Thursday, January 3, 2013

December Holiday fun... and not so fun... in DC

I can't believe 2012 has come to an end, and more importantly that the holidays have come to an end! I LOVE, Love, love the holiday season. And, I felt like this year was extra special because Thanksgiving was a little earlier than usual so we had some extra time to enjoy it! 

Thanksgiving weekend I continued my tradition of putting up my tree. It's very modest, but it makes me very happy! I love lighting it up when I get home from work and sometimes just sit there and look at it sparkle before turning the other lights on. I like to let my mind wander for just a few moments about what the Savior meant when he said he is the "Light of the world" and how there was a new star in the sky the night the Savior was born. Light.... in many secular ways I take it for granted. I realize how much I depend on it when the lights go out, or when I am trying to find something in my car at night and there's not enough light! I also love to think of knowledge as "light" in a way. Knowledge opens my eyes. Makes me see things in a new way. Helps me understand others better. And overall, helps me in my relationships. 

This is how I see the Savior. In one way he is the LIGHT because he has shown us how we are to treat others, go about living our lives and has taught us many things about Heavenly Father and life beyond mortality. The holiday season gives us reason to stop, ponder, and wonder. 

To wonder: -->
Edward Rothstein of the New York Times offers the following thoughts on it: “Wonder, he explains, is not puzzlement, bewilderment or confusion. But it is also not satisfaction, completion or understanding. It is more open-ended, even a little unsettling. There is an element of calm, poised detachment in wonder but also a restless amazement. In the wake of wonder, we are literally moved. We cannot remain still. We are spurred to explore.”

I love that definition!! I want to wonder about the Savior... the gospel... and many things about life in general all year long! But, for December it was a focus on the Savior... and that made ALL the difference in my holiday season. I had been a bit worried it would be a tough time because it was the first one without my mom... and I have been missing her a lot recently. But, though a series of blessings from Heavenly Father, and a focus on the "wonder" of the season, my holiday was wonderful!! ... more to come...

Back to the tree...
 It has many ornaments that have special meaning to me on it...
 This was an ornament given to my mom the year I was born :)
 My tree would not be complete without something from BYU
BYU had a HUGE impact on my life!! HUGE!!
 And my Macy's "Believe Meter" ornament from my mom. 
I don't care how old I am... I'm always a believer!!

I also have an ornament from Ireland that my mom bought me and White House Christmas Ornaments for each year I have lived in DC... amongst others!

My tree, however, could never compare with the Gregory's! It's 14 feet tall and who knows how wide but I've been told that this picture doesn't quite do it justice... it's even bigger than this picture makes it seem! It took two people standing on top of ladders (me being one of them) to light it. Then, everyone decorated it. And, it will take me probably a whole day to take it all down. Fun, fun times, eh?! It's pretty while it's up. But, man, it's a lot of work!
 The winter temps also inspired me to cook more. I try and stay away from treats... or should I say making treats... but people gave me tons so I had more than I needed! But, I got this recipe from the lady I work with (and she's an amazing cook!!) It turned out so yummy! Butternut Squash Soup. Mmm...mmm.mmmm
 I had a few people over for dinner and one guy made this bread - Black Pepper Parmesan Bread - and it was SOOOO yummy! So yummy. I asked him so many questions about it and the thing I loved most is that you didn't need to let it rise before baking! That never works for me. So, I asked him for the recipe! He emailed it to me with a little disclosure... he had left out one word in the title. It's really Black Pepper Parmesan BEER Bread! Ha ha ha. And, he wanted to know if I was OK cooking with alcohol. I know that burns off... and so I said if it takes beer to make bread taste that good... I'm all for it! So I asked a few people on good beer recommendations and got one to make the bread... 



I had the chance to attend a number of holiday performances. One highlight was going to a concert at the DC Temple Visitor Center with these awesome ladies! The lights at the VC are amazing and the concert did not disappoint either!
 Mer also had the great idea to invite us to get tickets to Handel's Messiah at the National Cathedral. It was amazing. Hmmm... wish I knew how to rotate the picture!
 It was my first time in the Cathedral and it was amazing! The stone glass windows, the architecture, the massiveness of it!! Amazing!

I also had the chance to go to my tradition of the Living Christmas Tree Performance at the local Baptist Church. My 3rd or 4th year doing it and I love it! A bit cheesy with the lights and "skit" they do, but well worth going!

Now on to the NOT SO FUN... 

In Oct 2012 I switched my car's plates from PA to VA. The DMV told me I just needed to take it to get emissions and then I was all set. So, I did. Easily passed since it's a 2012 car! Long story short... there was a glitch in their system and they never updated my registration when I thought they had. So one snotty police officer pulled me over as he was driving behind me because his computer said my car wasn't registered. He was SO rude and such a dud. I was his golden ticket that day and there was no stopping him giving me tickets. He wouldn't look at any of the documents I had in the car to prove I had registered it. 

THEN - my fault. I had forgotten to print out my new insurance cards. So even though I could have showed them to him on my smart phone he gave me a $500 ticket for driving an uninsured car, $130 for failure to show insurance and $100 for not registering a car - total $730. YEP! Merry Christmas to me!

Well, not totally. I just have to take all documents to the DC Courts and show proof of it all and hope that the judge is nicer than the officer. We'll see how lucky I am. But, I after I let the anger settle, I took it as an accomplishment that I was able to accumulate so much in just one shot! Ha ha...

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