Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy HOWL-aween!

Faith and Matrix will be dressing up as each other this year and this should be fun. I'm just going to have to remember that Matrix may need to be forgiven for his arms sticking out of his Faith costume, after all, Faith doesn't have front limbs, so he may actually resemble a yellow lab rather than his "sister" Faith.

We got the idea to have the dogs dress as themselves when the girls, Laura & Caity, decided to dress up like each other and go to a party last night. Tonight's 7th Halloween party for the girls will mark the first for the dogs. They are honored to be invited to the first annual L/C Halloween Bash! It will be taking place at the new apartment, which has been freshly painted - very scary colors: Teal, Cotton Candy, and Sunflower are in the front rooms, and the back bedroom is PURPLE with teal, sunflower and cotton candy hand prints all over the main wall. I like it actually, and even added 3 yellow hands to the mix!

The dogs night out will be fun I'm sure. We plan on a cookout (55 degrees constitutes the need for BBQ in Oklahoma) and we'll share our meat and grilled veggies with the dogs rather than loading them up with chocolate, taffy, hard candy or caramels. We do truly love our dogs and feel this is best - they always agree with my way of thinking. Faith's favorite Howl-aween trick is to run up behind the darling little kids on the street and just pant in their ears since she's standing up and at their height. They scream of course, and that sends her running in the opposite direction. Matrix just runs around laughing and picking up the candy they drop. I have to force it out of his mouth, but I always win. He's a wussy dog. I can take him!

Well, that being said, I have to go pin the ears on the dogs...we don't actually pin them, I said that to upset you! Did it work? OK...Happy Howlaween!!! Watch out for the babies and the old kids too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Me & Matrix, Matrix & I

It's beginning to feel a lot like solidarity! Finally, I can say with 5% certainty, that the girls are completely moved out of my house. I can say with 95% certainty that they have a long way to go, a lot to do, and more and more time will have to pass before I can truly claim to be living alone. Matrix doesn't mind, he has two homes to go to now. He has two beds to crawl into; mine and Caity's. He has two bowls with food always prepared for him - he's in Dog Heaven, and probably believes I should have kicked them all out of the house a while back.

I don't seem to blog much about my OTHER dog. Matrix is my perfect hound. I tell him he's perfect, I even brag about him to everyone I meet because Matrix, unlike Faith, doesn't have the fan club, the paparazzi, mail coming to him daily, and he doesn't fly First Class. He doesn't fly actually - he's my home-dog, so I tell him over and over again how perfect he is. If he were out in the public,(I wink at him when I say this) he would be snatched up in a second! He would be carried off to some foreign country where he would be pampered and loved day in and day out, but I would never see him again - so he must stay at home and wait for us to return from all of the VERY BORING and tedious things that Faith and I must do. (I also lie to my dog and say that my work is mundane, ordinary, and that he would grow very tired of it were he to ever go with us...despite whatever Faith tells him of her adventures when we return with more luggage than we took out.)

Matrix is perfectly suited for being the house dog. He is perfectly 26 pounds, stands perfectly 16" off the floor, he has a perfect glossy black coat with tri-color trim, and a little perfect premature graying going on just around his perfectly pointed muzzle. For being a mixed breed dog he is perfectly balanced with the world's favorite breed; the Dachshund, and the world's most versatile breed, the Beagle. His mother and his father were both papered, they had certifications of great pedigrees - however, they were not suppose to date. When they did, and when the 8 puppies they created were born, all of them were thrown out like trash - given to the Humane Society because of their "uselessness". They weren't purebred anything! They were (dare we whisper it?) mutts.

My perfect little mutt is much more than non-useless. He is quite useful indeed. When I need my legs warmed he is there to do it. When I need a buddy in a storm, he's there before I am, crawling up my back and into my sweater usually, because he realizes how scared I can be during a tornado. Brave dog that he is, he even sleeps on the back of my couch - which is less than 4 inches thick (without falling - Dachshunds are really balanced animals). Because he comes from good Beagle stock, he can sing! He sings very well in fact, and he has no problem leaving the food that he doesn't want in the bowl for a later snack - unlike other dogs. Again, he is perfect.

Matrix has one pose: up with the chin, to the side a bit, and always stern-faced. Must be the breeding - he's usually got a wink in his eye, a grin on his face, and a stiff wag of the tail most other times. The tail story is a good one. I had to be admitted to the ER once after he poked me in the eye with his rock-hard tail! The same tail that won him "Best Tail Wagger" in 2003 and 2004 in our fair city! Though he may not be a parade dog like Faith, we do take him to the Strut Your Mutt competitions where he always takes something home! One year it was Mr. Congeniality for going by to say hello to every person and then going by to say "hello" to ever tree!

Neutered very early on, there will be NO MORE little Matrix mutts; a sad tale yes, but a good gesture in terms of being responsible. I'm sure had I asked him if he were willing to make this sacrifice on his own my little weenie-dog would have agreed to have the surgery - he's very conscientious....quite polite! Perfect! I've been teasing him for years now (8) that we'd be alone some day - no kids, no noise, just our music, just our friends, our television shows, whatever we wanted to do. He realizes that Faith is part of that WE now, and at first he was a bit unforgiving, but when he looked up from his couch perch and saw that he was never alone - always able to travel from one apartment to the next, and even making a pit stop between the two units to see his little doggie friend, he decided that being the house dog wasn't that bad of a gig after all. He'll let Faith stay a little longer, but SHE must sleep under the bed!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So, You Wanna Be a Genius!

Have you seen Wile E. Coyote lately? Probably not as often as you saw him when you were a kid, right? Well, there's a reason for that. He's retired. Wile E. was a hard-working coyote, placing himself in dangerous and precarious situations day after day all for naught. The one thing he created his maddened-ingenious contraptions for (the roadrunner) ended up being a cartoon character, much like himself, created solely for the purpose of bringing pleasure to the creator - and this somewhat peeved the big-earred desert canine. Thinking he would actually never actually catch his meal, or that he may or may not be able to satisfy himself once he did - he quit. I don't blame him. I may have been convinced to do the same thing once. I thought I had to be in Hollywood making money and doing all the Hollywood things you do in order to make it big - but it didn't pan out that way. Instead, I wound up coming to my senses, coming back home, making a little family - raising that little family, and now, well, it seems I'm a lot happier just being the writer that I am.

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm still a certified, bona fide, over-the-top genius, having a majorly high I.Q. of over 170 (last I checked it was hovering in the 180 range) but that doesn't mean I have a lick of good sense. Never have! In fact, in all the years I've been able to join Mensa I haven't because they just didn't seem to be much fun. I went through the testing, got the results - was flooded with invites to parties, but you know what I found there? Math! I found MATH at these parties. I'm not into numbers, MATH to me is a 4-letter word. That's it - I'm into words - I was asking my good friend Niki today if she could explain the difference between the two words Epistemology and Etymology...because they are similar, but so very different. We talked for about an hour on the subject (drinking gin and finally realizing it didn't matter much anyway), and we just giggled and called ourselves geeks.

There are absolute genius minds out there that go bonkers, you've seen that on T.V., and the truth about so many mega-brainiacs having a slightly larger skull, or bug eyes, it's true - some do....Math people! Those of us (Nike included) who are language geniuses - we look almost completely normal most of the time, and you'd think we were really unintelligent if you asked us to figure out an equation to prove our ultra smartiness - we don't make graphs, we don't come up with formulas, we don't make decisions based on physics, probabilities, or outcome - in fact, we probably shouldn't be trusted to make decisions at all; we're romantics! Can you imagine what the world would be like if Hemingway made decisions about our military or the use of chemicals? Wow! Or hey, what if Edgar Allan Poe was expected to be a great leader - HHAHHHAHAA...oh, that made my side hurt, wait...I retract that last thought.

The truth is, there are several types of genius, just because we score well on tests that match shapes, deal with perceptions, or have logical patterns - doesn't make us worthy of pedestals. I could probably, if I had to, write a poem about it, make up a great fantasy, throw in a twist, create a dragon whose breath (when tempered with pixie dust) created new foliage or streams teeming with fish - but don't ask me to calculate velocity, or to even follow the reasoning behind pushing Daylight Savings Time back a day or so before Halloween - the one holiday that needs a last bit of natural illumination for kids to celebrate in safety. No, ask me to draw you a word picture. Ask me to whisper a medieval fantasy of poetry, lace, and stone castles in your ears - ask me to stir the tangerine skies with azure feathers, but never expect me to explain space, volume, mass, or energy - I can't do that.

What do you do with a genius who can't draw stick figures? Where to do you categorize a presence with power, endless intellect, but no common sense? You show them the path to the local public library, the coffee house, or the bookstore, and you allow the dream to replace the reality - for everyone.

Food Fairies vs. the Gnomes

In all the years I have been raising children I have also been lying to them endlessly regarding where their food comes from, and why it is that I actually still have every tooth that ever came out of their heads (tagged appropriately with dates, filed systematically in my important papers box next to their DNA kits). There is a reason: fairies. It is true - fairies bring my children unexpected food items from time to time, they pay handsomely for teeth, but they also have this little racket going where these same fairies have bribed me, literally holding my children's teeth ransom until I come up with the money they (the fairies) are out for being forced to pay higher costs for THESE particular teeth. Usually, as you know, fairies don't hoard the teeth, they sell them to sellers who recycle them or something - but the fairies in our lives always find me wanting - therefore, they charge me a little extra, making a little on the sides, but the good news is that I get to keep my children's broken, no-longer-worth-a-dime teeth (forever!).

