Monday, December 31, 2007

Salute to 2007 - The Year of the Mp3 Purchases


(Not my photo)


Yes, it is true, these are the men I love. (It was bound to happen. I made one.) Catch Gary (the goofy one) and his band on stage tonight in Bakersfield, CA - something about that just makes me laugh, but it could be all the times I drove through Bakersfield to fuel up. I used to buy VW Bugs, put a little money into them, drive them from OKC to L.A., and often times, just around Bakersfield someone would offer to buy the thing. I'd wait for them to get their money, it didn't happen, and there you go, another couple or three hours wasted...in Bakersfield, but I think it would be worth going to the show tonight if you're in the area. Remember to dust off your shoes before entering the venue.

This year I must have spent more than $800 buying Mp3 players for myself, my kids, my friends, and for people who I don't know because three of my Mp3 players ended up with strangers. They were given away, stolen, or lost and probably found. I finally, just before Christmas, broke down and bought myself a little 2gb iPod Nano, and I'm expecting it to be my next to the last Mp3, but certainly the last for this year. My kids swore they wouldn't steal it if it was less worthy than theirs...4gb, and Reuben went all out for the 80, but he's in the Army and needed it for training as well as music. Can you imagine that? Our U.S. Army runs by remote in more ways than one. They get text messages about who to shoot! Please! Whatever it takes.

This was the year of the filming too for Faith, we were all over the map, and she was all over it more ways than I was, as American Airlines lost her 2 separate times this year - both times she was sent to Chicago, or left in Chicago, and I think that's an omen. I really do love that town. Can't wait to live there. I made the announcement this year that I wanted to live in the Emerald, a 12-story mid rise in the hood, but I was welcomed there. I was in love there. I felt sooooo alive there. Then again, when I stay in NYC I go to Hell's Kitchen. I guess teaching thugs for years will do that to a person. I love the guys....I understand their angst anyway.

I watched my son graduate from Basic Training at the beginning of the year, and he was gone from Feb. to Thanksgiving. That's a long time without a Reu-bear-hug, but the blessing of knowing he was OK, (three broken bones, 2 sprains and a nearly missed bullet playing around in Alaska!) I was able to squeeze him a few extra times on my birthday! What a gift.

This was the year of great praise as well. I found a promise from God, and boy oh boy has it been true. God is awesome really, and if we just let Him do His job...the miracles just do not stop. I found (again) the verse Psalms 37:4 and 5, "Delight yourself in God, and HE will give YOU the desires of YOUR heart. Commit your way to Him and HE will bring it to pass." This promises can't be broken, He can't lie. I like Yoda's words on this one: Do or do not, there is no try. With God, there is no try, He is, or He is not, and this will be the promise of my entire life. Sorry Gary, I do indeed delight myself in a marvelous God!

Looking forward to working with everyone in the new year...Chicago twice this year at least! YES!

The Better Diet Assistant(s)




For years I have had the best diet assistance known to man. I have indulged in their services, I have given in and literally handed over my entire meal at times either out of guilt, or because I knew I wasn't suppose to be eating what I was eating. (Which of course begs the question why would I assume the dogs should be eating what I wasn't suppose to be eating, when they aren't even suppose to be eating table scraps?)

Show me a dog that doesn't eat table scraps (and/or meals) and I'll show you a mean nasty owner/friend who doesn't really have the dogs best interest at heart. Now, having said that, I don't need your e-mails explaining to me all the problems with giving dogs food from the frig or my plate. I believe my records stands. Rover lived 16 years, Christmas another 16 years, Doni-Dog 15, and yes, I could go on. We had the puppy-house on the block. We were never without dogs, and we were never without friends - both two legged and four now.

I will say that the dogs in my life currently have very different tastes in food. In Faith's case, she doesn't hardly taste the food - she wouldn't be able to tell you whether she just ate a piece of steak, a yam, or a buttered piece of toast. (Actually she prefers lemon curd to butter) She consumes everything instantly, not savoring it, not even feeling it, I believe she is a machine at times. Whereas Matrix, on the other hand, will sniff, think, actually roll the food around his mouth and give it a process before fully accepting it, I think Yuki (the little one) is somewhere in between. Wanting to be exactly like Matrix in every way, Yuki will at least attempt to take his time...but his dogness comes through in the end.

Faith is part Chow and it couldn't show more in the way of her eating. I have a pedestal, yes I do, and Matrix eats from it just fine. It may be the only real exercise the dog actually gets - he's a bit too plump in the winter, we're working on that, he is encouraged to chase the geese on a daily basis, and even though he doesn't mind, it has become a bore to him. We're thinking up new ideas. Faith doesn't need to exercise, she's small and thin. Walking upright must actually take more energy than walking on all-fours. She's spayed and doesn't show the least inclination to becoming overweight - quite the opposite, so handing her 33% of my food is really a means of helping her sustain her life! That's what I tell myself.

I sat down yesterday and figured out every calorie I was eating and cut off 30% for the dog-portion. I handed the finished figure to my personal trainer and he laughed. He agreed that his dog was also a life saver, he was the one thing standing between himself and a larger pants size. So, I say "hats off to the dogs" - instead of throwing the dog a bone, I just hand them the rest of the sandwich, the piece of cake I thought I wanted, the cookie calling my name, and then there's always the milk in the cereal bowl - I haven't had milk from the cereal bowl in .....well, ever. It's always belonged to the nearest dog.

It's a good plan.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm So Pretty!



LOOK AT ME....I was really young once. I think I was 21, maybe almost 22 in these pictures. I know where I am, I'm in Los Angeles; actually on Santa Monica Beach just off the pier. It was in November 1983, and I was working three jobs but felt that I had to go home fast fast fast. I wasn't into cocaine and it just seemed to be popping up everywhere I went. I couldn't go to work at any one of my jobs and not find an addict as a boss, as a co-worker, as the payroll clerk - it was stupid. I came home after my car was loaded down in all sorts of secret places and I literally drove 16 kilos (MULE) from point A, where I worked, to point B, where I worked. My innocence bustled - I wasn't stopped, I wasn't arrested, I wasn't even questioned....and I didn't know either...but after I was told I left. RAN HOME.

What the heck? I wish to God that I would have had the nerve, the strength, the power and the confidence I have now...I really could have done something. I worked for three separate studios, I lived in a mansion in Beverly Hills, even if I was just babysitting it. I drove a really cool 1968 Karmann Ghia, had shoes out the whazoo because the guy in the mansion had a billion girls visiting and they threw out shoes and clothes on a daily basis. If ONLY I would have had EBAY in the '80s. Why...why...why!?

There was this apartment, it was in Brentwood. The apartment had 7 women and 1 guy living in it, everyone's schedules twisting and turning around each others. You could go in and see any one of them in the bed, it was a one bedroom place, and any one of them on the couch, under the table. I found a little one, she was maybe 4'11" sleeping in the closet - on the shelf, over the clothes. It sort of made me feel a little guilty about the 15 bedrooms and 4 living areas in the mansion....and me. The billions of girls coming and going rarely stayed; it cost them too much. Me? Never....I didn't do that. Damn, I didn't do anything!

I remember thinking "Wow, I don't drink liquor, I don't smoke pot, I don't blow coke, I don't blow anything, I don't have sex, I don't even stay out when I'm not suppose to....what a freakin' bore." So, I went to the beach to scream. I did too, I just screamed and I was standing in the water, looking up to God screaming and God said "HEY, don't scream at me...LIVE". Now, living wasn't drinking, smoking, toking, having sex, or staying out - but it was doing more, and it was doing it with fun....with others. I turned around...and there he was. The Photographer!

So, there I am. Standing in the water, wearing my clothes, and just laughing....because I wasn't screaming anymore, and I basically had no other plan. He asked me if he could capture me, shoot me - - sure, why not. I hadn't really been a model before, I thought my teeth were too messed up, and even though I was 5'7", I had a little belly - it wasn't flat and pretty like .... like models, but he wanted me to dance in the water for a few pictures. He was from Chicago. His name was Lincoln. I said yes.

24 years have passed and I'm still willing to dance. I don't scream at God anymore, and I couldn't call myself all that innocent anymore, but I like to think that the girl in the water is still in my head, she's still in my heart, she's still in my dreams, and she sure as hell is still in my soul. DANCE - and don't scream so much, live instead....breathe.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tricky Business!





No one was shouting TIMBER this morning when I let Faith outside to do her thing. They were yelling "Whoa!" just before they (he) nearly fell off his perch about 10-12 feet in the massive Oak that stands outside my door. Sometimes taking Faith to public places can cause a stir. In this case, it could have caused an accident involving a chainsaw!

