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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Oh No, Not Again

Yes kids, its that time of year again. Christmas is past. Many of the toys are broken or at least missing parts. AND some of us are running out of notches, and leather, on our belts.
So What Does All This Mean?????

Its RESOLUTION TIME AGAIN. Yes, that dastardly deed of making New Years Resolutions is upon us. Now be truthful here, How many of you kept your Resolutions from last year? Let’s see those hands!!!! Be honest. So how many at least made it to the end of the first month? I thought so.

Well maybe you went about this Resolution making thing the wrong way. And I don't mean keeping the resolutions. Maybe you did not choose your resolutions wisely grasshopper! So, this year, instead of a list to possible resolutions, I’ve developed 


“Grenville’s Guide to Making Resolutions.” 
An inspirational guide should aid in making sustainable resolutions. Resolutions that, when kept, will make you look like the hero you really are. So here goes.







Grenville’s Guide to Sustainable Resolution Making

1. Only make Resolutions that are FUN. Let’s be real here, getting up 2 hours earlier than normal so you can go to the gym and sweat, strain, and over exert yourself IS NOT FUN. No matter how you sugar coat it, stuff like that is no fun, and therefore doomed to failure. Face facts, some of us could spend 24/7 at the gym and the only 6-Pack Abs we would have is if we held that 6-pack in front of us coming through the door.

2. Only make resolutions that are easy. Growing a beard is easy. Well if you’re a guy that is. And its kind of fun. Losing 50 pounds is not. Taking a nap every day is not only easy, its really healthy. Naps are so under rated in our hectic world. Consider that extra 50 pounds “Cuddle Material.”


3. Only make resolutions that you really want to make. Do you really want to be nice to that person who always mocks you in front of others. The person who does this just so they look better that their usual disgusting selves. Come to think of it, weren't they the one used to stuff you into your school locker after taking your lunch money? How ‘bout turning down that promotion so some undeserving, ineffective person get a little ahead. Of course. if the prime objective was getting rid of them, like a transfer to Siberia, then it might be OK. Or to watch them utterly self implode would also be acceptable.


4. Resolutions should have an expiration date, like milk. They say that fish and relatives begin to smell after 3 days. I’ve always found that to be also true for Resolutions. They always sound so good at the beginning. Then the boredom sets in. Next, you start seeing the difficulty involved. Then the realization that this may drag on forEVER. All Resolutions need a Sunset clause.


5. Never make a resolution that involves a challenge, especially with someone else. Why would you want to tie yourself down to another person. What if they are an over-achiever. You're never going to catch them. Depression will begin to set in. Or worse, if they are an under-achiever, they will be dragging you down, down, down. Like a drowning person who holds you under to stay afloat. Then you will both be losers. No No No. Resolutions should be singular with lots of options, like the next one.

6. Always incorporate a RESET option. There is nothing like a good reset. This is not

just true in computers, but resolutions also. Sometimes, you need to reassess a situation. Drop back 5 and punt. Get a new perspective. Wait until the urge to succeed wheres off.


7. Surrender Clause. This may be the most important. If the reset didn't work, the expiration date is too far in the future, AND you come to your senses and realize that this is not fun, not easy, and you really never wanted to do this, then the Surrender Clause is for you. Admit your abject failure and drown yourself in fudge while you wallow in self pity.



So you may be asking, What has he resolved for this coming year?

1. Bring the Princess her coffee in bed every morning, by candle light in the winter. (something I’ve been doing for 16 years)


2. Cut down on smoking. (i have not had a cigarette in 16 years, but have inhaled going         past the Cigar Store )


3. Take one day a week and do something i really want to do.


4. If something doesn't work, take a nap and think about it.


5. Try to limit any challenges with others (except making the Princess happy) to a minimum, superficial and half hearted at best. (I missed the competitive gene)


6. Reset all of the above. That punting option i’m going to leave to NFL guys. Instead, I will refer to #4 above.


7. Keep the home fires burning, so the fudge doesn’t get too thick.

So, Kids, that’s what I’m thinking of and considering the possibility of looking at the many options that these Resolutions could or maybe could not hold for me this coming year. I’m exhausted now and need a nice long nap while the snow continues to fall outside. Now where did I put that RESET button?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cookies and Grandkids

Christmas when celebrated with family makes the holiday a very special time. 

