Friday, February 29, 2008

My Favorite Color is Brown (Ghirardelli Dark Brown to be Precise)

I have always been a fan of the color brown. My first and favorite memories are of my dog Rover (Yes, his real name was Rover). He was, like my current dog Matrix, half Beagle and 1/2 Dachshund. He had the voice of a lion, the heart of a warrior, and against his tu-tone brown and tan body I would prop my head for hours and either read to him or pretend that he and I were on a mission to Mars, perhaps a foreign country, and sometimes he talked about the people on the Moon as if he had met them in person. Rover talked all the time - - but only to me. I have forever considered myself quite privileged for that.

They say that those of us who prefer the color brown to other more vibrant colors are earthy, we're natural and in some ways even materialist. I can see that. I also see where we're honest, up front, steadfast, but most of all, fiercely loyal to those we support. I understand that formations of other colors form in the earth, rocks abound, crystals, gems, foliage and brilliant floral - all nestled in or being rooted first in rich soils; browns. I relate to that feeling of being the one to hold onto the bright and electric colors of my family.

Reuben is a zany orange though he'd fight me on that one because both of his nemesis teams, the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas University Longhorns boast variant oranges in their school colors - nevertheless, my son is a zapping, blasting, up and grab it for sheer life brilliant sunrise - never a setting glow with purples, but busting the dawn's horizon with as much fire as possible. He'll agree with one thing: he has one strategy when it comes to winning and that is to bulldoze through whatever it is that stands in his way - he is a force of energy.

Laura is a glowing, sparkling, shiny, almost transparent Emerald. She was even born in May, which is quite suited for her. Her ambitions only slowly grow, taking their time to fully bloom in order to be purposely enjoyed at every stage. Nothing speeds my Laura up, but she is steady, rocks along, gathering colors, gathering strength, gathering full height before reaching out with everlasting branches of so many directions, all flowering, all delicate, all picturesque.

Caity could be nothing if not a rainbow of every single spectrum under our Sun. She radiates with blue horizons, teems with glorious white fire, and stews in her deeper purples of passionate anger from time to time - often exploding into a gleaming galaxy of starry golds and illuminated pixie dusts. Pixie dust that shimmers every which way and you're not sure if you just saw green or silver, but you're sure it wasn't yellow; that much you know. She is never ever yellow.

I don't mind being the brown, being their strength, giving them life. I don't have one problem with them standing on me, through me, holding on with their tentacles of life - what I do mind is being neglected. Please, remember to water me from time to time, and NO REUBEN that doesn't give you permission to piss on my garden or stomp on the water puddle outside my car door...just love me a bit, and keep me in your liquid prayers.

Being a brown lover I can easily be spotted in the mall buying things that go in my home, I'm not a do-it-yoursefer but I do buy too many sets of sheets, comforters, anything for the bedroom. Being a Scorpio keeps my attention in that room mostly; being a lover of brown makes me both sensual and natural...should be good for someone in the future, huh?

What else could make the brown connection in my heart and head? I drink a lot of coffee. I still climb trees; maybe there's something in that - maybe because my strict diet includes as much chocolate as I want has something to do with my intense and intimate feelings for brown...or it could be, just maybe, that I really am earthy, naturalistic, preferring not to wear make up and to dance by the fire. Someone out there knows why - it makes me feel comfortable. I like that in me, and I won't change - not even for a Heavenly azure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not So Close, But On the Trail

My daughter Laura and I usually play the lottery twice a week. I call it my twice-a-week contribution to the educational programming of our state. Not that I truly believe much of my $2.00 ($4.00 weekly) goes toward the educational path of any of the students in Oklahoma, but I like to believe that I can put a little faith in the word of our politicians - - just a little.

Well, let me tell you how close we came today to winning over $133,000,000 - - not so close! I mentioned to Laura that I was going out to get a ticket or two, and she jumped at the chance to make up a few guesses, good guesses, and to come up with something that would simply have to win. There must be a systematic way, a reasoning behind the numbers drawn, pulled, or chosen - - there has to be, right? I mean after all the shaking, rolling, bumping around in a big bin, there must be some sort of mathematical equation someone could come up with -- or just dumb luck. We'll go wit that. Laura thought about her numbers and she came up with them: 5, 17, 23, 25, 53, and the powerball number of 33. At the same time she was coming up with her numbers on the couch, I was making up my own numbers at the dining room table. We were about 15 feet apart, and I couldn't see her numbers and she couldn't see mine. I came up with: 2, 11, 17, 22, 53, and the powerball of 1. I won't tell you my algorithm how I came up with those particular me, I'd look like a geek for telling you.

Off I went to the store, I wrote out the numbers, I paid the man, I even bought cigars just in case. Afterall, we had 2 numbers come up the exact same, and then look at the first number. I said 2, she said 5. That's not far off. She said 23, I said 22....that's close. We must have been thinking on nearly the same, that's a scary thought. So...after waiting and waiting, and waiting...what were the numbers? Well - 20, 24, 37, 48, and 53....and the powerball was 11. But, if you think about it, we got 53! Herbie! We both said 53, and we both love Herbie the Lovebug...Laura looks like Lindsay, and I owned 11 white Volkswagens between 1980-1986. (Told you I was a geek)

OK SO WHAT..I didn't win. Not that big of a deal. What's $133,000,000 anyway, not much in today's economy. Not after you think of the buy out of only $79,000,000 and then tax on that being another $22,000,000 - I'd end up with just around $57,000,000 and that would just about cover the cost of a good education, a house, a couple of cars, maybe a vacation, a little nest, actually, I could think of a lot of things I could do with that money! My kids would have no problem helping me spend it either. I would hope that I would have the wherewithal to at least NOT tell anyone I had actually won until the money was safely invested. My mom told me once that if I won a large sum of money someone would steal my kids and demand ransom - RANSOM, that was a good movie...I liked the bad guy, had a great voice. Anyway...back to the kids. Sure, someone might try; but it would only mean one thing. I wouldn't have to split the money with the brats and I could go to Europe and start over! Completely over!

