Saturday, November 19, 2016

family time

Spent some time with these monkeys the last few days.  I had to deck them out in appropriate attire.  Well, and it gave me an excuse to drive up to Lawrence from Manhattan.  I do like Manhattan although I have more love for Lawrence.  I went to college there.  Naturally, I have more associations and memories of my time spent there. 
This year, I drove out in July to see Emma and Jasmin.  Honestly, it was the first time I have spent time in Manhattan.  Checked out a couple local eateries before turning around and driving back to Denver.  Super quick trip.
Fast forward late August, one of my friends from grade school posted that she wanted people to speak to her class about travel, living abroad, etc.  I had had a glass of wine (or three) and so I commented on her post.  That I would be interested in speaking.  I didn't know if she would want me there since I am an unconventional traveler.  I have lived abroad, briefly, and traveled a bunch.  I suppose that is what qualified me.  I could skype, face time or be present.
Seemed easier to be present and I could also spend time with Jasmin, Emma, Chris and meet Mason.  In this photo, he is three weeks old.  So precious!  And, of course, I love them wearing the KU colors. 
I combined trips and spent an extra day in Lawrence.  Stopped by my old stomping grounds, saw some friends and grabbed a coffee before heading back to Manhattan.  Quick, quick trip.  I found out after planning my time there that a childhood friend would be driving through with her kids as well as my older sister.  I was bummed that I would miss both of these ladies. 
It was a lovely trip and I am happy to be back.  I arrived in time to experience the first snow of the season.   This prompted me to purchase a space heater for my apartment.  I can tell that my landlady is going to skimp on the heating of the building.  I can take matters into my own hands or complain about it.  Seems silly to not buy a space heater.
I am thankful to have spent time with Jasmin.  I had home cooked meals and some great beer.  I look forward to next year when I can return. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

reflections on a random night off

I am still decompressing from my tour of that city.  Five glorious days.  Excessive, fun, shining bright. 
I looked back on some of the spots we dined at and others we could have dined at.  So many options. I could have spent a month there and not tried all the restaurants I wanted.  I would have had a food coma.  Not to mention, a need, to detox my liver and internal organs.  I think going to Nola is similar to visiting Las Vegas.  Typically, I spend one too may days there.  Not regretting it but physically needing to recover from the debauchery and food overload.  I returned, went to a barre class and picked up a salad afterwards.  I considered having a glass of wine while waiting for the take-out and thought better of it.  My body craved hydration and water.  Not more wine!
Barre class has been my go-to.  Not running, spin or yoga.  I wish I could find a routine class that I am committed to attending.  I miss my yoga fix.  I have broken up with spin for the time being.  It just isn't my thing.  I have found joy in running again.  I went with Sara the other night and can honestly say that I didn't hate it.  I wasn't too sore and the three miles passed relatively quickly.  Especially after not running since January.
I have been teaching yoga in my house with Brie, Matt and Sara.  I could expand out and offer classes to other people.  I believe I am at that point in this journey.   I am ready to share my knowledge and continue to grow my own practice.  I love being a student.
Next week, I will head to Santa Fe.  I do not know that I have enough time to see my mentor but there will be other trips for that.  Mostly, the agenda reflects soaking at Ojo, silver coins at La Choza and a little shopping.  Seeing friends is paramount and just relaxing.  I could use a little bit of that.  The upcoming season will be full of celebration, card writing and gift buying.  Yes, there will be some on-line shopping in my future.  I am not a fan of heading to stores.  Time consuming and a waste of time, in my experience. 
For instance, last week, I opted to venture into cherry creek to seek out a shoe store.  I could use a new pair of casual shoes for work and going out and have a pair of shoes that I found at a consignment store in Santa Fe that I love.  Super comfortable, cute and worn out.  I wanted to check out their store in Denver.  Actually pay full retail price for a comfortable pair of shoes. I made my way to the mall and entered the store.  Perused the selection and saw that I had not yet been greeted which seemed odd.  I was the only customer in the store.
So, I approached the desk and asked the clerk to pull a size 10 and 11 for this certain style.  He complied and said hello to a few ladies that had entered the store.  I continued to look at their selection and found an additional two pairs of shoes to try on.
He gave me the first pair and said that they were burgundy not black.  Mentioned he could order a pair for me.  I liked the shoes but wanted to try on the more casual styles.  Of course, my show size was out of stock.  The size ten was too tight in one and the eleven was too loose in the other.  He offered to order the shoes for me.  I filled out a form to seal the deal.  He told me that he required payment for the shoes but that there was a great possibility that they would be unable to produce the shoes.  Apparently, there were few stores that had my size in that style available.  He said I would receive a refund on my payment.
I asked if he could ship the shoes to the store and that I would pick them up.  Seemed reasonable.  Especially after he noted that I would probably not acquire them.  Why should I make a cash transaction if the goods would not be received?
He sensed my hesitation and asked if I wanted to continue with the transaction where I said no.  I thought about entering the store with no greeting.  The fact that I took the shoes to him and then that they would not ship the shoes to be convenient to the store and then have me pay for them.  Why am I giving this guy commission for no service????
The right shoes will present themselves.  I know it.  More likely, the opportunity will present itself.  No need to force something.  I do regret leaving my personal information with the guy....

