Friday, November 30, 2007

What Scorpio Wants - She Gets

Earlier in the year I posted a blog about Scorpio Women and how we always get what we want and someone (someone foolish I might add) wrote to me and challenged my reasoning. To this man, this very fine and uniquely positioned man in my life, I say this: I am a woman first, therefore, throw all reason out. I am a Scorpio woman secondly - duck! (She smiles as he stepped away slowly in a flirtatious Piscean retreat!)

When a woman has her mind set it would be an idiot's move to try and stop her. Even our our holy scriptures tell us it is better to dwell on the top of the roof than inside the house with an angry woman. Have you not been on the barrel end of the stare of a woman who either wants you so badly you're about to melt, or she hates you so badly you're about to melt? Either way - you melt. The only difference is where you will be doing that act itself. Location, location, location! Will it be in her bedroom, twisted among the sheets, or will it be on the bar stool all night alone with other loners who made the same mistakes? Women simply do two things gentlemen: First we rock the cradle, then we rule the world.

Caesar had a wife. He knew back in the day the importance of keeping her out of politics - it was HIS order that held voting to men and even the order deciding NOT to educate the women in Rome for only ONE reason - we rule the world. Sure, we let men live in it, work in it, play in it, even crave us and please us -- but it is our world to rock. Try living without a woman, she can do the time without you - or have you never actually thought that one out? Sorry to be the bearer of truth.

Now, let's get back to the Scorpio Woman versus all 11 other zodiac femme. It's not that we're the end all, or that we are the only champions of the world - no, that's not it. We simply have a bit more zeal, a bit more tenacity, a bit more I'll-get-it-because-I-want-it sort of thought process from the beginning and it's usually something she was born with, not learned. There are those really rare exceptions who were born on October 27, 1965, but we'll not get into that right now. A Scorpio Woman is more likely to face you and tell you exactly what she wants. You hear her, you know she's not blinking, her voice is clear, and you realize you don't have many options. That's how the power is instilled. There are other ways. She decides she wants something, she writes it down, perhaps blogs about it, and then she goes about her day reading, researching, planning, scheming, determining, and engineering every single minute detail of the capture, the conquer, the quest - until it's hers. There is no try with Scorpio. There is do.

Oh, I do apologize if these words seem harsh, uneasy, or even unbelievable to you - you're allowed to shake your head, just don't turn your back if she's smiling (without blinking)it could be your personal education.

The Waiting Game - The Vince Vaughn Issue


(Allposters.com owns the rights to this picture of Vince Vaughn)

WAY BACK in the spring of 2007 I think, Sebastian Mansicalco, a Chicago native and comedian, decided to put a defaming, ugly, nasty, meaningless, and in my opinion cheap-shot YouTube online with damaging and potential hurtful statements and presentation of my dog Faith's image and reputation. He also defamed and/or damaged my reputation or my character, and I decided I wasn't going to allow it. I was going to get to the bottom of the situation and do the right thing by making this guy ante-up and either compensate us for said damages or (and) make him aware of the fact that there are legal ramifications when you release such material to the general public....enter the Vince Vaughn factor.

Turns out that Sebastian Maniscalco is a part of the well known, and sometimes funny show called the Vince Vaughn Wild West Comedy Tour or something very similar to that name. Vince is the producer/owner of the materials being presented and apparently decided to do a little film about a 30-day, 30-show event that more or less ended up being a documentary of the events that took place during the 30 days of filming. There were clips of the men who performed on stage; both backstage and on stage. There was the obligatory toilet shots, and the farting shots I think...you know, funny man stuff - and yes, there was the bit about a little handicapped dog named Faith that went around the world making people happy, showing off her courage, showing her strength...no wait, the clip didn't do that - it portrayed her as being really ugly, fearful, unattractive, unapproachable, and worse - useless. Mansicalco thought it was funny, and I guess Vince did too, he added it in the film I'm told, and was paid handsomely as well.

I contacted my attorney because I didn't want to sue anyone. I still don't want to sue anyone. I want the record set straight and other-than-A-listers have a hard time setting things straight in public. I want Faith's name, reputation, character, and mission to be uplifted not shot down. I want my work, my efforts, and my sacrifices in this endeavor to be reasonably understood, not misguided, and if big names like Vince Vaughn allow little people like me to be made fun of, or worse, to allow military and/or disabled dogs to be bullied on stage - well, I think my attorney (Debra Opri) should know about it. I called her. She and I agreed that no one should be sued. We're not out to make tons of money off of Vaughn, we could have made money from film offers which may or may not have been diminished from having seen or heard Maniscalco's bit. We won't know the damage or the extent of the damage - how could we?

Let me make it perfectly clear: I love Vince Vaughn's work. I think he's a very patriotic man, a very good actor, and a wonderful person at heart. That's why I was so surprised when he allowed Faith, because of her military work, to be made fun of for what, a laugh? Vince Vaughn performs for the USO!

What we want, what I want, is an apology for one thing; a recognition that you just don't use or sell low-brow, uncouth humor to bully anyone just to get a laugh. Would this man have stood on that stage and berated disabled children? Would he have openly and overtly said what he said about disabled soldiers returning from the war? Call me biased...but it wasn't funny. Any laugh from the audience was manufactured. They realized they were being filmed for a movie perhaps, so they laughed. Wouldn't you laugh if you were being prodded to do so by assistants with signs, reminding you that you're being filmed for a documentary film produced by Vince Vaughn...smile, laugh, clap! (I'm just sayin')

Faith is an honorary SGT in the United States Army. She was commissioned out of Ft. Lewis in 2006. She travels throughout the states and now the world, meeting and greeting troops who have been injured, and/or are returning from war. She meets and greets soldiers on base, at hospitals, at airports, etc. She's been recognized in more than 200 countries for her work, and she's been honored by more than 100 newspapers, trade papers and magazines with NOT ONE of them belittling her, downgrading her, bullying her, or making fun of her looks, moves, actions, or persona...that happened on Vince Vaughn's stage by a virtually unknown comedian who had flopped over and over again with comedy routines designed to cut others down to build himself up - we've watched more of his work and found this to be his gig, his deal. I get it, he can't fill the footsteps of my dog so he goes after her? (OK pardon me, that was a personal thing to say, but it's true. Faith is phenomenal)

The waiting game is this: I was told by the Vaughn camp through my attorney, that an apology was on the way, we'd be on air with Vince, he'd make it all right -- that was a few weeks ago, the very DAY the writer's strike occurred. We were unable to get on shows we were working on, and it ended up being a fiasco of attempts after that because Vaughn showed up on the Ellen Show without writers, this and that happened, we were put on the back burner, then the holidays - what next? We get buried in Christmas cheer, shopping, and what not? Maybe Fred Clause has the answer? Maybe we're not A-list enough to deserve the responsible treatment at this time. That's OK...I'm a Scorpio woman. I will wait. I will certainly wait. I won't forget mind you, not for a second, but I will wait.

Bottom line: I was called to do a job; train the puppy and tell the world her story of her courage, her strength, her abilities to overcome anything - and you know what...I'm going to do just that. I don't need the A-list to validate me or what I do. If it took that we would all be in trouble just waiting on the popular boys and girls to tell everyone else who's in and who's out. I think not.

Wave the Pyrate's flag my dear - - smile, and wait.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

300th Blog - You Gotta Pick Something Cool

(CBS-TV Photo)


It's just a landmark, but a great one! 300th blog on the Blogger.com, it has to be something really awesome right? Or, it could just be a great picture of a great man in a great city, and it inspires me to think great thoughts....OK, fantasies. If my manager and my agent weren't constantly monitoring me by reading these blogs, I'd probably say more - you and I would both get a little grin out of it.

I'm an existentialist. Do you know what that is? I am someone who asks deep and meaningful (others say meaningless) questions that sometimes have answers and sometimes they don't have answers. I mention it only because I have a question to ask you. You think about it, really think about it, write me and let me know - or just write and tell a journal your answer. Here it goes: Say you're in a city that just makes your heart explode. You can't get it out of your head, it's everywhere. Say the smells of that city, the view, the skyline, everything repeats over and over in your head both at night when you're dreaming and during the day. Every time someone says the name of the city you jump. Every time someone mentions a building, or a street that you recognize as being in THAT city, your heart skips a beat...your eyes smile, and your face (without assistance) curls up in a big grin. Would you move to that city?

Henry James the pragmatic philosopher would argue that the only reason to move to the city would be commerce, relations or familial connection. He would state the obvious and logical thought process behind any decision should be. David Hume, on the other hand, being a more pleasure-driven philosopher, would argue that one may or may not choose a city, like a pair of shoes, or a coat that fits well, simply because one can, one looks good in it, one feels empowered by it, or one simply decides to. I'm an existentialist - I ask questions. Some of these questions have answers some don't.

What if that city, that exploding, exciting, charismatic, and cell-invigorating city was a man? Final question? What do you do when the man and the city co-exist in the same space at the same time? Wow! I love Chicago. Every hair on its head, every glance of its lake green eyes - every straight-lined smile carved by the El, every smell of its breath. I love Chicago.

ZOO News

Oklahoma City has so many things to see and do when you come to visit, and the really really cool thing is, most of it is within walking distance of each other...not really, I just said that, but most of the venues are fairly closely situated. Venues that include: Remington Park (horse racing and casino), the Omniplex (museum and science geek haven), Museum of Western Heritage (formerly called the Cowboy Hall of Fame until someone complained), and of course, the award-winning, one of the top-ranked zoological parks in the WORLD - the Oklahoma City Zoo! You absolutely can't pass up this miracle mile of fun and experience when you come by to have coffee with me. The one thing this mile does NOT have...a Starbucks! I think there is something missing from the picture.

