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I wanted to go to today’s March for Our Lives but I was unable due to the fact that I’ve been battling a major head cold for over a week now. On top of it there’s a possibility that I may be working at a day job once again starting Monday (I got a tentative offer but it could all fall through at the last minute so I’m being cautiously optimistic as of this writing) and I really want to get back into optimal health by then. It was just as well that I didn’t go because I ended up taking a nap this afternoon. I’m feeling better than before but I’m still on the tired side so I’ll probably go to bed early tonight.

A few days ago I updated my Facebook status to assure my out-of-town friends that I was okay because there was a school shooting that took place at a high school located near St. Mary’s City. (I live over an hour’s drive north from the school in question and it’s been a long time since I last set foot anywhere in St. Mary’s County.) One girl died and it turned out that the girl’s jilted ex-boyfriend was behind the shooting. That shooting was less deadly than what happened at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida but it still sucks that students at yet another high school had to deal with something that no young person should ever have to deal with.

What’s outrageous is that in the years since the school shooting at Columbine High School there have been more and more mass shootings and we have politicians who are so enamored with the money that the NRA has given them that they will not pass any kind of sensible gun regulations.

There were similar mass shootings in the UK and Australia but those nations passed gun regulations so there have been only one other mass shooting in the UK and none in Australia. Since Columbine there have been so many mass shootings in the US that I recently read that Columbine High School is no longer among the top 10 deadliest shootings in modern US history. That is disgusting!

The only silver lining is that the kids at Parkland High School have decided to take a public stand. They were the ones who were instrumental in holding today’s March for Our Lives in Washington, DC today. I saw the photos from the DC march and it was so reminiscent of the 2017 Women’s March that I participated in. What’s more, there were similar marches in other cities across the US. Paul McCartney went to the New York march where he said that he did it on behalf of his former Beatles bandmate and onetime songwriting partner John Lennon, who was shot to death back in 1980.

As for President Donald Trump, he decided to take yet another golfing trip to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and he had his motorcade take a longer route so he could avoid looking at the marchers in his area who were also protesting gun violence. What a fucking coward!

I’m so glad that the marches around the US drew huge crowds. I’m proud of the kids for pulling this off and taking a stand. They did the one thing that previous generations failed to do (including my own, I’m sad to say): Take on the pro-gun extremists and fight for the right to be able to go to school without having to worry about being shot. I wish I had been healthy enough to join these kids in downtown DC today but I’m proud of them for taking a nonviolent stand. They are true heroes in my book. I’ll end this post with a video showing the speech that was given by one of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors, Emma Gonzalez, at the DC march.

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This February was probably the worst February for me in recent memory. It was like everything that could have gone wrong for me did.

First I learned that my ex-husband had stopped sending me alimony payments. I knew it was going to run out at some point but I always thought that it would be sometime in June (when it would’ve been the anniversary of the judge handing down the decision that the divorce was final) but my ex decided to stop sending further payments after late December. Of course he didn’t notify me of this. In fact he has pretty much avoided speaking to me as much as possible since the day he walked out on me back in late 2011, which has made the entire divorce process far worse than it was. (Ideally I would’ve loved for the two of us to meet together somewhere in person to hammer out a few things and communicate about such things as payment schedules and similar matters but, with him, everything can only be done via email or text—and that is only if he feels like responding.) As a result I only learned about this when the alimony check has stopped arriving. I sent a polite email asking about the payments while stating that I have had a run of bad luck (which I’ll get into in a bit). I didn’t resort to name calling or making accusations. It was basically a short polite email where I asked about the payments while explaining my current situation. I even expressed my sympathy for the death of his father back in October. He responded with this businesslike tone where he said that he had fulfilled his obligations and thanked me for my kind words regarding his father. The whole thing had the tone of a business transaction instead of two people who used to be married to each other.

Unfortunately consulting a lawyer was out of the question because I really can’t afford to launch any kind of lawsuits at the moment due to extremely tight finances. On top of it, my original divorce lawyer passed away back in 2016 so I would have to hire a brand new lawyer if I wanted to launch any kind of legal challenges regarding the original separation and divorce agreement.