Gnomes are a different story! Gnomes take and take and take. All they ever do around our gardens, or in our refrigerator - where they hang out often - is take the food that use to belong to a particular child. Here's how that works: Reuben would steal Laura's sandwich, place a gnome where the food once held residence, and let his sister find the gnome without her treat, and this was her clue (or que) to start the fight! She would then throw the soft rubber gnome across the room, sometimes hitting her brother, sometimes hitting the dog, often times simply smacking the gnome hard against the wall.

Seeing a gnome in the frig was an automatic bad sign. It ALWAYS meant that someone was going to be upset about a prepackaged piece of cake, perhaps left over Chinese, or that too-good-to-eat-all-at-once steak...GNOME! GONE! Everytime the gnome showed up I was expected to then call in the fairies. Fairies bring food back. Well, not the same bit of digested food, no it usually meant that I had to bribe the fairies to go out and get the food and then I'd have to take my car because fairies aren't licensed in our state to drive. It usually meant that I would be gone for a while, I would be out a bit of cash, and I would be inconvenienced to no end. Who in the hell thought up this method in the first place? I always seem to get the raw end of it!

The day Reuben left for the Army we stopped seeing the little red domed gnome in our cupboards and food never really disappeared again, so I have to assume that the United States Army allows them to enlist. They are REAL - I've seen them. I've witnessed their feats of theft! They DO exist. As do fairies, even though my children have actually never seen one - they believe me, and I believe me, so they have to be out there - right? I mean, the food reappears...sometimes in the same day.

The food fairies have a new assignment now that the girls are moving out - they will be called upon to KNOW what is in the apartment, and to KNOW whether or not they need to replenish the items that could be disappearing. Fairies never let children down, and even if it means I have to continue to drive these beasts to the store and probably end up paying for the replacement food items - I will still allow the fairies themselves to get the credit, because I feel in my heart that my children (who have always depended too much on me at times) should realize that there comes a time that they have to stand on their own! If a fairy wants to help, fine, let the fairy help a little, but they don't need to be crying on my shoulders just because one or the other of them finished off the last of the Silk Chocolate!

Gnome or no gnome, there must be fantasy rescues out there - otherwise we'd all be forced to face reality! Who wants that?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thanks to the Firefighters Et Al.

Like the ones they call the "Finest" of every city, the BRAVEST of every city, our firefighters, are often the ones we hear about during these times of massive fires that get out of hand. Naturally, if we're being affected or not, we are all indebted to the men and women who day after day, minute after minute, place themselves on the line. We can't merely say thank you, it wouldn't be enough.

To think that all one can do is blog, or walk up to a random firefighter locally and say thank you just doesn't seem good enough. I know from experience that the firefighters in Oklahoma City sure had a tough and rugged job ahead of them on April 19, 1995 - we needed lots of help, and help came fast! When our towers fell, the first responders were again the bravest and the finest! Over and over our law enforcement and our firefighters seem to work side by side, hand in hand, often shoulder to shoulder to free us, help us, love us, and just protect us. OHHHH, it just makes me want to run up to the nearest fire house and make sure everyone of them is watched over too! There is something we can do - small, but good. We can go to our local houses, we can offer to sit and talk to the men and women who may need a shoulder to fall to sometimes. We don't think about that.

My good friend Jeannie suggested that we all run out and buy up the 2008 Firefighter calendars to show our support, but we do that every year just because! I want to make a bunch of cookies, I want to invite them all over for a cookout - they know how to fix it should I burn my backyard down. They're also pretty good with the burgers too - having sat across the street from a particular firehouse for years watching them play vollyball, cook steaks, and just hang out waiting for the alarm to sound. Sometimes they even invite me over to keep score! I like those days.

So, here's my hat tipping - OFF TO YOU Mr. and Ms. Firefighter of America! Not just the Southern California FFs because like us here in OKC, you were brave and smart enough to call in your brothers and sisters for help. The hats are all off for every dang one of you! ANDDDD, just as soon as the hats go back on the heads, let's take them off and tip them ONE MORE TIME for the administrators, the police officers, the officials, and the rescuers...anyone, everyone and don't forget the DOGS...always tip the dogs for their help. (I've said it before, you never see cats out there helping the firefighters, and you never seen the cats out on the beat with the cops either! NO, cats don't do much.) Thanks to the hard working, ever-so-wonderful and ever-so-endlessly-loving BRAVEST of the brave!

Thank you!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Me as an M & M



I may have (in the past) blogged about this already. I have something like 300 posts, so finding it may be hard. I wanted to do it again because I found it hilarious that after a year goes by and I get back on the site, that I haven't really changed anything about the avatar...I would add a cup of coffee I think. That's the only real change. If the little M&M had a Starbucks cup in her right hand, and she was watching a forensic show on her chocolate television...that would do it. That would say "JUDE" all over the place. This is me. Not as bronze now as I was in the summer, but I'm glowing.

I went to the M&M site and ordered personalized M&Ms to send to my kids right? Yes, I know, it's danged expensive, and a complete waste of money, but no one else is going to send them personalized M&Ms and I wanted to be the first to knock them over when they opened them this Thanksgiving. It's my birthday, I can spend the money any way I want to. I don't mind telling you what I had written on them because my kids never read my blog - never. I could say anything about them, I could tell their secrets, I could spill my guts about who they kissed, when, where, how, and they would never ever know it was me....probably. So, on the two color choices that you get when you go to the site, I picked a yellow gold color and a dark green. My color for my birth month of November (topaz) and green because my kids are all products of sex. Oh, did I say that? Out loud? On the web? It's true. I didn't find a single one of my children on my doorstep, or in a cabbage patch - no, I birthed them all.

I may have been persuaded to pick those particular colors because of our love for the Green Bay Packers, but hey - I have to tell the full truth from time to time if only to get the cobwebs out of the way when I pray. I want God to hear me. I had the following messages written on the back side of each M&M. On the gold: "I love my KIDS" and on the green: "Mom Rocks!" It's true. Both statements. I do rock, and my kids are the greatest kids I've ever made. Each with their own unique qualities - it would take every color and every shape of M&M to fully express myself to them, so I had to narrow it down and just be gutsy and bold. I LOVE MY KIDS and I ROCK....'nuf said.

The little avatar is so cute. She's got her headsets on, she's smirking - she's just been to Starbucks, she's fully loaded. All the chocolate in her body is a little soft, a little warm, she's gorgeous, and she's looking for a party to go dancing! Look at those shoes? She's sensible. She knows she'll be on her feet all night, moving and shaking - just being the little magical drop that she is. She knows that Peanuts and Crunchy M&Ms have been throwing a little RAVE down near the canisters in the kitchen. If she's lucky, she may meet up with a little St. Patrick's Green M&M. He'd be in camo pants, carrying a little chocolate bass. Maybe he'd have a ball cap on his head, words like: ROCK ON written on it - or maybe the Marines logo. He's patriotic that way. The two little M&Ms would then be able to salute the troops, sing the Star Spangled Banner at the end of the show, and go home happy....in their comfortable big open candy dispenser that seconds as a paperweight on the other side of the room to keep the mail in place.

I thought I saw a few Kisses coming into the scene tonight - Hersheys! They always crash the place. Leave their little tags and their aluminum foil scattered around, such a mess...and then they disappear. No one ever sees them again....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Little Privacy Please, Thank You.

I was sitting in my office chair, legs folded, you know, office stuff - minding my own business, just about to start tapping when my boss comes in and expected me to work. Let me explain something to you: I work for a guy who sells insurance. I'm suppose to be his Customer Service Representative, but he doesn't pay as well as most employers so from time to time I do my own thing - this was one of those times.

Everytime he comes into the office and catches me with the lights out, the candles on, and the chair turned around he thinks I'm goofing off - he doesn't understand the whole - "You get what you pay for" concept. I tried to explain it to him last month, he fired me, I laughed - and well, I'm still there, he's still not paying well, and I'm still doing my thing when I need to. I digress, let me get back to the tapping thing. I was just about to tap but he interrupted me. Then, because he's a bit scared of me at times, he asked me to tap some place else - his suggestion was the bathroom. I took up my candle and left. I use a candle because I like the smell of it, I'm not weird or anything.

When I came back - maybe in 6 minutes - he wants to know if I was praying for him too, because apparently he believes in me, and what I'm able to do with the prayers an the tapping, but it freaks him out to see it. I explained to him that YES, I was praying for him, and that he should receive money from unexpected places very soon. This is the funny part: The second the words left my mouth his cell rang and he answered it. He stared at me. He just pointed at the door, told me to leave and kept staring at me. I picked up my candle and went back to the bathroom laughing. He soon followed me, knocking on the door within seconds.

"Get out here!" He said - get out here now! Seems he was given a couple of bonuses he wasn't expecting from insured who had filed online without using his services, but since they were his clients he got the residuals - something like $1300, and he wasn't expecting it whatsoever - it just ....well, it just happened. I had to smile, I mean, tapping really really really does work, and why not use it to make your boss freak out? I think it's fun - he's not complaining (much) and he asked me to tap again this time for the pickup truck he wants to get. OK...I can't resist a good challenge. I'm have to inform you the reader if and when he gets it.

