Friday, April 30, 2010

It's A No-Go Lt. Dan! No Stalking Now.


Sorry Gary, Ernie, Kimo, Carole, Danny & Beth, Gina, Julie, Mari Anne, Jeff, Ben and all the others -- Sorry Lt. Dan Band, I just won't be able to make it to the Chicago Hard Rock Cafe this coming week (May 7) as I have something more personal to attend. My big baby girl, as opposed to my baby girl, is turning 21. This will of course call for a celebration - - and though I would absolutely love nothing more than to stand at the edge of the stage grinning at you all, and taking in the lovely tunes that you play - - it will simply not be taking place.

Laura has actually invited me to be a part of her life - - and I will oblige. At first we planned on taking in Vegas, but she has invited far too many for that. We thought of Dallas and all the fun we could have there - - too far for some. So, we've compromised and we're going the BIGGEST casino this side of the Pecos! That's right, Winstar Casinos at mile marker 1 on the RIGHT side of that old Red River. All you Texans who have been invited will just have to Boomer Sooner it for the night, now won't ya!? Put on that Crimson and Cream and sing out loud! If you don't know the words they're rather easy to learn: "Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner...Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner, Boomer - Soon-er." You stretch that last one out a bit....and you go "YEAAAAAAAA" at the very end. It may take a few practice runs, but you can do it.

So, stalking will not be on the agenda - - not for me anyway. Gary, you're a cute man, really you are, but you don't have what it takes to pull me away from the joy of my heart...well, OK, maybe just a little. I'll try my hardest to make it up to you and put stalking on my summer calendar; somewhere between moving and speaking at a million venues...but I swear, I'll do it someday. Everyone expects me to stalk you, so I guess I shouldn't let them down. Maybe someday, but not this weekend.

I'm hoping the Birthday Girl gets lucky and wins at 21 at least a couple of times. I teased her about being at a club on her 21st, I met the man I let get away on my 21st. Hey, John Patrick Maloney - - if you're out there buddy - - come back!! Remember that song by Randy Travis about the Operator connecting him to 1982...I would so do that again; at least for that one night.

Happy Birthday Laura Cakes. You'll be the prettiest girl at the clubs and I know one with the biggest smile. Good luck at the tables and who knows, maybe somewhere up in Chicago a certain band will be kind enough to sing Happy Birthday in your honor. Wish we could be there LDB...but it wasn't in the cards. (A little casino humor, sorry, couldn't pass..oops, did it again.)

Love ya.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So Not Easy Being Me in the Third

I'm trying to finish a book I'm writing with the fantastic Seattle based author Rudy Yuly. In the narrative we are writing in third person, which means instead of saying "me" or or "I", which is so ingrained in all of us when we talk about ourselves, I am being forced to say "she" or "Jude". I call myself "Stringfellow" when I think I've used my first name too often. This is not easy.

For the first few days I couldn't get it done at all. I forced myself to think outside of my own head and my own experiences to try and relive or visit the stories that I was telling the world. I tried to get inside my own head as it were, and tell the story from the point of view that would seem personal to the character in the book, but not necessarily so to myself, or the co-author. It helps that I'm not the only author of this book -- it helps that he's there and he's able to see things from a more pure and clean perspective when it comes to retelling a story that didn't actually take place in his life. It's like a dream for me. I'm trying to remember the events, but they don't seem all that real anymore.

When I go back over the things that have happened to me and to my family since we've had Faith it just seems like a bunch of made up stories - - like Forrest Gump or something. Oh wait, if it's Forrest Gump I may actually get a shot at Lt. Dan! Oh, how fun would that be? OK -- here's my dilemma, should I travel down this fantasy road for a while, or get back on the reality train and tell the blog as it was suppose to be? Oh, I hate it when I'm obedient. LOL

Back to the blog we go.

Authorship is a gift I believe. I know it can be learned, akin to playing the guitar, a piano, or even learning the basics in a game of baseball. If you are bent on writing you will write. Some of us are given a gift for it, and other work at it. Like me when I'm picking at my guitar - - I can't for the life of me remember the keys and I don't hold the chords correctly either. I love the instrument and I want to play it more than anything - not actually more than anything I suppose, because I'd rather write. I find that writing is a more natural event for me, and even if I don't have much to say I still talk. I still tell, and I still show off. If I were a classic guitarist like my good friend Edgar Cruz I would be strumming right now and you'd never be able to read what I write, but you could at least hear what I play.

