French with Prairie Pug: le poulet roti

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Yes, we know, we forgot the circumflex , but it IS in the drawing below.  Another wordpress language thing we haven’t mastered. Rose, the current Prairie Pug, isn’t the slightest concerned.

But, a friend’s (Charlotte) post (a guessing game we played re: her least favorite thing to clean in her house) prompted me to think of my own oven.

That is, what I was currently cooking in my own oven that was smoking up the house, le poulet roti. Well, it wasn’t really the chicken smoking, but my lack of housekeeping dans la cuisine (in the kitchen).  I refer to this as ‘seasoning.’

It’s the “o” that has the circumflex, but I didn’t get so far as to read how this affects the pronunciation of the word. I pretty much just say ‘ro’ pronounced (as we say in my western Kansas family word say-isms), “that’s a hard row to hoe.” We’ll work on ‘r’s’ later.

Now to get specific (as I have said this is Prairie Pug’s French lesson who is intending to make this a gig), I’ll break iti down.

It’s first ‘le’ pronounced like ‘look’ but without the ‘k.’  And yes, it means “the” which they use before nouns, no more info required at this point.

Then it’s ‘poo’, no explanation… Prairie PUG.

Next, ‘lay’, easy.  Sleeping dogs do not, but I do think maybe sleeping Princess Pugs do. Did I get this right?

Then ‘row’ ‘tee’ (as in tee-shirt).

Le poulet roti. If you know how to get the accents or French in wordpress, please let me know!

Oh? The recipe…WWJD (what would Julia do?) Two lemons, rosemary, salt and pepper the outside, 325 until it’s close like an hour 45, then higher to finish. Bon Appetit!  (yes, I know I’m missing the accent…) Madame Speidel would be ashamed…

Love Muffintop. This is what a Feminist Looks Like.

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You looked fabulous, but we must have better lighting at Tom's Event...

You looked fabulous, but we must have better lighting at Tom’s Event…

Catherine, Catherine! What a wonderful evening at The Cinemark.

I have to apologize for our late response

in expressing our praise and gratitude

for your efforts

in the groundbreaking arena of

Women’s Directorial Debuts.


I had to just take this upon myself, as Paula has been cyber-ly overwhelmed.

I have to say that the handsome picture of Tucker the day of the event

gave me pause…(paws?)…that is, what to wear.

He must have been busy helping you or primping as I had no response,

so I chose the Red Boa.

And, I’m so pleased with the t.

It expresses exactly my philosophy,

that we are feminists

because we feel we have something to say that will make a contribution

Not what we wear, it’s how we participate.

And personally, I like a little diversity, new blood.


So, to Hollywood’s Uber Director, Catherine Michon

and her team of Tucker and Bruce.

And soon, of Tom (Rooker) with your next flick filmed in ‘his home town’ Kansas City.


Now, what can we do to make this a great city in which to film a movie?

I can tell you that we MUST have better lighting.

We will roll out the Red Carpet and put down a Star, for you have earned yours.

Thank you for the effort.

the Rose.



Bang bang…my baby shot me down.

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photographer:  Robert Trachtenberg. photo from  NY Times Mag 8-1-99.

Robert Trachtenberg.
photo from
NY Times Mag 8-1-99.

When I worked at an Art Museum, what I liked the most about it was that I didn’t have to talk.

Yes, pretty amazing to hear from me, isn’t it?

But I really did all the time anyway, in the way I like the best. And the other day, I was passing one of the patrons with whom I’d chatted it up while on my post.

[I saw her at the Saturday morning market in Old OP, I was browsing the beets. She was on wheels, parked at the periphery by the parsley, but fully aware of her presence.]

Paula: “Heeey!” “It’s been a while!”

Stroller Girl: “what’s up! look at all these colors…makes me wanna’ paint, what about you?”

Paula: “…workin’ on it, more like drawings….”

Stroller Girl: “Any new codependents in your life….?”

Paula: “well, you know what they say ‘54 is the new 65′….I’m getting wiser everyday…

My Grandmother Millie only made it to 97, though.”