Faith bebopped out of the gate at a normal clip. I heard the chizzling, clacking of the saw, and had just about that much time to look up to see the man nearly disengage himself from where he was standing when he unwittingly lost temporary contact with the large tree he was connected to. Thank God for safety belts, huh? The man below him was laughing, but I'm not sure it would have been too funny had his partner come headlong down the branches onto the ground below. "I'm sorry!" I shouted up to him. I didn't think about anything like that happening. We've been next to bars in big cities and seen people fall off their stools. There have been wrecks in NYC over her, and a man nearly lost his life that way. No kidding, he was so agile, so athletic, that had he NOT jumped straight up onto the hood of the taxi that was aimed toward him on Broadway, he would have been hit. It wasn't traveling all that fast, but still - tons vs a man! He was awesome.

So, I did what any good natured person would do in this case. I went back inside and got my camera and took a couple of really nice pictures of them. I'll email his boss and tell him how great of a job he's doing. How he managed to compose himself in times of extreme uncertainty! Actually, I think he is the boss. I'll just tell his wife, she'll be thrilled to know.

One of the funnier stories about Faith surprising people with her upright walking ways took place in Dallas at the DFW airport. We were stuck due to high winds, so we were just walking through the airport. Suddenly out of left field, I hear a really loud, rather high-pitched laugh/scream. It was a man! He was dancing, and he was laughing, and he was trying to decide to run up to us, or squat down and let Faith come to him. He did both really, sort of sliding into her, but she was more surprised by his voice and waving arms...she had to be coaxed into seeing him, but once they met he was the kindest of men. He broke his own cookie in two and gave it to her, he got her another one, then another one....he pet her, he kissed her, he told her how much he adored her. I think he even had a little tear in his eyes.

We hugged and shook hands and said our good byes, but I took pictures then too. Thanks Rick Springfield, your smiles that day have lasted even through today! You really are a master of your craft, and a fun-loving, hard-working man to boot. Kiss Gomer Blue Eyes for me!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tubers! I love them.

So, I'm like hanging out at the gym today with my buddy Niki, and what should happen? Tubers. Niki found me a recipe with all of them, all beautifully, fat, rough, raw veggies in a great healthy sauce made up of olive oil, cinnamon, ginger, and mango juice. Yes, you heard me, tubers! I bought them all. Beets, turnips, yams, carrots, and then I threw in an apple -- granny smith baby! Set the oven at 400, cut up the tubes and poured on the 1/2 cup of sauce. If you want the exact number of turnips vs. beets, I don't have a clue, I just cut them all up. I love beets. I really really love beets. About 30 minutes into it, you throw in the apples and you let them plump up. The mango juice is the last to leave the frig. Now, I cut my mangos and juice them right there, but that's me, I'm a freak.

After about 45 minutes you have a fine meal of the meanest, best looking, hard to resist veggies that just can't be beat. Wine, a little water, doesn't matter what you serve it with, the beets steal the show every time. Oh, and the leaves, the big, leafy green leaves with red-purple twizzler-type stems? What do you do with them? EAT THEM...eat them all. My girls like to make fun of me by making little rabbit faces, holding up their hands as if they're little paws....they cock their heads to the right and left, making chipmunk sounds - refusing to enjoy the meal themselves, and all the while teasing me further with showing off their sleek, svelte bodies while I stuff my face with green leafy stems and beautiful beets. Damn kids.

Just thinking about my veggies while I was working out today made my day! I couldn't even concentrate on the loud blasting music. Nothing could compare to it. Shut up Boston, go away Foreigner! Please, I'm going to be consuming carrots in an hour! I'm going to be cutting up turnips, mixing them with mango, I'm stripping yams of every feeler-looking-tentacle...I'm eating tubes! All day! (OK, I conceded and listened to Michael Buble, a girl can't resist the master can she? He's hot.)

Such a day, such a work out, OH, and I even learned about the 1/2 ball. Have you seen it? It's like a balance ball but it's cut in 1/2, has a flat side? I found out how to use that too today. Tell you what - with tubers in me and the knowledge of how to balance on an unstable platform (while holding 8 pound dumbbells) I could be unstoppable tonight. I could be dangerous. I hope so, I haven't had danger is such a long time.

Live a bit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Go To War Already!

(Clark and Stringfellow at Ft. Wainwright BEFORE the accident)

Will you stop killing yourselves in Alaska boys? Get your tanks, take your guns and get over to the safety zone. I got the call again! I got that same call 8 months ago, 4 months ago, and again today! "Mom, I'm...hahaha...sort of....hahahaha..in the hospital....hahahaa...I broke my f*#king ankle AGAIN. This sucks...hahahaha". When I asked him, my baby(extreme baby) boy what he was doing--I knew. Sledding. He was totally out on the icy slopes, on the steep and dangerous slopes just off the base. Always OFF the base these events - - and it happened. No, not the fence. The boy did not run himself and his kiddie-pool sled into the orange-stopping-ya-from-hitting-the-lake fence - he and Clark went down the slope in tandem, where probably two seven-year olds could fit, and they both ended up tossing themselves over the side of an edge that probably held its own black diamond rank among locals. TO THE BOTTOM THEY FELL! I just rolled over in my bed and said the standard prayer. God has probably taken to numbering my prayers at this point....number 32 God....AGAIN.

Now, I don't know who fell where, or where he fell, or what he landed on - - my best guess would be hard Terra Firma, tundra, ground, maybe land....with a bump or a heap of ice sticking out, but down he fell. He tells me he felt his ankle (left this time) hitting his shin, and that's when he knew; something just wasn't going to feel all that good that the end of the roll. Clark got by with a broken thumb I hear - probably the one he'll need to shoot with. But I understand he may have another concussion too! Again, God is out there protecting my son from the life of a actual soldier...to think, he's trained, he's battle ready - except for the cast -- and the damn good smoking he better get from his SGT as soon as it heals, because if he doesn't get the boy I will!

How in the world is a mother suppose to sleep knowing her son is in Alaska? Surely there is a war out there somewhere that could use a good Styrker driver with sharp-shooter skills, and a broken leg. Let me rest! (Godspeed Baby Boy! Clark, I blame you!) LOL

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007! (Jesus, you're getting old)

(Portrait by H.C. Christy)


According to various scholars Jesus wasn't born on December 25. It may have been the day he was conceived, and as was/is practiced in the Orient, the day of conception is the day celebrated. It makes more sense to think this way, because the first of the year for the Jewish nation is celebrated in mid September. If you recall your Bible stories, Mary and Joesph were on their way to pay taxes - which is what happened at the end of the year, and the first real census was being taken. Besides that, the zodiac's sign for that time, around mid September, is Virgo.

Nevertheless, this is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, and I have to say Happy Birthday! Which by earthly timetables would make the man about 2011 since he was born approximately 4 BC (By the way, BC doesn't stand for before Christ either, so it's OK) The things you learn when you go to college! What will you do today to celebrate? We've always been a low-key family when it comes to Christmas. Unlike the Griswalds, we don't even always put up a tree (that is when my son isn't here, he's the traditional man!) We didn't exchange gifts this year whatsoever except to buy a few memberships for the kids. Reuben got the family a membership to the Zoo for the year. We love that one! I picked up the yearly cost for a membership at both the gym and the Oklahoma Science Museum. I think it may give us discounts at the Oklahoma Historical Museum.....gotcha, that one's free to enter. We love history and science stuff, bunch of geeks my family.

Laura wrote and sang a song to me. That was cool. Caity got herself a tattoo on her forearm. It's a puzzle piece that she designed. It's pink and has the word "Friends" in it. I believe she's having the "Family" tattoo placed on her left forearm. That must have hurt...on the inside, not the outside. OUCH, pain, and suffering, but you know, she's been telling me for years that she was going to do it - she's at least true to her word. It was one of those moments I wasn't sitting on her I guess. I think by this time next Christmas she'll have 10, but I do pray she doesn't have anything placed on her pretty face, her neck, or her hands....please, and thank you.

Jesus has been so awesome to us that I wanted to tell Him thank you personally. I had a little jam session with Him last night, where I just sat on the bed and played my guitar and talked to Him. It's always great when you can just chill out with the Creator of the Universe and talk about what you are grateful for, and follow up with a little suggestion here and there. He likes me, He laughs, I know. He does however answer my prayers, and in time, always in time, I receive exactly what He believes is best for me. You gotta love a God that does that for you! And I do.

So, Merry Christmas to the world, Happy Birthday to my King, and I do believe He'll be reaching out, picking up the ONE that I love today, holding him, kissing him, telling him that in time, always in time, I get exactly what I need....sometimes, what I want. Gotta love a God that does that for me....and I do.

