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There’s a Greek Festival that’s held at a local Greek Orthodox Church in my area about twice a year. I’ve been going to that one for a number of years but I haven’t blogged about it until a couple of years ago. Since that 2016 post, I’ve gone back to that Greek Festival a few times but I haven’t taken any new pictures until earlier this month. So, without further ado, here are some new photos I shot at the Greek Festival that was held at St. Theodore Greek Orthodox Church in Lanham, Maryland earlier this month.

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Last month I shot a maypole dance in my Unitarian Universalist church after the Sunday service on June 3, 2018. It was originally supposed to be held outside but it rained heavily that day so it was moved indoors. Here is my footage.

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This Easter was really different this year. I’m used to having Passover and Easter Sunday falling on the same day but I thought it was really freaky to have those holidays scheduled on the same day as April Fool’s Day.

I basically went to Easter Sunday service at the local Unitarian Universalist Church. There was an all-ages crafting table where people can dye Easter Eggs and make Easter-related crafts.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There were a number of eggs that had the contents removed via blowholes so one could decoupage an egg as a permanent keepsake decoration. I tried my hand at making a decoupage Easter egg and here is the result.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There was an Easter egg hunt held in the glen of the church after Sunday service ended. The kids really had a blast hunting for those Easter eggs then turning the plastic eggs in for a special Easter goody bag.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

The adults spent the occasion socializing while some of them wore festive Easter themed clothes and accessories.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There was a box of matzohs set out for people to eat since that day was also Passover.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Even though the weather was cloudy and cold that day the flowers were in bloom, such as these daffodils.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

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Women are calling to an end to sexual harassment in the animation industry. 

To save Net Neutrality, we must build our own Internet.

When blue chips fall like dominoes.

The deranged Twitter thread that proves that establishment liberals have lost their minds.

Why we need to appreciate the talents and abilities of the quiet introverted ones.

The mainstream media quietly erases the role NATO played in bringing slave markets to Libya.

Here’s the line-up of liars you can thank when the economy crashes.

Four WTF lessons the world teaches us about sexualizing teens.

An Internet entrepreneur makes a video expressing how shocked he is that he was sued for stealing a copyright owner’s work.

The myth that college graduates make the best employees.

Medicare for all is not socialized medicine.

Most of America’s terrorists are white and not Muslim.

Facebook’s security chief says that his company’s security is like a college campus but they face threats like a defense contractor.

All of these women of color are badder than Taylor Swift.

Punks and metalheads are infiltrating the system by winning political office.

Walt Disney World is anything but magical for its employees.

Here’s an online trove of historic sewing patterns and costumes.

An essay on being biracial without identity issues.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

“Protest Matters” museum shows what resistance looks like.

Robocalls flooding your cellphone? Here’s how to stop them.

The lower sugar version of Quaker Apples & Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal has 35% less sugar because they’ve cut the portion size by 35% while the price remains at 100%.

Girl shames friend for achieving everything because of white privilege but doesn’t expect to get a response like this.

The Greek gods and goddesses come to line in this magnificent cartoon family tree.

Donald Trump and the Elements of Dictator Style.

Yes, this $375 “antifa” jacket from Barneys is actually real.

This is what a news cycle that holds sexual predators accountable looks like.

A look at some daguerreotypes of anonymous African Americans.

Nina Turner explains why “the Democratic Party can’t just whisper sweet nothings anymore.”

70 years before Harvey Weinstein, Maureen O’Hara dropped this bombshell on Hollywood predators.

Bella Cornell, a 14-year-old Native American activist, is no stranger to racism.

Tiny 3D-printed Raspberry Pi cases look like classic computers.

The Democrats’ reckoning with the Clintons is long overdue.

A written portrait of Baltimore in black and white.

Bill Clinton was accused of sexual assault 15 times. Why is he still treated like a hero?

A tiny hedgehog named Azuki goes camping and his pictures are the best thing you’ll see today.

The rigged system of the second Gilded Age isn’t being challenged.

Reaganomics killed America’s middle class.

The Retaliatory State: How Donald Trump is turning government into a weapon of revenge.