upcoming trips and random thoughts

I am excited for my upcoming trip to OZ (the land of Oz not Australia) to celebrate travel and hopefully, inspire, 12 yr-old kids, to see the beauty of others, culture and travel.
One of my grade school friends is a sixth grade teacher.  She posted something on social media about her desire to bring in people to her classroom in Wamego, Kansas, to discuss living abroad and/or travel.  She even suggested skyping or facetiming as a way to achieve this goal.  I saw her post and commented.  I think I had had one too many glasses of wine.  I said something like--I have traveled some....
She liked my response and I saw that she had commented on others about their time abroad.  She messaged me later asking if I would like to participate.  She suggested skype and I told her that, no, I will be there in person.  I can do this!  I can combine trips to see Jasmin, Emma and meet her new addition, have lunch with another childhood friend and teach about travel.  I spent 36 hours with Jasmin and Emma in July and had a blast.  My little niece is a hoot!  She kept referring me to as her cousin.  I loved that.  Seeing that I am older than her mom...haha.  And, surprisingly, I enjoyed spending time in Manhattan.  I wouldn't mind returning to Tall Grass brewery or having another meal at the chef.  I am my new nephew's god mother as well.  I will be meeting him for the first time.  I hope to see my mom at some point too.
I contacted Tami about arranging lunch.  Last time I swung through town, I did not give her enough notice.  I am committed to having lunch in S Town at a local brewery.  I was a little anxious about where Tami would suggest.  It's been years since I have spent any time there.  I know of a few truck stops, fast food, and casual dining (applebee's, chili's, carlos O'Kelly's).  I was hoping for something new and unfranchised.  Thankfully, Tami knew of a place.
Regarding the teaching, there is something to it.  I have been told that I am a teacher just never pursued it in the traditional realm.  I have been doing more yoga teaching and feel more natural with it.  My language sounds more like me and not as stilted. 
I know that I am unconventional and so I am curious as to how her students will relate to me.  I figure I can overwhelm them with photos and stories of my time in Vietnam.  Since it is my most recent passport stamp, it makes sense.  I can also speak to Cambodia, Laos and Bangkok.  I might bring up the Khmer Rouge but I didn't visit the Killing Fields or any of that part of the history.  I spent time in Angkor Wat and had a human experience.  I can speak to the food and spending a day with a tuk tuk driver. 
I can speak to the language barrier and being in the Capitol but outside of that, I spent more time meeting people and dining.  I hope these kids like to hear about food.  I don't know if they understand the significance of me being in Vietnam.  I don't know if school teaches of the Vietnam War.  They didn't when I was in school. 
I am excited and wonder how I could do more of this.  And, what upcoming travel I could do.  There is a trip to Portugal in my future.  As much as I love Narcos (and I do), I put my trip to Columbia on hold.  Robert and his wife will be in Portugal until next June or July.  Honestly, I have always wanted to go to Spain and Portugal.  Why not go?
Especially when I have friends there that can give me the local perspective.  They have lived there since 2007 or 2008.  They will be concluding their time next summer.  I would love to see them before they depart.
Columbia will be there and perhaps I can see another season of Narcos before I depart.  It is in my thoughts and I keep meeting people that have visited.  It will happen.