Writing in the third is so hard for me. It's the equivalent of picking up that six-stringed instrument and trying to make it talk to me. Trying to make it tell me what I'm suppose to do to make it sing. I no longer write my fantasies or my dreams out in a journal before I key them into a computer. Times have changed and I have obeyed the times. However, being able to write and feeling comfortable with a new method are two completely different things. I like the challenge - - it makes me realize I'm a bit vulnerable; but at the same time I know I'll often slip right back into the woods I am familiar with and hide deeply beneath the foliage I have lived in and with all my life. My pen is my sword and I am not willing to lay it down just yet -- not when the fight is in me and the need to protect ME...well, her...if we're talking in the third.

I am the only me I could ever be. This remains constant. In every point of view.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

20 Innings - - Are You Serious?

April 17, 2010 - - St. Louis, Mo! WOW...the Mets went to the Show-Me State and put on a show -- but it was matched. EQUALLY matched infact! The Mets went scoreless for 18 straight innings as did the Cardinals. Can you believe it? I turned on the television to hear the announcer say it was the bottom of the 19th, and I thought he was crazy!

Reuben and I sat down to watch the last 1.5 innings of a really interesting game. I tried to figure out how long that would take to play -- turns out it takes just under 7 hours. OMG - - 7 straight hours of playing baseball. I'm a Cubs fan, I would have probably stayed through the 20th, but to be honest if I was expecting to ride the bus home I would have had to count on my friends to take me home if I lived in Chicago. If we were at the opponent's home who knows - - we may have had a flight to catch, dinner plans, anything!

Laura is a Mets fan. She'll be thrilled to the outcome - - Oh, I didn't tell you. The Mets won the game in the 20th. It was the longest game in St. Louis history since 1974 and I believe I heard the announcer say the Mets had actually gone 25 innings before - - back in the 60's. Nope, it would not be an easy thing to sit through.

The two teams used 19 pitched. There were upward of 660 pitches, only 3 runs total as the Mets won 2 to 1, and the crowd had dwindled so far down that the only seats occupied were the first 10 rows. Of course those sitting up top came down during the mass exodus around the 12th inning - - I would.

So, that's the thrill of the day I guess for us - - we live a rather mundane life here at the Stringfellow house. LOL....and if you believe that, maybe you'll believe the Cubs can take the pennant this year! We'll see. We're only 10 games in and we're holding well so far! Go Chicago!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good Golly Miss Molly!!



Well -- Good Golly! He went and did it now! Reuben went to the Ardmore Animal Wellness Center and he adopted himself a best friend. She's a full blooded female Basset Hound and the vet sets her age at about 18 months. She looks as if she has had puppies in the past, but she'll be spayed in just a few days so there will be no more chance of that happening. Miss Molly was named "Rosie" at the shelter due to her sweet and gentle demeanor. I can't imagine why anyone would let this pup go to a public shelter and not claim her, but that is the story we received.

Reuben and his brother Matt went to the shelter a couple weeks back to volunteer and Rosie was in a pen with dogs that were being kept so their owners could come and claim them. Yesterday she had been moved over to the other side of the shelter, the side allowing anyone from the public to adopt her. With her full blood status, sweet face, and really really great personality, it was a no-brainer that she'd be picked up in no time. Thank God Reuben was there, Johnny-on-the-spot! LOL I think he had a little help with the decision to go ahead and adopt Molly even though I am not moving out of the house with my dogs until July. He's right, in his defense, he is correct -- she wouldn't be there very long and she had already become decidedly thin from being stressed and not eating well.

Here, at the Stringfellow house, Molly fits in just perfectly. She was treated for kennel cough when she arrived in March to the shelter. She was dewormed, vaccinated, and had her nails and ears cleaned yesterday when he adopted her and took her to the vet for her first examination and once-over. It was determined that she could continue the Rx for her cough, but she was at the end of her prescription. She should be OK, not to mention (just so you know) my other dogs have all been vaccinated for KC and/or anything else that could be caught by bringing home another critter from a public shelter.

