October 29, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Last night was one of my most favorite times of the year: the High Heel Races in D.C.

Every year during the week of Halloween, one of the biggest gatherings of people and drag queens you might ever see gathers just one block from my old apartment.

Thousands - THOUSANDS - of people turn out to watch drag queens parade up and down the street then sprint two blocks in their highest of high heels.

It is trashy, crude, and not exactly PG. Man, it's great!

This isn't an event you just meander into either. It takes planning and coordination. The timing on everything has to be just right or you'll find yourself 10 people deep and not able to see a thing.

There is always pre-drinks, then staking out a piece of curb on the main, ahem, "drag."

Then, after the awe and excitement is over, there's the wandering around to gawk at costumes and snap pictures with your favorite drag dressers. Mine is always the super fancy group that picks a new theme each year and does something over the top elaborate - like Metro stops, or board games, or types of candy. Spectacular!

The closest thing I have here are the saloon girls that walk around town...

Here's a short little video to give you a taste of the night:

And some pics from last year's event:

The fancy group as board games...

And again...


The Spice Girls!

Mrs.(?) Clause...

I had to have my picture with these gals because I also own this exact costume! My make-up generally looks a lot better, however...

October 28, 2008

Random Pic

So random.

On the bar door of the Cowboy in Laramie.

I guess I should do as the sign says and ask the bartender about "what this means."

October 27, 2008

Rejection Slip

It's been months since I ended my job search, but remarkably those darned rejection letters keep trickling in.

I got one today from a job I had truly been interested in. It was in Vail and it was perfect. Right down my alley. I knew I could do it too.

But I never heard anything from them...until today!

Today - five months after sending in my resume. Today - four months after starting my current job. I don't get it - why post a job listing if you aren't going to fill it until five months later?

I'm confounded.

All of this being said, I'm really happy things worked out the way they did. I don't think I would have been as happy in Vail as I am here. Imagining a job and life in Vail is actually very strange. It just doesn't seem to fit like I thought then that it would.

However, I still can't help but scratch my head.

October 26, 2008

Random Weekend Pics

Climbers around the Turtle Rock trail between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Me at the trail head. If you look (very, very) closely you can see the climbers behind me...

The pass between Cheyenne and Laramie is notorious for wacky weather. And there is always wind. Always.


October 25, 2008

Dance Fever Danger

WARNING: Engaging in country swing may be dangerous to limbs and face.

* * * *

I've been country dancing for a long time. I love it. It's fun, it's crazy to watch, and it's a good, clean Western way to pass the time.

Beware, however: All that swinging, flipping, twirling and dipping certainly qualifies country dance as a full-contact sport.

Over the years I've been dropped, smacked, scraped, poked, and accidentally grabbed in places this type of dance doesn't really intend. Given the nature of the dance, I don't think these things are out of the ordinary for anyone who's ever tried it.

Getting a shiner, however, might be. After a pretzeling incident dancing at the Cowboy in Laramie last night, a black eye is exactly what I can now add to my list of country swing boo boos.

Some of you probably believe me because you know how much I like to swing. Others are likely thinking, "Sure, Kim. Way to cover for the bar room brawl you've had comin'." And since both of these are plausible, I'm sure there's a good-sized camp who don't know what to think.

I am thinking it's pretty darn funny. And kind of like a hard-core badge of country swing pride.

That said, I still might wear goggles - and not the beer kind - the next time I hit the floor.

October 22, 2008

He's Baa-ck!

But it wasn't for very long.

Tyler came blowin' into town last night like a tumblin' tumbleweed.

On his way to Omaha to see his sis, he stopped in Cheyenne to hang out for the night and check out my new life.

I showed him around town, we had dinner and drinks, and as T and I do, we went to a divy diner for breakfast.

This morning's pick was the Luxury Diner. Once inside, it really is more luxurious than a true divy place should be. But I still like it.

The place is a converted old rail car that doesn't seat very many.

They have a typical greasy spoon menu with eggs, burgers and such. But they also have some healthier options, which I think is nice (and which goes against everything a divy restaurant should be, I know).

One room is pretty devoted to trains, while the other has more of a 50s pop-culture theme.

The waitresses keep the coffee comin' and are down right attentive and nice.

After breakfast Tyler rode off into the...mid-day sun. I was bummed, but glad he got a taste of ol' Chey-town - literally and figuratively.

The lap o' luxury...

Since 1926 and still goin' strong...

Tyler agreed that his huevos rancheros were quite memorable...

Inside the train room...

Another greasy spoon success story!

October 21, 2008

Another Fall Photo

One more photo from this year's fall outing at the Colorado pumpkin patch. Me with friends Brandon, Annie and Don - oh, and Duffer and Naughty too...

October 20, 2008

Frontier Days Revisited

One of the photographers who's been attending Frontier Days for several years is a guy named Alwyn Spence.

Alwyn is from Ireland and is just cool. He has a cool accent, a cool personality, and of course is a really, really cool photog.

We spent more time with him than we did some of the other photographers. He's just a super nice guy who really enjoys capturing the "spirit of the West."

