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That day was the People’s Climate March on Washington, the latest in a series of anti-Trump marches that began with the Women’s March back in January. I would’ve gone to that one if it weren’t for the fact that I had a scheduling conflict. But I don’t feel too guilty over missing that one since I took part in the Women’s March on Washington and the Werk for Peace Dance Protest.

Besides there are more anti-Trump marches on Washington planned for the future which will focus on LGBTQ rights, fans of the hip hop group Insane Clown Posse (that one is because, for some weird reason, the federal government has classified the fans of this group as gangs and terrorists), and public education. I’m sure there will be even more marches the longer Trump stays in the White House.

I had a pretty busy Saturday. First I decided to help out with the yard sale that’s put on by Changing Focus, which helps people deal with separation, divorce, and widowhood. The yard sale was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland, which gave me a rare opportunity to see this church in broad daylight. (The support group meetings are usually held on Thursday nights.) I noticed that the church had its own Little Free Library.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

I also saw this huge banner saying that the church is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Plus I took a couple photos of this beautiful azalea bush that was in full bloom.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

The yard sale had plenty of items but I saw none of the outdated technology products that I saw in previous yard sales. (Which included a Westinghouse vacuum tube, a microcassette recorder, blank 5.25″ computer floppy disks, a TiVo, a VHS tape rewinder, and a portable analogue TV set with a built-in VHS player.) I guess the organization is discouraging these kinds of donations mainly because I never saw anyone buy the outdated technology items. There were still some kitschy items, some of which definitely belongs in a museum.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Like previous yard sales, this one was well-attended with plenty of shoppers. The weather was cloudy, hot (the temperature rose into the upper 80’s), and very humid. At one point there was a shower but, fortunately it was a short-lived storm. By the time the volunteers grabbed tarp to cover the clothes with the rain had ended. That brief storm didn’t affect attendance at the yard sale very much.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The next photo shows the pit beef tent on the church grounds. The proceeds from the sale went to the Anne Arundel Volunteer Fire Department.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church had a book sale inside the building, which I browsed through. I also managed to walk next door to the grounds of the Crofton Country Club, where the Festival on the Green event was held.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

The next two photos show a hockey mask that was signed by one of the actors who played Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. That mask wasn’t for sale. It was part of the decorations that were displayed on the Laurel House of Horror and Escape Room booth.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

I bought a few items during my time in Crofton. I bought this bar of vanilla bean soap from the Simply Natural Handcrafted booth.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I bought a couple of books at the used book sale that was held inside the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. I found this hardcover book of counted cross-stitch patterns called The Great Counted Cross-Stitch Book by Ed and Stevie Baldwin for only 50 cents.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I also purchased a used copy of the Weight Watchers Quick Success Program Cookbook by Jean Nidetch. I once owned a copy of this book and I used to frequently cook meals from that book regardless of whether my husband and I were on diets or not. (The recipes in that book are that delicious.) When my marriage imploded I made the mistake of telling my husband that I had been going to the Thursday night Changing Focus meetings in an effort to improve myself. (He blamed me for the marriage collapse. At the time I wanted him back so I told him about those meetings in the hopes that he would return home.) He used that information to let himself into our home when I wasn’t there on Thursday nights and take some belongings. Among those was that cookbook. So I now have my own copy so I can cook those meals for myself now.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

Like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I had a pretty busy Saturday. I ended up leaving the Changing Focus yard sale earlier than usual because I had another event scheduled at 2 p.m. for the same day. It was a beer tasting that I purchased through my church auction last fall. Even though it gave me a chance to socialize with some of my friends from church while tasting a few beers, I didn’t take any pictures. I was more into enjoying myself than playing photographer.

April 8 was a pretty busy night. The local theater in Greenbelt, Maryland was among the numerous theaters nationwide who held a simultaneous screening of the film 1984. Before the movie began a group of local activists held a reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” in honor of the 50th anniversary of that speech. (Ironically MLK gave that speech exactly one year before his assassination.)

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

By the way, if you’re curious about the speech itself, you can read the text or you can hear Rev. King actually give that speech himself.

Passover

I went to the Light City event in Baltimore on its second night, which fell on April Fool’s Day, but this event was definitely no joke. I wrote a previous post about that night where I wrote about what it was like to see my own animation, The March of Liberty, being shown on a giant screen at such a popular event like Light City while posting a reaction video I made. I’m finally getting around to sharing the rest of the photos. (I took a bunch of pictures that night so I ended up having to make decisions on which photos to use.)

I arrived before sunset because I wanted to find where the On Demand area was located. As you can see in the pictures, it was a very cloudy day.

I took a few pictures of Camden Yards when I was on my way to transferring from the Camden Yards light rail stop to the Charm City Circulator heading towards the Inner Harbor. Opening day would take place just a few days after I took these pictures.

Camden Yards

Here’s a statue of Cal Ripken’s retired number.

Camden Yards

Here’s a statue of famous baseball player Babe Ruth, who was born in Baltimore.

Camden Yards

These painted baseballs on the sidewalk near the statue leads the way to the nearby Babe Ruth Museum.

Camden Yards

The street banners proclaim that this year is the 25th anniversary of the day that the Baltimore Orioles began playing their home games at Camden Yards.

