Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Twitter Log: 2010-01-01

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am
  • NewYears Party with my family. Good times! (@ off the grid) #

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Happy New Year!

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Disney - Magic Music Mayhem by Express Monorail from FlickrJust a note wishing all of you the happiest of new years. May 2010 be productive and profitable for us all.

I usually don’t like to list my New Year’s Resolutions here because I feel like I’m in a constant state of goal-setting, but I thought I’d give it a try this year. My goals for 2010 are (as always) probably a little too ambitious:

  • Get Merriton finished and sent to a printer so people can buy hard copies or read them on ebook readers.

  • Never let Steampunk Stories go dark each week.

  • Pay down our debt.

  • Lose 40 pounds or more so that I’m healthy and strong.

  • Have a twenty year anniversary party with Michael celebrating our marriage together.

  • Go to Disneyland again sometime this year and see the fireworks over the castle (pictured here) again.

May this and much more happen this year, and a wish that all of your New Year’s Resolutions come true as well.


I’ll Just Have To Remember This

Filed under: Elvis,I'll Just Have To Remember This,Maggie,Our Pets,Sid — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Sometimes the camera just can’t capture my most joyful moments. The other day, Maggie was playing with Elvis’ toy mouse. The sunlight was streaming in the faux stained glass window in our living room and bouncing off the carpeted stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Maggie jumped and rolled and tossed the mouse with glee that is rare considering her shy personality.

When I noticed her playing, I pressed pause on the TiVo, which disrupted her play. Just knowing that I was watching her play was enough to stop the festivities. It was as if she was some sort of sub-atomic particle refusing to both play and be observed at the same time. There was no way I would be able to film her. She wouldn’t even let me watch her.

Elvis peeked around the furniture trying to catch a glimpse of her playing with his discarded toy, but she noticed him. Sid pretended not to watch her play by lying his head down on the carpet, but kept an uneasy eye on her the entire time. With an audience of three, it was too much for her bashful nature and she abandoned the mouse on the third stair next to the scratching post.

The total time she played with the mouse was maybe twenty seconds before the three of us stopped our respective activities and watched her in amazement. Twenty seconds of pure and unadulterated joy washed over us and we drank it in as much as we were allowed. No time for cameras. Not even enough time for Elvis to retaliate. Just a beautiful outburst of bouncingly playful happiness that was impossible to capture on film. I thought to myself, “I’ll just have to remember this.”


Rock Video Superstars

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I’ve been unpacking more boxes and I found this book, Rock Video Superstars. As you can see, I bought it for two bucks in a discount rack back then.

Rock Video Superstars by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can’t tell from the photo, but this book is HUGE. It’s 11″ X 17″ and spiral bound. It has been in a box for over twenty years because it just doesn’t fit on any bookcase shelf. I unpacked an entire box of books in awkward sizes. They are lining the top of my bookshelves now.

Even as a kid, I knew that it was a strange book. That’s why I bought it back in 1984, because it was a funny and brief book that tried to describe videos. Take the description of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, for example:

Rock Video Superstars by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Michael is wandering through an imaginary city, troubled by the rumors that swirl around him and shadowed by a trench-coated stranger, who represents a prying press and public. No matter how hard the stranger tries to trap Michael, he can’t be dragged down. For example, when the stranger tried to grab Michael and the Polaroid camera goes off, not only does Michael disappear from the scene but even the camera can’t capture him; only the stranger is in the resulting photograph.

The sidewalk panels light up as Michael’s feet touch them, and his dance moves are so sudden, so unpredictable that it looks like director Barron would have like him to try to stay on a single square so the man working the lights would have a fighting chance to keep up.

I had seen the Michael Jackson videos on Solid Gold, but for a kid without MTV, this book was a godsend, telling me about videos that I couldn’t see. I remember reading the description for the video for “Karma Chameleon” and wishing that I could watch it on MTV. Years later, when I finally DID see the video, it wasn’t nearly as good as my imagination had made it out to be. Based on the description and the lone picture, it was an epic. In the end, it was just a music video.

You can see all the pages of the book here:


Lonely Is An Eyesore

Filed under: Personal History,Puttin' On The Ritz — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Lonely Is An Eyesore at Amazon.comEvery once and a while, I would type the name of the album into Amazon’s search. Back in November of 2008, I got a hit. Lonely Is An Eyesore was FINALLY available as an MP3 download. It was an album that I obsessed over the first year out of high school (1987-1988). The videos were shown on MTV’s 120 Minutes EVERY Sunday night. They didn’t play these songs at The Ritz. They were too far from the dance and gothic beat that they played at The Ritz. I didn’t care. All the songs were SO COOL!

