Family

Today was my Mother-in-Law’s 88th Birthday, and to think I nearly missed it because I have been in Dallas all weekend for a Volleyball tournament is just…well, completely and totally unacceptable! Seriously, she is THE best and I am grateful.  Not only because she birthed the love of my life, but also because she has been the most loving, generous and doting mother, grandmother and mother-in-law to our little family.  And, we just love her to pieces!

One of my favorite photos of these two.

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I think it was taken in 2010…but honestly, they both look the same so lets just pretend it was taken today, on her birthday!  I wrote a post about her a few years ago. Nothing has changed except I am so very grateful for every day she is a part of our lives.  Happiest of Birthdays LaLa! We love you to the moon and back!

Let the Games Begin!

Today marks the first day of the Legislative Session, but, last night a handful of my Senator’s colleagues got together to watch the Super Bowl.

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It was really fun to be a fly on their wall and hear about the various political races taking shape and some of the legislation in front of them.

If these guys are any indication, it is safe to conclude that Central Oklahoma and Owasso are very well represented!

Let the Games Begin!

The Speaker’s Ball, a Re-Cap

Last night was the Speaker’s Ball and the unofficial kick off to the legislative session! Man, was it fun!

I seem to write about this event every year because it has the feel of a back to school night.  Okay, maybe not a back to school night, but possibly that high school reunion where you have lost twenty pounds and are feeling good about it! But, what would I know about that!  Seriously though, the mood in the room really is full of anticipation and excitement for the upcoming session, everyone is dressed up and happy to be there!

The very first time my Senator and I attended this event,  I think he was one of two Republicans in the room. I was the other one, but only because the other side had been in control of both legislative bodies and the Governor’s mansion for decades. No surprise, considering this was before term limits had kicked in and prior to the Republican revolution in our state!  Technically, we weren’t very red.  All of the members present had been serving with each other for a very long time and knew each other very well.  Talk about being the new kids on the block! Even though many of my Senator’s colleagues were shocked we wanted to attend, and the other side thought we were nuts, it really was fun!  Fun as in there were no speeches, no political rhetoric, just a good band, bar and enough food and fellowship to go around. Plus, we made some new friends too.

The Senator and I continued to attend this event, and as the political demographics changed so did the party’s theme and venue.  There have been some festive years…

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and some different variations on festive….one Ball held a charity auction which was a nice twist, another had the feel of a high school prom which was different but interesting!

Then, there was a weird year, before my iPhone was handy to snag a photo darn it!  At that notable Ball, the Speaker gave a political speech at great length on a stage surrounded by GO GO dancers.  I kid you not!

One might think he had had too much to drink when he started talking about being frugal and stealing towels and soap from hotel rooms, except it was a dry event.  In fact, he spoke for so long that most of the crowd sauntered upstairs during his speech to “party” with the fire fighters who were in town for a convention!

Another year had a Las Vegas feel with moving statues that spewed water into a fountain, theater lighting and a buffet, combined with political speeches, long lines and no where to sit. But, who needs to sit when you’re in Vegas!

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I remember hearing comments from political veterans of this event on how the times, they were a changing!

And, that was certainly true last year!  What an about face! Aside from this being the most beautiful party I may have ever been to in terms of decorations…

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and flowers…

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oh, and the fun friends…

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The crowd was even treated to a mini concert by Diana Ross!  I wrote about that lovely event over here.

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What a once in a life time to be up close and personal with an American icon!

This year was no different!  Same Speaker, same incredible flowers…

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And, lots of fun friends…

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Oh, there was also a ton of networking taking place and a lot of dialogue about legislation and the upcoming session and, I imagine there was lots of talk about the 2014 election cycle…especially since the Speaker is running for the US Senate!

And, it wouldn’t have been complete without a celebrity – this year it was Gulianna Rancic, a breast cancer survivor who spoke as a tribute to the Speaker’s wife, also a breast cancer survivor. Oh, almost forgot to mention the Las Vegas style entertainment with Cirque Inversion.  No photos or video to share due to the fact my jaw was on the floor watching them do their “thing!”

One “thing” does remain consistent for me about this Oklahoma tradition and that’s the festive atmosphere! Regardless of who the Speaker is or the political party in charge, you are seeing friends from across the state who you haven’t seen in a long time and people you share a special bond of public service with. And, for that,  I feel truly blessed.

Throwing it back to 1974!

Because it’s “Throwback Thursday” and because this is one of my all-time favorite photos with one of my all-time favorite people…

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A remnant of the first political campaign I ever worked on, this was taken when I was seven. I rode a bicycle. I put campaign signs in every yard on our street, whether my neighbors had asked for one or not.

