Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pulling Beer Bottles Out of My Forehead!

You have to admit, when you see yourself dreaming that you have an open skull and there are literally cans of beer inside your head, you have reason to be concerned. As I dreamed last night I realized that I was dreaming - so I went with it. I looked into the top of my forehead, my skull top really, and I noticed the cans of beer. They were light beer, they were in cans, and they were so close together that I couldn't really get a hold of one to pull it out of head without hurting myself. (I actually thought about crushing the cans first but it wasn't necessary.)

As I reached with my forefinger to get a grip from inside the top of the first can, hoping I wouldn't cut my finger tip, I realized that the cans had turned to bottles, shorter than regular beer bottles, and they weren't light anymore. It was out and out real 100% loaded beer. I don't drink beer - so naturally I thought it was odd. Not that housing bottles of any type isn't odd, when one is housing them inside their head - but beer was odd for me.

The dream backed up a bit and I saw myself feeling the front of my forehead, like it had a bump of something silver sticking out of it. It felt like a little rock, or a pebble. It turned out to be a ball or a pellet first, then it was 3 or 4, then that hole led to the discovery of the cans of beer that were the star attraction to my frightfully strange and inexplicable dream. When I got out of bed and stopped laughing at myself, I went to the computer, this very computer, and I looked up what I could under every site I could possibly find - and - nothing. Nothing about bottles in a person's head. My, why am I not really all that surprised?

The forehead thing was easy - intellect. I get that. I even get the pebbles and/or balls of steel coming out of it - I'm explaining something solid to myself, I'm allowing something to be exposed. BEER? I'm exposing beer? What could the cans mean? What could the bottles mean? What could the drink mean? Why am I asking you? You're probably still laughing anyway - I know I am. My boss drinks a lot of beer - he should be pulling bottles out of HIS head - and I should be pulling pens, paper, ink bottles maybe - but not beer. Maybe vinegar...I could have accepted that, I'm on a new vinegar and honey kick for health reasons.

So, I drift back to sleep after writing down NOTHING in my dream journal, and I dreamed again. This time I was in a car - driving myself, and I was going up a hill, a very high hill. The car was made of cardboard, as it often is in my dream. I stood up, picked up my boxy transport and walked the rest of the way. That one made so much more sense - I'm unpacking, and it's all uphill - I get it! Maybe tonight I can float past a sea of deviled eggs or use a piece of toast for a surfboard. I don't know - seems to me that the more I think about it the more my head itches. If I get to the bathroom and see a silver ball sticking out of my head - I'm done!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sexy Jeff! (Sorry York, this one was Straka!)

I have quite a few sexy Jeffs in my life, but this past Sunday I ran into my old heart throb! It was so cool. He's selling real estate, he's married and has 4 kids - we talked and hugged. It was awesome. I had to think two times before attacking him and making him hug me, because I wasn't altogether sure he would remember me. I mean, I was the one who had the massive crush on him right? So, why would he have any obligation to send his mind back to 1979 and think of me? Well...I guess because I was the crazy girl that sat outside and watched my other dreamkings playing football in the rain, the sleet, the sun, the burning sun, the scorching sun, and the Oh-my-God-can-you-kill-me-now sun! I watched the boys play every single day after school before school started, during the two-adays, and then after school, and on weekends too. I was the ONLY fan in the bleachers 99.5% of the time, but I had my journal full of dreamy characters - Jeff Straka was certainly one of the boys I had my eye on. (But I don't think he played ball.)

Jeff had white white blond hair, the husky blue eyes, that quintessential smile that a gorgeous boy who knows he's gorgeous always has, and he had a really nice personality too. Yes, he drove the hottest car on campus, but that didn't make him stuck up or anything; his body did that! He was adorable. We used to sit at the table with about a dozen other boys that either played ball, or maybe they wrestled - Eddie Z., Crazy Eddie was there, he ran track - Joe Shepherd, Court Diffee, Rick Thompson, Phil Wheeler, Phil Evans, Paul Sims, Kurt Huff, Sam B., can't forget Sam - and Jim Bell - I love Jim Bell. Come to think of it, not many girls sat with us. Oh well - more for me. I had a big fat silly grin on my face most of the time didn't I? I can tell you, it wasn't the pickle and mustard burgers I was cramming down my mouth that made me laugh - Jeff was, if nothing else, one of the best comedians at the school - but wait - Phil Evans may have taken first place now and then too.

I don't know where everyone else turned up: Rick became a preacher, Diffee shares a mega car lot with his equally good looking and good natured younger brother Laine, Sam became a surgeon - that was interesting news, and looks like Jeff became a sales agent. Jim's probably an engineer - he had that sort of made-for-numbers head come to think of it. Where do they all run off to, the boys of high school? Girls run too I suppose - but I never chased a single girl at the school that I can think of - hung out with Carol - anyone seen Ms. Moore lately? I'd love to hug her neck! Where do they go when they fly? College has such a way of scattering our hearts and making us grow up doesn't it? It often takes a reunion of many years down the road to find the time to get us all back together, and then you have to often sort through the lies, the divorces, the kids, the jobs, the promises to keep up, the drinking surprises - the people you thought you knew, and the big big big surprises of the ones you finally got to meet for the first time.

If you sat me down and you asked me what I was, who I was in high school I am sure my answer would differ from what the people I went to school with would say. After all, seeing a thinker and a brainiac sitting in the bleachers every day watching the boys, writing in a journal may make some people think me off a bit - I was probably the only girl who really smelt, saw, heard, and understood the team entirely. Emphasis on smelt. I would say I was the brainiac that liked boys, did gymnastics in the hall, ignored the A-listed girls, sat with their boyfriends and actually listened to their dreams, and I was the one that didn't give a rat's backside who cared about what I thought, or who thought about what I said - If I were a car I would have been a Volvo: Safe, dependable, just a bit out of reach, and hard to come by in 1979. If I were a bird: A hawk, a color: brown - no one really gets the color brown, but it's everywhere, sometimes the very base and soul of everything surrounding us. That was me in High School. I was not always liked, not always sought, but I was everywhere and into everything.

Seeing Jeff Straka's big grin Sunday just put me back at that school again - walking, or OK flipping down the halls - and stealing pickles from everyone at the table to stack on my burgers before shoving half the sandwich in my big mouth before they could grab them back. I miss growing pains - but somethings remain the same - thanks Jeff for your hand, your hug, that smile!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Student Loans - Paid in Full! WOW!

You don't expect to ever really pay off your student loans. You really don't. I have over (or had over) $120,000 in student loans because I had/have so many different loans taken out to cover each and every semester of all three of my degrees. That PhD. alone has been more than 10 semesters - it's not easy becoming educated you understand. So, when I get the inevitable phone call from the counseling firms, the banks and collectors all wanting to discuss the status my student loans. When I had my EXIT interview at Capella and they asked me how I was going to pay off my loans - I told them I was waiting on the Rapture! (Good plan!)

Now, I'm a pro at this - someone calls and I answer the phone. If they begin their conversation with "This is an attempt to collect a debt", I am usually the first to sigh, take a deep breath, and think really hard about what I'm going to say when I'm asked why I have let whatever bill it is get so far behind in payment - this happens SO often, that I'm really almost prepared for each event - I've almost gotten to the point that I can call the collector by his or her first name, talk about their student loans, and ask them what excuses they gave to their personal collectors. Sometimes I think these crazy antics just might work. Well, what happened to me Friday was incredibly different.

I answered the phone, I recognized the number - one of my favorite guys, a consolidator. He puts my loans in order, lets me off the hook for a while, then he calls me back to either offer me a deferment (again) based on a hardship, or he just out and out tells me where to sign the forbearance papers he's about to send me. This time, he said something that I will never forget! He said "Jude, I have to tell you this, it's the law, I'm forced to inform you about the status of your student loans." I answered "I know, but there's really nothing I can do right now, I'm working, but you know, I have bills....and .." he stopped me. "Jude, your loans, well, about 1/2 of them, were paid in full. Someone paid them off Jude." WHAT?

