30 July 2010

A Bittersweet Farewell

Dear D.C. ~

You were my first.  And just like all first loves, I'll always remember you with bittersweet fondness and smiles.  There may be an ache from time to time tugging at the heartstrings.  And there may be times when I simply shake my head and think, "look how far I've come since then."

But not tonight.  Tonight, I thank you.  

I thank you for the memories.  Good, bad, mundane, never to be forgotten, and already forgotten.  Every single one of these lovely memories have made me who I am today.  And for that, D.C., I'll always love you. 

D.C., you were my first real taste of true independence.  

I flirted with you a time or two when I was a co-ed.  Came to visit you, was seduced by the charm of the moonlit monuments and the taste of the power to change the world and the sophisticated urbane lifestyle that contrasted so sharply with my college in the cornfields.  

I came to you, young and wide-eyed.  I was in awe of the big weighty importance that came with living in our capital city and working for the federal government of one of the world's most powerful countries.  I knew I would have adventures and I knew I would make mistakes.  But I also knew, somehow, amongst your infuriating traffic circles and Metro stations and marble hallways, I would be okay.  I could find my way. 

And I did.  I grew from the wide-eyed, cliche intern to a hard-core, jaded policy wonk who did big, important, world-changing things that really did (and still do) make a difference.  I educated myself -- in politics (both the traditional D.C. politics and the generic office kind), in getting around without a car, in matters of the heart and in matter of bed, in a Master's program and in how to switch jobs successfully, in just how much I can drink in a night and still function at work the next day, and in that the answer to almost all that bothers me is to walk, and walk, and walk some more. 

I wandered through history and the future and some neighborhoods my Mom shall never know about.  I read on the grounds of the National Cathedral when it was my backyard.  I learned that my favorite place in D.C. isn't quite in D.C., but rather, is that moment when the Yellow line pulls out over the Potomac and you can first glimpse my favorite monument -- Jefferson -- and the Washington Monument and there's a plane flying into DCA overhead and the moonlight reflects off the Potomac.  In that magic moment, I felt like this was my city and I belonged here right now right in that moment.

I picnicked at Jazz in the Garden and danced on rooftops with a view of the Washington Monument.  I discovered the best places to kiss and the best place to break hearts (ahem, I'm eying you, Chinatown Starbucks).  I found my favorite little dance place is the second floor in a now defunct jazz bar on U Street.  I mingled.  I shamelessly flirted for free drinks.  And I learned the seductive power of magnolias and dogwoods in the sultry June moonlight. 

I know you, D.C. I know Ben's Chili Bowl, and 5 Guys, and Wok N' Roll, and the best Fro-ZEN-Yo, and where to nap in the park on a lazy Saturday afternoon, and where to dance all night long, and what the sun looks like when it rises over the Capitol.  I know where the best daytime and nighttime views of the D.C. skyline can be found.  I know how to impress out-of-towners with my directions and knowledge of Metro turnstiles.  I know the best place to wait for a train in the Chinatown station and how to walk to just about anywhere in the city from Chinatown.  And if I got lost, I knew it was okay -- I'd find my way soon enough.  

Each of your neighborhoods - Chinatown, U Street, LeDroit, Capitol Hill, Tenleytown, Georgetown, Shaw, DuPont, Columbia Heights to name a few - represent a different stage of our love affair, D.C.  My co-ed visits, my intern days, my early working days, my stressed out, mono-haze grad education, my post-grad education, my "I can now afford to buy myself a decent drink" days.  Each of which holds their own special place in my heart. 

I learned what counts in love -- with people, with passions, and with places -- and, D.C., you've given me so many firsts.  First kisses.  First independence.  First taste of Ethiopian food.  First "I know where I am" moment -- literally and figuratively.  First jaded moment.  First sense of "I really do make a difference."  First courage to speak my mind and get exactly what I wanted.  First tears on the Metro.  First (and hopefully last) sound of gunshots on a summer night.  First trans-Atlantic phone call.  First discovery that I can and am living a life much larger than I ever dreamed possible.

And in addition to the treasures of firsts, D.C., you've given me some forevers too.  Forever friends, who, no matter how many miles are now between us, will always be there with a laugh and a hug for the good and the bad.  Forever proof that I can go anywhere on my own and thrive, not just survive, in the face of adversity and uncertainty.  Forever knowledge that the world is open to me, so long as I keep an open mind and a current passport.  Forever love, in the form of friendships, and in the form of this relationship that has me saying farewell to you, D.C.

