Unit Happenings – January 2024

Unit 3N Brunchin’ on the Block Party

Candace Brockey and Claudia Amaral

On a sunny Dec. 2, 60 neighbors gathered in the Echo Canyon cul-de-sac for the final unit gathering of 2023. They enjoyed several charcuterie boards, plus a special surprise of chile relleno casserole and Mexican rice provided by member Annette Aubuchon.

After a brief business meeting, neighbors and friends began filling their plates with a variety of meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, and vegetables, plus a stop by the mimosa station and the coffee bar, with Baileys available to help keep everyone warm.

The guest of honor was Dan Habinek, communication education supervisor with Golder Ranch Fire District. He is an excellent speaker whose presentation included time for interaction with the group and questions—lots of questions. We were entertained when he invited one of the residents up to the front of the group to show how a fire extinguisher works using an interactive training device. Needless to say, a line formed, with many of the group participating.

We ended with our 50/50 drawing, plus additional tickets drawn for surprise gifts.

The Social Committee is busy planning the unit’s next event. We are looking at a springtime date and theme. Thank you to all of our neighbors who helped, participated, and joined in the fun!

Unit 4 Gives and Receives this Holiday Season

Unit 4 neighbors enjoying the Holiday Open House (left to right): Peg Asmus, Jim Merry, Glennda Merry, Cheryl Galligos, Paul Galligos, Lisa Bower, and LaVonne Ashwood (photo by Connie Kotke)

Once again, residents in Unit 4 gave generously to support the Golder Ranch Fire Department’s Shop with a Fireman program. This is a longstanding program where firefighters accompany needy children in the area on a shopping trip to help them pick out gifts for themselves and their families and use the donations to pay for their selections. In early December, Unit Representative Linda Holt delivered a check for just over $3,400 to an extremely grateful crew.

In turn, nearly 70 festive Unit 4 residents received a warm welcome from hostess Linda Holt at the Holiday Open House on Dec. 9. There was plenty of room for everyone to mix and mingle in Linda’s beautifully decorated home as they enjoyed a wide array of savory and sweet appetizers. It was a great way to meet neighbors, old and new, and to wrap up a busy year of Unit 4 activities.

Unit 17 Puts the Ho! Ho! Ho! in Holiday Fun!

Barbara Barr Bengen

The annual Unit 17 Holiday Party was celebrated at the RoadRunner Grill. Residents were spoiled with a gourmet buffet and music by Manny Herreras. The Unit 17 Social Committee is led by Linda Gray. The location, menu, and entertainment were arranged by Arlene DesJardins. There was an abundance of holiday hugs, catching up, singing, dancing, and line dancing. A great time was had by all!

Unit 17 members should watch for a survey to help us plan upcoming events. The Social Committee values your opinion in creating our social calendar! Please let us hear your opinions.

Under the leadership of Linda Gray, these Unit 17 residents devote many hours and fun work to the unit Social Committee: Barbara Barr Bengen, Dan and Gail Berquist, Corky Bosch, Faith Fromsom, Jake Jacobson, Patrick Polencheck, Susie Pohl, Brenda Seaman, Virginia and Kevin Shockey, and Carl Weller.

Unit 25 Holiday Party

Ron Mazurek

The newly renovated RoadRunner Grill was the venue for this year’s Unit 25 annual Holiday Party and Dinner on Dec. 10. The RoadRunner looks beautiful with all the updates! Forty-five attendees kicked things off with some happy hour beverages and lively conversation prior to a great sit-down dinner with a choice of three great entrees. Most folks agreed that the food and service have improved along with the renovations.

Unit 25 has enjoyed a busy and fun year with numerous get-togethers. We are all looking forward now to what 2024 brings!

Unit 27 Activities

Unit 27 ladies celebrating the season at Vivace

Sue Case

The December holidays are always a fun time for Unit 27. As they have for several years, Eileen and Jeff Depka once again hosted all Unit 27 residents at their annual open house held on Dec. 3. Leaving only the kitchen and laundry room for the very generous amount of food and drink, their entire house, as well as the outside, was full of Christmas decorations! The dining room table was topped with meticulous little Christmas villages, with miniature stormtroopers and other Star Wars characters carefully hidden among them. The TV had a continuous loop of holiday trivia, and large, life-sized holiday characters greeted guests in the hallway, the living room, and everywhere else! More than one guest was heard to ask where they store all the décor during the rest of the year. But Eileen and Jeff seem to take it all in stride and enjoy themselves as much as their guests do.