Then there was that church service that I attended on the last Sunday in January, where I ended up experiencing raw emotions that carried through February. Here’s some background. When I was still married my husband and I used to attend that church together. When we separated, I tried attending Sunday service only to see my estranged husband there and I found it to be a major distraction and I couldn’t focus on any part of the Sunday service. I stopped attending church for a while because I just couldn’t stand attending with my ex. There were times when I arrived at church only to see his car parked there and I would immediately turn around and drive back home. I even contemplated quitting church altogether or switching to a different church, which wouldn’t be unusual because over the years I’ve seen other members’ marriages or longterm relationships end and one or both former partners would end up quitting. I had members of my support group for people who are separated or divorced tell me that they ended up either switching churches or stop attending in order to avoid seeing their ex on a weekly basis.

But then I had friends from my church tell me that my ex had eventually stopped going to Sunday service so I felt comfortable enough to attend on my own. I attended one service on the last Sunday in January where I didn’t even look up what the topic of the service was. It was also the same Sunday where I was scheduled to attend the 90th birthday party of a fellow church member that was held at a retirement community near my church so it made sense for me to go to church then go to the birthday party afterwards. It turned out that it was a lay-led service where it was being put on by members of the Men’s Group at our congregation. I found out that my ex was not only involved in the Men’s Group but he was among the speakers.

But then it got worse. My ex mentioned at the beginning of his speech “My marriage fell apart…” That had me livid because that statement implied that either I had left him or our marriage had broken down over a long period of time because we were arguing and not getting along so we both made the mutual decision to separate. In reality he didn’t even let on that he was the least bit unhappy until one night, three days after Christmas (and three months after I underwent hip surgery), he came home, announced that he was moving out, left behind two handwritten letters and the first alimony check, then bolted out the door. In fact, I wrote this post on the night he abruptly left indicating my hope that he would return soon. The following month I learned from friends that he had hooked up with a friend of ours who has long been suffering from severe mental health issues and he married her just two months after our divorce was final. For him to say “My marriage fell apart…” implying that it was something that happened to him is totally disingenuous and dishonest. If he had simply said “I got divorced” I probably would not have been as angry and upset.

I’m the one who had more right to say “My marriage fell apart…” than he did because he was the one who left me for a woman with severe mental health problems, insisted on a divorce, refused to consider marriage counseling, demanded that we separate all of our finances according to this schedule that he worked out in his head or else he would sue me, got engaged to the other woman eight months after he left me (while he was still legally married to me), sent divorce papers in a .pdf format that was attached to an email that was sent on Christmas Eve, and married the other woman just two months after our divorce was final.

As it turned out I ended up tuning out the rest of the service because I was fuming and I focused on perusing Facebook on my smartphone instead. I bolted out of the church as soon as I could, headed to a Starbucks that’s located inside of a Target that’s located near the venue where the birthday party was scheduled to be held, and just sat there drinking a soda I had purchased until it was time for the party to begin.

My biggest lesson is that from now on I’m going to look up the topic of a Sunday service before going to church. That way I can avoid hearing any future talks from my ex-husband.

On top of that there is my ongoing job search for a new day job. I’ve gone to various networking events and job search seminars and job fairs only to come up empty. I could write a separate post about how broken the job search process has become—complete with emailing resumes to various websites with no responses, people not returning phone calls when I did follow-up calls on job applications and left messages, and things like that. Even temp agencies have gotten completely dysfunctional where recruiters now tell you to go to their website, look at all of the jobs that are posted there and if you see a job that you like, you should send a resume and if the recruiters think you’re qualified, they will call you. Years ago I used to be able to easily find work through temp agencies simply by calling for an appointment and taking a series of tests (which measured typing speed, the ability to solve simple math problems, and knowledge of basic English grammar) but now most of them no longer give any kind of tests and they aren’t even into seeing you in person any more. I can’t even recommend temp agencies to anyone. And I’m not the only one. I have a friend who was let go from her job, which she had originally gotten after working there as a temp. She tried the temp agencies herself and she has gotten the same runaround as I did.

