Unit Happenings

Unit 17 carolers sang Christmas carols to various homes.

Unit 17 carolers sang Christmas carols to various homes.

Unit 17 Turns on the Joy

Mary Gelinas

Unit 17 carolers turned on the joy as they sang Christmas carols at various homes on Tuesday, Dec. 10. They met at Arlene DesJardins’ at 4 p.m. for a vocal warmup. Wearing holiday hats, lighted necklaces, and reindeer antlers, they rang bells and sang to many homes in the Unit. Anne Movalson lent her expertise in leading the group songs.

After their singing, the carolers then joined other Unit 17 merrymakers at the home of Gary and Alison Luster for a wonderful hors d’oeuvres party. The buffet table was loaded with tasty treats and some of the holiday attire was outstanding. We were so glad that new neighbors came to enjoy the event and meet everyone.

Anne Movalson received a special thank you for the many years of providing musical expertise to the Unit. And thank you also to the Lusters for hosting this year’s party and several years in the past; to Patrick Polencheck and Betsy Lowry for organizing the carolers for many years; and to the Social Committee and Unit members who have hosted our activities.

What’s next? Potlucks and hors d’oeuvres parties are being planned for 2020—watch for information about an hors d’oeuvres party in February at the Seaman home. Arlene DesJardins has already lined up Sunday, April 19, for our Spring Fling to be held at the SaddleBrooke One Activity Center.

Unit 21 Holiday Dinner/Dance Boasts Record Attendance

Jim Hagedon

With a hat-tip to Andy Williams, the holiday season in Unit 21 truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” And 2019 was no exception. When the fall weather cools, you can bet the Unit’s elves are busy with preparations for the annual Holiday Dinner/Dance, held this year on Dec. 7. The theme for the event this year was, “Putting on the Ritz In the Old Pueblo.”

The elves hard work was rewarded with record attendance. According to Elf Midge Mollenkopf, 107 Unit 21 folks attended. Attendees dined on a choice of New York Strip Loin or Wild Coho Salmon, excellently prepared by HOA One’s culinary staff. Following dinner, the dance floor was open for those daring couples who wanted to work off dinner and dessert.

“Everybody loved DJ Warren and dancing to his great variety of ‘age appropriate’ music,” Midge noted. “Elves John and Elizabeth Tancock, Sue Colby, and I braved the dark, the cold, the wind, and the rain to purchase poinsettias for the tables. Bonnie Westra designed the invitation, Linda and Bob Dalaskey readied them, and Lea and Bob Stocks delivered them.

“Elves Mary Ziats, Nancy Hanna, Elizabeth Tancock, Sue Colby, and I had a chocolate/caramel turtle making frenzy,” Midge added. The turtles went into a little gold box at each place setting. “Elves Lea Stocks, who chaired the Holiday Dinner/Dance party the previous two years, provided expert advice and did all the table placements,” said Midge.

“John Martin printed all the invitations, name cards, etc. And Silke Bender handled all the money, as usual. I want to give a special thank you to Kate Elfstrom, who did much of the advance planning. Unfortunately, Kate was unable to attend the big event due to a family emergency.”

All of the Unit 21 elves worked hard to make this year’s event a big success. They earned a well-deserved rest. It was time for Santa to take over! 

One of the many beautifully-decorated homes on the Light Up the Night Unit 21 tour.

One of the many beautifully-decorated homes on the Light Up the Night Unit 21 tour.

Stars Shine on Unit 21’s Light Up the Night

Jim Hagedon

It was a beautiful, clear evening for Unit 21’s annual Light Up the Night event, held this year on Dec. 1. And the stars definitely did shine as Unit 21 residents toured the Christmas light displays on many of the homes in the Unit. It was a great evening to get in the holiday spirit. While there was no official count of attendees, a lot of our unit folks joined in on the festivities.

