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Lots of hustle and bustle here today… it’s Christmas, and everyone was excited to begin the day’s activities.  First, many of our families came over to spend the day with us… even those of us who didn’t officially celebrate Christmas… just to have a fun family day.  We started late morning with our annual “Secret Santa” for all of us residents.   Last week, each of us picked a name out of a hat and today, we gifted that person.  Our limit was only $50 per gift so it’s very interesting to see what we all came up with.  Gifts ranged from Mrs. Field’s brownie and cookie gift boxes to fruit baskets, Mrs. See’s chocolates, wallets and money clips, neckties, watches, picture frames, shirts, sweaters, scarves, sweats, socks, sheet sets, pillows, gift certificates for Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Ben & Jerry’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Massages, Piano lessons, and many, many other gift items.   It was a blast.    Then, it was time for Christmas lunch.  There was tons of food… eggs, ham, turkey, mountains of sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, buttermilk rolls, coleslaw, green beans, cranberries, regular salad and pie… cannot forgot that… three different kinds–apple, pecan and pumpkin with ice cream!  Wow, was it all delicious! We ate until we dropped.   Next, we exchanged gifts with our families.  Some true Christmas gifts for those who truly celebrate it, others with token gifts for our delighted grandchildren.  Personally, I never tire of seeing my children and grandchildren open gifts.  The littler they are, the more delight I have.   After all that excitement, we needed a break so everyone adjourned to the dining room for coffee, tea and hot coco with sugar cookies.  The grandchildren gathered alongside and played with the toys and phones and whatnot.   It was truly a special day that we all enjoyed so very much.  I am so lucky that Holiday Villa East encourages an open-door policy for family… whether it’s a lunch-time visit from my granddaughter, an after dinner, days’ end chat with my son, or events such as today’s that are especially for our families.  I would be very sad at missing out on these precious times… they truly enrich my life.

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Gals versus Guys today… it’s Poker time.  Who’s going to win, the bets are hot and heavy.  We set up 10 tables for 4 players each.  First round, Bob and Carol win.  Second, Bob and Sara, and so on down to the final two winners, surprise, surprise… Sara and Roy.  Prizes, a $15 gift certificate to El Torito for Roy, and a $15 gift certificate for Ben & Jerry’s for Sara.  Talk about delicious.  If they teamed up, they’d have dinner and dessert.  Then, the best part of the evening… dinner… and that was Barbecue.  Chef did a marvelous job of preparing barbecue chicken and fish, corn, buttermilk rolls and cornbread, salad, barbecue beans and… a triple layer chocolate on chocolate cake.  Mouth watering.  The entire meal was delicious.  We all had a truly fun day.


Today, we had a lovely visit with the kids from Crossroad school.  We had special hanukkah cupcakes just for them, decorated with dreidels and gelt.  The kids were so excited.  I find it so touching that these young kids have a real interest in us and obviously enjoy spending time here.



Hanukkah starts tonight… It’s eight days long, and Jewish tradition has us lighting the menorah for each night, with the amount of candles increasing each night.  And, talk about excitement… the children love the holiday because they get presents each evening.  Tonight, we had a family night at Holiday Villa East, a Latka (potato pancake) Party.  Many of our children and grandchildren joined us and that made for a special time.  First at sundown, we gathered around the large menorah that we have.  Sam had the honors of lighting the first candle and said a prayer in Hebrew.  Then, Alan translated it to English so the little ones could understand.  Then, it was time to eat!!   Yum, did Chef do a great job with the Latkas.  All homemade, none of those frozen ones.  We ate them covered with apple sauce and sour cream,the traditional way.  To beef up the dinner, we also had brisket with veggies and a salad.  After dinner, the grandchildren played Dreidel (a spinning top) and Hide The Gelt (gold foil wrapped chocolate coins).  Ben’s 10 year old grandson found the most gelt and won first prize, a blue power bank and ear phones for his iPhone.  He immediately pulled out his phone to start playing with it.  There was silence… the ear phones worked!  Laura, Alan’s 16 year old granddaughter won the Dreidel game, closely beating out Harry for a boxed movie set… something about Vampires.  For everyone else, we had little gifts all wrapped up… toys, dvds, Disney movies, chocolates, cookies, brownies, licorice, Harry Potter books (imagine, books!), etc.  We had everything categorized by age ranges, no easy task.  The little ones tore into their gifts, wrapping paper flying everywhere, some even trading with each other.  Not to be forgotten, dessert was assorted cookies and pastries with hot coco, coffee and tea.  So heartwarming to share this evening with them.  We had a wonderful time, a truly special treat.

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Happy Birthday to Lupe on her 60th.  For those of you who don’t know, Lupe is our Executive Director’s Executive Assistant.  Lupe has worked with Sam for over 20 years, and he would be lost without her.  Notice how nice the table looks, and Lupe color coordinates.  Go Lupe!!