My car brakes started to make a grinding noise every time I used the brake pedal, which freaked me out. I initially decided not to drive the car to any place that was more than 10 miles away from home. Then the grinding noise got worse and I became too afraid to even drive my car because I was scared of not having any brakes at all. I couldn’t afford to get them repaired because of my money situation so I was left with no other alternative other than to leave my car parked while running the engine for a few minutes once a week so the car engine wouldn’t deteriorate from disuse. (I’ve know someone whose car stopped working after she didn’t use it at all for about a month or longer so she had to get it towed and repaired.) I started walking or using public transportation, which definitely put a crimp in my job search because I was limited to applying only to places that I could get to by Metrobus or Metrorail or some other form of public transportation.

I had to call my own mother telling her about my car situation while telling her that I didn’t know when I would ever be able to visit her in person again because she lives in a part of the state that has no public transportation whatsoever.

My Sagittarius Dolly channel was let go from the YouTube Partner program this month because I didn’t get enough subscribers or watch hours. I never earned any money from that program (that’s because of YouTube’s policy of not issuing payment until it reached the minimum $100 threshold and I never earned more than about $10 or $20 total) but I was still peeved because I was among the hundreds of less popular channels who were essentially paying the price for what Logan Paul did in Japan last month, which I already went into once, twice, and three times.

My PlayStation 2 console stopped working and today I found out that my Wii remote has stopped working even though I’ve been putting in new batteries with the same result. Those two console problems are nothing compared to what I’m going through but they seemed to be part of a continuum of how horrible February has gotten for me.

If all that weren’t enough, it had been raining most of February, which made me feel even more depressed. There was the occasional sunny day but it was mostly gloomy clouds and rain.

And I’m not even about to go into the constant news about President Donald Trump’s latest antics other than I find it so draining learning that we have a totally immature man-child in the White House. I’m also not even going to bother with the Parkland shooting in Florida on Valentine’s Day other than to say that I’m totally pissed that nothing has been done to enact gun safety over the past several years and this latest shooting would have never happened had some common sense gun laws been passed years ago. I’m glad that the kids who survived that shooting are starting to agitate for change and other students from around the country are also starting to launch their own protests as well.

So I was down and out. But then a few things happened that made me less down and out. I had one friend loan me the money to repair the brakes on my car (which came to a whopping $560). I made arrangements with my co-op regarding being able to pay my co-op fees. By the end of the month I got my car back. I also had friends who were very kind to me, especially when they learned about my situation. One friend gave me $100 out of the blue when she learned about my car situation. I will always remember that act of kindness. I have a friend who wants my help in making a documentary about someone who is going to celebrate her 100th birthday this year and she said she will pay me. I have another friend who needs my help regarding computers and there may be money in it as well.

Plus I’m expected to pay off that loan from my friend by helping him with putting various things for sale on eBay while giving him the proceeds from each sale. I told him I can’t guarantee that any of those eBay listings will lead to actual sales. I’ve had mixed results with eBay and Etsy over the years where I seemed to have more unsold stuff than stuff that actually sold. I’ve generally done better with selling things at street fairs and I think it’s because people are more likely to make an impulse buy if they see something in person than some picture that’s on a computer screen. Maybe I can do a big yard sale if the eBay thing doesn’t work out. But in any case I’m going to give the eBay thing a try first so I would have more time waiting for the weather to improve so I can put on a yard sale if I need to do so.

The biggest lesson about my story is that it always helps to have friends who are supportive because you’ll never know when you’ll need to rely on them. In any case I’m ready to put February behind me starting tomorrow.

Hillary Clinton is not your white savior.

Genius hacks that will greatly improve your photography skills in less than three minutes.

Guatemalan artisans are going after 64,000+ Etsy products for copyright infringement.

Someone made an “inspirational” Instagram account for people who hate inspirational quotes and it’s hilarious.

Why is finding a job so hard and frustrating these days?

Mary and the Witch Flower was made with free OpenToonz animation software.

How artists are bypassing dealers and selling directly to collectors.

These tiny Drawbots put unique doodles on coasters.

Say goodbye to The Pizza Time Players: Chuck E. Cheese retires its animatronic band.

