Saturday, June 21, 2008

Good Luck to Ron & Tillman!!!




Ron & Tillman are contestants on Greatest American Dog! I hope they win!

Hey, I can't turn the TV on without seeing Ron & Tillman on another CBS-TV commercial advertising their new show beginning July 10, this one: Greatest American Dog. Now, we all know, and please; Ron, you'll have to forgive me for saying it, but I have the world's greatest dog, so by virtue of that statement, and since America is part of the world - I also have America's greatest dog! LOL That being said, CBS as chosen my friend Ron and his absolutely adorable little dog for their show, and you can bet my weight (significant as it is) is being thrown in for his vote! If I could set up a phone dialer to call in that wouldn't cost me an arm and a skateboard wheel - I'd do it.

When Faith and I went to L.A. in January 08 to film a Japanese show called DASH we had NO IDEA we'd be filming with Ron and Tillman too. Actually, to be honest we didn't film with them. We were at Venice Beach watching and playing while Tillman out skateboarded every human on the set! He was an animal! No, really, he was a boarding machine. I loved the way he'd stop for half a second, check his wheels and go on! Once he saw that he was going to run flat into a wall and he literally turned himself. I was screaming!! It was so cool to see him play with Ron and with Tsuiya, the host of DASH. I'll post a few more pictures, but you gotta give it up this fall for Tillman if you have the chance to vote for them.

Ron (and he won't mind me saying this because he is SOOOOOOO down to Earth) didn't have an agent when we were filming, and we were on the beach playing with the dogs when a Beach Patrol unit came up to us...this is hilarious...anyway, I'm like motioning to Ron and his buddies to move up the beach, get the dogs out of the way sort of thing. My dog had a vest - with patches and everything. She was somewhat allowed on the beach, but poor Tillman - he was treated like an orphan by the Beach Cop! I was doing my best to pretend that OUR agent had the papers and the vest for Tillman just over by the benches - I was sure he was coming back with them. The whole time I'm still motioning to Ron who's waving at me...finally his friends got it. They start moving up the beach, running with Tillman, trying to give me a little Lee-Way so I can dig myself into the pit I was creating for all of us, but like I said I had a fancy two-legged dog with a vest to hold the man's attention! (Did I tell you this man had the best looking biceps that side of the Mississippi? Seeing how I was in the water practically that's a long long stretch of land to be comparing other people's biceps! He was monster-bicep man!)

Within a few minutes there's smiling Ron, waving Faith's vest, nodding and saying something about the agent getting back to us! Yes..yes, it was a fun day at the beach! Illegal activities not withstanding, Tillman was one great friend to Faith. They played and played...he's gentle too, something she appreciated. When I asked Ron about needing a real agent he was up for it. I called Mike Maguire my advisor, and quickly told him about Ron's need. Well - they're working together now! That's one of the coolest things I can think of for Ron because with Tillman he's got himself a showcase! For the next few years anyway I'm hoping we see a lot of that dog on TV and in movies...now Faith flies First Class, and with her quiet demeanor I'm sure she'll continue to wow the audiences in the skies. Tillman should probably not hope for such grand treatment - he's a rowdy boy, but sweet as the day in long. I bet he'd like a few First Class bennies though...maybe an omelet or two, heated peanuts, and a little warm towel. (As long as they don't roll Tillman should leave them be!) :O

Good Luck Ron!! Good Luck Tillman!! We love you!!!!! Thanks for making the beach a great experience.

1979 Was a LONG Time Ago





Little Eric and Yeng Ting (Best Friends)

WOWWWWW....when I was in high school the most you may see from a boy in terms of being a bit on the girly side was one of the linebackers trying on a cheerleader's skirt for a skit. Sure, it made the yearbook, and now some 29 years later we still give the guy grief over it, but to go as dates to the prom - - to save $10! OK.

Actually, to be fair to everyone - Eric actually took a girl to the prom, and I'd show you her picture but my daughter Caity has taken all of them and drawn horns and beards all over the pretty girl. Poor thing, if I dared post her picture my computer screen would have permanent marker over to the side, maybe even a big Caity-fist sized hole in it and I can't have that. Laura is also in love with Little Eric, but she's a bit more reserved. She took the girl's picture and simply cut it out of the shot, photo-shopped it and now she and Eric are dates to an imaginary dance. Nice to be loved. (Honestly, my son's a bit jealous of Eric's hair, he'd probably date him for that reason alone!) LOL Popular man this Eric Bauer.

Yeng Ting and Eric have been friends forever and it reminds me of my buddy Jeannie and I. We were in high school together, and we were given the option of going to the prom stag but neither of us did. I don't think we were allowed to go together to save money back in the 70's, but you know - times are changing; Eric and Yeng Ting could probably seal their love in California if either of them were actually gay - - wouldn't the girs (Caity and Laura) have something to say about that? I wouldn't want to be in that honeymoon suite - four in a bed would be rather crowded, and while the two girls doubled up on Yen Ting to smother him Eric would probably video and YouTube - he's that way! LOL

What I really like about Little Eric and Yeng Ting is that both of them are headed for MIT - these are the Bill Gates of 2015 - no joking. I guess I could look up what Bill looked like in 1979, I think he's about my age. I'm sure he had long hair too, and maybe he was a bit of a geek - you think? Geeks weren't hot in 1979! What's the deal? We had to put up with ugly nerdy looking geeks back in the day - - now all the skinny guys with long hair and glasses are playing in bands, wearing their sister's jeans, and beating all the jocks out with the girls they get. Our geeks were boring, couldn't talk to girls, couldn't look us in the eyes, they never picked up guitars ... I feel ripped off.

Have a great Senior Year you guys!!! PCO! PCO! PCO! (Wow...times have changed. In 1979 I couldn't shout out "Putnam City Original" too loudly; I went to West!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teaching in the Hood!

I guess that's what God had in mind for me all along really. I've been asked by so many districts to consider going back to teaching in the classroom. I've had so much fun teaching from the center stage of over 100 venues over the past couple of years - mainly military bases, but there have been quite a few conferences, adventure camps, and even a few corporate offices who have called me to come speak. Faith comes with me of course, and I don't think I'd be bringing her back into the classroom other than through her image perhaps. I have a few 4'x 3' over sized posters of her courtesy of the Ft. Lewis PX...they'll be put up in the room when and/or if I go back to teaching.

