Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lessons from the Back Seat

posted by Joanie T

What did ya’ll think I was going to be writing about?


Nope, THAT topic is for another blog. This post is about enjoying the simpler things in life. Like….Cookie Monster.

Now seriously, I don’t know that much about the characters of Sesame Street having not grown up with them but I’m a big Muppet fan and turns out…my friend’s daughter who turns 2 this week is too.

Her upcoming party led me to the toy store today to shop for presents. I perused the hundreds of toys out there…marveled at all the ingenuity and creativeness of modern day play things. Electronic, life-like, Barbie-licious….really…can there be that many shades of pink? Toys that have to make you wonder how kids stimulate their imaginations when it’s all laid out for them.

And then I found Cookie Monster.

There amidst every type of conceivable Sesame Street music maker, make up kit, play cell phone and pink computer was this little guy. He looked like a simple stuffed doll but then I tilted the head back.


I smiled. Back and forth I flipped this toy, listening to it say in a very authentic CM voice “Ha-Ha”, “Cowabunga”, “Cookie Monster”. The more I flipped the wider I smiled until I could not help but giggle. I haven't giggled that much since my last pitcher of sangria at Olive Garden!

This…THIS was the perfect gift!

I kept playing with it as I went out to the car. My brother just shook his head as I laughed. And the enjoyment continued as we ran errands because every time I braked or went over railroad tracks we’d hear some comment from the back seat. “Yum, Yum” or the noise of munching cookies.

An uncomplicated toy. But the pure enjoyment I got out of it was so refreshing especially in the hectic world we live in.

So the lesson I learned from the back seat was to savor the simple pleasures in this life, take a minute to laugh, smile and eat a cookie.

Have you enjoyed a simple pleasure lately? What was it? Do you have a favorite Sesame Street and/or Muppet character?

BTW…the best phrase CM muttered from the back seat was “Hot Ta Ta”…um…maybe I COULD have written that other blog.


Virginia said...

Is he coming my way today!

Virginia said...

My simple pleasure's are usually books. I got Kaki Warner's new book Open Country and it was pure pleasure all the way through it. I haven't played with a toy in several years. My son is grown now but I did play with his toys when he was young and I put my fair share of lego sets together.

Christine Wells said...

That was the cutest blog! JT I love the cookie monster and the Muppets are better than Sesame Street but SS is pretty good too.

Yes, enjoyed a simple pleasure just today, actually. A walk with the family and dog down to the cafe. Sitting in the winter sunshine, drinking a good cup of coffee. Lovely!

Congrats, Virginia!

barb said...

Enjoy the rooster Virginia

Hi Joanie... my grandson is into lego so have to make things for him when I visit. If I have to buy a toy I love going down the aisle and if there are toys that you can press the button to listen to the sounds ... I press them LOL

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

Hi Joanie,
A recent simple pleasure was chatting on the phone with my cousin for over an hour about gossip and we joked a lot. I've always like Ernie and Bert the most.

Helen said...

Well done Virginia enjoy your day with him

Joanie what a great post I love the Cookie Monster and while I was reading the blog Jayden and Hayley were standing next to me telling me all about Cookie Monster and telling me what he says it was almost like having him here LOL and they kept telling me to scroll up and down so they could see both pictures LOL.

When Jayden was 1 we bought him talking elmo and boy does that make everyone laugh and he also has a laughing Elmo chair these have been passed onto the younger ones now and really they are so much fun.

I totally agree that the simple things often give the most pleasure for me it is my books and the times I spend with my family most of them were here for dinner tonight Brooke and her broad couldnt make it and they were missed.

Have Fun

barb said...

Helen think you mean brood not broad LOL

Deb said...

Good post tody, Joan.

As a teacher, I see how the simple toys that I had when I was little are so foreign to today's kids. I have multiplication wrap sticks at school and all they take to use are finger power. The kids think they're cool.

One simple pleasure I enjoy is sitting in the glider on my front porch. Shary and I did that just last night. It was right after supper and our little town was quiet last night--well, okay, it's usually quiet every night, but moreso last night. We just sat and talked.

I do have a craving for Monster Cookies, so may have to pop down to the store to get M & Ms to make some today. :)

Joan said...