“What if they bump up that number in the system and make it higher…

I might not re-set to your sagacity. “


Stroller Girl:  “I still haven’t shaken these two…I’m going to give them some time…

I’ve heard if you can get them to three they get a little better.

I just have to stick with my program….”

“they’re such whiners sometimes, though. A little self-discipline

tempered with Gaga-acceptance would go a long way.”

“But, the food is good…and, it pays the rent.

so….until I get a Barbie Car and grow a pair, these wheels are as good as it gets,”

Paula:  “You know it is nice to have a little of my own space and hi-place, but the solo thing is overrated…

And I’ll tell you, so is lookin’ out for yourself and growing up….”

“I’ve now been known to grow a pair, too, these days.

But, only when warranted & I really get pushed.

Sugar coated, of course.”

Paula: “But, I didn’t mean the kids…you know what I mean…”

Stroller Girl: “well, you know they say ‘one is the new 5...'”

You know these guy babes, though….I don’t get it...

Bald is the look and they’re wearing rugs

White is the new black but I’m only seeing it at the roots…

Who in heaven’s nursery taught them all this stuff…

Is this supposed to be what we want? So much work!  hi maintenance stuff!”

Paula: “Well, I think WE did, but it’s kind of a chicken or egg thing, don’t know what came first…”

“I just look at it as Pay Back. “

“It’s pretty weird times, though…

just when I thought I must look 80 with all the attention from ‘peers,’

I mesmerized some four year old across a crowded restaurant…cute guy.”

“It was really pretty flattering …he hadn’t even tasted my fried chicken.

…really had a nice van, so I was curious about the nod.”

I think it was my shoes….”

Stroller Girl: “Yea, I know that guy….buggy’s a Porsche P’4911, right?”

Paula:  “Yes! …..and….?”

Stroller Girl:  “Well, I’m sure your shoes were great, but I think he has a foot fetish.

And remember what they say….”

Paula: “What’s that?”

Stroller Girl:  “It’s only when a babe gives you a key to his Porsche

that you know

you’re close to winning his heart.

Call me Mama...

Call me Mama…



Baby don’t crack, at least not our system.

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Baby Don't Crack

Baby Don’t Crack


I found this porcelain baby doll in a little side table that had moved with me in the last four moves in the last 2 years. It was my daughter’s and while I was sad it was broken, I mended it and knew it was still here for I’d forgotten details like this.

It wasn’t going away and it would stay with her, just as the porcelain dolls of my Great Grandmother had stayed within our family. And just possibly, it might stay with her daughter if she chose that path and had a girl child which is such a privilege. As my cousins said when Lacy was born, “we think you had the best kind.” [which is not to insult my son, Jack].

It made me feel happy that somehow I was connected with all the women in my own family, and in my former husband’s family, that we had contributed to the work of the world to hope to make it a better place for those after us. Or at least, to give something while we were here, whether we were Doctors, or mothers, or executives, or writers or architects, or spouses or co-owners or whatever made up “The team” to have a family of whatever sort.

So here’s a poem that came to mind when I saw the baby doll and wanted to cry, for it was happy drops….For the Future! Life rolls on…spin with it!


Baby Don’t Crack

Baby Don’t Cry

Mama be back

Daddy can fly!

We all have wings

We all have cages

Never quite lines up

Just happens in stages…

S’okay Sukie GG Coco

Jessie, Yogi, Amy, Popo

Annie, Kathy,

Lol & Wendy

Too far ahead

but never trendy.

God is Good…

God is great…

Let us thank him for our food.

See the point!

Don’t be late!

Life is SHORT

BUT we all are GREAT!

Mildred Lee Ward and Paul Roy Ward

Getting ‘The Boot…’

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Frye'd... with studs...  that's how ah like'em!

with studs…
that’s how ah’ lik’em!

Sometimes for a Cowgirl

there must be risks

…that one takes

…with one’s actions

that were never a conscious thought

but, it might just be

that it was worth the risk

despite the costs

to get  ‘The Boot!

God has a plan

….put on your boots

and cinch up the straps…

ladies… we’re going for another ride...!

-Paula Elizabeth Graves, July 9, 2013.

