August 2012

LATE AGAIN

FIRST — Jenni & Jason, all furballs are present, accounted for, and alive. Plants got real rain yesterday. All is good.

And quiet. Really quiet. The animals are totally different when the tribe isn’t here. However, the queen-sized bed seemed a lot smaller last night with four extra bodies in it. Jinx (the baby kitty) sleeps on the black afghan with his head butted up to the red pillow, Jayda Belle (@ 9 months) sleeps on the living room love seat during the day and evening, and both dogs cuddle up at the foot of the sofa at my feet.  Pretty amazing.

SECOND — Had the best time at Mary and Lina’s last night. “Little T” is the most beautiful colt I’ve ever seen. He’s got this roan look, but has a black tail and mane coupled with a bright white star and couple of white socks. To see him in the rain for the first time was precious.

We sat on the porch in the rain, not caring at all that we were getting wet.  Across the highway were a couple of beautiful white horses running around in the rain as if they didn’t know what it was — which was probably true; it’s been so long since there’s been any.

After 23+ days of over 100 degrees — some WAY over 100 degrees (like 112), Lina kept checking her I-phone for the temperature. It dropped as much as seven degrees in an hour. When I left at about 7:30, it was down to 87, and it felt like a cold snap. I drove back to Moore with the windows down.

I love their ranch. First of all, they have a peaceful home. And then there are the horses. Just watching them centers me. Bobby Baffart once said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.” It  always works for me. And there’s a black cat with a white star under its chin that adopted them. There was a home at some point of time because there are no front claws…..but we can’t tell what sex it is.  We’ve been calling it a “she,” but can’t tell because the fur is black and we can’t keep her still long enough to go digging. So, we finally came up with a name last night. “Shim.” Sh(e), (H)im. That covers the bases.
NOT sure what time I got to sleep this morning — maybe 2 or 3 am — but was finally in a really deep sleep when the freaking doorbell rang. I looked at my cell phone to see what time it was. 8 *&)(U& a.m. Are you kidding me? It was a lawn service leaving a flyer. Thanks so much. I was finally getting some sleep. And in, if I remember correctly, a pretty neat dream.

The bummer is that regardless of how little sleep I get (and it’s usually less than more since February), I can function pretty well unless I’m jolted out of sleep. Then I go into House Mom Crisis Mode. Women who live in sorority or fraternity houses for a living can usually sleep with a marching band playing under their window, but the smallest out-of-the-ordinary sound jolts us awake.  When one of those jolts woke me up, I’d get my tee-shirt clad body out of bed, throw on the blue fuzzy robe and be out of my apartment door as quickly as possible to find out what was wrong.

But I’m not a house mom anymore. At least not today. Never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. But today, at a little after 4pm, I’m not a house mom. Therefore, no one. Absolutely NO ONE on the planet should be allowed to jolt me out of sleep once I finally get there.

There are a lot of changes that came out of that damned assault close to five years ago, but the things that bothers me the most is the lack of sleep. Until then, I’d go to bed at 11pm after the news and get up at about 6am, go for a walk or start writing or have breakfast, or do whatever the heck I wanted to do because I  woke up on my own terms, rested and refreshed. Ready for the day.

Now, I try to get to sleep at 11 every night, but it just doesn’t happen. My doctor has tried various meds, but most of them make me really groggy and I can’t function. Finally, we found a combination that worked, but with all the chaos the first three weeks of the spring term this year plus all the uncertainty since then, nothing works anymore.

I want sleep to be my friend again. I want to turn off the tv or put up the book or close the computer, turn out the light, pull the covers up to my neck and be lulled to sleep by birds or an ocean’s roar or the sound of breeze in the trees or chirping crickets. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Maybe it’s because I don’t know where I live. Maybe my body doesn’t want to get used to being in the same place, or maybe my mind races. Haven’t figured it out.  Sometimes when I do all the above and sleep doesn’t come, I’m back to a couch or turn the tv set on with the sound really low and close my eyes. Eventually I go to sleep — but sometimes wake up to realize I’ve only gotten a couple of hours’ sleep and I’m beat.

