The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. -Proverbs 1:7

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding.-Proverbs 4:7

Monday, December 30, 2013

Things I Learned in 2013

A composition of sorts.  One, quite possibly, too much for the internet and while I might think, somewhere in the back of my mind, I should maybe consider that possibility, I don't really care in the rest of my mind.  No pictures.  Perhaps not even any depth of thought that makes sense to anyone else (I'm accustomed to this reality).  In the event any of you start wondering "Is she certifiably crazy?", I gave that idea some thought.  The outcome of which was the other thought: Crazy people don't actually realize crazy is a possibility and therefore I must be just fine.  Soo...on with it.


Things I Learned in 2013
The abbreviated version:  Sometimes, the right thing to do by any conceivable rationalization or stretch of the imagination or even blunt and basic common sense isn't the right thing to do at all.

The longer version (in convoluted sequence, because sometimes that's as clear as it gets):
1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. -Psalm 133
Awhile (a long while) ago, someone I love very much told me to memorize this.  For a purpose and not just me (Facts which are beside the point, totally unrelated to this story and really didn't have a whole lot to do with me anyway.  I was just there.).  I don't fight such orders.  I like memorizing things.  The payoff being I frequently find memorized words indispensable sometime down the road and am grateful for that great reserve of them I have floating around waiting to be vital to whichever step is next I take.
Sometimes, I grasp things quickly.  Sometimes, it takes me a long time to work something out.
Occasionally, I get to walk through a figurative desert.  It's worth inserting here that someone else I love very much once told me "Enjoy the ride." in terms of getting through the desert.  Honestly?  I found that advice extremely annoying.  Sleep does not exist for me in the desert.  I like sleep.  Again, this insertion is really not related to whatever I'm trying to say other than I realized she knew what she was talking about .  The rain on the other side tends to be far more valued after such a long absence.
Sometimes, I don't even know I'm in the desert until I'm so far in I've forgotten what rain even looks like. 
2013 was a trip across the Sahara.  Unplanned.  Uncharted.  An illusory walk. 
On some journeys, I take company.  Not this one.  It was just me and the desert.  I've reached the edge of it.  Where rain will surely fall.
What I learned:
1.  It is possible to be angry with someone and not even know it.  Perhaps, anger is too strong of a word for this particular desert, but still...I've learned it is possible.  More importantly, one tiny stone of anger removed from an otherwise stable foundation has the potential to cause the whole thing to collapse.  I suppose one could argue that aforementioned stability.  In truth, there were other tiny stones.  I just didn't realize anger was one of them.
2.  Resentment has nothing to do with the one resented and everything to do with the one resenting.
3.  Something I previously viewed as unnecessary is now a nonnegotiable requirement for me. Vague, I realize.  Just know that something I once had to be talked into needing became something I cannot live without.
4.  Some metaphorical stuff about family.  I realize I come from people who are fairly unconditional in terms of family.  Being crazy, irresponsible, irrational, annoying or (insert any undesirable trait here) whatever doesn't preclude anything.  Family requires compromise.  Just because I don't agree with you (or necessarily even like you) doesn't mean I don't hope to see you at the reunion.  Transfer that broad spectrum.
5.  Just because I don't understand something in the moment (or ever) doesn't automatically connote there is no meaning. I already knew that, but I needed a reminder.
6.  GRACE...the most complicated five letter word in the dictionary.  Except it isn't supposed to be complicated.  I don't think.  I'm one of those people who thinks in pictures.  Extending grace upwards was not in my picture.  The omission was not intentional or even realized.  It just wasn't there. ends up being one of those primary themes of every desert walk.  The ones I take, anyway.
7.  I'm not the rainmaker.  I don't get to determine what it looks like or where it falls.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Most Random Roadtrip Ever

Yesterday, actually.
We were supposed to be going to look at a cave.  We did go look at a cave.  It turned out to be the most commercialized cave I've ever been to.  Now, I suppose you might be thinking "Exactly how many caves does she expect us to believe she has been to?".  The answer would be "many".  This is the second or third just this year.  I really don't know what that's all about.  I just keep seeming to find myself looking at caves.
What I can say for this place is it is the most random tourist attraction I've probably ever been to.  I suppose it's supposed to be all about the cave, but said cave takes second stage to a couple of unrelated museums.  The first, a collection of old, mechanical storefront displays (which are actually really cool and are within grasp of vague memory for me-but not my kids) and the second is an assortment of old floats from various parades. 
Who cares?  It was a good day out?

Who would smoke in a cave?  Why would anyone even think that could possibly be a good idea?

