Church

Cross Community Church

Cross Community Church

We’ve been a part of a few different churches over the years, from Fourth Presbyterian Church, where we met, to Calvary Fellowship in Juneau, Alaska. We’ve gone to a couple Evangelical Free Churches and a non-denominational church for a little while. We’re currently involved in our second church plant, both of which have been Presbyterian (first EPC and now PCA). There’s something special about a church plant, although to be honest, the facilities aren’t always as comfortable as many would prefer. Today was our fourth and final meeting at this county school facility over the last four months. Generally we meet at the Rockville Senior Center, which is a much nicer facility (although not necessarily the easiest to find without GPS). The first time we met here, in October, it was swelteringly hot and humid. The next two times it was chilly. Today, the heat was on so most people were comfortable (and I was only a little warm). Next week, back to our regularly scheduled location.

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Kai

Kai

Kai

We haven’t had regularly schedule family dinner nights for a while, although we’ve seen each over over the holidays. Because Dorothy is about to go back to school for the spring semester, mom asked if we could get together before she was gone. She fixed both a pot roast and a vegetarian stew, both of which were terrific over mashed potatoes. Of course, the highlight of the evening was seeing each other and, as usual, this little fellow was often the center of attention.

He’s been quite expressive for a while now but it getting more and more so every time we see him. I won’t claim that he’s the cutest kid that’s ever lived, as that’s a pretty high bar but he certainly is cute. He’s a happy kid, as well, and getting this smile from him is fairly easy (although catching it on camera is a little harder). I also got some pictures of him with his dad, who was wearing a matching shirt, albeit without the tiger on it.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

We had a pretty spectacular sunset this evening and I enjoyed watching the bands of clouds turn a beautiful orange, against the darkening blue of the southwestern sky. It had been a pretty busy day, with folks moving into Cathy’s mom’s house and doing a very small bit more towards getting her things out of it. There is a lot more to do, of course. Nevertheless, a sunset like this helps me unwind and slow down. I stand on the back steps and just watch, occasionally lifting my camera to take yet another picture, as the colors grow more intense. Is a very healing activity and I’m thankful for beautiful sunsets (and sunrises) and the opportunities they provide.

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Walnut in Asphalt

Walnut in Asphalt

Walnut in Asphalt

I went across campus for a meeting today and on the way back, I walked around the building once to take a few pictures. I came across this black walnut that has been pushed down into a crack in the pavement. I think it’s really kind of pretty. In case you aren’t sure, the pavement is wet. Our weather has definitely warmed up (it was over 60°F today) but it’s very wet out. Tomorrow the rain is supposed to be gone but the temperatures are supposed to drop back to freezing and then colder into next week.

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Cathy

Cathy

Cathy

Cathy was nice enough to let me take a few pictures of her this evening. They were not anything special but it was nearly 10:30 and I hadn’t taken any pictures today. I asked Dorothy if I could take her picture but she’s not really all that fond of having her picture taken. I certainly understand that, feeling pretty much the same way myself, but of course, as the one taking the pictures, I’d prefer she be more agreeable. Nevertheless, I really do understand and sympathize. But Cathy was fine with it.

Between when this picture was taken and now, when I’m writing this four days later, Cathy’s had a hair cut. If you saw her without seeing this picture or without having seen her for a while, you might not notice. Her hair isn’t short at this point, but before the haircut it was, as you can see, pretty long.

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Old Glory

Old Glory

Old Glory

It was a mostly grey day today. It’s still cool but it’s supposed to warm up for a few days. It’s also supposed to rain, so we’ll finally have temperatures above 60°F but wet. On the way home, I was sitting at the light and the large American flag at the Ourisman Rockmont Chevrolet car lot was blowing in the wind. The wind was coming out of the southeast, which is a little unusual so it was blowing farther behind the trees. Usually it’s blowing to the right, out from the trees.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

As I was leaving work today, there was another nice sunset going on through the trees along the back edge of the parking lot. I took a few pictures, knowing these events are fleeting and if you don’t act quickly, you can easily miss them. Then I drove around to Cathy’s building to pick her up and as I turned into her parking lot, this is what I saw. I parked at the top of the lot, up the hill so as to get as much sky over the trees and the building on the left as possible. This one turned out pretty well, I think. These are not the colors I generally associate with sunset but they are what they are. Within about five minutes, all the color was gone except some deep blues as the sky faded to black.