I've been successful in the past teaching just about every type of kid; Oklahoma Baptist University had some really fine and upstanding citizens...when the administration was looking anyway! I loved those kids - so very normal in every single way. Sometimes I just wish their parents and those at the university would let them express themselves without having to do so with cloaks over their faces and their hearts. I have to say without a blink of the eye however, that my favorite classroom setting was smack dab in the middle of the hood! Santa Fe South Junior High, but to be honest, I taught the 9th graders - so it was high school. THOSE were the best kids ever in my opinion, not necessarily in the opinion of the Oklahoma City police. LOL

I spent a good amount of time these past couple of years in and out of NYC's finest areas as well; Manhattan (including Hell's Kitchen and Harlem), as well as Queens, and in Chicago's West Loop area. I know when I say this that you'll understand - - kids are kids. I couldn't see or hear much of a difference between the Latinos in the City over the Latinos in the 405. Everyone wants respect, everyone wants love, everyone wants to be understood - and they want to keep a part of their own culture pure without trashing it up with all the "White" philosophy - I get that. One thing that hindered me in the classroom both at Santa Fe South and Oklahoma City Public when I taught 9th grade English there, was the mandate of "No Child Left Behind". Teachers (especially those about to retire) had other names for it - "No Child Progresses Here" and "Keep Every Kid Stupid" but there has to be a middle ground in there somewhere.

I found that teaching the state's required curriculum wasn't working as easily or as smoothly as perhaps the people in the Hodges Building (SDE) wanted. When a kid can't read at the 9th grade level because he or she is at a disadvantage how can we expect the kid to thrive - age doesn't have a thing to do with it. Sticking a kid in the 9th grade because he's 15 or she's 16 and can't be held in the 8th grade makes no sense if the kid can't grasp verbally or in writing what it is that I'm trying to get through to them. Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare's version - OUT THE DOOR. I began teaching the story through means that were better understood "Crypts and Blood" it made an impact. Objectives were met, kids learned. Shakespeare? Well, he's rolling over in his grave I'm sure, but the movies were watched, both Leonardo's version and the original 1969 classic - compared, and even enjoyed.

When times change you have to change with them or be beaten up along the path they drag you through. I don't mind a bump or two now and then, but to be held accountable for what a nation is doing is not fair to the teacher, the kid, the parents, the community, the district, the state or anyone. I was reading before I hit Kindergarten - but that was 1966. I remember going to segregated schools, I remember Billy Mitchell because he was our only (yes, our only) black student. He was awesome just because he was cool - but to be different and cool, that was really something. Watching "Remember the Titans" brought it all back to me; the hate, the angry parents on both sides, busing, and the comparing - the constant comparing. Things haven't changed that much in terms of kids wanting respect, wanting to fit in, wanting to be a part of their own culture as well as being mainstreamed but it isn't easy - a rubber tree may bend better than a solid oak...do you understand?

I am the quintessential rubber tree! Pull me, bend me, shake me, I even dance when called upon to do so -- and the smile on my face is real. I have tattoos. I won't cover them up. I have been shot, I have been in a situation where I had to disarm a student or two - stop a fight, get hit, be the one to show no fear and then turn around and hug that same kid to let him know he's not really any different than the one he just wanted to kill - brothers really, different mothers. I've been kicked out of schools for turning the administration in for stealing, I've been asked to leave the classroom when I turned a principal in for hurting a kid - but my records stand: My students made better scores every year I taught them, and they passed the Compass tests to get into colleges too. I can't say my teaching methods are orthodox - well, actually I'm quite proud of the fact that my teaching skills are not orthodox, but I can say that my kids remember how to write a proper essay! I can say that my kids remember who the 26th president was! I can say that my babies, my precious students are forever mine, and they know NEVER to end a sentence with a preposition! EVER. LOL

What can I say? I'm a teacher. I teach, it's what I do. I thought about applying in the best and more posh schools this year to give myself a little break - but my heart jumped out of my chest and smacked the crap out of my head for even thinking it! Luis DuQue would tell you "She's a ghetto teacher" I prefer the word "hood" it doesn't carry the same connotation - - my kids know connotations too. It's not only a spelling word, it's a reason to make a decision. I guess I could always go into the new school with my new 7" scar on my belly and tell the new students that the guy that did that to me graduated this year - but he had to get out of the intensive care unit first! Hahahaha...it wouldn't be true of course, but it might make them listen to me long enough to call roll.

Hoots to you guys in the 405; the 312, 212, 202, and any other blessed neighborhood where I can eat a good pizza, meet up with a few kids, and correct your English without being shanked. I love you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

With Arms Wide Open





SSSSSOOOOOO Reuben!

When my friend Janet came over last night I showed her these new photos of Reuben and she said "That's so Reuben! He always enjoys life doesn't he?" Janet's brother Johnny is Reuben's best friend forever, and it was Johnny, or Jonathan as he's being called now, that asked Reuben to come over and help him bury some dead puppies that his mom's dog had given birth to. That's when Reuben (because he can) jumped the 8' chain fence separating himself and the puppies - he found the dead puppies Jonathan was talking about, and then he found a live puppy. Reuben saved that puppy from her own mother who was putting her down in a manner that you and I would say was natural. Reuben doesn't like to see anything cruel, or what he perceives as being cruel - and he saved the puppy's life. That is the story of how our family came to have our dog Faith - who like Reuben, proudly serves in the United States Army.

Some of the time when I look over pictures of my son I see a little bit of a challenge. On the first day, the very first day of Kindergarten he was pulled to me by his arm - the teacher had been challenged all day! She explained to me that my son simply HAD TO HAVE the orange chair. He HAD TO HAVE the others playing Army all day. He HAD TO be their General, and he was telling them what to do, how to die, and he was telling them the difference between the Confederate Army and the Union Army when she was reading "One Fish Two Fish" to them. The children, as you may have guessed, were far more interested in playing Army. I remember thinking to myself that this boy's educational path was going to be a rocky one. I was right.

Baby boy got out of school primarily because of his abilities to strategize not only on the football field where he reigned supremely, but also in his History classes and his P.E. classes, forget about English, Science, and Math, no one needs these classes - play all day, and play hard as you can! No one and I mean NO ONE was more popular in the hallways of that high school than the muddy faced (or clean faced) boy you see in this blog - he was the center of attention at all times. I'm not saying that I condone any of his antics, I don't and as a teacher I was literally ripped to shreds inside because that meant I had to give the REUBENS in my class more leniency since he was probably getting it from his teachers because he helped make the football team as good as it was. I hate that fact, that fact just kills me, but it is true - sports in Oklahoma turns the gears in a lot of schools - my son the cog! Loving every bloody minute of it too....and always, muddy or clean - smiling.

