Since its inception in 1938, the philanthropic organization Las Floristas has raised an astounding $16 million dollars to benefit children in Los Angeles County. One of the beneficiaries is the pediatric program at Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center, ensuring that any child, many victims of spinal cord injuries, can get medical assistance regardless of income. Programs there include (but not limited to): wheelchair sports, scholarships/educational grants, art programs, recreational therapy and adaptive driving lessons. One of Las Floristas’ largest fundraisers is coming up: the annual Holiday Luncheon on December 2. Not only does the price of admission include knowing you are supporting a worthy and necessary cause, but you also would be enjoying a delicious meal and silent auction, otherwise known as a one-stop shop for many/most of your holiday needs! If attending the luncheon is not something you are able to do but would still be interested in checking out the auction items or making a donation, you can visit the website: lasfloristas.org or contact my wife Lilli for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s that time of year again! In just a few short weeks, you’ll be receiving a holiday gift from Ben Lee Properties. Just a small token of our appreciation for your on-going support of me and my real estate team. In the past you’ve gotten salt & pepper shakers, pie servers, potato peelers, tongs, ice cream scoopers, pot holders and more. Handy helpers to assist with all your holiday cooking needs. We hope you’ll find this year’s offering a fun addition to the rest of your Ben Lee Property utensils. If (for whatever reason) your house is accidentally skipped, please send me an email so I can bring a gift by. Sure it’s a little cheesy but it’s also pretty grate and no kitchen should be without it!
Hi, neighbors! Thank you to those who contacted me regarding the lips/bumps/jagged edges of your property’s sidewalk. I think it’s fair to say we share a frustration with the growing (and hazardous) sidewalk problems going on in our neighborhood. I have formally registered and entered each of your complaints with the city. Everything has been put in a queue/waitlist and at some point (hopefully sooner rather than later) an inspector will take a look at each complaint in person and deem whether or not to award a permit in an effort to legally proceed with a licensed contractor to fix the problem. I’d prefer this to move a lot faster since we are tripping over these sidewalks (in an often publicly humiliating fashion, I might add!) but am unfortunately anchored by a bureaucratic procedure that may take a little bit of time. Speaking of time, it’s not too late to contact me about your sidewalk problems. Maybe if we continue to register each issue, it will be harder for the city to ignore? Shoot me an email with your address if you have a particularly nasty sidewalk that’s causing headaches for pedestrians, cyclists, etc. and I’ll follow up with the paperwork and a hopeful resolution! email@example.com
Has this year just flown by as quickly for you as it has for me? Sitting down to write our November issue is just baffling to me. It feels as though the year just started and now we’re rounding the bend to the end. But regardless, November always has a warm spot in my heart as Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and this year should, I hope, be no exception. The food, the family, the cozy, homey aspect of having everyone around. The aroma of turkey roasting in the oven, a midmorning hike with my boys followed by a lazy afternoon watching football, taking a nap and staying out of my wife’s way in the kitchen.
Growing up, my family always hosted and my mother set the bar extremely high. The side eyeroll she’d slyly give if a guest contributed something that didn’t pass muster. Perhaps a store-bought pie or deli counter side. And G-forbid you were tasked with appetizers but wandered in late. This was basically an unforgivable sin that would be talked about the rest of the holiday season and beyond. She wasn’t usually super snobbish but if she had spent the better part of a week shopping, preparing and making everything from scratch, the last thing she wanted was to muck up the offerings with something that didn’t live up to her nearly impossible standards. So, if someone insisted on bringing something and it didn’t meet or exceed expectations, it might be relegated to the buffet background (no man’s land) or ‘accidentally’ forgotten in the kitchen with profuse apologies if that person happened to notice its absence. The following year that same guest may arrive with flowers or wine but certainly not trusted with anything crucial to the menu. You basically had one chance to get it right and it was a pass/fail test.
