Sunday, January 7, 2018

books I want to read

I have 20 books staring at me.
I should stop streaming tv and dive into a book.  My colleague gave me a bunch of books that he wanted to get rid of.  He could have gifted them to the library or one of the free libraries around Denver.  Instead, he gave them to me and advised me that I could gift, donate, read at my leisure.
Some of the books are intriguing and others are more mainstream.  Two I have tried, multiple times, to become immersed in.  There are a few typical books that I push to the side knowing that I am not truly that interested in them.  Some of the authors follow a recipe and have similar books that are quick, easy, nonthinking reads.  I sort of want more.
I found a book while waiting for my teeth to be cleaned about L.A. and the desert.  I put it on hold at the library and waited patiently for it to be returned and ready.  I really liked it. I had spent a little bit of time in Palm Springs and enjoyed the references to desert life and what not.  It connected six random people over a six year period.  I could probably re-read it and get more out of it.  The beginning was a little jumpy and it took awhile to connect all of the story lines.
I have a book about Zelda.  A book of coming of age.  A detective novel, too.
I would like a travel book.  Maybe inspire me to just do it.  More yoga.  Maybe a nonfiction book.  Any suggestions?  I am a huge fan of novels.  Daily, I keep seeing reminders of the importance of making time to read.  To unplug from your phone and losing yourself in a book.  My reiki master asked me if I meditate.  My response, not often.  I suppose I do in yoga on a fairly regular basis.  Still, I put no effort into or intention behind it.  I do it because it is part of the sequence.  I recognize that it is important and maybe I would be able to decompress and disconnect from the nonstop monologue in my mind.  I have work dreams.  Or dreams of family, past friendships, men, Brian.
Always, Brian.
I believe that teaching yoga will push me to do more meditation, too.  I will be forced to incorporate it into my practice since I will be teaching others.  Maybe some guided visualizations would help me release some of the control I feel I need to have.  Or yoga nidra on a regular basis.  I would welcome that, too.  I know of one class on Wednesday mornings that is great.  The guy does an amazing job of guided meditation and I completely release into a deep rest.  I wake up rejuvenated, refreshed, relaxed.
Maybe a book on meditation would be essential.
I will make time to read daily.  I like exploring and not being stimulated by streaming tv shows only.  One of the lists was about tv shows I want to watch.  Seems a bit ridiculous to actually make a list of that.  I don't need more emphasis on watching tv, lol.
Heading to yoga soon and maybe a walkabout with my aunt.  She sent me a late text where she got home late and so she might be rescheduling.  I don't know.  I know to not reach out to her and wake her up.  Sleep is always challenging for her and I do not want to disrupt it.
I am off to greet the day.  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Destinations to travel

Destinations to travel, 2018 and beyond
India for yoga.  Passport stamp and an opportunity to grow.   To become more confident with my Sanskrit and immerse myself in a retreat.  Best way to learn something new.  Block out all of the distractions and grow.
Greece for wine, beauty and well, it's Greece.
Phoenix for a yoga retreat and kick refresher.  The yoga community in Phoenix is strong and I miss it.  I would love to return for a portion of an intensive if only to see what they are focusing on currently.  I have learned more as a student and enjoy being able to incorporate teachings and techniques into my own practice. Recently, I returned to teachers in Denver that I have avoided due to being bored in their classes.  I have found that they have not grown their practice.  It remains stagnant and uninspired.
Or, I saw a newer teacher in a class that I frequent doing the sequence alongside us.  I was surprised at her lack of ability to do the basic vinyasa sequence.  Why teach if you don't practice?  It inspires me to do more of my own and build a practice here. I know there is a niche for me here.
An Island.  Who doesn't enjoy a beach vacation?  Reading, relaxing, maybe even attempting to surf.  Perhaps another trip to Costa Rica is in my future.  I know of a surf school in Domincal that was popular with tourists and locals and had a great hippie vibe. I am sure that yoga is around somewhere as well.
I met with a medium yesterday and had an incredible reading.  She kept mentioning travel in my healing process.  And Brian was brought up a lot.  I try to quash that sensation of grief always.  Yet, it remains and colors my world.
I am planning on going to Spain in 2019 to celebrate Sara Jo's 40th birthday.  And the Goddess's birthday as well.  We chatted about the possibility after my birthday in New Orleans.  I have amazing friends that have supported me on multiple occasions.  I would love to check out Spain with them.  Maybe Morocco, too.  I don't know.  I am really open to anything.
More of Africa?  Southeast Asia?  Tokyo?  There is a whole world out there that I would love to explore.  I see a trip to Santa Fe in my near future.  Could use some green chile and silver coin margaritas.
I taught yoga to Georgette today and feel I could have made it a little more fluid.  I had a few stops/hesitations while she rested in child's pose. Next week my intention is to have a solid plan and stick with it.  Since I am not teaching the traditional sequence I am finding some difficulty in timing.  It is forcing me to become more equipped to teach outside of what is comfortable to me.  I am enjoying it.
I might have an opportunity to teach at a studio, too.  I am still trying to figure that out.  It might cut into my travel so I am waiting it out.  We will have to see.
Today is a new day.  I will be working shortly and walking to get there.  It is such a gorgeous day outside.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Cleaning to do's for my home (another list to consider)