Camden Yards

I ended up traveling way out to Pier 6 in the Inner Harbor. I took a few pictures while I was blundering around, starting with one of the Harborplace pavilions, which is currently undergoing remodeling and renovation.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Here is what one of the Light City art pieces looked like in broad daylight.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

I walked past the Power Plant, where I noticed the guitar-themed railing that’s currently located outside of the Hard Rock Cafe.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Located opposite the Power Plant is a tropical-themed bar known as Dick’s Last Resort.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Some lights resembling birds roosting in trees outside of the Pier 5 Hotel.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

A whimsical display that looks like something out of the film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory outside of an office building.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant at its Pier 5 location.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Three umbrella-filled boats floating in Baltimore Harbor.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

I decided that I needed to take a break so I found a bench where I ate my dinner. (It was a fried chicken dinner with thick fries and a roll that I purchased at a Royal Farms store located in Linthicum before I took the light rail into Baltimore.) While I was eating this immigration rights protest march had arrived at the Pier 5 area of the Inner Harbor and the protesters walked right past the bench where I was eating my dinner. I took the opportunity to take some pictures.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

The marchers made their way to the Inner Harbor Lighthouse, which was being used as a display area for a Light City exhibit about immigrants. A post-march rally was held next to that exhibit.

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

Light City at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore

I finally found the On Demand area. I took a photo of the sign.

Light City, Baltimore, April 1, 2017

I even took a closeup of the area of the sign where my name was printed.

Light City, Baltimore, April 1, 2017

Here’s a shot of the On Demand screen, which was showing another video, along with a glimpse of the backs of the adirondack chairs that were provided for people to sit in before sunset.

On Demand Area at Light City

Here’s another shot of the On Demand screen, showing a different video, at night.

On Demand Area at Light City

Like I wrote in a prior entry, I waited outside in the cold for over two hours until my film was finally shown. When it finally appeared I got very enthusiastic. I shot a short reaction video. I also shot stills of my film being on screen. Maybe I shot too many stills but it was such a rare opportunity to see my video being shown in a public venue like this that I felt like I had to document it from all angles (including some shots of people sitting in the chairs) so I can prove to other people that one of my videos was actually shown in public like this.

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

My Animation Video

As for how the people who were there responded to my video, I wasn’t able to get any kind of an accurate gauge as to whether people liked it or not. I didn’t get any boos. But I also didn’t hear any cheers. I saw a few people sitting in chairs watching it when I was there. By the way, you can view that animation, The March of Liberty, right here.

After my film was shown, I left the On Demand area. I had sat in the cold for so long that my body felt stiff. I also had to start making a move towards the nearest light rail station so I can catch one of the last trains out of the city. I managed to take a few more pictures of the other Light City exhibits as I made my way back to the light rail station while wading my way through the massive crowds at the same time. (Yes, the second annual Light City was just as crowded as the first year was.)

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Even a few Baltimore police officers blended in with Light City.

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Here is one of the bar tents that were set up at the event. As you can see in the picture below, it drew a lot of people.

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

Light City in Baltimore

The last photo shows one of the Light City exhibits being reflected in the back of a bus stop terminal.

Light City in Baltimore

There were more to Light City that what I shot but between fatigue and trying to make the light rail, I wasn’t able to see it all. I had planned to making one return trip but the first night I had scheduled—which was two nights before the final night—rained very heavily. So I put it off until the following night, which was the night before the final night, only to have a very cold front with heavy winds replace that heavy rainstorm. I wasn’t able to make it the last night because I went to the annual Sakura Matsuri festival in Washington, DC and I really couldn’t physically handle two festivals on the same day.

Passover

I decided to check out this night networking event that was held at the UMBC Training Center in Columbia, Maryland. I decided to beat the rush hour traffic and head up to Columbia a few hours early. I hung around the Mall in Columbia for a bit since I haven’t been there in a very long time. Here’s a photo of the indoor carousel that’s located on the upper level of that mall.

I saw this incredibly colorful clown sculpture that was made from balloons.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Mall in Columbia, which is why there was a 50th birthday cake floating in the fountain. The cake was made from balloons so it wasn’t edible anyway.

The Disney Store had this huge display because it had recently released the live action remake of its 1990’s animated film Beauty and the Beast.

The next photo shows the official doll that was widely mocked on the Internet as being ugly and looking like Justin Bieber. The doll was supposed to resemble actress Emma Watson, who played Belle in the movie, but I personally thought that the results were less-than-thrilling. I agreed with the critics who said that the doll looked more like Justin Bieber wearing a long brown wig than Emma Watson. (By the way a doll artist named Noel Cruz took one of the dolls and did a total repaint job. The results resembled Emma Watson way better than the original doll faceup.)

The Disney Store sold a larger doll that was based on the 1990’s animated version. I thought that doll looked way better than the other one.

The Disney Store also sold this Moana doll that looked gorgeous. I’ll admit that I haven’t gotten around to see the movie yet but I totally adored that doll so much that I would’ve bought it if it weren’t for the fact that I’m still dealing with tight finances.

