Day: November 27, 2017

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

“A Quiet Walk in The Snow – Christmas Version”

By Ron Powers “A Quiet Walk in The Snow – Christmas Version” Composed by Pauline Frechette Arranged by David Campbell   Music that has descriptive, naturalistic titles usually makes me uneasy, because that commercial model has bred too many cheesy pieces of music. However, Pauline Frechette’s “A Quiet Walk in the Snow – Christmas Version” is a delightful surprise. Even if you aren’t into classical music, hear me out. This is different. This is beauty personified in a format that is more than just accessible; it’s as if it were always a part of me. I don’t know how else to describe it.   Out of curiosity, I clicked on Pauline’s web site – to listen to the original version of “A Quiet Walk in the Snow”; it became immediately apparent why it has had over 500,000 hits between Soundcloud and Spotify. The original version is beautiful and has received rave reviews. The Christmas version weaves in bell-like elements, to give it a particularly late December flavor.   Listening to Pauline Frechette’s “A Quiet Walk in The Snow ~ Christmas Version” takes one to an idyllic winter scene, a place where the purity of the winter season is brought to life with gentle emotion devoid of commercial frenzy. This is an instrumental piece that I have fallen in love with, perhaps because the music takes me to one of those idealized Christmas nights. Somehow, just immersing myself in Pauline’s music with David Campbell’s gorgeous orchestration, I found myself magically transferred into a world where the perceptions were so real, I could swear I felt the cold wet kiss of snowflakes on my nose while gazing into a starlit night with only the faint glow from a Christmas tree shining through a window as I took a quiet walk in…

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History, History Column

The Content of Character

©2017 Sarah Becker The Content of Character         “It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy,” John McCain wrote with Alexandrian Mark Salter in Character is Destiny. “That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it.” McCain, a former Navy flier and maltreated prisoner of war, spent 5 ½ years in North Vietnamese prison camps including the “Hanoi Hilton.” Romans 5:3-4, NIV Archaeological Study Bible: “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope…” The Oxford dictionary defines character “as the collective qualities or characteristics, especially mental or moral that distinguish a person.” It is a quality associated with leadership. Author Bil Holten, Ph.D., describes character as “accelerated principle, underwritten by superior habits and polished by experience.” Perhaps no one has investigated contemporary character more completely than Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Reviewing success literature published within the last 150 years, Covey found that “almost all the [early] literature focused on the Character Ethic—things like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, courage, justice, patience, industry, simplicity, modesty, and the Golden Rule.” “In contrast,” Covey explained, “the success literature of the past 50 years was filled with social image consciousness, techniques and quick fixes.” “Shortly after World War I the basic view of success shifted from the Character Ethic to the Personality Ethic,” Covey continued. “Success became more a function of personality, of public image, of attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques.” Said Covey: “The Personality Ethic—personality growth, communication skill training, and education in the field of influence strategies and positive thinking—is secondary. Only basic goodness gives life to…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Fitball Knee Tuck

Fitball Knee Tuck By Ryan Unverzagt Welcome to the final edition of From the Trainer for the year 2017! The holiday season can be your worst nightmare concerning fitness. Excuses are easy to find, but the ten pounds you’ve gained over the previous month will be harder to lose. What’s the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There’s definitely something to that idiom. I believe prevention is the best medicine rather than taking medicine for prevention. Catch my drift? Be strong and stay focused on what matters. Next to family and friends, your health should be one of the most important priorities in your life. Unhealthy = Unhappy. I hope this column helps you become or stay healthy. Each exercise provides an opportunity to improve your health. Take advantage of it. I call this month’s exercise the Fit Ball Knee Tuck. It’s designed to strengthen your core, but can offer much more. Stability, flexibility, balance and endurance are all factors that come into play. Grab a medium-sized ball (65cm) and a mat if necessary. The start position is shown in Figure 1. There are several ways to get there, but I suggest you kneel behind the ball and then lay your stomach and hips over top of the ball. Roll yourself forward by walking on the hands until the ball is underneath your shins. If you have a workout partner, have him or her hold the ball still while you put your legs on top. Place your hands about shoulder-width apart for increased stability. Next, roll the Fit Ball forward by tucking your knees toward the chest. Lift your hips to further engage the abdominal muscles. Figure 2 shows the correct position. Notice how high the hips are compared to the start position. At…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Dockside Digs

