The Reason I Am Alive!

This blog is going to be a little bit different than the tangents I generally find myself on. I’m not going to rant, I’m not going to point out the absurdity of the world. I’m going to bare my soul for the first time in a very long time, in the hopes that what I have to say might hit home with someone. If I can save just one life, or give them a new outlook to find help after they read this, than I will feel that the time spent working on this and cutting myself to the quick as I relive this was worth it.

As most of you know, there is a new series out on Netflix called “13 Reasons Why.” I just finished watching the first season, and I found it really well written. The cinematic artistry of this show was wonderful because it didn’t confuse the subject matter, as it took one character into the mind of another. I won’t go into too much detail here in case there is someone reading this who has yet to see it. I know I hate spoilers, so I am not going to share too much so that others may watch and get the full scope of the story without knowing what comes next. 

As a parent, I am always worried about my kids having issues in school. High school was extremely difficult for my oldest daughter who is now 24 years old. Partly because of bullies, and partly because they had this bizarre dress code called “Standard Student Attire,” which is KIND of like having uniforms but not really. As a result, the teachers spent less time teaching and more time acting like fashion police because they liked changing the dress code without telling the parents, so what was fine one day ended up getting the child sent home the next and visa versa. Granted, the high school my eldest went to wasn’t the greatest, and it was quite literally connected to a charter school for children with behavioral problems. When it got to the breaking point of her not learning anything substantial, I supported her decision to drop out and get her GED (which she did almost immediately).  My 22 year old went to a magnet school, so she didn’t have to face the same issues her older sister had to endure. Luckily, my 12 year old hasn’t had any problems at all so far, and with her being the only remaining child in school, she’s the one I tend to worry about the most. 

Anyway, after watching “13 Reasons,” I sat down with my 12 year old and we talked for a little while about school. I let her know that she can ALWAYS talk to me if she ever has any issues with another student or a group of students, and that whatever she has to say will never fall of deaf ears. I will always do whatever I can for her to make sure her school years go as smoothly as possible, and we made a pact that if a problem does arise, I will take it to the highest possible position I can get a hold of and kick some ass if I need to. She promised me that she will never hold her feelings inside, and will come to myself or her father for help.

Now to my story. I was raised in a household with a Pagan mother and Atheist father, and was essentially surrounded by what some would call magick (For those of you not in the know, the “k” at the end of magick is not a misspelling, but rather a literary way of differentiating between a magician’s tricks, and ritual magic in which the forces of the Universe are harnessed… think of it as a super strong prayer, if you will). Needless to say, having been raised in Southern Utah, it made it very difficult to make and keep friends because the parents of the kids in my school were predominantly Mormon, and would call me everything from ‘Wicked Witch” to “Demon” to “Satanist” and my favorite, “Devil’s Spawn.” I was criticized for everything from my height to my choice of music (which was mostly classic rock and heavy metal). I did finally embrace my “dark side” in the end, and used it to my advantage. However, until that time, I was accused of seducing guys and being a slut, even though I was a virgin (I didn’t even get pregnant with my first daughter until after I was married). I would be lying if I said I never considered suicide, because believe me… I did. So much so that I actually sat in my parent’s closet one day with one of my dad’s pistols, broken and in tears. I looked at that gun, studied it, thought the world would be better off without me. Until I came to the realization that if I were to follow through with that, I would destroy my parents and the kids at school would win. I wasn’t about to become the reason that the popular girls put together a memorial at school for me just to show how “caring” they were as they vied for votes for Homecoming Queen. I made my resolve then and there that I would live, and I was NOT going to let them kill me. You might call it my moment of enlightenment.

My home life wasn’t exactly roses either. As much as I loved (and still do) my father, he terrified me! I was the youngest of 4 kids… two half brothers and one half sister. I was the only child of my mother’s. My siblings were raised with their own mothers, so I got the brunt of my dad’s temper. He drank heavily, and although he never told me what happened while he was in the Army, I still suspect to this day that something terrible transpired when he was stationed in France that he drank to escape the memory of. When he was sober, he was an amazing father, and would go out to the yard and play volleyball with me or watch as I exercised the horses. I would go on trips with him when he did his inventory control for the National Parks in the summertime, and we were on the road a lot. When he was drinking though, all I had to do was look at him wrong and I was making excuses for my clumsiness the next day at school. He passed away 11 years ago because of his drinking (the main reason I no longer drink, and haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in almost 15 years now), and I do miss him terribly. As it turns out, I finally began to have a functional relationship with him in my adult years. I moved out of my parents house ON my 18th birthday, and right in with the guy I would end up being married to for the next three years. Oddly enough, I don’t regret that time, even though my first husband almost hospitalized me multiple times, and almost killed me the night that I finally left. It took 3 years to make my escape, because every time he even got the notion I might leave, he would take off with my children, so I learned that I had to be savvy about my departure. It’s easy to say to a battered woman “just leave him,” but the truth is, it’s much easier said than done. Especially when the man is twice your size. I’m a very small woman at 5’1” and 110lbs, and he was 6’1” and almost twice my weight. I can’t begin to tell you how many times he would “detain” me until I became compliant. Yet I don’t regret that time in my life as I look back on it and pain I went through, because from that marriage I had my two oldest daughters. They ultimately became my reason for living. 

Through all of the rocky moments and financial hardships I’ve endured over my 43 years on this planet, I can now look back and know that every bit of it helped me to grow into the person I am today… and I’m stronger for it. With every joke made at my expense as a kid from wearing second hand clothing from the thrift shops (something that becomes very apparent in a small town), every bruise to both my skin and my emotions, every person I have had to bury and say goodbye to over the years, and every financial sacrifice to make sure my children ate, I became a force to be reckoned with. It took four decades, but I am finally comfortable in my own skin. I know I would have missed out on so many things had I followed through that day in my parent’s closet so long ago. I have three beautiful and talented daughters, a gorgeous granddaughter, a wonderful husband, and a new direction in life. I have also found the most amazing and supportive extended family in the Supernatural fandom!

Much of what I have said in this blog I have never disclosed to anyone, but I know now that I can use it to teach others that no matter what curveballs life throws at you… you can hit it out of the park! Up until 24 years ago when my oldest daughter was born, my life seemed hopeless and pointless. I still have moments of self doubt, but I have learned to go with the flow and trust that whatever I am put through in life, there’s a reason behind it. For every door that closes on you, another one opens. You just have to be brave enough to walk through it and not let the actions of others hold you back, because in the end, it’s your life and no one else’s. After all, tomorrow IS another day, and believe me when I say that it’s truly something to look forward to! Have fun whenever you can, and if someone tries to criticize you for it, tell them to fuck off because more likely than not, they are miserable with their own life… don’t let them make yours equally miserable. We are already here for a short enough period of time, so make the most of the time you DO have, and don’t be afraid to talk to someone when life does get you down. The one thing that I have cultivated from this existence is that I have a much larger support system than I ever thought possible. So always keep fighting, know that you are not alone, and above all remember that it’s true: family don’t end in blood. We are all one big happy dysfunctional fun-loving family, and we all have something in common… that most of us have been through a lot of the same heartbreaking bullshit, and are here to give you a shoulder to cry on and share our wisdom on navigating this rollercoaster called life! 

~Kristi Sustrick

*** NOTE***                                          Credit for AKF artwork goes to        Deviant Art! 

Political Correctness Gone Mad

Political Correctness gone mad… That’s what has been going on in the United States lately. It’s getting to the point to where I no longer recognize America as the beautiful free country I have grown up with. People are becoming far too sensitive over just about everything these days, and it’s exhausting! 

I have been combing over news articles over the past several days, and the things I have been reading have really gotten me into a mental twist. To be fair, it’s been further fueled by some of the ridiculous comments over social media that have been posted mainly by the far left, some of which have been real head scratchers. 

The first thing I take issue with is a story I read regarding a public high school in Michigan, which is allowing the Muslim girls that attend to have their own private “Muslim Girls Only Prom.” Now, while I generally don’t mind a specific group having their own event, this is a little bit different since these girls are only allowing girls belonging to Islam, and to my understanding, it’s being held on the high school campus. I read a few highly obtuse comments when someone pointed out that the school is condoning racial discrimination, and someone posting that it’s not a racial thing but a religious/cultural one. This is fine and well, except…. I spoke with a few people who are of Middle Eastern descent, and this is what I was told: True followers of Islam do not view Western converts as being true Muslim. In fact, they actually have a word in Arabic for converts that effectively translate to “dogs of Islam,” and they consider them “reformed infidels.” Sorry to burst the bubbles of those Americans and Europeans who did convert, but you will never be put on the same social level of the Middle Easter Muslims in their eyes. They feel that the only TRUE Islamists are of Arabic descent like their prophet Muhammed, so yes… this actually does fall into the category of racial discrimination.