For the first time in a couple of years, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day visiting with grandkids Bobby and Ellie, their mom, Shannon and other family members in RI and CT.

This photo of Grenville, the grandkids and their mom includes Sparkle, a recent addition to their neighbor's home. As you can tell, Ellie is quite taken with "Sparky."

The afternoon of Christmas Eve it was time for gingerbread cookie baking with Grandpa Grenville and his helpers Bobby and Ellie.

Then it was time to decorate with their mom's help.

Christmas Eve is traditionally celebrated with an open house at a family member's home in New London, CT. It was a large group including the grandkids and their young cousins.

Christmas Day and chef Grenville prepared pancakes and bacon — a breakfast tradition.

By late morning, it was time for gift opening . . .






Tired out from all the gift giving and opening excitement, it was afternoon nap time — for the adults.

Christmas was a very Special family time. 


We hope that Everyone enjoyed a special holiday time — it's gone so fast.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Snowmen Surprises

YIKES! There was a snowman explosion here last week!

Here's a look at snowmen gathered outside our apt entry shortly before Christmas. 
(We added a couple figures after this photo was taken.)


NEW snowball snowmen arrived while we were away visiting family on Christmas.
Can YOU spot the 3 newcomers?
Did you spot these new additions in the above photo?
Yes, we asked around to Thank the culprit gift giver, but none of our neighbors 'fessed up.

We're very thankful for these unexpected surprises; these snowmen will stay in place well after the holiday season — winter has just started in New England  it's snowing today!

We hope that everyone who's having wintry weather is safely indoors. Thankfully, schools are closed here as in many places for the holiday break. We are keeping those affected by holiday storms in our prayers. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like CHRISTMAS

Is everyone ready? Do you know which list you're on?  It's almost Christmas. We hope all your stockings are hung by the chimney with care, St. Nick will soon be here. But lets not forget the 

"Reason For The Season"

Dr. James Allan Francis wrote this sermon back in 1926. It wasn't a long sermon. Just 245 words. It wasn't a flowery sermon. It told a story of one simple man who has made a huge impact on all of mankind for over 2000 years. His sermon has been re-written, added to, and para phrased over the years.  Dr. Francis died in 1928. I’ve often wondered if he had any idea that his 245 words would  be quoted for the next 89 years. There's little information about the author. Not what denomination he was, or in what church he first gave this sermon, other than it was somewhere in Los Angles. I finally found a copy of the original sermon Dr. Francis gave 89 years ago on Christmas Eve and would like to share it with you.
Let us turn now to the story. A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life. While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turns against him. One denies him; another betrays him. He is turned over to his enemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed to a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend.
Those are the facts of his human life. He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, What kind of trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life… 
Happy Birthday Jesus! 
Love Grenville & Beatrice
  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Year Ago . . .

This is the first full Christmas season without my mother. She passed away unexpectedly last Dec. 22. Our last time spent together was Thanksgiving 2014.

While it's true that last Christmas was truly the first without her, that time was filled with decisions and arrangements to be made. There was also time spent with family and friends. Being surrounded by caring people left little time to grieve during a holiday, which was a good thing.

However, this Christmas is different and I feel her absence more strongly. But with this sadness, there is also joyfulness. I believe that she is celebrating Christmas with family members and friends who left before her including my father, her parents and sister and many of her special friends. I can imagine them still all gathering for their regular Saturday night gin rummy game.

Also, as mentioned in a previous post, some of her holiday decorations are being used in our apt home this year. They are treasured and will continue to be part of our Christmas decor for years to come; she will be here in spirit.

The past couple of weeks, I've spent time looking through family photos as I put together a photo album for my brother. There were many photos of my mother as she enjoyed Christmas celebrations with her family; she always had a good time. 

