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In my continued quest of documenting “99 Things That Bring Me Joy“, the next stop in my journal brings us to childhood activities I don’t want to outgrow. I don’t believe I am experiencing a “Peter Pan syndrome”, but I do still feel very young-at-heart even though I am rapidly approaching my late thirties & my early thirties have come & gone in a blink of an eye. Actually, I’m not really sure how to exactly describe myself. I can relate, get along with, & easily talk to all sorts of generations. I can chat with older adults about 1960s culture, reminisce with my own generation about our carefree youth in the 1980s & the grungey 90s, & when the kids of the next generation spit out slang lingo I can talk to them without checking the Urban Dictionary every 5 minutes.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have built up a lot of my current collections by adding on to things I’ve kept since my youth. Even though I am learing how to let go of items I once thought were sentimental on the basis of decluttering my home, I still keep some of my treasured childhood objects & collectible items. I use some of those items as a starter/base in building my collections. A few of my other childhood collectibles are still able to be used in my arts & crafts projects. (For example, I have a few rubber stamps from the mid-90s that I’m still using in my craft projects today.)

Aside from collectible objects, there are a few childhood activities that I continue to engage in, even as an adult. They’re not really exciting or unique, but they make me happy, no matter what age I am. Let me give you a few examples.


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I wrote in an old post about the London Bus LEGO set that I had completed, & within that post I had provided a full list (as of 2017) of all the LEGO sets I owned. I’ve been playing with LEGO building blocks for as long as I can remember. My experience with LEGO blocks began with a simple tub of miscellaneous blocks that my mom bought for me at the Toys ‘R Us store when I was a little kid. There was a long span of my life (meaning my teenage years) where I stopped playing with LEGOs.

Then as an older adult, I started playing with them again, or should I say building sets again. I guess I jumped back on the LEGO bandwagon at the time when it was trendy for adults to go back to doing childhood things, like coloring & painting, in order to relieve stress. (What did they call the trend…”zen coloring for adults”??? LOL!). Now that LEGOs are back in style, & have become trendy for people of all ages, I’ve really thrown myself into building what LEGO calls “creator sets”.

My collecting of these large LEGO sets have really taken over my house to the point where I could easily turn my house into a small toy store. Thank goodness my collecting hasn’t taken over my life so much to the point where I will buy every new collectible set that’s released. I only buy the sets that interest me, but it’s still becoming an overwhelming collection that I hope to one day pass on to my future child. In the meantime, here is an updated list of the LEGO sets I have so far…

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If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, then you know all about my sticker collecting. I mean, I basically won’t shut up about it & write about my sticker collecting in practically every other post. I have been collecting (& using) stickers since I was around 10-years old. I still even have a few of my old stickers from way back when. I won’t go in to too much detail about my boring sticker collecting, just know that I’ve been collecting stickers nearly my entire life.

Do you remember when I introduced my sticker storage box (named Trevor)? Well, he’s overflowing now.

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This photo of Trevor taken circa July 2012.

This is Trevor now. He is a super hot mess.

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Even my craft washi tape collection got so overwhelming that Pierre spilled out, & we now have his little brother named Jean-Luc.


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I’m not an avid coloring book artist these days, but I still color like a kid from time to time using a coloring page app on my tablet. When I was a little kid, I loved coloring in school. I couldn’t freestyle/hand draw to save my life, but I loved coloring. I still can’t draw (barely stick figures & crude symbols), but I still enjoy coloring from time to time.

I remember when I was a teenager & I discovered tracing paper for the first time. I had this beautiful hardcover art book from the artist Mary Engelbreit, who was my favorite artist at the time. I would spend hours in my room, sitting on my bed, painstakingly re-tracing all of my favorite prints from that book. Then I would take my treasured deluxe box of colored pencils & color in all of my traced pages, trying to copy Mary’s artwork. I had so much fun tracing those artworks & getting to color them in at the end.

