Category Archives: #stimplexc

Candlelight Christmas

chorus4We attended the Washington Chorus’s presentation of their A Candlelight Christmas¬†last evening. It was very special, again, and was, as always, enjoyable, comfortable, and inspiring. The choruses (there is always an exceptional local high school chorus who joins the main chorus) do such an amazing job. The performance, location, lighting, and atmosphere all contributes to the beauty and amazement of this annual event.

Here was the playlist:

1. Once in Royal David’s City
2. O Come, All Ye Faithful
3. Choral Fanfare: Gloria
4. Sing We To This Merry Company
5. Hodie Christus Natus Est
6. Nino Lindo
7. Un Flambeau
8. Carol of the Bells
9. Good King Wenceslas
10. Here We Come A-Caroling
11. Deck the Halls
12. This Christmastide
13. Out of the Orient Crystal Skies
14. Hymn to the Virgin
15. A New Year Carol
16. This Little Babe
17. Angels We Have Heard on High
18. Joy to the World
19. In the Bleak Midwinter
20. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
21. Still, Still, Still
22. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
23. Silent Night
24. The Dream Isaiah Saw
25. Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah

Our favorite of the evening was The Dream Isaiah Saw. (Follow the link and read about the song’s connection to 9/11.)¬†Powerful words, sounds, composition, and meaning. Really, really an excellent song and presentation.

We are blessed to live in a place where we can enjoy the arts like what we saw last evening. Along with the culture, presence, and astounding professionalism of the artists, we had fun, too. The fun part was that the audience was included in some of the singing – we were asked to stand and sing out loud on four or five songs! Singing with a conductor, two choruses, a brass and percussion section, and 2,400 people is pretty awesome – the goose bumps kind of awesome.

A special shout-out to Price, my friend. Best wishes and godspeed to you and your wife and family in your new endeavors. I can’t believe it! I have never heard of such an outrageous thing so it must be a god-thing and I am sure it will be quite the adventure. I hope to still see you now and then but that is huge, Price! Amazing.

Thanks to Niki for the pano at the bottom. Click on it for a bit bigger rendition.




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I turned right side up three of the videos that were posted upside-down during my trip. Sorry about that. Technical problems. Anyway, they are now posted correctly at Juneau, Kalaloch, and Hood River. They are posted below, too. Hit PLAY and they should be just fine. Also, you can expand them to full-screen. The videos were taken at a high resolution. They look pretty good, actually. It’s amazing what an iPhone 5 camera can do.

Good memories. And doesn’t a sunny day make a huge difference in picture taking?

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Miles (VA)

I’m home.

Stafford VA Apr 30
Vancouver BC May 27
Stafford VA Jun 24


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34 Years (MD)

Cumberland downtown mall tonight. Pretty old looking. Pretty empty looking, too. People and storefronts.

We strolled it in Dec 1979. It was lightly snowing. We’d been married several days and were on our honeymoon. We stayed here – at the Holiday Inn where I’ve been this weekend – for one evening. Old downtown is about two blocks away.

I specifically remember taking some pictures of the snow falling around the street lamps. Regina was standing in the lamp light. The trees were very small trees at the time. It was dreamy and surreal.

We were on our way to Wash DC for our honeymoon destination. Who ever knew at the time that we’d end up living near and working near Wash DC our whole careers? We grew close to friends, raised a family, and called it home.

We were innocent. We were happy. We were naive.

Downtown looks 34 years older than that special night. I’m 34 years older, too. It’s all been pretty good, actually. No regrets.





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Last Night (MD)

Cumberland, MD.

Last night. So many places, experiences, people, sights, sounds, tastes, feels. And memories.

Time to go home.


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93 (PA)

Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA











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Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming (OH)

Campus of Kent State University. Numerous memorials, a small museum, and a walking tour that follows the timeline of events.

May 4, 1970. Nixon had announced the invasion of Cambodia. Much social unrest in many places across the U.S. including Kent, OH. There had already been one anti-war protest on campus days before. Another was scheduled for May 4 but authorities attempted to cancel it. Students and people showed up anyway. So did the Ohio National Guard.

Shortly after noon on May 4 from the strategically high ‘pagoda’ hill (see below) near Taylor Hall, the National Guard seems to have arbitrarily opened fire on demonstrators. It lasted 13 seconds.