That’s where I am today. Had so many things planned. Need to get some mail out, and finally got all the supplies together and ready to go. But the damned doorbell hit me when my mind was busy watching a mental movie and I woke up exhausted and haven’t stopped being exhausted all day.

And therefore, I’ve done nothing. Except do a load of laundry, watch the China/Brazil bronze medal volley ball game, then watch the USA men’s volley ball team totally suck against (don’t remember who), and am now watching the USA basketball team play Australia. It’s live, so I don’t want to jinx them and tell you the score. It’s now over. They won. Play Argentina for the THIRD freaking time in 20 days in the semi’s tomorrow.

This evening, I’ll put everything out in the living room so I’m ready to get to work when I get out of bed in the morning. I’ll turn off the tv at 11pm when the news is over and try to sleep. Once all the animals get comfortable.

But I don’t care how urgent it is, do not even THINK about waking me up until…..don’t have a clue. Depends on what time I go to sleep. Hope I can go to sleep at my 11pm starting point and wake up refreshed at about 6. That would be so nice.

Keep me in your thoughts. It looks like there’s a chance things could get resolved sooner than later. It would be nice to know where I live again. Or at least be in a position to make that decision. It’s been so long since I was the mistress of my own fate…….

Thanks for being with me on this journey. It means more to me than you know.

Until tomorrow, be safe out there.  See you then. I’m putting a note on the front door tonight. It will explode if touched.

MY ASSIGNMENT

No one could ever know how much I love Jenni & Jason Hawkins and their munchkins, Jerzi, Jaxi & Judson (aka Little Dude).

Starting this morning, I’m pet sitting for a week with their balls of fuzz, (dog variety) Jazzie & Jeno and (cat variety) Jayda Belle & Jinx. (After a bit of a mini-trauma. Drove the crew to the airport this morning, got back to the house and realized I had no idea how to open the garage door from Jason’s tank of a car…..and the first two doors I tried were locked. And their phone numbers were in my daytimer in the house.)

As I was sitting in the den I’ve confiscated as my office last night watching the Olympics and addressing envelopes, Jenni came in, plopped down on a side chair (which she deserved to do since she’d been coaching and packing and coaching and packing for the last two days with not much sleep in between) and said, “Don’t kill my animals. And don’t kill my plants.”  She then followed with the fact that it was OK if the animals died on their own, but not to let them starve or die without water.

She knows how many animals Abbi and I have had over the years, as a matter of fact, NYLA and Mox are her fault. Yup, she gave them to Abbi. Of course, the first I heard of it was when Abbi brought them home to join Black Kitty, Hollywood & Baby Kitty who did not embrace their arrival.

Our history goes back so far — Abbi was in the 6th grade when she first met Jenni, who was her junior cheer coach and I think a sophomore in high school. A couple of years later, Abbi, at 13 was the only junior to make the senior dance squad and they became team mates. At 14, Abbi was a bridesmaid at their wedding. It seems like I’ve known them forever, because Jenni & Jason have been together that long, too.

They’ve been babysitting with me off and on for the last few weeks. Treat me like family. Let me harrass the kids (and kidnap them for ice cream), and I’m going to miss all of them terribly when it’s time for me to move on. The kids want me to stay. I have a feeling the little poots will be in my life as long as the big poots have been, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

They’re off to Vegas to attend the wedding of Jenni’s niece. Her sister, Gwen, owned the gym where Abbi and Jenni met, and I was around when her kids were born, too.

This is by far the longest and sweetest relationship I have in Oklahoma. It’s hard to think about the phases of Abbi growing up without memories of Jenni becoming an incredible young woman.

She’s a great wife, fantastic mother with way more patience than I ever had, and coaches more squads then I can count. I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of her life for all these years.

I think she started the string of “my kids” who came along over the years. They came from Abbi’s schools, cheerleading, a couple of leftovers from gymnastics, competitive cheerleading when Abbi decided school squads weren’t her thing, college pom (dance) squad, the professional dance team, her college friends, my Alpha Xi’s and other members of the Greek community at UCO and my sorority girls.

Maybe that’s why I have so much of a challenge now making friends with adults…..I mean, I have some, but they’re as nuts as I am. Maybe “nuts” isn’t the right word. Maybe we’re just wired a little differently.