Dockside Digs by Molly Winans With the Farmers Almanac prediction of a “hard” winter in our area this year, we thought it prudent to relay some tales from the blizzard of 2009. Following are some really good tips to make riding out the storm easier or maybe just a little fun! You wake up snug and warm under a down comforter. The wind is gusting, probably up to 20 knots, you think, based on the whistling sound, the rock of the boat, and the squeak of fenders against the side when you rock. It’s dark in here, darker than usual. You’ve slept in, as you do on Saturdays, and in this warm nest, you have no concept of time. As you awaken, the memory comes back to you—a weather forecast, a storm, a real whopper. The snow-covered port holes and hatches tell the tale. The blizzard had begun. Hundreds of liveaboard sailors in Chesapeake country woke up to this scene on December 19, 2009. By 10 a.m., it had snowed nine inches in Annapolis, and the steady dump of snow would go on all day and deep into the evening accumulating another foot. Freelance writer Cindy Wallach woke up in “what felt like a cave” on her St. Francis 44 catamaran with her husband Doug Vibbert and then five-year-old son Zach. She was thrilled that their makeshift tarp over the cockpit worked well enough that they could open the companionway door. The first step to escaping the cave is to shovel your way out of the cockpit “very carefully,” says Vibbert. “Gingerly,” notes his dockmate. Liveaboards use shovels—preferably plastic so as not to scrape the deck—or dustpans (and we heard one rumor of a “southern-belle-style” shovel act with a pewter serving tray). Some shovel the whole deck; others, such as…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Working Out Thru the Winter

Working Out Thru the Winter by Nicole Flanagan With the cold weather rolling in and the days getting shorter it seems like we all have less time on our hands. With an already jam-packed schedule we tend to skip out on workouts (or stop exercising entirely) and by the time we get to the New Year we all feel compelled to get back to that pre-holiday shape. This year let’s try to do things a little different. Instead of slowing down on the exercise routine and abandoning your diet completely, keep up the good work and by the time the New Year gets here you will be starting off on a positive foot. Pay attention to what you eat at your holiday parties and keep your butt moving through the last leg of the holiday season. Here are just a few tips to keep you looking and feeling your best! • Keep Moving: Without realizing it we sometimes slow down on our exercise routines. This time make a steadfast commitment to workout. Just like you make your work schedule, take time to pencil in a workout. If you end up missing a workout make it up as soon as possible. Remember it is easier to stick to a fitness program than it is to start one after months of inactivity. • Take your workout outdoors: Most people will bring their workouts inside when the weather starts to get chilly. Instead, take advantage of what the weather has to offer. Bundle up a bit and take a walk, you’ll have to walk a bit faster to keep yourself warm while also burning more calories. • Travel Smart: Don’t abandon your workout because of traveling for work or family holiday parties. If you are on a business trip try staying at a…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Bling It On!

By Kimberly Putens Bling It On! The look for the holidays is all about “bling”. It’s bling for the hair, on our nails and on our face. Shimmer, shimmer, shimmer is the mantra for the holiday season. But remember its shimmer, not glitter. There is a big difference. Shimmer is dewy and glowing. Glitter is reminiscent of our children’s art box. Avoid the glitter and embrace the shimmer. Shimmer products are best used to accentuate one’s luminous glow. It’s best applied on the cheeks, the lips and down the bridge of the nose. It also looks great along the brow line to give the eye an instant lift. And who doesn’t want a little lift? It’s certainly cheaper and easier than going under the knife. Warm hues of copper and champagne are top notch this holiday season. Think sun kissed, bronzed and glowing, like George Hamilton. Try copper shades on the eyes accented with bronzer on the cheeks and face. Finish the look off with warm champagne hues for the lips. To fully capture this look, the lips should be 24 kt, a la J. Lo. In keeping with the trend for the fall, smoky eyes are still fashionable for the holidays. While not appropriate for the office, the smoky eye is a great evening accessory to the little black dress. Consider shades of amethyst and navy, instead of black, to add some sparkle. Simply take a dark liner and line the eyes along the top and bottom rim. Use a similar shade of eye shadow color and color over the eyeliner and smudge. Some brands have smudge pots that make creating the smoky eye a breeze. A great alternative to the smoky eye is the sultry red lip. Red lips look especially festive during the holiday season. If you…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Think Strategically When Donating to Charity

