Friday, September 28, 2007

Coming and Going!

This guy (I say guy) probably has to work together with him/herself all the time just to make the decision to move toward food - here I was just about to complain that I couldn't make heads or tails of the financial aid fiasco at Oklahoma State University OKC where my daughters (often seen hugging so closely they closely resemble a two-headed animal) are in attendance. Actually, to be perfectly honest with you, the two daughters I actually claim from time to time have NOT been attending college regularly, but have been typical freshmen in so many ways. If I hadn't received a letter from the Financial Aid Department alerting me to the various inconsistencies on their FAFSA forms I wouldn't have known of their extreme negligence and they wouldn't be the subject of this blog -- but they are.

You may be like me, you may have freshmen living with you. If you are, I would encourage you to bring them back to reality as often as possible - freshmen seem to have a new and wholly inclusive way of dealing with problems that occur. Because of the Privacy Act (which in my opinion is WAY overly used and abused) the school officials are unable to talk with me, a person with experience and a brain, about my daughters' needs. My daughters (as your daughters and your sons probably) have NO CLUE as to what is expected, they listen with their eyes, nothing comes into their ears, and they nod a lot, which equates to making as many mistakes as possible, which equates to nothing really getting done, which equates to mom having to come to the rescue - so why not talk to me in the first place? SQUASH the Privacy Act if the kid says its OK to talk to MOM -- finally, someone directed my girls to write out "It is OK for anyone at OSU-OKC to talk to my mom about my educational needs." THANK YOU!

The FAFSA was created using the wrong name because my daughters recently changed their last name from their birth name to my last name, Stringfellow (it's a beautiful thing). This created a really really big circus at the government level, but no one told them in the first place (i.e. the SCHOOL OFFICIAL)to fill the forms out in their OLD name since they hadn't gotten around to having their social security cards changed - yet. After what, 6 weeks of class, they're being asked to leave because they haven't paid - they haven't paid because Financial Aid hasn't received money from FAFSA, which hasn't come in because FAFSA was filled out incorrectly, because why - OH I KNOW, because the SCHOOL OFFICIAL misdirected my kids because of the PRIVACY ACT and they couldn't tell me how to do it correctly. Now, I won't let my little darlings off the hook - they are old enough to pull the headsets off their heads long enough to listen, but even if they had they would have been misled because they were told to fill them out "correctly", but that wasn't explained to them. They actually showed their respective S.S. cards to the official, it would have been a good idea at THAT point to say "RED FLAG", Hello, change the names to the name on the card JUST FOR NOW and then you can re-do it when it's time to. That didn't happen.

So, what to do? Well, we're re-doing it the only way we can - with time. We're resubmitting the SAR, the Student Aid Report, the yellow copy you receive from FAFSA, and that should take oh, 3-4 weeks minimum. Meanwhile the girls have to stay in class, pass the tests, read the books, do the work, be the freshmen they were meant to be, and hey - MAYBE, just MAYBE they'll get to stay the rest of the semester without having to withdraw for failure to pay - if the school realizes that the responsibilities of this event could have been avoided.

I taught at the college level for a long time. I taught freshmen. I think I'm the ONLY professor I know that said to every student I have "Write out on a piece of paper that an adult of YOUR choice has the right to discuss your educational needs with me, and anyone else at this school - because you're not listening to me." I had hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper to file the next week during class! Not one freshmen (save the older adults returning to school) refused, because money is a confusing issue when it comes to paying it, receiving it, and just dealing with it. Grades aren't that big of a deal really, freshmen don't actually care about grades the first semester - hence the drop out rate for the spring of every year at every college across America. Freshmen need to be loved into reality sometimes! Hugs, and loves, eye-to-eye contact, take out the earbuds kids, and listen to the old people!

It's OK - I'm OK. I have my education, and when I began it I was actually a parent, I had a mortgage, a full time job, and owed everyone in the world - money was important. The babies (I call all of my freshmen students my babies) have fared far better than most freshmen because the first two classes we have are designed to keep them straight, keep them informed, keep them lined up - but that's just me. Oh, that I had been asked to teach English this semester at OSU-OKC.....none of this would have happened....but then again, it's a great great great experience for the girls....I just hate going through it because I know better and I'm OLDDDDDD.

I think I'll be OK. They serve coffee in the Student Union!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Our 5' 11" Army

We may not have the absolute biggest men (I don't know the score on the women yet) in our United States Army, but we "Sure as Shootin'" have the most consistant Army out there, with all of our men showing up on paper as being 5'11" tall and weighing 200 pounds.

Yes, this is one of those military phenonemons I'm afraid - I have done my research folks, and it seems to be overwhelmingly true that nearly every man in the Army that I've interviewed has some sort of an I.D. card, registration, form, or record indicating that he stands 5'11" and that he weighs 200 pounds. The gig was up when I read my own son's paperwork the other day. I was surprised that my 6'3" son could be shortened with just over one year in the service, but it's true. He stands 5'11" according to his official documents. I began blogging and talking about this fact and to my great surprise I found that hundreds of men were willing to write to me and state that they too are 5'11" tall, some of which are shorter than I am at 5'7". I found this to be hilarious. I don't know about you, but I thought this was funny.

I arrived at the University of Central Oklahoma's Chambers Library. I was standing on the 4th floor when a soldier who appeared to be about my height came up to me and asked if I was the lady with "the dog". I explained to him that most people own dogs. He smiled and said "OK, do you own Sgt. Faith?" I answered him in the affirmative with a smile of my own. He took a step forward and whispered in my ear "Don't tell anyone I told you this, but I'm not really 5'11" and I don't weigh 200 pounds." I asked him if he had read my blog, because it was a strange thing to just come out and admit to someone. He said he had, and that his own mother had been bragging to everyone she knew that her son had grown several inches and that her homecooking wasn't good enough to pack on his pounds, but the Army's slop was. He then stated that the slop was actually rather good in his unit. My son concurs with the food he receives in Alaska, but we've always said that with Reuben it wasn't the quality of the food, but the quanity.

So, there you have it folks! Your United States Army, because jobs require certain heights to perform, have altered and manipulated our boys - but I don't mind. It would be rather humorous though to find out whether or not every women in the Army is 5'5" or not because Spc. Laura Bigenho could use the extra inches on her part, and her lover Levering could use the downgrade from his 6'4" frame to 5'11" so as not to make such a spectacle of themselves when they kiss in public (in uniform no doubt, in front of GOD and everyone!) We have the most talented, skilled, trained, and now consistantly heighted men in the world in our Army.....we are unstopable! Well, then again, if I think about it, on the gridiron there are times when a quarterback from West Pointe could stand to be a little taller, and the offensive lineman a bit heavier...well, I guess it all looks good on paper!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Happy! Joy Joy!

How amazing is this! I put the word "Happy" into the locator bar at Google and clickd on images. This guy pops up! He's (I say he) the most adorable thing I've seen all day. Joy radiates from him. He's on the beach, he's got no clothes on, he's just as happy and fulfilled as anything I have ever imagined. Truly, the epitome of joy - whoever you are that thought about this picture, thank you. It certainly made my morning.

Speaking of morning, I woke up and took the dogs out like I do every morning and there was a cool breeze - fall is on it's way. We used to say that fall in Oklahoma began precisely at 12:00 p.m. on September 17, whatever the year would be. This September 17 was 89 degrees and sunny, but today, the 23rd seems to be a bit more open to suggestion. What I wouldn't give to have a real beach in Oklahoma. This happy guy and I could spend the entire day thinking about all the people we love and enjoy. I'd take off my shoes and let that sand just work it's magic as it erased the feelings of work and business right out of me. Work for me is great actually, I show up and play all day both on the internet and on the phone - talking to people about their insurance needs. That's going to change soon when I spend all day playing both on the internet and on stage, talking to people about the love, hope, joy, peace, and faith they may be looking for. Can't wait!

Well, I just wanted to send you guys a little happy today...just as much as you can take. ALL DAY LONG!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Plateau No More!

Yeah! I'm over the plataeu and back on the road to losing weight, shaping up, and getting into the jeans I bought in 1984 that I (for whatever reason) could never throw out. Before I had the kids I had a body - I guess we make sacrafices and changes after we do the mommy thing huh? Well, the faded blues have been calling to me from the depth of the closet. They've been materializing in my dreams, forcing me to look at them, and forcing me further to dig them out and try them on. I'm not too far away now. I found the secret to beating the plataeu too, and where it is an old and ancient secret, one that you and I both knew would work, we just don't get around to doing it properly, and so we suffer. I choose to be victorious.

So, the secret? Forgiving. I have this ex-spouse, I won't even call him a husband because the word husband is such a treasured word. We were married under the law. For a time I was married in my heart to this guy, and for a time I thought it would last forever - then reality hit. The past ten years have marked some of the most bitter feelings I have ever been able to drum up for someone and this is a person with whom I made love, had children, bought houses with, paid debts (well, most of the time, we certainly accrued them together). I had, for way too long, the mentality that he was this evil, vicious man without any worth, and I had to hate him in order to move on with my life, raise the kids the proper way rather than in a backward negative way, and get this: Because of my refusal to forgive - I got fat!