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Computer Room

Margaret and Cathy In The Computer Room

Margaret and Cathy In The Computer Room

Now that Cathy’s mom has moved in with us, we needed to integrate her computer into our home network. The small office just inside our front door (and now just outside her bedroom) is where my computer has been for over a year and where Cathy’s has been since the construction started towards the end of October. Now Margaret’s computer is here, as well. By the time I’m writing this, on January 14), the table is gone from the middle of the room and it’s much easier to walk around. My computer and the printer is to my right, along with a tall bookcase. We need to put a few pictures up on the walls, but it’s coming together.

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Normal

As Far As Anyone Knows, We're a Nice, Normal Family

As Far As Anyone Knows, We’re a Nice, Normal Family

Note the juxtaposition of this pack of tissues with the humorous message and the somewhat creepy heart with a little doll’s head on it. This was intentional, of course. Cathy came across these two things at her mom’s house recently and decided they needed to go together. So, they are in our powder room. I don’t know that it’s true, of course. I think the number of people who both know us and think we’re a nice, normal family is vanishingly small. But who wants to be normal, anyway?

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Move, Part 1

Move, Part 1

Move, Part 1

Today was phase one of “The Move”. We’ve been so long getting to this point that it was a little anticlimactic. Well, maybe. It was still a big day. It went very smoothly, though, largely due to the overwhelming support of those who came and carried and organized and directed. I really didn’t do a lot other than drive the truck, which is about at my pay grade. This was only part one of the actual moving process and really only one phase of many. Nevertheless, thank you to everyone who came out to help on this cool January day.

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Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

It was mostly clear today and fairly cool. As I was leaving work there was this one cloud to the east. As I stopped at a light, I grabbed my camera and got too pictures of it before the light changes and I had to watch where I was going. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve had a hard time getting pictures every day. I’ve managed but some days is a chore. I really appreciate sunsets because I generally don’t have to go far for the picture, especially when I’m in my car (and when I have traffic lights to stop me). This image is a little soft because it was taken through the windscreen, but it’s really more about the colors than anything else.

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Eagle Lectern

Eagle Lectern

Eagle Lectern

Back on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 I posted a photo titled “Lectern Eagle‚Äôs Talons” which was a portion of a wooden lectern carved in the shape of an eagle. This is the head of the eagle, which unfortunately has a chipped beak. There is also a large crack across the breast of the bird, but that adds character more than anything. Otherwise, it’s in pretty good shape. There was, at one time, a brass plaque (I’m assuming brass) which probably said who paid for the lectern or something of that sort. There really needs to be a small set of steps behind this, so you can get up high enough to read from it, as the whole things is well over six feel tall.

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Frost

Frost

Frost

It’s finally become what I would call cold. When it gets down into the single digits (Fahrenheit) I’m liable to wear a sweater. So, I wore a light one for my commute. I left it on for the walk across campus to a meeting. A lot of folks are complaining about the temperature in my office building but for me, it was too warm to leave my sweater on. The car windows were all frosted this morning and a few times while stopped at traffic lights, I took pictures of the frost on the passenger side window.