I ate an early dinner at the Mall in Columbia because I wasn’t sure about the food situation. I was glad I did because this event had mostly snacks. After dinner I drove straight to the UMBC Training Center where the Coaches’ Corner event took place. It was basically an event where we received free counseling in small groups from various career coaches coupled with networking and it ended with a panel discussion from all of the participating career coaches. The day before the event I received an email asking participants to take photos of the evening, upload them on social media, and give them various hashtags. Here are my two photos from the event. The next photo shows the networking that took place before the panel discussion.

The last photo shows the panel discussion from the career coaches.

I only took two pictures because I was more focused on getting advice on finding jobs than taking pictures. I got some pretty good advice from the career coaches, especially on using LinkedIn.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the publication of what has got to be the strangest yet most unique children’s book ever published. The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright was a New York Times bestseller right alongside Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat when it was first released but, unlike the Dr. Seuss book, The Lonely Doll has gone out of print only to get reissued years later. It also hasn’t aged as well as The Cat in the Hat due in large part to the notorious spanking scene, which I’ll get to in a little bit.

Here’s a personal confession: I had never read any of The Lonely Doll books as a child. I know that for sure because those books have such a unique design that I would have remembered reading them if I did. I still have memories of reading those Little Golden Books that my mother used to pick up for me when she went grocery shopping, mainly because those books were priced pretty cheap. I also remember reading books written by Dr. Seuss and other books featuring characters like Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, and Babar the Elephant. But I definitely don’t recall reading The Lonely Doll.

I first learned about The Lonely Doll as an adult when I read reviews of Jean Nathan’s biography of Dare Wright called The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright. I read that book years ago and I found it fascinating. That book initially got the cooperation of Wright’s sole heir, Brook Ashley, who has since disavowed it. You may want to keep that in mind if you decide to read Nathan’s biography.

I finally found The Lonely Doll and one of its sequels, Edith & Mr. Bear, in a store. Having read both books, I’m basically of two minds. Artistically they are lovely but the stories that accompany them basically had me going “WTF?!?”

The Lonely Doll is the spiritual ancestor of all those doll photostories that one can easily find on the Internet in places like SuperInky.com,  DeviantArt’s bjd-club, and the Instagram #AGIG group. The big difference is that The Lonely Doll was created in an era when there was no World Wide Web or social media. In fact the forerunner of the Internet—known as ARPANET—wouldn’t go online for the first time until 1958 and access to ARPANET was limited only to government workers with high security clearances. That book initially received wide attention mainly because Dare Wright managed to convince a major book publisher to publish and distribute it in schools, libraries, and bookstores.

Film photography was the only photography option that was available at that time, which meant that a photographer was limited to—based on film length—12, 24, or 36 exposures. In addition, a photographer didn’t know if a picture turned out correct until after the film was developed. Many photographers routinely took several shots of the same subject from different exposures and different angles in the hopes of getting at least one perfect photograph. Black and white photography was still common in 1957 mainly because it was less expensive than color photography.

The Lonely Doll was published in 1957 and it became an immediate sensation due to its unusual design. Normally a children’s book would feature illustrations done in a variety of media (such as ink, watercolor, mixed-media, etc.). What stands The Lonely Doll apart from the others is its use of black and white photography to illustrate the story. The photographs are quite effective in that they bring out an expressive quality in the doll and two teddy bears who are depicted in the story. Here’s a typical photograph from the book.

The accompanying story is incredibly full of WTF?!? Here’s the basic gist: There was a doll named Edith who lives in a nice townhouse in New York City. She has everything that a doll could ever want except for one thing: friends to share it with. She spends much of her time wishing and praying that God or someone would just send her a friend or two.

One day two teddy bears show up to the front steps of Edith’s home out of the blue. The larger teddy bear is known as Mr. Bear while the smaller one is known as Little Bear. The two teddy bears say that they would like to move in with her and be her friends. Edith is so overjoyed that her wish has come true that she never wonders where these teddy bears have come from or how they found out that she existed or how they knew that she needed their friendship. It’s obvious that the two bears have a father and son relationship even though Little Bear always calls the bigger one Mr. Bear instead of Dad, Daddy, or Papa.

Little Bear treats Edith as an equal and they frequently play together and have a good time. Mr. Bear, on the other hand, proceeds to take command of the house by bossing Edith and Little Bear around and scolding them if they do something that Mr. Bear does not approve of. Never mind the fact that Edith was the one who had the house first and Mr. Bear is someone who has just moved in instead of the other way around. Edith seems to tolerate Mr. Bear ordering her around.

One rainy day Mr. Bear grabs an umbrella and tells Edith and Little Bear that he has to go somewhere. He doesn’t tell them where he’s going or why he’s going without taking Edith or Little Bear with him. He tells Edith and Little Bear to not get into any trouble then leaves.

