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On the Saturday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I decided to check out this toy show that was being held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

It was such a feast for the eyes as the toys and various other vintage items were displayed at various vendor tables. The whole show took on the air of a flea market with an emphasis on vintage stuff dating anywhere from the 1900s to the 1990s.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Someone had a jukebox for sale, which reminded me of my childhood when many of the local restaurants had them and people could choose songs to play for about a quarter each.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The jukebox played music during the entire event. (Which proved that it definitely still worked.) I couldn’t help taking pictures of the songs that were available on the jukebox. The majority of them were hits when I was a kid.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

And speaking of music players, here’s a vintage 8-track player with an Elvis Presley 8-track tape. I once had a stereo system that included an 8-track player but I never owned one like that. But I could’ve sworn that one of my friends or maybe one of my cousins had a player just like that but I don’t know for sure. (Memory is one of those funny things where you remember something but you don’t remember when, where, or how you remember it.)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Late last year I did a series of blog posts with accompanying photos known as A Tabletop Christmas (so-named because I limit my Christmas decorating to just a single tabletop in my living room). Among the items I showed off was a small plastic Santa Claus puppet that I’ve had since I was a child. I didn’t know anything about the origins of this puppet. It wasn’t until I went to the toy show when I saw a tiny plastic Santa puppet on sale that’s identical to mine.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The only difference between the two is that this Santa still had its label at the base while mine doesn’t have any labels at all. (I suspect that whatever label it had must’ve fallen off a long time ago.) My Santa puppet is currently stored in a box with the other Christmas decorations in the attic but here’s a picture of my Santa puppet that I took last December.

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At first I thought the animal in the next picture was a stuffed animal until I saw the dog move his eyes around. He laid there the entire time I was at that show.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

This show also had examples of how the mighty had fallen. I found this book by disgraced former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly on sale for only $1 at one of the tables. (LOL!)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

There was one token of something new that I found. Someone was selling glow-in-the-dark versions of the hottest toy of 2017: Fidget Spinners.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

By the way, you can check out a video I shot recently where I unboxed and played with one of those Fidget Spinners for the first time (and, no, the one I bought didn’t glow in the dark).

Everywhere there were visual treats, many of which harkened back to my own youth.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

As I was walking back to the light rail stop I shot this photo of The Cow Palace building because it had a nice small garden.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I didn’t buy a lot of stuff at that toy show due mainly to tight finances. But I managed to snag a couple of things at bargain rates. I found the second season of The Simpsons DVD set for only $6.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I bought a Monster High doll for only $5. I was attracted to her pretty winter-themed clothes. At first I thought I may have purchased a relative of The Snow Queen until I did an online search and I was able to make a definite identification. Based on this web page, her name is Abbey Bominable and she’s described as the 16-year-old daughter of the Yeti.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Here’s a closeup of her hair, which looks like it has glittery plastic pellets weaved throughout the strands. It gives a really cool ice/snow effect, especially when the light reflects off of her hair.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Passover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2016
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 4, 2016

I stuck to my resolve to just stay as close to home as possible this Labor Day holiday weekend. September 5 was Labor Day so I spent the morning watching the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade while continuing to enjoy the glorious weather (which was sunny and warm but not too hot and the humidity was very low).

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The local Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt Democratic Club marched with signs touting Hillary Clinton while chanting “I’m With Hillary!” A few people in the crowd started yelling “Bernie!” There were literally no cheers or clapping hands or anything. It was mostly silence except for the few people who were yelling Bernie Sanders’ name. The crowd’s reaction is the perfect metaphor for this year’s elections, which I’m not going to get into here because I could easily go off on a tangent where I write at least an extra 20 paragraphs and I’m really not in the mood to do that right now.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

A peace activist bicycles through the parade while he holds his sign.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The one other political group in the parade whose picture I took was of a group who were protesting the proposed TPP trade agreement that President Obama is trying to get the Congress to ratify even though it is very controversial.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in Greenbelt, Maryland.

After the parade ended I went back home to eat lunch. I drove back to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. I parked at St. Hugh’s Church then walked the rest of the way to the festival ground for the last day.

The Greenbelt Theater was having a free showing of the classic movie Brigadoon. The story was kind of hokey but I loved the music and dancing in that film. I ran into a friend after the movie and I socialized for a bit with her. I perused the craft tables and hung around the used book sale (which was giving away its inventory on the last day of the festival) while enjoying the continuing wonderful sunny with low humidity weather. I also took a last few pictures of the festival.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The last day of the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland.

I basically hung around the festival until 4 p.m., when I could pick up my painting from the art show. Here is the painting I showed at the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show this year.

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You can learn more about how I created this piece right here.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2016

I started the day by going to Sunday service at my Unitarian Universalist congregation for the first time in several weeks. I was surprised to see two onetime members who had since moved to Florida and they were up in the DC area for a visit. They are a longtime gay couple whom my then-husband and I visited in Florida shortly after I started this blog back in 2010. (You can read the entries about that trip here, here, here, here, here, and here) We chatted for a bit and I learned that they managed to evade Hurricane Hermine, which struck the Tampa-St. Petersburg area where they now live. One of them has a son from a previous marriage to a woman and it turns out that I recognized the son’s girlfriend from the fact that we both participated in the yard sale that’s put on by my support group for people who are separated or divorced. I also found out that the son had been attending that same support group’s meetings at its Columbia chapter while I attend the ones in Crofton. The son met his girlfriend through the Columbia chapter. So it was a cool coincidence.

After church I decided to go to this local art supply shop then move on to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. I discovered that I didn’t take out enough money at my bank’s ATM the day before. So I went to my bank’s ATM and tried to take out some more money only to get a slip that said “Access denied.” This was reminiscent of what happened Friday in Baltimore! Worse, I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. So I wasn’t able to do grocery shopping nor was I able to spend any more money at the festival on things like food.

I had just enough money left in my wallet to go to this local art supply shop to buy a tiny 3-inch canvas and one tube of black acrylic paint because I decided to take part in a local tiny art contest. Basically I worked on that canvas the whole weekend when I wasn’t at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. Here is what that canvas looked like.

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You can read more about the making of this tiny painting right here.

Since I was short on money I ate lunch at home then headed out to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. Instead of taking the shuttle bus I decided to park in the parking lot at St. Hughes Catholic Church and just walk the rest of the way to the festival ground. On my way there I checked out the Greenbelt Peace Memorial. I remember when I went to the opening ceremony for that memorial last year (which was held indoors because it rained heavily that day) and I visited it in person for the first time shortly afterwards. Since that visit I noticed that someone had added a pole that says “Peace on Earth” in four different languages.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

I eventually made my way to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

The weather was very lovely. It was warm but not too hot and the humidity was very low. It was the perfect day for going to that festival for the second day in a row. I went to the Greenbelt Museum because it was having its free admission day. After that visit I perused the craft tables because it was the first day of the craft show but I didn’t buy anything because of a lack of money. I did take a few photographs, starting with these handmade beds that were for American Girl and other 18-inch dolls.

Photo from the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Makerspace 125 had this table outside its doors where anyone can pick up some free fabric.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

I went back home after spending some time at the festival. I spent my time eating dinner and working on my tiny canvas for that upcoming contest.

Greenbelt Parade and Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2016

I did this tiny art piece as an entry in a tiny art contest that was sponsored by a local arts and crafts supply store in Hyattsville. The basic rule is that one must buy a small 3 inch x 3 inch canvas and use it to create art using any kind of media.

I’ve done tiny canvases before but I’ve done either mixed media pieces using Shrinky Dinks and/or other items (such as beads) or I’ve shrunk photos of my original art down to tiny canvas size so I could print it out and glue it to the canvas. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted to do a straight acrylic painting on such a small canvas.

carouselhorsesatnight-webversion

Carousel Horses at Night
Acrylic on canvas
3 inches x 3 inches
8 cm x 8 cm

This piece is based on a photo of a carousel I took at night at the recent Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. I basically shrunk the photo down to the size of the canvas on the computer then printed it out. Meanwhile I underpainted the canvas in black. I then proceeded to draw a grid on both the printout and the canvas in the same size (I used a white colored pencil for drawing the grid on the latter since it was already painted black). I attempted to draw the picture within the grid on the canvas with my white colored pencil but, for some reason, I couldn’t get the lines to show up at all while I barely got the grid lines to even show up. The surface of the underpaint just wasn’t conductive to draw on with a pencil. Instead I decided to just paint each grid with acrylic paint using very small brushes that are sizes 1/0, 2/0, and 10/0. After I finished painting I added a few layers of clear acrylic gloss gel in order to give it a kind of sheen similar to what one sees in oil paintings. Finally I sealed the whole thing using a gloss varnish.

I worked on this canvas through the Labor Day holiday weekend as well as the first couple of days after the holiday. It was very painstaking work full of details but it was a very satisfying effort.

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.

In late June 2010 my then-husband and I went to our annual trip to Ocean City, Maryland. We usually went with his sister and any other friend and/or relative who wanted to tag along. (We originally started with the two of us, his sister, her teenaged son, and one of his friends. Once the son grew up and joined the U.S. Navy, one of my sister-in-law’s friends would join us. Although there was one year or two when it was just the three of us.) That year I thought it would just be the two of us because his sister’s son was preparing to get married just two or three weeks later and his mother was busy with helping out with the long-distance wedding preparations. (She lived in Pennsylvania while the wedding was taking place in Connecticut, where her son was stationed.) I was surprised when I learned that she was going to take a break from the wedding preparations to go down to the beach with us. In fact, I would later hear her brag to other relatives about how she managed to make time to go to Ocean City with us despite her son’s wedding taking place so soon afterwards.

It turned out that I wrote just two blog posts on that trip. One was on June 28, 2010. Here are the photos I took on June 28-29.

Some of what one can ride on one of the carousels instead of horses on the Boardwalk.

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Some paintings.

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The Boardwalk after sunset.

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A local sand sculptor who, for many seasons, have done sand sculptures based on the life of Jesus and various scenes from the Bible.

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The other post I wrote about that trip was on June 30, 2010. Here are the rest of the photos I took between June 30-July 2.

The Boardwalk in daytime.

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Some surfers trying to catch the perfect wave.

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Ocean City Firefighters 9/11 Memorial.

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Wall paintings based on old photographs and postcards of Ocean City circa 1890-1920.

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An unusual store clerk. LOL! (The dog belonged to the owner of the jewelry shop.)

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A young couple rests on the Boardwalk benches with their latest oversized winnings from the various midway games.

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A coin-operated kiddie dolphin ride.

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The Fenwick Island Lighthouse located just over the border from Ocean City into Fenwick Island, Delaware.

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A stone marker marks the state border between Maryland and Delaware.

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For the last three or four of my annual trips to Ocean City (before my divorce), my husband, sister-in-law, and I would go to the Angler Restaurant for dinner at a certain time because that time had this bargain: You get a free half-hour boat trip when you eat dinner there. So we would arrive in time to eat dinner then we would board a boat where I would take some really cool sunset photos.

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Just a few hours before we had to check out of our condo on July 2, I went down to the beach for a last early morning walk along the shoreline.

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Early morning seashell hunting is a really big thing in Ocean City.

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It was also during this trip that I saw street performers on the Boardwalk who portrayed living statues. I shot this short video so you’ll know exactly what I mean. (I have to admit that they were a hoot!)

This year I not only attended the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland but I also submitted one of my recent watercolors to the Art Show. The one big condition for submitting a work to the Art Show is that all submitters must work a volunteer shift at that show. I signed up for the 1-2 p.m. shift on Saturday (September 5) so I arrived to the festival a little bit early so I can eat lunch (I ended up eating a bratwurst in a thick roll with sauerkraut) and do some browsing before it was time for my shift. Here are a few initial photos I took when I first arrived.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

I eventually made it to the Greenbelt Community Center, where the Art Show was located. I found this interesting holiday-themed display as well.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015For the first time ever, the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival strived to become something called a “Zero Waste” event where people were encouraged to bring their own water bottles instead of buying bottled water from a store as well as throwing anything that can be composted or recycled into the appropriate bins. This next photo shows one of the free places where people can refill their water bottles.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

I arrived just in time to begin serving my one-hour volunteer shift where I basically kept count of the number of people who attended the Art Show and make sure there were no commotions or anything like that. The next photo shows the Butterfly watercolor that I submitted. It didn’t win any ribbons this time around but I don’t mind. (To learn more about the creation of this piece, read my August 23, 2015 post.)

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

Once I finished my shift, I did some more walking around at the festival while taking some pictures.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

I browsed the annual Used Book Sale that’s sponsored by the Greenbelt Elementary School PTA. I found this item that belongs in a museum: a vintage Nintendo Game Boy in its original box. It’s the gaming system that had the yucky yellow back screen and 8-bit graphics in only one color—black.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

The Used Book Sale also had this cool cardboard cutout.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

This particular day was known as “Community Day” where various local organizations and businesses had tables set up where they provided free literature and other types of information to the general public.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

Community Day at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

Community Day at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

A preview of the new Makerspace 125 float that would appear in the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade two days later.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 25, 2015

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

I brought my laptop with me so I spent some downtime alternating between doing some miscellaneous web surfing and uploading the photos I took with my smartphone on to the various social media sites. At one point I looked up from the table I was sitting at on the patio outside Makerspace 125 and I saw my ex-husband lumbering around the festival area at a distance from where I was sitting. I wasn’t that inclined to walk over to him and say “Hi.” He wasn’t in the area very long before he left so it was no big deal. The only downer was that the weather was in the high 80’s with high humidity but I found that as long as I stayed in the shade, I was fine for sitting outside.

At one point I had to use the bathroom inside of Makerspace 125 and when I went in, there was a woman who took one look at me and said “Hey, I remember you.” It took me several minutes before I realizes who she was. She was someone whom I haven’t seen in at least 15 years. I was amazed that she recognized me because I didn’t initially recognize her. We didn’t chat long because she said that she had to get going. She asked for my email address and I gave it to her. She said that she would email me but, as of this writing, she has yet done so. I foolishly didn’t think of asking for her email so I’m not able to send a message saying “Hey, it was great seeing you once again.” (At least meeting that person was way more pleasant than the time when I unexpectedly met some people from my childhood whom I would prefer not to have anything to do with at Artscape in Baltimore last summer.)

I ate a crab pretzel for dinner (which was sinfully delicious) then I killed some more time doing some web surfing on my laptop and uploading some recent pictures on to various social media sites. I decided to hang around until past sunset so I could take some night photos.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015.

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015/At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

At the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2015

Ramadan
Last Saturday I wanted to do something fun after I went through a bunch of CD’s to determine which ones I wanted to keep and which ones I should get rid of after ripping the songs that I really like to my MacBook. The weather was warm but not too hot while the humidity wasn’t too bad either so I decided to go to Artscape in Baltimore. (The fact that the festival was free was definitely a plus for me.) I walked around for a few hours and I mostly had a good time. I also took a whole boatload of photos and I uploaded three videos on to YouTube. So, anyway, here it goes!

Everywhere you went at Artscape there were lots of live music and vendors selling their arts and crafts.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I took the next few photos of this booth because some of the t-shirts said things like “Poly Girl Rock” and “Run Poly” (the latter is a parody of the famous Run-DMC logo) because one of my friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation came out publicly as a polyamory person (along with her principal partner whom I also met through my church—I have never met any of their other paramours) and she has given media interviews about polyamory while also leading an organization called Practical Polyamory. I later uploaded these photos to Facebook while I tagged her name.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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There were all kinds of trucks. Some of them sold food and beverages while others provided services like providing free testing for STDs and HIV/AIDS.

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Artscape 2014

There were also interesting people to photograph on the street as well.

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Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Someone made a statue of a sea turtle using recycled plastic shopping bags.

Artscape 2014

I’d never thought I’d ever see the National Bohemian beer (a.k.a. Natty Boh) mascot rendered in real life.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was an area dedicated to building the World’s Largest Art Park where, for a $5 donation, people could paint bricks that will ultimately be used to create such a park. I regretted not doing this myself but money was so tight for me that I had to literally hang on to all the cash that I had on me at the time. I would love to see the entire park when it’s finished.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

There was this merry-go-round carousel which rotated and it had sculptures of a chicken drumstick, and ear of corn, and a crab claw.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was a protest/community art project where people could write on Post-It Notes what they would prefer the Baltimore City Public Schools to spend its money on other than standardized tests.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

It was around the time that I took the previous picture that I happened to run into some people I knew from my childhood growing up in Glen Burnie, Maryland who recognized me while I didn’t recognize them until they gave their names. I already wrote at length about that encounter so I’ll just say here that I was less than thrilled with seeing those two women again and I was glad when they left after speaking with me for a couple of minutes. (Too bad I didn’t run into anyone from my college years at the University of Maryland at College Park. I would’ve been way happier and delighted because, to be honest, I prefer my college friends over my childhood friends.)

After they left I faced a dilemma. I had reached the north end at Artspace on Mt. Royal Avenue and there was still more to see on Charles Street. Normally I would walk back down Mt. Royal Avenue towards the Mt. Royal Light Rail Station then walk up Charles Street but I really didn’t want to risk encountering those women from my past again. (My previous post has all the details why I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy about seeing them again.) I looked on the map on my smartphone and found that I was not only close to North Street but I was also close to The Wind-Up Space, where I go to attend the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. I found that I could walk along North Street towards The Wind-Up Space and turn right on Charles Street and I could pick up the rest of the festival at the other end. So I did just that and I didn’t have any further encounters with those two women from my old neighborhood (nor anyone else from my Glen Burnie days, for that matter). I also took some more photos along the way to North Street.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

As I was walking along North Avenue, I came upon Red Emma’s, a worker-owned cooperative that’s a coffeehouse, vegan restaurant, and bookstore. I usually walk past Red Emma’s whenever I go to Dr. Sketchy’s at The Wind-Up Space but I had never been inside because Dr. Sketchy’s is usually held on a Monday night while Red Emma’s is closed on Mondays. I found that Red Emma’s was opened so I took advantage of a rare opportunity to see what this place was like on the inside.

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

I found that Red Emma’s is really nice looking and I was impressed with their book selection. The lines were too crowded for me to try the food (actually the lines were crowded at practically every single restaurant, fast food place, and food truck that I encountered during Artscape) and I was too broke to buy a book. I wouldn’t mind returning at a later date when I have more time and more money.

So I turned right on Charles Street and I was able to rejoin the festival.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was a fashion area where would-be fashion designers sold their wares from booths, the backs of parked trucks, and even a funky-painted bus.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I came upon this cool looking booth for a hardware store called The Loading Dock that recycles materials from construction sites. It’s similar to what Community Forklift close to my home does.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I came across something called Magfest, which I can best describe as a festival within a festival.

Artscape 2014

This mini-festival is devoted to video gaming.

Artscape 2014

Basically there were video games (some were on computers while others were video arcade games) that people played while a live band played on a nearby stage. There was also a display of video game-inspired art.

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I even shot a short video to give people an idea of what Magfest was like.

There was another mini-festival within a festival called The Alternative Art Fair that had all kinds of interesting art that was held on the lower level of a parking garage.

Artscape 2014

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I came across some neat examples of urban gardening.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I found a couple of tents that had a dance demonstration by Arthur Murray, which is legendary in my family. As a teenager, my late aunt had taken dance classes through Arthur Murray and I was told that she was an excellent student. She even did a newspaper ad for Arthur Murray that included her photo and it ran in The Baltimore Sun. Sadly she had to give up those lessons when my grandfather died and money became tight as a result. (If you happened to come across a vintage 1950s Baltimore Sun newspaper and see an Arthur Murray ad featuring a photo of an attractive short-haired brunette named Linda Banahan, that was my late aunt.)

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I eventually came up to the art cars that Artscape is well known for.

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Artscape 2014

The car in the next photo was covered in pennies.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

This car was covered in doodles.

Artscape 2014

This is the same Star Wars themed car that I saw parked outside of a baseball stadium the night that I attended a Bowie Baysox game on Star Wars night last month.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

The Star Wars car also sold science fiction earrings.

Artscape 2014

Yes, it’s a cockroach car.

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

This vehicle was covered in bottle caps.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

This art car also had art for sale.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I came across a puppeteer that had a marionette with a big butt and he was making the puppet do some twerking.

Artscape 2014

I even shot a short video of the twerking puppet.

I took more photos of various performers and other things.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I found a Midway-style carnival games that were all with twists. There was a duck game where the ducks floated around in a pool that resembled the U.S.S. Torsk that’s permanently docked in the Inner Harbor.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Believe it or not, this next photo is a ring toss.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Then there was a ball toss game called “Political Punk Rock” where people can throw balls at targets that resembled people like Hilliary Clinton, Kim Jong Un, John Boehner, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, and more!

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

The next photo shows this giant game that was a cross between pinball and a foosball table.

Artscape 2014

There was a pizza variation on the classic game Twister.

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Artscape 2014

There was a performer named Gregory Morgan who was literally a one-man band. He was quite good at playing all the instruments by himself.

Artscape 2014

I even shot a short video of Gregory Morgan to give you an idea of what he was like.

I took the last few photos before I took the next light rail back to North Linthicum (where my car was parked). I was totally tired by the end.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014


Santa Claus

For many months I have long wanted a vacation because, at times, going through the drama of my hip revision surgery followed by a separation and divorce totally wore me down. For months I have heard advice from members of my support group for people who are separated or divorced advise members to consider taking a vacation either alone or with a small group of friends. The big hurdle is that I really don’t have the money to do a total week-long getaway trip complete with restaurant meals and hotel room.

The best I could muster was a day trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania. So I sprung for it just three days after Christmas. I made the 100-mile trip to Hershey, stayed for a couple of hours, then made the trip back to the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. That trip was the first time I ventured outside the Baltimore-Washington, DC area since I went on a week-long vacation to Ocean City, Maryland with my husband and his sister in July, 2011.

I’m glad I made that trip because I now know that I’m capable of doing something fun by myself. It also helped me to get my mind off my problems. I even brought along my Makies doll, Victoria, where I made a little photo story out of the trip and I cross-posted it in this blog and on one of the forums on the Makie.me site. I took a bunch of photos without the doll, so here they are.

I initially arrived at the Hershey Story museum only to find that the place was only a half-an-hour away from closing for the day. I took a couple of exterior shots (including a really cool photo of those streetlights shaped like Hershey Kisses at sunset) then moved on.

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I went on to Hershey’s Chocolate World, a large building that includes a ride through a simulated Hershey’s chocolate factory (the real factory is off-limits to the general public), a 4-D multimedia show, a large food court, a massive souvenir shop, a chocolate tasting facility, and a place where you can customize your own Hershey candy bar. I took a couple of panoramic shots as well as regular shots to give you an idea of how big this place is.

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After I ate dinner and walked around Hershey’s Chocolate World, I walked over to nearby Hersheypark. The theme park is usually open in the spring, summer, and fall. It closes for a month after Halloween then it partially reopens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, with the entire theme park being dubbed as “Christmas Candylane”. The roller coasters and other scary rides remain closed (mainly because it’s usually too cold to have the wind rip through your hair while you’re riding the Comet) while the merry-go-round and some of the other kid-friendly rides are operational. But the real treat is seeing the entire theme park decked out in Christmas lights along with a giant Nativity scene and playing of Christmas music throughout the park. (There are even a few Hanukkah-themed decorations for Jewish visitors as well.) Even though it had grown cold after dark, I still had a great time looking at the lights all around me.

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My visit to Christmas Candylane ended with checking out this shop that sells souvenirs from another Hershey attraction called ZooAmerica. There is even a living iguana in the window.

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Once I was done with strolling through Christmas Candylane, I made the two-hour trip back home. It really felt nice to get away from it all, even if it was just for one day. I’ve visited Hershey at Christmas before with my husband and we always enjoyed ourselves. I think my next solo trip will be to a place that I had never visited when I was married. The only criteria is that it must be something that I can come to and from in a day since any overnight stays is still out of the question for me due to finances. I have a few ideas but I want to wait a bit before I make any more trips.

Yesterday was another one of those days that started off nice and hot before it turned into yet another thunderstorm. My husband, sister-in-law, and myself all went down to the beach while it was still hot and sunny. I managed to stay in the shallow end of the ocean again before returning to my chair to read a few chapters from my book, then returning to the ocean for one last swim. I read some more from my book and I thought about going back in the ocean until I saw some nasty clouds come in. The lifeguards then closed the beach because of reports of lightning further south.

The rain came in really hard then it tapered off to a drizzle. At one point I decided to do some driving around Ocean City, which I hadn’t been able to do earlier in the trip because of the huge mass of people who came for the Fourth of July. (Most of the crowds left after July 4, which made the trip more pleasant.) I made a brief stop by the Boardwalk but I ended up cutting the trip short because it started to drizzle again. I took a few photos before I called it quits for the day.

The Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland
The Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland
Shark, The Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland
Pirate Skull, The Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland

Here’s a mix of the old and the new. This plaque describes a carousel that has been running continuosuly in Ocean City since 1902 with a newer sign underneath it that contains one of those smartphone codes that probably provides more information about the carousel. (I don’t know for sure since I currently don’t own a smartphone.)

Carousel Entrance, The Boardwalk, Ocean City, Maryland

Here is the carousel itself. All of the animals were hardcarved and each one is a work of art.

Carousel, Ocean City, Maryland

Not only does this carousel have the traditional horses but it also has a variety of other animals that people can choose to ride, such as this rooster.

Carousel, Ocean City, Maryland

Here’s a claw machine that’s offering prizes based on the very popular video game Angry Birds. (Yes, I have a copy of it on my iPod Touch and I was addicted to it for a while until I hit a level that—no matter how hard I try—I can’t seem to master.)

Angry Birds Claw Machine Prizes, Ocean City, Maryland

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