MERRY CHRISTMAS! From me...
And my honey...
Every good Christmas party starts out with a tree...
Some glass baubles....
Here's how it ends up:
Then you have to light the fireplace...
No shortage of chow.
Food kept coming out of the oven, nice and hot..
Plenty of champagne punch and wine...
Lots of sustenance within easy reach of the couch.
Mitch inspects the dining room buffet.
The party started out with a relaxed ambience. Here's AJ and Jason enjoying some cocktails.
Big hugs are mandatory. Here's Bill arriving with Sara, a really cool chick.
Carla, Nicole from Houston, and Amanda...
Carla has such a pretty smile.
Fabian, Austin's best salsa DJ, enjoys a good laugh.
Daisy and Fabian's wife Sonia.
My bud Fred. Doesn't he look scholarly?
Ali came in from Houston; Gretchen from work brought her handsome husband Peter, and you can also see Frank and Fred in this shot.
Anita gets into the eggnog.
Her husband Curtis just got a big promotion, so they were celebrating.
Fabian, me, Nicole, Amanda and Carla's boy Scott, hanging out in the kitchen.
Anne has a pretty smile.
Gretchen and Peter are obviously besotted :)
I love getting to see friends all dressed up. Rrachelle looks good no matter what she wears though! And I'm not just saying it (she's not even my boss any more.)
The Cueros clean up nicely.
Lisa and Rob Elzner.
Bill and Sara.
Before the gift exchange gets going, everyone gets a seat with a good view.
Here's Rrachelle and AJ, ready to go.
Jason and Anne took their assigned seats, and Lisa and Rob got cozy too. Both couples are expecting this spring.
Sara, Bill and Traci... and Ana, my coworker, and her husband Sean.
The thrill of adrenaline, as people wonder who has what...
I had to lay down the rules for the gift exchange. (They don't change every year, no matter what Jason says.)
The best part of the gift exchange is the strategy involved-- should I veto? Should I steal? Here's Nicole investigating her options and Amanda cracking up.
Halfway through, and if you like what you have, you pray no one steals it!
Daisy and Alan, my old running buddy, and Anita and Curtis, fellow Bastropians, hoping they don't need to veto.
Curtis had no compunction trying to steal Fred's Crown Royal.
Fabian wants THAT ONE!
But he's willing to wear ribbons-- very attractive.
Patiently waiting their turn.
You don't have to unwrap your gift, but you can (and you're encouraged to!)
Jason and Anne, laughin'.
Lisa steals a beaded handbag.
One of the most popular gifts this year-- a well-stocked picnic basket.
I scored big-time with this hat.
Looks like we all bit the same lemon at the same moment.
Bette, an art teacher in Traci's school, opens her gift.
I think she's so pretty! Very French if you ask me.
This is how you do the veto.
Bill cracks himself up with his witty contribution to the exchange.
A six pack of beer, two having already been consumed. Har har har. (There were some earrings, too, in his defense.)
Rrachelle laughs with Bill.
The hat I won turns out to look good on other people, too! Here's AJ modeling it (with Rrachelle's fingers getting into the action.)
Bill and Sara.
One bird on Amanda's head is better than one in the tree. Yes, it is an ornament.
I think Nicole looks like a madonna in this shot.
We had four little angels with us for the party (but they spent most of the time in the library with the movies.)
Amanda and Rrachelle catching up.
Amanda, Rrachelle, me and Traci (my former neighbor, who now has a home in Leander.)
Then AJ gets into the picture...
Rrachelle, me, Bill, and Maria, a Rumanian physicist (way over my head!)
After the gift exchange, folks wandered back into the kitchen to chill. Here's Anne, Amanda and Ali in one of the most popular perches in the house-- the kitchen window seat.
I ate more than I planned. (Who didn't?)
Jason, AJ, and Dr. K.
Bill, me and Fred.
Me, Ali and AJ.
Dr. K made a lot of effort to be here for the party. Hopefully he didn't regret it :)
Fred demonstrates how the champagne punch makes him feel.
Dr. K and Sara deep in conversation.
Jason reenacts a hanggliding adventure.
Towards the end of the evening there were lots of intimate conversations-- one of my favorite parts. And of course, everyone ends up in the kitchen.
It was a wonderful party, and confirms my belief that I have the best group of friends anyone could hope for. Smart, fun, insightful, laid back, strong people; I'm lucky to call you "friends." Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!!
I'll close the blog for 2006 with a quote from a Christmas card I received at the party, easily the most clever quip I've heard in a while.
"May there be peace on earth, and let it begin in tents."