Ms. New Hampshire Senior America

Barb's Journey Continues

This is a continuation of Barbara's journey .  pictures will be on the Barbara's Journey page just click list at the end of each story coming to this page and return to the list and photo's return to list


Sept 17, 2013 Betsy Appello, President of Senior America , Inc contacted me to explain that Signal TV Station, located in the UK is making a documentary on Beauty Pageants.  Betsy asked if she could give out my contact information to them.  I was excited to be invited to participate in the interview with the Signal TV's reporter, Amy Tandy.  Naturally, I said yes because this is a wonderful opportunity to bring recognition to Ms Senior America, to New Hampshire, and to me!

Amy contacted me on Monday and asked if she could interview me on Tuesday.  I accepted her invitation and Skyped with her this morning.  We discussed a number of topics but the one that held the most interest was the fact that Ms. Senior America is grounded in reality and that instead of winning money, we win the opportunity to serve senior women across the nation to inspire them to recognize their self-worth and to help them achieve their optimal level of achievement and enjoyment during their senior years.

I compared Ms. Senior America to Miss America to point out that while we are focused on inner beauty and service, Miss America is primarily based on physical beauty and money. I explained that as I watched the Miss America Pageant on TV Sunday night, most of the women stressed the need for constant dieting and an intense program of physical exercise.  While the candidates are absolutely stunning, most of them shared their frustration of how their weight fluctuated from pageant to pageant.  They confided how a period of weight gain follows one pageant and a period of weight loss proceeds the next one.  When asked what they were going to do immediately following the bathing suit competition, they all said "EAT.  To me this exposed the fact that the role model they portrayed was unrealistic, unattainable for most women, and unsustainable. I told Amy that in contrast, the role model for Ms. Senior America is genuine and grounded in reality.  I am blessed to be part of the Ms. Senior America Program because it encourages me to be myself instead of a preconceived image of who society wants me to be.  

Amy said that she would be interviewing more delegates before moving to the next step in the documentary.  The one thing that negatively impacts the possibility of my being selected for the documentary is the fact that I am an appointed delegate because NH did not have a state pageant this year.  Amy expressed concern that the absence of a pageant is a handicap when it comes to succeeding in the Nationals.  I agree with her and have taken extra measures in my preperations so that I am not at a completer disadvantage.  It is unfortunate that NH has not had a pageant in two years, so I hope that there will be a state pageant in 2014.

This adventure keeps getting more and more exciting!!!  I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!  
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9/18/13 Maudslay State Park 
This week's effort to keep senior's active included a hike at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA.  There was an art exhibit going on, so the event was educational as well as physical.  Our guide was very knowledgeable and shared the history of the Maudslay family, their mansion, the outbuildings, and the gardens.  The overall favorite exhibit was a tree that was laced with a vine of leaves that spiraled around the base of the tree.  Each leaf had a word written on it and when you read them in sequence, you received insight and wisdom.  Please take a moment to look at the pictures.  Yes, some of the hikers were women who were over 60 and yes, I am trying to get them to submit an application for Ms NH Senior America. return to list

9/19/13 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 
One of my sponsors is the Windham Women's Club.  I belong to their book club which recently read "The Art Forger."  This was a story about a major art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Art Museum in Boston, MA.  Thirteen members of the book club went on a field trip to the museum where we saw the empty spaces where Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and Marnet originals were cut from their frames and smuggled out of the museum.  The women are very interested in the things that I am doing as Ms NH Senior America 2013, so I hope that my example is inspiring them to keep learning.  I also hope that they will consider filling out an application for the next pageant.  return to list

9/20/13 Foster's Pond 
My goal of helping seniors to stay active led me to Foster's Pond in Windham, NH.  Ten seniors trekked through the woods stopping to admire mother nature.  After a 90 minute hike, we went back to my place for a ham dinner.  One of our new members did not know that I am Ms NH Senior America 2013 and when she found out, she had a zillion questions.  After dinner, when she tried on my crown, I could see a glint of envy in her eyes.  I encouraged her to go for a crown of her own.  I played a few songs on my guitar and asked what they thought of "Look for a silver Lining."  They all said that inserting my philosophy of life in my talent presentation was a clever idea.  I hope that the judges agree.  return to list


Sept 21 Miss Hooksett Old Home Day Pageant 
The director of Hooksett Old Home Day, Carrie Hyde, invited me to participate in the 2013 Miss Old Home Day pageant.  I was to be a special guest who would crown the winner.  However, at the last minute, Carrie was needed elsewhere, so she asked me to run the pageant for her. With less than 15 minutes before the pageant was to begin, Carrie's husband, Jason, handed me a folder of applicants and rapidly composed age appropriate questions.  Because the girls were young. I disclosed the questions in advance.  After introducing the contestants to the audience, I asked each of them three questions:  What do you like the most about school?"  "What makes you happy?" and "If you had one wish, what would it be?"

