Signs of Spring

Yesterday was the first 60 degree day of the year. My neighbor spent it with his true love, his leaf blower. He also took a break from blowing every last leaf to scrape dead leaves off of his curb and the street. The guy knows how to really enjoy the little things in life.

It has been a long, snowy winter listening to his snow-blower, I started to miss the sound of his leaf blower. Even though you know Spring is slow to arrive here...

...it's been an especially treacherous winter. At one point I threatened Mother Nature that I was going to start using plastic shopping bags again. We all have our breaking points.

Last week, the snow started to finally melt, and we could see the yard poking up through the snow again for the first time since the avalanche of snow started in November. 

Hey look, GRASS! Remember grass, kids?

Of course Lola still wanted me to pull her in the snow, even when there was the smallest amount left.
We didn't get far.

Once the snow melted, we found our usual treasure of missing toys, nothing as exciting as last year.
We found this cup last year in the lawn during Spring thaw
And now that the snow is gone, this starts Mud Season.
Stinky Pete prospecting in the mud
THIS is why tie-dying was invented

Also the season of:
Muddy boots/shoes,
finally giving up and 
calling them "play pants" season.

Speaking of pants-ruining, a recent trip to the mall found preparations for Easter decorations. My 2 yr old was so very excited, she broke free of hand-holding and ran under the rope surrounding these.
We can FINALLY walk outside again, and in doing so we realized we have LOTS of eager beaver neighbors near our house. It's not even Easter yet, and these freaks already have their Christmas decorations up.
It's earlier and earlier every year!
We're not done with the winter weather, of course. Being close to Lake Michigan, especially after this Polar Vortex winter, we won't feel Spring weather until end of May and summer until July. 

There will still be mysterious mountains of parking lot snow here and there for awhile yet. 
Nice to have a view of the mountains!
It will be 40 degrees again this week, but put those razor blades away, there are signs of Spring blooming all over.


Lizzi Did It: Another Award

Blame Lizzi, She Did It!

Lizzi is The Considerer, she writes Considerings blog, click that link if you love good writing. If you don't, why are you even reading blogs? Are you just here for the dirty pictures? Well, okay don't hang your head in shame, you just click that link and look for "Naked with Cake." You're welcome.

My friend Lizzi nominated me for an award, probably just to give me a writing assignment and keep me off the internet and out of the kitchen for awhile. It's a good effort. 
from diebenow.com
My Eleven Questions for the happy recipients of such a prestigious award...

1. If you could wake up tomorrow and have your ideal breakfast experience, what would it be?
I loved waking up in New Orleans, even more than Vegas (Murican pop song reference.) In New Orleans, you can get liquor any time of day, a fantastical bloody Mary with Okra if you're hung over, and when you wake up it's already warm outside. You can wake up, brush/wash your face, or NOT, it really does not matter, and walk around the French Quarter looking at street buskers, hung over people having an epic walk of shame, drunk people still going, people on VACATION! People whose life is a permanent vacation for whatever reason. You can walk anywhere w/drinks and listen to the world's best jazz. Check this out, we saw this band playing in the street, FOR FREE (yes, we donated money, they rocked) give these guys a listen, they're amazing: The Shotgun Jazz Band

2. When was the last time you were really embarrassed? What happened?
Any of the times I've told terrible jokes to people who don't appreciate terrible jokes. There are so many and I feel like if I put one here I will just offend yet another person. When you use humor as a personality weapon, you miss the target a lot. 

3. How do you sleep best?
When my kids are in another location. Especially Tinny, the teenager. He stayed with his cousins last night, and it was seriously the best, most peaceful night of sleep I've had in ages. That boy is nocturnal, and freaking loud about it.

