Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Day # 6 Pasadena Mission Trip. Skid Row

Day #6 – Tuesday – January 2, 2018- Pasadena Mission Trip

Where do I start as I try to describe the day our group of Petal Pushers had?  No matter what I tell you, you will miss the impact of today’s adventure.  In reality, you had to be here to understand.  Everyone on the team experienced the day through his or her own filters.  That means each of us saw the day in our own unique way as emotions played in our hearts in different ways.

We boarded our shuttle at 8 this morning and dragged with us all the suitcases and boxes and sacks of items to share with the homeless at Skid Row.  This involved nearly 30 suitcases plus sacks and boxes that had to be put in the aisle of the shuttle.  Lonnie did his best to pack it in the back but it would not fit.  At least this was the last time he had to deal with this much luggage.

After a long drive through Los Angeles traffic and through the spaghetti works of crisscrossing cement ribbons they call interstates out here, we arrived in the Skid Row area.  People were wandering aimlessly in the streets and tents and canvas shelters lined many of the sidewalks as we approached.  Some of us had been here before and knew what to expect but for others it was a new experience.  We began unloading as Ellie found out where in the building to put everything.  We waited for Tyrone to come and give instructions.

We moved all of our items into the main dining room and set up tables to distribute items as groups of homeless came through for the noon meal.  Some of us went with Tyrone on a tour of the five-story building while others stayed behind and organized items on the tables.  Without giving all the details, there are people living on the upper floors of the building.  They must follow the program rules and work their way through the system to get back into society once again.

There are so many stories!  We met a mom with six kids who just came to the Union Rescue Mission last night, fleeing with her children from domestic abuse.  She was desperate and so very thankful as we befriended and helped her take whatever she could use from our items.  She is now living on the fourth floor of the building but her future is unknown.

I struck up a conversation with another young mother by asking how old her baby was.  She was willing to talk and seemed to appreciate me taking an interest in her.  Her infant was three months old and I was surprised to learn she had four more children, three in Sacramento and one somewhere else.  I was very surprised to learn she had been living in Sioux City, Iowa.  They had a house and food on the table.  Her husband had a good job there and life was pretty good.  I inquired why they had moved to Los Angeles. She said it was because they didn’t know anybody in Iowa.  I am not sure I understand that reasoning.  She explained that once they were in California everything fell apart because her husband went back on drugs.  Now she was in the shelter trying to survive and missing her children.  Her caseworker told her to move to Sacramento where it would be easier to get a job and housing would be less expensive.  Then she could see her kids too.  What will happen is anyone’s guess.

Those are only two of the stories of the hundreds of homeless we dealt with today.  During our tour we found out there are over 60,000 homeless in L.A. and the numbers are growing.  The Union Rescue Mission is a Christian organization and takes no funds from the government.  That way they don’t have to follow government rules and can share Jesus with all who come through the doors.  Currently it takes $56,000 a day to keep the mission running!  Everything comes from donations from companies and organizations as well as individuals.  I still cannot fathom that amount of money coming in each and every day.  We were told they serve as many as 1,500 meals three times a day and never turn anyone away.  They have a great number of people sleeping on cots in their chapel each night in addition to all those living in the building and going through their programs.

About a third of our group worked in the food line at noon serving the mass of people that came to eat.  We served four groups..First through were men who live in the facility.  Then families came followed by women who live in the building.  When they are through the line, women and men from the outside are allowed in to receive a meal.  After they had their food they came to our tables and picked up items they needed.  We estimate that this year we set a record of about 1,000 health kits given away.   We also gave away underwear, socks, hats, feminine products, extra soap and deodorant, 1,500 chocolate bars, 1,500 little booklets from Lutheran Hour Ministries called,  “Do You Know Who Jesus Is” and many other items that were donated by people across Iowa District West.  We had purchased $2,000 worth of supplies out here from generous funds supplied by home congregations, more than ever before.

Others in our group worked with children.  They read the Christmas story and acted it out.  They had brought along simple props so they would look like angels and shepherds.  Mary had a doll as baby Jesus and after their short play was finished two of the little girls had fun holding the doll.  The kids also made craft items from supplies brought from Iowa.

We left after three o’clock having distributed every last item we brought.  We do not know the impact we had today, only God knows.  We received uncounted sincere thank you comments and God bless you comments from the homeless.  They are grateful.  Our hearts were touched and we thank all those back home who allowed us to give out such a record amount of love to the homeless in California.

