Friday, October 05, 2007

a belle farewell to the district

It's the last day. At the end of work today, I'll be leaving early, way too much luggage in tow, and off to catch a cab for Union Station. Tonight I'll be in NYC. Not in passing, but to stay. It's been a quick process to make the move up, but what can I say - I'm a rip the BandAid off kind of girl.

I will admit, I will most definitely not miss those ever-present politically charged conversations, peppered with names no one else knows or cares to know (especially yours truly!)... nor will I miss having to swipe one's Metro card upon entering AND exiting the Metro system. The thing I will absolutely not miss is the darn zones for the insane DC cab system. Dumb, dumb, dumb...

What will I miss the most? The people. All about the people. I will miss the air conditioned cars of the Metro. I'll miss my favorite restaurants. I'll miss Eastern Market and all of the wonderful local vendors. I'll miss my church and the pastor, who I absolutely think is the greatest. I'll miss my apartment with its washer and dryer in the unit. Man, I'll miss that one... but it's the price you pay for Manhattan, I guess.

And with my move outside of District lines into a land no one can claim is part of the cultural South, I figured it made sense to close out this chapter and formally begin a new one. This is of course going to remain up. I'd never take it down. But with all the changes on the horizon, thought a change was due here as well. My favorites from here though will remain linked in the new blog.

It'll likely be a while before I'm all set up with Internet access and the like, you you know you'll see me here (at the link below).

See you on the flip-side...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

simply see you later - not a goodbye

Last night was my pre-move gathering with my friends. We met up at Urbana for one last hurrah, since I anticipate tonight to be a scrubbin' fantastic time (as to avoid any fines/penalties for the apartment complex having to clean up after my two months of clearly filthy living). Sitting at the bar, it was comforting to be surrounded by familiar faces. Many that I see regularly. Some I wish I had seen more of in recent days. But I was reminded about the bad thing of being the common thread -- you just don't get to talk to each one enough.

So as the crowd dwindled down, I was a bit sad that so many that came (and thank you all for coming - it really means the world to me) I only was able to manage a brief exchange before they had to depart. As our group momentarily overtook the classy bar at Urbana, I was reminded of all of the fabulous people I've managed to encounter here in DC...

There's the Tour Guide... the longest standing DC connection. One of the few other University of Maryland Summer in Spain participants who was from another school. It's amazing how with some people you don't have to be physically present on an ongoing basis to still be able to develop a relationship strong enough that when you are face-to-face again, you forget there was ever a time where you were not. The TG summed it up perfectly in the card she gave me last night, saying she's glad that even though I ultimately ended up making the move I always thought I would make to NYC that I had a stop in DC along the way. I couldn't agree more.

There's the great group I was fortunate enough to encounter at church... from DrP to Tx to Coop to MM. It was the first time I'd had a chance to really talk a lot with Tx. Lots of special memories of ACL there. And I love talking music with Tx because she is passionate about it too. She'd never think I was crazy for flying to see multiple Tori Amos shows. DrP and I have the Southern connection. She's a Georgia gal and with my mom's family being from GA, we clicked instantly. I'll truly miss her, but she's one of those who will definitely stay in touch, so I know I will be seeing her soon and very soon. It's interesting all of the different levels on which you can truly connect with people.

There's my fellow Junior League New Member Group member, where we randomly found out that 1/2 our group was comprised of DC Bama girls. A Bama connection is hard to beat. And it's funny how one person can be your key ... a connection to a whole different set of people you never would have encountered. Or I guess I shouldn't say that... as one thing I've learned in DC is that it doesn't take long for you to bump into that same crowd from another angle. And it was through the Fashionista that I met WT, who will likely be my first in-house guest in November - and I just can't wait!

There's MsH. My lunch and shoe shopping buddy, who I will miss tremendously. Our frank lunchtime chats have remained a thing off the record for blog purposes, for sure - and definitely served to keep me sane during my time here in DC. Hopefully someday she'll forgive me for my exit just short of her housewarming party. I'll be thinking of you that weekend, and we'll just have to do the celebration separately. Thankfully today we can celebrate with one last lunch. I'll be thinking of you come lunchtime next week as I'm figuring out where on earth to eat my midday meal.