4. What was the last utterly frivolous thing you bought?
Just last weekend, I asked like a wee little girly if my husband would buy me EXPENSIVE mascara, I'm talking $13.60 at the mall. That's a LOT for me, and for our struggling budget right now, but mascara is necessary for me, and darn it I have THEE worst eyelashes, and it stinks trying to put mascara on crappy little nothing eyelashes. I know how girly/crazy that sounds, I'm punching myself right now for typing that. It IS, however, only the 3rd time in SIX YEARS since our wedding that I've paid that much for mascara.

5. Would you rather have a tail which wagged, or make a noise like a bee, when you were happy. Justify your answer.
A tail. That can be surgically removed, or least duct-taped down. Annoying sounds are forever. 

6. Sweet or savoury?

7. What was the last thing which made your heart get bigger with happiness?
My girls and my husband do something every single day. They also do annoying things, but then so do I.

8. If you could *zap* something stressful into non-existence, what would it be?
Geez, a better question would be HOW would I stop myself once I started?

I would zap my son into adulthood, not like boring Accountant in a cubicle adult, just gainfully, semi-happily employed to the point where he doesn't sleep through his alarm clock every day. His father is almost 50 and this still happens for him. 

9. Would you rather be able to speak another language fluently, or be able to play a musical instrument really well?
Foreign language, hands down. 

10. Who was the last person you dreamed about?
I don't remember who was with me, but the last dream I remember I was TRAPPED inside a tiny elevator and the power went out. Whoever was with me, a female in high heels (who looked like Joan Rivers, maybe it was, I don't know,) was REALLY HAPPY like we pulled off some kind of heist, then the power went out and the elevator stopped and we looked at each other like "Now what?" It got really hard to breathe, I started to feel claustrophobic and suddenly a tiny window opened, someone's face poked through the window from the elevator next to us, apparently, and we were NOT happy to see this person. I was still struggling for air when my alarm went off. I have NO idea what that was about, but it seemed really exciting. I think I might ask Lizzi to write that story, if I did? I'd only donk it up.
11. Name one thing you're thankful for.
Lizzi. Seriously. I've put her down on my TToT, probably several times, but she inspires me and reads my ramblings and laughs at my corny jokes and doesn't care if I look like a zombie when we videochat. Nevermind that she's not really LOOKING at ME, she's Instagramming, but still. I'm not in blogging to make money, or to get ALL THE PEOPLE to follow me, I'm just looking to write, think about something adult-related, and for maybe some feedback, and adult interaction. When you fight life to get an actual blog post put up, it's nice to have someone read it once in awhile. Thanks to the groups she's gotten me involved in, that is happening and blogging is fun again!

There. I'm done *faints* 

I just liked ^ that, so I left it there.

I think there may have been other tasks, but I'm certain there is a sub-section in the TToT SBoR (Secret Book of Rules) that states if you've had a shitty sleepweek, and lack of free time, you fill out an award however you see fit, as long as you do  pay it forward. It's there, keep looking.

So here's the Pay It Forward:

I present this challenge, with this award for making ideas and stories BLOOM, to Lizzi:

Ooooh, shiny
Writing Challenge:
Take the details I remember from my dream, add any of your own, and make this bud of an idea bloom into a beautiful Fiction Flower for all the world and internet to enjoy. After all, as Aussa Lorens once said: The internet was invented for lies (and also enjoyment, IMHO) so let her rip!


Oh Brother.s.

Do you have a brother? Did you spend any time at a house with brothers? Wait, before you start shaking with the PTSD in remembering all the brotherly behavior, I have a favor to ask you.

There are people in this world that don't have brothers, or any experience with brothers, and with your help we can save these folks a lot of time, heartache and finger-pulling.
Shirt picture from zazzle.com
Let me explain.

Last week, my younger brother had surgery on his arm and his daughter posted some pretty graphic (disgusting) pictures on Facebook of unwanted fleshy bits taken out of his arm. This is totally something I see all brothers getting behind. Grossing out everyone on their Facebook list at a glance.

This is what got me thinking about Brothers in general, and how my brothers shaped my personality growing up. 

