Just Because…

Last week, I was watching a DVD episode of the old TV show “Little House on the Prairie.”  It was the episode entitled “Wave of the Future” where a company tries to turn the town restaurant into a franchise.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work, and after a bit of chaos, everything returns to normal.  The end shows Colonel Sanders riding up in his horse and buggy, and suggesting to Mrs. Olson that he would like to turn her restaurant into a one that exclusively sells chicken meals.

As the audience, we are probably supposed to chuckle, and then go on with our lives.  In my case, that didn’t happen.  I immediately thought back to when I was little and the real Colonel Sanders (not the bozo they use now since the real Colonel is dead) was in all his own commercials. I particularly loved the one where he flew away in a hot air balloon that looked like a big bucket of chicken.  I just knew there was no way possible for Colonel Sanders to be alive, much less entering into the chicken business in the 1880s when that episode of “Little House” took place, and still be alive when I was a kid.  (I know it’s only fiction, but I’ve read before that Michael Landon usually insisted on being historically accurate when possible.)

So I’m finally getting around to the point of my post.  I looked up Colonel Sanders’ birth date, and in doing so, found that not only was I correct that he wasn’t that old, but I found THE COOLEST WEBSITE I’VE EVER SEEN!  (And keep in mind that I don’t even eat chicken!)  If you don’t believe me, just go to http://www.colonelsanders.com/ and let the fun begin.  Be sure to click on every Colonel, and turn your sound on!  Have fun!

More Mixed Media Art

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I submit for your approval, another month-themed mixed media collage I made in kindergarten.  My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cook, would roll over in her grave if she realized just how much impact she had on me.  I loved her so much!

For March that year, as you can see, we learned that the first telephone call was transmitted on the tenth of the month in 1876.  As you can see by my purple crayon drawing of a phone, I am old enough that phones had dials rather than buttons when I was little.

St. Patrick’s Day was of course on the seventeenth.  I don’t quite remember, but I’m pretty positive that Mrs. Cook actually cut out the leprechaun I have glued here.  However, it never occurred to me before now, but I wonder why one of his arms is so much longer than the other!

You can see I had trouble with my twos and my fives.  I don’t think we were actually supposed to write these, but I was just showing off what a smart little four-year old I was. HA!

You probably can’t tell, but the tulip in the middle is made of crumbled blue tissue paper.

Spring of course started on the twenty-first that year, and you can probably already tell that my favorite colors were purple and red.

And finally, we come to Easter which was on the thirtieth that year.  My sad little bunny lost one of his ears being packed in the heat of my Grandma’s attic all these years.  I don’t know if you can tell, but his head is actually made out of a Styrofoam circle that they used to use before “packing peanuts” came along.  (Man, am I old!)

So there we have it…  my kindergarten March lesson.  Mrs. Cook also always used to say, “March blows in like a lion and out like a lamb,” so I’m rather surprised I don’t have either a lion or a lamb on here.

Let’s talk:  What historical fact most sticks in your mind about March?  Did you love your kindergarten teacher?  What was your favorite subject in school?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends!  For today’s Throwback Thursday, I’m going to share what I did for New Year’s Day a decade ago.  It’s no secret that I don’t usually have the best of luck, and not for my lack of trying either.  (I’m half-smiling when I tell you this story.  I don’t really believe in “luck” or lucky talismans, etc.  However, I also don’t believe when some people say that, “You make your own luck,” because you might be trying harder than anyone, but circumstances beyond your control get in your way, which is usually the case with me.  So please take the seriousness of my expectations in this story with a grain of salt.)

Anyway, as I said, I’m not the most fortunate person, and 2004 was excessively bad, if not one of the worst years I’ve ever had.  So as 2005 approached, I happened to run across an article that had New Year’s traditions from around the world that were supposed to bring good luck and fortune.  I thought it might be fun to just try the different traditions, which, if nothing else, might be a fun way to ring in the new year, or at least to make sure the old one went away.

In China, Thailand, and Colonial America, making loud noise at midnight was supposed to scare away demons.  My sister, my kids, and I all got our cowbells and some pots and wooden spoons, and we were as loud as we could be.

