Gone Fishin’

It’s been a crazy hectic week, and today, I’m suffering from blogger’s block.  So I apologize in advance, because all I have to offer on this Throwback Thursday is this little fish I made in kindergarten.  (Mrs. Cook sure kept us busy with fun projects, didn’t she?)

The photo doesn’t depict it well, but this fish is actually stuffed with newspaper to give it a 3-D effect.  (I think it’s hilarious how many bubbles I had to draw to keep the little guy alive.)

Let’s talk:  What do you do when you suffer from blogger’s block?  Have you ever made a 3-D fish before?

 

 

What happens in Florida stays in Florida…Until Now!

Last week, a friend of mine walked outside and found an alligator in his pool.  (No, not the one in the photo.  His was much smaller – only about three and a half feet long.)  Until a couple of days ago, we haven’t had much rain here, and it’s been over 95°F every day (with the humidity making it feel more like 105°-110°), so the ponds and lakes were low at the time, too.

A lot of people from other parts of the country think when they hear about this, it’s a freaky occurrence, but it’s actually a lot more common than you think.  Believe it or not, alligators are actually pretty delicate creatures in that they have to take an active role in self-regulating their body temperature to stay between 82° and 92° F, or they may perish.  Because it gets so hot here, that’s the reason many alligators are nocturnal during the summer months.  When the lakes and ponds start to dry up, they need water to cool off, and they head for pools.

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I bet you already guessed that my story involves an alligator.  When I was a kid, my Uncle David would sometimes drive down with his wife and kids then pick up my Grandma and me to go spend a few days at his house in Northern Florida.  It was always such fun when this happened because I got to play with my cousins who were like siblings to me, and we’d get to ride in the back of the truck with the camper top and wave to the people behind us. Plus, it was private back there away from the grownups who seemed to always want to tell us to be quiet.

Every time we made that three and a half hour drive, we’d make exactly one pit stop at the Florida souvenir shop along the way.  This was always the most fun, not only because we got to get out of the extremely hot back of the truck, but because Uncle David would spend a whopping 99¢ on each of us when we went inside.  While the souvenir shop had tons of junk we all wanted, he stood firm and always bought us the same thing every single time:  David Jr. got a rubber alligator, and Kathy, Jennifer, and I all got orange blossom perfume that came in a glass orange.  And while I did (and still do) love the smell of orange blossom perfume, I always coveted Junior’s alligator.

But, back then, there was a distinct line between what toys were and weren’t acceptable for boys versus girls, and my grandma was especially not one to allow me to cross that line.  (I was ten years old before more than ten percent of my wardrobe was anything but dresses!)  I actually think every kid in Florida, at one time or another, has owned a little rubber alligator.  (Everyone but me, that is.)

Fast forward a few years decades.  My sister Michelle and I had recently moved into a house with a pool.  This was not my first time having a pool, but it was Michelle’s.  She had actually only lived in Florida for about five years and had only recently seen her first alligator crossing I-4!  (Actually, I’d shown her dozens of alligators, but she never knew what she was looking at if their entire body wasn’t exposed…  Nowadays, she can spot them before I do, such as the one we recently saw in our local Sam’s Club parking lot, but that’s a story for another day.)

Anyway, on this particular day, I was inside, and Michelle was mowing the yard.  I didn’t think much of anything when I heard the lawnmower stop until moments later when she ran inside flailing her arms and screaming, “Help!  There’s an alligator in the pool!”

Well, needless to say, between the two of us, if there’s anything reptilian in the house or yard, I’m usually the one to get the closest to it.  (*Right, Michelle?)  So, while she continued screaming, I was eager to go see how big it was.  She swore it was as long as her arm, so I’ll admit, I did proceed with caution.  (Adult gators are usually between 8 and 12 feet long.)  But as I approached the pool, I didn’t see it.  “It’s at the bottom,” she yelled from the cracked door.  So, you can imagine how foolish she felt when I got the skimmer and pulled up a little rubber alligator that some kid must have thrown over our fence!

(*Don’t worry.  I’m not picking on my sister.  She’s actually the one that suggested I write about this because she thinks it’s hilarious now.)

