On 2019 to 2020

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A toast to my blog friends – those who have passed through my little corner of the world and those are remained. To friendships, to good people, to kindness, to respect, to dreams, to happiness, to good health, to a brighter tomorrow, and to love.

Happy New Year!

Which version of Auld Lang Syne to you select?

Singers

 

Singers and Bagpipes

 

Bagpipes

On Christmas 2019

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To me, the December holiday rush is about the season of goodness. Some see it through a festival of light, others through a Nativity scene, others through the secular side of a Christmas tree, others through darkness of nature and Yule, and I’m sure other ways exist. Whatever the perspective, this is the season for joy, light, renewal, and hope.

I know that Christmas is a Christian holiday. Although I am a Christian, so my thoughts will cause some skin to crawl, but I also see this holiday time as the season of goodness that goes across humanity regardless of religion. A season of goodwill to all – l season of gratitude and appreciation of others –  a season …. And at the head of the holiday parade is Santa Claus – the Spirit of Goodness.

Santa is for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Naturalists, Christians, and anyone and everyone else believing in a positive humanity. Yes, Santa is for everyone!

For me and to many others here, it’s Merry Christmas – but for others its’s Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice (or Yule), or simply have a blessed holiday.  In my final Christmas post in my little corner of the world, and being one believing the majority of the world is good, I wish everyone bountiful goodness during this holiday season with the greeting that suits them.

Below are some of my favorites for the season. For me, the gift of music for you is me. Whether you watch all or some, please let me know your favorites.

Christmas Canon (Trans Siberian Orchestra)

 

Silent Night (Placido Domingo and The Piano Guys)

 

As a ballroom dancer, I must include the light-hearted Christmas Waltz featuring a variety of clips from holiday movies.

 

In the spirit of the Winter Solstice, enjoy A Fire For You (John Boswell).

 

Ever since I saw this performed live, I love it – a Nigerian carol by the Morman Tabernacle Choir.

 

O Holy Night (piano solo with beautiful images of deep space).

 

Silent Night (Mannheim Steamroller – a long-time personal favorite arrangement featuring images of nature)

On Thanksgiving 2019

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Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the US, so many families will gather for a bountiful meal.

Thanksgiving is a day that begins the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate the harvest.

Thanksgiving is a day of happiness and gratitude.

Thanksgiving is a special day to give thanks – to consider our blessings. Although that is something that people (including me) should do more often. Then again, others struggle on this day for a variety of reasons: especially loneliness and health. Let us be thankful for our blessings and keep the troubled in our hearts.

With this being my last Thanksgiving in my little corner of the world, I am thankful for the many good people I’ve encountered on these pages. I feel very blessed – and an extra special thank you to my regulars today and in the past.

A Thanksgiving blessing to all!

On a Yearly Transition

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As the waves come ashore to wash away 2018, the year officially moves into our memory bank. A year that marked 10 years in my little corner of the world here on WordPress. A good year of writing, memories, and interactions with many good people.

A year featuring of 158 posts (I think) included 24 more beach walks, a tour to notable US national parks, and an outstanding tour in Eastern Europe. A year when Pronouns awakened the sleeping giant known as blog musicals. Some of my favorite topics to post included religious liberty, common good, buying food in Venezuela, a teacher’s day, a 4-part series about the US as a Christian nation, 1968, containers, my career of 2 halves, lead & follow, ballroom connections, and several attempts at fiction. Remember any of those?

If all goes well, 2019 means more beach walks, more travel, another musical, and the introduction of the aFa Weekend Concert Series (which starting this coming weekend). For the inaugural event, it doesn’t get any bigger than The Beatles.

Sometime in 2019 will deliver the 400th weekly edition of Opinions in the Shorts. New posts in final preparation include Oreos, shopping carts, race music, samba, water, shadows, dark, a look at me during my college days, and a toast to 66. 2019 could deliver visit #400,000.

As we say farewell to 2018 while greeting 2019 with open arms, Happy New Year to you … and may goodness continue to shine! Enjoy The Tenors.

On Christmas 2018

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On these pages I have stressed this point many times: “I believe the majority of the people in the world are good.” Regardless of the bad news we receive on any given day from any given place, I continue to maintain that statement as an important mantra.

Not only to I believe the majority of the people in the world are good, I also see Santa as the Spirit of Goodness because it is that spirit that touches all.

It is the season of Christmas across Christendom – and yes, Christmas is a religious holiday – and yes – I am Christian – and yes, I embrace Christmas a secular holiday for all.