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Miscellaneous Foreign Coins

Miscellaneous Foreign Coins

Miscellaneous Foreign Coins

We’ve been going through boxes recently, throwing away old papers, etc. and Cathy came across a small box full of random, foreign coins. We started sorting them and by the time we were done, we had envelopes marked with more than 40 country names from Afghanistan to Venezuela. Most of the coins are from the 1960s but there were a few older coins, like the one with George the Sixth. The coin on the left with an eagle under a sunrise is a 2 Afghani coin from 1961 (۱۳٤۰, 1340 in the Solar Hejira calendar). I see Pakistan, France, Brazil, Vietnam, Peru, West Germany and Great Britain, as well as a 2 Euro coin at the top edge of the photo (the bi-colored coin).

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New Year’s Day

Rob, Diane, Cathy, Dorothy, Karen, John, Kyle, and Amy

Rob, Diane, Cathy, Dorothy, Karen, John, Kyle, and Amy

On January first, 2004, Amy and Kevin had us over for what she described in the invitation as a low-key, relaxed, New Year’s day party. It lived up to its billing and with the exception of two rough years early this decade, we have had a suitably low-key repeat. Fondue is the traditional fare, with both beef and cheese pots going. This is the crew, except James, who hadn’t made it to the table yet. There was laughter as well as mourning, as we looked back on a year that called for both. We don’t kno, of course, what the year ahead holds, but with friends like these, who needs enemas.

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New Year’s Eve Party

Dorothy, Kendra, and Cathy

Dorothy, Kendra, and Cathy

I don’t really know how long she’s been doing it but my mom has had a New Year’s Eve party most years since I was in high school, at the very latest. That’s more than 40 years. A few years ago we moved midnight forward to 11:00 PM so that people could drive home before the really crazy, drunk folk were on the road. We had a nice time visiting with people we often see only once a year. This is Dorothy, Kendra, and Cathy, sitting in front of one of mom’s recent quilt creations. As for the fingers they are holding up, that’s for my benefit. Seven fingers for seven years of taking at least one picture a day. I’ve taken just over 149,000 photos over the course of 2,557 days, an average of a little over 58 per day.

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Bird Footprints

Bird Footprints

Bird Footprints

We had a light snowfall overnight. The forecast is for clear or mostly clear skies for a while so we aren’t likely to get more but the forecast is also for relatively cool temperatures for the next week or so, probably below 20°F for the duration and getting well down into the single digits. I’ll probably need to wear a sweater one or two days this week. These footprints are on the back step, just outside our kitchen door. We have a birdbath with a heater in it that keeps the water from freezing, so birds are never in short supply this time of year, particularly when it gets to cold.

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Super Balls

Super Balls

Super Balls

Cathy was going through some boxes of small objects this evening and among other things, she found a bunch of super balls. I’ve always loved super balls and they are a real fixture of my childhood. What I didn’t know is that I was among the first generation to enjoy these highly bouncy balls. On August 25, 1965, Norman Stingley filed a patent for what he called a “Highly Resilient Polybutadiene Ball” (patent number 3,241,834, issued March 22, 1966). The Super Ball® was sold by Wham-O® and was an instant success. I know my brothers and I got many hours of enjoyment from them. They are made of a synthetic rubber called Zectron® that is primarily polybutadiene molded under high pressure and heat. All I knew as a kid was they really could bounce.

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Julia

Julia

Julia

Cathy and I took the day off today to do a bunch of work around the house. We did that last week and Jean came to help. We got a lot done then and today we followed up with more work along the same lines. Julia came and was a real boost. We were glad just to see her, of course, but the fact that she helped us get things done was a bonus. She’s also now a college graduate, which is pretty exciting. We made a run to the recycle center and trash transfer station and when we got back, I took a handful of pictures of her before she left.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I stopped at the ICC commuter parking lot on the way home this evening. The sunset wasn’t particularly spectacular today but it’s the picture I got. To slightly alter a photographic adage, the best sunset is the one you have with you. To the south and northwest there were a few small clouds and a little subtle color but I wasn’t able to capture it well enough to be worth posting. To the west, looking towards the setting sun, there was a pretty orange color in the sky. Not overwhelming, but pretty.

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