How Young Adult novel fans uncovered a huge scam on The New York Times bestseller list.

Meet Lillith, a chill demon who was cast out of Eden.

Morph your fridge into a massive Game Boy with these awesome magnets.

Five pieces of good news about the recent surge of Nazis.

Why the media should carry some of the blame for the rise of Trump.

Why med schools are requiring art classes.

Photos of abandoned Olympics venues from around the world.

Inside Celebration, Florida: The depressing crime-ridden city built by the Walt Disney Company.

Hear what Shakespeare sounded like in the original pronunciation.

Trump is shedding supporters like no other president in modern history.

Meet Pepper, Japan’s robot priest that can now conduct funerals.

UPDATE (September 10, 2017): Since Hurricane Irma has struck Florida and the Caribbean soon after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and Louisiana, I decided to alter the title of this post. I will update this list with any Hurricane Irma-specific relief efforts if I get any new information.

I’ve been getting links on social media to various places where you can donate money and other goods to the victims of last weekend’s catastrophic Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas. Here’s a list, which I will update as I become more aware of more organizations that are helping out with this effort.

By the way I would urge everyone to read this post BEFORE sending any non-monetary goods. So far many of the organizations have received things that the hurricane victims don’t need (such as sexy lingerie, prom dresses, and winter coats). If you are going to send gift cards, make sure that the store also have locations in the Houston-Galveston area first. (That same post mentions that relief workers have received WaWa gift cards that they can’t use because there are no WaWa stores in that area.)

Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in until September 25. Click here if you need accommodations or you wish to offer a hurricane victim a place to stay.

Austin Disaster Relief: Donate online at adrn.org/disaster-relief/hurricaneharvey/.

Austin Pets Alive!: Donate online and/or volunteer to foster an animal displaced by the hurricane at www.austinpetsalive.org/hurricane-harvey-evacuations/.

Bayou Action Street Health (BASH): Donate money online at paypal.me/BASH2017. Donate vital resources (such as rain ponchos and first aid supplies) right here.

Best Friends: Donate online here.

Black Women’s Defense League/World on My Shoulders: Donate online here.

Catholic Charities of USA: To make a financial donation, visit CCUSA’s disaster-specific website or text 71777 to make a donation.

Direct Relief USA: Donate online through their donation page.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital: Donate online at co.clickandpledge.com/advanced/default.aspx?wid=45664

EMERGE Harvey Relief Fund: Donate online here.

Feeding America: Donate online here.

Feeding South Florida: Donate online at feedingsouthflorida.org.

Feeding Texas: Donate online at www.feedingtexas.org.

Florida Disaster Fund: Donate online here.

Florida Keys Children’s Shelter: Donate online at fkcs.org.

Global Giving: Donate online for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

GoFundMe: Donate online at www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/hurricane-harvey.

Google Hurricane Harvey Response: Google will double any contributions you make through its site. Donate online here.

Google Hurricane Irma Response: Google will double any contributions you make through its site. Donate online here.

Help Harvey Victims on Dialysis: Donate online here.

Houston Coalition for the Homeless: Donate online here.

The Humane Society of the United States Disaster Relief Fund: Donate online here.

Hurricane Harvey Grassroots Response Louisiana: Donate online here.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible donations. The fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. To make a financial donation, visit the GHCF website.

ICNA (Muslims for Humanity) Relief: Donate online at www.icnarelief.org/wp/index.php/hurricaneharvey.

International Relief Teams: Donate online at www.irteams.org.

Miami Diaper Bank: Donate online at www.miamidiaperbank.com.

NECHAMA’s Response to Hurricane Harvey: Donate online at nechamaharvey.funraise.org.

PayPal/eBay’s Hurricane Harvey Relief: Donate online here.

PetSmart Charities: You can either donate in person at any PetSmart store or donate online at www.petsmartcharities.org.

Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies: Donate online through their PayPal account.

Salvation Army USA: Donate online at www.helpsalvationarmy.org or by calling 1-800 SAL-ARMY. Or send a check marked “disaster relief” by mail to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301.

