Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Way Back Wednesday ~~ Banjo & Andy

Because I was looking through my moms old "pet album" last week for dog pictures, I came across some of the other pets my parents had back in 1955.

First up is their pet spider monkey "Banjo".
My dad got him from the studio. Apparently the pet show they used to film there often gave away the animals they brought in and my dad was always keen to adopt any that he could.

This picture is kind of fuzzy but its the only one where my mom is holding him.

Banjo lasted a year or so until one day when my mom was trying to put him back into his cage and he didn't want go and bit her on the arms about 20 times. They found him another home after that.

From the same era was their burro "Andy".
Andy was another acquisition from the studio. My mom loved to tell the story of the day my dad brought him home. They lived close to the studio so my dad walked him home but half a block from the house Andy didn't want to go anymore so he sat down in the middle of the road and refused to move. My dad had to leave him there, run home, get some carrots and run back and entice him the rest of the way.
At the time my parents lived out in North Hollywood and had a house with a huge backyard so there was plenty of room for him. When they bought the Hollywood Hills house Andy moved to a local farm.

Back in the day you could send away for a spider monkey through the mail.
I remember seeing this advertisement when I was a kid and WISHING I had $18.95 (and a checking account).
I don't know what I would have told my mom when it showed up but I wasn't thinking that far ahead.
I guess I figured I would worry about that part of the plan once it arrived.

I did, in the other hand, order the seahorses only to have my envelope returned saying there was something wrong with the address.
I was sorely disappointed but never reordered probably because I knew my mom wouldn't be happy with these either.

There was also the story about the time my dad wanted to buy my mom a baby elephant.
(You used to be able to get all kinds of exotics back then).
I have no idea where he thought he was going to keep it or what he was going to do with it once it grew up but I dont think he was thinking any further into the future than I was.
Fortunately my mom found out and talked him out of it.

Happy halfway through the week day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Break Adventures

Spring Break this week! Jeffrey and Katherine's friends, Jacob and Olivia (twins) are spending the week with us and in Jeffrey's words: "WOW we are going to have SO much fun!!!"

And in truth is there anything more fun than playing Monopoly with 4 kids?

Poking your eye out with a stick comes to mind.
Or maybe having a dream where you show up to work naked only to discover it's not a dream.

Either would surely be quieter and require less difficult and complex math than either of the above.

"I want to buy that... how much is it? $260? OK here's a $500 bill now I get back $340......
You only gave me $240 dollars, you owe me $100.
Lucky I know how to add or else you would have short changed me!"

This from the kid who goes to math league.

"Hey! Get your elbow out of my money pile!
MOM! Katherine is purposely putting her elbow in my money pile."

(Give me a second, I'll phone 911)

"Jeffrey stop yelling Cha-Ching every time I land on your property.. It's not funny, it's annoying."

"Jacob thinks it's funny, don't you Jacob?"
(Lots of mouth covered giggling from Jacob)

"MOM... Jeffrey is not listening to me."

"What did you say Katherine?"

"MOM!! Did you hear that? Jeffrey is pretending not to hear me"

No I was sitting right here but somehow missed the entire conversation.

Not sure if I can take much more fun.

We did take the 4 person (plus Alex) crew to the zoo this week and aside from wanting to leave Jeffrey in the monkey cage a few times, we had a pretty good time.

I won't bore you with all the pictures I took but here are a few just to document the adventure:

The last time we went the Petting Zoo was closed and since then Jeffrey has talked non-stop about wanting to back to see if it was open. Fortunately it was and the kids were exstatic.
You have to wash your hands before you go in, and the boys really liked the the hand washing station:

They no longer let you feed the goats which is probably just as well because who needs a bunch of fat goats?
Now you get to brush them which the boys really enjoyed:

Katherine and Olivia thought the goats looked fine and didn't need any hair styling:

Probably the highlight of the trip were the domes where you could get up close and personal with the prairie dogs. The hard part was getting the kids out of there.

 They are cute little buggers aren't they?

We've still got 3 days (including today) of vacation left and I'm trying to think of things to keep everyone busy.
We'll have an Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow and I will have to try to keep myself from OD-ing on chocolate easter bunnies. And hoping maybe they will spend the next 2 days in a sugar coma and it will go by in relative quiet.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Way Back Wednesday ~ Dogs of the Past

Keeping with the theme for the week of dogs, I thought I would do some pictures of my parents dogs that they had over the years.

This was one of their first dogs.
Her name was Cookie and she was a pekingese.

Then they got Tuffy who was a toy poodle.
Tuffy had black ears as a baby and when he grew up they turned pure white.

Cookie and Tuffy got together and had a couple litter of puppies.

They included Candy Jane who went to one of my moms best friends:

And Smidgey who they kept until he was an old man:

There were several other puppies (Ting-a-ling, Whitey, Smudge) who also went to their friends.

They took Tuffy everywhere, including all their vacations:

And shared the morning breakfast donut with him:

 When Tuffy was no longer with them, my mom went in search of another dog and found Lo-sten.
They got her out of the pound and the story goes that someone else wanted her to and back then they put the dog up on auction when their were 2 or more interested parties and the dog went to the highest bidder. Because my mother just HAD to have her, my dad kept bidding until the other people gave up. Lo-sten lived a long and happy life and loved my mom with the devotion only a dog can.

They also had a tiny Yorkie Terrier who they rescued from a very bad situation.
His name was Danci and he was already pretty old when he came to be with us.
He lived many years and by the time he passed away he had no teeth and almost no hair.

After Lo-sten and Danci passed away there was a whole other pack of dogs that I grew up with but I will save those for another time!

Have a great Wednesday everybody!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Arachnophobia or Beware of the Blob

It is a well known fact I that I do not like spiders.

