On My Mind: April 2018

Monday Author: Susanne Skinner

Read-Watch-Listen, Susanne SkinnerSpring arrived last month but nobody told winter, so it’s still here. Friday it snowed, and temperatures remain cold enough for gloves. I should be seeing signs of spring in the yard, but nothing has shown itself except the chives.

We are in the process of selling our home, but the weather has prevented outdoor work, which has delayed our real estate listing. Forced to remain indoors; we have undertaken the enormous task of downsizing almost everything we own. It’s a bittersweet process as each item recalls wonderful memories.

This week I am working Punta Cana, and it’s 84 degrees. Job perks. Right now, I am on the plane with uninterrupted hours to think, write and share what’s been on my mind in April 2018. It’s mostly good.

The Year of the Dog

Welcome to the Year of the Dog—the first in twelve years. The Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar and 2018 is also an Earth year, which comes around once every 60 years.

Year of the Dog, earth energy, Susanne SkinnerEarth energy is about getting grounded, creating security, and finding your balance.  Earth energy is slow moving, designed to help you focus and move forward in a mindful way. We need this.

In Chinese Astrology, the year of the Dog is associated with finding equilibrium and personal organization. You may feel compelled to act, to change, and to make improvements, but on the other hand you may feel the need to rest, reflect and look within. Do both.

If you were born under the sign of the dog, your most notable trait is loyalty. You are honest, easygoing, and helpful; you are less likely to be tempted by money and power.  You want to make the world a better place. May it be so.

Another Day, Another Shooting

Except this time, it was different. The students at Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School stood up, walked out and said ENOUGH. They were the force behind the March for our Lives and this is what it looked like.

These kids, and we must never forget that is what they are, have grown up much too quickly. Is this what and who it will take to be the change?

Student Emma Gonzalez  shared her thoughts on what it means to be an architect of change in an Op Ed piece in Teen Vogue’s gun control issue. This girl has game.

Student David Hogg participated in a Twitter smack down with Fox News host Laura Ingram after she dissed him on her show. He retaliated by calling on sponsors to boycott the program and both sides came under fire for “bullying.”  Since the sponsors bailed, we need to rethink how we use social media and reflect on the power of words.

New Worlds in the Dictionary as of April 2018

When words get big enough, the dictionary weighs in. Merriam-Webster (based in my home state of Massachusetts) added 850 new ones. So, what makes a word or phrase MW worthy? “If a word is frequently used enough by some people, it has to be placed into a reference for all people,” says Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski.

dictionary words, new words, Merriam-WebsterAmong the more notable additions:

  • Dumpster Fire: an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence. We have all been there.
  • Cryptocurrency: currency that only exists digitally. Thanks Bitcoin!
  • Unicorn: a start-up valued at one billion dollars or more. Personal favorite.
  • Embiggen, mansplain, hate-watch. glamping, and self-care are in there too.

Not Your Kid’s Birthday Piñata

Every wonder how a Mexican piñata gets made? Well neither did I, and then I read this article. Romana Zacarías is the woman behind a business that designs and creates beautiful handcrafted piñatas.

The tradition of breaking the brightly colored piñatas filled with sweets dates to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 1500s. If you thought they were just for kids’ birthday parties, think again.

In Other News

Pantone Color of the Year, PMS 18-3838, PMS UltravioletPantone stepped out of its color comfort zone and named PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet as 2018’s color or the year. Love.

The winter blues have extended to my wardrobe. I need to get ready for spring and this is a great way to jump start the process if you’re in the mood for a closet clean out.

The persistent cold in New England keeps me in comfort-food mode. I have been unable to make the transition to lighter fare but I’m heading in the right direction. One of my favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker, offers up a  baked lemon and spinach risotto to make it easier. 

Read ~ Watch ~ Listen

Read-Watch-Listen, Books, Movies, Television, MusicRead

If you’re a fan of time travel and the supernatural, The Memory Thief by Emily Colin  is a great read. Aidan James is a mountain climber, and the book begins with an Alaskan avalanche that takes his life. Before he leaves, he promises his wife Madeline he will return. When Aidan’s spirt takes over the body of Nicholas, a comatose motorcycle accident victim, he wakes up with no memory of who he was before the accident.  The story is told by Madeline, Aidan, and Nicholas.

Watch/Don’t Watch

The Darkest Hour: Command performance by Gary Oldman. Slightly inaccurate historically—Winston Churchill was not a man of the people–but I really enjoyed the movie.

A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all-time favorite childhood books, the first of what became a quintet of “science fantasies” written by Madeline L’Engle. The much-anticipated movie adaptation is the story of the first books. Uniquely gifted Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin set out to find Meg’s missing father and save the world from interplanetary evil by shortening—aka wrinkling—time travel.

I loved these books so much I chose not to see the movie when it received (really) bad reviews. I was afraid it would forever ruin the beloved story of my childhood. No regrets.

Listen

The ladies have it!  Great new voices getting noticed.

Hakuna Matata!

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

1 thought on “On My Mind: April 2018

  1. Always love your blog Suze…sometimes light and airy, sometimes tough. It is like chatting with you over a glass of wine!

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