Daily Prompt: Toy Story

Daily Prompt:  What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now, and your favorite childhood toy?

I’ve decided that there is no way I can pick a favorite toy or plaything from my childhood.  I had so many things I loved when I was young.  My sisters and I played dolls a lot and I always loved that.  We played with the troll dolls too.  All the girls in the neighborhood had troll dolls  and we always had hours of fun with those.  Maybe that’s a post for another time!

I’ll try to narrow it down for the sake of this prompt.  I really enjoyed playing with and making Creepy Crawlers when I was a kid.  Does anyone remember those?  Each Creepy Crawler set came with a little metal oven (a Thingmaker) that got hot as blazes and probably could have burnt the house down (and yes we usually played with them unsupervised).  There were 9 metal molds, and several bottles of Plastigoop that you poured into the various molds and then cooked the molds in the Thingmaker to make your bugs.  It was so much fun trying to be creative and “designing” your own colorful bugs.

photo credit: consumergrouch.com

photo credit: consumergrouch.com

The bat and spider Creepy Crawler mold.  My favorite.

The bat and spider Creepy Crawler mold. My favorite.

Whoever came up with Creepy Crawlers was a genius in my opinion.  So much fun!

Gail ♥

 

Posted in Daily Prompt | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Memories of My Father

I try not to be sad around Father’s Day, but I am.  I miss my dad.  A lot. Sometimes I pull out old VHS tapes of him and watch them.  They bring a rush of emotions that flood my soul to the core.  They make me laugh, they make me cry.  I’ve tried for days to write a post about him and for some reason the words wouldn’t come.

My dad (on the left) pictured with his little brother.

My dad (on the left) pictured with his little brother.

My dad died in May of 1994 and sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s been gone for twenty-one years.   I can hardly believe it’s been over 20 years since I’ve seen his face, heard his laugh, hugged him, or heard him speak.  Sometimes I worry that I’m forgetting him– his voice, his face, his mannerisms.  I don’t ever want to forget.

I had a good relationship with my dad and I have no regrets and I’m grateful for that.   He died at what I think is an early age–72.  I’m sad that my sons were so very young when he died and never got to know him.  My oldest son was only 4 years old and he has very vague memories of him.

My father with my oldest son who was ~6 weeks old. 10/31/89

My father with my oldest son who was ~6 weeks old.
10/31/89

My youngest son doesn’t remember his grandfather as he was only 18 months old when my dad died.  I’ve written before that my father  was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer at the age of 70 when I was pregnant with my youngest.  He had a massive stroke on the operating table during his surgery for that cancer.  His surgery, which was supposed to last at the most 2 hours, left us sitting in the waiting room anxiously awaiting news from the doctor, some four hours later.  Finally, my mother and sisters and I heard the words no family member wants to hear– that our beloved husband and dad just wouldn’t wake up. When they were finally able to rouse him, they noticed a one-sided weakness and so they sent him for a CT scan which confirmed he had suffered a stroke.  The stroke affected both his mind and his body and my father was never the same.  His advanced cancer unfortunately caused him a lot of pain and he was bedridden for much of the last two years of his life.  I’ve also written about how I used to lay my bald-headed infant son in the bed with my father.  I remember my dad’s smile as he would lay in bed, stroking his grandson’s bald head and talking to him.  I think my son helped bring him some extra happiness and took his mind off of the terrible pain of cancer that not even morphine could squelch.

My youngest son snuggling with Paw paw at age 3 months. February 1993

My youngest son snuggling with Paw paw at age 3 months.
February 1993

When I think of my dad, the one thing I always remember about him is how kind and gentle he was.  That was without a doubt his legacy.  He loved animals and people.  He taught me that while life will not always be kind to me, that I am to be kind regardless.  It was a life lesson he taught to me over and over by example.  He was a wise man.  I never felt safer than at night sleeping in the bedroom next to my father.  Hearing him snore in the next room told this young girl that all was right in the world…. that I was safe.

As a small child, I remember my dad teaching me to swing on my swing-set.  I remember he kept trying to teach me the concept of “pumping my legs.”  I remember sitting on that metal yellow swing at dusk one night as he was trying to teach me and being so puzzled by what he meant by the term– “pump your legs.”  He sat in the swing beside me and showed me and then stood in front of me and grabbing my short legs, and moved them through the pumping motions.  What can I say, I’m a slow learner.  I finally got the hang of it and I can remember how we stayed outside swinging after dusk and until the moon appeared that night (I remember I kept telling him I wanted to swing just a little while longer) and how my mother had to call us in for dinner.  I can still see the moon shining through the neighbor’s tall trees like it was yesterday. That is such a clear memory for me and one that I will always cherish.  I was sad during my teenage years when that old rusty swing set had to come down.  And those neighbor’s tall trees that the moon was shining through?  They were long ago cut down.

scan0024

I remember my dad teaching me to ride my bicycle without the training wheels on the driveway of our home and in the backyard.  I was scared and I crashed and burned and skinned my knees countless times.  But every time I crashed, he told me I was okay and to get up and get back on that bike, that we were going to try again and we would do better next time.  He was ever so patient and supportive.  He cheered me on and in no time I was riding that bicycle like a pro.