That is exactly what he told me. He said that during the process of locating all the loans, there are a great number of them, that he was going through each one's status and they kept popping up as being "paid in full", "paid in full". I wondered about it. I thought he was either off by a few digits and had someone else's account, or he was off by a lot, and had someone else's account - he was laughing. He was really happy for me. He said "Jude, they were paid off. This was an anonymous thing". He went on to add that someone, someone really really cool - said "to do so in Faith's honor!" WHAT? WHAT AGAIN? WHAT THREE TIMES? You're kidding me, you have got to be kidding me. But it was true. It was very true.

He said he didn't know who it was, and he didn't know if he could find out. He said he wouldn't be able to give me a name if they didn't want me to know - but he could get a thank you to them. Could he take a hug and a kiss to them too? Oh, I wanted to jump and dance, so I just stood up and danced, and I did a little squealing thing too. My boss stared at me, so I put the phone on speaker and had the guy repeat what he had just thrilled me with - he repeated it. My boss was shaking his head - NO WAY, he couldn't believe it either! No way!! But it was real. My point in telling you?

YOU COULD be the person I'm wanting to thank! So, if you are...thank you thank you! How do you really thank someone for such a wonderful gift? Faith opens so many doors, doesn't she? She's a wonderful dog in so many many ways - and she must have touched the heart of someone in a way like no other. Again, no really - I mean it!! THANK YOU! WOW!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

OK - You Got Me! Harry Marries Ginny!

No, I didn't read the book any sooner than you did, but if I had I would have had an historic reason to do so - I'm a...well, I'm an Oklahoma Sooner to the core. You may or may not know how that works, but it involves a time-scheduled event, one that couldn't be broken, if it were broken it would be .... well, bad ... and the Sooners did that! We, THEY, got to their land SOONER than they were suppose to. I am not one of them this time - but it was fun to play with the big bad spoiler fiends and throw out a few predictions of my own. All of my predictions were wrong of course, with the exception of one, Harry doesn't die - it's been a day, you could have found that out without me being your spoiler this time.

So, Harry marries Ginny. Snogging, lots of hand holding, some touching even - this book got sort of intimate, what is she 15? JK - is this appropriate behavior in the Weasley's own home? Krum must have wanted in the action too this time around, we see him - I want to be the old batty aunt Auntie Muriel in the 7th movie! I want to be her, or the professor that was found hanging upside down in the beginning - over the table of at the meeting of the Death Eaters. I could so do that part - and then I could even brag to everyone that I really was a professor at Hogwarts ... until I was eaten by a snake, which in itself is ironic since I own big snakes and keep any rats that I end up socializing with because I can't live-feed them if I know the rat personally! I'm just kind-hearted, I suppose.

Oh, and did you die when you read the names of the kids? Hermie and Ronny have two children, OK, Rose is not that bad - I have a student I love with that name, she is one of the best young poets out there - HUGO? I understand Harry and Ginny naming their children what they named their children, and I loved the way the older one really gave the younger brother hell this first year - but I will say this, I was baffled beyond compare to come to the realization that Neville Longbottom was a girl, and that he/she .....OK, I'm kidding, just teasing you to see if you had read the books or not - you have, I'm sorry - I love Neville. I actually wanted him to become the boy-wonder wizard and have it all be a mistake. I wanted Voldemort to accidentally reveal his identity as Dumbledore's son, I wanted Rita Skeeter to end up in the arms of Percy in a really good scandal for Luna to break in her dad's paper - that didn't happen...but it would have turned a few heads - don't you think?

While I was at the Barnes & Noble party (Memorial and May) I found a man sitting on the floor in front of the stack of my own books (With a Little Faith 2nd Ed.) and I asked him to either move so that people could see the books, or he had to hawk them. I was kidding. He knew I was kidding, but he was adorable! He said he read my blog every day and he knew exactly who I was. He was actually driving to Phoenix to see Ozzfest because he had relatives there and it was a reunion, and I gave him the numbers of the managers so he could get a couple of passes and see my daughter and Faith. By the end of the night the 12 books that B/N had on their shelves were all sold - I even autographed a couple when he led the buyers to me! I was face-painting a kid once and had to wash my hands first, but it was cool! Faith couldn't make it, it would have been her 3rd HP book party, but she had a great time where she was in San Bernadino!!

In the end JK pulled it off, but the epilogue could have been 14-16 pages longer, a bit more, just a bit more. We needed more - Oh, there's a sequel? Fine, I can do that. So, no more Harry Potter OK? I said ... No more Harry Potter, can you not hear me? Was your ear cursed off too? (hahaha, just a little inside joke) Great job JK...rest for a while.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Manager Mike and Brown Gravy Bryce!

Have I told you about the two very fascinating men in my life? Well, there's Lenny too, but he's not a manager really - more of an upline partner in the PetLane business, and I'll have to save an entire week of blogs to explain Lenny anyway!

Mike and Bryce are my managers. Apparently I need two. It would be great if I could pay either one of them and make everyone smile, but as it is these guys work their real jobs for real paying clients and then they find time (miraculously) to help me too, and I just wanted to shout out and give them both a little credit. I haven't physically seen or met Mike, but he was there for me last night when the creepy service guy wouldn't leave my apartment and wouldn't fix the technical problem he was hired to do in the first place. I resorted to calling Mike and asking him to pretend he was in my area, that we had a meeting at Starbucks, and he was great - more than willing to help. I called him after the guy left and we talked for a long time. He really said the right things to settle me down - told me about a woman that nearly attacked him in a hotel room! Thanks Mike! I slept well. hahaha

Mike works with athletes of every walk of sport. His email address, because I know you'll need an manager for your sporting celebrity friend, is: sportsagent82@yahoo.com You'll want to write to the man and make him rich, because I'm not doing such a great job at that. He's repping 128 great players from baseball, basketball, football, you name it - and Faith the dog! There has to be a connection somewhere. Mike, thanks!

Then there's Bryce. I have met Bryce. He's hot! He's really super duper cute, and if I were just (oh, I don't know, younger, thinner) able to make a move, sure - I'd do it. He's a real fun man to be around except those moments when the side show and entertainment personalities that he represents piss him off - then you want to be on the other side of the big white tent pretending to be working, or otherwise engrossed in something where you can't hear or see him frothing at the mouth! (I love you Bryce.)

To be honest, both Bryce and Mike have been so good at finding me work for Faith that I'm at home right now while she's working and Laura is having to travel, tour, sing, and dance without me. She's good at that sort of thing, so thanks to Bryce and his crew - Lukas and others, for watching over the girl and Faith for this Ozzfest thing. Mike is taking us to Spain when that's over then it's Bryce with the Santa Monica pier thing, and then it's Mike again in a couple or three expos, then it's Bryce again for another spring tour, then it's Mike again for an Australian event....wow....gotta love these men of mine! They're talented, working hard, and just getting it done for me. You'd think I'd be rich - well, I am, I just don't have any real money. I'm very very rich!

Bryce is the owner/operator/CEO of Brown Gravy Entertainment and can be reached at his e-mail address of: bryce@browngravy.com I don't want to give out phone numbers at this point, but if you're in the entertainment world and need a manager - try this, maybe you'll be as surprised as I was last year when he called me to fill in for a couple of acts that cancelled on his at the last minute - circus thing - and make a friend. Or, if you're an athlete and need a manager, take Mike out for coffee after e-mailing him. But, be sure and tell these guys that I sent you so I can make them happy that way - maybe something good can come of it all.

Great men!
Yes Lenny, I'll blog about you next time! I promise!! (kisses)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Am ABD

Sounds so funny when you say it out loud. "Hello, I'm Dr. Stringfellow (and then you whisper under your breath 'All But Dissertation') so everyone will know that you actually have an education - that you've made something of yourself. Funny, I have had this graduation problem since high school really.

When I attended high school in the late 1970's I was the last of the last to be allowed to graduate from the Putnam City School District a year early. One authoritarian was opposed to me doing so, and he would not recognize my Senior status, calling me a Junior graduate at the commencement, as if it made a world of difference to anyone - I was free! I got out by completing a summer course with enough credits my SENIOR year to become a true Senior at the end of the year, thus allowing me to graduate with everyone else wearing their caps and gowns right along beside me.

When I graduated from college with my Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts from Oklahoma City University, a private Methodist school in the center of our state - I was not allowed to consider my somewhat elite status of Cum Laud because the college I was processed through demanded a variance in credit hours, something that the state boards and national boards did not require, but nevertheless - it was left off my diploma and not announced with my name. Four years following my graduation I was still battling the school over it, and finally surrendered.

When I graduated with my Masters degree from the same school, this time in Writing - the boards and heads of the departments had problems with my contract/plan of completion and chose to call my degree a Masters Degree in General Education rather than in Writing even though the 18 requisite hours of Writing were met, as well as the requisite hours of supporting courses - something had to give, and I declined to attend the ceremony since they were not going to announce my membership with the Honors Society of Alpha Sigma Lambda, nor would they concede to printing my name with the degree I had first agreed to. I will simply not say I have a Masters degree in General Education when I have a Masters degree, 36 hours in fact in English and Writing - equally sharing the 36 hours with 18 a piece. (I'm stubborn that way)

Now that I'm 90 hours plus into my Ph.D., which is from Capella University, and is in Administration of Higher Education with a minor of sorts (18 hours) in Leadership, I am being put through it again - this time the contract has been amended to include a research course (4 credits) and more work than was originally planned. I don't have the access or the funds to continue at this time, my dissertation prepared, was submitted, accepted by one committee, turned down by another review panel, claiming this or that, and again - I am stuck in the middle. I am always stuck in the middle - but at least now I have the foremost education from one of our nation's greatest colleges - and can fully understand who and what is behind my sticking - money! I am, and I will remain for a little while - A.B.D. All But Dissertation. Except now I guess I'm A.B.D. and a little research kicker that has to be complete according to one panel of would be experts.

Just as soon as the college financial departments clear me of their boo-boo, claiming I owe something I don't believe I do, I will be able to continue my last course, get that paper, be the PhD. proper that I thought I was when I published my first book, and stop having to explain it to the freaking world. It's been a year now - I have a better grip on what I am, who I am, where I am, what I know, what I don't know, what I must figure out, and if it even makes a difference. All I know is I have had a glorious time in colleges that many students beg to enter and I can't be completely angry at any one person for this delay - considering rather to consider myself one very very lucky woman for having gone through this particular fire - it may provide the last exam thesis for my research course - I'll call it "How to Escape Higher Educational Facilities in America on Their Terms".

Saying I'm ABD just sounds like I have some irrevocable disease or something....I hope not. I hope I'm given the proper title of Dr. Educator soon enough! I have people to teach!

Creepy Service Man

At this point I don't even want to say which service was being maintained because I don't want this stalker type to figure out that it was me that had to turn his butt in for being the ultimate in stereotypical strange service guys - but he was. My life is full of weird and unusual events - I'm telling you, day in and day out. My former employer (The GREAT Mr. Ed Moler) used to simply shake his head in disbelief, but these events would actually unfold a great deal of the time right in front of his face and eyes at the office where I worked. I was his paralegal. I saw a guy dive off a roof once - a really big tall roof, not a one-story. I was a witness to a shooting - no one else, just me - my hallway, no one else there but us. I was the only one available to save a cat in a tunnel between two buildings one day at lunch, but Mr. Moler saw me saving it - he knew I was telling the truth when I came back to work with my hose all torn up, my dress in shreds from scaling the walls barehanded to get the kitty...he knows, strange things and happenings just find me.

Today was no different. I was sitting at home, minding my business waiting on the service guy to show up. I had an evening appointment - it was kept. The guy shakes my hand, politely introduced himself, but I should have figured something was up by the rhythmic way he knocked on the door - over and over again until I answered it. Then he sang to me a little bit, then he came in and shook my hand before introducing himself. Oh, but it gets much stranger than that - he had a phone that buzzed and rang by itself and it wouldn't stop. He opened and closed it several times, banged it on my furniture and floor - discussed it with me in detail, but he didn't fix my technical problem. He didn't even address it. Rather than look at the problem, he sat on my couch and played with the phone. At one point he told me I didn't want to see his screen saver - it was a bunch of naked girls. Then he invited me to go ahead and look at it.

It was about this time that he noticed for the first time that I have a near life-size portrait of my dog Faith hanging on the wall. It was designed and painted by Karen Smith, a friend. He commented about THAT dog on Oprah, and how this painting sort of looked like her. I explained that it was Faith, and that she was my dog. He wanted to know why, if she was my dog, did I live in such a lowlife apartment? I stared at him. I like my place thank you. It's home.

For a while, after he openly discussed his divorce a couple years back, his kids, the man his wife was banging - his words, and the 16 year she favored over him, I finally thought it best to wait outside and let him either do his work or play with his phone. I also thought it best to e-mail my attorney, my agent, and my mother to let them all know he was in my house! I'm not kidding, I was actually e-mailing my attorney stating his name and service company number should I die! I was making out a pseudo will online! I asked my agent and my attorney to take care of my daughters and to let Reuben know where the insurance papers are - make sure I'm buried, I don't want to be cremated! This guy freaked me out. If I were to leave the house entirely he might catch on to my fear - so I stayed a little longer and made sure everyone knew who he was in case they needed to know.

I asked my agent and my mom to call me on my cell so I could pretend to have an appointment so I could safely leave my house. I could have ran for my life, but then he'd know where I lived for a later rendezvous with the death thing - didn't want that. Basically, my agent in Washington DC called me and I pretended he was at Starbucks, or he would be, in a minute or so. I explained to this guy that I had to go - asked him again if my problem would be dealt with - he explained to me that the problem was in the lines - I had insurance, it would be dealt with from the exterior of the home in a couple of days, and that I didn't need to be there. To top it off - he knew that 35 minutes before leaving my house! The minute he tested the line - within 1 minute of his entering my home. What I half way expected was for Ashton Kutcher to show up in the bushes by the pool! (Hence my smiling face, and my lack of true fear) Now that I know Ashton wasn't in Oklahoma tonight - I'm freaking out!

I did call the service company because my attorney and my agent asked me to. Mom thought it best to wait a few days since he'd probably figure it out and come after me. (She thinks like I do) But I called because he was just too quintessential - too bizarre to really be believed. He told me in passing that he suffered by Bipolar disorders. He also mentioned that he was an ex-Army soldier and was hurt in the conflict, IN THE HEAD - but didn't really do much to fix it - OH MY GOSH! Well, I'm OK. I decided to eat a 1/2 gallon of Rocky Road and guzzle a gallon of water, but I'm OK...even running around the track with Matrix a dozen times was scary - I thought he was watching me, but knew better - I just couldn't stop thinking that I could have been the next CSI case for the city morgue in the great capital of my state!

It's over. Well, I hope it is. If I don't blog again tomorrow, you've all been quite nice to have stayed with me this long. Dang, I don't want to die before I find out if Heromine bites it in the 7th book! I'm 26 hours away from that information! I can't die!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Heroes - and Then Some

It's a valid question: Who are your heroes? Who were your heroes growing up? What makes a hero a hero? We have all the media answers - no big surprises. We're inundated with stories of regular people like us, doing the extraordinary things that seem both mind boggling and impossible to imagine - but then there's that underlining (often more interesting) side to the answer - the athlete, the movie star, the war veteran in your family - that sort of thing. I have mine, you have yours - but since this is MY book, you'll have to call me or write to me if you're expecting me to hear your story. The truth is, I probably wouldn't mind you doing that - I like the question THAT much. It's almost as good as the other question that burns the hearts of every human "When is it alright to tell a lie?" Oh, I love that one.

Heroes have always been out there - they've been sung about, praised, worshipped by some, and even made into legends - some good, some bad - my heroes are no exception. Somewhere else in this book I've probably mentioned that my son Reuben is my favorite hero, as he's taking an active stand to defend our nation and more intimately, he's committed to protecting me and my little girls. He is a United States Army soldier, and I could not be more proud of him. Other heroes of mine have included a Col. in the FIRST volunteer U.S. Army regiment - I married him in the third grade - President Theodore Roosevelt. Because I've already talked about him at length, I'll just say he was great and go on - but he does deserve the mention. Still another hero lived before TR. She is the embodiment of the greatest woman to ever live in my opinion. She wasn't the mother of Jesus, but she was a mother (of 5 I think). She wasn't a wealthy woman, oh, but she was RICH. When I say that she is the greatest woman to ever live, I do have to take my mother out of the arena in counting great women, but to me, Ms. Sojourner Truth is and will always be the most inspiring and proactive woman, and hero, I could ever name.

