Sunday, November 29, 2009

Atlantic City

Earlier this month, we took a very short overnight trip to Atlantic City, NJ. Now, before you jump to conclusions, we did NOT go there to gamble! Dan actually had a business meeting to attend at the Trump Taj Mahal. Yes, a legitimate business meeting. The FAA Technical Center, which is a major R&D and testing facility located in Atlantic City, held a meeting there for industry members. It was a two-day event which required an overnight stay, so Barb went along for a mid-week getaway. Only 200 miles from our house, we drove up on a Tuesday morning and returned Wednesday evening.

Only knowing of Trump properties what we have seen on TV, we expected the Taj Mahal to be a grand and opulent place, and it was.





The Taj Mahal rises up at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, right along the boardwalk.






The chandeliers were a sight to behold, specially made in Germany. The marble required all the output of one quarry in Italy for a year.




There are over 3,100 slots which created a visual cornucopia of lights. But we don't gamble and the sight of people sitting, mesmerized and robotically pushing the buttons, was really rather discomforting.





Atlantic City was founded in 1854 as a place to escape the heat and soot of nearby major industrial cities. It was later revitalized as a casino town. The Hotel Dennis, built in 1892, stands in stark contrast to the modern Bally's just beyond.




Atlantic City has its own version of the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" where celebrities have left hand and foot impressions. Most of them, though, were from the 1980's and 90's, none more recent than 1995. I wondered why they stopped.





The first boardwalk was built in 1870 to help keep the sand out of the hotel lobbies. It now stretches over 4 miles.



Caesars has built a three-story mall on one of the piers.




After the conference ended, Dan and Barb had a chance to walk the boardwalk together before leaving for home.



In the final analysis, we didn't like Atlantic City very much. Aside from the opulence and decadence of the casinos, and kitsch of the boardwalk, the city itself was rather run down and unattractive. It was interesting to see once, but we wouldn't go there on our own time or money, and don't recommend it for you, either.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fun With Cindy

As reported in blog post #99, Dan's sister Cindy arrived for a one week visit just before Veterans Day. After such a noteworthy and moving Veterans Day at Arlington Cemetery, the pressure was on to "top that" .... i.e. once we got Cindy an "audience" with the President, how could we prevent the rest of the week from being a let down?

Actually, we had a great time the rest of her week here. Indeed, we took her to many places we have been before, all the "standards" that everyone needs to see at least once in their lives. The White House, the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian, the National Cathedral, and much more. True, the awe we felt the first time we saw each of those sites has lessened, we still enjoying seeing them. More than that, we draw great joy by showing people around town and helping them see our capitol city for the first time. Thus, it was with Cindy.



Cindy and Barb have coffee in the Georgetown Mall after a visit to the National Cathedral.



Viewing our founding documents at the National Archives (l) and at the Berlin Wall exhibit in the Smithsonian American History Museum (r).



Touring the Capitol Bldg inside (l) and out (r).





Photos at the Lincoln Memorial (l) and the White House (r) are Standard Operating Procedure in the Zuspan "Capitol City Guided Tour"....




...as is a picnic lunch on a clear day at the Washington Monument.




However, there were some very enjoyable "firsts" for us on this trip, as well, such as our first time actually entering the House and Senate Galleries, ....


Seeing the President, any President, in person.





Getting a look inside Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was shot.


Touring the inside of the Supreme Court (l) as well as outside. (r).




Enjoying the view from atop the Washington Monument.






Visiting the Air Force Memorial.



All in all, we had a wonderful time while Cindy was here. Come again soon, Cindy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

100

Hello, faithful readers. Do you know why this post is titled "100"? It is because this is our 100th blog post! That includes, of course, blog #1 entitled "A new life chapter ... a new blog page",which was really written by our kids to kick off our blogging adventure. It is hard to believe that we have been here in Virginia for over fourteen months. And to think of all the adventures we have had, enough to fill 98 more blogs, is almost mind-blowing! And now, this, our 100th.

God set us off on this adventure, for reasons that we may never fully understand. We have been blessed many times over already, by sharing adventures together, by sharing our adventure with others who have come to visit, and by finding some of the most encouraging and inspiring fellow Christians at Clear River Church. We look forward to all He has to offer us while we are still here, all the while eagerly anticipating our someday return to the Northwest.

