Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Las Vegas

I missed traveling and so I went to Las Vegas for a two day stint. I know that I am unable to do much outside of two nights since it exhausts me. Today, I am tired, worn out and unable to do anything outside of watch basketball or movies. I am currently watching Shrek the Third. It isn't that funny.
Jimmy and I left on Sunday night after I finished my shift. We ran out of champagne and so I had put the bottle to use in a cooler. I was waiting for a few of the servers to tip me out and so I decided to celebrate in style. I wanted a mimosa since our champagne is crappy, normally. I realized that the other bartenders had opened a nice bottle. It was a mistake obviously, but I decided to capitalize on it anyways. It was ideal.
On our flight to Vegas, I was sitting in the middle between Jimmy and some random guy. The guy sat by the window and wasn't too friendly. I realized later that he was too interested in his mouth. The entire flight, his hand was in his mouth. I was disgusted, but it was only a preview of what was to come. Next thing I know, I hear this click, click, click and look over and lo and behold, he has his nail clippers out and is clipping his finger nails. I couldn't believe that he would do this and so I kicked Jimmy to indicate my dislike of my seat partner. I don't like when people clip their nails anywhere around me. The sound of the clippers, alone, is unsettling.
We arrived and went straight to the Flamingo. Our room was a smoking suite, the only suite available. We decided to roll with it. The elevator smelled like an ashtray and I could only imagine how great the room would smell. We opened the door to this huge room. I think the suite was bigger than Jimmy's apartment. Thankfully, it didn't smell like smoke and I could have stayed there for a week. I spent some time with Carrie and Cedrick at Nob Hill and dined at Olives, Bootlegger's Bistro and Il Mulino. Las Vegas was a fantastic destination as usual. Although, this time, I won $62 playing the penny slots. I spent one dollar on that and felt so fortunate to have actually won.
I am planning my next adventure there, but it won't be for a few months. I need to recover from the excesses of that city.
Until later...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Take 2

Well, I went to my aunt's house last night and had dinner with her and Beau. First, we walked around Sloan's Lake and took the dogs for a much needed walk. Bryn had no trainers and so she walked around the lake in flip flops. I applaud that since I know that my arches wouldn't hold up one block. For the next month, I would have to tape my feet so that I could walk. I know, sounds fantastic.
This morning, I dropped my car off for an oil change. Last August, I had the massive work done of getting new hoses, tubes, etc. I drove to Phoenix and 80 miles outside of Santa Fe, my pressure dropped and I found that one of the hoses was faulty. I didn't feel too good since I had just spent $700 replacing all of the hoses. My car was towed to Flagstaff and then I had to have work done to ensure safe passage to Phoenix.
Everything was going well, this morning, until they told me that I needed a new cap since something was draining near the transmission. It isn't extreme, but since my car is unique I now look forward to an expensive replacement cap. I felt like I had just been told CONGRATULATIONS...YOU HAVE JUST WON--more money spent on your car!
I was frustrated, but then remembered that I have a great life. I spent almost 5 months, rent free and without car payments. I met fantastic people and most of it was due to just going with the flow. I thought about some of my better ideas and recognized that I needed to do more of my Best Of Series focusing on ideas.
First of all, the idea to do the trip. I could go on and on and on about it, but I believe that you get the gist of how fantastic and necessary this trip was to me.
The Fiji Experience was a fantastic idea since I now have good friends from the people that I travled with. Louisa is back in New Zealand, Dan and Rob are still in OZ and Gemma is back in the UK. James is in IReland--I think--and he was fun to go to the Yasawas with.
Traveling with Sharleen was terrific too. She was peaceful, listened to my bed bug woes and shared in the theft of our stuff with me. Sharleen was supportive and a great friend.
Flat Kellen increased conversation and more interaction with people. The girls in Fiji laughed when I asked to take a photo of them with Kellen and I love my Starbuck's photo of her with the venti cup. I never was alone since she traveled with me. I hope that she enjoys the photos.
There is so much more to contemplate, write about and consider. I am a little preoccupied right now and so I will conclude this for now. I am well.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Mackenzie Rae Wageman

