Saturday, August 19, 2017

Vanilla or Strawberry?

Daddy Steve:  Vanilla or strawberry?  Why choose one when you can have both.  We have several hydrangea bushes in the yard but our favorite is this one, known as a Vanilla Strawberry.  

It's aptly named because the blossoms start out a creamy white and then slowly turn pink.  It also has a subtle but lovely scent--very fresh and clean--that Sasha is enjoying here.

It rained off and on all day today, but finally cleared off in the evening.  The butterflies and bees also like the hydrangea, so we must be a little careful when sticking our noses in the blossoms.

A monarch butterfly sipping for nectar

Sasha:  Hmmm, so pretty.

Sasha:  One scoop of each, please.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mystery Boy

Recently, a mysterious stranger knocked at our front door.

Mystery Boy:  I wonder if anyone is at home.

Frank: Oh, hello little boy.
Mystery Boy: Hello Sir; my name is Luke.  Me and my dog were wondering if we could have a drink of water and rest here for a minute.
Frank:  What's your dog's name?
Luke: Krakatoa.
Krakatoa:  Yip! Yip!
Frank:  Wait here, please.

Frank:  Hey Robin, there's some little hippy boy at the front door.
Robin:  Did you tell him that we've already made a donation to Clean Water Action?
Frank:  He's not with them.  He and his dog Krakatoa just want to rest here a while.
Bowie:  'Krakatoa?'  Isn't that the name of a volcano?
Robin:  Very curious.  Let's invite him in.

Luke:  Thank you for your hospitality.  We really appreciate it.
Krakatoa:  Yip-yip.
Robin:  So tell us, Luke, have you been on your own for some time?
Luke:  Oh yeah, quite a while; ever since we escaped.
Frank: Escaped?!?  From where?
Luke:  The old Reddish Mill.
Robin:  You mean the Trendon factory?
Luke:  Aye.
Bowie:  Did anyone know you left?

Luke:  Boy, did they ever!  I was chased for blocks and blocks by a lady named Doreen.  She came after me with a tiny paintbrush, yelling "Stop young man!  We must paint over those eyelashes!"

Bowie:  Hey,  you do have eyelashes!  Robin and I have eyelashes, too.

Luke:  You won't for long if Doreen catches you.
Robin:  Well, I'm supposed to have eyelashes.  I'm a prince.
Bowie:  Yeah, and I'm a...a musician.
Luke:  Ah, yeah, of course.  Aren't you one of the Bay City Rollers?
Bowie:  Huh?  Who?  No.

Benjamin Roy:  Say, Luke, why don't you go upstairs and, um, freshen up.  Change into some new clothes.  It, ah, smell--I mean, looks, like you've been wearing that outfit for a while.
Luke: Great idea!  Thank you!

Benjamin Roy:  I think we should ask him to stay here.  Daddy Steve won't mind; he always says the more the merrier.  And Daddy John does whatever Daddy Steve says...
Robin:  I think he's a bit odd.  And 'Krakatoa' is a funny name for a dog.
Frank:  Maybe his dog erupts.
Bowie:  He's not odd; just sort of bohemian.

Emile: Bohemian, oui!  Perhaps he ees an artiste like Rodolfo in 'La Bohemme.'  Oh mais oui he must absolutely live 'ere wiz us.  There; it ees settled.

When Luke returned, the boys told him the news.

Luke:  Live you with you guys?  That would be wonderful!  You hear that Krakatoa?  We have a new home!
Krakatoa:  Yip! Yip!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Blue Shoes

Daddy Steve:  For a while now I've felt that we really need to improve the footwear selection here at Gregoropolis.  The boys all have perfectly nice shoes, but they are all quite casual: i.e. tennis shoes (trainers) and sandals.  I blame myself for this state of affairs.  The fact is that Daddy Steve's wide, flat, middle-aged feet are much more comfortable in casual shoes.  Just because I've given up on fashion, however, doesn't mean that my boys have to as well.

Recently, an Etsy seller listed some very stylish Sasha shoes suitable for either girls or boys in some very eye-popping colors.  I decided to order a pair so the boys could try them out.

Giancarlo:  Hey, we got a package in the mail.  I think it's the new shoes.
Emile:  Formidable!  Let us open eet up.  Tout suite!

Giancarlo:  The seller included a nice little note thanking us for our purchase.
Emile:  'Ow thoughtful.

Emile: Look at ze stylish packaging!  I like zis seller.
Giancarlo:  That bag will be handy for going to market.

Giancarlo:  I can't wait to try them on.  We Italians have great appreciation for fine footwear.
Emile:  Not so fast, mon ami.  I really think zese shoes are meant, ah, pour moi.
Giancarlo:  Oh, davvero? What makes you so sure of that?

Emile:  Well, eet says quite clearly on ze bag that they are French shoes.  French shoes for les petits garçon français.

Giancarlo:  I think you're misinterpreting it. However, I will not argue the point... but only because the color does not match my outfit anyway.

Emile:  Oh, oui, zey fit perfectly and are...très élégantes!
Giancarlo:  I will admit they look okay on you.  I think Daddy Steve needs to order a pair in red now.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finding Ravi

Daddy Steve:  I have a confession to make.  I give names to dolls.  I'm not talking about just my own boys; I name dolls that I bid on but ultimately fail to win.  I also name dolls that I like, but know that I don't really need.