Obligatory posed picture.  Not the greatest in the world, but we were in a cave.  I realized on this tour there were so many people taking so many pictures, it is possible half of them didn't actually see any of the cave unless it was through a screen.  So bizarre.  Well, maybe not.  It's kind of the way technology has led us.

There was (maybe still is) this store "O'Hara Hardware" in the town near where I grew up.  Every year, they used to set up a mechanical display.  I had sort of forgotten about it.  Well, I didn't forget, I just couldn't exactly remember it other than I knew there were figures that moved.  These elves jogged my memory.  They are close.

I don't know.  An Inaugural Parade flag and a rare moment my kids were within near vicinity of each other and neither were annoyed?

Rose Bowl Swan.  I have to say the Rose Bowl floats have always interested me. 


Just a random statue.  No sign or anything to describe any reason for its placement.

Jac's idea of a good souvenir.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Day After

I had planned to say in bed all day.  That lasted until about 9:15 this morning.  Still, just a quiet day  making scrapbooks, drinking tea and playing games.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

1 a.m...

Santa just did stockings this year.  Granted, the kids got multiple stockings, but it was just stockings.  Everyone got stockings.  I honestly assumed mine would just be empty (and didn't really care about that), but Ryan went to Lush.  Who knew that he knew about Lush?  He bought all the girls bath bombs.

Breakfast: pineapple/pomegranate, quiche and black walnut, sticky rolls.

 And then his parents left and mine came over.  And it got weird?  I wasn't expecting a doll this Christmas.  They were commemorating my deep longing for one 30 years ago.  That one is in the attic somewhere.  I think she's the only toy I have from my childhood.

This made me laugh.  Honey Badger, that's me.  :-)

Dinner.  Yes, you've seen 3 table linen changes/meals in roughly a 20 hour period.

I'm very proud of this prime rib.  We don't eat a lot of meat and consequently I don't know how to cook it all that well.  It couldn't have turned out any better.

Tomorrow will be a day of rest. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cookie Day

I think we made up for not making a single cookie this whole season.  There were more planned, but these are more than enough.

I love cute table settings.  My grandma made these napkins for me a very long time ago.  My grandpa bought the china when he was in Viet Nam (The first time, I think.).  It was my great-grandma's, but became mine when she died.  It's one of my favorite things.

Alicia made the centerpiece.


Pippi opening her Christmas presents.  She really does open them.  Is it weird the dog gets as many presents as the kids?  Her feelings would be hurt otherwise.

As you can see, Pippi is happy with her new jammies and bed.


Jac was amused Ryan's parents gave me two vegan cookbooks and then tucked in case of slim jims with his gifts.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Almost Here

When I was a kid, it seemed like Christmas would never come.  I can literally remember sitting around and thinking about the characteristics of time during December.

Maybe, that's what kids did in my generation.  At least one of them.

Now, Christmas just rolls up smoothly.  Like an incoming train.  For a long time, I can see its light in the distance.  There's no stopping it as it gets closer.

Today is "preparation day".

In many regards.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Festival of Lights

 Instead of our normal Solstice routine, we decided to look at lights.  These are at the DC LDS Temple.

The fountain from opposite angles.

I was trying to get a good shot of the reflecting pool.  I don't have anything special for a camera and what I have doesn't do well at night.  I guess you will have to go there to see how beautiful this really is.

Obligatory (and not very cooperative) picture of the kids.  If you are wondering why Jac looks bigger than Alicia, it's because he is.  If you are wondering why he's wearing shorts a few days before Christmas, it's because it was 70 degrees today (and because he always wears shorts regardless of temperature).
There was also a "Creches of the World" display. 


Our local light show in Damascus.  This is the last year for it.  The people who live here are moving away and are taking their lights.  It's kind of sad, actually.  This final year includes a light show synced to a radio station.  Really cool.


Where have I been?

Metaphorically speaking...

I have this terry cloth robe Ryan bought me for Christmas a long time ago.  That thing is heavy.  Sometimes, when I wash it, all is well.  Other times, its weight makes the whole machine go off balance and, no matter how many times I try to redistribute the weight, it's a no-go.  The reality is you just can't run a washing machine that's off balance.  Unless you are cool with the loud, going to bring the whole house down racket that has the potential to cause significant damage.  Sometimes, I just have to take the robe out, let the remainder of the load finish and restart the robe again.

Life, for me, is sometimes like that.  I tend to ride the line of precarious balance.  It's who I am.  Sometimes, that balance gets off.  Sometimes a minor adjustment will fix it and other times its a domino effect until all balance is off.  In a big way.

Imbalance happened. 

The only weapon against it was to remove the robe until the rest finished.

School is out until January.  My classes just finished.  Pause is happening.

Balance will restore.