Oh, I'm joking, you know I am..I'll probably never get the chance to actually pay someone any real money for my kid's return, but if that Jimmy guy shows up demanding something of me, I'm totally giving in. (She smiles an evil sort of wicked little smile that says so much without actually opening her mouth much.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

SUCH a Troublemaker I Am.

I guess it's just in my blood to be a bit daring at times, but today was just amazing on the part of the Zoo official that just about got himself arrested for sexual harassment and/or physically touching me when he asked me to "follow him, this way" to his cart. LET ME BACK UP - I go to the Oklahoma City Zoo about a dozen times a month between the months of March and November, this being the end of February, and a near perfect Zoo day, I decided to start my Zoo trekking a bit early - after all, it's been more than 3 weeks since I've walked it's (my) 2.5 mile personal fitness training track. When I go to the zoo with my kids I walk it twice, Laura observes the animals and Caity breaks as many physical and written laws as possible without killing herself, or bringing any harm to any least she tries.

I had something with me, something I NOW KNOW is considered contraband, and you just can't bring one into the public zoo. I had a little six-week old puppy, and I was carrying her in the bend of my arm. I was wearing a large sweatshirt, and around my shoulder I had one of those baby-bags that women often carry their brats in to keep them close and keep them quite. My baby wasn't crying, she wasn't screaming, she wasn't making noise at all, but a certain power tripper (I won't say his name as I don't wish him to be harmed by anyone) came up to me at the Oklahoma Trails and demanded (flashlight or stick in hand) that I leave immediately, I was a security threat, and the animal in my possession was unlawfully present. WHATEVER...I'm sorry, I could have been so mean and called him an idiot, but there were children present - Oh, let me re-state that: there were children climbing on the fence of the buffalo, and children throwing rocks at our State animal, with their FATHER's help...THAT SIR is a threat, and THAT sir, is a reason to bring out your stick! (OK, I'm OK)

I nodded to the man. I explained that I would be leaving immediately, that I would need to call my daughters and have them meet me at the gate. He began to approach me in a very unnecessary manner, with his hands raised and waving the stick...I couldn't see if it was a flashlight, he had it held funny. I told him to back off, I was leaving...and I pulled out my cell. Normally I don't speak poorly or bitterly at or about people, I really don't. I am not a petty person. I told him I was leaving, I even told him I was leaving immediately but he came within inches of grabbing my arm. The man with him, an assistant I think, grabbed his arm and said "(his name) come on, she's leaving, and it's not that big of a deal." To which the MORON claimed that I may be trying to throw the puppy to the cougar, or the bears. He didn't know if I was one of those crazies...well, we all know HE IS ONE of those crazies, now don't we? I called my agent and pretended he was my attorney. He went along with me, and the man backed off. The other guy apologized, and said "She's gonna call that in, we need to be sure you get out of here without making a bigger problem." Thank you 2nd man, I never got your name.

Oh, and I guess there's a Pet Hotel at the Zoo, didn't know, but the first guy, the moron, he said, and I quote "I'm taking you straight to the hotel, NOW, get in my cart." He failed to say PET Hotel, and I guess my face was rather shocked, because a random patron and her elderly father then approached to say "Sir, you are really out of control, please, back off and let this woman leave, she's trying to leave." My agent was concerned of course, but I assured him it was OK, the guy was finally leaving and I was able to get by him and his assistant to give the puppy and my keys to Laura so I could wait on Caity to get around the kids who were throwing rocks at the BISON...our state animal...did I say that already? I thanked the random woman, and I asked her to call and complain if she had time. She said she would. I did.

I apologized for bringing in the puppy. I clearly understand that some of the animals have keen smelling powers and may have picked up on the puppies scent, it may have stressed them - I won't do it again...but I will be damned if I will be wrangled like that by a power-tripping old geezer whose thrill of the week was to attempt to hoist someone out of the zoo. If I hadn't had dozens of witnesses to back me up, I would have found myself explaining his unfortunate demise had he come any closer. I have been watching that Israeli assassin trainer woman on cable...back off Mr. Power Tripper, I have elbows and knees!

Next time someone tells you to follow them, be sure to take a friend. Think with your insurance - at least get his name and call his supervisor to attend the escort. That was my next move, but thanks to the zoo patrons and his own co-worker I was able to leave the zoo with my 1 pound threatening pooch and live to blog about it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Don't Get It People - He's OUT THERE Defending YOU.

(MY SON is the one smiling)

OUR U.S. Army has some really strange and unusual ways of showing us how well they know what they are doing with our sons and daughters. Given half a chance I would have at least taken the time to explain to one of his recruiters that my son really shouldn't be trusted with loaded weapons. I would have explained to them that ANYONE who laughs when he breaks his leg, giggles when he breaks someone else's body, and has been kicked of CHURCH teams for rough conduct unbecoming a Christian team player, shouldn't be given live ammunition...often.

Here I am lying in my bed at night praying to an Almighty God to not only protect my son, but people, I'm praying for you too. This is a boy that has driven his TANK to Walmart on the streets of Alaska - getting there was no problem, he told me. Getting out of the parking lot was tricky because of all the people who had gathered around to see it once he arrived. WHY would a man drive his tank to a local store you ask? He was told to get some supplies and according to the Sgt that told him to do it, he "He didn't care how I did it, Mom!" To Reuben that means "take your tank if you have to" and he did. Same kid that only had 2,000 or so Lego soldiers in his collection so when he created Gettysburg in my living room in 1997 he was forced to re-kill the men over and over and over again in order to meet the required 51,000+ deaths that took place over three days in the hot July sun in took my son 4 days I think to kill them all because he kept praying over them when they died. "Go with God", "God loves you." "See you in Heaven", |Oops, not you, you bastard - you're going to HEEEEELLLL", and then the next time he killed that particular soldier he let him reside eternally in paradise. You have to be realistic he told me.

