Park Reviews

After last week's more serious post, we needed to take things down (up?) a notch and get back to some light-hearted silliness. My kids weren't having it though. The warmer weather has us hittin' the parks. The kids are remembering what they like and do NOT like about all the parks closest to Comfytown. They want to save you some time, so they wrote Yelp reviews on the parks. A smart park visitor is a happy park-er. 

My 4 year old daughter, Lola, put together this super serious review of our local parks, and what she calls them, so you can choose the best one for your needs.

Sunny Park   -   

Review by Lola, age 4
ComfyTown, IL

I like this park because it's close and we can go all the time. I like the ground, it's jumpy and not mostly dirt like our backyard. I like the yellow sunny colors. I like the sand, but I don't like when sand gets in my eyes, that's hurts! But we make sand castles with sticks, that's fun.
Mount Wannahockalugie

The slides are fast for sliding, but you can't climb up because they're too slippy. But that's okay, there are friends there even the boy who yells and rides his bike really close to us, that makes my mom mad. My dad says she can't punch him. Go after schooltime to play with lots of friends.

And they have a water fountain with water, so this park is my favoritest. 

I go back again and again. FIVE STARS.

It's the closest park, there are kids sometimes, including one future serial killer that is there quite often, and always unattended. He rides his bike almost directly INTO the kids but no, I can't punch him. He talks to himself loudly, as I imagine he's murdered all of his pets, friends and parents. My kids love the sand & water fountain here, our fave place.

Pres' Park
Review by Bug and Lola, ages 2, 4
ComfyTown, IL 

Like rental skis that need waxing
I don't always like this park because it's more far away, and the slides are shock you! When you slide down yer hair sticks up, and if you touch anything you get a shock on your finger, that's NOT FAIR! 

My little sister Bug likes this park because the slides are really sticky, like when she eats peanut butter, so she doesn't go down too fast and get scared. They're so sticky we can climb all the way UP the slides just like the big boys and girls, it's easy!

Dumb graffiti

My daddy doesn't like this park because he says it's dirty. People writed on the tables, and that's BAD. We're only supposed to write onna paper. Whoever writed on the table, they should get some paper.

The ground isn't bouncy, it's "munch" but DON'T EAT IT! My mom gets mad when my sister eats it, even though it's called munch. The munch has a lot of cool stuff in it, like candy wrappers. I don't know what candy is in a square package, but the pack is SHINY. 

Yes, it is a condom wrapper

It's like Art in Monsters University when they say:
"You DON'T wanna touch it!"
and he says:
"I wanna touch it."

This park is usually fun, even if we can't touch the cool stuff, we learned new words from the big kids. FOUR STARS.

2nd closest park. The slides are old and sucky, they like climbing UP more than try to "slide" (scoot manually) down. Sometimes there is sketchy garbage in the mulch. So no, I don't let the baby eat mulch that had condom wrappers and whatnot in it. When the Parent-Murdering Boy is at Sunny Park, we go here. There are sometimes older kids, that sometimes swear, but there also aren't many judgmental parents at this park so any day you left before brushing the kids hair or putting on a clean shirt, this is your park. It's the WalMart of parks.

Goose Poop Park

Lola, 4 - Comfytown, IL
Future goose hunter/wrastler

I don't know why my Mom calls it that, but whatever, poop is funny! I like this park a lot because it haves a pond, and the pond haves geese and ducks in it. My sister Bug wants to pet the geeses and ducks, but my mom says to stay away from the water. 

That makes Bug mad. I think she likes water. And ducks. And running from my mom. My mom doesn't like this park, but my sister and I like this park a LOT!

It also haves a wall where I can climb up, but it's not really hard to climb up, it's easy and I can climb all the way up all by myself! 

I like when my sister gets yelled at, and climbing the wall. FOUR STARS

There is always goose poop all around, so we don't go here often. Lola likes the climbing things, so we do go sometimes and I bring a bucket for their shoes when we leave. Most of the time we're here, I'm trying to keep the baby out of the pond and from chasing and doing whoknowswhat to the birds. I bring a Capri-Sun bag full of booze, so we have fun.

SpiderMan Park

Lola, 4 - Comfytown, IL

My dad calls this park SpiderMan park, but there's no Spiderman anywhere, or spiders. 
They could at LEAST call this PETER PARK. Get it?
It haves a ride you climb on that looks like a spiderweb, but it's too hard! I don't like that.