Maybe an odd one to tackle.  I saw a post on social media about 23 lists you should consider.  Some are exiting and interesting.  Others felt irrelevant.  Odd, even.  Yet, this is how I want to begin 2018. Focusing on making my apartment more of a home.  Or more of a safe place where I will celebrate me and my evolving yoga practice.  Having people over to do a session requires a clean, warm, inviting space.  I have the base structure of a welcoming space--hardwood floors, bay windows and natural light.  I love that aspect of the apartment.  Always have.  I have a few house plants that are thriving.  One was given to me by a friend and the other was left with me from Tiffany.  She and Dan have relocated to Puerto Rico and they wanted to give me their plants.  I have a few additional succulents in my kitchen , too.  Essential oils, a few pieces of artwork and other pieces of furniture that have been given to me.  Slowly it is coming together and I hope to make it more of a welcoming space.
I want to scour my shower and be diligent about it being clean.  If it were my home, I would want it re-grouted.  Actually, when I moved in, they mentioned that they would be re-grouting my shower.  Somehow, a year and a half later, my shower remains the same..  There was the porta potty episode that is comical now.  Regardless, yes, I want to keep my shower clean.  Or, at least, appearing clean.  I can and will make it happen
Hanging new artwork.  Having it framed.
Both things need to be done.  I purchased a Van Gogh print that I love from my trip to Amsterdam in 2003.  The Crows at Auvers is gorgeous.  One of his last works and I love it!  I bought a print and Frida Kahlo framed print last year.  The Frida Kahlo is hung and the crows remains rolled in the corner.
Changing out my photos in my display in my bedroom.  I borrowed a photo display from Jan and Tom when I lived with them in Phoenix.  I have had it since 2011.  I guess it is mine now, lol.  I get tied to certain photos.  I should change it up.  New year.  New memories.
I need a new broom and mop.  Broke the broom last Saturday and the mop has seen better days.  Decluttering.  Always is essential.  I have many, many letters and have some receipts that I have not put away.  I walk into my home and am overwhelmed by my table space filled with stuff--books, letters, to do lists.  I try to organize it when people visit me and then I get lazy and fall into a familiar routine.  I must break that cycle.
I have books that are piling up.  I plan on returning to the library today to return a book.  I try to stay honest with what I check out and when it is due.  Recently, the library offers a service where they automatically renew your checked out book.  It is nice.  Although then I find myself procrastinating finishing certain books since the due date is pushed back.
I stopped by a dollar tree to purchase above mentioned broom.  This location looks like it is downsizing since some of the shelves were not stocked.  I found some odds and ends but no brooms.  Of course, the only reason I went there and they do not have any available.  That will be on my to do list for tomorrow.  My next day off is tomorrow and so I will attend to some things.  I should clean my house before I teach yoga on Saturday.
Grout shower, organize to make a more warm space, organize books and frame some artwork.  Arrange photos and keep plants alive.  To do is complete!

