A little palate cleanser before we launch ahead!

Christmas was delightful, if not altogether one very bright blur. I don’t think I will ever quite adjust to how much effort promotes the occasion and then in what seems to be an extremely short blink of time– WHOOSH! It’s over.

If I can’t exactly harness time, I can enjoy along the way.

One very nice aspect of working in a university is that an academic calendar paired with good fortune offers the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a wonderful work holiday–one very important element towards breathing lighter.

We’re enjoying some mini-field trips–holiday palate cleansers of sorts; local outings shared with the hundreds of thousands of people who have descended on Pasadena for the 125th Annual Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game (January 1st). This place is hopping!

But before I move on, let me share just a few photos and a very brief description of a wonderful place we visited a week ago. I don’t think I’ll be as eager to share Christmas lights once we leave December.

The Mission Inn, a historic landmark in Riverside, California, is absolutely steeped in wonderful history. Presidents have both married and honeymooned at the hotel, and many notables, among them Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller and Albert Einstein, have all enjoyed this historic property.

This year was the 21st Annual Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn. From Thanksgiving to New Years hundreds of thousands of visitors throng to see the millions of lights that festoon the Inn and the surrounding neighborhood and businesses.

People refer to it as “Disneyland without the admission price.”

I’ll leave you with these photos to enjoy as prelude to my next post where I will include all the “good Presidential stuff” as well as some detail of the Clark Gable era celebrities that graced the grounds. He spent time there, too. And Bette Davis was married there…see? I can barely stop myself from sharing it all now!

So for now, sit back and enjoy the Festival of Lights.

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And oh yes, maybe you’d like to come back by later and I can tell you more about one of the bells from the original hotel owner’s very impressive bell collection. Β I’m still trying to learn more about a bell stated to be the oldest bell in Christendom, A.D. 1247. That’s what they say!

And as soon as I can better understand the precise meaning of Christendom in this instance, I’ll be sharing all about that! I need more context!

There is just so much to learn and do and places to visit in 2014! I have a new calendar with all sorts of blank space. I wonder what I’ll be doing this year?

And what would you like to see written in your appointment book?

You’d better start calendaring your adventures and field trips now. You know how slippery time is!

59 thoughts on “A little palate cleanser before we launch ahead!

  1. What beautiful lights and photos, Deb! My favorite is Cinderella’s carriage, it definitely would be quite the spectacular show in person! I hope you do have a wonderful week’s break and look forward to hearing all about it when you return:) I hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas!! xx

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the scenes from the Mission Inn, Rommel. I took dozens of photos of those lights, and most ended up being very blurred. The funny thing is that my iPhone was better prepared for the shots than my better camera. That’s because the photographer didn’t really know how to adjust the settings for that much light! πŸ™‚ It was quite a place to see. I’m glad at least a few of the shots came out, so thank you for commenting so generously. Happy New Year to you, my friend. I hope it really will be a good one for you in all the ways that add up to peace and good health!

  2. I remember one of these shots from a different post. I wondered what it was. I’m so glad you shared this. Definitely my kind of place. With all that history, I’d hear the walls talk!!

    I am nervous and yet ready for 2014. My appointment book is going to be full, and I am ready.

    • I am certain this is going to be an extraordinary year for you, Andra. I’m excited with you! Let’s think of the nervousness as high anticipation. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’re ready for a very full appointment schedule. ox

    • A blogging conference! Wouldn’t that be great? I think you know how to make things happen. LOL! You’ll find a way! I hope that 2014 opens up all sorts of new and exciting possibilities, Aussa. I can see you finding many adventures in your life that haven’t yet even been considered. I’ll be watching for them. πŸ™‚ A very happy and healthy new year, my friend. ox

  3. Time is slippery all right. I don’t know how to fit everything in. πŸ™‚
    I loved your Festival of Lights pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a great New Year! Aunty Uta πŸ™‚

    • New Year’s Blessings to you and your wonderful family, Uta. It’s a wonderful thing to be so busy we can’t keep our calendars straight. I think of friends who because of illness haven’t the energy to keep that schedule going, and I’m sure you do, too. It makes me appreciative! Be well! ox

  4. how amazing Debra, stunning lights, no wonder it is so popular … thanks for sharing … it is a crazy time of year … our town is all clagged up with highway traffic … holiday makers! Happy New Year to you … 2014 holds a whole swathe of new adventures πŸ˜€

    • I always enjoy your enthusiasm, Christine. I do feel hopeful as the old year passes and a new one opens up. There are so many potentialities to think about. Thank you for your well-wishes, and I certainly return them to you. ox

  5. Wow these lights must just be something extraordinary to see… I have only one thing penned in my diary for this following year and that is my son and I are going to the Etosha Game reserve in Namibia, a life long wish of mine… it is the Game parks of game parks in Africa, with herds of elephant number up to 300 … this will be the highlight of my life… and to do it just him and me is going to be something very special…

