El Día de Los Muertos

I celebrated El Día de Los Muertos for the first time in November. I read that the City of Boston was constructing a Day of the Dead altar in Copley Square, and people were invited to send in photos of their departed loved ones. I submitted a photo of my dad.

I didn’t find him on the altar when I visited it, but that was OK. It was still nice to be there and think of him and all of the strangers on the altar.

Boston Day of the Dead Altar 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I stopped in Copley Square on my way home, I made plans to make a little altar at home. Components of the altar are photos, candles, flowers, and favorite foods of the departed loved one. I picked up some pizza to eat for dinner and some hard candies. I was five minutes from my house when I realized that I had forgotten to pick up flowers.

Within a second of the realization, I looked down on the sidewalk and saw this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many times have you seen a formal floral bouquet discarded on a sidewalk? I had never seen one until that night. I picked out a nice-looking floral stalk and brought it home. Thanks, Dad.

Happy Holidays

I apologize for the radio silence, but my mother had a stroke a few weeks ago. All things considered, she’s doing fine. We are all grateful that she can walk and talk. She needs to relearn how to read and write, but she is determined to regain these skills since she has hundreds of books that she hasn’t read yet. Tsundoku, anyone?

I will be back after the holidays. Hope you and yours have a very merry…

Winter and the Blues

Right before the holidays, two friends and I checked out “Boston Winter,” a shopping/drinking/ice skating situation in downtown Boston. It was the first year that such a situation existed in Boston. I think it was a great start for utilizing the open space and offering people another festive activity during the holiday season.

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The big attraction was the ice skating rink, which looked popular. There was also a family-friendly chocolate tasting tent, a wine-tasting tent, and an “urban lodge” tent that sold alcohol. About 30 chalets selling all kinds of gifts dotted the landscape.

It was very cold the night we went, but we still enjoyed the opportunity to do some last-minute gift shopping.

That’s birthday list item #6. Buying a Bessie Smith album a few days later is item #7. Each year, I like to buy an album of a musician’s that I don’t yet own. I’ve been trying to buy more albums of female artists.

Allen and I went to House of Guitars while visiting my family for the holidays. It’s a candy store for music lovers. It’s organized chaos…so I happened upon the blues section as I was wandering and found a Bessie Smith album, Empress of the Blues. As far as I can tell, it’s a random mix of her hits.

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I’ve given it a few listens so far. Her voice is just beautiful. And even though the songs were written 80+ years ago, the themes of love, loss, and more love and more loss, still resonate.

Birthday Fun

Two friends celebrated birthdays recently and helped me check off two birthday list items:

1. Make a terrarium

Have you heard of Plant Nite? How about Paint Nite? It’s the same idea…have a few drinks and some food and make something to take home with you.

I like plants and gardening, although I only have two plants (that survive even though I forget to water them) and I don’t know anything about gardening. So I was looking forward to making a terrarium.

It was really easy: Put a layer of rocks in the bottom of a planter, then a bunch of soil. Insert a few cute succulents.

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And then decorate with colored moss, plastic dinosaurs, and colored rocks. Voila!

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This particular planter requires bright sunlight, which my apartment never sees. So we’ll see how long this darling terrarium survives…

2. Ride on a party bus

Another friend booked a party bus for her birthday. It was an old school bus re-purposed for people to drink, eat, dance, and sing while being driven around for hours.

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There were about 20 of us, so we had room to mingle and dance.

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We made a pit stop at a brewery, where only half of us were allowed to enter due to maximum capacity. So our group found a small Chinese restaurant nearby and ordered some drinks, providing cheap entertainment to the “regulars” eating their Saturday dinners.

After three hours of riding around the city and singing along to a plethora of ’80s and ’90s hits, we were dropped off at the North End and had a fabulous dinner.

Thanks, Linda and Abby, for helping me with my list. 😉

 

Holiday Outings

When I found out that my boyfriend had never been to Portland, Maine, I booked a trip straight away. Portland is one of my favorite cities: good beer, good food, good shopping.

Needless to say, we had a great time. And lucky for me, I was also able to check off a birthday list item. I finally made it to the Victoria Mansion.

Victoria Mansion
Victoria Mansion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s closed for much of the winter/spring, but it opens for about a month at Christmastime, with its rooms decorated for Christmas by local businesses and organizations.

It was a mob scene of adult females with their young daughters/nieces/granddaughters in tow on the morning that we visited, but we made it through. The rooms were just gorgeous. The big attraction was this tree:

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Awe-inducing, no?

And a week later, I embarked on my next holiday outing. Solve this equation:

Burlesque + The Nutcracker = ?

The Slutcracker!

This was the eighth season of the Slutcracker. I was expecting a night of raunchiness with “dancers” gallavanting around in little to no clothing. I was not expecting a night of classical ballet with DANCERS performing in little to no clothing.

Yes, many of the dancers were professionally trained. The choreography was excellent as were the costumes (although there wasn’t much to a lot of them). I also appreciated the presence of different body types and ethnicities onstage. It was a fun night out with friends.

Here it is, New Year’s Eve already. I wish you all the best for 2016…the best year yet!