Tag Archives: Childhood Stories

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What I Thought of Santa as a Kid

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

As I’ve mentioned here before, my parents were pastors when I was a child. Many of our Christmas traditions revolved around the religious aspects of that holiday and the various parties, services, charitable fundraisers, and other events we held at church. It was always a busy season for us!

A black santa claus putting a wrapped presnt in his big, red bagMy family decorated a tree and exchanged a few thoughtful presents each year, but Santa himself was not part of our version of Christmas. My only experiences with him were through seasonal television programs and some traditional works of literature like T’Was The Night Before Christmas.

We didn’t own a TV at all for a while when I was in the prime age group for believing in him, and I was also homeschooled for several years there. Due to these factors, I didn’t know that some other families were so focused on Santa during Christmas until I was older and began spending more time around kids whose families had other traditions.

Sometimes my grandmother would bend the rules a little and give us a few extra presents from Santa or one of the friendly animals on their farm because of how much she loves Christmas.

We always knew they were really from her and Grandpa, of course, so my parents weren’t too fussed about whose name was on the “from” line. My parents taught us to be respectful of other people’s traditions and household rules.

The various legends about Santa amused me, especially when it came to learning about the historical Saint Nicholas and how myths about him and his magical helpers have evolved over time. That made little Lydia wonder if other magical creatures like the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny were also loosely based on real people or events.

When I started attending public school, I vaguely remember classmates talking about what race and ethnicity Santa should be. As far as I was concerned, he could be from any racial or ethnic group.

Appearances don’t matter because Santa was a metaphor for kindness and generosity in my family. We all perform the role of Santa when we notice what others need and quietly work to help them in whatever ways we can throughout the year.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Memories

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I don’t know if I’ll be able to come up with a full ten answers for this week’s prompt, but I do have some fun bookish memories to share with you all.

 


Bookish Memory #1
: Falling asleep while waiting for my dad to come home from a late night at work. I always wanted him to tell me stories about his childhood again. He had a marvellous way of turning his childhood into something just as exciting as any novel! I especially loved his story about accidentally setting his bed on fire when he was pretending to be big and powerful like Superman. He threw one lit match on it and then tried to blow it out just like Superman would do. (The fire was soon put out, and he never tried anything like that again. It was truly an innocent mistake). Sometimes I’d quietly retell his stories to myself as I waited to see ifPerson holding an annotated paperback book open. The book has a sticky note in it that says remember. he’d be home soon!

Bookish Memory #2: My mother reading the first few Little House on the Prairie books to me. I took over reading them as soon as my reading skills were strong enough because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next and she needed to look after my younger siblings.

Bookish Memory #3: Being so bored in church that I read portions of the Bible that weren’t being discussed during that week’s sermon. I was a preacher’s kid, so I had plenty of opportunities to “read ahead” so to speak.

Bookish Memory #4: Occasionally getting away with reading secular books during long church services. Shh, don’t tell my parents. 😉

Bookish Memory #5: Discovering a fairy tale my aunt had started writing but not finished when she was a little girl. So far as I can recall, it was about a princess and a magic necklace.  I added a few more scenes to it and then tucked it away where I found it. Maybe someday another little girl in our family will find it in that cupboard and finish it!

Bookish Memory #6: Being excited to start high school and later on college because of the wonderful new school libraries I was about to gain access to! I remember staring into the dark windows of those still-empty libraries just before the school year began and wishing they’d open early for me. I would have promised to leave everything exactly how I’d found if I could only browse the shelves for an hour and take note of which books I’d hope to check out first.

Bookish Memory #7: Memorizing the summer hours of our local public library and timing my walks there so I could arrive first thing in the morning or later in the evening depending on my work schedule. I knew exactly how long that walk took and was often the first (or last) patron of the day.  Let’s just say that July and August are quite hot and humid in the Midwestern portion of the United States. You do not want to be walking around in the full heat of the day for too long. Sunburns and heat strokes can happen terribly quickly if you’re not careful.

Bookish Memory #8: Attending the annual book sale and book/art festival in support of that same local library. I’d often find a few secondhand books that piqued my interest after I’d bought a slice or pie or some other treat.  We lived in a small, sleepy town, so events like this were a big deal for everyone who loved the local library!

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Best Gift I Ever Received

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

A black gift box with a gold bow on it. The best gift I’ve ever received was learning how to have a wonderful time while spending little to no money.

When I was a kid, my parents taught us to enjoy hikes, camping, picnics, storytelling (courtesy of library books or amusing tales from my parents’ childhoods), and swimming in local bodies of water among many other activities.

This was a tradition they continued even once their financial situation improved and we could technically afford the occasional visit to a movie theatre or amusement park.

Yes, there were times when I was a preteen and teenager that I envied the flashier outings and presents some of my classmates talked about after summer vacation. I don’t intend to portray myself as a saintly kid or anything like that, but the funny thing about growing up is how much your perspective can change over time.

I entered adulthood with a vivid imagination and a long list of hobbies and interests that I can enjoy regardless of how much money is or isn’t left over after all of the bills are paid.

Even when I do go on something closer to a traditional vacation, I’m happiest when I enjoy it by swimming in the hotel pool or wandering around town and pretending I’m a local. You never know what cool parks, monuments, or hole-in-the-wall diners you’ll find if you go with the flow, walk past the tourist traps, and see what hidden gems are a few blocks or miles away.