I love my brother, but I’m eternally grateful he doesn’t have his own Facebook page, because really, how many fart jokes can a person take in their lives? 

It’s not that I don’t find them funny, but I had TWO brothers and a father who was just an over-grown brother with his pranks and corny jokes, so I passed my fart joke quota before I turned 10. There is not one I haven’t heard, trust me.

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my life? This has been the role of a Brother:
To tell gross jokes
To pull mean pranks
To practicing lying (Harmlessly. Mostly.)

Little Brothers:
More annoying, whining, tattling, copying.

They’re easily manipulated, you blow off steam by handing down to younger brothers what you get from the older brother. Like Middle Management. Then, if you play your cards right, and say it nicely enough you can pretty much make any little brother your bitch.

Older Brothers:
More painful, pranks, lying, plotting.

They’re a little more difficult. They’re older, were there first, they’re meaner, they have more resources.
from wanna-joke.com

Both older and younger brothers are fun, once you get the hang of it:
You do not believe a word they say.
You do not pull their finger.
You figure out how to outsmart them with a straight face.
You get revenge. Later, when their guard is down.

My older brother’s pranks, included everything from 
finger-pulling to 
knocking the back of your knee to
tapping you on one side, but being on the OTHER SIDE, oh I see what ya did there! For the 900th time, to one I recently posted on Facebook about,
I’ll give you ten dollhairs.

He tricked me into picking up my younger brother from school, and when I returned he obviously figured out I didn’t have any dolls, because tomboy, so he said,
“I owe you ten dollhairs, as soon as I can find a doll" 

He went on to 'explain' how he never said he would give me dollars, he said doll-hairs and I agreed to it. Being a pro, he would add,
"Next time pay attention.” 

Oh, I would. I would allright.
I learned to think ahead, and think quickly.

When my older brother would pull his,
“Name 10 beers and I’ll stop punching you”
I panicked at first. 

I didn’t know TEN beers, were there even 10 beers in the 70’s in America? If so, we never had any of them in the house.
We had:
Old Style (Chi-cah-go, it’s our great beer and you CAN have it)
GENERIC beer from the Eagle that came in yellow cans and just said “Beer” in Helvetica font.
I'm not kidding. This is a REAL CAN available on e-Bay.
And you can bet your ass just saying "generic beer" didn't count toward my 10 beers. So I did what any successful sister does, I just started making shit up. It's hard to think clearly while you're getting punched, but you get used to it. 

My fake beer names involved mostly sports terms and large, deadly animals:
“Blue Tiger”
"Grizzly's Revenge"
“Time Out Beer”
whatever else popped into my dome, and he totally bought it!

To clarify, he didn’t actually believe these were real beers, but he was amused enough by my answers to stop punching me. This is how you learn to use humor as a weapon. 

Brothers are the very reason a wicked sense of humor is born. It’s not a natural childbirth, where a doula sings it out and places it gently into a tepid pool of wildflowers. Oh no, this bastard was ripped out of an unsuspecting child’s innocent womb in the basement of a meth lab-slash-cash-clinic with filthy forceps.

If this kind of tomfoolery sounds cruel, you must not have had brothers. I hated them at times, but mostly they were fun and keep me on my toes. To this day, I can think pretty quickly on my feet, and I’m far from gullible. Which comes in damn handy, Mandy, when you start dating guys. Because brother or not, most teenage guys are full of bullspit. You can believe most guys half of the time, but teenage boys? On a date? As trustworthy as a snake babysitting baby rats.

My brother had some good ones, I’ll give him that. One of the family favorites was his telephone trick.

Gather round kids, I’ll spin you a yarn of when people had what they call “land lines” and old timey devices called TELEPHONES. These were magic boxes, attached by CORDS, where people would call each other to talk. If that sounds painful, you don't know the half of it. We couldn't text, or email, if you wanted to make plans, you had to hash that shit out ahead of time.
We had a LOOONGER cord from bittlecom.com
We even had TWO LINES on our telephone, (the price of tons of kids,) so if your brother was on the phone and your friend had a mall emergency they could ring through and you could answer the other calls. 