There was a guy in the thread regarding this story who actually said “Jewish Orthodox Schools” have Jewish only dances all the time. Yes, this is true, but you must realize that the Orthodox schools are parochial schools, which are not part of the public school system. They are private religious schools which are privately funded by way of tuition. There is no problem with this, as the students are enrolled their in order to not only learn the regular required curriculum, but also they learn the respective religion that the school was founded for and they learn the language of the founders of said religion. When a public school begins to favor one religion/culture over others, that’s where we have a problem. You see, a public school is paid for through the school district by way of tax dollars. To favor a religion/culture that is completely incompatible with the American way in a public school actually infringes on the beliefs and feelings of each and every individual tax payer, because they are being forced by the Government to pay for an event for a small group of people who are raised from day one to hate the American way and want to eradicate us from the face of the Earth. Yes, the Muslims in the Western World say it’s a “religion of peace” in order to catch Americans off guard. Yet it’s their Q’uran that says to convert the world to Islam, and kill those who will not. I can pretty much guarantee that if any other religious group demanded their own non-inclusive “prom” so that they could let their hair down and be themselves, they would be denied because it has no place in the public schools. Now think about this: When a public school, which is funded by tax money, does this… 95% of the individual tax payers (for argument’s sake) are being forced to fund an event for about 5% of the population who belong to this certain group that most Americans don’t agree with, we have a major problem. By testing the waters with what seems to be a harmless “prom” in which ONLY Muslim girls are allowed to attend, their group as a whole will start doing other things that American tax payers will foot the bill for. This is called a “silent invasion,” and the people on the far left will go right along with it, until it’s too late! It won’t be long until our freedoms and women’s rights start to be stripped away little by little.

My second issue is a little bit different than the first. Recently New Orleans removed a statue of Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee is next on the chopping block along with other memorials, because a few people are “offended” by these images of American history. The fate of these memorials are not put to a vote by the people of the South, but are being decided by a small handful of only a few people. One thing they do not realize is that the men depicted by these statues were in fact regarded as heroes of their day. They were not just historical figures of a dark time in American history, but are also visual memorials to men who still have living descendants today. This is NOT ancient history… this only happened a few generations ago. Not only have the Southern people had their voices taken away at the whim of some City Officials, but the families who like seeing a life-like image of their ancestors have not been consulted about the removals of these statues. If you want to take them out of town squares, at least have the decency to give the direct descendants of these men the opportunity to have these statues! 

I understand that they might be painful to look at for certain groups of people, but the fact of the matter remains that these serve as reminders that America was not always a friendly place to all of the people residing within her borders. By removing them, you are depriving our youth of American history! Taking the statues down because a few people are “offended” and never speaking of the Civil War again will not erase history. In fact, you can’t simply erase history because the fact remains that it DID happen, and you can’t go back in time to change that! Sit in front of these statues with your kids, teach them about the Civil War in all of it’s atrocities, and remember that this historical event helped to shape this Nation into the country we have today! Don’t take out the visuals and simply ignore it! To do so is irresponsible and just plain stupid. You can’t rewrite history… what you can do is learn from it and be thankful for all you have today. Removing these visual reminders is a major cop-out, is disrespectful, and does a great disservice to your ancestors who had to overcome major obstacles in order for you to even be here today. You must learn so that history doesn’t repeat itself in a mere two or three generations, which it will if you just stick your head in the proverbial sand. Shame on all of you who are doing this! Again, to you these visuals represent slavery and other terrible things, but to others they represent family and where they came from!  You are hurting the descendants of these men because you are offended and overly sensitive. Yet, if someone were to remove a statue of Martin Luther King Jr., or Rosa Parks, there would be a major uproar! Honestly, I am so sick and tired of people trying to hold our generation accountable for things that our ancestors did over 150 years ago! Grow up, learn, and use the grey matter between your ears for something other than hair fertilizer!

Flag Burning Fad

I have been reading many posts today about people burning and desecrating our beloved United States flag. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would be so crass as to think that’s even remotely okay. I completely understand our younger generation especially is frustrated with the Government right now. Millennials don’t seem to comprehend how the political machine functions, which is really sad and something I blame on the school system. In fact, I just asked my 12 year old daughter today (who is in the 6th grade) if she even has a history class. She informed me that they don’t start teaching history until the 7th grade! 

I remember when I was in school. History was actually one of my favorite subjects… next to English, of course. I especially loved ancient history and learning about human civilizations pre-Christianity and pre-Muslim. We learned about the two World Wars, Vietnam, the Korean War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, and of course… the Revolutionary War. I learned about the history of the American flag and it’s very powerful symbolism when it comes to the freedoms we enjoy today in America. When you see our flag, you feel safe because you know how much blood was shed so that She could fly free and proud over this land. Before you start asking things like “What about the people who were here before who had their land stolen.” I will head you off right now by saying that is NOT the point behind my writing this, and that’s a story for another day (not that I don’t take Native American history seriously… I do. In fact, I have Native ancestry myself and advocate on behalf of that heritage, because I know the Tribal injustices that still continue to this day). This story is about our flag and the punks who take it for granted in this day and age.

It truly does hurt my heart and soul when I see photos or videos circulating showing people…. Our OWN people… burning, stomping on, maiming, defecating on, urinating on, or treating it in various other disrespectful manners. 95% of the time (possibly even more) it’s our youth doing it, too. As if it’s some new fad in order to get their video or photo to go viral! I’m almost certain that because the schools focus less on history these days, to our youth, the flag is nothing more than a piece of cloth that flies over schools and other Government buildings. These kids equate the flag with the Government, and while this is true to a degree, it’s so much more! I’m hoping that just cleared up the beginning of this post, and why I was speaking of schools and history class.

My father was in the Army when he was 19, in 1955. He would tell me very little about his days in the Army, and I know something traumatic must have happened to him there with as heavily as he drank and the fact that he would always change the subject when I would ask him about those days. He had started college to become a Pharmacist at USC (his nickname was “Trojan Man,” haha), when he was drafted. He told me that every morning at bugle call, and 04:00 hours SHARP, the men in his barracks had to be up, dressed, and ready for Flag Duty. This was during Boot Camp, of course. He wasn’t on the Color Guard, but he WAS responsible for helping to gingerly unfold the flag, attach it to the pole, and raise it as everyone saluted it. Every night at 20:00 hours (8:00pm) they would go back to the pole, lower the flag and dismount her from her rope, and with a lot of pomp and circumstance he and another of his barrack mates would just as gingerly fold the flag in a triangle. That flag had to be folded just right, meaning that there could be ZERO red and/or white showing. Just a blue triangle spangled with stars. If the stripes could be seen, they would have to unfold and refold until it was exactly correct, otherwise it would cut into everyone’s mess time. For those of you who aren’t familiar with some of the military terms, the mess hall was where you were generally served SOS (aptly nicknamed “Shit On a Shingle”), which was chipped meat in a white gravy sauce slopped over a piece of toast. My dad would tell me that the more you cut into the men’s mess time (which was already short to begin with), you would usually wake up in the middle of the night sans pillow, blanket, and socks! So yes, they took flag duty VERY seriously. Why? Because it was an honor and a privilege to be charged with such a duty. If it touched the ground at all, the men were taken for disciplinary action which usually consisted of scrubbing the bathroom with little more than a toothbrush.

As far as I know, my dad never saw active duty, even though he was stationed in France and could be called to fight in Korea at any given time. In fact, my oldest brother was born on the base in Verdun to my father and his first wife, Donna. Since my dad had to be over there for 2 years, the second Donna found out she was pregnant with my brother, my dad arranged with the Army to fly her to France to stay with him until he was sent back home to the US.

As you can see, for ME, the flag holds great significance after learning this from my dad, and I was always taught that no matter how upset you may be with the Government, that flag represents the free world. So yes, I get very upset when I see videos of these little thugs doing unspeakable things to Her. The way they disgrace the flag tells me that they really don’t understand how free we really are here, even though at times it may not seem like it. We are the one country on this beautiful Earth where we can worship who and what we want, and aren’t forced to be members of any one religion. Our women can vote, run for high office positions up to and including the Presidency. Our women can drive, wear skimpy clothing, drive cars, walk the streets without a male chaperone, and even raise a family on her own. It is not against the law to be Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, or Transsexual. Our people can hold office no matter their sexual identity (I.E. Harvey Milk). Our Government doesn’t intrude into our personal lives unless there is an actual reason (I.E. suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations). Yet we do have people in this country who wish to take away those freedoms, or suppress our Constitutional rights. As a registered Democrat, I am sad to say it seems that the Liberal side is the one who wants to stomp out those rights, which to me is very disturbing. I see it more and more on social media with the attitude of “do and say what you want, unless you disagree with me.” The Liberal side appears to be the flag burning instigator, which strikes me as bizarre because in doing so, they are “protesting” the Government, while wanting BIGGER Government along with all of it’s freebies. I honestly think that these people are less Liberal and more Socialist, which means they want to be guided and told what to do by Government structure while at the same time speaking out against it. I have come to learn through observing what’s going on in the world that more often than not, Socialist countries have a foothold in Communist ideals. It’s really not that much of a leap when you think about it. Socialist and Communist countries alike will have Socialized programs such as healthcare… effectively, they take your tax money and then tell you how to live, where to work, when to work, how you can travel, where you can travel, how many children you can have. The Government has ultimate control over the lives of the constituents. While yes, we do have socialized programs in the United States, we have found a way to maintain them without forcing it on everyone. Welfare is meant to get you back on your feet during tough financial times, but it’s not mandatory. That’s what was so scary about the Obamacare (AKA The Affordable Healthcare Act), by requiring everyone to maintain health insurance or else pay the tax penalty at the end of the year. 

