CHRISTMAS PARADE DAY IN OUR LITTLE TOWN – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong

We went to get groceries, but we also brought cameras. Because we knew it was parade day and we didn’t have a lot of time. Also, the place we had parked was right in the parade route, so we were going to have to move before the parade.

But that was okay. We’ve seen the parade many times, but the preparations were so much fun!


No idea what the float was, but got some entertaining pictures. Garry says they look like the new political team for 45’s administration. They sure are a bunch of clowns!

We both want to know how they got all those people in that van!


This is as big a crowd as you will ever see in this town. These are the commons and this is most of the village. It was also nice to see everyone in a good mood!

Photo: Garry Armstrong
I think — but am not entirely sure — that the costumed kids were part of a play, but maybe they were just being kids – Photo Garry Armstrong
A crowd on the commons. I’m on the left, dressed in black – Photo: Garry Armstrong
Steaming! Photo Garry Armstrong

The petting zoo used to be provided by the people on our block, but they have retired. We have all grown older.

Hot dogs for the Uxbridge Fire Fighters – Photo Garry Armstrong
Garry taking a picture of the hot dogs for the firefighters – Photo Marilyn Armstrong
A little head-butting! Photo Marilyn Armstrong
More head-butting – Photo Marilyn Armstrong
The keeper of the flocks – Photo Garry Armstrong

There are a lot more pictures. Like three hundred, between the two of us. So I’ll add a couple more and more will go up as the month rolls along. It’s going to rain again tomorrow, but whenever we get a night without rain, I’ll go take pictures of the lights on the common. They will be up until the day after New Year’s Day.

And also hamburgers – Photo Garry Armstrong
A lot of the kids were wearing costumes. That’s new. Photo Marilyn Armstrong
North end of the commons – Photo Marilyn Armstrong

Welcome to the Christmas Season in our little town!

SINGING ALONG – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP- Sunday – SING


When I was in college, I had a nice “little” voice which could occasionally sound pretty good — on a good day if something was in the right key. I have a deep voice for a girl and as I was a music major for a couple of years, I got used to hearing “girls on the right, Marilyn and the boys on the left.” My voice fits better with the guys.

At the Boston Pops

As I got older, I apparently spent too much time shouting and lost most of the voice I had, but I still love the sound of singing, especially duets. There’s something about the interweaving of high and low voices that is a delight to my ears.

THE DEFINITIVE VERSION – Rich Paschall

The Christmas List, by Rich Paschall

As you are racing to and fro in this holiday season you are probably being bombarded by holiday songs. Even if you are listening to Talk Radio in your automobile or sleigh, you can not escape the holiday music in stores, malls, and on television.

With so many versions of certain songs floating through the air, down the block and Rockin Around The Christmas Tree, we thought you might need to know the best recordings of the top songs. It might be a little Frosty outside where you are and we don’t want you to have a Blue Christmas. So for your Happy Holidays before Little St. Nick arrives, here is our latest Top Ten list of definitive versions of these holiday classics.

10. A Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives (1909-1995) The song was released in 1965 after being featured the previous year in the animated cartoon classic, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

9. Feliz Navidad, Jose Feliciano.  The 1970 tune by the Puerto Rican star has become a classic pop tune worldwide.  The song features a simple Spanish chorus and a simple English verse.  The catchy music has taught people everywhere how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish.

8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland (1922-1969) The tune was written for the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis.  It’s a hard song to interpret and I think many singers need to see the movie.

7. Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms (1933-1997) The 1957 “Rockabilly” sound was an immediate hit and eventually went gold for Helms.

6. Christmas Time Is Here, Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976) The jazz musician is best known for composing the score to 17 Peanuts animated television specials and a feature-length film.  The first of these was A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965.  Words to this jazz tune were provided by the Charlie Brown television producer, Lee Mendelson (1933-2008).

5. (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays, Perry Como (1912-2001)  The popular crooner recorded the song in 1954 and sang it for the next 40 years.  “Mr. C” recorded it in stereo in 1959 and it is this version you probably hear today.  Like many popular television variety stars of his era, Como continued holiday shows after his weekly TV shows ended.  This video is from his 1969 Christmas special.