For many years the ladies of Unit 27 have gotten together to celebrate the season, and each other, with lunch at Vivace. Fira Stout organized this year’s luncheon, which was held on Dec. 8, and presided over two group games in which the various tables competed against each other. Although initially met with some groans, the diners got into the spirit and enjoyed it all. Fira gave each guest a spout to prevent wine from dripping down an open bottle—quite thoughtful and well-received. As always, the food was excellent and the service wonderful! We have been served by the same waiter for all the years that Unit 27 has sponsored the ladies holiday luncheons there.

Another longstanding tradition for Unit 27 has been the annual holiday party, a dinner and dance affair held at the SaddleBrooke TWO clubhouse. This year, as well as last, Unit 27 resident Phil Doyle presided as emcee and DJ for the event. Jan Talbot has been organizing these parties for many years and has announced her retirement from that task. Although those who attend enjoy themselves and the others in attendance, that number has gone down significantly over the years. Nonetheless, Unit 27 residents do enjoy a good time. The question going forward is what the best format would be to please the most residents. Although the Depka open house is always well-attended, they should not feel obligated to provide the only holiday event for the unit. So, Unit 27 residents, here’s a new year’s challenge for you: Consider what type of unit-wide event would appeal to you next December and submit your suggestions to Unit Rep Jeff Depka or Social Chair Ron Talbot. Happy New Year!

Unit 28 Ladies Holiday Luncheon

Joyce Maurizzi and Marilyn Ginther

Marilyn Ginther

Baked ham, homemade scalloped potatoes, glazed carrots, green salads, rolls, an assortment of desserts, and mulled wine were enjoyed by 15 ladies from Unit 28 who gathered at the highly decorated (six themed trees) home of John and Marilyn Ginther on Skyline Drive, which immediately put you in the holiday spirit. The ladies were encouraged to bring an item to “re-gift”—those gifts you received, put in your drawer with good intentions to use someday, but never have. They also played a couple of rounds of a winter-themed Bingo game. The lucky winners received gifts made from the roses grown by our very own Mary Toth.

The unit continues to have its monthly ladies’ luncheons every second Thursday and the all unit residents’ Happy Hour on the third Tuesday of the month. The men get together for lunch on announced dates. Watch for notifications from Unit Rep Ian Ewing. The Unit Social Committee is working hard on preparation for the Red Carpet Gala scheduled for Feb. 27, a wonderful night of glam, dining, and dancing in the MountainView ballroom!

Unit 29 Knows How to Bring in the Holidays!

David Wemmer and Holly Bukes

Debbie McGeehan

Our unit consists of 76 homes. We are small but mighty! The Social Committee of Unit 29 keeps us busy all year round with monthly Happy Hours and ladies’ luncheons. This Christmas season was no different than any other in keeping up the fun!

We started off the month on Dec. 4 with our appetizer/dance party at the MountainView Ballroom. Everyone anticipates a good time because Gayl Van Natter and Sandy Seppala are the organizers! DJ Warren entertained us with his good music and costumes. He certainly knows how to get people on the dance floor! SaddleBrooke TWO had the bar open, and there were plenty of delicious appetizers and desserts for all. There were many excellent raffle tickets for the lucky winners. Gayle and Sandy were busy elves who made this event a success, along with their volunteers.

The season would not have been complete without the Sixth Annual Ladies Tea Party at Monique Stinson’s house. More than 20 ladies made their reservation to get a seat for this event on Dec. 11. This is so special that some even arrived at her house a bit early in anticipation! Not only was her house decorated to the nines, but her table decorations were exceptional, as you would expect for a tea party. I have never seen such beautiful teapots, cups, and saucers! Wine, champagne, and mimosas flowed all afternoon and were enjoyed with the fantastic dishes everyone brought. JoAnn Valentino is our unit baker, and she didn’t let us down with her yummy cake! The comments were, “It keeps getting better each year,” if that is possible!

The ladies’ monthly luncheon was held on Dec. 19. The girls decided to do something different than going to a fancy restaurant. The holiday was celebrated at Francine Mundy’s house with a catered lunch from Beyond Bread. It was enjoyed by all—lots of good food, stories, and laughs. Thanks to Francine for hosting this event.