I like the blue slides and the red swing because it haves a part that comes down and you can hold onto it, but it's not like a baby swing.

The rest is too hard, they're for big kids. THREE STARS

What is red and blue and webby all over? Triangle Park (dumb name.) There are only a few triangles on the ground in the back of the park. It's by the library and the train, there must not be any kids that live nearby, it's usually blissfully quiet. I keep trying to push this park on them, maybe when they're a little older. 

Far Away Park
Lola, 4 - Comfytown, IL

This park is far, so we don't walk. We drive in our car. Sometimes this park is full of water, then it's REALLY FUN! 
At the bottom of a hill, this park is flooded half the time. So they ALWAYS want to go there
My mom doesn't like when we get all wet and get back in the car and the car gets all wet, and our seats get all wet. It's fun, but it's really cold and when I tell her I need dry pants and shoes, she says "As soon as we get home," but I don't want to wait, it's too cold in wet pants and shoes! This was not as fun as THAT OTHER PARK with the water things.

I don't remember anything else about this park. TWO STARS.

ADULT TRANSLATION: This park is flooded half the time, so usually we avoid it like tetanus. 

That Other Park With The Water
Lola, 4 - Comfytown, IL

I don't remember anything about this park, we didn't go here in a long time. It had these squirtey water things that shooted water, they were awesome! My sister was splashing and splashed all over everywhere! It got me and my mom SO MUCH WET, every clothes on us was all wet, it was big fun. 
NOT a park, not a park at all
I don't know where this is, but I hope we go again. TWO STARS, until I remember what else is here.

This is not a park at all, it's an outdoor mall. I'm always broke, so we don't go often.

Blue Park

Lola, 3 - Comfytown, IL
Slides are faster than they appear
We saw this park when we drived my brother Tinny to school, and I really wanted to go to this park, but when we went it was bad. This park looks so cool when you go past, it haves all blue slides and swings! We don't go to this park anymore, we haven't been there since before my birthday when I turneded 4. We don't like this park. 

There are high slides, and the ladder is too scary. My sister also kept going by the big kids and climbing up high slides and my mom said she was gonna "break her neck." I don't think she did, but we left fast and we didn't go back ever again. ONE STAR.

This park has much taller slides than we're used to. We'll go back again when and if my 2 yr old learns about fear, or caution. 

Pick-ik Park by the Lib-ary
Lola, 4 - Comfytown, IL 

WAY too close to the street for small children!
This park haves tables to have a pick-ik, but we didn't have any food, so we couldn't have a pick-ik. It's close by a street and my mom and dad don't like the street for some reason.

My sister kept running and running and going by the street, she doesn't listen. My mom got really mad. And thirsty, she said she needed a drink, but this park didn't has a water fountain, and my mom didn't bring her special juice bag, so that's probably why we left. 

At least my sister got yelled at. ONE STAR.

This is just walking trails w/picnic tables, but it's right by a busy street so f*ck this park. Especially if you have a "runner" type of toddler. F*CK it hard.

That's all for now. Lola had fun doing this, and I love her answers. We will review other locations around town as we venture out, meaning try to find places with low or no admission fee. Stay tuned!


Ella Tribute And Other Less Important Jazz

April 25th is the birthday of an amazing woman, Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song. She won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums! She also was a runner for local gamblers, picking up their bets and dropping off money, to support her parents when she was young. Her name is a link to her official web site if you're interested.

One of my favorite voices. She and others from this time helped me realize that music can be soothing, it doesn't just have to be punk rock to be interesting. Not a lot of music speaks to me, but her voice can take you to another place, and give you memories of things you never actually did. 

This flavor of jazz makes me feel like I'm having flashbacks of my former life, that was super big FUN, full of music, soulful singers in smoky supper clubs, shiny dresses and high-button shoes, mapcap adventures and bathtub gin. Have a listen, at least while you read this. If it doesn't make you smile, I don't really know how to talk to you.
How much fun is this jazz baller?

This is the song that made her famous, she jazzed up the classic "A Tisket A Tasket"
Fun! I love the "so do we, so do we, so do we" part

This is a really good song, "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" the trumpet though!
Louis Armstrong, could you die?

Speaking of her fun, here she is with good ole Dino. Great stuff, delicious voices. At the end they sing "You Are My Sunshine" with some friends.
Just me?

There is a long video of goodness, I'll put it at the end. Louis and Ella, good background music for almost any situation.