The friends I have tend to be a little loosely wrapped, pretty lay back, aren’t bothered by much, are survivors who have been to hell and back more than a couple of times (even though very few people know what they/we have been through), are creative, and  are great friends regardless of how much time or how many miles apart have come between us. Most of them, like myself, have a sense of humor that you either get, or you don’t. And that’s OK. We get each other, and that’s all that matters in the long run.
There was a time I’d let anyone into my friendzone or my boyfriendzone. Not any more. I’ve been lucky to meet some pretty special people, and am finding it gets easier and easier to separate friends from acquaintances.  I’ve turned down dates from people I not only would have accepted the request for a first date in the past, but would have automatically assumed it would become a relationship. Some of those I’ve turned down have seemed pretty normal, but just weren’t right for me. Others were f..king nuts, and were easy to walk away from now. In retrospect, I’ve dated their psychotic twins in the past.
Luckily, I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the years, plus am going through some challenges it never occurred to me I’d be in, but all in all, I think eventually I’m going to be OK. Which isn’t bad for someone who doesn’t know where she lives or doesn’t know what she does.
Regardless of where I land, I’ve made some friendships along the way that I treasure……and one of the most precious is the relationship I’ve had over the years with Jenni & Jason & all the “J” people and pets they’ve brought into the world. I’m one lucky old broad to have them in my life and to have had a chance to get to know their very different and individual kids.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Heading to the ranch to see Mary & Lina tonight, to see  “Little T” who, I’m sure has grown into a real horse since the last time I saw him and to see if I bond with a cat who has adopted them. I’d really love to have her, but not sure this is the life a good cat deserves.  We’ll talk to night and see what happens. Having said that, I’ve already decided to name her Agatha. I’m such a freaking wimp.
See you tomorrow. Until then, stay safe out there.

BAD HABITS

From the beginning I knew that returning to Oklahoma for an extended visit would be problematic.

First, there is no Taco Bueno in……haven’t found any except in Oklahoma. And as Abbi will attest, there is no other.  And Braum’s Dairy won’t ship or open stores unless the truck can arrive in four hours or less…..so, pretty much all in Oklahoma. No one makes a Tuxedo (black and white) or Strawberry Shortcake Sundae like Braum’s.

I’m pretty safe from Hobby Lobby because, well, there’s nowhere to put anything I might make. Already carry three throws/afghans with me in case there’s too much air conditioning — certainly not because it’s too cold out.

And I’d forgotten how far apart everything is. To get from Jenni & Jason’s to the farm is 45 miles.  OKC is about 45 miles square. I’ve gone through more gas in a week than I do in a month in Cali. It’s cheaper — not much — so that helps a little.

Thought I was over Bueno, but found myself looking for a location today and didn’t stop until I found one.  Took Jenni and Jason’s kids; Jerzi, Jaxi & Judson to Braum’s yesterday. Of course, it was strictly for private time with the kids, and we had a ball, but I got my fix. Have a feeling that when I head out of the state I’ll probably stop at every exit where there’s a Braum’s sign until there are no more.

And I’ve been to three homes where there must have been a couple dozen sippy cups. I think Abbi may have had 2. Homes with kids crack me up. As with kids from every generation, they’d rather play with a box than a $50 toy.

But the biggest problem started when I was staying with Peggy in Denver. There was this 40-lb bag of M & M w/ Peanuts. I was not a good girl. Then I went to Mary & Lina’s farm — a whole table full of munchies and junk food. Chris & Nikki have a son — more sippy cups — but bag after bag after bag of, you guessed it, M & M’s with peanuts. I haven’t had those things in at least six years. Now, they call my name. And unfortunately, I don’t let them down.

In another crisis-type situation, I don’t know how I forgot that no one in Oklahoma is even left handed. Keeping my mouth shut is, as usual, a problem.  I told someone I adore that I’d had a chance to take the house director job with Alpha Gam at UCO, but they only pay $500/month and I couldn’t work for that. Her response was, “But you don’t have any expenses.” It really upset me at the time — so much that I couldn’t talk to her or her husband for a couple of days.