That may sound funny, it may sound bizarre, but it is true. We hold our weight because we refuse to let go of it. We don't even have to eat much, and we can exercise all day, but the weight stays on because we have bold, strong, dominant thoughts and feelings which preclude the weight (or whatever it is we desire) to be what we want it to be. Letting go of those hurtful, ugly, terrible, and often dangerous feelings that I harbored for this guy - set my every cell free. How did it happen? He stopped paying child support! I know, that sounds as if I should hate him more, or go after him for it, making his life more miserable than it already is; but the truth is, when he stopped paying child support we stopped having any ties to each other and it was 100% possible to just end the hurt. There was nothing there to hang on to. There was nothing there to be connected with. At this point he is a memory and I won't even say a bad one because that's hurtful and I deserve more. I love the fact that he had some worth because I picked him. I love the fact that he had some love because our daughters are incredible. I love the fact that he is gone because he and I were the source of my anger - When I say I picked him I mean that, and yes, it was a mistake. He'll be the first to agree with me. It was a mistake to marry him. A mistake that both of us regret however, having married, we also both agree now that being divorced is also the best decision either of us could have made.

So, the forgiveness was there. I didn't even realize it was lingering. I thought I would be mad. I thought I would be recentful - but then I said out loud to myself "Stop!" This is over. This is great! This is a miracle! There is nothing now that can hold you! There is nothing now that can change your heart! You are free of all negative, all hurt, all pain, all stress - where that seems strange, and it is, it is true. Immediately I noticed a glow about me. I wasn't the only one noticing either. I hadn't dated in over 8 years because I had things to do, I had goals to meet, and I was afraid of this man. He was making threats of telling the judge that I was being inappropriate with men, which wasn't true, but it was there! I had to let it go - not date, and just focus on the kids - YES, he was that evil. He is GONE!

It's like waking up on the beach and realizing there aren't any walls to hold you in. It's like standing in the middle of a sun ray and seeing nothing but unfiltered warm light, finally, I am open to receive the power of empowerment over the worst event in my life. GONE! To God be the Glory! Great things He has done! When I think of all the choices the kids today are making regarding their future, their spouses, their lives - I hope for them the power and the freedom of wisdom. With wisdom comes more power - choose well, it really does matter.

Bring on those jeans!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wikipedia QUEENS

I have been falling out of my chair laughing at the QUEENS of Wikipedia who have been arguing with who they assume is me (someone using my user name I suppose) over whether or not to leave a small linked article on their site at and I suppose again, that you would to use the search locator to type in my name to see the article in question. The fact is, I was a teacher in the hood. Someone, one of my students probably is literally arguing with the administrators of Wikipedia as to their rules and regulations of adding links and/or notable characters on Wikipedia. Whatever.

My dog Faith is listed on Wikipedia, and I was listed as a link. No more. Just a link. I suppose because someone I love or taught felt it necessary to add me. Thank you to whomever you are - I may be able to guess from the language used online. I hope my babies don't actually offend. I did take the time to look up what the Wiki people are saying, there seems to be a genuine concern on their part to try and keep those mentioned in articles true and honest, but for any one of the administrators to think that they have a right to claim who is notable and who is not is sheer arrogance. That would be like me saying that this artist isn't an artist at all because I don't like rap music, or I don't like skateboarding, so this guy can't be creative with his board - it's all up to me! Wow, I'm glad I didn't have to choose which of these administrators was talented enough to be an administrator. I don't think (maybe I'm wrong) that Wikipedia is a for-profit organization. From what I can tell it's just a cool factual place to go to see what is and what isn't regarding any one topic.

The fact that I was contacted four years ago when Faith became popular is awesome. We have enjoyed her stay on Wikipedia, but to be honest it doesn't make or break her abilities to be presented in public, or to be beneficial to anyone. She does that on her own, or rather with God's help. So, I guess I'm flattered that my students would go to bat for me certainly. I have always had their backs - but to fight for this position is almost moot - I know who I am. I don't need Wikipedia to validate my existance, my skills, training, career, or my success - I'll leave that up to the experts: People who have loved me. Thank you, each and every one of you. Now, go read something or you'll owe me 5 pages on Shakespeare by Monday! (Double-spaced, Helvetica 12 pt. with 3 references and at least 16 nouns per paragraph.)

To Carlos of Wikipedia: Maybe someday you'll be notable enough to be deleted from Wikipedia.

One Year Ago Today!

September 21, 2006 was the day I remember as being the day I was forced to give away my son. I can somewhat understand how a father feels now, when he is asked to give his daughter away at the alter when she marries. My son was marrying the United States Army, and with a contract just over three years, his union will actually outlast some of the agreements made between husbands and wives down at the courthouse. The weather on September 21, 2006 reflected my spirit - it rained. I remember thinking the angels were crying right along with me while my Baby Boy stepped up to the podium to pose for the fake swearing in pictures that they do for those who have parents in the room. There were actually only two parents in the room and over 25 swearing in. That fact has hurt me, and has torn at my heart now for exactly one year.

Today my heart is healing from the separation I felt when my son kissed me, saluted me, and promised me he would protect me and my girls from any and all perils as long as he had breath in his body to do so. He is my hero. Today, the sun shines clearly and brightly, my soul rejoices from knowing that Reuben is protected, he has been making good choices, and he has become a man like no other man I could have hoped to have raised. What a difference one year makes. He went from being the star footballer on the high school team to becoming one of many many men and women who will probably remain nameless to so many, all dressed similiarly for a reason, wearing dusty green and brown ACUs, caps, boots, and that beautiful American flag flying on his right bicep. Only his name strip, badge, and rank separate him from every other member in the Force. But I know who he is. He is my son.

Funny, one year ago my son stood 6'3" and weighed about 230 pounds. He was green eyed, blond, and wore the smile that he has carried from the day he was born. Today, on paper, my son is 5'11" and about 190. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. I don't know how they did it, but the United States Army has severely altered my son's appearance. Something about being too tall for the tank he drives, but why change the color of his eyes? I guess someone wasn't gazing into them like a mom does, trying to see whether or not he's telling the full truth. Hazel's OK...I can live with that as long as they bring back all 6'3" of him in about 2 years and 4 months when the gig is up. Of course, he'll be signing up for the National Guard at that point....going to college, getting the teacher's certificate, teaching History, coaching football, barbequing in the backyard, and constantly making plans for protecting us, and maybe his own family at that point.

In one year's time my life has changed - progress is good.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jamacian Blue Mountain Coffee, Thanks!

You know me. You know I have an addiction to a couple of things, one will go unspoken, the other is Starbucks coffee. I have been for years, one of the most dedicated and volunatarily devoted addicts of the brown serum in the white ornamental cup. I have been asked to drink other coffees, I have been given other brands for gifts. I usually end up regifting at that point - one very very inconsiderate friend of mine, because she's mean, vicious,and uncaring, gave me a gift certificate for Seattles Best online. Please! She was really only wanting the coffee for herself, knowing full well that I would refuse her token and smile with that pyrate smile I give to people when we both know they've been trying to dupe me.

However, and this is big, I was blessed and amazed to receive a cup of truly incredible coffee - that wasn't from Starbucks. It was from a company that I won't credit, as I have been too loyal to the mermaid to do that; but it was soooo good, and soooo smooth, that I literally drank four cups of coffee this morning without a twinge of guilt. If I were Catholic I wouldn't have felt badly, that's how great this coffee is. What now? What will I do? It's what I did already that counts. I immediately, upon setting the cup down and forcing myself to walk away from the empty pot still blowing steam at me - and I ordered two pounds of the beans on Ebay. I know, I could have gone to the actual site, but they charge too much. If you go online and login to Ebay you have a great chance that someone out there selling this stuff either misspelled Jamacian, or they don't realize the market value. I got my two pound bag for $16.00 + shipping. I am awaiting Heaven to descend.

So....will I ever be able to look the watered princess in the eyes while she swims around my cup and calls to me in her steamy siren voice - yes. I will. Not today. I have another three or four pots left from the beans my friend gave me. I love this guy - he's the coffee pimp. I need a coffee pimp - I've been going it on my own for too long. Communing with like-characters is good for me. I find myself digging into the great and wonderous brains of people who have either complained as I have, praised as I have, believed as I have, or desire as I do. This can't be perfect, but it is working out for me. If I thought I was confident before, look out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thought Processing!

Wow! You know what? This mediation thing is just getting to be too much fun. I have joined a group of 4 or 5 people with the Secret, we're talking to each other daily and praying for each other and our needs. We're doing everything according to the plan that was set out so many thousands of years ago and all of a sudden we're beginning to realize how much fun it is to think about each other and then the other person's thoughts actually pop into our heads. Now, I don't know if you know this, but I'm not a scientist! I'm not. I'm not into math. Math to me, an English person, is a 4-letter word - but I have always been interested in quantum physics and all the infinite details thereof. One of the things I most appreciate about quantum's principles is that I have NO idea how they work - but they always work, and they ALWAYS work according to their ruling laws of elemental structure and/or interactive principles. That much I understand. 1+1+2 = 4. I get that.