This particular situation, why I'm putting things I'm thankful for is another of my fav-O-rite things: The Ten Things of Thankful. It's like a blog hop, but in the way that champagne is like a beverage. Link up here and tell us some good stuff. 

I'm thankful for this community, the support, the real connections and people who care. They get it if you're really busy and don't reply to their comments for a little while, they understand if you can't make it to EVERYONE'S blog on a certain week, you'll get them next time. They support and inspire. 

I was inspired to try vlogging (video blogging) and even though it was not the best, I'll be posting that soon. I kind of have to now. Stay tuned. 

Super thankful that Easters are getting easier for me. I blogged a real blog this week about how my son is usually with his dad so I hated this day with an intensity usually dedicated for serial killers, but I'm starting to hate it a little less. It's nice to have my siblings around, they remind me whatever I'm going through or have been through, I should shut up, nut up and take it like a woman. Good lessons.
My sibs + me, bonding (smoking and doing shots) on Easter
I'm crazy thankful for a birthday gift my sister got my daughter, Lola, for her birthday in February. WHY am I talking about a February gift now? 

Well, my memory is sketchy at best, but also the gift is a kid trampoline and it there was way too much snow all over to put it up until recently. 

The kids love it, it's good exercise and parents love anything that keeps their children busy happy. I've said it before, tired kids are happy kids. Bored anyone is unhappy anyone.

So glad to be outside again, they love it and I feel so much better. I don't know if you're familiar with the concepts of Earthing, or grounding. 

In a NUTshell the concept of walking barefoot and sitting on actual grass, as opposed to a chair or blanket, to connect with nature. 

I used to think it was a big ole bucket a bullspit, as our friend Jimmy says, but whatever it is, we all feel SO MUCH better after being outside. My kids love to connect with earth (read: dirt.)

The more Earth under my kids fingernails, the happier they are. 

Fresh air, sunshine, different scenery, whatever. It's working. Cabin fever is fading.

Even though I'll never be able to afford it, I'm glad someone made this crazy dragon hoodie. I'm sure it would be a big hit dropping the kids off at school, no? Or at least keeping the gossiping PTA Moms at arms length.
from Geek Tyrant
However, it would be cheaper to hunt and skin an actual dragon. ($400!)

Somewhere toward the middle of the begining of the Secret Book of Rules (SBoR/BoSR) of this hop, it says not to focus on the number ten but rather the quality of the post being close to a 10, so really, how much more quality content can there be? Okay, fine one more:

A great vocal treat, here is an ALBUM of Ella with Louis Armstrong. They go together like peanut butter and bourbon.
Ella & Louis, 2 great voices together


I Hardly Hate Easter At All Anymore

For the longest time I hated Easter. Like vampires hate werewolves and my brother hates book learnin'. HATED it.
from gifsoup.com
There are a lot of little reasons, I’ll try to be brief. I know, but I’ll try. I think Easter is one of the biggest holidays that separate the “normal” god-fearing, church-going folk from the … I don’t know the politically correct term for damaged, experienced, post traumatic stressers, life-challenged individuals.

For me, this day means bad memories about churchy folks, life, and past struggles. I will leave all of the religious complications out of it, that is a post of another color.

I hated Easter the most because after my separation from my son’s father, Easter became the holiday he spent with his dad. Because Irony is a mother heifer, my birthday is on Christmas, and I wanted to have him with me for Christmas. I didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to fight about crap like that. Plus I already kind of hated Easter, so I didn’t really give a two knuckle flying frick. For a few years not having my son allowed me full-on self indulgence, wallowing in self pity with my single friends trying to Opt Out by drinking the day away.

I don’t recommend it, but I can tell you that once you’ve spent part of a major holiday in a dive bar, it changes you a little bit. Almost any bar is the saddest place you can be on a holiday, but some places are particularly dank and sorrowful. The kind of place that has no web site. It needs no Yelp review. It’s occupants go there because it’s the only place they can walk to, and crawl home from. That’s why I was there.

You can almost hear Gollum whispering his tricky riddles, but it’s just that toothless guy at the end. Like all the newbies, he’s trying to figure out if that smell means there might be a pool hidden somewhere. There is no pool. That bleach is covering some deep, dark secrets.

It’s full of people who have given up the charade of family, who give up trying to make things better. If even just for this day, who don’t give a shit what you think about them.
Not just the kind of people who CLAIM they don’t care what other people think, while wearing name brand clothes, expensive trendy glasses and tweet about being “all out of shits to give” on their smartphones from Starbuck’s. This is a sad, scary NothingToLose kind of Not Caring that I saw myself becoming, before I decided to turn things around.