Morning Virginia! Congratulations on the GR and I'll throw the Cookie Monster in for a free visit!

I love being around little ones while they play. Great excuse to play with their toys.

Legos are pretty cool. It takes tons of imagination to build things out of those!

Joan said...

Christine, glad you enjoyed your stroll with the family but I had to shiver. Sitting outside in WINTER sunshine?

Joan said...

LOL, barb....I do that too!

Recently my brother was shopping for a bday present for his 3 year old grandson. He's into dinosaurs and they had this HUGE T rex that would rear up on its hind legs and roar....

I was mesmerized and kept pressing the button :)

Joan said...


Catching up with family and friends is always fun.

As to Muppets? I favor the Swedish Chef and Beaker....

Joan said...


Now see, you had the best of both worlds...enjoying technology with the blog AND having your two dear grandkids sharing their CM knowledge.

Glad they liked the pictures :)

Joan said...

LOL Deb.....Monster Cookies....


I wish I had a glider or a swing on my front porch. What a great time you must have had...

jo robertson said...

Congrats on getting the rooster, Virginia!

Joanie, great blog. I adore Cookie Monster; he's one of my favorite Sesame Street characters! I think it's the gravelly voice he's got going. I can just hear him intone another phrase as you go over a bump in the road.

Simple pleasures are really the best, aren't they? A nice frosty Pepsi (I had to get that one in!). A quiet afternoon lazing in the hammock and reading a book.

Gillian Layne said...

Love sesame street. I like the Count. He's so cool. :)

My simple pleasure is leaving our back doors open so I can hear the birds sing and the wind rustle the leaves. It's better than a vacation these days (and certainly cheaper!)

Joan said...

Again with the Pepsi, Jo????

COKE....DIET COKE...say it with me...

Just imagine Cookie Monster saying in that gravelly voice "Diet Coke..num, num,num"

Joan said...


I SO get the joy of your simple pleasure.

It's a beautiful sunny, blue sky day here in KY. Just got out of church spiritually refreshed and lifted my face to the sun.


jo robertson said...

LOL, Joanie, you might have to do an intervention with me on the Pepsi thing.

Barb, your mentioning legoes made me think of the old Lincoln Logs. Do they make those anymore? I loved to play with them as a kid.

jo robertson said...

Jane, when I was a young mother, talking on the phone with my best friend, who also had lots of small children, was my salvation. I looked forward to that every day and believe it saved my sanity when I had 6 children under 7. Shivers!!

jo robertson said...

Helen!! What is it about Elmo that kids love??? Our Emma (who, I believe it Jayden's age) adores him. When I tend her every Tuesday, she makes right for the Elmo dolls!

jo robertson said...

Deb, I enjoy sitting in my glider too, although it's on the back patio.

I agree that the simple toys are best. My children always mention how having to make their own toys and games stimulated their imagination. Of course, it was economic necessity for me!! But they really did become very creative by being forced to create their own toys and games.

jo robertson said...

Joanie said, "I was mesmerized and kept pressing the button :)"

Big smile. It takes so little to make our Joanie happy LOL!!

Joan said...

Jo, you're right. When I was a kid (not TOTALLY back in the dark ages) I didn't have plastic stoves or make believe food. I had to use old trays and playdoh to pretend to cook a steak...

Sometimes, I was reduced to using wooden building blocks for the mashed potatoes :)

And yes, I need little to entertain me. Am heading out to said bday party...hope I can give up Cookie Monster to the bday girl!!!

Nancy said...

Joan, what a hoot! Toys do so much more now than they did when we were little. Chatty Cathy was about the height of toy tech in my girlhood.

I was relieved the boy did not go for Tickle Me Elmo, I must admit, but I remember looking all over for a pumper truck fire engine one Christmas. Not a ladder truck (no, those are easy to find!), a pumper truck. The guys at our local fire station had let him sit in the driver's seat of the pumper, and thereafter, nothing else would do.