Today, I don’t exactly color in actual paper coloring books with coloring pencils & crayons, but I do have a coloring app on my tablet called Lake Coloring, & whenever the mood strikes or if I’m feeling a little out of sorts, I’ll whip out my tablet (which I have named Richard), & just color away to clear my headspace, with my only worry being which color to choose. I wouldn’t exactly say that this type of coloring is a stress reliever, but it does actually distract me (in a good way) & helps me to temporarily forget about whatever was on my mind to make me feel moody.


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I didn’t read comic books & graphic novels when I was very young. However, I remember one of my older female cousins was really into reading Archie Comics. I had another male cousin who loved to collect MAD magazines. He even had the board game that was a spin-off of the comic magazine.

I didn’t really start learing about comic books myself until I became a young teenager & my parents allowed me to walk to the grocery store without a chaperone. I started by reading the cheap 99¢ cents comics at the grocery store. Then when I was old enough to drive, I would spend my after school time hanging out at my local bookstore near the shopping mall. That was the time when I  was introduced to the magical world of Japanese manga (graphic novels).

Let me tell you one thing, when I immerse myself in a hobby or something I’m passionate about, I will invest a lot of time & effort (& money) into it. For example, when I started reading Japanese manga (I was more into manga rather than watching anime shows), I would read two or three series at a a time. I was always searching for a new series to dive into, which actually worked out for me because it always took at least a month, sometimes longer, to properly translate one Japanese comic book into English. It’s not easy to translate sound effects, & Japanese subtlety. To show you what I mean, let me insert a photo here.

mini manga library

I found these while cleaning out the storage closet, & miraculously they were NOT moisture damaged or warped!

I am not sure if you can clearly read the titles in this photo or not. I will list all of the titles, so you don’t have to zoom-in & sqint. Just a fair warning, I was really into the magical girl romance genre back in those days. I also dabbled in a little of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, & of course…the traditional romance genre as well.

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I haven’t quite gotten back in to reading graphic novels. Well, at least not since I graduated college, but I’m slowly dipping my foot back in to that giant pool, testing out the water again to see if I’m still willing to shell out the mucho dinero for one book every other month. I still do read, though. However, I have slowed down my reading of hardcopy books in favor of e-books on my treasured tablet, Richard. You know, it is kind of sad to say this, but… you know when someone asks the trivia question “what three items would you bring with you to a remote island”? Two of the three items I’d probably bring with me is: 1. Richard, my tablet, & 2. a power source so I may keep Richard charged at all times. (Also, item number three would probably be a hunting knife.)


Well, that pretty much sums up some of my childhood that I’ve carried with me into full adulthood. Some of these things I believe I can still carry with me throughout my childhood & not feel like I’ve outgrown them. I also feel like I can pass down some of these activities with my future offspring. At least I hope so… That’s all I’ve got to say on this subject. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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One thing I remember very vividly from my childhood was playing board games with my siblings & cousins. We were all pretty close in age, so we enjoyed spending time together. We loved playing games & making home movies (which would be a good topic for a separate post).

I look back now & realize that I sucked at playing games. I never read the instructions. I never wanted to follow the game rules. My older brother was super patient & nice, always offering to teach me how to play one of his more grown-up board games (like Risk, Monopoly, Stratego). I never realized back then that he would cheat a little by not teaching me all the rules, but I also just plain sucked at playing games. I never had a sharp mind for strategy & was easily impulsive when it was my turn.

Even though I wasn’t very good at playing games (board games, card games, puzzle games, & video games especially), I enjoyed playing them. There were a few that I really liked to play, & it took me quite a while to think far back in my old memories to come up with this shortened list.


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One of the very first board games that I learned to play & really liked was the iconic game Candyland. Even though I didn’t eat a lot of candy when I was a little kid, I still loved to play this sugary, candy-coated, confectionery themed board game. I think one of the reasons why I liked to play this game so much was: 1. it reminded me a lot of my favorite cartoon character of the 1980s Strawberry Shortcake, & 2. the game was easy to play due to the simple instructions.