What I did today after that was to make myself a little happy chart - I listed all the places I wanted to go, all the people I wanted to meet, all the money I wanted to make (for now) and all the things I wanted to do (for now). Sort of like a check off list, and it gives me something to focus on when I'm talking to the universe, to God, and to my soul - because you can't help but question and ask your soul when you do this - it's a must. You have to be in tune with yourself. One thing I noted when I was tapping was that the pressure points hurt a little less when I tap now, they're becoming more receptive to the fact that I'm receptive. I'm opening my heart up and my spirit up to receive good things - keeping negative out.

I did actually manage to do a little work today too. I made the calls, ran the quotes, answered the questions from clients calling in with complaints and/or needs - but all I needed to keep my boss at arm's length was to pick up my little candle and pretend to thrust it at him - he spooks easier than most; and that makes me smile. Scaredy-cat!

No Yellow Dog Democrats Here!



For several years and now a couple of presidential campaigns, members of the Democrat party have been calling me and asking me to allow them to take Faith's image for their benefits, their functions, their causes - No Thanks! Faith, although she has never actually proclaimed it out loud, is not a Yellow Dog Democrat. She is however, a yellow dog. She's one of the most talked about yellow dogs in the world, so yes, I can see where the Dems would want her image or picture associated with their needs. We turned the Kerrys down, and now we have had the privilege to turn a couple of locals and another presidential candidate, or would be candidate down. Where are my Republicans? Ask! Come On! ASK!

Faith loves to make a stand, in fact, she stands a great deal of the time. Let's see what she would believe in if she were running for office. More meat on every table and in every dish. More time to sleep. More loud rock n' roll music, because believe it or not she loves that. When Faith traveled with Brown Gravy's Brothers Grim Side Show this summer with Ozzfest she met up with some great (really loud) bands who just loved having her on their stage and backstage. She was the hit of the tour for sure. Laura was rather cute too mind you, but we all know it's the dog they come out to see. I'm used to it. No one ever really remembers my name - I say it's "Jude, as in Hey Jude", but they don't remember. They love my little mutt! As they should.

So, from TV and radio talk show hosts, the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, and all the other right wingers out there - Where is Cobert? Hey, call me!! We need to have a few more Blue States calling and asking for the yellow dog! She could be the happiest, tongue-waggingiest, jump-up-and-make-them-pay-attentionist campaigner you ever saw! She could bring the votes in people.....oh, and she's got a great platform to go on too - LOVE. She shares it with everyone she sees. From our Armed Forces to the children we meet on every corner of every city we visit - she loves them all - what a great backer to have in your corner...or under your bed. I'm often asked what the most famous dog in the world does all day - you'd be surprised. Suffice it to say - she's a dog.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Top 10 Cities to Live in? Us?

Wow! Imagine my surprise today when I read that Forbes.com had named Oklahoma City as well as Tulsa,Oklahoma to their Top 10 list of cities to move to for business! I'm moving OUT of Oklahoma City for the same reason, you can't get anywhere in this town! I mean, it's a great state, it's a wonderful city, but work? No, there's not much of that anywhere - - not that leads to prosperity. I suppose if you're looking to stay at the poverty level it's a great place to hover. I know hundreds of people doing that. I'm still hovering around it myself for the time being - but that's the entire reason behind picking up the leftovers and heading to Chicago! Surviving is a great way to spend a few of the youthful years, but no thank you for the middle ages or the retirement ages. I'll take wealth, establishment, and what do that call that? Oh, I remember - success!

There are some things I will never give up when I move to Chicago (or if I moved to any other place)for instance: I will ALWAYS be a Sooner fan. I will always call myself an Okie, I will be proud forever and a day of the fact that I was born and raised here, in the heartland, and with the moral codes and the work ethics that I believe this state and it's good people instill in a person; however, money? No, not so much. Not so much in the way of education either - number 47 I think. Teen pregnancies? We top the list, we are #1 in that, in meth-labs, and we can't forget the divorce rate. I'm a part of that stat, but only once, I've known people who have helped those numbers out quite a few times. (And yes, with divorce rates being so high so is the bankruptcy rate.) Our great state is a great state, but Forbes must have been thinking of Boulder, Austin, even Joplin, but I can't see Oklahoma City as being anywhere NEAR the top 100 in terms of growing income. Wait, I take that back - my daughter got a raise last week. She's now making $5.70 an hour rather than minimum wage.

Tulsa made the list too, and where that makes a bit more sense, I still don't believe it. Now, give me something I can believe in when it comes to Oklahoma being the best, the Top 10 material so to speak: Country Western singers - yes! I believe that. We have Garth, Reba, Toby, Carrie, and Vince. What about beef? You betcha! I'll go for cattle producers and wheat producers! I'll even throw in sod, we have amazing sod, God's sod in fact! Quite possibly, Oklahoma is the best state in the nation when it comes to friendly, openly honest folks who greet you on the street with a smile, a wave of the hand and even a question or two to make you feel welcomed....that I get, but we don't have a growing income people, we don't have the commerce you may have been led to believe. Chesapeake does...OU and OSU have money, sure, and there are actually more millionaires per capita, but they're holding on tight to what they have - believe me, if it were true we'd all be singing a different tune when it comes to buying the books our kids need for school, or the buses we need to take these kids to and from classes. I wish it were so.

Well, let Forbes talk! We can use the advertising. Perhaps some people will take heart, move a professional baseball, basketball or soccer team to our state and really make a difference. I'd say football, but with the Sooners picking up that lack we don't need another team to fill up the seats of any new stadium - Boomer Sooner! We got that!

Congrats fellow Okies - who knew! Break out the mismatched tumblers, the plastic dishes and the lard - looks like we're gonna get some company real soon with all those nice folks comin' by to check out our growing incomes. Ya'all come back now, ya hear!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ranger Reuben! (It's All My Fault)



YES! It is all my fault, and I take full and utter responsibility. Reuben was only 3 when we were in a store and he wanted me to buy him a little toy tank. My fault. I bought it for him. He was the typical kid, he ran around pretending all the time, but as he grew up it became apparent that my son was obsessed with war and warfare. He used war lingo, and war jargon at age 6. When I grounded him to his room once he took out pencils from his little camo backpack and drew an entire audience. Now I know they were more than likely his platoon! He spoke to the walls, he talked to the men he drew (no women) and he made definite plans with them to take over the stuffed animals in the closet! That must have been the first time I saw what he would become famous for in our house - destroying stuffed bears! Look at him now, he's still trying to take on bear! This one is bronze son, bronze - give it up!

When I was late coming home from work once, and it was just Reu and I living at home, he had kept himself busy by redesigning my living quarters to match that of the battle of Gettysburg. I couldn't step anywhere without fear of changing history! In the 7th grade and 8th grades my son was a ceramic doll maker in creative arts class - don't laugh, he made Civil War heroes to scale. It's my fault, I started this; I must now accept it when he calls me all excited to tell me that WITH HIS BROKEN ARM he was still able to pass the tests that will guarantee him a try out for the Rangers! He qualified for the top ranks in shooting with a messed up right elbow! Now, the only thing I worry about is him getting behind enemy lines without a compass - and of course, if he has a compass there will need to be someone to explain the N,S,E,and W on it, because where he's the best at driving tanks, shooting targets, and sneaking into areas on recon - directions are out of the question. Hopefully the Army will take the time to do a bit more one-on-one with the boy before he actually takes on the country they set him down in.

This afternoon when he called me to tell me he had qualified I couldn't understand a single word out of his mouth - it was moving a million miles a minute, he was jumping, hopping, screaming, laughing, and just being the Reuben that I remember after a win on the football field where he had a personal best day! I missed that sound actually, and since I knew he wasn't wearing his #63 Pirates jersey today, I had to ask him at least 3 separate times to slow it down, say it again, OK....say it one more time. "Mom, I'm going to be a Ranger!" Can't tell you how proud of that boy I am. Seriously, he's going to be the best dang Ranger in the U.S. Army because he's been practicing for over 18 years for this. General George Custer could have used that boy in the day! Congratulations Baby Boy!

There was that one person who wasn't all that thrilled with the news - his grandma. She said she wouldn't want it, it was too dangerous, that the Rangers get all the hard and tough assignments - - my answer to my mother was this: Yes, he will be in the mix, and he will be called upon to do somethings that others wouldn't be able to do. He'll go in places, see things, do things, and be on his guard 24/7/365 - but - "my God is an awesome God, He reigns from Heaven above - He rules with Wisdom, Power and Love, my God is an awesome God!" How can I possibly ask that Reuben be held back -no, sorry Mom, not this boy - he is destined to be Ranger Reuben. Hooah!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mom & Mutts - Terrible People They Are!

This is seriously wrong. By wrong I mean WRONG - Mom & Mutts (despite words on their contract to the contrary) have NO RIGHT to remove the puppy that Ellen brought to her very trusted friend. Ellen's comment regarding the purpose for the rescue organizations is correct - they are there to be certain that dogs and cats are found good homes. This particular story hits so close to home for me, I have adopted a dog and because of the contract I was forced to sign, my dog Matrix wasn't guaranteed. Because he wasn't guaranteed (replaced if he died within a year) I was free to give him to another good family when the time came for me to do so. That family let him out in the cold to fend for himself without calling me to retrieve him. I had no idea, not until a good man, a Captain in the Air Force, called me to say he had found my Matrix. He was willing to drive him back to me. Because I was still unable to take care of him I told the Captain that he could have Matrix, but before I did I questioned him, I prayed with him, and I explained to him all of the small eccentric behaviors that I remembered the dog had. He agreed to take care of my mutt, and I was pleased.

