wADmM5mNLtOv064mhMCS_CYE3Bc Just Dorothy

I must be a grown up now

For years Steve and the boys have been going on this annual camping trip with the men in our family.  That means I am alone.  At night.  Ugh.

I'm not a fan of being alone at night.  And not for the reasons you might think.  I'm not worried about someone breaking into the house, of a middle of the night attacker although the thought does cross my mind because I watch too many 48 Hours and Dateline's.  But no, not afraid of the real things that could happen.

I'm afraid of all the creepy, freak me out things that could happen.  I am a big chicken.  Commercials for scary movies terrify me.  I had a few traumatic experiences with babysitters scaring the living shit out of me to not be afraid of what lurks behind the door when you think you are alone.  I know in my heart that Chucky does not exist but I make sure the closet door is closed anyway.  The porch lights that are never turned on regularly blaze 24 hours a day the weekend the guys are gone.  Bad things happen in the darkness.  At least that's my feeling on it. 

It's crazy, I know.  Absolutely nothing like that is going to happen and I know this to be true.  However, usually I dread, dread, dread this weekend when they leave.  I don't mind the daylight hours but as soon as night creeps in I make my bed on the couch so I can hear and see all that I could possibly see and hear.  I leave a light on and the tv on and pray to God that a scary commercial doesn't come on.  Screw you "Annabelle"!

But this weekend, something different happened.  I wasn't freaked out.  I did not get a creepy feeling at all.  I still made sure the house was locked up tight, the front and back lights were on.  I still left a light on in the room I was in.  But I wasn't terrified.  Sleep was much more important than worrying about Jason, Michael Myers or Freddie Kruger.  The funny thing, by the way, is that I have never in my life watched those kinds of movies.  The only thing I know about them is what I see on the commercials (told you, big chicken shit here).  I didn't sleep well the first night, woke up several times.  But I did eventually go upstairs and sleep in my own bed.  The second night I just started there.  I even turned off the tv.  Only one dog slept with me and he was the smaller one.  The big one slept in the hallway.  I would have liked his company in the room too but I figured he was the first warning signal should one of those creepy things make it as far as the top floor.  And last night I slept great!  I woke up late, even.  It felt good.

So maybe I'm a grown up after all.  I wouldn't want to do it all the time, no more than once a year.  But now I know I can do it. 

I don't want to go to Hawaii but I sure would like to learn how to hula

Hawaii is supposed to be paradise.  I don't want paradise.  Ok, actually to travel anywhere would be nice but Hawaii has never been top on my list of places to visit.  Not sure why, it's just not.  Like, I wouldn't save to go there but I wouldn't turn down a trip for 2 to the island of Oahu if I won it on The Price is Right.  Just sayin.

But I'd like to learn how to hula.  Kind of like Jennifer Aniston in "Just go with it".  Except that wasn't really a hula.  I have no idea where I'm going with this....

Anyway, maybe it's just the idea of trying something different that appeals to me. 

The family that I belong to is pretty artistic.  Some knew it right away and have always lived with that knowledge and some are just discovering it later in life.  My sister and I were commenting on the fact that we kind of drew the short stick when it came to getting the creative gene.   Mostly I'm ok with that because I like to dabble in all kinds of things.  The ideas in my head are good but my implementation sucks.  I've tried to paint by numbers but kind of even mess that up.  It never looks as good as it does on the cover.  Sigh.

Clearly artistic pursuits are probably not in my best interest.  Probably not in your best interest either if you are on the receiving end of what I try to create.  With that being said, I'm a total sucker for handmade stuff from anyone.  I have a crystal rock from a kit that was given to me by a 6th grade student 2 years ago and it still sits in the window of my office.  He's surprised I still have it.  I still have stuff from my kids, too, but we won't talk about that because probably it boarders on a hoarding situation.

So, back to the something different.  I really like being in my comfort zone so it's hard to say what it would take to make me get out of it and try something different.  But I bore easily.  On the other hand I'm a curious kind of person so ....  I'm kind of exhausting myself just thinking about this. 

I'll think on it some more.  And if you have any suggestions, please feel free to tell me!!!



Cherry Cheesecake Bars (Cherry Bomb Cheesecake Bars?)

So these are a favorite amongst my entire family.  Not just the four of us.  The ENTIRE family.  Because, really, who doesn't like cream cheese on a really yummy crust? 