Edith and Little Bear are frustrated because Mr. Bear has left the home without them plus they can’t play outside because it’s raining. Little Bear suggests exploring around the house and they come across a dressing room with a mirror, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. Edith and Little Bear play dress up by trying on various clothes and jewelry while making a mess in the room. At one point Little Bear grabs a tube of lipstick and writes “Mr. Bear is a silly old thing” on the mirror. He encourages Edith to put lipstick on even though she says that Mr. Bear had previously told her that she’s not allowed to use lipstick. Edith puts on the lipstick at the moment that Mr. Bear has not only returned home but he’s standing at the entrance to the dressing room. When Mr. Bear scolds the two for the mess that they’ve made and especially scolds Edith for trying on lipstick, she briefly gets a backbone and stands up for herself by saying that she has the right to use lipstick while calling Mr. Bear a silly. That brief bit of Edith standing up for herself leads to the notorious spanking scene where Mr. Bear first puts Edith over his knee and whips her bottom then he does the same to Little Bear.

After spanking both Edith and Little Bear, Mr. Bear tells the two to clean up the mess and orders Edith to stop crying before leaving the room. Edith continues to cry to the extent that even Little Bear is getting annoyed. Edith tells Little Bear that she’s afraid that Mr. Bear will leave and take Little Bear with him and she’ll become (gasp!) a lonely doll again!

Little Bear encourages Edith to help him clean up the mess. Both Edith and Little Bear apologize to Mr. Bear, who says that they can all forget about the incident. Edith asks Mr. Bear if he’ll stay and the story ends with Mr. Bear and Little Bear assuring Edith that they’ll stay with her forever and ever. Never again will Edith ever have to worry about being a lonely doll.

It may be that story’s idea of a happy ending but, for me, it would be a total nightmare.

Ever since my marriage imploded in late 2011 I’ve gotten involved with a divorce recovery group where we’ve discussed codependency, how destructive codependency can be, how to identify a codependent relationship, and how to avoid getting into one in the future. This book basically sends a message to kids that it’s better to be in a codependent relationship with someone who orders you around and even spanks you if you get too far out of line than to live alone. That’s totally messed up thinking.

Then there’s the spanking scene itself.

Notice how Edith is dressed in a short slip with her panties showing. Then there’s the “ooh-la-la” expression on her face that makes that scene look like a sexy BDSM scene with a doll and teddy bears. And Mr. Bear’s face seems totally fixated on Edith’s butt.

I once did a photographic parody of that spanking scene for an art exhibition a few years ago. I used a Volks Dollfie Dream as a stand-in for Edith. I picked this doll because she has a very mature sexy body, which is the complete opposite of the child-like Edith doll. I used a panda bear that I once owned but I’ve since given away when I was downsizing after my marriage collapsed. I even included The Lonely Doll book that was opened to that spanking scene.

Kitsch Series 8: The Spanking

At least I had no pretense that I was doing this with children in mind. This photo was part of an exhibition series called Kitsch. (Link is definitely NSFW.)

The success of The Lonely Doll has led to several sequels. I’ve only read one of them, Edith & Mr. Bear, which was published in 1964.

Once again this book includes photographs that are very well-composed and expressive.

In some ways I think the story in this book is far better than The Lonely Doll because it’s a basic morality story that tries to teach a lesson. By this point Edith and the two bears have been living together for a while and they have been joined by another member of the household—a tiny flesh and blood kitten named, well, Kitten, who has a minor role in this book.

The story begins with Edith and Little Bear waiting near the front door for Mr. Bear to return home from a shopping trip. Mr. Bear arrives with three presents. One is a dress for Edith and the other is a toy boat for Little Bear. The third and biggest package is one that Mr. Bear has purchased for himself—a clock. Edith becomes fascinated by the new clock but Mr. Bear decides to put the clock high upon the mantel so neither Edith nor Little Bear can reach it, play with it, and risk breaking it.

Despite Mr. Bear’s efforts to keep the clock out of the reach of the other two toys, Edith becomes fascinated by the clock to the point of obsession. One day, while she was home alone, Edith drags a pile of books over to the mantel until the pile is big enough for her to reach the clock. Edith climbs up to the mantel and, at long last, she’s able to play around with the inner workings of the clock.

But then she loses her balance and both she and the clock comes tumbling down along with the books. The clock breaks into a lot of little pieces. Edith tries to sweep away the evidence but Mr. Bear finds the pile of broken clock pieces. He brings Edith and Little Bear into the room and demands to know which one of them broke the clock. Edith lies by saying that she didn’t break the clock while Little Bear also denies it as well, except he is telling the truth.

Initially Edith thinks she has gotten away with her lie. But then she begins to feel intense guilt over her lie and her efforts to keep the truth a secret starts to weigh in on her. She’s afraid that Mr. Bear will hate her if he ever knows that she broke the clock. The guilt stresses her out so much that she isn’t able to enjoy her own birthday party and she begins to act cross around Little Bear. Edith attempts to tell Kitten the truth about the broken clock but that wasn’t enough to get rid of the guilt because Kitten never had anything to do with that clock and Kitten can’t say anything beyond “Meow.”

One day the guilt over the clock weighs in so heavy that Edith takes her stress out on Little Bear by ruining his drawing and Little Bear calls her “horrid.” After he leaves in a huff Edith realizes that she has become horrid and she decides that the best thing she can do is run away from home.

So Edith runs away and ends up spending the night on the streets. She goes down to the docks the following day and thinks about boarding one of the boats but then changes her mind when she realizes that if she does so, she’ll never see Mr. Bear or Little Bear ever again.

