2009/12/02

Charming Rules – The Remember When Edition #4

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Since I’m several weeks behind on our Remember When meme, allow me to offer this little fairy tale of sorts to you. And I’ll admit, I was very much one of those girls who wanted a Prince Charming and a happily ever after. I’ve met a couple princes, but the happily ever…I’m still after.

Please link up with Mr. Linky comments below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!

It's always lovey dovey at firstHere’s the deal, boys and girls: I know we all love fairy tales and we all want to believe that they’re for real, but guess what? The only way to mix fantasy with reality is to play by the rules.

Damsel in Distress: The damsel must truly need rescuing. None of that manufactured drama to get a boy’s attention. That’s just game-playing. The damsel must also be willing to be rescued. Once rescued, she must thank her hero and be prepared for the wrath of princesses, divas, virgin hookers, and other damsels when she gets him. This means she must develop a bit of grace and poise. Also, learning all the prince’s favorite foods, games, and ways to unwind will serve her well.

The Charming OneFor the Charming Prince, well he hasn’t escaped with merely rescuing the damsel. No, now he has to follow up with the proper feeding, care, and maintenance of his damsel. This is especially important if he wants to keep her which he should since he likely had to battle a dragon, a giant, a wizard, an evil witch, and a bunch of angry, odd, little men to get to her in the first place. He may have even had to fight off her ugly step-sisters and then had to deal with her mom, step-mom, dad, or perhaps a pimp (if she is, indeed, one of those virgin hookers like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman).

So, once the Charming Prince has saved the Damsel and put her up in a wing of his castle, he makes her comfortable and they begin to decide whether or not the prince got the object of his desire and still desires her. She has to figure this out, too. After all, the queen is likely going to frown upon her anyway since she was weak enough to get herself into some rotten predicament in the first place. Mama Queen only wants the best for her boy. The king is leering at the damsel, causing even further friction between the queen and the damsel. The damsel is also not going to press the prince to tattoo her name or physiognomy on his arm, back, leg, chest, or buttocks. She will not demand from him a larger allowance, cable TV in every room, filet mignon every night, nor will she make him sit through a fashion show each evening where she asks if the bustle on the gown makes her ass look fat. She simply finds out what the man likes and keeps right on doing those things, occasionally spicing things up with an extra bath each month and a bit of berry juice to stain her cheeks and make it appear she is, indeed, ready for his advances.

The prince wants the damsel.

And of course, once the prince makes the decision to keep the damsel, he’s going to struggle with the age-old question of what to do with his last damsel/s. Here’s how this works: If this particular damsel is the sort that fills all the prince’s needs (and saves him right back), he should get rid of the other damsels. He can keep a couple as friends as long as the damsel agrees (she does, after all, need girlfriends for retail therapy and royal bath days). The prince must stop rescuing other damsels during this time, even when former rescuees need his services again. This is due to the very high risk of losing his life in some vicious battle to save a former rescuee. He could be killed by a dragon. Another Uh oh, trouble for the prince!prince. A troll. An evil witch. A powerful wizard. A poisoned meal before he heads out the door. An ambush by a band of charming prince conduct enforcers (which never, ever goes nicely) sent by the unhappy damsel. Or he could save the wench and return home to discover his newest and best damsel ever has decided his antics were those of a fool (he was on a fool’s errand, if you will, after all) and she will pack up her bags, including the new items he purchased for her, and she will return to living with dwarves, trolls, ugly stepsisters, evil stepmothers, blood-thirsty wizards, and spooky trees intent on taking over the world.

Let’s face it, the care and maintenance of a damsel isn’t easy. But if done right, if done sincerely, if done with true affection, the rewards are great. He has all his needs met, he will likely knock her up and while she’s in her indelicate state, he can go out to the local tavern, swig some ales with his friends, slay a few dragons for sport, and maybe she’ll even encourage him to pick up his lyre again and start a new band. She’ll barely notice he was gone.

