Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roosevelt Island

In order to get myself motivated about running, I often have to think of places I want to run and see. I'm my own personal guidebook. From my half marathon training last summer I would run the Mount Vernon Trail. While I was running, I passed this little island called Roosevelt Island. No idea what it was but I ran across the bridge and came upon a trail looking kind of road. Not wanting to add any more miles to my already 10 mile run, I decided to come back later. Zoom forward a year later and I'm finally getting around to running to it and exploring it.

Little did I know it was kind of under construction, but I didn't let that damper my day!

A little background on the memorial site:

Theodore Roosevelt Island is a 88.5-acre (358,000 m2) island and a national memorial located in the Potomac River in DC. The island was given to the American people by the Theodore Roosevelt Association in memory of the 26th U.S. president.

The island is maintained by the National Park Service as part of the nearby GW Memorial Parkway. The land is generally maintained as a natural park, with various trails and a memorial plaza featuring a statue of Roosevelt. No cars or bicycles are permitted on the island, which is reached by a footbridge from Arlington, Virginia, on the western bank of the Potomac.

A small island named "Little Island" lies just off the southern tip; Georgetown and the JFK Center for Performing Arts are across the main channel of the Potomac to the north and east.

A little history:

The Nachotchtank Indians, formerly of what is now Anacostia (in Washington, D.C.), temporarily moved to the island in 1668, giving its first recorded name, "Anacostine." The island was patented in 1682 as Anacostine Island by Captain Randolph Brandt, who left the island to his daughter Margaret Hammersley, upon his death in 1698 or 1699. The island was acquired by George Mason in 1724. John Mason, the son of George Mason, inherited the Island in 1792 and owned it until 1833. John Mason built a mansion and planted gardens there in the early 19th century. The Masons left the island in 1831 when a causeway stagnated the water.

Aside from a brief period in the Civil War when Union troops were stationed there, the island has been uninhabited since the Masons left. Locals continued to call it "Mason's Island" until the memorial was built there. Around 1906, a fire on the island extensively damaged the mansion. Today, only part of the mansion's foundation remains. From 1913 to 1931, the island was owned by the Washington Gas Light Company, which allowed vegetation to grow unchecked on the island. The island has previously been known as My Lord's Island, Barbadoes Island, Mason's Island, Analostan Island, and Anacostine Island.

Oh HEY Roosevelt!

Some of the signs around the memorial.

Sunset picture crossing the bridge back

Hey, its my work building (not the one I currently work out, but the one I'm assigned to)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Straight from the Lips to the Hips

So my friends and I are having a weight loss competition. Thankfully its by percentage lost, however, I am finding it VERY hard to loose anything. I know I don't need to loose much (just the 5 pounds or so that mysteriously appeared over the summer) but it still needs to be done. Thank.you.very.much.happy.hours.and.beautiful.evenings.oh.yeah.and.ice cream. Bastards.

Four weeks in, I've actually GAINED weight. I'm hoping that I'm putting on muscle weight since I've been adding weight lifting and running back into my days. Which usually happens up front when I try to loose weight. I'm trying really hard to watch what I eat and I'm trying to all around eat healthier. Hannah would be VERY pleased with my picture from all the fruits/veggies in my kitchen right now! I've had to (with her help really) re-train myself with food. If it didn't come from a box, bag, or can it wasn't really eaten in my house growing up. Thankfully I had a HIGH metabolism because I can't count how many pop-tarts or gallons of ice cream or cans of chocolate frosting (yes, CANS OF FROSTING...no cake) I've consumed over the course of my life.

I'm currently munching on slices of red peppers and some hummus...YUMMY!!!!! My one downfall is my love of drinking. Well, and my love of all things chocolate and candy. But I've been really good with chocolate/candy/ice cream but not good AT ALL with the alcohol. I just love it too much...womp womp. Such is life I guess. I just need to be able to fit into at least half of my wardrobe that I currently don't...geesh! Is that so much to ask?

Its all fun and games until someone pops a button!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm a Nashville Star

So when we weren't watching my sister perform, we did a few touristy things like walk around, eat a lot, drink some more, and also went to the Ryman Auditorium (formerly the Grand Ole Opry House).

A little history about the Ryman:
The auditorium first opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. It was built by Thomas Ryman (1843–1904), a riverboat captain and Nashville businessman who owned several saloons. Ryman conceived of the auditorium as a tabernacle for the influential revivalist Samuel Porter Jones. After Ryman's death, the Tabernacle was renamed Ryman Auditorium in his honor. Architect Hugh Cathcart Thompson designed the structure.

It was used for Grand Ole Opry broadcasts from 1943 until 1974, when the Opry built a larger venue just outside Nashville at the Opryland USA theme park. (In an effort to maintain continuity with the Opry's storied past, a large circle was cut from the floor of the Ryman stage and inlaid into the center of the new Opry stage.) The Ryman then sat mostly vacant and fell into disrepair until 1992 when Emmylou Harris and her band, the Nash Ramblers, performed a series of concerts there (the results of which appeared on her album At the Ryman). The Harris concerts renewed interest in restoring the Ryman, and it was reopened as an intimate performance venue and museum in 1994. Audiences at the Ryman find themselves sitting in pews, the 1994 renovation notwithstanding. The seating is a reminder of the auditorium's origins as a house of worship, hence giving it the nickname "The Mother Church of Country Music".