I was sitting up this morning meditating, and by the way, we all meditate differently. I was staring at a photograph and thinking through it - it's a focus thing, sort of a transfer thing. I was doing that when my brain had a V shape feeling to a section of it. Something I had never experienced before, and when I told my doctor friend he said "a V-shape, what do you mean?" I told him I felt a powerful force from either side of the brain and thy had a meeting in the middle at the top of my head, so that's a V - right? He stared at me. Later today he called me and told me that I had experienced something kinetic that occurs in electricity known as an arc. We all know about arcing. He told me to be careful that I didn't short circuit myself....damn, here I was thinking it was going to enlighten me, and he's telling me it could kill me to think too far into the brain - we just don't know enough about our brains and how they work yet!

Gaylene disagrees! (and so do I) She mentioned that the V-shape represents the FEMALE and/or fertility powers of the universe and that perhaps what I was doing was releasing or opening up to, pulling in, the overall powers that come from being a female and the way we emit and distribute our own feelings, thoughts, energy. What I was doing exactly, was looking at a photo of a man, a certain man, and when I did think or process through him, it was a way of connecting perhaps. No, not perhaps, I did. I like that idea. I like the concept of being able to be a woman even inside the folds of my brain...we may not understand it, it may be beyond us as humans, but then again, we think therefore, we are - or perhaps the reverse is ever so true: We are, therefore, we think.

Breathe, breathe, breathe...giggle.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Secret! (It's really real)

OMG - when I think about this, when I let my mind sit, and mull this over I am blown away. The actions that I took when I was a child, the uninhibited, unprovoked thoughts of positive thinking have come full circle in my life TODAY. TODAY I experienced the awakening that I have been asking for, looking for, underestimating, and understandably ignoring - for years - because as I remember it, being a child was something I did when I was indeed a child. When we become adults, even young adolescent adults, we cease the play at times, we stop the flow, we crimp off the energy that kids and babies seem to explode with and when we do that, we lose everything.

Have you read or heard The Secret? It is a book written by Rhonda Bryne, but a concept known to the great minds of every walk, every culture, every century since people have journaled. If you think about it - we can ONLY know about other lives from the past (history) if someone took the time to write about it. Stories being passed down the lines are awesome, but someone, somewhere, at sometime ended up writing these stories out, and that is the premise of the book itself. The fact that these people, these great minds, thinkers - doers of the world, DID something, they DID what we know needs to be done - and that is to stop (at all costs) negative thinking. When we think negatively, we bring negative thoughts, negative action into our minds, which then infiltrates our hearts, and we expect negative things to happen - as the cycle continues in a negative spin, we are NEVER disappointed because we receive EVERYTHING we thought would be coming to us - well, the good news it, and I guess Rhonda Bryne calls this event(s) "The Secret"; is that when the opposite is applied to our lives - at all costs - we will, we do, we must, receive the positive. I knew this at 9, but I lost it somewhere between 9 and 39.

About the time I turned 40 I realized that everything in my life was flat out negative, with the exception of ONE thing: I had my kids back finally, but it took 5 years of horror in the courts to get them. Five years of agony, torture, extreme hatred on every side, and all this negative living and negative fighting led to weight gain, unhappy work relations, debt, fear, and fear always begats more fear. I found that I was just at the end -- which is exactly where I had to be in order to have NO OTHER WAY to go, but up. Thank God - He forced me on my knees and finally on my face so that I had ONLY one way to look, and that was up. I looked up.

Well, in 2006 Bryne wrote an amazing book titled "The Secret". I had not heard of it, but it was mentioned to me recently. I ignored the mention. I continued however, with the positive thinking that I was working with in my own heart; something I called My Contract With Christ, because Ps. 37:4 guaranteed me that if I only delighted myself in the Lord, He would give me the desires of my heart. That's a contract. He offered, it was a valid offer, I accepted, and the exchange was made. I delighted, He provided. Bam! The next time someone mentioned "The Secret" to me I listened. Not only did I listen, I sat up and took full notice of what was happening in my life. I had already (through positive outlook) decided to stop negative thinking and to replace negative language such as "I'm tired" or "I'm starving" with words like "I need rest" and "I need to eat". Same result, but the connotation is everything when you remember that I'm an English teacher!

There you go. I began implimenting the secret of the book, and in just a few hours I found more to celebrate than I can even write about because if I told you what happened I would be kicked off this blog! You'd write to me and say I was a sensationalist, a liar; that I was only trying to make you believe in fantasy - you know what - that would be YOUR loss. I was blessed today more than 6 separate times with situations, scenarios, sales events, and gifts from absolute strangers! Strangers paid for my student loans a month or so ago, people I have never met - and today strangers walked up to me and asked me for directions 3 separate times. I finally asked the last couple why they asked me, there were dozens of people in the mall - why me. The woman said "You have a glow about you, I was actually drawn to you for some reason." Her husband nodded. Three separate times today someone asked me for directions! Wow!

When I was 7 I was standing in the front yard of my house at 2212 N. Mueller in Bethany, Oklahoma. I wanted to perform a roundoff back sumi and I didn't know how to do it properly. I didn't have a coach. What I had was a desire, I had seen Olga Korbit do it on television just a few minutes before, and she was awesome. She was small like me, she had pigtails like me, she had a white swimsuit like me - hers it turns out was a professional leotard...I had a white one piece. I wanted to do the gymnastic deed - and I SAW (visualized) myself doing it - and then, that day, after seeing myself succeed - I did it. I landed perfectly the first time. My mom about killed herself trying to get out of the house to stop me - but I was already on my feet, standing up, and laughing! The secret? I SAW it, I wanted it, I thought I could, I believed I could - and then: I did it! She asked me how I did it, how I didn't fall - my answer was simple "I didn't see myself falling Mommy. I saw myself doing it. Falling would have hurt."

THAT is the secret to The Secret. Want it, see it, know it is, and it will be. Delight yourself in the Lord, and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him and HE will bring it to pass. Heck, He made the universe, the least He could do would be to fulfill a desire or two right? RIGHT. Never under estimate the power of power. We may not believe electricity is around us, but it is. We may not understand the fact that we (our bodies) are magnetized, but we are. We attract things - we pull things to us, we ask and it is...whether we want to or not. So, it only makes sense to WANT to. Start the WANTING to, and think the WANTING before the action, and get this - it is.

But please, don't take my word for it. THINK for yourself, and don't keep this secret to yourself. It really is the answer to so many things you wanted to say and feel when you thought you weren't able to - we're not so old to be trained. We only need our will, and our want. You gotta love a girl that knows what she desires are MINE and the fact that you're reading this blog is proof that my desire has been given to me. I am a writer, I write. I am a thinker too. I think. I am a doer, I will do, and I will be the partner I was designed to be. I will be the lover I was made to be, and the really cool thing is - God will bring it to pass!

Start thinking!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Land of Soy and Honey, Honey!

I was caught off guard today when my little white-haired brat child grabbed my cup of Starbucks and threatened to pitch it in the sink if I admitted that the white liquid mixed with the pumpkin spice and coffee was (how dare I) milk. It wasn't, it was soy. She and I have been drinking soy-milk for quite some time now, but she was all up in arms about me straying from the pact we made. She just KNEW I was cheating. I wasn't. I know where my milk belongs - in the cow, thank you. Laura, on the other hand snoffed at us both and drank from the cardboard carton which is now 100% hers to enjoy - Caity and I do the other, let satisfying, less damning liquid that actually stays preserved 10x longer than milk - have you noticed that?

So, what about this soy stuff anyway? I was all but floored when I was told by the Akins grocery bums that most Asian women don't suffer the problems, pains, and tortures of pre, post, or regular menopause because of their soy intake. We Americans get most of our protein from animals and well, the rest of the world seems to get a better health score now, don't they? Come to think of it, now that I've given up on hamburgers (damn it) and milk (damn it again) I do actually feel better. I move better, I'm not as fat, I'm able to breath deeper, and HEY.... that's not fair! I was hoping to be like my grandparents and live to age 90 something with the benefits of having eaten all the beef, potatoes, gravy, and bacon that I wanted to. What happened? Who took my sugar away and gave me honey? Oh yeah, the hippy I live with.

Honey, it turns out is good for more than just dressing up peanut butter. The English have always used it in their tea, but that's actually not the best way to a better more healthier you. I'm told by the EXPERTS (grocers again, people who stand around all day helping unsuspecting health-dummies like me) that honey on the spoon or by the bulk is great for raising antioxidant, lowering blood sugar, and all sorts of things, but they're quick to add that a baby under the age of 2 could die if they eat it - gag reflex or something. Please...that's freaking scary! I actually used honey in an entirely different way actually - used to heat it up with whiskey and lemon for the heck of it and tell everyone I had a sore throat - I guess I watched a bit too much TV as a kid and got to the point that I related to Granny of the Beverly Hillbillies; she lived for her "medicine". I just did it every now and then when I could get away with hiding lemons in my house. My kids hate whiskey.

Before long everything in my house will still have a little dirt on it from being plucked out of the ground. I don't have to tell you that we routinely wash our eggs before using them, but I make Caity break them for fear that a little undeveloped chick may be inside of one. She's not into store bought eggs either anymore. I swear, I should never have lent her my fringed coat and Steppenwolf LPs. She takes this flower power thing to the hilt at times...then again, I do feel better. I sleep better, I eat all day long and never gain weight - not eating actual calories will do that to you. The juice in my house is from the fruit(s). The oats are raw, the peanuts too, and if you look really hard you can spot the real sugar - but Laura slaps my hand when I reach for it...gatekeeper.