That seems like a pretty good trade off for both of them. Sure, there’ll be arguments over whose leggings were left lying on the floor and who forgot to empty the chamber pot, but those are common conversations heard throughout the kingdom.

If you were the charming prince, what would you do? If you were the damsel no longer in distress, what would your response be?

You would think this is all too complicated a story to come from the mind of a young girl, but this is the simplified version of the crazy stuff I used to think up. I think I missed my calling. I should have been writing Snowella or something.

Share your fairy tale rules with us in your own Remember When post. You can grab a copy of my photo from Flickr.

Remember When along with us

2009/10/18

Remember When #4: Pinball Wizard

DaGoddess @ 03:24

Each Monday, we’d love to have you join us here and at Fractured Toy. We feature a visual prompt that will hopefully stir you to remember something — something grand or something simple and plain — write what you feel. Just let yourself go and rememebr when.

Please link up with Mr. Linky below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!



PacificPinballExpo2009-24, originally uploaded by ElectrikCandyland.

That was my goal. I was going to be a pinball wizard.

My Pappy (my dad’s dad) had just remarried a woman (Eleanor) who happened to have a pinball machine in her basement. Now, I’d already figured out everything I’d needed to know about slot machines since my dad brought one of those home a while back and pinball was definitely more interactive and challenging. I was ready!

Like everything else in my life, I spent a lot of hours at that pinball table. I learned how to work the flippers with my little hands, how much I could nudge the machine with my body and avoid a “tilt”, and I thrilled each and every time I bested my last score. I was obsessed. I even read the book “Tilt”, which was later made into a movie of the same name starring Brooke Shields. If there was a song, TV show, book, movie, or anything related to pinball, I was on it!

As I got older and Atari games came out (they had a pinball game y’all!), I played those, played other video games (and was pretty good), and basically became almost equally obsessed with air hockey, I never got over my fascination and love for pinball. The clangs and clicks and bells and lights were enchanting. Every game different, but fundamentally the same. I played every pinball machine I saw.

The newer machines aren’t nearly as much fun as the earlier ones. The new have computerized boards and artificial sounds, beeps and boops that just don’t quite make the experience nearly as fun as older pinball was. Still, I played. I just didn’t like it as much.

Would you believe I spent the last few hours of a romantic getaway to the picturesque Poconos playing pinball and air hockey? Obviously, my darling understood my love for him was greater than that of anything else and he played along with me. He seemed to enjoy the games as much as I did, even when I won.

These days, I walk into a room and spy a pinball machine and my heart races a little. Okay, a lot. I’m immediately taken back to a time when I was a little girl standing in front of my first table, eager to play. I approach the game, run my hand across the glass top, whisper a few sweet nothings, and then go find some quarters.

I guess part of me will never outgrow some of the games and amusements from childhood. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

And don’t forget to go check out ElectrikCandyland‘s great photography.

2009/10/12

Remember When #3 – On Record

DaGoddess @ 04:07

Each Monday, we’d love to have you join us here and at Fractured Toy. We feature a visual prompt that will hopefully stir you to remember something — something grand or something simple and plain — write what you feel. Just let yourself go and rememebr when.

Please link up with Mr. Linky below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!

It started with Fisher Price
Music. It’s been a part of my life since Day One. My grandfather played music for us all the time. Live music. He could play just about any instrument. And he did. But at home, I recall our little Fisher Price Music Box record player with the five plastic records and songs like “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Edelweiss”. We also had a regular record player and I’m pretty sure I drove my sister crazy with my endless playing of “Waltzing Matilda”. Of course, that all changed when she got me hooked on Bobby Sherman, the Partridge Family, and the Monkees. Yeah, I listened to all that. I sang along, daydreamed about meeting my music idols, and kept the music playing as often as possible.

Still, despite the records and all, I’d keep going back to the time spent with my grandfather. There was something about the interaction, sitting side-by-side at the organ and being taught middle C, how to play “Alley Cat” (when to chime in with “meow”), and then having little concerts for my grandmother after a lesson. Records didn’t and couldn’t compare to that, but in a way, they served as an extension of the musical education my grandfather gave us kids.