Reuben informed me that one of the reasons he got Molly early was so that he could watch the NFL draft with her this coming weekend. Everyone knows a man needs a good dog to watch the draft with. I'm more than sure that's going to be a long and drawn out cell conversation between Matt and Reuben, as Matt is still in the Army for another few weeks. Molly will no-doubt be taking Reuben's side every time.

Matt's looking around now for his addition to the house when he becomes a permanent resident of the Stringfellow house. He's adopting an English Bulldog from a rescue center somewhere in the United States. He just hasn't narrowed his search quite yet because he's not moving for another few weeks and I'm not moving out with mine until the middle of the summer - - please Matt, wait until I'm out of the little tiny house with the ever-shrinking yard before bringing in "Husker". Although, they say SEVEN is the number of perfection. Let's not make that happen - - OK? Thanks.

Reuben didn't waste anytime getting Molly her new purple collar and next week when she's spayed she'll receive her pretty shiny rabies vaccination tag proving she's 100% legal. Maybe when Reuben's not looking we girls will paint Molly's nails a bright pretty pink and do her ears all up in bows. Just for fun - - she'd like that. First things first, she has to gain a few pounds. Being at the shelter stressed her out a bit and she's way too thin right now. I'm pretty sure I saw Reub mixing her up a protein shake and adding a few eggs to it. I'll have to be sure and introduce her to the best pet food on Earth - - PRECISE. (www.precisepet.com) She'll be tip-top and awesome in no time. She's already stunningly gorgeous and sweet as can be...she may as well have the whole package!

Reuben's in love. (and he should be)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Open Invitation To Take a Bath With Me.

If you're a dog and you live in my house it is apparently an open invitation to jump right on into the bath while I'm my most vulnerable. I know why I usually leave the doors closed now. With the kids away I thought I would leave the bathroom door open so I could hear the music from the living room drifting its way into my dimly lit bathroom...I was wrong.

First Teagan (a little yellow and white Jack Russell) decided she needed to drink the water -- it was hot and bubbly, but she didn't care. Her attention to the water caught King's attention - - he didn't hesitate or even leave skid marks, he just plopped right into the tub with me. Teagan followed.

King is a mix-breed St. Bernard/Dane and to be honest with you he's a bit clumsy too. Having him push and turn around in the water while I was trying to sit up to assist him was certainly worth a YouTube but there are some things just best left to the imagination. King really (and I mean really) wanted to take a bath.

I decided that since Teagan was so small she could be bathed faster and the sooner I got one of the dogs out of the bath tub the better -- that was my thought. As soon as I did manage to get Teagan out another dog made his way through the door. It was Yuki. He hadn't been in the room before - - unless he was being given a bath, so he was quite sure of what to do. He just leaned over the edge and joined us. Teagan proceeded to get away from me and then dry herself off on the sofas and when that wasn't sufficient she took off for my room to crawl and twist around on the comforter.

King sat down and kissed me squarely on the face. He wasn't in any hurry. It was almost as if he was saying "Go ahead, bathe Yuki, I can wait." So I scrubbed on the little Chihuahua-Dox for a while, found a towel, managed to get on my knees to get Yuki out and even dried him before he took off. Then came the fun one!

King just sat there with his back to me -- laughing. He was loving every single minute of it and the thought occurred to me that he may be part German Shepherd. My mom's dog Lady would kill to get into the water - even the garden hose was a source of joy to her. Who knows, a mix is a mix is a mix at this point. I haven't officially tested King's DNA -- I'm just sure he's a big 100+ pound dog with pretty long brown hair and bright big blue eyes. He's a ladies dog for sure.

After the tub was filled with dirt and hair I managed to climb out of it and dry both of us off...but the comforter still got used the second I released him. All those towels I washed and dried today - - getting it again tonight. I had to use 3 just to clean out the dirt and mess he left. Hey, at least my dogs are clean, right?

Matrix, the only dog NOT to get bathed was found on the bed too, but very safely under the blankets where he would be very difficult to grab or wrangle should I decide he needed to be cleaned. He lucked out...or I did, I don't know which!

Next time - - I close the door.

Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter

Wow - - can you even compare the two? Let's see, orgasm v. "Well, that was nice." That seems to be an adequate comparison between the two. Let's go with that.

It hasn't been that long since I went to the health food store in Oklahoma City where I decided to buy as many good and healthy things as I could afford. I promised myself that I would not spend ungodly amounts of money on pills, vitamins, minerals and supplements - - all of which are readily available, but I also promised myself that I would try to find the right balance of good food at a reasonable price. Then it happened -- I found the almond butter.

