Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's a Starbucks Thing!





You know, I knew I liked this Gary Sinise guy! Look closely -- here he is on set at for the CBS-TV show "CSI-NY" and instead of drinking from the little blue and white GREEK cups which are an absolute staple in NYC, he's drinking from MY favorite, the Starbucks cup! Now, I will admit - - on my first trip to NYC I did hunt down a street vendor and I did buy a cup of coffee and a bagel for a $1 so I could keep the cup and say I did it. That was a priority to me, sort of my way of saluting the guys on Law and Order that I watched for mega-years. Out of the more than 100 Starbucks stores in Manhattan I have been to 67. Faith and I (my dog) have personally been inside 574 different Starbucks stores, NOT including the kiosks at the airports. She has actually walked into 574 stores to date...WHAT a great tribute to a wonderful company.

Heck, I like Starbucks so much I convinced my daughter Laura (cute red-head) to join the ranks of the best Baristas in the world - - she's in Ardmore, OK right now, and will be going to Ft. Worth, TX soon. Some of my best friends were Starbucks Baristas, it's how we met.

I need to write a book about the stores I've been to - - the people I've met. Sure, there are the famous people: I've seen and/or met Allison Janey, A.J. Buckley, Samuel L. Jackson, Jesse L. Martin, Vera Wang, and Gray Frederickson in various stores across the country - - but it's the OTHER people that matter. It's the Andrew Wests, the Julie Smedlunds, the John Harringtons, the Peggy McQ's and Pam Lindsays...and the J.D. Whites that matter to me...the people who talk to me about politics, love, sex, music, money, vacations, Chicago condos, and oh the BARISTAS!! Some of them will flat out sing to you when you request it -- Andrew West, aka GAMBIT. I've had Starbucks Baristas volunteer to drive me home when my car didn't start. I met one in Dallas and he transferred to Jacksonville, FL and I met him again and he remembered me!! I wasn't with the dog at the time either, he just remembered me....that was amazing to me.

So, salute to Mr. Gary Sinise for his Starbucks loving habit! Salute to my dog Faith who has been to just as many Starbucks as I have been to! Salute to my beautiful daughter Laura who is picking up the singing barista status that "Gambit" started -- may the coffee flow, the caffeine keep you awake, and may all your lattes come out just the way you like them. What do I like at Starbucks? Well, I like my coffee like I like my men - - and if you know the sizes of the Starbucks coffees it will make sense to you when I compare it to "the man"...I like my coffee tall, strong,a little sweet, a little spicy, bold, full-bodied, robust, Italian and HOT...just like ... well, Sinise! OH, she went there! LOL

Thursday, October 22, 2009

12 YEARS in PACKER Captivity - I am Free





My boy was 10 years old when he came home from school and announced that he was going to be like Reggie White! I about fell out of my chair. Reggie was the ONE MAN that I had prayed to God about when I was pregnant with my son and not married. I wanted my son to be giant, strong, worthy, God-fearing, and yes, I wanted him to play football. There was NO GREATER man on the field in 1985 (when I was pregnant) than the Philadelphia Eagle's (Not a Packer yet) Reggie White. In 1996 when my baby made that announcement, Reggie was a Packer. We became Packer fans at that minute. No more Chicago Bears for me. I was told by Reuben that (according to Reggie) you had to pick your team. You had to make a choice. You were either a Packer fan or a Bears fan and you could not (under any circumstances) be both a Bears fan and a Packers fan. (The question was, what was I going to do with my Walter Payton jersey?) It was - - Good Bye Superbowl Shuffle, and Hello Pack! Reggie was too big to argue with. He had made a very lasting impression on my son.

Over the next few years Reuben met Reggie on a number of personal visits and occasions. Each time Reggie hugged him, told Reuben to be the best Mama's Boy he could be, because there "ain't nothing better!" Reuben was the man of the house by age 11 and if he said no Chicago Bears - - well, OK, I'd just have to fold up the old SWEETNESS jersey, and root for the Pack. I even wore the Cheesehead.

Reuben knows I'm moving to Chicago. He's 23 now, old enough to be make all of his own life changing decisions, and so I approached him today with one I wanted to make. I wanted to be released from my pact to be a Packers fan for life. I wanted to go back to being a Bears fan for a number of reasons. The Packers were never really MY team, I was a fan by proxy - - all the while, unbeknown to my son, I would secretly cheer for Da' Bears when Reuben wasn't listening -- and if I had nothing else to do, and wanted to rile the boy up -- maybe get a good fight going, I would root for Da Bears when HE WAS LISTENING!! Those were fun moments! I love them...I run fast and hide, but I do love teasing the boy. I did it when he was in Iraq just to make him scream into the phone! It worked.

