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.

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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. πŸ˜‰

 

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

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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!

Another Year, Another List

Since I’ve plunged feetfirst into a new decade, I decided that I should give myself more time to complete my birthday list.

So the clock starts ticking TODAY. I’m giving myself six months to complete 41 items.

This is all I know so far:

I’m attending a lecture by Deepak Chopra in a few days.

I’m attending a burlesque version of the Nutcracker in a few weeks.

I’m attending a world music festival next month.

I am finishing the AFI’s top 100 movie list! I have around 10 left.

Have any suggestions for me?

Saturday and Tuesday

Thanksgiving is nigh! I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy taking time to ponder what you’re grateful for and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

If you participate in the events on Friday and Monday (that shall not be named), best of luck to you. I hope you will also participate in Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday:

On Saturday, visit your favorite small business to buy some one-of-a-kind gifts.

On Tuesday, donate to your favorite charity. Why not make a donation in a family member/friend’s name and give that as a gift this season? I’m adopting a wild animal and buying a share of an animal for my family this year. Or you can pledge to donate some time this season. Visit Volunteer Match to find opportunities near you.

Listen to these smart people:

β€œIt’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

β€œWe make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

β€œYou give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

β€œFor it is in giving that we receive.” Francis of Assisi

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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