So, every year (because I'm cheap and value a good value) I buy the kids and I a Friend of the Zoo pass. It lets me into my own zoo and others around the country, gives me discounts and all that, but the main thing it does is gets me out of long lines. I just zip in the side door. Gotta love the star treatment on that one. We go to the zoo literally 50-70 times a year, so having a pass is a good thing. You'd think that going to the same 5 mile square would be boring, but it isn't really - for instance today the quails got loose and ran all over the Oklahoma Trails...just like in the wild outdoors. QUAIL everywhere! The wolves and coyotes were a bit jealous, but I was grateful the puma hadn't discovered their escape route.

The whole purpose of the Oklahoma Trails exhibit is to show the world all the animals that have at one time or another found the great land(s) of the Oklahoma territory or state as a place they'd call home. We have buffalo of course, bobcat, fox, snakes, otters, beaver, canines, raccoons, opossum and owl, but did you know we also have: gar, tortoises, alligators, and elk? Oh, it's true, we have bears and bald eagles, we have every known rat, mouse, rabbit, and fowl too...well, not every fowl, we don't have many flamingo, but the others that migrate, we have them. The Trails are new, and I can't help but poke a little fun at the engineers and the finishers; they're the ones who put all raw wooden planks up for people to rub their hands on as they walk - splinters. They're the ones who bolted down park benches along the path that back up to 10 foot drops followed by rocks and sharp tree limbs - children falling. I asked about it once and I swear, the answer I received set me back. The Docent told me that we have stupid people in Oklahoma too, so they should be given the chance to be a part of the naturalized exhibit. WOW.

One of the funnier events that always takes place at the zoo when I attend with the kids is how we stand at the lowland gorillas and pretend (by voice and action) to be the gorillas themselves. Reuben played the big silver back, I was the mom. Laura was one kid, and Caity was the little one. There were a few left over, but that's OK. We begin when they begin, and our animation often inspires the movement and imitation from the apes....especially the kids. Today my baby hit me in the face repeatedly, and I thought to myself, "Now whose on display?" as Caity began beating me playfully. You could almost see the little apes getting together to see what all they could do to the mom ape...no one dared bother the dad. Even lowland gorillas know that much.

Moving on, it was equally fun to see the zookeepers come out in full force when Caity, not paying attention to the mounted security cameras, in order to address her improprieties....she smiled her smile, stepped back over the barrier, and stopped teasing the tiger - thank you keepers. I owe you a batch of brownies. I never seem to get through to her even when I point out the probing, moving cameras with their upward, sideways and downward video recording her every step forward toward the fence. Who, in their right mind, would want to tempt that kind of fate? My brat apparently. "Is this your kid?" they asked me. "Could be." I answered. "Are you pressing charges or just bringing her here to let me know about it?" They smiled...just letting me know. But they also LET ME KNOW, that they'd seen the same girl twice last week doing similar stupid things with tortoises from the Galapagos exhibit, and with the wild ass, just around the bend. The Ass has always been Laura's favorite animal, but Caity likes to run Laura's ass to the ground when she can.

Something tells me Caity's going to grow up and become a big name in security - she'll work it out until she beats the best, then she'll begin designing a new program for them based on her success(es) of getting by - if she isn't caged first. I wonder, would my Friends of the Zoo pass get me a cheaper ticket to see that animal locked up?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It Can't Be a Spider Bite Because ...

If it were a spider bite I would probably be really dead or somehow worse. I'd be vomiting, I'd be rolling out of my bed in delirium. I'd have a monster sized hole in my right (back) cheek that, although it has a big black spot in the middle of it, it would be sunken in and not threatening to protrude like the red, burning, hard to the touch golf-ball under the skin that it is. Because not going to the doctor after a spider bite can be the last defiant act of your life. YES, I'm talking about a boil people. To be honest, I don't really know how long (exactly) that I can sit at this computer and write about it either. Besides, I killed the spider I saw in my room last week...he's dead! DEAD! Maybe he had brothers?

If you are a religious person, if you are a spiritual person, if you have any type of compassion for your fellow man, woman, or child - please say kind and effective prayers for me....and my bum. Especially me, because my bum has actually decided to separate from my body, do the hostile take over thing, and using the one form of ammunition I didn't see coming - the boil; I am about to suffer unnecessarily for the next 10-14 days according to the WebMD, and every other database I could research. I simply hate going to a doctor. I went 17 years ago - that didn't work out so well for me, I had to bring Caity home.

OH, I'm not a complete loser. I set a time frame for this most inconvenient visitor. I told my butt that if it didn't come back to reason, give up the covert mound of pus and just be the butt it is suppose to be, I would see to it personally that a DOCTOR of real training would not only VIEW it, he/she would LANCE it if he/she had to, and I didn't care how much pain I had to inflict on it - that is, my butt. Talking to one's backside has never really gotten any one person any real results, but I do so hate to go to the doctors for things that are either embarrassing, expensive, or out and out silly - like boils, hangnails, a cough, a little cut -- if I can find a home remedy, save myself that co-pay (I don't have co-pays, I just said that. I'm in the higher percentage of those who DON'T have insurance per se. I'm winging it!)I gave my bum 10 days from today....let the countdown begin.

Naturally, because I'm careful about hygiene and I use more Lysol in my house than anyone I know, I wanted to know how the STAPH attacked me in the first place. You would be bowled over to find out the most common ways a person gets a big, fat, ugly, nasty, in the skin, can't-get-that-follicle-quite-open-far-enough-to-sprout-a-hair BOIL - - I know I was. I virtually sleep with anti-bacterial blankets (Faith does)and I was simply flattened to hear that someones NOSE slime could have passed the bacteria to me...nose slime? I'm a mother, there will be nose slime this time of year on everything - hence the Lysol, but did you know the SNEEZE the simple sneeze can literally and figuratively kick your butt?

Most boils are follicle related, hairs can't come out, they get infected. The INFECTED part is the sneeze part. You (me in this case) inhale breath/air that has air-borne nose slime and it gets into your blood stream, cruising it's way through your body and then...because it's the curse of ADAM - - you die! If you don't die you get boils....THERE. God, is in my opinion, hilarious! Could You be a little funnier God? No, I'm not challenging You, I love you! Thank You actually for the experience, now I know a little tiny bit of what the enemies of Israel felt back in the day, and I have to say....I am 100% pro Israel. Go God! Go God!

Prognosis: lots of hot baths, lots of ibuprofen, lots of prayers, and lots of smirking because I just can't smile that straight right now!

Solution: Keep the Lysol handy, but wash those hands if you get the sneeze treatment in public or in private....nose slime is a killer!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Best BEST BESTTTTT Friend Jeanie



OK, so there you go, my best friend and my son. Two of my favorite most wonderful people in the world. If my girls were in the picture, you'd have all 4 of my favorite most wonderful people. Look at that woman! Doesn't she make you sick to think that she looks that good at HER age? Please, we met in high school 30 years ago...she was....1 at the time. I have no problem admitting my own 46 years, but I'm not about to squeal on Jeanie and tell you that she graduated before me...no way, I wouldn't do that to her. She's my bestest best best friend, and well, I'm jealous as heck is what I am.

So, when you know someone for 30 years you start thinking about some of 300+ concerts you've seen together, or the gazillion rock stars you've met together, and you think about the trips to the State Fair, football games; both high school and college - but we laughed this weekend over the 138 jobs that I've lost since we've met and the 3 I think she's actually had for all this time. You can see we're perfect for each other in terms of being friends because she stabilizes me and I give her a living entertainment package. If she doesn't call me every week she's bound to miss out on something life changing...seriously, mine or hers, but it will be changing.

I was the maid of honor at her wedding, and she was the matron of honor at mine. We both hated her first husband, and we both hated my first husband too. See how that works? She married well the 2nd time though, we both love him....and me, well, I have no intention of getting married again (except for you know who, and even then I'd be compromising my lifestyle, and giving up things I'm not all that sure I'd like to give up, I mean - I'm an independent thinker, a maverick at times and even if Gary were to ask I'd have to think....3 full seconds before nodding my speechless head.) She'd approve, she thinks turtles are worth saving, and she likes the fact that he's employed. One of us would have to be I guess.

I think Jeanie's favorite "I-Got-Fired-Again" quote from me was when I worked for a grocery store. I was Oklahoma City's FIRST girl-sacker. They didn't even call me a female, I was a girl in 1977. Anyway, the funny thing is, at 16, it wasn't anywhere near my first job. I left and when she asked me about THIS employer and why it didn't work out, I simply said "It was a mutual agreement between the two of us that I should no longer be working for the establishment." Even then I used longer sentences to explain myself than I needed to. By 16 I had been fired a least 4 or 5 times. I always had a great excuse too, but she's always liked that one, so when I can I pull it out and I explain myself first by expressing the expression....it's an ice breaker.

I've been fired for walking in on my boss when I shouldn't have. I've been fired for showing up a day late. I've been fired for doing too good of a job in fact, and they called it working myself out of employment. I just couldn't pace myself, and ended up doing a bang-up-you-gotta-go job after a week or so. One of my favorite firing stories was when I worked at a nursing home. I was young, going to high school and thought I was naturally going to be off for the arch rival football game. No, I was not let off, I was scheduled, and I was scheduled to show up an hour before the game started. Something about people needing to be fed on time every day. I quit. I wasn't fired. I was officially fired when I walked out, this place didn't let a person quit - if they fired you they didn't have to bring you back.