Everyone knows that peanuts are really cheap and that almonds cost a bit more. I don't do anything roasted, toasted, sweetened or shelled so buying the natural nuts was at least that much cheaper buying them in bulk rather than in prepackaged cans with logos and labels. I probably warranted myself another 100 nuts just for being the frugal Scots girl that I am.

Almond butter just made sense to me. I buy almonds to munch on, I should at least try the butter too. I can spread a little less and make the small jar go further than maybe I would the cheaper peanut butter -- even the organic brand, and I could maybe, I don't know, by sparing the amount also spare some calories, some fat, and make myself feel a little better for doing it - - that was the argument I needed and you bet, I bought the expensive jar of almond butter. I will say this, I had a choice of 4 and I picked the least expensive one. (gotta keep a sane mind somehow)

Well, I know this: I won't be going back to peanut butter anytime soon. Why would I? The overall taste, texture, and aroma kicks peanut butter in the nuts. Oh, I so meant to say that...I really did! It was tacky, but I said it anyway. If I had to pick a perfect food other than raw honey or maybe black beans it would be almond butter. You can think of a few ways to use it if you get really creative. I haven't actually tried mixing the almond butter with the black beans yet, but I have put a bit of raw honey on the other piece of 12 grain bread and let me tell you - - it's, well it's, it's a party in your mouth is what it is.

Someone out there in the almond growing world deserves a big thank you -- and maybe even a hug. Let me know if you find them, I'd like to shake their hand. Oh, before you go, could you turn out the lights? I think I just had a vision of Spc. Agent Seely Booth on the edge of the knife I just used to spread the almond butter - - I can dream right?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stepping Through Different Doors

I was sitting at the computer a minute ago eating my egg-omelet sandwich, when it occurred to me that I'm actually in the middle of a huge transition in my life. I'm going through different doors than I have been going through - - and I'm OK with that.

I'm backing off some of, if not all of the speaking engagements with Faith. I'm giving the stage over to Laura and over to Caity. I'm letting them have the fun of doing the shows, and the fun of handling a mischievious dog that does things on center stage when you least expect it. She will invarably walk off when she decides to and it may or may not be at the right moment in the speech! She just makes up her dogged little mind and does what she wants to do - - and that can be both challenging and unexpectedly humorous too. I've found out EXACTLY how witty and clever I can be when it happens! Faith is the source of many new thoughts and actions when I've been before a live audience. The girls need to experience that for themselves.

Before Faith and I hit the road I was a professor of English as well as a full time employed High School English teacher. I worked a great deal, studied, graded papers, taught people how to write and how to comprehend what they were reading. It was a great profession for me; I hated to give it up, but I did because I felt a calling. I had a mission and now that that mission has been met I am giving the reins of whatever it is that I've created to the next generation to create and develop it into whatever it is that they believe is best for the future of the mission with Faith.

That being said, I am still writing the definitive book on Faith. I am writing a series of children's books, and possibly creating a 501(c)3 non-profit wherein I may develop workbooks, and do workshops with kids to teach them about acceptance of themselves as well as others with special needs. It's a door that was opened by the work I've created with Faith, one I will be proud to be a part of. I am also embarking (no pun intended) on a sales and marketing position with a great dog food company - - Precise Pet Foods. Faith eats Precise Pet Food. It only stands to reason that if I were to become involved with selling or marketing a dog food product it would be the one she enjoys. It's another door she has opened - - well, Jesus opened it, but He used Faith to nudge the hinges.

The past four years of being on the road with Faith have been rewarding. I can't imagine where I will begin when I start telling the stories in the final book - - it will be a wonderful journey through my heart, through love, through struggles and through grace. God has been so very wonderful to both of us - - but there is another set of doors opening right now for me and I do have to walk through them.

Keep your eyes open. Faith will not stop her mission; she's bound and determined to be the best U.S. Army Sgt Dog out there, to visit more soldiers, to kiss more kids, and to be the one dog everyone remembers forever and ever. I won't be too far behind the scenes watching - - afterall, my babies are out there in front now. I have to keep my momma eyes open for them.

To all who love Faith and her message: THANK YOU...she's not going away, she's really just making a change and change is good.