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The Valley Line: A holiday dinner and a musical extravaganza

December 22, 2010|By Jane Napier Neely

I've so enjoyed the rainy, gray days of the past week because it has been a perfect time to enjoy my Christmas tree, a cozy fire in the fireplace, the soft glow of candles and remembering Christmas celebrations of long ago.

This time of year will always be full of wonderment for me. The baby doll that was given to me as a child has secured her diva-like position under the tree. I know it sounds strange, but she has never had a name — she is just "Baby." Over the many years that she has been mine, she has made several trips to the doll hospital. During her last visit, which was about two years ago, she had a little beautifying work done. Hmm, I could use some of that. Anyway, she is as good as new. Her beautiful blue eyes open and close, and when I tip her forward, she still cries "ma-ma." She is a sweet baby girl and it just wouldn't be Christmas without her.

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I hope that your Christmas celebrations will also be full of wonder and joy.

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It was a joyful holiday party and fund-raiser recently for Hillsides, a Pasadena-based foster-care charity. The party, sponsored by Hillsides Guild, was held at the Parkway Grill Restaurant, which is owned by former La Cañadan Gregg Smith. Smith was there to greet the more than 120 guests, along with Maureen Staley, president of the Guild.

Co-chairing the event was Beth Yale, Aline Kuhnle, Nancy Snyder and Barbara Robison. Nearly $4,000 was raised to enable the Guild to support the foster-care children's charity through its various enriching activities. Some of the guests also brought toys for the charity, while other children's gift wishes were granted by guests wanting to be Santa's helpers.

The restaurant was beautifully decorated with pine garlands and glittering Christmas ornaments. Everything was so festive.

Guests first gathered in the bar area of the restaurant to sip wine and taste a wide assortment of the Grill's famous wood-fire gourmet pizza slices.

Later on, dinner was served and included the Grill's signature bread basket, Cabrales bleu cheese organic field-greens salad with red-wine-poached pears and candied pecans. A mesquite-grilled filet mignon was the entrée. Cooked-to-perfection meat was accompanied by mashed potatoes, baby carrots and port cherry vinaigrette. The dessert was a hazelnut chocolate-mousse pie.

After dining, guests were entertained by the renowned Citrus Singers choral group singing Christmas carols. An added musical treat were two songs that were performed by the bell chorus.

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