Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Welcome, Raggedy Arthur!

Raggedy Arthur, circa 1978 by Knickerbocker Toy Co.

My Raggedy Ann Collection has a new addition: Welcome Raggedy Arthur!

I've been coveting this little guy for over 30 years. Seriously.

He was introduced in November, 1978 in the Chuck Jones' animated television special, "Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Great Santa Claus Caper". He was also featured the next year in Chuck Jones' "Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile". Raggedy Arthur wasn't an original Johnny Gruelle character (like Raggedy Ann, Raggedy Andy, The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees, etc.,) but he was made quite popular with the merchandising of the two Chuck Jones' animated television specials.

For some reason that I never figured out, somehow, I totally missed ever finding a Raggedy Arthur when they were first sold in 1978 and after. It boggles the mind. I would have been the perfect age (8 years old) and was already collecting Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls and merchandise. In fact, I had plenty of "things" with Raggedy Arthur on it, but never a Raggedy Arthur doll. It's possible that I never even knew that they existed until I saw one on display in 1989 at a Raggedy Ann museum exhibit at the Oakland Museum. (curated by my now friend, Andrew Tabbat.)

Although I started collecting Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls since I was two, and had quite a collection through my childhood/teen years, I became a much more serious collector after having seen Andrew's museum exhibit. It was around that time that I started to scour antique stores and thrift shops looking for vintage Raggedy items. I also started to attend the Annual Raggedy Ann and Andy Festival in Arcola, IL.

(If, by this time, you didn't realize that I collect Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, and you'd like to know more about my collection, you can read more about it here.)

Even in the mid-90s, during the height of the Raggedy Ann Collecting Market, I never did see a Raggedy Arthur doll available for sale. They were very scarce, and if available, were very pricey.

Once ebay rolled out in the late 90s, prices of Raggedy Ann merchandise began to decrease, as collectable items were much more readily available. Even still, any Raggedy Arthur dolls that I did see were still very pricey and hard to come by.

...until a couple of weeks ago.

Well, honestly, I hadn't searched for one in a while, but when I did a couple of weeks ago, I found one, and realized that it was available and priced quite reasonably (compared to mid-90s prices, that is - not compared to what they originally sold for in the late 70s!).

Anyhow, that's the story of how this little guy came to join my collection today.

It makes me happy to have him displayed on a shelf with my other Knickerbocker era dolls - it makes my collection more complete.

Welcome, Arthur. I think you will be happy in your new home. :)

Ballerina Painting: Session 4

Because of some scheduling conflicts later this week, I had my painting session with Dean yesterday afternoon. He taught me some glazing techniques, and I started adding color to my painting of Sophie. We started by adding some warm tones to the background, then added color to her skin and the upper torso of her dress. I just started on glazing color into her skirt, but didn't get very far.

I'm really excited about how this painting is progressing. I think the color adds a lot of dimension and depth. I think it's really starting to come to life now. I'm generally not very good with color, so it was very helpful to have Dean teach me more about which colors to use where and why. It was mostly a combination of white, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson. Oh, and lots of liquin. :)


Sunday, October 28, 2012


The City is celebrating the Giants' World Series Win!


Sammy is here!!

Our friend, Sam, is out visiting from Florida this weekend!! He came out to see "Einstein on the Beach" at Berkeley Rep with Chad, and the two of them also made it to our Halloween Party last night. We had dinner tonight with Chad, Spencer and my Sister.

We first met Sam in Sept, 1989 in Dayton when we all moved there to march in the Miller's Blackhawks together. We got along immediately and became great friends.

It was SO great to see Sam! I know it's been about 10 years since he and I have seen each other, and more than that for my Sis.

When we walked to Chad's to pick them then up for dinner, Sam gave my sister and I each a flower. :)

Thank you for the visit, Sam!! We loved seeing you out here. xoxo

Creep-O-Rama 2012: The Return of "Fifty Shades of Funk"!

Another year, another Creep-O-Rama!! Our 11th Creep-O-Rama in 13 years, actually!

And what a Creep-O-Rama it was: Dick came up with a "High-Concept" theme a couple of weeks ago, and I think we managed to pull it all off pretty well!

The theme: Zombie 70's Funk Band.

Dick got together with his band mates, Shan (on drums) and Graham (on Bass) and they figured out a play set of 70s Funk songs that they already knew (or could learn quickly). They got together just last weekend to practice once before the party. I wanted in on the fun, so my roll was the "groupie-girl turned tambourine player". I practiced with them for one song last weekend, and figured I was able to keep a tempo well enough. :)

The concept: "Fifty Shades of Funk"
Dick came up with the name of the band, and we put together a web site a couple of weeks ago that we started to "market" on Facebook: fiftyshadesoffunk.com.

The idea is that Fifty Shades of Funk was a popular band back in the early-mid 70s until a mysterious accident happened in late 1974, and the band was never heard from again. It turns out that the band members all became zombies, only they didn't know it. ;) They think it's still 1975.

I had this large sign made at Costco, and we hung it at the front door

We advertised it as the band's first "live" performance in 40 years. The club "The Groove Line" was set up in the front room of our house. Christopher curtained it off, and we opened it up once it was time for the band to play.