We left Skid Row and ate at Golden Corral before returning to our hotel.  Kimberley and two girls she is mentoring worked with us at Skid Row and came with us back to the hotel.  Kimberley is a woman who so tuned to God, His will and His Word.  Ellie had asked her to speak to the group as she has done in past years.  I wish everyone reading this update could hear her message!!   Kimberly spoke for half an hour from scripture in the book of Kings about the prophet Elisha and God eventually bringing the widow’s son back to life.  I am not going to attempt to relay her message.  All I can say is that it may well be the most powerful message I have ever heard!

Kimberley was given many quilts that we brought with us, all made by Karen from Lone Rock, IA.  Karen met Kimberley on this trip a couple years ago and came to realize God wanted her to use her quilt making skill to sew them for Kimberley’s kids.  Kimberley is a sixth grade teacher in the Los Angeles school system.  She requests the toughest kids to be in her classroom because God has given her the skills to reach them.  As we closed our time together tonight, we gathered around Kimberley and prayed for her, for her walk with God and her ministry.  When Kimberley left, many ideas were shared about what we could do in our home churches to further God’s kingdom.

Tomorrow is our last day, the free day to do what you like.  Many are going to the Reagan Museum and some to the Getty Museum.  In the evening most are going to Disneyland to shop and eat and watch fireworks as their final activity.  A few of us will stay at the hotel and catch up on sleep and sit by the pool in the warm California sun and contemplate all that we have seen and done this past week.

I hope you have enjoyed my updates.  I sincerely wanted to get across the feelings in our hearts as today affected each one of us.  There is just no way to do that.  So, for now, goodnight and may God bless each of you. 

He has created you to be unique and for His pleasure!  Contemplate that awesome thought and ask Him what you should be doing with your life because of it.

God bless and good night.  Lynn Menz – finished with updates and ready to really sleep!!

Day #5 Pasadena Mission Trip

Day #5 – Monday – January 1, 2018

The first day of this new year began early as we climbed aboard the shuttle at 5 a.m. heading to the famous Rose Parade.  It was a long drive to our seats on Colorado Boulevard and the traffic jam we were part of didn’t help the situation.  We made it as dawn was painting the eastern sky in shades of pink and orange.  I think God did that just for us to set the stage for what would be coming down the street later.  For those of you who have been here, Kathy and her sons and families greeted us and showed us our saved seats.  It is beginning to feel like old home week when we come each year.

The parade began as usual with the stealth bomber and a fighter on each side flying low above Colorado Boulevard.  This brings cheers and anticipation for we know the parade has begun to move on Orange Grove onto Colorado and we will see the beginning units in about half an hour.  Our Lutheran Hour Float was near the end of the parade.  It came by in all its glory amidst loud cheers from our blue, sweat shirted group, all on their feet at this time pointing and clapping.  Many in our group had put on the final touches with hundreds and hundreds of red and pink roses along both sides.  Underneath the roses we had pinned a bed of asparagus fern to fill in any spots not covered with roses. Some in our group were still dealing with stickers in their fingers today.  I guess they could call them battle scars.

It was foggy and chilly this morning and heavy coats were welcome until the sun worked its way over the buildings south and east of us.  Then coats came off and eventually many sweatshirts as well.  Weather couldn’t be more perfect so maybe it helps balance out the weather back in the Midwest.  I want you to know we are not letting this great California weather go to waste.  I promise you that on our free day on January 3rd, I will sit by the pool in my shirtsleeves just because I can.

The floats are masterpieces of color, movement, creativity and workmanship, uncounted hours and hours of it!  As they go by it is impossible to take in and appreciate what is before you.  It helps when a float you have worked on moves past and you can excitedly point out your part in it.  It is hard to explain, this feeling that overwhelms as the sprays of flowers and colors attack your senses and leave you speechless.  The floats are in their glory as they move past, burned into our memories and preserved in our photos.  We try not to think about what happens days from now as their glory fades and we no longer say, “Happy New Year” to everyone we meet.

Speaking of being speechless, we witnessed an event during a lull in the parade today that had thousands of people in the stands and along the street excitedly cheering and clapping.  For those who know about the God story of Kathy and her family and how we always now have these special seats right along Colorado Boulevard, you might be able to picture this.  Jason, Kathy’s son and his girlfriend love to dance and during a lull in the parade last year, they went out into the street and danced.  They had a ball and everyone cheered because they were so good together.  When I saw Jason this morning I asked him is they were going to dance for us again.  I was puzzled that he didn’t really respond. 