Jeanie understands me. She understands that football games are always (then and now) a top priority. I rescheduled my wedding day folks! We got married on a bye week. No, I'm serious. I don't joke about OU football. Jeanie gets that, and if it means that every year she's forced to go out and buy new OU t-shirts, hoodies, and stuff, or if she has to drink a beer with me at the pub and scream obscenities at the guys wearing other than Crimson, so be it. Besides being perfect every fall, she's a Cancer, I'm a Scorpio. If she was a guy I could marry her I guess, but she's already married, and Darren being an Aquarius would never go for the threesome thing.

There you have it. MY BEST friend in the world......forever! I love you! (Oh, and don't worry about the Big 12, we got that!)

Sticky Business!



This is Mr. Stick. Go ahead, try and out do the dirty, nasty, and even juvenile comments my friend Jeanie and I have already conjured about my new best man. You can't do it....we are the reining champions of really raunchy things that over 40-year old women say about inanimate objects. But, please, if you think you can bring raise the bar, so to speak, go for it.

Mr. Stick is my new dancing partner. Like any other relationship this one was not love at first sight. First, I had to pick him out, then have him cut to size. You can somewhat see where I'm going with the analogies can't you? OK, well, he needed a bit dressing up after surgery, so I bought him a seriously beautiful coat (6 coats actually) of classic oak. A classic coat always looks good on a man. Mr. Stick lacks height, but he all wood. NO, I didn't just say that..... Let me continue.

After dressing Mr. Stick, sanding him down a few times I repeated my brutal and yet gentle nurturing act for several days while I talked to him, getting to know him, and letting him know that I would be the dominant one in this meaningful, and very important to my physical needs relationship.

You see, I NEED Mr. Stick. He's going to help me get the body that the ball only began. So, with this exercise thing becoming my new(er) obsession, the power of positive thinking not being quite enough to remove the fat around my torso - Mr. Stick was a clear choice. (Not really, I was going to do the mounted barre on the wall thing, and I bought the necessary hardware, but after holding Mr. Stick in my hands as long as I did, and after personally pouring my strength and love into him, I decided against making him immobile.)

I saw a movie over the weekend and there were a bunch of Army guys running and jumping up and down with their rifles...gave me an idea. If I can do a 30-minute regiment with Mr. Stick daily, every single day, I bet I could breathe better, dance longer, and even start rekindling the old feelings I had as a cheerleader/spirit clown from waaaayyyy back in the day. (Translation: I was thin then)

It may sound really silly, but I sat down on the end of my bed and I had a real conversation with the guy. "What do you think Stick, can you go 30 minutes a day with me?" He was speechless! To this day, through all the twirling, swirling, over the head, around the shoulders, and yes...helicopter moves, he hasn't complained one single time. I have. I wasn't quite paying complete attention during Journey's "After the Fall" and I totally slammed Mr. Stick down on my left big toe. OUCHHHH.....I think he feels he got the last laugh on that one, but I was determined not to cry in front him or the dogs. I thanked him. I bowed, I thanked my new friend for his continued support as well as the creativity in my dance; a good man is always silent in the bedroom, and he should inspire you from time to time. I don't know about breaking your toes, but again, it was my fault.

So, there you have it. I have a new friend - thin, strong, beautiful, great color actually, and he is - can I say it with a straight face - the right size for what I need him to do. (She so totally went there! Please, I'm blushing.)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Stand Like Waite - Hold Your Ground




Oklahomans don't have much of a problem making a stand and then digging their (our) heels in really deeply to let themselves and the rest of the freaking world know EXACTLY where they stand. I wasn't surprised when my publicist asked me to write a book about my opinions. I felt it coming. We'd had discussions over and over again covering topics the polite people say you should never have - not in public anyway. Does Starbucks count as being all that public? Fine! I don't think I have to warn you, my opinions are MINE. I came upon them all by myself, sharing them won't hurt me one bit - no extra charge. (Not now, wait until the book is out, then you'll have to pay for them! LOL)

If you know anything about the Civil War and the way it ended you'll know the South came out on the south of it so to speak. Oklahoma had a very unique position in that we were officially a neutral territory - Indian territory, and since Native Americans weren't considered real Americans, they didn't count - or did they? I'm not Native American -- something I regret. I would be if I could go back and do something about it. I would be a Cherokee I think. They're the ones with the pretty cheek bones, and they had Stand Waite! Now, there's a man of history to be admired. Did you know that there's NEVER been another full blooded Native American General? He was it! He was the LAST, the very very very last General to surrender to the Union. He was from the Indian Territory, but before he was in Oklahoma (land wise) he was from Florida - - a very southern man.

Well, Stand made a stand. He proved to everyone that you have to sometimes wait it out to be sure, absolutely sure that all has been done - his dogmatic behavior lives today in many of us who call this land ours. I'm one of his biggest fans I think. Sometimes forced to do what he did not want to do. Sometimes given the opportunity to make the decisions - when he was able to, he told the children of the areas he would go to that they were to be proud no matter what the outcome of the great war, they were to stay in their belief that we would be healed as a nation...he also believed in one God; and he was seen in public discussing His existence. He questioned why anyone else would question it.

There is another man I like to quote from time to time; though most think the adage came from a country western song - - Alexander Hamilton told members of Congress that "If we stand for nothing we will fall for anything". I'm not sure those words were the reason he made it on the $10 bill, but they may have gotten him shot! Nevertheless, I would rather die standing for my heart's pull than falling over it. I do know what my motto, if I had one, would be: "Let your yes be yes, and your no be no" - you know who said that! (Hint: died for me and you, too.)

I'm about to write a book about my feelings, my points of view, my opinions, my thoughts, and MY ideas - if I need to place a warning or a disclaimer in the front of it for the weak of souls I will -- but I will not, I cannot back off what I think to be honest, truth, or right. Don't ask me to, you won't like me much after that. Like the great Native American Warrior/General - I will wait you out. I will NOT surrender without being forced. This is a good thing. You'll never NOT know where you stand with me; and just in case you're wondering - yeah, I'm still going to love you even if we disagree. You have the right to be as wrong as you want to be! Hahahaha

Did I mention I was a bit conceited at times too? (Truth! Not making that up) If only we were all this honest. Can you imagine? Voting wouldn't be half as difficult and court rooms wouldn't be so full.

I Don't Get the Whole Bathtub in the Meadow Thing

I watch the news, I watch the games, I watch just about any and everything a man would watch so it's no wonder I also get to watch the commercials about erectile dysfunction, prostrate problems, and the world's best condoms....which, if I had a reason to know I'd just call my buddy John and ask him straight out (no pun intended) and he could completely freak out for two reasons. First, he'd wonder why I was asking him, since he's as celibate as I am, and 2nd, he'd freak out because he thinks he's going to NOT be celibate before me. I should ask him just to see his face!

Anyway, I watch the news, I watch football, basketball, baseball, and sometimes because my son sits on me and holds my face up so I have to see it, I watch the caged ultimate fighters; listening to my son grunt and scream like an animal for about 2 minutes until he realizes he's killing his only mother, and gets off of me, giving me time to grab the remote and switch the channel back to CSI-NY, something far less violent!

During these shows the marketing audience seemingly is male-dominant. I have to sit through "Viva Viagra" commercials, and I get that one. I do. Fun, dancing, having the time of your life, but I don't get the Cialis commercials that always end up with two people (usually with silly grins on their faces) in their separate bathtubs in the meadows, out in the backyard, around the corner, someday we'll even see a Cialis commercial with bath tub dwellers in the middle of the business district in NYC, or on board a 747 headed overseas....sex doesn't usually contain itself to the fields anymore. Besides, who filled these bath tubs up with water? WHO? Where did they get the water? IF they did manage to carry the water they'd be too tired for sex. IF the bath tubs actually had water in them the water would get cold, and we ALL KNOW what happens to a man in cold water....is THAT where the Cialis comes in?

Forget the meadow. Give me a high rise (no pun intended) view with Chicago's or NYC's skyline in sight. I don't need matching tubs...give me just ONE hot bath or shower in a fine hotel anytime. Give me (and Gary) a loofa with creamy body wash, and a little tray near the bed stocked with a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses, and Michael Buble on repeat in the CD changer. I don't' need much...hopefully he won't either. (oops, did I say that?)

MP3 Expert

About a year ago my son got himself a really cool iPod for Christmas, and that set in motion the NEED for me to purchase a few LIKE MP3 players for all the other children in my life. You know how that goes - one gets something the others think they need it. I didn't buy his MP3 player. I wouldn't have spent that kind of money on one, not when I know you can get them online through Ebay for pennies on the dollar. I'm not cheap, really, I'm not. I'm part Scottish. I believe in tradition to a degree, and well - OK...I'm a single parent raising a bunch of kids. I try what I can to put 1/2 smiles on my children's faces.

I remember I victoriously won a 2 gb blue iPod look alike for a drastically reduced price. It arrived, but it wasn't what I paid for. In fact it was only a 128K device, and held only 40 songs, nothing close to the 500+ songs the seller promised...don't worry, I got my money back. I believe in capitalism, I believe in online commerce, and I bought another player from the guy(s) who had first "accidentally" sent me the wrong device. They even let me keep the 128 player...I couldn't give it away, apparently they could. I bought a 2nd player, another 2 GB and my luck continued. I got another 128 in the mail. Someone wasn't paying attention to the previous address or the previous name. After another round of writing and another round of oh-my-gosh-I-can't-believe-I'm-really-that-stupid discussions with myself, I got another 2 GB MP3 player in the mail....yes I did! I win.