As Americans we grow up thinking of the stars, the movie stars, the athletes, and the people in our magazines as being special or worthy of our adoration - not so much when what you're reading about them often involves their arrests, drug rehabilitation, strange religious beliefs, and the way they step on others to gain fame and fortune for themselves. There are exceptions. There always are - but the exceptions aren't actually fully capable of making me turn around and take extreme notice - well, there is one. OK, you got me. I do find ONE movie star, one popular media personality to have what it takes to be a hero - he characterises himself as an ordinary man, he seems to be humble enough, and he often regards what he does for humanity as being just what he would do if he weren't in the news, on the set, on the big screen, and I believe him. He has taken trips using his own money to places we wouldn't want to go and he has seen the devastation of the war, the torn hearts of the children who (in foreign countries) want to learn, but don't have the finances - and then he financed their dreams, their desires. That move on his part, partly because he was financed for being a star, yes - and partly because I actually believe he would have held a car wash to get the money if he had to - puts Gary Alan Sinise in the category that I place my son, the 26th President, and the leader of leaders, he is one of my heroes too.

Then there's Laura Bigenho and her boyfriend Marcus Levering - both U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq, currently serving their time without complaint, without pay raises and office parties. I know, I know, there are over 1,000,000 men and women wearing digital green, dusty brown, and dress uniforms that qualify for herodoom - and they would all be named if I could name them all - Laura gets the mention for her winning reporting on what is actually taking place in the "sand box" as they call it there. She's not the type of reporter to write the negative, hard, and ugly stories - she is certain and sure to add the flavor, the fun, the curious, and even the unknown, but often thought about issues that go on while we sleep peaceably on this side of the world. Marcus? Well, the boy gets the ribbon for this and this only - Laura Bigenho loves him! Love creates heroes - so it is only natural that heroes should produce love. Mine do...and did...and still do probably - thanks from my heart to you all. I could not write the poem with words equalled to thank you - so I will pray again for your safety, and your wisdom.

I will never worship any of you, but have been honored to have known you, or known of you. (In Reuben's case - I was honored to have MADE you!) Big SMILE.

PreMeds and Insurance Policies

So, if the insurance sales agent tells me, the other insurance sales agent, that I have to have a premed exam before I can sell myself insurance, does that mean that I have the option of not having the premed and just buying the dollar amount that will get me out of having to pee in a cup and having my arm jabbed? I'm the agent! I should have a say in this. Then again, I'm the insured too - and I have NO say whatsoever. I'm taking the risk, I'm binding the risk - bring on the needle.

The woman who came to my office today to do the exam didn't have to wonder for very long who it was that was having the premed done - I had the sleeve rolled up on my shirt and that smirky little "don't-hurt-me" look on my face - God, I hate needles. Is it really worth a poke in the arm to insure that my kids actually go to college should I die? I probably won't die! I'll probably have to pay for their tuition through my nose rather than my death benefit - odds are, mortality tables are, everything is against me dying at my age being in the shape that I'm in. However, this morning ON MY WAY TO THE OFFICE, I was nearly ran over by a WERNER truck that decided to exit to the right rather than use the rest of the highway he was on - just about took me out before the policy was even written and paid for! So, I guess barring bad health, cancer, disease and/or war - I could be squashed in my car like anyone else in this guy's way. (I got his number, I've already filed an online complaint - I roll that way!)

So, there is good news - I have great veins. Yes...I've been flattered before by doctors, nurses, vampires - you name it, anyone wanting my red stuff has NO problem finding it. Must be living right or something. "Hey, look, that's a fat one!" Well, at least she was only talking about my vein. I would have had to deck her in the mouth if she was talking about my butt or something. I have taken painstaking months on end to get rid of my end! Oh, and that was one of the things I had to answer for on the exam too. "Have you lost more than 15 pounds over the last 12 months?" I guess they want to be sure you're not infested with a virus - I had to answer in the affirmative and then give a detailed essay type statement concerning my weight loss program, the results, and what prompted my decision - was it for health or vanity? Both! Who loses weight just because they're suppose to? Please.

Once the blood was drawn, and drawn, and drawn some more - I asked her if I would be receiving any of the results from the tests. My answer was no. I asked her if my agent would be able to review my results. The answer was yes. Ha! Got her on that one! I'll have to wait on the test results, but she was able to dip a little pH stick or something into one of the vials and tell me that my cholesterol was doing well otherwise it would have turned blue or darker green. I said a little thank you under my breath to the Quaker Oats guy. I've been eating those Raspberry Strudel breakfast bars buddy! I'm in the know on that one. She'll tell my agent (me) my results on exact numbers, and I'll do the little dance. Speaking of dancing. She had me waiting for over 30 minutes after drinking 30 ounces of water in order to get the right MIX for my urine sample. Seems she was unaware of the 3 cups of coffee and 16 ounces of orange juice I had drunken earlier in the morning - hell, she didn't get to my office until 10. I'm on the 2nd pot by then! I stop at Starbucks, load up, get to the office and make a fresh pot of House and you know - drink!

I did however have to admit to having broken all of the do-not-eat-before-the-test rules because I have hypoglycemia and I would have died, and being uninsured it would have been a bad risk for me to take as an agent - and a bad thing for me to do as the insured as well. I told her that I had my little breakfast bar, my 16 ounces of orange juice and I even told the truth about the coffee. I know that's why she made me wait - she could make me wait, so she did...these are cruel people we're dealing with. Vampires of the Lighted Hours as they like to call themselves - they have a union. So she marked me down on her paper as a rule breaker, and we continued the torture.

Because she's as vicious as a cat in a bathtub - she made me stand on a weight scale. I could have lied to her and said I was 150 pounds, what's the difference? (Well, about 9 pounds actually according to her damn scale!) I'm at least 5'7" according to her measuring tape and if she had let me keep my shoes on I could have explained the extra pound or two that I was planning on keeping a secret. I tried the "I'm wearing heavy clothes" trick, but she marked down 165 just to piss me off! Then she smiled, erased it and marked 159....and she laughed. We both laughed, it was a moment. I was able to look into her mouth, and couldn't find any pointy shaped K-9 fangs, so I gave up on the whole vampire thing - and I asked her name. She was sweet about it - Carolyn. She's married, has kids, a dog - and then she told me her deepest darkest secret - we weigh the exact same! Only her weight wasn't going on some God forsaken paper that would be filed for eternity marking her medical investigative bureau information sheet for life, and mine was!

Well, next year I'll just have to explain the next 15 to 30 pounds that I lose that's all - and this time I'll tell her straight up that it was for VANITY! That's right, I went there!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Dog is NOT the Bitch in the House

My daughter Caity's cell phone has me listed amply as "Bitch". It's not a joke necessarily when my son answers in the affirmative when someone yells out aimlessly "Son of a Bitch!" He's always near with a smile while he answers back "You know my mom?" To put it bluntly, I don't mind one bit. When addressed face to face, as I have been often, my answer is usually "Well, that's Dr. Bitch now, isn't it?" I would NEVER allow someone to say such a damning comment to or about my dog Faith - call me whatever you wish - you may be correct.

When Sebatian Maniscalco decided to make fun of my dog Faith on the Vince Vaughn Wild West Show, he did so without my permission, my knowledge, or my blessing - of course he did it without my blessing - I would never have agreed to something as sophomoric in nature as to make fun, physical fun, at the way my dog Faith has learned to adapt and survive in a 4-legged world. Much to his chagrin, my dog was MY dog in MY ownership when the film was filmed, and when it was released - I will therefore be the one to bring about any and all legal actions not only against Mr. Maniscalco, but anyone with the production company (and sadly that may include Mr. Vaughn, a man I really do admire as both a comedian, and an actor). My hope is that we can get this resolved quickly - but I'm already hearing people say that Faith's reputation may have been hurt for future film projects.