I love Betty Crocker and got this recipe from her site www.bettycrocker.com and made a little twist to make it just a tiny bit different.  So, hats off to Betty, she's the bomb!  The Cherry Bomb.  Hmmm, maybe name the twisted version "Cherry Bomb Cheesecake Bars"?  Because, by the way, she doesn't have them named like me.  If you look for her version you have to type in Cherries Jubilee.  Still sounds good, doesn't it?  Giving credit where credit is due, my sincere thanks to Mrs. Crocker

I didn't take pictures while I was making these bits of deliciousness because I never think about that kind of thing.  For me it's just make and go and then I think, "oh, I really should have taken a picture of that".  Oh well, next time.

What you need:

1 box Betty Crocker cherry chip cake mix (This stuff is hard to find.  If you find it, seriously stock up)
2 pkg 8oz each, cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (I only use real butter and feel it makes a  delicious difference in taste)
1 container cream cheese frosting (Here's the twist.  The original recipe calls for cherry frosting)
3 eggs

What you do:

First, heat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and cake mix together until it's like a crumbly mess.  You can use an electric mixer or a fork.  My mixer is like a freak of nature and its lowest setting seems like turbo speed so I smush the stuff together.  Tomato, tomahhhto.  Reserve one cup of this yummy crust. 

Next, spread the remaining butter/cake mix into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9 pan and press to form a crust. 

Beat the cream cheese and frosting together until just mixed then add the eggs.  Mix again.  Pour this batter over the crust in the pan and now sprinkle the 1 cup crust over the top, evenly.  Bake the whole thing for about 45 minutes.  Cool completely and then cover and put in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. 

Don't forget to keep it refrigerated because of the cream cheese!


I feel like I have a stalker...

I go to the grocery store and my stalker is always there.  I get online and they are always there, too.  I sign on to Facebook and, yep, there too.  I can't escape.  She is everywhere I go.  And she has this group of people with her that feel like they are becoming stalkerish, too.  Especially her mom. 

Yes, Kim Kardashian is stalking me.  She is on every magazine cover, she is on every bit of social media I am on in some sort of capacity, she's on the news for whatever insane reason.  She is everywhere!  Her family is almost just as bad.  I can't go anywhere without seeing or hearing about how Khloe is really O.J.'s kid or she's in a horrible relationship again.  Or how Kourtney is pregnant again and Scott is a grade A douche.  The other 2 K girls, the youngest ones that are from Bruce Jenner, are quickly becoming my stalkers as well.  Apparently one of them showed major skin and she's really young.  Is it really that big of a surprise, by the way?  This family is everywhere and you can't escape it!  Mom Kris made a sex tape.  Ewww.  The girls must be so proud.  How are any of these relationships even remotely functional.  It's got to be awkward sitting around the dinner table saying, "So, how was your day?"  "Oh, pretty good.  You know, the same old stuff.  Mani, pedi.  Made a sex tape."  Can you imagine coming across it too.  Here kids, let's watch a DVD.  Let's see what Grandma's got. 

I don't seek these stalkers out, I never go looking for any of them.  In fact, I try to avoid them at all costs.  On the magazine cover?  I don't read it, don't buy it.  On TV?  Turn the channel.  Online "news" article or gossip column?  I don't click, I don't read.  Yet, I still know more about them than I'd like to know.  Yahoo is amazing with their Kardashian coverage.  I go to Yahoo and see the headlines and decide which news items I'd like to read.  My choices are mostly Kardashian related.  Yahoo can really pack a lot of information into a 10 word heading.  It's either them (mostly Kim) or Miley.  Miley taking nasty pictures.  Again.  Miley trying to kiss a girl.  Shocking!  Miley naked.  Again.  Yikes.  Now it's turned into a very creepy stalking situation.

Some people enjoy the train wreck.  I see the appeal.  Sorry, that's a flat out lie.  I tried to make it make sense and rationalize it in my head.  But I just can't.  My apologies.  No, I'm really not sorry.