    • Wow, Rob! Your trip with your son sounds utterly amazing. I can only imagine what a thrill it will be for the two of you and the memories you make, especially for him to be with his father in such a setting, are priceless! I am going to be eager to hear more about that as it arises. And in the meantime, my wish for you is renewed health and strength following a tough go at this year’s end. You will want to be all patched up before you embark on the grand adventure. May it be so!! Happy New Year to Linda, too. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Cathy. I am really, really, really enjoying time off from work. hahaha! I am up late tonight and it just now turned to New Year’s Eve…I always enjoy the hopefulness of moving from one calendar year to the next. I hope you have a very happy and healthy 2014, my friend. I look forward to seeing what the year will bring. ox

    • I think just contemplating future involvements is a good start to the new year, Fiona. I think it probably is good to look ahead just enough to feel hopeful and not so far ahead that we either borrow worries or get ourselves disappointed! I do like to have a few things on my calendar to look forward to, but to be honest, with as much as I was able to enjoy this past year, a few times I was definitely overextended and had to cross some things off. In a few cases that involved losing out on tickets that had come at a cost. So I need to be more realistic sometimes myself. But I can still wish you peace and an abundance of renewed health in the new year. I really do hope that for you and your dear family, my friend. ox

  6. I like your calendar events! I have nothing yet planned or noted on my calendar. I am still in discussion with my partner in travel (and life). He being of the teaching variety has much more time off than I do. But I am looking forward to where ever we can get away to and back from. πŸ™‚

    • Our travels don’t involve any significant distance Colleen. We aren’t in a position to go very far! But I can get just as excited with a trip to an interesting museum or exhibit, I think, as something more grand. My husband likes to refer to me as his “cheap date.” I am enthusiastic about rather simple things. But I do find if I don’t plan ahead, time gets away from us and we don’t do even the simple things. I hope the new year brings you much peace and an abundance of health, my friend. Those two things are top of my list!

      • πŸ™‚ I like your wishes! And return them to you with speed and light.

        I love the idea of “interesting” more than distance. Though I know my husband and I both look forward to getting in a car and driving great distances. We love stopping to see things just because we see it and are curious about it. Stopped at a road marker the other day on our Christmas travels to see what it was! πŸ™‚

    • You and me both, Marie! The falls! I’d like to blame it all on shoes or eyeglasses, but I’m afraid it’s just me! LOL! Let’s be careful! And I do wish you a very peaceful and healthy new year, my friend.

        • No. No beta blockers or other health concerns. Thank you. I do dash around too often and since slowing down and paying attention I have been better. Oddly, I have always tripped and fallen over my own two feet, even as a child. I think part of my issue is visual. I have a serious depth perception issue. I do appreciate your concern and warnings.

  7. The inn certainly does go all out in their decorations…thank you for sharing such lovely photos. Time certainly does fly by so I’ll take a moment to say Happy New Year to you now. I’m looking forward to where you will be taking us in the New Year.

    • Happy New Year to you, too Karen. I am sure you must have some lovely plans already cooking for the new year. πŸ™‚ It would be nice, I think, if 2014 moved through the months just a bit slower than 2013, though, so we can savor it just a bit! I’ll be sharing a bit more from the Mission Inn soon. There are some wonderful stories attached to it’s illustrious beginnings. πŸ™‚

  8. Time travelers it seems is what we are, Debra. Indeed, we should enjoy it even though, as you state, we cannot harness it.
    I’m now anxious to hear more about the Mission, it’s list of celebrated, and those bells. Your glistening photos are a pleasure to view.

    My 2014 calendar/datebook is already filling up. January hosts meetings and doctor visits, which I hope will start to abate come February. when lunch dates and museums and trips can fill in. Yes! Looking forward to 2014.

    It has warmed up to 3Β° here on the Cutoff. Just now, a squirrel was on the screen of a kitchen window. We couldn’t tell if it was playing with a partner, or trying to get in where it is warm (and two nuts live, tee hee).

    By-the-way, I am sitting here, green with envy. A good friend managed an “in” and is heading to Pasadena to work on a float.

    • Much of my calendar is filled with quite the ordinary list of appointments and obligations, Penny. Working at least half-time included! But I do try to put a few outings and mini-adventures wherever I can just because I think looking forward to them is a good part of the overall enjoyment. I can enjoy anticipating almost as much as the final “doing.” πŸ™‚ How fun that your friends is coming into town to work on a float! I wish she could have tucked you into her luggage. πŸ™‚ I truly hope that you and Tom experience a very abundant 2014, my friend. I know that for now all focus is on Tom’s healing, and that’s paramount. I know, too, that your girls and the little ones have their eyes on you, too, with love and care. I am hopeful that this will be such a good year. Sending you a very WARM hug. 3 Degrees just doesn’t even compute in my experience. LOL!