Samaritan’s Purse: Donate online and find information about volunteering to help in the flooded areas at www.samaritanspurse.org. Or send a check by mail to Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

SPCA Disaster Relief Fund: Donate online here.

SPCA of Texas: Donate online at www.spca.org/news_hurricane-harvey.

St. John Community Foundation: Donate online at thestjohnfoundation.org.

St. John Rescue: Donate online through their main website or their GoFundMe campaign.

Tejas Houston: Donate online here.

The Texas Diaper Bank: Donate online at texasdiaperbank.networkforgood.com/projects/33717-change-a-life

Texas Library Association Disaster Relief Fund: Donate online at squareup.com/store/txla/.

Texas Organizing Project’s Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund: Donate online at act.myngp.com/Forms/-3833118145683060992.

Transadvocate Harvey Relief: Donate online here.

UNICEF USA: Donate for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.

Unitarian Universalist Association’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund: Donate online here.

United Global Outreach: Donate online at www.ugo2.org/donate.

United Peace Relief: Donate online at unitedpeacerelief.org/2017/01/28/donate/

United Way of Miami-Dade: Donate online at unitedwaymiami.org.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

I’ve purchased a few ornaments on my travels. Here are the ones I currently own.

I purchased this ornament when I went to Walt Disney World with my then-husband in 1992. This one commemorated the 10th anniversary of the opening of Epcot Center.

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I’ve purchased this faceted crystal Hershey Kiss-shaped ornament during one of my numerous trips to Hershey, Pennsylvania over the years. It really shines very brightly when the lights are on.

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Here is a dripping clock ornament, which is obviously inspired by Salvador Dali’s famous painting The Persistence of Memory, that I bought when I made my first (and, so far, only trip) to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida with my then-husband.

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I purchased this ornament when I took my then-husband to Fort McHenry in Baltimore. (I had been to that place several times growing up but it was the first time I took my husband during our marriage.) The outer circle says “Seasons Greetings” and “Fort Mc Henry.” There are two smaller gold banners above and below the image of Fort McHenry and they are embossed with this sentence: “Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner.” (It’s a reference to the fact that Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that later became the lyrics to the national anthem while he saw Fort McHenry under siege during the War of 1812.)

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The last three pictures feature Moravian stars, which are type of stars that originated with the Moravian Church. I first became acquainted with these stars when my sister-in-law moved to the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, which includes two towns that were founded by members of the Moravian Church—Bethlehem and Nazareth. The smallest of the stars is one that I purchased at the Moravian Book Shop, which is located in Bethlehem and it’s definitely worth visiting if you’re ever in town.

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The second photograph features a paper Moravian star, which was given to me by one of my sister-in-law’s friends. She lived in Nazareth at the time and she told me that the locals in both Nazareth and Bethlehem frequently just place the paper stars on the branches of the Christmas tree.

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The last one is the largest of the three. It’s made from stained glass and I think it may be one that I purchased at the annual Christkindlemarkt that’s held for several weekends in Bethlehem each year prior to Christmas but I don’t remember for sure. All I know that it looks really pretty in my tree, especially when the lights are turned on.

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Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

American Flag

I can’t believe that it’s been 15 years since I saw those deadly attacks live on TV. I’m at the point where I no longer constantly think about the Twin Towers coming down on a daily basis but I’ll never completely forget what I saw that day. Right now I’m more obsessed with trying to survive a tough unforgiving economy where more people are either out of work or underemployed and fewer places are hiring. These days I’m not worried about Al Qaeda or ISIL/ISIS attacking the U.S. because I feel that the next American downfall will be self-inflicted by the likes of Wall Street, Big Oil, and Big Pharma. Right now, as I’m typing this, there’s a standoff in North Dakota because the Native American tribes object to a pipeline being built through their graveyards and possibly poisoning the water supply as a byproduct. The mainstream media has mostly ignored this so I’m learning about all of the details on Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile some crass capitalist assholes are using what should be a solemn occasion of remembrance to sell all kinds of crap. First there was this Walmart in Florida, who decided to use the Twin Towers as a display to sell Coke products.