When I think about it, and I think about it a lot, I envy the way my son looks at life. His face, his wide smile, his eyes beaming and busting with true joy from whatever happens to him throughout the day. He's truly the Aries! He hits everything full force, and he does it with so much finesse! The boy didn't invent full-contact baseball, full-contact basketball, or full-contact hallway hello, but he did perfect it to a degree for many years. When I say he was born to drive tanks in Iraq - well, maybe that's why God put him there. I gave him up to God before he was born, and every Father's Day I'm reminded that I did it in public on his first Father's Day when he was just about 3 months old. He isn't my boy really - he belongs to a much higher power.

Creed's song "With Arms Wide Open" begins with these lyrics: Well I just heard - the news day today - it seems my life - is going to change" and that is exactly the way I felt the day Dr. David Kallenberger confirmed for me what I think I thought on that hot July morning in 1985...my life was going to change. I went from being Jude to being MOM even though it was another 7 and 1/2 months before that broad-smiling face came out looking for someone to knock over. He found me. Another part of the lyrics to that song refers to the way the father, or in this case me, the mother, intends on accepting the boy - the son: With Arms Wide Open.

That big kid hasn't changed. He's bowled me over more times than I care to relate....sometimes literally. When my baby boy was just 14 he backed up in the living room and wanted to show me EXACTLY how he had been trained by the great Reggie White to make the perfect tackle. I should have moved, but that would have meant that the boy himself would have landed inside the television cabinet...instead I broke my right wrist. Today, when I hear the words "Mom, watch this", I move - fast!

Celebrating the fact that he's about to leave the land of the Midnight Sun forever and be trained to travel and beat the heat and scary events before him in what the Army affectionately refers to as the Sandbox, my son has given his seal of approval to another day of being a kid. Snowy mountaintops are fun to sled down in the winter it appears and just as much fun when all that snow melts. Can it get any more beautiful than that? Less than 6 weeks now and he'll be squeezing me again - let's hope he leaves his dirty laundry in Alaska! I'll take the smiles.

Corn Problems in the World - Solution

Glenn Beck was going on and on today about corn, crops of corn, and farmers who plant, produce, and harvest corn being is a great deal of trouble. The flooding in the Midwest, the higher prices in gasoline (which effect the farmers with their machines) and the rains don't seem to be letting up. Obama is bailing out help and/or aid, or he wants to if he becomes president - and corn rates were already tripling and growing (pardon the pun) before the inflation of economy and the deflation of the dollar - what does that mean for me? Not much.

The corn base is not what I count on. I know, we need corn for corn flakes, but I eat bran. America needs corn to feed the cows for beef products and for milk or dairy products - I gave up eating beef, and soy takes care of the rest. Sorry, I'm not such a believer in Ethanol - it may be less expensive to produce than oil - but did you know that America moved 5,000,000 acres of corn for food production to grow corn for energy? The decision to move the corn production over from food to fuel meant that the price of the corn for food industry got a boom! You and I didn't get a boom, we got the bust! On top of that, the energy they produce through the sublevel corn they're growing isn't cheaper for anyone really - because it doesn't' do as much as fossil fuels do. It's less effective in the miles-per-gallon race. We're going to gas stations that sell the good stuff, or at least the effective stuff. (McCain's for drilling off shore - probably won't find any corn out there! Maybe fish!) LOL

I'm sure the flooding hasn't been all that good on the rice and/or bran products either - my beans, walnuts, grapes and soy may be suffering, but the really good news is ALL OF THOSE BAD TOMATOES ARE DROWNING....last week the world took out our tomatoes - this week we're being threatened with a corn shortage. Maybe, oh just maybe, when you get around to reading the back of the Book you'll figure out that all these earthquakes in strange places, the unnatural love being exhibited by parents and kids, the price of food being increased, the wars and rumors of wars - what do you think? Is it just me or are we actually going to have to say God knew what He was talking about! Acknowledge God? Please...I mean, I do....all the time, but is that going to be the trend?

Well it's about time!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Best Descripton, Bar None, of Me! (Finally)



__________________________________________________________________________
The best essay ever describing ME, a Scorpio woman is found at this link:
http://mizian.com.ne.kr/englishwiz/library/names/zodiac/scorpio.htm#_Toc6672026

I ran across Linda Gooman's Sun Signs essays describing all the Sun signs and all the traits of every zodilogical (is that a word) being - and it is really, no super duper really, it is so very very very close to being 100% accurate that it almost (not quite because we Scorpios can't be stunned too often) stunned me. I was so close to being flabbergasted, rather than losing control - because that's a flaw that I can't afford - I was mesmerized. I was amazed, I was flattered, and I was quite sure I wanted to post it so that every last Pisces man could be fully aware of what it is that he's up against once a Scorpio woman has cast her eyes - - to be perfectly honest I don't give a damn about every Pisces man; just one. But to be fair to all the fish it would be best that they realize they're apt to be caught and once caught they're apt to be kept rather than eaten -- stand back Taurus, don't even think about it.

I've posted the link at the top of this blog. I don't believe it takes you there directly, you may have to cut and paste, and like I said I don't really care if you do or don't, but if you're a certain Pisces man, and you're thinking "Wow, I would sure like to know what the woman that has her sights on me is thinking. I'd like to find out more about what to expect once I do actually surrender", then you could benefit greatly by reading the essay. Get a cup of coffee first, maybe even a sandwich, it's a long long long essay - but then again, I'm very very very intense. You'll have no reason to wonder after reading it, and keep your socks on - you don't need to get cold feet. Warmth is everything - hot is often the way to go. We arachnids are often caught basking on the rocks.

If I had to dissent on any parts of the essay I would say that close to the end of the analysis there is a statement about Scorpio woman wanting to possess (and we will) but not wanting to be possessed - I'm woman enough to realize that this particular trait isn't necessarily true in my isolated case. I do wish to be taken. I do wish to be possessed, but I, only me, will choose who does that taking - so like I said - there is no reason for anyone to attempt a flirtation with me. Go away, my mind is made up - there's not a chance in Hell, so no one needs to be embarrassed or have that awkward feeling - I won't have that feeling, I'll flat out tell you to bug-off...not you Gary, the other guys! Smiles....seriously, not you, go on read the essay. Freak out a little, but keep that smirk. It is the ticket to Heaven.