But like most first loves, our love has become a love-hate relationship and has become stale.  So now is the time that I need to say goodbye.  It's time to pull myself out while there's still some love in this relationship.  It's time for new, and bigger, and different challenges.  And I truly can't wait.   But, D.C., you will always hold a special part in my heart because you opened the door to this new and wonderful life of mine. 

Thank you, D.C, for the memories. 
Love Always, 
KtMac

28 July 2010

Wednesday Wisdom: Alive

"Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

~ Howard Thurman


27 July 2010

KtMac Confessions: Relative Silence

Ahh peeps, so much to tell, so little time. 

As my last few days in D.C. wind down, I'm busier than ever - packing, saying farewells, and spending every possible moment with Joe - all while still working a 40-hour workweek.

So, expect relative silence over the next few weeks as I move, settle in, and go on vacation.  I'll still pop in from time to time, but for the most part, all the good posts will wait until later in August.

23 July 2010

* Drinking * Dancing * Debauchery * Departure *

You're invited!

Come wish us luck and send me off in style...

"KtMac is leaving DC for her native Midwest this month and she wants you to come join her in one last bash to make sure DC doesn't soon forget her and her antics.  Come join Washington's favorite sweetheart (and the guy that's stealing her away) Saturday, July 24th at the Big Hunt near Dupont Circle.  

Cover is a hug and your favorite Katie story (bonus points for embarrassing and titillating tidbits).  (FYI....the cover part is only being added to this invite under duress....)  The fun starts at 9, so don't miss out!"


In other words, be there or be square.

22 July 2010

Holding my Breath

Two years.  One month.  Eight days.  

I've held my breath and crossed the days off the calendar. 

Waited patiently and waited not-so-patiently.

Now?  These last few hours are going to kill me.  

Holding my breath and staring at my watch.

Oh peeps, it's going to be the longest morning ever.


20 July 2010

For the Last Time

Tonight, I kissed Joe for the last time via Skype.  

Tomorrow, he does his checkout paperwork and spends his last night in Albania in the capital. 

Thursday night, he will be home!

Finally.

KtMac Confessions: I Believe

Religion and politics should never be discussed in good company.  

In fact, neither will ever be discussed by me with the intent of swaying someone else.  Nor do y'all really need to know where I stand with organized religion and party politics. 

That said, today's confession:  I believe. 

I believe in a greater being and guardian angels. 

I believe that we are not alone.  That while life sucks sometimes, it balances itself out and really is amazing sometimes.  And I believe, through the ups and downs, we have guardian angels watching out over us.  I know mine is a man named Papa Lou.  I was "his girl" when he was still alive, and I know even after he died, Papa keeps watching out for his girl. 

Once in a while, those guardian angels send us little messages.  A few weeks ago, when Mama Mac came to visit, we were talking about Papa and how proud he would be and how much he would have loved my Joe.  And as we walked and talked, the biggest, yellowest, most beautiful butterfly I've ever seen came and stayed by our side. 

Then it was several dragonflies appearing out of nowhere.  There was also an old man who looked like the spitting image of Papa for a few minutes.  And you know what?  I really do believe Papa was letting us know he agreed with all we had to say.  

I also believe he's still watching over me.  I've seen a few more random dragonflies since then.  

19 July 2010

Awe

I've mentioned a time or two,  that all these changes coming up have involved a lot of people.  A lot of helping hands and generous hearts.  And truth be told, I'm in awe.  I'm completely blown away by helpful people have been, even if they were surprised by my decisions. 

So I owe a lot of thank yous.  From the bottom of my happy little heart.  My full to bursting heart.  And I owe a lifetime of favors.  Even to those I never thought would be on my side.  And that thrills me.  

Because, the way I see life is:  this is my life, my choice.  As long as I'm not hurting you, you should be okay with my choices.  After all, I'm the one who has to live with the outcomes.  No need for judgement on either end.  

And yes, my non-traditional actions have surprised us all, myself included.  But the truth is, I can't imagine doing it any other way.  So while there's definitely been some judgement passed down, there's been a lot more help pouring in.  

And that makes me feel even more confident in my decisions.  Because not only do I seem to have the stars on my side, I also have support from a lot of trusted, loved, and surprise sources.  And that, my friends, is an awesome feeling.

18 July 2010

Things I Wonder About

*  Why is packing tape so complicated?  Seriously, why?

*  Is it possible to have a break in the heat and humidity long enough for us to move out without needing a shower every five minutes?

*  Am I the only one who really believes that if something has a great review, I won't like it?  And if it has a bad review, I usually enjoy it?

*  How did I accumulate so many different cookbooks?  And why do I rarely use them?

*  What's so great about onions?

*  Why do Italian men just have "it" when it comes to fashion?


