Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gearing Up for Another Rose Parade

Rick at Fiesta Floats in Irwindale, CA
As we approach New Year's Day, workers and volunteers at Fiesta Floats in Irwindale, CA are busy decorating floats for the 124th Annual Rose Parade.  Among those is the Natural Balance Pet float! This year, the theme of our float is "Canines With Courage", as we salute and give recognition to the brave canine members of America’s armed forces that so gallantly serve our nation with this patriotic salute honoring their loyal service and heroism.

The float will feature a floral replica of a new bronze and granite National Monument to Military Working Dog Teams, which will be dedicated in 2013 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. This is the first time in the history of the United States military that an animal, a dog, has been elevated to National Monument status by U.S. Congressional Law, and Natural Balance is proud to make this the feature of our float.

Our floats have become famous for the incredible record-breaking designs, floral beauty and of course the fun with Tillman the skateboarding bulldog, and his canine friends. This year's float isn't intended to break any Guinness World records as heaviest or longest, but it will be big on pride for our Military Working Dog Heroes. Tillman will be on the float this year, as an honorary Marine, but he wont be performing. Instead he will be helping raise awareness about these incredible Canine Heroes.

As you can see from this photo at right, the float is still being decorated. Remember that as part of the Rose Parade regulations, the decorations covering the floats need to be floral or plant material. All the colors and textures will be derived from flowers, seeds, petals, etc. For example, the round wood circle at the front is waiting for the decorative panel that will be applied. While I was there, that panel was being decorated by a volunteer. It is painstaking work, with incredible detail that isn't immediately obvious when viewing the floats from afar or on television.
At left is that front panel I mentioned above. It will be applied to the front of our float. Notice the incredible vivid colors....those are all from flowers or seeds, not paint!

The workers use an adhesive glue and place the seeds or flower petals by hand. This artistic design on the emblem models the emblem that corresponds to the actual monument.
To give you an idea of the detail click on this photo to enlarge it. Here is another photo below of some roses with an off white border...which I believe was rice (I could be wrong), but look at the photo for yourself to see.s
 You can watch the Rose Parade on TV January 1st, check local listings for times. If you participate in social media, follow along on Twitter searching for the hashtags #RosePets and #RoseParade, or on Facebook with Natural Balance or Petco or me!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Noise Pollution Notice

Our friends on the other side of the pond have such sensible regulations in London. I snapped this photo of a sign instructing motorists to be mindful of noise pollution. Don't you just wish we had such manners here?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Even Sheldon has Holiday Spirit

Even Sheldon Gryffindor is getting in the Christmas spirit. He has been running around wearing his new red Christmas sweater. Generally Sheldon isn't a fan of wearing things, but it has been on the chilly side recently so he seemed fine with this doggie sweater...although the expression on his face while putting it on was priceless. I could actually hear him gulping hard as if he were dreading it!
Once he had it on, he was all too happy to show off and model his holiday fashion for me. Admittedly, Sheldon can be a bit of a ham and isn't the slightest bit camera shy! Here is is beside our Christmas tree, smiling as usual. I was trying to get a good photo of the back of the sweater, which has some cotton snowballs around a Reindeer. With some persistence I finally snagged this photo of his back, which isn't great but at least you can see the design:
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Swags of Christmas

The Christmas spirit has now reached the very perimeter of the property at home. Festive swags of garland now line the walls that enclose the courtyard. This year it seems everyone has festive Christmas lights up, so I felt the house needed something. Just a little touch of Christmas was all it took. I think we are now ready for Old Saint Nick to visit. Christmas in Palm Springs. Home Sweet Home.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bringing in A Little Christmas Mood

For some reason I've been taken with the Christmas spirit this year a bit more than previous years. So much so that after the inside of the house was decorated, my eye turned to outside. The easiest change was to convert the underwater pool lights to green. Just beyond the pool you can see some tiny white lights in the distance. Those are the 'net lights' draped rather carelessly on our pencil tree, but it works.
Then it was onto the cactus plants in the west garden. Other than a few oleander bushes, there really aren't any shrubs in the garden, so that meant it was up to the cactus plants to carry the lights! This one is adjacent to the patio fireplace and looked kind of fun with lights on it. I was worried it might look tacky, but I think its OK.
Needless to say once I was finished stringing the Christmas lights everywhere, it brought an elegant and festive Christmas mood to the grounds. I wanted a little Christmas, and here it is, Palm Springs Style. I hope your holiday decorating brings as much joy to you this season.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

In times of war bad things happen. They say time heals all wounds, and to a great extent that is true. But it is good to recall incidents from history from which we can learn.Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day which commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, during World War II. So many US service men & women lost their lives or were injured that day. 

