It's raining today: not big gobs of rain, but an off-and-on, drizzle-to-downpour kind of rainy day. Here in California, this is about as close as we get to White Christmas. There was a lot of concern that all the debris still left on the streets (and there's a lot of it)would clog the drainage systems and cause lots of flooding, but nothing has been reported so far today.
So far it's a quiet Monday. I'm doing laundry, prepping the photos for this entry and, at some point, collecting the paperwork to get my business permit this week.
On Saturday last we went to Steve and Roberto's annual Christmas party. Here's a shot of the food line as seen through the dining room window at the front of their home. It's always a lot of fun, but can be tedious depending on how many of our acquaintances attend and how many people are complete strangers.
Steve and Roberto seem to invite everyone, so there are people from their workplaces, people from their church, social acquaintances and folks they just run into in the store and invite. It's an amazing mix of people, and only once did I get caught with someone in conversation who latched on and wouldn't let go.
Theirs is not a huge house, but there seems to be enough room for the hundred or so people who show up every year, even taking into account the seven Christmas trees that they put up (at least one in each room of the house) The first one shown above is in the living room and takes on the red-and-green color theme they use in the room. This second one is the white-and-gold tree in the den.
There is a nice-sized patio off the den, and guest suite on the second floor and, off it, a deck above the garage. Still, there are times when the interior of the house becomes impassable (especially when food is being served and folks are lining up for that). And the food is always fabulous.
The invitation says "light fare," but the party starts with a bottomless serving of hors d'oeuvres (meatballs, cocktail weiner, dips, fresh-made tortilla chips, crudité, Roberto's mom's jalepeño cornbread, and always one other dish that is spicier than hell but looks quite innocent (this year, cream cheese pinwheels with what looked to be pesto, but wasn't).
Here at home, the decorating is almost done. We have, of course, the tree with a couple new ornaments on it, and the usual holiday tchotchkes that come out every year. I did add a garland (shown here) to the entryway this year, which cost all of $30, since I used recycled lights that had been on our previously non-prelit Christmas tree. It took about five hours to lay it out and get everything to come out evenly (12 feet of garland and 14 feet of lights means you have to improvise along the way, plus getting all the plugs where they'll be unobtrusive and easily accessible.
I haven't even started my Christmas shopping, what little of it there will be this year. That is partially because money is tight and partially because, when I look around, we have pretty much all we need; we're very blessed in that way. My only Christmas wish was an interview for the Pasadena City College job, and that was dashed quite effectively, so I'm looking forward to the New Year and focusing on making the studio successful and put myself in demand for my design work.
It's kind of scary, though; how to you know when you're prepared enough? You lay out plans and figure budgets, try not to be too frugal or too extravagant, plan a marketing strategy. It's like planning a big party without RSVPs and fearing no one will show up.
As for Steve, they laid off a good number of workers at his work. Luckily, he's not one of them. It's just until the first of the year, but what a horrible time to put people out of work. The place is closed from Christmas until New Year's Day anyway, and the workers will get paid for that week (since it's the only vacation time they are allowed). This means we'll have the last week of the year together, but I'm sure we'll be spending at least some of that time setting up the books for the studio and creating forms for estimates, quotes, invoices, etc. It will be a nice way to see out the year, though.
That's about it for now. A friend in London posted a link on Facebook to this final video treat; I found it and put it here at my seasonal offering. No Santa or snowmen, but it magically put me in the holiday spirit, and I hope it will do the same for you.