Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New 2023

Our best wishes to all our blog friends for a happy and (hopefully) healthy New Year.
We're still in the holiday mood here in NH.
Thanks for another year of your blog friendships , we look forward to 2023.
Dorothy & Patrick

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas 2022

From Our Home in NH (USA) to Your Home 
We hope your holiday has much peace, joy, love ♥️ 
Dorothy & Patrick
aka Beatrice & Grenville

(Posting is on holiday break. We're spending time with family.)

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve 2022

This post was done by Grenville, a co-administrator but less frequent blogger.

One of my all time favorite Christmas albums is Alabama Christmas by the American country music band, Alabama. I’ve been listening to it every year for almost 50 years. There is a song on the album called Tonight is Christmas. It talks of love, harmony, peace on earth. All of the lofty ideals we strive to live by during the year and wish for again at Christmas. And, this year I’m wishing for it harder than ever.

The factories are all shut down and the shopping malls are all closed
And the busy streets are all empty except for the falling snow
And in the small towns, in the cities families gather as one
'Cause the night of love and sharing they look forward to has come
'cause tonight is Christmas, tonight is love
Tonight we celebrate God's one and only son
Tonight there's hope for peace on earth eternally
Tonight is Christmas and the world's in harmony

Like Cindy Lou Who in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas many of us may be wondering:

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

For myself, it’s Bill Murray (Frank Cross) in the movie Scrooged who gives a glimmer of hope in this speech at the end of the 1988 film. 
(The film is a 1988 fantasy comedy film directed by Richard Donner and based on the 1843 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.) 

It's Christmas Eve! It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be. It's a... miracle. It's really a sort of a miracle. Because it happens every Christmas Eve. And if you waste that miracle, you're gonna burn for it, I know what I am talking about. You have to do something. You have to take a chance. You do have to get involved. 

There are people that are having... having trouble making their miracle happen. There are people that don't have enough to eat, or people that are cold. You can go out and say hello to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and say "Here!", you can make them a sandwich and say "Oh, by the way, here!" I... I get it now! And if you... if you give, then it can happen, then the miracle can happen to you! It's not just the poor and the hungry, it's everybody's who's gotta have this miracle! 

And it can happen tonight for all of you! If you believe in this spirit thing, the miracle will happen and then you'll want it to happen again tomorrow. You won't be one of these bastards who says "Christmas is once a year and it's a fraud", it's NOT! It can happen every day, you've just got to want that feeling. And if you like it and you want it, you'll get greedy for it! You'll want it every day of your life and it can happen to you! I believe in it now! I believe it's going to happen to me now! I'm ready for it! And it's great. It's a good feeling, it's really better than I've felt in a long time. I, I, I'm ready. Have a Merry Christmas, everybody.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. 
God Bless us, Everyone.
Grenville T. Boyd
Nashua, NH

Friday, December 23, 2022

Friday Funnies

It's that time of year when everyone has so many things going on, seemingly all at once.
Hopefully, your spirits won't deflate or topple over like these holiday decorations, most of which were from our years of living in NJ and VA. We've seen them in neighborhoods around Nashua, NH, as well, so they seem to be popular holiday decorations and quite unlike ones in my own childhood.

The weather outside is frightful with snow ❄️ in many states. Here in Nashua, it's rain ๐ŸŒง and high winds ๐Ÿ’จ. There's no snow on the forecast, but frigid temps are on the way. We're heading to RI today to spend Christmas with the grandchildren and their families.

Merry Christmas to All And Safe Travels to All

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Remembering . . .

Those very special family and friends who are no longer here to celebrate the holidays.
(Comments are off. The purpose of this post was a personal remembrance.)
My late mother, Clara, enjoyed Christmas. She passed 8 years ago today. I celebrate her joy of the holiday on this anniversary. I'm sure many others remember loved ones now as well.

