Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Wishes 2019

Beatrice and Grenville (Dorothy & Patrick) extend our Best Wishes to everyone for a peaceful, joyous and loving Christmas — all the best for everyone in the coming New Year.
We're taking a year-end holiday blog break to spend visiting with family and friends.
Merry 🎄Christmas to All. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Holiday Wreath Winners

Two earlier blog posts (Corked! and DIY Holiday Decos 2019) described how I made my first-ever holiday wreath. It served a dual purpose — to decorate our apt door and to use as an entry for the annual holiday wreath competition at the mill apts.

There was a total of 7 wreath entries; mine is no. 3. Here's a posted collage of all wreath entries, which is really a low number. (There's more than 325 apt residences here.)
Residents voted online and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners received Visa gift cards from $100 to $25. The winners were posted online earlier today, see belowMy wreath came in 2nd place. 
Thanks for your votes of support, which (unfortunately) didn't count in the voting results. (Alas, only residents were allowed to vote. No tallies were provided with the voting results.)

This was a fun first craft experience. I'm already working on ideas for next holiday season.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Autumn Rose Meets Santa

Both our new-this-year great nieces are doing well and living in our native NJ. We'll be seeing the older-by-2 weeks great niece, Autumn Rose, again and meeting her younger cousin, Savannah Marie during post-Christmas family visits.

Autumn Rose is just over 2 months old; her parents are my brother's oldest daughter, Julie, and husband, Michael.
Not only is this Autumn's first Christmas, but also her first two visits with Santa.
Whoops, make that four visits with Santas and clearly, she isn't one of those children who cries at this holiday photo opp. Her mom also choose different outfits for each event.

This is her first cousin, Savannah Marie, who was 2 months old this past weekend. Her mom, Jamie, is my brother's younger daughter. We'll see them over the holidays.
I'm not sure if Savannah has seen the "man with the beard" as of this post. These photos with mom and dad, Mike, were taken at Thanksgiving and sent via a text message.

We're looking forward to seeing these two great nieces together during our holiday visit. And, of course, new photos will be taken of both babies.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Friday Funnies

Would you describe this as a fish out of water? This was spotted recently on a pedestrian mall in Burlington, VT.
Looking forward to any suggested captions. All are invited and appreciated with a 😀.

Enjoy your pre-🎄weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

DIY Holiday Decos 2019

A previous post, Corked! described getting sucked into the DIY world of crafts for the purpose of creating a holiday wreath to enter in the annual competition at the mill apts. 

Thanks for your votes of support. No results to announce yet; voting doesn't start until the end of this week. I'm keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed to place in the top 3. Prizes are 1st, 2nd, 3rd) cash gift card awards. There are currently 5 entries.
Here's the wreath entry displayed on our apt door surrounded by some of last year's holiday greetings. Each year, I save cards received to be used for decorations the following year. Afterwards, they're discarded and replaced by cards from the current year.
Here's a few more of last year's cards displayed on the inside apt door. There was a definite bird theme to these greetings, especially male cardinals.
This pine cone tree is my second DIY project displayed outside our apt door. It was a very low-cost project. Pine cones and pine branches were collected from nearby Mine Falls Park. A cardboard A-frame was constructed and cones were hot glued to it; afterwards, the branches were stuck in between the cones. Styrofoam snowmen and cotton balls were purchased at a dollar store and glued onto pieces of recycled styrofoam. The glue gun and glue sticks had already been purchased for the cork wreath project.
Here's what's on the floor below the pine tree shelf, many are the same as last year. The penguin and frog are "standard" and joined by seasonal figures; Santa leaves after Christmas.
Here's an overview of the exterior apt holiday decos. There's a few more of last year's greetings interspersed with seasonal signage. It puts us in a holiday mood. 
Although we now live in an a mill apt vs. our former home ownership, this saying always holds true for us. 

How about you — Do you seasonally 🎄decorate your home ?

Monday, December 16, 2019

Youngest Grand Celebrates !