Edith decides to return home and tell Mr. Bear the truth. After she comes clean about the clock, Mr. Bear tells her that he suspected that it was her all this time and that he knew that it was an accident that she broke the clock. He tells her that he would never have punished her for an accident. He also decides not to punish her for lying because he feels that she has already punished herself with the constant stress and spending the night on the streets. Edith goes to bed happy that she has come clean about what she did and Mr. Bear has forgiven her.

Had the book ended there, it could’ve been an excellent morality story for children showing how telling a lie can have a negative effect on the person telling the lie in the form of guilt and additional stress.

But, sadly, the story continues from there. Edith continues to get into various mischief (such as digging up flower bulbs to see if they have sprouted then replanting them upside down). One day Edith decides to bake something special for Mr. Bear and she starts making a mess in the kitchen while she’s mixing the ingredients. She gets Little Bear to light a match so they can heat the gas stove, despite the fact that Mr. Bear has forbidden the two from even touching matches. Mr. Bear catches them in the act and it leads to another spanking scene.

You get a clear view of Edith’s panties while she’s rubbing her freshly spanked butt.

The book ends with the three of them walking to a nearby park with Little Bear bringing his toy boat to float in the pond.

After reading those books, one could be forgiven for wondering what kind of person would write a series of books like this. Looking at Dare Wright’s life provides all kinds of insights as to why she would write them.

Dare Wright was born in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada in 1914 as the younger of two children in a dysfunctional and deteriorating marriage. Her father, Ivan Wright, was a theater critic while her mother, Edith “Edie” Stevenson Wright, was an artist.

Her parents’ marriage was strained by Ivan’s descent into alcoholism and his frequent job switching. Edie tried to make ends meet by painting portraits. The marriage ended in a divorce that grew so divisive that each parent ultimately took custody of only one child while cutting off all further contact with the former spouse and the other child. As a result, Dare would never see her father again since he died a few years later. She wouldn’t be reunited with her older brother, Blaine, until after both siblings were well into their 20’s.

Basically Dare Wright was raised as an only child of a divorced single parent long before that kind of family unit was common.

Edie and Dare settled in Cleveland when Edie found that she could make a living painting portraits of that city’s wealthy elites while Dare attended Coventry Elementary School. At one point Edie purchased a doll for her daughter. It was a felt doll made by the Italian company Lenci. The doll was known as the Lenci 109/14 series and she originally had brown curly hair. The doll was named Edith after the mother but I was never able to find out whether it was a name that Dare gave to the doll or if Edie had insisted that the doll be named after her and Dare went along with it.

Soon after the doll purchase Edie sent Dare to begin the fourth grade at the Laurel School, an all-girls’ boarding school in Cleveland. Dare attended that school all the way through high school. After she graduated from the Laurel School in 1933, she migrated to New York City where she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her stage acting career reached no further than landing a small part in a touring company production of Pride and Prejudice. She switched to modeling where she had better luck landing jobs. At some point, probably as a result of her modeling jobs, she became fascinated with photography and she obtained her own camera. She became so adept at photography that she became a fashion photographer.

Her career took a new turn when she was reunited with Edith the doll during one of her visits with her mother. By this point she was also reunited with her brother Blaine, who purchased two teddy bears for her from FAO Schwarz. The larger was a Schuco bear while the smaller was a Stieff. The three toys served as the basis for The Lonely Doll books.

Dare replaced Edith the doll’s original brown hair with a new blonde wig with bangs that can be worn in a ponytail. That doll wig is similar to how Dare Wright wore her own hair in real life, thus fueling speculation that Edith the Lonely Doll is a stand-in for Dare Wright in these books.

Blaine Wright was a lifelong bachelor who never had children of his own. Dare Wright was once engaged to one of Blaine’s friends until her fiancee broke off the engagement. Otherwise, Dare never married nor had any children. Both siblings became alcoholics. One doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist to guess that their parents’ devastating divorce that separated the siblings for many years may have had something to do with what became of them later in life.

One also doesn’t have to be an expert to guess that The Lonely Doll series probably portrayed an alternate reality in Dare Wright’s life as she tried to explore what would have happened if she had ended up growing up with her father and brother instead of her mother—including a scenario where she gets spanked by her father whenever she’s bad.

Should parents buy this book for their children? My only suggestion is for you to read the book before giving it to your child so you can decide for yourself whether it’s something that’s appropriate for your child to read. All I can say is that The Lonely Doll books are definitely a far cry from Dr. Seuss.

The reason why we all should referring Sally Hemmings as Thomas Jefferson’s “mistress.”

How a small craft shop can build a community.

Your kid’s favorite toy may be spying on you without your permission.

A provocative rant that says that people who are obsessed with getting top-notch camera gear tend to be relatively bad photographers.

Here’s Why Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is the most impressive animated movie of all time.

For those of you who use the open source alternative to Photoshop known as GIMP, here’s a tutorial on how to use Photoshop plugins in GIMP.

A look at slavery-era embroidery.

Are we knitting too many tiny sweaters for animals?