My Unitarian Universalist church congregation had hired a new minister about six months ago. As part of the hiring process, we had a Ministerial Start Up Workshop that was led by our region’s contact in the Unitarian Universalist Association.  I was asked to take pictures of this workshop. The only reason why I’m writing a blog post about this is so I can prove to people that, yes, I can take pictures of events.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop began after the usual Sunday service ended and it started with lunch.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The Reverend Megan Foley of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) led the workshop.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Everyone sat in a circle in order to make it easier to communicate with each other face-to-face.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Basically much of the time was spent on describing the history of our congregation, what were its successes and what were its mistakes and things of that sort.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Our congregation’s new minister, Rev. Rachel Christensen, spoke outlining her hopes for the congregation’s future.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop ended with a communal art project but one didn’t have to be an accomplished artist to take part.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

A bag was passed around that was full of foam Valentine heart stickers in a variety of colors (ranging from light pink to deep red) and styles (some had glitter on them). The idea was to choose the hearts we liked the best.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Here’s the set of hearts I chose.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

We stuck our hearts on a board. Here is what the board looked like when it was finished.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Santa Claus

I tried my best to observe this winter holiday season without focusing too much on Donald Trump and politics but it seems like every day he does or says something that is so over the top and out of line for a sitting president that I feel total despair. I’ll admit that I hope there is something to those allegations of Donald Trump being too chummy with Vladimir Putin to the detriment of this country so he could be booted from the White House before he could get the chance to run for a second term as president.

In total despair I took out my tiny sketchbook and did this quick drawing (using ink and colored pencils) of the Christmas demon Krampus taking Donald Trump away from the White House just like he would do to a very naughty child.

By the way I finally saw the latest Disney/Pixar film Coco this morning. The local theater was only showing it at 10 a.m. (it has been out for a while) so I made an effort to get out of the house early in the morning so I can get there on time. I really loved that film. I know there’s something strange about seeing a film about the Day of the Dead Mexican holiday on Christmas day but I was able to ignore that timing enough to really enjoy the story and animation.

After the movie ended I walked around the mall a bit. I was expecting every single store to be closed but I was surprised to see that a number of smaller stores were opened today. I noticed that the people staffing those stores were either Indian or Middle Eastern, which makes sense in a way because many of them are either Hindus or Muslims and those faiths do not observe Christmas.

I treated myself to a rare lunch at a local Chinese restaurant where I ordered the Orange Chicken meal. I was doing what many American Jews have been doing on Christmas day for generations. I got this nice fortune cookie message: “You are heading for a land of sunshine.”

I hope that it’s one fortune cookie message that actually comes true for me soon.

Well, anyway, I hope you’re enjoying your holiday today. 🙂

Santa Claus

Since today is Christmas Day, I figured that it would be very appropriate to blog about The Doll and Teddy Bear Show that took place at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, Maryland earlier this month.

I used to go to that show frequently. While the show, which is held about two or three times a year, has always had a huge emphasis on vintage dolls prior to 1960, I remember that the show had tables that were devoted to more recent dolls from my own childhood (such as Beautiful Crissy, Barbie, and Dawn) as well as newer dolls from recent years. I even remember seeing a table or two selling Asian ball jointed dolls.

I have lots of memories of going to those shows, starting with the couple of times I attended doll meet-ups at the Gaithersburg show that were organized through the Den of Angels forum where we all carried our Asian ball-jointed dolls around the show as we browsed the various vendor tables.

It was at one of these shows in September, 2005 where I found a vintage Velvet doll that was partially clad and had eye mold. I purchased her for only $10 then went to another table that sold vintage doll clothes and purchased Velvet’s original dress with a pair of shoes in her size for another $10. I managed to get rid of the eye mold and restored Velvet to her original glory. I took photos of what I did at the time. I later wrote a post about what I did back in 2010 and that post still remains among my more popular posts of all time.