Our Millennials reached adulthood during the 8 years of President Obama. They went from mom and dad taking care of them to the Government taking care of them, so naturally they don’t want anything to change because that would mean they have to stand on their own two feet just like the older generation had to. Now that they are facing the reality of a smaller Government, which would force them to fend for themselves, it’s no wonder they are freaking out and protesting because they weren’t raised with the tools and values we had in order to make it in life. I would love to teach these kids what real Socialism and/or Communism is like, and what it would be like to live under one of those regimes. We need more people to speak in schools who have defected from countries like Russia, North Korea, or pretty much ANYWHERE in the Middle East so they can teach these kids that it’s not the Utopian lifestyle they have fantasized it to be. Perhaps then, they would learn to have a little more respect for the flag and what She stands for. They would realize that She flies over this land as a symbol of the blood that was shed to become a Nation where we had our own Government, women can walk and talk freely and be independent, the LGBTQ Community doesn’t have to fear death under State sanctions…. Christians, Jews, Pagans, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Atheists, Scientologists, and Satanists can all worship (or not) freely either at home or a Temple, without fear of persecution. They would have more understanding as to WHY some of our freedoms have been scaled back; not because of a power trip, but because countries who don’t like the Western way of life has put us at risk and our Government is trying to keep our country safe. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that goes on in D.C. myself, and I think that things could be done in a more intelligent manner with the right leaders, but I’m not going to disgrace our country because I’m having a temper tantrum to get attention.

So if you are thinking that burning the one symbol of the things we have, think about the countries that DON’T have what we do. Just the other day, I was reading an article from a North Korean defector who has now been in the USA for a few years and is proudly working on his citizenship LEGALLY. His story was horrifying, because North Korea is basically a country that has been turned into a minimum security prison that houses millions of innocent civilians, complete with Concentration “Death” Camps for those who don’t follow the rules. Every home is REQUIRED to have a picture of the regime’s founder on display in a clean and well kept picture frame. Military Police come do a weekly house check, and one little crack in the glass on said frame will land you in one of the Concentration Camps. Sometimes, that little crack is punishable by death! No religion is allowed… it’s an Atheist country. You are ONLY allowed to worship the founder. Food for the people is rationed out, and outside of the capital city of Pyongyang, people are literally starving to death. A very minor infraction means you may lose your food rations for the week. Dictator “Fatty Kim” makes WWII Germany (and even the Middle East) look like summer camp! Trying to leave the country for ANY reason outside of “State Sanctioned Travel” means death by firing squad, and if you happen to be lucky enough to make it out, you may as well consider yourself as having no family, because they will be massacred. Hell, even with all of their inhumane practices in the Middle East, those countries even have more freedoms than North Korea with it’s Totalitarian regime.

Please think very VERY hard about this next time you want to say you are oppressed in America, because believe me when I tell you, you most certainly are NOT. Think about this next time you want to control what other people think, say, or do. Definitely think about this next time you want to burn our beautiful flag, because THAT symbol means that you do not have to mind your P’s and Q’s every second of the day with the constant threat of a long and painful death hanging over your head or the heads of your loved ones. As much as some people want to play the oppressed “victim” here, the only true “oppression” is in their minds. With that being said, I bid you peace, and I hope I have given you something to think long and hard about.

~Kristi Sustrick~

Racism Within Sovereign Nations

​Just in case you all are wondering about my rant a short time ago, it is because of this… I have basically been told (in not so many words) that I should completely forget about my mom’s side of the family and only claim my father’s. You see, this was never a problem UNTIL it was found out that my mother recently married an Israeli/American man! Why? Because APPARENTLY these people dislike Jews! This is the same mindset of the American minorities who voted for Obama because he was black, and it’s well known that his mother was white…. making him HALF WHITE. However, he completely tossed her side of the family under the bus in order to gain favor with the minority groups. I find this highly dishonorable and insulting, because it takes BOTH parents to make you, and they may both be from different cultural backgrounds from entirely different parts of the world! I don’t give a flying fuck whether you think I should choose one parent over the other, because I love them both equally. My own father passed away some 10 years ago, so is my mother to never find happiness in her life again just to make MY life less complicated? No. I was told I was taking away from the Siksika people… HOW, exactly? I’m not enrolled, I don’t get benefits, I don’t plan to live on the Rez, and I never plan to be in that part of the world. It doesn’t change the fact that it IS part of my blood heritage, and it’s something I am very proud of. My great grandmother passed away right before my 10th birthday, but not before she told me the stories of her people and how her own mother was a young survivor of the Marias River Massacre at the age of 12! She watched as her entire family was slaughtered, and held her younger didter in her arms as she died. So you know what? I am damned LUCKY to be here right now, because if ANYTHING had changed in that point in history, I would not be here today. I have learned her language, and was happy to finally have someone to speak it with. I’m tired of this racist nonsense! I have settler blood yes… so what?? I live in the Southwest, so there is only so much I can do from here, especially being poor. I was accused of profiting from my blood claim. Again…. HOW? I take NOTHING from the Niistitaapii, yet I help out when I can by sending things like money and clothing anonymously when a tragedy happens such as the displacement of people when there was a huge flood. With most of my dad’s side of the family gone, I have noone else to teach me anymore than I already know except by my own studies. I don’t need an enrollment card to tell me who I am, and after experiencing this bigotry from people I have talked to for years just because my mother who has no indiginous blood married a man who is part Israeli, I don’t know that I want to further persue finding out who my blood relations are on my father’s side. I have no time for that bullshit, and if you don’t like it, then unfollow me. I AM Aamskaapiipikanii, but I am ALSO Celt. Deal with it and move on! I didn’t choose who I was born to and I didn’t choose my bloodlines! The more I think about this, the more pissed off I get. How DARE you? I HAVE given and have asked for NOTHING in return, so again, how exactly am I taking away from the people? I can only do so much from where I live. I am comfortable in my own skin and I have honor, and that’s what counts. I don’t need racist, anti-semetic, stuck up people around me. I can’t change my blood, but I can change who I associate with. I have better things to do with my time than squabble over who has a larger amount of First Nations blood. You speak of how offensive it is that I come from three different bloodlines because two are settler bloodlines? I find it HIGHLY offensive that you only have a problem with it when you find out my settler mother married an Israeli! Suck it up, buttercup, because us mutts are out here. Oh, and have you ANY clue how difficult it is finding information from a Native torn adoption from over a CENTURY ago? It’s VERY difficult! Do you know why that is? Because most of the time there were no records… just “here you go, rename and raise this one as white.”  

A Philosophical Conundrum Regarding Today’s Politics

In this blog, I am not going to add any fun pictures. I am not going to rant. I am simply going to compose my thoughts on our recent political situation, which seems to have vastly mutated over the past 8 years… and certainly over this past election season.

I have been educating myself on many different things, and politics became a very interesting topic to me because I have been watching events unfold where people are trying to supress our basic 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech if they do not agree with our views. Often with violence, which in and of itself is puzzling to say the least. 

As a registered Democrat, I am actually embarrased by the behavior of the far left “Liberals.” I try to keep in mind that the vast majority of them have grown up into adulthood during the Obama Adminstration. When Obama ran (and yes, I’ll catch Hell for this), I saw through his charismatic facade as he was “Uniting  the People.” The oddity became apparent when I noticed that he wasn’t uniting, but in reality he was dividing… by race, social class, giving leeway to the BLM, sexuality, and religion. In the beginning it actually became apparent that his views on religion were skewed to say the least by being spotted at both a Mosque (in the beginning of his Presidency) and a Christian church. Then his birth certificate came under intense scrutiny. You see, I actually do know the difference between a “Live Birth Certificate,” and a “Certificate of Live Birth,” because my stepfamily (Sister, neices, nephews) reside in Israel. My Step-Sister has dual citizenship between the United States and Israel, as does my Step-Father, who actually resides in the US. Before my nieces and nephews turned 18, they had to come to America, and go to the State that my Step-Dad lives in, in order to get the “Live Birth Certificate.” (I may have the two mixed up, so I will confirm with my Israeli family and edit when I can). One says you were born on US soil. The other says you were born in a foreign country, but have confirmation of birth to a United States Citizen living abroad (generally equating in a dual citizenship). When my oldest nephew was taken to the State Capitol, he was sworn in as a US Citizen, and granted a US Birth Certificate, even though he was born and raised in Israel. This included his photo on the Certificate… I still suspect this is what Obama has. This first hand knowledge alone was enough to make me raise the proverbial eyebrow, especially since the press had leaked that Obama went to College on a Foreign Student Scholarship right before his school records were sealed. Again, whether this is true or not, I cannot confirm myself and therefore is based on pure speculation. The end result was that I did not vote for him either time because he lost my trust.