Of course, touring the beautiful lighting displays tends to make folks hungry and, as in past years, Unit 21 volunteers planned for that as well. Five Unit 21 homeowners volunteered their homes to offer up appetizers, a soup course, and desserts. John and Janeen Hildebrand and Stan and Nicki Manzanares served up the appetizers. The soup course was available at the homes of Steve and Sandy Heinlein and Stan Lampshire and Sydney Jenkins. The desserts were eagerly consumed at Al and Midge Mollenkopf’s home.

According to event Chair Ruth Leman, there were lots of folks who provided the food. “We had nearly 50 cooks providing the great food, and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work,” Ruth said. “Unit 21 is a super group and they stepped up to make the event happen.”

The lighting displays at Unit homes were wonderful again this year and, taken with the bountiful supply of great food, it is safe to say that the stars shone down on a lot of happy people.

Photo by Michelle Schroeder.

Photo by Michelle Schroeder.

Unit 24 Holiday Party

Pat Arruda

Friday, Dec. 6 was a magical night for Unit 24. The MountainView Ballroom was transformed into a Christmas wonderland. A large decorated tree and holiday music welcomed us as we arrived for our annual Christmas Gala. The scent of fresh flowers and evergreens beautifully arranged by our own Joyce McVey filled the air.

Our evening began with delicious passed hors d’oeuvres and a no host bar to nibble and sip on while we chatted with friends and neighbors. A winter salad, prime rib, or pesto salmon with sides, and decadent warm chocolate lava bundt cake finished off the meal.

After eating so much we danced the night away with music provided by DJ Gus and Gina.

Everyone agreed it was a wonderful event and are looking forward to doing this again next year!

The Unit 27 ladies after enjoying another lovely holiday luncheon at Vivace; Photo by Jan Talbot.

The Unit 27 ladies after enjoying another lovely holiday luncheon at Vivace; Photo by Jan Talbot.

Unit 27 Activities

Sue Case

Vicki Strief once again arranged for a Unit 27 holiday ladies’ lunch at Vivace Restaurant this year on Friday, Dec. 6; and once again it was enjoyed by all who attended. She has voluntarily taken on this role for many years; and the luncheon is always one of the highlights of the season for many of us in the unit. It is an opportunity for unit residents, and a few former residents, to mix in a festive environment. The food and service, as always, was excellent; and Vicki provided little souvenirs for all the guests. Thank you so much, Vicki! You are much appreciated.

Also once again, Jan and Ron Talbot, with help from an anonymous committee, arranged for Unit 27’s annual holiday party in the MountainView Ballroom on Tuesday, Dec. 10. The several course plated dinner was preceded by tasty passed hors d’oeuvre, along with drinks from the no host bar. Phil Doyle, a Unit 27 resident, had pre-recorded an excellent playlist for us, including Christmas music before and during dinner, and after dinner, music from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, with a few Christmas songs thrown in; and quite a few attendees were motivated to get out on the dance floor. After dinner, but before the floor was open to the rest of us, our Unit 27 neighbors, Cindy and Phil Scheckler, performed a competition-level swing dance to a favorite Golden Oldie. It was exhausting just to watch, but lots of fun; and it didn’t stop others from getting out there to dance in their own style. It probably helped that the following dance was slow. This year, Unit 27 did not combine with any other unit, so the number of attendees was not as large as in previous years. However, the fewer people provided an opportunity to mix and mingle much more than in previous years. Thank you once again, Jan and Ron, for an enjoyable evening!

Although there is no formal Snack and Chat in December, Eileen and Phil Depka invited the entire unit to a holiday open house on Sunday, Dec. 15. They had decorated their house from stem to stern with amazing seasonal items that they have collected over the years, including a whole room of little villages. They provided food, including a huge taco bar, plus desserts and drinks. It goes without saying that those who attended were reluctant to leave! Thanks so much, Eileen and Jeff. You made the season bright.

Preserve Ladies Holiday Luncheon

Pamela Eckardt

The ladies of the Preserve had their annual holiday luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 5. Over 30 ladies enjoyed a social hour followed by lunch at Azul Restaurant and Lounge at the Westin La Paloma Resort. Our next luncheon will be Feb. 27 at Cafe Torino on La Canada

Carmen Whirley, liaison and gift coordinator for children of the military, and Bonnie Barazani, buried in bags of holiday gifts

Carmen Whirley, liaison and gift coordinator for children of the military, and Bonnie Barazani, buried in bags of holiday gifts

The Preserve Adopts Military Children.