You can imagine my delight and my contorted face when I went to a different Ebay seller and purchased a third, I said 3rd, 2 GB player, a little iPod look alike, the little square looking nano type - and YES, YES, they did it again! I now own 3 very low capacity MP3 players with 40 different songs on each one of them. I am in the process of screaming through the e-mails at these guy(s) hoping for a similar result, you know, the player I actually spent $60 on. I don't think $60 is too much for a 2GB, but it is too much for the 128. If you think about it, I'm getting all these other players for nothing. If they let me keep it I can donate them all to a school for prizes, but they'd have to go to a preschool - - kindergartners would figure it out too fast "HEY! This this only holds 40 songs! What's up with that?"

I guess I could stop being so cheap and just go out and get an iPod. I could do that, but where's the challenge? It would end up working the first time, and it would be easy to download, easy to maintain, and even come with insurance....please, I get a lot of pleasure copying the same 40 songs to the playlists only to find out that the 41st song is overload - - that's when I figure out I can't trust my buyer's mind. That's when I get it...when the media player tells me that the song "May Not Fit"....you think? It either will, or it won't. I think my media player is a Liberal. With a Conservative media player I would get a completely different message, something like "Not Recommended for Children", or "You Ran Out of Space Already, Did You THINK You Could Get More for Your Buck?"

I could keep you posted as to whether or not I actually DO get the MP3 player that I paid for, but I bet you're already pretty bored with my little nonsense story. I don't live a life full of too much excitement - I could tell you about the nearly naked girl I saw chasing the geese into the pond this morning, but if I did...you'd believe me. I fed her breakfast soon afterwards and did the Mom thing. She was almost appreciative, but stated she's 17 and fully capable of pouring her own milk. I guess she didn't hear the part of my lecture about not going outside without her clothes on. The geese had little smiles on their beaks.

Matrix and Technology




My dog Matrix is rarely discussed in public due to the fame of my other dog Faith. However, I have to tell you, as this picture truly proves, Matrix is by far a more techy-dog. He's into all sorts of things that Faith takes for granted. For instance, Matrix will actually help me make cookies; volunteering to test taste the batter, licking the bowl clean, and often times, before I get a chance to possibly poison myself Matrix is there to taste the finished product - - to be certain I'll be OK.

Matrix has been spotted wearing night vision goggles, and one can only assume its because he goes out at night to protect us from the geese in the pond. He sings when I take my bath just to entertain me, and he is always the first one of us in bed at night because he understands the importance of a good rest. Faith simply posts herself under the bed from daybreak to midnight and for a few hours of the night will keep us company on top of the bed. She will sometimes allow Matrix a sneak under the bed from time to time if he's got something to share, but the instant it has been shared she'll kick him out promptly!

When Faith and I travel it is Matrix that keeps the house warm by adjusting the thermostat, and he's so able-bodied that he doesn't even need the Nanny that I leave with him, he could probably open the door and let himself out. It's nice of him however to allow her to think that she is needed and when I ask her each time how he's been - - the answer is always the same. "He was perfect!" Of course he's perfect, he's a weenie dog! What could be more perfect that a weenie dog? As you can see from the photo, Matrix is quite intelligent, often looking over my shoulder when I read - not just to get me to pet him, but to actually learn something about whatever it is that I'm reading. If I stop reading (petting) he nudges me to let me know I have. I can even put the book down if I want, as long as my hands continue to read. He's fully capable to gleaning information from the written word through the movement of my fingers! That's an incredible dog!

I'll tell you this story, then I must go to the store and get bottled water. This morning Matrix and I were laying around watching Nebraska and Colorado beat up on each other on an icy cold field on television. I heard him whisper ever so slightly that he'd like a good cup of hot cocoa. When I explained to him that dogs aren't suppose to have chocolate he suggested that I use soy milk and carob powder, which he KNEW I had hidden in the back of the cupboard from last Christmas. Since we both knew that carob powder doesn't go bad that quickly - I made the cocoa! It was awesome. The dog is simply .... well, perfect. Check out his camo-collar from Dublin Dog. Is he not the epitome of high fashion?

A Birthday to be Thankful



(Pictured are: David P., Reuben, Toni, and Frank)


Thanksgiving was not just a day to get together with family and friends, or a day to over eat and under-exercise, no, it was also my 46th birthday. I'm not the least bit shy about saying exactly how old I am because I'm so gosh-darn beautiful that something like a little age is never going to get in my way! Don't you love over-confident people?

Well, for my birthday - and actually days before, I was given the best(est) present a mom can get. I was sitting at church minding my own business. I do that most of the time when I'm in God's house, but sometimes I do open my mouth and let the controversy fly. I do that to see if anyone is awake you know. I was there, I was minding my own business. Now, I did know that this was Thanksgiving Sunday and I was actually anticipating a friend of my son's who would be coming to Oklahoma City from Ft. Hood in Texas JUST to be with me because he (being Reuben's close friend in Alaska, and having been able to visit his family) was coming up to stay with me for a day and be my "son" for the day. It was the next best thing to having my own baby boy in my arms.

Our class secretary asked us to welcome a member of the Armed Forced who would be sharing the day with the Stringfellow family, and he stated that the man would be leading us in prayer. I turned around, and MY SON REUBEN walked into the room! YES!!! MY BABY BOY! If I had followed my dream, my heart, I would have known. Even on the way to the church I told the girls I had a dream and I felt that Reuben was truly with us today. HE WAS! Laura knew about the surprise, Caity was taken back as much as I was. I jumped up from my couch seat (our church is cool that way) and I nearly tackled my baby. I did get lipstick on his newly pressed Dress Greens and I know I probably got mascara everywhere...I was doing a bit of the teary-eyed thing too. I was holding MY BABY!! I hadn't seen him in 9 months. I told him later that there was only one other time that I expected to see him and had to wait 9 months!

He was just as beautiful this time as he was last time. I have pictures. Well, the hard part came the next four days. We had to keep his presence a secret as he went around the city literally faking out everyone he knew! He'd call them on his cell when they were in restaurants, at home, even at the vet's office. He'd pretend to be in Alaska, just calling to say hello - and then he'd walk into their office, over to their table, etc.....freaking everyone out! Screams of joy and very loud laughter all over the place! REUBEN really does mean "It's a Boy!" and he is just such a boy at times. A really really loving and good boy, but a boy!

Thanksgiving, my birthday, was fantastic. Not being able to blog about him coming was hard to do. My sister or my mother, or maybe someone who knew them would have been able to tell them he was in town and therefore ruin the surprise. MY surprise was equalled by my sister Linda. She was just staring out Grandma's window, thinking about a day when we would all be together, he called her, he talked to her, then he said "Turn around Aunt Linda" and she was all over him then! Squeeeeeezzzzing and hugging and I think she left an imprint of her nails in his back through his sweater! She was crying and crying, and then she let go and began hugging him all over again! She loves her nephew. Grandma wasn't as funny as Pop. My Dad was literally 2 feet from Reuben, with his back turned, talking to him and asking him if he was going to have enough food for Thanksgiving. I was staring at my dad, telling him to turn around - when he did he just stood there facing my son with the phone still at his ear. He was still talking cell to cell to my son! It was pretty funny, it really was.

So, after a few more relatives, a few more friends, I think he's all surprised out. I thought about having his friend come up from Texas to surprise him...then I found out he was LYING to me about Clark in the first place. He's not from Texas, he's from Iowa! Now, I have to ask you, would it be against any federal laws if I pulled off my belt and spanked a United States Army Private?

Last year I was in New York City on November 22, hugging Jesse L. Martin on my 45th birthday. (I do treat myself right!) This year I was holding my three children in Edmond, Oklahoma. Given the choice? I'd take my three in Chicago any time. Hahahaha

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Big Time Announcement!

Yes, it's true: I'm writing ANOTHER book. This one is so tight...well, they all are, you know...awesome, but this one will be 27 of my own opinions. I feel that in these days of complete political correctness that the world needs honesty, truth, and just a bit of irreverent talking - PC has kept us all liars, omissions rather than commissions. We don't say what we want to, we don't want to lose our jobs, hurt others, and well, that's a good thing. We shouldn't HURT others, but we certainly shouldn't NOT say what we think either. Now, there are rules, there should be. Tell the truth without calling names is one of those rules. I intend on doing that. I will put my heart and mind on the line, and I'll possibly get into areas that may or may not be popular; but they are areas that need to be discussed.

Since Glenn Beck, Dr. Phil, Oprah, and other really open people have decided to tell the truth - and get paid for it, I thought I would too. You never know, someone out there just may agree with me. I bet they do. In fact, I'm so sure that millions and millions of you agree with me, that you'll be surprised to know that you could write the same things and I'd probably buy your book too.

I asked my daughter Caity to write out the same book, telling the world the same 27 opinions, and that would give the world a really good comparison into what the world of parents vs. kids thinks. People who really wanted to know would have to buy both books in order to really check it out, and hey - we'd both make out huh? Caity told me she wasn't much of a writer - see, we are already disagreeing! She's incredible. I've read her work. She makes ME think, and that's not the easiest thing to do. I usually think I have the best opinion out there - - for my own kid to bring up the eye brow...that's saying something. I made her! Thank God we disagree, can you imagine how boring life would be if we all agreed? Isn't it written somewhere that kids have to fight with their parents to survive? If it is written I'm sure the author disagreed in the first place with their parent and decided to write that fact out! (or maybe, that person didn't disagree, and the parent thought it was odd, so THEY wrote it out!) That makes me think!

Anyway, the book should be finished by summer and published by this time next year. Fun! Fun! Let the world rejoice....another book about ramblings.....YES!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Two Out of Three?




