Sunday, April 23, 2017

mini vacy to Cali

Welcome to the Palm Springs airport.  I loved being greeted by a palm tree!  Great way to begin this adventure with Sara Jo.  I had been bugging her to do a girls' trip and wanted her to choose the destination.  Typically, I lead the cause and determine the details of the trips.  I wanted her to try this out. 
She chose Palm Springs since I had not been there and her brother lives there.  Seemed like a great way to achieve two goals--appease my desire for more trips and see her brother.  I had met Wes in 2006.  He has lived in Cali for the last 8 or 9 years. His girlfriend, Heather, and her daughter also live with him in the desert but in the high desert.  We would spend time in Palm Springs and in the high desert with Heather and Kay.  I knew that some family time would be involved and that we would also have time to explore the dining scene. 
We met Wes and walked around the downtown area after a quick lunch.  We discussed our options of the next few days.  I told Wes and Heather that I was up for anything as long as food and drink were involved.  They mentioned Joshua Tree and a music venue in the high desert that was worthwhile and something they would like to take us to.  Of course, when we booked the trip, we did not factor in Coachella or how busy things would be due to that music festival. 

Joshua Tree was awesome.  Many other people were touring the national park.  We chose a trail that led to water.  Gorgeous.  There was hieroglyphs and an easy trail to maneuver.  We stopped at a few other spots while driving around the park.  Toured the park that afternoon before returning to town for micheladas and chips and salsa.  There were limited dining options in their town.  We could choose between Chinese, greek or Mexican.  I can rarely turn down chips and salsa so it was an easy choice for me.  However, Kay really wanted Chinese and so we pondered that option.  Mexican won.  We stopped by a local market for street tacos before returning to their house
It was a lovely trip.  More family centered than I thought it to be and worked out well.  I saw cactus, became nostalgic for the desert and had some great food.  It was a quick trip.  Not too many options of flights on Saturday.  The latest return was 1:30 pm so we made the most of it.  Our final meal was at Spencer's.  Delicious.  One of my customers insisted that we should dine there.  Even went as for as giving me money to pay for our lunch.  Such a sweet guy!  He kept raving about the shrimp cocktail.  Of course, we had to try that.  It was all about the mustard sauce and gigantic shrimp.
Great quick trip and fun to watch the family dynamics. 
Upon returning to Denver, I am experiencing insane allergies and congestion.,  Something about the change of weather.  I woke up at 3 and was unable to return to sleep.  Super congested and irritated.
I will reflect more later.  It was a lovely much needed venture to California.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday woes

As much as I love the colors of spring, the allergies, well, leave a lot to be desired.  I am going to have to buy more Claritin to keep evading them. I am not a fan of pills or medicating myself to avoid symptoms in my life.  Allergies cannot be left alone, though.
I considered a yoga class before my barre class regimen on Saturdays.  I like the instructor that is subbing the next month.  He is an ashtangi and I understand the sequence of his classes.  Plus, he encourages a yoga community by having the students talk to each other as well as do some adjustments in partner fashion which further aids in interaction and overall community.  The class that he is teaching is busy and the woman has a following.  I found this as I have encountered many of the people lingering around and blocking access to the studio for the barre class.  It's insane the amount of time these people take up, chatting, after class with this instructor.  They loiter in the studio and make it uncomfortable to enter and prepare for the barre class.  I managed to arrange my mat one day and was trying to hurry them along by helping them put props away when I watched two of them step on my mat.  I freaked out!  I despise when people walk on my mat.  I do not understand why people feel it is appropriate to walk on someone else's space.  It is sacrilege! 
So, I contemplated attending Mark's class.  I could support him and get a good class out of it and endure some of the people that I have found annoying in the past.  I know that Mark would call me out in his class.  He would want to involve me in his community developed class.  I opted to skip it.  I will focus on the Barre class.  My favorite instructor is in Palm Springs.  I hope that her sub ramps up the music. I like Maggie and I like her sequence.  I do not love her music selection.  Sometimes, it is passable.  Most times, it is sub par.  However, I want to go to a class and of all of the potential subs, I know that Maggie is the best.  I can overlook the music and sustain a great work out. 
I departed for the market to buy Claritin.  I stopped by another market to pick up a breakfast sandwich and returned home.  I parked my car and stepped out and twisted my ankle good.  It was nuts.  I stepped out of my car and somehow managed to completely jack up my foot.  I limped up the stairs and eventually evened out.  I still have no idea how I stepped down in such a way to create so much pain. 
I went to Barre class and managed to do the sequence of plies and squats.  I avoided the releve's as much as I could.  I did not want to further aggravate my foot.  There was a slight swelling, later, which I managed with some alleve and rest.  Work was interesting.  Mostly due to the onslaught of allergies.  Midway through my shift, I couldn't see.  I was struggling to not itch my eyes and see. Today, I will wear glasses and take some more allergy pills.  One of my customers actually gave me some Zyrtek.  It was funny! 
Day of rest in terms of physical activity.  I would love to attend a barre class.  I just don't have time for it today.  Work will consume the majority of my day.  And dealing with allergies.  Sounds fun, right?
Drink some bubbles and enjoy life!

