Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Taylor Swift, Colonoscopies, Candy Crush & Shingles... A winning combination!

What do Taylor Swift, colonoscopies, Candy Crush, and shingles have in common?  Keep reading and you will find out. Also, here’s your chance to dictate what appears on the sign I hold up in the 22nd row at the Taylor Swift concert this weekend.

A photo of me comforting my dear friend, Taylor after
her most recent parking ticket. I tore it up in protest!

Dear Faithful Readers,

Thanks so much for your patience as you’ve waited for new posts to return to this blog.  It’s been over a month since I’ve been able to muster up the energy to write.  Being a mom, working a fulltime job, and having shingles (the viral kind, not the roofing kind) sucked away any and all of my ability to think.  Seriously, I completely stopped thinking for an entire month. 

Here’s the breakdown of how I used my brain capacity over the month of August:

  • 50% - My brain telling me my shingles itched more than thousands of tiny mosquito bites spread across my back and chest.
  • 40% - My brain registering the pain impulses from when I gave into the urge to scratch my shingles.  #shinglesfail #bigmistake  They call them “shingles” because they are as painful as someone nailing roofing shingles to your body.
  • 5% - Candy Crush… I can now boast that I’m on level 1139. (This is seriously the level I’m on.  It’s terribly sad that I’m actually proud.)
  • 5% - Making sure my kids stayed alive.

Upon hearing the diagnosis of shingles, my middle child did some research (code for “Google”) on my condition.  How sweet!  My pre-teen son cared enough about his ailing mother to understand the horrific virus etching it’s way through her body.  When he concluded his research, my sweet and concerned son marched back out into the living room and said, “Mom, I read about shingles.  I think Mother Nature just called to tell you that you’re old.”  #kidssuck

This same horrible child recently researched the term ‘colonoscopy’ because I told him I was driving a friend to get one.  At 25 years of age, my friend was understandably nervous about the procedure.  His response to her, after concluding his Google search, was “So, it’s kind of like someone sticking an iPhone on a selfie stick up there!”  #toocloseforcomfort #selfiestickuses

What does this have to do with Talyor Swift?  Nothing.  I just had no other way to ties these three concepts together. 

All that said… thanks for waiting for a new blog post!

<3 Naty

Now, onto Taylor Swift…

As you can see, Taylor and I like to hang out 
and take black and white photos together.

This weekend the one and only Taylor Swift rolls into St. Paul to play three shows at the Xcel Energy Center.  I’m now admitting to the world that I personally will be attending two of those three concerts…once with a friend and once with my 10 year-old daughter. 

Stop judging me for:
  • Liking Taylor Swift… Yes, I really do like her.
  • Taking my child to her concert.
  • Going to the concert without the excuse of being a chaperone.
  • Going to the concert twice.
  • Paying to go to the concert twice.

If there’s one thing I’ve observed from my career as a more casual Taylor Swift concertgoer, it’s that Swifties (her most devout fans) can get pretty hardcore when it comes to how they dress and the signs they carry.  It’s commonplace to see both t-shirts and signs elaborately lit by lights that flash continuously throughout the night. 

Halloween Party!  Taylor as a pegacorn.  
Naty as a board game ninja.

Well, I’m ready to take a major step toward becoming a full-fledged Swifty by carrying a sign into the concert on Friday night.  It’s quite possible that Miss Swift herself could actually see it.  I need your help…

What should my sign say? 

This is your chance!  Readers, you get to dictate what I hold up from row 22 at the Xcel.  Leave a comment below by Thursday at midnight (I need time on Friday to craft my sign) with what you think my sign should say.  The comment I like best, or the comment that gets the most traction, will be the one I put on a poster board and carry into the arena on Friday night.  In case you are wondering, this is the night I’m going with a friend, not my daughter.  She would be mortified if I pulled something like this on her concert night. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Who's the Dip Now, Naty?

Well you did it!  You obeyed the signs, and I’m so proud of my readers for sending in submissions!  Because I of my recent interactions with signs on a New York City subway, in a previous post I asked readers to send in submission of themselves “obeying signs.”  Before I reveal the winners (there are two) I would like to show you a few of my own. 

DIP (as a verb)… There are so many ways I could have gone with this.  Dipping carrots in ranch seems to be the most obvious choice. 

Dip...as a VERB

And because grammar matters, DIP (as a noun)… In this case, I am the dip. 

Dip...as a NOUN

SLOW CHILDREN… Call me an awful parent, but I couldn’t help but take a picture of my kids in front of this sign.  In my defense, this photo was my husband’s idea. 

My lovely children were very excited to take this photo...
They got the joke.

SLOOOOOW CHILDREN… I took this one of my nephew.  In spite of his belief that he is the fastest cyclist on 2… I mean 4…wheels, he’s very slow. 

Don’t worry! He can’t read yet, so he won’t know I made fun of him.