You wake up, you think you know what the day holds. You go next door, you open the door to the apartment where your two little girls live, and WOW...Laura is out of bed before noon. What is up with that? Have I mentioned that Laura doesn't have her driver's license yet (18) because she hasn't gotten out of bed early enough to go to the DMV to actually apply?

There she was, reading a U.S. Army pamphlet, and making decisions (using military lingo) on the phone with her brother...Mr. Private First Class YOU-Leave-My-Little-Girl-Alone Stringfellow. He was filling her head with dreams of becoming an Armory Repair person, maybe even a real-life small engine mechanic...like her Uncle Mike. My brother didn't serve in the Armed Forces, but he has been a certified mechanic for years and years. I don't remember Laura ever wanting to get her hands dirty in his bay! Here she is talking about crank-shafts, rotating tires, and doing things like changing oil for the unit...what unit? Where is this unit, and don't they have BOYS for that sort of stuff?

OK FINE....I get it. My sole mission in life was to make Army soldiers. Here I thought I was going to be the world's best author, a fantastic professor perhaps, or maybe I was going to go on and be the greatest speaker that ever stepped foot on the stage - - NOPE, I just make soldiers. WELL THEN, I better be the best damned soldier maker that I can be hadn't I? Looks like my little girl won't be playing with Barbies and organizing her stuffed animals any more... looks like, no, it really feels like, my little girl is growing up and going in a direction that NO ONE saw coming.

When I asked her about it she seemed so much like a woman I hadn't met yet. She didn't look down with questions in her eyes, she was staring at me, looking me straight in the face and saying it was time she did something, time she made a difference, and time that she put her brain to use. She even admitted that sleeping in was just getting too boring. She said that being a waitress wasn't enough, being in school right now didn't seem right - - there was time for that, right now she just wanted to get her head together and figure out the rest of her life. She's 18, that's an incredible thing to know that young - I can only say "Hooah!"

After taking the ASVAB test and not doing as well as she wanted I thought maybe she'd back off. Not true. She's going to begin studying online to make a better score, and because the Army doesn't accept Homeschooling as a means of education she'll be taking her G.E.D. for the record. She's even getting shots...shots...with real needles! Laura, the girl that needed 3 nurses to hold her down and another hand or two from me to smooth her hair from her face while she bit down on her mouthpiece (Karate class requires one) to get her last vaccination in 2006. She doesn't have her ears pierced because it requires a needle/gun. She says she's ready to start thinking like an adult about that too. OK...WHERE THE HELL IS LAURA? I'm not saying that I mind her going into the military, but who stole my kid? I would have appreciated a day's notice before the switch!

Well, do I think it's contagious? No, not really. I don't think I'll ever see Caity swearing in. First of all the U.S. Government won't agree to change their hours, they won't agree to her rules, and they won't serve only vegetables and proteins made by vegetables. The U.S. Army serves meat! I think I'm safe with the little one being a civilian for now - well, forever. She will wear the cool uniforms though, and she'll dress it up with a pair of 6" stilettos pumps for a night out of combative dancing in the pit. That's about as military as she'll ever get. Oh, and she'll salute a soldier if he kisses her first; that was a quote. I'll have to keep her from the bases now.

Laura Cakes, my newest little soldier. At least she'll fit the regulation for height on her job. Every woman is 5'7" in the Army so they can perform the duties called upon them. No problem there - I just don't know if putting a Glock in her hand is the best idea just yet. When the three kids went to Ft. Lewis in 2006 to play on the real simulators Reuben killed every single person on the screen - asking questions later. Caity killed 94% of the necessary targets and only 10% of the civilians. Laura - after shooting only 1 round out of hundreds provided missed her intended target by a good country mile. When asked about it, she said "Well he looked like he was just going home, and I knew Reuben would kill him." Yes, she'll be taking the weapons apart and putting them back together, any firing of said weapons will be at the range I'm hoping.

At least her black-belt skills will come in handy! I'm proud of you little girl, I really am. Just don't take any wooden nickels, and if someone comes up to you with a big star on their hat, please stand up....quickly.

Another American Hero!



OK...show off!

I love Denzel Washington, I do, but when he goes around paying for new hospitals - - well, that just makes it bad for everyone of us who wish we could do the same. Just kidding - - I love him even more, more, more. Thank you Denzel.

Just the other day Denzel and his beautiful family showed up in Texas at the Brooks Army Medical Center (BAMC) and spoke with the men and women who had been transferred from overseas hospitals, and had been given admission to the state-side medical center mainly for injuries occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan. His presence may or may not actually heal the soldiers, (wouldn't that be great!) but I know for 100% sure that every person in the center had access to two of the greatest arms in the world to hug. He's almost, oh-only-almost, as huggable as Jesse L. Martin, and just that-much-shy of being as gorgeous as Gary Sinise (Yes, I hear the people laughing, leave me alone, it's my fantasy!) so you know he was a hit, a success, a major morale booster and that - really could cause the onset of healing!

So, while the man and his family were at the medical center someone drew him into a conversation which led to Denzel pulling out his check book. Not joking, he paid for a brand-new center (not sure where it will be built) and it will be perfect. This is the sort of thing that needs to be shouted out, not written on the 3rd page, and certainly not ignored. We don't need a reason to be patriotic, we don't need a reason to do the right thing, but when you go over and over and over the expectation of others to show your love for them - you are, and Denzel & his family are, American Heroes! THANK YOU.

Someone is sending around an e-mail with pictures of Denzel and the men and women of the center hugging, loving, talking - and then they present the question: Why can't others like Madonna, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins do more for their country in terms of supporting our troops? I don't know the answer. I know this: Men and women with their hearts set like Denzel's, Gary's, Vince Vaughn's, Toby Keith's, Jessica Simpson's, and others who show their love for our troops should be celebrated! Let the others hear you where it counts - at the box office. (Oh wait, you did! Lions for Lambs flopped! Thanks America!)

Tough Love!

When I get too hard on my kids, when I finally put my foot down and force them to do what they're suppose to do in the first place, I am always guaranteed that their passive aggressive mannerisms are going to come through in one way or the other. I don't always see it, and that gives them the perfect opportunity to double-whammie me with yet another subtle but oh-so mean and nasty reaction to whatever it is that I objected to in the first place - - please, let me give you an example.

I decided to pay the girls' rent for December as a Christmas present, which means of course that I wouldn't be getting them a bunch of little nothing-presents, or even the gift certificates they often (too often) expect from me. They know I usually crumble and fall, giving into their whining and they overt pampering of me, so this time was different. I said NO. I said I won't be able to do both. I won't be able to afford paying the rent, putting up the decorations, and getting them several little presents to open Christmas day. I guess I should have seen it coming. They stole my dog!

I got a text: "Lady, we have the mutt. Will release him for Christmas presents." I had several options. ONE: I could let them keep Matrix, and know that after a short while he would demand to sleep between their legs, he would eat all of their food, and he would look up at them and howl/whine until they let him out - giving him the opportunity to run next door to safety. TWO: I could purchase a couple of $10 Starbucks cards, put them in decorative little holders (knit mittens) and collect my dog. THREE: Not return the text, not open the door for them when they got tired of my dog whining, and just enjoy the evening, and possibly even the night without having to sleep on 1/4 of the bed because the dog was gone! No brainer.

So, there we were, all of us at Starbucks, the girls using their new cards rather than me having to dish out even more money - and the thought occurred to me that perhaps I had made the wrong decision. I should have put a little more money on those cards - - in about 2 more days, which was yesterday, I could possibly get another text. I did get another text. It read :"Lady, we have your stuffed turtle Gary, and we're going to rip out his guts unless....." There was no solution offered. It was left up to me. I could go to the Build-A-Bear and get myself another Gary Turtle. I could ignore the pain in my heart from all the crying the previous turtle would be doing once he found out I had another Gary Turtle, but in reality - what's a pair of jeans now and then when saving your favorite stuffed animal is in question?

Here's what I did. I took the brats to the mall, they had Gary in a black bag with holes in it so he could breathe (because we're strange that way, don't ask). I took them to the PacSun and I told the man what they had done. He gave them a knuckle-bump and said they were cool - gave him an idea even. I saved my turtle....and then, because I'm the meanest, most nastiest, and toughest mother on the planet - I drove home. I left my newly dressed daughters in the mall, with their cell phones, and without a ride home. HA! Who got the last say now?

I got a text around midnight: "Lady, you're mean. We love you. Good night." It was about that time I heard their door close, so I knew they were home. There isn't a mall made that doesn't have a 100 friends cruising in and out of the stores. Friends with cars. I knew they'd be OK. Besides, they know I'd come back if I had to.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oklahoma Rising! 100 Years Strong!

I must have cried my eyes out tonight about a dozen times during the Oklahoma Centennial Spectacular - and NO, not because we weren't asked to be a part of the show...I pouted over that, but didn't actually shed any water. I cried and cried when the Miss Americas (5 out of the 6 crowned in our state) introduced the men and women of our Oklahoma National Guard - and I continued to cry during Toby Keith's "American Soldier". I couldn't take it. I jumped up, grabbed my son's official Army portrait, and I squeezed it. I wrapped my arms around the frame, and I just bawled like a baby - - and then I called him during the song. I called him to thank him for being an American Soldier. I called him to thank him for protecting me. I called him to hear his beautiful hard-to-understand-at-times screaming/laugh and I called to tell him that I made the RIGHT choice to raise my son, and my daughters in the great state of Oklahoma.

