Babies Should NOT Be Born in Embassy Suites

(Another story from my miraculous Okie ‘Merican vacation)

Claire's Bear

Twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in a maternity “hospital” in Alexandria, Virginia, waiting for the missus to deliver our son, Eli.

I actually thought we were in an examination room, because it looked like an Embassy Suite.

I was sitting on a plush couch, talking on the phone to the insurance company, as required, when the baby doctor looked at me and said all nonchalant-like: “We’re ready to have the baby.  You want to join us?”

My immediate thoughts were:  “Are you INSANE?  This room is not sterile! Where are all the doctors and nurses in masks and gowns?  We are NOT having my baby in here. WHERE IS THE REAL HOSPITAL?”

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The Great Okie ‘Merican Vacation

chicken enchilada dive


I’ve just finished my greatest vacation, ever, which was filled with miracles and beeg fun and TexMex.

How great? Let me count just 10 ways.

1. That egg-sized tumor in the brain of my best buddy’s adult son actually turned out to be the size of a baseball. It was removed on June 18 at Houston’s M.D. Anderson, and this young man walked out of the hospital on June 20, with no side effects or any need for chemo or radiation.  Honestly, I’ve been around a lot of miracles, but nothing, nothing, like this. Thank you, Lord.

2. 72 hours later, I was back in OKC.  My grand-niece, Claire, had decided to make an early splashdown in honor of her Great Uncle’s visit.  All 5 pounds, 11 ounces of her was wonderful, beautiful and perfect. Thank you, Lord. (Prepare for another blog on this).

3. My buddy (see item 1) now calls me “Miss Congeniality” because it seemed like everyone at our 40th Norman High School reunion wanted to say hello to a felluh who had been away for 40 years.  It was sort of a surprise and really, really good stuff.  Thank you, Lord.

4. My grand-niece’s early splashdown (see item 2) allowed her Mom to donate her maternity pants to me, which were essential to my relentless assault on the state’s supply of TexMex. I didn’t quite meet my goal of weighing 900 pounds when I left ’Merica, but I was no more than an enchilada short. Thank you, Lord!

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It’s What You Do


Of all the things that I cannot believe — starting with how it’s possible to send this blog around the world using electricity — the thing I cannot believe the most is that I will attend my 40th high school reunion in two weeks.

That means it’s been four decades since I was a senior at Norman High School in 1974.  And I’ve never been back for a reunion.  Not even once.

I did think about attending the 10-year reunion in 1984, mainly to leverage my major celebrity status of being a hotshot Singapore journalist and, thus, able to jump the bones of girls I never had the courage to jump back in high school.

But, by 1984, I had already met the missus-to-be in Singapore, so that killed the reunion “bone jumping” scenario.

I also figured there were still one or two (okay, maybe 10 or 20) people who wanted to punch me in the nose.  Why?   Let’s just say that I spent a great deal of the time at NHS (as they so quaintly put it here in New Zealand) “being a dick”.

Since there was to be no jumping of female bones, and there was the likelihood of getting punched out, I decided against making the 19,000-mile Singapore-Norman-Singapore journey.

Time ticked on.  Decades passed.

At the time of the 20th, 25th and 30th reunions, I was still in New Zealand, working stupid hours in the stupid field of P.R.  (Motto: Yesterday you hosted the Prime Minister; today you write about butthole cancer).  To quote Jack Bauer, there simply was “NO TIME DAMMIT”!

The clock kept ticking.  Another decade passed.

Now it’s 2014 and time to go home.

Facebook convinced me.  It did this by reconnecting me with several of the world-class, smart alecks that I used to *hang out with in high school.  They still make me laugh, and laughter is something I need way more of.

One of these people, who I will not name because he is probably wanted by the FBI, just yesterday asked me the following:

Loaded Question Alert!

“Do you remember our friend “Heartbeat” that entertained us in Dallas the night before an OU/Texas game?”

Now, it’s important to stress that I have NO MEMORY involving any entertainer at an alleged topless bar in Dallas, who may or may not have had the most eye-catching heart tattoo that you will ever see in your whole life.   Therefore, I have no comment, other than to say what goes on tour, stays on tour, especially if it involves OU-Texas weekends in the Seventies.

The Norman High Class of ’74 was pretty unique.  I’ve heard that we had the highest test scores ever recorded and were the only graduating class in NHS history that did not leave the school a gift.  Not a bench. Not a plaque. Not a brass razoo.  I guess that’s understandable, since we graduated the year before the Vietnam War ended.  Showing respect for authority was not the thing you did, back then.

So far as I know, none of my classmates grew up to save the world.  I’ve heard that one one guy “invented Apple”, or so he hints at, while smirking in a way that makes people want to thump him.  Another guy won an Emmy in sports journalism (I know, right?).  And one gal had quite a career in the Dallas entertainment industry — something to do with cardiac or heartbeats or something.  **Ahem.

I’m not sure what to expect from the two-day NHS reunion, but I’m looking forward to it.  I’m also really looking forward to hugging on my family, including two-and-eight-nineths grandnieces who only know me as a Cyber Uncle, which just sounds creepy.

Getting back for the reunion and seeing my family are enormously important.  But, come to find out recently, they are not the main driver for this trip home.  That came from above.

God’s Fingerprints

The real reason I am going home is to be with a felluh who is integral to my life, and who’s in a time of great distress right now.

You see, I love his guy.  He is the only person on the planet that I can go 10 years without seeing, and the instant we are back together, it is like old times again.

The fabric of our lives is entwined.  Our fates are linked.

If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gone to Singapore, which means I wouldn’t have met my Missus or had my amazing son.  And were it not for me, I’m not sure whether he and his high school sweetheart would have become man and wife, and had kids, who had kids.

Just recently, my buddy’s eldest son was diagnosed as having a tumor the size of an egg embedded in the left side of his brain.  The initial medical advice has not been particularly great.

As I write this, we are awaiting news from the Big Boys at M.D. Anderson. We are ***praying.  And we are optimistic.  Whatever happens while I am home in June, I will be there with my Buddy and his family, doing my job, which is being a smart-ass and a shoulder to lean on.

Because that’s what you do.  The rest of all this stuff is just eye wash.

If I don’t blog for awhile, ya’ll feel free to talk among yourselves.  Or better yet, go see an old friend who you’ve lost touch with.

Do it now.  Because the clock keeps on ticking.


*e.g. drinking and being obnoxious

** This is a big, fat lie, almost certainly

*** Your prayer support would be greatly appreciated


UPDATE — Less than 48 hours after having a baseball-sized tumor removed from his brain, this young man walked out of M.D. Anderson on his own. Everything went perfectly. Can you say “miracle”? 




Moore Tornado — How It Felt A Year Ago To Be An Okie Down Under (Republished)

The longer you live overseas, the less you feel tethered to the American mothership.

This month, I’ve been overseas for 20 years, and I’ve missed so much.

To put this into perspective… I was in New Zealand, half a world away from America, when:

– The Murrah Building was bombed

– Gulf War II was launched

– The horrific 9/11 attacks happened.

Because I was not on home soil when America was attacked — first by our own crazies in OKC and then by jihadders in NYC and Washington, D.C. — I never felt “personally” threatened. Those two hideous events were not directly — emotionally or intellectually — encoded into my “threat” DNA.

So I am different. I will never be able to think, or more importantly, to feel, like most Americans, especially on matters of terrorism and national security, because they were attacked on the very soil they were standing on.

I was not. I was standing on New Zealand soil. And that made a big difference.

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Ditka or Die — Rugby Comes to Chicago

All blacksYa’ll ready for this?

It was announced today that the most successful professional sports team in history is headed your way, at least if you live in Chicago.

The legendary New Zealand All Blacks are playing the USA Eagles in an historic “test match” at Soldier Field on November 1.

We are sure the news has Mike Ditka turning over in his grave, whether he is dead or not, because rugby is just not ‘Merican.

Still, there are some things to like about the sport, especially the bumper stickers that OU fraternity members had on their cars in 1974:

  • Rugby Players Eat Their Dead 
  • Rugby Players Have Leather Balls
  • Give Blood, Play Rugby

After 23 years in rugby-mad New Zealand, I still have not come to grips with the finer points of the game.  But I have picked up a few things that might be of help if you’re planning on watching the “AB’s” play a “test match” in “Chicago”.

1. Rugby players do not really eat their dead.  They just tape their ears down, towel off the blood and brain matter, and bury them in a “scrum”.

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Mother’s Day ‘Momories’ Straight from the Heart (Republished)

Mom closeup

Wanda June Moore

One of my most treasured inheritances from Mom is a photocopied poem, surrounded by a hand-made sussy purple oval, held in a clunky, old wooden frame.

The poem is by Jenny Joseph.  It’s not long:


“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


I love that poem, and the fact that it meant so much to Mom.

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Wire Dog

(This happy Moosedawg story is republished because it went missing from the blog, for some technoid reason.  FYI, the Moosedawg had to be put down last year. Sniff).

death moosedawg

Don’t get me wrong.

I still love the 13-year-old Moosedawg.  His deaf ears.  His cataract eyes. His enormous tumor. And his big ol’ heart.

It’s just that, lately, I’ve wanted to kill him.

He’s not quite incontinent. But he is likely to poop anywhere at any time once he gets outside. On at least three occasions in the last two weeks, he has pooped on the sidewalk.

That’s not the bad news.

The bad news is that leafs had covered up the Moose-poops, so I did not know I had stepped on them until I smelled something funny a) in the car and b) in the doctor’s office.

The REALLY BAD NEWS is that the third poop landmine blew up on the GM Finance’s shoe. Like she needed another reason to hate my Moosedawg.

But last night he gave me the biggest laugh I have had for a long while.

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