Through the years
We all will be together
If the fates allow
So hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now *

* Lyrics are from Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas written in 1943 by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane; introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM film, Meet Me in St Louis.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

We Went for Muffins

We went for blueberry muffins last week (more on this later) and to see a unique village called The Enchanted Village which can only be visited at this very special time of year. It's inside a furniture warehouse in Avon, MA, and admission is free. 
As if that wasn't a special treat in itself, we were welcomed by a trio of singing penguins. This wasn't our first time visit as we first visited five years ago. As with most things, the village was shut down for several holiday seasons during the pandemic.
In 8,000 square feet of yuletide scenes, The Enchanted Village has 18 vignettes of all young children, 59 mechanical figurines total. It's only open to the public from late November until January 1 in Avon, MA. After that, it's set-up is closed to the public until the next holiday season.
Here's the backstory . . . This village was originally named the Enchanted Village of St. Nicolas, and was created in 1958 when Boston-based department store, Jordan Marsh, commissioned a Bavarian toy maker to create 28 fully decorated holiday scenes with 250 magically animated figures. 
The figures were depictions of life-size children in a quaint recreation of a Victorian-era village during the Christmas season in a simpler time, without the hustle of today. Assorted scenes show children wrapped in scarves and wearing warm clothing, as they are working in stores, trimming trees, delivering presents, selling newspapers, playing in a band.
At its peak, the display consumed an entire floor of Boston's first department store founded in the 1860s. Scenes were also spotlighted in the store's display windows. Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, the Enchanted Village was displayed in the flagship store. A trip to see the village became a New England tradition, until Jordan Marsh closed the display in 1972. 
In the early 1990s, the display was briefly returned, but Jordan Marsh closed in 1998 after being purchased by the Macy's chain of department stores. The new owners had no interest in the village and sold it  to the City of Boston which used it as a City Hall Plaza display until 2006. The city stopped displaying the village when the cost became too great and in 2009 put it up for auction. Unfortunately, not all of the figures had survived during the years.
That's when Jordan's Furniture (no relation) another Massachusetts-based retailer, came to its rescue. Its president and CEO Eliot Tatelman remembered traveling from his Newton, MA, home to see the village. Based on those childhood memories, he purchased the surviving pieces of the vintage mannequin display from the city of Boston at auction for $140,000, and had the remaining collection restored to its former glory. 
When Tatelman bought the Enchanted Village, it included only 21 original facades/rooms, and approximately 80 figures. Many parts had been lost including an 8-set Lionel train electric train that previously was a central part of the display.
Everything now on display is original with no added facades or figures. According to Tatelman, shown in the above display, his team updated the mechanicals and refurbished (not replaced) all the original facial features, original hair, and all the original clothes on the mannequins. 
About Those Muffins . . . The holiday village wasn't the only attraction at Boston's Jordan Marsh department store, it's where a blueberry muffin became a top-seller.

Muffins from a department store weren't that unusual years ago when, like many similar grand department stores of that era, Jordan Marsh had an on-site cafe/bakery. It served shoppers sweet treats and the ever-popular cake-like blueberry muffins were topped with crunchy sugar crystals.

Their popularity continued despite the store's closing. In 1998, the store's head baker, John Pupek, who had been baking at Marsh's since 1961, opened a Brockton, MA, bakery called (ready or not) the Jordan Marsh Muffin Co. It turned out thousands of blueberry muffins weekly, closing in 2004 when Pupek retired. He later sold the recipe to Montilio’s Baking Company in Boston which now provides pre-baked and packaged muffins to Jordan's Furniture at the Avon, MA location.
These treats are seasonal, just like the Enchanted Village. They're available for single purchase or in one of these six-packs, which we purchased — the cost was $13.
If you're not in the area, and a blueberry muffin aficionado, you can order an 8-pack with free shipping, but the price is way more $$$, even with 2 more included. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

Friday Funnies

Sometimes, even the vehicle doing a haul needs an unexpected haul. 
This one was seen in downtown Nashua a couple of months ago.

