Friday, February 29, 2008

Packing Thought

I hate asking my friends to come over and help me pack and paint, but when you're a girl with no job, professional movers just don't fit in the budget!

So, tomorrow a few folks are going to help me get everything done.

The one person who will NOT be here is the friend I always swore would be the only one to help me when I decided to leave. That is because I helped this particular friend move several times over the years. Just me. And one time in the middle of the night. And always with garbage bags as his "boxes."

You know who you are...and you're lucky you're in L.A.!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Random Thought

I've decided cleaning an oven is the worst chore there is.

And Easy Off is vile.

Those Hawk and Dove...


(You must sing the title like the last line of Summer Nights from Grease...)

I was never a Cap Lounge girl.  My heart has always belonged to the Hawk.  

The two are similar - dark, dingy, sports and CNN on the televisions, political paraphernalia on the walls - but there are differences and I always felt more at home at the ol' H&D.  

So I went there yesterday afternoon for one last drink.  It being 3:15 in the afternoon, Edgar wasn't there to serve it to me, but it was nice to sit there all the same. 

The place is such a local watering hole, attracting everyone from old timers, young professionals, Hill rats, Marines from the barracks on 8th, and 18-year olds on the under 21 night (wait, that's about any night...).  

I've gone there for birthday drinks, one to end the day drinks, more to end the night drinks, to watch the political returns, debates, and presidential speech drinks, just want to dance drinks, or to sit and have brunch drinks.

I love the old colonial pub font on everything there, and the coveted window seat up front. 

How many times have I checked the clock hanging like a giant pocket watch from the ceiling for the time?  

And the stories!  What about the night we played "who can get a guy to dance with them first?" Or the friend who decided it would be a good idea to relieve himself in the men's bathroom sink?!  Or how about my friend's now husband telling the DJ he and I were engaged just so we could hear some Bon Jovi!!  HA!  There are the countless, truly countless, nights CK and I would sit there drinking and talking and drinking some more, and I'll never forget the burgers he and I had there late on 9-11 after a long hard day of work from his living room.  

I sat yesterday and thought about all these things.  Then I wrote Edgar a little note on the back of a napkin thanking him for the all the drinks and good times over the years.

Oh my, those Hawk and Dove nights...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Random Thought

I have really great friends.

Friends that offer to drive from Delaware to help me pack. Friends that bring me tissues, Vitamin Water, pizza, Tylenol, movies and other "goodies" when I'm lying on my couch dying. Friends that are magicians at making my stuff fit into boxes. Friends that will gather tomorrow night for a "last supper." Friends who call to check on me while I'm sick and offer me tickets to a new show downtown. Friends that have offered to help me load the U-Haul. Friends who send a card (through the Post Office!) to say they're sorry to see me leave. Friends who offer to let me keep my stuff at their house until I get things figured out. Friends who let ME stay at their house until I get things figured out...

Yep. I have really great friends.

Monday, February 25, 2008

(Tail) Pipe Dreams

With four days to go before packing up a U-Haul I should be, well, packing. Instead I spent my entire morning at the D.C. DMV's adjudication services. This was done just so I can spend even more time with them tomorrow trying to fix what was screwed up today. What a black hole for time, efficiency, logic, and justice that place is.

I will not mince words here: I HATE THE D.C. DMV. Hate. Hate. Hate.

If I had one final wish on my way out of here it would not be one of good fortunate for the DMV.

I really would like to spend more time and detail on exactly what my wishes for the DMV would be, but will refrain at the risk of landing myself in prison for expressing some highly illegal desires.

On the other hand, the afternoon was much more productive. I spent it with U-Haul getting the hitch put on my vehicle and all the wiring taken care of for the trailer.

I'm pretty darn proud of that hitch. I feel like my car has become a real Colorado car. Like putting it on there just made it more rugged and...mountain-y. It just makes me want to pull things - boats, snowmobiles, trailers filled with livestock...doesn't matter. I just want to pull it down the road!

Now, if the DMV would just get out of my way!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Memory Lane

I'm down to some serious packing right now.  The kind where you actually have to go through papers and random stuff you've socked away and forgotten about.

