wADmM5mNLtOv064mhMCS_CYE3Bc Just Dorothy

I'm judging you because you are judgy

Everyone has an opinion.  And I am entitled to my own.  I do not have to be entitled to yours.  Yet you push it on me.  I must like the things you like and I must agree with the things you find good and the things you find deplorable.  What you find important, I must do the same.  Because if I don't...

You will judge me.

If I am not enraged by abortion then I must not be Christian.  If I agree with marriage equality I must be liberal.  If I do not agree with your opinions then I just must be dumb.

Recently on social media (well, always on social media) someone made a comment about focusing on the wrong things.  That we were focusing on praising an award winner instead of focusing on organs being sold from aborted fetuses.  And my first thought was not about organs from an aborted fetus, it was, why do I need to talk about, think about, comment about, focus on, only what you think the focus should be on?  When you turn to Facebook for serious issues and news, well...shake my head.  Yes, places like Twitter and Facebook can be great resources for getting the information out there, but beyond that...

Take the icebucket challenge for ALS.  How many that posted the videos on Facebook of them dousing themselves with a bucket of icewater actually made a donation to the cause?  My guess is that the ratio was small.

Back to being judgy.  So, because the collective we are not focusing on what the collective you deem important, the collective you judges us as uncaring, unmoved people that don't care.

But take a moment to think about why someone would focus on one thing and not the other.  Think about why maybe one issue wouldn't be important to them when another would.  See the bigger picture, get outside of your narrow opinion box and focus on the bigger picture.  The world does not revolve around the issues you think are important.  Just as it does not revolve around the issues that I think are important.

On another judgy note, stop judging people by appearances.  You have no idea what they have been through.  We all are guilty of it.  Every single one of us.  The lady with the drawn on eyebrows that were very crooked and nearly met in the middle.  Yes it's funny and ridiculous and we did laugh.  Not to her face, that would be rude and uncalled for.  But maybe she was legally blind and couldn't see properly to draw them on.  Maybe she lost them due to cancer and thought having drawn on crooked ones was better than not having any at all.  Yesterday we saw a young man in the store that was decked out in gear.  I can't even really say what kind of hear but he had a huge knife (real? not sure) attached to his belt, a crocodile Dundee hat, long sleeved black shirt, dark brown military type pants and combat boots.  And a huge scarf, the type military wear (I'm pretty sure).  He looked like he was probably ready to hunt.  He was probably 14 or 15.  We could judge that.  There are all kinds of things we could say about that.  But why?  It wasn't hurting anyone but maybe him.  Long sleeved shirts, pants, and scarves don't really work when it's 107 degrees.  Maybe he was going hunting, maybe he had just come back from a hunt, maybe he was mentally disabled and this was really cool to him.  Whatever.

So here's the bottom line for me: Live and let live.  Stop being self righteous.  Disagree with me? Terrific!  Just don't judge me because of it.  Judge me not for my appearance, because if you don't like it, just don't look.  But judge me for my actions.  And I will do the same.

Defending Cait

As I said in a previous post, there are so many crazy things going on in the world today.  Addressing some of them is hard, especially for me because I do not like confrontation, do not like to argue and do not particularly like to have a difference of opinion shoved down my throat.  I prefer to agree to disagree.

But I also have a hard time keeping my mouth shut on things that really bother me.

I am not overly familiar with the Kardashians or their numerous exploits or television shows.  I don't Facebook, Twitter or Instagram any of them because they are not my cup of tea.  My opinion of them (and you may agree to disagree) is that they lack substance.  Do they promote anything good?  My impression is that the lot of them are undereducated and lack substance.  Right, I've never watched a show, so how can I make that judgement?  Well, I don't live under a rock and those people are fucking everywhere!  I can't help but notice because it's almost forced on me.

But let's, for a moment, talk about the other part of that Kardashian equation and discuss Caitlyn Jenner and her recent award from the ESPY's, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.  Those that are against it saying "the truly courageous are the ones that are fighting and have fought for our country".  This is true.  But the entire point is missed.  The AACA is given to SPORTS figures.  Not our military, not our wounded warriors.  SPORTS figures.  The ESPY's are Hollywood's equivilent of the Oscars.

Directly from the Arthur Ashe website:  "Given out yearly at the ESPY awards, which were created by ESPN to recognize accomplishments in athletics, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage is unique in recognizing athletes who transcend sports in dedicating themselves to humanitarian or social endeavors."

Guess the keywords I saw in there?  Accomplishments, athletics, transcend sports, humanitarian and social endeavors.

