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Painted Rock Neighborhood

In case you didn’t get the memo (or you never look at your surroundings), we are presently smack-dab in the middle of a painted rock craze. (At least in my  neighborhood we are.)

My son and I didn’t go looking for them. We just happened upon them, a delightful surprise. Actually, when we go searching on purpose we usually cannot find any.

My son found a couple. I hashtagged them and posted them on Facebook, as the rocks instructed. Then I discovered there was an actual fb group for our area. I resisted joining it. But once I made a few rocks, I was really curious if anyone had found them. So I gave in and joined the group.

Then my stress level instantly went through the ceiling. I felt pressure to find rocks. To hide rocks. To make rocks to hide. People were in the group actually complaining because they had made and hidden rocks, but no one had posted them to fb  yet.

DO THEY REALIZE HOW INSANE THEY SOUND?!

1. These are in PUBLIC PLACES. That means anyone can take them. Raccoons could take them.
2. Not everyone has a computer or smart phone.
3. Not everyone uses Facebook.
4. Not everyone knows about this activity.
5. People CAN KEEP THEM. This is an unofficial community game. No one is required to play by your arbitrary rules. The cops are not going to track down the “theft” of a painted rock.

I couldn’t fall asleep that night. This is supposed to be a fun community interaction. But instead I could only feel all the emotions of the people who were mad that they didn’t find any rocks, the ones who hid them and felt they were not being found, and the groundskeeper at a public park who mowed over some. And there are the people who are already freaking out about what to do when winter arrives and it could possibly–God-forbid–snow.

I have not left the group yet, but I probably will very soon. There are so many people doing this now. My newsfeed is filled with rocks. The chances of me actually seeing one of the three rocks I have hidden to date would be like finding a painted rock at bottom of a river. It is fun to paint them once in a while, and to find one when we are out and about already, but I don’t have extra time to dedicate to this hobby.

Or the money. Apparently if the designs are to stand up for any length of time in the harsh elements, they need to be sealed. People keep saying Mod Podge is good for that. I have never used it. My sister-in-law said she saw some at the dollar store, but with this craze it was long gone by the time I got there. It is $3 at my local Meijer store. I already have a large collection of rocks painted and ready to go. Just counting down the days until payday so I can buy some Mod Podge.

The rocks of my son & I, almost ready to be released into the world

Here is a fun fact: If you say “Modge Podge” (because that is what I thought it was called until 10 seconds ago when I Googled it) 10 times in a row really fast in a semi-robotic voice, it will deeply annoy everyone in your house. (Except for the elderly dog who is deaf.)

Go ahead, try it! You can thank me later 😉

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

SUICIDE SPEAKS: Remembering Chester

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Life happens. We have to try to find some way to be happy in it.
— Logan Courtney from Angry Macey

Chester Bennington of Lincoln Park died July 20, 2017.

I own the CD Hybrid Theory. It contains many of their biggest hits. I listened to it often for many years. It got me through some difficult times, as the right music often can. I believe that CD and their others were that medicine for a lot of people.

Upon hearing of his death, I got into my music chest, located that CD, and put it in my car to listen to it. It reminded why Linkin Park is so great. And, unfortunately, the lyrics also reminded me of the pain that Chester must have been in. But that is probably the part that I identified with the most.

I used to think that the highest risk time period for suicide was the teenage years, which maybe actually is the case; I did no research for this post. I used to think if you got past that hell of peer pressure and trying to figure out who you are, that then you would be safe.

But recently two musicians well beyond their teen years, Chris Cornell and Chester, have taken their own lives.

In our society, we are made to believe that celebrity & riches will cure what ails you (depression, relationship issues, etc.).

In reality, it often seems to make existing matters worse.

We are made to believe that if you have a loving family who supports you, you will not take drastic measures to end your own life by your own hand.

But it happens every day.

When someone finds a healthy outlet for their demons (music, art, writing), we assume they will be alright now and make it through.

Chris and Chester have proven to us that is not the case.

Contemplating all this last night, I realized that I will never be able to get rid of my anxiety. It is a part of me, just as much as my hands and feet are. Although, I really wish it would quit waking me up in the morning, my heart pounding and my lungs gasping for breath over some irrelevant conversation I had the day before and how stupid I may have sounded.

But maybe I can manage it and live with it. People with other diseases do it all the time. They don’t let one dark space inside them take over control of the main show.

Well, unfortunately, Chris and Chester did.

So, I’m asking you, don’t ease your pain the same way they did.

A phrase keeps repeating in my head right now. It is actually from something my asbestos friend wrote about success & persistence in a career. I feel like it may apply to life in general as well. It seems as though this quote is also attributed to many famous Americans.

If you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.

I was not Linkin Park’s biggest fan by any means. But I do see the genius in their music and why they had maintained such popularity over the years.

Here is video of Chester literally baring his soul on the radio. It was a very brave thing to do. Hopefully by him speaking that day, and the video of it circulating now, he helped one person to prevent what he himself could not.

My kid has told me he would be sad if I died. I am sure Chester’s six children told him that too. I am sure they were also witness to the battle he waged every day to stay in this world. Hopefully they will remember that and be able to forgive him for his untimely absence.