No, Brothers would NEVER really get off the phone so you could get your call, but you had this option in case of any actual emergency. TWO calls at once, yes it was the worst of times. No social media, no Instant Messaging, just talking.

Anyway, our phone had a really long cord, no cordless yet, I’m that old. Our cord was made even longer by being stretched out,
from classicrotaryphones.com
so you could take your call from the kitchen base into the front room to watch television, while pretending to listen to your friends' mundane problems.

My brother always took the phone to the couch, then when he was done he would try to get us to hang the phone back up in the kitchen. You couldn't just switch it to "Off," you had to hang it back up on the base. FML for real, yo.

At least one time, he just pulled the cord out of the phone. This was before voicemail, though, so if you did that you just missed calls until you eventually hung it back up. 

Then he started pulling the old,
“Someone is on the other line for you” 
so that you would take the phone from him, then when you found out no one was there, he would say, 
“They’ll call back. Hang it up” 
that way he didn’t have to get up to hang the phone up.

Spoiler: No one ever ‘called back’ he just pretended someone was there because he didn’t want to hang up the phone. 

This worked for awhile, then he started acting out the scenario at the end of a call, he would say:
“Okay, we’re getting another call, I gotta go”
and mime clicking over and say,
“Hello? Yeah, she’s here, hold on” and everything.

After you fell for this a few times, he would change it up, adding something like,
“No, really, there really is someone there, watch”
and say into the phone,
“Say your name really loud so she knows I’m not lying”
and pretend someone said something.
“Can’t you hear that? You need to get your ears checked”
and increasingly convincing performances of deceit.

This kind of crap is a big reason I have trust issues, especially with the male species. I would never imply women don’t lie, but I might think they’re exaggerating as opposed to the out-right villainous self-serving duping of my brothers.  

Don't worry, I don't want your pity. This prepared me for life and womanhood in a way no book or shiny magazine ever could. Even with my ear tuned to bullcrap, I still managed to fall for some guy lies over the years. It makes me wonder if the women who keep falling for those pick-up lines from “those” kinds of men, and women who believe the lies of cheating partners just never had to deal with anyone’s brothers??  

Parents, teach your children to spread the word about brothers. 

If you only have daughters, warn them. Have them make friends with kids who have brothers.

If your kids friends don't have brothers, teach them to spread the word. We could start a whole 'Sisters Without Brothers' movement. Million Brother March? Nope, that would be the smelliest, most obnoxious place on earth. I'm not going anywhere near that without a gas mask, and a supersoaker full of urine.

If we are all aware, we can minimize Brother Manipulation worldwide. I should market "Brother Awareness" ribbons, they could be brown with a button that says,
"Please press me"
and when you push it, it farts.

Why shouldn't everyone have some level of the Brother Experience?

My brothers made me what I am today. A tough, wise, quick-thinking smartass. I mean, you didn't think this just happens, did you?

If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, Brothers are from Uranus. Mine were award-winning Ass-tronauts.


Great Marketing and Guest Posts

This week I was greatly amused by marketing, which can we all remember can actually be fun? There is an actual company called "PooPouri" at PooPouri.com that makes products to mask the odor of well, you guessed it, poop. 

The product names, again REAL products, are hysterical. One of the men's scents is "Trap a Crap." More amusing than that is COMMERCIAL video and blooper video. They are both hysterical. If  you're in a hurry, just watch the blooper one. If you have time, watch both. Sooo funny!

Actual video, watch this one first. It's really funny, and her Scottish accent is amazing. 

The blooper video of this commercial. It's SOO good. I watched it like 9 times on Wednesday. Hilari-ASS.