Friday, December 21, 2007

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TO FAITH!





(Please excuse the finger, it's the only picture I have of John & Reu together)


HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY DECEMBER 22, TO FAITH THE DOG.
It doesn't really seem like it's been 5 years, but it was. It was just after the finals week for the Fall 2002. I was teaching and my student Janet came up to me and said her dog Princess had just given birth to some puppies and some of them were dead, others were deformed. She didn't know what to do because they were suffering. I was the one who told Janet she needed to put them down - if they were indeed not being fed, and if they were suffering. She told me (and I'll never forget) that she wasn't holding the puppies, she didn't need to put them down. I laughed.

The next week or so was interesting, as Janet's brother John is my son Reuben's best friend. He came over several times and talked in code about the puppies because I had actually paid John's mother a couple of years before to have Princess spayed. I realized she hadn't been spayed when Janet mentioned the puppies, but John didn't know that. I let him go on with his cute little code, and he smiled, and thought he was so clever. John's adorable. He's about 6'5" and 230 pounds of all love. He and Reuben have been wrestling, fighting, hugging, and hanging out for years and years.

Another week went by and Reuben took off with John to go "bury the dead puppies" that were no longer being discussed in teenage-boy code. I told him to be safe, Princess was not a friendly dog, and to NOT bring anything home with him. He assured me he would not. He lied. Mid January 2003, we became the owners of a little yellow dog who didn't have a name until she was able to walk by herself - to walk by FAITH. It took a while, we had to train her, and she eventually caught on to the fact that if she stood up, or lifted her head off the ground she would be rewarded with great peanut butter and gummie bear treats. She'll do about anything for gummie bears now too.

Five years! Wow. She's been talked about, written about, shown off, bragged on, and lost a few times. She's traveled internationally, domestically, and has been seen by more than 500,000,000 people through 100 shows/events on television, in magazines, newspapers, and books. She's on the web, has her own agent, attorney, photographer, and even her own first-class seat when she flies American Airlines. She's achieved a great deal for a little dog (diva) who simply refused to give up - - that's really all it is, she decided to live. We were just blessed to be the people God chose to make that a reality. Thanks for all the love you have shown us during this five year period. We're hoping to triple the love in the next five.

Merry Christmas, and in the words of Winston Churchill - "Don't ever, ever, ever give up!"

Marine War Dog Lex Goes Home - Finally!

(Marine Cpl. Dustin Lee and Lex)

He took more than a bullet for his country, Lex the Marine Military Dog found mines and IEDs for the unit he was attached to. He was attached to someone else as well. Cpl. Dustin (Dusty) Lee was killed in service in March 2007 while he and Lex were working together. Lee's body was returned to his home in Mississippi, but Lex was forced to stay behind and serve his mandatory contract with the unit. Lee's father and family protested the arrangement, asking specifically for Lex to be allowed to retire a hero and to live the rest of his life with them. Lex is eight years old, and his mandatory stay included approximately two more years of service.

When Lee's body was recovered the medical team was unable to fully retrieve him without first asking Lex's permission to do so. Like any good Marine, Lex refused to allow the body of his owner/friend to be molested. When Lex was satisfied that the medics were on their side, he relented and said good bye to his best friend Dusty. Lex was also allowed to fly back to Mississippi for the funeral, where he honored his partner by playing tug-o-war with his siblings and sat at full attention during most of the proceedings. The family fell in love immediately, and knew Lex belonged with them.

It nearly took an act of Congress, but after eight hard months of words, papers, filings, and testimonials, Lex the War Hero Canine is being retired today, and will be serving the rest of his days with the Lee family as part of that legacy. Hooah! Rest in greater peace Dusty, you have a great warrior protecting your family tonight.
I want to personally thank the Corp and the Air Force for their joint effort in allowing this adoption to take place.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Did NOT Raise My Son This Way!



REUBEN, my son, is the guy laughing and pointing at his good friend and fellow Army soldier (PFC Morckles) who ended up face-first into the fence when they attempted to slide down really steep hills out there somewhere in Alaska, where the boys are stationed. You'll notice they aren't wearing their uniforms. This was an off-duty, off-the-clock activity, that landed Morckles squarely in the hospital. I do hope my baby boy wasn't laughing while Morckles was triaged and stitched, but I'd bet a dollar he was!

If I had to guess, I would say that the entire event was cooked up by either Reuben or his friend Clark who comes up with some of the more dangerous ways to pass their Army duty time. Last week it was dodging live ammo....good thing they survived that! Now it's dying by sled! Only Reuben was careful enough to get inside the sled and duck down as much as possible. He said the fence was actually there to stop them from going onto the frozen lake, which could or could not be completely iced...why am I being punished like this? I thought I did a relatively good job with this kid.

Play all night, work all day. Today's events at the base included grappling and hand-to-hand combat in the snow and ice. Reuben's gear held up, but he tells me he took the opportunity to hide Clark's underwear in the bowl outside that they use to water the stray dogs and cats who come by for shelter. I'm not sure if I should laugh or smack the boy for possibly upsetting the dogs! You don't contaminate water bowls! It's as if he left the house just to play, and he's doing it in really big tanks and using really loud guns - or fast sliding sleds which have the potential to cave in his face! But still, as you can see, he laughs. The boy doesn't know the meaning of stop. He was born an Aries - head first, hard, rough as hell, and get up off your butt to do it again. EVERY day, EVERY time, this boy just laughs...even when he's the one on the doctor's table. (8 broken bones in 8 football seasons)

So, you let them play. You pray, and you ask God to bring them home safely, or maybe to let them go to war where at least they'll be supervised! Hooah! (Love you baby)Now someone take that boy to the ER...stat!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vegas! It Was Fun!






As a dog, you know you've arrived when you're flying first class with American Airlines and staying at the Four Seasons hotel on top of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Well, Faith had no idea she was as special as everyone knows her to be. We were flown out for the day to shoot a short segment on a Spanish based TV show that would be equivalent to Sesame Street meets Entertainment Tonight! It was fun. Our host for the show is a 3-day old ant, an insect. He's a puppet of course, and he speaks only Spanish. Being 3-days old he didn't have time to learn any other language, but he can do a great deal for being a little purple ant!

We played at Caesar's Palace, and it was Celine Dion's last performance too. We saw thousands lined up to get into the show and into the lobby to see her on the big screens. They were telling the audience not to take pictures, so my manager told them they could take Faith's picture, and that was awesome! She was very well received, I can assure you of that. We saw the Strip, the fountain finale at the Bellagio, and we saw the roller coasters riding up and down their track over New York New York! It was fun to be a part of the show, and it was awesome to have stayed at the prettiest, most welcoming hotel in the world. I have to shout out to Kimberly, to Ladonya, and to dozens of employees who turned down my bed, turned on my music, got Faith her Evian water, baked her little doggie cookies, and there was someone, someone EVER so wonderful, who heated up my bathrobe! I have to go back...if only to steal one of the Four Season's bathrobes! INCREDIBLE service at this hotel, and incredible people there to greet you at every single turn.

Niki went with me as an official dog-handler. She was great. She and I managed to walk through casino after casino and not gamble a single penny. I don't know why we didn't, but maybe Faith was a part of that. We literally couldn't take her 5 feet without everyone coming up and snapping pictures, asking questions, and just being as sweet as you can imagine. They were all shocked to see her in the casinos and t hey loved seeing her on the Strip. We had our dinner paid for when a man insisted on doing so. He was very nice - he and his wife were from Chicago!! YES! (My almost new hometown)

My last shout out...to Vince, Tony, Tom and Drew! Vince picked us at the special request of the owner of the Four Seasons. He didn't have to, it was a special gift. He picks up quite a few people, and he was so kind to us. Thank you. Tom took us to the location, he was both professional and informative. He was a Navy Seal for years, and the way he drove us...made me feel like I was back in New York City! Thanks Tom! Drew drove Faith and the host of the show, along with myself, my agent and our handler Niki. We drove around town talking, and laughing, we even made Drew fix my camera so I could take more pictures! Finally to Tony, he picked us back up when Vince was unavailable. Again, it was something he didn't have to do, but was a very appreciated gift! Thank you to everyone and anyone we met at the Four Seasons...and yes, Anthony, the greeter at the door - kiss your two girls for me!

Thanks VEGAS! We will return.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vegas Baby!


(Not My Photo)

Hey, you thought we were going to Spain, I thought we were going to Spain, then a little thing like weather stopped us. God is go great!