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays – This was the very first holiday that my family and I celebrated when we came to this country.  I can still see Papa standing over a huge turkey, large carving knife in hand.  And, Mama serving all the delicious food, a plate at a time… with the anticipation building as all of us children waited with bated breath.   Now, my children and grandchildren come celebrate with me – as do many of the other residents’.  We had a great big setup in the cafeteria and even spill over into the adjoining Events Room.  Beautiful centerpieces were on every table and we had  pre-dinner entertainment–live music with a DJ that Sam brought in for our listening pleasure.  There were 5 huge turkeys, 4 equally large hams, tons of sides, “vats” of stuffing, cranberries, yams and crunchy green beans–everything traditional.  And, who could leave out the pies… pumpkin, yam and apple.  There was something for everyone.  It was absolutely delicious.  After dinner, those who could move played scrabble with the staff  joining in.  There was also Dominoes for the children… others watched the replay of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Personally, I was relaxing in a big easy chair and fell asleep.  My granddaughter, Beth, woke me to say good-bye.  Hope I didn’t snore.




If you’re a regular reader of our blog, then you know how much we all love tournaments… cards, dominoes, scrabble, etc.  Well, today we had a game that we haven’t played in a long while.  Inspired by the fact that today is National Play Monopoly Day.  So, we did!  We had the usual 10 tables of four players each, playing one game.  The winner of that table got to play other winners until there were just two players left… Amanda and Ben.  And… the winner was… Amanda with the silver shoe for the win and second place, Ben with his “go to jail” card.  Amanda won a $10 gift certificate to Ben & Jerry’s, Ben a $5 certificate to Starbucks.  But, boy was this a kick.  Someone pasted a little sign on Park Place saying Holiday Villa East, and do we all feel that way.  We have everything here.  Good weather, good people–staff and residents–good location by the beach, safety and a great feeling each morning.  We do live on Park Place.monopoly-game


It’s time for our annual Sadie Hawkins Day Dance… and boy, am I looking forward to it!  It’s a fun day with all the women running around, picking their favorite guy.  And, the guys are all puffed out and proud of their pickers.  I have to say though, I was surprised at some of the pairings.  As usual, the entertainment room was decorated with pink and blue streamers and at the head of the room hung a pair of old-fashioned woman’s ruffled panties, and a pair of cowboy boots.  Sam had a D.J. who played great dance music from all eras.  Since it was raining, we had an indoor barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, roasted veggies, and lots of sides and chips and salsa.  We had a little more dancing and then, dessert while listening to the music, savorying one of our Chef’s delicious cakes.  White cake and frosting with cream cheese icing and strawberry filing.  It was decorated with hand-drawn ruffled panties and cowboy boots.  Boy, was it delicious.   As the evening wound down, we gathered in the common areas for coffee and hot coco.  Everyone seemed to like their dancing partner and I deem it another Sadie Hawkins Day success!


Veterans’ Day is a bittersweet day for us.  We honor our family, friends and all those who served so that we may have a better life.  We have Veterans from many wars here at Holiday Villa East–even as far back as WWII, one being Wyman. Doesn’t he look splendid in his uniform… still fits!  We placed a large flag outside the front door to show our support of our country.  Basically, it was a day of reflection for those we lost and those who survived, and the many wars we lived through such terrible wars and how they affected our lives.



Boy, I don’t know when I’ve had this much fun.  Today, since I was going to be the M.C. of the day, I dressed up as Bride of Frankenstein, with the wig, makeup, cape, etc.  It was a hoot to see.  First, I had to announce the Pumpkin Carving Contest winner from earlier in the week.  All the carved pumpkins were on display, residents voted on their favorite, and that’s how Frank won with his “Lady Eyes.”  Notice how his pumpkin has eyelashes!

My best friend, Cindy, dressed up as Frankenstein so we would be a pair.  Man, was that facial scar scary.  And, I couldn’t believe it. Fred dressed up as Count Dracula and Monica as Morticia from the Adams Family TV show.  A few people got it. Barbara and Sy dressed up as Superman and Wonder Woman. Barbara’s blonde hair kept coming out of the black wig. Amy as a Bumble Bee complete with yellow and black tennis shoes, little yellow wings and black furry antennae.   Mr. Sanders’ costume was straight out of the “Sound of Music” and Clarita looked like a drum major resplendent in vibrant blue and gold.  Finally, Shirley looked sexy as a fiery Peggy Lee with streaks of fire painted on her dress.

Everyone made a good showing, but the winner was Gussie, dressed up like Judy Garland in her clown costume, makeup and all. She even did some impromptu diva singing of an upbeat “Over The Rainbow” and “A Star Is Born.”  That cinched the win!  A giant box of chocolates. But it got better!! Some of our families came over and it was a real treat to see all the cute costumes. The children trick-or-treated throughout the residents’ rooms, each collecting a bag full of candy. (We were prepared.) Chef made us a special dinner complete with a huge double-layered orange cake decorated with bats, witches on brooms, ghosts, a tomestone and lots of candy corn.  The common areas were decorated with spider webs, witches, bats, black cats, ghosts, etc. All the usual Halloween decorations on the walls and tables, my favorite, chocolate bars strewn around the tables. Oh, we cannot forget the display of the pumpkin carving content .  The children loved everything.  Afterwards, when all the activities calmed down, and the children went home, we gathered in the dining room for coffee and hot chocolate. It truly was a fun day for all. And, check it out… we had an anonymous contestant as whatever scary thing that is… such a cool mask.  A couple of residents are following her round to see which room she enters.

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