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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Boy story: breaking down stereotypes 1 doll + 1 boy at a time

Dear Diary,

Jesse: Boy Story is a doll company with a worthwhile mission for boys everywhere.  

The company has the following 2 goals:

1. Play! And play some more. And have fun while you're at it! 

2. Break down stereotypes!

Watch these videos: 

Visit their site:

I purchased one of these dolls because I want to support this  exceptional effort. This isn't just about making boy dolls available; it's about making it possible - and acceptable - for boys to play with dolls. I wonder how my own childhood would have differed had this philosophy of play been available to my parents.  I look forward to Mason's arrival.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Holiday greetings to all

Dear Diary,

Hans:  The winter solstice will soon be here.  Like our
ancestors, we will celebrate the change of the seasons, from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  For centuries, pre-dating the arrival of Christianity, people of ancient times found meaning in the shortest day of the year.  The practice recognised the movement from the dark days of winter to the ever-lengthening days of spring.  The celebration honoured the fertility of the earth, upon which the survival of humankind depended.  As Christianity sought to subsume the old religions, it adopted the story of darkness to light and applied it to the birth of its founder, Jesus of Nazareth.  Gradually, the notions of the old religions were replaced with Christian theology but in many cases the ancient symbols remained.  The celebration of Christmas is best placed in the Northern Hemisphere where the darkness of the long days of winter is replaced by the lengthening of the days of spring.  All the current symbols of Christmas are tied into this.  I come from Germany with ties to the Nordic cultures; we have provided so many Christmas symbols such as St Nick, the Yule log and the Christmas tree.

AdamI have only known a summer Christmas; I have always
thought a Santa in shorts seemed somehow out of place.  The traditional Christmas symbols don't seem appropriate here, logically because they are for winter.  But, that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the longest day of the year. 

Armand:  I like both the winter and the summer solstice and
any time for a party is fine with me!  I like the traditional mid-winter feast in June (our winter solstice) and enjoy the tree, prezzies and feast at Christmas.  We sing carols and drink eggnog while pretending it's snowing outside.  

Angelo:  I'm just a kid and I still make out a list of things I want from Santa.  Why shouldn't I still believe in Kris Kringle - he always brings me lots of goodies.  I always have a difficult time falling asleep on Christmas Eve, always thinking I hear the sound of jingling sleigh bells.  I try each year to stay awake, hoping to catch a glimpse of the flying reindeer, especially Rudolph with his shining red nose.  But, sadly I can't stay awake.  But, then it's morning and I rush to find the presents under the tree.

Image result for santa claus graphics free

Jesse: From all of us in the Southern Hemisphere, we wish you a

Image result for merry christmas free graphics

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Ich bin endlich angekommen

Dear Diary,

Hans:  Guten Tag!  Ich heisse Hans Kruse.  Ich komme aus Deutschland.  Was?  You don't speak German?  Entschuldigung - er - pardon me.  I will speak in English instead.

My name is Hans Kruse and I just arrived in New Zealand from Germany where I've lived since I was born on 15 January 1943.  My grandmother was Kathe Kruse, a world famous doll creator from early in the last century.

When I was told I was to be auctioned and there was a chance I'd go abroad to live, I was very concerned about where I'd end up.  You see, being born in Germany in 1943, I know all about fascist regimes and how awful they are.  I worried that I'd end up in the country with the now-emerging neo-fascist government and I thought that sounded like an awful future.  Thankfully, I avoided this fate, being purchased by my new Vati (German for Dad) and coming to New Zealand, a socially progressive and stable country.  Bullet dodged.

I was fashioned after one of grandmother's sons, Friedebald Kruse.  He was born just before the end of WWI and so was named "friede" ("peace") + "bald" ("soon").  Sadly, he died at the age of 27, just before the end of WWII, in a military accident.  He was the only Kruse child to have his face used as a model for a doll (his younger brother Max was the inspiration for a doll but he wasn't the model).  His lovely face was used for the famous "Das Deutsches Kind" ("The German Child") dolls by Kathe Kruse. I am one of those dolls.

I have been redressed but I am wearing my original shoes.  I don't know what happened to my original clothing and I have heard from Vati that he has an ambitious master plan for outfitting me.

