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The Far Side
Jan 10th, 2011 by Jessica

I enjoyed reading The Far Side for many years in the Sunday comics.  This was clipped from The Saginaw News sometime in 1990.  I often wonder what “The Evolution of Medusa’s Hair” would look like if Gary Larson drew it today, including fashion from the 00′s and the 10′s…

The Far Side

The Far Side

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Frank and Ernest
Dec 15th, 2010 by Jessica

Another one of my childhood favorites, this Frank and Ernest comic strip was clipped and saved from the Saginaw News on September 17, 1992.  I still get a kick out of it, even today!

Frank and Ernest

Frank and Ernest

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The Born Loser
Nov 15th, 2010 by Jessica

The Born Loser was one of my favorite comics growing up.  It always had such clever humor.  I saved this particular one, cutting it out of the Saginaw News on October 2, 1991.  It still cracks me up!

The Born Loser

The Born Loser

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Ty Beanie Baby Collection
Nov 13th, 2010 by Jessica

My Personal Ty Beanie Baby Collection

My Personal Ty Beanie Baby Collection

This is my personal Ty Beanie Baby and Buddy collection.  There are 332 Ty plush animals pictured, 299 of which are unique Ty Beanie bears.  This photo was taken on November 11, 2010 and my collection is still growing.  I also have thousands of Ty Beanie Baby Trading Cards that are not in the photo.

A large number of these Beanies reside in Holiday bins that are taken out and displayed throughout the year.  We have displays for Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary, Easter, July 4th, Memorial Day, Summertime, Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The Beanie that started it all was the 1998 Holiday Teddy – I was hooked by the thrill of the hunt and the bell inside the Santa hat on that particular Beanie.  My oldest Beanie is Chocolate the Moose from 1993, and my favorite one is Fuzz the Bear because he’s so soft.  I must say though, Quackers the Duck and Daisy the Cow may also tie for first place because of how much of an impact they had on building a relationship with my husband while we were dating!

One unique fact about my collection is that I once had to sell it.  Yup – I was forced to sell it when I moved to Boston in 1999 and couldn’t pay my rent one month.  I sold it to my dear friend Andrew (for $800 if I remember correctly) who moved in with me not too long after that and eventually we got married.  So technically, a large part of this collection belongs to Andrew!  Ironic, eh?

Take a look through my entire collection on Flickr.  Every piece of this collection (and my newest additions) have been photographed and posted in my photostream for reference.

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Arizona State Fair
Oct 18th, 2010 by Jessica

AZ State Fair Demo Derby 2003

AZ State Fair Demo Derby 2003

I dug up this old photo of the Demolition Derby at the Arizona State Fair from 2003.  I enjoy watching the demo derby races.  It looks like it would be so much fun!

Over the years, the State Fair has really lost it’s charm.  The parking and entrance fees have gone up dramatically.  There are still great concerts to attend, but nothing has changed with the rides or the vendors.

We still go from time to time, but not nearly as often as we used to.

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Queen Creek Barbeque Festival
Oct 16th, 2010 by Jessica

Inaugural Queen Creek Barbeque Festival

Inaugural Queen Creek Barbeque Festival

This morning we wandered out to the Inaugural Queen Creek Barbeque Festival at the Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre.  The event featured over 40 local BBQ Teams providing samples of their cuisine, followed by a BBQ tasting contest.  One of my goals is to contribute to the community and participate in local events, so this was a fine opportunity for us to get out of the house.

Bark-N-Chickens BBQ Team Booth

Bark-N-Chickens BBQ Team Booth

Bark-N-Chickens BBQ Team Pulled Pork Sample

Bark-N-Chickens BBQ Team Pulled Pork Sample

Unfortunately we showed up a little bit too early.  The event was held from 10am to 6pm and we arrived about 10:15am.  We were about the 5th family to the parking lot, and the first ones to leave.  Most of the pit masters were not ready to give samples yet, but a few of them were on the ball so we stopped to grub up before we left.  We would have gone later but had to be home for a service call on our A/C so it was early or never.

AZ Barbeque Club Booth

AZ Barbeque Club Booth

AZ Barbeque Club Brisket Sample

AZ Barbeque Club Brisket Sample

The first place we stopped was the Bark-N-Chickens BBQ Team booth from Phoenix, Arizona.  We grabbed a sample of their pulled pork with their own BBQ sauce and split it between us.  It was a pretty good pulled pork sample and the BBQ sauce was sweet enough for me to eat.  Andrew seemed to like it, too.

The second place that was ready for customers was the AZ Barbeque Club booth.  We stopped by and they had a nice selection of meats and two sauces to choose from.  We chose the brisket over the pulled pork and ribs, and were very happy with the juicy sample they served up.  Andrew tried both their standard and Honey sauces and both were very good.

As a perk, we got to see the brand new Horseshoe Park which is pretty nice.  The Equestrian Centre seems like a very nice place to view events from their fully shaded bleachers.  We are glad to have been a part of the Inaugural year of this festival, and look forward to going back next year.  We’ll just have to go a little later, when more booths are ready to serve guests some samples.

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Mouse Trap by Milton Bradley
Sep 30th, 2010 by Jessica

Mouse Trap by Milton Bradley

Mouse Trap by Milton Bradley

I was walking through a local used bookstore and discovered the used board game section.  Andrew and I have been trying to play more non-technical games together in an effort to keep me sane.  I love playing cards and board games but my closet consists of about 15 Monopoly varieties mixed in with about 10 Trivial Pursuit boards, so it’s not exactly varied.