His rodeo gallery can be found at http://www.alwynspence.com, and you should pretty easily see the ones for Frontier Days 2008.

I'm in one of the photos... See how quickly you can find me too!

October 18, 2008

Time Machine

I just edited my blog profile so it no longer reads, "Former D.C.ite recently returned to the West."

I figure after 7 1/2 months I can no longer say my return is "recent." (I wonder if it's a coincidence that I am realizing this after also living in D.C. seven years...)

I can not believe it has been that long. Given how much I've done, and how many places I've "lived" since leaving I feel that it should seem like ages since I've left. It doesn't.

But when you really think about 7 1/2 months, that's a long time! And "a long time" is hardly the definition of recent.

So, here I am.

Simply returned.

October 17, 2008

Top o' the Mornin'

Between Union Station and the intersection every Senate staffer uses on their way to work from the Metro, there was a man who used to stand nearly every morning playing the saxophone.

It wasn't just the sound of his sax playing over rush hour traffic and mute Hill staffers who awkwardly pretend they aren't standing on a median with throngs of others that made him notable. It was also that he would stop playing periodically to yell, "Good morning, good MORNING, GOOD MORNING!" as we all stood there waiting for the light to change so we could rush by.

I called him the Good Morning Man. And I loved him. He was one of my many favorite, quirky things about D.C.

He always made me smile, and I was happy to see he generally got a positive response from others too. You couldn't help but say good morning back - whether you meant it, or it was frightened out of you.

I figure he's about one of the only people in the city that says good morning to people whether he knows them or not.

I did for a time. When I first moved there I'd say it to people I passed on my morning run, or on my way to the Metro, or to get coffee...exchanging good mornings is what I'd always done. But generally the person would be visibly surprised a stranger was talking to them and their attempt to respond would be too late - if they responded at all.

I finally caught on. You just don't do that in the "big city." People have no expectations of others being friendly, so why should they?

It's not like that here. You can hardly be out before noon without getting good morninged every where you go.

And I'm back to being one of the culprits. I pretty much good morning every one I see. Particularly on my morning run.

The East Coast may have it's lone Good Morning guy, but the West just got back another Good Morning Gal.

October 15, 2008

Lunch Longings

I've never really been one to go out for lunch every day, finding it more economical for my wallet and my waist if I bring my own.

Today, however, innocently sitting at my desk working on an article, I was struck with a very out of the blue thought: I really want a build-your-own salad and slab of bread from Cosi.

Oh man.

The number of BYO salads I have eaten from that chain is beyond counting. I have gone days on end eating them. It really started when I worked in an office downtown D.C., that was right above a Cosi. Not loving my other options in the area I would inevitably find myself choosing ingredients and munching on bread samples in the lunch line there.

I haven't once thought of Cosi since leaving D.C., and all of the sudden there it was: a sad longing for greens with low-fat ginger soy dressing and a hunk of their amazing - truly amazing - bread.

It was at that precise moment that Jonna called to say she was in Cheyenne shopping and would I like to go to lunch? A trip to the sushi place curbed my Cosi craving, but I'm worried it won't be for long...

I just peeked at their website to check locations and unless I want to drive to California, Oklahoma or Texas, I'm out of luck. And knowing I can't have it makes me want it a bit more than before.

So...I'll be expecting Cosi care packages from D.C., friends any day now, hint, hint...

October 14, 2008


Last weekend was UW's Homecoming, an event I haven't been to since leaving for D.C.

It was pretty tame - ok, nearly sedated - compared to my last one, but that was just fine. I still had a lot of fun and got to see some folks I hadn't seen in a long time, which is what Homecoming is mostly about now, I think.

I didn't go to the game or the parade, or really any formalized Homecoming events. But I did go country dancing, which is oddly something I haven't done since moving back West. I country danced more on the East Coast than out here. What's up with that?

So, since this is the most active thing I did all weekend that's what I'll share. Once Cindy downloads her photos I'll likely have some more to post. But until then:

Ah...The Cowboy. I really don't think I need to say anything more...

Me country swingin' with Cins. Where am I you ask? I'm that little patch of blue being strangled by a mess of hair...

Done swingin' with Cins and all grins because of it (and because I can breathe again after the attempted strangulation)...

Me and my girls in da' club...

There is one last photo I would LOVE to make my Friday Fave, but without naming names...the girl who shares a name with a month and who is standing next to me not in red wouldn't sign a photo release, so to speak. I'll work on her.

October 10, 2008

It's Really and Truly Official

The big news yesterday?

I can legitimately be called a Wyoming resident again! My new Wyoming drivers license came in the mail.

After months of switching addresses and license plates I have finally sealed the deal.

It was weird and fun to see my face by a bucking bronco and not to have the District of Columbia seal hanging over my head.

AND...Wyoming doesn't put your weight on there.

I showed it to everyone.

October 8, 2008

Shackin' Up

My office was showing a European Union representative and two British Consul Generals around yesterday. To show them a kitschy Wyoming good time we took them to The Bunkhouse.

The Bunkhouse is on Happy Jack Road between Cheyenne and Laramie. I had heard about this little gem of a hole in the wall before, but hadn't been there.

