Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday's Top Five - Things I Love About Winter

If you remember, I had an extremely difficult time coming up with five things I actually like about fall, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that I abhor the extremes of winter even more.

To be clear, I will tolerate winter-like conditions from November to December simply because I do believe Christmas wouldn't be the same if it wasn't a white one. But as of January 2nd, I want the white stuff and the chill in the air to disappear.

I don't think that's too much to ask, either, given that summer only lasts two months (if we're lucky).... so why is it that I always sound like such a Scrooge when I slag on winter and just want it to be gone once the holiday season is over?

I just have no use for the long, dreary, miserable weather that occurs from January to (usually) April. No one ever says, "I'm dreaming of a white Easter," so I think I'm vindicated in my frustration over our winters that never end.

But, from November to December, I'll admit that winter is okay....but only for that short term.

Friday's Top Five - Things I Love About Winter:

5. The Outdoors

Provided I'm lucky enough to be indoors, nestled by the fireplace and sitting by the front window watching the snow come down, then I guess it is nice to sit back and admire the beautiful scenery of winter.

But as soon as you ask me to A) shovel, B) drive, or C) walk through the cold, snow, and ice, then all bets are off.

Maybe I would appreciate the beauty of it more if I was an outdoor winter-enthusiast. As in, maybe if I enjoyed ice skating or skiing, then I would rejoice at the sight of this wintery wonderland.

I used to be one of those people who was more likely to go for a jog in winter than in summer, but I'm several years removed from being that person. Now I just watch those people run by our house as I think to myself, "That's what I should be doing...."

But I don't. I've wimped out in my middle age and would rather be warm inside, only leaving the house if it's required of me.

However, if the weather is just right -- as in, if there's no wind and it's not too cold outside -- then I do truly look forward to going for brisk walks in the neighbourhood and pulling my daughter in her sled.

She's young, loves the snow, and doesn't have a Grinchy heart like me.

4. Christmas Craft Sales

We have more Christmas artifacts than we have room for in our house, and yet I still attended a local Christmas craft sale last weekend.

Thankfully, I didn't buy anything, but it was still enjoyable to walk around and see everyone's goodies -- plus my daughter got to visit with Santa, so that was an added bonus.

I guess it's mostly just the feeling of coziness at these craft sales that I like so much. It's kind of like being at a farmer's market in summer.... except you're indoors, lugging around a giant parka, and chatting with the elderly vendors (who are all wearing knitted Christmas sweaters with blinking Christmas lapel pins on them.)

Pure awesomeness.

3. Candy Cane Lane

As a kid I always took for granted how lucky I was to live mere blocks away from our city's Candy Cane Lane. But these days we're sure to take advantage of our proximity and visit it multiple times for the few weeks that it's lit up in December.

Last year alone we went down it at least a dozen times and managed to see something different on each visit that we'd missed before. And my daughter just loved all the lights, too.

I have such respect for any household that puts in the effort to beautify their home and spread the joy of Christmas each year, whether they live on Candy Cane Lane or not.

Admittedly, our phobia of cold weather prevents us from going all out and decorating our home outdoors, but with a little motivation, I'm sure my husband would turn our home into the Griswald residence. Much to the chagrin of our neighbours, I'm sure.

2. Christmas Carols

It's true, I've already started listening to Christmas carols on my computer at work. Coworkers be damned.

My favourite of all the carols are those with a religious theme, but of course the kids tunes are fun, too. The day I'm looking forward to the most this winter is December 13 when my daughter's day care has their annual Christmas concert / potluck in the school gym.

She's been practicing daily -- hand signals and all -- which is why I will do the smart thing this year and record it all on my phone.

You know, so we can watch it again in March when it's still cold and snowy out.

1. TV Specials

Earlier last week, A Piece of Apple posted a link on her Facebook wall that featured the 2013 Holiday TV Guide -- so that people like me could plan our schedules around what festive special is featured on television on any given night.

Some of the featured shows are relatively new, while others are childhood favourites of mine that I'm thrilled to watch with my daughter now -- thus carrying on the tradition of watching too much TV at Christmastime. Ahem.

I actually couldn't wait for these specials to start, though, so earlier this month I borrowed A Charlie Brown Christmas from the library for her to enjoy. (Cue Charlie Brown's desperation: "Does anybody know what the meaning of Christmas is all about?") Total classic.

