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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

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Smart Phones? Should Call’ em Anxiety Phones

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Smart phones are like the absolute worst thing for people suffering from abnormally high levels of anxiety.

Landline phones were immune from such worries. When your phone connected to the wall by a cord, your only concern was whether someone would pick up on the other end and if you actually wanted them to.

That was a ROTARY phone I was talking on. Just try to explain THAT to your children nowadays...

That was a ROTARY phone I was talking on. Just try to explain THAT to your children nowadays…

Then came cordless phones. You could take the receiver into the bathroom with you. But that introduced the phenomenon of dying or dead batteries and the hassle of recharging.

People were not satisfied with only talking cordlessly within their own home. Oh, no. They needed to be able to talk that way EVERYWHERE.

My first cell phone was a Tracfone prepaid. I had to remember to buy a card for my minutes. I had to remember to charge it. I had to remember to put in the ROAMING CODE. I had to remember that I had it, because, well, I really didn’t use it that often. I had to worry about misplacing my phone and losing my charging cord.

As phones got wiser, then I was always running out of text messages (I used to purchase them in 200 message blocks-ha).

Then phones got smart. Except I am always a few steps behind the current technology. I not only have to worry now about keeping the battery charged, I have to worry having software up-to-date enough to access Cozi, Facebook, and my email. I have to manage my high speed internet usage lest I get decelerated. I have to fret about whether ABC will air the season finales I must see before my free Hulu trial expires. I have to consider whether I am on Wifi or 4G LTE depending on what tasks I want to perform.

And buying a new phone! You have to get your screen anti-scratch coated, a new snazzy case, transferring apps from one phone to another, finding a micro-SD card with always more gigs and one that is not corrupted.

My husband and I both have killed phones by subjecting them to too much moisture. But I may have thwarted that issue this time. My phone is reasonably water-resistant & it has a water-resistant case on it. Water-resistant X 2 = Waterproof, right???

Sometimes I am more concerned about if my phone has an adequate charge than if my son has had dinner yet. And don’t get me started on if my GPS setting has changed itself to battery-draining “high accuracy” again on its own without my permission.

But there is always the young boy. I worry he will drop it, change my wallpaper, erase my apps (all things, by the way, he has done in the past). Or worse, he might put it into one of his flour-heavy “experiments.” Just as long as the experiment doesn’t involve “will it float in the toilet”, I guess worse things could happen to it…

..Like blowing away in a tornado, falling into a live volcano, being eaten by a flying shark. Ahhhhh! It is just too much to bear. Maybe I should go back to a cord in the wall. Then I wouldn’t have to feel like I needed to look at my phone all the time to check for missed calls or text messages.

But I won’t do that.

Ill Communication-Official

Even though sometimes cell phones frustrate me to no end and make me just want to smash it (my husband has done that, by the way), I won’t give it up. Because they are just so fun to play with and waste time. And the only game I have on mine is alienSwarm, a sort of imitation Galaga.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

What I Learned This Week – 1/5/13 (oops) 2014

This week I learned that something has been lost in this time of social media pandemonium.

And I believe Hallmark would agree with me.

My birthday was this week. I remember when people actually went to the store, carefully spent time hand-picking a greeting card for you that semi-suited your personality, forked over hard-earned cash at the register, then had to actually know your physical address to mail the card, adding a stamp also purchased with hard earned money.

A few days later, you received this wonderful declaration of how much someone loved you, with colorful ink, heartfelt words, and maybe a fart joke imbedded on card stock inside an envelope.

Those days were WONDERFUL!

I LOVED those days!

One of my favorite greeting cards of all time featured these words and graphics

One of my favorite greeting cards of all time featured these words and graphics

And some people just like to get cards because they expect cash or check or a giftcard inside. But that isn’t me. It was always the thoughtfulness behind the card that I liked most.

I would get birthday cards as a kid, and set them around the house to enjoy them long after opening the envelope.

Greeting cards have slowly been replaced by electronic email cards, email, texts, etc.

This year I got no cards in my mailbox for my birthday. I blame that on 4 things.

1. I am an adult now. (Kids always get more birthday cards than adults.)

2. My birthday is next to 2 major holidays. (So they could just be late getting here in the mail.)

3. Facebook is destroying the greeting card industry. (More on this in a minute.)

4. No one loves me.

The wise rainbow knows all.

The wise rainbow knows all.

People so willingly enter their birthdays into Facebook, then on their birthday it will remind all their friends to wish them a “Happy Birthday”.

I’m sorry, but this feels like cheating to me.

I don’t give Facebook my birthday for several reasons. One of them being on my birthday, I don’t want hollow birthday wishes. I totally admit that some of my facebook friends are more acquaintances than my besties. And this is fine.

But is it wrong of me to still feel like someone should put a little effort into wishing someone else a happy birthday? I admit, I am lax in this department as well. But some of my Facebook friends don’t even know my physical address or in what city I live in.

Even MY MOM didn’t get me a birthday card this year. Ugh.