Whereas some Christians (and I believe the minority) complain about the commercialism while proclaiming, Put Christ back in Christmas, I say there is plenty of room for everyone in a secular Christmas because Santa – the Spirit of Goodness – is for everyone. Santa is for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Naturalists, Christians, and anyone and everyone else.

During our recent trip to the Czech Republic, were told (multiple times) that the vast majority of Czechs today do not identify themselves as religious – let alone associated with a religious community. Yet – they embrace Christmas. I’m confident the Czech example if not unique – but rather very common because they embrace the Spirit of Goodness that the season brings.

Mannheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is one of my favorites. Below are different videos to the same song. I hope you pick one (and let me know).

May the Spirit of Goodness be with you not only during this holiday season, but throughout life.

The original

 

Beautiful painting of the season and live wildlife

 

Featuring the Aurora Borealis

 

More religious

On Thanksgiving 2018

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The most important decision each person makes in live is the choices they make of the people around them.

No matter the age – as children, teens, young adults, adults, and elders – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter the place – work, school, neighbors, organizations, and more – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter our choice of hobbies – dance, photography, travel, bicycling, knitting, blogging, or more – the importance of the choices is the same.

For Thanksgiving 2018, I am thankful for all the good people who have been around me all my years – my hometown, college, neighbors, work, church, conferences, dance, vacations, family, and many more – and that includes the good people in blogging.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Returning this weekend for Act 2 of Pronouns 2: The Musical featuring songs with Mine in the title. Curtain goes up at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

On Buying Food

The story below is true – a story that an English Second Language student wrote and I helped edit. The story touched me enough to want to tell others. The words below are a blend of mine and his because I continued working on this story with hopes of posting it here with the original author’s permission.

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The Real Truth about Buying Food in Venezuela

Today is Friday – the day that I can buy food. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – today – Friday.

The government uses the last number of our National ID to set the day of the week citizens can buy food. My number is 27654328, so Fridays are my day, and today is Friday. I requested and received a day off from work for this day – the day I’m able to buy food.

It’s 3 AM. Time to get up to find the shortest line. Yes, some people will arrive earlier than me. Others will spend the night in line. I must be careful because a short line could mean that nobody knows if the store will have any food to sell. I don’t want to take that chance.

I’m going early because the lines will be longer after 5:30 AM, the time the public buses start operating. Some people arrive very early because they own a car. I’m lucky to ride with a friend.

It’s 4 AM. I get in a line at a store that I think will sell food. I count the people and determine I’m 225th in line. There is another line with about the same number of people who are pregnant, disabled, or older than 60 – but that’s not me. This store won’t open until 9 AM

It’s 6 AM. The trucks with foods begin to arrive. I feel lucky and grateful, but realize the grocery store may be empty. I know two other grocery stores are 6 blocks from where I now stand. I wonder if I can get a position in another line? I better walk to them to see.

Success! I’m going to walk back and forth to try to maintain my place in line for both stores.

It’s 7 AM. The second store will open in 30 minutes. Oh no, I’m wasting my time because they have no food.

I immediately return to my first line. I count the food packs from each truck, and then recount my position in line. Yes, there is enough food for 700 people and I’m 225. Even with the second line for special needs, I’m in a good place.

It’s 9 AM. The store opens. Security controls the line by letting 20 people into the store. Soon, people start organizing in groups of 20 with one person collecting all the identification cards in the group. Time passes as I wait my turn with my group, but I still think we’re fine.

It’s 12 noon. Just one group is ahead of mine, so I remain hopeful. Then I hear, “The food purchase is over. There is enough left for 10 people.” I’m stunned.

I don’t know what happened because I counted the food packs and the people. I suspect the store employees and security guards got the first chance to buy food. Some of the food was probably taken for the black market. My 8 hours in line today was a waste of time. I took a day off from work with hopes of buying food.

A lot of things came to my mind with many emotions. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or yell!

How can I survive? Should I not waste my time? Should I eat more often in restaurants? Should I spend money to find food on the Black Market? As I walk away from the grocery store, I thank God because I am luckier than many others, and returned to my house for some rest.

It’s 4 PM. I awaken, but hungry. I am calm because my salary of $30 a month is much better than the minimum wage of $10 a month minimum wage.I can eat 3 times a day at a restaurant where the average meal costs $1.50.

I organize my money I have so I can eat until next Friday – the day I might be able to buy again. Maybe I’ll go earlier next week.

This is my story from 2016. I’m no longer a computer systems analyst in Venezuela. I received a tourist visa to come to the United States, a place where I wash dishes. I am happy here in the United states, but I want others to know that this is still happening to Venezuelans today.