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These are a few of my favorite things, Part II: Finishing off 2020 with dignity and grace

Electric Jesus.

Confinement. Isolation. Sequestration. Lock down. Quarantine.

Of all the words to describe this peculiar existence we are in today, I have the most trouble with “quarantine.” I simply can not recall this word when describing how we are living these days.

It is blocked from my memory. Unlike the actual quarantine which we live minute by minute in our homes.

Ah well, I’m not here to summarize 2020 — nor analyze. I can offer no grand insights, survival tip, recipes, bromides, earned wisdom, nor life lessons. It happened. It ran over us and didn’t even honk the horn or stomp on the brakes. There were no skid marks. We just took the full brunt of its force.

And here we are. Hello, 2021. Show us what you’ve got.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

These are a few of my favorite things, Part I: Salvaging love and beauty from 2020

Well, thank god that’s over. The year, I mean. 2020.

I’ve had just about enough of it and I suspect you have too. Not that 2021 will start off so terribly different. Well, there is the regime change, an inauguration, and the eradication of four years of shitty people running the country.

It will take time, lots of vaccinations, still more wine than we should be consuming, and a Democratic majority in Congress — up to you, Georgia.

Was 2020 really all that bad? Yes. Yes, it was.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Starry and bright: All is quiet on Christmas Eve in San Miguel de Allende

Merry Christmas from beautiful San Miguel de Allende, a city that is no more beautiful than on Christmas Eve.

The city has been decorated for weeks but we waited until this evening to walk through historic Centro. A perfect night for it — the temperature dropped suddenly, the wind picked up slightly, and there were ever so few people out and about.

This is just a brisk tour through the center of this magical city. I took some photos while Rose handed out tangerines and caps that she’d knitted to a few people. Moppit just sniffed the curbs and wondered why we kept stopping to take in the beauty of it all.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende

That time when ‘everything looked better in black and white’

Remember when your friends were nominating you to do stuff on Facebook that you wouldn’t dream of ever doing on your own?

Things like, “post the album covers of the seven LPs that changed your life.” And, “post the covers of 10 books that made you who you are today.” And, oh, whatever.

I can’t recall because I just don’t do that sort of thing.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log for May 18: Magic mushrooms, John Malkovich, a Pulitzer Prize podcast, a crossword blitz, and fresh-baked cookies

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Pulitzer Podcast:  Last week, the radio program/podcast “This American Life” won a Pulitzer Prize. It is the first-ever awarded to a radio program. The honored program, called “The Out Crowd” is steeped on original reporting, boots on the ground, at the U.S. Mexican border. It first aired in November 2019 and is rebroadcast now with critical updates.

Most dispiriting update of all — the atrocities first reported here are largely going on unchanged and unchecked. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Grateful on this cool, preternaturally calm Sunday morning, I ask myself, isn’t this just enough, for now?

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All photographs taken on walks around San Miguel de Allende, the Magic City.

Lurking in the dark corner of the far left tabs

on my computer, for two weeks now,

Concerto for flute, no. 1 in G-Major, K. 313 (1778)

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed

By the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

I imagine that Mozart and the ISO have

Survived so much. An Iceland orchestra must Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

The Log: April 24 — Stories help us understand, Alicia Keys helps us heal

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FREE ANNOTATION AND HOT LINKS:

#1. GREAT ESCAPE: The plan was for me to get up early and walk Moppit so Rose could take an online yoga class before the sun turned up the heat.

The internet was down.

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San Miguel de Allende

Road-trip: Feel the Bernal

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Peña de Bernal sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s part of the pleasure in photographing the monolith. From almost any vantage point you can take an awfully good photo. On the day we were there, the sky was mostly hazy overcast, great for photos and hiking.

Walking up the well-worn switchback trail of Peña de Bernal I had the oddest feeling that I’d been here before.

I hadn’t, of course. Which is why we were hiking this trail on Friday.

And yet … Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende

Dancing for the lives of all women

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Just before 4 p.m. on a brilliant and blazing Sunday afternoon in San Miguel de Allende the sound of a boombox rose above the usual bustle and cacophony of the Jardin Principal.

As if on cue, the several venders with their bright balloons and bouncing pencils were swept away like neon flotsam and jetsam on the shore.

A lone, tall, leggy blonde in jeans and a black top stepped to center stage and began to dance. She got the attention of the milling crowd. A second woman, all in black, bounded into the open space and the two danced as one. (Full disclosure: Woman No. 2 was my wife, Rose Alcantara.) Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende

Road trip: Taking a deep dive into the thermal waters of Gruta Tolantongo

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The Tolantongo River, close to its headwaters at the top of the canyon which shares its name.

From deep within the Hidalgo Mountains, voluminous thermal rivers rise up to the surface above the Tolantongo box canyon. The warm waters cascade down the canyon sides and pour through vents into the grottos and caves.

The canyon walls are dotted with about 40 manmade semicircular pools called chapoteaderos into which are collected the warm waters rushing down the hillside. Water overflows from the upper pools and cascades into the lower pools. All the pools are connected by stairways.

No matter how many pools are built to trap the water, it is never enough. Water finds its way around the pools, over them, under them, into spontaneous rivulets and streams. The sensation is of being surrounded by the roar and rumble of rushing water.

In every sense, this is a totally immersive experience. Continue reading

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