Right before Christmas, there's another major celebration in our family.
Happy 🎂Birthday

The youngest granddaughter celebrated her 3rd birthday this weekend. We did a pre-birthday visit during our Thanksgiving road trip. We will see her and her parents during the Christmas holidays. In November, we went with her and mom to the Hands-On House, Children's Museum of Lancaster for children aged 2-10. Here, adults and children, including parents and grandparents and others, learn and play together. It was fun.

Various areas, including — Corner Grocer, Little Valley Farm, Post Office, Marty's Machine Shop, Mostly Make Believe, The Clubhouse, Adventure Garden, Play Garden — feature learning and play activities. During our visit, activities were limited to indoor events.

She and her mom and grandfather Grenville hung out together in The Clubhouse after listening to a story time read.
Playtime continued at her home where she and Grandpa  worked on several building projects.

She and Lola shared gift opening time, although one was more a curious onlooker.
There was family photo time with mom and grandpa and both grandparents before our visit ended.
We're looking forward to seeing this part of our family again in late December.

Thanks to fellow bloggers for all your wonderful comments on the post for my holiday wreath contest entry. Results will be shared, win or lose.

Also, holiday time is busy for all and I've been reading posts, but haven't had time to comment on all, but will do some catching up this pre-Christmas week.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Corked !

First, let me start this post by saying that I am not a crafts person. While I have been to a several craft supply places over the years, it's never been for a craft project of any sort.

This year was only the second time I had been in Hobby Lobby, one of the largest craft supply stores in this area, and it was overwhelming.

That said, what I'm about to post about may seem surprising. As a first-time owner of a glue gun, I can say that it's amazing what can be done with it and a supply of glue sticks. 
You may have correctly figured out that the corks will be used for a wreath as the styrofoam wreath is adjacent. The wine corks were compliments of us, wine-drinking neighbors and friends and a local wine store manager who contributed a very large bag of corks she's been saving for a few years. (She said she never knew why and was happy to part with them and so was I.)

Some of these pine cones were purchased in local thrift stores. Others were from a neighbor who collects them for her crafts, but had extras.

The reason behind assembling these items was to create an entry for the annual Christmas wreath contest here at our mill apt residence. While our apt entry is always seasonally decorated, the contest is limited only to a door wreath. Rules are simple: it must be homemade, hung on the apt door, and entered by Dec. 20. Residents vote online and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners receive Visa gift cards from $100 to $25.

All year, we saved our wine corks and asked others to do the same. Of course, we also had to drink the wine in those corked bottles, after all it was for the contest! A few weeks ago, I started watching online videos and learned many ways to make a cork wreath. 
This wreath was a gift for next door neighbors who had also made the sacrifice of not only drinking bottles of wine during the past year, but also saving the corks. This photo  taken from the back of the wreath shows corks glued along the inner and outer rims. I failed to take step-by-step photos while working. By a rough count, there were over 140 corks on the completed wreath.
Here's the completed wreath. Some add-on decorations were purchased at a dollar store and hot-glued onto the corks. The neighbor who donated pine cones, also does bows, and with her guidance, I fashioned this one and learned that wire ribbon is very useful.

This is how my contest entry looked when corks were glued atop a large straw wreath nearly double the size of the styrofoam one above and so much heavier (what was I thinking?) It wasn't done here; more corks were added before decorations and a bow were attached. When done, it contained well over 200 corks. (It was hard to keep count.)
This completed and decorated wreath was hung on our apt door last week using a Command™ strip hook which promotes easy-on hanging. Apparently, the wreath was too heavy and fell down within a week. Thankfully, corks are very resilient, there was no damage. The purchase of a $2 wreath hanger solved that issue.

Once voting is done and results are tallied, I'll post an update. Here's three other entries with a week left to submit an entry.
Unfortunately, votes from fellow bloggers don't count in this contest. Drat! 

What I learned from this experience, is that it's so easy to get caught up in a DIY project and to collect supplies that might be useful for future projects. Many bought and used or not used may be useful for other projects. (Check out a future post for one.)

How about you — ever done any DIY crafts ?

