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My Favorite Christmas Ornaments

To be truthful, I actually have several favorite ornaments I make sure get hung on the Christmas tree every year. But these are probably the oldest.

Antique icicle ornaments

Antique icicle ornaments

My gramma had these ornaments. My mom had these ornaments for our tree the whole time I was growing up. And now my son watches me hang them on our tree every year. (But he doesn’t get to touch them, because I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him.)

Does it get anymore Christmas than this?

Does it get anymore Christmas than this?

For more on my childhood Christmases, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/12/12/christmas-the-im-not-stalking-you-way-part-1/

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

What I Learned This Week – 12/28/14

This week I learned that the children’s game Candy Land has changed a lot in the last 35 years.

My mom bought my son, M, the game Candy Land for Christmas. I realized it has changed a lot since I played it as a child. I still had my childhood version, sans box and directions, which have been gone for years. My classic Candy Land board and pieces live in my Chutes & Ladders box. I brought it downstairs and laid the two side by side.

Candy Land: Early 1980's vs. 2014 boards

Candy Land: Early 1980’s vs. 2014 boards

The new board is smaller. And definitely not as sturdy. The first time I opened it and tried to lay it flat, I ripped it into two pieces. I had to tape it back together (don’t tell my mother). I understand why Hasbro makes it that way. So they can package it in a smaller box, and sell it at a lower price. I still liked it when game boards for every game were all the same standard size (Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly, etc.).

Classic Candy Land of my youth

Classic Candy Land of my youth

The new game features a spinner instead of cards to tell you where to move your piece to. I get this too. Half the kids out there probably don’t know how to shuffle cards. The other half probably lose the cards, then cannot play the game. Although I did notice on the Hasbro website where they sell a refill you can buy to replace your missing cards. I always liked the cards, because then I could study the candy ones and imagine how delicious they would be to eat.

Candy Land circa 2014

Candy Land circa 2014

I think that the 2014 Candy Land has been girlie-fied. The game board, but also the game pieces, suddenly look very feminine. Candy is a generic thing that kids love. The old game board even featured a picture of both a girl AND A BOY happily setting off on their sweet adventure.  I wonder how many little boys are turned off by this makeover.

I think I am saddest that they got rid of the classic game pieces, that looked very much like gingerbread men. I am thinking my son and I might have to play on the old game board now and then. I really hate change.

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What I Learned This Week – 9/14/14

The weather has turned cold this week in Michigan.

As usual, we have gone straight from summer to winter. Mother Nature skipped all altogether.

This had me thinking of Hawaii. I have never been, but have always wanted to.

In an alternate universe somewhere, instead of meeting and dating my future husband, after college I moved to a little shack in Hawaii. I lived cheap and rode a bicycle.

I didn’t even know if such shacks actually existed there. The other night, on a whim, I searched for Hawaii real estate. The first property I found was only $19,000. And pink!

Hawaii shack

Hawaii shack

I know, very rustic. Definitely not suitable for a husband, wife, toddler, and a lab mix. But, when I was 22, I could have managed with it.

On Saturday, my family set out to check out a cute little camper. We fell in love with it. While we daydreamed about having the means to tow it home, we garage-saled. We ended up at a local consignment store where we often find treasures.

I found a box of old vintage photographs, marked at one dollar a piece.

This made me very sad. All these images of people. These aren’t models paid to be in advertisements. These were real people, captured living their lives. Pawing through the box, I could tell that sometimes there were several pictures of the same person, throughout their lives.

The box of vintage photos

The box of vintage photos

How did they end up here? Did their families clean out a house when there was a death and they were just dumped here? Even if you didn’t know who they were, isn’t it someone’s duty to hold on to them? How can people just cast away their family members?  Maybe i just have that mindset because I have so little family, and know so little about the rest.

It instantly made me sad. I don’t want my picture cast aside in a box marked at a dollar for some stranger to snicker at when I am gone. I want my life to add up to more than that. I want to be remembered.

I felt like I had to give at least one of these people in the vintage pictures a new home. I ended up bringing home two.

Mrs. Nora Hamilton, Jennie Wade, and unknown woman

Mrs. Nora Hamilton, Jennie Wade (Gettysburg souvenir), and unknown woman

The first picture I chose was a woman standing with a hat on outdoors. There is no identification of any kind on the picture. She has on glasses. If you look quickly, she is smiling. If you look closer, you realize that maybe she isn’t. At first I thought she was a teenager. But, the styles of the time make it difficult to tell. She could be in her 20’s, or a youthful 30.

She could be me.

The second picture looks to be of a young woman. On the back is scrawled the name Mrs. Nora Hamilton. She looks sooo young. How can she already be married? The photo was taken by Gibson and Robbins studio in Ypsilanti, Michigan. What was going on in her life that day when the photo was taken? She probably had no children, or they would have been in the picture with her. Where is her husband? Maybe he is away at war, or died on the Titanic, or of the Spanish influenza.

She is too beautiful to be me.

I have no idea when either picture was taken.

I seem to be starting a new collection of old pictures.

I don’t know what I will do with these pictures, but I like looking at them. I am sure parts of their lives were very different than mine. No cell phones, no dishwashers, no television.  Maybe no cars.  But disagreeing with their husbands, trying to balance the responsibilities of a household, feeling passionately happy and deeply depressed–these must be all things that we do have in common.

Right above the bin of vintage pictures, was a little watercolor that caught my eye. I didn’t need it, but it spoke to me. It featured a cat, and I don’t even like cats. I peeked at the back of the frame, where there was a mini biography of the artist.

I bought it.

The artist lives and paints in Hawaii. It seemed like some sort of sign.

Holly Kitaura painting

Holly Kitaura painting

I really like the trees. And the grass. The quilt I started years ago has a similar curly cue pattern.

I looked up the artist, Holly Kitaura’s, website. Look at what else I found…

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Maybe I can retire there someday.

MUTILATION!

Now, to fully appreciate the jingle I wrote below, you need to be familiar with the 1980’s commercial for the Milton Bradley/Hasbro board game Operation* that inspired my parody.

When you read the words below, be sure to sing them to the musical score in the commercial.

Enjoy!

MUTILATION!

You’re the doctor, got the patient on the run

MUTILATION!

Oh joy, won’t this be fun!

MUTILATION!

Cut off all the fingers but ya better leave the thumbs

MUTILATION!

The patient doesn’t necessarily have to be numb

MUTILATION!

You’ll lose your lunch, heave-up every crumb

MUTILATION!

If you check into this hospital, you are pretty dumb

MUTILATION!

(See what happens to idle minds of high school students when left unattended in a computer lab?)

* I am in no way affiliated with Milton Bradley or Hasbro. or any actual hospital or medical school.

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