Unit 6 held its third annual Mailbox Decorating Contest with judging taking place on Saturday, December 13. The contest is divided into four categories: most sacred or religious, most novel, most beautiful and most seasonal. The judging is done by local artist Judy Robbins. The cocktail and appetizer party to announce the winners was held the next day, Sunday, December 14, at the home of Georgie Hourigan and Ed Sand. The participation is increasing every year, so keep it up.
This year’s winners were Most Novel by Ed and Margaret Betanzos, Most Seasonal by Jim and Georgie Becker, Most Sacred for the second year in a row by Brent and Nancy Carlson, who also dedicated the decoration to Rita Simpson, and Most Creative Honor to Jim and Pam Van Brocklin.
In October Unit 12 had a welcome back Chili party for all members at the home of Velma and Garry Tindall. It was a beautiful night and all were able to sit out and enjoy the warm night air and all the food and dessert treats made by the expert chefs of Unit 12. A great evening was had by all.
We had our usual Happy Hour and Tuesday Trivial Pursuit events in November and December; always a good way to visit with friends. Forty four of our members teamed with Unit 4 to celebrate Christmas together with Harry Mathews who provided the music and made the evening a night to remember. The wonderful Christmas decorations of the Vistas Dining Room and the superb meals made it a truly great Christmas event. Thanks to Donna and Elaine of Unit 12 and to Marty Riegler of Unit 4 for all their work in the planning of the party.
The third annual Light Up The Night commenced Unit 21’s many planned holiday celebrations. Unit residents were encouraged to decorate the outside of their homes for the season prior to December 1. Then, beginning at 5:00 p.m., inhabitants began touring the neighborhood, primarily in golf carts, to view the finished product.
Five residences opened their doors to welcome the crowd. Host and hostesses Dan and Carole Chase, John and Elizabeth Tancock, Randy and Silkie Bender, Dan and Anna Marie Marsh and Chris and Mardie Toney served hors d’oeuvres, soups, etc. They were assisted with food preparation by many of the participants.
Everyone brought along their own beverage of choice.
The event was planned and coordinated by Benith MacPherson.
Forty-four women of Unit 21 celebrated the beginning of the holiday season at the Women’s Holiday Luncheon on December 5. Traditionally the event has been held at different Tucson area restaurants. But this year the event’s chairperson, Silke Bender, volunteered to host the luncheon at her home.
As is the tradition in Unit 21, when a person steps forward and takes on a large undertaking, many offer their services. Pat Broers assisted Silke in making the food and drink purchases and then Pat, Nancy Hanna, Sandy Heinlein, Carolyn Carr and Linda Koshel all participated in the food preparation.
The festivities began with time to indulge in appetizers consisting of a glorious amaretto cheese dip with fresh fruit and/or crackers, baked brie with cranberry chutney with baguette bread and a veggie tray. Of course, there was a choice of beverage including soft drinks, red and white wine, coffee, tea or water.
The sumptuous main course included a winter fruit salad with lemon poppy seed dressing, chicken divan, orzo w/roasted vegetables, ham with cherry sauce on the side, baked pineapple and scalloped potatoes.
Desert consisted of fresh fruit with whipped cream on the side, white chocolate raspberry mouse cake and Gramercy Park Tavern gingerbread cake with whipped cream.
All of the women thought the food was truly outstanding and took particular notice of how Silke had exquisitely decorated her home for the holiday season.
Following the luncheon, Unit 21’s Yahoo group email received a bevy of praise for Silke and her assisting Elves. Here are excerpts from some of the emails:
“Hats off to Silke Bender and her crew for a wonderful afternoon spent with great friends and neighbors.”
“Your decorations were gorgeous!”
“This had to be the nicest luncheon we have ever had!”
“Kudos to Silke and her Elves for hosting a fabulous holiday luncheon.”
“You ladies outdid yourselves with the delicious food!”
Unit 21’s Holiday Dinner Dance was a resounding success, putting the exclamation point on the Unit’s numerous holiday celebrations.
The Vistas Dining Room in the HOA 1 Clubhouse was exquisitely decorated for the festivities on Thursday, December 11. The evening began with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m.; music, dinner and dancing followed. One hundred and fifteen Unit residents celebrated the occasion and had an entree choice of chateaubriand topped with a béarnaise sauce with mushrooms or arctic char. The entrees were preceded by a wondrous salad.
For the fourth year running Harry Matthews, affectionately known as the one man band, provided the music as well as the entertainment. Harry, accompanied by synthesized background music, sings and plays the keyboard, saxophone or guitar depending on the tune or maybe even his whim.
The Holiday Dinner-Dance was coordinated by Chairperson Lea Stocks with the assistance of Diane Korn, Bob Stocks, Gary Greenbaum, Craig and Benith MacPherson, Alan and Betsy Levenson, Carolyn Carr, Judy Saks, Dee Zellinger, Norma Kessler, Tammy Beeler, Ruth Leman and John Martin.
Anna Marie Marsh handled the duties of master of ceremonies while Doug Lombardi was the official photographer.
Unit 27 once again combined forces with Units 32 and 36 to sponsor a holiday party on Thursday, December 11 in the MountainView Ballroom. Our own Unit 27 resident, Steve Holdener, who is a professional DJ, once again provided the music both during dinner and for dancing afterwards. The food, including an entrée choice of salmon, beef filet or gluten free ravioli with chocolate lava cake for dessert, was very tasty and well received by everyone. And it should be noted that the mobile bar did a brisk business.
