Boxing Day Elf Princesses

The cousins arrived from Orange County and Michigan and brought the cheer with them.  Months ago, I said it was okay for them to come to our place for Christmas, but that tiaras and tutus were mandatory.  True to form, I’d forgotten, but Sharon hadn’t!  She made tutus!

We had a great day watching  Sharon and Toni’s parents’ wedding and other 8mm footage from last century that Dana’s dad shot, and Dana had put onto DVDs.  Amazing stuff!

We ate lots, including some of four pies and bread pudding!

Toni’s company, Tepel Brothers Printing, sends out a box of printing samples every year. She had one sent to our house, and we opened the 11 wrapped packages inside and read the stories that came with the packages to each other.  All the businesses are located in Michigan. What a great way to promote local businesses at the same time as showing off their clever designs. There’s a big cookie from On the Rise Bakery in Detroit inside the stovetop box. The sandwich is actually a cute sponge.  Fun stuff!

We also had a white elephant gift exchange and played Cards Against Humanity, a very funny, crude game. This ain’t Trivial Pursuit, folks. 😀

Everyone arrived with hiking shoes, but it was cold, sunny and verrry windy, so we didn’t do that, but we had a great time together.

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Mission : The Lightshow at the Mission Inn

DSC_6964 We went down to see the lights on the Mission Inn in Riverside last weekend, and stayed over with our friends Johnnie and Elly in a nearby town.  Lovely to walk around the streets and see the lights and the horse drawn carriages.

DSC_6972It’s a very large hotel… I think the grounds take up a whole city block! Kind of sad that they’ve had to shut off the grounds to the general public. Last time we were here, we were able to wander at will. But it’s become quite renowned, and I imagine that the guests of this pricey place do deserve to appreciate it without a lot of competition.

DSC_6956Love the palm trees!  So tall and elegant!

DSC_6998Goofing around in the middle of the street.

DSC_7003A broader view of the street scene on the back side of the inn.

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We walked around and built up quite an appetite by the time we were seated at Bella Trattoria, which is attached to the inn.

Spent a lovely evening after with the guys playing music, and Elly and I chatting. Drove back in the morning after a relaxed breakfast. Really nice getaway!  Such great hosts!

Christmas Color, Acton Style

P1010806Our version of a white Christmas… Snow in the mountains across the valley from us. This is the Sierra Pelona range of the San Gabriels, I believe, as seen from the fire road that encircles our neighborhood.

P1010818Early winter is our green time! There’s been a little rain and the grasses and little weedlings are all excited about it!

P1010824That’s mistletoe in a struggling juniper tree. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant around here.

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Pyrocantha berries on the bushes around the big pine tree in our front yard. We have several of these in the yard. Love the berries in the winter!

Ladies Who Lunch – The T Room

P1010791Let the annual Christmas luncheon begin!  All the SoCal coworkers convened at The T Room in Montrose for a lovely meal and delicious teas. The new White Christmas tea was a big hit…very light and flavorful.

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Yes, I do like tea ware. I can’t help it!

P1010790The women who run The T Room are always so welcoming. And look at this spread!

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My former office-mate, OneL, and I. Miss chatting with her daily, but not driving down to the office is pretty fab.

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Peachy brought her daughter. She was born two months after I started working there, so I always know… She’s about to turn 16 already!

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Secret Santa gifts abound. Fun tokens of our appreciation for one another.

Feeling lucky to have found such interesting work (I am an info geek, I admit it) and such a compassionate company to work for.  The only things missing were the lovely faces of the other two staffers who are in Massachusetts and Toronto!