Like a lot of people, after I separated I had to fork over my son to his dad on the agreed days and when I didn’t have him, the pain was overwhelming.
My son Tinny hated the hand-offs, knowing he could no longer have Mom & Dad together, he had to always miss one or the other, he would get understandably upset. Sometimes he cried, mostly he tried not to cry and would get terrible stomach aches. This side effect of Failed Marriage comes with two scoops of Mom guilt.

I tried everything to make my first awful marriage work, and mayhaps some day I’ll write about it, but it’s sad and who wants to bear the weight of someone else’s sadness? 
Wait, there’s a whole market for that? Dang, I should probably suck it up and start writing that crap.

Anyway, the first couple of Easters without my son were too painful. What the hell does a mother do without her son on Easter? I drank. And drank. It’s the only thing that didn’t hurt so much. It felt right. It felt natural, like peeing outside. 

But there are only so many drinks, so many benders and hangovers when you remember (or don’t) some of the horrible things you did the day before, and you start to see how bad of an idea that is.

I made horrible decisions sober, so you can imagine the bad ideas that seemed not so bad, made in the wee witching hours by a depressed, lonely, failure and guilt-plagued Catholic-raised single mom after drinking and not really eating for hours.

Calling people I used to date was the least of my problems, though those were usually not GOOD ideas. When you stop dating someone, there’s usually a really good reason.
So maybe you reconnect for a week, a day, a night, about a half an hour in some really sad cases. Is it worth it?
To a drunk decision maker: Hell yes, totally!
Anything beats that bottom of an inside-well waiting to get the hose again, lonliestpersonintheWORLD feeling. You know the one, where you feel lonely "in a room full of people." That is dead on balls accurate. Not just in a smelly bar filled with Life's deadbeat dad.
But to a sober person the next morning? No. It’s just picking a scab and poking it.

Whatever made you stop dating them is still going to be there.  You just didn’t care about that reason when you were drunk.
That’s why we binge drink, though isn’t it? To forget about all the things that are not okay. It’s all smiles and rainbows for awhile. Until you wake up. Sober.
Worse than sober, hungover.
And you have to wake up sober. You can’t keep it going, that's like trying to own a rainbow.

I finally figured out this wasn’t helping. Drinking away the pain was temporary, and making it exponentially worse, creating new pain. That’s the last thing I need to do, make NEW horrible experiences and memories. I was over my quota. My mug runneth-ed over.

For the sake of my son, I needed to get control. I never really had any major epiphany, just a bunch of meh-piphanies. If I hit rock bottom, it was either boring or I blacked out and don’t remember. I just started drinking less, less frequently, smaller amounts. I found positive things to do with myself, like volunteering. It's free, and sometimes includes free food and even drinks! I made new friends that gave me hope again.

Awesome, real people who have been through real tragedy, real life experiences. They know the struggle, but unlike my drankin’ buddies, they haven’t thrown in the filthy bar towel. They dust themselves off and try again. They try to give back, even if they don’t have much. They care about people. They know that real people make mistakes, and that’s okay. They encourage people to learn from their mistakes, they support. They CARE. That’s what blew my mind the most.

When you have drinking buddies, they’re not real friends. When you’re not drinking, they have no use for you. When you can’t be their grinder monkey, there to amuse them, they don’t care what you’re going through, if you’re hurting.
It’s just:
“Dance, Monkey!”
They buy you drinks, encourage your shame spiral.
I mean, why not? It’s funny. I’m a funny drunk. Until I’m not.
When I needed help to turn myself around, they cared none for this.
The good-timers.
They’re the “Death by Chocolate” dessert of life. They need to be small doses people. They’re incredibly fun, but incredibly bad for improving your life.
Once I let go, started focusing on more positive things when I felt lonely, life hurt a lot less. 
Eventually I started spending Easter with my family again. Sure, I still drank my ass off. One of our most fun Easters was the one where my sisters and sister-in-law and I drank a ton of Blue Moon beer and my sisters and I were all schnookered and being totally silly assholes, while my brother drank one margarita and we teased him about it. Because: Brothers.
At least I didn’t make any horrible decisions that year. Unlike past Easters, this time I stopped drinking in time to safely drive the 2 miles home, and I felt a million times better the next morning.
Each Easter got a little bit easier, involved a little less alcohol, and therefore self-loathing. Eventually I was able to create a positive life where I felt GOOD about myself, and who I was, and what I did, and what I stood for.