There's Rio, who's that friend who just gets you more than many others do. Where you don't have to explain yourself ad nauseum because they just know how to interpret the silence. I've never had another friend where we met in once city and then proceeded to run into one another in a different city. I hope he finds the warmth of the people of DC to be as rewarding as I have. It's great to have someone who loves photography to talk photos with. That's something on the to-find list once I settle into NYC.

And now the countdown's truly on. The boxes are overtaking me at this phase. I can't get to stuff for the heavy boxes obstructing my path through my little 615 square foot world. All my empty boxes are filled and I'm off to buy more last minute supplies tonight. I've gone through 300 feet of bubble wrap. I'm on my second box of 140 sheet wrapping paper. I have my shirt for tomorrow and a pair of jeans out. That's it. Oh, and five pairs of shoes...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

weekend review: when did mötley crüe become classic rock?

I'd told Tam all about the glory of the Legwarmers concerts. 80's music... live... people in costume... what more do you need? It seemed like an appropriate send-off to be a part of my last weekend-ing in DC. The Mack and the Fashionista had hit up Goodwill and the Salvation Army. I couldn't bring myself to buy more themed apparel though to add to my dwindling stash clutter, having donated so much to those very organizations. Instead, I pulled back out my short denim skirt and a pair of my trusty legwarmers and made do with what was left in my apartment (which isn't too much). To add a little umph, Tam and I put Buckeye's unused crimper set to use. Too fun. We gained a full appreciation for the time and dedication it takes to properly crimp.

We all convened at AR's place in Balllllllston beforehand. We parked at the mall and walked over and were clearly walking conversation pieces all along the way. We hadn't even left my apartment complex to go over to Ballston before we had our first comments, which continued throughout the course of the evening. Hey, it's nice when you're going over the top to at least be appreciated ;-) GH, who works for NBC, was on hand to also help to document the event. We ended up on the website, including a picture with one of the lead singers.

Unlike my prior outing, the plan was to make it until the last song on the setlist, with my hope being that they would not opt for an hour intermission during this show. However, shortly after intermission this girl in the crowd decided to up and punch one of the Mack's friends in the face - not once, not twice, but three times. In all of the times I've been to such events, crammed in the middle of tons and tons of dancing people, I'd never seen anything like this firsthand. So not even 15 minutes post-intermission, our group quickly was split in half. For the record, I just don't get people who expect to be in the midst of a crowd like that and have some sort of space bubble around them. If that's your deal, um stay further back? Or perhaps just don't leave home...

Anyhow, the rest of the show was a blast... Tam, KK, and SR danced it up with me in fine fashion. I was definitely glad I was able to see them one last time. Very fun.

Sunday my church did a nice farewell for me. It was the first time I almost cried, as Tx came up to give me a big hug, not letting go. Yes, it will be the people I'll truly miss... Tam and I then hit up Kramerbooks for brunch. It seemed appropriate the weekend included both Kramers and Lauriol, my true original DC staples.

And after today, it'll only be 2 days more...

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Monday, October 01, 2007

when the black horse upgrades

I like those few CDs where you are content to click play on the CD player and let it run its course, start to finish. Put it on repeat? Sure, why not - 'cause it's that good. At last year's Austin City Limits, I was introduced to KT Tunstall. She was playing midday and my friend Tx was all about seeing her.

"KT Tunstall? Who?" I asked, a puzzled look on my face.

"Oh she sings that song 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree'. I'm sure you've heard it," she replied. Hmmmm. I was sure I'd heard it at some point, but was drawing a blank. Since we had been switching off who chose the next stage to check out, I nodded in agreement and figured I'd give her setlist a try.