I bought the album from Sound Off, a record store on 700 East and 2100 South. It was rare that they carried anything that cool there, so I ordered it from them and awaited their call when it finally came in. I played the record ONCE to record it onto cassette tape. Over twenty years later, I emptied a box and found the album in there, just a beautiful as it was years ago.

Lonely Is An Eyesore

The title of the album, Lonely Is An Eyesore, is a line from a song on the album by Throwing Muses.

Each song had a video and you can see them all on YouTube. Here is a playlist, showing them all in the order that the songs appeared on the album.

It’s funny when one album can personify one time in my life so perfectly, but Lonely Is An Eyesore was one of those albums.


Twitter Log: 2010-01-05

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am
  • Thanks for the wonderful New Year's pep talk. As someone who only has two speeds, More Room is what I need. http://tinyurl.com/y9mo2yv #

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Radio Active by K-Tel

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While unpacking my old records, I also came across Radio Active by K-Tel. It’s copyright 1982.

Radio Active by K-Tel

This album isn’t available as an MP3 download, but all the songs are available separately. I was surprised how many of the songs I didn’t have in my collection. Here is an Amazon widget with clips from all the songs from the album.

I loved that album. My mom bought it for me in seventh grade for Christmas. I remember asking for it by saying that I wanted the record with the commercial with the robot on TV where he squats down with his hands and when he opens his hands it’s the name of the record. The robot guy would be one the cover.

Radio Active by K-Tel 1982

My poor mom had NO IDEA what I was talking about. She ended up taking me to the record store in Valley Fair Mall to see if they knew what I was talking about. There was a cool guy there who knew just what I was trying to describe and immediately found the album.

K-Tel RecordsIn retrospect, I’m so grateful to that record store guy for not rolling his eyes and calling me a poseur for wanting such a mainstream album. K-Tel albums were the Now That’s What I Call Music of the Eighties. The fact that I couldn’t tell him even one song that was on the album, all I knew is I wanted the record with the robot guy from TV. If he had been Jack Black, that guy would have had me running out of the record store crying. Instead, he smiled at me and nodded. He knew EXACTLY which album I meant and walked us over the the end cap where it was. I remember thinking he was CGA (Cute Guy Alert). He was probably a high school guy who loved music and the thought of a K-Tel album made his stomach turn, but he never let me notice that he thought I was just a stupid kid.

Radio Active by K-Tel 1982

I remember Dylan looking at my old records. He held my beloved Radio Active in his hands. By this time, we were in high school and I realized that K-Tel albums were lame, but that didn’t stop me from loving my old record. He looked at the song list and was impressed with the songs by The Who, The Police and Devo. I breathed a sigh of relief at his approval. We put the record on my turntable and sang along to “You Better You Bet.” Okay, that’s a lie. I sang along and Dylan just listened and told me that I really needed more Who albums.

When I looked through my MP3s to see which songs I already owned, I only had five out of the fourteen songs, so it was a nice trip down memory lane at Amazon. I remembered feeling so grateful that with one album, I could learn all the “cool” songs. It was as if I had a big sister taking me aside and telling me all the cool stuff so I wouldn’t look like such a dork. Thanks, K-Tel. I guess I owe you one…


Twitter Log: 2010-01-06

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am

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Remember When I Loved Michael Jackson

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I’m still unpacking boxes and I found these Michael Jackson buttons in the bottom of one.

My old Michael Jackson pins

I remember watching Solid Gold one Saturday night and they showed the video for Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. The next Monday, I told all my friends in Mixed Choir that I was in love with Michael Jackson. They all rolled their eyes and two weeks later, Miss Andy brought in Billie Jean on 45 with the lyrics for all of us to sing along. Two months later, EVERYONE was in love with Michael Jackson and I got to the be the one who liked him first.

I wore these pins on my clothes EVERY day for the entire year of 1984.

By the time I got to high school, Michael Jackson wasn’t cool anymore and I had decided that I was New Wave, so these pins were relegated to a box somewhere until they were unearthed last week.

I know this sounds horrible, but I kind of wish he had died before we found out about his “issues.” I wish I could remember him like the media remembers him now and forget about all the allegations and the weirdness. I wish he had recorded “Man in the Mirror” and then died tragically in a car accident or plane wreck. Then I could fondly remember when I loved Michael Jackson.


