Star Struck in Cleveland

Today I met Maureen Dowd. The Maureen Dowd!

Let me just preface this with I have always been a huge fan of her writing style, her keen wit and fresh perspective. She has a gift for the gab and uses words to produce such an interesting  commentary which usually always makes me laugh…or cry, depending.

Evidently, she is staying at our hotel and was in the lobby grabbing coffee this morning while I was visiting with a few Oklahoma delegates about the chaos at the convention!

A nice lady with dark sun glasses sauntered over and complimented my shirt of all things. After exchanging pleasantries, she began to ask my opinion on the convention and the conversation topics she had overheard.

I guess I let her have it (my opinion that is),  but she also knew in her gut the media portrayal over the last few days was not accurately depicting the mood in the arena and she was gathering thoughts on the topic.

So when she asked if she could quote me, I completely and utterly froze up. Mind you, I had no idea who this nice lady was. I mean, she had her hair pulled back and was wearing dark glasses!

Flippantly, I said something like, “oh, you’re a journalist! Who do you work for?”

“The New York Times,” she said.

Of course.  The New York Times!

She was very gracious as I back peddled nervously about a quote.

Knowing that, we continued to chat about the various reporting on the convention and she offered me her email in case I wanted to share thoughts on tonight’s festivities from my seat on the sidelines.

As I typed her email address in my phone, I jumped back and said something like ‘Oh My Gawd – your Maureen Dowd! I love your stuff!’

We continued to chat and knowing she was probably on a deadline, I kindly asked for a quick photo, and boom, there ya go.

Never mind I had lipstick on my teeth throughout the entire course of our conversation!

Note to self, master the closed lip smile.

Day 3. Part Two

What a wild and crazy night at the Q. Oh my goodness.

Determined not to miss our bus this time, the Senator and I loaded up early so he could run for Mayor of Bus #1 and I could ensure that we made it to the arena in time to hear the speeches!

We were dressed and ready to go in our matching Oklahoma delegation Blazers!


It would seem the custom of each delegation is to wear matching outfits, shirts, hats or jackets that are representative of their individual state.  Oklahoma wears these navy blue blazers with an Oklahoma patch. Texas has shirts and hats with the emblem from the lone star state, Alaska has jackets with their state pictured inside the United States focusing on just how large of a land mass they are….Show offs!

However, this becomes important in the arena as it helps one differentiate between the delegates, official staff, the media and/or guests.

But, I digress. Last night, I was fortunate to have traded my cheap seats in for a real seat on the sidelines.

Here was my view.

Snuggled up right behind the main stage and close to the NPR box, I was seated on the aisle and really able to watch people enter and exit the floor along with the activity taking place throughout the arena.


Looking for Rachel Martin with NPR, but found Megan Kelly, or Megan Kelly’s back rather.

I love her, really I do but OMG! what was she (not) wearing?!! Not judging or anything but you can see what it looked like from my lens.

It was also a great spot to watch our friend, Harold Hamm speak about Donald Trump and the economic and national security that comes from energy independence.


A great angle to watch Laura Ingram give a rousing endorsement speech for Trump as well as Marco Rubio.  Endorse Trump he did.


It was also a solid spot to watch Ted Cruz get booed out of the arena.  Yes.  He really did get booed and if the crowd was allowed to bring whole fruit into the arena, they would have pelted him with oranges and tomatoes.  I’m just sure of it.

It would seem the media narrative is quite different from the scene I observed. Shocker!
I watched Ted Cruz deliver a very self promoting speech of sorts.  It felt like an acceptance speech for the job he wanted but couldn’t quite obtain?

Regardless, when it became obvious that he was not going to endorse Trump, the arena instantly turned on him.

The chants seemed to start in the rafters (not with the New York delegation up front as he claimed) and spread like a prairie fire around the arena and onto the floor.

Left without an opportunity to conclude his non endorsement speech (or lecture about voting your conscious in November), the Q was erupting with loud jeers, chants of “Trump,” and venom. He could barely say thank you and God Bless America, while the arena booed him right off the stage. I heard his wife even had to be carried out by the Secret Service. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Ever.

My take is Cruz knew he had stacked the delegate roster in most every state with his supporters and that he would have the crowd on his side.  But, this being the third day of the convention, I think a majority of the delegates had decided it was time to board the Trump Train and dedicate their energy to helping Trump be a better candidate, have a better ground game, or raise the necessary funds to win in November… because electing Hillary is not an option.  Had Cruz’s speech been on the first night? Maybe not.

Regardless, this evening in the arena was over the top.

Oh, so after the Cruz speech we ran out to grab a water bottle and were unable to re-enter because the floor was on lock down or over the fire code depending on who you talked to.

Yes, there were probably way too many people on the floor.  Even from my seat on the sidelines, I noticed lots of media cameras walking down the aisle prior to the Cruz speech – and they were escorting several people down to the floor, without the necessary credentials (the badge worn around ones neck giving you access to certain areas), and none of them were dressed in delegate attire which immediately stands out for that level of floor access.

Having noticed that, we also heard folks with Black Lives Matter had gained access to the floor, huddling up in the back and were planning to storm the stage hence the lockdown of the venue. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out how that happened!

On the ground today, we learned media badges were in fact being sold for $1k.  Turns out, that was a bad investment for George Soros.

Since we were locked out, we ran outside to hear the speeches on the big screen…which is where Cliff decided to run for Mayor of the Texas Delegation haha.

Then, we headed back to the bus, but not before giving a shoutout to our friends at Facebook.


Then, halted at the gates due to protestors in the area or Mike Pence’s motorcade.


Jury’s still out on that one.

Day 3. Part One

Day three got off to a roaring start when we missed the bus to our delegation lunch. Thank goodness for Uber!

Interestingly enough, our Uber driver happened to be a Slovenian immigrant. Significant, because Melania Trump is Slovenian and the community of Slovenian immigrants in Cleveland is the largest outside of the country itself.  Who knew! According to our Tour Guide/ Uber driver, they also LOVE Melania Trump.  So much so, they even hosted a welcome reception for her in Cleveland this week.  Bet you didn’t hear that on the news!

We (as in “we” were not the only ones who missed the bus thank goodness) pulled up to our event right as the elected officials were speaking. So, only fashionably late haha.

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Which was fine by me. I have maybe had my fill of political rhetoric and speeches this week…just saying.  Although, I would say, the Lt. Governor of Arkansas was speaking at the time we walked in and he was a absolute breath of fresh air. I bet we see more of him on a national stage in the future.

One thing I do enjoy at these types of events is getting to see some friends who we have met along the way.

Had to snap a pic of Cliff visiting with Congressman Cole in the parking lot!

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And, catching up with Harold Hamm, a former constituent and friend, who was speaking at the convention later that evening.

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And just like that, it was time to board the buses to the next event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Since we had been there previously, Cliff and I decided to roam around the beautiful grounds for a bit and were about to walk next door to the Science Museum…

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Until…

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Trump Force One came in for a landing where the Donald met up with his family and his Vice Presidential pick, Mike Pence.

The only way I knew all this is because my Senator was running for Mayor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and spoke to some event volunteers, some members of the Ohio delegation, the Secret Service and private Security on the ground. These individuals collectively told us what was happening and pointed us in the right direction to watch the motorcade as it fled the scene…so we did.

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It was hard to snap pics with lots of people gathering and the heavily armed members of law enforcement keeping the perimeter clear.  But, I can tell you there were dozens of big, black suburbans in that motorcade as well as a few armored trucks and it was a super exciting opportunity to watch live and in person!

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And, that was a wrap…well, not really. We decided to Uber back to our hotel which is located in a darling, little Cleveland suburb because I was starving!  Not that we missed lunch or anything haha…

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The upside of being late to lunch…is getting to have chips and guac at a darling pub in Cleveland!

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My meal for the day!

More notes from the arena last night in a bit!

Day 2

So here is what I know.

There is no rest for the weary at a Republican National Convention.  

The senator headed out early to hear Governor Scott Walker speak at a breakfast.


Evidently, each day is packed with speakers and special events and more speakers but yesterday, the buses taking us to and from were a tad bit tardy at one point and left our group waiting…


It happens.

So, what did my Senator do? What he usually does anytime we are in a room full of people with some time to spare? He worked the crowd! My kids would say he was running for Mayor of the hotel! I think he just likes people!


Here, he is visiting with some RNC volunteers from Cleveland.  Which brings me to my next observation.

The people of Cleveland are extremely kind. 

Example of this was clear yesterday.  Once our bus finally arrived, our delegation attended several events.

We had lunch at an event hosted by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating (pictured below in the hat) along with a few other politicos- former Senator Scott Brown (MA) and Congressman Rick Lazio (NY)…not pictured below.


It was held on the water and had a country western theme -hence the cowboy hat. I could have used that hat by the way. Sun has never been my friend…see below.


I am sad I wasn’t able to capture a pic of the many armed coast guard boats crossing the waters behind us.  There were many and they received a loud round of applause and cheers from the crowd every time one passed our venue.

Ran into my favorite former Oklahoma First Lady! Love her.


They also had a fun photo booth at the event. As long as I have known Cliff, he n-e-v-e-r misses these opportunities. I have boxes of pictures to prove it!


Back to the kind people of Cleveland. 

At one point, a member of our delegation needed to find new batteries for a hearing aid.  He asked one of the local volunteers where he could go to find some, but she personally took him to several places in search of some and ended up having a friend of hers track them down and bring them to the event.

Total strangers and a random act of kindness.

Next up was a Red Dirt Roundup for the Oklahoma Delegation complete with BBQ and a country western band.  Did I mention Big and Rich played at the last venue?  We Okies do love our country music!

Cliff enjoys talking with our Senator Inhofe..mostly about his airplanes.  The Senator is a pilot and still flies the friendly skies.

This is our Oklahoma State Party Chairman. She is a rock star and I adore her.  I really got to know Pam, not from all of Cliff’s campaigns, but through a little Facebook group of women I am in where we support each other in our efforts to be healthy.


These two beauties are also in our “Superwoman” group. They are rock stars and super fun!! One on the left works in Washington DC and the one in the middle works for the Governor.  I am just a fly on their wall haha.

Protesting a Convention is overrated. 

After the events, it was time to board the buses and head to the Q, but this time we had a little bit of a walk to get to the pick up location.

I chose to follow these guys and nearly wound up in the protest area.

When I realized the bus was behind me and about to depart, I headed back to jump on board.  I use the word “I” because Cliff had been distracted looking at t-shirts and vintage campaign buttons being sold from various vendors or running for the Mayor of Cleveland….but at this point he was waving at me to get on board the bus…now!

Our bus pulled out and then came to a standstill and this is what I saw from the window.


A group of protestors were being allowed to halt traffic up ahead.  When I say ” group,” I mean around 50 max. The police appeared to let them stand in the road for what seemed like a staged media opportunity. Then, just like that, the police escorted them off of the road and down the sidewalk where we watched and the hungry media followed. I am sure the headline somewhere read ‘thousands of angry protestors blocked convention delegates,’ but it was nothing like that!  There were twice as many police and more cameras than protestors.  And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what they were protesting based on their signs and chants…not sure they knew either.

The Quicken Arena is a Safe Zone

Everyone in this sea of thousands has passed through lots of security to be in this room.  Lots of security.  If you don’t have your proper badge on (they call it credentials), then forget about it.  Entry denied.


My view from Loud City.

Until I made it down onto the floor with Cliff.


The theme was Make America Work Again just in case you couldn’t tell by the sign. There were lots of speakers, like notables Chris Cristie and Ben Carson and Paul Ryan and non notables like Natalie Gulbis, a professional golfer who talked about how she came to know and admire the nominee. Kelly Woolard, head of Trump Winery, who gave a powerful testimony about what it was like to work for Donald Trump and how he inspires everyone to be the best they can be.  You get the idea.

Then, there was the Trump family.

The Trump Family is….gorgeous for starters!


And super smart.

The pundits are saying that Donald Trump, Jr. is a rising star and after hearing his speech last night, I echo their sentiments. Wow.

There were so many more takeaways from yesterday but I have to leave it with this..


Love me some Watters World.  Enough said!

Bits and Pieces

So, here is what I know after my first day at a Republican National Convention.

Comfortable shoes are a must! 

Thank goodness for these Ivanka Trump shoes I rocked for over 12 hours!  All the walking and standing and walking up and down stairs and walking to point A from point B would have caused a Fitbit explision I’m just sure of it!

The Quicken Arena is Big.


Here is my view from the cheap seats, or “Loud City” as we say in OKC.  And, it was loud!

I chose another angle to watch my Governor address the crowd.


She did a really nice job…especially since there was a little conflict and controversy taking place.

The arena is a cesspool of activity. 

This lady from Colorado was one of the head Dump Trumpers. She had a small, but vocal contingent with members from several states (my own included) who tried to pull a coup.

They failed.  I just happened  to walk by an interview of her that took place before their movement was shut down.

Yes, there were some sore losers in the building. Fact.

This is one of my favorite reporters from MSNBC. He is what I would call a roaming reporter….
I am old enough to be his mother.

You run into people you know everywhere.  

Cliff and our friend from Tulsa (center), ran into another Okie (tall, young one on the left) who will be the next head of the RNC.  What a breath of fresh air he is and a great guy all around.


I am now a big fan of Facebook. Haha

We found the Facebook tent mid afternoon and their adorable intern from Northwestern (and his boss) allowed us to charge our phones while we enjoyed a cold beverage and chilled before the prime time speeches.  They also explained a little Facebook live challenge they had going on a took a party pic of a few of us in their “Oval Office!”


The Media Narrative is skewed. 

After our phones were charging we met several reporters for a national magazine who were looking just as exhausted and thrilled to have found the same shady respite.  In the course of a conversation with them, we learned they had been covering the protesters…all 2-300 of them.  Bet it looked like more than that on television, didn’t it?

Evidently, this is an unconventional convention. 

Since this is my first ever political convention, I am not sure if there is a precedent for the nominee to speak to the convention before he speaks to the convention – but last night, he introduced his wife (who, by the way was stunning and humble and gracious and wow’d everyone but the media).

It was something else and brought the arena to its feet.


In fact, I really want her white dress but I hear it has sold out already.


Maybe I can just be her in my next life!  Seriously though, she was simply breathtaking and you could have heard a pin drop in that arena when she spoke about her family, her immigrating to the United States, her life with Donald Trump. What I experienced in the arena and what I read from the media this morning are two different narratives and I will leave it there.

I am just thrilled to be experiencing a little history in the making from my seat on the sidelines!

 

On the road again…

Headed to the convention activities this morning and managed to snap a couple of pics from the hotel lobby.


Pictured above is my Senator…with my County Assesor and his wife, (who I have gotten to know through my association with American Mothers – she is a past Oklahoma Mother of the Year),  and a past Party Chairman from Tulsa County.  Great guy!


Here is my Senator with the delegate he is assigned to…clearly, Cliff could use a little more bling on his blazer!

Speaking of those Blazers- everyone in the Oklahoma Delegation will be wearing these all week.  I hear we have a reputation for being the best dressed delegation on the floor!  Jury is still out on that!  Personally, I am going to be all about my Ivanka Trump shoes!

Cause they are rocking it on the bus….

Opening Bell

Last night was the opening reception at the RNC and it was held at none other than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in downtown Cleveland.

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Thousands of Republicans swarmed the venue which boasted rows and rows of food trucks featuring a taste of the City! Big tents with various kraft beer and live music filled the venue and the actual museum was open for tours.

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Architecturally, the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame is a beautiful contemporary structure and overlooks Lake Erie.  I could not get over the outfits worn by Diana Ross and the Supremes….simply gorgeous!

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The big stage was constructed on the lawn behind the museum where bands such as 3 Dog Night and the Doobie Brothers played. The evening ended with a stunning fireworks show over the lake and a long walk back to the rows and rows of buses which quickly transported the numerous delegates back to their hotels.