My niece turns 10 today. I feel awful that I didn't send her gift out in time. April flew by and I lost track of time.
Pocketsize and I are going to get pedicures today to celebrate her birthday. I missed out on meeting them on Friday to celebrate. Steve made plans for them to have a romantic dinner for two. Afterwards, they called me but I was dining with friends at the Saucy Noodle and my phone was charging at Jimmy's house.
Today will be a wonderful girl's day out. Sarah doesn't work for the next few weeks and I am an avid supporter of relaxation. I believe that the pedicures will lead to champagne at Elway's and a fantastic day off for me.
I am Las Vegas bound on Sunday and until then, I am a working stiff. I want to be able to enjoy the trip and keep myself busy until we leave. I do have an appointment with the acupuncturist and yes, my "wound" looks much better. I can sit down and I am positive that it will be over soon. I keep telling myself that I am better, now, in the present. I believe that having a positive mind set makes a huge difference.
I am waiting to hear about my MBT shoes that broke on my trip. I took them back to Foot Solutions and was told that they wouldn't be able to do anything since the 6 month warranty had passed. I was disappointed since I am a loyal supporter of both MBT's and Foot Solutions. I was planning on writing an inquiry to the manufacturer of my shoes when the manager of Foot Solutions called me to apologize for the information that I had been given. He suggested that I return with my shoes and that there were things that they would be able to do. I was impressed with his follow through and am confident, now, that my shoes will be fixed and I will be happy. Truly, I love those shoes and would hate to have to look for a favorite pair of sandals!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update from acupuncture

Yesterday, I was in agony. I was barely able to sit down in my car because of the pressure of the bite. I went to the acupuncturist and he did the normal placement of the drains (arms, legs, feet) and then did the surround the dragon, but this time put in 14 needles around the wound. He then asked if he could put one in the center of the bite and I said okay. I don't know what possessed me and I was afraid that it would hurt, but it wasn't that bad. Truly, one of the needles on the side really was strong and I felt it. Since then, I have been able to sit down, comfortably, and while at yoga this morning, I was able to lay down during the final vinyasa series. I feel so much better! There is not as much pressure and it hasn't been a constant flow of blood.
I went to the Nuggets game with Jimmy, Tiffany and Melissa B. Our seats were good, not great, but we did sit lower level. People at the game were giving Caramelo grief over his DUI. Truly, how difficult would it be for him to pay someone to play chauffeur or have a personal limo driver? Timing is everything. Of course, it happens right before the playoffs.
Afterwards, we went to the Spot Bar and had chicken tenders, guacamole and macaroni and cheese. I know. I completely cheated on my moderation diet, but I didn't have many options and I felt so much better from the treatment. We will see how it works out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Second Home

There is a new restaurant in Denver and I have heard many wonderful things about it. Jimmy, my partner in crime, and I decided to check it out on Sunday night.
It is located in the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek. Originally, the restaurant in the hotel was a pretentious spot that never really interested me. I went to Mirepoix a few times and even knew one of the hostesses quite well, but I never felt comfortable dining there. While I was traveling, they decided to try a new concept in the hotel.
Second Home is a tribute to comfort food. The space is inviting and our evening started off well. We sat at the bar and was able to view the Nuggets/Rockets game. We decided to share a few dishes to fully appreciate their concept. We started with an herbed trout dip with crostini and it was nice. Afterwards, we ordered the tuna casserole, mac n cheese and chili creamed corn. I really enjoyed the meal and everything was going well. The dining room wasn't full and we were the only patrons sitting at the bar with two bartenders working. During our meal, I believed that the bartenders would ask if we wanted another beverage. Clearly, Jimmy would have appreaciated another beer at the start of the entrees. We continued to be invisible to the bartenders while a woman ordered a drink and we sat next to her without drinks. Her date arrived, and again, the bartenders made his martini, but never asked us if we wanted a refill. We were laughing about it, in a way calling attention to us, but they didn't do anything about it. Finally, I started stacking plates and they asked if they could move some of the plates out of the way. At this point, we were thoroughly annoyed with the lack of service. We asked for the check and left.
It is sad that we had that experience. The food was fine and I would have went back, but it will be a long time before I check out Second Home again. I believe in service and we did not receive any when we were there. And yes, I am critical of servers, but Jimmy was just as annoyed as me--more so. I suppose that I should stick with Elway's since I love the food there and the service is fantastic!

