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I’m sure that many of you have heard about President Trump’s bizarre speech at a Boy Scout Jamboree. In case you’ve missed it, The Toronto Star has a list of the 17 most jaw-dropping moments from that speech while you can view the speech in its entirety right here.

I am a former Girl Scout. I was once married to an Eagle Scout. My late mother-in-law once served as a Den Mother to my ex-husband’s Boy Scout troop. I am totally outraged over President Trump’s inappropriately partisan speech to a large group of minors who are members of what is supposed to be a non-partisan organization. He railed against the Affordable Health Care Act while making disparaging remarks about former President Obama and Hillary Clinton—topics that should NOT belong in a speech to the Boy Scouts.

Naturally the parents of these boys are outraged and some have even threatened to withdraw their sons from the Boy Scouts of America. I don’t blame them one bit. If I had a son who was at that Jamboree, I would be so angry that I would be going to West Virginia right now and withdrawing him early from that event.

The fact that Donald Trump is using innocent children for his own propaganda purposes without the consent from either the kids or their parents says a lot about his character—none of it very good.

It’s too bad that Donald Trump himself was never a Boy Scout. Had he belonged to a troop while he was growing up, he would’ve been exposed to the idea of doing service for others and how to have reverence for this country and all that it stands for. He missed out on a golden opportunity to improve himself while possibly being exposed to kids from a different background than what he was raised in. He also would’ve learned that partisan politics has no place in the Boy Scouts.

But he wasn’t a member and he grew up with this huge narcissistic ego with a giant sense of entitlement. He probably views the Boy Scouts as his own version of the Hitler Youth (or is it Trump Youth?) and the Girl Scouts as his own League of German Girls (which would be renamed the League of American Girls). If the Boy Scouts have any common sense, they would ban him from ever speaking at any further Boy Scout events. I hope the Girl Scouts would not ever think about having him speak at any of their events. Given the allegations involving sexual assault against minors, having him speak to a group of underaged girls would be like letting a dog loose in a candy shop.

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I was a Girl Scout when I was a child. The official handbook for Junior Girl Scouts (which is the level I was at when this story began) had a list of badges that each Junior Girl Scout could earn. I saw one badge that intrigued me. It was called “My Camera” and it dealt with photography.

Up to that point I hadn’t taken any photographs but I was the subject of a lot of pictures that were taken by my relatives (mostly by my mother although my father took pictures from time to time as well). I looked at the requirements and they sounded interesting to me.

I convinced my parents that I wanted to pursue this badge so they bought me my first camera, which was a Kodak Pocket Instamatic. This camera used film cartridges that dropped into the back of the camera. If I wanted to take indoor pictures I had to put a little flash cube in the top slot.

Unlike digital photography where I can take a huge amount of photographs as long as I have adequate disk space, film photography was way more limited. The film cartridge for this camera came in either 12 exposure or 24 exposure with the latter being way more expensive. I remember my parents started me off with just 12 exposure, which is why I don’t have super extensive photos of any of the events I covered in order to get my Girl Scout badge.

Basically I took enough photos that I earned this badge, which I still have to this day.

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In order to earn the “My Camera” badge I had to photograph a couple of events and put them in a picture album. My parents bought me my first album that was titled “Brag Book” and had this pretty peacock design on the cover.

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I wrote my name in as neat cursive as I possibly could write along with 1972, the year I took all of these photos in this album.

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Now on to the photos themselves. The first event I shot for this album was for the birthday party of Diane, my youngest cousin on my mother’s side of the family who was celebrating her sixth birthday. The original caption of the next photo reads “First view of the house.” (There’s also a portion of my own thumb covering the camera lens on the right side of the picture, which is a dead giveaway that I was a photography newbie.)

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Caption of the next photograph: “The Birthday Girl Diane Lipp.”

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Caption of next photo: “Birthday Girl with the presents.”

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Original caption: “Opening the presents.” Diane’s older sister, Eileen, looks on while Diane opens her presents.