Some of it I've looked at and wondered why in the world I ever kept it in the first place.  Those items didn't make the cut.    

There were a couple finds, however, that brought me back. 

On the shelves in the wall by my bed, a stack of random booklets like "Our American Government," and "How Our Laws Are Made," have sat for, basically, ever.  Mixed in with these page turners were some (unused) journals, tourist pamphlets for places like Fredericksburg, Va., and Old Town's ghost and graveyard tour, a "Welcome to D.C." booklet, and a city map I remember pouring over so I might learn the town.

I wouldn't necessarily call any of those things real finds, but tucked in between all this was an old piece of paper I had written about three columns worth of places and things I wanted to see and do while I was here.  I remember adding to this list every time I learned of something new I wanted to experience.  (This was probably the first glimmerings of what many of you now know as "the book."  More on this later.)  In reading it over I had to chuckle.  The paper included things like going to Chinatown and Eastern Market, areas that have become so woven in to my D.C. life it's odd to think of them as specific destinations.  

The real gems, however, were the two old day planners from my first couple years in the city.  It was amazing to go through them and see what I had either plumb forgot, or what I remembered doing but couldn't remember when, but mostly the cool opportunities I've had while I was here.

I'm talking about going to lunches at the RNC, the National Press Club, or attending brownbags with the Senate Press Secretaries Association to listen to Tony Snow (of then Fox News Sunday), Ari Fleischer, and George Stephanopoulos.

There were countless Senate hearings and working group meetings marked so I would know when to be prepared to send my boss' statement to the press, edit and cut video and audio and reserve satellite feed time.  

There were life changing events like Jan. 22, 2001: my last day of work at Casper College; and Jan. 25, 2001: my first day of work for Senator Enzi.  Sept. 11 was noted in caps, and there was the Sept. 15 Senate prayer vigil that followed.     

There were events that some of the funniest stories came from, like the Enzi fundraiser where Sen. Lott tracked me down and made me take a picture with him.  I have to pause here to laugh...

Then there were the "every day" events like parties, happy hours (at Tequilla Grill!), concerts, etc.  And old traditions like the pumpkin carving party, and the first year we went apple picking.  

My D.C. readers won't find some of this very significant.  That's because this is what our D.C. lives are like, and what I've had the chance to do is very rarely unique to many in this town.

But they are still significant to me, to people outside the Beltway, and I hope to any family I might have myself one day.  I always wanted to live here, and these experiences are more than I could have hoped I would have.  

Oh, one last old checkbook.  The first check written?  June 4, 2001 to my realty company.  $664 for rent.  

My, how times have changed.    

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It's snowing today in D.C. - and sticking! This is pretty much a first for us this year. I just told a friend in Wyoming that I hope this results in a snowday tomorrow. She told me I sounded like a fourth grader.

I'm ok with that, for the next week and a half anyway. She lives in a part of the country where snowdays mean something entirely different, and I'm not gonna lie, I will rather miss a free day off here and there.

See, in D.C., if there's even a minute chance of snow during the day, schools will be delayed or closed, businesses will be on liberal leave, and the federal government will be monitoring the weather for early dismissal.

Out West? Forget it. The snow has to basically be half-way up your house for it to be mildly acceptable for a person to miss work. But even at that, you know deep down your employer is wondering why you didn't put chains on your tires and make it in. And if you don't have chains (and why wouldn't you?!) you could have snowshoed or skied there...

Ok, it might not be that hardcore, but the expectations are definitely different.

We haven't had a snow day yet this year, and while I agree with my friend that shutting down for an inch of snow is rather ridiculous, the fourth grader in me can't help but keep my fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lost and Found

A friend who plays in a band sent the following email last week.  It is by far the funniest quote of the week:

"Subject: Gonzo's Nose this Saturday

80s Night XII is this coming Saturday.  A couple of new tunes featuring moi, to boot.  Kara, if Kim Sears hasn't left town yet, this could be her last chance to find her purse! ..."

Ha.  Ha.