In our household, the decorating and (limited) shopping have been done. This weekend, it's time for gift wrapping and cookie baking during a wet weekend. I've fallen somewhat behind with blog reading, but will catch up on recent posts this weekend. Hope that your holidays are moving along well and for that those of you who have not been felling well are doing better.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Light snow is forecast in Nashua, NH

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

December Snow

Finally, the first snow of this winter holiday season arrived here in Nashua, NH, overnight this past Sunday evening into early Monday a.m. This was the early morning after-snow view from our apartment, an all too familiar scene to regular readers of this blog.
This first snowfall wasn't one for the record books coming in at just about an inch. Still. it was enough to cause havoc on the roadways with numerous accidents

While a bit more snow is forecast towards the end of this week, there's but no major storms or blizzards like in western states in recent days in the forecast. 
Even areas in the UK have been hit with snow.

How about in your area, aside from those living in FL or other warm weather states, have you experienced any snowy weather yet?

As much as we would like to have a White Christmas, it would not be appreciated then  traveling to visit family this Christmas.

As always, thanks for your comments on the post showing our holiday decos. Several folks said we decorated quite a bit, but this really is less than other years. And to answer a blogger's question, yes, we do have a storage unit, thankfully not in the basement, but conveniently located on our apartment floor. Decorations are packed in containers and stored. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Decorating is Done

Posting has been somewhat less often during the holiday season. Like many others, we've been busy at home. This year we put up fewer decorations (even if it doesn't seem that way) and the holiday village wasn't set up. That because it's an undertaking to be started before Thanksgiving. Since we were away for that holiday, it didn't happen but perhaps next year. (Here's a look at Christmas 2018 when it was set up.)
The exterior decorations went up right after Thanksgiving, not a day before. These are outside our apartment entry as we obviously can't have actual outside ones like we did when years ago in NJ and VA when we were homeowners. The upside is there's no worries about the weather.
This Santa door wreath was homemade this year using craft supplies
leftover from the past couple of years. Once the holidays are over, it will be replaced with the winter wreath, also new this year. These were no cost as I had several shoeboxes of craft supplies leftover from a couple years of making wreaths during the pandemic.
These German-made wooden nutcrackers are nearly 50 years old. They were bought at a small gift shop, which is long gone, in my hometown of Plainfield, NJ. Both were originally given as gifts to my late mother who, it turns out, wasn't that fond of them and rarely put them on display. They now stand guard in our home every holiday season.
These wooden Santas also make an annual appearance. Both were bought at a flea market several years ago. The one on the right appears to have been hand made, a big plus for me.
Here's a couple of hand made trees that I did a couple of years ago, also during the pandemic when everyone was staying in and not going anywhere.
More favorites are again making their annual appearances. For the past 11 months, most of these have been in storage container hibernation. The lone exceptions are the reindeer and snowman pair which hang around our apt year round. We finally removed the battery from the snowman as it would repeatedly say Welcome to anyone who walked by usually ourselves.
These bear figures are colorfully decked out in holiday colors and have also been part of our holiday collection for years. The largest bear was a gift from my brother at least 10 years ago. That red wagon was bought at a Hallmark store many years ago and are no longer sold in the stores, like many other things no longer available.
Once again, the Peanuts Gang (Peppermint Patty, Linus, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy) are seated on the window sill. Charlie's tree needs a repair, so it's not on display this year. The gang has been joined by our colony of well-dressed penguins and this year they are hanging out at the penguin lodge, a recent purchase.
We have an assortment of snowman figures displayed on bookshelves. Several of these hold special memories as they were gifts from departed friends. 
This Nativity has special significance as well. Most of the figures are a set that formerly belonged to my late mother, except for the enclosure which is from a former set of mine. The sheep and lambs were bought many years ago, again at a Hallmark store, and are also no longer available.  
This is a close-up of the framed artwork at the far right of the above Nativity set. It's from an annual Santa painting by fellow blogger Linda, a talented artist, who blogs at Linda's Life Journal. She orders holiday cards of her Santa paintings. I was fortunate to receive this one a couple of years ago and it's become one of my favorite holiday images.
Of course, the highlight of our decorations is the Christmas tree. A couple of years ago, we were planning to get a live tree, until management here outlawed them due to insurance regulations and possible fire concerns. We were at a Michael's store when we read the message and bought this pre-lit tree. 