And then just last week I watched a made-for-TV Christmas movie called Anything But Christmas, which features one of my favourite actors, Sergio Di Zio. This movie actually aired for the first time last Christmas season, so I'm happy to report that it, too, will become an annual viewing tradition for our household.

I guess that's what I love most about holiday TV; the featured shows always have a warm fuzzy feeling to them -- revolving around family, love, and togetherness -- and they're a tradition that I look forward to every year.

That's my list for this week. As per usual, check out my friends' blogs for their take on the same subjects: Divulge with Dani, The Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday's Top Five - Things I Would Do If I Won the Lottery

For the last two-and-a-half years at work I've been involved with an office lotto. There are about 17 of us who pay our monthly dues with the hopes that one of our sets of numbers will come up big and then all of us could just retire and live off the fat of the land.

Or something like that.

The reality is that, unless you're living in the US and are lucky enough to win one of their $400 million powerball jackpots, you're probably not going to be able to retire off your winnings.

Because, let's face it, $1 million just doesn't stretch that far these days.

But believe me when I tell you my husband and I have spent plenty of time daydreaming about what we'd do if we ever hit the big time -- as in, the $400 million big time.

Friday's Top Five - Things I Would Do If I Won the Lottery:

5. Share the Wealth

Yes, everyone of us could all use a helping hand in the form of extra cash...... but you always hear those stories about how winning the lottery ruined people's lives and relationships and, frankly, who wants that?

Which is why I think this would be the part I'd struggle with the most -- not because I don't want to help others, but because I don't want long-lost friends and relatives coming out of the wood works and expecting a handout..... only to then have them blow the money on something ridiculous that they don't even need. (ie, booze, drugs, VLTs, late night parties, and Hummers)

Having said that, of course we would still donate to more charities and help out the people we're close to, but obviously we'd have to be careful about how we went about doing this.

4. Self Improvements

I already colour my hair, wax my eye brows, and go for the occasional spray tan, so why not up the ante and treat myself to a little something extra, am I right?

In a perfect world we'd all be shaped like Barbies and have a metabolism that would allow us to consume ~3500 calories a day.... but, of course, that's just not my reality.

So, I would start by calling up Oprah and asking her advice on what to look for in a personal chef and personal trainer.

Once those lifestyle changes are taken care of, I would then look to some artificial enhancements. Or reductions, to be more precise.

I have a fear of going under anesthetic and also of suffering the possible dangerous side effects of cosmetic surgery, but, let's be honest here. If I had enough money to pay for all sorts of procedures, I would at least pick up a brochure and seek an initial consult to see what they're all about.

(That doesn't mean I'd be brave enough to go through with any major procedure, but I would at least consider it anyway.)

This is my fantasy, yo. Don't you judge me!

3. Travel with Multiple Homes Abroad

I find it to be so stressful to always have to plan our vacations, book time off work, ensure our documents are in order, then pack all our belongings into suitcases that weigh a ton........ only to be delayed at customs and then crowded into economy seating and forced to endure all the usual travel-related nightmares that go along with this.

But, if we were rich, I have a feeling that a lot of this stress would be alleviated. Plus, we'd have our own jet, yo!

And why just own a house in one place when you can have a house in 17 different locations??

Now, by house, I'm not talking about having a mansion in every corner of the earth. I literally just mean a regular house. Something with a couple of bedrooms and a decent kitchen so that we could escape to wherever our hearts desire and not have to worry about finding a hotel or a family member to mooch off of.

I'm thinking we definitely need a home in upstate New York, so that we'd no longer have to stay with my husband's family each time we visit.

Then we'd also need a place in Florida near all the cruise ship ports because, I mean, really. Who wouldn't want the convenience of having a Florida home near the ports?

I also want a place in Arizona so that I could escape our miserable winters in the middle of February.

And something on the Okanagan is also a must, along with a boat and a view of the vineyards.

Then there's the mountains - I would love a cozy hideaway in the Rockies near Jasper or Banff.

Plus we'd need a cabin not far from home -- maybe along the shores of Wizard Lake.

And naturally we'll want to see the sites of Europe on occasion, so a small Italian villa would probably suit us just fine.

Oh, crap, I forgot about Australia. And Africa. And South America........ okay, maybe we do need a place in every corner of the earth. But, again, just a house... not a mansion! (Who wants to try keeping a mansion clean, anyway?)

I feel as though I've been to a lot of places already, but the reality is that I really haven't. There's so much of the world that I haven't seen and am curious about. (And what a gift to give my daughter, too.....)