The Spider Totem

Last week while I was at my acupuncturist, he asked me what a spider crossing my path meant. I was curious and almost went on-line to see what I could find out. I mentioned it to my aunt and she had a book that dealt specifically with animal totems.
I was interested in what my spider bite represented. This is what I found out--to the Native Americans, the spider is grandmother--the link to the past and the future. Basically, what I am doing now is linked to what happens in my future, similar to how a spider weaves a web. Their webs are intricate and complex with the spider being the focal part of it. Apparently, we are the writers of our destiny.
It is said, that the spider awakens the creativity in individuals. The book identifies that if a spider crosses your path, or in my case--bites you, you should ask yourself if you are focused on making your dreams a reality or are you feeling stagnant in your life? When I returned, I was on this amazing high of life and now as I come down from it, I realize that I need to write about it. I suppose that I am trying to be more real about my experiences. I don't want to be stagnant in my life and so I must risk something to achieve more. I guess this is the opportunity that I needed to question my creativity and comfort zone of the service industry.
I am still tending to the wound as I like to call it. I am feeling better and I know that I am doing what is right for me in terms of the treatment. I have another acupuncture appointment today! Of course, since I am in Denver, it is supposed to snow tonight. I am going to the Nuggets/Grizzlies game to celebrate the snow!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Snippet from the best of

I think the best decision I made was to do the trip. I remember walking the runway at Nadi, Fiji, and thinking--what the fuck did I just do? I couldn't fathom that I was in a new country and only had three nights booked at some hotel that I didn't even know where it was. I slept soundly and then realized that my friends were freaked out since I hadn't communicated in a few days. I made the decision to fully enjoy my trip at that point. I booked the Fiji experience and was determined to go scuba diving at some point in Fiji. There was a possibility at Mango Bay which is on the southern part of the country. Bequa has shark diving, which I considered, but once I was at Mango Bay, it didn't feel right. The hostel that we were booked into was lame--bad food (lasagna similar to my grandma's spaghetti), being locked in the dorm room since the lock sucked and I wasn't a huge fan of the internet.
So, I jumped back on the bus and continued on until Voli Voli. The water was inviting, the people at the resort were helpful and they played Dr. Hook and Anne Murray. Right away, I felt a strong connection to Brian and it felt right. Diving was difficult since it brought up so many memories of him, but I needed it. It reaffirmed that I had made the right decision to do the trip. I was scared of the unknown and what I find out about myself on this journey.
During the trip, I felt at peace with myself. Returning to Denver has enabled me the comfort of what I had left in October. Denver, for me, is home and it will always represent Brian to me. I suppose I am rediscovering, again, that I must be present in the moment to grow.
Thank you for listening. I feel that I must be real in my thoughts to embrace the changes in me. I thought it was funny that I was sleeping next to a snoring, inebriated guy, similar to the circumstances in most hostels, but it is shallow. There is so much more to reflect on and find.

Friday, April 11, 2008

More winter woes...

I worked a double yesterday and it was awful. Of course, it was snowing during the AM shift and I had a short break and opted to cruise over to Barnes and Noble to peruse the magazines, travel books and see if there was any new decent fiction. I tried to get into the latest book by the lady that wrote, Stiff. I was intrigued by her ideas of the afterlife, but the beginning was dry and put me to sleep. I probably should of went to Jimmy's apartment to nap for a bit instead of napping in a chair at B & N. Oh well, no one was hurt.
Afterwards, I returned to work and it was slow. I had two bar customers at 10 pm and one of those is an old co-worker of mine who has been clean for 2 years. I was bored, tired and in need of something to do. Thank goodness for the trustafarians who have started frequenting the bull and bush. They kept me busy with round after round of shots. By the end of the night, I was no longer tired.
I called Jimmy to remind him to open up the security door for me, but he didn't answer his phone. I was scared that I would be sleeping in my car and so I suppose that I realized how much I need to get my own place. It is one thing to wake Jimmy up, but his roommate works early in the mornings and so I felt awful since I had to buzz in to the building. I walked into his apartment to discover a mutual friend sleeping on the couch. He was snoring, loudly, and when I went to sleep, Jimmy was competing with his friend as to who could be the loudest snorer. It was awful and as a result I was unable to sleep much. I definitely need to find my own place--ASAP!!!
Work has been great and it is keeping me preoccupied. I know that I have much more to do in terms of writing my Best of and having maintenance done on my car, finding a place and retaining my serenity. I intend to remain positive and things will fall in place...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dinner for three