Let’s see…..$500 x 20% (-$100)for taxes/deductions = $400. Cell phone $75 = $325. Car insurance $125 = $200. Life insurance $75 = $125. Weekend food? A movie? A tank of gas?  (already in the hole). What happens if my car needs service? Or worse, needs to be replaced? Where would I get the money to buy winter clothes I haven’t worn in six years? Or join the wellness center? Or go out for a drink on occasion with friends? Or join Sisters in Crime, or Mystery Writers of America or other local writers’ groups? Or even my alumnae association?

Called Abbi and told her how upset I was — she reminded me that they just didn’t get it. Since college, our friends haven’t had to worry about money. I keep hearing the “liberals” say that the “conservatives” are out of touch. Now, I get it. But I bit my tongue till it almost bled and didn’t say anything.

These kids graduated from college, got good jobs, have gotten promotions, own their homes and are looking for larger ones, have new cars with every option known to man, stock portfolios and are pretty much set.

Even in college they didn’t go through things that most of the kids in my generation did. We all had some kind of job. I remember trying to see how many nights we could get out of a box of Mac and Cheese mixed with a can of tuna and mushroom soup. Going to White Castle once a month was a treat. Most of us didn’t have cars on campus. And when we graduated, we got jobs, but certainly not with the pay grades these kids are seeing. Rent and a car payment pretty much ate up our salaries.

I’m not talking ALL college grads — I’ve got a ton of kids from Cal, UCLA, USC, San Diego State who are tending bars, waiting tables, managing tanning booths, or haven’t been able to find jobs even in those areas. But Oklahoma? They’re doing just fine

Anyway, I’m keeping my mouth shut and remembering that I’m in a state with citizens who have been reared different from the way my father taught me. One of the big reasons Abbi left Oklahoma was because she found it easy to be a big fish in a little pond and wanted a bigger pond. She’s making her way.    But of all the kids she graduated with from college, only a handful left the state – two to play pro sports, and three to coach. Others left later, but most are still here. There are those who never leave the state — go to Oklahoma lakes for their weekends and vacations.

The good news is that I’m keeping my mouth shut which means no M & M’s with peanuts can slip between my lips and I haven’t been pulled over for Driving with California Plates….though I did have a man comment that he noticed I was from “that left coast state” when he saw my Cali plates.

There’s one issue where I’m NOT keeping my mouth shut. Taco Mayo, Sonic and several other fast foodies still use styrofoam. Taco Mayo makes a big deal about coming out with a new and healthier menu, things they contribute to the community, and being economically responsible, but when I ask about getting rid of the cups and containers that will be around when only roaches rule the earth, they just say “it’s too expensive to switch to plastic.” Then, I bring up paper, and they shrug.

But let’s get back to my problem. Bueno, Braum’s……. after being gone a full six years, I can’t believe the car still isn’t able to drive by a Taco Bueno or Braum’s without pulling in. Bad car.

This week I’m housesitting while Jenni & Jason (and the munchkins) head out of town for a wedding. So I will have no one but myself to blame for whatever enters my mouth. And I’ll try really hard to watch what leaves my mouth, too. I want to keep these people as my friends.

So until tomorrow, I’m not leaving the house so won’t be tempted by anything stronger than Cherry Coke Zero. And you? Be careful out there.

I’M TIRED OF BEING LABELED.

I’m tired of being labeled. Because I don’t believe in “conservative” values doesn’t make me a liberal. Hell, it doesn’t even make me a Democrat.

As a matter of fact, when I first registered to vote I researched all those in office and decided that Eisenhower  (R) best represented most of the beliefs I embraced. But so did Bob Byrd of West Virginia (RDD – for the uneducated, that’s Red Dog Democrat). I decided to go for the big picture and registered Republican.

I stood in the polling booth that looked more like a department store dressing room for over an hour and couldn’t make myself fill in the circle beside Nixon or Humphrey’s name, so along with another 10,000 people,I voted for Pat Paulson. He didn’t have a snowball’s chance in an Oklahoma August of winning, but I had to show someone I voted. And that I couldn’t in good conscience vote for the options I was given.

I voted for Reagan twice.

And if you’re pissed off that Clinton got a blow job or two, shouldn’t you be just as pissed at Eisenhower for having his (mistress) jeep driver get the job as his driver once he was in  the Presidential office? And both Mamie and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew what their husbands were doing and stayed with them anyway. That says a lot for the relationships they had outside of those indiscretions.