And boy I was not disappointed. Still a relative newcomer to the musical scene, KT had an instantaneous stage presence typically reserved for those who have long been on the concert circuit. Her brief exchanges with the audience were confident, serving to accentuate an absolutely fantastic setlist. Her stage set-up was simplistic - a few basic rugs and just her and her guitar, oh and her bare feet. I was hooked instantly. What was one of my first post-ACL purchases? That would be Eye to the Telescope, her first major release.

The bigger known cuts from her first album would definitely include "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See", which has seemingly popped up all over from the recent movie The Devil Wears Prada to accompanying Meredith Gray's dancing in a poignant moment on Gray's Anatomy. The album has an interesting mix of pop/rock with bluesy overtones, and it works. My favorite from the album is "Through the Dark", the final haunting track focusing on the uncertainty of the future. The lyrics emphasize finding strength to make it through hard times where you just do not know if there's a reason to even expend energy hoping for what you feel you need.

When I saw on iTunes that KT had a new release slated for mid-September of this year, I did the pre-sale right away. And when iTunes wasn't showing it in my pending downloads the morning it was released, I was annoyed and found myself purchasing it - again. On the train ride up to NYC that evening, en route to my interview for the job I will be starting next Monday in Manhattan, I was again much impressed. Sophomore slump? Not here. Although I guess if you count in her live album, Accoustic Extravaganza, this release is technically number three.

I'd been addicted to Hold On since it was put up on MySpace. I remember listening to it one of the first days I was able to go without a cast after my broken foot and I quickly found myself dancing en route to the subway, just smiling back at those passing by gazing at my twitching feet. It's just one of those songs where you have to dance. It definitely serves as a strong and catchy first single track from the album, with energy comparable to KT's prior major singles, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See".

Drastic Fantastic has a mixture of the honesty of Eye to the Telescope with I think an edgy quality more prevalent in Accoustic Extravaganza. The bluesy element fades here, but the combination between pop and rock still remains - without any of the cliche sound often times classified as rock. There are albums with strong lyrics and there are those with fantastic melodies and interesting combinations of musical elements. Drastic Fantastic is solid on both accounts. It starts off on a powerful note with "Little Favours" and from there continues through a series of peaks and valleys, with the ultimate crescendo at "Hold On". Like Eye to the Telescope, Drastic Fantastic rounds out with the overall calmer yet still intinsive lyrics of "Someday Soon" and "Paper Aeroplane".

Lyrics in songs such as "If Only" and "I Don't Want You Now" show a unique balance between the sentiments of a strong and independent woman along with the occasional realities of those moments of doubt, captured especially well in my opinion in songs such as "Saving My Face". With Drastic Fantastic, KT has solidified she's a consistent entertainer who we'll be seeing more of in the years to come, for sure. I love Eye to the Telescope but in my opinion, Drastic Fantastic takes it up - a notch.


Check out KT's upcoming tour, including stops in the below cities:

  • November 13 - Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon
  • November 17 - Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre
  • November 21 - NYC, NY @ Roseland

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

me, myself & my two legs

After a looooong cab ride to the Greenbelt metro station from Laurel, MD I'm officially car-free. I almost made it a year with my car, but I must admit it's kind of nice to be back to solely public transit. It will be all too easy to take the payments previously made to Honda Financing and All State and reallocate them to the NYC landlord. No sweat at all.

My kitchen table is officially gone. I finally found someone non-flaky who picked it up last night. My living room instantaneously went from crowded to empty, soon to be filled with even more cardboard boxes.

Tam arrived into town last night. We met KM and headed to Lauriol Plaza, a definite must for my last weekend in DC. It's like things have come full circle. Lauriol was one of the first restaurants the Tour Guide took me to back in 2005 pre-move.

Afterwards, Tam and I headed to DC9 where I'd surprisingly never been and was one of her faves. Friday night is their Liberation Dance Party. Fabulous and occasionally fabulously hideous music. We had a perfect seat to take in some of the fantastic people watching right in our line of sight. There weren't many people on the dance floor, but definitely those there were amusement enough for us. It was good to catch up though. We called it an early night to save steam for Saturday.

