Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hey Armed Forces - SHOUT OUT!


Twanna Smith (a wonderful woman) connected with the USO Organization returned my e-mail today stating that although Faith (my dog) was a great inspiration and would probably have a great time on the USO tours - that the USO works primarily with celebrities - she'd keep our information on file though - - I had to laugh.
The USO is a fantastic way to get the Armed Forces and celebrities together, to lift morale, to bring great spirit, to show the world that people (and in this case a dog) are willing and able to support our American Armed Forces no matter where they are stationed throughout the world. The thing is, the USO doesn't have a clue-one as to what they've got if they're turning down the most loved animal on the planet, and certainly one of the most recognized animals ever to live. Faith's celebrity status must have been in question because someone at the USO didn't know who she was - Oprah knows who she is! Oprah has had Faith featured on her show a number of times and has gone on RECORD as having said that Faith is one of her ALL-TIME favorite guests. OK - so maybe that's not celebrity.
Faith has a way of showing up celebrities actually, and without naming names - but it would be so much fun to do so - I'll say that Faith has been the reason that many celebrities, singers, actors, dancers, and professional football players DON'T book their appearances the same day that Faith is going to appear at a certain military base because they KNOW that the line outside the door won't be for them - again, no names, but one particular blond bombshell that makes the USO tour nearly every season stated from stage last February that Faith's appearance at the base she showed up at made her feel vulnerable - her words "Two beautiful blond bitches in the room is just one too many!" I love that woman, and will always consider her to be a friend. She knew the truth. Faith doesn't have to take her clothes off, wiggle like a worm, or sing the National Anthem to get anyone's attention. She does it because she's - Faith.
So, ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, MARINES, COAST GUARD, and all of your beautiful troops surrounding the world with your protection and love - write to : tsmith@uso.org if you would like to see Faith the Dog come out to see you on the next USO tour. Believe me, you make the call on this one. She's not sexy like Jessica, and she's not going to sing full heartedly as Toby might, or even command a great band like Gary Sinise - but she will stop the show dead in it's tracks, talk about POWER - just seeing Faith walking upright is reason enough to remember why you're out there in the first place - BELIEF that it is the right thing to do. FAITH in what you can achieve, COURAGE - standing right in front of your face - willing to love without anything in return.
If you haven't see Faith in action, go to the website: www.faiththedog.net and look up her videos and photos. You'll see her love for the troops in the "Stuck in Dallas" photo gallery for sure. She whines and cries like a baby at the very sight of a man or woman in ACUs, God must be telling her something about you guys - it's in the heart! Thanks so much. If you guys can ask for us, we can be there. Hooah!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Real American Beauty! Love for Lindsay!


Like a rose, Lindsay Lohan has been grown, groomed to near perfection, cut from her life stem to be seen, used, and now apparently stared at by the world - supposedly, HER public.
An American Beauty is indeed an amazing flower - just being able to successfully grow the plant takes professionalism, years of experience, and a prominent reputation among the flower community - not just ANY rose gets into the mix, not just ANY American Beauty gets chosen. Do you see the comparison I'm trying to make? America's endless desire to see gorgeous women bloom and blossom before our eyes from the beginning has led us to the seemingly tragic story of yet another fading flower - America's film industry found her, watered and fed her, groomed her, cut her from her family to bring her out into the light (so to speak) and without any concern whatsoever to her real personal needs that same industry thrusts her into PR situations creating a dying effect, openly exposing not only her natural thorns, but pointing out what invariably will happen - death.
WAKE UP Hollywood! This isn't a flower you're holding. Lindsay is a real person. She's not even legally an adult - how can she be shuttled back and forth by adults, manufactured into a glossy prototype of so many other would be starlets that came before her, told to drink, told to go to the very places that denied her presence once she stumbled - forced to be seen, to be fed the lie that if she's NOT seen she'll become a nothing, a no-body, a has-been - lied to, and suddenly found wanting in the streets after being set free without guardianship, without real guidance? We can't expect her to behave perfectly - she's a kid! She's a human kid! She's been made into a product- WHO out there, besides me, loves this girl? Her own parents have used her for years to gain popularity, money, status, dreams - she's been abandoned, but held up for the world to admire just as long as she's beautiful - as long as she behaves - as long as she does what you say!
Didn't anyone see the Letterman interview? She was scared, nervous, hurt, and needing more than a gesture of sideline parenting. Yes, it may be too late in some respect - but it is NEVER too late to love her, or to pray for her, or to offer real help - real solutions, not another "I'll-help-you-and-you-help-me-get-rich-off-your-name" scheme that seems to be prevalent today on television and in the tabloids - everyone is so fast to jump on Lindsay's every mistake. Has ANYONE tried to find her glory? Has ANYONE mentioned her abilities to write, to love, to think, to cry, to want to be something more? Maybe it's just me, but I see a little girl - wanting to grow up, yes, wanting to be led, wanting to be shown a better, more fulfilling solution. DAMN IT can't anyone around her - anyone - love her without expectation?
No flower, having been cut from the stem will live long - but how we love to show them off in their bright colorful vases; ribbons, and glitter - how pathetic are those who show them off. Let them live. I love Lindsay from my heart - yes, probably because she has for years reminded me of my own daughter Laura, but nevertheless - that is ONLY the way I found out about her. Over the years I have learned to see her for herself. And I have cried right along with her on many occasions - I hope she is able to not only heal her condition, but her soul as well. Love to you, our American Beauty!

Starbucks and MY Troops!


Can you imagine the FEAR, the utter FEAR that ran through my blood when my friend, who happens to be 100% military, told me that Coffee Moguls at Starbucks were going to launch an anti-administration or anti-war campaign! I all but fell off my chair! NO, I screamed! I can't do this! That would mean giving up my addiction!
Luckily for me, an internet idiot is behind the rumor, and there is absolutely NO TRUTH to the rumor whatsoever. I spend on the average about $6.00 a day drinking coffee at Starbucks. I've often said out loud that it's cheaper than cocaine, has the same effect, but you don't have to deal with the police! It's an accurate statement. There's another comparison too: Starbucks may be more expensive than say Dunkin Doughnuts or Caribou Coffee, but it doesn't have to be. People don't have to get the cappuccinos. They can do Americanas, straight coffee drinks, simple espressos - no one puts a gun to my head and forces me to dress my drink up. I do it because (and whenever) I want to. It's a great perk - I'm an American! (and I have a job)
So...with big, fat, wet, tears rolling in my eyes I called the headquarters of my beloved Starbucks. I was transferred and transferred, and then I was actually hung up on, but I called back. I had to know. There was NO WAY I was going to take the manager's word for it at the store I usually buy my coffee from. She's awesome, but like me, she's 100% pro-trooper! She's going to tell me what I want to hear, and that's not what I needed. I wanted, yes, I wanted, but not what I had to possibly face. The call finally went through. I was sitting, literally on the edge of my rolling chair awaiting the answer. It was good.
Starbucks has so many stores with so many mangers, district manager, regional managers, and investors that somewhere along the line one or two of them discussed asking Starbucks to make a stand. How can a company that serves everyone from every walk do that? It would be corporate suicide! They aren't stupid! The coffee company itself isn't Starbucks, there are growers, distributors, customers, clients - we're all in this. I'm sure there are a dozen customers at any one time in any one store on any one corner: and that's just in Manhattan with their 100+ stores, that is going to be able to have a varied thought or two on the outcome, or even the onset of the war - OK...that's cool, but my goodness - to say that the STARBUCKS name is involved in something as terrible as NOT supporting MY troops, my son, my flesh - it isn't true. Thank God, it isn't true.
My store's manager (Rebecca) and my other store's manager (Betty) have teamed up with me to get a petition going to ask Starbucks to do the world a favor - or in the case of the troops, a flavor. We'd like to see a certain select or blend be dedicated to the troops - their memory, their support, their efforts - even a way of funding them, or thanking them. Every cup sold would generate money for patriotic causes here and overseas. It's a beginning - something we discussed over a good hot cup of coffee today!

Weekend at the Weasleys!



This is JUST my opinion, I have absolutely no way of knowing exactly what will happen - EVEN if I do have some sketchy sort of insider connection to the lot in Harry Potter's world.