Cheers & Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Frozen for Awhile

During Thanksgiving weekend, Nashua, NH, held its biggest holiday event called "The Winter Holiday Stroll.Grenville volunteered with crowd control during the event, whilea friend and I visited several of the venues.

This annual event is always held the Saturday after Thanksgiving when an estimated 20,000 participants descend to stroll the downtown area, listen to musical performances, dine out in local eateries, and shop locally. 

Downtown business stay open during this event which starts at 4:30 pm and ends around 9:30 p.m. An event highlights is an ice sculpture completed on-site in front of City Hall. (The bell in this photo is the city's original fire bell.)
One of the event highlights is an ice sculpture done in front of City Hall. In past years, the completed pieces melted within a day, this year due to an 18-inch snowfall after the Holiday Stroll, they remained intact for a couple of days.
This year's theme consisted of characters from various Toy Story films. It's been many years since, Grenville or myself saw any of these films, although we did recognize, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
And, we also recognized Forky and Mr Potato Head. 
The sculpture event was sponsored by Shaws, a New England based supermarket chain, which has a location in downtown Nashua.
By mid-week, temperatures unbelievably were in the mid-40s-50s and these sculptures were gone.We're glad to have seen them when all the holiday stroll crowds had gone.

Thanks to everyone for comments on my sending holiday cards post. I appreciated your replies, Understandably, it's a personal, and in many cases financial decision.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Do You or Not . . .

Send holiday 🎅 greetings?

After telling Grenville a while back that I might skip this tradition this year, he replied, Sure you are not which means Of course, you will.

And, he was right.

That's why for the past few days, I've mostly abandoned blogging to write Christmas cards. It's not politically incorrect for me to write the traditional Merry Christmas vs. the all-purpose Happy Holidays. But, I'll select an appropriate card if I know the recipient's religious (or not) preference. 

Every one has a personal note, some longer than others, and always handwritten. For the first time, some included a letter, printed on holiday stationary as I had several designs, it was turn-about fun doing a dozen or so to relatives and friends who have afflicted us sent them to us in past years and it was kept very brief.

While addresses are also handwritten, our return address is on pre-printed labels done on my computer to include a snowman, penguin (of course), or moose (this is New England). It's also fun (for me) to include these colorful stickers on each envelope.
How many cards do I mail out ?

It averages about 125 for domestic and international mailings, including 20 that aren't posted, but hand-delivered to folks in our mill apt residence.

Some people I've talked to cite rising postage/card costs as having halted or curtailed their card mailings. (I get that since from 2018-2019 U.S. First Class postage went from 50 to 55 cents.) Others send e-cards or text greetings.That's doesn't work for me as I believe there's nothing like sending a personal card/message for a holiday, birthday, condolence, anniversary, friendship or just because especially amid all the junk mail that's received.

Do we get as many cards as sent ?

Never, but it doesn't matter. My card list has 2 columns: "Sent" and "Received." The Sent column is always used. I've mistakenly sent duplicates, so tracking is needed. The Received is usually ignored, so I plan to delete it.

How about you — are you sending/cutting down on Christmas 🎄 card mailing ?

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Remember the Date

Amidst the hustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to overlook National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, a day of remembrance in the U.S. 

It's been 78 years ago when on dawn, December 7, 1941, half of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, approximately 150 vessels and service craft, lay at anchor or alongside piers in Pearl Harbor, HI. All but one of the Pacific fleet's battleships were in port that morning.

By 10:00 a.m., the Sunday morning had been shattered as 21 vessels lay sunk or damaged following a surprise raid by hundreds of Japanese planes. Smoke from burning planes and hangars filled the sky and oil from sinking ships clogged the harbor. 

Total number of military personnel killed was 2,335, including 2,008 Navy personnel,109 marines, and 218 Army. Also killed were 68 civilians, making the total killed, 2403. Of these numbers, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona. A total of 21 naval ships were sunk or badly damaged. The number of wounded totaled 1,143: 710 Navy, 69 Marines, and 364 Army, as well as 103 civilians. The total Japanese loss was 55 men.