This holiday season, if you are also missing family member(s) or special friend(s), remember the happy times spent together — and make new holiday memories to cherish.

Merry Christmas
Dorothy (aka Beatrice) 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The BIG Cheese(s)

Thanks to all who ventured a guess as to the mystery box contents — three folks has the correct answer. We enjoyed reading all the comments; fudge or chocolates would also have been very much enjoyed at this time of year or any time.

Bragging rights go to Mildred (1st), Emma (2nd) and Anvilcloud (3rd).

The correct answer was cheese or rather cheeses as the box contained these 3 large ones (2 types of cheddar and 1 Swiss cheese).

We've received this gift annually 
from friends Barbara and John for more years than we recall. No complaints about that as we enjoy this gift long after the holiday season. Every year after its arrival, we call to let them know it arrived and to thank them. When we add that you shouldn't have, they reply, we enjoy doing it. 

Their enjoyment and our thankfulness add to our special holiday memories. 

Do you have similar happy holiday surprises too?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gift Mystery

This box contains a holiday gift that has been delivered at this time of year no matter where we were living at Christmas — NJ, VA and now NH.
It always arrives just before the holidays and is enjoyed for quite awhile afterwards.
No, it's not a fruitcake or alcoholic beverage; yes it's an identical gift each year.

Can you guess what's in this box?
(No prize, just self-satisfaction or being correct.)


Enjoy your weekend, Everyone. 
The Christmas countdown is on.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Decos - What's Outside


Our previous post showed this year's Christmas decorations inside our mill apartment. Thanks to everyone for your comments. It was fun getting into the holiday mood, so much so that I decided to also decorate the apt entryway with a wintry theme, despite the fact that there hasn't been a snowflake to be seen with daytime temps in the mid-50s. Perhaps, if I include snowmen, the snow will come?

The doorway decorations built on a seasonal theme from last year. We're fortunate in this mill building that our apt entry has a shelf and some other folks also decorate for the seasons. This is a photo taken last week with Grenville peering out.
The shelf snowmen are all thrift store "finds" (none cost more than $1). The snowflakes came from Dollar Tree as did the wall signs.These signs will be replaced with winter themed ones in January. The greenery that was recently added is discarded branches from an area Christmas tree seller.

The theme for our decorated doorway began as a package wrapped up with in large ribbon with an oversized bow (yes, Dollar Tree again). The front pieces of last year’s cards finalized the decor.
“Percy" (full name Percival) the Penguin formerly resided on our VA front porch for the 12 years we lived there. This cement figure was given to us by a NJ friend and painted after we moved to VA. After bringing it here, we decided to dress it in seasonal holiday gear and found a small Santa hat among our holiday "stuff" collection. This is why it’s good to keep  "stuff' as you never know when it could be useful. The snowman companion is named "Nigel" and was a 50-cent bargain from a local thrift store that needed some stitching repair  which is now covered by his scarf that Percy also shares — another thrift store find that was cut in half for both to share.
The wall opposite the shelf snowman displays one the large holiday flags that we formerly used on our VA front porch. It's hung on a dowel road suspended using fishing line, an idea from a good friend (thanks, Marty). A large Santa flag is similarly displayed on one of the large mill windows.

We hope you enjoyed our holiday decorations tour, both inside and outside. We have a few more inside decor spread about the apt, but that's a post for another holiday season. Here's Grenville with his good friend, Santa.
Merry Christmas to All
Dorothy (Beatrice) & Pat (Grenville)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Decos - Come Inside


We've had (a lot) of fun sharing memories as we decorated inside (and outside) our NH apt this holiday season. SO much fun that we decided to share our displays with friends who won’t be able to visit. While we would enjoy seeing our fellow bloggers, that just isn't possible; this post is an overview of what we've done since Thanksgiving. (And, there's more to come.) 