*  Why are we having a record-breaking hot summer?  Especially after breaking records for snowiest winter and hottest spring?  

*  How did I get such fantastic friends?

*  What memory will first pop to mind about my time in D.C. when I'm older?

*  How is it that the last few years have seemed so long and have flown right by?  All at once?

*  Will that good ole' Catholic guilt ever go away?

*  What will be my biggest, unexpected adjustment to the whole moving in with Joe, moving to Chicago, and telecommuting thing?

*  What do y'all think of the new blog design and layout?  New city, new life, new blog look. 

15 July 2010

One Week....

.....and I'll be the very happiest girl alive.


13 July 2010

Random Love Letters

Dear Mama Mac ~ 
Thank you for such a great last girls' weekend in D.C.  I love that we can laugh and laugh no matter what we're doing.  I'm so very glad we're the best of friends.  And I love that we now have "Segsy legs" from our sunset adventures on the Mall.  I can't wait to see you again soon!
Love, 
Your one and only KtMac

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Dear Nightly Thunderstorms ~
I adore you and your awesome, fierce beauty.  I adore doing nothing more than just laying back and watching you light up the sky.  Thank you for the seductive shows that lure me to sleep.  I sleep so well the nights you show up.  
Love, 
KtMac

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Dear New Boss at Work ~
I really am so excited to join your team.  I'm looking forward to the new challenges and new colleagues.  I'm also thrilled to be working with you.  I have a great feeling about our partnership.  
Best,
KtMac

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Dear Colleagues ~
Thank you for making it so easy to avoid grocery shopping.  I really do appreciate all the farewell lunches this week, even if my waistline is now expanding instead of shrinking.  I will miss you (sometimes at least!) and I have enjoyed working with you these last few years. 
Best, 
KtMac

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Dear D.C. Friends~
You helped me make a life in this city.  You helped me thrive instead of survive in a place where I knew nothing and no one.  You've made me laugh, dance, drink all night, share secrets, keep secrets, scheme, see the world, and learn that there truly are awesome people in the world who care about you just because you're you (and not because of what you can do for them).  Thank you all.  I'm going to miss you madly.  But, you know you have an open door and an open invite to visit....always, no matter where in the world I am. 
Love, 
KtMac

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Dear Chicago ~
Your siren call just keeps growing louder and louder.  I daydream about you.  Hell, I dream about you.  We are going to have so many wonderful memories together.  Can't wait to be yours soon. 
Love, 
KtMac

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Dear Joe ~
We're on the final countdown!  We're down to counting on our fingers.  And that makes me randomly burst into giggles throughout the day.  If my colleagues didn't know how close it was to your return, I'm sure they'd all think I'm nuts.  But the truth is, I am nuts, about you.  We've had some wonderful memories, and we're going to make so many more.  Our future is golden.  And I can't wait! 
Love, 
Your KtMac

06 July 2010

Creative Compliments: GREAT


"It's always a GREAT morning when I get the pleasure of seeing you smile!"

KtMac Confessions: Power of Positively Optimistic Thinking

Now that the big news is out, here's a secret I've been holding onto for an entire year.


See this picture?  I mentioned  how much I adored it a year ago.  What I didn't mention was that I bought it for myself.  Or that for the last year, it has sat in a frame on my desk.  In a spot where I could see it every single day.

See?  On the corner of my desk, along with copies of  very handsome PMac's grad pics.

Long before Chicago was a reality.  Long before Chicago was much more than a whispered hope amongst the somedays

Why?

Simply because I believed that if I saw an image of my wish every day, maybe someday it would come true. 

And now, it has.  It really has come true.

That, my friends, is the incredible power of positively optimistic thinking.

05 July 2010

The Name Game

My Love and I were talking about names this weekend.  More specifically how both our given names and our nicknames just seem to belong together.  (Cheesy, yes, but sweet.)  And then My Love asked me why I never named him by name on my blog.

I explained that I just gave everyone a nickname to preserve their privacy and perhaps to protect innocence.  He laughed and told me that not only is he unconcerned about his privacy, he wants you all to know just who he is.

So peeps, I formally introduce to you to Joe.  

My handsome Joe. 

Don't you think Joe and Katie and Katie and Joe and Joseph and Katherine and Katherine and Joseph just belong together?

Sappy cheesiness aside, now that you've met my Joe, I leave you with one word of warning....

Never, ever, ever call him Joey.  Ever.  The only person who is still allowed to call him Joey without immediate murder is his favorite cousin (and I suspect he's just waiting for her to call him Joey one time too many...).