And it didn't end here
Like any kid, however, I grew up to develop some diverse musical interests. My older sister (once she hit her teens) introduced me to Tommy Bolin, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Fleetwood Mac, et al. (At one point, she took me to see Pablo Cruise at the fair.) Then there was my own exploration into rock and I’m sure my parents rolled their eyes as I placed Blondie’s Parallel Lines on my Christmas list, but they bought it for me anyway. Back then, I’d also walk down to 7-Eleven and buy lyrics magazines (they had those!) along with my teen mags and the occasional 45.

Because I had a big sister, I oftentimes found I was ahead of the curve musically. And I definitely wasn’t afraid to branch out. I’d listen to the local college radio station or watch Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and soak up everything I could. I discovered Frank Zappa, Cheap Trick, the Ramones, John Cougar (back when he went by that name and I became a fan of his version of “I Need A Lover” instead of Pat Benatar’s) and a million other bands that my friends had never heard of.

I’d go to dances down at local swim and tennis club (that’s SoCal for “rec center”) and request songs from bands the DJs didn’t know. Same thing with mainstream local radio stations (there were nights when I couldn’t get the college station because of where we lived). I’d call, I’d ask, I’d beg and plead and the DJs had nary a clue. Eventually they caught up. As did my friends. I stayed somewhat ahead of the curve until just after high school, when I got too busy to pay attention. (Notice how I virtually ignored any dabbling I might have done with disco beyond anything that appeared on Parallel Lines? Yeah, I did that on purpose.)

At some point, work (and money) became more important than music. Oh, it was there in the background. I was still buying albums and tapes like crazy, with Cheap Trick and Jimmy Buffett (an unlikely pairing, but whatever) leading the race more often than not. Concerts weren’t a priority unless I went with a boyfriend (to see Buffett, the Who [their first Final World Tour], John Cougar [Sky Show], Simon & Garfunkel [1983...and I was so sick with a fever of 103 that I remember very little of the show] and more than I can recall thanks to faulty wiring in my brain). It wasn’t until I got tickets to see Fleetwood Mac and took my sister (yes, my big sister!) to the concert, that I once again felt that surge, that thrill of live music run through me the way it should. First, it was the fact that I took my sister. Second, it was because I took my sister. But there it was. I had started that concert thing again and I went every chance I got.

At some point, I saw Bob Seger twice in one week. Once in San Diego, once in Los Angeles. Rod Stewart…I could have seen him every night of the week and been happy. The thrill of live music was in me and I couldn’t not go.

I also went to a few concerts down at the old Bacchanal (it’s now a computer store). The best of all shows was Mick Fleetwood (swooooooooon!) with Pete Bardens. The worst: Tanya Tucker. Don’t ask.

It makes me a little crazy to think of how much music there’s always been in my life and how much I have missed out on because of work, finances, kids, or just plain occasional disinterest. But there it is.

Now, music is often at the center of what I’m doing to the point where I’m so busy doing things, that I miss out on the actual performance. That’s sort of what happens when you’re helping out behind the scenes. Still, I work to find a way to get my fix and I’m very fortunate to have friends who make that possible (you know enough people in bands and there ya go).

For me, the real reward with music is being able share it with others. I love to bring music of all types into my children’s and friends’ lives. Even my mom and dad and I (I was going to say “play musical CDs”…as in “musical chairs”, but that’s silly) occasionally share music. It’s nice to have a broad enough love of music where that can happen. That’s what I want for my kids. They don’t have to like everything I like, just as I certainly didn’t go for everything my dad played (Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights and anything Chuck Mangione, anyone?). But it did give me a foundation, as did my grandfather’s big band, ragtime, dixieland music did from which to grow, and somewhere I could return for comfort and familiarity. I want my kids to have that, too.

Boy, when I get down to it, I can ramble, can’t I? And this certainly isn’t as eloquent as I’d like it to be. Whatever. It was absolute free association that drew me through it beginning to…well, right about here.