The Europeans (and me) got a kick out of the saddles, wildlife mounts, farm tools, and other junk on the walls. They have great steak, sentiments the Brits reiterated, and apparently there is a band at 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night. Talk about hook, line and sinker... I'm caught.

I've heard people like to stop here on their way back from Cowboys games in Laramie, which I will definitely now have to do.

I ended up talking to the owner for a bit and learned the Bunkhouse first opened in 1959. The owner told me the place gets an eclectic crowd and sometimes there'll even be horses hitched out front.

I *do* love places like this!

And...just 'cause. A pretty Wyoming sunset taken from the parking lot of the 'Bunk:

October 5, 2008

Fall Outing

Every fall in D.C., I would drag people out to a Virginia apple orchard for a day of country fun.

Yesterday, a few friends here helped me keep the tradition alive at a nearby pumpkin patch.

After swinging by the Cheyenne Farmer's Market we set off for a patch just over the Colorado border. It was a simple place - no hayrides, pumpkin cannons, mazes, or merchandise. Just pumpkins. And lots of them!

I didn't go too crazy - sticking with only three orange pumpkins and two white ones.

But from the looks of the back of my car, you'd wonder if we left any for other pickers...

A big draw at the farmer's market are the freshly roasted chili peppers. They cook them in what looks like an old lottery ball machine and you can smell them smokin' all through downtown...

The finished product. A bag of these babies is tucked away in my freezer...

Um...I'm not real sure what saloon girls and cowboys have to do with farmer's markets...but sure!

Me with my bounty...

October 3, 2008

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Explore Evanston, Wyo.)

That pretty much sums up my day on Thursday.

My day started before sunrise at a hangar at Cheyenne's airport. I was being sent to Evanston, Wyo., with some folks from work and the governor to take pictures of an event one of our programs was having there.

I hadn't been to Evanston in many, many years, and I must say: I was impressed.

The town has been very progressive in making improvements to its community - particularly in restoring old buildings to preserve their history and open them up for modern use.

The downtown was quaint, the people enthusiastic and nice, and the surrounding environment was pretty. Like I said, I was impressed.

We spent a lot of time at the old rail park, which they are revamping and turning into a community center of sorts with lots of space for a variety of functions.

One of the completed buildings is the old machine shop, which was awesome, and they are currently working on restoring the rail yard's old roundhouse. Train cars used to be loaded onto a giant wheel in the middle of the roundhouse which would spin to move the cars from one track to another. Their vision for the old building is pretty cool, and I definitely want to see it when it's done.

We also checked out the Evanston Hotel built in 1912. Our tour guide told us how it used to be the place to eat a nice dinner in town. Then it became the place to avoid when gambling moved in. The place got really rundown, but they are in the process of cleaning it up. It's nothing but a construction zone now, but you can see how it used to be nice. Their newest addition to the place is two pretty skylights, which I bet will look amazing in the renovated space.

Later we strolled down the Bear Parkway, the scenic recreation trail through town. The trail follows a river, and again the work they did was astounding. They apparently pulled mounds of trash from the river, then hauled I don't know how many tons of river rock in to shore up the banks and create waterfalls and eddies that are now used for recreational purposes. The trail runs about three miles one way and it isn't unusual to see moose in the path before you. It was really nice and very pretty, and in better shoes I would have been happy to walk the whole thing.

But I wasn't in good shoes at all. I was completely unprepared for the amount of walking we did. I thought we'd mostly be strolling around downtown, but no. After construction sites, tours of museums, about two miles down a recreation path, and yes, some stolling, my feet were on fire. Lesson learned: Bring something besides heels - even though they were low ones - on my next trip.

Fortunately, we also did some driving around, which me and my feet couldn't have been happier about.

After a long day we finally boarded the jet again for the 50 minute flight home.

Did I mention this is totally the way to go?

An old caboose (such a fun word to look at) at the rail park...

An old dining car at the rail park they want to maybe turn in to a diner...

Evanston's tribute to 9-11...

A gazebo and park they are working on to celebrate the history of the Asian culture that settled there...

The gazebo roof...

On the Bear Parkway recreation trail...

A fire pit on the Parkway. Oh, the social outings I would have here!

On the plane...

After the plane...exhausted, sore and happily at home...

October 1, 2008

Speaking of Worlds...

Yesterday was a whole new one.

A colleague and I had to meet up with K2 News, a Casper t.v. outlet, for work yesterday, and it just so happens their Cheyenne office is in the capitol building.

My coworker and I walked up the stairs to the front of the building, walked through the big front doors and, interestingly, kept right on walking to the K2 office without having to stop once for security purposes.

There were no metal detectors, no "capitol police," no getting wanded because your high heels set the detectors off, there wasn't even anybody who wanted to peek inside your purse. There was somebody behind a visitor desk, but they didn't say a word to us as we just breezed on by.

I know it's Wyoming 'n all, but still - it's the capitol!

I was amazed at how no one ever asked us our business, even as we went in to each of the chambers and meandered the halls waiting for our meeting to start.

Darn it all - it's things like this that make me love being back here.

It's just SO Wyoming, and sometimes SO a different world.

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