Tonight it's time for some fantastic 80's cover action and theme attire, of course. I decided any dancing for this weekend should likely be reserved for Saturday. Thought the healing foot would appreciate that. Cause I'm still preoccupied with 19... 19... 1985!

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, September 28, 2007

farewell barry white

I hurried onto the metro this morning. I can't seem to stop packing. I start and before I know it, it's after midnight. Or, in the case of this morning, I start going through bubble wrap and packing tape right and left - taking on more than I have time to handle and I just happen to stop to look up for 5 seconds to see it is 15 minutes past when I have to leave to go to work. Argh.

I barely made it onto the train. I like that there are so many seats on the train for those wonderful, coveted rides where there happens to be few enough passengers that you actually get to indulge in sitting in one of them. More often than not though, in the early hours of morning rush hour, that's not going to happen. Instead, the fantastic space-hogging layout of WMATA's cars equates to not enough room for all of the passengers cramming in to go downtown on the orange line. I will add that to my list of things I will not miss about DC's metro.

I crammed myself in, just as some guy stomped on my healing broken foot. Nice, guy - thanks. My mood was instantly alleviated as the beautiful booming voice of the Barry White train operator came over the intercom. Ahhhhh. His version of "New Carrollton" was not quite as inspiring as "Vienna - Fairfax", but almost! And to think, he was one thing on my list of one-more-time-pre-move-must-do's - clearly an uncontrollable one at that. How nice of him to offer to help me add that check mark. Much appreciated.

So packing is going well. Last night I signed my intent to vacate with my apartment complex -- so my fantastic 615 square foot slice of Arlington will be on the market this weekend. I made my last run to the UHaul store. Tonight I have someone coming over to take my kitchen table, which should make my apartment more Manhattan friendly.

I'm looking forward to Tam's arrival tonight. As much as I could really use the whole weekend to pack, I think some distraction and downtime is exactly what I need to give me some extra umph to go into the final week of insanity.

The countdown has begun...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

operation down-size

What do you do when you move from DC to NYC? You try to take a reasonably sized smallish 1 bedroom and figure out as many corners as possible you can cut to eliminate even more of your smallish collection of most prized possesions (saving, of course, all 35-40 boxes of shoes - because those are non-negotiable).

What have I been doing to work towards accomplishing this ultimate goal? The initial step was throwing out all of my CD cases. Liberating. Next, I've been hand-folding all of my clothing and putting them into boxes and as I am doing so, I'm weeding out those things I never wear that I've held on to for many many shameless years. No mas. Poof. Gone. Now in the Trader Joe paper bags and soon to be happily en route to Good Will. What else? I have suits that are 2 sizes too big that I have not worn since college. Where are those going? You guessed it - donation. It's amazing how quickly you can compress your world down!

Next step? I'm selling my kitchen table. It's part of my congrats-you're-a-big-girl-and-got-your-first-real-job collection (circa 2005), but has been more of a large placeholder in my apartment because as I sadly own up to from time to time, I am not quite the world's greatest cook. Someday I'll be cooking, but in the meantime I'm not going to hurt in my wallet for a big hunk of wood that no one's eating on. Hopefully soon to say *POOF*, also gone...

I guess those who focus on the possibility of having spacious living arrangements will cringe at this next comment, but I'm still excited. Give me a cardboard box but let it overlook Manhattan in some way, and I'll be as content as can be. Bring it on ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

i felt a change a' comin' soon...

Perhaps it's been noticeable I've been a bit on the quiet side as of late. It happens. Sometimes things get busy. Sometimes I'm just feeling on the unsocial side. Or sometimes, it's because I'm having to highly censor life, and there's just not a lot to trickle through.

This time, it's the last scenario...

Rewind... so, a week and a half ago, I had a phone screen (first interview) with my former employer from Miami, but this time for their NYC office. The same team I used to work with closely from South Florida had an opening in their NYC headquarters location. And the job was ideal. Seemingly perfect.