When the Captain was given orders to leave the states he took Matrix right back to the original adoption agency. (Oh, something I didn't tell you about the adoption agency is this: they made me pay for my dog, but wouldn't guarantee him. In essence they were saying if he dies he dies, but we still want our money. The only problem I had with this arrangement, is that I had paid for a dog earlier in the day, but it had been given away - to someone with a similar name. My money was not returned (credit card), no apology was offered, but I was encouraged to pick out another dog.) The dog I picked, though perfect to me, was unhealthy. I had to promise the adoption agency who actually threatened me a number of times, that I would take Matrix to their vet - she ended up being mine too, so that was cool. They made me swear on paper that I would have Matrix neutered, which I did. It was all about the agency and their rules - but I understood, they wanted a good family to adopt their dogs and cats. I was (at the time I adopted Matrix) in a home with a fence, we had a couple of cats, but the kids wanted a dog. We were perfect. When the woman that actually owned our house decided to sell, but not to us, we were forced to move immediately, and she wasn't interested in our pet problem, as she put it.

As I mentioned, the Captain took Matrix back to the adoption center. They looked up his papers from his tag registration - no doubt they saw that he had been paid for, but not guaranteed. The agency did what the agency did time and time again; resold my dog! What the agency didn't understand however, was that the dog, my dog, Matrix, could out-eccentric any dog out there. He was returned, replaced, and readopted more than 3 times...and every time he was brought right back to the agency with more complaints. NOT ONCE did the agency try to contact me. The Captain found me easily enough - I lived in the area! They just readopted him and never considered his feelings, his needs, or his behaviors, they just wanted to get rid of a dog without a guarantee...bad for business.

On July 27, 2001, I won custody of my daughters full time, permanently, forever - when I asked them what they wanted, they only wanted to walk dogs, bathe dogs, feed dogs, and just hug the kittens at the agency - I said yes. Can you imagine our surprise when we saw our dog? He was there! Our Matrix. Of course, we had no idea what all he had been through - not until one of the workers told us (after she had been fired for letting a family have a dog for free). Matrix came home with me that day - and no, I didn't pay for him again. It was soooo ugly. I had to threaten, force, yell, complain, and even drop my attorney's name before they finally let us have him. I made them prove that he was guaranteed, which they couldn't. Technically he was still MY dog, they weren't allowed to sell or adopt him over and over again.

My point is simple - the Mom & Mutt idiots need to do the right thing. The right thing! Not the contractual thing, not the "I'm so right I have the right" type thing. The right thing - every time! Give the dog back to the girls who Ellen chose. They come from a good home, from good and trusted people. Ellen (one of the premier dog lovers on the earth)made a good judgement - her dog, her right. If Mom & Mutts continues to make these types of negative and terrible decisions, they will give the rescue agencies that are good a bad reputation; and all because they had a piece of paper that said they could - shame on them! SHAME.

When Faith and I go around the country now to promote rescue organizations, humane societies and dog loving groups - we don't need to be associated with people like Moms & Mutts; we won't be - not until the real beasts are replaced: GUARANTEED!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



LOOOOOOKK! My condo is being built! I went to Chicago this weekend for a trade show, but while I was there I managed to talk my friends into driving me to Lincoln Park to stare up at my unfinished condo! I do that. I can totally see it in completed form in my head. I can walk through it's halls. I can feel the hardwood floor that I picked out, and touch the granite cabinets in my dreams. I can see the mail sitting on the end of the kitchen cabinet, just waiting for me to open it. I can smell the burning soy candles over the fireplace, the stew in the kettle, and I can almost, just almost see the neighbor on the other side of the building putting on his shirt - - wait, he's hot! I knew I bought the condo with the ceiling to floor windows for a reason!

What a beautiful building the Emerald is. I couldn't have picked a better place. I even took the time to go to the Walgreens on Halstead, just in front of my Emerald, and I met my clerk. I went to Starbucks in Dominicks and I met my staff. I went down the street and visited Steppenwolf - soon I'll be going to shows. I absolutely love the neighborhood: Patagonia, Harpo, Home Depot, Dublin Pub, the Black Duck restaurant! Oh, I am so in love. I can't wait for April, but it may have to be August. Marilyn and I (Emerald rep) discussed the layouts, the plans, the furnishings, the floors, the tile, the ceramics, even the fact that she will be buying me a new Magnifica coffee maker so I don't have to freeze in February to get to Starbucks. The Emerald doesn't have a secret back exit leading onto Halstead and I would literally have to walk a city block if I wanted (had to have) coffee in the mornings. She's always looking out for me. LOVE the Emerald!

Today they are having their soiree and I can't make it. Although, I would love to have been there because ALSO today Van Halen is in concert at the AllState Arena....that would have been fun to meet up with Alex after 24 years to see how we've both aged. At least he's still a rock star - but wait, I'm still a writer! See, nothing changes. We're still gorgeous and beautiful, we're still kicking, and from what I have seen he's in great shape! Way to go Alex!

The Emerald will be my home soon, but until that day I'll have to settle for visiting the construction site, taking pictures of the empty walls, the progress of the first tower - my tower is the north tower, and I'll think great productive thoughts from the bottom of my heart and soul. I sip my coffee, tip my hat, and dream of the day I'll crank the stereo with Buble crooning to me while I gaze over the magnificent Chicago downtown skyline. Soon.

My Dog is Such a Rockstar!



From time to time we'll be in an airport somewhere and run into a real live rock star who recognizes another rock star, my dog Faith. Faith has been privileged to have toured with Ozzfest, she's met with such wonderful musicians as Rick Springfield, Michael Bolton, From First to Last, Fall Out Boy, Three Inches of Blood, Static X and so many others. She's always loved on by these bands and their staff. Sometimes she's even asked to come on stage and make an appearance. That's always fun because the applause is so deafening that the band has to make a decision whether or not to hire Faith for the rest of the tour! She's THAT loved by people who see her.

We were in the Oklahoma City Will Rogers Airport the other day making our way to Chicago, when one of our own very very very special rock stars came up to me and said hello. I asked him for his picture because we live so close to each other and never get around to taking the shots! We have to be on the road to see each other; I find that funny. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips could not be more handsome. He could not be more energetic, and he could not have found a more beautiful, fantastically wonderful wife! Michelle is a rock star in her own right! Look at them! They're gorgeous! Faith ain't bad either, and we are so happy to be neighbors to such great and talented people as the Coynes. (I say neighbor, it's more like community fellows. We share a Borders Bookstore at times.)

Wouldn't it be great to see Faith in a Flaming Lips video? With her unique qualifications I personally believe she would add so much to one of their shows - perfectly equipped she is, she's quirky, fun-loving, a little scruffy and all in all she's the best down-to-earth dog I've ever met. She loves just about everyone, and the Lips are that genuine too. Well, being from OKC you'd expect that, right? Hey Wayne, have your people call my people, and while they're figuring out the next gig you, Michelle, me and of course the girls (Laura & Caity) can have a coffee at Borders to discuss you letting Caity be your new fashion designer and Laura wants to sing back up for the band! C'mon Wayne - they don't bite (often).

Love to you guys, the Lips, the rest of you beautiful rockers out there who have and haven't seen Faith. You will - it's just a matter of time. She gets around.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Giordano's in Rosemont, IL (Chicago)




If I blogged for 11 days I couldn't possibly cover all the restaurants, the convention, the hotel, the people, the airport, the fun, the police, the great city of Chicago, my Emerald! I couldn't begin to touch everything that was so incredibly awesome about my new adopted city of Chicago, which of course will have to include the city of Rosemont! Giordano's is one of the great stories that came out of this week's adventures in the Windy City.

I was asked by Dublin Dog to come to the H.H.Backer Show for the purpose of being a speaker/spokesperson. It was awesome. Faith and I stood around the booth for a while, then walked around the 3000+ booths to see everything and everyone we could possibly meet - I have the business cards and the blisters on my feet to prove it too. We met and talked with literally thousands of great people; publishers, manufacturers, boutique owners, buyers, and just people who exhibited their wares like Dublin Dog, who has the best line of collars on the market - seriously. We finally reached a point of near starvation so we waltzed ourselves over the red carpet area and over to the Crown Plaza to grab the car. We took painstaking decisions (Lenny and I, he was Faith's handler, and I'll blog about him tomorrow) to decide which restaurant we needed to visit "this time". We choose Italian food, then we narrowed it down to Giordano's upon another recommendation from a member of the fantastic staff at the Crown Plaza on River Road.

When we were walking into Giordano's it dawned on me that we had forgotten Faith's vest. I had no idea we had left it at the convention. We were dying of hunger, but we couldn't take her in without her therapy vest - or could we? Upon mentioning to the staff that we could order the food and wait outside, maybe taking the food to go -- we were inundated by "No, no, we know Faith!" She's been papers in Chicago, she's been on Oprah of course, and she's in Chicago. She's been in their hearts and lives for years and the staff made us a promise "Not to tell" but they they got on the phones taking pictures, calling friends, and family! Faith just has that effect on people and the people of Chicago are soooooo precious! So gracious was their hospitality, that they gave Faith a little extra cheese to deal with during dinner, and they brought her water in a real silver bowl. Can it get any better? YES!

