February 24, 2014

Project DC: FDR Memorial


The FDR Memorial seemed like one of those sights that I should see while in DC. It seemed important, yet when the hubs and I added it to our list of touristy things to do one afternoon, I had to admit that I knew very little about it and had no idea what to expect. Just another memorial, right?

As it turns out, this memorial isn't just a simple statue tucked away downtown. It's a sprawling series of sculptures and tributes to FDR, and it is best appreciated by devoting adequate time to wander around. I was reminded of FDR's many contributions to our country, and I like how this memorial also gave me a bit of context for what was happening in the country during his presidency. 


The memorial area seems so quiet, perhaps because not as many tourists make it to this area of the Tidal Basin, or many because it's just the type of place that exists in hushed tones. Either way, it's beautiful, and I imagine it's even lovelier in the springtime when the tree buds and leaves add more dimension. There are even some parts of the memorial that include running water, but since we visited in January, we weren't able to witness it.... which basically means that we'll need to come back in a warmer season. :)



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Want to read more about having fun in DC? Follow along as I embark on Project DC:

3. Go on a White House tour.
6. Take a day trip to Annapolis.
7. Go to the Newseum.
8. Go back to Jazz in the Garden when it starts up again in the spring.
9. Go to the Holocaust Museum.
11. See the FDR Memorial.
13. Go to the National Portrait Gallery.
14. Go to the Corcoran.
17. Go to more embassy events.
19. See the drum circle at Malcolm X Park.
20. Mini golf at H Street Country Club.
21. Evening drinks at POV.
22. Visit the National Archives.
24. Walk through the National Arboretum.
26. Go to the Jefferson Memorial.
27. Visit the National Gallery of Art.

February 23, 2014

Sunday Currently : 56

I'll be honest. This weekend has not been all that relaxing. Yesterday morning was filled with delays, frustrations, and annoyances, and I had a hard time shaking all of that off, even though I had a lovely brunch and got to see a friend who no longer lives nearby. There were so many good parts of the weekend, but Life Stress keeps popping back in my mind. It's a persistent little bugger, and I would just like it to go away. So I'm trying to practice distraction and remind myself of the good things... and that's working, albeit temporarily. But, hey, I'll take it. Things will settle down eventually. Until then, I have chocolate.



reading :  Various drafts of my dissertation. Note to self: Must delete old ones!

writing :  Dissertation stuff. Gotta finish!

listening :    To Pandora's terribly annoying ads about egg donation. I am not donating my eggs, Shady Grove Fertility people!! Please just let me listen to my tunes in peace. 

thinking :   About what I want to do next year for postdoc... I have some very difficult decisions to make, and my mind is a tangled mess right now. You know that feeling when you fear that you're about to make a bad decision? Yeah, I have that right now. Ugh.

smelling :   Aveda's Be Curly hair product. I like how their products have a subtle scent that isn't harsh. 

wishing :   For peace. I think this might be on my wishlist for a while longer...  

hoping :   That I get some good news this week that makes my decision-making a bit easier!

wearing :    Jeans, moccasins, and a tank top. I love this springtime weekend weather that we've been having!

loving :    How a good song can help me calm down. Since my mind has been bouncing around lately, whenever I notice my thoughts racing, I've been taking a deep breath and mentally singing a song to myself. It instantly slows things down a bit, and it makes me feel a bit happier. 

wanting :    To devour my mac & cheese! I usually stop by Panera on my way to school as a reward for getting out of the house and into the lab, and my lunch selection was spot-on today. Mmmm.

needing :    To get some productive writing done!!

feeling :    Oh-so-stressed, but hopeful that things will work out. 

clicking :    On articles and various drafts of my dissertation. It's go time!!


siddathornton

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Last week on The Quixotic Chica:
Sunday Currently | Project DC: Rock Creek Park | Hudson River Calling

February 19, 2014

Hudson River Calling


The Hudson River wasn't part of my life until I left for college, but as soon as the river valley became my new home, it had me for good. The train rides up from the city are a comfort to me, not in the way that the Long Island Railroad lulls me to half-sleep on long, dark nights with its familiar rocking and station calls, but in the way that it sparks that hopeful yearning, that anticipatory tug that only a journey home can bring. It hasn't truly been home since I donned that black cap and gown with the delicate, soft pink trim, but I suppose that when home is the place that fills your heart with wistful smiles and nostalgic tears, then maybe it will always be home, after all.

The river town names conjure up images of folk music and warm fireplaces. Hastings-on-Hudson, Ardsley-on-Hudson, Croton-on-Hudson. One by one, we pass through each station. My eyes always drift out towards the western bank of the river, so far away, enough that my outstretched fingers will never reach it. My sight settles on the river water, in the winter covered with ice sheets locked so tight over the surface that they would never let a secret slip through, in the summer sparkling and beckoning in the way that can only be caused by that special summertime sun. 

