Monday, May 27, 2013

Spring in DC Part 2

 May was a busy month! Or, at least it was picture worthy :)

May is filled with graduations and the end of a school year for many. It's an exciting time, but it also means that it's a time to say goodbye to those who are moving on to bigger and better things!

Braden graduated from Georgetown and is now moving on to bigger and better things so we had a little farewell dinner for him earlier in the month. It was fun to share stories about times shared with him and some of the funny things he's done/said. He's been a great friend/home teacher and I'll definitely miss his humor! It's been fun getting to know him these past two years, but I am sure will fit right in with life in NYC!
 Then the next Sunday we celebrated Camille's birthday with another Sunday dinner. I love having people over for dinner and I love celebrating birthdays! A win-win combination! Happy Birthday Camille!
 Then, the next big happening in May - The Gregory's got a dog. 
Yep - a dog
 Meet Gus
Ava is all smiles, 
but let's just say the dog and I have a strained relationship thus far :)

One day last week I was out doing errands and I saw this car. 
I literally could NOT stop laughing and thought it was so cute! 
I had to take a picture and text it to some friends. 
The funny thing was that I was surrounded by three men 
also taking pictures of it for their wives/girlfriends. 
It's sometimes the little things in life that completely make my day!

This past weekend was Memorial day weekend and we celebrated the men and women who have fought so hard for our freedom. I was glad I was able to go to Arlington National Cemetery and walk around. Seeing all the flags placed in front of the tombstones is humbling. Rows and rows of men and women who gave their life for me to be able to have the freedoms I do.
 One of the other things I love about Memorial day weekend is that the Rolling Thunder come in to town and have a rally at the Pentagon. The Rolling Thunder's mission is to educate, facilitate and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. And, they all come in from all over the US on motorcycles!! All weekend long you can hear the roar of their engine and see groups traveling by motorcycle everywhere!


So, I made a point of attending one of their events at the Cemetery. I didn't quite fit in with their outfits and such, but I was in heaven. I love their bandanas and jackets... like this one below.
 I stayed to watch the ceremony as well as the usual guards and changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. It was beyond cool! Such precision. Truly mesmerizing. How fortunate I am to live so close by to this and to be able to participate in such an honorable event!
 I counted the seconds and number of steps this soldier took. 
A theme was definitely the number 21.
They take a measured 21 steps in 21 seconds. 
Stop. Turn.
Then do the same thing back. 
They can't look to the left/right, up/down, or change facial expression.  

After each turn, the Guard executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the Guard stands between the Tomb and any possible threat. Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed -- the 21-gun salute.
 Did you know the following:
1. Some of the training these men and women do before becoming a guard is to walk the curbs of the cemetery for hours/days on end. The curb is about 4 inches wide and you have to walk without looking down and without falling

2. Another task is to stand beneath a flagpole in the Army’s parade rest position for hours and hours and hours.

3. Once you pass the physical tests, a guard candidate has to memorize a notebook about as thick as the Washington phone book that is filled with facts and figures of the cemetery and guard ceremony — such as how many rivets are in the rubber mat the guards walk on in front of the tomb. There are 163 rivets in the mat and 2,002 links in the chain around the tomb plaza.

4. The tomb is never unguarded or unwatched. Even with the guards walking back and forth, other guards are watching via cameras to keep an eye on the on-duty guard as well as the plaza around the tomb itself.

5. The guards work 24-hour shifts with a day off in between another 24-hour shift. During the winter, they guard for an hour, take an hour off and return. In the summer, due to the heat, the guard shift is shortened to 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off.
 But yet, these guys are out there in full uniform
 “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

On the hour, the guards changed. 
It required 3 total guards to do the ceremony. 
All with precision and 21 was the theme yet again

 I love this picture of the 3 walking perfectly in line with each other
And just to think, they do this 24 hours a day... no cheating or slacking on the ceremony just because no one is watching! I would be SOOO tempted to!

After the guards changed, they did the wreath laying for the Rolling Thunder group.

 I loved it all. Then, on my way out, I saw this. 
A beautiful scene if I do say so!
 Sunday was a beautiful day. Loved church and loved hearing the roar of the motorcycle engines out my window :) But, in the evening I had the opportunity to head out to Wolf Trap and see "The President's Own" US Marine Band concert. We took a picnic dinner and it was SO yummy! These guys and girls are awesome cooks! We had fun chatting before the concert and then got to enjoy some great music and FIREWORKS! I loved it. I had never been to Wolf Trap before, but I really like the venue and will most likely be back soon!

 Such a great group of people!
And, I love this picture of Miriam and I!
What an amazing friend she is!
I didn't realize until after the picture was taken, but we're kind of twiners in our outfits!

Spring in DC Part 1

 I love Spring! Just love it. Here are some of the reasons why:

 1. The flowers... esp the flowers at the Temple.
 It was such a beautiful night. 
I love how it's still light out at 7 or 8 pm!
 And, it was even better b/c I found out when I got there that 
a friend was going to propose to his girlfriend there later on 
that night. I even got to see the ring before she did!
I love to see the temple, but I love to go inside more!

2. Crossing off things on my DC bucket list. So much easier and more fun to do in Spring!
 Me and Theodore Roosevelt. I look like a midget!
 There were these large pillars with some of his inspiring quotes:
"I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender.  Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground.  Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to successful life.  Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike."
 On Manhood:
A man's usefulness depends upon his living up to his ideals insofar as he can. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. All daring and courage, all iron endurance of misfortune-make for a finer, nobler type of manhood.
Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life.

It's a pretty island, small, but pretty. It's situated right in between VA and DC with a bridge connecting it to the VA side. Great views! And, a nice, quiet walk around the island. Peaceful. 
 This is looking at Georgetown
 This is Rosslyn
 Another weekend I needed to get out of town so I went to the Shenandoah Cheery Blossom Festival and parade. It was awesome and such a perfect little escape for a day trip. The weather was fantastic too!
 I had great seats for the parade and what's not to LOVE about a man in uniform?!
 I literally could have walked up and gotten his autograph. 
Closest I have ever been to an NFL player!
 And, of course, we bring out the Irish and Scottish heritage in the parade!

 The next weekend I got tickets to the Folger Shakespeare Research Library tour. This was pretty cool b/c they only do one tour a week for 15 people. And, I got to go in! I had never been to the Library before. It's filled to the brim with everything Shakeaspeare. But, the best part about this tour was getting to see documents and things from the 1600s and such! Awesome!
 Shakespeare above and a stained glass window 
of his Seven Stages of Man below
Slowly, but surely, crossing things off my DC bucket list!