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Original caption: “Looking at the presents.” The blonde woman holding a book on the left is my mother while my cousin (and Diane’s oldest sister) Bernie looks at the pages. Diane is seated on the right with her back to me. Strangely my mother was the only adult I actually photographed at that birthday party despite the fact that my father, grandmother, and my aunt and uncle (Diane’s parents) were also present. (Of course I was dealing with the fact that, unlike today’s digital cameras, I had a limited amount of exposures I could make with film so I had to be very picky as to what pictures I would take.)

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Original caption: “The guests at the party.” This is a group photo of Diane and her sisters (my cousins). Diane is seated at the head of the table. Standing from left to right are Debbie, Bernie, and Eileen.

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Original caption: “The birthday cake.” My cousin Debbie’s back partially obscures the cake, which was a homemade chocolate frosted cake that had Diane’s name and the number 6 spelled out in M&M’s while a small train held the birthday candles.

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Original caption: “Blowing out the candles.”

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Original caption: “My cousin Debbie at the party.” And she’s sucking on a lemon as well.

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Original caption: “The cat with the party girls Bernie [located on the right], Debbie [holding the cat in her arms], Eileen [holding a doll on the left], and Diane [second from the left].”

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Original caption: “Pussy Cat behind a chair.” (Yes, my cousins actually named the family cat “Pussy Cat.”)

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The next few photos are of another event that also took place in the same home where my cousins grew up. Diane’s birthday is in January so, based on the clothes that the girls wore in the next few photos, I have to guess that these were taken sometime between May and August. The original caption of the next photo reads “Another view of the house.”

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Original caption: “Debbie holding Pussy Cat.”

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Original caption: “Debbie, Diane [holding the cat] and the cat named Pussy Cat.”

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Original caption: “Debbie [seated at the left holding Pussy Cat in her lap], Eileen [lying in the entrance to a tent that was erected in the backyard], and Diane at the tent.”

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I’m going to pause right here and provide one of those “Where are they now?” updates. Pussy Cat has crossed that Rainbow Bridge to wherever pets go in the afterlife a long time ago. My aunt and uncle (my cousins’ parents) are both dead. So are my father and grandmother. My mother is still alive while dealing with multiple sclerosis. As for my cousins, the birthday girl, Diane, now works for the Social Security Administration. She’s married with two sons, the younger of whom have just started his freshman year of college. Eileen is a schoolteacher. She’s married with a teenage stepson. She also has two grown sons from a previous marriage. Debbie works in security at NASA Kennedy Space Flight Center in Florida. She’s divorced and the mother of two grown daughters. Bernie is a physical therapist. She’s married with four children with the younger two still living at home and attending high school. (Her two older children have moved out on their own.)

The next few pictures are of a different event. Sue was a cousin on my father’s side of the family and I remember she was my father’s first cousin (which makes her my first cousin once-removed). We were invited to a party held at her house to celebrate the baptism of her first child, who was less than a month old at the time. (For some reason we were only invited to the party but not to the baptism itself. I suspect it’s because of the fact that my Protestant father was married to my Roman Catholic mother and I was being raised as a Catholic so there was some kind of organized religion bullshit going on. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a fan of organized religion and if it weren’t for the fact that I am currently a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation that has no creed or dogma, I wouldn’t even bother with organized religion at all, but I digress.)

The original caption to the next photograph reads “First view of Sue’s house.”

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Original caption: “The guests at the baptism party.” Unfortunately I took a photo of everyone’s backs while they were getting food so I really can’t tell you who was who. But you can at least get a good look of some of the early 1970’s hairstyles and fashions.

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Original caption: “Grandmom at the table.” My late grandmother was my father’s mother and she’s the only relative whose photo I took whom I could identify. (Unfortunately I have no idea as to the identity of that girl who’s to the left of my grandmother.)

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Original caption: “The guests at the kitchen.” Unfortunately I can’t identify any of the people in that photograph (and the fact that the picture is a bit on the blurry side doesn’t help at all).

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My parents lost contact with my father’s cousin Sue after that baptism party so I have no idea whatever became of her (or if she’s even still alive now). Nor do I know whatever became of that baby whose baptism party we attended. My grandmother has since passed away.

The last pictures in this photo album are of the annual family week-long vacation in Ocean City, Maryland. This was an era when the beach was dotted with small cottage-like apartment buildings that had anywhere from 6-24 rooms in each building. Starting in the late 1970s developers began building these huge condominiums which obliterated the beachfront views of the smaller apartment buildings. In a lot of cases these older buildings were torn down in order to make room for these larger condos. The original caption in the next photo reads “Mom and Dad” and, yes, they are my parents.

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Original caption: “Last year’s apartment.” This shows the place where my family stayed on the previous year’s trip (in 1971).

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Original caption: “This year’s apartment.” You can get a sense as to what the architecture was like in Ocean City before all of these huge condos were built.

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Original caption: “Peir [sic] 78.” I think Pier 78 was the building in the background. I don’t remember why I decided to take that picture since I don’t recall my family ever staying in that building. I also don’t recognize the woman sitting on the blanket in the foreground either. (She was probably a stranger.)

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Original caption: “Cathy and Smiley.” I remember my parents got me a Smiley pillow for either my birthday or Christmas (both are just 10 days apart from each other) the previous year. This was at the height of the Smiley Face craze of the 1970’s when there were all kinds of products featuring the Smiley Face. I remember I brought that pillow with me to Ocean City. That trip to Ocean City was one of those years when we shared an apartment with my aunt, uncle, and four cousins (whose pictures I posted earlier in this post). A friend of my aunt’s (whose name I’ve since forgotten) was also staying in Ocean City with her family at the same time so she dropped by the apartment with her toddler daughter named Cathy. I remember Cathy took a liking to my Smiley pillow so much that she carried it around with her everywhere she walked in that apartment and I decided to take that picture. I think the girl in the background may be my cousin Eileen but I don’t know for sure because this photo is a bit on the blurry side and the colors have become faded with age.

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I never saw Cathy or her mother again after that photo so I don’t know what became of either of them. My father passed away in 2000. Like I wrote earlier, my mother is still alive and well despite having to deal with multiple sclerosis.

Here’s the back of the Brag Book. Note the name “Japan” printed in gold on the lover right hand corner. Japan was the nation that many companies frequently went to when they wanted to manufacture cheap goods at a fraction of the cost of manufacturing these same goods in the United States. Japan has since been overtaken by China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and many other Third World countries as the place to go to manufacture goods as cheaply as possible so Japan is no longer synonymous with cheaply made imports.

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So now you know how I began as a photographer. Here’s another look at the “My Camera” badge, which I’m still proud of to this day because it ranks as my earliest accomplishments that I did because I wanted to, not because my parents/teachers/other adults told me that I had to do.

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I looked up the “My Camera” Girl Scout badge for Junior Girl Scouts online and I found that it has sine been replaced with one in Digital Photography including a completely redesigned badge. I suppose it was inevitable given the great strides in photography in the years since I started taking pictures with the Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera on film. At least today’s Girl Scouts still have the opportunity to earn a badge by trying their hand at photography, which is a good thing. I know that if it weren’t for the “My Camera” badge from a long time ago, I don’t know if I would have discovered how much I love photography and my life would’ve been way different (and so would the content of this blog).

Last year I participated in the annual Greenbelt Labor Day Parade for the first time and I still remembered that it was a very hot and humid day. I did it on behalf of the Greenbelt Cooperative Initiative, which is trying to start a few worker-owned cooperatives. (At the time I was tasked with potentially starting a thrift store. When I had problems with finding affordable space, the group suggested that I try running a flea market instead. I not only found difficulty with finding an open space that people can easily access by car or bike or walking, but I would’ve had to deal with two layers of bureaucracy–mainly filling out tons of paperwork on both the local and county levels. I was working on my own to begin with and starting a weekly flea market was way too daunting a task to do alone. Plus I’m dealing with other issues in my life so I decided to resign.)

So this year I didn’t have any parade-related responsibilities. There were a few groups who invited me to march with them but I ended up declining because the memories of the high heat and high humidity were still too fresh in my mind. So this year I brought a folding chair to the parade route and set it up in a shaded area. It wasn’t too bad in the shade at first but, by the end of the parade, the heat had shot up (it ultimately climbed to the high 80’s) so I was very happy that I didn’t participate this year.

The parade consisted of different types of participants. There’s, Solange Hess, who was named as this year’s Greenbelt’s Outstanding Citizen.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

There are the police, firefighters, and military units (including ROTC). Some of them march carrying flags, some march playing musical instruments (like bagpipes), and some ride in the latest vehicles.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Then there were the beauty pageant winners. Not only were there people from the Miss Greenbelt pageant but there were also others from another pageant that took place in nearby College Park.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade. Then there are the various local businesses and community groups, such as the Greenbelt Elementary School PTA.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Greenbelt chapter of the Toastmasters.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Greenbelt Animal Control.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 Local Girl Scouts troop.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Local Cub Scouts troop.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 Greenbelt Boys and Girls Club.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Greenbelt Interfaith Leaders Association.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Mishkan Torah congregation.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Radio Communications.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

The New Deal Cafe, which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

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At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Greenbelt Theater and the Greenbelt Museum marched together. At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Greenbelt Food Bank.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Greenbelt Arts Center

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Wells Ice Rink, located in nearby College Park.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Members of the Greenbelt Climate Action Network (GCAN) and the Chesapeake Education, Arts, and Research Society (CHEARS) dressed up as butterflies and bees in order to raise awareness on the importance of pollinators. Other participants held signs announcing the various programs that GCAN and CHEARS run on a regular basis, such as the Greenbelt Time Bank, the Reel and Meal movie series, and various recycling programs.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There were even a fleet of electric cars in the parade, who were there to demonstrate green transportation. At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There was a robot demonstration by members of the Eleanor Roosevelt High School Robotics Club.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Makerspace 125 had a float shaped like a steam engine in order to show its commitment to the STEAM movement.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

St. George’s Episcopal Church of Glenn Dale, Maryland marched in the parade.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There was an anti-abortion group.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The local anti-poverty activist group RESULTS participated.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The Communication Workers of America made a statement about its ongoing negotiations with Verizon.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The National Park Service participated.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Even the local Sunoco gas station participated.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

The local realtors, Town Center Realty & Associates, Inc.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Then there were the various performers who were intent on putting on a good show all along the parade route.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015 At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Since next year is an election year, the candidates running for public office were out in full force. There was Donna Edwards, who is running for Senator.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Senate candidate Donna Edwards shakes hands at the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

There was Chris Van Hollen, who is also running for Senator.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There was Paul Pinsky’s re-election campaign as Maryland State Senator.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Brian Frosh, who’s running for Maryland State Attorney General.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer, who’s running for re-election.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Congressman Hoyer’s rival, Kristin Beck, who hopes to unseat him in the Democratic Primaries next year.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Maryland House Delegate Anne Healey, who’s running for re-election.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Maryland House Delegate Alonzo T. Washington, who’s also running for re-election.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Sydney J. Harrison, who’s running for re-election to the Prince George’s County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court. At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Angela Alsobrooks, who’s running for re-election as State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

There’s Todd M. Turner, who’s running for re-election to the Prince George’s County Council.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

This trio of cars signified the end of the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 7, 2015

Once the parade ended at noon, the last day of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival started. I hung around the festival grounds after the parade ended because I needed to pick up my watercolor that I submitted to the Art Show but I had to wait until that show formally ended at 4 p.m. So I basically ate lunch, did some web surfing with the laptop that I brought with me, and uploaded a bunch of photos on my various social media account. A craft show was held on that final day so I browsed that as well while I took these photos.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

Craft Show at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

Craft Show at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

Craft Show at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 7, 2015

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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St. Patrick's Day

Today was one of those rarities in the Baltimore-Washington area: a St. Patrick’s Day parade that actually took place on St. Patrick’s Day. Normally such parades (which are usually held in Baltimore, Washington, and Alexandria) tend to take place either before or after the holiday itself mainly because many of the participating bands tend to spend the actual holiday performing at the larger parades in New York or Boston.

There was only one other time in my life that I actually attended a St. Patrick’s parade on St. Patrick’s Day. I was 16 years old and serving on the high school newspaper when the staff decided to attend this convention geared towards high school newspapers that was held at Columbia University. We happened to be in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day so we attempted to go to the parade only to find out that the streets were so crowded that we could only see the flags and banners. We saw people wearing green on their clothes, their faces, and even their hair. We saw people getting very drunk on green beer (which I remembered as looking kind of gross). We decided to check out Sak’s Fifth Avenue. While perusing the merchandise (which none of us bought because they carried very high prices), we heard a glass shatter in the middle of the store. Some drunk had dropped or thrown a beer bottle right in the middle of the store.

The biggest memory came when we saw a group of drunken men wearing green makeup, green afro wigs, and green clothes. A pidgeon landed in front of the men. One of them yelled “Let’s eat him!” and they descended on the poor pidgeon, who promptly flew away as soon as he realized what was happening. The men then crashed on top of each other laughing and screaming.

To say that St. Patrick’s Day in New York City is rowdy is a bit of an understatement.

I learned that there was going to be a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Gaithersburg on St. Patrick’s Day, which happened to fall on a Saturday this year. I was in a mood to attend a parade on the holiday itself this year so I grabbed my camera and made the trek up there just in time for the start of the parade at 10 a.m.

Unlike New York City, Gaithersburg is a suburban town. The parade itself was held in the middle of an outdoor shopping mall. I also noticed that this parade drew more of a family crowd than New York and I didn’t see anyone get visibly drunk.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

It wouldn’t be a St. Patrick’s Day parade without kilt-wearing people playing bagpipes.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

It also wouldn’t be a St. Patrick’s Day parade without police on horseback.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

A troupe of Irish step dancers

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

You can tell that this year is an election year since many politicians and political campaigns took part in this parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

A troupe of Bolivian dancers take part in the quintessential Irish holiday parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

This year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts of America. As a former Girl Scout myself, I can say that I am very proud that the organization has made it this far.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Mother Goose made an appearance in the parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Here are some more bagpipers in kilts.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

That is one funky looking fire engine.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

This year also happens to be the Civil War Sesquicentennial so a contingent of the Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans marched in the parade complete with a kilt-wearing bagpiper playing “Dixie.” (You really can’t make this stuff up!)

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Here is another troupe of Bolivian dancers at the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Here is a group of Hari Krishnas.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Here is the mascot of the minor league Frederick Keys baseball team.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Here is yet another troupe of Bolivian dancers. I never knew there were so many Bolivians living in this area.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

And here’s the signal of the end of the parade.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Gaithersburg, Maryland

All in all this parade basically lasted just one hour, which was a little bit of a letdown. (I remembered the New York parade lasting several hours followed by people partying in the streets while getting drunk.) After the parade ended people crowded into the stores and restaurants. I decided to just get back in my car and drive home.

I spent the afternoon home mainly because I’m currently battling a cold. For this special St. Patrick’s evening, I’m going to take the advice that I heard during one of the meetings of my separated and divorced support group: Treat yourself to a homecooked soup that you make for yourself. I decided to make the Beef Stew With Guinness and Prunes that I used to make each St. Patrick’s Day for my husband and myself. As a side dish, I have some Irish soda bread that I purchased at Wegman’s a couple of days ago. At least I won’t have to battle the crowds at the Irish restaurants and pubs tonight. (My husband and I tried going to Irish pubs and restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day in previous years only to go home or to a non-Irish restaurant because of the crowds. That’s why we’ve given up on going to any Irish place on St. Patrick’s Day years ago because it just wasn’t worth the aggravation.) Plus it’ll be cheaper than eating out and I’ll have plenty of leftovers to freeze. Yum!

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