Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Funnies

Anyone know what these are used for?
Hint: The answer is not that these are part of a movie set. 

Folks who live or have been to ski areas might recognize these as snow cannons or snow guns. They make snow when Mother Nature needs help. Water and pressurized air are forced through the guns through freezing air and the water freezes into hexagonal crystals or snowflakes

We saw this collection last year in Killington, VT, a popular New England ski area. 

Ski resorts use the cannons to extend their ski season by supplementing natural snowfall. Indoor slopes with a climate-controlled environment use them more often. There are significant costs associated with artificial snow production. It's an expensive process especially in terms of energy use and associated costs. 

Some snow gun info: Invention of the snow gun  dates to 1950 and is credited to three men in Milford, CT. In 1952, Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel in NY state was the first resort worldwide to use artificial snow. Snow-making began to be used extensively in the early 1970s. Artificial snow was used extensively at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics.

Enjoy Your weekend, Everyone
(There's no snow in our NH forecast.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Did You Shop?

Just wondering if any of you went shopping on Black Friday last week either online or by going to retail stores. And, did you shop online shop on Cyber Monday.

Personally speaking, neither Grenville or myself shopped on either day. We were out-of-state celebrating Thanksgiving with family members from NJ and PA. A couple of the younger family members went outlet shopping. We went to a holiday show instead.

Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving and refers to being in the profit zone compared to being in the red which indicates losses. So, Black Friday means "profitable Friday" to retailers and the economy. 

Philadelphia, PA is considered the home of the term. That's because in the mid-1960s, the Philadelphia Police Department coined the phrase to describe the mayhem surrounding the congestion of pedestrian and auto traffic in the downtown Center City area where stores were mobbed from opening to closing. There were numerous traffic accidents and sometimes even violence occurred.

Black Friday bargain hunters still present problems for law enforcement. The states with the most reported incidents of violence on this day are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana,  Nevada and Tennessee  By comparison, the safest holiday shopping is reportedly in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and New England.

Retailers didn't like the negative connotation associated with this shopping day, especially since the media used it to describe stock market crashes. The term "Black Friday" was used to describe October 19, 1986 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 percent. This was the largest percentage drop in one day in U.S. stock market history. Retailers wanted "Black Friday" to mean something positive and changed the name to reflect success vs. disaster. 

According to market analysts, retailers can expect a very successful 2018 holiday shopping season kicked off by Black Friday. The 2018 holiday shopping season is expected to exhibit the strongest growth since 2011, a 6 percent increase over last year. Online Black Friday sales were 24 percent above last year’s levels, reaching a record $6.2 billion according to analytical firms in the know. 

It should come as no surprise that the term “Cyber Monday” was created by marketing executives to encourage people to shop online. Research conducted in 2004 showed that the Monday after Thanksgiving was quickly becoming one of the biggest online shopping days of the year

In November 2005, Ellen Davis, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation (NRF) coined “Cyber Monday” with her colleague Scott Silverman, executive director of, the digital division of the NRF. The day was promoted in a press release, "'Cyber Monday Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year" and a marketing campaign soon followed.

The campaign has obviously been a BIG hit with consumers. This year, Cyber Monday is projected to be the highest-selling day of the 2018 holiday season with $7.8 billion in online sales. 

We didn't miss shopping in retail stores or online last Friday or on Monday. There's still time for finding deals and we're focusing on experiences vs. things. So, on Black Friday, we enjoyed The First Noel holiday show at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA.
It was a great way to spend a few hours and to get into the holiday mood. Many thanks for the pre-Thanksgiving wishes last week. We hope that your celebration was filled with good times with family, friends and also good food as was our own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving This & That

We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, no matter where or how you will be spending the holiday. We're thankful for your blog visits and comments.

This Thursday in the U.S. we'll celebrate the national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. 

But that wasn't always the case either for the holiday or the celebration date and, over the years, it involved several U.S. Presidents. 

Thanksgiving has been celebrated on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by President George Washington after a request by Congress. 

President Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, but not because he didn't favor a holiday celebration. Jefferson served from 1801-1809 and during that time presidents had to issue a special proclamation to recognize and celebrate a day of thanksgiving. These celebrations were traditionally prayerful events. Jefferson, who was a strong supporter of the separation of church and state, didn't believe in a national proclamation for such a celebration.

In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official federal holiday and proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." From then on the last Thursday of November became the standard celebration date for Thanksgiving.

In 1933, November had five Thursdays. Some retailers asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to move the holiday up a week. Roosevelt declined and the celebration remained on the last Thursday of November.

Then in 1939 after the Great Depression has just ended and in a move to help retailers kickstart holidays sales and to provide jobs, Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday in November. There were five Thursdays in November that year. 

An uproar ensued that this change commercialized the holiday . College and high school football coaches were angered that Thanksgiving Day games, previously set the last day in November would fall on a working day. In Massachusetts, the Plymouth board of selectmen wrote a letter of protest to Roosevelt. In the letter, the board chairman announced that Plymouth would not recognize the revised date, stating: “It is a religious holiday, and the president has no right to change it for commercial interests.”

By late November 1939, the country was divided. Six New England states plus 17 others disregarded an early Thanksgiving and celebrated on the last Thursday. The 22 remaining states (including most with Democratic governors) sided with Roosevelt, also a Democrat. Several states — Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas — celebrated both dates.

For two years the controversy continued since in 1940, Roosevelt announced that Thanksgiving would again be celebrated a week ahead of the traditional date. In 1939 and 1940, the altered Thanksgiving calendar was referred to as "Franksgiving." 

By early 1941, Roosevelt bowed to the public outcry and even acknowledged that the date change hadn't brought about an economic upturn the previous two years. He reversed his position declaring that after the 1941 Thanksgiving, the holiday would revert to its original date. In December 1941, Congress passed a resolution to declare that Thanksgiving Day would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

Here's some Thanksgiving menu this 'n thats . . .
  • Turkey may not have been the entree of choice at the 1621 First Thanksgiving. Venison was thought to be more plentiful and wild fowl might have meant ducks or geese.
  • Cranberry sauce would not have been a side dish. While cranberries may have been available, sugar needed to make the sauce was costly. Also, it's doubtful that a recipe had been created then.
  • No sweet or white potatoes were available in 1621, so Pilgrims didn't include these sides. And, there were definitely no marshmallows back then.
  • Pumpkin pie wasn't on the dessert menu. Pilgrims most likely didn't have butter or flour for the crust or even an oven to bake a pie and, of course, they would have needed a recipe. Pumpkins may have been served after baking in the coals. Pumpkin pie became popular in 17th century holiday celebrations and remains a favorite today.
Wishing all who celebrate this holiday a very Happy Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. (We're traveling to spend time with both and will be taking a short blog break.)

May all the good things of life be yours, not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the year. We're appreciative and thankful for all of you.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Autumn in NH

Fall colors are fading here in Nashua thanks to recent rains and wind. Over the past week, we took a few walks to Mine Falls Park located near our mill apartment in the heart of the city. It was purchased in 1969 from the Nashua, NH Foundation with city and federal Land and Water Conservation Fund money.

The park's name derives from the 1700s, when low-quality lead was thought to be mined from the island below the falls. In the early 1800s, the potential of the Nashua River to drive the wheels of industry was recognized. Workers used shovels and mules to dig the three-mile long canal.

Mine Falls park includes forest, wetlands, and open fields with varied recreational opportunities for walking, biking, fishing, and cross-country skiing. There's also includes several fields for organized sports.  
In 1992, the park trails were designated part of the New Hampshire Heritage Trail system, which extends 130 miles along the Merrimack River from Massachusetts to Canada. We haven't walked along all the park trails in the nearly 3 years we've lived in the city. 

One day our walk was quite overcast and so I experimented with after-effects of the same scene. Here's a soft light effect.