A mouse waiting to Turn the Crank

A mouse waiting to Turn the Crank

When I saw Mouse Trap for sale for the bargain price of just $7.00, I had to take my chances on whether all the pieces would be in the box.  After all, this is one of those bookstores where people trade in their old stuff for store credit.  I gambled a little and bought it because I have never played Mouse Trap before.  It’s one of those games I always wanted to try but never wanted to pay full price for.

When we opened the box, it actually appeared the game had never been played before.  The cheese pieces were still all stuck together.  We guess that some kids put the board together and decided it wasn’t fun, then it was sold off by their parents.

It turned out to be pretty fun the first time, but doesn’t appear to have much replay value.  It took us three or four tries to get the entire sequence to work right, but after that we had it going several times just for the heck of it.  Marbles flew, kitties ran away… Fun was had by all tonight.

Maybe I’ll sell it back to the bookstore and pick up another game for us to try next.

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Learning to Make Rings
Sep 5th, 2010 by Jessica

Gold Swarovski Crystal and Bali Silver Ring

Gold Swarovski Crystal and Bali Silver Ring

In March, I began a journey to learn how to make my own jewelry.  Long story short, my sister encouraged me to try it while on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.  I took a couple of classes and bought a whole bunch of supplies, read some books and jumped on in.

Swarovski Crystal Cluster Ring

Swarovski Crystal Cluster Ring

Making necklaces and bracelets are fairly simple at first.  Earrings are the easiest by far – I can make a pair of earrings in less than a minute now if I have the right materials in front of me.  After a few months I started to branch out and make some double strand bracelets and multiple strand necklaces as well as some chandelier style earrings.

Red Czech Painted Glass Flower and Swarovski Crystal Ring

Red Czech Painted Glass Flower and Swarovski Crystal Ring

Never one to keep it simple, about a month ago I took a stab at making my very first ring.  The first time I tried it, I used Stretch Magic which is a sort of thin rubber band material.  The end result is beautiful and I have worn it a few times, but tying the stretchy string took every ounce of patience in my being.  I don’t think I’ll be trying to tie one of those again anytime soon.

Swarovski Crystal Round and Blue Briolette Ring

Swarovski Crystal Round and Blue Briolette Ring

Instead, I moved on to wire wrapped rings.  These are much easier to make and much easier to size, as I have quickly found.  I have three rings that I wear “permanently” and rarely take them off, so my only available finger is my right hand first finger.  It happens to be a size 10 which I thought was massive at first, but I have discovered that it’s much easier to fit larger beads on a larger finger, making the creation of the ring much easier as well.

For my birthday yesterday, Andrew gave me a real steel ring mandrel that can be used to shape metal.  Together with the anvil and hammer I picked up two weeks ago, I’m looking forward to trying out some shaping techniques I’ve been reading about in some library books.

If anyone out there reading has any ideas to save my fingertips from the wear and tear of working with wire, please leave me a comment and fill me in!

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My Mom Love Coins
Sep 3rd, 2010 by Jessica

Miniature Coins from Mom

Miniature Coins from Mom

I’ve had a love of coins for many years, but haven’t been an avid collector.  My mom, on the other hand, has her hands into every aspect of United States coin and bill collecting. for decades  Recently she has begun to share parts of her collection with me as I have shown more interest.

For my birthday this year, she sent me a large number of regular coins that I was missing from my collection, both recent and older ones.  Along with them, she also sent me an awesome set of miniature coins.  I have never seen miniature coins but they seem to be fairly common online.  The ones in this set are:

  • 1964 Lincoln Penny 1¢
  • 1938 Buffalo Nickel 5¢
  • 1914 Mercury Dime 10¢
  • 1978 Washington Quarter 25¢
  • 1974 Kennedy Half-Dollar 50¢
  • 1972 Eisenhower Dollar $1.00

Aren’t they nifty?  I put the regular 1999 Dime to show scale.

Mom also sent me something precious this time: A collection of Lincoln Head Cents and Roosevelt Dimes that has been passed down in her family.  While the monetary value of these coins is limited, the sentimental value is tremendous.  Scribbled on the front of the 1949 coin folders in blue ink, hardly legible, is the name of her mother Mary.  These are obviously from her collection, handed down to my mother.  I will cherish them for years to come.

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Confessions of a Solitaire Player
Aug 31st, 2010 by Jessica

I've won 321 times.

I've won 321 times.

I have a confession to make.  I love Solitaire.  And not just any Solitaire: I love playing Solitaire on my 32GB iPod Touch.  It’s like a my own tiny glorified Solitaire game.  Sure sometimes I actually listen to music on it, and sometimes I even play Words With Friends with my buddies Sarah, Charlotte and Sue.  A majority of the time, however, I choose to simply play Solitaire on it.

As you can see from the picture, I have won Klondike 321 times.  That’s not how many times I have played the game – that’s how many times I have won!  I must have played at least 4-5 times that number of actual games.  My current record for winning a game is 2 minutes 3 seconds.

Of course Klondike Deal 1 is sort of the cheater’s version of Solitaire, but I am simply not patient enough with attempting to win Klondike Deal 3.  It’s my iPod, and I can play the loser’s version of Solitaire if I want to… right?

Do you have any favorite games for the iPod or iPhone that you find yourself indulging in as a guilty pleasure, every chance you get?  I hope I’m not the only one.

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