We got our pizza hand tossed like everyone else, but we got to watch OUR pizza being tossed. It was photographed as all pizza should be, and then produced here for prosperity...I ate that pizza people! It was tooooo good, and I am so happy that I have photos to remember it by. You know I'm kidding, right? Anyway, the people in the restaurant were mainly from the center, the convention center, and we were completely taken by their love and gestures of giving as well. When I flew home I had to by a second piece of luggage to keep all of my presents and samples for Faith and Matrix....toys, food samples, clothes for both, and then the cards! I collected more than 700 cards, and that was from DOWNSTAIRS! I think I got another 200 from up stairs, but I could have filled up 40 business card books probably. There were so many people there - but I digress, this blog was about Giordano's.

I asked the staff to teach me to say their name correctly! I wanted to pronounce it with pride. I can do that now! I can! Just ask. When we left the restaurant we saw a dozen gray squirrels all wanting to get a better look at Faith. I could almost hear their little Italian voices discussing the great pieces of crusts being thrown out back for them, and then their discussion switched to the two-legged dog approaching them. Some stayed, some ran away, some sat up and barked back at her. It was memorialized in film, and in my heart. I can't wait to return with her on "Faith Day" in November. Giordano's is sooooo very cool! Seriously, and the pizza -- perfectly Chicago!

Take TWO! American Airlines Loses Faith For the 2nd Time

It is TRUE! Faith was left in Chicago again, on the tarmack of the O'Hare Airport. I'm being told it was an error, a miscommunication between something called a PROSPECT and American Eagle. I flew on Flight 3975 home from Chicago this afternoon after standing in line for about 1/2 an hour with some of the greatest people in the world. They loved Faith to pieces. The counter ladies at American COULD NOT be better! Absolutely the best of the best - so what happened?

I put Faith in her crate and kissed her good bye, she was flying in the cargo again. Seems when I do that with American she has a problem - I don't know why, or how it could happen - barking luggage should be easy to see, hear, and detect. I even went to the gate (G8) and spoke with a beautiful attendant, who assured me that the dog was being boarded. SHE CHECKED, it was clear that Faith was being boarded, so she had to have passed a least a few check points.

It was a little like a broken record when I arrived in Oklahoma City. (Last time I had arrived in Orlando, but they both start with an "O", and she was sent, this time left, in Chicago. Different song, same result maybe?) Anyway, I get to the baggage claim and there is NO baggage to claim - no dog to hug tonight. She's in the airport at Chicago. I got the call sayin the guy that screwed up was too embarrassed and hurt about it to call me. OK, I understand - I do, I really do understand, mistakes are made, but to NOT put a dog on a plane with a number, a flight scheduled number, one that matches up to a passengers, and it's not like it was a connecting flight...but I am still very hopeful that this can be rectified. I am, I love American, I love the workers, I love the people who have helped us along the way. One guy, not the company, made a mistake - yes, it could be disasterous, but I'm hoping that God sees otherwise.

So, where is my dog? She's on another American flight to Tulsa, 90 miles from my house, because of hail and wind coming into our city. They intend on driving her to me, again in the storm, and again, making it difficult and dangerous, which is something I'm not sure I want for the drivers. I don't want anyone being hurt for this cause - maybe they should have allowed her to stay overnight with one of the girls up front. She would have been cared for like you wouldn't believe! Spoiled beyond all measure for sure. We'll have to see.

I instructed the Oklahoma City PR woman that I want the kids that are driving her home to be sooo extra careful, no fast moves, they're very very important to me too. Faith is my dog, yes, but they are just as important, more so even. Well, long story short - they let me know they were doing all they could. I appreciate it, I love that - I thank American. HOWEVER, we're going to deal with this issue once and for all. Amercian will be asked ONE TIME to agree that Faith flies UP FRONT forever, without cost, and this guarantee will be for the rest of her life. It should show them that I am willing to work with them, and that I trust them. I do. I love American, and want to continue to use them.

I was asked if I wanted the kid fired that screwed up. NO. I want him trained! I hope you'll keep a good eye on your barking luggage too. Always double check to be sure she/he has been loaded and get names of the people on the ramp who are in charge of their handling. This is the reason we're trying to change the laws about flying animals in the cabin if we can afford the chairs and they are well trained.

Thanks for your love and kindness. I have to get off the computer now, bad storms coming!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Maria's of Rosemont! (Chicago)



Goodness doesn't even describe it! We stayed at the Crown Plaza in Rosemont this week while we were at the H H Backer pet trade show. We went downstairs and asked "P.M. Dan", as there are 3 Dans that work for the CP, where we could eat well for a great price. He suggested Maria's on Foster. Just around the corner from the Rosemont Theatre, which was packed tonight, we couldn't get in. We did however make our way to Maria's, and oh...oh.....the food, the people, the music, the love! Some of the people wondered if Faith could take the loud noise, the crowd, the constant hustle and bustle, and my answer was "Watch!" Within seconds she had made so many friends at the bar! She was all over the bar area, being kind and obeying all of the health regulations - she is a dog, a therapy dog, but a dog, and she was so well received at Maria's by the staff and the beautiful patrons who were so gracious and so giving. One man bought Faith her own steak pieces and threw in his cheese soup bowl for her to clean - she was his friend forever!

Interestingly, just last night, we were asked to leave the Gibson's Steakhouse. I'll blog about it later because the contrast was so brilliant! We were asked to leave because Faith was creating a "disturbance" - hello, yes, she does that. We did keep her contained, but hundreds of Backer trade show exhibitors were in town and had seen the ads and had seen the internet news about Faith coming to Chicago for the show - yes, there was a bit of a disturbance; women crying and wanting to hug her, men thanking me, and getting my business card - then, a man asked me to go back to the back of the restaurant because he had a private party he wanted to introduce Faith to. She was his guest! His mother had recently passed away from lung cancer and she had placed Faith's photo on her bedside for encouragement. I was floored, and honored to meet some of his family - but the manager Grace was not so thrilled.

We felt sad for leaving, because it was one of those moments when people were upset about Faith being treated so poorly after she has given so much to so many - but I understood, and I tried to be polite, it was hard to hear exactly what Grace was saying, but I tried to hear and mentioned to her that Faith was actually allowed. We were nice though, we did leave. About an hour later the restaurant called me back - they had left a message with my manager (I had given a patron a card) and he called me to say the manager was sorry and wanted us to return. Well, needless to say, we were already seated for dinner at the Off the Park, just across the lobby at the DoubleTree (O'Hare) and were dining with about 30 others from the Gibson who had decided NOT to eat at the famous steakhouse because of how they treated Faith.

I mean, I sort of accepted it, but they didn't. The ball player that had invited us back paid for his meal and tab - left the restaurant and came to be with us. He said his brother, a 15 year old kid from Cleveland, had been his guest - and was unimpressed with the Gibson's decision. I understand he blogged - which I think is a great way to let out some steam and not be hot-headed. I applaud the kid! This morning, my room was filled with fresh flowers - go figure. Faith has a way of making the world see things from another perspective. I will actually go back to the Gibson to eat, I will - but Maria's has my attention! I have to recommend it, and I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you to P.M. Dan for his fine and precise suggestion!

I love Chicago, absolutely love Chicago - not even that little event will stop me from loving this city fully. Oh, and I enjoyed the flowers too. It was a great way to say "We're sorry". I accept!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Attack of the Killer Chihuahua! (Caity's Fault)



You should have seen it before the great doctor had his go at it! Caity's face had a second mouth carved out of it. So big - so wide was the nasty, monstrous, gash that we teased her for over 6 hours while we sat around the trauma center at the Baptist Integris Hospital waiting to be seen. We almost became Catholics and moved it on over to Mercy, but they were full too. The Methodist hospital, the Presbyterians, even the great Oklahoma University Children's Hospital was full to the brim. Caity, being only 17, still qualifies as a child - she could have been seen at OU had it been a little less busy. Monday night, for whatever reason, was a madhouse in the city of Oklahoma City in terms of accidents, trauma, and physical ailments. Caity added to the mayhem by teasing Laura's little 3 month old Chihuahua named Sayuki to the point of disaster!

We did learn a few things though while waiting in the waiting rooms. We learned to move over when really sick people come in. Suddenly the hallways weren't as bad as they had seemed a few hours previous. We noticed antibacterial and anitillness wipes and liquids all over the ER - red flags being hoisted screaming "Sick People! Sick People!" We covered ourselves a few times, allowing the spearmenty antiseptic to take over and wash us thoroughly clean. Caity, because she's a moron at times, wiped her face with one of the little towelettes, which provided a few more minutes of really cheap entertainment for everyone within earshot of her shrieking in pain from the sting of it all - open wound + antiseptic towelette = dancing child! (Leaping, and hopping dancing child!)

There was that one moment when the fire alarm was pulled and I had to giggle because for once it wasn't my kid! Can you imagine; you're in a crowded ER, the people are waiting and have been waiting, sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently, and the fire alarm goes off - no one moved. You'd think we would rather die in a blazing fire than to lose our spot in line - which, if you're familiar with ER procedure means there is no real order, there is not real line that you wait in, and there is no guarantee - as in our case, that we would even be seen in time to do the actual stitching. I was funny though - I walked up to the nurse on call at the triage center and politely explained to her that a dog bite needed to be stitched within the first 8 hours - a bit of information I had been taught from watching Forensic Files and CSI. She smiled.