Guns. My son has guns. HELLO someone gave my son guns. REAL GUNS...OK, I'm over it. It's just that, well - he's rather clumsy at times, he has huge feet - and he steps on things. He falls a lot, he trips, he throws people when he's not suppose to, and...I'm a mom and I worry, is that so hard to understand? He's my only baby boy, and dammit, someone gave him a gun to play with...several from the looks of it. I hold the Army responsible...maybe someone will teach him how to use them correctly? Here I spent years telling him NOT to point guns at people, and they go and screw all of that hard training up - and encourage him to do it! They probably expect him to shoot people too! Why didn't I just have a bunch of girls? Oh wait...I remember...never mind, I go broke buying shoes already.

I love you Baby Boy...please, don't pull that trigger when it's pointing at your pretty head! (Are you insured?) LOL

You Are What You Eat - How Nice.

Take the challenge. Come on, it doesn't hurt, but it will possibly change your life or at least your eating habits, which could change your life. I remember seeing myself on the Montel Show and I weighed over 200 pounds. I didn't much liked what I saw, no I wasn't any taller that day than I am this day, but after losing over 60 pounds I can tell you there were changes that had to take place changes.

I will throw in a word of caution: It was the drastic food changes and the overt exercising that I was forcing on myself that may very well have caused my gall bladder to freak out and form an unwanted and very difficult to live with stone. I was literally on a road to challenge and the my body was responding in both good and bad ways. Where I did lose weight, felt better, slept better, ate and seemed healthier than I have ever been in my ... well, since my early adult years; I was also forcing my body to assimilate probably too quickly and it retaliated in a very aggressive manner. I have the scar to prove it....but the only thing I would change is the time I lost the weight in. However, if I could jump into a time machine I would (a) never say hello to my ex, (b) adopt the last two children from whomever gave birth to them since I couldn't, having never said hello to my ex, and (c) I would never have started the weight gain - which followed having the last two children, so see...having said hello in the first place could very well be blamed. Or, I could actually take full responsibility, and go with that.

We tend to go grocery shopping at the same places we've been shopping, and we tend to buy the same products, in the same manner we've always done it. Why? Why are we that way? Why do we force fatness and unhealthy foods down our own throats if we know full well that these foods will only end up in our middle section, our butts, our thighs, and under our arms? Are we that ignorant? Don't answer that, we are...we really are.

So, go to your cabinet, your refrigerator, your pantry and do this. Separate all the healthy and nutritious foods from the foods saturated with fat, carbs, and/or sodium. When you've got 90% of your food on one side, pray they resemble vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. If you're like me and had sugary cereals, donuts (for the kids) ice cream and heavy fatted dairy products - claiming they weren't THAT bad, you're in the same boat many of us were in before we jumped ship and decided, yes DECIDED to live a better life for ourselves. One without gall stones if you're doing it a little more carefully than I did. Take a full 4 weeks to lose 3 pounds, push the water, push the 30-minutes a day exercise, and sleep a full 8 hours every day. EVERY DAY.

OK, so what am I today? I'm a roast beef sandwich on whole grain bread with spicy French mustard, low fat Swiss cheese and lots of black olives. What does that say about me as a person? That some things barely change. The difference between my favorite sandwich now as opposed to THEN, back THEN when I was large and apparently NOT in charge of my health...the only changes are: The olives are black not green. I'm not even sure that makes a difference...but I prefer the ripe olives now, and I probably don't add as many as I used to, they can have a full content of fat themselves.

Some of the really bad things I found in my own pantry when I took the BBC sponsored challenge in 2007 were: Sugary cereals, I now eat Total or Special K. I had Campbell's regular soups which have 900 grams of sodium, go with the lower levels, and if you can, just dump their water and add your own, that cuts sodium out by leaps and bounds. I remember seeing snacks; potato chips, cookies, cakes in plastic wrap. Listen, if it's in an individually wrapped piece of plastic, chances are it's not good for you. I had boxed pizza (for the kids when I couldn't be there, but I ended up eating them.) I had peanut butter (not reduced fat) and frozen pot-pies and/or meals that have more fat grams than a Big Mac. Believe me, you want to check out the fat grams of a Big Mac before you pull up to that drive in window again...don't do it. You are a better person, you have it in you to go to Subway or to demand that McDonald's starts serving better food. (Oh, here's a thought...cook it yourself at home with the family, and have less trash to throw away.) Now I'm just preaching.

So, we are what we eat...thank God that doesn't change. If I had to go back I wouldn't. I would simply choose to die. I won't subject YOU to my way, but just looking at the cheesecakes in the bakery window used to cause my mind and body to salivate, not anymore...I see flags waving in front of me screaming "Fatty Pills, Fatty Pills, step away from the deli immediately. There is very little that can help you in this corner of the store. Find peace, love, joy, and contentment in the produce!" OK, so drinking grapefruit juice doesn't appeal to you, something will - but what does it say about me because I do? I'm sour I guess, maybe a little big headed, colorful, sweet but tart, perhaps even a little off the beaten path. I can take that...I'm just still trying to figure out why I've always loved olives on my sandwiches.

OK, I'm not saying you have to throw away all the foods with fat in them. Don't eat so much, that's all. Replace the butter with "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" and take ONE cookie from the box; you really can do that, it's allowed. One of the biggest shocks of our lives these days is the size of a real portion of food. We supersize everything and we actually believe in our heads (for no reason) that a hamburger patty is suppose to be 1/3 it's not. It's suppose to be 1/6 of a pound actually; daily recommended amounts are amazingly small compared to what you and I demand of our restaurants. If it were me, if I were King/Queen for the day, I would outlaw buffets. I really would. Next would be the fast food restaurants. They could be open on Saturdays only from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. and they could only serve one burger to a customer. You'd have to get a stamp each time you bought one too.