Oh why in the world would one woman, a woman like me, OK...me, why would I be so bold? Why would I be so arrogant, why would I put it out there to be read to be recorded? Is she obsessed? Oh, I hate that statement, that question! Please, get over it Glenda - no, when a woman knows she knows. Just because the world can't get it doesn't mean she has a problem. LOL - obsession is for teeny-boppers and their magazine heroes. Why is it someone has to transfer their own lack of confidence onto my total acceptance as being unreal? Can't everyone simply have the same faith I do about certain issues - geez! (Laughs and knows that God can't lie. Ps. 37:4 goes a long way!) God, I love being a Christian! You've got the best team, the best Coach, you've got the promise of the new day - and all those lovely desires of the heart. YES!

Read the essay - I am who I am. I don't change. I won't change, and for the last time perhaps I really don't give a damn what others think as long as I know I'm doing what I need to do, or being who I need to be. I truly am one of the only exceptionally honest people I know. I'll flat out break someone with the truth, and break another if they lie. I will crush a liar and never return to them - whereas I will always forgive and forgive and forgive the truth teller who has screwed up beyond compare. ALWAYS tell a Scorpio the truth. It beats the alternative over and over again. You can lie to an Aquarius, it gives them something to investigate - a Scorpio already knows. We don't blink remember? We stare through you and in doing so we know. Don't test the theory it's not a healthy choice. Test a Libra - that's fun to watch. They're so balanced.

So there you have it...Me in about 1500 words. It would take that actually to describe the full woman that is a November born Scorpio - I have the honor of being born the very last day of the sign actually - every once in a while for the sake of being completely lax you'll find me traveling like a Sagittarius! You'll see me lower my guard long enough to raise my bow and arrow - and once it is raised I revert to the sting of that Gray Lizard long enough to remind you that I was indeed born on the last day of the OTHER sign - funny, I do have the one soft spot in my heart for my Leo child's mistakes, her lies, and believe me, she has the sting marks all over her body and soul from when I caught her in them...it's an ongoing learning process for the brat; one she's just about to get through her thick mane! Laura understood at the age of 2...stubborn Taurus doesn't forget. She and I rarely butt heads because she knows I love with strength and hard knocks rather than the loving and tender nurturing of a softer woman.

Go ahead - read about me, and when you do know this - YOU can know that befriending a Scorpio will ensure your battles to be met with a friend for life. You will never be alone again, and anyone who attempts to hurt you will be immediately slaughtered. Questions will be answered later - death is first. The sword however always cuts both ways...to the bone. Like I said, this Linda Gooman....she's my new hero on this subject.

OH...and you, Mr. Pisces man, just for fun read what she says about Scorpio Woman and Pisces Man - no, no, no, you go ahead - you'll feel good about it. You'll say to yourself "Damn, finally a woman that gets it!" and just before you surrender remember to look into my eyes - it may be the last thing you do as a free man. LOL

It's Father's Day - Let's go FISHING!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Growing Up in Urban Rurality

When I was born I wasn't just born - I had to make an entrance. My mother told me this past January when I had gallbladder surgery, and naturally had a one in a million type complication, that it was typical of me to be so dramatic. I was born several weeks early, I fell out (or crowned) without warning in an elevator of a hospital my mother wasn't registered in, she was visiting someone that day. I was born and quickly pronounced dead - but got over it. After all, what did doctors know about blue-baby apgar scores in 1961? Really, it was a crap shoot - the nurse pronounced me undead - or living, and the doctor scolded her. Remember when doctors used to scold nurses? Oh, gone are those days my friend...well, 1961 was a really really long time ago wasn't it?

So, I was born, I grew up in a little new township outside of the big city of Oklahoma City, and for the most part there were houses but there were no fences. There were stores but to get to them we walked paths through orchards, and we made new paths that later became well known streets. Hey, come to think of it, we, my family and those in my old neighborhood were the trailblazers - literally. I know we got to name some of the streets in the area - well, I didn't, I was a kid, but our community did, not the developers. Those days are gone too huh?

I walked everywhere and I was only four or five when I was allowed to walk around blocks and blocks of real woods and creek - a baby couldn't do it, but heck, four is four gosh-darnit! I was almost five, and believe me, when November 22, 1966 finally rolled around and I was five I walked a good 13 blocks straight up Mueller from 2212 N. Mueller to 3500 N. Mueller - I went to the Bethany branch of the Oklahoma County Metropolitan Library - keep in mind, this was before the movie Matilda. I did it because I could. I was five. I could get a real library card and all I had to do was sign my own name. With a name like Judy Stringfellow (yes, I was a Judy at one point) I had my work cut out - but I did it, and I got that card, and my mother was promptly called nearly every day around closing time to come fetch the little one. I was the one in the Tween section reading because I didn't want anyone thinking I was a kid. I could actually read by age five of course, doesn't everyone? Those days may be gone forever too - sadly.

I grew up in a town that was surrounded by fruit orchards of every kind including pecans, walnuts, cherries, peaches, and most certainly plenty of oaks. We lived in an area called Western Oaks, in fact my school was called Western Oaks Elementary and although it was only 6 blocks straight west of my house, I was walked every day by my first grade teacher and we took the LONG way there. We turned South and headed four blocks to the sacred burial grounds of one of Oklahoma's most cherished Native American tribes - to hunt. Of course we went hunting at 6:30 a.m. nearly every day, and of course I was walked to school hand-in-hand by my first grade teacher who was over 70 years old but stronger than anyone in the world. Of course I was there to help her bag squirrel or rabbit, and of course she let me hold the rifle, but it had the barrel unhinged - but of course.

We would travel the grounds and shoot or not shoot depending on animals, depending on time - and we'd make it to class early because she told me to be early was to be on time. To be on time was to be late, and when she told me we would never ever be late for school - I remembered that she also owned the rifle. Mrs. Earp was yes, related to the other Earps of history-lure, and yes, she was one of the old-fashioned, long haired pioneer women who probably came over to Oklahoma territory in a wagon, I probably read about her in the Little House on the Prairie books. She could aim a wooden eraser with extreme precision, and again, I remembered the face staring at me claiming very sternly that if I were to get myself in trouble at school I could bet my last tooth that I'd be in trouble when I got home. Was it fair that my first grade teacher lived across the street from me? I don't think it was, but it may have something to do with my habit of being early everywhere I go - believe me, I will NOT be late. When I was late with my period I knew I was in trouble at home - all three times. The house got really really small.