Twitter Log: 2010-01-07

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am

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Dear Bunghole Taggers

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Dear Bunghole TaggersDear bunghole taggers,

Your initials are not interesting enough to deem worthy to block the bus schedule.

You give graffiti a bad name and there is a special hell for you.

I hope you enjoy it.



P.S. I was really cold waiting for the bus when I wrote this. Don’t you have something better to do than make my life even MORE difficult?!


Twitter Log: 2010-01-08

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-09

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  • Dear AT&T: UR crappy network has made my iPhone completely useless. FIX IT! (@ Imperial Palace) http://4sq.com/5ugOMa #

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-10

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-11

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-12

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  • Best car wash for 300 miles. Getting the Prius done before we head back to SLC. (@ Terrible's) http://4sq.com/6BEeM3 #

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Photos That Have Been Left Behind

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

A couple of weeks ago, PostSecret had this card and it sounded so familiar.

PostSecret: Photos That Have Been Left Behind

It reads:

I work in a photo lab…

and sometimes I can’t bear seeing the photos that have been left behind & not take them home where they can be appreciated.

This is EXACTLY how I felt when I worked at the service desk at K-Mart so long ago. I wrote about it back in 2003:

At that time, K-mart would let you get a refund for whatever pictures you didn’t like, no questions asked. Not very many people would refund their pictures, but a few people took advantage of this program. As the recipient of these poor, rejected pictures, I always felt a sadness for them. Since we were instructed to just throw the pictures away, I would take my favorites of the discarded home.

Back then, I didn’t really have the capabilities to add photos to my blog posts, but now, I can show you the photos I was talking about. Click on the photos to embiggen.

Back In ‘Nam You Wouldn’ta Done Dis To Me

Back In Nam Ya Wouldnta Done This To Me

The Forest

The Forest

These were the two abandoned photographs that I was brazen enough to take home with me. They were just too beautiful to throw away. I understand you, Our Lady of Orphan Photos. I felt the same…

PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.


My Favorite Toys: Fashion Art Center

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I found this on Flickr a couple of weeks ago.

Fashion Art Center

It was a toy that my mom bought for me when I was in sixth grade. It was called Fashion Art Center and I played the HECK out of it. I used up all the paint (did anyone else use up all the watercolor paint, ever?). The markers ran dry and all that was left were the stubs of the colored pencils in the end.

The only problem that I had was the patterns that you could outline didn’t have tabs on them so that the clothes would stay on the dolls like proper paper doll clothing should. I learned how to add my own tabs soon enough, but my twelve year old brain just couldn’t comprehend an adult making a toy without including the paper clothing tabs.

I have no idea what happened to that toy, but I got MUCH more out of it than the ten bucks my mom spent.


Twitter Log: 2010-01-14

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am

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Lady Gaga is Awesome!

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 1:07 pm

Can we just have a moment of quiet contemplative thought for Lady Gaga?

No? You’re not ready to bow your head in thanks for her yet? Watch this:

Still not convinced? How about this?

Here was a performance from last year. She was rockin’ the stage with live performances when everyone else thought she was just another auto-tune babe.

Not since Pete Burns of Dead or Alive have there been such a fashion diva as Lady Gaga. She even gives Glam David Bowie a run for his money. This is what she wore on ONE night.

While that video seems to make fun of her, the rest of us are loving her!

Can I have that moment now? No? How about some articulate interviews?

How about how she views Pop Music and how it differs from others’ views of it.

Here, she deals with the ever-irritating Kathy Lee Gifford.

How about dealing with the rumors that she is man? She gracefully explains Poker Face’ “bluffin’ with my muffin” line.

Or her heartbreaking story behind Speechless?

I found out about Lady Gaga a little late in the game (about May of last year), but I have been so grateful for her last two albums. Thank you, Lady Gaga! You’re AWESOME!


Twitter Log: 2010-01-16

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am
  • Working at home today. Gotta get all my CES entries written. (@ off the grid) #
  • "Touch your customer, and you're halfway there." – Estee Lauder http://tqpage.com/40120 Just don't touch them too much. ;) #

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-17

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-18

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-20

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-21

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Five Seconds of Hillarious

Filed under: Elvis,I'll Just Have To Remember This,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 8:21 am

It happened just a few minutes ago. I heard the sound of a bag rustling upstairs. I had just spent the last half hour chasing Elvis away from every form of plastic in the house, going so far as to actually CLEAN up and remove any bits of plastic bag, plastic bubble wrap or plastic wrapping that was lying around because my stupid cat had decided that it was the day to eat plastic.