Also, a similar photo of the same scene with a boost effect. 
In addition to the canal walk. There's also a Nashua River walk which we did on another day in late afternoon. Unfortunately, we were a bit late for any spectacular foliage.
Do you remember shuffling through leaves as a child? We do and that's what we did along the path back to our apartment building.
Yes, it was fun and even better as we no longer have to rake leaves as when we owned our own home.

Any fall colors still left in your neighborhood?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nashua Veterans Day

Veterans Day in Nashua, NH, was a low-key celebration in comparison to observances in  other U.S. states and even in other countries. This week, fellow bloggers included posts of commemorations in neighboring Canada and these seemed much grander than here.

In Nashua, there was a downtown parade on Main Street with participants representing various civic and community groups as well as ROTC members. There was also a couple of vintage vehicles.

There's always a large participation by bands from the several high schools and middle school and these youngsters were wonderful to hear. 
Although not representative of World War I veterans, this group of colonial soldiers marched along the route and fired their weapons several times.
The parade ended with a fleet of the city's fire trucks and emergency vehicles flashing their lights and blaring the horns.
Afterwards, there was also a brief ceremony at City Hall, which we missed. It was a sunny day, but windy and cold and we headed home. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembering Veterans

Today, November 11, is Veterans Day in the U.S. but the date is celebrated tomorrow, Monday, that's because it falls on a Sunday. This year's observance is significant in that it's the Centennial Commemoration marking 100 years since the end of World War i on November 11, 1918.
Courtesy U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The theme for the 2018 Veterans Day Poster is “The War to End All Wars” and it depicts the familiar remembrance poppy and a barbed wire fence. The poppy was inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields” and has been used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war. The barbed wire represents thousands of miles of wire that spread by both sides in WW I.

Grenville is a U.S. Navy veteran. As part of the holiday observance later today, we'll join others in Nashua, NH to view a parade downtown along Main St. It's typical of many local parades with honor guards, marching veterans, school groups, high school bands, and, of course, local politicians. In the years we've been going to the parade, the parade viewers have steadily increased.

Across the border, Canada will observe November 11 as Remembrance Day which honors veterans who have died in service to their country. This observance is similar to the U.S. Memorial Day holiday celebrated in May. 

Also in our thoughts are those killed or injured in recent mass shootings in Pennsylvania and California as well as their grieving family members. Also, those who have lost family, homes, and communities from the destructive fires in California.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Autumn Window View

One of the best things about our mill apartment is the window view. This view includes the Nashua River and downtown Nashua, NH on a spectacular fall afternoon.

Former wood frame windows in the Clocktower Place mill apartments were replaced with thermo-glass aluminum frames.
The year-long project updated 326 apartments in the nearly 1/4 mile long, 5-story mill building complex.
Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Time for a Change?

Folks living in most U.S. states changed clocks to "fall back" an hour this past weekend on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 a.m. for Daylight Savings Time (DST). There' s lots of pros and cons (mostly cons) about this twice yearly process.

I wondered how many timepieces, fellow bloggers had to manually change last weekend. 

Former homeowners, we now live in a converted mill apt, where we have no shortage of clocks. Out reset tally was just over 20 clocks which included appliances, clock radios, cordless phone, wall clocks, wristwatches and vehicles. Thankfully, the smart phones, tablets, desktop PCs, and Fitbit updated themselves.)

Here's our breakdown. 

There were 4 kitchen clocks reset: stove, microwave, coffee maker, and wall clock (the oldest in this group at +20 years).
The living room (top ↓ image) included 4 on our "wall of clocks" a reference to living here at Clocktower Place. One in this group is from my late mother's kitchen; one was a recycle rescue and the others were bought new. The clock on the bottom left is on the outer porch; the firefighter's clock in the PC room was a retirement gift from Grenville's years in service.
In the bedroom, there were 3 more to be reset: an alarm clock on each nightstand and a cordless phone on mine. 
Almost finished, but couldn't forget 2 small mantel clocks on shelves in the dining room and guest bathroom. (The clock on the left was a gift from almost 20 years ago; the one on the right was a thrift store "find" 2 years ago.)
If you've been counting along, the total is now at 15 with 4 more added to include my wristwatches and Grenville's (not shown). One of these watches had a dead battery, no resetting needed for that one.
Finally, there were 2 digital dashboard clocks reset in each of our cars which are older without auto updating. We use a pen tip to reset both.