A few years ago I visited Pearl Harbor and went to the museum as well, it was very haunting and emotional (although I had no one related to me involved in that attack). I have a deep respect for our veterans young and old, living and deceased. We must always honor and thank them for their service and sacrifices. Fortunately today we have friendships with many of our former enemies, time does heal most wounds. It does not diminish the need to remember those difficult times from our history, and bow our collective heads, even if just for one day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeling Festive and Cozy...

I'm not entirely sure where this year has gone, but the Christmas season has arrived...and i couldn't be happier about it. I've been feeling especially festive this year, embracing the holiday spirit immediately after Thanksgiving. Garland adorns the mantle of the great room, with the glow of tiny white lights adding a special ambiance to the sitting area. 
Even our kitty Owen found a cozy spot on the hearth to curl up in front of the fireplace.

The Christmas tree is decorated and now holds the fascination of the cat and both dogs. I'm especially happy with the tree this year, perhaps it is just my overall mood that is more festive, but regardless of why, I am feeling festive and cozy.

How is your holiday decorating going so far? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Collectable Christmas Gifts

Do you know someone who really appreciates collectables? Recently I've become familiar with the World's Fair line, such as this "Circus" in the photo at left. There is a great store in downtown Palm Springs called Memento Gift Shop that carries these and other collectables. I borrowed this photo from their blog. Check out their post on collectable Christmas Gift ideas. If you live in the Palm Springs area, check them out...their store is at 111 La Plaza, in the heart of downtown, right next to See's Candy shop. 

As a reminder, nothing here on my blog is a paid post, but I wanted to help out these folks, as they have a great retail store, and its locally owned too. I believe in shopping local as much as possible. I hope you do too!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade 2012

This past Saturday evening was the 21st Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade, held downtown along Palm Canyon Drive. The event is hugely popular for our tiny desert community; this year it attracted well over 90,000 spectators to enjoy the festive lights to kick off the holiday season. The event organizers report on their website that during the past 21 years, the parade "has featured a host of marching bands, performing groups as well as the Budweiser Clydesdales, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snoopy and the Gang – and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus". Here are a just a few photos of some of my favorite parts of the parade. I hope it puts you in the holiday spirit.

 Happy Holidays, from the Palm Springs Savant!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Guide Dog Heroes Brunch Honoring Betty White

Today I attended the 6th annual Heroes Brunch, an event benefiting the Guide Dogs of the Desert. The Guide Dogs of the Desert are one of my favorite non-profit organizations in Palm Springs. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with them for over five years already. This year's honoree was Betty White. No doubt you already know that this amazing lady has won seven Emmy Awards during her 60+ year career in Hollywood. You probably are already aware she is known as an animal advocate, having helped numerous shelters and animal related causes throughout her life. In addition to all this, she has also been a huge supporter of non-profit guide dog programs for many years. I've also been involved with Guide Dog fundraisers for several years and had the opportunity to see Betty White's passion for these incredible dogs. Betty White's current dog 'Pontiac' is a retired guide dog. She told me that "old dogs have a special place in my heart' which is why she adopted Pontiac.

Dick Van Patten, Betty White and his wife Pat Van Patten
Actor and animal lover Dick Van Patten attended the Heroes Brunch to day, in support of his friend Betty White. His pet food company, Natural Balance Pet Foods (for whom I work) has long been a supporter of guide dog schools nationwide. It was great to see Betty White and Dick Van Patten together, sharing a few laughs, and helping raise awareness about the important work guide dogs do to help visually impaired people.
Dick Van Patten, Betty White & Tom Sullivan
Dick told me he and his wife were so happy to be with their friend Betty as she was honored for her work to help the Guide Dogs of the Desert of Palm Springs. Seated next to Betty in this photo is Tom Sullivan. She and Tom are long time friends and also co-authors of The Leading Lady, a true story about Mr Sullivan's first guide dog Dinah, and the impact she had on both of their lives (Betty ended up adopting Dinah when she retired from her work as a guide dog). It was a great event, I'm so proud of what Natural Balance does to help this wonderful organization here in our beautiful desert.


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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