I haven't watched a show and honestly, I'm not being judgy.  I haven't judged Kim by saying she's a horrid person and a publicity whore.  I haven't said I see Khloe ending up with a string of horrible relationships or Kourtney putting up with GAD a lot longer than she ever should.  I don't know that any of those are true.  Nor do I care.  So...not judging!  I do see comments that people make about the family and there doesn't seem to be much support for them from the general public.  I've never heard anyone say, "Oh that Kimya wedding was just the most wonderful thing I've seen in all my life.  So sweet and wonderful.  It beat out the Royal wedding with Kate and Will".  I've also never heard anyone defend them saying they are just a normal family and have normal family dynamics.  I don't know about you but no one in my family has made a sex tape.  And if they did I'm really glad that I don't know!!

I'm just stating that this family is everywhere.  There is no escape, there is no break from them.  There is only a daily assault on my delicate senses of the Kardashian Klan.  And I've given in to the dark side and wrote about them.  What does that say about me???? 

Seriously though, if you are a fan and have watched their shows before, please, tell me what, besides the train wreck factor, is appealing about the family.  I know they are business women (because in the magazines I do read that are usually Kardashian Klan free, they advertise their clothing line.  See, no escape).  But are they really hands on?  Do they go into the office and put in a full 8-10 hour day making sure their product line is up to standard.  I'm afraid to think of what standard that is.  Ok, that was a little judgy.  I'm thinking they don't have much say in the business, it's kind of in name only and a yes or a no on some kind of design?  Again, I don't know.  If you do, please let me know!! 

**Please take my "stalker" comments as tongue in cheek as they are intended.  In no way, shape or form do I make light of actual stalking situations**

And as always if you can't have a normal conversation and add something to the line of dialog or want to send an evil, vicious, personal attack comment, do us all a favor and keep it to yourself.

Until next time.....

The one where I come unhinged...

So, typically I refrain from making huge statements of any kind of importance for "fear" of offending, confrontation, whatever.  It's really not a fear.  It's more like a "oh, just keep your mouth shut and keep the peace".  I'm a big proponent of that, especially within family circles.  However, today I will get on my soap box, while sitting on top of my high horse and I will even use naughty language.  Why?  Because I can.  Because this is something that has bothered me for years and I see it NOT changing at all if ever.  IF it ever does it will probably be long after I am dead and buried.

**WARNING!  IF YOU DO NOT LIKE STRONG OPINIONS, SOAP BOXES, HIGH HORSES, OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE WITH A HINT OF POLITICS, OR IF YOU JUST LIKE THE IMAGE OF A NICE, QUIET GIRL NAMED ALICIA, PLEASE STOP READING NOW!!**

I usually don't comment on anything I see in social media that pertains to anything that could cause great debate because, well, I just don't want to get into a debate with anyone.  My opinion is my opinion and yours is yours and we can agree to disagree and maintain our relationship.  Actually, debate isn't the issue.  I would love to have a good debate but it never turns out that way.  It always turns into an attack.  When something is posted on social media everyone and their brother feels compelled to say something, it seems.  Good or bad news meets with positive and negative comments.  Which would be ok if they were respectful.  Or even tasteful.  But they aren't. 

I think everyone has forgotten that we are all entitled to opinions and we each have our own personality and we don't have to be clones of each other.  I do not have to like what you like.  You do not have to like what I like.  We can agree to disagree and the world will not come to an end.  Because I have a different opinion than you, or because I might differ from you in party lines does not give you the right to personally attack me.  ESPECIALLY IF YOU DO NOT KNOW ME.

I was reading a news article on Facebook the other day regarding the government dropping off children illegally entering our country from other countries.  They are being bussed into our state and dropped off.  Obviously this is a hot button topic.  It is also very politically charged.  Of course I read the comments.  First, let me point out that, as someone in education it makes me extremely sad that most people can't spell correctly.  Not talking typo's here people.  I digress... where was I?

Oh yes.  It was obviously very politically charged since the article talked about how the federal government was just dumping these kids here in Arizona.  Republicans chimed in, Democrats did the same, everyone blamed the Tea Party.  And it got ugly.  U.G.L.Y.  If someone blamed either party someone from the opposite party called them horrible names.  It was a personal attack straight out of the gate.  Because someone said something that was "republican" in nature they were douche bags.  If someone said something more "democrat" they were assholes.  So I scrolled through the comments, each making me cringe.  And here's the worst part.  Even the ones that were trying to keep to the point of "what do we do with the children" were being attacked.