Work takes us everywhere. We fly from one coast to the other, and we drive for miles in every direction possible to get to military stations, bases, hospitals, children's homes, and schools always to do the same thing - kiss, hug, and love on the folks right here in America who have been so wonderful and so courageous. Sometimes people stop me, they ask me what keeps me going. They ask me how I can get up and drive, get up and fly to another city, they ask me how I can say the same things, answer the same questions, and pray the same prayers. I tell them it's the Oklahoma Standard. We set that standard many many years ago, and it made its mark permanent at the time of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah (Federal) building in 1995 - - the Oklahoma Standard: You just DO it, and you DO it right, setting the example because everyone needs to believe that someone will do what they're suppose to do when they're suppose to do it.

My kids got so tired of me saying this, but I would say "You do it because I said you'll do it, and I said you'll do it - because it's the right thing to do!" My students heard me say that, and they'd come back with "Ms. Stringfellow, you're so mean to us, but I guess that only means you love us." That's right. Oklahomans are the hardest people to please, but the easiest people to work side by side with. We'll get in there, we'll work and work until it's done. We'll keep working when it's finished just to be sure it doesn't come undone! I like the words to the Jimmy Webb song that he and Vince Gill sang tonight at the near close of the show. "Oklahoma Rising" is the title - go ahead, look it up...it made me cry too, because we are the sons and daughters of the west, and we are (and have been) rising up to be the best. I'm proud to be an Okie, so if you're going to call me one, well, you better say it LOUD - Sooner born, Sooner bred, and well it was worth calling my son during the "American Soldier", because if I do anything at all before I die - I want my kids to know, no matter where I am in this world when I die - - I'm Sooner dead. Bury me here, in the crimson clay.

Theodore Roosevelt said it in 1905 when he came to this land hunting coyotes with "Catch-em Alive" Jack Abernathy; he said "The people of Oklahoma don't give a damn about what others do or say, as long as what they do and say is right." In 1898 during the Spanish American War more Oklahomans volunteered to help than from any other territory or state in the union, or the frontier. In 1995, you saw our resolve when we refused to let the terrorists tear us down, or squash our spirit - you saw our EAGLE fly that day, you saw it again when we were among the first to volunteer to help the great people of New York in 2001, and the victims of hurricanes along the Gulf.

I may leave our state for commerce, I may need to be away - but for the rest of eternity when someone looks over their shoulder to see me dance, I'll be in Boomer Sooner Crimson & Creme, and probably being a little louder than most because of it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OKLAHOMA!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy 100th Birthday OKLAHOMA!

On April 22, 1889 the middle portion of our state was opened up at the exact minute of NOON - it was opened to anyone and everyone who could, if they had the heart to do it, stake a claim and get their claim to the make-shift office in the center of the middle section, the city was called Guthrie. April 22, 1889 is often mistaken in history as being the real birthdate of the 46th State, but it is not. That day goes down in history as the Opening of the Unassigned Lands - Pioneer Day is what we call it here in Oklahoma.

November 16, 1907 found Guthrie, Oklahoma bustling, full of people, full of celebration, new buildings and crowded streets as they welcomed the visiting President of the United States, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt! That day marked the day that Roosevelt wrote Oklahoma into the Union as the 46th state, and Guthrie was our state capital...for a little while. If you're from Texas you may never know the trouble it took to get the capital seal moved to Oklahoma City, and you may never understand that being called a Sooner was a bad thing - back then...not now!

If I could take a minute to list a few real Oklahomans that have made a difference in our state, you'd be surprised who I'd pick. Oh, I'd name the famous ones; Toby, Rita, Garth, Vince, Carrie, The Flaming Lips, The All American Rejects, Color Me Badd, and about a million other singers. You can't name off famous Oklahomans without mentioning Shannon Miller, Shannon Lucid, Paul Harvey, James Garner, Ben Johnson, or Wilma Mankiller, but did you have any idea that Tony Randall and Brad Pitt were Oklahomans? Did you know Troy Aikman of the Dallas Cowboys was an Okie? (Just as Sam Bradford is!) Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, and of course, Jim Thorpe, so you can see that Shannon Miller is among the best when you say "Oklahoma athletes"; and that's without having to mention all the college athletes who have brought our state several National Championships. Yes, we're rich in that part of American History.

Don't forget - Oklahoma has only been around 100 years - we've had good guys and bad guys (and girls) coming through to make their mark: Bonnie and Clyde were from Oklahoma, Belle Starr, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bill Doolin, Bill Dalton, and we can't possibly forget Elmer McCurdy, but he wasn't born in Oklahoma like Native America folk hero and/or legendary criminal (depends on how you look at it) Ned Christie. We had the lawmen too, most of the really famous lawmen were born elsewhere, but called Oklahoma home; men like Chris Madson, Bill Tilghman, Heck Thomas, and Oh, my favorite, Mr. Temple Houston!

Yes, Oklahoma is one rich and enterprising state, that's for sure. I'd say we rally any other state when it comes to bold, enterprising, stand-up-and-fight-em-til-the-end kind of maverick citizens. We're like that. We Okies are a crude, but beautiful breed for sure. We'll wait until the very last seconds to get into the storm shelters during a tornado just to compare this one with the last one. It's true, we do that. We vy for parking spots in the shade no matter how far we have to walk, and yes, you'll see us screaming our collective, impassioned guts out at each other over whether it should be crimson and creme or orange and black on any given matter about any given subject on each and every day...but that's just us. Don't think another 100 years is going to resolve anything relating to that issue - that one started before statehood; with the run of 1889.

Oh, I almost forgot - Oklahoma is the home state of the WORLD's ONLY bipedal dog that just happens to be famous as well as inspirational. She embodies everything necessary to be an Okie. She's strong, courageous, outstanding in her field, she's unique, charasmatic, striking in both appearance and memorable. Am I upset that she wasn't invited to appear on stage with the others - well, to be honest -- yes, but since she doesn't know she's a mirale dog, and since she's got work to do tomorrow with some really cool soldiers at the airport - I'll let it slide. However, at the bicentienal, someone had better mention her being from Edmond, Oklahoma! It's only fitting.

MY Home Depot



Right now MY Home Depot is off of 59th and North May in Oklahoma City. I think it is number 3902. I'm not sure - but when I get to Lincoln Park (Chicago), I will be shopping and/or part time living at the 2-story Home Depot pictured up above. I just can't wait. I know what you're thinking - she's a girl! GET OVER IT. I like football too, and I can (if I have to) drink a beer. I can do the Depot! In fact, my kids know now that if they can't find me at Starbucks, they can probably check out HD and I'll be on the Paint, Home Appliances, or the Lawn & Garden section. TODAY however, I was in lumber.

I decided (because I'm that way) to put up a little barre, like a ballet barre, but not that professional, not as large either. I just needed a barre to do squats, stretches, and strength exercises on. I could buy a prepackaged barre from a company online, or I could (say it with me) "Do it Myself" at the Home Depot. So, I went down the road to Starbucks, picked up a cup, and headed on over to the lumber department. It took Alex and I about 15 minutes to figure out exactly what I wanted, and then he got a call from the Pro-Desk. After a minute of being left alone in that massive beautiful store, I had made a few other decisions as well.

By the time I left, poor Alex (hails from Detroit and is making a special trip to Chicago to see the 2-story building) had been commissioned by me to cut 4 pieces of cheap ply wood to use as backings for several bookshelves I have that need support. He had picked out the stain, my sandpaper, and the screws I'm going to need for my unprofessional wall-mounts for the barre. He had also met my friend Valerie (nee Bridges) who used to be a cheerleader when I was a spirit clown at the Mayfield Junior High School in 1977. She was perky, I was perky, we were both having wood cut, and picking out projects for the weekend. It's cooling down, and I think women just like to fix things when the weather changes.

This weekend I will be sanding, staining, rebuilding, and stocking my new/old bookshelves. I'll hang my really pretty (already sanded and first-coated stained) barre, and I'll be picking out a new hinge for my gate. I don't like the one I have now. I did pick out a new lock to keep it shut and make it THAT much harder for my girls to just step back into the house! (They steal my food. They steal my TOFU they're so lazy and won't take themselves to the store. They took my less than what normal people consider decent food...now that's lazy)

The Home Depot in Lincoln Park is soooo pretty. I assume the lumber and millworks is on the ground floor, and all the hardware, little things, probably paint is upstairs. You could have your appliances upstairs because I'm sure there's a big freight elevator in the back too - look at me, I'm dreaming...just dreaming. I could spend hours and hours JUST in the Lawn & Garden section. Oh, but I don't have a lawn or a garden, never let that stop you! Never let someone push you out of the heavy-equipment department just because you live in an apartment. There are fewer things more beautiful than a riding lawn mower with a cup holder.

Can't wait to move to Lincoln Park! My condo will be 100% new, which means I won't need a thing from the Depot, but that only means I save money while I browse!

U.S. Cellular Should PAY Me.

I am a U.S. Cellular client, and I guess if I thought about it, commercially that is, U.S. Cellular should offer to pay for my phone service for the rest of my life. I think I do more for them than Cusack in terms of telling people that my service has been excellent - - well, except on the 16th day of service, when my phone went out, and they wouldn't cover it because I had a 15 day warranty. Other than that, it's been smooth sailing.

I sit back and watch the Alltel commercials about how great they are, and how no one can really compete - hate the commercials, but thought "OK, I'll go see if they can beat the deal I'm getting at USC"....they couldn't. I went back in about a month ago to see if their NEW and improved plan could be what I'm getting, but it didn't. I went back to Alltel today, only because it was located next door to Starbucks in Edmond, Oklahoma and I was parked on the Alltel side. I walked up to Jeff and asked him point blank why their commericals didn't have a U.S. Cellular guy in the mix. His excuse to me was that the company (U.S. Cellular) doesn't use its own towers, they are piggybacking on everyone elses towers, and therefore they weren't really considered competition.