I think the big thrill, the finish, the death, the tragedy will be none other than RON WEASLEY - why do I think this? Well, for one he's expendable. He's been very good thus far, he's been both informative and entertaining, but he's never been the star, he's never been the show-stopper. He's been a slight hero from time to time, he's had good timing, good connection, great skills at nearly everything that Harry is good at, but that's not enough. I think the boy DIES.

I also think that Neville Longbottom was suppose to be the wizard that survived Voldemort's wrath the night he permanently marked Harry and killed his parents. That's another one of my insane beliefs, or rather what I would have done if I had written the plots myself. We all know I didn't have a thing to do with any of the stories, developments or productions - other than the time(s) the company personnel approached me about my dog being in the 4th movie, the Goblet of Fire. Thing is, if Ron dies in Book 7 will they continue to make the last two movies? I think yes. I think they will, and I think they should. Afterall - people die - life goes on at Hogwarts. More books are sold, more tickets sold, more licensures for products ranging from toothbrushes to backpacks, clothing, toys, and other memorabilia...it makes a great splash when a headliner dies - sort of makes you want to run out and buy all the things with his image plastered on it so that you were the really true and devoted fan.

Yes, I think a WEASLEY bites it this time. I thought about Mom, and I thought about Dad. Too obvious and not that much of an impact. The twins could bring in a few tears, Ginny too - she'd be missed - but RON, there's the ticket! Spectacular death too, please! Let's see him crash from 1000 feet in the air on a Quiddach broom - or better, falling from the Bell Tower trying to reach out and grab his owl before it has a chance to alert Voldemort of Harry's plan! YES! that would do. Maybe he could somehow land in the pond and be swallowed up whole by the Merpeople - they could make him one of them, and he wouldn't have to completely die -just you know...go away.

Oh, but Laura! Poor POOOR Laura - she cried the second I suggested it. This is exactly why it would make great sense to oust the boy. Laura has been in love with Rupert Michael Grint since the very moment his little red tuffed head showed up on screen. The years have passed with her fantasies involving little Grints following she and Rupert through Piccadilly Square on their way to take in a museum, a concert, or simply walking back home from a wonderful day on picnic with her man! Rupert, her star is just about to rise, you may think about it buddy! You could die in Book 7, relax - take off 6-7 years and watch Laura's singing career skyrocket! Good plan - well, we'll have to see what Rowling has planned won't we?

July 21, midnight - the dog will be on the road with Laura and Ozzfest but I will be at Barnes and Noble buying the book. I know, I'm a dork - but dorks have more fun. We live longer, and we smile when no one else has a reason to. DORKS unite! Fly Harry!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Who Said Turtles Can't Fly?



If you know me you know I love Gary, and if you know I love Gary - well, you know I think he resembles a turtle! (Hey, a really really cute turtle! I like the shelled masters of battle!) She smiles because there's not a damn thing he can do about her feelings or the name calling.

On this Memorial Day I wanted to thank the men and women wearing GREEN and of course, I can't forget those wearing white or blue, or dusty brown, and in some cases - black, but you can't see them, they're not really there - but I wish to thank them anyway. I passed by a car this morning with a bumpersticker that was camouflaged - it read "You can't see me flipping you off" and yes, I laughed; sort of reminded me of the way most of our soldiers would be if they could let down their guards for a second and tell the truth about what's going on in the world as a whole. NEVERTHELESS, we are at war, we are in this, and we have men and women out there standing their ground - standing for us, you, and for me. We simply must appreciate that fact.

Sinise is out there this week, has been for a couple of weeks now, in Blackhawks, tanks, on the ground, in the tents, visiting and thanking the uniformed armed forces from every branch he can get his arms around. I like to think that he wouldn't mind squeezing a couple of extra soldiers for me, and if he can - kiss a few! I love kissing soldiers - and since I'm here and not there, he can complete this mission if he will. Give them a big fat wet one for me Gary Alan! Thanks.

You have to admit, that straight mouth of his, his permanently perked brow, the green body armor - and now that hat! He's from the Galapagos Islands for Pete's sake - he even turns his hands in when does his push ups....just like a...well, OK OK...I'll let it go. Thank you Army. Thank you Marines. Thank you Navy. Thank you Air Force, and thank you Coast Guards, National Guards, reserves, and prior service personnel with a big, huge, and personal THANKS to my baby boy Reuben, Pvt. Stringfellow of Ft. Wainwright, Alaska - You can't see me saluting you, but I do - and I will.

Happy Memorial Day to you - and Gary, thank you my friend. You are the ambassador we need today. Hooah!

Speaking of Speaking!

You know, I would rather talk than do just about anything else - except maybe writing. I have to write, I don't have any options. You know they say a painter paints, and a thinker thinks. Well, writers write, and there's no escaping it. Talkers talk, and I suppose that's the reason for the millions of blogs - readers read! We talkers thank you, we really do. Thank you, thank you, and if you didn't hear me the first time - THANK YOU for reading.

I wrote a poem once, and even published it in a book, wherein I mention the fact that a writer's pen is cursed. We have to write. We have to express, we don't get out of it. When we dream we dream in fluid blue or black inkened stains: rubbing and scratching words into thin air, we sometimes see words forming out of clouds on a stormy gray overcast sky, and often we see words being created through the movement of waterworks in our dreams...fascinating!

I didn't have a thing to do today and my maternal parental unit asked me what I was going to do with myself, having the entire day without a single obligation -- this doesn't happen often, and it scared me just a bit that she somehow knew of my schedule...but she is my mother. I answered that I would be at the university, in my office (commons area of the library, 4th floor) working on working. What that really means is: I would be searching the internet for places to submit my resume, my DVD of me speaking recently at a Victim's Rights Week seminar, and I would be applying for visiting professorships throughout the WORLD - lovely isn't it? I can actually go all over the world now, not just stay in my own backyard - gotta love education!

If speaking publicly is what I have been doing through amateur mic night, sales or teaching, then I have over 25 years experience. I can stand in front of thousands of faces without fear because I ATE MY FEAR in the 80's when I was forced to do improvisational comedy at various clubs in Hollywood to pay for rent! I was always behind in my debts, always spending too much, and since singing for my dinner was out of the question, I simply smiled, added a pause, a little timing to a joke, and I was hot! They kept asking me to come back, and I did. This led to that, and here I am, over 25 years later standing (sometimes sitting) and speaking and making a living all over the world - hopefully! If England answers my call, my plead, my beg - PLEASE!!

Most of the time I am asked to speak to groups of people who need inspiration, encouragement, uplifting. I have spoken at hospitals, military bases, schools, and in public forums such as stadiums full of women who have been victims of domestic abuse. But, to tell you the truth, it would be my honor and privilege to teach through the power of positive speaking on topics of furthering one's education. If we're going to change the world through our immigration policies, or foreign market policies, and our short or long term goals of reaching each and every kid through public education - we need to be educated about the very system we are working with and through at this time. There are reasons roadblocks and impasses occur! In a word: Budget.

It is my goal to teach at Hogwarts, and if I cannot do this, I wish to speak publicly on the topic of education at Oxford. WOW - lofty doesn't quite cut it at this point, that's a damn good goal to have, and one that may well be within my reach THANK YOU Jesus! I can actually say that this particular goal just might happen. A little time, a little pause, a little prayer, a little application - and a lot of patience waiting on the right person to phone or e-mail me to ask me to do what I love to do - talk.

What a rush!

Rejection! I Can Take it!

I used to write to movie studios with ideas I had for features and I'd get dozens of rejection letters in the mail - I expected it. They came, and I just filed them away. I didn't throw them away, oh no, I still have my 1978 rejection letter from Warner Bros. telling me that my idea about the 7th Seal in Revelations being too religious in content - hello, they filmed it anyway. Not my idea, of course, but the movie. So, I look at my stack of no-go letters from time to time and remember the ideas that survived even if the studios thought my concepts were trash at the time.

Books. I have dozens of rejection letters and e-mails now, having the capability to thwart one's ideas and dreams through a new medium - I read them from time to time and I thank God for them actually. The rejections drive me to the point that I don't stop asking. Someone will be the one, someday will be the day, somewhere will be the right place, and when it happens - peace! Well, not for me. I don't stop working. I think I will - I always say I will, then I look for a college that will hire me for a semester as a visting professor and I write, teach, laugh, and travel just to have something to do, and someone to do it with. When you're the teacher the students all but have to follow you around the campus if you ask them to. I've made students explain art to me, take me through builidings they like on their campus. I've even had them vie for a position of who gets to buy me coffee at the university's closest Starbucks....that one's my favorite.