Then there was this craptacular ad selling mattresses, which unleashed a firestorm of criticism that was heard all around the world. Hell, I first learned about this ad on the BBC News site.

This kind of stuff pisses me off for a few reasons: 1) I live about 20 miles from the Pentagon, which was also hit on 9/11, and I was scared shitless when I saw national news coverage of the New York attacks get preempted by local news when they announced the Pentagon being hit, 2) my Unitarian Universalist congregation was used to stage a funeral for an entire family (which included a husband, wife, and their two daughters who were ages 8 and 3) who were on that plane which hit the Pentagon and there were fellow members of my congregation who knew that family well, 3) my ex-husband’s father and stepmother live in Manhattan and they were on that island when the Twin Towers fell (fortunately they didn’t decide to go to lower Manhattan that day or else they would’ve been caught up in this), and 4) my late mother-in-law’s closest friend who lived in lower Manhattan saw the Twin Towers fell from outside the window of her apartment. Soon after that event that friend, who had diabetes, stopped taking care of herself and she died from diabetes complications about a couple of years after 9/11.

It’s stuff like this that makes me ashamed of my fellow Americans. Here’s a palette cleanser courtesy of the U.S. Air Force featuring the U.S. Air Force Celtic Aire performing “There are No Words,” which was written an performed especially for this 15th anniversary.

I need to find a different title than “daily sketches” because I have completely thrown by the wayside my New Year’s resolution that I would create one new sketch each day. I quickly learned that working on daily sketches each day takes time from other arts and crafts projects that I’m working on as well as other things that I should be doing (such as cleaning the house). My “daily sketchbook” effort really became pathetic when I made only one new sketch in the entire month of June—and that one was in response to the horrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

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This past month I managed to churn out three sketches, starting with this one. I was inspired to create this sketch after hearing the news about a bullfighter matador in Spain named Victor Barrio who was recently gored to death by his bull opponent in the ring. His death was shown live on Spanish television and he is known to have been the first matador killed during a bullfight in over 30 years.

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I feel bad for the bullfighter’s family because I know that dealing with a loved one’s sudden and unexpected death is such a shock. But I have zero sympathy for the late bullfighter himself because he was participating in a so-called “sport” whose advocates call it “sheer beauty and artistry” when all it really entails is some man slowly torturing a bull to death with spears while waving a red cape and shouting “¡Olé!” I’ve never understood what was so great about bullfighting, especially when I took Spanish in college and one of the chapters in the class textbook dealt with words and phrases related to bullfighting. I remember the instructor in that class admitted that she personally didn’t like bullfighting either. (She originally came from Cuba, a nation with no bullfighting tradition.) That bullfighter would still be alive had he picked a different occupation that’s less dangerous and deadly. Bullfighting is one so-called “tradition” that needs to go away along with other so-called “traditions” like female genital mutilation and slavery.

Later in the month I did this drawing full of gears of many colors. I had gone to an event at this makerspace located in Crystal City, Virginia known as TechShop and its logo has the letter “o” shaped like a gear. I just took that gear idea and elaborated it further with a bunch of interconnected gears. It was something I did really quick and it shows. (If I was doing a professional drawing, I would’ve done it using a 2H pencil first while erasing and refining it until I got it just right. Then I would’ve traced over it with ink.)

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For the last drawing I did in the month of June, I went back to Rory’s Story Cubes. I mixed the Prehistoria and Enchanted sets together and this drawing was the result.

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Ramadan

I know I wrote a few days ago that I wasn’t going to do any kind of online memorials to that awful shooting in Orlando that happened at a gay nightclub known as Pulse because I’ve seen it all before in previous mass shootings. I’ve softened my stance somewhat after I’ve seen flags everywhere being lowered to half-staff after President Obama ordered this in order to honor the victims of that shooting. I even made this drawing in my sketchbook about the tragedy that I’d like to share with you.

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I could write more about what happened in Orlando and how horrible it was in this post. But instead of writing maudlin sentences over how horrible this tragedy was, I’m going to show the Orlando I personally know.

