Welcome to 2013!
Jan 5th, 2013 by Jessica

We’re just one week into 2013, and this is already starting out as an exciting year. First of all, we have a blog post!  An actual blog post!  What could be more exciting than that?

Disneyland, December 2012

Disneyland, December 2012

The Spring 2013 semester will see the start of two new classes for me at one of our colleges. I’m taking Windows 7 Administration (I & II) as well as the CompTIA A+ certification course. I always like to brush up on my technical skills now and then.  I’m pretty sure I will learn a tip or two over the semester in these refresher courses.

My sister brought her family out to visit for a week during Winter Break.  We took a cheese and butter class in Scottsdale. Andrew and I decided to try our hand at homemade mozzarella which turned out quite well for our first attempt.  It’s easier than we thought. The instructor taught us a recipe for Lemon Ricotta cookies with fresh ricotta cheese, so that’s next on my list of kitchen creations. Andrew and I use Pinterest to share ideas for baking and dinners. It works really well to post ideas on a shared board for us to browse through.

Noah teaching me Lego building, October 2012

Noah teaching me Lego building, October 2012

During October my little brother Noah came out to visit and taught me how to build and properly play with a Lego kit. He’s so adorable it hurts! Oh my goodness. I miss him so much. At just 9 years old, he is the sweetest most loving little brother in the world. I just love it when he sends me letters and drawings in the mail. It melts my heart. For Christmas this year, Andrew got me my very own Lego kit. It was really neat to put together but I didn’t have a lot of time to spend photographing it before it got packed away in the Christmas decorations. Perhaps next year I’ll be able to take some cool macro photos of the minifigs on set.

   I’m still taking photos whenever I can. Recently it’s been a lot of roses and macro shots. Eventually I’d like to get a nice telephoto lens, but there are several things on my savings wish list that will have to come first. A new computer, a new camera body and a tilt-shift lens are pretty high on that list.

Tumbles, the noisemaker

Tumbles, the noisemaker

Digital scrapbooking is a new hobby of mine. It takes up less physical space than the 23 scrapbooks on top of my desk, but I’ve already accumulated 15 GB of digital files. I’m just starting out and learning how to use templates and make my own. So far it’s been a learning curve even for the decent Photoshop user that I am – perhaps because I’m so used to creating with my hands instead of on the computer. I’ve got a half dozen pages created and am starting to get the hang of it.  Having a constant blank canvas can be taxing because there are so many fun embellishments and papers to play with. I just love it!

Bee, December 2012

Bee, December 2012

This blog continues to be a catalyst for genealogical connections. Many people find my blog while searching for their ancestor or a recent family member and contact me for more information. Most recently I’ve had two separate individuals from the Karpuk line get in touch with me for very different reasons. It’s amazing that all this hard work is finally paying off. I still go through periods when I’m not sure anyone will care about all my research, especially since I have nobody to pass it on to. I just have to keep reminding myself that there are people out there who may not even be born yet in various family lines who will someday be thankful for my work.

The kitties continue to be a big part of our daily routine. Cheetoe has taken to eating his own fur ever since we lost Olly earlier in the year. The vet says he’s stressed out, and his joints are hurting him so he’s become a compulsive groomer. He’s attached to Andrew like velcro and never leaves him alone. Tumbleweed still won’t stop talking. He’s got the craziest personality of all. Meow, meow meow, meow, meow. It’s never-ending. Lucky is still the sweet one. He’s scared of everything and loves to cuddle and get belly rubs. He’s got a high squeaky voice that rarely comes out unless he seriously wants attention.

So that’s about it for now. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an actual, real-time blog entry. Enjoy, and happy 2013!


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Wordless Wednesday – Happy Birthday, Andrew!
Dec 19th, 2012 by Jessica

Andrew and his mother (1977)

Andrew and his Mother (1977)

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Wordless Wednesday – Inside My Dream Car
Nov 21st, 2012 by Jessica

Inside My Dream Car - 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 at the Phoenix International Auto Show (Thanksgiving 2011)

Inside My Dream Car - 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 at the Phoenix International Auto Show (Thanksgiving 2011)

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Wordless Wednesday – Birthday Beanies
Sep 5th, 2012 by Jessica

Beanies for my Birthday, 2011

Beanies for my Birthday, 2011

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Preparing to say Goodbye
Aug 19th, 2012 by Jessica

I’m sadly preparing to say goodbye to my Baby – my 2004 GMC Envoy SLE.  She’s been with me her entire life. Since July 2004, she has accompanied us safely on journeys all throughout Arizona, California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and more – 113,519 miles to be exact.  She’s been on the Vegas Strip a few dozen times.  She drove through a Redwood tree in California.  She made it up Snowbowl with her four wheel drive.  She’s got some love dings to prove her adventurous side.

My Baby - 2004 GMC Envoy SLE
My Baby – 2004 GMC Envoy SLE

I’ve been searching for my next car for nearly two years.  I’ve driven more than 50 cars on my quest to find a suitable replacement.  In fact, I was going to replace her in 2011 but I just couldn’t find one that met her high standards for comfort and power.  That meant Andrew was able to replace his car instead, and I kept on happily driving her until now.

