Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hobbies and travel

Hobbies?  Anyone?  Any suggestions?
At one point, I did, in fact, know how to crochet.  I was ten or eleven but I could crochet a pot holder.  I learned to knit, too.  Well, sort of.  I never fully embraced that skill set.  Looking back, I wish I had paid more attention to some of these hobbies offered in 4H.  Crafting, creating art or gifts.  My mom has always cross stitched.  I did not have the patience for that one.  Too much detail and sitting.
I think I am considering a hobby or distraction after talking to my friend, Jan.  She went to some metal works class with some of our mutual friends.  It sounded fun and something different.  Of course, adult beverages were involved knowing her.  She made an outlet cover with some design.  Cute way to customize a room in a small way.  I would do it. 
I have been reading more.  It is an enjoyable hobby.  Can be done anywhere and is a great way to use a few hours up.  Coincides with my mid work schedule too.  It has been challenging to work the mid shift mostly because I do not have enough time to return home on my break.  I stay downtown and either grab lunch or run errands that I can do in the metro area.  Reading has been added to keep me busy during the break.  I either borrow books from the free libraries that are conveniently located in neighborhoods or buy used books. I alternate and contribute to the free library system myself.  I agreed to a gift exchange around the time of Christmas with some friends from Tucson.  I sent a book to some random guy--Love in the Time of Cholera--great book, I think.  I have not received a book from my string of people that agreed to do this.  Somewhat bummed since it is a neat idea and way to connect through books.  There is hope that I will eventually receive something. 
Until then, I continue to peruse the free neighborhood libraries.  And consider a new hobby to embark on.  Photography?  Home mec type of skills?  Metal fabrication?  Painting? 
In the physical sense, I feel a return to running.  I would like to sign up for a half marathon to motivate me to actually embark on running.  Maybe a fall trip.  I was talking to my sister yesterday and considering trips for the remainder of the year.  Seems my year is filling up quickly.  Palm Springs, Kansas, Aspen, Puerto Rico, Kansas, maybe Chicago and another return to Santa Fe and perhaps, D.C. or Texas.  I have been invited to three weddings this year.  Two are destination weddings.  For sure, I will go to Puerto Rico.  I wish that I could attend my friend's wedding in Tulum.  I just don't think I can swing it. I am considering if and I could take off from work and make it happen.  It's my old boss that I adore and am truly happy for his upcoming wedding.  I would love to share in the day with them in Tulum.  We will see.  He texted me last night to remind me of the event and gave me shit about basketball.  I received many texts last night about that game.  Tragic and difficult to watch.  Every time I was able to look up, we were throwing up a quick shot that did not complete the play or watching the score advance in the ducks favor.  I stopped watching as it was completely making me nuts! 
Heading to yoga to see what is out there.  Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Adventure in New Mexico

The view from my airbnb in Santa Fe...gorgeous.  Such an enchanting sight and peaceful, serene, tranquil.  I had considered a trip earlier in March and chose to make it happen with three days off in a row.  Initially, I planned on going solo and then thought better of it.  I asked Maghan if he would like to join me and he did.  Last year, we had made a similar venture down to Santa Fe but our visit was cut short due to weather.  We hit snow both ways.  The first day we spent six hours in the same spot about 20 miles south of Denver.  Eventually, we were able to return to Denver after exhausting our options in Castle Rock.  We tried to acquire a hotel room but everything was booked.  It was brutal!
This time the weather was glorious.  Easy drive down with a stop in Rye for a quick lunch and beer.  I love this roadside cafĂ© that is an ideal spot to break up the drive.  Always great service and the beer selection is fine.  After the mini stop we continued into New Mexico and arrived in Santa Fe around 5 pm.  Found our rental for the next few days and settled in.  Translation, opened some bubbles and took in the view.  Delightful.
Dinner was spent at La Choza with friends.  I always manage to dine here on my visits.  If not once, then twice.  Always a treat and fun experience.  This time was no different.  Melody and Clayton joined us for a nice meal.  I met Melody in 2004 and we have remained friends from my annual visits and brief living in Santa Fe.  She celebrated my celebration in New Orleans last year, for example.  She is that type of friend--long lasting.  We sampled guacamole, pork tamales, enchilada and green chile.  That is, by far, the best.  I love the chile!  Oh, and the silver coins are a must while dining there, too.
Ojo Caliente was definitely in the cards this visit.  What a glorious way to spend a Thursday. 
We soaked, steamed and felt extremely rejuvenated.  Afterwards, we drank some wine on their restaurant porch and continued to relax.  I drove us back to Santa Fe before making reservations at a French spot.  Delicious.  The entire trip revolved around food, wine and relaxing.  Epic adventure!
It feels nice to be back and figuring out an upcoming adventure.  Seeing Aspen in my future along with Kansas and Puerto Rico.  My friends are getting married there later this year and my youngest sister is exchanging vows in Kansas.  It will be a great year of travel and food.  I may even return to making this more of a priority.  I have been getting distracted by little stuff.  I should be free flowing more here.  Hoping to make it happen.  Cheers!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