I carried a broom with a Boren sign attached and swept the capitol steps of corruption.

He called me his tricycle campaigner….nevermind I had shed the training wheels by then! I just enjoyed biking and brooming for a candidate I believed in.

I even brought my 4th grade class to the State Capitol and we took a photo with him in the Blue Room.  My mother remembers my teacher, Mrs. Nelson, was shocked I volunteered this as an option when the field trip to the local fire department was cancelled at the last minute. Pays to have friends in high places!

As for the photo…it was taken while he was moving into the Governor’s office at the State Capitol.  I am pretty sure that desk has never been as clean…or, the walls of his office that empty…or, that Oklahoma has ever had a public official leave such a positive and lasting impact on our state…or, that I will ever, ever wear a snoopy outfit again… ever!

House of Cards

I have always said good people hardly ever run for public office, and why would they, considering all of the scrutiny, partisan politics and personal attacks that are endured by a candidate or office holder on a daily basis? Well, unless you are Barack Obama and immune to any form of criticism!

That said, even though politics is a blood sport, when an elected official resigns from office prematurely, it unleashes another type of beast! A recent example is currently unfolding in my state with the resignation of one of our US Senators…

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We were so fortunate to have a citizen legislator, well a medical doctor, representing us in Washington for the past ten years. (Pictured above, third from the left.) If you have no idea who he is, just google Dr. No! You might however, be familiar with his annual book of waste called the Wastebook! It contains pages and pages explaining some of the really stupid stuff your tax dollars are funding! I am going to miss this and hope he continues to publish it from the sidelines. Such an honorable man whose service to our state and nation will be terribly missed!

But, that was not really my point.  My point being, that a really good guy, a citizen legislator, is leaving his elected position early and the deck is shuffling for the Oklahoma delegation.  The politicos are either lining up to run for the vacated seat or calculating who will run for it, and the one which would open up as a result of that one, and the next one and so on. Just crazy! Meanwhile, the campaign consultants are working 24/7 trying to solidify their next client(s) and the lobbyists are surveying the playing field.  House of Cards, Season Three…so not kidding! 

Maybe someone new will surface and really shuffle the deck…. a teacher, a preacher, another doctor, or better yet, a small businessman…sure would shake it up and keep it interesting!

We’ll see. Jury’s still out on that one, but it sure is fun to watch from the sidelines!

And, they’re off!

Starting to get crazy around here again as session is looming!

Last week, my Senator had some colleagues over to our house for an event. They stayed until 11:00 pm talking in my kitchen, which makes for one tired momma!

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I’m glad they like each other though because I think it makes their job down at the capitol a tad more user friendly. Maybe.

Thankful

Roughly 12 years ago Cliff and I decided we would send out Thanksgiving cards instead of the traditional Christmas cards to our family and friends.  Not sure why, really, other than Cliff had always loved Thanksgiving, claiming it was his “real” favorite holiday… and it just made sense. We had so very much to be thankful for that year.

Besides, I had already splurged on some professional family photos and most likely, in a moment of feeling totally organized, the idea of a Thanksgiving card was appealing, for more reasons than one!

We used this family photo…..

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Which would prove to come in super handy that next year when Cliff decided to run for political office….

A few years later,  I asked a friend of mine to design something fun and creative and different and edgy, because I’m that kind of gal- and because she was in the stationary business and just simply awesome in more ways than one.   We came up with this:

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The idea of asking each person what they were thankful for to include on our card sounded different, personal but so very appropriate and fun.  I have vivid memories of asking Ford (age 7) while he was playing in the bath what he was thankful for.  I think I just assumed he would say the action figures that were currently forcing each other to walk the plank via the tub faucet.  But, instead – he surprised me with this little nugget: ” The Pilgrims! Because they found America and if they didn’t, we might live in England.”  Okay – we can go with that.

Next came our 4 year old daughter who paraded into the action dressed in a princess costume.  Before I finished asking her what she was thankful for, she shouted her response: “God and Jesus and Santa.”  Love that girl.

The Senator and I said basically the same things, sentiments that reflected our feelings of nostalgia and perhaps age, Faith, Family, Friends, Health, Happiness…  It’s all good, right?

I loved this particular Thanksgiving card especially because of the photo we used.  It was one we had taken at the State Capitol, shortly after the Senator’s first session that year.  I remember feeling so thankful that he was able to participate in our legislative process.  I still am.

This next year will be his last year to serve in the Senate due to term limits…did I mention, I am thankful for those too?  I have a loooong list of things I am thankful for, but really, it’s all covered in that first Thanksgiving card – which is just great because I am not that organized this year and we will be expressing our gratitude to family and friends via the traditional Christmas card… if I’m lucky!

Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!