I Have the STRANGEST Children

Laura comes up to me and thrusts a camera at me, she says "Hey, come outside and take my picture, I'm going to post it on an anime site." Then she told me what site, and what character she is suppose to be. OK. I can do that. I go out and take a few strangely unusual shots before asking more questions that I really couldn't begin to understand the answers to. They all had something to do with shows I had never heard of, but apparently are rather popular.

So, the next day, not even 24 hours after she's posing in the rain like this - she and Caity are duct taping their breasts and butts so they can dress as boys and hit the mall trying to pick up their own female friends to see if they get recognized. I don't actually think it would work - they can't change their appearance really any more than they can change their voices to match those of 17 and 18 year old young men whose change has already taken place; that's not the point they tell me, I'm just suppose to be the cameraman...woman...whatever.

After they fail at their adventure they managed to undress themselves to reveal tape recorders and then they listened to their antics and the screaming from their friends who knew who they were and just went along with it for fun. When did being so weird get popular? Anyway, the next day or so, maybe a few days later, Laura decides to put 3 foot extensions in her hair and do the naked lady on the horse shot, but she can't get completely naked like Caity, who doesn't need a reason or a disguise to do it - Laura just ran around the house blushing every which way, and then gave up the project for an ice cream eating contest with her tiny little sister who eats (sometimes) as much as her BIG brother on a weekend. Laura lost - Caity's face was covered in ice cream from diving into it in order to win, the girl will not be beat at any competition even if she has no interest in the competition itself, she won't be beat.

Finally, one last thought on the girls before I leave you to pray for my sanity. I caught them both dancing and pretending to be rappers in the bathroom with the boombox blaring, their oversized clothes flopping around and then I heard one of them falling to the ground shrieking in laughter - she'd lost her footing while two-stepping, which by the way isn't a country-western step anylonger, it's a grunge thing - and she toppled over onto the door - neighbors were concerned. All was well, the dynamic duo have decided to give it a rest for a little bit, not knowing exactly what they're going as for the seven (7) different Halloween parties they've been invited to, but they do know what they're dressing up as for the one they are hosting. My little girls are actually going as each other. Laura as Caity, and Caity as Laura - see who can out insult the other!

Thank GOD for little boys. My son is dressing up as a Private First Class Soldier in the United States Army this year. Last year he went as a regular Private. Congrats my darling! You wear it well.

I Simply Must Stop Laughing!

Look at these lines on my face! They only show up when I'm happy.

I have to stop laughing immediately. Quickly, someone please remind me of what my life was like when I was married and the kids were growing up - No, thanks again - I'll take the smiles, the lines, the peace....well, there isn't all that much peace when you share a little place with two teenage girls who are either kissing or killing each other every minute of the day.

Presently they are happy with each other. That could change the second a boy walks into the club they're dancing in and says hi to just one of them. Cats don't sound off as loudly as my girls when they disagree - and you've heard cats going at it.

The thing about laughing and getting all wrinkly and line-infested is that each one of my lines could probably stand up and tell a story about how they came to rest so securely in my face. I taught in the hood for five years - I'm surprised my hair isn't gray, my teeth punched out, and the lines even deeper - but not from laughing. I cried as often as I grinned when I taught, believe me. Maybe those lines could tell you something about working cases for Mr. Moler and developing my own unique perspective of the laws of my state while I simultaneously upheld them myself to see them being abused in court when it came time to hold the judge accountable. Here I was working for a lawyer that was upstanding every single time, but the judge in my custody case obviously didn't learn the same law(s) that Mr. Moler practiced - she changed them at her own will and whim - the lines from those events run sideways across the top of my head I think....maybe in time they'll be covered by the more dominate and more satisfying humor huggers that fine and find me on a yearly basis. I do pray they do.

My girls are all but grown now - years of work, pushing, pulling, dragging, kicking, clawing, and screaming at the air to get that accomplished. To tell the truth, I use a great deal of those experiences in my comedy routines because parents of teens understand me. From stage I see a mom reach over and squeeze the hand of her eye-rolling 15 year old daughter, and I know she knows what I know. The daughter gets it too, but she's not going to let mom see her grin - later in the room on the phone with her friend the relative story gets told in giggles and screeching over cells and soda. ("She was soooo talking about me, I know it.")

Well - ENOUGH with the craters showing up on my face already, go to my knees or something, at least I can bend them and make them look like they're suppose to go away - from time to time I stand in front of the mirror and pull my cheekbones up, or my forehead - just to see what I would look like with a flatter more youthful face - Like Laura...and I smile again. Defeating the purpose, but satisfying the heart.

Who Knew That Garlic Could Do THAT?

I am always (and I mean always) amazed at what the natural remedy warriors tell me when I seek their advice at a natural foods store. I'm one of those people who for whatever reason just never listened to the holistic points of view - I always shopped for my pharmaceuticals in the store's pharmacy section. This diet that I'm working through (not ON, but actually doing) is amazingly simple and I am constantly stuffing my face. I eat more now than I ever did, but what I'm eating is healing me inside rather than hurting me both internally and therefore externally. I'm losing weight of course, shaping up, and getting the body to do what the soul and spirit have been doing for months - to work as a team.

I recently went to Akins and asked the gurus in the grocery section what to do for a toothache. I didn't have one, but a friend did, and she ONLY used home remedies. My friend had mistakenly told me to pick up fresh garlic for her - I thought maybe she wanted to ward off the evil spirits of pain or men, but she was serious about it being able to help heal the nerves under the gum line. She was right! The gurus confirmed her story! Not only that, but get this - it helps the libido too. Can I say libido without laughing? No. It helps you want to have sex. It actually stimulates your brain with hormone releasing enzymes that say "Hey, wake up down there, get it going, breath, let the blood flow hot and heavy and let's get laid tonight!" That wasn't me talking, mind you, that was the effect that garlic has on one's brain. I don't think you have to have a toothache to take the stuff either - some people cook with it! Oh, that makes sense - there's a lot of little Italians running around aren't there? Wait, Chinese food is packed with GARLIC! Oh, this is actually making a lot more sense as I dig a bit deeper into it, huh?

Countries that use garlic tend to have children in abundance! Wow, who knew? Well, I don't want more children, that's for darn sure, but I wouldn't mind a little loving from time to time - when I'm in love - when and if that happens - now all I have to do is find a natural herb or vegetable to flatten my belly, reduce the size of my breasts, remove the hair in strange places, take off a few moles, lessen the appearance of wrinkles and crow's feet - and maybe a juice or fruit to take care of a spider vein here and there....maybe if I just rub garlic all over my body. It destroys bad breath you know...maybe it can take off the cellulite, restore my youth, and give me a reason to take up Flamenco dancing!

I guess I couldn't date a vampire, but Italians are OK, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

There was This Man - In a White Hat

One afternoon sometime in late April 1999, I was skimming through the WANT ads on the internet for fun. By WANT ads I mean personals. Men who wanted a relationship - I guess with someone like me, a woman who was looking for a man who wanted a relationship. Actually, truth be known, I was doing what a lot of men do - window shopping. I had no intention of actually stepping over the line and introducing myself. I was just looking - looking can be more fun at times because you can make up little stories about the people in the pictures - makes it seem a bit more mysterious, perhaps even more interesting than the truth at times.

There he was. Just smiling a little thin smile from under a white cotton fedora - courting a salmon pink shirt, all muscled up, tanned, and pretty - laying back on the plastic strips of a lounge chair somewhere on a beach somewhere in a world somewhere other than the reality of my dull and boring world. He was certainly pretty - and his name was Clark. Clark, the man in the white hat. Clark, the man in the pink shirt. Clark, the man in my dreams for the next 18 months or so - and by dreams I mean dreams - vivid and lucid dreams with cloudless days, beaches that run forever, and palm trees without falling coconuts - just palms - and me with Clark. The reason the dreams continued for 18 months wasn't merely because the little photo of the man was THAT great - we actually became friends online.

I remember being disappointed to find out that his real name wasn't Clark - well, his middle name was, but he was a DAVID and that upset me because of my ex. Clark seemed like such a new and exciting name - to go with a new and extremely exciting man, daring in his voiced adventures, creative and stylish to boot - in fact, month after month passed with us on the phone with each other much more often than the hours we'd spend online chatting. Our phone calls lasted endlessly into the night, and I remember feeling absolutely floatatious with this man. He could lift my spirits, tweak my heart, and literally sent love beams searing through my soul - with just a whispered laugh. The man actually giggled at times - which made me tingle.

So what happened? I'm not sure. Oh, I can guarantee you that I slipped up. I said or did something that probably scared the devil out of this flirtatious and genuinely charming man. I probably threatened or intimidated him, making him feel less detached and more obligated to a relationship that was truly immaterial, intangible, distant, something not based on reality or touch since we seriously had never never really ended - it just stopped. Gone, nothing more. At first I created an excuse - made something up to make myself feel better. My emotions ran the gambit of how-could-I, and that-was-stupid-Jude feelings - but then I became angry, perhaps grieving the loss of not only a friend but a dear friend - a true friend.