I'm a meany huh? I just think, no, I know, that our country is really fat. We are the fat Americans, and it won't stop unless we do it for ourselves. When the lawmakers in Mississippi teased us last month with the possibility of outlawing obese people in restaurants I laughed. How can a government do that? What would the standard be? Who would govern it? Who would write them up if they served the overly large customer, and whose to say they wouldn't just find a loophole. We're lazy creatures most of the us, and most of the time we take a path of least resistance. least do this: Go look at your grocery list, your pantry, or next time you go shopping stop and think before putting something in the basket....just do your family and yourself a favor and think first. (Oh, and you can't use the excuse that your family won't eat it if it's healthy...YOU'RE the parent.) LOL...mine tried that, they starved. I won.

Lightweight Drinker Despite What You May Read

When I re-read several of my latest blogs I realized that I had mentioned drinking in about four or five of them. Anyone out there with an active imagination could possibly get the idea that I have a drinking problem; and that wouldn't be fair. I mean, I actually do have a drinking problem in that I can't drink more than two good shots of anything without crawling into bed with my dog and going to sleep with him wrapped up tightly in my arms. He being part Dachshund prefers to be under the covers at the foot of the bed, and not being squeezed. The Beagle in him tells him to run for the hills, at least I have my faithful pillows in these cases. They never fight back.

Here's the ugly, bald-faced truth about me and my drinking problem. I was about twenty when I decided to have a drink - and it knocked me out. There I was sleeping on the couch of a good friend and I woke up to her reading me stories out of a magazine; I think she thought I was paying attention. She was up walking around holding the neck of the bottle, and it may have been a second bottle in fact, but I was only able to open my eyes half way and I was thinking about becoming intimate with the toilet...after ONE lousy tequila shot.

It has improved, I can do two now. I'm older, I have built up my resistance, and let me tell you - if I've had something to eat I can think, yes think about doing a third glass of wine but that's as far as it goes. My mind can entertain my body, my spirit can use up all the images I can conjure and I am the life of any party whatsoever as long as I'm tossing back something that hasn't been fermented. I can apple juice the best of them, and when it comes to 100% white grape one holds more than me. Don't even give that look kid, I will nail you to the floor with my ability to put back the fruit.

So, when I say I cook with wine, or I drink when I dance, or even that I grab a bottle of rum and write - that is EXACTLY what I'm doing....writing while holding the neck of a bottle that may be full but I'm not able to empty it. I can dream. I can think. I can pretend, I can even act - - I just can't actually drink it because the ink in my pen starts to wander off and I find myself curled up with the dog again; waking up to friends laughing at me for being such a wussy. Hey, I didn't make me. I just experimented to the point that I realize through trial and error (mostly error) where I am, who I am, what I can and what I cannot do. At least I'm honest. (Oh, but I'm bold in my writing aren't I? Hardcore, tough, on the edge, and over the top friend.) I'm...I'm...a lightweight.

Now beer, that's another story. I can't do one without putting it down because of taste. I reserve the right to have as many 1/2 beers as I can take - after 1/2 I'm looking for something to get that taste out of my mouth fast. Beer is for boys; that's my new motto. Beer is for boys!

Erotica Kills Me - But I Won!

Yes, even a good natured, moral, upstanding, outstanding mother of three can have those moments where she simply has to write things out that perhaps she'd rather be physically experiencing...and when I do I tend to make myself giggle too much in public so I tend to write closer to home on those days. That didn't happen yesterday.

Last night my good friend and I were at Starbucks when she decided to tell me some of the more intimate things that she and her husband have been trying. They've been married too long (her words) and they were just about to end everything when she thought maybe sex would be the magical key to unlock the doors that have long been closed off for the two of them. Naturally, or perhaps not so naturally, I was the one she chose to engage in conversation about it because she felt that she had to tell someone and maybe get an suggestion....or two, or three...I'm always up for a good suggestion. I just don't seem to have the man in my life to do the experimentation (dammit).

This is my freelance, free-writing, English-teaching friend that I call my other Pyrate. We get together every once in a while and force her chef husband to make whatever we want, we treat him like crap and believe it or not, he loves it. We smoke cigars, drink straight rum from the bottle and play Nickelback, Creed, Tom Petty, something harder than Bee Gees, and we throw caution and the skull and bones to the wind. Even our flag was pirated - it fell out of the back of a truck once when we were following a team bus with the Pirate mascot - gotta keep that. We fly it when we can, we eat well, write out things NO ONE should read, but we try our best to do so out loud and the first one to laugh has to drink from the other girl's bottle, backwash and all. (I never said we were decent during these nights, in fact, we get kinda nasty trying to out do the other. Which, if you're into linguistics and you both have your Masters in the English language, can be a feat!)

There we were, sitting in Starbucks, when quite like a scene from "When Harry Met Sally", my Niki starts telling me things I don't really think I want to imagine happening between she and her Bostonian wharf man chef of a husband. Please...make it stop! She went on, and she wouldn't lower the volume. It was as if she were literally calling me out to one-up her, but she knew I wouldn't, actually couldn't, I'm working on my 9th year of celibacy (dammit) and the only thing I have going for me is my pen...that didn't come out correctly, did it? OK...what I mean is, I have the written word; and I NEVER back out of a dare or challenge. She sat still, very still, and the smile of a seasoned sea-dog crept across her face as her eyes lowered and her wink was unmistakable.

Fine! Over the next three minutes or so the two of us scribbled and drew out words using a method of free writing where anything and everything must be written down. You can't hold anything in your head, everything must be put on paper. After our alloted time we swapped notebooks and began writing out whatever freakish sexual fantasies we could come up with using the other girl's words, and of course we often remember our own, interacting and exchanging them for what will become our weapon of words to use against one another in a war that can only be won by silence. (Just so you know, we are allowed to bite our cheeks in order to stop the laugh. I've actually stuffed a credit card in my mouth at one time, but the smoke and embers came blowing out the sides of my mouth when things got too hot - and I lost.

