Thursday, December 30, 2010

California Christmas

My Christmas vacation started with a car accident. But, lots and lots of friends were around to cheer things up and make things a little bit better.

Wes needed a shampoo, and Amanda, who was one of the friends in town, had the skills to do a hospital bed shampoo and deep condition treatment. So she made it happen. I like that about her. The making it happen quality is important.

Amanda was in the area with her husband, to possibly be pictured later, and her youngest, to be pictured in my arms right now.

After a visit to the hospital to crack jokes and help Wes with his hair so he would look fine for all his lady visitors, we went to Sylvester's.

Please note the arrangement in that last picture. Napkins in easy reach. Fries close by. Drink with straw close enough to just lean over and sip. Hair pulled back. Oh, you couldn't see that. But it was pulled back. I think the best foods require physical preparation. And fo' realz, that Hana Burger was freaking delicious. Oh. man. I just got hungry for Sylvester's. Sigh.

So it was a bit on the rainy side during the Ball's visit, but we went to check out our favorite apple place anyway. As assumed, and possibly known, it was closed for the season.

But we found an awesome waterfall, and Tyler climbed it. He's such a waterfall climber. We couldn't hardly keep him in the car.

While I was home, we also decorated the tree,

went to the tree lot to try and find a reindeer,

took a few pictures with Mary,

and of course celebrated the birth of baby Jesus. (Oh fo' realz, please say you've seen that episode of Modern Family.)

The family on Christmas Eve, when we did most of the present opening:

What was everyone doing in this picture? Well, we were watching the Utah Cohens open presents! Hi guys!  

Soon after Christmas, Elle lost her first tooth. Turns out she lost her tooth one day before I lost my first tooth 20 years ago. She was happy to have beaten me by a day. She's so competitive.

On New Year's Eve we went for a hike. Bryn, Elle and Wade were particularly excited.

Greta was less excited, but that's how we like her: calm submissive.

Somehow I've never actually taken this hike. So here we are at the top.

We brought binoculars and tried to find all the Atascadero landmarks. It was a bit hard to find our house because of all the trees. At first I was sad I couldn't see the house, then remembered that I liked trees a whole lot, and suddenly I didn't mind not being able to see the house.

And, the ghetto-rigged picture that I said I would adjust and crop. Well, I didn't do that.

California in the winter means green. Oh, I love it so much.

Check out the green! We went over to Marie's house to look at the creek, but you can't see the creek in this picture because of all the green. I'm fine with that.

While I was home we did about 4 puzzles. This was the last one we did:

1,000 pieces, finished in a week. It was mind numbing. I'm glad to say we accomplished this puzzle, but I'm sick of it. I'm so sick of it, that I won't even bother turning the picture the right way. We were so sick of this puzzle that we gave it to Goodwill. I wanted to give it to the trash, but Mom suggested letting it live a bit longer. My condolences to whoever picks it up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Chicago Christmas

Chicago has a plethora of skating rinks this time of year. This is the fanciest (read: most expensive) rink in Chi Town. It's down town, right next to the Bean. Actually, it turns out the Bean is actually called the Clouds' Gate. Or something. I went with some friends caroling at the Bean, or CG, and then they went ice skating. I would have gone skating too, except I didn't want to pay for it, and it looked too crowded, and plus I'm a bit petrified that I will get knocked over and some little punk will zoom right over my fingers, and then I wouldn't be able to type. Hey, that's a legit fear.

This is my street. Can you see my bus coming?

The next two pictures are of the Chicago Temple after the first snowfall.

Zoo Lights! The Lincoln Park Zoo gets all gussied up every year, and every year people go wandering through the Zoo, looking at the splendor.

The Fruity Pebbles trees:

Candy cane trees, and me and Diana.

Okay, there are two seriously cool things about Zoo Lights. First: Ice sculptures.

Second: Sleeping monkeys. The Chimp House was phenomenal. I wrote about it here.

Also, I went to see Wicked. It was simply amazing. I saw Wicked in San Fran, but the Chicago production knocked the socks off of SF. Holy jeez, it was amazing. 

No one mourns the wicked. Just sayin'.

Chicago Christmas

Ever since returning to Chicago from Thanksgiving in Missouri, I've been going full force to celebrate Chicago Christmas before I left for a California Christmas. On the list: Macy's.

I had to explore their window displays, and more particularly, explore their awesome take on "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus."

You see, Virginia decided to go to the library to learn all she could about Santa Claus. Recognizing that Virginia had a good idea, I decide to select a book too.

That same day I attended Christkindlmarket, as evidenced by these photographs. 

Baked apple deliciousness. It was so supremely good, I've started a countdown to Christkindlmarket 2011. 

Chicago lights up Michigan Avenue with a Lights Parade every year, and being a resident of Chicago, I felt it my duty to attend. I went with my friend Tamry, and we got a few pictures of the river before the lighting.

For you Trump fans, I give you Trump Tower. Apparently (enter extreme vagueness) the guy who was the son of the guy who was the guy that The Pursuit of Happyness was made about (don't be confused, it's not Will Smith) lives on the floor right above the part of Trump Tower where it gets smaller.

Phew. That story was confusing, but totally worth it.

If it didn't take three buses to get there, I would totally use this mail box all the time. If you want to use it, you simply have to go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

A bit north of Chicago is the Baha'i Temple.  It's basically awesome.


While the last few photos didn't have anything to do with Chicago Christmas, I have been dying to share them with you, and now looked like the perfect time. It seems as though the present is always rather perfect.