Rejection is something I saw a great deal of in the business world too. I sold insurance. Still do. Damn, I do a lot of stuff don't I? I teach, I write, I speak, I sell - something tells me I need to take a break - not today, maybe Monday! In the insurance business, or probably most sales positions, the rejection is more or less an objection. If I had the right come back, or the perfect follow up that may explain a benefit, or clarify a cloudy image for a client - BAM! Sales Heaven! That's when you get the referrals too. Same thing goes for the student/teacher rejection. We both do it. I tell kids all the time to do their work over again, not realizing they may take it as a rejection. Actually, I've not had many examples of actually rejecting a kid - just a re-do. I have t say re-do's are the best thing in the world. You're not saying yes, but you're not saying no. Just do it again, this time with a bit more focus or giddyup to it!

Can a rejection be the end? Sure. People can totally freak when they get turned down or turned away. Maybe it took everything they had in the first place to drum up the courage to ask a question, or to show their work to someone - only to be hit in the heart, the soul with a big, fat, ugly "I don't like it", or "That's stupid". Wouldn't it be hilarious if the business world did that to us too? I write in a proposal for a film and the director's assistant tells me exactly what he/she thinks - I could counter with "You know what? You suck!" But that only makes me feel better, it doesn't heal the hurt.

Rejection doesn't have to be the end-all, it can be the beginning. It can be the middle. It can be the upside-down-seeing-it-from-another-angle kind of thought too. It happens all the time, my books get turned down, but my readers love it. What's up with that. I'm praised constantly by my students, but the Dean bitches? I don't get it. So, I've decided - rejection is a creation or a manifestation of the other-guy's point of view, not mine. My (or your's if you're following my thought process) idea is awesome. I wouldn't have offered it up for review if it wasn't...the only thing I need to do now, since the other guy thought otherwise - is to re-do. Mix it up. Keep going...push, pull, plug, and plunk it down again.

Wow - there really isn't anything new under the Sun is there? I've just asked you to be persistant next time. Don't take no. MAKE the yes!

Boobies MUST Go!

No, I choose not to post a picture of big, fat, round, or otherwise opposing boobs to illustrate this particular blog. I'm far more reserved than that. Caity would have, Laura might have, Reuben wishes I would have - but I didn't.

I've decided, or rather, I decided a while back - that the boobies are the first on my hit list of things to get rid of once I have the time, money, effort, and abilities to do so. I've been exercising like a monkey in a new jungle - but nothing seems to deplete these giants. There must be a way. According to the doctors, they are only large deposits of fat collected in millions of cells, that if trained properly will someday deminish. I have not seen the result if this therory is correct. I've dieted, I've prayed, I've strapped them down, I've cursed them both in public and in private when and where I can say things to them I would never say in the general populous. (They must be defeated at all costs!)

Laura (18, pretty, tall, thin, virtually boob-less) laughs at me. She says she wants to go to the doctor, have them remove my boobies and give them to her - but what she doesn't know is that she would be cursing them too. They just don't stand up to what is expected of them, I guess. They sit there, non performing idiots that they are, and they absolutely refuse to obey even the slightest command of staying somewhat obscure. Sure, I do actually sell more insurance to men I suppose - but that is NOT the point. If it were possible I would will them now, sort of like a living will, to whomever wanted them - but maybe not my daughter, because I don't really ever want to see them again. They've overstayed their welcome as far as I'm concerned.

My plan (and please, don't tell them if you stare into them) is to have them go the bye-bye way sometime this summer, maybe in July when I take vacation. Maybe when no one's looking. Maybe when the doctors are happy, tan, and needing a little cash to pay off that new boat they saw the other doctors fishing on - yes, the plan is good. I pass by size medium blouses and taunt my chest with the cold hard facts that soon I'll be sporting THIS shirt, ha! They laugh - "We'll stick out! We'll not comply. We won't fit on purpose, and you'll look stupid." They try to warn me, but what they don't know is that there is a way to move them around, fold this over here, pull that over there, and sew it all up again - and I win!

All I have to do is sell 2, 248 more books my big, bobbly, wiggly-wobbling friends - and you are SO GONE! (Smiles - counts the sales daily)

I May Be Scotish, But I Do Not Golf.


Until I saw this picture I did not know the difference between a hook and a slice. I sort of had the straight shot figured out in my head, but getting it done on the green is a completely different story.
No, if I had a man (just go with me on this one) that wanted to go out and golf - he could SOOO do so. He wouldn't have to worry about me tagging long. He wouldn't have to worry about me asking questions about the game, or how he did, or what he spent at the 19th hole - I just don't golf. On the flip side of that, I don't have a man - so, he can STILL go golf and not expect me to tag along, or to ask him (them) how the game went, or what they drank, smoked, or ate along the way. Not going to happen.
The game to me seems pointless - but I know it takes an extraordinary amount of skill, talent, and patience - maybe that has something to do with it. I can hit things with clubs - don't get me wrong - I can truly wield the thing properly; even scary, but if I were to try and aim the end of it at the little white ball expecting it to take flight - not so much. My son combines his golfing game with a bout of baseball - throwing the ball into the air and then hitting it with the golf club as it descends - that takes an eye! I can't do that either. Come to think of it, Reuben plays full contact basketball too - for the church! I do occasionally watch that. I get that.
Golf is neither interesting on the field or watching it on television - and if I can't jump up and scream at the opponent for foul play, what good is it? Golfers don't have teams with mascots, they don't have playbooks, protective gear, they don't even have cheerleaders, marching bands, or fans wearing THEIR colors, because they don't have official colors. I guess what I'm saying is that since I can't possibly be good at this particular sport I'm not really interested in watching it or being around it - but I will say this...some of the men I've seen playing the game are hot. I could sit on the sidelines and watch them for a while - pass a little time .....no, too quiet. The game is too freakin' quiet.....no one's tackling another player, no one's slapping each other on the butt, no one's pounding their chest in pride and leaping into the audience - not yet, just give a few more generations...someday even golf will become a contact sport worthy of watching.
But I still won't play.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reality Hits Hard!

I was actually looking at a Sunday paper insert in 2004, noticing the fact that the highschool football schedules were printed in full for the entire state of Oklahoma, when I glanced at the front page picture one more time. There were about 30 boys in dirty gray t-shirts, white practice pads, white helmets, all standing in such a way that there were no faces turned to the camera. They were rallied around the 50 yard line of their field, and they all had their arms up in the air giving each other their contribution to the ultimate high-five! 30 boys with their backs turned, obscured by all the others, and yet - there was one boy with a curve, a certain ever-so-slight curve to the tricep of his left arm - it belonged to my son.

I had NO idea that the picture in the state's largest paper was a picture of the Putnam City Pirates. Being in their practice clothes, there were no mascot logos, no symbols of the school, and even though each helmet had the players' individual numbers, it would have been impossible for me to have read the number 63 on the helmet without using a magnifying glass - but I did catch something very familiar in the turn, the curve of the arm of the boy whose helmet I did examine closer, and found the helmet to bear the number 63. This was my son's arm. I felt odd about it.

I tell you that to tell you this. Yesterday, May 23, 2007, I walked into Starbucks at Danforth and Sante Fe in Edmond, Oklahoma - MY Starbucks, if you will. There on the stand where they sell the various newspapers for the day was a stack of New York Times - with a photo of a group of boys all wearing virtually the same thing - Army fatigues. There in the crowd of men, all hunkering down to avoid a sand storm, and to assist an injured Iraqi soldier, I saw the bend, the bow, the squat, the form - of what could have been my baby boy. It wasn't of course. My son is in Alaska, driving tanks and preparing to defend us when the time comes - but an overwhelming feeling hit me about this ONE soldier. He wasn't my Reuben, but he was someone's son. The others didn't affect me, just the one that so closely resembled my son - it was over a minute before the manager came up to me, wrapped her arm around me and took the paper from my hands - tears were falling all over Page One from my nearly-always-nonmascaraed eyes.