I had the opportunity to address the audience and to sing "Look for the Silver Lining" while the girls changes into their costumes for their talent presentation.  Later, when the judges compiled their votes, I conducted the coronation ceremony.  I find it ironic that I designed a pageant and was the MC before being in a pageant myself!  It was a wonderful day and I walked the grounds promoting Ms Senior America and My Dear Peanut on-line forum. return to list

9/21/13 Autumn Equinox 
My late husband's cousin, Romeo Danais, invited me to celebrate the first day of autumn with him and his friends.  The women wanted to know all about Ms. Senior America.  One of them, a beautiful woman named Molly, invited me and my hiking group to tour her workshop where she designs and constructs handmade shoes. After the tour of her shoe shop, we will hike her property.  The day will end with a tour of Molly's bed and breakfast and high tea on her porch.  In addition to being a very talented shoemaker and business woman, Molly is beautiful, sensitive and personable so she would make a wonderful delegate for the next state pageant.  return to list


Sept. 23, 2013 Signal TV 
I had another Skype interview with Amy Tandy, from Signal TV in the UK.  We chatted for well over an hour about the mission of Ms. Senior America, the strength in my conviction regarding the necessity of having a realistic role model, and my many interests and volunteer activities. Amy explained that she was having a meeting with the Broadcaster on Friday and that she would soon know more about the direction of the documentary.   return to list 

Sept. 23, 2013 Mid Day - Mid Week Hike at Mines Falls 
This weeks efforts to keep senior healthy by walking included a walk at Mines Falls in Nashua.  It was a perfect fall day so we were able to keep up a brisk pace.  Afterwards, we went for lunch and to my delight I discovered that future Queen Kim, from the Benson's Park hike has a lot of experience running non-profit organizations.  Once the 2013 National pageant is over, I hope that I can get Kim to accept a position on the new Board of Directors. return to list

Sept. 24, 2013 UK Signal TV Station 
Amy Tandy, from the UK Signal TV Station in the UK sent me an email regarding an in person interview in my home.  She wanted information regarding what I do at the Windham, Pelham, and Nashua Senior Centers.  She is also interested my hospice respite care activities and my participation with their Wellspring Singers.  Amy asked if my family and friends were willing to be filmed and she asked for suggestions of what she could film and how it could be arranged.  I explained that I could arrange a Mid Day - Mid Week adventure that began with a tour of a workshop where a woman of elegance designs and constructs handmade shoes and boots. After the tour Molly will lead us on a hike around her property.  Phase three of the adventure is a tour of Molly's award winning bed and breakfast and then High Tea.  Attending a performance of my music therapy group, The Classic, is also a filming option along with a gathering of my jewelry design group and a gathering of one of my sponsors the Manchester Area Wine Lovers.  

I emailed Amy pictures of me skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and snowshoeing to add to my portfolio of pictures already sent.  

Amy's tentative plan is to come to the USA a week or two before the pageant.  Signal TV would film me in my home environment and then they would follow me to the pageant.  This is so exciting!!!! return to list

Sept. 24, 2013 Silver Lining chorus 
Today I volunteered with the Silver Lining Chorus.  We entertained the residents of Carlyle Place in Bedford, NH.  The director, Ellie Risley, always starts the concert with the theme song "Look for the silver Lining."  This is always a challenge for me because that is the song for my talent presentation in the national competition for the title of Ms Senior America.  The reason why it is a challenge is because I changed the melody to accommodate my voice range, I change the tempo so that it was a faster more upbeat rhythm, and I changed the lyrics to repeat my philosophy of life.  The audience really enjoyed the concert and frequently sang along with us.  Since Ellie ends our concert with a tribute to America, it is common to see a few tears, even from the members of the choir. return to list

Sept. 26, 2013 Silver Lining Chorus 
Ellie Risley's Silver Lining Chorus performed twice this week!  This group of volunteers brought so much joy to the residents of Fairview Nursing Home that I am honored to sing with them.  While the age ranges from the 60's to the 90's, the quality of the voices is just amazing.  One of the Oldest members sing "Autumn Leaves" in English and then in French.  The song is extra meaningful because many members of the audience are French Canadian and French is their primary language. return to list