It has happened to me before, this personal type of attack, for simply stating an opinion or responding to something that someone else disagrees with.  Hence, the reason I usually refrain from tossing my hat into the ring.  And the audacity surprises me that the attack is immediate and vicious.  It gets intense!  Because it's "anonymous" and they aren't in the same room with the person they are being nasty towards, they feel they have free reign.  Most people (my hope anyway) would never look someone in the face for stating an opinion and shout "oh yeah, you must be some kind of fucking libtard to make that kind of statement", or "only conservative republicans would be stupid enough to think this shit is ok". 

So here is what happened today.  If you live in AZ you are probably familiar with the news story of the two priests that were recently attacked and one killed.  Yes, the one killed was shot.  With a gun. Yes, a gun.  (there's a point, I swear I'll get to the "gun" point soon).  The other priest was beaten and I believed possibly stabbed but I'm not too sure about the stabbing part of it.  Early this morning police made an arrest.  It was on Facebook that it was still early yet to give too much info because they had none, but rest assured, an arrest had been made.  One comment quickly popped up.  It said, "It's a shame the republicans insist on arming every scumbag on the streets..." by someone named B Thomas Cooper.  I couldn't help it.  I responded.  I know, I know.  Here is my response:  "No, it's really just a shame that there are evil people that will harm and or kill just for the sake of harming and killing."  So then there was this by the same B Thomas Cooper: "Alicia Heaster Yeah... there will always be some coward attempting to deflect the blame..."

There was no response from me so I guess maybe it irked him some and he felt the need to add to it:
"A Phoenix police spokesman said that investigators arrested a 54-year-old man with a history of aggravated assault and misconduct involving weapons... and of course, he had no problem getting his hands on a gun... yes I blame the republicans for causing the proliferation of handguns."

So I'm a coward attempting to deflect blame because I don't agree with you?  I'm a coward?  I wanted to respond.  I truly did.  I wanted to tell him he was very hostile.  I wanted to tell him he must be a lot of fun at parties.  What I actually did was take a peek at his FB page.  Sure did.  And I saw what I expected.  Mostly left wing propaganda aimed at Republicans and taking on every hot button topic he possibly could by way of meme and sharing (oversharing) every "clever" statement he deems funny and or appropriate to bash someone else.  Personally, it wouldn't matter if he was a democrat or a republican.  An asshole is an asshole.  Oh, sorry, was that me personally attacking someone?  It was at that point of looking at his page (mind you I only looked at the first 10 posts, it was enough) that I decided to NOT respond to his personal attack, that I let it stop bothering me.  Because there is no "win" there.  Not that I would expect to win something on this point, but it had quickly gone from a comment of evil is evil with a gun or a knife to name calling and trying to engage someone else in a verbal sparring match.  No thank you.  The most awesome thing about all this?  We have a mutual friend in FB land.  Oh yes, we do. 

Here's my point though.  Had we been face to face would he have called me a coward?  Had we been face to face and he called me a coward would I have responded with the huge fuck you I wanted to say?  I honestly think I would have been too shocked to say anything that would have made much sense, shocked that someone would say that to my face because I disagreed.  And then I would have been mad because I was speechless.  And then I would have probably wanted to go off on the mother fucker.  But wait, would that be a personal attack?  Yes, it would. 

And in the end, the entire point was missed by all of us (save one person, but I'll get to that in a minute).  The point is that two men were attacked, one lost their life.  The point is that the evil man that did it was caught.  The point is that this has attack shook the community to it's core and you, B Thomas whatever your name is, are focusing on the wrong part of the sad, sad story.

I could go on and on.  I will possibly go on and on in another post about how social media is ruining our ability to have face to face time and our ability to debate openly and civilly with others. 

Until then....

Change is good!

So there have been a lot of changes for the Heaster family lately.  Some are really nice.  Some are not nice.  Some have been a real challenge.  Maybe challenge is too strong.  Let's say they've been emotionally challenging and very disappointing. 

School is going well.  Except for math.  Math sucks for me.  Period.

Summer is here and we are all stuck inside, voluntarily of course, because who wants to be outside in 108 degrees?  Not this girl.  Ever.  But then, I don't like to be outside in 90.  I'm a wuss when it comes to heat.

We ditched several "necessary" luxuries.  We no longer have very expensive phone plans.  Our contract couldn't end soon enough with Verizon.  Less than impressed and sorry I ever got into a contract with them.  Hindsight, right?  So now that we are free to do what we want we ditched iPhones (yay), went back to Android (yay) on Virgin Mobile non contract.  For way, way less a month and we are not obligated to anyone for anything.  Savings of about $2700 a year.  Pure joy!!  Shove it Verizon!