I thought the illustrations on the board game were cute, & I’d examine all the candies & sweets. My mom wouldn’t really let me eat sugary treats that often when I was a kid. Well, I never really was interested in eating candies & sweets anyway, but I still enjoyed playing a colorful game centered around them.


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I remember there was a girl who lived on my street, & we were in the same grade together. We became fast friends, & I would spend nearly every day at her house  after school, listening to her mom’s classic vinyl records from the 1960s & playing tons of board games. This girl had a really fun geography game called Where In The World?, & when we played the game, we would never really follow the instructions.

When we played this game together, we’d just take the geography cards & use them to guess each country the other person was describing. There were of course many other pieces & game boards that came along with the game, along with 2 variations on how to play the game, but my school friend & I would just make up our own guessing game with the geography cards. We just had so much childish fun making up our own games & playing together after school.


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Another board game I like to play when I was a little kid was Clue. It wasn’t until I became a teenager when I finally saw the Clue movie starring actor Tim Curry, but I still had fun playing this mystery, who-done-it game. I had hours of fun playing this board game, & of course every kid loved to use the secret passages on the board to move from room to room on their turns.

My school friend once let me borrow her Clue board game, which had the original packaging from 1963 (the pea green box with the big fingerprint & characters lined up on the box top), but after borrowing the game, she had moved away without giving her new address, & we both had totally forgotten that I had borrowed the board game from her. It wasn’t until a long time later, when my parents were cleaning out a storage closet, when they stumbled upon it & asked me if I still wanted to keep it. I had no way to return this board game back to this schoolmate, as we had not only lost contact, but also had grown apart & our friendship was broken up (to a point of unsalvageable, but I’ll save that for another post). I think playing this board game played a part in my future interest in solving logic puzzles (you know the ones from those cheap $1.99 magazines at the grocery store).


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Ok, so I didn’t learn about this murder-myster party game until I was a much older teenager, but when I first saw this game at the toy store, I knew it would be so much fun to play. I loved dressing up in costumes back then, & I thought it would be fun to play a role-playing mystery game with all of my high school friends.

I even planned my sweet 16th birthday around one of these party games. I tried to decorate my house in the theme of the game, & sent out invitations to all my friends asking them to dress up in costume (but none of them decided to dress up, which I didn’t mind). We had a great time guessing the mystery of the game’s story & having fun snacks. It made my birthday quite fun & memorable.


As I’m writing this blog post I’m also simultaneously watching the movie Pirate Radio again for the umpteenth time. I think I’ve already watched this movie three times in the past month or so. This movie is one of my favorites, & I’ll never get tired of watching it. It’s gotten to the point where I can practically recite parts of the movie’s dialogue right along with the movie.

Jian, of course, finds my movie watching habits boring (& sometimes predictable), but I don’t mind one bit. I like rewatching my favorite movies over & over & over…without any shame or embarassment. As a matter of fact, I’m going to end this post & finish watching the end of this movie (which is one of my favorite scenes). Until next time, cheers, mates!

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graphic art courtesy of: http://www.ryderdoty.com

Continuing on my year of lists, my “99 Things That Bring Me Joy” journal brings us to the list of my most treasured childhood books. I remember when I was younger, my dad used to be a hardcore member of the Book-of-The-Month club. He really wanted me to get into the habit of reading, more than watching TV like my older siblings (& cousins), so he signed me up for the Childrens-Book-of-The-Month club. We’d get a catalog in the post, & we would select up to three books each month. I was a slow reader (reading was so boring for me back then), but my dad could read at least two books every month.

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I distinctly remember reading Harriet The Spy as one of my most treasured childhood memories. This book really shaped my life as an observer of the world, & as a writer. This book was also one of the first Young Adult genre books I ever read in full. I never really had the motivation (or attention span) to read books longer than 50 pages when I was a kid, but this was the first fairly lengthy book I remember reading when I was a kid & really getting swept away by the story.