They give me the creeps and I have a hard time not squishing them on sight.

The universe seems to know this so of course I consistently find spiders everywhere as if being told to "get over it already".

Sorry, not going to happen.

But the universe keeps trying just the same.

Two nights ago I was in bed, about to turn off the light when I glance up at the ceiling and there hanging out in the corner is a rather large black blob with a whole lot of legs.

I called Jeff to rescue me but his only advice was not to worry because he doubted that the spider would suddenly fall off the ceiling.

I beg to differ, I often fall off the floor while I am right side up so it doesn't seem to too far fetched to fall off the ceiling when you are hanging upside down.

Unfortunately the blob was all the way at the top of the vaulted ceiling and there was no getting him down, dead OR alive, so I would just have to live with his presence and go to sleep.

As soon as the light went out, my mind went to work. I could just see the little bugger trekking along the edge of the ceiling until he was over my bed at which time he would let go and float down with his too many legs to land right on my pillow and then proceed to crawl all over my face.


I was never going to get any sleep.

Eventually I found something else to think about and come morning I woke and realized I didn't have tiny little spider footprints on my forehead nor a bad taste in my mouth after he crawled in there and got stuck.

Alls well that ends well.

Until last night when I was in bed just about to turn out the light and I looked up and saw him again this time hanging out over the doorway to the closet. Lower and more accessible this time. Where's the vacuum? That should do it.

Jeff was called in but he dismissed the vacuum idea because the kids were sleeping and he was certain that the spider meant no harm and would eventually find his way outside and that would be that.

Another bought of restless tossing and turning as I imagined being covered in spider cooties.

Come this morning and last nights fears were forgotten so I went about my business until I decided to hop in the shower.

I put the heater on in the bathroom, set out my towel, stepped into the warmth and began soaking up the hot water.

AHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh...... this is the life. Just what I needed. Let my troubles wash off and go right down the drain. Lather up my hair with good smelling shampoo. Oh yeah! Feels good!

Right up until I looked down and see Mr. Blob pulling his water soaked carcass across the shower floor a mere 2 inches from my toes. And he was bigger and scarier up close.

Not sure if I mentioned this before but we have perhaps the smallest shower in existence. If you bend over your butt will knock the door open and there will be an enormous flood in the bathroom.

This did not stop me from dancing around like an idiot, hopping from one foot to the other trying to avoid the blob as he was being tossed and tumbled about by the shower spray. Somehow I couldn't get myself to turn off the faucet because I kept thinking, "If I turn off the water he will be able to run and head straight for me. And I cant get out because my hair is full of shampoo, I'm soaking wet and I will drip all over the floor".

Funny the things that your brain focuses on in a crisis. I'm lucky the house wasn't on fire because the firemen would have had to pull me kicking and screaming out of the burning building because I didn't want to get the floor all soapy.

I thought about yelling for Jeff but realized not only wouldn't he hear me, but he would probably die laughing in the process.

More hopping and yelling and splashing about on my part.

Until I looked down just in time to see the last of the blob swirling down the drain.

I stopped and immediately felt bad. But that was immediately followed by a fear of what happens if he is able to climb back up after the shower turns off and take revenge on me for trying to drown him? Will he lay in wait until the next time I step in and then jump out and sink his fangs into my foot? Would I feel OK about drowning him then?

Clearly having more spider encounters does not lessen my fear or make me more accepting of their presence. All it does is prove to myself how irrational my mind can be when under stress.

I finally managed to get the shampoo out of my hair and compose myself enough to step calmly out of the shower and dry off like a sane and rational person.

I did however Google whether or not spiders could survive if washed down the drain and was relieved to discover that it was highly unlikely.

So now I can take future showers without worry of arachnids laying wait to seek revenge upon my toes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Way Back Wednesday ~ 1971 Beverly Park & Kiddieland

One of the fondest memories of my childhood was Sunday mornings when my dad would take me to Beverly Park to ride the ponies. It cost one dollar and you got 7 times around the track.
Over the years the cost stayed the same but you got less go-arounds.

Here I am smiling for my dad while my pony takes a drink half way through the ride.
My favorite pony was Popcorn and I was disappointed that I didn't get to ride him on the day we came with the Polaroid.
I can still vividly remember waiting at the gate (behind me in this pic) wondering which pony would be mine that day. The sweet anticipation never lessened in all the years I went there.

There were 3 tracks.
One for walking, one for trotting and one for running.
Often the ponies decided about half way through that they didn't want to run anymore and one of the workers would come out onto the track and shoo them back into a gallop.

I was much more of a daredevil as a kid and loved the exhilaration of racing around the track as fast as my pony could take me. My mother always worried I was going to snap my neck.
In my right hand you can see the blue plastic "whip" they gave the kids to make their pony go.
I don't think that kind of thing would fly today.

Every once in awhile we would bring my best friend Sally and she would only go on the walking track. Which meant I would be finished about 10 minutes ahead of her and had to stand there and wait and watch while her pony would leisurely stroll around the track. And one time they forgot to pull her horse off the track at the end of her turn and she got to stay on for another 2 or 3 circles which meant I was stuck standing at the fence wishing I could again.

And after the pony ride I could usually talk my dad into taking me next door to Kiddieland and going on a few of the rides.
I always wanted to go on the funhouse even though I inevitably came out crying because it sacred the bejeejus out of me at the end when it looked like your ride car was going to be run over by an oncoming train.
I don't think my dad understood why I wanted to go week after week.
Frankly I don't either!
Here I am on the carousel:

They eventually tore down the park and pony ride and built the Beverly Center shopping mall.
But these will stay forever in mind as one of the happiest times of my childhood.

Recently found these great videos:

Have a great Wednesday everyone!!!