So what about you? When you think of records, what comes to mind? Play along on your blog and Remember When. Hit up Mr. Linky to add your story so we can remember along with you.

2009/10/05

Remember When #2 — The Nuts and Bolts of It All

DaGoddess @ 00:21

Each Monday, we’d love to have you join us here and at Fractured Toy. We feature a visual prompt that will hopefully stir you to remember something — something grand or something simple and plain — write what you feel. Just let yourself go and rememebr when.

Please link up with Mr. Linky below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!

Nuts and Bolts

There are always all these nuts and bolts holding our lives together. Keeping us from being flung from cars, off bikes, or from falling down from the treehouse. Did/do we pay attention to them? Or were/are we only interested if it meant time helping Dad?

I loved helping my dad with anything and everything when I was a little girl. There was something special about it and it felt like a great big fun secret when we’d run out to the hardware store to buy something, or to the junkyard to see if something else we didn’t necessarily need but might someday come in handy was available.

The hours spent driving around, digging through dirty and greasy-smelling hardware doesn’t really seem all that girly, but I didn’t care. I was spending time with my dad. If I was lucky, our outings included a donut or a milkshake, a stop (that would allow us to linger) to see friends, hot dogs, and usually some little trinket unrelated to the project that was meant solely for me. Maybe it was a rock or a sprocket or a spring or a candybar. It didn’t matter. It was from my dad and it was all about the day we spent together.

One of my favorite memories were of us working on one of my dad’s antique cars. My job was to hand him tools, which meant I needed to know the difference between a flathead and a Phillip’s screwdriver and to know what a hammer, a torque wrench, and a grease gun, etc. And then there came the moment for my favorite job of all: bleeding the breaks. That put me directly in the driver’s seat. Okay, due to my age, it was more like me trying to sit on the seat and reach my legs far enough, but more often than not resulted in me sitting on the floor of the car and pushing pedals. I loved the quick and easy push push push of the beginning of the job. As the air was bled out, though, the resistance increased and I’d have to push harder — puuuush puuuush. Then there’d inevitably come another round of push push push, followed but puuuuuuuush puuuuuush. The whole time, I’d have to listen for my dad’s voice so I would know what was coming up next.

There were days when we got very little done and other days when it seemed like we’d just built an entire car from the ground up. The memory allows what the memory allows.

This was a bit of a ritual with my dad, though when we moved to California, we definitely spent less time together in the garage. Still, when the opportunity arose, I was there because it was “our time” and I didn’t want to give that up. I’d even fight my little sister for the easy, meaningless jobs just to hang out.

Of course, it wasn’t always fun and games. There was an incident. Whilst waiting for my dad to come out and get to work, I did the one thing I was told never to do: I pushed the button that started the car. (Yes, a button starter.) The car started and I jumped! My dad came running out of the house, knowing what I’d done and praying I hadn’t hurt myself or anything around me (the car, mostly). I lied, I cried, I wanted to die. In the end, I got a mild grumbly lecture on safety and listening to my parents and then what passed as a hug.

Life moves quickly as you start growing up, though, and time for working on cars with my dad fell by the wayside as my world began to include things like softball and friends, more friends, and later with trouble. To be fair, my dad was busy trying to keep food on the table and his schedule became crazier over the years.

I miss those days. I miss those opportunities to spend time with my dad, to learn basic car repair, and to be the princess of the garage. It was OUR time and it was special. I never want to forget it either. These days, every nut and bolt and air filter and bottle of oil reminds me of a simpler time, a happier time.

Remember When

2009/09/28

Remember When #1 – The Uniform

DaGoddess @ 04:42

Today is the day we begin our project. Remember When (technically, Remember Whenning, based on something my mom’s friend used to say…another topic for another day, apparently) came about after reading one post after another on Mannequin’s site and realizing that our memories and deep nostalgia can be triggered by a toy or a word or a house… I wanted to share those recollections with more than just another commenter or two here or there. I wanted us to gather together and create something special in that we could find common threads that run through our lives regardless of how different we may be or how different our upbringing may have been. We were all young once and we all have memories or dreams from those days back when.

