Meet Kenbie, or Barben. Either name is fine with shim.

My sister and I had lots of Barbies. I got a Ken one year for Christmas. One Ken, with one outfit – black “leather” pants and a white and black cowboy shirt.

For awhile, Ken was the star of his very own Big Love show. He had his choice of the available ladies and he had his way with all of them, I’m sure. But, eventually, Ken broke (probably because of the strain put on his body by a half a dozen horny, busty, career women).

Personally, I would have always chosen a new Barbie over wasting a “gift spot” on another Ken. My sister must have felt the same way, because we never had another Ken. But, Barbie has needs. What’s a girl to do? There was no more Ken, but his one outfit remained.

Enter Kenbie – an old Barbie given a make-under manly haircut, dressed in Ken’s old outfit, and burdened with the task of being the new sheriff in town. She did a fine job until the outfit eventually disintegrated.

This is the outfit she was found wearing when I opened the old Barbie Doll trunk, a 20 year old time capsule.


After that, Kenbie was free to truly be shimself – living and keeping on keeping on, dressing in whatever clothes suited shim and courting, well, it was still just all Barbies to choose from, and eventually a Jem.

And, I’m proud to say that my other Barbies never hassled Kenbie for his/her lifestyle choices.

This post is brought to you by Staying at My Mom’s House. Staying at My Mom’s House gives you exclusive access to my old Barbie gender bending experiments.

Lite-Brite, Lite-Brite, Turn on the Magic of Disappointing Lights

Lite-Brite. I wanted a Lite-Brite so bad when I was a kid but never got one. You could turn on the magic of colored lights with it and my mom didn’t even care. She said she didn’t want to step on all the little lights and then clog the vacuum with them because I wouldn’t clean up after myself. Just because something is true doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get a Lite-Brite.

When we moved when I was 9, our new neighbors had a Lite-Brite. I wouldn’t call the turning on of colored lights “magic,” it was more of a “huh” experience. And, I distinctly remember all of us kids moving on to something else and not cleaning up the Lite Brite.

The Lite-Brite commercials were a miraculous acheivement in advertising:

This commercial is 30 seconds long. The amount of fun you can have with a Lite-Brite is 31 seconds. The euphoria you feel watching the commercial: the lights, “all the things you can do with it,” a birthday party… it all ends right before the crushing realization that this thing, this Lite Brite, is not the end all and be all of everything that is fun and wonderful. And, let’s quickly break down everything they do in this commercial:

– Couple of examples of the template pictures – a clown, a ballerina.
– “Here’s Suzy.” Suzy took the time to make a Lite-Brite sign before she dismembered her family with an ax.
– Two kids, EACH WITH THEIR OWN LITE-BRITE, the little richies, doing more templates
– A little boy makes a good night sign for his absentee father. He has plenty of time to do it because he’s so lonely.
– Someone made a “Happy Birthday” sign with it for some kid’s party. And whomever that poor kid is, they weren’t allowed to blow their own candles out by themselves.

None of these things seem like fun at all when you stop to think about them. It’s the colors and the quick editing. Somehow, they created a commercial that made one of the most boringest things ever (that doesn’t even come with it’s own light bulb and oh-my-god it’s just a fucking light bulb with a shoebox over it) seem like heroin, crack, and candy all rolled into one.

And here’s an older one, I love the lame, generic promise of being able to “make people, animals, things.”

So, my mom never had to vacuum up lite-brite pegs, and I still learned the valuable lesson of something not being as awesome as it seemed. But you know what WAS awesome, that I used over and over again, and loved to no end? Fashion Plates. I may have only worn jeans and t-shirts (still do), but I’ll cobble together an amazing look for a fashion plate. This ad is for versions newer than mine was, and the New Kids on the Block version is hilarious:

Anybody have a Lite-Brite and love it? What other toys crushed your soul after you realized they sucked?

I Once Pulled a Muscle Being Versatile

Yelling Near You and Thoughts Appear were kind enough to award me this:

The rules are:
1. Show the award on my blog
2. Compose a short dedication to the persons who awarded them the award
3. Write a list of five things for their readers that detail things about themselves their readers don’t know, and then
4. Pay the love forward to five bloggers that they feel deserve to receive the Versatile Blogger Award, too.

Number one, done! Must fight typical “I need to take a celebratory break from getting so much done!” reaction and move on. So, two great blogs:

Yelling Near You (Mark and Bitsy, Bitsy and Mark) is great for many reasons:
– Mark is the resource for all of your Canadian advertisement needs.
– He also believes that “mid-season finale” is as idiotic as I do.
– They have an adorable big orange dog who gets his picture taken a lot (and gets his teeth brushed with Mark’s toothbrush).
– Bitsy hasn’t lost her sense of humor despite a cast, medication, acne, and sweating.