Now, after his two terms are up, I am watching these college aged “Liberals” wreak havoc, as they had grown up under the most basic Socialist Ideology. Again, they do their damndest to supress other people’s Freedom of Speech when they do not agree. They refuse to engage in healthy debate, and effectively parrot (almost verbatim) what the Liberal Mainstream Media was saying about Trump. I can guarantee you that 90% of those people had never even HEARD the word “Xenophobia” before this, and probably never bothered to look up the meaning. It literally means an unfounded fear of strangers! Now they toss around their shiny new word (along with the “Islamaphobia” which was literally created by the far left. It would mean an unfounded fear of Islam, but if you read the Q’uran, you will see this fear is NOT unfounded, but a very real concern based on the texts of Islam itself according to people who were raised in and converted from Islam).

Therefore, I decided to further look into the political machine and peel back it’s layers. I never really identified with the Republican party because they have lost touch with the meaning of Conservative. They have tweaked it into something very Christian and also oppressive. However, I agree with some of it… smaller Government, conservative fiscal spending, etc. Then I found a kindred spirit in Mark Pellegrino as the Co-Founder of the Capitalist Movement. I listened intently to an interview he had with Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report, along with some personal guidance and explanations, and what he laid out actually made sense to me in it’s entirety, because it’s rooted in individual accountability (and yes, much more that I’m still learning. Im relatively new to this realm). It literally takes the best of both parties and forms something that creates a Political Balance… a very “middle of the road” approach. It taught me that I no longer fit into today’s version of the Democratic Party, because the FAR left (or “regressive left,” as Rubin called it) has become in and of itself oppressive and frightening. Almost Communistic/Marxist in it’s ideology… political correctness (having to carefully choose every word so as not to hurt delicate feelings), supression of the 1st Amendment, rioting, vandalizing property, and becoming violent toward other individuals when they don’t get their way.

So after a long explanation, I will now get on to my question. Has the Democratic Party mutated into something unrecognizable in the last decade? Or has this always been there, and I’m just now seeing it as I get older, wiser, and more educated on the political front? Yes, I am a registered Democrat… yes, I still have Liberal ideals that lay somewhere in the middle of that and Conservative… and yes, I HAVE been paying more attention to what’s going on and no longer living in my own little bubble. However, I am embarrased by what it’s become, and I will more likely than not be changing my party affiliation to Independent. I have come out of my little hermit crab shell, and looking for something that has a better fit. 

With all that being said, I will close this out by saying that in order to truly be at peace in this country, we need to accept each other… Not within the circles of social labels given to us (right, left, liberal, conservative, LGBTQ, Christian, Athiest, Pagan, Muslim, Black, White, Brown, or Red), and unite as individuals. We need to accept people for who they are, because to do anything otherwise is dangerous to our civilization. Don’t live your life to be a label, but live it for YOU. Peace be with you all!

~Kristi S~

In the Wake of the Pro-Life March… An Emotional Journey

​I am about to embark on a very touchy and controversial subject in the wake of the Pro-Life March that was held in DC…. My thoughts on abortion. I feel that it is my duty as a woman to put a few things into perspective for both sides based on my own opinion, observations, and life experiences. I always try to put a great deal of thought and rationale into these subjects because each side wants to control individual rights and morals. There has got to be a middle ground on which both sides can agree, and I intend to try and find it by standing on the fence and looking at both sides. 

You see, the Pro-Choice people want to force the Pro-Life people to fund things via their tax dollars that they find morally abhorrent. On the other side, the Pro-Life people want to force the Pro-Choice people to give up their freedom to choose what is right for them, even in extreme cases. We can only live the life that was given to us, and do what we feel is right for ourselves. Nobody, on either side, has the right to dictate what should or shouldn’t happen to another person, because everyone lives a different life with different lifestyles. 

I consider myself Pro-Choice, but with moral restrictions because I don’t seem to fit in with the “social norm.” I feel this way based on my own life experiences because to be honest, I am extremely lucky to even be alive right now… I should have been dead twice over, but I am here because I do have that choice and freedom. I went through not one, but two terminations in my 20’s. The first one was when I was finally free of my ex-husband who I already had two girls with. He was a very drunk and very abusive man 95% of the time, and one night when my daughters (who were VERY young at the time) were up north with my mother, he had raped and beaten me so brutally that I was almost unrecognizable. He had pretty much left me for dead as I lost consciousness and he ran out of the apartment. Luckily, the downstairs neighbor had heard the commotion and called the police, who arrived very quickly. I came to find out later that the sirens were the reason for my (then) husband running out. I woke on my living room floor to the faces of cops and paramedics shining a light into my eyes to make sure I didn’t have a concussion. Finally they sat me upright, and let me call a friend I worked with to come and take me to the hospital since I didn’t want to go in an ambulance and I had to answer the officer’s questions anyway. My friend arrived as the officers were finishing up with their “photography session” to document every cut, scrape, and bruise on my body. 

We arrived at the hospital an hour later, and the doctors stitched me up nicely. They didn’t do a rape kit since 1. I knew my assailant and 2. “marital rape” wasn’t taken seriously then. Believe me, it IS a thing… and something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Shortly after that, I went to spend two weeks with my parents in Southern Utah, and they tried to no avail to get me to stay there with them for six months to establish residency and file for divorce. I couldn’t do that, however. I had a support system in Nevada, and I knew I had to come back to face my demons and get my life together, so back I came, and stayed with my friend while I went through the divorce process. It was during this time that I found out that I was a couple of weeks pregnant, and also found myself in a position to make the most difficult decision of my entire life… do I go through with this pregnancy that was a byproduct of terror, knowing that it would tie me even more to the man I was fighting tooth and nail to sever all ties with? I already had to children with him, and as a newly single mother, I most likely would have ended up going back for the duration of the pregnancy since I wouldn’t be able to work and cover my living expenses while raising the kids I already had? Or do I terminate the pregnancy and eliminate the risk of one day being the victim of murder? I chose the latter because in finding myself well and truly on my own for the first time, this was the right decision for me at the time. In hindsight, I can’t hold any regrets due to the circumstances at hand. Had my (now) ex found out that I was pregnant, there’s no way he would have let the divorce go through uncontested, and I most likely would have ended up back at square one. I would NOT become a victim again. Period.

The second time was a year and a half later with my 2nd husband, which surprised us both, since he was a Naval Veteran and had a mishap on his ship, thinking he could never have kids. We were quite shocked and happy, since we had just gotten married. Granted, he never wanted kids, and was gracious enough to be a father figure to my girls since they were a little bit older by now. My oldest was 4 at the time, and the idea of an infant terrified my (then) husband, but he started getting used to it. Then things took a turn for the worst with my health, and I started hemorrhaging and lost A LOT of weight. This was very dangerous considering my size, since I’m only 5’1” and 110 lbs. I lost ten pounds and my hip bones and ribs were starting to show. So we rushed to the OB/GYN only to find out that the fetus had not connected properly to the womb, and I would be lucky if I made it to 5 months… no doubt losing the baby AND my life. The thought of my two girls growing up without a mother made this decision a no-brainer for me, and I took the doctor’s advice and terminated. Of course, this put a major strain on my marriage, and after only being married for a year, we divorced and we each went our own way.

I look back on all of this now, and while on one hand, I will always wonder how these kids would have turned out… it weighs on me every single day. Then I met a good man, with whom I have been with for almost 20 years now. A little over 12 years ago, we found out that we were going to have a little girl, and although it was a difficult pregnancy toward the end, we had our beautiful and brilliant Cheyenne on February 4, 2005! She will be 12 years old next week, and she blows me out of the water every single day. I look at her and know that my past decisions paved the way to my bringing this wonderful and talented girl into the world, and therefore I find that I can’t dwell on things that happened 2 decades ago.

You might be wondering why I am opening up about this now with my dark past, but I am hoping this will shed a light on why I feel the way I do. Women go through things like this every day in every walk of life, and can do so safely with the decision of Roe v Wade. However, I also feel that a termination should not be used as a form of birth control, nor should a woman terminate past 12 weeks. Life is truly a gift, and should be treated as such. Should Roe v Wade ever be jeopardized, I hope that other women who have had similar experiences step up, speak out, and tell their stories, because let’s face it… without this protection, the loss of life will be much more than anyone might think.