I made my first trip to Florida on my honeymoon. Prior to the wedding my fiance and I were originally planning on a weekend honeymoon at a local place like Williamsburg or Ocean City until my cousin, who was dying to have more family members come visit her and her then-husband at their home in Cocoa, offered my husband and I free room in their home. So after the wedding we spent the week with her and her now-ex-husband and their two dogs (one was a standard poodle while the other was a tiny toy poodle). The four of us spent the first day at Wet and Wild but, after that, my husband and I were on our own regarding exploring the greater Orlando area mainly because they had to work and they didn’t have much vacation time. I remember my husband and I spent the majority of time visiting Walt Disney World, which only had two theme parks at the time: the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. (Walt Disney World has since expanded to include more theme parks and attractions along with a lot of hotels.)

We loved that area so much that we ended up making several return trips to Orlando over the years. I have a lot of photos from those trips but most of them need to be digitally scanned because I shot a lot of them back in the day when film photography coupled with printing paper photographs was the dominant method of photography. I have a few digital photos from my last two trips to Orlando that I’ve previously posted in this blog. I’ll repost just a few of them along with links to those entries if you want to see more.

Here is a photo of a bald eagle that I took at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on August 14, 2010.

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Here’s a photo of Cinderella’s Castle that I took at the Magic Kingdom on August 15, 2010.

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These two jumping dolphins were taken at Sea World on August 17, 2010.

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I shot these two alligators making a snuggle sandwich with a turtle in the middle at Gatorland on August 19, 2010.

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Here’s a recreation of the R.M.S. Titanic’s grand staircase that I shot at Titanic: The Experience on August 19, 2010.

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Here is a view of Epcot that I shot on February 15, 2011.

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This African man was working on a wood carving at Epcot on February 15, 2011.

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Here are a couple of photos of Downtown Disney that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Here’s a photo of a row of cupcakes that I shot at a bakery in Downtown Disney but posted shortly after my 2011 trip to Florida ended on February 20, 2011. If you look close enough you can see sprinkles shaped like Mickey Mouse.

Downtown Disney

I have to admit that most of the photos were of the tourist attractions. The only photos I took of the Orlando area that even show how the locals live their everyday lives are the ones I took in Longwood, which is located just outside of the Orlando city limits. I was enchanted by the Victorian architecture such as the building in this photo that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Longwood, Florida

During one of my many trips to Orlando I purchased this cell kit from Walt Disney World where I painted animation cells of Mickey and Minnie Mouse then placed them over the provided backgrounds then put them in these cheap cardboard frames that also came with the kit. I later donated the completed cell paintings to a yard sale that was put on by my support group for people who are separated or divorced. (I originally wrote a post about these two on September 25, 2014.)

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And last, but not least, here is a drawing I did of Minnie Mouse when I took a 30-minute workshop on how to draw her on one of the provided computers at DisneyQuest, which is located in Downtown Disney, during my last trip to Florida in 2011. I still have the drawing buried somewhere in my home.

Minnie Mouse

The only reason why I haven’t been back to Florida since 2011 is tight finances, which became a problem for me after my divorce. I would like to go back one day and I would definitely go right now if I had the chance despite that Pulse nightclub shooting.

Getting back to that Pulse shooting, I know that it’s horrible that 50 people died. (Most people are saying that 49 have died in order to not count the 50th person—the shooter himself.) But for people to say that the Pulse shooting is the worst terrorist attack or worst mass murder ever perpetrated on American soil is a bit much because there have been other violent events in U.S. history where the body count is either equal to or way higher than the Pulse nightclub shooting. In order to get some perspective, here are some links to these other events that all happened on U.S. soil.

Wounded Knee massacre in 1890

East St. Louis in 1917

Elaine, Arkansas in 1919

Tulsa race riot in 1921

Rosewood massacre in 1923

Oklahoma City bombing in 1995

September 11, 2001

Previous in This Series

Part 1

This year is the fifth anniversary of this blog. For the first year I was unsure about how many photos I could actually upload because of the free WordPress.com blogging account has a space limit. So I kept photo uploads limited to just my arts and crafts along with any photographs that I actually exhibited in a show. Over time I learned such things as graphic optimization so I was able to upload more photos that way than I thought I could. So for the rest of the year I’m going to devote Throwback Thursday to photos from previous blog entries (along with links to the original posts) that I should’ve uploaded five years earlier but I didn’t.

