A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Vacation Time!

         Since I'm on vacation for a few weeks, my plan is to limit my blogging to some extent.   There will be a few posts at Tossing It Out, but on Wrote By Rote I'll likely go dormant until I return home.

         Of course if I really have something big to say or am finding that I have more time for blogging than I had expected, then I might post here and there on this blog.  Don't count on it though.   When I'm not driving for extended periods I'll be enjoying time with my family members.

          Whatever the case may be, have a wonderful summer.    You can expect me back here probably on August 20th or so.  See you then--or whenever I get an urge to post on this site.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Candy Apply Red (Soundtrack of my Life)

          Oh, to be a kid again!  Though that would present the other challenges of adolescence and adulthood.   Would I really want to live my life over again?   Perhaps if I could edit out all the bad parts and just leave in the good.  But then what kind of life would that be?   I've had a pretty darn great life as far as I'm concerned so maybe those bad parts were necessary to appreciate the good parts.  Still, it's fun to think back on the good times.

         In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series. Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now. I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.  For my current back to the past post, I'm using the song "Candy Apple Red" by Robbin Thompson as my inspiration.  If you like you can listen as you read the story that follows...

Candy Apple Red

        When my family moved from San Diego, California to Crown Point in the northwestern corner of Indiana, I was just entering junior high as they called it back then.  Going into seventh grade was a huge transition as now instead of one teacher all day as we had in elementary school, now we had a teacher for each class and we would move around from room to room throughout the day.  It was almost like being in high school except that we were still like little kids in many ways.  I guess that's why they called it junior high school.   We were kids getting ready for those last few years before graduation and then on to college or whatever life was holding in store for us.

         The biggest change about moving to Indiana was the weather.  In San Diego the year round moderate weather made being outdoors a kid lifestyle.   So much time was spent riding bikes, playing games, prowling the neighborhoods, and roaming the still wild canyons that surrounded our neighborhoods.   Maybe there was some kind of law that said that kids had to spend at least eight hours a day outdoors--well it might have seemed like it, but perhaps it was just a natural law.  Not often did I as a kid want to stay cooped up in the house all day when there were so many amazing things to do outside.

          Of course I had my indoor activities that I liked to do sometimes.   We played cards and board games.  We might amuse ourselves making prank phones calls.  It seemed like I watched several movies on television each week in addition to some of my favorite programs.   I spent hours reading--I loved to read back then perhaps more so than I do now.  And there was my stamp collection.  My sister, some friends, and I all collected stamps and that activity could keep us entertained for hours.  Looking back on everything we did back then I'm thinking that days must have been longer back then.  I don't think the Earth was spinning more slowly, but I guess a kid's perception of time sees minutes, hours, and days from a far different perspective than an adult does.

         The relocation to Crown Point didn't alter my desire to be outside and about my environment, but sometimes the weather curtailed such activities.  Those heavy northern Indiana snows were fun to play in for a while, but after a while the cold would become unbearable causing us to seek the warmth and comfort of indoors.  Books, games, stamp collections, and television were still on the agenda,  Then came another interest for me--model building.

          Being older I could do certain things better like reading and following instructions and being more intricately creative.  I was ready to take on the challenge of those boxed models I would find in the variety store.  Initially I was drawn by the allure of the classic monster models made by Aurora.  The selection was limited so soon I had them all.  I had done a pretty decent job assembling and painting these models and displayed them proudly throughout my bedroom.  Eventually I was ready to move on with other model kits, starting first with inexpensive simple airplanes and ships.  Then came car models.

           Those car models presented a very different and new challenge for me.   They were detailed and far more complex than the other models that I had been building.  I began buying car model magazines for tips on creating better models and inspiration.  Actually in the long run those magazines probably discouraged more than inspired me.  Those professional and more experienced builders apparently had not only far more knowledge than I had, but also far greater patience.

           I was particularly impressed and envious of the paint jobs on those car models shown in the magazines.  These builders were putting on multiple coats of paints and coats and buffing them and treating them until they came out with glossy sheens.    My paint jobs were so much less perfect with streaks, bubbles, and, well, to put it bluntly--sloppiness.   I make it sound horrible I suppose.  Actually some of my finished products did look pretty nice and I was proud of them.  At least proud enough to display them in my bedroom.

           None of my work would have won awards at car model shows.  Not like the car models in the magazines.  I was an amateur at building car models and so I remained during my short career as a car model builder.    After a couple of years having those models on display some fiendish impulse within me caused me to burn all of those models to which I devoted so much time and care.   Watching them burn, melt, and vanish into toxic residue fascinated me much to my dismay years later.   I would have liked to have had them after I reached adulthood, but then again it just would have been more stuff for me to store or move like so much other stuff that I have now.

         What were your favorite solitary activities of childhood?   Do you still pursue any of the same interests you had as a  kid?   Did you ever willfully destroy any of the things you owned as a child?...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Friday Night Fights (Soundtrack of my Life)

     Does anyone remember the Friday Night Fights that used to come on television in the 1960's?  Recently there was a network fight broadcast that brought back memories of the old sports series sponsored by Gillette.   There were other events besides fights, but the boxing is what stands out in my memory.  And actually I think for a while the fights on Friday nights was a regular series.  The following post recalls some of the memories stirred by the recent boxing broadcast on television.

     In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series. Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now. I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.   For some background music while you read the post you can listen to this Boston Pops recording of "Look Sharp, Be Sharp" which was the theme song used by Gillette.

Friday Night Fights

       Rarely in my lifetime have I taken much of an interest in sports.   Boxing has sometimes had an almost morbid draw for me--I like movies about boxing--but mostly I've tried to avoid this brutal sport.  Not so with my father.   He enjoyed viewing boxing matches.  When one came on the tube and he was watching, the energy and passion he displayed might make you think he was fighting the match himself.

         Actually I used to sometimes get scared when he was watching boxing because he'd be shouting, throwing air punches, and displaying what appeared to be anger.  But he was like this about all sports.  He was more than just a sedentary audience member--he put himself into the action with commentary and physical acts such as jumping out of his chair and pacing in a tight quick circle in the living room.   His head would shake and his jowls would flap as he roared out acclamations of encouragement or yowls of disgust.  You'd think he had some stake in the event, but he was just another armchair spectator among the millions in living rooms across the nation.

         Back then our house wasn't all that big so my mother, sister, and I couldn't help but be witness to my father's sports fan antics.   We could hear him throughout the house and if I didn't stay in the living room for the entire fight, I would at least have to peek in now and then to see what was happening.  Even though my father could be somewhat scary when he was watching sports, he was always a source of curiosity as well as an odd source of entertainment.  I wasn't as interested in the fights as much as I was my father's reactions to whatever was happening.

         From the opening strains of the Gillette theme song to the events that unfurled during an hour or two on that tiny black and white television set in our small living room, Friday Night Fights are a mainstay in my memories of childhood.  As many memories as I have of this, one might think that the fights were on every Friday night, but they weren't.  But when those fights were on, my father was there.   He loved those fights.   My guess is that he might have wished that his son loved watching those fights as much as he did, but I didn't.  However, my dad was plenty of entertainment while the fights were on.  I do remember that.

         Did you have a father or family member who was a huge sports fan?   Was there a sporting event that was always on in your home on a regular basis?     Do you tend to get highly involved when you are watching a sporting event?