Regular readers know how much we love road trips. And family gatherings. And being together.
We did all that and more this holiday. We flew to Las Vegas on the 23rd to have Christmas with my daughter and her family. Christmas eve was wonderful with the three grandchildren, Arthur, Amy and Amy's excellent meal. The kids were cute and excited and presented us with a little Christmas program that they had worked out.
Christmas morning we drove out to Los Angeles, experiencing 50 mph winds, driving rain, fog, and heavy traffic. It didn't matter much because at the end of the drive we had Christmas with John's siblings and celebrated John's mother's 93rd birthday. She looked wonderful and very happy to have her kids and grandkids around her. Another wonderful meal, gifts and then we got John's mom to tell us stories about her childhood. She had a rather eccentric mother so the stories were particularly fascinating.
The day after Christmas was beautiful, sunny, clear and warm.
This is the view from our hotel balcony in Pasadena. If you click on the photo, you can see a distant snow covered mountain peak. It might be Mt Baldy, but I am not sure. Here in Ohio, we have no leaves, no color, no warmth. It was so nice to walk around Old Pasadena and see sidewalk tables filled with customers and no one wearing heavy jackets with hunched up shoulders braving cold winds.
We had breakfast with John's kids and then we walked around the shops in Old Pasadena. The city had already erected the stands for the Rose Parade. They fit them in wherever there is a bit of room.
See the stands tucked into the entrance to this lovely old church? Note the Port-a-Potties on the side street. Quite a contrast to the lovely church architecture, isn't it? This scene is repeated all through the parade route.
Californians are always in a hurry. We know this, but the sign below still made us laugh.
All over CA, we saw these signs on the freeways. I can't believe people have to be told. My next thought is to ask how many accidents were attributed to this to cause a law to be enacted.
We had a great time with John's siblings and spouses at PF Chang's. We laughed, we ate, we laughed, we talked, we ate, we laughed. It was pretty darn fun. I always tell John that there just isn't enough Chinese food in our marriage.
I managed a quick stop at my friend Tamara's store, Zinnia in Pasadena. I had not seen it since she expanded. She has such a flair for the unusual both in store decor and product. If we hadn't been flying home, I would have bought one (maybe two) of everything. Go visit her as soon as you can.
Our last of our four Christmas celebrations was at my brother Doug's home. Leslie is the best cook and baker. It was just wonderful being with my brothers and their wives. I miss them so much. They make me laugh all the time with their elaborate stories. I still can't get over flowers in December. This rose is on Leslie's front walk.
Driving back to Las Vegas where John won as much money as I lost (see, we are the perfect fit), we stopped in Baker for a cold drink and I finally got a photo of this well-known stop.
Baker is a town in the desert of California. It is out in the middle of nowhere and consists of a long block of gas stations, restaurants and one motel. I always wonder where the people who work at these businesses live.
It is good to be home. Three hotels in 7 days is tiring, but we loved our time with family and friends. We enjoyed the weather in CA and we were re-astonished at the CA traffic. It snowed last night. We're home.