Unfortunately my Baby isn’t going to last much longer.  She’s worked her little engine out for me.  She nearly falls apart going over railroad tracks.  She stalls randomly on freeway exit ramps.  Her lights flicker and strobe when it rains.  Most of her dash and radio lights have burned out. Sadly, it’s time for her to go.

I’m gaining Bluetooth, a back-up camera, a sunroof, programmable heated seats, built-in Navigation and remote start.  I’m letting go of beautiful plush cloth seats, the most incredible turning radius known to man and about 15 cubic feet of cargo space.  There are pros and cons to both.  At least the engines should be comparable, although my Baby is about half the curb weight.  I’ve already purchased cloth seat covers and an ultrasuede steering wheel cover to hide all the nasty black leather in her replacement.

Even though I’ve ordered a brand new car, nothing can replace my Baby.  I’ll miss her dearly. She’s still in the driveway and I already miss her.

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My Current Hobby: Nail Art
Aug 11th, 2012 by Jessica

"Ice Cream Sandwich" Layers

"Ice Cream Sandwich" Layers

Throughout my life I’ve shifted from one hobby to the next, rotating through several common themes.  Typically they center around creativity and/or writing of some kind like scrapbooking, genealogy, poetry and jewelry making.  At the moment, I’m a bit obsessed with Nail Art.  I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s suddenly very popular in the United States.

When I enjoy something I tend to invest in it.  I invest a lot of time and a lot of money into the things that I truly enjoy.  It’s where I derive the most relaxation; an escape from day to day stress.

"Ice Cream Sandwich" Manicure
“Ice Cream Sandwich” Manicure

While I’m not very good with manicures and my nails would be considered by most to be pathetic, I enjoy sparkles and flashy colors. The amount of patience I exhibit while layering color after color onto my nails impresses even my own self.  I’m not a patient person; not by any means whatsoever.  I surprise myself at the length of time I will take to make my nails shine.

With the current fads, I can still get away with slathering my nails in pink sparkles and not look entirely like a nutcase out in public.  Crackle polish?  Love it.  Magnetic polish? I have several. Crystals? Thousands and thousands await my creative use.  My favorite polish color?  Blue.  Blue sparkles above all.

My Wall of Nail Products
My Wall of Nail Products

Today I randomly decided to create a multilayer look. I started with an OPI Natural Base Coat.  Then I put on the pink – Wet ‘n Wild Megalast Undercover – which seemed really pretty. It’s the first time I’ve used this particular polish. The brush in it is oversized and it goes on very fast with three swipes.  Given this is a Wet ‘n Wild polish, the brush is a marked improvement over their typical cheap brushes.

Then for whatever reason I decided to throw some gray on top – Wet ‘n Wild Fast Dry Gray’s Anatomy. I didn’t realize how purple it was until I started layering; I thought it was more of a silver. It’s not gray – it’s more like a lavender.

After that, I didn’t like the look I had randomly created so I threw some silver at the end of each nail – Sally Hansen Instra-Dri Presto Pewter – my go-to silver for a great thick shine. The Instra-Dri line is incredible.  I love using it for a one-coat BAM of deep color.

Then I really didn’t like the look, so I decided to slather some pink glitter on top – Revlon Sparkling #261. It’s sister color is Revlon Radiant #441 – my absolute favorite blue sparkle.  That’s just what it needed!

Then I decided to keep on going.  I put on some OPI Top Coat, and placed on three pink crystal flowers on each of my ring fingers.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe because I like sparkly things and once coat of glitter just wasn’t enough.

I call this manicure Ice Cream Sandwich. I have no idea why; it looks more like a fruit flavored Popsicle or perhaps an Easter cake. No matter. They are my nails so I suppose I can call it whatever I want to.

I’ve included a shot of my wall of nail products. I can see there is still some space left on the shelves… I think it’s time to see what else I can find to fill them up!  I recently picked up the China Glaze Magnetix Magnet with three different magnets for variation effects when using the magnetic polishes.  I’m not very happy with its results so far.  Maybe I need some tips on how to use it more effectively.

I hope this fad lasts for a while, because it’s going to take me a long time to combine all these nail colors into a zillion fancy manicures.  I just love ’em all!

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Wordless Wednesday – Hiking at Usery Mountain Park
Aug 8th, 2012 by Jessica

Hiking 5 miles at Usery Mountain Park (December 31, 2011)

Hiking 5 miles at Usery Mountain Park

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Happy Birthday, DaD!
Jul 23rd, 2012 by Jessica

DaD (Douglass) and his mother, Florence

DaD (Douglass) and his mother, Florence

I would like to wish my DaD a very HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY!  I love you DaD!

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Happy Birthday, Kathleen!
Jun 22nd, 2012 by Jessica

Kathleen is held by her father, Douglass

Kathleen is held by her father, Douglass

I’d like to wish my sister Kathleen a very HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY! 
Just a little reminder that you’ll always be older than me.  *tee hee hee*

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Happy Blogiversary!
Jun 21st, 2012 by Jessica

I would like to take a moment to wish this blog a Happy 8th Blogiversary!  Since June 21, 2004 I have posted more than 1,000 times.  Posting wouldn’t be much fun without you, the reader so THANKS to you.  I love to read your comments, too!

I’m currently in Salt Lake City on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Family History Library.  I can’t wait to bring back what I’ve found and share it with you!

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