Friday, September 16, 2016

random walking stories

The other day, I chose to walk to work.  Being a beautiful day it seemed fitting to enjoy some sunshine and tunes.  I began my two and a half mile walk by walking up 14th street.  Heading west, I was aware of the traffic driving east.  I have driven on this road, many times, and know that people tend to not look for pedestrians or cyclists.  People drive fast on this road as there are fewer stop lights and three lanes available for traffic.  I prefer this thoroughfare as opposed to Colfax.  Even driving.  But mostly walking.  14th is cleaner and there are fewer people. 
So, I am walking west on 14th about to turn north when I start to walk across a cross walk.  A mini van was blocking my path and it was apparent he was not aware of my presence.  I choose to walk behind the car since he was midway through the cross walk which would have forced me onto the roadway of 14th.  There was a girl across the street also attempting to cross, heading east.  The minivan driver saw her and started to back up.  Meaning he backed up into me.  I was shocked and so I yelled at him. 
His response was that there was a girl crossing the street and he didn't want to hit her.  Keep in mind, she is 30 feet away from him and he would have to cross three lanes of traffic to hit her.  Instead he backs up.  A car could have been behind him for all he knew.  I was furious and he continued with that he had to make a choice and he chose to back up.  WTF?  I would have loved to have heard him explain that to his insurance agent or the paramedics had he hit me.  I moved out of the way since I am not interested in an altercation with a vehicle.  All I wanted was this guy to apologize for being a complete jackass.  He didn't understand that.  He called me a stupid ass and continued to believe that I was wrong as a pedestrian trying to cross a crosswalk.
I continued to work, furious.  Walking faster even.  I saw that other people had observed the altercation and would back me up on it if needed.  Yet, I felt reporting it would do nothing.  Outside of delay my arrival to work. 
I arrive at work and attempt to contain my feelings.  I am still angry about the situation.  How unwilling this guy was to cop to his part in the altercation.  His audacity in suggesting that he had to make a choice.  (the most insane response I have ever heard.  How about look around you before proceeding to an action?) I am new to this job and so many of my co-workers do not know me or how I am.  As well as their friends/regulars.  I chatted up this lady and we were bonding over our mutual love of NOLA, travel and so I went into my day and how I had walked to work and almost been hit.  This girl goes, "On Williams St?  I saw you!"  She proceeded to tell me that she was concerned that the driver would pull out a gun which had also crossed my mind.  Thankfully, not the case.
Small world getting smaller.  Of course, Emily had seen me get in the altercation with the driver.
Today, I am taking an uber.  Seems safer well and allowed me the time to blog, iron my clothes and drink some coffee.  Off to greet the day!

Monday, August 29, 2016

best moment of my life using only 4 words

I want to contemplate this.  What is the best moment of my life, so far?  I think there are too many to count.  I don't know.  This has stayed with me since I saw it on social media.  I read some of the comments and saw that most people attributed it to the birth of a child.  For me, this isn't applicable.  Definitely it would be food, travel or wine inspired. 
Or perhaps when I realized where home was.  I was sitting in a yoga studio attending a class on visualization.  The instructor talked us through a meditation. He was not the most gifted speaker and I struggled to completely lose myself in the experience.  I remember that vividly.  However, looking back, I experienced that moment of tranquility when I realized that I was the most happy in Denver.  I had drawn my visualization with a table.  On the table was a cake, candles, wine (obviously) and being surrounded by friends.  We were on top of a mountain and the sun was shining bright.  I remember thinking...that is Denver.  Denver is home. 
I took the steps to return home.  It hasn't been all unicorns and rainbows.  But, I have been diligent and determined to create a life here.  It is coming together and I am happy.  Ecstatic.
Another truly inspiring moment in my life--meeting Brian.  Working For Catering Company.  Four words.  Perfect.  And led me to meeting my soul mate.  A partner.  Love.  Yes, that would be the truer moment.  Meeting Brian from randomly working for a catering company.  That company is no longer in existence but created lifetime friendships.  My chiropractor, for example, is a direct result from that company.  Where I dined last night and experienced an amazing meal is a result of working at the catering company.  Brian, though, was the best part of my life.  He brought this part of me out that I had not yet experienced.  The desire to better myself.  To travel, experience life, love.  Yes, working there began that thread which has led me to now.  Returning home and creating a life.
I left to forget some of that grief. It overwhelmed me for awhile.  I am great at distracting myself from things I don't want to confront.  Instead of dealing with it, I run.  Be it travel, work, helping others....I find a way to avoid whatever the loss or grief is. 
Another moment--drinking wine from 1976.  A French burgundy.  I was in Las Vegas celebrating a friends wedding when I went to dinner with friends.  A close friend chose this bottle to celebrate me.  It was his way of celebrating our friendship and in front of other people. The meal that followed was incredible too.  I will forever love Michael mina and his expertise from that meal.
I could go on and on.  I have a lot of moments that have inspired me to stay the course or alter my livelihood.  I guess that is what I will continue to contemplate. 
Today I will be productive and maybe even create another best moment of my life.....


