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Dancing Skeleton
Last Sunday my Unitarian Universalist congregation had its first ever all-ages Halloween activity where it held something called a Trunk or Treat. I had never heard of a Trunk or Treat before but I did some looking on the Internet and it sounded like a neat idea. I had plenty of small Halloween/Day of the Dead decorations (especially ones that were left over from an Ofrenda-themed photography project that I did back in 2008) so I decided to decorate my trunk for the occasion.

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Here is how other people decorated their trunks.

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

The kids went around to the trunks where people handed out goodies and there were also games and food.

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Trunk or Treat, October 26, 2014

Everyone there had a great time. The one thing I noticed is that there were at least four girls present who all dressed as Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen, which I found pretty amusing. 🙂

Ramadan
It seems like I’m starting to make a yearly habit of visiting one of the beach towns on the Chesapeake Bay at least once during the summer. Two years ago I visited North Beach for the first time. Last year I went to Chesapeake Beach. I thought that was a nice town as well but I preferred North Beach a bit better.

I had intended to make a separate trip to North Beach last summer but I never got around to it. I had also thought about checking out North Beach during the fall and winter but I didn’t do that either because I had schedule conflicts, money issues, or the dreaded Polar Vortex and/or snow came on a day I had intended to go. But I finally came back to North Beach a few days ago.

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Things haven’t really changed that much in the two years since I last visited North Beach other than the fact that I now have a smartphone camera that takes incredibly great high resolution photos. (You can easily compare these to the ones I took two years ago.)

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Yes, this next photo is of the stuff I brought with me to the beach, including a portable folding chair.

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I saw that people still leave flowers on these memorial benches devoted to local residents who have since passed away.

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The water was very shallow. (The deepest part of the enclosed netting area where we are allowed to swing went up to my lower chest.) At first it was a bit on the cool side but, by the end of the day, the water had grown so warm that I felt like I was taking a hot bath in a bathroom that had been heated up to 90 degrees Farenheit. There were times when I took a walk through town. I love the houses there. They are not too big nor too small and they seem very cozy. I find many of them to be very charming. Some of them also have excellent gardens in their yards.

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I did visit one place that I hadn’t visited before, the Bayside History Museum.

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This museum very reminiscent of The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum that I visited while I was in nearby Chesapeake Beach last year. Like Chesapeake Beach, North Beach was historically both a resort and a gambling mecca. North Beach’s gambling resort heyday declined with both the building of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge  (which made traveling to the Atlantic Ocean resorts like Ocean City and Rehobeth Beach much easier) and the banning of slot machines in Maryland in 1968. The museum has a lot of interesting artifacts from those days.

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The upper floor of the museum is devoted to the fact that North Beach once had campgrounds for the Scouts. Camp Roosevelt was for the Boy Scouts while the Girl Scouts had Camp Bay Breeze.

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The Bayside History Museum is currently located in a building that used to be a library. The next photo is of a wooden card catalogue shelf that anyone who ever had to do research at the library prior to home computers will recognize. I found the museum staff to be very friendly. As I was leaving, I mentioned to one of the female staffers about how I felt that this museum reminded me of the Life-Station Saving Museum in Ocean City, Maryland and she responded “They have that?” She then admitted to me that the last time she went to Ocean City was back in 1966!

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After the museum I walked around in the shopping area. Every now and then I would encounter something that reminds me of the tough economic times that this country is going through, such as the next photo featuring a closed shop and a For Rent sign.

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The high point for me was my visit to Calvert Kettle Corn, which has popcorn in a variety of flavors including cherry, lemon, and salted caramel. Their popcorn is excellent.

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I also visited this really awesome antique shop that had a lot of neat vintage stuff. If I ever come into a lot of money, I would buy a few vintage decorative items from that shop.

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I basically walked around the downtown shopping area and took photos of outdoor decorations that I liked since money was too tight for me to do much shopping.

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Every Friday during the summer North Beach hosts both a Farmers Market and an Art Fair where people can buy produce and a variety of handcrafted goods. This event draws a huge crowd as the next few photos show.

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As part of the festivities there is a Classic Car Cruise-In where people show off their old cars. From time to time people will also drive by the area in a vintage car. My late father would’ve loved this event.

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There was also a family event where people of all ages can make smores over a campfire. If the weather had been a little bit cooler and if it was nighttime, I would’ve been tempted to join in instead of just taking pictures.

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Even though the beaches are open in the summer until 8 p.m., most people were too busy checking out the big street fair. By the end of the day the ducks were the only ones who were enjoying the beach.

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As I was leaving North Beach, I was stopped at a traffic light where I was treated to this lovely sunset. I was able to take a brief snapshot through the windshield before the traffic light turned green again.

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After I got out of church today I decided to check out the annual ArtsFest that was held today in Riverdale Park, Maryland.

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

When I first arrived to the area, I was greeted by a display of classic vintage cars and one classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

There was also this unique one-of-a-kind art car that looked really cool. The owner/artist is known as Clarke Bedford and he has more visually interesting stuff at his website.

