Appreciating Arizona

When I moved here 36 years ago from New Jersey, I felt I had moved to another world. It took me awhile to adjust to the open skies, the desert, and people talking real slooooow.

Now I feel like a native and a visitor. I discover new places and things to do constantly. Watching the state grow has been energizing and dismal at times. But with growth comes more options for living our lives to the fullest.

I have been sharing my travel adventures also on http://www.examiner.com/travel-in-phoenix/cindi-reiss


I welcome your comments and experiences in living in our grand state in a grand way.

Happy 100 years to Arizona! 1912-2012







Saturday, March 22, 2014

Oh What a Parade!




I have always loved parades and one of my favorite things to do is to relax with my tea on the mornings of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s watching them.  From the Macy’s to Disney’s to Rose Bowl, I love them all.  I miss the Mummer’s Day Parade back in Philly though!  I prefer to watch my parades on TV these days though there was a time when I marched along with the rest of the clowns in the Parada Del Sol in downtown Scottsdale, once even pulling my children in a wagon in my five-inch silver heeled shoes strutting high!  No wonder I have leg problems.
(I'm the one looking the other way in the long denim jumper)



Last fall my husband and I explored a bit of the Virginia mountain country and stopped at Shenandoah Caverns.  Situated next to the caverns is American Celebration on Parade! a unique collection of floats, props and stage settings from various parades and presidential inaugurals.  This is a parade lover’s paradise.  This gal, from a Mardi Gras parade, welcomed us inside.



Neptune holds court on this float that was in the Rose Bowl parade and has been conformed in various stages for other parades.  Earl Hargrove, the owner of Shenandoah Caverns, has long produced floats for parades and inaugural events dating back to Harry Truman's in 1949.  It was his idea to open the exhibition for those of us who fancy the floating frenzy of fantasy.





As if all of this regalia wasn’t enough, above the caverns is Main Street, a nostalgic view of department store window displays from yesteryear.  Family traditions were made as parents and children strolled lazily down the street peering into downtown shops, enthralled by the animated characters.  Cinderella arrives at the ball in her pumpkin of a carriage, waving at the child in all of us, as the magical night begins.



May I have this dance?  Stiff, wigged dolls on revolving circles may seem archaic in today's computer generated world.  But just imagine the joy in a child's eyes as she watches the fairy tale come to life on a snowy, city night long, long ago.




Pigs fly and Teddy Bears dance as the carousel goes round and round on this enchanting journey, all taking place in a department store window of yore. 




We never did go into the caverns, instead basking in the pomp and circumstance of being the grand duke and duchess of our own parade.








Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jen's Baby Shower





We have been waiting for a long time to have our first grandchild.  And now my adorably pregnant Jen and her husband Greg are expecting little Logan in February.  So having her baby shower recently was fabulous and my Jen was radiant with her baby belly proudly holding our grandson.




The shower was a joint venture of friends and family pitching in to decorate, cook and carry on games with snazzy prizes.  It was an emotional time for me, not just because of the impending birth, but because of the love I felt as so many people were gathered together from different areas of our lives to celebrate this momentous journey.  It gave me the chance to reflect on my life and all of the people who are so important to me.  Milestone events do that to us and I’m very grateful to have all of you in my life, whether you were there or not, if you are reading this, you are important in my life.


Jen’s childhood friend, who now lives in CA, was the master planner and I have watched Kristin grow up from a rambunctious little one to a wife, mother, baker and planner extraordinaire.  The decorations were just ‘ducky’ and were perfect for my waddling daughter!
 


The tables were adorned with their own private duck ponds created by Jen’s friend, Paula, one of the delightful co-workers from her teaching.  Sister Andrea made ‘duck feed’ mementos to complete the table d├ęcor.  Laura, another co-worker, completed the joyful decorations.



Food was yummy as Jen’s friends from middle school, Kris and Stacey, and my friend from their middle school days, Kathy, (Kris’s mom) worked their magic.  Kathy’s blue and yellow deviled eggs were devilishly delish and Stacey’s culinary expertise included the cantaloupe ‘baby’ enjoying his pacifier.  And Kris cut veggies for the first time, watch out Martha Stewart!
 




 The bubblegum babies made by the attendees were hysterical and how people can shape such intricate anatomically correct bodies out of such a small piece of gum is incredible.  Somebody’s been doing some research!  


Another Kristin, this one Jen’s friend, through Greg, had the fabulous idea of each table writing a book for baby Logan.  We were given a blank hard cover book, a set of stickers and markers, and oh how the creativity flourished.  Each table followed the theme of their stickers and we had aliens, pirates, beach scenes and more.  Most of all, Logan has several books that are all about him or how he was created, which we’ll leave till he’s a bit older.


The many gifts were so fun to open as I took in all of the baby basics that I had never seen before.  Times sure have changed since I was changing diapers.  And Kathy, those are pacifiers, not light socket holders!


Of course, I wrote a poem and made a collage.  I started with Jen’s own shower, and was thrilled to have friends that had attended that shower many moons ago, there to celebrate again.  We haven’t aged at all, have we, Judy, Francie and Rose!  Memories came flooding back as I went through pictures of the years growing up and how that little baby grew so quickly and is now going to be a mother herself.  



Now the fun is watching the nursery being created as Jen’s in-laws, Debbie and Dennis, who came in from Oregon, painted the room with waves across the walls for the surfer dude theme.  You can take the girl out of Hawaii, but you can’t take Hawaii out of the girl.


Thank you Jen and Greg for this wondrous opportunity to be a grandparent.  I am truly blessed to have such love and positive energy surrounding me and I am anxiously awaiting the birth of little Logan.