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McPeak's Assisted Living Newsletter

January 2012 Newsletter

By Linda Ohlsen, Recreation Director


Everyone agreed it was a wonderful Christmas here, with so much to do and to enjoy. We began getting the house ready for the holiday right after Thanksgiving, decorating our mantel with lots of white lights, fluffy snow banks and some adorable mini Christmas trees. George Thogersen's tree was beautifully done and Madeline Pedota's, a true work of art. Victorian inspired wreaths were a focal point for our recreation room. They all looked lovely, but those done by Kitty Keegan and Marie Thompson were especially attractive. Our gingerbread boys and girls were fun to decorate with lots of faux icing and candy buttons. Tess Brana and Frank Hartman selected their "cookies" from our baking sheet and went right to work turning them into great decoration for our holiday hallway. Ruth Faustich and Joe D'Angelo were quick to solve and assemble our Christmas tree puzzle. Using the three cut-outs provided, they made cute trees that were then embellished with shiny silver and gold stars. Their much admired decorations looked great outside our dining hall entrance.

Julia Manganiello and Alex Salmin were a tremendous help stringing all the popcorn that was needed to decorate our holiday tree. The tree, which graces our lobby, is quite unique in that it is filled with ornaments made in recreation by the guests during my 24 Christmases here. Each year a new Christmas ornament is made and this year it was a red foam heart trimmed with holly. Inga Schulz and Ruth Beal did such a great job with the project that we had to agree that this ornament was our prettiest yet. Ruth Beal also did a great job in helping to decorate our tree as we gathered together on the 8th to sing Christmas carols, enjoy Christmas cookies and drink our share of eggnog. Bobbie Smith was a big help in decorating our tree, as were Alfred Merret, Josephine Caputo and George Thogersen, who got all the high branches for us. Once our tree was decorated to our liking, we turned off the lights and, as we admired it, were led insinging "Jingle Bells" by Muriel Lizak. With our home made ready to entertain, we were anxious to sit back and await the many visitors who were scheduled to join us during the month. Pastor Bonfiglio gave us a lovely Christmas service which featured the singing of traditional Christmas carols we could all recall.

Another old friend and regular visitor, Tom Swengross, visited twice during the month, bringing his best girl, Liberty Bell, with him. Liberty, wearing red reindeer antlers, was feeling festive as she visited with Marcus Lloyd, Rachel Nason, and Irene Huether. Our pet therapy pal received her own Christmas present during the visit, as she got lots of love and belly rubs from one and all.

The ladies of the Knights of Columbus held an evening of bingo games, bringing beautiful prizes and a potted Poinsettia plant for each of the players. Bringing the gift of their musical talents were Bob and Frank, our two volunteer piano players, who visit monthly. Taking musical holiday requests, we had an opportunity to enjoy again all our favorite songs. Ted Gosnell, Noreen Doohan and Tess Brana found their hour long program delightful. Lou Paioli, who, we all agree, sounds like Perry Como, transported us back to the 1940's and 50's with his great show featuring a mix of old standards and holiday tunes. Lee Kulakowski and Gilda Messina seemed to know every song played and sang along to them all. Two very talented performers from Blue Heron Entertainment helped make our holiday more memorable. They lit up our dining room with a light display and then entertained us with some fabulous music on keyboard and saxophone. Vocalist, Myra Shutt, was just fantastic and Charlotte Katen and Mary Billott were more than appreciative of her talents.

No one could out do the musical expertise of Freddie Prinz though. Freddie, who visits us throughout the year, was the featured performer at our Christmas party on the 16th. Our party was bigger than ever this year, with about 150 people in attendance. It was nice to see guests Ruth Faustich, Adelaide McKasty and many others enjoying our delicious buffet luncheon with members of their families. Our dining hall looked lovely too, with its red tablecloths, Poinsettias and decorative baskets donated by Juliette Gerlach's daughter Lynne's garden club. Santa was warmly welcomed to our party and we were so pleased with all the presents he brought- one for every resident.

After our cake and coffee were enjoyed, we relaxed with a video presentation of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show. Alex Salmin and Virginia Kara both found this a nice way to end our busy day. The most unusual performance of our Christmas season was given by the Long Island Ukelele Club. Their fun show had us all smiling as we enjoyed their unique sound. Accompanied by some youthful singers from Mount Carmel Church, we relished each of their selections and begged for them to repeat a few so we could enjoy them again. The voices of the youth choir from the United Methodist Church of Patchogue were appreciated by Josephine Caputo and Pauline Bovino. Their visit was also deeply appreciated by Hazel Nargi and Rachel Nason who are members of their church.

Our New Year's Eve Eve party on the 30th was great fun. We all wore special hats and had fun ringing in the new year with entertainer, Julie Franco. Our countdown to New Year was great with everyone blowing horns and shaking their noisemakers in celebration. A toast to a good year was made as we lifted our glasses of sparkling cider in celebration. There was lots of singing by Rae Bailey and Julia Manganiello and some fantastic dancing by Bobbie Smith.

Not to go unmentioned were all the fun games we had during the month, which had lots of seasonal prizes to be won. Ruth Beal and Madeline Pedota favored some cute ceramic Santas while Marie Thompson and Alfred Merrett prepared for the New Year by selecting a 2012 calendar for their win. Rae Bailey won our December raffle, which had a Christmas themed prize, and Juliette Gerlach was our monthly bingo winner for the second time in a row.

As we enter January, we've made some New Year's resolutions. They include improving our bowling and bingo scores, challenging ourselves with our word and trivia games, singing more with all our entertainers and having fun, fun, fun each day!