The attack catapulted the U.S. into WW II. Congress issued a declaration of war after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's spoke to the American public on Dec. 8, 1941, and called the bombing a date that will live in infamy.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is not a federal holiday; however, the U.S. flag should be flown at half-mast to honor all those who died.

(Comments are off for today.)

Friday, December 6, 2019

When Family Gathers . . .

It can be for many reasons. The best ones for most are celebrations of happy holiday times together. That's how part of our family spent the recent Thanksgiving holiday. 

This post has a lot of smiling faces for which we are very thankful. Several years ago, the holidays were not happy times. There was a lot of family tension and discord due to my mom's failing health. Thanksgiving was the last holiday we celebrated with her.
We traveled to Lancaster, PA, to meet up with members of my family who traveled there from NJ. My brother, Tony, his wife Anita, their daughter Julie and husband Michael and their daughter Autumn Rose. She's the first of our two great nieces born in October.
At just over 6 weeks of age, this holiday was Autumn's second celebration after Halloween although she didn't trick or treat this year.
There were quite a few a lot of family photos taken with her. She napped through many of these, including some with her parents.
While she also napped with her grandfather, Autumn posed with her grandmother. Yes, she has a full head of dark hair just like both of her parents.
Great Uncle Pat (Grenville) must have shared a funny turkey story because she really gave him the most big smiles.
Maybe, he was telling her about how her family members took photos wearing the silly holiday hats and headbands provided by her grandmother (middle photo above).
This newest and smallest family member made everyone's holiday even more special. We'll
 see her again and other another new family member during the Christmas holidays
That's because we will be meeting our second great niece and Autumn's cousin, Savannah Marie. She and her parents Jamie and Mike spent the holiday with family in NJ. 

Grenville and myself (Pat and Dorothy) hope that your celebrations included special time spent with family and friends. Our family is relatively small as parents, grandparents and several aunts and uncles have passed. We remember them as we celebrate and make new family memories. That is what matters most to us. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

It Won't Be Long . . .

But ❄️ ☃️ arrived sooner than expected.

That's because, according to most calendars, December 21 marks the official arrival of winter, whereas the official start of meteorological winter is December 1. That date was perfect timing as winter came to in Nashua, NH (and other places) via a 48-hour storm that started Sunday afternoon and ended Tuesday mid-afternoon. Did you get any?

Thankfully, we returned home from our holiday travels before the storm's arrival. 

It didn't snow the entire time,  starting and stopping before clearing out completely. We stayed indoors the entire time. There was nowhere we had to go and the cars are safely parked in the indoor garage. 

This view was from a 5th floor window on our floor. Main streets were snow-free by late Tuesday morning. However, Grenville monitored the police bands which reported numerous fender benders on side streets and local highways. 
Usually, Nashua's first snowfall is sometime in December, but some years recorded snow in November. The season's last snowfall typically occurs in March, or as late as April.
Checking for Nashua, NH, snow stats online, I learned that in December, one in four years totaled over 17 inches of snow. Another 25 percent of years got 6 inches or less for the month. In January, fresh snowfall in the heaviest years exceeded 20 inches, while the lightest years get less than 6.6 inches. New snow in February ranged from over 19 inches in heavy snowfall years to under 6 inches in lighter years.

The earliest Nashua snowfall was on November 11, 1906 and totaled 6 inches. The earliest storm of 10 inches or more was on November 16, 1967, when 11 inches fell. In January 2015, the year we moved here, a blizzard blanketed Nashua with over 33 inches of snow making it the highest accumulation in the state. It was the city's highest ever recorded  and broke a record of 30 inches set in March 1888.

Nashua was far from the top snowfall in NH this time. New Ipswich, NH, had 36 inches this snowfall (the top total in NH). The good great news is that May-October, Nashua is (usually) snow-free.

Some bloggers may recognize the post title as part of the opening line from Snow with vocals by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen. The four harmonize during a late night meet-up on a train heading to VT in a the holiday classic, White Christmas. (We'll be watching the movie again this holiday. How about you?)