Community & Clubs: Finishing up the Rose Parade floats

There will be no service club meetings this week as they finish up decorating their Rose Parade floats and host the international presidents at luncheons and dinners in the Pasadena area. The Kiwanis International float will be seventh in the parade order, while the Lions International float will be No. 48 and Rotary International's float is No. 51.

The parade begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. The best TV viewing will be on KTLA, Channel 5 in Southern California. The station rebroadcasts the parade several times New Year's Day.

Barbara and I will be viewing the Rose Parade from stands in Pasadena along with our daughter Stacy, her husband, Kyle Howard, and his parents, John and Nancy Howard, from Boston.

Boy, the senior Howards have had their share of bad weather trouble getting to Southern California! Last February as they were going to leave for the Stacy de Boom-Kyle Howard wedding in Palm Desert, a winter snowstorm caused their flight to be cancelled. They did arrive several days later in time for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.

Now the senior Howards were to arrive Monday from Boston for a 10-day vacation that includes a trip San Diego and the Rose Parade. Their Monday flight was canceled and we are hoping they are able to get on a flight Wednesday for Los Angeles International Airport and at least enjoy part of their vacation.

Getting away from it all

Speaking of vacations, Barbara and I had a few in 2010, including our 40th wedding anniversary cruise out of Miami on Norwegian Cruise Line. That was a miserable experience! We didn't see the cabin attendant once during the cruise. One day our cabin was made at 9 p.m. while we were at the ship's theater. There wasn't soap or shampoo in the dispensers, no pillows. The in-room safe was broken as was the night security door latch. We took out list to the concierges' desk and asked for help. Help didn't come. Unfortunately they add the tips for the cabin attendant, waiters, etc. to your bill so there no motivation for them to offer good service. We don't recommend Norwegian Cruise Lines.

We did, however, have a great vacation in Branson, Mo., a small town with 100 live theaters with shows at 10 a.m., and 2 and 7 p.m. daily, 500-plus hotels and motels in all price ranges, two theme parks and a water park or two for kids to enjoy and some great choices in dining.

While there with our travel partners Chris and Larry Frank, of Bakersfield, we saw six live shows including Andy Williams, 12 Irish Tenors, Rock and Roll, Broadway!, Pierce Arrow and Shoji Tabuchi, the Japanese violinist and entertainer. The average price of a show was $35.

There is plenty to see in the area as well. We traveled to Springfield and visited a Civil War battlefield. We recommend Branson!

We also had a great week in Avalon, Catalina. Little to do there except work on your sun tan, take an island tour, play some golf, visit the arcade, go zip lining, barbecue at Descanso Beach Club or enjoy one of the new fine-dining restaurants. It's a great place for families.

We rent a four-bedroom home in Avalon for a week in July and our daughters and their families joined us for a great family reunion time. We recommend Avalon for a vacation!

You might also consider going to China in 2011. There is an Educators Tour July 11 to 19 that departs from Los Angeles and includes airfare, four- and five- star hotels, English tour guides while visiting Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai. The price is $2,299.

Visit for more information.

The Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council has its 10th China tour Oct. 14 to 21, which includes what is mentioned above. The price for the fall tour is $1,999. For more information visit I will be the leader of the Oct. 14th tour to China.

Thought for the Day

"The Christmas spirit that goes out with the dried-up Christmas tree is just as worthless."— Author unknown


You are invited to attend a service club meeting this coming week. Most clubs will buy your first meal for you as you get acquainted with them.


7:15 a.m. The 48-member Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club meets at Five Crowns Restaurant, 3801 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, for a program by Dennis Evans on "How the Orange County Grand Jury Works." Visit

COMMUNITY & CLUBS is published Wednesdays. Send your service club's meeting information by fax to (714) 921-8655 or by e-mail to

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