Posts Tagged ‘Silly Putty’

OH, didn’t I tell you that my daughter’s Nanny does NOT speak English?  Oh yes, that little detail adds so much more to the running of the household, the raising of the kids, not to mention general communication.  It’s been a learning experience  for all.  I believe Belle joined the family in July, my daughter spoke no Spanish, my son-in-law speaks no Spanish, Francesca knew a little bit of Portuguese from the previous NY nanny and Finley was getting bits and pieces of Spanish at school.  That was then.

Fast forward to October and I find that my grandchildren can understand directions and instructions from Belle in Spanish, (most evident at mealtimes) and my daughter can have a conversation (albeit somewhat limited in subject matter) with her.  As for myself I am at a loss as to why only French words come to mind,  since I took in high school and you don’t really want to know how long ago that was!    I never took Spanish and never spent any time with someone who spoke it, but thought since French and Spanish were both Romance languages I would stand a chance communicating.  NOT SO!  There is very little resemblance between the words and of course the spoken word is completely foreign to me when pronounced with her Colombian accent.

This morning, Belle and I were the only ones up after the girls went to school.  We were in the kitchen together so we attempted some sort of conversation.  It’s amazing how much you can say and understand when you combine French, Italian and hand-gesture sign language.  BUT it’s not enough.  Galaxy4 to the rescue.  I have two apps on my new phone that have enabled to actually get a question answered or to say something to Belle.  One is Voice Search and that one is a riot.  Most of the time it gets it right but a couple of times the response were really crazy.  It operates on my voice asking how do you say___in Spanish.  Then the electronic voice ( I don’t know her name but she’s not Siri because this ain’t no Apple) comes on speaking my words in Spanish.  So I talk to the phone and then hand it over to Belle to listen to.  You can see how easily conversation flows NOT.  The second app is called Translate.  I type in a sentence and the phone translates it into Spanish, so again I’m on the phone and then I hand it to her.  This all makes for a discussion that no one else can hear.  Mmmm possibly a good thing!

We talked about the girls and about food and cooking.  We compared some notes and traded ideas.  She likes to cook with coconut oil and I’m into olive oil.  This morning I showed her how to fork split a Thomas’ english muffin so there would be nooks and crannies for the butter to ooze into.  We, as the older and wiser parental units, talked about child rearing and how the younger generation does things differently (do not read better).

Five friends are coming for lunch today to see the new baby.  Belle has been cooking quinoa with pistachio nuts, craisins, parsley and lemon juice as one of the dishes.  A vegetable lasagna is also prepared to be heated and there will be salad.  I’m not sure if I am included in this luncheon, but either way is fine with me.  I wouldn’t mind delving into my book for a while or actually going outside other than to get in a car to drive somewhere.  There is a pool outside but it appears to be black – the bottom is painted black Tom calls it The Black Lagoon.  No one is swimming in it, we think the filter is broken


The Lake Ida gang of good friends arrived not just to meet and greet Fletcher BUT also to learn the gender of Leslie’s impending birth.  She brought dessert and very cleverly had one cup cake decorated in the appropriate colors.  Bets all around;  5 of us said it’s a boy and Chiara forecasted a girl.  You guessed it right?  The cupcake had pink frosting on it!

After the ladies left, there was maybe 15 minutes before the before the next visitor arrived;  I picked up Francesca at school (solo) (aren’t you impressed?) This visitor arrived with a bundt cake and 3 kids!  The cakes looked delicious and with a devil-may-care attitude, the mothers gave the kids slices of cake (Gigi does not approve of cake before dinner).  Now with 5 kids wired on sugar, let the fun begin!  Lots of racing around, lots of shrieks and then my sister called.  

Silly Putty

Silly Putty

She wanted to visit to see the new baby and the girls and me.  This would be the only time I would see her before she moved to Las  Vegas to marry her beau, Nick and start a new career as a hostess in the high roller room at a casino.  Nick has made all of the arrangements and she has assured me everything is on the up an up.  She needed directions to punch into her GPS.