At age seven I as able to walk absolutely anywhere I wanted as long as Mom knew where I was, so having the first grade teacher living across the street at that point wasn't bad. I could tell her just before the bells rang that I would be going to the local store, a TG&Y (gone as well) which was about 13 more blocks, but it was in the opposite direction. Somewhere between the dusk and the dark I made my way home a million times through woods and creepy creeks. I suppose it may have something to now with my extremely vivid imagination - I see angels now because I saw them then. I see visions, dreams in full color, I see revelations, acts that haven't happened. I see vapors of smoke that don't exist and smell wet leaves in the driest of summer days when I pass that same area which of course is completely commercial now, not a tree in site.

I didn't always get to walk where I wanted to if the dog was outside the Principal's office when the bell rang. Rover was (yes, I had a dog named Rover) my little Dachshund/Beagle mix dog then. Matrix is my same breed of dog now. Rover, brown where Matrix is black, lived only to be 16 years old. You'd think a good dog who loved me the way he did would tried to hang out a little longer. January 18, 1978 was the day my dog decided to see Jesus, and this year I did mark that anniversary with sober remembrance. I walked the path from Western Oaks Elementary to 2212 N. Mueller in frigid weather - not only to honor my little mutt, but ask myself if a little girl really did this over and over and over again. We didn't have cross guards at every main street, but we didn't have thugs either. The year I was five my mother and I were about to enter a bank when a very nice gentleman asked us not to do so this afternoon. He told my mother she needed to keep her deposit. The bank was robbed. He, the thug, held the door for us as we left and quietly went home. That was before cell phones - of course my mother called as soon as she could.

When you think about it there were horses in Bethany tied up at the police station. There were dirt roads leading to the church, there were muddy rocky roads leading to the grocery store, and the parking lots were gravel. 1966-1969 was certainly a very long time ago - but every now and then I go back...the music was really really good. But the library is so very very small now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Good Bye Tim!

Mr. Tim Russert 1950-2008


I met this man in two very different places, and at two very different times. I don't recall the exact dates because I travel so much and cross back and forth between Washington DC and NYC when I go to the East Coast. I met Tim on the streets of NYC in 2004 I think it was, I was doing one show or another with Faith, and I think it was the same trip where I also met talk show host Jerry Springer on the streets - Time Square to be exact. Tim was laughing and I love his smile. He raised his hands in the air and clapped for Faith. Faith was walking around Time Square and just being Faith - I thought I recognized Tim but I wasn't sure. He stopped me just short of shaking his hand, and squeezed my arm with both his hands. He was still laughing. I remember thinking "He's a big man!" He just thought Faith was the cutest thing.

Well, time went on and I met a few people who told me they had heard about Faith from Tim. No matter what side of the political fence anyone was on, I didn't hear a single word from anyone that was lodged against Tim. You can't count the words where they felt cornered by him, or that he was getting the best of them in an interview. He did his job well enough to do the work without offending the subject, but the thing I thought was so great about Tim was that smile - always there, always free for the asking.

I saw Tim again not long ago - in Washington DC this time. Maybe it was mid to late March, I was in and out of that area quite a bit. I was in the airport - BWI. He came up to me and said "Saw you on Animal Planet Girl", he was talking to Faith. He said she was just as talented and as funny as he had remembered when we had seen each other on Times Square. I managed to ask Tim a question because I had just seen his face (and his father's face) on the cover of his 2nd best selling book. I asked him who his agent was. I told him I needed one. Without even blinking he stared straight at me and said he'd make the call. He didn't have much time so I just gave him my business card. I never heard from him until last week.

I got a call and it sounded like he was again at the airport. Tim said "Jude, this is Tim Russert. I didn't want you to think I had forgotten about telling my agent (and he said his name) about you. I'll do that I promise. I just got behind and thought about it again today. Someone saw you in the Dallas airport and was talking about it here in D.C." I think he must have been at the Starbucks because that's usually where I go when I'm at the airports and people come by and interview me, talk to me, pet Faith, take pictures, and basically it's the best networking a girl can do - - well, if you happen to have a two-legged famous dog with you.

Mr. Russert died today. I'm not surprised to hear that he had an enlarged heart - I think he must have had a bigger heart than most journalists, and most reporters. We're really going to miss that guy - really, really, really! Good Night Tim.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good Morning America "Passed" on Me - OK, So What!




I knew there would be some blow back from the opinion blog that I put out there yesterday about television shows, news shows, entertainment shows, and such wanting me to come onto their sets but not wanting to talk to me about my life - it's all about watching the little dog on her back legs walk. SO FREAKIN' WHAT? She walks! Get over it! The story behind Faith's walking is what's important, not that she can walk. She doesn't give a rat's behind if you can see her walk, show her something interesting - like bacon! Maybe she'll do your little dance or make those circles for you for a bit of food! Good Morning America's Brandon Bodow, obviously a producer, called my publicist, or e-mailed her to ask her to call him and all he wanted to tell her was that he was officially passing on what he called "The Story". I called him back.

"Brandon, this is Jude Stringfellow. My publicist called to tell me that you called her or you e-mailed her, and I'm suppose to call you back. I don't know why." Brandon said "OK, well the reason I asked her to call me was to let her know we were officially passing on the story." "What story Brandon?" I asked. He said, and I quote "The dog, your dog, Faith." I said with a bit of surprise "You know Brandon, there are so many stories about Faith, which one are you referring to?" He really didn't know, he just knew that GMA would be passing. That's cool - I was called by MSNBC just an hour or so beforehand - maybe they know which story they'd like to talk about.

In discussing the passing to my daughter Caity today I couldn't help but mention the name of the show. I told her that Good Morning America was a fantastic show, they had called me about two weeks before I was asked by the Early Show to be on the air to talk about the Walter Reed story, but that they never got around to booking me. They did however get around to pushing me back, screwing with my personal schedule, and making it virtually impossible for me to know what they wanted, when they wanted it, and oh, by the way - I was just suppose to wait on Brandon to tell me when he expected me to be on his set. No thanks GMA, or Brandon if you're working without your bosses knowing that you turn down good stories - I think my time is just as important as I believe yours to be. Trouble is, you don't apparently think my time is all that important, you think I just sit around waiting for your call. I don't.

Caity asked "When does Good Morning America come on?" I told her "Well Caity, that's the funny thing - the show comes on in the morning. Sometime between your second and third REM dream." She said "OK, well they need to show it again and rename it to 'Good Afternoon Caity' if they want me to see it." That was timeless - really precious and it hit home. I don't need the media to validate me. I don't need anyone to tell me that what I do or what Faith does is great - we know that she's unique, and we know that she's got the best spirit out there of any dog we've ever met.

Pass all day - we don't care. Pay me, throw me a little bacon now and then - say in the form of a book deal (oh, and no I'm not exploiting my dog, I'm trying to get her story out there the way it was meant to be told, not her dancing on stage.) I'll listen and you'll get the audience response you need.