"Jude, he's OK. He's in Alaska. That's not him." She tried to console me, and usually I don't get that emotional over a picture of a group of men who just happen to be in the Army, or in this case, in war. The thought of my son's curve, his arm, his union in that collective high-five flooded over me - this boy, this baby boy belonging to another mother out there, somewhere - deserved a tear, he deserved a prayer, they all did. He just happened to be the one whose butt, back and thighs looked like my own son's when he was so often positioned on the gridiron about ready to strike the quarterback for the opposing team.

My hero is in the field today. He could be a she. She could be a he. They are one. Defending me.

Chicago! Chicago!

Well, the move is looking good - plans are being made - kids are being kicked out. First and foremost, my 18 year old brat Laura thinks she's going to be living with me until she's 35...wrong! I explained to her this morning that I would no longer be loading her Starbucks card with cash and that she would have to do this herself from now on. Adults have responsibilities - she stared at me. I thought for a second she was going to cry. "Cash?" she asked, "You have to add money to the card? How do you do that?" Clearly this is a child living in another world - a spoiled world. Why do we do that to our kids? Sometimes life just smacks you squarely in the face now, doesn't it? I think she has $17.49 remaining on the card, that'll last for a week - she'll be OK.

My painstaking plans to find the right condo include interviewing my poor realtor who you know, if you've been reading my blogs, is not legally allowed to give me information regarding demographics of certain neighborhoods in the areas that I will be investigating. Not that it would cut out so much of my search and put me that much closer to knowing where I want to live, but she's sticking to her guns and not giving me much information. Some would ask me why I don't just find another agent - simple - I like her. She's honest, and she's trustworthy. If she would compromise for me, she would compromise for the seller too - I'll just find a way to verbally dance around my question. If me being an English professor can't use words to my advantage - I must have wasted that money educating myself.

Sheridan! River North! Good strong words? I just ask that question. Hey, what do you think about the River North district? She's all "Oh, that's a lovely area to think about. It's safe, it has great shopping, close to cabs, buses, the El, and you know, it has a Starbucks just around the corner from the SIXTY-THIRTY building." That's it...see, I managed to get the information drug out of her without having to say "Is the 6030 building safe and free of violent crimes?" It has a STARBUCKS around the corner. Being the dutiful Starbucks customer that I am, I can now call the manager of the store and ask her/him about the builiding and it's occupants! SEE! I knew it wouldn't be that difficult.

The word "Quiet" comes to mind too, when I think about buying my own condo in Chicago. I'm not into quiet - I prefer traffic, people, sirens, hustle, and movement down below me. I want a feeling of being somewhere where the air is full of sound and smells that capture my attention and hold me in its arms at night, rocking me to sleep with the very music, the soul of the city. I'd much rather live in New York City but need to be centrally located for my work - all of my work. I have 10 jobs I think. At least 4.

What is it now that I do? Oh, I sell insurance, I write books, I teach online, and I work up ideas for non-profits that will benefit other non-profits. I have to do something when I'm not thinking of things to do - did I tell you I was an overachiever? Cursed really - but it's a way of life for me. Gotta move, gotta think, gotta work, gotta live. Oh, and I'm learning how to play the guitar too, something to stir the passions in my heart as well as my body.

Nothing quiet about me really. There will be plenty of time for quiet when I'm in Heaven - except I'll be chasing Maurice Gibb around for the first 100 years or so....smiling the entire time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Three 2-legged Dogs for Adoption

Have you seen them? There are three (3) 2-legged (all front legs missing) Chihuahuas which have been rescued and are now up for adoption in Port Washington, NY. You can bet I've been told about them. More than 100 people have called me, e-mailed me, and/or have texted me about these precious dogs. It's funny - you own a two-legged dog and the world alerts you to the other bipedal, or would-be bipedal dogs out there. I wish I could adopt them all.

Looks like there are 2 girls and 1 boy. They're named: Pablo, Carmen, and Venus. No doubt my girls would change their names if we did end up adopting them. Wouldn't that just be a kick in the pants to own more than one 2-legged dog? Can you see us walking our dogs? We'd be fun to watch - waddling and skipping down the street or at the park. If the babies were anything like Faith, and I think they are I've seen video, they'd be running and jumping in no time. Faith only took 2-3 months to learn what it took to stand upright all the time. Being Chihuahas these dogs would have such a greater advantage! Faster, lighter, they'd be able to run and play upright in no time. BREAKING hearts and melting souls wherever they went.

Laura's begging me to write to the organization to see if we can adopt them. OK, OK, I'll write. I'll see if the NSAL is crazy enough to let me have them. We'd surely give them a beautiful and full life, that's for sure. The poor things would probably be put in purses and carted around most of the time. Laura and Caity have been fostering Chihuahuas for a couple of years and everytime we get a new one they baby the poor thing to the point of spoiling it so badly no one wants it - that's probably their evil and deceitful plan.....to collect Chihuahuas! They could be worse, they could be peddling or doing drugs - I'll take little varments over cocaine.

There's just something about a Chihuahua in the first place that captures you - the face, the bark, the way they nuzzle you one second and bite your toes the next - something odd about that breed - and now the brats (my girls) want me to KEEP three of them, without front legs. When they play boardgames they try to one-up their brother too; this would be a show-stopper! "What cute puppies you have - OH MY GOSH, they don't have front legs!" Well, we're used to that sort of thing I guess - what's another 3 mouths to feed, backs to pet, bodies to bathe, and collars to buy - since we're with Dublin Dog the collar issue would be the least of our worries.

OK Laura, I asked! It's up to God now. (Please God, find another sucker - I've met my quota!) Smiles - knowing she'd be the first to say yes if given the opportunity!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dublin Dog Collars - YOU Should Be So Lucky!



Check out these GORGEOUS (and versatile) collars. Faith is going to be the new Spokes Dog for Dublin Dog! Oh, we couldn't be happier.

We met the owner of Dublin Dogs (Jason Watson) at the Great Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida - you remember, the day Faith was lost at the airport and CNN came out to film our reunion? Well, turns out that God was really watching over Faith and I guess she had a little Irish LUCK too, because soon after the show we were asked to be the spokes people/dog for the company! Oh, and they're so pretty.

The collars (Jason can tell you more, but I'll give it a go) are 100% rubber, washable, durable. They never scrape, crack, break, or stain - and you know what - they look new years after they've been worn. Dogs that go fishing, swimming, climbing up banks, and chasing geese through mud holes (like Faith) come out completely nasty - but you just wipe the Dublin Dog collar off with a little soap and water and it's perfect again! I'm telling you, there's no better product; except maybe wings - that would be cool - I could wind her up and let her fly across the pond - - give her a more even playing field for the geese that way!

Seriously - we can't wait to show off her collars when they come in. We're getting her a completely new summer wardrobe, and in the fall maybe we'll find a plaid collar for those school daze visits. She's going to need a camoflaged collar for the military stations, and the sherbet collars are perfect for running around in Florida - which we seem to do quite often. Only in Florida can you find a pink house with a teal roof and a big yellow window pane! Gotta love the colors.

Thanks Jason... We can't wait to show off your duds dude! You can find Dublin Dog collars easily by googling, or just going to the website - http://www.dublindog.com (It's under construction, but you can see most of the new lines!)

A Diamond in the Rough

I've sold insurance for more than twenty years - albeit not all of those twenty years were in a row, and I didn't sell it continuously - but that doesn't mean I don't know my way around a lead, and it certainly doesn't mean that I can't make an appointment call without the big boss listening in and micromanaging my every move. I may have been born in the afternoon, but it wasn't this afternoon - you've heard the saying.

I decided to get back into sales again after a couple of years of being absent in the field. The ONLY reason I went back to selling is because at this point and time I have to make a few ends come together while I'm working out the get-rich-quick thing. I've been working on it for years, and am convinced that my statute of limitations has run out on so many of the things I've tried in the past. Sales just seems to kick in, and I seem to be a natural - at least I think I am, which can be benificial when closing a deal. My problem is, and has always been, I'm not a conformist. I don't do the sales call like 99% of the others. When I hear a sales agent giving canned schpiel I want to throw myself through the receiver, grab them by the throat and scream "HEY, I'm human, talk to me...don't read to me, ask me real questions, feed me something interesting so I'll bite at whatever it is you're peddling." Hell, no wonder people hang up, I HANG UP when I get that call!