Four students were killed by gunfire in a nearby parking lot (see below) below the ‘pagoda’ hill. Nine more were injured.

The soul of America was slashed with a sharp knife and she bled profusely.

My only thoughts are these.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said – “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”

Jesus said – “Put your sword back in its place for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”









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New Car (MI)

This man is 80 years old. He’s from Baltimore. His daughter – who lives in Detroit – had brought him to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. I noticed that he was looking and looking at the ’49 Ford Coupe for many minutes. He even sat down on a bench and kept looking at it.

I asked what he knew about the coupe. My question was the spark that started the conversation, as I knew it would. I was glad to listen. He was alone – with his daughter – and I could tell he was reminiscing and processing in his mind.

It had been green. It was a 1952 four door model. His dad had bought it brand new for him. His father had explained that he would need something to drive to work every day.

He later met his future wife and had “courted” her in it. It was fast, he said, and very comfortable.

His daughter relaxed, sat down by us, and listened.

He said it took a little bit of maintenance but certainly not as much as the earlier old cars. He liked to keep it clean and polished.

He would speak then stop and think and look around.

He said it was popular to have “headlight skirts” on headlights. Basically, the skirts were installed over the headlights such that instead of seeing a round looking headlight from a distance, the headlight would look half-moon shaped.

He put some headlight skirts on his car except that he installed them slightly sideways. He said it made his car look “Chinese”.

They looked good but the problem was that the local policemen knew it was his car at night because of the headlights.

He chuckled.

One night a policeman pulled the car over for one reason or another. The cop approached the car in the dark and addressed the driver as Mr. _____. Problem was, it was Mr. _____’s mother driving his car. She had needed to go to the store for something and the car was the one farthest out on the driveway.

He chuckled again as he looked around.

I asked if it would be ok to take his photo in front of the car. He was glad to oblige but he said that he needed to put on his Australian cowboy hat. His daughter fished the hat out of the bag she was carrying and gave it to him. He put it on and graciously posed.

His daughter quickly took some photos of him, too. I hope they turned out ok.

I thanked him for his time and his photo and our brief conversation. He went back to the bench to sit down.

I turned to move on. His daughter said to me, “He never let’s anyone take his picture.”



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Trucks (MI)

Toured the Ford Rouge (Rouge River) truck factory in Dearborn, MI. The tours are part of The Henry Ford, a huge museum complex in Dearborn used to tout Ford products and remember the Henry Ford legacy. Highly worth the visit but to cover the whole complex could easily take one very full day or several shorter days of visits. I had six hours so I’m not an authority at all.

Anyway, the Rouge plant is about building Ford F-150 trucks literally from raw materials, being extremely environmentally conscious, building a strong partnership between management and labor, and converting 20th century manufacturing methods into 21st century processes.

The self-guided factory tour is really interesting and enjoyable. The entire F-150 assembly building has a roof of plants – sedum, to be specific.

No pictures in the assembly facility, however. UAW union rules. Bummer. Very, very cool to see an F-150 start as pieces and parts and at the end workers are parking them in a parking lot for shipment to Ford dealers. Sixty trucks an hour for you and me to go out and purchase!

The photo of the open chassis, drive-train, and engine is that of an F-150.

Click on the photo of the employee parking lot and notice the blue line down the center. Ford owners park to the right (from the angle of the photo) of the line and non-Ford owners to the left. The Ford owners have a shorter walk to the entrance doors.









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Courier (MI)

I was in a park yesterday near Grand Banc, MI meditating and thinking about things and the day. This gull sat with me the whole time. Literally. I had situated myself at a table under a tree for maybe an hour. And the gull waited with me. We were both thinking, I guess.

As I was leaving, a lady had noticed me sitting and had seen the gull. She, too, had been sitting. She at a spot a bit further down from me.

She said, “I noticed your gull. You know that in Celtic tradition a gull is who brings messages from heaven. Did you get anything?”

I smiled and said I wasn’t sure.

And yet, her words rocked my day. When I was back in the car, I couldn’t believe what had just happened. The gull had possibly been a messenger from heaven for me and my protector for an hour in the park? I had been praying and meditating and talking with Regina. The gull stood by the whole time.

Ok. I’ll take it. I received a message and I acknowledge it. I found comfort in the park and I’m glad – and honored – that the gull had brought me some peace and had stood watch during a kind of hard time.

Thanks, God. Again. You never let me down.



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