Guess what I didn't see in there?  Veterans, military, wounded, POW.

DO NOT take my comments to mean that I do not support or appreciate our service members.  That's the furthest from the truth.

But also, do not read more into this courage award than there needs to be.  It's another awards show to once again honor mostly rich and famous people for being able to throw a ball, make a basket, sink a hole in one.  Yes, yes, I know there is more to it, but do you watch the Oscars to see who won for best lighting director?  No, you don't.  They do have the Pat Tillman Award and that's the closest it gets to recognizing any military.  Because it's a SPORTS AWARD SHOW.

You may or may not agree with Caitlyn Jenner and her new life versus her old life.  But do not turn her award into anything other than what it is.  She was recognized as an athlete "who transcend sports in dedicating themselves to humanitarian or social endeavors".

Whether YOU like it or not, her social endeavor is speaking out about the transgender community, which does exist, also whether you like it or not.

Our Father, Who Art in Heaven...I'm sad for you.

If you are a troll, see the previous post.  Your negative comments will not be welcomed here.  If you can read an opinion blog and be respectful you are more than welcome to comment.  If you can read an opinion blog and not be respectful and open a dialog, then just be quiet.  I love that quote by the way.  If you can't be kind, be quiet.

First things first.  I am female. I am white.  I am Progressive Republican.  I am heterosexual.  I am a supporter of marriage equality.  I am Christian.

I am embarrassed.

I am ashamed.

You see, the God that created me, the God I follow, the God I whole-heartedly believe in, created the story of me before I was even born.  He created the story of you, too.  Just as he created the story of the homosexual couple that lives down the block from you.

I firmly believe that homosexuality is not a choice.  I didn't chose to be heterosexual.  I just am.  So why would I be so obnoxious as to assume homosexuals choose to be gay?  If I believe that God created us perfectly, I cannot believe that he hates homosexuals.  Yet a lot of my fellow Christians are saying exactly that.  If God wrote our life story before we were even born then He wrote us as straight or He wrote us as gay.

I am embarrassed that my God looks unwelcoming and unloving based on the actions that His children on earth are portraying by preaching hate and intolerance of people that are not exactly like them.

I am ashamed to be grouped with other Christians that are also Republicans.  They fight to have marriage remain between a man and woman yet as Christians we are taught that love is love and we are to love one another.  Yes, of course you can love the sinner but not the sin.  But is it sin if God created you that way?

If you don't agree with any of that, that's great.  Because guess what?!  You do not have to be like me. You do not have to believe what I believe in.  You do not have to like what I like.  We can be different and we can get along.  You do not have to live according to my beliefs.

And no one has to live according to yours.

They see me trollin....

Oh there is so much to say about the state of the world today.  First, let's talk about trolling.

A troll: "In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

If you are on Facebook at all, you see it daily.  Instagram too.  I follow a few body positive accounts on Instagram and they promote not only body positivity but positive comments only.  Negative comments are not welcome.  That doesn't mean they don't crop up.  Because let me tell you, they definitely do.  

The body positive accounts feature encouraging and uplifting messages and memes and will feature women (even a few men) that feel good about themselves despite not looking perfect.  There's a hashtag especially for that.  It was started by Tess Holliday, a plus size model.  #effyourbeautystandards are words to live by.  It's empowering.  It's confident. It helps raise self esteem for women that maybe have been teased about their extra pounds or their cellulite or double chin.  Again, it's empowering to be accepted for how you look (imperfect).

But then...the trolls.  The trolls crawl out from their internet bridge and start their crap.  The Instagram account for Effyourbeautystandards is a favorite of the trolls.  Women that are not size 2 will post a picture of themselves in a bikini.  They might have rolls, they might have stretchmarks or they might not have any of that.  They just don't typically fit the "normal" standard for wearing a bikini.  So because of that the trolls post comments like "have another donut" or "she's waiting for her next cheeseburger".  Tess Holliday gets called out for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.  Not because she says "be a size 22 like me!" or "eat everything bad!" or "have another donut".  She says none of these by the way.  She does not promote being unhealthy.  She promotes feeling confident and living up to OUR OWN ideas of beauty, not everyone elses.  

I don't understand the mentality of someone that goes to websites or pages or accounts to someone or something they don't like, don't agree with or don't understand and place negative comments.  Except simply to cause trouble, to rile people up, to be mean and to stir the pot.  Troll behavior.

Keep scrollin' troll.  You and your negative comments are not welcome.  

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.


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!