The set list included 5 songs: "Jungle Boogie" (Kool & the Gang), "Get Down Tonight" (KC and the Sunshine Band), "I Wish" (Stevie Wonder), "She's Not There" (Zombies - get it?!) and "Lady Marmalade" (Patti LaBelle). During an encore performance (that was unplanned, unrehearsed and unprepared for), the band played: "Brick House".

I think it was all a hit, and a funkalicious time was had by all!

As for the party itself, it was a GREAT time! We had about 40-50 people, and the weather was simply amazing! We were able to keep the back door open into the deck and the backyard. Game 3 of the World Series was on, so we watched that as well. We had lots of yummy food (which I never seem to eat!) and plenty of drinks (our friends can DRINK!).

The costumes, as usual, were fantastic! We had all political statements (Pete & Richard came as Big Bird and Romney) and we had 3 Binders of Women (Abbe, Eve and Carol). We had Pop-culture references: 2 Katniss and a person from the Capital (from Hunger Games), many, many incarnations of zombies, and much more!

My camera on my phone got a little weird as the evening went on (also, low lighting in the house didn't make for optimal photo-taking). I managed to get several shots, but not the best quality. I borrowed some photos from Miguel, Marcia and Carol to include here.

Thank you to everyone who came! We had a great time, and hope that you did, too!!

Welcome to the Groove Line!

Early stages of decorating before the party - Welcome our newest addition to our Halloween props - Charlie the Spider!

The silver metallic curtain from the foyer of the house, showing the entrance to the Groove Line

Fun with my glassybabys! I used a dry-erase marker to put ghost and jack-o-lantern faces on my glassybaby

the other side - each glassybaby had two faces

Some band photos from early in the evening:

Dick and Trina
Keyboards and random percussion instruments

Graham & Tiff
Bass Player and Groupie

Shan and Shoko
Drummer and Groupie

Spencer - Band manager

As the band manager, Spencer passed out fliers to our guests with the following "House Rules"


o Do NOT tell the band members what year it is (they think it’s 1974)

o Do NOT tell the band members that they are dead. Or undead. It bums their mellow.

o DO Have a great time!


o Unsafe sex with the undead is uncool

o If you do sleep with a band member, use protection. Like a chainsaw, or axe

o Groove Line is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Here are a few more fun band photos we took early on in the evening before most people were here:

"Rubber Soul" style

posing in front of the Groove Line

having fun outside the Groove Line

one more shot in front of the Groove Line

The Bass Player and his groupie

Rolling Stones Review

Then it was time to get this party started!

Party spread!

pretty shot of glassybaby into the backyard

Miguel and David came as Zombie Where's Waldo!
(and they kept trying to show up in the background of everyone's photos all night long!

The lovely Linda came as "Bubbles" - the painting that we have in our Family Room! Amazing!

Here's Linda again in front of our painting!

Blane outdid himself as a really great zombie - complete with a jar of BRAINS

Vicky and Marcello came as fun maids!

Eve and Abbe as Binders full of Women

and Carol's rendition of a Woman in Binder

Warming Hut Hotties, represent!

Chad & Sam! Sam was out on vacation from Florida!

Group shot watching the World Series

Watching the World Series

We opened the Groove Line around 10:00, and "Fifty Shades of Funk" played their set for a standing-only crowd!

After the band played, it was time to cut the cake!

The annual cutting of the cake!

We rounded everyone up around 11:30 to close down the party, and had our guests head down to the Castro.

It was a really fun night, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. I'm sorry I wasn't able to take more photos! We had so many other great costumes at the party - I'm sorry I didn't get more photos of each of them.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Painting Progress: Session 3

Session three of working on my ballerina painting of Sophie. :)

She's coming along. Today, I "re-drew" many parts of her again, making lots of adjustments to the figure to try to get it as accurate as possible. Most notably, I worked on her face, which I think is finally looking right. I also did a lot of work to her upper torso, body and dress, and started on the bottom of her dress. I reworked the chair that she's sitting in, although it still needs some work. I'm going to try to make it look more like a wooden chair than the metal folding chair that it actually is.

I kept with the monochromatic color scheme. Dean said that next week, we'll use some glazing to put in some color. I'm looking forward to that.

It still needs a bit of work, but I'm happy with the progression so far.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reconnecting with a friend of over 20 years!

Today, I had lunch with a friend who I haven't seen in at least 20 years!

I first met Keather when I was one of her color guard instructors when she was a sophomore in high school in 1988. I continued to teach her until she graduated in 1990. She was guard captain in 1989 and 1990, and made WGI Scholastic A finals for the first time her Senior Year!

We reconnected via Facebook a few years ago, and have had a nice time getting to know each other as adults ever since!

We figured the last time we saw each other was probably at WGI, 1991, which is really hard to believe. We had such a nice time visiting today. It was as if no time had passed at all. It helped, of course, that Keather hasn't aged a bit since she was in high school. :)

Thanks for the lovely visit today, Keather! I look forward to seeing you again soon. xo

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sneak Peek at this Year's Halloween "Cake"

In what has now become a Halloween "Tradition", Dick "won" the auction at work for this year's AMAZING cake by his colleague, Greg.