Faith and I were scheduled to appear in Madrid, Spain for her first international date, but the great people of Gest Music (though they tried and tried) couldn't book a flight with Faith coming into their country via the cabin of the plane. Faith flies first class because of her celebrity status, so it was important to book it that way. (We still may have to put her in the cargo from time to time due to Homeland Security issues on those rare dates). When the weather in Oklahoma threatened to be too cold for the flight to allow Faith to fly under the cargo, the plans were changed to allow the Gest Music crew to fly to America. They chose the beautiful and oh-so-dog-friendly city of Las Vegas, and there you go - Lights, cameras, and lots and lots of action.

Can you just see the people in the bars now? They'll be falling off their stools thinking they've had one too many after they see a two-legged dog running up and down the strip, not to mention inside the casinos. We'll definitely need her bright orange vest for this one. Maybe she'll be kicked out again - she's been considered a major distraction before, what's stopping her from doing the same in Sin-City? She's up for it! Do her little dance, kiss a few people, asked to leave - quietly.

Actually, we'll be filming the television show which we were suppose to be filming in Madrid, but we are unable to guarantee the flight, and don't want to miss the opportunity to perform for the great audience who is expecting to see Faith. We wish we could go, but weather doesn't cooperate at times in the plains states,and its better to be safe than sorry. Do you think Faith can bring me luck at the tables? I think I'll have to designate just a little bit for my good friend and I to have just enough fun. I have to take Niki! I just have to. She'll need the break from her job and her life - - get a little taste of what its like to run around with Faith and see the gorgeous soldiers on the strip. Oh, and they'll have lots of kids there too. In fact, we're looking at booking her a regular engagement, something like a weekly show. That would be incredible! Faith, Family, Fun.

I'll keep you posted on the good times - hope to see you smiling on the strip this coming week. The only thing sad about the new plans is that Walter Reed is out, and I can't express how sad that makes me, but we're scheduling an event in about 90 days to make up for it. We just didn't have enough time for clearance and the way things have to be planned for them to accept us. It won't be long, we'll be hugging a bunch of soldiers one way or the other....my favorite past time. I like it even more than football. (and that's saying something!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It Never Really Ends


(Ralph the mouse)

As usual, I'm just sitting at the computer minding my own business, that's what I do. When I look up from thinking and writing, I notice my daughter Laura talking to her pocket. Those of you how actually know Laura wouldn't be surprised to see a sight like that. Laura often speaks to angels, and if these angels are hiding somewhere in her clothes, hey, she will speak directly to them in public or in private. She doesn't care. This time, it wasn't an angel, per se, it was a little white mouse that was saved (as mice are often saved by my children) from being eaten by a pet snake of one of her friends.

We had snakes for years, and we usaully fed them dead frozen thawed out mice. We fed them mice that we hadn't associated with. The two times we had snakes that ate live mice, we ended up with a great deal of little pets in a few aquariums around Reuben's room. We had 6-8 rats and/or mice at once particular time. I just can't get to know an animal and then feed it. I could buy it, have it put into a bag and then have the kids dump it, but I couldn't do it. If the animal was really clever and began scratching and making noises from inside the bag on the way home - I had a pet!

So, I'm writing, I reading, I'm actually on the phone with Reuben as he gave me play by play details of what he wants to happen at his funeral, should he have one, when Laura comes in and she's talking to her pocket. I didn't ask. I just held out my hand. It was more fun to hold a mouse named Ralph than it was to deal with my son's idea of what a perfect funeral should be like. He did come up with some pretty flashy ideas though; he does that....and then dumps the work on me. It's been going on for years really. I learned about most of his homework just hours before it was due.

Ralph was found by Laura, kidnapped, and brought home. Out there in the big bad world of our city is a very hungry snake, just wondering what happened to his fat little dinner that wiggled just so. Well Mr. Spot-back, he's in my house! He's eating puppy chow drowned in soy milk, and he's being loved, hugged, petted, and sang to...that's where your meal is tonight mister! Slither away - beast! I do actually like snakes, and in this case I feel sorry for him because he's not been trained to eat frozens, and so he's probably feeling a bit cheated. Poor little python....not, he can learn!

When I think about, this sort of thing was just another reason why I gave the kids their own place. Why is this happening to me? Maybe next time the lease is up I'll get a place a bit further away - instead of next door.

Hey Lady, Will You Sell Me Your Dog?






Basically, this sort of thing shouldn't happen. I mean, you buy a puppy when they are being sold on the corner, at the pet store, perhaps out of the paper, from a friend; but you don't approach someone whose had a dog as a member of her family for nearly 5 years and just because she's cool - offer to pay her for the dog. AS IF.

OK...before I go into all the reasons this guy was nuts, tell me something - what does this guy plan to do with my dog? Market her? Just exactly HOW would he do that without getting her to cooperate with him on his every whim? Would she cooperate? She doesn't do what I ask her to do most of the time. I just let her go, and watch! She walks where she wants to walk, noses what she wishes, and when she decides to go under the bed or under the table if we're in public, she goes! Faith has her own agenda. Does this man really think he can pay me for my kid? (Don't answer that...I might sell Caity. I would laugh my self silly, roll over in fact, and call 9-1-1 just to help the man out, but I could conceive of selling THAT child before I could conceive of selling Faith.) Caity and I have a deal. If I can sell her and make a decent profit I have to split it with her. She doesn't believe anyone would actually pay money, but she's at least willing to consider the possibilities. That is, until the person made a demand of the girl - that's when it would get fun. Talk about a show; sit back and take odds. Put your money on the monster. I really do love this kid, I do. I love her endlessly, unconditionally, sometimes at a far distance, and sometimes really up close and personal...but I wouldn't pay a nickel for another one just like her.

Buy my dog! The Hell they say! The second I did something like that I would become the most hated person on earth. Keith Olbermann would mark me as the Worst of the Worst People on the Planet. Karl Rove would get a better poll score than me. I could just see the headlines "Two-Legged Bitch isn't a Canine", or maybe "Faith Be Gone,Owner Sells for $1M" Besides, what would I do with a Million Dollars that I can't do with the pennies I make now? I couldn't' hide. I couldn't buy another puppy and start over hoping it would respect me...which it probably would because dogs do that. They love no matter what. I would be the most evil of evils...not to mention the fact that my baby-girl would cry and not understand for a second why I left her with a stranger.

Please, do me a favor. If you see me in public with my dog, ask me how old she is, what her favorite game is, what she eats (Petlane Pure Woof - Get it from Lenny Slape in San Fran.) but never ask me if you can buy my dog, never ask me how much I'd take. The answer to that question is this: I would take a bullet for her, but she's not for sale. If you want the truth, I wouldn't really sell my little girl either; she's a mess and a pain in my backside most of the time, but that Gremlin is my baby doll, and even though I'll fight her to the end of days, she is forever in my soul, in my blood.

You may not get to pick your family, but you certainly don't go around selling them. Geez!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CSI-NY Does the UNTHINKABLE

(Best looking eyes in the Army!)

I'm sick! Just absolutely sick tonight. I was sitting on my couch drinking a little wine with my friend Niki, we were enjoying a great batch of hot chocolate chip cookies....when CSI-NY opens up their new episode with a boy getting shot and killed. His name was RUBEN. Can't tell you how that struck me! I wanted to reach out and rip the head off the shooter, right then, right there. Of course, my good friend Niki looks over and says "Betcha anything they didn't spell his name REUBEN, I know they didn't. Your son is fine." I wasn't really all that personally touched, just maybe a little.

So this kid, this RUBEN, he's living in the apartment complex where Danny Messer lives. Right down the hall. He kept Messer up sometimes with his laughing, and his playing little boy tricks....so they OFF THE GUY! Oh, please...two minutes, just two minutes with that shooter.....no, I'm OK...I'm fine. Drink a little more wine, Jude, you'll be OK.

The phone rings. "Hey Mom" came the voice. I love my son. Seems someone in Oklahoma City called him on his cell to say a RUBEN had been killed on CSI-NY; it's not a name you hear that often. Reu didn't blink. He knew I would be watching, it's my show. He thought maybe 1 second about it, and decided to put in a call to let his little-more-than-letting-on mom know that he's perfectly safe in his bunk up in the Tundra of Fairbanks, Alaska. (Although, this week Oklahoma had worse weather than the Tundra with our record breaking ice storm.)

"I love you baby. Don't drive your Stryker on the streets of New York Baby Boy, there's a killer out there." He laughed. "I heard about it. Hey, can that RUBEN do this?" he asked, and he reared back and burped one of the longest, loudest, what he would say juiciest belches this side of the Atlantic! That's my son. That's what mom needed....security, priority one. If he can do that, he's perfectly fit. He's warm, he's been fed, he's just - - well, the most wonderful son in the world.