Now on my thoughts of Pro-Life people. I fully understand and respect their stance as well, because with Government funding of places like Planned Parenthood, those funds are taken out of taxpayer’s dollars, thus forcing people who are strictly against abortion to fund something they find morally reprehensible. I can completely understand. Taking Federal funding out of the equation does not mean that PP would have to close down or go away. It does not mean that they can no longer practice. It merely means that they need to find funding through private donations. They provide some great services, which seem to conveniently be forgotten about. They provide annual screenings for women, they DO provide short term prenatal care at a very low cost for new mothers who are pending on their insurance (whether it be Medicaid or Private), then they refer them to an OB/GYN when their insurance is approved to cover it. My oldest daughter, who is now 24, had to go to them when she first found out that she was pregnant with my granddaughter, and they provided her prenatal care and ultrasounds until her insurance went into effect. My beautiful granddaughter will be two this April! I add this because I want you to understand that places like this can also be detrimental to female health and wellness.

I just read that the Chili’s Restaurant chain was going to donate proceeds from their sales to Planned Parenthood, and they ended up having to squash the idea, because they were losing business. Again, it was forcing people who are against the idea of abortion to put their money to the one thing they do not want to pay for. Granted, the idea that Chili’s had was a good one, as they were only trying to help, but instead of donating proceeds from their entire menu, the better strategy would have been to put one or two items on their menu that would go for donations, so that Pro-Life people would have the choice as to whether or not they wanted to order those items. 

In my honest opinion, I feel that both sides have become too politically motivated in their movements. I understand both sides because I have been there. The more I think about it, the more I realize I’m not on EITHER side, because I have been through extenuating circumstances and I know how it feels post abortion. I have come to a peace with myself that I am not the strong person I have become despite the things I have been through, but BECAUSE of them. This is why I wish both sides could come to a middle ground… almost a truce of sorts, and an understanding of each other. The group mentality doesn’t work for me, because I could care less about what one group or the other may think about me. Each side is trying to force their beliefs on one another, and that creates a social divide that in time if not addressed, will be beyond repair. 

This is the first time in almost 20 years that I have allowed myself to relive the horror and fear I felt in both instances, and it cuts me to the quick as I type this. Let me be clear in saying, this is the raw reality that will hopefully get both sides to understand the repercussions of overturning Roe v Wade. Live and let live, and remember that you do not live in another persons situation. You live in your own. Respect one another and their personal choices. If you don’t believe in abortion for any reason, that is perfectly fine and your decision… but you don’t get to choose what I do with my personal rights, choices, and beliefs… because that, my sweethearts, is called “Dictatorship.” 

~Kristi S~

My Thoughts on the Women’s March

Well, it’s been an incredibly eventful couple of days so far. Today in particular, is one I would like to speak on… not only as a woman, but as an American. This will be known as the day the women marched on the world! Oh, but not me… you see, I understand the need to be heard as far as my civil rights go.  HOWEVER (yes, you HAD to know that was coming if you’ve ever read any of my posts), I chose not to participate, and instead I have been spending my afternoon sifting through thousands of posts, tweets, and articles related to this march as well as watching various videos. Hey… it’s Saturday, I had a day off, and I wasn’t about to spend it walking around with a zillion pissed off women! Mostly, I just don’t like being in crowds. 

Anyway, as I was going through all of the events that were happening globally, I started to notice one very similar theme to today’s march. That theme was basically “I don’t entirely know why I’m marching, but I want equality and certain rights even though I already have them, but… you know… just in case…” I have a newsflash for you, and you certainly won’t like it, but I’m prepared for the fallout so here it goes: I have a mind of my own! I don’t need to go out and wear a pink knitted cap that represents my femininity,  while I pressure a new administration that had only been in the Whitehouse for 24 hours because of a MAYBE. It seems to me that all of the sudden the world has become flooded with prophets that seem to know without a doubt that President Trump is going to take away all of my civil rights as a woman, and those of my friends and family that are of “minority” blood or LGBTQ because pages on the Whitehouse website have gone missing. 

Can we just use our grey matter for a moment and look at things rationally for once without our estrogen-laced emotions getting in the way? BELIEVE me, I know what those emotions do when one is trying to look at something objectively. Just ask my husband! First and foremost, those pages did NOT go away. They have been archived, just like the pages of all the previous administrations. It takes a little time for the new President to get his collective shit together. Before you say “well, he had since November,” let me stop you right there. No… he didn’t. He couldn’t do ANYTHING with the Government website until AFTER he was sworn in. Given that yesterday was a full day of ceremonies, it makes sense to me that this new administration has not yet had the time to put everything on the website. Just because you can’t physically read your rights on the site, does NOT mean that you no longer have them. That makes just as much sense as saying “I can’t find my marriage license, so I must be divorced!” 

Secondly, if I thought that the new President was in any way, shape, or form like “Hitler,” I certainly wouldn’t be writing this right now. Let me spell this out for you… he is NOT “Anti-Semetic.” How could he be? Think about it. Ivanka Trump married a Jewish man… she had to convert to Judaism to get married in the Temple and for their marriage to be legal in the Jewish faith. So then, explain to me how he could be “against the Jews,” and be so close to his own DAUGHTER and Son-in-Law? Also, if I thought he felt that way, I would run for the hills and refuse him a chance on the sole basis that my step-father, step-sister, and her children (my now nieces and nephews) are from Tel Aviv! In fact, they are in Israel right now… as is my mother! So there’s that.

I’m watching the very people who are speaking out against “hateful rhetoric” go out and act in a hateful manner. As an American woman, I am embarrassed… as a mother, I’m horrified! I have been reading all day about women taking their children out for this march because they think it will be a great life experience for them. I have been hearing (and seeing) the language that people were spewing and had written on their signs, while wearing hats shaped like a woman’s intimate parts while describing said hats with the same vulgar moniker they admonished Trump for using on a hidden “hot mic,” was enough for me to NOT want my 11 year old exposed to this insanity! I want to preserve her innocence for as long as I can, because she’s still a child and I owe her a decent and memorable childhood. I don’t want to be the cause of her exposure to the ugly side of humanity. 

Now… for the fun part. Delving into the reality of the mass-media sheep. Everyone is wondering why all of the sudden everything seems so abrasive where the media is concerned. Has is even occurred to anyone that the reason it seems that way isn’t because the media changed? It’s because Obama is no longer there to play along with the media to make everything seem like some ubiquitous utopia. In fact, Trump is forcing the truth out of these media outlets and exposing the DYSTOPIA that was left behind in the wake of this parallel universe! Somehow, the previous administration had managed to hypnotize a large chunk of this Nation by way of the mainstream media, thus utilizing the “idiot box” to it’s full potential! Now there is no one left to carry on this patriotic illusion, and the magic of social media to talk to the masses has pulled back the lacy curtain to reveal the bones of what once was.
The simple fact is that Trump is the President of the United States of America. No, you can’t call to have him impeached just because you don’t like him. He actually has to DO something to be impeached FOR, otherwise you’re saying it’s okay to fire someone because you don’t like their eye color or their hairstyle. Large demonstrations like this is counter-productive because you create a disturbance that forces a police presence to keep the peace, leaving other areas of our country vulnerable. We don’t just want Trump to succeed… we NEED him to, because when he does, it benefits everyone. We can have a  bright future, because our country belongs to US again. I know it’s going to be a difficult road to recovery as it is, so let’s stop tossing boulders onto an already rocky path. We have been nurtured in our comfortable shells long enough, so let’s be as strong and graceful as the Bald Eagle that represents us, and fly out of the nest! Above all, please keep your hands and feet securely on the ride at all times… it’s going to be a wild one!

~Kristi S.~


Photos were NOT taken or created by me

Feeling Nostalgic ~ A Memoir

Sometimes I sit on my computer and rant at the way things have become in the world, both socially and politically. Today though, I sit here thinking back on my childhood as I try to figure out how to get my 11 year old to get out and get some fresh air in the inner city! She’s a very talented child… musically, artistically, and technologically. However, I fear that the only way to get her away from her MacBook is to pry it from her cold dead hands! Here we are, in the 21st Century, and things have changed SO much since I was a kid. For a girl her age, and in a city so large, it’s almost a necessity for her to have a cell phone in case of an emergency (given that they have a built in GPS and I can track her if she gets lost, or Goddess forbid, kidnapped). She has always been far ahead of her years in her way of thinking, and really doesn’t have very much in common with other kids her age. She was into dolls for about a month when she was 3, and then it was over. Most girls her age are still into dolls of some sort, gossip, or (yikes) starting to have at the very least celebrity crushes on boys. I asked her about this and she told me that she doesn’t have time for that nonsense, because she is concentrating on graphic arts, coding, and film editing… at 11! She will be 12 at the beginning of next month, so it came as quite a shock to me when she gave me this answer!
Don’t get me wrong. She loves certain sports (she can pitch a MEAN baseball with complete accuracy), skating (ice, roller, and longboard), she can run… FAST… and believe me when I say that it’s actually surprising since she is quite small (about the size of an 8 year old). She doesn’t let her size get in the way, but uses it to her advantage! She loves horseback riding, and camping as well. Yet most of all, her ultimate love lays within the advancements in computers and other technology. Yes, I know that this will be a talent and skill that will take her places and secure her future, yet at the same time, I would like kids these days to be able to experience some of the fun that we had growing up as well.