Today, during a lull in the parade, he did grab his girlfriend and pulled her out onto the middle of Colorado Boulevard and they began dancing once again.  Cheering broke out as everyone in the stands turned their attention to them.  His girlfriend had done a twirl and ended up a few feet away.  When she spun back, there was Jason dropped down onto one knee holding an opened ring box towards her.  She froze in place, not believing what was happening in front of God and everyone.  Thousands of people’s attention was focused on her.  When she was finally able to speak, she moved towards Jason and said, “yes!”  He slid the ring onto her finger and they kissed and the crowd went wild.  You just don’t see something like this every day.  Love is alive and well in Pasadena!

For those of you who know the story, Jason’s father, Chris, loved this day.  He would be there with his top hat and cane, dressed in tux and tails, frilly-sleeved shirt and all.  I am sure this is why Jason chose this day to get engaged.    You just never know what is in store as God unfolds the moments of your life.

As the parade ended we carried our chairs to a truck and climbed back onto the shuttle.  Four of our group had tickets to the Rose Bowl game so Lonnie drove us right to the stadium so they could go to the game and we could at least see the stadium.  We found out later that the tickets Dick Gast had gotten for them were on the fifty yard line in row one!  They later returned to our hotel after seeing a double overtime game with Georgia finally winning.

While they were watching football, the rest of our group stopped at a Walmart to purchase even more items for our Skid Row adventure tomorrow.  By now we were all starving so Ellie took us to Sizzler Steak House for a nice dinner. 

Our final day’s get together was this evening at 7 when we gathered for devotions.  We sang, prayed and discussed servant questions as Ellie led us in a devotion time.  Secret servant gifts were handed out.  One servant connection had to be revealed because Nancy Johnson is leaving early in the morning to return home for work.  In a perfect world, if I was in charge at least, work should revolve around your life, not life around your work.  Will someone go to work on that?

Time to sleep and catch up for tomorrow.  We leave at 8 for Skid Row.

Your sleepy Petal Pusher – Lynn Menz – signing off……….zzzzzzzzz

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pasadena Trip update #4 December 31, 2017

Day #4 – Sunday – December 31--Petal Pusher Trip

Sunday in California is nearly over and so is 2017.  In some parts of the world, the year has already changed.  I think that is just wrong because the earth is one place and we should all enter the new year at the same time.  Now that I got that off my chest, I can focus on the events of the petal pusher’s day.

We had a leisurely breakfast without an early start since we got back to our hotel so late last evening.  Ellie was kind to us but she might have faced mutiny if she hadn’t been.  We met at 10 this morning in the meeting room for devotions and sharing.  There was no church nearby for us to attend.  We spent time praying for specific things and then shared God stories and special events in our lives that have strengthened our faith.  Tears were shed and bonding took place.

Next, we did something unique I am betting nobody else in all of Iowa did today, or ever for that matter.  We moved our uncompleted towel kits and the boxes of supplies purchased yesterday onto tables in the swimming pool area so we could complete the project outdoors.  Who signed up for this trip thinking we would be doing such a thing?  I’m betting nobody!  The young trainee girl manning the front desk didn’t know what to say when we asked her if it would be alright to do that this morning.  She was a little hesitant but Ellie convinced her that if it didn’t specifically say it was not allowed in her list of rules, it would no doubt be okay.  And that is exactly what we did.  She was a little taken back when I told her if we had items left over we would just throw them into the pool.  I want you to know we didn’t do that, but it eventually brought a smile to her face so it was all worth it.

The people swimming and playing cards around the pool said they didn’t mind as we took over the pool area and began our massive towel kit project for the homeless once again.  Yes, people were in the pool in case you are reading this from the frigid landscape of Iowa.  The sun was shining and before long we were removing our petal pusher sweatshirts and working in short sleeves.  Working in the hot sun was a dirty job but someone had to do it.  The project was completed in about two hours under the California sunshine and warm temperatures.

At one o’clock we boarded the shuttle and Lonnie drove us down to Huntington Beach where we spent a couple of hours shopping, eating and exploring.  It was cooler by the Pacific and sweatshirts went back on.  Everyone had good food wherever they went in their small groups.  Some had tacos, some burgers and some seafood.  All I can vouch for is the delicious mango BBQ burger I had at Dukes.  The shoppers returned to the shuttle with their treasures, some claiming they found good sales.  I’m sure they did because petal pushers do not lie, especially when in sunny California.