I don't think the back story is necessary here.  I know if you weren't around for "The Mystery of the Lost Purse" at the Clarendon Ballroom, it is highly likely you were there for "The Mystery of the Lost (Sometimes Stolen!) Something or Other" at Madhatter, Lucky Bar, Panache, Bistro du Coin, J.M.'s couch, a couple of cab rides here and there, etc.  And if you weren't lucky enough to ever actually witness a lost purse moment I know darn good and well you've heard about them.   

Having things lost - several times stolen - is kind of my M.O.  But very soon I will be testing my reputation in another town, leaving an open spot in the group that will need to be filled.

Who will fill this role when I'm gone?  Who will end everyone's night on an exciting and drama-filled note?  

It will need to be someone with the ability to get everyone running like mad around the bar, searching in vain under tables and in trash cans for the lost or stolen item(s).  Someone who can quickly learn the ins and outs of the D.C. DMV, the DCPD, insurance companies, and how they are supposed to work together.  The most important skill for this position, however, is the willingness to ruin bouncers, bartenders, bar owners/managers, or anyone in authority, particularly the DMV.  

I have a couple proteges in mind that I may pass the torch to, however, applications for this position are still available, and with two weeks left there is plenty of time to interview for the job. 

So, get going ladies and show me what you've got!     

Monday, February 11, 2008

Random Thought

I just walked in from the frigid weather D.C.'s been having the past couple days. It is COLD!

Good thing I'm moving to the mountains...


Yesterday I started packing – in earnest anyway.

I know this is generally pretty high on the list of priorities for a person about to move, but packing has really been the least of my concerns.

There are a few reasons, I’ve been telling myself, as to why I think this is.

First of all, I’m not a packrat. I get rid of things I don’t need. I don’t collect anything, I’m pretty good at throwing out papers, and what I do have is pretty organized.

Most of this is just my personality, but some of it is because I don’t have a lot of extra space to store a bunch of junk, which is my second reason. (The readers who have razzed me about this for years can just keep their comments to themselves here!)

Based on this I really have thought it won’t take me that long to throw what I do have into some boxes.

I realized yesterday this is not so.

Now, I’ve moved before, several times actually, but not in the past seven years. I kind of forgot there’s a whole sorting and weeding out process that a person about to move usually goes through. Shoot - the better part of my morning was spent trying on clothes I hadn’t worn in ages and trying to determine if I’d ever wear them again.

Then I remembered all the drawers where old CDs, stationary, wrapping paper, spare cell phones for just in case (this is necessary with my track record), tools, phone books, the harmonica I have yet to learn to play, markers, vases, etc., are stored.

So I got some boxes at the grocery store and got to work.

Let me clarify that yesterday was my first serious attempt at packing. I kind of started going through things last weekend, beginning with the books on the shelves by my bed. But after looking at the empty space I stopped. They just looked so bare. Then my imagination got the better of me and I thought, soon, this is the way the rest of my apartment will look.

In one swift second I could see the naked walls, the vacant shelves, the open spaces that I’ve filled over the last seven years…and reality hit me, along with a wave of emotion. I haven’t put a thing in a box since.

So, yesterday was a big step. I felt that, instead of talking about it, thinking about it, (blogging about it), and planning lots of dinners and happy hours because of it, I had finally started acting like a person about to leave. And I did it without any waterworks.

Does that mean I was totally unaffected? Of course not. I mean, come on, let’s be realistic here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Best Friends Forever?

There are times, particularly like tonight, that make the idea that I'm leaving hard to believe.  

Here I am, sitting in my perfectly in tact apartment without a box packed or a picture off the wall, after a fantastic night of martinis at the Russia House with friends.  Just another D.C. Friday night.

It makes me wonder a little bit about what my Friday nights in Colorado will be like.  I make it sound like it's another planet or something - like there will be no place to grab a nice dirty vodka martini on a Friday night there.  

I do think it will be different, however. 

I imagine all my Colorado martinis will be drunk by a crackling fire with snow swirling outside (regardless of the season) while herds of elk bugle in the evergreens beyond...  

Ok, that might be a little over the top.  

But a more realistic vision of where and with who I will be drinking those martinis is a little harder for me to conjure up.  

