Sunday, December 30, 2007


Tonight I watched Shenandoah with Jimmy Stewart. I do not mean that he was sitting here with me - though that would have been interesting - no he played Charlie Anderson. I was expecting the musical (which I know all the words to) but instead got a dramatic interpretation. It was fun to hear a few of the key lyrics thrown in there and I do love the song "Shenandoah", which is lucky really, since it was basically the only background music to the whole movie.

I would definitely recommend it, since it is an interesting representation of the Civil War. The Anderson family tries to avoid getting involved in the war and without ever choosing a side they still wind up loosing family members. Definitely check it out.

I got a bunch of other movies at the library tonight, expecting that my planned New Years Extravaganza wasn't going to actually happen. I picked up Damn Yankees, since I'll be stage managing that show in February and have never seen it. I also got An American in Paris, because it is odd that I've never seen it, and the classic Breakfast at Tiffany's because I should know about Holly Golightly from more than hearsay.

However, when I got home tonight, I checked online in a last ditch hope and discovered that HOORAH! I have three potential attendees. I'm glad I actually bought snack food making supplies and food for dinner. Hopefulness has its upsides!

Tomorrow I need to clean up around here. I am pumped to have my first New Year's Eve party, and want to make everything fabulous (even if it is only four of us). Note to self: try to find a few other - preferably male - guests, so poor Yuriy doesn't feel awkward.

Okay, bed time. I need plenty of rest before tomorrow so I can really have a Rockin' New Year's Eve here and then in Old Town. I'll be taping Dick Clark since it never really feels like New Year's Eve without him, but this year I'll be watching fireworks over the masonic temple. Hope the rest of 2007 shapes up fabulously for all of you.

See you again in 2008 - unless I magically find a few minutes tomorrow! Happy New Year!

Love always,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas in America ...

...and four sleeps until I'm home (to the tune of a holiday song!).

Yesterday I went for the second time this season to see the National Christmas Tree. This time I went with Katie and Patrick starting in the afternoon. We walked from the White House down to the Mall.

We stopped to check out the Smithsonian outdoor skating rink (cannot WAIT to do that later this winter). We walked into the National Gallery to see the Christmas decorations (really beautiful), then quickly strolled through the Turner and Hopper exhibits.

Back out in the cold, we went to see the Botanical Gardens "Mall" exhibit with mostly natural constructed models of important buildings in DC. They also have this amazing model train set-up outside. If you're local, definitely put the Gardens on your to-do list of things to see.

Then we wandered down to the Capitol Christmas tree - which was about 900 times better than the one pictured above (but Katie has the picture of that one). From there we strolled to Chinatown, had fabulous, fast dinner and then walked over to the White House gift shop in the National Press Building. Unfortunately it closes early on weekends, so we went back over to the National tree so Katie and Patrick could see the wimpy bows all lit up.

A long metro ride later, just avoiding the freezing rain, we hung out for a couple hours swapping old stories and eating Christmas cookies. Definitely a perfect way to spend a Saturday.

This morning I went to church early to practice for the Christmas Eve mass, even though I won't be able to sing here because I'll be HOME! Anyway, for the first time since high school I sang through the alto part to the Hallelujah Chorus without messing up (hooray!). I am pretty disappointed I won't be able to sing with the group, but I'm glad I get to practice the music for fun. I also got to play the bells at mass today, which I love and don't get to do much anymore since the little girl who joined the choir pretty much takes care of that now.

This afternoon I cooked and watched/listened to movies. A couple of nights ago I finally cut into my Halloween pumpkin (no worries, pumpkins stay good for a long time). My pumpkin was about the size of a basketball and, like most pumpkins, basically hollow. Yet somehow all the "meat" of the pumpkin filled a GIANT baking bowl I have. So today I made a giant stew pot of pumpkin soup (half for now, the other half in the freezer), a pumpkin pie, and three loaves of pumpkin bread. I still have between three and four cups of pumpkin "mush" left (mush because I pureed it with a hand-mixer - which I must say was ridiculous as I should have fixed up my blender and used that).

So my kitchen has orange drips everywhere which I need to clean up before bed and I have enough cooked gourd to last me until I go home, even if I eat nothing else between now and then (which would be rather bad for me I imagine). So now I am going to sit down with a small slice of pumpkin loaf and finish the Christmas present I'm working on.

This week I'll be working to holiday tunes in the office, baking cookies at night, caroling, and packing up for home. Really, life couldn't be better. Thank God for a glorious week.

Love always, ~Heather

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Week as Jimmy Stewart

So this week my life has reflected at least three Jimmy Stewart movies.

First, I got to go to a meeting in the Capitol Building. Somehow, I had never even been inside for a tour, so I was thrilled about the clicking of my heels down those hallowed, marble halls. The briefing I attended (on the HIV/AIDS epidemic) was in a room directly below the House chamber.

I don't care how geeky it is, I love that Capra-esque feeling I get when I pass any of the major monuments in DC. My stomach flips and I get all jumpy and hyper ... I've lived in this city for more than a year and I still break out in a huge smile when the tip of the Washington Monument appears around a bend in the road. So, as you can now imagine, I was feeling pretty good after the briefing! And for those who aren't sure, this is reminiscent of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Next movie experience: feeling a bit out of myself. Not really alot of explanation for this except to say that it wasn't quite Harvey, but it was just as disturbing. And looking back, not quite as funny but equally laughable.

And the last bit is the seasonal classic It's a Wonderful Life. I started decorating my apartment for Christmas ... still a bit to go because I have been debating about putting out all the decorations, knowing that I am not going to want to clean them all up in a month! But, I built my own Christmas tree, which is cute and collapsible, lit my advent wreath tonight, and have holiday classic films lined up next to the television.

Part of the Harvey experience this week was me getting down on myself about things I don't have much control over. But I got to help my brother (which luckily did not involve diving into a frozen pond), go to a big party with friends, enjoy my family (if only by phone), and come up with a solution to paying my bills. Capped with the beginning of extended choir rehearsals for Christmas music and getting to use the bells (wings for angels!) in church again.

So, in summary, being in Washington, DC is really an amazing part of my life, and though it (and I) are sometimes a bit crazy, it is a wonderful life with much to be thankful for.

(Like finally being finished with the Thanksgiving leftovers!)

Wishing you and yours a prayerful and glorious advent season.

Love always, ~Heather