This year we added decorative ribbon (first time) and liked the result. Coincidentally, the ribbon plaid matched the tree skirt, which has been in use for at least 20 years. Since we don't have a fireplace, stockings are hung on the entertainment cabinet, which holds our collection of holiday DVDs. We've been watching one every night since after Thanksgiving.

This week I've been busy writing holiday greetings with a personal note in each. Despite my plans to cut down the list, that hasn't happened. To date, I've completed and mailed some 75 cards. There's still another 20 to go and these will be hand delivered to fellow residents in the mill apartments, so no postage needed (whew). Next comes cookie baking and Grenville has happily agreed to be the chief sampler of all baked treats—he's nice that way๐Ÿ˜‰.

How about you?—holiday ๐ŸŽ„decorating, card ๐Ÿ“จ writing, cookie ๐Ÿช baking—any or all?

Thanks for all your comments on our grandson Bobby's birthday. He is the oldest grandchild and the youngest, granddaughter Lilliana, also has a December coming up next week.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Look Who's 16 !

As if the years don't seem to pass fast enough, today is a very special ๐ŸŽ‚ day in our family.
It's the 16th birthday of oldest grandchild, Bobby (Robert Thomas). Unfortunately, we will not be in RI to celebrate this event. 
He was a preemie and spent his first 2 weeks in a neo-natal unit, but happily, his release came in time for his parents and us to celebrate his birth and first Christmas. It hardly seems that many years ago that we were notified of this his impending arrival and flew cross-country from VA home to CA, where his parents were living. 
Of course we're prejudiced, but we are extremely proud of this young man as we have watched him grow up. He is kind, caring and helpful—and very much loved ❤️.
Looking through images to include in this post, there were many favorites, especially those of grandson and grandfather, which are among my favorites.
This ↑ is the reason excuse for the lateness of this birthday post. It's connected with grandson's birth. We spent a few weeks in CA and where we saw this film released during the holiday season that year. One of our favorite holiday films, it's appropriately called The Holiday.

Here's a synopsis: two unlucky-in-love women (Amanda and Iris) arrange a 2-week home exchange between the US and England to escape heartbreak during the holiday season. English Iris finds herself in an CA mansion, while Amanda is in a picture-perfect English cottage and village. They both find that a change of address can change their lives and both fall in ♥️.

Sure, this romantic comedy has a predictable outcome and, of course, the lead actors (Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black) are attractive and charming. But, it also has a long running time—2 hrs and 15 min. 
Grandson Bobby on his 16th birthday
Maybe, one day, our grandson will enjoy it as much as his grandparents. At the moment he's more into video games than rom-com films—one day, he may watch this film with his own ♥️ interest (not, that we are rushing anything).