Truth is, despite living in Denver through junior high and most of high school, I don't really know the city that well at all.  And even though I know of a lot of old friends and acquaintances who live there, I certainly haven't kept in touch with most of them enough to be able to invite them out on a Friday (or Monday, or Thursday)  night for a drink. 

The knowledge that I have really no friends that can just meet me for a drink, or whatever activity, at the drop of a hat is exciting and a little disconcerting at the same time.

I'm looking forward to meeting new people and building new friendships, but what about my old reliables?  The ones I can call on to do whatever, whenever?  And, as I explore my new city and get to know all it's nooks and crannies, who will I be able to share my discoveries with?  

For a while, it will be my best friend in Vail who, for an unknown amount of time, I will be living with at first.  But there will come a time when (she's thanking her stars) I will have my own place, perhaps in Denver, and then what?

I'm not really concerned, I guess, just curious.

There's no way of knowing what will happen until I actually get there.  So, until then I will continue to enjoy my packed schedule of goodbye happy hours, dinners, coffees and lunches with my D.C. family and will keep looking forward to the new and unknown.  

Thursday, February 7, 2008

East v. West Smackdown!

D.C.'s got a lot of great stuff, but how does it stack up to Colorado?

The day after I made my decision I started to compare the two. I shared this with my sisters who also had some good ones. Here’s what we came up with:

Washington Monument v. Pike's Peak
Tubing trip v. Rafting trips
National Mall v. 16th St. Mall (ok, D.C. gets this one)
Mudslinging v. Gunslinging
Cherry Blossom 10-miler v. The Boulder Boulder
Potomac River v. Platte River (based on drinkability)
D.C. DMV v. Colorado DMV (Anyone's got to be better than D.C.)
Security Guards v. Cattlegaurds
Capitol Grille v. Traildust (it's got a slide!)
Heels v. Boots
Climbing the ladder v. Mountain climbing
Live to work v. Work to live
Motorcades v. Cattle drives
Yuengling v. Fat Tire (or Coors...ha)
Right-hand man v. Ranchhand
Tyson's Corner v. Cherry Creek
City lights v. Starlight
Wild life v. Wildlife
Politicians v. Cowboys
Crabcakes v. Rocky Mountain Oysters (hmmm…)
Capitol Hill v. Foothills

Alright, it may not be the most scientific of comparisons, but it's interesting!

Monday, February 4, 2008

One for the Road

Given my track record for having things stolen in D.C., and the bad omen I was apparently born under, most of you readers won't be a bit surprised to learn that another possession of mine has fallen into the hands of a D.C. criminal.

I understand that many of you might stop reading at this point. I mean, why waste time reading a story you've heard time and time again?

But for those of you who are still with me, let me fill you was my bike. (Quick aside - did PeeWee's Great Adventure pop into anyone else's head here except my sisters'?)


Twenty-six days before I'm supposed to leave - for a place where I can actually enjoy my bike - it's stolen.

What I would like to say is, “COME ON!! Give me a break! I can NOT believe this happened the month I’m supposed to leave!”

But I can’t. Because it’s simply so believable.

In fact, I would nearly go so far as to say this is pretty darn fitting. It just wouldn't feel right to leave without having at least one more thing stolen. It’s almost a little sweet. Like maybe the city was trying to say, "Here you go old pal…here's one for old time's sake!"

This was hardly my first reaction however. That was to curse like a sailor after my friend told me he didn't see it chained to his storage cage the way he left it.

You might be shocked to know that I still find it slightly curious, even after all the things stolen and knowing how my luck runs, that this has happened.

I mean, isn’t it a little baffling that, of the nearly 15 other bikes in the same area, some of them barely secured, that the thief would walk to the most hidden storage cage in the darkest corner of the parking garage and choose my bike?

I still kind of think so. Even with three incidents of grand theft auto, multiple purse, phone, and credit card thefts, and a number of other unlucky scenarios.

Even after all of that, I just don’t get it.

But maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe I’m just supposed to say, “Thanks, D.C., for helping me feel better about leaving and for doing little things like this to help ease the pain of our parting.”