Well, time has healed me. Time has helped me to better understand not only the currents that run underneath relationships, but the reasons we even establish said relationships. I wasn't the least bit ready for a real boyfriend, what Clark (David) and I had was all fantasy - but it was indeed a fantastic adventure at times for both of us. What brings me to this blog? Why now? What could possibly have occurred to make me think of the man I once referred to in code as "The one I wish I knew"? His birthday actually, no it isn't today. His birthday is March 15, a day of infamy actually in the literary world. My good friend Niki's son asked me a question today - he knew his mom would make him look up the answer online and he didn't want to take the time to do something he could ask me to answer for him I guess. Eric asked me "Hey, what happened on March 15 that made all the difference to the world at some point and time in history? I gotta know for English."

What happened? Well, a man was born - he turned my heart upside down, and then he went away - but something tells me that Eric was more or less unimpressed with my immediate answer and sought something more along the lines of Julius Caesar's assassination. I, on the other hand was completely untouched by the brutality of that day, and completely blown away by the man in the white hat. To be so again - is that asking too much?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stress Relieving Can be so....Stressful!

I'm laughing! I'm really laughing - I picked up a book today at the bookstore that lined out several methods to reduce one's stress and believe it or not, I'm actually doing just about everything in the book (without having to actually purchase it for the benefits) and I'm still suffering from all the non-benefits of being a stressed out person. Believe it or not, my doctor tells me that my weight loss program is perfect, I'm doing everything I can do - except that I'm not losing as much as I want, or as fast as I want to lose that extra twenty because I'm stressed.

Now, I just found this out today OK. I went to the doctor to talk about the weight loss. I had already blogged about it, so you knew from reading this week that I'm fighting that last few (OK 20-25 pounds) that has squatted and taken up residency behind my back - and to be honest, in front too - mostly in front, but I lie to make myself feel better. DOCTOR, I asked WHY? We went over my day, my week, my month, my year, my goals, my plans, my children - BINGO! I could go on, I could mention Iraq, immigration problems, obesity in America, lack of good water sources in Oklahoma, draughts in the world - heck, I could get really personal and just explain the stress I feel from trying to get to the washing machines before some of the other tenants in my building; but the REAL truth of it is - I'm a mom!

Stress, it turns out, is the one thing that's shaping my body these days. Without stress I could be fit, trim, full of energy, and probably having a martini right now on the shores of some exotic island with a man I found irresistibly hot -- except even my fantasies are gauged as being somewhat stressful according to His Highness, the doctor I paid good money to analyze my diet problems. He said I'm not suppose to SEE the man in my fantasies, I'm suppose to think him - experience him through thought, not vision. I see Gary! Not everybody else's ideal fantasy man, but mine OK...I like what I SEEEEEEE. But the real problems are named: Reuben, Laura, and Caity. Seems I've been allowing them to edge their way into my psyche for years - into my heart, into my soul, into my cells, they're making me FAT!

I worry about Reuben being in the Army. He's got a broken arm right now, and the field attendants are making him do a two-week exercise. I got the call yesterday that he's hurt his left hand now. (But he should be OK - stressful.) I worry about Laura and Caity getting their butts out of bed to get to college on time. They didn't remember their books. I found them in the car this morning. STRESS. You know what? I think the good doctor may be onto something. If I could just do everything in that book and and and and and....get rid of about 400 or so pounds of "baby fat"; I'd be just fine. BUT, then I'd have too much time on my hands and probably join a commune, plant a pot garden, get caught and spend 11 years behind bars! I could chance it.

According to the book I'm suppose to burn citrus and sage candles. I'm suppose to take baths with lavender oils. It would be best if I took 3 ten-minute breaks each day and just took deep breaths, inhaling fully and exhaling completely. I should also increase my intake of vitamin B products, eat more spinach for the folic acid, and I should journal, write, read, or pet an animal - dogs actually relax a person more so than cats - as cats are often temperamental and disrupt the petting event - dogs will literally stay and allow the session to continue on and on and on...wonder if Gary would stay still long enough to - - I digress.

More baths! More journaling! More tuna, blueberries, green tea, and less coffee (to hell with that one). I'll have to drink more tea because I can't say good bye to the babies - they need me as much as I need them. However, I could do with a little beach and a little solitude. Maybe just me and Matrix in Panama City, a Defoe novel - sun and wind, salted air, and lavender oils a little later on....I kid myself.

Britney Spears' Comeback on the VMAs

OK - I'll talk about it. I wasn't even going to watch the VMA's until I heard that Britney was going to be opening the show with a great new song and a comeback video. WHAT? MTV is actually going to do videos again? That was my first reaction. I'm an old-MTV fan, back in the day with Mark Goodman and Quinn...anyone remember? Videos? VJs....remember? Anyway, so there I was on the couch drinking aloe vera juice and lemon, because that's the drink of the day now - - and the clock struck 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time: Britney Time.

I looked. I watched. I thought it over. I realized she was live. She was actually dancing while I was watching. She was probably the most nervous person on the face of the planet, and there is NO WAY I would have had the strength, the guts, the talent, or the moxy to pull off what she attempted to pull off. She achieved a helluva lot more than most people gave her credit for in the tabloids, on the gossip shows, or on the internet - she proved to herself that she could do something that perhaps she thought she couldn't do again. She performed live in front of millions and millions of people - after having been away from the industry, after having been made fun of for a very long time, after having gone through a divorce, battles, painful relationships, custody issues - and you know what - she dealt with body issues, rehearsals, practices, and yes - she dealt with her demons too. Britney pulled it off.

Now, she may not have performed at the top of her game. She may not have even satisfied the hungry wolves who sat out there looking for blood - waiting for her to fail, just like they did when Paris and Nicole went to jail. She danced. She messed up on the lip-syncing - so would you, so would I! But DAMN IT, Britney danced! I hope she did it more for herself than for the money. I hope she did it more for herself than for the celebrity. I hope she found a thread of happiness among the feeble fabric of what passed as friendships - because so many of the worst critics Sunday night claimed to be her friends. I would have probably chosen a better costume. I would have chosen a better method of coming back - perhaps something in the middle of the show rather than the first thing - but I don't have millions of sales to my name, and my name isn't Britney now is it?

Everyone matures. Everyone grows. Everyone changes - one thing remains - heart. Girl's got it. Leave her alone. Oh, and if you're looking for a way to find a way to leave her alone, you try standing where she stood. If she has ONE fan - (albeit a fan that would sit her down and talk straight into her face about the behavior) it would be me. Hats off to you B!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sometimes Poetry Interrupts my Sleep!

I dreamed this. I decided to write it out. See if you can figure out my dreaming - see if you can grasp the comparison to Poe.

No Cask to Share

Two fools bound together
But Heart has taken stand
To lead the first fool, soul
To end. Running sands

A corridor - a life
Twisted tunnels. Stairs
My motley colored beater
Pulled and lured through tears

Fastened through all time
One but we are torn
How my heart has suffered
Loving. Fallen. Forced.

Just a little further
Drink to ease your ail -
Oh my friend, this is your end
I'll brick by brick prevail.

Angered by my last insult
A thousand Heart had taken
But this final love I chose
For this - I won't be wakened

Chained to walls Heart led me to
At the end - destined
Heart has fallen for a man
Soul can't have - or loosen

At my end, my motley core
Has given up to lose
While I, my very being
Chained - cannot choose

A carnival upstairs somewhere
Awaits us to return
Heart and Soul have loved their last
For better or for ruin

Jude Stringfellow
September 10, 2007

Where Do I Sign?

Some soldiers, like these two, just can't get enough of the Army cooking I guess! Even though both now have received their Honorable Discharges from the U.S. Army, both have resigned and are willing and wanting to serve you and me again! I don't know whether to smack them up side the head, or to hug them and say "Thank You!" I think I'll just cry.
So what is it about serving in the Army that makes these perfectly good looking, healthy, energetic, seemingly intelligent people (and hundreds of thousands like them) want to stay in when they have the opportunity to fly? We all know it isn't the pay. The benefits aren't bad, the educational program is even tolerable, but for most of them it is the opportunity to finish the job(s) they started a few years back. They started working and they got really good at something and then it ended - sometimes slower than they anticipated, sometimes faster. For Bigenho, the girl G.I., it was the boy G.I. standing next to her. He and she are actually - dare we say it out loud and over the internet - IN LOVE! They're getting married. They actually think they look good together, and from the smiles on their faces when they're standing close enough to feel each other's body heat (Laura is secretly smelling the fabric softener she slipped in Marcus' laundry) they think that rejoining is not only the best choice, it's the one that makes the most sense to them - they have unfinished business!
Our men and women both come out of their service experience with a new awareness of what it is to be a leader. Perhaps applying the trades and techniques they've learned over the past few years in the civilian world just doesn't make as much sense. You know, you can't very well get to work at 0500 if your civilian job starts over three hours late! Forget about clocking in and out, these Army people don't know how to do that - they're 24/7/365. It's hard for an Army soldier once released into the wilderness of the business world to stop standing at attention when the boss comes into sight. It's even harder for them to stop looking both left and right when they come to an intersection in the office cubicles - imagine their plight. (Imagine them standing in front of their empty clothes closets wondering what to wear since drab green and dust are no longer options!
So I say this, GREAT GUNS to Bigenho and Levering - thank you both! Thank you for loving each other, for holding onto dreams, for making new and exciting decisions at such a young age - and thank you both for your service to the world, to the country, to the states and people you represent - and for protecting me. I love you!
P.S. But DON'T YOU THINK for a second that I'll let Reuben do that! He better get his butt home, go to college, become the coach he was destined to be, and just look good on my couch! Hahaha

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Emerald (City) on Green Street in Chicago!