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

At one point one of the owners of one of those classic cars would periodically get in his car, start the engine, then rev up the motor for at least five minutes. He did this at twice while I was at ArtsFest and it’s possible he may have done it more times before I arrived. What was really bad was that it was so obvious that his car didn’t have a muffler installed because it was so noisy that it drowned out the music and people’s conversations in general. I don’t know why he was doing it other than to say “LOOK AT ME! I’M AN ATTENTION-WHORING ASSHOLE IN A VINTAGE CAR WITH A LOUD MOTOR BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A MUFFLER BECAUSE I THINK THEY ARE FOR EFFEMINATE SISSIES!” I heard several people complain about this guy’s antics. All I can say is that I’m glad he doesn’t live in my neighborhood.

I basically went there to see if a friend of mine was there and, sure enough, she was. Here are a couple of photos of some of her fused glass jewelry and plates. Her name is Tina Van Pelt and she has her own fused glass studio known as Profusions of Glass.

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

ArtsFest, Riverdale Park, Maryland, May 4, 2014

One strange highlight of ArtsFest came when I was visiting other tables and came across one table that sold porcelain dolls in their original boxes. Some were marked as Madame Alexander dolls. Each doll was on sale for $20. The woman behind the table claimed that her mother, who recently died, was a doll collector and the items on that table were from her personal collection. The woman also claimed that she did an eBay search where, according to her, these same dolls that she was selling in real life for $20 each were selling on eBay for as much as $150. She was trying to get me to buy one of her dolls for $20 while convincing me that I could sell that same doll later on eBay for $150.

I ended up not buying anything from her table because 1) I’m not into porcelain dolls, 2) I’m trying to watch my money these days, 3) I’m trying to avoid cluttering the house with more stuff, and 4) I call “bullshit” on her claim that I can resell those dolls on eBay for a lot more money than the $20 I would’ve spent. After all, if those dolls were really worth $150 each on eBay, why wasn’t she selling them online herself so she could pocket the $150 profit on each doll instead of selling those dolls on that table at ArtsFest for $20 each?

Come to think of it, I wonder if those dolls in the Madame Alexander boxes were really from the doll company or if they were just some clever bootlegs? I didn’t take any pictures of that table, which I now regret because I could’ve done my own online research to see how much of a bullshitter that woman really was. Oh well.

Last Sunday I pretty much blew off going to my church’s weekly services in favor of attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Washington, DC. It was because just two days earlier I got this notice in the mail that there is a court date for this divorce petition that my husband filed against me. Yeah, it sucks. No, he still will not speak to me. In any case I was pretty down and depressed.

So I packed a bagel with cream cheese, two sodas, and a portable folding chair and headed for the Metro station. Fittingly I took the Green Line Metro to the site of the St. Patrick’s Day parade on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s only the third time in my life that I attended a St. Patrick’s Day parade right on the actual holiday itself. (For the other two parades, see the entry I wrote on St. Patrick’s Day last year.) But it’s unusual for the DC parade to be held on March 17 itself because, in the past, the parade was usually held at least one or two weeks before the actual holiday.

The weather was a cloudy grey day and it was on the chilly side. Even though the weather forecasts say that it was going to rain that afternoon, the parade lucked out because, aside from feeling from an occasional droplet, the rain didn’t come as forecasted. (It rained nonstop the following day and night.) It was cold though. It was so cold that, even though the parade lasted two hours, many people began to leave after about an hour or so. So, as you see the photos I took with my smartphone camera, you’ll notice the crowds in the background becoming increasingly thinner.

I did stake out a good viewing spot where I sat in my portable folding chair for the entire parade. (Yes, I braved the cold, unlike many of the other spectators.) I took all the pictures of the parade with my smartphone camera because I was feeling too lazy to bring my DSLR Canon Digital Rebel camera with me. I took a lot of photos and it took me a while to whittle everything down from a total of 175 photos to having enough photos to give readers a taste of what the parade was like without totally overloading this blog entry with tons and tons of photos.

When I arrived at the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro stop, I walked around until I found what I thought was the perfect parade viewing spot. I sat across the street from the National Archives (where the original handwritten copies of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as other important historical documents are housed).

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

The parade itself was a pretty ecletic mix. While there were Irish organizations, Irish restaurants/pubs, and Irish-American performers in that parade, there were also plenty of non-Irish groups who participated as well (which is why there are pictures of Latin American dancers wearing colorful costumes). Of course there were all kinds of police officers, fire fighters, and military people who marched in that parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

Some people walked around giving away free beads. It reminded me of what I’ve heard about the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, except no woman had to bare her chest first.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

The next two photos are from the group that called itself "Irish-American Reaganites." To drive that point further on which president they admired, one of the vehicles had a photo of President Ronald Reagan on the side. (I’m not in the mood to make any kind of snarky political remarks about this group right now.)

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

The rest of the parade was apolitical. (It helped that 2013 isn’t a major election year.)

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

Many of the marchers and parade floats threw candy in the direction of the children, which frequently resulted in children scurrying around to pick up the candy.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

The Bowie Baysox minor league baseball team showed up with its green mascot, Louie.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

Some veterans from World War II’s Battle of the Bulge showed up in vintage military vehicles.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington, DC

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