Just imagine the pressure my wife and I faced when we took over the Thanksgiving hosting duties 12 or so years ago. On the one hand, my mom was extremely grateful we were willing to take the reins since her health had made it impossible for her to do it anymore; but after decades of making the meal a certain way, there were many questions that had to be answered correctly. Was the turkey fresh not frozen? Check. Was every relative, friend and stray expecting an invite included? Yes.
Of course, the first year we hosted also included my wife’s family, too, so their needs also had to be satisfied. Green bean casserole with crunchy onions on top? Check. Two different sweet potatoes because some like nuts and others prefer marshmallows? Yes.
Then, there was the balancing of everyone else’s tastes and expectations. Luckily only two out of our three boys crave the drumsticks but in order to get them, they basically had to sneak those enormous turkey legs off the platter mid-carve and eat them clean before anyone else who might have wanted one noticed. When it comes to pies, there’s just no excuse for the overabundance other than it’s imperative we offer what everyone has dreamt about and probably deprived themselves all year long. Pumpkin, obviously. But I, for one, need pecan. My mom always had a cranberry tart that is iconic to the celebrations of my youth so we make at least one or two of those. And my eldest loves apple so we definitely need that kind, too. I think last year, when the pandemic made it unsafe to gather in large numbers, there were eight people in attendance and we had five pies. No one judged each other negatively or saw anything wrong with that over-the-top level of gluttony. It just is what it is when it comes to this holiday.
This year I’m hoping to see our living and dining room filled with as hearty and bountiful a crowd as we’ve had in the before times. We’ll gather and recall the year before when it was so small and while fun, not nearly as loud and festive. Maybe we’ll chat about who’s had their third booster or how we managed to get all the ingredients to make everyone’s favorite dishes despite hiccups in the supply chain. And if that jagged supply chain really does mean we can’t have all the usual foods we’ve come to want and expect, maybe we’ll say that the food matters less than family togetherness and canned cranberry sauce is just as delicious as fresh. Or, who REALLY cares about creamed corn and turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and three different kinds of stuffing and grandma’s famous jello-mold? And then we’ll watch as everyone here revolts and leaves in a huff if the one food item he was looking forward to all year didn’t get made. Not proud to say, I may be the one leading the revolt!
OK, yes, it’s still my favorite holiday but it’s also freaking exhausting keeping everyone happy, myself included. I know I’m supposed to say that the only thing that really matters is our health and being together and all of that and while it’s true, but I unabashedly love the food, too. We’ve all sacrificed and put up with a lot over the last few years, I have no guilt in saying that I love my family and am so happy we will be spending Thanksgiving together but I also really, truly want pecan pie, too.
I’m grateful for every person working overtime to make all of our holidays as happy and joyous as can be. I’m also thankful for you, my neighbors, for reading this newsletter every month and for using me for your real estate needs. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones- may your tables be full of laughter and delicious foods that please everyone in your house. Keep your eye out for those rascally turkey drumstick smugglers, though. They’re the sneaky ones!
My wife was taking her daily walk around the neighborhood and came upon a woman who had just tripped over a significant lip in the sidewalk and fallen flat on her face. Dozens of worried neighbors stopped to make sure she was OK, offered their assistance, an ice pack, and a ride home. After bemoaning how little the city does to fix the hazardous sidewalks around town, Lilli asked a contractor friend of ours to fix the area so no one trips and stumbles there again. A nice gesture, yes, but also a temporary solution and mere band-aid for a larger problem at hand. Our sidewalks need fixing! Lilli is enlisting our son Mason’s help and the two of them are going to attempt to get the city to fix some of our most pressing sidewalk problems. If your property has one of these dangerous sidewalks, one that has developed a step instead of a flat surface or one that would make it dangerous or impossible for a person with a disability to navigate, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and include your address. This is potentially a rather arduous process and navigating the City Hall system is never quick or easy. However, if you would like them to do the leg work and attempt to get those major sidewalk problems near your home fixed (all legally with permits, etc. and zero cost to you the homeowner) please send them a note today and they’ll get started!