I stood in line for two hours in the pouring rain in Omaha to vote for Mondale — knowing he didn’t have a chance for winning.

The bottom line is that I don’t own one pair of either blue or red underwear. I look at FACTS. I look at what would bring the most respect to our country. Who will represent us best in the international climate. Who has the interests of the American public at heart. Who will keep us out of wars where we don’t belong? Who has a heart for the middle class?

Obama wasn’t my first choice for president. It’s none of your business who my first choice was, but you can be sure that McCain’s choice of Palin for vice president cost him the election — and opened a Pandora’s box that has her still spouting her opinions. I didn’t create the situation. I just make comments on it. The fact that if anything happened to McCain she would have been our President should scare the shit out of anyone. Her opening her mouth overseas about how proud she is of our 57 states or not even knowing there were two Koreas? Holy Mother Of God.   Again, not my fault.

The Republicans blaming President Obama for not getting his goals accomplished, when the Republican-controlled Congress (with the Tea Party contingents’ feet planted firmly that they would NEVER vote for anything their — THEIR President wanted) made sure his goals weren’t accomplished.

Explain to me in language I can understand how giving a tax break of 20% to companies who brought their jobs BACK to the United States has any negative connotations for the American economy. Who does voting down the law benefit? The businesses who ship jobs overseas and are saving a boat-load of money by paying pennies on the American dollar for salaries in sweat shops rather than taking some of the unemployed  — and vetarans –off the street and giving them jobs.  Hell. Ralph Lauren even took advantage of that disguesting trend with the USA team uniforms he was paid to create. And produce. It made his profits higher.  

Trickle-down economics is like a pyramid plan — it only benefits those at the top. We learned that in Econ 101.  Again, not my fault. I just post what is obviously true. No bias. Just the truth.

Romney embarrasses the US by stating that England is a second-class country.  I catch hell because I reposted the front of the London paper.  Why are you mad at me?  Because my head isn’t in the sand? Sorry. I don’t live close enough to a beach. And I didn’t print the front page of the paper.

Romney, in one day, made a total fool of himself by a) scheduling a fund-raising dinner for one of Jew’s most holy of commemorations; the destruction of both the first and second temple — a FAST day (no food, no water) when NO money is handled?    Again, not my fault. Yet you’re pissed off at me for reposting it.   Oh, and hacking off Palestine at the same time by saying Jeruselum is the Israeli capital when today it’s considered part of Palestine?   Again, not my fault.

His press person screams obscenities at a Polish reporter?  Wasn’t there. Didn’t do it. You’re mad at the wrong person.

Romney found a way to embarrass the United States — at a time when the athletes of the world come together to celebrate competing that brings all nations together — in four countries in three days.   I wasn’t there. Don’t blame me. But it’s got to be some kind of a record.

Doesn’t it concern you that this is the image we would be projecting to the rest of the world? We’re already hated for our arrogance and the expectation that everyone in the world speak our language rather than take the time to at least learn a little French, Spanish, Swedish, Swahili to show our respect for their nation. Yet, we’re ticked off when others who come here don’t speak our language. Yup. Double standards to the max.    Again, not my fault. As a matter of fact, even if I butcher what I’ve learned and it gives them a laugh, at least they know I had enough respect for them to try.

Ann Romney says on national tv that they’ve given “you people” enough information about their finances and you think that’s OK?  We expect ALL our presidential candidates to release 8-10 years of records. Why should we expect any less from them. And “You People?” That implies to those in their own party, too. Doesn’t that concern you — just a little bit?

I want you to try that. The next time you’re audited, hand the IRS representative one year of taxes and tell him you’ve given “you people” all the information they need.

It’s not that I’m against Romney. As a matter of fact, there are several areas where I agree with Mitt Romney completely.  I took one of those quizes a couple of months ago, and was surprised I agreed with him on 72% of his beliefs. But he’s flip-flopped so much that I took the very same test last night and found those same beliefs now put me 74% in favor of Obama.    Is it my fault he just tells us what he wants us to hear?   No. Absolutely not.