OK...found it! I've been searching online and asking a particular realtor about property in Chicago because I know, I just KNOW I'm going to end up in that city someday. I hope it's sooner than later, I hope it's faster and easier than it's been in the past. I have found the ONE spot in the entire city of Chicago that best suits my needs. I'm including a photo that is actually on the site for the construction: so you too can see where I'll be lighting and calling home. I'm hooked on a 2 bedroom / 2 bath southern corner unit, Unit 8, and I would prefer the top or the next to the top floor. (I'm sure someone already occupies that spot, and my realtor will have to go in and offer them a deal they can't refuse - Scorpio gets her way you know. Wink.)

If you'll notice in the picture I am standing right outside the little Starbucks on the left hand side of the screen. They caught me ordering my quad-shot cappuccino and asked me to pose for the illustration. I want to thank the artist for helping me knock off those last twenty pounds - awesome! If we could all be SIMS and just mill around our little universes without a thought one as to what we actually needed to do - it would be grand.

The Emerald is a buy for me. I won't rent. I've decided that where I am an Oklahoman, it would be best for me to venture north and become a part of a city that makes more sense to me. I'm all about art, museums, reading, writing, performing, talking, sharing and giving - this state and my particular city are just not equipped to give me the stimuli I require. Albeit, Saturdays in Norman, Oklahoma are quite exciting during the fall - and there's NO place else I would rather be than at the game - unless it was in the arms of someone I can think of right off the top of my head, but you know what - given the choice on any given Saturday, even Mr. Sinise may take second fiddle to the Sooners; depending on the lineup. I'm talking Miami, Texas, OSU, that sort of a match - I'm at the game. If OU was entertaining a Baylor, Georgia Tech, maybe A&M, yeah, Sinise would win....but I digress - we were talking about Chicago's Emerald City.

I'm taking Emerald City for another reason too. I love the area. It's in the theatre district, it's close to the museums, the art, the people, the coffee - the transportation - and, and, and, it has a great 8,000 sq foot lobby with a fitness center, business center, elegant great room and conference center, it has beautiful bamboo flooring, stainless steel everywhere, and the best view of the city from where I would be buying - again, I may have to oust a newly wed couple or perhaps some hip new up and comer, but hey - money talks. (hahaha) I know my new place will have NO CHILDREN, at least not my unit, and I will have one of those dog-walkers come take my Matrix out two or three times a day - maybe even bathe him, and put little bows on his ears - he'd hate me forever if I did that.

It will be a while - if you're in my unit you may be able to celebrate Christmas there. Feel free to take photographs so you can remember what it was like when YOU lived there - but it will be sold to me someday - I'm not the least bit arrogant, just me - I rarely take no for an answer if I want something, but I'm never mean about it - just me. Move already - please, and thank you.

Come see me when I get there, give me a week to put the boxes away. Actually, I've decided to move without anything other than what I can ship by UPS in 4 boxes. The rest I'll buy online at some fancy-schmancy furniture store with a cool name - IKEA, that's the one. I've also decided to use the Home Depot in the area for any improvements. I'm sure the place will be loaded with someone else's idea of perfection when I show up - no problems, paint and textures are in the bag. I went to the Home Depot University classes. I can do this! They can help me. I'll do a mapquest to see how far I have to go to actually get the supplies, maybe rent a car for the day, maybe go into Carol Stream or something, maybe get a friend to help. Buy a rug or two, buy some glass brick for the shower, buy a little cinnamon candle for the bedroom. Maybe - just maybe, I can persuade a certain Music Man to jam a little every once in a while, I do love my jazz.

I never take no for an answer - please, and thank you.

Don't Try to Fool A Mother!

If THIS was the first thing you saw when you got up in the morning you might think twice about rolling out of that bed!

A picture very similar to this one was sent to me recently by a Sgt. Major who will remain unnamed. I don't wish to embarrass the man. He sent me a 12 mega pixeled, high definition photo with 16 military men/women dressed exactly like this. They were all on their knees, they had their weapons up in the air, and they had their camouflaged foliage covering their faces. There was a caption at the bottom of the photo it read: "Challenge Mom: Find your son!" I called the man immediately on the phone because he had included his cell number in the message as well. "Hello" I said to the man. "Are you ready for me to identify my son?" He laughed at me. He said "No, wait, let me go down the hall and do this right." He walked down the corridor of a building I could not see because he was in Alaska and I was in Oklahoma.

He then knocked three times on the door and yelled "Stringfellow! Get up!" It was about 7:10 a.m. on Saturday, my son usually sleeps in on Saturdays, but sleeping in to the Army means something more like 0600, so he couldn't really get mad at me if his Sgt. Major was demanding his presence. The door opened and I heard my son's voice asking his Sgt. Major if he needed to be somewhere - no, came the answer, "I'm on the phone with your mom, she's going to try and identify you from the shot we took last month of you guys in the clearing." I heard a laugh. I heard my son's voice again, he said "She can. She will."

"Go ahead" said the Sgt. Major, and I directed his attention to the boy (or the person in uniform) that was 7th from the right. He counted, he was quiet - then she said "Son of a bitch!" Reuben laughed and I said "You must be addressing my son Sgt. Major, as I am the Bitch - he is the son of the bitch." The SM laughed and asked how it was that out of 16 uniformed dressed soldiers, all looking what he thought was identical in size, shape, coloring, weapons, everything - how was it that I could find my son that readily? It seemed to him, impossible. I told the truth. I told him it took about a minute, it wasn't an immediate recognition. I had to do a bit of a study - but upon examining the knee caps of all the soldiers, and the stance, and the height and angle of the his elbow I was sure that my son was the 7th from the right. I was correct.

Well, it wasn't the first time I had actually identified my baby from a photo of seemingly identical subjects, but this one was a bit more challenging because of the subject matter. The first had been a football photo, a practice game where the boys were all giving their high-five in masse, and I just found him by his elbow - same right elbow; which today if I had to recognize him would be dressed in a cast since he has broken that arm recently. But the point was simple: Don't try to fool a mom! Ask the fathers to pick out their children, ask a brother to pick out a sibling, but don't try to pull one over on the woman who gave birth to that particular boy! That is MY son - the others are equally talented perhaps, equally good looking, perhaps they have attributes of greatness that my son does not at this time possess - but try as they may, they will never have my son's exact knee. They can not squat the same, bend the same, hold their head or arms the same, and they don't generate a vibration of extreme unity like my boy does when I see him (even in photographs).

I'm not really sure I could do it every time. I'm not sure I would be as successful if one of my girls were in the same situation - I would hope so, but I have not had that challenge come up. There's just something about a boy and his mother - he is the man of our house. He is the protector, he is the one we trust to make some of the difficult decisions that must be made - a role he assumed and has achieved successfully. The Sgt. Major said he was going to call his own mom next to see if she could find him - I warned him, it may depend of whether or not he could pick her out if he needed to. Did he have THAT strong of a relationship with her. He chuckled a bit and said "You know, maybe I could, maybe I couldn't - but I bet that old woman can spot me. I'll let you know!" I await that call.

Go Army!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Let Me Explain the Word "Warrant" to YOU.

I went to the post office today to pick up all the fan mail for my dog. Believe it or not, I answer anywhere from 100 to 200 pieces of mail every week for the sweetheart. I usually answer by e-mail, unless someone has given me a self-addressed stamped envelope - so if you're thinking of mailing us something, please do - but remember, I do have to keep the response short. So, there I am at the post office, staring at the mounds of letters and little presents when I see a very plain and ordinary white size 10 envelope with the seal of the Great City of Oklahoma City blazing right on the front - top left. Seems someone from DOWNTOWN wants to talk to me. I doubted the fine officers of our city wanted to have tea or set up a time where we could go over the fall line up of new uniforms. I could almost guess that someone out there was unhappy with one of my children. Since Reuben is safely in the Army, that leaves Caity. (If you know me, and you know I have another daughter named Laura, then you know that Laura couldn't possibly have upset anyone. It must be Caity.) I was correct in my assumption.

The letter started out badly. "We have a warrant for the immediate arrest of Caitlyn Brook Stringfellow" (this can't be good) Apparently, back in November 2006 my darling was involved in a little .... well, the word is larceny. She was in the presence of another young girl who was picked up for stealing - was my daughter innocent? No. She was right there with her, and she admitted her guilt. However, she didn't quite give the full and correct information to the kind officer, and therefore, another $195.00 ticket for submitting false information to a law enforcement officer was attached. Sweet child of mine. Sweet, sweet, child of mine! I take 100% responsibility for the mishap - I gave birth.