I came across all of this following my Labor Day trip to NYC, as I'd finally allowed myself to admit that what I was doing career-wise was not where I wanted to be. I was getting specialized. Way too specialized. And in something my heart was not into. Somehow, it wasn't until I was practically fully out of the international realm that I realizes that was where I wanted to be. So some emails, some resumes, and I found myself on a phone call with a former colleague, who is also the manager for this role.

Last week on Tuesday evening, they brought me up to NYC for the on-site and final interview. And what a nightmare of a trip up it was... along with a night of missed connections. The interview went great. It was one of those things where you just feel at home. I was surrounded by familiar faces back in the crazy corporate environment I missed so much. It just made sense.

I was afraid it would be a long and torturous process, having experienced the bureaucracy on the hiring process upon other instances. I was surprised to receive the verbal offer last Thursday, with the final offer coming midday Friday. Noon on Friday, I was sitting in front of my manager, giving my two weeks notice.

But didn't I just move? Oh yes. Clearly, it is my joy in life. And back to those lovely cardboard boxes I've gone. Didn't I just sign a one year lease? Again, all details.

So the weekend has become a hodge podge of this and that, heavily focused on frantic get-it-accomplished-ASAP packing. I feel like I may have given a kidney to Goodwill by accident. I've had my car appraised by CarMax, where I will probably be robbed unless someone would like to make me a fabulous offer. I've reserved the loading dock at my apartment complex from when I'm guessing... errrr hoping to be coming back to meet the movers to load up my stuff to head north.

Literally, I'm off in two weeks -- Manhattan bound. People have asked why I didn't ask for extra time to move up. The answer is that in a way, I'm choosing this. I'm not good with goodbyes. Never been a forte of mine, and I don't see that as a negative by any means. Most of my friends learned the news midday Friday, as the Tour Guide sent out an Evite for a farewell happy hour. I hate goodbyes and it's the people that have made DC, and I knew those very same people all knowing the play-by-play prior to seeing if this would go through would make the decision process more difficult for me... and so, here I am.

And that's the scoop, before me and my cardboard box cut hands fall asleep over my laptop. I'm excited about the next chapter. I don't feel nervous. It just feels right.

Monday, September 17, 2007

how to make a beautiful life

Birthdays are another of many types of new years... your personal new year of sorts. The Fashionista gave me a really neat symbolic gift... two necklaces. One has a small silver dove, for when I am feeling free as a bird. The other has a pair of silver hearts, so whenever I'm feeling down I can wear my heart on my neck and not on my sleeve. I really like that (today - I'm wearing the dove).

My parents sent me a birthday card. The poem inside, no credit info beyond Hallmark, really struck me as well. Just in case I should somehow lose it, I wanted to include its words here to share as well...

Love yourself.
MAKE PEACE with who you are
and where you are
at this moment in time.

Listen to your heart.
If you can't hear what it's saying
in this noisy world,
MAKE TIME for yourself.
Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.

Take chances.
Life can be messy
and confusing at times,
but it's also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path
might be a stepping stone.

Be happy.
When you don't have what you want,
want what you have.
That's a well-kept secret of contentment.

There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to MAKE YOUR OWN WAY.
To know where you're going
is only part of it.
You need to know where you've been, too.
And if you ever get lost, don't worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.

Life isn't days and years.
It's what you do with time
and with all the goodness and grace
that's inside you.
The kind of life you deserve.

(* Original poem said "MAKE DO", but my mom revised and personally, I prefer the revision)

Here's to hoping year 2-8 means many wonderful days in store and, of course, nothing but the best surprises around each bend.

Friday, September 14, 2007

weekend review: 'cause i'm the birthday girl, that's why...

I love the places that wish you happy birthday... Friday morning I found emails from Borders Rewards, MyCoke Rewards, and my Allstate Agent in my inbox. Awwww. So nice to feel loved, even by Coca-Cola.