Not competition? Jeff, I told him, I get 1400 anytime minutes with my National Family plan. I have 3 phones on that plan, and we get incoming calls free. We get nights and weekends starting at 7:00 p.m. and our texting costs me $20 a month for all phones...it's an inclusive plan. My rate? $119.00 a month. Before taxes, you always quote the lower number in these cases, it's more like $138.00 with all the government business attached. Not competition? BEAT THAT, I told Jeff. He offered me something like: 1400 incoming for $69.00, but it would cost me another $20.00 for the other lines, OK...but my nights and weekends didn't start until 9:00 if I wanted 1000 texts, and 7:00 p.m. if I didn't want the text. Oh, and that package, the choice thing, was another $20.00 or something. I'm not sure.

So, what happens when the inevitable happens? When Laura and Caity both text about 1500 times a month? Well, Jeff informed me, I would be charged. What happens if the MY CIRCLE of 10 any service friends expanded and I had calls from all over the world just because...well, again - I would be charged. WHERE IS THE COMPETITION NOW, I ask? Probably feeling a little like Texas at an Oklahoma BBQ...TOAST.

I don't like calling out using the 3-digit area code each and every single time I make a call that isn't programmed; that's one draw back with U.S. Cellular due to the tower issue, but it beats the competitors.....SLIDERS down! Oh...she went there! A little cellular humour! Hahahahhaha

OK...seriously, U.S. Cellular, hire me. I'm there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bigenho For A Little While Longer



THIS IS SAD AMERICA! SAD!

When we can't afford to buy our United States Army soldiers REAL beds to sleep in, and when we have to resort to building them little car beds to help them live 24/7 on the field, whether they are awake or in dreamland, we have got to rethink the way we are spending the millions and billions of dollars given to us to protect and outfit our guardians....may I have an "Amen!"

For a little while longer this woman's name is Laura Bigenho. You can see from her pajamas that she is an enlisted U.S. Army soldier. She happens to be serving overseas in the sandy, but constantly-falling-temperature country of Iraq. Although Alan Jackson can't tell you the difference between Iran and Iraq, Laura Bigenho's actual job as a journalist is to do exactly that! I believe if you were, as I am, on her mailing list, you too would be able to know the latest, and the greatest that comes out of this Army post. I'd tell you where she is exactly, but the shame of you seeing more of those little car beds would put me in an early grave.

Laura, and some of her fellow soldiers, have taken it upon themselves to live positively in some of the most unpopular and often negative times. They are often seen (caught if you will) praying to GOD, and asking for HIS help, in order to bring sense and order to their mission - - dare we admit that this brave, unmoved, strong, and courageous woman actually invokes the name of Jesus on a daily basis? Are we to believe that she actually believes that by doing so her work, her life, her love, her full existence will be enhanced? Come to think of it, I had a really good prayer this morning which left me feeling both relaxed and secure for the rest of the day - maybe she's onto something!

America! World Audience! Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing this very moment, you too can rest, and feel secure because THIS WOMAN (and nearly a million men and women just like her, but probably taller) are out in the world protecting you! They are the reason we sing "Land of the free, and home of the brave!" Hooah!

(How was that Laura, over the top, maybe ...just right? Oh, I forgot to mention Marcus.)

America! World Audience! Laura is engaged to another one of those nearly million men and or women who look like, act like, dress like, and fight like her...he's a guy, and he's considerably taller. His name is Marcus Levering, and I don't think he would mind me telling you that his little car bed is yellow!

Love you guys! Thanks for the prayers! I feel them. Have some of mine!

I Love November

My Grandpa Edwards was born in November, and so was I. We had that. I miss him ever time I think about the fact that no one can buy me cordial cherries, and have it mean the same as when he did. He hid a dollar under the bottom row, and he ate the first cherry, EVERY TIME. This is a little girl's poem to my Grandpa's memory. Intended to be sweet, and without much fuss.

**********************************************************
A Man I Know and Knew

I knew a man who had one leg
He had one leg to stand on
He had two arms, this man I knew
A chest that his heart could pound on

He had a head with white ringed hair
Hair from ear to ear
No hair on the very top
His eyes were crystal clear

What a nose! It stood out so
His mouth was just as large
His teeth he bought, he had two sets
He rode in Daddy’s car

This man I knew went away
Away to be with Jesus
So far away – I can’t be close
One day I’ll hold them both

I know a man who has two legs
He has two arms just waiting
Waiting for me to meet him where
His chest and heart are heaving

He has a head of hair I’m sure
With ears that still stick out
His nose is sure to be as big
As it ever was

I know a man whose teeth are real
Who never rides in cars
I know a man whose prayers I feel
I love you so, Grandpa.

Ernest Rivers Edwards
November 19, 1890 – July 5, 1982

Victor Victorious!



Isn't he pretty? Oh, wait - he's a man, you can't say pretty! Isn't he handsome! I met Victor online through MySpace about 2 years ago probably. He wrote to me when he saw that I was a teacher, and we have been having intelligent and very heartwarming discussions and talks ever since.

One of the things about MySpace is that it always gets the bad end of the deal on TV and in newspapers. People talk constantly about the sex offenders, the haters, and the deceptive people on MySpace. Hey, I'm on MySpace, and so are great and wonderful people like Victor. Victor is a student in Nigeria who has suffered far more interruption of his education due to the conditions of his country than any one American student would ever suffer. Heck, the American kids think that if a professor is late for class that gives them the right to complain or leave the session! Please! I think there actually a little unspoken rule that you wait 5 minutes for a regular teacher and 10 for a PhD. At least they have to wait for me when I'm getting my water, or going to the little girl's room. Victor walked miles and miles just to go to school, and he was patient and waited for a very long time (many times) for there to be a lesson at all.

When I think of Victor in Nigeria, having to work harder than we do, having to wait longer, having to pray that his mail even comes to him before it is opened by officials or anyone who feels they have the right, I am floored by his smile, and his energy. He is always bubbling over online. He always has the kindest of words, and I know why - he was raised in suffering. He was brought up knowing that everything is temporary and he really doesn't know what can happen to it, to those he loves, to the world he knows - he is gracious, he is sweet, he is gentle, and he is honest. That's one of the things I found to be profoundly different between the students I am familiar with here in our country, and the students I encounter from Chad, Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, and the West Coast of Africa - - for them, study is everything! To learn is both a gift and a privilege. Oh, to have that attitude from every one of my students, I would still be teaching. They'd have to pull me out of the class kicking and screaming.

Thank you Victor for your heart and soul. Thank you for loving the world enough to be a part of its global community, to reach out to a teacher in America, and to become her African son! (Kiss your mom for me, as you always do when you see her. She is so proud of her baby boy, as I am of my own.)

No Matter What Your Politics - Love Them





PFC Reuben Stringfellow (top photo)

Cpl Kory D. Wiens and Mine Dog Cooper (bottom photo)

When I think about what energy goes in on BOTH sides of the issue of war, I am always confronted with one question: What about the troops? What do you, those who are opposed to the war, feel for the men and women, who because they promised they would go, and because they are ordered to do so - protect us? What do we FEEL? It's not a question of what do we do. We don't ever DO enough. We can't give them enough protection to continue protecting us. We can't and don't pray enough, but we can sure try. What do we FEEL?

When we're feeling, when we're emitting energy to the universe, the world, the community, the people, we are showing our emotions. We are demonstrating our true heart. You can be pro-peace and pro-troop at the same time. You can be anti-war and love the guys and girls wearing the uniform, holding the gun, watching the corners, using their skills, training, knowledge, and experience to keep themselves, their commanders, their units, and all of us as safe as they can. There will be accidents. There will be complications, and there will be death, sorrow, and hurt. In my heart in my soul I hold the heroes of our times to be as gallant and as brave as in any other time. They are truly to be honored and remembered correctly.

Before I had kids I used to throw out this really selfish statement. I'd say "I don't salute generals", and for me that meant that I didn't take orders. It was my arrogant, cocky way of saying I stood on my own two feet, and I was fully capable to do so. I don't believe I could have been any further off the mark than I was during that time of my life. Give me the lowest ranking man or woman in the service, and you will see me standing straight, my eyes looking forward, my back and hips in place, and you can bet your heart I've got my hand out to shake their hand, to thank them, and I wouldn't dream of saluting them now because I don't believe I have deserved that honor. I do salute my son, but not in public. He has to correct me every time I do it. (with that smile of his. "Mom, you're such a dork!")

The picture at the top of this blog is that of Cpl Kory Wiens. He is a 20 year old man. He will never be 21. He was killed in Iraq by an IED while he and his dog Cooper, a full blooded Labrador, were on mission. Their destroyed bodies were found close by each other, and they were returned to the Wien family in Dallas, Oregon. Their bodies were cremated and then buried together in a single small grave. For that I say thank you to the Wiens family. Now, I won't blog about every young soldier that surrenders his or her life for us, but this one was a little special to me. If you set my son's picture next to that of Cpl Kory Wiens, you'll see that they resemble each other. Faith, my precious U.S. Army SGT dog, is part Labrador, so this story is especially close to my heart.

We can't pray enough, we can't do enough, but we can love enough. We can stop fighting over the fact that we're fighting - - we can be pro-peace rather than anti-war. I've said it before and it warrants me saying it again: To positively live, you must live positively. Thank you - - is not enough. I love you! I truly truly LOVE you. Come home when you can.

