Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wishing all my friends and family a very happy, positive,  joyful New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

...and a Merry Christmas Was Had by All!

Christmas night is here -- time to reflect on what a beautiful December we had this year.  My dad arrived a week ago and my daughters have been in and out, work schedules permitting,   We decorated the Christmas tree -- the light-up angel on top graced our family tree when I was a child.  It's a family heirloom and as children my brother and sisters and I named her "Angela" -- our Christmas angel.

We did all the things that the season is all about -- shopping, wrapping, ordering, making gifts, baking, cooking, sending out Christmas greetings, meeting up with old friends.  We enjoyed the always-awesome Christmas concert that our church holds each year.  We played table games, nibbled on sweets, and laughed out loud watching old favorite movies like Christmas Vacation and Home Alone.  Little surprises were tucked behind the doors of our wooden Advent Calendar for the girls to take turns opening when they were home.  Fires crackled in the fireplace -- my baby cat Scarlett even met Santa Claus.

My birthday was earlier in the week so my dad and I drove up to San Francisco to spend the day with my daughters.  The plan was that we would pick them up at their apartment and then go to Union Square and have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.  However, when I called Ash to let her know we were almost there she informed us there would be a bit of a detour.  Apparently Lys, who had to work that morning, parked where she often does for work but they were having a special event and put up no parking signs that she didn't notice in her rush to get to work.  When she went to get back in her car after her shift -- it had been towed!   We picked up Ash and then went downtown to pick up Lys and made our way to the police impound yard.  After she paid the $392 to bail her car out (which seems like highway robbery to me!), we were on our way to Union Square.

Downtown San Francisco was set to get us in the holiday spirit!  The stores were decorated to the max and the ice skating rink and huge Christmas tree on Union Square were enticing.  
As always the food at The Cheesecake Factory was delicious and I enjoyed a nice big slice of Ghiradelli Chocolate Cheesecake for my birthday cake!
So despite our little side excursion, my birthday was absolutely wonderful!

A couple of days later the girls were back at my house for Christmas weekend.  Christmas Eve we went to a Candlelight Christmas service at our church -- it was breathtaking!  We all joined in for carol singing and then from one flame, candle by candle we lit our own candles until the church was aglow.  It was a very moving moment and we all sang Silent Night.
Christmas Day dawned and after a leisurely breakfast we opened gifts by the tree. Many oohs and ahhs and heartfelt thanks later, we were back in the kitchen where we made our turkey and trimmings dinner.  All to soon the girls packed up their car and headed back to the city.

How blessed I feel to have the family I have in my life!  Hope you, too, had a merry little Christmas!

For now I say...

   ...and to all a good night!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thanksgiving in The City

It was a first -- Thanksgiving at my daughters' apartment in San Francisco!  And it was wonderful!  From the time I arrived on Wednesday until I sadly drove back home on Saturday, they treated me like a queen and we had so much fun together. 

Lys had to work on Thanksgiving morning so Ash and I threw on some clothes and decided to grace the coffee shop with our presence as well!  On our way to the shop we passed pieces of sheet music papering the sidewalk, so our imaginations went wild envisioning all the reasons why there would be Russian piano music tossed around. 
We were surprised at the number of other people out and about for coffee on Thanksgiving morn.  Then again, what delicious hot cocoa!
In the afternoon we hung out at their apartment and they made a savory turkey dinner. Ash even made a fantastic apple cake for dessert.
Friday morning Lys had to work again (she was earning brownie points so she can get more time off at Christmas^^), so Ash and I decided to get out very early to hit the Black Friday Sales.  We had never gone to the Black Friday Sales before -- the media hype about people clawing their way through the deals and elbowing people into hospital size injuries scared the bejabbers out of us -- but we decided to give it a try this time.  Wow!  It was so very worth it!  Fewer people than we ever encounter by waiting to do our shopping later, we lucked out with close up parking at every store, and with 40% off many items my Christmas budget was stretched further.  It was fabulous!

After meeting Lys around noon back at the apartment, we dressed up and went to A Dickens Christmas at Cow Palace.  What fun to stroll the snowy streets of London, transported back in time to Victorian days. 
To give you an idea of the "streets" we wandered....
The shops sold everything from brooms to parasols to candy and jewelry.
Singers, dancers and merchants were all in full costume, but even many guests got into the spirit and attended in period costume!
It was jolly good fun and I hated to see the weekend come to an end.  Now it's December -- my Christmas cards await my hand this weekend, but the house is decorated.  The girls were here last weekend and we put up our Christmas tree and decorated it with both white and colored lights and all of our favorite ornaments. 

It's the season of warmth and love -- my favorite season of all!