A Republican comes out and says that giving birth control to women is equal to 9/11. Are you freaking kidding me?  Aren’t you embarrassed by statements like this? Are you still going to vote this idiot back into office? If you’re like my ex-husband and vote straight Republican (so he doesn’t have to think), you will. Shame on you.  Again, not my fault. I wasn’t there. I didn’t utter those words.   If I repost them, don’t be mad at me. He’s your representative. Take responsibility for him.

I’m tired of being labelled.  I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Liberal.

I’m an American citizen who wants the following: 

 I want everyone to be held to the same standards financially, and believe the only way that can be accomplished is by a national sales tax. Buy a plane, pay tax on a plane. Buy a cheeseburger, be taxed on a cheeseburger.

I want America to once again have the strongest educational system in the world. I want our space program to be equal to or better than those of other nations. I want us to mind our own business and stop leaving our service men and women’s blood on foreign soil where those nations aren’t willing to fight their own battles and want us to stay around and do the job for them. They don’t care about us. They just care how much money they can squeeze out of us.

I want American students to have the same benefits as illegals. Why are we paying for a free education so they can go to Cal and UCLA or any other institution they choose to attend while tax-paying parents are paying top dollar for their kids (who may be working multiple jobs for spending money) to attend the sames schools.

I want America to have the best roads in the world. And bridges we’re not afraid are going to collapse at any minute.

I want us to spend the money we’re investing in other countries infrastructure, human rights, and education to be spent right here at home.

I want our military to be given retraining and re-orientation before they’re shoved back into a world where they no longer can relate or function…..or get a job. I want their homes to be safe from foreclosure. And I want them to have the best medical care we can possibly give them for the rest of their lives. I want us to stop ignoring the damage we’ve done to these brave souls both emotionally and physically and reward them for their sacrifice.

I want my daughter to be able to get insurance that actually takes care of her. We’re now paying $140/month for the best policy we could find for an individual. It gives her two doctors’ appointments a year. She used those on her back alone. There’s nothing left for a mammogram….or a pap smear…..or blood work.  We’re basically betting Blue Cross/Blue Shield $140/month and a $4000 deductible that she’s going to be needing more medical care than that. And God bless Planned Parenthood for giving her the ability to get cancer screening.

As a senior, I want the Medicare and Social Security I’ve PAID FOR with every paycheck I’ve made since I was a teenager to be secure. They’re not an entitlement. They were an investment. And the government hasn’t paid me a cent of interest on that investment.

I want illegal aliens to be deported. If their children are born here, they would be citizens, but it shouldn’t entitle their whole family to the same benefits. Make them come into the country the same way legal entrants gain their green card. Why should they get free health care and a free education when Abbi’s boyfriend has to pay $5000 and NOT WORK for six months to come into this country legally — and when he does, he won’t get any of the benefits we offer illegals. They’ve helped to bankrupt California. I’m over it. My great grandparents came over from Europe  and were turned away at Ellis Island. Luckily, the captain took them to New Orleans where they were able to enter the country….and only then because they had a sponsor.

We’re bailing out banks, financial institutions, and corporations who are already turning a profit while giving no support to start-up small businesses. What can any CEO do to earn a multi-million dollar bonus at the end of the year? In a company we’re subsidizing.    Again, not my fault.

My favorite? I got chastized because I made the comment that Michelle Obama was a classy representative of the United States. How is that offensive? Yet a friend of mine blasted me, insulted me, and unfriended me because I didn’t say Ann Romney was classy, too. So what? I never said she wasn’t. I never said a word about how she was representing the US abroad. Yet because I said Mrs. Obama was a classy representative, evidently it pushed this person over the edge. Pardon me if I don’t get that one.

But back to issues.

And what am I going to do to stand up for the things I want for this country?? I’m going to look at every candidate’s voting record and vote accordingly. I don’t care if the candidate is Republican, Democrat, Green Party, or Independent. If we share the same goals and beliefs, they get my vote. Even if they don’t win. I want someone — and that candidate — to know there are others who share the same goals that would benefit America and make it the greatest country in the world again.  That, I’ll take credit for.

Until tomorrow, stay safe out there. And please think before you vote. Either way.