9 sex-positive embroidery patterns for people who want to go beyond the pussy hat

Crochet octopi comforts preemies in hospital NICU.

An interview with Derek Conrad Murray about a style of African American art that he defines as “post-black.”

A story about a type of art derived from computer/smartphone screen-tap culture known as “Like Art.”

How glassblowing has gotten easier for amateurs to learn.

What is Embroline and will it change the embroidery industry?

A retired Unitarian Universalist minister has made knitting pink pussycat hats her personal crusade.

How to break free from your photography slump in five steps.

A photographer writes about why he loves doing wedding photography.

Mom dyes a doll’s face so it’ll look like her daughter with a facial birthmark.

Adobe Illustrator has recently celebrated its 30th birthday.

A list of Disney’s most subversive animated movies.

The dangers of remaking anime as a live action film.

Thirty years ago yesterday my aunt passed away from breast cancer at the age of 48. I still remember her struggles with that illness like it was yesterday. She was around 42 or 43 when she noticed a lump in her breast. When she went to the doctor she found that not only did she have breast cancer but it had spread to her lymph nodes as well.

She underwent a mastectomy and went through many months of chemotherapy that literally made her sick. At one point she asked her doctor about smoking marijuana to help her deal with the side effects of the chemotherapy. Unfortunately medical marijuana was illegal in the state of Maryland at the time so the only way she could’ve obtained it was if she had been accepted in a clinical trial. I don’t know if her doctor refused to refer her to one of those clinical trials or if she got the referral but was rejected but, in either case, she had to fully endure the side effects of the chemotherapy.

She lost her hair so she started sporting turbans when she went out in public. Her cancer was in remission by the time I was married but she wore a turban at my wedding because her hair hadn’t grown back yet. One of the friends of my husband’s parents told my aunt how much she loved her turban during the reception. That friend thought my aunt was making a hip fashion statement. My aunt was elated by that friend’s praise.

Sadly the remission was short-lived because a couple of years later her cancer not only came back with a vengeance but it had spread to her liver. At the time of her death she became a grandmother for the first time just four months earlier and another daughter was pregnant with her second grandchild. (That child was born four months after her death.) As I’m typing this I realize that the oldest grandchild has just turned 30 while the second grandchild will soon turn 30. Time just seems to go too fast for me. It feels like yesterday when they were just babies.

In the years following her death my cousins would go on to have a combined total of eight other children. On top of it, one of my cousins has a stepson from her current marriage so if you were to count him in the mix, it would be a total of 11 grandchildren who would grow up without ever knowing my aunt as their grandmother because of breast cancer.

In her short life my aunt was a housewife who was very active in the Catholic church she attended. When her youngest child began elementary school she started a child care service where she watched some of the neighborhood kids during the weekday. Among those kids was a boy named Ben, whom my aunt started to watch when he was just a baby and he eventually started calling her “Mom Lipp.” (Lipp was my aunt’s last name.) Ben was the same person who took his own life earlier this year.

In a way it’s not fair that someone like her ended up living a short life while you have someone like Keith Richards, who has used and abused nearly every single drug known to mankind yet he is still alive and is currently living life to the fullest in his seventies. Sure his skin looks very leathery from age and all those years of hard living but he’s still alive and kicking nonetheless.

This is why cancer sucks.

January 6 was both the last day of the Christmas holiday season (a.k.a. Feast of the Epiphany, Little Christmas, Three Kings Day, and Twelfth Night) and the seventh anniversary of the day I wrote my first post in this blog. I spent the evening of this day attending this artist networking event known as the First Friday, which was held at the Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center in North Brentwood, Maryland.

I have never been to that museum before so it was an opportunity to visit it, especially since it’s located so close to my home. It’s a small museum but it’s full of interesting artifacts. Thanks to that museum, I now know that North Brentwood was a town that was originally settled by African Americans veterans of the Civil War and it is still majority African Americans. Here are just a few of the artifacts that I saw in that museum.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event
At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

Here’s a tennis racket that was once owned by the legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

The entertainment included a deejay and a rapper along with some speeches by museum officials.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

Basically everyone present (including myself) networked among each other while viewing what the museum had on display at the time.

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

At the First Friday Event Including an Artist Networking Event

It was a nice event and I think this museum makes a nice compliment to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture located downtown (which I haven’t visited yet) that has just opened last year.

Birthday Cake Santa Claus

That’s right, this blog is turning a lucky seven today! Seven years ago today I made my very first post in this blog. If this blog was a child, it would be in elementary school right now. My, how time flies!

Today also happens to be the day known alternatively as the Twelfth Night, Little Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany, and Three Kings Day. January 6 marks the traditional end of the Christmas holiday season where it’s time to put all of the decorations away until December.

Here’s are a few of the highlights of what I’ve done this past year.

Did jury duty. Not long after I served, I received another jury duty summons! (Fortunately I was able to get out of the second summons because I had recently served.)

Saw the Wizard of Oz playground at Watkins Regional Park in Largo, Maryland.

Survived the Blizzard of 2016.

Went to Crafty Bastards where I not only saw a variety of interesting crafts but I also saw a former Hecht’s warehouse that was converted to upscale apartments.