I admit to reveling in his toys, light sabers and blasters and castles (catapult, anyone?), even a Robin Hood play set, all the descendants of toys my parents wouldn't have bought because "they're not for girls." Though I did treasure my fielder's mitt and bat, which they supplied as a concession to softball in PE. I was not athletic, or even coordinated, as a child, but my dad spent hours in the yard with me with a ball, a bat, and my glove, and I could hit the ball farther than any other girl in 3rd grade, which somewhat compensated for my lack of foot speed.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congrats on the rooster!

We had lots and lots of Legos, too. The boy recently gave away a giant box of them, which somewhat pained his dad and me, but he was certain he would never want them again. We'll see.

Nancy said...

Oh, this was about simple pleasures--sorry! I got sidetracked in Toyland.

There is a simple pleasure in watching a small person you love launch tiny projectiles at a plastic fortress, taking this pretend siege as seriously as the Marines take a real one, if without the attendant risk.

I like sunsets--especially the few minutes when the light slants at just the perfect angle to gild the world. Or the rose and gold glow on the edge of clouds as the sky fades from blue.

During the annual beach trip of my female college classmates (a varying lot of us show up, usually 25 to 30), I sometimes sit in the cottage's great room and just look around, absorbing the babble of voices and the smiles and the laughter and the occasional groans, knowing we've been given a miraculous second chance to get to know people we maybe didn't know well the first time around even though they shared an important part of our lives.

Louisa Cornell said...

Virginia got the GR Monster! He likes cookies too!

What a great blog. Now I want to go and find that Cookie Monster toy! I have a number of toys that talk in my house and it drives my dogs nuts to hear them.

I love the Cookie Monster and all of the Sesame Street gang, but I think my fav has always been Oscar the Grouch!

I had one of those simple pleasure moments the other night when I got home from work. I work late one night a week so I got home around 9:30, got out of my car and started down the hill to my house. I was suddenly surrounded by the scent of honeysuckle (wild) and gardenia (from my front yard) It was amazing. And I looked up at a velvet black night sky and saw the stars winking at me and it was just one of those perfectly simple moments that makes you sigh and think life is good. I love living out in the boonies for just that reason. You can see the stars because there are no lights from the city. And you can smell all the sweetness of nature because the smells of the city don't cover it up. A simple thing, maybe, but worth the inconvenience.

Janga said...

One of my greatest simple pleasures is storytelling whether it's a story written by one of my favorite authors, one told by one of my great-aunts, or one woven by the imagination of one of the grands. I think Muriel Rukeyser was right: "The universe is made up of stories."

Cassondra said...

OH, Joanie, what a fantastic blog!

I LOVE Cookie Monster, though I did not grow up with Sesame Street really, either. I'd see it sometimes, but it did not come on KET at a time when I could watch it as a kid. I guess my favorite muppet....hmmmm....Kermit and the gang are all real people to me, and I love all of them. Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Animal, the Swedish Chef.....I don't know if I could pick a favorite. But of the Sesame Street gang in particular, it would have to be Cookie Monster, and now that I'm older, Oscar the Grouch. I didn't understand him when I was a kid, but as I've grown older, sometimes I feel just like that. DON'T BANG ON MY CAN!!!! And I'm not even that crazy about cookies! (loves me some pies, cakes and pastries, but not cookies in particular, except for those Pepperidge Farms Raspberry shortbread ones...can't think of the name now...but dang they're good.

When we buy gifts for kids, we do what you do--look for something that makes us smile and is NOT a fly-high-go-fast whizzo kind of thing. Usually it's books. We're the Scrooge aunt and uncle who give books when everyone else gives piles and piles of toys. I like to give stuffed toys, farm sets, or electric trains (though this last one is usually NOT on the list), but most often, it's books.

Okay this is long enough. I'll answer the other questions in another post.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Joan, I love Cookie Monster. He's second only to Grover in my muppet fandom!

Simple pleasures, huh?

1) Holding a sleeping baby all snuggled on your chest.

2) Coloring with a grandchild.

3) Letting my granddaughter "help" in the kitchen. Thursday we made home made chicken nuggets, and it was fun watching her coat the pieces with the crackercrumb-parmesean cheese mixture. Rocky was busy dutifully cleaning all the crumbs that fell on the chair she stood upon!

4) Reading Green Eggs & Ham or Go, Dog! Go!

5) Singing while stocking delivery rooms. LOUDLY...and cracking up your co workers.