In the South, we eat black-eyed peas for good luck.  (And when I say “we” I mean people that are actually NOT me who like black-eyed peas.  I do not.)  In Spain, twelve grapes are to be consumed at midnight (which has something to do with the wine growers in the region deeming it lucky, I think).  In the Philippines, you’re supposed to eat ring-shaped foods to symbolize coming full circle which will lead to good fortune.  Well, the kids and I struggled through a single bite of black-eyed peas.  (My sister liked them, so she was happy.)  We all struggled through the grapes.  (They were good, but it’s not as easy as you might think to eat twelve in less than a minute!)  And we had bites of bagels, Cheerios, donuts, Bagel Bites pizzas, Life Savers, gummy rings, onion rings, Funyons, calamari, and Bundt cake.  (We’re nothing if not thorough.)

In parts of South America, wearing yellow or gold underwear at midnight on New Year’s Eve is thought to bring you good fortune with money.  (Not only is yellow or gold underwear ugly, but it is NOT easy to find in stores!  I don’t know how we managed.)

Someplace in Africa (I believe) had the tradition of making a list of the prior year’s bad fortune and setting it on fire at midnight.  (Of course, don’t forget this had to be done while shoving grapes in our mouths and ringing our cowbells.)

In Denmark, you’re supposed to break plates outside your front door.  (I have no idea why this is lucky, except that it gives you a nice reason to buy some new plates.  However, I didn’t want to break our dishes, so we just bought some cheap ones for the celebration.)

And in Ecuador, you’re supposed to set fire to a scarecrow.  (Again, I have no clue why this is lucky.)  (I had a mini-scarecrow left over from Halloween that we set on the grill along with the burning list of the previous year’s bad fortune.)

Finally, in America, you’re supposed to kiss the person you want to keep kissing at midnight, but I didn’t have anyone to kiss at that time (which was a small part of the entire year’s bad fortune).

So, all told, we spent a bunch of money on silly props, pissed off the neighbors with the noise of cowbells, banging pots, and wooden spoons, not to mention breaking plates.  We smelled of smoke after setting fire to the prior year’s bad list and the scarecrow, got indigestion from eating too many ring-shaped foods before bed, had to endure ugly underpants, had glass by the front door to clean up from the broken plates, and we lost our scarecrow.  The new year was only slightly less horrific than the year before, better in some ways, yet worse in others.  About the only thing we did succeed in doing was having a fun half hour with all the silliness.  Yeah, I’d say it was worth it.

Time to talk:  What New Year’s traditions do you observe?  What’s the oddest New Year’s tradition you’ve ever seen?  What do you do to make your own luck?

Sleuths, I Need Your Help!

When my kids were small, I was a paralegal, and I only did freelance photography on the side.  I shot the occasional wedding and portraits, and a bunch of concerts.  I didn’t own a studio yet, and as such, I didn’t have access to my very own Santa.  So I had to rely on the Polaroids they sold at the mall.

However, one year, a friend told me about a new mall where you were allowed to bring your own camera and shoot from the side as long as you purchased the overpriced Polaroid.  (Obviously, this was way back in the dark ages before the days of cellphone cameras.)

So the year I moved from Florida to New York, I was quite surprised early one morning when my kids had a friend over and we heard a fire truck in our little neighborhood.  We looked outside, and lo and behold, Santa was stepping off the truck to visit the kids in the neighborhood!  I’d never seen anything like this!

I hurried to get the kids’ jackets over their pajamas, then Jeremy ran upstairs to grab his wish list while I got my camera.  I was only able to get about a half-dozen shots, but the memory was captured, and it was priceless!  The only thing that made me a little sad was that Santa kept Jeremy’s letter.

kingston christmas (01)

kingston christmas (02)

Jeremy, Stefani, their friend, Santa

kingston christmas (04)

At any rate, I do have two different letters my son wrote to Santa on different years when he was six and seven.  (My daughter was never so inclined to write the Big Guy for what she wanted.)  The unfortunate part, though, is that I didn’t write down the translation at the time when I knew what they said, and now neither he nor I have a clue what his little heart desired on some of the items listed.  (The even funnier part is that I can decipher much more on either list than Jeremy can now.)

(The reason this means so much to me is that because of my son’s Autism, this is literally probably the most he ever wrote at one time, and honestly it’s probably more than he wrote all year long for most of his childhood.  Besides being Autistic, he’s a lefty, and handwriting has never been easy for him, even now.)

So I’m appealing to all you detectives, sleuths, and problem solvers to help me on my mission to determine what is on these lists.  Below the photos of each list, I’ve typed what it says as well as the translation for everything I can decipher.  The parts I cannot decipher are in red.  If you think you can help, I would greatly appreciate your guess.  Thank you.