Don't worry, we'll make her have a paper route in all of the 17 neighbourhoods we'd like to live.

2. Home Improvements

Even though we'd have homes around the world and would be able to travel on a whim, we'd still just live in the house we have now. But we'd improve upon it.

I want a kitchen that would allow more than just two people to stand in it at one time.

And I want more storage space (and a freezer!) so that I could stock up on food items and basic toiletries without worrying about running out or having to grocery shop every few days.

And a couple of walk-in closets would be nice so that I'd no longer have to jam my clothing into overstuffed dresser drawers.

Plus a jacuzzi off the main bedroom would be a nice place to retreat after a long day. (Wait, I'm rich.... what is this "long day" you speak of?)

We'd also need a couple of extra bedrooms and maybe someone to clean the floors more regularly (my least favourite of all household chores).

As for the outdoors, I want to move the house forward a little so that we'd have less space in the front and more in the back........ you know, so we could build an in-ground swimming pool, complete with a pool boy to do all the maintenance and also mow our lawn/shovel the snow.

And, as has been our dream for many, many years, we would require a wrap-around porch on our home. Complete with a screen to keep out the mosquitos.

(Yes, we really have put a little too much thought into this.....)

1. Do Whatever the Heck I Want

It's true -- if I won the lottery, the thing I would look forward to the most is being able to have a flexible schedule to just do whatever I wanted.

Even though I'm one of those people who thrives on structure, I admit I'm burnt out and need a break from the daily grind. (Who doesn't, right?)

I'm so tired of the routine of each day -- whether it be a work day or a weekend -- as it seems we always have something scheduled that needs to be done.

And during those rare moments when I'm relatively caught up and have some quiet time, I often feel anxious and as though I need to take advantage of that time and do something -- you know, organize our photo albums, alphabetize our CD collection, wash all the curtains in the house, or just do something else equally neurotic.

And I can't even tell you how many mornings I've woken up when it's been so beautiful out that I hated the fact I had to spend it at work instead of just going for a walk or something.

What a way to waste the day -- you know, being stuck at work and then feeling too tired afterwards to enjoy the evening.

But if I was a bazillionaire, then I'd never be faced with that outlook again. And having that sort of freedom to do anything would be glorious.

That's my list for this week. As per usual, check out my friends' blogs for their take on the same subjects: Divulge with Dani, The Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting to 40 below

For those of you who live in the greater Edmonton area but don't own a snow blower, I sympathize.
I spent a lot of my time on Kijiji this summer noticing just how many people had snow blowers for sale. Many of the sellers included the phrase "used only once" in their description, which blinded me into thinking that, if we purchased a snow blower ourselves, it probably wouldn't get much use and we'd just be back on Kijiji next summer, trying to sell it to someone else.
What a fool I was.
It's funny how summer tricks you into thinking that winters here aren't so bad after all. We don't get much snowfall anyway, right? And it hardly ever blows back in our faces when we try to shovel a clear path to get out of the house.
Though it's not officially winter yet, it definitely feels like it now that we've had our first winter storm of the season. It certainly is beautiful out, but it's not much fun to drive in, and I'm not exactly a fan of shovelling either.
But, this storm is hardly a surprise to anyone, which means we can't just hermit ourselves in the house.... well, not for too long anyway.
Free sleigh rides today at a local community hall's Christmas craft sale. That's my kid in the purple jacket, freezing her arse and admiring the horses from afar.
Late last year I heard about something called the 40 Below Project, in which local writers were encouraged to come forth and submit their best poems and/or short stories about winter in Edmonton.
And, though we're not exactly fans of winter, my husband and I each submitted an original short story with the hopes of maybe being published in the anthology, which was released just a few weeks ago.
Sadly, we were rejected.
And, to add salt in my already gaping wound, one of the authors who did end up having a piece published is a local writer who also rejected another piece of my writing, which I had submitted to her for a separate (non-winter-related) anthology.
So now when I think of the 40 Below anthology, I feel as though I'm being slapped in the face with a double dose of YOUR WRITING SUCKS AND DOESN'T DESERVE TO BE PUBLISHED.
Ahem. But I'm okay, honest.
Regardless of my hurt feelings for being rejected by two separate anthologies, I still went out and purchased 40 Below. And then I proceeded to read it from cover-to-cover in less than 24 hours.
This is the perfect book for anyone who has ever had to endure a frosty Edmonton winter.
My favourite aspect of many of the stories in here is just about how personal they are. The writers really do open up and share a piece of their lives with the readers, and the great thing is that we can all relate to much of what they're describing.
One of my favourite stories in here was written by an immigrant who described his first time seeing snow in our frozen city. His account is both breathtakingly beautiful and devastatingly heartbreaking at the same time.
And I know there are thousands of other immigrant families in the city who can sympathize with every scenario he described.
So, even though I truly do dislike the extremes of winter.... and even though my writing just didn't fit in with this particular anthology..... I still believe, without a doubt, that no Edmonton home should be without this book on their coffee table.
After all, today is the perfect day to stay indoors and do some reading.
Once you're done with all that shovelling, that is.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday's Top Five - Things in my Purse