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Think Strategically When Donating to Charity Planning ahead for taxes may help increase your charitable giving’s impact. A variety of strategies are available for incorporating tax planning into charitable giving. Your particular situation will help determine which strategy, or strategies, may be right for you. Estate taxes are unlikely to be an issue Although your primary goal in charitable giving is to help make the world a better place, keep in mind that being strategic in you giving may lead to a win-win situation for you and your favorite causes. You may have heard estate taxes are often a primary concern when considering a charitable giving program. By making gifts, an individual can reduce his or her estate’s value and potentially reduce or eliminate the federal estate taxes the heirs would eventually have to pay. However, Congress changed laws governing federal estate taxes over the last several years so they now apply only to estates valued at $5,490,000 or more (in 2017). Married couples can help protect twice that amount from estate taxes by employing strategies designed for that purpose. (To learn more about these strategies, contact us.) As a result of these changes, federal estate taxes are no longer an issue for most Americans. But when it comes to charitable giving, there are still other tax benefits to consider. Avoid capital gains taxes to help maximize your gift’s impact Charitable giving can be as simple as writing a check and dropping it in the mail. But before you pull out the checkbook, think about different ways to donate that may have tax benefits. Consider this example: Suppose you’re holding in a taxable account $100,000 of stock you paid $10,000 for several years ago.1 The IRS would call the $10,000 your “cost basis” in…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

When a Crop Creates a Home

By Doug Fabbioli When a Crop Creates a Home As a farmer and a business guy, I always have an eye open while traveling looking for what people do in a certain town, valley or region. A crop, a factory, a land feature, there is usually something that has folks settling in an area making it home. Our first home as adults was in Sonoma Valley many years ago as the wine industry had the magnetic draw. The North Coast California wine country had quite the hell storm this year. Nothing is more gut wrenching and fearful as a gust blown firestorm threatening your home, family, lifestyle, health and exit. I have been close to a few incidents of fire over the years, so I have a sense of how these folks felt. After the first horrific night of destruction in Northern Santa Rosa, the threat went down to 9.5 out of 10. As we on the East Coast received many reports of different wineries burning in the region throughout the week, we didn’t think about what was happening at the other wineries. The timing of these fires added a challenge to many of the wineries in the more remote areas. One issue was the threat of fire itself. The firefighters were moving around to protect buildings as best they could but winds shift, evacuations are enforced and roads get closed. Another challenge was that workers had concerns for their own homes and families that may have been in the path of the ever changing fire. The smoke was a big issue creating hazardous working conditions at the wineries. Fortunately, many of the vineyards had been harvested before the fires started and the wines were safely in tanks or barrels. But power lines were down across much of the area…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

At What Price Love?

By Julie Reardon At What Price Love? I have the dubious distinction of owning the largest bill in the history of the Life Center, a Leesburg emergency and critical care veterinary center. In just 30 days, costs of surgeries and care to repair the injuries of a young dog that was hit by a car in a freak accident have exceeded $55,000. Yes you read that right. In some places that sum would buy you a house. Here, it wouldn’t, and as I keep telling myself, you can’t take it with you. And although my injured pup is out of critical care and now home, she still faces one more major surgical procedure to repair the worst of her injuries. But because the costs dribbled in $5,000 at a time over the initial estimate of approximately $20,000, and a fierce fighting spirit that never backs down from a challenge (the pup’s, not mine), she is still here. I, however, have had to liquidate a retirement fund, go back to work from a well planned retirement, and am now facing the soul searching of asking myself if it would have been better to let her go. Had I known going in what this would cost, the multiple painful surgeries the pup would face as well as the likely outcome, I would have opted for euthanasia. But 5 weeks into her rehabilitation, it’s not an option: I would still be out that hideous amount of money, and for nothing. The Poltroon, the injured pup, is a young Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the 9th generation of my own small breeding program begun in 1985. For the past 10 years, I’ve been actively campaigning my Chesapeakes in AKC hunting tests and field trials, along with the occasional show and obedience trials; the 4 generations before…

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