I did NOT lose this time. When I was finished she and Eric had NOTHING on Gary and I. (poor man, he really has no idea how talented he is in my mind) I couldn't stop writing and even with my grace period of an extra two minutes she wouldn't stop me from finishing everything that was both probably in my head as well as my blood, but since I have this particular unwanted restriction on myself, I really can't offer up more than the pen can explain...but as we know, the pen is so much more mightier than the sword, or in this case - reality sex. I would love to write out for you what my good friend read last night at Starbucks - - it would help you perhaps to understand both my frustration of not having a man, and not having a good publisher. I would be sooooo freakin' rich if I would just sit down and finish the book on erotica that lingers in my head most of the day, but alas I am bound.

The deed done, the reward given, Niki's shriek was clearly enough to crown me writing queen for the night...and she had to gulp down part of a quad shot espresso with half and half while I thought of what I wrote, and an another taste all together. Maybe I'll just change my name and write a little harder than expected of a sweet, well mannered woman who travels the world with a dog and a smile.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Midwest Myth Meets California Cuisine

This is funny. I was having dinner last night in Los Angeles with a friend of mine who like me, is from the Midwest. (Well, I'm from Oklahoma, more of the Northeastern portion of the Southwest, or the Southwestern portion of the Midwest, but you understand.) We were having a home cooked meal (me cooking, him standing around the crowded kitchen pouring more wine because I answered in the affirmative when he asked I you "cook with wine", silly me.) We had plans to invite his kid over so we could meet, apparently his son (who has a very strange name, so I'll call him Sid)is a MySpace friend of my daughter Caity's for reasons boys become friends with girls on line...he saw her pictures.

I purposely chose what I thought would be a great light and easy fix; I threw together a spinach and mushroom risotto - yes, I usually end up being the little Italian in my (or someone else's) kitchen because there is just so many choices and it always turns out good. You don't really use any meat with a spinach and mushroom risotto which was absolutely peachy with the boy, but the man, well - men like meat. He told me so. "Where's the meat in this thing?" he asked while he dug threw it with the end of the spatula...searching for sausage or maybe a little grilled chicken.

"No meat." I explained as I drank a little red reserve - trying not to make direct eye contact. This guy's green eyes orb through me and I can't stand up straight when he does that for much longer than a second or two. Telling him that there would be no meat in his dinner felt sort of like he was going to be staring for a while - waiting for me to either explain myself, or at least go back through his refrigerator to settle the matter before we actually sat down without candles; Sid insisted we do this without candles. Girls like candles.

Half way through the meal I finally coughed a little cough and looked up after feeling my foot being pressured from the other side of the table. The talk thus far had been coming from Sid, who not only loved the dish but wanted to know every minute detail about my daughter, who by the way is a vegetarian by choice but not fully committed as she has promised her Army-bound big brother that she will, in his honor, eat chicken once a month. Because my foot was being pinched I looked up to see two green eyes attached to a pirate's smile on a face I find too adorable to turn away from most of the time. "I made it for Sid." I answered. "Dad, chill out, you don't always have to kill something OK?" Green eyes shifted "I don't have to kill anything, I buy it dead and I happen to think children born in California may not have the full story; maybe they're just purposely depriving themselves for a cause that really doesn't make sense." I laughed at that one.

Pulling my feet under my chair I giggled..."I'll throw a piece of steak in the cake if you like." Midwestern man smiled, took a big meatless bite of his risotto and told me I was lucky he wasn't full Italian. I would live another day. This is good news...and when the boy isn't around maybe I will even feast on a little meat myself, and this time I'll light candles....girls like candles.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rocks in my Pocket!

The Bible really is a cool source of information - even today in our altogether attitudes of "I don't need anyone, I can do this"; the Bible can show you something that you may never have realized was there in the first place, and it was there thousands of years before you. (That was a really long sentence, and as a professor of English I may need to revisit it to see if I could possibly shorten it.)

I have always been a naturalist and I have always believed in the power of nature. If you ask me, I think the Native Americans have a real connection with God through their worship; not so sure what we would call the pagans don't have one as well. They may have missed the mark by worshiping earthy things rather than using the Earth to worship, but they may actually be trying to do the right thing. I'll never judge them. I may try to guide one or two - but I couldn't possibly judge. Follow me on this one. When I was really very small, too young to read in fact, I was climbing over a fence about a mile from my house in order to look at dead bones and artifacts that literally lay around the land and in the sides of the hills that were near a creek bed. Later I was told that the land was an old Indian burial ground. It was a good thing I never took something from it; not that I would have been cursed, but I would have taken away from the glory of the land.

When the government took over the land and plowed up and under everything that was in it I felt sorry for the people who once lived there, but somewhat understood the need to move on. I don't believe all of them have moved on - the land was turned into a park which today remains virtually empty. No one plays there, no one picnics there, no one goes there - I think I know why. The land itself requires that. You have to know a place like that. Gettysburg is a place like that. Very quiet, but it's the silence that reverberates in your ears forever. The Bible says that "Even the rocks will call out to Him if we do not."

I began a new spiritual journey at the age of 6. I decided to listen to the land. I would sit for hours and listen to the area around me, being alone wasn't scary in 1968 - - I began another habit. I began collecting rocks. I would pick up a rock from a place that was special to me, a place that was unique, or a place that had a real meaning. I would leave the rocks where they were if the place was harsh, or if it held a bad experience for me. Something about having the rock with me was comforting if it came from a good place - frightening if it came from a sad or scary place (such as the courthouse when I lost my kids on an error of the court. I left the rocks where they lay.)

