Wednesday, December 13, 2017

USAF Holiday Concert

Thanks to everyone for your comments on several previous posts. Grenville and myself especially appreciated the kind words that many left about the recycled Christmas tree at our VA home. We've been enjoying it nightly and hopefully so will the new owner. (As of this writing, the buyer's mortgage commitment has not been finalized but, as this is the holiday season, hopefully it's only a matter of timing.) 

We're still on our road trip and unfortunately still on the VA eastern shore. From here it was a relatively short (3-1/2-hour) drive to Washington, DC this past weekend where we visited with longtime friends, Linda and John (not shown) to attend a holiday concert. 
Before leaving NH, we had obtained tickets online for the United States Air Force (USAF) Band's 2017 holiday concert, Spirit of the Season, at Washington's DAR Constitution Hall. As with all military concerts, the tickets were no charge.
The U.S. Air Force Band started in 1941 when the newly-formed U.S. Army Air Corps activated 59 bands into operation. Over the past 76 years, the band has expanded its size and mission to include six primary performing ensembles and a global mission.
Today, the USAF Band consists of six separate performing ensembles: Air Force Strings, Airmen of Note, Ceremonial Brass, Concert Band, Max Impact and Singing Sergeants. Each group supports several small ensembles. Collectively, the groups perform more than 1,600 events annually with concerts coast-to-coast through local performances and national concert tours. These musicians also entertain service members deployed overseas.

The concert featured several of the band's most popular groups, the U.S. Air Force Concert Band, Singing Sergeants and Airmen of Note. These versatile ensembles team up every December to treat Washington, D.C. area audiences with songs of holiday cheer. 

During the nearly 2-hour performance, these ensembles performed an assortment of seasonal classics that included a flash mob. The performance ended with an audience sing-along and all the youngsters in attendance were invited onstage.

This was a wonderful holiday concert that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, including ourselves. We really got in the holiday spirit within 3 days. Last Wednesday evening we attended a holiday concert by the U.S. Fleet Services (Navy) Band at a local high school in VA last Wed evening. 

Our DC weekend was capped off with a 2-inch snowfall as seen from our friends' backyard.

If you're interested in viewing holiday and other concert performances by U.S. military bands (USAF Band, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps) check out YouTube videos. My personal favorite is the 2015 USAF Band holiday concert in Union Station in Washington, DC. It features band members wearing vintage U.S. Army Air Corps uniforms to celebrate the service of World War II veterans. (The swing music and flash mob are fun too.)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Decos X2

Before we left our NH apartment to start our 2 week road trip, the exterior decorations were set up. We needed a little Christmas ahead of time.

This small tree was formerly in Grenville's workshop and at holiday craft shows. A trip to the $ store and we redecorated it. Last year's holiday cards were recycled for wall decos.

Santa was donated last year by a former neighbor who was moving. The snowman came from a thrift store at the local senior center. Percy Penguin relocated from the front porch at the Frog & Penguinn in VA and, his companion, Ferd Frog relocated too. 
ince we would be spending part of December at the VA house, we decided to set up a final Christmas tree.
This tree was discarded by a neighbor as the lights no longer lit (he had no problem with our recycling it). After 3 hours of using wire cutters we cut them off and filled a large trash bag. After another trip to the discount and $ store, the tree was trimmed with lights, decos and a tree skirt. We lit the fireplace and had egg nog while decorating.

After all that "work" a selfie was in order. 

We're not keeping the tree, but leaving it for the new homeowner who had hoped to able to close on our VA home by mid-December. However due to delays, the closing may be closer to Christmas and a decorated tree is always welcoming.

My apologies for not commenting on your blog posts as we've had no internet access while in VA This post was done while at our friends' home in Washington, DC where we spent the weekend and attended the USAF band holiday concert at Constitution Hall. We're still traveling and won't be back in NH until a week before Christmas when I hope to catch up on what everyone's been doing. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Funnies

There's certainly a lack of privacy at this privy.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Navy Holiday Concert

Last night we heard the U.S. Fleet Services band present a free holiday concert at a local high school on the VA eastern shore. 

As we remember the anniversary of Pearl Harbor today, we appreciate the services of these talented members of the U.S. Navy. All are also very talented musicians and vocalists.
Sadly, the overall attendance was disappointing with a half-filled auditorium. 

(As mentioned in an earlier post, we're on the road before Christmas and spending the bulk of that time in VA at our home, The Frog & Penguinn, which is under contract. Sadly, there's no wi-fi at the house, so this was done at the local library. We expect to be back in NH to celebrate Christmas and catch up on fellow bloggers. Thanks for your comments on several pre-scheduled posts.) 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Enchanted Village

A couple of weeks ago we went to a Massachusetts furniture store see what was once called the Enchanted Village of St. Nicolas. At the entrance to the display, Bing Crosby's version of White Christmas plays and every few minutes it snows a lot of bubbles.
This display was originally created in 1958 when the Jordan Marsh Company, Boston-based retailer, commissioned a Bavarian toy maker to create 28 fully decorated holiday scenes with 250 "magically" animated figures, all of which were depictions of children.

Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, Jordan Marsh displayed the Enchanted Village in its Downtown Crossing store in Boston, MA. A trip to see the village quickly became a part of many New Englanders seasonal celebrations until 1972 when Jordan Marsh closed the display. 

The Enchanted Village remained closed from 1972 until its rebirth in 1990. When Macy's purchased Jordan Marsh in 1998, the village was sold to the City of Boston for a City Hall Plaza display.
In 2003, a lack of funding forced the village to be relocated to the Hynes Convention Center. By 2006, Boston stopped displaying the village which was put up for auction.

Massachusetts-based Jordan's Furniture purchased the surviving pieces of the Enchanted Village at auction in May 2009 and then restored the vintage collection to its former glory.
The village is now on permanent display in the retailer's Avon, MA location. It's open during the holiday season with free admission.
This was the first time we visited the Enchanted Village and we considered it among the best free holiday exhibits we've seen in many years. It's open until just after the new year. After that, the part of the warehouse where it's set-up is closed to the public until the next holiday season. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Holiday Stroll

The Saturday after Thanksgiving marked the 24th annual Winter Holiday Stroll in downtown Nashua. It's not only the city's biggest holiday event, but it's regarded as the largest community event of the year in Southern NH. It now attracts up to 30,000 people who travel from across New England for this free and family-friendly seasonal event. 

Downtown Main St. was closed to traffic and became a pedestrian mall for several hours. The festivities began at 5 p.m. with a candlelit procession led by Santa Claus up Main Street from City Hall to Railroad Square for the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. Santa traveled in an antique fire truck and everyone followed holding candles or LED lights.

After the tree lighting ceremony, Main St was crowded with people enjoying live entertainment. Many of the local businesses, churches hosted music venues as did the public library.
Food vendors were set up along the street and downtown restaurants were open although there were usually long waits for seating. 

A gingerbread house display at a local church attracted a long line of viewers, including myself. Most of the houses were created by younger members of the congregation.
A popular stroll highlight every year are the ice sculptures created and displayed in front of City Hall. However, due to an unseasonably warm evening, these were melting quickly.

Another tradition is what's known as the Festival of Trees which features trees decorated by local community groups and schools. Attendees can cast votes vfor their favorite.
The trees are displayed in the Hunt Memorial Building, which was once the city's public library.
We attended the stroll this year but traveled separately, except when we met up for some pizza. I went with several neighbors and Grenville volunteered with Nashua's Community Emergency Response Team to monitor traffic and people throughout the evening.

The city's Public Works department certainly had enough to keep them busy after the festivities ended around 10 p.m.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Temporarily Unavailable

That describes what we will be for the next couple of weeks. We'll be on the road and often without internet access or free time which means no time to blog or read fellow bloggers posts. I pre-scheduled a couple of posts about recent outings/events.

What's happening?

We're on the road (again) and this trip includes going to the VA eastern shore to check on our house and hopefully do clearing out. GOOD news is that a few weeks ago we (finally) received a contract that we accepted after several years of trying to sell The Frog & Penguinn. (Did I mention it's in a small town of about 500 residents?) There are some inspections to be done and we'll need to dispose of furnishings and other items, so we will be kept quite busy. 

Of course, details will be provided when (hopefully) everything is settled and we are (finally) no longer home owners. (It's all good as we really enjoy our mill apt in NH and living in new England especially.)

Bit, there will also be some fun side trips . . .

We're going to Washington, DC to attend the USAF band holiday concert at DAR Constitution Hall. We'll be visiting long-time friends who live outside the city and going to the event together. Tickets were free online — yeah!

Another stop will be in PA to attend youngest granddaughter Lillian's 1st birthday celebration. Last holiday season we were in PA for her birth.

We hope that all your holiday plans are going well and that you're not getting over stressed with shopping and other preparations. Looking forward to visiting online with everyone when we return to Nashua, NH. 

This year, we're celebrating Christmas "at home." 
Beatrice & Grenville

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Funnies

Too much holiday celebrating/shopping last weekend?
Maybe you felt like this afterwards?  

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.
(Hope it's a more restful one.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Turkey Day Wrap-Up

First, a BIG thank you to everyone who sent good wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving holiday on our recent post. Grenville and I read and very much appreciated all your comments. And, we hope that those of you who celebrated had a wonderful time, no matter where or how you celebrated.

We had a wonderful and hectic holiday with family in our native NJ. The total guest count was 13 in people and 4 in canines. All the dogs belong to my brother and his wife, so there were no 4-legged guests.