Saw giant lit inflatable bunnies at the Washington Navy Yard that was also the gathering point for a 1990’s style rave.

Went to a Pre-Valentine’s Day dance at my church.

Saw a lit-up Valentine House.

Took the opportunity of a Bernie Sanders Barnstorming Rally to do a walking tour around my old alma mater, the University of Maryland at College Park.

Celebrated Leap Year.

Photographed an impromptu memorial that was put up in the wake of the suicide of a man whom I only knew online.

Visited the Pennsylvania and North Avenues intersection (where the 2015 Freddy Gray riots broke out) in Baltimore as well as checking out Penn Station and the Station North Arts District.

Checked out one of the National Cherry Blossom Festival events in Washington, DC at the National Building Museum while also checking out the nearby Chinatown area.

Saw the blooming cherry blossom trees on Crofton Parkway in Crofton, Maryland.

Saw a giant insect hotel.

Took photos during the time I did some volunteer work for Bernie Sanders at a campaign office in College Park that was formerly a florist shop.

Took in the street art in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Photographed the statues and reliefs of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Saw the first annual Light City event in Baltimore.

Briefly appeared in a music video dedicated to Bernie Sanders. That video would be aired on Fox News only to get disparaged by on air personality Kennedy.

Attended the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Went to Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Attended the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire.

Attended the Crazy Quilt Music Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Went to a pro-Bernie Sanders art exhibit in Washington, DC.

Walked around downtown Silver Spring on Memorial Day.

Went to a Greek Festival where I toured a Greek Orthodox Church.

Did the Open Studio Tour at the Prince George’s County [Maryland] Gateway Arts District in May and December.

Took some photos of the Station North Arts District in Baltimore.

Wrote my observations on what it was like to live without a smartphone for 24 hours.

Saw two separate Alice in Wonderland exhibits in College Park and Greenbelt.

Saw an art house in Hyattsville, Maryland, which I later submitted to RoadsideAttractions.com and it was selected.

Visited the notorious Block in Baltimore.

Saw a cosplay photoshoot in Baltimore.

Attended the annual Hon Fest in Baltimore.

Appeared in an episode of the YouTube series C.H.A.O.S. (Cartoon Hobbies and Other Stuff).

Proved that, yes, it’s possible to take decent fireworks photos with a smartphone.

Celebrated the 10th anniversary of my first online Internet film, Bees and Lavender.

Checked out the Art in the Park(ing) Lot.

Went to a comic book signing for the new comic book series Kim & Kim.

Made my first-ever visit to the large STEM makerspace known as TechShop in Crystal City, Virginia.

Confronted the demons of my past by photographing my hand giving the middle finger to my old high school.

Did an extended tour of Brookyn Park and Glen Burnie.

Did another extended tour of Glen Burnie while I was visiting my mother in the hospital.

Burned an old wedding present that was customized with my name and my ex-husband’s name.

Attended the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival on the first and second days. Also attended the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade and the third day of the festival.

Went to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore for the first time since I was a teenager.

Took a few pictures of the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Laurel, Maryland.

Went to a yard sale that specialized in vintage kitsch.

Discovered an off-beat side street in downtown Baltimore.

Checked out Stary Olsa, a Belorussian band who does medieval folk versions of classic rock tunes like The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Attended the Silver Spring Maker Faire.

Attended Intervention Con on the first, second, and third day where I saw celebrities like René Auberjonois, Alex Kingston, Thomas “She Blinded Me With Science” Dolby, and Dwight Schultz.

Went to the Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival on an usually hot and humid September day.

Saw a heavily-decorated Halloween house along Greenbelt Lake.

Attended an adult trick or treat event at Savage Mill. It was the first time I went trick or treating since I was a kid.

Helped out with the Trunk or Treat event at my Church.

Took pictures of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival.

Got my first glimpse of the controversial Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC the day before Election Day.

Visited the forgotten graveyards of Greenbelt, Maryland.

Checked out the spectacular Christmas shop at Valley View Farms.

Spent my birthday checking out Christmas Village in Baltimore and this over-decorated Christmas house in Glen Burnie.

Saw the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC for the first time in many years.

Saw the Christmas lights at Savage Mill (including lights that draped the nearby Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge).

Checked out a brand-new library that has just opened in Laurel, Maryland and it features dinosaur bones lying in a pit in the middle of the library.

Took pictures of the opening ceremony of the Festival of Lights in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Spent Small Business Saturday at the Prince George’s County [Maryland] Gateway Arts District.

Attending a Sunday service at my Unitarian Universalist church that featured a puppet show instead of the usual sermon.

Checked out the fall foliage at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.

Did a hike around the historic Bladensburg Waterfront Park (where one of the major battles of the War of 1812 took place).

Saw a trompe l’oeil painting in an unexpected place.

Spent Christmas Eve in downtown Washington, DC at Union Station and the National Postal Museum.

Saw some of the Christmas lights in Greenbelt, Maryland.

After seeing this in my neighborhood each Christmas Eve for several years, I finally took out my camera and photographed this tradition: Santa Claus riding around the neighborhood on the back of a fire truck.

Visited both the animals and the annual ZooLights at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

A few of the art shows, craft fairs, and other arts and crafts-related events I participated in: Took part in a drawing event that was held in the historic Riversdale Mansion in Riverdale Park, Maryland. Attended a few Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School events in Baltimore and Washington, DC. Entered a local tiny art canvas contest. Took part in a charity art show that benefitted those who were displaced by the flood in Ellicott City. Designed my first button during Interventioncon. Submitted a painting to the annual Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show.

Santa Claus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

This latest installment in my 12-part Tabletop Christmas series focuses on other tree ornaments that I haven’t featured in this series so far.

The ornament in the next photo was one that was released in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World in 1992. That commemoration was controversial mainly because Christopher Columbus’ role in history has become extremely controversial in recent years. I remember when replicas of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria docked at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, which drew some protests. I saw those ships myself and I was disappointed to learn that only the top deck was opened to the general public while the rest of the decks were roped off. I purchased the ornament because I thought it was very cute, which was the same reason why it survived my purge of excessive ornaments.

photo1

This next photo shows a very stylized reindeer that I purchased from the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms years before I started this blog. I’ve always loved the design of this reindeer, which was why that one also survived my ornaments purge.

photo2

Here’s a cute Hallmark ornament in the form of a bull-shaped piñata that has “Feliz Navidad” written on the sides.

photo3

Here’s a glittery gold snowflake ornament that was given to me by one of my relatives years ago. I especially love the way it reflects when the lights are on.

photo4

Here’s a gold heart that I purchased years ago because my then-husband said that he loves hearts. I kept it after he left and I made my ornaments purge because it looks lovely in the Christmas tree, especially when viewed from afar.

photo5

The two ornaments in the next photo feature a gold leaf and a dolphin. I know the gold leaf was given to me and my then-husband by a family member but I don’t remember if it came from my parents, my mother-in-law, or my sister-in-law. The dolphin ornament was a Hallmark ornament that I purchased for my then-husband not long after we were married because my husband really loved dolphins. Naturally he left that one behind when he left me but I kept it because the dolphin looks really cute in the tree, especially with it looking like it’s in the middle of a mid-air jump through a Christmas wreath.

photo6

This stylized wood star came from a relative from my then-husband’s side of the family but I don’t remember if his mother, sister, or his late Aunt Sue gave it to us. I usually hang this one towards the bottom of the tree.

photo7

The next photo features two small ornaments. The pink elephant is made from glass and I purchased it from the Christmas shop at Behnke’s Nurseries years ago because it reminded me of the famous “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence from the Disney movie Dumbo. This ornament even came with a tiny plastic champaign glass but, unfortunately, the champaign glass snapped off a long time ago and I couldn’t find it. The pink elephant still looks nice without the champaign glass so I kept it. The cat is a Hallmark ornament that was given to me by my parents when I was a teenager.

photo8

The next photograph shows a Hallmark Mistletoe Fairy that I purchased mainly because when I was married my husband and I had a tradition where we hung mistletoe above the kitchen door and we used to time our meetings at the kitchen door so we would kiss. (LOL!) We didn’t get mistletoe in 2011 mainly because I was recovering from hip surgery and my husband was sick with bronchitis at the same time. I also didn’t know that he was planning to leave me three days after Christmas (and three months after my hip surgery) for a seriously mentally ill friend of ours. I thought about getting rid of that ornament when I was doing my ornaments purge but I ended up keeping it because this fairy looks really nice in the tree. I no longer keep mistletoe in my home so this ornament is about as close to having mistletoe as I get these days. (LOL!)

photo9

This next ornament is a ceramic peppermint unicorn ornament that I purchased from a Hallmark store at a clearance price during a post-Christmas sale one year. That’s another ornament that I’ve always loved to hang in my tree.

photo10

Remember the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990’s? At one point Ty came out with a line of Christmas ornaments that were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies. I selected Peace the Tye-Dyed Bear because I thought he was cute and I also remember the traditional “Peace on Earth” greeting at Christmas.

photo11

The next few photos are small greeting cards that double as Christmas ornaments, which were given to me by my parents. Each of these greeting card ornaments have the same Victorian Era illustrations on both sides along with a tiny string to hang them on. Here is one of these card ornaments that I still have.

photo12

The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim”.

photo13

Here’s the other greeting card ornament that I still have. This one also has the same Victorian Era illustration on both sides.

photo14

The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim.”

photo15

Last, but not least, is this red bell that’s currently hanging on my tree as a Christmas ornament. Here’s some background. I’m currently involved in starting a new local chapter of the National Grange in my hometown and I’m serving as the Vice President mainly because this new chapter desperately needed officers and I stepped up to the plate. We decided to walk around town singing Christmas carols one evening before Christmas as a way of both publicizing the new group and spreading Christmas cheer in general. One person brought a bunch of bells that we could ring so that was how I ended up with this red bell. The high point came when we walked around the hallways of this apartment complex that’s designed for senior citizens and disabled adults singing Christmas carols and the residents there really loved it and they all smiled. At the end of the evening I attempted to give my bell back to the person who brought it but she told me that I could keep it. So I hung it on the Christmas tree.

photo16

I especially like the snowflake cutout at the bottom.

photo17

Part 12

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