Last year was our 1st NH Christmas; however, we spent the holidays in NJ due to the unexpected passing of my mother. She is "sharing" some holiday decor which was once in her home. We put up our 4-foot tree on a table and Grenville elevated some of the village with styrofoam pieces under the snow blanket (good thing both are white).  We had most of the New England village pieces, but this year added some thrift store finds of snowmen and Santas which will become permanent pieces.
The vintage tablecloth belonged to my late mother and was used in her home during many holiday get-togethers in my childhood. Back then, I never noticed that there are different scenes in each ornament along the front. Most of my mother's household possessions were donated, but I kept some pieces to use and remember. (She is here with us at Christmas time.)

Grenville created a Christmas tree light outline on a mill window using some of unused tree lites. We can see the lights  from across the Nashua River. The other night we took a ride and could see the Christmas light tree and our small tree. There weren’t many other decorated windows so it wasn’t hard to find; unfortunately it doesn’t show up well from such a distance, perhaps taking along a zoom-lens camera would be helpful the next time.

This village is nestled below the tree and this year Grenville elevated some of the village buildings with styrofoam pieces (good to save some packing materials) then covered all with a "snow" blanket (think Christmas Tree store shopping). The pieces to the this Dept. 56 New England-themed village were bought over the years we lived in NJ; now it's quite appropriate that we live in NE. This year's additions included some snowmen and Santas purchased at thrift stores and flea markets; these will become permanent pieces. 







A Nativity has been part of our holiday display for many Christmases and this one combines a couple of sets. Mine was originally bought at an S.S. Kresge store (remember those?). This year, I donated most of the figures, replacing them with pieces from a set of my late mother's.  Those made in Italy pieces showed more detail than mine. The creche is from my set as are some of the animal figures added over the years. You will also see that there are extra angels as you can never have too many. (Again, mom's spirit is here at Christmas.) 


This Charlie Brown trio was bought at a CVS in PA during an after-Christmas sale last year at a ridiculously low price (under $5) for all. We hope to find more of Charlie's friends on sale during after holiday sales this year too.


These Christmas bears survived the "cut" of those donated when we relocated from VA.

We've also decorated the exterior entry of our mill apt (a subject for another post). We hope that you've enjoyed seeing our inside decorations "tour." And, if your travels take you anywhere near Nashua, NH during the holidays, please DO let us know!
Merry Christmas to All
Dorothy (Beatrice) & Pat (Grenville)


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Party Favorite (Ours Too!)

The holiday season is get-together time for so many. Last week we attended a couple of holiday socials and our grandson's birthday celebration too. 

While it can be risky bringing along a first-time tried dish, I had wanted to a 7 Layer Dip after a few years of enjoying ones done by others for similar gatherings.

It was so easy once you assemble all the ingredients. The best part is that no cooking is required. You can dice some of the ingredients the night before or earlier in the day, then assemble everything later. It helps to make it a few hours earlier and refrigerate before serving. The ingredients set up better when chilled.

7 Layer Dip Appetizer 
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 1-1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 C hoped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 C salsa (drain if too liquid)
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions) finely chopped
  • 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
  • 1 can black olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 C shredded Mexican style cheese blend
  • Chili seasoning (optional)
  • garlic salt to taste (optional) 
  • ground black pepper 
  1. Mash avocados in a bowl. Add in lime juice, cilantro, salsa, garlic salt and pepper and you now have guacamole.
  2. Blend sour cream and taco seasoning in a small bowl (add in dash of chili seasoning if using).
  3. In a 9x13 dish or large serving platter layer ingredients: spread refried beans, top with sour cream mixture, spread on guacamole. Top with tomatoes, green onions, cheese and black olives.
  4. Serve with nacho chips.
There are many variations to this dish; you might have a different recipe which adds or omits some ingredients. I made it 3 times in a week and learned something each time. For example: draining diced tomatoes and removing some seeds is helpful as is draining the salsa if the brand is too liquid. Also, I combined scallions with tomatoes and mixed some of the cheese with the diced olives before spreading the layers.

There's not much that can go wrong with this appetizer, except that it tends to disappear. Be sure to have an accompanying large bag of nacho chips when serving. I plan to make it again during the holiday season (so let us know if you can stop by for a visit).

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