When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, my family lived out in the boonies (and when I say “boonies,” I mean 7 miles out of town) in an agricultural area. My house was at the very end of the street that we lived on, so next door we had my Granny and Grandpa, nobody across the street, and a huge alfalfa field on the other side. Directly behind the house, there was land… ALOT of land! I’m talking acres and acres, with nothing as far as the eye could see. We had horses and a very large red barn that my father and grandfather built when I was in either Kindergarten or the 1st grade (I actually think it was the summer between the two school years), and behind out own acres, there was yet more land and nothing in the way of houses between us and the distant hills. The barn was originally built to house horses, chickens, pigs, sheep, and cattle. My dad thought it would be great to be a farmer, so he invested what I assume was a sizable sum. He had grown up in Los Angeles, lived in Las Vegas where he and my mom met and married, and moved to Southern Utah due to a job transfer (or so I was told). I would go out in the mornings with my mom to collect fresh eggs from the chickens, and then I would help my dad muck out the stalls while the livestock was out grazing. He had made sure to build a “tack shed” in the barn near the horse’s stalls, so it would be easy to get to in order to tack the horses when we wanted to ride. This was proving to be more expensive than my dad had anticipated, however, so he sold off most of the cattle, pigs, and sheep. I know that the cattle and pigs went to a butcher who from what I remember my dad telling me, slaughtered and butchered them into various cuts for us to freeze for the winter in exchange for letting the butcher keep a portion for his own family. You see, if it weren’t for freezing meat, we would have starved during the winters. After our frozen stores of beef and pork had been depleted, my father started deer hunting with a friend of his who had a daughter that was close to my age, so that we would have plenty of venison in the freezer to get through the winter months. My mother had tried her hand at gardening, but she had a full time job as well as my dad, so the gardening idea didn’t work out very well. We also learned that growing veggies aside from corn in Cedar City was a massive challenge, because without a greenhouse, the garden would just freeze and thus was the end of the produce endeavor. I think this is why I get so upset when people try to criticize me for being a meat eater, since I know what the reality of keeping food in the winter is really like when you live in a farming area 7 miles away from the nearest town and often get snowed in, or the roads are too icy to make a 14 mile round trip just to get some lettuce and tomatoes. Of course, my mom would pick up produce from the grocery store after work, but it was usually in small amounts so it wouldn’t wilt or go bad. 
When I look back on my childhood now, it’s a wonder I’m even still alive to tell the tale! During the springtime, I would often ride in the back of my dad’s pickup truck just for the fun of it (and sometimes to guard stuff we purchased in case anything flew out of the truck on the return trip). Try doing this now! I might also add here, that living on dirt roads where large farming equipment would also travel and create large potholes, so I was bounced around in the truck bed PLENTY of times! 

My dad was a curious creature… not by way of HIM being curious, but he was more of a curiosity sometimes. He was an Army Veteran, so he could be very militant in his ways, and was mean as rodeo bull when he would drink too much. He never told me whole lot about his time in the Army except for telling me about duffle bags & how to pack them, the canned rations, bootcamp, and that he was stationed in Verdun France, which is where my oldest brother was born. My father had been married a few times before he met my mom, and was 18 years older than her, so he had my 2 older brothers from his 1st marriage… my sister (who is 12 years older than me) was from his second marriage, and I am the only biological child of my mother. So I am the youngest of 4 siblings… I never call them my “half” brothers and sister. To me, they are just my brothers and sister. Sadly, because my sister was raised with her mother in L.A., I never even knew I HAD a sister until I was 4 years old. My brothers had moved away and were starting on their own families, so I was raised as an only child. I feel for my 11 year old, and am so grateful that her sisters (the oldest being 23 going on 24 and the other being 22) live here in town, and were both living at home when my youngest was born, so they are all very close. They both love grabbing Chey to take her out to do things like go shopping and to the movies, so even though right now Chey is the only one living at home, she has always had access to her sisters. Getting back to my dad, though (since I went a little off track here), other than him telling me that my oldest brother was born on the base in France, he never mentioned anything to me about what actually happened after bootcamp. Even though he had told me he never had to go into battle or anything, I have a suspicion that something traumatic had happened because anytime I would ask, he would just shut me down and he was quite a heavy drinker. Somehow though, he was a functioning alcoholic and he was a very hard worker. It became progessively worse over the years, especially after he retired.

Childhood abuse is something I am quite familiar with, even though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. Yet anytime I did ANYTHING that reminded him of my younger big brother (who was dishonorably discharged from the Army and became addicted to drugs, causing my dad to basically disown him), I would get the belt, and sometimes the fist. In hindsight, I do now know that my dad’s methods of punishment would have no doubt landed him in lockup nowadays, as I was often bruised and he was always careful not to leave marks in any visible areas. It taught me one thing though… something that has saved my life in my adult years… and that is how to defend myself (something I’ve had to do a few times). Something good came out of it, and as weird as this may sound, I’m thankful for that. Had he not been that way, I may have been dead a few times over by now.

My father had some really great points as well, and I have many fond memories of him that don’t involve my hiding in terror. We would go on cross country vacations (always by car. I’m not sure if it was just that he liked seeing the scenic stuff and liked having the freedom to stop at random to check out interesting things along the way, or if he just didn’t like to fly). We toured through Texas, all the way from Ft. Worth/Dallas down to San Antonio, stopping here and there to see sights such as Judge Roy Bean’s courthouse, the Alamo, etc. We took a trip to Ft. Wayne, Indiana one year to see my Mimi and Grandpa over Thanksgiving one year, which was a little scary simply because of the weather. My dad though, had a way of making you feel calm during terrible weather, even though you could see all of the cars that skidded off of the roads, or the 18-wheelers that had jack-knived and overturned into a ditch. One of my favorites was our trip to Monterey, California. We had stopped in Big Sir, took the 17 mile drive, ate on Fisherman’s Wharf in Cannary Row (my dad had me read the book about it on the drive there by Robert Louis Stevenson) where we had calamari for the first time, and we even took a fishing boat tour out into the ocean to see the migration of the blue whales, which was impressive! I remember the name of the fishing boat: “The Big Kahuna!” My mom was wearing flip flops, and somehow one of them flip flopped right off of her foot and into the water… I swear to this day that one of those whales surfaced with that flip flop on it’s head! Hahaha!

As I grew older, and hit about the age that Chey is now, I decided I wanted a phone in my bedroom. Ironically it wasn’t really to talk to boys (yeah, like you believe THAT! Hehe), but I loved listening to Dr. Demento on Friday nights, and would constantly call the radio station to request songs, or try to win free tickets to the roller rink by way of radio contests that they only really did in the late evenings (usually around 8:00pm PST). I even wanted my phone to be a “push button” phone, because that was all the rage at the time. That was out big advance in technology… push buttons instead of the old rotary dial phone I would have to haul into my room and hope nobody broke their neck by tripping over the cord that was stretched through the house. My parents finally gave in and installed one (it was just an extension phone, not a separate number, of course), only because I worked my tail off and got a decent grade on a math test. You see, back in those days, you had to work for something when it came to your parents… good grades, extra chores, stuff like that. Even then, it was a privilege to have it and could be taken at any given time for letting grades slip or just plain misbehaving. Basically, you earned it, you got it, but your parents still owned it.