At another show I found two vintage circa-1940s dolls that were totally disheveled and they were on sale for only $3 each. I purchased both of them and I turned one of them into a Little Red Riding Hood doll that I later sold on Etsy. (I’ve since misplaced the other doll but I’m hoping that she’ll eventually turn up once I get really serious of decluttering my home once and for all.) It was at that same show where I had unfortunate encounters with vendors whose hearts weren’t clearly into their profession of selling dolls.

The last time I went to a show was in 2011, when I purchased a couple of adorable outfits that were perfect for this doll that I had recently purchased. But then my hip problem became so acute that I had to have surgery followed by my husband leaving me abruptly just three months after my surgery. Then I spent the next few years dealing with the fallout from the hip surgery and divorce while adjusting to my new reality. (And that’s not to mention the crappy economy and the crazy politics that have gone on since an African American was elected to the White House for the first time followed by unlikely election of Donald Trump. But that’s a whole different series of blog posts that have nothing to do with the topic of this post.)

So it was 2017 and I found out online that another doll and teddy bear show was being held in Gaithersburg in early December. I hadn’t gone in six years so I was ready to visit again. I remember that the December show was usually the biggest one. The show’s organizers would rent more space than usual and it would be filled with lots of vendors and lots of dolls and teddy bears. I was looking forward to seeing some eye candy. My attitude was that I would purchase a new doll and/or doll clothes only if such items fit in with my tight budget but, otherwise, I was only there for window shopping with no anticipation of buying anything new for myself. I wasn’t disappointed because there were tons of eye candy and I took tons of photographs to prove it.

There were plenty of Christmas-related dolls and teddy bears for sale but I found one vendor table that had a Hanukkah menorah on display.

The most memorable booth was the one that sold Lenci dolls. The most notable thing about these dolls is that Dare Wright used her own Lenci doll in The Lonely Doll book series. I found them to be very lovely to see in person.

I really loved the expressive look on their faces.

Lenci even made a Madonna and Child doll.


Many of the outfits on these dolls are very exquisite.

The only thing about Lenci dolls is that the original company went out of business in 2002. As a result many of these dolls are collector items and they are definitely not cheap. Many of the ones I saw on sale cost thousands of dollars. The cheapest Lenci doll I found was a tiny doll that was less than one inch tall and that was on sale for a whopping $75.

The show had plenty of miniatures on sale that were made for dollhouses.

I even saw hand-painted clothespin dolls at that show.

I saw American Girl dolls on sale that were even cheaper than buying a new doll at the American Girl Place store.

I found two Barbie dolls that were made to resemble Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance from the famous “Job Switching” episode of the TV sitcom I Love Lucy. (That’s the one where Lucy and Ethel get jobs working in a chocolate factory only to have their stint be short-lived.)

One table had a variety of doll parts in a variety of sizes available for sale. It would be great for anyone who was looking for a part for an old doll.

Since the show was known as The Doll and Teddy Bear Show, it was natural that there were plenty of bears there, as well as other types of stuffed animals (such as rabbits, and dogs).

There were plenty of Santa Claus dolls available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Some vendors had those reborn baby dolls which look very lifelike.

I found some odd things on sale at that show, such as this vintage children’s book called Beloved Belindy. It was written by Johnny Gruelle, who was the original creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. With the Aunt Jemima/Mammy-style illustration on the front cover, I can see why Beloved Belindy is more obscure today than Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy.

I saw a couple of Native American kachina dolls on sale at one table.

I vaguely remembered when I was a very young child, there was a TV show called Julia, which starred Diahann Carroll. That show is remembered today as the first TV show to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. (The main character worked as a nurse.) I remember some kids in my elementary school had Julia lunch boxes but I never realized that a Barbie-sized doll was also released until I went to that show.

I saw a couple of other dolls based on the main characters in the TV shows The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie.

I saw this one vintage Mickey Mouse doll.

There were plenty of vintage Barbie dolls but the ones that still had their original boxes were expensive.

I saw some vintage dolls that were based on Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

I saw a set of vintage Dionne Quintuplets baby dolls. I have to admit that they are adorable to behold as long as you’re willing to overlook the sad real-life story of what happened to those girls behind the dolls.

I found these bottles of dollhouse-sized perfume and cologne to be totally cute.