The envelope says “North Pole Santa Claus.”


I wont for Crismis (I Want for Christmas)

  1. soos thet tel you haw (Shoes That Tell You How) {Contd. on #2}
  2. fast you run and haw you jup (Fast You Run and How You Jump)
  3. *BLANK*
  4. A new bic with handbracs (A New Bike with Handbrakes)
  5. *BLANK*
  6. Sile Pute (Silly Putty)
  7. A motersicul Nintendo 64 (A Motorcycle Nintendo 64)
  8. a aer pup (An Air Pump)
  9. Lens with a hui on the back (All I know is it is NOT a lens of any kind.)
  10. Laptop (A Laptop)
  11. Monster truk lunchbox (A Monster Truck Lunchbox)
  12. New morcers (No clue.)
  13. New belt (New Belt)
  14. Hot wels (Hot Wheels)

Fofm Jeremy (From Jeremy)

{{Page 1}}

I want for Christmas
to walk eegkece (No clue)
a go cart (A Go-Kart)
a dert bic (A Dirt Bike)
a micro scooter with red wels (A Micro Scooter With Red Wheels)
a pokemon gameboy coler (A Pokemon Gameboy Color)
a kittens (A Kitten)
bowpins (Blo-Pens)
red pochl (No clue)
a toy drep thet you can driv (a toy ___ that you can drive)
a rel fon (A Real Phone)
aaon carder CD (An Aaron Carter CD)
a aaon carder vidio (An Aaron Carter Video)
a playhouse (A Playhouse)
a wakumoke (A Whack-A-Mole Game)
slle sixpines (Silly Six Pins)
pats with a smoc (Paints with a Smock)
a CD player (A CD player)
a hoce stics with a hoce gol (A Hockey Stick with a Hockey Goal)
a playstashin with a rugrats gam (A Playstation with a Rugrats Game)
a Holwen fireman costoom (A Halloween Fireman Costume)
buloonmajic (Balloon Magic)
majicstri (Magic String)
insectorix (No clue)
a moc inchrel car (a remote control car)
ater helcopter piecman (The only word I can decipher is helicopter)
cotin cand ma (Cotton Candy Machine)
plado mickdonlelans (Play-Doh McDonalds)
{{Page 2}}

puppyraser (Puppy Racer)
a resuling math (A wrestling match)
brit lit (Light Brite)
legodinoilid (Lego Dino Island)

Time to talk:  Did you used to write Santa letters to let him know what you wanted?  If so, did you mail them or deliver them in person?  Did you ever live where Santa visited your neighborhood?  Do you have any clue what my son wanted above?

Keep It Simple

I hope I haven’t chased any of you away with my interactive game theme this month.   If you’ve hated it, don’t worry — Today’s the last day!

Today’s game is to Identify Famous People Who Go By a Single Name or Else a Title and a Single Name.  In other words, they don’t typically use a first and last name.

The rules are as follows:

1. You have to include the name of the person and title if applicable.
2. You are not limited by the career of the famous person. It CAN be a famous historical figure.
3. You may NOT repeat any of my examples. (Preferably, please don’t repeat any examples from the comments above yours.)
4. You may NOT use the internet to reference anything. (Please play honestly.)

Alright, now it’s your turn.  I hope that each of you will rise to the occasion and play along with me.  I’ll look forward to reading your answers below…

Tell me:  Are you going to miss game  month?  Any guesses as to what my theme will be for October?

No One’s Indispensable

The theme is interactive games.  Today’s game is to Identify TV Shows Where an Actor Replaced a Previous Actor in the Same Role.  Perhaps the show aged a character over the summer, or perhaps the actor was simply replaced.

The rules are as follows:

1. You have to include the name of the TV show.
2. You have to include the name of the original actor.
3. You have to include the name of the actor that replaced the original actor.
4. You have to include the name of the character the two actors play.
5. You may NOT repeat any of my examples. (Preferably, please don’t repeat any examples from the comments above yours.)
6. You may NOT use the internet to reference anything. (Please play honestly.)
7. You may NOT use daytime soap operas. (That would be like shooting fish in a barrel.)

Alright, now it’s your turn.  I hope that each of you will rise to the occasion and play along with me.  I’ll look forward to reading your answers below…

Tell me… Are you the only person that can do your job?  Have you ever had a job where you were the only person who knew how to do whatever you did?