If I give in to the tug, I know that the cold river waters will cleanse my worried mind, soothe my tired thoughts. It will hold me and comfort me. I could let myself cry and mourn and celebrate and laugh in those waters. And though I won't dip a toe into those parts, the presence of the Hudson alone is enough to save me and give me relief. It is here, as I move alongside its banks, that I feel connected to the land, to myself, to my history. Simple moments, passed in half-silence and hushed memories. That's what my prayers are composed of, blessings with each breath, understanding and peace with each sway. 

I know that if we keep moving northward, we'll reach Poughkeepsie, and my heart will thump a bit faster as we soar past Garrison and Beacon. I know these parts. I know the small island with that lonely, captivating, abandoned castle fort. I know that little playground tucked behind the trees along the riverside. I know that predictable call of the conductor on the Metro North, "Poughkeepie, last and final station stop, Poughkeepsie!" I know that the Albany-bound Amtrak train on a weekday night is as quiet as a train can be, with only a select, weary few settling in to the dimmed cars. I know these cold waters, I know these forever trees, I know this familiar feeling. I know these parts. 

February 17, 2014

Project DC: Rock Creek Park


Usually, unseasonably warm winter days make me a bit nervous about the reality of climate change (at heart, I'm a neurotic New Yorker, shhh), but sometimes I throw caution to the tropical wind and decide to enjoy a warm winter afternoon. Maybe it's because I had spent the previous weekend sick in bed with a fever, but on this particular day, I was craving some outdoor time.

The hubs agreed to humor my request to go on a leisurely hike through Rock Creek Park, and we promptly hopped on one of the E buses that go across town towards Friendship Heights. It conveniently dropped us off near the entrance of the Rock Creek Park Nature Center (Military Road NW & Glover Road NW). I love that it was so easy to get there, especially since there are times when living in Northeast DC without a car can be a hassle, but this was smooth and simple. There's also available parking near the Nature Center, which is good to know if we ever return with a vehicle.

We decided to do the Rapids Bridge Loop, an easy 2-mile circuit that meanders along the creek and back through the woods. On such a beautiful day, we initially didn't see too many people, though the trail became more populated as we got further into it. Even so, it wasn't crowded, and there were moments when everything was perfectly quiet and still-- very peaceful!


This trail is an easy one, and it probably took us a little over an hour to complete at a casual pace, including plenty of pauses along the way to crawl along the creek rocks, enjoy the view from Rapids Bridge, and explore moss-covered sandstone pieces left over from a 1959 renovation of the U.S. Capitol-- seriously!!! There are so many treasures tucked away in the park. 


After the trail cuts right, away from the creek, it leads uphill for a bit, but it shouldn't be too much of a challenge, even for novices (we're certainly no hiking experts ourselves). Just take it slow and enjoy your surroundings! I was amazed at how quiet some parts of the trail were, even though we weren't too far from the roads that cut through the park. Isn't it amazing how soothing it can be to be in the presence of nature? I loved it. I would love to return when the trails are a bit greener, though, as the park seemed rather brown and monochromatic-- typical for winter and still very beautiful, but I think it's an entirely different, even more stunning experience in the spring or fall. 

If the hubs and I had gotten an earlier start and thus had more daylight, we would have done one of the longer trails, but I think that this was a great start. The National Park Service recommends three easy hikes right near the Nature Center (Boulder Bridge Hike, 3 miles; Milkhouse Ford Hike, 1.75 miles; and the Rapids Bridge Hike, 2 miles), and since it was so easy for us to get there from our house, I think we will definitely return for some leisurely walks through the park on future sunny days. I'd also like to tackle some of the longer routes, like the Western Ridge Trail and the Valley Trail

At the end of the afternoon, just as the January chill started to seep in, we finished up our hike and headed back home. It was such a simple way to spend some time together, and I loved how invigorated it made me. I wish that we had something like this years ago, and I'm so thankful that the hubs indulged my urge to get outdoors. We need more time with the trees and the rocks, even if it's relatively brief. I love the city, I really do... but pavement and taxi cabs don't replenish me. But getting my boots muddy and scuffing them up as I crawl around creek rocks? Now that is good for the soul. 

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Want to read more about having fun in DC? Follow along as I embark on Project DC:

2. Go for a leisurely hike in Rock Creek Park.
3. Go on a White House tour.
6. Take a day trip to Annapolis.
7. Go to the Newseum.
8. Go back to Jazz in the Garden when it starts up again in the spring.
9. Go to the Holocaust Museum.
11. See the FDR Memorial.
13. Go to the National Portrait Gallery.
14. Go to the Corcoran.
17. Go to more embassy events.
19. See the drum circle at Malcolm X Park.
20. Mini golf at H Street Country Club.
21. Evening drinks at POV.
22. Visit the National Archives.
24. Walk through the National Arboretum.
26. Go to the Jefferson Memorial.