Ann Lange

The Adopt a Child program has been a long-standing tradition and honor at the Preserve (Units 42 – 45). Each year, Social Chair Bonnie Barazani works with local military commanders to identify the Tucson military families most in need of assistance in providing a happy holiday for their children. This year we lifted the holiday spirits of 107 young people by answering their individual wish lists. Our dedicated participants shopped, wrapped, loaded trucks, and delivered the 60 large bags of gifts that had been collected and stored in Dave and Judy Rogoway’s garage. Each of the 48 military families also received a $70 gift card to Fry’s Grocery Store to put a holiday meal on the table.

We take this opportunity to show our solemn gratitude to the military families in our community. Our freedom providers and protectors truly put country first. Sadly, country before self also means country before family. These servant hearts know the hardships and risks they are signing up for, but their children do not. Children do not sign up for an absent, injured, or taken parent; for a meager amount of food on the table; for a lesser lifestyle than most others take for granted; or for fewer holiday gifts than their friends.

Through our holiday gifts we filled the specific holiday wishes and hopes of military children. But we also have our own wishes and hopes. We wish you joy, even though you may have absent parents, and hope that your parents make it back home to you unharmed. We hope that when you are older you will fully understand and appreciate the extent of the sacrifice your parents made for you, and for all Americans, even though you shared heavily in the sacrifice. We hope that you, and all Americans, never forget the cost of freedom, the importance of vigilance, and the tragedy of complacency. We hope that you are proud of your parents, as we and they are proud of you. We salute you in our hearts, and we hope that every American will stand and salute your parents in uniform. We wish that as you journey through your lives, as said so beautifully and tenderly by Bob Dylan, “May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.”

Our military gives us a joyful and safe season that lasts every day of every month of every year. Let us give thanks every morning as we wake up under their protection, and every night as we close another safe day. Let each of us search our hearts and souls and find a way to support our military and their families not only on one day, not only for one month, but every day of every month.

The gift-wrapping party on Dec. 10, 2019; Photo by Karen Stevenson.

The gift-wrapping party on Dec. 10, 2019; Photo by Karen Stevenson.

Unit 49 Adopt-A-Family

Lan Bedard

This is the tenth year that Unit 49 participated in the Adopt-A-Family program. Unit 49 residents have generously donated $9,770 to help adopt 36 families in San Manuel consisting of 99 children and 61 adults.

Our deepest gratitude goes to Jeannine Grippo, Maureen Edelblut, Tom Oetinger, John Stedronsky, Karen Stevenson, Christi Tackman, and Shawne Cryderman for collecting funds, organizing shopping teams, wrapping teams, delivery teams, and following through from start to finish, turning Unit 49 Adopt-A-Family into a great successful project.

Kudos to all 68 volunteers for spending their precious time and effort in shopping for gifts, wrapping them and delivering them to SaddleBrooke Community Outreach.

It is a true gift to bring joy to the 160 deserving recipients of Unit 49 Adopt-A-Family program who had a lot to celebrate this Christmas.

Unit 47 Bocce ball Event

Allison Lehman

On Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, Unit 47 residents got together for an evening of fun playing Bocce Ball. The evening weather cooperated and the view of the mountains were excellent. The event was coordinated by Ginny Schneider who welcomed new and old residents. She explained the rules of bocce ball and made sure everyone had a partner. She also coordinated the light refreshments which everyone enjoyed.

Several residents had never played bocce ball. So, this was going to be an interesting event.

The group proceeded to play a few games. Once everyone got comfortable playing the game, their athletic abilities and strategic moves started showing up! Who could block their opponents, who could roll a straight ball or make their ball bounce off the wall to make it curve? There was a lot of laughter and friendly rivalry. Afterwards the residents continued on to dinner at MountainView Bistro.