The Ryman Auditorium was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and was further designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001.

So yeah...most of our trip included eating, sleeping, and watching dances, not much time for anything else. But I still had a great time!

Here are some pictures from the touristy side of the trip:

Love all of the old adverts on the side of buildings!

I made some friends at the Ryman

Some of the bands that have played there in the past.

Part of the original paint they uncovered to recreate the original building.

All about Thomas Ryman

Cool old stairs

Obviously they didn't have many obese people back when this was built...that fits two people

View from the bottom

Stuff and info from all the performers over the years.

Johnny Cash and June Carter (Look at those RIDIC knee high boots he wore! And look how skinny she was!)

Countless famous people have played here.

I'd actually rock that green jacket now

Visitor center of Nashville

Not sure what this building is, but it had AT&T on the top

Nashville is kind of a cute town, but I definitely wouldn't want to live there!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dancing Queen

My dad and I went to Nashville a couple of weeks ago to see my sister dance in the competition. If you're wondering...she got all the dancing genes in the family! I had no idea what to expect because I've surely never attended a dancing competition in my life! There was glitter, sequins, and feathers as far as the eye could see! I was in heaven!!! One thing I did learn was that dancing is NOT CHEAP. By any means!!! Good lord, some of the dresses cost more than a used car...and I'm talking in the price range of $4,500!!!!! Can you believe it? I surely did not! Good grief! Not just the dress, but you've got to pay to compete, pay for you partner to compete, pay for you & your partner's plane ticket and hotel, spray tan, nails, makeup, hair, shoes, oh yeah...and you've got to eat. Good Gracious! But it sure was fun to watch!

Here are some pictures of the day:

I liked this chick's dress the best, don't really know why. Sorry for the blurry pictures, my camera SUCKS.

Wow, really? Only here can you get away with glitter, fringe, tulle AND feathers at the same time!

So many colors to choose from!

Some of these were the price of a used car. I snorted/choked at a $4,500 price tag.

Me, Azita, and my sister celebrating after her competition.

What girl doesn't love accessories?!!?

Look at ALL THAT BLING!!!!

More costumes.

Different shoes to choose from

Glitter/feather/fringe overload!!!

My sister and her dance partner. She had 2 dresses on that day (black and purple)

I liked this chick a lot. She was a professional. There was a pretty even mix of amateur guys and girls. I thought it would mostly be just girls but I guess guys want to dance too!

So many different outfits!

Sister mid dance.

Back shot. It was really hard to get a front shot while they were dancing. I need a faster/better/nicer camera!

My sister with her winnings!

And then some videos from her competition:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This Day in History v.22

I read this blog Tired of London, Tired of Life which is basically a daily post about things to see/do/experience around London. Now normally, I've never done or been to most of the places he lists on his site because these are uber non-touristy things and even though I lived in London for a year, there is no way I could have seen everything I wanted to see, much less the out of sight, out of mind places. But the other day, one of his posts was about the Kings Head Theater. Now, there I've been!

While one of our (Hannah and my) numerous stumbles on Upper Street we drunkely stumbled into this pub and just knew we had to come back sometime. Well, it was more like "wait, what awesome crowded pub was that with the live music?!?!" I thought I had remembered walking into a back room with a stage but in my sober moments the next day I thought, "there's no way!" Well, lo and behold there was a super secret back stage part. Ok, maybe not secret, but not well known. I had only known because I took a wrong turn after the loo.

We even visited this pub for the live music during our "Giving up alcohol for Lent days" and had an amazing time, even sober! However, that was also the COLDEST night EVER that night and we nearly froze our little fannies off! While waiting FOREVER for a night pus, we were so miserable that we opted for a black cab. Which, if you had known us then was a HUGE HUGE HUGE deal! While in London we were SO poor that we'd rather walk miles and miles in lieu of cabbing it because it was so expensive!!! That and public transportation is usually much better and cheaper. But alas, that night we sprung for a cab because we nearly froze to death (ok, not really, but still!)

King's Head Theatre now

King's Head Theatre in the olden times (who knows when)

A little bit about the place:
There has been a Kings Head Pub on this site since the 1500's. It is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diaries. It is thought to be called The Kings Head because King Henry VIII would stop in for a pint on his way to see his mistress. The current building dates from 1860. The world renowned pub is known for its music and its theatre in the back which has enjoyed over 40 transfers to the West End and Broadway. The great music line up includes rhythm and blues, rock, soul, jazz and swing and has been the starting ground for many great bands including Dire Straits and The Tiger Lilies. As well as a fine spirit selection it has a great selection of good wine and real ale along with a selection of lagers and bottled beers. The authentic Victorian pub has roaring fires in winter and is decorated with photos of familiar faces who have graced the stage over its 40 year history with one family, founded in 1970 as the first theatre pub since Shakespearean times.

The backroom where the theatre is located was previously a boxing ring and a pool hall. Various elements of the theatre, including the red velvet curtains and theatre lamps have been recycled from other famous venues including the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Lyric Shaftesbury and Scala Theatre.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spotted on the Metro v. 4

Grown man sitting on the floor....I can't even begin to fathom the germs (or who knows what else) he's touching. GROSS.