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A NEW ENGLAND CHRISTMAS POSTER

All dressed up for the holidays, Uxbridge Common is lovely at night with a frosting of snow. Designed as a poster. What do you think?

Uxb Common Christmas Poster

A Hit for Christmas – Richard Paschall

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

Reblog From SUNDAY NIGHT BLOG – Richard Paschall

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December 15, 2013

by Rich Paschall

 - – -

I need a hit for Christmas

To turn the season green.

A snappy little holiday tune

Is really what I mean.

If I could just find somewhere

In my memory tonight

A verse, a phrase, some words of joy

To the world I would write.

 - – -

“What is my theme?” I wonder

As I wander here and there.

Christmas songs make lots of cash

And why should I not share

In monies green and silver

But oh what shall I say?

After all I’m thinking now,

“What’s not been said of Christmas Day?”

 - – -

I’ll write a Christmas Jingle.

Bells of joy will sound –

A song about Kris Kringle

Or snow upon the ground.

I’ll make a little silver.

Bells of joys will play –

A check, a smile, a royalty

With every Christmas Day.

 - – -

As each and every memory

Was sailing past tonight,

I had to grab the good ones

And to add the music right.

I’m dreaming of best sellers

That every year will rock

Around the Christmas tree

And down every single block.

 - – -

We then need the musicians

For piano and for bass.

We’ll add a little drummer.

Boy, we’ll really rock the place.

The perfect words and music?

I ask what do you hear.

What I hear are record deals

If we can sound sincere.

 - – -

I’ll write a Christmas Jingle.

Bells play all the way.

A tune that you will download –

On CD’s that you will play.

I’ll have a greener season

And know just what to say –

“A check, a smile, a royalty

With every Christmas Day.”

 - – -

Copyright Richard Paschall

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CHRISTMAS AT THE POPS 2013

December 13, 2013

A great evening. Snow expected, but not this night. Tomorrow, or perhaps the night after, the roads will be slick. But tonight, the roads are dry, though traffic is holiday heavy. As we drive into Boston, we can see the westbound Pike is bumper to bumper. Glad we aren’t going that way, we assure each other.

“We’ll have dinner after the concert,” I say. “Then when we are ready to come home, traffic will have cleared.

It’s an easy drive to Symphony Hall, but slow. Traffic gets heavier as we approach Boston. Owen is a patient traffic. Good thing, too. You need patience to drive in Boston any time of year, but near Christmas, you need saint-like patience. Still, it was easy enough. Take the Mass Pike all the way and get off at Prudential Center. Go  straight ahead out of the Pru tunnel. About five minutes later, Symphony Hall comes up on your right. We always find a parking space in less than a block. Against all odds, but so far, every year a space has been awaiting us.

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Note: The orchestral version of Sleigh Bells was written by Leroy Anderson (a Cambridge native who was Bandmaster at Harvard University) in July 1946 for the Boston Pops Orchestra.  It was performed by them and became a huge hit. The song remains — to this day — the most performed holiday song (per ASCAP).

We had Asian cuisine after the concert. It was good and the prices were no worse than they are locally … much to our surprise and pleasure. And we were hungry! They put an orchid on the table with dinner. Nice, very nice. It was so perfect, I didn’t know it was a real flower.

Traffic was much lighter on the way home. Indeed, the westbound traffic was no problem, but the eastbound side was now bumper-to-bumper. We managed to avoid the worst of it in both directions. Yay us. Full of sushi, noodles and Christmas music, I stopped to take a few pictures on Uxbridge Commons. We may not be Boston, but it was a picture from a Christmas story.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

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BRATZ ANGEL WITH BRIGHT TREE

Our Angel wore out. You wouldn’t think they could wear out. After all, they don’t do anything except sit there on top of the tree and look angelic, right? But after more than 20 years, our angel fell quietly to pieces. Peacefully, but nonetheless, a final peace in pieces.

Bratz Angel

My granddaughter, clever angel that she is, felt we needed a new angel and sacrificed one of her many (oh so many) Bratz dolls. I think we have the only black lipped Goth tree angel, but it’s a very nice angel indeed. The tree looks fine, though it too is coming near the end of its life and next year we will probably have to replace it. For now, we will keep it.

Since Garry were married, I’ve bought a special decoration for Christmas each year. 2013′s decoration are the stuffed owls I bought at the Heritage Museum Lighting Night. If you look, you will see other Christmases and their special decoration. There have been many. Hopefully there will be many more.

 

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: COMMUNITY OF SONG

The whole congregation comes together once a year at Christmas. Everyone participates, from toddlers to seniors. Singing or preparing food, or supporting their friends and family by being their to show their love. This a community united in their love of Christmas, their church and the music.

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THE BOSTON POPS — MUSIC, CHRISTMAS AND SANTA CLAUS

Today  we are off to our annual excursion to the Boston Pops for the Christmas Concert. So, since I won’t be here to do a lot of writing, here’s photographic trip down memory lane. A year ago, a world ago. Last winter, Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. With music!

THE ONE AND ONLY ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS STORY

I need my annual fix — a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, quickly followed by A Christmas Story.

It’s a Wonderful Life is my sentimental favorite, but A Christmas Story makes me smile. We laugh before they show the funny parts because we know what’s coming. Watching it is our family ritual.

SantaAndRalphie

The original narration by the story’s author, the inimitable Jean Shepherd, is a gem. It’s the story of Christmas seen through the eyes of Ralphie, a kid like me. A kid like you. I don’t care how many musicals they make. The original will always be better. Between Jean Shepherd and Darren McGavin, it doesn’t get better than that.