4.  The Christmas Song, Nat “King” Cole (1919-1965) The tune was written by Bob Wells (1922-1998) and another will known singer, Mel Torme (1925-1999), in 1945.  In June 1946 Cole recorded the song, then recorded it again in August with more instruments.  The second version was released.  There was a third recording, then a fourth in stereo in 1961.  It is that last version you here so much today.  Torme also recorded the song some years later, but it is the Nat King Cole version that is best remembered.

3.  It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams (1927-2012).  Williams was another popular television crooner.  The song was written in 1963 and recorded by Williams for his first Christmas album.  It was used on his television show the same year and became a Christmas standard over time.  Now it is one of the top 10 Christmas songs of all time.  On this video, Williams appears to be singing along with the popular recording.

2. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee. The 1960s pop star is still singing the 1958 hit by Johnny Marks. Mr. Marks also wrote “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”  Her Christmas hit is in constant rotation on radio holiday playlists and one of the most downloaded holiday songs. I guess she’s not sorry now.

1. White Christmas, Bing Crosby (1903-1977) The Irving Berlin hit was apparently written for the movie Holiday Inn (no-telling with the prolific Mr. Berlin). Crosby first sang it on his radio show in 1941 but recorded it in 1942 for the Holiday Inn movie. It was recorded again in 1947 as the original master wore out from frequent use. The song appeared in two other movies and Crosby sang it for the rest of his life. This video is the final performance. He died soon after, doing what he liked best, playing golf.

What are your favorite versions of holiday classics?  Click on any song title above for the music video.

WHITE-CHESTED AND RED-BELLIED NUTHATCHES – Marilyn Armstrong

I didn’t know anything about nuthatches except that they are similar to woodpeckers, but are a different family of birds.

They like eating bugs in trees and walk up and down tree trunks. They are, apparently, the only bird that walks headfirst down trees.

There are three kinds and all of them live here. I’ve only seen two of them, but the third one may yet show up.

Red-Bellied Nuthatch

All of these birds live from Mexico to Canada and most places in between. They don’t migrate, though they may decide to fly to a warmer area if the weather is really bad. But they will nest anywhere.

Two on a feeder

The nuthatches are basically identical to each other except for color. I’ve seen two of them on the feeder. There’s the white-breasted nuthatch, which has a white breast, and the red-bellied nuthatch which has a yellow underbody, but some blotchy red feathered areas near its tail. I wondered what those weird-looking red patches were and it turns out, it’s that other nuthatch.

Classic Red-bellied Nuthatch

The third nuthatch, the brown-headed one looks just like the other two, but in the middle of the black cap is a brown beanie. These guys can live in New England but are more common in Canada.

Closely related are the brown creepers and I’ve seen them, too. They are not as pretty or striking as the others. Basically, brown freckled medium size birds with long, pointy beaks. Males and females look the same. I’ve seen them, too.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Mostly though, I’ve seen a lot of red-bellied and whited-chested nuthatches. These are not usually birds that hang out on bird feeders, but they really like ours. Must be the quality of the feed!

So. If you see a bird walking down a tree head first, it’s probably a nuthatch or a brown creeper.

COLD! CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Cold


Is cold fun? It was okay when I was a kid, though I also remember trying to defrost my frozen feet. They make warm boots a lot better today than they did when I was a kid. I would have given a lot for a pair of water-resistant Emu boots … or any kind of Uggs!

Home during the blizzard
By the time the storm was over, we had twice this much
This is my favorite way to look at the snow — through the French doors

It has been getting very cold at night and sometimes, by day. We’ve been getting brushed by snow. Not really whacked by it as they have been further north, but it has been a very close shave. Soon enough, it will actually land right on us.

WAITING TO BLOOM: A SQUARE FOR BECKYB #1 – Marilyn Armstrong

WAITING FOR THE BUDS TO BLOOM

I’ve been living in a New England rain forest. This means that mostly, I’ve been shooting what is easy to get to, namely the birds who visit my feeder and my plants. Birds and buds. And it looks like that’s pretty much all we are going to have in the foreseeable future.

More rain, so more birds and buds.

If I ever get outside again, something else may come up,  but meanwhile, the buds have it.

The buds waiting to bloom