I also remember my dad teaching me how to drive a car.  I learned to drive at Berry Field Airport– the local airport my father worked at (he was a pilot).  I guess not many people can say that they learned to drive a car at an airport.  I loved going to work with my dad.  It was great fun watching the airplanes take off, and getting to explore the hangars, watching the mechanics, and occasionally getting to crawl up inside the jets.  Our dad was a flight instructor and an all around good teacher.  That small airport we learned to drive at?  It’s now Nashville International Airport or BNA (Berry Field Nashville).

My dad at age 16 and the year he made his first solo flight.

My dad at age 16 and the year he made his first solo flight.

I remember my dad taking our family to Gatlinburg, TN and the Smokey Mountains when I was a little girl.  It was in the mid 60s.  It was on this trip that I saw my first black bears and had my first taste of honey.  We ate at a little restaurant on the Gatlinburg strip (I think it was called The Honey Pot or something similar…. I know it’s no longer there).  Each table had a small honey pot with a drizzle stick.  While we were waiting on our food to come to the table, my father drizzled some honey into a spoon and gave me a taste.  I was hooked for life.  I still remember that sweet taste of heaven like it was yesterday and I remember walking up and down the Gatlinburg strip visiting the various shops there  that night after we ate.

Besides Gatlinburg, there were many more family vacations that bring me fond memories.  I still remember the trip to Florida and how happy it made my father to introduce his three young daughters to the ocean.  He had a daughter on each hip and one on his shoulders.  And after playing in the ocean I remember burying him in the sand and building sand castles with him.  Our family vacations were very simple and certainly nothing fancy but we made happy memories and those are memories I wouldn’t trade for all the money in the world.

My dad loved to cook… both in the kitchen and outside on the charcoal grill.  He may not have been the best cook by any means, but he sure loved it and it made him happy.  He had two ways of cooking meat on the grill.  Charred black or rare.  I must have inherited his grilling skills as grilling has never been my forte.  I’ll always remember him smiling and singing in the kitchen though when he cooked and when he grilled.  It’s something that made him  happy.

When I was 15, I had my first car date.  I remember my dad not caring much for the boy I went out with.  This puzzled me and I didn’t understand it.  This boy was clean-cut, dressed very nicely, was polite to my father, etc.  My dad was polite back to him, but I could tell he was not warming up to my date.   I went to my mother one day and asked her why my father never liked any of the boys I dated.  She laughed and explained to me that NO boy would ever be good enough for his little girl.  She told me her dad was the same way, and that most dads were like that.  I got it then. It was funny when years later, my dad took an instant liking to the boy I dated who would later become my husband. He was thrilled when I married him and gave us his blessing.  He loved my husband like a son until the day he died.

My dad and me  August 2, 1985

My dad and me
August 2, 1985

I said a prayer today on Father’s Day for my dad.  I miss getting him a card, I miss spending the day with him, I miss getting advice from him, I miss smelling his pipe tobacco, I miss his laugh, I miss just being with him.  I even miss the burnt hamburgers he would grill out for me.  I wish every day that my sons could know him.  I wish more than ever that their first airplane rides could have been by their grandfather.  It would have thrilled him to have been able to take them up.  Sometimes I see bits and pieces of my dad in both of my sons, but especially my oldest son.  He has many of my dad’s physical characteristics– his thick eyebrows, his lips, and his ears.  And I often hear his laugh in my son’s laugh.  That same son inherited my dad’s love of aerospace and went on to get his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in aerospace engineering.  I don’t think that was a coincidence.

I thank God for giving me the father he gave me.  I am grateful I had a close relationship with my father and I’m grateful for all he taught me.

Happy Father’s Day.

Gail ♥

Posted in Family, Memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Monday’s Question

Question:  What was the last movie you watched?  Did you like it?

My Answer:   The last movie I watched was An Unfinished Life, starring Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Lopez.  I had never heard of this movie which came out in 2005.

an_unfinished_life-front

Stoic and heartbroken, Einar Gilkyson quietly lives in the rugged Wyoming ranch lands alongside his only trusted friend, Mitch Bradley. Then, suddenly, the woman he blames for the death of his only son arrives at his door broke, desperate, and with a granddaughter he’s never known. But even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection.

I loved the many story lines in this movie.  It’s a tale of love and forgiveness, friendship, family, and reconciliation.  The scenery was absolutely breathtaking which was a plus. The setting of the movie takes place in Wyoming but the movie was filmed in Canada. The big negative in this film (for me anyway) was all the profanity which to me detracts from a very good movie.

Gail ♥

Posted in Monday's Question | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

The theme for this week’s photo challenge is “Vivid.” Perhaps it’s your favorite flower in full bloom, a beautiful sunset or the color of your ice cream. Vivid is limited only by your imagination. Have fun with the challenge!