I found this sign announcing that a family-owned business will close down in a few months after being in business for 72 years.

Most of the dolls and stuffed animals on sale were very expensive. I found one vendor table that sold something called Bling Dolls, which measure around six inches tall.

They cost $6 each but if you bought two or more, they would cost only $5 each. I might have considered buying two if it weren’t for the fact that all of the dolls had the same hairstyle, hair color, eye color, and skin color. That one doll type was cute but I wasn’t into buying the same doll with different outfits.

I basically bought only one Bling Doll. It was an impulse buy but she costs $6 and I found her to be quite cute.

There’s a keychain attached to her head, which means that she can either be attached to a few keys or clipped to a backpack.

Here’s a closeup of her face.

I took those last three pictures while I was eating lunch that I had purchased from the food stand at the show. A woman sat down near me and we started talking. Like me she had also attended previous doll shows and she mentioned that she felt it was smaller than she remembered.

As I was walking around the show I noticed that too. I remember the Christmas doll shows used to fill at least six large rooms. It would literally take me at least two or three hours to visit them all and I would be exhausted from visiting every single vendor table. This time I basically finished the entire show in less than 90 minutes. On top of it, I saw no Asian ball jointed dolls or even recent modern dolls from the 1970’s onwards. The vast majority of dolls on sale were made before 1960. The older dolls looked nice but they were very expensive. (It was common to see such dolls being on sale for over $100.) I still remember the day when I bought a wrecked Velvet doll for under $20 and I rehabilitated her. Or the times when I found some cool fabric that would be perfect for a doll outfit or a really neat doll clothes pattern that I wanted to try or a really interesting doll book that I decided that I wanted to read.

I don’t know for sure why it had changed so much. Maybe it’s the rise of sites like eBay and Etsy where people prefer to sell online than to actually transport their wares to a doll and teddy bear show. Maybe it’s the rotten economy where too many people have finances so tight that purchasing an expensive doll would be considered a frivolous luxury that they literally can’t afford. Whatever the reason, this show didn’t really have the little surprises that used to amaze me so much and were so relatively affordable that I ended up making impulse buys. The only surprise that really came close was that $6 Bling Doll I purchased. She’s a cute find but I still remember the show’s better days in the past.

The only fringe benefit of going to a smaller show is that I still had time in the afternoon to check out a flea market that was also held on the grounds of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds but it was located on the other side from where The Doll and Teddy Bear Show was held. I ended the day by checking out a show that was held closer to my home and it was also where I ran into a lot of my friends. I’ll write about those two events in a separate post.

I went to the annual Holiday Warm-Up Party at my church where I ate food, socialized with people, helped a little bit with trimming the Christmas tree, and I took a bunch of photos. We had a variety of crafts and activities centering around both Hanukkah and Christmas. I had a blast being with my friends on the first night in December.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

One of the crafts involved making ornaments using oranges and cloves.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

People of all ages helped with decorating this year’s Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

The church served dinner during this party, including pizza as well as a variety of other food.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

The Director of Religious Exploration lit the chalice, which is a ritual that is usually performed in Unitarian Universalist churches to indicate the start of an event, such as Sunday service or a more social event like this party.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Puzzles and coloring pages about Christmas and Hanukkah were available for anyone to use.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

We also had a singalong of various holiday hymns like “Deck the Halls” and “Light One Candle.”

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Here is what the Christmas tree looked like at the end of the party.


Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Looking for something unique to buy this winter holiday season? There are two places where you can shop for my products—both online and in real life.

I currently have this image in my Red Bubble store that’s a digitized version of my watercolor depicting the infamous Christmas demon Krampus stealing the Christ child from the nativity scene while Mary and Joseph are expressing outrage available on a variety of products ranging from t-shirts to smartphone cases to coffee mugs to prints.

You can order online right here.

As for real life, you can find one of my art pieces at this show, which is currently being held at Trinacria Ristorante & Bar through January 8, 2018. Here is the address:

Trinacria Ristorante & Bar
111 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
(443) 759-4082
Trinacria’s Facebook page

Trinacria is located just a block from the Centre Street light rail stop.

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