I was quite the avid equestrian growing up, having been around horses my entire life. We went quite a long stretch without our own horses, but the family of a school friend of mine who lived on the same street had a few horses, so we spent most of our free time on horseback.  My parents had sold our horses shortly after I started Kindergarten for a couple of reasons. Between both of my parents working, and the cost of keeping them, they really had no choice, as I was too young to care for them myself and they could just no longer afford the upkeep, hay, oats, and the occasional vet bill. So until I was in my teens, I had to rely on other people’s horses. However, by a small stroke of luck, when I was 14 or 15 years old, one of our neighbors had approached my dad with a proposition. Mr. Blackmore knew a few guys who had 5 horses (a Thoroughbred/Arabian mix that was retired from racing, a Quarterhorse who had injured her hip when she bucked in the horse trailer a few years prior, a purebred Arabian and her foal, and a Mustang) that needed a place to go. The owners had lost their pasture in the mountains, and had no place to keep the horses aside of paying a small fortune in “horse alley” (a “horse kennel” if you will), and since we still had the barn and pasture, asked if we would put the horses up. My dad had told him “look, I will let them use my barn and pasture rent free. They need to provide all necessary food, as long as my daughter can ride whenever she wants.” I was so happy, I even agreed to keep the stalls clean, and feed/water the horses myself. So a week later, we had 5 horses in our care, and I became fast friends with Snip (the Thoroughbred). I would come home from school, quickly do my homework, and out the backdoor I went to tack Snip, and go. We would ride for a few hours, just going everywhere yet going nowhere. I would ride him into the outskirts of town just to grab a soda from the gas station at the freeway off-ramp. That summer, you couldn’t get me away from those horses. The Arabian was the only one I couldn’t ride since she had never been broken, but I did ride the Quarterhorse, giving her light exercise. In fact, one day when I was riding her, she tripped over her own front feet and in an explosion of dirt and debris, down we went ass over kiddy-cart and she rolled right over me. I suppose she and I were both going on instinct, because I stayed as low and close her her back and neck as possible and she arched her back to keep from crushing me. Shockingly, I only came out of that terribly frightening ordeal with a few sagebrush scratches on my arms! 

Ask a child these days what they want to be when they grow up. I knew what my two answers were. I either wanted to be a jockey in horse races (for a woman back then, that was no easy feat, but at 5′, and 98 lbs, I would have fit the bill nicely as far as being light enough), or a Solid Gold Dancer! Of course I didn’t know at that time that a show like Solid Gold wouldn’t be there forever. Talk about crushing my dreams when the show was cancelled! I was devastated!

As I got into high school, I started realizing that in some way, shape, or form, I wanted to be a performer. I was in choir (our choir took State one year. VERY cool!), and Drama. In fact, at that time, our high school didn’t recognize Drama as a letter earning activity. Myself and the rest of my class got together that year and organized a mass Drama walkout if the school didn’t allow us to letter, because it WAS an extracurricular activity worthy of a letter between the time we spent in theatre itself and the weekends when we were at the school rehearsing for hours and hours on end. I had earned an Honor Thespian Award by that time, but there was alot of effort being put in for a tiny little lapel pin, and we didn’t feel that was quite enough for the time we had to spend away from home. Finally though, the school board relented and lettered those of us who had earned it after coming to observe us for a couple of weekends as we were preparing for a production. They realized how much time and stamina it took between the tech students, actors, and stagehands, and how much time we had to spend away from home. Not to mention we had to maintain our GPA in order to stay in the play and not have our part go to our understudy. I still became a stage dancer and later went to to do some choreography later in life, which more than likely contributed to my bone issues (making me feel like I have a 90 year old skeletal system, rather than my 43 year old self). 

When I was ready to have my own car after passing my driver’s test, my dad had gotten this Ford sports model car for me. He was definitely a Ford man! Unfortunately, it was a car that was short lived. Being the rebellious teenager I was, I drove out to a friend’s house by way of back roads (while I was grounded, no less) one day in February (if I remember correctly), and on the way home… because I knew I had to beat my parents home… the road was EXTREMELY icy, and a gust of wind swooped right under my car causing me to fishtail. I had just about corrected myself out of it when the back passenger side wheel hit a boulder and caused me to flip. I THINK the car rolled twice before landing on it’s roof. I wasn’t going very fast, but with a car that light on roads that slick, it was just enough to cause a disaster. Thankfully I got out of that with minimal bodily damage, but to do remember saying “I broke a nail!” My dad then picked up a Ford Escort for me from AA Row where my Grandpa worked, and I had to make payments to my dad, plus pay my share of the insurance on it. It was a good little car, but it had it’s problems, such as the coil. I would be driving to Zion National Park for another week of work, when suddenly the car would just putter and die. One time, I was driving my friend Tammy to Zion with me since we both lived in Cedar and both worked at the Park, not to mention being roommates. As we exited the freeway to go into a little town called Hurricane, my car stalled out and died. I can’t remember exactly why, but I was wearing a pink pair of pumps that day. So I jumped out of the car, opened the hood, and started beating the holy hell out of the coil connector with my shoe! Tammy was laughing, of course, because watching a woman basically “shoe whip” a car HAD to have been quite a sight! I got it going though, and we were on our way. To this day, however, my favorite car was the 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 that I bought off of my Grandpa. It was fire engine red, had an engine that was also dubbed the “Police Interceptor,” and had a spotlight on the driver’s side. This was the same year and model used as the police car in the “Andy Griffith Show,” by the way. Oh, how I loved that car! The day it threw a rod and blasted a hole in the engine block, it tore a hold in my heart as well, because the parts weren’t easy (nor cheap), so restoring the engine was out of the question. Even the speedometer gear (the little internal gear that moves the needle) had to be custom made and was costly, so I learned how to stay with the flow of traffic and judge my speed by the RPMs. That engine had a rumble that would quake you to the pit of your stomach, as the old muscle car engines are prone to do. Yes, I would love to eventually find another one!

I was very active by then with the SCA (Society for Creative Anacronism) as a sideline to theatre, since being in Cedar City (home of the Shakespearean Festival), it made sense. I rode sidesaddle in one of the opening parades one year (which TRUST me when I say, sidesaddle is HIGHLY uncomfortable!). We would help out with the Renaissance Faire in the park, and held “battles.” That’s actually how I became so proficient in archery, since I was a “War Bunny,” which also meant that I had to wear a chainmail bikini lined in rabbit fur while I was shooting “arrows” (boffer-arrows, of course) at the opponents. We were the main distraction… but I do not suggest wearing rabbit fur-lined chainmail in any capacity! Not practical or comfortable by any means! In fact, I loved the Festival Season so much, I wanted to go to SUU (then it was known as SUSC, but gained University status later on) to major in theatre, but then life happened. I married, had two girls, divorced after 3 miserable years after moving to Las Vegas… married again (for one year), divorced again, and got married once more. Luckily, the 3rd time was a charm, and my husband and I have been together now for almost 20 years… married for 12 of those. We had our daughter (my youngest of 3) the month after we married. While those years have been a struggle at times (financially, not emotionally), I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I found someone very supportive, and even now as I’m dipping my toe back into the waters of performing (which I put on hold for 2 decades), he’s got my back. I am making some wonderful friends along the way… I actually give ALOT of credit to the TV show “Supernatural” for that, since it brought me out of my shell with the annual conventions, and I hope that I can do something with the NEXT 43 years!

Children these days will never know that back in the day, the struggle was real. If we needed to research something for our homework, especially when writing a paper on a certain topic, we had to hit up the hard copies of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, or go spend some time at the library. We didn’t have fancy cell phones and Google that would give us the information within seconds, or music at our fingertips. So now the question is, how do we get this new generation back on track while at the same time utilizing modern technology as a tool of education and not one of entertainment? THAT is what I think about when I feel nostaligic and look to the future of the human race.

One last note…. all photos and memes I have used on here, I have found on the internet. Since I do not know the original sources, I will say this: You know who you are, and I give you full credit. I take no credit in the photos or memes in this blog  🙂

~Kristi S~

State of the City Address with Mayor Goodman

This evening (January 12, 2017) at 5:00pm, I had the amazing opportunity to watch our Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, do her thing at her State of the City address at City Hall. I feel very fortunate to have been invited as my friend’s “plus one” for this event, because I really do admire the Goodmans. As it happens, Former Mayor Oscar Goodman is a friend of a man that I work with and have known for 15 years. So when he got the personal invitation in the mail to attend and he asked me to accompany him, my resounding “YES” was a no-brainer! 

Our evening began by finding seats off to the side where the general public would sit, since the middle section was reserved for elected officials, friends and family of the Mayor, the press, etc. However, as luck would have it, four seats in the middle of the fourth row in the reserved section were vacant due to no-shows, so my friend and I were moved to the special seating. It was wonderful, as we were both dressed in our business finery… myself in a sweater dress with a cowl neck, and him in a suit and tie (which in my 15 years of knowing him I have NEVER seen him wear!), and we were seated right in front of some of the city’s finest judges. I had taken a selfie of myself and my friend because they were doing a live Twitter feed thing, using the hashtag #StateOfVegas, which they immediately showed on the big screens. My friend, who is 74 years old, got a major kick out of that! I love it when I can show him a fun time because he is a retired Navy Veteran, and rarely gets dressed up to leave the house for anything other than a family function.  I go as his personal assistant so that not only is he not alone, but I am also there in case of an emergency due to his ongoing health issues.

I will add here that I was taking notes on my phone while trying to hang onto the Mayor’s every word, so I didn’t necessarily catch all of the numbers being tossed out, and I may have a couple of inaccuracies in my blog. So I will try by best to recapture everything I can. If I missed anything, I do apologize, and you can always go to the Facebook page for the City of Las Vegas to see the Mayor’s Address for yourself. However, I thought it was very wonderful to have SOMETHING to blog about that is full of promise and hope! If you have anything you want to add, please do so in my comment section!