In the past 10 months since this event my darling has actually completed her probational community service, she's cleaned the church for more than 80 hours. She's been available for impromptu speeches at schools and other community locations wherein she has to admit her guilt and explain to others what it means to be caught, and to do the time for the crime. What she wasn't clear on was that she, my sweet cherub spawn from hell, was that she had to pay the $390 for the two offenses! That caused the computer to spit out this letter, and now my little white haired pumpkin is hiding in the closet so that she won't be seen on the streets! I'm sure I'll be able to make arrangements with the city, but I'm not going to tell her. I think it's very healthy for her to hide out on the down-low where I know exactly where she is. This stops her from driving without her license. It stops her from dancing in public without her shoes or her shirt! (Did I mention she's a hippie?) She has been seen in the general populous looking like the free spirit that she is, but at least ONE thing is for certain - this particular free spirit PAYS for everything she wants - no more 5-finger discounts for her. She has learned her lesson. 80 hours of cleaning toilets, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, putting hymnals in their places, and carrying out the trash in the youth area has taught her a few things! Good things!

So, when I called her today I asked her if she knew what WARRANT meant. Her brother, God bless and protect him, didn't. He couldn't spell it correctly either had I asked, but I didn't ask, I realize he's publicly educated. Reuben had a couple of warrants out for his immediate detention because he left the state with outstanding tickets - all speeding! Boy oh boy! It cost me $1508.00 to put that man in the Army and it took a letter from his commanding officer to get him OK'd to swear in. He just didn't know the meaning of WARRANT - he more or less thought it mean "pay in the future sometime". So, I say that to say this - teach your children well, the ones you love, the ones you live with. It could very well mean the difference between having your car for the weekend and letting your brat have full control again.

I'm going to milk this warrant thing for weeks. I know she won't read my blog to find out the truth, and she won't know that I've paid it in full - so she'll think she's indebted to me! I love being a mom.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Literary Agents - Attention Please.

Calling all literary agents with good reputations - I am in need of getting my books published with a major house so that they can be placed in the millions of hands whose voices are calling for them around the world. My book "With a Little Faith" (2nd Ed.) has sold more than 20,000 copies, but it is ONLY available in the U.S. It is available through Amazon and through the publisher Xlibris, but it is too expensive and the shipping for overseas postage is so high it is impossible to sell. There is a second book now, "Faith Alone: Stories of an Amazing Dog". It has sold in the neighborhood of 6,000-8,000 copies in the almost six months it's been available and it will be blasting off the shelves for the publisher willing to take it. WHY? WHY do you ask?

This past week my dog Faith has been featured in more than a dozen tabloids in Europe. Don't ask me why. She's cute - really amazing, and I suppose the television stations that are calling me this week and setting up interviews (literally flying to Oklahoma to meet with me from different countries including Spain, Brazil, Korea, and Germany) have all read the articles. Faith is the Most Photographed Dog in the World. We know that - but now she's becoming more. She's becoming a media darling - you can check out her website at and see where she's been on various television shows in America, but soon you'll see links to shows in many other countries.

Each and every time someone interviews me I ask them to promote my books so that I can give them a better deal on their interview or daily fee. I just hate to see someone pay too much for something - knowing how I would feel if it was coming out of my own pocket. That's the problem I'm having with the publisher Xlibris - they charge too much. They want people to pay upward of $25+ for a hardback book that is only 124 pages long! I wouldn't pay that much for it, and I wrote it! The book is actually an incredible book - they both are. One is meant for memoir readers, the other is for educational and/or information about our adorable little girl - both need to be picked up and printed by someone with a reputation of being able to get the books translated into German, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, French, and at least a couple of Chinese languages - please!

I can't understand why the books are not being picked up. We were featured on Oprah, Montel, Maury, Ripley's, and in over 100 magazines and newspapers around the world including the Guidepost (May 2007). I don't want people to see Faith on the news in the next few weeks and have to pay too much for a copy of the book - someone knows who can do this. Someone knows someone that can help. I know you do. Believe me, I've been getting on my proverbial knees and begging agents but they don't listen. They think it would be too big of a project! Too big? Too Big? Since when has that stopped someone?

You know - if you're a producer, an agent, a publisher, a printer - or you work with one, or know one - please...I'm not even asking for an advance. I just want the book available for people so that they can have it to share with those they love. Faith's message is so important - it amazes me how books about something less interesting or less powerful get pushed right through. Well, this time - we're going to do something about it - pray first, ask others to help, and get it done!

My e-mail address is: Please, if you can help, please do. The books are all published with ISBNs and copyrighted. They just need a home! Xlibris is good to get started with, but it can't be the home of the future for these books - Google my name, Jude Stringfellow, you'll see the books immediately. Please, the process takes a while! THANKS SO MUCH. I really do appreciate it.

This week alone I have been interviewed on the phone by 2 separate television shows in South Korea and next week a crew comes to film. Today I was filmed by ARD-TV of Germany, and last week the Brazilian crew came out for a little children's show sort of like Fraggle Rock. The Spanish TV show is similar. The attention is over the top wonderful, but we want to be able to help those who are asking for books - books are meant to be read, not sitting in the warehouse. I don't mind lowering the price to the point that I make little profit. I just want the books out there.

Again, thank you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Silly Catholics! Tricks are for Baptists!

I have the distinction of being the BAPTIST by at least six of my friends. I don't know how I attract so many Catholics into my friendship, but I do. One of my favorite Catholic/Baptist stories over the years has been when my friend now for over 40 years - Robyn, called me once to ask me who Jacob's father was. I thought she meant some kid we were in high school with or something. We were about 18 at the time. She calls me in the middle of the night, laughing, really laughing - "Who's Jacob's father, come on, I want to win!" It took me a minute to think - it was Halloween - she was at a party, and you guessed it, she needed the answer to a very very simple Bible question: Who is the father of Jacob? I told her. She won. I have no idea what I had helped her win, but it started something that hasn't stopped - all my Catholic friends call me, e-mail me, write me, asking me questions that for me seem effortless: How many tribes are there in the nation of Israel? What does the name Babel mean? Where is the actual Garden of Eden located?

For grins and giggles I'll tell you about Janice. I love this woman. She and I had worked in offices downtown that were situated next to each other. I worked for a protestant employer, she worked for a Catholic employer, her friend, and one of the parishioners of her church actually. She and Bob both would routinely come over to our office for Biblical clarification and Mr. Moler and I would often laugh about it - here were were capable at the drop of a hat to spew out tidbits of trivia that could used best during a contest I suppose. Never did it make the end of the world seem inevitable. Janice came over to my office one Christmas. She had in her hands a little box. She gave me a gift that she claimed from the bottom of her heart was something that meant the world to her - and it was a showing of her personal belief in Christ through her personal religion. I accepted the box. Inside the box was a little, old, red and white plastic rosary with a small white crucifix at the bottom. The cross itself had been gnawed on. I could see the glimpse and gleam in Janice's eyes. She had chewed on the base of the cross once or twice during a particularly tough time in her life. Tornado, bad test in Algebra, something to that effect.

Janice wanted me to give her something that meant a lot to me, it had to be something that was meaningful too. It also, in keeping with the theme of her gift - be something of religious significance to my personal walk. I thought about my offering. The next day I arrived to work with the same giddy happiness that she had displayed toward me in handing me her gift. I reached out to her and handed my good friend a rather heavy rectangular shaped box. She could tell it was warm before she opened it. When the box was opened, and the glass 9x13 Pyrex casserole dish pulled out - we both had breakfast! Cinnamon bread casserole. She didn't get it. I was laughing so loud my boss had to come over to see what I was carrying on about. "Baptists", I explain "Like to eat!" I also gave my good friend a little pink Bible with her name engraved on it. I had underlined the Roman Road - all the verses necessary to lead someone to salvation through grace. She adored the gift - we all did.

Recently I got a call from another Catholic friend. Her heart was hurting. Her soul was torn. The man she had been married to for more than 25 years had divorced her about a year before. He had just sent her a message through the mail. It said that by the time she received it he would be dead. He was going to be committing suicide. He knew her thoughts and worries about his soul and he didn't want any of that: he had cancer, he was already mad at God he explained. He just wanted her to know that she was still the beneficiary of his estate. She was to take care of herself and the kids with the money. He knew he would be OK. He doubted that she thought he would be. He told her that her beliefs in God precluded her from knowing he was actually going to be at peace. She would think he would be sent directly to Hell for his act. He instructed her in his letter to call me...the Baptist. I love that. Call the Baptist.

Well, let me tell you what I told her. The 20+ years I sold insurance told me that his claim would be paid. They had purchased the insurance well over 2 years before his act of self destruction. She was relieved to hear that - she and the kids needed to be cared for, and she knew his body would need to be prepared and buried as well. What about the Hell thing? She desperately wanted to know. He had been correct; her beliefs didn't allow for such thoughts. It was sin. Good to have a Baptist in the mix from time to time. Whether you're a Protestant, a Catholic, Islamic, or any other religion - Jesus actually does love you. The truth is, that the real truth lies within your heart - you know the answer. There is ONLY one sin that will send you to Hell - NOT accepting Jesus. Simple.

Murder is murder. But it is forgivable. So, that being said - let me say this. My friend is in Heaven. He is at peace, and because I knew him to be the OTHER Baptist in her life - I know he didn't take his life easily. It was a decision he hated, I know he was a mush braver man than I could be - I'm too damn selfish. Oh, and another thing - you guilt ridden Catholic friends of mine who refuse to let me out of the Baptist church parking lot Sunday after Sunday, as you slowly roll past me, intentionally going slow enough to wave, smile, and even make faces at me on your way out of your own parking lot - Our church development committee just approved another egress from our property! Take that! Ha! We may actually make it to the restaurants before you - of course, we'll both still have to wait on the Methodists to clear from the tables. They cut their prayers short or something!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Life is NEVER Easy.