I remember back when I was a kid it wasn't uncommon for my large Italian family to attend an average of three weddings each summer, which of course meant that we also had to attend the associated bridal showers beforehand.

Back then, one of the more common bridal shower games was the "What's in your purse?" game. The host of the party would go through a list of sometimes-ambiguous items and, if you were lucky enough to have that item in your purse, you would have to run up to the front to claim a prize.

As a kid I lived for this game and began stocking my little purse with unusual items (read: a deck of cards or a photo of my dog) in anticipation of playing this shower game.

These days, however, the contents of my purse are far more ordinary and boring, and I'm sure I'd easily lose this game if I had to play it again.

Friday's Top Five - Things in my Purse:

5) Cinnamon Gum

I take the bus to and from work each day, and I always live in fear of having someone strike up a conversation with me at a time when my breath may not be at it's freshest.

Soooooo...... enter my beloved cinnamon-flavoured gum.

I know I'm not painting a pretty picture here, but come on. We've all been in that situation where we're uncertain of our breath and would prefer to wear a face mask to shield the other person from our halitosis.

But that would just be weird, which is why I always carry some gum with me.

4) Feminine Hygiene Products

No woman wants to be caught stranded somewhere without one of these lifesavers in her purse.

'Nuff said.

This counter is every pubescent girl's worst nightmare.

3) Staff ID Card

Not only does my ID card get me through secure doors into work each day, but it also allows me to ride the LRT trains for free from South Campus to downtown.

Not that I ever go downtown..... but if I did, then, you know, it would be free. Ahem.

Students on campus have a similar card, except theirs is far more valuable in that it allows them unlimited access to everywhere the trains go, PLUS the regular ETS buses.

Wow. Given that a regular adult bus pass is $90 a month, I could save over $1000 a year if only my staff card had the same privileges as those of the students.

Now I know that students are required to pay approximately $300 into this feature, and many of them complain about it simply because they never use public transit...... but I would be more than happy to take their place in this regard if it meant I could have unlimited access to transit.

But that's a rant for another day.

2) Phone

How did I survive for so many years into adulthood without a cellphone? Obviously it's a convenience in life for me to have a cellphone, as it's certainly not always a need, but still.

Once upon a time, when I was a kid, my mom used to always ensure I at least had a quarter on me so that I could make a call from a payphone in case of emergency. But these days I'd be hard-pressed to tell you where you could even find a payphone.

You just don't see them on street corners anymore, so I guess things are shifting to the point where you almost do need a cellphone on you, otherwise you have to ask to borrow someone else's.

And that's always a little awkward, am I right?

1) Daytimer

Yes, I'm one of those people who becomes completely lost if I've accidentally left my daytimer at home.

I'm not spontaneous at all, and I tend to panic a little if I don't have every little thing perfectly scheduled and penciled in, which is a little insane, I know. But it's how I function, yo.

Plus, I'm old school in that I prefer an actual paper-and-pen daytimer over the electronic versions.

Don't you judge me!

That's my list for this week. As per usual, check out my friends' blogs for their take on the same subjects: Divulge with Dani, The Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday's Top Five - Favourite Charities

One of my friends from university once told me that she almost never donates to "people" charities, simply because they seemingly get the most attention and there will always be someone else willing to donate to them anyway.

Animal-based charities, on the other hand, usually receive less funding overall -- or so she reasoned -- which is why that was where most of her money went.

Regardless of a person's rationale for giving, it seems that most people are set in their ways and already have a select few charities to which they only donate.

And while I know that there are so many worthy causes in need, it really is difficult to give to everyone who asks..... so I guess I've got to choose my favourites, too.


Friday's Top Five - Favourite Charities:

5) World Wildlife Fund Canada

Traditionally, this is the animal-based charity that we tend to donate to most regularly.