 

If you need it, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline now.
1-800-273-8255

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

INSPIRATION HITS: Love Yourself Custom Bicycle

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Inspiration struck me over the 4th of July and I just could not resist giving in to it.

I have probably had my bicycle for roughly 15 years. I love that it doesn’t have multiple gears, that it has coaster brakes, and that it can coast for a very long time. But everything else about it I pretty much have disliked from the beginning.

The colors are to die for. As in, “I have fallen & I can’t get up.”

I waged a battle to attempt to keep air in my tires for a decade. I changed the tubes. I even had to change a tire. All I could find was a dirt bike tire, but then that affected the cruisability. Finally, I put in tubes with Slime in them, and got a replacement tire that was meant for a cruiser bike. That finally remedied the problem for the time being.

For five years, I had a small child that I would chauffeur around on the back of it. I never realized how much weight he added (more each year) and how much his constant movement threw of my balance.

Until I removed the child seat this summer, that is. Yup, I got him off onto his own little ride with training wheels. My bike could be just mine again. (Kind of like after you birth them and your body gets to be only yours again, except not QUITE that drastic.)

In the process of removing the heinous decals.

It kept bothering me how much I had always detested the colors on my bicycle. Beige and burgundy? Come on, old lady colors. And I may be on my way, but I am no old lady yet. And the fact that it had sticker on it that said “Thruster”? Oh, please.

I remembered that my husband had said he had painted his bicycle when he was a kid. The idea wouldn’t leave my mind. I knew I would have to do it on a day when he was home to help disassemble it for me for easy painting. So, the 4th it was.

First I had to remove the remaining parts of the child seat, the remainder of a broken water bottle holder, and the dog walking apparatus.

How many people have a bike that matches their hair? C’mon, you gotta admit that is some cool shit.

My husband asked me how I settled on the colors of pink and black.

Um, my cell phone case, my hair colors, my key lanyard, the nail polish bottles sitting on top of the television, my shoes, my Utopia dress. How could he miss that these two colors have been taking over my life lately?

After I got the paint on, I decided it really did need a saying on it, but most definitely not “Thruster”. So, I went with my new life motto and cause: Love Yourself.

I used a Sharpie marker to color the white stitching and logo on the seat to pink.

It serves as a reminder to myself, and maybe someone will ask me about it and I can explain it to them. (If you want to read more about it, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/love-yourself/) Mostly I am worried teenagers will make fun of it. Because I have never gotten over the good ol’ days of getting bullied by my peers. (A rant for another day.)

New black handlebar grips are on order from eBay as we speak.

I did learn a few things from this crafting experience:

1. If your fenders don’t rub on your tires, you probably shouldn’t mess with them because that kind of harmony takes a long time to establish.

2. If you are going to spray paint, do at least two coats. This never, ever occurred to me until my husband had the bike pieced back together again. It would have given it a little more durability against scratches.

3. Consider a clear coat to protect your creation. I love the matte/satin finish of my paints. But the original paint job had a durable clear coat that was very good at protecting the original ugly paint from scratches. (FYI–I did sand that a bit with a fine grit sandpaper, followed by a wash before I proceeded with my repaint job.) I spent a whole day creating a masterpiece, and now I constantly worry that one tip over will scratch off all that I have done.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

Artsy Fartsy Photos: Nashville Edition

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I am still dealing with a Utopia hangover, so I will leave these photos here for you to enjoy.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get the full update on my events, before AND after they happen.

And also a reminder that I have a Goodreads giveaway going for Miley’s story, Be Careful What You Wish For. You don’t want to miss out on that, and it ends on Wednesday!

Without further ado, photos for you…

They don’t call the Ryman the mother church of country music for nothing.

The back alley of the Ryman that leads to Tootsie’s. Apparently Hank Williams used to use this path all the time to go get crocked. So much history…

Looking out from history to the modern day hustle and bustle.

Me touching Minnie’s hat. They don’t open the glass display case for just anyone…

Selfie with Little Jimmy Dickens. Boy, was he hot.

OMG, is that the CMT building??? Do I REALLY have to drive 9 hours back to Michigan now?

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

COVER REVEAL: Angry Macey

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This is kind of a spontaneous cover reveal. I am headed to Utopia in just over a day and I am feeling very energized. I am very excited about this upcoming project that I have been working on for months. It is the work closest to my heart. (Hey, I see you there, judging me. Stop that!) It should be out this fall. No presale yet, but I am getting very close to that and will be sure to let you know.

Without further ado, here is the cover for Angry Macey:

The forthcoming Angry Macey by Jennifer Friess

Everyone feels like they are guided at some point in their lives. But what if you were guided to do something terrible? What if you were too angry to even care about the carnage you were about to inflict?

Meet Macey.

Mid-life crisis. Mental breakdown. Payback. Revenge.

This book has an edgier cover, which is in part due to the subject matter, but also I used a new cover designer. She is Creative Paramita and her website is www.creativeparamita.com. Check her out for all your cover needs!

Oh, and I have another surprise for you. This is what I spent today working on instead of writing. I think it was well worth it ;-D

NOTE: None of these three colors is natural.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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