So, today, October 22, 2009 -- after 12 years of being forced to hide my pride, and to keep my mouth shut on matters of Da Blue and Orange - - I was RELEASED!! It was 5:05 p.m. Central Standard Time.....I was allowed to, by permission of the man of the house, to become (or return to) a Chicago Bears fan again!! YEA!!!! Now, don't get all blown out of shape when you read that the man of the house had to, or needed to give me permission - - it's a respect issue. I let the boy believe he's in control of a few important things, and he lets me think he's a virgin! Hahahahaa...Oh, that's funny, never mind, I'm laughing, I'll be OK in a minute.

I am a Chicago Bears fan again. Wow, just the thought of it makes me want to run out and buy season tickets now. I can say this; although and even though I'm not suppose to, I'm going to be a Packer's fan too - in that I will hope they do OK. I will hope they do well. I will hope they don't get injured and I will pray for their toes to stay warm on the Frozen Tundra....unless they play Da BEARS!! I love it!

THANK YOU REUBEN!!! Oh, and if Reggie had remained an Eagle, well, then I'm sure we'd have been Eagle fans. We're just still 100%, no wait, 1000% Reggie White fans. There ain't no better thing to be. God has Reggie now, and we'll see him when we get to Heaven. He remains my son's eternal hero, and that's OK with me.

I may still be able to fit into my Walter Payton jersey! I just have to find it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Like "Provolone Hill Puppy"






Photo of the REAL Swiss Mountain Dog is not mine. Just found it on the internet.

We're not telling Brody, our new Jack Russell terrorist, that he's not a REAL Swiss Mountain Dog. We're telling him that his is a "cousin" to that breed, better known as the "Provolone Hill Puppy". You can see by his markings that he's going to be absolutely beautiful when he grows up to be the mammoth that he looks like he could be - - but for now he's just a little thing, a bit too small to jump on the bed without assistance.

Dr. Wayne Dyer would be so proud of me for the empowering and encouraging lectures I give to Brody, whose full name is Sir Henry Wallace Brodrick. I tell Brody that he's big, he's tall, he's brave, he's determined, he's tough, and he's on the path to the being the best Provolone Hill Puppy ever! I read quips and little quotes to him every day from my enlightenment calendars - - things like "From this day forward you are who you believe you are!" I tell him that he's doesn't have to be 120 pounds to be a Big Dog. King can be do that - - Brody just has to be Henry Wallace Broderick, the best puppy God intends him to be. (Right now he's working on surviving being tackled by his more agile and aggressive little sister Teagan who needs absolutely NO encouragement...none. She's got the Jack Russell heart of the fearless down just pat!)

For years I have had a picture of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog on my refrigerator and I sometimes tease Matrix with it, telling him that he'll be replaced when he dies with one of these - and I point to the picture. He usually turns his nose up and walks away - - he knows I love him. For years I've told the kids that if we ever do get a big dog it's going to be a GSMD....and then Caity brought King home. Well, OK, but I want my Swiss Mountain Dog right? I mean, I'm the mom! I'm the one paying the bills (why is that?) I'm the one with the right to say who does and who does not live here (no I don't but I like to pretend I have that power.) So, when Caity got around to ALSO bringing the two little puppies home for us to foster - - for us that means keep, I fell head over heels in love with Brody. Even secretly giggling when the person Caity gave him to got in trouble with her parents and couldn't take him - - OK, c'mon, I only laughed a little bit. I wasn't mean about it, and she never really saw me do it either.

I kidnapped Brody immediately and began whispering in his ears that he was going to be the biggest Provolone Hill Puppy EVER....and where that wasn't quite the very very same as a Swiss Mountain Dog - - it was close! I've always wanted to be Native American, but that's not going to happen either, so I listen to Spirit music, and I go to the woods and meditate - - there are steps you can take to be whatever you wish! For me, I dream. For Brody, he just has to keep gnawing on the giant bones, pretending to be a power chewer and next time when his little sister grabs him by the throat and pulls him to the ground he can.....growl or something. Maybe, if she doesn't take his head off for it.

He's still young, we'll do this! Manifest it Brody boy! Manifest it!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

"FAITH" the Definitive Book





Some dogs spend all their waking hours under the bed and just hope they don't get bothered by puppies - - Faith does that too, when she's not working.