Friday, April 14, 2017

days off and plans

I've been battling allergies for the last five weeks.  It started in my left eye only.  Itching, irritation...eventually not being able to wear contacts.  I bought an over the counter remedy to aid in my fighting the onslaught of allergies.  It helped as long as I was taking the allergy pill.  I ran out and have wanted to stop taking the pills.  Yet, I can feel the irritation moving into my right eye.  It's odd that it is a shift to my right eye now.  I know that I will need to buy more Claritin to stop the irritation.
I have had a few days off which enables errands, working out, shopping and planning more trips.  I have a mini vacay to Palm Springs next week with Sara Jo. Ironically, my Barre instructor and her husband are also in Palm Springs next week.  I might meet up with them for a drink while in the desert.  I asked Shannon where she will be working out while on vacation.  She responded that she will run, lift at their resort and use P90X.  I think I will do some yoga and maybe run.  I would like to return to running so that I can run along Lakeshore Drive while in Chicago next month.  Must start somewhere.  One step at a time, right?
I met Tiffany for lunch yesterday.  We met at a new restaurant that is whisky driven.  Huge selection of spirits with an emphasis on mixology.  Reminded me of my brief stint at the mixology bar in Santa Fe.  And completed by the bartender.  He was a mixologist.  Could speak the spirit talk and about their shrubs, handmade ice and cocktails; but, had little emphasis on the service or communication department.  I ordered a bottle of wine which he opened but did not chill and then never poured us more wine to drink.  It was disappointing in all honesty.  The food was okay.  Could have used a little seasoning but adequate. 
Afterwards, we met my friend, Janna and her mother.  Janna and I met while in Phoenix and hit it off talking about Denver and finding out that we both were from Kansas.  Both of us lived in the desert for a stint before returning to Denver.  Currently, she works across the street from my job and so I see her intermittently or when are schedules align as they did yesterday.  Her mom from Kansas was meeting her for the weekend and so we met Janna and her mom for happy hour.  Her mom lives in Manhattan and so I questioned where and that my sister lives in Manhattan as well.  We continued gabbing and her mom mentioned that she had heard of my sister who is an aestitician in Manhattan.   Had not received services from Jasmin but knew of her.  I thought that was cute and again, small world. As I continue to travel and meet people, I do find that my worlds collide in the most positive way.  I love that!
Today, I am hoping to attend a yoga class, clean my house and iron my work clothes.   Maybe meet the WP later for lunch. I am in desperate need of new running shoes and casual shoes.  I flirt with the return of plantar fasciitis on a daily basis due to my love of barre classes and beating up my calves.  If only I could pay more heed to my calves and foam rolling them. I do have a foam roller and another tool to aid my feet.  I need to add this to the regimen in the a.m. which includes coffee, brushing teeth and taking vitamins.  I cannot stop going to barre classes.  I won't.  Although, I do not enjoy plantar fasciitis.  It hurts and debilitates me and my ability to walk, work, enjoy life.  I should be more kind to my calves.
Yoga helps and inspires.  Off to greet the day!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

events and my love of carrot cake

 Running of the Greens.  I meant to post this after we did the event.  The older lady between my friends wanted to photo bomb the picture.  Didn't really work out that way.  She was funny.  She couldn't hear how loud she was.  I cannot remember her age but I think she was 74ish.  She wanted to photo bomb but didn't look at me when I was taking the picture.
That race was fun.  I sort of dreaded it since I had not been running for almost a year.  Still after we began I remembered how much I do, in fact, enjoy running.  Plus, after the race, they treated us to two beers at the Expo which was nice and necessary. 
Of course while running that event, my friends and I contemplated other races we could participate in.  A 10k is probably the best event in my opinion.  It is the ideal distance and time.  I enjoy half marathons but they require a little more of a commitment.  A full marathon is a beast which I do not know that I will ever take on again.  I have not yet performed a 5k and do not know if I ever will.  So, we considered other events this year.  I want to sign up for a half or a 10k to motivate me to begin another running regime. 
In the meantime, I discovered an event and have signed up for it.  The Lemon Climb is our next event.  The goddess and I are participating in a non running event.  Or, actually, we could try to run some of the flights of stairs.  I doubt we will run 43 flights of stairs.  I don't want to do it, haha!  We are fundraising as well.  This is a really great cause and I love how it evolved.  I love that a little girl came up with a lemon stand as a way to raise money to fight cancer.  Her determination and efforts created the lemon climb events which are held, annually, in cities around the U.S.


