section.  It would tickle my gizzard to hear your cock-a-doodle-doooo!

1.  dog or dishrag?
2.  are you suffering olympic withdrawal syndrome?

1.  in the meantime-part deux
2.  rising above

1.  march madness
2.  addictive as crack

1.  don the life vest
2.  gracias Senor!

1.  leapin' what? 6 lessons we learn from frogs
2.  10 questions-is it love or obsession?

1. frenzied fawn gets his whup ass on
2. mountain mysteries

1.  day in the life of a show horse
2.  signs, signs, everywhere a sign

POST ABSOLUTELY NO ONE UNDERSTOOD (but still makes me laugh.  Ever hear of  Our Town..... Thornton Wilder?  You know the famous play??  nevermind
1.  our (prairie dog) town

Loved this year of blogging my guts out.  Loved learning about my camera.  Mostly, I've loved sharing the craziness (and effective facial hair remedies) with you.  Your comments have continually cheered meYou readers make my day...uh...year.

Again, cluck out your favorite, if you are so inclined.

New Year's love to all.  My resolution, you ask??  Put down the camera and walk away from the prairie dog......

Monday, December 27, 2010

thanksgiving at christmas

Exploding with gratitude this evening.  It feels like Thanksgiving, only the calendar says it's Christmas time.  Remember my post Divine Weekend where I talked about visiting Sprout #1 and the D-I-L's new home in the country?   I took this sunset shot of horses in the front yard.
Hay Buddy
Today....that gorgeous new home was threatened by a wind-driven grass fire.  The news reports said the flames came within 20 feet of the home.  This pasture is blackened.
You can read about the drama here:


Prairie fires are an unwelcome fact of life in West Texas.  This time of year we experience low humidity and high winds; any grass left standing is brittle and bone dry.  We've had lots of livestock, horses, ranch houses and pastures threatened and damaged by wildfires.  But, geez....this feeling of extreme fear and wild gratitude is unsettling.
Life is sure a crap-shot isn't it?  Expect the unexpected.

We've celebrated Christmas and we're looking forward to ringing in the New Year, but for me...today...it's all about Thanksgiving.

Friday, December 24, 2010

christmas marvel

It's here...ready or not.  No matter in what circumstance you find yourself this Christmas, please know the Creator's love for you in the birth of His son.  God made flesh....pretty awesome stuff.  No wonder the barnyard animals will speak tonight.  Keep watch.

The promised Marvel of the Night video.  This song captures the lovely mystery.  Take a listen:

Verse 3

The love that we have known, our joy and endless light
Now to the loveless world be shown, now break upon it's deathly night
Into one song compress the love, that rules our universe above
Sing love, sing love, sing God is love-sing love, sing God is love!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

marvel of the night 2

Verse 2 The Marvel of the Night.
Verse 3 Friday with a link to the song. 

Awake the sleeping world with song,
This is the day the Lord has made

Assemble here, celestial throng, in royal splendor come arrayed
Give earth a glimpse of heavn'ly bliss,
A teasing stast of what they miss:
Sing bliss, sing bliss, sing endless bliss, sing bliss, sing endless bliss

Monday, December 20, 2010

marvel of the night

It's usually a little thing that makes me a weepy mess at Christmas.  I'll be going through the seasonal motions, decking this and that, nogging it up with friends and family and the small Christmasy moment will sneak up on me..and...suddenly.....the heavens open up, multitudinous angel choruses sing and I receive the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Roxy Doxy
One year, I was going about my usual holiday preps with the three young sprouts.  I was sleep-deprived and functioning on a pure daily fudge and egg-nog high.  We hurried to and fro the sprout's Christmas events:  the school Christmas program, the church musical, the class parties and the caroling forays.  Christmas didn't hit me that year until my youngest sprout's piano recital.  Sprout #3 was never much of a piano (or anything else for that matter) practicer, but he had prepared a little ditty for the recital.  Maybe it was the fact I was actually sitting in a cozy chair for first time in weeks, or maybe it was because I adored his saint of a piano teacher, but when his 6-year-old fingers stroked the simple melody of Silent Night.....Christmas came to me.  My heart had suddenly been sprinkled with meat tenderizer and I revelled in the magic of the season.

Being around the horses and our crazy donkey during the holidays held special meaning for me, as well.  Running out to feed the animals on Christmas Eve, I'd tell them of the special role their ancestors played in the birth of Jesus-especially the role of the ass.  Asses are blessed creatures in the Christmas story and on Palm Sunday.  Aren't we glad the Bible holds a special affinity for asses??  Gives me hope.