The thing about Faith is that she's so wonderful, so amazing, so incredible that allowing her to be under the bed all day seems out of character to some of those that know her as the super-hero, mega-heart-healing miracle that she is. The truth is, as you'll soon be able to read about in our new definitive book (working title) "FAITH"...that she's anything you need her to be. She can be a dog, she can be a nurse, she can be a pastor, a warden. She can be your best friend, she can be your buddy or just someone you see from a distance and realize that they have their life pulled together and you needed that glimpse of a really put-together soul to get your own life kick-started. Faith is ...well, she's just about EVERYTHING but to be honest, to tell the truth, her ordinary dogness is the most extraordinary thing to most people who meet her.

The book focuses on what Faith isn't. She tells the story from her point of view, so there's no way she's going to refer to herself as anything but a two-legged dog in a four-legged world. She'll tell you that she gets to fly first class on American Airlines and that she goes to hospitals to see soldiers and kids. She's going to tell you about the time she got kicked off the White House lawn, but see - - Faith doesn't realize she was kicked off. She was just talking to a squirrel on the other side of the fence and didn't have clue-one that you weren't allowed to stick your yellow nose through the gate to do it - - police were everywhere! We met them all! Now, she will also tell you have bored she was while it took those police 45 minutes to move us off the premises because several Congressmen and women wanted to have their picture taken with her when word spread throughout the halls of the nation's capital that she was outside breaching security!

Because we're just in the infantile stages of writing this book I won't tell you too much. I will tell you this: We've asked several dignitaries and some celebrities to write little blurbs about the times they met Faith, what her message means to them, and how her story impacts them personally. NFL great Vince Papale was asked today if he'd consider writing a word or two -- we think he will. We have great commitments from some already. We have a famous writer, a wonderful TV hostess who cried the first time she saw Faith in person and a rock star that screamed like a girl when he met her at the airport. We've also asked a couple of soldiers who Faith had the greater privilege of knowing when we visited them in Walter Reed Army Medical Center and at another base hospital on the West Coast. (Those are the REAL rock stars!) Yep, this book will certainly make a big splash - - to be really keen, I'll even go so far as to say it will walk upright on it's OWN TWO LEGS. (had to do it!) LOL

What the book doesn't promise is to be truthful - - dogs don't get every detail straight; too busy being humble you know. What I will promise is laughter, tears, a few untold secrets about what a dog really thinks when we're not looking, and what Faith looks forward to most. Why the words "Let's Go" get her so excited - - I'll give you a hint: it means she's about to kiss a man or woman in uniform!

It can't be easy being the world's most photographed dog. I guess a few dog days under the bed is OK when the rest of one's life is spent changing the world one heart at a time - - well, sometimes thousands at a time in her case. Look for the book to be out in about 1 year and keep up with Faith at the new Faith Train website at: www.boardthefaithtrain.com We just signed on FABULOUS music composer Alan Williams (www.alanwilliams.com)for some background music...Whoot! Whoot!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

No Boats for Me! Thanks

NY POST 2009

I don't know what it is about my friends, family and spies in the United States Army, but every time Mr. Sinise has even the slightest bit of humaness they feel it necessary to contact me with bitter details -- often photos that NO I will never publish. When you have a dog in the Army (and I do) and you have a dozen or so operatives as close buddies (and again, I do), you are apt to find one or two of them that actually get a kick out of those of us who just aren't "Army Strong". They like to make fun of us, post about us, or in Gary's case they like to call me and tell me what he's doing, where in the world he's doing it, and why they think it's hysterical. No Mr. Peterson, I don't need to stalk Sinise, I have people. I have lots and lots of camo-wearing, ninja-types who have little else to do on a NYC weekday than to write me and tell me that "MY MAN" got sick on the glass bottomed boat he and others were filming on this week in the City. (Well, all I can say is, we have yet another thing in common it would appear.) Hooah Sinise! Hooah!

My disdain for movement started when I was very young and couldn't catch up with the spinning merry-go-round on the playground. I remember busting my head on the big fat metal bars that protruded from the monster. I remember also falling off of it onto pebbles and/or concrete - - who puts a spinning wooden and metal wheel on top of concrete then allows kids to play on it; not monitoring the speed, not caring how many kids are catapulted into the freaking air? TEACHERS...that's who! TEACHERS!

