Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas in Beijing

Livia and Fredrik visit with Santa, while his Elf helper looks on
Our little China-based munchkins got to visit with Santa last week (was it only last week?).  Just to prove that Christmas isn't much different in Beijing than it is in other parts of the world, I'm posting these photos.

Baby Olaf didn't have much to say about the proceedings, but Santa seems to be getting a kick out of him!

Santa likes babies!

Olaf and Saint Nick
The children appear to be thriving over there on the other side of the world.  They are certainly growing tall.

It's nice to see that they are enjoying American cultural traditions.  Every kid should be able to talk to Santa.

Even if he scares the heck out of you.  Santa frightened me as a child.  How about you?

Livia and Fredrik talking to the Man in the Red Suit
It doesn't look like he frightened Livia, Fredrik or Olaf!  I'm so glad.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Julaften - Christmas Eve

The Salt Lake LDS Temple
My brother took these magnificent photos of the temple last night - a freezing cold and blustery lille julaften - or "little" Christmas Eve.

I am posting them today as a reminder of what's important this Christmas.  I am so thankful for family and the promise of being together for eternity with those I love.

May God's richest blessings flow down upon you and your loved ones during this season and into the New Year.

Merry Christmas and much love to all my readers!

I'll be back again next week.  Enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Ladies Do Lunch

Mengzhao and Ivy
The ladies at KOA decided to go to lunch the Friday before Christmas and do a gift exchange. We've given gifts before, but this was the first time we'd all gone together for a Christmas luncheon.
Waiting in the sunshine
We drove over to the Olive Garden at the Montebello Mall.  They don't take reservations, and we were surprised to find out there was a 45 minute wait!

So, what do you do?  We called around to other restaurants in the area, but everyone had an equally long wait, and several said the wait time was up to 2 hours!  I guess we should have known better, on the Friday before Christmas.

Anyway, we decided to just hunker down and wait.

Despite the wait, everyone was in a good mood.  We had such fun together!  I love these good women.  They really make the work week a pleasant one.

We had drawn names for "Secret Santa" gifts, so there was some anticipation about who had gotten whose name!

(L-R) Nikita, Sabrina and Tiffany
I had drawn Tiffany's name.  She's the daughter of one of our company principals.  I had fun shopping for her and trying to come up with an interesting and fun gift.        

There were lots of big bags full of presents!
Did I mention that we laughed a lot?

Nikita and Sabrina watch as Barbara unwraps her gift

Nikita's turn...

Suria's turn...

Carmen's turn...

and finally, Mengzhao's turn!
There was such a good spirit of Christmas there!

Others in the restaurant looked on us with longing.  I know they wished they were a part of our group too!
After our long wait, we were all starving by the time the meals arrived!

Veronica and Carmen
 Maybe that is what made us so goofy!
Sabrina is very funny
Awww, who am I kidding?  We're goofy regardless.

Sabrina wearing her new knit kitty cap!
I ordered a lunch that came with soup and pasta.  I love the Zuppa Toscana there at the Olive Garden!  I'm not ashamed to admit I had two bowls of it.

Because I could.
Zuppa Toscana - my favorite!
We grew quiet after our meals were served.  We went through many bowls of salad, too!

Even though it was a beautiful Southern California day, and not blustery or cold, the pasta, salad, and hot soup tasted really good.

I'm grateful for such a great bunch of coworkers.  

In Norway, today is considered "little Christmas Eve".  It's also celebrated.  I hope, wherever you may be in the world, that you are also enjoying the festivities of this beautiful season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Snow falling in Oregon
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are enjoying this wonderful time of the year.  Often we are so consumed with holiday preparations that we don't really take the time to enjoy this beautiful season.
Trees shrouded in frost in South Dakota
As we prepare to celebrate our Savior's birth on Friday, let us pause to reflect for a moment on the beautiful world we live in and the many blessings God has given us.

South Dakota freeze
This truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Week!

A good friend of mine went to Colorado to see family.  He woke up to this sight out his bedroom window the next morning!

Apparently the entire herd was out to say HI that morning!  (And YES, it was very cold outside!) I've read that a herd of deer is also called a mob.

Does that mean that the mob paid my friend a visit?  Hmmmm.....

Hope you and your herd are doing well this week!

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Jack in the Box

My recent move has given my cat Jack some fun times.  He loves to explore.

I love my widdle Jack in the Box!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Shoveling the White Stuff

Downtown Salt Lake City earlier this week
While it's been cold, for here, in Southern California this week, we certainly don't have the snow other parts of the world see.

My family in the Salt Lake City area, for example, has been digging themselves out of snow all week long.

Shoveling snow!
All week long.
Kirsti shoveling more snow
I think I'll stay right where I am.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

'Tis the Season

Santa arrives at the office
I like to have little wrapped chocolates on my desk at work.  It gives my co-workers on the far side of the building an incentive to visit me every now and then.

Bribery?  I think not!  Just a good reason for a l-o-n-g walk.

I was so pleased when my new Santa cookie jar showed up in the mail yesterday!  He is the perfect addition to my holiday line-up.

I splurge on a new one once a year.  So far, I have accumulated a ceramic purse and a little fat pumpkin.  The Santa is a welcome new member of my office crew.

Below you see them in their line-up on my desk.  

The pumpkin jar will now be retired until September.  I'm sorry to see him go.  He was a cheerful reminder of good times of plenty.

Now Santa will have to spread some cheer for a season.  He's very jolly.  He's filled with mini Reese's peanut butter cups at the moment.  

Come by and visit any time!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Best (Feline) Friends' Christmas Party

Max looking jaunty in his bow tie
Every year my friends up in North Hills have a splendid Christmas Party.  This year's party was no exception.  Even the cat kids were all dressed up for the celebration!

My bud Max (above) was looking very dapper in his bow tie.  He is a favorite with all the girl kitties in the household.  He is a very charming cat with a big personality.  He is a favorite of mine as well.

Archie is trying to be 'the most interesting cat in the world'....
Archie (above) is a sweetheart.  He's close to my Jack in age.  In fact, my Jack, his sister and two brothers were rescued by the kind human ladies who also live in this household.

The Front Lawn Lights!
The house was decorated and lighted beautifully inside and out!

A Festive Atmosphere
You can tell the people who live here love cats!  And Christmas!  And cats.  And Christmas.

I think the kitties like it, too.

Kassie in her Christmas bow, nestled into her Christmas stocking
Kassie (above) looks very lovely in her bow.  She is posing demurely for the camera while three of her siblings watch, waiting their turn.

Kip looking dapper
Kip (above) is a cutie.  Kip won't sit still for very long!

Miles (below) is a good cat kid.  He also looks very debonair in his bow tie.

Miles doing a pin-up pose
I hope you have a little sparkle in your holiday season, too!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Winter is Finally Upon Us

Ashleigh Rose's neighborhood in Salt Lake
Here in Southern California you finally have to wear a jacket.  We got rain yesterday!  (Hooray!) It is clear, but very blustery this morning, making it seem colder than the 50-something degree temps the weatherman was showing.

It was great for a change.

Jennifer Balke Barclay's yard in Utah
Then I started seeing the photos being posted by friends living in Utah!

The Love's driveway this morning in Centerville, Utah
How would you like to shovel your car out of the driveway before you could go to work?  I'm sure many of you have to do just that.  Luckily, that's not a problem for us in Southern California!

The Love's front yard this morning
My friend George is on vacation in New Mexico.  They also had a dusting of snow last night.  This is a beautiful shot he took from his bedroom window:

Wherever you are, I hope you stay warm and snug throughout this holiday season!