Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

December 31, 2015

December 2015 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 3:53 am

December Highlights:

Rose Parade Volunteering

I will not do a deep dive into the activities this month so that I can cover the highlights for the year. However, I did want to share a bit of the Rose Parade volunteering experience as it was the first time anyone from my family has ever done anything like this. For years, we have watched the Rose Parade on TV, and, as a teenager, I remember experiencing the parade live on a very cold morning. But participating as a volunteer gives you a deeper appreciation of exactly what it takes to build these floral marvels on wheels.

My job was actually pretty simple – drive a group of 5 teenage girls to Pasadena so they could could participate in the hands-on float building process while I took pictures to document their experience. The day of volunteering began with the girls standing in line with hundreds of other volunteers. Considering the number of people, the line moved remarkably fast. Once the girls reached the hangars containing the floats they were put into a group and welcomed by someone from the Phoenix Decorating company, one of the three or four companies responsible for building the 50+ floats for the parade. The next step was being admitted into the hangar where another company representative told the girls what they’d be doing for their 8 hour day. The process begins with a pair of scissors and boxes of dry flowers that the girls are expected to spend an hour our or so cutting. All the groups start this way — at least for the week that dry flowers and seeds are applied to the floats (adding fresh flowers happens 3-4 days before the parade starts) — and then eventually progress to adding the dry ingredients to the framework of the the actual floats.

Lilah and her partner were given the West Virginia float where they pretty much spent their entire day adding parsley and rice to their section — pine trees covered in snow (the parsley represented pine needles and the rice was was used to represent the snow). It is painstaking work and it requires two people because while one person applies glue and pours the rice and parsley to the float, the other one holds a box to catch all the rice and parsley that does not stick to the float on the first pour. That way, you don’t end up with all the ingredients on the floor instead of the float, which would be a waste. The girls each took turns at being the pourer and the holder and this is how they pretty much spent their day with a few breaks, of course, and some time off for lunch which is provided by the float building company. To apply the ingredients requires sitting, standing and sometimes getting into some awkward positions. Lilah said she was sore the next day, but would definitely be up to going back to volunteer at the parade again next year.

I found it interesting that even though the girls spent all day on their section, it was still just a tiny fraction (maybe 1/50th) of the entire float. And what the girls worked on was basically the tail end of the float building process because before any dry or fresh flowers go on the float, the framework, consisting of steel and chicken wire, needs to be build. The float is then “cocooned” and sprayed with a polyvinyl material which acts as a base for inserting decoration. This base is painted with the colors of the flowers to be applied to the float. That’s how all the volunteers know what flowers to add to their sections of the float. I am simplifying the construction process here for brevity, but it truly is an amazing process to witness and learn more about.

And now onto the year’s highlights. Happy New Year to you all! More next month.

2015 Highlights

It was another eventful year with many special moments to be thankful for. Here’s a few of the highlights:

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