I spent 45 minutes on the phone today doing grunt work for a guy who thinks that following the script will get his office into a better productivity margin. The poor office went from 12 agents last year to 2 1/2 this year and that's before you count the fact that one of them has already told me that he's leaving just as soon as he's licensed in another state. Something isn't working for that office - four managers in as many years - can't be the company, must be the approach. What is it they say "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result"...couldn't be more true. So, after my 45 minutes I handed the manager a stack of 15 leads - I managed SOMEHOW to drum up. He said they were useless because I hadn't used the script, and he couldn't send his REAL agents out to do a sales pitch or presentation because he wasn't sure of what I had said. FAIR ENOUGH.

I went. I drove my happy butt out to the first appointment - introduced myself, and we talked for about an hour actually about everything under the big, bright, sun EXCEPT Medicare supplements, and long term care. I don't talk about what I sell - I sell it. After an hour of getting to know the man, going through his kitchen to find cream for MY coffee, and asking him for the remote so I could change the channel and see what Palestine had decided to do with their free time today - I pulled out my application - well, his application. I filled it out, asking questions about his health, going over the costs of nursing homes vs. stay-at-home care, and I even joked about having him sign over his house, dog, and johnboat to me so he could qualify for a lower premium. NO, I didn't sign the contract because I'm not appointed with the company yet - but you know what; tomorrow morning when the boss drinks his orange juice, he'll have another Plan J in his pocket as well as a full premium long term care policy for a man aged 71, about $311.75 a month after all is said and sealed.

Diamonds come in many many shapes, sizes, qualities, and colors - ME, well - I may be rough, but I'm good enough to shine the way I was made. By the way, I decided NOT to work for that company afterall. I don't need the training - I need to talk my way into a few more houses and do what I do - befriend, and then BE the friend. I don't know about other agents, but I still remember the names of the kids of the people I sold to over two decades ago - and I wonder if they remember me.

Mavericks are OK when you understand them.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I SOOO Have a Plan!

Oh, this is really cool - I'm finally working again. It's awesome. I'm getting commission, but that's OK because I'm a big mouth, and I do the talk and take money thing pretty well. I've been selling something all my life; whether it was lemonade on the corner of 22nd and Mueller growing up, or life insurance - I meet or exceed every goal I set for myself. It's a fear thing. I'm afraid I won't succeed - so I just keep doing what I'm doing until it gets done, and then I don't actually stop for fear I haven't quite done enough. My teachers used to hate that about me, but I graduated with honors and took a breath at the commencement!

So, I'm selling life, health, and accident insurance again. This time (without mentioning the company's name) I'll say I'm wearing green again. I'll be out in the field talking to farmers again, and maybe this time if I'm asked to deliver a baby cow I won't flinch...been there, done that, did you say you were going to take out a whole life policy to cover the entire family Mr. Jones? AWESOME! Where's that hefer? Nothing beats selling insurance, nothing in sales that is. I couldn't think of a "funner" way to make money and to get to know your country neighbors.

Actually, my plan doesn't actually include staying in the rural areas for long. My goal is to be a manager of a large metroplexed office maybe in Dallas or Chicago - I'm thinking condo downtown with a mortgage so high I would have fainted to think about it last year. My goal to work in the big city is something new, but something I think I'm ready for. With my books being published soon by a REAL publisher, my dog being sponsored and doing her thing with my daughter in tow - I'm free to seek the things I've wanted to find for years but couldn't because the kids were too young and needed me .... freedom at last! Freedom at last! I'm going to the big city and I'm not looking back!

July 20-24 I'll be in Chicago, checking it out to see if I'd like to try a slice of life's pie that I've only read about. I'm online constantly looking up highrise condos with all-glass fronts up near the River North section - something overlooking Lake Michigan, with a lobby, a gym, an indoor pool, a doorman, and the guarantee that I won't be able to afford a second bedroom for the girls - believe it or not, that appeals to me. I'll be able to get leather furniture, glass accents, and OHHHHH, I can get the frames I want, and the lamps - the lamps I CHOOSE! Somedays dreams can simply over take me.

The first week of August I'll be in Dallas - Big D. Yes, I'll be going to Ozzfest to see my daughter and pet my dog - or see my dog and pet my daughter, I don't really know which. But it will also be a time for me to check out the layout of that big city, and find an overpriced highrise that allows dogs like Matrix, and find out if they're going to charge me extra for keeping my kids there. I hope they do. It would give me the excuse to pay their rent(s) in Oklahoma - so they can go to college and LEAVE ME ALONE like the independent almost-adult people I grew them up to be...no, I'm not mean. I'll let them buy me dinner from time to time, and I'll even invite them over for holidays - I'm nice that way.

Dallas? Chicago? Some place I can jump on a plane and go home if they absolutely can't go another minute without me. Some place where I can eat in different restaurants, wearing really cool, flashy, clothes, and not feel like a stand out. You just can't do that in Oklahoma City. I want to tip the guy carrying out my groceries - except no one carries out your groceries anymore and if you tip someone here they stare at you open-eyed and drop jawed! I'm a tipper! I think big city and I always have - I'm telling you, I think I'm a Vanderbilt. Stringfellows live in places with triple digit populations and landmarks like "The big red barn", or the "pond up a ways". When a Stringfellow dies they get buried in the city and everyone wonders where they came from - no one knew they were there; and they wouldn't BE THERE in the city cemetary if digging a hole in the backyard and throwing a body in it weren't still illegal!

I love my family name. I kept it actually when I married, only surrendering it after an error when my ex and I bought a house together. I couldn't wait to get the name back after I dug a hole and threw him in it - don't tell anyone! So, I have a plan! Keeping my Vanderbiltness a secret and making it on the Stringfellow ticket - I'm going to the big city soon, and I'm going to stare out the big glass windows and drink a blush wine toast to the newness. If the doorbell rings, and I hear the girls fighting in the hallway over whether or not they found me - I may giggle a little before I take the fire escape!

It's a good plan.

Christmas Cards on Sale!

It is true. Rest, sit back, and relax. You can get all of your Christmas cards on sale this month if you can find a store selling left overs - Tuesday Mornings was my choice. So, just incase you're on my list, and 200+ of you are - you'll recieve the cutest gold lined cards, 4"x 4" with a photo of a little white fluffy dog catching snow flakes. The interior reads "Let it Snow! Holidays are Fun Again". If that bit of information ruins the season for you - don't worry, you'll forget you read this spoiler by Thanksgiving - and when you get my card in the mail you'll think you had a moment of deja' vu'. Should be fun.

I found a stack of Christmas and holiday cards from years back - found them today when I was trying to rework the puzzle that I call my storage unit - ever do that? You get one, put all the big things in first, things you don't need. You add the boxes later. Big heavy boxes on the bottom, but not too big - because you can't lift them. Medium sized heavier boxes are best. Then somehow you get the smaller heavier boxes to fit, and the larger, medium, smaller boxes that are either rectangular or unable to be taped up, they go on top of those - and before you know it, you're working a jigsaw - worse than the freakin' Rubic's Cube to figure out. Oh, but my darlings were PERFECT with the markers - they were absolutely amazing.

I found a box marked with 81 different titles. I swear to God, I'm not lying - Laura listed the contents of the entire box: ALL OVER THE BOX. So, I pull it out, it reads: Crayons, pencils, lense case, 6-Lego things, paint tube thingy, pens, and dictionary. It continued to explain that Christmas bows, a battery charger, and a box of dominoes was also inside. Must have been the one box I would have called "MISC". Leave it to Laura - but you know what, if I want my dictionary I'll remember it is in THAT box. The box behind THAT box was the box marked "Stupid cards that we don't need but Mom keeps anyway". Why are my kids so mean? I don't want to throw out little cards given to me by my dead aunts, my new and old friends, my co-workers who I may someday remember. I don't want to chunk them just because they're 11 or 12 years old. I have an original drawing from Wayne Coyne in that box! Yeah, that's right, Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips baby, drew me a card for Christmas - The Flaming Lips rule! (telling me to throw out cards, to hell with that!)

So, every once in a while when we're out and about the city of Edmond, and have nothing else to do - we go by the storage unit and visit our stuff. You know, make sure the floods of May didn't overtake the boxes, making sure the rats and cockroaches aren't making permanent homes in our photo box, or worse - my pretty curtain box. I have a pretty curtain box, and then I have the ugly curtain box. Caity's title. It was her way of letting me know she didn't agree with my purchases. Why don't I just put her in a box and write all over it "Nothing in this box, nothing to see - just a big, mean, nasty, folded up kid with her tongue sticking out at me!" Why? Well, because we went to the zoo today to waste a little time, and she jumped over a really scary fence to save a kid that was just about to take a header into the sealions' domicile - that's her - that's my Caity. One minute I'm ready to stuff her in a hole, the next I'm crying with my heart about to bust from pride.