the last five days

Five days of clarity or no drinking wine.  I chose to take some time off before my trip to detox. And being totally honest--to look better in my bikini.  Heading to Cartagena next week and I know that I will be sporting a bikini and a sarong for a good portion of the trip.  Why wouldn't I?  Gorgeous weather, the beach and a cabana boy if all goes right.
In those five days, I have learned that I do enjoy cooking at my house, some recipes sound good but are not executed well and that whole foods changed their carrot cake.  I am super bummed about the last one.  I do not know why they would alter that recipe.  Yet, they did and it is a poor substitute for the original.
I have made roasted beets and potatoes.  Both of those turned out well.  I partnered the potatoes with store bought green chile.  I always crave chile when it is cold.  I guess Santa Fe did speak to me on many levels.  I dream about the chile there.  I attempted roasted eggplant which was a disaster.  I have pan fried it before which has worked.  This method did not work for me.  Granted it was sort of an afterthought.  I cut the eggplant in half, then quartered and threw salt on it with olive oil.  Some.  I definitely did not put any love into it. I put it on a roasting dish and forgot about it.  When I went to flip the eggplant I recognized my mistake.  It was a soggy mess.
Many salads, some homemade sandwiches and of course, roasted chicken.  I cheated and bought that too.  Overall, it has been a sleep induced week.  I've caught up on sleep, bought shoes and done more TRX classes. I am sad that the studio I found is closing after this month due to landlord wishes and tenant needs.  I have found that I really enjoy the resistance training and full body work out that ensues.  Unfortunately, I have not found many options in Denver to support my desire.  If only I had found the studio in Santa Fe.  I would be buff. 
I suppose I could find a trainer.  I think that is my next purchase of the year.  A healthy lifestyle change supported by exercise.  Must find a trainer that I respect and who will challenge me.  There are options at the gym I am a member of.  I haven't been inspired by what I have seen in that department.  My experience is limited so I could research it more to truly form an opinion.  There is a girl that I believe would push me to my limit.  However, she is on maternity leave for the next three months. 
I arranged a pedicure which is always a necessity in my life.  Fantastic calf massage.  That is why I like pedicures.  Not so much for the painted toes.  I prefer that massage work.  It is such a treat!
Matt and I did a yoga class together.  It feels more natural now.  The language, cadence and rhythm of the class.  Eventually, I should focus on teaching only and not practice alongside.  However, I do enjoy feeling how my flow works.  If the transition is forced or organic.  After our class, Matt told me it was his favorite.  I realized that I designed the class to reach a posture and incorporated a build up to that end which truly worked.  As always, I started with many sun As and sun B's.  I prefer this way to warm up the core and feel that it works the best.  I do appreciate my astanga background.  Maybe I will find a class while in Columbia. I think Cody would be interested too.
Heading to Barre with Shannon.  She is my favorite instructor.  Always a challenging sequence and great music.  I love it!
Outside of that, I do have a few more days of preparation before getting my stamp.  It is time!  I think I might be able to do one of two more this year.  Why not?
Til then, enjoy your day.  Make the most of it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