For quite a while now Susanna Lewis had a wonderful blonde boy for adoption on her site that I named Vince.  I would regularly check to see if Vince was still around (happily, he was adopted).  And then I name those dolls that I have yet to meet; the ones that exist only in my imagination.  This was the case for Ravi.

Meet Ravi

Here's how it all started.  You're no doubt acquainted with Sasha Sari, one of the last dolls Trendon ever made.  I always felt that she was an inspired idea.  To me, the art and culture of India are very beautiful.  I thought it was a real shame that she never had a Gregor counterpart; a raven-haired little boy dressed in a traditional kurta.  I began to think that if I could find one of the early Gregors with very dark, almost black hair; he could be that boy.  

Thus, I began my search for Ravi.  Once Daddy Steve gets an idea in his head, it can be very hard to dislodge it.  Finding Ravi got to be a kind of mild obsession.  'Ravi' became more than a name; it was an adjective, a standard of measurement that applied to every doll I saw.  Some were not 'Ravi' at all, while others were only a little bit 'Ravi.'  Some were very 'Ravi,' but not quite enough.

Arrival day and unveiling

Eventually, I found the one, the real 100% Ravi.  He's from 1968, and, like Miguel, he has the nearly black hair found on some of the early dolls. His hair is thick and perfectly styled, and best of all it's non-falling.  He appears to have never been  played with, only displayed.  He has beautifully painted eyes and a very serene expression that I think suggest wisdom beyond his years.

Getting to know each other.  He has quite the personality.

Like almost all of my early boys, his wrist tag is long gone.  However, he did come with a little surprise up his sleeve (or, in this case, stuffed down his pants).  It was his original wax seal 'Made In England' tag.  Only the early imported dolls wore this tag.  Originally the Frido wrist tags were blank on the reverse, so it was necessary to provide an additional statement of origin.

Proudly made in England!

I should add that Ravi's explanation of the tag (or 'medal,' as he calls it) is a bit fanciful.  He says that while he's not completely certain (because dolls don't have the most reliable of memories), he swears it was presented to him by Her Majesty the Queen for services rendered to the Crown.  When I ask what exactly those services were, he says only that he's not at liberty to say.  Who am I to argue?

The boys are all suitably impressed with Ravi's medal.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sasha Fest 2017

Daddy Steve:  The annual U.S. Sasha Fest takes place this weekend in Washington, D.C.  We hope that everyone attending has a wonderful time!

Sasha: Enjoy the crafts!
Emile: Buy clothes and presents for your kids!
Frank: Eat lots of Sasha cookies!

Emile: I, uh,...'Sasha' cookies?
Sasha: Frank, what are you talking about?
Frank: Sasha cookies are magic cookies.  They're any flavor you want them to be: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, cinnamon & sugar, ginger snap, macadamia...

Frank: Toffee fudge, M&M, cherry almond...
Emile: Frank!  That ees the silliest thing I 'ave ever 'eard.  
SashaWhere do you get these ideas?

Frank, whispering: Don't listen to them.  We know better; have fun and eat lots of Sasha cookies!

The boys of Gregoropolis will see you next year at Sasha Fest 2018 here in Minneapolis!

Friday, July 14, 2017

To Boldly Sew...

Daddy Steve: While prowling around my favorite vintage shop the other day, I picked up a remnant of Star Trek-themed fabric.  It's a rather fanciful (Daddy John says 'questionable') depiction of the original 1960s series.

Everybody at Gregoropolis enjoys the many incarnations of Star Trek, but Kaveh and Patrick are definitely the biggest fans.  They were very excited by our new find.

Patrick: Amazing!
Kaveh: This is so cool!

Patrick: Ahead, Mr. Sulu.  Warp Factor Two!
Kaveh: wwwwwwhhhmmmmMMMWWSSHHHH!

Patrick: Hey, where did you go?

Kaveh:  It's my 'cloaking device!'

Patrick loves the original series (TOS to Trekkies); his absolute favorite character is Mr. Spock.  He appreciates Spock's devotion to logic and rational thinking.  Patrick always says that if everyone were just a bit more logical, the world would be a better place.  I can't argue with that...

Patrick: Live long and prosper.

Kaveh is partial to The Next Generation (TNG).  His favorite character is the ship's counselor Deanna Troi (Daddy John calls her Counselor Cleavage).  Kaveh appreciates Troi's calming manner and her ability to help people get to the root of their problems.  He wants to be a counselor and help people when he grows up.

Kaveh: She's very wise and caring.

Just as Captains Kirk and Picard relied on the advice of their respective crews, I asked Kaveh and Patrick what we should make out of the fabric.  Blankets?  A wall hanging?  Perhaps a play-mat?  Bear in mind that it's not a big piece and Daddy Steve's sewing skills are rudimentary, at best.

Patrick: It's only logical to consider all possibilities.
Kaveh: You should examine your feelings; what do you think is best?

These two make a good crew!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Everything In The Garden Is Growing So Fine

Daddy Steve: And my, it is growing fine indeed.

It's hard to believe that just two months ago it still looked rather barren.

The boxwood and yew have had their trim.

The petunias are blooming.

The rudbeckia was growing, until rabbits got to it.  

Even Apollo is in a more jovial and carefree mood.

Blake and Sebastian certainly think so.

Sebastian:  He definitely looks happier now.
Blake:  He just needed a little sunshine!