When I got to the storage unit I pulled out the box that said "Kids School Stuff" and I dug through it a little. Caity and Laura looked at me. I found what I was looking for almost instantly. You pack a box yourself, and you have that luck sometimes. There in the middle of the seemingly messy mix of moments from a decade or more of grades and little momentos that again, I couldn't bear to part with - was the award Caity won in the 3rd grade for bravery. She had told the teacher about a boy who brought a knife to school. It just seemed appropriate to get into the box and get out her little medal. I tried to straighten out the little red and blue ribbons so I could pen it onto her shirt today. She laughed at me, but she wore it all the rest of the day. What a neat little brat - and then, it was off to Tuesday Morning. Some days are just good like that!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lawns for Love!



This is what LOVE looks like

This U.S. Army soldier is passing out school supplies to kids in Iraq. This is due in part because of the organiztional skills and love of Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit) who founded Operation Iraqi Children.

As most of you know, anyone who reads my blogs on a daily - or as the title reflects, almost daily; you already know that I am completely in love with Gary Sinise. Not in love like he's the best actor in the world, or that I want to rip his clothes off - just the real kind of love that deeply affects a person's heart when she (I) try really hard to think of something else - anything else, but can't choose what my heart will do. I love - it's eternal, can't help it, I deal with it.

There is a way to help my soul however - and I found this out while I was dreaming. YES, of course, I was sitting on top of Gary in the dream, but that has NOTHING to do with the concept that was bourne from the dream itself. I decided to act on the dream's sublevel development. I decided to create a means to help Operation Iraqi Children without Gary's presence. He doesn't have to be there all the time - dreams are good. He can live his own life, have his own existance - you know - the way he would anyway - and I can do something that actually might make a difference in the lives of thousands.

I'm an aggressive person - you know that. I decide to do something and it gets done. I rarely wait on anyone to assist me. I believe there are two types of dreamers: those who think about what they dreamed, and those who make their dreams come alive. I'm the latter. I decided to call the parole officers in the county I live. I asked them to work with me in order to get this dream to wings. I want them to give me the names of 100 kids that will be serving community service soon - 100 hours or so. The kids (mainly boys, but girls can mow lawns too) will be mowing lawns to create good will. They will be mowing lawns for people who will pledge money to the OIC through envelopes I provide. The envelopes will have pictures of my son (a U.S. Army Soldier) standing with an Iraqi kid - one like the kids the other U.S. Armed Forces pass out supplies to. Reuben is in Alaska now, but he'll be in Israel, Iraqi, or Iran before too long.

With Oklahoma County behind me I know I can reach 10-12 other Oklahoma counties. I am working now with counties in Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri - we have great lawns. I'm working also with counties in Central Florida, because the Southwest region will not have any lawn work in the winters, but the Southern states will. I want this to be an all-year event, year after year. If we ever stop passing out supplies in Iraq - we can pass out supplies somewhere else. My hope is that many thousands, if not millions of lives will be changed. I can't be there when my baby boy goes to the Middle East, but as a teacher, he knows my love is inside EVERY package he or his buddies hands to a kid - smiling, he can feel my heart smiling right back at him.

Call it what you may - I only actually stalk Gary in the dead of night - when even I'm not aware of the real world - drifting in and out of happy-places....coming up with ideas that can change the world.

Always the Addict!



MY GOD, I love this picture!

So, I'm in Orlando, Florida looking for a Starbucks, which I might add - is not as easy as looking for one in Manhattan! I finally find it - but I had to go on the Universal Walk to do it. It wasn't the one in the picture, but it was upstairs, and to date, it was the first Starbucks I ever went to that was upstairs. This photo of course, looks more like what I would (or will) find when I visit Hogwarts this Summer. Can't wait.

Starbucks has me by the throat - and this also means they have me by the purse. I spend more or less the same amount of money a day on drinks as I do on gasoline - you do the math. I'm broke. I drive to Starbucks to fill up, and then to the 7-11. There's NO WAY I'm missing out on my drink just because my car needs a refreshment. I'll freakin' walk to the mall before I go without my cappucino. Oh, but now - now, Starbucks has gone too far. Yes, they're doing it. They're pulling out the stops. Putting orange, raspberry, blackberry, whatever berry or flavor you want in your mocha - which I guess they did anyway with their Christmas specialty the Peppermint Mocha.....damn them! The new Orange Creme Mocha comes in the standards, the hot, the cold, the frozen, the blended, the coffee based - tall, grande, venti. (I watched this morning as man ordered a small, and I laughed. We laugh. Starbucks addicts. We laugh.)

To be honest - today was my first attempt at falling in love with the Orange Creme Mocha. I live in Edmond for a while still - maybe until October, so I went to MY store at Santa Fe and Danforth. I let Naoma and Rachal have a shot at making the virgin OCM - DANG....they know their stuff. They knew they had me before I waltzed in. I don't walk, I glide into Starbucks. I float. I know I'm gone - I know I'm captive. Why fight it? I have a really good machine at home too, and yes, I do make myself the various drinks that I can pay outrageous prices for at the store. I make one every morning before I leave - and because NO ONE is there to stop me, I put 4 shots of espresso in my cup......ha! You thought I was using cocaine - wrong, coffee my friend, coffee....same effect - no police.

Naoma stared at me as I stared at her. "What are you doing in MY store?" I asked her. She belongs in the rival store of 2nd and Bauman in Edmond. I go there when I see a few firefighters sitting outside on their plaza - that store has the best looking clientele in the city of Edmond being right across the street from the firehouse! "Making you an Orange Creme Mocha" she bantered - I was shot! Shot through the heart - penetrated by her words - captivated by the very thought of the mix - mocha, orange, creme.....fine. $3.90 - not a problem. I'll just do without lunch - we have to make choices in our lives. We have to set priorities. I could actually, if I thought about it - go on a Starbucks diet. 3 drinks a day - cost about the same as I would pay if I were on Jenny Craig or Nutrasystem - sure...why not. With all the money I'm saving by NOT paying for gas, I can walk 5-10 miles a day and do this thing right.

To date I have been to 278 stores across the nation. I have many, many, more to go. I smile when I think about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Pillsbury Dough Boy!



I was inside this cab when I saw this huge white guy with a chef's cap wanting to share my fare - I punched the back of the seat and screamed "Let him in, I have so much to tell him", but the driver wasn't from America and he took off like a flash in the pan!

What you DO NOT KNOW, but I will tell you, is that my poor children, especially Ruby, have been subjected to my double talk, my fun-punning of the English language for too many of their young years. They were RAISED on my abilities to use words - for them, it has been pure torture. For me, it has been a challenge to come up with more words and more double meanings that can be contributed to my on-going obsession with the baker himself, Mr. Pop n' Fresh Pillsbury! (This one's for you Reu)

When I first meet Pop n' Fresh, he was no more than a pasty. His father, a sourdough from Long Island, and his mother, a rather prominent ladyfinger calling herself "E.Clair" were simply too delicious not to marry. They found each other sufficatingly delightful...making little Pop was never a question, it was a matter of perfect timing, perfect settings - everything had to ROLL just right. When it did he was such a little muffin! I couldn't keep my eyes off of him, and wanted only to take him home and keep him TOASTY in my kitchen. He's lived with me for years and he has one job - to torment my kids.

I remember the first joke my little friend told my son. "Hey Reuben", Pop n' Fresh called from the pantry "What's my dad do for a living?" There was no answer from the scared little boy trying hard to hide from the white image of a half-baked cook - "He's a cobbler!" Hahahahahaha, came the high-pitched laugh from the kitchen. Hahahahaha, he continued as he told another joke. "Hey Reuben" and he waited, but still no answer. "Why am I only 6 inches tall?" Pause - wait for it "I have a little shortening going on inside of me!" Hahahahaha

OH, I can see my boy's older eyes rolling now, but at age 4 he was a puddle of water in the livingroom - I would take my little 6 inch rubber guy out of the pantry and hide him under Reuben's pillow at night sometimes. He'd find him and I'd hear the baker flying into the wall with a thud! "Don't hurt me" I'd call out to Reuben in the night in the best Pop n' Fresh voice I could custard-up! "I can pay you a ransom in the morning, right now I'm a little short on DOUGH" and then he'd throw the poor toy out the window! I'd find him in the morning all marked up with magic marker, death signs covering his body. Its no wonder my son is as tough as he is today - can you imagine having to deal with this sick twisted piece of wheatgluten for years?