In my natural state.  Wine in hand at a comfortable place.  Somewhere I am secure in dining solo, meeting people and sports.  I love it!
I worked yesterday and managed to depart much earlier than anticipated.  I was a little undecided about how I should spend the evening.  I could pick up some bubbly and take out.  There is a spot that has a delicious Caesar salad and a side of meatballs that I have been enjoying the last few months.  Or, I could make dinner in my house.  I would need to pick up some greens and other vegetables but it was manageable. 
I continued to contemplate and then texted a chef friend of mine to see if he was working.  I love his spot and it has always been a safe haven.  He responded that he was not there but that I could stop by and meet him for wine.  That could be fun and I could bring him bubbly and celebrate my day with him.  Brian and I had our first date on August 28th.  We went to a Rockies game and downtown.  I celebrate my life with him.  In the past I have traveled to honor him and find incredible food.  Food was always an aspect of our relationship.  It just seemed fitting that I would dine out last night.
Thankfully the bartender is an acquaintance of mine and there was ample seating.  I walked in and chit chatted with the other customer until I chose mussels with chorizo and a Caesar salad.  Perfection. Ideal way to spend the anniversary.  It would have been fourteen years.
Tonight I am meeting another friend for Vietnamese food.  Upscale.  I have a love for Pho, banh mi and a whole slew of food from that region of the world.  Cannot wait to enjoy some dumplings.  First, though, I will attend Barre, see my chiro, receive a massage and thoroughly enjoy my day.
Cheers to the week!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Phoenix and the highlights

Three days in Phoenix.  Went by extremely fast.  Saw a bunch of people, taught yoga and went shopping.  I love the shopping in Phoenix.  I found my birthday dress--I think and a dress for Brie's wedding.  I had no idea that the consignment shop was offering 70% off until I went to the register to check out.  Imagine my surprise.  I was gleeful!  Beautiful coral dress for $6.  If only I had had more time to really shop there.
I managed to pick up work slacks, a blouse, another dress and four tops.  I scoped out a few shops around the Valley and felt great about what I picked up.  One of the shops has multiple locations.  Conveniently located near my favorite nail place (I always get a pedicure while in town.  The ladies remember me from bringing other friends and guests when I lived there.  I received an amazing pedicure.)  At any rate, I walked into the consignment shop and saw that the sales lady was talking with another client.  I perused the offerings.  Found a top that I was considering when another woman walks into the shop.  Immediately she is greeted unlike me.  I continue looking at dresses and listen to the conversation that ensues. The sales lady was excited to see this particular person since she could mention that her brother was now doing apps and wanted to know if this lady would be interested in using his services.  She actually started quoting prices for services at which point I chose to leave.  I didn't want to spend money in this place.  I was shocked at the lack of service and/or courtesy. 
I tell Jan and she tells me I should go to their other location and see what is available and mention it to them.  On Wednesday I attended a phenomenal flow and felt inspired.  I love the yoga community in Arizona and miss it. I miss attending classes where I know I can fully zone out and have my mind bent.  I cleaned up after the heated class and made my way to a different location of the consignment shop.  I didn't see anything that suited me and so I returned to central Phoenix to look at options there.  I tell Jan that I had visited their sister location but didn't bring up the previous day since I didn't buy anything.  Her suggestion was to return to the original store and shop if the sales associate was not there.  She wasn't.  Nor was the dress or the shirt that I had wanted to purchase. 
I shop and find a dress and work slacks that will be perfect for my new job.  I check out and mention to the sales associate that I had had a much better experience in their store and wanted to thank her for it.  She looks at me and I tell her what had happened the previous day.  How I had never been greeted.  How I watched the sales lady solicit business for her brother and how I was not impressed and walked out of the store without purchasing anything.
Her response....I am sorry.
She could have cared less.  I found myself understanding why people yelp crappy experiences.  It would have been much easier to get empathy on line than from this woman.  I wanted her to know that that was how people were made to feel while shopping and that perhaps her sales associate should not be soliciting business while at work.
Outside of the glitch there I had a fantastic shopping venture as noted. I saw friends and checked out new spots.  I really had a nice time. And another reminder that I love cultivating friendships and connecting people.  I took a break from it when I first returned to Denver.  Not anymore.
I taught yoga to my friend, Cody.  I met her while working at whole foods.  She was on my team and we bonded over our desire to travel, celebrate life and hike.  We have attended multiple yoga classes together and she knows that I am certified.  So we agreed to flow together at her house.  I was nervous as it is always challenging to teach friends.  The language and do I b.s. during the session or keep it professional?
It went well and then she gifted me 8 bags of coffee.  The coffee was considered old by whole foods and so she offered it to me.  When entering the airport, I was concerned that I would be stopped for the coffee.  I didn't feel that it was a security risk but somehow knew that I would be stopped.  I was.  The agent sorted through my things and I asked why I am being stopped.  His response--you say you packed your bag and yet don't know if it is the coffee or not.  It isn't opened so we will check it and then you can be on your way.
I wasn't impressed by his condescending attitude.  Or that he opened my purse to look at my jingle change.  He pulled my credit cards out, my cash and felt through the quarters.  I don't know why this is a threat to security but had been stopped in Seoul due to the change factor as well.
I made it through and bellied up to the only bar in terminal B.  Dire vibe, energy and so different to the bustle of the rest of the airport in Phoenix.  I survived.
Now back in Denver I am prepping for the beginning of my work week.  Also, planning my trip to NOLA.  It is a month out.  Time to organize!