Sept. 26, 2013 St Patrick's church Choir 
I am an active volunteer in many areas of my church.  We are celebrating our 100 Year Anniversary this Sunday.  I volunteered to make our 100th Anniversary Quilt and I am very active with the Women's Guild.  Because I love to sing, my favorite volunteer activity with St Pat's is the church choir.  I met privately with the director, Steve Caruso this evening to review my song for the pageant, "Look for the Silver Lining."  Steve forewarned me that he tells it like it is and that if I stink ... he will let me know so that I do not embarrass myself on a national level.  Fortunately, he didn't have to say that.  Steve's comments were very positive.  He liked the variations in the tempo and he like the lyrics.  He also said that I had perfect pitch and that I did not have any flat or sharp notes.  Because NH did not have a state pageant and I am an appointed delegate, Steve's words were very meaningful and he gave me more confidence in my ability to compete with women who are professionally trained.  As I have mentioned before, I can't even ready music.... I play by ear and sing from my heart.  Steve helped me with the phrasing so that I knew when to pause to make a point and to take a breath.  He wants me to have a big ending to bring it all home, so I am still working on that.  During Choir practice, Steve invited me to perform for the choir.  I explained that GOD is the Silver Lining in my life that gets me through the hard times so I know that I chose the right song and that the outcome will be exactly what it was meant to be. return to list
Sept. 27, 2013 The Classics Music Therapy Group 
Every year, I produce a new show for my music therapy group.  I select the songs and choreograph the dances and the skits.  We rehearse over the summer and perform the new show starting in September.

This year Barb and Deb plays guitar, Herb plays the drums, and Dennis plays the harmonica.  Wendy is our announcer and Paula runs our sound system.  Our new show had four sets:  Oldies such as "Five Foot Two" and "Button Up Your Overcoat."  Holidays such as "Monster Mash" and "When Irish Eyes are Smiling."  50's and 60"s because the next generation has arrived in our audience we do "Witch Doctor" and "Mickey Mouse," and "Diana."  Our shows always end with a tribute to America where Herb really goes to town with drum rolls between songs for the various arm forces.  

When you look at the first picture you will get the gist of the humor we provide.  The song is "I'm getting Married in the Morning."  Our groom comes out in a pair of funny glasses with the big nose and mustache.  Next the groom puts on an exaggerated top hat to set the scene.  It is especially funny because the audience knows that our groom is really a woman dressing up for the role she plays in the song.  Our bride, Ruth, comes rushing out putting on her veil and grabbing her bouquet.  When she joins her groom and get's ready to walk down the aisle, we sing "Girls come and kiss me; show how you miss me, Connie comes out wearing big fat wax lips and tries to kiss the groom.  Naturally, the bride is not going to let that happen so Ruth protects her man by batting Connie away with her bridal bouquet.

Music Therapy is the love of my life, so I really wanted that to be my talent for the pageant.  Unfortunately, the only person allowed on the stage is me, so I opted to play my guitar and sing a song instead. return to list

Sept. 29, 2013 Make a Wish Foundation 
One of my first entries was the Annual Kingston Lake Regatta. I met an outstanding woman named Denise who is in the group picture.  Denise is a major contributor to the Make a Wish foundation and she arranged for me to participate in today's event aboard the SS Mt Washington boat the tours Lake Winnipesaukee.  The event was for the 86 children and their families whose wish was granted during Make A Wish Foundation's 2012-2013 fiscal year.  They had a wonderful buffet luncheon with many yummy desserts and entertainment on two floors of the ship.  We were blessed with perfect weather so I was able to mingle with the crowed inside and out.  I spoke with many women of the age of elegance and many that were not quite there yet.  However, now that they know about the existence of Ms Senior America, my hope is that they will consider applying for the NH title as soon as they become eligible.  I visited with many of the children and watched their face light up when they tried on crown.  The cruise ended with dancing to The Macarena, The Hokey Pokey, and The Chicken Dance.  The kids that could not stand or walk got so into it that they danced in their seats.  This was a wonderful event and a wonderful opportunity for me to spread the word about the mission of Ms Senior America. return to list

Sept 30, 2013 Palace Theater 
Today the Place Theater held the meet and greet event where the cast of the Silver Stars met the director of this year's holiday show.  I am thrilled to be in the production of the year with two of my Senior America sisters.  As we rehearse over the next two months, I will have many opportunities to expose the entire cast to the mission of Ms. Senior America. return to list

Oct. 1, 2013 Talent Gown 
Last week I went to purchase a tablet, but had to leave for a performance of the Silver Lining Chorus before making my purchase.  When I returned to the store, a clerk named Liz helped me set up the tablet.  While we were chatting, I asked her if she knew of a good seamstress who could alter the silver gown I purchased to sing "Look for the Silver Lining" during the talent portion of the national Ms. Senior America competition.  To my delight, Liz explained that she makes wedding gowns.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a purpose and the fact that after looking at tablets, I had to leave and when I came back, Liz was there to help me.  I am so excited to spend time with this outstanding woman and to have her in my Journey.  When I went to her home today, for phase one of the alterations, I met her friend who is a very talented singer and dancer who is interested in my music therapy group and the Ms Senior America Program.  Some people call that fate ... I call it destiny!  Join my forum and tell me what you call these chance meetings that happen just when you need them. return to list