Time to talk:  Have you ever seen an alligator or crocodile in the wild?  What’s the biggest, scariest animal you’ve ever encountered?

As the end of spring draws near…

…so do the numerous sightings of beautiful butterflies.  I don’t know why it’s so much fun for little kids to trace their hands or feet, but for today’s Throwback Thursday, I want to share a two-part art project that I made in kindergarten:  Feet Butterflies.

I still remember when Mrs. Cook traced my little feet to make this project.  I have no idea why we were only allowed to use four construction paper dots on the toes instead of five.  But I loved using glitter and glue, and I especially loved getting to use sequins as eyes!

I wonder if anyone else that was in my kindergarten class still has any of their Mrs. Cook projects?  I wonder if Mrs. Cook had any idea that decades later, the fun projects she helped create would not only still be preserved, but then posted on a forum where the entire world could see them?

Let this be a lesson to you teachers out there in Blogland…  You make more of a difference to the kids you teach than you may realize.  And also, thirty or forty years from now, there’s no telling what kind of advances in technology there may be…  For all you know, one of your students just might be showcasing a project you helped them with… on the moon!

Time to talk:  What’s the oldest school paper or project you or your parents have saved?  What grade were you in when you had your favorite teacher?  Are there butterflies still prevalent in your neck of the woods?

What Makes Me Smile…

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m going to share a photo that always brings a smile to my face.  As a professional photographer, I always get a kick out of those Facebook posts where adult siblings have recreated their childhood photos into a calendar for their parents (such as in the following links):

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/brothers-recreate-childhood-photos-gift-mom/story?id=28611425

http://twentytwowords.com/adult-siblings-meticulously-recreate-childhood-photos-as-a-gift-for-their-parents-12-pictures/

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/childhood-photos-recreated/

I always wish (out loud) that my kids would be inspired to do the same for me, but alas, they just aren’t that thoughtful.  *SIGH*

Anyway, one of my favorite photos of my son when he was little was one Easter morning when the Easter Bunny brought him a straw that was in the shape of eye glasses.  About ten years later, the Easter Bunny found a similar straw, and I was able to get the same photo again.  Now I can love it twice as much.  I hope the Easter Bunny is able to find this straw again by the time Jeremy nears the end of his twenties.  (Now, if only I can get my kids together to pose for eleven more photos, I can finally have that damn calendar!)

Time to talk:  Have you ever recreated a childhood photo?  Have you ever made your kids recreate a childhood photo?  Would you, too, love a calendar of recreated photos from your children’s youth?

All in all it’s just another brick in the…. closet door?

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’ll share with you one of the ways I used to exercise my creativity besides writing.  When I was fourteen, I loved the band Pink Floyd.  My favorite Pink Floyd album was “The Wall,” not necessarily because of the music, but I think because of the amazing double album cover art inside.

Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” cover art

As I’ve shared before, my grandparents raised me, and they were excessively strict when it came to the matter of me socializing with other people.  But when I asked my Granddaddy if I could paint The Wall on my double closet doors, he was more than happy to comply.  (Looking back, I now realize that was because he knew it would take me months to complete, and in that time, I’d be happy to stay home rather than asking constantly to go hang out with my friends.)

I started in June of that year, and didn’t finish until December.  It was not the easiest painting to replicate because my doors were different dimensions than a double album cover, and they also had panels in the middle that weren’t flat.

At any rate, at least once every couple of days, I had to walk to the art store to buy more acrylic paint.  (All told, I used over fifty bottles!)  But I always went straight home afterward and painted until bedtime.  (See, Granddaddy was right!)

About three years later, I really wasn’t much into Pink Floyd any longer, but I still planned on keeping my doors as they were the largest art project I’d ever done at the time.  However, when my daughter was small, my Grandma was babysitting her once and allowed her to scribble all over them.  And a few years later when my birth mom moved in with my Grandma, she painted over them without first asking me if I cared to keep them!  Regrettably, I only have one photo of my masterpiece, and that photo is grainy and has a glare.

MY Pink Floyd “The Wall” replica art closet

Time to talk:  What’s the largest art project you’ve ever undertaken?  Would you allow your child to paint a picture on their bedroom wall or door?  What’s your favorite Pink Floyd song?