I had NO IDEA that Faith was being attacked on stage. I wondered why the people in the audience were laughing so loudly - they were part of the film, the show, the production. I wonder if I can single a few out and have them meet up with Faith face-to-face and let them tell me to my face if they'd have laughed for Maniscalco - for money. I doubt they would. Sebastian, or as some have called him online something else - needs to realize that our Constitution's First Amendment right does not give one the right to bash or hurt the reputation or future employment of another - even if that other is a dog. Faith, being the World's Most Photographed Dog/Animal is not to be taken lightly - she earned that, she deserves to be lifted up in very very high esteem - NOT to be shot down by some one whose idea of humor is to pen his arms behind his back and flop around on stage in a pseudo act pretending to be something he could NEVER be - my dog.

I received a call from two very prominent T.V. Shows, news shows, there will be interviews, there will be discussion, and there will be a suit filed - an apology is good, I hope he has better writers than the ones who produced that segment on stage - it was probably himself, but nevertheless - a point must be made - Faith is defenseless against these types of attacks. She can't answer how it would make her feel to know someone has disgraced her - Oh, but I can. My bite is far worse than my bark - and I didn't have my shots this year... goin' for bear Mr. Maniscalco, and I'm calling in the U.S. Army as well - you see, Faith is a commissioned U.S. Army Sgt and I think the men and women in uniform may want to have a word with you as well.

Starting with my son. Have you seen him? No? That's OK - I'm sure you'll meet soon. He'll be in digital green probably driving a tank - ever sit on one?

Sebastian Maniscalco Doesn't Have Faith

You can make fun of people, you can make fun of animals, you can make fun of just about anything -- after all, that's the message behind the First Amendment right? WRONG. There are limitations, there are taboos, there are things you simply don't do because it would be WRONG to do it. One of those things - Mr. Maniscalco, is to make fun of a little dog without front legs and to do so in such a manner that she's put down in front of a live and potentially influential audience. I don't know where he was performing, but Sebastian Maniscalco has a YouTube out there where he spends about 3 1/2 minutes of time making fun, and otherwise hurting the image, the message, and the spirit of my dog Faith and her message of love, strength, encouragement, and well - FAITH. It's quite apparent by his actions that he can't really get a laugh without dragging on someone else - his whole monologue consisted of put downs and hurtful words.

I was a stand up comedian for years. Did I make fun, or poke fun at people? Heck yes! But in good fun, in good humor, in a way that made me just as vulnerable, and I invited the audience to go down that path of humility with me - not leaving it out in the open to burn, scar, hurt, mame, or otherwise just be ugly about someone - in this case, something. My dog Faith. Maniscalco's YouTube served one purpose - to make him look good. It DID NOT WORK. From the comments left you can see that he touched on something he should NOT have. He needs to apologize publicly and in a very very meaningful way - to do that he will need to go through my attorney at this point. I tried to reach him but to no avail. Seems he was too busy to talk to me, claiming his First Amendment rights were in tact...think again! You still can't slander someone, and he did - not Faith, ME.

So, yes, I am ordinarily easy to get along with, I'm the best friend to most, but baby - you step on my kid, or you step on my dog - and I will BITE YOU MYSELF - Hell hath no fury as a woman who has been scorned Mr. Maniscalco - The sad thing is, Faith would accept you Mr. Maniscalco for what and who you are. Funny, you have arms and you can't use them to hug, you have to point and be ugly about it. I pity you. I really do. I pity you.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Order of the Phoenix - OK

Like every Harry Potter book that has been turned into a movie (a mega-million-dollar blockbuster sort of film), the Order of the Phoenix has a big demand and it delivers - but there is that one problem of trying to fit the entire book into the movie time frame, and it just can't happen. I wanted to see a bit more character development from the house elf that mutters and sputters at Sirius Black's house, but it was great to see that he was even included. I wanted to see the professors teaching and their interaction with the kids, but we did get to see them being drilled and grilled by Delores Umbridge, which was fun.

Upon exiting the film I tried to listen to the whining and the cheering of the people; some really loving it, and others complaining - and it hit me that those who were doing the complaining were the devoted readers of the books. I heard a guy say to his girlfriend "I loved it and I didn't even read a single page of the stupid book, see, I liked it and you didn't." He was actually referring to the fact that the house elves weren't made a part of this movie like they are in the book- they don't come to the rescue, they don't tease the little girl house elf like they do in the book - and Hermie Grainer doesn't form a club to save them either. You see the one or two short and inadequate shots of the elf being a bit on the nasty side, nothing like the book, but it's OK...I understand. What the book had - that the movie did NOT have, was a descent Cho Chin. Sorry, I don't usually say things about young actresses, but this girl can NOT pull off even the simplest acts of the character whatsoever. She was not only weak - she was stiff, unforgivably boring, and a bit on the star-struck side to be considered a real girlfriend, and hey - wasn't he suppose to go to the kid's bar in the winter time, have a few butter beers and end up breaking up with Cho? I may have that mixed up with my imagination, but like I said, they couldn't add everything - and that means they had to nix the winter scenes as well - oh, wait - there's a 20 second scene where we do actually see, just see, the bar, the village - the familiar stages - but not for long.

What was interesting to me was another comment that was made - and that I agreed with - you didn't see much of anyone. Everyone, and I mean EVERY ONE of the characters are in the book - but you don't see ANY ONE of them for long at all. Just a few minutes each - except well, Harry, and Sirius - you see a good amount of Gary Oldham - he's great. You see bits and pieces of Lupin, Bellatrux, Lucius, Voldermort, Hagrid, Moody, Dumbledore, McGonagal, and a few good scenes with Snape - it was all about Delores this time around. She did a great job - NO, do you know who did the best? The BEST BEST performance - Luna Lovegood! Seriously, I don't even know the kid's name - she was the best. Bar none. She skipped her way into the best of show position - the rest was academic really - the story was told.

There you have it - a 3 star film at best for a 5 star book - but, then again, I heard complaint after complaint when the book came out too because of the overt mechanism of the writing, the staleness of the plot - fair enough - but you (like me) bought into it! No spoiler here - we all know Sirius bites the bullet - he did so, and he did so with class. Bravo Padfoot! Bravo!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ozzy Sees a Little Faith for Himself!

It is OFFICIAL - Ozzy Osbourne (and his wonderful and beautiful family) have had the distinct pleasure of having met my dog Faith, and of course, my daughter Laura. Laura was laughing when she called me to tell me about Ozzy's reaction - she said, and I quote "Yes, he cussed. He said 'What the f*#k is that thing?' but he was joking, and laughing, and having a great time with her Mom. I was so afraid that Faith was going to bite him because he was just like Rick Springfield, he was so happy to see her." But, as it turns out, God was gracious, and my puppy did not bite the Master of Darkness - is that his title now? I can't keep up. He seems like the sweetest man actually - all of his past somewhat notwithstanding, I imagine most of his image is exactly that - an image. Faith doesn't care about those things, she loves good people - dogs and kids - they know! Ozzy passed the sniff test! He must be awesome.

Laura said that she and Kelly weren't able to talk too much, but that they were able to laugh a little at Ozzy and his reaction, I'm sure the girls will be spending a bit more time together as the tour progresses - Laura, being a singer, will no doubt want to exchange a few chords and words with Kelly and be happy to hear anything new that she's producing - Laura's second release comes out soon on www.showcaseyourmusic.com/Laura just in case you're wanting to hear more. She recorded "She Will Be Loved", originally recorded by the Maroon 5. Laura's version is not for sale, but for showcasing her gritty and sultry vocals - rather good actually...but I'm biased, I have to be, it's my job as the Mom.

So, the first date is almost over, the bands love my dog, the Master of the shows loves my dog, they think Laura's pretty cute too - and she is. I hope the future shows prove to be as rewarding for the millions who will be attending, they have been bringing out their cells to take pictures of Faith and Laura, signs are popping up on MySpace and YouTube about them - soon a few videos will proclaim that Faith has gone completely metal and you'll see CGI videos of my dog body surfing over the crowds - don't believe a second of it - Laura maybe, but Faith wouldn't allow such a thing - she's a bit shy in reality. Most people are surprised not only by her size (some say she's bigger, some say she's smaller than they thought) but everyone should know by now that she prefers girls - so, Sharon, Kelly - you're cool 24/7/365 - Poor Jack and Ozzy will have to be accepted each and every time I'm afraid - thanks for the invite guys, Laura is having the time of her life!

Props to you Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack.

More Troops Please!

