Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Blanket

And today's writing prompt is: What was your most beloved toy?

For some reason, the first childhood toy that always pops into my minds not my favorite one, just the biggest standout.  Her name was P.J. Sparkles.

She was a hard plastic doll with bright flashing lights attached to her...the perfect toy to cuddle up with to sleep every night.  I guess comfort wasn't most important to me as a five-year-old.  I regularly went to sleep with my fancy mary jane shoes on.  Fashion first, people.

But my absolute hands-down no-questions-asked favorite toy of all time was my blanket.  Someone gave it to me as a wee babe and I clutched it in my hands every night for far longer than was probably appropriate.  It was a white thermal knit blanket with satin trim, covered in Sesame Street characters. Nothing gave me more joy than that blanket.  Somehow it always was cool to the touch, no matter how long you held it.

One day, my beloved blanket came to its end during a fiery battle between my brother and me during our adolescent years.  I have no idea what we were arguing about, but it ended with my blanket being shredded to bits.  And wouldn't you know, I held on to the biggest remaining shred and it remains with me a box in the attic.  Surely thirty-one is too old to sleep with a scrap of blanket from the 1980s.  But is it too old to occasionally snuggle up with a 1980s Pound Puppy?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pine Needles and Puberty

I have a few minutes.  Both boys are asleep (I am now the proud mother of TWO boys...and a few more gray hairs), and I'd like to get back into writing, when I can.  It's just fun for me, and I need a little creative outlet to break up the routine.  However, the current state of my brain is muddled at best, so I need a little help.  I found a list of writing prompts online, and when I get the itch (and time) to write, I'll simply draw one of these topics from a jar, and see where it takes me.

So today's prompt: What memories are brought on by the smell of pine needles?

This one was a little too easy for me.  We never had a real Christmas tree (well, maybe once).  And that was fine by me...I loved putting the color-coded wire branches in the holes on the wooden "trunk".  So, pine needles don't evoke any warm Christmas memories for me.  Cinnamon does.

However, pine needles do evoke very strong memories of 906 Rountree, the address where I grew up as a little kid (until third grade).  We lived in a small white house across the street from the Junior High.  Tall pine trees lined the front of the junior high building, and during summer vacation, my brother Adam and I would spend a lot of time in our "club house" under the pine trees.  It seemed that there was enough room under the trees that we could almost stand up.  Dry brown pine needles covered the ground underneath, along with stray sappy pine cones.

But the real fun came from our treasure hunts.  We would go around the building, hunting for lost items that the junior high students may have dropped or left behind.  And we really struck it rich when it came to locker keys and pencils.  One time, I found this really nice heavy gold pen.  It was the kind you had to twist to open...and I don't think I'd ever encountered one of those before.  Surely it must have been worth at least a thousand dollars.

While most of the trees around the junior high were of the pine variety, there was one truly amazing tree on the side of the building.  A buckeye tree.  I remember going over there with my parents and brother and hunting for buckeyes, peeling the shell off to reveal a perfectly soft wooden buckeye in the middle.  Those were amazing.  I don't think I've found another buckeye tree since then, but I've had my eye open for one ever since.

So...flash forward a few years.  Pine needles remind me of being IN junior high, hanging out in front of the building with the other preteens, waiting for school to begin every day.  Oversized windbreaker jackets, clunky platform shoes, wide-leg jeans, plastic resin rings, and extreme awkwardness in general (wouldn't have it any other way!).  I don't know if it ever dawned on me that I was, suddenly, one of the "big kids" dropping treasures on the ground for other little kids to find.  I was too preoccupied with playing it cool.  And winning at it BIG TIME.  Just kidding.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Bloom. (Plus the most amazing quilt ever!)

Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: Bloom!

Blooming.  Blooming rain!  (said in a British accent)

Not sure why I thought of that.  It's not raining here in St. Louis.  Actually it has been nothing short of perfection this week.  Surely this can't be July!

Back to that British accent thing.  In high school, my brother Adam was in our high school's production of My Fair Lady (side of my least favorite musicals).  He was Cockney #3 or something like that.  He stood around and warmed his hands by the garbage can fire.  On the final night of the show, we thought it would be a hoot if I pulled my hair up, put on his cockney costume, smudged some dirt on my nose and did his bows for him during the curtain call.  I think our mom was quite surprised when he snuck in to the chair next to her before the end of the show.  I tried my best to mimic Adam's walk and stage mannerisms.  I must have been concentrating too hard because the curtain nearly knocked me over as it was being pulled shut.  With a little bit o' luck, I made it out of the curtain call in one piece.

On a separate note...yesterday I got the most wonderful surprise at my door.  My little sister and I were eating breakfast in our PJ's and we heard a noise at the door, thinking the mail had arrived.  But, lo and behold, it was my friend Laura and she was bearing gifts!  Get ready to be amazed at the most incredible quilt you may ever see:

It's all Harry Potter!!  Complete with the Knight Bus, Hogwarts crest, Deathly Hollows symbol and even a "Make Cupcakes, Not Horcruxes" block! Feel free to zoom in on this puppy and take a gander at all the intricate paper piecing she did here.  Just WOW.

And on it the most incredible baby wizard you may ever see:

Bless him, he knows his mummy!

Needless to say, Laura is crazy talented at this quilting business.  (Seriously, look at all these amazing quilts she's made!)    And a crazy thoughtful friend.  Thank you forever, Laura.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Another edition of Five Minute Friday!  This week's one-word prompt: Belong.


Belong.  For some reason, it made the Cheers theme song pop into my head.  "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name..."  I love that show.  Favorite character, hands down is "NORM!"

It also reminds me of cafeteria school lunches.  Once you hit junior high, you're suddenly able to pick where you want to sit for lunch.  How terrifying.  Especially on the first day of the school year.  You're not completely sure which of your friends are in this lunch period with you.  So you sweat.  You walk in and scan the cafeteria desperately looking for a table with people you know.  But you try to look like you don't care.  And you sweat.  The clock is ticking and you're sure everybody is staring at you now.  You sweat some more.

"Oh crap, I'm sweating.  Did I put on deodorant today?" (clamp arms at sides)
"Oh crap, I'm sweating.  Are my mega-bangs falling flat?" (poof up bangs)
"Oh crap, I'm sweating.  And everyone probably sees it under the arms of my No Fear shirt!" (unclamp arms from sides, but just a little bit)

You find your friend in the lunch line.  All is well.  Until you both realize you still need a table to sit at.  And you sweat.  Together.


Five Minute Friday is a weekly one-word writing prompt by Lisa Jo Baker in which you have five minutes to write whatever pops into your head.