Thursday, November 25, 2010

Allan Family Christmas Update 2010

Greetings to all of our family and friends! We will once again attempt to update you on our past year of activity, accomplishments, and other stuff.
As the girls get into their teenage years, life becomes increasingly hectic. Both Anne and Emily are now attending Whitney Academy in Cerritos. Their school is part of the local school district, and focuses on college prep. Another benefit for Chris and Rita is the school bus transport provided, so no more multiple daily driving trips across town.
Rita consented to move her Caltrans office into what was the master bedroom, and the bedroom is now on the ground floor. Chris suggested this arrangement because less noise from the street gets through to the back of the house. The move, which took place over the summer, involved a lot of painting, new carpets, windows, and other improvements that were put off for too long, like central heat downstairs. The new office also includes homework areas for both the girls. Rita continues to be active in Girl Scouts. She led the annual campout to Newport Beach over the summer, and keeps busy organizing other troop activities. For her Mother’s Day in August she received a baby dragon sculpture for the garden, and for her birthday she loved the ”Harry Potter” themed Jelly Belly vending machine we bought surplus from a candy shop in Jackson. At Halloween she added a large inflatable skull to the roof of the house; she affectionately refers to him as “Achmed”.
Anne’s highlights for the year included her East Coast trip with her 8th grade class, from Washington DC to Boston in less than seven days. She also was treated to a “backstage” tour of Disney Imagineering from a friend of ours. Anne hopes one day to become an Imagineer, and the tour, which was incorporated into a school career report, was quite inspiring to her. She graduated with honors from Carmenita Middle School in June.
This year also marks the first year both the girls have Disneyland Annual Passports, so they can take advantage of our proximity to the Park and visit as much as they both can stand. Anne is a rabid Disney fan, and Emily loves Tinkerbell, and they both love a few hours a month running around Disneyland parent-free.
Summer Camps for both girls this year included Surfing at Huntington Beach, improv/theater camp at the local Community College, and of course Girl Scout camps both in Long Beach and up in the mountains near Idyllwild.
Emily finished up 6th grade and took part in the school play and the talent show, and did a wonderful job with both. She was accepted to Whitney school and decided to go, reluctantly at first, but she now loves it. She was encouraged to attend the same school by both her parents, for the reasons previously mentioned (there’s a bus!)
The really BIG news is the purchase of Chris and Rita’s retirement property in the town of Pine Grove, California, in the northern part of the state, about an hour’s drive southeast of Sacramento. There is not much on the acre-and-a-third parcel except for a couple of shacks. One of these “outbuildings” will become a bunkhouse of sorts, someplace to stay while we are working on the property. Chris is quite excited to get out of the greater Los Angeles area after the girls are out of High School. The property purchase gives him some hope this may actually happen! The land is wooded and lies at the 2300 foot level. The well, septic, and power were put in by the former owner, so all we have to do is drop in a house and shop in the future (among other things).
Chris continues to restore the steam locomotive in Portola with his team. It will be a long term job but one he enjoys. Every so often he even makes it out to the garage to work on one of his projects, or somebody else’s. He has several more lifetimes of projects ahead of him.
Missy continues to take care of all of us, and enjoys napping and barking at the UPS truck.
That’s about it for now. We wish all of you a joyous Christmas, and a happy, prosperous, and safe 2011.