Not to diminish the wishes of those who did wish me a happy birthday via Facebook.  Thank you.  For without those wishes, I would have had no wishes at all.  (And my dear mother-in-law who left me a voicemail.  She is a consistent listener to the audio-version of my blog, so I better give her a shout out.)

I am just a person who likes to hold on to the old ways. 2013 was the first year that I went electronic with my personal organizer and address book. It may be another 5 years before I embrace this Facebook birthday thing.

Which, by then, Facebook will be replaced with some other media with a goofy name.

THE QUARANTINE

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!


I live in a small town in Southeastern Michigan called Adrian. While it is small by New York, Chicago, Detroit standards, approximately 44,600 people live here and it is the county seat. So then, you would think, when they make major road construction plans that they would make sure there is still a way in and out of the city that isn’t blocked.

A map of Adrian showing the construction projects of 2012, as compiled by me.


Think again. Great government minds at work.

You also have to realize that there are small towns around Adrian that have no Walmart, Meijer, Lowes, or Spotted Cows. Hence, people come from far and wide (Blissfield, Riga, Deerfield, Palmyra) to go to Adrian (when they don’t feel like driving to Toledo or Ann Arbor).

Now, to get to Adrian from the East, you have to cross the River Raisin. The River Raisin is no ordinary river. Ripley’s Believe It or Not deemed it the most crooked river in the world. (Or so they tell students in the local high school science classes.) There are a limited number of bridges to cross the River Raisin from the East. (This is really inconvenient when the river floods and closes several of them.) The main crossing between Blissfield and Adrian and the most convenient is in Palmyra. Which is now a one lane bridge due to construction. It has been since, like, April. No end in the forseeable future. My brother-in-law even contacted the Michigan Department of Transportation via Facebook to ask if they would be finished soon. They only answered that they were on schedule. And that means our grandchildren will have a new bridge?

A map of Lenawee County showing all the 2012 construction projects, that I gathered myself.


Many locals take a road north of the Palmyra bridge construction to get into Adrian. Or they did. Until they started resurfacing that road, going so far as to close it completely some days.

This leaves only a southern detour to get to Blissfield, even involving a stretch of gravel road.

My asbestos friend, in utter frustration trying to reach the grocery store recently, texted me that Adrian must be quarantined, because it was almost impossible to get to it.

I laughed very hard and realized she was totally right. My husband doesn’t get it.

This summer’s construction has been really miserable and it isn’t anywhere near over as they begin new projects every day. IN OCTOBER!!!!!

We have 2 seasons in Michigan–Winter and Construction. Winter is here. It is time for Construction to END!

Damn right!

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

I thought they would have found the missing boys by now

I had my son the day after Thanksgiving, 2010. We were in the hospital for four days. I felt like I was on a vacation for those four days. A vacation where they cut you open, remove a person, don’t let you sleep or leave the room. As you can guess, I lost touch with the outside world over that long weekend.

The missing Skelton boys


So when I got home, I was surprised to hear about this big story in the local news that was in full swing. A father had failed to return his three sons to their mother on the day after Thanksgiving in Morenci, Michigan. Pictures of the three boys angelic faces were plastered all over the news and businesses. The father gave some bull-shit story about giving them to some woman and that they were safe. Big groups of volunteers searched the rural farm country and woods near Morenci. My husband’s best friend was one of them. But not a trace was found. I was concerned for my husband, because he goes deer and turkey hunting in that area. I didn’t want him to be the one to discover their bodies in some secluded wooded spot. But he hasn’t gone hunting since my son was born. (My husband has been a little busy nurturing our offspring.)

Andrew Skelton


The police department has since declared the case a homicide investigation. In lieu of finding the bodies, the father was charged with kidnapping. I know cases can go unsolved indefinitely, but…I thought they would have found the missing boys by now. Whose “they”? Anyone. The police, a farmer, a concerned citizen. It is coming up on two years since they went missing. That is two spring plantings. That is almost two harvests. That is several hunting seasons. Floods. Drought. It seems like something should have unearthed them BY NOW! I can understand one body laying undiscovered, but three?

Alexander Skelton


I wanted to write about this case because it bothers me that it is still unsolved, as I’m positive it bothers the Skelton boys’ mother, family, and anyone who heard and remembers the news story. (Obviously it doesn’t bother the ass-hole dad who isn’t talking.) This story makes me feel all (to quote Phoebe Buffay) floopy inside. In a bad way. I believe it might be because it could have just been another news story to me. Except at a time when I was just bringing a life into the world and just beginning to learn to be a parent, all that was ripped away from someone else–threefold. So, read my blog, take a good look at their pictures. If you see anything suspicious with three kids that look like them, report it. If you have lots of land or unused outbuildings, give them a look. Especially if you live in Lenawee County, Michigan or nearby Fulton County, Ohio.

Tanner Skelton


Here is a link to the Facebook page dedicated to finding the boys: Missing ~ Skelton Brothers, Morenci, Michigan

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

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