JENNI & JASON: Everyone/everything alive.  But we have a problem. The cats have abandoned their hiding places. Jinks slept beside me all day yesterday and Jayda Belle snuggled on the other side. They’re napping in the living room, playing with all my stuff – postcards, stamps, glasses, pens are strewn all over the place. Don’t know how to tell them life as they knew it will return soon. And how do I tell Jinx he’s going to be carried around by the neck again within a few days?

Of course, the dogs are still oblivious and assume every time I move I’m inviting them to jump on top of me.

Suggest you hire a pet nanny.

Hope you’re having a great time in Vegas and that Alex’s wedding is everything she hopes for.  Still can’t believe Gwen’s babies have grown up….but hell, I can’t believe you guys have three kids. Jason, you’ve been a responsible adult for as long as I’ve known you, but Jenni, watching you grow up to become not only a great mommy but an inspiring role model to so many young women is such a blessing.

On the Me front, yesterday didn’t turn out as planned. Got more sleep — unfortunately, it didn’t start until 3am and I woke up exhausted — spent the entire day snuggled up in an afghan on the couch watching the Olympics with a cat on each side and two dogs on my feet. Who watches water polo? Two games? Love watching USA basketball — not thrilled we have to play Argentina 3 times in 20 days, but I guess basketball players are used to that. Just saw an interview announcing the Lakers had picked up Howard. The immediate question was “So, do you think adding Howard will help them beat The Thunder?” I loved that. Even having lived in LA, I still think the Lakers are bitchy little girls.

Speaking of basketball, I’ve ignored the sport for years but The OKC Thunder have made me a convert.  Watching the Olympic team with staunch competitors like Durant, Hardy and Westbrook playing on the same team with Bryant and Paul and LaBron is way fun. The good news is our boys will have a better knowledge of how the other guys play. And what their hot buttons are. I see free throws in our future. This is going to be a fun season. Note to self: Pick up Thunder gear before leaving Oklahoma. Less fattening than Braum’s or Bueno.

During junior high and high school I never missed a game. I had a huge crush on one of our players from 7th grade through high school. Of course, he never knew. I don’t know that we even spoke more than half a dozen times, but just seeing in the hallway made my little heart flutter. Or maybe it was because the uniform shorts were so……. let’s just say there’s nothing cuter than a basketball player’s butt. Or at least that was true back then. Today, there’s no way to know what’s under today’s pajama bottom uniforms.

Speaking of the Olympics, I’m freaking tired of people whining about “getting” a silver or gold. What happened to being proud to represent the USA and seeing your country’s flag raised from the podium? Seeing one woman whimper  because she wants to be a good example for her kids…..and though she’d placed second, couldn’t stop until she won the gold. Good God. Many of our competitors/medal winners are gracious and proud and great representatives. But hearing other nations’ athletes talk about their responsibility to bring pride to their countries makes some of our competitors sound like spoiled brats. Bolt from Jamaica is not only the best runner in the world, he’s a total gentleman who isn’t afraid to show emotion at the pride of bringing honor to his country.

Jump Shift.

I haven’t been drinking Cokes for awhile because I’m trying to eliminate empty calories and lower my blood sugar….blah, blah, blah. But the reality is that without my early morning jolt, I’m worthless. A vegetable.  Yes, Cherry Coke Zero gives me that classic burn at the back of the throat, and I like the taste. But I need high-octane Cokes with all the calories and all the caffeine.  I’ll behave myself in other ways, but today I will be leaving the house and won’t return without an industrial (fountain) Coke in one hand and a six pack in the other.

Hello. My name is Ann, and I am an addict.

The last six months of not living anywhere have taught me something about where I want to settle down. Yes, I said settle down…..but there may be some travel first.

I want to walk everywhere. Since I can’t walk as far as I used to, it would be nice to have everything in close proximity. I’d like to get rid of my car — rent a Zip Car every now and then and use my Avis Preferred card for road trips. It needs to be a little campy and kooky, where the people are creative and have a strong art/writing community. A local independent bookstore would be nice. And an outside cafe or home bar where the locals hang out. After being a world traveler and living in way too many places, I want a real community.

I’d like to walk to the corner to get a Coke or pick up stuff for dinner. Or meet a friend for drinks. Or go to a movie. Or watch the sun go down on the beach. Or sit on a porch or deck drinking wine and laughing with friends.

It bugs me that we Americans waste gas and throw crap into the atmosphere to drive someplace we could walk in five minutes.

There are places I’ve never lived and can’t judge what it would be like to live in those places, but it probably won’t be in the “south.” After a week last summer visiting with people from my hometown, it became obvious I could never live anywhere the “N” word is thrown around interracial dating/marriage is slammed. Or where anyone who thinks differently “doesn’t fit in.” Don’t get me wrong, I have some really good southern friends, and we love each other just the way we are.

Florida would be the exception. Was anyone born in Florida? Anyway, the Gulf Coast fits all the criteria — I love the Destin, Grayton Beach, Seaside area — but they’ve gotten too expensive. After spending time with Peggy in Denver, I could definitely do mountains again. Louisiana might work. But I’m probably going to end up on the west coast, which comes as a total surprise to me.

It can’t be Oklahoma. Twenty-three days in a row of over 100 degrees — and as high as 113 — and winters with weeks in a row below zero are not in my future. My friend, Kenneth, assures me Oklahoma has spring and fall these days, but I remember two seasons: August and January. I can’t risk taking his word for it.

The other reason it’s probably going to be on the west coast is because I like having a drink (or several) with people of differing opinions where we can have intelligent, rational discussions without throwing platitudes, rants and insults at each other. By the end of the evening, we all have a warm buzz and usually we’ve learned something from, and about each other. Sometimes it’s more interesting learning why someone has chosen a position than the issue itself.  No one is trying to change anyone else’s mind. The discourse is all that matters.

And with that, I’ll leave you for now. Team USA plays in about an hour, and I have to go get some real Cokes. Wish I could walk, but………

Until tomorrow, with caffeine in my system I’ll be able to get yesterday’s work done while watching basketball. And you? Stay safe out there. You’re important to me.