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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scenes from San Diego

Nope, no surf or palm trees yet -- although tonight I will try to capture the giant palm-tree silhouette of holiday lights that adorns the side of my hotel building. Here at the Town & Country Resort in San Diego, it's all about Christmas, with some of the most elaborate decorations I've ever seen at a hotel.

The lobby feels like someone's home, decorated for the holidays, with nutcrackers everywhere and tasteful lights and decorations adorning the cozy space, which feels for all the world like my mother's comfortable, traditional living room. No sterile, modern hotel environment here; all it needs is the fireplace.

My USDF Historical Recognition Committee meeting this afternoon was in the Tiki Pavilion, a small, round stand-alone building whose name suggests a cheesy South Seas atmosphere but which was loaded floor-to-ceiling with an elaborate, mechanized, lighted holiday display. Apparently it's a favorite site for Christmas parties, and it's easy to see why.
A Disney nod in the Tiki Pavilion's holiday display
Sherry Guess (OK), past USDF Volunteer of the Year, with giant nutcracker

I dragged myself away from the nodding reindeer and the list-making Santa to check out the annual swagfest: the silent-auction items and the GMO baskets. The auction benefits USDF's youth program, and the GMO baskets are a longtime tradition. Donated by the GMOs, often with a regional flair, the baskets are given away as door prizes to lucky delegates during the Board of Governors assembly. I took a photo of one basket whose prominent occupant, an adorable stuffed horse, I sorely want to spirit away. Watch for more GMO basket photos in the yearbook issue (Feb. 2012) of USDF Connection.
GMO basket
In about an hour, we're off to the welcome reception, in part honoring the California Dressage Society's 45th anniversary. Here's a photo of CDS's anniversary display.

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