Roundup of December 2020 Posts

We all know how terrible this year has been. The weather proved no exception. Wildfires burned homes in the west while hurricanes and floods destroyed them in the southeast. New England was spared the destructive extremes, as we often are, but we did have two earthquakes, albeit so small I never felt them. December 2020 went out, as one might expect, in a series of contradictions and frustrations.

Cloudy, White and Green

snow storm, White Christmas, December 2020

The December 17 Storm

The great conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn washed out here, though. The sky was too cloudy both that night and the night after for us to see anything. It cleared up beautifully when the conjunction was all over, though.

It  reminded me of a Ray Bradbury short story called “All Summer in a Day,” about a girl who lives on Venus where the sun shines only one day every seven years and what happens to the girl on that day. If you believe that people are inherently good at heart, don’t watch this.

And we had a white Christmas thanks to a December 17 storm that dropped about 15 inches on New England, give or take. In true 2020 fashion, however, it all washed out in a Christmas Eve rain that left us green on Christmas day.  See? Even Santa couldn’t make the weather work out for December 2020.

Boston Pictures from Readers

Ron Gemeinhardt saw my request for photos of the Giant Lollipop sculpture called “Helion” in its original location and sent me several pictures he had taken back then. I replaced the ones I had with his and republished. You can see Mr. Gemeinhardt’s photos in Boston’s Missing: Helion and the Giant Lollipops.

And Brian Amirault sent me some beautiful photos of the old Grain and Flour Exchange after the December 17 storm. Here’s the one I like best. The building Mr. Amirault manages is the one tied up with a big red ribbon. You can read all about it in the post about Boston’s Grain and Flour Exchange.H

e took the photo from across the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The tower lit up on top is the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at the Custom House.

Grain and Flour Exchange, Winter, Brian Amirault

Boston after the storm

Roundup of December 2020 Posts

Suze and I wrote fewer posts this month due to a combination of family demands and holiday needs. Usually, at this time of year I’m baking for five or six parties, going to choir practice, shopping (of course), sending out cards, doing some decorating, and generally running around.

Banana Nut Bundt Cake, Baking, parties

Banana Nut Bundt Cake

In December 2020 of our pandemic year, we did no running around, parties were cancelled, the choir didn’t rehearse, and our Christmas Eve service was held on Zoom.

Cloudy to clear, white to green, cold to warm and back again—that’s what this year has been like, only worse. Nevertheless, Susanne and I wrote some good stuff.  If you’re one of the employees who got Zoomed-out during their work day and didn’t want to look at a screen any more after that, here’s your chance to catch up.

Boston and History

  • Salutation Street: The Long and Short of It – Aline
  • Boston’s Streets: Oliver Street – Aline
  • The Challenge of Christmas in Boston — Aline

Food and Cooking

  • Support Your Local Food Bank — Susanne

Health and Safety

  • Heroes Among Us – Susanne
  • The End of 2020 Approaches — Aline

Lifestyle and Culture

  • On My Mind: December 2020 – Susanne
  • The Wall Street Journal vs. Dr. Jill Biden — Aline

Movies and Television

  • Five Best Sports Movies to Watch During the Holidays – Aline
  • Pandemic Watchlist: Version 6 – Aline

Looking Ahead to 2021

2021, Looking Ahead, December 2020, bright sideThat’s it for December but we will have more to write about in 2021. I hope it will focus more on the bright side. In fact, I’m looking forward to having a bright side. But some questions remain.

  • Can the world roll out the new vaccines fast enough to stop Covid-19 in its deadly tracks?
  • Will enough Americans take the vaccine to get us to herd immunity?
  • Can we expect the economy to bounce back fast enough for more people to go back to work?
  • How many companies, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses go out of business before things turn around?
  • Will things turn around?
  • Can Americans stop fighting one another and come together or is the divide from the last four years too deep?
  • Have we all gotten out of the shopping habit permanently or consumerism reign again?

You see? The pandemic and the lockdowns have changed so many things, some of them barely noticeable, that we might be surprised at what our society looks like once it’s over. That gives The Next Phase Blog more to write about. Tune in to our posts in 2021 to find out.

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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 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. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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