It's important to say that I have a disability.  I cannot stand alone without mechanical assistance.  You will probably see me with my stand which is like leg braces on humans.

I brought along my suitcase.

It's very light.
I bet you've never seen a doll suitcase with its own key and working lock.

I'd best not lose this!
Sadly, it is empty!

It's clear that I've joined a wonderful bunch of lads.

"I'm so happy you've come to live with us, Hans."

Angelo: We have much in common.  Our grandmothers, Kathe and Sasha were contemporary German doll makers with many shared philosophies about how dolls should be.  I come from Switzerland, but from an Italian-speaking canton. 

"Wilkommen Bruder."

Armand: Welcome my German brother!  We are both from Germany and share the same culture and language.  I am older than you and I've lived abroad for a long time.  However, I can still speak German and I can help you to learn more English and to adjust to the weird and wacky New Zealand culture.

"I'm pleased to meet you, Hans."

Adam: I like the international flavour of our household, each of us coming from somewhere different.  I don't speak any German, but maybe you can help me to learn?  Angelo has already taught me some Italian.  I don't mind that Jesse keeps getting dolls taller than I am - but why are they always so good-looking?

I look forward to making many entries in this diary as time goes on.  Everyone here is so warm and friendly and I'm very happy to start a new life in New Zealand.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Boys with dolls

Dear Diary,

Jesse: This blog is intended to encourage guys to actively play with their dolls.  It's geared to blokes but by extension, it can also be an encouragement for lads, too.

I found these two items on Pinterest and wanted to share them here. 

This is the story of how a mother transformed a girl doll into a boy doll for her son's birthday.

This is about a boy doll available for purchase to the general public: 

Remember, it doesn't matter what kind of dolls are chosen. Action, fashion BJD, male, female,collectible, childhood - they are all equally valid.  It's all about playing with your dolls. 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

A gaggle of gooseberries

Dear Diary,

Adam:  It's now early summer and time to harvest the gooseberries.  

We planted 3 gooseberry bushes a couple of years ago but had to move them last year for better drainage.  The plants seem to have appreciated the new place in the garden as they have produced lots of berries.  Angelo and I went out to pick them.  
Angelo:  We have the old variety which has long, very sharp thorns which make picking the berries perilous. 

"Ouch!  Bloody thorn!"
Adam: We love gooseberry jam and pie so we wouldn't let the thorns get the better of us.  We picked and picked until we had almost 2 full baskets of berries.

Say, Angelo, Do you remember in the movie Krull when Ergo says "I'd wish for a gooseberry pie as big as a house"?

Angelo:  Yes, I do remember that part.

Adam: Well, I think we've now picked enough gooseberries to make his pie!

Lots of good eats here.

"Oops - I missed one!"

"Get out of the basket, Angelo!  There is no way I can carry these heavy berries and you at the same time.  In fact, you can carry that half-full basked."
Angelo:  Where's that big boy, Armand, when I need him?

Armand:  Now, it's my turn to do kitchen duty.  First, I made a pie filling using the gooseberries + thickener + sugar.  Then, I bottled 14 quarts.  I do this with apples each year.  This way, during the upcoming year, we can have freshly baked gooseberry (or apple) pies, simply by opening a jar.

"Bottling under control!"

Then, I used the leftover berries and turned them into a freshly-baked pie.

"Not as big as a house but enough for all of us here."

The heart and bunnies have a special significance.

Now, just add a cup of tea!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Our daily bread

Dear Diary,

Adam:  Today was my day to make bread for the family.  

It's an easy job because we use the no-knead method of Jeff Hertzberg and keep the dough stored in the refrigerator until we want to bake some bread or rolls.  I just took this out of the oven and Angelo came to check it out.  He loves bread; it must be his Italian heritage.

"Take the lid off, Adam, so we can see it.  I can already smell it and my mouth is watering!"

I was delighted to see how well it had raised ('oven spring') and how nicely brown and crispy the crust is.  It's a 2 pound loaf.

"Oooo - that looks yummy!"

Now, we need to cool the loaf for several hours before cutting it.  Angelo gets impatient and wants to eat it now.  I have to always explain to him that the bread isn't done baking until it's cool.  Patience, Angelo!

"I've got the knife and I'll run and get the butter!"