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Grand Thanksgiving Holiday

There was some snow and little traffic on our road trip
This year, we spent the Thanksgiving holiday in what's been described as one of America's remaining grand hotels. Fortunately for us, this one is located in Whitefield, NH, less than a 2-hour drive from our Nashua home.
Mountain View Grand in Whitefield, NH, front porch view and lobby
Nestled in view of NH's White Mountains area, the Mountain View Grand is among a handful of remaining grand hotels in the state. That's impressive considering that in the late 1800s, the U.S. had over 1,000 such large resorts. Many of these were similar to this wood-framed hotel with towers and extensive porches, which too often were completely destroyed by fire. 
Friends Randy and Judy, Patrick and Dorothy (Beatrice & Grenville)
This wasn't our first visit as we've visited several times before; however, it was our first visit during a holiday season. My previous post mentioned celebrating ๐Ÿฆƒ with friends in years past. We did the same this year as our Nashua friends, Randy and Judy, also celebrated here. Entire family groups, did the same. The fact that Santa's Village, a North Pole-themed attraction is located a short drive away was a major draw on the Thanksgiving weekend.There's a lot of history associated with this hotel from its farmhouse start, expansion, closing, renovation and reopening. An earlier 2020 post provided the details and background of the Mountain View Grand, so that history won't be repeated here.)
Thanksgiving buffet at the Mountain View Grand (by the end of the night)
Thanksgiving dinner was served buffet-style in one of the hotel ballrooms. Later, in speaking with a manager, we learned that 425 guests had been served at several seatings starting at noon. Our preference is always for the last seating which left the day free to do things like the start of watching holiday films. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is always Grenville's first choice. How about you—what's your first holiday film?
After dinner, we went to the hotel's game room for to play dominoes. When at home, the four of us play weekly at a local senior center. During the pandemic, it was our game of choice.
No, these animals were not on the dinner menu. In keeping true to its beginnings as a working farm, the resort includes a farm area with chicken, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys and Scottish Highland cattle. Guests are invited to visit the farm which we did, once again, several times.This very cooperative goat not only posed for a selfie with me, but was very vocal in greeting and communicating with everyone who visited the barn area.One of the hotel's most popular outdoor activities is the ax throw (limited to adults only). While neither ourselves or our friends participated, it was interesting (and amusing) to watch other guests try their skills while everyone else stood at a safe distance. Grenville threw one on a previous visit and, after pulling a shoulder muscle then, was OK with not trying again.On a chilly afternoon, our foursome took a 20-minute tractor ride around the hotel grounds. Blankets were provided and we opted to sit on one as the wooden seats were quite cold too.Although, we didn't  use any of the provided services in the hotel's three-story tower Tower Spa, a visit there provided a great 360-degree view of nearby mountain peaks. Tradition was observed at the Mountain View Grand in that there were no Christmas decorations on view from our Wednesday afternoon arrival and throughout Thanksgiving Day.
Instead, the morning after Thanksgiving was quite a different story as the Mountain View Grand had been completely transformed and was decked out in ๐ŸŽ„holiday decorations. Those soldiers standing guard at the front door were joined by many interior ones of varying styles and colors.

Best of all, they were very obliging in posing with hotel guests. They never once moved from their location and will remain on guard in the hotel throughout the holiday season.
Several lit and decorated Christmas trees were in various rooms throughout the hotel, all had piles of wrapped gifts with old-fashioned ribbon bows.
Father Christmas was represented in various forms and, in keeping with the hotel's traditional decorations theme, not one was wearing a red suit like you-know-who.

No explanations are needed for these ↓ holiday decorations which were on display throughout the hotel. All provided a wonderful start to the Christmas holiday season during our stay.

This fireplace is in the lobby by the front door and is a popular gathering spot. Seating was at a premium throughout our stay, but luckily, we were able to get a spot late Friday afternoon.The fireplace decorations provided a great background for this holiday photo. (We've become skilled at taking our own selfies, and politely decline offers of help—How about you?)
There was snow on a state road park and some mountain tops
Thanks to all for your comments on the recent Friendsgiving ๐Ÿฆƒ holiday post. Grenville and I hope that your holiday was special, no matter how, where or with whom it was celebrated. We were happy and thankful once again to have celebrated with friends. We also met many nice strangers new friends, even if temporary, throughout our stay.

Today is December 1, let the ๐ŸŽ„countdown begin and for myself, card writing starts. Despite increasing USPS mail costs, I will send handwritten cards and believe there are those who enjoy both receiving them and doing the same.