As long as I was in control of the movements I was fine - - for instance, I was a gymnast, and never once got sick throwing myself into the air. When I used to dive I was fine, but put me on a boat - - I sink. You don't have to worry about even undocking it, I'm throwing up before it leaves the slip! I don't do boats. I didn't used to do planes, but got over it with some really really good drugs by Wyeth. That's a funny story too. I was on a flight to NYC from Dallas and sat next to a beautiful woman who just happened to represent the Wyeth pharmaceutical company. She sensed my apprehension immediately, and well, not wanting vomit on her new skirt I suppose, she suggested that I use something that starts with a P and it's a compound mixture. She gave it to me - - applied it to my wrists and when I rubbed it in I was absolutely fine! She gave me 10 vials and to be honest with you after using it on the next 10 trips I never had to order any more. (Here's a funny note, after I wrote her a thank you card and signed my name she wrote back that she thinks we're 3rd cousins! WE WERE!! How funny is that? She got the looks though.) LOL

Nope, I don't do boats, and apparently the man, "My Man" doesn't get along with them much either. Well, thank you SSGT Ben Gentry for that observation - - and again, NO I won't be posting the photos of Sinise almost throwing up - - not pretty. No, don't get me wrong, he's pretty, and of course I'd be there in a heartbeat to take care of the man, but he'd have to come to shore first - - Terra firma...Terra firma.

Next time you're in NYC try spotting the operatives on the Piers....they're the ones with really short hair and big toothy grins. They love their jobs. My son is one you know - - sneaky little kid. Did I ever tell you about the time he hid from me for 45 minutes in our 1-entry apartment? It had a backdoor, but we lived on the 10th floor! Both doors were locked from the INSIDE...it was a tiny apartment! I couldn't find my son! Over and over I searched. I was freaking out, because if he had left he couldn't have locked the doors. If he had been kidnapped he couldn't' have locked the doors -- and he was nearly 200 pounds. DAMN kid, he was stealthily moving from room to room as I left the room - - I became so upset I began crying. That's when he came out of hiding - 5 feet in front of me! I swear, the Army uses this boy for all he's worth -- SSGT Gentry is obviously his equal.

Well, Gary Alan, I hope your belly is better. Mine hurts a little from laughing, but I really do understand. I really do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What Are Best Friends For?






So, you go through life and you have friends - - people you meet and have fun with. Maybe you have something in common with them and you just sort of stick with them through something and that sort of brings you closer to each other right? Well, let's start with Matt Clark. Matt is actually Spc. Matthew Clark and he's Reuben's been friend - - they met in the Army; which is really cool when you're old and someone asks "How did you guys meet anyway?". Matt is a little younger than Reuben, not too much, but they have a thousand things in common like football, gun-talk, cars, being crazy, snow sledding on trashcan lids or little kiddie-pools. They've been through a damn war together, but in reality, when they were both in Iraq they were separated for nearly a full year! WOW....that was one good reunion. The slopes of Alaska are in trouble again as it's already snowing and the boys are stocking up on toys together. Come December my son returns to me, but because of their love for each other, I have TWO sons in the Army now! (and a beautiful daughter in law too, because Matt got married to Brit this year just before Valentine's!)

What if your best friend outweighs you by say 10x? Say you're an 8 pound cat and your best friend is an 80+ pound St. Bernard mix? There could be some benefits to that I suppose. My best friend (Jeannie, seen with her hubby Darren below) can't put my entire head in her mouth and there's no way I'm letting her sleep on top of me every night. I mean, I love the woman, but no. Essie is the cat we were fostering and when she and King met in June it was love at first hiss...for King. It took a little while for Essie to realize that the mammoth was only growing bigger and that she'd probably better become his friend at 30 pounds before things completely got out of hand. For King, he was certain they would hit it off. So certain his idea of surrendering to the feline was to roll over her time and time again to let her know he really and truly felt something for her. Cat's don't really have bones so it worked out OK. Essie is gone - - but King has fond memories of his little buddy I'm sure.

Oh yes, then there's JEANNIE...my bestie bestie! She's been my buddy since August 22, 1977. That was the first day of my sophomore year and her Sr. year in high school. She's not really that much older than me, I started late and she was very young going into the first grade. She didn't have to go to kindergarten, I did, it started up in our state the year I was suppose to go to first; so we may have ended up just one grade apart - - but I digress.

Jeannie's best friend Karen was friends with my best friend Jen and the first real day of classes that hot August day found those two, Karen and Jen, running around looking for their lockers and classes leaving Jeannie and I completely alone with each other. I had on a Bee Gee t-shirt. She liked Barry, I liked Maurice, we agreed to be best friends. It doesn't take much when you're thrown together I suppose.