I rolled my eyes and considered leaving my reading and comfy couch to further stop this obsession. I listened carefully and determined that it didn’t sound like the furtive, chomp, chomp, chomp of Elvis’ plastic eating. It sounded like he was just playing with a plastic bag instead. Laziness overtook me and I went back to my reading, but the noise continued.

Then the noise moved. The sound of a plastic bag moved from a distant irritation to an approaching ruckus. I could hear it advancing from the bedroom to the staircase at an increasing speed. I put down my reading and got off the couch to investigate, but before I could get up even one stair, the crinkling was halfway down the stairs.

In a streak of white and gray fur, Elvis ran past me toward the kitchen, but the fluffy sound of the plastic bag was still coming at me from the staircase. In a panic, Maggie and the plastic bag rushed past me, following Elvis. She wasn’t chasing him, so much as she was chased by the bag wrapped around her neck. Rather than follow Elvis into the kitchen, she ran like a cheetah away from the noisy monster attached to her body. I laughed at her skittish attempt to escape the crinkle monster that she had unwittingly climbed through.

She rushed up the stairs, plastic bag in tow as I tried to grab her. I laughed again and followed to the bedroom level. Mike called from the top of the stairs, “I’m sure that was hilarious, but it just woke me up…” His groggy voice told me that he wasn’t fully awake. “You tied a bag to the cat?!” I finished climbing and rushed to defend myself, “I didn’t do it.” I was still laughing, trying to find where Maggie had hidden.

I followed Mike’s dazed gaze to my comfy chair in my office. I looked under the chair and there was a shell-shocked Maggie with the bag still around her neck. Her excited run had torn it to shreds, but it still hung strong around her neck. She cowered away from me as I reached under the chair. I grabbed the handle of the bag and removed it from her neck, trying my best to control my laughter.

It was the plastic bag that had brought home my boots from the store. I had removed the boots, wore them, deemed them completely unusable for winter snow and abandoned them, all without ever throwing away the bag on my bedroom floor. Maggie must have crawled in it, had a bout of play with Elvis and tried to escape through the handle instead of the proper opening. I could envision the entire event and I laughed.

I put my sleep-deprived husband back to bed and sat down at the computer keyboard. “I’ll just have to remember this,” I told myself.


Twitter Log: 2010-01-23

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-26

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-27

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Twitter Log: 2010-01-28

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am
  • I know it's wishful thinking in January, but it feels warmer at the bus stop this morning. #
  • lots of fur coats at #sundance. hard for me. i want to ask them why? have not. /via @nakedjen Probably not real fur. Fakes R getting better #
  • Waiting for my bus to BetaLoft. (@ Daybreak Bus Stop) http://4sq.com/bNdO3n #
  • Come to BetaLoft at 1pm to watch the Apple iTablet event on our big screen. (@ Betaloft SLC) http://4sq.com/5oPss8 #

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Fashion Doll Bedroom Case: Barbie Loves It!

Filed under: Barbies and other favorite toys,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Over a month ago, I was browsing through the Flickr Set for the 1979 Sears Catalog. I was surprised when I came to this page:

1979 Sears Christmas Catalog P526 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

On page 526, there was my Barbie Bedroom Case that was stored in my closet. Here is a closeup of the catalog listing:

Fashion Doll Bedroom Case Sears Catalog

It made me so happy to see it. After a month, I finally pulled out my toys from the closet so I could photograph it properly. Here it is:

Barbie Fashion Doll Bedroom Case

The catalog doesn’t show it in this position. The whole thing folds up pretty flat.

Barbie Fashion Doll Bedroom Case 2

When you unsnap the latch, the bedroom furniture folds down and you have an instant play house.

Barbie Fashion Doll Bedroom Case 3

Here is what it looks with Barbie sitting on one of the beds.

Barbie Fashion Doll Bedroom Case 4

Here is Barbie and her home from another angle.

Barbie Fashion Doll Bedroom Case 5

That outfit was sewn by me when I was just ten years old. The stitches look so clumsy to me now, but at the same time, I’m really proud of my design abilities back then.