I do hope you’ll play along. I can’t wait to read your stories and to learn more about you.

Thanks to Mannequin for the lovely uniform photo (which I’ve doctored a bit for my own purposes) and for taking lead this week. Now, on to the races!

Don’t forget to trackback to our posts
and hit up Mr. Linky!

The Uniform

Freshman year. Red velvet vests with gold trim. White wool skirts that barely made it past mid-thigh. Little white dance panties to ensure our delicate bits were properly covered. White-ish blouses with frilly jabots that would have made Shirley Partridge beam with pride. White go-go boots. Red hats reminiscent of some very bad 1970s fast food/disco/stewardess fug. Hose to mimic the very cliché Southern California tan. Even on the girls with darker complexions.

And then there were the flags. The flags themselves weren’t bad, but the covers were yellow (Sundevil Gold, to be exact) and with all the red and white were were wearing, it made us look like we were carrying giant french fries. Oh, the horror!

Everyone wore the same color eyeshadow and lipstick. Black/gray/silver/white for the eyes. Tacky red for the lips.

Hair: up in a bun or tucked up neatly somehow.

Being that we were all in this together, you’d have thought “flag team” would have somehow made us an actual team. But we weren’t. Mostly because of one girl. Kim. She wanted to be queen bee and wasn’t, which pissed her off mightily. So she did what any bitter high school bitch would do: she took out her frustrations on everyone around her. At one point, our captain almost kicked her off the team, but that never quite happened. Suffice it to say, our long rides to and from games, field competitions, and parades were torture if we happened to be her bus. There was always wrangling going on behind the scenes to be assigned a different bus. ANY bus. Even if that meant we had to ride with the boosters (which meant that anyone who had a boyfriend or girlfriend would be under constand scrutiny and the under-blanket-handjobs simply wouldn’t happen until after the grown ups fell asleep).

Ah yes, you knew I’d get there eventually, didn’t you? Band geeks and sex. Regardless of the fact that EVERY bus had adult supervision, there was stuff happening all over the place. Roaming hands going more places than any gnome could dare to dream. Mouths finding things to keep them busy. There was even full on sex going on from time to time. Off the bus? Even worse. If we had to stay overnight for tournaments, that meant hotel rooms. At one point, we’d been put up at a rather large tower-type hotel. Boys and girls NOT on the same floor. Chaperones posted at elevators and stairwells. So what did the boys do? Scaled down the building from balcony to balcony. All for some booty hi-jinx.

If anyone lost their virginity on a trip, it was instantly known. The boys were bragging. The girls desperate to find out what it was like. And there’d always be a way that Kim would work her way into the middle of the conversation (or at least eavesdrop enough to get details) and then she’s make sure the chaperones knew, made sure EVERYONE knew. So much for a personal rite of passage.

There were also plenty of tears shed while wearing very uncomfortable and mostly unattractive clothing. Tears were shed for breakups. Tears were shed when we’d lose a competition (which didn’t happen often, thankfully). And tears for the wins. We had a good run that year and we took more wins than anyone thought we would. There were tears shed as we pulled away from the school for a trip. Tears as we said goodbye to host families and new friends. Tears upon our return. And sadly, there were tears shed because some people were just plain old mean.

Still, when I think back about my time on the flag team, I think of my friend Joy. My dear, darling friend who spoke Valley as proficiently as I did, who irritated Kim as much as I did, who was the only other freshman, and who also didn’t have the stereotypical anorexic body like most other girls did in high school. We were kindred spirits. She taught me to love the Boston Red Sox and how to triple a dose of Midol while also avoiding embarrassing leaks during our periods (remember, we were in short white skirts). I remember, too, the Saturdays spent driving around, picking up newspapers for recycling. Mostly it was me and my dad. Sometimes it was me and my mom. Occasionally, it was my friend Monty and I. No matter who was with me, it was a challenge to get those papers loaded and then drive them up to Sony where the big trucks were and where we unloaded. There was a method to the madness and it took a whole Saturday to do it. We’d be worn out and yet, sometimes we’d still have to head back down to the school and put on a show.

