Did You Ever Get Your Favorite Toy?

by Kimberly A. Cook         (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Last Friday’s post I talked about playing in the dirt with my Matchbox car and travel trailer and I wondered; where is my little yellow convertible? I discovered it several years ago in Mom and Dad’s kitchen junk drawer and promptly airlifted it home with me.

Dived into my box of Happy Meal toys and assorted “must have” fun items I rotate on my desk for entertainment and inspiration. Ta da! There it was, beat up and intact. Checked Google and found www.toycarcollector.com in Vancouver, Washington had all the Matchbox cars for sale.

My fabulous Pontiac convertible survived the kitchen junk drawer, barely. Matchbox cars are tough!

My fabulous Pontiac convertible survived the kitchen junk drawer, barely. Matchbox cars are tough!

Found out mine is a model 39b9 Pontiac Convertible Excel from 1962. Didn’t realize they were made in England. Granted, the windshield is missing on mine, but it looks pretty good. The travel trailer disappeared many moons ago, but the trailers on the toy site didn’t look the same. I’m sure my memory is perfect. Ha!

My little excursion into toyland reminded me of my favorite Christmas toy gift. Okay, there are two. First was my Chatty Cathy who chattered until her voice box broke. Shipped her back to the factory. I remember the trauma of seeing her shipped off in a cardboard box, hoping and waiting until she’d return. Chatty came back in the box and talked for a while, then nada.

The second toy I got at age 21. Barely home from the Army for the holidays, having driven through a Wyoming ice and snowstorm to arrive two days before Christmas, I opened presents at my folks house on Christmas morning. I got an electric train. I cried with happiness. I’d always wanted an electric train. Since Dad worked for the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad, then Burlington Northern for 38 years, one would think an electric train would have been in the house.

Sometime that summer the topic of toys had come up and I’d recalled how I never got an electric train. Dad made sure I had one. At 21. He crafted a special round green wooden platform for the train to run on, from his rail inspector and roadmaster days I’m sure. Still have both and think they are coming out this holiday season.

We did have a wooden train set growing up that snapped together, complete with tracks. Wonder where that went? Time for another toy quest!

Have you gotten your favorite toy after a long time or bought one for someone else? Do you still have a favorite toy? What is your toy story?

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Time To Play In The Mud!

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

They may say these final hot August summer days belong to the dogs, but I think elephants know how to party too! At the Oregon Zoo baby Lily and her brother Sam are having a great time playing in the mud. What better way to cool off then making really big mud pie splashes!

Some of my favorite memories are playing with Match Box cars in the neighbor’s backyard, creating an entire road system for my yellow convertible and travel trailer to use. Dirt and a little mud and I was in hog heaven. Actually, those play days helped me get through the mud of Army basic training.

What is your favorite mud memory? Happy Quirky Friday!

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Would You Push The Red Button?

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Seems I am one of the three people on the planet who did not see this YouTube video last year. A co-worker at the day job sent it to me and I love it. Besides all the craziness, what really struck me is this is exactly what it’s like inside my brain!

I see my book scenes as movies. This is what is going on while I am trying to work at the day job, talk to family, clean up hairballs and chat with friends. All these MOVIES are going on in my head. It gets really iffy when different books/movies are all up in my mind at the same time.

Case in point. Sunday I was writing my fiction book and I was deep inside a cave in Afghanistan trying not to be caught by the bad guys. Somebody knocked on my window. I jumped a mile. Besides having a trained startle response from my military and newspaper reporter days, my home office is on the second floor.

Turns out it was Spec Ops Cat scratching an itch while lying on the windowsill in the sun, but I didn’t know that when I was in the cave in Afghanistan. Nice to know the old ticker still works and I can get the fiction scared right out of me. Took me awhile to get back to the cave. Pretty sure Spec Ops Cat did it on purpose.

All types of creatives have big red buttons in our brains and whether we are writing, cooking, building dog houses or making music, inspiration can hit at the oddest times. Many of our red buttons are even self starters and we don’t even need to push them.

Have you ever been startled and scared yourself? If you saw this box in the square, would you push the red button?

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Are You A Cubie Bunny?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

It’s the end of another week and us writers who have day jobs can celebrate the weekend. For those of you who are a cubie dweller like I am during the week, this video is too cute. At certain points I was exactly like the last bunny in the video. It must be August!

Have a great weekend and have a Happy Quirky Friday!

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For The Love Of Fiction Writing?

by Kimberly A. Cook           (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Seems I’ve been overdosing on Hallmark Channel movies lately. Saturday’s preview “Stranded in Paradise” was pretty fun. The usual fired from job, what makes you happy dilemma. Since this last year has been all about what the heck do I really want to write, the “what writing makes you happy?” popped in my brain from the movie.