Friday, December 29, 2017

I look back over the last ten years and think of all of the places I have traveled--Fiji, New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Italy...amongst others.  In addition...Where are the most interesting places I have traveled?
Yes, I have been asked that question. Many times.  People seem to think Belize is the most exotic and it is exotic.  What isn't exotic about scuba diving, snorkeling, resort living?  And food?  Thankfully,  I have visited twice in my life.  Once to conclude a trip in 2008 and a return to scuba dive at Caye Caulker in 2011.
Until I tell them I have been to South Africa.  Immediately, they think, oh, safari driven venture.  Yes, I did a day trip.  And, I also checked out Camp Bay, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.  It was incredible.  I adored it and felt and feel it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I loved the music factor, too.  Check out Freshly Ground.  I have two of their cd's.
I hiked Table Mountain and stayed in a hostel on Long Street.  Reminded me of New Orleans--live music til 4 a.m.  Brief break prior to staff arriving to clean the restaurant and venue.  5:30 am, cleaning and prepping.  I would wake up and force myself to go for a run.  Back then, I was motivated to be healthy by running.
Or Colombia, 2017.  Medellin.  My favorite place.  I think of all of the connotations of Medellin--drug cartel and Escobar.  Still impactful til you visit.  Gorgeous.  Stunning.  Great food.  Clean.  Cody and I convinced our taxi driver to help us find a hotel in el Poblado.  Furthermore, we arranged a day tour with him that included a mini tour of Escobar highlights and lunch.  We wanted to see more of the barrios in Medellin.  At one point, we understood how insensitive we were being.  Take us somewhere we should not be walking around does not sound that impressive, right?  After lunch we walked around a neighborhood with local businesses, restaurants and bars. Each bar had men hanging out playing cards and drinking beers.  We chose a place that appeared welcoming and open.   Immediately these two older gentleman sent us a round of drinks and waited to make our vist more about them.  Could happen anywhere.  Politely, we finished most of second beer, left the third and said thank you.  Cartagena was a wash (terrible airbnb experience) and I had a new respect for Bogota on my return.  There is something to be said about a local guide.
Vietnam, 2016.  Why go there?  I was asked that last night.  How can I explain to someone that served in the military in the forgotten war that it was an amazing experience?
That I chose to go there?
That the people were kind, inviting and lovely?  I can't even explain the war myself.
Cuba, 2014.  Another proud moments for my parents. I am sure.
Cuba had its own essence.  And a ton of mojitos.  Obviously, too sweet and rum is not really my jam.  However, they did offer toberlone chocolate and wine was readily available.    Lots of rum and the kindest people on the planet.  Seriously. Shar and I befriended a taxi driver who took us dancing.  That was awesome!
I do have more places to reflect on and consider. I had the best day, today.  Saw my trainer and had an amazing amount of energy.  I went to lunch and ran into a customer.  He approached me and I mentioned that I didn't stop by since I didn't think he knew my name.
His response--isn't it April?
Lol....not even close.  I am still laughing thinking about that.  I returned home and slept for 2 hours.  I believe I needed it.  I know that I did.  Two days off inspired rest, relaxation, some working out and sleep.  And it feels incredible!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

10 Years of memories

 This is how it all started.  Traveling to Fiji, 2007.  I packed the majority of my belongings and left them in Phoenix along with the beloved Veronica.  (I so miss that car).  Anyways, this was me.  Ambitious to travel and see more of the world with a few books, journals, camera, rain jacket and of course, Flat Kellen.
First stop, Fiji.  Glorious.  I bought a sarong to be respectful in the temples and villages.  I still have that sarong.  Durable and useful.  It accompanies me to all of my beach vacations.  I have the hat, too.  That was one of my reminders of Brian and tasting life on this adventure.



 Bariloche, Argentina.  I still love this photo.  One of my favorites of a beautiful place.  I attended a day hike to see a black glacier and of course, the Isla de Corazon.  The tour was led in Spanish.  I understood a fair amount of it.  Struggled with responding to any questions, lol.
 Simon's Town, South Africa.  Another one of my favorite reflections from the 2007-08 trip.  Six month (almost) traveling and it was remarkable.  The food, people and places.  I still reflect on that trip and wish I had extended it.  I had the opportunity and know that I did make the right decision to return to Denver.  It led me to where I am now.
 Barefoot and classy.  Walking back to the hotel room in the MGM with love jones.  After attending my friends wedding in 2008.  I think I am waxing nostalgic on all of my Vegas trips since I spent a few days there last week.  Ironically, we did only stay within a three block radius from where we stayed and all on one side of the Strip.  We did not see a show, either, which typically I manage to do while in Sin City. I even play a few slot machines normally.  This past week, I was focused on Off Strip spas and the food factor.

 Shari and I in Napa.  Dinner at Bouchon.  One of many incredible meals at this location or the Vegas location.  2009, I believe.   Her first trip out to Napa and Sonoma.  Of course, wine tasting was involved as well as a few additional days in the city.