So, maybe after thinking about it, I need to thank the writers of CSI-NY for putting the name out there. What this world needs, and I mean this; are a few more Reu. No matter how you spell it. Good night Soldier Boy! Thanks for thinking of me when you knew I was thinking of you.

Honest Rons Guitars




Hey, I went to the hood today, where I used to teach, and right in the heart of the city is Honest Ron's Guitars! Look, there's a picture of Ron (on the website you can see Dobro his dog in the shot), who I'm sure will be assisting Ron when he repairs, tunes, and loves my two guitars that I took to him today. I'm going to let Ron babysit them until I return from Spain.

I hadn't been to his store before, but it came highly recommended by a man named Bill at the Larsen's Music Store, a store where I would have been more than happy to leave my babies, but Bill suggested Ron. Bill said, and I must agree having met Ron, that Ron was the right guy for the job. Look at him, this man's been around music for a very long time. He'll be the best for the job...bar none.

Well, if you need a guitar, need a guitar fixed, or if you just woke up this morning and thought you just had to have a new or used mandolin, Ron is the man to see. His website is cool too, it is: www.honestronsguitars.com (very original name) and his shop is located at 1129 N. May, OKC, OK. Call first, he's only there 3 days a week. Rumor has it he loves his family and spends time with them on the other days.....Dobro told me.

Love to you guys at the shop!!

Hard Earned American Tax Dollars At Work in Iraq

(This is not my son. This is Marcus Levering. He's in Iraq - Being really cool.)

ONCE AGAIN, I am proven right when I say that American football has it's highest priority. Nothing, not even WAR can stop this soldier from playing the game. Look at that form, what a handsome man!

We used to tease my son because he (like I) quit a really good paying job once when they didn't let him off to play football. I actually quit when I wasn't allowed to go to the game - he was playing. He had a much higher call of duty than I did. But look at Marcus Levering - - In the war, in the middle of it all, and has the wherewithal to pick up the ball and run with it...after he poses with it. That's spirit! That's what I'm talking about! Get out there and kick some desert butt.

Makes you wonder if Americans did actually form an Army/Marine team in Iraq and they played the Army/Marine team in say Afghanistan on any given Saturday, on perhaps a closed circuit television channel, what their team mascots would be. What colors would they choose? What would their SECRET WEAPONS or play be? Let's see: Iraq is mostly desert, sandy, populated, they could be called the Urban Rhinos. You'd have the same camo desert colored ACUs and their helmets could show the symbol of a big nasty Rhino carrying an assault rifle in one hand and a grenade in the other. The boys and girls (if they wanted to play) in Afghanistan would be from the hills, unpopulated, loners, so they could be the Covert Condors...YES. They'd wear all black with red helmets, and a big pair of wings coming out of the American Flag on their helmets.

The game would take place in the middle somewhere - equal field position, flat, preferably with grass, although I would have no idea where that would be. The camera and media crews would be the ONLY spectators. It would be played under very secret circumstances and the winners would be every one of us who got to watch. The hardest thing about it would be trying to broadcast the players by name because ACUs and black ninja outfits don't have names printed on the back of the men/women in play. We'd have to number them only and just call out "False start, Defense, Number 63" (I'm used to hearing that particular call - so I threw it in there. It's the reason my son was given the nickname Sooner. Had nothing to do with is love for Oklahoma football. He was offsides constantly trying to make a play. Fast kid.)

The bottom line on this one.....Americans send their boys to war, their boys take their game! Thank you! May the BEST always win. Hooah!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Update on Stella Silvertone


Isn't she absolutely beautiful? She arrived today by FedEx, and I couldn't believe the extreme care her sellers took to send her. She was wrapped in the best grade materials I have ever seen - then boxed, taped, and again, shipped by FedEx. She was warm to the touch when I pulled her out of the box, and it's freezing outside. Great job! Thank you.

Stella is about ready to meet Honest Ron the guitar doctor. He's really busy this time of year, so before I hand her over for what could be two weeks, I want to hold her a bit, get to know her, and just figure out a few things. I know she's about my age, she's made of mahogany, and she's been strung in the past with both nylon and wire. I don't get that, but then again, I'm not a guitar person yet. I'll have to ask Ron what his opinion is. For now she's resting nicely against the wall watching me type - I'm not sure, but I think I saw her sighing just a little. Could be that she realizes she's found a home, could be because she smells the chocolate chip cookies in the oven and wishes that she could partake!

Stella has a string holder like I've never seen before, it is metal and attaches to the bottom reaching up to hold the strings in place. I've only seen the bars holding strings in the past, and that one thing made her stand out a little to me. There were certainly dozens of beautiful instruments waiting to be adopted on Ebay. You could look into that if you're of a mind to do so. I wanted a guitar I could befriend and love, not just play and set aside. I never store an instrument. They are always displayed, allowed to visit, be picked up and loved by others, and sometimes I've found that staying with me wasn't the ultimate destiny of a particular instrument, and they have become gifts to people who can give them everything...but not Stella. She and I will be friends for life.

I keep looking at her. She's so pretty. I pulled out one of my new beginner books and partially read it out loud to her. She speaks English! I wasn't sure, she could have been a Spanish guitar, but she's actually from the Midwest, maybe originally from Chicago...wouldn't that be great? It's time to find her a birthday, and to do that I have to narrow down her personality first, determine the zodiac sign, and then find the right number for her. At first blush I would say she's an Aquarius, maybe something like my friend Jennifer, born Feb. 16, 1962. Perhaps it will turn out to be the best date; until then, keep your music and of course your imagination in plain sight!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ice Trees Cometh





Faith is a very talented dog, but there are a few things even she can't do. She can't stand up and stay still. She has to balance, therefore you see her moving in this picture. She also can't balance as well as a four-legged dog on ice, hence the moving in the picture. She also doesn't poo or pee on ice...thus the DANCING in the picture. She cracks me up. More than 10 times today I have attempted to put her out so she can relieve herself, but she insists that she's just fine. She'll walk to the edge of the patio, maybe even venture to the edge of the grass line, but when she steps on the icy mess - forgetaboutit! She tumbles, trips, and stumbles her way back into the house for warmth. (When you're a dog and you're walking upright, every bit of friction helps) For all His blessings of this dog, God did not choose to give her much under-hair. She has top hair only. He knew she'd be an indoor dog!

So, I woke up this morning to the alarm clock turning off, turning on, lights on, lights off...thundering booming bursts of lightning, and ice. Not rain,just ice. Falling and sticking to everything...inch to an inch and a half, everything....I think Faith was afraid she was next after surveying the bushes. Matrix did the right thing the first time, and now resides under the covers on top of the bed, demanding that I bring him water and food to the room. He knows I'll buckle. I always do. We have rules in this house about the comfort of our dogs.

God can do so many things with His weather; He chooses to use Oklahoma as his canvas, we have more types of weather in such short amounts of time. Tomorrow we won't be experiencing ice, oh no. It will be 49 degrees and we'll have 40 mile an hour wind. Just because that's the way we roll here - stick around, you'll see it all. Poor dogs, they go up to Seattle and the rain just falls, makes very little sound, and the grass is actually soft, not cracking under their feet. Oh, sounds like a trip to Seattle might just be the thing to do....after we get back from Spain next week. Oh, I didn't tell you? More tomorrow, I have to go get the luggage I promised myself I would buy if the trip came through.

Happy Sliding!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Handsome Men Have There Place




I do NOT own this photo or facsimile of Carmine Giovinazzo.

Handsome men, like Carmine, do indeed have their place in this world. A fast trip to the zoo can show you all the ways men, in all their beautiful glory, will dominant the park with their plumy feathered butts, masculine stripes or thick auburn manes. How they love to shake their goods, strut their best, and in general walk about asking for either sex or a good fight. Sometimes men don't really care which; this according to my all-too sexy and full-of-himself son. Reuben tells me that he and others will walk into a bar, and one or the other of them may say "We'll either get laid or splayed out, but we're in this together!" (Brothers all) Don't you just love men? (smiles)

Carmine adds a bit of lusty sort of boyish charm to the screen in CSI-NY each week. He's a little smart, he's a little nasty, he's a little gritty, but he cleans up well. He loves his family, dedicated to his work, the cause - but most of all, he's there in case CBS needs that all-important chest shot, not to be mistaken with the more often required-in-the-contract sweaty neck and shoulders shot, or the biceps couldn't be any better shot. Carmine (Danny) is your go-to man. No one really minds. I think Harper could actually give the man a run for his money, we haven't seen much of that body, but the show is growing - gaining momentum, it could happen. Just as long as they keep all of Mac's clothing securely on his body at all times. (Maybe a little pecks peek now and then, but no women......its unbelievable how my heart hurts when he's kissing someone; and he's never been mine! I do wish these feeling would leave, but the heart falls where it falls.)Sigh.