Of the show, I remember with amazing clarity the big sweeps of the flags during Dvořák’s New World Symphony (our opening number). I can still recall the snaps and twirls, the sweeps, and then…the big flag toss that we never thought we’d perfect, but did! I remember the pride in a show well done. Hitting our marks. Staying in step and in time. Those were the moments we were a team. It didn’t take long for it to fall apart after with Kim’s mouth going, but during the show…we were a team and it felt damn good. We were a force with which to be reckoned. We were good.

Still and all, at the end of the semester, I knew I wouldn’t be back for another year. Kim would be gone, but I knew there’d be someone else to take her place. Sadly, my decision not to return meant I missed out on new uniforms (with longer skirts, capes, and awesome hats!) and an extended flag season (two semesters of flag “P.E.” instead of one…and damn that stupid freshman P.E….tumbling? Does it sound like I was into gymnastics? No! I had breasts and hips and would have gone to class with a foaming mouth just to bite the coach on the leg to prove I was rabid and therefore NOT to be trifled with nor to be forced into gymnastics — to no avail).

Of all the various parts to our uniforms, I never brought one home. The boosters had them cleaned after every weekend. The only thing I got to keep were the boots, and those lasted a few years longer as Halloween gear.

Memories though…I have those. More than I can share here. So many more than I can share here.

And there it is, my entry into this week’s inaugural Remember When.

Thank you, Mannequin, for hosting this week. Now I have to start thinking about next. Yikes!

Remember Whenning - a special type of nostalgia

2009/09/27

Remember When

DaGoddess @ 11:55

Our new special project begins tomorrow! Mannequin and I are very excited about this and hope you’ll feel the same.

A few of you have already received an email about what we’re doing so that we could drum up early support.

I wrote a bit about it in my Into the Woods post and now, here are more details for those interested in participating (from the email):

You know, sometimes I read some of your posts and realize how much we have in common via our memories of childhood. We didn’t grow up necessarily at the same time, nor in the same part of the country, or have the same sort of parents, yet there’s a thread of similarity and familiarity in your writing of your memories that makes me feel as though I were there with you.

Because of that, I’m hoping you’ll jump in and give a new meme a whirl with me. It’s called Remember When: Skipping Down Memory Lane. Each Monday or so, a photo will be posted on dagoddess.com or fracturedtoy.blogspot.com and if it brings some memory to the fore, well, please write about it and enter your link on our Mr. Linky. We really want to encourage people to tap into the past and share stories of growing up. You’re welcome to borrow our photo (just give us credit, please) or supply your own. The story needn’t be long. It needn’t even necessarily be in story form. Maybe it’s a poem or a collage or a flash of words strung together loosely. We just want to hear from you.

If you know other bloggers who might like to do this, please pass along this email and send them our way. If nothing else, we’ll be creating a wonderful new community and sharing precious memories. Plus, I don’t know about you, but whenever I write something like this, I save a copy on the hard drive because I fully intend to present a copy of these stories to my family someday.

Also, if you have a photo of an item from your childhood, or something that reminds you of your childhood that you’d like us to use in the future, please let us know! Maybe you’ve found the old Fisher Price Little People Schoolhouse or the Fisher Price bike with a yellow seat and brown spots (was that supposed to be a banana or a giraffe?). Maybe you had a Crissy doll, you know, the one whose hair you could make grow by pushing her belly button. Or maybe there’s a photo of a car, a pond, a beach, a coffee or tea cup, an old milk bottle, or something that evokes some precious bit of your youth. We want to know!

So, beginning tomorrow morning, we’ll post our image and have Mr. Linky all set up on Mannequin’s site ( www.fracturedtoy.blogspot.com ) and we’ll be off on our first adventure. We hope you’ll join us. Personally, I can’t wait to read about your life and your adventures.

So, keep an eye open and join in the fun. Feel free to download the button for use on your site!

Remember When

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