Rosie and My Shadow….

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I am now permanently settled in Hyde Park in Kansas City. It is very urban in my new neighborhood, at least as far as that definition goes west of the Mississippi. And of course, it’s all relative as I’ve been living for 28 years on a place where my next closest landowner was 8 miles away and a trek to another cowboy house was a city block.

And, I have been pondering as to whether or not I think Rosie has adjusted to urban living.

I have identified some defects of character that she perhaps needs to work on.  It’s not that these haven’t improved since Rosie and I moved to Wichita in February 11, at least she knows herself better.  But they still, and will likely always need, daily work.


  • For one thing, she always starts out barking at the boy dogs, but usually it’s just because they are the ones most likely to be curious about her. I think it must be her scrappy demeanor. And, ss her mother’s friend Ellen said, “it’s because they bark about their work…business and politics…it’s so much more interesting.” But, familiar gal pals are important, and it does take a while to attract the gender that she is really seeking and needing.

In fact, here’s a picture from Rosie at Starbucks at Central and Rock (Wichita) after she finally got the attention she wanted and was holding court.

Rosie and ladies at Starbucks in Wichita with little boy dog neglected at right.

I even felt kind of sorry for the little boy dog beside the table. Once she’d found her ladies, he was ignored not only by Rosie, but by all the other missies who might have otherwise found him quite adorable.

  • And, Rosie has also had two run-ins with pairs of dogs. I am not sure if they really count because the encounters were also with their owners and there maybe have been other issues….

a) One was in Santa Fe at Vargas Mall where I waswith a friend who was mailing some stuff to Ebay. These canines were big black labs. The owner, a calm organic transplant to New Mexico, was not happy all and shrank back in terror. The barking so reverberated in the mall that my friend around the corner at the UPS store came out to see about the ruckus.

I’m sure they were likely way more evolved than she, living in the Land of Enchantment and everything. And…she does have a bit of a Napoleon Complex.

b) This 2nd catfight was with the somewhat-but-not-enough-non-speaking younger 3rd European wife of my neighbor in Wichita. She doesn’t speak English, but actually quite mirror’d her one dog in behavior in both lack of respose and reaction as Rosie did her usual (friendly?) barking. Frankly, her husband told me later that his one dog was very aggressive and the other a sweetheart. He said it happens all the time, and that Rosie probably got the hostile scent, scent’sing two against one (the owner and fiesty dog).

  • She also doesn’t always respect others right to clean grass space. And, I have heard that at Jansen Place in Hyde Park that there is a $500 fee if one doesn’t tend to their pup’s pQQps.  Luckily, I’m on the other side of Gilham and somewhat in the Hood so maybe she can occasionally get away with leaving a little fertilizer. There certainly is plenty of other fertilizer on 39th Street, so I’m not that worried about it.
  • She actually got into quite an impressive fight with the pug next door, Cujo.A very beautiful girl was there one day in the front yard with Cujo. She told me that Cujo had been her pug, and was claimed by the houseowners because they (four guys) had christened her Cujo. I think this would explain why the female dog has a male name. That is, I think it should actually be Cuja.So, she is often over there to visit her girl.So Rosie and I were walking by and Rosie and Cujo encountered each other as Crystal and I spoke. Snarling and growling, we proceeded to chat turning only because at one point, the two lady pugs had each other’s ruff by the neck. We were totally fascinated and watched as they wrestled each other to the grass. I think blood might have almost been drawn.

    We both just sat, like good mothers, and let them work it out themselves until we realized that someone was going to fight to win. With that, I pulled Rosie back and we both smiled at each other, very impressed with our girls street savvy and ferocity.

So, while I do think we all must work on our issues, I have also thought about the encounters when Rosie has been put on the defensive, as she was in the first episodes. I feel like in dogville, it should be like that 70s book…that is, “Me and my Dog are OK, You and Your Dog are OK.”  Not all animals were raised with grassy, green sprinklered lawns to protect and received pet shrink care and acupuncture.

a final note:

Rosie did say she would work on her end but advises me to remember, “What you think of me and my dog is none of my business.” That is, it is only a reflection of her, NOT ME, so who cares? Is this really true?