6) Watching baseball with the hubby.

7) Sharing desert with a friend who isn't talking about dieting all the time!

PJ said...

Hi Joanie! Great blog! You had me going with that title. lol!

I keep a craft basket on hand for visits from little ones. Even though I have plenty of electronics, they always gravitate to the simple joys of coloring, painting, making cards and pictures,etc. They also love to play cards (Old Maid, Crazy 8's, etc.), play old board games and, of course, give their best impression of Cookie Monster while whipping up a batch of cookies with me in the kitchen.

This time of year, a favorite simple pleasure is to make chocolate chip cookies then, when cool, put a scoop of ice cream on the flat side of one cookie and cover with another cookie. Wrap in foil, freeze and voila! A chocolate chip ice cream sandwich! Easy and fun!

A few simple pleasures I've enjoyed recently are snuggling with the dogs, napping in the hammock and enjoying the sunrise while sipping coffee in the rocker on the front porch. Priceless.

PJ said...

Congrats on nabbing the GR, Virginia! I agree with you on Open Country. I loved every word!

Cassondra said...

Simple pleasures...Got to have one last night. We went to wine tasting and ran into some good friends there, and they invited us, impromptu, to come home with them for dinner. We stopped at Panera for bread, and I brought a couple of bottles of wine.

All she had was a chicken casserole and a quick, easy salad (from their garden) and the bread we brought drizzled with evoo and pepper, but the company, the good wine, the simple food--and sharing a table and conversation with all of these--it doesn't get any better than that for me. I'll take this kind of casual, easy time over a stuffy, five-star meal ANY day.

That and the little moments--having my dog stare at me like I'm the best thing in the world, and wishing I could live up to what she thinks of me.

Like some others have said--sunsets. Walking to the mailbox and suddenly walking into the scent of honeysuckle.

At wine tasting last night there was a big bowl on the tasting counter. ONe of the ladies had brought one giant magnolia blossom and floated it in that bowl. It was nothing short of stunning and the scent...OMG.

Across the road is a field of wheat--turned golden now--and along the edge of the field, there are the small blue flowers of chicory--the blue against the gold wheat when the sun hits it gives me this intense joy.

Fresh home grown tomatoes and an ear of sweet corn. Ahhhhh.

Cassondra said...

PJ, yummm!

Hey, did I ever tell you that I made your black eyed peas at New Year?

We LOVED them!

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

Barb, your mentioning legoes made me think of the old Lincoln Logs. Do they make those anymore? I loved to play with them as a kid.

They DO! I saw a box of them when shopping for Steve's niece recently! I used to LOVE Lincoln Logs!

PJ said...

PJ, yummm!

Hey, did I ever tell you that I made your black eyed peas at New Year?

We LOVED them!

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Cassondra. Thanks for letting me know!

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, have fun with the chook! JT, love the sound of the Cookie Monster. I remember years and years ago, my niece got one of the very early giggling Elmos. Oh, man, we had such fun with him. Just the sound of that squeaky little voice laughing set me off. Another year, she got a Furby which wasn't nearly so cute. In fact, I think at one stage someone had to stop me throwing it in the pool so it would drown and SHUT UP!!!!

I have lots of simple pleasures. Reading definitely is one. A lovely sunny day. Watching the birds on the lake. Lovely roses on my bushes - because we've had a wetter year, I've got a lovely last flush of flowers this year and they're just beautiful. Got a lovely pink Queen Elizabeth on my desk right now. Simple but VERY pleasurable!

Helen said...


Jayden has one of those T-Rex that growls and stands up he loves it he is totally dinosour mad and has lots of them I bought him a great book that has a dinosour mobile in it that hangs from his ceiling.

Jo Jayden is 4 now and when he was little Elmo mean't so much to him but as I said before dinosoars are his favourite at the moment.

Yes I should check before I hit post LOL.

I am up early this morning it is
4-00am here in Oz Australia are playing Germany in the soccer I got up to watch it should be starting soon go Aussies

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

JT, our winters are pretty mild! What y'all would call 'sweater weather' over there. I was actually hot in the sunshine:)

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

I am up early this morning it is
4-00am here in Oz Australia are playing Germany in the soccer I got up to watch it should be starting soon go Aussies

OH, Good luck Aussies!