Thank God for Carmine! Out there protecting me, showing off his goods so Gary doesn't have to, I love you Gio! I really do, thank you, and I think I owe you a bunch of cannolis, but I couldn't let you eat them without a good stromboli first. Let me know; I'm there.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Animals v. Humans






(Caity's timestamp is off, but she got great shots)





We just got back from the Zoo again. You have to understand the reasoning behind the multiple trips we take to our zoological park. I'd love to say its for educational purposes, but that would be a stretch. I go to work out. I can put in 4 miles in just under an hour and half, walking and smelling everything along the way. While I'm walking I take a gander at some of the big and smaller creatures that come out and I imagine what my life would be like if I were say -- the Flamingo. (Laura is the flamingo in our family. She's gangly, delicate to sight, but really tough inside. She trips herself a lot, and isn't quite the norm...flamingo). If I were a flamingo I would be the pinkest one. I love carrots. I'd be like this bright neon bird walking around and everyone would goose me for stealing all the beta carotene.

Moving on to the chicken hawk.....actually, it has another name, but I call it the chicken hawk. Caity is the chicken hawk in our family, though she could also be considered a red or silver fox. Crafty as hell, small, sleek, and deceptive - oh, but the chicken hawk will grab anything it wants, jump on it, beat the living crap out of it until whatever it is he/she's grabbed has died or it(chicken hawk) has been slaughtered....Caity. I think of the little gray wonder and I always tuck my fingers into a fist when I walk by its cage...just in case. Just in case.

Someone and I mean fast, needs to get inside the hippo cage and brush those back teeth with some sort of a hippo-tooth whitener...what will the tourists say? Our hippos are the little ones, if hippos come in large, medium, and smaller sizes. We had two full size animals at one time, I grew up with Norman and Mitilda, but even hippos have to go to Heaven, so now we have the little guys. Much more room for them to swim, and children think they're babies -- "Where's the mommy hippo?" That question usually sparks me to pull out my fists from my pockets and call the girls on my cell. I have them on speed dial - Caity first, of course.

I check up on the brats when I'm power walking, giving them a location so they know how far to run either from me or toward me. I carry the money, so if they get hungry I always have that to look forward to. I'll call Caity and the conversation goes like this: Ring-ring-ring "What?" "Brat, I'm at the buffalo" "That's nice I'm not" and she hangs up. Not to worry, I heard big chimpanzees in the background. I know exactly where she is, and the phone ringing probably interrupted her plan to jump the fence, climb the wall, and get close enough to really communicate with the beasts.

I always call Laura second so she can ask me where Caity is since Caity never answers Laura's call. Ring-ring-ring-ring-ring-ring."Hi Mommy, I'm at the lion, oh, and they are all out, and the baby is just rolling over, he's so cute." "What took you so long to answer?" "Oh, did it? Sorry. Where's Caity" "Chimps", "Thanks, see ya." "Hey, don't you care where I am?" "Not really, I'll ask Caity when I see her, I'm sure you told her." She hangs up.

Eventually I get my 4 miles in, they get their thrills and chills from googling and gawking. Laura actually enjoys the animals, Caity becomes one, and I just want to avoid resembling the rhino or the elephant...I'm thinking a nice average gazelle would be great, maybe a lynx...we dream. Our turtle, one of our Galapagos Islanders, turns 100 this year. Can you imagine? Wow. Turtles get sexier with age don't you think?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Another Use for Bacardi

You know what? I really don't drink that much. I can count the times I've been drunk on 3 fingers and 2 of those times I was set up - should've called the police type events, but because of where I was at the time it would have gotten very little attention. Let's just say I'm not a drinker. I love wine though. The times in my past that I have walked into the liquor store and picked up a small bottle of Bacardi have been for truly medicinal purposes. I remember at the age of 4 my son had head lice and was being kicked out of daycare - enter Mr. Bacardi. I simply poured the stuff on the kid and combed out every nit after just a few seconds. They can't hold their liquor.

Another time I bought the stuff I was suffering from a severe cold with a cough that would not stop and no amount of Robitussin was helping - besides, Robitussin was actually more expensive than a bottle of B, so there you have it. Today I'm thinking of going right back to Panchos Liquor Store and picking up another bottle of do-it-all medicine from the clear whiskey aisle. The staph is taking over my life and I'm about to throw something at my dog (he jumped up on the bed and touched my bum with his foot this morning, sending me screaming as I rolled off the bed, hitting the same spot, and screaming again.) I think I can do this.

I think I can get a bottle of Bacardi, go another block or two to the Academy Sports store and pick up a simple black mouth guard. I'm going to need something tough and strong to bite down on - if I can even get the angle I need to pour the hot 100 proof scalder where it needs to go....Doctors would probably discourage me. I can see the e-mails now "Don't tell children to use liquor on staph, tell them to take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor." OK...kids, go to the doctor! Don't pour liquor on your bum...but if you do, get something really tough and rubbery to bite on so you don't end up biting off you bottom lip or screaming so loud the neighbors call 9-1-1 thinking you're being killed.

I'll do a little research first. Google it: "100 Proof Staph", or maybe go to www.ask.com and type in "Does 100 proof whiskey kill staph?" I should try that first and see what happens...it'll come back with a disclaimer "Yes, but see your doctor if you develop a liking for the method of intake you're describing. You could have other issues to deal with."

Edgar & Stella







When I think of guitarists,when I think of the one that I should have chased down like a dog and didn't, I think of Edgar Cruz. (Sorry girls, he's married) You can find him at www.edgarcruz.com and buy all of his fantastic CDs and admire all the great work he's done. I can think to myself that he will always be the best at Flamenco playing ever ever, and even though his beautifully talented brother is an extremely close second, I have to give Edgar the tiny (oh-so-tiny) advantage over Mark, just because I never actually flirted with Mark. (Hi Manuel too, can't forget the other brother) So, when you're out and about buying guitar CDs, go to the Cruz family first. Why do I mention them? Well, the other picture in the blog is that of STELLA, she's my new friend.

Stella Silvertone is the name I have chosen for a really cool guitar with a little sad story. I never go to the music store and pick up a guitar or any other musical instrument off the shelf. I don't want to be the first to have owned it. I want to let the heart of the instrument speak first, perhaps inviting me to be a part of its life. (I know, I'm a die-hard romantic with fantasy tendencies) Stella was found on Ebay this week. After seeing advertisements for Edgar's local performances (he travels as much as I do, so to be in town at the same time was incredible) I decided to fulfill at least one of my guitar fantasies. If I couldn't have Edgar (LOL) I could at least teach myself to play the guitar; something I have been really trying to do for over 25 years. Oddly, it turns out that Stella hasn't been played in just about that long.

I found her on Ebay and won the bidding. When her sellers told me they weren't really guitar people I asked them where she came from. They had purchased her at a thrift store, but the thrift store manager I found who remembered the guitar, told me she had been left in the attic of a man who thought he wanted to play her, but never did, and for more than twenty years she was left alone. The sellers said she sat in their attic for years too - well,I don't have an attic. Stella is going to have to be content with being played. We're going to learn together, and I know she's going to be thrilled to sing again - even if it is a bunch of simple chords, baby songs, and picking around. She'll be taken to the Guitar Doctor (Honest Ron) as soon as she arrives. I intend on having her completely made over, and when she is ready we'll go through the introduction slowly. I have a DVD...I'm so ready.

If I get in a pinch and can't figure something out - I have the best Plan B ever...find Edgar!

www.edgarcruz.com

FYI MOM - You're WRONG



You know how your kids always tell you how wrong you are, and you usually recoil and strike back with a very loud "But OF COURSE I'm wrong, I'm always wrong, I couldn't possibly be right about anything" ? You've been there - well, this time I had to concede (Mark it down, I'm not wrong very often) I was wrong. The picture you see above is not of a tank. I told people that my son drove tanks and well...I was wrong. My son is a PFC (E3) in the United States Army, and he drives Strykers. The vehicle above is a perfect example of what a beautifully maintained, washed, and ready-to-fight Stryker appears to be. My son's Stryker, I am told, is a bit more gritty, a little on the rough side, sort of like my boy. If my son drove a clean anything I would be amazed. I know, and I could bet my life on it, that when he pulls that Strker into the garage at Ft. Wainwright that he doesn't take the time to dig out all the candy wrappers, paper towels, empty crushed water bottles, and if you look really closely you'll find a pencil because he's like me, he has to be writing or drawing something if he's got a few minutes on his hands.

