Christmas in Bakersfield


Finally, I’m posting about my trip to Calfornia.  While Mister Man and I spent most of our time in the OC/LA area, we did venture northward to the mecca of Country Western music in California — Bakersfield.  My sis and her family reside in this now sprawling city.  What had been mostly an agricultural/oil field backwater is now a growing, growing community (lots of LA refugees priced out of the housing market).    For a couple of Nebraskans, Bakersfield feels much like home (only it is A LOT greener in Nebraska).  My dad quips that there are only two types of radio stations, but in two languages — Country Western/Norteño and Evangelical.

But, if Bakersfield was good enough for Buck, Merle, and Dwight (ok, he’s not from there, but is part of the “sound”) it’s good enough for Mister Man and me.  We had a great time spending Christmas with my sister’s family.  Everyone was there including the “West-Carranzas” . . .  not to be confused with the East-Carranzas (sounds like an Island chain, no?).

Christmas is about two things — presents and food.  Onion Tears and I took over cooking duties Christmas Eve while the pious were at mass.  It was great to cook with her and we easily coordinated the production of four pizzas to please the various dietary and taste requirements of the whole family (cheese, pepperoni/mushroom, veggie, vegan).  I did get assistance from Matt, age 8, who aspires to be a chef.  Here’s a photo:

cooking(you can just see Matt behind Larisa)

Once the devout and nominal Catholics returned home, we settled into comfortable conversations in and around the kitchen while the pizzas cooked.

the-menThe guys engaged in Man talk . . . at one point I yelled out “I need a Man” (to take out the trash) .  . . the only one to come to my rescue was 8 year old Matt!

Shelly and Larisa caught up on what’s been happening:

shelly-larisaOMG! Is Shelly wearing a Christmas themed sweater?  They say that eventually we all turn into our mothers . . . but really, there are better ways !  (LOL).

kitchenControlled Chaos in the Kitchen!

After we were all sated on pizza and beer (except for the boys, of course) we sat around a bit.  Ross and Matt couldn’t wait to open presents (neither could I!!)

rossHere’s Ross trying to pick out what he’ll open first.

mattGreat shirt, Matt!!

Opening presents with the Sanchez family is a highly ritualistic event (Mister Man couldn’t believe how long it took).   We all take turns, the present is opened with high expectations, and then everyone ooohs and aaaahs over the item.  Fortunately there was plenty of beer and wine to keep the evening going.

Some highlights:

nathanWhat every goth guy needs — a nutcracker.  My mom has made it a custom now to get a nutcracker for Nathan.

granma-and-granpaGrandma and Grandpa strike a pose.

no-more-tearsNo more tears!  Mister Man found onion cutting goggles for Larisa — I wonder if she’s used them yet.

dadBuckwheat Pancake mix for my dad all the way from War Eagle Mill in Arkansas – it was the only thing he specifically requested for Christmas.  [check out their website at  Mister Man and I stop at War Eagle Mill every time we are in Rogers, Arkansas — great gifts, grains, and stuff!

shelly-gets-a-new-xmas-sweaterShelly gets a new Christmas Sweater (hey, it goes perfect with her Micky Mouse Crocs!)

larisaClearly, Nathan spoils Larisa rotten!

too-cuteThese two are too cute!

Just a few photos from Christmas — there are a lot more.  This was a very special time for me since I hadn’t seen all my family in one place for a couple of years.  It was wonderful to be “home”  — not so much in the locational sense, but that warm comfort zone of being together and appreciating each other as family and individuals.

Well, that’s all for today’s blogging.  Maybe more tomorrow.

One Response to “Christmas in Bakersfield”

  1. Imagine my amazement at pictures of two women I hadn’t seen in at least 25 years! I think the last time was in a hot tub. Carlene, if you’re reading this, your high school classmate Ace says hi from Denver.

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