This seems like the perfect point to mention that this post is part of the Ten Things of Thankful Community. Click here to join in and tell us any 10 things you're thankful for.

3. I'm also very thankful for the opportunity to guest post! Normally I'm afraid to do this. I never know if I'll have time, but this one was perfect for a blog that doesn't mind my um...being me, so I let her rip on Insomniac's Dream with why I'm not ashamed to be a beeeyotch, in "Put Those Tum's Away, Bitch." If you haven't read it, whether you're a fan of bitches or not, it's an interesting look from one bitch's perspective.
Spoiler: Swearing

4. This week I had a whopper of a change-of-seasons colds, and was thankful for NyQuil, despite the fact that it tastes like the bodily fluid of a Death-Eater, and

5. DayQuil, as we are all out of Sudafed and over budget for the month already, so I have to make do with random pills I find in the cabinets. Speaking of that, I found some

6. Old antibiotics from a couple years ago. I hate antibiotics, but I have the telltale all-head-and-tooth pain of a sinus infection, and these are already a couple years old, so how bad they can be? Don't do this at home kids, really bad idea. Unless you're broke and/or don't have time to go to the doctor, and then again, how bad could it be? I've tried the typical natural defense of 
chicken soup
and my sore face holes just kind of laughed. I always try that first, but each day, well I get a little less crunchy...I talk about it here in this description of when I'm sick, by day.  It goes downhill pretty quickly, as you'll see.

7. Thankful for the library, which provides with hours and hours and HOURS of 'free' entertainment, puzzles, books, movies and a change of scenery during our long, Winterfell months.

8. Berries. I hate citrus fruit, too tart, but mix it with bananas and berries, and I'll eat it. My kids will eat their weight in strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, so we can stock up on those when germs are afoot, they love them.

9. Tinny, my teenager has a job interview today! He already has a job, but they aren't scheduling him more than 12 hours a week right now.
Think warm beachy thoughts from thegreenhead.com
10. I found these awesome drink holders at thegreenhead.com and I'm pretty sure they would stake into grass if you're not a beach person, which I am not. But I am, however, a BIG fan of staying hydrated. Aaah, just look at that picture for a minute: A warm, sandy beach and ton of cold liquids. I already feel better. Don't you?


Put Those Tums Away, Bitch

There has been a lot of talk lately all of my life about women, the attitude of women, how we should react to people, from the messages of kindness and 'attitudes of gratitudes' to the whole #BanBossy campaign (ugh) society seems to have much to say about how women should behave.

Do you think men's magazines contain articles telling men to be kind? To be more assertive? Less of an asshole (well, okay, maybe there should be that) but my point is, what if we just rely on ourselves to react to a situation however the hell we see fit? Sound weird?

This is what I'm talkin bout Willis, over at The Insomniac's Dream today. My latest honest real-with-words post called "Put Those Tums Away, Bitch." Click the title to be whisked away to a world where your emotions don't have to be predetermined or stifled anymore. 

This being Mental Health March, it's a great time to think about how we deal with anger from others. 

Spoiler: There will be swears.


Switches, Lights And Knobs

I don't care if this makes me sound old, I'm about to rant about technology. Don'tgetmewrong, I love technology, like Kip Dynamite loves technology.

I mean, I do NOT want to go back to a time before the internet. You can't make me go back. Well, I guess you could just by unplugging my router, but I will cut a bitch.

So many other advances are amazingly miraculous, forget all the medical gobblety-gook, do you know we have a DRIVE-THROUGH dry cleaners not far from us? That's right, you get in your 'Murican gas guzzler, then you don't even have to GET OUT to drop off your dirty drawers and on the way home? You can DRIVE-THRU a Subway and have some asshole MAKE YOU a sandwich. 

Because let's face it people, if I'm too lazy to make myself a sandwich I'm damn well too lazy to get out of my car and WALK to where I can buy one. Amiright? 