Good Morning Jesus!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Just Gotta Let It Go

You wake up, you realize that things aren't going your way - maybe a few (OK, a lot) of people lied about future investments, endorsements, projects - - OK..let it go.

Letting go just has to be the best thing in the world. I will admit, I did actually blog about it first. I put my foot right in my mouth, spun it around, and promptly stuck it right back where it could do the most damage; probably to me. I don't care if I offended the liars, that doesn't bother me, what may or may not eventually bother me if I offended someone who really did think I was the sweet lady down the road that had the patience, love, and understanding to raise a little dog to stand upright. I did actually do that, but not for profit. I did it for Faith! She needed to stand up.

Anyway - today I let it out. Today I let go. I just ripped open a few backsides and yes, it felt good to get the mouth running, the fingers flying, and hey - if I'm writing with those fingers I can't put them in the air and sound off silently can I? I use the written word for that. I don't think anything happened to me that a little prayer, a lot of chocolate, and maybe just a couple of glasses of wine (and whine) won't help. I'm going to be just fine. I always am. Sometimes I can be as fierce as a pit bull, but most of the time, I'm like a damn cat - landing on my feet. They get sore from all the falling, but I'll be OK. God takes great care of me.

One of the reasons you won't read the mean, nasty blog I wrote on my opinion's site is because it wasn't intended to be humorous. I wanted the schmucks who have been lying to me, teasing me, bringing me out on false pretences and then reneging to know exactly how I felt. I remember one of these guys - a real Hollywood type (lived there and everything) brought me to a fine restaurant just outside my hotel last winter. He bought me lunch and talked on and on about how he would be getting with Lifetime and/or Hallmark to do the book adaptation to a feature about my dog, about my family's life - heartwarming he said, breaking the barriers of compassion, fear, work, hard beliefs, ethics and morals being put into play - the whole shebang right? Well, where is this guy? He hasn't called back. He doesn't answer my e-mails. There's the agent in Hollywood that swore she wanted to work with me...oh, it been nearly 15 months now...nothing!

I guess I'm OK without Hollywood knocking, but like I tell my brats - my kids: Tell me the truth no matter how ugly it is, but don't you dare lie to me. I can't deal with a lie -it's too hard to pin down! You have to unravel it, find the base, find the original tale and go backwards trying to find out all the lies inside of it. Just tell me the truth. If you have no intention of promoting me say so. I don't need you - I'm OK on my own, I'll just take God and we'll do this thing. I mean after all, He made Faith - wait, He made the idiots too, maybe I'll just sic God on their butts and be done with it. (She closes her eyes and imagines the carnage of an Almighty God pouring His wrath over the heads of the foul-doers who have lied to His faithful child!) LOL...sort of like Indiana Jones and the Ark huh? MELTING FACES!!!

Anyway - I let it go. I just had to. I didn't want to bitch about it anymore, and I didn't want to talk to people who wanted to bring me and my dog Faith out to watch her dance and do circles on their little beach stage for their show. "Don't talk about the movie, don't talk about the book. We just want Faith to walk around, maybe do a few circles because the stage is sort of small. Can she play with the children? We just want her to be happy and play with the children. Can she do that?" I just snapped. My dog is not a puppet!

The sun is out, the dogs are sleeping in it. They look happy and content just to be dogs, and Faith too. I think I'll dress her up and take her to the nearest VA hospital where she can do what she does - make people smile. She doesn't have to perform there, she doesn't have to walk in circles, and there's no need for me to discuss my future with these guys - they gave up their past for me. I love them. I'm just going to pray about it again, wait and see what happens, let another day come and roll over me....and you know what, maybe meet a new friend along the way.

Dreaming Again, This Time I'm In Line

I must have something inside of me telling me that it's my turn to wait for life! I have something else inside of me screaming that it's MY TURN to have what I think is best, what I think is success. It's MY TURN. I have been working on this for too long to be in line waiting - especially if the people I'm waiting behind are idiots. Did I actually say that? OK, I did, but it's because I'm just too fired up about the fact that NO ONE has called me to produce the movie about my dog Faith after oh, I don't know, a dozen have said they would. I know you hear it all the time; you go to Hollywood, you meet with the right people, and they promise you the moon while you're there and then nothing. OK...I get that, they're liars, they care only for themselves, I get that - someone from OUTSIDE of Tinsel Town - CALL ME.

Back to the dream I had, it was reflective of this feeling that's going on in my head about people making me promises. You see, and maybe it's just me, but I keep every last promise I make. What it is - is, I don't make the promise unless I mean it. If I have to break one - it almost kills me. OK..back to the dream.

I'm going to a picnic, I have already paid the park's admission which for whatever reason admitted me to the lines that I had to stand in to get the free food. Upon looking at the food I thought "No, I don't want this" and I began looking for different food. I noticed that I had a paper plate - this means something is going to be temporary. I had my family with me. The food I was more interested in was healthy and homemade, not KFC and/or bucket food. It wasn't that I thought I was better than anyone else, but I just couldn't put that trash into my body. I wanted more for myself. Here's the funny part - I had to go to the bathroom, but had to SKIP to get there. If you didn't SKIP you didn't get in. I skipped.

When I got into the bathroom there was a line there too, not as long of a line, but a line, and my stall's door didn't close. Oh, and there was a really strange woman in the stall next to mine standing up, trying to look over at me, and she was saying things like "I don't know why I'm here. I should be singing". GO SING - get out of the bathroom! While I was trying to hold the door several people kept trying to get in. Now, in the real world NO ONE comes into the stall you're sitting in if the door is open, some nice people even volunteer to help you hold the door if it's further from your reach. Maybe not so much in the men's rooms, but ladies do this for each other. Not in my dream. Not only did people try to come in, men and women tried to come to my stall. Men were carrying on conversations with themselves and women in the women's bathroom. No matter how often I complained about it no one cared. It was as if I didn't have the right to tell them to leave a Ladies restroom.

Naturally I went back to where I was eating after I washed my hands in purple jello, and I noticed that no one was at the tables, the food had been put on cafeteria trays and placed in bins at the end of another long line. We were just there, no organization, no structure, just a bunch of people in the park - which of course if you think about it, a park provides that service - but this was my dream so it had to mean that we were just willie-nillie, and nothing was happening really I feel stuck and I feel abandoned - no, worse than abandoned, I feel violated, infringed on, and to some degree I feel misled - I didn't HAVE to skip!