    • For each of us, Kate, I’m sure there will be many things that could weigh us down a bit in the new year–time alone does that–but I do think it’s very important to look ahead to occasions or pleasures that lighten the load. I hope that you, too, find many moments in the new year that are purely enjoyable. We all need breathing lighter moments! ox

    • I miss you, too, Deb! I’ll bet you get a little “home sick” when you watch the parade, don’t you? I think of you every time I drive up Altadena Drive! Well, I think of you more often than that. πŸ™‚ ox

    • I live within walking distance of the parade route, Nancy. We are really seeing the crowds collecting now, and by tomorrow, thousands of people will be setting up camp right on the streets. I really enjoy the energy that comes into town as it always feels very carefree, at least for a time, and hopeful as everyone is celebratory right at the beginning of a new year! I wish you and BFF and pleasurable New Year’s Eve and of course, a very peaceful and happy new year. ox

  9. Kurt and I did the buffet brunch at the Mission Inn many times during the years we lived in Riverside and then Crestline. It was expensive but always worth it. They had some of the best vegetarian brunch options I have ever experienced!

    As for my calendar — ha! CFL and I are already struggling to coordinate the dates of our planned running and cycling events so there is enough time to train for each one. 2014 is going to be a busy year.

    • How nice to have a recommendation at the Mission Inn, Lori! We hosted a small family group at the Mexican Restaurant on the premises to celebrate our daughter’s 40th birthday last week, but now I’d like to try some of the other offerings. What I’d really like to do is stay there for a night or two! Maybe at some point. And it’s really nice to hear that you and CFL have such an abundant schedule of running and cycling events. I really admire that! I’m putting a little more walking into my calendar for the new year. Maybe even a little hiking. Ah! Baby steps. πŸ™‚ Happy New Year, Lori. I feel that this year I can offer that blessing and know it will be true. ox

  10. That is one heck of a local light show. WOW! … so thanks for sharing.

    Now about the new calendar of yours. You realize that I am the person who will FILL your calendar with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly observances … and it just so happens that you are in luck because my New Years Eve post will include celebrations through next Sunday!

    • Oh you’re so right, Frank! You’ll keep me busy following all those special observances. Each very important and noteworthy! I truly wish you and your dear family a new year with good health and peace, my friend.

    • The Rose Parade brings a lot of additional life to the area at such a key time–just as one year closes and another opens. It’s quite nice to be here with all that happy energy. And yes indeed! I’m sure you already have some wonderful travel occasions written on your 2014 calendar. Isn’t that exciting. Happy New Year, Meg. ox

  11. I spent three hours cleaning out around the cars this morning. Imagine, seeing all those beautiful Christmas lights without raising a shovel even once! Thanks for sharing those great photos.
    Plans for 2014? Well, we’re hosting a “hen party” this Friday evening. And we’re considering signing up for the “Texas Toot” in June. Or climbing a short mountain that month. Or both. We’ll see!

    • I hope you’ll share more about the Texas Toot if you sign up and participate. That certainly sounds interesting. πŸ™‚ You have a lot of very interesting things on your calendar, in particular, climbing a short mountain? I am quite impressed. Here’s to a wonderful new year, my friend. I always feel very hopeful as one year ends and another opens up in front of us.:-)

    • I would be quite the hypocrite to give any advice on losing weight, Carl. I haven’t met a calorie I didn’t like this past month. πŸ™‚ I enjoy your blog very much, Carl. You are tremendously clever and talented. Here’s to more of all good things in the coming year!

    • Aren’t those lights something else? I wasn’t just impressed with the lights themselves, but shocked to see how many people had arrived to see them just as we did! It was great fun. The giant nutcrackers were very impressive. And I certainly hope you will enjoy a very peaceful and healthy new year, Terri. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  12. That is some light show, Debra. It must be something to see in person. When seen through the eyes of a child, it can only add to the wonderment of the season. It doesn’t do bad for us adults, either. Thanks for taking us along.This was one heckuva ride! πŸ™‚ Wishing you and yours all things wonderful in the New Year!

  13. That is spectacular Christmas lights, and you capture it so beautifully! I’m taking a short winter break and will be back to blog very soon πŸ™‚ Happy 2014 to you and your, Debra!

  14. While I’ve stayed at the Mission Inn, your photos of the lights was a pleasant surprise. And you couldn’t get your heavy artillery (your fancy-schmancy camera) to work, eh? πŸ™‚

  15. I’m glad you had a lovely Christmas but like you, I found it all went by so very quickly. All that preparing of setting up the home and untangling lights and locating all the decorations and shopping and cooking and partying and then suddenly it’s all over. I love those gorgeous lights and that certainly is a building full of history xx

  16. Pingback: John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller…Miss Piggy? | breathelighter

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