As we were waiting for the Mayor, who was running a few minutes late after they introduced all of the Councilmen and had them seated, we were entertained by a video of her being driven around by Elvis in a pink Cadillac convertible as they were driving by all of the fun sights our city has to offer. Once she was in the building and walking down the isle toward the podium, we all stood and applauded as she looked a little flustered and cracked a joke about how Elvis is a great singer but a bad driver! We had a good laugh at that. She then had a little fun with Councilman Bob Coffin about the over/under (a little betting term for you non-Vegans) as to how long her address would last. I honestly can’t remember what his witty retort was, but again, the room was filled with laughter. She then moved on to her 6th State of the City Address as Mayor of Las Vegas.

She began by assuring us that we will move forward after the 20th of the month with the new Presidential Administration, and not take a step back. We were filled in on the accomplishments of our city during the last year, which included Las Vegas being recognized as being one of the only large cities using renewable energy 3 weeks ago. Financially, the city did well for the Fiscal Year of 2016, and many new businesses have sprouted up around the city… large AND small. Including the first Resort Hotel opening here in just over a decade: The Lucky Dragon. In all seriousness, I didn’t realize it had been that long since we had a new major Hotel open up, since Las Vegas is such a fast paced city already. How time flies!  We had a safer time overall with the presence of more police on the streets (although admittedly, I have to question that one, but that’s just me). For New Year’s Eve, we had 340,000 plus visitors on the Strip with no major incidents. Also, we now apparently have a new “Pickle Ball Court” at the Plaza (WHAT is Pickle Ball??)
We have been recognized as having some of the most unique museums according to travel sites, such as the Mob Museum (which, if you haven’t been there, I HIGHLY recommend it!), Leid’s Discovery Museum for Children in Symphony Park, the Natural History Museum, Neon Boneyard (which is really impressive at night, and well worth the extra few dollars), and one that I think she forgot to mention… the Atomic Museum. We also have a very cool thing here now called Container Park on Fremont Street, which features a gigantic praying mantis sculpture out front that throws fire at night! Very impressive, indeed! 

On to 2017, which is set to be a pretty amazing and cutting edge year for us. The Premium Outlet Mall on Grand Central, which is the largest outdoor mall with record numbers of visitors, is looking to expand and build a new garage. Binion’s is looking to reopen it’s tower, and we have the first Autonomous Shuttle in the Downtown area (which was just announced this last Tuesday)… from what I’ve heard, it’s actually an unmanned shuttle! 

All 5 Clark County Mayors are looking to work together to make Southern Nevada even better (and safer) by way of widening roads, more bike lanes, working on pedestrian safety, etc. for the whole of Clark County. I really wish them the best on this endeavor, because pedestrian safety has really become a major issue lately with people crossing the streets with no crosswalk (or 100 feet away from a crosswalk). Sadly, we have had too many pedestrian fatalities due to this. 

Mayor Goodman went on to thank each of the Councilmen & Women and their liasons of the 6 Wards for their hard work and dedication…. Maybe one of these days, I’ll ask Stavros Anthony what the heck a Pickle Ball Court is! To be honest, I keep envisioning people throwing pickles at each other with a lingering smell of vinegar in the air! She followed up by thanking our Judges for their vigilant work in the courtroom.

The Mayor spoke of how she sees growth, prosperity, ongoing change, and improvements for Summerlin, the World Market Center, Symphony Park, and opening “the Modern” bridge from the Railroad TO Symphony Park, widening the sidewalks, and better connectivity. There are plans for upgrades to the Canopy for the Fremont Street Experience, and in 2017, more growth means more jobs.

Mayor Goodman touched on five major points:

1: Safety is a priority, which includes meeting with Homeland Security and getting security funding for safety and preparedness.

2: Broader and better healthcare for Southern Nevada by hiring better doctors through training, and making Medicaid better regarding their reimbursement rates, as they are too low at the moments.

3: Fix the homeless problem, especially for Veterans. It’s time to do more for the mentally ill. As it stands, after 48 hours of treatment and medications in a facility, whether it be a hospital or jail, patients are tossed back on the streets with no additional help for the medications and treatment they need.

4: Education… we currently rank #50 in the Nation! We are the lowest on the Nationwide list as far as our educational system is concerned (this is including test scores, drop out rates, etc). Out of Nevada’s funding, the least amount is given toward academics. There is not enough funding set aside per child to educate a single child, let alone a city full of children. We do not have enough to pay for and train teachers. We need more in the way of music, arts, etc. So where is our money for education going?

5: Stadiums! Soccer, Hockey, MBL, NFL… those are major money makers. Not only will they bring more jobs, but also more income through tourism. While it’s wonderful that the T-Mobile Arena was built, we still need actual sports stadiums. 40,000 parking spaces already exist, with room for more to be added. Not to mention there are no FAA restrictions at the Cashman site.

Through continued commitment to our city of Las Vegas, we can accomplish so much more and make 2017 a very special year for our city! 

In closing, I will add something wonderful that I think I forgot to mention… and that is that Las Vegas is being recognized next week as the Singular Large City Recipient for Beating Childhood Obesity! Now That is something special and something to be proud of! I’m so happy that education and the health of our youth has finally become a priority in Vegas!

Hollywood Strike? REALLY?

Goodness gracious…. Here I was hoping to find something really cool or witty to report and give an opinion on in this blog, but sadly that is not the case. Yes, we are STILL stuck on the insanity of the Hollywood Elite! Here I was having a fairly positive day, going out to eat, not worrying about social media or the mainstream that has become the laughing stock of the 21st Century… and then I opened Facebook and saw the news articles reported not only by some of the more questionable sites, but also reputable ones as well. I read that these spoiled egotistical Elitists were wanting to implement a full on strike in Hollywood that would trickle down from the actors, all the way to the souvenier shops! Oh joy! To make things even more amusing, I read that this strike would continue until Trump resigns as President! If you think that’s going to happen, then you are more out of touch with the world than I initially gave you credit for. You know what? Go right ahead, because the big vast Universe does NOT revolve around Hollywood! In fact, these days, some of the best shows and movies are actually coming out of Canada because the new generation of American writers just really don’t have what it takes to put ink to page to pen an entertaining script these days. They are SO bad at it in fact, that they have been recycling movies from 30 years ago!

Go ahead Hollywood, because I can assure you that if you strike, there are A LOT of people out here with tons of talent who are just waiting for that big break so they can replace the same tired old faces we have been seeing on the big screen, which for the record, the average working class American can’t afford to go see half the time anyway because the budgets on these films are astronomical due to your over inflated financial egos!

You know, based on what I have been reading today and seeing in the news, I actually hope that President Trump teaches you a lesson by reinstating the “House of Un-American Activities Committee” (HUAC) of the 1940s and 1950s. Surely you remember that… when actors and writers were getting blacklisted from Hollywood for being commies. Because let me tell you, whether you want to admit it or not, what you are insinuating by your actions is nothing less than a “my way or the highway because I am the shit” act of Communism. Back in the day, you would no doubt be tried for treason for speaking out about the leader of our country in this manner.  You are NOT politicians. You are high dollar actors who haven’t a clue how the world works because you’re so busy living in your cozy $2.5 million dollar bubble with your nightly filet minion (or have we all gone Vegan by now, I can’t keep up), that you make yourselves “feel better” by giving to various charities without actually getting out there to meet the working class who are suffering and just trying to eek out a modicum of a living.

If you want to get into politics, fine. Do what Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, and even Sonny Bono did. Drop your acting, and learn the ways of the political machine. Just stop prattling on about a childish strike because the election didn’t go your way. You know what that’s called? Acting like a bunch of spoiled self entitled brats throwing a temper tantrum because you didn’t get your way. Get over it and move on, because you are all acting like the world is going to explode on the 20th when Trump is sworn into office. The last time I checked, the ONLY actress to claim to be psychic was Shirley McLane, and if SHE hasn’t uttered  peep about this, than neither should you! You’re supposed to be better than this, but boy was I fooled by your wonderful acting skills! 

Meryl Streep never even thanked the people who chose her for the Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globe Award, being the ingrate that she is. Remember, it was your fans and your peers who put that in your hands, you self absorbed windbag! Everyone else seemed to accept their awards with grace and dignity. You accepted yours with a big “fuck you.”

In closing, I will reiterate this: if Hollywood were to go on strike and shut down, I can assure you that America will be just fine. In fact, it would be good for us with the onslaught of new techs, actors, key grips, musicians, and so on. I for one LOVE seeing fresh faces in the world of entertainment, and believe me when I say if it comes down to a choice between watching a new Meryl Streep movie, or football, all I have to say is: GO COWBOYS! Oh, and don’t let the door hit you in your Liberal Communistic stuck up asses on your way out! 

~Kristi S~