more thoughts on resolutions and interesting cues

2017 brings more decisions about cooking at home.  I think back on the last year and consider how much money I spent on take-out, dining out, etc.  It's more convenient to pick up a salad then actually assemble it myself. 
Last night after work I went to a yoga class.  It was a new instructor for me and I didn't know what to expect.  Her credentials suggested that she was highly sought after in the metro area.  I'll admit.  I was excited.  I arrived ten minutes early and watched as the class began to fill up.  She had some music playing until the class began. She started class by speaking of intentions and how great it was to show up on your mat.  Normal.  All things that I have experienced and expected. 
She did point out the importance of breath and how that should be the focus of the class.  Clearly, I appreciated that as I have found fewer instructors, here, cueing breath and breathing.  If you aren't focusing on the breath in yoga, it is just an aroebics  class.  Breath is essential.
We do a few breath with movement exercises and then she moves on with modified chataranga.  At this point, I was like--wtf?  wtf is this modification?  It was a new one for me and one that I didn't particularly like.  I was hoping for more of vinyasa sequence with sun A's and sun B's.
As there was no music to distract me, I became more bored.  I was surprised at how many people were attending this class.  Actually liked her class.  I kept looking at my phone to see when the torture would be over.  She had interesting cues.  She referred to the breathing as yogic.  Seemed childlike to me and then my all-time favorite cue--bring your nipple to your thigh.
That completely stopped me.  Like the time I was in Siem Reap and the instructor said--relax.  relax your private parts.....wtf?
I reached out to my mentor last night to see if she had ever used that particular cue.  Her response said it all.   She laughed.  See I am not crazy when it comes to cueing and or recognizing inappropriate silly cues in classes.  Thankfully it ended and I made my way out of the studio.  Today, I will return to Barre classes and pray for upbeat music.
I did resolve to enjoy my kitchen more.  Use it.  Update some of my cookery and utilize my apartment.  I could invite friends over as opposed to dining out and being forced to endure bad service.  My last two experiences support that claim.  The first I had a snarky server.  I can overlook that as the food was great.  However, when her manager came over to open a bottle of bubbles and did not know the correct wine service, that was it.  I love wine service.  I love that aspect of dining even it is with a screw cap.  I still prefer the appropriate sequence.
So, yes, more dining at home.  With the holidays over, I have more friends available to entertain.  Perhaps after Columbia, I will make an effort to entertain once or twice a month.  Maybe more.  I do believe that I would enjoy using my space to have people over.
Off to run errands, stay warm and work out.  Columbia is in two weeks.  I cannot wait!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy 2017

Ringing in the new year in style....with some bubbly.  Best way to start off the year.   And thinking of how to maneuver it.  With kindness.
Yes, seems simple but it is the most honest way to start the year. I observed a lack of compassion and harsh judgment last night.  People make rash judgments without even knowing the other person they are tearing apart.  It made me sad and reaffirmed that I want to be kind.
My friend, Sharleen, got married last night in the Bahamas.  At one point this past year, I thought I would be able to attend.  I looked at flights and considered homestays.  Until I switched jobs and that no longer was an option.  I did contact Shar and convey my well wishes.  I met her in 2008 in Chile while on my six month venture.  I am sure that I have mentioned her multiple times on my blog.  I visited her and her friends in 2010 and then we went to Cuba in 2014.  She is a like minded travel junkie.  Kind, compassionate and gracious. I hope she visits me sometime in the States. 
Her photos looked pretty freaking amazing, too.  I saw a few from their day on social media.  Gorgeous!  I am hoping to research a little more of Columbia before departing in two weeks.  It would be nice to have some sort of game plan.  In my life, I have always been a little more aloof when it comes to concrete itineraries.  I buy tickets and go from there.  This time, it would be nice to have a little more structure.  It will be the first time I travel with Cody and so I don't know her particular style yet.  When I vacation with Shari, Sara Jo or the Goddess I know there will be great food and many drinks involved.  They all know that I prefer to day drink.  I think Cody will be a little more adventurous with night time activities.  She is a connector, too.
We will fly in and out of Bogota with a few days in Cartagena and Medellin.  If not both of those cities, at least, Cartagena for sure.  I have heard many great things of that city and who doesn't enjoy a little beach time? 
Speaking of travel....maybe another passport stamp will be in my future.  Europe keeps calling.  I have a friend in Morocco currently.  His posts inspire me to make the commitment to a European adventure this year as well.  Los Angeles will occur in February. Then, I have some free time to breathe or maybe head to the Valley for some yoga and a spring training game.  We will see.  I could be enchanted again.  I do so love visiting Santa Fe.
Or head to Oz to see my "cousin" Emma and nephew, Mason.  I am excited for the potential of travel this year.  My older sister is supposed to celebrate my birthday with me.   I want her to either travel to Denver or meet me in Las Vegas or Texas.  In Texas, we could see her bestie from childhood in Houston or maybe Austin.  I loved Austin the one time I visited.  I could definitely do another go there.  Check out new restaurants and see friends.  Maybe I could convince Michaela to meet me in San Francisco.  I have not visited that city in a while.  I always love it!
I want to make an effort to take better care of myself.  Hire a trainer.  I have been thinking about it for a few months.  I don't know if I will contract an independent trainer or consider one of the options from my gym.  I go back and forth with enjoying the gym and having a difficult time going.  I am not in love with the classes or quite a few of the instructors.  I miss the yoga scene in Phoenix for example.  Great music, challenging sequences and consistently great.  I should make the best of my situation here since I love being in Denver.  I will make an honest effort to find a studio that I enjoy. 
Returning to kindness....I think that is my best option for a resolution.  That goes hand in hand with compassion which I also find lacking in the current state of affairs.  Enjoy your day and whatever comes your way.  Smile and be fierce!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