We also cut our cable umbilical cord.  Ok, it was actually satellite cord.  Now that we live down the hill where the reception is way better, we can use antenna to get regular broadcast TV.  For FREE.  We do pay for Netflix and it's under $10 a month.  After all is said and done we will save about $900 a year.  It has taken some getting used to but I'm not really that bothered by it.  Personally it was used as background while I was doing other things.  The shows that I did actually watch were mostly on broadcast channels and what I watched on cable networks can be watched online now.  For Ryan it's been a little harder and when the Walking Dead comes back on he will probably go elsewhere to watch it.  Oh well.  I'm saving $900 a year!  Shove it Directv!

We opted not to keep our phones and our satellite because of the expense but also because it just makes me mad that we have to pay for stuff like that.  And pay a lot!  And for what, really?  There is some good, quality programming on TV and some good series on cable networks but mostly it's garbage.  Most of the cable programming is designed around "freak show" people.  People that sadly exist in this world only because we give them audience.  Not because they've ever done anything worthwhile.  Not saying you can't watch something for guilty pleasure or anything, but does anyone need to watch 4 programs designed around some asshole people outbidding each other on storage lockers? Or 3 shows about pawn shops?  Do we really need one more program featuring a Kardashian?  I also understand having to pay for your smartphone capability.  But for me personally, I text and check email.  That isn't worth what I was paying.  I think it's a bit outrageous what they charge.  Maybe I'm just being cheap but I don't see the point of paying quite that much for some of those things. 

We bought a house.  I don't even want to talk about the process. That would be the emotionally challenging part.   And the disappointing part.  The process, that is.  But...the house feels good.  Our master bedroom is huge!  And I love it.  We have mature fruit trees in the back complete with bird's nest in our fig tree.  I'm not sure what to do with figs but will figure it out.  Or it could just be bird food for all I care.  There's plenty, more than enough to share.  I'm really looking forward to the lemons and limes coming in though.  The pomegranates will be fabulous!  We are looking into more fruit trees for 2 or 3 more spots we have.  Will see how that works out. 

Zach graduated from 8th grade and Ryan graduated from high school.  We couldn't be more proud of both of them.  For what they've accomplished and what they've grown into.  I can't wait to see the men they become.  Zach will be a freshman this coming fall and will play football and Ryan is going to college.  He knows what he wants to do in life and he's making it happen.  He works full time and is responsible.   They both are wonderful, caring, capable human beings and it's been my honor and pleasure to be their mother.  Except when they fight and fart.  Then I just want them both to find new homes. 

Last year I challenged myself to keep up with my blog and create 45 posts over summer.  I ended with 30 something.  I'd really like to try again.  I have a lot to say, things I want to post but don't because they are "controversial" and I don't like that kind of dialog.  I want to state my opinion and I want "you" to quietly agree or disagree but I don't want to have a conversation about it.  Comments would be welcome but mostly they tend to be disrespectful and mean and then it pisses me off and then I feel bad about it.  Not about my post but about being provoked into being pissed off on MY blog that is full of MY thoughts and feelings and opinions.  It becomes a harassing, bullying kind of thing and I'm not about that.  I'd rather keep it to myself and not have the controversy/conflict/conversation.  So I will keep it to recipe and menu posts, and the normal, every day things that I also like to talk about.  And I will be satisfied with that.  However, I reserve the right to change that and post anything I want at any time :)

So, mostly, the changes have been good and of a positive nature.  There are a few other not nice ones that I'm not posting today.  Maybe another time.  But not today. 

Well, then....I'll start working on that recipe post!




Diabetes Sucks! My new inspiration for fundraising and walking this year

So, diabetes sucks.  It's not fun, your eyesight changing, your inability to lose weight not to mention the diet changes and no longer being able to eat cookies.  I really like cookies.  And quite honestly I still eat them.  Sometimes I wash my metformin down with Pepsi.  Bad, I know. 

For the last two years I've been a team captain for the diabetes walk.  I took it very seriously my first year and raised over $400 with major help.  Last year, not so much.  My own $26 was pathetic.  All for a good cause, but still, $26 was embarrassing. 