In my pocket I keep 5 colored stones for a reason. I don't always have them, so if you stop me on the street and ask to see them you may not be an audience to them, but I do keep them most of the time. I pray with them. If they're going to call on God's name and for His assistance I want to be there. These are very special rocks. I suppose if you were to go out and buy these rocks, as I did, you would spend only a dollar or two, but they are blessed and I chose them with care. Each rock is colored to meet the birthstone colors for my children and I, and there is one more. Because this man, this man that I love and chose to pray for, was born in the same birth month of my son, he also has a blue stone (March), but his is a deeper blue, he's much much older...oh, so very much older, he's so old...just kidding. I just thought I'd be mean to him for a second, but he's too precious - - my heartfelt apologies.

I hold the rocks, I pray individually for the person they represent. I start with me, the yellow stone. I was born in November and it was the closest to citrine. I need the prayers first and most as I am the one I know screws up the most, and I am the one I have to straighten out first before I can possibly ask God to help the others. I use my own words, but I also call upon God to remember Jabez and how he prayed, asking for blessings, doubled blessings, protection and for his (my) territory to be increased. I leave it up to God as to what He chooses to increase. If I asked specifically I could fall trap to conceit...I do that. I'm rather human at times.

After I pray for me I pray for the kids, and for their protection, their wisdom, their decision making, their blessings. I stand back and see where my prayers have been answered. For the man, oh, I take a lot of time praying over him. He will not only need to know he is loved, he will need to accept that. It isn't always easy for one to do and it certainly isn't human to just give in. God does a much better job at guiding than I do - I couldn't make a star to navigate even one sailor, He did it a few more times. Stars are rocks too.

I only mention the rocks because we need to be aware of them - we use them, discard them, mount them in gold and platinum. We throw them, sometimes back into the water from where they came from perhaps, and often times we blow up mountains and crush the rocks to make streets and bridges. Can you take one minute just one minute to think of the songs or the prayers that must be going on all around you? When you can, sing with them. Listen to the land.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tastey! Just Kidding.

I had to laugh this weekend when a local popular Chinese restaurant manager stopped me by the cashier, pulled me to the side, and said that he had a picture of my dog on his office wall. One of his vendors, who apparently didn't know who Faith was, was upset because the dog in the picture didn't have legs - the manager of the restaurant had placed a little caption under Faith's picture that read "Great Dog". The vendor made an obvious connection given the often times misrepresented myths about cultural differences between American and Chinese eating customs. The manager didn't understand at first, but when the vendor threatened to never do business with him again he asked her why she was so upset. When she SCREAMED at him for what she thought was blatant he finally comprehended what would be so disturbing to her. He told me he laughed, and then explained to her that he was not suggesting that anyone had eaten part of my dog, but that she really was a great know and love.

I would have been upset with the manager too if I thought there was anything to it. Just a misunderstanding, but one he giggled about later when he saw me in his restaurant. He said he has posted Faith's picture and YouTube to everyone he knows in China to show them what it is like to show courage in times of hardness and what he called trouble, for that I thank him.

I posted this picture to show you that Faith is a bit on the spoiled side most of the time - if it weren't for her and her bravado I wouldn't be running all over the world hugging soldiers...I have the best job in the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Edge

This is the vehicle! This is the one I'm going to buy when I can. Money is always the reason behind why I don't purchase something immediately. I'm not only an impulse shopper, I'm a dogmatic shopper. I see what I want, know that I want it, and if I can afford to do so, I buy it. Because I'm rarely wrong about any basic or complicated decision that I make - I usually end up on top. So, since money is currently the only thing stopping me from owning the light blue 2008 Ford Edge of my dreams, please (anyone) step in and feel free to plop down that $36,000 for me. You can reach Mr. Al "G" at Reynolds Ford in Oklahoma City to solidify the contract. He'll have the suv delivered, and I will surely thank you. (LOL) Just incase you're truly interested, you can reach Al "G" at Reynolds Ford by calling: (405) 728-2411 so you can put in that order.

I picked the Edge over the Nissan Murano, over the Lexus 400, over the Honda CVR because of it's standard features mainly. I also like the fact that it is American made; being how we take Faith around the world as an American soldier doing good will things, I thought buying an American suv would be best. I picked light blue because I'm going for tranquil rather than flash or bravado. They had an orange Edge, but to be honest it reminded me of the Texas Longhorn orange - not happening in this family. If someone from Texas University were sweet enough to actually buy the orange Edge for me - it would be appreciated...but painted. Call me a Sooner. They do have a Sooner red Edge too, and I thought about it, but the blue made me feel relaxed - we put 50,000 miles on Steve (2005 Focus) last year - I need to be relaxed.

If you ask me Ford should consider giving me an Edge for the simple fact that I'm out and about the world promoting my dog in my Focus now...don't you think donating a little $36,000 vehicle would be doable? Sure it would, the could write it off as an expense. Hey Al "G", let's see what we can do about Reynolds Ford sponsoring Faith and I...we could do commercials, promotions, have a magnetic sign on the side of my Edge saying "Buy Your Next Ford at Reynolds Ford" - yeah, that's the ticket! I'll have my manager call you immediately. We can do this...we should do this. Faith would look good in the back seat (heated) while listening to the voice activated radio, or watching the rear-view camera on the mirror. I love buttons...this is the age of buttons, and believe me when I tell you, they come standard in the Edge. Yes, let's do the sponsor thing.

Let me just get off this computer right now and make a few calls....didn't you read the part about me being dogmatic and impulsive? LOL (Truth)

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Little Off the Top Please! (Right)

It's a good thing I didn't ask the woman to actually cut my hair short. I would have had to wear boxer briefs to bed. Oh well, it's just hair right? I have this picture of myself that I take into the shop to show whoever is going to be available to cut my hair because I haven't reached the financial point in my life where I can fly to Studio City and have Peter Young sass me up yet. I probably wouldn't be able to force myself to do it anyway; I'd be thinking about the poor kids in Iraq without school supplies - and me with my $600 trim. Nope, wouldn't happen.