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I’m not sure what my favorite scene is, but it may be when the neighbor’s pack of hounds gets the Christmas turkey. Or perhaps the lighting of the world’s ugliest lamp!

If by some stroke of ill luck you haven’t seen it, it plays on most cable channels sometime in December. Just in case we miss it, we have it — and all our favorite Christmas movies — on DVD. It was released last year on Blu-ray.

It is sometimes poignant, but it is never sappy. It succeeds in being nostalgic without sticky sweetness and funny without being annoying. It may be the best role of Darin McGavin’s career.

THE PERFECT GIFT

Wreath Lights

“I want these earrings, or something as close to it as you can find,” I said, handing him the picture, item number and the website address. The trouble is, my husband doesn’t take orders. If I say I want those earrings, he will buy the other ones because he likes them better. Which would be fine, if he were going to wear them.

I am pretty good at following orders, but it isn’t much fun.  I always tried to find something a little creative … until I realized he didn’t want something unique. He wanted that shirt, that sweatshirt. He didn’t want different colors. He wanted it to look exactly like all his other ties, all his other shirts.

A couple of years ago, my best friend got desperate. She bought the beautiful hand-made leather bag she wanted, handed it to her husband. “Wrap it up,” she said. “You just bought my Christmas present.” That is one approach. I came up with an alternative.

We buy each other something relatively small for Christmas — an “under the tree” gift. We try to be sure it’s something each of us wants. Amazon wish lists can be a big help (just saying). After Christmas, we go shopping. He gets stuff he wants and tries it on. So what if it’s the same stuff he always buys? That’s his choice.

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I buy the earrings I want, a sweater that fits. The electronic gadget I’ve been yearning for, the lens on my wish list.

We are both happy. We shop together, share the experience, get to make suggestions, offer input and have a lot of fun. Prices are always rock-bottom after the holidays are over and if you wait a few extra days, the stores aren’t crowded. It totally removes the stress from trying to find a perfect gift.

It turns out if you bring the recipient with you — and he or she can choose — they will always find the perfect gift.

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DAILY PROMPT: TATTOO — ME! PHOENIX RISING!

I got my tattoo when I was 55. A late starter, you might say, but it took me years to figure out what I wanted. A tattoo isn’t to be taken lightly. Once you’ve got it, it’s got you, too. Unless you go to heroic lengths to get rid of it, it’s as much a part of you as … well … your skin.

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I’d been vibrating to the phoenix for a long time. Having had my world collapse a few times and arise from my ashes, I figured it fit. I had phoenix earrings, pendants and pins. What I didn’t have, was a phoenix as part of me. Maybe I’d never have done it, but my kids — son and daughter in law — were seriously into the “me as living art” thing and they dragooned me. It wasn’t hard to get me to come along. I’d thought about it.

My husband was amused, but not getting involved. His precious skin would remain pristine. No tatts, no piercings. He got through the Marine Corps unscathed. He wasn’t giving in now. Garry has a will — more accurately — a won’t — of iron.

My Tattoo phoenix

I knew what I wanted in general, but needed an actual design. Me and the tattoo guy made a design based on a bunch of Phoenix patterns we’d seen. It’s a one-of-a-kind. When he sketched it on my left calf, I was surprised how big it was.  It covers my entire calf. I had something more petite in mind. Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound so … I did it.

When this prompt showed up in this morning’s email, I was delighted. Here is something I could relate to. Then I thought about it.

“Shave the legs,” came to mind. It had been a while. November wasn’t a “take care of me” month. I spent nearly all of it writing, photographing, and coughing so hard my back went out every other day. In between there was cooking, reading, reviewing books and of course, minding the family finances (ouch). And shopping for Christmas. I’m not a late shopper. By Black Friday, I’ve got all the gifts tucked away waiting for wrapping paper.

I shaved. That was a full hour and then, realizing my skin looked more like lizard than human, so I moisturized. Then went back and got all the spots I missed. Moisturized again.

Taking photographs of the back of one’s left calf is not easy. Not only is the angle difficult, involving significant twisting of ones torso into unique configurations, but unless one is a lot taller than me and/or happens to have exactly the right lens, it’s hard to get it in focus — I didn’t, but came close.

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Then there’s processing the photo while trying to ignore the thousands of post-Black Friday pre-Cyber Monday advertisements, some of which are actually for things I could use — like new makeup because it turns out, even if you don’t use it, it still gets old and dry.

Finally, it came together. My tattoo. On my calf.  In honor of surviving enough life crises to put someone else out of business. A phoenix engulfed in flame. Not enough flames. I always meant to add more fire, but never got around to it. Now, I never will. My phoenix is happy as he is. Long may he burn.

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: DANCING IN THE DARK

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It was very cold. A light breeze riffled the naked trees wrapped in lights. Music was playing by the exhibit building. Alone, in the dark and cold, by the glow of thousands of Christmas, one couple danced.

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Not so long ago, that would have been Garry and I. Not that we are such great dancers (we aren’t) but because we were so happy to dance together.

Dancing Dark 3

But this night we are not so young. Our backs hurt and the cold is nipping at our feet and fingers. I had a sentimental moment … and then I knew we needed to warm up, inside, away from the starlight and music. But it brought back happy memories and the young couple made me smile.

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: LIGHTS AGLOW – HERITAGE MUSEUM

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SO BEGINS THE SEASON OF LIGHT

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Boston Common lit up for the holidays! Welcome back, the season of lights.