Looking up the dream online and talking to friends who analyze dreams I wasn't the least bit surprised. I have been waiting I have been working, I have been in conversations with actors, directors, producers, agents, and everyone in the industry who have been promising me results, but if I ran my company (or any foundation) the way they run their lives and lies - I would be out of business. I'd be sued. I'd be held accountable. I am obviously feeling hurt and inside I feel that what Faith (my dog) has to offer is so much more important than what some of these people have the insight or creative mind to see - - it hurts to think that they merely pulled me out to Hollywood to see my dog. Did that really happen? Was she a puppet to them? Were we just a toy, an interest for a moment's entertainment?

If you're out there - if you REALLY ARE out there and you have the insight, the real drive, the ambitious nature, and the (she's going to say it) balls to do a project about my dog's life, adapting my books, and making a real effort to tell this story, a story that has been featured on Oprah, Montel, Maury, Ripley's, and in over 500 newspapers and magazines - a story of survival and inspiration, if you really have what it takes to produce it - call me. I'm not standing in line any more.

In fact. I think I'll just produce it myself, at least that way I know I won't be lied to, compromised, or shelved. I think the dream taught me something. I don't have to beg - not when I have what I need.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Official Army Fun



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Baby Boy - At Leisure

Sometimes the boy sends me photos of his official Army adventures and reminds me point blank that I can't post the photos, I can't talk about what he's learned. I can't even talk about where he's going to be going - officially. It's a place near the Middle East, a little hot-spot we refer to as "In Theatre", but for the sake of telling the world too much - we code it by saying "He's going to the movies" soon, but I can't say when.

Today however, far from the cinematic fun of chasing rockets, destroying weapons, and just being the kooky big kid that he can be in that tank-thing of his, my son the Juggernaut is lounging around the backside of Ft. Wainwright, AK in his skivvies! Yes, this time he actually got caught WITH his clothes on; there have been times in just the recent past where he and my daughter Caity have had the naked theme going for various on-looking cameras. When Reu called me the other day to warn me that he may be seen au naturale over the AP the only thing I could think of to say in his defense was "I made that butt!" He was quick witted enough to say "it's bigger now", of that fact - I am sure.

Reu has always made the best of any situation - at the age of five when I grounded him for screaming in the parking lot of the local store and causing a scene, he went to his room willingly and I didn't hear a word-one from him for over an hour. Because I'm the snoopy mom that I am, I peeked in on the boy - he was fine. He was no longer alone, but he was fine. He had taken the box of crayolas (camo box/bag actually) and had drawn several people on his walls so that he would have someone to talk to - more probable, someone to hear his side of the story. He's always been fair like that - never wanting to accuse me of not listening to him. He just repeats himself over and over again until he's quite sure he's been heard.

The boy plays! This is a good sign. He's healthy, he's happy, he's finally getting that tan he so desperately needed. Living in Alaska can kill the options of ever winning that bronze-god competition he was so hoping to enter once he went to the movies! Perhaps they can use my son to guide the other men back to the barracks if he stays as white as he is today! But look at him smile! This is truly a happy kid. At least the Army isn't like living at the firehouse where at any moment one would have to leave the pleasure of their new kiddie pool, dress out, and go put out a burning edifice. Reuben's leisure time is much like that of the sun these days - his unit works mostly at night (can I tell them that son, or will I get into some sort of official trouble? It's not like most of them can jump in their cars and see for themselves what it is that you guys are doing in the dark - well, the would be dark - up there in Alaska!) He's just going to be water logging himself for hours I guess.

One of the best things about Reuben is that he will never swim alone. He is so responsible about that in particular - there could be any number of mishaps, and probably already has been. I haven't gotten the call yet, the CALL meaning he's been taken to the hospital again. It's been a while now in fact. I'm wondering if he was actually pretty scared when the General told him he couldn't break him in rank, but that he could see to it that his happy Oklahoma butt (the one I made) could be stationed forever in TEXAS! His health has greatly improved since that discussion, but I can bet anyone and everyone that he hasn't given it a good try - I'm sure out there in the wilderness there's a moose with a handmade lasso still stuck to it from where the kid tried to wrangle it. (It's not a regular bull son, let it go.) I'm sure that out there in the fawn-dawn light of the barely gliding to the ground sun, there is a newly formed football field, even if only 50 yards long, that has my son's blood on it somewhere - you can take the boy out of the Sooner State, but you can't take the Sooner out of the boy!

I'd say Hooah to you for the swimming efforts, but saying "Boomer Sooner" just fits a little better at this point. Hey, only 84 days before kick off - you think they'll let you watch a little ball in the theatre? I hope so! Splish! Splash!

Me? Erma Bombeck? (Wow...I Thank You!)






Erma's Picture belongs to: prweb.com

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WOW is all I can say! I was publicly compared to one of the greatest female humorists in the world, and I thought I'd float to the stage to thank the man for saying I reminded him of my all-time favorite writer and hero. (If Erma had been an enlisted soldier she couldn't have meant more to me.)

I write from my heart, from my position in life, often times from my pocketbook! I tell stories that obviously relate to others and since we're all about family, friends, neighbors, and getting away with what we can - - maybe I am a bit like Erma. She had my attention growing up, maybe I took a little of her heart with me; along with her inked stained fingerprints on that keyboard of hers. I couldn't type fast enough or without the mistakes. You wouldn't want to read what I had to write if I had to write on a monster like that - but I used to. I remember holding the correction tape in place and using the backspace key - God, am I really that old?

My kids (like Erma's) give me fodder to write about. If I only sat around the house watching them fight, play, watching each other, and/or working things out for themselves I'd have more than enough to write about. I'd have volumes of things to bore you with - but somehow it works. Somewhere in the mix of all that I find nuts about my kids you think I'm like you - and that brings joy to me. That brings great pleasure to my heart. When you write me or stop me on the street to say you prayed for Reuben or Laura, or that Caity acts just like your little sister, I want to just reach out and hug you. OK...I apologize to that one man that I actually did reach out to hug - he looked too much like Sinise, I let my eyes get the best of me. His poodle gave me away. I had to stop the grip I had laid on him....slowly.

Truth is, I remember wanting to give up one of my own lungs for Erma when it was reported that she needed one. I was over 18 I think, but my parents were insistent that I keep both of my breathers right where they were - but I gave her love. I loved that woman to the end I know I did, and yes, I guess in my deepest of hearts I know that when I write I can see a little menacing face, a little broader smile coming through my writing - maybe a few well placed cherry pits...just to keep me on my toes.