We’re looking forward to more memorable Unit 29 gatherings in 2024!

Unit 44A Gadabouts Holiday Experience

Gadabouts around the birdhouse tree

Peggy Lymburner

On Dec. 17 Unit 44A really got into the holiday spirit thanks to our organizer Suzy Strauss who arranged a visit to the Tucson Botanical Gardens’ “LightsUp! A Festival of Illumination.”

Our group of 25 met at Seis Kitchen on River Road for good food, a margarita or cerveza, and some lively conversation before we moved on down the road to explore the festival at the Botanical Gardens.

When we arrived, we gathered around the huge “birdhouse” Christmas tree in the meeting area before heading into the gardens to begin our adventure.

Thousands of LED lights were strung, wrapped, and hung from almost every trunk and branch, creating a beautiful tapestry of light while surrounded by festive music everywhere, making even the lit-up “trees” appear to dance. There were many photo and selfie opportunities in the Light Tunnel and the curtains of cascading lights, and we were amazed by the beautiful luminaria garden and large spiral luminaria tree.

Even though the weather that night was close to perfect, there was popcorn and hot chocolate to enjoy for extra energy and to help ward off any chill. The group ended up in the gift shop, of course, for any last-minute holiday shopping or just to browse.

This was the perfect Gadabout excursion to kick off the holidays, and I do believe that all had a fun time.

Unit 46 Ends 2023 with the Spirit of Giving

Lori and Richard Snead

Linda Greenough

After a year of fun activities, including a 20th birthday bash, Seis de Mayo, Divas’ luncheons, and appetizer parties, the unit finished the year with the spirit of giving. Led by Lori and Richard Snead, our Adopt-A-Family coordinators extraordinaire, the unit donated $10,800 toward the cause, enabling us to provide presents and a Bashas’ gift card for Christmas dinner for 20 families. Unit elves shopped and wrapped presents, and the Sneed house was Santa’s Workshop Central until all the gifts were picked up by SaddleBrooke Community Outreach. Thank you, Lori and Richard, for coordinating this effort every year!

With the work done and the presents wrapped and delivered, the unit took time out for a no-host Christmas cocktail party on Dec. 18 at the MountainView Club Ballroom. Appetizers were provided by the unit, and everyone enjoyed a holiday beverage before heading out for the Christmas holiday.

Unit 49

Unit 49 Social Committee: Betsy Webb, Susan Hackett, Liz Houser, Michelle Oetinger, Diane Demeroutis, Debby Phagan, Karen Stevenson, Denise Dame, and Gail Thom; not pictured: Ken Heaton, Diane Marchand, and Carole Wenz

Unit 49 wrapped up the year with a festive Holiday Party at the MountainView Ballroom on Dec. 2. Holiday Party coordinator Debby Phagan did an outstanding job selecting a delicious menu of salmon or short ribs followed by a decadent dessert. Once the feasting was over, more than 76 guests danced the night away to the music of SaddleBrooke favorite Chuck Moses. A photo booth was available with a professional photographer who did an outstanding job capturing everyone in their holiday finest.

The Unit 49 Social Committee elves are already busy planning fun events for 2024.

Unit 49 Adopt-A-Family in 2023

Seriously creative gift wrapping by Karen Schroeder

Lan Bedard

Unit 49 once again rose to the challenge and donated $13,915 to the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Adopt-A-Family program this year, a whopping $1,185 more than last year.

With this fund, we were able to adopt 24 families of San Manuel/Mammoth School District, consisting of 70 children and 37 adults. Under the leadership of Jeannine Grippo and with the help of Shawne Cryderman (stockings), Ginger Edwards (volunteer lead), Karen Stevenson (publicity lead), Karen S. Schroeder (supply lead), and 60 volunteers, Unit 49 Adopt-A-Family was in full swing.

Gifts purchased according to the families’ wish lists were beautifully wrapped, properly labeled, and stuffed in several clear plastic bags to be delivered before Christmas. Besides the gifts, all children also received a stocking filled with goodies.

The Adopt-A-Family program is truly a labor of love and time. It shines a bright spotlight on the generosity and kindness of Unit 49 residents and certainly brought joy to our adopted families during this holiday season.