We saw the sun setting over the Pacific as we left the beach area. This is where Lonnie lives so he gave us a short tour of Huntington Beach as he drove through the city.  In the area a couple of blocks from the beach he said the small lots sell for 2 million dollars and the houses add another 5 million.  The city is upscale but those numbers mess with my Iowa head. We also stopped at a grocery store for a quick shopping trip to get food for tomorrow since we leave before breakfast is served in the morning.

Our day ended early with devotions at 7 o’clock.  Tomorrow we awaken early into a brand new year.  The shuttle leaves at 5 a.m. for the Rose Parade on Colorado Boulevard where seats are being saved for us overnight.  We look forward to the gigantic party with a million of our closest friends on Colorado Boulevard.  We can’t wait to see the floats as they come down the street.  I know we will break into cheers as The Lutheran Hour Float passes by, always a special moment to see the work of our hands as it passes by proclaiming Christ!

An early to rise petal pusher – Lynn Menz - Good night and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Day #3 – Saturday – December 30- IOWAY Mission Team

We had a leisurely breakfast this morning because our first group meeting was not until 8 a.m.  The goal was to get ready for our day at Skid Row on January 2nd.  We brought with us a great many completed towel kits for the homeless but people brought more items with them and gift cards from back home to purchase more supplies here.  We used the meeting room to spread out the extra items and began assembling additional towel kits.  We put together what we had and counted what we still needed to complete the extra kits.  These items will be purchased at the Dollar Store near our hotel later.

The level of excitement in our meeting room was interesting.  Imagine 29 people packed into a room not large enough to begin with.  Now add a number of tables filled with towels, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.  Before long it was a din of noise and laughter.  A couple of people began singing songs from “The Sound of Music” and before long everyone joined in the craziness.  I can only wonder what the hotel personnel were thinking.  It could be that remorse set in for agreeing to let us use the meeting room.  Or maybe they began to hum along with us.  We will never know.

When we ran out of many supplies, we ceased operation and had our morning devotion time.  Ellie focused on the subject of prayer.  At the end she gave everyone a “Take Five” candy bar.  The wrapper was to remind us to take at least five minutes each day to pray.  Then we had about an hour to calm down and rest until we boarded the shuttle for what I assumed would be the annual chaotic trip to the 99¢ Store.  By this time everyone is getting to know each other pretty well so we are bonding and the fun is really beginning.  I have been on this trip many times and know what usually happens on this shopping trip when you turn 29 dressed alike, goofy, bonding adults loose in the Dollar Store.  You have to experience it to understand and I assumed this year would be no different.

Actually, this was the calmest shopping experience I have witnessed.  The store was large and very clean and organized.  Ellie had given each row of people in the bus a list of what they were to buy.  We exited the bus, grabbed carts, and headed down the aisles in search of all those items.  People who had brought debit cards or cash from their home congregations stood at the check-out counter and paid for what each group brought.  There were carts full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, socks, etc.  Everything was loaded into the back of our shuttle and off we went to have lunch, or dinner as we call it in Iowa.

We drove some distance to the nearest ‘Hometown Buffet’ only to discover it had closed.  So our next stop was at a ‘Soup Plantation’ like the one where we had eaten yesterday.  When we were stuffed to the gills, our driver took us to the work site. 

We worked the 4 to 11p.m. shift on the ‘Lutheran Hour’ and ‘City of Alhambra’ floats mostly.  Judging takes place tomorrow morning so everything had to be finished before we left.  The beautiful, gorgeous ‘Lutheran Hour’ float was completed at about 10:30 in the evening.  A number of our group put all the roses and asparagus fern along the sides, a major task.  Some have thorn wounds and aching spots on their hands to prove it.  As each float is finished, a general announcement is given from the loudspeaker system and everyone in the building cheers and claps.  I do believe when our float was announced we were the loudest.  I was cheering with most of our group right beside the float so maybe that wasn’t a fair comparison.

As we entered the building, Jennifer, crew chief for our float, grabbed Ellie and had her talk to a reporter from ABC.  He had to have a script to read as our float moves past his viewing stand but he wanted about 20 seconds of extra ‘color’ to present, something interesting and out of the ordinary.  Jennifer thought Ellie was the right person to give him what he wanted for his presentation.  She told him about our group and what we were going to do on Skid Row the day after the parade.  He seemed happy with that and repeated back what Ellie had told him.  Time will tell whether he will say it correctly during the parade.

