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October through December, 2019

A HUGE Christmas

Posing for “Save the Date” announcements.

As noted in last quarter's report, Arthur and Alixandra were engaged. Planning for the wedding is now underway, including getting lots of pictures. Previews of their engagement pictures can be found at this link. They should be sending out “Save the Date” announcements soon.

Pauline's 70th birthday was in October, but we were not ready for a big celebration. Instead, Gary took her to an “undisclosed location” to take a break from our cares. Pauline was kept in suspense until the day before we left. The weather cooperated in that the day we left roads were good, we spent our second day snowed in (literally) at a spa, then had little trouble getting back the third day. We each had two 1½ hour massages at the spa and spent our time relaxing in the hot springs or watching movies in bed. Once we returned home it could be revealed our undisclosed location was Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, where we stayed in the Presidential Suite (apparently President Obama spent a night there once).

Our drive down to Pacific Beach (PB) was uneventful until we were rear-ended sitting at a stop light in Saint George, Utah. No-one was hurt, but the Tesla sustained damage to its rear bumper and trunk. The car was drivable, and we made it to PB that evening. More on the accident below.

Dan spent some time with us on his drive from Tahoe to Baja to scatter some of Kristy's ashes and visit friends in La Paz. He connected with many friends along the way and helped Gary with a couple of odd jobs.

Kendal and mother-in-law Connie made a pre-Thanksgiving visit. We walked to an al fresco brunch on the beach then walked down the ocean beach with a return walk up the Mission Bay beach — about 5 miles! Both beaches are close to the house; most of the walk was on the beaches with a short diversion to get between beaches. This is one of the things we like about PB.

Of course, one of the joys of our time in PB is grand-daughter Jade. A couple of times a week we walk to daycare to pick her up. It's a 1½ mile round trip that takes a little more than 30 minutes. Rosie enjoys these walks to see her favorite person. Jade is always happy to spend time with Granny and Grand-dad until mom or dad picks her up.

Everyone will be participating in our planned HUGE Christmas, so most spent Thanksgiving with the other half of their respective families. Paul, Xue and Jade joined us for a small Thanksgiving day.

We drove our little pickup back to Montana; it will be more useful than the Tesla for the winter. Besides, the Tesla was still in the body shop. Thankfully, the drive was uneventful.

By this time, it was December and we were busy getting the house back up and running. Then we had to start preparing for Christmas. Our tradition is to cut our tree from near the house, with every intention of having a 6-8 foot tree but (again) winding up with a 10 foot tree. Here, Pauline takes an opportunity to relax in the calm before the storm.

Paul and Arthur wanted a “Patagonian Lamb Roast” for Christmas Eve Dinner. It was a complex undertaking, requiring much firewood, a fire pit, a Patagonian Cross (aka Asado Cross), and a 50 pound butchered lamb. The roasting process required over 8 hours from fire to table. As a precaution to prevent embarrassing run-ins with the authorities, we let the fire department and neighbors in the canyon know the smoke they would see in our direction was intentional. In this picture Marcus and Arthur rotate the cross, with Paul helping guide the cross into its stand.

We had 19 people for the Christmas Eve Dinner. There was plenty of lamb left over for our Christmas Day Dinner (see below).

Christmas Dinner

Clockwise from high chair: Jade (hidden), Xue, Allison, Alixandra, Gabby (Alixandra's sister), Samantha, Gary, Pauline, Dan, Brandon, Kendal, Lauren, Marcus, friends Terry and Dennis, Arthur, and Paul. We had the choice of baked ham, roast turkey or lamb curry (made from the left-overs of Christmas Eve Dinner). Dinner was followed by the traditional White Elephant gift exchange.


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