My son's job is to drive. He does not navigate. I don't know if you know this, or if you keep up with my blog, but my son is directionally challenged. He'll be a great Ranger soon, in fact he's qualified to do exactly that, but even OnStar couldn't help the boy if they didn't have visuals to put before him. He's THAT bad off. Driving isn't a problem. Turn the key, crank the motor, point the machine, and floor it. Always floor it. Who ever saw a tank (or Stryker) creeping up to something. I think the only reason they put my son in one of these things in the first place was because the Army knew I had paid over $1500 in speeding tickets for the boy just to get him to the point where he could sign in. If he had left the day after he left he would have been in the pokey for one of them. The city, being kind and considerate (and patriotic) pardoned him. 12 tickets in 2 years, all speeding. That was an easy fix for Uncle Sam....give him a Stryker. Let him play.

Well, seems the consultants on the CBS shows The Unit, NCIS, CSI-NY, CSI-Miami, and others have been asking the wrong people about Army and/or military rules, regs, and apparel. The entire time my son was home for his holiday I was forced to endure the laughing, the swearing, the finger pointing ridicule my son gave to the producers of these shows each and every time someone got it wrong on screen. You and I don't know these things, we aren't "Squared Away" enough to know these things, but if I recorded him screaming at the television once I have recorded him screaming at the television a dozen times. "You can't park that there! You can't even have an M1 out in public you freakin' moron!" (I added the freakin' he said something else) He was all over The Unit, a show I thought was pretty tight until my son pointed out how lame they are. Makes me wonder how I survived without him the first 24 years of my life.

Strykers are not tanks. You should know that. They don't have the big turret on top, and they have wheels. When I asked him why he was driving these vehicles instead of the M1A1 that he signed up to drive he giggled. Seems he constantly broke the rules in the simulator. The pedals in an M1A1 are smaller, and his foot didn't exactly fit. He had a problem pulling his foot up at times too, and the Stryker can actually out run the M1A1 - - in a you'll-never-actually-see-that-happen race. Military people can be so funny at times. They think we don't know. They think we can't see the twinkle in the eyes of a boy that knows the truth about who would win in such an event.

My baby boy just called me last night to say he was on 2 hour's notice to defend our country with his rolling friend. Together they will be shipped somewhere and they will be together for a while. You can pray for my son, I would appreciate that. I read a poem once about the Soldier's Night Before Christmas, and in a nutshell it said that he may not be home, but because he is not, your home is safe to celebrate our Lord's birth. Hooah Soldier! Hooah!

Paparazzi to the Animals





We don't know when Caity decided to become the unofficial paparazzi to the Oklahoma City Zoo, but here are a couple of examples of how close she actually gets to them. We don't have a big zoom capacity on the camera. She climbs over fencing and if you look really closely on the right hand side of the Tiger's photo you can barely make out the fence wire. The girl simply enjoys both the challenge and the thrill. I wasn't there to stop her, it was one of those "Check out my pictures, Mom" moments, when she unloads 100 photos from her latest trip to the Zoological Park. (A great place by the way if you're visiting. Check with your zoo to get discounts from ours)

Caity demonstrated dangerous behavior around the age of 2, but because we were visiting my parents farm I wasn't thinking that much about it. There were several horses in the field behind my parents and I thought they were all penned up. When I went to gather the kids for dinner, thinking one of the older cousins had Caity, she was found walking behind a large gray mare, holding onto her tail - - within inches of being kicked in the head. She would also (from time to time) do what I used to do, and that is to take shortcuts through people's yards to get to the main streets. The only problem with that sort of behavior now is the threat of trespass, pedophiles, and the occasional dog latching onto your face or leg. Caity's never really been bothered by these obstacles.

A year ago she performed a makeshift autopsy on a dead beaver. I mention that he was dead for your benefit. I know my daughter well enough to know she would wait. Her idea of having fun sometimes is to drag the creek for dead fish and give them proper burials - - rather than letting nature have a shot at it. It was no surprise to me when I saw these gorgeous photos of animals she could have reached out and touched at our zoo. I forgot to mention that she has actually been removed from the premises in the past for this sort of behavior. I'm not sure if she's disrespectful or artist to the core. Maybe if I just went out and bought her a new camera, one with a really good zoom lens...but then she'd bring me pictures of the tartar on the teeth of the same mammals. I know this kid.

People often ask me why I put up with her....I made her. Best I can do is to try to understand the thought process, and to act before she does - - sometimes I'm successful. It does however, give me a reason to believe in Angels. She must have a few hoovering around at times, don't you think? I've often said that Caity will be seen flipping off the Devil when the Rapture comes, as she's carried away into the Heavens.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

57 Million For THAT?



(Very clearly NOT my picture)

57 Million? An English buyer paid 57 Million Dollars for this tiny 3 and 1/2 inch limestone sculpture, and oh, he couldn't' be more thrilled about it. Give me a piece of rock please...this is crazy. I know most of you are with me on this so I don't have to spell it out, but I have a few questions? First, where do you put a tiny little limestone lioness that was acquired for that kind of money? Where do you get the kind of money that allows you to pay that kind of money for a rock with a face and a pair of killer thighs?

They claim the statute is 5,000 years old and I know why - it was in the Bible! Oh, yeah - don't you remember the part about Daniel being in the lion's den and rather than being eaten up by them he decided to grab a chunk of the side of the den and carve out a statute that resembled the really ugly lioness so she'd feel better about him? NO? Then how in the heck does someone KNOW that this piece of stone was carved 5,000 years ago. You know there's a boy in Brooklyn laughing because his uncle Vinny made a few of these in the day, and this one didn't turn out so he buried it. I know the REAL reason Daniel wasn't eaten by the lions, God held their mouths...He sure would have held mine too if I had been at this particular auction! I would have been laughing.

Sotherby's was bragging about how the lioness brought in more money than the Artemus and the Stag sculpture from June. It only fetched 28 Million or so. Makes me feel as if I've entered a new dimension when I say that - - can you imagine the price of a cup of good coffee at Sotherby's? Something tells me I'm in the wrong business folks. I need to be digging. You can't you know, you can't just go over to Mesopotamia and bring your little shovel. Not anymore. Heck, that place has billions of dollars in revenue just waiting to be found - - maybe Oklahoma has something cool to sell? We had dinos here you know.

I can think of a few statues that could be viewed by millions on a daily that would be more impressive than this one - maybe the statue dedicated to our Disabled American Veterans. Again, give me a rock! I'll scrape on it for a while, come up with something monstrous that resembles an animal and sell it for something - - any buyers? Maybe I'll go overseas? Art is never appreciated in its own backyard.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sometimes Less is More

This morning I was blessed by Jim Deel and Linda Lattin as they asked me if they could use Faith's picture to represent a poem Jim has written for Linda's website. Linda was stricken with polio at the age of 2, and then in 1985 she was in a terrible car accident that left her in a coma. She stayed in the coma for more than 4 months and suffered greatly because of it. Linda and Jim do all they can do now to spread Linda's unique message of survival - though brain injured, she is quite capable of living a very full life, one that includes writing a book about her experiences. Her humor, drive, and perseverance have earned her the right to be called one of the bravest people on this planet.

Here is the poem written by Jim. I will also encourage you to go to Linda's site and to purchase her book if you can. This opportunity comes very rarely, indulge yourself, and get to know another beautiful soul. (Well, OK 2 beautiful souls, we'll count Jim in there as well! LOL) Love to you both.

Sometimes Less is More


So many times while deep in thought "I wish that I had more."
Things that other people had or things I'd seen in stores.
If only I had fame and fortune, all eyes would be on me,
and they wouldn't notice the limp I had, or my insecurity.

Then one day I saw a dog sitting up as though to beg
With a closer look I noticed she only had hind legs.
A happier dog I've never seen, as she hopped and jumped around:
yet each time someone petted her, it pushed her to the ground.

So happy, and excited, and oblivious to her plight;
It taught me it's how you feel and think that makes everything alright
My eyes are now wide open, like the eagle when it soars
but now I see what it can not see, that "sometimes less is more."

Poem by Jim Deel Copyright 2007. Linda Lattin. All rights

http://helpbraininjured.com

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Little Party In Your Mouth

I had the honor, the greatest of honors, to teach a bunch of new chefs how to spell culinary, and to know what the synonyms for ordinary kitchen lingo was when I taught General Ed courses at the Platt Culinary Arts and Sciences College. They, on the flip side, taught me several magical things that I will never forget. One of the master chefs, (Ken) told me that mixing up tastes that customarily would sound or smell like they wouldn't go together on an ordinary day can turn your taste buds into rockets and put a little party in your mouth. He was talking about an apple and tomato salsa spread that just blew the doors off of anything I sampled at the holiday celebrations in 2003.