02 July 2010

Dreams and Schemes and Life-Changing Things

Some hearts
They just get all the right breaks
Some hearts have the stars on their side
Some hearts
They just have it so easy
Some hearts just get lucky sometimes
Some hearts just get lucky, lucky sometimes

It's true, you know. 

Even now, now that it is definitely a reality, I can't believe I really am this lucky.  My Love and I really do have the stars on our side.

Remember how I've hinted a time or two about big changes coming my way?  Of course, if you know me in real life, you already know just what I was hinting at.  But the time is right, finally, to announce those changes to the universe.

June was a planning, praying, preparing month.  July is a life-changing month.

My Love comes home from the Peace Corps in Albania at the end of July.  Home to me, in D.C.

One week later we are moving. 

Oh yes

We are moving home to our favorite city. 


And really?  I couldn't be more thrilled.  Down to the tippy tip of my toes thrilled.  Wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-with-a-big-ole'-grin-thrilled.  Thrilled, I tell ya.


Yes, it is a huge move. 

Yes, it will change my life.

Yes, I have complete faith that it will only change my life for the better.


And really, it makes all the stress and loneliness and tears and settling for Skype dates and dreaming and hoping and wishing of the past few years worth it. 

The reason, the timing, and the ability to move have all perfectly collided, making several dreams come true all at once.


My Love is coming home. 

We're moving in together.

We'll be living in the greatest American city.

My Love will be pursuing his MBA at a great school in this greatest city. 

My Love will receive an amazing deal on his top-notch education.

I have new career challenges, but I also get to keep my job. 

The far-reaching abilities of modern technology is a powerful thing.  Telecommuting has made all this possible.


And so many things require so many thank yous to everyone who has helped make this all possible, who are supporting us, and will continue supporting us.  Thank you.  From the very bottom of my bursting-full-of-happiness heart.  Thank you


It really is true, isn't it?

Some hearts
They just get all the right breaks
Some hearts have the stars on their side
Some hearts
They just have it so easy
Some hearts just get lucky sometimes
Some hearts just get lucky, lucky sometimes

01 July 2010

Thursday Thoughts: Party Thoughts

 *  My bros know me so well.  They bought me the perfect birthday presents.  And then proceeded to give me shit for the rest of the weekend.  As if I expected anything different.


*  Grad parties are exhausting.  Doing all your own food for the grad party?  Even more exhausting.


*  Spent two days prepping for the party, one day cleaning up, and two days recovering.  But my bro deserved the acolades and celebration. 


*  I always hated it when old babysitters ran into me and said, "Oh my!  I can't believe how much you've grown!  I used to change your diapers."  But now?  Apparently I'm the babysitter who says that.  And it's so true.


*  Also, I was thrilled with some of the unsolicited bear hugs I got from my bros' friends.  Even if it took me a minute or two afterwards to figure out who the hell they were.  Why do they grow so damn tall?


*  At my middle bro's grad party, the award for most awkward moment goes to when a guy my parents went to high school with and whose kids I babysat kissed me goodbye, on the lips.  Traumatic memory.

*  At this grad party, the award for most awkward moment goes to my Aunt for asking me, as I cuddled and cooed over my cousin's new baby boy, if I was now bursting with lust to have a baby of my own.  How do you gracefully say, "oh hell no, I'm not interested, I have things to accomplish first, I'm okay with cuddling and cooing over sleepy babies but want to give them back when they make noise or smell, I want to be married, and just because we're the same age doesn't mean either of us should be having babies"?  And how do you say that without offense?


*  My bro was seriously the cutest chubbybubby baby.  Pictures posted at the party only reinforced that.  Now, he just looks devestatingly dashing in a white tuxedo.  And worse, he knows it.

*  All the party prep translated into very, very low-key birthdays for my Dad and I.  Truthfully, I was okay with that -- all I really wanted anyway was to be with my family. 


*  But tonight, belated celebratory swirly margaritas with my favorite ladies!  So excited!

*  Most importantly, 3 WEEKS!!!!


*  Oh holy shit.  I have so much to do and so many people to see in the next three weeks.  How'm I ever going to get it all done while staying chill and stress-free?

*  Kisses in 3 WEEKS!!!!!  Eh, everything else no longer matters. 

Lola Love

Even though she was my Aunt's dog, Lola was my dog too.  She drove me crazy, but we had a special bond every time I lived with my Aunt in Colorado. She actually listened to me (while always ignoring my Aunt), slept by my side, and was inspiring in her sassiness.  Seriously.  Lola was the sassiest dog I've ever met.

The world has one less beautiful, quirky, loveable dog named Lola.  I'm going to miss that girl.

 I hope you get to catch all the squirrels you chase now.