Sunday, December 16, 2012

Allan Family Christmas Letter for 2012

Another year has scurried by quickly and just like that, the Holidays are upon us. 2012 brought new experiences for some, progress on our projects, and some happy memories. This year, in an effort to promote the “green” agenda, our Christmas greeting will be electronic, by way of this posting. The truth is sending out cards this year is proving to be difficult given our accelerated lifestyles. Please don’t feel slighted, we love you all just the same! 

Where to begin? Anne and Emily are continuing their school days at Whitney High in Cerritos. Anne is a junior, and Emily started as a freshman. They are both doing well, and more often than not work well into the night on homework to keep up their grades. Rita and the girls continue their Girl Scout careers. A highlight this year was the Girl Scout’s 100th Birthday Celebration at Disneyland, which included a walk down the castle drawbridge with the other girls from their troop. The troop also traveled en masse to Seattle for a week, taking in the sights and displaying their 1960’s era authentic vintage uniforms, which were purchased from various sources, including Ebay and thrift shops.

The girl's troop at the Disneyland Girl Scout Birthday Celebration.
Anne received her learner’s permit to drive, and did some behind-the-wheel time with Dad. She did really well, and when her parents can afford the insurance she will make a fine full time driver. She has also made new friends in conjunction with following a band out of San Diego, Steam Powered Giraffe. These guys are a Steampunk Victorian family-oriented group that plays at the San Diego Zoo, among other venues. Anne is also active in several school clubs, and is continuing art training in her spare time. 

Emily is enjoying school and all her friends; she has an active social life. This year she earned a Presidential Award for Educational Excellence, and we are very proud of her. Her class also went on their east coast field trip over Spring Break, and she got to experience a great deal of history, as well as take in a Broadway show. Her mermaid themed birthday party was a big hit. Luckily it was a pool party, otherwise it would not have made much sense.

Rita continues to tele-commute to Sacramento from the upstairs office. She is designing training courses for Caltrans, her employer, and still enjoys working from home. The Girl Scout troop takes up a good deal of her time, as well as keeping the girls active in their various activities. Rita began painting the house here in Lakewood in preparation for the move north in a few years; hopefully that project will be completed sometime in the spring, Chris plans on helping. A current obsession of her and the girls is visiting thrift shops wherever they travel, and bringing home treasures like vintage clothing, etc. This certainly saves vast sums of money compared to shopping at the mall. Rita spent her 50th birthday at Laguna Beach with the family, including the yearly dose of “culture” at the Pageant of the Masters. Rita is also continuing with her scrapbooking hobby, and enjoys some time away from home with friends who have the same interest.

Off to Seattle!

In the queue for the Haunted Mansion for Dad's 50th.
Chris of course has project ADHD, that is to say, too many irons in the fire. Work continues on the locomotive restoration at the museum in Portola, California, which will hopefully wrap up in the next couple years. His big “push” this year has been putting up a 24 square foot, two story barn at the property in Pine Grove. Although not technically done as of this writing, it is (hopefully!) watertight for the winter. He spent two weeks in November finishing up the exterior with help from his friend Paul, Roger, and our great new Pine Grove neighbor, Mike. More than a few cuts from the sheet metal were bandaged up, many hard lessons were learned, but in the end the result was quite nice. The family will travel back up in the spring to finish it up. 

Chris spent his 50th birthday at Disneyland with Anne and Emily, and had a great time “pub-hopping” with his good friend Ken Eells at various places around the resort. It was a great way to start his second half-century! He has also been working on more parts for his 15” gauge railway parlor car, which will be finished up after the move north. Locomotive #18, a 15” gauge steamer built by Chris, took part in the 60th anniversary of the Redwood Valley Railway in Berkeley, California this past June. Participating was a real treat for Chris and his friends in attendance, to say the least. In his spare time Chris enjoys napping, and occasionally working on some O scale model railroad building. A lot of driving the girls around fills in the rest of his time.

The barn at Pine Grove is almost done!



Missy the dog is still doing well, and although getting on in years, still has a good deal of energy, enjoys her walks, and being around us. She is still as happy as ever. 

A truly busy 2012, and 2013 promises the same. We hope all of you are happy and healthy, if not prosperous. Please continue to try and keep in touch, and we will do the same. Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy, safe 2013! 

Yours in merriment, 

Chris, Rita, Anne, and Emily Allan (Missy too.)