And another tidbit of wisdom from her. In a kind way she suggested that when I am overly worrying about her, that

  • perhaps I should redirect my focus on my own program, being that the only person I can control is myself.

She is a wise one.


Mama’s Got a Squeeze Chute…

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Mama’s got a Squeeze Chute she wears around her chest, and when Daddy comes home never gets no rest…

…in and out and in and out and in and out again…

…”Cause she’s playin’ all night,
and the music’s alright….”

…Well the kids don’t eat
and the dog can’t sleep.
There’s no escape from the music
in the whole damn street…

She goes, squeeze me, come on and squeeze me

Come on and tease me like you do
I’m so in love with you…

-Pete Townshend.



a website? Chapter One: Branding.

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Why the website?

A woman from a Topeka design firm, that once filmed ‘the boss’ for an ad, described it in saying, “one need’s a presence.” She was familiar with rural systems, and she knew where I was coming from.

On a dark day I might say it this way,

“I just might die out here and no one will ever even know I existed!” 

**note: many women with photo albums who take the pictures feel this way. I’m confident I’d never be in mine if it were not for my mother, and now my sister and daughter taking photos, though Jack’s now good for a few.

A city slicka’ lak mahself bein’ or-rig-on-alee from kan-sa sidday mahgt jes add,

“I just might die of boredom out here if I don’t find my next project.”

Oh? The Rancher’s wife thing? Yes, there was and always will be impromptu cooking and Branding and weaning and the need to be always there. That’s not a full-time job after the critters were ‘done grown up and gone.’  And, in a family business with three brothers….well, it’s important to remember where a wife’s business ends and where another person’s business begins. At least at the XIT.

So we began with full support. My personal first “real” website designer Shawn took all my pages of what is called “cartooning”. This was the site menus and my numerous page layouts. I was attempting the urban cowgirl architect edginess, my (at-that-time) completely wrong words. He visually twanged it up a bit. He said,

“I get it, Paula. Edgy, urban, slick cowboy design-architect thing, but no one wants to go ‘back at the ranch’ for that. Everything that you have brought in and laid out is like a scrapbook, a journal.  See it as that.”  He did not even know me, my web way albums, my French sketchbook, architecture school. Poor Guy, he didn’t know what he was in for, nor did Tracy when he quoted that bargain price of $1200.00 over the phone.

And, at the end of a day I am a classicist, old school, whether it is in Paris or on the Plains. And, aren’t Levis actually ‘de Nimes’?  It’s only as simple or complex as we want it to be at the moment….So, I came full circle and I know now he is brilliant. 

So, the quest for

  • the next client (Steve Revare…any churches you need to adaptively re-use…?),
  • the next historic building along a Kansas highway (Citysearch…Susan Ford…KDOT…, you there?)
  • the next “egg money”  [as my mother from Hays termed the income that rural women around Hays, Kansas earned that was their own and not their husbands]. This is what I did, but it was teaching and design. 
    • My contributions to family were more in the way of driving, cooking, sweat equity with house maintenance, and in choosing an unorthodox lifestyle, not something that floated the boat.
    • Beef was why we were there, not health or lifestyle.

Branding was only once a year.  I thought. 


Giving the right answer.

by admin

If you need any help after August 18, please call me :). I don't do windows.


So, now that I’ve moved to town, and have added more people ingredient to my current life’s recipe, I’ve decided that there are really, maybe only a few answers to many personal questions in life. So, this is the multi-purpose right answer that works for everything from “what do you want to do?” to financials to questions of a personal matter or about relationships.

Me, me, call on me!

Actually, this is from my therapist in Wichita, Dr. Stephen Sowards.

(Dr. Sowards gives a big intake and sighs first. The eyes avert slightly to reflect thought processing in a particular hemisphere or the other, alerting listener of what could possibly ensue if they continue on with the particular line of questioning.

Then one responds, “It’s sooooooo complicated.”

Pretty much peoples’ eyes glaze over. You can stop putting forth any effort from that point on.

But, I do have a nice party favor. I hand them my card.