This is when the real drama began;  Francesca needed me in the bathroom with her with the door closed.  About 4 minutes later I emerged to the sound of wailing, and I mean REAL loud crying.  What happened?  Well, if you’ve been to Florida you know the builders penchant for stone tile floors, granite counters and ceramic tile foyers?  Apparently during a wild chase through the rooms, one of the visiting kids slammed into the kitchen counter on the island AND knocked out a tooth!  She had a baggy of ice on her mouth which did little to muffle her crying!

Chiara says: ” I think Aunt Mardy called on your phone”.  I called her back and was greeted with: “It’s about time you picked up your phone”.  OHHHHHKAAY!  I just bit my tongue and calmly explained I had been otherwise occupied and did NOT bring my phone into the bathroom considering the fate of the iPhone5  the other night.  

She arrived laden with Halloween bags for the girls and gifts for Chiara, Tom and Fletcher.  And what do you think was in the goodie bags?  Glow in the dark Silly Putty – all the better to locate when stuck onto the couch, a microphone (batteries required) so one can be a Rock Star, Glo-sticks which she opened into glass jars with the girls to make Fairy Dust! and Hair Chalk!  Yes now the girls can paint their own hairs pink or purple, how convenient.  AND then the floor and leather chair were sprinkled with  blue powder! Fairy Dust? No, Finley opened up a small cylinder of this powder and spilled it.  She didn’t know it was the 2013 version of Pixie Dust which in my day, came encased in a straw – all the easier to suck up.  This innovation had a big sucker attached to a handle that after you sucked, you could dip it in the blue SUGAR!  Clearly by now you know my sister has NO children of her own!

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Those of you who know me and my collections already know that there are MANY vintage toys and games in our house.  They are not all childhood favorites however, some are just collected for the beauty of their design and graphics.  Being a woman of a certain age now, I’m pretty sure some of my favorites will be toys many of my readers have never even heard of!!!! Luckily I also have readers who are part of that post-war baby boom era too, and I don’t mean Vietnam.

These are toys and games I remember playing with most fondly:

  1. BILL DING – well I had to put him as number one  because he belongs to this blog.  He is my gravatar and he and his gang of clowns guard this site.  He is also very special to me because when I first met my husband, Peter and we prowled through antique shops and flea markets, I mentioned to him that I would love to find this certain toy from my past – Bill Ding.  When Christmas came, Peter gave me a narrow rectangular box, the kind a necklace would be in and of course that’s what I expected to find.  Instead, there he was, well not exactly he because the blue clown in the box was not Bill Ding himself but it didn’t matter.  I was SO excited to see this little wooden, blue, building-block clown, I couldn’t believe he had found one – by the way this was pre-Ebay days!  To this day, that very first Bill Ding clown sits on a shelf in our bedroom.  Over the years I collected many many more Bill Dings and they live all over the apartment.  I have introduced both my grandson, Cash and my granddaughter, Finley to the joys of stacking and creating pyramids with these smiling wooden characters.
  2. Melody Bells – I remember the Christmas I got Melody Bells as a gift.  I think my Uncle Franklin gave them to me.  I played and played with them till I’m sure I drove my parents crazy.  What was great about these bells was that the little songbook that came with them showed you how to play a tune by color.  Each bell was a different color and you could play the notes by ringing the bell of that color.  I guess I have always learned things more visually – I make Peter nuts when I refer to the Number 6 subway train as the green line and the Broadway train as the red line. He, of course being a true New Yorker refers to the subway lines as the IRT and RBT  and the IND.  I mean, really!! He is, of course, much older than me, lol lol.
  3. Candy Land – I know the game is still around and every time I see one at a thrift shop or flea market I check it out to see if the board has the old graphics, but it never does.  If it did, I would buy it.  I can remember playing this game for hours with my girlfriends…hoping to pick the Ice Cream Float card or the Gum Drop Mountain card.  The graphics had that great 1950’s look about them.  Now I understand, the game has characters, geez!  And I’ve seen the game boards of recent years – NO they’re not as great looking as the oldies.  Help me get out of the Molasses Swamp!
  4. Ball & Jacks – Really better known to me and my friends as just Jacks. Hours and hours were spent shaking those jacks in your hand and perfecting your toss so you could scoop up the requisite number and not touch the remaining pieces.  Ah technique, the sweeping of the palm of your hand and your pinky finger scooping up a trailing jack.  Little red balls bouncing all over the place especially if we played on our front steps and the ball hit an uneven spot.  What I remember is that I had real jacks, not the thin gray jacks that you could bend and break.  NO, my father got me cast metal jacks and they were in different colors; they were bigger, heavier and made a lot more noise when you played with them on one of the hardwood floors.  Jacks are wonderful because you could amuse yourself for hours or play with your friends.
  5. Clue: Also game still produced and played and need I even say that the older version was better? Well maybe the board wasn’t as snazzy as it is today and the character were only drawn faces and not photo-like images of real people as they are now BUT, the weapons were much more real. Yes truly – my set which was given to me about 1955 was a pretty early version since Parker Bros. bought the rights in 1949.  My set had a little lead pipe that actually was a soft lead and could bend, the rope really was a piece of twine fashioned into a hangman’s noose.  I loved Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green and Miss Scarlet.
  6. Paper Dolls and Guns – Paper Dolls were not so much a favorite of mine but rather a playtime activity I remember doing with my girlfriends.  I think Susan and Kakky (a nickname) had more Paper Dolls than I did; I was really a tomboy.  However, I remember clearly that I had a Rhonda Fleming paper doll set and  June Allyson.  Why I had only movie stars I don’t know, but my dad bought them for me.  Susan will probably read this so she can confirm, but I think she had the Betsy McCall Paper Dolls and one of us may have had Shirley Temple. Guns, well that was another whole thing. My father worked for J & E  Stevens Co. and they manufactured toy guns.  Their Guns were famous and prized for their weight, style and mechanical reliability. You could always tell a J & E toy gun by the ivory handle with a jewel in the handle.   And I had caps too!  Love the smell of a popped cap.  Rolls and rolls of pale red paper strips, all my guns were cap pistols.  I had beautiful holster sets too.  I remember one particular pale tan double holster set with the silver bullets and it had rawhide laces to strap to your legs – God, I was the envy of every boy in the neighborhood!!
  7. Cootie – Loved to play this game with my cousins from New Jersey.  I used to spend summers with them when I was about 10 and we played Cootie a lot.  I always wanted the pink body (somethings never change).  They were so cute!  They had legs, antennae, a proboscis.
  8. Pick Up StixThis was another of those games that required patience, a steady hand and some measure of analytical skill.  And also again, this is game you could play by yourself or with friends.  How many times did I hold that bunch of colorful sticks, drop them and then carefully (you couldn’t move another stick) extricate the sticks one by one.  Of course today, I’m sure the mothers don’t let their kids play with any object that has points; thankfully none of my friends poked their eyes out!
  9. Hula Hoop, Roller Skating and Jump Rope, Hop ScotchJust in case you thought all of my playtime was sedentary, it sure wasn’t.  I still can’t figure out how I was able to roll that hoop around my hips for HOURS and now I can’t make it stay up even one loop!!!  We all had Hula Hoops and soon we were twirling the hoops at our knees and shimmying them up.  We could even make several hoops loop around at the same time.  And  we all had Roller Skates; the old metal ones with ball bearing wheels and a skate key to tighten the clamps that held the skates onto our shoes.  I lived in an area where everyone had  a driveway and the road was safe to skate on too.  Double-Dutch jump rope was something we did every spring.  I wasn’t as good at Double-Dutch, but did like just skipping rope with those red wooden handled Jump Ropes that we somehow got new every year.  You knew it was Daylight Savings Time when the Roller Skates, Jump Ropes and Hula Hoops appeared and the driveways were decorated with elaborately chalk-drawn Hop Scotch diagrams, both squares and spirals.
  10. And we played with: Silly Putty, Slinkys, Play Doh, Marbles, Baseball cards, Jack Knives (yes!), Stilts, Kites, Water Pistols, Old Maid
  11. And not to be overlooked: Chinese Checkers, Parcheesi, Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Tinker Toys, Krazy Ikes, Mr. Potato Head (and we used real potatoes), Tiddly Winks.
  12. Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Miss Scarlet, Parker Bros. Clue

    1955 CLUE game board

    Lollipop woods, gum drop mountain, molasses swamp, candy cane forest

    Original Candy Land Game Board

    And then there were a bunch of Simpler Toys from a Simpler Time.

10 Simple Toys and Pastimes From Another Lifetime

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