Faith and my daughter Laura are currently (until tomorrow) in Seattle, Washington where the great U.S. Army base of Ft. Lewis is located - and of course, the great U.S. Air Force base of Ft. McChord! Faith was hanging out yesterday after being stranded at the Donald, WA Shell station when our good friend Pat McGhee of Ft. Lewis came by and scooped she and Laura up for a whirlwind ride to the base to visit patients in the hospital, staff both at the hospital and on the base at the PX where Pat is the manager. Laura called me to say "Mom, I was so dang tired, I was upset about having been left, I was embarrassed in fact because of the fact that I had not let anyone know where I was going, and it could have been so terrible - but then Pat showed up and took us to the base! We saw a million soldiers Mom, they were so beautiful, they were so happy to see Faith - Mom, it made everything OK again."

See, all you need in your daily routine is a little digital green and brown to make the blues disappear! Bring on the troops Pat! Hey, tell every military station out there within ear and eye shot of where Ozzfest is going to be to send out their own troops to see Sgt. Faith at the Big Tent with the Brothers Grim Side Show - they'll love her, she'll love them - and all will be well with the world...or at least that part of it. Seeing troops makes Faith feel as if she's with her boy Reuben, and it certainly lifts the spirits of my daughter who needed a boost from the scare she had - just hugging a few soldiers and especially those who have been hospitalized after defending us - can make the biggest difference in my life, so I know it has to affect Laura as well. Faith doesn't know the difference really between a hurt soldier and a healthy soldier, to her they're all just GORGEOUS - and they all have the same potential to feed her a little something under the table! She doesn't discriminate!

So, attention all Armed Forces Personnel - in and around the 48 mainland states - pay close attention to where the Ozzfest buses pull in to greet the fine citizenry where you may be stationed...you too could be a guest of the most wonderful Sgt on the planet - Faith the Dog! Go by and let her nose you to say thank you, thank you, thank you, but I will warn you - you need to be wearing your ACUs or she won't like you much if you're a guy - she's funny like that - in the greens you're accepted 100% - out of them, well, you're on your own - she likes girls though - it must be a predator thing. Just put on the uniform my friends - and again, I can't say this enough...THANK YOU for your service to me, to my family, my country, and yours! Thank you! It is an HONOR of mine to be able to share my family and my beloved dog Faith with you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No - Harry Potter Does Not Die in HPDH

Just to let you know - Harry Potter fans will be happy to realize once they've searched over the 800+ pages in the last and final book in the long anticipated series - that Harry Potter, our boy wonder does not die. People do die - people always die, but HEY, one comes back - doesn't that make up for the loss of the red-headed imp? Oops, did I do it again? Did I totally spoil your fun? Well, don't mind me, go right ahead and read the final book - can't hurt, you've already bought it, you've read the last 6 books, you've been like me, and you've scanned them all again in order just to be sure you have all of the clues in place.

Actually - did you know (rumor has it anyway) that JK has a team of readers and raiders pouring over every word in every line in every paragraph and page of every book she's written so as NOT to make the mistake she made in what was it, number 4, when she tripped over a fact or two? Harry fans beat her up over that one you know - couldn't go to the movies and really enjoy the plot for all of the whining in the audience - babies (fans) claiming this wasn't quite right, or that wasn't quite right - meaning, it wasn't EXACTLY as they had it in the book. I personally, don't care if the books and the movies don't match perfectly. It only makes me think that the creators of both were savvy enough to think we the readers and the watchers, are able to separate ourselves ever so slightly, and enjoy a diversion! Isn't that the point?

Well, ever since Birds and Animals Ltd. refused to allow Faith (my dog) to be in the 4th movie, Goblet of Fire, I couldn't really give a monkey's behind whether or not the boy wizard survives or gets his head torn completely off his shoulders in a vicious Quiddich game - oops, nearly spoiled another plot twist - he survives that one too. If you ask me, Harry's been a bit too lucky and he's been a bit too indulged - - but then again, look at the characters in CSI and ask yourself if they shouldn't have bit the dust a few more times too - Delco: gets shot in the head - back to work in what a week? Horatio Caine misses that silver bullet weekly - he's the guy I want to be standing with (except of course when the woman he married after knowing her 2 weeks was actually standing with him and got shot - Delco's sister, remember? Maybe I watch too much t.v. - as long as they leave Mac Taylor's happy butt alive and kicking, I'm OK. Peyton could bite the big one - I wouldn't care.)

So, no, Harry doesn't die - yes a Weasley does - and no Hagrid doesn't beat anyone up, not really - the kid that played Draco had the best idea - he got out when the getting was good. If he dies it won't be because he's a key player, but because in real life Tom's mom and dad took the money and got out of Dodge! At least he'll have a career when the 7th film is over and done with. Poor poor poor Dan Ratcliffe, the mark on his character's head - stained him for life as well I'm afraid - but at least his parents get to see him again - OOOOOOh, there I go again - spoiler, spoiler, spoiler! This book was just too predictable.

That Love Match Thing Again

I swear, you people crack me up! I write a little blog about a Scorpio Woman the other day (because I am one, and the newer more modern astros tell me that not only is Pluto NOT a planet now, they've moved my zodiac sign back - My birthday of November 22, has now become a Sagittarius!) The e-mails have been staggering. Staggering is a funny word - they've been STACKING up and I can't answer them all - so here's my attempt at answering the burning sex question (yes, people assume all Scorpio women think about is sex).

Question most asked: "What sign is most sexually compatible with Scorpio women?"

ANSWER: I searched, I looked, I thought it out - I did my homework. I even blogged about it a bit, but now I'm posting something from a separate site, another one - just to prove my point. I thought it would have been Capricorn - fun loving, sexually attractive, open, creative, and uninhibited...but it's not. He (my man) should be a .....drum roll please - a Pisces! Here's what the site said. You can google it if you like.

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Perfect Sexuality and Love Match:

Scorpio Woman Dating Pisces Man This will be emotional intensity to the hilt! From before the first date there was a telepathic connection so strong between the Scorpio woman and Pisces man that it’s downright eerie. They may have dreamt of one another before actually meeting.
The Scorpio woman and Pisces man are a creative powerhouse and will soar to new levels of imagination together. The Scorpio woman helps her Pisces man embrace a sense of self while he helps her recognize she truly cannot control everything. Sexually, they are beyond this world for certain. They will put each other in a hypnotic trance during lovemaking and block out the rest of the world. Compatibility Rating: FOUR out of FOUR hearts. It just doesn't get any better than this - go for it - all day and all night.

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That was verbatim. What can I say but this : Gary? Oh Gary? Are you anywhere near me tonight? Don't mind my eyes staying open, I do that! (You're too pretty to stop looking - giggle)

Dorks and Youthfulness

I'm a dork, I'll admit that. I really am - I make stupid, idiotic mistakes, I say and think things that would be inappropriate if heard publicly - I really am a throw back to the old days in many ways. I say that to say this: I am trying my hardest to stop as much of the dorkiness as I possibly can. At age 45, yeah, I'm thinking I really should know better than to stand at the door and yell down the street for my kids when dinner is ready - and no, I don't call it supper - I think that would have to be a throw back of another kind.

Today I got a phone call from my daughter Laura, I told you about it, she was stranded in Donald, WA with her dog Faith after leaving the tour bus she was on without telling anyone she needed to leave - they left her, she's a dork. I get that. I got another phone call today from my other daughter - a non-dork actually, she is more or less too clever, too earthy to be a dork, she could be classified (if I were the classifying type) as a know-it-all -- truth is, she does know more than most, and so most people who get caught by Her Highness just call he "The Bitch". She's listed as "Brat" in my cell - if that gives you an idea.

Caity called to tell me that her friends Josh and Ryan were playing with the metal handcuffs that she purchased from Hot Topic, and they hooked Ryan up "accidentally" without hope of knowing where the key was. Why she thought I would know where HER key to HER cuffs were, I don't know. Perhaps she just wanted an opportunity to say hello since she hadn't called me in a day or so - perhaps she wanted to prove to Josh and Ryan that calling an adult doesn't always work out the way it should - my suggestion was to go back to Hot Topic and see if they still sell cuffs, and if they do, they can purchase another pair and use the key to open the cuffs they're wearing - or that Ryan alone was wearing, and keep the key in case it happens again sometime. That was a good suggestion - Caity sent the boys away. I think Josh (15) had to drive the car, which in itself was scary, and I would rather have not known that bit of information.