How I Changed My Mind About Weightlifting

As I mentioned last week, weightlifting wasn’t something that I immediately liked when I first tried it.

This week I’ll dig into the reasons why that was so and how I tweaked them so that I could finally enjoy this form of exercise.

No Training, Limited Equipment

Man struggling to open pickle jar
I’m sharing this stock photo because it made me grin.

The high school I attended was small and rural. It had a tiny weight room for student athletes and the occasional gym students to use.

Our mandatory gym classes for ninth and tenth graders were my first introduction to this form of exercise.

The problem was, our gym teacher gave us no training on how to use the equipment in that room. It was also cramped, hot, and crowded there. We generally spent twice as much time waiting in line for the next machine as we did actually exercising.

The first college I attended had nothing but two stationary bikes in their fitness room. The second college I attended had a large room dedicated to weightlifting, but once again our instructor didn’t teach us how to use the equipment safely or pick an appropriate workout for a complete beginner.

I was mildly interested in weight training by this point, but I was scared of accidentally hurting myself. This was the U.S. we’re talking about, and my family considered ourselves lucky to have reached a solid lower middle class existence after my mom graduated from college and found a decent job when I was in my early teens. That is to say, there was little to no extra money lying around for unexpected medical bills if I accidentally hurt myself.

Sensory Overload

Closeup of someone opening their eye wide and feeling overwhelmedMy limited experiences with gyms as an adult were of loud, hot, bright, crowded places.

The combination of those four things can be quite overstimulating to me, especially when I’m trying to concentrate or learn something new.

Kudos to everyone who is energized by all of that stimulation, but I’m not wired that way.

I’ve since visited one high-end gym that was a much more understated place to work out. There was no background music I could remember and the other people there were all working out quietly with plenty of extra machines, weights, and air conditioning to go around.

While it’s currently out of my budget, I am willing to revisit that topic if I ever have so much money that paying those high fees every month feels worth it.

 

Baby Steps

Man and dog standing on a step as the dog contemplates walking down it.So here I was as an adult who wanted to build muscle but had no idea where to start or how to do it safely.

My first baby step into weightlifting was a cardio fitness routine called Dorm Room Workout that included a a few minutes of weight training in the middle and at the end of their routine. If I could still find it anywhere online, I’d link to it here!

A family member had previously given me a set of five-pound hand weights I’d tried using once or twice, but I’d loaned them out to another relative by this point.

What I did have on hand were some soup cans, so that’s what I used for those portions of the Dorm Room Workout. They were light enough that I could copy the instructors moves precisely and didn’t have to worry about hurting myself.

I started to gain a little more confidence in my physical abilities.

Slow and Steady

A rack filled with small dumbbells

At this point, I started watching other videos of instructors doing weightlifting routines.

My other relative had returned the five-pound weights at this point, so I had something a bit more challenging to work with.

Once I’d seen the videos a few times and knew what to expect with them, I tried actually exercising to them. Yes, the trusty soup cans were trotted out first, but I eventually moved onto actual weights once I felt stronger and more confident in my abilities.

The nice thing about many weightlifting videos these days is that they include modifications. I couldn’t do a full pushup when I began, so I did them against the wall or, when I was stronger, on the floor while leaning on my knees. There were some weightlifting moves I wasn’t strong enough to do yet either.

Was my form perfect? No, but because the stakes were so low I adjusted it a bit each time and did my best not to move up to heavier weights or harder types of pushups until I was sure I was ready.

I no doubt could have proceeded much faster than I did, but I’m a cautious soul who would rather move slowly than suffer a painful injury that requires surgery or months of physical therapy to fix. To this day, I always try the modifications in new workout videos of any sort, but especially the weightlifting ones, before jumping straight into the more challenging versions of them.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A TV Show That Influenced My Life

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I wasn’t sure which book or film to pick for this week’s prompt, so I’ll be answering it with one of the first TV shows I ever remember watching that has stuck with me well into adulthood: Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

The Mister Rogers Neighborhood workmark.

Sesame Street appealed to me as a small child, too, but I preferred the calmness of Mr. Rogers. What a soothing, gentle man he was.

He had a marvellous way of making topics even grownups struggle with sometimes easier to understand and taking the fear out of experiences that sometimes frighten small children like moving to a new house or visiting a doctor.

His show modelled so many important things for his viewers: kindness, respect, inclusion, tolerance, curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge, and the importance of letting your imagination roam free sometimes.

I think all of us who watched his show when we were little were very lucky, indeed. I’m glad reruns of it are still reaching today’s youngsters.

Vintage Science Fiction Month: My First Taste of Vintage SciFi

Vintage SciFi Month was created by Little Red Reviewer and is moderated by Red Star Reviews. Any science fiction film, short story, play, or book released before 1979 is eligible for this celebration of classic science fiction.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane today. My family didn’t have cable* for most of my childhood, and there were… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something I Collected as a Child

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. I have one predictable and one unexpected answer for this week’s prompt. The predictable answer: books. I had several relatives who would send new books to… Read More

Mindfulness During a Snowstorm

January is the quietest time of year in Ontario. Life slows down here quickly once this month begins.Not only have the majority of the big winter holidays have passed by, the weather itself isn’t terribly conducive to driving anywhere even before this pandemic began. The overnight temperature can dip to -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit) or… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Earliest Memory

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. I’d forgotten this, but it turns out that WWBC had this same prompt last year! I talked about eating apples that were still attached to the… Read More