There was also that moment that my life was threatened because a woman decided to lie to her husband about me, claiming I had spoken rudely to her and their children when I attempted to call out of the hospital to another ER to see if they had room for a dog bite victim (giving them the same CSI informative). The security officer was called - the police after that, and I was asked to step behind the locked doors for the remainder of our wait for our own safety. I was still trying to figure out why I was removed from the regular ER when the doctor's assistant called Caity's name. Caity explained to me why the police were interrogating the man and woman behind me in the waiting room - I thought the man had threatened another man, NO, it was me. I guess I was too busy talking on the phone to hear his ranting. Good thing I'm protected by angels huh? (Step this way please, we don't need you dying in our waiting room tonight.) Being escorted to the back had NOTHING to do with Caity needing stitches but perhaps we could have created a situation hours beforehand! Just kidding.

When the doctor found us we were all huddled in the little room with assistants and nurses that Caity had met on previous occasions. Funny thing really, listening to her say to Jake "I think I met you when I broke my arm", and to Mike "No, I remember, that's when I was poisoned, remember?" That was strange - they all remembered her too. She has been in and out of that same hospital a number of times in the past 2 years; poisoning, a brawl, a broken arm, a sprained foot from dancing in the moshpit, and the busted mouth - same pit, different night. So, here she was with her dog bitten face - we told her the new mouth had it's own uvula - flapping and gory! She kicked me for that one. She decided that telling people the truth was just too embarrassing. She's going with a lie. She's telling people that Paris hit her when Caity stole her boyfriend, and the big fat diamond he bought Paris was driven into flesh, resulting in the gaping hole. Good story.

Morals abound throughout this one - here's the best: Don't tease little dogs with big teeth!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Green Tea 3X a day - Liquified.

OH...this is too cool. The greatest thing just happened to me this week, and if I don't tell you I'll be the sorriest person because it can only benefit you. I can't stop helping you, I love you! OK...I was in the organic store, that's what my kids call it. I call it the really cool store where I get my legal drugs, but they insist on being precise. I was in the section of the store where all the vitamins and outrageously interesting herbs are stocked. Some of the names of these herbs makes me think I'm living in Salem during the witch-hunts! I really get a bang out of reading off what some of these potions can do for a woman...but I digress (I buy some also, but I digress!) There I was staring at a little brown bottle with a dropper on the topper. The bottle read "Green Tea Extract" and it was pure liquid...what, you thought tea was something else? I immediately pulled it off the shelf and found myself a guru to explain the contents. By contents I really mean benefits.

The guru on aisle 6 told me that the green tea extract, at that potency that I was holding, now cuddling in my hand, would be equivalent to drinking 12 cups of tea if I only drank 1 dropper full of the elixir with a shot of water. One dropper, one shot, 12 cups. (That's how Jesus fed the 5,000 I bet!) OK, back to the story. The guru told me that drinking the green tea extract 3 times a day with no more than a shot of water, my body would have the benefits of having 36 cups of tea (the juice part anyway) and there would be NO, count them, NO side effects. I couldn't believe it. If I drank 36 cups of tea I would be side-lined in the toilet for hours a day. No side effects, no spinning head, no vomiting, no irritable stomach, no hot flashes, no heart jumps - are you serious? What about weight loss? That was my first inclination for going into the store and seeking out something easier, simple, and altogether potent - I want the belly to disappear!!! Can it do that? I stared at the woman without even scaring her and that can't be easily understood because by this time I was holding her hand in my free hand and I was so close to her face as if what we were discussing was some magic trade secret - she smiled. (See also stepped back a foot)She told me in a word "Yes."

Yes! I would be drinking, or actually NOT drinking, the 36 cups of tea. The effects would be remarkable, the stress levels that are reduced through green tea would be exaggerated to the point of utter peace - tranquility in a bottle - that's awesome! $10? I had to sit down on that thought - $10 and I was going to be at complete peace. There had to be a catch. Of course, drinking green tea is also great because it helps to combat cancers, lowers your blood pressure, and it even helps to regulate your heart rate. For 10 bucks? All that? There was a catch! I had to pay the $10 up front before taking the tea home with me. Hahaha...so I did.

I wanted to test it out because I wasn't about to blog or share this sensational product if it wasn't real or if it didn't work - HELLOOOOOO, it works. Remember those lucid and incredibly vivid dreams I was having about a certain Italian man resembling a gorgeous turtle, who I often warble about - how he pops in and out of my head and bed all night, just smiling and being the creatively magnificent man that I personally believe him to be? Well, even he has stepped it up a bit in my dreaming - he's younger, he's more fluid, he's more agile, and that - well, that makes me smile! To credit the tea completely may be over stepping it - but I will say that the work outs have been easier, the pain in my bum from the stretching and the new Yoga book aren't as bad, and the pants I bought to one day wear are ON MY BODY! I won't over do the tea, I promise. Gary couldn't take it! Hahaha, Oh, I am sooo naughty sometimes - but happy, yes, I'm smiling!

Oh, look at the time, gotta go - it's Tea Time!

Postive Please, Thanks!

I am one of THOSE people. The one you usually stare at because I just seem so up all the time. I get that word a lot "Jude, you're so UP"...I am up. I'm up in the joy of it because I know the alternatives aren't that great. What do we do to ourselves when we're negative? Please, give me positive every time! I just don't do negative well - oops, that was negative! I do positive excellently! Thanks, that was better. Oh, and I talk to myself, my inner self, my soul, my heart, you call it what you want. I also talk to God all the time, which is the main reason I spent the money for a blue tooth! Sure makes things a lot easier now. I can rattle on and on and just laugh, smile, be at peace while the world is falling around me - but I look like I'm talking to a friend on the phone!

Nixing the negative is not always easy, but it does become easier the longer and the more dedicated you are at the practice. Yes, I had to put up with people I love making mindless remarks about me when they saw me (see me) tapping my forehead or the side of my nose - I listened to them complain when I wouldn't let them complain. I turned everything they said around so that it was being presented to me anyway, in a narrowing more positive way, rather than a broad cannon shot of unnecessary ugly! Can you focus for me just a second? Try it and see if it doesn't seem to be a better solution. The kids come in screaming, yelling at the top of their lungs about the unfairness of it all, and you're suppose to just know instinctively what they're upset about, and on top of that, you're expected to FIX whatever is ailing their little heads and hearts at that VERY minute! You're the mom, it's YOUR job!

I learned the hard way that narrowing the situation down to a few critical issues made more sense - put it in a positive light, find me a way out, and I'll make the world dance. I promise. The hard part could be the fact that you, or me in my case, don't really believe in yourself boldly enough to achieve the success in not being negative - but there isn't another way that makes any sense, and remaining negative only keeps the hurt in the forefront - get rid of it, blast it out of the way all together and literally REFUSE to be negative - only positive, only good, only lovely, only truth, only solutions: problems remain, but they are workable. Situations continue, but their outcome is more focused and so much more manageable. Do I have your attention yet? It changed MY LIFE so I know what I mean when I say "give it to me straight". I can take any truth, any truth whatsoever, but a lie is a negative front that hurts, mames, tears, and destroys everything - peace comes from the action of being positive.

When I began speaking literally from the stage about being and living positively I began a mission that even I didn't know how big it would become. Since I have forced negative energies away from me I am blessed and bombarded with precious positive energies from people who see the light almost immediately, and they can't help but want to change. I used to hold a little wand in my hand and tap a person on the arm or head if they said anything negative to me. Often times they didn't realize how negative they were being. Here's an example: A friend thanked her husband this weekend for hanging the new curtains she had just purchased, but then she added at the end of her thankful thought "...even though you were nasty this morning." That was negative, it was unnecessary, and it made her husband's effort of hanging the drapes seem fruitless and unappreciated. He left the house immediately, and she looked at me and said "He's so mean sometimes, he didn't even say goodbye." I leaned over very slowly - I told her I was going to smack her in the head, and then I smacked her in the head! When I repeated her words to her, she suddenly gasped as if her own words were never even imaginable. "I did say that didn't I? He was being so nice!" We do this, and we don't even realize what, why, or when it happens. It's habit.

So, knowing now what we know - that being positive can be learned, trained, done, and it can be a great habit to start and build on, there is NO REASON not to do it from this very very very minute and forever more. Just stop the unwanted, stop the ugly, stop the ungrateful, and the unappreciative - be thankful, be loving, be blessed, and be the one to spread the joy so that those who haven't been shown the truth can be blessed too....OK, time to break out in song, right? If you think that way, I can guarantee you that you're only mad at yourself, because I'm not mad at me...I actually like me! I love me! In fact, if I wasn't me I'd be me! I'd be my friend if I just met me. I'd want to take me everywhere so that I could help me be the person I want to be...making sense yet? I hope so, because it's not always rainbows and fluffy clouds, sometimes it's hard rain and rushing rivers of sorrow - but it doesn't have to be hurtful. You can decide for yourself, like I decided for myself, what to stop, who to stop being with, who to stop listening to, who to be encouraging to, who to be encouraged by. If your family is the problem, like mine was, you have to let them know your stand on things.

Holidays won't be the same. I'm not going to the traditional homestead, instead I'm calling the shots and making every day, every moment of every day beautiful. It does require strength, but there's plenty of that to be found right in the center of my heart - it's ME! It's always been there, it's about time I let me out for good! If you're interested in finding you again, or for the first time, try the exercises you can find online about "tapping" or "EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques" they are wonderful. No, it's not New Age, in fact, the ancients would say it's THEIR secret, but it's no secret - it's the best medicine I can share. It's real living.