I absolutely loved this doll case because I could take it with me to a friend’s house and we would instantly have a “house” to play with. It was a great toy and it has lasted FORTY years without breaking or even showing a lot of wear. God, I loved this toy!


Charlie’s Angels Dolls

Filed under: Barbies and other favorite toys,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Poor Jaclyn Smith. Her hair has been brushed so many times that it is a matted mess.

Jaclyn Smith Doll Charlie's Angels

I loved Charlie’s Angels when I was a kid, so of course, I had all three dolls. When I was rummaging through my Barbies, I found Jaclyn in this hand sewn outfit that I had made for her. It was difficult to find clothes in the stores for the Charlie’s Angels Dolls when I was a kid and Barbie’s clothes didn’t fit her, so she ended up in my wretched designs.

Charlie's Angels Doll Vs. Barbie

Fortunately, I found her correct outfit along with her partners in dectective-ness.

Charlie's Angels Dolls

Here is a closeup of their faces.

Charlie's Angels Dolls

I found some other outfits for them. Here they are in some catsuits and a fluffy number that sheds white feathers everywhere.

Charlie's Angels in Disguise

Here is a closeup of Jaclyn Smith.

Jaclyn Smith Doll

Here is a closeup of Cheryl Ladd.

Cheryl Ladd Doll

Here is a closeup of Kate Jackson. She was my favorite Angel, as you can see by the haircut I’ve given her.

Kate Jackson Doll

Their scarves are long gone, but they still look pretty good.

Charlie's Angels Dolls

Stacey and I played with these dolls so much. Technically, I think the Cheryl Ladd doll is hers, but I’m glad she ended up with my toys because she didn’t get separated from the other Angels.

Charlie's Angels Dolls

I spent a few hours yesterday just going through the Barbies and their clothes in order to find all of the correct outfits for these Charlie’s Angels Dolls. Finding the boots was the hardest. As I dressed the naked dolls, it reminded me of all those times from my childhood struggling to pull the clothes over their legs and arms. I’m much more dexterous now and dressing the dolls is easier. I wonder if playing with Barbies is why I was so good with fine motor skills as an adult. Considering all the little buttons, snaps and ties, I wouldn’t be surprised.

For more Charlie’s Angels memories, read this:


Western Barbie

Filed under: Barbies and other favorite toys,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found the complete outfit for Western Barbie. While I was looking for boots and outfits for the Charlie’s Angels Dolls, I found Western Barbie naked and perpetually winking at me.

Western Barbie by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Her right eye used to wink when I would push a button on her back. Now, I have to physically open her eye to make her look normal. Within a minute or two, it slowly sinks back down.

Western Barbie by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I found her cowboy hat first. I placed it on her head, but it looked strange to see her naked except for a cowboy hat. When I found her outfit, I laughed out loud and immediately dressed her.

Western Barbie by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I found her boots last. One boot was stashed in a bandaid box (made out of tin, remember those?) and the other was free floating with the clothing. I love how they have her name embossed on them.

Western Barbie by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Western Barbie came out right around the time Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton were really popular. If I remember correctly, she didn’t come with a guitar or a microphone. She came with a bunch of photos of her and a tiny Barbie stamper so she could autograph pictures of herself. I remember playing with her and making her wink at all the other Barbies and Kens watching her perform.

That same year, Stacey got Kissing Barbie. She came with lipstick and could kiss Ken or envelopes, leaving lip prints. I wonder if Stacey’s doll still kisses. Poor Western Barbie lives in a perpetual wink.


Twitter Log: 2010-01-31

Filed under: Twitter Log — Laura Moncur @ 12:42 am
  • Volunteering for ERGS. I'll be here until 3pm. Come visit! (@ ElectroRegeneration Society) http://4sq.com/7QTix4 #

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Barbie Country Camper

Filed under: Barbies and other favorite toys,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

This wave of Barbie nostalgia was started with a visit to Thrift Town. I was happily browsing when I found this Barbie Country Camper.

Barbie Country Camper by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I owned a Barbie Star Traveler when I was a kid, but my friend, Kirstie Salamanikas, had a Barbie Country Camper just like this one. My Barbie is happy to rest here, don’t you think?

Barbie Country Camper by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Kirstie’s camper didn’t have this awkward orange plastic thing on the side. It just opened up there. I suspect it had been removed after a fatal tear like this one has. I think it’s supposed to be a tent of some sort or maybe a sleeping area.

Barbie Country Camper by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can see all the photos for the Barbie Country Camper here:

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