Thursday, September 30, 2010

Off the beaten trail...

Everyone knows DC is full of monuments and memorials - Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, WWII, Vietnam, etc. But what I bet you don't know is that there are tons more beautiful memorials/statues that don't get the main recognition the others do yet are just as cool if not cooler. I present to you the Albert Einstein statue and the Signers of the Declaration of Independence memorial.

Let's start with Big Al - one of the all time greatest, most influential scientists to ever live. His name alone (Einstein not Big Al) is synonymous with "genius." His statue is so much better than Lincoln's statue because there are no guards around him, so I was free to stand on Big Al's lap and give him a kiss :) Surrounding his feet are little dots on the ground, which at first glance seem like only decorations, but upon closer inspection is actually a picture of the solar system and the dots are all stars! Another cool thing you can do is stand directly in front of the statue, sort of close to it, and when you talk your voice echos back. Poor Al is tucked away in a grove of trees on Constitution Ave. without any signs pointing tourists his way, yet I thought his monument was awesome! In fact, I think on the next nice day I'm going to take a book and sit on Big Al's lap and enjoy reading with the most intelligent physicist!

So the second memorial that also doesn't get any recognition is the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. It is tucked away on a little island near the WWII memorial only accessible by a wooden footbridge. All the signers have their signature on a marble stone along with their printed name, where they were from, and their occupation. I think the fact that this memorial is on an island makes it way better than Washington's monument which is simply a tall, cement pencil stuck on a hill!

Next time you're in DC be sure to visit these 2 spots!

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Perspective

I'm on crutches now for the next week with a bum foot. I strained the tendons/muscle from my heel to the side arch of my left foot, although I'm still not quite sure what I did to it. My heel started hurting last week and got to the point where I couldn't put weight on it and was using only my tip-toes to walk, so Sam convinced me it was time to get an x-ray. The irony of going to Urgent Care is that a visit there is anything but urgent! I think my first mistake was filling out a "3" the little "pain chart" upon checking in....should have put more like 8-10 for amount of pain and perhaps then I would have been seen in less than 1.5 hours! That's how long we waited in the waiting room to go back and get x-rays and then after those were taken, it was another hour to read them. Thankfully I didn't have any broken bones, so rest, ice, and Advil for the swelling should be all I need to heal.

In the meantime, I'm realizing how crooked all the sidewalks in this city really are! I had a heck of a time walking to dinner last night trying to use crutches on uneven brick sidewalks, and forget about the sidewalks in front of my apartment! Whew! It's like trying to walk in high heels through a muddy field of dirt, crumbling cement, and grass stubble ~ when you're not sinking in the mud, you're stumbling on the cement or running into pods of tough grass! Now imagine doing all of that while balancing on one good foot and 2 metal sticks that are rubbing your armpits raw. Such a hazard living in the city!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peep Peep

Sam and I visited the National Harbor this weekend to go sailing. Well, we got to the marina and the wind was non-existent, so we decided rather than spend the afternoon on a sailboat paddling it around the harbor, we would wait for a windier day to give it a try. Stay tuned for hopefully a sailing post yet to come!

However, the National Harbor is such a cool place to visit anyways and it was fun to just walk around looking at shops and eating dinner......AND visiting the Peeps store!! An entire store dedicated to my favorite colored sugar coated marshmallow bunnies and ducks! Wow! I bought a pack of the pumpkin holiday peeps and they are sitting on top of my tv as I write this with the package open so that they will be ready to eat in about 3 days - Peeps are best when stale and chewy and I can't leave them on my kitchen counter incase any rouge bugs get in through my kitchen window looking for a Peep treat! I take my Peep staling process very seriously :)

So, even though sailing was a no-go, the Peeps store made up for it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Raise the flags!

Do not adjust your computer screen! What you see is an actual photo of my vegetable drawer in my refrigerator. No photo enhancements were used - those really are all MY veggies! My drawer has never been this full since I moved here. I have a bag of celery, 1 garlic bulb, 2 onions, 1 carrot, and a broccoli tree. Oh, and I even have 2 real potatoes on my countertop and a can of peas in my cabinet but they are not shown in this photo. The carrot only cost 22 cents! Next time I may splurge on 2 of them, but for now, I wanted to stick to my grocery list and I only needed one :)

Some delicious recipes on the agenda this week - chicken pot pie, chicken / broccoli / rice casserole, lasagna, and who knows what else I might decide to whip up :) My freezer is low on food, so I'll be making all these dishes and freezing a good portion so I have meals handy when I'm short on time. Tonight I made lasagna and froze 2/3 of the casserole into 2 dinner portions. I'll make 2 chicken pot pies and freeze one, and at least half of the chicken broccoli casserole will also be frozen. Homemade meals sure beat Lean Cuisine!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eating with my fingers

I tried Ethiopian food for the first time after putting it off for almost 6 months. Sam has talked about how good the food is since the first time we met but I always found a different restaurant to eat at :) However, I decided to give it a try this weekend and determined that I actually liked it for the most part ~ a little bit spicier than I typically care for, but the flavor was very delicious, so it wasn't just a mouth-on-fire spiciness.

We went to "Zed's Ethiopian Cuisine" in Georgetown. Lots of famous people have eaten there including the senior President Bush and his wife, so that calmed me down a bit since I knew famous people wouldn't keep eating there if the food made everyone sick. So, for those who have never eaten Ethiopian style, first, there are no utensils ~ eat with your fingers! Second, the food is served on a giant piece of sour bread called Injera and more bread is served on the side for you to tear off and pick up the food with....the bread served on the side looks exactly like rolled up ace-bandages and you unroll it exactly like that to tear off the pieces. So cool! It is the most unique kind of bread I have ever tried - flat with a sponge-like consistency and is slightly moist yet not sticky. Imagine a sponge you would find in the ocean - slice that into thin pieces and that is what Injera looks like. Okay, so you order your entrees and they come on this huge piece of Injera along with lentils, a slice of carrot, and something that looks like corn but I think it's chickpeas maybe. We ordered a chicken dish with rice a shrimp and vegetable dish. Yummmm!!! Spicy but delicious! I would definitely go back to Zed's and anyone who comes to visit me and is up for a culinary adventure, Zed's is the place we will go!

Oh, and p.s. Ethiopian's have really great desserts as well :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daddy, I'd like a pony please

Blue skies, 75 degrees, nothing but trees and open land as far as the eye can see, the smell of farm I in Ohio?? Not quite - more like the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Ahhhh life is grand! Sam surprised me with horseback riding last weekend and it was awesome!! It's been years since I was last on a horse....I think Walloon Lake, MI would be it and that was at least 10 years ago if not more, but I love horses. I've always loved riding them and pretending I was a cowgirl in the wild west tearing across the open plains in the middle of some kind of suspenseful adventure....guess it would be my love of reading that planted that seed! Ha! If you've never been on a horse, I suggest you find the nearest riding stables and sign up for a trail ride. Even if you're scared, just do it; I think horses have a calming effect ~ they meld to their rider's style and before long, your body is moving in tune with your horse and you're relaxed, gliding through the forest or meadow.

My horse's name was Bunny (should have been "Stop-to-Eat-A-Lot") and she was beautiful....ran my knee into 2 trees, but still, she obeyed me pretty well and even let me kick her into a trot for the last part of the ride ~ Bunny was "lagging behind" and I thought it best to urge her along :) It was a peaceful ride over bridges, through small creek beds, and on many winding trails through the base of the mountains. What an amazing surprise and it was the perfect weather to be outside enjoying nature. Really looking forward to Fall and hopefully the cool weather to come!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Going Green!

I figured to be a true Washingtonian, I should embrace the "Go Green" contribution is scootering :) From now on, I'll be scootering around DC in style to reduce air pollution ~ pink Barbie scooter with glitter wheels for me and silver and red Razor for Sam. Although, I haven't quite decided where scooters belong in relation to traffic ~ pedestrians don't exactly want me on sidewalks and bikers really don't want me in their bike lane, so where does that leave me and my scooter??? We've already rode about 12 blocks around town and decided it's a lot harder than 5 year old kids make it look! Ha! Perhaps this is my first step towards a cupcake car :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beautiful Fungi

The geeky biologist in me strikes again and this time, it's to bring you some beautiful orange fungi found deep in the Hocking Hills. Isn't it pretty??? It's a vibrant orange color and very fluffy like pancakes. Not sure the scientific name but I like to call it "Fungi Orangia Caratina" in honor of my sister :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Country Girl at Heart

Anyone who knows me - I mean really knows me, not just one or two meetings - knows I'm a country girl deep down.....maybe country girly girl is a better description. But no matter, I would 100 million billion zillion times rather be laying in a hammock, surrounded by cornfields and open land, an apple orchard on my right and a garden pond on my left, reading a good book in 75 degree weather with blue skies and fluffy clouds above me, than walking in a busy city, riding a subway, living in a high-rise apartment, and yes, even shopping in a crowded mall. The hardest adjustment by far living in DC is not having any open space; feeing like people are always crowding my space on sidewalks and driving on roads. The few parks that have grassy land are either a) not safe for me to go alone, b) have piles of dog poop every few feet, or c) are too overrun with other people trying to escape city life that it feels like a city itself!

The past two weeks I spent on vacation back home in Ohio and I can truly say I enjoyed every minute. I could drive from point A to point B without sitting in traffic going 10 mph; I fell asleep with my bedroom window open listening to a pond fountain, crickets chirping, and bull frogs singing; I rode my bike around town without fear of being rundown by crazy drivers swerving into the bike lane in an attempt to create 3 lanes of traffic on a 2 lane road; and I breathed. I mean I really breathed in fresh air....not air polluted with the disgusting smell of the Potomac River, exhaust fumes from idling tour buses, and humid smoggy air that weighs heavy on the city like a wool blanket. People who aren't from Ohio make fun of it for having lots of cornfields and not being famous for anything too exciting, but those of us who were born and raised there know it's genuine midwestern kindness and room to breathe that makes it a great state. I don't need a museum every 10 feet and dozens of cement monuments to make life fulfilling. Who cares that DC is where our nation's president lives - no one sees him outside anyways!

DC might be great for some people, but it's not for me. Just because I like to shop and I don't particularly care for spiders doesn't mean I don't belong in the country ~ it just makes me a special country girly girl :)