Fiction is and always will be my first love. Yes, I’m a control freak. Able to orchestrate all my characters and events, I get to make happy endings happen. New acronym! HEH! That doesn’t always happen in life and the news.

When you wish upon a super moon....... writer dreams can come true. Taken Aug. 10, 2014.

When you wish upon a super moon……. writer dreams can come true. Taken Aug. 10, 2014.

Then I read author Bob Mayer’s latest blog post about what 10 things he was grateful for as a writer. That hit home too. One big one for me is all we need is our imagination and pen, pencil or crayon and paper or keyboard to write down our dreams/stories.

Widget manufacturers do not have this luxury. They have to do business plans, get loans, build factories, hire people, get widget making products, make the widgets, package the widgets, ship the widgets, on and on. While writers do those things when we indie publish on a different scale, it’s all very craftsman type of work, boutique manufacturing if you will.

So while we physically have to create our books/widgets, we can get started with very little equipment. Plus if you dive in the recycle bins you can find used paper and if you visit places with free pens you are set with minimal start-up costs. Not a lot of capital outlay.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is figuring out what you want to write. Spoiler alert; it will change as you gather experience in life. That’s okay. VHS tapes are gone too, so some things last a certain time and then morph into something else. Same with what we choose to write.

So is there one certain part of writing fiction that makes me happy? Yes, it’s the “I’ve got a secret” part. I know what’s going to happen next in the story. Most of the time. Tried a new creative writing exercise last week. Getting back into my fiction book has been a challenge so I reviewed the last couple chapters.

For several months my characters have been in an airplane ready to land, but I’ve just left them up there. Quite the feat if you think about the fuel supply issues. Well, last week I told myself, “I’ve got to go home and land a plane in Afghanistan.” On Sunday that’s what I did. Gave my brain a task and it worked on it while I was doing the whole daily life thing.

Thinking about my writing “to do assignment” in such a personal way made me quite accountable too. I had characters almost Lost In Space for heaven’s sake!

One of the fun clandestine things about being a writer is we get to live the adventures we create. We write from the security and comfort of our writing hidey hole and explore the universe. We get to do research too, which is a blast. And make Happy Endings Happen in my case. How cool is that?

Have you left your fiction characters up in the air? Writers, rescue your characters!

Bob Mayer’s Blog Post: http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/an-authors-attitude-of-10-gratitudes/



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Helping Out A Flipper Friend!

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

With the crazy weather in the Pacific Ocean and the Hawaiian Islands trying to dodge two big storms, its good to remember to help our wildlife neighbors too. This clip of a sea turtle rescue last month shows the big guy saying thank you in the most kindly way. Or else he was tired and needed help until he got more air. I’m going with the big thank you from Tom Turtle.

Happy Quirky Friday and have a great weekend!

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To Zoom Or Not To Zoom?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

On a recent backyard safari to another house, I brought along the Canon Powershot SX200 with the longest zoom I have, 15x. I was hunting baby robins.

The industrious pair of robins who built a nest in the crook of the patio cover really knew how to pick real estate. The location was covered with a yellow sunroof and surrounded by a clematis bush for camouflage. On top of that, the metal struts to hold the roof to the post were perfect underpinnings for the nest. These robins are engineers!

Baby robins waiting for snacks.

Baby robins waiting for snacks.

The goal was to try to get pictures of the small fry, since it was hard to tell from the occasional waving beaks we’d seen who was where and how many there were in the nest. The kids were growing up and we wanted to make sure we got a family portrait or two before they left for flight school.

Not to disturb Mom robin, over the course of a couple of hours I would pop out on the top step to the patio from the house and take pics. About forty shots later I had a few keeper photos.

Using the smaller point and shoot cameras required me to learn new techniques after using 35mm film cameras for so long. I now become a human tripod in order to steady the camera, finding someplace to lean against in order to prevent motion distortion. The sliding glass patio door and the door frame both worked great. I used to prop my left elbow against my chest while holding the bottom of the camera and lens to focus and snap the shutter button with the right finger.

The most important camera equipment to have is any kind of camera period. I’m still old school enough that I want the variety of focal and zooms length I can get from a camera, so I only use my cell phone camera as a last resort. Cell phones are hard to hold and I’m always losing a shot because I hit the wrong spot on the touchscreen at the wrong time. Simple is better.

Distance from the patio step to the nest at the top of the pole. Zoom!

Distance from the patio step to the nest at the top of the pole. Zoom!

So while summer is hard on us and the birds and bees are definitely out and about, grab your camera and venture out into the wilds.

Take a risk and explore away from your backyard and familiar surroundings and forge across the great unknown to an adventure of epic proportion – like you’re neighbor’s backyard.

When in doubt, zoom! You too might find some rock’in robins!

P.S. The birds left the nest two days later, so timing was perfect!

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