Kimberley, teacher and frien joined us to work tonight.  She brought some of her former students to give them an opportunity to be part of float decorating, something they normally would never experience.  Kimberley will be joining us the day we serve at Skid Row and will come to our hotel and tell what life is like in her neck of the woods.  She has done this in past years and it is always a highlight for our group because she is a great speaker and shares such interesting stories.

On the way back to our hotel, Lonnie turned on the speaker system in the shuttle and played John Denver and Neil Diamond songs we all knew from the good old days.  We joined in and rock and rolled much of the way home.  It kept anyone from falling asleep after an exhausting day.

Once back at Residence Inn we had to unload the $2,000 worth of items purchased earlier in the day.  Our plan was to take them to the meeting room so we could finish our towel kit project in the morning.  We needed a new plan because we were informed the meeting room was needed as an additional breakfast room in the morning.  The hotel was totally booked and the normal breakfast room was not big enough to handle everyone.  This meant that we had to move everything we left in the meeting room this morning into our rooms.  Everything we had purchased that morning went into our rooms as well.  How we will complete the towel kits for Skid Row remains to be seen.

I will not think about it until morning when I will defer to Ellie since she is in charge.  Somehow she will figure it out.  Day three of decorating will not happen tomorrow either since floats had to be finished tonight.  That means we will need a new plan for the day, probably about plan D or E by now.  I am too tired to think about it now and Ellie is already sleeping so time will tell what happens.  I hope she is planning in her sleep because in the morning 28 people are going to be up and ready for an adventure!  She sleeps soundly so perhaps this will be a morning disaster waiting to happen!  J

Tiredness has overtaken me so goodnight!  Lynn – tired and done petal pusher - signing off.

Pasadena Mission Trip December 29, 2017

Day #2 – Friday, December 29, 2017

Our California day began early with a delicious breakfast at the Residence Inn.  The room filled with blue shirts and chatter as we fueled up for our day ahead.  By 6:45, Lonnie was there with the shuttle and we clamored aboard and we were off exploring the highways and byways of southern California.  We were thankful for the California sunshine, especially as we checked weather conditions back in Iowa and saw frigid and snow.  I hate to admit it but some may have even snickered a bit when they saw it, now that they are in sunny California.

Before much of the morning had past we were beginning to understand when the locals said they were having a heat wave.  It reached 80 degrees by afternoon and many of us took our Petal Pusher sweatshirts off.  Even a photo on a cell phone of snow falling back home didn’t cool us off.  While we survived, the flowers will not be so happy with these temperatures.  Yesterday work on the floats was slower because many flowers that should have been put on would not last until the parade.  We understand it is to be a little cooler tomorrow.

The new building we are working in this year is very large.  I estimate it may be over four times the size of the Rose Palace where we have worked for many years.  The flower tent is no longer a tent.  It is now a special section inside the building and much easier to access.  The area set aside isn’t large enough for the flowers as they arrive and are prepared for the floats.  Next year I’m sure it will be larger.

Our group was directed to the flower area for our first assignment.  Our job was to cut stems from the yellow roses and trim them to the correct length for placing in water filled vials.  As the lady in charge was showing us what to do, I asked how many yellow roses she needed us to do.  She pondered for a few seconds and estimated there were about 100,000 of them!  I have no idea how many we did but it was nowhere near that number even with our Iowa work ethic in play.

Our crew of 29 worked at top speed for over two hours on this task.  There were young people from other groups moving away our 50-gallon barrels of stems and trash, barrel full after barrel full.  Another crew brought bundles of yellow roses to each of the 6 tables so we could keep up the pace.  Just outside the building there were other young volunteers filling the green vials with water and bringing buckets of them to us.

After about two hours we were taken to other jobs in the building.  It was a deliberate move since two hours of standing on concrete was not as much fun as when we started.  An effort is made to keep the volunteers happy.  I lost track of where everyone ended up but many worked on the Honda float and I was taken to the City of Alhambra float.  There are two signs that go onto the float that needed to be redone.  The letters will be covered with overlapped red carnation petals glued on one at a time in a day or so.  The rest of the sign was covered with powdered white rice and was not smooth enough for

the glue had been put on too thick.  It had to be scrapped off and the task done over again.