I take the photo in. It's laminated too, because I really loved my hair cut in this picture, and it's not like they would have to adjust the cut or the style to fit my face because it's MY face in the picture. When I showed the lady my photo she said "You looked good in that picture. Let's work on getting there again." (Work on it? Should I jump up next time? I mean, she was much stronger than I am, and she did have a sharp pair of scissors in her hands. I love this woman. She's my girl now. I can say that, she's my girl...I will go back to her. Her idea of trim and my idea of trim will need to be worked out, but she waxes like no one you've ever met. When I put forth a little whimpering sound (sort of an alert to warn her that maybe she was being a tad aggressive) she hit me. "Baby! You came in for a wax, not a lotion." She's right. I did.

Because I was having so much fun in my waxing station, and because my new do was so impressive I guess, my daughter decided to spend a little of my money and have her nails, brows, and long red hair trimmed too. Well, OK, but shouldn't I get another chance to whimper? No...that didn't happen. Nateisha said out loud to Tam, the girl who was about to start on Laura, "Oh, give Baby girl that new conditioner, let's try it out, and hey, buff her nails with that new tool too. We gotta experiment with someone." That made me feel better that it wasn't me being the guinea pig for once. Laura just stared at me, and I was like "You didn't ask permission now, did you? Just sat yourself down and started to order the works." She got made up - - and good.

So, naturally my newly gorgeous red-headed, buffed and colored, shaped and cut-trimmed daughter wanted to show it all off after we were finished. Why do I even think about taking them out on the streets during business hours? We hit the mall, we hit the beauty supply shop. We hit the restaurant where her nemesis works so she could parade a little bit; we did this in the car we were test driving just to really jump start the girl's heart. Laura pulled up in a 2008 Mustang GT Shelby (blue with the thick white stripe) Yes, we were nice and bought the sales man dinner too. He loved it.

Next time Nateisha...I swear to God, color inside the lines, look at the picture a few more seconds...or at least let me break into a sweat without fear of being stabbed 11 times aimlessly for complaining. I love you.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tetsuwan and Faith (Oh, and Laura!)

They had so much fun! We were in L.A. about three weeks ago filming and the show was released on Tetsuwan's DASH, an exclusively Japanese television show much like Entertainment Tonight. Laura sang at the Miller's Children's Hospital while Faith made a few bedside visits. Tetsuwan, the Justin Timberlake of Japan, was more than a gentleman. He was so sweet, and so kind - just look, Faith let him pick her up and carry her around. That NEVER happens. Faith usually shies from men, but Tetsuwan was so nice. He was so active and energetic as well - on the show he skateboards with Tillman the skateboarding dog at Venice Beach, and let me tell you - the dog beat him every once in a while! Tetsuwan loved it!! Laughing and literally congratulating the dog's skills. Tillman and Faith will be working together in other events this year, I know we're going to Florida together in June.

Laura's singing could actually take off in Japan before it takes off in America, but it would be great to have her recorded here and represented here. Her abilities to sing in both Japanese and English have a lot to do with her promotions. It can't hurt that she keeps company with Tetsuwan when he's in town, or that he found her beautifully attractive and talented. (Oh, but she fell for one of his assistants....Sasaki. I may have misspelled that.) Tetsuwan was so helpful in helping me embarrass both Laura and SaSa as we called him while filming, eating out, and just hanging out on the beach. Even a traffic jam gave us a reason to put the blush on both privacy for the weary.

DASH was released Feb 3, and I have to tell you the response to Faith's appearance has been extraordinary! I have fielded hundreds of e-mails from great fans in Japan, now I'm told the Japanese UNI literary agency is interested in translating my books for their audience, and my only answer is YES!!!! I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait. This is big and very exciting news for Faith, and of course for they beautiful people of Japan. Laura's trip to Tokyo soon will be welcomed with opened arms, questioning girls who just want to ask her what Tetsuwan said, did, wanted, asked....they are all so excited to know someone on MySpace and/or the internet who has spent so much time with him in person. To us he's just the sweetest man. The fact that he couldn't speak much English led to a lot of body-language, translations, hand gestures, was great.

Hats off to Japan! We love you! We can't wait to see you all again, and again, and again. Kiss Kiss to Karou and your entire crew at Nichiki Television!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Promises - Promises

I am 100% staple free. My belly staples (17) were all taken out today...yea. They weren't a lot of fun keeping up with I might add, and the fact that I thought I popped a couple during Eli Manning's last touchdown pass in the final seconds of the Super Bowl really had me reeling, but I did survive. Dr. Jay Cannon (surgeon - OKC) asked me what else he could do for me after he cut out the staples and dressed the area up a little. I wanted him to explain a little to me about the reason why I couldn't have just 5 staples closing off the 3 tiny incisions around my belly button. Why I had to go through the open procedure and the answer was very .... clinical. I just pretended to understand, and I'll look up all the big words at home later on.

He told me something that I really never knew was possible. He told me my gall bladder was attractive - or did he say I had an acute cholecystitis? Same thing right? Attractive, cute...whatever, it meant that my gall bladder was really inflamed and that I was about to pop something important, so the open way was the only way to go. Now I have this really cool scary scar that I'm definitely going to use to my advantage. If I ever teach again, I'll be sure to get on the teacher's basketball team so I can show it off to the students and say "that's right, I'm that tough! I got shanked, and it only cost me $12,000.00" I asked the doctor if I could expect to exercise soon; six weeks. WHAT? My 90 days will just about be up by then, and I'm on the target to lose my 30 pounds. He agreed to let me walk and ride the bike slowly, maybe it will take a little longer, but I can do 7 miles in an hour rather than 30 minutes and call that a work out.

Doctor also promised me that my stomach muscles would come back - really? I thought they had left before I even had think they may return is an interesting new development in the whole losing 30 pounds in 90 days thing. Maybe I can actually tone at the same time...that should make me smile sometime this spring.

