Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ted and the Toy Box

While many of us may have wished that our dolls or stuffed animals could come to life when we were children, we probably never imagined they would stay with us into adulthood. In "Ted", the title character transforms from a fuzzy and friendly Teddy Bear into a pint-size bad boy spewing foul language in his now deep voice. (And it's darn funny!) He and Mark Wahlberg are best friends forever, so it got me thinking about my favorite toys growing up. The first one I really remember was Baby Alive. I don't think I was hooked on it simply because it was the hottest doll at the time. It was my fave, because I could play jokes on my relatives! I remember one Christmas we were visiting Boston (where my family is from and incidentally, where "Ted" takes place) for Christmas. I might have been five years old. I went up to my Aunt Valerie and said "Baby Alive wants to sit on your lap." She said "Oh, that's so sweet." What she didn't realize is that I had just fed Baby Alive her bottle and this doll was so amazing that it actually peed!!! Yes, it peed on her lap! I thought it was hilarious. Sorry, Aunt Valerie!!! Apparently, I've always been a jokester. I, of course, was a HUGE Barbie fan. I mean, what little girl wasn't? I had the Barbie Corvette, Barbie Townhouse and the Barbie Airplane. I didn't think about it then, but dang! How did Barbie get so rich??? Anyway, when I was seven, we moved from Hermosa Beach, California to Malibu. We were moving from a house with an enclosed garage into an apartment, so we were getting rid of some stuff. I remember thinking "I'm seven years old. I'm too mature for Barbie now. So, I gave them all to my Aunt Nancy's friend's daughter. In hindsight, I wish I had kept them another couple years. It's ok though, because now, I have four little nieces I can play Barbies with! I had two beanbag dolls that I had gotten when I was really little - they had hard heads and beanbag bodies. One had an orange outfit, one had yellow. My plan was to keep them and hand them down to my future daughter or daughters; however, I'm sad to say that will never happen. I can laugh about this story now, but I was NOT happy at the time. When I was maybe eight or nine, my dad took my older brother out to Gorman to ride motorcycles. I wasn't around when this conversation happened, but my dad apparently asked my brother if he had anything for target practice. I guess they were shooting bebe guns. Now, in my brother's defense, I'm not sure that he knew I was planning on keeping those dolls and I had grown out of them, but still! My bro says "Yeah, let's take these dolls." When I found out, I was PISSED! THEY SHOT MY DOLLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY?????????????????? Don't worry. I'm all right. I'm over it now. If only I could have made his G.I. Joe dive off a skyscraper onto a freeway. KIDDING! When I was a little bit older, my Aunt Nancy gave me a Pot Belly Koala Bear - a big, soft, squishy bear. I LOVED it. I slept with it every night. When I was in junior high school, my aunt died from breast cancer and I continued sleeping with it, because it reminded me of her. I'm pretty sure I had it through college, but unfortunately, it fell apart. Oh, I had a really unique name for it too. I called it "Koala." All in all, I was more of a game person than a doll and stuffed animal person growing up. Clue, Life, Sorry!, Yahtzee and my all-time favorite... CANDYLAND! In college, I did my field study at an elementary school and always tried to sneak in a game of Candyland. Even the kids would be sick of it, but not me! I was a freak about video games too. Every year, my Aunt Mal (all my aunts are getting a mention in today's blog!) would ask me and my brother for a Christmas Wish List. She would get us each a bunch of separate gifts (she's VERY generous) and one gift that we could share. One year, we asked for the PacMan handheld game. We wanted it sooooooooooooo badly. The gifts always arrived early and would sit under the tree until the 25th. My mom was working at the time and we were old enough to stay home by ourselves. We opened the gift at the beginning of our winter break and played it all day every day when Mom was at work, then we'd wrap it back up again before she got home. By the time we opened it on Christmas Day, we were tired of playing it! My Mom was puzzled, because she thought we'd be super excited to get it. I don't think we ever told her or our aunt what we did. I guess they'll know now! And by the way, I still play Ms. PacMan when I go to the car wash and I always get the high score. Now, here's when I have to defend that statement. Some of my friends give me a hard time saying that they disconnect the machine every night and clear the high score... BUT I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT. In my mind, I am the Ms. PacMan Master. Unlike Mark Wahlberg in "Ted" though, I wouldn't want Ms. PacMan to move in with me, because she'd eat me out of house and home! OK, now it's YOUR turn to share. What toys do YOU remember most???

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

People Like Us: The Importance of Unimportance

I recently saw "People Like Us" and though I'm not convinced the characters are like ME, I am a fan of the six rules of life that Chris Pine teaches to Elizabeth Banks' young movie son. I'll give you the six, so you can take a look, but my personal favorite is number three. 1. If you like something, because you think other people are going to like it, it’s a sure bet that no one will. 2. Most doors in the world are closed, so if you find one that you want to get into, you damn well better have an interesting knock. 3. Everything that you think is important isn’t. Everything that you think is unimportant is. 4. Don’t shit where you eat. 5. Lean into it. The outcome doesn’t matter. What matters is that you were there for it, whatever ‘it’ is - good or bad. 6. Don’t sleep with people, who have more problems than you do. I relate to number three, because I feel like so many people in this world spend oodles of time stressing and worrying about things that, in the grand scheme of things, are NOT important. They stay up nights freaking out about things that are out of their control, and what may be worse is that they waste other people's time talking about it and talking about it and talking about it. Shut up already! I'm sure we've all had someone special in our lives suffer from or die of cancer or another terrible disease. We know people, whose children were born with a serous medical issue. Making the most of every single day while we can and making our relationships the best they can be? That's important. Focusing on the fact that a seemingly great guy, who asked for your number in a bar hasn't called you? NOT important. Making sure that your family has enough food to eat? Important. Getting that promotion that would have allowed you to buy that snazzy new Mercedes you've been eyeing? Not important. We all wish our lives could be better in one way or another. Trust me - I'm right there with you. But I think we all need to take a step back, remove ourselves from our own little world for a bit, and REALLY think about what's important in our lives. At the end of your life, what will matter the most???