This year, the small thing setting my stone-heart to mush is a song.  We practiced it in church choir.  It rattles in my brain like the Salvation Army bell-ringer.  It's called Before the Marvel of this Night, by Carl Schalk.  I want to share verses of it with you this week as we prepare for Christmas.
Maybe it will be the small thing encouraging your heart to a fuller understanding of Christmas.

Verse 1

Before the marvel of this night, adoring fold your wings and bow
then tear the sky apart with light and with the news the world endow
Proclaim the birth of Christ and peace, that fear and death and sorrow cease
sing peace, sing peace, sing gift of peace.  Sing peace, sing gift of peace!
Looking up for Christmas
The marvel of the night is coming!  I'll reveal the rest of the verses as we lead up to Chrismas eve.
Keep looking up.
Angel-wing love to all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

elf actualization

Santa and his perky elf made their yearly appearance at the retirement home Christmas Party.  The big guy doled out exciting door prizes to some lucky residents.
craig christmas 006
Joy watches Santa's helper lead the group in a carol sing-a-long.
craig christmas 007
The elf marvelled at how strongly the folks sang when a microphone was suddenly thrust in front of them.
craig christmas 013
Lots of huggin', lovin', singin', jingle-bell ringin' and  general yuletide merriment.
craig christmas 003
The fun program was topped off with.....with.....


The Christmas Dogs!!
craig christmas 015
Christmas goldendoodle, Reba, was a little unsure.  In her humble opinion, Santa is loud, wears too much red and talks scary.  She couldn't warm up to him.  She did wag her curly tail and she eagerly licked most of the residents.  She cheerfully modeled her 'Merry Christmas' fleece dog outfit.  She did her puppy best.

But the real star?  The dog who pants and whines to be in the Christmas limelight?  The adorable, waving bichon freee-say.......
craig christmas 014
The elf introduced her to the crowd and she proceeded (the dog) to wave her fat little paws off to choruses of  'Isn't that the cutest thing?' and 'Awww' and 'She looks like snow!' and other adoring comments.  We wondered as to her motivation for the great performance (she even 'spoke' on cue into the microphone!) this year.  The Sprout said Soph had been sitting in the dark, cold car and suddenly she entered a warm gay room with overwhelmingly delicious food odors.  At that moment, she realized she was born for the Christmas spotlight this day and she wasn't going to let the parade pass her by.  Carpe diem, Soph!

When the program was over, Santa held Sophie and she graciously allowed everyone to stroke her curly, snow-white fur.  As if that performance wasn't enough to win her the Christmas Oscar for a starring role for a bichon, she eagerly padded down the hall to the assisted living area.  There she greeted residents, while the elf passed out candy canes.  She even made a stop in the break room to greet a group of surprised card players. Her starring role was completed with a visit to the assisted living beauty shop. The elf realized she had been lucky to be in the presence of pure Christmas greatness. 

Thanks for sharing in the Christmas fun.
Here's hoping you discover what YOU were born for this Christmas.
Special purpose love to all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

divine weekend

Sunday was a busy...typically Christmas-y type day.  Moving from one activity to the next, while savoring each unique holiday experience.
The day burst forth with singing at church.  It was my church choir's Christmas musical.  It's a great day not only because of the festive singing, but because we have some uber-talented members of our local symphony join us.

The chorus and orchestra warming up before the service.

I slapped back my own hand as I was about to relate my recent flute dream to our actual talented symphony flautist.  It was for the best.  I would've scared her.

The sanctuary is dressed up in her Christmas finery.  I'd fought a nasty sickness all week and didn't know if I'd be able to participate.  I did and I am grateful.

After a nice visit and lunch with my mom at the retirement home, I skedaddled home and began the process of making divinity.

Now...if you don't know...divinity can be a pretty persnickety candy to make.  It's a humbling candy and I've bawled, pulled my hair out and tossed out many a batch.

The weather was perfect for candy-making on Sunday-dry and calm.

Completed several batches to give away as Christmas gifts.

I also gave away cherry-infused vodka in mason jars.  The Texan thinks it looks weird, but it's my favorite I tell you!  Handpicked those cherries myself on a humid, hot summer day.  The cherries have been lazing around in that alcohol for 6 months!  Could use a sip right now.....hmmmmm.....

Doxy said she was 'quality control'.  I didn't buy it!
 Just a shot to show you how perfectly pretty the divinity turned out.
Do you like divinity?
Then, it was a drive to the (farther out) country for dinner with Sprout #1 and the gracious daughter-in-law (D-I-L).  Their house is rugged, lovely and relaxing.
The Texan and I sat by the fire on the oversized chair.  We made pigs of ourselves while watching the Cowboys.  I didn't lift a finger.  The D-I-L kept bringing me warm cider.  The evening was enchantingly relaxing.  This was the view out the front window.
Hay Buddy
Check out all the trees on the horizon!  Wow.  That's the Texas Panhandle for you! 

Made out like a bandit when D-I-L sent me home with a jar of wasabi mayonnaise from Trader Joe's and a jar of her own prickly pear jelly.  My condiment cup runneth over...and other cups, too.

Hoping this blog finds you enjoying your Christmas activities. 

Divine love to all this week.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

turkey necks

Had a funky dream I was playing the flute with our local symphony orchestra.  It was odd, because I'm not a flautist (even though I have harbored a secret desire to play the flute). I played the jazzy alto saxophone in junior high and high school.  The dream scenario had me tucked away on the back row because I wasn't very talented and the conductor was angry with me.  It was horrifying when I was supposed to 'tune' my flute to the oboe-guy.  I think a squeak came out and I didn't know what to do with my instrument.
Let's just chalk the dream up to cold medications, OK?  Oh, the pain and humiliation.  I'm getting over it....slowly

On our recent trip over the Thanksgiving holiday, I took some wonderful sunset photos.

I still marvel at the gloriousness of the sky!

We got to messing around, and I suggested some 'hi-fashion', 'vogue-y' type poses.
(by the by, the lovely young lady in this photo is a talented flautist.  really!)
One must look angry or at least extremely disinterested for high fashion photos.  NO WAY I can pull off the anorexic look.  Ambivalence...yes.  Starvation...no.

I'm so hungry, disinterested and moody, I'll just turn my back to the camera and think about food.  How high fashion is that??
Sunset profile

Anyhoo,  I'm sharing a secret with you.  Shhhhh....look, I totally photoshopped out my turkey neck!  Don't believe me?  Check out the original.
Turkey neck.

Ok, ok....maybe I airbrushed my face, too.  Aren't you an astute observer?   Smarty.
I despise my neck.  It's forever waving in the West Texas wind.  It insists on flopping over my dapper mock turtlenecks.  I'm trying to make peace with it, but I want it to disappear just like the conductor wanted the incompetent flautist to disappear in my dream story.

Too much honesty for you?  Pictures traumatizing you, eh??
A branch of my family tree??.....no...no...too much information!  (I did find a turkey in my photo files!!)
Sunset profile

Ahhhh.....there now.....all better.  I'm 25 again....YAY!!

Lessons for today:

Don't believe everything you see or read.
Pose with chin up to avoid turkey neck syndrome.
The judicious use of photoshop is a good thing.
Start early with the flute lessons.

Ageless love to all this week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

you decide

Question for your pondering.

Can turtles 'do' yoga?

Do they comprehend the warrior position?

Can the downward dog be far behind?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

apres Thanksgiving

Don't you despise reading those blog posts concerning why said blogger hasn't blogged in sooooo long?  Blah, blah, blahdy, blah-blah.  Just climb back on the blogging horse and ride on into the Christmas sunset...right?

A pic is worth a thousand words.
This one explains my absence aplenty.

Traveling at Thanksgiving has been a blessed tradition in our family; one we have whole-heartedly embraced.  Turkey is way overrated in our estimation.  Now....tequila....well, we're mighty grateful.

Jen doesn't want a starfish for Thanksgiving dinner!

C'mon Sprouts......a spitting duel??

Why isn't the Texan a-sceered of the purple, hippie sea monster giving the peace sign??

We regularly assembled to give thanks for the sunsets.  Our sanctuary was our balcony.  Every evening there was an awe-inspiring display of God's creation.
Didn't I tell you it was awe-inspiring??  The camera self-timer and my little tripod came in handy.

A great holiday and I feel blessed all these folks will put up with me.
Now, let's throw our leg over the pony and get back to it.  We're riding into Christmas and I'm feeling inspired.  You with me?

Post-Thanksgiving love to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

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.

Friday, November 12, 2010

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.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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, November 8, 2010

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.

And NOW (ta-da!!)...for a TOTALLY RANDOM COOKING TIP!! 
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.