Thoughts Appear’s Blog is also great for many reasons:
– She is the resource for all of your Pop Tart information needs.
– Thanks to her, I don’t have to watch Children of the Corn 7 and many other movies which she has bravely endured and passed on the pertinent facts from.
– She just got back together with her boyfriend, squeeeee!
– She found a mysterious hole in the woods and didn’t go see what was in there, which probably saved her life, but also left a mystery we will never know the answer to.

Things you don’t know about me but now do:
1. My lack of a sense of a direction has left me in tears on multiple occasions, and one time, because I missed an exit on the highway, I ended up going on a Christmas hay ride with my aunt and uncle, who had to rescue me and didn’t have time to get me home.
2. One time as a teen I got the two family cars stuck together while trying to back out of the garage. It was amazing.
3. I was born in and have always lived in the South, and I can’t stand humid heat. When I went to the Utah desert July of last year, I realized that there is such a thing as “dry heat” and became very jealous.
4. Tom and I have owned three houses (not at once), and our current house is for sale, in anticipation of hopefully moving back to N.C. and owning our fourth fucking house.  Every time we know we’re going to end up in a new house, we convince ourselves that this time we will become responsible, capable adults who get shit done. It didn’t happen the first three times but I KNOW this time will be different.
5. When I get hungry and my blood sugar drops, I become a black hole that sucks all joy and fun out of the immediate area. That person’s nickname is Scarrie. She is the reason Tom sometimes says things like “we need to feed her,” which once offended my neighbor on behalf of me, and I assured her, there’s no offense to be taken, because that’s how bad it is. The fear of encountering Scarrie has also caused my sister to not be willing to give her husband a granola bar she had because she knew I’d need it later. And I did need it later, and catastrophe was averted that day.

And five nominated blogs, all of which I’ve had the pleasure discovering from blogging (and Twittering):
Our Daily Escape
My Blog Can Beat up Your Blog
Ach du Lieber, Jayne!
Going to Mensa

Now, I really need to eat something…

Forgetful Forgetful Grandma

My grandma, Mama Dot (my dad’s mom), was a true character. I hope to be as sassy as she was someday. She was this fantastic combination of the ultimate nurturer and illogical judgment, as I’m sure many grandmas are.

For example, she stocked her cupboards with candy so that her grandkids could gorge themselves on Reece’s cups and York peppermint patties. Then, she’d admonish us for not wanting to eat dinner.

She was a very generous Christmas gift-giver. I didn’t have to come from a broken home to get two Christmas stockings, because she did them for EVERYONE – four grandkids, three children, two in-laws, then, eventually, two in-law grandkids. She would also give us several Christmas presents – a mixture of whatever she randomly chose, and a nice number of things from our specific lists. This of course meant she was buying things that she had no clue about. And, really, who would care to learn more about plastic ponies with pictures on their asses?

One year, either my sister or I had asked for Hungry Hungry Hippos. Here is the ad:

Hungry Hungry Hippos is one of those toys that no one who lives with you wants you to have. It is noisy, it has marbles as game parts, and, usually within the first day, at least one hippo commits suicide. Plus, once you take the dancing cartoon hippos and catchy jingle away, all you have left is the game, which is entirely lame.

But, that’s not the point. The point is that to a kid, the colorful Hungry Hungry Hippos ad makes this game look like a fine way to spend your time, and we wanted it. And we got it. Mama Dot got it for us.

“Hooray!” we exclaimed to ourselves in our minds because we’re both introverts, we got Hungry Hungry Hippos! We immediately opened and set it up, and commenced with de-hungering the Hippos.

Now, if you didn’t watch the commercial, watch it. You will notice that you don’t actually HEAR the game being played. You hear the ecstatic giggles of the children, and you hear the very loud jingle. There’s a reason for that. HHH sounds like a construction site but instead of jackhammers, there are hippos, and instead of cat calls, there are marbles rolling around.

So, when my sister and I happily started our first game (and that is the only time you happily play HHH), Mama Dot walking by, stopped, and exclaimed:

Mama Dot: Who in the hell got you that!?
Us: You did!
Mama Dot: I most certainly did not.
Our Mother (knowing very well who the hell got us that): Yes, you did.
Mama Dot: I think I would know if I got something like that. I wouldn’t get something like that.

After much back and forth, it was established that yes, Mama Dot had gotten us this thing that was filling the house with the sounds of plastic clacking and clanging like awful Christmas bells.

It was actually a running gag in our family – aunts and uncles would get their nieces and nephews noisy toys on purpose. My parents won this contest because they got my nephew an extremely noisy police car. My aunt and uncle thought the torture would be over when the batteries ran out. They swear that the battery somehow fused with the casement to create a never-ending lifespan. You didn’t even have to play with it. If you looked at it wrong it would yell, “STOP! Pull over!”

However, my grandma never participated in this tradition because we actually stayed at her house, so she knew it would eventually bite her in the ass. Needless to say, she was very disappointed to find out that she had brought Hungry Hungry Hippos on herself. But, it never stopped her from complaining about how we have too much stuff, about 25% of which was her fault.


This post was written in response to Studio30 Plus’ prompt: The Gift