See? That IS sweet!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winds of Change

Here I am, with a glass (or so) of red wine, about to recount the nuclear option I recently decided to pull on my life.

This is Kim's Colorado Countdown - or my thoughts on leaving a life in the nation's capitol for a life in the nation's playground.

The beginning:

My move back West has been a perfect storm brewing for a while now. I've been in D.C. for seven years - leaving on my eighth - and how long I would stay has always been in question. However, forever has never been an option. I always knew I would head back West, but I didn't know when that would be. Turns out it's within the next 30 days.
The thing about D.C. is it sucks you in. From the endless, upward bound jobs you can pad your resume with to the unending list of things to entertain yourself with, not to mention the sheer fact that you're living in the Capitol of the United States of America...and for a history buff like me, this is an absolute dream come true.

But, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I've spent most of my 20s in D.C., and as I enter a new decade of my life I have the itch to experience something new.

So, here I go...with no job, and no real plan but to live with my best friend of about 16 years in Colorado...

The first 24 hours of my decision were touch and go. I didn't know when I would break into tears - I was lucky to make it five minutes! I even bought waterproof mascara to shield me from any unexpected waterworks. But, as the minutes tick by I become more and more ok with my decision. That's because I know it's the right one. It's just a hard one.

You see, I've LOVED this city. Every nook and cranny...from the Love Cafe on U St., to the up and coming bars/restaurants on H St., or any other D.C. neighborhood, to the "Good Morning Man," in front of Union Station, to the way the light shines from the Capitol signifying they're still in session, to the way Lincoln presides over the Mall, to the rowers on the Potomac on my early morning runs, to the row houses that make you just see the Colonials walking the streets, to the smell of my local coffee house roasting coffee beans, to the way my peony blooms in my community garden, to the Bishop's Garden and the prayer rooms at the National Cathedral, to the white lights adorning my favorite tree in the city, to having a martini at Utopia, to hunting old books at Second Story, to Sunday mornings sipping tea and reading the Post in my breakfast nook, to Cups coffee shop trips in the Senate, to dancing late night with drinks from Edgar at the Hawk, to the church bells that ring all around me on Sunday mornings, to the chess players in Dupont Circle, to singing karaoke at Peyote, or Rockit Grill, or any other karaoke venue in the greater D.C. metro area, to the aging 1600 sign on my building, to the High Heel Races, to yearly orchard trips, to my favorite antiques store outside Leesburg, to Virginia wineries and The Railstop in The Plains, to the way the yellow paint on my walls changes shades depending on the sun's mood, to 24 hour weekends at Kramerbooks, to driving past major monuments on my way to Target for toothpaste, to Eastern Market Saturdays, to the all-you-can-eat Cherry Blossom sushi buffet at Sushi Taro, to a brunch of a bagel and cream cheese with lox at The Java House (the same place as the roasting beans), to the way the sky looks different every day around the Washington Monument, to how close you feel to the White House on the north side of the building, to having to change your running route because the president's helicopters are landing between the Lincoln and WWII, to my FAVORITE running strip on the Independence side of the Lincoln, and to the way the sky looks as I'm running that strip, to the Go Out Gurus and the Thursday edition of the City Guide, to happy hours at Rosemary's Thyme, to E. St. Cinema and the recently closing Dupont cinema, to a life-changing discovery of Splenditos at Helix, to ice skating at the National Gallery followed by hot toddies at the Tabbard, to UW watch parties at Crystal City, to finding a country dancing haven at Nick's, to COWPIE, to the sound of the geese and ducks on the pond between the WWII and Lincoln, to the Weeping Willow I pass right there while I'm running...goodness! I could go on. Especially if I started including all the personal memories and stories! This would become a run-on blog indeed!

The point is: I've had a lot of time to notice, experience, and LOVE the elbows and knees of D.C., or the otherwise not outright beautiful or obvious parts of the city... the parts only a person truly in love could appreciate - right down to the homeless villages around McPherson.

But, the time has come for a new love affair. I know it'll be hard to replace or compare some of the above, but I've got to try.'s to all the places I didn't mention but still love. Here's to all the memories not mentioned at's to my D.C.