The Medl in News
There’s just something about the adventure of finding the perfect tree and the smell of fresh pine that made those holidays so special. Now, my daughter’s at an age where she can learn to ski, and these old trips may be able to resume again! Running a law firm is a busy job, so our plans this year are still up in the air. But I’m hoping we might be able to make it up to those mountains I remember from my youth. I guess that’s what I’m wishing for this Christmas!
TRADITIONS NEWAND OLD
The Medlin Family Christmas
My daughter’s one lucky girl: She gets two Christmases every year. In our family, we honor the holiday you are most likely familiar with on Dec. 25, but since my wife is from Ukraine, we also celebrate the Orthodox version of this tradition. Orthodox Christmas lands on Jan. 7 on Western calendars, meaning our Nadia enjoys an extra 13 days of holiday magic. Of course, some of that may be beginning to fade. Nadia’s at that age where she’s definitely suspicious of Santa Claus. How does he manage to take pictures at all those different malls at once? In fact, if she’s anything like I was as a kid, my daughter’s probably already figured out the truth and just doesn’t want to rock the boat. Why mess with a good thing, right? Regardless, we’ll probably end up getting our annual picture with Santa this year. It’s been a fun tradition, and I’ll miss it when it’s gone. There’s something about sneaking around with her presents that helps the season feel that much more magical. It’s like I get to be a kid again vicariously through her experience. But while old St. Nick may soon be hanging up his big red jacket, I’m hoping to revive another tradition from my own childhood. As I wrote last year, my family used to go to a ski lodge every Christmas. We can’t really rely on the snow coming to us here in Texas, so we went to it. Every year, my mom, dad, sisters, and I would pack up and head to Red River, New Mexico, for a truly magical trip. Not only did we get to spend plenty of time on the slopes, but we’d also venture out into the wilderness and cut down our own Christmas tree — with all the right permits, of course.
But no matter where we end up bringing in the New Year, I know I’ll be grateful for 2019. Our firm has seen a lot of success this year, and we’re growing. In fact, at the time of writing, we’ve even brought on another associate attorney to the team! On the homefront, we’ve gotten to go on some great family trips this year and watch our daughter grow into a well-rounded student of the world.
I hope your year has had its bright moments of joy, as well. From all of us here at the firm, happy holidays, and may you have a great start to 2020!
– Gary L. Medlin, Esq.
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LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
Why Do We Hang Christmas Lights?
fire hazard, Edward Hibberd Johnson, a close friend of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, vowed to find a better way to decorate Christmas trees with light. In December 1882, three years after Edison’s invention of the lightbulb in November 1879, Johnson hand- wired 80 red, white, and blue lightbulbs together and wound them around a Christmas tree in his parlor window. A passing reporter saw the spectacle and declared in the Detroit Post and Tribune, “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.” Johnson continued this tradition, increasing the number of lights each year and eventually putting them up outside. But because electricity was still a new concept, many years passed before the fad took off for regular Americans. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, which spurred the idea of selling stringed lights commercially. By the 1930s, families everywhere were buying boxes of bulbs by the dozen. Today, an estimated 150 million Christmas lights are sold in America each year, decorating 80 million homes and consuming 6% of the nation’s electricity every December. Whether you’ll be putting up your own lights or appreciating the most impressive light displays in your neighborhood or town, let the glow fill you with joy this season. Just don’t leave them up until February!
The first string of twinkling lights illuminating your neighbor’s house is always a telltale sign of the upcoming seasonal festivities. Christmas lights are a holiday staple, but have you ever wondered where this beloved tradition started?