Well, all I have to say is this: Reuben, if you die in the WAR - Pop n' Fresh is coming to the funeral my friend, and he's going to do his best to get a RISE out of you. You'll TURN OVER in your grave from what he has to say to you for all the times you thought you BEAT him - you'll GLAZE over with embarrassment when he's finished...oh, Reuben just one more thing - what do they call Fort Wainwright in the heat of August? BAKED ALASKA!!! Gotcha!

Mother's Worry - It's What We Do!

I'm always teasing Reuben (I call him Baby Boy) because he's such a boy at times. He says or does things that just makes me giggle inside with either hysteria or pride; and sometimes both. He can be so blunt! He can be so upfront! Some would call it rude, or harsh if they heard what he says in the dead of the night to me when he calls. It's really a good thing he calls me at 2:00 in the morning, as often times I incorporate what he's had to say into my dreams and there's NO WAY I can blame him for what I thought I heard him say.

I do worry about him when he says things like "Well Mom, I'm going into the artillary field for a few days and I don't think they'll let me call you. Sgt. So-and-So will call you if I die and you'll get a bunch of money." That always sends red flags up in my head - NO, wait, what are you saying boy? They're setting you out into the real field with real guns and real bullets? Who are these people? Do they realize you're my only son? Do you realize that real bullets make big holes in a person if shot directly into them? He's going to stop telling me his day to day schedule if I don't stop freaking out. Last week it was "Hi Mom, I love you - oh, guess what, I got knocked off my tank and thought I broke my ankle, but didn't. I'm OK - the guy I landed on is still in the hospital though." So, I woke up the next day thinking I was imagining it - all was well. Boy's OK...surely, the other guy calls his mom in the middle of the night and gurgles to her that he's been flattened and is currently in the base hosptial being treated for broken bones and suffocation.

My daughters aren't any better - we believe in the direct approach when it comes to information. They let me know straight up what's going on, but I will say that Reuben's a little more lax about it. He never seems to understand the impact his words, and in some cases his body actually has on people. Caity and I went to dinner last night at the Olive Garden. She wanted a few more bread sticks so she asked the waiter for them. He came up to us, and she made an overt movement with her head, cocking it to the side and saying outloud "He has a nice butt!" He was still standing there. She smiled. He blushed. He left. I grabbed a breadstick and shook my head. Laura's a bit more considerate. When I took her to the mall Sunday, (took Caity too, and the two of them serenaded me throughout the entire mall, dancing around me, singing and kissing my face and head over and over again - everyone knew I was THEIR mother on my 21st Mother's Day.) and she (Laura) put on a maternity shirt - for giggles. "Mom, there's something you should know" was her only comment - if it hadn't been so funny I would have broke down in tears. (Mary holds the record for having the ONLY virgin birth)

So, there you go - Mom's worry - we do that. We think people are coming out from nowhere to steal our kids, and then some days we go behind buildings and stones just looking for people who could possibly give us a break for a few days - they could take them, maybe call with a reasonable ransom request - I could set up a payment plan with them and visit the kids from time to time. Does it work that way? No? Fine! Now that they can almost feed themselves, I think it may be time to let them try walking alone at the mall - what am I saying? That'll never happen - they love embarrassing me too much.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

THIS Year, Mother's Day is on Sunday!

Among other things, I hope the U.S. Army is able to teach my beautiful son that Mother's Day is (usually) celebrated on Sunday. I got the phone call, like I almost always do - at 2:00 in the morning my time on Saturday, May 12, because time to a REAL soldier, like Reuben, is non-existent. You're in it for the fun - he's no exception! "Happy Mother's Day, Mom!" he called out to me from the other side of the tunneled sounding receiver (he's considered overseas - Alaska). "Thank you baby" was my reply, and feeling that I should go ahead and inform him of the perhaps shocking fact that Mother's Day is actually celebrated on Sunday - this year, the 13th of May - I told him he was an awesome and incredible kid, and that THIS year Mother's day was moved to the 13th JUST FOR GIGGLES. I wasn't surprised that he WAS surprised. Baby Boy is like that from time to time - having NEVER paid attention to minute details in matters that don't matter - he's not a Mom, and we usually went out on Saturdays for dinner since trying to find a place on Sunday after church to dine would be impossible (especially while he was growing up).

"Hey, that's cool!" He said, "I can call you tomorrow too!" and of course, he did. I beat him to the punch this time - I wasn't asleep. I had been out partying with my good girls Niki and Kimi - hey, it just dawned on me, all of us have 4-letter names. We're so cool - Jude, Niki, Kimi, yeah - we're awesome. Anyway, we were eating hand-made pizzas at Cafe' Bauer, which, if you know the owners can stay open all night - and we were drinking good cheap wine, dancing, running around the house in our expensive underwear - HAHAHAHA, I'm laughing because I know the truth, but I want you to think we're hot. "Good Morning Baby Boy!" I said to my son, and I explained to him why I wasn't my ordinarily sleeping, kind-of-out-of-it Momself. He wanted to fly home and drive me to the house to tuck me in. Moms aren't suppose to be dancing with anyone at 2:00 a.m. - but he conceded that the girls were at least girls, and we were harmless unless we all turned at once on poor Chef Eric, who from time to time dons a little french maid's outfit to throw our pizza - he skipped this costume event last night, choosing rather a t-shirt and shorts for the appropriate 85 degree weather - yes, at 2:00 a.m. it was that hot in Oklahoma.

Mother's Day is on Sunday from now on! I wanted you, the readers to understand that it would be made official probably, and that CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, all of the great networks, FOX, everyone, would be talking about it. Wait til next year you'll see - it'll be on a Sunday then too! My son was only mistaken this ONE time - and he's good because he actually wanted to call me again. He's like that....infact, he calls so often that I wonder sometimes if he has much to do during war time - he got his underwear stolen the other day, and a couple of pairs of pants. I told him it had to be the Russians! There's NO WAY another U.S. Army soldier would intentionally steal from a fellow brother. He thinks maybe the kid is shell-shocked, has snow-blinding from his Alaskan horizons - but NO WAY would a REAL U.S. Army soldier do something like that - unless: Reuben out pugled them, out ran them, out marched and out shot them, and they just wanted to see him running around the base all fuming and screaming - I would have put them in the freezer for a couple of hours personally.

To my son - I LOVE YOU! Go drive that tank Boy! Be the victorious protector you have always been, and know this - and I MEAN it - you, my baby baby sweetness of a man, are the reason I was able to celebrate MOTHER's Day each and every single day for over 3 and 1/2 years. YOU are my first. YOU are my heart. Call me anytime, anywhere, I will never refuse your love. Hooah!

To my daughters - PRECIOUS and beautiful little girls of 18 and nearly 17 years - joy comes not only in the morning with you, but always. You have enriched my soul, have lifted me, and have given me the power, the strength, the drive to be the person God Himself intended me to be. Without you there would be a void without hope. I love you both - and will forever.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sharpton's Back Peddling!

EVEN I, ME - the mouthy one - wouldn't have been that stupid to say that Mitt Romney would be defeated by "...true believers in God". C'mon Rev. Sharpton - you're giving us Christians a bad reputation - again! I didn't agree with Sharpton when he called for Don Imus' immediate dismissal. I didn't think what Imus said was funny or in good taste, but we've all made bloobers and blunders that we regretted - and we couldn't open our mouths fast enough to retract the words! Imus needs a little management training - maybe a kick in the backside - sure, but to fire the man for words he didn't mean - said, yes, but didn't mean. Now Rev. Sharpton has put his foot squarely in his mouth (1) by saying presidential candidate Romney would be defeated for his personal belief, or perhaps his choice of religious community? (2) becuase he denied it! We saw the tape - hello, we heard you over and over again, because people in the media LOVE THAT STUFF...love to throw Christians to the lions, and in this case - deserved.

Have I ever been so stupid? Oh, HECK YEAH! I am certainly sure that if I had to think of the things I've said to or about someone's faith, their race, their world views, or their culture - my dissertation titled "Multiculturalism in American Education" would be thrown out without review! We're all idiots, we all say really, really, ignorant things. I just thank GOD that I haven't said it on air, and that NO ONE cares who I am - if someone cared, I would be swimming my way out of the Hudson for something I tripped over my tongue for last November when I visited my adopted city of NYC - I think I was on Broadway talking to an African American woman, a friend of mine now, and I said something so ethnic, so culturally rude, that when I found her staring at me in shock I was glad it was SHOCK and not SHAME...I hadn't back peddled like that in years.

So, what to do with Sharpton? Hell, what to do with Richards, Gibson, any of us? FORGIVE - but do it when we deserve it. When and if we're sorry - like most of us are when we realize that our personal lives, our environment, our upbringing, our engrained nature has relaxed inappropriately, and we make ourselves appear less or sound less of the person we wish we were, and more of the person we have so far evolved to. We keep trying....hopefully, peddling, and peddling, but maybe next time it won't have to be backwards - huh? Can we pray about that and believe it for a second? Saying we're wrong is hard - but lying about it only makes it worse.

Christians - follow Christ people. We're NOT Christ, we can't be. Cut us a little slack sometimes, you may find us pretty handy in case of a prayer need someday. (It's rumored we have a direct line you know.....to GOD Himself.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

OzzFest 2007 - Includes MY DOG (and Daughter)



I am actually not sure how much information I can give you about this concert event considering I signed a confidentiality statement with Brown Gravy Entertainment yesterday. (Hi Bryce!) What I can tell you is that the GREAT and Legendary Ozzy Osbourne will be hosting his annual Ozzfest (2007) beginning the second week of July and going through August. There will be over 20 dates and they are traveling in the usual manner - by bus.

The really cool thing about Ozzfest this year is that a very very special guest star will be attached to the WORLD FAMOUS and FABULOUS Brothers Grim Side Show! The side show is a group of extremely talented actors and performers who do more than just the average stage performances that you may expect from the retro age circuses of the 20th Century. Look up the Brothers Grim online and see some of the most incredible people you've every seen! You won't believe your eyes! Faith is not a member per se, she is a special guest, she appears with the side show on occasions and is always happy to do so. She loves Bryce, the manager, and will follow him to NYC! Wait, she's already followed him to NYC! (Hi Ken - Ken went too)

Faith may be a part of the reality show that will be picked up soon by a major network which will feature the side show as a real television event! You haven't seen anything until you see this show believe me - Survivor, Big Brother, none of the reality shows you've EVER seen can come close to touching the strange and bizzare acts you'll witness - and they're real - they really are real! The bus should be the most extreme place my dog or my daughter Laura has ever actually been - and to be locked up for 55 days or more with these people - well, I'm sure they'll never be the same - they'll be better! I bet Laura's singing career takes off too - she'll have a captive audience who may want to kill her by the time they pull into Denver, but hey, she's been in karate for a year or so - she can take them!

I'm sure you'll see more advertising about Faith joining the troupe with Ozzfest this year. Bryce has gone out of his way to make her (and Laura) feel as comfortable as possible. I just hope the poor residents on the bus can put up with Laura's pop music and Faith's constant whining "Are we there yet?" - "Are we there yet?" You think your kids are bad - please, that dog is the worst! She can fly great - no problems even when we land - a little yawn to pop the ears and she's good to go. I wonder though what Bryce was thinking when he suggested the bus as a means of transportation - he may wish he'd flown the mutt in for each show. Go to Ozzfest if it comes to your state and/or city. I won't devulge any dates or places, I don' t know if I can, but you can look it up online!!! Have fun and oh yeah, rock on! (I'm laughing, you can't see it, but I'm like totally falling out of my chair laughing over that one!)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

OzzFest 2007 ! What a Trip.

Who says you can't have fun outside of the normal, outside of the expected? My dog and my daughters will be touring this summer on OzzFest 2007. I declined, I'm rather old and the thought of sleeping on the bus for 6 weeks didn't appeal to me - but hey, the girls are up for it. They'll split the gig 1/2 and 1/2. Laura taking the lead and doing the first 3 weeks, and let me tell you, if Bryce (Manager) puts her on stage - she won't give Caity a chance to be seen! If Bryce allows Laura to shine for 30 seconds on stage with anyone - anyone at all - she will die before she lets her little sister show up and take it away from her. Caity's hoping she gets on stage so she can show up at the fest and just hang out a day or two and fly back home. Truth be told, I'm sure Laura will be the tour-queen!

Faith is just one of those really talented dogs you see - she can make EVERYONE happy - screamer bands, no problem. She can do it! Her function is really cool too. She's a Special Guest with the Brothers Grim Side Show, a world famous performance group with the retrospective flavor of the original side shows from the faires of the turn of the century. They're amazing! Faith and Laura (and maybe Caity) will be available in the side show tent before the gigs to have their pictures taken with the audience - one at a time of course, but to express that Faith isn't always about seeing people in hospitals, schools, and military bases. She can love on ANYONE who is willing to be loved.

Wow - to think, my little girl may be screaming soon from the stage in front of thousands and thousands of people. Brings a tear...but I'm not sure if the tear will be for joy or utter shock when I see what Bryce has found for her to wear! I may just close my eyes and tell her I love her! I love you! I love you Laura.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The After Party!


These water balloons belong to the Eads family, ours were swirled with colors and called "Groovy Soakers", because we're cool like that - it was the moment of moments - the peace following the storm.
Moving is always a big, fat, hassle, and the muscles in your body remember your abuse for weeks. Caity had an interesting idea tough. We couldnt decide whether to throw away our 11 little plastic bags of balloons or donate them to someone who was going to have a birthday party soon. Laura's party is next week, but we knew if we packed the little guys they'd never be found and we knew that if we took them with us, we'd end up wasting them before the party - balloons are cheap - you gotta use 'em right? Right! THE AFTER PARTY!
Some of our friends had already left by the time we had vacuumed the house, swept, mopped, and wiped down the cabinets. It's amazing how much dust accumulates and you just end up living with it. We didn't find any loose change in the sofa or the loveseat either - but we found Caity's leopard shoe, her lucky hairbrush, and a CD case for Michael Buble's HOME - that was good news, let me tell you. We didn't want to just give the balloons away to the people helping us - we didn't want to just GIVE them to someone else to play with. We fought over them fairly, squarely, like animals should, and then we found spikets throughout the neighborhood to load our fun - so we could hide and lie in wait, the way you're suppose to!
The reward for some of our friends for coming by to help us was a wet one! We bombed anyone and everyone coming from any direction. Kids on bikes were great target practice - and two of them were recruited on my team. I had a total of four soldiers, and I commanded them well. Spring has most assurdely sprung in Edmond, Oklahoma. We have ponds and creeks everywhere, we have one right behind the house we're moving from, and it provided great folage covering for most of the night. I did take a break - they didn't, I did. The wine was out of the refrigerator because the refrigerator was gone - and I thought I spied a resisting opponent making her way to the kitchen through the open front door. NO WINE FOR MINORS - just a bulging blue and white balloon on your BUM for trying!
After the wine incident there were NO RULES - other than to clean up what you created. You can't very well turn in the keys to a house with remants of plastic balloons and wet spots all over the place - it's not done. We have our dignity - we just don't always show it up front. The house was restored to an incredibly presentable status - our balloons FINALLY ran out - 1100 balloons takes not only forever to load, but forever to throw and forever again to pick up! It was worth it. 23 soldiers in all, and we only had about 8 or 9 with us from the beginning. We met new troops - we know what it takes to bribe a private into service. Used food. One of the rules of enlistment was that you had to help us eat the food left over from the cabinets and the frig.
I think the only real damage was to the street when Laura's friend Ben got the idea that he could fill up balloons with some of the condiments from the kitchen's left-over box - that must have been hard on him trying to load a little tiny balloon with ketchep from a bottle that didn't have a squeezing action! Nevertheless - Ben was the master! The hose took care of what it could reach, and now we simply pray for rain. (and notify the local cops that no one actually died, even though Caity drew an outline on the concrete to make it look as if someone did...kids) LOL
That's it. That's my life - I live with dogs, and I raised kids. I admit my guilt, I admit my joy. Hope you had a great Monday!