Also for the last two years I've been a walk leader at our school for the diabetes walk along with a few of our students who have diabetes.  Last year I just kind of hung out with the diabetics for the walk but we didn't say much.  This year, whamo!  It was a kick in the heart to hear these new ones talk about their issues with diabetes and how they hoped there would be a cure one day.  Actually there was no mention of hope.  This is a quote from one of my favorite students who also happens to be diabetic. "When there is a cure I'm going to throw all my diabetic supplies in a fire and watch them burn!"  Another one said, "I'm going to eat a big bag of sugar".  Ok, probably not the greatest idea for that kid but I totally get it.  These kiddos are dealing with Type 1 so they've been dealing with this for a long time and have always known the sucky side of the diet restrictions. 

Notice though, that the girl said WHEN.  She lives with the belief that one day there WILL be a cure.  I hope so, for all our sakes. 

So, with that being said, I'm re-upping as a team captain this year for the ADA Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes.  I need team mates and I need money.  We need a cure!  Want to join?  Want to help  Please follow this link: STOP THIS CRAPPY DISEASE!

Thank you!

Ashamed, Disgusted and Embarrassed

So some genius in Arizona has created a bill that would give businesses the right to discriminate against gay people.  Of course there is more to the bill.  It doesn't come right out and state "Discriminate Against the Gays!" But the bottom line is, that's what it comes down to.  A business owner has a right to refuse service to anyone yet they must not be allowed to discriminate.

The creators of the bill gave it the heading under Freedom of Religion.  If I believe, as a Christian, that being a homosexual is wrong, according to this bill, I can't be sued for refusing to serve a homosexual.  A bakery cannot be forced to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple wanting to get married and they cannot be sued for refusing to make one.  But where would it stop?  Can a homosexual be refused at a gas station?  How would the cashier know?  If that ridiculous bill passes, what's next?  McDonalds sets a weight limit because it doesn't want to serve fat people?  We take a huge step backwards as a state, as a nation, if we let this happen. 

I'm embarrassed to be a native Arizonan.  I'm ashamed that this bill would have gotten this far anyway.  I'm hopeful that the Governor will veto this stupid bill. 

I'm disgusted that it would have a Freedom of Religion label.  As a Christian this appalls me.  You may be a Christian and not agree with homosexuality but that does NOT give you the right to discriminate.  God would be disappointed.  Because...

My God is merciful
My God is accepting
My God is forgiving
My God is loving

My God does not hate gay people.  Don't put a label of religion on ignorance.  In my heart I honestly believe that homosexuality is not a choice, that we are born straight or gay. If that is the case then how can it be that God would disapprove?  That he would allow his creations to be discriminated against.

Does Christmas Mean Nothing?

For weeks and weeks there is anticipation, a natural build up, an excitement, leading up to Christmas.  The holiday season, so to speak, starts in September and ends December 26th.  In September school stuff makes way to fall and Halloween.  Actually, I think I'm wrong.  I think it starts in August.  We buy fall colored garland and scarecrows and skulls and candy and transition from fall Halloween to fall Thanksgiving.  More garland, more pumpkins and the big lead to Black Friday. 

Black Friday has tons of hype.  Black Friday ads are "leaked" to build anticipation and to get shoppers ready for the mother of all holidays.  Christmas.  People line up in front of stores weeks before the day after Thanksgiving so they can be the first in line to get the coveted item of the year.  Every year at least one person is trampled, beat up, dies of a heart attack or stabbed at a store all in the name of getting a good deal.  Ba-humbug!  Now stores are opening ON Thanksgiving Day to entice shoppers to part with more money and, in my opinion, to part with their sanity. 

This year at Thanksgiving I actually felt joy and anticipation and down right giddy about Christmas coming.  I drove my family crazy playing Christmas music starting the day after Thanksgiving.
The weekend of I had my tree up and the decorations exactly as I wanted them.  A few days later Steve had the front yard exactly as we wanted it.  I bought, I wrapped, I baked bought goodies.  I opted out of the office Christmas party and the Secret Santa and I felt good about it!  Not that I don't like doing that kind of thing.  I really do.  But I wanted to just relax and feel the wonderfulness of the season and not be stressed and under pressure to accomplish all these things, to add one more thing to my already crowded plate.  And relax I did.  No pressure, no fuss, no muss. 