Army Journalist Laura Bigenho wrote an article about Cpl. Wiens and Cooper months before they were killed. Here is that link. Thank you Laura! :http://www.blackanthem.com/News/U_S_Military_19/Man_s_best_friends_are_unsung_heroes5030.shtml

Monday, November 12, 2007

GEEEEESSSSEEEE !




Sometimes you have a very very relaxing day and all you do all day is play....rest, drink in the day, let the sun hit your face, let the wind blow through your hair, and you chase geese. Seventeen is a great age some days.

I got up the nerve to spy on my kid today, and where that can bring me the strangest of awarenesses that maybe I did or didn't want to know - today was wonderful. You can see she was having the best time of it with about 40 or 50 flapping birds that reside just outside our apartments. We live in a little neighborhood of buildings that resemble townhouses, but once you walk through the front doors of one you realize you're in the foyer of four separate apartments. My girls live very close to me, and that's good...but sometimes they're a little too quiet - - you know what I mean. I can do the dumb-mom game, and just bring over a batch of cookies, stare into their rooms and count their toes, or I can go through the front door with both mom-barrels loaded, asking questions and prenatally demanding answers. Today I did neither.

Today I walked out the back gate, it made the metallic squeal that alerts the neighbors that I'm doing so, and they all pop their heads up to see where I'm going - - they love to spy on me as much as I love to spy on them. Today my baby girl was outside feeding the wild Canada Geese (the ones we used to call Canadian Geese, but someone corrected us, now didn't they?) and she was playing with them, chasing them, catching them, even petting them, and they didn't really seem to mind all that much. If they knew what the dead beaver knew about this imp they may change their beakish minds -- Caity can be so gentle and for that I am grateful. She would never harm an animal; but she would cut them up and dissect any dead one - in a heart beat!

Some of the geese were trying to establish their domination with each other, mounting and biting, doing the goose and gander dance when Caity Baby decided to interrupt their lives for a few hours. She was outside with them for several hours, and one has to ask - why wasn't she working today? Whose paying her rent, what did she do for lunch, did she remember to take out her laundry or is it still in the washer? Most of the time I would have walked right up and questioned her, but not today -- today was a day to hang back, use the telephoto lens and surprise her with 5x7 black and white photos framed on her wall when she came home from going to the mall with her sister!

Gotcha Baby Brat!

Sarah's Flat Stanley!



It is NOT every day (well, nearly every day) that Faith gets to meet a big time celebrity, but today was one of those days. We were just hanging out around the apartment, when from across the pond in the back yard we heard Faith's new little fan club calling to us. She is often recognized by local beautiful people, so we waved and we called back and forth over the water to say hello to our new friends. I decided that I would take Faith over to the office building where her little group worked at a real live urology clinic. We were a little confused when we entered the building on the 2nd floor, but this is Oklahoma - we just let it roll!

Inside the urology clinic we met two of the sweetest ladies out there. I know one of them is Sheila, but I forgot to get the other woman's name. I do however know her little niece's name - it's SARAH. Sarah had previously made a little Flat Stanley doll for her class project, and her Flat Stanley had been visiting the clinic with her aunt for a little while. The idea behind Flat Stanleys are to have the dolls visit various places, have their individual pictures taken while visiting, and the student (Sarah) then writes up an essay about the adventures of her particular Flat Stanley!

Wow! To be in the presence of such a world-renown doll! It was awesome. We were honored and pleased to have Faith's picture taken with Sarah's Flat Stanley, and you can tell from the smile on Flat Stanley's face that he was equally thrilled to be with Faith. Faith even sniffed his little body and accepted him as a new friend. Maybe Sarah's Flat Stanley will be the hit of the classroom now that he's met Faith!

For more information about getting your school or students into the fun, just Google it! You'll find a new friend and fun like you've never imagined. Flat Stanley goes EVERYWHERE!

First Day of Freedom!

What to do? What to do? Well, the first thing to do is to explain the creepy dreams I had this weekend -- all stemming from the decision I made on Friday to quit my job as a customer service representative for an independent Farmers Insurance agent in Edmond, Oklahoma. The only reason I even considered working again, outside the house, and outside of writing, is because of the pledged revenue I lost over the summer and late spring. It wasn't coming in, there didn't look like another way to make ends meet, and even though that situation turned out, I was on the hook working for a man who really wasn't quite ready to be a manager or a boss.

When I quit Friday, and made it official Saturday, I began having a few strange but creative dreams all reflecting my decision, my feelings, my inhibitions of being on my own again fully - but I have been on my own for years. I know where my feet are, and through prayer and work I always land on them. Sometimes the impact hurts, but I do land well enough. The first dreams I had revealed snakes, two of them, yellow, one bigger than the other, and the larger one was coming after me. I picked up Faith (my dog) and I ran from it. My daughter Laura, who has never been afraid of any snake, picked up the yellow snake and she scolded it. Go Laura! Go Laura! It began spitting venom out of it's fangs, but not at anything, just out and everywhere. The poison didn't hit anyone or anything important.

The 2nd yellow snake wasn't scary at all, but in the path. He was OK, shorter, friendly, and just there. He wasn't trying to attack, he wasn't trying to do anything. Just there. I let him pass by and I continued talking to Laura about the first one. Thanking her for picking it up....she said I was welcome, she loved me, and that was that. So, I went online and found the meaning. The first ugly mean snake was my former connection to Corporate America. Strong, forceful, spitting, and making all sorts of scary sounds. It was controlling, and it was selfish, wanting to be the ONLY one, and it was doing its best to attack me. I was saved by a girl that loved me. She spoke directly to it, and told it I was not for hire. I loved that. The 2nd snake, a more gentle creature was my future employment. Fatter, thicker, more content, and just a happy easy-going little guy - writer...authorship!

Last night I dreamed of tornadoes! Oh, the wind! I could see from my very high rise apartment that the wind was on NW Expressway going west. That's the direction and the area of the city where I grew up. I was absolutely spared and safe from all the harm the wind was doing. I was completely OK. It was twisting and disrupting everything, but not me. All the changes were being made to the past, all the changes were being made in my heart, not my future, not my desires to be me. I have overcome them, I have gotten past them, very high up in the air above the scene, so that what I see is gone already - I just need to let it go. So today is my first real day of freedom.

What big plans do you think I have? I think I'll clean my apartment, pop out the vacuum (new machine! can't wait) and just clean. Prepare the new me. Just get it all lined out...and of course drive to Starbucks in the middle of the day, and just sit down for as long as I want to, and drink a quad-shot cappuccino while I read a book!

Viva la Freedom! There are several dream analysis sites online. I use about 4 of them to make the best determinations about my dreams. Because each of us experiences life differently, it is best to ask yourself very direct questions while making the interpretations. Never assume the site master is always correct. They are YOUR dreams.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Veterans Day




November 11, 2007 - Happy Veterans Day to every single man and every single woman who has served in the Armed Forces. I don't believe that Veterans Day is to be only focused on the soldiers who have died or given up their lives in the line of fire. I believe a Veteran is anyone who has ever taken an oath, worn a uniform, worked and/or lived as an Armed Forces soldier. THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

Of course, I have a few of my personal favorite Veterans. My father Reuben Stringfellow was in the Navy, and proudly served during the Korean War. He was (and is still) an electrician. He served on a ship, but said he really never got off of it to do much in the way of combat -- I suppose that's a great thing, he is THAT GUY that kept the communication lines open. After he served in the U.S. Navy my dad met my mom, they married, had four children, and he spent 30 years practicing and perfecting his electrical skills working as a Regional Wire Tech for Western Union.

My uncle Marvin Humphrey was in the Air Force, he was in World War II, and I have very little information about what his mission was, but I know this; he dropped food in Berlin during those times of starvation, and that makes him a hero in my heart.

My uncle Bill Stringfellow was also in the Air Force, too tall to fly he flew anyway! Something like my son, he just SAID he was shorter in order to do the job. He also served during the Korean War, and after he left the service he became a lineman for the county - we used to tease him and say that Glen Campbell sang about him. He resided in Denver.

My former employer the Hon. Edward H. Moler, another Air Force pilot too tall to fly! He served during World War II, and he did so as a flight scout. In 1999 Mr. Moler brought his really cool binoculars to the office and from the 28th floor of the building we worked in, I could literally see President Clinton giving a speech several city blocks away - - that was cool until a Blackhawk hovered over our building outside our window and the passenger soldier asked me to put them down! OK, yes sir, you betcha! ....please step away from the window! Yes...of course.

There is a woman in there too: Spc. and/or SGT Laura Bigenho of Ft. Lewis, (Seattle) Washington. Currently serving in Iraq! Currently making out with another beautiful soldier, just doing her duty, keeping the man warm - tough assignment, but you know, good work if you can get it. That soldier is a ninja, I can't possibly give up his assignment! Rumor has it the two of have been found holding hands and giggling behind sand dunes! Come on, I thought it was suppose to be all work over there. Seriously, Laura is a journalist, I have no idea what Levering does, but he's out there doing it! Thank you.

My FAVORITE Veteran? Oh, you don't even have to ask. Baby Boy Reuben Andrew! PFC Reuben Andrew Stringfellow of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Top notch, handsome, fast, clever, full of spunk and energy - capable and able to be anywhere at anytime, doing anything he's asked...why? Because he's perfect! Oh, OK...he's not exactly, not 100% perfect - - but damn close! He's my son!

I should mention my dog too! Faith is an honorarily commissioned SGT in the U.S. Army, and she's out there making everyone of the soldiers she meets to know we love them! Love them. LOVE THEM.

Happy Veterans Day! BIG SMILES!! LOVE TO YOU ALL.