 Dinner at Mauka in Santa Fe with the lovely Melody.  2008 or 09.  Honestly, I cannot remember which year we dined here.  I remember I stayed near the Plaza and we had dinner here and at Max. Unfortunately, both places have since closed.  However, each chef has moved on to a new space in the city.
 Bahamas with Shar, 2010.  I met this lady while traveling in 2008 in Chile.  We spent five days traveling on the coast and reconnected in the Bahamas in 2010.  I returned in 2014 to venture to Havana with her.  I am overdue for another meet up with this beauty.
 2011, Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  Spent six weeks in Rocky Point while deciding what I wanted to do.  I ended up relocating to Phoenix and finding a niche there.  Rocky Point became my oasis and quick beach trip.

 2010, Cap Grille with Sara Jo and Lindsay in Denver.  We were celebrating confirmation of our lodging in Napa.  We treated my boss and my friend, Maghan, to lunch for helping us set it up.  I had been trying to run the Napa to Sonoma wine half marathon for some time.  We were able to register for the Healdsburg Half and I was determined to make sure it was the best trip ever.  Having accommodations arranged and squared made it much easier.
 Bangkok, Thailand, 2016.  Outside of a massage studio before flying to Hanoi.  I still had remnants of my black eye that I sustained in the loss of my car.  They had the best tea and cookies.  This was the beginning of our adventure in Southeast Asia.  Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.  Absolutely amazing foodie driven celebration trip.  Shari and I have traveled together the last 11 years on the anniversary of Brian's death.  This year, we are heading to Nashville.
How this all started...with one man that changed my life.  He taught me to love, to risk, to not regret living life.  He knew he would have a short life.  An old soul.  I met him in 2002 and spent the next four years with him.  After he died, I chose to live life, fully, daily.  Travel. Celebrate.  Taste Life.
I realized while walking to work the other day, that I have had this blog for 10 years.  Wow!  10 years of memories.  Some more reflective and inspired.  Others, more quiet.
I am happy to be where I am and look forward to what 2018 has to bring.  Definitely returning to my travel roots and cultivating friendships.  I had dimmed part of both of those aspects in recent years.  I don't exactly know how or why, but it happened.  I want to return to what makes me the most happy and motivated.  Wine, travel, yoga and connecting people.  I think I can do it all.
I will have more thoughts of the last ten years.  I need to get out and enjoy part of the day.  I have a sushi happy hour with Jenn in a couple hours.
Cheers!

Monday, December 25, 2017

destinations I want to travel 2018

I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post about 23 lists to consider completing/making for 2018.  I love this idea and many of the lists I like.  Maybe not making a list of tv shows I would like to watch.  I don't need more crap to watch.  Believe me, I am fine with the streaming of tv.  I even watch empty, vapid, mindless reality shows.  They are, by far, the worst.  So, no, I don't think I need to be making a list about that.
Destinations I want to travel.  Yea, I can absolutely do that.  There are a few definite trips early in 2018.  Nashville.  Puerto Rico.  Nashville to celebrate Brian's anniversary.  Shari and I originally planned on Charleston.  But people kept talking about Nashville and it seemed like a better fit.  Food. Music.  Great vibe.  I mentioned it to Sara Jo and she also seemed interested in going with us to Nashville.  Her exact response was--well, Jonny crashed your trip to Austin, I can crash this one.  As well as, I enjoy traveling with you and Shari.  I bought my tickets and now need to focus on the rental and what area of town.  I have time to figure it out.
Puerto Rico is to attend Tiffany and Dan's wedding.  They postponed due to the unforeseen hurricane.  They had been planning on moving there and celebrating their love by having friends and family attend their wedding in October.  They recently relocated to Rincon and are enjoying their life there.  I am excited to do yoga on the beach, check out the wine shop she raves about and spend time with them.  Support the local and see a beautiful place.
I am thinking of a European adventure.  I have always wanted to go to Greece.  I even had tickets bought and purchased before 9/11 happened a week before my confirmed departure.  I postponed my trip initially, thinking, I would wait six months and then consider an adventure across Europe. Full of rail travel, wine and sitting in cafes.  Instead, I found myself moving to Denver.
I digress.  So, yes, a trip to Greece and Spain would be optimal.  Or a trip to India to continue my yoga education.  I have been attending more classes in Denver to see what is out there and how I could contribute to the community.  I still believe I could create a niche here and have a thriving practice.  Continuing yoga at a retreat sounds incredible.  And would complete another goal--passport stamps.  Last night this older gentleman was describing his son and how much he traveled.  I'll admit.  I was a little jealous and kept listening.  Apparently at the end of next year, this guy will have visited 42 countries.  My thought was--I can do that.  Or better yet...I should do that!
Of course there will be trips to Santa Fe.  That is a given.  Maybe even in January?  Or in April.  I am trying to figure out.  I need to get my Ojo fix as well as see friends and eat green chile.  It is enticing and too close to not try to drive down multiple times a year.
California.  This year I returned to L.A. and toured the city with Shari and Marc.  Great food and a fun time.  I feel that I should return to San Fran and give some love to Napa and Sonoma.  It has been too long since I have toured the wineries.  Moreover, I have a friend that owns a shop there that I would love to check out.  I met Jarred in 2006 when I visited Napa for the first time.
I am a little distracted it being Christmas and all.  I am thankful to be able to spend the day with friends.  I need to get up and finalize my gifts and treats and make my way over to their home.  I told Jenn I would wear my lobster pants.  I need to figure out how cold it is outside before committing to that.  Also figure out what shoes to wear.  My boots that I bought for the season hurt my feet and my older boots (think 2001 or 2002) also wear on my heels.  I could wear my sneakers but they have mesh which would get wet in the snow.  I am confused as to which ones to wear.  Oh well.
I will revisit this list in the next week.  For sure--there will be Nashville, Puerto Rico, Santa Fe, maybe Greece or India.  Texas could be a destination?  I don't know.  Maybe another trip to Argentina?  I don't know....

