List #1: things I played with as a kid

Yay — I’m finally starting my 52-list series for a year. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, but, well, you know how those things go. I love reading some of the lists over at Hula Seventy, so I thought, why not, let’s get going.

I was going to make a list of my favorite childhood toys, but realized, I wasn’t really an indoor, toy-playing type of kid. Well, you’ll see … the “things” I loved:

1. Homemade bucking bull. Hands down, coolest thing to have in your backyard when you’re a kid. My step-dad made it out of four posts in the ground, gigantic springs, rope, and a big ol’ barrell wrapped in carpet and a real saddle. It would get going crazy, but it was super fun. It finally broke when my horse-back riding friend and I rode it at the same time. I fell flat on the ground, but the cowgirl that she is landed on her feet.

2. Dogs and cats (and sometimes a parrot, goats, horses and parakeets). Pretty much, I loved playing with the animals. However, I hated cleaning up after. I guess some things never change.

3. Green and pink pogo stick. If it were an Olympic sport, I’d be gold. I would go forever and even mastered the art of doing it hands-free.

4. “Babysitters Club” book series. OMG. I so wanted to be a babysitter (and then my mom made me start babysitting my younger siblings … so not cool).

5. My purple desk. My grandpa said I would be a writer one day and all writers have desks. He painted his childhood desk my favorite color, purple. It was at this desk that I wrote my first short story about trolls in space. Sadly, my parents chopped it up and used it for firewood when I was in college. Um, yeah.

6. Garden gnomes. Really small ones that my mom hid in the iceplant and eucalyptus trees at the end of our long driveway in the winter. They were a whole little village that kept me company — and kinda freaked me out —  as I waited for the school bus.

7. Baby doll with the blue nightgown. I had two, one at mom’s and one at my dad’s. The one at my dad’s was newer and not quite the same.

8. Make-up cases. These changed over the years, starting with a huge kit that looked like a pink laptop. Later, I would take my mom’s suitcase full and pretend I was doing all the ladies’ colors. “Why, I believe you are a full-on winter, ma’am.”

9. Homemade Play-Do. Ahh, the old flour and water recipe. What masterpieces came from those sessions.

10. Rings my mom wore when she was a teenager. I freaking loved those rings. My grandma gave us a whole bag of them when we were way too young. Of course, they’re goners. So sad.

11. Barbie collection. I was a big lover of the Barbie Doll, but I did have the G.I. Joe’s and Jeeps to match, too.

12. Original Mario Bros., with Duck Hunt. This was the cause of many sibling throwdowns.

13. Watercolors. Glue. Yep.

14. Hungry-Hungry Hippo. I always left this game at my dad’s. I’d get there, and slam that noisy game all day long. Probably made his very happy to be a part-time parent.

15. Trampoline. My parents were so smart for buying this for us. We’d jump on it under the massive oak trees for hours.

16. Play kitchen. Our neighbors had this, but still.

17. My first Walkman with my first cassette tapes, MC Hammer and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”

18. Rubber stamps. Oh man, I was the queen of rubber stamps. Was like the youngest person ever to use birthday money to buy an embosser.

(in the photos: my little brother (now not so little, he’s about to go on his sixth tour to afghanistan/iraq) and me piling sand on our dog).

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