Saturday, December 26, 2020

Happy Boxing Day - Happy Holidays 2020 Everyone


Happy Boxing Day December 26

Happy Holidays Everyone

Now as an American (US), we don't celebrate Boxing Day as they do in the UK and other places.

But I've always thought that we should. So for years I have celebrated the day on my own, in my own mind. 🀣

I used to say that in my life I lived in the US during the work day and then at night I lived in the UK in my mind, since I watch lots of British TV programs

Many in the US celebrate Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1).  You can read about it at the link:

I became acquainted with Kwanzaa during my years as a weekend volunteer at the  museums.  If my volunteer weekend in late December happened to fall on Kwanzaa we would celebrate it with visitors, staff, and other volunteers. 

As a Cuban (Cuban-American) I grew up celebrating the holidays until January 6, Dia de Los Reyes Magos.

(Now, as a kid, I always received presents from both Santa Claus on December 25 and then the Three Kings on January 6)

This has been a solitary holiday season for many, myself included, because of COVID-19.  But we all know that it is the right thing to do, for our own health and the health of others.  

My two favorite actors favored us with unexpected gifts this Holiday Season

Photo by An Le

Richard Armitage with a lovely Audible Q&A. Below is a bit of the almost 30 minute interview:

Sean Bean as Mr. Wilford surprised us with a familiar, yet unexpected, holiday poem:


Happy Holidays to Richard and SeanπŸŽ„

Monday, December 21, 2020

New Year - New Audiobook Challenge 2021 - Listening Books (UK)


At the start of this year, 2020, I was looking for a new audiobook challenge for the year.  I was searching Facebook when I found the Listening Books 2020 Audiobook Challenge.  I am now listening (and reading also - for a great book club) my December challenge,  "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.  You can check my blog post of November 30 for more about this month's challenge.

I also tried the Listening Challenge from AudioFile magazine in 2019.

So I was pondering the next challenge late last week looking for a new 2021 audiobook listening challenge.  

I was happy to see a notification on FB this morning that Listening Books has posted a new challenge for 2021.  It's different from 2020's but looks interesting and I think I will try it.

Now I don't belong to Listening Books, a UK Audiobook Lending Charity. They have audiobooks for children and adult members that have "illness, physical, or mental, disabilities that affects their ability to read the printed word."(    

When I decided to join this year I asked if it was OK to do so since I'm in the US, and also would not qualify for membership. They explained that they had opened it to the public on FB in the hopes of learning about new audiobooks from a wider public so that they might then research for their members and add to their lending library.  

I really enjoyed their 2020 Audiobook Challenge.


If you would like to find out more about Listening Books and consider a donation to support their work you can do so at the link below:

They also have a podcast and a blog

Now for the Listening Books 2021 Audiobook Challenge:

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Armitage Inspiration - My Inheritance Tracks?

    • My Inheritance Track 1

Richard Armitage was on  BBC Radio 4  on December 12 and shared his Inheritance Tracks (See link below):

What are Inheritance Tracks?

"Inheritance Tracks Podcast. Celebrating the music that special guests cherish and would like to bestow to future generations."  BBC Radio 4

So it made me think.  If I had to select two pieces of music that I cherish and would like to bestow on future generations, what would they be?

I've chosen two:

La Comparsa by Ernesto Lecuona  

My Cuban side

My mother played the piano quite well after studying for many years, and until we emigrated to the US we always had a piano at home.  My favorite piece of the ones she would play most frequently was La Comparsa by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.  

Comparsa:  a masked company of street dancers in Cuban carnival processions. Merriam-Webster

I feel the melancholy of a time lost forever when I listen to it now.

(see video at the top of the page and below)

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin

My second choice reflects my US-American side.

The energy, vitality, heart, and promise of the US is what I feel whenever I hear it.

I also think of New York City.  A city I lived in for a bit when I was a child and still one of my favorite cities today.  

What are your inheritance tracks?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Stages of Retirement - My First Retirement Snow Day

Photo from 2019 - Patch Staff

I'm watching the first snow of this winter season in my corner of the Mid-Atlantic US.

This is also my first snow as a retired person.  

You may be asking yourself why is that important?  Because if this snow was happening in a work morning pre-pandemic my feelings about it would be totally different.  

I would have set my alarm for 6am to check my employer's website to see if we were closed and had a snow day today.  If we had a snow day I would have gone back to bed.  If the website said we had a late opening, then I would watch the snow worried we would have a mix of snow and ice that would make commuting dangerous.  If my employer thought there wouldn't be any big snow accumulations and the office was open, then I would have gotten ready to clean my car and drive to work in fear as the snow came down.   

Snow looks pretty coming down, but I've never been comfortable driving in it.  In my neck of the woods we would have a couple of big snows most years (anything over 4 inches for us), but not enough to practice and know how to drive on slick roads.  

The difference this morning for me as a retired person is that I don't have to worry about it. I can just look at the lovely snow coming down and not worry.  

And because we're locked in at home for COVID-19 for our health at my age, I probably will wait for the snow to melt and just leave my car in the parking space.  Thanks to grocery deliveries I also don't have to worry about going to the store in the snow, as I used to.  It always helped to have a store I could walk to. 

I'm also lucky I live in an apartment building, so building maintenance will clear the entrances and sidewalk, and parking lot.  Though the plows throw the snow behind the parked cars and you end up having to clear a snow mountain.

Yes, I know I'm lucky that I was able to retire after 40 years in the workforce.  I'm grateful for that this year.  


Saturday, December 12, 2020

I Miss Going to the Movies


I was thinking the other day of how much I miss going to the movies at a movie theater.  There is nothing like sitting in a dark theater, together with fellow human beings, all experiencing the same film on the large screen in front.  Only in a darkened movie theater can you truly feel totally transported to another world.

Don't get me wrong.  I feel lucky to be able to watch wonderful movies from the safety of home thanks to Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.  And through them I've also been able to watch films that most movie theaters just don't show these days, even pre-pandemic, like some independent and international films.  But watching at home, on my own, surrounded by my things, and often distracted by my personal clutter - it's just not the same.  

I worry that the very few independently owned movie theaters left in my area in the age of the multiplex won't survive Covid-19.  They've  opened again after being closed when we were all on strict lockdown.  But despite their assurances that social distancing and disinfecting measure are being taken, I still don't feel safe going.  And I'm sure many share my fears.  I feel conflicted because I know they need their audiences to return in order to survive.

(Would I make an exception to watch Uncle Vanya with Richard Armitage on the big screen?  That depends.  We'll have to wait and see.)

I used to belong to a movie club that took met in one of these neighborhood independent movie theaters. I've watched movies and documentaries because of the club that I would have not discovered on my own. Indeed quite a few, several international ones, and the documentaries, never made it to a screen or even streaming, anywhere else. But that ended because of Covid-19.  I thought maybe they might decide to do it virtually, or find a way to do so. I understand though how difficult it has been, and is, for these smaller movie theaters to even survive.

I hold out hope that by the end of 2021 we'll still be able to go and watch movies on the big screen in the dark.


Patagonia Opens in Former Historic Old Town Theater 


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