Since that day I'd say we have agreed on 3 things. The Bee Gees being one of them. Then there's OU football, and we both like Taco Bueno over Taco Bell. Other than that we are polar opposites. Jeannie loves rap and hip-hop music also, me...no. I'm in to jazz and Celtic world music. Jeannie is a left-wing Democrat and I'm a moderate Republican. I drive like a grandma she drives like a 14 year old without a clue. She won't even tell me how many tickets she's gotten because she knows my FACE...the FACE. She's into fashion, makeup, and all the girlie things -- I climb trees and catch tadpoles...but I do show them to her. She acts amused. Oh, there is something else - - we like the Zoo.

I guess my point is, that Matt and Reuben are being separated soon. Essie and King are now no longer a part of each others lives, and as I prepare to move to Enemy Territory (Texas), I know that I will be separated from my bestie bestie too - - and that makes me sad. The only thing I can think of to tell her that I love the heck out of her, and no, she still can't drive when she comes to visit. That's just not going to happen. My car, I drive....but I do love her.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Big Decision!




OH, it finally happened! It has finally come down to the BIG question. The BIG decision! WHAT will Jude do on October 17, 2009? Will she go to the Navy Pier in her FAVORITE city of Chicago, and see her FAVORITE man Gary Sinise play in his band the Lt. Dan Band (www.ltdanband.com) or will she stay home and watch the Oklahoma Sooners play the Texas Longhorns with her best friend Jeannie? GOOD QUESTION!

There are those, who have for the past 4 years berated me, belittled me, made fun of me, and called me all sort of things because I openly and unashamedly admit to loving this man. I mean, I intentionally keep my feelings about him somewhat out of the public because no one quite understands how a woman can feel so strongly about someone she's never met - - right? So, over and over again as our two lives and the jobs we have seemed to cross paths, I have found myself just missing the man by minutes through airports. We have been in the same place at the same time, but no, no, we have not actually seen each others smiling faces; and yet, I absolutely love him deeply in my heart.

I did not ask for this feeling, in fact I have argued with God on a number of occasions because of it - -claiming it is wrong to feel this way; and have begged the Almighty to release me from this particular assignment to love Gary Sinise. No one said I had to DO anything about the feeling -- but I was commanded to do it. To love that is, to just love him no matter what, and of course that includes no matter how any one else feels about my heart having been surrendered to this calling. So, the question is: Because I have free tickets with American Airlines and I could so very very easily take the S70 up to the Windy City; because I have vouchers for the Crown Royale hotel, and I could if I wanted to, stay with my good friends Dan, P.M. Dan, and Ruben (not to be mistaken for Reuben) -- because I have credit at Enterprise and could rent a little compact or mid-size car for next to nothing - - and because I could simply find myself around town without a problem - what will I do?

Anthony Tortoriello, my photographer, body-guard, vegetarian guru, and good friend would love to show me around the city I love so very much. He lives there, and we could take a trip to the Barrington Barkery also. We could get Faith a cookie with her name on it! We could crash Joe's and have a veggie burger, but I'm more or less doing raw foods now, so it would be more like a salad and a couple of pieces of fruit for me, but the fact remains...I could! I could, and if I wanted to badly enough I would - - after all, it's GARY ALAN SINISE! LOL (You can't see me rolling off the chair right now laughing, but I am because I know me. I know me very well.)

I've turned down 3 job offers that weekend. One paid $5,000 and I just said NO! I will not go to the Bahamas and do a show on October 17, I have plans. One was a gig in Los Angeles, but why would I go to L.A. if my man was playing in Chicago - - come on! The other was a gig in South Beach and you know, I'm not really ready for bikinis just yet, but a little heat in mid October could be a good thing right? NO NO NO NO NO NO...I have made up my mind. I know exactly what I'm doing, I know exactly who I am going to be stalking - - and it will NOT BE....wait, I don't stalk, I observe. LOL

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love the hell out of ONE Gary Alan, but not even Gary can take the place of my Boomer Sooner OU football team on the OU/TEXAS weekend - - NOPE...I'm not even sure I'd pick my son up at the airport on that day if he were coming home from the Army! WHAT AM I SAYING..... Baby Boy wouldn't be STUPID enough to fly that day! PLEASE..he's going to be glued to his set too! PEOPLE - - OK, I love the man, he's great and everything, but I do have my priorities and well, Sooner born, Sooner Bred!

Sorry Gary - - maybe next time. (Definitely "sometime") LOL