May 26, 2014

Washington D.C.

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Washington D.C.

What is it about visiting the nation's Capitol that gives me tingles? My third time visiting and I was still awestruck by the biluildings and monuments that surrounded me...even in down pouring rain (three days of down pouring rain to be exact).

I visited Washington D.C. at the end of April to attend Promising Practices 2014, a conference that promotes tobacco free active living and healthy eating in low socioeconomic communities. I have attended this conference two other times, both in New Orleans, LA, and each conference has been a great learning experience. This year I presented a poster on Tobacco Free Health Care Campuses and assisted with an oral presentation about a project that worked with Head Start programs to incorporate systems to address the use of tobacco with families.

Although the conference lasted most of the day, we were able to do some sightseeing each evening. 

First up...the Washington Monument, which was dedicated in 1885, nearly 40 years after construction on the monument began. There was a long hiatus in construction from 1854 to 1877 due to political movement, a lack of funds and the intervention of the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. Upon construction, the Washington Monument was the tallest structure in the world until 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was completed.

We then headed to the National World War II Memorial, which is one of my favorite memorials. The memorial is dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. The memorial consist of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches that surround a plaza and fountain. 

The World War II memorial opened to the public on April 29, 2004 and was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2004, two days before Memorial Day. The memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. 

We then visited the Lincoln Memorial, which was dedicated in 1922. Interestingly, the building is in the form of a Greek temple that contains a seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's second inaugural address. 

The memorial was the site of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech, and has therefore been a symbolically sacred venue for the Civil Rights movement. 

A view of the Washington Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

We went on a night tour of a few of the monuments one evening. Although we had seen some of the structures during the day, seeing the monuments at night was beautiful, even in the pouring down rain. 

The Marine Corps War Memorial...

The Three Soldiers, which commemorates the Vietnam War and compliments the Vietnam Veterans Memorial...

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial...

A coworker and I decided to extend our trip by one extra day to allow for more time to see Washington D.C. We began our day with a cup of coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting know you're out East when you're drinking Chesapeake Bay coffee. :-)

We toured the Spy Museum...

...and visited the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institution and dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere. Much thought went into the design of the building that houses the museum. The architects were Douglas Cardinal, a Blackfoot Indian from Canada, and Johnpaul Jones, an Indian from the Cherokee and Choctaw tribes. 

I was thrilled to see the Rasmuson Theatre, which was dedicated on April 8, 2005, in honor of Elmer and Mary Louise Rasmuson, prominent figures in Alaska who were dedicated to improving the quality of life for people throughout the state of Alaska through the Rasmuson Foundation. The Rasmuson Foundation contributes to healthy, enriched and productive lives for Alaskans of all ages by addressing basic needs, arts and culture through projects that address special circumstances. Rasmuson Theater is located not he first level of the museum and provides the setting for stage plays, storytelling, dance and music presentations, film and video viewing and lectures and seminars. 

The Mitsitam Cafe is the cafeteria in the National Museum of the American Indian. We decided to eat lunch here because it was highly recommended on Yelp. The food celebrates the indigenous foods of American Indian cultures from all over the country, including the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso American and the Great Plains. Each of the five food stations depict regional life ways related to cooking techniques, ingredients and flavors found in both traditional and contemporary dishes. 

We then ventured on to Old Town Alexandria, which was the perfect ending to our day. King Street was stocked with local and national clothing stores and local restaurants. Although it was pouring the entire afternoon, we enjoyed soaking up the culture and doing a little shopping.

The King Street Trolley...

We saw a few cherry trees that still had their blossoms...

We ended the evening at T.J. Stones, a highly recommended food joint on Yelp. We both ordered lobster mac and cheese and enjoyed a local brew...

Washington D.C. was a great adventure. As I mention often on this blog, I am so thankful for a job that allows me to travel across the country to present on projects that I work on every day. 


May 11, 2014

Alaska Charity Walk

Walk and eat for charity? Why not??

The Alaska Visitor Industry Charity Walk was Friday night. One of my coworkers had a son who was selling tickets for a school fundraiser, so she, another coworker and I enjoyed an evening in downtown Anchorage walking and sampling for a good cause. 

Another plus? The weather was gorgeous!

The charity her son's school donated to was the Denali Deaf Community Center. 

The Visitor Industry is Alaska's second largest industry, employing more than 30,000 people. Travel businesses in Anchorage have traditionally been intimately involved in supporting local charities with financial contributions, auction items, door prizes, volunteers, etc. 

The Visitor Industry Charity Walk celebrates this commitment to giving through a fun, festive community event that raises money for non-profit agencies throughout the state of Alaska. Since the first walk in 2000, over one million dollars have been distributed to Alaskan charities.
There were a total of ten food samples along the 5K walk...

Including pirates handing out skewers of chicken...

One stop treated the walkers to mini cupcakes...

The last stop, McGinley's Pub, shared an Irish sample of stew and potatoes...

The walk began and ended at the Dena'Ina Center in downtown Anchorage. At the end of the walk, a number of stations and activities were set up inside for the walkers to explore. One station hosted a porcupine. 

I kept my distance...

A chocolate covered strawberry and an advertisement for Capitol Cities, a band coming to Anchorage in June... 

A wild moose was roaming around the building, so we decided to take a ride. It was wild (and really fake)...

The Visitor Industry Charity Walk was a great way to get around downtown and visit with my coworkers...all for a good cause. 


May 09, 2014

Little Free Library

Take a book...leave a book. 

The concept is not new; little signs with this slogan have often appeared in Bed and Breakfasts, churches, caf├ęs and book stores. However, the idea of taking a book and leaving a book has spread to new territory in Anchorage - "Little Free Libraries" can be found near neighborhood streets and along municipal trails. 

I read an article in the Anchorage Daily News about these Little Free Libraries a few weeks ago. As an avid reader, the idea seemed really interesting to me...and I was thrilled to spot a library while out for a walk during my lunch break. 

According to an ADN article by Hanlon (2014), the idea started in Wisconsin in 2009 by a man named Todd Bol, who constructed a miniature schoolhouse and stuffed it with books as a tribute to his mother, a former teacher and avid reader. He posted the box outside with a sign that read, "FREE BOOKS." It evolved into a nonprofit that triggered a movement worldwide.
"By January 2014, that one Little Free Library in Wisconsin grew to about 15,000 in 56 countries from Columbia to Ghana to Japan, according to the nonprofit's most recent figures" (Hanlon, 2014).
Little Free Libraries allow residents in Anchorage to have access to books near their homes...while providing books already read for others to enjoy. Individuals take on the concept themselves and tailor the design of the library to their own liking and taste. One library in anchorage is designed like a moose...hardly a surprise.
Check out this article by Hanlon for more information about "Little Free Libraries" in Anchorage and visit Little Free Library for more information about the nonprofit organization.

Read more here:

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May 04, 2014

Sunday fun day!

Matt left for Fairbanks today, so Rio and I hung out and enjoyed the lovely weather. 

What did we do?

We saw two moose on the median after dropping Matt off at the airport...

Rio couldn't have been happier to join me in the car running errands...

...and we planted flowers, peppermint, green onions and a tomato plant! 

(Thank you for the help, Costco)

Soon, the deck will be full of flowers and herbs, but I'll have to wait until later in the week or next weekend to finish planting. I can't wait!

I hope you had a great weekend!

May 03, 2014

It's May!

With temperatures reaching 70 today, Matt, Rio and I took advantage of the great weather by taking a walk around Taku Lake in Anchorage. 

Rio couldn't wait for her chewy after we got home...

Have a great weekend!