I'm reading over the Gross Description of my surgical procedure and in it my doctor states that my gallbladder was irregularly colored (tan/red) and that it had an eroded wall - there was something about a green colored calculus (no, I'm not sure what that is, but will be looking it up.) I had areas of hemorrhagic necrosis of my mucosa...that scares me. I can tell you straight up, there are words I don't want to know how to pronounce them because understanding them fully would send me into a dizzy-spin emotionally. I'm just happy to say, I had a good doctor and I thank Jesus for the fact that HE (both Jesus and Dr. Cannon) know how to pronounce everything and know when to take it out - thanks to the both of you!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Tuesday - Not A Walk in the Park

Here I am thinking about braving the weather, braving my kid's driving, just so I can go out and vote for a man I didn't want to vote for in the first place. I wanted Rudy! McCann's a good guy, maybe a good Senator....I don't know. I don't want to make the trek. I'm using the gall bladder surgery as an excuse, and that's not fair to anyone. That's not fair to the system, it's not even fair to me because I'm suppose to get out and get around. By around I suppose voting could qualify. I will not, however, stand in line. If the poll-office doesn't direct me straight to the front of the line I'm going home. (Is that selfish or rude?)

The pain in my back from the entire ordeal has become the one reason I continue to take the pain killers. I have really cut them in quarter and refuse to become addicted, but the achy back is just something no one really warns you about. Oh, and the "distention" do you know about distention? That's the fatness you take on after a major gut-wrenching surgery that bloats you up like a balloon, and makes you feel like you're about to pop when you can't pop to release the pressure. Another thing that wasn't discussed before the surgery because it was suppose to be a routine thing.

I did ask the doctor for the gross of my operation. Maybe after reading it I can see why all the fuss was made. I trust my doctor, he's a great man, so if he said it had to go then it had to go - but my my my my my....this wasn't what I bargained for. So far the surgery's complications have taken me out of work in NJ, NYC, and possibly Philly on the 15th of Feb. It's laid me up longer than expected, just thinking about taking the dogs out in the morning causes me to pause - so I ask I really care if I vote today? Will it make a difference? I know the answer. I will get my butt out of the bed, I will walk around, I will drive to the little church. If I am taken to the front of the line I will vote. I believe I've seen them taking the elderly and the disabled up to the front in the past elections...I just happened to be one of them now. (Hopefully, just for now)

Wow. Super Tuesday. Lots of delegates, I think we have 22 or something for the Republicans. I don't remember. I'm into it, but I'm not caught up - I'm more interested in the outcome of Obama/Clinton and/or Clinton/Obama and I'm a Republican. Strange that I'm more interested in that outcome - but then again, I would love to see Rudy show up on our ticket! That would make me happy.

Good night, I'm rolling over now...sleeeeeeepppppp

Friday, February 1, 2008

In Between Drugs at the Moment

How are you? I would love to show you a picture of my new airy-inflated belly - the one with the six inch slightly curved scar running North Northwest across my chest, however, I'm not sure you would be a fan.

I was laying on the gurney last Monday, minding my own business. That's what I do you know, I mind my business. I had signed all the signatures, initialled all the boxes so there was very little to do other than to lay down, smell the oxygen and have my body invaded by steel. That was me then. Today I am a completely new woman, by that I mean I look like I could star in a really scary pirate movie. I could be the battle-axed crazy-haired femme on board that shows no mercy - has the crippling scars to prove her determination to make it to the top of her game! Arrhhh! (I so totally misspelled that.)

The decision to do an open gall bladder incision and go in after the fiend, came only after the great doctor (Dr. Jay Cannon of Oklahoma City) had first attempted to do the surgery as minimally as possible. I would have three very tiny incisions (one in the belly button) and they would be pulling my ugly, old, nasty, stoned-up gall bladder through said belly button. We always believed the belly button had a purpose, now we know what it can do. Upon poking a little camera and a great deal of air into my belly, it was determined that NO...the gall bladder was not to be cut and brought through my body after all, it had something drastically wrong with it. Stones aside, the gall bladder itself was highly infected. I didn't get to see it, I could have possibly described it for you, so since I can't do a perfect job I'll go on and say it had green rolly-polly looking characters on it, and that it was the consistency of apple pie...I'm probably lying, but I don't care. I'm on drugs today.

I woke up from the gases and found myself in a hospital room rather than my own room at home. I'm not surprised. I have to have all the attention when I do anything at all that requires needing attention. I may act coy and shy about it, but I love having people swarm around me and make me who I am, what I am, what I will be. I think it started in Kindergarten when I announced that I had a secret. BAM! 14 friends in a nano-second. I made something up I'm sure. Jeanie still believes the lies I told her in high school, she's still hanging around. Does that make her vunerlable, stupid, or just a really cool person? I like to think she's awesome. She's only corrected my lies once when it was misquoted a few years later and could have come back to bite her I think. She's good at the game.

I'm not kidding when I say I have a six inch valley carved into the horizon of my curves just so, and it has real live rail-road tracks...I guess when you're private pay they send in the carpenters to staple you rather than the doctors having to sew you up. No, they tell me it's a normal thing, but it does creep me out when I'm pretending to pull on them just to piss off the kids. (Which is actually quite fun because I don't do scary movies, and they do.)

I will be more able to write and chat a little later in the day perhaps. This being Feb. 1, we need to make our plans for the ground hog coming up tomorrow. I have no idea if that requires a presence but I will simply call in with my prediction this year. I'm thinking longer winter, harder weather, bigger storms, more snow, and maybe just a little power outage to top it off. This is Oklahoma - she feels my pain. Speaking of pain, the nurses at the hospital were unable to give me another dosage of Perciocet because it hadn't quite been four hours since my last. However, she could see that I was in a lot of stress. Rather than give me my regular dosage she gave me a higher dosage because it was a different medicine - does that make sense to you? I didn't argue. I simply thanked her.

Good night I say at noon. I must return to the world of the slumbering ones. I will be alive soon and we will dance.