049

048

Gail ♥

Posted in Weekly photo challenge | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mr. Potato Head Memories

I grew up as a child in the 1960s.  Back then, I loved to play with Mr. Potato Head.  But we actually used real potatoes as Mr. Potato Head’s body.  In the 60s, Hasbro was forced due to government regulations to start making the Mr. Potato Head parts less sharp, which therefore made the parts harder to puncture real potatoes.  Also, the small parts were a choking hazard to small children.  So in 1964, Hasbro came out with the plastic Mr. Potato head and other plastic veggies.

original 1952 Mr. Potato Head Funny Face Kit From Wikipedia

original 1952 Mr. Potato Head Funny Face Kit
From Wikipedia

Vintage plastic Mr. Potato Head toys  photo from eBay

Vintage plastic Mr. Potato Head toys
photo from eBay

I never thought the plastic potato body was as much fun to play with.  I preferred using a real potato for the body.  I still remember the day I ordered my box of Mr. Potato Head parts from Hasbro from the back of a magazine.  I still have them… and the box they came in.  In this box were various eyes, mouths, noses, ears, and bodies to stick into the potatoes.  And there were various accessories like eyebrows, mustaches, pipes, eyeglasses, hats, and shoes.

016

029

030

It was fun coming up with my own unique creations.  I played with Mr. Potato Head quite a bit during my childhood days and he kept me easily entertained for hours.  One day, while in the middle of playing, I slid my Mr. Potato Head creation into a shallow, lidless box under my bed.  I’m sure my goal was to pull him back out a short time later to continue on with my masterpiece.  And yes, you guessed it, I forgot about that potato under my bed.

Fast forward a few weeks.  My mother was in my bedroom and walking by the bed when she just about swore that something reached out and grabbed her around the ankle.  We laughed about that for years.  She lifted the bedspread to get a closer look, and there under the bed (much to her surprise and horror I’m sure) was a wrinkled, brownish gray potato with over 2 foot long cream-colored sprouts which were winding and curving all over the place.  My mother never let me forget that day and how she had pulled that highly decorated and sprouting potato out from underneath my bed.   The things kids do.

Why in the world that potato didn’t stink to high heaven, being under that bed all those weeks, I’ll never know.

Gail ♥

Posted in Childhood memories | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monday’s Question

Question:  What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?  The last thing that made you cry?  

My Answer:   I was watching my kittens, Nugget and Dakota, today (actually they just turned a year old so technically, they aren’t kittens anymore but I still think of them as such because they’re so darn cute and funny).  Nugget went behind the door and Dakota didn’t know about it.  As unsuspecting Dakota walked by the door, Nugget jumped out and pounced, sending Dakota soaring straight up into the air.  The looks on both of their faces was so hilarious I about fell over laughing.  I wish I could have captured that on video.

The last thing that made me cry was last night when I was watching old episodes of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.  Those of you who know me well know how obsessed I am with this show and how much I STILL love to watch the DVDs.  I watched the episode called “Brother’s Keeper,” where Ingrid, who played Matthews fiancé, gets bitten by a rabid dog and who dies of rabies a month or so before their wedding.  I’ve seen the episode several times and it gets to me every time.  I think the acting was superb in this episode.  DQMW covered serious topics very near and dear to my heart and even though it was a period drama, the topics are still very pertinent today.

What about you?  What’s the last thing that made you laugh?  Cry?

Gail ♥

Posted in Monday's Question | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Things I’m Loving These Days

1.  Coconut Oil and Coconut Manna

I’ve finally made the switch from cooking with corn oil to coconut oil.  I’m one of those who loves coconut in everything and can eat the oil plain right out of the jar (coconut oil is a solid at room temperature).  The benefits of coconut oil are endless it seems (maybe that will be a topic for another blog post).  The Nutiva virgin organic coconut oil is 100% less cholesterol than butter!  Besides cooking, I’ve read that it’s great for hair, skin and nails.  I now put it in my coffee.  Coconut Manna contains the “meat” of the coconut which has been pureed.  It’s actually the same thing as coconut butter, just renamed.  This stuff is delicious!  I eat a tablespoon of it daily.  It’s also good in smoothies, sauces, and oatmeal.

coconut oil coconut manna

2.  Watching Golden Girls DVDs

This show is so hilarious and never fails to make me laugh.  I think I like it more now than I did when I watched it back in the 80s.  Maybe because I’m a golden girl myself now!  :)

golden-girls-dvd

3.  Rereading the Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I don’t think I will ever tire of rereading these, and besides, it’s fun reliving my childhood.

BoxSetHardback

4.  Mosaic owl night-light

I came across this little gem in Gatlinburg last fall.  My sweet mother-in-law purchased it and gave it to me for Christmas.  I’m loving it in my living room…. it has the perfect ambiance but is equally pretty when it’s not on too.

058

5.  Latest pig mugs in my kitchen pig collection

My mother-in-law found this mug at Cracker Barrel.  Too cute!!

014

My friend Abby, who knows I collect pigs,  gave this mug to me last Christmas (we were both born in the year of the pig). I love the size!

038   037

Gail ♥

Posted in Things I'm Loving These Days | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments