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Santa Claus

On Christmas Day I drove to Lanham to see if a certain house was still continuing its overdecorated tradition despite the fact that that the family member who was responsible for the lights had passed away. I found out that not only were the family not carrying on that tradition but the house has been put up for sale.

But there are a few houses who have willingly picked up the mantel of trying to be the most decorated Christmas house. The house in Glen Burnie that I wrote about for TopBuzz.com has pretty much surpassed what the house in Lanham did.

But there’s another house located on Lastner Lane in Greenbelt that has the potential to one day be as decorated as the house in Lanham was (although it still has a ways to go before it could even begin to match that house in Glen Burnie). Each year the owners seem to add more Christmas lights. You can compare the photos I took in 2012, 2014, and 2016 with these recent photos I took in December, 2017.

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Santa Claus

I wasn’t able to get to Behnke’s Nurseries before Christmas so I decided to spend the day after checking out the post-holiday sales. There were still plenty of Christmas and Hanukkah decorations that were available for sale at discounted prices.

I made only one purchase. It was a cute Ginger Cottage that I purchased for 25% off.

Here are a few reasons why I prefer Ginger Cottages over Department 56: 1) They are smaller, which means they take up less space in my modest house. 2) They are more affordable for my budget than Department 56. 3) They are actually made in the USA while Department 56 cottages are made overseas in countries like China.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

I decided to check out the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space when I decided to go to the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville as well. When I used to have a pet hedgehog I would sometimes schedule buying more hedgehog food where I would go to the original pet store where I got Spike, buy his food, then drive south along I-83 into Baltimore where I would go to Dr. Sketchy’s. (The pet store in question was located about 3-5 miles away from Valley View Farms. That store has since gone out of business.)

So I had a similar idea regarding Valley View Farms. I left home a few hours early in order to leave myself with plenty of commuting time. I figured that I could leisurely walk through Valley View Farms then head on into Baltimore where I can check out Dr. Sketchy’s. But then I encountered a horrendous accident followed by extremely slow traffic on the Baltimore Beltway. What should have been an hour-long commute turned into a nearly two-hour commute. By the time I arrived at Valley View Farms I only had 45 minutes to browse the store before I had to leave in order to make the start of Dr. Sketchy’s on time. I was kind of peeved that my plans went awry but what else could I do? I decided to make the most of the limited time I had. I also managed to take a few pictures.

The next two pictures show mistletoe, which brings back memories of the years when I used to buy mistletoe for the house when I was married. I haven’t purchased any since my husband left me because it seems useless and silly to buy it since I live alone these days.

I only purchased one thing at Valley View Farms and it was a tub of Fisher’s Popcorn. I used to buy it whenever my then-husband and I went to Ocean City. I haven’t had too many chances to buy it because I haven’t gone anywhere in the Delmarva region since my husband left. I know I can buy it online through their website but I haven’t gotten around to doing it. So I literally leapt at the chance to buy it when I saw that Valley View Farms had it in stock. The popcorn tasted just as good as I remembered it.

I took so many pictures in this post that I’m going to do a separate post about Dr. Sketchy’s. (Link is definitely NSFW.)

Santa Claus Baby New Year

I went to Dupont Circle the day after a snowstorm hit the area. While there was some leftover snow in the suburbs, all of the snow was melted in the city. In any case, commuting to the city was no trouble at all. When I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro station I saw this panda bear advertising the Zoolights event that is held at the National Zoo each year.

I arrived at Dupont Circle, which had Christmas decorations displayed all over the area.

The next fountain shows the Dupont Circle fountain. You would never know that a major snowstorm that dumped around two inches of snow came through the area the day before. Although it was incredibly cold that day. (The temperature was in the low 30’s.)

The next photo shows the window of Second Story Books, which specializes in selling vintage used and rare books. Many of the books in that window were the various sequels to The Wizard of Oz that L. Frank Baum wrote. Note the prices of these books.

For those who prefer to celebrate Hanukkah instead, this sign announced the lighting of the National Menorah on the Ellipse.

 

I eventually made my way to The Bier Baron, where this month’s DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was being held. Here’s a photo of the stage I took before the event began.

The bar was very festive with strings of Christmas lights along the railing.

 

The event’s emcee, Reverend Valentine, was up in the booth spinning the tunes. The weirdest song she played was this song called Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey. I had never heard of it before although it supposed to be a very popular Christmas song among Italian Americans. (My mother’s side of the family is German/Irish/Czech while my father’s side is English/Scottish/Scotch-Irish/Welsh so that probably explains how I missed that one when I was growing up.)

Here are a couple more shots of the bar.

A burlesque performer named Delilah Dentata was the model for this event so some of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

The event ended right at 6 p.m. and most people left immediately afterwards because they didn’t want to linger too much with the weather being that cold. (The temperature eventually dipped from a high of the low 30’s to the low 20’s.) I walked past The Fireplace where I briefly warmed my hands by pressing them against the glass where the outdoor fire was flaming.

I took some random shots of the Dupont Circle area.

 

I shot this next photo of a sticker that was on a trashcan. You can get an idea as to how popular President Donald Trump really is in Washington, DC. (LOL!)

I decided to make a stop at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café where I took these photos.

I stopped by Krispy Kreme where I purchased one of the Christmas donuts for sale.

I decided to take the Red Line Metro to Union Station because I wanted to check out the decorations this year. What I never realized before is that the stores and eateries tend to close very early on Sundays. The lower level of Union Station looked very spooky with the majority of stores and fast food places closed. (The one silver lining is that I knew not to go to Union Station on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve since both days fall on a Sunday this year.)

I got a chance to see this year’s Christmas tree, which is usually put up as a joint project with the Norwegian embassy.

Here’s a closeup shot showing the U.S. and Norwegian flags that were strewn throughout the Christmas tree.

There is usually a Norwegian themed toy train layout. The toy trains had stopped running when I was there but I was still able to marvel at the realistic miniature replicas of a small Norwegian village.

I took a few more photos of Union Station before I left. With nearly all of the stores and restaurants closed, it wasn’t worth hanging around Union Station too long.

Santa Claus

One Thursday evening before I went to my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced I went to a couple of nearby places starting with a visit to Homestead Gardens’ Christmas shop, which I wrote about in my last post. After I went to Homestead Gardens, I decided to go to Wegman’s so I could get a quick bite to eat before attending the meeting. I found a few interesting displays that I photographed.

This particular Wegman’s store is located in Crofton, Maryland. Crofton is located just a few miles away from Annapolis, where the Naval Academy is located. Naturally Wegman’s would sell baked goods as a tie-in with the annual Army-Navy football game, which was held a couple of days after I took these photos.

Wegman’s had a variety of Christmas items available for sale.

They also had these giant inflatable Christmas decorations on display in the store.

Santa Claus

One early Thursday evening I decided to make a stop at Homestead Gardens on the way to attending my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced. They had their Christmas shop open and they decorated the grounds with all kinds of gorgeous lights. That store sold a variety of Christmas decorations along with plants like poinsettias. Here are the pictures I took.

Once again Homestead Gardens had its giant train layout where one can see toy trains travel past the various Department 56 ceramic buildings.

After I went to Homestead Gardens I went to Wegman’s where I purchased dinner to eat before I headed to my meeting. I also took some photos of interesting Christmas display, which I’ll write about in my next post.


Birthday Cake
hanukah

Okay I’ll admit that the it may sound strange to buy your own birthday presents. But I’m divorced with no children, I’m currently not in any kind of romantic relationships, I don’t have any siblings, my father is dead, and my mother is too sick and busy battling multiple sclerosis to do any kind of shopping (either online or in real life) so what else can I do? I purchased a couple of things for myself last night, starting with this cute snowman cake that I found at Giant for only $6.

I also found this unusual looking nutcracker on sale at Target for only $9.99. He not only looks pretty in pink but he’s fully covered in glitter. He looks more like he’s ready to dance to Madonna or Britney Spears than to Tchaikovsky’s more traditional “Nutcracker Suite.” Here’s the front of the nutcracker.

Here’s a closeup of the baseplate, which has the year 2017 etched on it.

Here’s the back of the nutcracker.

And, finally, here’s a closeup of the nutcracker where you can really get a good view of how much glitter he’s covered in.

I have to admit that it’s not everyday where you see a male nutcracker wearing a pink glitter outfit. The one thing about having a birthday that’s only 10 days before Christmas is that I used to frequently get Christmas-related stuff, such as the time I got a wooden Christmas ornament kit for my birthday as a child. The ornaments were in plywood but were perforated so you could simply punch them out. Then you had to take the included sandpaper and sand the edges down. After that you used the included paints to paint on the ornaments.

Well, anyway, I carried on that lifelong tradition of getting Christmas stuff for my birthday by buying that nutcracker. I’ll probably go out somewhere and live it up today, weather permitting. (It has not only been below freezing for the past few days but there are currently weather forecasts of possible snow showers on top of the below freezing temperatures. Yeah, it sucks since I’m really not used to weather this extremely cold.) Happy birthday to me!

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That day was the People’s Climate March on Washington, the latest in a series of anti-Trump marches that began with the Women’s March back in January. I would’ve gone to that one if it weren’t for the fact that I had a scheduling conflict. But I don’t feel too guilty over missing that one since I took part in the Women’s March on Washington and the Werk for Peace Dance Protest.

Besides there are more anti-Trump marches on Washington planned for the future which will focus on LGBTQ rights, fans of the hip hop group Insane Clown Posse (that one is because, for some weird reason, the federal government has classified the fans of this group as gangs and terrorists), and public education. I’m sure there will be even more marches the longer Trump stays in the White House.

I had a pretty busy Saturday. First I decided to help out with the yard sale that’s put on by Changing Focus, which helps people deal with separation, divorce, and widowhood. The yard sale was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland, which gave me a rare opportunity to see this church in broad daylight. (The support group meetings are usually held on Thursday nights.) I noticed that the church had its own Little Free Library.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

I also saw this huge banner saying that the church is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Plus I took a couple photos of this beautiful azalea bush that was in full bloom.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

The yard sale had plenty of items but I saw none of the outdated technology products that I saw in previous yard sales. (Which included a Westinghouse vacuum tube, a microcassette recorder, blank 5.25″ computer floppy disks, a TiVo, a VHS tape rewinder, and a portable analogue TV set with a built-in VHS player.) I guess the organization is discouraging these kinds of donations mainly because I never saw anyone buy the outdated technology items. There were still some kitschy items, some of which definitely belongs in a museum.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Like previous yard sales, this one was well-attended with plenty of shoppers. The weather was cloudy, hot (the temperature rose into the upper 80’s), and very humid. At one point there was a shower but, fortunately it was a short-lived storm. By the time the volunteers grabbed tarp to cover the clothes with the rain had ended. That brief storm didn’t affect attendance at the yard sale very much.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The next photo shows the pit beef tent on the church grounds. The proceeds from the sale went to the Anne Arundel Volunteer Fire Department.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church had a book sale inside the building, which I browsed through. I also managed to walk next door to the grounds of the Crofton Country Club, where the Festival on the Green event was held.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

The next two photos show a hockey mask that was signed by one of the actors who played Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. That mask wasn’t for sale. It was part of the decorations that were displayed on the Laurel House of Horror and Escape Room booth.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

I bought a few items during my time in Crofton. I bought this bar of vanilla bean soap from the Simply Natural Handcrafted booth.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I bought a couple of books at the used book sale that was held inside the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. I found this hardcover book of counted cross-stitch patterns called The Great Counted Cross-Stitch Book by Ed and Stevie Baldwin for only 50 cents.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I also purchased a used copy of the Weight Watchers Quick Success Program Cookbook by Jean Nidetch. I once owned a copy of this book and I used to frequently cook meals from that book regardless of whether my husband and I were on diets or not. (The recipes in that book are that delicious.) When my marriage imploded I made the mistake of telling my husband that I had been going to the Thursday night Changing Focus meetings in an effort to improve myself. (He blamed me for the marriage collapse. At the time I wanted him back so I told him about those meetings in the hopes that he would return home.) He used that information to let himself into our home when I wasn’t there on Thursday nights and take some belongings. Among those was that cookbook. So I now have my own copy so I can cook those meals for myself now.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

Like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I had a pretty busy Saturday. I ended up leaving the Changing Focus yard sale earlier than usual because I had another event scheduled at 2 p.m. for the same day. It was a beer tasting that I purchased through my church auction last fall. Even though it gave me a chance to socialize with some of my friends from church while tasting a few beers, I didn’t take any pictures. I was more into enjoying myself than playing photographer.

I purchased a pack of mozzarella cheese sticks featuring the characters from the Disney movie Frozen because it was on sale. (I was more interested in the cheese than how the package was decorated.) I have to admit that the outside package was cute.

Look at what I found on sale at Giant today-- #Frozen mozzarella cheese sticks. #Anna #Elsa #Disney #AnnaandElsa

It was worth buying just so I can see what the design on individually wrapped cheese sticks looked like. Like all cheese stick packages the wrapper is perforated so one can separate the individual cheese sticks. But the package is cuter when it is still in one piece because you can see Olaf the snowman do some serious photobombing on each of the cheese stick (which each feature one of the main characters from that movie).

Look at what I found on sale at Giant today-- #Frozen mozzarella cheese sticks. #Anna #Elsa #Disney #AnnaandElsa

On a different note, I recently saw the band Snakehead Run perform its blues set at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Snakehead Run

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