PLEASE!  NO PETS IN THE BUILDING...My son has the softest hair in the world.  It’s like a pillow pet.  If you’ve never touched a pillow pet you need to go to the store right now and try it.  [Please, please video this experience and send it to me (naty.severson@gmail.com).  I’ll put it up on the blog.] I think everyone should have a pillow pet or an equivalently soft stuffed animal in their possession. It’s amazingly therapeutic to pet a pillow pet. Once again grammar matters, and contrary to popular belief, I think the creators of pillow pet were thinking verb, not noun. 

Thank goodness this didn’t happen in the building!

Now to reveal the big winners!


Apparently, there are traffic signs in New York City that say “No Standing.”  Confusingly, these signs actually apply to cars (which cannot stand) rather than to humans (which naturally stand).  I think the equivalent sign in Minnesota would be “No Stopping.”  Apparently, these signs are placed near bus stops so the superfluous amounts of taxis don’t park or wait where buses need to pull over to pick up passengers. 

In this winning “Obey the Sign” photo, you will see that the sign had been knocked over and now lays on the curb.  Rachel L. decided to do exactly what the sign told her to do. 

No Standing

Apparently, this drew the attention of several New Yorkers who were actually concerned that something was wrong with her. One man even made multiple attempts to make sure she was safe and in her right mind.  Why would an uninjured, stable person lay down on a NYC sidewalk?  When she said did it because it was ‘ironic,’ he asked what ironic meant. She didn’t know how to answer him, so she simply walked away.  That’s life in the big city!

The burning question… Did the person who hit the sign to knock it over stand (or stop as normal people say) their car to deal with the situation, or did they quickly drive away as the sign instructs.  Dear readers, like many mysteries in this world, we will never know.  ***Deep heartfelt sigh***

Winner #2 – Multiple Submissions

Missy V. really got into the spirit of obeying the signs!  Maybe it was because I saw this in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, but this is the submission that made me laugh the hardest. 

Tsunami Evacuation Route

Is it too soon to make Tsunami jokes?  Gosh, I hope not because this is funny stuff.  Missy, I don’t think the top of that pole would be quite high enough if an actual tsunami hit that location. 

Later in the week Missy sent me the photo below. I have a kinship with this photo.  A few years ago I knocked myself out by running into a pole…at work…while trying to make my assistant laugh at me...I subsequently missed two weeks of work due to a concussion #worthit?

Caution! Poles are dangerous!

So, congrats to Missy & Rachel!  You can expect your reward to find it’s way to you soon! 

I’m looking for fun, new dares!  Send them my way! (Terms of the dare) So what do you have for me?  Leave a comment below and I might just take you up on your dare… as long as it’s wholesome and good-natured.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dared to Babysit a Garden... Yard Crashers from Hell

This (and more) is what happens when I get dared to babysit a garden for a week… 
I made some much need yard d├ęcor improvements.

A close friend of mine…let’s call her Olivia (because that’s her real name)…left her home and garden in my hands for a week while she and her husband traveled to Seattle.  Being the generous and altruistic friend I am, I said ‘yes’ right away.  Her only request was that I not kill anything.  Seriously?  It’s as if she hasn’t been paying attention the past 10 years of our friendship. 

I never do anything halfway, and I rarely do things that I don’t find entertaining.  Everything from my parenting style to my laundry folding techniques involve some measure of excitement and challenge.  In a future post I will tell you about a fun, little game I invented that combines laundry and parenting! It’s called “Mom throws socks at kids.”  It sounds mean, but my kids actually love it. 

As Olivia should have known, and, if you’ve read this blog with any consistency, you know that asking me to do something is essentially equivalent to daring me take your commonplace request and amp it up to a level worthy of my admittedly limited attention. 

Well Olivia, I accept your ‘dare’ to babysit your garden … and I raise you one heinous yard crash. 

‘Dared’ to Babysit a Garden...and an excellent ADHD Moment

As fate would have it, my friend Laura recently bought the house kitty-corner behind Olivia’s.  When she purchased her new home it came with a shed, which was fully loaded with woodworking arts and crafts from the 1970's and 80's in various phases of completion.

The Shed

Means & A Plan...Super flattering thumbnail on this video.

When my friend first examined the contents of her shed it was hard to say why the previous owners felt the need to save much of the contents. 

Now I know!  It was all by grand design! It was meant to be used for this very occasion.  I felt inspired.  Click on the video below to see the creative process.

The Creative Process

Before & After photos of one of the gems we found in the shed.

Before: Legless Bambi? No problem! I have a use for that!

After: A little red spray paint (also donated by previous owner) 
and we now have the creepiest lawn decoration ever!

Some of my favorite design elements are features in this post’s first photo, but here are some of the results of arts & crafts time!

I wanted to stay on trend, so I used a chevron pattern
on many of the items.

I tried to spray paint an eye on this deer…I missed, so I made up for it with the 
red paint. Please enjoy my shadow in this high quality photography. 
(Photographer available for wedding as well).

“N” is for Naty!

This deer had a tragic encounter with
this wheelbarrow!

Here’s most of the overall finished product.

The neighbors inquired about our lawn enhancements, and then said (this is the complete truth), 
"We have the coolest neighbors ever!"

