Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Allan Family Christmas Update 2013

Greetings to all of our family and friends!  Once again another year has passed us by.  The day to day pace makes time pass quickly to be sure. 

Chris and Rita continue to prepare for the eventual move to Pine Grove, in the foothills east of Sacramento. The barn, which was delivered as a “kit” was finished up and signed off by Amador County in May. Immediately the overflow from Lakewood started filling it up. A good deal of renovation also was done to the tiny cabin we refer to as the “Boat House” due to its diminutive size. With the help of our friend Paul we were able to re-sheet the interior paneling upstairs and down, as well as new flooring in the restroom, shower area and “living room”. Future plans call for an outdoor/indoor kitchen and Tiki Lounge themed using the items generously bestowed upon us by our friends Ed and Diana Mackinson. The move is still scheduled for summer of 2016, after Emily graduates from Whitney High School.

Rita continues to focus on Girl Scout projects. Her girls have started their Gold Award projects, and in some cases, as in Anne’s, they are all but complete. Emily has selected her project and should have it finished in a year or so. At that point the troop will disband. Rita continues to spend her days upstairs developing construction training courses for Caltrans. She has built a foam box for recording voice-overs to be used in her online courses. Emily does a lot of the voice acting which is good practice for a possible future career. Rita also spends most weekends working at a small scrapbooking store in Bellflower, which gives her some hobby income and affords her time to visit with her group of friends.

Chris has more projects under way than he would like to admit. Work sporadically gets done on projects in Pine Grove, the steam locomotive restoration in Portola, the last of the 15” gauge railway equipment, and building components for a future model railway in “O” Scale. He doesn’t have much down time. Add to that taxiing the kids around, cooking meals, food shopping, etc. he is kept quite busy, and time flies by at a frightening pace for him. He and Rita also managed to paint the exterior of the house as well as scrape the last bit of that gaud awful popcorn texture off the ceiling of the living room in Lakewood. A new concrete driveway, poured by a contractor, as well as new plantings by Rita really helped restore some “curb appeal “ to the place, which will hopefully translate into a better price when it comes time to go on the market in a couple of years.

This year Chris and Rita celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, a real milestone! To celebrate, they dined at Lawry’s Prime Rib in Beverly Hills. This restaurant was on Chris’ “LA Bucket List” of things to do before he leaves, so it was a natural choice. The fare was, as you might imagine, quite excellent.

Anne, now a senior in high school, got to sample college life when she attended the California State Summer School for the Arts, at the Cal Arts campus in Santa Clarita. She spent an entire month sleeping in the dorms, and took art classes 6 days a week for a month. The program is quite prestigious, and we are very proud she made it in. All she needs to do is hang in there for another six months and it is off to college, wherever that may be. There are still several options open to her.  Anne’s driving skills are improving, including learning to drive Rita’s Escape with the stick shift. She hope to finally get her license on her 18th birthday next February.

Emily is in her sophomore year at Whitney, and has a full docket of activities as well. She took part in the school’s Fall stage play of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”. Given a meaty role, with many lines to memorize, she did amazing!  She worked a lot of late night rehearsals and gave it her all.  School keeps her busy with many class projects and clubs. Emily has an active social life as well, she always has friends close by which is a blessing.

Missy our Akita dog is slowing down, but still makes it to the dinner table every night. She still has a good deal of energy and enjoys being around the family and getting her hair everywhere she can!
We will continue moving forward, it is our hope that all of you can do the same. As always we wish for you a happy holiday season, and a happy and prosperous 2014. Keep in touch if you can, we always enjoy getting updates from you all!

All the best,

Chris Rita Anne Emily Missy