Later in the day we were directed to pop off the heads of red mums, lay them flower side down in small cardboard boxes. Then we put a circle of clear glue on the underside of the petals and a drop where the stem had been.   The boxes were then handed to another crew what was on scaffolding gluing them onto the float.  Others were working with white mums preparing them for another area of the float.  Kathryn worked with white baby breath for the Lutheran Hour float.  

There was a hum of activity in the building and there seemed to be more people involved than other years but it may have been because the building is larger with more floats making it seem that way.  While we were working, small groups of people were ushered through the building to watch the decorating process.  I believe this is a fund raising effort and I expect many more people will pay to see the volunteers in action as the floats near completion.

When our shift was over about four this afternoon, our shuttle took us to the Soup Plantation for a wonderful meal.  There were more fresh salad fixins than you can imagine, delicious soups, pasta dishes, pastries and many other assorted foods and drinks.  Everyone seemed to find the twist ice cream and toppings to finish their meal.  We rode our shuttle back to the motel. The crew was tired, no doubt about it.  Ellie directed everyone to rest a bit and meet again at eight o’clock for devotions and a discussion of tomorrow’s schedule.  At devotions we talked about our experiences of the day and shared ‘pows and wows’ with each other.

Tired Petal Pusher – Lynn Menz – signing off.

Pasadena Mission Trip December 28 Update

Day #1 – Thursday – December 28

Before the sun sent streaks of dawn into the eastern sky, Ioway Petal Pushers were up preparing to head to the Des Moines airport, ready for their adventure to begin.  We were greeted by very cold temperatures and by snow squalls and slippery roads, making it even more desirable to get to Pasadena where we understand it is much warmer.  And of course, there is the excitement of being able to decorate floats for the famous Rose Parade. 

The Petal Pusher sweatshirts were backordered so they were distributed at the airport and we then became a team all looking alike.  With 29 people dressed in these colorful sweatshirts, you create quit a stir wherever you go.  Such was the case today as we moved through airports.  Many people took note and asked what we were doing opening up witness opportunities.  It was easy to engage people in conversation.

One such encounter happened in the Des Moines airport while we were waiting to board our plane for Dallas, the first stop of our journey to warmer climes.  I sat beside a young lady and found out she was flying first class so I tried to get her to trade tickets with me.  This got me nowhere but it made her smile at least.  Then I heard my name announced and low and behold, I was selected to get an upgrade to first class as well.  I gladly accepted!  Then the pressure was on so I gave up my newly acquired first class seat to Ellie.  What a guy, huh?  What else can a guy do with more than twenty of my closest Ioway friends look on?

So back to bargaining with the young lady sitting beside me in the waiting room.  She still wouldn’t budge but I got more smiles out of her anyway.  Being able to sit in the back of the plane right beside the toilets wasn’t even appealing to her.  She didn’t know what she was missing.  We arrived in Dallas and it took me twelve minutes to get out of the plane once it stopped.  She could have spent that much longer on the plane had she traded tickets with me but she missed out.

Once in Dallas, we rode the Skylink train to another terminal to a slightly larger plane and back into the wild blue yonder we went.  By now the sun had set but we got high enough to see it once again.  Flying west kept the sun in view for some time.  After a three-hour flight we dropped down onto the runway with a bump and discovered we were in Ontario!  I know what some of you are thinking.  You think Ellie, and in her fifteenth year of leading the trip, routed us to Canada. 

All was not lost.  We were indeed in Ontario but it was Ontario, California, a smaller airport than LAX and closer to where we are staying and working.  This is a year of firsts.  The buildings where the floats are constructed had gotten too expensive to rent and the Tournament of Roses decided to use buildings ten miles east of Pasadena instead.  The building where we are working will be new to us and we are staying in a different hotel too. 

In our day of training in early December, Ellie told everyone to expect plan B and C.  Already tonight we hit plan C because the buffet where we were to eat closed before we got there.  So, plan B was that we ate at In-N-Out Burger, which was a little chaotic, but we were hungry and made due.  We got to plan C when our shuttle couldn’t hold our luggage and it had to put in the aisle so nobody could move until it was all unloaded at the hotel which is why we missed our appointed restaurant.

It’s late.  The Ioway team is sleeping I’m sure.  In the morning it is breakfast at 6 and on the shuttle to head for decorating before 7.  It will be a short night.
Lynn Menz - One tired Petal Pusher signing off.