I'm making a little cranberry ginger chicken tonight for dinner. I have a date, a close friend, and rather than just impress I want to astound. I thought about calling one of my former students over and actually paying him to cater, but he told me not to. He said he'd walk me through it. He would be my teacher this time. Cranberry ginger chicken, roasted if you have a spit, baked if you don't. Adding the skins of a cranberry can be virtually impossible if you don't shred them first through a juicer, and doing so makes you a little pile of silt that you can use for a few things: add them to your oatmeal, sprinkle them on your salad, and in my case tonight, mix it up with a bit of olive oil, ginger, garlic, and clove to present the masterpiece that could have been a simple picture.

I've never been shy when it comes to experimentation, why let kitchen be any different than any other room in the house? Dress up, splurge a little, get the wine you put up last week because you didn't think you were worth that extra buck, and grab a bag of life by the horns...or berries. You choose. When I set the dinner table with the traditional holiday flatware I was so super happy that I went the extra yard and bought a few candles, fluff and stuff to make a centerpiece, and a little silver plate to make things really pop. Friends deserve the best from us, even if it's just a little shake of the ginger, or a glow of the candle - make someone feel that much special and put a little party in their mouth.

Finding the right sides to go with the chicken wasn't hard at all, anything pales to it, so you have a great excuse to be a bit traditional where the veggies are concerned - but dessert? Well, that's another story. Orange creme brulee..he had to walk me through that one too. I'm glad I gave that kid a good grade back in the day, he could soooo have screwed me on the evening's events. Thanks Brandon.

Shaving and Not Shaving

How long can I go without actually shaving my legs? I've never really had to think about that one before. I wondered about that this past month when I had a Staph infection and my doctor told me not to shave if I didn't have to because it could actually spread the Staph when I sat in the bathtub "easing" the area. She said if I shaved I could cut myself, open up an area of invitation to the staph. Wow, since that's true, it goes without saying that Staph gets invited to places no one else does! (a little celibate humor that's all, I'm over it.)

I am actually of the mind set that women shouldn't have to shave, but we do shave, and we usually shave for other women. I think it's a habit really. We do it because we were told to do it. We fought our moms to be allowed to, now it's just a habit. We don't really want to. We don't shave for men. We only do that when we're dating; and/or on the occasion that we may decide to spontaneously strip down in public and jump into a fountain or something. Women shave for other women so we can show off how great we look, or how stylish, perhaps how sleek - or to catch a man I suppose, that would be another reason to shave for a while. We shave for the doctors don't we? Oh yeah, if we think we're dressing down in one of those little backward gowns, you can bet we'll visit the waxer at the salons too. We'll do anything and everything not to appear nasty and all manly for the one person we may see one time in five years.

My Greek friend is hilarious. We'll be sitting around her house and I'll catch her rubbing her leg under the table. I don't even pretend I've lost something, I just duck my head down under the top of the table to see what she's doing. She's carrying on a conversation, but she'll switch off her hands left for a while, then right, back to the left, all the while the other hand is clearly moving around. I notice most often that she's petting her hairy leg! What are you doing? I asked her while laughing...Oh, she said, "I love to pet something, I don't know, the dog is over there and my leg was right here!" I fell off the chair. I'm almost Greek at this point, I haven't quite got the volume, but I'm going for the length I think.

Staph can change a person's outlook on life. Good. Bad. I don't know. Maybe I'll become what CSI Grissom called a naturalist...they collect pine cones too don't they? I don't have any really tall trees near by. I'll have to be an urban naturalist.

It's Official: I am OLD

(not my picture)

I actually put off buying a pill organizer for two very vain reasons. One, I thought it was something old people did, and if I succumbed to buying one I was in fact admitting that I was older. The second (and even more vain)reason I put off buying one was they weren't that easy to open! Whenever I would assist my grandmother in opening her pill box I actually cut my thumb once. I broke a nail another time, and the thought never occurred to me that it may just be HER box that was defective. Since I only saw Grandma on Saturday and only opened Saturday's little compartment, it may very well have been the ONE section, the ONE lid of that ONE box was difficult - or it could be because the manufacturers don't really want little old people opening their boxes easily, making it a challenge for them - giving them something to conquer during their old, and mundane life.....wow, I was really dull.

I broke down. Yes I did. But, I only broke down because I take about 12 vitamins and minerals a day and got really tired of reaching for the bottles, opening the bottles, closing the bottles, shelving the bottles, and trying to remember on any given day if I remembered because I do so many other busy things. I'm constantly working, going, shopping, playing, talking, and it would be really late in the evening and my guru at the health food store was all in my face about about NOT taking vitamins and minerals after 3:00 p.m. (I don't know how the little pills do it, but they apparently tell time) She was all over me when I mentioned that I thought pill organizers were geriatric...she stared at me with her gray eyes, pulled back her gray hair, and told she could take me...right then, right there! I totally bought the purple box. My kids immediately snickered...I immediately ignored them. Vitamins and minerals kids, that's all I'm taking. (Unless they make a kid-be-gone pill then I'm all over that one)

OK, so Sunday is my day. I fill it up, I go about my day. I look in the cabinet now and see the nicely shelved bottles and I think to myself "Wow, I saved so much time and I actually get the fix I need." I say fix because I want to sound cool and make my body think I'm younger, hip, and you know...all that. My little purple box gives me hope in another way too - maybe I was wrong for thinking that pill organizers were for grandmas and grandpas, at least I'm not in the BenGay commercials, or being honored by AARP for a lifetime achievement award....oops, that was mean. Congrats to Gary Sinise, Gladys Knight and Caroline Kennedy for their beautiful efforts. They are being honored today by AARP for some really really great contributions. You can see the issue at: www.aarp.com (Hey Gary, what color is your little box?)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

BCS - Big (12) Conferene Sooners!

(not my picture)

I've said it before, but it warrants me saying it again - I may move to Chicago, but I will never give up my Crimson! OU Baby! OU! If we'd only been able to see a little of the tunnel's light during the first 3 quarters of the Texas Tech game a couple (three) weeks ago, BAM! We'd be on our way to another (another) Sooner National Championship - Division 1 Football; that's what I'm talkin' about! BOOMER SOONER! Reuben had to go back to Alaska today and he missed the game. We would text, or I would call and leave a message every time something happened. He was in between flights texting, calling, getting scores. At one point (half time) when it was tied at 14, he was at the Anchorage airport about to board for Fairbanks and gave out one of those Oklahoma disappointment calls - you know the one, sounds like TRUCK...but starts with another letter. Security looked up - Reuben pointed to his hoodie, the guy nods...understood. But, in the end, as he landed, before he stepped off the plane he was on the phone asking "Did we win? Tell me we won!" 38-17 Baby Boy! 38-17!

I was asked tonight what a Sooner was - someone obviously passing through our state didn't know. My answer to him was this : It's a winner! Someone who chooses to win! Now he'll go back to Arizona or some other place and tell someone who may or may not correct him. I feel bad now....no I don't! What a GAME, did you see it? You heard it first, all over the airwaves, all day long you heard the Mizzou Tiggers and their animal handlers talking trash and carrying that big fat stick around, pumping it in their hands and saying how they were going to the BCS...BCS stands for Big 12 Conference SOONERS - Don't forget it. Back to Back to Back to BACK....maybe I over spoke that one, but close enough.

What a week for OU too; we retired Boomer and Sooner our 15 year old ponies that pulled the mascot's Sooner Schooner around the field(s) every time OU scored a touchdown! They ran more than 20 miles over the course of their rein (no pun intended) - - they declined to make the trip to Texas for the Big 12 claiming it wasn't in their contract - True Sooners they are: if you don't HAVE to go to Texas, you don't! People say horses are stupid; these guys have people, whose people have people....and they're signing autographs and selling locks of their manes for charity I understand...great little ponies.

Not only did we have the big retirement party, but we had Senior night, one of the largest tailgate parties in the country during the Oklahoma / Oklahoma State Bedlam series (we won 49 to 21 by the way just in case you're a Cowboy fan) The trip to San Antonio proves we can beat the Tigers on another playing field, they were complaining a bit after we doused them earlier in the year - even with our over 100 yards of stupid and immature penalties, even with our best runner out of the game, and even with our Quarterback being wrongfully overlooked for the Heisman when he BEAT OUT every other contender for the prize - we beat them at the Alamo! Grab a big fat long horn steer - - Let's BBQ! TEXAS STYLE!

On to the Fiesta Bowl, on to the next season....Thanks Bob, and thanks to the team, the coaches, the staff, the trainers, the cheerleaders, and most of all....to the MOMS and the DADS who made those little boys and then you grew them up to be the BEST! BOOMER SOONER!!!