The tradition of hanging lights on the tree originally started with candles. Because this posed an immense
DON’T SPEND THE HOLIDAYS IN HANDCUFFS
The Dangers of Holiday Shoplifting
While holiday shopping is stress-inducing enough, facing a shoplifting charge is even worse. It happens to more people than you think, especially impressionable teens. And while many believe this crime to be “petty” or “no big deal,” it’s consequences can last for years to come. Why During the Holidays? Shoplifting is a year-round issue, but it spikes during the season of giving. This is sad but understandable —many retailers put their most valuable merchandise on display this time of year, making it that much more tempting to take something. Furthermore, the pressure to get yourself or someone else something nice but out of your price range is heightened this time of year. The stress of the holidays can lead good people to do bad things from time to time. However, the law doesn’t care what time of year it is. A crime is a crime. More Than Just Taking Something According to Texas law, shoplifting is a theft crime. It can be characterized by physically taking an item from a place of business, but it can also include acts
like switching the price tag on a product in hopes of paying less. As a theft crime, the severity of shoplifting charges can vary based on the value of the item(s) that was stolen. Penalties can range from those of a Class C misdemeanor all the way up to third-degree felonies. Additional Consequences On top of facing criminal charges, the Texas Theft Liability Act allows retailers to sue convicted shoplifters for the value of the item(s) they stole, as well as up to $1000 in additional fines. If the shoplifter is under 18, their parents may be sued instead. Beyond this monetary cost, a conviction would mean having the theft on your criminal record. It will appear on background checks, which may affect your ability to find employment, qualify for student aid, or even be accepted into college. If you or a loved one has been accused of shoplifting, an expert Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can help. Even if you were convicted for a mistake in your youth, we may be able to expunge the incident from your record and get your life back on track.
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BRACE FOR ICE STORMS
What Drivers Need to Know
flashlights with backup batteries, a first-aid kit, blankets, water bottles, and nonperishable food. This way, even if you get stranded, you have options. Be Extra Cautious Slick roads are the cause of many serious car accidents every year. It’s not enough to have the right tires. You need to adjust your driving to the conditions. Brake sooner and maintain a longer stopping distance with vehicles in front of you than you would otherwise. Keep in mind that fast reactions and hard braking only make things worse on the ice. It is better to take things slower in icy conditions. Of course, you can only do so much. The best defensive drivers can still be hit by other vehicles, especially when ice storms are involved. If you are caught in a wreck this winter, seek medical attention immediately and contact an experienced personal injury law firm. These legal professionals, like our team here at The Medlin Law Firm, will help you understand your options for filing a claim and, if need be, will defend your right to compensation in court.
We may not exactly get a “white Christmas” here in the Fort Worth area, but winter ice storms certainly aren’t unheard of. These extreme weather events can make getting to work or school difficult and even dangerous. It’s important to be prepared for the next time you might have to drive in the aftermath of one of these freezing storms. Stay Ready The difficult part about ice storms is that they can change driving conditions in an instant. A few minutes of freezing rain can turn your daily commute into a nerve-wracking experience. Thus, you and your car need to be ready for these conditions ahead of time. Always pay close attention to the weather forecast before getting behind the wheel, and make sure your vehicle’s battery, fluid levels, and tire pressure are all in good condition. Just in Case Sometimes, you may get caught in rough winter conditions, so it’s important to have the right equipment and emergency supplies stored in your car. These include an ice scraper,
2 tsp kosher salt
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tsp baking powder
1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 large eggs
Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1. Using either a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, wrap mixture in clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible. 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned. 4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.
Inspired by The New York Times
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Two Christmases for One Family?
2. The History Behind Christmas Lights
‘Tis The Season of Shoplifting Charges
3. Are You Prepared for Ice Storms?
4. Building Your Own Gingerbread House
THE JOY OF A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
Everything You Didn’t Know About This Holiday Tradition
Of the many seasonal traditions that sweep our nation, few are as creative, delicious, and satisfying as building your very own gingerbread house. Whether you’re looking to create a simple table decoration or bake a tasty treat to nibble on, everyone can enjoy this holiday activity!
The Largest Gingerbread House In 2013, the world record for the largest gingerbread house in the world was broken. The house, topping out at 21 feet and covering 2,520 square feet, was built by Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, to raise money for a local Level II trauma center. To construct the house, builders created a recipe that required 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, 1,080 ounces of ground ginger, and a few additional ingredients. Build Your Own! While you don’t have to challenge yourself to beat the Guinness World Record, you can still have fun creating your very own gingerbread village. Starting your gingerbread house from scratch can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Give the kids a chance to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, and set out plenty of candies and frostings to use, and remember to have fun! If you’re looking for unique gingerbread house ideas, take a look at 20 gingerbread house ideas at TasteofHome. com/collection/gingerbread-houses.
The Origins of Gingerbread Ginger was first cultivated in ancient China, then traded into medieval Europe. There, Europeans incorporated it into culinary traditions and used it to bake cookies into elaborate shapes and works of art, including figures of animals and people. The gingerbread house first appeared in the early 19th century in Germany. Although historians don’t know an exact date, it’s speculated that it gained popularity around the same time that “Hansel and Gretel,” the popular fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm, was published.
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