Of the 98 blogs, it would be hard to pick the "top ten" list, but we each picked a few to share:

"Back to the beginning of the story" tells the story of how we were led to be here.

"Autumn in Arlington" expresses the beauty of the fall here cast against the solemn setting of Arlington Cemetery. "Autumn in DC" shows the beauty of fall here cast against the regal monuments in DC.

"Honor Flight" tells of our emotional encounter with WWII veterans.
"Cherry Blossoms" show the beauty of DC in the spring.

"When the kids came" was a celebration of our time with our kids here in DC.

"Our 30th Anniversary - Prologue", and all the subsequent chapters, tells of how we celebrated our 30th anniversary in New York City.

"Graves Mountain Lodge" introduces you to our new found brothers and sisters in Christ here in Centreville.

What are your favorites? Please leave a comment and let us know.

We know not what the next days, weeks, months, and maybe years will bring to us, but we have chosen to live this time as a wonderful adventure. And you know what we have learned from this? That we should ALWAYS live life as a wonderful adventure, an adventure that God in His Wisdom lays out before us for the taking.

And now, faithful followers, we come to the exciting announcement that was promised in our last blog post. Here it is - in celebration of our century blog, and your faithful "followship", we want to thank you by awarding a commemorative gift. Be one of the first five people to leave a comment and we will ship this commemorative gift to you. One per household and other fine print restrictions apply.


{Revision 1 - due to the overwhelming response (5 comments on the first day) we will extend a "second place" prize to anyone else who leaves a comments. DZ 11/20/09}



Love from our house to yours,



Dan and Barb

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Veterans Day

Dan's sister Cindy arrived for a visit Tuesday, the evening before Veterans Day. We promised that she would enjoy more meaning in Veterans Day in DC than in anywhere else she has been. We certainly have more reason to thank our veterans now than at any other time.

On Wednesday we headed out for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery, where a special ceremony would take place at 11 AM. We knew that this usually included some high-level dignitary for Wa DC, but hadn't given much more thought to it than that. However, on the way there we heard on the radio that the president would be doing the honors of placing the wreath.

The weather was wet and cold but we didn't let that dampen our spirits, and the ceremony was very moving.


Cindy and Barb waiting for the ceremony to begin. You can see we are right up front!





Dress units from all five services align the steps behind the tomb (l). The Army band was there, as well (r).


The color guard lines the approach to the tomb.





The Vice President and his wife arrive (l), followed by the First Lady (r).


The President arrives and takes his place.






video

The President placed the wreath, the military was at full attention, and "Taps" was played.



The President moves toward the amphitheater where he later gave a short speech honoring veterans and active military.


The color guard and Sgt of the guard.


The sentry resumes his watch. The guard unit from nearby Fort Myer stand watch 24-7-365.





Dan and Cindy keeping dry until the Secret Service allows the crowd to disperse.




Thank you, veterans, one in all for your sacrifice of service to allow the rest of us to live in freedom and liberty.







Hello, faithful readers. Our next post will have an exciting announcement. Please be sure to check in and find out what it is!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

World Vision / Casting Crowns

Last night we volunteered at a Casting Crowns Concert near Woodbridge, Virgina. For those of you who are not familiar with them, Casting Crowns is a Christian musical group that has been making beautiful songs of worship and encouragement for about six years. (To learn more, click HERE.) On tour, Casting Crowns partners with World Vision, a Christian ministry that support children in many poor regions of the world. (To learn more, click HERE.) We have sponsored children through World Vision for many years.

We received an email from World Vision looking for volunteers to help out at the concert last night, and quickly agreed. Just prior to intermission , the lead singer for Casting Crowns gave a testimony to the importance of World Vision sponsorship and invited all the audience to consider doing so. Our job was to be available in the auditorium with sponsorship packages and information for people who wanted to sign up. We looked pretty cool in our orange World Vision aprons:


After intermission we were allowed to watch the second half of the concert. Callie told us we would be surprised how many songs we would recognize, and she was right. One after another, they sang great songs from their repertoire.



We had a wonderful evening, counted it a blessing to help World Vision, and were completely blessed by the music of Casting Crowns.