Oct. 2, 2013 Windham Woman's Club 
I met with one of my sponsor's today, The Windham Woman's Club.  They have been encouraging me from day one and they have shown their support by placing an advertisement in the Ms. Senior America Program Book.  I am doing my best to help them recognize their talents and to show them how their contributions would be assets to the Ms Senior America program.  Perhaps, some of them would be willing to serve on the new board of directors that I hope to start after the national competition.  return to list

Oct. 4, 2013 Wellspring Chorus 
I sang with the Wellspring Chorus today at a nursing home in Nashua, NH. It is volunteer project like this that keep me grounded because ministering to hospice patients gives perspective to the important things in life.  While the hospice patients themselves are not candidates for Ms. Senior America, my assignments put me in contact with nurses and caretakers who want to hear about the program. return to list 

Oct. 4, 2013 Leddy Theater 
I went to the Leddy Theater tonight where I wore my crown and banner before the show and during intermission.  I spoke with over forty women, gave them my business card, and invited them to go to the New Hampshire website to learn more about the Ms. Senior America program.  Unfortunately, only a few of the women had ever heard of us.  This is a real epidemic and I need to come up with a plan to increase recognition and credibility of Ms Senior America in NH beyond my Dear Peanut online forum.  I hope to meet with Ms Senior America, Inc president, Betsy Apollo, while I am in Atlantic City to share my ideas with her.  I signed a few autographs and one is being auctioned at a fund raiser next week.  One of the board members of the Nashua Senior Center was in the audience.  He introduced himself and then he invited me to participate in their big fall event this coming November.  His lovely wife runs the Miss Raymond Pageant and has invited me to be a judge in the 2014 pageant.  Kathy Salanitro, Ms NH Senior America 2011 has encouraged her to submit an application to be the NH delegate for Ms NH Senior America as soon as she reaches the age of elegance.  In addition to wonderful entertainment, it was a very productive evening! return to list

Oct. 9, 2013 Cordwainer Custom Shoe  Shop and Wild Orchard Farm Tour and Hike
Today fourteen seniors joined me on a big adventure. We began at the Cordwainer Custom Shoe Shop where Molly Grant, owner and shoemaker, gave us a tour so that we could see how she makes custom made shoes.  The material for each shoe is handpicked by the customer.  After punching holes by machine, each shoe or boot is hand stitched.  Molly's customers includes many well know celebrities such as Carley Simon and the prices ranges from $300 to $1,500 per pair.  As part of my keeping seniors active program we went on a 45 minute hike around the Wild Orchard farm.  After refreshing ourselves with cider and yummy snacks outside at the picnic tables, Molly gave us a tour of her award winning Bed and Breakfast.  Enjoy the pictures and be sure to find the peacock that appears on Molly's business cards. return to list

Oct. 10, 2013 Silver Stars at the Palace Theater 
Today was the first rehearsal for the Palace Theater's Holiday show by the Silver Stars. We worked on our opening number of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."  Two former queens, Marie Klindinst, Ms. NH Senior America 2012 and Patricia Platt, Ms ME Senior America 2009 are also in the cast.  In addition to having the honor of performing with my sister queens, I have the opportunity of spreading the word about Ms. Senior America at our weekly rehearsals. return to list

Oct. 10, 2013 Wellspring Singers 
Tonight seven hospice volunteers sang to the patients at the Community Hospice Center in Merrimack, NH.  This is such a rewarding activity because hearing is the last sense that to go.  Consequently, our music is soothes the transition from life to death even though the patient appears to be unresponsive. return to list

Oct. 12, 2013 East Hampstead Kayak Club
 

One of the clubs that I belong to is the East Hampstead Kayak Club.  In addition to participating in outstanding kayak trips in the spring, summer, and fall, we also do many other activities such as biking and hiking.  Today we hiked at one of my favorite sites, The Andreas Institute of Art, in Brookline, NH.  Every year the institute invites four artist to create a permanent piece of art from natural materials gathered on the property.  The artists, who come from all over the world, are hosted by local residents and then after a mere three weeks, their creations are placed in various locations in the woods.  It is the most amazing experience to be hiking along and coming across a sculpture made by someone from Croatia, Japan, or Kenya.  Our 3 hour hike on the former Bear Mountain Ski Resort is part of my physical fitness program.  The uphill climbs certainly toned our bodies as the sculptures toned our mind. return to list

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