My mom used to have to do BOTH of those things, all by herself, with FIVE kids. Doesn't that sound like some bullshit life? I know. 

HOWEVER, there are certain things that are progressing the wrong way. We seem to not talk about it, and if you complain about it, you're "that guy." At the risk of being that guy, can someone explain to me, like I'm Denzel Washington telling you to explain to me like I'm 6 years old, why the freak we are accepting the following annoying changes to technology:
Touch Screens
Unwanted Apps

Touch Screens.
You know that's just a marketing ploy right? When I talk about touch screens my husband pulls all the neck muscles shaking his damn head at me. 

News sites, entertainment sites, blogs and articles and EVERYWHERE are a million ads, and with touchscreen you almost cannot avoid clicking on those damn ads, which pay by clicks. 

With gadgets and tablets and phones (oh my!) getting smaller and our fingers getting fatter and fatter, you can't touch "Comment" on a blog covered in ads with a touchscreen unless you have a stylus for a finger. And if you do, WHERE did you get it?! 

WHY are we falling for this, Murica?! Wake up. Get off of freaking Facebook and bring back my buttons!

I might be forced to join the game to get in on this. My fat fingers click on enough to buy someone a summer house, why shouldn't I get my 3 cents a click?

If (when) I do sell out, remember I'm on your side and I hate this damn dirty trickery. But do be sure to pin a sister's post, my babies need shoes.

Freaking apps
While I'm on a tech rant, what is UP with the all the damn apps??

I'm guessing apps and owners of apps pay phone and laptop companies millions of dollars to force these apps on their customers, whether we like it or not because they're everywhere, worse than the herp. You don't want them, you don't know how you got them, but BOOM they're like Visa, they're everywhere you want to be, and they're updating and updating and using your RAM and your memory storage and of course your BATTERY!!!
There are apps pre-installed on my phone, I can't uninstall them, they never stop running, and NEVER STOP updating, and make my battery constantly dead. WHY?
from makeuseof.com
No Uninstall button on the app. But hey look, there's a 'Disable' button, but wait, it's disabled.

I now hate freaking Yelp because it updates every other day and I don't WANT IT! GO AWAY Yelp, no one likes you anymore. I want battery life, I no longer care which Starbuck's have shitty bathrooms. Spoiler: THEY ALL DO because coffee makes you poop. 

Do me a favor app companies, since you know my location, know what I searched on the internet, go ahead and look at the amount of money in the bank while I'm online banking. Then you'll know from my bank balance that marketing ANYTHING to me is a complete waste of your time.

It's not just on my phone, my new laptop came chock full o'guess what? YES, gahtdam APPS!

I have to constantly seek out and destroy these stupid apps so my battery will last more than 5 freaking minutes. What is the point of a wireless laptop if the battery only lasts 1/2 an hour? SERIOUSLY. 

I didn't install them, I don't want them, I don't use them. Yet they are CONSTANTLY running, updating, beeping, distracting me.
from enthusiam.cozy.org
My laptop came with a weather app pre-installed. My laptop does not give a shit what the weather outside is like. If I care about the weather, I will actively seek it out, look it up, turn on any news channel, look at my phone, out the WINDOW or guess what? I'll GO OUTSIDE. 

If I'm on my laptop, I do not need the weather. Ever. I don't need to be distracted with beeps and boops and updates and UPDATES and messages and IM's of all of these appps. GO AWAY!!! Stop running things in the background I don't need. Leave my battery power to COMPUTING, you damn computer. 

Why does this not infuriate more people?! 

I know we all have our switches, lights and knobs, Striker. Does anyone else feel this frustrated? Anyone? 

Thank you, Shat, I knew you got me.
Skip to 15 seconds in, this is my boyfriend William Shatner in Airplane 2. This video, like the movie is hysterical. And it really perfectly sums up how I feel about the switches, lights and knobs. "They're blinking and they're flashing, I can't stand it anymore!"