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!

DSC_0687

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…..

csb7

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:

Christmas Card2

Card3

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!

Day 3

state-flag-oklahoma

state-flag-oklahomaYesterday was Day 2 of Special Session….Today is Day 3.  Yes, I am counting!

I’m also just pretending the Senator is on vacation this week because that is pretty much what it’s like when he’s at the Capitol for session. Gone. Gone. Gone.

But, I digress.  This week during special session Day 1 & 2 (Tuesday and Wednesday) were spent on procedural business like the first and second reading of the bills.  Today, Day 3 is the third reading which means these pieces of legislation have gone through the committee process and the time to offer amendments has expired… at 3:00 pm yesterday to be exact.  Confused yet? Cause I am. I’m also thinking that moved much faster than normal. Again…just saying…

Hence, the fireworks, if there are to be any -will soon be underway as the debate process begins.   And, that is where I think it gets fun, hearing some of the debate over pieces of legislation. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that is said on the floor!  However, in this particular session it seems these bills are a slam dunk to sail through…In fact, there’s a rumor going around about how they could be done tomorrow!  Now, that would be grand.  And, a grand savings for the taxpayers considering each day of this special session comes with a price tag of $30K.

Now, that is the real story I think.  The cost.

Logrolling into Special Session

DSC_0736

DSC_0736My man is back at the Capitol this week!

The Governor of my state has called for a special session of the Legislature which is not exactly the norm around these parts.  In fact, I think my Senator has only experienced one special session in the almost twelve years he has served?  I remember that one having to do with budgetary issues….

This time it’s because the State Supreme Court overturned a 2009 lawsuit reform bill.  The court said it was unconstitutional on the basis of “logrolling.” Seriously, who knew there was a political term for such a thing or that it was even in our state’s constitution? When I think of logrolling, images of Paul Bunyon come to mind….But, in this case the term means a bunch of bills (bills having to do with lawsuit reform) were “rolled” into one piece of legislation….or something like that.

Anyway, the Governor and legislative leaders felt they could reconvene and pass the pieces of legislation that were log-rolled – individually.  I’m sure the rush to get this done has to do with the fact these laws have been on the books since 2009, and to just pretend they were never there…well, that would affect numerous people and businesses who have been operating under them.  You get the picture! So, the legislature is logrolling it into a special session this week to rectify the situation.

No doubt this will be interesting.  The lawsuit reform bill in question was passed with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion and a Republican controlled legislature. And while the bill had bi-partisan support, it did not come easy.  Advocates for and against the bill took to the airways attempting to garner the people’s support for their side….which is a nice way of saying… it got dirty!

Considering the dynamics are a little different this time around with Republicans in control of the legislature and the governor’s mansion, it’ll be fun to see how this all shakes down!

Just watching from the sidelines today….

Angels Among Us

imagesI met a girl named Lisa yesterday.  Well, I didn’t actually officially meet her, we just happened to be sitting next to each other at the salon while we were getting our nails done.  Yes. That was my me time for the month and I’ll be honest – I really just wanted to check out and relax in the little massage chair and not have to talk to anyone.  But Lisa, she was on the phone….the whole time. And Lisa had a strong voice.  You know, the kind that says, ‘I get things done.’

It was hard not to hear her conversation either…it went something like this:

“Hi, my name is Lisa and this morning I found a homeless woman and her three year old daughter by the side of the road and I am looking for a shelter to house them, do you have any availability?”

While we sat there, Lisa continued to call.  Shelter after shelter after shelter.  She had a long list and refused to quit.

In between calls, she gave us the back story.  The young girl, who was somewhere between 25 and 35 years old, had a rough past, but managed to complete paralegal school and has been living in a hotel with her 3 year old daughter.  It costs her $60 a day to keep that roof over her head, and today, she was out by the side of the road.

Lisa saw her while driving down the Interstate and pulled over out of concern for the child.

“It was hot out,” Lisa said.   “And, when I pulled over to ask if they needed help, the little girl, who seemed happy, asked for a drink. So, I gave her my daughter’s sippy cup of juice from the back seat because I figured we were well past sharing germs at that point.”

Lisa listened to the young mom’s story and then took her to a hotel.  She even paid for a two night stay.  Then, Lisa spent the rest of her afternoon, one that she had planned to enjoy a little “me time” at the salon- to help a stranger. Oh, Lisa also has a job and a baby.

I was stunned at her random act of kindness and tried to help.  I mean, she was on the phone trying to save someone’s life and I was just sitting there.  Talk about feeling helpless and stupid..really, really stupid.  I had volunteered at the City Rescue Mission, a local shelter with a successful program to help get people back on their feet (she had already left them a message) but I told her to keep calling them until she got a live voice because I knew they took women with children.  Some shelters only take men, some only take women, some only take those with substance abuse issues, others were full and not taking anyone. I learned a great deal about the services available to the homeless in my community and the long waiting lists.  Every one of them has a long waiting list. Then, I called the Senator, because he knows of all the local resources out there to help women in this kind of situation, and surely there were more of them…but Lisa had already called them all.

When Lisa’s nails were done and she left, I sat there wondering what would happen to the young mom and her daughter.  Were they at the hotel when Lisa checked on them later that day?  Was she able to find a place for them to stay? How did this situation end…or, was it really just beginning?  I sat there wondering would I have done the same thing? Would I have pulled over like Lisa to ask a stranger if she and her child needed help? Would I have taken her to a shelter? Or, paid for a hotel?  Would I have spent an hour and a half on the phone trying to secure a safe place for a homeless woman…especially one with this kind of troubled background?  I don’t know.  Would you?

Lisa did.