Every Christmas I gleefully anticipate the arrival of the calendar they send us in the mail, as well as the various sets of notepads, stickers, address labels, and Christmas cards that have become a part of their arsenal.

I'm not sure what portion of their donated funds goes into producing and distributing these freebies that they send to people, but I imagine the charity must be doing fairly well given it's high profile.

4) Poppy Fund

It's that time of year again -- as soon as Halloween's over, citizens across Canada don a lapel pin known as the poppy. And although we always have a few of these lying around from previous years, we of course still donate again and get a new one.

This is one of the earliest charities I remember donating to as a kid, when our school teachers would walk around the classroom with a donation box for us to toss in our coins.

And this is also one of the more common charities that gets ripped off each year when some lowlife swipes a donation box at the mall or somewhere. Deplorable.

3) Food Bank

This is another charity that, although you can (and should) donate year-round, one of it's busiest times of year is during the Christmas season.

I genuinely look forward to driving down Candy Cane Lane each winter and making the mad rush out of the car to drop a bag or two of items into one of the bins lining the road.

And, let's be honest, it's easy to find some decent items in every home that can be donated to this cause. Chances are you won't even miss them when they're gone, so there are no excuses not to donate.

It's a Christmas tradition, yo.

2) Children's Miracle Network

This charity certainly has evolved over the years, but my fondest memories of it come from when I was a kid growing up.

Back in those days of fundraising, local TV and news celebrities would pre-empt regular television programming to host an all-night telethon that went on for nearly 24 hours.

They featured local entertainers, feel-good stories, and a few tragic ones as well, all with the hope of tugging at your heartstrings so much that you would pick up that phone and make a pledge.

Plus, every now and then it was a local sports celebrity answering the phone, too, so that was always an added bonus.

I also particularly enjoyed when they would take a break from the local programming and pan to the live feed coming out of southern California. Nine times out of 10, their version of the telethon was being hosted by Marie Osmond, John Schneider, and Merlin Olsen -- three of my favourite celebrities from the 80s.

Yes, these are the things I remember from my childhood.

1) Canadian Cancer Society

Raise your hand if you, or someone you know, has been affected by cancer.

Yeah, that would be EVERYONE.

A former employer of mine once made the bold statement that every one of us is eventually going to die of cancer. You know, unless a heart attack or motor vehicle accident gets us first.

Sure, he was just making a broad generalization, but the sad reality is that he's probably not that far off.

No one is immune, not even our pets, and this is why many researchers focus their attention on finding a cure for cancer, or at least a better form of treatment.

So, naturally, this is another charity to which we always feel compelled to donate.

Plus, it's also the reason I like daffodils so much.

Okay, so that's my list. Head on over to Divulge with Dani, The Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple for their take on their favourite charities.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday's Top Five - Childhood Toys

As many of you already know, I tend to get attached to inanimate objects and end up holding on to items for far longer than I should, simply because of nostalgia.

And items such as my favourite childhood toys are no exception to this rule. Actually, they seem to be tailor-made for this rule.

But back in the late spring of 2005, I finally came to the realization that I needed to get rid of some of my old toys out of necessity. (Read: I was running out of storage space for them, and I needed the money.)

So we had a garage sale..... and I've regretted it ever since.

I remember thinking at the time that it would be great to keep those items forever and then one day pass them on to my daughters, if I ever ended up having any.

And, of course, that was the clincher. What if I never had a daughter? Or any kids at all? I never really liked kids very much anyway, so that thought is what sealed the deal for me. I just plowed ahead and got rid of almost all my beloved childhood items.

Fast forward five years later almost to the day and, of course, I gave birth to a daughter. Hindsight's a real bitch, but I digress.

Friday's Top Five - Favourite Childhood Toys:

5) Doctor Kit

Yep, this item was sold at the garage sale. It still had all it's pieces and was in near-mint condition, but I never gave it much thought until my daughter was born and became HYSTERICALLY AFRAID of doctors. Well, of all people, actually, but this behaviour was most stressful when it came to her doctor visits.

(During one particularly nerve-wracking visit, she even peed on me. And whenever the doctor tried to listen to her heartbeat, he always commented that the only thing he could hear was screaming. Oy.)

As much as I always wanted to lock myself up like a hermit and never leave the house again after those visits, I came to reason that the more appropriate response was to help my daughter somehow overcome her irrational fears. So we went to Toys R' Us and bought a newer version of the doctor kit for her.