Being a dork doesn't always go away with age - the older a dork gets the worse he/she becomes in some cases, making foolish and careless mistakes which could actually cause real problems. My former boss for example, love the guy, but he's a dork - ran over the foot of his mother in law, and then told her she would be covered under his homeowners policy. He didn't own a house. She knew he didn't own a house, but they filed a claim anyway - hello, FRAUD. That cost him a bit more than the hospital bill would have straight up! So, I guess my point is this: Being a dork is natural for most of us - there are exceptions, some people are born perfect or self-contained. It's a good idea to practice using our heads and making better decisions - at least we can tell people when we go pee if we're traveling with a band; and we should be able to shut up, walk down the street and tell our children at close range to come eat - I can do that. Oh, but if I wait long enough they'll leave my house completely - that's a better plan! Yes, that's a much better plan.

My Family Gets Misplaced A Lot of the Time

So, you remember last February when American Airlines misplaced my dog Faith - sending her to Chicago I believe, rather than to our actual destination of Orlando, Florida. It was a newsworthy event. CNN picked up on it - the world, you know - a few interested millions called or e-mailed to say they were praying for us. We love and we thank them. Well, it's happened again.

This time, Laura and Faith are traveling with the Ozzfest group on their way through the U.S. to entertain the masses - they're traveling on the biggest, most sleek looking tour bus I've ever seen - and the driver (a fantastic woman) has left my daughter and my dog at a Shell gas station in Donald, Washington. According to Mapquest they're 154 miles away from their destination of Seattle - where the Ozzfest will begin in earnest tomorrow at noon. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine being 18, needing to poo, getting off the bus when it stops to refuel, but not telling anyone that you left - and then getting left?

Laura called me this morning at 7:40 a.m. my time, 5:40 a.m. her time, to tell me she was stranded, and that she was wearing a Lolita skirt on top of everything else. She and her new friend Stitch, a performer, were showing off their clothes and wearing various outfits which showed off various body parts when they both fell asleep in the early hours - and then it stopped and Laura left the bus with Faith without telling anyone...she won't do that again.

"Mom, the bus left me!" Immediately I went into crisis mode - which means I remained calm and made the appropriate calls. Not that calling anyone helped, no one answered their cells, but I made the calls. I texted, I called again, I even mentioned I would be calling the police soon - you know, if they didn't pick her back up, or if I hadn't heard from her. I got on Mapquest and looked up the reverse phone number option for the phone number that came over my cell - but oddly enough, it was a 702 exchange, which is Las Vegas, and it stated it was a land line. That wasn't possible. They were suppose to be in Washington state - nevertheless, I called the Las Vegas police just in case the bus had taken the wrong turn in Oklahoma.

While talking with Candance of the Las Vegas police, I got a call from Lucas, the manager of the Ozzfest and hey, he had just realized that my daughter and my dog weren't on the bus. Did I mention that it was a HUGE bus? You could misplace an elephant and no one would know for a while. Lucas' voice was groggy, sleepy, a little confused - but he assured me that he would have the driver turn the bus around and pick up my kid and my doggy. What a great man. He went on to say that Laura needed to tell someone she was leaving every time, and of course I agreed with him. When she called me back from another land line it registered as being in Washington state with a 509 area code - much better. I called her back on that line, as my phone wasn't accepting credit calls, and she informed me that she was not only wearing a completely inappropriate skirt at a truck stop in southern Washington, but that she was silly enough not to have dressed Faith properly in her therapy vest - so she couldn't go into the building to wait - she had to wait by the phones outside. Apparently, no one in the Shell station recognized Faith. (Too many OTHER two-legged yellow dogs running around I suppose.)

Anyway - the end is here. She was picked up by the monster bus, and scolded properly not only by Lucas, but by Stitch, and every other performer who had to be inconvenienced by turning around and losing about an hour's time this morning - aaaahhh, the joys of being on the road and needing to poo, but being too shy to tell the bus driver - now the world knows. (Hey World, my daughter Laura poos from time to time. If she's on YOUR bus, you may want to know that before you pull out and go on to your eventual destination.) Look for her - she may be the one inappropriately dressed and dragging a two-legged K-9 behind her.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scorpio Loves Pisces

This ENTIRE blog was taken straight off the internet. I did that for a reason. My friend asked me what the Scorpio/Pisces connection was - since I love a Pisces man, and I am a Scorpio woman, and she is a Pisces woman in love with a Scorpio man. So, here it is - not my words - but GOOOOOOD words to think about - Gary Alan, are you listening? (She giggles and pretends to be shy - all the while staring straight through him.)

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Scorpio + Pisces

When Scorpio and Pisces make a love match, theirs is a splendid union of much respect and understanding. These mates share the same Element -- Water -- and thus have keen insight into one another's minds and hearts. Scorpio is very profound and covert, often caught up in their own secret plans, while Pisces is idealistic and looks for the nuances of a situation. However, Pisces also has a tendency to withdraw into their own mind, and can forgive Scorpio for being mysterious or withdrawn at times.

Both Signs are intuitive and in touch with the subtleties of human interaction. Scorpio can help Pisces fulfill dreams and ambitions -- to turn ideas into reality. The Scorpion will provide a steadfast foundation for the relationship to revolve around, and the more ephemeral and intuitive Fish will become entangled in Scorpio's web. In return, Pisces offers gentleness, kindness, and sympathy, which Scorpio admires and appreciates. Scorpio is interested in certain material comforts and intense emotional dramas, and at times cannot understand the simplistic, charitable attitude of Pisces. Their long-term aspirations can be completely unalike. Once they can understand and overcome this difference, theirs will be a very rewarding relationship.
Mars and Pluto rule Scorpio, and Jupiter and Neptune rule Pisces. Mars is the ancient God of War, and Scorpio individuals are living proof of this aggressive, courageous, daring and sometimes-belligerent influence. When Pluto combines with Mars, Pluto comes to symbolize new beginnings. Scorpio can take it, but they can also most certainly give it. Jupiter's rule of Pisces represents philosophy, expansion and excesses. The Neptunian influence gives Pisces a dreamy aura and a love for popular culture and media. Pisces dreamy, ethereal energy softens their Scorpio love's rough edges. The composite power of these four planets creates a balanced relationship, one of drama and emotional intrigue; this is a true celestial bond. However, a Scorpio mate must let their beloved Fish swim about a bit; a sensitive Pisces will suffocate under too many demands.

Scorpio and Pisces are both Water Signs. They're so compatible because Water is a tangible, physical entity, and both Signs appreciate and use this characteristic to their advantage. The destiny of a Pisces is to bring people together, and when this energy meets Scorpio's intensity and tenacity, there is no stronger bond. Also, Scorpio has an absolutist view of life; everything is either golden or tarnished. A patient Pisces opens the world up to their Scorpio mate, allowing them to see the bigger picture rather than just all that minute detail. Scorpio could grow weary of Pisces's unsteadiness, and Pisces may see Scorpio as self-absorbed and insensitive to their emotional needs. Still, it's not beyond these partners to seek out and find a compromise.
Scorpio is a Fixed Sign, and Pisces is a Mutable Sign. Scorpio puts their energy into one thing at a time, but Pisces skips around to wherever their feelings take them. Pisces, as a Mutable Water Sign, then, molds easily into their Scorpio lover's life and pastimes. In turn, Scorpio needs to give Pisces the freedom to enjoy personal interests. A Pisces can show a Scorpio that flexibility can be fun and exciting, that compromise can be reached without a big fight or struggle. The energies of a Scorpio and a Pisces feed off of one another's energy well, making for a powerful and emotionally satisfying union.

What's the best thing about a Scorpio-Pisces love match? Their similarly intense emotional natures, their shared sensitivity to the undercurrents of life, to the more ethereal magic of love. This is a relationship of harmony and fulfillment. Scorpio and Pisces both live empathetically and seek true, profound commitments, and this connection will keep the ties strong and their love enduring.

Turning Your Back




You wake up one day and your kid is 21 years old, he's in the Army, he's lost 40 pounds, and he's riding a moose.

Well, at least he's smiling, and he looks happy.

