Tag Archives: toys

Have You Hugged An Easter Alpaca?

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How cute are these two? Still in the paper bag when they arrived home. I’m keeping the pastel one and have named her Rainbow. She has moved into my office. Easter alpacas on sale. Is this a great country or what?

by Kimberly A. Cook

Bought two alpacas yesterday. Don’t freak, they were stuffed toys. Gotcha! The last thing I need is something else to take care of, as cute as alpacas may be. I like having the excuse to drive up the Columbia River Gorge or over to Sisters to make personal alpaca visits.

They were a complete impulse buy. I was on a mission for potting soil and ended up with these two cuties as well. One is a gift, one is for writing inspiration. Seems the next fiction book in my Vintage Vets series involves alpacas. Animals just keep showing up in my writing. I am not in charge.

But first I feel I should apologize to the USA residents in the East. Sorry about all the stupid snow. It was 69 degrees here yesterday, a fluke and we loved it, hence the potting soil trip. Rain again today, so back to our regularly scheduled weather.

When you live on the West coast, for me everything past Montana is back East. I have been told by Midwesterners that is not correct, but it works for us out here. Imagine that is why in Hawaii we are all “the mainland” because the rest of the country is East to them, except for Alaska which is North and East.

Potting soil bags does mean Spring is on its way. I’m downing the allergy pills to prove it. The two toys were on sale as Easter alpacas. Never heard of Easter alpacas, but I fell for it. Sometimes you just need an Easter alpaca.

What Spring rituals are you looking forward to?

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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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Filed under Toys

Did You Get An Easy Bake Oven Or A Chatty Cathy Doll?

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

A writer tells as much about themself by what they leave out of their writing as by what they include.  This point was driven home to me this past weekend while staffing a garage sale with my longtime buddy, Michelle. We’ve known each other since first grade so we remain friends because we have so much blackmail material on each other.

Christmas Moose Cookie Jar left over from the garage sale. Maybe I'll just bake cookies and keep him after all.

Christmas Moose Cookie Jar left over from the garage sale. Maybe I’ll just bake cookies and keep him after all.

The weather was great and we had a steady stream of customers Saturday morning until 12:55 p.m., then not one shopper for the rest of the day. When the weather gets above 80 degrees here in early May on a Oregon weekend,  people shop early and play in the sun in the afternoon. Standard operating procedure.

So Michelle and I had plenty of time to talk in between her family running in and out, the area kids checking out the sale, neighbors stopping by and the Slip and Slide water party going on across the street. “This reminds me of when we were kids during the summer,” she said. “Not a care in the world.”

We chatted about odd things we remembered. Michelle must have a 500 GB memory. She recalls the most embarrassing and odd facts about me, most I’ve forgotten on purpose. A retired teacher, she has an Android app in her head to categorize kids, people and memories.

I noted the Easy Bake Oven she’d had for sale for $5 when I dropped my items off Friday night to set up; it was gone when I arrived Saturday morning – neighbors getting in on the pre sale. I’d always wanted a pink Easy Bake Oven growing up and it must be why I prefer to bake instead of cook to this day. I did get my Chatty Cathy doll and I still have her, no garage sales in her future.

While we watched shoppers sift through our items for sale and talked about the details of our childhood, I knew there must be a million stories out there about gifts kids wished for and never got and the ones they wanted and received. Shades of “The Christmas Story” movie come to life. Got a gift never received Christmas, holiday or birthday memory? Write that story!

Then go find the toy on eBay and buy it for yourself. It’s never too late to fulfill childhood dreams, including becoming a writer.

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Filed under Non-Fiction Writing