Christmas Day arrived and we opened gifts.  In my family, rather than the ripping and shredding of paper all at once and a manic, unappreciative free-for-all, we take turns and each person opens one gift at a time.  We're a pretty quiet foursome now that the boys are older.  I like it.  It was relaxed and peaceful and really brought home not only the "reason for the season" but the reason for the season. 

And then...

The day after Christmas.  Almost as bad as the day after Thanksgiving in terms of shoppers.  But, what I noticed more and what really bothered me was that it seemed like Christmas had never even happened.  Going out that next day I noticed everything Christmas related was shoved into a small section with people grabbing and clawing and crowding the aisles to get the 50% off crap that no one wanted to begin with.  All to make way for HEARTS AND SILK FLOWERS!!  Yes, now we can start buying for Valentines Day starting the day after Christmas.  Like Christmas meant nothing.  Here one day and gone the next, to be forgotten until fall again.

I don't think I'm alone when I say I'd like to see nicer, slower transition between holidays.  Do we really need hearts and red wrapped chocolate boxes on December 26th?

I for one, would like a little time to mourn the passing of the Christmas spirit.

Gender Speak

Not too long ago, my dad and I had a conversation about how advertisers have started to make men and boys look like buffoons in their commercials and merchandisers often "dumb it down" for men in regards to, well, just about everything. 

It's true.  At least in part. 

But...

Men are simple creatures.  It's not rocket science to figure out what appeals to them, how it appeals to them and why it appeals to them. 

Men get hungry.  They put the food in the hole.

Women get hungry.  This is the inner monologue:  "I feel like having something crunchy:  Crunchy as in chips or crunchy as in carrots?  Carrots dipped in ranch?  Dip!  Ohhh, dip sounds good.  Chips and dip!  Wait, I don't have any dip.  I'm not sure if we have any chips either because he might have eaten them all.  Carrots it is.  With dip.  Ranch dip.  Wait...when did I last buy Ranch?  Is it still good?  I can't see the date on the bottle because when he opened the bottle he tore off the little paper thingy where they stamp the date.  Is this the newer bottle of Ranch or is this the old one because the old one was like, super old and I don't want to eat old Ranch.  Maybe crunchy is out.  Ok, I'll make a sandwich.  Should I use sourdough or wheat?  Do I have regular mustard or spicy mustard?  Spicy is better on most sandwiches.  Is the bread fresh and soft?  No.  Hmm, I'll toast it.  But I don't really feel like having a toasted sandwich because sometimes it gets to toasty and then it scratches the roof of my mouth.  But the bread is a little dry and I don't like dry bread.  But I sometimes like toast...which is dry bread...  Maybe I'll have some taquitos.  Pop them in the microwave, add some sour cream (for dipping, of course)...oh, someone left the box open and now they are dried out.  But they were frozen so can they really be dried out?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But they probably "taste" like freezer.  No thanks.  Hmm, a can of soup?  To hot for soup.  Besides if the spoon isn't big enough it's a big disaster.  If the spoon is too big it's a different sort of disaster and all the spoons are dirty anyway because he forgot to run the dishwasher.  I'll just have a V8 and a cheese stick and call it good."

Maybe that's just me?

Anyway....

Here's the difference between directions on men's face wash and women's face wash:

Directions: Wet your face, apply face wash and then rinse.

Directions:  One or two pumps is plenty.  Splash face with water and massage cleanser evenly over entire face using a gentle circular motion to create a light, creamy lather.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water.  For best results use morning and night. 

Way too many words to just wash your face, ladies! 

It's not really "dumbing it down", it's just basic "caveman" communication.  Women need the details, the flowery words to make them feel better about spending $20 on face wash instead of $6.49 for some manly scented scrub. 

I started using caveman communication with my boys when I realized I was using way too many words to get them to do their chores.  "Zach!  Clothes! In washer! Now!"  "Ryan! Trash! Now!" 
Or even, "Boys!  Dinner! Eat!"

I still use a lot of words sometimes (ok, almost all the time) to get simple messages across but I LIKE using all my words. Composing an email can take a long time because I debate over what to say and how to say it and if I should use certain words or not certain words.  Maybe that's just me?

I live in a house full of "cavemen" so I understand it's not dumbing it down, it's just a matter of simplifying things.  They understand it and things get done.  Nothing dumb about that.