For the last 3-4 years, Greg has been making these amazing cakes (made of rice-krispy treats, actually) and has auctioned them off at work during the month of the company's giving campaign. The idea is that the person who pledges to donate the most money to his/her charity of choice "wins" the cake.

Here is the cake from 2009.

Here is the cake from last year.

and here are some cakes that Greg made in 2010!

Greg is incredibly talented. I hear he spends about 40 hours per cake each year.

Ironically, Dick has never won the actual auction during the initial event. It seems that it has become tradition for several other people in the group to pool their money together, win it, donate their money to charity, then tell Dick that they'll "sell" it to them at the cost of yet another donation. They know that Dick loves these cakes. It's a win-win-win. :)

Greg outdoes himself every year. This year's cake is incredible.

It is based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", and features a very intricate Mansion on a Hill, complete with cemetery, and a very large skull. All of this is popping out of an open book, printed with words from the story, which, of course, is all edible.

We use Greg's cakes as our Halloween Party centerpiece each year. We'll be cutting the cake and serving rice krispy treats towards the end of the party.

the full cake

close-up of the book

close-up of the house

close-up of the skull

close-up of the cemetery

More glassybaby love for the Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk

This morning, I woke up to the lovely surprise of finding out that glassybaby had published another blog post about the Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk.

Mary, who writes the blog at glassybaby, had been in contact with me a couple of weeks ago letting me know that she had plans to write another post, following up on our walk. I never know what she is going to write, or exactly when it would be posted, so it was a nice surprise to hear from her this morning, letting me know that the new post was up.

Screenshot from the forever glassybaby blog.

Thank you to Mary, and to glassybaby for your continued support and for sharing the story of our walk with the World! xo

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Fashion Frenzy benefitting Friend to Friend

This afternoon, I had the honor of joining some of my friends from the Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk and attend the 3rd Annual Fall Fashion Frenzy, benefitting Friend to Friend.

Friend to Friend is an amazing boutique at UCSF's Mount Zion, which provides wigs, mastectomy bras, swimsuits, wig trims and beauty makeovers to cancer patients. They offer their services to low income, under insured, and uninsured patients.

Friend to Friend was one of the 3 beneficiaries of the 2012 Immediate Breast Cancer Walk. They asked our Board Members, Linda and Marcia to come, and also invited any of our walkers and support staff. They asked Linda to speak about our Walk, and Marcia was one of the models in the fashion show!

There were 8 of us who were able to come to represent our event. It was a really nice way to spend the afternoon together, and realize that we all look much different when we dress up and wear make-up, than when we dress in workout clothes and ponytails for our training walks. :)

Our table for the Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk

Marcia, all made up and looking glamorous!

Marcia, Catriona, Sharla, Sandy, Linda, Tina and Nicole

Linda did a wonderful job with her speech. She told the history of our walking team, which she formed 10 years ago, which has now raised more than $3 million dollars. She went into a little bit of detail about how many of us decided not to participate in the Koman 3Day walk this year, and how she and Marcia organized a grass-roots event that would benefit breast cancer organizations locally. As of this morning we have raised more than $108,000 (and still growing!). At least 80% of that will go towards our beneficiaries, including Friend to Friend.

She described how she had gone to the Fall Fashion Frenzy event last year, and how she was so taken by the work that they do for local cancer patients, and how it inspired her to try to find a way to give back locally.

Linda was very poised and well spoken, but also spoke from the heart and was very inspiring. She encouraged the people in the room to give big towards at this fundraiser, and challenged them to find a way to make a difference in any way that they could. She got a standing ovation from the room.

Linda, speaking.

After Linda spoke, we were served our desserts, and they started the live-auction potion of the event.

The big ticket item was a villa in Hawaii for 7 nights. I can't remember all of the details, but it had 3 master suites, and I believe sleeps more than 8 people. It was valued at $5,000.

The bidding during the live auction was a bit of a frenzy, and escalated all the way past $4,500 or so when it was finished.

...and then the most amazing thing happened...

The woman who was the high bidder for the villa in Hawaii said that she wanted to give it to "the young lady who just spoke".

It took a few seconds to realize that she meant Linda.

I think Linda was in a state of shock and disbelief for the next several minutes, and the rest of us sitting at the table were in tears. It was the most generous act of kindness I think I've ever witnessed. What an amazing moment that was, and we're all so happy for Linda, and grateful to the very generous woman who gifted the trip to her. :)

After we had all dried our eyes, it was time for the fashion show! There were about a dozen models or so, and they each came out a couple of times to model their outfits.

Marcia's first outfit was a gorgeous red top, which looked stunning on her.

Marcia, coming towards the stage

Marcia, looking like a pro!

Marcia's second outfit was a fantastic leopard print dress that looked absolutely stunning on her.

Walking the catwalk

Marcia, working that gorgeous dress!

I was so happy to have been able to attend today's fundraiser, and I had a great time. Congratulations again to Marcia and Linda, for the recognition of all of their hard work and dedication!!