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

winter solstice and trying to be an adult....

Finished.  Completed.  Check it off.  Two ceremonies to the solstices of 2017.  I preferred the solo celebration I did in the summer.  It was exactly what I wanted.  I listened to music and jammed out 108 salutations--full salutations--with five breaths held in down dog before the jump forward and completion of the cycle.  I felt incredible.  Beat up and sore.  My hand pads were sore for a few days after.  I felt great that I was able to complete 108 push-ups.
Yesterday, we were arranged in the room so that we were a sun ray.  We were all facing each other and able to see each other flow through the sequence.  Two females guided us through the 108 salutations which they broke up in segments of 36 salutations.  We would further break that into twelve salutations with a break before continuing the next two blocks of sequences.  A five minute breathing exercise was incorporated between the completed thirty-six salutations.  It was definitely more spiritual and peaceful.  They explained to us that there would be three modifications that we would be available to us during the process.  The first one was the most physical of the three and it wasn't that challenging. I was expecting a chataranga.  108 of them to be exact and so when that was shut down, immediately, I was disappointed.  I wanted a physical connection to this process.  As noted, the three modifications were not that challenging.  It was an inch room out to plank, lower to belly, extend arms forward and back, press up to cobra or upward facing dog and then inch room to down dog and rise back to standing.  I wanted the jump backs with push ups and down dogs.
I did stay for the two and half hours.  I will not return to that studio to fulfill another solstice celebration.  I left, peaceful and calm, which is great.  However, not what I wanted.  I really wanted the physical to be pushed.
I rushed home, changed, and made my way downtown.  Thankfully, found parking and worked for an evening shift.  It's now Tuesday.  Although, it feels like Wednesday.  I attended a restorative yoga class which was exactly what I needed.  I fell asleep.  I think I needed that, too.  The instructor actually woke me up so that we could leave.  I was a little embarrassed.  And, it showed me, again, that yes, I really need to take better care of myself.  I wish I could sleep in.  I left work after 10 last night and went to bed around midnight.  I woke up at 5:30.  A nap was definitely in my future today.  I spent most of it running errands and seeing the dentist.  I have to be an adult sometimes.  Seeing the dentist, obgyn or eye doctor cuts into my travel plans and I consider them adult type activities and responsibilities.  I forced myself to go to the dentist this year.  It was challenging.  I postponed, procrastinated.  Even considered delaying until 2018 which wouldn't have changed the results.  I needed work done.  Postponing would have created more work.  I did ask my dentist to prioritize exactly what needed to be done in the future.  Now I can focus on getting cleanings and mix in some of the other stuff.  It can be managed.
Next year will bring on the eye doctor.  I am currently wearing my last pair of contacts which will need to be fixed.  I can only extend wearing them for so long without it affecting my eyesight.  I should probably schedule an appointment with the lady doctor, too.  Things to look forward to in the next year.
Always something.  I did attend a holiday gift extravaganza supporting local girls.  Picked up a few items and spent some time with the Goddess.  I love seeing her. We have discussed a return to running.  I see a half marathon in 2018.  Maybe two. Depends on how ambitious I feel.
Must get up and greet the day.  Cheers!