other thoughts of 2016

I am so ready for 2017!  New opportunity, travel, food.  Thinking back on the last year.  What a year.  Different for me.  Different reactions, emotions, challenges.  I returned to Kansas, twice, to visit my sister and old boss, Carol.  I had forgotten how long that drive is.  Seven hours of little interaction.  Just driving east.  Feels lonely until Hays, maybe Salina.  Manhattan definitely is an improvement.  Spending time with my sister was awesome.  Her kids are adorable and it was fun to see their daily life.  Home cooked meals and time with the kids.  My niece, Emma, calls me her cousin.  Cracks me up!  She was so much fun to spend time with.
Of course, I spent some time in Lawrence.  I wish I had had more time to visit my old stomping grounds.  Maybe see some more college friends.  I taught a class to a group of twelve year-olds about the importance of travel and how it has impacted my life.  My circle of friends and opportunities.  I probably should have spent more time researching the countries I spoke of.  Yet, I took away from the experience a cultural impact.  I met three incredible people with different histories/experiences while in Southeast Asia.  Their stories brought joy to my life and how I could help them in the future.
Back to Kansas, perhaps next year will present another opportunity to do that.  I am Mason's godmother and so figure I will be spending time in Kansas.
I visited Santa Fe six times.  The appeal of Ojo Caliente makes that trip possible and recurring.  Drank many silver coins.  Introduced Sara to friends and Maghan to my life there.  Bought a new car.  Well, new to me, at least.  I do enjoy how I cultivate relationships.  I never would have found this smoking deal and Calliope had I not kept in contact with my mechanic in Santa Fe. 
Spent three weeks in Southeast Asia.  Saw Key West for the fifth time.  Phoenix and then NOLA for the fifth time.  Attended a graduation in Oregon and spent a weekend with Seattle Jean (another friend from college).  Overall, it was a wonderful year of travel.  Reconnected with many co-workers from the Bull.  Saw some friends commit their love for each other.  It's been lovely! 
Best photo of the year was probably from NOLA.  Celebrating my birthday. 
I have great friends and a good life.  Excited for 2017!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

some reflection of this year

2016 has been an interesting year. 
Some loss, grief, adaptation, new car, new friends, visiting Kansas twice (which has not been the case since I was out of college).  Loss and grief happened early in 2016 and occurred on memorable days.  I was t-boned and lost Veronica (my beautiful bertone) on superbowl Sunday.  I toured Vietnam with a black eye as a result.  It was fun.  I loved that car and had driven it for ten years.  Part of why I loved it so much was that Brian picked it out.  Despite the fact that it was becoming more costly for the upkeep, I was stubborn and chose to put more money into it.  My dad thought I was crazy and repeatedly told me I should invest in a new car.  He even offered to give me a car at one point.  Still, I had faith that Veronica would last forever.  And she did until that Sunday when a girl was texting and rammed into me in downtown Denver.
As noted, I went to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos sporting my injury from the accident.  And not knowing how to proceed.  Did I want to buy a new car?  Would I consider an alternative vehicle to Volvos?  I contemplated and sought out some mechanics in Denver to see if they would be refurbishing any Volvos in my price range.  At that time, they were not.  I called my old mechanic and Santa Fe for his advice on my buy out and asked him if he was fixing up any Volvos.  Ironically, he was and we agreed to reconvene after my venture to Southeast Asia. 
I returned, extremely jetlagged.  I was dogsitting for Tiffany and so I had their car for an additional week before agreeing to buying Kurt's car in Santa Fe. I had another interesting experience on a friend's birthday.  Probably never forget that date or experience. 
I was reflecting on my trips.  I have spent a good portion of this year in Santa Fe.  Five or six trips, in fact.  It's a quick drive and I love it.  I visited, solo, and then once with the WP to purchase my new car, Calliope.  And another time with Sara Jo.  Sara's trip was fun and I exposed her to some of my friends and favorite restaurants.  She met the I suppose that city did leave its mark on me.  I just spent a few days there to celebrate life. 
I love Ojo.  Always feel rejuvenated after soaking.  Thankfully, I spent Friday morning there with Melody.  Afterwards, we managed to find some silver coin margaritas, enchiladas and salsa.  Such a great day!
I am looking forward to 2017.  New year and opportunity for travel and cultivating friendships. I have been thinking quite a bit about where I am in life.  Back in Denver and in a different position then when I left. I learned more of my craft while in Santa Fe and Phoenix.  I mellowed out a little, too. 
Next year brings immediate passport stamp in January followed by a trip to the west in February.  Post the start, possibly, a return to Ojo.  I am up for anything and hopeful that there will be more adventure and abundance in every aspect of my life. 
I visited Santa Fe thinking I would find a necklace.  That evaded me as I chose to spend time with friends instead of peruse the silver there.  I guess I will be visiting again.  It is time to wear a new necklace.  I am off to spend some time with friends before work.  Celebrate, enjoy and taste life~