Running and events enable me to eat as much carrot cake as I want.  I found this last night while dining at Solera.  When Joshua asked us if we were interested in dessert, we said no.  Intuitively, he placed a menu in front of us and when we saw the carrot cake, the decision was made for us.  I don't remember carrot cake ever being offered there and so we had to sample it. 
It was good.  I prefer a little more frosting.  I liked the presentation and it was moist.  I don't love that word but it is appropriate it this case.  It was a great conclusion to our meal there. 
I am off to hit a Barre class (further way to combat the sugars I ingest).  I will not cut wine out of my diet.  Or carrot cake for that matter.  So, I invest time and energy into barre and yoga classes.  I am teaching the mini tomorrow at my house.  I am finding more instructors at my gym that I like.  Thankfully.  And they have offered more classes during the day which are inspiring me to attend more of the classes.  It's finally coming together!  Or, I suppose, I am making more of an effort to go to the gym.  I want to find TRX classes nearby my house.  That would be the ultimate workout.  More and more studios are offering these classes.  I took my first TRX class in Santa Fe.  I wish that studio was here.  I loved the energy, the music and it was a kick ass class!  I might venture down, again, to take another class at Temple and Tribe.  Epic workout.
Off to begin my day.  Cheers!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

friends and connections

Yesterday, I taught my sous chef yoga.  We have been practicing together for six weeks or thereabouts.  It is fun to work with him and see how his practice is growing.  A novice to yoga it's been inspiring me to work on my cues and language.  When I work with Brie or Matt, I can say the posture and they know what it is.  I do not need to cue them to get them where I would like.  So it is a nice to work with a mix of people with different levels of yoga experience.  And, working with Ernesto enables me to cue the headstand or incorporate some of the astanga postures into my flow.  I do enjoy that very much.
After our session, he treated me to brunch.  Fewer options are available during the week but we managed to enjoy some creole fare.  I was a little shocked that Ernesto opted to drink a Sazerac to start the brunch sequence.  I mean, that is fierce.  I chose a grapefruit mimosa.  Seemed more my speed and safer to start my day off.  I did laundry, took a nap, read my book before meeting Hung for some afternoon Pho.  My former manager and friend, he and I meet every few months to catch up and enjoy some Vietnamese food.  Eventually, we will move onto a banh mi but for now, traditionally, we find a different noodle shop in the metro area. Yesterday, it was perfect as it was rainy and an eat soup kind of day.  I enjoyed the pho but have had better in other restaurants.  I always look forward to my lunch dates with Hung. 
Speaking of Vietnam and food....in 2011, I met Shari in Belize for our annual trip.  My flight arrived a day before hers and so I took the water taxi from Belize City to Caye Caulker.  The boat was jammed with other people also trying to get to the islands.  I started talking to these two couples and found out that they, too, were mid western and planning on spending 9 days in Belize.  I mentioned that Shari was meeting me and so they invited me to dinner that first night. 
Fast forward to now, I keep in touch with one of the couples--Jackie and Brian.  They visited me in Phoenix when I lived there.  They visited for spring training and met me for dinner.  Again, we had a pleasant time--great food, conversation and a few beers.  We are friends on facebook and so I see where they travel and likewise. 
Last year, I spent three weeks in Southeast Asia with Shari.  We toured northern Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  I arranged travel through another friend of mine, Shana, since she had recently spent time in these countries.  From Shana's connections, I had a tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap and a place to stay in Hanoi.  And, Shari and I formed a friendship with a server we met in Hoi An.  Jackie contacted me last August inquiring about my Vietnam adventure.  I put her in touch with Luan and Bao, immediately, after she mentioned that she and her husband were heading to Vietnam for a vacation.  Thankfully they were able to meet Luan and Bao on facebook.  On Sunday, Jackie sent me a photo of her and Brian with Bao and his wife enjoying lunch in Hoi An.  It made me so happy to have been able to connect these amazing people.  And all due to random conversations and travel.  I love travel!
I look forward to hearing about their trip at some point in the near future.  Maybe they will visit me in Denver.  Or, maybe I will see them in Mexico sometime soon.  It was awesome!  I am off to celebrate another day off.  It is gloomy here.  Green chile sounds delicious or perhaps another bowl of Pho.....

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!