If you ask me the Army hasn't really done their best to convince my son that he's suppose to be serious, tough-faced, hard, and stern at all times. The day he graduated from Basic Training out of Ft. Knox, KY his Drill Sgt came up to me and squared his shoulders about 8 inches from my face. He lifted his chin and spoke almost as if he were speaking to the air above my head - and he said "Ma'am, your son has been disgracing my platoon for several weeks. He has been smiling when he should be swearing. He has not let up, and when I tried my hardest to beat him into place, he has retaliated with gleefulness - something I find both irritating as well as challenging from the point of view of an Army Drill Sgt. Is there anything I need to know about your son that wasn't in his file regarding his inability to stop all that happiness?" (Of course, I'm paraphrasing the good Sgt.) My answer was simply - you guessed it - to smile.

If smiling can be used as a means of defusing the situation then Reuben has been a master of it for years. He used to smile through the mud and the rain at football practice when the other guys were cussing and running for the bleachers to take cover. I remember standing out in the rain myself during one game because it has always been a rule that we won't take cover unless there is lightning present. If its just rain - we stand and we watch the game. My son was playing, I was in the stands....and as it turns out, I was the ONLY one left in the stands - as literally every other fan, family member, follower, or friend of the players was huddled under the patio, the overhangs, and anything else that could cover them. My son looked up from the middle of the field - wondering if his mom had broken her promise. I had not. I stood there, and I stretched out my arm to him after having used my fist to pound my heart. My finger making the "one" sign to Heaven...our little sign of "I love you". We both stood in the rain - smiling.

So, whether he's tackling quarterbacks, moose, or just doing push ups for the C.O. my baby is usually smiling - something I have to say can be unnerving at times - but immensely rewarding when you consider the alternative. Because my baby is an Aries, he tends to smile more often than most others - he's unaware of his surroundings actually - never really grasping the full reality or the severity of any given situation. To Reu everything is new, everything an adventure, every event monumental - something to be savored...what a way to look at life. Sometimes just looking at my son can bring me such joy - making me forget all about the war, the hate, the hurt, and even the fact that I still owe more than I make - just to know that there is always something worth smiling about - and/or someone. I love that kid.

Dublin Dog Collars

Oh, have your heard about this? Dublin Dog is a great new company owned and operated out of North Carolina - its creator and operator is Jason Watson. I call him the Boss Man now, as Faith and I are a part of his effort to spread the word to as many people as we can about how great Dublin Dog collars are. Faith wouldn't use anything else! These collars are like - well, perfect! You can't get them dirty. We had fun last week trying. I took Faith to the duck pond and let her go. She ran into the water, got all mucky-dirty-gooey-gross from not only the mud in the water and on the shoreline, but you know what ducks do on the sand and dirt! They poo.

Faith was knee deep in the water, chasing, grabbing, fishing if you will for the bobbing and "ducking" ducks - but the collar stayed clean. I mean, it had mud all over it, but when I took it off of her and washed it with just the water from the hose, it got clean again. I imagine you may have to occasionally break out the detergent or something, but the best thing is - the collar didn't smell like swamp water. I let my friend's two year old chew on another collar (without the buckle) for a few hours just to see if it would tear - WAIT, did you think I meant a kid? No, she has a pit-mix and he absolutely loved the new chew strip. I may have to buy another collar for Faith to chew on too. I don't think you can destroy these things. They'll be around with the cockroaches in the year 3030. We'll be gone - but science will have proven by then that dogs in the year 2007 used to walk upright! They'll find Faith's remains with a Dublin Dog collar around her neck, and they'll swear that all dogs walked upright -without the technology to run our DVDs and modern devices, children will begin to believe that all dogs were bi-pedal in the year 3030...and they'll celebrate nearly 1000 years of using the same collars for the dogs that were in their family tree - having had them passed down to them over the many generations!

OK, maybe I'm going too far with the credit I should be giving to Dublin Dog, but you should be so lucky as to own one! Oh, wait, that's their slogan - "You Should Be So Lucky" - you can find them online of course, just google, or go to www.dublindog.com and order (I don't know, 10) give them as Christmas gifts and your friends will love you. No one else makes or sells this type of collar - you'll be special!

Thanks Jason.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Moving, Compiling, Starting a New.

Hey, it's not that I haven't had much to blog about - I have. Just the other day my son called me at 3:38 a.m. from his roost in Alaska to let me know that my prayers were working. He didn't get blown up when he and a buddy were shooting roman candles at each other, and hitting them back with a tennis racket - to be 21 and stupid! I'm really very busy these days. I'm moving to a new place, starting a new position at an insurance company, and then there's that book deal that seems to elude me. Tyndale doesn't want to publish my books after all - after calling and suggesting that they did, and after keeping me in the high hopes for a couple of months. But, why should I expect anything different from then just because they claim to be a Christian book publisher. That doesn't mean THEY are the Christians, at least I hope they're not Christians if they're treating me the same way the others did - calling me, begging me to stick with them, hanging me out, and then turning me down, only to ignore me when I question them. But then again, for me to expect anyone to treat people the way I would treat them - I may as well be hitting roman candle charges back and forth with a tennis racket - at least that sounds like SOMEONE is having fun!

My new job is stressful but we're dealing with it. I'm sooooooo not wanting to be normal and have a regular job. I really enjoyed my year off from the corporate world - almost felt as if I was beginning to make something of myself. My three books were getting off the ground, and then - well - reality hit me squarely in the face. That, and the fact that working continuously makes more sense to the people who want to lend me money to buy a house too. Someone told the mortgage people that authors aren't stable enough to buy homes in Oklahoma. Heck, no one in Oklahoma has a stable guarantee of working tomorrow - what separates the arts from the merchants? Today I sit, at the office, working, typing, calling people, and setting up appointments to show them rates and quotes not only for their cars and boats, but for their houses, their lives, we even do financial planning - perhaps I could do a commercial - that would be good - rather productive, a little creative....what am I saying? I'd rather bungee jump and I hate heights. I'M A WRITER - LET ME WRITE. (There, I said it.)

My new book, this book, the book about blogs, comes out in October. It will be about 170 blogs long, and you're going to be able to see into my life - as if you wanted to - too bad, you picked it up, you continued to read - you deserve every second of entertainment that I can muster. You are the audience I desire - I write, for you! The 4th book means something to me. It shows me, if not you, that I can actually produce, and produce on a steady and productive level - see, you thought I was just fluff, and all about the money - what money? There is no money. I'm self published! I'm on my own - oh, and would you like a quote for your auto insurance with that Sir? I can find out that rate for you now Mrs. Barnes - just give me a second.

Wow - all that and I'm moving too. I decided to dump the kids this round and make them fend for themselves. I don't have traditional or orthodox beliefs when it comes to forcing children to live with you. I raised them in such a way that if they choose to stay they will stay. If they choose to fly they should be allowed - provided they have developed a few feathers to support themselves. Laura, being 18, has decided to tour for a while, sing for her dinner, and she's taking the dog. Caity, at nearly 17, has decided to camp out here and there, mixing her opinions with those of the modern day hippies that hang out in commune type living quarters - but to my pride and joy, I can report that unlike the retro hippies, at least these guys fall to a standard called "Straight Edge", a way of staying pure, being edgy, hard-core dance types, but without the drugs and booze, sex, or sit-in demonstrations. So far these hippies aren't really against anything - they just dance, hang out, talk about life, and yes - they write poetry and drink coffee. The old hippies are just now getting into their retirement age - maybe she can send a few to me for rates and quotes.

My baby boy, as you know, is in the Army. Gone! Well, I say that. He still calls on a daily, and he lets me know when he's run out of laundry detergent as if Fairbanks, Alaska's Wal-Mart doesn't carry his brand. It does, and I'm not sending him a care package of something he can drive 2 miles to pick up. I would prefer that he leave the tank at the base - that sort of mischievous antics is what causes Hollywood to believe that our Army is full of a bunch of misfits without brains - then again, he was the one bopping roman candles with a tennis racket! Bring on the cameras, the lights, the action - Reuben is bigger than life most of the time. I set the brats free - from now on, well - in my dreams - it's just me, and my dog Matrix. (and I've already warned him that if he decides to die I WILL replace him!)