I'll be honest, I didn't get much of anything done all day at work on Friday. With my phone set to vibrate, it was bouncing all around the desk all day as friends called, sent e-mails, e-cards, and posted comments on MySpace and Facebook. I was planning to offset this with working through lunch, but when Rio heard
I was lunch plan-less on my birthday, we made impromptu plans to head to my favorite, Cafe Soleil - which we capped off with their fantastic chocolate mousse. I came back to the office to 15 minutes later be whisked into a surprise birthday celebration, complete with homemade German chocolate cake. Yes, more chocolate. I don't know that I can be legally held responsible for not being productive post-lunch with all that sugar.

For dinner, I'd made a reservation for me and the ladies to check out a spot I'd never been to before, Sesto Senso. The DG and I arrived before the rest of the crew. She offered to buy me a glass of wine and we were planning on drying off and catching up before the others arrived. We ran into two gentleman at the bar, one whose cousin owned the place, who insisted on getting us a couple of glasses of wine. Fine. So we were chatting a bit with them before they learned it was my birthday. Well, oh my then, they were insistent on ordering a bottle of Dom Perignon. The DG and I soon found ourselves with two glasses -- one wine and one champagne. Classy... the ladies soon showed up and we bid them adieu and made our way to our table.

What a nice restaurant... our new "friends" sent over some appetizers to begin, which were definitely appreciated by the table. The conversation was quite amusing, centering on one particular friend's recent encounters with um let's just say an especially challenged male on He felt the need to explain that he was a habitual liar, even going on to state he wanted to be able to date but yet still keep his wife. Tip for the day... while females do tend to want closure and explanations in situations, sometimes silence is the best option!

Saturday was the Virginia Wine Festival. What could be more appropriate for my birthday weekend? We crawled out of bed bright and early to hike all the way to the end of the orange line to meet up with our bus at the Vienna metro with plenty of time to spare for our 10AM departure. The five of us made our way straight to the back, so we'd span window to window. We were just about to seek out someone to take a picture of us, when one gentleman, laughing, said we had to have a photo. Well, since you asked... instantly, there were 3-4 cameras out, on, and all five of us were smiling in his direction. =) MsH and JS had plans for the evening... the rest of us thought they were nuts, saying our plans for the evening consisted of nada, nada, nada. I said I'm going out... like a light on my futon. I am clearly a psychic (just ask my futon).

The festival was at the Morven Park Equestrian Center. The weather was beautiful, but a tad bit colder than anticipated and wind definitely amplifying the drop in temps. I soon found myself an owner of a threads of peace (?) sweatshirt. How do I always seem to find myself purchasing emergency sweatshirts? Oh well. Virginia vineyards might not be quite on par with California, but not all half-bad. I found myself coming home with five bottles -- three from Lake Anna Winery (Spotsylvania Claret, Lakeside Sunset, and Totally White), Rebec Vineyards (Autumn Glow - a fascinating blend of a Riesling and Cabernet Franc, love it!), and Kluge Estate (Cru - a Chardonnay made from grapes "fortified" with brandy and then aged in Jack Daniel's barrels - truly unique).

We met fantastic and friendly people everywhere we went, from the tasting tables to the line at the port-o-potty, where one time we encountered a couple of nice people, one who shared their recent purchase at the tasting table, a blush called "Fiesta". We later met a gentleman who said his daughter would have fit in perfectly with our crew. She had passed away from meningitis some years ago. It was a sweet moment.

It was close to 5:30 by the time we boarded the bus, where we were greeted by a small package of Hershey's Cacao Reserve. Mmmmm. We had basically devoured them when one of the group noted "um, the expiration date is July 2007?". Pish posh. We didn't let that keep us from our chocolate.

At 7pm as I arrived home, I was definitely happy with the birthday weekend. It was a weekend surrounded by friends and fun. I couldn't ask for more.

And now, I'm just refusing to acknowledge Monday's arrival, because I'm just going to keep living in weekend birthday mode...

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