Unfortunately for me, I’m writing this post from vacation.  Why is that unfortunate?  Because I’ve left my own house and garden in the hands of a friend (thankfully not Olivia).  Let’s just hope that friend doesn’t get any big ideas.  It sucks to get into a prank war with Naty Severson…I never lose. BE WARNED!

I’d love to here from you all!  Here’s a couple questions?
1.  How would you feel if you came home from vacation to your yard looking like this?
2.  What great pranks have you pulled off?

Leave a comment or dare below!  You have to sign-in to leave a comment.  Do that before you post comment, or blogger will reject you…and you will be frustrated…no one likes rejection.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Public Displays of (my) Ridiculousness...Naty shouting in NYC coffee house & the barista's reaction.

This blog and its commitment to dares has already ‘forced’ me to do some really ridiculous things in public places.  For example, when wearing oven mitts for 24 hours straight, I couldn’t help but take my crazy mitted-existence out into the world for others to see.  When I think about the idea of daring someone to wear oven mitts for a day, it has two primary motivators:

  • A desire to see how I navigate various daily activities and the frustration that results from the hassle.
  • People also want to see how I respond to the public humiliation of wearing oven mitts in public in 90-degree heat. Thank you to my friends, family, and some complete strangers for jumping on the humiliation bandwagon so quickly!


I have to admit the public-humiliation-bandwagon-riders are onto something here.  If I stayed in the safe confines of my house during the challenge (which I could have chosen to do), it would be disappointing for darers and readers of this blog alike… not to mention how boring it would be for me.

Why would that be disappointing to all of us?  Because we all love to see how people react when they watch or unwittingly become a part of unusual and awkward situations.  (I already wrote a post called People Fell Down… So I Laughed at Them.  Check it out.)  Society, nor our parents thought to train us how to react to someone wearing oven mitts in Target.  Our brain has no set behavioral pattern of response.  Naturally, people have a wide range of reactions: laughter, question asking, staring, or wondering if I have an infectious disease… the list goes on. 

When one of my friends dared (See New York Dares...& Blogs that Poop post) me to reenact popular movie scenes during my trip to New York City, I was totally unsurprised to see that ALL of the proposed movie scene reenactments involved me doing something completely idiotic and unexpected in front of large groups of strangers. 

As follows, I'll show you the scene I reenacted (along with a link to the original) and then I'll tell you a bit about how New Yorkers and NYC tourists reacted to me. 

World’s Best Coffee: Elf - Watch the original movie scene if you haven't seen it.

I actually love doing things like this and I often find myself purposefully creating awkwardness just to spice up life. But, in my most vulnerable moments (such as this) I have to admit to some extreme nervousness right before doing something crazy.  #worththerush  Nervous I’d screw up the lines under pressure, I must have watched the original scene 20 times trying to memorize the lines in the correct order. #harderthanithought  Here’s the result…

My Scene: 

Reaction:  Lots of people stared.  The coffee shop was very large and filled with ambient noise, but everyone who could hear me stopped once they realized what was going on.  Why wouldn’t they?  It’s unusual for people to walk into a coffee shop, shout, and then walk out.

My favorite part of this dare is that we recorded the reaction of the barista.  His reaction is pretty great… I think I may have made his day.  Watch it…

Barista Reaction Video:

Riding the escalator: Elf  (This was the most popular movie to mimic.) - Again, watch the original movie scene if you haven't seen it. 

My Scene:
Clearly, Will Ferrell is way more flexible than me

I did not include a video to this challenge.  I think you get the idea from the photo. 

Reaction:  The reaction to this scene was minimal and not funny. Why?  Because I chose an out of the way escalator in Rockefeller Plaza, and the majority of people who saw it (my friends with me) knew what I was going to do and why.  It just didn’t end up being all that funny… hence sparing you a complete video.

Running like a lunatic in Central Park: Friends - Here's Phoebe in the original scene.

My Scene: 

Reaction:  This was a stop and stare moment for everyone who saw it.  As you can see by the expression on the tourists’ faces, they didn’t expect this to happen.  I was trying not to laugh the entire time.  We passed this group later in the day and I sincerely hoped they didn’t recognize me. 

Endless Revolving Door Ride: Elf - As seen in the movie.

My Scene: 

New Yorkers and tourists alike just went around me to another set of doors.   They just wanted to get out of Rockefeller Center.  My friends’ reaction (as you can hear on the video) was to make me keep acting ridiculous for as long as they possibly could.  Thankfully I was hip to their game and stopped myself.

New York Dare accomplished.  And yes, I looked completely ridiculous in public… mission accomplished faithful readers. 

A couple of quick things...

1.  I'm still looking for submissions for the "Obeying Signage" Contest.  (See original post)
Photograph yourself ‘obeying’ signs and email them to me (naty.severson@gmail.com) within the next two weeks.  If you make me laugh out loud I will put your picture up on this blog and you may be awarded a (yet to be named) prize! Seriously, I will give out prizes… and you can take pride in your ability to be funny. 

2.  I'm looking for new dares... preferably ones that don't involve eating unhealthy amounts of food in short periods of time.  Send them my way by leaving a comment below. If you have problems leaving a comment be sure to switch to the full web version.

Looking forward to hearing from you!