Step one: Love you enough to do it for you.
Step two: Get rid of everything negative by turning it around and focusing on the solution, not the problem.
Step three: pray, believe, and always remember to give thanks...for everything even the bad, and you know what? Because God said He would - He will bring it to happen!

Friday, October 5, 2007

BBQ Bevo! Go Sooners!

No vegetarians need apply at this point. (I love you guys, I really do, I have one of you living with me, but this weekend we're hoping to serve BEEF!)

This weekend is the OU/Texas weekend, and I have to tell you - with last week's nail biting and exhaustively penalized game in Colorado, our boys (and Bob) are probably glad to be out from the mountains and the altitude that quite possibly cost them the National Championship ring. This week, we're on the home front, well - Dallas, not exactly the home front, but so much closer to the breathable air, the red-dirt tactics, and the smell of roasting BEEEEEEEF - Longhorn style! We're looking for a good game. We're looking for a win too - something we were quite used to up until the nasty referees in Colorado decided our catch wasn't a catch, which set up a long drive for the Buffalos - which resulted in a short field goal, and of course...our loss. Just because I'm mean, just because I hate losing, I drove straight to the nearest Buffalo Wild Wings and ordered two boats! ATE THEM ALL and I'm not a wings fan - but it made me feel sooo much better. You can't really go out and eat up a bunch of Sooners even if you had a mind to. You can, and I will, BBQ a piece of steak in honor of the game....call it Bevo!

My prediction? Oh...let's see; we lost to Colorado, a team that always shows up for us. Texas lost to Kansas State who seems to like to smack us from time to time too - we're evenly matched, equally manned and well - we're playing in the middle so that everyone can really feel as if they have a bit of that home field advantage. One of the things we do when we go to the game is take a bit of dirt from the North side of the Red River to pour under our feet - sometimes on the field if we can get close enough - just you know...to be that much closer to home. I think we'll win this one. I think it will be a great, exciting, punch-my-friend-in-the-ribs-for-doubting-us kind of close, and I think it will be fun for anyone who isn't a fan. We, the fans, both the Sooners and the Longhorn fans, we don't like close - we don't like tight. We don't like give-and-take games, but that is my prediction.

With one of the best defenses in the country on our side, and one of the best on theirs it would appear that we'll have a lower scoring game. I just hope at the end of the game - less than 25 hours from now, that that scoreboard is lit up in Crimson and Cream! OU 24 Texas 13

PhD ABD OMG LOL

Yes, I am certain that no matter what I say, or how I address myself there will be some who say I'm being prudent and others who say I am not. Not that I am actually fond of calling myself "Dr. Stringfellow", I actually only do it in cases where the person I am addressing needs to realize that this particular bumpkin from Oklahoma is among the academics of the world - we actually do have full fledged edumacated people in our state! (She laughs because she can see her students correcting her for that one!)

When I wrote my book "With a Little Faith" and it was going to print, I was about to defend my Ph.D. at Capella University (not an Oklahoma institute, but from Minnesota). Before I knew it the university had made a change in my plans, and I was unable to complete the last research course to actually defend, and here I am in Ph.D. limbo - awaiting the funds to pay for the course, awaiting the taking of said course, and of course THEN being able to defend and be conferred. However, one of the fine officers of the university assured me that calling myself "Dr. Stringfellow" was perfectly legitimate as I have completed all 90 (actually more) hours of the required degree program - only having the research and cap course for the defending of the dissertation which was written about three years ago. Oh, by the way, the dissertation is so long and boring that it will certainly win awards on the academic front, but put anyone else to sleep without pills or warm tea to assist.

The title of the dissertation is "Multiculturalism and the Need for Diversity in Higher Education". I couldn't think of a more less interesting title, so I choose this one. I wanted to say "Hey, Wouldn't it be Great if EVERYONE Could go to College?" I was actually the victim if you will, of multiculturalism and/or diversity on the campus when I was first starting out as a teacher. The forms you fill out were adamant about not caring what race or sex you were, but they still asked. I was told I would not be hired if I didn't answer the questions, but I wasn't to be bothered by said questions, they weren't going to use them to determine whether or not to hire me - so why answer them? I'm white, I'm a girl.

When I write out "Dr. Stringfellow" I always feel a flare of guilt - I feel like writing out in tiny little letters beside my name the letters ABD, which stand for All But Dissertation. It's an academic thing. No one really goes around sighing under their breath whether or not they've successfully defended that last piece of paper - it makes you sound like you're diseased or have a major disorder if you . "Hi, I'm Dr. Stringfellow - I'm ABD." Extending your hand is almost useless at that point - but just for giggles I sneeze sometimes to see the reaction I get! Then I laugh - because I know that it would actually take more than 250 academic credit hours to catch ABD. The gestation time on that one could vary depending on your financial status too! In other words, you could be perfectly well and then go to collage, pass every course, making your way all the way through your necessary 124 hours of your Bachelors, then 36 more hours of your Masters, enroll in, complete and pass 90 more hours of the PhD (even worse Ed.D. which really sounds like you're dripping with germs)and still not be eligible for the the disorder at all. You may not be able to get ABD right away - so relax, it's likely you'll survive if I shake your hand.

I was speaking at a college last week, telling the Freshmen how to survive their first semester without taking drugs to stay up, and without missing out on too many parties - when it occurred to me that I hadn't told the audience I was ABD. I had off-handedly accepted the introduction of "Dr. Stringfellow", which in some cases made me automatically untouchable in the eyes of the young ones before me. I use the simple and often laughable ABD story to break the ice, to become a little less intimidating or at least a little human in the world of words and figures that the kids will have to be subjected to for years to come. I began asking the audience how many of them intended on actually passing their Freshmen year. I asked next if they intended on graduating with at least an Associates degree, then a Bachelors. I continued asking if they were ambitious enough to go for a Masters, in Business or Education perhaps. Next, and this was fun. I asked them to stand up if they thought they would be going on to be attempting their Doctorate. You'd be surprised how many Freshmen in our colleges think that term means to become a physician.

After explaining the role of the Doctorate degree to 2,400 faces I began the tale of the ABD. Before they left the auditorium too many of them were bending over laughing so hard they had to be escorted out - maybe, just maybe I've enlightened one or two of them to the point that they too wish to be ridiculed in the future. I hope so, we need a few more procrastinating professionals in this world!

I think I have four more years to milk this ABD thing before they boot me from the university for delay of game!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Will Dance for Money! (Cardboard Sign)

I couldn't quite make out the sign as I drove past the girl holding it. She looked familiar to me, she was wearing clothes that allowed her to swish and sway as she leapt into air while standing on the corner of a rather busy highway. Her ankles, I could see, were covered with hemp and bead wraps, and her hair actually had homemade extensions made of wild and colorful beads as well. I drove back by just to see her again.

"Will Dance for Money" the sign read. She was happily doing so without being paid as it appeared. She was dancing, smiling, laughing, and just hoping someone would stop and give her a dollar or two. I could just see a cop pulling up and asking her if dancing was all she was planning on doing for the money - this young little sprite would no doubt hide her sign and say she wasn't soliciting, she was just having a great time on a warm and beautiful fall afternoon. As I drove by I used my right hand to dig around in my spacious purse for a few bills that could be reached easily. I could manage to find them, fold them, and pull them out of my purse while I drove, and I could also keep an eye on the traffic light, judging when it would be turning red or amber so I could slow down to pay the tiny dancer.

As I slowed my car to the edge of her domain I wasn't the least bit surprised to see her recognize what it was that I was doing. My window came down and she could clearly see my hand extended with cash. The child jumped to her feet, shimmied up to my car and gladly grasped my extended hand with both of hers. I could see (and hear) at that point, that her hands and wrists were amply supplied with bells, and little bobbles to shake and make extra tidbits of noise. She thanked me warmly. She greeted me with a friendly kiss and then I was blessed to hear her say to me "Mom, thank you! You are so sweet to come back so many times to help me. Can I have the car later on, I think I have enough gas money now!"

At least she's ambitious! How could I say no?

They are Called Freshmen For a Reason!

I barely survived my son's freshmen year in college. He was suppose to be a walk-on at the GREAT University of Oklahoma, where his fantastic skills at football were all but guaranteed to win him a position on the team. You know, the 7-time National Football Champion team of the Oklahoma Sooners...that team. Didn't happen. The boy had an academic disadvantage - he only got a 1.7 GPA. Seems the GREAT university would have to wait on his more physical skills while he sharpened up the pencils at the local community college. He did sharpen his skills, and he did actually pass, but boy-oh-boy I felt like pulling my hair out with every twist and turn of his enrollment, his acceptance, his pell grant application, his failure to turn in this sheet of paper, or his failure to sign that piece. I made it a point every single semester (to my own students) to be sure and write out a declaration that every single freshmen have at least one real adult that I can discuss things with because I just seem to get the message of how to enroll and stay enrolled through to the more experienced members of the family!

My girls, and I say this with all love, honor, and respect, are NO different than my son, or any other Freshmen on any other campus when it comes to making silly and needless mistakes in the Finanical Aid Department, the testing center, not bringing their school i.d. to class and being asked to leave the campus, or it may be that they simply didn't bring their books to school - again. FRESHMEN drive me crazy! It's as if they wake up and write out long lists of what they can do to really get me going - and not in a good way.