All the attendees were in the holiday spirit; the ladies were very glittery, some from what they wore and some from what others wore and many of the men pulled out their tuxes for the occasion. One good looking Scotsman even wore his formal kilt. DJ Steve played his own selection of songs as well as requests and the dance floor was never empty from the first dance to the last. Many of the ladies, having long ago given up on waiting for the men to get motivated, simply went out on the dance floor in their own groups. A couple of our intrepid attendees got up from sick bay to attend and were even seen on the dance floor—-one in a heavy boot cast! It was fun, not only to dance to the great oldies but goodies, but to watch others dancing and enjoying themselves. In the grand SaddleBrooke tradition, the sidewalks were rolled up at 9:30 p.m.
Vicki Strief, with the able assistance of June Stoebner, planned and coordinated a holiday luncheon for the Unit 27 ladies on Tuesday, December 16 at Vivace Restaurant. In an interesting coincidence, 27 ladies attended the luncheon. The diners had earlier chosen a grilled chicken salad, grilled salmon or pork picata entrée and a lemon mousse Napoleon or hazelnut gelato for dessert and all choices tasted very good. Vicki and June decorated each of the tables with festive centerpieces and each of the table napkins were tied with a ribbon bearing a glittery pinecone ornament. Everyone was in the holiday spirit with visions of Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s dancing in their heads. Special kudos to the staff at Vivace who provided excellent service not only during the meal, but also helped Vicki and June unload the decorations from their car and helped with the actual room decoration. Vicki has said that she has already booked Vivace for next year’s party.
The holidays began with glitter and glow! Unit 32 combined a second time with Unit 27 and 36 for a Holiday party on December 11, in the MountainView Ballroom. Festivities began with a no host bar. We gave a warm welcome to Larry and Laura Shaffner, our newest members. Tom Killoran got lots of admiration by wearing his formal kilt regalia. Dinner followed at 6:00 p.m. What a choice! Black Angus filet, roasted vegetable ravioli or seafood stuffed salmon. All finished with chocolate lava cake, a real sweet taste explosion. Culminating the evening was dancing from 7:00-10:00 p.m. When it came time to rock, Vicki Coletti led our ladies with rhythm and style. Thanks to Dan and Shirlyann Hurt and Margaret Falkowski for organizing this splendid annual event.
We all are tipping our Santa hats to Guy and Liz Baty for hosting the Appetizer Party on December 19. This couple knows how to combine spectacular holiday decorating with warm, welcoming hospitality. Hearty appetizers and festive desserts combined for feasting. Many dined on the spacious patio watching a magnificent sunset—now, that’s resort living!
On December 9, Café 32 ladies filled their section of the Gold Room at Westward Look as they kicked off the unit holiday season in high style and good spirit. The luncheon fare was served in ample portions with excellent service. Many admired the incredible panoramic mountain and city views through the wall of windows in the dining room. Westward Look relays, “For 20 consecutive years, Gold has been rated as a Four Diamond establishment by AAA, the only Tucson restaurant to maintain the coveted status for two full decades.” Thanks to our Unit 32 Martha Stewart, lovely Mary Lou Watkins, for the delectable holiday bag of Bakers Candies from her native Nebraska. (Who doesn’t love chocolate meltaways?) Another resounding thanks from the participants to her for chairing the festive luncheon.
To wrap up the year in style, some 27 Dining Divas from Unit 49 met for lunch at Firebirds Restaurant on December 10. The definition of a diva is a celebrated female singer or a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, theater or cinema. By extension our Unit 49 lunching ladies do fit the definition of divas because we all share the great talent of appreciating divine food and wine once a month at different restaurants in Tucson.
It’s our time to visit with each other, to share bits and pieces of life, to yak and to laugh to our hearts’ content like long lost sisters whose purpose in life is having fun while sharing a meal.
Irene Sussle (first row, sixth lady from the right) started the divas’ lunch years ago and Gail Thom (first row, fourth lady from the right) continued the tradition for the past two years, exposing our divas to a wide variety of food from some of the best restaurants in Tucson. This was Gail’s last lunch as coordinator. Thank you, Gail, for choosing great restaurants, for making and changing reservations and for putting up with our divas. Fortunately for us, Gail passed the baton to Denise Anthony (second row, second lady from the left), a diva well suited to coordinate eating adventures for 2015. Unit 49 Dining Divas look forward to another successful year of lunching together!
For the fifth year Unit 49 takes part in ADOPT-A-FAMILY program, providing Christmas gifts to families in need. With a new record donation of $5,500, Unit 49 is able to adopt 17 families consisting of 51 children and 28 adults in Mammoth and San Manuel. Ken and Marge Wong lead this project with remarkable efficiency. Communication within our unit regarding this outreach program was made since October, collection of donations was in full fledge and names and wish lists of 79 recipients were obtained by the end of November. Thirteen shopping teams were organized to shop for the perfect gifts on the wish lists.
On December 15 after weeks of hard work by ADOPT-A-FAMILY support teams, Unit 49 volunteer gift wrappers finally gathered at the Mariposa Room to gift wrap hundreds of gifts. Boxes of all sizes, multicolor holiday papers, beautiful bows and festive ribbons were used to put the final touch to the gifts. We knew that we helped the right families when items on their wish list were basic life necessities like clothes, shoes, blankets, bed sheets, detergents and hand soaps.
All gifts for each family were packed in large plastic bags ready to be delivered to their final destination.
Thanks to the gift of money, time and effort generously given by Unit 49, seventeen families definitely had a very special Christmas.