Since I have been back, I think I have eaten at Elways 7 times. I love Elways, but I am unused to spending so much time out of a kitchen. Towards the end of my journey, I definitely was preparing my own meals. Staying with Jimmy has forced me to spend more time in restaurants. I love it, but I want to save money for my trip to Las Vegas and spending so much time in restaurants is spendy.
Tonight, I made dinner for Bryn and Beau and it was fantastic. I am more of a cookbook reader as opposed to a gifted, confident person in the kitchen. I must say that dinner tonight was great. I felt patient instead of rushed and as a result, I think that both of them truly enjoyed the meal. I made a caramelized onion pasta with salad and garlic bread. The Moosewood Cookbook is my gospel when it comes to the kitchen. They have healthy meals with several vegan options. Since I am non dairy friendly, I am loving this book.
I went to acupuncture today and my therapist believes that I am doing much better. He also suggested that it wasn't a brown recluse based on how the toxin is spreading and healing itself. I feel better knowing that my skin will not have to be grafted! He also released some build up in my shoulders and they feel amazing. Seriously, I fell asleep during the treatment and woke up confused as to where I was. After he took the needles out, I felt drunk from all of the toxins. It was crazy!
I hope to prepare meals for my aunt and cousin at least once a week. Jimmy prefers restaurants; although, he did let me make a salad for us on Tuesday. I think he enjoys being out of his apartment.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


The KU game was awesome.
I watched it at Elways with Jimmy, Steve and Pocketsize. They put it on the house sound and it was the ideal place to view the game. Of course, I was on edge at the end of regulation. I was freaked out that they were going to lose after getting the monkey off of their back. Overtime was owned by the Jayhawks and then we did a blue shot to celebrate, followed by a champagne toast.
I had to attend a beer education meeting at work and that was my downfall. We stayed at the Bull and Bush and I continued to relish in the victory. Today, I feel like crap. My body does not like the onslaught of dairy, fried foods and of course, alcohol. I decided to do a salt bath to rid myself of the unnecessary toxins and still, I feel shitty. I had to celebrate, though. And, it was a righteous moment in the history of the University of Kansas. I suppose that they will be sending out donation forms to all of the alumni while we are all still happy with the win.
I am off to work and back on the detox lifestyle...

Sunday, April 6, 2008


What a game...of course, I was working. And, we were waiting on 6 different Rugby teams that had descended on the Bull and Bush. Basically, I looked at the TV when KU was up 40-12 and was ecstatic. I was able to glimpse the 4 point deficit and was about to freak out thinking that they were going to give the game away. I quit watching and saw the outcome. The Bull and Bush had several KU fans who were chanting the Rock Chalk Jayhawk with 4 minutes left. KU fans can be a bit obnoxious!
I would have loved to watch that game. I know that it was lopsided, but it would have been great to see how KU contained UNC. It meant a lot to the fans of KU to see them defeat NOrth Carolina and get the monkey off of their back. I am anxious about tomorrow night and still undecided as to where I will watch the game. I am thinking about watching it somewhere private or somewhere with great wine. I am going off of my detox to celebrate the game.
Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Best of Part 1