Caity, for instance, lost her i.d. Not only did she lose it, she lost her back up and her state i.d. as well - probably not so much lost as it was just under the couch or something. I had to drive to the vital records to get a birth certificate to prove she's alive. No picture, but it proves she was born. Laura couldn't be outdone by her sister, so she promptly left all of her study materials and books at home the next time class met, and this was the class she actually decided to attend on a regular basis. That's right, I got the notice in the mail - or actually Laura did, but YES I opened it and read it. I do that, I call first of course, but threatened to withhold food if they decline my nosy Momness. She was being academically withdrawn for not attending a particular class - why? Why? Because she wasn't interested in it after the first meeting. FRESHMEN! We're paying for it of course, it won't count for or against her, but we're paying for it.

So, where does this leave me? Well, I'm still sane. I decided to drag the two of them from department to department in the school, forcing them to pull the earbuds out of their heads, forcing them to speak face to face with office personnel, and from time to time I almost felt as if I was pulling a string on Laura's back to make her mouth move. I remember nodding my head, shaking my head, using sign language, and opening my eyes UP REALLY WIDE to make an emphasised POINT over this or that issue. They got it through their collective heads - you must go to class, you must pay your bills, you must do the work, you must show up on time, you must have your work, you must have your i.d., and if you're required to, you will test, and you test until you get it done!

Welcome to adulthood - one kicking kid at a time. What happened to my plan to emancipate these two? Oh yeah, I remember, they decided that being adults wasn't as fun as they thought it was going to be. I let them live on their own this summer. I should have taken the opportunity to move...instead, I volunteered to be their parent for another year. Please pray for me. Thanks.

To Pay or Not to Pay (Ebay) - Question!

When you're sitting there minding your own business; as I do so often, and someone writes you to remind you that you haven't made a payment on something you didn't buy, nor did you authorize someone else to buy - do you pay it? That's a good question. I'm being bombarded today by a manic woman in Australia who is insistant that I purhased, or agreed to purchase a couple of ladies tops. Tops, I might add are adorable, and I may very well purchase them just because I think I'd like them, but I wonder - did she (or someone she knows) actually use my account information to bid on "like" things that I have purchased in the past?

I'm not without integrity, I'm actually full of morals really, and if I had bid or purchased the items in question I would have known first of all, and I would have paid for them through paypal immediately! The fact that she is writing to say that I haven't paid is a red flag for me. I always pay immediately, and I always use paypal. So, this bit of information (as well as other well defined evidence) proves to me anyway, that I am being set up. I still may purchase the tops, they are adorable, but I won't use my paypal to do it. I think if I did the woman (or someone she knows) may be able to dig the numbers up and use them at will - thus causing an endless flow of merchandise arriving at my door that I not only love but would have a hard time returning since they come from so far away - and I'm sure the seller would insist that each time I had actually been the bidder.

What I find to be odd is the behavior of the woman. She's written to me daily, and she's berating me, constantly attacking my ethics, my integrity, and what she says is my duty. (Keep in mind she's all up in the air over less than $12.00 - and I even offered to 1. Pay for the relisting, and 2. change my passwords) She's going on and on about this, and I can't help but think she's a cyber grifter - a con, but I won't SAY she is, as I don't want to accuse. What to do? What would you do? I thought I would pay for the first item, and let her know that I would never again pay for something I didn't purchase. I will change my passwords of course, and I will be sure to pay her through other means, not through PayPal.

Wow...you know, if it had been something really ugly, or something that didn't fit (such as the Chicago Cubs Ladies' Medium top that I really really really wanted, and it couldn't fit my size 00 kid properly) I would have said NO straight out, but I'm telling you, if she is a grifter, she does her homework. I may hire her to do my interior decorating too - if she feels I have enough integrity to do so!

Hey - Ebay sellers, don't believe every bid these days. If someone can hack into mine they can hack into anyone's, and you may be left in the cold without payment. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, the buyers really do tell the truth! I make it a habit to ONLY buy from sellers who have sold more than 200 items and have 99% positive feedback. Just cuts down on .....what's that....ohhhhhh, I like this. Pretty! Oops, no the seller hasn't sold anything else. Nope, not going to happen! Move on, move on.

Another Two-Legged Mutt! I Love it!

Faith has been so blessed to have been the subject of so many websites and articles about her courage, strength and of course her faith in herself. She is NOT alone folks! Here is the website (just e-mailed to me) from a man in France who found it and felt heart led to share it with me. I don't know the owners of this particular wonder, but she is an amazing dog like Faith. Unlike Faith this puppy (named Sugar) has front legs and no back legs. I see this occurring in many dogs actually, it's not rare - just a bit uncommon. Dogs without backlegs can survive very well with the help of the wheelchairs and/or carts you'll see in the video which I have attached.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2uuay_le-chien-a-2-pattes_animals (just cut and paste)

Sugar has adapted so well, and so naturally that you wouldn't know she was walking without her backlegs. She doesn't always want or use her cart, she jumps and plays with other animals like any other dog - even more gentle with cats than most. She's seen in the video literally mouthing a little kitten and taking it back to her bed to nose and love on it. I was touched by how much she resembled Faith in many ways not only in sight. She has the same sweet face, the same gentle way about her that invites people and animals to play with her. To be honest, Sugar seems much more approachable than Faith as Faith seems to shy at first and cotton up to strangers a little later, after she's had time to sniff around and be sure that she won't be hurt. Faith, like Sugar, can't run away as fast as other dogs - so there's a little wiggle room on the hugging and grabbing. But they both smile and love from the heart.

Can you imagine if we were asked to be so adaptable. Some of us are. Our soldiers are asked to put their lives on the line every day for us. Officers of the law, firemen, anyone in protective services could, at any moment, be faced with the real expectation of having to deal with the loss of limbs; and of course, you and I could be the victim of an accident or illness that would require us to make life challenging and changing decisions about what we would do to survive and to thrive. Well, I hope, and I pray that nothing like that ever happens to us - but if it does, there is hope. There are at least 200 examples of animals online without all four legs and there is a wonderful site for humans who have lost limbs, or who were born without limbs. It is: www.lessthanfour.com a site dedicated to helping and supporting humans (and yes, Faith joined) who are amputees.

Please visit these two listed sites, the website for Less Than Four as well as the video for Sugar! Here is the link again:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2uuay_le-chien-a-2-pattes_animals

You'll be so happy! You can't help but smile and say blessings for those you love.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Top Secret Mission of the United States Army

No, don't even think it. I would SOOO not give out any information regarding any mission whatsoever involving our armed forces. I only wrote that to get your attention, and obviously it did. However, I will tell you a funny little story about one of the members of the United States Army. He happens to be stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska - which is not a secret, and this particular soldier is ready, willing and able to perform just about any duty he's called upon to perform; with the exception of firing a gun right now because one of his arms is still in a sling while the other hand is wrapped up from injuring it trying to catch rebar with one hand.

I'm told by this soldier (because he calls me several times a week) that he doesn't let the sling covering his right arm to slow him down too much when it comes to playing basketball or steering a tank. It does however become affected when it comes time to clean his room, make a bunk, pack his wares, or when he's required to write something with an actual writing utensil. Give the boy a pen and he's lost, give him a keyboard and he's able to peck and punch using his toes and nose if he has to, he will not miss out on any MySpacing simply because of an arm injury. What comes to mind when I think of my son wearing his arm sling over his right arm and holding his injured left hand up in the air to stop the throbbing is the Black Knight from the hit comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Do you remember the poor, disadvantaged King as he approached the Black Knight? How the Black Knight (at the hand of the disadvantaged King) suffered severe wounds both to his arms and then to his legs? The brave Knight continued his quest to protect his post by demanding that the King come down off his horse and to face him (the Knight) like a man! The Knight demanded also that he come close enough so that he could bite the King if necessary...it was, afterall, only a flesh wound!

My Baby Boy, Private First Class Reuben Stringfellow is (if nothing else) going to communicate with his Top 8 and anyone else willing to listen to his war stories full of glory and gore; and/or moose and northern lights, cooler weather, and the fact that he may or may not come home for the holidays because he has to protect them. They should understand! He expects me to understand this too, and where I do, and where I know he is the bravest, most noble of the Stryker tank drivers EVER to be trained by our Army, he is my little boy and I haven't hugged and kissed him in almost 9 months. It may very well be that I don't see him for another 15 months if he goes away like he thinks he will - and that would be just a little too long for a mom to have to understand...but in times like these I think of Mrs. Potter. Mrs. Potter was Col. Potter's wife, whose portrait sat on his desk for all those years he was in the fictious war on M*A*S*H. Season after season she sat there without complaining and each and every morning the Col. would stand and salute his adoring and loving wife. I will have to send my boy a little pocket photo of me so that he can pull it out and burp for me....not quite the same as a salute, but to me, music! Sheer symphony! If I can hear him belch out a really good one, I know everything down in that body of my son's is working just fine!

OK, I can let you in on one big, unknown secret that the U.S. Army has been keeping hidden away from the rest of the world for years. Reuben told me this just the other day. It is believed that someone up on The Hill is considering selling Alaska back to the Russians and letting them deal with the frozen coffee and the gull-sized misquitos. Shhhhhh, you didn't hear it from me.