I'm working with my daughter Laura's producer right now. His name is Marvin McElvany, he's one of the best music mixers and producers in the Southwest. He's trying to download Laura's new mp3 track to the site where you too can hear my darling little girl sing her heart out. The mix was literally completed in less than 1 hour, she had to record it before she left for Ozzfest this summer. I promised Marvin that in the future I would allow him a lot more time for such things - maybe she can be really professional and pay the man! He'd probably appreciate that.

So, I'm sitting at the office trying to download the CD when it dawns on me (after the 6th try) that the site only wants Mp3 files downloaded. I thought it was an Mp3. I thought that's what he said he recorded. I think he actually recorded .wma and .cda files - and maybe thought he downloaded Mp3 on the disks. Whatever he did he did a great job, and I'm just waiting for him to do his local magic again, uploading the correct file so we can all enjoy her lovely voice. Of course she's already picking on herself, and saying she could have done this, or she should have done that. I should consider this to be a good thing - she's a bit of a perfectionist, and that's good for a musician and for an artist. Laura is both.

So, so, so, so, I'm waiting - mother that I am, I get a bit nervous - OK, bitchy, when things don't just pop in and do what I expected them to do. I have to be sweet and wait and be kind. I hate waiting - but there are times (like this) when the wait is worth it. We were at Marvin's listening to the finished product before we were here downloading, and she sounded so great! It was great seeing her sitting at the computer with her headsets on, a little wracked from the anticipation of the first notes from the track - her voice, her project, coming to fruition. Well, he'll be the producer for her first real CD, a full CD probably and he'll get that big fat THANK YOU from the stage when she wins American Idol or accepts her first major reward. That should be worth a smile or two.

Gotta love ya Baby Girl! You did good!

Headlining - It Could Happen!

My booking agent is Mike Maguire. Mike works with 128 athletes and former athletes who live and play all over Vegas, so it wasn't really a surprise to me when he suggested that I take my comedy to a smaller, more intimate lounge on The Strip. I could, but it wouldn't be just my act - immediately I began making little plans, which soon turned into mega plans, rolling over the top of my head plans, and plans that soon became so big I found myself placing phone calls, getting estimates for video production, buying mics, stools, and any necessary props I might need. I decided that Starbucks, Old Navy, American Airlines, and Dublin Dogs would be great sponsors too! (See how I am when I get an idea in my little brain? Warning - She's a thinker!)

Before I was old enough to know better - I did stand up routine on stages that would probably be laughed at today, but they were giants then. They had real brick walls and they had electrical cords strung out all over the place. Lights were haphazardly hung using 3 of the 4 bolts necessary - their fading colored filters burning overhead and dripping onto the stage just to the left of my Converse! That sort of set - raw and edgy, fun and smoky, the way a hot spot was suppose to be. Well, the way the lounges were before laws went into effect about minors not coming into the venue, smoking being restricted, and forget about cell phones going off - I remember using a hardwired phone pulled out on a really long extension to use as a prop - I'd call my dad, or pretend to, and have him explain through me why he's actually related to himself. (Arkansas bit)

Well - I still tell some of the rude jokes, and I still make up puns, double-meanings, and throw out pieces that could be considered funny - and they get attention from time to time. This time it was my booking agent. He had been to a star-show that he didn't find all that funny. In light of what Sebastian Maniscalco calls comedy, I can see why Vegas may actually be looking for fresh or even older material that brings in and keeps a crowd - I'm not saying that I still have it, maybe I don't, but it would be a family show and it would be full of stories, questions, interaction, Faith would make an appearance of course, and get this - Laura would sing! Caity could do a little 4-6 minute get together with the kids in the audience, she's great with the little guys - scary when you think about that fact. Seeing my erotica-writing, dyed-over-dye haired kid working so tenderly with the smaller humans just freaks me out - I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, but it doesn't. OMG - what if she became a Kindergarten teacher? Our future could be in danger at that point - real serious danger.

Anyway, the whole show would last about 70 minutes, and it would include a 6 minute tape/video of our commitment to the troops. It would have a 3 minute illustrated, animated video expressing Reuben's input since he couldn't' be there - but it would be so touching and so moving that the audience wouldn't have an option but to love it - that's my style. I want to pull a heart string because I want them to remember what really is important - family. Love. Laughing. Living. Learning.

So, with that said - more plans are being made - without permission of course, but once the ball is rolling it's hard to stop it's pressure, its weight, its size, it just has a way of coming to life on its own. This could happen! If it did I would do everything I could to keep the price WAY WAY down so that every family could go and take every member - the show would change in that my bit would be a Blog of the Week sort of thing - updated, currently funny and quite relative, something everyone could relate to - Laura's singing would be a prelude to her famous touring days, and the world would have the opportunity to see the Wild One in a moment of sheer joyful bliss - I'm sure she'll wear some really funky clothes, and make every 5-11 year old want to dress just like her and they'll all beg to have the color stripped from their hair so they can be JUST like Caity - damn...damn...damn. (To think, I created this creative genius.)

Hopefully in the very near future my future will be in your future - you'll come to Vegas, we'll hug and you can do the Starbucks' Toast, telling me where you've been - bringing me business cards from YOUR favorite Starbucks. I would love to end up with every card available. I have 319 now that I've actually visited - They DO need to sponsor me don't they? Keep your fingers crossed, but don't place the bet just yet - hold your cards. Let Lady Luck kiss me first!

I Really Should Write THAT Book.

My friends laugh at me because I won't agree to write the book retelling the thousands of Hollywood stories I have to tell - stories that took place when I made my living as a stand up comedian in Burbank and other Los Angeles burbs. At the time, I lived in a Beverly Hills mansion, worked during the day for the California Student Loan Finance Corporation on Pico just east of 20th Century Fox, and I also worked the studios through connections in their respective transporation divisions. I didn't have a permit to do what I did, I had friends who had friends who wanted cars, vans, trucks, and other vehicles transported from one studio lot to the other - they paid me. At night, most often on weekdays when it was slower, I made my living as a stand up. (Today I do most of the jokes from a seated position)

Keep in mind this was before the invention of the cell phone, however, my father was an electrical engineer at Western Union so the ideas for the prototypes of all wireless phones and television/phones was there - it just wasn't common. I had to find out about gigs the old fashioned way: by stopping into the venue to see if they had an opening. Sometimes I would have to stay a while to be sure they had openings and other times the manager(s) wouldn't let me leave their premises for fear they'd need me. I was fun - cheap, and to be honest, funnier when I had to make the gags up on the spot. Some of my best work is done on the fly - oops, that didn't' come out sounding too well did it? Oh well - you know what I mean!

Spontaneity is my middle name. It was going to be my first, but my dad didn't' know how to spell it so he kept it simple. I'm Jude. To be honest, I enjoyed to days of old and the adventures of the over 600 concerts I attended - half of which I never paid for, just given tickets because I either wedged my way in, made someone laugh, or convinced someone up front that I was part of the show. I did that well enough to gain access to the mansion jobs as well. Before long I never had to pay a hotel fee - I just babysat homes and literally got paid for hosting parties while the host was gone. Yes, there are stories that go along with that sort of thing. I lived at 1100 Carolyn Way before Heidi Fleiss made the place her Playgirl Mansion of sorts. I lived in a house off of Miracle Mile on Fairfax that years later was the scene of a double murder and suicide - I hosted parties for people everyone would know now, but then they were borrowing clothes from me, and even money to get cigarettes so they could look cool for the producers and directors that would be at the parties.

One movie I was in, and I have to be honest, I own the DVD but haven't looked for myself for fear I may fall over - is LOVE SCENE with Tiffani Boeing and Frank Luz. It was a Raleigh Production, I believe directed by Townsend - not sure, but it was filmed at the Carolyn Way house - Grayhall is the actual name of the mansion. During the filming I stopped production to force a man out of the pool that I believe would have drown. If I told you his name you'd die! A year later he came to Oklahoma to be present at his movie's premiere. He saw me and he told me he was going to leave me in his will for having saved his life. I doubt he does, but it was great to see that he hadn't died in the 300+ days since I fished him out. I remember I had to redress and have my makeup and hair done over and I was just an extra - but I was SEEN and the continuity must remain in tact!

I should write THAT book. It would have to include the making of The Outsiders, Rumblefish, Tex, One From the Heart, Tank, Gremlins, Return of the Jedi, Oh God! You Devil, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and a few minor films that will never see the light of the big screen - video only...such as Love Scene. I worked on the Dukes of Hazzard, several WB programs such as T.J. Hooker, and 20th Centuries Trauma Center - but you'll never once see my name in the credits. The way Hollywood is run, it's a miracle they aren't fined more often than they are - but that's part of the glamour or non-glamour I suppose. It doesn't mean there aren't stories to tell - smiles to remember (Emilio) and friendships made (Simone Raines). I just hope the memories never actually go away when I get old - that seems like more of an appropriate time to tell some of the stories I have hidden in my head - my heart, my journals.

Somethings are just better left untold.