I have been putting this off and I know that if I delay much longer, I will forget some of the most wonderful aspects of my trip.
First off, I believe that New Zealand is probably the most user-friendly country to travel in. The people are so friendly and willing to accomodate questions and suggestions. They will set up bus tours and book hostels for you. Basically, you show up and they do everything for you. They offer a free tour of Auckland through the KIWI experience to showcase their travel company and show off the largest city in New Zealand. Auckland is not that great, however. I met many kiwi's that recommended staying for a few days and then heading south. I took that advice and felt so comfortable relying on the people to maneuver the islands.
The worst drivers have got to be in Australia. They have signs that say--CAUTION CARS. As you can see, as a pedestrian, you have few rights and so I recommend that if you travel to Australia, seriously, WATCH FOR CARS. They speed up if you attempt to walk in front of them.
The best airline would definitely be TACA since they put my in first class for no apparent reason. I loved sitting in first class and wish that I could fly that way every time I travel. I was the only female and definitely the only traveler. The rest of them were businessmen and I stood out with my attire and lack of jacket. It felt great to be treated like royalty.
South African Airlines was also quite nice. I flew from Joburg to Cape Town and back and experienced the generosity of that particular airline. They served a meal on an hour and a half flight. It was weird since it was such a short distance, but they served a full meal in flight.
The best bus, in terms of comfort, would be Argentina's Chevallier. They served a snack, wine, meal, breakfast and entertained us with music from Mana, in addition to two movies. Of course, the ride was 19 hours and so comfort was necessary. I experienced 3 different bus lines and so not all were as fantastic as Chevallier. I enjoyed the idea of a semi-cama where the seat would recline back. However, I couldn't do anything about the fact that my legs were still cramped in the space. After riding for 19+ hours, I would experience severe swelling in my ankles and knees...i felt like i was pregnant or something. I hated that sensation and so I opted to avoid long bus rides while in Chile. Plus, in Chile, I heard a story from a couple from Scotland that spent 22 hours on a bus that had a broken wind shield. They stopped to wrap the glass in plastic, cover it with a blanket and then continue. The girl told me that she kept thinking that they would stop, switch busses and continue. Instead, the bus continued until the destination. They didn't die, but the girl said she believed that they would since the driver couldn't see out of the window.
I believe the best food was in Argentina. They have fantastic pizza and italian food. For steak lovers, you too, would be pleased. Obviously, for me, it wasn't an attraction. I could have spent a year in Argentina, alone, with the value of the dollar and the food that was available. They have cafes everywhere in Buenos Aires and they are open all night. I loved walking around Centro and finding random gems that were family owned and fantastic. I would love to return and explore more.
Best book stores--Australia and New Zealand. I loved walking into a store and reading a book without being asked to either purchase it or leave. I am a speed reader and several times, the hostels had a poor selection of books and so I would go to a book store and peruse the inventory. I didn't care for the prices of books there. They were exorbirant in both countries. I cannot see buying a book for more than I can find it in the States. I also loved reading the pop culture magazines. Every country follows Tom Kat, Brangelina and the Beckhams. It was nuts to see how much press these morons are given. I would read in airports or while in bookstores. I wasn't too choosy on my readin, either.
Chile had Starbuck's-my salvation--but New Zealand had fantastic, non-chain lattes. I loved the coffee in New Zealand and became spoiled by it. In Australia, it tasted different and so I opted to detox the caffeine from my system.
I met the most interesting people in Australia. I enjoyed the natives and the travelers alike. I was fortunate to meet Teja in Melourne and Apollo By who was from Slovenia, Petra in Melbourne, who was from Germany and of course, Ilona who lives near Sydney. I met wonderful people in Western Australia too. I enjoyed volunteering at Govinda's and really liked Perth. I would like to return to Australia to check out the Gold Coast, spend more time in Melbourne and Sydney and see my friend, Ilona. I think I will avoid the West this time since I have my lovely little reminder from New Year's Eve still giving me grief!
This is the beginning of the best of. It is a teaser since I know that there is so much more that I discovered while traveling the Southern Hemisphere. I urge you to consider a trip abroad today. Why not? What do you have to lose?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Acupuncture and the new diet

My acupuncturist, Dustin, said that the bite looks better. We did another treatment today and then he mentioned that I should be eating healthier to further clear up the toxin. For instance, no coffee, alcohol, fried foods, dairy or spicy foods. Wow, am I excited? I can basically eat lettuce, veggies and fruit. I was advised to drink rice milk over soy because it is better for you. I have a lot of heat around the bite and so the change in diet is to lessen the heat.
I will do it even though it is Opening Day and KU plays UNC this weekend. I am ready to be done with this and so I must follow the advice of my Eastern Medical Doctor. Of course, I have been eating a ton of mexican food since I returned. I will have to prolong that. I know that it could be worse, too. I mean, what if it were on my foot? I wouldn't be able to work or walk for that matter. I am trying to think positively about it. There really isn't anything else taht I can do about it, but know that I will be okay.
And really, I am already off of coffee. I decided to give it up in New Zealand since it felt like it was becoming a diurectic for me. I suffered then through the head aches and pains associated with caffeine withdrawal. It sucked for 3 days, but I survived and now it is not difficult to not drink coffee. I miss it, though.
Until later.

The spider toxin returns...

The acupuncture helped push the toxin to the surface. I had a few salt baths and so currently, I am dealing with a wound that has opened and will not stop bleeding. I went to a movie with Jimmy, 21, and afterwards, I realized how the wound had opened and had bled through the bandaids. I know that I want it to happen, but I also would like for it to be over. I am tired of having to deal with this stupid spider bite from New Year's Eve. I have told people in Denver that that was my kiss on New Year's since I refused to hang out with a Texan in Perth. If only I could go back to New Year's...21 was okay. Kinda hokey and predictable, but I do enjoy watching Kevin Spacey. He is one of my favorite actors. I loved the movie American Beauty. I am working this week and dealing with the sketchy weather of Denver. Yesterday, it snowed, was sunny and rained. I suppose that it couldn't make up its mind on what it wanted to do.
Jimmy has been great as he has let me sleep when I am overwhelmed with the toxins. It is interesting to go through, but I am confident that I will be okay. It is just something that I must go through. I am hoping that it will be cleared up by this weekend. I want to be able to sit down and watch the KU/UNC game. That game should be fantastic.
Be well and enjoy life!