When I was a young tweenager, I was obsessed with the title character Harriet M. Welsch from the book. (I was not a fan of the 1996 movie at all.) First off, I was so jealous that she lived in such a vibrant city, & her parents let her roam around town unsupervised. I had a couple of close friends that lived on the same street as I did growing up, & my parents wouldn’t let me even walk to their house without asking them. I could not believe this little girl named Harriet was able to galavant around the city all by herself & never got in trouble for it.

I loved Harriet’s curiosity towards everything in life & was always asking questions. My favorite part about this title character was her passion for writing. I feel like her passion for writing inspired my own passion for writing. For a short period of time (let’s just call it a phase in my life, for lack of a better word), I tried to copy &/or imitate this book character. I wore baggy sweatshirts with jeans. I tried to carry a flashlight in my school backpack (but it was a total waste of much needed space). Most importantly, I tried to follow what Harriet had been diligently doing for as long as she could remember: Write. Down. Everything. I tried writing the observations of the environment around me, but things got too frantic, & I couldn’t focus on what to write about. So, I stopped writing observations & transitioned into writing journal entries. I had a couple of Sanrio-themed childrens diaries lying around with pages begging to be filled with my pre-teenage nonsense.

There was one line however I would not cross, one trait that I would not imitate. Under no circumstances would I ever, in my life, eat a ripe tomato & mayonaise sandwich. At that age, I absolutely despised tomatoes. More recently, I have grown to accept eating tomatoes. If they’re in a salad, a hamburger, or in a sauce, I am willing to eat it, but tomoatoes are still not my favorite fruit. That’s where the character Harriet M. Welsch will always differ. There is no way I will ever eat a ripe tomato & mayonaise sandwich, ever.


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I don’t know where I got these books, if I chose them from the monthly book subscription, or if someone gifted them to me. All I can remember about reading this series of books as a child was how much of a sense of wonder & imagination these stories brought to life. I would often study the illustrations in the books in great detail, trying to examine every nook & cranny of all the animals’ houses. There was just such vibrant detail in the visual depictions of all the scenes. Oh, & the food illustrations made my mouth water!

I’m not a big fan of mice, but the mice in Jill Barklem’s books are just too adorable to resist. When I was a child reading these books, I would get so immersed in my own wild imagination. I would daydream that I was living in a treehouse just like the ones depicted in all of the books. The stories were so much fun to read, & I would become so engrossed in them that I could also imagine that I was in the story along with all of the woodland animals.

I was sad to learn that, one day, when my parents were cleaning out the storage closet, they found this set of books, but one of the seasons was missing. No matter how hard we searched, we could not find the last book to complete the set. Also, the pages had been severely yellowed & water damaged, so I was not able to salvage this set of books that I cherished so much as a child.


I grouped these two books together even though I hadn’t read them at the same time. These two books are a few of my most memorable & favorite books. They’re not pop-up books, but they are highly interactive. Even as a young child, when I read these books, I was extremely careful when turning the pages & playing with the interactive sections of the books.

I absolutely love the Jolly Postman & his heartwarming story about delivering fun mail all over town, riding his trusty red bicycle. It’s also fun to read about the classic children’s story book characters every child grew up reading at bedtime, recognizing each of the characters as you turn the pages. My most favorite part of these interactive books were the envelopes inside each page. You can open the pocket of each envelope & find a wonderful interactive surprise inside like: a Humpty Dumpty jigsaw puzzle, a letter from Goldilocks to the Three Bears, or a Red Riding Hood board game.

Even though I’ve grown considerably older since I first acquired these lovely books, I still take them out of the closet every now & again, & browse through the pages. These books will never go out of style, & they are still fun to read no matter what age you are. At one point during Christmastime, I was tempted to gift these books to my young nephew & niece, but they are quite rough & careless with their belongings (especially children’s books), so I decided to squirrel them away & keep them for myself. I am so happy that I’ve kept these books for all these years because they bring me such joy.


Well, this is the end of it, my list of favorite childhood books. It took me nearly “forever & a day” (metaphorically speaking) to finish this blog post. So much has gone on in my personal life since I first began writing this post that I had to put this entire blog on the backburner for quite some time. Now I’m back & ready to resume my writing. Until the next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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