Last week I wrote about the first few days of my ten-day trip to Florida. Now here is what I did after my then-husband and I returned from a side trip to Walt Disney World. The day after we returned, I basically took it easy where I made an ill-fated attempt at spending some time at the beach in nearby Indialantic, which I wrote all about on August 16, 2010.

The following day I made a trip on my own to Sea World in Orlando. It was sort of momentous because I went there just a few months after a trainer was killed during one of the Shamu shows in that very same theme park. I wrote a lengthy post about that trip the following day on August 18, 2010. Here are just a portion of the many photos I took at Sea World that day.

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The following day I took it easy by going to the beach. For some reason I didn’t write a blog post about it (probably because I didn’t do much). I went to Cocoa Beach. Unfortunately Florida is literally a hellhole in August with very hot and humid weather that’s even worse than the Washington, DC area. If one happens to be at Ocean City, Maryland on a hot and humid day, one can find relief by swimming in the ocean while feeling the cool breeze coming from the water. It was different in Florida. What happens is that there’s not much of a breeze to cool one’s face off. Going in the water was initially refreshing for the first five minutes until your body gets used to it and the water feels like taking a warm bath in a room with the thermostat set at 95 degrees. Sitting outside reading a book on the beach was impossible because there was so little breeze and it was hot and humid. All in all I spent a half an hour total at the beach that day.

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The seagulls in Florida are way more aggressive than the ones in Maryland. This seagull was very close to me when I shot that photo.

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Despite the very hot weather, I saw a few people setting up a wedding canopy. I assumed that a beach wedding took place after I shot these photos.

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After feeling overheated at the beach, I cooled off by getting my first look at the massive Ron Jon’s Surf Shop.

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That’s it for Part 2 of my trip to Florida. The third and final part will be posted next Throwback Thursday.

Next in This Series

Part 3

This year is the fifth anniversary of this blog. For the first year I was unsure about how many photos I could actually upload because of the free WordPress.com blogging account has a space limit. So I kept photo uploads limited to just my arts and crafts along with any photographs that I actually exhibited in a show. Over time I learned such things as graphic optimization so I was able to upload more photos that way than I thought I could. So for the rest of the year I’m going to devote Throwback Thursday to photos from previous blog entries (along with links to the original posts) that I should’ve uploaded five years earlier but I didn’t.

August, 2010 was a momentous occasion in my marriage. My husband’s employer, NASA, had awarded this contract on a satellite project that he was involved with to this contractor, Harris, which was based in Melbourne, Florida. As part of the contract, various NASA employees in my husband’s branch took turns spending a month in Melbourne while helping to oversee the work being done there. My husband’s turn was scheduled for August. Even though my husband had taken business trips before, the bulk of them lasted anywhere from two days to a week. This trip would be the longest that we would be separated.

My husband had this idea to make the pain of a month-long separation easier. Midway through the month, I would spend ten days with him. I would do some sightseeing things while he was working while we also did some things together during his time off.

While I wrote posts about that trip, this is the first time I’ve uploaded the pictures I took. The trip was so long and I took so many pictures that I decided to break this up into three separate posts. Here is part 1.

I arrived in Melbourne on August 11, which I wrote about but I didn’t take any pictures that day.

I wrote another post on August 13, 2010 about my first full day in Florida. This started with a visit to the historic downtown area of Melbourne and the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum.

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On August 14-15 my husband and I decided to take a side trip to Orlando where we rented a hotel at Walt Disney World for the weekend. On August 14 I wrote this post where we visited The Animal Kingdom, which was the newest of the Disney theme parks at the time.

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That evening we checked out Downtown Disney, including these Lego sculptures.

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The following day we checked out Downtown Disney and the Magic Kingdom while we were trying to figure out the Disney public transportation system, which made for this interesting post that I wrote on August 16, 2010.

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That’s it for Part One. Come back next Throwback Thursday for more photos from my trip to Florida. 🙂

Next in This Series

Part 2
Part 3

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