And it's all right, I guess -- she certainly loves giving everyone check ups and is fairly fearless in that she now marches into her doctor's office and strikes up conversations with random strangers in the waiting room -- but, of course, my beloved Fisher Price kit just seemed a little more sturdier to me instead.

It's true that they just don't make toys to last like they used to.

4) Sesame Street / Cabbage Patch Kids Figurines

I at least had the good sense to hold on to these toys. My reasoning at the time was A) they're small and can be stored in a shoe box, and B) if any kids stop by my mom's house, she can pull these figurines out for them to play with.

And I was right. Not only did these items bring me years of joy as a child, but they continued to entertain many generations of younger cousins who visited my mom's house after that.

Plus, my daughter has now taken a liking to them and plays with them whenever at my mom's as well.

Phew! I knew I was justified in keeping them.

The Cabbage Patch figurines were all purchased at Zellers and K-Mart when I was a kid, but the Sesame Street figurines were collectibles that came from a local gas station.

Back in the '80s, gas stations used to regularly sell various forms of collectible items, like the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics glasses that we have in our china cabinet and, of course, these little Sesame Street figurines.

If I remember correctly, a different figurine would be released every few weeks, and you couldn't buy them anywhere but at this chain of gas stations.

I was never able to get all the pieces -- too much demand for certain characters, I guess -- but my daughter doesn't seem to mind that it's not a complete set.

3) Mickey Mouse Record Player

This is the one thing I most regret having sold at the garage sale, simply because we sold it for less than $5.00.... yet I'm now seeing the same item being hawked on eBay for over $100.


And, the truth is, I really did love this old record player and spent hours in my room listening to my Mini-Pops record and my Disney's Merry Christmas Carols.

I suppose my record player was for me what the iPod is for today's young kids. And, yeah, it still boggles my mind that kids in elementary school have iPods these days, but I guess I'm just old school.

I know for fact that my daughter would have LOVED this record player. The child loves dancing and singing along to music, but she always has to ask us to put on one of her CDs for her.

Whereas this record player was so simple and easy to use that even my three-year-old could have mastered it.

I repeat..... Doh.

2) Cabbage Patch Dolls

I haven't heard any horror stories, but I'm sure my family must have been among those grown-ups caught up in the mad dash to purchase a Cabbage Patch Doll for all us kids one Christmas in the mid-80s.

As a child I was oblivious to the stress that parents felt in securing this item that year, but I knew it was a special gift that cost a lot of money at the time, so I took excellent care of my doll for many years thereafter.

And, yes, I still have that original doll, plus a second one acquired years later, in storage at my mom's..... not too mention all the clothes my mom used to knit for them, too. We're talking a HUGE wardrobe collection here.

(Some things you just can't part with, yo.)

My daughter has plenty of toys to keep her busy right now, so I don't think she's quite ready to be introduced to my beloved dolls just yet.

Plus, she's not yet capable of taking care of her toys to the same level as I was, and I don't want them ruined. (Am I obsessive? Yes, yes I am.)

1) Barbies

Ah, Barbie. She's never shied away from controversy regarding body image, and she remains to this day one of my favourite toys.

When I wasn't being babysat by the television as a kid, I was playing with my Barbies.

The beauty of this toy, like the Cabbage Patch Dolls above, is that I didn't need to have any friends over in order to play with them. Sure, it was always fun to play with other kids, but I was more than happy to sit there for hours, just brushing my Barbie's hair and changing her clothes by myself.

And, yes, I was incredibly spoiled in that I had dozens of dolls to play with. Most of them were the less expensive, knock-off versions, but it didn't matter.

I loved them! And all their super-cool accessories!

I mean, what little girl wouldn't love escaping into Barbie's world?

She had a corvette! And a motor home! And her own gym!

(I'm pretty sure many of the Real Housewives of Orange County subconsciously aspire to be just like Barbie, but that's an issue best saved for their therapists.)

So the question I'm sure you're all wondering is, did I keep my Barbies or did they get sold at the garage sale?

The answer is: BOTH. I kept most of the actual dolls and hand-made clothing, but the houses and a lot of accessories were all sold.

Like I said, we needed the money and the storage space, so something major had to give.

But there's still plenty left so that I never have to buy my daughter any new Barbies at all as she gets older. (Much older, that is. No Barbies for her any time soon!)

That's my list for this week. As per usual, check out my friends' blogs for their take on the same subjects: Divulge with DaniThe Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple.