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?

 

 

Bittersweet

It really doesn’t feel like twelve years have passed since my Senator first ran for public office. Back in 2002, we were not political people.  I mean, I had worked in politics long before we got married, but that seemed like a lifetime ago at the point when Cliff decided to throw his hat into the political ring.

In January of 2002, I was a stay at home mom of two toddlers and Cliff was a small businessman who had been on his own for a few years.

Talk about a scary shock…leaving a big company to go at it alone. Fortunately, we were either too young or too naive to care but determined to work hard and find our own way in the world.

That would be us circa 1995. Oh my goodness, the bangs…

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After seven years as a self-employed commercial real estate broker, Cliff had grown increasingly  frustrated with all of the rules, regulations and hefty taxes on small business that were coming out of our State Capitol. Mind you, he was no stranger to hard work, but he saw so many instances that prohibited economic growth and development and were an impediment to success. Night after night I remember him complaining about how the legislators making the laws affecting small business were political professionals with no business experience. And, I would tell him time and time again to quit complaining and go do something about it. Ha, right!?

So, he did. Throw his hat in the ring, win and serve three full terms in the Oklahoma State Senate!

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However, because of a twelve year term limit for legislators, Cliff’s time as a State Senator is up today. Yep, all done and it is bittersweet.

I am extremely proud of his tenure in that office. Cliff defied lots of political odds and stereotypes and quietly worked behind the scenes for the greater good. And, if I have heard it once I have heard it time and again,  they “just don’t make politicians like him.”  Well, that is true and probably because he’s not really a “politician.” Just a good man trying to make a positive difference. Or, as he likes to say, “keeping the bad laws from happening.”

In honor of my Senator and his twelve years of public service, I thought I would write about some of the good, the bad and the ugly from his time representing the people of Senate District 40. So, here goes!

The good.  

There was a lot of good!

Man, did we get to know some seriously awesome people! There were the lovely and gracious people we met while campaigning on their door steps and in the district….The individuals and constituents who came to the Capitol throughout the years and the kids who cycled through as pages and students who are now adults. Gulp. So, so many wonderful people. Our lives have certainly been enriched by their very acquaintance and I am most grateful.

Here are a few photos I found on my computer in no particular order..

Special friends in the district.

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Friends and campaign volunteers. These two met during the 2002 campaign and are still together.  Gotta love those campaign romances!!

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Would not have survived a single campaign without my right arm, Whitney!  Love this girl. She’s now married with three kids of her own.  I am old.

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Here’s the Senator speaking Cherokee with the Heisman winner like its no big deal!

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These young men are now in college.

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For some reason, this pic with Miss Oklahoma and Miss America always makes me smile!

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Who doesn’t love a parade, right?!  Even in the rain!

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Anyone who volunteered on that 2002 campaign knew Jim…

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And, Sharon…my heart is full of happy memories thinking about the wonderful people from that first campaign. We were blessed with a little army of awesome that year!

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Cliff looks so “official” in this next one, but what makes it really special is the gentleman sitting behind him. Senator Myers and Cliff were both “Freshman” Senators together and seat mates on the floor. He passed away a few years ago. Good man, lovely wife, beautiful family. Just another example of the special people we have met on this journey.

The Senator reads...

Which leads me to the lobbyists, politicos and the savvy men and women who work for the politicos. These people are animals I tell you, but always fun to be around. I would add that you often hear the stories about back stabbing and political posturing that goes on in politics, and don’t get me wrong, I could write a book about all that. It happens. But, there are also some truly smart, savvy and super loyal people in this business as well.  I cherish our friendship with these men and women and have learned so much from them…

First friend in the Oklahoma State Senate…

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The Governor…elected in the same 2002 election cycle. He was also pledge brothers at OU with the best man in our wedding.  Small world!

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Fellow Senate Wives….

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And, Senate colleagues…..

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Love this one from our annual tradition of inviting Legislators over for dinner during session.  Clearly, this was a fun one!

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Safe to say they get along nicely…most of the time!

Pleasantly Surprised!

And, a favorite member from the House who went on to bigger and better things. The Senator regrets not wearing a tie that night! I regret not being in that photo!  Such a sweetheart!
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Quasi serious Senate leadership pic…

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A swearing in ceremony.

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These two…

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I am at a loss for words.

Vice Chairman and Chair of the Senate Energy Committee. Good things happened for the Oklahoma Energy Industry on their watch. There are probably lots of fun captions for this photo, but none suitable for print!

Friends in the Federal delegation who were always a good source of support, advice and institutional knowledge…

Senate Delegation

If you are from Oklahoma…this next one is just cool for historical purposes, regardless of your political party. And, it was taken at a fundraiser we held in our home.  Double cool.

Before the Shellacking

A few notable highlights along the way…

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Love the look on Cliff’s face in this one!

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Oh my goodness. Kathy.  Where to begin…

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Kathy has been Cliff’s right arm and my sister wife (Ha!) at the Capitol for a while and she is family.  I love this woman for so many reasons and always will.  She is just salt of the earth and she has Cliff’s back.  Believe me, you need someone watching your back down at that marble palace!

We have also had some really great opportunities during this time that I cherish. Cliff attended a handful of legislative conferences and the kids and I tagged along. For me, as a mom, this was probably one of the highlights.

Williamsburg and Charlottsville, Virginia

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Chicago

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Puerto Rico

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Hawaii

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Memphis

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Pretty neat stuff. I hope they learned something!

The Bad
Campaigns and opponents. Yep, we had a few of those.

2002  A six way primary election, a run off election and a general election. I’m exhausted simply remembering that inaugural foray into politics.

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2006  A general election with a self funded and fairly well known opponent.

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2010  The best kind of opponent. She dropped out before her name went on the ballot re-electing my senator before the primary. Couldn’t have dreamed that one up any better!

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All of that is just the nature of the beast and I will write a book about it some day.

The Ugly

There wasn’t a whole lot of ugly…but what there was …well, it is still fairly raw and I think I will just save it for my book.  Lets just say it involves some slashed tires, cut cable, punctured radiators and threats against our family.  Sounds like a scary movie, right?

So, there you have it. Twelve awesome years in a nutshell!

I think our son (pictured below in 2002) summed it up best yesterday when he sent a sweet text to his dad knowing that today would be bittersweet. He said, “ For the last 12 years I’ve been proud to say to people that my dad was a state senator and a successful and loved one at that…You actually did work for the community and made a change.  Now, it’s on to the next job.  Whatever you do dad, you’ll excel at it because you do great things and people love you.  Just remember that whatever you do, make sure you are doing what you love.”

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Out of the mouths of babes.

Needless to say, nostalgia is hovering over our house today.  I am eternally thankful for countless opportunities, lessons and friendships that Cliff’s public service has provided.  We have all learned so much from so many.  But, most of all, today, I am simply proud of my man and excited for what the future holds.

Bringing it up to speed

Can’t believe it’s been almost six months to the day since I have posted here but it certainly wasn’t for lack of something to say.  Quite the opposite actually.  So much has happened since March that I thought I would do a brief re-cap to catch myself up to speed. Ha.

Our daughter wrapped up her first season playing club volleyball.  What a great experience and so many new friendships made along the way. I have to admit, Volleyball moms are cool.

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The Senator finished serving his third and final term in the Oklahoma State Senate. So much to say about that.

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Somewhere amidst the chaos, I managed to attend a Conference in Colorado celebrating moms.

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Some dear friends in this group!
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I agreed to chair a fundraiser with my best friend because I didn’t have enough going on…

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Our son graduated from high school in May.

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And, our daughter picked up a few awards at her 8th grade graduation.

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The Senator ran for a state wide office and lost.  Much more to say about that too.

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Then, we went to the beach.

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And Belize.

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Our son went off to college.

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Our daughter is now in high school.

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It has been a wild and crazy six months but the dog survived, so that’s something!

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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!