Our NJ trip was a 3-day quick trip We left NH on Tuesday afternoon and (a long) 6+ hours later arrived at our NJ hotel. Even though we traveled 2 days before the holiday, there were significant (but not unexpected) backups in the late afternoon/evening traffic, especially driving through CT. Thankfully, we only saw one minor accident.
A very fun activity that preceded dinner when everyone received a turkey-themed headband or hat to wear. Grenville (Pat) had a turkey cap; my headgear was a drumstick. 
The host, my brother, Tony, had the honor (?) of wearing the head turkey hat. We had a great time laughing and everyone was in a happy mood even before the wine was served.
Granddaughter Lilliana (11 months) celebrated her 1st turkey day. We're going to PA for her 1st birthday in mid-December. That's where we spent our 2016 Christmas  awaiting her arrival — an early Christmas gift for all.

Our NJ stay was very short this time. We returned to Nashua, NH on Friday in time for the city's yearly Holiday Stroll held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The weather cooperated with temps in the 40s and no rain, snow or wind to dampen the spirits of the estimated 25,000 celebrants, including us. Details and photos to follow.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey Day

Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Day, except for this fellow. 
As we're traveling for the holiday, this fellow is an early Friday Funny.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, Everyone. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful Holiday

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and observed in all 50 states. 

The holiday originally was founded as a religious observance for community members to give thanks to God for a common purpose. Many years later it's the precursor to "Black Friday" sales (many of which have already started).

Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated as a federal holiday annually since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln designated a national day of thanksgiving and praise. It was to be observed on the last Thursday in November. The specific weekday seems to have been the "traditional" celebration day and was solidified by Lincoln's proclamation.

In 1941, Congress approved changing the holiday celebration to the fourth Thursday in November. The change had been recommended in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt who felt it would help bolster retail sales during one of the final years of the Great Depression. The proposed change  led to some protests as some derided the holiday as Franksgiving from 1939-1941.

Roosevelt was concerned concerned that a shorter holiday shopping season could dampen the economic recovery when there were five Thursdays in November (like this year).

It's been reported that more people in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving than they do Christmas. As to why — perhaps, it's because it's a secular rather than a religious celebration.

So why is turkey the favorite Thanksgiving main course ?

Most likely, in 1621, the Pilgrims of Plymouth didn't include turkey on what's widely considered the First Thanksgiving  While there were wild turkeys in the area, the best existing account of the Pilgrims' harvest feast comes from colonist Edward Winslow's writings of the feast with no mention of turkey. Winslow did cite that "wild fowl" were gathered for the meal, although these could have been ducks or geese.

Colonist William Bradford noted in journals reprinted in 1856 that colonists had hunted wild turkeys during the autumn of 1621. Since these are native to North America, it gained popularity with Americans as the holiday's bird of choice after Lincoln's declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Classic Thanksgiving dinners include a variety of side dishes and desserts. Many of these have been modified over the years; some are not even included at some tables.

Stuffing (or dressing) is usually a mix of bread cubes, chopped celery, carrots, onions and sage stuffed inside the turkey for roasting. Chestnuts, chopped bacon or sausage, and raisins or apples are sometimes included too.

There's been some debate on the term. Some argue that if it's cooked inside the turkey, it's stuffing. Others say when prepared outside, it's dressing. South of the Mason-Dixon line, cooks call it dressing, no matter how it's prepared, because "stuffing" is an unpleasant word. Northern states and New Englanders usually call it "stuffing" with no distinction as to whether it's done in or out of the turkey.

Side dishes are often regional favorites. In the South, Thanksgiving isn't complete without corn pudding and bacon-infused Brussels sprouts or other greens. Midwesterners love green bean casserole (so do we). A New England table isn't complete without Parker House rolls. But beyond the regional divide, some folks can pile their plate with candied yams and glazed carrots, while the person next to them would prefer mac and cheese.

Dessert usually includes pumpkin pie as the most common, followed closely by pecan, apple, sweet potato and mincemeat pies.

Our holiday will include many of these foods, but we won't be cooking any of them. We're traveling to our native NJ and spending the holiday with family. We're providing another accompaniment — the wine.

We're thankful for many things.

Grenville & I wish everyone Everyone a happy gathering with family/friends or both.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Funnies

Does this fellow have Time on his hands?

Yes, it's a really bad awful pun, I know (but used it anyway). Feel free to think of others.
The workman was repairing clock numbers on one of the two towers at Clocktower Place. This former textile manufacturing mill is in Nashua, NH and its where we now live.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nashua, NH Celebrated Veterans Day

Last Saturday was Veterans Day and the City of Nashua, NH held its annual Veterans Day parade which, although sparsely attended, was a wonderful tribute. Various school marching bands and civic organizations participated in the parade on Main St.
This date is an official U.S. public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
In 1918, the hostilities of WW I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The U.S. previously observed this date as Armistice Day. In 1954, it was renamed to Veterans Day.

It coincides with holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other countries to mark the anniversary of the end of WW I.
Memorial Day celebrated in May honors those who died while in military service. Armed Forces Day, also occurs in May, and honors those currently serving in the U.S. military. Every parade we've attended has always ended with emergency response vehicles.
Although the weather last weekend was windy and cold, we proudly celebrated. Grenville is a U.S. Navy veteran.
Where there observances/celebrations in your city/town as well?
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