Pat Cochran said...

Playing with Hot Wheels cars with
my 2 y/o grandson, Jude, as we were
watching a Nascar race, doing our
own sound effects! Vroom! Vroom!

Pat Cochran

Pissenlit said...

Hee! That sounds like an adorable Cookie Monster toy!

A simple pleasure I enjoyed recently was a bottle of bubbles I took to the beach but I had to put it away when one of my friends started to freak out and cover up his camera lens. :)

My favourite Sesame Street character is Slimey the Worm and my absolute favourite Muppets are Waldorf and Statler.

Joan said...

Ok...I'm back from the party and managed NOT to pull the Monster away from little Mia.

Actually, the look on her face when she pulled it out of the bag was worth it. :)

Nancy, I remember Chatty Cathy. I had one but its voicebox broke and it sounded like Cookie Monster! Kind of spooky. I've always suspected that as being the source for the Chuckie doll

Your sunset watching sounds wonderful. It's interesting to note that many of us have such visual/auditory moments of simple pleasure

Joan said...

Sigh, Louisa.....that description of your arrival home was beautiful.

I tried holding CM up for Cricket. She was put off by his "Hot Cha cha"

She's curled up on my computer desk right next to me right now. Simple pleasure anyone?

Joan said...

Janga, what a beautiful analogy.

A universe made of stories. How true, how true.

Joan said...

Rizzo the like him too.

I figure the other family and friends can buy the glitzy stuff. I almost bought the little sweetie a good old fashioned Raggedy Ann Doll.

She was so pretty hanging there in Toys R Us

Joan said...

Babies and little children Suz....nothing better than that!

At today's bday party both Mia and her 2 year old cousin appointed me in charge of their food and drinks. Pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down. Then got to wash all the icing off her face and sticky little hands.

Joan said...


You're a great buddy with baskets full of toys!

And yummo on the cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Excuse me...I have to dash to Dairy Queen

Joan said...

Forget Lincoln Logs...does anyone remember TinkerToys?

I LOVED the feel of those wooden sticks and dowels.

Joan said...

Aghhh Anna!!! The Furbys?!!!

Those drove EVERYONE nuts within 5 minutes of exposure.

They reminded me of those evil little gremlins in that movie....


Joan said...

Good luck to the Aussies in that...oh, what sport is it?


I really don't follow that but have to put a good word out for the US and Ireland

Joan said...

Pat....I could just picture with your little one and the Hot Wheels. Good old fashioned Vroom, vroom...

Pissenlit, oh, I'd forgotten about Waldorf and Statler. LOL, those two old coots crack me up

Susan Sey said...

Joanie, I had to laugh out loud at CM commenting on your crossing the railroad tracks. Yum yum, indeed. :-)

It made me think of this giant Noah's Ark toy some sadistic...I mean LOVING...relative gave our children. It had a little place for each animal on the boat & when you put said animal in the proper place & pressed, the appropriate animal noise came forth. Noah made a burbling sound (the rising flood waters, maybe?) & a clanging boat bell sort of noise.

Well, anyway, as the batteries wore down, this thing became more & more sensitive until it, much like cookie monster, just volunteered animal noises on its own.

One morning I came downstairs after my husband had already left for an early morning at the office & found the ark wrapped in a giant blanket on the counter. I had to know, so I dialed up the office.

"HOney? The ark?"

"You don't remember?"

"Nope." We had an infant at the time. Much of the darker hours were beyond my recall. "What happened?"

Apparently the ark was clanging & mooing & honking up a commotion in the living room in the wee hours & my husband--unable to dig up the wherewithal to unscrew the battery case in the middle of the night--decided to simply muffle the thing. He grabbed the afghan off the couch, swaddled the ark & shoved it as far from our bedroom as possible--on the kitchen counter.

I laughed off & on all day over that.

Joan said...

LOL Susan....

Today we were sitting in the living room next to the girls playroom.

We kept hearing a quacking noise. It was a game...that hadn't even been pulled out and played...called "Lucky Duck". It was stacked way up on a shelf.

Drove me nuts in that short time.

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