Christmas’s most wanted

I write to you, gentle readers, singlehandedly today.  Last night I was suddenly ambushed by a juice glass that decided it would rather shatter into pieces than allow me to gently caress its surface with a soft sponge before carefully placing it in the dishwasher.

I don’t particularly mind when my drinking glasses break.  They are cheap and easy to replace.  But I do mind when the shards of glass land not in the empty sink below me, but directly into my hand.  I won’t describe the scene in detail, since even I get a bit woozy thinking about it, but I’ll leave you with the knowledge that I am now the proud owner of several small bandages in the form of medical super glue, and a splint on my left thumb.

I try to keep things in perspective.  Typing with one’s right hand alone is frustrating, but not nearly as frustrating as trying to do a zipper or pulling one’s hair into a ponytail.  So, this post was lovingly and painstakingly typed just for your literary pleasure.  And to prove that I’m not a total gimp.

* * * * * * * * * *

When I was growing up, and even more recently, there were a number of toys and games that I desperately wanted, but was never good enough in Santa’s eyes to get.  In the commercial spirit of the upcoming holiday, despite my good willed intentions this year, I must take a moment to dwell upon a few of those that I probably would have enjoyed the most, and would definitely still enjoy today.  If I were taking part in the commercial aspect of the season, I would definitely put these at the top of my list.


Domino Rally

Domino Rally was popular when in the mid-eighties to the early nineties.  Made by the Pressman Toy Corporation, the toy was hundreds of hollowed out domino-sized pieces of plastic, which I believe could be set up on their own or in different combinations of tracks that came in the box.  Different sets, including some that glowed in the dark, featured different stunts the “dominos” could set off, like rockets and planes.

I had heard through the elementary school grapevine that the “dominos” were actually quite substandard.  The injection molding process left little plastic protrusions on the edges, which, when combined with their naturally lightweight nature, made standing the dominos terribly difficult.

I didn’t care.  I wanted Domino Rally anyway.  I yearned for it.  I thought I would die without it.  Of course, I got the Barbie Townhouse instead.  It turns out that even though I didn’t get my preferred toy, I continued to live.  Who would have thought?

Nowadays, Domino Rally is impossible to find, as are all of the subsequent sets.  A little research led me to discover that the toy was more recently being manufactured by the same company, but under the name Domino Express.  Unfortunately, my detective work has come to a screeching halt yet again, as it seems that not even Domino Express is in production any longer.


Pogo Ball

One of my best friends growing up had a Pogo Ball.  Unfortunately, she also had two older brothers who decided quite early on in our friendship that neither of us were cool enough to play with the Pogo Ball.  Every time we made a move for it, they would snatch it up and take turns bouncing on it, even when it was painfully obvious that they were not enjoying themselves at all.  It was more important to them to make us jealous of their Pogo Ball skills.

The point is, I’ve never actually bounced on a Pogo Ball.  The concept is so brilliant: one balances on the platform, squeezes the ball between one’s feet, and commences bouncing.  The toy tests one’s balance, endurance and muscle control.  What a fantastic way to get kids to exercise!

Infinitely better than a pogo stick or even moon shoes, Pogo Balls were all the rage on my elementary school playground.  I knew people that would have contests to see who could bounce more, either by counting the bounces or the minutes.  It also doesn’t hurt that the Pogo Ball is shaped like Saturn.

I’m surprised that one can still purchase a Pogo Ball, and for only $15.  If I don’t get one this Christmas, I just may have to buy one for myself.



Skip-It was a cross between a jumprope and a mace.  Like a hula hoop for one’s ankle, one literally skipped, causing the toy to swing around with a small amount of  centrifugal force, which one then had to skip over.  One could decorate it with stickers and even attach streamers.  But the guy from the commercial was right: the best part was the counter on the ball.  One could keep track of how many times one had skipped over the Skip-It!  If I thought that little loop would fit around my ankle today, I would probably still want one.

I never got Skip-It for Christmas, but I suppose that was my own fault.  Rather than coming out and asking my parents for one directly, I thought my more subtle tactic of singing the song from the commercial would be more effective.  I thought wrong.  I didn’t feel too bad about not getting a Skip-It, though, because none of my friends had one either.

It seems there is a new generation of Skip-Its out there, complete with a digital counter, retractable rainbow ribbon and flower scent.  Wow.


Make Your Own-opoly

I love Monopoly.  I have spent years perfecting my strategies, fine tuning them so that my unsuspecting opponents are wiped off the map.  You know that silly backstabbing and ganging up that happens on Survivor and other similarly obnoxious reality television shows?  Ha!  You’re reading the blog of the woman who invented that tactic!  When playing Monopoly, I am a fierce aggressor, taking advantage of my opponents’ moments of weakness, making them beg for mercy when they land on my hotel-filled empire.

Fast forward about a decade and a half, and about sixty miles north of my hometown to a small, bustling town in southeastern Pennsylvania.  On the main drag, there is a toy shop, no different from any other toy shop one may encounter these days.  I discovered it about four years ago when Mike and I decided to take a short road trip.  The shop didn’t seem like anything particularly special until I saw it.

There are several “varieties” of Monopoly out there, some made by Parker Brothers, others by wannabes.  Dog-opoly, Cat-opoly, Chocolate-opoly, Simpsons-opoly, Wine-opoly…the list goes on and on.  There’s nothing wrong with these spin-offs of sorts; I even own Earth-opoly, and Spanish Monopoly (which my mother picked up on a trip to Mexico).  But none of these compared to the Holy Grail of Opolies, which sat unassumingly beneath a pile of Eagles-opoly: Make Your Own-opoly.

How cool is it to be able to make your own Monopoly board?  According to the official website, you can customize everything from the board to the cards to the money to the moving pieces, all with some scissors and a color printer.

By some unfortunate twist of fate, Make Your Own-opoly is not compatible with Macs.  However, I do still have my old PC that crashed a little under a year ago.  It works well enough; I just don’t trust it to save anything of importance on its unreliable and finicky hard drive.  I knew there was a reason why I didn’t throw it out.  And that reason is Make Your Own-opoly.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Megan
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 10:20:38

    Few things have brought me greater joy in life than opening up my very own, hot pink Skip-It! I may have gotten it for a birthday, but regardless . . . it was fun until I’d smacked myself in the ankle about 57 times, and then I had it to resign my tiny self to the fact that it was more a weapon of terror than a toy!

    I think I would have been willing to suffer a bruised ankle for the chance to skip on a Skip-It.


  2. amy
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 00:50:29

    Yes, I am reading your blog instead of writing a paper….
    I was the proud owner of both a pogo ball and a skip-it, both, undoubtedly given to me by my much “cooler” friends who knew about these trends of which I was completely oblivious. The pogo ball, I remember left much to be desired as something to bounce on, but was fun to have wars with my brother by trying to hurl them at each other in a frisbee/dodgeball combo. The skip-it on the other hand, brought me great joy when used in it’s original purpose, along with massive ankle injuries from the heavy ball at the end of the plastic tether slamming into my leg. These injuries were pervasive enough among the other skipping youngsters, that they caused skip-its to be banned from my elementary school….oh the joys of childhood in the 80’s!


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