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The Oklahoma Delegation went to the event on several buses which were under police escort with a heavily armed federal agent on board. The road to the event was blocked off at many places and police were positioned everywhere along the route. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen that many police and federal agents in one location before.  I hear the Bikers for Trump are also rolling into Cleveland to help…I hope I manage to catch a glimpse of that!

Cliff and I had a wonderful evening talking with Republicans from all across the country. Some were wearing outfits representing their state and others were outfitted in all the bling that one might imagine.

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Most seemed very excited to be there and were just as strong in their support of the presumptive nominee. If there is still a Dump Trump movement, we didn’t see it…the only interesting tidbit we heard on the ground was the number of high profile hotels that George Soros rented out to house the protestors he has sponsored.

We’ll keep you posted with highlights from the events today. The theme this evening is Make America Safe Again and will feature Melania Trump, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Senator Jeff Session, Senator Joni Ernst, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty and my favorite, Scott Baio of Happy Days fame.

Civil Discourse and A Tale of Two Cities

An interesting thing happened on my flight up to Cleveland this morning. The plane was full of Republicans heading to the RNC and dozens of men and women on their way to Cincinnati for the NIMG_5347.jpgAACP convention. You talk about an eclectic dynamic on board!
While I sat in my seat listening to some Big Daddy Weave and getting my game face on for take off (because flying has never been my thing), I couldn’t help but hear the discussion taking place behind me between two strangers – one headed to Cleveland and the other headed to Cincinnati. Before take-off they had debated the economy and by the time we got to 10,000 feet, the conversation had moved to Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation’s ties to terror.

You would think that these two strangers with little in common would be in a raging fist fight by the time we reached cruising altitude, but instead they were laughing about their politics and seemed to enjoy chatting about their backgrounds and various political opinions.

Just goes to show you that if civil political discourse is possible on a Southwest airplane, then it can happen anywhere. I just wish more people were like my fellow passengers and instead of pitting one side against the other in violent protest, made a conscious effort to talk peacefully about our differences? Who knows, but if what I witnessed this morning is any example, a healthy dialogue about same could lead to common ground. At the very least, it will bring forth a better understanding and respect for one another which would be such a beautiful thing. Especially today.

Refreshing Difference

rnc2016Like most Americans, Cliff and I have spent the past 24 hours glued to the t.v. watching the coverage of the tragedy in Nice, the attempted military coup in Turkey and wondering what the heck is happening in our world!  Seriously makes me want to hug my almost grown babies a little tighter and pray for our world.

But, sandwiched in-between the international news coverage was a media narrative that caught my attention, a narrative that belittles and bashes the presumptive Republican nominee for POTUS. Imagine that!   Republican bashing has been a sanctioned sport for members of the media as long as I can remember. However, since we are headed to Cleveland to the big event, I had to watch the talking heads pontificate this morning…so, just shoot me already!

A handful of reporters on a few of the cable networks doubled down on the ‘bungled’ roll out of the Vice Presidential candidate, mocking the new campaign logo, the list of people who aren’t speaking at the convention…you name it, they gave it their best shot to downgrade and denigrate.  Some of the words used were sloppy, strangedisorganized, rocky, to depict a superficial narrative they (the media) are trying to develop. Sure, maybe it was all of those things, but I would suggest a different one.  A narrative that addresses the why and how a political outsider (with a long history in the media and lots of baggage) rose to the top?  What was behind that rise and how does it correlate to the mood of the country? Clearly, there is something brewing and despite all the media bashing, and millions spent in unanswered negative ads by the other side, the race is virtually tied? Like I said – there is a story here.

I happened to catch an interview with Ben Ginsberg, a Republican strategist who has been around as long as I can remember…probably since Reagan….Anyway, he was funneling questions about the convention, Republican “dis-unity” and all the proported fumbles by the nominee on his VP rollout ….Ginsberg just chuckled and said he found (Trump) the nominee’s way of doing things to be ‘refreshingly different.’

Refreshingly different.  Exactly. Trump might not be doing things the way politicians typically do things, but it’s probably why he received more votes in a Republican primary than any other nominee…EVER!   He isn’t running as a politician, but rather as a businessman…someone who can clean up the mess politicians have made. That is the real story here…or, at least something to talk about anyway.

Coloring outside the lines…

19256457-mmmainThe list is out for who will be speaking in Cleveland and it is a list like no other. There aren’t too many celebrities, unless you count former Heisman winner, Tim Tebow….but, there never are many Hollywood celebrities at Republican events. Claiming your conservatism in Hollywood gives you an automatic black spot in that business. Truth.  So, maybe not the quasi celebrity apprentice type show that some had hoped for or expected but definitely one that is coloring outside the lines.

On the list to speak are a former model, an astronaut, a football player, a businessman, an oil man from my great state, the first openly gay speaker at a Republican convention (which should be a huge headline) and a lot of former associates and family members of the presumptive nominee!  The list which looks fairly fresh in perspective and outside the political norm to someone on the sidelines like me, is already being picked apart by the media…here is one example…. Ahhh, the media.  You people are fun to watch!

Notably missing are former Republican party nominees, (Mitt Romney and John McCain), former Republican Presidents (Bush 41 and 43), and some elected officials who would typically speak because they were in contention for the top spot. I can understand their frustration this election year and why choosing to boycott the event makes them feel better? Justified?  Like they are making some sort of statement….But, the theater geek in me simply wants to break out in song with ‘do you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men’…Love me some Les Miserables!

I do think the “unconventional” list of speakers is certainly more representative of the movement taking place across the country on both sides of the aisle.  It will be interesting to compare the two party’s conventions and speakers – considering one side has embraced (well, sort of) the candidate from outside the political establishment while the other did not.

Here is a link to the list.

 

Odds & Ends

So, here’s what I know.  We are headed to Cleveland in less than a week and I am kind of freaking out for lots of OBVIOUS reasons. Or, maybe because we just returned from a long weekend in Chicago and traveling on airplanes is not my favorite thing to do…never mind we went to a special wedding for the girl next door and nothing says you are old than when the children you watched grow up go and get married.  What a gorgeous event, this wedding.  The ceremony was held at the Saint James Chapel.  Simply breathtaking.

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And, was followed by a reception at the Field Museum.  THE FIELD MUSEUM.  Oh my goodness, who gets to party with the dinosaurs.  Seriously.

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It was such a beautiful evening and everyone stopped to take pics in front of the museum with this view!

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Then we headed up to the tent for a happy hour.

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Before heading into the museum for dinner.

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I mean, just look at those gardenias, peonies, hydrangeas and ivy combined with the navy blue cloths and chairs and china!! Simply stunning!!  How many times have I said that in this post?

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Wow. Just Wow!  We were so so honored to be included in this incredible…over the top…celebration for a special family friend.

Next up- Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.

So many questions…oh my goodness, like who will be the VP pick?  Who is speaking? Are the delegates REALLY plotting a coup to Dump Trump? How many different groups will be protesting?  Most importantly, what to pack!  At least, I know the Oklahoma delegation has matching navy blue blazers with an Oklahoma patch sewn on…so, there’s that.  I also know the Doobie Brothers are scheduled to play at the opening reception which is worth the trip in itself for someone my age, haha.  There are also some fun side events and BBQ’s that we’ll be attending.  Secretly, I hope to catch a glimpse of my favorite journalists and politicians who will be there either reporting or spinning.  So, while the Senator is doing his delegate thing, I will be stalking members of the media and snagging pics of all the crazy- cause you know it’s gonna be there!

Happy Monday!

 

Cleveland 2016

We’re going to Cleveland, Ohio next month,  home of LeBron, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and site of the 2016 Republican National Convention.

I have never traveled to Cleveland before, or anywhere in the Buckeye State, so I will happily check that one off the bucket list of state’s I have never seen.  But, here is the kicker.  My husband ( the Senator..well, now former Senator ), is an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention, which means I get to go with him as a guest and will be in the big arena when the GOP nominate’s their candidate for POTUS! Seriously, as crazy as this sounds, I am super excited to be there. I am also a little nervous due to the impending threats of protestors, riots, and terrorism.  However, this is a part of history in what has been a wild and crazy election cycle and I can’t wait to witness all that will go down that week and write about it. Am I crazy, or what?