Earlier, I made reference to our current residence, called Clocktower Place, which is a former textile mill now converted to "apartment homes." The building has 2 tower clocks, which are maintained and manually reset twice yearly by the maintenance staff.
Your turn — How many timepieces did you manually reset in your home?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Halloween Ladybug

Our youngest granddaughter enjoyed trick or treating in her Pennsylvania neighborhood last week. She was a ballerina ladybug. (Who knew they could dance?)
She gathered an assortment of goodies as shown in these photos sent by her mom.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fall Drive on the "Kanc"

Recently, we took a Sunday drive along the Kancamagus Highway or Kancamagus Scenic Byway. This 34.5-mile scenic drive along Route 112 in Northern NH is considered one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the country. The route has been designated an American Scenic Byway for its rich history, aesthetic beauty and culture.
The roadway is named for Chief Kancamagus, The Fearless One. who was the last leader of the Penacook Confederacy, a union of more than 17 central New England Indian tribes, first forged by Kancamagus' grandfather, Passaconaway. In 1627. Kancamagus tried to maintain peace between his people and encroaching English settlers, but war and bloodshed forced the tribes to scatter and most retreated to northern NH and Canada.

While the Kancamagus Highway is famed, it’s a relatively new road as New England scenic byways go. Some old logging and town roads edged into the rugged National Forest, which was set aside for conservation by the federal government in 1911, but a connection between Conway and Lincoln was not completed until 1959. The road was paved in 1964, and in 1968 it was plowed for the first time, allowing for year-round traffic.
The highway is referred  to "The Kanc." The name is misspelled and/or mis-pronounced as Kangamangus Highway, Kangumangus Hiway or Kancamangus Highway. The correct way pronnunciation is "Kank-ah-mah-gus."
In addition to being labelled New England’s prettiest drive, the Kancamagus Highway is also one of the easiest driving tours on Route 112 west from Conway to Lincoln, NH or vice versa. It cuts an east-west path through New Hampshire’s 800,000-acre White Mountain National Forest with views of the White Mountains. The highway climbs to nearly 3,000 feet at its highest point at Kancamagus Pass on the flank of Mt. Kancamagus near Lincoln, NH. 
Rain or shine leaf peepers, like us, annually drive the Kancamagus Highway to view the brilliant foliage. The drive through this forested area offers no comforts of the modern-day world.

You won't find any gas stations, restaurants, hotels or other businesses along the Kancamagus Highway route. And you won't miss seeing any  power/utility lines, but you might miss using your phone as there is no cell service as well. Those luxuries are left behind at both ends of the scenic byway. 
Our weekend drive was a bit late in the season. Recent rain and windstorms had blown leaves off many trees. Our destination was a stop in Jackson, NH to see the Return of the Pumpkin PeopleWe drove and walked on the Jackson "Honeymoon Bridge" (not sure why it's called that). The covered bridge was originally built by Charles Austin Broughton and his son in the mid-1870s; it's a popular stop for visitors.
The bridge spans the Ellis River and is located along Rte 16. Originally, the trusses were more exposed than now. The sidewalk was added in 1930. It's another popular stop.
Despite the colors not being as vibrant late in the season, there were some very colorful spots along the river banks.
We found another nearby covered bridge with great fall colors and this scenic view was on a local golf course.
We had a great time day tripping along "The Kanc" and then in Jackson, NH. Flossie's Emporium was located within walking distance of the Honeymoon Bridge and it was a fun place to explore and shop.
We're expecting another rainy weekend so we won't be going on another day trip, but we have one planned later this month. We're setting clocks ⏰🕰⏱⌚️back an hour since Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends on Sunday, Nov. 4. (Yes, we have many wall clocks in our aptly named Clocktower apt).
          🍂 Enjoy Your weekend, Everyone 🍁