And whattayaknow, it was all without a 12-step program, or some zealot calling me a sinner. It’s probably blasphemous to mentally give god a giant foam middle finger, but hey if there was a deity who could indeed read my mind, I would have been stricken down by lightening long ago. Or at least cirrhosis of the liver. I am just eternally grateful I was able to turn things around before I got cirrhosis of the soul.

I eventually became a semi-decent person. Annoying sure, but usually harmless. I had the confidence to get better jobs, to be able to look people in the eye and tell them they SHOULD hire me. I can be relied upon.

I worked my way up to a data management job, where I met a man who was not only handsome, but wicked smart and a total sweetheart. And he was single. WUT?
A unicorn, right? Well, he was kind of a mean asshole.
Huzzah, my soul mate!
And this man was actually attracted to the confidence of the better me.

This man is now my husband, and after working out a few things early on, we have been together for the past ten years. And somehow he doesn't hate me yet.

Now I almost never regret my decisions, because I actually stop to think once in awhile. Yes of course I still have asshole tendencies, that’s not a newsflash if you’ve read any of my daydrinking, stripper, sockpuppet posts, but now I’m less of a devil and more of a scamp.
Now I can live with myself and my decisions. Now I have the confidence to speak up, blog about real life. Okay occasionally, in between giving my kids toys’ dirty stripper names, but hey, that post was hilarious. And my kids can’t read yet.

Now, I don’t dread Easter. I like it. I look forward to it. I still drink with my family, we did the whole “small bottles of booze in plastic eggs” thing, and smoked and did shots on my mom’s porch, but I don’t even enough to have a hangover today. My kids however? That’s another story. I may regret their sugar intake. I can handle that kind of mistake.

Besides, if they weren't sleeping off being Candy Wasted, I wouldn't have had the time to start this post.


Creepy Easter Bunnies, Spring Drinks and Geeky EGGS

I didn't post anything this week, just didn't have make time. I am usually able to post seasonally appropriate (read: SILLY) things to social media from my phone, but I can't image blogging from my phone. Unless anyone wants to donate thinner fingers for a finger-switching operation like the movie Face Off, but with less Nick Cage. With ZERO Nick Cage actually.

I want to share things here, too, but lately uploading pictures to Blogger drains my will to live, so I hope you ain't mad if I post links. 
It makes me THIS sad
You may be tired of all the small woodland creatures, "signs of spring" flower buds from all over the globe, and a myriad of pastel-colored eggs. And I'm with you. Then again, you might be extremely glad I wasn't able to upload pictures of one particular project that kept me busy for this morning:
Seeking Creepy Easter Bunny pictures.

I uploaded several bunny costume pictures from the sparkly, shiny 70's 'Pennywise' bunnies, to the Twilight Zone-worthy black and white terrorizing rabbits that nightmares are made of, those are my favorite.

I had people ask me to stop uploading the pictures, so I pinned them to Pinterest, link here:


I also pinned several Spring DRINK recipes to this board, called "Spring All The Things" Yes, there are peeps.
from garnishbar.com


In the same board are several awesome geeky ideas for Easter eggs. We made some Adventure Time eggs last year, it was relatively easy following the pictures.

Pro Tip: Use Sharpies on eggs if you can, better color. I have kids so yeah, WASHABLE only, which are crappy.

This year we did some Game of Thones eggs, the kids just love that show. Especially the rascal Lannister family.
A Lannister always pays his debts, and colors everything red and gold, with lions.
House Targaryen dragon eggs, which I just drew scales on with a yellow crayon and colored w/food coloring.
Smile, Raegal!
Speaking of crappy crafting, if you're going to make art with egg shells like you see on Pinterest, what no one told me last year was that you should color already PEELED shell pieces, otherwise you get a LOT of white inside the shell, as opposed to the beautiful rainbow of colors pictured. THIS kind of shit causes Pinterest Fails. I'm on to you Pinterest witches. 
Says "Lola" not that you can read it

Happy whatever you celebrate:
Creepy Bunny Celebration
Overeating Peeps (think Rice Krispie treat Peeps)
Clearance Easter candy next week!
Using robin eggs as lipstick, it works.

If you have those extra special children, the ones that get coal at Christmas, consider the Buffalo Bill basket.
Also good for dry skin.