When I write I write to you. I write to the world. I write to let it out. I write to get paid too, but so far that hasn't happened as much as the writing to get it out. Can you just imagine a room full of writers who didn't have access to pens? One without keyboards, without pencils, without scratch paper - we'd explode! I take my journal with me and fear that someones going to grab it and read it out loud - then I sort of place it in the middle of the table to see if anyone would? I live on the edge. I love a good adventure. I write in my journal as if fantasies are actually taking place in real time. I have to admit sometimes I would fear if they were read - but other times I just want to sit back and grin a little.

Before too long I'll be on the road writing and talking for a living. I know I will. I have the spirit of the best inside of these corpuscles - I will be great! You will love me! You will dream that you are me....hahaha, God, please help you if you do. The truth is, I'm the only me that I could ever be...wait, that's the title of my next book! "I'm The Only Me That I Could Ever Be", by Jude Stringfellow - buy it soon and tell me if you don't think I'm completely nuts. I must be, I had the best teacher bar-none!

Thank you Mr. Bob Syles for saying I reminded you of your hero. She's mine too.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Road Kill


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Our Army eats well. Way up in the land of the Midnight Sun, where days melt into night, and nights melt into the brains and eventually the sick twisted mind of the boy I often call my own - humor happens.

I'm not sure if he's watched too many shows on Adult Swim, or if he's auditioning for a future position, but this is the picture I got from my son when I asked him what he was doing now that the snow is melting on the ground and the sun is warming up the kiddie pools on base. (If you didn't already know, the boys in green purchased every last kiddie pool from their local Wal-Mart last year when they went on sale, and yes, Fairbank's Ft. Wainwright is home to more than 40 8' round blow up pools. Your Army, my Army, relaxes in complete style.) Photos soon, I promise.

(This could have happened) While driving his tank-type vehicle around town to get the kinks out of the gears, Baby boy ran across this irresistible photo opp. You shouldn't be surprised to find out that my son carries action figures with him in his tank, I've already told you that I swim and bathe with rubber ducks, a little red car, and a whale/shark thing. My son's not that far off from me - well, he is, but he can't be blamed, his father played with Tinker Toys...old school. With the wit and the speed he's been blessed with, the boy climbed out of his tank-thing and set up this shot! I'm assuming the two soldiers are friends; probably Reuben and his buddy Matt Clark, another PFC at Wainwright, who, if you asked him officially, would deny playing Army-Guys with my son, but you and I both know they love every minute of it.

"SQUIRREL! We're having squirrel for dinner! Woot Woot!"
(Son, please don't admit you're from Oklahoma, please! Don't do that to me. If you do, show off those teeth. I don't want anyone making the association for a tattoo to tooth ratio having anything to do with this photo. I know you're always looking for the next Pulitzer!) You can just about hear the excitement busting out of their little plastic throats of these two very differently dressed soldiers. I think one is from the Viet Nam era, while the other is a Desert Storm Trooper - it doesn't matter, Army men are all on the same team. I think they even let the official G.I.Joe command them since he has so much more seniority - albeit at this time he's quite a bit shorter than these men. At least Barbie and the Mary Kate & Ashley dolls have someone to dance with at the ball now - maybe one of them knows how to skin, clean, and cook the squirrel - is there a Kitchen Barbie at Toys R Us? Maybe Ken will loan the boys a few summer-time outfits for the party where this squirrel's going to be celebrated! It's gonna be big! Gotta be big!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Davenport Hotel - Spokane,Washington


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These photos are courtesy of the Davenport Hotel. (www.thedavenporthotel.com)

I took pictures, please, believe me when I say I have a lot of pictures of the Davenport, all the rooms, all the people,all the glorious glory that makes this hotel so spectacular! I just don't have them uploaded yet, but I'm sure they won't mind me using these stock photos and you can book yourself a room and get the ultimate pleasure in hotel staying just like Faith and I have been subjected, forced, and made to enjoy over the past weekend and really for five wonderful days.

I hadn't heard of the Davenport because I'm from Oklahoma (that sounds bad) but since I have been here I have heard nothing but how great this place is. When people find out where Faith and I are staying they ask ME questions about a hotel they've never had the nerve to walk into, and they're FROM Spokane. I tell them, the fireplace in the lobby is actually called the living room or the meeting room of Spokane, go in, take a look - bring a camera! The rooms are massive of course, everything was massive in the early part of the 20th Century as far as luxury hotels are concerned. This one could be right up there with any AmWay or Four Seasons in terms of greatness, the service is simply unbeatable, and you know what - I like Spokane now! I never knew I liked Spokane, but I love this place. I could stay here and lounge in the hot tub eating their soft peanut brittle all night. Oh wait...I did that!

I was lucky enough to have a room with the best view and the best shower...but I didn't want a huge marble shower, I wanted a bath tub!! No problem. The hotel concierge moved me. Just like that. I was just teasing about the fact that I couldn't lay around in the tub, drinking champagne, and calling my agent at all hours of the night - it was a joke - but they accommodate at this place. I was almost afraid (hopeful) that someone would come in and actually bathe me. (can I pick who? LOL)

The lobby of course is beautiful, but the halls and the rooms off to the sides where ballroom dancing used to take place, weddings, meetings, oh - just everything is here. There is a grand hall that goes in a square and it has gilded framed photos of the years gone past with the various rooms and the ancestry of the great City of Spokane. People come in and point to someone in a picture and say "That's Mrs. Sprawl when she was 11. When she turned 80 she had her birthday in the same room." That's how great this place is. Brunch was fun for over 200 guests and visitors as Faith walked around greeting everyone and then everyone had to greet her back. I tell people MONEY is not the dirtiest thing in the world, no, my dog's back is! She's petted by everyone and they love her, and she loves them. She's still a little leery of men out of uniform, but there was ONE there! Yes, Sgt. Major Reynolds of Benning! Thanks for loving my dog. (You didn't have to salute, that was kind of you.)

So, I'm going back upstairs to the big, big, big, bed that I can barely climb into. I'm getting under the mounds of comforters and just reading a few things before I allow, yes allow, the staff to come in and draw my bath - I only say that because they were laughing about who got to do it for FAITH..not for me, but that's OK, I'll keep hanging out with her if it means I get this sort of treatment.

THANK YOU to the staff and service personnel at the Davenport, seriously, this has been the best stay ever! (Just a tad more champagne, thank you love, I appreciate it.) You know, warm sheets, big white robes, fluffy pillows and doorbell service, the only thing missing in this fantasy is the bass player from oh, I don't know, some cover band I'm familiar with. That would be perfection! *grins*